In the grand scheme of things, Rodney couldn't complain about his life. He had a pretty girl at his side who never failed to smile when he came in the room. He had a job doing what he loved with the added benefit of saving the world every other day at the very least. No, not just the world. Whole galaxies. It was awe-inspiring, if he did say so himself. He even had friends for the first time in his life and not just the kind who claimed to be his friends right before a big test and copied his answers right before they dragged him to the bathroom for a swirly. There weren't any 'big tests' in his life right now but it was the only other time he'd had friends to compare this experience to. He was on good terms with his sister and had a niece who adored him, for some strange reason.
It was a good life. The kind that would be pointless throwing away because he was thinking of killing someone. Not just anyone. Radek Zelenka, the other lead scientist on Atlantis. The Czech was a thorn in his side, an ache in his head that refused to be ignored and couldn't be contained with ibuprofen, a paper cut soaked in alcohol, a stubbed toe encased in tight shoes. Trying to ignore him never worked for long. Dealing with him was impossible. Cutting him off was considered a heinous offense.
As Jennifer watched him pace around the room from the safety of the bed, she asked the one question that he knew he could neve bring himself to answer.
"What did he do that was so bad?"
What did he do? WHAT DID HE DO? What hadn't he done? The man was a menace in the lab, always questioning him in front of others as if his idea weren't well-thought out before they were ever presented to the team. And if they weren't well-thought out, that wasn't his fault, now was it? He was given minutes to act most of the time that he was asked to save the day. No one could be one hundred percent with those kinds of deadlines. He was maybe ninety-eight or ninety-nine. It had been a while since he'd stopped to figure out the exact percentages.
"Rodney." Jennifer's tired voice brought him back to the present. "I've had a really rough day. Larrimore crashed twice while I was trying to put all his organs back in the proper areas of his body. I'm beat and only have six hours in which to shower, sleep and maybe, if there's time, to eat. Could you just tell me what he did to set you off this time so that we can fix it?"
"Fine," he muttered, wishing he'd been able to keep this bad mood to himself now that she'd put it in that kind of perspective. Ranting to Jennifer wasn't nearly as much fun as ranting to John or, even, Ronon. "He said that there were certain disciplines - mind you, certain ones as if one is better than the other - where he felt he was smarter than I am."
She stared at him for a heartbeat and than another. Just when he felt as if he should leave the room and leave her in peace, she smiled and patted the bed beside her. "Come sit down, sweetie."
It didn't even take him a minute to do as she requested, making him feel a bit like a dog who's finally been let in for the night and can't wait for some attention from his owners. When she smoothed down his hair, he could almost feel his tail wagging. Just when he thought the moment couldn't get any better, Jennifer laid her forehead against his.
"You want me to go have a talk with Zelenka? Tell him to quit baiting you like this?"
Her hand caressed the back of his neck, her drooping smile giving away how tired she was. "I will... tomorrow. In the meantime, I want you to take your tablet and go take a bath. You're bound to come up with one of your excellent ideas that will blow Zelenka out of the water."
It was a good idea but Rodney had an even better one. "How about I go get you some oatmeal with raisins, just the way you like it. You take that bath instead. With both of us working on it, you should be able to get at least half an hour more sleep."
"See? You are the most brilliant man alive."
And for a moment, he felt as if he truly was.