Outside a storm was blowing in. The clouds scudded across the window blocking the sunlight, casting a dim hue over the room. Fat drops of rain fell in stutters against the window pane, not quite raining yet. The winds picked up and anything not nailed down was pulled along in its grasp and whirled away. The clouds grew darker and more ominous, promise of the storm to come.
The room they sat in was dark, shrouded in shadow. The light in the office was old and inefficient, not really lighting the room so much as casting a dim glow over the darkness. The personnel from the Atlantis Project sat waiting for the chief of police to find the time to talk to them. They didn't speak, they didn't look at one another. They just sat and listened to the rain as it hit the window, each lost in their own thoughts.
When the chief arrived, he blew into the room like a hurricane. He brought with him a blast of noise from the squad room outside intruding into the too-quiet room. The people waiting looked up at him, shrinking back in their seats, no one wanted to be seen in the harsh light from the hall lest their guilt be exposed for the world to see.
Another man entered with him – the Chief's second in command. Ronon Dex. He took up his place beside the door, silently standing guard, as if any of the people in the room might actually try to make a break for it. With a casual move, Dex eased his jacket back so they could all see the piece he wore in a holster there – it was a warning and a promise.
Surveying the faces turned to him with a sideways look, the copper took off his hat and tossed it towards the hook without even looking. The hat settled on the first try, not daring to cross the chief of police.
The chief closed the door, exchanging a look with Dex before moving to his desk. The room was returned to its previous grave-like quiet. The light was gone and the people waiting could relax in the semi-darkness The only sound was the rain as it picked up in intensity.
Dr. Rodney McKay was surprised by the chief. He'd expected someone a little more like Dex, bigger than life and twice as mean. Instead the man was lean, tall enough, but his black jacket and neatly pressed trousers fit him loosely, like he was wearing his father's clothes. And yet the cold, clear look in the chief's eye told a different story. That look said that he intended to find the truth and god help anyone who got in his way.
John Sheppard. Reputation said he was a maverick. That he didn't let his convictions get handed down to him from higher up. That he liked to investigate his crimes himself and he actually found out who had committed said crime rather than going with the easy answers.
Dr. Rodney McKay, head scientist for the Atlantis Project, hoped that the reputation was warranted. Because at the moment he was the main suspect in the murder of one Dr. Elizabeth Weir, the beautiful dame in charge of the Atlantis Project.
It looked bad. Hell, he was a genius, he knew it looked bad. Elizabeth had been killed in his office, his fingerprints were all over the murder weapon. No surprise there, since he used that keyboard every day of his life. The surprise was that a keyboard could kill. Guess anything could be used as a murder weapon when it impacted the right spot in the human skull.
The thing that really pissed McKay off was that whoever had killed Elizabeth wanted to make sure she was good and dead. After splattering her brain all over the lab with the computer keyboard, they'd stabbed her through the heart with Rodney's favorite pen. It was now evidence, bagged and tagged. Even if he ever got it back, Rodney didn't think he'd want to use it after this.
Rodney sat silent as Sheppard looked them all over. It was hard, usually Rodney was a verbose person, not hesitating to let the world in general know what he thought, because really they needed to know. But today he had the feeling that anything he said could and would be used against him.
Sheppard pinned them all under his steely gaze, regarding them with narrowed eyes, finding them wanting, Rodney imagined. Finding them geeks. They were a sad bunch of would be murderers.
There was a knock on the door and they all jumped. Everyone that is except for Sheppard and Dex. Sheppard smirked as Dex opened the door to find the stenographer waiting there with her machine ready to record their words for posterity and the court. The woman entered and made her way to the corner where Rodney assumed she believed she'd be inconspicuous and out of the way. Like that was going to happen. She had an odd sort of exotic beauty with burnished skin and hair piled on top of her head.
"Teyla," Dex murmured as he helped her with her machine.
She smiled up at Dex and her red lips curled seductively upwards. The chief waited to begin until she was settled.
"So," the chief said slowly, slinging an edge of a hip onto his desk. His jacket fell open enough to reveal his shirt with its collar loosened and tie undone.
Rodney swallowed at the glimpse of golden chest that was revealed in the V of his starched white shirt with just the hint of fine dark hair.
"I understand Dr. Weir is dead," Sheppard drawled. He had a slight Southern accent to his voice that made McKay think of Mint Juleps and lazy afternoons spent sitting in a rocker on a wide veranda.
Dr. Carson Beckett started.
You would think the man was the murderer from the guilty way he jumped. Just because he was the one who had found the body, because he was the one who pronounced Elizabeth Weir dead. Carson didn't have it in him to be a murderer, not by his own hand. He invented the means and then sent it out in aerosol canisters for other people to deliver.
"Aye," Beckett said, not looking at Rodney, "A blow to the head."
Even though there was a stenographer there to record every word they spoke, Sheppard pulled a pad from his pocket. He licked a finger and, flipping the pad open, he began to scribble on it. Carson craned up, trying to see if the chief had written something incriminating about him.
"Who would want her dead? Did she have any enemies?" Again that steely gaze pinned them all to their seats.
They'd given their statements already. Rodney thought that the chief just wanted to look them in the eye when he asked the question, see if they broke. Rodney squirmed in his seat when the hazel eyes settled on him and did his best to maintain eye contact until the gaze moved on and he could breathe once again.
The rain picked up in intensity, pattering against the glass. It made Rodney think of fingers tapping to get in.
Radek Zelenka moaned. Everyone knew that Zelenka had a thing for the brainy brunette. They all also knew she'd crushed any hopes he might have ever had with her. Stomped on his heart and crushed it under her high heels. He wouldn't kill her though. Maybe anyone he suspected who might have been with her, but never her.
"I'll take it that's a no?" the cop's lip curled up sardonically.
He had really good lips, Rodney thought, full and kissable. He wondered how the man kissed – slow and easy, taking his time; or fast and sloppy and wet? Either way, Rodney would d like to know.
McKay started when he realized he was having inappropriate thoughts about the man that held the power of Dr. Rodney McKay's life and death in his hands.
"There is someone," Kate Heightmeyer stood and her legs seemed to go on forever. Her blonde hair framed her face and set off the ruby red pout of her lips. She moved across the room toward Sheppard like a lioness stalking her prey. As she passed Rodney, he caught a scent of her perfume. It was musky and dangerous. Producing a cigarette she leaned into Sheppard. "Can you help a girl out?" Her voice was low and husky, promising sweet nights and breakfast in bed.
It was like the two of them were alone in the room. The air between them smoldered with the tension of the moment. Rodney expected them to all go up in flames at any moment.
Outside, the rain now lashed against the window. It played in counterpoint with the tap of the stenographer's fingers on the keys of her machine. They could also hear the low growl of distant thunder.
Sheppard leaned around Kate, pressing their bodies close for the briefest of seconds before he picked up a lighter and ignited it with a casual flick to light her cigarette. He let her inhale deeply and then exhale before he asked pointedly,
"There is someone?"
The smoke curled up, ringing her face. "Dr. Kavanaugh," she said. "He always thought he should have Elizabeth's place as head of the project. It made him crazy to take her orders." She put the cigarette to her lips and inhaled again.
"Crazy enough to commit murder?" Sheppard asked.
"Maybe." The smoke escaped from her lips. Rodney thought inanely of fire-breathing dragons.
Sheppard nodded, "That would be useful except Dr. Kavanaugh has an alibi."
Kate shrugged, her breast heaving at the move. She lowered her eyes in a false showing of virtuous modesty, "Yes, he was with me. Now Dr. McKay on the other hand..." she let the sentence trail off, letting Sheppard draw his own conclusion. Of course the evidence spoke for itself.
"But as far as I can tell Dr. McKay had no reason to kill Elizabeth Weir," Sheppard countered, watching Heightmeyer for her reaction.
She gave another artless shrug of her oh-so-elegant shoulders. The material of her blouse caressed her skin. Her lips curled up maliciously, "None that we know of."
Sheppard frowned at her and caught the hand that was sliding up his thigh, holding it firmly by the wrist, "In this country, a person's not guilty until they're convicted." He pushed her hand away in disgust.
She gave a low throaty laugh, "Of course. Now, is that all? I really must get back. With Elizabeth's death I have so much work to do." The false grief dripped from her.
Sheppard's mouth thinned and their eyes locked for a brief battle of wills. Sheppard won when Heightmeyer dropped her eyes and moved away.
Only then did Sheppard say, "I suppose that's all for now. I'll call you if I need anything further."
Kate leaned back in to practically whisper in his ear, "Oh, do, for just.... anything at all." Her hand slipped back to his thigh for a final caress.
Sheppard remained unmoved by it all. McKay thought he must be carved in stone to resist Kate Heightmeyer's advances. Of course the way the man looked with his dark hair sticking up in gravity-defying, incongruous angles and 'come hither' smoldering hazel eyes he probably wasn't begging for female companionship, or male if that was what he preferred. Rodney shifted uncomfortably in his seat, signs of his own attraction to the detective painfully obvious.
"You can all go now," Sheppard said to the room at large. "I think I have everything I need."
They all sprang to their feet, relieved to be released at last. They were scientists, cooling their heels at the police station had been a new and unwanted experience. Rodney felt dirty and longed to just go home and shower.
"Dr. McKay," Sheppard called as Rodney almost escaped with his colleagues. "May I see you for a minute alone?"
Rodney paused, his heart pounding in fear. They were going to book him and send him to jail after all. He was going to the big house where they did strange and frightening things. He knew. He'd seen the movies, read the books.
McKay turned back into the office. Dex shut the door as he and the stenographer followed the rest of McKay's colleagues out. Sheppard brushed past McKay to close the blinds. The chief smelled of stale whiskey, cheap cigarettes and gun oil, and his scent was more intoxicating than Kate Heightmeyer's had ever been.
Rodney wiped sweaty palms on his trousers and tried to think innocent thoughts.
"Smoke?" Sheppard asked, settling once again on his desk.
Rodney shook his head numbly. The thunder rumbled overhead, long and low, and the flash of lightening could now be seen, briefly illuminating the dim room.
"Have a seat," Sheppard gestured to indicate the chair next to his desk, right in front of him. Rodney dropped into the chair, his knees giving out on him.
He was already picturing himself in a prison cell, being bought and sold by his cell mate for smokes.
Sheppard's hand on his shoulder brought him back to the office. The lightening flashed again. It threw John Sheppard's face into relief. He almost looked... kind.
"Listen, Dr. McKay, I don't really buy you for this murder," he said. Their faces were close enough that Rodney could feel Sheppard's breath on his face, warm and smoky.
Rodney gaped up at him gripping the arms of the chair he sat in, willing himself not to do something utterly stupid like leaning forward and pressing his lips to the cops. He could feel the warmth of the hand on his shoulder through his shirt and jacket.
Sheppard appraised him with a keen eye. "Now I'm not saying I don't think you wouldn't murder her, but you're a smart guy and this murder was sloppy..."
Finally the dam broke and Rodney found his tongue again, "Thank god, someone has a brain here," he babbled in relief. "I keep saying that but no one will believe me."
The fingers on his shoulder squeezed, slight pressure that set Rodney's nerve endings on fire, "I believe you, Dr. McKay, but all the evidence points to you. I'm already getting pressure from the Mayor's office to book you and close the case."
Rodney's blood froze in his veins, "What are you going to do?" he asked.
Sheppard leaned back, "I don't like being told what to do. And I don't like sending innocent men to jail."
Rodney fervently approved of the way the man thought.
"Now, I have a feeling that all the evidence I need is in the security tapes at the Atlantis project, but someone there's got the judge in his back pocket because I can't get a search warrant. Your security guy Bates is adamant that I need one."
McKay's brain processed the information, trying to think around the distraction that the chief of police provided. He frowned, "Until and unless you book me, I'm head of the Project now that Elizabeth is dead," he thrust his chin out authoritatively, "I'd like to see them keep me out. I can get you in and give you all the access you need."
Sheppard grinned wolfishly, "I was hoping you'd say that." The satisfaction in his voice made McKay's heart thump faster, glad he really hadn't killed Elizabeth Weir. "Now we don't want to tip off the murderer that we're working together on this, so we shouldn't leave here together. How about I meet you at the Project headquarters in 20 minutes?"
Rodney nodded again and Sheppard was taking his arm and helping him up. "Now, if your friends out there want to know what I wanted, just tell them I roughed you up. Let them think I still suspect you. I think your Dr. Heightmeyer may be in on the whole deal."
Rodney gaped at Sheppard. "I can't lie, you know that don't you? I'm a lousy liar, I loose my shirt at poker every damn time." He moaned. It didn't matter if the cops fried him in the chair or the murderer did, he was going to be dead either way.
Sheppard shook his arm, "Doc, we can get these guys, but you've got to hold it together."
Rodney took a deep breath. While he had never liked Elizabeth Weir, he had respected her. She didn't question him on his projects and she always got him the funding he needed. Thinking of taking her place was almost as frightening as thinking of facing the people who had killed her. But he liked the way the chief was looking at him. Like he trusted to Rodney McKay to do what had to be done. He realized he would do whatever it took to keep the chief looking at him that way.
"I'm alright," he assured the chief.
"Good man," Sheppard said with a purr in his voice, low and seductive. Rodney glanced at him sharply trying to decide what he meant. "I knew I could count on you."
Then Sheppard was opening the door and Rodney's colleagues were there waiting for him with wide, frightened eyes. Sheppard shoved him roughly out of the office. Rodney would have hit the filthy floor if Beckett hadn't caught him.
"Don't plan on taking any trips, Doc," Sheppard said and his manner changed abruptly to hard-boiled cop, "I'll be wanting to question you further." He slammed the door, leaving Rodney gasping in his wake.
It wasn't hard to feign the fear as Beckett and Zelenka moved in in concern. Kate stayed back watching them all with her clinical eye.
"What did he want?" Beckett asked. He scanned Rodney, looking for signs of police brutality.
Rodney shrugged, "Just trying to frighten me, I guess. It worked." He didn't look anyone in the eye, afraid of giving away the whole game first thing.
Fortunately Zelenka moaned again.
"Oh, would you just shut up, already," Rodney snapped, "I'm the one that's suspected of this murder, not you."
Zelenka broke down then, the tears rolling down his face.
"Oh, for god's sake," Rodney muttered as he walked away, letting Beckett deal with the grief stricken man.
The clicking of Kate's heels on the concrete floor alerted him to the fact that she was hurrying after him.
"Dr. McKay," she purred in practically the same voice John Sheppard had used before, low and seductive. "Can I offer you a ride? I know how upset you must be. We could... talk." She put a hand on his arm, squeezing gently, letting her fingers trail down to his hand, caressing it lightly. She watched him expectantly. She was totally unaware that there was a man in the world that could resist her charms.
And there weren't many that could. But Dr. Rodney McKay was impervious, he'd just met the man of his dreams.
"Thank you, Doctor, but no. I thought I would just go back to my office and... uhm... get some work done. This whole matter has taken a great deal of time that I can't afford to lose." The lie was made a little easier because it was the truth. Everyone knew that McKay lived most of his life in his lab so it wasn't surprising that he wanted to go there.
Except Kate was surprised. Her eyes narrowed, taking stock of him when she realized that her offer was being refused. She recovered quickly enough to say, "Well, if you're sure. Feel free to call me if you need me... for anything. I know how difficult this is for everyone."
He didn't answer, just waved a vague hand in dismissal as he left her there.
Outside the storm was raging, the rain coming down in torrential downpours. It matched McKay's mood.
Even with the rain flooding the streets, it didn't take him long to get to the headquarters of the Atlantis project. The guard at the desk seemed surprised to see him and tried to tell him he couldn't enter. But Rodney had had enough of being questioned and told what to do and where to sit and when to pee at the police station. He let loose on the guard with a lengthy discourse on the incompetence of people who sat at a desk all day and ate doughnuts. Soon enough he was inside and heading for his office. It wasn't until he arrived there and found the crime scene tape across his door that he realized he really didn't want to go in after all.
It only took Rodney a moment to decide that the next best place was Zelenka's office. The man had been a mess and wasn't going to be doing work any time soon. His office might as well get some use. It didn't take Rodney long before he was sitting in front of Zelenka's computer with a cup of coffee clutched in his hand.
The wind howled outside, joining the rain in its attempts to beat down his windows.
Rodney had been hauled to the police station as soon as Elizabeth was found dead so he hadn't had time to look at the security tapes before, but now he pulled them up. He cursed when he saw the blank and snowy tapes although he wasn't really surprised to find that they'd all been wiped clean. Which narrowed the suspect list to an elect few who would have access to those highly secure systems and know how sabotage them: there was himself of course, Elizabeth could have done it, their chief of security, Bates, and Dr. Kavanaugh.
What most people didn't know was that there was a back up system. One that Bates thought he was the only one who knew about it. Rodney suspected that it was there so Bates would have blackmail material on them. Since Rodney had never done anything he could be blackmailed for, he'd never found out if that was it, or if Bates was just that security conscious. Rodney had never told the man he knew about it, keeping the knowledge to himself for future need. Now it paid off when he found exactly what he was looking for.
His blood ran cold as he watched the tape and saw Dr. Kavanaugh come upon Elizabeth while she was snooping through Rodney's lab. What she was looking for Rodney would never know, because Kavanaugh picked up Rodney's keyboard while her back was turned and hit her over the head once, twice, three times. Rodney paused the feed when Kavanaugh picked up the pen, already sick at what he had seen.
"I think I've found what you're looking for," Rodney said as he turned in his seat when he heard the door open. He'd assumed it was Sheppard, he'd left a message with the guard where he could be found. Looking down the barrel of the gun that was aimed at him, Rodney realized he was wrong.
"Well, well, Dr. McKay," Kate Heightmeyer strode into the room, "I think I misjudged you."
Standing next to her, holding the gun, Kavanaugh just glared at him.
For once McKay really was at a loss for words. He'd had all the evidence, Kate had been the alibi for Kavanaugh after all, He'd just seen the blonde hair and judged her accordingly.
"It's too bad, too. You were the perfect fall guy for this murder," she moved around to look at his computer screen. Rodney had paused it with Kavanaugh looking up at the security monitor, his face clear.
"But you know, Calvin, this might work out better. When the police get here, they'll find poor Dr. McKay has killed himself in an excess of guilt over the murder of Elizabeth Weir. Unrequited love and all that bullshit."
"They'll never believe that," Rodney gasped out. He had to stall them. Sheppard was on his way. Sheppard would save him.
"Sure they will," Kavanaugh spoke at last, "you're going to leave a note."
"The police are onto you, Kavanaugh, Sheppard thinks you did it." Rodney blurted, anything to keep that finger from tightening on the trigger.
"Oh, please, that copper couldn't find his ass with his hands," Kate sneered, probably upset that he'd spurned her advances, "No, he won't be able to casually ignore the evidence this time."
"But why?" Rodney demanded desperately, still trying to stall. He could hear the rain tapping on the windows and now it sounded like it was counting down the seconds he had left to live.
"Oh, please, McKay, why do you think?" Kavanaugh said, his voice scornful, "Power. Money. The girl."
"Oh, please," Rodney sneered back, "You think she's going to stay with you because you're director of the project?" He looked back and forth from Kavanaugh to Heightmeyer and back again. "You do, don't you? You know you're an even bigger idiot than I took you for."
And that was the last thing Dr. Rodney McKay ever said as Kavanaugh's finger tightened on the trigger. Time slowed down and Rodney saw the bullet leave the gun. He felt it as the bullet slammed into his chest, knocking him backwards in the chair leaving a trail of fire in its wake. There was a timeless moment when his body was consumed by the pain and then everything faded to black.
Rodney sat straight up in the bed, gasping. Blindly his fingers searched for bullet holes, certain that he was bleeding out. His search slowed when he realized that he was alive and whole, his chest wasn't a sticky, blown out mess. Slowly he opened his eyes and peered down.
"Oh, god, I'm alive," he gasped, taking in great heaving breaths. It felt like there wasn't enough air in the room.
The body in the bed next to him stirred and a head poked out from under the covers. Dark hair stuck up in even stranger tufts than usual, sleepy eyes blinked in concern.
"Rodney?" John mumbled blearily. He scrubbed a hand across his eyes. Suddenly realizing that Rodney was shaking and covered in sweat, he sat up, drawing Rodney into his arms.
"Rodney?" he asked again in concern when Rodney didn't speak just stared down at his chest.
"I'm alive," Rodney repeated it, trying to convince himself as much as John.
Rodney could hear the rain tapping on the window and he shuddered. John tightened his arms rocking them both.
"I'm here, it's alright," he soothed.
"No, no, it's not," Rodney insisted. "Elizabeth's dead and you think I did it." Being shot in his dream might not have happened, but Elizabeth was still dead and Rodney McKay was still the main suspect.
The shakes began to take hold as Rodney remembered finding Elizabeth's body in his lab, her blood spattered everywhere. Rodney was cold, from the inside out and he pressed himself closer to John wanting to crawl inside him where it was warm and safe.
John held him, rubbing soothing circles on his back. "I don't think you did it, Rodney, what in the hell gave you that idea?" he pressed a kiss to Rodney's head.
Slowly Rodney let himself be soothed by John. He laid his head on John's chest and breathed in time with the beating of John's heart. Rodney felt his own frightened heart beat slowing into a more reasonable rhythm. The shaking subsided and Rodney felt the warmth returning to his bones.
The rain wasn't so much frightening now as comforting, weeping for Elizabeth, another of Atlantis's children dead.
John didn't release him. He just held Rodney tight, running a soothing hand down Rodney's arm; pressing kisses to his neck, his face, his shoulders, any place he could reach.
"You confined me to my quarters," Rodney finally murmured into John's chest, his indignation stirring.
John chuckled, Rodney felt it reverberating through his body. He rested his head on Rodney's shoulder. "I was trying to protect you, you idiot."
Rodney pushed himself away, "Protect me? I'm the one that's going to the big house if you don't find the real murderer."
"The big house?" John's eyebrow rose in that irritating manner he had, combining disbelief and amusement in one stupid brow.
Rodney waved him away when John tried to pull him back in. "How were you protecting me?"
John sighed and sat back against the wall. Obviously his plan for what was going to happen next was being sidetracked. "The entire crime scene just screamed your name, Rodney. I needed to get you out of there so we could investigate without you muddying the waters."
"Me? Me? Me muddying the waters?" Rodney was nearly speechless with indignation. "I am a scientist, I know how to investigate thank you very much." He poked a finger in John's chest refusing to give in to the inclination to run a hand down it instead. He was pissed and John wasn't getting off easy... so to speak. Just to make sure, Rodney scooted away from John, putting distance between their bodies.
John just smiled and shook his head, "Rodney, listen to me. Everyone was looking at you. I couldn't let you investigate a crime that a lot of people thought you were responsible for." He held up a hand to forestall Rodney's next tirade, "I never thought you did it. But if I let you investigate, there would be accusations that you and I fixed the scene or something like that. I had to make sure everything was above board so there'd be no questions later."
John reached out and when he pulled Rodney let himself be moved back into the warm circle of John's embrace.
"Big house?" John asked again once Rodney was back pressed against him.
"I had a dream," Rodney admitted. "You were the chief of police." Rodney breathed in the scent of him and this John was so much more preferable than the dream John, even though dream John was kind of hot in the cheap suit and fedora.
"Oh, yeah?" John's tone was one of amused tolerance.
"Oh," Rodney sat up abruptly, "I know who killed Elizabeth." He stared at John as it all came to him so clearly. "It was Kavanaugh."
"Oh?" It was unclear from his tone whether John actually believed him or not.
"No, no, no, just listen. It makes sense. My brain must have been processing everything and helped me figure it out while I was asleep."
"While you were asleep?" There was that brow again disbelieving him.
"Will you just shut up and listen," Rodney glared at him.
"I'm listening," John assured him. "And?"
Rodney knew John was just humoring him but continued anyway because it was his life on the line, "Kavanaugh killed Elizabeth."
John just nodded, his face at its most neutral, the one he used at poker when he was cleaning up, "You said that. And on what are you basing this... deduction?"
"It couldn't be anyone else," Rodney insisted warming to his theory. "I mean Elizabeth and Kavanaugh were always getting into it. Kate said it in my dream, it made Kavanaugh crazy to take her orders."
"Kate was in your dream, too?" John sounded a little miffed at that, and Rodney took a moment to glower at him.
"Would you be quiet and listen? You're interrupting my thoughts." Rodney's words were tumbling out now. "He probably found her in my lab and thought that it was the perfect opportunity to kill her and make it look like it was my fault."
"Rodney," John began, but Rodney spoke over him.
"Once Elizabeth was dead and I was out of the way, he thought he'd be the one in charge of Atlantis. Don't you see?" Rodney sat back in triumph waiting for John to tell him how brilliant he was.
Except John leaned back comfortably against the wall, grinning at Rodney.
"Well?:" Rodney asked. He motioned for John to go out and do what had to be done.
"And again I ask, your evidence?" Instead of jumping out of the bed, John just tucked up a knee and shook his head, a skeptical smile lurking on his lips.
Rodney huffed in indignation, "Well, obviously that's your job to find. Do I have to do everything?"
"I have to say that was quite some dream."
Rodney couldn't believe it. John was making fun of him!
"What? Is that all you have to say? Aren't you going to go arrest Kavanaugh?"
"Actually no." John yawned and stretched. He fluffed the pillows and stretched out on the bed. "I was really hoping to sleep in with my favorite scientist, but if want to play CSI, just knock yourself out." He pulled the covers up to his chin and closed his eyes.
Rodney pounded on him, "I can't believe you. What are you doing?"
"Sleeping, Sherlock, surely you should be able to figure that out with your superior powers of reasoning." John didn't even bother to open his eyes.
"Kavanaugh could be getting rid of evidence right at this very moment." Rodney tugged on the covers trying to pull them away.
"Oh, I'm sure he's getting rid of evidence of something," John said, holding on to the covers as tightly as he could. "It's just not evidence of murder."
Rodney let go and gaped down at John. "You know who did it?"
John cracked an eye open and openly smirked, "Yes, I do. Now can we just get back with the plan? I sleep with the head of the Atlantis expedition and he just gave us the day off."
Rodney went back to tugging on the covers. Now he wanted answers. "Who? Who did it? Are you telling me it wasn't Kavanaugh?"
Realizing that he probably wasn't going to get sex or sleep anytime soon, John gave in and sat up with a sigh. "It wasn't Kavanaugh," he confirmed.
"So?" Rodney had never met anyone as infuriating as John Sheppard. He knew what Rodney needed to know and was refusing to give it to him. Then, "Wait? What? Head of the expedition?" Rodney finally caught up to what John had said.
"You are the logical candidate," John pointed out. "In fact we found some papers in Elizabeth's desk that said as much."
Rodney rocked back, eyes wide, "She said that? Wait, wait, wait, you're getting me sidetracked, here. Who did it?" He crossed his arms doing his best to look commanding and authoritative, knowing he probably failed since he wasn't wearing any clothes.
John looked away and Rodney knew it wasn't good news. John had been sidetracking him, trying to avoid telling him. He should have seen it all along.
John sighed and asked, "Do you remember saying something about wanting to be in charge of the expedition yesterday?"
Rodney replayed the day in his head – up too early because John wanted to run. Rodney had refused to jog and went to his lab until time for breakfast. What followed was the usual day of emergencies only he could handle and having to deal with his idiot team. Sometimes he thought they'd been handpicked to drive him crazy. "I think I say that every day, so?"
"Well this time Miko believed you," John looked at Rodney, sorrow in his eyes and Rodney read the truth there.
"Miko? My Miko?" he stammered. "Miko wouldn't kill anyone. Miko couldn't kill anyone. She can barely make coffee."
"Well, in this case she did a pretty god damned good job," John clenched the blanket in a fist. "I guess you were pissed about some experiment Elizabeth wouldn't let you do."
Rodney remembered out loud, "She said it wasn't important to the immediate goal of protecting the city from the Wraith," Rodney felt a sick rolling in his stomach.
"And you said if you were in charge of the expedition, you'd run things differently." John leaned forward and put his hand on Rodney's shoulder. "It's not your fault, Rodney."
"Miko killed Elizabeth because she thought I wanted her to? How the hell is that not my fault?" Rodney demanded. He was going to be sick. He scrambled from the bed and made it to the bathroom before he lost the contents of his stomach. John followed him, then he ran a glass of water and handed it to Rodney when he was done.
"Rodney, Miko had a psychotic break brought on by stress."
Rodney felt lost. It couldn't be happening, "Stress? Who commits murder because of stress?"
John sat next to him and drew him close again, "Rodney, we've been running on nothing but adrenaline and nerves for months. I'm surprised something like this hasn't happened before."
"Are you sure? I mean people thought it was me before, there could be some mistake." Miko was the gentlest person he knew.
"There's no mistake, Rodney, she confessed when she found out you were the one under suspicion and we have the security tapes. It was Miko alright."
Rodney lay quietly in John's arms his world turned upside down where Miko could kill and he was now in charge of the expedition.
"What are you going to do?" he whispered finally.
"We're sending her back to Earth." John's voice was full of tenderness. He hadn't wanted Rodney to find out so soon, he'd done everything to try and spare him at least for a little while. But Rodney was stubborn, once he was on a track there was no deterring him.
"Kate's going to recommend a psychiatric facility to take care of her. She'll get the best care, Rodney, this was brought on as much by post traumatic stress as anything. It wasn't you, anything could have set her off. Hell, Rodney, she might have attacked you as easily as Elizabeth." John's arms tightened protectively around Rodney at the thought of losing him.
Rodney didn't move, he couldn't He just breathed and allowed John to hold him close. Tomorrow he would be the head of the expedition. Today he'd lost two friends.
Outside the rain continued to fall.