John was never quite sure what to expect when he wandered into the labs looking for Rodney, but whatever he thought he'd find, it certainly wasn't this.
At first glance it just looked like Rodney was working on the spread-out pieces of something or other, i.e. business as usual. But the glitter of some sort of ruby-red crystal thing caught John's eye (it looked explosive) and then he started looking at the rest of it and ... that cord-wrapped handle looked very familiar ...
"Busy," Rodney said without looking up.
"I came to see if you wanted to grab lunch," John said absently, staring at the pieces of what was clearly, indisputably, very definitely Ronon's blaster. "Now I can see there's no point, since you'll probably be dead soon."
"What?" This got Rodney's attention; he looked up, startled. "Is the city about to explode? Are the Wraith attacking?"
"No, Ronon is going to kill you. Actually, the question I want to know is, how did you get it in the first place? If I check his quarters, will I find Ronon tied up, drugged, or immobilized with some sort of Ancient stasis device?"
"Nope." Rodney was cheerfully smug. "He gave it to me."
"He ... what."
"Temporarily," Rodney added hastily. "He said I could have it for an hour, and he'd better get it back intact at the end of that hour." He scowled. "So go away and stop bothering me, because I only have twenty minutes left."
"But ... how. He doesn't even let me use it, most of the time."
Rodney looked up again, with a tiny chisel buried in some sort of complex mechanism. He now looked smug enough to export smug particles to the entire Pegasus Galaxy. "Because I saved his life on M4X-392."
"Oh right, you did." John had been benched for that one, recovering from a field injury, and Teyla was on a trading mission, so Rodney and Ronon had gone out with one of the other teams. Apparently things had gone bad in a fairly spectacular fashion. "And this is his, er ..."
"He feels like he owes me something." Rodney shrugged and looked suddenly uncomfortable, his smugness evaporating. "I told him he didn't, he's done the same for me so many times I've lost count, but I told him if he really wanted to pay me back, he could let me figure out how his blaster works."
"And he just handed it over, no strings attached?"
"No," Rodney said, running a scanner over the pieces. A beam of blue light swept across the workbench. "You might as well think he'd given me his firstborn child. In addition to the hour time limit and about a dozen other conditions, he also mentioned that if I didn't put it back together exactly like it was, he'd rip my arms off and stuff them up my --"
"I can fill in the blanks," John interrupted.
"Right, and I'm down to eighteen minutes thanks to you, so ... leave."
"I'll be back later," John said. "If you're still alive."
"No one has any faith in me. Aren't I the person who ran the Atlantis shields on lightning? Jumped a ship out of an erupting supervolcano? Figured out a way to turn the entire city into an anti-Replicator gun, quite effectively I might add --"
"... blew up five sixths of a solar system ..."
John beat a hasty retreat. Behind him, he heard Rodney murmur, "Huh, I wonder where this bit came from ..."