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Rodney was in his bed alone that evening; Beth was in a late meeting with John and the division heads. Radek had gone in Rodney’s place because of a sprained knee. Rodney had tripped over one of the almost-goats that they had traded for. They had three small horns and were gray merle with almost feathered fur. Teyla stated that the wool was very highly sought being soft, lightweight and warm and the meat very tender.

The whole team had fussed but when one of the small animals ended up in his lap they all lost it completely. He leaned back and smiled; it wasn’t often that he saw his teammates laugh that hard. So despite the pain and slap to his dignity; it was worth watching solemn Teyla leaning on offhand John, leaning on ferocious Ronon, laughing until tears came to all three of them.

He snorted; the goat was adopted by the kids on the mainland and named Oops! Rodney knew that John and Ronon had something to do with that, he just couldn’t prove it.

Rodney was working on his laptop (only one allowed darn it) and saw an email from Sam Carter. He read the letter with her theories for ZedPM manufacture. He was getting ready to argue some of her…huff…admitted good thoughts (but the rest was wrong, wrong, wrong) when he noticed the attached file. Clicking on it while typing he looked and stopped to read.

When Rodney was finished reading the poem he thought of all the things it could mean and memories it brought up:

AS DAYS GO BY EACH OF US
SLOWLY GIVES AWAY LITTLE
PIECES OF WHO WE ARE…

Rodney has thought of all the ways he lost those pieces. He didn’t give all of them away willingly, like losing Old Elizabeth, he shudders she was way to close to his Beth. He grieved for her because she had been what his Beth may have been. She had lost so much and lived for one moment in time…then he remembered the smile after she passed. Maybe for her, that one moment was worth everything…he hoped so.

Rodney was absently peer-reviewing a paper for Elliott (Moron), he couldn’t add or subtract. As he was *again* fixing the calculation it reminded him of the Kids Planet with Keras and the huge mistake he almost made. He had just been thinking about powering Atlantis, not what the wraith would do to the kids without the shield. He was glad he was able to fix what he did but he still felt a good bit of shame about that. Also, the extra Mark III generator will continue the shield and take some of the load off the Zed that would give them more time if anything happened and that helped…a lot.

Other things floated through his head, as he viewed his email, like the 100-year Storm and the Genii invasion; he rubbed his forearm where Koyla literal carved out his own piece of Rodney. Then the siege and John’s near suicide…Rodney swore he still hasn’t forgiven him for nearly leaving them like that or Beth for almost letting him. He also knew that he would never tell either of them that.

WE GIVE OF OURSELVES

Rodney heard a muted thump from down the hall and the lights flickered and emergency sirens blared. He hit his earbud, “RADEK I AM GOING TO GROUND THE CHEMISTRY LABS UNTIL THE NEXT MILLENIUM! THEY BLEW A HOLE IN MY CITY!”

He was absolutely livid when he viewed the warning and damage information on his tablet. “Rodney is not so bad, will just put more windows up and no one tell the difference.” came the answer from Radek.

“That is beside the point…” There was an interruption, “Rodney calm down, there isn’t that much damage and your engineers are on it. Relax and if you move, you will be so busted.” John then went back to the room to survey the damage. As McKay watched on the security cameras as the clean up was done he thought of the fun of blowing up tree stumps and rocks for the Athosians with Ford and the Marines. Arguing chess and theorems with Radek, sharing food with Ronon (pudding!) and stick fighting with Teyla (ouch!). Also sitting with Carson and sharing a dram of whiskey on a quiet evening after everyone went to bed.

The Apology that Beth (sternly), John (just gave the look), Radek (browbeating), Ronon (looming) and Teyla (understanding) talked (forced) him to make to the Minions and especially to Miko. This was after his run-in with the wraith drug. When he bowed to Miko she burst into tears and put her forehead against his athosian style as an acceptance; John joked that he may have had a fight on his hands afterward. Beth just laughed and Miko softly smiled…could have been.

Then he smiled with joy when the pictures of their wedding came upon his screensaver. Halling performed the ceremony and Ronon stood for John, Radek for Rodney and Teyla for Elizabeth. While it may not be Earth legal it was on Atlantis and in the Pegasus Galaxy.

Their friends and family surrounded them from the City and allies and friends from dozens of worlds. They all came together to celebrate their joy in each other. He and John stood on either side of Beth in her forest green suede dress.

They promised to love, protect and cherish this beautiful woman and each other. She, in turn, promised the same. John was equally beautiful, not that Rodney would dare say that out loud, least not yet. He was in black leather pants and boots ala Ronon and a black suede shirt. Rodney had found himself in all blue (rolled eyes and no surprise there) at the insistence of his loves, much to everyone else’s amusement.

They shared the cup and then bracelets and rings were exchanged. The rings and bracelets were 3 bands of intertwined gold, silver, and copper standing for each of them and their lives together. The party lasted well into the night but they left before that time…they had their own celebrating to do. Thinking of that night, he chuckled, it was a memorable honeymoon.

 TO FAMILY

Other pictures caught his eye, Aiden, John, Beth, Teyla, Cadmen, Ronon and others loved and some lost. His family was very diverse and not all of them were blood-related like Jeannie. Some he had shed blood with like Aiden, Ronon, and Teyla. He loved them as much as Jeannie and just as differently, losing Aiden hurt more than anyone except they who had been there from the beginning would know.

Ronon was almost a brother, but he missed Aiden’s laughter and enthusiasm. His ability to crack a joke and blow up anything at any time and sometimes at the same time. Also Aiden’s joy of learning new things and spending time with his team. Aiden was the puppy dog little pain in the butt brother who taught Rodney it was ok to laugh…both at himself and others. McKay knew the man they met later wasn’t their Aiden, the enzyme had taken a very precious person from them.

Rodney smiled thinking about Teyla, his big sister even though she was younger. Treating the rest of the team, both past, and present, with the same indulgent patience that any sister with irritating brothers would. She sat with and walked him through mediation; even when he was so twitchy he had to be driving her mad. Rodney knew he was in better shape than when the expedition arrived, not that he had much of choice. Even better now that he was married, a lot of that was the 3 times weekly stick fighting that Teyla made him keep up with. Her patience and love was a boon to the scientist.

As he viewed his minesweeper scores (need to kick Lorne’s butt, how did he always win?!) he wondered how to explain his relationship to Ronon. Brother, warrior-in-arms, trusted loved one, and the friend who covered his back when the rest of his team couldn’t. Fellow worshipper of the chocolate pudding and purveyor of all things food related. They had shared memories of fallen friends, bloodshed and lives saved. Also pranks and practical jokes that had the marines, scientists and command crew alike twitch when they smiled at each other a certain way.

One of his first real close friends was Carson Beckett, doctor, fishing fanatic (needs to talk to O’Neill) and Mother Hen extraordinaire. Carson has seen him naked, puking, bleeding and every other utterly embarrassing thing that could happen. He has also been with him when he was trying to decide if the relationship with his soon to be lovers would be worth it in the beginning. He loved Carson as his best friend and brother. He was well aware that Carson would do anything for his friends and now family and tried never to take advantage of that.

Then there was John and Beth, parts of himself that he didn’t, couldn’t realize he was missing until he found them. He was never…almost never…alone, there had been times but there were in every relationship. Talking to Kate helped a lot with that (no matter how reluctantly, and how often Beth dragged both by the ears to her office, ouch).

He had found himself doing things for them that he normally would never do for anyone else…except maybe Teyla or Sam. Being quieter and less disruptive during meetings for Beth. Less abrasive and insulting on missions for John. Both had been worried at first then had told him to be himself. Just as he thought years ago, they all threatened to go looking for the pod (snort), as if they‘d find it.

TO FRIENDS

Leaning forward and adjusting some pillows, Rodney noticed the email from Miko about some of the power calculations. Also in that message was that Calvin was fooling with the water filtration plant programming again. He gave an evil smile and sent the calculations to John. He adjusted the pillow under his foot and then found the reply from John with the slight changes to tighten the math. Also that he had better not be moving from his current position or all hell would break loose when they got back. Rodney just snorted and sent the calculations to Miko with the decision on Calvin’s punishment left to her.

Miko was a lot more sneaky and vindictive than she used to be…Calvin would see the error of his ways and/or pay the price, probably both given the density of his head. McKay was so proud of her and hoped that he and Radek had been proper role models in surviving the academic life. She was much more confident than before and was counted as a close and beloved friend.

He knew his closest friend, rival, 2IC, and co-conspirator was the Czech Radek Zelenka. Radek was the only one, other than Samantha Carter, who could understand and keep up with Rodney. He smiled as he read an email from Radek about the meeting and his opinion of Kavanagh’s future in-depth knowledge of the Atlantian sewer system. *evil smiles abounded on that one, they were soooo proud*

Rodney also remembered that Calvin hated loud sounds and decided that he would be the scientist on call for the C-4 demos. He sent word to John and Cadman knowing that she of all people would enjoy the torture and understand the reasoning behind it and take delight in the punishment. John, on the other hand, would just find it amusing and help him hide it from Elizabeth.

Rival, friend and now sister Samantha Carter, she understood better than anyone, even Radek the burden of the genius mind. She also had the patience to keep up with his more hysterical moments when he had to go to Earth and leave his SO’s behind and just wanted to go home because sometimes she wanted to go with him. She covered for him when he had bad days, which would surprise many of her co-workers, who were convinced that she couldn’t stand him. That was their little secret and a very amusing one when no one could figure who kept pranking the mountain when he was there. O’Neill and her team may suspect but she covered his back and he covered hers…after all that’s what little brothers did.

TO PEOPLE WE DON’T EVEN KNOW

The possibly inhabited worlds of the Doranda system.

WE KEEP A SPECIAL LITTLE PIECE

Rodney knew he always kept parts of himself (Rodney) separate from the loud public persona of Dr. Meredith Rodney McKay, Ph.D., Ph.D., and Ph.D. A lot of people knew he loved music, preferably classical. What they didn’t know is that he once played the piano and could play any of the music he loved, which was more eclectic than he let on or they gave him credit for. Sometimes the music had been the only solace, other than Schrodinger, to his lonely soul.

He had always had cats and Schrodinger had been the latest in beloved fuzzy friends and companions. They had been so much like him, demanding and wanting all the attention and everything right now. The cats also snuggled with him when things or people overwhelmed him, they gave him someone other than himself to love and take care of. He really regretted not bringing the cat with him. Smuggling him wouldn’t have been as hard as everyone thought, but he had to think of his beloved friend, not himself. Schrodinger would have been terrified of the trip and while he would have loved to explore the city all the dangers would have necessitated a safe place and he would have hated that. He was a very intelligent cat and enjoyed exploring too much to want to stay in the same place. Rodney preferred to remember the beautiful orange tabby stretched out on his back on his lap purring like a Ferrari while getting loved on. Not scared or dead because of an accident that he could have prevented.

The last thing anyone, including Jeannie, John or Beth (wow!), knew is that Rodney could cook. Not just a few guy things like ramen noodles or (huff) mac and cheese, Rodney had actually studied and was a 3-star chef. The reason was obvious; lots of dishes in restaurants had citrus. If he didn’t know the ingredients he couldn’t catch the morons serving it.

Also, it was something he could concentrate on to keep his hands busy. The food he cooked wasn’t conventional but as he was the only one eating it he didn’t care. He just didn’t have time to enjoy that pastime on Atlantis; he was too busy keeping the nitwits in the labs or the moronic marines from blowing them up!

 UNTIL ONE DAY,
IN ONE GIVEN MOMENT
WE KNOW TO WHOM IT BELONGS

That moment was in the infirmary, cuddled between John and Beth. Hoping that they weren’t fooling him, and realizing in that moment, that he was cared for and loved for just Rodney. He knew now that they belonged together as a family.

 AND IN GIVING AWAY THIS PIECE
OF OURSELVES
WE ARE NOW COMPLETE

Later that evening John was dozing on his chair and Beth was working at her desk; Rodney was on the balcony with his electronic piano. He was writing a new song for his concert on the mainland. Teyla’s birthday was coming and they were planning a surprise party. He was leaving the majority of the planning to the rest of the team, big concession on his part but the cake he would be making himself. No reason to let the Marines who did the cooking ruin the dark fudge cake (of course) and the gourmet popcorn that would be served with it and the ice cream.

Rodney thought about how far they have come with this new life and found himself looking forward to what was to come…wait…Ronon would be there. “John, Beth I need more chocolate for a bigger cake, Conan may eat it all before Teyla or anyone else gets close to it!” From the apartment came hysterical laughter…he wouldn’t have it any other way.