John was having coffee in Elizabeth's office when Zelenka's panicked voice came over the comm.
"Dr Weir, you must come quickly! Dr Simpson has gone insane! Rodney is injured. I think..."
John trailed along behind Elizabeth as she made her way down to Rodney's lab. "I bet she just threw a coffee pot at him again. She always makes sure it's empty first, and she's got a terrible arm."
"I hope so, John. I hope so."
The lab was chaos. Simpson was sobbing loudly and clinging to Dr Kusanagi. She wasn't terribly coherent, but John managed to decipher something that sounded like, "Only trying to change his clothes."
Elizabeth grabbed Zelenka as he ran past, carrying a... net? "What's going on?"
"Oh, it's terrible," Zelenka said, pushing his glasses up. "The device we have been using to transform seaweed into edible vegetation... Simpson was..." Zelenka waved his arms and said something John was fairly sure meant 'filled with vengeance'. "Rodney was being... himself. Even more than usual." John winced. "Simpson made a tiny mistake, and he overreacted, and so she..." Zelenka pointed at the travel case that the electron microscope from the biolab had come in. It was rattling, as if something inside was moving. John walked over to look in the box, while Elizabeth concentrated on Zelenka
Zelenka's shoulders slumped. "Dr Simpson shot him with the transformation beam."
"Oh. Wow." John was staring into the box, half amused, half horrified. Scuttling around in the bottom of the box was a foot-high lizard. "You can change him back, right?"
"Yes," Zelenka said. "Probably. Almost certainly. We have tested this equipment many times."
John turned around and gave Zelenka his mild-but-not-really-mild stare. "Yeah, on vegetables. How is this going to affect a human being?"
"All the data is stored in the device and its associated files in the Ancient database. It is simply a matter of retrieving the correct information and feeding it through the device and into Rodney."
John reached down into the box and lifted up Rodney. It was weird, but he looked a little like Rodney, right down to the tufty hair and the malevolent glare being shot his way. "Hey, you know who I am, right?"
"Rarr!" Lizard-Rodney growled, showing some wickedly sharp little fangs. John grinned, "Oh my God, Rodney. You're a cute little lizard, aren't you?"
"Dinosaur," said one of the biologists whose name he hadn't quite memorized yet.
Nameless biologist pointed at Rodney's feet. "He's got three toes. Lizards have five, dinosaurs have three."
John was about to reply when Lizard... Dino-Rodney started snuffling at his jacket. "What?" Rodney grabbed at the edge of the pocket zipper with his tiny front claws and yanked. "Hey! Cut it out!" Rodney made another lunge at John's jacket and managed to rip a hole with his teeth, through which he grabbed half a bar of chocolate John had been saving. The chocolate was gone in four bites, along with the foil, wrapper and some pocket lint. Then Rodney sighed, nuzzled John's chin, and fell asleep wrapped around John's arm.
"Twenty four hours!" Zelenka said, from across the room. "I can have Rodney back in twenty four hours. The transformation is more complex, but it's just a matter of making sure the information that goes in is exactly the same as the information that came out."
Elizabeth peered down at Rodney asleep in John's arms. "I suppose we'd better find a cage to put him in."
John remembered the way Rodney had been throwing himself around the microscope box, and shook his head. "I don't think that's a good idea. He seemed pretty stressed before. He's fine with me for just now, and it's just twenty four hours."
Two hours later John was regretting volunteering for dinositting duty. Rodney had napped happily in John's arms, and had only made a sleepy little snort when John transferred him to the middle of his bed. John sat down and started on the ever-growing pile of paperwork on his desk, and only realized Rodney had woken up when he heard a thump and rustle that was definitely Rodney jumping off the bed and crawling underneath it.
"Uh, Rodney? What are you doing under there?"
The only answer was a scuffling noise. Then Rodney's tail appeared, wagging like a happy puppy's.
"You find something under there? There monsters under my bed?" John sat down on the floor and tried to see what was going on just in time to get hit in the face when Rodney shot out from under the bed, intent on killing one of John's socks.
"Hey! Don't eat that!" John grabbed the, now soggy, end of his sock and tried to pull it away from Rodney. Rodney made a shocked squeak and nipped at John's fingers.
"Ow!" Realising he was going to have to resort to bribery to get his sock back, John pulled a cupcake out of his desk drawer. He'd been planning on giving it to Rodney anyway, just not while Rodney was so... saurian. "Hey, Rodney. Look what I've got for you." He placed the cupcake on the floor and took a step back.
Rodney completely ignored John and continued to cheerfully worry at John's sock. John nudged the cupcake forward a little. He had experienced what it was like to get between Rodney and cupcakes before, and he wasn't keen on a repeat performance. After a moment Rodney's head jerked up and he appeared to be sniffing the air. Then he was bounding across the room, skidding slightly as he snatched up the cupcake in his front claws and began to messily devour it.
It was pretty disgusting. Captain Jones had put way too much pink icing on the top, and most of it was now smeared all over Rodney's head. The little tuft of Rodney-coloured hair on top of his head was clumped together into some kind of horrible dinopunk hairdressing accident.
"You want a shower, Rodney?" Rodney ignored him, and stuffed the last of the cupcake case into his mouth. John made a mental note to peel or unwrap any more food he gave Rodney. "Shower? Water?" Rodney's head jerked up and he stared at John.
John managed to control the urge to giggle at the pink-iced dinosaur on his floor, and went into the bathroom to turn the shower on. The moment it started, Rodney almost knocked him over in his eagerness to get into it. He wriggled happily as the water cascaded down his back, then tipped his head back to catch the water in his mouth.
"Oh, hey. Are you thirsty? Small things dehydrate faster, don't they? Something about surface area to volume ratio. I remember that from biology class at school. Or is that heat loss?"
John left Rodney in the shower and went to look for something a dinosaur could drink out of. He'd just found a decorative bowl Halling had given him when he heard slurping coming from his desk. A wet, and still slightly pink-tinged Rodney was dripping all over his paperwork and doing his best to get his whole head into the half-empty jug of cold coffee John hadn't got around to cleaning up.
"Oh God, no. Rodney! I'm pretty sure there were no java junkies in the Jurassic. Give me that." He managed to get the jug away from Rodney thanks to glass being slipperier than socks, but the sound of Rodney's little claws screeching across it put his teeth on edge.
"Rarr!" Rodney growled, obviously not happy at all.
"How about some nice milk?" John asked, hoping that he'd replenished his stock of powdered milk.
Rodney looked faintly insulted.
"Tough, you're not getting coffee." John ran for the bathroom and tipped the remains into the toilet and flushed.
Rodney waddled over to the seat, pulled himself up, and peered into the pan. He made a small sound of dismay and glared up at John.
"Don't look at me like that, it's for your own good."
John was attempting to clean up the wet sticky mess on his desk when Lieutenant Cadman arrived at his door.
"Is it true? Is Rodney a dinosaur? Can I see him? Uh, Sir."
She looked so enthusiastic he waved her in, ignoring the little voice reminding him that you never ever let a woman of lower rank into your quarters. Fortunately she was far more interested in Rodney, who was morosely blowing bubbles in his milk.
"Aw, aren't you just adorable!" Cadman squeaked.
John blinked, he'd always seen Cadman as one of the more sensible officers under his command, so seeing her petting Rodney's fluffy little head and cooing came as a surprise. "Be careful, he bites."
Cadman laughed. "That's different from normal, how?"
John grinned, ruefully acknowledging her point. "At least when he's human he doesn't try to eat my socks."
"Aw, poor baby. Are you hungry?" Cadman asked, petting Rodney some more. Rodney pulled his face out of the milk and made a hopeful little 'rarr'.
"He's not hungry!" John answered. "He's had half a bar of chocolate, a cupcake, and all the elastic out of yesterday's sock!"
Cadman picked Rodney up and wiped his chin with a handkerchief. "With respect, Sir, he's a carnivore. He should be eating meat, not cupcakes."
"Well, he did try to take a chunk out of my finger..."
"The mess is serving meatballs. I bet he'd like meatballs." Cadman started heading toward the door.
John suddenly felt very possessive. "Hey! You can't just take him to the mess." He scrambled around for a reason. "There are... health codes and things!"
John's radio crackled, and John winced as Carson started yelling down the link. "Colonel Sheppard! Is it true that Rodney has been turned into a dinosaur? And if it's true, which I can only assume it is because Nurse Rashid has no sense of humour, why isn't he in sick bay?"
"Uh." John realized he might be getting a little too used to weird things happening, because it hadn't even occurred to him to get Rodneysaur checked out.
Rodney was far more interested in chewing Cadman's hair than sitting under the scanner, but finally John managed it thanks to half a bag of slightly stale Doritos. Rodney sat under the scanner happily crunching while Carson made hmmm noises.
"Well, I can't see that there's anything wrong with him," Carson said, poking at the equipment.
"Apart from the fact he's a dinosaur?" John replied, sprinkling more Doritos in front of Rodney.
"Well, yes. Apart from that. I'm afraid the Ancients don't have much information on dinosaur physiology. I'd say his metabolism is running a little hot, but apart from that, he's fine. You'll need to feed him every couple of hours." Carson pointed at the Doritos. "Real food, mind you. A diet of junk food can't be good for him."
"Cadman did the goofy 'I love Carson' smile and said, "We were going to take him to the mess for some meatballs."
"Good idea, "Carson said, going moony-eyed.
John scooped Rodney up while they were distracted and made a hasty retreat before things got mushy. "So... meatballs. Sound good, Rodney?"
"Rarr!" Rodney said, snuggling down into the crook of John's elbow.
Fortunately the mess wasn't crowded; Ronon and Teyla were sharing a bowl of spiky purple things, and several off-duty Marines were playing Gin Rummy in the corner. As soon as he smelled the meatballs, Rodney started wriggling.
"Uh, Teyla, Ronon! A little help here?" John tried to keep a grip on Rodney's wriggly little torso, but it wasn't easy. "Quick, grab some meatballs!"
Ronon went for the meatballs, and Teyla ran over to help John. Of course, Rodney immediately calmed down under Teyla's touch.
"This is Rodney?" Teyla asked, gently stroking Rodney's tummy. Rodney made a happy purring noise and splayed himself out in a vaguely obscene way and begged shamelessly for more petting.
John nodded. "Yep. He doesn't talk as much now, but he's no less irritating."
"Uh..." Ronon arrived with a huge plate of meatballs, mashed potatoes, and something that might have been broccoli before it had traveled across two galaxies. "Food?"
Rodney jumped out of John's arms and onto Ronon, who looked rather more freaked out than John had ever seen him.
"Rarr!" Rodney said, and grabbed a meatball in his front claws. Ronon put the plate down on a table, gently detangled Rodney from his hair, and backed slowly out of the mess.
"Wuss!" John called after him, then settled down to watch Rodney eat. And eat. And eat.
By the time Rodney started on his fifth meatball his stomach was visibly distended, and they'd amassed a small crowd of onlookers.
"Is this normal?" Teyla asked, spreading her hand over Rodney's round tummy.
"Well, Dr Beckett said his metabolism was quite high, maybe he's just hungry," John said, eyeing Rodney nervously.
"Or maybe he's like a fish!" Lorne said. He'd stopped on his way to get some coffee and had stayed to watch. "I mean, dinosaurs had really tiny brains, right? So maybe they forget to stop eating, like fish do if you overfeed them."
"Death by meatball," said someone in the back.
Rodney popped the last bit of meatball into his mouth and looked back down at the plate.
"I think you've had enough," John said, reaching for the plate.
"Rarr... UUUuuurp!" Rodney said. Then he sighed, blinked twice, waved some probably-broccoli at John, and slowly slumped down on the table and began to snore.
John managed to get his ruined paperwork redone and locked in a drawer while Rodney slept, but as soon as he tried to get a head start on the shift rotations for the next week, Rodney woke up. It quickly became obvious that Rodney was bored.
"Yes, okay, I get it. You're king of the desk. Now cut it out!" John said, as Rodney stomped across the desk making 'rarr' noises and biting pencils in half. "If I take you for a walk will you behave yourself?"
"Rarr!" Rodney said, which didn't reassure John, but spending the evening trapped in a room with a small bored dinosaur was probably not going to be much fun.
"How about we go down to the dock level and try out that seawater pool?"
"Rarr!" Rodney jumped off the desk and made impatient noises as John grabbed his jacket and a towel.
The pool was a great idea. Rodney made a joyful squeaky noise and plunged right in. He had a fair bit of speed too, considering how round he still was from lunch. He was zipping around in circles with only his head and the line of his back visible above the water. John found a sunny patch with a clear view of the pool, and sat down on the towel. It was nice to take a break and just sit in the sun for a change. He leaned back and watched the clouds for a while, until he felt sharp little teeth tugging on his sock.
"What? You bored again?" John sighed.
Rodney ran back to the pool and plopped into the water. Then he stuck his head up. "Rarr!"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm watching you, you're doing great."
Rodney sighed, and climbed back out of the pool. "Rarr!" Then he grabbed the cuff of John's shirt and tugged John toward the pool.
"Uh, I didn't bring my swimming costume. And I'm not going to get caught skinny dipping with the head of the science department, even if he is a dinosaur."
Rodney stamped his foot and bit John's left shoelace off.
"Hey! Fine, I'll put my feet in the water, but I'm not stripping off." John took his socks and boots off. Then, as an afterthought, stuffed his socks as deeply into his boot as he could get them, just in case Rodney felt they needed killed again. The water in the pool was a little cold, but not cold enough to make sitting on the edge of the pool splashing Rodney a chore.
They made a game out of it. Whenever Rodney was on the surface, he was fair game for John to splash, and when Rodney was under the water, John's toes were a viable target. John hoped that none of the Marines showed up and caught him giggling like a twelve year old girl because he was getting his toes nipped.
Eventually Rodney got tired. He crawled out of the pool and flopped wetly over John's legs. He made a tired little 'rarr' and snuffled hopefully at John's pockets. John sighed and pulled out the bag of beef jerky he'd appropriated on his way out of the mess.
"If you get zapped back with indigestion, it'll be your own fault."
They managed to get back to John's quarters eventually. It seemed like everyone on the base wanted to pet Rodney or poke his little tummy. John fought himself free of the gaggle of nurses who'd ambushed him as he walked past the infirmary, jumped into the transporter to the living quarters, and stared down at Rodney, who stared back, a little wild-eyed.
"If only you had that sort of appeal when you're human, I could use you as babe-bait."
Rodney's eyes went narrow. "Rarr!"
John laughed. "Yeah yeah, you're a stud, Rodney. OW!" John pulled his thumb out of Rodney's mouth.
"Rarr!" Rodney said, looking smug, and then yawned.
John dropped Rodney on his bed, filled the bathtub with water, made up some more milk, and left a tub of leftover meatballs open on the floor. Then he grabbed a pillow and some old sweats and made a nest for Rodney to sleep in.
John woke up a few times during the night. The first time Rodney was splashing in the bath, the second time he was attacking something under the bed, the third time he was making odd little grunting noises in the shower, and the last time was when Rodney flopped down on John's chest for another nap. John didn't much like the meatball-breath, but he wasn't sure how successful trying to get Rodney into his own bed would be.
John was late to breakfast, thanks to a combination of oversleeping and cleaning up the mess Rodney had made during the night. He plopped Rodney down on a table to do battle with a plate of overdone bacon, and got the biggest strongest mug of coffee he could find.
Rodney eyed the coffee, and John growled. "Mine!" There was no way John was letting go of it.
"You must bring him to the lab this morning," Zelenka said, appearing at John's elbow. "I have to run calibrations and simulations."
"How long do you think it'll take?"
"Couple of hours, maybe. Not long. It is not difficult, just time-consuming." Zelenka stole a piece of bacon off Rodney's plate and deftly avoided Rodney's snapping teeth. "Ah, little Rodney. The next time you make height jokes I can remind you that you were once small enough for me to push you around and steal your food." Grinning at Rodney's outraged growling, Zelenka walked off eating his stolen bacon.
"You're going to make him pay for that once you're yourself again, aren't you?"
Rodney didn't like the lab. Actually, John was pretty sure Rodney hated the lab. He hissed and rarred and made noises John was sure were really filthy dinosaur swear words. He bit Simpson, who was still red-eyed and sniffly. He knocked over something that made an expensive sort of crunch when it hit the floor. And he absolutely, positively did not want to go under the scanner Zelenka had set up. John tried beef jerky, Pringles, chocolate and a cupcake with violent yellow icing, but Rodney just grabbed what he could and took off to eat it under a workbench or on top of a cupboard.
"He is worse than a cat," Zelenka said. I think we will have to tranquillise him."
John argued against it, but after an hour chasing Rodney through the lab he had to admit defeat. John enlisted the help of Teyla, Lorne and half a dozen Marines, but he always managed to escape as soon as they tried to get him into the scanner.
"Colonel, I do not think we are going to be able to do this while Rodney is conscious." Teyla didn't seem to like the idea of tranquillising Rodney either, but it looked like they had no other options. Rodney was perched above the door, eating a banana muffin he'd swiped from a passing Marine, and idly walloping anyone walking through the door with his tail.
"Rodney, this is your last chance. You can come down, or you can get shot in the ass with a stunner. It's up to you."
"Rarr!" Rodney said, sprinkling muffin crumbs down onto John's hair.
"Fine!" John stomped off to get a Wraith stunner from the armoury. "But don't say I didn't warn you!"
It was a lot harder to shoot Rodney than John expected. As soon as Rodney saw the stunner he scampered up Teyla's leg and tried to hide inside her shirt. John spared a moment to be impressed that Rodney had his head between Teyla's breasts before she reached in and pulled him out by the scruff of his neck.
"Rodney, you will behave, or I will start looking up recipes for rock-lizard stew," Teyla said.
Rodney grumpily allowed himself to be deposited on the scanner, but as soon as Zelenka turned it on, he shot back out and bounced across two workstations and the espresso machine to land neatly on top of the glassware cupboard.
John sighed and raised the stunner. Rodney rarred very quietly and covered his eyes with his claws. A flash of light later and Rodney was slumped over the edge of the cupboard. John felt incredibly guilty as he cradled Rodney's tiny limp body in his arms.
"Sorry, Rodney. We had to do it. It's for your own good." John gently placed him on the scanner and nodded to Zelenka, who started scanning.
"Maybe he knew what was going on and didn't want to change back?" Lorne said.
"Why on Earth would he want to be a dinosaur?" John asked.
"All the attention, beautiful women petting him, all the cupcakes and meatballs he can eat..." Lorne raised his eyebrows.
"No coffee, no talking, no possibility of a Nobel Prize, no sex ever again..." John replied.
"Good point," Lorne said, and they settled down to wait for Zelenka to finish running his simulations.
John tried not to look at Rodney unconscious in the scanner. Zelenka ran around poking various pieces of Ancient technology, and occasionally asking John to activate something or other. Finally Zelenka was finished with Rodney and dumped him back in John's arms.
John held him close, and rubbed the fuzzy patch on top of his head. "I hope he's not too pissed at me for shooting him."
Zelenka looked up. "He will not remember. I am using the physical pattern collected by the transformation device at the time of his transformation as the base for his retransformation. He will return to us in exactly the same state as he left." Zelenka grinned at John. "Did you think I was crazy for stealing his food? It does not matter, he will not remember."
Rodney moved a little and drooled on John's shirt. "Hey there, buddy. You waking up?" John rubbed Rodney's tummy and smiled as Rodney opened one eye and made a disgruntled snort. "Ready to be human again?"
"Rarr!" Rodney said quietly.
"Yes, yes. It is all ready now," Zelenka said, "Please put him down and stand back."
John gave Rodneysaur one last squeeze and put him down on the floor. "I feel like I should say 'goodbye' but you're not really going anywhere, are you?"
Rodney rarred nervously and started sucking on the end of his tail.
"And why you... what the hell?" Rodney yelled, sprawled face-down on the floor without a stitch of clothing on.
And now John had a perfect view of Rodney's naked ass. He'd never noticed how... pink Rodney was before. He jumped up and grabbed a spare lab coat and handed it to Rodney as Zelenka helped him up. "Welcome back, Rodney."
"Okay, what's going on? Where's Simpson? And why am I naked?"
Everyone started talking at once.
"You were a dinosaur..."
"There was an accident with the transformation device..."
"Wow, he really doesn't remember the meatballs..."
"Never mind the meatballs, what about Teyla's breasts..."
"EVERYONE BE QUIET NOW!" Zelenka roared. "Please, everyone leave now. I will take Rodney to sick bay and tell him what happened." He made shooing gestures at everyone. "Go!"
John patted Rodney on the head. "It's good to see you, McKay, but you totally owe me one for cleaning up what you did in my shower last night."