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Not Like Spinach

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The inhabitants of M4R-366 seemed friendly enough. And they certainly knew how to throw a party. Rodney had wanted to beg off and return to Atlantis but Sheppard had insisted he stay. "Don't want to offend the neighbors," John had said. More like, there were lots of pretty girls and a beverage that tasted a little like beer. And then there was the language barrier. Teyla had no knowledge of these people, so communication was limited to the usual pointing and repeating oneself over and over. Who knew if the Brusid, at least that's what it sounded like they called themselves, actually understood anything the Atlanteans said.

Rodney looked down at the brightly colored food and scowled. Sheppard expected him to eat this stuff and pretend to like it. But what if it contained some citrus derivative? Whatever happened to the lessons learned from SG-1's experience on the planet Argos? What if the food was drugged? He could wind up married to some local and infested with nanites that prematurely aged him. The SGC had devised a sound policy from that point on- avoid eating alien food whenever possible. Yet, the maverick Sheppard saw fit to disregard that rule once again.

"What's the matter, McKay? Someone put a lemon in your food?"

Rodney turned to Lieutenant Cadman, who judging from the amount of food left on her plate, had already sampled a good amount of the alien cuisine. "Ha. Ha. Yes, very funny, Cadman. And I wouldn't know unless I have a fatal reaction, now would I? And then it would be too late."

"I'm sure Dr. Beckett would revive you."

"Oh right. I'll put my life in the hands of a Scotsman who is currently singing an old bawdy tune. What did he eat?"

Cadman shrugged. "The same as everyone else, I suppose. Well, except for you, McKay." She pointed at his mostly untouched plate. "Besides, the rest of us are fine. Maybe it's not the food. Maybe he's just enjoying himself."

They watched him dance with four local young women. Well, Rodney supposed it could be called dancing if one were extremely generous. But Cadman had a point. His coordination appeared to be unaffected and from what he could hear from this distance, his speech was not slurred. He flinched when Cadman moved closer. Rodney liked his personal space and Cadman was practically sitting in his lap by his standards. He shifted to his left to give her more space.

"What? Do I have cooties?" She asked as she moved until their legs were touching.

"I wouldn't know. But I like my space, so if you don't mind ..."

She shrugged and left to refill her plate. She said over her shoulder, "You really should try the food, McKay. You don't know what you're missing."

"Yes. Yes." He mimed the eating motion when he noticed some of the Brusid watching. He smiled at them, "Mmmm."

Colonel Sheppard called over. "Rodney, there are no lemons in any of this. Now eat up, because I don't think this party is ending any time soon."

With no choice as long as Sheppard was watching, Rodney began to eat. He started with something green and leafy. After all, citrus plants on Earth were not leafy, so he felt relatively confident. The last thing he remembered thinking as he passed out was, "This is NOT like spinach."

Rodney woke to soft snores and a body pressed up against him. Something tickled his nose and he swatted it away.

"Ow." Came the aggrieved response from Cadman, who much to Rodney's dismay was not pressing up against him but more like laying on top of him.

"Cadman?"

"McKay."

"Get off."

"Are you offering, McKay?"

"What?! No! You're crushing me. How much do you weigh anyway?"

Cadman pinched him. "Are you calling me fat?"

"Ow! I bruise easily. And no, I was merely stating that you weigh a ton. Now move."

She pinched him again.

"Quit that!"

"I will when you stop being mean. I'll have you know I weigh one hundred thirty-five pounds, which is exactly right for my height and build. If you don't believe me, just ask Carson."

"Oh right. You American military types refuse to use metric like everyone else, so I'll do the conversion for you, you weigh sixty-one kilograms."

She was about to pinch him again when his words sunk in. "Huh. That does sound better than 135."

Rodney rolled his eyes and tried to squirm out from underneath her. That's when he realized that certain parts of his anatomy were enjoying their current position. He mentally recited the fundamental laws of quantum physics. Backwards. Perhaps if he could get things under control before Cadman noticed ...

"McKay is that a scanner in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" She wriggled against him.

"Ah. Cadman, stop that!" He restarted his recitations.

"What's that McKay?" She pressed against his hardness. "You're single. I'm single. Why should we stop?"

"Be-cause, because ..." He struggled to gather his thoughts, which was proving to be difficult as Cadman kept wriggling. Then he remembered. "The alien food. It's the food."

He pushed Cadman off of him and tried to keep a safe distance between them. "Cadman, do you remember how much you ate of the green stuff that looked like spinach?"

"None. Hate spinach. Now why did you have to go and do that?"

Good grief, was Cadman pouting at him? Okay, so she didn't eat any of the spinach, well that is if she could even remember at this point. He snapped his fingers. "What is the last thing you remember?"

"You being mean to me."

He sighed. Having a conversation with Cadman was usually exasperating but with her under the effects of an unknown alien aphrodisiac, it was almost impossible. "Okay. Let's try a different approach. What did you eat?"

"Everything. Except the spinach. Yuk! That stuff was gross. I had to drink like three glasses of the fruity drink just to wash the taste out of my mouth." She had moved closer without his noticing, so her pinch to his ass took him by surprise.

"Hey! Stop pinching!" He moved further away. Then a new thought occurred to him. "Where are the others?" He spotted Sheppard and Teyla over in the shadows doing ... Oh, boy. One problem at a time. Besides, it was Sheppard's fault anyway. He was the one that ordered the team to try the local cuisine. He focused back on the immediate problem, which was Cadman, who was currently sulking in the corner. He approached her slowly. "How much did you drink?"

She shrugged avoiding his gaze. He noticed a single tear rolling down her cheek. "No. No. No. No crying. I can't deal with a crying woman."

She sniffed. "Sorry." When she turned her back to him, he realized he must have spoken some of it out loud.

Feeling out of his depth he patted her shoulder, "There. There. No need to cry. We'll get you back to Atlantis and you'll be better in no time."

"Can't."

"Can't what?"

"Go back to Atlantis. What if this isn't the food? What if it is some sort of alien virus? Like that one that turned every one at the SGC into primitives."

Oh, god. She was right. And how did she reason that out in her current condition. Unless ...

He heard footsteps behind him. A disheveled Carson Beckett approached. "Rodney. Laura. I think we may have ingested something that acts like an aphrodisiac."

"Yeah. Figured that one out for ourselves. Are you well enough to find an antidote?"

"I think it is already wearing off. I'll want to run tests on every one before going back to Atlantis, but I feel like myself again. Well, like myself with a horrible hangover. How do you feel?"

"Other than having been rendered unconscious, I feel fine. But I didn't drink the punch."

"Laura, how many glasses of punch did you have?"

"I dunno. A lot. Maybe six or seven."

"Okay I had four and most of the effects appear to have worn off, so maybe we just need to wait this out. I'm going to run scans every hour until everyone feels like themselves again."

Rodney pointed at Sheppard and Teyla who were clearly in a compromising position. "What about them? Do we go over there and ..." He trailed off noting the horrified expressions of his teammates. "Right. It will wear off. And they probably wouldn't like being disturbed right now."

By midday, Beckett had deemed them all clear of the drug. They would be back in Atlantis within the hour. Not soon enough, as far as Rodney was concerned. He wished he could handle things as easily as Sheppard and Teyla, but he found himself avoiding Lieutenant Cadman at all costs. She finally caught up with him while he was zipping up his pack.

"McKay, listen about last night ..."

"Cadman, I ...."

"Shut up! Look, I just wanted to thank you. You could have taken advantage, but you didn't. You're a good guy, McKay." She kissed his cheek and double timed it to the jumper.

McKay watched her with pink-hued cheeks. "Huh." He had expected her to ream him out, or maybe slug him, instead she said he was one of the good guys. "Always knew she had taste."