Summary: Their friendship had always been full of surprises but this was one she wasn't prepared for. McKay/Weir.
Break me gently
There were days when nothing went right. They weren't quite as bad as the apocalyptic times in which they’d occasionally found themselves, but as the leader of Atlantis they got to her - all the small things you had to deal with. Rations running out, personnel feuds interfering with work. The list went on and on, and then there were days when you just wanted to go back to bed and sleep until everything was fixed.
Today was worse than that. It had started of perfectly normal apart from a lack of tea. She'd arrived at her office bright and early and booted up her computer, ready to tackle whatever was going to be thrown at her. Then she had noticed what the date was. By Earth standards it was her best friend’s birthday - a friend she'd left far behind in the Milky Way and who had no clue where she was apart from working away.
That was one of the reasons why she sought out Rodney. The day had gotten progressively worse since that moment, until she couldn't take it anymore. By then it had been nearing time dinner, and having skipped lunch to deal with an emergency she was in need of comfort - in form of food and company. In many ways, Rodney had become one of her new best friends, a confidante. Despite his brashness with others, he often succeeded in comforting her. She smiled at the thought; even when he failed to come up with the right words at the very least he always tried to do so. That made her feel... special, she supposed. There weren't many people he'd do that for even on Atlantis, where he felt at home; among family.
There was something about the way Rodney made her feel that she hadn't quite pinpointed yet. He was unlike any other friend she'd had, and each day it seemed she was surprised by him. Today was no different. She turned the corner into the corridor where his quarters were, finding a sight she hadn't expected. She held back, waiting, watching what was going on - attempting to figure out.
There by his door was Rodney with Marrissa Farrar, standing too close for comfort, or at least too close for her comfort because neither Rodney nor the geologist seemed to find it unpleasant.
Far from it - Rodney was half-smirking, eyes alight as Marrissa teased him and then giggled, pushing him back with a hand on his chest - a hand he caught. Marrissa's laugh stopped, the pairs expressions turned serious as a tension grew between them. Neither said anything for a minute, gazing at each other, Rodney's eyes particularly intense and studying the girl. Eventually Marrissa nervously said goodbye, backing off without doing anything else. Elizabeth watched the scene end - Rodney in turn watching the young woman walk off until she was entirely out of sight.
It was only then Elizabeth approached Rodney. He swirled around to face her.
"Elizabeth." he said with a happy smile on his face as he did so.
She didn't know how to feel at that - was that smile for her alone or was it because of Marrissa? She
honestly couldn't tell, and for some reason she found it disturbed her even though logic said it shouldn't matter as long as Rodney was in a good mood.
"Rodney." she replied as usual, if perhaps a little tersely.
"So what can I do for you?" he asked rubbing his hands together.
She'd once heard a theory that people found ways to occupy their hands to relieve their pent up
"frustration". At the time, she'd dismissed the idea, thinking it far too Freudian for her liking, but perhaps it wasn't so farfetched after all. Rodney's hands where always moving about in one way or another - just like him, they never stopped for very long - except that they, he, had just now. For once Rodney had been completely still and quiet - in Marrissa's presence - something she didn't know what to make of, only that it unsettled her to think of the possibility.
She glanced up, realising she'd not answered his question, but was unable to meet his eyes for longer than a second or two. She really didn't know why, but it seemed wrong after what she'd witnessed - like it was too personal all of sudden to be looking into his blue eyes; as if she associated the action with what had just happened. She swallowed and forced herself to though, meeting his concerned gaze with a weak smile.
"I thought you might like to join me for dinner."
"Dinner, oh, yes - just, just let me get something..." he scooted off through the sliding doors into his
quarters, calling out to her, "I have this report to drop off to Dr. Kline in lab 3. Won't be a minute"
"Don't worry, I can dine without you if you're busy..." she said half-heartedly.
She wasn't sure why she said it- there were so many unexplainable feelings building up and in some way all she wanted to do was to get away from him. The urge to escape Rodney right this moment seemed almost overwhelming and yet a betrayal of the friendship they nurtured for so long.
There was a muffled reply from within the room, undoubtedly excusing the delay. He'd be expecting her to wait for him when he returned. So she stuck with it, waiting for him to emerge, laptop under arm and a sheaf of papers in the other hand.
"Ready?" he asked her, making it seem as if he'd been waiting for her.
"Sure." she answered, ignoring his implication - it was after all a very Rodney thing to do. She couldn't really be annoyed at him for it, not for that long anyway. Plus it certainly made for something better to occupy her mind with than analysing what had gone on before she had 'arrived'.
They set off towards the lab first, walking in companionable silence until they reached the door. Rodney paused at the entrance, a strange look on his face, as if there was a puzzle he hadn't figured out.
"You know, it almost seemed like you don't want me around," he said, waving his hand about to illustrate what he meant, "you know, back at my quarters."
"Why ever would I not want you around?" she replied calmly, hoping her voice wouldn't betray her own confusion on the matter.
He studied her for a split second before responding, tapping the door frame as he did and smiling at her.
"Yeah, I know it wouldn't make sense at all, would it?"
Then Rodney disappeared within the lab, obviously thinking nothing more of it. She wished that could be true for her, too.