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I hate myself more than ever right now.

Disclaimer: Neither are mine. Right now, I’m quite happy they aren’t. Because then I’d feel horribly ashamed for writing such an atrocious story.

Summary: He's never had to compete for 'Smartest Man in the Universe' before.



AN: Firstly, this is already AU, because, as I mentioned in the last drabble, the Doctor has already visited Atlantis, being the Atlantis of legend and not the Atlantis of Stargate. But I'm a NewWho fan, so bare with me while I rewrite all the historic episodes.

I have no idea how this happened. I especially have no idea how I just wrote the equivalent of another essay (like I needed that this month). I think I am going through DW withdrawal and Good!SGA withdrawal. Ten wouldn’t stop talking and I think I scared Rodney off because he’s not being his usual self. I also know that my brain is a big pile of mush right now, even though I just scored “Gifted” on an IQ test. Of course, my 134 IQ does not explain away this:

--------------------------------
The city is quiet. It’s been a week since the last Wraith/Asuran/New Bad Guy scare and everyone is just starting to breathe a sigh of relief and get back to what they’re supposed to be doing without spending their time wondering when it’s all going to go to hell.

For Rodney McKay, however, there’s no such thing as a chance to relax, so even though it is 3am and every other sane person in the city who is not on duty is asleep, Atlantis’ chief scientist is hunched over three separate laptops and typing 120 words a minute. While eating.

Rodney has always been multi-talented.

He’s also so completely focused on what he’s doing that it’s nearly ten seconds later before his brain connects what he’s hearing to the fact that he shouldn’t be hearing anything and he’s out of his seat and searching for the location of said noise before he’s thought through the process. Okay, so grinding and groaning are not good noises when one dwells in a floating city. They remind him of ocean liners from the 1900s (not that he’s ever been on an actual ship you understand) and he’s terrified enough of drowning (again) to give that some pause.

Must find noise. It’s gone now, of course, and he has no direction to work from, so he does the next best thing. He reaches over to brush his fingers against the LSD sitting on his desk and looks for any life signs. Because he’s two buildings away from the nearest sleeping quarters and he knows none of the other science labs are occupied this time of night (it’s why he’s there, after all) and so, in theory, there shouldn`t be anyone around.

Except there are two dots no more than a hundred feet from him and they are moving. And he has no idea where the nearest P90 might be, but suddenly he wants one. Now. They`re getting closer too.

He scrambles from his desk and flattens himself beside the door, which he has stupidly left open, but it`s too late to close. They`d hear it for sure. Whoever…they are.

The dots move closer, slowly, almost searchingly. They pause for a long moment beside what Rodney knows is a window looking over the East Pier. This strikes him as a little weird for people creeping around his city in the middle of the night, and part of him begins to relax just a little, because it`s probably just a patrol team and why is he freaking out again? It`s not like anything could get passed the rather impressive city scanners that he`s set up himself.

He`s just about to turn and go back to his work when said figures round the far corner of the hallway and begin walking towards the lab. He can`t stop the brief look out the door, hoping the low light of night time on Atlantis will keep him hidden.

Yep, just two guards out on – oh, those aren`t guards. Those aren`t even scientists. Those are, in fact, two people who most certainly do not belong anywhere in the city. Unless Elizabeth has been inviting guests without telling him about it. Which is, just not possible.

He can hear them now, they`re close enough, though they are trying to keep their voices low. Sound carries in these corridors, and the echo is somewhat disturbing, if you`ve never heard it in the dead of night.

A man and a woman. Or a girl, perhaps, because even in the low light, Rodney can see she looks young. She dressed like he thinks most teenage type girls on twenty-first century Earth dress. Her accent is English, with a decided hint of something, but he`s never actually been to England, so his concept of regional accents is limited to his knowledge of North America: they exist, but he can`t tell where they`re from.

But the man is quite another thing entirely. He`s smiling from ear to ear, which is really not what the invading enemy usually looks like, but Rodney has learned to expect the unexpected. He`s also wearing a suit and tie, and the last time Rodney saw a suit and tie on Atlantis was…well, that day and he`s trying not to think about it. Still, suit? Probably Woolsey, and doesn`t that bring back fond memories?

He`s British too, but the accent is somehow less, like he`s spent time elsewhere and is slowly loosing it.

None of which is surpassed by what they`re actually talking about.

"…so they just up and leave the city. Which is pretty typically of those high and mighty civilization types, reminds me quite a bit of my own people, which tells you a thing or two, or more. But they just run away. Flee for their lives and just leave everyone else stranded here. Not my favourite people, you understand, even if they were brilliant. Well, when I say brilliant I mean, of course, smart. Smarter than apes, at least. Not smart, like…me." He trails off at the look the girl is giving him. It`s part exasperated, part amused, and part `please shut up`. "I`m just saying."

They`ve stopped five feet from where Rodney is hiding and this is just so not good.

"You`re always `just saying`. For once, would you mind not insulting my species? Besides, how smart does that make you for hanging around with us all the time?"

"I don`t `hang around with you`. I`m fond of Earth. I never said I was fond of humanity. Earth would be much better without you lot cluttering it up."

She gives him a look that Rodney can`t quite decipher, but a moment later they`re both beside themselves with laughter.

"So, Doctor, Atlantis. The Disney movie was horrible, you know. Mom wanted to watch it. But this is kinda cool. All, architectural and…stuff."

"Way with words, you have, Rose Tyler. That was awful."

"I haven`t slept in, what, twenty hours and you want me to be articulate? And then you go dragging me off to, whatever this galaxy is, because even though we`ve got a time machine, it just couldn`t wait and now you want me to sound all…smart?"

"You get cheekier when you`re tired. This is Atlantis Rose. The real, honest Lost City of Atlantis. And you want to sleep?"

"Alright, you made your point. Might I point out, though, oh Brilliant One, that everyone here seems to be sleeping?"

"Yes, well, I might have, slightly, miscalculated our arrival time."

"Slightly?"

"No more than a few hours…or so. Not like last time."

"Yes, a few hours is a bit better than a hundred years."

"Also, I should like to mention that we aren`t the only ones awake. See, there`s a man right over there!"

Rodney was so very screwed.

"It`s quite alright, I assure you. Bit sorry for dropping in unannounced and all, and at this time of night. Bit rude, but then I am that. Anyway, I`m the Doctor and this is Rose. And you might be…?"

He`s never working late at night, alone, in his lab ever again. But he`s also hiding in a room with only one exit, and they know he`s there, and the scientist in him wants some answers.

"Rodney McKay. Doctor Rodney McKay, and how the hell did you get in here?" That`s right, sound important and demanding. No need to show your fear.

"Well, now that would be telling. The better question is, what are you doing here? You’re human. Or at least you look it, and this is not Earth, this isn’t even the same galaxy and you are most definitely not supposed to be here for, oh, at least another two thousand years.”

“Well, sorry, but we’ve been here for three years. And if the Wraith or the Asurans or any number of other evil things don’t blow us up, we plan to be here for a lot longer. And what would you know about it?”

“Well, everything. I know everything. And what I know for sure is that humans aren’t supposed to reach this galaxy until at least 4000 and you certainly aren’t supposed to ever know about the Ancients. Something has gone very, very wrong.”

Rodney is seconds from losing his patience. “Look, I’m calling security, andyou can explain all this to Dr. Weir and Col. Sheppard and if you think they’re going to be any more accommodating than I am, think again. And you are going to tell me how you got here. Because you certainly didn’t come through the Stargate, and anything else would have set off very loud alarms.” Rodney reaches up and taps his radio before either of them can stop him.

“Control, this is Dr. McKay, I need a security team to my lab, right now. We have intruders in the city. And wake Dr. Weir and Col. Sheppard. Now!”

He’s a bit surprised to find neither of the figures have moved.

“You aren’t going to try to run away?”

“Why would we do that? I wanted to show Rose Atlantis. No point leaving now. Now, no need to wait for security. If you’ll just show us the way? As they say: take me to your leader.”

He has a smug satisfied look on his face that Rodney only ever sees on his own when he’s looking in the mirror. The girl, meanwhile, is shaking her head and looking like she’s trying not to laugh.

They meet the security team half-way to the control room. Rodney’s rather impressed when Major Lorne doesn’t even bat an eyelash at the two intruders. Rodney gives him a meaningful glance and then rushes ahead to beat them to Elizabeth’s office because this is going to take some kind of warning. He’s just leaving earshot when he hears the man exclaim: “Oh, would you look at that Rose! They all have little flags on their jackets so you know what country they’re from. I like that.”

Somehow, Elizabeth is standing at her desk, dressed, makeup and hair done, and looking like she’s just come from a lovely eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Rodney hates her for it. John stumbles in a moment later looking exactly the opposite, including the dressed part because he’s still pulling on his jacket as he walks through the door.

“Status report, Rodney. Am I to understand you encountered these…people, yourself?”

“Um, yes. They just, suddenly appeared. But, Elizabeth, you aren’t going to believe this, because they look human, weird, but human, and the sound English but they know things. The man, he said we weren’t supposed to be here. Yet. Look, he talked about the Ancients. And he didn’t even blink when I mentioned the Starg—” Oops.

“Giving away state secrets, Rodney?”

He glares back at John. “They would have found out anyways, since they’re coming here.” Which is perfect timing, because he can just catch the English accent echoing in the Gate room below.

“That them?” John asks. Rodney shoots him that annoyed look he reserves for when John says something incredibly stupid.

The man sweeps into the office like he’s being welcomed into a friend’s house, the girl following along a bit more discretely; casting a look at the armed guards that neither John nor Rodney misses.

“Hello, I’m the Doctor. This is Rose. Wonderful to meet you. Although, I didn’t really expect to meet anyone. The city is supposed to be unoccupied for another, oh, few thousand years at least. Except, it’s not, and I’m a bit curious as to how.”

“I’m Dr. Elizabeth Weir. You’ve met Dr. McKay, I believe. This is Col. Sheppard, our military commander. Please, perhaps we might sit and talk?”

“Talking; I like talking.” A snort from the young lady’s direction. “Now, Rose, don’t be rude. Our hosts have been very accommodating considering we woke them up. My apologies for that, I didn’t realize it was the middle of the night here. Was a bit out on the time; happens, you understand.” The Doctor grinned.

“Of…of course.” Elizabeth faltered slightly under the dazzling smile. “Could you tell us how you arrived here? Where you came from?”

“Well came from, that’s easy. Just left Scotland yesterday after a bit of an adventure; werewolves and such, you know how it is. Been meaning to show Rose Atlantis, and I thought she could do with a bit of a break, what with nearly being eaten a few hours ago. Takes a lot out of you, that. But I figured, nice, quiet, abandoned old city be the perfect place. We could play hide and seek. TARDIS could have a rest and—”

“The what?” John butted in.

“The TARDIS. My ship. How did you think we got here? Popped in out of thin air? Well, actually, we did, but that’s beside the point. I was aiming for Atlantis, current Earth time being 2007. January. I think its January. At least it was when we left. 2007, that is. When we left 2007. Which was before Scotland. Anyways, clearly I miscalculated because we’re…not.” He trailed off.

“Actually, it is currently February 2007 on Earth. Friday the 9th, I believe.”

“Oh, well, that definitely doesn’t explain what you are all doing here. Oh no…”

“What? Doctor, what is it?” Rose had suddenly gone from bored looking to anxiously observant.

“Alternate universe. But that’s just not possible. Well, not anymore. We shouldn’t be here. We can’t be here. We can’t be here. Which means, we aren’t. But then…”

“What do you know about alternate universes?” Rodney couldn’t help it.

“What do you know about alternate universes?” The Doctor countered. “You shouldn’t know anything. Whereas I, should know everything. Except I still don’t have an explanation for this. Which is bad.”

“We’ve had some dealings with alternate universes before, back on Earth. It’s not unheard of to suddenly jump between two worlds, but there’s always been a reason. And we’ve always had the Quantum Mirror or a similar device. I’ve never heard it happening withouth help.” The voice of reason, Elizabeth Weir, broke in before Rodney could retort with something less than polite.

“Well, technically the TARDIS should be able to do it, because, I mean, that’s how we used to, but still, no one’s actually done it in years. It shouldn’t be possible, not anymore. But if this isn’t an alternate universe, than how are you here?”

Elizabeth cleared her throat. Clearly they weren’t going to get anywhere as long as they kept chasing each other in circles. “The Atlantis Expedition left Earth three years ago after we discovered the location of this city. We came here through that,” she pointed through the glass windows to the Stargate below. "It’s a Stargate; a device that opens stable wormholes that allows passage between two Gates, across the galaxy or even between galaxies. We discovered it early in the 20th century and a decade ago a program, Stargate Command, was organized to investigate exactly what the Gate could do and where it could go. That’s how we found Atlantis, and how we came here. The SGC is an organization on Earth that only a handful of governments know about. It is not public knowledge and it does not surprise me you’ve never heard of it. We like to keep it that way. Now, Doctor,” she stressed the title, “perhaps now that I’ve shared our secret, you might share yours?”

“Well, that’s…brilliant! Wormhole travel! That’s…not something you should have for, wow, a very long time. And stargates. Rose, this is amazing! Just think about it; the human race has been travelling the stars for ten years and you never knew about it! Huh, the human race; never ceases to amaze me. You’re smarter than you look. Can’t have been easy, figuring that thing out. Brilliant!” He paused and Weir threw him a distinctly ‘get on with it’ look. “Right. My secret? Don’t know about that; I don’t tell just anyone you understand.” He winked at Rose who smiled back before she seemed to remember where they were.

Elizabeth gave him a look and crossed her arms. “Well, I’ll start with Rose. Nice girl, twenty, lives in London with her Mom,” here he shuddered. “I picked her up last year and we’ve been travelling ever since.”

“Travelling? To different planets?”

“Well, mostly just back and forth through Earth’s history; I’m a bit partial, you see. But every now and then we manage another planet or two. Been awhile since we were this far out, though.”

“Earth’s history? Are you suggesting you can travel in time?”

“What else is a time machine for? The TARDIS, my ship, stands for Time and Relative Dimension in Space. Means I can travel to any planet at any point in its history. I said we’d just come from Scotland, yeah? Scotland in 1879. Met Queen Victoria and everything.” He looked immensely proud of himself. Rose was grinning again.

“That’s impossible.” Rodney wasn’t just going to sit silently any longer. “That type of technology doesn’t exist. Anywhere! Not even the Asgard can do that.”

“I assure you it does. Well, it did. My people invented time travel. And black holes and universe hopping and all that. Anywhere in time and space and back for tea. But they’re gone now, which makes travelling a bit more difficult, but still possible. Long as I have the TARDIS.”

“You’re people? You’re not…human?” The inflection wasn’t the usual fear and disbelief that he usually heard; rather it was more along the lines of ‘are you joking?’

“Nope.”

“You look human, though.”

“So does Teyla.” Col. Sheppard jumped into the conversation for the first time. “But to us, she’s still alien because she’s from another world. Doesn’t mean anything. Even the Ancients looked human and they certainly weren’t.”

“Ah, made my point for me, thank you.” The Doctor nodded at John. “Except that I’m really not human. I may look like you, but I’m not like you. I’m a Time Lord.”

“A what?” Rodney looked faintly terrified.

“A Time Lord. A Lord of Time. A…Rose, help me out here.”

“He means his people used to control time and space. Watch over them, like, like guardians. The first time I met the Doctor he told me he could feel the Earth moving, spinning through space. Like we were falling through it. He can see everything.”

“Must make sleeping hard,” John joked.

“I don’t sleep.”

“Right.” Rodney muttered something that sounded distinctly like “that’s not fair”.

“Well...it was nice chatting and all, but we really should be off. Rose hasn’t slept in awhile and she’s looking a bit tired, so I think it's best we…leave.” He stood up. No one else moved.

“We could arrange quarters for you.”

“No, I think it best we go. We’ve been here long enough. Unless there’s some impending disaster I can help with?” No answer. “Well then. Nice to meet you all. Good luck with the new galaxy and everything. Don’t get into too much trouble out here.” He made for the door.

“Wait!” Rodney looked slightly mortified at having shouted quite so loud. “Uh, that is, could I maybe, see your ship?”

“Sure! You can show us the way back; hallways all look the same, got a bit lost on the way here. Lead on.”

“I’ll come with you,” Sheppard said and ushered Rodney through the doors and down the stairs. Rose followed.

The Doctor paused and looked back at Dr. Weir. “You’ve so many questions and you’re just bursting to ask them. So very human. But it’s no fun knowing all the answers Dr. Weir. You’ll figure it out; that’s what you’re here for. And this, is only the beginning.” He left here standing speechless in her office as the doors hissed shut behind him and the guards.

“It was just right down here, I think. Rose, does this look familiar?”

“Every hallway looks the same. How come you don’t get lost?” She turned to Sheppard.

“Oh, we did, quite a bit at the beginning, but most of us have been here for a few years. You get to know it after awhile. And Atlantis, well, she helps.”

“Helps?” The Doctor glanced sideways.

“The city is partly sentient. At least for some of us, she talks. Hard to get lost when the city is telling you where to go.”

“Yes, it would be. Sentient, huh? Fancy that. Ah, there she is!” The TARDIS remained unguarded, and Rose let out the breath she’d been holding. Maybe they’d be allowed to leave.

“It’s a box. It’s a blue box.” Rodney sounded vaguely disappointed.

“And the Stargate is a circle of stone. You’re point is, what?” The Doctor produced a key from his coat pocket and unlocked the door. “Well, come in if you’re coming.”

Rodney stopped a foot away, staring into an interior that was neither dark nor small. He took a step forward. “That’s impossible!” He stepped back; surveyed the box again and then stepped back inside. John shouldered him out of the way. “What? Oh, wow.”

“How is that?”

“I have no idea.”

“It’s –”

“Bigger on the inside?” Rose smiled sweetly.

The Doctor snorted softly. “Rose, even you asked the same thing. Don’t be rude. It defies their physics. “Welcome to the TARDIS, gentlemen. Fancy a ride?”

“Yes.” Rodney was already saying at the same time John shouted “No!”

“Rodney. Strange alien ship? Elizabeth would kill us.”

“Well, we wouldn’t be here when she tried, would we?”

“Rodney.”

“Fine. I have, about a million questions.”

“I’m quite certain you do, Dr. McKay. I’m also certain you’ll figure the answers out yourself. Smartest man in two galaxies.”

Rodney looked horrified again. “How did you –”

“I told you. I’m brilliant. I must say, it’s quite a city you’ve found yourselves. I hope you’ve been taking care of her.”

“We’re trying,” Sheppard said.

“Nice to meet you,” Rose nodded to them, “but I really need some sleep. Dead on my feet. Running from werewolves is exhausting.”

“Night, Rose.” The Doctor smiled at her. “Sleep as long as you want.”

“Thanks. Night Doctor,” she smiled back and disappeared out the other door.

“It’s bigger?” Rodney spluttered.

“Come on Rodney, I think we’d best leave them to it. It was an interesting meeting, Doctor.”

“Couldn’t agree more, Col. Sheppard.” John was backing through the door, one hand steering Rodney with him. “Dr. McKay. Astrophysicist. You’ve got quite a future ahead of you.” And that was the last thing Rodney heard before the door shut in front of him and the sound that had pulled him from his work earlier started once more. The sound of engines, not a floating city falling apart. And then the TARDIS was gone.

“What?” Rodney was staring at empty air. “What does that mean ‘quite a future’?”

“I’m sure you’ll find out, Rodney. Now, I’m going back to bed. Maybe you should do the same. Haven’t I told you not to spend all night in your lab the day before a mission? Come on; bed.” John pushed Rodney down the hall as the guards returned to their duties. “You can wonder if it was all a dream tomorrow.”

Some dream.

Date: 2007-11-18 05:46 pm (UTC)
ext_1358: (Default)
From: [identity profile] grav-ity.livejournal.com
Hee! I loved the "not fair" muttering.

Date: 2007-11-18 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eldanna.livejournal.com
It seemed Rodney-ish. It think one of his biggest annoyances in life is all the hours he misses out on work because he's sleeping.

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