Summary: Five ways they come to blows.
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Characters: Elizabeth Weir, Rodney McKay
Title, Author, and URL of original story: Book, by siegeofangels
Beta: Thanks to umbo and kormantic for giving this a brief once-over.
0. Character Study (by siegeofangels)
Rodney never remembers what the argument was about, which is not the reason why he never tells anyone the story.
He and Elizabeth, they were arguing in her office--it doesn't matter over what, just that he had some brilliant idea and she wouldn't clear it.
He threw his hands up and snapped, "Oh, thank you, Elizabeth Weir's Big Book of Professional Ethics!" and almost before the words were out of his mouth she hauled back and hit him, not a ladylike slap and definitely not a diplomatic one.
All he could do was stand there and gape at her, one hand at his face; all she could do was hold her hands over her mouth in shock at herself.
He told Carson, and anyone who asked, that he got the bruise sparring with Sheppard.
It was the fourth day after the switch, and he and Elizabeth were arguing in her office. The door was closed, not so much to keep their conversation private--they'd been at it like cats and dogs all over Atlantis by this point; it was useless to pretend to any polite fiction of solidarity--but because Elizabeth really hated the way Rodney made her voice screech when he yelled.
"I can't believe you won't even consider it," she shouted. "Rodney, I'm not even asking you to agree, I just want you to think of the potential scientific gains before you rule the possibility out because you're body-shy."
Rodney threw his hands up and snapped, "Oh, thank you, Elizabeth Weir's Big Book of Professional Ethics!" and almost before the words were out of his girly little mouth she hauled back and hit him.
In his body, Elizabeth outweighed him by close to seventy pounds. Rodney hit the ground so hard he bounced. Stunned, he lay there gaping up at Elizabeth, who had her hands clapped over her mouth in shock. The pose made Rodney's body look ridiculous, like a cowering drag queen.
When they switched back, Elizabeth told Carson and anyone else who asked that her center of gravity had been off, that she'd gotten the bruise tripping over Rodney's feet.
2. Cat AU
Mmrrrrrrodney never remembers what the argument was about, but his short term memory crapped out after about 75 seconds (a full twenty-five percent longer than most Siamese!) so whatever, nobody expected him to.
All he knows is that he and Elhissabeth were facing off on top of the entertainment center and she turned away from him, just sat right down on her purebred Persian rump and started washing herself like she was making some kind of point, like she'd never had such bad matting that she'd had to get her entire butt shaved at the vet!
Rodney threw his ears back and hissed, "Oh, thank you, Elhissabeth of Weir's Atlantis' Big Book of Professional Grooming Ethics!" and almost before his teeth were bared she spun around and bit him. Bit him! Right on the nose like he was a kitten, like he was a fucking Schnauzer, the indigni--oooh, dust bunny!
Rodney told everyone who asked that he got the wound leaving scent marks in Sheppard's territory. Hell, by that point as far as he could remember it was true.
"You aren't seriously thinking of keeping it!"
Rodney rested a hand protectively on his belly and snapped, "Oh, thank you, Elizabeth Weir's Big Book of Reproductive Ethics!"
At least he knew better than to tell anyone where he got the bruise.
"Don't," Rodney said. "I just--I don't want you to. It's as simple as that."
Elizabeth bowed her head, letting her hair fall forward into her eyes. It was getting too long, Rodney thought. But keeping it trimmed probably hadn't been very high on her list of priorities recently.
"There isn't really much of a choice," Elizabeth said gently. She straightened up deliberately, squaring her shoulders. Behind her, the wings shivered and unfurled halfway with a peculiar rustling sound. Feathers caught the overhead light, almost shimmering.
She was gorgeous. The wings were gorgeous, and they made Rodney sick.
"The IOA's been quite clear about the desired course of action," Elizabeth said.
"But why?" Rodney asked despairingly. "There's no reason you couldn't continue as head of the expedition, your brain hasn't sprouted feathers--"
Elizabeth raised a hand, cutting him off. "Rodney, we've been over this. You think I don't know? You think I haven't spent every night since it happened staring at the wall wondering what on earth I'm going to do with myself now?" She turned away from him abruptly, staring sightlessly at the wall of her office. "This isn't how I hoped my grand adventure would go. But I had a decision to make, and I've made it. Don't make this harder than it has to be."
"Your decision is stupid," Rodney said desperately. "We'll hide you, the Athosians will hide you, just give us a chance to make arrangements. I'll make you a gun and a costume. You could be the winged avenger of the Pegasus galaxy!"
"And hand the IOA the leverage they need to turn this expedition into a military operation? No. I won't have that be my legacy."
Rodney sagged. "Elizabeth Weir's Big Book of Professional Ethics," he said bitterly, mouth trembling.
Elizabeth smiled at him, warm and sad. "Buck up, Rodney," she said, brushing her knuckles against his jaw. "I need you with me on this." The wings trembled for a moment, as if uncertain, then curled in tightly against her shoulder blades.
Rodney's eyes blurred.
Elizabeth took his arm then, squeezing hard enough to bruise. "Let's go dial the gate."
So, Elizabeth and Rodney. They're established in the pilot episode as knowing each other, and one might even argue friendly or comfortable with each other, given the way Elizabeth reprimands him in front of Jack O'Neill--a casual, chiding, "Rodney," as opposed to a more formal intervention. They work well together throughout the course of the series, without the jostling for authority sometimes observed between Elizabeth and Sheppard. They joke. They tease. In "Tao of Rodney" Rodney writes, what, five hundred pages in honor of her life's accomplishments? It's no great stretch to imagine them friends, even romantically involved.
So what would make them come to blows? Even in "Trinity," arguably Rodney's biggest screw-up on the show to date, Elizabeth's dressing-down remains verbal. Granted, she wouldn't be much of a leader if she beat the hell out of her subordinates whenever they
I think siegeofangels has it right when she says, "If it's a question of arguing that she's in the right, [Elizabeth's] okay, but Rodney coming right out and saying that not as an accusation but as a fact...it's not pretty." Rodney--tactless, unswervingly honest, unswervingly loyal Rodney--calling her crooked as a matter of course, like it's just something everyone knows...wow, that's pretty damning. Elizabeth, who relies so heavily on her belief that it's worth it to put up with the dangers of the Pegasus galaxy because her expedition is out here doing the right thing--that's going to hurt. And in her betrayal and grief and mortification, Elizabeth might very well strike back.
Hey, I buy it. But it could go down any number of other ways! What do you think?