The 26th Email
Elizabeth stopped opening the emails after the tenth one appeared, hot off Dr McKay’s keyboard. It was a wonder he hadn’t set his computer on fire at the rate he was punching these out. Of course, the emails could have been relating to a serious matter within the city but she’d learned not to open the ones bearing very large attachments with names such as “we need ZPMs” and “Stargate Command just don’t get it”.
By email number twenty, Rodney had started copying and pasting his thoughts and bullet points of genius into his email text rather than attaching it as a word document. She’d blocked his emails for an hour which only caused him to walk past her office with a suspicious gait no less than four times – throwing her hooded expressions of exasperation all the while.
Major Lorne had laughed upon receiving the request to direct the head scientist back to his laptop.
“Why don’t you guys just have a chat or something?” Evan snorted.
Simple chats with Rodney McKay often turned into circular arguments (most recently concerning the three ZPMs) or sometimes, more interestingly, awkward shifting of the feet before the scientist excused himself hastily.
Elizabeth didn’t bother explaining this to Lorne. She settled for shrugging.
With some trepidation, she eased into her desk chair and eyed her computer. Blink, blink, blink. The lights, if they were human, would probably be batting their eyelashes innocently. Blink, blink, blink. Slow, meticulous fingers lifted the screen to her face. For one brief glorious moment, her expression slackened in relief and a smile even stole onto her lips.
She counted the seconds, those precious seconds without any complaining from Rodney.
Blink, blink, blink.
You have one new message.
“I’m not going to open my inbox,” she decided, firmly pushing the computer away from her across the desk.
Blink, blink, blink.
Eyes narrowing to the barest of slivers, Elizabeth knew the computer was mocking her. One very small part of her hoped desperately that it was some form of emergency. This thought rolled around her skull until it starting pounding against her brain in the same rhythm as the computer’s manipulative blinking.
She picked it up and opened her inbox. Yet another email from the culprit. The stylus hovered to the delete button but froze. Her eyes darted over the subject of the email. Elizabeth tried squinting, moving backwards and forwards and even closing her eyes and counting to ten.
The subject read “my feelings for you”.
Her stomach scrambled over itself several times before striking up a fast paced rumba. She tried to tell herself the words didn’t mean anything, but the more she stared at them with her eyes bugging out of her head, the more they swam around in her head until they shot right down into her heart. Her lungs burned – she sucked in a breath.
Two seconds later, the twenty fifth email was laid bare in front of her inexplicably. Elizabeth could not stop hunching forward to drink in the words. Another two seconds later, she threw the stylus for her computer across the room, hitting the glass with a soft chink that totally failed to satisfy.
Unfortunately, you have forced me to resort to deception…
Thereafter, the endless bullet points appeared again. She growled, “Rodney!”
Sparring with technology was entirely moot with scientists, she realised. If she’d had more time, she would have gone to Teyla’s self defence classes, then gone to give Dr McKay a good kick where he deserved it.
But for now Elizabeth supposed she should distract her anger by watching for Colonel Sheppard’s Puddlejumper.
As the left overs of the headache left Dr Weir’s mind, she returned to her usual duties even though her throat scratched in protest. She supposed she was talking too loud. By lunch time, she secluded herself in her office to ignore the masked smiles of those she held conversations with.
“I’m slightly deaf not stupid,” Elizabeth muttered, but knew it probably sounded like fairly normal speech.
Her eyes fell on her computer, practically steaming from running hot for so long. Surely he wouldn’t have sent another one. He wouldn’t dare, not after that stunt! Elizabeth matched the computer’s stoic defiance with a grim eyed stare. She would not let it rule her with fear.
With deliberate movement, she held up the computer and surveyed it with distaste. Despite wanting to remain clinical, the appearance of another Rodney McKay email sent her scowl further into concavity.
I’m not saying what I did was right, but you were deleting my emails. If I have disappointed you (again) it was not my intention. Atlantis really does need more ZPMs and it would be foolish to deny this fact.
For future reference, I would never send you some puerile email about my feelings, even if they were existent. As it is they are not, I can assure you. You’re a lovely woman, Elizabeth, so don’t take that the wrong way.
A futile stab with the stylus pen failed to bring up any more text. Elizabeth sank back in her chair and stared at his message. She pursed her lips. She certainly wasn’t going to evade the matter as quickly as he wanted to.
The writhing blue waves silhouetted Rodney McKay as he hung over the balcony, binoculars forming livid rings around his eyes. Elizabeth watched him for a moment and shook her head in amazement. She settled beside him, hands resting on the railing to keep them from shaking.
“John said I’d find you here,” she said coolly, though her right hand’s pinkie started jabbing nervously.
Rodney didn’t flinch, keeping his binoculars trained on the distance. “You got my email, I presume.”
“I won’t deny it was a nice change to receive just one.”
She watched his face intently, smirking triumphantly upon seeing the impatient twitch of one of the corners of his lips. Probe one had yielded some success, but not enough for her satisfaction. Elizabeth cleared her throat, preparing the next attack.
“Out of curiosity, what made you think of using the ‘my feelings’ subject line?”
“Thought there’d be a higher probability of you reading it,” Rodney muttered, awkwardly shifting his feet.
The binoculars wavered and judging by the ticking of the skin under one of his eyes, Elizabeth was willing to bet he was trying to mask the fact that he wasn’t really looking for his whale. She told him with forced hesitancy, “Rodney, I don’t want you sending me any more emails…”
“You’re not still mad about that are you?”
A day ago, the stylus would have been firmly wedged between his front teeth – as it was, Dr Weir had slipped it into her pocket just in case. But now, her eyes twinkled mischievously. Clearly, he had a thing for them being a packaged deal and she’d give him exactly that! She shook her head.
“Not anymore. It’s just that I have a preferred method of communication.”
“What, face to face?” the scientist snorted, the corner of one eye appearing.
Elizabeth smiled. “Something like that.”
Two short strides later, Dr Weir snatched the binoculars in one hand and a fistful on his shirt in the other. Rodney’s eyes widened but he made no struggle whatsoever as she yanked him into a frustrated kiss. A burning sensation rippled from his lips down his throat into his lungs. It took him a few moments to realise he was running out of air.
“Elizabeth,” he gasped, pulling back, “are you sure you don’t want any more emails?”
“I think I’m going to have to shut you up again.”
Rodney happily complied.