Prompt: Picture Prompt, Week 14, "Driftwood", for sga_saturday
Word Count: 718
Summary: The Fool of Atlantis in Exile.
The whole of the expedition seemed to think him a fool, which was precisely why he was sitting on this beach in exile, several hundred miles from the Athosian settlement, stoking a meager campfire into existence. Of course, they would laugh it off later, excusing their breach of conduct by claiming to have “forgotten” him, or maybe by saying they’d needed to get back to Atlantis, pronto, because something really, really bad was going to happen if McKay didn’t get back to the city right the fuck now. It had probably all been Ford’s idea.
The geologists had predicted rain—again he wondered why in the hell the SGC never thought to send a meteorologist along, but that was just another line for the record book—so that was why he’d built the ramshackle hut along the shore. Keep to the waterline to hold the hungry wildlife at bay, but also so rescue would find him all the more easily. That is, if they even cared to send rescue.
Someone needed to call her on it. And wasn’t that what fools were for? The medieval court jesters were meant to remonstrate the monarch through wit and humor, not simply act the buffoon. And Dr. Weir was in severe need of remonstration: her actions were not currently subject to the SGC or the IOA, so who was there to point the finger? Who was there to say the empress wasn't wearing any clothes? And now three Wraith hive ships were heading their way. McKay and Zelenka would have their hands full trying to cobble together a last-minute save, and Sheppard would be stupidly suicidal, as usual. But it wouldn’t work. The Wraith were coming—the Wraith. They wanted their new feeding ground.
He knew he should be there. He knew they could use him.
They seemed to think that his grumblings about the Way Things Are Being Run somehow translated to a desire to see Atlantis and her Expedition fail; but that was about like saying the court jester mocked the king for the benefit of his enemies. He would be subject to the feedings of the Wraith just as much as anyone else, or he would be stranded without a home. When Team Sheppard got their asses stuck in a Puddle Jumper lodged in a wormhole, he’d only been pointing out the dangers of their continued efforts to save them, not saying they should stop trying altogether.
And hadn’t he been the one who, at the last possible second, came up with the solution to propel the inert Jumper through the Gate and back home? Blow the rear hatch. Those had been his words. Words that were lost amid the scornful glares that Simpson and Grodin still shot him every time he entered their presence.
Though he would never say it to Weir, she had been right, once—he shouldn’t have been bleeding off valuable time in order to salve his ego. Any fool could realize that. His mirthless chiding and snide commentary on her character did not go unnoticed in the labs, in the field, or in the mess; but he walked the road both ways—he could criticize himself just as easily, and unlike Weir, he didn't shy away from the reflecting.
He didn’t want to return to Earth. But if contact were made, if the data-burst managed to go through, if—if—they ever managed to find a ZPM and go back, he doubted General O'Neill would even listen to him. The same problems he had with him before would still be there. And if O'Neill didn't want him at the SGC, and McKay didn't want him on Atlantis, that only left Siberia, or the Ancient outpost in Antarctica. Places where McKay had once been banished before finding a way to Atlantis.
Atlantis had become his home now. He criticized Weir's actions because he didn’t want to see Atlantis slip away from them, didn’t want to see it destroyed. He didn’t want to see it used as the jumping off point to a cold, bloody harvest.
The insects on the mainland grew restless at twilight. They attacked his ankles and calves. He considered rolling his pants legs back down but decided he didn’t care. Let them feast away. It would leave less for the Wraith.