A Very Precise People
by Noelle - naushika@periapsis.net

RATING: G

CATEGORGY: General, Friendship

PAIRING: Sheppard/Weir-ish. Only if you want it to be shippy.



********

"I'm sick of this place," Elizabeth says to him while tapping at her keyboard.

John looks up from his pre-mission report, surprised. "I hope you're joking."

"Not really," she replies. "There are eighteen ceiling tiles in my room, and each one has one hundred twelve striations on them."

John straightens up. "Really? They're all the same?"

Elizabeth stops writing in her laptop and leans forward on the briefing table. She looks thoughtfully at the wall across the room. "I wonder how they made them. I even measured the distance between the striations of the ceiling tiles. There's no variation on any of them."

John shrugs. "They were a very precise people."

Giving a short laugh, Elizabeth nods. "That they were." She looks at him and grins, slightly embarrassed. "You must think I'm crazy."

"No," John replies. She looks down. He pauses for a moment, watching her tap her finger on the table. He wonders if she's counting the tiny flecks of discoloration that litter the tabletop, which make the stone of the surface glitter slightly. "Seven million, two hundred nineteen thousand, three hundred fourteen."

The tapping stops, and Elizabeth regards him with a raised eyebrow.

"That's how many holes in the ceiling tiles at McMurdo," he smiles at her.

"A lot of free time in Antarctica, I take it," Elizabeth says.

"Well, I counted the holes in the tiles of one room of each size, then multiplied the number of holes times the number of rooms. Then I did the hallways. Only took me a week," he nods to himself, satisfied with that achievement of his past. "That was just in the residential building, though."

"Did you do all the other buildings?" she asks.

"Maybe," he leans back in his chair, arms behind his head. "I'll tell you some other time how many shingles are on the meteorology building."

"Oh, I eagerly await the day," she teases.

She turns back to her laptop, and John watches her. "You know," he says slowly, "you won't always feel that way." Elizabeth looks up at him. "Sometimes you will. But sometimes you won't."

He thinks that his advice came out sounding shitty and useless, but she cocks her head at him and thanks him anyway.

***

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