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New Fic: Freezing Point Depression

Freezing Point Depression
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Rated: PG
Category: McShep Friendship. Humor. Shep POV.
Season: Any, but post-one and pre-Sunday in my mind.
Spoilers: General knowledge only.
Summary: Freezing point depression is real, in more ways than one. Fortunately, so is the cure.
Word Count: 864
Disclaimer: Just playing in the gateroom. Don’t mind me.
Note: Written for the 2011 Ancient Obsessions December 5 Advent Prompt: Winter Weather.


I understood freezing point depression long before I learned any chemistry.

After all, I had salt under my feet four months of the year growing up.

And though I didn’t know why, I knew it made things less slippery.

That’s all I cared about. I was practical back then.

Still am, come to think of it, and though I know now that salt water freezes at much lower temperatures than fresh due to a chemical phenomenon called freezing point depression, I’m still just happy that when Atlantis’ decks get soaked from high tide, it’s less slippery than it otherwise might be on cold days.

And I’m really glad that we can’t ever walk to the mainland. I’m well aware that a frozen ocean is a very bad thing for the life associated with it - and not just the aquatic kind.

Still, though, it’s winter now, and I can’t help but pine just a bit for a frozen lake or pond or even pool, so my own personal brand of freezing point depression has set in.

After all, my father didn’t just insist on golfing lessons.

So when a water main breaks in a little used section of the city and I’m the first one to the scene, I’m not too surprised when a wicked idea pops into my head.

Rodney’s hot on my heels complaining about other people complaining about lack of water pressure for showers, and he immediately starts grousing about the clean up that will be needed for this.

I let him rant for a bit, then interrupt when he pauses to breathe.

“Oh, I don’t know, Rodney,” I say. “Maybe it’s not so bad. Look.”

I’m hoping he’ll understand what I mean as I point to the flooded pier, though I’m not sure he will.

Rodney leans his head to one side and looks at the small lip on the edge of the pier. His next words make it clear he isn’t seeing what I’m seeing.

“Look at what? The lip under the railing? You  mean the thing that will keep all this water on the dock for ages, especially since it’s freezing out here? That thing?”

“Rodney,” I say slowly. “Look. The water’s mostly outside. It’s not really hurting anything. And no one ever comes down here. And like you said, it’ll stay here for ages. And it is freezing out here… literally.”

I’m still not sure he’ll get it, but he is Canadian, after all, so I’m still holding out hope.

Rodney looks at me funny for a minute, but then his eyes slowly widen and I can actually see the epiphany. He smiles a second later, and then he nods.

“Yeah. Yeah, I think that might work,” he says.  “It’ll have to be deeper, though.”

I smile back and Rodney and I silently watch the deck flood slowly but surely for a while longer. Once we’re certain it’ll meet our needs, Rodney calls a repair team in to fix the leak and clean up what part of the water soaked the nearby hallway, but he’s sure to tell them not to clean up the mess on the deck.

“Nature will take care of it,” he says, and I snort under my breath because he’s right in more ways that one.

After all, winter is short here and spring is just around the corner. The water will melt then, but in the meantime, it’ll freeze solid, unlike that depressed (and sometimes depressing) ocean. It is, in fact, the natural order of things. And since Atlantis managed to flood the one pier that somehow doesn’t drain properly with fresh water and thus gave us the remedy for both kinds of freezing point depression, it’s human nature not to waste it.

It takes a few days for everything to be ready, but that’s okay, because it takes Rodney that long to sneak some skates through the gate.

I’m still not sure how he managed that, but I don’t care. I have a sneaking suspicion Siler or maybe even General O’Neill was involved, but even if I knew that for sure, I wouldn’t tell.

Just like I’ll never mention that while you won’t see him join in on the city’s pick-up hockey games - while he’ll always claim (probably rightfully) he has something far more pressing to do - my occasional midnight wanderings mean that I just happen to know that Meredith Rodney McKay is a demon on ice when he wants to be. Of course, they mean that I also know he’s got insomnia nearly as badly as me, and that if Carson knew he slept even less than it seems, he’d never leave him alone about it. But I’ll keep that to myself, too.

After all, Rodney’s a friend, even if he’s a pain in the ass, and he deserves his privacy.

Besides, if we ever manage that scrimmage with the SGC that Lorne keeps talking about, I might need the insomnia info as ammunition to force McKay to play, and if I let the cat out of the bag about his skating, I couldn’t use him as a ringer back on Earth, and where’s the fun in that?


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 7th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Well, I know Canadians who can't, and I hate stereotypes, but since Rodney claims to like hockey in "Hide and Seek," I let this one slide. ;)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


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