Warnings/Spoilers: General Season 4 spoilers
Length: 560 words
Summary: For the McSheplets Challenge #21: Abstain -- Yet another McSheplet in which neither John nor Rodney appears.
Sam Carter watched John Sheppard nod at Jennifer Keller as he left her office. It was mostly perfunctory, not the usual warm nod he had for Jennifer. He had also been on edge during his meeting with Sam. His actions were almost familiar yet nothing she could put a finger on.
"Oh, fresh coffee," Sam breathed. "Thanks, I've been tied up here forever it seems." Jennifer put the carafe she had been carrying on the desk. Sam reached and poured herself a fresh cup and waved it at Jennifer, offering a cup, who refused.
"Just had some but figured with the Daedalus in town you could use some help," Jennifer explained.
"You know it," Sam replied. She looked at the closed door. "What's up with John? Do you know?"
"Oh, just that time of the month," Jennifer replied absently, not looking up from her notes.
Sam was glad she hadn't taken more than a sip of the coffee or it would have been all over the desk. "Wha--???" she spluttered.
Jennifer looked up sharply and Sam could see the panic in her eyes. "I.... I didn't say that," Jennifer said cautiously.
"Oh, come on," Sam rolled her eyes. "You can't say something like that and leave it."
"I..." Jennifer's turn to stammer. She took a deep breath and shook her head. "Sorry. Can't say any more." She looked resolute.
Sam sat back in her chair, coffee in hand and considered. Now that Jennifer said it, John was irritable, easily upset about things that normally he normally wouldn't react to and seemed generally out of sorts. But.... John Sheppard? That made no sense.
Sam eyed Jennifer speculatively and offered slowly, "Let's say that the Head of the Expedition and the Chief Medical Officer have taken a temporary leave of absence and it's just us girls..... " She let that trail off.
"You won't... ask?" Jennifer questioned carefully.
"Nor tell..." Sam replied. That seem to be the right answer when Jennifer relaxed and grinned at her.
"You never heard this from me...." Jennifer started. Sam could only nod. "Well, one of the nurses told me about it. Whenever the Daedalus is here, John and Rodney sleep in their own rooms and only see each other during the day."
Sam's head was suddenly whirling. John and Rodney? Whoa. She had missed that one completely. That explained a lot of things...
Jennifer, not noticing Sam's surprise, was continuing, "So the theory is that when they don't sleep together, they have a withdrawal type reaction. Irritable, grouchy, overly sensitive to other people's moods. In Rodney, that's mostly his natural state so it's not so noticeable. In John, it's explained away as being on his best behavior when Caldwell is around. But evidently Carson tagged it as PMS once and that's kinda stuck."
Sam had to ask, "On missions?"
"Ronon says," Jennifer replied with a slight blush, "it doesn't seem to interfere with anything and Rodney listens better to all of them when they're off world. John has been good for him." She shrugged. "No one seems to mind, so who's to care? Well, besides the SGC, I guess." She eyed Sam speculatively.
Sam grinned, "PMS? Physicist Missing Syndrome?"
Jennifer laughed, "More like Playmates Missing Sex."