When Elizabeth Weir had taken on the job of leading Atlantis, she'd had visions of daring voyages and great discoveries. Like minds meeting to determine a bright new future for Atlantis and for Earth.

Never had she anticipated reaching the great city of the Ancients with a group of 12-year-olds.

Rodney and John are the worst of the bunch, of course, with their endless sniping and arguing, and occasionally throwing each other off of balconies and exclaiming how cool it was. But every single scientist -- and not a few of the military personnel -- has their moments.

She sits in staff meetings sometimes and mentally translates their dialogue from ersatz adult back to the actual age group -- unprofessional, but it certainly makes the tedious parts of the meetings pass more quickly.

"So if you would let me finish a sentence, I was trying to tell Elizabeth--" Stop interrupting me, I'm trying to talk. Mom! Make him stop interrupting me!

"You're always trying to talk, Rodney; if we didn't interrupt, we'd never get to say anything. " Rodney's on my side of the conference table!

"As I was saying! If we'd been allowed to remain longer on P3X-794, we might have been able to truly understand what the Ancient technology was used for!" John made me come home before I was ready, and if you really loved me, you'd let me go back!

"And we could have truly gotten our butts kicked by the locals while you were busy pushing buttons." They started it, I had to shoot them!

"If we went back, we could take them in a direct assault, sir. We have them heavily out-gunned." Let me blow something up! I want to blow something up, pleeeease!

"They were merely trying to protect their territory, Lieutenant. I hardly think they deserve to be killed for that." No translation necessary for Teyla. Thank god for the presence of one adult, or the other three would probably have managed to destroy the universe by now.

"If we were able to bring device back to Atlantis, we could study at our leisure. It would take less time, less trouble, perhaps?" I want a new toy! I'm the good child, and I should be rewarded with a new toy!

"... Maybe. But we'd have to go fast. No time for sightseeing." I don't wanna. It's not a new toy for me, I won't get to fly or do anything fun, so I don't wanna.

"Oh, so you'll listen when Radek suggests it, but I get ignored?" Mom, nobody's paying any attention to me! Mo-om!

"Dr. Weir? What do you think? Dr. Weir?"

She shakes herself from her thoughts and finds the other five looking at her, waiting for a response. She's horrified to discover she's smiling slightly, and hides it quickly. "I, ah... it's a risk. Rodney, how certain are you that the device will actually prove useful?"

He crosses his arms. "Well, no, I can't be certain, no, as Major Sheppard didn't allow me time to do, well, anything!" John keeps spoiling my fun! Spoilsport! "But I'm sure you'll agree that we can't afford to cavalierly dismiss any Ancient device without study." You like me more than you like John, right? Right?

"Maybe if you 'cavalierly dismissed' more devices instead of having to play with every single one, I wouldn't have to be constantly hauling your ass out of trouble, or shooting our way through an entire planet!" He's always starting everything, it's always his fault! Sheppard smiles smugly in her direction. "As I'm sure Dr. Weir would also agree." And she likes me better.

"Oh, because *I'm* the one who let the Ancient chick pull him around by the--"

"Gentlemen!" Sometimes, even the best defense mechanisms can be pushed too far. Elizabeth takes a deep breath, and stares down the pair. "Major Sheppard. Please put together a mission plan and try to find a way to retrieve the device with the smallest possible risk." He starts to protest and she holds up her hand. "If I agree that the risk is still too great, we will have to abandon it." McKay's turn to look affronted. She silenced him with another glare. "Now, we have several other things to cover, so let's move on."

McKay sulks (You never let me do anything fun!) and Sheppard rolls his eyes (Whatever. I don't have to do what you tell me unless I want to.). Ford and Zelenka exchange sideways glances and slide down slightly in their chairs in hopes of being ignored. Teyla smiles her calm smile and lays her head to the side, waiting for the next topic of discussion.

Elizabeth sighs, composes her thoughts, reminds herself that she is surrounded by the best and the brightest adults on Earth -- and resists the urge to reach across the table and comb her military commander's hair flat.



Rampant silliness, I admit, but seriously -- can't you hear all of the assorted inner 12-year-olds coming out to play every time they have one of those meetings? Written for the sga_flashfic 38 Minutes challenge: ~27 minutes to write, 9 minutes to edit. A little more to format, but I'm not counting that.

Thanks to Kiki for the lightning beta, and the folks at sga_flashfic for the amazing response and encouragement.