Once, when no one was looking, Rodney took a puddlejumper to the mainland and gathered all the Athosian children--4 to 14--together and taught them soccer with a ball he’d "liberated" from the military of Atlantis, mapping out a rough playing area in harvested grain field and setting the goals between half-buried tree branches.
Once, when no one was looking, Rodney ran about in gleeful abandon, now acting as referee, now helping one side, then the other. He laughed as he never laughed, and the children laughed with him, joyfully breaking the rules as he did to tackle him with wriggling hugs and wide-eyed wonder.
Once, when no one was looking, Rodney remembered that there was more to life than crises and equations and idiocy and guilt and powerbars, that not every day was filled with lemons and Wraith and fear and blame and loss, that despite it all the sun still shined, flowers still bloomed, birds still sang.
Once, when no one was looking, Rodney giggled.