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a strange, far place

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I.
It’s… They shouldn’t be in here alone. There should be at least two guards around, or three, or six, or ten. A year ago, Colonel Sheppard would have been very hard pressed to even allow any of the medical staff to get close enough to Todd to touch him. And yet, over the last months… There’s a tiny chance that he’s been practicing a sort of telepathic manipulation on them all because when she thinks about it it’s a little uncanny how fast the expedition has gotten used to having a Wraith in their midst. But it’s also true that Teyla performs a full scan on him every few days and that ever since she became a mother and especially when she draws strength from Kanaan she has turned out to be every bit as powerful as a queen, at least as far as Todd is concerned. Jennifer has the brain wave charts to prove it. And Torren, young as he is, screamed like hellfire that one time, a full three minutes before the Athosian campsite was swarmed by drones, but is not afraid of the Wraith that resides in Atlantis. And Todd has sworn a blood oath to Colonel Sheppard that he will not feed on any member of the expedition and Jennifer thinks that for all his posturing, the Colonel believes him.

So she is alone with the Wraith in the examination room, no Biro or Carson or any of the nurses in sight.

 

II.
Teyla asked him once if there was a name he would prefer to be called by and as she tells it, ever since then she and Kanaan and now Torren have laced the name Colonel Sheppard gave him with the correct mental impression. That’s not an option open to anyone else, however, and so “Todd” he has remained.

 

III.
The first time it happens is a complete accident. She is leaning closer to get a better look at one of the spots that she has identified as a sure symptom of the cattle diet really not being enough, and she is putting two fingers against his fine-scaled skin to judge whether or not they have grown. When she withdraws her hand, it slides against a scale that is marginally darker than the others. Todd gasps.

 

IV.
Teyla, not allowed to travel and trade in the Milky Way as she had in the Pegasus galaxy, had opted to alternate an internship in the labs and casual travel and trade on Earth proper with practicing her Gift. Todd had never said so outright, but they already knew that being deprived of telepathic contact for longer periods of time could drive a Wraith insane, so he might have started out as resentful but in the end was grudgingly appreciative. In any event, he would always want ‘the Emmagan’ to defend herself against a rival Hive since he viewed himself as the only Wraith entitled to have one over the Lanteans.

 

V.
He has never experienced what humans describe as sexual pleasure before. Queens don’t really care about anyone’s pleasure but their own; if the males a queen chooses for procreation are lucky, they receive a faint telepathic echo of what she is feeling.

During the centuries Todd has come across Wraith who have… experimented… with another who was not a queen, but every queen he has ever known has put a stop to it as soon as she found out, and queens always find out.

The closest he has ever come to ecstasy has been amid a feeding frenzy or the one time he took the nn’t’enn from a really old Wraith.

 

VI.
He has come to understand that while the widely populated Milky Way would seem like a land of plenty to his species initially, in the long run they would face the same problem they had been facing in ‘Pegasus’ for millennia because they would not be able to sufficiently pace themselves. Therefore, or so he claims and the expedition mostly believes him, he has no vested interest in betraying the Milky Way or Earth’s coordinates to his own Hive, much less an unfamiliar Queen.

 

VII.
Her fascination with all things alien, from her point of view, about his physiology... fascinates him. She is revolted and frightened, but at the same time there is a curiosity and an intelligence behind it that won't be stomped out.

She has assembled enough knowledge to accomplish some truly atrocious things with it, but she won't. Yes, she will tell the soldiers around her about the most effective spots to kill a Wraith that she finds, the few that Ms. Emmagan hasn't already told them about. Yes, she will collaborate with the scientists to help them make more effective weapons. But she will not walk the original Carson Beckett's path toward mass extinction any further, not unless he, the one she calls Todd, backs her into a corner, and so far he has not.

Instead, she is frighteningly close to finding a way to restore a drained victim’s nn’t’enn.

Instead, she is frighteningly ruthless about feeding Todd mindless fetuses.

She is a human woman, cattle, brood mare, food source at best, nuisance and, yes, threat at worst. Yet she is more. She is the one thing that will eventually give Todd – and he sometimes catches himself thinking of himself with that name, as his contact with other Wraith who know his actual designation is few and far between – absolute power, and maybe more importantly, a degree of independence. Yes, excising power over multiple worlds is fun but most humans are beneath him, there is little challenge in lording it over them, and while there is satisfaction to be had in stealing a favored hunting ground from other Hives there are other ways to establish dominance. Real power, to Todd, is the power he holds over other Wraith. Humans have shown him that if given the opportunity they have enough power to hold power over Todd, too, and he'd sooner than not never get into such a situation again.

He is in what could be called exactly such a situation right now, it could be argued, but he has to tell himself that this is different, he and Sheppard have an Understanding, and they're letting him work with her... and, while he will never openly acknowledge the effect it has, having Teyla Emmagan on the same Hive and clearly in a position of authority if not completely in charge does make a difference.

He may not be able to just up and leave but he has agency, he is actively working toward change. And Jennifer Keller is fascinating. Not that Todd will admit it, even to himself.

 

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