The laboratory was empty when John arrived and he frowned because it was unusual for Rodney to leave early at this stage of a discovery. The one thing he could always count on was Rodney's single-minded pursuit of knowledge and this particular Ancient device held a lot of potential. It wasn't the usual dangerous ascension tool. If anything it seemed quite benign on the surface, though John knew from experience that looks could be deceiving.
Radek looked up from his laptop, staring at John over the top of his glasses.
"If you are looking for Rodney then you will find him with Doctor Sherham."
"Blond, pretty, with large... ego."
John's mind went somewhere else for a moment as he brought up the image of one of the new arrivals on Atlantis, though he had only seen her from afar. Great, that was all he needed. Another woman who fit Rodney's type. He narrowed his eyes because Radek was not usually one to mention physical attributes of the people who worked for him in a sexist way.
"You have a problem with Doctor Sherham?"
"No. But Rodney will."
"Anything I need to know? For the sake of the team," he added.
Except there was no team. Not anymore. Atlantis had returned to Pegasus with a full complement of scientists and soldiers, and the I.O.A. and military had given both him and Rodney a choice - step down from the off-world team or step down as respective heads of military and science. As John hated the idea of another C.O. taking control of the military on Atlantis, he had stepped down. The same applied to Rodney, who had hated the idea of handing over his coveted Chief of Science role even to Radek.
Radek remained silent, but he looked troubled so John waited. Sure enough, with a heavy sigh, Radek took off his glasses and cleaned them before looking back up at John.
"It is not my affair but there is something... off about Doctor Sherham. I cannot put my finger on it, but I feel it."
In the early days, John had ignored times when Radek looked squirrelly, putting it down to the paranoia instilled by his past in Eastern Europe but he had learned to trust those instincts over time. He nodded and went searching for Rodney, to rescue him from the clutches of Sherham if necessary. It didn't take long for them to locate Rodney
John knew from the moment he stepped onto the south pier that something was amiss. Usually when Rodney was with a woman he was flustered but the Rodney he saw was on his knees, back ramrod straight, and terrified. The woman stood over him, and John would recognize that regal disdain anywhere, having been on his knees before another of her kind before.
A Wraith Queen.
She hissed when she realized she and Rodney were no longer alone and John felt the force of her mind slamming against him, but she had not counted on his strength in repelling her mental attack. The distraction was enough for Rodney to break free, but where in the past he would have tried to make a run for it, this time he kicked out using a move Teyla had shown him. Sherham - or whoever she was - went down hard and John sent two rounds into her brain because he could not take the risk of her draining the life from Rodney to heal any wounds.
Rodney back-crawled away from her, body shaking from the shock of almost being forced to give away the location of the Milky Way - and Earth - for a second time. John alerted the others by radio, aware that if one Wraith had managed to infiltrate the city then there could be others.
Hours later, John sank down onto his newly-acquired larger bed and sighed in exhaustion.
Four people were dead by the time Carson and Radek had screened everyone in the city, killed by Wraith impersonating humans. He had left Carson to be comforted by others, aware that the Wraith had adapted Carson's Wraith-to-Human gene therapy, fixing the memory loss problem, which allowed them to move freely among humans to gain vital information. He wondered how many others were hiding out in plain sight on human worlds, looking for signs of a population that had not been infected with Michael's adaptation of the Hoffan virus.
Two of the Wraith still lived and were locked down in the Wraith cells; John planned to start questioning them once he had gotten some rest. They would begin to revert back now they were no longer taking the treatment. Unlike Michael however, Carson believed they would be fully Wraith rather than ending up a hybrid like Michael, having also stolen and worked on Michael's research.
When the chime sounded John was tempted to ignore it but gave the mental command for the door to open. Rodney stood in the corridor beyond, looking awkward and wringing his hands nervously.
"Are you sure?"
"Rodney!" he said in frustration, and Rodney came in, letting the door close behind him.
"I wanted to... to apologize for-."
John was on his feet immediately, grasping Rodney's biceps.
"It wasn't your fault," he stated softly, even though it still hurt that Rodney had been taken in by a pretty blond woman once more.
He had seen Rodney casting heated, sideways glances at him since breaking up with Jennifer, looking flushed and looking guilty when caught. With no fraternization or other rules standing between them any longer, John had hoped those looks conveyed more than Platonic friendship. He was so caught up in memories of other blonds who had caught Rodney's attention - Carter, Jennifer, Norina - that he wasn't prepared when Rodney leaned in suddenly and kissed him. He took a stunned moment, tongue investigating the taste on his lips while Rodney flushed slightly pink in embarrassment, clearing his throat as he pulled back, tensing up.
"I don't know what came ov-."
John kissed him, and when he finally drew back Rodney looked about as dazed as John felt.
"No more blonds," John murmured while looking straight into Rodney's dazed blue eyes, desperately wanting Rodney to see only him in future.
"No... No more." Rodney frowned slightly. "Unless, of course, you decide to change..." One hand indicated towards John's head, fingers wiggling suggestively, making John smirk.
"Remind me to show you the photos of me as a rebellious teen," he said cryptically before swooping in for another kiss, finally pushing aside all affairs of Wraith and death, and of Blonds and irrational fear as he pulled Rodney fully into his arms.