Rodney received his mortal wound by making a highly unlikely and undignified leap sideways in front of John and taking a bullet in the chest that probably would have hit John about groin level, where it might have neutered him but probably wouldn't have killed him. "You idiot!" John yelled when he'd figured this out. "My dick is not as important as your life!"
"It is to me!" said Rodney, or tried to--he couldn't put much breath behind it. In his defense, Carson had already doped him by this point, so coherency had wandered off with many other important abilities like standing, clear vision, and discretion. "Anyway, I couldn't tell where he was aiming!"
"Oh, right, next you'll be telling me you thought you were getting out of the line of fire," John snapped. He was about three feet away, holding onto Rodney's hand and trying not to get in Carson's way.
Carson was, however, notably not doing much. "Look--" he started to say.
"Oh, fuck no," said John.
"Huh," said Rodney, in that half-voiced, half laboriously bubbled way. "Go towards the light, is that what they tell you?" He was looking at something John couldn't see.
"No!" said John. "Stay away from the light. Don't go anywhere near the light. The light is--it's bad for you, okay, Rodney? It's probably radioactive or something."
"It's really pretty," said Rodney. He sounded much calmer, speaking in small sighs. Slowly. Rodney didn't speak slowly; it wasn't his way.
"Goddamn it, he's still conscious, you can't tell me he's that close!" John shouted across Rodney's body at Carson.
Carson pointed at something on the little handheld Ancient doohickey he'd been sticking in all the first aid kits. The reading was indecipherable to John, but Carson said, "That's blood pressure--it's low. Very low. He's bleeding out. On the inside. I can't get to it fast enough to stop it and I already poured the emergency plasma pack into him. If we were back in Atlantis--" He stopped helplessly.
"Let's hope those lessons took," Rodney sighed. "One is all and all is one. What does that even mean?"
These were actually Rodney's last words, or would have been, except that his body dissolved about twenty seconds later, and he reappeared about ten seconds after that wearing white robes and a halo. He said, "No, but I--that's not fair, I just want once--" and there was complete white-out for a number of seconds that John lost track of, and then it was back to the middle of the woods again, crouching on the ground by Carson, who was biting his lip and smiling both, looking up at Rodney, who had taken off the halo and was holding it in his hand and frowning at it with an air of long-suffering.
John stood up, wiping his hands on his pants (and of all the ways Rodney had managed to ruin various pairs of John's pants, staining with life's blood was a first), and glared.
Rodney said, "Well, the good news is, hey, guess what, I found all the ascended Ancients in this galaxy. The bad news is, they all hate me and want to kick me out of their dimension."
John said, "You fuckwit! The good news is you're not fucking dead. The bad news is I'm going to kill you as soon as your neck is corporeal enough for me to get my hands around!"
"I'm hurt," said Rodney. "As a person who just suffered a mortal injury, I am telling you, your words wound me. And after I just talked them into letting me have a single day to enjoy my ascension, so we could have glowy sex."
John stared, astounded that Rodney was still bringing that up. Rodney stared back, hopeful behind his mask of sulk. Carson stared, but John decided that if Rodney wasn't going to pull his punches for their audience, neither was he.
John exploded, "I already told you, it wasn't sex!!"
Rodney, satisfied, said briskly, "I'll be the judge of that. As soon as I figure out how to glow. I wonder if you--hmm." He became completely absorbed in his own right hand (the one clutching the halo) and didn't even look up when John stomped off into the underbrush.
Carson followed him, hurriedly. "Are you sure we should leave him?" he asked. "I mean, he did just die, even if he doesn't seem to be--er--worse for the wear at all."
"He's omniscient," John said through gritted teeth. "He can find his own way back to the gate." He raised his voice to add, "He can dial himself home with his own two hands, while he's at it!"
Rodney either didn't hear or didn't immediately realize the importance of this comment, because the stargage didn't reactiveate until nearly six hours after John, Carson, and Teyla (who'd been in town when Rodney had tragically gotten himself killed) had gotten back to Atlantis.
There was no IDC nor radio signal of any kind.
"It's Rodney," John told Elizabeth confidently. "You could take the shield down."
"Can you be sure it 's him and not the guerillas from the town?" Elizabeth asked.
"Ah," said John. "No. What the hell, he's ascended, it probably won't hurt him. Leave it up."
Daniel (who had eight extra years of Pavlovian training the rest of them hadn't and always came running when the stargate activated) said, "Or he could have un... descended to be able to dial at all, and is standing there naked without a radio wondering if it's safe to come through."
"Nah," said John. "If he'd done that, he'd still think up some clever way to get us a message, like throwing rocks through in morse code."
The stargate sat there rippling unearthly blue for a bit longer, and John fell into meditative silence watching it. Daniel looked a little concerned, but mostly just disbelieving (he'd called Rodney his third least likely pupil in the ascension classes--the second being a particularly bull-headed Athosian youth who'd said Daniel wasn't a real Ancestor, and the first being, of course, Kavanaugh). Elizabeth looked more concerned, arms folded and shoulders hunched, but she didn't say anything, at least.
And then, the shield blinked out. John looked at Elizabeth and then at the tech at the control panel, who shrugged helplessly. Rodney came through, still in his robes, halo cock-eyed, and the shield sealed up behind him, just before the wormhole collapsed.
"John!" he yelled. "What the hell were you thinking? I'm ascended! I have one single day of pure enlightenment before I'm banished to the mortal realms again! And thanks to you, I just spent six hours in a fucking jungle instead of here, committing the secrets of the universe to white board, like I should have been!"
John leaned over the tech, hit the intercom, and bawled back, "And here I thought you were just interested in the sex!"
The tech leaned far, far away from him.
Elizabeth started to say, "Is this really the place to be airing your domes--"
Daniel interrupted, thoughtfully, "What sex?"
John blinked, and went with the less angry-sounding conversation. "He had this jealous fit about this one time when this ascended lady from another planet did some kind of, of, glowy, ascended," hand wave, "sharing thing with me. It's stupid, really, because it wasn't sex at all."
Daniel nodded along with this in total comprehension and agreement. "No, it couldn't have been," he said. "Ascended beings don't have sex."
"Thank you!" John said. "Tell Rodney that, won't you. He's convinced I'm an intergalactic slut or something."
Daniel's mouth twitched. He said, "Have you picked up any STDs out here?"
John said, "No! Not even from the glowy sharing thing that wasn't sex."
"Then I'm afraid Jack still holds the title," Daniel said. "It took him less than six months to pick up a nasty case of space-AIDS. Nanites," he recalled fondly. "They made him unnaturally old. One day, screwing a pretty girl, the next, too decrepit to get it up. Instant karma. The really tragic thing was she thought they were married, and he was trying for a one-night stand."
John told Elizabeth smugly, "You see? It is possible to have a more irresponsible military commander than me!"
Elizabeth said, "Yes, John, thank you for advertising your illegal relationship with a member of your team instead of bringing home plague. I know it doesn't seem like we appreciate it, but we do. Really."
"You're welcome," John said, grinning, and wandered down to the labs to see if Rodney had managed to pick up a marker to start writing on the white boards yet. He hadn't, but he made John do it for him and started dictating equations, and didn't stop until John pointed out that being made of mere flesh, he had physical needs.
"I thought you weren't having sex with me," said Rodney.
"You can't have sex," said John. "Daniel said so. Anyway, that's not what I meant. I need to take a bathroom break. And possibly get a bite to eat."
They did end up attempting sex early the next morning, which was very frustrating for both of them. Rodney managed the glowing nicely but kept complaining that he wanted to touch John, and John was meanwhile jacking himself off because there wasn't much else to do, but Rodney's whine was kind of a turn-off. Eventually (either at the appointed hour or out of sheer need for tactile stimulation, John wasn't sure which), Rodney unascended. Descended. This left him conveniently naked and not a little punchy. John rolled him onto his back and climbed atop him, and kissed him silly, and did not strangle him, despite earlier threats of that nature. They had extremely satisfying sex of the purely physical kind and shocked the hell out of Zelenka when he came in. "Coffee," Rodney said rapturously, and Zelenka said, "You can have it!" and left it on the desk when he fled.
Afterwards, John asked Rodney if the equations he'd written on every available surface meant anything. "You know there's no point in asking me that when I'm still in a post-coital haze," Rodney said matter-of-factly, petting John's hair and staring up at the ceiling. "Ask me again after I've had Radek's coffee."
John said, "Don't do that again."
Rodney said, "What, steal Radek's coffee?"
"Die," John said firmly.
"Oh," said Rodney. "It wasn't all that bad, after the initial pain. I mean, I'm still kind of smarting from the rejection--who the fuck do those Ancients think they are?--but honestly, I wouldn't have wanted to stay ascended. I enjoy sex too much."
Which was as close as John was going to get to a promise, so he nuzzled Rodney's neck and they ended up having sex again, like proper mortal, fleshly beings do when they've brushed too close to death.