It had all started when they had their scheduled medical after returning from their last offworld trip. After a variety of complicated tests, slightly more complicated tests, and a few haunted expressions from the medical staff, Carson had pronounced Rodney technically dead.
Rodney had been understandably upset about that.
Sheppard had pointed out that, obviously, someone who was currently walking about and talking - well shouting, clearly couldn't be dead. Which had gotten him the pointy end of a chart jabbed into his chest. The chart was fairly incriminating, and it became more so the further down Sheppard read. '...severe reaction to sunlight, craving for plasma components of blood, lack of life signs, pupils unresponsive to light, spontaneous regeneration.'
"So...you're a vampire now." Sheppard said, in what he hoped was an appropriately casual tone of voice.
"I am not a vampire!" Rodney said stridently. "And if anyone is found to be spreading that rumour I shall -."
"Drink their blood?"
"That's going to get old very quickly," he said.
"I thought I'd get them all out of my system now," Sheppard told him, because it was only fair.
"Where's Carson?" Rodney demanded, with a faint air of abandonment. Sheppard debated the merits of pointing out that since he was actually dead he didn't need a doctor any more. He didn't think that would go over so well though.
"Carson has gone... somewhere," Sheppard provided, possibly to fetch crosses and garlic. Rodney apparently knew exactly what he was thinking though because he was glaring again instead of looking upset...which was definitely the theme of the moment. There were no more teeth in the glare of death, yet, but it was still fairly effective. Then, of course, Sheppard had to spend ten minutes explaining vampires to Ronon and Teyla. Complete with Rodney protesting every few minutes that he 'wasn't one, so none of it counted.'
"And you think Rodney is now this creature from your ancient folklore?" Teyla asked carefully. Sheppard waved the chart at her as proof.
Teyla’s expression in exchange seemed to suggest that his proof was still sorely lacking. Possibly also that they shouldn't do anything drastic and sudden...like stake him in the heart or something. Not that Sheppard would, ever, because...well it was Rodney, and also that would be really hard to explain. Also Rodney hadn't done anything overtly threatening yet, or even remotely vampiric. Apart from the being dead he was pretty much the same.
Rodney attempted to take his pulse for the third time.
"You do appear to be dead?" Telya conceded and even she was wearing her 'quietly calm, but also clearly disturbed' face. Though granted she was holding in the 'really worried' eyebrows, possibly in the hope that...Rodney would stop being dead sometime soon. Sheppard wasn't sure the line 'you can stop being dead any time now' worked on anyone...with the possible exception maybe of Daniel Jackson, though that might have had more to do with the special persuasiveness of O'Neill.
"Teyla have you ever seen this before?"
"Honestly, I have never seen anything like this before," Teyla said quietly. "And I'm sure the circumstances are...striking enough that I would have remembered such a tale."
"How could none of you notice the fact that I was dead?" Rodney said, slightly desperately.
"Because you were talking and moving around." Sheppard pointed out. "I don't usually check if people are dead in those circumstances.
"Clearly there was some point in-between, some point just after I was alive and then -." Rodney made frantic hand gestures that seemed to be attempting to convey some sort of method of surprising and swiftly gruesome death. "Not!"
"You think we missed something murdering you?"
"It's clearly a possibility here," Rodney protested, he looked tempted to take his pulse again, until Sheppard smacked his hand off of his own wrist.
"Will you stop doing that." He didn't add 'because it's creeping me out'
"None of this changes the fact that I'm dead! Dead!"
"Funny," Sheppard said slowly. "I always thought dead people were quieter, stiller, less excitable."
"Clearly the Pegasus galaxy has new and hilarious categories outside our current understanding of the word 'dead' which they are now inflicting on me." Rodney was now eyeing his own life signs, or lack thereof, with an expression of wounded betrayal. Sheppard was fully prepared to steal the equipment from him if he made any attempt to shake it.
"How do you kill a vampire?" Ronon asked, in a deceptively bland voice, though he didn't even pretend he wasn't sizing Rodney up as he said it.
"Do not tell him!" Rodney snapped, and the look he threw Ronon was pure mistrust, almost as if he expected him to start fingering weaponry at any moment. "I forbid you from telling him."
"If they're as dangerous as you say."
"Ronon you're not killing him," Sheppard said carefully
"If he starts drinking human blood."
"Oh my god," the look Rodney gave him perfectly conveyed exactly what the likelihood of this would be. "That's not going to happen...do you have any notion of how disgusting-."
"To be fair," Sheppard started. "If we're going to follow the vampire theory to it's natural conclusion..."
Rodney was scowling again, though thankfully it still wasn't making him look like one of the undead. Even if he sort of was.
"You think I'm going to start snacking on you, do you know how many different ways of 'not going to happen' I'm thinking of right now. And also, I know where you've all been."
"You have a whole city full of delicious military specimens."
Rodney's facial expression effortlessly suggested that 'delicious' was perhaps a step too far.
"That you have to protect from me, thank you, thank you very much."
"Hey, technically I'm in danger too," Sheppard pointed out.
Rodney gave him a careful once-over. "Please, you're the french fry of the culinary world, you're...cheese in a can."
"I am not cheese in a can!" Sheppard protested.
"Can we not discuss what food stuffs we may or may not be, I find the idea...a little distasteful." Teyla said carefully. Which granted was kind of true.
"Do we have a priest, on Atlantis?" Sheppard shook his canteen. "Do you think he could bless it in here or would we have to pour it into a bowl. The canteen was gone a fraction of a second later, faster than Sheppard would have wagered was possible, and Rodney didn't look like he was giving it back any time soon.
"What if this is only temporary, what if, at any moment I'm going to be completely dead, what if this is some sort of technologically sustained grace period before I start to rot from the inside out."
"That's zombies," Sheppard told him helpfully.
"How do you know? How many vampires have you met!?"
"Overall?" Sheppard pretended to think about it. "One."
"That's not funny." Rodney sat down, heavily, on one of the carefully pressed beds. "I need to...go and lay down or something."
"Is it dawn already?" Sheppard checked his watch.