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What Do You See If You Turn Off The Light

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The Stargate closed behind them with a whoosh and left the team in silence and darkness. For a moment, nobody moved, and then John took a step forward.

"I thought there was a village," he murmured and looked around, but even his vampire sight wasn't strong enough to pierce the utter and complete darkness.

"The village is several miles away from the Stargate," Teyla said by way of explanation and turned on her flashlight. "There is a path."

John's eyes followed the strong beam of her light before switching on his own lamp and pointing it down, and true to Teyla's words, after just a few steps, he was standing on a sandy path.

"Okay, let's go," he said and waited until Rodney had fallen in step with him before nudging him slightly. "You okay, McKay? You've been awfully quiet today."

"Yeah," Rodney replied softly. "I just have a weird feeling about all this. Call me ridiculous, go ahead."

John just reached out and patted Rodney's shoulder awkwardly. "You know we could have waited until the morning to head out," he said hesitantly, although he'd been the first to agree with Woolsey's opinion of moving out in the evening rather than waiting for daylight.

He heard the soft rustle of fabric as Rodney shook his head.

"I'm not afraid of the dark; besides, this way, you won't need your shield and are safe anyway." He referred to the personal shield he'd modified when John had been turned into a vampire, and that now protected him from the sunlight. While sunlight didn't kill him, it left him with nasty burns that itched horribly when they healed, and John was very thankful for the shield. He carried it in the inside pocket of his jacket, close to his chest and safe from accidental loss, and now, he reached up and pressed his hand against the hard bump under his clothes.

"It's just," Rodney continued, "I expected at least a moon or something."

It was as if Rodney's words had been a sign, John thought as he gripped his weapon tighter, because he'd barely finished his sentence when the full moon appeared from behind a thick blanket of clouds. It was huge in the sky, its silvery light bright enough to illuminate the path for them, and the four of them walked in silence until they reached the sprawling outskirts of the village.

"Something's wrong." It was the first thing Ronon said since they had left Atlantis, and he voiced what all of them were feeling. Something about the village was giving off a strange vibe that not only Ronon's instincts as a Runner, but also John's still developing vampire instincts had picked up.

"Wraith?" he asked softly.

"I sense no Wraith," Teyla whispered back. "However, I see no lights."

Now that she had said it, John realized that it was the complete lack of lights and sounds that gave him the weird feeling at the pit of his stomach.

Even sleeping people made sounds, he knew, and a village like this was never this silent, unless it had been abandoned. Since Atlantis had been in contact with the natives just a few days ago, he was relatively sure that the inhabitants hadn't left their village voluntarily.

An icy feeling closed around his heart, and his thoughts flashed to Michael and Kolya. He exchanged a quick look with Teyla and then followed her deeper into the village.

She led him to the central square, where they found a small inn.

"Let's see if we can find out what happened to these people," John murmured.

Not a word was spoken as his team followed him into the inn. After more than five years together, they were working like a well-oiled machine, and everybody knew what they had to do. However, now wasn't the time to marvel at their efficiency.

They kept their weapons ready, muscles tense and expecting chaos and destruction wherever the beams of their flashlights fell, but the main room with its many tables and wooden benches was clean, the floors were swept and the mugs were stashed on shelves along the wall behind the bar.

It looked so normal, John thought, as if the owners had just closed for the night and then had decided to leave the planet instead of going to bed.

Rodney exhaled loudly. "Creepy," he muttered, and John found himself nodding.

"We should return to Atlantis," Teyla said. "Return by daylight, try to find out what happened here."

"Yeah," Ronon agreed. "Can't do much right now."

"All right," John decided. "Let's do that." If whatever had happened to the villages had stuck around, he didn't want to be here when it decided to return.

They left the inn in silence and started to walk back to the Stargate, the moon still bright enough to let them see their surroundings clearly, when suddenly, Ronon froze.

Immediately, the others followed his example and stopped. Weapons were gripped tighter, and John tried to listen into the darkness, to figure out what Ronon had heard, but all he picked up was the sound of the wind rustling in the trees and his own blood pulsing in his ears.

All of a sudden, the darkness returned as another cloud hid the moon, and then, John was able to smell it – the wind had turned, he realized, and there was something stalking them – an animal, but a huge one, if his senses didn't betray him. It smelled like wet fur and anger, he thought uncomfortably while turning his flashlight searchingly in the direction the smell came from.

Next to him, Ronon pulled his weapon from its holster and aimed in the direction John was looking at, but before he could shoot, something sleek and heavy and huge impacted with his body, seemingly out of nowhere, and pushed him to the ground.

Even with his vampire sight, John only caught vague shadows of what was happening. He couldn't shoot the animal without the risk of hitting Ronon and killing him, and he didn't even dare moving, out of instinctive fear that he would pull the beast's attention to himself.

A pain-filled howl ripped through the darkness - Ronon - and then, the sound of Ronon's weapon discharging followed.

After that, there was only silence and the sound of harsh breathing in the night.

The moon appeared from behind the cloud again.

"Ronon?" John took a step closer and immediately stopped again as the smell of blood, sweet wet liquid blood, assaulted his senses.

Ronon's blood.

"Ronon?" he asked again, his voice tight with worry.

"I'm fine," Ronon replied roughly and struggled to sit up while pushing the cadaver of the animal away from himself with a disgusted snort.

"You're bleeding," John pointed out. His body reacted in the usual way to the smell, and his stomach started to growl.

"Beast bit me," Ronon spat out as he moved away from the body, which now smelled like burned fur and cauterized flesh.

"Oh God," Rodney said as he pointed his flashlight at Ronon. Ronon's entire front was covered in blood, but John knew that it looked worse than it was.

Ronon growled and lifted his hand, to shield his eyes from the beam of Rodney's lamp, and that was when John saw it – there was a huge, gaping wound in Ronon's side.

"Oh God," Rodney said again, his voice shaky. He had seen the wound, too. "We need to get you back to Atlantis, now."

"First, we need to stop the bleeding," Teyla pointed out. She was a lot calmer than Rodney, but John knew that she was affected from what had just happened as well. There was a slight tremor, almost unnoticeable, in her voice that gave her away.

"Teyla," John murmured. It was all he needed to do. She was already pulling her first-aid kit from her vest pocket. Rodney only shot a brief, worried glance in John's direction, swallowed thickly and set out to help her.

John exhaled sharply. He was feeding regularly from Ronon, and the smell of his blood had its effects on his body; effects he'd been struggling to hide for weeks now, with less and less success. Worse than the physical reaction, which he could ignore, was the sense of helplessness – there wasn't anything he could do right now to help Ronon, and it made his skin itch with frustration. His instincts screamed at him to do something, to protect those he considered his, but there was nothing he could protect Ronon from anymore. The beast was already dead.

John bit his tongue sharply and focused his attention back to the problem at hand. He'd learned to be careful with his vampire teeth and their razor-like sharpness, but right now, he greeted the pain of them slicing through the slick muscle of his tongue. It helped him concentrate.

He turned away from his teammates and turned his attention on the dead body of the beast.

It was a wolf, that much he could see, its paws huge and its teeth in the dark muzzle long and sharp. Its dark fur was coarse and matted down. The entire animal was thin and mangled, its ribs clearly visible under its fur.

It was a huge animal, John thought with a small shudder and nudged the cadaver's paw with the toe of his boot. In a standing position, its shoulder easily was at a height with John's hip, but even while John was thinking about the size of the animal, the body started to change.

"Guys," he called out hesitantly, his eyes glued to the scenario in front of him.

The wolf's entire shape shifted and changed. The mane and fur disappeared, leaving only small patches of hair the same color behind. Paws lengthened, claws retracted, leaving dark fingers with short, dirty nails behind.

John bit back a curse and flashed his light over the body, which was still dead, but not canine anymore.

It was a thin, dirty, naked man.

"Do you even have an immunization against tetanus? Did Jennifer or Carson ever give you a shot?" Rodney was just asking Ronon, who grunted an unintelligible answer.

"Guys," John said again. This time, Teyla and Rodney both looked up, and Rodney finally stood from where he had been kneeling next to Ronon and came to stand next to John.

Together they stared at the body for a long moment.

"I think we should return to Atlantis," Rodney finally said. "Ronon…he needs stitches and antibiotics…and a tetanus shot…" He trailed off.

John nodded. Returning to Atlantis seemed like a good idea.

The moon disappeared behind yet another cloud, and a loud howl ripped through the inky dark night.

Returning to Atlantis suddenly seemed like a really good idea.

~*+*~

"I don't even know if they had immunization on Sateda," Rodney whispered dejectedly. John didn't know why Rodney was suddenly so much concerned and fixated on the risk of a tetanus infection, when they both knew that Ronon had survived worse than a wolf bite, but instead of commenting he just rolled his eyes and pulled another chair close.

Jennifer patted Rodney's shoulder soothingly. "He's resting for now," she said in her soft infirmary voice. "We cleaned and stitched up the wound, and yes, Rodney, we gave him a tetanus shot, too."

Rodney's shoulders slumped, and the corners of his mouth turned down, as well. "This is probably the smallest problem we'll have to deal with, here, anyway," he pointed out dully.

John slowly and very deliberately sprawled in his chair. His shoulders ached with sudden tension, despite the quick hot shower he'd taken after his own post-mission check-up.

"I mean…" Rodney continued with a shrug. "We all know what we saw, back there. And what that probably means."

John remained silent. Here, in the relative safety of Atlantis with its soothing warm lights, the entire mission to the planet and everything that had happened there seemed somewhat unreal. A second team – Lorne's, most likely – would return to the planet in a few hours and try to find out what had happened to the villagers, and John and his team would remain in the infirmary, waiting for Ronon to wake up, at least unless Jennifer kicked them out or an emergency brought them away.

"What did you see?" Jennifer asked and curiously looked from one of them to the other. "I mean, besides Ronon getting bitten by a gigantic wolf."

"It was not an ordinary wolf," Teyla said slowly. "We saw…a wolfman."

And Rodney added, by way of explanation, "A werewolf."

~*+*~

"So…you're telling me Ronon was bitten by a werewolf." Richard Woolsey frowned doubtfully and ran his palms down his jacket.

"Yeah, pretty much," John replied and forced himself not to shift too much in his chair. He knew exactly why Rodney and Teyla had voted for him to talk to Woolsey about what was happening, but that didn't mean he had to like it.

However, if Woolsey tried to argue that werewolves were just a myth and didn't really exist, all John had to do was smile at him, and making sure Woolsey caught a glimpse of his teeth.

He had vetoed Rodney's suggestion of wearing the cape his team had given him for his birthday – the day he'd been born the first time, not the day he'd been turned into a vampire, which Rodney had dubbed biteday and had decided to celebrate as well, and John hadn't found a suitable threat yet to make him drop those plans.

"Well," Woolsey murmured, interrupting John's meandering thoughts, "Life certainly never gets dull in Pegasus galaxy…werewolves, vampires…what's next? Tentacled slime monsters? No offense, Colonel."

John smiled without showing his teeth. "None taken. Although, actually, there are tentacled…beings on MS7-T39, and they are kind of slimy, too."

Woolsey gave him an annoyed look, and John held back his smirk.

"About Ronon," Woolsey said abruptly.

"Keller is keeping him in the infirmary for now," John said. "Since we don't know how many of the myths are true, if any. For all we know at this point, the worst that might happen is that Ronon gets a nice scar to add to his collection."

Woolsey nodded slowly. "I want you to proceed with the utmost carefulness," he instructed. "Our first priority is to keep Atlantis safe, Colonel."

John nodded. He understood and agreed with Woolsey's assessment of the situation.

He waited to be dismissed and returned to the infirmary. Teyla was sitting next to Ronon's bed, a small smile on her lips.

"Did he wake up?" John asked, his voice pitched low, and Teyla inclined her head slightly.

"Briefly," she murmured. "Jennifer said she will keep him here, to make sure the wound heals properly, but she is certain he will make a full recovery."

"Good." John exhaled and nodded. "You should go and spend some time with…with Kanaan and Torren," he then added. "I'll sit with him for now."

Teyla gave him a grateful nod and stood. "Thank you, John."

He waved her off awkwardly, and Teyla gave him another indulging smile before leaving the infirmary.

John waited until she was gone before falling into the chair she had been sitting in and putting his boots up on the edge of Ronon's bed, careful to stay away from the bandaged wound. He was ready to wait for Ronon to wake up.

~*+*~

It was late the next day when Ronon finally opened his eyes slowly and turned toward John.

"Hey, buddy," John said. "How do you feel?"

Ronon grunted. "Hurts a little," he finally admitted. "What happened?"

John sat up a little. "You don't remember?" he asked carefully.

Ronon frowned as he tried to recall what had happened. "Everything's kind of fuzzy," he admitted. "What happened after I shot that wolf?"

"You got bitten by it," John told him earnestly. "It was a werewolf. A…." he hesitated. "A wolfman, Teyla called them."

Ronon closed his eyes again. His throat worked, but he kept his lips pressed tightly shut, not saying a single word.

John apparently got the hint that he didn't want to talk about it right now, because he squeezed Ronon's wrist and got up to leave.

Ronon didn't do anything to try and stop him.

~*+*~

Bitten by a wolfman.

On Sateda, there had been myths about a fearless warrior named Jarn who had been bitten by a wolfman. When Ronon had been a small child, young enough to sit by his grandfather's feet and listen to the tales told to him by the old man, he had been impressed by the story of Jarn, who, even in his second body, hadn't stopped fighting the Wraith. He'd killed many of them on his search for the wolfman who had turned him, since it was said that killing the wolfman who had turned him would reverse the process and return him to the life of a normal human warrior.

Ronon shook his head slightly. His side ached and hurt with every breath he took, even if he was sure that Jennifer had given him as much from the painkillers as she had dared. She might have chosen McKay over him, but she still had a weak spot for him, as well.

With that thought, he drifted off again.

When he woke up again, Rodney was by his bedside, laptop balanced on his knees, and he was engaged in a whispered argument, most likely with Radek.

His side hurt as fiercely as it had before, but Ronon still tried to sit up, and Rodney gave him a dark glare.

"What are you doing?" he asked, followed by an exasperated, "Not you. I'm talking to Chewie here!"

Ronon managed to give him a grin that didn't look like a pain-filled grimace, but Rodney was clearly not impressed by it.

"A rabid wolf tried to rip you to pieces," he said, "Lie back down, will you?"

"Not a rabid wolf," Ronon managed to say as he eased himself back into the pillows. "Wolfman." He frowned. "I killed it, right? It wasn't you or Sheppard or Teyla?"

"Yeah, you did." Rodney frowned unhappily. "You shot him."

Ronon exhaled through his nose. "Okay."

"Okay?" Rodney spluttered, his worried expression replaced by confusion and disbelief.

"Yeah," Ronon said and lifted his hand with a small smile. "Killing the wolfman who bit you reverses the transformation. Says so in the myth." He hesitated. "Why don't you go and yell at Radek in person," he then added. "I'm fine here."

"Are you sure?" Rodney sounded hesitant again, and Ronon's lips twitched slightly. He was glad that his team had all taken turns sitting with him, and he knew that they all had contributed in getting him home. They were his team, his family, but each and every one of them had other duties when in Atlantis; duties that were important – more important than sitting around and watch him sleep.

"Go, before he makes the city sink," he murmured. He would apologize to Radek later, he decided when Rodney shot out of his chair as if bitten by an Iratus-bug.

The thought of something biting Rodney quickly brought his mind back to his current situation, and what had brought him to the infirmary.

In the legends of Jarn the Wolfwarrior, he'd been searching for the wolfman who'd bitten him, believing that killing him would heal Jarn. Ronon vaguely remembered that Jarn had been killed in a Wraith attack before he could complete his mission, but if the myths surrounding him were true, then Ronon had nothing to worry about – he'd already killed his wolfman.

And if the legends were just that, tales told to children to keep them quiet and attentive, and there was no cure for this, there wasn't anything he could do about his current situation either. Worrying about it wouldn't help.

And yet, he couldn't stop thinking about it, his mind circling around that one thought obsessively.

An hour later, he started regretting that he'd sent Rodney away. A distraction would be most welcome at that point.

~*+*~

"Well, the good news is that your side is healing well," Jennifer told him with a soft smile and covered the wound again with sterile gauze. Ronon had caught a glance at the jagged edges of the wound, his flesh red and tender around the black stitches, and he had immediately understood why he had been in so much pain.

He gave her a grin. "Does that mean I can go?"

Jennifer gave him a startled look. "Not yet," she said firmly, no trace of her usual sweetness in her voice. "I want you to give that wound more time to heal properly."

Ronon frowned unhappily, but before he could voice his displeasure, she continued, "Do you want to know the rest?"

Silently, he nodded, and she pulled her tablet computer close.

"This," she said and showed him a picture of what he recognized as a collection of blood cells, "is the result of Colonel Sheppard's last check-up. You see how the level of the white blood cells is still through the roof, at least for a normal human being?" She pointed at the picture, and Ronon nodded.

"I don't see what that has to do with me," he pointed out, and Jennifer pulled up another picture and showed it to him.

It looked almost identical to the first one.

"This is from your results," she explained softly. "Now, the elevated count of white blood cells could be a result of the infection at the site of the wound, but like in Colonel Sheppard, it is much higher than anything I've seen before."

Ronon stared at the screen. "He was drinking from me regularly," he said slowly.

"I know," she replied. "However, he's also been drinking regularly from Doctor Zelenka, from Teyla, from a few other volunteers, as well, and they're all having normal results." She shrugged and hugged her computer close to her chest. "It might be nothing at all," she admitted. "But I'd rather be careful, anyway."

Ronon admitted that she was right and that her words made sense, but it didn't change the fact that he was bored out of his mind and wanted to go to his own room.

"Listen," Jennifer said, interpreting his silence correctly, "it's only for a few more days, and if nothing's changed for the worse, I'll let you go, okay?"

Ronon nodded, but before she could leave, he asked, "Can he still drink it?"

She frowned, but quickly realized what he was talking about.

"I don't know," she admitted. "On first glance, I'd say probably, yeah. But we should do some tests before we let you two try it."

Ronon nodded, satisfied with the answer, and she turned to leave.

A few more days, he would survive a few more days stuck in bed without dying of boredom, he thought and closed his eyes determinedly.

~*+*~

"You know that Rodney went back to the planet?" John asked. "Apparently, the villagers were back in the morning, as if nothing had happened, but their fresh water pump thing was broken and they asked us to help them fix it…so Rodney went. Grumbling about Zelenka and something about sinking the city?" He raised an eyebrow.

Ronon nodded and then squinted his eyes. "And you?" he asked.

John sighed. "On my way to the Zubbi," he said, referring to the alien race of vampires that had been responsible for the fact that he now was a vampire, "trying to find out what they know about werewolves…wolfmen."

Ronon's lips quirked into a brief smile. "Does McKay know you're meeting with Riena?"

John grimaced at the mention of the woman who'd accidentally turned him. "He doesn't," he admitted. "And he doesn't need to know, okay?"

Ronon laughed softly, despite the pain it brought to his side. "If you say so."

"There are only so many jokes about Oedipus I can take without wanting to have him take a long walk off the East pier," John said with a sigh and glanced at his watch. "I should go."

He grimaced again. "I have an appointment with my mother."

Ronon lifted his hand and closed it around John's wrist. "Be careful," he grumbled.

"She can't bite me again," John pointed out, but he turned his hand and wrapped his own fingers around Ronon's wrist, as well, and squeezed reassuringly.

"Ask her if you can drink from a wolfman," Ronon added. "Just in case."

John nodded, and Ronon let go of his wrist and watched him go while he was still stuck in a hospital bed.

~*+*~

John returned early the next morning, pale and quiet and exhausted. He stopped by the infirmary, and Ronon wasn't surprised about the paleness – John was, after all, a vampire, and they didn't really spend a lot of time in the sunlight – but the quietness made him restless.

"They don't have a cure, and they don't know of one," he reported when he stopped by Ronon's bed. "They gave me all the information and 'lore about wolfmen they have. The anthropologists are already working on it, if you're interested."

Ronon nodded. "If the legends are true," he said again, "nothing will happen. I killed him. I freed myself from the second nature."

"Yeah, we'll see about that, buddy," John sighed and patted his shoulder once, but Ronon could see that John didn't believe the legends were telling the truth.

It reminded Ronon of something.

"Did you ask her?" he wanted to know. "About wolfmen and…you?"

John exhaled. "Yeah," he replied. "She said it's probably okay."

Ronon nodded, and John left, go get some sleep and maybe something to eat as well – something that was not Ronon's blood.

Several hours later, he heard that Rodney had returned to Atlantis, but the other man didn't turn up at the infirmary.

Ronon didn't worry. Rodney would come see him sooner or later.

~*+*~

That night a moon rose pale and full over the horizon, bathing Atlantis and the waves gently lapping against its sides in its silvery light.

~*+*~

"Keller to Sheppard. Colonel, could you please come to the infirmary?"

Jennifer Keller's voice sounded shaky, and John almost forgot to grab his gun from his desk in his haste to get to the infirmary. He left his shield on his desk; since it was dark out, he didn't realize he'd forgotten to put it back into his pocket until he was almost at the infirmary, and by then, he hoped that he just wouldn't need it. It was too late to turn around and get it now.

Rodney and Teyla were already there. Teyla was sitting next to Jennifer on one of the beds and held her hand, and Rodney was furiously typing on his laptop, the frown on his forehead deeper than John had seen it in a long while. His blood ran cold as he realized what had happened, what had to have happened.

"Ronon?"

"Gone." Jennifer's voice was almost toneless. "He knocked out the guards and disappeared." She shuddered. "Thankfully, nobody got killed…or bitten."

Teyla looked up, her gaze meeting John's. They both were thinking the same.

"Oh."

The soft sound coming from Rodney had John by his side in a heartbeat. "Rodney?"

Rodney pressed another key on his keyboard and turned the laptop around, to show John and the others the picture from the security feed.

John was the first who found his voice.

"Looks like killing the wolfman who'd bitten you is not the cure," he muttered without taking his eyes off the image of the huge, dark brown wolf with the black markings. Its teeth were bared in a growl and its ears were pressed tight to its massive head.

John whirled around, toward the bed Ronon had occupied. "Where is he now?" he asked while taking in the ripped gown and blankets on the floor, the discarded medical equipment and the overturned chairs.

"I don't know," Rodney replied and continued to type. "What are you going to do?"

"Find him," John replied shortly and grabbed Ronon's energy weapon from the drawer of the little table that was tucked away next to the top of the bed.

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Rodney asked doubtfully, but the speed of his typing did not slow down. He wanted to find Ronon as much as John did, and as much as John he wanted Ronon safe.

John set the weapon to stun and shrugged. "The Zubbi were certain that wolfmen never bite vampires, and if they do, it doesn't affect them…us…more than any other bite. I'm the only one who can do this without the risk of getting turned, Rodney," he explained as patiently as he could. "And I need you to tell me where he is."

"Unless he kills you," Rodney muttered, but he knew that John was right and that he wouldn't be able to stop him."Just be careful. I'll give you directions."

John nodded and left.

He had a wolfman to find.

~*+*~

The slight static of Rodney's voice over the radio and his own breathing were the loudest sounds around John as he sneaked on silent feet through the dimly lit hallways of Atlantis, Ronon's gun in his hands and his vampire senses sharpened to the point where he could hear the rush of his own blood in his veins. The ancient technology hummed soothingly in his mind, quietly enough not to distract him from his task, and he carefully listened into the room ahead of him, in order to pick up even the slightest trace of the wolf.

Ronon.

"Now left," Rodney's voice in his ear told him, and obediently, John ducked through an open door, into a darker hallway. He waited for a few heartbeats before continuing his search of Atlantis. He vaguely remembered this particular part of the city from several runs with Ronon, and he knew that around the corner, broken furniture was stacked up and waiting for them to have some time to clean up the uninhabited areas.

He knew instinctively that something was off.

Something was different.

He slowed down even more.

"Careful now, you're almost there," Rodney murmured nervously in his ear, at the same time as John heard a clicking noise.

He'd never heard this particular sound in Atlantis before, he thought. It sounded like toenails on Atlantis' floor.

He froze.

"He's coming straight for your position!" Rodney managed to inform him, and John yanked his arm up, powering up Ronon's weapon and aiming into the darkness without hesitating.

He was too slow, despite his vampire speed. Before he could fire Ronon's gun, a heavy weight crashed into his chest and drove the air out of his lungs. The gun flew out of his grip and clattered somewhere behind him in the darkness as he crashed hard into the floor. He could feel his ribs protest under the attack, and although it hurt badly enough that he only saw black spots dance in front of his eyes for an agonizingly long moment, he was sure that he hadn't broken any ribs.

Huge paws were resting on his chest, making it impossible to take a deep breath. A cold, wet nose came close, brushed over his collarbone and his cheek and sniffed him before John managed to turn his head away. He caught sight of a massive, furry chest and a hint of a bushy tail before a deep growl from above pulled his attention back to what he was sure was the werewolf's head.

Its ears twitched, but they weren't pressed flat to the skull like the other wolf's had been. Its lips were pulled back, exposing long, sharp teeth that looked like shiny white knives in the semi-darkness. However, for some reason, John didn't have the impression that the wolf was trying to seriously harm him, even if he didn't know how exactly he had reached that conclusion.

"Sheppard!" Rodney's voice bellowed into his ear. "Sheppard, are you there? What's happening? Sheppard, come in!"

With some difficulty and with very slow movements, John lifted his hand to his ear.

"I found him," he said, his voice breathless and hoarse. "Don't…"

He trailed off as the wolf moved and had to remind himself forcefully that wolfsmen were not supposed to bite vampires, unless, a traitorous part of his brain reminded him, they were hunted and wanted to kill the hunter.

He barely dared to breathe, but the wolf only sat down next to him. Its paw, however, remained on John's chest, a not-so-subtle reminder that he was trapped and, even if he managed to escape, he was certain he couldn't outrun a wolf.

"Don't what?" Rodney asked, and John grimaced. "Don't worry," he said, his voice pitched low and calming. "I found him. We're fine. Seal the area until I tell you otherwise – he's calm now, but I don't want to know what will happen if more people with guns storm at him."

"What about you?" Rodney demanded, and John managed a grim smile.

"I'm fine," he said. "Really."

Really. Besides the fact that he was pinned to the floor by an overgrown wolf and unarmed, he was fine.

"If you say so," Rodney replied. He sounded helpless, frustrated and a little bit scared, but there was nothing John could do about that right now. Rodney, he told himself, was with Jennifer and with Teyla. They both were better at keeping the scientist calm than he was, anyway.

Rodney would be fine.

He peered up, past the muzzle and the teeth and into the wolf's brownish yellow eyes.

Intelligent eyes.

John deliberately forced himself to relax.

"Hey, big guy," he drawled. "You gonna let me up?"

The wolf seemed to smirk down on him.

"I guess not." John sighed. "Any idea when you're going to change back?"

The wolf didn't reply, and John settled in to wait with a small sigh. It was going to be a long night.

~*+*~

John slowly blinked his eyes open. He'd dozed off some time after the wolf had curled up along his side and had rested its massive head on John's chest, and John had wrapped his hand in the thick, coarse hair of its mane and had entertained thoughts of tossing a tennis ball or a leg of a broken chair for Ronon to retrieve just before he'd fallen asleep.

And now, he'd woken up because the weight of that head had suddenly disappeared.

Slightly disoriented, he lifted his head from the hard floor and looked around.

Through the windows at the end of the hallway, weak grey light filtered in, telling John that it was dawn. The wolf – Ronon – was nowhere to be seen, but John could still hear him, a loud panting and the sound of bones breaking. It sent shivers and a mild wave of nausea through him, and he hastily scrambled to his feet and went to retrieve Ronon's weapon before advancing toward the sound of crunching and whimpering noises.

Everything was silent once again before he reached the corner, and John carefully peaked around it, half expecting the wolf to wait for him and knock him to the ground again.

There was no sign of a wolf whatsoever, but the body lying twisted on the ground, face hidden by a wild mass of dreadlocks, body naked and smooth, was familiar.

"Ronon!"

With two quick steps, John was by Ronon's side and knelt down. One hand reached for Ronon's shoulder. "Hey, buddy, can you hear me?"

Ronon growled, a sound that was animalistic and dangerous sounding, and rolled around. The weapon flew out of John's hand for a second time as his wrists were pinned to the ground, but this time, John didn't freeze like he had in the night. He kicked out, and his boot connected with soft flesh and hard muscle.

Ronon jerked back with a growl, and John scrambled backwards, away from him, as quickly as his muscles, which were stiff from the night he'd spent on the ground, allowed him.

He didn't get far until Ronon attacked him again, but this time, he was able to anticipate the attack and brace himself. When Ronon's body connected with his own, he used their momentum and rolled them, until he was on top of Ronon and straddling his hips.

"Knock it off!" he hissed, and Ronon, to his great surprise, seemed to understand him and even listen to him. His muscles went lax, and he stretched an arm over his eyes while he panted, his bare chest lifting and falling rhythmically under John's hands.

It was only now that John fully registered that Ronon was completely naked under him, and the little part in him that he'd fought since the first time Ronon had pulled him in his lap and had bared his throat to him, letting John drink from him, stirred.

Instinct made him lean forward, his hands braced on Ronon's chest, and seek out that one spot under Ronon's jaw he'd bitten whenever he had drunk from the Satedan. He could almost taste the tang of Ronon's blood on the tip of his tongue, but before he could give in to the urges and bite down, his self-control returned, and he froze mid-movement.

He couldn't bite Ronon with the other man like this, unable to consent to what was happening. It didn't matter that Ronon regularly offered John both his blood and his body. Right now, Ronon's mind was, apparently, still caught up in the mind frame of a wolf, and John wouldn't do anything without Ronon fully back to his senses and agreeing to it.

Very slowly, he pulled back.

Ronon's face was twisted into a grimace, his eyes pressed tightly shut. John opened his mouth, to apologize for what he'd almost done, when Ronon blinked, and suddenly, John was staring into the eyes of the wolf.

"Why'd you stop?" Ronon growled, his voice rough and almost toneless. "Don't stop."

His hand came up and closed around the back of John's neck, gripping tight, almost too tight, and then John was yanked forward. He barely managed to brace himself again with his palms flat on Ronon's chest when their lips were already pressed fully together.

John's instincts screamed at him, and then, Ronon's tongue was pushing past his lips, slick and hot and agile and tracing along John's own tongue.

Ronon made a frustrated sound at the back of his throat when John didn't react immediately, still caught up in the fight between his libido and his conscience. He pressed his tongue up with a little more intent. It came in contact with John's teeth, the sharp and elongated canines that identified him as a vampire, but instead of doing the smart thing, the instinctive thing, and pulling away, Ronon deliberately sliced his tongue on John's tooth.

When John tried to pull away, Ronon's hand clamped down on the back of his neck again and held him in place.

Sweet blood dripped directly into John's mouth, and he curled his tongue over Ronon's greedily and sucked on the small cut without being able to stop himself. He only managed to pull away when the wound had closed and panting, he rested his forehead on Ronon's shoulder.

Ronon's hand slipped down his spine and came to rest on the curve of his ass, warm, heavy and comfortable, and then, his thumb stroked upwards, under his shirt and over the skin of John's back.

He shivered.

"Why are you fighting this so much?" Ronon murmured close to his ear. "Just let go."

John pressed his forehead into Ronon's collarbone and shook his head mutely.

He couldn't.

"Why is this so hard for you?" Ronon whispered softly. "I gave you consent. What more do you need? I won't tell and I'll make sure nobody asks." He hesitated. "Lorne said it's okay then."

John yanked back, his eyes narrowed suspiciously. "You talked to Lorne about this?" he asked sharply.

Ronon shrugged. "You know you can trust him," he said calmly. "Besides, it was in that lecture you made me go to."

John sighed and lifted a hand to massage to bridge of his nose. His stomach growled quietly, and he clenched his jaw tightly at the sound and the feeling of it.

"Look," Ronon murmured and gently pulled John back. His fingers brushed over his sides, where just a few hours ago, before his transformation, a gaping wound had been. All that was left now was a deep red scar.

"One thing everyone knows about wolfmen," he said earnestly. "They're resilient. They're strong. They can kill Wraith with their bare hands."

John's lips twitched. "You can do that without having to turn into a wolfman," he pointed out quietly.

Ronon shrugged. "Now, I can do it even better," he simply said. "And if I can kill a Wraith with my bare hands…I can stop you whenever I want."

The growl returned to his voice, and he tugged impatiently at John's black shirt.

"How do you know I'm even into this?" John spluttered helplessly. By this point, his shirt was already tangled under his armpits.

Ronon gave him a wolfish grin. "Your smell. Get naked." His hands reached for John's belt and tangled in it while he leaned over John and kissed him forcefully.

The faint metallic hint of blood rendered John helpless to the attack, and he reached up with one hand and clung to Ronon's shoulder with an almost desperate strength.

He turned his head to the side again. "Nobody can know," he gasped. "Not even Rodney and Teyla."

"Okay," Ronon simply replied. "Now take off your shirt."

He reached for the hem of John's shirt again and lifted it over John's head before tossing it behind himself, not caring where it landed, and neither did John, who found himself reaching out with trembling fingers and pressing them flat into Ronon's chest, allowing himself for the first time to feel Ronon; to feel his strength and gracefulness and the smoothness of his skin.

He traced along Ronon's collarbone and down the middle of his chest and stomach, feeling rock-hard muscles and the warmth of his body and enjoying every sensation the touch brought him. Ronon waited for a few moments, and then he continued his efforts to open John's belt and the buttons on the fly of his pants.

"Wait," John gasped. "Boots!"

Ronon growled, but he stopped for long enough to yank off John's boots before dragging his pants and underwear down and off.

They both were completely naked now, and Ronon stretched out on top of John and kissed him hungrily. The instincts of the wolf were still close to the surface, and they screamed at him to take John or to roll on his back and offer his soft belly to the vampire. His cock was red and hard between his thighs, slightly wet at the tip, and when he crawled over John, the soft head dragged enticingly along John's thigh and over his stomach, leaving a moist trail behind.

Ronon's lips closed over John's, his tongue pushed into John's mouth again and tried to seek out his teeth, but John turned his head away at the last second.

"Bite me," Ronon growled, and for a second, his eyes glowed yellowish again.

John almost protested, out of habit, but Ronon muffled his half-hearted words with an almost gentle kiss.

"Come on," he whispered against John's lips. "You know you want to."

He did. Weeks and months of holding back and not allowing himself to even think about this made him almost whimper or sob when he ducked down, instinctively finding that spot under Ronon's chin again, and pressed his lips down in an open-mouthed kiss.

Ronon's hands slipped around, under John's back, and he hauled him up without any indication of effort before following him into a kneeling position.

This time, it was John who growled, low and deep in his throat, and still not as impressively as Ronon, but it was enough to make the taller man still and tilt his head back, revealing the long line of his throat.

John's fingers clamped down, keeping Ronon in the position he wanted him in as he slowly took control of their encounter. Ronon's arms wound themselves around John's waist, pressing them together and bringing friction to their erections as they were caught between their stomachs. John trailed one of his hands down to Ronon's shoulder, and yet, Ronon didn't change the position of his head, even if he now could.

He remained exactly as John had wanted him, and finally, John allowed himself to sink his teeth into Ronon's warm skin and drink.

Ronon made a pleased sound at the back of his throat and let his fingers slip down, to brush over John's ass. The reaction was immediate: John jerked and then pressed himself back, into the contact, without removing his lips from Ronon's throat.

Ronon pressed himself tightly against John and still managed to somehow bring his free hand between them, to take both his and John's erections in his hand and stroke them roughly.

John made another wet whimpering sound and pushed against Ronon's chest, and when Ronon gave in to the unspoken demand and lied back, John followed him down, his knees spread widely around Ronon's hips.

Ronon could smell his own blood and both their arousal, sharper than he'd ever been able to, and he curled his hand tighter around their dicks and brushed a single fingertip over the opening to John's body, teasing the many nerve endings he knew to be there, just to see John's hips snap forward, into his palm, and back, against his fingers again.

John pulled his lips away from Ronon's throat and panted. His breath was hot and moist against Ronon's collarbone. It only made Ronon feel the level of arousal and lust in him even more intensely.

With a growl, he rolled them around, to be on top, but John had anticipated the move and used their momentum to carry on until he was on top again and bit down on Ronon's chest. The pain raced through Ronon like a hit from a Wraith stunner, too much for his nerve endings to be considered pleasurable. He rolled them again, and John yelped and hissed and tried to move them again.

However, this time, Ronon had him pinned, and he remained looming above John, balanced on one forearm, his hips pushing harshly against John's, until they both came, sticky fluid dripping on John's stomach and smearing through his body hair and, from there, against Ronon's body.

John hissed again and clawed at Ronon's shoulder. "Move," he ordered tersely, his voice shaky but still firm and unbending, like steel. Ronon stretched his back – the sun was shining through the window, warming his skin and hitting the parts of John that weren't shaded by Ronon's body.

His exhausted, sated body jerked as that thought filtered slowly through his mind.

They had long known that John wouldn't fall to dust when getting in direct contact with sunlight, but his skin would burn almost immediately, turning red and blistered. Right now, Ronon could practically watch how it happened.

He cursed, wrapped his arm around John, and hastily rolled them out of the sunlight and back into the shadow.

"Thanks, buddy," John rasped, but he pushed against Ronon's shoulder again, urging him to get up and off of him. The urge to do what John wanted was surprisingly strong in Ronon, but his body was slow to follow. He was tired and wanted nothing more than curling up somewhere for a nap, with John pressed against his side.

He shook his head, to clear it, and watched for a moment as John dressed, a vaguely disgusted expression on his face. Ronon hoped that his facial expression was due to the fact that John didn't even try to clean up the mess on his stomach. It brought his awareness back to his own naked body.

He shrugged and bent down, to retrieve his gun, while John yanked his boots on and pushed his radio back in his ear. "Rodney?"

This, Ronon thought dejectedly, was it. John would draw back from him again and would become uncomfortable and awkward, and next time, Ronon had to trick him into drinking from him again, and all the progress he'd made in loosening the vampire up were for nothing, unless he could say the exact right thing now to stop John from doing something Ronon considered to be very stupid.

"Sheppard."

John looked up, and Ronon lifted his gun. "If you go all weird on me now, I'll kick your ass."

It probably wasn't the exact right thing to say, but it was close enough to bring a small twitch of lips to John's face and made him nod slightly.

"I mean it," Ronon added for good measure, but he didn't say anything else. He had another problem to deal with – he needed to get from their current position to his quarters without anyone seeing that he was completely naked.

On the other hand, he thought while running his fingertips over the barrel of his gun, he didn't think there were a lot of people, even in Atlantis, who would dare laughing about a naked man when he was armed.

He glanced at John again. His arms were red, his hair disheveled, and Ronon felt a wave of arousal surge through him at the sight and the wave of smell wafting over to him.

He frowned slightly. His sense of smell was still extremely heightened, even now that he wasn't in his second form anymore. The bright light of the morning stabbed him in the eyes, and he realized that instead of curling up in a dark place with John, he would have to go back to the infirmary and let Jennifer poke and prod at him.

"Come on," John said and nudged Ronon's side before lifting his hand to his ear, to ask Rodney to disengage the locks on the doors.

~*+*~

It turned out he didn't have to walk naked through Atlantis. Rodney and Jennifer were already waiting on the other side of the door, with scrubs for him and the modified shield for John, and a group of nervous-looking Marines who averted their eyes from Ronon an shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other, and Jennifer hustled them back to the infirmary to make sure they both were okay.

~*+*~

"He shouldn't have to," John argued. "He can just as well stay in his room for the night."

"It's just for the night, Colonel," Jennifer answered, her patience thinning. "And it's for his own safety. We were expecting anything to happen last night, and still, he managed to overwhelm the guards and escape. How many of your men do you think will shoot first and ask questions later when they are confronted by a huge wolf somewhere in this city?"

"She's right." Ronon looked up from his bare toes. He was the only one who was sitting; Jennifer was standing behind her desk and John was pacing next to Ronon, too agitated to stay still. He could almost taste the tension in the room, it was so thick, and, like a film of an oily substance, it was heavy on his tongue and in his throat. He'd spent most of the day sleeping or dozing, exhausted from the changes his body had gone through, but every time he had been awake, he had contemplated his situation and he had come to a similar result as Jennifer. He didn't like it – he hated being locked up – but he knew that it was his best option. He didn't want to get shot by his own people.

"Besides, Woolsey ordered it," Jennifer added quickly.

John sat down with a small growl. He was moving very slowly and very deliberately, a clear sign of how much not okay he was with the situation.

"It's just for the nights, until we have figured out how often and how long Ronon changes," Jennifer said by way of explanation. "We don't know anything about this…wolfman thing. We need more information before we can make a real decision. You know that, Colonel."

Ronon sniffed. "Relax," he said and nudged John with his knee. "You smell like you're just begging to get the hell kicked out of you." He tilted his head to the side and smirked, and for a reason Jennifer didn't know, the tips of John's ears turned a bright shade of red – a similar shade to his burned arms.

"Besides," Ronon added and fixed his eyes on Jennifer. They were burning with an intensity that almost scared her. It looked somehow…inhuman and served as a reminder that Ronon now was a werewolf. "It's just for one night, right?"

"Until we've figured out if you're a danger to anyone," she replied hastily. "But only for the nights. You're good to go by day. As soon as you turn back to yourself, you can leave."

Ronon nodded once, a thoughtful expression on his face, and stood. "Okay, then."

He turned around to leave, and unsurprisingly, John quickly followed him out.

The good thing about being a wolfman, Ronon thought with grim amusement, was that his senses, even now, were much more sensitive. He could smell the anger, the worry, the attraction John was feeling, and it gave him a much clearer understanding of what John was really thinking behind his carefully constructed mask of laid-back, easy going Colonel Sheppard.

The bad thing, on the other hand, was that his senses were much more sensitive, and when they walked past the chemistry lab, he almost gagged and hastily quickened his step.

Finally, they reached the gym. This time of the day, it was quiet there, almost deserted, and the two Marines sparring on the other side of the room gave them a respectful nod and left them alone.

Ronon waited until it was just the two of them and then reached for John. John stiffened as if Ronon had just insulted his entire planet, however, Ronon was stronger and much more determined. He wouldn't let that stiffness stop him.

"Hey," he said again and tugged John close. "What's wrong?"

"This. The whole situation. It sucks." John frowned. He was feeling helpless and he hated it.

Ronon's thumbs dug into his shoulders. "Don't," he said gruffly and sniffed. He could tell that John had showered, that his elbow had brushed against Lorne earlier in the day, that he'd sparred with Teyla, and he could detect the faint, but familiar smell underneath all that.

Him.

John smelled like him.

He'd tried to wash it off, but it still was there, without a doubt.

"What?" John asked in irritation and peered up at him.

Ronon smirked. "You really don't have a lot of sex for a sex vampire," he replied, and then, he let his head dip down and pressed his mouth to John's.

John made a choking noise and nipped on Ronon's tongue, and the small pain was sharp enough to make him pull back.

"Not here," John hissed and looked over his shoulder. Ronon pulled back slightly and reached for the bantos rods leaning against the close wall.

"Nobody's here," he pointed out, but the tension in John's shoulders wasn't only in his scent, but visible now, and Ronon knew it would be wise to back off now.

"I told you, nobody will hear it from me," he said quietly, but John didn't react. He took the rods from Ronon's fingers and twirled them.

Ronon grabbed a second pair and took position opposite John. "Doctor Keller said the change wreaks havoc on my hormones," he said after a moment of tense silence.

John's lips twitched slightly as he feigned an attack. "Hormones, huh?" he replied and jumped back again.

"That's what she says." Ronon grinned a little and began to circle John. "Wanna stop by my quarters tomorrow morning and help me get them back in order?"

He watched John's eyes narrow slightly, but he didn't give him time to reply. Instead, he started his own attack, and for the next few minutes, John was busy trying to defend himself against him. Ronon only stopped his attack when John was flat on his back.

"What do you say?" he asked and stretched out his hand, to help him back to his feet.

"Sure," John panted and got ready for another round.

Ronon circled him again. John was moving with him, his eyes focused on every little move Ronon made.

"I don't think I want you to see me change," he abruptly said and launched another attack on John.

John hastily jumped back. "What? Why not?" he managed to ask.

Ronon shrugged one shoulder. "I saw that security tape," he pointed out. "Looks pretty horrible. Bones breaking and fusing together, all that. I don't want you to watch that."

John frowned, but he nodded. "All right, buddy. No peeking. I got it." He attacked Ronon suddenly, but he had no trouble defending himself against John.

"Okay," he simply said and knocked John down again.

~*+*~

By the time the sun was setting over Atlantis and the first moon came up, full and round and pale, Ronon was in a holding cell and John was in the conference room with Rodney, Teyla and Lorne.

"They found this body yesterday," Lorne reported and showed them a picture of a corpse.

Rodney made a faint gagging sound, and John felt himself stiffen. He'd seen that man before, and even if it had been dark then and lying in a field for two weeks hadn't been kind to the man, there was no doubt who it was.

"A hunting accident, they say," Lorne said. "Besides him, every villager is accounted for."

"A hunting accident?" Rodney asked, disbelief coloring his voice. "What was he hunting that required of him to turn into a gigantic wolf? Innocent travelers?"

"No," Teyla replied, a hard edge in her voice. "Wraith."

For a long moment they were silent, then Rodney asked in a faint voice, "Wait, what?"

"I believe," Teyla said, her voice controlled and calm, "that we have found the Wraithhunters." She glanced into their confused faces and added, "Mysterious wolfmen warriors who are well-known for fighting the Wraith. They probably are most like the ninjas in the movies you showed me." She gave John a brief nod.

"What makes you think this guy is a ninja werewolf?" Rodney asked, his forehead furrowed. "He wasn't very ninja about attacking Ronon."

"They are very secretive about their actions," Teyla said. "I did not see it when we encountered this man on the planet, but he bears the mark of the Wraithhunters." She pointed at the picture. "See, there?"

On the inside of the man's left wrist, barely visible in the photograph, was a faint scar in the shape of a hand.

John inhaled sharply. "Great," he muttered. "We killed a Wraith-hunting werewolf ninja. I just hope the others don't want retaliation."

Lorne shifted. "Sir," he said, a serious tone in his voice. "I believe all of the villagers have that mark…at least the adults."

Silence fell over them once again.

"Oh, great," Rodney said. "We found the planet of the Wraith-hunting werewolf ninjas. And we promised to help them with their water supply."

~*+*~

After he left the conference room, John wandered aimlessly through Atlantis, twitchy and nervous about the new revelation. It took him a while to figure out that he also was nervous because of Ronon, and because he couldn't stop thinking about the ramifications of the wolfmen finding out that it had been the Lanteans who had killed one of their own.

The thought of Ronon being in danger was almost unbearable to him, even if he knew perfectly well that Ronon was capable of defending himself, no matter what body he was in.

Finally, he gave up and went to the holding cell, to see how Ronon was doing.

In the bright light, the wolf looked even more massive than he had the night before, when it had been dark and all John had been able to make out were schemes and shadows. The wolf's ears were flat against its head, its teeth revealed in a growl. The wolf was pacing the confines of its cell on gigantic paws. His fur gleamed in the light, a glossy dark brown that looked almost black.

John exhaled – he hadn't even noticed that he'd held his breath at the sight of his friend in this form. "Hey, buddy," he greeted and took a step toward the cell. "How are you holding up?"

The wolf's ears slowly twitched toward him, and John took another step forward as yellow eyes focused on him.

"Hey, buddy," he said again and watched as the wolf copied his actions on the other side of the energy barrier and took a step toward him.

"Ronon?"

The wolf whimpered, as if he had understood John, and slowly sat down on his hind legs.

"This sucks," John muttered, and the whimpering sound he got from the wolf sounded like agreement. The animal didn't seem to be as agitated as it had been when John had arrived, but its huge body remained tense and nervous, ears twitching at the slightest sound.

John sat down on the ground directly in front of the cell and, because he didn't know what to do otherwise, began to tell Ronon about Lorne's report and Teyla's conclusions. The wolf - Ronon, John reminded himself again – didn't turn its eyes from John as he talked. He kept staring at him, until the sound of steps interrupted John's monologue.

"Oh." Rodney paled slightly when he saw the size of the wolf, and John remembered that Rodney hadn't seen Ronon in this form yet. Rodney determinedly lifted his chin and stepped further into the room.

"There you are," he said and stiffly sat down next to John, not without making a few sounds of pain and discomfort, as if his knees were thirty years older than they really were.

John gave him a smirk. "Getting old, McKay?"

Rodney glared at him. "You are older than I am, Sheppard," he pointed out irritably. "Why didn't we bring any chairs here?"

"McKay," John opened his mouth, but he couldn't think of anything to say and quickly closed it again.

"What are you doing here, anyways?" Rodney asked him. "Shouldn't you, I don't know, turn into a bat and fly around the spires of Atlantis?"

"McKay!"

"Or listen to Johnny Cash and be all…emo or what vampires do nowadays?"

This time, John just glared at him, but it didn't impress Rodney in the slightest. He just shifted around and finally sighed. "Seriously, what are you doing here?"

"Nothing," John replied defensively. "I'm just…telling Ronon about the briefing. The Wraithhunters and everything." He shrugged embarrassedly.

"I know it isn't a huge difference to his usual Wookie-like appearance, but you know that he is a wolf, right?" Rodney asked.

"Really? I wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't told me," John replied sarcastically.

"He doesn't understand you," Rodney pointed out. "You could read him the Air Force regulations and he wouldn't know better." He fell silent for a moment as he thought. "Unless it's just about hearing your voice and knowing he's not alone." He tilted his head to the side. "He seems to listen to you, but my cat always pretended to listen to me as well, in the hope that he'd get a treat. Have you tried giving him a treat yet?"

"Rodney," John ground out. "This is Ronon and not some stray cat we're talking about."

Rodney hunched up his shoulders, and John exhaled again, in not quite a sigh. His patience was running thin already.

"You think these Wraithhunters can be a valuable ally?" Rodney asked after a few moments.

John shrugged. "I don't know," he admitted. "Maybe. Not if they don't understand us in this form. We've never heard of these Wraithhunters before, we don't know what they can do…I don't know."

Rodney snorted dismissively. "No matter how good they are, I bet Ronon is better," he declared.

The wolf, John thought, seemed to grin at that.

He still seemed to grin when Teyla slipped in a few minutes later.

~*+*~

"Sheppard."

John stepped back from the door and let Ronon in. "I see they let you go," he said and grinned.

"You want to run?" Ronon asked and raised both eyebrows. "Unless you're too busy with writing your name." He'd seen the laptop behind John's shoulder and knew that John had been busy with paperwork.

"No," John hastily said and closed his laptop. "Let's run." He stretched before collecting his work-out clothes and disappearing in his bathroom.

Ronon followed him slowly. "Hey," he said, his voice rumbling in his chest, and John felt sweat pool in his palms at the sound. A shiver ran down his spine, and he fumbled with his shirt to hide it.

"Yeah?" he asked.

"Thank you." Ronon leaned against the wall and shrugged with one shoulder as John turned to look at him with a confused frown.

"What for?"

"Being there." He smirked. "Tell McKay that if he tries to give me dog food, I'll bite his arm off, okay?"

John froze. "You…heard us?" he asked disbelievingly. "You…understood?"

Ronon shrugged. "It's a little…fuzzy," he admitted. "But yeah. Every word you said." He exhaled. "Wraithhunters, huh?"

"That's what Lorne said," John replied and reached blindly for his shoes. "You ever heard of those guys?"

Ronon nodded. "Everyone has," he replied. "They're the best at what they do – hunting Wraith and killing them."

"So…you think we should go back, try to get them to work with us?" He hastily knotted the laces of his shoes and stood.

Ronon shrugged. "Yeah," he said. "But first, we run." He grinned again. "And fuck."

John snorted. "All right," he muttered. He had a lot to think about, but Ronon was right – first, they would run. Everything else could wait until they had done that.

Grabbing the personal shield from his desk, he nodded at Ronon. "Let's go."

~*+*~

The door chime sounded, and John rolled off his bed and went to open the door, one hand hovering cautiously over his gun. It was a habit he couldn't and didn't want to shake, but as soon as he realized who was on the other side of the door, he relaxed and took a step back.

"I see you're back," he said lamely and went to sit on the edge of the bed. It was a stupid thing to say – he had been there when Ronon had returned to Atlantis, almost an hour ago.

"Yeah." Ronon waited until the door closed behind him before sitting down next to him. "Came back just in time for the third full moon this month."

John grimaced. "Sucks to live on a planet with five moons, huh?" he muttered and folded his hands between his knees.

Ronon smirked and gave him a sideways glance. "Teyla thinks so, too." He shrugged slightly. "The Wraithhunters have a fruit that eases the pain of transformation. They're willing to trade it for other foodstuffs or for someone who actually has hands during the full moon and can set off some bombs in a joint operation."

"Did you bring a sample?" John asked, carefully ignoring the second part of Ronon's statement, and allowed himself to soak in the warmth of Ronon's body, seeping through the layers of clothes between them. Ronon's body temperature had gone up a few degrees since he'd been bitten, and John, whose temperature had gone down a few degrees after he had been turned into a vampire, enjoyed Ronon's proximity more than he probably should.

"Yeah," Ronon said. "Gave it to Parrish. He muttered something about ketchup and myths and took off with it."

John blinked. "Ketchup?" he echoed, but he decided the same moment that he would ask the botanist about that later, or maybe Major Lorne. Lorne worked with Parrish, he could explain to John in small words what exactly Ronon had brought back.

"Yeah." Ronon's arm came up, his fingertips brushing against John's wrist. "Want to fuck?"

John's breath caught in his throat, and he stiffened slightly. It was a completely irrational reaction, he was perfectly aware of that, but he couldn't help himself. They were alone, unobserved, safe – as safe as they could be in a galaxy full of vampires, werewolves and life-sucking aliens – and he knew by now that Ronon's libido was somewhat linked to the moon. The fuller it was, the hornier the werewolf got.

"Come on," Ronon rumbled. His thumb rasped against the stubble along John's jaw line with a quiet sound that seemed to reverberate through every inch of John's body.

He shuddered and sucked in a shaky breath.

"Yeah?" Ronon murmured. His hand moved downward, his fingertips grazing the hollow of John's throat, the side of his chest and his stomach lightly. "You want it too?"

John nodded mutely. A rush of arousal filled him and made his toes and fingertips tingle in excitement. It was intense, almost too intense, and he gasped and reached for Ronon himself, his finger clenching tightly in the Satedan's roughly woven shirt.

Ronon grinned and pressed his entire body against John, pushing him backward until John was on his back across the entire width of the bed, Ronon covering him completely and their lips pressed together in a wet, open-mouthed kiss. Ronon tasted of exotic spices; his tongue was quick, wet and agile in John's mouth, and John suddenly ached to feel that tongue on other parts of his body.

The sensations caused by that thought alone almost threatened to overwhelm him, and he broke away from the kiss with a grunt and arched his back, to press the hard line of his cock under his pants against Ronon's thigh.

Ronon pulled back slightly and tugged his shirt up over his head. "Want you to fuck me," he said, his voice sounding rough and breathless. "Hard."

John's throat was suddenly too dry for him to form words. He simply put his teeth against Ronon's shoulder, fitting the against Ronon's collarbone, careful not to break the skin.

He had already eaten.

There was no need to spill any blood.

His fingers fumbled with Ronon's pants, still unfamiliar with them and too aroused for a coordinated attempt of undoing the strings holding them up. Ronon wasn't feeling differently about his pants, if the way he was yanking at John's belt was an indicator.

John took a deep, deliberate breath and consciously slowed down. He ignored Ronon's growl and took his time figuring out the fastenings of Ronon's pants.

Ronon grunted. "What's wrong?" he asked and pressed his palm against the prominent bulge in John's pants.

"Nothing." John shook his head and arched his back again, pressing himself against Ronon's clever fingers.

"Why did you slow down, then?" Ronon wanted to know and lifted his hips, to wriggle out of his remaining clothes.

John shook his head again and crawled from under him to take off his own pants and to retrieve the lube from its hiding place. He urged Ronon on all fours with a few touches and fewer words and prepared him while staring at Ronon's smooth back.

Rodney's work, he knew – Rodney had removed the scars when he had been ascending, leaving only smooth, soft skin behind, skin that gleamed like a precious coin under Atlantis' warm lights.

Ronon's muscles moved under his skin, effortless like a panther or any other big predator – sleek and dangerous, strong and powerful.

John reached down with his free hand and wrapped it around the base of his own dick. It sent a pleasant shock through his system, and John twisted the fingers he'd pushed into Ronon the way he'd found out Ronon enjoyed the most.

"You ready?" he croaked, even if he knew exactly how Ronon was going to answer that question.

As he'd expected, Ronon turned his head and gave him a look over his shoulder that rivaled Rodney's most scornful expression while baring his teeth in a growl.

It was all John needed to know.

He still took his time, scissoring his fingers one last time before pulling them free. Sweat was prickling the back of his knees as he inched closer, his erection slowly sinking into Ronon's body.

Ronon grunted softly and arched his back. "You know," he managed to say, "when this is over, with the full moons, I want to do this to you." He gasped softly. "Spread you out and show you a good time. Wolfmen have…stamina."

John shuddered at the words and picked up the speed of his thrusts. One hand sneaked around Ronon's slim hips and closed around his dick, squeezing it rhythmically.

"You'd like it," Ronon continued after a while and turned his head to the side. "I'd make you…"

John snorted a breathless laugh. "The job as negotiator makes you talk more, huh?" he murmured into Ronon's warm, sweaty back. He didn't want to hear what Ronon wanted to do to him. He feared it would make him come on the spot, and he wanted to draw this out as long as possible.

Ronon pushed back into John's thrusts. His movements started to get frantic, and desperate, and John knew he was balancing on the edge of his control, almost ready to let go and fall. He angled his hips upward, to push harder into Ronon, and picked up the speed of his hand.

A gasping sob, almost inaudible, and Ronon's body convulsed under John's. Warm wetness covered his fingers and dripped onto his sheets.

John's hips buckled as the intensity of Ronon's orgasm travelled through both their bodies. He grabbed Ronon's hips and held him still while chasing his own release, until he tumbled over the same razor-sharp edge Ronon had fallen over and into bliss.

Breathing heavily, he remained plastered against Ronon's body and allowed himself to feel the other man move under him.

"I never saw you as the negotiating kind," he finally said, when he could trust his voice not to shake anymore.

Ronon chuckled. "Me neither. That's Teyla's job."

John slowly pulled out and collapsed in a sprawled heap of tangled limbs next to Ronon.

"She can have it back," Ronon added after rolling onto his back.

"She says we're well-connected now," John murmured. "Alliances with all the major players. Genii, Travellers, Zubbi, Wraithhunters…"

"I know." Ronon turned to his side and scratched his blunt nails through John's chest hair. "She told me too."

"Really?" John's eyebrows shot up. As far as he knew, Ronon had been off-world for the past few days, negotiating with the Wraithhunters, and Teyla had been on New Athos, to check in with her people.

Ronon shrugged with one shoulder. "I asked her to teach the Wraithhunters some meditation." A pause. "It helps with the pain."

John was silent. He didn't know what to tell Ronon about that – there wasn't anything he could say without sounding like an ass, he knew. He didn't know how it was, having to transform into a wolf every time the full moons came up, and since Atlantis' current planet had five moons, it was a lot of transformations to go through. Having to spend the night in a holding cell due to the violent outbursts the wolf was apparently prone to couldn't be fun either. Ronon apparently was aware of what was happening around him when he was in his second form, but he couldn't always control himself. The two full moons they had gone through already, he'd been aggressive, scratching at the edges of the energy field surrounding the holding cell, and growling and howling angrily.

"There's this story," Ronon suddenly said. "A Satedan legend. Very old. Of Jarn, the Wolfwarrior."

He fell silent again, but John knew him well enough not to push him, and so he waited until Ronon had collected his thoughts and continued on his own.

"He already was a strong warrior when he got bitten by a wolfman and transformed. The legend says that killing the wolfman who bites you will make you return to your original form, so Jarn set out to find him."

John nodded slowly. "What happened?" he asked.

Ronon's lips twisted. "On Sateda, the story says Jarn killed many Wraith on his quest. He travelled a lot, saw a lot of other planets, but the Wraith killed him before he could find the wolfman who had done this to him."

He gave John a mirthless chuckle. "Turns out the Wraithhunters know the legend of Jarn too. Only they say the wolfman who turned Jarn wasn't a man, but a woman. When he tracked her down, he fell in love with her and couldn't do it. So…he stayed with her for a while and then brought her home, to Sateda, and they spent many years fighting the Wraith side by side."

Again, he fell silent. John didn't know why Ronon had shared this story with him, and he didn't know what he was supposed to tell him. Teyla probably would know, but she wasn't here to help him.

Ronon sighed and sat up. "I think I like that story better," he admitted. "Killing the woman wouldn't have helped him anyway. This way, there was still hope for him. Love."

"Hey." John sat up as well and nudged Ronon with his elbow. "You still have us. The team. Atlantis. We're still there for you. No matter what." He grimaced. "You think I like being a vampire? I wish Keller would find a cure, too, and maybe she or Carson will, one day. There still is hope. Maybe, I don't know. Maybe Rodney can figure something out. He's pretty smart, you know?"

He was babbling now, and he knew immediately that his attempt of joking about McKay to diffuse the somber mood between them had fallen flat when Ronon simply snorted.

"If he's that smart," he pointed out, "He shouldn't even try making a dog collar. Or talk about it."

John smirked and glanced at the personal shield Rodney had modified for him. "Knowing Rodney, it would be a pretty cool dog collar. With invisibility built in, or death rays, or something."

Ronon looked intrigued for a moment, but then, he shook his head. "No."

"I'll talk to him, okay?" John promised, but he couldn't hold back a grin.

"Yeah." Ronon stood and started to sort through the clothes strewn over the floor. "I should go."

"I'll talk to Woolsey, too," John added and followed Ronon's example. "It's not okay that you should have to spend the night in the cell. You don't even have a…" He stopped mid-sentence and froze, one leg in his pants already.

Ronon gave him an amused glance. "Don't even have a…?" he prompted, the way he'd seen Lorne do it.

John hastily pulled his pants up and buckled his belt before he went to one of the hidden compartments where he kept his belongings. He knew exactly what he was looking for – the blanket Teyla had given him for Christmas. It was warm, soft and colorful, a piece of Athosian art, and John usually used it to wrap up in whenever he came back from the infirmary and needed some extra warmth and comfort to battle the pains and aches.

"Besides, it's okay," Ronon said quietly. "There's something missing, I can't stop myself sometimes when I'm like that. Don't want to hurt anyone here."

John shook his head and grabbed the blanket. He was sure Teyla wouldn't mind if he gave it to Ronon for the night.

"Take this," he said, and pushed the bundle of fabric into Ronon's arms. "You can give it back in the morning, when…" He blushed and stopped himself. "When you come by for our run," he finished lamely.

Ronon hesitantly ran his fingertips over the fabric. "Thank you," he murmured roughly. "I – I better go."

He had finished dressing while John had looked for the blanket, and now, he was turning around and heading toward the door.

A glance at the watch on John's wrist told him that the sun would go down soon.

"Yeah," he said softly. "I'll stop by later."

Ronon gave him a half-smile over his shoulder and left.

~*+*~

It was the middle of the night when John slipped into the room, fully expecting the huge wolf in the cell pacing and growling, as he'd done the past two full moons. This was the third time they were going through this, and each time Ronon had transformed two nights into the wolf – and each night he had spent in this cell. He'd always been twitchy and pacing and growling when John had arrived, and John had spent hours sitting there and talking until his voice was hoarse and the wolf had calmed down and had settled down somewhat.

However, tonight, everything was quiet.

John swallowed against the bad feeling that was leaving his stomach and crawling up into his throat and stepped more fully into the room, expecting the worst and hoping, against all odds, that he was wrong.

The wolf was sleeping peacefully. It had curled up in one of the corners of the cell, a big dark lump of fur on a splash of color.

John's blanket.

Ronon was sleeping.

John stood for a moment, frozen in his spot, and just stared, but then, he whirled around and left just as quietly as he'd arrived.

He was halfway down the hallway when he reached for his radio. "Rodney, come in."

Silence.

John bit back a curse. It was late; maybe Rodney had, for once, actually gone to bed – John vaguely remembered something about a date with Jennifer that night, and he shook his head slightly.

He couldn't be considerate of Rodney's love life right now, he decided as he guided his steps toward Rodney's room. He needed the insights of Rodney's scary huge brain. Rodney had figured out what had happened when John had been turned into a vampire; he would know what was happening now, too.

~*+*~

It didn't mean he wanted to see Rodney dressed in just a pair of boxer shorts that had smiley faces printed on them, but at least it wasn't the blueprints of a death star, he thought quietly. Rodney had refused to let him into his room, saying that Jennifer was sleeping and there was no way he'd let John – a sex vampire – near his naked girlfriend. As a result, they were standing in front of Rodney's laptop in the thankfully empty science lab with Rodney mostly naked, shifting from foot to foot and shivering occasionally. He looked miserable enough that John almost started to regret waking him up.

"You know I'm the completely wrong person to ask this, right?" Rodney grumbled and pressed a few keys. "I'm not even a dog person, how should I know what is going on with him?"

"Rodney," John said patiently – as patiently as he could. "He's acting weird."

"Weird, huh?" Rodney pressed another key and the feed from the security camera showed up on his screen. "He's sleeping, Sheppard. How is that weird? And if it really is that weird, can I go back and be weird, too?"

"You think it is because of the fruit he brought back?"

Rodney almost jumped out of his skin at the unexpected sound of another voice and tried, without much success, to appear dignified – as dignified as an almost naked man in cheerful boxers who had not just squeaked like a scared little kid could be. After a moment, he gave up and tried to hide behind Sheppard instead.

"Teyla." John sounded unfazed. "What are you doing here?"

Teyla gave him a look and tipped her head to the side. "I was returning to my room when I met Jennifer. She told me that you had, as she put it, run away to check something out and scare the entire population of Atlantis. She asked me to give you this and tell you that she went to bed. Her bed."

She held out a neatly folded bundle of clothes that Rodney recognized as his, and he hastily grabbed them and started to put them on. He was getting really cold.

Teyla turned her attention toward John. "So – what are you two doing that scares the entire population of Atlantis?"

John frowned and hunched his shoulders. "Ronon is acting strange," he said and nodded toward the screen that showed the same scene it had before. "And I don't know if it's because of the fruits he brought back."

"It's a tomato," Rodney called out from within his t-shirt. He struggled to get his arms in the sleeves. "I saw Lorne and Parrish at dinner when you guys didn't show up, and Parrish said it was a tomato." His head emerged. "So – a vegetable, not a fruit. Unless you believe Parrish, but then, he's a botanist. They're all…strange."

"He seemed fine this afternoon when he asked for my help with the negotiations," Teyla pointed out and frowned. "Is that your blanket he is sleeping on?"

John hunched his shoulders defensively again. "I gave it to him for the night," he admitted. "When he asked me if, uh, if I wanted to run with him in the morning."

He shifted nervously on his feet. He hated lying to his team, but, he told himself, Ronon and he really had talked about running in the morning, so it wasn't a lie, technically. It still didn't make him feel better, but he couldn't risk anyone knowing the truth, not even Rodney and Teyla, who, he knew, would die before they gave his secret away.

"Wait a second." Rodney snapped his fingers as his thoughts started racing. "What is a wolf's strongest sense?"

John shrugged. "Smell?" he guessed.

Rodney pointed at him. "Exactly."

"And?"

Rodney crossed his arms over his chest. "And? Do I look like a veterinarian to you? I have no idea if the same is true for wolfmen! I'm speculating here!"

"Ronon did complain about an increased sense of smell," Teyla pointed out. "Especially around the time of the full moon."

"And if smells take the same role for wolfmen as for normal wolves…" Rodney shook his head slowly. "The energy field of the cells doesn't allow smells to get through."

John stared at him. "So…he's aggressive because he doesn't smell anything?"

"Because he didn't smell someone in particular," Rodney corrected. "I think."

"But he calmed down when he heard our voices," John pointed out.

Rodney shook his head. "Not sure it's all of us or just you."

"What?" John yelped.

Rodney gave him a look that told John exactly how dense the scientist thought he was. "Isn't it obvious?" he asked, but John couldn't think clearly. His mind was still stuck on what Rodney had said, and what he could have meant…

"Rodney?" Teyla prompted.

"Sheppard is his alpha," Rodney pointed out with a long-suffering sigh. "Team leader? The man in command?"

"Oh." John felt the tips of his ears prickle with embarrassment about his brief but thankfully silent freak-out. He had jumped to conclusions – Rodney didn't know anything about him and Ronon.

Rodney gave him a disgusted look he usually reserved for Wraith and citrus fruits.

"I do believe he will remain calm for everyone he considers part of his family. His friends," Teyla said quietly. "He told me a story about a Satedan legend – Jarn the Wolfwarrior, a brave fighter who protected his platoon until his last breath."

John's eyebrows twitched slightly. Apparently, there was more than one story about that particular legend, and Ronon had told Teyla another one than John had heard.

"Yeah," Rodney pointed out and tried to flatten down his hair without much success. "But wasn't it that legend that told him he'd be fine as long as he killed the wolfman who bit him, too?"

"Well," John said and crossed his arms over his chest. "Only one way to figure out if this one is more than a legend."

"The Wraithhunters are said to be very loyal people," Teyla added. "But I am not sure if we should not talk to Mr. Woolsey or Dr. Keller first."

"No time," John said and glanced at his watch. "We can always tell them later."

Rodney muttered under his breath, but he was already powering his laptop down.

"Listen," John said into the sudden silence. "I'm going in there alone – if our theory is wrong…"

"Shut up," Rodney snapped. "You are not going to risk your life without us being there to save your ass! That's not how this works!"

Ronon isn't going to do anything to me," John protested. "He didn't try to eat me last time, either."

"In that case, there is no reason for us not to go with you," Teyla said firmly.

"Right." Rodney closed the laptop and took it. "You coming, or what?"

John hesitated.

"Listen," Rodney said quietly. "Sooner or later, we'll get caught off-world when the moon is coming up. I'd rather know that I won't get eaten by an oversized wild dog now, and we can't keep him locked up in that cell forever, or he'll, I don't know, join those stupid villagers on one of their kamikaze runs and gets killed in one of their reckless attacks on the Wraith and I really doubt that anyone here wants that to happen." He shrugged. "Ronon is a friend, okay?" And there is no way I can think of turning him back to the scary Ronon we had before, just like there is no way we can turn you back – " He stopped and waved a hand.

John flinched. He hadn't given up the hope that one day, Keller or Carson would come up with a cure for his condition, no matter how small the probability of that happening was.

"Anyways," Rodney continued, his voice soft, "he is aware of what is happening, even when he's…" he waved his hand again. "…Chewbacca," he finally said. "We should…we should show a little trust in him."

"Rodney…" John started, but he found himself overwhelmed with affection for Rodney, despite his many grating habits. "You sure?"

Rodney's chin came up. "No," he admitted. "And we should go now before I realize what exactly I just said."

"You said something very brave and wise," Teyla assured him and put her hand on Rodney's arm, and together they left the lab in silence, until Rodney started to complain about his cold feet.

~*+*~

"You know," Rodney said and took a bite of his sandwich, "You are a lot bigger than you look on the screen of a laptop or through an energy shield."

Ronon rumbled a pleased growl from somewhere deep in his chest and nudged Rodney with his cold, wet nose before stealing the brownie off his tray.

"Hey!" Rodney yelped. "That was mine!"

Ronon grinned and tilted his head to the side while wagging his tail slightly.

John hid his grin behind the rim of his cup – a blend of Teyla's and Radek's blood, he thought, almost at a perfect temperature, but not quite – and stretched out his legs. Breaking Ronon out of the holding cell had been ridiculously easy, and if any of the early risers or late stragglers who came stumbling into the cafeteria were surprised by the sight of the three of them and the gigantic wolf, they didn't show it, for which John was grateful.

But then, this was Atlantis and Pegasus galaxy, and they were dealing with weird things regularly.

A werewolf wasn't that much of an exception of their daily lives, apparently.

Ronon yipped and stood. He stretched and yawned, and John realized it was close to dawn.

He nodded. "I'll come with you to your room, in case someone gets a little trigger-happy," he explained and stood as well. He nodded at Teyla and Rodney and followed Ronon out.

"That went…surprisingly well," Rodney commented and stretched his arms over his head. "And if you excuse me…I'm going to go to bed now."

Teyla bowed her head. "Very well," she said. "As will I."

"Good night, then," Rodney said. He hesitated for a split second, but then he stood and left without saying another word.

Teyla's lips curved into a fond smile as she slowly followed his example.

Things, she felt, would be all right.

~*+*~

It had to happen sooner or later, John thought as he picked up Ronon's gun, his boots, and his pants. Rodney had said so, and he'd figured out the probabilities himself a few times.

"Ronon? You okay, buddy?" he asked.

The huge wolf whimpered softly and shook himself before growling and scratching one of his ears with a paw.

"Everything okay, then," Rodney said and patted Ronon's shoulder briefly. "That shirt is ruined, though." Nobody mentioned the transformation process, which looked, in John's opinion, very painful. He didn't even want to think about going through it, again and again.

"I believe so, too." Teyla reached out, grabbed the wolf's mane and touched her forehead to his. "Shall we continue, then?"

"Yeah." John pushed Ronon's gun into his jacket and made sure it wouldn't fall out. "Let's go home."

"I bet we could ride on Ronon," Rodney muttered thoughtfully. "Or he could at least carry our stuff."

Ronon made a growly sound they all recognized, and John tangled his fingers in the fur of Ronon's shoulder as they continued on their way. The full moon shone quietly and peacefully down on them, illuminating the winding path to the Stargate.

Suddenly, Rodney chuckled.

"John is a sex vampire, Ronon is a werewolf," he said. "And you, Teyla – you're some kind of Xena. With Wraith DNA."

John grinned. "You're an astrophysicist," he pointed out. "That's even weirder than vampires, werewolves and Wraith DNA put together."

"We're a freak show," Rodney declared. He sounded surprisingly cheerful about it.

John thought about it for a moment. "Next planet, it's your turn," he drawled. "Zombies. Zombies only want you for your brain."

Rodney shuddered and whimpered quietly, but before he could say anything, Ronon howled softly.

"Yes," Teyla said. "I agree with Ronon. We will protect you from those zombies, Rodney."

John felt himself smiling. He didn't even try to stop it.

"Yeah, buddy," he said. "We look out for each other, right?"

"Right," Rodney replied, quietly and earnestly. "We do."

They were a team, after all.

A family.

It was a weird, dysfunctional family, but no matter what would happen – Wraith, vampires, werewolves, zombies – they would deal with it.

Together.

~end.