Chapter 1: Prologue & Chapter 1
“Are we nearly there?!” McKay groaned from the back of the single-file line.
“For Heaven’s sake, Rodney, we’ve only been walking for half an hour!” John replied, exasperatedly from the front.
“I’m sure we’re almost there.”
“We better be, because my legs are killing me and it’s hot!”
“Oh, stop complaining, McKay. We told you it was a desert planet, but you came anyway so just shut up” Ronon grumbled, irritatedly as he wiped his brow.
“Okay, look. There’s an oasis just there. We’ll stop there and have a rest then we’ll keep going, okay?” John inquired and his team glanced to where he was pointing. Sure enough, there was an island-like patch of trees and greenery about a mile to their left. They turned towards it and started for the shelter, finding comfort in the idea of shade and water. After about half an hour of trudging, they finally made it to the oasis and collapsed in the shade underneath a tree. Ronon stood up a few minutes later and went over to the pool in the center of the greenery, past a few trees.
“I’m getting a drink,” he informed the others and kneeled to dip his hands in the cool water. After several minutes of gulping down water, he finally stood and turned back to his friends. Suddenly, a blade flew in front of his face and embedded itself in a tree, a foot to her right. He spun around, his hand flying to his gun, but the attacker was much too quick and disarmed him, pointing the gun at him instead.
“Hey, Guys?!” he shouted, furiously, holding his fists up in defense. Leaves rustled and sand was kicked up in the air as his team came barreling through the foliage and yanked out their weapons, pointing them at the attacker. John specifically paid close attention to detail. The attacker was masked with a tan cloth around most of their face and goggles that seemed to block out the blinding sun. They were hooded, hiding the rest of their head. Their outfit consisted of a long tan trench coat, tan trousers, and a similarly colored vest underneath the coat. The attacker also wore tan leather boots.
“Who are you?” John spoke up and the attacker finally pried their stare away from Ronon; However, kept pointing the gun at him as they turned their gaze to John. When they looked at him, the attacker went rigid all of a sudden and dropped the gun before taking off through the foliage.
“Wait!” John cried, starting after him. Teyla and Ronon exchanged a glance before following close behind. McKay let out a groan but followed.
“What’s his deal?!”
“It looked like he recognized me!” John shouted back as he ran headlong after the hooded attacker. Suddenly, the attacker disappeared from view and the team stopped in a slight clearing. John took a step forward and immediately, the team was trapped in a large net. Their attacker reappeared from the shadows and pointed a gun at them, once again.
“We don’t mean any harm! We just want to talk-” John was cut off by the sound of the gun powering up and froze.
“Leave this place. Immediately,” the attacker growled, his voice low and dark. He swung his arm out and John heard the rope confining them snap before they all fell to the ground. When he managed to stand again, the hooded man was gone.
The attacker from before jumped through the trees of the oasis, watching the group carefully from above.
‘Why is he here...? Why are any of them here?’ he growled as he thought, his mind aflame with anger.
‘They have to leave... How do I make them leave?!’
He dropped out of the tree he’d landed in and landed a hard punch to the truck, splintering the wood and making the tree lean as a result.
“Damn it!” he snarled, repeating the commonly said phrase among the humans he’d spent time around. However, he realized a little late that he'd said this out loud. As if on cue, a rustle came from the bushes behind him and he leaped back, spinning around as his hand went for his gun. He jerked it from its sheath and pointed the barrel squarely at the hidden target. The bush shifted once again before none other than John Sheppard stepped out his hands in the air as a surrender.
“Don't shoot, I just want to talk! Please!”
The former attacker stepped forward, closer and closer to Sheppard until the barrel of his gun was in the Colonel's face. But John refused to move. He knew that whoever this guy was, he'd recognized him. He kept a determined look on his face until at last, his former attacker lowered his weapon, quickly backing away, unable to pull the trigger. John dropped his hands and half glared at the guy.
“Who are you? I know you recognized me. So who are you?”
The man shook his head, sighing in what sounded like defeat before reaching up and ripped the edges of his mask. Then with a swift motion, he pulled it off and dropped it. It fell on the sand and he stood with his head lowered. Sheppard slowly approached him, cautious, but curious. He stepped around him, quickly and went to take his weapon, but froze when in the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of his face. He felt his gut drop.
The Wraith sighed as he looked up, shifting his yellow-green eyes to look John in the face.
Suddenly, something snapped in the Colonel’s mind.
“You son of a bitch! I thought you were dead!” John hollered, shoving his palms against the Wraith’s chest, though it made no real effect. Todd simply looked back down with a rather defeated look on his face.
“What the hell, Todd?! I thought- we- you son of a-”
Todd’s hand shot forward and he pressed a finger against the Colonel’s lips, sighing heavily.
“John...stop ...Please...” he replied, quietly, so soft it was hard to hear him. The Colonel felt his anger suddenly disappear and be replaced by worry.
“Todd ...what happened...?”
The Wraith thought for a moment before suddenly slamming his fist into the tree he’d previously hit before, making it fall to the ground with a loud crash. The Colonel startled but said nothing as Todd motioned for John to sit, implying he’d be here a while. He did as he was told and waited patiently as Todd began collecting fallen branches for a fire as it was beginning to get dark. By the time he’d built the fire, it was dark and had gotten chilly very quickly. When he was finished, the Wraith sat beside the Colonel.
“It is a long story, John Sheppard...”
“I’ve got literally all night...”
The Wraith tried a slight smile, but it didn’t quite make it through.
“It would seem I am quite capture-prone, Sheppard...” Todd began as he started his story of the last few years. He told the Colonel of how his men had been slaughtered, how he’d been captured and tortured by someone he’d thought was his friend and how difficult it’d been on this planet without anyone or anything around except sand and some trees. He told him of how he’d felt during this time, through great effort and how he’d managed to escape his imprisoner. There was a certain tone of despair in his voice as he kept his head low throughout the tale until at last he was finished and he waited in silence for any questions he knew Sheppard would have. The Colonel; However, was shocked into silence, his eyes wide and his head down as he tried to process it all. The very thought of all Todd had been through was enough to make him sick to his stomach. But one question, above all, was prominent.
“But...Who captured you...?” he croaked and looked over at his friend who held his head in his hand. His voice cracked when he went to reply and this nearly brought tears to Sheppard’s eyes, seeing such a strong figure in such pain.
Todd winced and leaned away from the loud outburst as if it frightened him and John took this as a cue to quiet down. He thought for a moment before sighing, reaching out to place his hand on his compatriot’s shoulder.
“ Todd? Can you explain any further?” he asked, gently and after a long pause, the Wraith agreed.
“I'm not sure why, if she had a reason, she did not tell me, but she lured my troops and I into a trap by sending out a false distress signal. She drew me out by slaughtering my soldiers until very few we left. After two groups disappeared, I went down to see what the problem was. When I arrived, she ambushed me and took me hostage for over a year,” he explained in a broken tone. John sat and listened until he was finished.
“...What did she do to you...?” He asked, fearing the answer. Todd was silent for a moment before slowly lifting his hand and removing the glove. He then held it up to show John, his hand trembling and revealed the scarred, but healing slash across his feeding organ. Or at least where his feeding organ used to be. John stared, bewildered for a while.
“Todd ...what the Hell...she did this?”
The Wraith simply nodded, dropping his hand as if it were too heavy to keep in the air. John took a moment to absorb this new information, trying to calm his horrified heart as it stuck his ribs at a rapid pace.
“And she didn't tell you why? Did you ask?” the Colonel asked quietly, hoping not to push too far, but feeling the need to know.
“I did ask. Many times. She never answered... through words, that is...”
He looked down, shuddering as if he could feel her presence behind him. John made a split-second decision that he prayed he wouldn’t regret as he reached out and wrapped his right arm around the Wraith. For a moment, Todd froze and tensed, but relaxed almost as quickly as he had done so. He glanced over at his compatriot with a weak smile. His fangs had dulled into almost regular teeth and his eyes had lost their animalistic gleam. He no longer seemed to have that playful nature either, John noticed with worry.
“Hey, Todd?” the Colonel asked after a while.
“Yes, John Sheppard?”
“What’s your favorite thing about this planet?” he asked, trying to lighten the mood. Apparently, he had succeeded as the Wraith smiled a toothy grin. He looked up and chuckled.
“Look up, John Sheppard,” he said and John did as he was told, tilting his head back to look up. He gazed up at the tree leaves, fruits, and the starry sky above and without realizing, he too smiled.
“That is my favorite thing about any planet, John Sheppard,” Todd replied in almost a purr, sending a pleasant shiver down Sheppard’s spine. The two lay down beside each other with their heads propped against the fallen log, just staring at the sky for the longest time.
That is until they got an uninvited interruption via Ronon Dex.
Chapter 2: Chapter 2
The group rushed through the brush with haste as they barged into the clearing where they’d spotted the smoke. Ronon came tumbling out first, gun pointed as he dropped to one knee, scanning his surroundings carefully. Todd was first in his feet, followed by a scrambling Sheppard as the Wraith pulled his gun from its sheath and aimed the barrel at the intruders. John stumbled in front of Todd, holding his hands in the air.
“Don't shoot! It's Todd!” He hollered as Teyla and Rodney charged out of the brush after Ronon, gasping for air. When Todd realized who was intruding, he still refused to lower his weapon until Ronon had.
“Ronon...” John warned.
After a long moment, he did as he was told and sheathed his gun followed quickly behind by Todd who seemed to be struggling to stay on his feet. His eyes were half shut in exhaustion. John turned and looked at the Wraith, his face quickly turning to worry when Todd collapsed to his knees, breathing heavily. John dropped down beside him, laying a hand on his ally’s shoulder, but the Wraith shied away, gripping his head with both hands.
“Todd?! You alright?!”
The Wraith growled softly and Ronon marched over, seizing John by the arm and yanking him up and away from him. He struggled and ripped his arm away, growling.
"What the Hell, Ronon! He's hurt!"
"You will be if he goes nuts!" Ronon argued as Todd tumbled to the ground, snarling ferally as he scrambled away from the group and pushed himself up against a tree. John followed him, crouching to see him better.
"Todd, you okay? Hey, look at me," John cooed until the Wraith pried open one eye to look at him, trembling in pain. The look in his eye shook Sheppard to the core. It was a pained, terrified look that he'd never seen in a Wraith's eyes. He swallowed and crawled closer, reaching his hand out to his friend with a smile.
"Come on. You can trust me, you know that. Let me help you."
After a long while of silence, the Wraith reached out a trembling hand towards Sheppard, pausing when Ronon tensed and took a step forward, but John raised his other hand to stop the Runner. John never broke eye contact with the Wraith as he crawled closer.
"Trust me," he whispered, gently until Todd finally reached further and gripped John's wrist. The Colonel heaved his friend up and carefully helped him stand, smiling reassuringly. This was uncharacteristic for the Colonel, but he understood that Todd was afraid which was very uncharacteristic of a Wraith. But Todd wasn't like other Wraith, John remembered. He was different. He had a sense of humor, no matter how crude, and a fun-loving personality underneath all the tough anger and vigilance. Teyla watched in silence, tilting her head in curiosity. She'd never seen either of them act this way. Then she smiled as realization hit her and nodded in acceptance. Rodney stood there confused and irritated while Ronon just glared.
"Sheppard..." the Wraith whispered so only the Colonel could hear. John turned his head to look at him, raising a brow to show he was listening.
"I...need help...please...John..." he murmured in a soft, broken tone, his words spread out between shuddering breaths. Sheppard's eyes widened slightly at the tone in the sickly Wraith's voice. He quickly turned to Teyla and she read his expression instantly, nodding and placing her fingers on her earpiece and calling for a Stargate activation. John draped one of Todd’s arms around his shoulders and looked at his team.
“We’ve got to get him to Atlantis. Now.”
The group did not argue as he helped the Wraith towards the gate which despite the distance was reachable within a few minutes if they hurried. When they arrived at the Stargate, Todd was near death on his feet, his lungs heaving as he struggled to stay upright. The gate was open so Teyla quickly, grabbed Todd’s other arm, wrapping it around her before helping John get him through the Stargate. Suddenly, an explosion rocked the world around them and John and Todd were sent flying through the gate. Teyla was thrown backward toward the group and Ronon jumped up to catch her. He set her down and unsheathed his gun, turning around in a circle.
“What was that?”
“Doesn’t matter. Get through the Stargate, now.”
Chapter 3: Chapter 3-ish
“Unscheduled Offworld Stargate Activation!”
Red lights flashed across the facility as sirens blared. Stomping footsteps thundered down the halls as armed soldiers rushed for the Stargate room. The familiar sloshing of the portal played in SG-1’s ears as they stood, weapons aimed at the Stargate with soldiers each armed with a loaded pistol of their own. Soon a figure stumbled and fell through the blue substance of the portal. Carter took a split second to examine the fallen figure. He had long, untidy white hair tied in tiny braids that were splattered with red, pasty pale green skin, and wore tattered, blood-soaked rags. Everyone cocked their pistols and guns, aiming them carefully at the newcomer. However, he made no sign of moving. Suddenly, another figure leaped out of the Stargate and tumbled to the floor beside the other.
”Sheppard!” Carter cried, rushing forward to help her friend. The Colonel pushed himself up and scrambled to check the pulse of the male beside him. Rodney kneeled beside him, concerned.
”John, who is this?”
The Colonel heaved for air as he looked up at him with slight panic.
“It’s Todd. And he’s hurt.”
Carter went stiff as the soldiers’ eyes all widened.
Dr. Keller and Dr. McKay, along with medical staff rushed a medical gurney through the halls with urgency. The paling figure lying unconscious upon it wheezed with each inhale, seeming to lose more and more color with each breath. Sheppard and Keller ran alongside the gurney, Jennifer pulling on plastic gloves and a mask as she went. The group burst through a door and rushed to get Todd on the table. Sheppard looked beyond worried, perhaps even desperate and Jennifer had to hold back so he wouldn’t contaminate the room.
“John, I got him, you go up to the glass room and watch from there, okay? I got this,” she kept insisting until he finally complied, taking off down the hall once more. Then she ran inside the O.R., waiting for a split moment for decontamination then halting by Todd’s side. The doctor put a mask over his face and Keller was happy to see the inside fog up just barely. She held her hands up as someone tied an apron around her neck before she took a deep breath.
“I need an X-Ray in here, stat!”
Chapter 4: Chapter 4
The room was dim, the only real light coming from the two monitors on either side of the bed and the small light in the corner. An IV was hung on a metal pole above two occupants of the room, unused and the only sounds in the room were ragged breathing and the beeping of the heart monitor. John sighed, miserably, leaning forward over his knees in the lounge chair beside a medical bed as he held a pale green, clawed hand in his own. The Wraith lay motionless, a thin blanket pulled up just above his abdomen, his chest slowly rising and falling as he slept, soundlessly. His long unkempt hair lay sprawled beneath his head against the pillow. Slowly, the Colonel rubbed small circles over the patient’s knuckles before lifting the hand and placing a soft kiss over the Wraith’s fingers. Quiet footsteps alerted John of another presence and he looked up to see Dr. Keller and Dr. McKay standing at the door with grim expressions. After a moment, the Colonel stood, gently placing the Wraith’s hand on the bed before making his way over to the two Doctors.
Dr. Keller and Dr. McKay glanced at each other, uneasily then back at John who looked rather rugged.
“Colonel, perhaps you should go rest first, get a shower-”
“What’s wrong with him?” Sheppard snapped and both Doctors sighed, looking at the clipboards in their hands. Dr. Keller took a step forward, brushing a strand of blonde hair behind her ear as she looked the Colonel in the
“Sir, we...we think he might have cancer....”
John froze in place, eyes wide and didn’t respond for several minutes. Signals were blaring in his mind, yelling at him to turn away and leave, but he couldn’t move.
“Sheppard...?” McKay said, slowly, reaching his hand out to grip his friend’s shoulder. John blinked and looked at him in disbelief.
“How is that even possible?! He’s not even human, how can he-”
“Sh-Sheppard?” a raspy, deep voice croaked from behind him and John stopped immediately. Slowly, he turned and looked at the Wraith who was now awake and gazing at him in worry, yellow-green eyes half-closed in exhaustion.
“Hey...” John whispered, softly, walking back over to his side in three long strides before sitting in the chair beside him.
“Hey, Todd. How’re you feeling?” he inquired, quietly, taking the Wraith’s hand in his own once again. The alien male grimaced as he shifted and stared at the Colonel with a heavy gaze.
“I...can barely move anymore...It is painful...” he admitted, softly as John gently gave his hand a reassuring squeeze.
“D-Dr. Keller...Dr. McKay...have you discovered what ails me?” Todd inquired, turning his head to look at the two silent humans in the doorway.
“They’re working on it, Todd,” John assured the Wraith, cutting Dr. Keller off.
“Sir, he deserves to know-”
“They’re. Working. On. It,” the Colonel snapped, saying each word with a dangerous growl.
“Sheppard...I want to know what’s wrong with me...” Todd tried to reason, but John shook his head.
“Nothing’s wrong with you-”
“There’s nothing wrong with him!” Sheppard snapped, furiously glaring daggers at her.
“Damnit, John! What do you want me to do?! We can’t fix him! He has cancer!” Dr. Keller finally snapped, unable to control her outburst. Everyone froze and McKay went pale, shifting his gaze to look at Todd. The Wraith, at first, seemed to have not heard her due to his lack of reaction. He simply sighed and let his head fall back against the pillow. John stared at the floor for many moments before he gently put Todd’s hand across his abdomen before walking past Dr. Keller and Dr. McKay who both stumbled out of the way.
“Dr. McKay...” Todd murmured, softly gaining the attention of the skittish doctor who jumped, turning to look at him.
“Todd...I’m really sorry...” he sighed, coming to the Wraith’s side. Todd raised his trembling hand in a motion for him to wait. Dr.McKay halted in his advance, staring at the Wraith, wide-eyed as Todd suddenly erupted in a horrid coughing fit. He hacked for several minutes, gasping for air in between and had gripped his chest as he squeezed his eyes shut. After another minute, he finally managed to calm his respiratory system, he leaned his head back and took a shaky breath.
“It...is not your doing...Dr. McKay...” he replied, closing his eyes and slowly regulating his breathing. After many moments of silence, Rodney slowly reached out and placed his palm gently against the Wraith’s shoulder, startling him, followed by a pained grimace, but nonetheless accepted as comfort. Todd tried a smile in an attempt to lighten the poor doctor’s mood, but it was fairly useless. Rodney sighed, rounding the bed and settling in the chair beside the suffering Wraith who studied him, curiously with half-closed yellow-green eyes.
“Are you...not going to...go after...Sheppard...?”
“No point...it’s best we just let him cool off...”
The Wraith nodded, slowly, grimacing at the motion before he closed his eyes, his breath coming in sharp raspy wheezes.
“You alright?” Rodney asked when he noticed the slight change in breathing as he stood and checked the monitors. The Wraith held up his trembling hand and waved in a motion to explain he was fine, but McKay didn’t seem too convinced. He leaned over and looked at Todd seriously when the Wraith opened his eyes again.
“Todd, we’re trying to help you. We can’t do that if you don’t cooperate.”
The Wraith tried a dirty glare, but it didn’t seem nearly as intimidating from his feeble position.
“You...made it...qu-quite obvious....that what is wrong with....with me is fatal...” he stammered, bitterly, but
McKay just shook his head.
“It could be. But the point is, you have people, friends, here that don’t want to see you die. Not to mention the man who just walked out of here. He loves you, which is insane, but somehow it’s true. He wouldn’t be able to take it if you died. I don’t know what he’d do if you did. You have a reason to live, Todd. He’s your reason and you’re his. So do us all a favor and just cooperate,” McKay snapped, seeming to have a slight peek in anger which was uncommon for the Doctor. The Wraith
stared at him, looking almost surprised before he nodded, slowly. McKay exhaled as if his outburst had drained him and looked down at Todd.
“Now, what’s wrong?”
The Wraith tried to shift into a more comfortable position, but only hissed in pain when he moved. He grasped his chest, growling softly, his eyes screwed shut and his lungs heaving. After a moment, he managed to calm himself and opened his eyes once again.
“The...pain worsens...b-by the minute...” he explained, weakly, his voice barely audible now. McKay found himself leaning in to hear better. He nodded, slightly and sighed, checking the monitors again.
“Todd...can you think of anything we could do to help you...?”
“No,” the Wraith snapped quickly which made the Doctor raise a brow at the swiftness of his answer.
“Todd....” he murmured, slowly.
“Tell me you aren’t lying to me, right now...”
The Wraith shoved himself up to his elbows, narrowing his eyes darkly at him with a scowl.
“I said-” he stopped mid-sentence, dropping down once again when the pain struck him and he struggled to keep in a howl, his form trembling as he screwed his eyes shut and ground his jagged teeth together. McKay gripped his shoulders to keep him from moving any further than he already had.
“Todd, what can help you? I know you know!” the Doctor snapped and the Wraith pried one eye open to glare at him.
“Todd, so help me, I will get Sheppard-”
“No!” the Wraith snarled darkly as he gripped the Doctor’s wrist who went to glare at him but realized the look in his eyes had changed. They had an almost desperate look to them beneath the pain and this startled Rodney. He’d never seen such a vulnerable look on a Wraith. The Doctor let go of him and sat down, looking at him.
“Todd...why won’t you tell me how to help you...?”
The Wraith sighed, closing his eyes as he let his head fall back against the pillow.
“I...do not want...any of you....t-to get hurt...to h-help me...” he rasped, quietly and the Doctor raised a brow at the sincere tone in the Wraith’s voice.
“You’ve changed....” Rodney murmured softly and the Wraith looked at him, confused.
“You’ve changed. You aren’t the same Wraith we met back then...John changed you...”
The Wraith came to a halt in his thoughts, staring blankly at the Doctor nearly dumbfounded.
“I...I don’t understand...”
Rodney sighed as he adjusted himself in the chair beside his patient so that he faced him completely.
“Todd...do you remember how you and I first met?”
The Wraith nodded, thinking back with almost a fond smile.
“Yes, I do. You and your team found me and John in the forest on the Genii’s planet. But why?”
“You saved John’s life. Why?”
“Because...he saved mine.”
“That’s all it was...?”
“...I suppose not...”
“Then what was it?”
“...I suppose I felt a connection with him.”
“And now you guys are mates. He changed you the day he met you, Todd. Don’t you see it?” the Doctor asked, but the Wraith shook his head.
“I do not...I am Wraith, I am ruthless and cunning.”
“Maybe. But you aren’t as ruthless or cunning anymore, Todd. Either way...we need to know what we can do to save you, Todd. What can help you? Tell me, Todd," McKay insisted, staring the Wraith down with all the will he could muster until finally, he gave in, sighing.
“You can not let Sheppard go with you...”
“That might be a problem-”
“It mustn't be. If he goes, he will die.”