"He looks just like you," John teased.
"No he doesn't!" Rodney bristled because it was bad enough when Rod had invaded his universe and started taking away all his friends using a twisted coolness that made Rodney seem twice as clumsy and socially maladjusted. Not that he'd ever admit that.
The new arrival wasn't from a parallel universe and Rodney hated to admit that they could almost be cousins. Okay, brothers maybe but he refused to see Dr. Emmett as his twin in this universe. There were differences. Admittedly one in particular that was in Emmett's favor; the man had hair. Lots of hair that flicked and curled at the nape of his neck but it was dark where Rodney's hair tended more to light brown and blond. Rodney resisted the temptation to touch his own shorter hair.
"Distant cousins, maybe," he relented under duress when John tilted his head and raised one eyebrow. Rodney rolled his eyes at John's smirk and stepped forward to meet the newest arrival off the Daedalus. John beat him to it.
"Dr. Emmett, I gather you're here to help with my giant snake... problem," John stated smoothly as if he'd never intended any sort of double-entendre.
Rodney wanted to thump him, really hard, especially when Emmett's lips twitched and his eyebrows rose in obvious appraisal. If Emmett was gay too then it would be so unfair, especially as Emmett had the cool, rumpled look, the muscular arms, the well-fitting cargo pants and a toned abdomen going for him. Rodney wondered how he kept fit, uncharitably deciding Emmett must wrestle various sizes of snake both in and out of his bed all day, and he determined then and there that Emmett wasn't going to be wrestling Sheppard's snake any time soon.
He missed the rest of the exchange and fumed when John started walking away by Emmett's side, eager to show him around Atlantis on the way to the biology labs. Rodney caught up with them after a few steps and snarled when John smirked back over his shoulder at him.
"Of course, Major Lorne has had more experience with the snakes. He nearly got eaten by one."
"I read his and Dr. Bolson's mission report on the Daedalus," Emmett replied, grinning back at John. "The chance to study a giant snake in the wilderness, one that hasn't been genetically modified and raised in a laboratory? Well, that would aid my research immensely."
"And what is that, exactly, hmm?" Rodney asked, wiggling his fingers. "The Secret Life of Pythonidae? Sex on no legs?"
Emmett stopped and smiled, his eyes holding that sparkle of near-fanaticism that John said always gave him the shivers in certain scientists like Kavanagh but that he loved seeing in Rodney.
"The creation of a universal anti-venom. Thousands of people die each year because they cannot describe the snake that bit them or because the nearest medical center doesn't have the right anti-venom to hand. A universal anti-venom could save those lives."
Rodney felt churlish enough to almost mention that eradicating all poisonous snakes would have the same effect. However, he'd already been on the receiving end of an ecology lecture from Bolson when he offered to build a weapon to kill all the giant snakes on the mainland; he didn't want to waste time with another.
"So you plan to go live with the snakes? Eradicate our giant snake problem in...what? Five months? Ten?"
"The snakes are hardly a problem here in Atlantis, Rodney."
"They can swim! Do you know how close we are to the mainland? Only five miles of water. Five miles. I don't want to wake up one morning to find a giant snake in my bed getting ready to--" Rodney narrowed his eyes when John snorted. "You really are twelve!"
Emmett grinned, eyes flicking between him and John as if reading between the lines and seeing the something between them that they had tried to keep hidden for obvious reasons. Rodney continued.
"If we're going to stay on this planet for any length of time then we need to make sure those snakes aren't going to come swimming across the water, looking for an easy meal."
For a herpetologist, Emmett seemed pretty warm and friendly, unlike the creatures he studied. He gave another small grin. "Snakes have a heightened sense of smell but I've never known one to scent up to five miles. They're more the wait and ambush type of hunter."
When Rodney opened his mouth to respond, John caught Rodney's arm, silencing him with a single look that they'd perfected over years of off-world missions. Not that Rodney necessarily obeyed the silent order but, in this case, it would be churlish to go on. Instead, John outlined their real problem.
"We need to set up security for the scientists who want to go exploring the mainland. I was thinking more along the lines of Snake-A-Way."
Emmett grimaced. "There's no real chemical deterrent for snakes. I've yet to find one scent that deters more than one or two species. Physical measures are best, placing barriers or capturing and moving the snakes elsewhere."
"Or killing them?" Rodney folded his arms and stuck his chin out defiantly. So what if he got another lecture.
"As a last resort...yes."
Rodney deflated somewhat as that wasn't the answer he'd expected. Most biologists clung to a thousand and one reasons why their particular creature should survive at all costs. Even the Wraith had their advocates among those who'd never seen a culled world or the desiccated husk of what had once been a good friend or colleague. At least Emmett was a realist.
"Anyway," John interrupted, changing the subject. "I hear you brought your own personal bodyguard with you."
Rodney narrowed his eyes at the enigmatic smile that lifted the corners of Emmett's mouth...and yes, perhaps it was a little slanted just like his. Distant cousin, a million times removed, maybe.
"Is that the title they gave him?" Emmett stated, his grin broadening as if there was far more that body guarding going on between him and the as-yet-unseen NSA Agent Dean.
Hours later, Rodney stretched out on the bed, enjoying the last of the wonderful sensations still rippling through his pleasantly sated body. Beside him, John was already half asleep. It still amazed Rodney that for someone so physical--jogging every morning and night, stick fighting with Teyla, and sparring with Ronon--a single bout of great sex exhausted him. He sighed and snuggled up close, wrapping one arm and one leg over John's sweaty body, and tucking his head against John's shoulder.
In another part of Atlantis, Rodney had a feeling that Emmett and Dean were just as loosely wrapped around each other, and Rodney was willing to admit that was a hot image. Still, he recalled a certain amount of teasing in the gate room earlier that day and decided a little revenge was in order.
"That Agent Dean," he breathed nonchalantly. "He looks just like you," Rodney teased softly while toying with John's dark chest hair, curling a lock around one finger.
"No he doesn't," John pouted. He slapped away Rodney's fingers when they tugged too hard on his chest hairs, relenting mulishly. "A distant cousin... maybe."