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Transformations

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John peered around the corner of the crumbling wall cautiously, and then quickly withdrew.

He held up two fingers and Rodney nodded silently back at him.

There were two Wraith coming toward their hiding spot. Ronon and Teyla had gone around the other way, following a lone Wraith that had been heading toward their hidden Jumper.

John signaled that he would take the first Wraith and that Rodney should go for the following Wraith.

Another silent nod.

John counted down and with a nod, they both rose up enough to clear the wall and started shooting at the Wraith.

There was moment when the Wraith started to bring up their own weapons, but the Lanteans had learned -- the hard way -- how to use their weapons against the Wraith. Armor piercing rounds and head shots were usually effective in taking a Wraith down. When the Wraith fell, John went over as Rodney stood watch. He used his k-bar on their skulls to make sure the Wraith were dead and could not regenerate.

"Good to go," John said softly, wiping his k-bar on the ground before re-sheathing it. He spoke softly since they didn't know if there were other Wraith on the ground.

"Think there are any others?" Rodney asked, just as softly.

"Hopefully, Teyla and Ronon should have the other Wraith by the time we get back to the Jumper," John nodded. "They'll let us know if they run into trouble."

"Okay," Rodney agreed. He looked around and then followed the trail they had used to get to their current location.

John followed Rodney's footsteps and, not for the first time, was amazed -- and grateful -- at the transformation in the other man. From a man who had been terrified of weapons and knew nothing about using them, Pegasus had turned Rodney into a soldier. He carried himself like a Marine and was as good in the field as many of them.

The change made John both proud and sad. He was proud of what Rodney had become... a partner -- in more ways than one -- that he could rely on in the field and who was ruthless in protecting his fellow scientists.

But John also missed the excitable man Rodney had been. Rodney still ranted at his staff, but it wasn't the same. Knowing intimately how dangerous their lives were had made Rodney focus that brilliant brain of his on learning how to survive

They quickly made it back to the ruin where the scientists were hiding.

John whistled softly before they entered the clearing and Sergeant Matias poked his head up.

"Clear?" Matias asked.

"Clear for now," John replied. "Let's get out of here, since I don't know how many Wraith are on this planet. Ronon and Teyla will meet us at the Jumper."

There was a babble of noise from the scientists, which only died when Rodney hissed "What part of we don't know if there are other Wraith wasn't clear? Shut up!"

A couple of the newer scientists -- this was their first mission in Pegasus -- shot unhappy looks at Rodney. John made a mental note to keep an eye on them, knowing that one person not obeying orders could get them all killed. He saw Rodney make the same note and figured they'd be going back through Lorne's "Mission Protocol 101" lessons again. 

"Matias, lead the way," John ordered. "Rodney, keep an eye on them and I'll bring up the rear."

"Got it!" Matias agreed.

Rodney nodded, automatically scanning the area.