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Rodney couldn’t keep his eyes off the blue scales shadowing Sheppard’s cheek where he ordinarily sported stubble. Elizabeth had suggested one of them go in to see him and Rodney had found himself up for the task. He held still, trying not to disturb John as much as John’s scales were disturbing him because they showed how much John had really changed in the last few days.

“You don’t have to be here.” John’s voice startled Rodney out of his thoughts.

“I volunteered,” Rodney said numbly. “I mean….” He tried to force a smile but it didn’t smooth the crease between his eyebrows. “How are you…you’re not…” He hesitated, not wanting to ask the question but feeling like he had to. He changed the subject. “We’re still trying everything we can.”

“Still?” John asked, a tremor of anger in his voice. Rodney flinched and didn’t answer. “They’re thinking about stopping?” John asked. “Rodney.”

“They’re not sure – Carson’s not sure if we can…”

John’s scaled hand fisted at his side. “You can’t give up on me!” he snarled. He shot forward, his hand twisting in the fabric of Rodney’s dark gray shirt. He thrust him back against the wall, forcing the breath out of Rodney.

Rodney’s hand curled on John’s, pale and defenseless beside John’s scaled fingers. “John,” he said. He stared into John’s hazel eyes. Anything else he might say was cut off by the rushed, hard pressure of John’s lips on his. He exclaimed, the sound muffled by John’s tongue as John forced himself inside. Rodney’s heartbeat was quick and sharp as a knife prick, hurting and compelling, as he was surprised to feel the hardness of John’s erection against his hip. The room was dim but Rodney was certain John hadn’t been hard before. He gasped for breath when John moved his mouth and choked on surprise when John shoved his face into Rodney’s neck, biting hard.

Sudden. There was no other word for it. John’s hands were under Rodney’s shirt, roughing over his bare stomach and nipples, pushing down the back of Rodney’s pants.

Rodney felt himself harden under the assault. His hands clenched on John’s shirt, gasping against the uneven blue skin of John’s neck. John’s fingernails scratched the skin of Rodney’s ass, grazing but not cutting deeply and Rodney yelped.

At the sound, John drove forward, rutting against Rodney’s hip as he withdrew one hand to twist in Rodney’s short hair, angling Rodney’s head. His kiss was deep and primal like ownership, his tongue hot and slick against Rodney’s own.

Rodney’s head spun, aware that he should be saying no, but the word caught in his throat. Because he wasn’t sure how long they’d have John – if there was anything Carson could do – if John would continue to transform into whatever unthinkable, un-John creature he was becoming. Instead of saying no, he was kissing John back, letting John move his hips so they were rubbing off, fast and sloppy. He moaned, pulling John close as his orgasm hit him completely by surprise.

John still rutted against him, his mouth on Rodney’s as he came against his stomach. He forced his hand into his pants and pulled his hand out, his blue, sharp-tipped fingers sticky and wet with his ejaculate. Rodney started when he pressed his wet fingertips to Rodney's lips. He stared into John’s eyes and couldn’t decipher the look therein. If John was in that look at all. Rodney swallowed, shaken and shocked by the sudden turn of events.

“Keep trying,” John whispered. His jaw tightened and he returned his hand to his side, a series of emotions shadowing his eyes as he turned aside and Rodney could recognize his friend in there again.

Rodney wiped his mouth, sucking his lip and tasting salt. “We are,” he answered with more resolve than he felt. He saw John’s hand tighten into a fist at his side and Rodney pushed himself off the wall, walking toward the doorway.

“Rodney,” John said suddenly. His voice sounded like an apology.

“It’s fine,” Rodney said, glancing at him briefly. He paused, his hand on the door. “Just…be patient,” he said. “We’re all trying out there.” Behind him, John gave a curt nod and Rodney licked his lips before sweeping his hand over the sensor. He walked past the armed guards and back to his room, where the only thing he could do was clean himself up and go back to the lab, helpless against what was happening to John.