“This really isn't necessary, Doc,” I protested yet again. I’d walked miles through the forest back to the gate. How was putting me on a gurney once I was inside Atlantis helpful?
“Yes, it is,” Carson countered. “You've got a serious laceration on your arm and you've lost a good deal of blood.”
“Yeah, enjoy the ride, Colonel. They're making me walk.”
Ah, the grumble of the cranky McKay. It was good to hear. Rodney had been very quiet since the disaster at Doranda. Ever since promising to make up for his play on my trust, he’d been all but hiding in corners and working all hours.
Though I admit, I’d been avoiding him a bit too. Maybe it was time to draw him out again, make sure he ate real meals regularly instead of withering away on nothing but coffee and powerbars.
“You have a splinter, Rodney!” Carson said, and I resisted the urge to snicker.
“Yes, a very nasty, painful splinter.”
To heck with it. I went ahead and snickered. Watching Rodney scowl was more fun than watching Carson remove the bandage from my arm.
“This might hurt a wee bit.”
I knew exactly how much this was going to hurt. I’d felt how much it hurt when Ellia decided to take a chunk out of me with her feeding hand.
“I'm sure it will,” I said offhandedly, watching Rodney rather than Carson. Don’t tense. Don’t tense.
“This doesn't sting?”
What? I looked, really looked, and saw Carson had swabbed the whole area. I hadn’t felt a thing. “No.”
“I know y'have a high threshold for pain, but this...”
I frowned. No, still didn’t hurt. “This is what?”
I stared at the undamaged skin of my arm. Smeared with hints of blood and lots of iodine, but undamaged. Every hair was right where it should be. I couldn’t believe it. She’d at least nicked a tendon. I knew she had. My fingers hadn’t worked right after the fight, the gun shaky in my grip. I hadn’t wanted to think about it, but I knew there would be surgery in my future, maybe even a discharge. I didn’t want to think about it because leaving Atlantis just… wasn’t an option. I couldn’t stomach the idea.
“The feeding mark. It's completely healed.” Carson sounded awed and horrified.
All I felt was blooming relief.
I flexed my hand, twisted my arm, studying the play of muscles, tendons and skin. Perfect. Not a scar. Nothing even twinged. It was like it never happened.
“Are you going to stand outside my door all night?”
Rodney? Oh, right, I’d been walking to Rodney’s quarters when the perfection of my arm distracted me.
“No.” I smirked in that way I knew drove Rodney crazy and just walked past him into his quarters.
“Hey! What are you…?” Rodney sputtered in the doorway for a moment, then glanced out the doors and stepped forward until they closed. “You don’t usually slink over here so early… not without Ronon or Teyla.”
Rodney had a point. And I hadn’t been over to Rodney’s since Doranda blew up. Why was that?
Oh, right, Rodney almost got us both killed. And destroyed five-sixths of a solar system. With his ego. Didn’t seem to matter much at the moment.
I slid my hands in my pockets, rolled my shoulders back, and sauntered up to Rodney with the walk and grin that always seemed to get Rodney’s attention.
“We’re still alive.” I’d used that line more than once in the past. It was usually followed by thank-God-we-survived sex. I wish it had started sooner: I’d wanted nothing more than to tuck Rodney under my chin and hold him after that shadow entity the week after we got to Atlantis. But it had taken until Kolya for Rodney to respond to my hints. Though maybe dragging Rodney to my quarters, stripping him to his birthday suit, and giving him a blow job as part of re-bandaging his arm had been a bit more than a hint.
“Yes, yes we are.” But Rodney was looking anywhere but at me, his eyes moving frantically and his cheeks flushed. Usually he didn’t get that look until I had my shirt off.
Actually, why didn’t I have my shirt off? Easily solved. And I liked watching Rodney’s eyes bulge as I dropped my shirt.
“John, what are you—?”
I cut off Rodney’s words with a kiss and started worming my hands under his shirt. If Rodney had resisted, fought me off, something, I would have stopped. Probably. But he just melted and let me manhandle him out of his clothes and onto the bed.
“Pants. Boots. Pants,” Rodney chanted, trying to get up and get me out of the rest of my clothes, his strong fingers already losing all dexterity.
Seeing him flustered into incompetence made me so horny.
“If I shove my dick down your throat, will you shut up,” I growled, toeing off my boots.
Unfortunately, Rodney didn’t give me a chance to test it, dropping back on his elbows and watching.
Maybe another time.
Finally clothing free, I threw myself on Rodney, ignoring the oof and small protest. It was irrelevant. Rodney was hard against me and the squirming felt… incredible. Why had I been staying away? Fuck, why have I been limiting this to after we nearly die? Rather have this every night.
“John,” Rodney hissed, his hands grabbing my ass.
Oh, better idea. Popping up on my knees, I rolled Rodney over and grabbed a firm handful of ass in each hand.
“Got any slick?” Rodney wiggled eagerly under my touch and pointed at the wall next to the bed. I grabbed his hips and dragged Rodney up the bed even as I thought “open” at the drawer in the wall. So handy. Soon as I was in reach, I grabbed the bottle inside the drawer. So delectable. I couldn’t wait and shoved a finger of my free hand inside my Rodney, two, savoring how he writhed under me. So mine.
“Slick,” Rodney snapped, bucking into my touch.
“Not sure you want it.” I pushed down hard, trapping Rodney against the bed. I wanted him pinned, desperate for friction. “Been too long.”
“Use the damned lubricant, Sheppard.”
I growled, but dumped some of the bottle’s contents down Rodney’s crack before thrusting in.
Warm. Tight. Perfect. I melted across Rodney, wanting skin contact across every possible inch. Mine.
“If you don’t start moving—” I thrust.
“Fucking hell. John,” Rodney howled. “More.”
“Nope.” I lazily rolled my hips. “Think I’ll just hold you here…. All. Night. Long.”
“Sheppard!” Rodney must be practicing with Ronon a bit. He pulled a half decent attempt to get leverage. Nothing I couldn’t handle, but half decent.
“Hmmm?” I muttered, refusing to let him know I was impressed. Still, as a reward, I did another lazy roll, which sent lightning bolts up my spine. I couldn’t resist another roll after that, followed by another bolt of lightning.
“Love that whimper.” I buried my nose in Rodney’s neck. Smells so sweet. So perfect. “All for me.” I licked up Rodney’s spine to his hairline, savoring the taste of his skin and the smooth bumps of the bone that protected his exquisite brain. Even tastes perfect.
Enough. I needed more and reared back, dragging Rodney’s hips with me. As soon as Rodney got his knees under him, I thrust back hard. Again. And again. And—
“Oh, God. Rodney!”
Instinct and practice woke me early. Early enough to meet Ronon for a run. Early enough I could sneak back to my room before Ronon came by. Not early enough for another round of Rodney. Damn it.
Shower first. Last night had been… exquisite. But I still smelled like every moment of it.
I left the lights off in the room, finding my way to the bathroom by instinct and experience. Not my first rodeo. There was a bit of a shock once I had the door shut and the lights on. Blood?
Only a little, if in a place I’d never thought to see it. Still, Rodney couldn’t be too hurt. I scrubbed up fast and slid dirty clothes over damp skin.
Before leaving, I leaned over Rodney and slid the blanket down. A thought raised the light levels just enough to see, and I slid two fingers into Rodney. Still slick and warm. So tempting to just crawl back into bed. Ronon wouldn’t look for me in Rodney’s quarters.
“Don’t you dare,” Rodney muttered.
“Don’t I dare what?” I checked my fingers—No blood.—and slid them back in. Everything felt smooth, slick. No damage.
“Way too early. Go jogging.”
I wiggled my fingers until I got a moan. A sleepy moan, but a moan. Then Rodney snarled and rolled away.
“Sleep well.” I leaned in and pressed a kiss to the warm, sweaty back of Rodney’s neck—Still tastes so good—then slunk off to my room.
I sucked back a sip of water from my bottle as I stepped into the hall. Last night had left me a touch dehydrated.
“You up to this?”
I jumped as Ronon’s slap on my shoulder and winced as I bit my cheek. I swirled another sip of water through my mouth to clear the blood and turned to Ronon.
“I’m perfect. Shall we?”
Running up the arch seemed easier than ever. I must have finally broken that barrier. ‘Bout time. Ronon had been running me into the ground for months.
Actually…. I glanced over my shoulder to where Ronon was panting, leaning against the rail. “I thought you said you were a Runner!”
Ronon glared. “That's funny.”
Okay, this is weird. “I can usually barely keep up. What's with you?”
“What's with you?”
I offered my water bottle. I was full up, but Ronon looked like he needed it for once. “Water?”
Really needed it given the way he chugged it. The glare didn’t help.
I tried to remember if I’d ever seen Ronon break a sweat before. Nothing came to mind. At least he smelled good all sweaty, not the funk that lingered in the lockers.
“All right, sore loser. I don't act like a jerk when you beat me!”
“Yes you do,” Ronon growled.
Huh. Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
“Okay, then we'll go around again.” I turned back down the arch, but Ronon didn’t follow.
“You go ahead.”
“Okay, grumpy. I will.”
Bastard kept my bottle, I thought as I took off back down the arch.
~o0o~Damn. I’m good.
I grinned as my sticks met Teyla’s yet again. “Not bad, huh?”
“Yes, yes. You're doing very well.”
Is she panting?
The whir and clack of bantos rods. I saw every move before it came. She’s moving so slow. Teyla stepped back, breaking\the rhythm.
“You have been practicing.”
This is too easy. Is she going easy on me? I frowned and tossed away one rod.
Left. Right. Down. I moved faster as Teyla did, but nothing changed. It was too easy. Right. Down. Left and… Feint. I blinked in shock, but my bantos rod still pressed against Teyla’s neck. She fell for that?
“You are showing… a considerable leap in ability, Colonel Sheppard.” Teyla’s throat struggled against the press of the rod.
“You can call me John when we're off the clock.” Did I just say that? Well, not that I’d mind, but it’s an odd time to bring it up.
“Very well ... John.”
That sounds… good.
“There ya go.” I grinned. And sniffed. Smells… good. There’s something….
“Should we continue, or do you…?”
The urge hit before I could think about it. Eh, why think about it? Teyla’s lips felt soft and smooth under mine, her cheeks wet and warm and alive under my hands. More. I pushed my tongue forward, felt the heat of her mouth for a moment before—
Did she just shove me? I stared at Teyla. The distance between us seemed too great.
“I'm not really sure just what happened.”
Teyla touched her hand to her throat.
Why did she shove me? That was perfect.
“That was interesting!”
The click of the radio.
“Colonel Sheppard, please report to the infirmary!” Beckett. Cock blocking little…. Teyla looks… Shit.
Teyla panted softly. Suddenly I couldn’t avoid noticing the complete lack of expression, the strained breathing, the tension in her shoulders. All those years hiding from Wraith… and now she’s hiding from me?
“Doctor Beckett will be expecting you.” She’s smiling, but I knew that smile. She used it when she was hiding fear from an enemy.
“Yeah.” I didn’t want to leave. She still smelled so good. Damn, but Beckett will just call again.
Her smile dropped, and the scent of fear filled my nose. Teyla… you should never be afraid of me. Not of me.
I turned and left.
“The good news is, we can now say with some certainty that Ellia didn't drain away any of your life.”
I rolled my eyes. Elizabeth and Carson were both so earnest. Something was wrong.
“We already knew that.” I damn well knew what having my life drained felt like. This wasn’t it. She bit. She screamed. That was it.
“That's the best good news you could come up with?” Stop hedging and get it over with. Carson looked anywhere but at me.
“It looks like you've been infected with the Iratus bug retrovirus. The one we were working on to turn Ellia into a human.”
“You mean the one that didn't turn her into a human.” Sarcasm score of nine. Shit, every muscle in my back was locking up.
Carson looked so eager, so frantic, so embarrassed.
“Ellia administered the treatment prematurely. It wasn't ready. It wasn't even supposed to be—”
“I'm not blaming you, Doc.” What’s done is done.
“But you're right. The transformation was into a creature closer to the Iratus bug than to a human, and I know how much you…”
“Hate those bugs?” A shiver ran down my spine. Hate was a poor descriptor of how I felt about those things. Loathing was barely a start.
“Yes.” sighed Carson.
Elizabeth finally spoke up from her spot by the wall. “But, for one ... Ellia was a Wraith. And she took a massive dose of the retrovirus. I mean, do we know how the Colonel's system might respond to the drug?”
Carson shrugged. “I have no idea. It was never engineered to be given to a human. It was never intended—”
Stop whining and deal! “Doc.”
“—to be given to anyone!”
“Let it go,” I said softly, hanging my head. What a fucking mess.
“The problem is, I have no idea how your body will react! I can't even begin to guess.”
I resisted another eye roll. However, I did roll my shoulder back, and thought about the morning so far. Pretty good, this meeting aside. “Well, if how I feel is any indication, I'm fine.”
Carson looked so pleased by that statement. “It's certainly possible that it's already breaking down in your system. Ellia's transformation was extreme, and immediate.”
Elizabeth, on the other hand, looked twitchy. She had that expression that meant she wasn’t convinced.
“See?” I prompted, making sure I looked as relaxed and confident as possible.
“But the wound on your arm healed unnaturally fast.” Carson was building up that twitch he got when he was trying to fix something he didn’t understand. He got that look a lot on Atlantis.
“If there was a wound.” I ran my hand down my arm over my jacket, my flawless arm.
“There had to be,” Carson snapped, staring at my arm. “Otherwise, I don't see how you got infected in the first place!”
I quickly moved my hand, waving it in the air to draw attention elsewhere. “She was spitting an awful lot.”
Carson did not look convinced.
Fuck him. I’m fine. No wound, no scar. Nothing happened. And if I kept telling myself that I might believe it soon.
Elizabeth stepped forward. “So what, we just monitor it for now?”
“Aye,” Carson said, sounding more than a little defeated. “You'll need to check in every six hours.”
I nodded. I’d agree to almost anything to get out of here. “I can do that.”
“And you should probably—” Elizabeth began in her ‘I’m the boss’ voice that drove me so crazy.
“Suspend my off-world activities until we know more?” I knew I was being more than a bit sarcastic again, but for fuck’s sake, of course I knew that.
Elizabeth nodded graciously. “Thank you.”
The look worked better on their allies than me. I knew her too well.
I’m getting the fuck out while the getting’s good. I dropped off the exam table there’d been no point in my being on. “See ya in six hours.” I slapped Carson on the shoulder and bolted.
“Oh no. Not now. Out, out, out,” Rodney snapped the moment I stepped into the doorway of his lab. And he wasn’t even looking my direction.
I slouched in the doorway and raised an eyebrow. And took a deep breath. Damn, Rodney smelled as good as Teyla. Better.
“Get, Sheppard. Go away.”
“Lunch?” I prompted. Usually food could tempt Rodney out of his lab, but that cranky expression indicated this wasn’t one of those times. Funny. He’s usually in a better mood after getting laid.
“We’re in the middle of something important,” Rodney said. He stalked right up to me, ignoring the curious looks of all his minions throughout the lab. “Not now,” he hissed into my face.
I looked down into his face, he was shorter than me, and then lower, and I got it. Rodney was tenting his trousers. Smells so damned good. I leaned in, but Rodney’s hand on my chest stopped me. I could get past that. If I wanted to. But no need to traumatize the minions. The rumors about the two of us were bad enough without PDAs.
“Dinner?” I prompted softly. Or after. All night long would be good. I smirked and watched Rodney’s eyes dilate.
Air hissed between Rodney’s teeth and his cheeks turned a pleasant red. “Dinner, fine. Just get... so we can work… without you distracting all the girls with your….” Rodney waved up and down me before shuffling back to his desk, hunching like he was distracted, but I could tell he was really trying to hide his reaction. To me.
My jacket was barely off before I noticed my arm. The patch of previously clean skin, where Ellia’s bite had vanished—or never happened—was turning blue. And bumpy.
“Obviously something happened,” I muttered to myself before hitting my com. “Hey, Doc? This is Sheppard.”
I ran my hand over the blue bumps erupting from my forearm and suppressed the urge to vomit. “We may have to bump up our first check-in.”