The tableau was frozen, like nobody even dared to breathe. Two guards had Rodney held securely, a small rivulet of blood trickling down where the knife has nipped his neck. The Huiloc King's green eyes were fixed on John, with the cold confidence of one who knew he has found the perfect vengeance for the previous humiliation.
If he didn't kill her, they would kill him. Teyla or Rodney. And John had to choose.
Teyla didn't flinch when John raised his gun at her, pointing at her chest, but her eyes grew a bit wide. She was his first friend in this galaxy. She taught him her people's ways, kicked his ass in the mat every other day and wasn't fooled by his easy-going charm. She gave him her friendship, and he was honoured by it.
John swallowed hard and closed his eyes forcefully, taking deep gulps of air. He opened his eyes, again, looking at Rodney. A self-proclaimed genius with razor-sharp tongue, Rodney was the only person John knew that could compliment and insult you in the same phrase, at the same time that he was pulling a new trick from his sleeve to save your life. Rodney, whose soft-bellied body generated enough heat to brand him inside out with each touch, with each kiss, with each thrust into him. Rodney, who complained to Carson upon a hangnail and yet was now looking at him directly in the eyes, steeling himself for the sacrifice he thought he had to make, and forgiving John for it at the same time. Rodney, who has given himself over to John even when John has never found the strength to say those three little words back to him.
John closed his eyes and took a deep breath, flexing his hand on the grip of the gun. He looked to Teyla again and she gasped in realization.
"I'm sorry", he said, and pulled the trigger, a tear rolling down his cheek with her last breath.
- END -