Dread.

It is the only word that adequately describes what I'm feeling right now. No pity. No sympathy. Just a cold dread of watching a man I've come to trust transform from a competent, surefooted military leader into something I despise.

It doesn't surprise me that the Wraith evolved from bugs. They are too alien, too far separated from their 'human' side. They take too much joy in the feeding, too much pleasure in the pain they inflict. Looking back, I have to admit that Ellia was different. She tried to resist her nature, tried to hold back. Part of me wishes that Beckett's retrovirus had worked for her. The rest of me still believes that a Wraith can never change what it is.

Beckett has removed John to another part of the infirmary and asked us to leave so he can work. Even McKay has little to say. He just sits there, a lost expression in his eyes. Teyla holds her shoulders back tightly, a slight pinched look about her mouth. They told me of the time Sheppard was attacked by one of the bugs, how it latched onto him and they had been forced to 'kill' him to make it let go. Now he is turning into the very thing that had almost claimed his life before. I cannot imagine what he must be going through. It would be like me turning into a Wraith. I would rather die than face such a fate. I'm certain that's how John feels right now.

There is something more. Both Teyla and Dr. Weir seem on edge, frightened. Sheppard had been willing to do harm in order to escape. He wasn't himself; we all know that. I know that he would never forgive himself if he killed a member of this expedition. I know he would rather take his own life than to bring harm to a friend. And deep down, I know that he considers me in that category as well. It has been a long time since I have known someone who would make such a sacrifice for me. It is… humbling.

So now I have to be willing to make a sacrifice of my own. Beckett is a good doctor. I know that he can accomplish things that healers of other worlds can only dream about. Still, he has a driving need to help all that are wounded and dying. He will not be willing to do what John will want done if we cannot find a way to save him. John Sheppard would not want to live like this. He would not want this transformation to complete itself. I pray that Beckett finds a cure.

Because I dread the time when I must kill my friend.