Warnings: Spoilers for "The Hive". One swear.

Disclaimer: I don't own it, I make no money, yadda, yadda, yadda.


Rodney tapped merrily at his keyboard, his eyes riveted to the screen of his laptop, the one bright spot in the otherwise dark lab. He'd come in here - well, perhaps snuck was a better term - just after Carson had released him from infirmary with warnings to go to his quarters and rest. Rest, Rodney thought, frowning slightly as he worked. Being here, working in his empty lab was restful enough, and what Carson didn't know couldn't hurt Rodney.

He felt fine, all better, the enzyme having completely cleared his system. Energized, in fact. Rest was overrated, anyway. He grinned and lifted his mug, sniffing delightedly, then sipping his coffee as he typed with his free hand.

Rodney heard the door open and he cringed, expecting Carson and a serious reprimand. He turned towards the door and instead, haloed in the light streaming through the opening, was John.

"Teyla and Ronon have been released," John said, keeping his voice low. He stepped through the door and allowed it to close behind him, leaning back against it.

Rodney couldn't quite make out John's face in the sudden darkness, but he could tell from his voice and his posture that his teammates' condition wasn't the reason behind this late-night visit.

"Are you okay?" John asked from his position near the door.

"Fine, fine," Rodney said, nodding. "I'm good."

Rodney watched as John pushed away from the door and moved in front of him, staring down at the back of his laptop. In the glow of the screen, he could see his friend's face, and "You look like crap," flew out of his mouth before he could stop himself.

John ignored the comment and tilted his head, indicating Rodney's computer. "Are you even supposed to be working?"

Rodney simply shrugged, then lowered his eyes to the computer screen. He tapped a couple of keys with his free hand and lifted his coffee mug to his lips, pretending to be intent on his work when in reality he was waiting for whatever John had come to say.

"I understand why you took the enzyme."

Rodney looked up at John, surprised. He was not sure what he'd expected from John, but that was not it.

John shifted uncomfortably. "Hell, if I'd been in that situation myself...but that's not what I came here to say." He smiled oddly and leaned forward over the laptop, pinning Rodney with his gaze. "I wanted to apologise."

Rodney blinked quickly. "What?"

John stepped around the table and sat on the stool that was beside Rodney. Leaning forward, closing the distance between them, John added, "For the O.D."

Rodney frowned in his confusion and, suddenly anxious, put down the coffee. "What do you mean? I had to, I -"

John cut him off. "I know you felt like you had to take it. But -"

Rodney spoke over him. "I wasn't expecting that it would be that bad. I must have miscalculated -"

"Rodney, could you -" John said, obviously frustrated. Rodney tried to interrupt again, but John continued with a forceful, "Please, just let me talk, okay?" John stood up with such force, the stool spun a quick circle behind him, the only sound in the room the whirr of its movement. He started to pace in front of the table, four strides, a turn, four strides, a turn, all the while not looking at Rodney. "It was my fault you overdosed."

"What?" Rodney said. "No."

John stopped moving. "It was my fault. I..." His voice drifted away and he hesitated, staring at Rodney.

Rodney tried to look patient. When the silence stretched, he raised an eyebrow, and John smiled slightly.

"I arranged for Ford to give you a lower dose," John said.

Rodney's brow wrinkled.
John spoke more quickly. "I needed you lucid, so you could work, and Ford agreed. So I arranged for you to have a lowered dose."

Rodney suddenly realised what was going on. "But didn't tell me."

John nodded. "But didn't tell you," he echoed. "So when you went to take it yourself, to overpower the guards, you took the dose that Ronan and Teyla were getting - the dose you thought you were getting, but -"


"I'm so -"

Rodney tried to interrupt again. "John."

"I'm sorry."

Rodney rolled his eyes in exasperation. "It wasn't your fault."

"It was, and -"

"Could you not..." Rodney sighed. "Just stop talking for a minute, all right?" he said, frustrated. He took a breath, then said, calmer, "It's not your fault. Regardless of the size of the dose I thought I was getting, that Teyla and Ronon were or were not getting, I..." he took another deep breath and looked away briefly, then returned his gaze to John's. "I took more. On purpose."

Now it was John's brow's turn to wrinkle.

"I wanted to make sure, absolutely sure, that I could overcome those guards. I had to. And I did, I mean, it worked. For a while, anyway." Rodney shrugged.

"And then?"

God! Rodney thought, clenching his hands into fists. Hadn't he just been through all this with Carson? He stood, his chair flying back behind him. "And then I lost control. All right? I thought I could handle -" He stopped himself, surprised at the vehemence in his own voice.

"Would you do it again?" John asked, his voice low.

Rodney deliberately matched John's controlled tone. "If I had to go back, you mean? Sure, I -"

John stepped right in front of him, his expression intense. "No, for real. I mean now. I mean, if had it here, right now, would you want it?"

Rodney had to look away - there was too much in John's eyes - anger, and fear, and regret, and other things that he couldn't quite read. And -


And God, would he? Would he take it? Rodney remembered the feeling, the initial rush, the sense of strength and power, but more than that, of well being, of lack of pain, any kind of pain - physical, emotional, just gone.

"I don't know," Rodney finally said aloud. To himself, he thought, I might, and his breath hitched.

"Even knowing what it would do to you, that you'd get hooked again?" John asked, his voice low and even.

Not looking at John, unable to, really, Rodney nodded.

There was silence but for their breathing and the sounds of the machinery around them.

Rodney looked at John after a while. "So, I'm off the team, right?"

John, looking apologetic, started to speak, but Rodney didn't let him, quickly adding, "Don't worry, I'm already on Heightmeyer's schedule for tomorrow."

John nodded. "Good." He clasped Rodney's shoulder. "And I am sorry."

"I know."

John walked away. As the doors closed behind him, Rodney shut his laptop with a softly muttered, "Fuck."


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