A/N: This is just a little PWP. It's just a one shot, although it may grow one day. I was just playing with John's emotions and experimenting with his psyche a little. (I know, and yes- I do this for FUN! evil laugh)

It was necessary to pair John for this, but I have deliberatly left the description vague. If I've done it right, you can insert whatever ship/slash rocks your boat. If I've done it wrong, I will try harder next time. If I've completely missed the mark, I've given away which pairing I like. D

Beta: Linzi. Thank you!

The Witching Hour

Thud. The sound saturated his dreams. It was always there, in the background. But in the dead of night it came to the fore, inescapably prominent. He ran down the corridor of a wraith ship. Thud. The sound echoed throughout the Hive ship, and John vibrated with the sound of it. He ran up to a cacoon, and frantically pulled the webbing away from the tortured soul inside it. It was a Genii soldier. He was young, not aged or shrivelled, but he was dead none the less. He opened white clouded eyes, and stared directly at John.

"You killed me!" he rasped. Thud. John backed away, shaking his head in denial. He tried to speak, but the words wouldn't come. He spun sharply and ran on.

John tossed in his sleep; a sharp, restless movement. The darkness was thick and oppressive, but nowhere near as dark as his dreams. Sweat beaded on John's forehead, and he started to thrash, the movements muffled by the tangled sheets.

The corridor rounded a bend, and John skidded to a halt as he came face to face with the bewildered, childlike face of Lathan. Thud. The ex-wraith was scared and bewildered. He, too, was dead; his neck and limbs broken. His head hung limply against his shoulder and his arms and one leg were twisted at impossible angles. He looked at John imploringly.

"Why?" He rasped. "Why did you allow this to happen?" John screamed, wordless but articulate in its fear and pain. He turned and, choosing another corridor at random, ran again. Thud. The corridors bent and shifted as he ran, and he slowed as a sense of familiarity tingled his skin. Ahead the corridor ended with a blue latticework grill. John approached with dread. He knew what he would see, and he tried to turn but, as hard as he tried, his feet continued to move of their own volition. He sank to his knees, tears streaming down his face, and he looked down. The queen had her back to him, but she was slightly off to the side, so he could clearly see Sumner's face. The dead Colonel looked John in the eye, as his face was increasingly ravaged by age. Instead of the plea in the eyes, this time John saw hatred.

"Your fault!" Sumner accused. His face distorted in rage and pain, then blurred and became the youthful face of Ford. The queen continued to feed, and Aiden's face started to wither as Sumner's had a moment ago.

"Your fault!" He screamed. "You should have saved us!" As Ford's face withered and crumbled it was replaced by Peter Grodin, then Lt. Morrison… On and on it went. John threw himself at the lattice grill in front of him, screaming.

"No!" He woke up as the scream tore from his throat. For a moment he didn't know where he was, but the disorientation evaporated as someone moved next to the bed. A moment later a warm body lay down behind him, and a pair of cool, strong arms wrapped around him. Velvet lips pressed themselves against the back of his neck.

John drew in a shaky breath, and tried to convince himself it wasn't a sob of relief. He was suddenly glad of the darkness, glad it hid his face. This feeling of relief at the presence next to him was new, and the duality of that and his unwillingness to show weakness were waging a war on his already frayed and overloaded emotions.

"How did you know?" he whispered, voice rough from the tortured scream of a few moments ago. He felt the lips pressed against his shoulder curve up in a smile, before they withdrew slightly.

"It's the Witching Hour." came the cryptic reply. "That's when evil stalks and overly proud soldiers take too much responsibility onto their all-too-human shoulders." The words were accompanied by more kisses peppering those very shoulders. John closed his eyes and accepted the comfort. He felt like turning and burying his head into the welcoming embrace and crying like a child into the clean, spicy scented skin. That was something his pride just wouldn't allow, however his control wasn't strong enough at this hour to prevent the shudders that wracked his body. The arms wrapped around him tightened protectively, as though they could ward off his demons and keep him safe.

"Maybe they could," he thought as he began to relax. He melted into the warmth of shared body heat and the comfort of human touch, and his eyelids grew heavy.

"Sleep." Came the whispered command. "I'll stay." John forced his eyes open one last time and glanced at the clock. One o'clock. The Witching Hour had passed. John descended into a warm sleep and the darkness seemed a little less threatening.

Disclaimer: The copyright for Stargate Atlantis belongs to MGM studios and SciFi channel. It's their playground- I'm just playing in it.