A/N: Holy late chapter, Batman! Seriously though, my apologies. I have to say, I had a really tough time with this chapter (that, and school's a bitch.). So hopefully you're all still out there and haven't given up on me! *giant puppy eyes*
SUMMARY: Nightmares have begun to plague Rodney's dreams. What happens when they start to merge with real life?
DISCLAIMER: Everything Stargate Atlantis related is property of MGM. I own nothing.
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"Alright, now that we're all here..." Elizabeth Weir looked around the conference room to meet six pairs of eyes staring back at her. To her right sat Rodney, Radek, and Carson. To her left, John, Teyla, Ronon. "It's time for the million dollar question. What exactly are we dealing with?"
No one replied.
Eventually Rodney shifted in his seat before saying lamely, "Hallucinations?"
"I think she meant, just what the hell are causing them?" Leaning forward in his seat, John rubbed the back of his neck and said, "Look, obviously something is affecting us. And it's gotta be a pretty advanced something since its spread across the city so quickly."
"A drug perhaps?" suggested Teyla.
Carson shook his head.
"I doubt it. I found nothing different in Rodney's blood work. Besides, I can't even think of a chemical that would work so rapidly."
"How do we know it hasn't been festering for a while?" Rodney looked practically sick at his own suggestion. "Waiting there to seep into our brains and kill us slowly from the inside out with our own mind..."
There was a moment of silence.
"I doubt that's the case, lad," Carson finally said assuredly, giving the scientist's hand a pat.
"You never know. How many years have we been living here? Look at all the crazy crap we've seen. How do you know—"
"Assuming," Elizabeth interrupted with a wry smile in Rodney's direction. "-that it isn't a drug, what other possibilities are there?"
"Wraith," Ronon said promptly, arms folded across his chest.
Rodney snorted, tossing up his hands in exasperation.
"Wraith? Seriously? That's your answer to everything!"
'"Now, now, kids..." John said evenly. "Any suggestion is a good suggestion, but I have to agree with McKay on this one. Doesn't seem like their style."
"I agree," Teyla added. "Besides, I do not feel their presence."
"Nor are they on our scanners," Radek concluded.
"Alright, so it's not a drug or any attempt by the Wraith," Elizabeth summed up. She laced her fingers together, pensively resting her chin against them. "So...what does that leave us with?"
Another bout of silence fell before Rodney suddenly snapped his fingers.
"I can't believe I didn't think of this sooner!"
John raised his eyebrows.
"Care to fill in the rest of the class?"
Pointedly ignoring the Colonel's drawled out question, Rodney turned excitedly to Radek, already talking a mile a minute.
"Those artefacts found in the South Pier—"
"—but they were put away for later—"
"—yes but someone with the gene might have fiddled with something, accidentally switched something on—"
"—and it has been running silently ever since," the Czech finished, a thoughtful look on his face. "Is possible. But what kind of device would make—"
"That doesn't matter right now," Rodney interrupted as he waved an impatient hand. "We need to do a sweep of...of the..." Slowly the scientist's words trailed off, his blue gaze flickering around in poorly hidden growing alarm. Without warning, his surroundings had changed, just morphed away without a sound. Where it left him, he didn't like.
The previously sleek blue-hued walls of Atlantis had melted away into a deep purple, the texture organic and almost alive. The scientist could practically feel the walls of the materialized Wraith hive ship breathing around him, surrounding him in the dim, sickly light, the air heavy. In front and to the sides of him sat six Wraith, their hair long and white, lips curled into sneers.
The words tumbled from Rodney's mouth before he grabbed the edge of the crude, spongy table and prepared to push himself away. Instead, he looked down and felt his mouth fall open.
"No. No, no, no—"
The hands gripping the table edge were not the hands of a skilled human scientist, but those of a life-sucking—
"This isn't real!"
His voice rasped, sharpened teeth clicking together, body burning with hunger. He jumped up, tripping over the chair legs and smacking at his grossly unfamiliar arms as he scrambled back, hitting the squashy wall.
"No, no, no, no—" he said frantically, flashes of his own white hair flying past his face. "This isn't—I can't—"
The six Wraith slid silently out of their chairs to stalk predatorily over to Rodney, their insect-like eyes boring into him. He pressed closer against the wall, body slowly sliding down until his butt hit the floor.
"Don't! I'm not—I'm not—"
As the Wraith closed in on him, Rodney, completely weapon less, scared, and confused, did the only thing he could do.
He yelled for John.
"Ach, hell! I didn't bring anything with me! I'll call the infirmary for a sedative—"
Ignoring Carson's cursing, John jumped out of his seat as soon as Rodney hit the floor. Whatever the man was seeing right now was clearly scaring the shit out of him, if the way he was curling in on himself was any indication.
"McKay? Rodney? Come on now..." The Colonel dropped to his knees beside the scientist, gripping the blue-covered shoulders and giving them a firm shake. "Whatever you're seeing isn't real!"
"I'm not—I'm not—"
The Colonel watched Rodney shake his head quickly, voice almost hysteric with fear as he kept denying the unheard question, blue eyes shut tightly.
"He's not what?" Elizabeth wondered, her gaze wide. She hovered on Rodney's other side, a gentle hand on the scientist's back. It rubbed up and down soothingly but Rodney didn't even seem to notice. He probably couldn't even see them.
"I don't kn—"
Before John could answer, his name suddenly escaped from McKay in a cry, the terrified man clearly requesting help. The Colonel was all too familiar with that yell, unfortunately.
"Whoa, buddy! I'm here!" he insisted, fingers digging into Rodney's shoulders. "I'm right here. All you gotta do is open your eyes."
Rodney shook his head again, absolutely refusing to open his eyes and face whatever was frightening him.
"No," he snapped, knuckles turning white from where he was gripping his pant legs at his knees. "No, I won't—"
"Come on, Answer Man," John coaxed, eyes riveted on his head geek. "I'm right here, scout's honour. Would I lie to you about something like that?"
There was a long minute of silence, the scientist clearly giving it some thought. Finally he swallowed and shook his head.
John let out a quiet sigh of relief.
"Exactly. So let's see those baby blues, buddy."
Rodney stilled for a second, body tensing as he braced himself to open his eyes and see—
"Colonel," he stated blankly, voice laden with awe and relief. "You—" His blue gaze flickered around, taking in the many worried and concerned faces. "I was—and you were all—" He rubbed at his temples, eyes drifting shut again. "I really want that damned device fixed."
"Or destroyed," John added grimly, lips pursing. Not for the first time, he wondered just what the hell those Ancients were thinking, if it was one of their devices...
"Are you alright to get to your feet, lad? Come on now..."
John backed away as Carson and Teyla fussed with Rodney. He didn't blame them. Seeing the normally arrogant and overconfident scientist curled up on himself, pleading to an enemy only he could see was...well, it wasn't very pleasant.
"Oh, for—I'm fine, you harpies!"
A small smile flickered across the Colonel's lips before he turned to Zelenka.
"Alright, I want that sweep done. Whatever device is screwing us up, I want gone now. In pieces, if possible."
"Right away, Colonel."
Radek grabbed his tablet and scurried out of the conference room, leaving a blustering Rodney in his wake.
"Ach, Rodney! You stay right where you are!" Carson insisted, grabbing the back of McKay's shirt as the man tried to follow after Zelenka.
"What! Look, I'm fine! Stop pestering me, Carson! I need to help—"
"You need to go back to the infirmary, is what you need—"
John let out a sigh.
They needed to find that device before he threw himself off the deep end.
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A/N: short, I know. But a short chapter is better then no chapter, right??...right? Love me! The wait for the next chapter won't be too bad cause I finally figured out what's going to happen *facepalm* let's hope, haha. John whump coming up!