Pairing: Beckett/McKay, Beckett/Sheppard, Beckett/McKay/Sheppard
Rating: NC-17, for graphic violence and kinky sex
Word Count: 6,641
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate Atlantis or its characters.
Author's Notes: Werewolf/shapeshifters/supernatural shenanigans AU, inspired by various urban fantasy series. The title is from the song "As Time Goes By".
Summary: "Of all the werecoyotes, Rodney, you strike me as the least likely to be a crazed serial killer."
There was black pick-up truck parked in Carson's driveway, so Rodney parked on the street instead. He was early, and he knew it. This wasn't like the time when he had turned up three hours late for dinner when Carson's mother was visiting from Scotland, or when he'd called Carson to make plans for that night, and completely forgotten that it was five o'clock in the morning. No, this time Rodney knew that it was only 6:12, and Carson had been very clear about him not coming by until after 7.
It was just that Rodney was curious. Not jealous, no matter what Carson kept insinuating. Carson had let him know right from the beginning that Rodney wasn't the only man that Carson was involved with, and Rodney had said that he was fine with that, that he understood, and even did some research on polyamorous relationships just so he could prove to Carson how fine he was. The only problem was that Rodney liked to know things, and right now he was using his key to let himself into Carson's house because he wanted to what exactly Carson was doing with that other guy.
He closed the door behind him as quietly as he could, and then took off his shoes before heading upstairs. Rodney paused on the landing; he could hear Carson's voice through the half-open door, talking in a low undertone. He felt abruptly ridiculous, like he'd accidentally wandered into a movie where he was the moronic husband coming home early to find his wife screwing the milkman, and should be readying himself to burst into the bedroom in a jealous rage, possibly while waving some kind of firearm. This was none of his business.
He turned around and started tiptoeing back towards the stairs, when he heard Carson call, "Hello?" and then, even worse, "Rodney? Is that you?"
Rodney froze, considered making a break for the door, and called back, "Um, yes?"
He heard Carson mutter something but didn't catch the words; Rodney figured he was either apologizing to the other guy for his creepy stalker boyfriend, or just cursing Rodney out.
"Rodney," Carson said, sounding pissed but also kind of - affectionate, maybe? Rodney felt his shoulders relax a bit, and he didn't even feel too much trepidation when Carson sighed loudly and then said, "Get in here."
Rodney tried not to look too sheepish as he sidled through the door into the bedroom, and also tried not to stare too obviously at the mostly naked, half-shifted guy on the bed - who he recognized.
"Oh, it's you," Rodney said, and pretended that the awkwardness in the room hadn't increased by a factor of approximately seven million. Nothing like running into a former one-night stand while he just happened to be in the middle of banging your current boyfriend.
John Sheppard stared back at him from his sprawled position on the bed, looking hot and annoyed and not the slightest bit discomfited by his near-nakedness and the fact that his hands were hand-cuffed to Carson's overly elaborate wrought-iron headboard.
"Hey, Rodney." His fangs made the words come out slightly slurred.
"What are you doing here?" Carson asked, standing in front of the night table in wrinkled pants that he had obviously grabbed off the floor and put on. He looked more exasperated than angry, and Rodney could see his hard-on pressing against his pants.
Rodney somehow managed to stop himself from blurting any of the first dozen things that popped into his head, which ranged from diplomatic lies ("Whoops, lost track of the time, didn't realize you'd still be - busy") to hysterical accusations (He shifts for you? Is that why you're still fucking him, because he lets you touch him when he's furry? Does he let you drag him around on a leash too?!).
He cleared his throat to give himself time to think of something that was neither obviously untrue or desperate and insecure, and only came up with, "I just - I wanted to see. What you did with - and now I feel like an idiot, so I'll just be going." He made himself meet Carson's eyes. "I - sorry. Really."
"Wait." Carson gave him a long, serious look, and then turned to look at John on the bed. "Are you sure?"
John shrugged as well as he could with his arms over his head, and looked Rodney up and down as he answered Carson. "Yeah, I don't mind. As long as he keeps his distance." He smirked at Rodney, showing sharp elongated teeth. "So, you want to see? Then stick around."
Rodney jerked his head towards Carson in surprise, even as he felt his cock begin to stiffen in his pants. Up until now, Carson had seemed pretty set on keeping the two of them apart. He hadn't even told Rodney that it was John that he was seeing, for god's sake. "Seriously?"
Carson licked his lips, uncertainty passing over his face for a moment, but then he nodded decisively. "Yes, stay, if that's what you're wanting, love." He then added in a much less pleasant tone, "But don't think for a moment that we're not talking about this later."
"Sure, whatever, I - yes, I definitely want to stay," Rodney said, shrugging off his jacket and letting it fall to the floor. He'd ignore 'later' for now.
On the bed, John tensed, and Carson looked between them before saying, "Leave everything else on, Rodney, and go sit in the chair. You'll get a fine view from there, I think," and his smile at Rodney was only a little mocking. "And don't touch yourself. Yet."
Rodney hesitated for a second, and then succumbed to Carson's pointed look and walked over to the armchair in the corner of the bedroom. He had to clear some clothes and one of his journals off of it before he could sit down, and by the time he had himself settled in, Carson had lost the pants and was climbing onto the bed, pulling away the sheet that had been covering John's lower half. There were suddenly too many things for Rodney to look at, and his gaze darted between John's lean body and stiff cock to Carson's more familiar pale shoulders and ass.
Carson leaned down and whispered something in John's ear that made him nod, and then pulled back and said, "First, you need to relax a bit." He ran his hands down John's chest slowly, ruffling the light layer of fur growing there. John tipped his head back against the bed and closed his eyes as Carson moved lower down his body, and his mouth fell open when Carson pinned down his hips and wrapped his lips around John's cock.
Rodney gripped the arms of the chair to keep from touching himself. He'd never seen Carson suck dick from this angle before, and he couldn't stop squirming as he watched the way Carson slid his mouth up and down, taking it deep. Carson rustled around in the sheets with one hand until he came up with a bottle of lube, and then he slid his slicked fingers up between John's open thighs. John was writhing silently on the bed, chest heaving with each breath and claws scratching at the headboard, and god, Rodney wanted to touch them both so badly. "Carson -" Rodney said, and he could hear the plea in his own voice.
Carson drew back but kept his head bent over the tip of John's dick, and John gasped out, "Oh - please -" before pressing his lips firmly together.
"No, Rodney," Carson said sharply. "Stay on the chair like you're told." Rodney bit back a curse and tightened his fingers until his knuckles turned white. His cock was practically throbbing now, and if he could even just undo his zipper to give it some more room -
"And John," Carson said, leaning down so that his words blew air across the leaking head of John's cock. Rodney could see him watching for John's reaction, the way he twitched his hips upwards against the weight of Carson's hand. "I like you noisier than this, you know that."
John's eyes slitted open at that, and he stared at Carson for a moment before his eyes shifted to Rodney. Rodney saw him swallow, but then Carson said, "It's okay, love," and took John's cock in his mouth again, and John honest-to-god whined.
"Carson - Carson, fuck that's good, okay, do it now - fuck me, I -" John said, all in one long string of slurred words.
Rodney's pulse was racing now, and actually thought that he might have some kind of aneurysm if he didn't touch his cock in the next ten seconds. He half-wailed at Carson, "Carson, just let me jerk off, that's all I want, come on!"
Carson sat up and wiped his mouth, and then reached for the condoms on the nightstand. "Well, if that's what you want..." He rolled a condom over his cock, and Rodney was vaguely aware that both he and John were watching as if riveted in place. Carson grabbed John's legs and hitched John's ass up into his lap, and then looked over his shoulder at Rodney. "Go ahead, Rodney."
Rodney groaned as he tore at the button and zipper on his pants, and then shoved his hand down into his boxers and finally, finally grabbed his neglected, aching cock. Yanking it out of his pants, he looked up just in time to see Carson push forward, sinking his cock into John's ass.
"Fuck, Carson," Rodney whispered, and moved his hand faster. Carson was thrusting steadily now, and John was arching up into it as well as he could, curtailed by the cuffs and the position. Rodney could hear him saying, "Yeah, yeah, come on," between whimpers, and then John jerked violently and came, his whole body tensed and shaking.
Carson kept fucking John, moving his hips faster, and Rodney matched the movement with his hand, but it wasn't until Carson turned his head towards Rodney and gasped out, "Wish this were you, don't you?" that Rodney bent forward with a cry, come spurting out onto his hand and pants. He leaned over his knees, trying to catch his breath, and so only heard the sharp sound Carson made as he came.
It was only a little awkward afterwards, brushing past each other to grab tissues and take turns in the bathroom. John sat on the bed and rubbed his wrists after Carson undid the cuffs, and Rodney stayed slumped in the chair, enjoying the post-orgasm mellowness. He watched as John shifted back to fully human, fur receding and changing into hair, fangs and claws shrinking away. Carson disappeared into the bathroom with the condom, and Rodney took the opportunity to say, "Why'd you let me stay?"
John looked up, startled, and then his eyes slid back down to his wrists. "Carson's been talking about it for a while. It made sense to - seize the moment." He smirked, but it was less challenging this time, more like he was inviting Rodney to share the joke. It made Rodney remember how much he'd liked John; their one-night stand hadn't been disastrous so much as vanilla and thus frustrating, with neither of them getting what they wanted.
"It's just - with the murders especially, I wouldn't think that you'd -" Rodney grimaced, but made himself finish, "be all that comfortable with me in here."
John actually grinned. "Of all the werecoyotes, Rodney, you strike me as the least likely to be a crazed serial killer." He hopped off the bed and grabbed a pair of boxers off of the floor, adding quietly, "And besides, Carson trusts you."
"Oh," Rodney said, and then couldn't think of anything else to say before John was dressed and leaning against the door frame.
"So," John said, shifting his feet, and then Carson emerged from the bathroom and walked over, still buck naked, to kiss John in the doorway.
John pulled back after a moment, and - was he actually blushing? But all he said was, "See you on Tuesday," and then nodded at Rodney before disappearing through the door. Rodney listened to him clattering down the steps to the front door, and wondered what would have followed that 'So' if Carson had stayed in the bathroom a little longer.
And then Carson was standing over him, his arms crossed disapprovingly. Rodney looked up at him and winced. "I don't suppose the talking part can wait until after the afterglow's faded?"
"No, I don't think so," Carson said, glaring down at him.
"If you really hadn't wanted me here, you would have set the wards to keep me out!" Rodney tried.
"I never set the wards to keep you out, Rodney," Carson said, glaring harder.
"Huh. Really?" Rodney asked; that was almost sweet.
Carson smiled tightly at him. "I think what we need is to have a long talk about non-magical boundaries, don't you?"
Rodney sighed. It wasn't like he didn't totally have this coming, anyway. "Okay, but could you at least put some pants on first?"
If there was one thing that Rodney hated about being a shapeshifter, it was that there was really no way to strip gracefully in the middle of a forest during the winter, at least not when you lived in Colorado. And especially not when you were surrounded by thirty other people in various stages of undress, and everyone kept bumping elbows and tripping over discarded boots. Elizabeth had decided that it was too much of a risk for the pack to shift in the park's parking lot, and so every Friday and full-moon night they all trudged through the chilly woods for a good ten minutes before finally changing into their warmer, furrier form.
"Agh, cold! Cold, cold, cold! One of these days, I'm going to lose a toe to frostbite and Elizabeth will be completely responsible."
Rodney yanked his foot out of his pant leg, and then hopped discreetly on bare toes while shoving his boxers down. He could see Radek laughing at him from the corner of his eye, and Rodney shifted half-way so that he could snarl at him.
Radek only rolled his eyes and kept unbuttoning his shirt. "Yes, yes, very frightening. Now finish changing please, so we no longer have to listen to your whining."
Rodney gave him the finger until his fingers melded together and reshaped into paws, and he dropped to the ground, no longer the slightest bit human, nor particularly cold anymore. He sniffed the air deeply, snorted with satisfaction, and then loped over to nip at Radek's ankles while Radek swore and aimed kicks at him.
Radek finally shifted into his coyote form, and got his revenge by lunging at Rodney and bowling him over, trying to bite Rodney's ears. Rodney twisted out from under him, and they nipped at each other half-heartedly until Daniel barked at them. They joined the rest of the pack, milling together at the centre of the clearing until everyone smelled the same again. They had a good turn-out tonight; almost everyone was there, as far as Rodney could tell. Their pack had been growing in size recently, and Rodney couldn't remember who all of the newest members were.
Elizabeth and Daniel's sleek shapes took off through the trees, and the pack followed, yelping and barking. There was always this sense of joy at the beginning of the night, and Rodney shared in it, leaping over stumps and racing ahead of Kavanagh just for the hell of it. They could focus on hunting later, for now there was just the night and the pack and running onwards, forever.
Being in coyote form always seemed to bring out the romantic in Rodney, but cold, hard reality hit him in the face what must have been about an hour later, when he heard Kusanagi barking wildly, high-pitched and frantic. He spun away from the scent trail he'd been following and raced towards her. He reached her at the same time as Simpson and Kavanagh, and Radek rushed to their side a few seconds later.
There were a few seconds of confusion as they tried to figure out the source of Kusanagi's agitation: Simpson ran two quick circles around the immediate area, and Kavanagh kept growling in irritation. As far as Rodney could tell, Kusanagi was unhurt, and there didn't seem to be any threats nearby - and then he caught the scent of it, what must have set Kusanagi off.
It was horrible, acrid and cold with lingering traces of blood underneath it. A predator for sure, but Rodney had never smelled anything like that before. It made him rear backward, stiff-legged, and he felt his ears go flat against his head. Kusanagi huddled next to him, sniffing at the ground and then twisting her head away. He could feel the others gathering close, and someone - probably Kavanagh - was whimpering softly.
There were times when coyote communication could only take you so far, and this was one of them. Rodney took a few steps away from Kusanagi and then shifted halfway back to human, straightening up onto two legs with a grunt. Radek and the others quickly followed his lead, and they all stared at each for a moment, shivering with the loss of the most of their fur.
"What the fuck was that?" Rodney said, suddenly aware of how little he could hear or smell in the immediate vicinity. He glanced around, peering through the trees; at least his night vision was still pretty good.
Radek shrugged, and Simpson shook her head and wrapped her arms around herself. Kavanagh said, "I don't give a shit what it is. Why are we standing around talking about it?" shooting a nervous glance behind him.
The man had a point, and Rodney nodded and said, "Right. Let's go back, see if we can find Elizabeth or Daniel. We can deal with this as a pack." And hopefully in the morning, he didn't add.
"It's heading towards wolf territory, I think," Radek said.
"We'll tell the wolves about it too, then," Rodney said. "Maybe they'll get off our backs once they know that there's definitely something much scarier running around town."
Kusanagi shivered, and looked off in the direction of the thing's trail. "It's a demon."
She glanced at Rodney even as he opened his mouth and said, "And do not say there is no such thing."
Radek broke in before Rodney had a chance to work up any indignation. "Do you know it is a - demon for certain, Miko?"
She shook her head. "No. But the way it smells - if it is not a demon, it is the closest thing to it. "
"Maybe you can ask Carson," Simpson suggested, looking at Rodney. "Don't the witches know about this kind of weird stuff?"
Rodney snorted. "Weird, useless knowledge is definitely their niche. I'll ask him."
He shifted back to coyote form, wrinkling his nose at the increased intensity of the awful, unfamiliar smell, and took off through the woods, the others catching up within seconds. They clearly all felt the same way as Rodney: the further and faster they got away from that scent, the better.
Chuck's place was crowded on Saturday night, as usual, and with all the usual people; Rodney only got a table by glaring at a pair of raven shifters until they scuttled away towards the bar. Carson didn't say anything about it, which was a testament to just how tired he was. A hectic night at the hospital followed by what Carson had shrugged off as a "minor ghost expulsion" this afternoon meant that he was practically falling asleep in his beer. Rodney saw John sitting at a booth with two other werewolves, but he was deep in conversation and didn't seem to notice Rodney or Carson. Rodney wasn't sure if he was relieved or disappointed by that.
Rodney waved over Elizabeth as soon as he saw her come in, and she headed across the bar towards them, weaving delicately around the tables and booths. She draped her black wool coat across the back of the chair and sat down, smiling at both of them.
"Rodney, Carson. How are you?"
Rodney waved his hand, dismissing the pleasantries. "Yes, we're both fine. Have you talked to the wolves yet?"
"I'm a little weary, Elizabeth, but otherwise well. And you?" Carson said, smiling at her.
Elizabeth shook her head, obviously holding back a laugh. "I'm fine, Carson. And no, Rodney, I haven't talked to the wolves. Daniel left Sam Carter a message this morning, but I don't know if he's reached her yet." She turned back to Carson. "Do you have any idea what could be causing the smell that Rodney described?"
Carson made a face, and then took a sip of his beer. "From the sound of it, it could be any number of nasty creatures. We usually don't identify them by smell, so I can't really narrow it down based on that."
"But..." Rodney said encouragingly, gesturing for him to continue.
"But Teyla said that would go with Rodney and I into the forest tomorrow to see if we can locate the creature with a searching spell, or at least identify it," Carson finished, kicking Rodney under the table.
Elizabeth nodded and said, "Good, we're grateful for your help. You should take Radek with you, just in case." Leaning forward, she asked, "Is there any chance that this - creature could be responsible for the murders?"
Carson shrugged. "Well, that depends on what it is. But there are definitely some beasties out there that could have ripped up humans like that. I do hope that it is responsible, whatever it is."
Elizabeth smiled sharply, and Rodney scowled down at the table. The tensions that had been rising amongst the shifters ever since the first killing 'by large, wild animal' was reported had worsened considerably in the last week, once the fourth body was discovered. It would solve a lot of problems if it turned out that the enemy was an external one.
As if to illustrate Carson's point, a fight broke out at the bar less than half an hour later between Katie Brown and Bates, one of the wolves. Rodney didn't know what Bates had said to earn himself a slap in the face, but Katie was shaking with anger and pointing her finger at him. Half the bar turned to look at them, conversations slowing to a halt.
"You take that back," Katie said, her voice colder and harder than Rodney had ever heard it.
Bates stared down at her, not backing up. "It's just the truth. You're bound to pick up some crazies when your leaders take in every damn coyote who passes through town."
"We haven't killed anyone, none of us has, ever," she spat. "Can you say that about your people?"
"I know my people. Do you?" Bates growled, in a way that was much too close to an actual growl, and crap, Rodney could see Katie's fingernails lengthening.
Elizabeth was already moving across the room, and Rodney saw John sliding out of his booth and moving in the same direction, but then Chuck slammed something down on the bar between Bates and Katie. The noise made Rodney jump, and he saw that the object was Chuck's tranquilizer gun.
"No fighting in my bar," Chuck said, glaring at both of them. "And no fighting outside my bar either." He looked out at the rest of the room. "And that goes for the rest of you too! Go tear each other to pieces in the woods if you have to."
"Has Chuck always been that frightening?" Carson whispered into Rodney's ear.
Rodney whispered back, "Scariest werebadger I know, that's for sure."
Elizabeth wrapped her arm around Katie's shoulders and guided her over to their table, while Bates turned back to his drink at the bar until John tapped him on the shoulder, scowling.
Elizabeth sat back down at the table and passed her wine glass to Katie, who took a deep gulp before dropping her head into her arms.
"I can't believe I slapped him," she mumbled.
"Yeah, me neither," Rodney said, and Carson snorted a laugh.
Reaching for the wine glass, Elizabeth shot the two of them a desperate look. "Find something tomorrow, would you please? I could really use some good news right now."
"We'll definitely try to give you some good news about the existence of a murderous supernatural entity roaming around, if it's at all possible," Rodney promised.
"This is the closest that we can get to it?" Teyla asked, looking at Rodney for confirmation.
Rodney bobbed his head up and down, and then stared up at Carson. Carson sighed, but said to Teyla, "Would you mind turning around again, please, so he can change back?"
Teyla's mouth twitched, but she turned her back without further comment. Rodney was grateful; he didn't even like shifting in front of Carson. Rodney shifted and stood up, reaching for the bag of clothes that Carson held out for him. He dressed as quickly as he could, ignoring Carson's tsk-ing and Radek's snickers.
"You're naked in front of your pack all the time, I don't see why -" Carson said.
"We've been over this! It's different," Rodney hissed. "For one thing, they're all naked too." And none of them had ever stared at him in grotesque fascination or turned away, sickened, while watching him change, which was more than he could say for most of the non-shifters he'd dated over the years.
"May I turn around now, Rodney?" Teyla asked.
"Yes, go ahead," Rodney said, pulling on his coat and then bending over to tie up his boots. "This is the closest we can get, to answer your question, because the wolves' territory begins just over that rise and I'd rather not piss them off anymore, if possible."
"Of course," Teyla said graciously, pulling a large green blanket out of her tote bag. She spread it across the ground, flattening down some of the longer grasses. She and Carson both sat down on it, and beginning placing small stones on the blanket between them, forming an intricate pattern.
Rodney and Radek looked at each other and shrugged. They walked a few paces away and sat down on a piece of dirt that looked less muddy than everywhere else. The forest was so much less interesting as a human.
Rodney watched as Carson and Teyla worked their voodoo, speaking in low voices until the stones began to vibrate on the blanket, rising into the air. He was only peripherally interested in Carson's spells; whatever talent Rodney could have had for magic had been cancelled out when he was in that bus accident a decade ago, and a coyote shifter's blood had mixed with his. Shapeshifters couldn't use magic.
Carson and Teyla stopped speaking at the same time, their eyes falling closed. Radek leaned over towards Rodney. "Is that supposed to happen?"
Rodney shrugged. "As long as no one starts screaming or bleeding, I usually assume everything is okay."
"How very - relaxed of you," Radek said, raising his eyebrows.
Before Rodney could think of a cutting reply, the stones floating over the blanket made an unearthly noise, a faint, hoarse shriek. Carson gasped loudly, and a second later, Teyla shouted, "No!" and their eyes both flew open. The stones dropped and scattered across the blanket, the noise cutting off abruptly.
Rodney leapt to his feet and rushed forward, vaguely aware of Radek by his side. "What the hell? Are you okay? What happened?"
He grabbed at Carson's shoulders and tried to get a look at his pupils, but Carson shook him off. "Get off, I'm fine!" He pulled Rodney's hand down, away from his face, but then kept a tight grip on it. Rodney looked worriedly between him and Teyla. He'd never seen Teyla look that strained and frightened before, and Carson had gone unhealthily pale.
"What was that?" Radek asked quietly, crouching beside Teyla.
Teyla took a deep breath, her face grim. "That was a vampire."
Elizabeth didn't sound very impressed with their good news. "Vampires? They're real?"
Rodney threw the hand that he wasn't holding the cell phone with in the air. "Why not? Everything else is!"
"True," Elizabeth conceded. "Where are you all now?"
"We dropped Teyla and Radek off at her house so she can get supplies, and the rest of us are almost at Chuck's. We figured it was the fastest way to spread the news, get some posses going," Rodney said, ignoring Carson when he looked away from the road to mouth 'posses?' at Rodney.
"Posses?" Elizabeth said. "To hunt it down?"
"To hunt them down," Rodney said. "According to Teyla, vampires are like roaches. If you've got one, you've also got more hidden away somewhere. We'll have to split up, see if we can track down the nest." He paused, then added, "You know, I never thought I'd say this, but I'm really glad that we know so many gun-owners."
Carson pulled the car into a parking space, and Rodney got out off the car. "Okay, we're there now," he said to Elizabeth.
"All right," she said, "I'll call Daniel, and with any luck we'll be there in the next ten minutes. And Rodney? Tell everyone at the bar about this, not just the coyotes."
Rodney huffed in annoyance. "Of course! The wolves have some of the best guns, and the foxes are all reckless lunatics anyway. They'll probably be excited about the whole thing. Bye."
He closed the phone and turned to Carson - who wasn't there. Rodney frowned, peering around the parking lot and into the trees surrounding it. Dusk made human eyesight even worse than it usually was. "Carson?" Rodney called, walking between the cars, feeling the hairs on his neck beginning to rise.
He heard a noise, like a cut-off shout, and half-shifted without even looking around to see if anyone was watching. Rodney could smell Carson now, the healthy-male-soap scent of him, and he could also smell - fuck, fuck! The acrid death smell of the vampire was seeping through the parking lot, and Rodney only paused for a second to yell as loudly as he could in the direction of Chuck's place before racing towards the vampire, towards Carson, a growl bubbling up from his throat.
There was suddenly an enormously bright flash of light, and Rodney squeezed his eyes shut and whined, but didn't stop moving. He opened them again as he felt the ground under his boots change from pavement to dirt, and he saw Carson sprawled on the ground, blue fire emanating from his raised hands and blood trickling down his face.
The vampire was standing over Carson, one hand raised defensively as if to block the light. It was a tall, grotesque thing, man-shaped except for the dead-grey skin and its fanged, furrowed face. It had Carson's blood on its claws.
Rodney wanted it dead, wanted to rip its throat open, if that would kill it, and maybe even if it didn't. He leaped at it, slamming it sideways with his body and sinking his teeth into its shoulder as it turned to snarl at him, ignoring the terrible taste. It grabbed at him, digging its claws into his sides and flung him off.
Hitting the tree hurt, and he had to spit a chunk of vampire out onto the dirt, which was disgusting. Rodney looked up in time to see the vampire reaching down for him, when suddenly someone with fur and a plaid shirt tackled it to the ground. John sank his teeth into the vampire's neck, but pulled back with a yell when the vampire clawed his back.
Rodney scrambled to his feet and grabbed at the vampire's failing arms with his clawed hands, trying to help John pin it to the ground. He heard Carson say frantically, "Here, use this, lass!" and then someone was grabbing his shoulders and saying, "McKay, get out of the way!"
He drew back as much as he could while still keeping his grip on the vampire's arm, and so got a very good view when a half-shifted Sam Carter slammed a tree branch down through the vampire's chest. Black blood sprayed everywhere, and the vampire shrieked, writhing violently until it went abruptly limp and still.
Rodney slowly released the vampire's arm and then staggered to his feet, looking around at the equally dazed and blood-splattered faces of Carson, John and Sam. He shifted back to human and tried to use his sleeve to wipe some of the vampire blood off his face, but was pretty sure he just smeared it around. He walked over to Carson, and leaned against him instead. They all stared down at the dead vampire. It still smelled.
"So, a stake through the heart?" Rodney finally said, looking sideways at Carson.
"It is traditional. I thought that it was worth a try," Carson said. He nudged the vampire's shoulder with his foot. "What should we do with it?"
"Bury it, I guess," Sam said, not sounding very enthusiastic about the idea. She and John had shifted back as well, and she was trying to scrape vampire blood out of her hair.
"Or I guess we could burn it. If it burns," John suggested. He grinned tiredly at Sam. "That was very 'Buffy', by the way. Your aim is seriously impressive."
Sam smiled back at him, and then looked at Rodney and Carson. "I can assume that this is our serial killer, right?"
"Uh, one of them," Rodney said.
John jerked his head around. "There are more?"
"There's likely a nest around somewhere," Carson said glumly.
Sam dropped her hands away from her hair and groaned, before straightening her shoulders resignedly. "Well, I guess we're going vampire slaying."
Three hours, a lot of wound-bandaging, arguing and a free dinner at Chuck's later, Rodney was creeping around the corner of an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of town, pouring gasoline on the walls as he went. They'd tracked the dead vampire's trail to the warehouse, and the death stink emanating from it made them pretty sure that they'd found their lair.
Sam had said, "Okay, let's do this the easy way," and consensus had determined that that meant setting the place on fire, and then surrounding it and waiting for any survivors to come out.
"What happens when the fire department turns up?" Rodney had asked, but apparently Ronon, one of the wolves, was in the fire department, and assured them that he could make it so they'd get at least fifteen minutes before any emergency services showed up.
All of which meant Rodney was now committing his first ever act of arson, what fun. When he finished pouring out the gasoline, he hurried back to the alley where Carson was waiting with John, Ronon and Zelenka. John smiled at him and handed him a sharp, pointed stick and a rifle.
"You know how to shoot one of those, right?" he asked.
"I once spent a memorably horrific first date at a shooting range with a girl named Laura," Rodney said. John arched one eyebrow, and Rodney sighed, looking down at the gun. "I know how not to shoot myself in the foot."
"Good enough," John said cheerfully, and clapped Rodney on the shoulder. Only his hand lingered a little longer than necessary, and Rodney was just turning to look at him when John moved away to talk to Ronon about shooting angles or some ridiculously macho thing.
Carson was grinning at both of them, and Rodney rolled his eyes. "Okay, I'm ready for the violence to start now."
"Good," Ronon said, lifting his obscenely large knife. "'Cause here we go." Which was all the warning he gave before two screaming, flailing, burning vampires raced down the alleyway towards them.
The next few minutes, or possibly hours, passed in a haze of adrenaline and terror. Rodney shot at screaming vampires until he ran out of bullets, and then half-shifted and starting biting and tearing instead. It usually took at least two people to actually kill one of the horrific things; the bullets slowed them down enough for one person to hold them still while the other one did their best to impale their heart with a stick, which was much more difficult than Rodney would have thought.
Then John was tugging on his arm and yelling at him, "Come on, Rodney, they need help with the queen!" Rodney followed him, stumbling out of the alley to the empty lot next to the warehouse, where it looked like half the shifters in town were gathered around a tall, female-looking vampire. She was hissing and lashing out at anyone who came close, and either no one had any bullets left or they'd just proven useless.
Rodney caught sight of Carson and Teyla and a few of the other witches he knew standing at the back near the fence, forming a circle and grasping each others' hands. Seconds later, the queen threw back her head and shrieked as tendrils of violent fire twisted around her and bound her tight. Rodney put his hands up to his sensitive ears along with most of the other shifters, but John and Elizabeth took the opportunity to leap at the trapped queen.
They knocked her to the ground, but then tumbled away from her, yelping; the fire had burned them as well. Rodney rushed forward and grabbed the queen's shoulders from behind, pinning her to the ground. She screamed up at him, eyes wild and fangs gnashing, and he couldn't help but flinch back. Fortunately Sam was ready with her stick again, and she shoved it down into the queen's chest with a shout.
The queen kept thrashing and shrieking, so either Sam had missed the heart or the damn thing just wouldn't die. Rodney gritted his teeth and considered trying to rip open the thing's throat with one hand. It'd probably bite off his fingers.
He heard John yell, "Rodney, let go! Let go of her!" and instinctively released his hands and scooted backwards, just as the violet fire keeping the queen pinned disappeared. The queen howled in triumph and sat up, stick still jammed in her chest, and then Ronon stepped forward and swung his knife at her head. It took a couple of strokes to actually hack it off, and Rodney had to look away, swallowing hard to keep the bile down.
When it was done, and there was really some peace and quiet, Rodney lay down on the pavement, not bothering to shift back to human. It was possibly he'd sprained every part of his body, and he didn't even want to count how many bite and scratch marks he had. Someone lay down next to him and grabbed his hand, and he wasn't surprised to see that it was Carson. He contemplated pulling his clawed and bloody hand out of Carson's grasp, but it seemed like too much work. He was only a little surprised when John lay down at his other side a few moments later.
"So, that was fun," John said, and Carson laughed while Rodney twisted his head to gape at him incredulously.
"No, really. We made a good team," John said, and clearly the man was a lunatic, but there was a warmth in his voice that made Rodney shake his head and laugh instead of mocking him. He kicked at John's leg, and received a poke in the arm in return.
"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful -" Carson said, and then trailed off.
"Friendship?" Rodney finished absently. He'd grabbed at John's hand to stop the poking, and was now somehow holding hands with both of them.
"Well," Carson said, and Rodney could hear his evil grin, "the beginning of a beautiful - something, anyway."