Clothes ended up tossed on the deck so that they could slip into the bed together naked. As the hive ship had formed inside Destiny's shell and Radek had integrated with all its systems, the weird environmental ups and downs had steadied to a humid warmth at odds with any human ship or dwelling, one that kept the hive, the hybrids and, when they matured, the First Hatch of the new Wraith, healthy and comfortable. Clothes weren't really necessary, and worn from habit or when they went through the stargate.

Rodney hummed under his breath, a vibrato that made John smile. It reminded him of a cat purring.

They both were tired after the last mission, which had been less than successful, resulting in all of them double-timing back to the stargate well ahead of the countdown. They hadn't lost anyone though — John felt grateful for that as he settled close to Rodney's solid form and closed his eyes.

Rodney hadn't been sure the local beings were sentient until they started using slings to throw rocks at the hybrid gate team. Too bad, John had thought they'd looked like they might have a sense of humor with the way they kept twitching those long whiskers.

Exit, stargate right, pursued by otter people, John thought in amusement before he fell asleep.

He woke an hour later and watched Rodney, his eyes moving behind his closed lids. The hive sense told him only that Rodney was dreaming. Emotion and reaction experienced during REM sleep didn't translate through the hive sense the same way conscious feelings did. Just as well or the crew's various nightmares would have propagated through the hive and turned them all into wrecks.

John traced the tip of one claw along the side of Rodney's face, mapping the patterns that belonged there: Hive and Consort, Consort's Consort, Maker, Wise, Necessary. He trailed his finger down Rodney's neck, too delicately to even scratch, and drew a last word. Mine.

Rodney woke and blinked his eyes open. John sighed.

"I know what you're thinking," Rodney murmured and lifted John's hand away. It could have been true. Sometimes they communicated clear thoughts rather than gestalt states. He set John's hand on his hip and turned so they were tangled closer together. The sense of how welcome any touch coming from Rodney matched his soft smile.

John tried to look innocent, but the hive sense gave him away, communicating the mixture of feelings their last mission through the stargate had left swirling inside him. Amusement and relief, but also the sharper unhappy tones of worry. He wanted Rodney marked and it wasn't even the Wraith instinct at work. It was him. There was no place safer than the hive, but Rodney didn't always stay in the hive, because Todd's hive was deeply different than any hive that had ever come before.

Rodney began tracing John's tattoo. He wasn't as careful as John and his claws drew thin lines dotted with blood. The scratches healed immediately, but the scent made Rodney's nostrils widen to take in more air and the chemical data carried on it. John's breath caught as the surge of arousal swamped him and he couldn't tell what was coming from Rodney and what was him.

His cock hardened and he was moving, rutting against Rodney's belly, almost as fast as he would have been for Todd.

Rodney clicked encouragement, then rolled on top of him. Todd brushed through their thoughts through the hive sense, encouraging and approving. Rodney skated his hands along John's sides, slid between his legs to his balls and behind them, leaving sharp lines of sensation along the path of his claws. John's ability to think fragmented under the knowing touches, the link to Rodney and Todd's benison, as every caress mapped his optimum response. He twisted and ran his hands over Rodney in response, following the paths that lit Rodney's nerve endings with matching pleasure, ratcheting their mutual arousal higher. Rodney's hands were on his hips, strong enough to hold him down, holding him the way that drove John wild. It made him tense from heels to shoulder in response, electrified and trembling, wanting.

Neurons in his brain sent messages through his nervous system, contracting muscles along his spine in a parallel to the lordotic behavior displayed by many mammals in heat. John rolled onto his knees and elbows and presented himself reflexively, craving the slide of Rodney's cock into his body, responding to Rodney's throaty, eager clicks. They had lube this time and Rodney used it, as careful with his claws this time as he was with his teeth when he gave a blow job. He pressed a hot kiss to the small of John's back, then nipped each ass cheek in turn, making John shiver and arch cat-like into the stimulus.

Rodney pressing into him steadily pulled a ragged, urgent noise from John, made him drop his face to the surface of the bed and spread himself wider. The sheets were shredding where he clutched at them; they went through a lot of sheets, enough they were going to have to find a way to replace them with something hive-made soon. It felt so complete when Rodney did that, made him want it all the time; a part of him that must have been wired to love it in the womb. John knew that he would have wanted this, wanted Rodney doing it to him if they both never left Earth, never been anything but human, had they ever met.

He might not have been able to admit it to himself, though, and for that he was grateful for every single thing that had conspired to bring them to the hive.

"God, this is good," Rodney groaned. He pulled back so that he could drive himself deep. "I know it's good, I can feel you. Love making you feel like this."

John loved it too. Everything he was feeling was repeating back through the hive sense to Rodney and feeding Rodney's feelings back to him. They were both broadcasting exactly what they were doing through the rest of the hive too, but John couldn't care.

He moaned with the pleasure that suffused him, stuttering with each shock of pressure over his prostate, writhing enough to reach one hand under him, to his cock, to touch himself to the same rhythm Rodney set.

"That's it," Rodney murmured between harsh breaths. "Touch yourself for me, let me feel it — " John tightened spasmodically around Rodney's cock and he cried out before going on, "make everyone feel what I'm doing to you."

One more thrust inside him, one more twisting pull on his cock and the building orgasm crashed over John, the feedback dragging Rodney along with him with a yell.

They both collapsed onto the bed, squirming just enough that Rodney's weight was beside John instead of crushing him. John felt like his body should dissolve from the pleasure still echoing through him. He panted and stretched, luxuriating in the heavy arm resting across his back and then when Rodney kissed his shoulder.


Rodney chuckled.

John groped without lifting is face from the bed and found Rodney's flank. He stroked the soft skin idly. "I haven't forgotten," he murmured.

"I don't want them," Rodney mumbled back.

"They don't hurt like the nasce."

"That's not like saying it doesn't hurt."

"You're tough."

Rodney pushed himself up on one elbow. "Excuse me, have we met? I'm Rodney McKay. I hate pain."

John turned his head and opened one eye, peering at Rodney, admiring the bright blue rim around his now slit pupils. "I know, but you're still tough," he said.

Rodney looked surprised then pleased. "Hmph. Yes. That doesn't mean I want the hive tattoos."

"Rodney, if you'd had the tattoos like the rest of us, the otter people might not have tried to snatch you."

"Otter people?" Rodney scowled. "I thought they were more like bipedal frogs."

John rolled onto his side then grimaced as the wet spot he'd been lying in made itself known. Some things apparently transcended species. As usual, he wished their quarters had private washrooms attached, wished it long enough that the lights flickered with Radek's amusement.

Rodney scowled at the ceiling. "That's right, laugh it up, just because you don't have to wash any more. You won't like it when someone spills something on one of your decks and doesn't clean it up."

The lights flicked in a stuttering rhythm then settled into a comforting dusk. Do not be such a wuss, Rodney, Radek communicated.

John sat up in bed. "Hey, Radek, that you?"

"He's got fine communications control!" Rodney crowed.

"Go, Zee," John said in approval.

Yes, and if I can do this then Rodney can survive getting his hive tattoos.
The rest of the communication wasn't in words, but conveyed the concepts of tendrils of the nahn grabbing Rodney and holding him down while Radek operated others to ink his face and neck.

"Oh you wouldn't."

The flickering laughter that Radek replied with promised he would.

"Todd wouldn't let you!"

John patted Rodney's shoulder. "Sure oae would, oae wants you marked too." He hesitated, then added, "You'll have to take them after the first Hatch."

"I don't see why," Rodney said sulkily.

John felt a little shock as he realized Rodney really hadn't thought about what would happen after the First Hatch. The second hatch would be Rodney's.

"Rodney, you're second Consort."

"What? Yes, I know I am, so what — " Rodney gulped. "Oh."

John rubbed at Rodney's shoulder and pushed reassurance and comfort and pleasure through the hive sense. If Rodney had been part of the hive when John had sired the First Hatch, he would have felt it with them and not been so worried.

"It'll be okay."

"You'll be there?"

"I said I would." He figured Todd wouldn't mind. Indeed, oae might be pleased to have both consorts in the chamber. It would reinforce the ties between them all.


"Ow, ow," Rodney muttered. "And ow." He had his eyes squinched closed so tightly it wrinkled his forehead and made crow's feet at the corners of his eyes. Ginny Houshmanzada, who had already had an amazing collection of tattoos hidden by high-necked blouses and long sleeves before she joined the SGC as an expert on grain, also had a steady hand with needle and ink herself. She sighed and waited patiently for Rodney to settle down. A tiny smile curled up the corners of her mouth. They all knew some of the other scientists had been worse than Rodney and one corporal had cried because he'd promised his mother he'd never get a tattoo.

Rodney flinched at nothing again.

John snickered.

"She hasn't touched you yet."

"This is pre-emptive ouching," Rodney said, opening his eyes to pout at John, before snapping them shut as he glimpsed Ginny's needle. "Ooooh. Did I ever mention I don't like needles?"

"No, but you aren't the only one," Ginny said. She patted Rodney cheek with her free hand. "Just hold John's hands and remember, this marks you as the third most important member of the hive."

"Third?" Rodney protested.

John laughed again. "Most," he assured Rodney. He was loyal to the hive and to Todd. He lived for Rodney.

Ginny adjusted the angle of Rodney's head and lifted her needle.

"Hold still."

John squeezed Rodney hands in his own and sent an overwhelming rush of sympathy and reassurance through the hive sense, deliberately swamping Rodney's own apprehension. He felt Rodney relax immediately and Teyla reinforced his work with her own serene assurance. The rest of the hive redoubled John's own feelings. The deep calm that lapped through their minds had everyone floating as Ginny worked. At the focus of the hive sense, Rodney actually fell into a light trance, his eyes shut and faint smile on his lips.

It took hours, but the hybrid metabolism meant that once the tattooing was done, it healed immediately and there was no need for after care of any sort. John watched the fluid symbols appear and admired Ginny's artistry. She wasn't just stamping the marks on Rodney's skin, she was stretching and shaping them to match Rodney's bone structure. The stylization served to emphasize the strength in Rodney's face and would frame one eye.

He heard himself murmur, "Beautiful."

"Thanks. It's nice working on someone who isn't tensed up under the needle," Ginny commented. "No distortion."

Rodney blinked his eyes open as Ginny began sterilizing and cleaning up her equipment. His eyes were unfocused. John watched them sharpen as Rodney's temper began to snap.

He glared at John.

"You rolled me!"

"We helped," John pointed out. "You didn't even notice the part that hurt." Drugs wouldn't have done much for Rodney; his new metabolism would have processed them too fast.

John wished First Hive had comforted him when he'd been tattooed or afterward. He rubbed at his marks unthinkingly, reminded of how the process had stung, how freaked out and terrifyingly alone he'd been then. A little of that slipped into the hive sense and abruptly he had Rodney wrapped around him and humming a deep note that sank into John's bones. The hive sense enfolded him too, sinking deep inside his mind to ease the pain of scars he'd never admitted having even to himself. John gave himself up to what was being offered and just floated for several minutes.

He blinked back into a more conscious state as Rodney shifted and he realized his own leg was cramping from the position they were in. He realized Ginny was stroking his hair and rolled his eyes up to look at her.

"It's okay," she said. Her voice hadn't changed timber, but the meld of many different accents gave it a curious lilt that told him she was speaking as the entire hive. "You're ours now."

"Mine," Rodney disagreed. His hands were still on John's shoulders.

She backed off with a soft chuckle that was all Ginny and finished packing her case up. "It looks good, McKay," she said. "If you don't believe me, ask your boyfriend."

Rodney's hand went to his face. The tattoos must have stopped hurting because he'd obviously forgotten them.

"Told you it would be okay," John said.

That earned him a slanted look of scorn, but the deed was done and John — which meant the rest of the hive — felt better.


That should have been the end of it. In most ways it was. Rodney promptly forgot about the tattoos.

John couldn't.

Not when he knew everyone else was admiring the markings, itching to trace finger or claw tips — the nasce had brought out the more aggressive tendencies in some of their people — along the swooping curves. Even the constant knowledge the hive sense gave him of his place in Rodney's affections and Rodney's place in the hive didn't fully soothe John's possessiveness.

It came to a head the third time he realized someone else was touching Rodney. John's temper snapped.

He left Teyla in mid-spar, moving at a run for the lab where Rodney sometimes worked with Miko and Svetlana on merging Ancient equipment with the nahn.

Rodney's memory of the beat down that had come close to killing him — would have without Nahkte's sacrifice — had never returned. Otherwise, John doubted that even being part of the same hive would have made Rodney let Scott near enough to touch him.

Scott had his hands on Rodney's shoulders when John bolted into the lab. Instinct had taken over completely. Scott had once hurt Rodney and instinct, Wraith and human, blended into perfect agreement: he was going to rip Scott's head off his shoulders for even touching Rodney. It wasn't completely irrational. The human hybrids still had self-determination — Todd's gift, the basis of all the differences in this hive — and that meant that Scott could still be a threat to Rodney.

John heard himself hissing like an infuriated Iratus defending a nest and had no control over it. He saw Miko and Svetlana springing back, responding to the fury and aggression pulsing through the hive sense from him, but they barely registered. Everything had telescoped down to Scott touching Rodney.


Rodney spun in his lab chair while Scott was still figuring out that the chattering clicks were coming from John and that John, coming through the door at full speed, meant to rend him limb from limb. The hive sense communicated rage, but not its target. Scott wasn't fast enough to figure it out, but Rodney was.

Rodney shoved Scott into Miko and Svetlana's arms with a yell. "Get him out of here now!"

John changed course, but Rodney managed to intercept him. He wrapped himself around John and the only way John could have freed himself would have been hurting Rodney. John clicked furiously, unable to find any human words for his frustration and desire to kill the threat to Rodney.

"No," Rodney said.

He tried to pull away, but Rodney tightened his hold — those broad shoulders and well-developed upper arms were as strong as they looked — and kissed him. The hive sense flooded with how much John's protective, vicious streak turned Rodney on. Anger easily gave way to arousal, one instinct giving way to the other. Rodney pushed and grabbed and mauled John, while Miko and Svetlana hustled Scott out of the lab. The chuff of the hatch locking barely registered compared to Rodney grinding into John's hips, and biting along the muscle attaching John's shoulder and neck. John responded eagerly, riding against Rodney's thigh between his legs, not caring that Rodney was leaving bruises. He only pulled himself back from the edge of mindlessness so that his claws didn't press through Rodney's shirt and draw blood.

The care let him draw back from the edge and recover his control. The ship warmed the air and the deck in the lab as Rodney stripped John, pushed him down, and straddled him. John let himself stretch and arch under Rodney, submitting to him in a different way than he did Todd, but enjoying it just as much. He was already hard and Rodney's cock was flushed and erect too. John breathed in hard as he watched Rodney take their cocks in both hands and begin squeezing and stroking. The muscles in Rodney's heavy thighs flexed and worked, doing all the work of balancing him as his hands worked them both expertly. The hive sense flooded with the building desire, sharing what they were doing with everyone else and John tried to close down the connection as much as he could without shutting out Rodney, but Rodney didn't care what anyone else knew, and John's climax wiped out anything but pure pleasure.

Rodney stretched himself out over John afterward, ignoring the mess between them, pressing down as if he still needed to pin John in place.

John traced the pad of his forefinger over Rodney's tattoos. He ended on the one at the base of Rodney's throat, the one that twined Todd's sigil with his and Rodney's.

Rodney crossed his arms over John's chest and rested his chin on one wrist. His eyes were suspiciously bright considering they'd just had sex in a lab — one of his long standing fantasies — and he'd managed to divert John from killing Scott. John vaguely tucked that observation away. Rodney's ego trumped even his usual quarter hour post-sex lethargy.

"You're jealous!" Rodney crowed.

"I'm not," John insisted. He knew Rodney's commitment to him, he could sense it, steel hawser strong, humming always in the back of his mind. It made him crane his neck up enough to kiss Rodney's chin since that was what he could reach.

Rodney squirmed higher on John and dipped his head so they could kiss mouth to mouth, lips and sweet tongues. John kissed Rodney's lips chastely at first, then teased inside his mouth. Kissing Rodney was one of the sweetest pleasures he'd ever known. Wraith didn't kiss, not even Todd, but John hadn't known he missed it until the first time Rodney brushed his lips against his. He let Rodney's tongue into his mouth, happy to kiss just as long as Rodney wanted.

"Then why come all over possessive because someone touched me?" Rodney could kiss and think at the same time, something John found amazing, because Rodney's kisses completely undid him. Rodney sounded genuinely curious. 

When Rodney moved on to his jaw and his tattoos, John gathered up his thoughts enough to answer Rodney's question. Rodney scraped his teeth over John's ear lobe. The sensation made him shiver and moan.

"Come on, John."

"It's a natural reaction." A reaction as natural as the sweat coating him and the heat rising between them again.

"Oh sure. If you're a male lion or something."

No, that wasn't it and Rodney needed to know that John's reaction had been based on worry and why. He pushed Rodney away enough to stare into his eyes.

"Scott's one of those bastards Ba'al drugged and turned on you."

Rodney tensed.

"You let him take the nasce." The hive sense filled with Rodney's outrage and a thread of betrayal, all speckled with horror. It scraped at John's nerves the way Rodney's voice did when it went high with fear.

"Todd did, because we need everyone, and he was drugged... but I'll never trust him around you." John had accepted it at the time without liking it. He hadn't realized then that Todd's changes to the nasce meant that even after the change, members of the hive would be able to hurt each other. In First Hive, there had been death, but it was a gift given, never stolen. He thought this hive might be human enough for murder.

"I've never seen you like that." Rodney clicked distractedly, then gave John a quirky smile. "Teyla's out in the hall with Kanaan and Halling, you know."

"We were sparring."

"I didn't remember that he was one of them."

John stroked Rodney's forearm.


"Maybe you need to give me a list of people who aren't allowed to touch me."

"How about a list of people who are," John replied. "It's shorter."


"Todd and me."


"All right, you can touch Radek."

"Kind of hard not to, since he's the ship and all around us," Rodney muttered. He patted the living deck under them. "What about Teyla?"

"No. She's oaee."

Rodney snorted. "Possessive much?"

John chuckled.

"Not as much as Todd. Oae would kill her."

"Right. Larrin?"



John shook his head, but he was smiling now.

"Miko? Svetlana? Carolyn?"

"No, no, no."


John made a face.

Rodney wiggled against him and John's cock twitched with renewed interest. The fast refractory time wasn't just a product of Todd's pheromones. A guy just had to love a hybrid metabolism. He could feel Rodney thickening and nudging against his thigh.

"You'll just need to make it worth my while to be faithful," Rodney teased. "Round two?" He rocked his hips suggestively.


John slid his hands into place, braced his foot, and flipped Rodney over. He slithered down Rodney's torso until he was poised to take Rodney's erection in his mouth. He could feel the hive humming around him and that more than one pair had reacted to them having sex by falling into bed together. Larrin had gone to Todd and was consulting oa on how to avoid provoking John or Rodney's protective and possessive instincts. He suspected Scott and the other survivors of the gang that once hurt Rodney would be reassigned and warned away from the two of them and the nursery.

All was well with the hive.

Down in the belly of the hive, deep in where they were safest, Second Hatch were maturing in the nursery's ovipods. It would be time to take their turn checking the eggs next shift. John liked the task, liked carefully rolling the eggs in the pods, monitoring for any contaminants, making sure the nahn had enough power to continue feeding them. He was looking forward to the young who would carry Rodney's genes into the hive because he knew they would be magnificent. He knew First Hatch would love them too. He'd kind of miss the job once the inee were hatched after the next cycle, the one in which Todd meant to mingle his and Rodney's genetic contribution.

Rodney squirmed and twisted. It took all of John's strength to hold him down, which was just hot as hell.

"Quit teasing." Rodney probably meant that to sound like an order. The whimper at the end ruined the effect.

"Just doing what comes naturally."

"You're claiming you're a natural cocksucker?" Rodney asked breathlessly.

John blew on Rodney's erection, which twitched in response. A bead of precome glistened at the slit. Rodney's muscles tensed under John's hands, but he held himself still.

John licked his lips and then caught that droplet of precome on the tip of his curling tongue. Rodney tangled his fingers in John's hair and groaned. It made John grin.

"You do have a native talent... "

John licked him from his balls to the tip, then sucked lightly on the head for an instant before licking a new path up the silky, hot skin stretched tight and urgent over Rodney's penis. He teased, using lips and tongue and even rubbed his cheek against Rodney, until Rodney was clicking under his breath and John was heady with his musk along with the taste and feel of him.

John paused, his lips just gracing Rodney's tip, and glanced up through his lashes.

"John... "

He sucked Rodney down hard, opened his mind completely and showed him what Todd had planned for the next hatch — both of them with oa — and swallowed as Rodney yelled and came hard.

Rodney returned the favor fifteen minutes later, giving John a blow job as languorous as his kisses, that left John satisfied and sleepy enough he didn't mind knowing everyone in the hive had been along for the whole thing.

The lights in the lab lowered to a level comfortable for sleeping and the hatch stayed locked until the next shift started.



  • Summary: Coda to Unnatural Selection
  • Fandom: SGA
  • Rating: Mature
  • Warnings: none
  • Author Notes: With many thanks to Rosiepaw, for writing Imago in this same AU. 
  • Date: 12.23.10
  • Length: 4392 words
  • Genre: m/m
  • Category: AU, established relationship, action/adventure, drama
  • Cast: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay, Matthew Scott, Svetlana Markov, Miko Kusanagi, Teyla Emmagan, Todd (SGA), Radek Zelenka
  • Betas: sian1359 and murron
  • Disclaimer: Not for profit. Transformative work written for private entertainment.

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