John mumbles something he can't hear, something pained. But when he turns his head in alarm, John Sheppard is all charm and smile and charisma.
"It's all your fault, you know."
Rodney blinks at warm, slightly tanned face (all this red light, where was it coming from?) his fingernails digging into his palms in frustration.
"...What?" His voice is cracked when he speaks, his tongue rough and his throat parched. Louder footsteps, booming ever closer.
"It's your fault they fight Rodney. People do it all around you, everywhere you go. You spread hate."
Golden, sugar-sweet voice rolling over the words so nicely, a warm purr that made Rodney ache deep down inside. He wanted to worship that voice, wanted to do whatever it took to please it, wanted it to warm more for him, for him, to approve of him.
"No. It isn't," he said, as firmly as he could, even though his voice sounded weak and young, squeaking slightly like a young boy's. His face felt flushed and hot, the back of his shirt damp and clinging.
John, Mr Perfect John, with his wonderful grades, his wonderful personality, his wonderful smile and his wonderful teeth pushed against his shoulder, urging him back.
"No," he tried to say, as the arm lay across his chest, pressing down, making it hard to breathe, hard to move. No, no, no, no. His head was on fire and each thud-thud-thud outside, overhead, all around was threatening to cave in his skull.
Hotter than the sanddunes, feet slipping and sliding as he tried to run fast enough to save him, the sun in his eyes and the vice around his chest getting tighter. John was going to die and hate him for it. John was going to see just how hateful and useless and passionless he was. John...
Rodney sat up with a start, sheer terror snapping him upright before he could think. John's arm slid from off his chest and fell heavily into his lap, and Rodney began to wish he hadn't moved at all. The inside of his head was pounding like a pneumatic drill, every inch of him aching and sore. John was in bed with him, so hot that Rodney thought he could almost see the heat radiating from his back in waves. It was uncomfortable where they touched, but he lacked the energy to move.
He closed his eyes, swaying slightly in an imaginary breeze. The scratching in his head wasn't going away. He gingerly leaned over, placing the back of his hand against John's forehead, though he didn't know precisely what good that would do.
He felt like hell. No, he felt worse. And John wasn't even in any fit state to care for him, nor him the Major. There was one thing for it; he was... going to have to call for help.
Only, Carson didn't answer. He called and called, but Carson didn't answer. It wasn't like him to ignore someone at all. Rodney began to panic: what if it was something contagious? Or what if they'd not screened the planet they'd visited quite well enough.
He flicked the radio and called Elizabeth, not even knowing what time it was. "Elizabeth?" he managed, on the third attempt. "I think we have a problem..."