Summary: Trapped on a remote planet with a hungry Wraith, what will Dr. Rodney McKay do to survive?
A/N: Story has been tagged with rape/non-con warning due to Ian's attempted mind rape in Chapter 20, just in case it might twig anyone.
In September of 2013 I was taking a break from writing Best Laid Plans and was browsing through the 'Challenges' section of Wraithbait. I really didn't expect to find anything, but to my surprise I stumbled upon '15 Months With a Wraith' which really piqued my interest. Once I realized that I'd sat and given forty-five minutes of serious thought as to how to get them good and stranded, I knew I had to write the story.
Rodney is a great character to write. He's only a secondary figure in my other story, so I was glad of the opportunity to let him shine. I'm also already enjoying the Wraith, who is a little sassier, and a whole lot deeper than I expected him to be, right off the bat.
While I have a general direction I'd like to take the story in, I'm kind of letting the characters direct me, so the developments are going to be a surprise to me as well.
Rodney slowly regained consciousness, rising through a sea of dizziness and nausea as he did so. As he awakened, he became aware of the sensation of sharp rocks and twigs digging into the small of his back, adding insult to injury. To make matters worse, sunlight seared his eyes, the blinding light burning white and red against his sensitive eyelids. Groaning against the sudden onslaught of sensation, he lifted an arm strangely stiff and sore, and automatically brought up it up to shield himself as best he could. He cautiously opened his eyes, hoping that might help stop the vertigo which was causing his unsettled stomach to attempt some ill-advised somersaults.
A dark figure suddenly imposed itself between him and the unrelenting noonday sun, casting a shadow across his features. Barely registering the other's presence, Rodney used the slight reprieve to try and and organize the sensory overload that was scrambling his brain. He was on his back, on a rocky, barren hillside, by the angle of his body, and apparently he wasn't alone. Before the befuddled McKay could add anything else to the equation, his companion leaned down and slid a strong hand around his upper arm. As the face swam into focus, Rodney realized it was pale, deathly pale, and green – framed by long, straggly hair the color of old, tea-stained linen.
Galvanized by fear, McKay tried to scrabble away, but he was still too logy and uncoordinated to do much more than thrash ineffectually in the Wraith's grip, which tightened instinctively as Rodney struggled. Without any seeming effort, the creature hauled McKay to his feet, then stepped back from the swaying, disoriented astrophysicist. For a single, terrible instant, still reeling from... whatever had been done to him, Rodney almost reached for the Wraith to help steady himself.
He heard a low chuckle, and glanced up at the towering alien, the creature's evil, serrated teeth clearly visible in the feral grin it flashed him. McKay flinched and slanted his eyes away for a second, quickly cataloguing details like the parched grass in the field behind him and the mountains beyond, the remains of a Dart buried nose-first in the hillside, and a crudely-constructed shelter beside a well-used firepit, before facing the Wraith squarely again.
It... he – definitely male, clad in regulation black leather Wraith pants, but bare-chested - assessed McKay openly, letting olive-green eyes trail from Rodney's face, down his body in that creepy, covetous way Wraith excelled at, then back up again to meet the human's eyes. Without discernible expression, the Wraith pulled a strap from his shoulder from which depended a bottle – a canteen. Silently he held it out to Rodney, who tilted his head, clearly puzzled.
While he was used to dealing with Todd, having worked with him on several occasions, McKay always just kind of assumed that the wraith's ability to interact civilly with humans was the exception rather than the rule. He never would have expected something like this from a random, unknown Wraith, in the middle of nowhere.
His initial fear fading, Rodney opened his mouth and tried to speak before realizing that his throat felt like he'd recently swallowed shards of glass. Instead, McKay cautiously nodded his thanks and took the offered canteen. He shook it. It was full of something liquid. He opened it and sniffed. No odor other than badly-tanned hides. He took an experimental sip. It was water, alright. Lukewarm and oddly-flavored from riding around in the leather, but drinkable. Without hesitation, he gulped it down, conscious that the creature was watching him intently.
Sated, Rodney replaced the cap and tried to hand it back to the Wraith, who shook his head and took another step away from him.
"I would suggest you run," the creature suddenly rasped at McKay, gruff voice rusty from disuse.
"Excuse me?" Rodney asked, leaning forward a bit and frowning slightly like he hadn't heard him correctly.
"I said, 'You should run.' I will give you until midday tomorrow before I begin the hunt."
"Wha-, what? Wait a minute! I thought we were having a moment here," Rodney blurted, panic and confusion setting in.
"I could just take you now, if you prefer," the Wraith replied, taking a menacing step closer, a flick of the wrist revealing the open maw in the palm of his feeding hand, already slick with enzyme. "But I find giving the human a head-start to be much more sporting."
Rodney scrambled back, his heart pounding in his chest. That had escalated quickly. Canteen forgotten, he nonetheless unconsciously clung to it like his life depended on it. The Wraith stood motionless, watching him, as McKay stumbled away from him, looking around wildly.
The only cover for miles around was a forest on the other side of the summer-browned field. Without further ado, McKay floundered his way toward the sylvan glade, trying to force his uncooperative body to move. He tripped over his own feet several times, certain every time he went down that he wouldn't have the strength to rise. Only sustained terror and adrenaline kept him struggling to his feet, fearful that the Wraith might change his mind and take the opportunity to fall upon him and feed.
As Rodney made for the edge of the trees, he desperately tried to remember what the hell had happened, to have suddenly placed him in the unlikely position of being hunted prey for an oddly-cordial, but obviously very hungry, Wraith.
Unfortunately, at the moment, it was all a blank.