Author: kariesue, kickstand75, firedew1, mysra, amycat8733
Disclaimer: Don’t own them, just borrowing them for a bit of fun
Size: ~10,279 (this chapter)
Comments: Team Sheppard travels to Belosia where they discover the origin of the Minotaur, but with everything the Ancients did, the truth is worse than the fiction.
This week: Chapter 14 – The Heart Will Remember by: kariesue
The Heart will remember
“Colonel? Colonel Sheppard, can you hear me?”
The voice penetrated John’s brain but he was too tired to open his eyes. Maybe if he kept them closed they’d leave him alone.
“What the hell is wrong with him? Why isn’t he coming to? Lorne said he became unconscious in the jumper and he’s been out for over an hour.”
The second voice belonged to McKay. That made John want to keep his eyes closed even longer. There was no way he could deal with McKay and his tantrums right now. He felt like shit. That had been rolled over by a semi. Then scraped off and tossed in the trash.
“He’s suffering from hypovolemic shock, Rodney,” Keller explained. “You’re the one who told me he had a massive puddle of blood under him when he was injured. You can’t lose that much blood and just jump up and be fine.”
Good, let the doc handle McKay. He had hypo ... something with a really long name. He didn’t have the energy for his mind to even think it, never mind repeat it.
“But that water healed him. Lorne said so. Like some crazy sci-fi movie. So shouldn’t he be better by now?”
John listened to the conversation knowing he didn’t feel better. There was something niggling in the back of his mind and he tried to rouse himself enough to figure out what it was. Something important he should remember.
“It may have healed the wound, but it didn’t replace any of the blood he lost.”
“But you’re doing that now, right? So why isn’t he better?”
“Rodney, he lost a few pints of blood. It’s going to take at least four or five hours for the transfusion to replace that.”
Those words had John evaluating the points of pain all around him. There was a slight pinch in his arm. Most likely the IV. He wasn’t going to open his eyes to find out. The doc had just confirmed it. The pain in his head and his back and ... well, pretty much everywhere trumped the pinch of the needle.
“And his blood pressure is dangerously low. Add to that the concussion he has and then there’s the –”
“The what, Jennifer?”
Yeah, what? John wanted to know what the doc had been about to say, he just couldn’t get the energy to open his mouth and speak. Good thing he had McKay, the nagging bulldog.
“The scans showed something really strange. Even though the fractures are all healed, it says that Colonel Sheppard’s back had been broken. That’s not in his medical records and I just did a few scans about a month ago when he came back from that crazy alien ship. There was no sign of any fractures back then.”
“Oh, oh, oh,” McKay was getting too excited and John wanted to slap him. Would the doc handle that too? “When the Beast grabbed Teyla, Sheppard jumped on the thing’s back. We found him later crumpled in a ball against a large stone wall. At first he couldn’t move his legs. But after Ronon gave him some water, he convulsed a bit and then passed out. When he woke up his legs were fine.”
Shit. John realized he owed the creators of that Ancient water fountain a huge one. In the military, paralyzed was even worse than dead.
“Well, the Colonel is one very lucky man. I wish the water had done as much for Dexcian. It seems to be doing some of the healing the others saw, but it’s taking much longer.”
“He didn’t need to help us, but he did and risked his life in the process.”
There was blessed silence but only for a moment.
“And what are you doing out of bed, Rodney? I thought you were in relative misery?”
“Well, I am, but I figure compared to Spartacus, uh, Dexcian, I’m doing fine. And I wanted to make sure Sheppard was okay. He needs someone hanging out by his bedside like Dexcian has. And since Ronon and Teyla are dealing with their own issues, I’m left.”
Ronon? Teyla? That little niggle burst forward and John commanded his eyes to open as he grabbed at the bed rail.
“Teyla? Where’s … Teyla?”
“Colonel, you’re awake. Good. How are you feeling?”
“It’s about time, Sheppard. And how do you think he’s feeling? His lips are blue and he’s sweating. He looks like crap.”
John glared at Rodney and the scientist just pursed his lips. “Well, you do.”
“Doc, where’s ... Teyla?” God, why couldn’t he speak? “Is she... awake? Does... she remember ... anything?”
“Colonel, you need to rest. You’ve lost a lot of blood.”
“I have ... to know. Teyla?”
“She’s still unconscious, Colonel. Major Lorne said she received quite a few hits from one of their stun guns plus that cylinder thing they used on Rodney.”
“Oh, God, and do those thing mess up your nervous system,” McKay groused then put out his hands. “Look at me. I’m still shaking.”
“Which is why you should go back to your bed. I need to do some more tests on Colonel Sheppard.”
McKay grumbled some more then toddled off a few beds down. John attempted to turn his head to see if Teyla was close, but the doc stepped in front of him. She picked up his hand and took his pulse.
“It’s still weak, Colonel, though it’s getting stronger. I need you to stay here and keep calm.”
“Where’s ... Teyla?”
“I put her in one of the private rooms. Dexcian is in another. They need to be monitored constantly. Teyla’s scan showed some abnormal brainwave activity.”
“He said … she wouldn’t remember … anything.”
Keller patted his hand then straightened the sheet covering him. “After what I’ve heard happened, maybe that’s not a bad thing.”
“No.” He grabbed the doc’s hand as she moved away. “She won’t remember … us.”
He’d almost said me, but then realized his relationship with Teyla wasn’t public knowledge. If they still had any kind of relationship after what Ducis had done to her. He needed to see her. To remind her who he was and what they meant to each other. He couldn’t let her forget.
John pulled on the railing and tried to sit up. The room danced before his eyes and nausea roiled in his stomach.
Keller pushed him back down and he didn’t have the strength to resist. What the hell was wrong with him? He’d carried Teyla out of the damn tunnels. Why was it he couldn’t even sit up without retching?
“Colonel Sheppard, you need to lay back. If you don’t, I’m going to have to sedate you. It’ll be a while before the blood transfusion is finished and even longer before you start feeling yourself. You might have been able to move around while all the action was happening, but I can guarantee that was only adrenaline. And right now, you’re plum out. Rest.”
John sagged against the pillow and closed his eyes. “Ronon? The others?”
“Ronon’s got a pretty severe head injury. But knowing him and how stubborn he is, he won’t let it stop him. Luckily a sedative will.”
John listened half heartedly as Keller filled him in on the broken bones etc of the rest of the teams who had come to their rescue. He had loyal men. It was comforting to know.
Once Keller was gone, he let himself rest. Only as long as it took to find the strength to get out of bed. And to make sure Keller had left the area.
It took more than a few minutes to get his head to stop swimming and keep his balance as he stood. Luckily the blood that was dripping into his depleted veins was on a rolling pole. It helped him remain standing as he moved past the other beds in search of Teyla.
The floor was cold on his bare feet and he wished he had something more substantial than scrubs on. But his biggest concern was making sure Teyla was okay. Maybe Ducis had just been trying to bust his chops with the whole she-won’t-remember-you thing. He hoped so. But if he had to start over again with Teyla, this time he wouldn’t wait around and do nothing but be her friend. He would find a way to make her love him again. She hadn’t said it, but he knew.
John peeked into the first room at the end of the hall and saw a lovely brunette in the toga style dress of the Belosians. It must be Dexcian’s wife. Didn’t … Quintus… say something about kids too? Where were they?
“How’s he doing?” The man who had sacrificed so much to help them lay pale and unmoving on the bed.
The woman looked up and tears trickled down her cheeks. She quickly scrubbed them away and a shadow of a smile appeared. John took another step in and nodded.
“We owe him all our lives. You should be proud of what he did.”
“I am. He is a good man.” The woman tilted her head. “I am Marinel.”
“John Sheppard. When he wakes up, make sure he knows how much we appreciate his help.”
Marinel gazed down at her husband. “When he wakes up.”
“He will,” John assured her. “We’ve got the best medical equipment around and the best doctors. Plus, I heard Keller saying he’d gotten the healing water too. It wasn’t working as quickly but it was doing something. It’ll just take time.”
Marinel looked confused. “I do not understand about the healing water, but I am thankful for it and for your kindness in caring for Dexcian.”
“I’m sure we can give you more information while you’re here. Right now I need to go check on Teyla.”
“Yes, your wife. Dexcian said she was the reason he decided to help you. He had never seen a woman so strong and determined. He wished that for me and for our daughter.”
John looked around. “Where are your children?”
“One of your female … soldiers, such a strange notion, offered to stay with them while I remained here. Dexcian would not wish them to see him this way. He is a proud man.”
“Like Teyla. I only hope she can remember how strong she is.” John cleared his throat to try and clear the sandpaper-like quality that had appeared when he thought of Teyla’s memory being erased.
“I was told she had been subjected to the Magistrate’s sorcery. But do not fear, Sheppard. Her mind may not recall, but her heart will never forget. Remind her.”
John smiled. “I plan on doing just that. Thanks.”
Marinel turned back and stroked her husband’s cheek. He stirred and a peaceful expression crossed his face. He knew it was her even when unconscious. Would Teyla react the same way?”
He entered the room and got a nervous look from the nurse who was checking Teyla’s pulse.
“Should you be up and moving around, Colonel Sheppard?”
“Yes,” he said firmly and moved to sit on the edge of the bed. No one was making him leave, not if he could help it. He studied Teyla’s face. She looked peaceful, but he knew she wasn’t only sleeping. Ducis had tortured her with his devices and she was healing from them. He hoped she was anyway.
“Her vital signs are starting to pick up. That’s a good thing. I’m sure she’ll be fine.” The nurse wanted to reassure him, but he knew what Ancient technology could do.
He continued to stare at Teyla’s beautiful face and the nurse left. Good, he didn’t want an audience for what he planned to do. He leaned down and kissed her silky cheek and allowed his lips to linger on her skin. Then he moved them to her ear.
“Teyla, it’s John,” He whispered. “I’m not sure if you can hear me or if you remember who I am, but I need you to. I need you to remember how much you mean to me. How much I care for you. How much I … love you.”
John stopped to clear his throat again and swallow the large lump that had formed during his declaration. Teyla’s face still looked serene, as if she merely slept. Would she wake and be as before or would everything they shared for the past four years be wiped out? What if their love didn’t grow this time around?
Well, his was already here, but what if Teyla formed an attachment with someone else? One of the hulking Marines who always ogled her when they thought he wasn’t watching? One of the techs who she innocently flirted with while not realizing how her loveliness and warmth made others react? Any number of people on Atlantis or one of the Athosians she’d known forever. There were a few who followed her with their eyes wherever she went. She might be blind to their affections, but he wasn’t.
As he stared at her, his vision grew blurry. Must be the blood loss. He rubbed a hand across his face surprised by the damp he felt on his cheeks. Damn, he was weaker than he thought if tears came this easy. But losing Teyla’s affection was enough to make anyone cry.
“Teyla,” he repeated, “Don’t forget me. Don’t forget us. I need you to dig deep in your mind and keep me there. Don’t let me go. Hold tight, sweetie.”
The endearment slipped from his mouth, but he let it. No one was around to hear him except Teyla and he wanted her to hear. To know how deep his feelings for her were.
He straightened up and the room spun crazily. He took a deep breath and knew he couldn’t sit up much longer. But he hated the idea of leaving Teyla. Looking out the door into the main part of the infirmary, he didn’t see Keller anywhere. Maybe he could remain here a bit longer.
He stood and wheeled the IV pole around the bed then settled on his side close to Teyla. He rested his head next to hers on the pillow and draped his hand with the IV on her waist. His other hand snaked under the pillow and poked out enough to touch her arm.
He closed his eyes and nuzzled his nose into her soft hair, inhaling the fragrance the women had dressed it with. More reminders of what might have happened had Lorne and his men not found John in time, made his heart pick up speed. The things that Teyla might have been subjected to, the things she had already been subjected to, had his jaw clenching and his teeth grinding.
He touched her cheek that was now a rainbow of colors from where Ducis had hit her. It was a good thing the slime was dead. He only wished he could’ve made him suffer more than he had. But he was dead and that was all that mattered now.
“Teyla,” he whispered again. “Please don’t forget me.” John continued to remind her who he was. He talked of how they met and how much he’d respected her from the beginning. He spoke of how scared he was that they had lost her to the Wraith in that first attack even though he’d barely known her.
He pulled her closer into his arms as he rambled on about all they’d done since they’d known each other. He had to remind her. Marinel had told him. Her mind might forget, but her heart would remember. It had to.
Marinel watched the man Dexcian had spoken of go to his beloved, Teyla. He was strong and loyal, she could tell. His face matched her husband’s in color. Or lack of. They had both been attacked by the Beast and lost far too much blood. But John Sheppard, as he had introduced himself, was more concerned for his wife than for himself.
Marinel allowed her fingers to caress her husband’s face. She felt she should be doing something to help him heal, but the medical practitioners had assured her they had done everything possible. She could hardly argue as Dexcian appeared in much better shape than when he had first arrived.
Several soldiers had come to the room she had been assigned and informed her that Dexcian had been brought to the city. Under their breaths they let her know he was critically wounded, aware the children were within earshot. The female had offered to remain and keep the children happy and safe while she followed the other to the medical facility.
Her fears increased as her husband was rolled on a mobile bed into the sterile room. She was kept to the side by the soldier, but her eyes had seen. Too much blood covered his body. Even more than had been shed the first time he had tangled with the Beast and then he had barely survived. What would become of him now? Had he found his way back to her only to leave her again?
“Dexcian.” Her soft cry floated through the chaotic scene.
The female doctor, Keller, started shouting orders to the others in the room. They all, even the men, obeyed her without question. Marinel’s eyes did not linger on the others, only on what they were doing to her husband. His face and arms wore the sweat and dirt of battle. She had seen this far too many times on him. But as they cut away his apparel, she also saw wounds too large for any man to live through. Even one as strong as Dexcian.
She clenched her mouth tightly closed to keep her lips from trembling. She did not wish to appear weak in front of these strangers. But she did want her husband to know of her love.
“May I comfort him in his final moments? Please”
The doctor looked up and frowned. “He’s not going anywhere if I have anything to say about it.”
She called out a few more orders and as the medical personnel worked feverishly cleaning Dexcian and his wounds, sticking tubes and wires to his chest and hands, she took a moment to wave Marinel closer.
“You can stand right here and talk to him, but you need to stay clear of what we’re doing. Okay?”
Marinel nodded and took the steps to remain by his head. The doctor gave her a smile then continued frantically cleaning and suturing his wounds.
“I am here, husband. The children and I are safe in this city of the Ancestors. You need only worry about healing.”
“Whoa,” the doctor shouted and stepped away from Dexcian. What had happened? Marinel glanced down anxiously, but the medics had moved closer again. “The deepest wounds just sealed up themselves. How the heck...?”
“It must be the water, doc,” a handsome soldier said from the doorway. “It did the same thing for Colonel Sheppard, only faster. His back was ripped open something fierce. Didn’t think he’d make it with that much damage and blood everywhere. We poured some on this guy in the jumper. Didn’t think it had worked though.”
“It’s doing something, though I still need to get these bigger wounds closed. I can’t wait for any miracles.”
Marinel took a deep breath as the woman continued her ministrations. She ran her fingers over Dexcian’s face and stroked them through his hair. He was unresponsive, but she had to hope he knew she was here. If he left this world, he could not go thinking he hadn’t done his duty by his family.
Marinel now looked at her husband as her memories faded into the background. These people had managed to keep her husband alive. His back was bandaged even though the healing water had closed much of the deeper wounds and they were replacing the blood the Beast had stolen from him. Strange contraptions beeped and blinked apparently keeping track of his breathing and heartbeat. Marinel had been curious and had asked many questions. The medics had been happy to help her comprehend what was happening.
Now there was nothing for her to do but wait. Wait for Dexcian to open his eyes and reassure her he would be fine. Then they could continue with their life together.
But what kind of life would it be? Would they go back to Minoa and live as they had? Where women were thought of as no more than property? Where their daughter would be sold to the highest bidder? After seeing the women in this amazing city and how they were treated as equals among the men, Marinel worried that she would ever want to return.
But what of her husband? What would his wish be? Dexcian was her life and her love. Her heart was not whole without him. If he chose to return, could she go with him and subject their daughter to a life of servitude to a man who might treat her as Marinel’s father had treated her mother? Her heart would surely break if she was required to watch as her Astrea was taken by some horrid man. They may have killed one beast today, but beasts came in many shapes and sizes and their horns were not always visible to the eye.
“What will you ask of me, husband?”
The whispered words floated down to the man in the bed, yet he did not move or answer. Would he be able to again? Would the strangers allow her to reside here with her children if Dexcian did not survive? Would she wish to?
“Please wake up, husband, and tell me what we will do.”
Marinel leaned in and brushed her lips over his. A soft sigh escaped his full mouth giving Marinel hope. But still he did not stir. She held his hand and massaged his stiff limbs for many minutes, hoping he could feel her presence. How long she sat there she knew not.
She stood and stretched her limbs and arched her back. As she moved around the room, she kept glancing back at Dexcian, making sure he grew no worse.
As she neared the door, she glimpsed Sheppard in the next room. He had settled himself near his wife and had his arm around her waist. He leaned in whispering in her ear. But like Dexcian she did not respond.
Marinel stepped closer and some of Sheppard’s words floated to her.
“Remember when we met Lucius Lavin and everyone fell over themselves to be near him…”
Sheppard chuckled softly and smiled then continued to talk to his wife, reminding her of things they had done together. Marinel backed away allowing the man his privacy. She hoped Teyla did not have her memory removed like the Magistrate had planned. It was just one more cruel act that showed why they should not return to their planet.
Marinel drifted between Dexcian and wandering the room. She started to hum as was her habit especially when her husband was near. He had always liked hearing her sing.
“Marinel.” The voice was so soft she wondered if she imagined it. She turned, but Dexcian lay still as before. She moved closer and ran her hands through his damp hair.
A tiny smile lit his face and his lips opened slightly. “Do not stop.”
“Touching you or singing, husband?”
His eyes opened a slit. “Both.”
Marinel began a tune that was a favorite of Astrea’s and she suspected Dexcian’s as well. He often hovered nearby when she sang it though he had never told her. That was not his way.
As she sang Dexcian slipped his hand into hers. Her tone faltered for a moment then returned. She sang merely loud enough for him. He was the only one that mattered at the moment.
When the song was done, he squeezed her hand. Marinel was concerned at how weak the contact was.
“They are well and safe, husband. You need not fear.”
Dexcian turned his head, eyes surveying the room and his face grew perplexed. He attempted to rise, but Marinel easily pushed him back.
“We are in the city of the Ancestors. The place of refuge that you sent me to. It is marvelous, husband. I have never seen such a place.”
“The strangers you spoke of, this is their home. They brought you here and their healers have worked feverishly to mend your injuries.”
“The Beast … he …” Dexcian’s eyes grew confused.
Marinel patted his hand. “Yes, husband. You were injured grievously. But they have machines and medicine that are beyond anything we have ever seen. You will be well soon.”
Dexcian’s eyes searched hers. She knew not what he was looking for. She smiled and put all the love she had for him on display.
“The Beast is dead.”
It was not a question, but she responded anyway. “He is gone and we need not worry further about him. You need only concentrate on recovering.”
Dexcian nodded and closed his eyes, yet his hand held to hers tightly as if he did not wish to let her go. No words, but just a simple touch and it said so much. Marinel sat content to hold that hand.
The medical staff continued to enter, monitor the equipment and Dexcian and then left her alone with him once they were satisfied. She was satisfied that he would return to his former good health. But it would take time. Perhaps not as long as the first time he was injured though. Already his wounds were healed as if it had been a lunar cycle. She had never seen such miracles. But these were the Ancestors, the founders of all humanity. They would know of miracles. She thought of Teyla and Sheppard in the next room and hoped there was a miracle for them as well.