Author: Regann PM
Coda for Critical Mass. Caldwell doesn't want any visitors. Or so he tells himself. Caldwell main, Novak. Tiny hints of Caldweir.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Elizabeth W. - Words: 1,622 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 1 - Published: 01-30-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2778327
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It took Caldwell several days to get over the disoriented sensation of both the Go'auld possession and the drugs that Dr. Beckett kept giving him, days that he spent in virtual isolation in the infirmary. Frankly, Caldwell didn't much mind that no one came to see him; it was easier to digest what he'd done and what had been done to him without the constant interference of people like Dr. Weir visiting, asking him questions he didn't want to answer.
Or, at least, he told himself it was easier.
After Beckett had been kind enough to have the restraints removed from the bed once a succession of CAT scans had proved him symbiote-free, Caldwell spent most of the time sleeping or thinking, one action bleeding into another until he dreamed about this thoughts and thought about his dreams, existing in a seamless twilight state that reminded him of death watches, bad news and late-nights in emergency rooms -- all unpleasant memories from a time before he had had an alien being wound around his spinal cord.
All in all, the old bad memories were better than the new ones.
Once, during one of the crossover times when he could feel himself falling asleep but couldn't do anything to stop his mind's crawl to lethargy and his eyelids' descent, he thought he saw someone in his room, standing over his bed. He almost swore that he felt the presence of someone else and he's fought against the tide of slumber to see, to open his eyes a little and thank someone for caring enough to come see him.
The drugs proved stronger than his will, however, and he hadn't opened his eyes. Instead he dreamed of Dr. Weir -- Elizabeth -- standing over his bed, watching him with concerned, somber eyes but that dream had bled into one about a chess game and that had turned into nightmarish remembrances of watching out of his own eyes as the Goa'uld used his body to inspect very inch of his home back on Earth, to mockingly tell him that he planned to keep his date for another chess match with the good Dr. Weir.
And Steven, pissed off and helpless and raging against it all, had screamed and screamed only for his body to never utter a sound.
Caldwell woke up in the Atlantis infirmary, breathing sharp and heavy but under his own control. He relaxed his hands where he'd grabbed fistfuls of the sheet while in the throes of his dream.
"You alright, sir? I can call Beckett if you need me to."
Novak's familiar, no-nonsense voice cut through the twilight and landed Caldwell firmly into the correct place in space and time. He glanced over to where his scientist sat in the chair beside his head, looking concerned and slightly ill at ease despite it. Caldwell suspected he'd be facing that particular reaction for some time to come.
"I'm fine, Doctor," he answered, his voice roughened by sleep. "Wish I could say that I haven't been better but I have been."
Novak seemed to appreciate the stab at humor and her shoulders eased under the heavy fabric of her jumpsuit. "That's good, Colonel," she told him. "I didn't think you were ever going to wake up. You've been out like a light for awhile now."
"It's the drugs," he deadpanned. "Dr. Beckett seems overly fond of them."
Novak leaned closer. "Yeah, some of the guys in the science department here say he's a real quack."
Caldwell glanced at her askance. "I'll keep that in mind."
As if suddenly noticing how close she'd gotten, Novak jumped back nervously, pushing her chair back a little as well. "I...um...well, I just wanted to see how you were doing," she explained, her voice fast and stuttery. He expected her to start hiccupping any minute now.
"I'm fine," he told her again.
"Good, good," she said quickly, still eyeing him strangely. "You're sure you're completely a-okay? No after effects, no damage, no nothing-like-that? I mean, I trust Hermiod -- and if I didn't, I'd never tell him, he's so sensitive about things like that, especially since Col. Sheppard asked him about wearing pants -- but removing...uh, you know, isn't the easiest thing and --"
"Dr. Novak," Caldwell broke in dryly. "Do you think I'm still possessed by the Goa'uld?"
Novak's face screamed YES. "No, no, no, I was just...you know, I wonder...well, there's no reason to be..."
Caldwell raised a hand to stop her. "Should I offer you my CAT scans as proof? You're more than welcome to look at them," he told her, pointing over to where they were still displayed. "I assure you Dr. Beckett wouldn't have authorized the removal of the restraints if there had been any doubt."
"Restraints?" Novak's face lost its fear and something like indignation was taking over. "They had you tied to the bed?"
"For everyone's safety, including mine and yours," he reminded her.
Her nose wrinkled in disdain and Caldwell couldn't help but wonder amusedly if she was a card-carrying member of Amnesty International, just like he knew the good Dr. Weir to be.
Or, just like the good Dr. Weir had been. He knew that the latest events hadn't only changed him. And even though he hadn't been in charge of his body, he'd witnessed the discussion about torture between Weir and her senior staff and he'd seen how her face had twisted at the thought of it.
He also remembered dimly back through the twilight enough to know that she'd authorized its use on Kavanagh.
What was it they said about scales falling from the eyes? He had a feeling that things hadn't been any easier for her in the wake of this mess.
Dragging his thoughts away from Weir, it took him a moment to catch Novak's message in the shower of words she was raining on him.
"...everybody understands, though. I mean, they know it wasn't you. Even though it was. You know what I mean, we get it. Especially those of us from who have fought the Goa'uld before, back at the SGC and..."
"Thank you but please. You can stop now. I understand."
Novak grinned, the uneasiness fading a little more. "Yes, sir," she said as she stood up, stretching her back a little. "Well, I better head out. I don't want to bother you, just wanted to stop by and check in."
"Your concern is appreciated," he told her, in the same way he might have told her that her expertise was appreciated when she worked on the Daedalus.
"No problem, sir," she told him cheerily as she headed toward the exit. "Glad to stop by."
"It was nice to have a visitor," he said in farewell, only realizing then that he meant it. "I'm getting tired of Beckett and his accent."
"What about Dr. Weir?" she asked, turning back toward him with her arms crossed over her chest.
"What about her?"
"Well, I figured she'd be helping with the monotony."
"Why is that?"
Novak gave him a strange look that had nothing to do with him having been a Goa'uld. "Because she's been in here just about every time I've stopped by?"
Caldwell was frowning now. "She has?"
She nodded. "In fact, she was on her way out when I came in today. You didn't see her?"
He shook his head. "I was asleep."
"Ah, well..." Novak shrugged. "You seem pretty alert to me. Maybe you'll catch her next time."
"Maybe I will," he agreed.
"See you soon, sir," Novak called over her shoulder as she left, leaving Caldwell with her words to think about.
Something new, at least, he admitted wryly.
Caldwell thought back to his dim awareness of a warm presence just before he fell asleep and his strangely non-sequitor dream about Weir and chess boards and the Goa'uld. He couldn't help it but he felt a little better now that Novak had filled him in. Weir had been visiting, had been stopping by.
He grinned to him, a small, secretive grin and, for the first time, glanced down at the same table next to his bed.
There was a computer tablet sitting on it, just within his reach. Stretching as much as he could -- resting made him more tired and aching than fighting did -- Caldwell managed to grab hold of the computer. He looked down at its flat screen and saw a message scribbled on it, still opened for him to read.
You owe me a rematch. -- Elizabeth
He wasn't surprised to find a chess game installed on the tablet.
The next time Caldwell fell into dreams and dreamed of his thoughts, he dreamed of chess, Weir and stained glass light.
He didn't dream of the Goa'uld.