|The Story Stone
Author: Leahna PM
The third entry in my version of the 4th season. It takes place immediately following "Late Night Coffee"Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 4 - Words: 5,099 - Reviews: 15 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 10-02-12 - Published: 07-23-11 - id: 7210779
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Professor George Challenger clapped his hand on Lord Roxton's shoulder. "You need sleep, John," he said gently. "I'll stay with her."
When the younger man started to protest, Challenger quickly added, "Don't worry; when she wakes, I'll come get you."
Roxton didn't move. He continued to rub his thumb over the small, white hand he was holding. "Why doesn't she wake up?"
This was the fourth day since their fight with the cannibals. He had tried everything he could think of but had been unable to awaken her the morning after she'd been knocked unconscious, so he'd left all nonessentials and gathered her up. He carried her night and day, stopping to rest only when absolutely necessary and then continuing again as soon as he was able. He hadn't eaten in all that time, but he did on occasion pause to slake his thirst and force what water he could into Marguerite. She'd swallowed, which he'd taken as a good sign, but her eyelids never so much as fluttered. His only plan had been to get her back to the tree house, trusting that Challenger would be able to revive her.
When he'd finally arrived back at their jungle home, back aching and near complete exhaustion, Challenger had immediately taken charge. As of yet, the professor had been unable to find any reason for her to have not regained consciousness.
Roxton stared down at his beloved's beautiful face, "I can't lose her, George."
"She'll wake when she is ready," the red headed man assured him, "Right now, you need rest. I don't know how you've stayed awake this long. It's beyond reason." Before Roxton could object further, Challenger chided, "She needs you strong, John. You are no good to her or anyone in your current condition. Get some sleep. I promise to let you know if there is any change. Go."
"If she wakes…"
"I'll come get you immediately," Challenger hoped that he was right and Marguerite wasn't injured in some way he was unable to detect.
With great reluctance, Roxton placed her hand on the coverlet. He squeezed it lightly before he rose and walked to the doorway. He turned back and gazed again at the small brunette who was at once his bane and his salvation. It was a physical ache to see her so inanimate. Heart heavy, he went to his own bed. He had no intention of sleeping, only resting, ready for Challenger's call so that he could be present when she awoke; but no sooner had he collapsed upon the mattress than he was fast asleep.
With Roxton finally getting the rest he so desperately needed, the professor could now turn his full focus to Marguerite. He checked her pulse again: strong and steady. Her body seemed in excellent condition. "Her body, yes," Challenger pondered and then added aloud to the sleeping beauty, "but what about your mind?" He sat in the chair so recently and grudgingly vacated by Roxton. Already the professor was contemplating how best to measure her brain activity. In his mind, he had half-built a machine for checking and possibly stimulating brain waves.
So engrossed was he in his plans, that it wasn't until Malone lightly shook Challenger's forearm and said his name for the third time that the professor became aware of the young blonde man's presence.
"Malone?" Challenger sat up straighter in his chair, cleared his throat and explained, "I was just running through some calculations."
The writer smiled tolerantly, "I came to get you and Roxton for dinner." Ned Malone glanced around the room.
Before he could enquire of Roxton's whereabouts, Challenger offered, "Roxton's in bed; sleeping, I hope."
Malone shook his head in disbelief, "However did you manage that? I haven't been able to blast him from that chair."
"It wasn't easy," the red haired man agreed. "I had to promise that I would not leave Marguerite alone and to wake him immediately if she came 'round but even so…" his voice trailed off. He needed to use his incredible intelligence and figure out how to bring Marguerite back to herself. Hopefully her mind was undamaged. If he couldn't solve this dilemma, he could very well end up losing two friends.
"Why don't you let me sit with her while you go have dinner?" Malone suggested.
"On, no, you go eat," he replied and then upon further thought, he added, "but I will take you up on it when you've finished. I really need to get to my laboratory."
The reporter nodded, "On the condition that you eat first."
Challenger agreed saying, "I will take it with me."
As the younger man left the room, Challenger again turned his thoughts to the machine he intended to begin building the instant he reached his lab. His gaze returned to Marguerite and he was startled to find her grey-green eyes looking back at him.
The professor nearly tipped his chair over, so great was his hast to reach the newly awakened adventuress.
Marguerite's mouth moved but no sound escaped. She tried a second time with the same result. Frustration flashed across her face. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard twice. She then met Challenger's gaze and swallowed twice more before managing to say in a dry, scratchy voice, "I thirst."
Just two words, but they thrilled the red headed scientist. He grabbed Roxton's glass from the dresser. It was still nearly full. He gently helped Marguerite sit and brought the glass to her lips.
She slowly, steadily drank until the glass was drained. As Challenger took the empty glass, he thought for a moment that she was going to lick the rim, but then she sat up straight and with determination twisted around to put her feet on the floor. Only then did she nod at the professor and croak, "Thank you."
Challenger felt her pulse which was steady as before. He then lit the candle which sat on her dresser and used it to check her pupils. They dilated and contracted normally. He was encouraged by her recovery and asked, "Are you hungry?" Before she could even attempt to answer, he continued, "Of course you're hungry. You would have to be after days of… I'll just have Finn bring you a plate."
He stood and headed to the door.
Marguerite stopped him by calling out, "Don't." Her voice was stronger, but it still cracked. He turned back to her as she continued in her scratchy voice, "don't, please, he doesn't need to bother. I'd rather go; I'd like to get out of this room."
"Of course you would," the professor said placatingly, "But you really should rest."
A fleeting look of irritation flashed across her face and she swallowed hard before managing to say in a wispy voice, "That is all I've been doing. I'd like some fresh air," she smiled and added, "please."
Challenger gave in and nodded. He grabbed her silk dressing gown and draped it around her shoulders. "Careful now," he said as he helped her stand. She wobbled slightly but then stood solidly. Keeping a hand on her elbow, he walked with her to the stairs where he suddenly stopped short muttering, "Roxton."
Wondering at his sudden stop, Marguerite asked, "What?"
Challenger turned to her and explained, "Roxton's been with you every moment since the two of you made it back. In point of fact, I practically had to wrestle him to get him to rest. He would never have left except that I promised to stay with you." Candidly, he added, "I think he blames himself for what happened to you."
"He was there?"
"You don't remember?"
A look of utter frustration crossed her face and she shook her head.
"That's understandable. You've been through quite a bit. I am sure that your memory will all come back with time. But, I did promise Roxton that I'd get him when you…"
"No," she interrupted sharply. More gently she added, "he needs to sleep; you said it yourself. Me, all I've done is sleep while he…" she lapsed into silence, her hoarse voice had become little more than a squeak at the end.
Not wanting to further upset her, Challenger agreed, "Okay, we'll let him sleep a little longer." Knowing that Roxton did indeed need the rest didn't make him feel any less that he was breaking his word, but acquiescing to Marguerite seemed the most logical choice. Her recovery was too recent and possibly fragile to chance upsetting her. "Shall we?" he said, again taking her elbow and accompanying her to the tree house's great room.