Detention – Chapter 3

"You will be the first I feed upon." He heard it over and over as he ran through the halls of Atlantis.

He kept looking over his shoulder and the wraith was always just behind him. He couldn't put any distance between them no matter how hard he ran.

Reaching the gate room he looked around for someone to help him, but there was no one there. He tried to call out, but no sound came out of his mouth. He was so hot, the sweat was pouring off of him, drenching his clothes.

He kept running, looking for a weapon. Anything to defend himself.

"You don't hide your fear well at all, human. I will enjoy feeding on you," the wraith taunted him.

His strength was slipping away. He couldn't keep running much longer. Every muscle in his body was on fire. It was getting harder to breathe and his heart was pumping at full speed.

Finally, he collapsed on the floor. Staring up at the wraith he couldn't even summon the strength to say anything. With great effort, he took a deep breath and spit right in the wraith's face. Which, of course, only angered the wraith even more, but at least he felt he got something in.

The wraith kneeled over his prize and a smile slowly stretched across its face. It stared at Sheppard as a cat does when it catches its prey and is ready for a little fun. Until the major's spit landed on his cheek.

"Say goodbye, human!" the wraith growled loudly.

Sheppard tensed as the wraith got within inches of his nose. He scrunched his face in disgust. How had he not noticed the putrid smell earlier? That alone was enough to kill someone.

The wraith kneeled in front of the major on the floor. In one fluid move, his hand slashed the major's shirt exposing his flesh. With a satisfied smile, the wraith thrust his hand into the major's chest and began draining whatever life he had left in him.

"AHHHHHH!" Sheppard screamed in agony. The pain was intense, like nothing he had ever felt in his life. He could literally feel himself dying, his life ebbing away.....

As the clock struck 03:30, Sherry stood and arched her back to stretch. She was used to pulling all-nighters, but the strain of sitting up did a job on her back. She glanced back at Sheppard and Ford who were both sleeping soundly. She decided she would take the time to actually use the restroom for the first time in hours.

When she returned her ears picked up a faint sound that she couldn't place. It sounded like soft grunts. As she started to go back to check on her patients, the beep from Sheppard's heart monitor started to increase. Quickly. By the time she reached his bed his pulse had sky-rocketed to 150 beats per minute. His face was covered in sweat and he was grimacing in pain.

She immediately pushed the call button to alert Dr. Beckett. "What's the problem?" was his sleepy reply.

"Major Sheppard seems to be having some difficulty, Doctor. I think you should take a look," she said in a serious tone.

"I'll be right there." And he was since he was only sleeping in the next room.

"What do we have?" He asked quickly.

"I don't know. I took a bathroom break and when I got back I found him like this." She pulled a towel off the table beside the major's bed and began to wipe the sweat off his face. "Oh boy, he's burning up," she said as she placed the back of her hand on his forehead.

At that moment, Sheppard started moaning loudly. "Nnnnooooo. Nnnnnoooo. Stop. Stop...," he cried out. Beckett and Sherry looked at each other. "AHHHHHHHH!" The blood curdling yell spurred the medical team into action.

"Major Sheppard! Wake up! It's Dr. Beckett!"

The major's eyes flew open and he looked around wildly. His heart was beating so fast the monitor almost gave off a continuous hum. No matter how hard he tried to breathe he couldn't get any air in his lungs. For a few seconds he lay there panting trying to figure out where he was. Finally, he recognized Dr. Beckett and the infirmary and was able to start taking slow, deep breaths.

"Doc, why'd you wake me up?" he asked, trying to get his heartbeat under control.

"Are you all right, son? You seem to be in distress?" Beckett asked with concern.

Major Sheppard continued his deep breathing and soon his heart rate was near the normal range. Sherry wiped the sweat from his face once again as his color returned to normal. "Distress? No, no, no. I was dreaming, that's all. She was beautiful, you know what I mean?" he asked playfully, hoping that they would buy his ridiculous story and leave him alone.

It was clear that neither one of them believed him, but Dr. Beckett seemed to be carefully considering his next move. He gave the major the benefit of the doubt that it was just a nightmare and not some kind of episode with his heart. The rhythm was fine now – nice and steady and strong. He picked up the thermometer and stuck it in Sheppard's ear.

"Ow! What, do you work as a tag team?"

But Beckett wasn't listening. After a second he removed the instrument from the major's ear and was pleased to see that the reading had dropped to 98.9. He shook his head in approval. "It looks like your fever's broken." He put his stethoscope on and listened to Sheppard's heart and lungs. His lungs were clear and his heartbeat steady.

"Okay, Major. Obviously it was just a bad dream. You seem stable now. I'm going to give you a sedative to help you get back to sleep."

"Yeah, I'd like to get back to my date if you don't mind. The triplets are waiting for me."

Beckett smiled and replied, "You got it, Major." He then walked toward a supply cabinet to retrieve a syringe and the drug that would let Sheppard get some peaceful rest finally.

Sheppard collapsed back into his pillows and began his deep breathing once again. Although he hoped he had put on a brave show for everyone, he felt anything but. This was a new nightmare. Possibly even a night terror. He thought the tick was bad. That was like a day at the beach comparatively speaking.

Ford quietly watched the proceedings from his own bed. He'd been in combat before. He knew what had happened to the major. Sheppard's pale complexion and drawn face confirmed his suspicions.

"It's alright, sir. You're safe," Ford said as he tried to reassure his commanding officer. He had seen similar things happen on the battlefield.

"Thanks, Ford. I'm okay," he replied quietly. He knew Ford understood.

When Dr. Beckett returned with the sedative, Sheppard didn't even make a remark or put up a fight. This did not go unnoticed by Dr. Beckett, but Sheppard didn't care. He was looking forward to a nice quiet oblivion where no one was trying to kill him.

"Just a quick pinch, and you're on your way to a good sleep."

Sheppard winced as he felt the needle in his arm. He pulled the covers up, and closed his eyes. "Thanks, Doc," he said gratefully.

Sherry returned with a cup of water and helped Sheppard sit up to drink it. At this point he had no strength left at all and didn't fight the help. The cold water felt wonderful going down his aching, parched throat. He sank back and was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

The next morning he awoke to find Lt. Ford, Elizabeth Weir, Teyla and Rodney McKay standing at the foot of his bed. Ford was fully dressed so he'd obviously been released already. They all seemed to be arguing about something and hadn't noticed that he was awake.

"....but I had pins and needles and no one felt the need to keep an eye on me!" he heard McKay whine. "No one appreciates the sacrifice I made to complete the mission! I could barely feel my extremities. Even now!"

"Rodney, now is not the time," Weir replied in a tired voice. This was obviously a discussion that had been repeated a lot recently.

"Dr. McKay, we are here to see how Major Sheppard is. Perhaps you can discuss your concerns with Dr. Beckett privately," Teyla said in a clipped tone.

Sheppard closed his eyes trying to imagine what it would have been like to have McKay as a roommate the previous night. Or any night for that matter. The thought alone was enough to send shivers down his spine. Who could rest with that man around? Finally he opened his eyes, and they all became quiet.

"How are you feeling, John?" Dr. Weir asked.

How was he feeling? Everything, including his hair, hurt. His head felt like there was a hammer chipping away at his brain. But, compared to yesterday, he was actually much better. "Oh, nothing like a hangover to start your morning," he replied sarcastically.

"Well, you're in luck. It's already the afternoon so you're halfway on the road to recovery," she replied with a smile.

"What time is it?" he asked as he clasped his hands and put them over his head, letting out a huge yawn, and stretching his entire body.

Ford replied quickly, "It's just after 4 in the afternoon. You've had quite the nap, sir. You got the good stuff, they wouldn't let me have any."

"Oh, the benefits of rank, Lieutenant." He sat up suddenly as a sort of test. Which he seemed to pass with flying colors since the room didn't spin, he didn't vomit on anyone or anything, nor did he unceremoniously fall off the bed. "Where are my clothes? I'm getting out of here." He paused and looked determinately at his team members. "Now."

At that moment, Dr. Beckett came in. "Good afternoon, Major. How are we feeling?" he asked.

"I notice no one asked how I'm feeling!" McKay interjected sarcastically. Everyone turned to look at him with disgust. No one replied to his outburst.

Beckett just shot McKay a glance that shut him up immediately. He then turned to listen to his patient's reply.

"I don't know about you, Doc, but I feel fine. I kept my promise to stay overnight, I even threw in a morning and an afternoon for free, and now if you'll excuse me I have things to do."

"Fair's fair, Major. I'll have Sherry bring your clothes. I removed all the leads earlier so you're free to move around. I'll be studying the printouts from your monitor over the next day or so, but so far it seems that there is no additional damage to your heart right now. You can go."

A big smile spread over Sheppard's face.

And it quickly disappeared as Beckett continued, "But I have arranged with Dr. Weir to have you monitored overnight once every three months until we are certain that you've sustained no permanent damage. If you refuse, you will not be allowed any gate-travel."

Sheppard knew this was neither the time nor the place to argue. "Well, three months is a long way off. Let's cross that bridge later. Now, my clothes?" he asked in a demanding tone.

As if by magic Sherry came around the corner with his clothes in one arm and a tray of food in the other. "Here we go," she said as she placed his clothes in his lap and the food on the table next to the bed.

"Does everyone get a show this time or can I get some privacy?" he asked politely, but firmly, indicating what he wanted.

Dr. Weir couldn't help it as a deep blush raced up her face. "Of course, Major. We'll wait for you outside." She, Ford, Teyla and McKay moved toward the exit.

"Shame, would have liked to have seen an encore," muttered Sherry under her breath as she went back to her desk. Dr. Beckett said nothing, he simply pulled the privacy curtain around the major's bed.

As Sheppard dressed he realized that he shouldn't be too upset. They were all worried about his well-being. But, now was not the time for him to be sick or vulnerable. He simply wouldn't allow it. Not when he had that Wraith prisoner to contend with.

When he was done dressing he did one more big stretch and took a deep breath. He was very glad to be heading back to his own quarters. He pulled his boots on, put on his jacket and turned to leave.

Dr. Beckett watched him as he walked toward the door and quietly said, "You're going to be okay, Major. I'll make sure of that."

Without looking back he replied, "I know, Doc. Thanks."


A/N: Thanks to everyone who wrote a review!