All right, finally back from vacation for good, whoo! Okidoki, here's the final chapter of this little excursion, so I hope you like it. :) Please let me know what you thin; that would be great! And look for more Left Behind updates soon:) Thanks to all of you!
Daniel checked, but Vala wasn't breathing, though she still had a weak heartbeat. But even that was fading fast. But what could he do? CPR wouldn't do any good here, because these weren't their bodies. They were only an echo of what was happening to their real ones.
As if on cue, the fire lit room around him faded, the sensation of Vala's hand in his faded, all of it faded, until he was back at the SGC. Maybe the Doci thought they were both as good as dead, that there was no reason to keep their minds trapped there. He was probably right.
Daniel sat up quickly, but immediately regretted it. His head hurt just as badly here, and he bent over, sucking in steadying breaths. That was when he realized that he wasn't touching Vala anymore. He'd been flat on his back on the bed before he'd sat up. How had that happened?
It wasn't important. Immediately he searched for Vala, and found her still half sitting up, leaning against the headboard. And she wasn't breathing. Swallowing, he checked her pulse again, and as before, found a quickly fading, weak beat.
"No no no, come on, don't do this…." He muttered. Not knowing what else to do, he pulled her away from the headboard and gently laid her on her back and started CPR, hoping to get her breathing again. Maybe if he did that, her heartbeat would re-gain strength. But it didn't help that he didn't know exactly what the Doci had done to her and how it had carried over to her body here in this galaxy.
At first, Vala was unresponsive, and for a few tense moments Daniel was, against his will, on the edge of hysteria. Tears for fear and frustration stung his eyes, but he wasn't even sure exactly why.
"Please, please, please!" he hissed desperately.
Finally, finally, she gasped in a small breath. Her chest heaved, and she started to breathe again, but still she didn't seem to be any closer to consciousness. Except for the movement of her chest, she stayed limp. He put his fingers against her neck again and felt her heartbeat jump in strength for only a second, and then fade again.
"No, come ON-!" His voice choked, and he gulped back tears. Why wasn't this working? Maybe….maybe he'd been on the right track before, back in Celestus. Just keep physical contact, share strength, don't let her slip away….
With no other choices, Daniel took her hand again and lowered himself from his hands and knees over her until he was laying on his stomach right beside her, only up on one elbow so he could keep an eye on her and keep tight hold of her hand, as close as he could without being inappropriate. Vala had said something like more contact helped more….Well, he couldn't get in much more contact than this without it just being wrong.
He only hoped it would help.
Daniel swallowed again and stared at her face. Her breathing was slowing again, fading. It wouldn't last much longer, and neither would she unless something happened. His head still felt like someone was pounding a nail through it, but he put as much mental focus as he could into keeping her alive. He wasn't sure that a mental component had anything to do with it at all, but it was worth a try.
There! He could sense something. He'd focused, and…there it was. Somehow, the connection between them was letting him sense that he was losing energy—energy to breathe, to keep her heart beating, everything. He had jumpstarted her breathing a couple of minutes ago, but whatever the prior had done to her and sucked out her ability to keep it going by herself. Unless she was given enough energy back. He hoped.
Daniel had no idea exactly what he was ding or how he was doing it, but he focused on giving her as much of his own energy as he could, and it happened. He could feel his own energy draining into her, but it would be all right. He was already weak from the attack on his mind, but he would be all right. He only needed to keep enough to stay alive. He could get the rest of his strength back on his own, but right now Vala couldn't. Not just after what the Doci had done to her. She needed it more than he did. He had to balance out her energy levels so she could stay alive.
His grip on her hand was weakening with the rest of his body. "Come on…" he pleaded weakly. "Come on…." His elbow slipped out from under him, and he was flat. He couldn't see her anymore. But he held on. This had to work. It HAD too. For both of their sakes.
He couldn't keep this up much longer.
Just as unconsciousness started to close it, he heard Vala gasp in a deep breath, and felt her pulse grow faster and stronger under his weak grip on her hand and wrist. Daniel let go and his arm dropped by his side. Breaking the contact kept him conscious, but he didn't have the energy to move. All he could see was her shoulder beside his face.
Vala lay where she was for a moment, just breathing deeply and probably trying to orient herself, but he didn't mind. It was the sweetest sound he'd heard in days.
After a few minutes, she scooted back a few inches so she could roll over, and turned to look him in the face. Her eyes weren't quite wide, but they looked bigger than usual anyway. A confusion of emotions played across them, and for the longest time she didn't say anything. Daniel was afraid he would pass out before she spoke.
Finally she gulped. "You just saved my life…"
Daniel noted that, for some reason, she looked a lot blurrier than she had a few moments ago. And that his head hurt a lot worse now. But it didn't matter. She was going to be all right.
He opened his mouth, but nothing came out at first and he had to lick his lips and clear his throat a bit. "Are you okay?" he managed to get out. It was still only barely above a whisper.
Vala nodded, frowning in concern. "I'm fine. But you look horrible."
"Thanks a lot," he answered dryly. Vala was going to say something else, but he didn't catch it before the blackness claimed him.
Vala sat up, shaking off the lingering confusion. "Daniel?" But he was out. She checked, just to be sure, but his pulse was there. It was a little weak, but it was steady. She sighed in relief, and that must have covered the sound of the door opening, because seconds later Jack O'Neill's voice spoke from by the door.
Surprised, she jerked and looked up. "Oh. General."
O'Neill took a step closer to the bed, closing the door behind him. "Is he okay? What happened?"
Vala swallowed. "Uhm….well, I'm afraid that's a little difficult to explain."
His eyes narrowed. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"Look, I'll explain later, but it's over. He should be all right, but right now I think he should be moved back to your infirmary."
O'Neill hesitated for a moment, keeping his eyes on Daniel, then nodded and opened the door again. "I'll get the doc."
Doctor Lam came back with the general, and Vala explained as best she could what had happened. Then Teal'c and Mitchell helped them move Daniel back to the infirmary, and all of them waited for him to wake up. They wouldn't know anything else until then.
But he didn't wake up in the next few hours. Into the night, O'Neill convinced Mitchell and Teal'c to go get some sleep, and then fell asleep himself in a chair beside Daniel's bed. Vala curled on the bed next to his on the other side, but she couldn't fall asleep. All she could do was stare across the three foot space at Daniel, worrying. Several weeks ago, she wouldn't have cared, but now….if anything happened to him because he'd saved her, she didn't know if she could ever forgive herself.
A soft groan came from Daniel's bed. Vala jerked, and when her eyes caught a glance at the nearby digital clock and saw that it was four in the morning, she realized that she must have actually dozed off. Sitting up and blinking the sleep out of her eyes, she realized that there was movement in the next bed. Daniel was waking up.
O'Neill was still asleep, so she slipped off of the bed she was on quietly, and padded in her socks across the short space to Daniel's bed. His eyes flickered open just as she looked down at him.
"Hi," she smiled. Hopefully, this time his reaction would be nicer.
Daniel grimaced as if in pain and blinked up at her. "Vala?"
"MmHmm," she nodded. "Are you all right?"
He slowly brought up a hand to rub at his forehead. "Except for the headache, yeah, I guess so…" he answered tiredly.
She felt like cheering, grinning like an idiot, and crying like relief all at the same time. He was going to be all right; she knew it. But instead of doing any of those things, she simply replied, straight-faced. "Good. You didn't have to that, you know."
"Of course I did; otherwise we'd both be dead," he said, rolling his eyes and then shutting them.
Vala shrugged. Yes, maybe that was true, but whatever it was, exactly, that he'd done to keep her from dying, he could have been more careful. But no, he'd probably been reckless, hadn't thought much, and here he was flat on his back again worrying the heck out of all of them. "What did you do, anyway?"
"I'm not sure, Vala...but I do know that I'm not going to be awake much longer."
She sighed. "All right, sorry. You go back to sleep."
He nodded off again almost immediately, and it wasn't until then that O'Neill snorted awake, sitting up suddenly and looking around. "Huh, what?" His eyes zeroed in on her standing beside the bed. "Was he awake?"
Vala put her hands on her hips and whispered back. "Yes, he was, but now he's asleep, so shush. He's going to be fine."
O'Neill nodded and settled back into his chair. It couldn't have been a comfortable one, but he felt back to sleep quickly too. Men.
Shaking her head, she crawled back into the bed she'd been in, and fell asleep herself.
When Daniel woke the next morning, both Jack and Vala were still asleep, and his head didn't hurt as badly. Unfortunately though, it hadn't edged off enough that Doctor Lam didn't notice and make him take something for it. She did, and it helped, and he was just starting to feel decent again--except for the tiredness part--when Jack stirred.
"And I thought it was you that was supposed to be waiting for me to wake up," Daniel smirked when his friend was awake enough.
Jack rolled his eyes and scrubbed a hand through his thinning hair. "Oh be quiet. Wait. Scratch that. Then you wouldn't be able to lie when I asked you how you were feeling."
"What? You're gonna do it. How are you?"
Daniel sighed. "Whatever…..shouldn't you be getting back to Washington?"
Jack shrugged and leaned back, stretching. "Ah, thought I'd stick around for another day or so to make sure you're okay--"
The general smirked. "Kidding, I'm kidding. I'll probably head out this afternoon."
"Trying to get rid of me?"
"No; but you know I don't--"
"Want me to get in trouble, yes, I know. Thanks for the sentiment, but don't worry about it." Jack stood up and patted his shoulder. "You just worry about getting your strength back, and I'll go get breakfast. Hungry?"
Daniel smiled briefly. "Yeah, I could use something to eat, thanks."
"That's my boy," Jack grinned.
Jack brought enough for himself, Daniel, and Vala, and after breakfast, the day passed quickly in a blurry stream of groggy wakefulness and sleep. He remembered Vala wandering around, but never going far, and Jack saying his goodbyes late in the afternoon, but not much else was especially clear until the next day.
By then, Doctor Lam was sure enough herself that he would be fine that she allowed Mitchell and Teal'c to move Daniel back to his room. He couldn't go by himself; no one let him try, but he was pretty sure that if he'd tried to get up by himself, that he would have ended up on his face on the floor. His muscles weren't cooperating with his weak body just yet.
At that point, Vala could have stayed in her own room again, but this time she never did. She slept on the couch in his room, and was always nearby, making sure he was all right and keeping him busy. It wasn't always pleasant having her around constantly, even after what had happened, but it was better than before. And he was never bored.
It was a week before he was back to work, and even then Lam wasn't letting him drive. Not that it really mattered; he couldn't go anywhere without Vala, anyway. He was still wondering how much longer it would be before the connection wore off, and after spending his recovery with her insisting on staying not much farther than arms' length away, he was beginning to get impatient again. It was nice that she really did care for once, but by then Daniel was feeling smothered.
He looked up from his desk when he heard something clank, and saw Vala fiddling with a random artifact from his shelf, a small statue. She was examining the face carved into it, but her elbow was about to knock another from the same shelf off onto the floor. Jumping up, he ran over and rescued it, inadvertently knocking her away from the shelf.
"Be careful!" he yelped. Vala huffed, peeved, but at least disaster had been prevented.
"Well excuse me, but there's nothing to do." She set down the statue she still had in her hands--and a piece of it's foot broke off. So much for that.
Daniel closed his eyes on Vala standing there looking innocent, trying not to overreact. He'd certainly done that one too many times to her before.
"Just don't touch anything else, okay?" he said, looking at her again. She shrugged. He couldn't make her promise, because she probably would anyway. Women.
"Can't we do something?" she asked suggestively, waggling her eyebrows and trying to hook one of his arms. A week later and already she'd gone from over-protective back to…this. Oi…at least things were back to normal, anyway. Things weren't as confusing this way.
Daniel pulled away. "Uh, no, we can't. I haven't gotten any work done in almost two weeks, and I would really like to get something done today, if you don't mind. I know you can't go far, but do you think you could at least try to find something to do elsewhere?"
She crossed her arms and smiled at him teasingly, tossing her pig-tails back. "Well, you finally shaved, so I suppose I should give you a break for one day, at least."
His only response to that was to groan and head back to his desk. She caught his arm and he turned back around.
"What?" he asked, annoyed.
Vala hesitated a moment, which was uncharacteristic for her, and then hugged him. She did it from the side, almost awkwardly. It was in no way sensual or flirtatious, was only friendly. Surprising himself, Daniel didn't move away after his initial jerk of surprise. He didn't return it, either, but he didn't move away.
"Thank you for saving my life," she said briefly.
Daniel swallowed. "Uhm…you're welcome," he said uncomfortably. He caught a glimpse of a smile as she let go of him and started to turn and go, and before he did, he said something else. "And ah…I never thanked you for helping me before…"
She turned and looked at him curiously, raising an eyebrow part of the way.
He cleared his through self-consciously and didn't look at her fully. "I…I didn't want you to then…because….I didn't want you to get hurt. That was why. It was really the only reason, I just….I'm sorry." Why was he telling her that? That was what she wasn't supposed to find out. Was it possible that he--?? No. No way.
Vala quirked a smile at him. "It's all right." And somehow she seemed to mean that to go for everything.
Daniel smiled back a little, but she didn't seem to notice that it was uncertain. As she all but skipped off, Vala seemed to assume that he would stop beating himself up about that and everything else just because she had told him he could.
And somehow that made it easier to do just that.