John waited helplessly while his men paced the area and shot distrustful glances his direction. No one believed he was really himself, and he was still trussed up like a turkey to his complete humiliation. At least he was sitting. Thelan had had him running like a fool for hours, and the two bullet wounds made his left arm feel like it was going to fall off. For once he was glad McKay wasn't a better shot.
Weir was still out cold, thankfully. Lorne had taken her weapons and had zip-tied her hands. Sheppard focused on the major's face, noticing the strange look that kept crossing it every time he glanced at the unconscious woman. He seemed embarrassed. John continued to scrutinize his second in command, taking in a large bruise on his throat and a split lip. The colonel replayed what he could remember of the day in his mind, feeling a couple of pieces fall into place. Elizabeth, or rather Phebus, had gotten a P-90 and a tac-vest from somewhere, and he knew it wasn't the armory.
"Lorne, where'd you get that bruise?"
The blush that started at Evan's hairline and ran down to his neck answered Sheppard's question.
"Major, are you telling me that Elizabeth Weir kicked your ass and took your weapons?"
All four Marines shuffled about, refusing to meet his eyes.
"She took all of you down?" John was incredulous. Elizabeth had an incredible strength of character, but she always seemed fragile physically.
Finally, Lorne stopped and gave him a hard look. "Trust me, that wasn't Elizabeth Weir that attacked us."
The doors slid open as Beckett and a med team entered. Carson stooped to check Weir's vitals.
"OK, people, let's get her on a gurney and to the infirmary. Put her in restraints and hook up the EEG as soon as you get there."
Two orderlies gently lifted the expedition leader onto the stretcher and headed to the transporter with a Marine escort as Beckett moved to examine Sheppard.
"Don't waste your breath on me. I don't want to hear a word from you except in answer to my questions until I know you're John Sheppard."
Carson finished his assessment, checking his pupils and the wounds on his arm, and then called over the remaining members of the med team.
"Let's get him on the gurney and to the infirmary."
"I can walk."
"Didn't I say I didn't want to hear from you? I meant it. Up on the gurney. Now." The Scottish physician sounded really pissed.
The two orderlies helped John to his feet and held the rolling bed steady for him. Once he was seated, Lorne and Lt. Samuels escorted them to the medical floor.
Weir was still unconscious when they arrived. She was in restraints and had EEG leads attached to her temples. The monitor clearly showed two completely separate sets of brainwaves. The orderlies backed Sheppard's gurney into the spot made for it, and Beckett attached similar leads to John while the Marine unit watched, stunners at ready. One single pattern showed on the read-out.
Carson smiled at John. "It's good to have you back, lad."
"Good to be back, Doc. Can someone please take this off?" Sheppard lifted his hands to emphasize the zip-tie.
"Of course. Major, if you would be so kind."
Lorne looked skeptical. "Are you sure, Doc?"
"I'm sure, Evan. The other personality is gone. That is Colonel Sheppard."
Lorne still appeared unconvinced but pulled his knife and sliced the band. John hopped off the gurney, rubbing his wrists.
"Thank you, Major. And thanks, Doc. I appreciate-"
"Just where do you think you're going?" Beckett asked.
"Carson, I've lost a whole day, and the place has been shot to hell. I need to-"
"You need to get into some scrubs and back in that bed. You've had an alien consciousness controlling you all day, not to mention the gunshot wounds on your arm. You are not going anywhere."
The pilot thought of several witty comebacks and excuses but decided the physician was right. He had endangered Atlantis and her people enough for one day. Some of his recollections were fuzzy, but he distinctly remembered shooting up the Power Room just before….
"Carson! How's Ronon?" John felt panic blossom in his chest. Surely someone had gotten to him in time.
"He's fine. We removed a bullet from his abdomen; he's in recovery right now."
Sheppard slumped in relief. He'd almost gotten one of his closest friends killed. John felt fine, except for the throbbing in his arm, but maybe he should stay just to be certain.
"Thanks, Doc. Sorry to be a pain. Can I grab a shower before we get started?"
Understanding replaced the exasperation on Carson's face. "Certainly, Colonel. Scrubs are in the cabinet along with the towels."
After Sheppard showered and donned the scrubs, Carson cleansed the wounds on his arm. One was a graze, but the other was a through-and-through. Beckett gave him a shot to prevent infection and reattached the EEG leads. Lorne and Samuels stood guard just outside the infirmary doors.
John settled back and closed his eyes. What a crummy day. He suddenly realized he was starving. He opened one eye as Sabrina, his favorite nurse, carried in a dinner tray.
He gave her his best smile. "You are a goddess."
She rolled her eyes. "And I'm old enough to be your mother so save the smile for someone else."
He chuckled as she set down the tray and left. She said that every time. Boredom set in halfway through his turkey sandwich so he pressed the call button, and Sabrina reappeared.
"Hey yourself. What can I do for you?"
"Are you now?" She tucked a strand of gray hair behind an ear. "And what would you like for me to do about that?"
"Could you have someone bring my PDA?" He gave her his best puppy-dog eyes. "Please?"
She laughed at him. "My sons gave me the same look, and it didn't work for them either, but since you said please, let me see what I can do."
She disappeared into the office area. After a few minutes, the doors to the infirmary slid open allowing Rodney and Teyla entrance.
Uncertainty was written all over their faces. They approached his bed cautiously, and John felt his heart sink. He wondered how long it would take for his team to trust him again. He decided to not push the issue and to do what he could to put them at ease.
"I know what you're thinking, and I can't convince you it's me so I'm not going to try. Have you seen Ronon? Is he going to be OK?"
Teyla glanced at McKay who nodded. "Dr. Beckett was able to remove the bullet. Ronon is still unconscious but should recover fully."
"Carson says we can visit him in the morning." McKay shifted uncomfortably. "So, um, how are you?"
"I'm fine and very grateful you aren't a better shot."
"Well, next time an alien consciousness takes over your body, don't give me the gun." McKay looked indignant. "Someone called to say you wanted your PDA." Rodney handed the device to John.
"Thanks McKay. Listen, I know it was a weird day, but you guys did a great job holding everything together. And Teyla, while I appreciate you not killing me, don't believe anything Thelan said. I know you well enough to know that you would have pulled the trigger to save the others. I wouldn't have blamed you."
"I am very glad it did not come to that."
"Me too." Doubt still clouded their features so he decided to give them an out. "Now, why don't you guys get some rest? Hopefully Elizabeth will be herself in the morning, and life will get back to normal."
They bid him goodnight and hurried from the room. Sabrina peeked from the office area in time to catch his wince as the gunshot wounds throbbed.
"Is your arm bothering you?" she asked. "I can get you something."
He considered rejecting her offer but couldn't think of a good reason why. He wasn't going anywhere and would be able sleep better if his arm stopped hurting.
"I'd appreciate that."
He took the Tylenol she brought and finished his meal while catching up on email. Eighty-seven emails. He had cleaned out his inbox the day before. Of course, most of them were probably about him trying to kill Weir. He sighed. It was going to take forever-.
"You may think you've won, but it's not over yet."
He froze at the hatred in Weir's voice. He turned slowly to her.
"Phebus. Still with us, I see. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but Thelan is no longer available."
"I don't believe you."
"I don't care if you believe me or not."
"Deception does not become you, Thelan."
"Give it a rest. It's been a long day, and I'm tired. Thelan's gone, the war is over, and you won. Can't you just be happy about that and… disappear?"
She stared at the ceiling. "I will kill you."
"Yeah, yeah, blah blah blah." He yawned as exhaustion caught up with him. "Look, I'm going to get some sleep now. Try to be gone by the time I wake up."
He set the PDA on his tray table and squirmed until he got comfortable. He hadn't realized how tired he really was. He drifted off to the sound of monitors beeping.
Pressure on his face yanked him back to consciousness. His eyes flew open to find Weir standing over him, pressing a pillow over his nose and mouth. He reached for her only to discover restraints binding his wrists to the bed.
She smiled coldly at him. "There's that look of defeat I love." She leaned so close her hair brushed his forehead. "I wanted to look into your eyes as your life flickered out," she hissed.
He couldn't believe how strong she was. He owed Lorne an apology. John tried to shout for help but only got a mouth full of pillow. His vision began to gray, and adrenaline rushed through his veins. She could really kill him, and he was completely defenseless. He had no idea how she'd gotten out of her restraints or how she'd put his on without waking him, but it wouldn't matter soon.
He struggled with all his might, but the restraints were too secure. His lungs begged for air, and his vision continued to darken. He knew he was going to die, and he knew Elizabeth would never forgive herself. He stared in her eyes, willing her to see the forgiveness in his.
Shock blossomed on Weir's face, and the pressure eased for a moment. She began trembling, and her eyes widened.
"No!" she shouted as the convulsions began. She fought for all she was worth, trying to squeeze the life out of him, but it was too late. She dropped to the floor in a full seizure, screaming.
Medical personnel ran in from every direction as Sheppard turned his head enough to gulp in lungfuls of sweet, precious air. The pillow was pulled from his face by one of the nurses as another immediately removed the restraints. Dr. Caitlyn Donnelly, the nightshift attending, rolled Elizabeth on her side as she continued to convulse.
After a minute, the seizure ended, and Weir lay limply on the floor. Two orderlies picked her up and returned her to her bed as a nurse reattached the EEG leads. They all breathed a sigh of relief as one brainwave pattern appeared on the monitor. Donnelly checked her vitals, noting them in her chart, and turned to Sheppard.
"Are you all right, Colonel?" Worry covered her face.
He was still gasping for air but nodded. She held the straw of his water cup close so he could take a sip. After a minute, he regained his voice.
"Yeah, Doc. I'll be OK."
"I have no idea. Somehow she got out of her restraints and put mine on. Then she tried to smother me with a pillow. She almost succeeded."
Donnelly perused the restraints on Weir's bed and examined her wrists. "Apparently she wiggled out of them. They weren't fastened tight enough." She turned to face him. "I can only apologize, Colonel Sheppard. I don't know what else to say other than I'll get to the bottom of this."
"Just let it go."
Her brows shot up. "Really?"
"If Elizabeth doesn't remember, I don't want anyone to tell her what happened."
"Oh. I can do that, but I need to find out why the restraints weren't properly fastened so it doesn't happen again. I'll keep this incident out of it, and I'll ask the staff to not mention it as well."
"Thanks Doc. I appreciate it."
After the room cleared, he turned on the light above his bed and examined his own wrists. They were red and bruised from his struggle, but he would blame it on the zip-tie if asked. He got up to check Elizabeth who seemed to be sleeping peacefully now. Satisfied that she would be all right, he patted her arm awkwardly and climbed back in his bed. He closed his eyes, feeling the tension drain from him. Tomorrow had to be a better day.