Keeping watch

Author: Vicky



Category: angst, romance

Summary: It had been a few weeks now since they last saw her eyes…

Season/Sequel: season 3, post First Strike

Spoilers: Sunday (3-14), speculations for First Strike (3-20) and season 4

Rating: PG

Archives: my website, others ask please, I never refuse

Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money; I just do it for fun.

Author's Note: I'm writing it just after having read the recent spoilers about First Strike. So MAJOR SPOILERS for the end of season 3 and season 4 in this fic, do NOT read if you don't want to know. There are also speculations on what could happen!

You have a go !

It had been a few weeks now since they last saw her eyes, since she slipped into a coma. They were still hoping that she would open her eyes again anytime soon. But they also knew that the more time she spent in coma, the less likely she was to ever wake up.

Life was so different already in Atlantis since that fateful day. They were used to her standing in the control room and watching them leaving for a mission and come back, used to her working more than any of them. Now she was lying in a bed in one of the infirmary isolation rooms, not moving, nobody knowing if she'd ever wake up. The good mood that was usually characteristic of the expedition wasn't there anymore; they were doing their tasks like every other day but they didn't put all their heart in them as they usually did.

They all knew that living here in this City was an everyday risk for all the members of the expedition. They had already lost a lot of people to the danger of the Pegasus Galaxy and to Atlantis. It wasn't so long ago that they had lost Carson Beckett, the expedition's CMO and some, those who were close to him and worked with him on an everyday basis, still mourned for this loss. Now wasn't the time for another loss and especially not the one of their leader, the woman who had managed to mend fences between military and civilians, which wasn't such an easy task. But that wasn't up to them, neither to her in a way.

The nurses saw a lot of people come and go in the leader's private room since she was settled there, but those who came the more often where the main team. Nobody was surprised that they spent more time than any other with her; they were probably the closest people to her. The Satedan usually came for a few minutes at a time, not seeming really comfortable to be there, but wanting to anyway. He simply stood by her bed, never saying a word. Everytime the Athosian came, she would tell her a story about her people, knowing that she loved to hear them. And she never left before telling her that she had to wake up soon; whether or not she heard her, she didn't know, but she felt like she should speak to her. Whenever the scientist came, the nurses were careful not to be in the proximity of the room. He could always be heard bragging about his latest experience or whining because one or another member of his team decided to make fun of him once more. But since she was there, the sad look had never left his face.

But the one who came more often and longer than anybody else was certainly her military commander. Sometimes he just sat by her bedside, saying nothing, other times he whispered things to her so quietly that nobody knew exactly what he was telling her. But still, he came to visit her every single day he is on Atlantis. Sometimes, he stayed until the wee hours of the morning, or just fell asleep in the chair, watching her. The nurses knew better than to try and make him leave; he would only come back when they weren't there to notice. So they just chose to leave him alone with her as much as they could, coming into the room only when it was necessary; there wasn't much they could do anyway.

This was where he could be found currently; sitting in a chair by her bedside, both of his hands cradling one of hers. He hadn't spoken yet and probably wouldn't. He just wanted to be there, despite the hour, just in case she would wake up. He was one of the few who still had hope that she would open her eyes. Of course they all still wanted to believe that she would come back to them, but most of them were just resigned to never see her up and around anymore. But he couldn't think that. He had to help her fight, to help her come back to us. She was a member of his family and he wasn't ready to let her go, not without a fight. She shouldn't be there in the first place; he already blamed himself for that much, he should have been there to protect her, he had sworn himself that he would protect them all with his life, but he failed twice in just a few weeks.

She had to wake up; he couldn't bear it if she were to die. If he was going to be honest with himself, she might mean more to him than the others. He didn't want to analyse why, he probably wasn't ready for that yet, but it might be true. They might fight sometimes but he felt closer to her than anyone else. They were so different that he didn't understand why he felt that; why her? Maybe he shouldn't ask himself, maybe he already knew the answer but didn't want to understand it. But deep down himself he knew that she couldn't die on him. This was also why he stayed with her for hours on end, why as soon as he came back from a mission he came to see her; to be sure that she was still there, that there was still hope that she would wake up.

He sighed; tomorrow he had a mission and should probably go to his quarters to get some sleep. Standing up, he released one of his hands to brush a strand of hair away from her forehead. His hand stayed here longer than it was supposed to, just feeling her body heat, feeling her breathe, feeling that she was alive. Squeezing her hand, he was ready to let go and leave when he felt a slight pressure. He frowned, wondering if it was just a muscular spasm, when he felt it again. He squeezed back, leaning towards her and whispering softly to her, hoping that she was finally waking up. When she showed no other signs of waking up, he was ready to believe that it was nothing.

He was leaving the room when he heard her whisper his name. Hoping that it wasn't a figment of his imagination, he turned back towards her and saw her trying to open her eyes. Shouting to a nurse to call the doctor, he came back to her side, gripped her left hand with his right and put the other in her hair, encouraging her to try and open her eyes. When she did, he couldn't help the sigh of relief mixed with a chuckle which escaped his lips. She looked straight at him, a small smile on her lips, and he was sure he was bearing the same. She tried to talk again but he put a finger on her lips; they were going to have as much time as they would want to talk.

It was when the doctor entered the room to examine her that he finally realised that she was back to Atlantis, back to them, back to him.