Disclaimer:: I own nothing. Waah!

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Seeing the blood on his hands was the most terrifying thing he'd ever experienced. Over the years that had passed since he enlisted in the Air Force, he'd seen his fair share of blood, a lot of it coming from his own opened wounds, but this was different. This was Teyla. This was her blood on his finger tips, and her eyes that would not open over her paling features. He took only a moment to inwardly panic before he ripped his vest open and threw it off, followed soon by his jacket. He pulled the vest back on and began folding his jacket.

Beside him, Ronon watched Teyla for a moment before standing, "Stay with her." He started to run after Ellia.

"Ronon!" John called after him, only to be interrupted.

"That's an order!"

John chuckled without humour and tucked the folded fabric beneath Teyla's wounded head, his eyes never leaving her face, watching her eyes carefully; he wanted to be the first thing she saw when her eyes opened. He wanted to smile at her and tell her that everything was okay, even if it wasn't.

But when her eyes didn't open after a few minutes, he began to worry; Teyla had taken worse blows and gotten right back up. Something was wrong. He could hear Ronon's battle-cries in the background, but he couldn't seem to make himself pay any mind to them. He was too busy staring down at Teyla, his face becoming more and more anxious by the moment. Her breaths were short and shallow, and--with the exception of the barely noticeable up-and-down of her chest--she wasn't moving at all. "Teyla," he whispered, leaning his head closer to examine her, "C'mon, Teyla; can you hear me?" No response. He touched two fingers to her neck and found her pulse beating slowly and he felt his eyes widen, "No," he whispered. "No, no, no, Teyla, come on, now!" He brushed a strand of hair from her face and trailed his fingers along her cheekbone, a sinking feeling forming in his gut that told him everything wasn't going to be okay.

He heard a small popping sound behind him, like a branch breaking, and he turned his body toward it, gun in his hand in a flash and aimed at the newcomer. His hands were shaking, and he couldn't remember the last time he'd been so scared. The man that approached raised his hands, "Easy, Colonel; its just me." The accent and familiar form took a second to register in the man's head, but he finally recognized the other man as Carson and put his gun down on the ground, gesturing him over urgently.

"She's not waking up," he told Carson. "She took a knock to the head and her pulse is weak. We gotta get her out of here."

The doctor copied John's earlier motion and pressed two fingers to the woman's throat. "Aye," he nodded shortly, "We have to get her back to Atlantis as soon as possible. Can you carry her?" John affirmed, lifting her so that her back was against one arm and her legs were slung over the other and carried her about halfway through the forest before stopping.

"Ronon," he said suddenly, mentally slapping himself. "He's still back there."

Carson looked over his shoulder and then back at John, "Then go get him, lad, but be quick about it." Unsurely, John eased Teyla into Carson's opened arms and watched as the man's knees buckled, but he shot an assuring smile and began walking toward the village as John turned and began running down the path he'd come from, watching and listening closely. He stopped when he reached where Teyla had been lying, a larger bloodspot than he was comfortable with covering the jacket he'd left behind, and then pressed forward. He found Ronon slumped against a log, a deep gash running down his left leg and a matching one stretching across his abdomen, Ellia lying dead a few feet from him.

John dropped to one knee beside him, "You okay?" Ronon just groaned roughly, and John just nodded and pulled one of the Satedan's arms over his shoulder, wrapping his own arm around his back and helping him up. They moved as quickly as they could with a barely coherent and hobbling Ronon pressing all of his weight onto the smaller man, struggling to hop along on one foot. The finally caught up with Carson and Rodney at the gate, both men waiting, holding Teyla between them. "Dial it," John ordered as they approached, and Rodney nodded, using one hand to hold Teyla up and the other to dial. As soon as the wormhole opened, they walked through and fell into an urgent mess on the other end.

Elizabeth ran down the steps from the control room to meet them, calling behind her, "Get a medical team down here," and moving to stand in front of John. "What happened?"

"Not now," he told her shortly, passing Ronon over to one of the stretchers that had come to meet them, wheeled out by a group of doctors that knew exactly what they were doing. They loaded Ronon onto one and Teyla onto the other and began taking them away, Carson and John keeping pace with them, Rodney and Elizabeth close behind. Rodney opened his mouth to say something about the two-or-so inch long splinter that had stuck itself into his thumb, but he quickly bit it back at the no-nonsense look that dominated John's face, as if he was expecting the scientist to complain about something so trivial.

At the infirmary, Carson held up one hand to the three that followed and said, "You have to wait out here."

John shook his head, barely paying attention, "No. I'm going in there with them."

"You can't."

"Doc," John said warningly, "If you think you can keep me from my team--"

"Look, I understand how you feel, Colonel," Carson told him gently, but an urgent strictness, "But if you're in there while I'm working on them, you risk causing them both infection." The leader opened his mouth to protest when Carson snapped, "We could lose them," then took on his normal soothing tone, "I'm sorry, John, but you have to stay here." Without waiting for a response, he turned and disappeared beyond the doors, and his voice could be heard calling out instructions to the other doctors. John stared to where the man had stood for a long time--thinking, deciding--before he let out a loud, frustrated growl and turned on his heel, stomping down the corridor they'd just come from. He tried to mask with anger the fact that he'd stopped breathing when Carson told him his friends could be gone.

Nearly two and a half hours passed with no word. John was in the mess hall, hunched over a bowl of what was supposed to be fruit cocktail, spinning the mixture in circles with his spoon. Over the city's speaker-system, he heard, "Lieutenant Colonel Sheppard to the infirmary," and he was up in a flash, his legs taking him to on automation, his mind not even needing to return to reality. He pushed through the doors and found Carson waiting there for him, eyes tired but hopeful. "Colonel."

"How are they?" There was no time for niceties and formalities.

"Well," the doctor told him, "Ronon needed quite a few stitches, and I'm recommended his off-world duties be suspended for at least two weeks."

Relief coursed through John, but it wasn't enough to block out the overwhelming panic that remained, "And Teyla?"

Carson sighed, pursing his lips, "It was touch-and-go with her concussion for a small while, but she pulled through; she's a tough lass." He knew that. He didn't need someone to tell him how strong Teyla was; he needed someone to tell him how strong he could be now. The doctor seemed to read this on him and he went on to say, "We're keeping a close eye on her. There's still a chance that she could slip into a coma, but she's mostly out of the woods now. Would you like to see her?" John nodded, not trusting himself to speak, and walked toward the curtain Carson gestured at. Beyond it, Teyla lay with slowly blinking eyes, an IV in her wrist and several pad-ended wires attached to her temples.

He took a step toward her, swallowing to rid himself of the sandpaper that lined his throat, "Teyla?"

She turned her head lazily and blinked at him, a small smile on her face, "John."

He let out a sigh of relief, moving to stand at her side, "You had me worried. How are you feeling?"

"I have a terrible headache," she laughed a little and John copied. Then Teyla became serious and asked, "Ronon?"

"Some stitches, but he's fine."

"And Ellia?"

John took a breath and shook his head, "We wouldn't have been able to help her, anyway." Teyla nodded, but her eyes were sad and mournful. Her friend leaned a little closer and said in a quiet voice, "You're the only person I know that would grieve for someone that tried to kill them."

"Every life is of value, Colonel Sheppard," she told him softly, her eyelids heavy over two perfect, golden orbs. Her head began to loll to the side and she took deeper breaths, her eyes closing completely.

John quickly reached down and put one hand on the side of her face, turning it toward his own and saying, "Hey, no; none of that. You've got to stay awake."

Her eyes opened to tiny slits, "I am very tired."

"I know," he was beginning to feel pressure behind his eyes, and he couldn't remember the last time he'd been so near to tears. "But you're concussed, and you've got to stay awake. Teyla!" He snapped when she began fading from him again. Her eyes shot open and stared up at him, surprised, "I need you to keep your eyes open, okay?" She nodded slowly, the smooth skin of her cheek brushing against his hand.

"You are," she stared at him in analytical confusion, "Frightened?"

"Frightened," he forced a tight-lipped grin, "Sure, we'll go with that. I'm terrified."

"Of what?"

His eyes found hers, both sad and worried and full of a mess of other emotions that she didn't recall ever seeing there before. When he spoke, his voice was soft and shaking, as if they were costing him. "I could have lost you," he told her, "And I can't lose you."

"You would survive." Her hand came up to cover his, holding it against her face, the sensation sending a mass adrenaline rush through John's body.

He swallowed and licked his lips, laughing bitterly, "No," he told her sincerely, "I wouldn't."

"No?"

He shook his head, "I don't think you understand just how much I need you with me."