A Matter of Time
Jesse was stable. That was the best they could say. Adam had managed to deactivate the device and remove one of the breathing tubes. But the side that had been massed for so long was too weak to support breathing. Adam had to leave that tube in, though he removed the chest tube and stitched the wound closed. The burns on Jesse's body were bad, but Adam didn't feel they were life threatening. For the time being, it seemed that Jesse was going to be all right. Of course, it had been nearly ten hours since Jesse had been awake.
Adam sighed as he looked up from the monitor he was watching over to Jesse and Brennan. The element had won out over Shalimar and Emma the right to stay with Jesse while the other two went to retrieve the Helix. That was the only way to safely and quickly transport Jesse back to Sanctuary. The Army, who Adam had contacted to come and arrest Wakefield, had offered to transfer him to a facility, but Adam had refused. Now, looking over at the molecular, Adam wondered if he had made a mistake.
"How is he?" Adam asked Brennan who was sitting by Jesse quietly talking to him.
Brennan looked up, his expression saying more then words, "He's stopped moving and he's not responding…."
Adam sighed as rubbed his eyes, "He's probably exhausted. His body has a lot of recovering to do. His genetic structure is stable, and that's a big thing. Hopefully he just needs sleep."
"What about the burns? And his lungs?" Brennan asked, his voice reflecting his fear.
"The burns are, mostly, superficial. The one I am worried about is the second-degree burn on his left leg that appears to have a slight infection. But it should be ok. As for his lungs…they've been weakened. That much I can't deny. How much they've been weakened and if it's permanent I can't say. Not until I can run some tests. He's stable though, and that counts for a lot."
Brennan just nodded, he didn't look at all relieved and Adam couldn't blame him. Moleculars had always been the most unstable mutation as well as the most susceptible to illness. Adam knew, as did everyone else, that Jesse's chance of infection was high and that his ability to fight one was low.
It was all just a matter of time.
It was another two hours before Shalimar arrived back at the base with the Helix. Emma had stayed behind to get things ready for their arrival. It was another two hours to get back to Sanctuary and another three hours before Adam was finished checking over Jesse. In this whole time, there was barely a word spoken. No one was willing to break the silence; least they set into motion some catastrophic event.
As soon as Jesse was settled in, Adam insisted that everyone go and get some rest. Shalimar and Brennan both refused, insisting that someone should monitor Jesse's vitals. Adam was too exhausted to argue and let the two have their way, as long as they worked in shifts. Little did Adam know that working in shifts would become routine.
Jesse slipped into a coma his first night home and now, two weeks later, he was still showing no signs of waking.
"The good news is he's breathing on his own now, the bad news is that he's still comatose," Adam reported to Emma, Shalimar, and Brennan as they gathered in the kitchen. The scientist felt drained, both emotionally and physically. A look at the others, and he knew he wasn't the only one.
"And the burns? Are they still infected?" Brennan asked, his voice thick with weariness.
"No, the infection was slight to start with, and it's nearly gone. That, at least, is one less thing to worry about. As for the burns, they're healing steadily."
"So why is he still comatose?" Shalimar asked.
"I don't know," was the only answer Adam could give, "The only thing I can think of is oxygen deprivation or shock."
"Or he's tired," Emma said softly, causing the others to look at her.
"What's that Em?" Brennan asked.
"What if he's just tired? What if he's not in a coma, but a really deep sleep?" Em asked, half out of hope and half from what she sensed.
"What makes you think that Emma?" Adam asked.
The empath shrugged, "I don't know… I… I think Jess is dreaming…"
"Emma, his brain has shown no signs of REM sleep…" Adam began.
"I know that Adam, but there's a kind of dream that science can't prove but empaths know they're real," Emma said quickly.
"What do you mean Em?" Shalimar asked.
"I call them quiet dreams…they're emotion heavy and not imagery. It's hard to explain... it's just Jesse's been having them and the strange part is, is that he's been having them in a normal sleep pattern."
"What does that mean?" Brennan asked, looking to Adam.
"It mean's Emma is sensing Jesse's brain activity," Adam responded thoughtfully, "Em, you're sure about this?"
"I think I have an idea…" Adam said as he hurriedly exited the room. The three remaining team members exchanged hopeful glances as they followed him.
They found Adam in the lab, injecting a drug into Jesse's IV lines.
"What's that Adam?" Shalimar asked.
"It's a stimulant. I hadn't thought of trying this sense I thought Jesse was comatose. But if Emma is right, then this…"
"Might wake him up?" Shalimar asked, hopefully.
"Or at least push him into a normal level of sleep," Adam agreed.
"But what if I was wrong?" Emma asked, her voice soft and scared.
"Could this hurt him Adam?" Brennan asked, echoing Emma's concern.
Adam shook his head, "If he's comatose then the drug won't affect him." Adam finished injecting the drug and turned to the other three, "And now we wait."
Jesse wasn't exactly sure what was going on. There was a great deal of commotion happening all around him, but he couldn't figure out what it was. There were a number of voices, and he could identify that they were all different speakers, but he had no clue what they were saying. He could sense them moving around him, but had no idea why. It was really annoying, considering all he wanted to do was sleep. He was just so tired and sleep meant no pain.
The pain…he'd almost forgotten about that, but it hit him as soon as he thought about it. Though, he had to admit, it wasn't as bad as he remembered… what did he remember? What was the last thing he remembered?
There was a lab. There was a laser and it was being fired. There was pain. Then Adam was there and there were gunshots and voices. And then Brennan was talking. Brennan was there and everything was going to be alright. But there was pain… There was so much pain…
"Jesse, come on kiddo, wake up," Brennan's voice penetrated the fog in Jesse's mind, chasing away the fragments of memory.
"Bren…" Jess whispered, but he wasn't sure if he could be heard. His throat was so raw and his tongue felt so heavy that he didn't know if he'd just imagined the word being said.
"Right here Jess, it's alright. I'm right here," Brennan said, and Jesse wondered at the excitement that he heard.
"Jess, can you open your eyes?" Shalimar asked, her voice equally as excited as Brennan's.
"No…tired…sleep…" Jesse mumbled trying to turn away from the voice.
The others around him laughed and Emma said, "Uh-uh, no more sleeping Jess. You have to wake up."
"Jesse, if you open your eyes for a minuet, we'll let you go back to sleep, but unless you open your eyes we won't let you fall back asleep" Adam said calmly.
Jesse sighed, annoyed, as tired as he was, he knew that Adam meant what he said. He had no choice, he'd have to wake up to go back to sleep…irony.
It was harder then it should have been, opening his eyes. He had to make several attempts, and even then he could only get them open half way. But that seemed to be enough to make everyone happy, he even got a kiss from Brennan.
"There you are," Shalimar said lightly, tears in her eyes.
Jesse looked from Shalimar to Adam, to Emma and then to Brennan, confused. They all seemed to be tearing up. And why were they all there, around him? And why was he in the med-bay? What was going on?
Jesse tried to sit up, but Brennan held him firmly in place, "Take it easy Jess, you're ok. You're safe and everything is alright."
"There's time enough for explanations Jesse," Emma said softly, sensing Jess' confusion, "for now just go back to sleep. We'll still be here."
"Promise?" Jesse mumbled as he drifted back into sleep.
"Promise Jess," Brennan reassured him, smiling for the first time in weeks.