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Note: This is a tag to The Real World and is a collaborative effort between Merlin71, Kodiak Bear Country, and Titan5.


John hated being stuck in isolation. He was in a different room than Elizabeth, which meant he didn't know what was going on. And since he was being continuously scanned, the way she was, he couldn't get up and move around to alleviate some of his anxiety. It didn't help that he knew Carson was going to bitch at him later for breaking isolation protocols in the first place.

Closing his eyes, John tried doing math problems in his head. He needed the distraction, but he couldn't concentrate. He'd been plagued with a headache since they'd had their encounter with the Asurans. In fact, it had started right after Oberoth had invaded John's mind. Weirdly enough, it had kicked up several notches in intensity after Elizabeth had collapsed. Becoming irritating enough that John had asked a nurse for Tylenol. He'd convinced her not to ask Beckett about it because the man was busy trying to keep Weir alive and all John had was a headache. What he had now, however, was a cross between a migraine and a tension headache. After touching Elizabeth, connecting with her, the pain in his head had started feeling like someone stabbing him in the temples with a knife.


Eyes flying open, John turned his head. Carson was standing there, minus his Isolation suit. "How is she?"

Carson was smiling. "She's better. She's going to be fine."

"That's great." Relief flooded through John and he sat up. "So I can get out of here now?" He started peeling off the sensor pads Beckett had him hooked up to.

"I suppose," Carson allowed, moving over to help him. "You do know that I'm not happy with you, Colonel. Right?"

John would have nodded only it would have hurt too much, so he settled for making puppy dog eyes. "Sorry. But I knew I had to touch her to make the connection."

Carson paused in what he was doing to lock eyes with John. "Make the connection?" he echoed. "What exactly do you mean by that?"

"I mean...I knew she needed physical contact to hear me." John kept peeling and finally he was free. He pushed the blankets aside and stood up only to sway on his feet when the floor tilted hard beneath him.

"Easy there, Colonel," Carson said, gripping his shoulders and steadying him. "I think you'd better sit back down."

John pulled away, still swaying a bit but locking his knees and staying upright out of pure stubbornness. "No, I'm fine. I just stood up too fast."

But Carson was studying him too closely and shaking his head. "You don't look fine. You're pale and shaky and you're going to sit back down so I can do a full exam on you."

"I don't need an exam!" John snapped, regretting it instantly as pain rang in his head. He closed his eyes and tried to breathe through the nausea it caused.

"Doctor's orders," Carson said softly, knowing he would win the argument as CMO of Atlantis. In a sense his word was law.

John stifled a moan and sat down on the edge of the bed when Beckett pushed him there. "Look...I'm just tired and I need some food." Not that he was the least bit hungry at the moment. In fact, he was pretty sure he'd hurl just from the smell of food. "I haven't eaten since yesterday and I need some sleep. That's all."

Carson had his penlight out and he shined it in John's eyes. Which hurt like hell and John hissed and tried to pull away. Carson looked grim. "How long have you had a headache?" he prompted.

"Since I had my mind probed," John replied. He figured if he was honest enough, maybe Beckett would give him a break.

"Did the aspirin Lucy gave you help?" Carson queried.

John blinked at him in surprise. "She told you about that?"

Carson looked smug. "My staff tells me everything. Remember that in the future."

"I will." John sighed and scrubbed a hand over his face. "Look, Doc...I'm just tired and hungry. Let me go eat, shower and sleep for twelve hours and I'll be fine."

"Somehow I doubt that," Carson responded.

John did the puppy dog eyes again. "Let me try it my way and if I'm not better by this time tomorrow you can poke and prod me all you like."

Carson made a face and seemed to consider the offer. After a moment he nodded. "Fine, and I'm holding you to your word, Colonel."

"Of course," John replied, standing up again. This time the world didn't tilt. He was sure he'd be fine after a good night's sleep, so it wasn't as if he'd have to worry about Carson and his prodding. "Can I see Elizabeth before I head to my room?"

"Just for a moment," Carson stated. "She's resting."

John patted Beckett on the arm. "I'll just take a peek at her, then go." He headed out and into the other room. Elizabeth looked peaceful now and John felt another wave of relief wash over him. He went to her and found himself gripping her arm, wanting the brief contact. Only the moment he touched her, pain flared in his temples and the lights went out.

THE END...of part one