Part 18

***Six Months Later***

"Hey Major!"

"John. Lookin' good!"

"Good luck today Sheppard."

Everyone John passed had something to say. Today was a milestone. John was back on duty and even had a mission. 'Okay,' he thought, 'So, I'm flying the puddle-jumper to the mainland to make a supply run to Teyla's people, but it's still a mission.'

There had been a time, not that long ago, that John was convinced he would never be useful again. After he started believing that maybe he could do something useful, he was just sure that it would never be his old job. But, his friends (who included a good many more base personnel than he had ever thought) wouldn't let him give up. Between that support and his own innate stubbornness, he finally made it here – flying again.

His journey wasn't over yet, though. He still walked with a limp. Carson said that he might always walk with a limp. For some reason, his left leg was still much weaker than his right. It sometimes still gave out on him, especially when he was tired. John wasn't about to give up the thought of walking normally though. Elizabeth had seconded Carson's recommendation that John not be allowed off-world as long as his leg was still unpredictable. For now, he was grateful just to be flying, even if he was planet bound, but he had high hopes that he would continue to improve, and somehow get back to being a team leader. So, he was in the weight room most every day. Ronon was with him when he could be and when he couldn't, there were quite a few other people willing to be John's exercise partner. So for now, John walked with a limp…but at least he did walk.

There had been drastic improvement in other areas as well, in the last six months. John had found that Carson was right. Talking with Dr. Heightmyer really did seem to help. He didn't feel he had to be strong around her, like he did around his friends. He didn't mind admitting to her that he still – somewhere deep inside – was afraid that this was the dream…that he'd wake up back in that hospital bed, unable to communicate, unable to move or see or hear, unable to even hope for any kind of better future. He was still terrified that all this progress would just evaporate when he "woke up". Obviously, he knew this fear was just that – fear, not reality, - but it invaded his dreams anyway and in the wee hours of the morning when he woke screaming he still found that he had trouble getting back to sleep. It happened a whole lot less often now, but it did still happen. So, he still had late night runs with Ronon, and after-hours lab visits with Rodney. But they were less frequent now.

This whole experience had brought John closer to his team and to many others on the base. Without this incident, he wouldn't have known just how much everyone on the base was willing to do for him, how much everyone admired and respected him. If he had had the choice back on that first day on the planet, he would have chosen to skip the whole thing, but, since he hadn't had that choice, he was willing to look for all the silver linings he could find. The friendship of so many people on the base, as well as the increased closeness with his teammates was big silver linings. He might not have exactly his own job back but was it was close – damned close – and his progress wasn't necessarily over, so it was still possible with everyone's continued support he would continue toward his goal of total recovery. Looking back, even when he had no way of knowing it, this was never a journal he had made by himself.