Warnings: Emotional, dark at times, and of course note the rating.
Disclaimers: I own no part of the Stargate world, and I make no money from this, so on and so forth, only my ideas are mine etc…
Note: I'm going to get posting these chapters up as quickly as possible, as the Beya JT site is starting the Enemy at the Gate and Beyond fun next weekend and book club after that, so I'm going to try to get this all posted asap.
Chapter One - Prognosis
John watched Todd's back disappear into the event horizon and hoped that the Wraith survived his encounter with an Iratus bug. Then he realised what he was thinking and turned away from the Gate with a frown as it shut down. Why did life get so complicated? He didn't even like Todd, part of him really hated the creature, the nightmares of being fed upon still a part of John's standard selection of nightmares, yet Todd had helped them enough over the years for John to feel…something close to respectful caution towards him.
As John headed away from the darkened Gate, he saw Woolsey looking down at him from the railings above. The man's expression displayed much of what John was feeling – justified in the decision to let the Wraith go, yet also praying that that decision wasn't going to come back to bite them in the ass. John had made his argument for Todd's case, to uphold his promise to Todd, but Woolsey would be the one to take the political consequences on his shoulders if this went south. John felt a touch of regret at putting the city's leader in that position. He was getting soft as he got older. Woolsey nodded down at John and turned away into the control room.
John reached the foot of the large Gateroom staircase and began to climb up the steps, his body grumbling at the forced activity. Keller hadn't been too happy with him discharging himself from the Infirmary, but he couldn't take lying in one of those beds anymore. Out of all his team, he had fared the best from the crash, and maybe that had had something to do with experience, or because of where he had been standing at the time of impact. Teyla and Rodney had sustained head injuries as well as the standard deep bruises, whilst Ronon had managed to fall against something sharp that had left a large cut in his side, as well as a dislocated shoulder and twisted knee. John may have been in the best condition out of his team today, but he could still feel the bruises and a lingering strain to his left knee and ankle. He tried to hide the discomfort as he made it to the top of the stairs and turned towards the control room, only for his radio to burst to life in his ear.
"Mr Woolsey and Colonel Sheppard, please report to the Infirmary urgently," Keller's voice announced. The words were the standard parlance around here, but it was the tension in the Doctor's voice that made John's heart fall – something was seriously wrong.
Crap, he hadn't even had time to recover from the last crisis that the next one was here already?
Jennifer turned from where Kanaan sat, the nurse removing the blood sample from his arm. Jennifer gave him a smile meant to give him support, but she knew there was little she could say or do to lift the fear in his eyes. She also knew that it was not his own health that concerned him the most. She had already taken a small blood sample from little Torren, which had been quick, but had still made him cry desperately. That Torren had been separated from his mother had not helped his tears.
Jennifer collected up her computer tablet, confident in her staff to get the blood samples tested as quickly as humanly possible. Of course, in this case, perhaps it should be as fast as the Ancients made possible with their advanced medical devices that turned blood testing into a far more efficient and speedier process than anything human made. However, those results couldn't come fast enough for Jennifer.
She moved through the main Infirmary, her body aching still, but her mind was clear. The splint around her left ankle made walking slightly cumbersome, and she had bruises over her left arm and her shoulder as if she had been attacked by something, but like Colonel Sheppard, she had fared better than the others. However, her mind was directed well away from the lingering discomfort of her own body, to the doorway to the isolation room. As she limped across the Infirmary, across the room she saw Rodney sitting up in his bed, the large bandage around his forehead clean and clear of any more blood, which pleased her, but she saw the new worry in his eyes. She smiled at him with as much reassurance as she could, and he smiled back as best he could. She smiled again, the warmth of his attention easing the worries in her, at least for a moment before she looked away to the open doorway to the isolation room ahead of her.
It was busy inside the smaller room, especially given the plastic sheeting around Teyla's bed took up much of the space. Nurses and technicians were setting up the last wall of the plastic tent, which would create the protective atmosphere inside into which they would keep Teyla.
Jennifer moved around the technicians receiving short verbal reports from her staff as she passed them – everything was set up and Teyla was stable for now. Jennifer gave some more orders as she kept on walking until she stood beside Teyla's bed, or as close as she could get without getting in the way of the technicians installing the plastic. In a few moments it would be up and she wouldn't be able to talk to Teyla again without a hazmat suit in place or over a radio.
In the bed, Teyla turned her head towards Jennifer.
"How are you feeling?" Jennifer asked her friend.
"Kanaan and Torren?" Teyla asked in reply ignoring the question, and that told Jennifer enough.
Teyla's temperature had begun to rise yesterday evening and by this morning it had become clear that she was fighting off an infection. They had given her antibiotics, assuming that her wound had simply gotten infected which was not too unusual, but the screening blood tests that had come back had shocked Jennifer. Teyla had been going downhill since, and she lay still in her bed, her skin almost as pale as the bandage covering her left temple.
"We've taken blood samples from them both, but as yet they appear well. It's unlikely that they have been infected, Teyla," Jennifer tried to reassure her. "They'll have to stay in your and Kanaan's quarters for now, keeping them away from everyone else, but I am almost certain that they will be fine."
"The rest of the you from the Hive?" Teyla asked weakly. The technician passed between them, the plastic behind him, the top lowered so that Jennifer could finish her conversation.
"I'm retesting the blood samples we all had taken yesterday, and we've taking more now, but so far we all seem fine." Jennifer didn't add that she had ordered blood tests for everyone who had come into contact with Teyla since she had returned from the crashed Wraith Hive.
"Doctor?" Mr Woolsey's voice cut through Jennifer's thoughts and she turned to see the tall grim man approaching the entrance to the isolation room, Colonel Sheppard beside him.
Jennifer smiled once more to Teyla, nodded to the technician and moved away to meet the two men as they entered, and she saw Colonel Sheppard's eyes scan the room to Teyla in the plastic tent. His eyes widened with alarm.
"What's going on?" He asked.
Jennifer angled herself to limit how much further the Colonel could enter into room. She held up a hand towards him, noticing how tired he still looked.
"It looks like Teyla has been infected by the same Wraith infection from the Hive," she informed them, and she heard the waver to her own voice.
There was guilt in her voice as well as worry, for it had been her gene therapy that had started this, but she pulled her professional control back into place, and focused back on the situation, not her fears. However, the worry and concern for Teyla could not be so easily tamed, and as Colonel Sheppard looked down at her, she knew he too understood how dangerous the situation was for Teyla. Only one Wraith had walked away from that Hive and he might already be dead.
"What? How?" The Colonel demanded hotly.
"She had several open wounds including her head injury, I'm guessing that during the crash some of the fluids from the Hive itself infected her wounds" she began her explanation as Colonel Sheppard looked away towards Teyla.
"Are we all at risk?" Mr Woolsey asked, drawing Jennifer's attention.
"I don't think so. I'm testing everyone I can, and the Ancient computer has made more sense of the infection now. As best as I can understand it, the gene therapy caused a mutation of the Wraith's immune system, which then aggressively attacked their own tissues and organs."
"Teyla isn't a Wraith," Mr Woolsey pointed out.
"Her Wraith gene," Colonel Sheppard guessed.
"Yes, I think that somehow her tiny amount of Wraith DNA was similar enough for the mutation to affect her."
"What's it gonna do to her?" Colonel Sheppard asked her worriedly.
Jennifer glanced down at the tablet in her arm, wishing she would see something different now in those results. She gathered herself and looked back up to the strong man before her, but she saw that he already understood. His complexion paled slightly as he looked away to Teyla again. Jennifer looked away from him before her heart broke open any more. She focused on Mr Woolsey and her job instead.
"She is reacting like she has a widespread infection, her body is fighting against it, but already I am seeing signs of organ failure," she reported.
"It's that fast?" Mr Woolsey asked, his concern clear.
"Yes," Jennifer replied.
"What can you do for her?" Colonel Sheppard demanded.
"I'm doing everything I can. We've started her on our strongest antiviral medications, autoimmune meds, anti-inflammatories, anything that could help, and if that doesn't work then…I'm working on it," she added hurriedly. She wouldn't stop looking to cure this as long as she kept breathing. She looked back to Mr Woolsey. "It would be really helpful if we could call in Dr Beckett to help me."
Mr Woolsey nodded as he tapped his radio earpiece, immediately putting in the order for a team to head out to the research base that Carson had recently been working in. He had been going back and forward between Earth lately, and fortunately he was currently in Pegasus. Jennifer just prayed she had missed something, or that Carson, in his genius, would think up something new to help their friend.
"What about Torren?" Colonel Sheppard asked with a renewed burst of concern. Jennifer couldn't help but notice that he hadn't asked about Kanaan.
"I've taken blood samples from him and Kanaan, but so far they're well. This infection passes by fluids, not touch, so I am hoping that they are both fine." Jennifer had thought how fortunate they had been that Teyla had been kept in the Infirmary following her return from the Hive, for if she hadn't been injured in the crash, she might have inadvertently infected Kanaan and their son. Since Teyla had been barely conscious since returning from the crash site, Jennifer was almost confident that the family were safe.
"Why have you isolated her?" Mr Woolsey asked, stepping back into the conversation. Jennifer wondered how quickly Carson could get here.
"I'm concerned that since the mutation has been acting like a virus, that it may, through Teyla, develop so that it will affect humans as well as Wraith." Mr Woolsey's eyes widened. "We're currently running tests, but I have isolated her as a precaution." Mr Woolsey nodded.
"What can we do?" He asked.
Jennifer glanced over her shoulder to the now complete clear plastic tent set around Teyla's bed. Inside, Teyla angled her head as best she could to look at them in turn. Beside Jennifer, Colonel Sheppard lifted a hand and gave Teyla a small wave and Teyla smiled. Jennifer looked back to the two men as she controlled her reaction at seeing her friend lying so still and pale.
"At the moment we're doing all we can, hopefully we can slow the damage it is doing to her body, until we can come up with something." She didn't need to add that the chances weren't good. "The main problem is that it is progressing amazingly fast and we have lost half a day in treating her before we realised what we were dealing with."
"Should we try and get Todd back?" Colonel Sheppard asked.
"I don't think it will help, I've got all the research from the Hive that I could."
She had downloaded much of the data into a portable hard drive back on the Hive, which she had kept in her jacket before the crash. Most of it had been salvaged. She had already gone over it a dozen times, and still she had no idea how to stop something like this. This was a disease that was behaving like a virus, but it wasn't, it was closer to an autoimmune disorder, but it wasn't really that either, and it was all ultimately linked in with an alien physiology. That the Wraith had reacted that way to the gene therapy in the first place, told her that her grasp of Wraith physiology had not been as complete as she had believed, so she felt like she was back to square one again. No, not square one – they would find something. They had to.
"We're going to keep working on it, nonstop, but I'm going to need another blood sample from you now Colonel."
"Sure," he replied. "Anything that helps."
His gaze was directed on Teyla. Jennifer looked round again to see one of the nurses, in full hazmat suit, inside the tent with Teyla. Teyla lay still in her bed, listening to the nurse who would be checking her vitals again. Jennifer glanced to the display behind Teyla where those vitals were displayed. Teyla's heart rate was too fast, her blood pressure alternating between too high and then too low.
Jennifer remembered how the Hive ship had reacted to the infection, its hull, its very structure, falling apart around them.
Everything felt fluid around her as she rose up into conscious from time to time, sometimes aware of little other than muted sounds and lights around her, at other times she could make out voices, see faces outside the plastic walls. She struggled to remain conscious at those times, but the swelling of pain and sickness weakened her too much and she surrendered back into the dreams. Torren's cries haunted her through those flashing confused images and feelings.
Rubber covered hands touched her face and arms from time to time, perhaps dreamt or real she could not be sure, but the pain was constant. It echoed inside her feelings as much as inside her body. Torren's cries in her fevered nightmares tortured her and she desperately wanted to hold her son one last time, to kiss his soft hair and tell him how much she loved him.
The intensity of the dream eased eventually, as she plunged into the depths of proper rest for the first time in what felt like forever. She swam into it, but then felt fearful that she may not return from its depths, so she struggled against it, tearing her way back towards the sounds around her.
She opened her eyes this time to a world that made more sense. Her skin felt hot and slick with sweat and she had to blink her eyes to clear away thick tears. A wide dark shape moved into view over her and she blinked again to bring its blurred lines into focus.
A face appeared through the window set at the front of the wide hazmat helmet. A soft familiar smile met her eyes.
"Hallo, love," Carson said softly.
"Carson?" She asked, her voice cracking slightly.
"Yes, it's me," he replied, as if he understood that she might question what she saw. "How do you feel?"
She risked turning her attention towards the sensations of her body. The pain was still there, but more of a dull nature throughout her body, with sharp moments of intensity. Her skin felt cooler though.
"I had a fever," she surmised.
"Yes, you caught some secondary infections, but the antibiotics have worked at them at least," he told her. "Would you like some water?" He asked and a cup came into view with a bright coloured straw pointed towards her. She reached for it eagerly, but her arm felt far too weak to move. She did not miss Carson's worried frown before he controlled it. She pushed away the conclusions her mind tried to jump to, and instead she focused on lifting her head, setting her lips to the stray, and drawing the cool liquid up into her parched mouth. Carson's hand, in its rubber hazmat casing, supported the back of her heavy head as she drank.
Feeling slightly better for that, she rested her head back down onto the damp pillow under her. She smiled up at Carson. She was glad she had gotten to see him again.
He glanced away and she turned her head to see what he was looking at. The wall of plastic reflected the lights above her, confusing her vision for a moment, but then she saw them on the other side.
John stepped up closer, almost against the plastic and she saw him smile worriedly. Beside him Rodney and Ronon appeared, Jennifer behind them and all smiling with wide forced joy. She saw in their eyes the answer to the question she wished to ask Carson. The tears filled her eyes as John waved to her again. She couldn't hear them, only faint distant sounds were making it through the plastic and she wished she could hear their voices again. She would never hold her son again.
She looked back up to Carson fearfully. "Torren?"
"All his tests came back clear, Teyla," Carson assured her immediately and she let some of the tears free, feeling them trickle down her cheek. "He's fine, but we think it best that he and Kanaan stay away for now. There is a small chance that the mutation may become airborne between those with the Wraith gene. It's unlikely, but we don't want to take the risk."
She was nodding with him through his explanation. "Tell Kanaan…to take Torren to our people. To stay away from the city."
Carson frowned. "I doubt that's necessary, Teyla. We've got you well isolated for now-"
She reached up as best she could and managed to grasp a shaky handful of his rubber sleeve. "Please! Tell them to leave. Please, Carson," she pleaded with him. "I need to know Torren is safe…" She ran out of breath and the effort it had taken to lift her arm was exacting its price. She felt the world darkening around her, but she struggled against it. "Please…"
As she began to fade from consciousness, she heard Carson's promise and it allowed her to surrender back into the thick darkness of deep sleep somewhat more willingly.
The stool was biting into John's backside, but then he had been sitting on it for hours.
He glanced down at the proper chair Rodney had vacated. It had a nice flat surface and he could sit back in the chair, but the higher stool gave him a better view of Teyla, and if she woke again she would be able to see him easier if he was perched up here. He wanted her to see him, to know that someone was near her, watching over her, and he could tell her that he had done what she had asked. John had helped Kanaan carry Torren's things to the Gate Room.
It had been an odd and sad thing to do, and since John had had very little voluntary contact with Kanaan until today, he hadn't really known what to say to the guy. Torren had been crying again, aware that something was very wrong, but he couldn't understand what it was. As others had helped Kanaan push a couple of boxes and baby bags through the event horizon, John had held Torren. It had been painful, trying to comfort Teyla's son, the little dark eyes looking up at John as if begging to understand, for everything to be right again. John couldn't do that, though he had tried, promising to take Torren surfing when he got back, but Torren was too young to grasp more than basic words. The cuddle he had understood though, and John had held him tightly, holding the little boy who he had grown to love so much. Then, Kanaan had approached, taking Torren from John's arms, offering words of thanks, though not quite meeting John's eyes as he did, and John had mumbled a reply.
Kanaan had settled Torren into his arms, the little boy's sobs interrupted by hiccups.
"Tell her I will be thinking of her always," Kanaan had asked.
The bile had been lingering in John's throat since he had heard the news of Teyla's infection, but at that point the feeling had turned into a burning sensation in his throat that almost cost him his voice. A part of him had always wanted Kanaan out of the city, out of Teyla's life, but in that moment, John had shared a bond of sorts with Kanaan. Teyla was dying and both of their hearts were breaking.
John had fought against that thought, and the realisation that little Torren might never see his mom again, but also against the need to comfort a man who he had always hated. It was perhaps a completely unjustified hate, a jealousy really, but sharing such a powerful moment with him had been weird. John's chest had hurt as he had smiled once more at Torren and he had agreed to pass on Kanaan's message to Teyla.
And so here he was, keeping his word for another person he didn't even like. But, he had made another promise to himself – that he was going to stay with Teyla all through this. He wasn't going to leave her alone for a minute if he could help it. The others were visiting in shifts, but John had managed to stay around all through yesterday evening and last night. He had changed clothes after leaving the Gate Room and he had had his meals sent up to the Infirmary so he hadn't had to leave since. Ronon had kept watch with him most of the time, but had had to leave earlier to have his stitches checked and then he had apparently fallen asleep under the nurse's care. The guy needed his sleep and John was here to call him if anything happened.
Movement behind him drew his gaze away from sleeping Teyla. Carson had returned to the city yesterday, eager and ready to save the day if he could, but John had seen nothing but stress on his and Keller's faces since.
"Hey, Carson," John whispered, the quiet tone seeming right even though Teyla was shut away in her plastic prison.
"She woken up again?" Carson asked as he reached John's side and they both looked in at Teyla.
"No. Looked like she was going to a few times, but no," John reported.
"We've made some headway understanding what happened to the Wraith," Carson reported, but his tone was far from enthusiastic.
"What'd you find?" John asked.
Carson lifted the tablet in his hand, but didn't consult it, instead he tucked it into the shelf of his forearm like it was a precious thing. "Looks like the gene therapy caused a mutation to two select proteins that clearly play a vital role in the Wraith immune system."
"Just two proteins?" John asked.
"That's all it takes," Carson replied. "And they are fundamental, but the good news from that, is that humans don't have those proteins, so we won't need the hazmat suits anymore. And with Kanaan and Torren out of the city, we're happy to let people in and out of the isolation area." John felt a flash of relief. "But, you'll still need to weak a face mask and gloves, especially as we don't want to risk infecting her with anything else," Carson added immediately.
John nodded, feeling slightly better that he wouldn't have to sit outside her plastic prison any more. "You find anything that will help her yet?" He asked next.
Carson's soft frustrated sigh was answer enough. "There are a few ideas on how to influence the proteins, but the best so far is gene therapy."
John looked at him. "More gene therapy? Isn't that what caused this problem in the first place?"
"I know, but if we can replace the proteins…" he didn't sound all that hopeful to John's ear. "The truth is that it might not be possible yet, and we're running out of time as it is." The last words were said even quieter and John's heart constricted. He didn't like this subject, but he had to know.
"How long?" He asked simply as he looked back to Teyla.
"Maybe a day," Carson whispered as his reply and John heard the strong emotion in the man's voice.
John nodded, his eyes locked on Teyla, and the tears were already forming in his eyes. He swallowed against it, blinking them under control. It wouldn't do for her to see him like this if she woke up now.
Carson's hand landed gently on John's shoulder and he squeezed briefly, then once more before he turned and left.
John fought on in his silent battle. There was still time and cures had been found at the last minute hundreds of times in this city. There was still hope. There would be a cure.
She stirred slightly in the bed and he rose from the stool, moving towards the plastic wall, latching onto the distraction from the pain in his chest. He watched her intently and she moved again.
He glanced round to where a nurse was working behind him. He moved to her side and pulled two disposable gloves out of the box there and one of the fabric face masks that she had put on the side. The nurse didn't say anything, just held up a medical gown for John to slip over his front. He took it from her and moved back towards the tent, but carried on past the stool and chair, around the end of the encased bed to where the zipped entrance was located. He pulled on the medical gown over the front of his uniform, pulled on the gloves, and then looped the two ends of the facemask over his ears. Feeling encased in fabric, he made his way into the plastic tent.
It smelt like a concentrated hospital inside, the antiseptic smell dulled somewhat through the mask. He moved to the metal stool beside the bed and sat down at her side.
"Teyla?" He called to her, and repeated it louder to get through the mask. "Teyla?"
This time she stirred at hearing a voice closer to her. He leant closer to her bed and she opened her eyes. He smiled down at her, but then realised she wouldn't be able to see that through the mask.
"Hey," he greeted her and she blinked tired eyes up at him.
"John?" She asked, her eyes barely focusing on him. Her arm had shifted under the sheet and he felt the urge to find her hand under the covers, to touch her in that small way.
"It's me, though this isn't my best look," he joked weakly, but she smiled at him. It was a proper smile and she kept it even as her eyes drifted closed again. "I wanted to tell you that Kanaan and Torren are with your people," he reported and her lids lifted enough for her to just see him.
"They are safe?" She asked, her voice weak and tired.
"They're both fine," he paused before he could pass on the message. "Kanaan said to tell you he's thinking of you," he had to glance away to the plastic wall as an excuse to not look at her as he told her that.
"Anyone else…?" She asked.
He looked back at her frowning at what she meant. "Is anyone else infected?" He guessed and she nodded. "No. Everyone else is fine, Teyla," he assured her. "Carson and Keller are hard at work to find a cure. They'll get there, okay?" He told her.
She rolled her head towards him, her eyes opening a little further now, but the expression he saw in their depths disturbed him. There was something close to sympathy in her gaze and it angered him.
"You've got to hold on as long as possible," he told her again, almost sternly. He had lived this horrible moment far too many times in the field and it was always this same look as he saw the eyes of the dying. She was weak and clearly in pain, but there was no fight in her left, no strength to her eyes. This infection had attacked her so fast that he hadn't realised how weak she had gotten. Seeing her strength gone was more shocking for him than seeing her so pale and weak.
"For Torren. You've got to get better and get back to Torren," he told her, latching onto something he knew would motivate her.
She frowned at that, her eyes seeming unfocused for a moment, and it worried him. She was far worse than he had realised. Carson had given her a day, but…
He reached to the side of the bed, pushing aside the edge of the covers and he found her hand. It was cold, but she grasped his hand in return, though he felt shocked once more at how weak she felt. He wrapped his hand further around hers, willing his own warmth and strength into it. His heart tightened and he felt the touch of tears again, but he forced them back. He leant closer to her again.
"For Torren, okay?" He told her, but there was a waver to his voice and he cursed it.
Now was not the time to lose it. He never lost it in front of anyone else, but it felt like she was dying in front of him, so quickly, her fingers around his already weakened from their hold. He folded her arm up so he held her hand against her shoulder, and he settled the covers back over her side to keep her warm. He worked to tuck them in, distracting himself and using the time to suppress the tears that were threatening every ounce of his will to control himself.
Finally he looked back to her eyes, to find them already on him and there were tears in her eyes. That didn't help.
"You're not going to go weak on me know are you?" He asked, reaching for anything. "Come on, you're Teyla Emmagan," he argued weakly the tears threatening again. "Warrior Princess." She actually smiled at that, understanding the reference now after an evening of Xena episodes that Rodney had forced them all to watch. He smiled with her, but it risked his composure again.
He looked away, to the plastic wall opposite him for an excuse, but he could feel her eyes on him still, willing him to look back at her. He swallowed and pulled on the strength he had and looked back down at her with more control of himself.
She was looking up at him, her eyelids fully open now, but he could see the pain and medication dulling her eyes' natural sparkle. Her focus was strong on him though and it was so sharply honest that it made him uncomfortable. Her direct gaze seemed to tell him to be honest about her fate, that she saw the tears he tried to control, and that she would miss him.
There were so many words that he wanted to say, that he dared not say, and they all clogged up his throat and made his head hurt. He glanced down from her eyes, not as strong as her. He looked at her hand in his, the stupid layer of the glove separating their skin. He wanted to remove the gloves, but he didn't want to risk passing anything on to her, anything at all; a cold, flu, or whatever. She was too weak as it was, and he already knew that Carson's assessment of one more day was far too generous. She knew it too.
He looked back up to her dark eyes. There was a tear rolling down one of her cheeks and he reached out with his free hand to intercept it without thinking. He reached to the table next to him, to the pile of cloths the nurses had been using to wipe her forehead and face. He carefully pressed one to her cheek, drying up the tears, and then the other cheek. As he lifted the cloth, he noticed there was a red tinge to it – there was blood in her tears. His heart jumped at the discovery, fearful for what it meant, and now doubly glad that Torren wouldn't be anywhere near her. The infection would even be in her tears. Blood or tears, it didn't matter, all of her was being ravaged by this infection. He knew what it was like to be infected with something so alien…
He jerked as the idea suddenly formed in his mind. He looked down at Teyla to see her eyes were half closed again. It would be a radical idea, but maybe it might just work…she was so weak though and…
"Teyla," he said to her and her eyelids opened slightly. "I'm just gonna go talk to Carson for a second, okay?" He asked her as he loosened his hand on hers. Her fingers jerked around his for a moment, as if she didn't want him to let go, and he paused.
"I'll be right back," he promised her, his chest tightening at the flash of fear he had seen in her eyes, even there for a moment . Going against all his normal fears, he reached out and touched his free gloved hand, to her forehead stroking softly up to her hair. "I'll be right back," he promised again.
Her hand loosened on his and he thought he saw a touch of embarrassment at herself for fearing him leaving. Hating that just as much as the need to leave her side, he stroked her forehead again, just beside the bandage that covered her cut that had started all of this. He lifted his eyes to the rest of her forehead. The impulse pushed him to it and he moved before he gave it too much thought. He stood up from his stool, leant over her and, through the thin cloth mask, he pressed a kiss to her forehead.
He pulled away quickly, the tears threatening, from the vulnerable exposure such an honest action had created.
He opened the tent's exit, moved quickly through it and closing it behind him. As he pulled off the facemask and medical gown, he looked back in through the plastic to see her eyes on him and that there were more tears on her cheeks. They were stained with blood.