Hey Everyone! Sorry it's been soo long. I have a long list of excuses but I won't bore you with them. Hopefully things have calmed down enough that I can update more regularly again.
Carson shifted uncomfortably in his seat as the puddle jumper hummed beneath him. A barren desert passed by at a fast pace, blurring outside the cockpit window. While the craft's seating was indeed very comfortable, the source of the doctor's aches was in the form of the small child who lay, sound asleep on his lap. Not wishing to wake the child, Beckett had remained in the same position throughout most of their journey and, no longer as young and spry as he once had been, the Scot's bones had begun to protest. While they had nearly reached their destination the look of pure innocence that sat upon the young face as he explored the worlds within his dreams was enough to still the kind hearted man for the last few minutes. Soft snores faintly echoed through the small aircraft but they were not emitted by Torren. McKay sat slumped over behind Carson, his mouth hanging slightly open and his head resting on the internal wall. Both Beckett and Harris, the pilot assigned to fly them to the hospital, we're very grateful that the Canadian's snores had not grown louder but even if they had Carson would not have woken him. This three hour flight was perhaps the longest the scientist had slept since his team mates had gone missing, having spent every moment to gather more clues, intently looking for that final bit of information. Now that it had been found and Sheppard, Teyla, and Daniel rescued Rodney would allow himself to sleep, though it would most likely be in uncomfortable hospital chairs.
A soft coo from the toddler still curled up in his lap drew the doctor's attention back to the boy who had yet to move from the position he had fallen asleep in. Torren, however, had not always been so peaceful. The toddler had understandably been missing his mother, and was not content to sit in the metal machine, in which he was not allowed to touch any of the shiny, bright buttons. Torren had behaved well through the first twenty minutes of the trip, his hands busy with the toys Beckett had been sure to bring along but soon his eyes had begun to wander and the small, pudgy fingers had begun to itch to touch the tempting consul. A battle of wills had soon taken place, Torren reaching for each individual button only to have his attempts thwarted by an attentive Scottish doctor. The clever toddler did manage to depress one button, reaching for a small blue one before quickly altering course and finding a glowing green one. While the action did nothing to their flight, the small town they had been over at the time had a few strange reports of UFOs that day before Carson switched the cloak back into activity and pushed his chair further still from the dashboard.
They now had only another ten to fifteen minutes remaining before they reached the hospital. Major Lorne had gained access to the helicopter pad for their landing in hopes of avoiding any prying eyes. Ideally, Beckett and his fellow passengers would have simply 'beamed-in' from the Dedalus but the ship was currently a few hundred light years away helping ferry refuges, the victims of a dying sun. With that being the case, Woolsey had ok'd the use of a jumper, as long as they were very careful to not draw attention and except for the small mishap involving curious pudgy fingers, they had not.
Carson let out a sigh as the hospital came into view, both in relief that feeling was soon going to return to his legs once again and the fact that he would soon see his friends which was the only way the twisting in his gut would cease.
As they closed the distant, Carson could see Major Lorne standing on the landing platform, waiting for them. They left the shield on as they set down, the wind the turbines churned up offering the only clue of it's arrival. Rodney lurched awake as the hit the ground, quickly wiping away the line of drool that hung from the corner of his mouth. Torren, however, did not respond, remaining nestled against his chest.
"Doctor Beckett, McKay," Lorne called out when he heard the hatch open though they had yet to appear.
"We're here." Rodney replied, before falling silent at Carson's light glare. The small boy was roused by the loud voices but only for a moment, whimpering softly but falling silent once again.
The three of them exited the craft and as soon as they were clear, the change of pressure let them know that the jumper had left again.
"Where are they?" Carson asked immediately as he followed Lorne into the hospital.
"Teyla's room is #229, Dr Jackson was already released though he's hanging around here somewhere, and the Colonel is still in the ICU." Evan replied, "Who do you want to see first?"
Carson paused in mid stride before turning towards Rodney, carefully placing a still slumbering Torren into his arms. The scientist's expression instantly morphed into one of fear and he held the child as though he may break the boy.
"Take the lad to visit his mother. He has been wanting to see her for quite a while." The Scot said. He then turned his attention to the Major. "Please, take me to Sheppard."
"But- Carson..." McKay stammered, still clutching the toddler hesitantly. Though he had grown quite fond of Teyla's offspring, Rodney had rarely held the boy, and those moments were only when others were close by. Now he fumbled nervously with Torren, who still slept peacefully despite the jostling motion.
"Room 229, McKay!" Lorne called out as he and the doctor disappeared down the hall.
"229...229.." Rodney mumbled to himself, glancing around before walking towards the elevator.
Once Beckett and Lorne reached urgent care they were faced with a large number of precautions before they were able to enter the ward. Both Evan and the Scot donned the flawless white scrubs and face masks without complaint along with matching caps. While Carson took comfort in each individual bio-hazard protocol, he found his anxiety to see his patient growing with each step. He had no illusions concerning what he was to find once he laid his eyes on the Colonel he had come to call his friend. He had thoroughly read the medical report, again and again, attempting to pull more information from the pages with each re-read sentence. Mentally preparing himself, Carson followed Beckett into the room only too gasp despite himself. He had expected the horrible sun burns and the large bruises and he had been told of other burns but he had not expected the gaping mess in the center of his chest, where his own dog tags had once been embedded. The burnt flesh along the edges of the hole wept a clear fluid while the center stretched open to expose raw muscle.
'Oh, lad.' Carson mumbled more to himself than the Colonel. He hesitantly walked over, simply peering down at John, cataloging each visibly injury before picking up the chart that hung at the foot of the bed. Lorne murmured quietly to the on-duty nurse, questioning if there had been any improvement.
'They put in a chemical-induced coma to allow his throat, stomach and lungs to heal. The bleach did a lot of damage to the lining.' Lorne said softly as he walked up beside the doctor.
Sheppard laid nestled amidst the white sheets, tucked gently up to his waist, avoiding contact with his mutilated chest, which moved up and down in a steady rhythm, controlled by the clear tube down his throat. Nearly every inch of his skin was a harsh red but along his shoulders his flesh was a sickly gray/purple. A thick cream was present to help aid in healing, but there was only so much one could do against burns. They were complicated to treat to say the least. It was best not to bandage them, for the external air was important to their healing and the act of removing the material would only cause further damage to the wound and so his chest lay open, left to slowly mend itself.
Carson nodded. He didn't truly have anything to say. The emergency staff had done an excellent job caring for the lad and while a part of Beckett screamed to take his friend back to Atlantis and the incredible tools that were present there, he knew that the risk of infection meant that John could not be moved for a while. That fact, however, did not mean Carson was helpless to simply sit and wait.
Glancing around, Beckett spoke up to the nurse in a gentle voice. "Would you give us a moment, please Lass?" He asked, using his deepest and most charming Scottish brogue.
"Uh, of course." She replied, remembering that he had introduced himself as her patient's physician.
Carson waited until she left the room before reaching into the small duffel bag he had with him. Sending a slightly guilty look towards the major, he withdrew a small, silver device about the size of an index card. "Not gonna tell on me now lad, are ya?"
Lorne grinned as he looked at the clearly ancient technology. "As far as I see you just pulled out your cell phone." If sneaking high-tech alien-engineered medical devices off a top-secret military base gave his C.O the best chance of survival, he was not about to cry foul.
Smiling himself, Carson focused once again on his unresponsive patient, the small equipment held gently in his palm. The silver tool had been discovered in one of the out portions of Atlantis. The entire pier had been flooded. So while the expedition had begun cleaning and doing repairs the project had been put on hold. With one major event after another, many devices and objects were clean, put in storage and only recently pulling them back out when they had found themselves suddenly back on Earth. This new little 'do-hickey', as Sheppard had referred to it when he had first activated the silver electronic, was one of the most interesting tools they had found.
"Alright." Beckett sighed, placing the rectangle in the center of John's chest, above the open wound. Coming in contact with the pilot's gene-charged skin a small blue light began to pulsate. "Now, we wait."
"What does it do?" Lorne asked, standing on his toes to get another look.
Carson smiled. "This clever miracle seems to increase the body's production of white blood cells by nearly ninety percent. We have no idea how it works but it will help keep infection at bay and hopefully give the lad a fighting chance."
The Scot paused, simply looking down upon his patient. He had grown quite fond of the Colonel throughout the years, having seen him often, to say the least. It had seemed as if Sheppard had a medical emergency, varying from minor to major, every other week.
"All we can do is hope now." Carson said more to himself than to the Major.
Short, but it's what I could get done. Please review and let me know what you think!