A/N: Hello everyone! I'm on break at the moment so I have had ample opportunity to work out a storyline and write it. This plot bunny's been hopping around in my head for a few days now and I've gotten the chance to turn it into type. Experimenting now with a little bit of angst, romance, and hurt/comfort stories. This is "T" rated because it's angsty. I hope you like it. (And don't forget to leave a review after you're done!) This is one of two angsty stories I've got planned. The other will be the reverse of this (almost), so we see how much both of them need each other. And of course I've also got two more chapters for the songfics in the works. Lots of updates coming up guys, hope you'll like 'em!
Mark, Reilly, and a group of other soldiers had been dispatched from Terra Nova to investigate the now-abandoned Sixers' camp. With Mira and her people hiding out in the Badlands, Taylor hoped to gather as much information on them as he could.
Before leaving, Maddy had told him how uneasy she felt. He had brushed it off, kissing her cheek and telling her he'd be fine. She hadn't looked convinced, but she put on a "strong" expression to hide her fear. The investigation party took off just after eleven AM that morning.
Now, he stood in the center of what was once the Sixers' home, a complex, interconnected web of tree houses designed to keep away dinosaurs and other unwanted guests.
"I don't know about this place…" Reilly breathed uneasily, her gun drawn and ready to shoot.
Mark looked around too, deciding it was eerily silent here. "Yeah, let's just have a look around and get out."
The party began to search each of the hollowed-out structures. Aside from the occasional furniture item or article of clothing, everything was either removed or burnt to a crisp. Mira certainly did not want to leave much for Taylor's men to find.
Mark was about to suggest they leave when a sharp, painful cry reached his and Reilly's ears. The two soldiers dashed toward the sound, finding two of their men lying on the ground, dead with arrows piercing their chests.
"It's an ambush!" Reilly cried, aiming her gun at the surrounding forest canopy. Mark was startled when a large man burst from the tree tops, pinning him to the ground. Reilly made quick work of the assailant but more were coming.
"We've got to make it back to the truck!" she cried, urging the survivors to follow her down the zip lines. Mark brought up the rear, covering his squad and occasionally exchanging fire with the enemy. As he prepared to board the truck that would whisk him to safety, he heard a voice that chilled him to his core.
"Leaving so soon?" He turned slowly to find Mira herself standing behind him, her gun raised. He reached for his sidearm, but she anticipated the move, striking his wrist with the butt of her weapon, causing him to cry out in pain. She then struck his head with the same part of her gun, knocking him unconscious as Reilly aimed her weapon straight at the Sixer leader's head, causing the dark-skinned woman to back up slightly. One of the soldiers dragged Mark's limp body into the back of the vehicle and Reilly piloted it out of the site, a barrage of Sixer fire striking it as she desperately drove to safety.
Maddy hadn't wanted Mark to go. She always felt uneasy when he went OTG on assignment but today had been…different. As soon as he had announced his assignment she had gotten a tight knot in her stomach that just would not depart, even now. She had warned him that she had a bad feeling, but he had just kissed her and told her not to worry, everything would be okay. She hoped to God that her gut instinct was wrong.
She had been reading a physics book on her plex when there came a frantic knocking on the door of the family's home. She quickly ran to answer it, finding a med intern standing before her.
"Your mother wants you to come quick," he told her urgently. She didn't think, she just ran following the doctor in training to the clinic where her mother worked. She burst through the doors just as some medics were wheeling in two gurneys with body bags on them. Her mother spotted her and immediately rushed over.
"Maddy, Maddy are you alright?" her mother's look concerned her.
"What's wrong?" she asked, fearful of the response she may get.
"Maddy, it's Mark…"
Maddy's eyes widened as she glanced at the body bags. "He's…?"
Her mother's eyes widened as well. "No, thank God, but he's in bad shape. His party was ambushed by Mira and her men. He was lucky enough to escape," her mother's gaze was directed at the body bags as she spoke this last bit.
Maddy sank into one of the chairs in the waiting room, her head resting in her hands, sobbing. Her mother rubbed her back up and down soothingly.
"I am going to do everything I can to help Mark, dear," she promised. Maddy nodded, not picking her head up. "He's quite wounded, but I think I'll be able to stitch him back up." Again, there was no response from Maddy. "I should go check on him…" Elisabeth departed and Maddy was left on her own.
It was nearly two hours before anyone had any contact with her again. It was Nurse Sagowa, one of her mother's friends and assistants.
"Maddy? Your mom wants you to know that she's stitched up Corporal Reynolds."
Maddy stood up quickly. "Can I see him now?" she pled.
Nurse Sagowa thought a moment. "We usually don't allow visitors to patients who are only just entering recovery, but I suppose I can make an exception. Just be warned: he's still in a coma from the blunt-force trauma he received, so he can't hear anything you say to him, nor can he respond." Maddy nodded. The nurse led her to a small exam area in the back of the clinic, where patients with severe injuries were taken to recover. "He's in here," she said, pulling back a curtain.
Maddy followed the woman into the exam room and gasped. Mark lay perfectly still on the bio-bed, various tubes and wires running to and from his body. An oxygen mask that looked sickeningly similar to a re-breather was attached to his face to help him breathe. There was still dried blood caked on his forehead and his exposed chest showed many scratches and bruises. She brought a hand to her mouth as she took in the sight of him in such a state.
Turning the Nurse Sagowa, she said, "How long will he be in the coma?"
The nurse heaved a sigh. "If we're lucky, couple of days. If not…" Her voice trailed off, the thought utterly completer already. There was a pause as this sank in. "I'll leave you two alone," Nurse Sagowa excused herself.
Maddy slowly approached the bed where Mark lay. Each scratch on him was like a wound in her as well. The lips that had kissed her good night were now swollen and bruised. His azure eyes were shut, and dark purple rings surrounded them. She could clearly see the spot on the side of his head where her mother had applied the stitches. Hesitantly, she reached out and put a hand on his cheek. He was still warm, but he did not respond to her gentle touch. She let out a strangled sob and sat down in the chair at his bedside, overwhelmed with what was happening.
She sat staring at him, waiting for him to stir, for nearly an hour before she got up, an idea crossing her mind. Stepping out of the little recovery room, she spotted a nurse.
"Nurse," she called to the woman, who turned. "Is there anyway I could get a washcloth or something?"
The nurse thought a moment, then spoke, "Just a moment." She returned a few minutes later, a cloth soaked in warm water in her hand. She gave the cloth to Maddy.
"Thank you." Maddy turned her attention back to Mark. She began to wipe his face with the damp cloth, cleaning the blood from his forehead. She took comfort in this, even if he could not. When she had finished cleaning what she could, she set the cloth down. He looked decidedly better without the dried-up blood on him. She sat back down and waited, praying to God that Mark would stir and awaken.
It was late evening when her mother came into the recovery room. "Maddy, it's time to go home."
Tears began to form in her eyes. "Mom, I can't leave him. I'll stay here all night if I have to."
"Don't be silly, darling. You know you can't do that. You can visit him in the morning, the night staff will take very good care of him."
"But Mom, he wouldn't leave me if I were lying on that bed right now. I'm not leaving him."
Her mother let out a defeated sigh. "Fine, but you're coming home for a few hours of sleep at least."
Maddy agreed to the compromise and accompanied her mother home to shower and get a little sleep. She lay in her bed, eyes wide open, unable to rest. She was desperate to check on his condition. She lay for about three hours, then got up, changed into day clothes, and made her way back to the infirmary. The night staff had already been alerted that she would be coming and no one gave her a hard time as she entered Mark's room and sat back down on the chair.
His heart rate monitor beeped slowly and the IV fluid bag attached to his arm delivered much-needed hydration to his body. All the while, the respirator was working to assist his breathing. Maddy took his limp hand and brought it to her face, as if he were stroking her cheek. Another whimper escaped her throat as she gently put his hand back at his side.
"Mark!" her voice came out choked, tears strangling the words. "Mark, please, wake up!" She knew he couldn't hear her but it was comforting to speak with him nonetheless. "Mark, I need you! Please…" her voice trailed off as the tears became too much. Her shoulders shook as she sobbed.
Maddy wasn't sure when she fell asleep, or for how long she had been out, but when she awoke daylight was gently streaming through the windows of the infirmary. She glanced at Mark, who was still unresponsive. The machines beeping steadily were the only indication he was even still alive.
She reached out and placed her hand in his, fingers interlocking, just like they did when they held hands in the marketplace or out by the square. More tears fell, some landing on his hand and arm. She rested her head in his hand, willing him to awaken and place a comforting hand on her.
The next week was filled with the same pattern for Maddy. She would arrive at the infirmary in the early hours of the day and sleep in Mark's recovery room. Then she would set about providing small comforts for him and talking to him. She would briefly leave to eat breakfast and then return. She would spend the rest of the day reading her plex at Mark's bedside, waiting for his eyes to open. She would leave at nearly midnight, return home to eat dinner and shower, rest in her own bed for a few hours to appease her mother, and then come back to the hospital.
On the third day of his recovery, the respirator was removed and he was deemed strong enough to breathe on his own. It was a relief for Maddy to be able to get an unobstructed view of his face. She was now able to kiss his cheek, which she did quite often.
On the fifth day, things began to look brighter. His heart rate was steadily improving and he had even moved a few times.
Now, on day eight of his coma, Maddy was again sitting beside him. She had not gone home that night. The doctors had said there was a good chance he would awaken soon and she wanted to be the first person he saw when he woke up. Mark stirred, a noise escaping his throat. Maddy was off the chair in a flash, kneeling by his bedside, hope surging through every fiber of her being.
"Mark!" she cried. "Mark, can you hear me?" Tears began forming in the corners of her eyes as he did not respond. "Mark? Mark please, wake up!" There was still no response and she sat back in her seat, her hopes dashed. A nurse poked her head in.
"Miss Shannon? Your mother wants you to go home and get some rest."
"Tell her I'm not leaving until he wakes up," her eyes shone determinedly.
"Miss Shannon, your mother is demanding that you go home."
Maddy let out a sigh and turned her attention to Mark briefly. There was no indication that he would awaken anytime soon. She stood up. "Keep an eye on him for me?"
The nurse nodded. Maddy grabbed her things and turned to Mark. "I'll be right back," she whispered before leaving the room.
Her mother was firm but understanding, insisting that she at least eat and sleep a little in her own bed before returning to Mark's side. Maddy had complied with her mother's request. It was just before daybreak when she set out again. Her mother had already left—she was working an early shift that day.
As Maddy walked to the infirmary she was greeted by the sight of her mother in a full sprint, running towards her.
"Maddy!" she shouted. Maddy broke into a run to meet her. "Maddy, come quick!" Maddy's heart raced as she followed her mother. Last time this had happened, Mark was in a coma.
Elisabeth burst through the doors of the infirmary, Maddy on her heels.
"This way," her mother indicated that she should follow. They were standing outside Mark's room. Voices could be heard within. "He's awake!" Maddy let out a relieved sigh, tears streaming from her face at the good news. The two entered the room to find Nurse Sagowa and a few medical technicians standing over Mark's bed. He looked battered but there was a bright look in his blue eyes.
"There you are!" Nurse Sagowa greeted. "He hasn't stopped asking for you since he's woken up!"
Maddy beamed through the glassy film of tears on her eyes. She crossed to Mark's bedside. "Mark…" her voice was thick and hoarse.
Even in his state, he was able to give her a weak half-smile. "Maddy," he whispered.
The girl knelt down beside him and he feebly raised his hand to touch her face. "Thank God you're awake!"
"How long was I out?" he asked her.
"Eight days…" she was wiping the tears from her eyes as she said it.
He let the information sink in. "You were right, you know?"
Maddy stared at him questioningly. "About what?"
Mark chuckled despite the pain it caused. "I shouldn't have gone on that assignment."
Maddy broke into a wide grin. Even while he was in pain he was able to make her smile! "Mark I've missed you so much!" she kissed his cheek. "I love you."
"I love you too, Maddy. So much." He squeezed her hand.
Tears began welling up in her eyes again. She had spoken those three words to him a lot over the course of his coma, but it felt so good to be able to hear him say them back.
A/N: So there you go! I hope you guys thought it was sweet! I'm off to a Christmas party now, so I won't be able to finish the other stories just yet, but they'll be up soon hopefully. Please drop a review and Merry Christmas! (Happy Holidays for those of you who don't celebrate Christmas!)