A/N: Ok a few things.
1 - I started writing this in some weird style or tense that I'm not big on and I'm not sure how much I like it but it's staying. It alternates between Sam and Jules POVs, mostly separated by chapter but occasionally one chapter will have both. I'm aware of it, don't worry.
2 - This fic is currently written up to and including chapter 12. I'll post once a week (How's Wednesday's work for that?) in the interest of giving myself time to write later chapters ahead of time. If I'm feeling generous, or complete the story before I'm done posting existing chapters, I'll speed up that schedule. Still might throw in a Sunday night posting, IF reviews permit.
3 - Spike and Natalie are together. I like them together, it lets me play with big brother Sam and the issues that come with his friend dating his sister (you'll see).
4 - This chapter: starts with a teaser. Haha. Then it's the oneshot I never got around to writing, set directly after Priority of Life and therefore may contain Spoliers.
She didn't cry. Couldn't. She cried too much these days. She cried when the giant elastic finally gave way in the front of her jeans, cried in the fitting room when she realized she needed 3 sizes bigger. Cried when Sam made her watch that damn dog movie, cried when the little boy in the commercial for back pain medication got to play catch with his grandfather. She cried that morning when she burnt her toast, and then cried a little more when Sam offered her his. She had gone from the strong badass SRU officer to a sniffling sobbing mess in a matter of months. But this time she didn't cry.
This wasn't about burnt toast or a poorly stitched pair of pants.
This was Sam.
nearly two years earlier…
Its quiet. Well, she supposes, its as quiet as it can get. Theres the dull hum of electricity, the result of fluorescent lights and too many monitoring machines for her taste. Somewhere down the hall a cart's wheels screech, closely followed by the squeaking of rubber soled shoes on the hard linoleum floors. Aside from that, the only thing she hears is her own breathing, which tells her she's the only one in the room.
Waking up alone - certainly not ideal.
Tentatively opening her eyes she confirms it. There's no one else there.
The bed is oddly angled from the window, so she can't see out of it properly, but from where she lays she recognizes the glow of the setting sun, a sign that hours have passed since she was last awake. Shifting in her reclined position the dull, yet very real, pain in her arm resurfaces and the day comes back to her.
The call, the lab, the gun, the explosion, the anthrax.
The thoughts of it set off a small panic signal she wasn't sure she had. She can hear the machine next to her increase its beeps as her pulse begins to race, and she knows its time to calm herself down. Sniper breathing, slow it down.
Sam. Where the hell is Sam?
She thinks back to the lab. He was there when she came out of the chamber, he helped her to the gurney, guided her down onto it. Told her he loves her.
So where the fuck is he now?
Panic is replaced with annoyance as she examines the empty chair in the corner of the room. By her best guess team one had to be off shift by now, and there's no reason why he shouldn't be there, his ass blistering from the visibly uncomfortable plastic coating of the well worn foam padding. For someone who claims to love her…
It suddenly occurs to her that he's not the only one not there. No one is. Not Spike, or Raf, or Ed, or even Sarge. Where the hell is her team?
It's a selfish thought, and she knows it, but this is what they do. Someone gets injured, and they all run to the bedside, they all do what they can. Ed gets shot, and they all make it their mission to catch the bastard who did it and bring him to justice. Ed's wife has a baby, and they all pace in the hallway until they can see her. So what, just because she's not having a baby means they don't come to see her? And now that they didn't have to chase down the fucker that put her in this position they don't care? Alright, so there was no fucker, just a guy that got screwed by a multimillion dollar company and took it upon himself to seek vengeance.
Still. The fact remains that she got anthrax, and almost bled out because some chunk of a shelf decided to make it's home in her artery, and they aren't there.
She checks the door - she's not in quarantine. She can see the signs in the hallway indicating visiting hours, and finally finds a clock on the wall which tells her visiting hours are not over. Team one is quickly running out of excuses for not being there.
She sighs and tries to get more comfortable without jostling the IV in her arm. During her previous hospital stay she got quite familiar with the different types of medications, from pain killers to the brief course of antibiotics they gave her in order to starve off infection from the bullet. A glance up tells her she's once again on antibiotics. These ones have a longer name, likely meaning they're much more potent - those are definitely for the anthrax. She wonders if she keeps getting hurt if her immune system will disappear completely.
The other bag is full of painkillers and she smiles at the thought that she might be alone, but at least she can get high. That thought alone is enough to convince her to hit the call button so she can ask the nurse to lower the dose.
The nurse is a petit blonde, nearly fifteen years her junior, and she wonders for a moment if she should be letting her anywhere near her. But the girl is sweet and has a familiar face, tells her what dose she's changing it to as if its supposed to mean something to her, and lets her know that if she needs it she'll turn it back up for her.
Before leaving she checks the chart hanging from the footboard and jots something down.
"Is there anything else I can do while I'm here?"
She shakes her head no and the nurse smiles, closing the folder and putting it back in its place.
Reaching the door the nurse glances over her shoulder. "I'm around the floor so just beep. Oh, and that blonde guy is back."
Jules' head shoots up and she realizes why the nurse looks familiar - she was here last time. She was definitely here last time. Back. Blonde guy is back…
"Sam?" she says aloud, just as he appears in the doorway, smile on his face, shopping bag in his hands.
"Whoa, getting a little psychic there?"
Relieved, she relaxes fully against the average quality mattress. "Hi," is all she manages to say.
He smiles, pulling the ass blistering chair from the corner closer to the bed. "Hi."
She blinks a few times as she looks at him skeptically, trying to decide how to ask without sounding desperate. "I woke up and you weren't here." Fail.
His smile fades and the guilt on his face is clear as he sets the shopping bag on the floor next to him. "I'm sorry about that."
She waits while he fiddles with his coat before finally deciding to take it off and hang it on the back of the chair.
"There was some stuff going on at the barn." She sees him swallow, likely to ward off nerves as he fills her in on the afternoon's events. The name Toth sets off the panic signal, though the nurse must have turned down the volume because she barely notices the increase in beeps on the monitor next to her. She sits in silence, taking in each shocking detail. At the mention of the honeymoon conversation her only feeling is guilt - not guilt because she kept something from the team, but guilt because she started the conversation and blew their cover.
"Oh," she says as he tells her about Toth's offer to make an appeal, though her doubt is as strong as her hatred of hospitals.
"Anyway, so the Boss is facing suspension, though that's his choice because apparently he doesn't trust his own judgment, and we'll find out next week if we're both still on team one. How are you feeling?"
She's no longer upset over the fact that she woke up alone, but now she's full of anxiety over the splitting up of her team, her family. "I hate hospitals."
He smirks, glad that she's feeling well enough to complain about their surroundings.
"They're just so depressing."
He sighs, sliding the chair closer to the head of the bed, tugging the shopping bag over as he does. "You can't think of it like that."
She raises an eyebrow. When she was shot he would simply nod, tell her she'd be home soon. Now he challenges her crappy attitude, a sign, she thinks, that their relationship has matured. She laughs a little as he tells her how hospitals are unavoidable, first because they tend to bookend a life, then because they weave themselves into it at all the important points, something like mile markers along the highway. She just rolls her eyes. He's starting to sound like a greeting card, or maybe a cheesy children's book character. "Besides, every time you wake up in a hospital it means you didn't die," he laughs, and turns his attention to the shopping bag. "Brought you some books."