For all the injuries he's sustained in the line of duty – a few that he might have gotten while on leave – none of them have caused him a much as pain has watching Sam recovering from her injuries. Physiotherapy, a cocktail of painkillers to get to sleep at night to go with the assortment of medication for other conditions and nightmares that haunt the few hours of decent sleep she gets at night.

The shadows under her eyes seem to grow with each passing day and John wishes he could do more to help. But she won't cry in front of him, tries to hide just how much she's suffering as though she thinks she could actually fool him. He doesn't know whether

Whatever had happened while he was out of it at the Ark Facility, Sam had been seriously hurt. The doctors won't tell him anything and Sam's keeping her mouth shut about the whole ordeal. She won't even discuss how the injuries occurred, just turns her head and presses her lips together.

John's convinced that Sarge did it. The thought makes his blood run cold, knowing that someone he considered a friend, one of the few people he actually trusted enough to let his guard down around beat the shit out of his twin sister for no good reason.

He does what he can, but it's not enough. There'll never be enough he can do for her to combat his guilt that she's suffering so badly while he remains in perfect health, no matter what he does. Cuts heal instantly, bruises last for less than a minute. He walks through the snow in nothing but a pair of cargo shorts and doesn't even sneeze once.

Sam doesn't know it, but in the back of one of John's drawers there's a little box, the kind you get when you buy a ring and sitting inside it is the other vial of C24 that Sam had in her pocket. He took it before they got the hospital knowing the doctors would assume it was a drug and confiscate it. It's on his mind constantly and even though John's certain of what she'll say, he also knows she'll reach a point where she can't take any more.

He can hear her crying and it breaks his heart. Without thinking about what he's doing, John grabs the vial and goes into her room, not bothering to knock. She reaches out to him and he gathers her into his arms, holding her close and whispering meaningless words of comfort and reassurance.

Once Sam is calm, he places his hand in his pocket, feels for the precious vial again. C24. It's still there, tiny and huge at the same time and John's torn between the desire to destroy it and knowledge it could solve all their problems. He's got no doubt that Sam will change for the better like he did and they can run, take off to where nobody has ever heard of UAC.

She looks at him, confused. Sam knows that something is up and slowly, John pulls the vial out, holding it up between his thumb and forefinger. It takes Sam a second to recognise it. When she does, she becomes agitated, shaking her head and leaning as far away from it as she can. "No way. No. I won't. I can't. What if, what if I -"

"You won't." His voice is sure and he suddenly understands her certainty when it was his turn, the complete and utter conviction in her that he wouldn't turn into a monster. "You won't."

"I'm a bad person -"

"You're a good person who's done some bad things. There's a big difference." John says gently, hiding the sudden rush of doubt. He'd seen men - good men, or so he had thought - turn into snarling monsters. Sarge, showing such a sadistic streak, when John would bet his life on the fact that he was a good man. Goat, who he'd seen risk his life to try and save a child that was already dying. Both of them had turned. Stubbornly, he shakes the thought from his mind. "You won't. I didn't."

"You did what you did for your country. I did it for my career." Sam shoots a glance at the tiny vial. "I can't."

He promises, thought it's more to ease her distress than because he actually means it. He knows things will reach a point where he just wants her suffering to end, even it means being forced to kill her after she turns.