A/N: So, this, of course is for my loverly Kristin... aka Chica. She made me do it... *mutters* Or something. I thinkkkkk this is the first fic I've posted on exisle... but I have a few more Lost and VM fics over at . The title is from "Oisin in Tir na nOg" by Eric Ferguson. MUSE-ic = "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" by the Pogues.
She was dying.
He wasn't stupid, he knew that he couldn't save her. Maybe he'd always known.
But he couldn't stop trying. When it had started to get bad, he'd flown to a different drift every week. Looking for a cure. Or at least something to keep her from leaving him for a few more days. Weeks. He'd take whatever he could get.
He needed her.
He spent every throne he could lie, cheat or steal to get his hands on, on different medicines. Remedies. Pipe dreams. Anything. He was desperate.
She lay in his quarters back on the Andromeda. When it was bad, she just stared at the ceiling, her body shaking even after the coughing had stopped. She never slept anymore.
She begged him to stop. To stay. To be with her.
"There's nothing you can do, Shae," she told him. She was so weak. He counted the ridges of her rib bones with his fingertips.
His voice cracked, "No. I can fix this... I can fix anything."
Sometimes, she let it go. She let him go. Watching him fly the Maru to whatever drift, planet or docking station he hadn't tried yet. He'd come back, a few days, a week later. Disappointed. Defeated.
He'd fall into bed with her, bury his face against her neck and cry. She held him tight and rubbed his back in slow circles. "It's ok," she'd promise him. "It's ok."
But the next day, he would be searching out new drifts. New promises of cures. Miracles.
He'd known she was sick. He'd known she was sick the minute he'd seen her.
When she coughed, it had sounded painful. Like it was ripping at her lungs to escape her chest. Pounding on her ribcage.
It was radiation poisoning. Their Noble Shrine had been killing them all slowly. None of those kids had lived to be over twenty years old.
She was twenty-one.
He'd always known she was dying. Sometimes he could forget. When things were good, he could forget.
When she smiled at him, when she laughed. When they play fought and wrestled all over the Andromeda's hallways. Beka said she'd never seen him look happier.
But he saw the worried glances she kept giving them.
Because it had never been any secret that she was dying.
In the beginning, Trance had run every diagnostic she could. Nassan had sat in the med bay for days, letting her poke and prod and inject everything she could get her hands on into her blood stream. When it hurt, she would tighten her grip on his hand. She left little half moon marks dug into his palms. He didn't care.
But they'd all known she was dying. Slowly, she was falling apart and nothing they could do would put her back together again. Nothing he could do.
But, f*ck, he was going to try.
He needed her. Needed her so deep he could feel it, like an ache, in his bones.
So, long after Trance had given up- after everyone had given up- he dragged her to Persied doctors on Senti. A new one every month.
He took her to expensive hospitals and tiny Wayist monastaries. Anything that might offer a cure. Once they thought they'd found something in a dirty little hole in the wall drift. A shifty little Chichan who promised a cure. And they'd taken a chance.
He'd stood there, during the entire operation, gun drawn, safety off. "You make one move I don't like and I'll blow your brains onto that wall over there," he'd said through gritted teeth.
And for a while, they'd thought it had worked. The coughing was gone. She was gaining weight. But it had only lasted for a week. She'd collapsed in hydroponics shaking and sweaty with fever.
He hadn't slept for six days- putting cold cloths on her forehead, giving her ice baths- until her fever had broken.
And still, he couldn't give up.
He didn't sleep. Not anymore. He lay awake, holding her. Watching her.
Sometimes, when she was too still and too pale he would lay his cheek on her chest and listen to her heart beating. Just to make sure.
He was losing weight, dark smudges rimmed his eyes.
"Just stop, Shae," she pleaded. "You're killing yourself."
"I don't care."
"I love you."
She died while he was on Tir Na Nog.
"I'm sorry..." Beka was crying. He sat there, stiffly behind the Maru's controls. Beka didn't cry. "I'm so sorry, Harper."
She didn't have to say it. He knew she was gone.
"Ok," he'd said. He felt numb. Cold. Hopeless. Like he had suddenly been sucked empty.
He'd cut the transmission and drifted around in open space for days. Or maybe it had just been hours. Time stopped, slowed to a halt and then quickly jumped, speeding up. Hours felt like seconds.
They gave him his space, for the first few days. Then Andromeda had found them. Floating dead in space.
He looked half-dead when Beka had dragged him off of the Maru. She'd tried to hug him but he'd shrugged her off.
"I want to see her."
"I want to see her."
She was in a stasis pod in the medical bay. Her eyes were closed, she looked like she was asleep. He wanted to shake her. To tell her to wake up. Beg her to wake up.
Beka touched his shoulder, he shook her off. "Harper... maybe you shouldn't-"
His voice was ragged and harsh when he told her to shut up and get out.
When she was gone, he ripped at the edges of the pod with his fingers. He wanted to scream, to rage. He wanted to grab Rev and demand "Where is your Divine now?"
But he didn't. He stayed. Because that's what she would have wanted. She hated to be alone. She hated it when he left her alone. She'd begged him to stay, to stop looking, to give up. But he'd left.
And she'd been alone.
And now she was gone.
"Harper, don't..." Andromeda. He hadn't known that warships could feel empathy. Sadness.
"Privacy mode." His voice was jagged, rough. Harsh.
"Harper, maybe you shou-"
"Get the f*ck out! Get out! Get out!" He lashed out. Kicking a chair into a wall. Flipping over a table. Scalpels and cold packs and nanobot injectors were all over the floor.
He didn't stop until there was nothing left to destroy.
It had taken him two hours and forty five minutes to pry the stasis pod open with a knife. It took him another thirty-six minutes to touch her.
She was cold and too still.
He pulled her into his lap and buried his face into her hair and cried. Cried because she was gone. Because she'd been so young. Because it was so unfair.
He cried because he was alone.
When he couldn't cry anymore, he picked her up. Craddled her in his arms. Like he had the first time. It felt like a lifetime ago. But it had only been seven months, three weeks and six days.
"I love you."
His voice was ragged. Exhausted. He felt empty. Numb. Lost.
She didn't answer him.
He lay down beside her her, lay his head on her chest. Strained to hear the heartbeat that wasn't there.
Reaching up, he stroked the dark hair off of her face. She was so cold. He rubbed his hands up and down her arms. Even though he knew that it wouldn't help. She was still cold.
He wanted to beg her to come back.
To take him with her.
It took Tyr and Beka fifty-seven minutes to pull Nassan from his arms.
He was cold and too still and death had made him rigid and stiff.
And Beka said that she had never seen him look happier.