No excuses for my very late update other than real life sucks sometimes. :(
As always thank you for continuing to stick with me, leaving reviews and subscribing to story alerts. It means a lot to me that you are enjoying the story. :)
renzei27: Don't worry about it! :D I know this isn't soon enough, but I hope you like it. :)
Quick recap: When we last left off, Cami had been impaled by a poisoned spear. As the poison starts to take effect, Cami leaves Ronon with some very choice words right before she passes out…
She shot up in bed, her eyes wide with fear as she gasped for breath. What had happened? Where was she? Machines beeped loudly around her, and she clawed at her arms and chest, tearing off the medical tubes and pads attached to her skin.
"Captain? Captain Buchanan?" A young woman with long brown hair pulled back in a ponytail walked into the room. A stethoscope hung around her neck, and she wore a white lab coat.
"Where's Carson?" She had no idea who this man, Carson, was but she had a feeling that only he could help her.
The woman's features scrunched up in confusion. "Carson? But he's – "
"Buchanan," a man called out, and she turned in bed to face him. He ran a hand through his unruly dark hair, blue eyes looking at her in concern.
She jumped out of bed, asking again for Carson. There was a sharp pain in her left shoulder, and she briefly looked down to see a dark, crimson stain seep through her white tunic top. She ignored it, focusing on the two strangers in front of her who appeared to be trying to calm her down. She noticed that the woman hid a needle behind her back as she inched her way closer.
"Buchanan," the man repeated, arms held out to show he wasn't going to hurt her. "You're injured. Just get back in bed. I'll, uh…I'll go find Carson for you."
He grabbed her arm, and she reacted violently. Right hook to the side of his face followed by a low kick to his stomach. He fell to the floor writhing in pain.
"Colonel!" the woman yelped in surprise, kneeling down next to him.
As she ran out into the hallway, she saw him tap at his radio and yell out, "Ronon! Get your ass to the infirmary! Buchanan just woke up, she's – "
But what he said next, she didn't hear. She ran aimlessly down hallway after hallway, not really knowing where she was going. Her chest heaved as she struggled to catch her breath. The adrenaline had numbed the pain in her shoulder, but she could feel the warm blood trickling down her arm, leaving a dotted trail as she padded down yet another corridor.
She spotted a couple of soldiers running up the stairs ahead of her, and she backtracked her steps. She turned down a long passageway that was surprisingly empty. The only sounds were her breathing and the slapping of her bare feet against the cold floor. And then…
She stopped, recognizing that booming voice instantly. It was the man in her…dreams? No, that wasn't right. She had touched him, been in his arms. He was real, and he would help her. She turned around slowly. For a moment, neither talked nor moved.
His light shirt and dark pants hugged his muscles. That same ethereal glow surrounded him, magnifying his stature. He held her gaze, green eyes intense and full of worry. He stood at the other end of the hallway as if waiting for her to go to him. She obliged.
"Please," she whispered. "You have to help me." She grabbed his proffered hand and gripped it tightly. "Help me find Carson. Please, I…"
She felt the stab of a needle pierce her arm. The young woman from before was at her side injecting her with some sort of sleeping medication. The liquid worked quickly. She felt her legs give out on her, and he scooped her up in his arms.
His strength enveloped her, and she closed her eyes, knowing that he would take care of her. He would find Carson, and it would all be alright.
Cami's eyelids felt dreadfully heavy as she slowly opened her eyes. She blinked a few times, frowning against the brightness of the lights. When her eyesight finally adjusted, the first thing she saw was a mop of very familiar short, light brown hair. She frowned, looking around the room to make sure she was still on Atlantis.
"What the hell are you doing here?" she whispered hoarsely, causing the person to stir. She winced slightly at the pain in her throat. It felt dry and raspy, like she hadn't talked in days.
"Nice to see you, too, Cam," Cruz replied, arching his back and raising his arms over his head to stretch.
"I'm serious," she replied, making an attempt to get up only to realize that her wrists and ankles were tethered to the bed. "What the hell is going on? What happened?"
Her brother leaned over her, untying the restraints before going back to his seat next to her bed. She sat up, rubbing at the raw skin on her wrists.
"I don't know if I'm the person to tell you. I only just got here two days ago," Cruz tried to explain.
"But why are you here?" she asked, unable to keep the frustration from her voice.
Cruz was saved from answering when Dr. Keller walked into the room. The doctor held a data tablet in her hand, offering Cami a reassuring smile as she made her way to the side of Cami's bed.
"Good to see you're finally awake, Captain," Keller said, making a pretense of checking Cami's IV bag and them moving on to check her vitals.
"'Finally?' I don't understand. How long have I been out?"
"About five days," Sheppard announced as he walked in. There was a yellow and purplish tinge surrounding his left eye.
Cami took a deep breath to collect herself. She noted that her left arm was in a sling. Okay, it was easy to see she had been injured in their last mission. But that didn't explain why she had been unconscious for the past five days.
She let out a low sigh. "Can someone please tell me what happened before I start freaking out?"
"What's the last thing you remember?" Sheppard asked as he sat on the edge of her bed.
Cami closed her eyes for a few seconds. They were getting ready for a mission. She remembered double checking the ammo magazines in her pistols before holstering them. Then, they were in a forest. McKay had forgotten something, and she and Ronon had to accompany him back to the jumper.
"Wraith," she said, opening her eyes. "I was flying the jumper, and we managed to escape them. We came back to look for you and Teyla, but I got too close to the magnetic field. I crashed the jumper."
"And?" Sheppard prompted.
"There's more?" Cami shook her head. "That's the last thing I remember. Is that how I hurt my arm? In the crash?"
"You might wanna sit down for this, kid," he said with a wry smile considering she was already sitting down. "From what Ronon and McKay told me, after the crash, the three of you set out to look for us on foot, but you got ambushed by Kinji. You got impaled by one of their spears and had to fall back to the jumper."
"Ronon removed the spear," Keller interjected. "The loss of blood coupled with the poison from the spearhead caused you to hallucinate and eventually lose consciousness."
"How did we get back to Atlantis?" Cami asked.
Sheppard cleared his throat. "Well, according to McKay, Ronon went ballistic after you passed out. Ran out of the jumper killing any Kinji warrior that got in his way, and tracked Lorne's team who had already met up with me and Teyla. Brought you straight to the infirmary."
Cami frowned at Sheppard's description of Ronon's behavior, sure that he was exaggerating. She looked down at the bed and then her gaze moved to her wrists and ankles.
"Why was I tied to the bed?"
Dr. Keller hesitated slightly before answering. "You have to understand that the only information we had on hand was Dr. Beckett's analysis of Major Lorne. Apparently, the poison is not so much a poison as it is a drug. Your injury caused it to flow through your blood stream at a much faster rate than normal. Your reaction to the drug was much more…pronounced, for lack of a better word, than Major Lorne's."
"What does that mean?" Cami sat up straighter in bed.
"Of the five days that you've been here, the first two you were in and out of consciousness," Keller continued to explain. "You were constantly thrashing, and you broke your stitches a few times. On one occasion, you jumped out of bed looking for Dr. Beckett. Colonel Sheppard and I tried to get you back in bed."
"You've got a hell of a right hook, kid," Sheppard said, rubbing the side of his face.
"God, Sheppard, I'm sorry. I – "
"Wasn't fully aware of what you were doing?" Sheppard interrupted with a crooked smile. "It's okay. Don't worry about it. Weirdly enough, Ronon was the only one who could calm you down."
He shot her a knowing look, but she averted his gaze. There were still a million questions going through her mind, and it was a great time to change the subject.
"Did you and Teyla find the ZPM?"
"Unfortunately, we don't even know if there even is a ZPM. After we lost communications, we decided to continue forward. Teyla and I found a sort of shrine, but we couldn't get close enough to see what it held. For all we know, the Kinji warriors are protecting a ZPM without really knowing what it is or what it does. We managed to get out of there without being detected…though I think that was in large part because, by the time we got to that shrine, you guys had already caused all that commotion with the crash."
Well, that had answered pretty much all her questions. Except…
"Why is Cruz here? Was I…was I that bad?" she whispered. Her brother, who had remained quiet throughout the explanation, shifted in his seat next to her bed and placed his hand over hers.
"Ronon contacted me and told me you had been injured," Cruz spoke up. "Took a while to get here. Had to get clearance and all that other official bullshit." He eyed Sheppard, but the Colonel only smirked. "I was granted a month of shore leave. Didn't know if you would ever…" He trailed off, clearing his throat, and Cami nodded in understanding.
"So, that's it, then?" she concluded. "Am I free to go?"
Keller smiled ruefully as she shook her head. "Sorry, Captain. I need to keep you overnight for observation." Cami opened her mouth to protest, but the doctor held up a hand to stop her. "However, I'll allow you the luxury of visitors on the condition that you remain in bed."
"I'll go let the gang know that you're awake," Sheppard said, getting off the bed as Keller went back to her office. "Ronon, especially, was concerned about you." He offered her a sly wink before leaving the infirmary.
"So, Ronon, huh?" Cruz asked once they were they only two in the room.
"Ronon…what?" Cami asked, frowning at her brother.
"I mean, you and Ronon…" Cruz trailed off, holding out a hand as if that explained everything.
"What are you talking about? Me and Ronon what?" she asked, taking great interest in adjusting the straps of her sling.
"Come on, Cami, don't play coy with me. I'm your twin. I can sense things from you."
She let out a snort of amusement. "Cruz, trust me, there's nothing going on between me and Ronon."
"Are you sure about that?"
"Very." Her thoughts drifted to the last time she had been alone with Ronon. The fire of his kiss still burned through her veins but it was quickly followed by the sharp sting of rejection. "Something happened that made me fairly certain that he doesn't…wait…" She narrowed her eyes at him, suddenly suspicious of his insinuations. "Why are you asking?"
"Because he had me translate something that you told him while you were hallucinating."
"Translate? God, I talked to him in Portuguese?" Cami tried to think back on any conversations she might have had with Ronon while she was hallucinating but, for the life of her, she just couldn't remember one damn thing. "Wow, and he actually remembered what I said?"
"Not everything," Cruz confessed. "He told me there were some things you said that he couldn't remember or pronounce. But, right before you passed out, you grabbed him and forced him to listen."
"And what did I say?" Cami asked quietly, almost afraid of the answer.
"That, uh…that you love him."
"No!" Cami gasped, gripping her brother's arm. "Cruz, please tell me you're joking."
"Cam, he said it word for word. 'Eu te amo'."
"Fuck!" She ignored the odd stares from a couple of nurses that had walked into the room. "Wait! Maybe it's okay. I was hallucinating, right? I mean, that totally discredits anything I said while under the influence."
Cruz shrugged. "If that makes you feel better, then yeah, sure, you were just talking out of your ass." He paused as if for dramatic effect and then continued on. "Except you actually do love him."
"No, it was just the poison talking," she emphasized. "See, it happened to Major Lorne, too, like a month back. He wouldn't stop complimenting me. Went off about how beautiful I was and he even tried to kiss me. He was hallucinating, Cruz. He didn't actually mean any of it."
She smiled at him, happy that she had resolved that minor dilemma. Ronon didn't actually think she meant to say that, did he? No, no, of course he didn't. He had seen Lorne first hand, knew the way the poison worked with the mind. And, according to Keller, Cami's reaction had been even worse than Lorne's. Even more reason to deny the validity of her statement.
Cruz dropped the subject when one of the nurses came by to check Cami's stitches. Cruz winked at her and the nurse blushed, almost knocking into the IV stand. She righted herself, her face beet red before making her exit.
"Nice girl. Not my type, though."
"Really?" Cami asked, quirking an eyebrow at him. "She was breathing." He rolled his eyes at her. "Jesus, Cruz, you've been here two days, and you're already trying to get in someone's pants?"
"I'm on shore leave. I can do whatever I want."
"Like flirt with the nurses while your sister was unconscious?"
"What do you take me for?" Cruz asked, placing his hand over his heart in mock hurt. "I didn't flirt until after I knew you were okay."
Cami smiled, ruffling his hair as she leaned back against the pillows. "God it's good to have you here. So much has happened this past month…I don't think I realized how much I missed you until I saw you here."
"It's good to be here," he said, squeezing her hand. His gaze suddenly moved to the door, and he straightened up, running a hand through his hair in an attempt to comb it.
"Cami, I came over as soon as John told us the great news," Teyla said, offering them both a smile as she neared the bed. "Major Buchanan, it is good to see you again."
A lopsided grin appeared at the corner of Cruz's mouth, and he opened his mouth to reply when he was cut off by Cami's gasp of surprise.
"You made Major? When did this happen?" she exclaimed, punching her brother in the arm.
"I told you in the letter I sent with the whisky bottles and haggis," Cruz hastily explained, looking a little annoyed that she had interrupted his conversation with Teyla.
"I do not want to take much of your time," Teyla intervened. "I know you two must have a lot to catch up on. I am happy that you are doing much better."
"Thanks for coming, Teyla. Doctor Keller's keeping me overnight so I'm really glad you took the time to stop by."
Teyla squeezed Cami's shoulder warmly, inclined her head at Cruz and took her leave.
"You might want to roll your tongue back in your mouth," Cami said dryly, shaking her head at him.
"Now, Teyla is exactly who I'm talking about when I say I have a type," Cruz remarked still staring at the door.
"Nu-uh. Teyla's off limits. She's with Sheppard."
"Really? I mean, I've only been here two days, both of which were spent here in the infirmary with you, but they didn't seem like a couple to me."
"That's because Sheppard is too dumb to realize he's in love with her," Cami clarified as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"He's not the only dumb one around here," Cruz mumbled under his breath.
Cami had been too busy adjusting the straps of her sling again to hear what her brother had said. "What?"
"Nothing, never mind. I just think that if Colonel Sheppard has feelings for her, then he should act on them. Teyla's a beautiful woman and sooner or later someone is going to come along and sweep her off her feet. And that someone may or may not be me," Cruz finished with a wink.
She shot him a glare. "Teyla is not the kind of woman who will fall for your wily charms or douche-y one liners." Cami crossed her arms over her chest as Evan walked into the room. A sudden idea popped into her head as Evan stopped to say hi to Dr. Keller. "Cruz, you have to ask Teyla out for dinner."
Cruz snorted. "I thought you said she was off limits," he countered, his brow furrowing in confusion.
Cami could feel a silly grin forming on her face as a plan began to formulate in her head. She noticed Evan making his way to her bed so she leaned to the side so that only her brother would hear her.