Prompt: Light or Dark

I do not own Stargate Atlantis, it is owned by MGM.

© Jennifer Dreyer, 2010


Light at the end of the tunnel. Soft white and warm. As John starts to walk towards it, he stops short. Turning around in a circle, he tries to locate the sound that had caused him to stop, "hello?"

Getting no answer, he starts towards the light again. Just before he reaches it, he stops again, as he hears the same sound he heard earlier. Turning around again, "hello? Anyone there?"

Out of no where a wave of dizziness has him falling down to his knees, gripping his head with his hands, taking deep breaths to calm his stomach. The next thing he knows, he hears whispers coming from the light and struggling to his feet, he staggers towards it again.

As he finally reaches the light and it envelopes him, he is yanked back out of it by an unseen force. Letting out a groan as the world around him spins crazily, he closes his eyes trying to keep his stomach in check.

"John don't go into the light. You're needed on Atlantis."

Blinking his eyes open, trying to get them to focus, he startles as Beckett shimmers into existence before him. Running a hand over his eyes, pulling his knees into his chest, resting his forehead on them, "but why? I like it in the light. Nothing hurts in there."

"Aye lad, I know. But if you go into the light and stay there, then you'll never wake up."

Lifting his head up slowly, it takes his brain a second to realize that Beckett is kneeling next to him,"but you're here. You came back from the light."

Reaching out and gripping his shoulder, "no John. I'm still very much dead. This is all taking place in your head. In truth, you're in the isolation room on Atlantis. Those noises you heard are your teammates, Colonel Carter and Dr. Keller."

"Colonel, can you hear me?"

Looking past Beckett, he doesn't see anything but darkness and focusing on his friend again, "Keller's not you."

Smiling and squeezing John's shoulder again, "no, but she's a damn fine doctor. I wouldn't have hired her if she wasn't. Give her a chance."

Frowning as another wave of dizziness washes over him, not breaking eye contact with Beckett, "why did you have to play hero? That's my job."

Pulling out a penlight, smiling at John's grimace, "hey, this is your head. And I wasn't playing hero. I was doing my job."

Wincing in pain as the pounding in his head notches up another level, "Carson you're needed on Atlantis too. I should've ordered you to stand down."

Shaking his head, "and like I told you then. It would have been murder if I didn't remove the bloody thing from his leg."

Closing his eyes again, "but..."

Squeezing his shoulder to get him to open his eyes, and standing up, "no John. What's done is done. Don't blame yourself for my death. I made a choice and I stand by it." and starting to walk towards the light, "now be a good lad and listen to the voices. It's time to wake up."

Watching Beckett walk away from him, John realizes that the darkness is starting to grow and envelope him. As it does so, he closes his eyes and lets it swallow him.

xxxx

"Dr. Keller, how is Colonel Sheppard doing?"

Looking from her computer on her desk to her door, "he's stable, Colonel." and gesturing for Carter to take a seat, "I just tried to wake him about ten minutes ago. His pupil reaction is almost back to normal, which leads me to believe he should be coming around soon."

Sitting down, "that's good news. But, do you have any idea why he slipped into the coma after fighting off the entity? I mean Rodney is fine."

Sighing, "I have a better idea now. I spoke with Dr. McKay and he told me that Colonel Sheppard was physically fighting the entity in his mind. Which explains the fractured ribs and the concussion."

"So when he wakes up, how long are we talking in regards to him being grounded?"

Smirking, "well normally I'd say at least six weeks. Those ribs need to heal. But I'll be lucky if I can keep him grounded for a week."

"Dr. Keller!"

Quickly getting up, the two women hurry out of Keller's office, heading for John's room. Reaching it, they're surprised to see John's eyes darting around the room, not focused, the EKG machine alerting them to his confusion.

Rushing to his right side, reaching for his right shoulder and wrist, nodding at Teyla, Ronon and McKay, who haven't left John's side for the past four days, "Colonel, calm down. You're safe."

xxxx

Whispers. Voices he can't really make out.

"Rodney he will be fine. You heard what Dr. Keller said."

Surfacing through the darkness that had claimed him back in the isolation room, he forces his eyes open and darting his eyes around the room, he can't seem to get them to focus.

The next thing he realizes is someone has a gentle but firm grip on his right shoulder and wrist and focusing his eyes on that person, he melts into the mattress as he recognizes Keller, his heart rate and breathing settling down to more normal levels.

Darting his eyes around the room again, he relaxes even more as he finally sees McKay, Ronon, Teyla and Carter, "Car...son?"

Sharing a look with the others in the room, "sorry Colonel. Dr. Beckett isn't here." and seeing his eyes starting to close again, "no John, I need you stay awake for a little longer."

Forcing his eyes open, "Mc...Kay?"

Stepping next to the left side of the bed, watching as Keller checks John over, "yeah Sheppard. I'm here." and motioning behind him, "we're all here."

Wincing as he shifts in the bed to see him, "you...o..kay?

Nodding, "yeah. A little freaked out but, you know. I'm fine."

Looking over at all of them from the computer, where she's been recording her notes, "okay. You've all seen him awake. Now go and get some sleep." and putting up a hand to quiet them, "that's an order."

Smiling as she herds a protesting Ronon and McKay out of the room, "thank you Dr. Keller. John we're glad you're better." Teyla says.

Watching them leave, "thanks...Teyla."

"Is he better?"

Turning his head, John is surprised to find Carter now standing next to his bed and turning his head on the pillow, he focuses on Keller, "yeah doc. Am I...better?"

Not having missed the wince, she grabs the prepared syringe lying on the tray next to her, and uncapping it, tapping it out and inserting it into the IV port, "you are better. But, not 100% yet. So let that help."

Frowning at her, but letting out a sigh as the pain he was in starts to fade away, "fine. But when can I get out of here?"

Sharing a look with Carter, "let's see how you feel in a couple of days. I'm not putting you back on duty for at least that."

Turning his head to look at Carter, "Colonel..."

Shaking her head, "no Colonel. Dr. Keller is right. Take it easy and listen to her." and turning to head out of the room, "I'll stop by tomorrow morning."

Feeling his eyes starting to drift shut, "not...fair." he mumbles out, as the pain medication finally takes effect.

Watching his breathing even out, and running her eyes over the monitors one last time, she gently pats his shoulder, "I know Colonel. I know." and heading out of the room, swiping her hand over the light control on her way out, she smiles to herself.

xxxx

"Carson?"

"Aye lad. I'm still here."

Smiling as he sees his friend walking towards him from the light, "thanks."

Returning the smile and walking back into the light, "any time John. Any time."

Blinking his eyes open, John's eyes adjust to the darkness and turning his head on his pillow, he smiles to himself, as Keller is sitting in a chair next to his bed, chin to chest, asleep, "you were right Carson. You were...right." he mumbles out, under his breath, as he lets his eyes close again and easily falls back to sleep.