Ki (somehowunbroken) wrote,
Ki
somehowunbroken

Falling Away (1/1)

Title: Falling Away
Author: somehowunbroken
Fandom: SGA/SG1
Characters: John/Cam
Word Count: 2,559
Rating: PG
Summary: John is dying, and all Cam can do is watch, until they're presented with another option.
Notes: For rinkafic, who bought me in the help_japan auction and wanted 'dying, miracle, space station.' Um... Atlantis counts as a space station, right?


John is dying.

The truth of it hits Cam like a punch to the gut when he walks into their quarters to find John curled up in the middle of the bed, blankets pulled in tightly around his body, at 1500 hours. He’s been sick for a while, and he hasn’t been getting any better; he hasn’t been getting worse, either, or at least he hadn’t been until recently, when everything had taken a rather abrupt downhill turn. It’s suddenly painfully clear how sick John is; Cam’s been able to adjust to it, to help John through the shakes and bouts of dizziness, but it hasn’t really hit him that John might not make it through this.

Until now. Until he walks in, not taking care to be particularly quiet, and finds John passed out in the middle of the bed. John doesn’t even twitch, and that’s really what does it, Cam thinks dimly, the fact that John’s so exhausted that his body overrules years of military training and stays under even when there’s noise in the vicinity.

“Oh, John” he sighs, ignoring the meeting he’s supposed to be getting ready for, ignoring the clenching in his stomach, ignoring everything but the overwhelming need he has to toe off his boots and climb into the bed and wrap his arms around his partner, holding on and willing John to hang in there.

-0-

They’ve had their share of problems, like all couples do. Cam privately thinks that they’ve had more than their share, but it’s not a thought he’s ever shared with John. He’d just snort and roll his eyes and give that little half-grin like he does, and it would be part agreement and part exasperation, because if there’s one thing John doesn’t believe in it’s self-pity, especially for things that can’t be changed.

They’ve dealt with the little things, the fights and the things about each other that drive them crazy, and they’ve dealt with the big things, postings too far apart and both of them screwing up in the field and facing death head-on. They’ve dealt with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, they’ve dealt with telling their families about their relationship, and they’ve dealt with living in different galaxies and only seeing each other a handful of times each year. It’s been trying, Cam won’t deny, but he thinks it’s been pretty worth it.

Cam had put in his transfer request about a month after the repeal had been made final and was in Atlantis three weeks later. He’s technically an adjunct supervising consultant, but it’s really more of a retirement than a posting, and everyone from Woolsey on down knows it. A month had gone by without incident, two; Cam had cautiously started to think that they’d finally caught a break.

Of course, John had fallen sick less than a week after that thought, collapsing after a mission, and none of the doctors have been able to diagnost what’s wrong with him. It’s another one of those ideas he doesn’t share with John, that Cam had somehow jinxed what was shaping up to be a pretty nice happily-ever-after.

-0-

“Hey,” Cam murmurs when he opens his eyes. John is in his arms, his face mere inches away, and he’s awake.

“Hey yourself,” John replies, leaning his forehead against Cam’s. “I thought you had a meeting.”

“I played hooky,” Cam tells him. He gets both the smirk and the eye-roll that he was expecting and counts it as a point in today’s favor. “They can figure out the Jumper schedule for mainland runs without me.”

“Lorne’s good at that,” John agrees, yawning. He rolls his shoulders and grimaces, and Cam’s hand moves to the sore spot in his back almost instinctively. It’s another one of those things that the sickness has done; John spends more and more time sleeping as the days go on, but the longer he spends in one position, the more his body aches. John smiles as Cam digs a thumb under his shoulderblade. “Thanks.”

“Any time,” Cam says, meaning it completely. His free hand drifts down to settle in the small of John’s back, pulling him in closer. “Are you warm enough?”

John makes a face. “Yes, Mom,” he grumbles, but he tucks a little more closely into Cam’s side as he says it.

They’re quiet for a few minutes as Cam rubs away the pain in John’s back. Finally, his hand settles. “Better?”

“Yeah, thanks,” John says, already sounding tired again. “How long was I out?”

“A few hours, at least,” Cam replies. It’s nearly 1800; given how deeply John had been asleep when Cam entered the room earlier, it’s probably been closer to four.

“I’m hungry,” John says. His eyes are closed and he sounds exhausted, and Cam has the feeling that John’s saying that to make Cam happy, that he’d rather just go back to sleep. Cam will take it, though; as long as John’s willing to eat, Cam will go along with it. He has the feeling that once John stops eating, it won’t be long, so he grabs the opportunity while he can.

“Let’s get down to the mess hall,” Cam says, sitting up and pulling John with him. “Come on. They’re serving mashed potatoes tonight. You know you love mashed potatoes.”

“I do,” John agrees, smiling as Cam kneels in front of him and helps him slide his shoes on. “Let’s go eat.”

-0-

They’ve just found a table in the mess hall when the warning sirens go off. “Unscheduled offworld activation,” Chuck’s voice carries calmly across the radio Cam is wearing. “I’m reading AR-4’s IDC.”

“Let ‘em through,” Cam replies. “They need medical?”

There’s a pause before Chuck replies. “No, sir. They-” His voice cuts off again, and Cam’s getting ready to make his way to the control room when Captain Galman’s voice comes over the radio.

“Sir,” she reports, “we have a visitor who’s very interested in meeting Colonel Sheppard.”

Cam casts his eyes towards John, who isn’t even pretending to eat his mashed potatoes. “He’s not exactly up for visitors, Captain.”

“I think he’ll want to meet her,” Galman says. “She says she can help him.”

-0-

The visitor is a woman – a girl, really, no more than sixteen years old, if that. She’s small and blonde, and all Captain Galman can tell Cam is that she’d approached them on the planet, introduced herself, and said that she could help Colonel Sheppard.

“You are the Protector,” she says when Cam and John walk into the room. The walk from the mess hall to the control room is at the outer limits of John’s endurance any more, and Cam has his arm firmly wrapped around John’s waist. He helps John settle into one of the chairs in the conference room before turning to the girl.

“I’m Colonel Cameron Mitchell,” he says. “This is Colonel John Sheppard.”

“I am Nya,” the girl replies, tilting her head. “It is an honor to meet the Protector and his chosen.”

Cam shoots John a look, but he’s just staring at Nya. “I’m sorry,” Cam says, “the Protector?”

Nya smiles serenely. “He is the Protector, the one who will rid us of the Wraith. I am here to help.”

“I’m glad you want to help, Nya,” John says. “I don’t think I’m up to protecting anyone any more, though.” He pauses. “I’m pretty sick.”

“I know,” Nya nods. “I am here to help.”

“Help how?” Cam isn’t about to dismiss anything out of hand; he’s seen and heard some crazy things during his time with the SGC. He wouldn’t put it past the Pegasus Galaxy to have some sort of cure for what’s ailing John.

“I am a healer among my people,” she says slowly. “I have trained for it my entire life, and have been waiting for this day since I was very small.” She turns to John. “I have seen your face, and I have seen your illness. I can help you.”

“You’ve seen my face,” John says slowly, and Nya nods.

“Not unheard of,” Cam points out. “Remember when you were stuck in that time dilation field with all the almost-Ascended people?”

Nya smiles. “Teer sends her regards,” she offers, and John sits up straighter, widens his eyes. Cam’s pretty sure he’s doing the same thing.

“You can talk to Teer?” John asks.

“I can speak to all of those on the Ancestral plane,” Nya replies. “I have learned many things from them, and I hope to join them some day.”

“They taught you how to heal,” Cam supplies, and she nods as she turns to John.

“I would like to help you,” she says, “but we must hurry.” She bites her lip, and Cam remembers how young she is. “There are many things to fix, and much more will happen soon if I do not begin the process.”

“By all means, begin,” Cam interjects, but John catches his eye.

“What do you want in return?” he asks, and that’s probably one of those things that Cam should have thought of. People rarely do things for free.

Nya’s shaking her head, though. “If I heal you, you will continue to fight against the Wraith,” she says simply. “That is enough for me.”

-0-

The process, as Nya calls it, is terrible to watch.

They go down to the infirmary, where Keller puts Nya through a typical offworld screening exam. When she’s pronounced clean, Cam helps John into one of the beds and props him up with all the pillows he can manage to steal from the rest of the infirmary. Nya sits on the edge of the bed, smiles a little timidly at John, and hovers a hand a few inches above his chest.

“Sleep,” she murmurs, and John’s eyelids flutter closed on command. Before Cam can say anything, object or question or anything, Nya takes a deep breath and closes her own eyes.

She lets out a strangled sound a few seconds later, and her hand starts to shake as she holds it above John. Her eyes open after a minute or so, and she’s trembling all over as she meets Cam’s eyes. “He is in pain.”

“I know,” Cam says quietly. They’ve been trying different things for pain management, but it’s not a disease that any of the doctors here or on Earth recognize, and short of sedating him, there’s little they can do to help numb John’s pain. “Can you help him?”

Nya studies John’s face. “I will tire,” she says eventually. “It will take time.”

“But you can do it?” Cam persists, and she gives him a small smile.

“I can do it,” she says, a little more confidently, and she holds her hand over John’s chest and closes her eyes again.

-0-

“Cam?”

Cam’s eyes open instantly, and he knows before he opens his mouth that John’s feeling better. There’s color back in his cheeks, and the bruises have faded from beneath his eyes. Cam can’t help the smile that has washed over his face. “John.”

“I’m better,” John says, voice wondering. He hesitates, then sits up on his own, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. He slides slowly off the bed, as if he’s expecting his legs to give out beneath him, and when he lands solidly on his feet, he grins widely at Cam. “I’m actually better.”

“Keller couldn’t find a trace of it in your system,” Cam agrees, standing and tugging John in for a hug. “You’re actually better.”

“Where’s Nya?” John asks, looking around. “I need to thank her for this. How do I even thank her – how do I even start?”

“John,” Cam says quietly, feeling his elation ebb as quickly as it had bubbled up. “There’s something she didn’t tell us about this healing process.”

John listens grimly before following Cam through the infirmary to a small private room in the back. Nya stirs as they enter, giving them a strained smile. “I am glad to see you well.”

“You took it from me,” John says slowly, eyes travelling over Nya’s frame. “Whatever was wrong with me is now wrong with you.”

“Yes,” Nya says serenely. “I carry your illness.”

“It’s going to kill you,” John points out, and Nya nods. “You – you took it from me so it would kill you instead.”

“You are the Protector,” Nya says. It’s the same explanation she’d given Cam when he’d asked her why she’d do such a thing, why she would sacrifice herself for a man she didn’t know. “I took from you the barrier preventing you from stopping the Wraith.”

“You’re going to die,” John reiterates angrily. “If I had known that this was your plan, I wouldn’t have agreed to it in the first place.”

Nya just smiles. “Thank you for allowing me to help you,” she says, and then her eyes slip closed again. The machines that she’s hooked up to don’t register a change; she’s fallen asleep, nothing more.

John sighs and presses his hand to his forehead. “I’m supposed to be okay with this?” he asks, and Cam knows he’s not looking for an answer. Cam tugs him in so he can wrap his arms around John’s waist, and John lets his head drop to Cam’s shoulder.

“She’s just a kid,” John says quietly. “She traded her life for mine.”

“I know,” Cam replies.

“Is there some way to undo it?”

Cam’s arms tighten reflexively around John’s waist at the thought of John going back to the state he’d been in. He’d known, though, that John would ask, so he’d asked Nya while John had been sleeping. “No,” he says. “Nya says the process is permanent, and even if it wasn’t, John, I doubt you could get her to give it back to you.”

“I just wish-” John says, but he cuts off abruptly, staring over Cam’s shoulder at Nya’s bed. Cam turns quickly and feels his eyes widen in shock.

“Hello, John,” the woman standing by the bed says warmly. “I am glad to see you well again.”

“Teer,” John says, sounding a little dazed. “I thought you – aren’t you Ascended?”

“I am,” Teer confirms, smiling Nya’s serene smile at him. She rests her hand on Nya’s ankle. “I have come for my sister, who has completed her goal.”

“Teer,” Nya murmurs from the head of the bed. “It is time?”

“It is time,” Teer confirms. “You have done a great thing, Nya.”

“I have done what was set before me to do,” Nya says simply. “I am ready.”

Teer nods once and turns to look at John and Cam again. “We all do what we must to fight against our common enemy,” she says, and then there’s a brilliant flash of light, and both women are gone.

“Um,” Cam says after a minute.

John blinks. “Yeah.”

And there are discussions to be had and people to notify and things that need to be done, but Cam just draws John back in and holds him tightly, both of them staring at the spot where Nya had been laying.

“She did what she thought she had to, and she got what she wanted,” John says after a while. “I guess that’s good enough for me.”

John is whole and healthy in his arms. Cam knows that’s good enough for him.
Tags: charity, john/cam, rating: pg, stargate
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