Book One starts here
Book Two - part one is here
When Marie went in to check on the patient at about 2am, she heard whimpering and it made her frown. Major Sheppard had been through a lot today and, although he had regained consciousness briefly earlier, he had soon succumbed to exhaustion. He had died for a few minutes and had his heart rebooted, so it was weird that he should be resurfacing now.
The nurse pulled back the privacy curtain that the doctors had constructed and discovered that it wasn’t the patient making that noise. It was a slave sitting cross-legged on the floor, leaning against the Major’s cot bed. She could tell from the dull gleam of the collar around his neck that showed above his science uniform.
“What are you doing here?” She hissed, making the slave start in surprise and yelp.
“Ma’am?” His blue eyes looked frightened.
“You shouldn’t be here!”
“H… he’s my Master, Ma’am,” the slave whispered back, eyes flicking up to the patient. “I… I couldn’t be anywhere else.”
Marie thought for a second. It was obvious that the whimpering had come from the slave, so she decided to get him away and thus avoid disturbing the patient. The man in the bed was the military commander and needed to rest and recover.
Mind made up, Marie beckoned at the slave and hissed,
“Come with me… now!”
The slave hesitated, looking back at the Major, then he nodded and got up, smoothing the sheet over his Master, even though it wasn’t needed, checking that there was water nearby and that the call button was by the Major’s hand. He then turned and followed Marie to the break room.
Doctor Beckett had set this room up with a cot bed and coffee machine so that the night duty nurse or doctor would have a place to relax. Once the door was closed, Marie sat in the cream chair that had survived millennia, and pointed at the coffee machine. The slave filled one of the mugs and held it out to her with a selection of creamer and sweeteners, but she showed him her own mug.
“It’s for you,” she told him. The slave was clearly surprised, but he quickly replaced the condiments in their trays and settled on the floor with his prize, which he clearly relished.
“Now, tell me what you are doing here,” she instructed.
“I belong to the Major, Ma’am, and I couldn’t stay in his room while he wasn’t there. I thought… I… he might need me,” the slave answered.
“What’s your name?” she asked gently.
“My name is Marie… Ma’am makes me feel old,” Marie grimaced with some humour, but Rodney was clearly disturbed by this and he knelt up quickly.
“I’m really sorry, Ma’am… uh… Nurse Marie… I… I didn’t mean to… I’m not very good at… I didn’t mean to be rude!” Rodney babbled desperately.
“It’s ok,” Marie grinned. “I’m not offended, I just wanted to offer you someone to talk to. You sounded upset.”
Now the slave looked positively astounded.
“Someone to talk to, Nurse Marie?” he gasped. “I’m a slave!” he reminded her, showing her his collar with its tags.
“You were whimpering. You were clearly upset. Now, tell me what is wrong,” she commanded.
Rodney sat back and pulled his knees up to his chest, placing the coffee mug down on the ground.
“My Master has been nothing but wonderful to me and… he died today,” he told her.
“He was shocked and then revived,” Marie agreed. She had been told the whole thrilling story by Doctor Beckett before being left in charge.
“I know… I had to watch and there was nothing I could do. I was working as fast as I could and I even shouted at Lt Ford, but… but he died and… I can’t lose him, Nurse Marie, I can’t! He’s made my life… bearable! He saved me and he can’t die!” Rodney’s eyes filled with tears and Marie smiled sympathetically. “He had this… this bug on his neck and they couldn’t get it off – they tried everything and I couldn’t think of anything to help, and I couldn’t get the drive pod to retract! We were stuck and there was nothing I could do and he… he was in such pain!”
“Rodney? Rodney, shush!” Marie tried to calm the distraught slave. Eventually he came to the end of his woes and she knelt in front of him. “Rodney, your Master survived.”
“He told me to go,” Rodney added in a calmer voice. “He stayed to hold off the Wraith while the Lieutenant and Miss Teyla and I made our way back. It should have been me… I should have stayed behind.”
“Can you fight Wraith?” Marie asked gently.
“I can shoot a gun without dropping it!” Rodney responded.
“He probably felt that you were under his protection and that you were pretty defenceless,” Marie suggested.
“He was in such pain,” Rodney moaned again. “And he won’t be totally fit again for a few days at least.”
“He’s strong, Rodney and he’ll be fine,” Marie reassured him.
“What would happen to me if he died?” Rodney asked rhetorically. “I would revert back to Military ownership and…. I can’t go back. He’s made me… he’s spoiled me and… it would kill me.” Rodney was embarrassed at the tears that threatened to fall.
“Rodney?” Marie put a hand on the slave’s shoulder and smiled. “Listen to me. Your Master is alive and well. He may be weak for a few days, but he will need you to help him and serve him. You will have to encourage him and inspire him and then, in a few days he’ll be fighting fit and you’ll have forgotten all this today.”
“You’re telling me not to worry about uncertain futures… but that’s what I do. I can’t switch it off and pretend… he’s a hero and it’s going to get him killed,” Rodney explained and there was that whimper again.
Marie sighed and stood up.
“I can’t stop you from thinking, but I can allow you to be near him. Take a pillow and a blanket from the store and you can sleep by his bed and be there when he wakes up in the morning. I’ll leave a note for Dr Biro when she takes over in the morning. Be there for him, Rodney and try and get some sleep.”
For a moment Rodney just stared at her, then he gave her a small, watery smile.
“Thank you very much, Nurse Marie… thank you for listening to me,” he said and then he did as she suggested and took a pillow and a blanket and left the room.
Marie refilled her coffee and sat back down. Then she put her hand in her pocket and pulled out an old photo of a smiling girl who looked remarkably similar to herself. The nurse stroked the picture with a small, sad smile and traced over the collar around her sister’s neck.
There will soon be a series of... sort of post-ep type entries, just before the whole thing goes tremendously AU!
Part 3 is here