Stargate: Beta - a Stargate roleplay

"I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE
Page 14 of 14

Author:  Caleb Williams [ Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE

“It won't get too much,” Caleb said determined to make himself believe it and for Claire to believe it.

He smiled as she dropped a kiss onto his shoulder, he forgot that he wasn't actually wearing a top at the moment and that every injury done to his torso had been on display, which when he first realised that was going to happen he hadn't been too happy about it. He didn't want everyone to see the marks that had been laid upon his body, even if now after the first round of advanced healing they were nothing more than yellow bruises and overly pink marks where he'd been shot.

There was still the feeling of the bruises there, like he should be holding himself still so as not to aggravate the wounds and he hadn't relaxed just yet, even when he'd been sick, he'd still held himself still, held himself tense so as not to disturb his ribs. Thankfully the sickness hadn't last long and he had been able to take a moment to relax after it, and to appreciate the fact that Claire had come in, despite the fact he had told the nurse not to bother Claire until everything was over.

Caleb knew that Claire had wanted to take a moment to catch up on whatever paperwork she had to do, knew that the opportune moment for her to do it was when he was being healed, yet even as he'd rinsed his mouth out with the water Beckett had handed to him, the nurse – he hadn't caught her name – had dashed off to find his wife.

Nodding his head to indicate he was ready, he let himself be laid back on the bed once more, the rather hard bed, gave Claire's hand one final squeeze, telling himself she wasn't going to be going anywhere this time and let Beckett set the machine up. It wasn't going to be bad, he was going to make it through this second time without vomiting, he was going to make it through without making a noise, he promised himself that much.

* * *

It was too much, even telling himself repeatedly he'd be fine hadn't help, the heat, the pain that had built had him wanting to curl up in the smallest ball ever, he had screwed his eyes so tightly shut he was seeing black spots behind his eyelids, his hands in the tightest fists that his nails were digging into the palm of his hands and he was pretty sure they were leaving marks.

He hadn't made a word yet, even as the machine passed over him again, hitting all the spots he really hoped he wouldn't feel this time, running over his body as though he was being doused in heat. He bit his tongue hard to keep from saying anything, as much as he wanted this to be over, he also wanted to be healed, he wanted to be able to walk back to his quarters, to look after himself again.

At least he wasn't feeling sick this time, it was just heat and pain, that was all his brain got stuck on was heat and pain, yet somehow it made it a little more bearable that Claire was there, that he knew Claire was there and he had to tell himself to not reach out for her hand.

Moving was not the best idea inside this machine, if he moved then it made everything ten times worse, he was sure he had let out a small whimper though, he found he was trying to suck in air loudly.

“Claire....” he mumbled, eyes still squeezed shut, trying his hardest not to ask for them to stop the procedure, for them to carry on, but not knowing how much more he was going to be able to stand what was being done to him.

But he wanted to be better, he wanted to be healed, he wanted to be able to do everything he had done before the Genii had gotten hold of him. He wanted to be who he was before all of this had happened, he wanted to go back to that. Even as the machine whirled to life once more, tracing across his body from head to toe, as the heat passed down his body quickly followed by the pain of knitting together bones, of bruises healing rapidly, of gun shot wounds closing themselves up.

Author:  Claire Te Atua [ Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE

Claire's brow was creased with concern. She knew that the healing process was taking a toll on Caleb's body in ways he could never have imagined, but her stubborn, brave, stupid husband wouldn't stop, he wouldn't give in. It was that kind of tenacity that had brought him home, and to think that anything would be different throughout the healing process was madness.

She knew he wouldn't stop until he was completely healed, no matter the cost, but Claire wasn't sure whether he truly understood what it might mean if he pushed himself too far. He was too stubborn and bullheaded for his own good, though, and, even if it was too much, she wouldn't be able to persuade him otherwise.

Her gaze serious, Claire locked eyes with her husband, her hands soft and warm on his shoulders. "You know that if it gets too much, I'll stop the bloody process myself, don't you," she said, her voice quiet and even. "You can't make things worse for yourself, and that's what'll happen if you push too far. I won't let you hurt yourself any more than you already are, okay?" She knew that Caleb would be well aware that she meant every word of it, too.

She gave his hand a squeeze, dropping a final kiss on his cheek, as he lay down again, and stepped back, anxiety tracing lines on her face, even as she chewed thoughtfully on a knuckle. She glanced at Carson. "It's too much for him," she said, her voice soft enough that Caleb wouldn't be able to hear over the hum of the machine.

Carson gave Claire a sympathetic glance as he kept his eye on his patient. "Aye lass, it might be," he admitted. "But it's Caleb's choice, nobody else's, to keep going. Just make sure he rests for the rest of the day, okay? It'll be another couple of days before we can go for another round, longer if he pushes too far."

It was nothing that Claire didn't already know. But if anyone tried to tell her husband otherwise, he would just dig his heels in. She returned her eyes to Caleb, watching his body tense up, seeing his lips move in a grimace of pain, and gnawed on her knuckle again. It hurt her to see Caleb in such agony, but knew that if she pulled him out too soon, he would resent her. Given the difficulties they had been through over the last few days, that wasn't something Claire was prepared to risk.

"Caleb, e ipo, you okay," she asked, unable to mask her concern any longer. Maybe it would be the push he needed to listen to his body, and stop pushing too hard.

Author:  Caleb Williams [ Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE

Caleb believed every word Claire said, every damn word because he knew for a fact that she would follow through what she said. It was one of the things he loved most about her was that she didn't just say things for the sake of saying them, she actually did follow through, not many people did, he himself included in that at times. He nodded his head at her, letting her know that he'd heard her, that he knew she would do that, even as he let himself lay down once more.

Then the pain came, intense pain and he could feel his hands clench into fist, could see out the corner of his eye Claire and Beckett talking and he knew, just knew they were talking about him, and he wanted to be angry at that, wanted to outraged to shout at them. To demand that they talk to him, rather than about him, so he could make the decision they were probably making, it'd been too much out of his control since he'd been taken by the Genii.

It was one of the reasons he had pushed so hard for a second go in this damnable machine – even as he rolled his head back to centre, the pain and heat causing him to screw his eyes closed tightly – because it had been his choice. He'd got to make that call, he got to say that his body could go through this, he got to make the decision to have this pain upon his body and that trumped everything else in his mind.

Even as the machine seemed to his mind get stuck hoovered over the bullet wound, heat radiating out through his body as he couldn't this time hold back on the moan of pain that escaped him, then he kicked himself for letting out such a noise. It was like the air had been sucked from him, he couldn't quite take a deep enough breath, couldn't quite fill his lungs all the way, as that heat slowly spread across his chest like some kind of spider creeping along looking for it's next victim.

It looked like he was that victim, he squeezed his eyes even tighter, his hands balled into fists so tightly he was quite literally white knuckling it in that moment, but he had to get better, he had to get healed. He had to be better for himself and for Claire, he had to, he had to.

At the sound of Claire's voice though, asking if he was okay, at the feel of her at his side, he found he couldn't take it any more. Damn he knew he was stubborn, had pushed for this more than anything else since he'd woken up what felt like a week ago now, this was all he had wanted since he'd left the infirmary to be healed, to be better and yet now, laying there letting the doctors, letting his [/i]home[/i] cause him pain, he couldn't do it.

“Claire,” he said, his voice hoarse, he couldn't open his eyes, couldn't speak more loudly that what was probably a damn whispered, but he wanted it to stop. He needed it to stop and yet the words to ask, the words that needed to be said wouldn't come out, they were stuck in his throat, as the machine whirred to life again, it sounding deafening in his ears.

As much as he knew the doctors were use to stubborn military types (not one person he had spoken to on Atlantis didn't have a story about stubborn military types in the infirmary) he wasn't sure how use they were to stubborn military types asking for something to be stopped. But he needed this to stop, needed it to end and he in an impulse movement his hand left the bed, his fist uncurled and he tried to to reach for Claire.

“Please? Stop?” he said, his voice barely audible over the sound of the device.

Caleb hated showing any kind of vulnerability in front of anyone, he still struggled with it, with Claire, and asking them to stop the procedure was worse than showing vulnerability to Claire, because he was showing it to everyone and embarrassment compounded into that. He once again found himself wanting to go back to their quarters and find a dark corner to lick his wounds.

He did however let out a breath of a relief as he heard the machine quieten down, yet he couldn't bring himself to move, as he realised he was shaking, every muscle in his body screaming at him as though he'd just done three days worth of work outs in an hour, his stomach twisting its self up into the tightest knots he had ever known. He couldn't ever remember a time he actually felt this bad, if ever and all he wanted was Claire.

Author:  Claire Te Atua [ Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE

It pained Claire to see Caleb putting himself through such agony, all in the name of healing. It was almost as though he had forgotten that the mental healing was likely more important than the physical healing, but he seemed to have gotten them all tangled up together. The mental healing would help with the physical, not vice versa, but Claire knew that Caleb had to do things his own way.

Still, despite letting him make his own mistakes, she wouldn't hesitate to pull the plug if he got to the point where it was apparent he couldn't cope. It would be a bigger setback to go too far than if he stopped early. The problem would be trying to get him to realise that.

She watched, tears pricking at the backs of her eyes, as his body strained against the physical stresses he was putting himself through. Her gut instinct was to stop the treatment, to get him home, to hold him as he recovered, but Claire knew that Caleb wouldn't thank her for that, even though it would be in his best interests. He needed to feel in control at the moment, no matter what.

However, his reaction as she asked him whether he was okay spoke volumes, and, at almost the same moment as Caleb pleaded for the treatment to stop, Claire called out. "Turn it off," she commanded, her voice strident and striped with pain of her own. The machine slowed, and came to a stop, leaving Caleb motionless in its wake.

Perching on the bed, Claire slipped an arm around Caleb's shoulders, and gathered him to her. "It's okay, e te tau," she murmured, smoothing sweat-soaked hair back from his forehead, even as she kissed the clammy skin. "You're okay, you're safe." She pulled back, her eyes glazed with concern and compassion as she looked at her husband. "Think we can get you dressed and home once you've had a little rest?"

Author:  Caleb Williams [ Sat Mar 24, 2018 12:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE

It was one thing to show a weakness in front of Claire, complete different thing when it wasn't just Claire in the room, he had held out for as long as he could, told himself repeatedly he could handle the second round, had even gone so far as to convince himself he could handle another round. Even as his body had shook with the effort of the first round, so as it had progressed and he realised actually there wasn't going to be enough strength left in him to do the full process, that was difficult to admit to.

Also making it worse was the fact it wasn't just Claire in the room, wasn't just his wife standing over him, it was two other people, and yes he knew that most soldiers had a reputation for being damn near stoic and not showing anything other than the tough exterior, but as much as he had put that front on to begin with, it had very quickly crumpled.

Now he was laying there, sweat coating his body, taking in deep breaths to try to calm his racing heart, hoping that the heat that had spread through his body would recede soon, very soon. As he let himself lean onto Claire, let himself just have a moment to catch his breath, and once she pulled away to look at him, he was pleased to see that Beckett and the nurse had turned away from them.

Because if Caleb knew one thing was that, if they had both been staring at him, it would have made the whole situation worse, it was bad enough as it was having had to ask for the treatment to stop. To have to hamper his own recovery was not something he wanted to do, he wanted to bit fit, he wanted to be healthy again, to be able to be as he was before this whole thing ordeal had even began.

The question of whether he wanted to go home had never sounded more appealing to him, although again he wasn't going to admit that out loud not in public, he disliked the fact that he had, had such a reaction to the second round of treatment, was upset with himself that he hadn't managed to hold on long enough for it to be completed, but he swallowed the words down that he wanted to say.

“Am fine,” he said, for what must have been the ten millionth time since he'd woken up just days ago, even as his hair was stuck to his head, his face flushed and white all at the same time, “Home sounds good though.”

He really didn't want to subject himself to another round, yet also desperately wanted to go back and be completely healed, it was conflicting for him to feel that. He wanted to be angry at himself for not being able to keep going, but all he felt in that moment as he looked at Claire, saw the concern there was exhaustion. Caleb wanted desperately to be back to his normal self again for not just his sake but Claire's as well, he couldn't remember the last time they had joked about something, laugh at something the other had said and it made him feel tired.

“I can try again, right?” he asked, “Not today, but later?”

Author:  Claire Te Atua [ Mon Apr 02, 2018 4:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE

Claire held Caleb close, feeling his body shake, and whether that was with the effort of trying to withstand the rigours of the accelerated healing, or something else entirely, she didn't know. She quietly murmured to him in Māori, knowing that he likely wouldn't understand a word, but might take comfort from it anyway.

She hated to see Caleb suffering like this again, this time, though, of his own doing. In his desperate haste to heal, he was placing himself at risk again, but Claire knew that there was no chance of being able to talk him out of it. He was the most stubborn man she knew, and once he got it into his head to do something, there was no changing his mind.

She had known exactly what he was like when they had gotten together, and it hadn't stopped her. In fact, it was one of the things she loved about her husband. He knew what he wanted, and went and grabbed it with both hands. It was an incredibly attractive quality.

However, as she was now finding out, it had its downsides.

She twitched an eyebrow upwards as Caleb tried to tell her that he was fine, but didn't say anything. Claire's expression said more than her words would ever do. It told Caleb that she knew he was anything but fine, but that she would play along for now, anything to get him home. And then they would talk.

"Then let's get you home, e taku tahu," breathed Claire. "It's time for you to rest now anyway, and yes, you can have another session in a couple of days. Just now... you need to rest and recover." She glanced at Carson, a soft smile on her lips, even as she brushed damp tendrils of hair back from Caleb's face.

"Can you spare me for another couple of days, e hoa," she asked, her eyes pleading. "Ye dinnae even need tae ask, lass," he replied, smiling warmly at his deputy. "You take all the time you need, make sure your man is okay. We'll be here and waiting as soon as you're ready for another go, Caleb, okay?"

Claire smiled gratefully at Carson. "Thanks," she replied, giving Caleb's shoulder a squeeze. "Now, you want to walk home, or is this the time we smuggle you back in a wheelchair?"

Author:  Caleb Williams [ Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE

The sound of softly spoken Maori in his ear was soothing, was grounding, from the white hot pain that had been radiating up and down his body like he was being set on fire, the words almost soothing away that pain. Even as his body trembled from after shocks, he had no idea what Claire was saying, and in that moment as his body tried to quieten its self down he didn't care what the words were. So long as she just didn't stop talking in that moment all was going to be right with the world.

Caleb had, had no idea that having another round of the advanced healing would have this effect, didn't realise his body would fight against the treatment so harshly. At least he hadn't lost what little was left in his stomach this time around. But all he had wanted was to be healthy again, to be able to have that smile back on his face, feel light once more, instead of what he was damn sure was just dead weight being pulled through whatever treatment the doctors could muster up.

He wanted things to be as they were, so he pushed, told people he was fine, that he could do this, that he didn't need his hand holding, didn't need to be talk from the ledge, that he was correct. His stubbornness directing him to push himself forward, to get better as quickly as he could and damn the consequences, well them damn consequences were now kicking him in the arse. He felt another shudder run through his body, as his body finally stopped full on shaking, he didn't want to be in the infirmary longer than he needed to be.

Even as the words of 'I'm fine' sprang from his mouth to Claire, he knew that she wasn't going to believe him, damn at that point he didn't even believe himself, his hair was plastered to his head, his t-shirt sticking to his back – he was immensely glad that the wounds had healed over now, he didn't relish the fact of trying to peel his top off of scabs – as his stomach tightened once more.

Caleb wouldn't say whilst in a room full of other people as to what he was feeling in that moment, he wasn't going to show more vulnerability than he already had done in front of Beckett and the nurse, a nurse that if he was more with it would get a word about keeping quiet about what she'd seen, he had a reputation to keep even on Atlantis. He would tell Claire, later, maybe tomorrow? He just knew that he would tell her.

He was pleased to note that he would be able to try this again, he would be able to undergo it once more, even as he moved himself to the edge of the bed he could still feel his ribs moving slightly in ways they probably shouldn't, his face still feeling bruised, but probably looking a lot better.

Caleb did however feel guilty as Claire asked if she could be spared for a few more days, he knew she was the best person to look after him, if he had it his way he would have been back to work days ago, never mind any of this advanced healing stuff. She would kick his arse if he did something he wasn't cleared for and he was grateful, he loved her for that, because his stubbornness, his pig headedness would force him to go about things too soon.

But the small amount of guilt at keeping not only himself from his work, but Claire as well, well he couldn't help it worm it's way into his chest, and he couldn't help taking hold of her hand, squeezing it tightly.

“You don't...” he cleared his throat, voice dry from the machine, before lowering his voice, “You don't have to watch me twenty four seven, if you want to come back to work....” he let the sentence trail off.

He knew the pair of them were workaholics at the end of the day, they both loved what they did, loved to be out there in Atlantis quite literally exploring new things, discovering new things, and yes he missed that dearly at the moment. But he didn't want to keep Claire from it as well, he wanted her to feel like she could come back to work, that he wasn't going to up and kick the bucket as soon as her back was turned, even if that did mean that some of his nightmares, his memories wouldn't be soothed away. He was grown man, he could handle a few worrisome thoughts on his own here and there, if Claire wanted to go back he would damn well make sure she came back, instead of watching his broken down arse.

Of course in the next moment he was thrown off course by her question and he couldn't help the wrinkle up of his nose at the mention of a damn wheelchair, he shook his head in answer. He was going to damn well walk, he was determined he could make it back to their quarters without feeling like he would have run a half marathon.

“I'll walk, it's fine,” he answered a bit more loudly, as though trying to convince not only himself, but Claire, Beckett and the nurse in the room, “I'm fine,” maybe if he said that enough times he would actually start to believe it.

Even as he got to his feet, the loose fitting trousers feeling like he'd been sitting in water for the last hour or so, he was determined to do whatever kind of shuffle he could back to their quarters, back home.

* * *

The walk back to their quarters had been hard and difficult, not least of all because they had gotten stopped twice by passing people asking how he was. He had slapped on the usual smile, held himself higher despite the aches and pains and joked with the two people that all was fine and he'd be back in the field in no time. He hated that a small part of him was actually dreading going back into the field, he knew subconsciously he was no where near ready to return to work, and he didn't have the courage at the moment to admit that out loud, at least not to his team mate that they had run into, no he was going to save that conversation until he was back behind closed doors with Claire.

Of course as soon as he'd gone behind closed doors, he rested not two minutes before he excused himself to the toilet, he was still feeling the after effects from the advanced healing, his stomach still turning it's self in knots. Even though he'd managed to get Claire to wait in the living area, he could quite manage this part on his own, he knew if he stayed in there any longer she'd come looking for him.

Yet he found after he'd finished at the toilet, as he was washing his hands that he caught sight of his face in the mirror – something he hadn't done since that first time – and he came to a stop. He knew he had looked bad when Claire had first showed him, knew that looking in that mirror at that time hadn't jogged any memories, even now as his eyes ran over his face it didn't bring forth any memories.

He was shocked at how different he looked, the bruises sure were now mostly mottled down to the yellow, green of nearly healed bruises, but he'd lost weight. He could see it in his face, see as the once rather full face now looked thin, and tired. Caleb had never really been one for looks for himself, he knew he looked good, knew what people saw when they looked at him and sure at once upon a time he played on that fact. Yet now, now as he stood there, water running uselessly over his hands, he didn't recognise the face staring back at him, he had gone through so much, so much damage had been inflicted to his person and now there was a stranger staring back at him.

That shouldn't have happened!

In a fit of anger, of pure distress, Caleb turned the water off, took a rather unsteady step backwards as he pulled or rather peeled the t-shirt off, and took in the sight before him. The mirror wasn't quite full length, and he had to stand up a bit straighter to see his chest fully, but even then he didn't recognise the body there, didn't recognise the person that he'd become.

The bruises on his chest were now also nicely turning yellow and green from the advanced healing, the bullet wound and the chest drain wound, a nice puckered pink colour that showed good healing. But even as he ran a hand over the raised skin there, felt the soft skin under callous fingers, felt what had been done to him, it didn't register that this was actually his body he was looking at and he couldn't help that flare of anger, of annoyance, of pure desperation at what had been done to him.

“Damn it!” he cursed loudly, hitting his hand down on the side of the skin, the sound echoing in the bathroom, ignoring the pain in his hand.

Why him? What did he have that the Genii wanted? Why did the Genii take him? Why did he have to rescue himself? Why? Why? Why? Questions he just didn't have the answer for, even as he felt the first tendril of a tear work its way down his face, he really would have thought he would have been cried out by now, frustration at not having the answers swirling in his stomach.

Author:  Claire Te Atua [ Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE

Tears stung Claire's eyes as Caleb suffered through the after-effects of the healing, but she blinked them back, determined not to let her husband see. She needed to make sure that Caleb felt in control of everything, even as his pain levels spun out of his reach, and the only way to do that would be to hide her own disquiet from him.

She would have done anything to stop him going for a second pass that day, but there was no way he was going to listen to her, so she had no choice other than to just support him in whatever he chose to do. It was hard, biting her tongue, especially when the doctor in her had wanted to flat out refuse him another treatment that day, and, when Caleb was strong enough, she would ave to explain this to him, explain how it felt to watch him causing further pain to himself.

Claire's fingers ran through Caleb's sweat-dampened hair, the Māori words flowing from her tongue as she comforted Caleb. The shudders racking his body eventually subsided, and his main concern - as to be expected - was when he could go for another round. "Just don't try to run before you can walk, e ipo," she murmured, the tiniest of smiles twitching at the corner of her mouth. "I don't want you back in here long term, you hear me? I want you at home with me." Maybe that would give Caleb a kick in the arse to be patient.

At Caleb's protesting that she could come back to work, Claire merely twitched an eyebrow upwards. "And have you causing trouble in here when I'm on shift," she teased, kissing her husband's neck lightly. "Not a bloody chance. Besides, the longer I can put off all that paperwork that's sat on my desk, the better." The paperwork was the least of her worries. She wasn't coming back to work until Caleb was good and ready to take on light duties himself.

Another eyebrow twitch as he proclaimed himself fine to walk back to their rooms. "And I'm the bloody pope," she grinned. "Come on then, hopalong, let's get you home.

* * *

The walk home had been arduous, with all and sundry seemingly walking the halls and wanting to know how Caleb was doing. It got to the point where Claire had snapped at a few of them to get them to move on, where she knew that Caleb would be too polite to tell people he needed to get home, needed to rest, because that would mean admitting weakness.

Almost as soon as they had shut themselves in their rooms, however, Caleb had shut himself in the bathroom. It seemed as though he had been in there forever, the sound of water running masking whatever it was that he was doing.

Claire took a few moments for herself, standing out on their balcony, breathing in the briny tang of the sea, listening to the water slapping against the pier below their apartment. The sound soothed her, smoothing the ragged edges of her soul, the edges that had been fraying more and more since Caleb had returned from the Genii.

Medically, she knew he would be okay, knew that he was well on the way to a full recovery, but, as his wife, she was worried sick. Despite what had felt like a breakthrough a couple of nights ago, Caleb was still pushing, pushing, pushing, still demanding that he got better immediately, being impatient with himself and others, and that was torture for Claire to watch, to feel.

She closed her eyes for a moment, breathing slowly, deeply, not wanting Caleb to feel the disquiet that was rolling through her when he finally emerged from the bathroom. Her calming didn't last for long as she heard a shout and a slap from the bathroom. Her eyes flicked open, and she didn't even have to think as she raced to the bathroom, slapping on the door with the flat of her hand.

"Caleb? E te tau, what's the matter? Are you okay?"

Author:  Caleb Williams [ Sun Apr 22, 2018 2:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: "I'm fine, really!" TAG CLAIRE

It was nice to be sat up instead of laying down, even if it did mean it took him a moment to actually catch his breath from the advanced healing, it felt nice to be upright again. Caleb knew it would feel even better if his hair wasn't stuck to his forehead, but it was a small price to pay to having the second go of the advanced healing, even if it did mean that he'd pushed himself to far.

The softly spoken Maori words that Claire was speaking to him were pleasant, almost like sitting in the sunshine after a long day of being indoors. It was nice, it warmed him and helped him concentrate on something other than the shakes that had rattled his body. He had to admit to himself at least that he hadn't expected the second round to be so damn punishing, sure the first time around hadn't been easy, hadn't been anywhere near easy, but the second lot, the second lot made him feel like he had been put through a blender and there was only little tiny bits of himself left.

He smiled almost tiredly at Claire as she told him he needed to walk before he could run, he knew that, he really did, but he figured the more he pushed him, the quicker he healed his body, the sooner he'd not only feel like himself, but he'd get his memories back. No matter what anyone told him, he was determined to get them damn memories back sooner rather than later.

“I don't want to be here long term either,” he said quietly as though admitting that out loud would somehow make it happen.

It was the one thought that had worried him when he'd first woken up, that he was going to be in the infirmary for a very long time, that he wouldn't be back to work this year, and he wanted to be back to work. Wanted things to be normal again, he wanted to feel like himself.

So he couldn't help the small grin that crossed his face when Claire said he'd cause trouble whilst she was back at work, it felt like old times, sure it didn't heal everything but it felt normal.

He offered a barely there small shrug, his tone light hearted – for the first time in a while – as he replied, “Could always help with the paperwork? I mean that way you get to keep an eye on me right?”

Caleb knew, just knew that he would be rubbish at the paperwork that Claire had to fill in and he half suspected that some of that paperwork was actually about him, if he was being honest with himself, he was kind of rubbish at his own paperwork. But he let her help him up, with a small thankful nod to both Beckett and the nurse, whose name he couldn't actually remember in that moment, he made his shuffling way out of the infirmary, hopefully for the last time for at least the next couple of days.

* * *

Caleb didn't think he had sworn that loudly, didn't think he had smacked his hand that hard that Claire would hear it, unless he had subconsciously wanted her to hear it, as he suddenly heard her voice from the other side of the door. The sharp smacking of what he clearly heard was her hand trying to get in to make sure that he was okay and damn it if he didn't want to tell her all was fine, to leave him alone.

He didn't, yet he didn't quite open the door straight away either, he placed his own hand on the door, as though he could touch Claire through the metal of the door. Wanting her to be able to feel everything that was rolling through him in that moment without him actually being in her presence, to see himself in the mirror and not really see himself was a bit of blow to him. He had expected, no wanted to be able to remember, for it all to have come flooding back to him and maybe this whole mess would be a lot better if he did remember everything. But he didn't.

Taking his hand away from the door, he pulled his t-shirt back over his head, and let the door open at his command. He smiled softly at her, put both hands on the side of her face and kissed her, everything he couldn't say in that moment being put into the kiss. Once he pulled away, he stepped around her to go and sit on the sofa, his gaze catching the still open door to their balcony, he could just catch a hint of the smell of the ocean beyond the door, just hear the waves slightly breaking against the city itself.

Caleb would give anything to be able to be on the sea again, to feel it lulling him to sleep, to feel the slight salt on his lips, it was something he hadn't actually missed until that moment, until everything the Genii had done to him.

He smiled at Claire, a proper heartfelt one as he lowered himself to the sofa in their little living room, “Am fine, really, I just...” he offered up a shrug, “I just needed to see if I would remember, which I don't before you ask.”

Which he didn't, he didn't remember anything new, nothing more, the memories he had, hadn't played out in his mind like some kind of movie like it actually does in the films where you suddenly remember in a flash of colour and moving music. It just wasn't happening for him, he felt the flicker of frustration run through him as he ran a hand across the back of his head, before dropping his head to the back of the sofa, his eyes once more drawn by the still open door of their balcony.

His voice sounding far away as he actually began to speak, “The only things I remember is being on that floor, loose stones digging into different points of me but I couldn't move, wasn't allowed to move, had no energy to move. Every time they moved me, they'd slip from the amount of my blood that was on the floor and yet they still wanted more,” his voice grew hurt as he got himself lost in the one memory that had surfaced whilst in the infirmary, “they wanted my blood, I can't remember why, they gloated about something by taking it, one pulling my arm out right so tightly I remember thinking that my arm was going to be broken, the other kneeling on my other arm, and my legs so I couldn't move....”

Caleb tried to move as he was dragged from his position on the floor to the furthers wall, the Genii telling him it didn't matter if he shouted no one was going to hear him, but if he shouted loud enough he was sure the Genii could drum up some Wraith for him.

That had made him go quiet, because despite everything, the gun shot wound, what felt like every rib in his body have been broken, snapped or just bruised, the one thing he did not want to happen to him was to be fed on by the Wraith. He remembered trying to fight back, had even actually swung a punch at one point, it hadn't even hit his target, his head far to fuzzy to be able to pull it off.

The laughter of the Genii piercing his ears as one of them took the arm he'd tried to swing with, pinned it up against the wall they had sat him up against and then knelt on the bottom of his stomach, near his legs so he was effectively pinned. Them taunting him about something the whole time, but the words not coming to him, he couldn't hear what they were saying, even as a sharp scratch was felt on his tight arm.

Caleb took a breath not realising he had actually said that all out loud, thinking that his mind had just drifted off as he'd been looking out the door. Shaking his head, he brought his attention back inside their little home, smiling at Claire, hoping he hadn't upset her by sharing what he had, what he could remember anyway.

“That's all I remember, it's the only memory that seems to want to stick out,” he said, trying not to get annoyed at his own lack of ability to remember, he looked away from her down to his legs, picked at a loose thread in the well worn trousers – they were the softest and loosest pair he actually owned and very rarely wore them – as he added, “Am not sure I'll remember more, but I know everyone wants more and that's...” he took a shaky breath, “That's why am pushing to remember, because it's what's expected.”

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