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seaQuest: The Dawning
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When Jim saw his sister, his heart stopped. That couldn’t be Joey. He had to be in the wrong room. Tubes ran in and out of her body, attached at the wrist, chest, head...everywhere. A monitor sounded out the beating of her heart. There were stitches lining one edge of her forehead, where her helmet had split open with the force of the impact. One leg and one arm were wrapped in plaster.  He swallowed deep. The doctors had warned him not to cry. Wendy placed her hand on the small of Jim’s back.
"It’s ok to touch her, Jim."
"Can she hear me?"
"There is a good chance."

Jim walked over to the bed and lowered himself into a chair beside it. Gently, he reached forward and slipped his hand around hers, carefully avoiding the IV feed that ran through one wrist.
"Hey, uh...Joey...it’s me. Jim." Great, as if she wouldn’t recognize her own brother’s voice. "I, uh, we’re all here; the captain, Lucas, Tony, Miguel...everyone." He didn’t know what to say. What would Joey want to know? "Uh, Alex is fine, Joey. He landed in the water too, but he’s fine. He’s waiting in the hall. He’s really worried about you, we all are, so uh...you have to wake up soon, Joey. You have to come back to us. Because," Damn, Jim thought, he had promised himself he wasn’t going to break down in front of her. "Because, I need you."
Jim sniffed and took a breath.

"Joey, there’s something I never told you. Something I really should have said  a  long time ago. You know, when Andrea and I were still together, and you and her got in that huge fight, and she called you...she said some bad things about the way you were born,  and that you weren’t really my sister. and I defended her and not you? I’m so sorry about that, Joey... I wish I could take it all back. Because you are my sister, no matter what some DNA test says, or anyone who challenges us. You’re a true Brody, Jo, and even though I might pretend not to sometimes, I really like having a little sister to look out for. But I can’t look out for you this time, I can’t protect you from this. But I will help you get through it. I promise. You just open your eyes and come back to us, and we’ll get through this."

Jim wiped a tear with one hand as Wendy stepped forward to hand him a tissue.
"Dr. Smith..does she...can you read her mind? Is she in there?"
Wendy nodded.
"Yes."
"Is she hurting? Can she hear me?"
Wendy sighed, and touched his shoulder. She closed her eyes and tried to focus on Joey’s stream of subconscious. What she felt amazed her. In all her years of medicine, her telepathy had helped her to diagnose ailments in patients who couldn’t communicate what was wrong, but she had never felt something  like this from one so injured.
"Jim, she knows you’re here. I don’t know if she can understand what you’re saying. But she knows you’re here. But...holding her hand...in her mind, it’s not you...there’s a man. He’s got dark, wavy hair, and the bluest eyes...and he’s holding her. And she’s at peace. Her mind, and her body...she’s happy, Jim. She can’t feel any pain at all. I’m not even sure she’s aware that something happened to her."
"That’s Jasper..." Jim gasped. "He’s with her." Desperately, he squeezed Joey’s hand. "Joey, please. Open your eyes. Come back, Jo, please."


Miguel stepped into the hallway. When Jim had come back from seeing Joey, he had haltingly told him what had happened, and what Wendy had said. Miguel felt a rock sink in his chest. If Joey was  at peace where she was, that meant she wasn’t going to fight to come back home. She had no reason to, if she knew that all she had to face in this world was pain. Jasper held one hand in a tug of war. Now, Miguel wanted to add some weight to the other side. He slipped around the corner and watched the nurses at the station. He could see the door to Joey’s room on the other end of the hallway, but access was forbidden to all but family. Which meant that Jim was the only one allowed inside. But Miguel had to get in there.

He watched the nurses as they focused on their paperwork, carefully flipping through one chart, jotting a note or two, and then placing it back on the rack. He waited until all but one went on rounds, watching from his spot on the wall. And then he stepped forward, and walked towards her room, banking on the hope that if he looked like he belonged there, no one would question him. He was right, and he ducked into Joey’s room without confrontation. What he saw terrified him.

"Oh, dear God." he whispered under his breath. He walked over to her, trying to remember that beneath the stitches and the machines, there was someone that he loved. He closed his eyes and pictured her face from a few days ago in his memory. He had told her about the Thanksgiving dinner at the Bridger’s and she had looked so crestfallen that she couldn’t go. He had hugged her and said that he would treat her to a dinner on their own. She had laughed, thinking that he was joking. He hadn’t been.
Now, he touched her hand, gently.
"Joey? It’s Miguel. I, I know you’re probably wondering what I’m doing here, because I’m not Jim…and that’s probably who you want to hear more than anyone…but I had to come, Joey."

He sat down in the chair and sighed.
"I know this isn’t exactly the best time for me to say this to you, and I know that I shouldn’t tell you this when you’re asleep, and believe me, I’ll say this again when you come back…and if when I’m done, you want to come back and smack me, well, that will be just fine, because at least you’ll be back with us…"
Miguel took a breath.
"Jim needs you, Joey. He needs to have a little sister around because, well, it makes him feel special. It makes him feel needed, and loved, just to have someone around who doesn’t have to be there, but chooses to be there. Well, ok, you’re a crew member too, but you didn’t have to choose seaQuest, and I know that having you there means so much to him…" Miguel shook his head. He knew he was rambling and her poor swollen brain was probably having the hardest time keeping up with his train of thought. If she could even hear what he was saying at all. With a breath,

Miguel started again.
"What I’m trying to say, Jo,…is that I need you, too. I know you think I see you as just "Jim’s little sister" …and for awhile that was true…but I need you as more than that. Because, when I see you come on duty, I smile, because I know that the next 8 hours of my life will go much faster when you’re there. Because, when you laugh, I can’t help but smile, and when you talk to me, I can’t help but feel special. I know that you just lost someone that you care very much about. And I know that he’s there, with you, right now.  And I’m thankful for that, because you don’t have to be alone. But what I want to say is…you won’t be alone over here either, Joey. I could never take the place of Jasper, and I don’t want to. But I will be here, and love you, and comfort you, and do every little thing that you need to get you through this. And someday, maybe, I can hold a place in your heart. But Joey…please…you can’t stay there, ok? I know Jasper is there with you, but we’re here with you too. And I’m begging you, when you choose between that place and here…please choose us, Joey. You have to decide…and I’m begging you to choose me…"

Miguel jumped as a hand came down on his shoulder.
"What are you doing in here?" Jim whispered harshly. Miguel stood up.
"I, uh.. I wanted to see her…uh…how much did you just hear?"
"Everything." Jim set his jaw. He hadn’t known that Miguel felt that way. And what’s more, he didn’t know how Joey felt about Miguel. But either way, that was not the kind of thing his sister needed to hear right now. "Why did you say all of that to her?"
"Please, can we go into the hall? I don’t want her to hear us."

With a nod, Jim agreed. He was right. Best not to upset Joey any more than she was. In the hall he continued.
"Why did you say all that, Miguel?"
"Because,…because it’s the truth, Jim. And I’ve felt this way for a long time, I just never told her. And I know that she’s got Jasper with her right now, but I wanted to remind her that she has people over here who love her too." His eyes welled up. "Jim, don’t be mad. I didn’t say it without thinking, I really meant it."
Jim sighed. He didn’t know what to think. But he wasn’t angry. He just hadn’t known.
"I’m not…I’m not angry. I just…I just want her back."
"I know." Miguel stepped forward and hugged Jim. Jim wrapped his arms around Miguel, and for the first time, began to openly cry.

An alarm sounded from within Joey’s room. Instantly, a slew of medical staff swarmed into the hallway, pushing aside Miguel and Jim.
"Wha, What’s happening?" Miguel asked. There was no response as the doctors pushed into the room.
"Joey!" Jim called, trying to step inside, but a nurse had blocked his entrance.
"Sir, you’ll just have to wait outside."
And then the door was shut.
In frustration, Jim pounded his fist on the door.
"Oh my God, she’s dead…she’s dead…"
"You don’t know that." But there was no conviction in Miguel’s voice.

     Tony stood up as Natalie and Anya came walking into the waiting room.
"What are you doing here?" He asked, wrapping his arms around Anya.
"We couldn’t stand sitting in that house, not knowing what’s going on when our place is here with you."
Lucas stood up and walked over to Natalie. He touched her cheek.
"Thank you." he said softly, kissing her on the lips. Ford cleared his throat. He was glad that they were here, but he had also spoken to Bridger and he knew how upset the man was about Anya and Tony. Tony glanced at Ford and then back at Anya. Sighing, he dropped his embrace and pulled her over to the sofa beside him. Natalie saw the look Ford had given Tony and Anya. She didn’t know what was going on. She made a mental note to ask Anya about it later.
"How is your friend?" She asked Ford gently. He shook his head.
"We, uh. We don’t  know. It doesn’t look good though."
Ford didn’t know what else to say.  He felt awkward with the girls here, especially since the captain had specified in no uncertain terms that two of them were to be nowhere near each other. And he didn’t know how to explain what was going on, and he didn’t want to share his grief with anyone who didn’t feel it as well.
"I’m going to go…somewhere." he said, nudging Loni and getting up. She started to get up and follow him, but he motioned her to stay. "No..thanks though… I’m just going to go."
Without a word, Loni nodded. She understood. Jonathan was the kind of man who wanted to be strong, and he couldn’t bare his feelings in front of anyone. Natalie looked at Lucas.
"Did…did I say something?" She asked. Lucas shook his head.
"No, it’s just…They don’t think that Joey is going to make it." His eyes welled up. Natalie wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Oh God, I’m so sorry." She bit her lip, wishing that there was something she could do. She felt awkward staying home, but she felt even worse here. She didn’t really belong here, except for the fact that it was her uncle’s crew. She glanced at Anya, trying to read her eyes. Anya shook her head and took Tony’s hand.
"Do you guys want us to get you anything? Water? Something? Anything?" She felt helpless. Tony squeezed her hand and lay his head on her shoulder.
"Just be here?
"Of course."

A thousand thoughts were running through Lucas’ head as he sat down with Natalie. He was glad that she had come to be with him. He didn’t want to be alone. And somehow, he felt protected with her nearby him. He hadn’t realized it until he had woken up with her in his arms. She had been sleeping so peacefully, like there was no where else  she could have felt safer than beside him. But there was an aching inside his chest. He couldn’t help but feel guilty for being with the one he cared about. He looked at Dagwood, who was seated on the floor, staring at the specks on the linoleum. Loni was resting her head against the back of the couch, pretending not to notice the two couples in the room. Suddenly, Lucas was struck with a sudden desire to be anywhere but there.
"Hey, Nat?" He whispered. "How about we go and bring back some sodas or something?"
Natalie nodded, knowing that Lucas just needed to get away from the cold room for awhile.

Tony watched them leave and squeezed Anyas hand.
"I’m sorry." He said.
"For what?" she asked. Tony sighed.
"Come on. I know you saw Ford’s look when you came in the room. Obviously, the Captain told him about us."
Anya nodded.
"I knew he would. But Tony, I’m not worried about "you and I" right now. I’m worried about you. How are you holding up?"
Tony looked over at her, willing himself not to cry.
"I just, I don’t understand. It’s so not fair, Nat. Not now. Joey is one of 3 people onboard who treat me like a person, ya know?  And you know what I keep thinking?"
"No, what’s that?"
"That I didn’t tell her thank you for…for everything. And I might not get to. But Nat, I don’t…I don’t want to make the same choice with you." Tony looked at Loni, and then at Dagwood. He stood up, pulling her up by her hand. "Walk with me, please?"
Anya nodded and followed him out of the room and into the hallway. They stopped by  a window at the end of the corridor.
"Natty, I know we’re in trouble right now. But I don’t care. I have had the BEST time with you, even if we were risking our lives in a hurricane for most of it." He smiled, weakly. "I know the Captain’s mad at me…but I don’t regret it, any of it."
Anya started to say something, but Tony shook his head. It didn’t feel right. He didn’t want the first affirmation of a relationship to come in the ICU when one of his best friends was near death. Even though Joey would definitely approve, he thought.
"No, don’t. I just, I wanted you to know, that’s all."
Ford walked down the hall until he saw Jim and Miguel crumpled on the floor against the wall. He jogged up to them.
"What happened?" Panic filled his voice. Jim couldn’t do anything but shake his head. Ford turned and ran to the family waiting room.
"Captain Bridger!?" He called, throwing open the door. He spied Wendy on the couch, seated next to Westphalen. He grabbed her by the hands. "Wendy, something’s happened." He said, pulling her into the hallway.
"What?" Bridger asked, jumping up. He saw Miguel and Jim on the floor. "Oh dear God."
Wendy knelt beside Jim for a moment.
"What happened?" She asked, gently scanning his thoughts for answers. What she got back was intence fear and confusion. She stood up. "I’m going to go find some answers."
Bridger wrapped his arm under Jim’s shoulders and pulled him up. With help from Miguel and Kristin, he got the group back into the waiting room. Alex got up from his corner and  grabbed onto Jim.
"Jim?" He asked. But he didn’t need an answer, he could see it in his eyes. "Oh, God."
The door flew open, revealing Wendy. She cast a worried look at Nathan and then looked to Miguel.
"Dr. Curtis will be in in a moment." She knelt by Jim. "Jim, she’s alive." She assured him. Jim looked up, not sure if he believed her.
"Then what’s going on?"
"There was a…a complication, but she’s going to be fine."
"Yes, she is." Dr. Curtis’ voice came from the doorway. He stepped into the room and knelt beside Wendy and Jim.
"Mr. Brody, your sister had an irregular heartbeat. That was the alarms that you heard. But we treated it with medication, and she’s going to be fine. She’s waking up now, she’s a little dazed from the medication, and she’s not too sure of what happened. But she’s going to be just fine."
Jim stood up.
"I want to see her."
"You’ll have to wait…"
"No! I want to see her now!" Jim pushed his way into the hallway and into Joey’s room.

Lucas dropped the last quarter into the soda machine and selected a cherry cola. As it popped out of the machine, he picked it up and smiled weakly at Nat. He shook his head just slightly enough so that she knew that something was on his mind.
"What?" She asked. Lucas sighed.
"We never really talked about what happened. Between us, I mean."
"Lucas, this isn’t the time or place…"
"No, I know. I know." He smiled. "Nat, it really means a lot that you came. Really."
"Lucas, I meant what Anya said, too. There is no other place I’d rather be. There is no where else I’d rather be. I belong here  with you, no matter what you’re going through."
Lucas wrapped his arm around her, feeling the cold soda cans pressing up against his chest.
"Lucas! Natalie!"
Both of the jumped at Bridger’s voice. He sounded angry. Lucas turned and glanced between Natalie and Bridger.
"Captain.."
Nathan shook his hand.
"She’s alive. She’s going to be ok. She’s awake."
Lucas grinned from ear to ear and dropped his armful of soda cans to the floor, where a couple broke apart and began spraying foam on the floor.
"Ha!" He hollered, wrapping his arms around Natalie and gripping her tight. Bridger cleared his throat.
"We’ll talk about you two…later." He raised his eyebrow and turned down the hallway.

TO CHAPTER 3