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rocketfic | dark star

Title: Dark Star by Rocketchick
Rating: 15+ Pairing: Sam/Janet
Notes: A quick look at the SGC after "Heroes," as told by one of those nameless nurse-types that flit about the infirmary.

"Do you know what a 'dark star' is?"
"Mmhmm. One that's burned out its fuel."
Keenin (in Daniel's body) and Janet, from "Lifeboat"

The colonel hasn't complained once about how much his stitches itch.

I think that's the most telling thing.

He's sitting there, almost meek in the infirmary bed, plucking at the starched white sheet that covers him. Not a single uttered smartass comment, not a single grumble or whine.

His favorite verbal sparring partner won't be in to look after him today. Or ever again.

As if just remembering that, his lips compress and his eyes chase furtively around the infirmary, finding it unfamiliar, unwelcoming. Amazing what the absence of one small person can do to the atmosphere of a place.

Major Carter wanders in dazedly, and stops by his bed, just like she's done every other time he's gotten hurt over the years. "Sir," she murmurs.

"Carter," he whispers back. "I'm sorry."

Her carefully neutral expression nearly breaks, and she casts her gaze down at his feet to regain her composure. "Yeah, thanks."

O'Neill winces, giving her an awkward pat on the arm. She heaves a sigh and blinks a lot, clearly trying to keep a hold on her tears.

"They got Cassie out of school, they're bringing her here," she says, her voice rough and strained. "I think she's already figured out that something happened." She jams her hands into her pockets and straightens. "I should go topside and meet her."

"Carter..." the colonel begins again, his face tight in sympathy to her obvious anguish.

"I have to go," she says, and jerks away from him. She stalks back out of the infirmary, her eyes fixed on the concrete floor. A couple nurses skitter out of her path and she doesn't even notice. O'Neill forces himself to watch her go, and when she's out of sight he turns a brief look at me.

"Hey. Think I could get some extra drugs here? This smarts a bit."

I'm almost certain he's not talking about his injury.

She was a star under this mountain, casting a constant light in the darkest of times, keeping the team together with sheer determination and fierce loyalty.

Most of you won't even know why it feels different here. Most of you didn't realize she was even around.

But like a star that's burned out and collapsed, you'll feel her in her absence. You'll feel the pull from where she was, where she's supposed to be.

You'll see her in the lost little look on Major Carter's face when she stops by the infirmary out of sheer habit to meet her friend for lunch. You'll see her in the extra weight bearing down on General Hammond's shoulders as he explains to his superiors why he authorized his CMO to go to a war zone in the first place. You'll see her die in Doctor Jackson's eyes over and over again; there one second, gone the next.

No time for a goodbye, or a smile, or a thank you. Just another friend lost, just another casualty in this war most humans don't even know we're fighting.

The star flares outward in one last brief, brilliant cascade of energy and goes dark.

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