Beta: Joe
Disclaimer: Don't I wish
Raiting: PG-13
Warnings: Angst, Apoca (kinda), Implied Character Death
Notes: This was written for the sgaflashfic Earth-Side Challenge over on LJ. It contains squick warnings, so you are forwarned. Any mistakes in this story are mine and mine alone since Joe did the best she could with what I gave her (never mind the deadline). So I hope you enjoy it.


Walking Wounded

Is it safe to look within
And erase all that's been
And all that's been between
Is it gone, tell me what went wrong,
'Cause baby I'm not that strong

And I'm walking wounded
All alone
All alone

"Walking Wounded" by The Tea Party


He was running and he knew it, but it didn't change the fact that he was going to run as far and as fast as he could. Because even a few hours lead was better than nothing. If he lost himself in the twisting maze of intersecting stretches of asphalt all the better. Because if he couldn't figure out where the hell he was weaving away from or towards, how the hell could anything else?

But it was the long stretches of straight road that he preferred.

He could run faster when he was following a straight line.

He could also run further.

But there was only so far he could get ahead.

Only so far he could get before he was overtaken.

And the running would begin again.

He had already tried to lose himself in the cities. Never staying in one city very long before moving on to the next. He'd thought that the faceless crowds provided in those over populated areas would give him some protection. He'd thought that as long as he didn't stay for too long that they wouldn't find him.

He'd thought wrong.

Because seen he'd seen them lurking in the flowing streets.

Watched them weave through the busy stores.

Creeping ever closer.

And when it no longer mattered which nameless city he fell in, or how long he stayed – he'd left the cities behind.

Left them because they were around ever street corner. Milling in the crowds of people. Reaching out towards him with cold hands. Staring at him with eye pleading accusations.

So he ran.

Ran with two wheels and a throbbing engine tucked between his legs. With only a wish between him and a fiery end mixed with twisted metal and the taste of concrete. Ran beneath a speckled blanket of stars that hid more secrets that they ever told. Ran down empty highways to gain speed and distance. Wound through sleeping towns and twisted roads to try and get lost.

With only three days worth of extra clothing neatly tucked inside of a small backpack, a think sleeping bag, and a two man tent that still smelt of spilt tuttle root soup as his only possessions. And with more money than he knew what to do with, it was almost as though the world was there for the taking. But in truth the desert landscape surrounding him was closing in, tighter and tighter by the day.

Because he was hunted and stalked on the ignorant planet of his birth. Chased and haunted by memories like a relentless predator that was never far behind. And always letting him go to start the hunt again when he was finally overtaken.

He hadn't been able to save them then.

And he couldn't save them now that they were dead.

He couldn't even make their deaths worth something.

Because he had no clear destination in mind, because he couldn't see the finish line, he had no idea where he was going to leave those memories behind. He had no idea when the memories would stop stalking and haunting him. No idea when the cold fire from a hell of his own creation would stop licking at his heels.

But soon, he knew, no amount of running would be enough.

Because there would be no more places to hide.

No more roads to race.

But he kept running.

Because strung around his neck were dog-tags engraved with the name of a man who'd had his wings torn from his back.

And the bleeding, soundlessly pleading effigy of Lt. Colonel John Sheppard was a demon that Rodney McKay still couldn't turn around and face.