Author: RowenaR

Rating: T

Category: Adventure, Drama

Disclaimer: Stargate belongs to Gekko and… all those other people making money with it. Anyway, I don't. Honestly. So – I don't own, you don't sue. Deal?

Summary: Laura Cadman has to learn that she can't solve everything on her own... the hard way.

A/N: So finally the new story I promised to publish over a week again. But then my laptop decided to break down completely so that I had to send it away to get it fixed (hard-drive's broken, I guess... but at least I have a full backup of all the important data). So it might take a while until I'm able to up-date in my usual speed, but I really didn't want to wait any longer with this. So... there you go :)

Anyway, as always: Not a native speaker, so please excuse any weird grammatical constructions, run-ons and typos. Feedback will earn you a cookie, flames will roast my marshmellows.


Protect and Survive V: Draw blood tonight

"I don't know that I'd make a good soldier
I don't believe in being violent and cruel
I don't know how to fight, but I'll draw blood tonight
If somebody tries hurting you."

Plain White T's, "Write you a song"

Prologue

Sometimes, she thinks as she comes back from an evening spent on the shooting range, she still can't quite believe how everything turned out. That she would be walking back to a certain Major's quarters rather than her own after her shift and find nothing wrong or strange with it… time and again she still finds herself being astonished at that.

She smiles to herself. She'll probably never forget the moment when he'd just told her to stop her rambling and had kissed her, just like that. And she'll most certainly never forget what had happened in his quarters afterwards. An ambiguous grin appears on her face. Sure, he'd still been a little sore from all the stuff that had happened to him in that stupid cave, but… oh, there she already is. With another smile, she opens his door and steps in.

He's sitting at his desk, and the only light in his quarters is the one shining directly onto his work. He doesn't really look happy, with one arm resting on the edge of the desk and the other supporting his forehead, while he obviously tries to go through the text before him. No doubt he's reviewing another of the files Sheppard gave him for the whole reg-changing thing. A few days after Sheppard gave him the first one – one and a half weeks ago – he'd already decided to sacrifice his spare time to go through them. She hadn't minded, because… no scratch that, she had minded, mainly because he just wouldn't let her help him.

She frowns as she remembers the row they had about that. He'd tried to give her the whole "I'm the senior rank, and it's my possibility."-speech all over again, and she had countered with the fact that if they were doing it in their spare time, rank wouldn't have any meaning anyway. And it hadn't been only his usual over-protectiveness. In fact, she'd felt very much like he'd insulted her intelligence, sublimely telling her that she lacked the competences to do this right. The whole argument hat culminated in her telling him that she might not be a political science major, but that she could still read and… she shakes her head. No. She won't think about that now. He had apologized and she had apologized and they had kissed and made up and everything was okay again.

She walks over to him, and he still hasn't stirred, totally engrossed in his work. Carefully, she puts her hands on his shoulders and starts to knead them lightly. He doesn't even jump a little. So either he has finally gotten used to her coming into his quarters unannounced or he's just way too tired to be startled. "Hey.", she says quietly and bends down to kiss the top of his head.

For a moment, nothing happens, but then he leans back with a silent sigh and rubs his eyes. She still has her hands on his shoulders, and even though she's administering very little pressure, she can feel the knots in his shoulders and his neck. In fact, it all feels like solid rock, tight from hours after hours of sitting at his desk, carrying heavy equipment, flying jumpers… she really doesn't understand why he doesn't let her help with the files. "You know… you wouldn't have to do this if you let me help you."

"Hey, we've been over this, remember?" If he looked only tired, he surely sounds totally worn-out. She knows she should let this lie, but it's tugging at her heartstrings to see him exhaust himself with this. All she wants to do is help, and with that she doesn't only mean kneading his shoulders or being his pillow.

"That was before you became a shadow of your usual self." He leans back his head against her and grabs her hands with his.

"It'll be over in another week. I promise. Now, come on, let's not talk about this again." But she wants to. She wants him to stop exhausting himself like this, because she really doesn't see much of him and when she does he's usually asleep even before she's done with getting ready for bed.

"It would be over even faster if you just let me help you, Mr. Mule." It's delivered with a smile, but she hopes that he can hear the steel underneath it. She's just this side of sick and tired of seeing him slaving away like this and not letting her lend him a hand.

"Well… even if I would… you wouldn't have the time, anyway." What the…? What is that supposed to mean? She lets go of his shoulders and puts her hands at her hips.

"Of course I would. I mean… why shouldn't I?" He turns around in his seat, and there's something in his face the looks very much like simmering anger kept barely in check and transferred into sarcasm.

"Because, if I remember it correctly, quite some part of your spare time goes into certain first aid classes and explosives classes." Good God, he didn't just say that, right? He didn't just… no way he's got a problem with her arrangement with First Sergeant Will Meyers to improve her first aid skills if she lets him play around with some of her explosives and learn the finer details of the art of blowing up buildings. She told him about that three months ago and he never gave her any reason to believe it wasn't okay for him. In fact, he even told her she could really use some first aid refreshment, still reminiscent of how unwilling she had been to treat the cut in his cheek.

"I don't believe this. We talked about this. You never had a problem with it. And now, suddenly, there is?" He turns away from her again, only his profile visible now, with the hard shadows from the sole lamp's light.

"That's because I thought we were speaking about a short term agreement, not a permanent one." His voice is clipped and controlled… like it was when he'd been talking to Carson before they'd obviously come to some form of truce.

"I never said anything about a "short term agreement"… and what exactly is your problem?" Still not looking at her. This must have been festering in his mind for longer than just a week. But why didn't he say anything?

"My problem is that I don't even know what exactly you're doing there, because you fucking never talk about it." She… doesn't believe this. He's jealous. That's so ridiculous that she didn't even think of that until now.

"I don't believe this. You're jealous. Look, you don't have any…" He looks at her again, and there's a hard look in his eyes she hasn't seen ever before.

"I'm not jealous. I'm just wondering why my girlfriend and my subordinate sees no reason to talk to me about what exactly she's doing with a Sergeant." This is just… exactly the reason why non-frat regs exist, a mean little voice whispers in her head, but she chooses to push it away as far as she can. He's just not quite himself, she knows that much. Because the Evan Lorne she knows would never mix up her being his girlfriend and his subordinate.

"I told you it's nothing extraordinary. Come on, you're just tired and exhausted and… let's just get to bed, okay?"

"Oh, one minute ago, you were pretty much set on talking. And now that I want to talk, you're just not interested anymore?" Sarcasm again. She knows it's his way of avoiding to shout at her, but that doesn't make it any better. "You know, that's what you always do. Something you don't want to talk about? Only one reaction: You run away." That's not true. Well, not entirely, but that's not the point here.

"Hey, I'm not running away! All I did was suggesting that it's probably better we discuss this when we're both a little less tired." He stands up now, in front of her.

"Did you, huh? Funny, way I see it was a pretty lame attempt at skirting the issue. And I wonder why you want to skirt this particular issue." God, why can't he let this lie? He's read Meyers' record, and the way she knows him he can recite it word by word, because he can do that with practically everyone's record. Evan knows that Meyers is married to a nurse back on Earth and that he's already put in a request for his wife to follow him here. How the hell did any of these scary thoughts get into his mind?

"I'm not skirting the fucking issue! I just want us both to fucking stop this, get into the fucking bed and clear it up like sensible people when I'm back from that fucking trade mission!" She's resorted to shouting now, and immediately regrets it when he looks at his bed and back at her and there's… a strange mix off emotions on his face.

"You know what? I think it might be good idea if you would leave now. Because I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight beside someone who trusts me as little as you do." She swallows and for a moment, they are both silent. That was… a low blow. And isn't he the one not trusting her? All of sudden she doesn't fancy sleeping beside him that much, either.

"Alright. Fine." She's grown quite again. Realization dawns in his face, and he looks very much like he already regrets having said that, but she's had it. She'd just wanted to help, and he'd gone on accusing her of stupid stuff and hurt her. She wants to teach him a lesson… and she needs time to get a grip on her temper. "Then let me tell you that I don't think I'll be able to sleep beside someone who trusts me as little as you do." And with that she turns around on her heels and is out the door before he can say anything.

Outside she takes a deep breath and leans against the wall. Evan Lorne jealous… he never before had displayed only the hint of a jealous streak… no, wait, he had, but he had always been able to hold it in check, let his mind thump down his heart and hold an iron clench around it for the sake of cooperation and team-work. But even the most controlled and sensible person – and Evan is one of the most controlled and sensible persons she knows – has their limits, and obviously being tired is his. Exhaustion has gotten the better of him, and she's already sorry for running out like this.

But there's also a deep pride in her that forbids her to go back inside. He did say things that hurt her, and she needs him to be the one coming to her and ask for forgiveness. She knows he'll come around eventually, but she really wants him to make the first step. He'll have plenty of time for that since she's scheduled for a three day trade visit to one of the planets they recently came across with Teyla, Jennifer Keller and Sergeant Meyers.

So she just turns and walks down the corridor to her own quarters, again and again wiping over her face to keep the furious tears from running down. And so she never hears the angry shout and the sound of his boot connecting pretty violently with a wall from inside his quarters.