Author: RowenaR

Rating: T

Category: Drama/Angst

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: Of course everything is right between Evan Lorne and Laura Cadman. After all, a snake in the head on your family visit is one of the most normal things in the world.

A/N: I said I had something in store, didn't I? So... this time... not so much action but lots of psycho stuff. I got a little tired of stories that were traumatizing the characters but never writing about the consequences of that. Et voila, trauma story. Also beta'ed by mac of course... with lots of wonderful snark for me (because secretely I'm writing all those stories just to get her snark, you know... but don't tell her that!).

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 11: Chasing Your Shadow

"I don't want to spend the rest of my days
Running around, chasing your shadow
So please don't let this chance slip away
If you waste it this time
I won't be here tomorrow."

Hurricane #1, "Step Into My World"

Prologue

She's been watching him. For three weeks now, ever since they returned from their leave gone slightly awry, she's been watching him. Covertly, quietly, careful not to let him notice. She wishes she could stop doing it; just treat him like she used to before, but she can't. He says he's fine, goes about his duties as usual, settled into living in joint quarters with her… but he could be living on Earth for all she knew.

At night he lies beside her, pretending to be asleep – by now she knows his sleeping patterns well enough to notice when he's faking and when he's really asleep – but she doesn't dare act upon it… ask him about it… or simply take him into her arms and silently tell him everything will be okay, like she used to.

In fact… in fact they don't touch each other that much anymore at all. Of course there's still a kiss in the morning, one for good night, a squeezing of a shoulder now and then… small things, yes, but not as frequent as it used to be… and they haven't slept with each other ever since they had rescued him from the snake.

But at least as long as they had been on leave… there hadn't been this… distance between them. She'd believed they could make it without the usual fallout after something like this – in the SGC they had started to call it PSSD, post-symbionte stress disorder, a while ago – or at least that the fallout wouldn't be that hard.

But as it had turned out, she should have listened to the doctors and Colonel Carter telling her that sometimes the fallout would come with a time delay; as if the whole thing was like a bomb with a very long fuse. And as she has found out from watching him… the bomb is going off right into her face, a little more every day.

It's in the way he's lying awake at night and in the way he only ever smiles far and between anymore or in the way he's so quiet. Before… before he was quiet as well, of course. For example, he was quiet when he was at ease. She remembers lying on the couch with him, in his arms… she'd been reading, and he'd been content just to press a kiss to her temple now and then and otherwise doze off. And he was quiet when he was working hard on something, for example the whole thing with changing the rules. He was also quiet when he was pondering something intensely….

But the way he's quiet now… it's as if he's erecting a wall around himself to keep people away from him… or to keep himself away from people. It's not the first time he tried to build up such a wall but she used to be so good at tearing them down anyway. She'd just attacked them until they'd crumbled or snuck around them…

Now though she feels like if she so much as looks at the wall the wrong way, it'll break down and bury him beneath the rubble… bury them both. So all she can do is watch him build it higher and higher… and try not to fall apart while doing it.