A/N: Lots of thanks to my beta The Wishyles! All remaining mistakes are mine.

The god of dreams

The silence in the infirmary's utility room was getting on his nerves. He would have preferred going to the debriefing sessions. There at least, he would be distracted and not reliving the marine dying over and over again. But Sheppard had ordered him here and wouldn't listen to any protest, even though he was miraculously unharmed. He had been standing right behind the marine when the grenade exploded with such dreadful effect and while his uniform was stained with the soldier's blood, he hadn't been hit by any shrapnel.

Now he waited for Beckett. Or any other doctor. There had been three serious casualties who urgently needed medical attention and he wasn't even wounded. So he waited and thought about the dead marine. He didn't even know his name. Was it easier this way? Slightly, maybe. Not really.

A nurse raced into the room and frantically unlocked a medicine cabinet, took a bottle and ran out without relocking the cabinet. He stared at the cabinet door, which remained wide open. In the cupboard there were medicines that were able to save a life. Or destroy a life. It was why the cabinet was locked. As he moved to close the door his gaze wandered over bottles and pills he didn't recognise or know what their contents are used for. Then he saw the amphetamines. They allowed him to work night and day when he couldn't afford a break because everybody's life depended on him. He didn't like them. They made him paranoid. It was bad enough the Wraith were after him he didn't need imaginary enemies as well.

His feet hurt. His military boots were heavy and uncomfortable. He bent down to untie the laces and loosen the boots. When he straightened, he noticed his hands were grimy. There must have been blood on the laces. He washed them in the basin and watched how the water turned pink for a second. He felt sick as he thought about the explosion again. The marine hadn't even screamed, it happened so fast.

It hadn't been the first time he has seen someone die. Each time he secretly hoped it would be the last death but he knew it wouldn't be.

When he dried his hands he saw that the cabinet door was still open. Hadn't he been about to close it?

His head started to throb. He briefly massaged his forehead, then approached the cabinet again. It would have painkillers: aspirin, ibuprofen, something. But then again maybe they were too innocuous to be kept locked up.

Then he saw the morphine. It was the 'good stuff' given when he was injured, by a bullet or something else. It took the pain away and caused a light euphoria, enough to drive out any dark thoughts. Without thinking he reached for it and then drew his hand back immediately, shocked at himself. He should shut the door straightaway!

He stepped back from the cabinet. The throbbing in his head was stronger brought on by tension and stress. The morphine would calm him he knew. Not without reason was it named after Morpheus, the god of dreams. But was it fair to the dead soldier to try and forget his death?

The dead are dead; it's the living which count he told himself.

Indecisive, he hesitated, then took a step towards the cabinet. He paused. Should he really take some? Steal medicine? The Daedalus kept Atlantis in medical supplies, so the loss wouldn't hurt anyone, but wouldn't he be breaking trust with everyone?

No, the cabinet was kept locked and if it was open by mistakeā€¦

He was ashamed of himself and wished that someone would come in and distract him. His team was still being debriefed. With so many things happening and a threat which was even now a growing problem they would be at it for a long time. He opened the door to the infirmary and heard the quiet urgency in the voices of the medical staff. The life of an archaeologist was at stake. She had been on the planet too. He closed the door and leant his head against it. Please don't die, please don't. She was someone he knew. It's true he didn't know her well, archaeology wasn't his special field, but she had been a member of the expedition since the beginning. What was her name? He brooded over it. Something with a D. Something French. He didn't remember.

Frustrated he walked up and down stumbling in his anxiety. His boots, with the undone shoelaces, tripped him up. He toed his shoes off. There was a jackhammer pounding in his head.

He took the phial of morphine. And hesitated. He passes it from one hand to the other and back again. At that moment a hand rested on his shoulder. When he turned around an exhausted looking Beckett, still in surgical gowns, stood in front of him. He gently took the phial and put it back into the cabinet before locking it.

McKay watched Beckett take off his dirty coat and throw it into a laundry basket. "You don't have anything to say? Aren't you going to scold me?"

"For a short moment of temptation, why would I?"

Beckett opened a cupboard and took out a clean, white coat. While he put it on he addressed McKay, "You don't have to wait here, we'll be busy for hours. Have a shower and change into clean clothes. You'll feel better. Okay?"

A shower, that sounded excellent.