Title – Duty

Summary – Reflections from a hospital bed. Spoilers for 1x07. 500 word vignette.

Rating – G

Disclaimer – The Event belongs to Nick Wauters. I'm just playing in his sandbox.

A/N – Please review! I don't care if it's constructive (though I'd like it to be), or if it's a flame consisting of nothing more than "Ur mum's mum's hairdresser's mum!" – anything, please.

A/N 2 – This is a drabble that takes place during 1x07, I Know Who You Are. There are spoilers, so if you haven't seen it - don't read.

His eyes open, close. Blink. Turns his head to the side, groggily. Sterling is there, sitting, staring at him. It's a cold stare.

Blood test…they'd done a blood test. He tenses, wills himself to relax – always assume it's a bluff, he tells himself – and tries to act as innocent as possible. He still can't hold in a sigh of relief when Sterling tells him the blood is human.

Thomas must've gotten out.

And then...what? Murphy? They'd framed Murphy? He supposes it was inevitable; someone needed to be blamed. Someone had to take the bullet meant for him. It is more important, after all, that his people be saved.

He doesn't like it. He'd had beers with Murphy. Not often, but often enough to know he was a decent guy. Wrongful imprisonment hits close to home. But—he has to keep his priorities straight. Sometimes, you have to sacrifice for the greater good. Even if that sacrifice means doing things you don't want to do. Doing things that you can't do, not if you want to look at yourself in the mirror ever again.

He's starting to sound just like Thomas.

Moderation, he tells himself. Thomas hadn't been wrong, really, he'd just gone too far.


He leans back into his bed and says something, because he has to. It's offhanded, cool, detached – that's all he can muster, now – and then Sterling says something that sets his hair on end, turns his blood cold.

You couldn't possibly understand.

The words are simple, ordinary. But the tone – the tone tells him that there's nothing mundane about them. The words are far too sharp, far too bitter. He's worried, now, about Murphy, but there's nothing he can do. All he'd get for turning himself in is torture and the loss of any hope his people would be released – peacefully – any time soon.

He hopes they don't hurt Murphy too bad.

Sterling'd left already, but he resists the urge to shake his head. The guard posted outside might see, and people with concussions don't shake their heads. But that's all he wants to do right now, shake his head and get the thoughts to just fall out.

It reminds him too much of her.

He hates himself for abandoning them. His people, her, Thomas – during the explosion. Now Murphy.

He hates himself for letting himself think about these things. He hates himself for letting himself see their faces whenever he shuts his eyes. For feeling guilty.

For living. For being free.

He closes his eyes – forcefully – and wills himself to let their faces go. They're gone. She's gone. Murphy's gone. He can't get them back, not ever, not by thinking about it. The only thing he can do is march on.

He might fix it. Someday. Maybe.

But for now, for now he has to shoulder it and keep on task. He has to help get them out, however necessary.

It's on him to sacrifice. It's his duty.