Title: Responsibility
Author: Shenandoah Risu
Rating: PG
Content Flags: missing scene
Spoilers: Season 2 "Hope", referral to Season 2 "Aftermath"
Characters: Tamara Johansen, Everett Young
Word Count: 538
Summary: She escapes to the Observation Deck after the surgery.
Author's Notes: Written for Challenge "Missing Scene" at the LJ Comm stargateland.
Disclaimer: I don't own SGU. I wouldn't know what to do with it. Now, Young... Young I'd know what to do with. ;-)
Thanks for reading! Feedback = Love. ;-)

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Responsibility

She escapes to the Observation Deck after the surgery, after she's cleaned up and made sure both Dale and Ronald are resting comfortably and Barnes is all set to sit her watch. TJ is dead on her feet, too tired to sleep, too wound up, still trembling with fear. She could have well killed two of her friends today, out of inexperience, overwhelmed by a task way out of her league.

The colored streaks flashing past Destiny in FTL have a way of calming her, the subtle hum of the ship, the hypnotic play of coruscating rainbows. Standing at the railing she sighs deeply, allowing herself a moment of relief, of gratitude, of thank-goodness-it's-over.

Somebody's there at the hatch, and she knows it's Young.

Finally, his quiet, rough voice: "Hey."

She closes her eyes and nods. "Hey."

His footsteps come closer; she can feel the warmth of his presence next to her, feels the slight movement of the railing as he leans against it.

They don't speak for a long time, each hanging after their own thoughts, and she notices his smell, and how much it comforts her, even now.

"So much courage," he finally breaks the silence. "You. Greer. Volker."

He exhales with a shuddering sigh, and she turns her head to look at him, sees his eyes glisten, dark, one blink away from actual tears.

"And you were right," she says. "It's duty, too. We've all sworn an oath. We all have to do our jobs."

"It's more than that," he shakes his head. "You did something you knew you couldn't do, but you did it anyway. You were going to live with the consequences, if everything went wrong. I'm sorry if I came across as bossy."

TJ grasps the railing.

"No, I needed to hear it. The reminder. Because I learned something today."

"How to transplant kidneys, sure."

She smiles a little. "That's not what I meant, but yes, there's that, too. No, I learned what it must be like to be in your shoes. The responsibility. The hard choices. Giving orders for those life and death decisions."

He drops his head, bites his lip. Doesn't answer.

She reaches out, touches his hand. "I know about Riley."

He looks up, and his expression frightens her – grief, anger, self-loathing.

"Nobody told me. I suspected. But when I was operating today, I thought about it, and I just knew. I don't think what I did today was courage. That was doing a job. What you did for Riley – that was courage."

He turns away from her, stuffs his hands into his pockets. Hesitates.

She touches his shoulder.

And suddenly, they are holding each other, clutching arms and fingers, holding on as if for dear life. There is nothing sensual in their embrace; they are two drowning people with no hope of rescue, taking comfort in the knowledge that there is someone else who understands. Someone who has been there.

They stand there like that for a long time.

Finally he pulls away, flashes her a tiny smile. She wipes at her eyes.

"Thank you," he says.

And as he walks away she realizes she's just saved another life, one she didn't even know still needed rescuing.

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Thanks for reading! A comment or feedback would be very much appreciated.

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