blue flamingos

In Memoriam

Fandom: SGA

Category/Rated: Gen/PG

Year/Length: 2011/2172 words

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Prompt: In sickness or in health

Author's Notes: Supporting Character Appreciation Day, Week 2, for the sga_genficathon

Warning: References canon death of a minor character

Summary: For better, for worse... Alison's team post-Whispers

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

 

Art by clwilson2006
Art by clwilson2006

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When her door chime sounds, Alison seriously considers not answering it. She's gotten as far as taking a shower and changing into sweats and a Caltech t-shirt, but now she's curled up in the middle of her bed, her eyes closed, trying not to remember leaving Atlantis with Alicia and coming back with her body.

The chime sounds again. Carson said he'd come check on her, after clearing her in Medical. Alison actually feels a little sick at the prospect of seeing him.

Whoever's at her door knocks, and then her ear piece chirps on her pillow. "It's me," Dusty's voice says, low and flat. "Let me in."

Alison's still not sure she wants to see anyone, but she's talked to some of the others who are on off-world teams, and they all talk about how it's hard but worth it, being able to lean on your team. She gets up and swipes the lock.

Dusty's dressed in jeans and a long-sleeve white t-shirt, and she pushes away from the door frame, touching Alison's arm, her face drawn and concerned. "Can I come in?"

Alison nods, stepping back to let her in. Dusty looks around the room curiously as Alison goes back to her bed, leaning against the wall and drawing her knees up instead of curling up like she still wants to.

"You got anything to drink?" Dusty asks, already opening the doors in Alison's tiny kitchenette. She doesn't look over to see Alison shake her head, but seems to know Alison's done it anyway. "That's okay. The Major probably wouldn't approve of us drinking anyway."

Alison's not sure if she means Teldy or Lorne. It doesn't really matter.

"I'm going to make some tea," Dusty says. She's not her usual cheerful self, but her resolute normality is comforting in a strange way.

"I think there are brownies," Alison offers, her voice too soft, bruised sounding the way she feels.

Dusty looks over, a smile ghosting across her face. "The ones with nuts from the mess the other day? I'll find them."

Alison doesn't realize until Dusty's pouring boiling water into them that she's laid out three cups. "You've got –" She thinks, suddenly, of how she and Dusty and Alicia would hang out in one of them's quarters sometimes, red wine or tea and the latest movies from the Daedalus, Alicia teasing Dusty about whichever scientist she'd hooked up with that week, like neither of them cared about the rank between them.

Her eyes fill with tears and she has to stop, afraid that whatever she tries to say will just turn into a sob.

"It's for Teldy," Dusty says, her back to Alison. Alison reaches for a tissue, blows her nose and wipes her eyes. Dusty lost Alicia too; Alison needs to keep it together for Dusty. "She's just finishing up with Sheppard."

"Is that going to be all right?" Alison asks. They've had team sessions, lunch or movies, and once they went to the mainland to practice orientation (well, for her to practice, really), but always in public. Teldy maintains a distance from the three of them that Alison didn't really understand, but that Dusty and Alicia always did.

"It'll be fine." Dusty dumps the tea bags in the sink, grabs the mugs in one hand and the box of brownies in the other, and comes to sit on the bed next to Alison.

Alison takes a mug and wraps her hands around it, feeling a little better for the warmth. If she closes her eyes, she can still feel the fog wrapping around her, seeping cold into her bones.

"Have a brownie," Dusty says, offering the box. "I bet you didn't eat dinner."

"I don't want anything." Just the thought of food makes Alison want to throw up.

"Eat something anyway," Dusty says gently. "The sugar'll make you feel a bit better."

She sounds like she knows what she's talking about, but not in her usual confident way. Like this is something she learned through the kind of experience she didn't want, and Alison wonders who else Dusty has lost, where she was when she went through this the first time, and who was there to make her tea and give her sugar and check she wasn't on her own.

She could probably ask. Dusty would probably tell her, and probably wouldn't mind it.

She takes a brownie instead, and keeps chewing on it even when it sticks to the roof of her mouth and feels like paste as she swallows. Dusty's smile, the light pat on her shoulder, makes it worth it.

"Do you want to watch a movie?" Alison asks when she's halfway through her brownie.

Dusty shrugs. "If you like."

Dusty's not sitting close enough that they're touching, but she's there, the two of them together in the dim light of Alison's quarters, and Alison doesn't really want to move. She shakes her head.

The door chime startles her a little. Dusty's on her feet before Alison can even think about where to put down her mug so it won't spill, the door sliding open to reveal Teldy, her hair loose around her exhausted looking face.

"Come in," Alison calls. For a moment, Dusty and Teldy just look at each other, then Teldy nods and Dusty steps back so she can come inside. "Dusty made you some tea," Alison says, holding out the mug. "It might be going cold."

"I've probably drunk worse." Teldy looks at Alison and Dusty, who's settled back on the bed again, then turns Alison's desk chair to face them and sits down, resting her elbows on her knees so her hair obscures her face a little. "You did good out there today," she says. "Both of you. Colonel Sheppard asked me to pass that on to you as well."

Alison doesn't really know what to make of Sheppard; all she really knows of him is the stories, and the not-quite-defensive way Teldy introduced her all-female team to him. It sort of doesn't matter though, not when Teldy is passing on his praise like it means something. Like in many things military that she's learned about since coming to Atlantis, Alison's willing to take her lead on this from her team.

What's left of it.

"We're being put on stand-down for a week," Teldy adds. "We've still got duties around the base, but no team assignments for a few days."

Alison's glad that she can get up and go to work in the morning – that she has to, and maybe she can even lose herself in it enough to forget that there's not going to be a call from Alicia to come to lunch, or even a visit while she's on break or passing by.

She takes a sip of her rapidly cooling tea, washing the thought down before it can turn into tears. She thinks she'll cry later, when she's on her own.

"What about..." Dusty trails into silence in a way Alison's never heard her do, but it's not hard to see why when she catches Teldy's expression.

"We've got a grace period with the Daedalus due in a couple of weeks. If either of you have suggestions, I'll try to take them into account."

"Will it be another military officer?" Alison asks. Then, because she can't stand the way none of them say her name, forces herself to add, "Whoever they send to replace Alicia?"

"It's the usual way teams shake out," Teldy says, her eyes flickering down and back up so fast that Alison barely catches it. "Easier to watch one scientist than two, and we've got more military than scientists anyway. Or maybe a Pegasus native, like the Colonel's team."

"We could steal Teyla," Dusty says.

There's a beat of silence, where Alicia should be teasing that Dusty only wants Teyla because she has a crush on her, and Dusty protesting that everyone has a crush on Teyla, and don't say that around Dr Johansdottir because she gets jealous.

"I don't think the Colonel would go for that," Teldy says, smiling a little. "But if you want to try, be my guest."

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"Lorne's looking for someone to pick up training with the new people," Teldy says.

Alison feels Dusty's shoulder twitch under her cheek where it wasn't earlier. She must have dozed off – Dusty's hand is resting in the small of her back, and her mug is gone.

"We're getting a lot of people from outside the SGC," Teldy adds. "They're going to need more than just the basic intro, and I'd like to put your name forward."

Alison keeps her eyes closed, listening to Dusty try to cover up how pleased she is at being asked. It sounds good, and for a second, being happy for Dusty overpowers grieving for Alicia.

A second later, it hits her again that Alicia is gone. She must stiffen or twitch or something, because Dusty says, "Hey, sleepy," nudging her with her shoulder.

"Sorry," Alison says, straightening up and tucking her hair back behind her ears. Someone's turned the lights down even further and it feels like the middle of the night. Teldy smiles crookedly at her and Alison fights not to flush, not sure why she is. "Sorry," she says again.

"It's fine," Teldy says quietly. "You could probably use the sleep."

Alison waits for someone to say that maybe they should leave, that everyone needs to sleep. Instead, Dusty pushes herself to her feet and takes Teldy's mug. "I'll make some more tea."

"You ate all the brownies," Alison says, hoping her relief isn't coming through in her voice.

"We'll manage," Dusty says.

Alison still feels a little floaty with sleep, Dusty's clattering in her kitchen oddly distant.

"What are you working on now?" Teldy asks, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees.

Alison shakes her head, not quite able to put her thoughts together. She can't remember what she was last doing in the labs – it feels like it was weeks ago, not a few hours, a couple of days.

Teldy smiles slightly at her. "That's okay. You can tell me another time."

The door chime makes Alison jump, and she thinks from the clatter in the kitchenette that she's not the only one.

"Expecting someone?" Teldy asks.

Alison shakes her head, then remembers Carson saying he'd come by. Closed up in her room with her team, she's pretty sure she doesn't want to see him or Sheppard, anyone who reminds her of the planet. She gets up anyway, before the chime can sound again, and opens the door.

It's not Carson on the other side. Instead, she finds herself looking at Jennifer Keller, frowning at her a little. "Hi," Jennifer says, looking over Alison's shoulder, down the corridor, back to Alison. "Did I wake you up?"

"No. Is everything all right?"

Jennifer nods, but now Alison's paying a little more attention she can see that Jennifer's out of uniform, looking exhausted. "I didn't want to bother you," she says uncertainly. "I should probably just go."

Alison reaches for her arm before she can start to turn away. "Do you want to come in?"

Jennifer's trembling faintly under her hand, not meeting her eyes. "I don't want to disturb you," she says quietly.

"It's okay." Alison steps back a little, tugging Jennifer with her. "Dusty and the Major are here, Dusty's making tea."

"Oh, no," Jennifer says, pulling away, her eyes wide and startled. "No, your team's here, I'm sorry, I didn't realize."

Alicia talks – talked – about Jennifer sometimes, obviously interested, but Alison's pretty sure they never actually got anywhere. Looking at Jennifer, she's thinks maybe they would have done. "It's okay," she says again. "You belong with us right now."

Jennifer's smile is uncertain but there. "Are you sure that's all right?"

Alison puts her arm around Jennifer instead of giving her the hug she wants to. "I'm sure. Come on."

Jennifer hesitates again when she sees Teldy. "Hi."

"Dr Keller," Teldy says, offering a smile.

"Hey, Doc," Dusty says, already shifting through Alison's cupboards for another mug. "Good to see you."

"Hi, Sergeant," Jennifer says quietly.

"Dusty," she corrects.

Alison tugs Jennifer down onto the bed with her, leaving space for Dusty, who joins them after a minute, handing around mugs. "Wondered if you'd show up," Dusty says, looking at Jennifer.

Jennifer smiles. "Carson wanted to check on you all."

Dusty rolls her eyes at Alison, who smiles a little. She can't imagine having any kind of relationship with Carson now, even if she was interested for a little while. She can barely think about him without thinking about Alicia, still and silent.

"Hey," Dusty says. She tucks Alison against her shoulder. "S'okay."

Alison sniffs, her eyes stinging. Dusty's hugging her though, and Jennifer's knee is tucked against her thigh, and Teldy's watching the three of them with warm eyes, and it feels okay. She feels like they might all be all right, in the end.


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