Bridge of Tears
By Leesa Perrie
An AU snippet
"got to walk out of here
I can't take anymore
going to stand on that bridge
keep my eyes down below
whatever may come
and whatever may go
that river's flowing
that river's flowing"
Rodney stood on the wooden bridge slung low over the fast moving river. It was low enough to feel the roar of the cool clear water rushing down from the distant mountains through the soles of his feet, and to feel the spray as it passed relentlessly on by, never stopping. Even when the land was choked with the snow, the river kept on flowing deep below the ice - sometimes slowed, but never halted.
As a child, he had stood here and dreamed of being like this river. Dreamed of where it would go, where it would take him if he followed its course. As he grew older, he had traced the river's course to the sea, chanting the names of the places it passed through and wondering what those places were like - until science had chased his childish wonder away.
Now, all these years later, the cold ice water still flowed onwards as always and life carried on.
Except for Jeannie.
He leaned on the railing, shoulders hunched as he lowered his head sadly. So many had been lost and he felt the weight of their lives on his shoulders - the what ifs and maybes playing in his head. Faces contorted with pain, begging for relief, when none was forthcoming.
Jeannie's face pushed to the front. Begging him why, and he couldn't answer.
Why had the Wraith come? Why had it taken so long to defeat them? Why had hundreds of thousands died at their hands?
Why had Jeannie been amongst them?
Tired, he was so very tired - of the fighting and the dying. Of not being able to protect those he cared about. Of looking in a child's eyes and seeing the pain, because her mommy was never coming home again. Of knowing that Kaleb blamed them all, blamed him,more than any other, for letting this happen.
He shivered as a breeze passed over him, the weather cold despite it being spring here. Lifting his head briefly he could see the pale sun rising, it's rays beginning to creep over the trees that lined the river's edge - casting its light over a land that no longer felt like home. If it ever truly had.
Jeannie had always been happy here, at the family cabin in the hills. Somehow it had seemed right to come here - yet without her, the place had become nothing but a mocking memory of what he had lost. Of what he had not given enough time to - family.
Time passed, darkness consuming his thoughts. How long he stood there, he didn't know for sure - but the sun was high in the sky when he felt as much as heard someone stand next to him. Not speaking, not touching, just standing quietly by his side.
He couldn't look up. Wouldn't look up. He didn't want to see pity, or even worse, understanding in her eyes - and he knew who it was by her breathing, her delicate smell and her light steps when she had approached. Years of being on the same team had allowed him to recognise each one in this way.
Silence hung between them, and yet not awkward or strained. Just two friends lost in thoughts of their own making.
Soon after, another person approached them, his shadow touching briefly as he passed to stand the other side of him. Another silent presence, brooding and strong. Protective. Safe.
He was not aware of the tears at first, as they slowly ran down his face. Silently, he let them fall. A hand, small and tentative, touched his right shoulder in comfort. Another, larger and more sure, touched him on the left. An act of solidarity, letting him know that he was not alone.
The tears dried, the breaths that had shuddered from him now evening back out. Slowly, he lifted his head and allowed himself to be drawn into a three-way hug. He felt awkward - and yet, somehow not.
"Don't give up," growled Ronon, instinctively knowing his tiredness.
"You are not alone," breathed Teyla, gentle as ever.
"I know," he muttered quietly, as a fourth person joined them - holding back from the hug, until drawn in by Ronon's unrelenting embrace.
"Well, this is awkward," John muttered, but didn't pull away.
Rodney felt his strength returning, along with his determination and will to survive. Jeannie would want him to go on, to keep fighting. She wouldn't want him to give up, wouldn't want him to abandon his friends and give in to despair.
For the first time in many days, Rodney McKay looked to the sky and, surrounded by his team, felt the faintest glimmer of light.
"don't give up
'cos you have friends
don't give up
you're not beaten yet"
both sets of lyrics from 'Don't Give Up' by Peter Gabriel