Spoilers: Up to Season 2 “Critical Mass”
Summary: Continuing with Heightmeyer's point of view.
Dealing with Radek's rant about children walking all over him, almost a week earlier, had been light-hearted compared to what she'd been over the past few days. She'd had quite a number of appointments relating to the sabotage incident; all difficult to manage.
On one hand, she'd had to reassure Elizabeth and John, pointing out the moral relativity of living in this galaxy, not justifying their actions, but not judging them either. Trying to gauge her patients' own reactions and feelings was proving hard though; it seemed everyone involved in this was tight-lipped on the matter, perhaps not wanting to implicate anyone. No one wanted to take the blame, but neither could anyone deflect it for fear of pointing fingers. The person who'd been most honest had been Ronon; he tended to be straightforward about how he felt - perhaps simply to minimize the time he spent with her. To him, morals didn't matter in the face of death. Survival was what he cared about most, his priority. But for the others, merely surviving wasn't enough; they needed to come out on the other end still being good people, as subjective a term as it was.
The other side to it was just as difficult. She watches the person they nearly tortured, watches his nervous fidgeting and his shifting eyes, as if he's waiting for an attack at any moment. She'd heard from Ronon that Kavanagh had been skittering away from him on any occasion the two had crossed paths by accident, not that that bothered Ronon much. It was understandable, considering the circumstances, and he seemed to take it as a consequence of the events, even though Kavanagh avoiding you would be considered a bonus to many a person in the city. Ronon didn't feel guilty, because he'd done nothing, and had he done anything, he'd accept it as necessary, even if ultimately wrong. He was the one person not trying to shirk responsibility.
But the problem facing her was Kavanagh's response to everything. She was kind of surprised he has remained on Atlantis, though she wouldn't have let him go back on the Daedalus without some kind of supervision, just in case he tried anything foolish. It was odd to see him broken by this. It may pass and be mostly forgotten about soon enough - he has a tendency to bounce back fairly well from his troubles for the most part - but something has changed. It was not the usual kind of woe; this was something that will never leave a person.
Thinking about his perspective, she can see how devastating it must be – to have his loyalty in question. Judging from everything he has said in their sessions, there's a recurring theme that he only wants what's best for the expedition. If anyone had asked her, she would have advised them that he wasn't as likely a suspect as they wanted to believe. But no one had bothered to tell her of the situation until after the fact, when they wanted her to know the details, to clean up the mess as it were.
The report stated nothing happened, but he must’ve known they would have done something. They'd wanted answers, having no mercy for him, according to Ronon's description – and Kavanagh wouldn't have had any answers to give, no way out.
Perhaps that's why he appears so twitchy today, like he needs to be able to spring up and run away at a moment's notice. But flight won't help, and unlike with all the previous issues in his life, she knows he has to deal with this properly while it's at the forefront of his mind. He feels he can’t escape, and he’s right. There is no running away from this kind of trauma; distance does nothing to change the past or quell the fear.
She has to focus him on the fact he's alive and well, generally speaking, but that he needs to get back to life, without this hanging over him, to be able to truly live. What they intended to do to him still counts, but it's not the be all and end all. Maybe she doesn't quite believe everything she has to say to him, about how what is done is done, what nearly happened didn't actually happen. Because, really, it says a lot to her about what this galaxy will push people to, or maybe just what they can convince themselves is right when it's a matter of dire circumstance.
But she isn’t allowed to judge them. She has to help him live with it or, better yet, overcome it. If she has to misrepresent her own response to it all, then that's what she has to do for everyone's good. Her place here is to make him feel better so that he can cope with seeing his potential torturer walking the halls. She can't say what he would like to hear most - who's to blame. She can't reassure him like she usually would in such circumstances, because no one can be brought to justice here.
She's not allowed to look at him and tell him in all honesty that she's sorry his superiors judged him that way and found him guilty without real proof. She knows they wanted to believe it was him; that that was the simplest conclusion. It's easier to convince yourself that the person you dislike is actually a bad person than to suspect those you like or trust. But their assumption was not just unfair and unjust; it was nearly disastrous. While they pursued getting answers from him, the real culprit nearly got away - they had wasted time in a crisis because of petty prejudices. Not to mention, what exactly had they hoped to gain from an unconscious man?
All she has for him are generic comforting phrases about the terrible reality they all faced that day, as if it had as much impact for most of the others involved. It’s smoothing over the issue so it feels like everyone was in it together, though she doubts if he can ever feel part of the community here again, given how they branded him a traitor.
He wrings his hands, as he hunches over the small table between them, and glances up from under his glasses to her placid face. She tries her best not to betray her own anger. What frustrates her is having politics, military and their odd hierarchy get in the way of her job – the incident covered up, glossed over in everyone's mind except her patient’s. What would be straightforward is complicated, taking another route through the chaos of the whole incident. It's on days like this she wishes more people could rant at her about their love life; sometimes she genuinely misses couples therapy. It'd be a walk in the park compared to the trials and tribulations of life, and death, on Atlantis.