Spoilers: Up to Siege Part 3.
Summary: Heightmeyerfic. She has to be the voice of reason among the chaos and the beacon of hope. Nothing else matters.
A/N: Very nicely betaread by Ellex and Fanwoman.
The Road To
She tells them all the same thing.
It's a small comfort, and it was designed that way, because no one ever truly gives up, they just need a reminder. In a way, that's all she's here for, to give them that reminder. Coming from anyone else, it might sound trite, but she's meant to seem wise and optimistic. She listens to everything they can bear to admit, pouring out their sins and baring their souls. They wait for some kind of judgment, but she'll never give them that, not even to those who are expressly looking for it. She repeats it day after day, hour after hour; in every session, it seems that in some way or other, she speaks of hope. She's heard the worst, and still, she professes that there is hope for them all - for their survival, for their position here, for their friends, for their family. For everything, there is hope.
And they often leave with a reluctant smile on their faces or, at the very least, looking a little less woeful than when they entered.
This is her job, to foster hope.
She doesn't even believe what she preaches. It makes her patients feel better, but it has never relieved any of her own problems. She can see how hope helps them get by, but it doesn't help when you know its purpose. That's why she no longer believes it herself. It's ironic that it's her duty to lie to them all, and she's so amazingly good at it. No one can tell she's slowly falling apart. The siege has come and gone, and she's not really any better for it. Her job never ends, but she deals so well, or rather, she presents herself as so perfectly fine that no one considers her to be anything but that. She doesn't like to give up the pretense. They practically need to see her being strong.
With that final thought, she tries to rein in her wayward attention and plasters on her normal, pleasant expression as Kavanagh wanders in rather awkwardly. He's surprisingly shy around her. It's like he's all bluster on the outside and loathes to show any of what is buried deep underneath. So far, she's only had glimpses of the experiences that have made him who he is. They aren't pretty, but then, no one's demons ever are. They're just different, yet still familiar.
He sits down and mumbles a short, unemotional greeting. Here he doesn't pretend to be something he's not, he merely attempts to hide his true colours in a different manner than he displays with others. Still, he's no different from everyone else. He worries, just like they do; scared of death, of pain and failure. It's a recurring theme in the scientific department. They all seem to wonder if they could have done more, could have prevented the deaths the expedition has suffered. They've lost friends and colleagues alike, though it's mostly the latter with him. He may not be very popular, but that's not to say he doesn't care in some way about the people he works and lives with. He feels the same guilt and anguish as everyone else, even if none of them see it or believe it.
And she has no doubt she'll have lied again by the end of this session, but since they're only white lies, they won't hurt anyone, not as long as she continues them. At least, they don't hurt anyone but her, and she's a big girl now. She knows life is harsh and often unfairly short, so it's just better for her to keep up the illusion that it isn't all that bad. She repeats that to herself constantly: it's just a white lie, one really big one, the mother of all white lies. It's almost as if that makes it better than all the others, the purest of lies, because it's self-sacrificing. Somewhere inside, she knows that nothing can really redeem it, that she's betrayed their trust too many times and they simply don't know it yet.
But the rest of her grasps the lie as tight as she can because, as much as they need to be soothed by it, she needs it more. She defines herself by the lie, because although she knows the truth, she'd prefer to keep it safely tucked away. It would hurt everyone else too much to know how she really feels, how she really is. She's the role model, the saint among them, and she can't bear to shatter that dream of hope and enlightenment – she'd rather she shattered herself. The price is high, but it isn't like she's dying for them - and plenty already have, so she's lucky there – so really, it's not that much of a hardship. As long as they never find out and as long as she never breaks, which is why she strives towards this ideal continuously. She can't afford the truth, and maybe, if she's lucky, she'll start believing the lie. Stranger things have happened in the Pegasus galaxy.
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