author: claira
rating: pg
summary: she's killed someone. now what?
a/n: thanks to anna and julie.
disclaimer: i do not own

[ s t a i n s ]

She killed someone today.

Her level three hand-to-hand training has been tested. She has won.

Now she understands the darkness she sensed in the Colonel. She understands why her mother had hated her father’s career with such a depth of feeling.

It does something to you, killing people.

She hadn’t realized how casual she had become about death looking through the viewfinder of a MP-5.

It’s clean. It’s a target in a shooting gallery.

It’s not personal.

It’s not feeling the tension of skin under a knife blade. It’s not seeing the light in a pair of eyes dim as the power cable is cut by a piece of steel. It’s not watching blood splatter across a dirt floor, red stickiness clinging to hands, fingers…

Who would have thought a man to have so much blood in him?

She shudders, leans over and throws up. Again.

Tastes the bile.

She sinks down against the door of the cubicle and studies her hands. Her clean fingernails shine in the light. It doesn’t take much imagination to see them dirty, bloody - covered quite literally in someone else’s life.

She feels like Lady Macbeth.

Even her tears – hot, bitter – can’t scald away the feeling of what she’s done.

It was justified. No court would convict her of murder. That fact doesn’t help.

Out, damned spot…

* * *

Outside the locker room, her C.O. loiters. He hears the toilet flush and winces, knowing what that signifies. He’s seen it before.

The water runs in the sink.

Soon, the door opens, she steps outside and glances furtively up the corridor.

He makes it seem as though he’s just appeared.

“Carter.” It’s casual.

She’s been crying. Her eyes - and her fingertips - are slightly red.


The defiance almost covers the vulnerability. He wants to pull her into his arms, tell her that he was the same, that death *so close* does that to everyone… but he knows that isn’t what she wants to hear.

He’s not blind. He knows she considers herself on probation, even now, long after she’s cemented her position in the flagship team.

He knows that she thinks one sign of weakness will lose her years of work.

He can’t acknowledge the depth of her pain.

“You did good.”

Blue, pain-filled eyes meet his. Her jaw tightens.

“Thank you, sir.”

The perfect second in command.

He watches her walk away.

The smell of soap lingers in the air long after she’s gone.


[ b a c k ]