Beta: shaedowcatand chase_acow
Disclaimer: Not mine
Authors Note: Written for the Body Modification challenge at sga_flashfic and crossposted to there. I really couldn’t think of a title for this. All Comments would be appreciated.
When John went down in Afghanistan - disobeying orders - they sent him to a shrink…not his first and one of the many on the road to Atlantis.
They thought it was PTSD; it would have been so easy to let them believe it too – he’d spend a few months behind a desk, in counselling, and his rank was safe. John had never been accused of taking the easy road. If he couldn’t fly, he thought, there was no reason to be in the Air Force. They didn’t let crazy people fly. So he took his chances, ended up in Antarctica, but hey, helicopters.
The thing about crashing a helicopter was it hurt, and when they fixed you up they gave you painkillers.The ones that made it so you couldn’t feel your toes. Pilots and painkiller addiction, another no-no, hence the second shrink.
He didn’t tell them that he wasn’t taking the meds; he’d been through enough psychiatrist offices to know that would do more harm than good. So he got to spend hours with the man saying, yes sir, it hurt, no sir, he felt in control, and yeah, they could stop the drugs whenever they wanted, because he really wanted to fly again.
The thing about Dr Heightmeyer was that she was observant. More observant than any military shrink he’d ever been to.
“I’d like to spend today’s session discussing why you’re not taking the painkillers Dr Beckett prescribed for you.”
She also wasn’t subtle.
It wasn’t the first time he’d been tempted to tell someone, but it was the strongest. He had the feeling Heightmeyer would understand in a way his mother never could have, wouldn’t ground him like she would have either, or the way his other shrinks had been eager to. He knew she’d try to fix him though, and John didn’t feel broken. He wasn’t; he was just different.
John flashed her his most charming grin. “Guess I just have a high pain threshold.”
What was the point of dragging up things that didn’t matter? On Atlantis he had more than enough pain, and if not, there was always Teyla, who was almost insultingly eager to kick his ass.
He was fourteen the first time, and the boy staring back at him from the mirror was weedy, scrawny. The cut on his lips stung, and his cheek throbbed, the result of an unmatched fight with Anthony Morgan.
All the months of teasing for being too small, to skinny, too smart, his parents fighting, his mother’s drinking; it was as if all that pain that had been boiling away inside of him was suddenly on the outside where everyone could see it.The boy in the mirror grinned, stretching the cut on his lips until his eyes watered. It felt great.
The next time that ache inside of him got too bad, he knew exactly what to do.
John wasn’t really the talking type.