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 Post subject: On The Run (one shot)
PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 1:01 am 
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September 1st, 2013 - 11:25 NZT

Not for the first time, Claire wondered whether she was doing the right thing. It seemed that, for the last four years, she had spent her time running away, trying to leave her past - Tama - as far behind as she could. Even as she had tried to remain in Auckland, tried to stay in the place she loved, and near the people she loved, the ghost of Tama lurked around every corner.

Quite literally, when she was at work.

Tama had been her life. They had been together for nine years, nine years in which she had given him everything. She had seen a future with Tama, one with children, with family, with stability. However, Tama hadn't seen the same thing. He'd seen the opportunity to sleep around while having a committed fiancee waiting at home for him. He'd seen the ability to have his fun while maintaining his mana with his family and whānau.

Unfortunately - for him, at least - Claire was someone who believed in fidelity, and, as soon as she had found out that Tama had been screwing around for god knew how long, that was it, as far as she was concerned. They were done, the trust she had for him irrevocably shattered, any love torn to shreds. She still had the problem of working with the wanker, though.

Even though she had adored her job at Starship Children's Hospital, she had found it impossible to handle seeing Tama on a daily basis, even more so after she had found out who some of his partners had been. They were women she had to work with every day, even one of the younger doctors she had mentored, and that made her position untenable. Of course, she could have forced the issue, and used her seniority to turn the tables and make Tama's position untenable, forcing him out, but that wasn't her style. She had been so emotionally battered that she hadn't wanted any more conflict, didn't feel as though she could fight any more.

All Claire had wanted to do for several months after the split was to go home to her parents, curl up, and not have to face the world. She had managed the "go home to her parents" bit, but nothing else. Seeing Tama every day, and having to be cordial to him, was torture of the worst kind. In the end, she had to admit defeat.

It hadn't taken her long to decide to apply for other jobs elsewhere, the further away the better. She'd have taken a job in Invercargill, had she been able to get it. In the end, the offer of a position as head of the emergency department at one of the major Wellington hospitals had been enough to woo her away.

Still, Claire hadn't been happy with her decision, and had felt as though she was selling her soul for thirty silver coins. During all her time in Wellington, she could feel the weight of those coins in her pocket, hear them jingling with every step she took. It wasn't something that was good for her spiritual and emotional wellbeing, that was for sure.

In the end, she hadn't been able to live with herself, and had taken a sabbatical to do a lecture tour. One of her papers on emergency surgical techniques had garnered critical acclaim when it had been published, and Claire booked several dates worldwide. It had been a long tour, which, while gruelling, had left her mentally unstimulated, and more than a little drained. Sure, so she had gotten to see places that she would never otherwise have visited, and made some great contacts, but it just wasn't right.

Ever since moving to Wellington, Claire had come to regret moving out of a paediatric specialty, and, although she had taken the majority of the children's emergency surgeries that had come in, it wasn't the same. Her job was more about budgets, staff management and internal politics than the cutting edge of surgery, and she felt, once more, as though she had sold out.

She had hoped that the tour would be enough to cure her of her ennui, but it wasn't. It was crystal clear to Claire that paediatric emergency surgery was where her heart lay. She had her epiphany in a hotel room in Washington DC, and had made up her mind to apply for paediatric surgical positions when she returned home. It was the only thing that would fill the emptiness that had resided in her since Tama had broken her heart.

Claire hadn't banked on a visit to her hotel room after that lecture in Washington, though. The knock on the door had been perfunctory and official, and she had opened her door to find two US air force officers stood outside - a tall man who appeared to be high-ranking, and a short woman - smaller even than her - kindly "inviting" her to have a chat with them. It was less of an invitation than an order, and, at first, Claire had refused. Not telling her what it was about had been a sure fire way of making sure that her stubborn streak had kicked in like a mule.

In the end, it was the vague mention of a job offer that caught her attention, and Claire agreed to go for a walk with them. They headed towards a park where, it was explained, there was less chance of them being overheard. It all felt very clandestine, especially when Claire had to sign a non-disclosure agreement before they would explain anything further.

Claire had laughed in their faces as they explained about stargates, and wormholes, and being able to travel to other worlds, and had laughed even harder as they talked about parasitic aliens who took over human bodies, and the fight to save the galaxy from their control. it had taken a few minutes to realise that they were deadly serious, and they were offering her a job as deputy chief medical officer, despite not being military.

She had done her best to fend it off, explaining that her area of specialty was paediatric emergency surgery, not soldiers coming in from the field, but the woman - a Dr Janet Fraiser, it turned out - had waved that off. It was Claire's willingness to experiment, to pioneer new techniques, that had caught their eye, and they wanted her on the team. Thinking outside the box was something that could be applied to any patient, not just children, and it was that quality that they were looking for.

Claire had sat on a bench in silence, the cool autumn air nipping away at her, as she considered their offer. On the one hand, it was an incredible package they were offering her, which would far outstrip anything she could earn as a surgeon in New Zealand, unless she joined the private sector. That was something that Claire was passionately opposed to. They were also promising adventure, and new experiences, which held an appeal in itself. However, it would mean working underground in a mountain in Colorado, far from her family and friends, and not be able to tell anyone what she did, not even her parents.

That would be hard for her. Claire was close to her family, as were most Māori, and, despite living hundreds of miles away from them, she got home as often as she could. Being a few hours away was one thing, but could she really stomach being on the other side of the world?

She didn't think she could.

Claire asked for time to think, which was clearly not something that they expected. They gave her 24 hours, coupled with an admonishment not to talk about it with anybody, and they would visit her once more.

To say she was conflicted was an understatement. On the face of it, it was the chance of a lifetime, something that most people would never have the opportunity to experience, and something that most surgeons would bite their own leg off for. Claire wasn't like that, though. Her family, her heritage, were important to her, and she had lain awake for hours that night, trying to process everything. Eventually, just before dawn, she had called home, explaining to her parents that she had been offered a job, keeping it just vague enough that she wasn't in breach of the agreement.

Her mum had tried to talk her into just coming home and working at Starship again, but her dad, straight talking as ever, had told her she'd be bloody stupid to pass it up, and to grab it with both hands. Her dad had always been Claire's greatest supporter, the one who had instilled in her that she could do anything she wanted to do, and she was forever grateful for that. He was never afraid to be blunt and up front - something that Claire had inherited from him - and she knew that he was talking sense.

Still, it wasn't without a sense of trepidation that she had met with Fraiser and - as she had found out - Major Davies the next day. She bombarded them with questions - how much leave do I get? What can I tell my family? What kind of danger will I be in if I go through this stargate thing? All very reasonable questions, as far as she was concerned, although she was still in two minds as to whether or not they were taking the piss out of her. They seemed too serious to do that, though.

In the end, Claire had said yes, although not without a hint of reluctance, and had signed the contract. She was given four weeks to tie up her affairs in New Zealand, and get her arse over to Colorado. It didn't seem long enough.

Her mum had tried everything she could to change Claire's mind, even emotional blackmail about how her nieces would be able to get to know her, but her dad had put his foot down and come down firmly on Claire's side. Without his support, she didn't know whether she would have been able to withstand the onslaught from her mother and sisters.

So here she was, at Auckland airport, many tearful goodbyes behind her, and the plane preparing to board, still wondering whether she was doing the right thing. However, much as she had run away from things in the past, Claire now had the unshakable belief that she was, at last, running towards something for the first time in her life.

And she couldn't wait.


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