Blood Dreams

~ Written for the sga_flashfic "blood" challenge.

Everywhere.

He dreams of blood, sometimes. Carson went into research and until Atlantis, never stepped foot in an emergency room after his schooling was done. There are a dozen reasons why, all good ones, and the one he doesn't speak of is the blood.

He doesn't mind it -- doesn't grow ill as some poor students did, dropping out of med school in their first and second years because they couldn't learn to handle it. When he's faced with injuries or surgery he's always been able to do what was needed.

But after, he dreams of blood, so he tries not to find himself faced with the need very often.

On Atlantis, there are few of them capable of tending to the wounded. As chief medical officer, he's the one most people seem to want. Whoever is on duty when someone comes in, they always manage to call him in. He's glad that his presence calms them, makes them feel as though something is being done *right*.

But no matter how well he washes his hands, no matter how clean his clothing is when he changes out of his scrubs, it's there.

It flows in his dreams without heartbeat. If he tries to catch it, it escapes. If he tries to turn away, it drowns him. All he can do is stand and watch it, naming each drop as it passes. Every man, woman, child he's ever held as they bleed is in there. He doesn't name them all, for their blood is mixed inexorably together. But he knows they're all there. The living. The dead.

He doesn't wake screaming anymore. Takes it in stride with the dreams of flying and falling and driving a car without brakes. Sometimes he thinks he dreams then sleeps on and doesn't remember in the morning.

The Athosians have grown a fruit on the mainland which makes an excellent juice. It's as popular as orange juice back home. Carson never drinks it, its thick red color not a thing he can touch to his lips.

There is blood, everywhere, and Carson cannot decide why it does not let him go.