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The Grey Edge of Dawn

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Cold. Darkness. Fear. Breathes harsh, sawing in her chest, vibrating in her ears, the only real sound that was tethering her to reality.

Her heart was pounding, matching the shuddering booms that seemed to disjoint her very soul, rattling her, teeth on edge as she fought the waves of nausea that threatened to debilitate her, dragging her downwards in a pit of complete blackness. She fought to focus her eyes, squinting at the light that tried but failed to penetrate the depth of her eyelids, disallowing her from actually seeing anything but flashes of veiled colour that jolted past as she was moved.

Her eyes cracked open, the grittiness making them burn, forcing her to close them again with barely a glimpse beyond, a spitting fire shooting up orange sparks into the night, smoke making her heavy eyes water.

Panic vibrated through her, the moment threaded with a blinding uncertainty, a cold chill of some intangible threat crawling down her spine, making her very skin itch under the heavy BDU’s and equipment that she could feel like weights pressing downwards on her chest.

She fought to open her eyes again despite the black heaviness that pressed down on her, promising oblivion, but once more, the movement that seemed to dip and sway below her unhinged her from the rest of her body, making it hard to get her mind to engage enough to control something so innocuous as the opening of her eyes.

She felt a jolt, the pressure on her chest easing as the world tipped upwards, making her stomach clench against the need inside her to be sick and lose the contents, and she was suddenly on her back on a still, flat surface, hard, the edge of her vest digging into her, pinching her skin.

The stillness ratcheted up the fear inside her, the twist of her stomach compelling her to try to roll onto her side against the feeling.

“Shit.” A familiar voice echoed in her ears, drawing her back towards reality. She moaned, attempting to open her eyes again. A firm hand pressed to her shoulder, forcing her to stay down when she would have attempted to rise from her prone and vulnerable position.

“Carter, just…don’t move. You’re okay. We’re safe.” His voice eased her, and she slumped back, perceiving a jerk of movement hovering over her, his hand not leaving her arm, and she used that as a still point, allowing herself to relax into the heaviness, and she sunk into oblivion.