Characters: John Sheppard, Rodney McKay Rating: PG
Not Go Gentle is one of the most powerful yet distressing poems
I've ever read. It's one of only two that I keep and have learned to
recite despite the fact that it isn't how I would hope I would be at
the end. I'm not so sure Mr Thomas would have been
happy with the last few lines added to his well known poem but I felt
it made sense.
His body had long since stopped shaking violently and ice-cold blood was pumping slowly through his veins. It would be over soon, he expected. He could hear the storm rage around him and the rain battering
against the ground, but he no longer felt its cold touch on his skin.
He was dying, lying face down in the mud on an alien planet, and he was alone.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
He hated that poem. He hated the undignified way it encouraged his fellow man to meet his maker--kicking and screaming until the end, desperately trying to stave off the finality of death.
He had never expected to die like this. He had thought the end would be swift. As swift as the bullet that had hammered into his chest, ripping him open.
He had been warm then, warmed by his own blood spilling out over his hands and down over his body. Now he was as cold as death and teetering on the edge of oblivion.
He wondered if there was something he should do, some indication that he should make to let the powers that be know he was ready to move on.
His mind wandered back to all the times he had cheated death, all the times he had laid down his wining hand, forcing death again to retreat into the darkness.
The cards had not been kind to him this time and death was sitting across from him waiting, watching. Impassive, but not oblivious to the turmoil going on in his head.
"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
At least death had granted him one last request--it had let him see his lover flee safely through the Stargate before the Genii bomb had ripped it apart.
It wasn't really that cold anymore, he thought. It wasn't as cold as his bed had been when they had taken Rodney from him.
A cold unlike any other had consumed him then, deadening his heart and numbing his very soul.
"Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
God he hated this poem, yet it spread through his mind like the cold had spread through his body.
Voices--was it voices or the wind? Hadn't his grandmother told him that when it was time to die someone you loved would come for you?
Who would come for him? He doubted that anyone he'd known loved him enough to take time away from eternal bliss to take him by the hand and lead him through oblivion.
He loves you, someone whispered.You know he does.
"But he's not here," John whispered. "He's safe. I saved him."
But he loves you?
"Yes." John was certain of that. Maybe it was the last certainty he had, now. "Yes, Rodney loves me.</i>
Then do not go gentle into that good night!
The words echoed in his head.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
No. He was ready. He wouldn't beg to live. He was a soldier, and he would die with dignity, not screaming and crying and mourning after a life that was near its end.
Love doesn't die, he told the voice in his mind. It just moves on.
The light, bright though his eyes were tight shut. This was the end, then? What would he feel? Was he floating, swimming, flying? Warmth briefly touched him before he slipped into the darkness.
Had he passed through?
Warmth surrounded him, and there was that familiar hum of a city that was alive.
This isn't death, he thought. This was a dream before the end, maybe.
He opened his eyes just a little, expecting the reality of bleak surroundings to crush him, waiting for the roar of the wind and rain to replace the heartbeat of the Ancient city.
A soft familiar voice was there to greet him instead.
"We thought--I thought I had lost you."
"How?" was all he could force himself to say through the burning pain in his chest.
A warm hand took his. "The <i>Daedalus</i> found you."
A sigh and a kiss, soft upon his lips.
And a voice, softly, echoing:
I could not let you go gently.