She works in the labs or the kitchen, somewhere out of the way. She does a job no one ever thinks about unless it hasn't been done correctly. This is the story of her life. It's late and she steps out onto the balcony to cry, or to try not to cry, or to do both. Dr. Weir made the citywide announcement an hour ago. The Wraith are gone; the war is over. Claire, her name is Claire or something like it, simple, plain, Claire knows the men on the balcony. She recognizes them the way she might recognize her state representative if she saw him at the store, buying yogurt or chives. They are Dr. McKay and Colonel Sheppard.

They don't know she's there, or maybe they do. Maybe they feel they can explain why they're standing so close together on a remote balcony off the uninhabited tower five. Maybe they just don't care.

Dr. McKay is shaking and Colonel Sheppard has a hand on the back of Dr. McKay's neck. It doesn't look awkward or confused the way it sometimes does when men try to touch each other. It looks strong and tender, uncalculated, the thing keeping Dr. McKay upright, on this balcony, in his right mind. Colonel Sheppard draws him closer until Dr. McKay's head is on his shoulder.

In the explosions in the upper atmosphere, the debris from the hive ships falling into the planet's gravity, burning up in the sky, in that light that wavers and stretches across the sky like aurorae, like meteorites, like spirits, she sees Dr. McKay and Colonel Sheppard kiss. She sees the way their bodies know each other. She sees that they are both crying. She sees that she is crying too.