Fandom: SGA: Stargate Atlantis
Author's Note (but NOT a warning): This is a snippet from a larger WIP, posted at the request of your community mod, sgatlantislight.
Carson Beckett sat at his desk, staring at nothing at all. The light in his quarters was dim: he needed some light but didn’t want to see it, didn’t want to have to see it, not now, not this way.
Carson always made it through the emergencies. He always survived. Before even arriving in Atlantis he knew he’d have to pull double-duty, do hands-on doctoring in addition to his genetics research, but his ability to push everything aside when lives were on the line never failed to amaze him. Certainly, he understood the physiology well enough: it all began with stress, of course, the fight-or-flight response triggering the production of epinephrine, the heart speeding up and a brief burst of near-euphoria as his symptomatic and autonomic nervous system made him ready for the demands it would encounter. That it could all change into something sustainable for long periods of time is what amazed Carson, what left him surprised after the emergency was over, his mind and body exhausted, the biological gift exhausted, for the moment, along with him.
This time, the exhaustion felt different, though. He couldn’t put his finger on it, not now, not when he was physically and psychologically wrung out from the medical demands of Marc and Radek, not when he was emotionally wrung out from dealing with first Rodney, then John, and now Elizabeth. If only he didn’t have to, have to –
Carson felt as though he were being torn up, inch by inch, from the inside. He knew emergency medicine wasn’t his forté; he always fussed too much as he got to know people, got too attached. He never got over taking death personally, never got over grieving for those he couldn’t save, couldn’t make better. The research side was much simpler: data collected, theories tested, reports written.
Reports. He’d have to put together more reports on this case, that was certain. And the bugger of it was that no matter how he wrote them up, someone was going to be in a hell of a lot of trouble. John for beating someone in his command, Rodney for helping him. Marc for being American and military and, aye, homosexual. The only person not likely to be hurt further by anything Carson committed to bureaucratic officialdom was Radek, and even that wasn’t true because if Carson’s report resulted in Marc’s expulsion from active service with the American military, Carson knew without a doubt that Radek would be gone with him.
Those two – it was bittersweet, watching them together in the infirmary; they clearly adored one another, worshipped one another. Marc’s long confession to Carson about their relationship also showed Carson that the two of them were not in the first blush of a whirlwind romance, either. They were a couple, an established pair, something steady and consistent and stable in Atlantis, where nearly everything wasn’t.
Carson sighed, a long, low susurration of emotional pain. He was so lonely. He knew he shouldn’t be and he knew he should not but after all that had happened he had to, he had to, he had –
Radek hid his own hurt so well that until all this happened Carson had never had a clue. Not that Carson and Radek spent a lot of time together, not that Carson knew the man very well, but Carson thought he was a good judge of people and he’d never noticed Radek much beyond his relationship to Rodney, the brilliant sidekick of the not-so-evil mastermind. Radek seemed steady, and had always provided a steadying influence on Rodney.
But Carson had missed – somehow – that Radek was hurt. Even now, Carson didn’t have many clues as to why Radek was hurt, no more insight than Radek’s lover, really. The hurt was something deep, certainly. And old. Marc thought it might be from childhood, but the few times he’d tried to broach the subject with Radek, the man became anxious and skittish, a panic attack threatening to rise up and overwhelm him. Heightmeyer agreed with Carson that some aspects of Radek and Lorne’s relationship were part of a coping mechanism for Radek.
Coping mechanism. Carson snorted. He knew about coping mechanisms, about keeping secrets. He knew it as well as anybody, maybe better. He sat here, at his desk, freshly-showered, clean in body even when not in spirit, and trying not to because he shouldn’t and he knew he shouldn’t but he couldn’t help it even if he shouldn’t he shouldn’t he shouldn’t –
Carson knew how to keep secrets, aye. Carson was certain no one else in Atlantis knew he hurt, too. Carson did his best to be there for them when they needed him, whomever they were, whenever they needed him. But – Carson was so lonely, his chest was hollow yet tight and painful from loneliness. His heart constricted – painfully – every time he saw the couple in his infirmary, every time he stood watching them, like the orphan with his nose pressed against the shop glass, wishing he could have toys like other girls and boys.
Carson knew he shouldn’t be. He knew he shouldn’t – he should not – but after all that had happened he had to, he didn’t think he could stop, though Lord knows he would try.
Deep down, Carson knew he wouldn’t be able to stop.
His hand shaking slightly, he reached forward and retrieved the long cord from his desk.
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