Title: Confessions in the Dark
Archive: Jumper Bay, FFnet, and anyone else who wants, just needs to ask.
Summary: Things don't sit well with Carson after the events of "Misbegotten".
Disclaimer: I don't own Carson, Rodney, John, or anything Stargate or Atlantis related. If I did, I'd give Carson to Gayle (she'd treat him okay), John to my friend Di (not so sure about that one), and keep Rodney for myself (yeah... he might die).
Author's Notes: I wrote this as a quick tag to "Misbegotten", because poor Carson... and I really don't think Rodney takes being executioner as well as it seemed.
Beta: Gayle did a quick read-through on this, so I'll give her the credit ;)
"I don't like the man I'm becoming," Carson whispered quietly in the dark. The now-empty mug of Scotched-coffee sat next to him as he stared up at the ceiling.
Rodney remained silent as he stared up at the vaulted Atlantian ceiling, tracing its patterns. His own empty mug was still clutched in his hand. For several moments there was silence. Finally, McKay seemed to come out of his stupor. "Why?"
It was a stupid question. Rodney knew why, he'd been there when Sheppard had brought Beckett aboard their hive ship – their hive ship – in the span of almost a week the city of Atlantis had its own hive ship, and Ancient war vessel at their hands. They also had lost them both. That should've been the thought that was disturbing McKay, but it wasn't.
"I took an oath, an oath that said... never do harm." Carson picked up his mug to take another swig, but found it empty. He stared in the darkness, barely making out the shape of the mug. "That's disappointing."
"I'll say," McKay muttered. "How does it go?"
Carson frowned. "What?"
"It starts out by swearing to Apollo, the—"
"Oh skip to the good parts."
Carson sighed, rolling his eyes up to study the ceiling. Normally he would have preferred to do his heavy thinking on a balcony, under the stars with the wind blowing against his face. Right now, the dark suited his mood best.
"I will prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone."
Rodney chuckled dryly. "Oh, that's a good one."
"To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death."
"Excellent." Rodney glared at his empty coffee cup, despite the fact that he really couldn't even see it.
"But I will preserve the purity of my life and my art."
"Did you just leave a part out?"
"You said to skip to the good parts."
"Ah, go on."
And he did. As he got further down the list, his tone grew bitterer, more self-loathing, until he finally reached the end. "If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times—"
His voice cracked, and he paused to swallow past the lump in his throat. Rodney looked up from his glaring, finally an expression of sympathy crossing his face. "Carson—"
At the unexpected kindness, Beckett found his nerve again. "But if I swerve from it or violate it—"
He clenched his eyes shut, sucked in a deep breath, before finishing, "May the reverse be my lot."
Rodney remained silent for several seconds, doing his best to ignore the deep breathing exercises his friend was going through in order to maintain what was left of his composure. "It's a good oath."
"Aye," Carson agreed softly, "it is."
"Be proud of it."
"Because you have something to hold yourself up to," there was an odd tone to the scientist's tone, almost strained.
"I failed it—"
"No," McKay shook his head vehemently, "you didn't betray it. You treated those—" he choked on the next word, but forced it out, "men... you treated them fairly, like you would any other patient."
"No, I didn't, I—"
"Stayed behind at personal risk," Rodney surged on, "and despite everything, you still wanted to help them in the end."
"That doesn't change that I'm responsible for what created all of this—"
"You didn't kill them Carson," McKay's voice dropped to a whisper. "That was all me."
They both dropped into silence again, lost in their self-loathing thoughts. Outside of the doorway, the ever silent but watchful John Sheppard stood like a sentry, guarding his friends from what harm he could. He just wished he could protect them from their own guilt.