A Matter of Kindness

Epilogue

Carson Beckett sat quietly in the back of the rec room. Through a mix of whining and threatening, Rodney had finally managed to convince the people in charge of movies to play reruns of Batman. The physicist was perched up on the edge of the couch, looking as if he wanted to leap up and start mimicking Bruce Wayne's moves. Sheppard has melded into the cushions, wearing a barely concealed smirk as he watched Ronon trying to stifle laughs under his breath. All eyes were on Rodney, who was now twitching with excitement. Carson sighed, biting his lip to stop himself from smiling.

Raising an eyebrow, Teyla asked if Rodney wanted anything.

"Yeah, need some extra caffeine, Rodney?" asked Sheppard innocently.

"What? Why would I need some…oh. Kidding. Of course." With an annoyed glance, McKay reached back and smacked John upside the head.

"Hey!" The colonel returned the blow, ducking when McKay swatted back. Soon, they were chucking pillows at each other and disturbing everyone in the room.

"Break it up, lads." said Beckett, rolling his eyes. It was incredible. Only a month and a half after Sheppard's ordeal and he was already back to his normal, cocky self. Rodney seemed to have no reserves about whacking the man as many times as he could, anyway.

Elizabeth looked over at Carson and smiled. The doctor grinned back, knowing exactly what she was thinking. We came close to losing him.

"Hey! What the hell is that? Get it OUT of my hair Sheppard! Ow!"

"Ouch! Hey! Give me a second here!"

Carson smiled again, greeted by the image of John leaning over a snapping McKay, trying to retrieve the bits of chocolate from the scientist's hair. Seizing the opportunity, Carson picked up a handful of popcorn and threw it in Rodney's direction.

"C-Carson! You traitor!" The entire room was light with laughter, watching the head of medicine, science, and the military commander attacking each other with snack food. Ronon soon joined in, getting a sigh from Teyla. Elizabeth laughed, placing a hand over her mouth as major Lorne tossed in some pretzels.

As Carson watched the beaming grins and smiles all over the place, he couldn't help but tear up ever so slightly. It's an amazing, resilient thing; the human spirit. No matter how hard you crush it there's always something there fighting. Finally, Sheppard grabbed an overrun McKay by the arms and hauled him up, giggling as Rodney snapped at everyone around him, swiping at his hair to brush out the popcorn. "It's all your fault, flyboy." he muttered, leaning back and crossing his arms.

Sheppard did the same, replying to a scowl with a lopsided grin. Carson sat back down on his chair and watched them a bit. After everything their friendship had been through, there they were. There were still walking on some thin ice, but with friends surrounding them and yanking them to safety, everything was slowly returning to the way it was. And Carson realized that it wasn't just a matter of healing and recovering that brought people together. It was a matter of pain, trust, assistance, rejection, forgiveness…

…And above all, kindness.

Fin



How'd you like it? I, for one, am quite pleased with the way it turned out. It's kind of like my first real serious fanfic. Yay!