Author: RowenaR

Rating: K

Category: Angst

Disclaimer: Stargate belongs to Gekko and… all those other people making money with it. Anyway, I don't. Honestly. So – I don't own, you don't sue. Deal?

Summary: So now that Carson is back... is anyone going to tell Laura Cadman about it? Kinda spoilers for The Kindred Pt 1 and 2.

A/N: So... the TPTB decided to bring him back at last... can't they bring back Beckett/Cadman as well? Pretty please? Anyway, this one is written partly for the Beckett/Cadman thread and the LorneLovers thread (whom I blame for Major Lorne creeping into every one of my Stargate stories as of late... but I'm sure they'll wear the blame like a badge of honor ;)) over at GW. Hope you enjoy it, people :)

Another thing: For everyone who read "Out of Reach": This can be seen as a sequel, but doesn't have to. There will be a third Beckett/Cadman story, though.

Oh, and for the Lorne/Cadman friendship thing... I kind of borrowed that from Altaria Volante and her really great Lorne/Cadman stories. Hope she doesn't mind (if she does, please drop me a line).

Anyway, as always: Not a native speaker, so please excuse any weird grammatical constructions, tapeworm sentences (tapeworm sentence? is that even a word?) and typos. Feedback will earn you a cookie, flames will roast my marshmellows.

Seize the day

"If you really want to, you can hear me say
Only if you want to will you find a way.
If you really want to you can seize the day.
Only if you want to will you fly away."

Enya, "Only if…"

She's just arrived at home, after a particularly nasty mission to some bad guy planet or the other, when there's a knock at her door. At first she tries to ignore it, even make it go away with her will alone, but it comes a second and even a third time. So in the end she turns back to her door, with a scowl on her face and the words "I swear, if this isn't some life-and-death matter I'm gonna blow your ass out of this house." on her lips as she opens it. But when she sees that it's Evan Lorne standing there, she feels her face going all red in an instant.

She wants to utter some apology, but he just raises an eyebrow and tells her in his usual no-nonsense voice: "I'd prefer it if you'd listen first, though, Lieutenant." She actually gulps and beckons him to come in, still too embarrassed to say something. Then she excuses herself to get him something to drink, which is rather a maneuver to recover some of her wits before she goes to see him again. In her kitchen, she takes a few deep breaths and comes out with two glasses of water. As she settles down opposite him, he leans forward on his knees, and for a moment she thinks he looks like he doesn't know if coming to see her has been an altogether good idea.

"Well… nice to see you on Earth, Major. How's Atlantis?" She'd wanted to sound casual and everything, but unfortunately the whole thing sounded only flat and stale to her. Like trying to make conversation and failing gloriously.

"Atlantis is… rather well. I mean, apart from the occasional threat by Wraith or Replicators… well, the usual. Listen, Cadman…" He becomes serious, and she feels some inexplicable dread settle in her stomach. Like back when she'd come back from her mandatory rest day spent on the Mainland and she'd seen all the commotion and didn't know what to make of it. Ironically, the first one to actually stop and tell her about Carson and the explosion then had been the one now sitting opposite her.

She somehow feels like she doesn't really want to hear what he is going to tell her now but she never makes a move to prevent him from continuing to talk. "I don't know if anyone told you yet, but… there's been some… interesting development."

Now it's her eyebrow that goes up. What the hell is he going to tell her? And what does any development on Atlantis have to do with her, who finally left it a few months ago, because she couldn't take all the memories anymore? "Sir…" He holds up a hand.

"No, wait, let me finish this… A few weeks ago… we found Carson." She frowns. What does he mean, they "found Carson"? Carson is dead. Lorne has told her so, even was one of those who carried his casket through the 'Gate… and now he's telling her they "found Carson"? She shakes her head as if to shake off some unwanted insect or thought.

"With all due respect, sir… I don't think this is very funny." Her tone has become a touch icy, so unlike everything she's given him since they started to communicate with each other on a regular basis. It seems he almost hastens to smooth the creases on her forehead.

"Cadman… Laura, this isn't meant as a joke. We really found Carson, but… not our Carson." Instead of smoothing the creased forehead, the crinkles increase even more. She thinks it appears like he feels like smacking himself, because he feels like totally sucking at bringing people news that might disturb them.

"Not… "our Carson"? Sir… what the hell are you talking about?" She can see that he's really trying to get this right, but at the moment he's doing a pretty poor job of it. She really wants to be sensible about this, just listen to him, be professional about it. But just a few days ago she'd thought she'd finally shaken off the last remnants of Carson's ghost and then Major Lorne – the only person from Atlantis she still has contact with, because he somehow managed to break through her shell after Carson's death – goes and tells her they found some Carson?

He rubs his hand over his face and then runs it through his hair. "I know it's not easy… hasn't been for us, either, to say the least. But… when Sheppard and his team went on an SAR mission for Teyla, they encountered a research facility set up by Michael… they didn't find Teyla, but they found… a clone of Carson Beckett." A clone. She has become stock still, saying nothing for several minutes. A clone?

Technically she knows that if he hadn't come, no one would ever have told her about this second Carson. But right now she doesn't know if she should just hug him or rather shoot him for this piece of news. A clone… her first thought is that this would be so much worse than the Carson that had gotten stuck in her head for quite some time after the explosion. Knowing there was someone out there who looked like Carson, sounded like Carson… but wasn't Carson… in this moment it's almost too much for her.

"I know it's not easy to take in, but… I still thought you should know about it. See… he's… it's not like he's just an empty shell or something. No idea how Michael did it, but he's exactly like the Carson we used to know, even down to the accent." She's still silent. It's starting to get at him, that much she can see. But he didn't expect her to be perfectly okay with everything in an instant, right?

He starts to lose his patience, and she doesn't want him to go just now. So she finally speaks up again. "I… don't know what to say. I'm not… even sure if I really want to know about this. Getting over Carson's death was hard enough. Knowing that he's out there again…" He nods to tell her that he understands. She's sure he does, because they might not have talked much about the whole thing, but he turned out to be better at reading her than she ever would have given him credit for.

But that doesn't really help her. In fact, it makes her rather furious. If he knew that telling her all of this would just reopen all the wounds she thought were healed, why did he come here in the first place? Why not let her live in blissful oblivion, believing she had finally managed to ban the ghosts of Carson and Atlantis out of her head, ready to finally move on? She wants to tell him this, tell him, she doesn't want to know anymore of this, tell him, she's tired of all of this, but he beats her to it. "I know this must come of a shock to you. And I'd understand if you'd rather forget about all of this, really, I would. But… you know… I was wondering… do you believe in second chances?"

She pauses. Well… does she? Does she believe she could be happy with Carson again, right her wrongs, recover what she'd thought lost forever? Or does she believe in the whole "Give me reason, but don't give me choice, 'cause I'll just make the same mistake again."-philosophy? While she's still thinking, he gets up again, telling her: "Well… I'd really to stay, but I need to go." She blinks. Oh. It would be nice to accompany him to the door. Still feeling a little off-track, she gets up as well and brings him to the door.

She takes a deep breath. Even if he told her something she thinks he'd better kept to himself she still owes him for stopping by. He's the only one who cared to talk to her after she left Atlantis, and he was patient enough not to break the Carson issue too much even if her constant refusal to only think about all of this must have driven him insane. Over the course of the last few months, Evan Lorne turned into a friend, and she knows better than to scare him away with all her angsting. So instead of giving him the wigging she wants to bestow on his head, she just says: "Thank you for giving me a call, sir. And thanks for telling me, even though I don't…"

At her mentioning of the "sir", he grins a little and replies: "I don't mind being called Evan off-duty. So… I hope I didn't do too much damage… I'll hear from you, right?" She likes his shy little smile and the dimples, so she says yes, even if she thinks she'll stay mad at him just a little while longer.

So they finally say their goodbyes, but just before he reaches the elevator and she shuts the door, he turns back and says: "Oh, just one more thing… I've seen a few open slots on the Marine roster. You know, we can always use some explosives specialists… So… if you happen to discover you believe in second chances… give me a call, will you?" With that he finally steps into the elevator, not waiting for her answer.

Even after he's gone, she's still standing there, contemplating his last few bits, trying to digest them. And it dawns on her that she never stopped missing Carson. She never stopped missing his accent, his gentleness, his tendency to give everything he had for his patients... and the thought of seeing him, hearing him, feeling him again really starts to grow on her. So… what harm would it do to have Major Lorne… Evan look up these Marine rosters again and see if there was a slot for her?

PS.: Whoever found the James Blunt allusion will get an extra cookie ;)