Losing a Friend by AndromedaMarine

It hasn't hit me yet, but I'm not looking forward to when it does.

This was it. The full force of not having him around anymore finally rammed into the colonel. He didn't cry at the service, nor when they returned Carson's body to the Highlands. Rodney did, because he hadn't been afraid to show his emotions. Ronon had that distinct look of sadness on his stoic face, but he didn't shed any tears. John had the feeling that they would come when he was alone, or perhaps with Teyla. But John didn't know when it would hit him.

He was curled up on his bed, trying to fight the feeling of emptiness that was once filled by the good Scottish doctor. John didn't know how to act, what to say or feel, or even if he should leave his room and be reminded of Carson from everything that lurked outside of the confines of his quarters. He didn't want to cry, yet he had to. It was the natural course of grief, and Carson had talked to him about it before. This was different. He didn't want to cry for the doctor, because Carson couldn't be gone, not yet; it was too early, he was too young and his career had just taken off. He felt the pressure build up behind his eyes as unshed tears accumulated, waiting for their chance to leak out for the man who died.

Carson had been his lifesaver more than once, more times than John would like to admit. Carson had been the expedition's lifesaver. John had lost a friend. A buddy. The friendly Scottish CMO whose sense of humour perked everyone in the infirmary up. John punched the pillow in anger; anger at the two foolish scientists who released the radiation; anger at Rodney for not assigning senior members to the lab; anger at Carson for not keeping them in the infirmary for a little bit longer; anger at himself for not being able to stop it. He realized he didn't want to be angry at Carson, that he couldn't be angry with him, simply because there was no Carson to be angry at. No one to take the frustration out on – and he didn't want to be angry at Rodney, the one who severely blamed himself for the entire thing because of fishing. John knew that Rodney was physically beating himself up – he didn't sleep, he worked all hours, didn't eat much other than coffee and doughnuts.

He shuddered, not able to imagine life on Atlantis without Carson. He didn't know how much time passed before he heard the "doorbell" ping insistently, informing him that he had a visitor. He didn't want to get up and face whoever came to give him their condolences. Hell, they'd lost Carson too, shouldn't they have someone at their door? He didn't leave the bed. A few minutes passed before the pinging stopped, and John realized that whoever it was had overridden the door mechanism (Rodney?) and come in. They were soft footsteps, certainly not the clomp clomp of Rodney's heavy feet.

A soft hand rested on John's side, and he had the impression that the guest was kneeling beside his bed. He twisted his head to look behind him, and he saw the bright green eyes that belonged to Elizabeth. He closed his eyes, finally willing to accept the loss, knowing that someone he could trust was there with him. He rolled so he was sitting up on the bed, but he was hunched over, half in the embrace of the one he loved.

Neither had to speak for the other to know what they were going through. John felt her shudder and the tears began to fall; and simply because she was showing her emotion he began to weep as well. Both had lost a coworker – a brother – a friend.

"He's gone," John whispered, gathering his strength to tighten his hold on Elizabeth. "He's gone." The loss had hit him hard.