Summary: Carson oneshot for Seige Part 3 focusing on his friendship
with Aiden Ford.
Rating: Just about T for a little violence (but nothing that wasn't in the episode) and a little swearing.
Spoilers: Only up to Season 2 “Seige Part 3”.
Author's Note: Inspired by watching OBFreak's Carson vid, “How To Save A Life,” which reminded me of the scenes with Carson and Aiden in that I thought needed a little something writing for.
Thanks to Fanwoman and Fififolle for their betas.
Of all the horrible ways to die in this damned galaxy, he’d never thought he’d die at the hands of a patient, a friend. One hand grips tightly around his throat; all feeling is focused on that single part of his anatomy. Fingers press in painfully on one side and a thumb excruciatingly so on the other as all his weight is taken by those points. In one second, he'd gone from standing to hoisted by his neck with a strength that he'd call absurd given how much medication he'd prescribed Ford, but Carson doesn't dwell on that for long as he struggles to form coherent thoughts.
He vaguely notes the raised voices, in panicked and angered tones, but it's like everything else is background noise compared to what he is experiencing at that moment. He can't breathe; blood is pounding in his ears. It overwhelms him, and yet sensation slips away from him. He is oxygen deprived, growing more numb with each passing moment. With his body pinned to the cool glass partition, his life hangs in the balance.
Firstly, no surprise, he thinks of his mother, how he had wished so desperately to see her again – but shame follows that thought, as his love for her hadn’t been enough to never leave her in the first place. Memories flood past; unbidden, he pictures his father as he last saw him, happy, carefree and unsuspecting that they'd not see each other again. He recalls his first day at university, which was trying enough, followed by what he'd thought was his greatest hardship, his internship. Harder still had followed as he'd been tested professionally and personally, never coming up short but often not coming off the best for it.
Then there was Susanna, wedding plans set in motion when their engagement and his life's happiness were brutally cut down, or so he'd felt back then. Terminal, progressive, incurable, built into her very make up...that'd been when he'd changed to genetics as a specialization. Her death, his father’s death, too, had led him here, and all the while, thinking he had nothing left to lose, he'd abandoned his mother and his siblings. Now he was passing his burden on to her because, though she would have plenty of other children left after he died, and the infernal yappy dogs she was so proud of - it had to have been the only time he'd been glad of their existence – neither could really soften the blow of loss. It was ironic because he knew that, had seen, felt, what they'd all been through when his father had died. All the support in the world doesn't ease the pain, and he should have foreseen how much his own death could hurt them all, rather than wallowing in grief selfishly, as if it was exclusive to him.
No words form, and none can be uttered, no air to pass them on. His brain is frozen in a strange reaction, based not on the fear of death but that he cannot even speak to calm his attacker. He is powerless, unable to help. Finally, he makes out a familiar, calm, collected and soothing voice – Teyla - speaking on his behalf; relief washes over him as he is put down. It's all over quickly, Ford looking as shocked as he is. He thinks so very little of this unfortunate incident, wanting only to put it behind them and refocus on what is important.
He wishes he'd thought more of it, maybe then he would have been prepared for what had happened next. No life flashes before his eyes as he is threatened for the second time that day; when the gun is drawn, it is his patients he's concerned for. The deadly device is turned and trained on someone other than himself, someone he’s responsible for, so naturally, he gives in.
Was there really any other way for that situation to end? He'd say no, not for him, but nevertheless, when he finds out later that Ford is gone, he still wonders what he could have done. One different word could have meant everything, something or nothing to the Lieutenant. There’s no way to tell, and he can't help but recall all he knows of Aiden Ford – through his mind’s eye flashes the lieutenant’s life instead of his own. It is shorter than he'd expect for such a vibrant personality – snippets of a brief existence. Frequent mentions of a couple of names rise to the surface of his memory, relatives of some magnitude, but he forgets whom is whom. In there is a name, unrecognisable to him, of the boy's hometown, plus that of his first dog, his favourite food, favourite MRE and other choice trivia. Is it really all there is to know? He admits, guiltily to himself, that the answer must be no, of course not. For a supposed friend of the man, these snippets are far too little.
Aiden survived today, but perhaps that - what Carson had always thought important over nearly all else - is not quite so wonderful in this context. He’d kept the young marine alive, but that wasn't enough. His achievement is shadowed by the fact he has not saved his friend. Instead, he has doomed him to live an intolerable life.
He never asked why Aiden became a marine, what exactly happened to Aiden's parents nor why he chose to come to Atlantis. One thing was always clear - Aiden had a small but extremely close family, and he missed them dearly. Carson had his reasons for leaving his mother, and his kin - he certainly won't judge anyone else for making the same decision to leave loved ones behind - but he feels he should have known why Aiden did so. He should know why everyone is here - what they live for; what they'd risk dying for; what is at stake; why he must save them.