Spoilers: Season 3 “Sunday” and character ones for “First Strike”.
Summary: How well do they really know each other – Chuck is scared to admit probably not as much as they'd like to. Sometimes he thinks they're no more than their roles to other people. Sunday tag.
A/N: I was stuck on the idea of Chuck playing the tuba after the actor mentioned there'd been a scene written with it that never got filmed (or at least, I think it didn't – hard to remember from the convention). Crazy sounding as he thought it, I couldn't shake the idea that such a snippet had been meant for the episode Sunday and this bizarre plot bunny ensued.
Thanks to fififolle for betareading. :)
He was good at playing the tuba, but typically nobody knew. He improved significantly since last time they'd needed any music – the Christmas Ball – but he'd been too afraid to show off his progress yet. He'd wanted to master it before daring to do so again, only now all they remembered was the godawful sounds he'd made at his last attempt to play it in front of a crowd. It wasn't like he'd joined the formal Atlantis band - as if they'd have taken much notice of such a request - so when the time once more had come for them to say goodbye to the dead, he had no place in their formation for the memorial and no voice to give tribute. Instead Gregory Grant played the bagpipes, presuming that any Scot would want that. The rest of the band had seen off the others with their favoured songs, and Chuck sat away from it all, manning the console to open the wormholes to Earth.
Nobody liked acknowledging it but Carson was dead. So were Gemma Hewston, Harry Mathers, Jeremy Small, Dawn Bryans and Frank Lowe – as harsh as it may have sounded, none of their deaths made the same impact as that of the CMO. Healers existed to save lives, to have one die struck a painful blow closer to everyone's hearts than they were comfortable with. It had torn the community apart, each grieving in their own way, finding it hard to carry on as they always had to after such tragedy.
When Elizabeth had gone over the preparations for today, stern and serious in order to keep the tears brimming in her eyes at bay, it had hit him. There would be no more Carson running through command with a medikit, immediately focused on the injured with keen caring attention. That's how Chuck mostly knew him – from a distance, a hero of Atlantis as much as any member of their courageous teams. Carson's special quality, more usually seen in the leaders here, was his willingness to do anything to save the people of Atlantis and it had finally caught up with him, dealing a lethal hand.
What hurt more than knowing Carson wouldn't saunter past him to see Dr Weir ever again, was that the Carson he'd wanted to know better, he would never get to. So many others forgot he sat there at the console most of his waking hours, but Carson had always had a cheerful hello for him. It wasn't like Chuck had needed much medical attention from him, the most he'd had was the flu, a couple of those citywide epidemics everyone had been infected with and a few burns from the occasional stray weapons fire that came through the gate. And it wasn't like Carson was permanently on duty – well not quite at least – meaning he'd often ended up with Dr Keller or some other doctor attending him.
However little he'd known him in comparison to his friends, Chuck would still miss the idea of Carson – that there'd be no more of the doctor with a kind ear and a warm heart, who might sneak you a chocolate biscuit if he thought no one else was looking. Once, just once the man had done that, but it spoke volumes about his character. He's not sure if anyone here has spoken of things like that so far, and it seems wrong to remember only the tragedy and not the true heart of the man.
Sitting at his console he wonders, if he dies will anyone know him well enough to play the tuba at his funeral? Would they even know the significance of it, that it was a wish never fulfilled – that of his grandfather who had survived to ninety nine only to die while Chuck had been stranded in Pegasus. Now that it was possible to return to Earth, he'd vowed to rectify that broken promise, to one day revisit the gravestone and play a perfect rendition of Asleep in the Deep to honor his relative, another sailor of their family on final shore leave.
People might remember the valiant doctor but Chuck wished he'd known the man behind that; he wishes Carson had asked him to go fishing.