State of Emergency

Disclaimer: Beckett and Atlantis aren’t mine. They belong to Gekko Film Corp., MGM, and Sci-fi. As for Rose, well, kinda.

Author’s Note: This takes place is my genderbended AU where McKay is a woman.

Thank Yous: To Medie for the beta read and to Azar for the gorgeous dustjacket.

She heard the sobbing first. It stopped her dead in her tracks on her way back from the mess hall. Normally, Rose McKay wouldn’t have thought anything of it, but it was the middle of the night; most everyone else on the base was asleep. She was usually the only one sneaking food at this hour. Curious, she crept towards the door and peered in. Her heart broke at the image she saw.

Carson Beckett sat up in his bed, his back towards the door. His shoulders were slumped over and shook with each breath. If it had been any other day, Rose would have barged in with some nasty quip about men crying, but this wasn’t any other day. She knew good and well what had happened on Hoff and to Perna.

Swallowing, she turned to leave, choosing to allow him some peace. In truth, she had been avoiding him for three days now. What do you say to a man who’s just lost someone he cared very deeply for? Rose had never been good at that sort of thing.

She had taken only one step when his deep Scottish accent stopped her.

“Are you going to come in or not?” he asked.

Rose gingerly walked into the room and hovered by the door. “Do you want me to?”

Carson’s head shot up at her voice. Clearly, he hadn’t expected it to be her. He roughly wiped at his eyes. “Rose, what are you doing up?”

Swallowing hard, she ambled further into the room and sat on the edge of the bed. “I got hungry,” she explained. “How are you?”

He returned his gaze to the floor and shrugged. “Not too good. I can’t help but think about all of those people dying back on Hoff. If I had done something differently, maybe none of this would’ve happened.” He paused for a moment, trying to collect himself. “Maybe Perna would still be here.”

“You were pretty close to her, weren’t you?” she questioned as she slid closer to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

“I only knew her for a few weeks, but it felt like a lifetime. She was so bright and so hopeful. I just wanted to make all of her dreams come true.” He didn’t look at her.

Rose nodded, remembering Carson’s reaction to the pretty blonde doctor. His eyes had lit up like stars, and his smile had grown wider. Rose hadn’t liked it. She wasn’t sure why, but the reaction had bothered her.

“It’s my fault,” he repeated. “If I had pushed harder, if I hadn’t’ve helped, she’d still be alive.”

“Hey, that’s not true.” Shoving her own jealousy to the back of her mind, Rose reached out and took his stubbly chin in her hand. She made him meet her hazel eyes. “There’s no way you could’ve known what would happen.”

“But I knew we needed more tests.”

“And so you tried to stop them from distributing it. Carson, you did everything you could. I know you did. They were the ones who wouldn’t listen. Hell, they still wouldn’t listen after all those people died.” She took a breath. “None of that was your fault.”

“Yeah, but Perna, and all of those people, are still dead.” He looked away quickly as another tear escaped.

Rose wasn’t sure what else to say. It just didn’t seem right to leave him like this, a broken man suffering from so much guilt and loss. Yet, she wasn’t even sure if she should be there. As Carson’s shoulders shook with a fresh onslaught of tears, Rose did the only thing she knew to do. She wrapped her arms around him and let him cry.


© 2004 Crimson Idealist