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Summary: Rodney has special memories associated with a song that involves Carson that is brought on after the episode Sunday.

Categories: Slash Pairings > Ronon Dex/Other, Slash Pairings > McKay/Sheppard
Characters: None
Genres: Angst
Warnings: Character death
Chapters: 1 [Table of Contents]
Series: None

Word count: 4762; Completed: Yes
Updated: 20 Apr 2010; Published: 19 Apr 2010

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Rodney sat on the military transport plane beside his best friend's coffin listening to Carson's IPOD. They were taking the man home to rest. Everyone else was sitting up front giving Rodney the privacy he wanted, and needed, for this journey. He had a specific song on repeat, and was wearing ear plugs so no one could hear the song he kept playing over and over.

Listening to the lyrics brought back memories of a night long ago, when travel to Atlantis was new in development. They'd been drinking homemade moonshine and talking about how they'd want to be remembered. Rodney wondered if he should send a thank you note to Dave Matthews for writing the 'Gravedigger' song. The lyrics would live on even after they all died.

Cyrus Jones 1810 to 1913
Made his great grandchildren believe
You could live to a 103
A hundred and three is forever when you're just a little kid
So, Cyrus Jones lived forever

Carson lifted up his glass of Radek's finest and vowed, "Aye, I want to live until I'm 103 years old. Then I'd be the oldest living Beckett to have ever lived."

Radek snorted as he asked, "How old was the oldest?"

"Me great grandfather, Andrew Patrick Carson Beckett, lived to be a 102. He even kept his own teeth, and was chasing the women until the day he died."

"If anyone could work their voodoo and live to 103 it would be you." Rodney lifted up his glass in a toast. "Long live the voodoo master. And may you leave behind a legacy of great grandbrats behind to carry on the family name."

"Thank you, Rodney, I'll take that as a compliment." Carson chuckled as he touched his glass to Rodney's.

"Why are we listening to this song again?" Radek's speech was a bit slurred as he added his glass to the toast.

"Because we're talking about life and death and how it correlates with going on expeditions into the unknown."

"Your turn, Rodney," Carson said as he pointed his finger at him.

"I wish to be remembered for winning the Nobel, even if I'm dead when they award it to me, along with my name in history books all over the world."

"That would require declassifying the Stargate Program," Radek muttered while shaking his head. "Don't see that any time soon."

"Then I guess I can't die." Rodney reached over to pour everyone some more of the moonshine.

"Oh, yes, I see it now, Dr. Rodney McKay, dead at the age of 243. The man who wouldn't die until it was proven he was the smartest man alive." Carson rolled his eyes and shared an amused look with Radek.

"Bloody hell, Carson, you were supposed to live until a ripe age of a 103. Leave behind a gaggle of grandbrats, and be my best friend forever," Rodney whispered as he tearfully glared at the coffin that contained his friend's remains. "Look what you've done now, making me sound like some whinny, teenager."

Ronon stood quietly off to the side as he watched and listened. Underneath all that snark and hostility, McKay was a man who loved hard and strong. Since coming to Atlantis, the scientist had come to be family, and Ronon would do everything he could to protect that family.

'Even if they don't think they need it.' Ronon thought to himself, considering how bullheaded both McKay and Sheppard could be.

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

"I agree, I'd like my grave shallow," Radek muttered, as he lifted his glass up.

"Aye, but the coffin might get in the way of feelin' the rain, don't ya think?" Carson asked.

"That's why I want to be cremated," Rodney sighed.

"What, no mausoleum so there is a place of worship?" Radek teased.

"Please, I don't like small dark places now and I don't think I'd like it any better being dead. I want my ashes scattered in the wind."

"Can we play 'Dust in the Wind' at your wake then?" Carson smiled at Rodney's glare.

"Like anyone would have a wake for me."

"I'd have one for you, my friend. That is if you don't live longer than my 103 years. Then one of your namesakes will have the honors." Carson laughed as he poured out more of the liquor between the three of them.

"Remember, no children here," Rodney pointed at himself.

"I'd name one of mine after you, and make you Godfather to a couple as well. You'd have family as long as there was a Beckett alive," Carson promised.

Rodney squeezed his eyes closed to prevent the tears from falling. He had been waiting for the day that Carson married and had children. The man would've made a fine husband and an excellent father. Rodney never told the man that, and now he wished he had.

Ronon felt a hand on his shoulder and then heard Sheppard say, "We're about to land, need to get back to our seats."

"McKay?" Ronon asked wondering if Sheppard wanted to approach their friend.

"I'll get him, you go on up front." Sheppard replied, with a look of sadness and longing that was quickly replaced with a stoic expression that hid the Colonel's true emotions.

Ronon stood to leave, but stayed to make sure Sheppard didn't need any help with getting Rodney to leave from beside the casket. If anyone could reach McKay right now, it would be John Sheppard. Both men were grieving the loss of their friend, but one was lost in the guilt of 'what if'.

Sheppard's gentle touch to Rodney's shoulder said so much, at least in Ronon's eyes. Watching Sheppard move his hand up to cup the other's man's face was like that of a lover's touch. Ronon looked back to make sure no one was coming toward the cargo hole, keeping his back to the two man behind him to give them privacy.

The Satedan smiled to himself thinking, "Something good might come out of this if it opens their eyes to what they feel for each other."

Rodney jerked at the feel of someone touching his shoulder. Looking up he noticed that John was standing there looking worried and sad.

Taking off the headphones he heard John say, "Rodney, we need to take our seats. We're about to land."

"I don't want to leave him alone," Rodney sighed as he leaned into John's touch when the hand moved from his shoulder to the side of his face.

"We'll be only a few feet away. I promise he'll be fine," John assured him, giving him the strength to stand, letting John pull him into a hug once he stood up.

"He was supposed to live to be a 103," Rodney said as he returned the hug, but refusing to let himself break down. It wouldn't be fair to John, who he knew was grieving as well.

"We need to find our seats. I can feel we're descending," John replied as he let go and slowly stepped back before turning away.

Rodney watched John turn away and in his own head ask, "God, why did he have to fall in love with someone that was unreachable, so out of his league?"

Laying a hand on the casket before leaving, Rodney decided that maybe he'd done enough for the world and his country. He'd need to think hard about if he really wanted to go back to Atlantis, or work for the SGC. Could be it was time to move on with getting some recognition and win the Nobel Peace Prize without saving the world from another galaxy.


Muriel Stonewall 1903 to 1954
She lost both of her babies in the second great war
Now, you should never have to watch your only children lowered in the
I mean you should never have to bury your own babies

Rodney sat watching as the Beckett clan moved around making sure everyone was being taken care of. It broke his heart to see Beckett's mother, Moira, sitting by the table holding Carson's picture. Her eyes were red from crying and her hands shaky whenever she'd caress her son's picture. No parent should have to bury their child, no matter their age or medical condition. Even more so, when you can't share with them the truth about what a true hero her son was.

If anyone came up to him and talked about Carson being happy in heaven and at peace with his God one more time, he was going to scream. No real God would let what happened to Carson happen. No, the more he learned the more he realized that the Ancients had somehow contributed to this entire God is great, and God is good, nonsense.

"You need to eat something," John said as the man sat down beside him.

"I'm not hungry," Rodney muttered as he looked down on the plate of food he had yet to touch. It didn't help that nothing was appetizing right now.

"Try the mystery meat, it's actually good," John suggested, as he pointed it out with his own fork.

"Funny you should mention it that. They call it Shepherd's Pie, but spelled different than your name," Rodney rambled, as he looked back up to see Moira looking back at him with a sad smile.

"What's this?" John asked as he pointed to one of the dishes on his plate.

"Black Pudding and no, it's not a pudding like you'd call pudding. In the states it's referenced as blood sausage."

"Okay, I really didn't want to know that, but was stupid enough to ask," John muttered with a pinched look on his face. "Is there haggis on my plate?"

"No, Ronon is eating the haggis, and a few other disgusting things." Rodney shuddered, and felt a bit nauseous. He never could understand how anyone could eat the whole fish, or the stuffed head of one.

Carson's love for Kipper, Crappit head, and Haggis still amazed him. Who in their right mind could eat the head of a fish, stuffed with only god knows what including that fish's liver? Even a split herring that was gutted but otherwise left whole with the eyes staring up at you was creepy. Rodney never thought it was a good thing when you're food stared back at you.

"I'm sure he's eaten worse during his time as a runner," John sighed.

"Oh, it's not Ronon, it's the food. How could anyone eat a sheep's heart, lung, and liver that have been cooked inside the poor animal's stomach? Carson said his mother made the best haggis," Rodney tried to explain, not wanting John to think his comment was about their fellow teammate, and not sure why it worried him. He always pointed out man's eating habits.

"You need to eat, McKay." John lifted his right eyebrow with a questioning look on his face while looking between Ronon, McKay, and his own plate. "I'm finding out more than I need to know about what's on Dex's plate, thank you."

"I'm not very hungry right now." Rodney sighed, feeling a headache begin right above his left eye.

"I'll try the Black Pudding if you do," John challenged him.

"I already know what it tastes like, hence why it's on my plate," Rodney sighed, wondering if this day would ever end.

"Rodney, eat or I'm going have Ronon come over and force the haggis down your throat."

Rodney looked over to see the determined look on Sheppard's face, mixed with concern. Reluctantly he took a bite of the blood sausage and started to chew. Distracted by eating, Rodney was surprised to find that Moira had come to sit by him.

"I'm glad you came to help send my boy off properly. He's told me so much about you in his letters home, when he could write." Moira reached over and patted this arm.

"Carson was a good man and the best friend I ever had," Rodney managed to get out and prayed his didn't sound like some moron or idiot.

"I hope you will write when you can. I think my Carson would've liked for me to keep in touch with you," Moira offered, and then looked at the Colonel and said, "That goes for you as well, John. I would love to hear stories of how my Carson made the world a better place to live in."

"I'd like that very much," Rodney agreed, thinking it was something he should do for Carson if nothing else. If only they'd gone fishing that day, he wouldn't be sitting next to the man's mother right now mourning a great man's stupid death.

"And he did make the world a better place," John replied.

"Good, good, now I must be getting back to greeting Carson's guests. You boys make yourself at home, and Rodney, I want you to make sure you eat. Carson made it a point to always tell me about your low sugar and allergies in case you'd come to visit one day."

Rodney watched as Carson's mother walked proudly over to where his casket was laid out. Tomorrow his body would be moved to the church for the services, but for tonight he was staying in his family home. It would appear that Mrs. Beckett was a traditionalist when it came to having a good old-fashioned wake.

The extent of Carson's injuries prevented an opened casket service. The room was filled with pictures of the man in various stages of his life. They included family and friends, and even a few of them had Carson alone. The one thing they all had in common was Carson's smile that reached his eyes. Somehow a picture of Carson and Rodney, taken early in their friendship, was amongst the tribute.

"Don't make Carson's mom come over here again and tell you to eat," John whispered as he added some puff candy and Dundee cake to Rodney's plate.

Rodney glared at Sheppard as he started to eat. Soon the nausea was almost gone, and his headache had eased up. Taking a look around him he noticed the relieved expressions on Radek, Ronon, Major Lorne, and Doctor Cole's faces.

"Was I looking that bad?" Rodney asked John.

"Only to those that know you well enough," John replied. "You became too quiet and you hadn't eaten all day."

"I should've paid closer attention."

"Rodney, this is what friends are for. Don't worry about it, Buddy, we've got your back."

"No one's...I mean...I'm really bad at saying thank you."

"You're welcome. Now, what is this?" John asked, pointing to a breaded round morsel on his plate.

"If I had to guess I'd say it was a scotch egg. You'll find a boiled egg inside, and it is wrapped in a sausage meat mixture of some kind. It's very good," Rodney explained before going back to eating what was on his own plate.

Little did Rodney know, but a sigh of relief came from his friends in the room. Radek was happy when the Colonel had gone over to sit with McKay. If it had been him, then nothing would've gotten accomplished other than an irritated Rodney and Radek wanting to hit him. Zelenka remembered all too well the night they had listened to that song about a gravedigger. He too believed that Carson would've lived to be a 103 years old.

Lorne felt a weight of worry lift at seeing Rodney eating and talking with both Mrs. Beckett and Sheppard. The doc was looking a bit under the weather, and was too quiet. A quiet McKay was something to be worried about. Evan looked over at Ronon and they both shared a look of relief. Seeing Rodney eating and conversing with Sheppard gave him hope that everyone, with time, would find their footing again. Carson was a big loss to their family, but they would carry on with the mission. Beckett's family depended upon them to do so, even if they had no clue as to why.

Ronon fought back the grin as he watched Sheppard and McKay interact. Maybe that talk he and Sheppard had earlier would make a difference.

"You and McKay?" Ronon asked, outside the church waiting for the service to begin.

"What about me and McKay?"

"You ever going to do something about it?"

"What do you mean by 'do'?" John asked, never looking back at him.

"Don't play dumb." Ronon moved so he could watch Sheppard more closely.

"It's not acceptable behavior for a military officer, and could get me kicked off Atlantis and doing prison time."

"Only if you get caught. It's a stupid rule anyway," Ronon countered, doing his best to win this round.

"Ronon, it's a bad idea."

"Maybe the law might change."

"Fat chance of that happening." John snorted, and looked down at the ground, and Ronon could see how hard this was for Sheppard to talk about.

"I can shoot anyone that might talk."

"Well, there is that, but not everyone is afraid of your gun, especially if they're already on Earth and feel the need to share their burden." John's sarcasm reminded him how much Ronon and McKay were alike in some ways.

"You only live this life once."

"Yeah, I know that."

"Some people think it," Ronon snorted, with a wicked grin that reached his eyes.

"That's not even funny."

"He's in love with you." Ronon decided to tell the man the truth.

"And Katie is just-?" John's tone was slightly hesitant, and there was a slight flush to his face.

"Because he can't have you." Ronon rolled his eyes while wondering if the man was in denial or just that blind to McKay's feelings toward him.

"This isn't helping you know." John stared at the floor with his hand rubbing the back of his neck.

"Katie can't give him what you can." Ronon sighed at how blind the man could be outside of his military responsibilities and combat situations.

"What? A dick up his ass?" John half snarled and half groaned as he glared at Ronon.

Ronon chuckled as he help up his hand and said, "I didn't need to know that, but that too."

"Then what?" John asked, and Ronon, seeing Sheppard's eyes, knew it was the fear of loving and then losing McKay that was holding the man back.

"You love the man, she, the scientist. She wants to change him, you like him the way he is."Ronon couldn't believe that John hadn't noticed how Rodney was changing for the woman.

"And then if one of us dies tomorrow?"

"My only regret is not telling Melena one more time that I love her before I watched her die right in front of me. And there wasn't anything I could've done to prevent it. My life was richer and happier because of her, and in a way it was her view on embracing life that has kept me going."Ronon again felt that the truth was needed here. No more candy coating it as he heard others say.

"I'm sorry you lost her."

"Then don't make me sorry for sharing a piece of our life together with you," Ronon replied as he turned and walked away. It was now up to his friend to decide what he wanted to do with his feelings.


Ring around the rosey
Pocket full o'posey
Ashes to ashes
We all fall down

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain
Oh Gravedigger

Little Mikey Carson '67 to '75
He rode his bike like the devil until the day he died
When he grows up he wants to be Mr. Vertigo on the flying trapeze
Oh, 1940 to 1992--

Rodney stood at the doorway leading to the hotel room's balcony, watching as the rain came down. His suit jacket, tie, and belt currently lay across the chair just beside the door. His shirt was half unbuttoned and pulled out of his pants. Socks and shoes were off as he stood there with his hands in his pockets reliving a portion of the day. In the background he had Carson's IPOD playing the song he had been obsessed with for the last couple of days, using the docking station supplied by the hotel.

The lyrics played on as he remembered the children playing 'ring around the rosies' today after the services. They had gone back to Mrs. Beckett's home to eat and listen to Carson stories. It was good to hear other people talk about what a wonderful man his best friend was.

His favorite was when Carson's mother shared the fact that when Carson was 7 years old he wanted to join the circus, that as a young lad he'd been fascinated with the flying trapeze. Instead, the fear of heights had led the man into wanting to become a doctor. She shared how her laddie loved to ride his bike everywhere. It made Rodney smile, and also remember how much like Carson was like Little Mikey Carson, depicted in the song.

When you dig my grave
could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain
Grave digger
When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain
I can feel the rain
I can feel the rain
When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

John stood just inside the hotel room watching Rodney outside on the balcony. Everyone had automatically assumed he'd share a room with McKay, and John didn't have a reason to disagree. Taking the time to listen to the words of the song playing on the IPOD he felt his chest tighten. Seeing his friend out there with his face tilted up toward the rain made everything Ronon said make sense.

"I hope we're ready for this," John muttered as he put the food down on the table and slipped off his shoes and socks, and took off his jacket. He'd already changed out of his uniform before going out to eat with the others.

He could smell the rain, even over the food he'd brought back for Rodney. The man had waved them off saying he needed some time alone, and they all agreed to let him have it.

Radek had explained on the plane how important Carson's friendship was to Rodney. It would seem both Zelenka and Beckett understood the man far greater than anyone else. It was funny to hear how Rodney had done his best to push the good doctor away. Instead, they had become friends.

"You do know it's raining, and you're getting all wet?" John teased as he stood just inside the balcony doors.

"Really, and here I thought I was dreaming of being surrounded by mermaids." Rodney deadpanned.

"Interesting song."

"There is a history that goes with that song." Rodney sighed.

"I take it that Carson was supposed to live to a 103?" John asked realizing the significance of the song and its association with Carson when the damn song started playing again.

"And I was going to live forever and his family would take care of me."

"I think the family still might be interested."

"But it wouldn't be the same. Carson was supposed to marry, and have kids, and their kids have kids. I would be the best man and Godfather."

John stepped out into the rain feeling the chilly drops of moisture as he made his way over to McKay. It was now or never and, afterwards, there would be no going back. Gently he cupped his hand behind Rodney's neck. Stepping deep into Rodney's personal space he brought the man's face close to his own. Seeing the tears that were mixed in the rain broke down the flood gates that had been holding back John's pent up feelings.

"You're not alone." John leaned his forehead against Rodney's. "Life is too short to let the rules prevent me from finding out if we have something or not."

"Something or not?"

"I'm going to kiss you and then I'd like to take you inside. Dry you off and get you in bed and see where it takes us."

"John, you could lose everything."

"You're worth the risk, if you'll have me."

"This is insane and you know it."

"Who better to be crazy with than me, Rodney? So, what do you say?"

"I've wanted you since you disobeyed O'Neill and touched things you weren't supposed to."

John decided now was a good time to seal the deal with a kiss. The moment his lips touched Rodney's he was lost. He could taste the rain and soon he could taste where Rodney must have brushed his teeth when they got back from the funeral.

"There are better ways to feel the rain," John murmured as he stepped back to take Rodney by the hand. "There are things we'll do in the rain that make us feel alive. And if I have anything to do or say about it, no more graves will be dug any time soon."

"Death is not something you can stop," Rodney disagreed.

"No, but we can keep living the best we can until then."

"God, yes, and I don't even believe there is a God in the true Christian sense of the word."

"First, though, I'm taking that song off repeat. I hope there's some better music on that damn thing of yours."

"There are three hundred and sixty songs uploaded."

"Good, now let's get back to living, shall we?" John waggled his eyebrows as he let Rodney's hand go so he could change the music to shuffle. "Get the towels out of the bathroom. You dry my back, I'll dry yours."

"It's not my back that needs the friction," Rodney muttered as he moved toward the bathroom.

"I heard that."


"Hey, I know you like the rain, but do you have to be so happy about it?" Lorne walked over to where Ronon was standing.

"It's not the rain making me smile." Ronon chuckled.

"Oh, care to share?"

"Ignore the sounds that come from next door." Ronon tilted his head toward Sheppard's and McKay's room.

"What noise would that be?" Lorne asked, with a confused look on his face.

"The same noises you would've made last night if it was me fucking you instead of you fucking me." Ronon gave his partner a heated look.

"Hey, I'm not—wait, you mean they finally got their heads out of their asses?" Lorne started to argue when the meaning of Ronon's statement made sense.

"Yeah, kind of. Just not sure about the heads out of their asses' part." Ronon shrugged, with a mischievous grin.

"I can't wait until we get back to Atlantis and privacy," Lorne complained as he sat down on the bed he and Ronon shared.

"Let's go for a run," Ronon suggested as he smiled at the pleasant sounds coming from the other room.

"Only you would want to run in the rain." Lorne rolled his eyes as he started to undo his jeans.

"It brings with it a fresh new day," Ronon replied, remembering a time when his mother would tell his father the same thing.

"I guess you have a good point there."