A/N: Inspired by 'I should've gone fishing' by Dream Painter on fanfiction.net
Also found under tilthewheelsfalloff on Fanfiction.net
Dr Elizabeth Weir looked up as there was a knock on her office door. It opened to reveal a slightly nervous looking Rodney McKay, wearing his usual black short sleeved shirt and jeans, holding his tablet under one arm. He had returned from Earth just this morning and left for his lab for the rest of the day. Dr Zelenka told her that he had buried himself in work. The Czech asked her to order nobody to disturb Rodney unless there was an actual emergency.
Rodney seemed to have taken Dr Becketts death the hardest, which didn't surprise her. Rodney didn't have many friends here; his team, Zelenka, herself and Beckett were the only people she could name, but his friendship with Beckett was clearly more than a simple friendship. Carson seemed to be the only one that didn't get frustrated with Rodney's arrogance, he seemed to understand Rodney and that built up a strong friendship. Which is would explain why Rodney has seemed to shrink into himself the last few days.
"Dr McKay, what can I do for you?" Weir asked him, leaning forward giving him her full attention.
"I uh," Rodney hesitated, "Sunday, it would have been a week since..." Weir nodded, not wanting to force Rodney to finish the sentence. A week since Carson died. "I requested to his mother to take his ashes back here, obviously without telling her where 'here' is. She told me Carson talked about me a lot in his letters." he said with a hint of surprise in his voice, "so she would rather his ashes be spread somewhere he loved. So, I uh, I wanted to take a jumper out on Sunday to the mainland. Go fishing with a few people, and uh maybe spread his ashes there."
"He would have loved that. Who do you want to take?"
"My team, Zelenka, Major Lorne I know they were friends, a couple of people from his own team and yourself if you can."
Weir thought about it and nodded, "barring an emergency, you may. I'll have to let you know on myself."
Rodney nodded his understanding. "Thank you."
With that he left the office, it was rare to leave a conversation with Rodney without feeling annoyed with him, although there was an occasion in which he was oddly charming. It always felt really good when Rodney complemented somebody because he always said it as though it is a general fact of life: water is wet, Wraith are bad and you are beautiful.
Rodney spent the rest of the day asking around if people actually wanted to go fishing in memory of Carson, he managed to get everybody he knew were friends with Beckett, most of Becketts own team couldn't go however, had to stay on the base in case of an emergency.
Major Evan Lorne helped Rodney pack a picnic, as they grabbed the food Evan looked up at Rodney as if he was going to say something but then changed his mind. He did it again a moment later and Rodney sighed, "Spit it out, Major."
"He – Carson – asked me to go fishing, said you couldn't go but I said no. I was painting. I should've gone fishing."
Rodney closed his eyes, the same words in his own voice echoed in his mind.
"I should have just gone fishing with him."
"No, if I had gone fishing. If I checked the machine. If I hadn't assigned two junior to catalogue the lab-"
"Rodney...What's done is done."
"I know." Rodney's voice almost broke as tried to say it, "And uh, that's why it's killing me."
Rodney was pulled out of the memory as Evan continued speaking. "He liked my painting - Atlantis from the south pier. I was thinking of hanging it outside the infirmary. If the new Doctor doesn't mind."
Rodney smiled softly imagining Carson's response, "I think he would like that."
Weir managed to join them, leaving Colonel Cadwell in charge for the day, specifying it was only for that day, but kept her radio on at all times.
They only needed one Jumper but they took two if anybody needed to head back early. John, Rodney, Ronon, Teyla, Weir, Radek and Lorne in one, Becketts team in the other.
The journey started out silent, Carson's death hanging over them until John had enough of the silence and dragged them all into a conversation about football, a topic he was comfortable with.
They lay out the picnic blankets and the food, the day turned out to be a great one, relaxed and just fun, for the first time in a long time Rodney felt accepted as he sat with his friends all day just laughing and talking.
"Fishing was a good idea." Ronon told Rodney not long after they arrived at the mainland, "he asked me as well but I chose to spar with John instead. I should've gone fishing."
Ronon had been the only one Rodney admitted his pain and regret too, this was the first time Ronon had mentioned it but he was gone before Rodney could reply.
In the end, not much fishing actually got done except for John catching a large space trout and Rodney only catching a smaller as-of-yet unnamed fish.
They were cooking John's fish when John stood next to Rodney watching the fish cook. "He called fishing 'sport of Kings' when he asked me. I should have just gone fishing."
Rodney didn't know what too say but John had wandered over to Weir before he could reply.
As it was reaching evening Rodney stood and stared out to the sea, the fishing rods cast into the sea but nobody paying attention to them. He felt so much guilt, if only he had gone then. He shouldn't be allowed to have a good day now not after he expected it to be boring with Carson, so much so he lied to get out of it, because of that Carson was dead.
Zelenka came and stood beside him at the edge of the beach, "he ask me after you say no." the Czech told him, "I was winning chess..." Zelenka trailed off, "I should've gone fishing."
Rodney turned to his friend, "it wasn't your fault."
"Then it was not yours also." Zelenka patted Rodney's shoulder and rejoined the group a few steps behind them.
It was starting to get late, the sun would be setting soon so Rodney decided now would be the best time and he turned around to face everybody, coughing loudly. Weir was the first to notice and when she stopped talking to pay attention soon enough everybody quickly followed the lead of their commander.
"I uh, I brought you all here for another reason." he held up the beautifully patterned urn he had brought with him in his backpack. "I wanted to spread Carsons ashes out here, I thought it's something he would like." He heard a few murmurs off agreement so, confidence bolstered, he continued, "would anybody like to say a few words first?"
Ronon stood up almost immediately, surprising everybody there, Ronon wasn't usually one for wanting to speak, "Carson was one of the first people here I truly saw and trusted as a friend. He was a good man." Ronon lifted his cup in respect and everybody did the same.
"To Carson." John murmured followed by repeats of 'Carson' echoing around the group.
John stood up once Ronon had sat, "he almost killed me with a drone." he laughed softly at the memory, "when I confronted him he was so worried and apologetic, but once I got to know him, I found out the man took his vows so seriously, even in harm to himself. He was a much better man than me and will be sorely missed. Goodbye Doc."
"He was a much better man than any of us here." Lorne said once John had sat, "than anybody I have known and he deserved much better. Goodbye Carson."
Once he sat down he was followed by others one by one until eventually everybody bar Rodney had spoken.
Rodney bowed his head trying to find the words, and then looked back up at everybody. "He was my best friend. I… I know I'm a difficult man to get along with sometimes but Carson, he never got annoyed with me, he understood and that just… Thank you, Carson. For everything."
He went to open the urn when Teyla stood again, she looked nervous. "My people have a song we sing to the dead and dying. I would like to sing it now as you spread his ashes, if nobody is against that, that is?" She glanced around but nobody protested.
"That would be perfect. Thank you Teyla." Weir spoke for them all.
Rodney nodded his assent as he opened the urn as she begun to sing.
Beyond the Night, a rising sun.
Beyond the Night the battle's won, the battle's won.
Fear and shame now in the past,
Pain and sorrow gone at last gone at last
Everybody was silent as Rodney begun spreading the ashes into the calm sea, tears filling his eyes despite the odd calm he felt as Teyla sung the most beautiful song they had ever heard, her voice echoing over them all.
Circle renewed peace will be found
Beyond the Night on sacred ground
River flows, led by the wind
First new breath his journey begins
his journey begins
Her song had long since finished as had Rodney spreading Carson's ashes but nobody moved or spoke until the sun began to set.