My World and Welcome To It

~ Written for sga_flashfic's First Night challenge.

Packing had been hard. The SGC had given all the Atlantis expedition members a small bag and told them it was what they could use for personal belongings. It could, conceivably, hold only one item. Several if you packed well. None at all if what you wanted most could never fit.

It had seemed cruel, at first, to be sent away for what might be forever, with so little to take with them. But trying to fill a larger bag would have been even more difficult, and deciding how to fill the small bag had been nearly impossible.

There had been a long explanation about power and the amount of time they had to get through the gate. Supplies were the premium -- food and equipment to prepare them for anything they might find. Too soon to know if they were truly prepared to handle what they were finding.

It had seemed so much when they'd lined up in the gate room on Earth. After they'd arrived and it was scattered through the hallways, it seemed like nothing at all. But it was all they had to live on unless they found something here to use.

Carson had taken his two bags -- the official gear he'd been issued, and his bag of personal things -- to the room he'd been assigned. His uniforms he'd already stowed in the closet, and toiletries in what he hoped was the loo. It had taken all of a moment, and now he had only this to put away.

Packing had been very, very hard. He'd laid out things he'd thought he'd want and arranged them to see how much would fit. He'd chosen and discarded dozens of items, thinking how much he wanted to take and had to leave behind.

He hated that he'd not felt free to refuse Dr. Weir. He'd discovered the bloody gene that made it so necessary that he be one of the ones to go. He knew he could have said no, and he'd not have been forced. But he'd have had to look into her face as he'd said it, and see the disappointment there. He'd have had to live with knowing he hadn't gone, and hadn't kept on with the research he'd chosen for his life's work.

But he'd not understood what it would be like to have his life compressed down to a single, tiny bag. A sheaf of photos, thin and stuck in the side. He'd kept himself to five, to cover all the family he already missed.

He tried not to think of his cousin's baby, not yet even born. They hadn't even found out if it would be a boy or a girl.

Carson set the photos aside to decide later where they should go. His office, probably, as that's where he'd expect to spend his time. Once he found out where his office would be.

The next item was wrapped in a cloth his grandmother had given him years ago. Woven by her mother, the colours of it faded even then. The touch of wool said home, though, and it reminded him of childhoods on his grandparents' farm. The items wrapped inside were a collection of data CDs -- things he'd stayed up all night to burn two nights before they'd left. He'd known they'd be assigned laptops once they got here, but they hadn't been permitted to load any personal data onto the hard-drives. He knew he wasn't the only one to bring the CDs -- he'd already heard some of the others discussing the music they'd brought and swapping out files.

A small tin was next, packed with fine pipe tobacco. Not enough to be anything but saved for special -- or desperate -- occasions. Next to it was his father's pipe, and he laid both items on the dresser. He honestly had no idea if he'd even have a place to smoke it, but seeing them reminded him of his da, in memories long faded since he'd died when Carson only a boy.

There was another tin with tea bags which his mum had given him when he'd told her he was leaving. She'd tried to send him off with a whole bag of things, as though the US military couldn't be relied upon to feed them. He'd explained his limited luggage, and she'd finally handed over just this. The sorrow in her eyes had nearly made him call up Dr. Weir and refuse her.

Instead he'd brought the tea and a small teacup. He'd intended to save the space and simply use a lab beaker as he'd done at university. But his mum had given him a look of horror, so he'd taken the cup she'd pressed on him as he'd gone out her front door.

The last item was stuffed into a bag to protect it against leaking. Of everything, it was the only item in the bag which made him smile. Everything else were memories, tying him back across the universe to Earth. This was the only thing he'd brought that looked into the future.

He set the baggie in the top drawer of the little table by the bed, and went off in search of the science labs. He knew where to find his lover -- and he wondered if he might not be able to drag him away from there and spend their first night away, alone together.

Knowing Rodney, they'd both spend the night in the lab and the tube of lubricant would simply wait.


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