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Disclaimer: Not mine.

AN: Here is the back-story for On the Continuation of Species. It’s kind of a “read if you dare” story, because it was never meant as anything more than a way to get it all straight in my head. But if you want to know my take on why Carson ended up with both an MD and PhD, then read away.

Carson Beckett had never been interested in history or art or physics. Since he had discovered biology at the age of twelve, he had known that there was nothing else he wanted to do in life except learn everything he could about the human body. If his interest in anatomy had come more from that fact that he was an adolescent boy and his parents were allowing him to look at books of unclothed female sketches, he wasn’t about to admit it. But that particular interest soon waned into something much more acute. He wanted to help people, and that was the only thing that mattered.

When he received his acceptance letter from the Glasgow University, into the Biomedical and Life Science department, his parents had beamed with pride for nearly a month. With five older siblings, he’d spent most of his childhood believing he would be forever trying to live up to what they did. But every single one of his brothers and sisters was either married, engaged or seriously attached and none of them had considered university a good use of time and resources. He was going to be the first in the family to get a degree, and in medicine of all things.

His younger sister Brigit, then only thirteen had been absolutely crushed when the brother she most idolized suddenly disappeared to the city. He could have continued living at home and done the commuting thing, because a lot of other people did, but he wanted the whole experience of university, and he was looking forward to striking out on his own.

The living situation left something to be, but the stuff he learned in the subsequent four years made everything else pale in comparison. Genetics had seemed like the obvious subject to pursue and he spent most of his honours degree dreaming about finding a cure for MS or cancer.

He graduated with honours, a fact he was more than happy to hold over the heads of his siblings, all of whom thought four years of studying out of a textbook was a waste of time, especially when if didn’t get you anything except the chance to spend more years studying out of a textbook. It seemed right to take a year off and spend some time with his parents and Brigit and figure out where he wanted to go for a Masters. Glasgow seemed the most obvious choice, but he wanted something different. Four years of living in a bustling city had reminded him how much he loved the country life of his childhood.

But in November, when the colder weather was settling in and he was starting to narrow down his choices of universities to apply to, his entire world suddenly, irreparably, came crashing down.

He came back from work one Wednesday evening to find his mother sobbing in the sitting room and Brigit nearly catatonic on the sofa. It took more than an hour before he got enough words out of his mother that he could piece together what had happened. He managed to make it through another three hours of phone calls to family members and to the hospital before he locked himself in his room and broke down.

His father had been a constant in his life; kind and caring and exceptional supportive of everything Carson did or wanted to do. That he was suddenly, permanently, gone and from something as common as a heart attack was not a concept he could wrap his head around. Years later the only memory of the night he would retain was the knowledge that he cried himself to sleep. He never did so again.

In the morning he made a call to one of his professors at Glasgow and asked for a recommendation into the medical program. It was a lot to ask, but Carson was a good student and Dr. Timothy Benton was more than happy to provide it, especially since he had been one of the professors pushing for Carson to enter med school.

It was determination alone that got him through the holidays; that supported his mother and sister through the worst days that followed his father’s death. Grief is a fickle thing; some people can just destroy themselves over the loss of a loved one, and others can find the strength and purpose within themselves to carry on. James Beckett had always been inordinately proud that his son wanted to get into medicine. Carson wasn’t about the let that pride go to waste. He was a good student, and more than one professor had commented that his caring nature would make him a good doctor too, if he could find the passionate drive to study hands-on medicine. He hadn’t had the drive before, but he had it now.

Medicine became an obsession. Genetics wasn’t good enough; it wasn’t immediate enough. Ultimately it would save lives, but doctors, surgeons saved lives every day without having to wait through months of research and failed experiments. His drive carried him through two years of pre-med and then three years of the most exhausting and daunting work he had ever done in his life. He wasn’t about to give up genetics entirely; he worked his ass off to be able to do his training rotations as well as study for a Masters. His teachers were immensely impressed by his level of dedication and his level of skill.

It wasn’t hard to find a job at the Royal Infirmary when he graduated. They were always in search of recent graduates looking for more experience and practice in their fields, and he came with recommendations from half a dozen professors at Glasgow. It got him a job at the newly instituted Cardiovascular Research Centre, in the genetics department. Between shifts at the hospitals and multiple research projects, sleep became a fond memory. But it didn’t matter; he was doing important work, work that would save the lives of other fathers and husbands and that was the only thing that mattered to him.

The PhD research nearly killed him. He certainly wasn’t the only candidate in the department at the Centre, but he was the only one working on an independent project. He went a week without food or closing his eyes and still managed to submit his completed report hours before the deadline loomed. His defense was anti-climatic and he walked out of it nearly giggling with relief and release. Five years of working himself into the ground, dividing his time as equally as he could between rounds at the hospital and the research labs and he could proudly proclaim he held both an MD and a Ph.D. And that he’d saved dozens of lives all ready. He planned to save hundreds more.

Carson Beckett was thirty-two years old and at the top of his game. His only wish was that his father was alive to see it.


Arómenë © 2007

AN: So, this was originally part one and then Grav told me it was pointless back-story, and she’s right. It was for my own peace of mind anyways. But if you were interested…


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