SUMMARY: It was hard to pinpoint the exact moment it began.

SEASON/SPOILERS: Set S2. Slight spoilers/mentions for Poisoning the Well, Seige III, Intruder.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Stargate: Atlantis or anything associated with it. I'm simply borrowing, but I promise to return all in one piece. Eventually.

It was hard to pinpoint the exact moment it began. Oh, sure, he could recall the second the physical stuff started. The first kiss was a dead giveaway and the wicked smile that followed definitely started the ball rolling into the hot and heavy territory.

But 'it' was far more complicated and seemed an almost mathematical impossibility to isolate.

Therefore, John resigned himself to never knowing. It was probably more important remembering that he now loved a certain blue-eyed doctor, rather than the moment in which his infatuation began.

"The Daedalus brought mail. There's a package from your mom." John held the medium sized brown parcel in the air with both hands and shook it. "Hmm...doesn't sound like food."

"Don't do that! It could be fragile," Carson said, grabbing the package from John's hands, but flashing him a small smile to show he wasn't angry.

"Whatever it is, I hope you know you're sharing it."

Carson's grin widened. "What if it's something you don't like. What if it's haggis?"

"Hey! I didn't say I didn't like it. I just..." he trailed off.

"Didn't like it," Carson finished with a laugh. "It's okay, you know. Mum wasn't offended."

"I ate dessert," John defended. "Lots of it. Besides, I highly doubt it's haggis in there. Somehow I'm not thinking that stuff has an intergalactic travel shelf life."

"I'm not going to comment on that, I think."

"Good. Now just open the damn package. You're killing me here!" He pointed to the box.

Carson raised an eyebrow. "Why, John, you'd think your mum sent it the way your eyes are gleaming."

John met his gaze. His mother was tucked away in a nursing room, staring at the garden outside her window. She remembered she had a son, remembered his name was John, but every time he saw her there was no recognition in her eyes. Her John was still in his twenties, not approaching forty faster than he'd thought. Her John was another person in another lifetime, just like his mother was a different woman in a different time.

Carson knew about his mother. Carson was the only one, because Carson met her. John had wanted to stop by. Carson pried and normally John didn't like someone pushing his way into his life, his privacy, like that, but Carson was different.

Which of course, brought him back to his original thought. Carson hadn't always been different and he wasn't sure when that had happened.

Carson's blue eyes meet his and John could see sympathy in them.

"Sorry, luv," he said softly. "Let's open it then." No more was said, but no more needed to be said.

John watched Carson tear into the brown packaging and open the cardboard box underneath. Inside were a few letters and some scattered trinkets. At the very bottom were a small empty planter, some potting soil and a package of seeds. Carson lifted the items out, put then down, and then picked up the seeds.

"They have your name on them," he said and offered them out to John.

John frown a moment, but told them. "Why would you mother send me..." His voice diminished when he saw what type of plant they were for.

Roses. Miniature roses. Yellow ones, to be precise.

He stared at them a moment. "She remembered," he said, his mouth turning into a half grin.

"Remember what?" Carson seemed clueless.

John didn't answer him at first, thinking back to their recent trip to Earth and Scotland.

"You have beautiful roses," John had commented to Mrs. Beckett, hoping the small talk would break the ice and make their meeting less awkward. Especially since Carson had left them alone in the yard when he went in to get more tea from the kitchen.

"Thank you," she had said. "Do you like roses?"

"My mother grew roses," he had admitted. "Yellow ones. She loved yellow roses."

"Loved?" Mrs. Beckett had raised her gaze to meet his eyes. "Is she deceased?"

He had paused at the question, contemplating what the truth was and whether or not he wanted to share it. "No," he finally said. "She's..."

Mrs. Beckett had shaken her head. "Say no more, lad. She likes yellow roses, then?"

He was surprised she understood so quickly and so well. But he supposed mothers tended to have such intuition. When he was little, his own mother could sense his mood before she even saw his face.

"Yes. I bring her a dozen every time..." He smiled. "They remind me of her."

She nodded. "Yellow is such a vibrant color. It conjures up happy times."

He had opened his mouth to respond, but Carson had returned, tea in hand, and the subject was dropped as the three moved into other topics.

"John?" Carson's vice drew him back into the present and acknowledged the man with a slight nod.

"My mother liked yellow roses," he said simply. "She had a green thumb, much like your mother. Unfortunately, it isn't a trait she passed on. I'll never get this to grow."

Carson shrugged. "You don't know if you don't try. But if it makes you feel better, I once killed one my mother's plants one weekend when she had to go to Skye and visit my grandmother. I forgot to water it."

"You forgot to water it? I'm not that bad," Jack teased.

"I was in medical school at time. My mind was elsewhere," Carson admitted. "Buried in the pages of a biology textbook. I cooked dinner for a week."

"And didn't burn it?"

"The one time I go off-world overnight with your team! You're never going to let me forget that, are you?"

John shook his head. "Nope. And neither will Rodney. He takes food very seriously."

Carson rolled his eyes. "He likes MRE's and powerbars. I'm not sure they qualify as food."

John shrugged. "Nutritional value is right on the package. They got all. Well, except taste, but you kind of forget about what real food is like when you've eaten so much processed crap."

"Aye, I suppose." Carson looked back toward the pot. "Are you going to plant it?"

"I think I would insult your mother if I didn't. And if it survives, I'll send her a digital photo."

"It'll survive," Carson said. "Just give it a chance." He gave John a smile and that's when it hit him.

He knew when 'it' happened. When 'it' changed.

"I don't need to go off world, Major. I'm perfectly happy sitting here in my lab. You can just bring me back a sample of this so-called drug and I'd be happy to test it. Ecstatic, even."

"Come on, doc. It could stop the Wraith from feeding off human kind. I'd think you'd be all over this one."

Carson looked at him doubtfully. "Aye, I am. But I might have been a bit more open to the idea if *someone* asked for my services before volunteering them."

"Yeah, well, I'm sorry about that. But you need to get out." John picked up a test tube filled with a yellow substance from Carson's lab bench.

"I'm already 'out.' I came to Atlantis, didn't I? And put that down, Major. You don't want to know what's in there."

John dropped the tube immediately. Carson was right; he didn't want to know. "Doc. Carson. Can I call you Carson?"

Carson sighed. "I suppose, although it's not going to make any difference, Major."

"John," he corrected. "Listen. They aren't too many of us on Atlantis, so I'd like to think we could all get along, even be friends. And friends are bound to do a favor or two for another friend."

"I hardly know you," Carson told him. "And you could say the same about me. Frankly, I don't think we have much in common."

"Maybe, maybe not. But doing a personal favor for me is good way to start, don't you think? I'll owe you one," John promised.

Carson looked down a minute, before meeting his gaze and giving him a tight smile. "You win, Major. But you owe me much more than one. I certainly hope this new friendship can withstand that."

John grinned. "Oh, it'll survive. Just give it a chance. Pack what you need. We leave in an hour."

That was 'it.' The moment he and Carson became friends. It wasn't long after when it became more, but it was that instant when John realized there was something different about Carson Beckett.

And it only told a package of seeds to figure it out.

He gazed at the plant and wished his mother could remember who he was for only a minute. She'd always been cheerful, even after his father's death, and only wanted happiness for her son. If only for a moment she could meet his eyes and see him as her son, and not talk about a figment of her son from the past.

"Are you happy?" he wanted her to ask him.

And despite the Wraith, despite the quest for Ford and his ever present failings, he could say that yes, at least one piece of him was happy.

He planted the roses, set them in his window.

The day he and Carson decided to move in together was the day they budded.