Pairing(s): Rodney McKay/Radek Zelenka, John Sheppard/Elizabeth Weir, Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan
Summary: When Elizabeth drags him to a concert, Radek is in for a few surprises.
A/N: This is a band!AU that was supposed to be for sga_flashfic. Needless to say, it didn't get done in time. *shifty eyes* My beta was the marvelous cosmonaut_elf. A one-week later fic can be found here.
Word Count: 2,500
Radek Zelenka is a smart man. It’s how he got this prestigious internship after all, and so he is smart enough to know that the winning smile on Elizabeth Weir’s lips is trouble, and definitely smart enough to figure out that the gleam in her eyes meant that the trouble’s inevitable.
Before she could even open her mouth, he’d sighed and raised his hands in a gesture of defeat. “Whatever it is, I’ll do it.”
“Oh.” Elizabeth had blinked, and then smiled, looking amused. “Well, that was easier than I’d thought it’d be. We’re going to see this amazing band Friday night -- they’ve been around for a little over a year, but now they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve. I was going to go with Simon but--” Her mouth had twisted bitterly, and Radek had nodded his understanding. “They’re called The Rejects From McMurdo.” At his raised eyebrow, she’d smiled and shrugged. “The lead guitarist had a bad experience with the military.”
That’s how Radek finds himself sitting among some very drunk concert-goers, grimacing at the smell of cheap American beer and even cheaper cigarettes. He is still trying to decide whether or not to be disturbed at the fact that the music is so loud it’s making his chest vibrate. He’s leaning towards being extremely disturbed and frowns at Elizabeth, who rolls her eyes.
“This is just the first band,” she explains, voice straining to be heard over the singer screaming about-- alcohol and sex, Radek suspects, but he isn’t certain. “Just wait ‘til you hear The Rejects.”
“I cannot wait,” he says dryly, and sighs as one of the drunks spills beer on his shoes.
After what seems like forever, The Rejects From McMurdo finally make an appearance, and much to Radek’s surprise, they are good-- and extremely eclectic. One song sounds alternative, another almost pop, the next rock, and Radek finds himself openly staring when he catches a hint of Dvorak in one of the slower songs.
“Told you,” Elizabeth shouts over the music, and really, smugness does not become her. She points at one of the performers on the stage and Radek squints. He and Elizabeth don’t have the best of seats and even when he gives up and glances at the screens all he can really make out is a tall, lanky man with black hair, whose fingers fly across the guitar strings in a blur. “The lead guitarist is John Sheppard, ex-Air Force.”
When she doesn’t elaborate, Radek glances at her and catches the final seconds of an almost wistful look on her face. He doesn’t comment. If fantasizing about a famous guitarist helps her get over Simon being an ass, Radek isn’t going to remind her of harsh reality that the chances of her ever meeting John Sheppard are minimal.
“Who composes the music?” he asks, but just then the drummer -- her hair surrounding her face like a golden halo as she shakes her head violently -- goes into an enthusiastic drum solo and the crowd roars its approval and Elizabeth never does get around to answering his question.
Elizabeth has screamed herself hoarse by the end of the concert, but is looking flushed and relaxed, and so, even with his shoes drenched in alcohol and his shirt smelling of cigarettes, Radek’s rather glad that he came along, if just for the chance to see Elizabeth -- who has been his friend since his first day at the company -- like this.
“Aren’t they amazing?” she exclaims, voice husky from overuse, and Radek nods.
The Rejects from McMurdo are a good band. Radek just wishes he had been able to understand more of the lyrics, but the crowd’s screaming had drowned out most of the words. Still, once he has Elizabeth’s copy of their CD, he’ll be able to listen to the songs without distraction.
“Would you like me to drive?” he asks, since Elizabeth had a beer or two during the concert, and blinks at the sudden grin that lights up her face.
“You mean you don’t want to meet the band?”
He blinks again. One glance at the stage confirms that The Rejects have already left the stage, and he ventures, “I think they are done for the night, Elizabeth.”
She waves a hand. “They’re just relaxing backstage. Come on.” She grabs his hand and drags him towards the doors labeled ‘Backstage Entrance -- Only Authorized Personnel and Performers Allowed Beyond This Point.’
“Er,” Radek begins, but then Elizabeth is smiling at the security guard and saying cheerfully, “Could you let Laura know that Elizabeth Weir is here?” and he closes his mouth and stares as the security guard raises an eyebrow and disappears through the doors.
Elizabeth glances at him, and her smile is pure mischief. “Oh, did I forget to mention Laura Cadman, the drummer, was my roommate in college?”
“Ah, yes,” Radek says, blinking. “You forgot to mention that, definitely.”
Five minutes later, the security guard pokes his head back out and ushers them backstage, and a minute after that, Radek finds himself standing awkwardly in the doorway as the blond drummer leaps from a chair and launches herself at Elizabeth.
“I’m so glad you could make it!” Laura’s smile stretches from ear to ear, and it matches the grin on Elizabeth’s face. Her gaze flickers past Elizabeth to Radek, and her eyes narrow. “This is Simon?”
“No,” Radek says before Elizabeth can answer, a bit more sharply than he intends, but that seems to earn Laura’s approval; she winks at him even as he adds, stepping away from the doorway and extending his hand, “I am Radek Zelenka. Elizabeth and I work together.”
Laura immediately smirks. “Work together? Is that what they’re call-”
“We work together. That’s all,” Elizabeth says firmly, and then nudges Laura. “I see your sense of humor hasn’t changed.”
As Laura laughs and nudges her back, Radek glances around the room and smiles politely at the bass guitarist, who is watching Laura and Elizabeth talk with an unreadable expression, and the lead singer, a composed brunette who seems amused at Laura’s antics.
The notorious John Sheppard is sprawled out on the couch, legs dangling off one of the arms. He mock-salutes Radek with a beer can and lazy grin. Up close, he is skinny rather than lanky, and his eyes are a clear hazel. “So, Radek, how’d you like the concert?”
Radek opens his mouth to answer, but before he can get a word out, someone comments, words dripping with sarcasm, “Fishing for compliments again, Sheppard?” and Sheppard’s lips twist into a smirk.
He glances over his shoulder, and finds himself face to face with the keyboard player. Up close, the first thing Radek notices about the man is his scowling, lopsided mouth and then his piercing blue eyes, which are currently being rolled skyward as though to appeal to the heavens.
“You know only your compliments matter to me, McKay,” Sheppard drawls, and when Radek looks at the guitarist, he is batting his eyes ridiculously. “And it breaks my heart that the compliments are so few and far between.”
McKay snorts and brushes past Radek to slap at Sheppard’s legs. “Maybe you’d get a few more compliments if you stopped hogging the entire couch.” As soon as Sheppard moves, McKay throws himself down, putting his feet on the nearby coffee table. Then he raises an imperious eyebrow. “Well, how was the concert?”
It takes Radek a moment before he realizes that he’s being spoken to. “Oh, it was very good. I had never heard one of your songs until tonight.” He pauses, smiling almost apologetically, but Sheppard at least seems amused by the admission. “I did not realize the songs were going to be so-- so--” He pauses, searching his mind for the correct English word, hands fluttering uselessly as though he can snatch the word out of thin air. “--So varied, I think you’d say.” He laughs a little. “I certainly did not expect to hear Dvorak!”
“You know Dvorak?” the keyboard player says, both eyebrows rising, and Radek can’t quite keep from chuckling at the note of disbelief in the other man’s voice.
“I think my sister would kill me if I did not know Dvorak. She plays for the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, you see.” The last sentence is said with a hint of pride, because the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra is the most prestigious orchestra of the Czech Republic.
“Your sister plays for the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,” McKay repeats in a flat voice, and when Radek nods, he looks incredulous.
It’s Radek’s turn to raise an eyebrow. He’s not certain whether to be amused or insulted that the man has known him for all of two minutes and thinks him a liar. He folds his arms against his chest and stares at McKay, eyes narrowed. “You think I am joking? Marije Zelenka, viola. She has been with the orchestra since she was twenty-four.”
“The Marije Zelenka who just had a solo at Carnegie Hall?” McKay all but squawks, and now rather than incredulous, he looks almost envious. “My sister was there with her fiancé, and they said she was amazing.”
“She is the pride and joy of my family,” Radek says, and lets every bit of pride he feels for his older sister color his voice. Then he blinks as McKay stands and thrusts a hand at him.
McKay’s hand is warm and slightly sweaty, the handshake enthusiastic, and his lips are curved into a sideways smile that looks good on him. “Rodney McKay. Rad, wasn’t it?”
“Radek,” he corrects, but Rodney waves a dismissive hand, as though to say, ‘Close enough.’ Not close enough, by any means. How would he like to be called Rod?
“You don’t think you could get an autograph from your sister for me, could you? Jeannie would die of jealousy, and--”
“As long as Radek gets an autographed poster of your band, Rodney, you’ve got a deal,” Elizabeth says, and smiles a little at Rodney’s rolled eyes and impatient, “Fine, fine.”
The poster is how Radek finds out that the bass guitarist is Ronon Dex and the singer Teyla Emmagan, both of whom seem quite willing to sign the poster and then wander off to grab a beer, relax on a loveseat together, and ignore everyone else in the room.
Somehow in the midst of hunting down a poster and then a pen Elizabeth ends up on the couch next to Sheppard, who’s eyeing her thoughtfully. When Sheppard casually drapes an arm on the back of the couch and smiles at Elizabeth, Radek raises an eyebrow and ducks his head to hide a smile. Apparently reality is not as harsh as he had originally thought.
Pen in hand, Rodney snorts and mutters something that sounds like, “Jimi Hendrix wannabe,” earning a glare from Sheppard and a puzzled look from Elizabeth. At Sheppard’s frown, he rolls his eyes and says, “Don’t even try, Sheppard. I know that look.” Signing with a flourish, Rodney shoves the poster at Radek. “So, the autograph? We’re traveling most of the year, but I’ll give you my home address and you can send it there.”
“All right,” Radek says mildly, and tucks the scrap of paper with Rodney’s address on it into a pocket. He thinks he will ask Marije to send two autographs, one for Rodney and one for Rodney’s sister, because anyone with that-- unique of a brother deserves a present now and then.
Glancing around, he sees that Teyla and Ronon are apparently in the middle of a quiet conversation. Laura has apparently vanished (perhaps to get more beer, he thinks, looking at the empty beer cans on the coffee table). Elizabeth is laughing at something Sheppard just said, face flushed and eyes bright with amusement, and even as Radek watches, she leans a little bit closer to Sheppard.
He tilts his head at Rodney, who’s making a face and muttering ‘Jimi Hendrix’ under his breath. When Rodney realizes he’s being watched, he rolls his eyes and folds his arms against his chest. “So, you’re a fan of Dvorak. You’ve obviously heard of Smetana then,” he says, and before Radek can even nod, Rodney is off and rambling about his own likes and dislikes regarding Smetana.
Laura returns with more beer, and even though it is cheap and American, Radek takes one anyway, sipping at it as Rodney babbles, hands shaping imaginary notes in mid-air and crooked lips twisting into a pleased little smile, as though he’s unused to not being interrupted. He probably isn’t used to it, judging by the way Sheppard’s rolling his eyes and making sympathetic faces at Radek. In fact, the guitarist looks ready to tell Rodney to shut up, at least until Radek shoots him a smile and shakes his head to say that no, he’s fine really.
Somehow that single beer turns into two as he listens to Rodney babble, and then partway through his third beer Radek looks up and realizes that Sheppard and Elizabeth are gone, as are Ronon and Teyla. Only Laura is left, and she is idly stacking the empty beer cans into a pyramid and paying no attention to them.
“I believe we have been deserted,” he says, interrupting Rodney mid-sentence in a diatribe against-- well, Radek had stopped listening after his second beer, actually, instead just watched how those blue eyes gleamed with enthusiasm and let the steady rise and fall of the other man’s voice wash over him.
Rodney looks up, blinking at the nearly empty room. “Huh. So they have.”
“Perhaps we can steal the couch now?” Radek suggests, and sits down without waiting for an answer, setting his half-empty beer can on the coffee table.
After a moment, Rodney follows suit, knee jostling Radek’s as he sprawls out. “I wanted to be a pianist,” he says abruptly, and when Radek raises an eyebrow, explains, “Classical music. My piano teacher told me I had no soul, that I would only master the technique and never capture the emotion of the music.”
“I think your teacher was an idiot,” Radek says mildly and Rodney laughs.
Rodney’s knee is still pressed against his and now his elbow is digging into Radek’s side, but Radek doesn’t try to move away, just tilts his head and adds, “I assume you have….” He pauses, searches for the right phrase. “…rubbed The Rejects in his face?”
The smug look that spreads across Rodney’s lips is answer enough, and really, such obvious self-satisfaction should not be so attractive. But it is, and Radek has wanted to kiss that mouth ever since he first saw it scowling, to see if perhaps Rodney tastes of smug superiority and what, exactly, that tastes like.
And that must show on his face, because Rodney suddenly eyes him, looking both surprised and pleased, and a second later his hand cups the back of Radek’s neck, the touch just as warm as before.
As Rodney leans in, gaze intent, Radek thinks to himself that he will have to go along with Elizabeth’s ideas more often, and then he concentrates on the kiss, absorbed in his exploration of the feel and taste of Rodney’s mouth.