Pairing: Rodney McKay/Radek Zelenka
fic4radek Recipient: inkscribe, who asked for "Radek, any pairing except het. Radek has a secret and it comes out. What happens from there? Hot m/m action to be included in some fashion."
Warning(s): Deathfic(ish), slash, spoilers up to the beginning of season three
Summary: He'd expected nightmares, not this.
Word Count: 6,600
Author's Notes: I'm so sorry this was late! *grovels* My muse wasn't cooperating. Thanks go out to blue_raven for putting up with my whining and beta-reading the fic, as well as duckduck for also doing a read-through for me.
At this hour, what is dead is restless
and what is living is burning.
Someone tell him he should sleep now.
Rodney wasn’t really surprised when he opened his eyes to see the figure standing at the foot of his bed. He’d expected it ever since he was coerced into getting some sleep -- though if he had to be honest, he’d been expecting a much more morbid scene, not the banality of his dimly lit quarters.
The figure flickered in and out of sight like a sputtering candle just about to go out, which probably could have been a metaphor for something if Rodney had ever put any stock into the meaning of dreams.
“Well?” he finally said, once the silence had stretched on for a minute or two. The flickering was already giving him a slight headache, a pressure starting between his eyes. He resisted the urge to close his eyes and try to switch to a different dream. “Come to yell at me?”
“Yell at you?” The response sounded honestly puzzled. If Rodney squinted, he thought he could make out a raised eyebrow as the figure looked at him. “I am not some vengeance-seeking demon.”
“So, what, you're my guardian angel then?” Rodney asked, thinking to himself how this was definitely one of his odder dreams but still feeling calm about it. It was the same sort of calmness he felt when Carson had him hooked up to a morphine-drip, actually, but he couldn’t bring himself to get concerned. At least there were no demon-red eyes and speeches about being here to settle the score.
The flickering figure in front of him snorted: a sharp, half-amused, half-exasperated sound. “Yes, Rodney. There is a Heaven and St. Peter asked me to watch out for you specifically because you are so much more important than anyone else in the universe. Just as you’ve always suspected.”
“Hey, everyone could have a guardian angel. I didn't say I was special,” Rodney protested. He paused, frowning. This was definitely not the dream he’d expected when he’d finally given into Carson’s orders and crawled into bed. Where was the requisite nightmare? “So, uh, if you’re not my guardian angel or here to yell at me, then what are you doing here?”
The flickering actually stopped at that, the figure solidifying for a minute so that Rodney could see the ironic curve of Radek’s mouth as he said, “You tell me, McKay. I've had a rough week. I died, you know.”
Of all the things Rodney had thought dream-Radek would say, a gently mocking reminder of his death definitely wasn’t it. That didn’t keep the words from feeling like a slap to his face, though, or prevent a lump from lodging in his throat. “Yes,” he said quietly. “I know.”
The flickering didn’t return, so it was just Radek standing there, leaning a little against the foot of the bed, looking at him with calm, almost kind eyes. “For a while there, it looked as though Carson would have to sedate you.”
“Yes, well, Carson doesn’t seem to realize the impact your d-- what this will do to the science division,” Rodney said, faltering briefly. The partially-formed word left a sour taste in his mouth and he swallowed hard. “Do you realize how inconvenient all this is?” he said after a moment, attempting at the usual callousness that always exasperated Radek (and, well, everyone else). “I mean, now I actually have to interact with idiots--”
“--yes, yes, Rodney. I am so sorry to have left you to fend for yourself.” Radek rolled his eyes, but his mild tone hadn’t changed. “Truly, I meant to be caught in that explosion just so you would have to deal with your fellow scientists.”
Rodney couldn’t help the slight grimace at that, just as his brain couldn’t resist the urge to provide images of the jumper bay, with the scorched, blackened floor and dried blood. He cleared his throat and forced out a brisk, “Yes, well, maybe I would have willingly interacted with other scientists if they all hadn’t gotten their doctorates off the backs of cereal boxes.”
“Rodney,” Radek said, but amusement tinged his exasperation. “I am not going to be there to smooth any ruffled feathers. You will have to play nice. Or at least nicer.” Without asking permission, he sat down on the edge of the bed; Rodney could feel the bed sink a little under his weight. “Or at the very least find someone who plays well with others and who you believe to be competent.”
“Whom you believe to be competent,” Rodney muttered, and Radek rolled his eyes.
“You make fun of your brother-in-law for being an English teacher and yet you also correct my grammar. This is why people do not like you, McKay.” He folded his arms against his chest and raised an eyebrow. “So.”
Radek just looked at him for a moment, and Rodney finally said, “So, what?” Weren’t dreams supposed to be less, well, like everyday conversations? He half-expected someone to come on the headset and tell him that Atlantis was being attacked by pterodactyls. Of course, this was the Pegasus Galaxy. That wasn’t as impossible as it should have been.
“So, I just wanted to,” Radek began and then stopped, mouth twisting. “That is, I suppose I came to say good-bye, since we didn’t get a chance to….”
“Oh, right,” Rodney said, something finally clicking into place, and he snapped his fingers and nodded to himself. “Now this dream actually makes sense. My subconscious is creating you to make me feel better about being off-world when you were dying, right? Heightmeyer will probably have a ball with this.”
Radek looked a little amused. “Yes, Rodney, I’m sure she will. Now, can your subconscious say what he’s here to say, please?” When Rodney shrugged, Radek cleared his throat. “Well, ah, good-bye. It was…an interesting experience, working with--”
“An interesting experience?” Rodney interrupted, incredulous. “Oh come on, surely I can do better than that.”
That earned him a scowl and an irritated, “Let me finish, McKay. What I mean to say is that I am glad I came to Atlantis, no matter the outcome, and that working with you was….” Radek paused, searching for words again, and Rodney snorted in derision.
“Even Sam as my subconscious was more coherent than you,” he said, ignoring Radek’s narrowed eyes. “They tended to be imaginative insults, but still.”
“Kurva drát!” Radek snapped and glared at him. “So sorry I am not the amazing Samantha Carter, McKay.” He stood, stiffly, lips twisted into a scowl and eyes dark. “What I was trying to say is that I would not trade these past few years for anything, and that I will miss you, small, petty man that you are.”
“Huh,” Rodney said after a moment. “Okay, that was better.” He frowned as Radek threw up his hands and muttered something low and fervent in Czech. “What?”
“What?” Radek tossed back, the word mocking. “Oh, I just assumed you would actually say good-bye and that you’d miss me as well, that is what, McKay. I should have known better.”
“You’re just my subconscious,” Rodney muttered a bit sulkily as Radek frowned at him. First Sam and now Radek. Why was his manifested subconscious always so angry? He was certain Heightmeyer probably had plenty of ideas on what that meant, and they were probably all depressing.
“I should not even have bothered,” Radek said, though it seemed more to himself than to Rodney. “I should have just--” He closed his eyes, his shoulders rising and falling as he huffed out an exasperated breath. “Good-bye, Rodney.”
Rodney looked at him for a moment, taking in the tense shoulders, down-turned mouth, eyes still shut tightly, and felt guilt hit him like a punch to his stomach, which was ridiculous, because, hello, talking to his own subconscious here.
“Fine, fine, good-bye,” he said, but it was to an empty room, Radek blinking out of sight a second before Rodney opened his mouth.
He stared at the empty space where Radek had just been and resisted the urge to curse. When Rodney had dreamed after Brendan, Peter, and the others there’d been nightmare after nightmare, ones of blood and screams and dead eyes filled with accusations. So why did this dream, with Radek’s frustrated frown and earnest but exasperated, “Good-bye, Rodney,” leave him feeling worse than all those nightmares?
He sighed and rolled over onto his stomach, closing his eyes and ignoring the guilt that gnawed away at him. It was a sensation he’d probably have to get used to in the coming weeks, after all.
What we conceal
Is always more than what we dare confide.
Think of the letters that we write our dead.
“Everything okay?” Sheppard asked.
Rodney resisted the urge to roll his eyes because seriously, he knew that Sheppard was military, but did he have to be paranoid as well? “Everything’s fine. The containment bubble was designed to automatically compensate for any sudden changes in energy output,” he said and scowled at Radek’s oh-so-unhelpful reminder that this had never happened in the simulations, which of course prompted Sheppard’s suggestion to abort.
“I said it’s fine,” he repeated, exasperated. Was he surrounded by idiots today? “Radek, see if you can boost more power to the field manually.”
“Fine, fine,” Radek muttered, muttering something in Czech that Rodney suspected was insulting to Rodney’s ancestors and which Rodney benevolently chose to ignore.
His eyes half on the screen, half on Radek putting on a pair of safety goggles, he grinned at Sheppard and couldn’t resist a smug, “Prepare for test firing on my mark--”
“You’re supposed to be boosting the power, Zelenka,” he said without looking away from the screen.
“Rodney,” Radek said, raw urgency thickening his accent, and the intensity in the word made Rodney look up and frown, because Radek should be doing what he’d been told, damnit, and--
“Levels just spiked into the red,” someone said suddenly, voice rising in dismay, but even as Rodney snapped, “What?” and moved to look at the screen, Radek was shaking his head.
“Shut it down,” Sheppard ordered. “Shut it all down--”
“Rodney! This is not happening.” Radek was suddenly there, his hands on Rodney’s shoulders, shoving Rodney away from the interface even as the screen warned of an overload. “This has already happened, only you sent Collins, and he died.”
“But,” Rodney said, nausea roiling his stomach and sweat breaking out on the back of his neck as the red warning of overload glowed ominously on the screen. What was Radek playing at? “I need to--”
“No,” Radek said, and it was almost a snarl, and then their surroundings -- the consoles, Sheppard, Optican, Collins -- all began to blur, the colors bleeding into each other like a watercolor until everything was indiscernible except for him and Radek.
Radek took a deep breath and finally released Rodney’s shoulders. “Much better.”
“What are you talking about, Sheppard and everything just--” Rodney stopped as the surroundings suddenly snapped back into focus, only they weren’t on Doranda anymore, but in Rodney’s quarters. “Okay, what just happened?”
“You decided to have a nightmare, that is what,” Radek said, folding his arms against his chest and scowling. “Really, I do not understand what goes on in your head, McKay. Having a nightmare about me on Doranda and not about my actual death?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Rodney snapped, but in the next moment he did, because the memories reemerged from whatever recesses of his brain they’d been hiding in, memories of the year that had followed the Doranda fiasco, like Michael and the hive ships and Radek’s-- He abruptly felt a lot less angry and instead much more exhausted. “Oh. Right.”
The scowl softened to a half-exasperated look. “Doranda, Rodney? I thought we were long past that.”
“Yes, well,” Rodney said, fidgeting a little at Radek’s raised eyebrow. Like it was odd that he’d had a few nightmares where it’d been Radek who had gone to adjust the power instead of Collins. He cleared his throat. “What are you doing, interrupting my nightmare anyway? That’s not how it works. I mean, not that I’m objecting, but still, usually the people dying in my nightmares don’t realize they’re not supposed to.”
Radek spread his hands in an undecipherable gesture and shrugged. “What do you expect me to say? That I felt a disturbance in the Force and decided to help you?”
Rodney snorted. “Right, because you’re perfect Jedi material.” He paused and smirked. “Then again, the requirement seemed to be celibacy, so--”
“--if a requirement for becoming a Jedi is that you never get the girl, then I think you would make an excellent Jedi, McKay,” Radek said smoothly. An answering smirk curved his lips.
“Ha, I did too get the girl,” Rodney said smugly. “Or have you conveniently forgotten that I’ve been on dates with Katie Brown? Dates, as in plural.”
Radek looked unimpressed. “Have been, as in past tense.”
Rodney opened his mouth to argue and then shut it with a scowl because, honestly, Radek had him there. “Yes, well, I noticed you didn’t actually answer my question,” he said at last.
Radek shrugged, his smile turning mischievous. “Your subconscious decided to be nice to you?”
“Oh yes, because reminding me that I have no sex life is such a nice thing to do,” Rodney said, with a roll of his eyes. “Thanks, subconscious.”
“You’re welcome,” Radek said, mock-solemn, and then grinned at Rodney’s narrowed eyes. “What? Is my fault the truth is a harsh mistress?”
“The sea. The sea is a harsh mistress,” Rodney corrected him.
Apparently unconcerned with his mangled metaphor, Radek shrugged. “So is the sea, yes.” He smiled, a quick look of devilish amusement flashing across his face. “Especially when one cannot swim.”
“You know, I can’t believe even after I almost died you didn’t learn how to--” Rodney stopped as Radek’s face abruptly paled, his gaze darting around the room as though seeing something Rodney could not. He glanced around uneasily. Was this just another part of his nightmare? “What?”
“I thought-- but it was nothing,” Radek said after a moment. Despite his flippant tone, he was still pale and his smile was weak, the spark of mischief gone from his eyes. “Besides, is time for you to wake up anyway. Now, no more ridiculous nightmares about me, please.”
“Oh, like I can promise that. I have no control over my subconscious. If I did, Sam would’ve….” He trailed off at the expression on Radek’s face. “You know what? Never mind.”
Radek took a step towards him, his weak smile shifting to an unreadable expression, soft rather than weary. “Good-bye, Rodney,” he said, and reached out a hand to gently squeeze Rodney’s shoulder in farewell.
Rodney tried to speak, then cleared his throat because it was suddenly, suspiciously tight and the words couldn’t escape his lips. It took him another hard swallow before his next attempt at “Good-bye, Radek” succeeded. He felt like an idiot as soon as the words fell from his lips, because seriously, saying good-bye to his own subconscious here.
Still, some of the embarrassment’s sting faded in the wake of Radek’s pleased smile and warm look. “Now, no more nightmares,” Radek said with mock-severity and then offered him another bright smile and faded from sight before Rodney could launch into a reminder of how he had no actual control over his dreams, thank you very much.
He frowned at the spot where Radek had just been and slowly shook his head. “Oh, sure, you love having the last word, don’t you?” he muttered, and could almost picture Radek’s mock-innocent expression even as he sat down on his bed and waited to wake up.
I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)
The first thing Rodney noticed was a familiar voice cursing a long stream of what he suspected was Czech profanity. The next was that his knee didn’t feel like liquid fire anymore and that was definitely a good thing.
When he opened his eyes, he was in his quarters once more, sitting in bed, which he knew couldn’t be right. Hadn’t he lost an argument with Carson over whether or not he should spend the night in the infirmary? That had been just before he admitted defeat and shut his eyes, planning on getting some well-earned rest.
Radek was once again at the foot of his bed, wearing a thunderous expression and still muttering darkly in Czech.
Rodney attempted a smile. “Hey, uh, no nightmares.”
“Be quiet,” snapped Radek, his tone sharp and precise. “I did not realize I would have to tell you not to get yourself almost killed as well as not have nightmares, but apparently I did not take into account the fact that you are an idiot.”
“Hey, I’m not--” Rodney protested, but Radek talked right over him, cheeks flushed and eyes narrowed to slits, accent thickening with every syllable until the words were almost unintelligible.
“Your first trip off-world after my death, and what do you do? You get yourself captured. Well done, McKay! As if I do not have enough to worry about while you fiddle with Ancient technology on Atlantis, I must now fret like some sailor’s wife while you are off-world angering the natives and getting yourself almost killed!”
The final word was all but shouted, and Rodney was torn between defensiveness and annoyance. He chose the former, sitting upright and folding his arms against his chest. “Look, one, I don’t fiddle with Ancient technology, I examine it with proper caution.” Ignoring Radek’s snort of disbelief, he continued, “Two, while I’m glad to hear that my subconscious is concerned on my behalf, getting captured so wasn’t my fault, as you should know--”
“--no, no, no I do not know, Rodney! I wasn’t there!” Radek was definitely shouting now, his hands clenched as fists at his side.
Rodney rolled his eyes. “Of course you were there--”
“I was here!” Radek threw up an arm, waved wildly at their surroundings. “Here. Atlantis. Do prdele, I was--”
This time, Rodney raised his voice and cut Radek off. “Hate to break it to you, but my subconscious is always with me. It’s sort of a package deal, so yes, you were there, so you can stop yelling at me about something you know wasn’t my fault.”
Radek’s arm dropped back to his side at that, and he took in a deep breath, either preparing to launch into another diatribe or to calm himself down. Rodney really hoped it was the latter, but it seemed to be a mixture of both, because in the next moment Radek said in a low, harsh whisper, “Truly, Rodney, truly, you are the most oblivious, hard-headed man I have ever met.”
“Oh, like I haven’t heard that before,” Rodney scoffed, though really, he would have to talk to Heightmeyer about why his subconscious seemed so self-loathing. First it had been ‘arrogant, petty, and bad with people,’ and now he was ‘oblivious and hard-headed’? There was a complex there, he was certain of it.
“Rodney,” Radek said, and it was with the same mingled exasperation and fondness as it’d been that first night after his death, that same tone which made Rodney’s name into half-curse, half-invocation. He stepped closer, up to the head of the bed.
“Radek,” Rodney shot back and then stared as Radek reached out and pressed the palm of his hand against Rodney’s face, almost but not quite cupping his jaw. “Uh--”
“I am not Samantha Carter,” Radek said, voice quiet this time. His hand was cool against Rodney’s skin and Rodney thought he could feel a few calluses.
When Rodney opened his mouth to speak, nothing came out, and it was just as well, he supposed, because Radek kept going, his voice so soft that it seemed almost as though he were musing aloud.
“Am not a figment of your imagination. Nor a manifestation of your subconscious.” Radek smiled then, one of those small, sly smiles he wore like he was in on a joke and Rodney wasn’t. “After all, I doubt your subconscious would be doing this, yes?” As though Rodney had somehow forgotten and needed reminding that Radek was all but caressing him, Radek’s thumb flicked across Rodney’s lips.
Rodney could feel his face heat at the gesture, knew his skin was probably turning bright pink. If all the blood had rushed to his face, though, then all the moisture had fled his mouth -- it felt as dry as the Sahara and took a few swallows before he could actually get out a hoarse, “D-definitely, uh, not, but, uh, Radek is -- was crazy about Elizabeth. So I’m just having a very, um, weird dream--”
“Is as I said. You are an oblivious man,” Radek said, and this time the words were affectionate.
Rodney opened his mouth to argue that he wasn’t oblivious, anyone could see that Radek had been a fool about Elizabeth. But then Radek was leaning in closer, gaze darkening and turning intent, and it looked like he was going to, but no, he wouldn’t, because Radek didn’t--
When Radek’s lips brushed his, the kiss was just as brief and soft as the press of the thumb against his mouth had been. It was so quick he barely had time to register it.
Radek pulled back, though his hand remained half-cupping Rodney’s face. There was a hint of redness to his cheeks as well, but his expression was controlled and his voice was steady with just a hint of hoarseness as he said, “So. Not your subconscious.”
“I--” Rodney took in a deep breath, trying to coax the heat from his face and gather his thoughts at the same time, thoughts which had all fled the moment Radek kissed him. His subconscious would only have had Radek kiss him if Rodney had thought for a second that there was possibility that Radek was-- but he hadn’t, he really, truly hadn’t. He cleared his throat. “So, uh. If you’re not a guardian angel or a demon or my subconscious, what the hell are you? A ghost?” He didn’t really believe in ghosts, but hello, Pegasus Galaxy. They had sentient mist.
Radek looked amused at that. “You are a genius, Rodney, you can figure it out.” His thumb idly pressed against the corner of Rodney’s lips, stroking the crease there, and Rodney felt his mouth go dry again as Radek added conversationally, “I notice you have not slapped my hand away. That is an option, you know.”
Rodney took another deep breath and then reached out to touch Radek’s wrist, where he could feel Radek’s slow, steady pulse beneath his fingertips. Radek twitched a little at the touch, but he didn’t pull away, just looked at Rodney with an unreadable expression.
“So,” Rodney said after a moment, proud when his voice didn’t shake and the words came out almost as casually as Radek’s had, “when you kissed me, was that just to prove you weren’t my subconscious, or because you wanted to, or, uh, both?”
There was silence for a moment, during which Rodney’s stomach twisted itself into knots of Gordian proportions and he felt himself break into an ice-cold sweat. He didn’t hear the entirety of Radek’s response over the roaring in his ears, was so distracted by the sensation of his heart leaping into his throat that he almost missed the widening of Radek’s eyes and the muttering of startled Czech. Still, there was no mistaking the way Radek’s eyes suddenly gleamed or how his lips curved into a slow, pleased smile.
Radek leaned in again, gaze intent once more, and Rodney suddenly recognized the look: it was the same expression Radek directed towards a piece of Ancient technology that was currently fascinating him, the look he wore when he was on the cusp of a breakthrough and just needed one more moment--
This time, Rodney found himself leaning forward to meet Radek halfway. Their second kiss was far longer than the first, and Rodney couldn’t help but try and memorize the shape of Radek’s mouth and the way those smiling lips felt against his.
His stomach continued to twist itself into knots because if -- no, not if -- this was real, this was Radek who was kissing him, Radek whose thumb was stroking Rodney’s cheek, then that meant Radek was here, warm, real, breathing. Only he couldn’t be alive, because Rodney had seen his body, had insisted on seeing it after Elizabeth had broken the news.
It was Radek who ended the kiss, and before Rodney could really think about his words, he blurted out, “You have shit timing, you know that? Seeing as, well, technically you’re dead.”
Radek’s smile widened at that, turned mischievous and almost fey. “I suppose I should prove how not-dead I am?” he said cheerfully and before Rodney could say how ridiculous Radek was being, leaned in and kissed him a third time. This kiss wasn’t quick and chaste, or slow and exploratory, but instead hard, fierce, and hungry, driving everything out of Rodney’s head except for the thought of sex now, questions later.
Rodney’s free arm snaked around Radek’s waist, entirely of its own accord, and began pulling Radek towards him. He wanted more than just the press of mouth to mouth, wanted to touch the expanse of skin just waiting for him beneath Radek’s clothes.
Radek broke off the kiss long enough to laugh, the sound low and rich, its timbre making Rodney relax a little, some tension he hadn’t even realized was there, easing. A moment later, Radek half-tossed his glasses onto the nightstand and then was on the bed and half-straddling him, the same fey smile on his lips. His gaze was all but ravenous, and Rodney couldn’t repress a shiver, both at the intense look and the soft, tantalizing touch of Radek’s hands, which were busying themselves with removing Rodney’s shirt.
Then his shirt was off and Radek was studying him with an almost pensive look on his face, as though he were committing this image to memory. Rodney could feel his breathing begin to even. When he was reasonably certain his voice wouldn’t crack, he said pointedly, “You know, this is a, a bit uneven, with one shirt off and one shirt on.”
Radek just chuckled and smacked his hands away when Rodney moved to correct the blatant inequality, light, stinging slaps that made Rodney yelp and glare. Smiling at Rodney’s scowl, Radek leaned forward and kissed him, a quick press of the lips before he drew back and commented, “I really should have known you would complain even during sex.”
“Well, of course I’m going to complain if you hit me,” Rodney muttered and ignored Radek’s smirk.
“I am so sorry, Rodney,” Radek said, suddenly all wide, concerned eyes. Even his voice dripped with sincerity and sympathy. “Let me make it up to you?” Even as Rodney narrowed his eyes and began gearing up for a rant about how he could clearly see through Radek’s oh so fake apology, Radek readjusted his weight so that he was fully straddling Rodney.
After just one slow, sensual roll of Radek’s hips against his, most of Rodney’s diatribe was gone, the sharp sentences lost even as Radek offered him a languid smile and another slow roll of his hips. And yes, it was obvious, blatant manipulation, but Rodney really couldn’t force himself to care.
The blood that hadn’t gone immediately south now seemed to roar in Rodney’s ears. The sound of his own heartbeat in his ears didn’t muffle the eager noises that Rodney knew he was making, though, or the short, uneven gasps that Radek breathed into his neck.
With each quick breath Radek made, Rodney could feel the prickle of Radek’s beard against his skin, a not-unpleasant sensation. He distractedly wondered if beard-burn would be visible in the morning, but it was a fleeting thought, one easily dispelled as Radek murmured something low against his throat.
It took a moment for him to remember how to form words, let alone coherent sentences, but finally he licked his lips and asked, “What? I didn’t--”
“Nothing,” Radek murmured, this time audible over Rodney’s pounding heart and ragged breathing. “Nothing,” he said again, the word almost a sigh. His hands, which had been gripping Rodney’s shoulders firmly, tightened.
“No, really, what?” Rodney said, twisting a little in Radek’s grasp and reaching out to touch him, trying to rub away the tension he could feel in Radek’s arms and shoulders.
Radek lifted his head, expression vaguely amused, though the smile didn’t actually reach his eyes. “I was just agreeing with your earlier comment. About the, ah, shit timing,” he said.
Before Rodney could agree, Radek kissed him. Unlike the other kisses, though, this one had an edge of desperation to it, desperation which bled into the way Radek was suddenly almost clutching his shoulders like Rodney was going to vanish into thin air.
Then Radek suddenly flinched backwards, as though Rodney had reached out and shoved him. Breaking the kiss and snatching his hands away from Rodney’s shoulders like he’d been burned, his eyes went wide, dark with a dozen emotions Rodney couldn’t name.
It took a moment before Rodney could take in a deep enough breath to say, “Radek?” but by then Radek wasn’t looking at him, instead twisting to stare at something to their left.
“Do prdele, do prdele, you cannot even let me have this? Not even--” He stopped, expression darkening with frustration, body going so tight with tension that Rodney could actually see a muscle jump in his jaw. “You-- you-- simply because you wish to teach Teer a lesson, you--”
The name was like a jab to the solar plexus; Rodney could feel his breath catch in his throat, his stomach drop out from under him as the realization struck home. “Wait, Teer as in Teer?”
Radek didn’t seem to hear him, though, gritting his teeth and half-snarling, “I do not have to listen to you, abide by your rules, not when I am even fully A--” And then he was gone, tirade cut off, leaving Rodney to stare dumbstruck at the spot where Radek had just been.
“But there was a body,” he said weakly into the silence. “I saw it, and Ascended don’t-- their bodies-- there was a body.” Only silence answered his near-protest and he repeated, softer, “There was a body.”
He was still repeating it to himself, over and over again, when he woke up, alone.
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
“Rodney?” Elizabeth said over the headset, tone puzzled. “I didn’t realize anyone was working on the control chair today.”
Rodney scowled. “That would be because no one was assigned to mess with it. You know as well as I do the damn thing’s pretty much useless unless we have something to shoot at.”
“Then why are we detecting an energy drain from that room?”
Because someone apparently decided to commit suicide and die by Rodney’s hand? He rolled his eyes. “Because apparently someone wanted a one-way ticket back home on the Daedalus and decided to earn it by wasting our precious energy. I’ll go check it out.”
There was a pause, and then Elizabeth said slowly, “Are you sure your knee is up to it?”
“I’m fine,” he snapped. A second later, he was glad she wasn’t there to see his expression as he stood, pain flaring in his knee for a white-hot moment and then subsiding to a dull throb. “Carson released me, didn’t he?”
“Yes, he did,” Elizabeth said, but even over the headset her tone came across as doubtful. It was as though she suspected he should still be back in the infirmary-- or maybe at an appointment with Heightmeyer. He’d made the mistake of telling her and Carson about Radek being Ascended, and got only looks of mixed pity and concern for his trouble.
“Well, I’ll let you know who needs that one-way ticket,” he announced, pushing aside the suspicion that Elizabeth thought he was finally snapping. “I’ll bet you my dessert tonight that it’s either Cadogan or Windhal.” The Welshman and the Swede were both under the delusion that they could step into the power-vacuum left in the wake of Radek’s death-- Ascension-- whatever, and were constantly trying to one-up each other.
Rodney snorted to himself. What the two scientists didn’t seem to realize was that they didn’t have a snowball's chance in hell. If there was going to be a new second-in-command -- which there wouldn’t, if Rodney had anything to say about it -- it certainly wouldn’t be either Cadogan or Windhal.
He imagined the looks on the faces of his two errant scientists when he told them the news, and the thought of their disappointment helped to sustain him as he hobbled through the corridors towards the control chair room. Once or twice he had to pause and readjust the knee-brace or scratch an itch, ignoring the curious looks of other people walking by. This was Atlantis, where someone ended up in the infirmary on a daily basis. They couldn’t say they’d never seen a man with a knee-brace before.
At last he reached his destination. Muttering about idiotic scientists who should know their place, he thought the door open and stepped inside. “Cadogan, Windhal, I swear to God--”
Rodney stopped dead, and just stared.
“Rodney?” Radek’s voice held a trace of uncertainty, and he squinted in Rodney’s direction. “I do not suppose you have clothes for me. Or a blanket. Or, ah, an explanation for why I am in control chair room, naked, with no memory of getting here.”
Rodney kept staring for a moment, watching Radek fidget and huddle behind the control chair. Then he just moved, the words leaping from his lips on their own accord as he shortened the distance between him and Radek in a few quick, limped steps. “Ha, I knew it wasn’t a dream, knew you weren’t really-- Carson and Elizabeth are going to feel so stupid-- what took you so long?”
Without waiting for a response, he reached out, grasped Radek’s face with both hands, and kissed him, almost crushing their mouths together. He needed to know that this was Radek, the real one, not some imagined Radek who wasn’t going to vanish into thin air.
Radek’s mouth moved beneath his after a brief moment of utter stillness, and Rodney deepened the kiss, one hand sliding around to cup the back of Radek’s neck and feel the warmth of his skin there. Radek quivered under his fingertips.
Then Radek’s hands were on his chest, all but shoving him away. When Rodney finally stepped back, he could see the flush on Radek’s cheeks, the startled wideness of his eyes, and most of all the way his swollen mouth was curved in bewilderment.
“Rodney,” Radek said, voice low and thick. He blinked rapidly, reached up as though to adjust glasses that weren’t there, and finally just ran the hand through his already disheveled hair. Clearing his throat, he said, “Rodney. I-- what-- you are--” He paused, took in a deep breath, and then said carefully, “I am missing something here.”
Rodney snorted. “What part of me kissing you did you-- oh. They did a mind-wipe like they did on Jackson, didn’t they?” At Radek’s blank expression, he rolled his eyes. “Damn Ancients.”
“Ah. So, naked, curses about the Ancients, no memory of getting here. I suppose that means I was, well--”
“--Ascended,” Rodney supplied when Radek faltered. He grimaced. “Yes, and I don’t, uh, envy the SGC. They’ve already made the notification to the next of kin and, uh, your ashes have already been scattered.”
“My ashes?” Radek repeated, blanching.
“Yes. Apparently you were, uh, not quite as Ascended as most. There was still a body.”
Radek blinked, processing that for a moment, and then said slowly, “And the kissing?”
“Uh.” Rodney could feel his face warm a little. “Well, you were, uh, a very friendly Ascended being?” He tried to smile, but it felt odd and lopsided on his face and probably looked more like a grimace.
Radek’s expression was unreadable for a long moment and then he smiled the same slow, pleased smile that Rodney remembered. “A very friendly Ascended being?” he repeated, voice low and thick once more, this time with amusement.
Rodney coughed. “Yes, well.” His face was still warm. “Hopefully you were just that friendly to me.”
That earned him a pair of rolled eyes and an exasperated snort.
“Oh!” Rodney tapped his headset. “Um, Elizabeth. I, uh, owe you a dessert. Oh, and, well, I’m going to need Carson. And a blanket-- er, a change of clothes,” he added hastily at Radek’s narrowed eyes.
“And I think you also owe me an apology,” he continued, ignoring her puzzled response. “I’m sure you and Carson were planning to send me off to Heightmeyer to get my head checked, but ha, I was right and you two were so, so wrong. Incredibly wrong. Fantastically wrong.”
“Rodney, are you feeling all right?”
“Never better,” Rodney said.
He was probably grinning like an idiot because Radek shot him an amused but fond smile even as he snatched the headset off his head and said, “Ah, hello, Elizabeth. Rodney tells me I was dead? Ah, well, Ascended?”
There was a moment of silence, and then Elizabeth said, voice shaking a little, “Radek?”
“Hello, Elizabeth,” Radek repeated, softer this time.
Even as Elizabeth began to trip over her own words, saying, “But how, why, there was a body--” Rodney sidled around the chair and wrapped his arms around Radek.
He grinned a little at Radek’s unconscious sigh of relief, the way Radek automatically leaned into him, and ran his hands up Radek’s arms, banishing the goose bumps beneath his fingers.
Radek looked up at him, one corner of his mouth curving. “Now who is being very friendly?” he murmured, and Rodney couldn’t help but laugh. He was still laughing when Carson’s voice came over the headset, excited brogue so thick that his words were almost incomprehensible as he said that he’d be there in a moment.
“Once Carson is done with all his voodoo tests to make certain you’re not some evil clone, I’ll show you how friendly I can be,” he whispered, stepping back to take off his jacket and wrap it around Radek’s shoulders.
This time it was Radek’s turn to laugh even as the door slid open and Carson all but tumbled into the room. “I look forward to it,” he said, just as quietly, and then smiled crookedly. “Carson. Please tell me you brought clothes.”
“Yes, we wouldn’t want him to de-Ascend just to get pneumonia and die again,” Rodney muttered, but couldn’t quite keep from smiling as Carson waited just long enough for Radek to tug on a shirt and sweatpants before he dragged him into a hug.
Kurva drát! – Bloody hell!
Do prdele – Fuck it/shit
Author's Notes: The title is from the song "Angel, Angel, Down We Go Together" by Morrissey and was suggested by the awesome duckduck. The poem excerpts are, respectively: "This Hour and What is Dead" by Li-Young Lee, "Unsaid" by Dana Gioia, "A Mad Girl's Love Song" by Sylvia Plath, and "Bufallo Bill" by e.e. cummings.