9th-Oct-2008 07:17 pm
Warnings: Slight language, kissing
Written For: gblvr
Prompt: Star gazing (also a bit of the traditional first date gone wrong prompt)
Author's Note: Beta job by mgbutterfly, who treats me so good.
For just a moment he stands there, alone in the hallway, patting hopelessly at his hair and wondering if he overdid it with the cologne. He doesn't even know why he wore the cologne, the special bottle his mother had given him back when he was last on Earth that wasn't anywhere close to what he would have picked out for himself in any case.
Radek is self-aware enough to realize he's stalling. He pushes out a deep breath, smoothing down his shirt, ignoring the niggling feeling that perhaps he should have worn something over it, and waving his hand in front of the door control. He can hear the chime from inside Evan's room. Apparently the other man has it turned up very loud.
Ten seconds later, Radek finds out why.
Evan comes to the door dripping wet, clutching a towel in front of himself and blinking out at Radek, expression going blank. Radek's gaze dips automatically, following the line of Evan's dog-tags on his chest, dark hair flattened down by the water, plain, unadorned white towel with tan fingers clenched in it, solid legs, water pooling on the floor between feet that won't be winning any beauty contests in the near future.
Radek swallows heavily, and says, not paying attention, "I appear to be overdressed."
For a beat, there's silence. And then Evan shifts his weight, finally speaking, "Oh. Oh! You're here for—shit! Is it today?" Evan steps back into his room, and Radek follows automatically, looking around the inside of the other man's quarters while Evan blinks at the calendar set over his bedside table.
Radek tries very hard to buckle down on the swell of giddy emotion in his chest when he notices that the day's date on the calendar is circled in red. It might not have anything to do with him. Evan curses, turning away from the calendar, looking sheepish when he goes on, "I guess it is. I don't know how I—fuck, give me five minutes? To get dressed?"
There's a moment where Radek seriously contemplates telling Evan not to bother. But he isn't sure they're really anywhere close to that point yet. Instead, he says, "Yes, yes, sure," and wonders if it should worry him that Evan forgot about their...whatever this is.
Evan looks relieved, and tired, when he nods his head, walking towards the bathroom and calling over his shoulder, "Good, just, uh, you know, make yourself at home," he waves a hand in an encompassing gesture around his room. Seeing as it's basically Radek's room, just decorated differently, Radek figures he shouldn't have any problem with that.
Radek stuffs his hands into his pockets, intending to stand still and wait. He manages for maybe thirty seconds, before he starts wandering around the room. He keeps his hands to himself, looking at the neat stacks of paperwork on Evan's desk, the spit shined boots beside the closet, the paints and brushes arranged beneath the narrow mattress.
Radek is just looking at the shelf beside Evan's dresser when the other man comes out of the bathroom. Radek cuts him a look. Evan's hair is still wet, his shirt clinging a little across his shoulders. He's wearing jeans faded across the thighs from washing, and sneakers white enough to make Radek wonder if they've ever been worn.
He looks good. Very, very, good. Radek reminds himself that staring is impolite, and gestures at the baskets sitting on the shelf. They're made of some kind of golden wood, lined with brightly colored fabrics. They're all empty.
Evan flushes, reaching out to straighten one of the baskets, wiping at a smudge on the little golden plaque on the side. He says, "They're my sister's," and Radek raises his eyebrows, feeling his mouth curl up on one side. Evan goes a little redder, and a tiny bit defensive, "She thought I'd want to have them."
Radek nods his head, humming, and points at one of the smaller baskets, "I like that one."
"The eight inch? Yeah, it's got the four point base to make—" Evan cuts himself off after a moment, reaching up to rub at the back of his neck. He says, looking somewhere down near Radek's feet, "Okay, so I collect them."
Radek isn't sure what response Evan was expecting, but apparently it hadn't been for Radek to shrug and say, "We all need something to wind down, yes? It is only healthy. Did I ever tell you about my pigeons?" Evan is smiling when he looks up, and Radek feels something in his chest go warm and bright.
Evan says, after a beat too long where they just look at each other, "So, we were having dinner, right?"
Radek had intended dinner to be eaten out on one of the balconies, away from the bustle of the rest of the city. But he'd been far too busy all day long to collect any of the supplies they needed, and once they get to the mess hall, he can't think of a way to steer Evan out.
They end up sitting by one of the windows. The food is the average of what they get here, vegetables just a touch too mushy, meat just chewy enough to give the jaw a workout, all of it covered in some kind of gravy that manages to be too salty and too bland at the same time.
Radek's stomach, suddenly tight with nerves, isn't really up for eating very much anyway. At t he same time, he thinks that maybe if he eats quickly enough they'll be able to get out of here, and go somewhere, anywhere, else.
In either case, Evan digs into his food with gusto, looking up to smile at Radek after slurping down a bite that left a smear of gravy in the corner of his mouth. Radek reaches out to wipe it away without thinking, catches himself before he can, and Evan goes still, fork half raised, before very deliberately licking it away.
They're still staring at each other, Radek's meal completely forgotten, when someone pulls out the chair beside Evan and throws themselves down. Radek startles, clearing his throat, turning his attention to the younger man now bracing his elbows on the table. The man nods politely, if abruptly, at Evan and Radek while saying around a mouthful of food, "Sir, Doctor Z."
Evan looks emotionally undecided for a moment, before smiling, the expression just a little tight around the eyes, nodding back, "Finnegan. You ready for MM9-020?"
The younger man nods, "Yes, sir. Mischa thinks she can get away with passing as a man if she doesn't have to talk." Finnegan is, from Radek's understanding, Lorne's second in command on his team. He's a Marine, tall and broad, with the blackest hair Radek has ever seen growing pretty much everywhere. He's nice, soft-spoken, careful with other people in a way that makes Radek wonder how many people Finnegan accidentally injured before coming up with a way to deal with his strength and size.
Radek really, really, wishes he would go away.
But that's not happening. Evan makes a face, spearing one of his gray vegetables and saying, "It's not worth the risk," looking exhausted suddenly. The dark circles under his eyes seem more obvious, and when Evan rubs at the side of his face it makes him look, briefly, ten years older than he is.
Finnegan shrugs his massive shoulders, "That's what I told her, sir. She's not real happy about it." Finnegan's first tray of food is mostly gone, but he has a second on stand-by, eating with absolute care turned to getting as much food into his mouth as quickly as possible.
It's slightly like watching a very powerful vacuum. Evan curses shortly, reaching up to knuckle at his forehead, and Radek shakes himself, reaching out to touch Evan's arm, shifting up in his seat. He understands. His own work is pressing in on him more and more. Radek keeps his voice gentle when he says, "I should allow you to concentrate on—"
"No!" Evan has fast reflexes, and catches Radek's wrist in a tight grip immediately. His hand is warm, rough in places with gun calluses, and strong. One of his nails is jagged, pressing up against Radek's wrist. Evan continues, tugging on Radek's arm, "Please," he nods towards Radek's chair.
Radek says, still soft, "There will be other dinners."
And Finnegan stands, trays empty, clearing his throat and saying, "Doctor Z probably just doesn't want to miss the meteor shower, sir. It's supposed to be very impressive. Didn't I hear you saying you wanted to get a good look at it?"
Radek turns to blink at the much larger man, who flashes him a huge grin. He has no idea what to make of it when Finnegan winks at him over Evan's head. Radek blinks, and Finnegan is continuing, "Didn't McKay say the top level of the eastern tower was still off-limits to everyone but his specially selected engineers? I bet Doctor Z could get you up there, sir. It'd probably be a really good view."
Evan is looking back and forth between Finnegan and Radek, eyes narrowed down. Finnegan looks far too pleased with himself for Radek's comfort, and the bigger man is most certainly pushing it when he goes on, "You should ask him. Sir."
Radek cuts in before Evan can say a word, "Perhaps we should finish eating first?"
Finnegan nods, once at Radek, again to Evan, before saying, "I'll talk to Mischa again," and disappears out of the mess hall in a half dozen long strides. Radek watches him go, still feeling vaguely puzzled.
After a long moment Evan says, "Look, I know you don't have a lot of spare time to be running around looking at—"
Radek interrupts, pushing his food around his plate, "I would very much like to take you up to the top of the eastern tower. If that is what you wanted?" Radek dares a look up, and finds Evan watching him, mouth open just a little bit.
Then Evan is smiling, and it takes the age back off of his face. Evan leans back in his chair, resuming eating, pausing between bites to say, "Yeah, yeah, I'd like that." Radek finds himself smiling back, watching Evan eat, poking at his own food, his stomach far too tight to think about taking another bite.
Rodney has restricted transporter use above the top three levels of the tower. Normally, Radek might assume that it's only the other man's paranoia about everything at play, but after their trip through hyperspace, they did lose structural integrity, and they haven't yet been able to fully map all the damaged areas.
Radek says as much when he and Evan step out of the transporter. The lights are at power-saving levels on these floors, uninhabited as they are. It casts everything in a pale, amber, light, and Radek squints automatically. Evan is saying, "But there's no chance it's actually going to collapse on us, right?"
Radek shrugs, saying, "This way," and heads towards the stairs up to the next level. When Evan falls into step beside him, he continues, "We are in a city many thousands of years old, that we have flown through space, and that has been attacked many times. There is never not a chance."
Evan makes a face, "Gee, thanks, doc, you really know how to make a guy feel better," and Radek shrugs, unrepentant, flashing a grin when he starts up the stairs. By the time they make it up the third flight, Radek is breathing a little harder, feeling sweat bead up on his upper lip. It's a humid, warm, night.
Then they are out on the roof, and the breeze across the ocean takes care of heat. Radek tucks his hands into his pockets, looking up at the sky, dark and cloudless. Most of the moons are dark, though one is out, sickle shaped in the southern sky.
Evan makes a soft, pleased, sound, walking towards the edge of the tower and looking over the side. Radek wonders if that's a pilot thing, content to stay near the middle himself. The metal beneath their feet is still warm from the sun. It has no give when Radek sits down, stretching his legs out and reclining back on his elbows.
Evan stays looking over the side for a long time, the updraft off the ocean below pushing at his shirt. The first falling star of the meteor shower falls then, burning up to white and yellow as it streaks across the sky, over their heads, past them into the dark of the ocean. Radek is glad, watching it, that they managed to convince Rodney against the need to raise the shields. The pieces of the falling debris that don't burn up completely should miss the city by a substantial margin.
Radek is staring up at the sky, and so he doesn't notice Evan coming back over until the other man kicks at his shoes. Radek blinks up at him, and Evan shrugs, sitting down slowly. When he's mostly down he locks up, hissing in pain, one hand braced on his thigh.
"What? What is wrong?" Radek braces a hand on the other man's shoulder, doing his best to help ease Evan down. Evan tries to wave him off after a moment, and Radek lightens his grip but doesn't move away. He starts to reach for his radio, and Evan catches his wrist, shaking his head.
Evan's face is a little pale under the starlight, his voice rough when he says, "It's nothing. The break just aches sometimes. That's all," and Radek frowns, but nods. A long time ago, he'd broken his arm. Decades later, it still hurts when he least expects it. He must still look too worried, because Evan huffs out a sigh, forcing a smile, "Give me some credit, doc. I'm not stupid enough to lie about something like that."
Radek exaggerates rolling his eyes, and Evan shoves at him while at the same time pulling on his arm. They end up closer, legs stretched alongside each other, shoulders bumping, knuckles brushing. More interstellar rubbish falls around them, beautiful and brilliant in its destruction.
Evan asks then, his tone soft, "So what did you wish for?"
"If I tell you, it will not come true," Radek sees Evan smile out of the corner of his eye, and figures that was a better answer than admitting that he hadn't wished for a damn thing because he was too distracted. It's hard to think about the cold of space, or any of the wonders that move through it, with Evan so close, warm and alive. Smiling.
Evan bumps his shoulder against Radek's, "Well, in that case, I wished that you'd punch me and shove me away," and before Radek can ask what exactly he means, the other man is pushing up, twisting towards Radek, and leaning in.
Evan's mouth is soft and dry, his hand hovering beside Radek's cheek, like he isn't sure if he should touch or not. For a moment they stay frozen like that, barely touching, and then Radek puts his hand on Evan's arm, warm and solid beneath the soft fabric of his shirt, and squeezes.
There's a sound Evan makes against Radek's mouth, but afterwards Radek can't remember what it is. Not with Evan kissing him harder, backlit by the stars falling out of the sky. Radek smiles, Evan's bottom lip caught between his, and thanks whatever gods might be listening.
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