She requested established relationship, h/c, and no outing!angst.
Title: A Fondness for Dumb Blondes
Author: Rose Wilde-Irish
Pairing: Rodney/Radek at onset
Summary: Lietenant Colonel Samantha Carter comes to the Pegasus Galaxy.
Notes: Yeah, this is for the ficathon/apology (open mouth, insert foot specialist here), which dovetails nicely into each other.
Casting/Name spoilers for s.2 Atlantis and s.9 SG1, s.1 spoilers for Atlantis.
Note: For story's sake, even though Radek's thoughts should be in Czech, they've been translated into English. Also, since this was written pre-season 2, I avoid the whole quagmire of when Dex joins by sidestepping him completely.
Radek watched the crowd of new arrivals disembark, all chattering excitedly, as his own stomach sank.
Is every last one of them blonde? he wondered, standing beside Dr. Weir and trying to look official. Rodney was much better at it than he was, but Rodney was four days offworld on a week-long mission, and Radek had been left in charge of the scientific group. He would have accused Rodney of engineering the stunt, except contact from the Daedalus had only come through 36 hours earlier. And Radek was fairly certain Rodney would have stuck around, if he had known of all the lithe blondes this run had brought. He stifled his feelings of unease, telling himself he was being silly. The two of them, while not out-out, had an unspoken mutual exclusivity that was bordering on six months or more.
Suddenly, Dr. Weir stood a little straighter and brightened. "Sam!" she called out, delighted. "No one mentioned you were coming!"
Long legs covered the distance between them quickly, and Radek felt the familiar sinking in his stomach as he looked into the brilliant blue eyes of Col. Samanatha Carter. Cannot fault his taste, Radek thought, appreciation mixing with apprehension as the woman of Rodney's oft-declared dreams smiled at Elizabeth.
"Elizabeth," she greeted warmly, hugging Atlantis's commander.
"How long are you here for?"
"Just the layover, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity. Daniel's annoyed that I got to go first, but General O'Neill briefed General Landry about his tendency to die, and, well, I'm supposed to verify that it's safe."
"As safe as anywhere can be with the Wraith, the replicators, and the Goa'uld around," Elizabeth said. "Rodney couldn't be here; he's offworld. This is Dr. Zelenka, his second," she said, and indicated Radek.
"Oh, I'm pleased to meet you, Dr. Zelenka!" Col. Carter gave him a bright smile and he swore her eyes grew larger still. "I've enjoyed reading your reports and wanted to discuss some theories about the chair and ZPM's with you."
"I'm sure that can be arranged," Radek said, and his spirit sank lower as he realized it would take a bit of work to figure out a way to hate this woman before him. He still wanted to, remembering the hours of running commentary about the great Lt. Col. Samatha Carter's beauty and brains that almost rivaled Rodney's own, remembered the conversation Rodney didn't know he'd heard, several months before, when he'd told then-Major Sheppard how he was certain that if Samantha Carter had joined the expedition, the two of them would be inseparable, both in science and in romance. And faced with the reality of Col. Carter, someone he'd barely remembered in the busy days before expedition's launch, he felt his confidence crumble.
Really, even though he did not share it, he couldn't fault Rodney's taste at all.
Three days later and he not only couldn't fault Rodney, he was ready to throw in the towel (and himself on a sword) and concede defeat. Col. Carter was smart, funny, considerate, and self-depricating. He'd found her thoughts on many of the projects under way to be innovative, sparking ideas he couldn't wait to test.
If he was going to be shown up by an ideal from Rodney's past, at least that ideal was one he could agree was probably worth it. If one swung that way.
"...really think we're close to understanding that jump that's been missing in ZPM development," Col. Carter was saying.
"But you've built one before," Radek said, finally being able to give voice to the puzzlement over that mystery.
"Yes, well..." Col. Carter blushed a bit. "We were under a lot of stress at the time. And General O'Neill - a Colonel then - was under the influence of the Ancients database and helped direct the work. There was one part of the creation..." Her face reflected her embarassment and disappointment clearly. She shrugged. "I've tried and tried, and I haven't been able to reproduce the effects. If I could, we'd be knee-deep in zero point modules now."
Radek opened his mouth to comment, but before he could get the words out the comm crackled to life. "Dr. Zelenka, Col. Carter, could you come to the control room? We have a...problem."
Radek's heart clenched as he realized that Rodney's team was due back, and from the look in Col. Carter's eyes, she either knew it as well or read it in his face.
"On our way," she said coolly.
They took off at a decided rush, not speaking.
"But they're all right," Radek repeated, needing the reassurance.
"Yes, Radek, they're fine," Elizabeth said, managing to sound equally scolding and sympathetic. "They just can't come through the gate."
Radek stood holding an elbow with his other hand, one finger pressed against his lips, decidedly not chewing his fingernail.
"And nothing different about the dialup since the last team came through?" Col. Carter's voice was calm, much calmer than Radek trusted his own to be.
"All right, then. Let's look at this logically. When have you had any issues with security before?"
"When the nanovirus was loose," Radek said, relieved to be able to contribute.
"So it might be something on our end, or on their end." Col. Carter paused, frowning slightly and managing to make it endearing. Radek stifled the spike of irritation. "Could the gate do that, though? Could it sense a threat from their end of things?"
"Doubtful," Radek replied. "I would think that if that were the case, shield would engage when energy weapons were fired." He glanced at the walls of the gatrium, knowing where the blast marks were but not lingering long on them.
"Still..." Elizabeth said, staring at the shimmering colors of the shield. "Rodney, are you following this?"
"Yes, Elizabeth, I am, and we're already trying to see if the datapad we have can take medical scans as well as energy scans. We'll let you know if we find anything."
"Dr. Beckett," Elizabeth called next.
"Beckett here," came the Scot's calm voice.
"I'm sending you a member of the control room staff. Please run tests to make sure he has no contagions that you can detect that might trigger the safety protocols." Elizabeth nodded to a technician, who nodded back, shut down his work station, and left quickly.
"I think if he makes it to me, that's indication enough that there's no contagions at work, but aye, I'll do it," he said.
"Good point, but we don't want to miss anything. Weir out."
"Could the interface between our technology and the Ancients' be triggering a fault somehow?" Col. Carter asked, tapping keys on one of the computers.
Radek shook his head. "Doubtful. When such problems crop up, the end result is nothing at all, not a rash of problems."
Col. Carter stared directly at Radek, though he could tell she wasn't seeing him. "OK. I'm fresh out of ideas. I say we start trying to run an analysis on the shield."
Radek nodded. "We need to study both the shield itself and the systems that oversee it."
"Hmm. Let me take the hardware; I haven't been surrounded by Ancient command systems for the past year." Radek nodded and she flashed a quick smile. "We'll get them back, Dr. Zelenka," she said softly, giving his arm a squeeze, then walked briskly to the gate.
"Jesus, no! Don't let that crazy woman touch anything!" Rodney's voice cracked through the comm. "Do you have any idea how many safety protocols she simply dismisses?"
"About as many as you do?" Colonel Sheppard asked.
"That's only in extreme circumstances where lives are on the line-"
"Colonel! Is that-"
"A Wraith dart. I think it just became an extreme circumstance."
"I am not to blame for this-" Rodney began.
"Do you need to seek cover?" Elizabeth cut in.
For a moment, silence reigned. "I don't think so, not at this moment," Sheppard's calm voice came finally. "The dart is in the distance and the gate is under some cover. I'd prefer to stay in touch for as long as possible."
"I can't find anything wrong with the shield from here and I'm afraid if I manually shut down the gate, I might damage it," Col. Carter said, regret coloring her voice.
"I told you, don't let her touch anything!" Rodney said, and Radek winced in sympathy as Col. Carter settled into a chair beside him, watching him work before starting to tap the keyboard of the laptop in front of her.
For a few moments, the only sound was the frantic typing and an occasional soft curse.
"Colonel, I think they're getting closer-" Teyla began.
"I got it!" Col. Carter said, triumphant, as the shield dissipated. Radek felt an overwhelming blend of relief and crushing disappointment, thinking to himself, this is the moment I failed and lost.
"All clear! Get back here!" Elizabeth called, gripping the railing hard as she stared at the gate.
"Wait! What did she do? She didn't do anything to affect the wormhole itse--" Rodney's voice cut off, and a split second later he came tumbling through the wormhole, Sheppard and Teyla running through at an angle calculated to miss his undignified sprawl. "You pushed me," he accused, glaring at Sheppard. Rodney picked himself up and bound up the stairs, stopping behind Radek's chair. He gave Radek's shoulder a quick squeeze and stared at Col. Carter in a way that made Radek ache. "What did you do?" he asked her, less accusing this time as he shifted closer to Col. Carter.
"It was a security subroutine," Col. Carter said, smiling at Rodney. "Someone had triggered it. All I had to do was shut it off. The details were in the previous shift's log; they just didn't know what they'd triggered."
"Amazing," Rodney said, shaking his head a little. Radek had to look away, feeling invisible. "The fact that we don't blow ourselves up daily, hourly even, is just astounding."
"Well," Col. Carter said, brightly. "I'm sure your people are better than that, Rodney."
"You'd be surprised," Rodney said as Radek stood up behind him and silently moved towards the door. "Most of them can barely count." Rodney took a breath. "Samantha. Buy you a cup of coffee? Catch up on old times?"
Radek turned and left, feeling more miserable than he had since telling Elizabeth that blowing up Atlantis would not be enough. He decided to head to his quarters, knowing he would not be able to concentrate on his work at all.
Radek sat in the dark in his quarters, nursing an Athosian fermented drink, barely shuddering at the taste by now. It wasn't every day that a member of the expedition risked getting drunk on the Athosion rotgut, but then again, Radek reflected, it wasn't every day one was dumped by his boss and lover in favor of a woman from his past. Radek wondered when Rodney would actually get around to breaking up with him, or, like the start of their relationship, just assume that Radek was on the same page as him.
He took another sip and shuddered, thinking of the look in Carson's eyes as he'd pressed the bottles into Radek's numb hands. He'd run into the Scot as he was heading back to his quarters, and his expression had to have told Carson exactly how badly he was hurting, because the doctor had cursed and threatened to go find Rodney and knock some sense into him.
"No! Carson, please. I do not want this."
"He's a daft fool," Carson had replied, clapping him on the shoulder and giving him a penetrating gaze, startling Radek with what he thought he might sense lurking beneath the surface. Carson sighed. "Come with me, lad. I've got just what the doctor ordered...so long as you don't overdo it."
Whatever it was that lurked within Carson, it would have to keep. Radek felt both numb and cold, removed from the world around him. He stared morosely at the darkness, sipping and lightly shuddering, until there was a soft knock at the door.
He ignored it. If it was an emergency, they'd use the comms. If it was Rodney, come to formally end things, he could wait. And Radek was too raw to face Carson again.
A second later, the door opened, light from the hallway framing Rodney. "Radek?" he said, softly. "Are you - oh. You are. What are you doing here, sitting in the dark? Why didn't you join Samantha and me? Honestly, I could have used some backup. The things that woman wants to do in the name of science... Radek?"
Getting no response, Rodney touched the wall, bringing the lights up low. Radek didn't look at him.
"What's wrong?" Rodney asked, uncommonly gentle.
Radek shook his head.
"Oh, come on. Of course there's something wrong. I escape near death at the hands of the Wraith - again, I might add - and instead of joining me or even showing up in my room, you're sitting here in the dark drinking the local goat piss!" Rodney was kneeling in front of him, staring him dead in the eye. "So tell me. What exactly is wrong?"
"Nothing. You have nothing to worry about; my work will not suffer," Radek said stiffly, just wishing this was over and he was alone again.
"Radek, what in the hell... Oh." Comprehension bloomed on Rodney's always-transparent face. "Samantha."
"Yes, Samantha," Radek said, resignation and bitterness blending in his voice. He stared as Rodney began to shake his head, a relieved smile breaking out on the other man's face.
"You're an idiot," he told Radek, who glared at him.
"And you're an ass," Radek replied.
Rodney smiled, reaching out to cup Radek's face. "Carrot," he said fondly, "it's not like that. Honestly. Samantha..." He sighed, and straightened, moving over to sit on the edge of Radek's bed. "Samantha and I would never work out. Listen, I'm probably only going to say this once, so could you let all your insecurites listen in?" The look he gave Radek was open and filled with pain. Radek nodded, hope beginning to flood through him, releasing the tension he'd been carrying for the past three days.
Rodney had his crooked smile on, the slightly bitter one that always cut right through Radek. "I tend to assume that the people who could possibly interest me are smart enough to realize a good thing when it comes along. But Samantha, despite being oh so lovely," and Radek couldn't help but note the wistful tone in Rodney's voice, "is not for me. I think jealousy's to blame. After all, I am one of the few smarter than her."
Radek snorted. "Rodney. I thought you were going to tell me something only once. This, I have heard many times."
Rodney seemed on the verge of laughing. "True, true. I'll get to the point." He inhaled deeply, blew it out slowly. "I don't think I'd know what to do with her if I had her." Radek shot him an incredulous look. "Oh, I know what to do," Rodney snapped. "I just don't think I would. When you get right down to it, I think the idea of Samantha Carter was much more appealing than the possibility of obtaining her ever was. And I know for a fact that she's never been interested in me." He paused for a moment, staring at a patch of floor. "That used to depress me. It doesn't any more." He met Radek's eyes, and Radek was hit by the intensity of Rodney's stare, of the openness and vulnerability in it. There was a heat behind it he'd never seen directed at anyone else. "I have what I need. I don't think I'll ever need anyone else, ever again."
The true impact of his words, of what he was saying without saying to Radek, hit him almost as hard as seeing Rodney with Col. Carter. The pain this time was sweet. Radek got up and crossed the three steps to the bed, settling beside Rodney and reaching out to trace the line of his jaw. Rodney gave Radek a small smile, leaning into his touch. "God, I missed you," he said, making Radek blink. Rodney was never like this, never so open and sentimental and...mushy. "Did you miss me?" he asked, and something about the tone told Radek he was teasing.
"Yes," Radek said.
Rodney leaned in and kissed Radek, not his usual businesslike peck of affection, not the kisses usually designed to see how fast he could make Radek naked. This one seemed designed to convey everything, all of what Rodney felt for him, heat and worship and need and longing all bundled around another emotion Radek knew Rodney would never voice. Radek cupped the back of Rodney's neck, answering it with enthusiasm, using his body to show Rodney all the things he knew Rodney didn't want to be told, not in words. He wasn't sure who eased who back onto the bed, but it didn't matter; what mattered were fingers and tongue and teeth and lips, the slow and sensual shedding of clothes as they explored each other, traveling well known paths and evoking a slow burn of need. Radek thrust against Rodney's talented hand, gasping as Rodney's teeth grazed a nipple, one of his own hands busy stroking the silken length of Rodney's hardened cock. The other slid along the curve of Rodney's ass, teasing his entrance. Rodney's gasp sent a wave of pleasure through Radek, the idea that he could affect Rodney like this never having lost its power over him. He pulled both hands away from Rodney, earning a moan, and reached for the lube inside the table beside the bed. Rodney glanced at it and then back at Radek, smiling as Radek coated his fingers and returned them to their former activities. Rodney's moan now was decidedly happier, and he stilled his own movements as Radek slid a finger inside, still stroking Rodney's cock. Radek eased in a second finger, stroking and lightly twisting, earning a gasp. Rodney was writhing now, thrusting back and forth between Radek's hands, the look on his face one Radek enjoyed most of all, naked and needy and his. He worked Rodney harder, kissing him and driving him closer to the edge with each stroke. Rodney broke the kiss long enough to cry out as he came, sending a shiver through Radek that went straight to his cock at his name on Rodney's lips at that moment.
It never failed to touch him, never failed to send a wave of desire through him.
Rodney collapsed back, dazed expression directed at the ceiling, breathing hard. "Yeah, missed you," he managed, and Radek couldn't help but push against him, nuzzling his neck and groaning as his own desire spiked higher. For a moment, Rodney let him, collecting himself and leaning over to give Radek a kiss and a caress down his back before scooting down and gently grasping Radek's erection. Radek closed his eyes and panted as Rodney leaned closer, knowing the next thing he'd feel was the touch of Rodney's tongue. Lips soon followed that, and suction, and Radek couldn't help but babble his appreciation, in English he hoped, as Rodney's talented mouth was put to use exclusively for Radek's pleasure. By now Rodney knew, as Radek did, the quickest way to bring his partner off, but here he surprised Radek, avoiding the tricks and taking it slow, making it last. Radek was gasping, English completely gone and the Czech threatening to follow it, when Rodney suddenly gave a long, hard suck and took him deep, then slid him mostly out again, and Radek was exploding, was lost in the waves of pleasure as they broke him and rebuilt him, gasping on his bed with Rodney's fingers still gripping his hips tightly.
Rodney kept his lips around Radek much longer than usual, and Radek was considering the merits of trying to muster the strength to ask him what was going on, when he slid free and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand, eyes that met Radek's still slightly troubled.
"Just don't make me say it," Rodney said, and Radek was shocked to hear a note of pleading in his voice. "Because I don't think I can."
"No, Rodney, you don't need to say it," Radek assured him. "I know now."
"Oh, good," Rodney murmured. "I do, too." He closed the distance to kiss Radek fiercely.
Afternote: The nicknames Carrot and Ass derive from two interrelated previous stories, Conservatory (which doesn't feature Radek) and its sequel Carrot And Stick (which does).