Author: Rose Wilde-Irish
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Word Count: 466
Rating: Mature Teen
Summary: He knows, to the core of his being, though no one would believe him about this, either.
Notes: Writing is good for quelling emo, apparently. Thanks to kyrdwyn, who looked it over and said it worked.
Radek is curled around him, and Rodney holds back a smile even though the man is most likely fast asleep. He would kill Rodney if he knew, but Radek reminds Rodney of his cat, clingy only in sleep, warm and rumble-y not with purring but snoring. His arm around Radek is not still, but strokes him lightly, petting him in a technique perfected on a million sunny afternoons with aforementioned and faraway cat. He is careful not to wake Radek, who is surely exhausted after both working to save the day beside Rodney in the latest world-threatening crisis, and the vigorous "we survived!" sexual athletics they have just completed.
Rodney's smile is tender and he fights the urge to nuzzle Radek, to give in to the softer feelings that most of his staff don't believe he's at all capable of having. He knows, to the core of his being, though no one would believe him about this, either, that Radek is the one who most needs this, needs him. Despite Rodney's reputation as a drama queen, it's Radek who is stretched tight, worn thin. Radek is the one who is feeling the tension, who is closer to breaking, and Rodney doesn't want to admit to himself how much he relies on Radek, how Radek has become his rock in the insanity that is his life now.
It's something he's come to treasure, this unexpected gift whose name he couldn't be bothered to remember, let alone pronounce right his first few months working beside him. And Rodney has never been one to think in terms of tomorrow, let alone farther out than that, but somehow without him even noticing, Radek has winnowed his way beside Rodney, omnipresent, until Rodney can't think of tomorrow, of a project he'd like to start that doesn't have Radek right there beside him.
And for the first time in a very long time, Rodney is thinking about someone else's needs, placing someone else in higher priority than even himself. It's something he vowed long ago never to do, but that long ago, far away Rodney hadn't met Radek Zelenka yet, couldn't conceive of such a sharp mind and subtle touch who would lean on him just as hard as he leaned back.
For the first time in a very long time, there's something-someone that Rodney can value as much or higher than himself, and Rodney finds himself thinking that it's a nice fit, worth every inconvenience, and something he just might be able to spend the rest of his life cultivating.
The thought, which at one point in time would make him shudder, makes him smile instead, and he begins to calculate how long he needs to let Radek sleep before he can wake him up and exhaust him all over again.