SG Atlantis Light (sgatlantislight) wrote,
SG Atlantis Light
sgatlantislight

Fic: ... And Eating It, Too (R)

Title: ... And Eating It, Too
Author: SGAtlantisLight
Characters: McKay, Beckett, Sheppard
Relationships: McKay/Beckett, Sheppard/Zelenka
Rating: R
Warnings: Sexual references, angst, OC death, language in spots
Spoilers: None
Summary: This is a follow-up to Having Your Cake but is intended to be readable independently.
Disclaimer: The characters, the setting, etc. are NOT mine, even if I wish they were.




It had been two months. He'd had longer affairs, but they'd been affairs, not relationships. They'd been discreet since they both had to work with military personnel. The only exception so far was John. Since he already knew, they allowed themselves to relax their vigilance around him. Not that they were mushily affectionate or uncontrollably lustful, but they didn't hesitate to cuddle a little closer or flirt a bit. There were moments where John would stiffen slightly and they'd know they'd gone a little far for his comfort level. But he was a breath of fresh air, someone they could let into their lives amidst the careful surreptitiousness of their love.

They knew, of course, that eventually people would find out. Rodney suspected Zelenka knew, but if the Czech had any opinion on the matter, he never said anything. The only reason Rodney thought Radek knew was because the Czech had a preternatural ability to find projects that didn't involve Rodney on those days when Rodney slept in with Carson rather than rising early. Carson, following his own advice about avoiding overwork, had scheduled the infirmary so that he had a couple days off a week. Rodney, ignoring Carson's advice as always, didn't schedule himself for days off, but had started going in later on Carson's days off.

This was one of those mornings. So, of course, there had to be someone pounding on his door at oh-my-God o'clock (or, in a concession to the military contingent, perhaps it was oh-my-God-hundred. He didn't know). He groaned and disentangled himself from Carson, trying not to wake him. Because these sorts of interruptions weren't unusual, they usually slept in tees and boxers. He tossed a blanket over Carson just to be sure he was decent if anyone caught a glance of him and headed to the door, opening it only a crack.

Elizabeth stood outside, looking grim.

"What's wrong?" he asked, instantly awake. Elizabeth looking grim was a sight he avoided if at all possible.

"There's been an accident," she said without preamble. "We need you."

"What kind of accident?" he asked.

"John was taking a new pilot out on some training with a puddle jumper when something went haywire. It went down. He's pinned inside and not in very good shape."

"Oh, God!"

She nodded. "Zelenka's already prepping to get him cut out and a medical team is in the jumper bay, though they can't find Carson."

"Ye've found me now," Carson answered from behind Rodney. He handed his lover the khakis Rodney had worn just a couple hours the day before, then busied himself with pulling trousers on.

She raised her eyebrows in surprise, but didn't say anything. The two men exchanged glances, Carson's seeming to say "We would have told her eventually anyway."

Rodney nodded and shrugged. "We'll just be a minute. Come in," he said, then occupied himself with khakis, socks, shoes, earpiece. It all took only a couple of minutes, but he could feel the seconds trickling by, like blood on skin. He made use of the time by radioing Radek, who reported the puddle jumper's position. It sounded like they'd just made it above land when the problem occurred. They knew Sheppard's and his trainee's status because John was still conscious and communicating via radio.

Carson was already talking to his team on his radio as well, professional, intent.

"Ready?" Carson asked.

Rodney pulled the knot on his shoe tight and nodded, standing. "Let's go."

***

It was an excruciating flight on Puddle Jumper 2, John's voice, full of pain and fear, emerging from their radio. When John wasn't talking, the radio carried the sound of his laboured breathing.

"Can you give me an idea of your condition, Colonel?" Carson asked.

Gasp. "Having... trouble breathing." Gasp. "Can't move... leg." Gasp. "Trapped..." Gasp. "Maybe... broken." Gasp. "I... hit my head..." Gasp. "Can't see... for the blood." Gasp. "Arm's broken." Gasp. "I can... see the bone..." gasp, "through the skin." Gasp. "Oh, God!"

"Just hold on, Colonel. We'll be there soon." The statement was made over several more gasps through the radio.

"Trying." Gasp.

"And you're sure Beecham's dead?" Carson asked as the gasps still hissed over the radio.

Gasp. "Yeah." Gasp. "De...decapitated."

Rodney shivered in spite of himself. He'd seen death. They'd all seen more death than anyone deserved to see, but something so completely senseless still stirred something deep inside.

Zelenka pulled out tools, using the travel time to shave off precious seconds. Rodney joined him, unable to stay still. The two started talking about what they could do.

Zelenka'd managed to pull Jumper 1's status displays onto their laptops so they had some idea of the structural damage they would be dealing with. He jabbed a finger at the screen. "You can see this section here has moved inward. This is what is trapping his leg."

"We'll have to take off the whole forward section to get to this. This is going to take forever."

"We could go in from back... here."

Rodney looked and shook his head. "That's impossible. No one can fit in there."

"I could," Zelenka said. "I am small enough."

"Barely. It's too dangerous. There's bound to be jagged edges and you'd have almost no room to maneuver."

"Listen to him, Rodney. There is no time to go in from outside. Not to mention not knowing exact position his leg is in, you could injure it more trying to get him out. He could lose it."

Rodney knew that was already a possibility, but they were ignoring that for now. "There's a very real possibility the jumper could explode. Outside, you have a chance to get under cover. Inside... Well, then we'd lose both of you instead of just him."

"I will risk that," Radek assured him. "Please, Rodney, let me do this."

Rodney bit his lip. "Okay. Just... don't go being a damned hero, Radek. If it's too tight or too dangerous or you see signs of impending explosions, get out."

Radek smiled. "Don't worry. I am not suicidal."

***

The wreck had been worse than Rodney imagined. From the look of it, the jumper had tumbled nose over tail several times, leaving a trail of destruction half a mile long. Both ends were crumpled inward and the thing lay upright, but tilted with the front downward. A disturbing amount of blood had dripped out a tear in one side and pooled under the jumper. Beecham's blood, he had to assume.

There had been a small rent through which Carson had threaded an oxygen mask for John to hold up to his mouth and nose. Other than that, there wasn't much that Carson could do till they got him cut out. They could see him, face covered with blood from a gash in his forehead. His skin where it was clear of blood was deathly pale.

Rodney fought down his panic and set his team to removing the windscreen to give Carson access to Sheppard.

Zelenka, meanwhile, had headed to the back and found a sizeable hole that wasn't blocked and began crawling, a line unwinding behind him for sending in supplies or, in an emergency, pulling him out. Radek's progress was punctuated by what Rodney could only guess were outbursts of swearing in Czech.

"How are you doing, Radek?" he asked as he watched the clear material pulled up and away from Sheppard. There was no response. "Radek? Are you okay?"

There was another outburst of vehement Czech. "I am wiggling right now, Rodney. Please, be quiet."

Rodney shut up and watched as the medical team swarmed over the front of the jumper to get to Sheppard. "Be careful of that area there," Rodney said, pointing. "The structure's been compromised."

There was a shriek over his radio.

"Radek?" he called. "Are you okay? Zelenka?"

"Boze! Ow, ow, ow!" He could hear Radek suck in a pained breath.

"Radek?"

"It's okay. I slid forward when I hit patch of... uh... The floor is very slippery." This was followed by grunts and more ows and swearing.

"But you're okay?"

"I am caught on something. Please, stop talking so I can concentrate."

Rodney turned back to John, who was silently enduring the efforts of the medical team to treat him despite only having access to his upper body. John's eyes met and held his, trust and fear warring in them.

He clenched his teeth at Zelenka's gasp of pain through the radio. Behind it, he could hear cloth tearing. There were a couple of deep breaths, then Zelenka said, "Almost there... Ah, kurva!" This was followed by several seconds of whispered Czech, sounding like Radek was trying to calm himself down.

"What's wrong?"

"I... I am okay."

"I'm sure you are," Rodney shot back. "Just tell me what the fuck got you so upset."

Radek's voice was thin. "I found Beecham's head."

"Oh, God! Are you going to be able to--"

"I'm there," Radek interrupted. "Hello, Colonel."

"Radek," John whispered.

"I am sorry, Colonel, but I am afraid I am going to get very personal for minute or two."

"Okay."

There was a minute of grunting and muttering, then Radek said. "Okay, there is a crossbar that has trapped his leg. I am going to have to cut it, then free his seat and push it back so you can get him out with minimal twisting."

"Anything we can do to help?"

"Turn off oxygen, just in case."

The next few moments were tense as Radek worked efficiently, but not nearly fast enough, as they watched Sheppard gasp for breath, his eyes slowly drifting closed.

"Okay! Steady him. I'm pushing seat back." They did as instructed and the seat and John's body slid back enough that the knee was free of the twisted console. "Lift him up slowly. I will keep his leg straight," Radek instructed.

The whole rescue team heaved a sigh of relief as Sheppard came free, but kept going, knowing he wasn't safe yet just because he was out of the jumper. Rodney watched as medical personnel surrounded his friend. There was little point in even trying to get close. He'd just be in the way. He peeked in to see Radek kneeling next to Sheppard's jumper seat, head and shoulders in the chair. His uniform was covered in blood. Rodney's stomach lurched when he realised the stains around the tear in the back of Radek's jacket were notably bright and wet.

"Fuck! You're hurt! I thought I told you not to be a damned hero!"

"Sorry," Zelenka muttered.

"Parker, Stackhouse, help me get him out of there. Carson, can you spare a doctor?"

Biro separated from the group around Sheppard and rushed back to the jumper, calling for a stretcher. Rodney and the two soldiers pulled Zelenka from the craft.

"I can stand," he protested, leaning against Rodney bonelessly.

"Lay him down," Biro ordered Rodney. As soon as he was on the stretcher, she cut off his shirt and jacket and shook her head at the sight as she applied a gauze pad to stop the bleeding. "You're going to have a hell of a scar there, doctor. Okay, let's get him back to Atlantis so we can stitch him up."

***

Rodney found himself sitting outside the infirmary with Elizabeth, waiting for news of Sheppard and Zelenka. Feeling the tendrils of dizziness of a hypoglycemic reaction, he pulled a powerbar out of a pocket and began eating.

He looked up to see Elizabeth watching him.

"Did you want one?" he asked.

She shook her head, looked away, sighed, then looked back. "So, you and Carson?"

He nodded. "And in answer to your unasked questions and concerns: About two months; Yes, we know it could cause problems with the military, which is why we're being discreet; Yes, this is Carson, so of course safe sex isn't even a question; No, I don't believe it has or will negatively affect our work, if anything it's improved it slightly; No one else knows but you and Sheppard, who found out accidentally, and possibly Zelenka because he's a sneaky, devious bastard as a hobby; Yes, of course we trust you, we just wanted to be a little surer of the relationship before we told you; And, no, you can't watch. Okay, I made that last one up."

She chuckled. "Well, I guess that just about covers it."

"Now, how about you answer mine."

She quirked an eyebrow, waited, then realised he was expecting her to answer in a similar manner. "Okay. No, I don't object to gay relationships in general or your relationship with him in particular; Yes, I will keep this confidential; Yes, I appreciate the trust; No, this will not negatively impact our friendship; And damn you for a prude for not letting me watch."

Rodney grinned, then remembering where they were and why, the smile slipped.

***

Rodney, Elizabeth, Teyla, and Ronon were waiting outside the infirmary when Carson emerged hours later. He sat down and faced them, turning to Rodney to start. "First, let me say that Dr. Zelenka will be fine. We've got him on a broad-spectrum antibiotic, but I'm keeping him here for twenty-four hours to watch for any signs of infection. Assuming everything's all right, he'll be free to go, though restricted on the heavy lifting."

"Did he do what I think he did?" Rodney asked.

Carson met his eyes and nodded. "The injury starts out as a straight cut, going increasingly deeper into the skin and into the muscle tissue underneath. The rest of the wound shows a distinctive tearing pattern. He realised he was caught and tore himself free."

Rodney and the women shivered, but Ronon grunted in appreciation. "He is a big man for his size."

"Aye, that he is," Carson answered. "As far as Colonel Sheppard is concerned, he has a concussion, a gash in his forehead that took ten stitches, a gash in his left leg that took forty, three broken ribs, and a punctured lung, as well as numerous smaller injuries. He also has compound fractures of his right radius and ulna and a double fracture of his left tibia and fibula. He's going to take some time to heal and there's a high risk of infection. We're looking at six weeks or more before he's going to be going on missions. He lost a lot of blood. To be honest, he's very lucky to be alive."

The listeners relaxed. Their friend had avoided death once again.

"It's going to be a few hours before he's awake," Carson informed them. "You ought to go about your day as best you can. I'll radio you when he wakes up."

Teyla glanced at her two teammates. "I believe we would prefer to wait, if that is acceptable."

Elizabeth stood regretfully. "I'm afraid I have to go, but as far as I'm concerned you three are free to stay if you'd like."

"I'll keep you informed," Carson told her, then turned to the others. "I'll let all three of you come see him for a few minutes, then I'm going to have to ask you to set up some sort of rotation. I can't have all three of you underfoot in the infirmary. I'm sorry."

***

Sheppard is flying, not in a jumper or a chopper, but just him, through the clouds like Superman. Only, there is a sense that he is on his back.

Maybe he's swimming.

He opens his eyes, takes in the sight of Ronon watching him. He considers saying something, may have said something, then he's swimming or flying... maybe just floating.

He reopens them and sees Teyla, eyes closed, face serene. That looks like a good idea. He joins her in her meditation.

It's only a moment later, he's sure, but it's Elizabeth waiting this time. She sees his eyes open and smiles at him. "Hey," he says.

"How are you, John?"

He closes his eyes to contemplate the question.

Someone is talking nearby.

"Has he awakened yet?" Radek's voice.

"A few seconds here and there." Carson's voice.

Darkness swallows him again.

There is pain somewhere, distant like a conversation half-heard across a room.

He feels something warm against his left arm, moving slowly. There's a persistent rhythm of beeps. The murmur of voices.

He opens his eyes, flinching at the light.

The warm thing leaves his arm. "Colonel?"

"Rod..." He coughs, gasping at the heat lancing through his chest.

"Carson!" Rodney calls.

Pain. Heat.

"Lay back, Colonel. Relax, relax. We've got you." Carson's voice, soothing, reassuring.

Darkness.

Beecham's head rolls next to his seat. Her eyes move for a second, registering horror, grief, regret, resignation, then the light fades from her eyes.

His eyes fly open. Rodney is still there. Or there again. He isn't sure. His eyes are closed and he looks worn out. At the small sound Sheppard is making, he sits up, wraps a hand reassuringly around John's arm and smiles tiredly.

"Beecham?" John whispers.

"Sorry, Colonel. She's dead."

He nods, shuts his eyes, and waits for the darkness to swallow him again.


***

The world slowly grew more coherent. He pieced together what had happened to him. And what had nearly happened to him. Again.

But this time was different. This time, he had unfinished business. He bided his time, enjoying the visits by his team, by Elizabeth, by his military underlings. Even Radek Zelenka paid him a cautious visit. He had a sense memory of Radek, squeezing his hand reassuringly before crawling beneath the ruined console with his tools.

"Hey," John said. "I hear I owe you a thank you."

"I was just doing my job," Zelenka said.

"Since when does your job involve tearing your back open to rescue me from a crashed puddle jumper?"

Zelenka smiled. "Since you insist on crashing in such a way that is only way to rescue you."

Finally, Rodney visited him alone, no other teammates, no nurses or doctors. Finally, he could resolve some things.

During a lull in the conversation on who had fucked up how and where, he fixed Rodney with a serious look. "I need to talk to you about something."

Rodney lifted his eyebrows. "Sure, Colonel. What did you need?"

"I wanted to explain... about a couple months ago and the way I was acting."

"Oh, that?" Rodney waved his hands as if sweeping it away. "You don't need to explain anything, Colonel."

"But I do, Rodney, because I think you've misunderstood me. I wasn't going to tell you, but, well, I need you to know."

"Look, Carson told me what I'd said, though he was careful not to share anything you'd told him of how you felt, but I can guess. I don't blame you for freaking a bit. I'm just glad that you... decided to trust me again, though I never quite figured out what I did to get your confidence back."

"Rodney! Shut up a minute and let me talk, before we get interrupted again." He looked into Rodney's guileless blue eyes and almost didn't tell him. He wasn't sure he had the right. After all, Rodney had forgiven him, what did it matter? He sighed. "Look, I didn't freak because I had a crisis of faith in you. I freaked because I was having a crisis of faith in me-- in my ability not to act on what I knew."

Rodney looked perplexed. "What...?"

"I've... I've ignored some... inappropriate thoughts about you for a long time, Rodney, because I thought you were straight. But then I found out you weren't straight and suddenly... I didn't know what to do. I've never actually fallen in love with someone who was interested in me."

Rodney gaped at him. "You-- you are... were... Were?"

John shrugged. "I suppose more 'are' than 'were' but I couldn't really have you, not the way I wanted. It's better now that you're with Carson."

"Better for who?" Rodney asked. "You?"

"I'm used to being alone," John answered. "I'm okay with that."

"But I'm not! God, John, why didn't you tell me?"

"John?" Sheppard asked, quirking one eyebrow.

Rodney glared at him. "I think I get to call you John now, though idiot or moron might be more appropriate choices. Didn't it occur to you that I might want to know?"

"You wouldn't have wanted a secret relationship anyway."

"How do you know? I might have been fine with that. You didn't even give me a chance."

"I'm sorry. It's... really, it's better this way."

"Stop saying that. It's not better. It's horrible."

"What are you going to do, Rodney-- dump Carson for me?"

Rodney suddenly looked furious. "Carson!" He stood and stalked away.

"Where are you going? Rodney? Rodney!" But the scientist didn't turn around.

***

Carson glanced up as Rodney walked into his office and shut the door behind him. Rodney's eyes were stormy, his mouth turned down, and his face flushed. "You are a heartless bastard, Carson."

Forcing himself to stay calm, he laid down the medical journal he'd been reading. "What's wrong, love?"

"You knew! You knew he was in love with me and you went and... and... seduced me."

Carson closed his eyes and sighed. He had hoped this day wouldn't come, but here it was. He opened his eyes and met his lover's accusing gaze. "Yes, I knew he was in love with ye. I also knew he was never, ever going to act on that."

"You can't know that for sure."

"He'd made his choice, Rodney. And I made mine."

"Yes. And you let me believe he was an asshole and a homophobe when you did it." Rodney jutted his chin out belligerently. "Thanks so much for such a lovely relationship built on honesty and trust, Carson."

And he turned and stalked out of the office.

***

He could tell by the look in Beckett's eyes that something horrible had happened. Carson ran through his check in a grim silence.

"I'm sorry, doc," John said. "I shouldn't have told him."

Carson sighed. "It's okay. It'll all work out eventually."

"Do you really believe that, doc, or is that your way of saying, 'I'd like to kill you, but there's this annoying Hippocratic oath thing'?"

Beckett grinned. "I'm to blame more than you are, Colonel. We'll work it out."

"If-- if you want me to, I can try to talk to him."

"Just be honest with him," Carson answered, "and I'll do the same."

"I will, doc."

***

Rodney returned a few hours later. Sheppard gave him a penetrating gaze. "I didn't mean to interfere with your relationship with Carson."

"He didn't tell me," Rodney said. "He intentionally didn't tell me."

"Rodney, I told him not to tell you. I can't... You have to understand."

"Understand what? That you've been miserable watching the two of us together?"

"It's not like that!"

"It's not?" Rodney asked.

"No. I like seeing you happy. I think it's kind of... cute watching the two of you together."

"Cute?"

"Hot, even," John admitted.

"Hot?"

"What are you-- Eliza?"

Rodney's eyebrows shot up. "That's a truly geek reference there, John."

"I did go to college, you know, Rodney."

"So I've heard. But back to what you were saying if I'm to understand you right it doesn't bother you to see Carson and me together? In fact, I gather it might actually turn you on?"

John looked away and shrugged. "Look, despite 'Don't ask/Don't tell' it's still career suicide to get involved in a gay relationship. If it's just sex, people tend to look the other way, but a real relationship tends to get you into trouble. So, I have a lot of experience with the just sex part. I've never done the real relationship part because I've never met anyone I'd give up flying for. And, honestly, Rodney, with you it's not just flying but Atlantis. So, yeah, I like the idea of you and Carson together because it makes you... safe, even though it means sex isn't an option."

"That's just fucked up, John. It's some massive, fucked-up Catch-22."

"I know. I wish it was simple, but it's not. I'm fucked up, so my relationships are going to be fubar, too."

***

The last thing Carson expected to see when he walked into his apartment that night was Rodney, but there he was, sitting on the bed, laptop out, typing away.

"Rodney?"

"Hey." His lover hit a couple buttons, shut the laptop and set it aside. "I came to... um... Well, what I mean is, I talked to John. You were... you were right. And I'm..." He took a deep breath. "I'm sorry."

Carson crossed the room quickly and kissed Rodney. "I should have found a way to tell you. I'm sorry."

Rodney slipped his arms around Carson. "This is just all so fucked up, I feel like I'm in some weird gay soap opera."

Carson laughed. "I think more of us have to be having sex for it to be a soap opera, love."

***

Zelenka continued to make occasional visits to the infirmary during the interminable days that followed. John found he liked the Czech's wicked sense of humour. And, good Lord, the things the Czech knew about who was doing what to whom!

What was even worse, Radek seemed to bring out the math geek in him. He told John what he was working on and expected John to understand. More often than not, John found he did, at least once he asked some clarifying questions. On the third visit, Radek opened up his laptop and showed John the complex equation he'd been working on. John's eyes scanned it line by line. "Oh, here's your problem, I think. You're assuming this is going to be a rational number here. But what happens if it's an irrational number?"

"That would be impossible, though, wouldn't it?"

"In wormhole physics? Hell if I know. Ask McKay."

Radek considered the equation and then began adding lines, modifying, removing bits, almost frantic. He made a sound deep in his throat that John had only ever heard made in the middle of sex. He found himself growing hard under the thin infirmary blanket at that sound. "Oh, yes," Radek almost moaned. "This is... oh, this is good."

"Radek," John tried to say the name lightly, "if you don't quiet down, Carson's going to think we're having sex in his infirmary." He couldn't believe he'd just said that to Radek of all people.

Zelenka peered at him over the frame of his glasses and smirked. "Oh, I would be much quieter than this if I were going to have sex in infirmary."

John blinked, taken aback. Radek continued to type, making little pleasure sounds in his throat as he did so.

***

Radek wore a pair of knit boxers and a shapeless grey tee-shirt as he opened the door to his apartment. If he was at all self-conscious about it, he didn't show it. He seemed equally unaffected to find John standing at his door. "Colonel. Come in." He stepped aside and allowed John in.

John froze two crutch-steps in. "Oh... my... God! Where in the hell did you get a bed that big?"

"Made it," Zelenka answered. "No one stops to wonder why I would want this piece or that and I do not like sleeping in little bed."

"Wow! I would so give you blow jobs for a month for a bed like that."

Zelenka grinned. "Do not tempt me, Colonel."

John could only gape at him in shock. He'd always sort of seen Zelenka as naive and innocent, perhaps because of his size or the silly way he had of lighting up around Elizabeth like a schoolboy with a crush.

Radek motioned toward the bed. "Have a seat. I'm afraid I sacrificed other furnishings to fit it. Coffee?"

"Sure. Thanks." John crutched the rest of the way to the bed and lowered himself down carefully, arranging his crutches close by.

Zelenka apparently already had a pot brewing and so simply grabbed another mug and poured. "You like it plain as I recall, Colonel?"

"Yeah, black's fine. That smells like real coffee."

"It is."

"I thought everyone was out."

Radek smiled again. "Some of us have more self-control." He brought John a mug, holding it so John could take it left-handed. He then folded himself onto the huge bed near enough to take John's mug if needed, but far enough away so as to be comfortable. "So, why have you come?"

"I had something I wanted to give you, as a thank-you for what you went through for me." John looked at the small bed-side table and considered the distance, then handed his mug to Radek. He fumbled in a pocket and drew out a box. "Here. I thought you deserved one."

Zelenka took it, looking curious, and opened the box. He looked at John quizzically. "What is it?"

"It's a Purple Heart-- a medal awarded to American military or civilians serving with the military who are wounded in the course of a war or enemy action. I was awarded it in Afghanistan before..." John shrugged.

"You cannot give this to me. I was not injured in battle and I am not--"

"Radek, stop. Take the damned thing, okay? You deserve it."

"But it is yours. You--"

"It's got bad memories."

Zelenka considered him. "Bad memories are not a good reason to give away your heart."

"Purple Heart. And, no, bad memories aren't enough, but combined with a worthy person who deserves it..."

Radek fingered it gently. "I will not keep it, but--" he held up his hand, stopping John's protest, "I will safeguard it for you. It will be an honour."

"Cool. I just wanted you to know--"

Radek's slender fingers touched his lips, stopping him. "I know, Colonel. But you don't need to thank me. I would do it again without question. I would do it for you, always."

John met his eyes and understood, finally. He looked away, looked at the Purple Heart in Radek's hands, looked at the cluttered apartment that was the essence of Radek. "I don't do relationships," he said. "They get messy and go wrong."

"I understand."

"Do you?"

Radek nodded.

"I also, I kind of have this thing--"

"For Rodney. I know." John looked up and saw that Radek did know, did understand. "I am okay with that, really." He smiled. "After all, I am now safeguarding your heart. I will keep it here in this little box by my bed. Anytime you want it, you can come get it."

"It'll be a few weeks before I can really do anything."

Radek gave him a decidedly wicked grin. "Oh, I'm sure we can come up with something."

And so they did.

Tags: beckett/mckay, fiction, having cake, nc-17, sheppard/zelenka, slash, smut
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