Through the Eyes of
Those Left Behind
Part 1: Carson
Misery and terror warring within him,
Carson Beckett sat back in the control chair and tried desperately to
hold both at bay. Never had he felt so alone. He
had no way of knowing whether his two lovers were truly gone and
probably never would, but he had little or no hope of ever seeing them
again. They'd gambled, as they had so many times before, but
this time they'd lost, and lost badly.
Telling himself that all Atlantis
depended on him wasn't helping matters much either, as it just
compounded Carson's sense of inevitable doom. All of Atlantis
had depended on Rodney and Radek making the right call on this deal
with the Wraith and they'd been wrong. Rodney had born the
consequences of that failure first on the Wraith hive ship with Ronon,
then Radek, as he had left with the Orion on what both he and Carson
had known was a suicide mission. Now he was left to deal with
the continuing avalanche of collateral damage alone, and while he was
committed to giving his all to protect Atlantis, and all aboard her, he
had little hope that his all would be enough.
Worse still was the very wrongness of
the role he was being forced to take. He was a healer, for
god's sake, and if Atlantis were to be attacked by the Wraith he'd
surely be wanted in the infirmary. Instead, though, his ATA
gene made him indispensable here, operating a weapon of mass
destruction over which he had demonstrably poor control. Poor
control, said the logic of the moment, beat no control of the device
that was likely to be their only hope of mounting an effective defense
against the Wraith hive headed their way. Not even Carson
could refute that logic now, and so here he sat, mourning his lost
loves and dreading the task, and the likely failure, that lay before
Still, he feebly contested that logic
with Elizabeth when she called, pettily wishing that she knew his
agonies, even as he knew full well that she had agonies of her
own. He'd already had this debate with Teyla, and had already
been appraised of shortcomings of relying on the cloak alone, but some
part of him childishly hoped that by arguing about it the current
unpleasant reality could be altered.
His mind already interacting with the
city's systems to some degree, Carson knew when the hive ship dropped
out of hyperspace over their adopted world, and he felt his mouth go
dry. Any second now, he knew, they'd begin releasing darts
and firing on the city, proving how futile their yearlong charade, and
his hopes, had been.
"Doctor Beckett, stand by," Teyla's
voice came over his radio. Carson wanted to cry, but instead
he squeezed his eyes shut, searching for that place in his mind where,
some three years ago, he had accidentally found and activated an
Ancient drone device.
"Receiving signal..." He could
not let himself listen or speculate. The fate of the city
depended on his concentration.
"Atlantis, this is Sheppard, come in..."
Carson's eyes flew open, his
"John?!" The astonishment in
Teyla's voice was no less than Carson felt in his heart.
"They made it?" Dr. Weir,
countless light-years distant, yet still miraculously present,
expressed equal incredulity, but her question raised another one that
burned now in Carson's heart. Who? Who had made it
and who had not? He hung on Sheppard's every word as the
Colonel gave his brief report, thinking -hoping with all his heart-
that if they'd lost anyone he would say, right up front.
"...So now would not be a good time to
fire on us."
Carson immediately brought the chair
upright, desperately trying to banish all thoughts of drone weapons
from his mind, which of course always backfired. Distracted
by this momentary panic, he almost missed the colonel's next comment,
and the additional comment that followed.
"...wouldn't want to damage our new hive
ship," Sheppard was saying, and then this instruction was clarified by
another, heartbreakingly familiar voice.
"Not any more than it's already been
damaged, anyway," it said.
alive! Carson shut his eyes tight, trying once more to hold
his tears at bay.
"Honestly, I don't think we traded up,
either," Rodney's voice continued in his headset, so very welcome to
his ears. "It's only slightly less beat up that the Orion
was, and we're barely able to fly this thing, much less fix it."
"You lost the Orion?"
Elizabeth's question was more plainly curious than accusing, but Carson
knew only more dread at this news. Radek had been on the
"She gave her all, ma'am," Sheppard
reported. "And she saved our collective butts in the
process. But we managed to get everyone onto the Daedalus
before she went up."
Here was a hope to clutch at and Carson
did. Now to learn what had become of...
"And the Daedalus?" Teyla asked for him.
"She's in tow," Sheppard reported
smartly. "She lost life support in the last exchange with the
Wraith and so we've moved most of our people to the hive ship, but
Radek and a repair crew are over on the Daedalus now, working to get
her back on line."
Staggering to his feet, Carson Beckett
clutched at his shirt where it lay over his heart and felt the blood
pounding in his ears. Alive. They were both still
alive. Needing suddenly to get away from the chair, from
everything that reminded him of the bitter anguish of the last few
days, Carson stumbled out of the room, ignoring the concerned queries
of the technicians there.
He had it in mind to get to the
infirmary, which was where he belonged and where his lovers, along with
the combined crews of the Daedalus and the Orion, were most likely to
land first, but he had gone no more that a few dozen meters down the
corridor when he felt himself break out in a cold sweat.
Instinctively moving towards the nearest source of fresh air, he
staggered out of the hallway onto a mercifully close balcony and
clutched at the railing for a second before emptying the meager
contents of his stomach over the side. He'd eaten little over
the past few days, but still his guts continued to attempt to purge
themselves again and again, long after their last contents had been
consigned to the sea below.
He remained, holding feebly to the rail
as the sickness passed, knees too weak to support his weight at first,
then pushed away, still determined to find his way to the
infirmary. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, Carson
reentered the corridor, his legs none too steady, but unwilling to let
his weakness stop him.
His determination notwithstanding, only
a handful of meters down the corridor Carson found himself leaning
heavily against the wall, trembling violently and feeling his knees on
the verge of giving way again. The pulse pounding in his ears
was so loud that he almost did not hear the voice calling his name at
"Dr. Beckett?" It was Teyla's
voice, and then a moment later her hand on his shoulder, offering
support. "Carson, are you all right?"
The words to make the lie he wished to
tell would not come, and so he settled for an evasive truth, knowing
all the while that the truth was there for her to see anyway.
"I will be in a bit, luv," was what he said at last.
"Of course," she said, neither
discounting his truth nor the evidence of the moment. "May I
accompany you to your quarters?"
"I thought I'd better get to the
infirmary," he replied. "They'll be needing me there when the
survivors come in."
"Carson," she said and the doctor
reflected on how it was that when Teyla gentled her voice, as she did
now, it was an indicator of a hardening of her will, not a
softening. "Do you truly believe you are in a fit state to
treat patients at the moment?" She took one of his hands in
both of hers, holding it up so that they could both see how it shook.
"Aye, you may have a point," he
confessed, suddenly close to tears again.
"They will manage well enough without
you in the infirmary today," she comforted. "The crews of the
Daedalus and the Orion are mainly suffering only from exhaustion and a
little dehydration, and Dr. Chavous from the Daedalus will be there to
help as well. She will send Rodney and Radek to their
quarters as soon as she has seen them. You can wait for them
Since all three of them were civilians,
Carson, Rodney and Radek had not worried overmuch about who know of
their relationship, but a lifetime of secretive habit and a natural
reticence which they all shared had kept them discreet. Their
friends and teammates knew, or course, and it was rare moments like
this that made Carson glad of it.
He smiled weakly and shifted so that
more of his weight fell on Teyla's supporting arm and less on the
corridor wall. "Perhaps that'd be for the best," he
acquiesced with a small nod, letting her guide him down the hallway
towards the residential section of the city.
She came in with him when they got to
his rooms, of course, settling him on the sofa with a blanket before
she stepped into the kitchen area to activate his electric
kettle. Radek had retrofitted the thing to work with the
Atlantis power grid as a birthday gift for him a few months ago and it
had immediately become the most precious thing he owned. He
wondered if he would ever have been able to use it again if he'd lost
"Can I make you a cup of tea, Dr.
Beckett?" Teyla asked as the water heated.
"I'd best have no more caffeine today,"
Carson answered her, "but I'd fancy a cup made with those dried flowers
you brought me a while back. They're in that tin on the
"I see them," Teyla answered and before
long Carson had a warm cup of stamista flower tea in his hands which he
sipped at gratefully.
"Thank ye, luv," he murmured as he felt
the tea warm him and soothe his stomach. "I do appreciate
your going out of your way..."
"It is always an honor to serve one who
dedicates his life to serving others," said Teyla graciously, perching
beside him on the sofa for a moment in order to rest her hands on his
shoulders and touch her forehead to his, in the manner of her
people. "The personnel from the Daedalus and the Orion were
just beginning to beam down to the city when I left the command
center," she said as she rose again. "I imagine that those
for whom you wait will be here very shortly, so I will be on my way."
She had taken no more than a handful of
steps towards the door, however, when it opened, Rodney and Radek
stumbling through it. Rodney looked haggard, Radek worn and
filthy, but there was a joyful light in both their eyes as they spotted
Carson, and Teyla as well.
"Rodney, it is very, very good to see
you," said Teyla, smiling broadly and stepping forward to take him in a
brief embrace, touching his forehead as she drew back. Rodney
blushed and looked away.
"It's... really good to see you too," he
said awkwardly but sincerely, and Carson could hear the fatigue in his
"And Dr. Zelenka!" Teyla moved to touch
foreheads with Radek, who smiled timidly in response. "Your
courage will long be remembered in this city, rest assured."
Now Radek blushed and scratched his ear
nervously. "I... I do not know if my actions qualify as 'courageous'...
exactly," he demurred.
"I do," said Teyla
authoritatively. "Never in all my life have I known such
brave souls as those I have come to know here, and never have I seen
such acts of courage as in your actions -all three of you- in these
most recent events. It is an honor to know you
all." And with that, she departed, leaving the three of them
alone at last.
The door was hardly closed before Carson
stumbled to his feet and the three men fell into each others' arms,
each grasping clumsily at the other two, pulling them as close as
"Ah loves," Carson all but
sobbed. "I thought I'd lost you. I thought I'd lost
you both." Rodney's mouth was on his first, desperate and
hungry, while Radek's lips caressed his cheek. Then Rodney
drifted down to nibble at his jaw and Radek came to claim him, giving
of himself, offering himself up entirely with his kiss.
Carson was hardly surprised to feel the
tears on his cheeks, but was astonished to see them on Rodney's as
well. When he touched Rodney's cheek to feel the moisture
there Rodney ducked his head down to lay his face against Carson's
shoulder, wrapping his arms around him and hanging on as if for dear
life. Glancing over at Radek, Carson saw that the man's
glasses were fogged as well, and after a moment Radek removed them,
tucking them into his vest pocket as he too buried his face in Carson's
other shoulder and trembled in his arms.
They stood that way for a long while,
until Carson felt his legs begin to shake with fatigue and the others
noticed. "Damn, you're probably just as wiped as we are,"
said Rodney, reluctantly drawing away.
"Yes, but we smell worse," said
Radek. "I have been dreaming of your
shower Carson, almost
as much as I have been dreaming of you."
"Will you have us both then, luv?" asked
Carson with a smile.
The clothes were all in a nasty heap in
the corner of their cathedral of a bathroom in no time, and the water
was hot and ready for them as soon as they were standing at the shower
door. Rodney gave a purely wanton groan of pleasure and
relief as he immersed himself in the steaming hot spray and Radek
released a truly profound sigh. Carson watched them both with
delight, taking pleasure in their pleasure and remembering that only a
few hours ago he'd been convinced that he would never see them again.
He reached across to touch them both, to
reassure himself that they were really here with him, and the two
physicists (geniuses that they were) read the need in his touch and
stepped close again to surround him. Their hands moved on
him, touching, caressing, comforting, and then they were washing him,
soaping and rinsing every part of his body with loving attention, as
though he were something precious. Feeling his heart at ease
for the first time in weeks, Carson turned to help Radek wash Rodney
with equal care and attention and then he and Rodney took care of Radek.
When they were all clean and dry all
anyone had the energy to do was stumble to bed to sleep, though they
all three wished otherwise. It was with wistful, sleepy
kisses that they bid each other good night, curled up together with
Carson in the middle on the bed they shared. He quietly
reveled in the close, heavy presence of Rodney, his arm flung over
Carson's chest and Radek, curled up against his side like a cat, and
slipped off to sleep with joy only in his heart.
Rodney woke them, shouting with terror
in the dim, predawn hours. There was no need to ask what
specters had disturbed his sleep. Carson had seen the smears
of dried slime on Rodney's field jacket, and scrubbed it off his back
in the shower last night. He'd studied the workings of Wraith
'cocoons', and knew that one of these had to have been part of his
lover's experience while he'd been held captive on the hive ship, but
couldn't imagine what new horrors lived in Rodney's memory
now. Radek, always quicker to wake than Carson, had already
scrambled across the bed to Rodney's side so that he was surrounded by
the two of them by the time Carson was up and thinking straight.
"Hush now miláčku," Radek was murmuring
into Rodney's ear as he gently caressed the side of his face.
"You are safe now. We have you. You are home on
Atlantis and safe."
Rodney woke with a despairing cry, his
eyes open wide and staring with fright. Carson thought the
lights on just enough that Rodney could see them, and remember where he
"You're all right now luv," he
comforted, laying a warm hand on Rodney's trembling shoulder.
"Ye've made it home, safe and sound."
Rodney gave a wretched sob and clutched
at Carson's shirt, pulling himself in to bury his face against his
shoulder. They both held him as he wept, Carson hugging him
to his chest and Radek pressed against Rodney's back. They
remained so for a long time as Rodney shook with sobs, waiting for the
words to come that would be necessary for a proper catharsis.
"Never... I've never..." he choked out,
not yet quite able to get the words out. "Never so scared,"
he managed finally. "I woke up and I... I couldn't move..."
Rodney's fists tightened in Carson's
shirt again and Carson tried not to imagine how terrifying the
experience must have been for his claustrophobic lover. It
was a moment or two before Rodney got his voice under control again.
"And then I remembered why... and I
just... I started screaming and I couldn't stop." Rodney's
voice was little over a whisper now, but at least he was able to string
more than a couple of words together. "Ronon tried to get me
to stop... He kept telling me to breath and after a while I realized
that I could... and so I... so I stopped then."
Carson drew Rodney even tighter into his
arms, feeling himself tremble with horror at what his lover had
endured. On the other side of him Carson could hear Radek
murmuring softly -the dearth of vowels made him think it was likely
Czech- and laying little kisses on Rodney's shoulder and the back of
"That was when I realized..." Rodney
whispered, fear still thick in his voice. "That was when I
realized that this was all my fault, that my... my incompetence lead me
to allow the Wraith to plant spyware in Atlantis' computer system...
that my negligence and... and arrogance lead them straight to earth...
and that I probably deserved everything..."
"Ne!" Strong hands were pulling Rodney
away from him to face Radek. "Not you alone!" The
guilt in the man's voice, Carson noted with sorrow, was not one bit
diminished from the day he'd learned, that they'd all learned, how the
Wraith had betrayed them.
had been in the infirmary when
Dr. Weir had called him on his radio to tell him the news, and then a
moment or two later Radek had called him and asked him to come to their
quarters, saying nothing about why. He found his lover
furiously jamming clothes and equipment indiscriminately into a carry
bag, clearly preparing to leave, though Carson had no idea why or
where. Radek had collapsed onto the sofa when Carson had
finally grabbed him to make him stop and explain himself.
"What have we done?" he'd cried, face
buried in his hands as he sat. "God help us what have we
"I don't know, luv, and ye're not
telling me," Carson had plead desperately, taking Radek's shoulders in
"We gave them earth," Radek had all but
sobbed, looking up at him in despair. "We gave them the earth and we
gave them the means to get there, and Carson... we gave them Rodney as
Tears had come then and Carson had held
him close, trying not to think what that meant and trying to hold on to
hope, however frail. Radek's next words, however, had all but
"And now I have to go and try to fix,"
Radek had said wretchedly, words muffled against Carson's
chest. "I am the only one who can get the Orion's shields up,
and make her weapons work, so that the Orion and the Daedalus can try
to stop the Wraith before they get to earth. I have to go;
there is no one else and I... I am so sorry Carson."
They'd both known, though neither one
would say, that it was a suicide mission, and Carson Beckett had felt
his hopes die in that moment, a thing he had never felt before in his
life. He'd never imagined that he would lose both his lovers,
not all at once like this anyhow. Some living, vital part at
the heart of him had gone cold and dead then, and it had remained so
until the moment he had seen his two lovers stumble together into their
His lovers were alive, and that was a
miracle indeed, but they'd both returned home wounded, in spirit if not
in body. Seeing now, how deep the wounds went, Carson prayed
for the strength and wisdom to help heal them.
"Was you and I both!" Radek was
forcefully as Rodney blinked at him in confusion. "You and I
both who looked at data, and cleared it for distribution. You
and I both who were fooled by this 'gift' of knowledge."
Carson cringed to hear the self loathing in Radek's voice.
"They knew just how to
distract us and
they... they played us like puppets," Radek's voice nearly broke with
bitterness, "but you do not
bear this alone Rodney. We have
both done this."
"Radek..." Rodney's voice was rough with
sorrow as he pulled the man back down to lie beside him, drawing him in
close. Carson could feel them both shaking, and wanted with
all his heart to hold them both and take them away from this place of
grief and guilt.
"No, it doesn't matter now, luvs" he
soothed. "It doesn't matter. All that matters now
is you stopped them and you both came back to me alive, and that's a
bloody miracle, no mistake." Carson reached his arm across to
lay over Radek's shoulder as he felt Rodney turn again to lay a soft
kiss on his face.
"Ye're the most brilliant people I've
ever met, and ye've saved us more times than I'd like to think, but
ye're still only human, lads," he said. "Ye can't expect to
go on forever wi'out ever making a mistake, and ye can't lose faith in
yourselves when ye do. We'd be truly lost then, aye?"
Rodney's only answer was to kiss him,
deep and urgently, and Carson smiled to feel the mood shift.
Here was where the healing would come. Under his outstretched
hand he felt Radek's body move restlessly, pressing against Rodney's,
and then Radek took hold of that hand and began to kiss it, one finger
at a time. Rodney's hands were roaming his body now, fingers
stroking down his chest, then reaching around his hips to grasp his
Sighing with pleasure, Carson thrust up
against Rodney, feeling himself harden and feeling Rodney's answering
hardness through their clothes. Behind Rodney, Radek was now
sucking each one of Carson's fingers into his mouth and then drawing it
out, with torturous slowness. Carson felt the heat of lust
rising in him, in all of them. Rodney's mouth was moving,
hot, wet and hungry from Carson's lips down to claim his throat and
then his shoulders with nips and kisses. Radek had finally
finished with Carson's fingers and since Radek's mouth was now free he
leaned across to take it, drinking deeply the taste of his lover as
Radek plundered Carson's mouth in return.
This distracted Carson fairly thoroughly
until he felt Rodney catch his nipple, through his shirt, gently in his
teeth. He gave a sharp gasp, pulling away from Radek, which
allowed Rodney to get his hands under Carson's shirt and lift it
away. He cooperated, but then immediately turned to do
likewise to Rodney, which was complicated by the fact that Rodney was
already busy again, removing Radek's shorts (since he had come to bed,
as usual, in boxers alone). Things became rather muddled
after that, but a few minutes later the clothes were all strewn about
the bed and the bedroom and the three of them were naked together
beneath the covers. Carson was happily immersed in the
sensations of skin against skin as his lovers moved with him, against
him, along side him, caressing and grasping and embracing.
This was paradise, and Carson reveled in it.
Face to face again with Rodney, Carson
reached around to grab at Rodney's arse as Rodney had done to him,
pulling their hips together so that their two hard cocks came to press
against each other. Now, however, without the mitigating
layers of clothing, the sensations left them both shouting with
pleasure. In the silence that followed, Carson heard a
chuckling coming from above and when he looked up he saw Radek,
kneeling over the two of them, a troublingly diabolical look on his
Grinning with anticipation, Radek
reached down to wrap a graceful, slender-fingered hand around both
their cocks and Carson realized with a pleasant shock that sometime
during the clothing shedding melee Radek had gotten hold of the
lube. Clever, slick fingers stroked both their hardnesses
together and in seconds both Carson and Rodney were crying out the
names of deities that neither one publicly acknowledged any allegiance
Radek would know better than to keep
that up for long, Carson was certain, but was disappointed all the same
when he let up. Rodney too made an incoherent, dismayed noise
when Radek lifted his hand away, but then blinked and watched, as
Carson did, as Radek dispensed another nerdle of lube onto his hand and
then proceeded to work it over his own jutting cock. Carson smiled to
see Rodney's eyes glazed with lust, his lips softly parted, practically
"Yes, Rodney," Radek said with an
indulgent smile, "I am going to fuck you. You," Radek now
turned to Carson, "you should suck him."
Carson always maintained that it was
because Radek was an engineer (among other things, as he constantly
reminded them) that he usually knew exactly what wanted to be done and
how, when the three of them got naked in bed together. Rodney
and Carson both tended to go speechless and stupid under such
circumstances, but the spatial logistics part of Radek's brain, if
nothing else, remained active and functional in the face of the most
astonishing distractions. There was no doubt in Carson's mind
that all their sex was the better for it, and such was the case now, as
he realized that taking Rodney's hard cock into his mouth was just what
he wanted to do.
Radek's suggestion had also, it
appeared, kick-started some part of Rodney's brain as well, for Carson
saw him frown in concentration now as he sought for the words he needed.
"Okay," he said, a bit breathlessly,
"but I want to suck Carson too."
"Well that is easily enough managed,"
said Radek with a smile, and Carson nodded, sitting up to push the
bedclothes out of the way and then turning to lie alongside Rodney,
head to crotch. Sighing with anticipation, Carson ran his
hands over Rodney's soft belly, combing his fingers through the curls
of hair at the base of his cock. He reached out his tongue to
lick at the head of Rodney's eager flesh, tasting mainly the cloying
sweetness of the lube at first. Carson licked and sucked at
Rodney's hard shaft until only the musky, warm animal taste of Rodney
remained, then drew him in deeper still, chasing after that taste.
As he did, Carson felt Rodney's lips on
his own cock, kissing its length with loving attention. He
stifled the urge to thrust, placing his hands on Rodney's hips to
forestall the same there. Blinking to peer under
Rodney's lifted knee, Carson enjoyed the sight of Radek's fingers,
still slick with lube, working in and out of Rodney's opening,
preparing him for Radek's cock. By some delightful cosmic
synchronicity, Carson felt Rodney take all of Carson's cock into his
mouth just as Radek's cock was sinking into Rodney's arse, and the
combined sight and sensations nearly undid Carson then and there.
He groaned loudly around the hard
pulsing flesh in his mouth and felt Rodney's hips buck reflexively in
response. Carson's strong hands held him firmly in place,
though, and now he began to move his mouth up and down Rodney's cock,
matching his rhythm to Radek's thrusts. Rodney's whole body
began to quiver under these assaults, and Carson could feel his moans,
coming in rhythm with everything else, vibrating around his own hard
and aching flesh.
On top of all this, Carson was finding
the sight of Radek's hard shaft, only a few centimeters away,
penetrating and thrusting into Rodney's body again and again,
positively mesmerizing. He could hear Radek
panting, crying "ano… ano," with every thrust, and wanted to
touch. Lifting his hand up to coat his fingers in the
generous quantities of lube around the base of Radek's cock, Carson now
reached around behind Radek to finger his opening, pressing first one
finger into his tight heat, and then a second.
Radek's rhythm faltered, his words
devolving into incoherent sounds, but ones that both Carson and Rodney
recognized. At least, that was what Carson figured gave
Rodney the idea, because a moment later he felt the sensation of Rodney
chuckling around his cock and then blunt, spit slicked fingers at his
own opening. Taken suddenly by the determination to undo
Rodney and Radek before he was himself undone, Carson opened his throat
to take Rodney deep at the same time as he curled the fingers moving
inside Radek just so…
He felt Radek go rigid and then shudder
violently, crying aloud with his climax, then a moment later Rodney
released Carson's cock to gasp hugely and shout, and Carson tasted the
salty musk of Rodney's spending on his tongue. Carson sucked
his lover dry with a smile on his lips and then, as he gently released
Rodney's softening cock from his mouth, Rodney's was back on his own
hard flesh, swallowing the length of it with gusto. He moaned
with delight at the sensations, feeling Rodney's fingers back at his
opening, caressing and then penetrating, touching him as skillfully as
he'd touched Radek. Carson felt the climax come as he felt
Radek's mouth on his, tasting Rodney there and devouring him in
process. He gasped and groaned loudly, filling Rodney's mouth
with his seed, feeling his body pulse around Rodney's fingers buried
Carson lay in a sated daze for countless
moments before he felt hands lifting him, pulling him up to lay facing
the proper way on the bed, where it was easier for Rodney and Radek's
lips to find his, and for him to find theirs. He found
himself in the middle again as the two scientists fell asleep on either
side of him, which didn't take too long because they were still plenty
exhausted. Carson hadn't gotten all that much sleep either
over the last few days, and there wasn't any place he'd rather sleep
than between his two lovers, but to savor the moment he held sleep at
bay for just a bit.
It was worth staying up as long as he
could just to listen to them breathe, the slow rhythm of their inhaling
and exhaling playing counterpoint to one another in the dark.
Each new drawn breath was an affirmation in Carson's heart.
They were both alive, against all odds, and they'd beaten those odds to
return to him. Their latest misadventure had taken its toll,
as they all did, but they'd survived it nonetheless, as individuals,
and as three lovers, which was, in Carson's mind, the most remarkable
miracle of all.
Thinking of what awaited him in the hive
ship orbiting above their adopted world, Carson took in the sounds of
their quiet breaths, the sensations of the two warm sleeping bodies
pressed up against his, to hold as memories that would sustain him
through what was to come, he hoped. This sense of safety, of
warmth and love was transitory, he knew, and such moments were
incalculably precious. Feeling sleep overcome him at last, Carson knew
himself to be fortunate, in spite of everything, to have such memories
to keep at all, and so it was gratitude that accompanied him to
Morpheus' arms that morning, and that sense stayed with him for some
It would sustain him for much, though
not all of what was to come.
Part 2: Radek
They'd both tried to talk him out of
going, and later, Rodney had done his manful best to try and talk
Carson out of staying, but they both knew that they neither one of them
had a leg to stand on. Carson hadn't even tried to talk Radek out of
going with the Daedalus on its probable suicide mission, and though
Rodney was never one to take the passive option, he'd known, as he
confessed to Radek upon his return to Atlantis alone, that there would
be no talking Dr. Carson Beckett out of his responsibility to his
patients, no matter who they were or had been.
There was no point in regretting this,
as Carson's steadfast dedication to the ethics of his avocation were
one of the things they both loved about him, and so the two scientists
allowed themselves to become consumed with work (which was no
difficulty with both a Wraith hive ship and the Daedalus to be put back
in fighting trim) and spent short hours in their bed holding each other
close and not sleeping at all. Two days passed in this
manner, fueled by caffeine and tinged with slow burning anxiety, until
the day that Rodney came storming into the labs in such a state of
distress that all the alarm bells went off inside Radek. It
was all he could do not to run to the man and pull him into his arms to
ask what had happened to Carson.
"The hive ship needs to be running and
battle-ready yesterday," were Rodney's first words, snapped out as soon
he had the other scientists' attention. "We're heading back
to the refugee station in ninety minutes, come hell or high
water. Chen, Coleman, Sanchez, you're joining Simpson's team
on the hive ship. The hyper-drive and the weapons'
power systems will be ready in an hour and a half or you're going with
Radek's heart sank to
hear it, though he knew he should not be surprised. Even if
the teams at work on the hive ship now, with the reinforcements Rodney
was sending, completed their tasks them in time (and they probably
would -they had a powerful motivator), Radek knew that the weapons
systems would still require hours of highly skilled labor before they
were ready. Rodney now turned to address the software
engineers, who were still working to improve the interface they'd need
to control the hive ship's basic systems, issuing similar dictums to
them, then he turned to Radek, taking him by the arm as he headed out
of the lab.
"Walk with me," he said, and Radek
complied without question.
"There's a Wraith hive ship headed right
for the planet where we left Carson," Rodney began without preamble as
they progressed down the corridor towards their quarters.
"Bože, ne!" Radek cried quietly, feeling
his heart drop into his shoes.
"If we take the hive ship right now we
can get there before they do," he continued, explaining what Radek was
just working out, "but if we wait till the Daedalus is ready..."
Radek nodded, concentrating mainly on
keeping pace with Rodney's hurried and longer legged gait. It
was easier than focusing on the welter of conflicting feelings in his
heart. Rodney's speed did not diminish in the least as they
entered their quarters, as he tore through the place, gathering his
field kit and pack, and all the various equipment and supplies he
thought he'd need.
"You will need help getting the hive
ship's weapons on line, yes?" Radek said as Rodney raced about their
"You can't come," Rodney answered him
unequivocally, actually pausing in his flurry of activity to dump the
bulging pack on the sofa and stand before Radek. "I need you
working on the Daedalus, to shave as much time as you can off their
repairs, 'cause something tells me we're going to need them to show up
and save our sorry asses and... and seconds could make a difference."
For just a moment Radek could see how
frightened his lover was, and remembered how frightened he'd been when
he'd had to tell Carson that he was going on the Daedalus to stop the
hive ships headed towards Earth. He did as Carson had done
then, stepping forward to take Rodney in his arms and hold him tight,
kissing him with desperate passion. It was Rodney who broke
it off, drawing back so that Radek could see the deep unhappiness
revealed in the man's face, and Radek had to pull him back in for
"Bring him back if you can, Rodney,"
Radek murmured into his ear, "but if you cannot, please bring yourself
back. Prosím, miláčku."
"I'll do everything I can," Rodney
promised quietly, "I swear."
Rodney's eyes were a little too bright
when they finally parted, and he turned away to shoulder his
pack. "I have to go now," he said, moving towards the door.
Radek's throat ached, and for a moment
he didn't trust himself to speak. "I know," he said at last,
and then, "I love you, Rodney."
Rodney paused and reached back to touch
Radek's face with his finger tips. "I..." he began, "well,
you know... You too, I mean... I... I... love you, too... you
"I know," Radek said again, even more
softly, ducking his head to hide the tears which he knew would come any
second. "Tell Carson..."
"I will," Rodney said, sparing him
having to say any more, and then he was gone. Stumbling back
to sit heavily on the sofa as he watched the door close on his lover,
Radek slipped his glasses off and finally gave way to tears.
As before, it was too easy for Radek to
lose himself in what was really a great deal of very critical
work. He was alone in the Daedalus' engine room sometime
around four-fifteen the next morning when he heard a soft footfall and
looked up to see Dr. Weir gazing over at the small island of light in
the otherwise darkened room where Radek was toiling away. He
waited for the chastisement, knowing already that he was well off his
best game, lack of sleep and an excess of caffeine having ruined his
concentration, but none came. It occurred to him then to
wonder what it was that Dr. Weir was doing up and walking the empty
corridors of the Daedalus at this hour, and it dawned un him that she
was as beset as he was.
There was even, perhaps, a trace of envy
in her gaze as she watched Radek work, however ineffectively, for he
had a mountain of tasks before him and she had nothing to do but walk
the empty corridors of her city and wait.
She nodded a brief greeting as he looked
up from his work. "Radek," she said, acknowledging him and,
to some extent, their shared worries.
"Elizabeth," he nodded back, his own
voice rusty from his recent excesses. Elizabeth's gaze passed
over the room, and for a moment it looked as though she were about to
offer some sort of encouragement, but then she seemed to think the
better of it, and after another moment, she walked on.
The Daedalus achieved sufficient
readiness some hours later the next morning and Radek found himself
firmly guided to the infirmary by Dr. Kusanagi, where he was given a
sleeping pill by Dr. Biro and directed to his quarters. He
woke nine hours later, certain that they would have learned nothing
yet, and quickly discovered that he was right, much to his further
dismay. He took himself to the mess hall where dinner was
being served, made a valiant effort to partake of some kind of
nourishment and was soon joined by Dr. Weir, who seemed to be facing a
similar challenge. Wordlessly, they dared each other, matched
each other bite for bite, and soon found that they'd both consumed
something like a decent meal.
The Daedalus finally made contact late
that night, reporting that the hive ship had been lost, along with the
entire contingent of marines, but that Carson had been rescued and
damage control had (hopefully) been accomplished. This report
was delivered to him by Dr. Weir who found him alone in the lab,
staring at a schematic on his computer screen which he had not really
been able to make any sense out of for hours now.
The relief upon hearing that Carson was
alive and homeward bound was evident in his voice as he thanked her for
the news. Far too many troubling questions remained in
Radek's mind, as he left the labs for his quarters, for him to get any
sleep, though he tried anyway. He showered and crawled into
the very empty seeming bed and lay quietly in the dark, wanting sleep
badly, but unable to let go of his worries enough to get so much as a
It was a little after dawn that the
Daedalus was finally close enough for Rodney to contact Radek on a
private channel. Radek had left his earpiece on the side
table with his glasses, but was sufficiently sleepless that he heard
Rodney's voice on it as he lay in the bed, and snatched it up instantly.
"Radek?" Rodney's voice was wonderful to
hear. "I hope I didn't wake you up?"
"I wish you had," answered Radek
truthfully, "but it is very good to hear from you nonetheless."
"Ah, right." It did not sound
as if Rodney had gotten any sleep lately either. "Listen, I
wanted to let you know that we'll be making orbit in about an hour or
so," he went on, "and to make sure you'll be there to meet Carson when
he beams down."
"Rodney, what happened?"
Rodney's sigh was too audible through
the earpiece. "A bunch of the Wraith regained their memories
and hid it. As soon as we left they killed all the marines
and then they… they captured and interrogated Carson."
"Ach, Bože!" Radek drew his knees up and
bowed his head down to rest upon them. "What… what
did they do?"
There was a pause before Rodney
answered, and when he did his voice was not quite steady. "I
don't… I don't know. He hasn't been
talking… not to anybody. And Radek, I
think… I think he hates me…"
"What!?" Radek cried. "Why?"
"I can't go into that right now," Rodney
evaded unhappily. "Listen, I have to go. They need
me to stay and work on some stuff on the Daedalus, so I won't be coming
back right away. Just be there for Carson when he comes
in. Don't let him be alone, okay?"
"No, I will not," Radek
promised. "And Rodney? Come home as soon as you
home as well as ours, Radek thought to his lover
as Rodney signed off. He wished he knew what had happened to
lead Rodney to think that Carson hated him, though he was sure that
could not truly be the case. With a troubled sigh, Radek rose
from bed and prepared to face the new day.
As the natural perversity of the
universe would have it, however, Radek had no sooner made it to the
mess hall to confront the idea of breakfast, than he got an urgent call
from the Botany Department. Apparently, Atlantis' extensive
hydroponics system, which Radek was in charge of renovating and getting
functional again, had sprung a catastrophic leak, and it ended up
taking him the better part of an hour and a half to get the thing under
control. He'd tried to track Carson's whereabouts via his
radio as he worked, and from this he learned that Dr. Beckett had
beamed directly down to the infirmary, spent some time there getting
checked over, and had then gone to his office.
By the time Radek had extricated himself
from the leaking hydroponic systems, however, Carson was no longer in
his office and no one had seen him for half an hour or more.
Frustrated and half frantic, Radek headed for his last verified
first, finding Carson's office dark, and the door
open. There was something decidedly out of place there,
though, Radek could not fail to notice. The wall behind
Carson's desk was empty of the handful of framed licenses, certificates
and diplomas that Carson had placed there after he had finally gotten
them from earth. Now, their empty frames were stacked
carelessly on Carson's desk and Radek felt his heart in his
throat. This was very bad.
Radek left the infirmary and headed in
the general direction of their quarters, no idea of how or where to
look for Carson. The man hadn't answered any of Radek's calls
on his radio since he'd gotten back, and the infirmary staff had told
him that he wasn't wearing one. Radek hesitated to speculate
as to why Carson had removed all of his medical certificates from his
office wall, but it could not have been anything good. It was
an anxious hunch that inspired Radek to check out the first side
corridor he passed that lead to a balcony, and it was there that he
spotted Carson, one hand clutching, white knuckled, at the railing, the
other grasping a sheaf of papers. With a sinking feeling,
Radek figured he knew just what those papers were.
"Carson?" he asked uncertainly, not
certain that the man even knew he was there.
He did not answer at first, or even look
his way, but Radek saw his shoulders slump as he drew near.
After another moment or so Carson spoke, though he still did not turn
to look at Radek.
"I'm a regular Dr. Mengele, I am," was
what he said.
"Ne, Carson," he cried softly, the words
escaping him before he could even think. It was so very, very
wrong to hear Carson speak these words. It made Radek's heart
hurt. "You must not say such things! I know it
cannot be true!" he plead.
"I left them behind to die," Carson said
after another moment. "I left all of them behind to be bombed by us
or… fed on by the ones as had turned back. I got
away safe and I left my patients… They were completely
helpless and I was the one that made 'em so!"
Radek moved a step closer, able at last
to reach out and place his hand on Carson's shoulder. "Did
you have a choice, miláčku?" he asked, certain of the answer
but wanting to remind his lover of it.
At last Carson turned to look at him, an
agony of self doubt and guilt written large over his
features. Radek met his gaze with every ounce of the fierce
devotion he felt showing in his face and after a moment Carson turned
away from the rail and folded Radek in his arms. Radek held
his lover close, felt how he was shaking and felt his own heart ache
for Carson's sake. "Come home with me now,
murmured when Carson's shaking had abated somewhat. "Please."
Carson nodded silently, and complied,
the sheaf of certificates still clutched in his right hand.
It was not far to their quarters and fortunately the halls were not so
busy at the moment. They made it home without incident and
Radek sat Carson on the sofa, stepping into the kitchen to start some
"Can I make you a cup of tea?" Radek
asked, more as a formality than anything, but he saw Carson shake his
head, staring at his hands where they hung between his knees.
Turning the kettle off, Radek returned
to sit beside Carson, feeling more helpless than he could
remember. Never had he seen Carson so down that he didn't
even want a cup of tea. "Carson?" he asked again softly and
not too steadily, carefully removing the precious certificates from
Carson's hand to lay them on the table before them and smoothing them
flat again. When he was done he took up one of Carson's hands
to hold between his own, clasping it gently, as though it were a
"I feel as though… as though
I've lost my way," Carson said miserably at last. "Somehow
I… it seems as though I've gone from being a doctor and a
geneticist to being a… a weapons designer, and I don't quite
know how it happened… when I crossed that line…"
Radek shook his head slowly.
"You would think it would be easier to tell the difference between
being a doctor and the weapons designer," he said, "than between an
engineer and a weapons designer, would you not?"
"Aye, I suppose," said Carson.
"As we worked together on deploying your
retrovirus," Radek said, "you did not come to ask yourself how it was
that I knew so much about weaponizing biological agents?"
Radek spoke softly, not meeting Carson's eyes.
"I didn't…" Carson began,
looking back at him curiously. "I didn't give it much
thought, I suppose. The both of you know so much about so
many things. I never thought to wonder…"
"I have not always had free choice,"
Radek said quietly, still not meeting Carson's gaze, still feeling
shame and bitterness after all these years, "of what institutions or
projects I was assigned to. I thought I was through with all
that long before I came here, and yet…" Radek shrugged his
shoulders, wishing it was as easy to shrug off old guilts.
He felt Carson's hand move in his,
clasping his fingers firmly, communicating the support and forgiveness
that Radek would not meet his eyes to see. Radek bowed his
head in gratitude and the two of them sat in silence for while.
"I'd never want either one of you to
believe that I thought the less of you for it," Carson began again at
last, "but they don't make engineers or physicists swear an oath not to
harm people. The principles I've promised to uphold as a
physician… they mean a great deal to me, and it feels to me
like I've… I've failed them, monstrously."
Radek listened in silence, gently
stroking Carson's hand as he did. He could not tell Carson if
what he had done had or had not broken a vow he had taken, but he could
maybe convince his lover that he was not alone.
"It is true that no one makes engineers
take a vow to protect human life," he said after a while, "but I have
learned that in Canada, and some other countries, an engineer may elect
to do so. Rodney has."
"He has?" The idea seemed to
be as much of a surprise to Carson as it had been to Radek when Rodney
had first told him about it.
"Have you not noticed the ring which he
wears here?" Radek held up his right hand to indicate the
little finger of it.
"I had," Carson answered, "but I never
thought to ask him about it…"
"After we had first met in Siberia,"
Radek answered, "I did. He is very proud of it, though I
think he is shy to speak of it."
"Why?" asked Carson.
"It seems, I think, a little…
sentimental for him to admit to openly," said Radek with a fond smile,
"but it means a great deal to him. The ring is of steel, and
it means that he has taken part in a ceremony called The
Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer. The initiates
are Canadian engineers
who have sworn to uphold the highest standards of their profession, and
to work only to the betterment of mankind."
Glancing over at Carson, Radek saw the
man slowly shaking his head in astonishment. "I'd have never
guessed," he said affectionately, "but it is very like him, bless the
man. He's a secret altruist."
Rodney was not the only one, Radek
thought to himself. When Rodney had first explained the ring
and the ritual to Radek, and seen the wistful envy in Radek's eyes,
he'd told the Czech engineer, whose work he was already coming to
admire, that as a member in good standing, he was entitled to recommend
foreign engineers for the initiation. He'd promised Radek
then that at his first opportunity he would recommend him.
Though the opportunity had not yet arisen, Radek had no doubts that
Rodney would keep his promise if he could. It was just after
the siege of Atlantis around a year ago that Rodney had reconfirmed
"He wanted to take it off," said Radek,
"his ring, that is, while we were completing Genii nuclear
bombs. He told me that he had promised himself that he would
never work on such devices again, but I convinced him to leave it on."
"How?" asked Carson, and Radek could see
that his story had some resonance for him.
"What we did that day," answered Radek,
"we did to save Atlantis, and also to save Earth. That was
what I told him, because it was true. We have all of us only
done what we have had to -what was needed for us to survive and to
defend the earth."
He looked up at Carson to gauge the
man's reaction, and while his look was unhappy, he did not seem to be
refuting Radek's assessment.
"If we had not built nuclear weapons,"
Radek continued, "Atlantis would have been destroyed by Wraith, and if
you and I, Carson, had not developed retrovirus weapon then Rodney and
I would have died on the Daedalus."
"I know," said Carson, torn, "and I'll
not regret that, no matter what the cost. As long as you
promise to be there to help me find myself again."
For an answer, Radek reached his arm
around his love and pulled him close. Carson let himself be
pulled, releasing a long sighed as he leaned into Radek.
There was an easing in Radek heart as Carson relaxed at his side, but
there were more troubling issues he needed to raise with Carson before
he relaxed altogether.
"When Rodney called me this morning," he
said after some companionable silence, "he said that he was…
concerned… that you were angry with him for some
reason…? He would not say why…"
Carson gave another long sigh, this one
not so relaxed. "Ah dear lord," he said, lowering his head
into his hand, "I knew I should have said something to the poor lad,
but I was too busy feelin' sorry for myself."
Radek clasped Carson's shoulder firmly,
offering absolution with the gesture. Though he still did not
know the particulars, this sounded like the sort of misunderstanding
that Radek had suspected, and knew it would sort it self out soon
enough. "He also told me that you were held captive and
interrogated by the Wraith, but that you would tell no one what was
done to you?"
Carson clutched his hands together
anxiously as he answered. "It wasn't so much
really. They didn't truly do me any harm. They
just… they took things out of my head is all, and there
wasn't a bloody thing I could do about it…"
Carson's words made Radek's heart ache
again, and he pulled his lover close once more. "I do not
know if that is such a small thing, miláčku," he murmured
Carson did not answer, only letting
Radek hold him in silence for another little while. It was in
that quiet that they both heard the door to their quarters open, and
both looked up to see Rodney cautiously enter.
His wary expression became painfully
anguished the moment his eyes fell on Carson and Radek, and then an
instant later he was turning to flee out the still open the
door. Carson was faster though, and was up and off the sofa,
catching at Rodney's arm before he could make his escape.
"No love!" he cried. "You
mustn't go, please!"
Rodney's expression was desperately
unhappy as he saw the door close behind him, but he let Carson lead him
into the room, having apparently given up on the urge to flee, though
there was still no hope in his eyes at all.
"I don't blame you for hating me,"
Rodney said, before anyone could say anything else.
"You begged me not to fire on the settlement, and I knew... I knew it
was wrong... But I had to... I had to... I'm so sorry."
"Rodney luv, no," Carson cried, drawing
in the man into a close embrace, though Rodney resisted a bit at
first. "I could never… oh love, I could never hate
Rodney gave a little sob as he fell into
Carson's arms at last, wrapping his own around his lover.
"I know you had to do what you did,
luv," Carson soothed, "and I knew it then too. All I did was
make it harder for you, and for that I'm the one who's sorry."
Rodney had his face buried in Carson's
shoulder and when he spoke it was barely audible. "I thought... I was
afraid we'd lost you," Radek was just able to make out. "Then
we got you back and I thought…" Rodney's voice went unsteady
for a moment. "I thought I'd lost you anyhow."
"Hush now," said Carson, stroking his
hand gently over Rodney's hair as he held him. "Hush now
luv. You've not lost me. Not like that; never like
"That… that's good to know,"
Rodney said quietly, lifting his head at last. "But what I
don't understand is why I'm the one who's falling apart when you're the
one who was tortured by the Wraith."
"Now, I don't know if I'd go so far as
to call it torture…" Carson began, but Rodney was having
none of it.
"So what would you call having the
Wraith sift through the contents of your brain at will?" he cried,
still overwrought, but now on Carson's behalf. "A minor
Now Radek rose, crossing to where his
two lovers stood, to bring them both back to the sofa to sit, hoping to
calm Rodney down. "Rodney," he asked, as one possible factor
occurred to him, "do you need to eat something?"
"Oh, probably," he said, collapsing onto
the sofa, then, "what's all this?" as he noticed the scattering of
Carson's medical certificates on the coffee table. Radek had
stepped into the kitchen and now returned to hand Rodney a power bar,
and waited for Carson to answer for himself. He soon saw that
the doctor would need some prodding.
"Carson had them with him when I found
him out on the balcony earlier, Radek said, meeting Carson's guilty
"Carson, you weren't going
to…?" Rodney asked around a mouth full of power bar.
"Aye," Carson admitted softly, meeting
no one's gaze. "I… I might have done…
if you hadn't come along when you did, luv." Carson reached
across to where Radek was sitting beside him and took his hand, but
still did not meet his eyes.
"Why?" Rodney was
incredulous. "For gods sake Carson, you did everything in
your power to help those poor bastards, even after half of them turned
"I know luv, I know," Carson said,
taking Rodney's hand as well. "I know we've all only done
what we had to, but I just can't make it sit right in my
mind. When I go over everything that's happened, I can't
think of a thing I do differently, but I can't shake the sense
that… that I've somehow done something terribly wrong."
No one had an answer for this, and so
the three of them sat in silence for a while, each lost in his own
unhappy thoughts. It was to some place he had not been in a
long time that Radek's thoughts took him. It had been a
lifetime ago, in truth, but Carson's bewildered guilt brought it all
back with astonishing clarity. Radek found himself speaking
before he knew he meant to.
"The feeling it does not really ever go
away," he said, "but you will think about it less after a
time. Eventually you will know that you did do the right
thing, but it can take a while."
"Radek," asked Rodney, "what the hell
are you talking about?" Both he and Carson were looking at
him curiously, and Radek knew that he'd never get out of admitting the
whole truth now. It was not really anything he wanted to
revisit, but the look in Carson's eyes, hungry for any kind of hope for
resolution, compelled him.
"It is, you know" he began after a
thoughtful pause, "much easier to have principles when you live in a
free country." This was something that Radek had been
refraining from saying for some time now, for fear of hurting his
lover's feelings, but they would never understand his story if they did
not understand this. He looked up to see their reactions and
found Rodney frowning guiltily, but Carson was nodding in understanding.
"Aye, I imagine so," he said.
"Earlier today," Radek began hesitantly,
"I told Carson that I have not always had a choice about what projects
I worked on, but this is not complete truth. I had a choice
once, and the choice I made then set me on a path that I knew would
take me to places... lead me to doing things that I would never be
proud of. I knew this when I made my choice because I knew...
no, I hoped that at the end of that path I would find the kind of work
I desired." Radek fell silent then, staring down at his
hands. Sworn to secrecy by old masters long ago, Radek had
never spoken of these things before, and now found it harder to give up
these secrets that he had expected.
"Will you come now and sit between us,
Radek luv?" Carson asked kindly, scooting over to make room.
Radek drew a long breath as he settled between his lovers on the sofa,
trying to think of how to explain the everyday realities of life on the
wrong side of the Iron Curtain, to these two fortunate men of the free
world. Still, he considered, the things he had in common with
his two lovers must far outweigh the differences in their
upbringing. He would begin with that, and trust that they
would never condemn him for what he'd done.
"Today I am sure I do not seem to be an
ambitious man, but when one is young, and just discovering for the
first time how very much smarter one is that one's peers, who would not
succumb to ambition?"
There was an understanding smile in
Rodney's eyes as he nodded, and in Carson's voice as he replied, "Aye,
I remember that time myself."
"In Czechoslovakia, under communist
regime, there was only one path for anyone with any ambition.
It was a dangerous path, but all ambition is dangerous, one way or
another, and all young men think that they will master such dangers
easily. I was no different. I joined the
Komunistická Strana, that is the Czechoslovakian communist
party, before I was at university even, because I knew it would be
necessary for my future." Radek shook his head slowly to
think how this must seem now. "I thought nothing of it at the
time. It was simply what one did."
Comfortingly, Radek could feel Carson's
arm around his shoulders, keeping him close and Rodney had taken his
hand to hold it in support. Drawing a long breath, Radek
found the strength in his lovers' silent encouragement to go on.
"In some ways, my life then was almost
as perilous as my life here today," he continued with a wry half
smile. "It could be a matter of life or death to be noticed
by the some persons, and not to be noticed by others. In some
assignments I must show my intelligence , and in some I must seem like
an ordinary dullard. If my duplicity was ever discovered by
the wrong person, or if someone merely took a dislike to me, I could be
disappeared -sent to work as little more than a prisoner in Sibir, or
just killed, and no one would ever know."
Reflecting on those times now, Radek
marveled at how little he had worried about his fate then, and how
ordinary it had all seemed. Carson and Rodney, though, seemed
troubled to hear this and Radek felt himself held even more tightly
between his lovers.
"When certain postings or positions were
suggested to me by certain people, I knew I must take them," he carried
on, "and this was how I came to leave home and work in Soviet
Union. It was after I had been there for some time that I
began to hear rumors, stories about something Russians called
'speculative technologies facility', near Tunguska, and I
soon knew that this was where I wanted to be, but that certain price
must be paid to get there."
Radek paused, shocked by how hard it was
to finally speak of this. He closed his eyes and thought of
his lovers, of the forgiveness their very presence promised, then drew
a breath and confessed the truth, for the first time in his
life. "I have worked on some very bad things," he said at
As if to reinforce that promise in the
wake of his confession, Rodney took Radek's hand in both of his and
lifted it to his lips. The surprising eloquence of the
gesture had Radek close to tears for a moment, but he swallowed hard
and continued, as steadily as he could manage.
"I... my work contributed significantly
to the effectiveness of the Soviet arsenal of chemical and biological
weapons during the years that I was assigned to that
facility. I had to be good, had to get results, but not too
many... It was what I had to do to attract the attention of
the people who could get me position in Tunguska facility, and not to
attract the attention of people who could get me killed."
People and places that Radek had not
thought of in years filled Radek's memory now, with startling clarity
and Radek saw, as he had not then, the profound wretchedness of the
life he had escaped. "The men and women I worked with there,
the medical personnel -I will not call them doctors... You
could never be like them, Carson," he said, adamantly. "They
were dead inside. They... they had no souls any
more. And I... I had to fit in."
"Ah, love..." said Carson, his voice
full of sorrow, kissing Radek tenderly on the face.
"I can never be proud of what I did
there, but I am proud that I survived, and did finally arrange to be
sent to Tunguska. There were several... reorganizations at
the facility after the end of communist era, but by then I had managed
to make myself indispensable, and so was still there when you came,
Rodney, after your falling out with SGC."
"Okay," said Rodney after a moment of
respectful silence, "do I even need to say what a good thing it is that
you ended up in Siberia, Radek?"
Radek smiled to himself and took up
Rodney's right hand to touch the faceted steel ring on the little
finger there. "I do not know if the things that I have done
would make me ineligible for this," he said a little sadly, "but I will
not lie about it. I have done what I have done, and I am not
proud of all of it, but I cannot think of any better choices I could
"Honestly, I have no idea if they'll ask
you about that," Rodney answered him, "but they shouldn't, and if I
have anything to say about it, they won't. I mean," Rodney
continued, "I freely admit that I've had it better -way better- than
of people, and nobody who doesn't know the kind of life you've
known has any business passing judgment. I can't possibly
judge you for any of the things you did that brought you here to us,
Radek, but I hope you never regret them."
"No, I do not think I will," said Radek
contentedly. "I do not think that there is anything that
could change that now."
In the silence that followed, Radek
could feel Carson shift uneasily against him. He had to know
that they were both waiting to hear what he had to say, and after a
while he cleared his throat, and reached out with one hand to smooth
the wrinkled corner of his Medical License.
"When they told me that there'd be
hardships in coming here," he said at last, "I thought of hunger and
hard work, and of dangerous conditions, but I didn't think about things
like this. I didn't think about the hard choices that come
with living in a place like Atlantis." Carson turned the
paper so that it was right-side-up from his perspective, running his
fingers over the seal at the lower corner.
"It's quite stupid really, because
medicine's full of hard decisions, as it is. I was trained in
how to make hard decisions, and when I look back at the things that
I've done over the last few months, I see that I've done just as I was
trained, and I think I made the right decisions."
Radek, and Rodney beside him, both
nodded adamantly and seriously, and Carson smiled in return.
"But, what nobody tells you," Carson
continued, sorrow coloring his voice, "is that making the right
decision in a situation like this can still haunt you worse than all
the wrong things you've ever done in your life."
"Ano, that is true," said Radek, "but I
think, in the end, that it is a good thing that you should feel haunted
by such a decision."
"And why is that?" Carson asked, puzzled.
"Because if ever you do not feel
troubled by such things, milacku," Radek answered him, "then you will
have lost your way, for certain."
Carson sat back in the sofa, his bemused
gaze still on the license sitting on the table. "So you're
sayin' that the day I *don't* feel like chucking my medical degree into
the sea is the day that I should?" he asked.
"Lets not 'chuck' anything into the
sea at all, shall we?" Rodney interjected. "Can we at
not to irritate the local sea monsters?"
Radek had lost track of the full
magnitude of the weight that lay on his heart until he saw Carson
finally smile then, his dimples emerging for what seemed the first time
in weeks, and he felt the weight lift, and a smile form on his own lips.
"There," he said, smiling more broadly
still for Carson to see, and lifting his hand to touch one of the
beloved dimples with a fingertip. "That is what I have been
waiting to see."
"Ah, luv," Carson sighed, happily
pulling Radek into and all-encompassing hug. "I can endure it
all, every heartache, as long as I've the two of you to come home to,"
he said. Next, Radek felt his face framed between Carson's
powerful but gentle hands and then he was being kissed with the
profoundest affection. Radek drank in the kiss, letting his
own fingers play over Carson's face.
Radek turned back towards Rodney when
the kiss finally ended, and found him wearing one of those wistful half
smiles that came to Rodney on those rare moments when it seemed that
the weight of the world mightn't rest on his shoulders forever.
"Rodney," Radek said, welcoming his
other lover home, as he had not yet, with his voice, his eyes and his
arms. "Thank you, milacku, for bringing him back, and for
bringing yourself back as well."
Rodney melted into his arms, nuzzling at
the side of Radek's face and then finding Radek's mouth with his own to
devour it, hungrily. Rodney managed to say many things at
moments such as this, things that the very same mouth found so very
hard to say with words. Radek heard and understood and let
Rodney know with his own lips and tongue, but without any words of his
Radek felt Carson shift in close behind
him as he and Rodney kissed, and felt his arm reach around in front of
him to caress down his chest teasingly. The kiss tapered to a
close and Radek released a long sigh of comfort and gradually growing
desire. "Now," he said with a happy smile, "now are you ready
at last for 'welcome-home' sex?"
"Aye, luv," said Carson, "and are
you?" Glancing over his shoulder, Radek spotted a certain
glint in Carson's eye that sent a liquefying heat through every part of
his body, except for one particular part, which hardened instantly.
"Ooh!" said Rodney, his own eyes bright
with anticipation as he glanced over Radek's shoulder to meet Carson's
gaze. "Let's you and me gang up on him!"
"What?" Radek gulped, feeling a frission
of arousal and nervousness course through his body. He had
not expected this, but when his glasses were lifted away a moment
later, he surrendered happily. He knew he would find nothing
but joy and pleasure in submitting to his lovers' whims.
Carson's arms now snaked under his shirt
to lift it, but stopped halfway to take up molesting his
nipples. It was Rodney who picked up where Carson had left
off, lifting the shirt over Radek's head and flinging it away, and then
assaulting Radek with another ravenous kiss. The force of
Rodney's kiss pushed him back against Carson, and Radek went with it,
pressing his body against Carson's with delight.
Carson gave way with a sigh of pleasure,
laying back on the sofa and pulling Radek back with him. Now
Radek could feel Carson's hardness pressing against his backside and
Carson gave a soft grunt of arousal, lifting his hips to press himself
more forcefully against Radek. His fingers remained busily
engaged with Radek's nipples, but now one hand moved lower to cover and
clasp the hard flesh under the cloth of Radek's trousers.
Radek gave a wordless cry and thrust helplessly up against Carson's
hand and then back against his groin. Rodney, still kissing
him enthusiastically, chuckled into his mouth and reached one hand down
to toy with the nipple that Carson had left unattended.
Moaning and writhing helplessly, Radek
wanted to touch, but could not quite think how or what. His
hands, however, acting uncannily as if possessed of their own
intelligence, were managing to untuck Rodney's shirt from his pants,
much to Radek's satisfaction. Free at last to wander over the
broad expanse of Rodney's chest, Radek's hands touched to his heart's
delight, and thrilled to feel Rodney shudder at his touch.
"Okay, okay," Rodney murmured
impatiently after a few moments, breaking the kiss at last to remove
his own shirt. "There, that's got that out of the
way." Rodney seemed about to pick up again where he had left
off, when he noticed Carson. The man was moaning and panting
softly in Radek's ear, thrusting up against Radek's ass in a
slow but compelling rhythm as his hand worked its way under the
waistband of Radek's trousers.
"Whoa, Carson," Rodney said, removing
Carson's hands from Radek's pants, much to his dismay.
"Getting a little ahead of the game here!"
"Am I?" Carson said a little
As much as Radek loved being at his two
lovers' mercy, they did often have a difficult time getting organized
to start with. He lifted a hand to hide the smirk forming on
his lips and spoiled it by snickering.
"Quiet you," snapped Rodney, trying to
suppress his own smile. "We'll get to that eventually,
Carson, but we need to torment him a lot more first."
"Aye, I'm in favor of that," Carson
said, "but I'm afraid I've put myself into a fair bit of torment
already." He glanced down at where his trousers looked to be straining
at the seams.
Rodney rolled his eyes. "Well
for starters, I'd say you were wearing too many cloths," he said.
"I think we are all wearing too many
clothes," muttered Radek quietly.
"Alright, alright," Rodney frowned. "He
has a point." Rodney's trousers, Radek was pleased to
observe, did not look any more comfortable than his own. To
his credit, Rodney turned to assist Carson first, who was floundering a
bit under Radek. Radek saw no reason to take the initiative
himself, as it was the other two who were supposed to be calling the
shots, but cooperated when Rodney took his hand to pull him
upright. Rodney then applied himself to removing Carson's
shirt as Carson attended to his right leg, which seemed to have gone to
sleep from Radek laying on it.
Rodney let himself get a little
distracted after Carson's shirt came off, however, leaning in to kiss
him lustfully and then moving his mouth gradually lower, first to suck
at the corner of his jaw, then tongue the hollow of his throat, and
eventually kissing his way down Carson's chest. Radek settled
back against the sofa to watch all this with delight, especially when
Rodney's lips reached Carson's nipples and Carson groaned and arched
his back in response.
"Rodney, luv," Carson rasped, "that's
not improving matters one bit."
"I'll get to it," Rodney
lips still teasing at Carson's nipples as he spoke. Radek ran
his tongue over his own lips, thinking how the hard little nubs of
Carson's flesh felt under Rodney's lips and tongue. Rodney's
hands were as busy as his mouth, Radek now noticed, as they began to
undo Carson's pants, freeing his hard flesh in short order.
"Oh, god," Carson moaned as Rodney
stroked his fingers along Carson's rigid sex, and Radek felt his own
cock surge and press painfully against the constrains of his
trousers. More painful (but wonderful) still was watching
Rodney drop to his knees between Carson's thighs and bend his head to
brush Carson's hard and up-thrust flesh with his lips.
"Bloody hell, Rodney!" Carson cried, his
head dropping back against the couch. Rodney was unfastening
his own pants now, one handed, as the other hand massaged the base of
Carson's cock. Radek decided he'd finally had enough of
passive observation, and began undoing his own trousers, but Rodney was
not so preoccupied that he didn't notice.
"Nah-ah!" he snapped, lifting his mouth
away from Carson's cock just enough to speak. "You sit on
those hands and watch."
Radek called Rodney something nasty in
Czech and complied, even though he wasn't altogether sure that Rodney
had meant his instructions to be followed literally. Rodney
had no sooner given those instructions than he had Carson's thick, hard
cock in his mouth again, closing his lips around it and sucking noisily.
Carson gave a strangled cry as Rodney
went down on him enthusiastically, and Radek watched with fascinated
agony. Taking Rodney's head in both his hands, mussing his
hair as he did, Carson regulated the speed of Rodney's rhythm, while
Rodney sucked and took Carson's cock deep down his throat.
Now Radek's torments consisted not only of his constrained and
neglected cock, and his forcibly immobilized hands, but his eyes could
not chose where to focus their gaze.
Certainly it was pleasant enough to
watch Rodney's mouth moving rhythmically up and down on Carson's cock,
but then there was also Rodney's hand working his own hard flesh, just
above where Rodney's pants lay pooled about his knees. In
addition to these visual delights, though, was Carson's beautiful,
beloved face as he drew near completion. Head thrown back
against the sofa, Carson's eyes were shut tight, his lips softly parted
as he panted and moaned in rhythm with Rodney's motions. Now
Radek could see Carson clench his teeth -a sure sign of imminent
climax- then his eyes flew open, his throat opening too, to cry out,
"oh god…!" and then a wordless shout. Carson
released Rodney's head as he spent himself into his lover's mouth, his
hips thrusting helplessly in the throes of passion, but Rodney rode all
this out with skill, milking Carson dry with evident relish.
Radek did not realize he was whimpering
until Carson turned his head languidly to gaze into Radek's pleading
eyes and said, "oh ye poor, wee lad."
"Rodney," Carson said, his ebbing
ecstasy having rendered him even more generous natured than usual, "we
need to do something for poor Radek now; I do believe we've tormented
Rodney, wiping a bit of drool from the
corner of his mouth as he straightened, gazed over at Radek,
assessing. "Hmm," he said. "You're probably
right. It's definitely time for the rest of his clothes to
come off, at any rate."
This Radek was very glad to hear, but he
had to wait, naturally, for Rodney and Carson to get the rest of the
way out of theirs first. Rodney ended up doing most of the
work as well, as Carson was still mostly caught up in post-orgasmic
lassitude, and was capable of little more than leaning over to kiss
Radek as Rodney worked on getting his pants off. Radek's bone
deep sigh of relief as his trousers were finally opened was converted
quite suddenly into a yelp of arousal as Rodney licked Radek's newly
freed cock from root to head. His actions also had the result
of attracting both Radek and Carson's attention, which was what he'd
apparently had in mind.
"What do you say we move this over to
the bed?" Rodney now suggested. "That's where the lube is,
for one thing."
This made terrific sense to Radek, who
started to stand before he realized that his pants were still around
his ankles. Carson pulled him back to sit while Rodney
removed them, and then the two of them escorted Radek to the
bed. Once there, Rodney went to fetch the lube from the bed
stand drawer while Carson pushed Radek back onto the bed and began a
gentle assault over Radek's whole body with his hands and his
mouth. Carson's lips and teeth were pinching and nibbling at
his nipples and his hand was slowly stroking Radek's aching cock when
he felt Rodney's finger, cold with a coating of lube, approach his
"Ano, prosím!" Radek cried
hoping that these lesser torments would be coming to an end soon, and
he would finally get the fucking he craved.
"Oh yes, Radek I am so going to fuck
that incredible ass of yours," Rodney murmured as he pushed first one,
then two fingers into Radek's tight opening. "And Carson
here," Rodney paused to make sure he had Carson's attention, "is either
going to suck your cock let you fuck him with it, but that's up to him."
Radek gave a helpless sort of sob and
arched into Rodney's fingers while Carson thought about it, but it
didn't take him long.
"Oh I think I'd like to feel that long,
hard cock of yours fucking my arse, I would," Carson said lustfully
into Radek's ear, and Radek could only choke out, "ano,
"Oh yeah," said Rodney with an
anticipatory grin. "Over on your fronts then, both of you."
Carson was by now evidently recovered
enough to discern where Rodney was going with this, and complied
promptly, but Radek was still boggling a bit at the prospect of what
was to come and soon found himself being manhandled on to his stomach
by Rodney, with some help from Carson. Moments later there
were Rodney's slick fingers working their way into his body again and
the contented groan from Carson, lying beside him, told Radek that
Rodney was doing the same to him.
"This is going to be so hot," Rodney
was murmuring to himself as Radek felt three of Rodney's fingers now
moving in and out of him, and thought pleasantly of the fingers of
Rodney's other hand opening Carson up likewise.
"Alright, luv, I'm ready for him," Radek
heard Carson say a moment later, and then Carson was rising to his
knees, and Rodney's fingers were being slipped out of Radek's
ass. Radek bit back his longing sigh, knowing that the sudden
emptiness he now felt would soon be remedied, and he was not
disappointed for now Rodney was helping him up to his knees and Carson
was murmuring, "in ye get, luv."
There was some shifting and jostling in
order to get everything lined up properly, but a moment later Radek had
his hands on Carson's ass and his hard and aching cock was poised at
his entrance. He pressed and was admitted, sinking gratefully
into Carson's hot, tight passage.
"Bože!" cried Radek loudly, "Oh,
Bože!" The sensation of being enveloped in Carson's body
almost undid him right then and there, but he held himself still and
waited for the first rush of pleasure to subside.
"You ready?" came Rodney's voice at his
ear and Radek felt the prod of Rodney's hard cock at his own entrance.
"Ano, yes," Radek gasped, and then he
was filled again, gloriously, and Radek cried out in wordless ecstasy.
"Oh fuck!" shouted Rodney.
"God, Radek, your ass is incredible!"
Radek appreciated the sentiment, and
might have said the same of Carson, but he was lost to words, to any
coherent thought save for his awareness of the moment, and that was
more than enough. His whole body was quivering with arousal
and before he could even begin to thrust into Carson, or impale himself
more deeply on Rodney's cock, Rodney was thrusting hard into him,
pressing him deeper into Carson's body and himself deeper into
Radek. Then Rodney was drawing back, pulling Radek back with
him and Radek could feel the tight muscle of Carson's opening caress
the length of his cock from root to crown at the same time as he felt
Rodney's cock slide out of his own body.
Out and in again, each time Rodney's
cock moved in him it brushed past the place that sent a warm pulse of
ecstasy through him. Each thrust into him sent his own cock
plunging more deeply into the close, slick heat of Carson's ass, and
his own cries were echoed by Carson, coming in the same rhythm only
seconds later. In and out again, penetrating and being
penetrated, the firm caress of Carson's entrance along his cock, the
internal caress of Rodney's cock stroking against his prostate, a shout
of pleasure and desire, a gasped intake of breath, these things were
all that Radek was aware of, all he could contain.
Awareness of his impending climax would
have required an awareness of time, of past or present, and Radek had
none of these things. It seized him when it came, suddenly
and without warning, and then the white heat of ecstatic completion
became his moment and his whole world. His entire body was
subsumed in the energy of his climax, sending it spasming helplessly
between his two lovers, sending pulses of hot release into Carson's
body and grasping Rodney's sex with pulses of that same energy.
The energy seemed to catch fire with
Rodney as Radek heard him gasp and then shout and then he felt the hot
pulses of Rodney's spending within him. Shuddering out the
last of his orgasm, Radek lowered himself slowly to lie on Carson, who
didn't seem to mind. A moment later he felt Rodney part from
him, to collapse at his side, breathing heavily but smiling widely.
"God it's good to be home," he said, and
Radek could not agree more.
It was Carson who woke them later that
night, and neither Radek nor Rodney was surprised.
The trauma he'd not been willing to admit to earlier had naturally
intruded into his dreams and now he trembled and wept quietly in the
arms of his lovers, confessing the awful violation he had suffered, at
last. Rodney and Radek knew just how to comfort him, though,
and after a little while they made love again, and this time it was
Carson in the middle.
All three of them had been granted the
following day off (Dr. Weir had rather insisted on it) and they took
the time to care for one another, indulging each other however they
could, and mostly just enjoying the rare opportunity for all three of
them to share at each others' company. There was strength in
their triad, all of them knew, for when one was away, as too frequently
happened (and as much too frequently was Rodney) there were still two
remaining to care for one another.
The last few weeks had revealed some new
hazards to their arrangement, for none of them had given much
consideration to the possibility of losing two of the three of them, or
how devastating such a loss would be for the one remaining.
In addition, they'd all discovered how little comfort there was to be
had in the arms of a lover who was just as distraught about the fate of
their missing the third.
Still, all three of them remained deeply
grateful for what they had. Each one loved the other two with
equal order and devotion, and so there was no question, really, of
altering the relationship. Though there were days of terror
and sorrow, more often came the days of exhausting but exhilarating
work and concluding such days in the arms of two lovers was the icing
on the cake.
Like life and Atlantis, their
relationship was one of terrifying perils, and unparalleled rewards,
and being who they were, neither Rodney McKay, Carson Beckett nor Radek
Zelenka were likely to make any other kind of choice.