Submitting to Forgiveness

By Taylor Dancinghands

Disclaimer: According Intellectual Proprty Laws, someone owns these ideas, characters, scenarios, etc. and whoever that is it's not me. I'm playing with 'em anyway. So sue me. (Actually, no, please don't.)

Part 1

No one could say that they all weren't justified. It might have been a little over-the-top, but Elizabeth's strident, public dressing down of her chief scientist seemed an entirely appropriate response at the time. If Sheppard's response had seemed somewhat heavy-handed, it had at least seemed to make an impact on the man. Radek had simply refused to speak to him, knowing that Rodney's apologies would be equivocating and filled with extenuating circumstances. He just didn't want to hear any of it, and it really, who could blame him?

No one would say that they weren't entitled to their feelings, or to their reactions, but neither did anyone consider how this all might strike Rodney.

Reading the e-mail which Rodney had sent to Dr. Weir and had CCed to himself and to Sheppard the next morning, Radek Zelenka did wonder if they mightn't have seen this coming. Dr. McKay's letter of resignation was succinct and to the point, given that it was composed of academic boilerplate, full of 'therefores' and 'wherebys' and 'as-of-this-dates'. As a reason for his resignation, however, Rodney had written only one fairly irrefutable sentence: "Anywhere else I would have been fired."

Radek soon discovered that Rodney had done more than write and send an e-mail that night, but had also done everything he could to present Atlantis with a 'fait accompli'. He had appointed Radek as his replacement, he noted with profound displeasure, and even managed to move out of his office and into a new one, more convenient to his new job of maintaining and studying Atlantis' recycling and waste disposal systems.

Rodney's new office was far out on the end of the southeast pier, and at least five minutes' walk from the nearest transporter. This made it extremely easy for Rodney to avoid seeing anyone at all, including his (apparently) former lover. Naturally his replies to Radek's e-mails remained strictly work-related, and he studiously ignored any of Radek's communications which were not.

As the aggrieved party, Radek felt he was entitled to at least begin a dialogue, but Rodney steadfastly refused to acknowledge any personal overtures. Radek would have liked to have spoken with Rodney in person, but the man seemed to have become a veritable hermit since the Doranda incident. No one save for a few late-night (or very early morning) kitchen staff had seen him in the flesh since that day and the only proof that most of them had that Rodney McKay was still among the living were the exacting and comprehensive reports that he submitted on a daily basis (and which Radek, as head of the science division, was required to read).

Between the press of his new workload and it's very remote location, it took Radek a week to actually find Rodney's new office, and of course the man himself was nowhere to be found when he finally arrived. Rodney's new job gave him every reason to be out of his office most days and although he wore his radio and left it on as required, he refused to discuss anything outside of business on it and remained frustratingly elusive in person. Radek secretly suspected that Rodney kept a handheld life signs detector on him at all times so that he could spot anyone coming and make himself scarce.

At first Radek had been annoyed, and then he had begun to regret his behavior, seeing as how Rodney had apparently taken his own refusal to speak with him after the Project Arcturus debacle as a certain sign that their relationship was over. That wasn't what Radek had meant, or what he had wanted, and he wished there was a way he could let Rodney know, but the man had cut himself off as completely as possible from every single living person on Atlantis, including himself.

Radek had come to hope that Rodney would eventually tire of this game, but as one week and then another passed, Radek came to see how this was no game at all to Rodney McKay. It was instead, Radek eventually realized, just what Rodney had come to expect based on his past experiences. For his last screw up it had been exile all the way to Siberia, and while Rodney would consider being sent back to Earth more like the equivalent of a death sentence, an exile of the sort he had devised for himself in the Waste Reclamation was exactly what Rodney would expect.

Rodney had spent years in Siberia; would he expect his 'sentence' on Atlantis to last as long? Longer? The more he thought about it, the more the sheer presumption of it infuriated Radek. Rodney had known perfectly well how much Radek did not want the job of running Atlantis' science division. How dare he foist the job off on Radek merely to assuage his own guilt? And what in god's name had made Rodney assume that none of their relationship, including the very best working relationship that either of the scientists had ever known, could be salvaged? Perhaps Rodney thought that he no longer deserved to have friends or a lover, but did he deserve to be bereft of these things as well? It was very doubtful that Rodney, in the throes of guilt and self-pity, considered Radek's plight at all.

Having finally figured this out, Radek knew that it would be up to him to go and find the elusive Dr. McKay and knock some sense into him. Naturally neither Sheppard nor Dr. Weir realized how permanent Rodney expected the current situation to be and dismissed Radek's worries. They both figured he'd get over his 'sulk' soon enough, and were content to let him serve out a self imposed sentence until that time. Being left to the job of rehabilitating Rodney on his own did nothing to improve Radek's overall mood.

The icing on the cake was discovering how little fuss was required to circumvent Rodney's evasion techniques. Rodney would have known just how easy it would be to take the internal sensors that the life signs detector relied on off-line on the southeast pier, meaning that Rodney had assumed that Radek wasn't even going to try. That Rodney had imagined that he would care so little both wounded Radek and infuriated him and so, having made the necessary adjustments to the south east pier's sensor grid, Radek set off to tell him.

He began his journey that evening, at the end of another long, exhausting day managing fellow scientists, at a slow burn and had worked himself into the real head full of righteous indignation by the time he'd reached Rodney's new out-of-the-way office. His relationship with Rodney had always been a tumultuous one, from the very beginning. That had not changed, even when their relationship developed a physically intimate component in the wake of the nanovirus incident. It had also always been based, Radek had thought, on mutual respect, but the fallout from project Arcturus had shaken Radek's assumptions about this.

Certainly he was angry about the way that Rodney had treated him as the project had started to fall apart, but Radek wasn't really worried that he'd lost Rodney's respect. He knew Rodney better than that. What angered him more, and worried him to boot, was how Rodney's behavior of late suggested that he'd lost his respect for himself. If this was true, then (as both of them knew) Radek Zelenka was probably the only person in two galaxies who could call him on it, and that was almost certainly why Rodney had been avoiding him. This was the infuriating fact uppermost in Radek's mind as he marched into Rodney's new office without knocking or announcing himself in any way.

"What the...?" Rodney startled, standing suddenly behind his desk as Radek barged in, but the darkly furious look on his face silenced Rodney before he could say anything further.

Radek paused for a moment, taking in the 'deer-in-the-headlights' look on the face he had not laid eyes on in two weeks, and letting his anger silently permeate the tiny room as he slowly shook his head.

"I have seen many disgraceful behaviors from you since I have known you, Rodney McKay," he said at last, "but I have never before taken you for a coward."

"Well then," Rodney snapped, retreating behind old, familiar defenses, "now you know better."

Radek refused to rise to this, answering him instead with another angry silence before he spoke again.

"Was it so easy for you to walk away?" he asked quietly, though the outrage in his voice could still be plainly heard. "To give up on everything we had?"

Mind you, the two of them had never determined just what it was that they did have, as neither of them had been terribly inclined to discuss or analyze such things. Radek personally liked the expression 'friends with privileges' rather than the term 'fuck buddies' which he suspected Rodney thought of them as, but whatever it was they had, he missed it already and could not imagine that Rodney didn't either.

"Well... no," Rodney answered, flustered at first, by the question. "No, of course not, but I think it's become painfully obvious..."

Radek silenced him with an abrupt slicing motion of his hand. "And yet you would appear to have assumed that it means nothing to me. That our friendship... and everything else matters so little that I would let you walk away without a word? Do you believe that I never cared?" Radek paused to catch his breath and let the question sink in.

"I don't... I don't know... " Rodney stammered, clearly taken aback by Radek's forcefulness. Within him, Radek felt his outrage boil over.

"No. You did not know. You did not think!" he strode forward until he was almost leaning across the desk that stood between him and Rodney. "You were so busy feeling sorry for yourself that you actually expected to me to be pleased at your humiliation, is not so?"

Rodney's clumsy attempt at denial was pathetic and Radek did not dignify it with the least amount of attention.

"Do you believe you have insulted me?" Radek asked, leaning further into Rodney's personal space. "When have you not? And when have I ever cared? Insult me, and I do not care. Forget my name, and I do not care. Accuse me of unprofessional motives, and still I do not care! And you... you know this perfectly well!" Radek drew a breath, meeting Rodney's eyes with the full force of his indignation and Rodney stepped back to bump into the shelves set close behind his desk.

"But this," Radek's mobile hands swept out to indicate the tiny office, indicting all of Rodney's recent actions, "this cuts like a knife. This wounds me, Rodney."

At last, Rodney was properly speechless. The 'deer-in-the-headlights' look was back too, but Radek knew he now had one hundred percent of Rodney's attention -a rare thing. "If you believe that I will remain here just to witness you humiliating yourself," he continued at last, "then you are very much mistaken. I will not. I do not in the least wish to continue on as head of science division, and if someone is not found to replace me very soon then I will be returning to Earth with the Daedalus when she goes next. This I promise you." This was no idle threat, and the look in Rodney's eyes told Radek that he understood.

Rodney did, indeed, seem a little thunderstruck. His mouth moved for a moment before any sound came forth and it was several moments before an actual complete sentence made its way out.

"But... you... leaving?" he squeaked, "You... you can't..."

"No?" Radek raised his eyebrows, leaning even further over the desk, supporting his weight on his fists, tightly clenched on the desktop.

"But..." Rodney blundered helplessly into the shelves behind him, nearly upsetting a coffee maker, "but you... working here... there's nothing you've ever wanted more..."

"No," said Radek softly, relenting at last and moving back towards the door, turning as if to go. "No, there is only one thing..."

Radek felt a tragic sort of resignation fall over him as he moved to leave, but he paused when he heard a small noise behind him, and then Rodney's voice, broken as he had never heard it before.

"No wait,..." He did not sound as if he expected Radek to do so. "Please... oh god, please don't go."

Radek turned back to see that Rodney had stepped forward and was reaching helplessly across his desk, as though he meant to catch at Radek before he went. The look in Rodney's eyes suggested that he'd known that he didn't have a chance but that he couldn't stop himself from trying.

"Please," he said again, still without a trace of hope in his voice, "I... I'll do anything you say."


Part 2

There was no doubt in Rodney's mind about when things had started to spin out of control. That was when Collins had died -when he had sent Collins to his death, to be precise. It had all gone to shit after that and even now, two weeks later, the collateral damage continued to rain down on him.

He'd actually thought he was getting a handle on things for a while by drastically reducing his workload and removing his presence from those he'd most offended. He'd only been fooling himself, though, that was crystal clear now. He'd fixed nothing, and worse, he'd wounded Radek in some way he'd never intended. Of course he ought to have known, but the ordinarily splendid thinking machine that was his brain appeared to have a run off of the rails after Collins had died and now he had no idea what to do.

Yet how much more lost would he be if he let Radek leave? It didn't bear contemplating, but Rodney had no idea of how to stop him, save to comply with his demands. Rodney had no idea why Radek seemed to care, as it seemed quite evident that all Rodney had done since Doranda was to piss him off. Radek ought to want nothing to do with him, but instead he'd gone considerably out of his way to seek Rodney out. Nothing terrified Rodney more than not understanding, and it shamed him to hear how much of that fear was revealed in his voice, and how pathetic and desperate he sounded as he capitulated.

"Please," he'd begged, lost and despairing of ever understanding anything again, "I... I'll do anything you say."

Now Radek's gaze was hard, the artificial light in the office glinting coldly off his glasses as he paused before answering. "You will resume position of head of science division immediately," Radek began his demands. Rodney swallowed convulsively and nodded, terrified to refuse him, but all the more lost and confused.

"Alright," he gulped, straightening slowly behind his desk.

"You will submit to my forgiveness," was Radek's next demand.

"Why?" he asked at last, utterly confounded, "Radek, how can you...?"

Radek silenced him again with an abrupt and angry gesture. "This you have no right to ask. You will say only if you submit or not."

He had no choice then. Radek Zelenka was the only thing in the universe that meant anything to Rodney anymore. Refusing him was out of the question.

"Yes," he said, bereft.

"Then you will come with me now," said Radek, beckoning as he stood by the open door. In a daze, Rodney stepped around from behind the desk to comply, bound to follow Radek were ever he lead. He was only a little surprised to find that he'd been taken to his quarters, and only a little more surprised to see Radek come in and take a seat by his desk.

"Tomorrow morning and you will move your things back into your office," Radek directed. "For now you will shower and get rid of sewage stink, then you eat and come to bed."

Unable to find any reason not to do this, Rodney complied, still lost but now at least directed. He moved through his shower on autopilot and emerged from the bathroom a little while later, wearing a clean T-shirt and sweat pants, to find a heated MRE waiting on the table for him. He ate it with the same lack of attention with which he'd showered, glancing across at Radek from time to time as he sat at Rodney's desk, tranquilly absorbed in some schematics displayed on a data pad he held in his hand.

He'd missed having company, even silent company, and it dawned on Rodney then that he hadn't yet apologized properly to Radek. No, Radek hadn't made it easy at first, but Rodney knew that this was no excuse. Pushing his empty MRE tray away, he gathered himself to address the man working quietly across from him.

"I... I am sorry, you know," he began hesitantly, breaking into the quiet tranquility in the room, "for everything. I mean, for the not listening and the insults... and for the really unprofessional behavior." Radek looked up from his work to meet Rodney's gaze but did not comment.

"Also..." Rodney continued with honest contrition, "for the last couple of weeks, too. It was a lame stunt... and I don't really have any excuse. I just..." Rodney swallowed, the lost feeling welling up in him again. "I just can't help thinking that things might have been much simpler if I'd gone to do those adjustments myself instead of sending Collins," he said helplessly. "Maybe if we ever find that time machine I could go back and fix that."

Rodney glanced back at Radek to see him looking up from his schematics at last, his expression downright alarmed. Eyes wide, Radek answered with a fury in his voice of the sort that comes close after the bad fright.

"Absolutely not!" he said angrily. "You do not even joke about this. What happened to Collins was accident. It was mistake I might have made myself." Radek's tone gentled as he continued. "We did not understand then. No one understood what we were dealing with then, Rodney. No one."

Rodney shook his head slowly as he stood and disposed of his dinner remains, still feeling just as lost, if not more so. Radek stood as well, shutting down the data pad and setting it on the desk before moving across the room to Rodney's bed. Confused, Rodney watched Radek undo his trousers, shuck them off and lay them over the foot of the bed, as he had used to do when he spent the night with Rodney.

"What..." Rodney stammered, "what are you doing?"

"I am tired of sleeping alone, Rodney," answered Radek, a sort of beleaguered misery coloring his voice. "Will you not come to bed now?"

Moving like a sleepwalker, Rodney felt himself drawn helplessly to the bed where he sat, staring across his room. He had come to the bed as Radek had requested, but found he could go no further. Radek had forbidden him from asking 'why', but there would be no rest for him until he understood. He remained sitting on the edge of the bed as Radek turned back the covers and climbed in. It was at this point that Rodney's immobility caught his attention.

"What?" Radek asked.

"Radek, please... I don't understand..."

"What?" the question this time was relenting. He knew what Rodney was asking.

"You know I meant it when I said I was sorry," he began.

"Yes, Rodney," Radek confirmed with a sigh, "I am quite convinced that your contrition is sincere."

"I really am," Rodney continued. "I wish it had never happened; I wish I had listened to you; I wish... a lot of things, but that's not the point."

"Yes, what is point, Rodney?" Radek groused, tired and impatient.

"The point is that I was completely out of control back there." Rodney answered him. "I couldn't stop myself, even when I knew I was losing it, and Radek, this isn't the first time that's happened. The point is that I have no more idea of how to stop myself now than I did then, and that it is going to happen again." Rodney felt Radek shift on the bed behind him, but he hadn't the courage to turn and face him. He hunkered instead, arms wrapped around his waist and shoulders slumped.

"It's worse every time too, you know," he continued. "This is the first time I've actually killed someone and the next time ... god knows what I'm capable of. I destroyed five sixths of a solar system, for fuck's sake." Rodney sighed miserably. "The point is that I'm not safe, Radek, and that there's no point in forgiving me."

Rodney did not know what he expected in the silence that followed, but it was not the warm, firm hand on his shoulder that turned him to face Radek where he sat cross legged on the bed next to Rodney. His gaze was complex and intense, both measuring and affectionate. After a moment he slipped his glasses off to rub at his eyes and then looked back up at Rodney without replacing them, the vulnerability of his naked face seizing at Rodney's heart.

"God knows I am not brave man," Radek began with a sigh, "but I am very curious man, and also maybe," he lifted his hand to hold his thumb and finger an inch or so apart, "little bit ambitious. The work I did in Area 51 was most thrilling work I had ever done in my life, but I knew that all the things I was given to study were only pieces of much greater things. It was the large, complex systems that I desired to study, and when I was offered position on Atlantis mission, I knew that this was my best chance to be able to find and study such things. It was a very great risk to take but I will never regret it. Coming here I have found everything I might have wished, and very much more besides." Radek's hand was back on his shoulder, it's grasp firm and the skin heated so that Rodney could feel it through his shirt.

"I am not brave man," Radek reiterated, his gaze very direct indeed, "but I am not stupid man either. I know you cannot promise never again to make spectacular mistake. I know that you almost certainly will, but Rodney, if safety was of such great importance to me, I would most certainly never have come here."

Rodney blinked, and Radek drew back to give him a moment to absorb this. "Huh," Rodney said after a bit, tipping his head to the side slightly as he turned things over in his thoughts.

"You are calculated risk, Rodney, that is true," Radek explained, smiling gently, "but your risk to benefits ratio is really very good. Better, I think, than you may realize."

"Oh," said Rodney. "Really?"

"Yes Rodney," Radek said with a sigh that was half tired and aggravated, and half fondly affectionate, "really. And now, if you do not mind, I would very much like to get some sleep, as I have not really gotten very much over the last few weeks."

"Oh," said Rodney again, thinking regretfully that there might have been something he could have done about that. He was here now, however, and would do what he ought, though he still wasn't sure his understanding was complete. He skinned down to his T-shirt and boxers and slipped under the covers to lie close to Radek, feeling the smaller man scoot close to lie with his back pressed against Rodney's chest. Rodney wrapped his arms around him and drew him closer, feeling the body within his embrace relax measurably. How long had Radek carried this tension, Rodney wondered, even as he was pretty sure he knew the answer.

Rodney felt Radek's body relax further in his arms, heard his breathing even out as sleep claimed him, but Rodney was not to be so fortunate. There was no denying how good it felt to hold Radek close again, and it seemed to be something Radek wanted, though he still didn't exactly understand why that was. What kept Rodney awake, however, was the certainty that he didn't deserve these comforts. How could he? Surely receiving such comforts ought logically to be reserved for those capable of giving them.

Rodney knew his social deficits well, knew that they made him suffer fools very poorly, made him 'bad with people', as Sam Carter head so succinctly put it, and made him utterly inept at offering the sort of emotional support that people seemed to expect of him from time to time. This failing was only occasionally an issue in the workplace, but proved to be absolutely deadly into Rodney's few attempts at intimate relationships.

He had pretty much given up on the whole notion before he'd come to Atlantis, but the remarkable working relationship that had developed between him and Radek was utterly unexpected. Even more unexpected was tumbling into bed with the man after that horrifying nanovirus incident, to find that Radek seemed altogether pleased for them to continue doing so on a semi-regular basis. Being nearly as smart as Rodney, and a little socially awkward himself, Rodney had begun to harbor a few cautious hopes for a lasting relationship of some sort with Radek Zelenka. His abject failure on every level in the Project Arcturus debacle, however, had proved to Rodney, and ought to have proved to Radek, that he was neither suited for nor deserving of any kind of real relationship. He'd always suspected this, but now he was quite sure.

Radek however, had somehow drawn an entirely different, and surely erroneous, conclusion. This left Rodney torn between straightening Radek out now, which seemed unspeakably cruel, or waiting for Radek to discover the unpleasant truth for himself at some inevitable point in the future, which was bound to be awful. It was as he was agonizing sleeplessly over these two unpleasant options that Rodney first noticed Radek moving restlessly in his arms.

Initially he assumed that Radek merely wished to be free of the confines of Rodney's over warm embrace, but then he heard Radek muttering in his sleep as well, his words muffled and indistinct but the tone anxious and distressed. Rodney lay still at first, not certain what to do.

"Radek?" he called quietly. Ordinarily a light sleeper, the man did not respond, but continued to twitch and murmur unhappily, and then Rodney was shocked to hear his own name amidst Radek's troubled cries. It made his heart lurch to hear it and he tried again to rouse his friend.

"Radek, wake up!" Rodney attempted once more, but the dream seemed to be holding him captive and he still did not wake, though his cries became louder. Radek's words were now distinct enough that Rodney could tell that he was speaking Czech, and that something awful was happening in the dream. Desperately, Rodney took hold of Radek's shoulders and shook him, crying, "Wake up, dammit!"


Part 3

"Ne, Rodney!" Shouting in a heart broken voice, Radek started awake suddenly, shuddering in Rodney's arms and then bursting into tears. Rodney would later marvel that he had not hesitated or wondered what to do, but moved as if by instinct (an instinct he had never been aware of before), to turn Radek to face him, gather him close and hold him tight as he trembled and wept. Wondering what it was that had troubled Radek's sleep, Rodney came to realize suddenly that he knew already, and felt a wave of shame.

"You do not even joke about this."

God, what a callous thing that had been to say, but Radek had been right. It was himself he'd been feeling sorry for all this time and he'd never once considered the horrors that he'd visited on his friends (because he actually did have friends here, in spite of everything).

"...might have been much simpler if I'd gone to do those adjustments myself..."

What perverse impulse had lead Rodney to wishfully name the very heart of a nightmare that even now had Radek weeping brokenly on his shoulder? How had he never guessed what that might mean to Radek? Rocking his friend and lover in his arms, Rodney saw the light, and the light was ready to beat him over the head with a two by four. Well, it was nothing less than he deserved.

"God I'm an idiot," he muttered, hearing Radek choke slightly in response. "I had no idea."

It was the curiosity, Rodney supposed, of which Radek had spoken earlier, which drew him out of his distress to regard Rodney now, clear eyed though his face was still wet with tears.

"Not that I wish to dispute your assessment in the least," he asked, "but I am most curious to know what rudimentary truth you have only now stumbled upon?"

Rodney reached across to dry Radek's face with blunt but gentle fingers. "That you need me," he said with bewilderment, shaking his head. "I didn't understand."

" Rodney..." Radek sighed, exasperation and affection blended in equal parts. "Yes, you are an idiot. I can confirm that for you. Still, is also true that yes, I do need you. Did you truly not know this?"

Rodney shrugged. "Oh, I know that everybody needs me for the, you know, ah, saving the city, hauling our collective asses out of the fire kind of thing..." he began.

"But that's not what we are talking about," said Radek.

"No," Rodney spread his hands, "it's the other kinds of stuff, but kinds of stuff that tends to... ah... slip under my radar... so to speak. I don't always catch that kind of stuff Radek, you know that."

"Do you not see how much you mean to me?" Radek asked, "how you have become a part of all the best things in my life now?"

"I thought..." Rodney replied without answering, "it seemed like I was the one who always needed... I didn't think anyone would ever need me. I always felt kind of... pathetic."

"Not pathetic, Rodney," Radek laid a slender fingered hand on his cheek, "just human. You can be smartest man in two galaxies and be human too, you know." And then, as though it were part of his explanation, Radek kissed him.

Now that he'd been made aware of it, Rodney could feel the current of need that ran both directions in the depth of their kiss. It added a dimension to the sensations of Radek's tongue and lips and mouth moving in and with and against his own that had him moaning into the kiss, helplessly.

"Now," Radek said with a happy sigh, lips still moving over his skin as he spoke, "finally it is time for make up sex."

"It is?" Rodney squeaked, confused but pleased.

"Surely you are not objecting." Radek must not have thought so because he had Rodney's T-shirt off already and was busy tasting Rodney's skin, from his neck to his navel.

"No... no, no, most definitely not," Rodney shuddered under Radek's gentle assault, "just... " a gasp, "surprised? It's a little late, or rather early."

"Again," Radek drew back to take Rodney's shoulders and push him down into the mattress, "objecting?" Rodney shook his head. "Then hush!"

Then Radek was kissing him, hard, enforcing his instructions. All at once Rodney could think of nothing but how long it had been since he'd been touched, since he'd been overwhelmed by one of Radek's passionate kisses, and all at once his whole body was aching with need.

Things seemed much the same for Radek, who continued to clutch at him desperately as his kissed and licked and bit his way over Rodney's body. Rodney's own hands combed through the silken mess of Radek's tousled hair, then roamed over his shoulders and down his back, caressing as they went. Feeling the compact fullness of Radek's ass under his hands filled a need in him that Rodney could neither explain nor deny. He pulled Radek down, as close as he could, slipping his hands under the waistband of his boxes and grasping at the firmly muscled cheeks.

Radek swore in Czech (at least that's what Rodney assumed it was) and thrust his hips hard into Rodney's groin, pressing their two rigid cocks together. They both cried aloud, both all but consumed by their mutual need.

The removal of their remaining underwear soon became a mutual pursuit, accomplished before Rodney was even aware of his own intent. Then they were both entirely naked, flesh pressing against and caressing flesh along the length of their bodies. The heat of Radek's iron hard erection burned against Rodney's belly and he thrilled to feel Radek thrust it against him. Still, he wanted more. He wanted to hold it, to touch and taste Radek's sensitive and rigid flesh. He wanted, needed, so much that he found his mouth actually watering for the taste of him.

Radek was himself enthusiastically tasting Rodney's throat with lips and tongue, and occasionally teeth. He could feel the intensity of Radek's need with every lick and nip, but his own rose up in him, demanding and insistent. He wanted Radek's cock. He would have it. He relinquished, reluctantly, his hands full of Radek's perfect ass and grasped his hips to push him off to the side. Radek struggled briefly against him, making an inarticulate disappointed sound, and Rodney sought to appease him, lifting his hands to take hold of Radek's face and kiss him hard, leading Radek taste the depth of his own need. It was a novel things to be able to confess his neediness without feeling self-conscious or pathetic, and feeling Radek's own need answering his was intoxicating.

Lying on his side facing Radek now, Rodney lifted his own lips away from Radek's to taste his throat, the smooth skin over his collarbone, and his nipples, first one then the other. Radek sobbed and writhed at this touch and Rodney was highly tempted to linger, but he had a goal in mind that he had not forgotten. His kisses continued on towards that goal, over Radek's deliciously furry torso, over his soft belly and finally to the object of his affections, rising up dark and graceful from the dense thicket of hair at Radek's groin.

Oh how he cherished the hard flesh that he caressed now with lips and gentle fingers. How he thrilled to the pulsing heat under his tongue, the tang of the blood just under the skin, the salt and musk of Radek's sex. He licked, stroked and then drew the length of Radek's hard flesh into his mouth. Radek cried out, grabbing at Rodney's shoulder with one hand and clutching at the short hair on the back of Rodney's head with the other. Rodney closed his eyes and lost himself in these myriads sensations, in the tastes and smells and texture of Radek's cock under his tongue, the bruising grip of Radek's strong fingers on his shoulder, even the hairs caught up and being tugged in Radek's fist. This, oh god, this was what he needed.

Rodney did not take note when Radek's hand shifted from his shoulder to join the other, clutching at his head, but when both these hands held him back, restraining him from his pursuit, he was drawn out of his reverie. Not quite up to forming words, Rodney made a disappointed, questioning noise, looking up at Radek for an explanation.

Barely able to manage words himself (and having to parse them in a second language to boot, Rodney thought with admiration) Radek stumbled through an assortment of phrases until he was able to make himself understood.

"Wait..." he gasped, "I need... I want you, Rodney... "

Rodney thought he had a good idea what Radek was shooting for. It wasn't a hard and fast rule, but Radek generally liked fucking Rodney and happily, Rodney rather like being fucked. With a contented sigh, Rodney started to roll over onto his front, anticipating the pleasant sensations of Radek's hard cock in his ass.

"No... " Radek's hand on his shoulder stopped him. "Want you... need to feel... you... you within me... " Radek finally got out. Rodney drew a surprised breath, eyes wide with arousal and anticipation as Radek rolled onto his back and drew his knees up, opening himself to Rodney. Rodney felt his heart skip the beast, seen such raw, naked need emanating from the man laying prone on the bed before him.

"Oh god," Rodney gasped, feeling his cock twitch in anticipation. Then Radek was handing him the lube and he was kneeling between Radek thighs, opening him gently with lube slicked fingers. It took Radek longer to relax and open himself than Rodney did, but Rodney applied himself to this task with care and delight. As eager as Rodney was to feel his own hard flesh entering Radek's body though, there was much pleasure to be derived from watching Radek arch into him, whimpering with desire as Rodney's fingers worked his opening. It was all so engrossing that Rodney lost sight of his goal for a moment, but Radek's need knew no distraction.

"Please, Rodney... " Radek whined as the three fingers pushed their way deep into him. "Now... please. I want you now."

"Yes... oh god, yes," Rodney hissed as he applied the lube to his own cock -one-handed so that he could continue to torment Radek with the other until the last moment. It was not long though, before Radek was moaning with need as Rodney's fingers slipped free, and then gasping with anticipation as Rodney's hard flesh pressed past the tight ring of muscle at his entrance.

"Oh, god, oh god, ohgod, ohgod, ohgod... " The sensation of Radek's hot tight flesh enclosing his own was robbing the strength from his limbs, and all the rational thought from Rodney's brain. Slowly, he pushed himself deeper and deeper, till every centimeter of his hardness was enclosed in Radek's welcoming flesh. He rested there for a bit, waiting for some strength to return to him, and for Radek to signal his readiness by moving beneath him.

He did not have to wait long, for Radek was eager and impatient. He thrust his hips up against Rodney, impaling himself even more deeply onto Rodney's cock and Rodney cried aloud at the sensation. Feeling his strength renewed, Rodney struggled momentarily with the urge to thrust forcefully and repeatedly into Radek's body, but restrained himself, drawing himself out almost all the way, as slowly as he could manage. Bringing every bit of his shaky self-control to bear, Rodney pushed himself back in, just as slowly, reveling in the sensation of Radek's tight opening caressing the full length of his cock from head to root. Drawing a long breath, Rodney sought and found a slow, easy rhythm to move to, pulling smoothly away and then sinking the back into Radek's inviting flesh, again and again.

It took little or no time for Radek to find and match that rhythm, gasping and crying out with every thrust. Furthermore, Rodney noted, Radek was pushing the tempo, slowly speeding up and compelling Rodney to follow along -not that Rodney found this a hardship, really. It did seem likely to hastened their conclusion, but Rodney was pretty much past caring now, moving eagerly into the slowly accelerating tempo of their lovemaking.

Rodney did not know how he knew that it was time to take Radek's cock into his hand and stroke it in rhythm with their thrusts, but know he did, and he followed that impulse without hesitation. Radek's thrusts became even more forceful in response, his cries more desperate, and all these things were pushing Rodney closer and closer to the edge. As he drew ever nearer to that timeless moment of clarity that attends an approaching climax, Rodney became increasingly aware of their combined and answering needs, driving them both towards that conclusion, burning brightly in his mind.

Curiously, it was Radek's need, rather than his own, that took up increasing prominence in Rodney's awareness as he continued thrusting into his lover's body, and stroking and pumping his lover's beautiful cock. The needed was there in Radek's wide open eyes, his softly parted lips, his desperate, wordless pleading cries, and it seized at Rodney heart. Even as Rodney felt the ecstasy of his building climax suffusing through his body from its source at his sex, still plumbing Radek's depths, it was the need, tearing at his heart, that superseded all of that.

It was not his own cock in Radek's sweet flesh that fired his heart, but Radek's ecstatic cries as he his cock was stroked, and Radek's hands clutching at him as Rodney called out his name again and again, voice full of passion and desire. Radek's name was on his lips still as Rodney felt the cock in his hand throb and pulse in release, come spurting through his fingers as he stroked it through to the end. It was Rodney's name that Radek cried out as his climax coursed through him, and that was what sent Rodney over at last, even as he felt Radek's flesh contracting and seizing around his own sex.

He thrust powerfully one last time, filling Radek's body with his seed, and gave himself over to his ecstasy, collapsing onto Radek with a sob. The orgasm that tore through him was powerful, but more than that, it broke something open deep within him.

It was full of feelings, a welter of them, all emotional fallout from the Project Arcturus disaster and all the weeks since. There was dizzying pride and awful shame, memories of anticipation and dread, ecstatic joy and heart stopping terror, and best and worst of all... oh god, it was love. Such love for the man he now lay with, cock still enclosed in his body, a man who he'd insulted, frightened and hurt deeply, and yet who had sought him out to forgive him. How it had happened he didn't know, but all Rodney could do now was wrap his arms around the man he loved and hold him tight. He did not either know where the sobs that suddenly broke free of him had come from, but there was no stopping them now.

"Rodney?" Radek called softly, and when Rodney did not answer Radek rolled him to the side to take him in his arms and rock him gently, murmuring quiet comforts.

"I'm so sorry... " Rodney found himself saying when he'd finally found his voice. "I'm so sorry I hurt you. I never meant to hurt you."

"Hush now Rodney," Radek said kindly, "I do know this."

"And when I lose it again?" Rodney asked, sniffling. "What happens then? When I hurt you again, when I do to you what... " Rodney's voice broke again, "what I did to Collins...?" Another spate of sobs shook him then and he pulled Radek even closer to bury his face against his shoulder.

"Ne, ne milaku," Radek soothed. "I think I will recognize the 'Rodney McKay meltdown' when I see it now, and I will know to take care, from now on. I will not be taken by surprise next time."

"Better not," Rodney said after a quiet spell.

"I will promise this," Radek said, drawing back to meet Rodney's eyes with his own, "if you will make promise to me."

"I don't know what I can promise," said Rodney doubtfully.

"This you can promise," Radek answered, "for next time you 'lose it', since you are so sure that this must occur. When all the dust has cleared, at end of the day, promise me you will not lose faith in yourself," Radek said, his gaze most serious and direct, "or us. Promise me this."

"All... alright," Rodney said uncertainly, "I promise." There was a pause, and then, "Wait... Us?"

"Yes Rodney, you great idiot," Radek said warmly, "for I do love you as well."

"Oh," said Rodney, blinking with astonishment as he looked into the pale honest eyes of the man he loved lying close beside him. "Oh," he said again, more softly, as he felt Radek nestle close and drift off to sleep again. Accepting forgiveness was hard, he reflected, very hard, but at last Rodney was beginning to see how it might also be very worthwhile indeed.


(c) 2006 Taylor Dancinghands

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