Disclaimers: I do not own these characters; this is written for fun or something, I make no money etc.
A/N: This had to be done. No beta, just wanted it out to make me feel better. Hope it does for you too.
Summary: Spoiler for TRINITY. Tag, I suppose. Rodney has to apologise to Radek.
Rodney felt like he was eight years old, on his way to the principal's office. No, worse than that. He was going to have to admit he was wrong, and he knew he could well have lost a friend forever. It's not as if he had so many friends that he could afford to lose any. He might as well be on the way to the gallows.
So he hadn't been able to control the weapon. And Radek was right about the inherent unpredictability. Radek had tried to warn him, but he'd ignored him and very nearly got himself and Sheppard killed. How do you apologise? How do you ever recover?
A curt reply from Mitchell in the lab had revealed his worst fear – Dr Zelenka had gone to his quarters. Rodney had hoped to meet him in the lab, make a quick but sincere speech, and then scuttle off to let the dust settle for, oh, say a year or two.
His footfalls had never seemed so loud. Was he trying to pretend he wasn't really almost outside Radek's door, perhaps have become invisible? That would be good around now. Never did get round to making doorbells, he mused. If only he could have stuck to such mundane tasks, maybe he wouldn't be in this position.
Taking a deep breath, he tried a few small knocks. His heart was thumping as he strained to hear any sign of life within. Then it came, the whoosh of the door opening in his face, no prior warning. He was so startled he almost tripped backwards.
"Rodney." Radek's face was pale, tired, impassive.
"Radek." Rodney found his mouth dry.
"Come in." The Czech stepped back, and led the way inside.
Rodney followed cautiously, and watched as Radek turned, remaining standing. Perhaps they were not ready to sit together just yet.
"I…you know I am sorry." Rodney began. "I can't believe what I said to you, you know, about professional… well, anyway, I came to say I…I'm just really sorry." It stumbled out of his mouth. It was his fear of the damage to friendship that caused his lips to tremble. Whether his infallibility had sunk in yet was still uncertain. Rodney himself had no idea why he was feeling this way. He had never, ever had to deal with this type of situation, and he was lost.
Radek pursed his lips together and crossed his arms in front of him, sighing. The silence was painful to Rodney.
"Radek, I'm sorry I never listened to you. You…knew more about that weapon than I did. Or, you did once you'd seen all the data. I'm going to listen to you from now on, I swear." He'd really run out of things to say now. He knew he was sorry, and why, but it was difficult to do this.
Radek responded quickly and strongly. "Rodney. Do you know something? What happened today, well, I know the consequence was incredibly serious, but you were still the same Rodney you have always been. You never totally listen to me, and you will probably ignore my advice again. You always believe you are right, and not even Dr Weir will ever be able to persuade you otherwise."
Rodney's mouth had dropped open a little more. But the Czech had not finished.
"Perhaps, with time, some of your failings can be…diminished. But just because you almost killed yourself today has not really changed my opinion of you."
Rodney wasn't sure where this was going, but he didn't like it one bit. He shuffled uncomfortably.
"I have always found you arrogant, stubborn and lacking in common sense." Radek raised a hand to wave away whatever retort Rodney might make, knowing that the Canadian was not even able to form a sentence at this moment. "However, it never stopped me from becoming your friend. And it was obviously no barrier to you becoming mine."
Rodney felt a little tugging at the corners of his mouth, something he had not sensed in days.
"Rodney. It was you who helped me when I was ill last week. You who accompanied me to see Carson. You who brought me drinks and sustenance. You who…cleaned up after me. I cannot simply ignore these facts. I would like to hate you, for what you said. But I cannot. The feeling that I am glad you are alive is too powerful."
Radek allowed himself a small smile, and held out his hand towards Rodney. Rodney swallowed. His eyes searched for any sign that this was not really happening, but that hand was still outstretched, his glance firmly returned. He reached out slowly, and they shook hands. Rodney's expression could have been construed as being a smile if you looked hard enough.
"Thank you Radek. I…don't know what to say."
"Then I am pleased. Now let me get some sleep. I need it."
"Yes, yes, of course. Right." Rodney turned and left the room, making his way to his own quarters. He looked back, just as the door was closing, not quite able to believe what had just occurred. He had never felt relief like this, and he wasn't sure he ever wanted to feel it again.
A/N: When Rodney mentioned at the beginning of Trinity that Radek had had stomach flu, I swear they were throwing us a lifeline.