NOTES: Teyla/Zelenka, written for the sgarareathon on LiveJournal. The request was for Zelenka and a relationship between the gaps.
"So, I heard you're giving Teyla lessons in Czech."
To Rodney's disappointment, Radek didn't glance up from his screen. "No." Damn. He'd been hoping to get a rise out of his co-worker. But Radek wasn't finished. "I am giving her lessons in Earth culture."
"Yes, well, I suppose we are different to her - even alien." Rodney considered it a moment. He supposed that the lessons given in Radek's accented English couldn't be any worse than Sheppard's jock-centric Americanised view of the universe.
The flashing line of his program's completion caught his eye, and he dismissed all thoughts of his team-mates in favour of raging at the circumstances that put him in a city full of the most amazing technology without a suitable power source to run it all.
Her eyes are lovely. Large and not quite tilted at the corners, they gaze thoughtfully at Radek as he points out his country on the world atlas that sits between them and explains some of the history of Europe.
"You have had whole worlds - an entire galaxy - in which to spread out. We have had only Earth."
She nodded. "Sergeant Blair gave me a," she pauses, "DVD with images of your world on it. It seems a very varied place."
Radek nods. "There are hundreds of countries, and billions of people. In some places, it is so crowded that there are millions of people living in cities that are not much larger than Atlantis."
Teyla stares at the atlas for a moment. "It seems so different."
"Do not so many people conflict?"
Radek nods. "Our planet is full of fights, arguments. So many people in such a small space..."
"Like Atlantis," she says with a gentle grimace.
Only this morning an argument broke out in the mess hall, between a military man and one of the scientists. Various parties intervened before it became violent, but the disturbance dampened many spirits.
"In the absence of something external to fight, man fights himself," Radek says, quoting an aphorism from one of his professors. Such small conflicts are becoming more common, even with the whole of the city in which to move. "It will lessen when Dr. Weir approves the scientific teams to go through the Stargate."
"You have never been out of Atlantis?"
"There is yet no reason for me to go with the outgoing teams," he says, with a little regret. It seems an exciting thing to go off-world, although his mindset may change after. Rodney brings back dramatic stories of his experiences with Sheppard's team.
Right now, the military teams are the only ones who go through the Stargate - they are sometimes accompanied by the scientists, but not often. Not yet.
Her touch is unexpected and warm. Radek stares at her, surprised by the contact. Her formality suggests she is not a tactile person, but her fingertips rest on his knuckles with the lightest of touches as she looks him in the eye and speaks. "Your knowledge is better used in Atlantis."
Looking at her, he realises Teyla really believes that.
"You know, Rodney says you're cheating on me," John said as she helped him off the floor - again.
He dusted himself off as she frowned slightly. "Cheating?" The reference passed by her completely. If he thought about it, it was probably a good thing she didn't quite know what it meant. John got his ass kicked often enough during these bouts without giving her a real reason to beat him up.
"Meeting Zelenka in one of the side rooms in the early mornings?"
"Oh, that." Her expression cleared as she brushed a wisp of hair from her face. "It is merely stretches. It keeps him limber."
He has an energy that is impossible to hide. It is not like Dr. McKay's jabber, or Major Sheppard's restiveness, but more contained, quieter.
She enjoys standing opposite him as he shows her the moves and she imitates them.
"Ah, yes. Like that. If you push out the chest--" He pauses in sudden mortified confusion and, in spite of herself, Teyla cannot help a smile as she holds the position. "And now you laugh at me."
One reason she enjoys the company of the Atlanteans is because they are serious people, too. They cover their seriousness with gaiety, while Teyla covers her laughter with formality, and somewhere between two worlds, they meet as allies and maybe friends.
But they are sensitive to humiliation.
Teyla hastens to make amends. "I apologise, Dr. Zelenka."
"Please," he says, waving a hand in dismissal as though it is nothing. "There is no need to stand on ceremony. I have embarrassed myself before you. Call me Radek."
"Radek," she says, pleased by the familiarity as she adjusts her posture. She can feel the balance of her back restored - he was right. "Is that better?"
He glances at her, hurriedly and with more than a little shyness. "Yes," he tells her, hastily resuming his position. "You see? It does not strain the back muscles so much."
And Radek pushes out his own chest. The gesture makes him seem not so small as he lets himself appear, and Teyla allows herself a small smile as they continue.
He is not as graceful as the marines or Colonel Sheppard, but she likes the way he moves all the same, so limber against the golden light of the dawning sun.
Elizabeth knew her choice of successor was going to land the fat firmly in the frying pan. Frankly, she didn't give a damn, even though John and Rodney looked at her as though she'd lost her mind.
"You know, I like Teyla," Rodney said in the tone of voice that meant there was a second half to the statement and it wasn't going to be as complimentary as the first, "but isn't she a bit...alien?"
"Teyla already has the experience," said Elizabeth firmly. "And she's worked with both the military and the scientists on this expedition." If Carson hadn't been coming to Earth with them, she'd have left him in charge.
No, Teyla was it.
"It might be better now that Bates is back on Earth," John said, thinking it over. "And she and Zelenka seem friendly enough," he added with a hint of pique. He shrugged. "It'll show Lorne how things work in Atlantis, anyway."
Radek, Teyla, and Major Lorne are sitting in Dr. Weir's office after a long day of hard negotiations with two very obstreperous cultures.
Running Atlantis without 'the big three' to organise and oversee everything is more difficult than Radek expected. Secretly, Radek thinks the astrophysicist nominated him as replacement purely to ensure Radek had no chance to work on the newly-powered city without Rodney there.
"So," Lorne says, flicking a finger at the rim of the glass of water by his chair. "Is Atlantis usually like this? So...different?"
Teyla and Radek exchange glances. He wonders if her smile is a little warmer than usual before she turns to the major. "It is usually worse," she says. "However, Dr. Weir is a good leader and manages it well."
"You're not doing that badly," the major says. Radek doesn't quite ruffle at the obvious gallantry, but Teyla's expression is easy. She is accustomed to male admiration in Atlantis and knows how to deflect it.
Their continued association disconcerts Radek. Teyla is fluent and fluid in her stretches, her understanding of Earth is much broader than it was, and she has begun to learn a little Czech and a little French. And she continues to keep Radek's company.
It is a new feeling, this association, this friendship. Teyla is a beautiful woman, and of course she stirs Radek. Not as coarsely as Rodney might suggest, but with something more difficult to define. Elizabeth would say it is an element of mystery in Teyla that speaks to Radek's Slavic heart, but she is not here.
"It is easier with Dr. Weir, the major, and Dr. McKay," Teyla says, deflecting the compliment. "But I believe we are managing well enough."
"Is McKay really that difficult to work with?"
"Worse," Radek says succinctly. "Much, much worse."
"The eccentricities of genius, I suppose." The major shrugs.
"Dr. Zelenka is just as gifted as Dr. McKay," Teyla says. Her glance at Radek is warm. "And not as difficult."
He will not stammer, nor blush at such a compliment. It is harder with the military man's querying look and Teyla's dark eyes smiling at him. "I am glad you find it so."
Later, he feels the compliment warm him through.
Ronon brought up the topic of the small, bandy-legged man during a break in their sparring. "What do you see in him, anyway?"
"He is good company," she said. "Quiet. Focused."
Beneath the fine covering of sweat, he noted she was flushing and grinned to himself. "McKay's focused."
"He is not quiet." Which was true enough.
Still... "I'd have thought Sheppard was more your sort of man." Ronon could admire a guy like Sheppard - and he figured so could Teyla. But the tiny scientist?
Sometimes women were stranger creatures than the Wraith.
Teyla took a drink of water from the 'water bottle'. "Colonel Sheppard is every woman's sort," she said wryly. "Radek is...different."
She is not experienced in the ways of Earth relationships.
Oh, there have been men who have flirted with her, Colonel Sheppard foremost among them, but she is willing to go so far and no farther. In part, she is reluctant because she fears an invasion of her self and her culture, and not just of the body or her heart.
Radek is different.
She likes his patience and his impatience, his accent and his dry wit. He is intelligent, but not superior, and she often seeks him out for explanations beyond what Rodney will tender. He is energetic and wry, and has told her of many fascinating things of Earth - cultures that go beyond the sports of which Colonel Sheppard speaks so enthusiastically.
Tonight, she came to his lab for a further explanation of something that Rodney would not take the time to explain to her. Ronon shrugged and went off to dinner, the Colonel followed shortly after. She came to see Radek, instead.
Perhaps it is that he is different to her team-mates: not the same kind of man, even when compared to Rodney.
Certainly, he does not kiss like any man Teyla has known.
His mouth is gentle and slow and sweet against hers. Tentative at first, as though he is unsure of her. Then, it deepens to greater passion.
She likes him different.
- fin -