Notes: Written for the Weir/Zelenka Thing-A-Thon, for Jessica/libratraveller. Her three little words/prompts were "sleep, dance, birds." She also wanted "loving care".
Elizabeth sat near the console and watched the 'gate, her focus on the beauty of the device, her eyes tracing the intricate detailing that flowed across its surface. It really was a thing of beauty, she thought. Too bad the darn thing wasn't actually WORKING.
Her meeting with the Zadonians, a peaceful people that they'd traded with several times in the past, was now overdue by an hour. She cast a surreptitious glance at her watch. Make that an hour and fifteen minutes.
Trying not to appear impatient, she cast a seemingly casual glance toward where Rodney, Radek and a team of technicians were working a few feet away.
She thought she saw a shimmer flow across the surface of the 'gate and she looked in its direction, but it was gone before she was able to raise her eyes. Sighing, she turned to see Radek looking up from his computer with a frown as Rodney crouched under the console.
She'd been waiting in her office while Rodney's team worked to find the problem. She had only come back down here because he'd called her, saying that it had been solved and she and her team were ready to go.
She made a couple of quick notes on her pad, but then rested it on her lap. She'd already reviewed her information on the Zadonians. Twice. Reading it again wasn't going to help.
She glanced at Radek, his sandy head bent over the computer, a low, muttered flow of Czech issuing from him as he focused intently on the problem. She was just about to look away when he raised his head, meeting her eyes. His frown of concentration and annoyance turned into a small smile, then he returned to his work.
Elizabeth felt her face flush and she looked away, appalled at herself. She was a mature woman, not some giggly schoolgirl with a stupid crush. She should be able to control her reactions better than this. She rolled her eyes, shook her head, and looked down at her pad. The man could do that to her, though, she thought with a small smile.
And it wasn't as if she couldn't date…technically. But as a woman in charge of this station, in a male dominated profession, supervising the work of a mostly male civilian staff, and worse, an almost one-hundred-per-cent male military crew, she was afraid of the repercussions. Although he was not one of her direct reports – not technically. TECHNICALLY he reported to Rodney, who technically reported to science on Earth, not to her. But she was in charge of the mission, so there was a dotted line there, and…crap. Crappedy crap crap crap.
The fact was, she liked him.
She wished there was a better word for it. "Like" seemed so inadequate. So…young. And here she was, a mature woman - supposedly, anyway - albeit one who looked damn good for her age, or so she'd been told. Although right now whenever she looked in the mirror she tended to focus on the wrinkles around her eyes, the fine lines framing her mouth. Still, sometimes she could still see the girl she'd been.
And that girl would like to make Radek her…she was at a loss for words. Boyfriend? Again, "boyfriend" was such a foolish, young term. "Boyfriend" – she rolled that around in her mind, and rejected it. It would be too much like she was in middle school again. But "partner" was too…business like, too formal for such a freedom of feeling. "Lover?" No, no. It was way too early for that.
It would be risky, dating anyone on the station. But it might be worth it. And if she did decide to take the risk, Radek…well, Radek seemed a bit interested. But if she did decide to see him, she would need to keep it a bit close to the breast.
No, no, she thought, folding the edge of the pad down. She didn't want to live her life like that. If she dated him - dated, again, was such an inadequate term - she would do so publicly. She would not hide. Hiding wasn't like her. So she either dated him publicly, or didn't date him at all.
She shook her head. It was idiotic to even consider it. It would jeopardise, if not her actual position, than her authority.
She heard clapping from the techs beside her, and looked up to see Radek smiling at her, big and broad. He nodded toward the 'gate, and she found herself returning his grin. Turning to the 'gate, she could see it was now working, surface shimmering, chevrons locking into place.
She could feel Radek's eyes still on her, and she let her smile fall away. Not a good idea. Radek was definately not a good idea.
The 'gate opened and Elizabeth stepped forward, diplomatic mask firmly in place as she went to great their guests.
Radek felt someone watching him, so he looked up, capturing Elizabeth…erm, Doctor Weir's gaze as she watched him work. He smiled at her, and she turned away. He frowned and looked back down at his work, trying to figure out why the 'gate wasn't working. His eyes scanned the monitor as technicians moved around him, Rodney working beside him.
He simply could not figure her out. He felt as if she'd been sending him signals, like she might be interested. He himself certainly might be interested. But every time he tried to make a connection with her, she'd turn away, or turn the conversation to business. It was as if she was purposefully putting him off.
Maybe he was reading her wrong. Maybe she was not interested, but saw that he was, and he was making her uncomfortable with his attentions.
His hands stilled on the keyboard and he stared at the computer screen, thinking. Stupid. He was being stupid. Here he was, no longer exactly in the flame of his youth, mature enough to have some experience with women, to know a bit of what he was doing. If he felt she was sending him signals, she probably was.
She was smart, funny, and beautiful. And he believed she was available, as from what he could tell, she was not dating anyone on the station or at home. And dating her would be risky – after all, she was ostensibly his superior - but without risk, what was life?
Radek smiled and started typing again.
Elizabeth entered the room they'd decided to use as a public lounge, book in one hand, cup of tea in the other. She let the door close behind her.
Radek was the only person in the room, and he was lying on his stomach on the floor, his feet in the air, papers spread out around him in disarray. He was typing madly into the laptop in front of him, and humming along to whatever he had playing on his IPod. He quite obviously hadn't noticed her entering the cozy space because he didn't even look up.
Humming? She wasn't sure she'd ever heard him hum. She noted that his voice wasn't half-bad just as words started coming through, a bizarre mix of Czech and English and…she thought that might be French, but his accent was so bad that she couldn't be sure. She smiled, catching something about "birds", and "sleep", and "dance", before she felt it best to let him know that he wasn't alone.
She took a step into the room, deliberately making noise as she moved. Radek's singing cut off and his head snapped up. She smiled. "Hello, Radek."
"Doctor Weir," he replied with a nod, pulling the headphones away from his ears.
Elizabeth stepped to her favourite upholstered chair and sank into it gratefully. It had been a hell of long day. She propped her cup on the arm of the chair, sighed, and started reading.
Radek watched Elizabeth settle into the chair. There was no one else in the room. It was now or never.
When he found himself unable to speak, he watched her read for a moment, gathering himself.
When he still didn't speak, he whispered, "So, NOW, Radek."
He clicked his laptop shut and sat up. "Doctor Weir," he began. When she looked up at him, he rephrased. "Elizabeth."
She put down her book, a slight smile on her lips.
"I wondered if you'd be willing…" he faltered, suddenly unsure. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I wondered if you'd be willing to have dinner with me tonight."
Elizabeth didn't say anything at first, her gaze frankly appraising. Then her smile touched her eyes. "I think that I would."
Elizabeth had surprised herself when she had accepted. She'd thought she'd been so firm in her decision not to see him, but obviously that was not what she'd really wanted, because as soon as he'd looked up at her with those blue eyes, she'd felt her resolve melt. And when he'd asked her, it was completely natural that she say yes.
So now she found herself at dinner with the man. She was sure that only she and Radek realised it was a date – after all, it wasn't as if two colleagues couldn't eat together occasionally – but she was still grateful that due to the lateness of the hour, most of the crowds had gone. They settled at a table by the windows, and she let the conversation flow as it would.
She found Radek remarkably funny and quick witted. He was smart, but not cocky about it. And she was right – he did speak French, although he admitted to doing so quite badly. So they discussed the time she spent in the French-speaking parts of Africa, then her time in Poland and central Europe, although she was forced to admit that she'd yet to see Prague. He pretended indignation and insisted that he be the first to take her there. She found herself laughing more often than not.
Radek guided Elizabeth out onto the balcony, one hand to the small of her back as she moved through the door. He watched her as she stepped to the rail and stared down into the dark sea below.
He stepped to her side and looked up at the night sky surrounding them, black and broad. The skies here on Atlantis were massive, the hugest he'd ever seen, but mostly starless. It was hard to see stars here due to the lights of the city, and yet he still found it beautiful.
They stood there staring out over the railing; she looking down at the ocean, he looking up at the sky. He heard waves in the distance, and he smelled the salt on the air, and he smiled.
"I love the water," Elizabeth said from beside him, her voice soft. "But I miss the call of the gulls."
Radek nodded. He didn't have much experience with gulls, or seas for that matter. The Czech Republic was a land-locked country. And yet he did understand her meaning. He had yet to see any birds at all on Atlantis. He missed them.
"To je knedlikový."
His brow crinkled in consternation, and he looked over at her, surprised that she'd mentioned dumplings in such an out-of-the-blue fashion. She was standing there, facing him, looking so hopeful. "Yes?" he managed to say, hoping that he was covering his surprise well. "Where did you learn Czech?"
"From a book," she said, blushing slightly. "Can you tell? I may have turned the pronounciation into Polish, though." She paused, obviously reading his face. "Pretty bad, hunh?"
"No, no. You speak Czech very well," he replied, deciding that it might be best to change the subject. "Care to dance?"
Elizabeth looked around them at the small balcony, the light from the cafeteria flowing through the nearby windows. "What, here?"
She cocked her head to the side. "There's no music."
He smiled at her. "We don't need any." He held out his hand.
Elizabeth glanced through windows to the mess, mostly deserted. "Someone might see."
Radek's smile broadened. "Let them."
She returned his smile and took his hand, squeezing it gently.
Radek picked something simple, a waltz, and they stepped one two three, him leading, her not so bad at following. After a moment, he started humming a simple melody under his breath.
At its end, he stilled their movement and stood there, still holding her close.
She looked at him, eyes sparkling in the light coming through the windows. "It's getting late. I should really get some sleep." She made no move to leave.
He looked into her eyes, captivated. He couldn't stop looking. "Yes, you should," he answered, heart beating one two three one two three, and he kissed her.
"To je knedlikový," means "It is rather partial to dumplings." More or less.
The title, "Pour Wine and Dance…", is from a Yeats' poem.
Please comment and let me know what you thought of this! Thank you.