The Common of Silence

~ Written for partners4life for the SGA Rareathon. Thanks to isabeau and mice for the betaing!

Radek had located the tiny balcony weeks after their arrival on Atlantis. He mentioned it to no one; not intending to keep it a secret, but willing to let Fate keep it for him. It was not as high as the balconies near the gate room, nor as wide as the piers along the ocean's edge. Nor was it as private as the individual balconies in the quarters along the exterior walls. As such, Radek assumed it never became noticed.

It suited him perfectly, out of the way and small enough to discourage the feeling of overwhelming vastness, yet large enough he did not feel as though he might be pressed back -- or worse, pressed forward, out over the water. The railing was tall and sturdy, and directly below the balcony was a roof; hard metal, and much more comforting than the rolling, freezing waves farther beyond.

During the worst parts of their adventures, Radek found himself with little time to go there and stare up at the stars. After they gained the ZPM, there was little enough time to do anything as prosaic as take a moment to relax. But gradually, after a few months of relative -- for Atlantis -- quiet, Radek found himself going to his out-of-the way balcony where he could stare at the stars and let his mind wander.

The first time Radek stepped onto the balcony and found Ronon there, he simply nodded and walked over to his usual spot at the balcony. There was plenty of room that he could stand there and not invade the other man's personal space, and with his eyes upwards, he could almost feel as though he were alone.

Radek knew he could have turned and left when the door had opened and he'd seen the other man there. He knew Ronon could choose to leave, himself, if Radek's presence disturbed him. In fact, as he settled down with his hands on the railing and head tilted back, Radek could feel that intangible tension beginning to coil, nearby. He knew that Ronon would be trying to form his apologies, and while he did not truly care if Ronon stayed or left, he realised that Ronon might believe that he had erred in coming here.

Turning his head slightly, Radek gave him a slight smile. He didn't try to speak -- there was nothing to say that wouldn't be awkward or taken as misplaced politeness. Ronon looked confused, and Radek could see him about to speak, could see the way he was gathering himself to head for the doorway and, perhaps, find another place for solitude that was not already another's territory.

Radek looked back up at the stars, letting Ronon take the invitation to stay however he liked. Another would have been unwelcome, and Radek would have turned away as soon as he'd stepped onto the balcony. To stand here with Rodney, or Dr. Weir, or even his very capable and earnest young assistant, Jason Rothman -- Radek knew it was unthinkable. Within seconds any of them would be jabbering away at whatever came into their heads. Filling the air with words and ideas and, for both Rodney and Jason, the motion of their hands as their minds worked faster than their mouths.

But Radek thought that Ronon would understand that silence was not a thing to be filled, but sometimes it was there to be enjoyed. He began counting out the constellations overhead whose names they'd discovered in one of the databases, and waited for Ronon's decision.

For a moment there was nothing, and Radek suspected Ronon was still staring at him. Then, suddenly, the tension vanished and there was nothing. Silence, and the faint sensation of a body nearby.

Several minutes later Radek glanced over and saw Ronon staring out ahead, towards the ocean. Radek returned his gaze to the sky, and wondered if he could have imagined this as a young boy.

They fell easily into a routine, or at least an understanding. Whether it was Radek or Ronon who arrived first, neither did more than make room at the railing for the other. They shared no more than a look, sometimes a brief smile in greeting. Radek would settle in and lean his head back, and Ronon would lean forward against the railing, looking out.

Sometimes Radek would stare at the water, wondering what Ronon was looking at, what he was thinking. Had he lived near an ocean back home? Had Sateda been a desert planet, with no open bodies of water such as this?

Or was he not seeing the water at all, and simply lost in his thoughts, they way Radek sometimes found himself? The stars just a background, fading into nothing as the images of home, or family, filled his mind?

Radek never asked, and if Ronon wondered the same of him, he never mentioned it.

The night after Ronon returned to Atlantis following yet another nearly-disasterous off-world mission, Radek found him on the balcony. Radek had already checked with Carson, learning that Rodney would be in the infirmary overnight for observation and the others had been treated and released. He hadn't expected to find Ronon here, but as the door slid open he found the familiar sight of him, leaning forward with his eyes straight ahead. Radek stopped for a moment and looked -- the bandage around his leg was barely visible, but Carson had told him exactly how deep it was and just how close it had come to severing an artery.

Radek walked over to Ronon, startling the other man as he stepped through that invisible circle of privacy. Ronon looked back at him, surprised, and Radek grabbed his arm.

He paused for the slightest moment, discarding the words that were threatening to tumble out of his head and mouth and, really, there was nothing he could say that Ronon couldn't possibly know already.

Instead he pulled at Ronon's arm, and as Ronon stepped away from the balcony his face fell, then closed off in a stranger's mask. Radek knew what he was thinking -- that he was being thrown out, invitation to share the balcony revoked. Radek didn't explain, because it would be obvious soon enough.

He pulled Ronon away from the balcony and down the hallway, not letting go even as Ronon gave his arm a pull. Radek kept his grip firm, and Ronon simply followed him.

Radek reached his quarters -- close by, which was how he'd found the little balcony in the first place. He pulled Ronon inside, then not until the door slid safely closed did he let go of Ronon's arm.

Ronon looked thoroughly confused.

There were a dozen speeches Radek knew. The ones which began with not being expendable, and the ones which ended with knowing that of all of them, it was Ronon's job to keep the others safe. But Ronon would know those speeches, as well as Radek knew that sometimes it wasn't about what you wanted to do, but what you had to do.

He stepped forward and grabbed Ronon's shirt, and yanked him down. Ronon was just surprised enough to let him, then Radek had his mouth on Ronon's and was kissing him, and not letting go of his shirt, and Ronon -- could have fought him off. Could have stepped back and broken Radek's hold on him easily. Could have spoken polite or not-so polite words when Radek broke off the kiss, and turned around and left.

Ronon let himself be pulled towards the bed. Radek kissed him again, lost himself in the way Ronon pulled him close and opened his mouth for him. Hands beginning to tug at clothing until Radek had to pull himself away and concentrate. Divest them both of clothing, and he had to let Ronon strip himself once the shirt and pants were off. Radek stared, amused, at the pile of knives that grew, stacked on top of Ronon's boots.

After a moment Radek sat down, naked, on the bed and waited. Ronon shrugged, half-grinning as another knife was added to the pile. Radek twiddled his thumbs, and Ronon grinned.

Then he stood up and spread his arms. Naked, unarmed, and Radek stayed where he was for just that moment. Stared at him. Saw a thousand places he wanted to touch, and taste, then he was up and taking Ronon's arm again, pulling him to the bed.

Ronon tumbled onto his back and Radek knelt above him. Ronon's hands went to his hips, and Radek leaned forward again. Kissed his mouth, running his tongue along Ronon's, and thought that perhaps it was possible to come from just a kiss.

It took all his willpower to pull away, not-quite disentangling himself but freeing himself enough to fumble for the night stand. Ronon's fingers were caressing his hipbones, making him shiver. Made him think about lying back and letting Ronon touch him, about taking the rest of the night until they were both driven out of their minds.

Radek thought about what Carson had said, and he closed his hand on the lube, and sat back. He caught sight of the bandage -- stark white, now, and the tiniest pinprick of blood showing through. He could see it in Ronon's eyes -- it's nothing. It'll heal.

Radek pushed Ronon's legs upwards and snapped the lid open, spreading lube on his cock and rubbing himself hard at the same time. Then he threw the tube onto the floor and sat back on his heels -- and stopped. For just one second, and he wondered if he he should say something, let Ronon know what he meant.

Ronon grabbed his knees and held his legs up, watching him with clear, dark eyes. Radek pressed a quick kiss to Ronon's leg, not very far away from the bandage. Then he slipped lubed fingers inside Ronon, preparing him as quickly as he dared.

When he pushed his cock inside, balls against his ass and chest against his legs, he found his gaze caught again by Ronon's eyes.

Ronon gave him a smile, quiet and welcoming.