Moonlight of Your Soul

There was, Radek thought, something quite irritating about living on a planet with two moons. The least of which was listening to the astronomers arguing about what the lunar cycles actually were. There was nothing they'd found so prosaic as a telescope, and so they were forced to make their observations with a combination of stealing time in the Puddle Jumpers when they could, and the old-fashioned way of observing the moons whenever they were overhead.

The times he'd joined in their conversations, Radek had learned that several of the astronomers thought it exhilarating. Some thought it frustrating to the point of rambling about being stuck in the stone age. Most thought it was both, depending on how much sleep they'd had recently.

"At it again, are they?"

Radek looked up and smiled as Carson sat down at the table opposite him. "Ano, they are." He gave the scientists the next table over a short nod. "For half hour they're arguing over the second moon." He waved one hand, not wanting to try to replicate the details of the discussion.

"Well, it keeps them out of trouble." Carson grinned, then he looked down at his plate and his smile vanished. "Do I want to know what they've served us today?"

Radek shook his head. "Vegetables. Good for you -- do not ask anything more."

"I won't," Carson agreed. They sat silently as Carson got up his nerve to try a bite. Radek continued eating his own meal; the taste was not all that bad, and he had learned a long time ago to eat what he was given.

Not without complaint, of course. But he kept his complaints inside his head where they belonged. He watched with some amusement as Carson took a bite of a bright green root vegetable. He couldn't remember what it was called, though it hardly mattered since he didn't intend to request it again. From the face Carson made, he knew he wasn't alone in that assessment.

Carson set the piece down on the edge of his plate and began sorting all the bright green things out, creating a small pile. There was an identical pile under the edge of Radek's plate, out of sight.

"What do you recommend?" Carson made no move to pick up anything else with his fork; Radek knew that if he said 'the coffee' then Carson would probably leave his dinner uneaten.

"The yellow ones." Radek pointed. The astronomers were now arguing about whether the first moon had a wobble. He said nothing -- who cared if a moon wobbled? It didn't affect its revolution around the planet they were on.

"What about... is this blue?" Carson held up a piece. It was difficult to tell its original color through the sauce.

"Eat it and be quiet," Radek said, smiling.

Carson returned the smile, eyes shining with the humour Radek so much enjoyed. He waited as Carson obediently took a bite of the possibly-blue vegetable. Carson's eyes opened with mild surprise.

"This one isn't bad."

"I believe I implied as much."

"Aye, you did." Carson nodded and they went back to eating in relative silence. The argument at the next table had shifted into a discussion about satellites in general -- nothing more about this planet's moons.

"So, are you busy this evening?" Carson asked suddenly, in a quiet voice. He kept his attention on his food, as though he weren't asking what they both knew he was.

Radek shook his head, slowly. Then he stopped and said, "I forget. I do have plans." He waited as Carson's expression froze into one of politeness before he said, just as quietly, "You are coming over."

Carson rolled his eyes. But there was a delighted smile creeping into the corner of his mouth which made Radek glad to see.

He told himself he should not. The arrangement they had between them was something between friends, casual. The American term for it was 'fuck-buddies.' It worked very well for them, and there was no discussion of making it into something else.

Radek never tried to tell Carson he might have been happy to have more. He never pursued the hints he saw that perhaps Carson would, as well. It was good enough, he told himself, that some nights he was not alone in this faraway, alien place. To ask for more was dangerous.

They continued eating, not sharing any more conversation. Radek's attention drifted back to the astronomers as he heard one of them mention one of the planet's moons again. There was something about its cycle, but he had already missed the first part of the statement.

Well, it didn't matter at the moment. Later he could look at the notices posted on the astronomy department's forums. Dr. Weir had had them created on the shared server so that everyone who wanted could keep up with the research others were doing. Radek was a regular visitor on the astronomy forums, just as he knew Carson frequented the anthropology and linguistic forums. As much work went on in those discussions, and in those like the one in the mess hall, as went on in laboratories and offices.

It was much like being at university again, but without the trouble of teaching students. Not that fighting the Wraith was such a fair trade off. Not having to mark exams, on the other hand....

Radek glanced up and caught Carson's eyes. They exchanged another brief smile, and Radek decided he might feel brave enough to try the strange, red-coloured vegetable he'd been avoiding so far.

Two bites later, the spicy aftertaste hit him and he decided there was a such a thing as being too brave.

Five days later Radek was in the main astrophysics lab working on the zero point module diagrams. The entire astrophysics department was trying to figure out exactly how the modules worked -- the naquadah generators provided enough power for basic operations and a certain level of defense. But a working ZPM would be infinitely better, so whenever they were not in the middle of a crises they studied the ZPMs in hopes of making them work again, or even of creating new ones.

Radek had been at his workstation all afternoon and through dinner, not bothering to even get up to refill his cup of tea. It wasn't that he was onto something, but he needed to work through his current calculations in order to rule out everything he could of this particular line of enquiry. Besides which -- one never knew when something would end up being the right answer after all.

He'd been staring at the computer screen for several hours when he finally reached a point where he could stop. He leaned back to stretch, feeling his spine pop and his muscles protest the movement. As he thought about going for a short walk to loosen up, he realised he'd been feeling something he shouldn't have been feeling.

He froze, but there was no mistaking that sensation. He quickly minimised the window he was working in and connected to the server. The astronomers had a real-time display of the local system; he called it up and waited as the various parts of the map came up. He stared in disbelief as the visual of a small moon came into view -- very clearly full, and rising over Atlantis.

In nineteen minutes.

He took a few seconds to go to the forum to verify what he'd just seen. What he could *feel*. It was impossible, because the first moon wasn't rising at all for another week, and the second had been full only two weeks before and had never had a cycle of less than forty days. He found the most current and most active thread in the forum -- and saw the title. "Third moon."

He didn't waste time reading further. Radek quickly saved the document with his calculations, trying not to curse under his breath as the computer took its own sweet time switching active windows and accepting the 'save' command. Then he closed the laptop and turned, stuttering to a stop as he saw Carson and Rodney walking up behind him.

"Excuse me, prosím," he said, trying to get around them and out. His quarters were far away, but the transporter was just at the end of the hallway. It would be very close, but he could make it.

Carson frowned at him, stepping slightly aside. Rodney was still standing in his way."Radek, did you hear what they found?"

"Please, I need to--" He couldn't very well tell them he had to run back to his room. And the lab had a toilet -- behind him, so he couldn't very well pretend to be in urgent need of it. "Excuse me," he tried again, and Rodney stood there staring at him like he was speaking Czech.

"I know how much you keep up with the local astronomy," Rodney began again. "So you might find this interesting."

Radek nodded, impatient. "They've found a third moon, ano, and it's rising soon and it's full and would you please let me by?"

Rodney blinked at him -- obviously disappointed that Radek had already heard. "Well, yes. We were heading up to the observatory; I think they're having a party to celebrate and pick a name. Personally, I've already suggested they name it 'Rodney.'"

"As though you had anything to do with its discovery?" Carson asked. "Logan will be the one to name it, and I doubt he'll want to name it after you."

"Why not?" Rodney asked, still completely blocking Radek's path. He'd have to go around the table, and he didn't know that he still had time to make it back to his quarters. He would have to run very fast -- ironic that he'd chosen a room far away for the very reason he needed it badly, now.

"Come with us," Carson was saying to him, though he was looking at Radek with a worried expression.

"I cannot. I have to go." Finally he just stepped forward and pushed Rodney out of his way. Hated doing so, especially as Rodney fell back against the desk.

"Ow! Hey, watch it."

Radek told himself he would apologise later. Tomorrow, but for now-- His arm was grabbed and he was spun around to face Rodney.

"Do you mind explaining just what you're doing? What's the hurry?"

Time was going. He could feel it. He'd been standing here too long, and he would never make it to his room. The way there was all inhabited, there was no guarantee he would not be seen before he reached his door. He tried to think of alternatives. There was nowhere he could go that was guaranteed to be empty -- not unless he left the inhabited parts of the city completely.

If he ran as fast as he could, he would make it. He nodded as though he were going to explain and Rodney let go of his arm.

"I am sorry," he said, barely glancing over at Carson. He wanted to say more -- say something to let him know that this rudeness was not what he wanted.

Instead he spun around and ran for the door, feet slipping as he sprinted out of the laboratory. He cursed, afraid of falling, losing precious seconds -- but he kept his feet and continued running. He passed several people and heard their shouts of surprise as he sped by.

He could hear Rodney and Carson behind him, could hear questions and concern that some emergency had occurred.

More things to apologise for. If he had the chance. If-- he stopped himself from thinking those things. He had to get away, and tomorrow would take care if itself. He pushed himself to run faster, already feeling the tug of the moonrise. The transporter was ahead of him; he felt a burst of relief, perhaps premature, but he tumbled inside it and selected a destination as far away as it would take him.

As soon as it rematerialised, he took off running again. It would be too easy for them to follow him this far. He had to get away where they could not track him. The transporter had brought him to the edge of the section where the internal sensors were still not working. He did not doubt they would follow him anyway, or try to. He changed direction at random, down a hallway that he only knew would lead him farther from where they had ever been. Dangerous, to go into the city they'd not explored. But he would be safe there. For a time.

He gasped for air, running as fast as he could, and tried to hold back the fear. He had to make it.

The hallways were dark. No lights coming on automatically as he passed, no sound of ancient machinery humming, not even the feel of moving air from the vents. He was almost out of time so he slowed down just enough to pull off his shirt, dropping it behind him. His lungs were aching as he stopped to kick off his boots and socks, then paused long enough to listen for any sign that someone had found him.

The city was utterly silent. Dark and empty, and his boots rang with a hollow echo as he dropped them. The sound made him cringe, and he recalled the ghosts which they had uncovered last time they'd gone into the city to explore. He thought about the ghosts his grandfather had told him stories of as a boy.

Radek pulled off the last of his clothing and stepped away to head deeper into the abandoned city. Just in time, as he felt his body make the change. The moon howled in his ears with the rushing of blood and everything around him changed.

On all fours, the sights and sounds and scents of the alien city grew sharp and distinct. Things he had only hints at before grew focused, and he wondered at the origins of the myriad of things he could still smell in this eons-abandoned area of the city.

He headed away, not knowing where he should go but unable to remain in one place. The others might be searching even if they could not track him with Atlantis' sensors. Or perhaps the sensors could somehow detect him and display his location as an alien intruder.

Radek shivered and kept moving. He stopped every few steps to listen and take a cautious whiff of the uncirculated air, but he never heard any noise but that of his own breathing. He kept walking, going deeper into the unknown and trying desperately not to think about what would happen in the morning.

Radek woke up with a start. He could hear voices and footsteps in the distance -- drawing rapidly near. Radek sat up quickly, only then realising he'd fallen asleep. He'd meant to keep moving though there was nowhere he could truly escape to within the city. But late in the night he'd stopped for a moment and closed his eyes and now he was lying here, human again, and about to be discovered.

The sounds were growing closer and he knew there was no point in running. The room he was in had only one door; there would be no way to get out except past them. A large window in one wall of the bare room looked out on the ocean, the sunlight telling him it was well into morning. He leaned sideways against a cold metal wall, drawing his legs up and wrapping his arms around them.

They were near the door, the footsteps loud and many. Through the door, in this form, he could not tell who was there by scent. It didn't matter -- they'd hunted him down. Radek thought about closing his eyes, but he found that he was not nearly as afraid as he should have been. Or perhaps he was so afraid that he could barely feel it anymore. He turned his head to face the door and waited for it to open.

A few seconds later it did and Major Sheppard and Lieutenant Ford were the first ones through. They were armed, muzzles aimed forward as they stepped inside. Radek didn't move, staring at the the small, round hole of the barrel of Sheppard's gun.

"Dr. Zelenka?" Sheppard looked around the room before lowering his weapon. Behind him -- Radek was surprised. Carson and Rodney came into the room; Carson pushed his way past Sheppard and walked forward, crouching down in front of him. He had a medical kit and a duffel slung over his shoulder.

"Radek, are you all right?"

Radek looked from Carson to the guns that were no longer pointing towards him. He felt Carson's hand on his shoulder and pulled his gaze back to Carson's face. He heard Sheppard tap his radio and reported to Dr. Weir that they'd located him, but the major said nothing about what was coming.

Carson was still frowning at him, touching his hand, then his arm. "You're freezing. No wonder, sitting on the floor this way. Here." He set down a duffel bag he'd been carrying, and Radek stared. Inside it were his own clothes which he'd left strewn somewhere last night. They must have followed him step for step to have located them.

He didn't move until Carson held out his shirt. He took it, though his hands didn't seem to be moving quite as quickly or agilely as he meant them too. After a moment Carson reached over and helped him put it on, then Carson muttered something in Gaelic and got Radek standing. He helped Radek put on the rest of his clothes, the familiar touch of his hands confusing Radek further. He tried to help, but his whole body was stiff and moving slowly; by the time he'd got his hands somewhere Carson's were already there, pulling clothing into place.

Bewildered, Radek finally just let him do it. No one said anything as they waited; Rodney was bouncing very slightly on the balls of his feet. Once Radek was dressed, Carson even held out his glasses and Radek slipped them on.

Radek looked at Carson again but couldn't find the right words to ask. He didn't want to know -- he knew what was coming, but he couldn't bear to hear Carson say those words.

"You're shivering." Carson had his hand on Radek's cheek; it was warm, even down to his fingertips. Radek wanted to press his face against it but didn't dare. Carson held out his other hand and gestured and Rodney leapt forward. Radek tensed, but all he brought out was a thermos. He watched, dumbly, as Rodney unscrewed the lid and poured some hot tea.

"Here, drink this. I thought you might need a bit of something." Carson was frowning at him again and Radek couldn't figure out why. But he gratefully accepted the tea as Carson wrapped Radek's hand around the cup and hesitated a moment before taking his hand away.

He wasn't at all certain he could swallow, but the heat of it felt divine. Radek held the cup to his face, letting the heat soak through his hands and rise up to his face. He didn't look at any of them, concentrating on the sensation of heat as he sipped, and on the flavor of the strong black tea.

Simple things.

"We need to head back," Major Sheppard finally said, no trace of inflection in his voice. "Dr. Weir wants us to report to her office ASAP."

"Are you up to it?" Carson asked, still frowning. "We can stop by the infirmary, first."

"No, I'm fine," Radek said, confused further by the question. He held the thermos lid tightly, afraid they might take it away before he was through. He told himself it was a foolish thing to worry over and forced himself to loosen his grip.

"Oh, thank god. I think I've been patient long enough," Rodney said.

"Rodney," Carson said, his tone scolding.

"I have questions," Rodney continued, ignoring Carson completely. "About four thousand and twelve, so far. We all have questions but feel free to start answering mine now, and we can recap for Elizabeth when we get back." Rodney waved a hand as though dismissing the importance of anyone else's questions.

He was acting so normal and Radek was oddly comforted to see that Rodney's scientific curiosity was stronger than fear. He took another sip of the tea, feeling the hot liquid go down his throat. He was cold, he suddenly realised. But he thought he understood now what was happening. Of course they had questions. They were scientists, explorers. They would ask him everything. Every question they had, then they would think of more.

It would not be until they had run out of questions that they would kill him.

He took another sip of his tea, then nodded. "I am ready." His voice didn't shake and he supposed he should be glad he still had that much courage left. Carson nodded and the others turned towards the door. Radek held onto his cup of tea, pausing only once in surprise as Rodney brought the thermos up and refilled it.

"I can't decide which is my first question, so feel free to jump in at any time to answer... well, anything," Rodney began as they walked out of the room. "Or you could just start talking and you'll probably get to at least the top dozen questions."

"Rodney," Major Sheppard said, falling back a bit from the point to walk just ahead of he and Rodney. Carson was close behind him, and Ford was walking silently ahead of them all. Sheppard was giving Rodney a look. "You do remember what Elizabeth said?"

Rodney sighed in exasperation. "Of course I remember. But she didn't mean not to ask *any* questions, she only said--"

"Not to ask a lot of questions until we get him back," Sheppard quoted.

"Exactly! 'A lot' implies that a few is permissible. Otherwise she would have said not to ask him *any* questions."

"I'm pretty sure she meant to wait until she was in the room, since she also used the word 'badger' and the word 'don't'," Sheppard said, glancing back at Radek.

"Oh, for-- do you really expect me to spend the entire walk back not saying a word? It's a long walk," he added, giving Radek a brief, serious glance.

There was a grin on Sheppard's face and the distinct scent of amusement. "I don't think that's possible. But you might let him finish his tea."

"He has an entire thermos of tea and I can't believe you don't want to know just as badly as I do."

"Is all right," Radek interrupted them. "I do not mind." There was no sense in delaying things even if there was something extremely peculiar about what was going on.

"See?" Rodney smiled triumphantly. "OK, first question - do you... no, first I want to know-- hold on. If you could--"

"Why don't you offer to bite him and let him find out for himself?" Carson asked.

Radek was shocked. Shocked, because Carson was grinning at him. "It does--"

"Excuse me!" Rodney said. "I... wait, can you? I'm not saying I... you know, that would be...."

"No," Sheppard said. "You are not becoming a werewolf."

"Well, of course not," Rodney agreed, distractedly. "Although it would be fascinating--"

"No, Rodney," Sheppard said again.

"I already told you it doesn't work that way," Carson said and Radek stopped in his tracks. The others turned, looking at him. He stared at Carson.

"How do you know that?" he managed to ask. It was true, one did not become a werewolf from being bitten. His family were all werewolves as were other clans -- a species rather than carriers of a contagious disease.

There was no fear in Carson at all, he suddenly realised. There had been none at all since they had showed up. The reason why became clear when Carson said, "I grew up with a boy who was a werewolf. Charlie was my best friend for nearly ten years."

Radek nearly dropped his tea. He gripped the cup tightly, too astonished to speak for a moment. "You... knew?"

"I didn't know you were a wolf," Carson said, sternly. "But I've known about them nearly all my life. I've spent the better part of the night telling everyone what I know."

He couldn't believe what he was hearing. What he was *smelling*: none of them were showing any signs of fear. Concern and curiosity, but not a trace of fear or anger.

"Then you... are not..."

"Not what?" Carson asked, and his tone was gentle and encouraging.

It took him a moment to say it, because he didn't believe it could possibly be true. He felt himself trembling, afraid the answer would still be yes.

But they were acting like--

"Then you are not going to kill me?"

Four jaws dropped and they all stared at him, surprise as strong as his own. Radek looked at each one of them, ready to bolt if they said 'of course'.

"Dr. Beckett said you were harmless," Ford was the first one to speak. "Well, you know -- not an evil monster."

Radek nodded, quickly. "But that has never mattered. Humans... have always hunted us down when they've learned who we are."

"Yes, and thank you for lumping us in with the average moron," Rodney said. "Forget that the average IQ of the entire Atlantis expedition is 129.4 and that we're here expressly to explore strange new worlds and meet exciting, new aliens and thus might perhaps have an open mind about things like this."

"We're not going to do anything to you," Carson said, putting his hand on Radek's arm. "You're not in any danger."

Radek could only stare at him. It was impossible to believe. He'd heard stories of an uncle, shot to death. His great-great-grandfather, hunted down and hung. All his ancestors who had been burned, buried, drowned. He glanced at the gun hanging at Sheppard's side.

Sheppard followed his glance, confused for a moment. "We didn't know what we'd find," Sheppard said. "These were in case you were in trouble."

"In case... *I* was in trouble?"

"We can't go losing our second-best scientist, can we?" Rodney asked. "Who else would I get to take apart things that will probably blow up if the wrong wires touch?"

"You...." Radek tried to tell himself this was real. The words he was hearing were true.

None of them were afraid of him. None of them were even *tense.* Well, Carson was, he corrected himself. But his hand was on Radek's arm and he was looking at him with concern in his eyes, and there was still the always-present scent of mild arousal whenever Carson was nearby. The tension was for him, not because of him.

God. It was true.

"You're not...." He shook his head, not even sure what he wanted to ask.

"Surprised? Shocked? Confused? About to explode from a trillion unanswered questions?" Rodney asked.

"I thought you said four thousand and twelve," Ford said, sounding amused.

"That was before I had time to stand here and think of more," Rodney snapped.

"The numbers seems to be growing exponentially," Sheppard put in.

"Welcome to the way my brain works," Rodney said. "Now, may I *please* ask at least *one* question?"

"Let's head back," Carson said, and he took his hand off Radek's arm -- and slipped his hand into Radek's.

"Good, he can answer while we walk." Rodney stepped alongside Radek again. Sheppard just shook his head and he and Ford started walking along ahead of them, again.

"It's definitely a species?" Rodney asked. "That's what Carson said, but have you actually determined this, or are you just assuming? I mean, have you done genetic studies? How did you pass the Air Force physical, anyway? How exactly do you transform?" His eyes traveled over Radek's body. "Where does all the hair go?"

Radek didn't try to answer any of Rodney's questions. Rodney didn't stop asking them long enough for anyone to say a word. But he seemed content to finally ask them, so Radek just drank his tea as they made the walk back.

Carson's hand was warm in his.

When Rodney had finally wound down enough to demand that Radek start answering his questions, they were near enough to the control center that Radek was able to put him off until they got to Dr. Weir's office. They'd begun passing others in the hallways and the furtive glances he was getting were unmistakable. There were whispers which, in this form, he could not quite make out but he could guess their content.

Carson's hand tightened on his as they passed a group of scientists watching them go by. Radek looked down at the floor, but could see how Rodney, Sheppard, and Ford closed in in front of him as they walked past.

Rodney seemed to understand his refusal to speak. With too many people to overhear, Radek found himself growing afraid again. Not that he believed any longer that Dr. Weir would have him executed for what he was, but perhaps others would decide for her.

"Dr. Zelenka! Are you all right?"

Startled, he looked up quickly. Dr. Suzanna Titov, an engineer he'd become friends with since arriving in Atlantis, was hurrying towards him with an expression of relief. Several strands of hair had fallen out of her ponytail and she looked exhausted.

"They said you'd run off into one of the unexplored areas of the city! Are you all right? I wanted to join one of the groups to go look for you, but Dr. Weir said you'd freak out less if it was just small team that showed up." She stepped past Sheppard and Rodney, apparently ignoring their attempt to cordon him off from anyone.

"I... am fine," he said, surprised all over again at this revelation. "I encountered nothing." He frowned slightly. "Actually, that is not true. There was a room with a very large series of pipes. It did not have any visible power, but the number and varying diameters of--"

"Radek," Carson interrupted.

Radek looked at him. "Yes?"

"Elizabeth is waiting for us."

"Why-- oh. Yes." He turned back to Suzanna. "We should talk about it later. Maybe make arrangements to go back there and find out what the pipes were for. There seemed to be too many to simply be for water or waste materials. I think--"

"Radek," Carson said again, this time he tugged on Radek's hand.

Suzanna nodded at him. "Go on; I'll catch up with you later. I can pull up the blueprints we have of the city and see if I find anything like it." She hurried off, excitedly, pausing to turn and wave at him over her shoulder. "Glad you're OK!"

He watched her grab onto Dr. Miller as she went past him, no doubt to get his assistance. "Sorry," he said to Carson.

"Why didn't you mention this room to me?" Rodney asked. "I'm interested. Mysterious Ancient pipes?"

"I did not think of it before now," he confessed.

"You have to admit he had reason to be distracted," Sheppard put in.

"Dr. Weir says she wants the whole city explored -- why not start with the room with the pipes?" Ford commented as they continued on their way to Dr. Weir's office.

"Why not?" Rodney asked. "There obviously weren't any sleeping monsters hidden in that section of the city." He gave Radek a look, holding back a grin. "Oh, sorry. One sleeping monster. What else did you find? We didn't fully retrace your steps, you know. We tracked your life sign and used the transporter to catch up with you after we found your clothes, so we missed most of it. Were you able to use the transporter or did you walk the whole way? I suppose there's no reason why you couldn't have, except for reaching the control panel...." He looked at Radek, from head to toe. "There would have to be a conservation of mass because even if some got turned into energy, you still have to change back and you look the same size-- of course eventually you'd shrink to nothing and wouldn't live past age three, so obviously there's conservation of mass, brilliant, Rodney." He rolled his eyes.

"I am starving, though," Radek interjected.

Instead of prompting Rodney to suggest they stop at the mess hall, this served only to make Rodney nod and continue talking about the amount of work that must be required to change forms. Just as Radek had suspected it would.

"Sorry," Sheppard mouthed, giving Radek a shrug.

"Do you want to get breakfast?" Carson asked.

He did, but -- he didn't want to put this off any longer. A missed meal wasn't going to hurt him, and they were almost at the control center. In fact, Dr. Weir was walking towards them even now.

"I can wait," he said. His stomach did not feel like it could accept food at the moment. Dr. Weir was walking towards them, looking serious and concerned. Their group came to a halt as she approached.

"Dr. Zelenka, I trust everything is all right?" He saw her eyes flick over to Sheppard -- down to his and Carson's hands.

He managed to nod.

She smiled, then, and he knew it was meant to be reassuring. "Why don't we head to the conference room?" She paused, looking at each of the others. But she said nothing. Radek wondered if she'd intended to tell them they were free to go but decided none of them would do so.

"It's about time," Rodney said. "I won't even mention how many questions I still have."

"Why am I not surprised?" Dr. Weir said, giving him a grin. "But let's not completely overwhelm Dr. Zelenka with a barrage of nosy questions."

Radek wanted to tell her he didn't mind, but Carson spoke up before he could. "Elizabeth, do you mind explaining what, exactly, is going to happen now?"

She frowned at him. "We're going to the conference room to talk."

"No, I mean, after." He gave Radek a sidelong glance. "To reassure him we're not about to haul him down to the cell and keep him for study."

Dr. Weir came to an abrupt halt; Radek couldn't look her in the eye. He tried, briefly, to let go of Carson's hand, but Carson wasn't letting go of his.

"Dr. Zelenka," she began, speaking clearly and loudly enough for anyone around to overhear. "My only concern is to deal with any potential problems this new information might give rise to. I can certainly understand if members of this expedition have difficulty accepting the fact that you're a werewolf."

Radek was impressed at how she said it as though it were nothing. He didn't interrupt as she kept talking.

"But I want to stress that this does not change your status as a member of this expedition. And I won't tolerate your being treated any differently than any other person here." She glanced down again and looked like she was suppressing another smile. "For any reason."

Carson coughed, but didn't take advantage of the invitation. Radek didn't see any point -- he barely knew, himself, what his relationship with Carson would be now. All he knew was that Carson wouldn't let go of his hand.

"Let's go into my office, and see if we can allay some of Dr. McKay's frustrations."

There was another choked cough, and Rodney said, "What are you, ten? That's not what she meant."

Radek let them lead him to the conference room and he settled into a chair. Carson finally let go of his hand, but brought a chair up close to his. Dr. Weir sat down in her usual place at the head of the table, while Rodney and the others settled in on the opposite side.

There was a moment when no one spoke, then Rodney clasped his hands together on top of the table and said, "So. Talk."

"Oh, very nice, Rodney," Sheppard said. "Way to make him feel comfortable."

"Fine. So, Radek, how are you? Turned into any other animals lately? Have you finished the report on the water modulator -- actually, I really do want to know that."

"I have not," Radek said, holding back a faint smile. "I was interrupted."

"Right, right, the moon thing." Rodney waved a hand.

"Actually, I was interrupted by my department head coming in and asking me to stop what I was doing and assist him with his own project. I was working on it the day before yesterday. Yesterday, I was studying the ZPMs, as I had been requested by the same department head."

Rodney was giving him a flat look. "Can we get back to the werewolf stuff?"

"I'm interested in hearing more about the water thingy," Sheppard said.

Dr. Weir cleared her throat and the two of them subsided.

"I do not know what Carson has told you," Radek began.

"Not much. Hardly anything," Rodney said quickly. "Assume he said nothing and begin there."

"Very well." He took a deep breath, reassuring himself -- curiosity only. No fear, no anger.

"Werewolves are not created by biting someone. I was born this way, as are all werewolves. I do not know what the exact genetic make-up is -- most wolves consider themselves a separate species, or sub-species of human, even though in this form we are nearly identical to humans." He gestured towards himself, feeling awkward and self-conscious. But he forced himself to go on. "I passed the American Air Force's physicals with no trouble, as I have always done. There are some differences, of course, even in this form. But the doctors always call the differences 'unusual but within expected parameters'."

He glanced over and saw Carson listening intently, his eyes wide. Of course he would be fascinated, and Radek found... he didn't mind it so much from Carson.

"I have not been examined by the Ancients' diagnostic table," he said as the thought occurred to him. "I do not know what it would detect."

"From a purely medical standpoint, I'd like to recommend it -- in case you're hurt or become sick. We should have as accurate a baseline as possible," Carson said. His tone was apologetic -- but as eager as Rodney's.

Slowly, Radek nodded. It made sense, even if his first impulse was to refuse. He looked at Rodney again. "I do not know 'where the hair goes.' I change, I change back. I could not even tell you why it happens during the full moon."

"Three moons," Dr. Weir said. "That's got to be... hectic."

"And they have not completely figured out the orbit for the second moon. Or the third, now," Radek reminded her. "Usually I have a few days' warning and can make sure I am safely in my quarters. Last night... the third moon was unexpected." He saw a look of realisation
appear on Carson's face. "I did not anticipate a full moon occurring without warning."

"Which would be why we've been on Atlantis for so long and this is the first we've found out about your being a werewolf." Weir paused and Radek could see she was reacting to the words she'd just said. Not immune, then, to the oddity of the situation. Just a very good diplomat.

"The moon is full again tonight," Rodney said, eagerly.

Radek froze. He knew what Rodney wanted. What any of them would want.

Sooner or later, they would *have* to see.

"I think that can wait," Dr. Weir said, smoothly and Radek was grateful. Rodney didn't seem to mind, despite his small pout. Dr. Weir frowned suddenly and said, "Dr. Zelenka, you do understand you are under no obligation to do or say anything you're not comfortable with. Even these questions -- I just assumed you'd be all right with answering them, but--"

"No, it is all right," Radek hastened to assure her. "Questions, I don't mind." Being stared at was another prospect entirely.

Dr. Weir nodded. "I think... maybe we should give the astronomy department that time in the Puddle Jumper they've been requesting," she said to Sheppard. "I'm thinking it would be good to know the lunar orbits as accurately as possible."

"It is... not necessary," Radek told her. "I have managed... until now, that is. If there is a fourth moon I would very much like to know."

But Weir shook her head. "It's simple enough -- it just hasn't been a priority before now. But we can send a Jumper up and let them calculate the orbits of all the moons."

"I'll do it," Sheppard volunteered. "I'll make Rodney go with me and he can practise flying." He smirked at Rodney.

"You will crash into a moon," Radek said, surprising himself a bit that he felt comfortable enough to tease Rodney.

"You're just bitter the gene therapy didn't take and you can't even learn how to fly," Rodney returned.

"Of course it didn't take!" Carson suddenly exclaimed. "The gene therapy was specifically designed for humans."

"Which, despite appearances and... close genetic relationship, I would assume, I am not," Radek agreed. He could see the desire in Carson's eyes and found himself seriously considering saying yes to the questions there. Here, in the Pegasus galaxy, on a mission that was classified so that most people back on Earth would never know about any of it -- would it do so much harm?

He had already agreed to let the Ancients' diagnostic table examine him. What more was a bit of blood?

"Perhaps," he said slowly and Carson's face lit up.

"You don't have to," Carson began.

"I... will think about it." He suspected he would say yes -- but it was not a thing to rush into, simply because he liked the man doing the research.

"Excuse me? What are you talking about?" Rodney asked.

"Just a wee blood sample," Carson explained. "He's offering to let me have some to study."

"Oh, you'll let him have some blood but I can't even get a few questions answered?" Rodney didn't sound as put out as he meant them to believe.

"Ask me a question, Rodney," Radek said. He suddenly realised he had relaxed -- not entirely. But the tension and the fear had faded until they were very close to nothing.

Rodney opened his mouth. Then stopped. Radek waited as Rodney frowned.

"Run out of questions?" Sheppard teased.

"I can't decide what to ask first," Rodney said quickly. "I suppose the most obvious set of questions would be -- horror movies. I get the feeling not much of them are true?"

"I have never seen any horror movies about werewolves," Radek said, to the apparent astonishment of everyone in the room. He shrugged. "My mother forbid it."

"Er, oh. OK, that makes sense, I guess." Rodney nodded. "So -- raving monster, eats people, turns people into werewolves by biting them, killed by silver bullets... do you remember anything while you're a wolf?"

Radek blinked. "Of course I do. I am not drunk, I am simply a wolf." What sort of horror movies did humans make?

"Really? Then... you're in control of yourself," Rodney said.

"That's what I said," Carson put in. "Why we didn't have to consider him a danger to anyone."

"I am in control of myself as much as I am any other time. I do not eat people, or bite them." He hesitated, then added, "The part about silver is true. An allergy of sorts, but fatal."

"Like being severely allergic to citrus," Rodney said, nodding. "Makes sense. Well, why would an entire species be allergic to something, so no it doesn't make complete sense. So are you... totally wolf-like? Or just... a big, hairy man with fangs and claws?" He held his hands up as though displaying claws.

Radek thought he really wanted to see some of these horror movies. "I look like a wolf. Larger than a grey wolf, a bit. You are correct about the conservation of mass; I do not get smaller. Or larger. I just become wolf-shaped."

He knew he was setting himself up -- but it couldn't be avoided. He could not hide himself anymore, and answering their questions would only make them more curious to see the transformation.

"Wow." Rodney was staring at him. "A wolf. Walking around on all fours, fur, snout, ears...." He was gesturing at his face as he mentioned the features, and Radek knew what his next question would be.

Radek sighed. Perhaps it would be easier to simply get it over with. "I do not want to be stared at," he began. He held up a hand to forestall the protests that erupted. "But... it would be all right for one or two people to... be there, tonight."

He could see the looks of disappointment on Dr. Weir's and Major Sheppard's faces. Ford looked faintly relieved -- all of them because they knew who the one or two would be. There would be no way to prevent Rodney from being there, now that Radek had granted permission. And Carson... well, Radek thought perhaps it would be easier with Carson there.

He moved his hand slightly towards Carson and Carson took it, giving him a smile. "I've seen it before, you know. Charlie's mum had a fit when she found out after the first time."

"What I can't believe is that you knew about this and never told me," Rodney said. "You couldn't find a moment to say 'hey, Rodney, guess what? Werewolves are real.'"

"I promised not to," Carson said, seriously. "Besides, you would have thought I was insane."

Rodney gave a huff of frustration, but didn't deny it. "Still." He waved a hand, then gave Radek a hopeful look. "Can I really watch?"

He hoped he did not end up regretting this. "You can. Just please do not tell my mother."

Distracted by the promise of that evening, Rodney put his questions on hold. Sheppard dragged him away to visit the astronomy department.

Carson gave Radek's hand a squeeze. "I suppose you're still interested in breakfast?"

Nodding quickly, Radek said, "Most definitely. I--" He stopped, embarrassed.

"It's all right," Carson said. "Charlie was always famished the morning after. Dr. Weir, if you'll excuse us?"

She nodded. "Go. And Dr. Zelenka, if you have any difficulties, from anyone -- please let me know. No matter how trivial it may seem; I won't tolerate any... discrimination." The word "violence" hung, unspoken. Radek simply nodded, not really knowing if he would take her at her word. But he appreciated the sentiment behind her assertions.

Officially, at least, he was welcomed.

It was a bizarre thing to be told. All his life he had been told by parents and grandparents and older cousins that humans were afraid of things that looked like monsters, that they destroyed what they feared. He'd been warned over again as a boy that to speak of what he was would lead to his death and the deaths of his family.

He glanced at Carson who was standing beside him, waiting patiently to go with him to breakfast. The look on his face was no different than it had been yesterday.

"Thank you," Radek said.

Carson nodded. "Let's get some breakfast -- you're not the only one missed a meal." And together they left for the mess hall.

The looks and talking didn't stop, on the way there. No one stopped them or tried to speak to them and Radek was beginning to wonder if Suzanna hadn't been the aberration. Finally he decided he would forego breakfast and return to his quarters, and he looked over at Carson to tell him.

He saw the fierce glare Carson was giving Dr. Wheeler, who had been walking towards them. The other man hesitated, then turned and went back the other way.

Radek was surprised, and opened his mouth to demand to know what Carson was doing. But... it was obvious what he was doing. Radek decided he rather appreciated it and said nothing. Dr. Wheeler was one of the astronomers; Radek didn't know him well, having only spoken with him on a very few occasions. He had no way of knowing if he would be friendly or antagonistic -- but he was glad to not have to find out just yet.

They reached the mess hall without further incident. Radek noted the stares and deliberately did not listen in to the conversations despite hearing his name mentioned. He focused on Carson, and on the food he'd been smelling for the last several minutes. They had made eggs, again, and the hot cereal they called oatmeal. All re-hydrated, reconstituted food.

There was no line, so Radek stopped at the counter and tried to decide which would be least unappealing.

"Do you want to ask them for something else?" Carson asked, quietly.

"Ask them...? No, that is not necessary." Radek shook his head and picked up a tray. The oatmeal was not very fresh -- breakfast had begun over three hours ago and the large pot looked and smelled like it had been sitting there the whole time.

On the other hand, the eggs had so little actual egg in them that it was cruel to serve them to someone expecting eggs. Perhaps he should get something to drink and raid Rodney's stash of sports bars again.

"Private Masters," Carson called over to the young man serving the food.

"Please," Radek began, reaching out for Carson's arm to stop him. But there was nothing here he could bear the thought of eating enough of to fill him.

The Marine walked over, wiping his hands on a towel. "What can I do for you, Dr. Beckett? Hey, Dr. Zelenka. Heard you had an adventure last night. Everything all right?"

Radek blinked. "Y...yes."

"Do you have anything back there we could get instead -- something with a bit of protein?" Carson asked.

Masters frowned, slightly, then his face cleared. "Oh, yeah. Um..." He looked confused, shooting a quick glance at Radek. "I...." He stopped, obviously worried about whatever question he wanted to ask.

"It is all right," Radek said quietly, realising that Masters had seen him eating other things here, before. "I can eat... this, but I really would prefer some meat." He caught Carson's look, and corrected himself. "Actually, more than a bit. A... couple of servings."

Masters nodded, most of his confusion fading -- but he still looked apologetic. He asked, "I... um, we got some of that kruker, from the mainland. Those rabbit things. I've got them in the freezer, would only take a few minutes to get some out. I... uh...."

The light dawned. "Cooked is perfectly fine," Radek told him. "Unlike common wolves, we do not prefer our food raw." It was actually fine when raw -- but he didn't want to say so, nor deal with eating his food in such a manner here in front of everyone. He liked cooked meat just as well.

"Gotcha." Masters nodded, grinning. "Be up in a few -- fastest thing is nuke it to defrost, then grill it up. I got some bottled sauces, barbecue or gravy or worchestershire, if you have a preference?"

Radek wrinkled his nose. "No sauce, thank you."

"Seasoning salt?"

He hesitated, then shook his head. "Just the meat, thank you," he said, feeling oddly reluctant to admit it, even though he'd admitted to so much already.

"No problem, Dr. Zelenka. I'll bring it out when it's ready." He gave them a nod and walked back towards the kitchen.

"Steak and eggs for breakfast," Carson said, easily. "No one said we'd dine so well when we agreed to come to Atlantis." He grabbed a bowl of the oatmeal then they went over to get two mugs of tea. Radek followed Carson towards a table out on the balcony and sat down with his back to the main seating area while Carson seated himself on the other side of the table. Radek looked out over Carson's shoulder towards the ocean.

He'd grown used to the constant scent of salt water and brine, but he still did not enjoy it. It was impossible to get away from except in the very driest parts of the city. His own quarters he had scrubbed for hours until finally there was very little aroma at all.

He wished there was some way to make it smell like home. Not Earth necessarily, but something other than metal and salt. The one time he'd left Atlantis when they had evacuated to Manara to escape the storm, he'd been sorely tempted get take a bucket to get dirt for his quarters.

"Shall I offer a penny for your thoughts?"

Radek blinked, and realised Carson was watching him. "I am sorry," he apologised for ignoring him. "It has been very busy twenty four

"Aye, it has."

They fell silent again and Radek had the feeling that Carson was waiting for him to decide to speak. The trouble was, there was only one topic that was coming to mind and he didn't know if he was ready to have that conversation yet.

He stared at his mug of tea, not really wanting it. There was nothing he wanted in its stead -- except perhaps a thick venison steak, cut large and lightly grilled over an open flame. His grandfather had always made breakfast on full moon mornings, waking up as soon as the moon set and filling the entire house with the smell of meat.

Sometimes his mother would make roasted potatoes as well for those who wanted them. But mostly they had all sat together and ate, sharing stories and catching up with everyone's lives. Moonset mornings were the best times -- the entire pack was almost always home, only those young adults who were off to school or just moved out on their own, were absent.

Radek had not spent a moonset with members of his family in a long while. It was not particularly unusual, though typically lone wolves would create their own packs more quickly than he had managed to do. He hadn't thought he wanted one -- had instead joined the Stargate program and hidden his true nature away.

But the loneliness of it was hitting him hard now. All around him there was talk and laughter, and the sounds of people eating. But the smells were all wrong and the people he was surrounded by were strangers. Friendly, perhaps, and some of them definitely friends. But none were family.

He was startled by Carson's hand touching his. He realised he'd fallen silent too long, and found Carson looking at him with sadness in his eyes.

"I'm sorry," Carson said quietly.

"For what are you sorry?"

"For whatever put that look on your face. I wish there was some way I could change it."

"I...." He ought to ask, he knew that. But surely he would be forgiven for shying away from it, for now. "I will be fine." Even he didn't believe himself. He pulled his hand away from Carson's, despite wishing very much he could have more.

"Radek... would you mind if I asked you something?"

Radek held back a sigh, but nodded. The reprieve was over, it seemed.

"Is this why you've... never said anything about... about us being more than... well, what we are?"

Radek frowned. Not exactly the question he had expected. But he said, honestly, "It would not have been possible for me to keep this from you. If we were... closer."

Carson nodded and his expression was guarded. Radek found himself tensing. "Would you... I mean... I'm not very good at this," Carson

"It is all right," Radek whispered, and he tried very hard to keep himself composed. "I understand."

He was shocked when Carson rolled his eyes and said, "Not that! I'm trying to ask if you mind if we... it's not like I can invite you to the cinema or out to meals." He gestured at the dining area. "But I'd like to see more of you than just an occasional night together."

Radek's jaw dropped, and he was unable -- perhaps fortunately -- to say anything, as he smelled his breakfast approaching. He shut his mouth and waited; a moment later Masters walked up and set a gloriously full plate in front of him. "Dekuji. Thank you." He reached for his fork, then stopped. Carson was waiting patiently. A little worriedly, but his mouth was quirked into an amused half-smile.


"Oh, eat first. It's all right," Carson said. Radek narrowed his eyes. Carson continued in an innocent tone, "I'll just sit here on tenterhooks."

Radek smiled -- then grinned. "The answer is yes. Now may I eat?"

"Yes," Carson said simply. But his eyes had lit up and his entire bearing had changed. Even his scent shifted -- still himself, still the mild arousal, and still the goddammed sea air. But now there was also happiness. Something he had detected quite rarely from Carson.

Radek tore off a piece of the kruker and shoved it into his mouth. The taste was like nothing he'd ever had before on Earth. It was the size of a rabbit, but nothing like its flavor. But it was meat, and it was excellent.

He realised there was something missing which, now, he could ask for. Perhaps it was not even necessary to ask. He stopped eating, hesitated long enough for Carson to start to ask him what was wrong. Radek pushed his plate to the other side of the table, then got up and walked around to sit down beside Carson. There was plenty of room, but Radek sat close enough that their arms and legs were touching. He prepared himself to explain, but Carson just gave him a fond look then went back to eating his breakfast.

It had been a very long time since he had touched anyone -- other than Carson on those few nights. He had to stifle the urge to demand more -- breakfast was not a place for cuddles, even if he didn't want to make the entire contingent of other diners stare even more than they already were.

But it felt so very good. The pressure of contact against his thigh, his arm brushing Carson's as he ate. Something that had been very tight inside him began to relax for the first time in a very, very long while.

They returned to his quarters after breakfast. Carson had begun fading a bit as they ate, and Radek had realised that Carson had not gotten much sleep the previous night. Between telling the other what he knew about wolves and helping search for him -- he would have got as little sleep as Radek had. Possibly less.

It had been easy to invite Carson back to his room and Carson had accepted readily. They both seemed to know that sleep was the priority -- but Radek couldn't turn down the opportunity to sleep with Carson. Certainly it was better than sleeping alone.

They didn't talk on the way back and when they got to Radek's quarters, all Carson asked was, "Did you want to do anything before we fall asleep?"

Radek smiled. Carson looked like he was half-dead on his feet. "Sleep is good. 'Anything' can wait until later when we are both awake to *do* anything."

"There's one thing can't wait," Carson said and he stepped forward. Radek didn't have a chance to ask him what he was doing before Carson kissed him. When Carson broke away and said, "Let's go to bed," all he could do was nod.

They undressed quickly and Radek crawled into bed on the left-hand side. Carson got in the other side and curled up behind him. Radek wanted to say something -- tell him how grateful he was for everything. His patience, support, and acceptance. But as he took a deep breath to say it all, he found his eyes slipping closed. Carson's arm over his middle was growing heavy and still and Radek thought that maybe talk could be another of those things which waited until later.

Radek woke up, laying in exactly the same position. Carson was still pressed up against him, his body heavy and warm. From the sound of it he was utterly dead to the world. Radek turned his head as much as he could without disturbing Carson but could not see his face. He shifted a tiny bit; Carson did not stir at all.

Smiling, Radek rolled onto his back and Carson's arm remained draped over him, limp as a noodle. He was asleep, very deeply, and Radek doubted he would be able to wake him even if he should want to. He didn't want to, though; he leaned over and laid a light kiss on Carson's lips, then scooted very carefully out of the bed.

According to the clock, he had slept only an hour. But he felt awake, so he went over to his laptop. His file from yesterday was still on the astrophysics server; he opened it and very quickly lost himself in work.

A few hours later, Radek heard the first signs of life from his bed. He kept typing until he heard Carson groan, tiredly. Then he looked over and saw Carson pushing himself upright and looking around, blearily.

"Good morning -- or I should say, good afternoon." Radek walked over and sat down on the edge of the bed, completely unable to hold back a delighted smile.

Carson blinked a couple of times, then he seemed to wake up more fully -- and he returned the smile. "I feel like my brain's been wrapped in wet cotton."

Radek nodded. "Why don't you go back to sleep, then?"

"I've got a better idea." Carson tilted his head slightly and Radek leaned in for the kiss. It was not the same as their usual. Always before there had been a feeling of distance, no matter how intimately they touched.

But this, a simple kiss and a hand on Radek's neck, was already something more. The kiss was gentle, as Carson often was. Perhaps it was only that it felt different, inside.

He returned the kiss and leaned forward, just a bit. Carson laid back down willingly, smiling up at him as Radek climbed onto the bed, pulling back the blankets. He had seen Carson naked so many times. There was nothing surprising here, no doubts as to what his lover would want, what he liked.

Radek wanted to savor it this time. Always before had been the worry that he would ask for too much -- ask Carson to simply hold him, ask him to return too often. He would hold himself back from enjoying too much so he would not miss it so keenly when he was alone again.

But now perhaps it would be all right if he did not hold himself back. He leaned down and placed a kiss on Carson's chest, laying his body half on top of Carson's. They were both already aroused and Carson's hands were touching his back in familiar ways. Stroking, holding him as he continued to place kisses up towards Carson's neck, along the collarbone, up to the jaw and down again to where he'd started.

He could feel Carson breathing, felt him relax as Carson realised that Radek was going slowly this time. Radek shifted to lie fully on top of him, delighting in the feel of Carson beneath him. The firm weight of his body held him as though securely; Radek felt as though he could stay there forever.

He continued kissing Carson. One on the mouth, which turned into more than the quick exploration he'd intended. Carson opened his mouth and Radek had to stay, pressing his tongue against Carson's. He pulled at Carson's lip, kissed him again, and kissed him once more before moving on. Traveled his way down Carson's neck, giving his earlobe a quick nibble and enjoying the gasp he got in return.

"Please, Radek," Carson begged, pushing his hips up against him. Radek responded by rubbing his cock against Carson's -- then stopping and going back to tasting every inch of Carson' body. He traveled down Carson's arm, nuzzling at the muscles of his biceps, pressing light kisses down his forearm, and finally taking his hand and licking the palm and each individual finger.

Carson was breathing heavily as Radek sucked lightly again on a finger. "Please, dear god," Carson gasped and Radek only smiled.

"I promise, I will eventually get to good part," he said.

Carson pried his eyes open and looked at him. "If I don't die before then, and this *is* the good part. One of them. Don't stop, just... don't make me have to kill you out of frustration."

Radek gave him an innocent look. "Then you will not come at all, will you?" He gave Carson's hand another kiss, then moved over to Carson's other arm. Carson moaned, but did nothing to stop him.

Repeating himself on Carson's other arm, Radek took his time reaching his fingertips. There, he sucked gently until Carson was saying his name over and over, apparently torn between begging for more and threatening him. Radek pressed his face against Carson's hand and Carson brushed his fingers along Radek's cheek. He took a moment to crawl up once more to Carson's mouth, giving him another long kiss before forcing himself back down.

He kissed his way down Carson's stomach, moving his body down until he was lying between Carson's legs. He heard Carson gasp, and Radek licked the tip of Carson's cock.

Carson said something that might not have been wholly coherent -- or it might have been Gaelic. Radek had no idea, but he liked the way Carson could no long keep his body still. Carson had one hand on Radek's head, brushing his fingers through Radek's hair, petting him as Radek opened his mouth again.

Radek took the tip of Carson's cock into his mouth, the taste and feel of him exactly the same as all the times before. He knew how to make Carson's breath stop, knew how to make him shout Radek's name.

But it was the first time he could tell himself how much he loved it. Radek pulled his mouth away and licked the cockhead, pulling the foreskin down and licking the shaft as well. Carson's fingers gripped tightly, then he moved his hands away and held onto the sheets. Radek curled one hand around Carson's thigh, squeezing his leg as he continued to suck him.

Carson's breathing hitched and Radek knew that he could make him come quickly, now. He pulled back, bumped Carson's cock with his nose, and turned his head to lay a kiss on the inside of his thigh.

"Oh, dear lord, Radek...."

Radek kissed him again, allowing his head to brush against Carson's cock as he did. Carson whimpered.

"Please, I meant it about having to kill you."

"If I thought you could move, I would take that threat seriously," Radek told him. He reached over and placed one finger on Carson's cock, pressing down just a little.

Carson pushed himself against Radek's finger, trying to rub his cock on Radek's hand. Then Carson suddenly raised his head and Radek sat up, fast. Carson followed him, grabbing him around the waist and pulling him forward.

"Can't move, can I?" Carson said, his voice low in Radek's ears. Radek shivered as Carson pushed him down, flipping him over onto his back. Radek pulled his legs up as Carson got onto his knees.

"I think you'll find I have a long memory for revenge," Carson said, even as he pressed himself against Radek's ass.

"I think you'll find I don't care," Radek told him. "Please," he added, pressing his hips down as Carson did not move to thrust inside him.

Carson gave him a predator's smile; Radek shivered. "'Please' what, now?"

"Please fuck me," Radek said.

"And do you think I should take my time?" Carson asked, and he placed on hand on Radek's chest, caressing him lightly.

"If I thought you *could* I would say yes. No, I would still say 'no'," Radek said.

Carson leaned forward suddenly, pressing Radek's legs down against his chest. He stopped, face inches from Radek's. Radek couldn't move, and completely didn't care.

"Kiss me?" Radek asked, instead. Carson grinned -- then did so. When he sat back again, Radek asked, "Fuck me?"

"Only because I'll hate myself if I don't do *something*," Carson admitted. He nodded towards the nightstand and Radek fumbled with the drawer. He got his hand on the lube -- the only thing he kept in there, which made it much easier to find at times like this, when waiting made him willing to forego it altogether.

Carson had never been willing to fuck him dry, however, so Radek had got skilled at grabbing the tube quickly. He flipped it open and squeezed out enough that Carson wouldn't keep stopping to ask him if he were all right. He reached down and covered Carson's cock -- rubbing and tugging at him until Carson shoved his hand away. Radek smiled and reached down to smear the rest of it inside himself -- watching closely as Carson's gaze got caught at the sight. Sometimes he did this slowly, teasing them both. More often -- like now -- he did it as quickly as he could.

"Now, will you please--" was as far as he got before Carson pressed against him -- then thrust inside.

Radek's head fell back on the pillow. He bit his lip, knowing that if he started babbling *now* Carson would only tease him further. He lay still, quietly as he could as Carson began to fuck him.

His resolve lasted for only three thrusts, then he gasped and said Carson's name, then began telling him in great and lurid detail just how much he wanted Carson to do exactly what he was doing.

Carson always said he didn't really mind that Radek babbled in Czech when they had sex. He'd asked for a translation once, and Radek had told him. The translation had not lasted long, as Carson had decided to take the translation as direction and made Radek start babbling all over again.

He could see that Carson knew what he was saying, in feeling if not in exact content. Carson's eyes grew darker and his thrusts became deeper and harder. Radek told him just how much he wanted this and Carson responded by continuing to fuck him.

Soon enough Radek could no longer speak. He gasped for air, groaning with every thrust. He closed his eyes, letting his head loll to one side and he wished there was a way to pull Carson in even more. He gripped his knees tightly, hanging onto them as though for dear life. He could feel Carson's hands on his legs as well, pushing them down, hanging on for leverage as he thrust.

Without warning, Carson stopped, fully inside him. Radek opened his eyes to glare. Carson grinned -- half wild, and it was clear it was as difficult for him as it was for Radek. Radek moved his hips, but Carson held still.

Radek whimpered and Carson's grin just grew wider.

"Please?" Radek begged.

Carson leaned down and kissed his leg -- but did not otherwise move.

"I will give you everything I own, and sign over my entire life savings when we return to Earth," Radek offered. Carson said nothing -- and still did not move. Radek whimpered again, this time for real. "I... will do your paperwork," he offered.

"Mmm," was all Carson said. He still did not return to fucking him, and Radek started thinking of places he could hide Carson's body.

"I will tell Rodney that you are smarter than he is," he tried.

"I think Rodney won't care, but it's a good try."

"I will tell everyone you are a sadistic bastard," he said and this time Carson laughed.

"Fine," Radek said. "I do not need to wait for you." He reached down and grabbed his cock. Carson let him start jerking off without trying to stop him. Without moving, either, and Radek decided he didn't care if Carson didn't fuck him anymore. He knew he was lying, but he moved his hand faster, getting himself close enough that he was prepared to give up the world if Carson would just fuck him, again.

"Oh, yeah," Carson said, and Radek just kept his hand moving. He could feel Carson move a little bit. He let his head fall back and kept pulling at his cock. Then he heard Carson say, "I l--"

Carson stopped, but Radek found himself coming. He kept his hand moving, felt Carson fuck him, hard, once more. He didn't hold back the howl that was building in his throat; feeling the orgasm slam through him, with Carson finally fucking him again and the freedom to not keep himself quiet so that his lover couldn't hear the not-quite human sound he made.

His throat was raw by the time he collapsed -- Carson was panting, and close, and Radek looked up at him and smiled.

"Oh, fuck," Carson said, and he slammed in one more time. Radek watched as Carson came, his face losing all semblance of control as his body trembled. He thrust in again, driving himself through the remains of his orgasm, then he collapsed, slowly, on top of Radek. Radek guided him down, arranging him to lie on top of him. Radek held him close, delighted that he could finally indulge in a snuggle.

He kissed Carson's forehead, breathing in the smell of them both, tangled up together. Carson didn't move and Radek expected him to fall back to sleep.

"Hrurg," Carson said, and he tried to shift himself off of Radek.

"Do not move," Radek told him.

Carson sighed happily and stayed where he was. After a moment, he asked, "I can't decide if I want sleep, or lunch."

Radek frowned. "We can't have both?"

"I mean, first."

"If I thought you were capable of moving, I would say 'lunch'," Radek said, repeating his earlier threat. He twitched as Carson poked him in the ribs. In a serious tone, he continued, "I think sleep, first. Then lunch, then more of this."

Carson raised his head -- already drifting back to sleep. "Sleep, more of this, lunch, more of this?"

Radek raised an eyebrow. "Do you think I am still nineteen?"

But Carson just laid his head back down, smiling. He wriggled a bit, wrapping his arms around Radek and settling himself in for a nap. Radek put his hand on Carson's head, rubbing his skull lightly until, very soon after, Carson fell fast asleep.

It only took another moment, and closing his own eyes, for Radek to do the same.

"Oh, yes, lovely. The moon's rising in half an hour and you two are asleep."

Radek opened his eyes to find Rodney standing in the middle of his quarters. Carson had moved at some point, lying beside him now, but snuggling just as closely. Radek looked around, realising that it had grown dark and the moon was, in fact, very soon on its way.


"I knocked, but there was no answer. I let myself in -- you *did* invite me, although I must say I'm glad I didn't arrive sooner."

"We've been asleep all afternoon," he protested, feeling not so very much awake.

"Uh-huh," was all Rodney said.

Radek felt Carson stir and ignored Rodney in favor of kissing Carson awake. Carson opened his eyes -- then they opened wide.


"Hi. Moon. Werewolf," Rodney said, giving a short wave towards the sky then towards Radek.

"I..." Carson started to sit up, then he stopped and pulled the sheet up to his shoulder. He looked frantically around and Radek pointed at the pile of Carson's clothing. It was on the other side of the room and Radek could see how much Carson was not thrilled about getting out of bed to get his clothes.

Fortunately -- or not, depending on one's point of view, Radek thought -- Rodney grabbed them and brought them over.

"Thanks," Carson managed, though he looked like he was about to swallow his own tongue.

"Don't mention it. I'm assuming that if you two need a shower first, you won't take the *entire* half hour before the moon rises?"

Carson blushed a deep and very adorable red. Radek frowned at Rodney, despite his amusement.

"I do get to see the transformation, don't I?" Rodney asked, frowning as well.

"I--" Radek stopped. He had not thought about it. In truth, he had not thought about his audience at all, today. But the question seemed obvious; why else would Rodney want to be here, if not to see everything?

"You can say no," Carson said quietly, laying his hand on top of Radek's arm.

There was a sound of protest from Rodney. But then he said, "Well, of course if you really don't *want* to, I can wait outside until you've changed." He sounded just like a small boy who had been told he could not attend the science fair.

"No, it is... will be all right. I have not -- there has never been...." Radek took a deep breath. "It has only ever been myself alone, or other members of my pack. I am only nervous. But you may stay."

Rodney grinned and clapped his hands together. "Excellent! Now, I assumed you wouldn't want any recording equipment, but if I could take some notes...?" He began looking around Radek's room, apparently for a notebook.

Radek swallowed. "No cameras."

"Yes, yes, so I thought. Oh, here we go. Now -- can I ask what it's like beforehand? I mean, while you're still capable of talking. Er, I assume you won't be able to talk after you're a wolf?" Rodney sat down, paper and pencil in hand that he had taken from Radek's desk.

"Not English," Radek told him. "And I doubt you can understand a wolf's body language or howls."

"I think I got the gist of one," Carson said, slyly. He was still holding onto his clothing, not making a move to get out of bed.

"I had a dog, once," Rodney said. "Is it the same? Not that I ever really understood him, either, except when he needed to go outside. Never did get why he kept destroying my dad's shoes, though. I'm assuming you're smarter than a dog, even as a wolf, though."

"Yes, Rodney, I am smarter than a dog."

Rodney rolled his eyes. "Look, at least half of my questions will, statistically speaking, be stupid ones from your point of view. But I have to ask them sometime. I only have," he paused to look at his watch.

"Ten minutes," Radek told him.

"Ten-- you can tell? That closely?"

"After a lifetime of feeling the moon rising, yes, I can tell." He told himself that Rodney was correct -- he wanted to know everything, and that meant asking the occasional stupid question. "Children learn how to tell, as they grow. Usually by age five or six, they know how soon the moon is coming."

"Wow." Rodney was staring at him, then suddenly began writing furiously.

"Excuse me," Carson said, finally, and he started to get out of bed, trying to keep his back turned and remained covered with the sheet.

Rodney waved a hand absently and asked, "So you said earlier that you're still yourself, just wolf-shaped. So your brain doesn't change. Would you be able to, I don't know, type? Or something?"

"They do not make paw-shaped keyboards," Radek pointed out.

Rodney waggled the pencil as he began talking quickly again. "The Atlantis control panels are large. You could still use those -- for god's sake, Carson, I've seen you naked before. Get dressed already, if you're going to."

"You what?" Carson yelped.

"What do you think?" Rodney asked him, and Radek was fairly sure he did not mean about whether Carson should get dressed.

"The keyboards for the Atlantis computers, yes, those are large enough. I am not sure what you would expect me to do -- I cannot type notes; the control panels we have figured out have very specific purposes, none of which is word processing." Not to mention the fact he would have to go out to the control center to use them.

Rodney didn't seem to mind his refusal. "Yes, yes, I'm just thinking. It's at least possible -- you could dial the Stargate, those keys are big enough."

Beside him, Carson finally got out of the bed. Radek glanced over, preferring that view to watching Rodney tap the pencil against his chin. Carson glanced at him, then quickly away and proceeded to dress quickly. When he was dressed again, he turned back around -- and glared fiercely at Rodney.

Rodney looked surprised. "What? I never said I didn't *like* the view. So, Radek, can you -- whoa! OK, note to self, don't ogle the werewolf's lover's ass."

Radek was halfway across the room towards him, not even sure what he was doing or what he was going to do when he got to Rodney. He couldn't strangle him -- much as he wanted to, sometimes. "I..." He unclenched his fists, then froze.

The moon was rising.

"Are you... Oh. Oh, that's *cool*."

Rodney was staring at him. His body was changing and Radek turned his head to look at Carson. Who was also watching him, with just as much fascination. But it was easier to see Carson staring at him.

He dropped to his front paws and wanted to give himself a shake, but couldn't quite bring himself to move. He didn't dare turn around though he could hear Rodney writing, furiously. He was talking to himself -- or perhaps Radek was meant to follow the barely coherent questions and answer them, somehow.

Carson walked over and dropped to his knees in front of him and put his hand on Radek's head. Radek closed his eyes and wanted to press himself against Carson. He tried to force his tail up, out from between his legs, telling himself that acting as though he weren't afraid would make him feel less afraid.

"It's all right," Carson said softly, as he rubbed Radek's head. On stiff legs, Radek moved closer to him and Carson sat down; Radek pressed closer and Carson put an arm across his back, pulling him in.

"I don't think he's a lap wolf," Rodney said, and his voice was subdued and serious.

"Aye, but he's terrified," Carson said calmly, and he kept petting Radek. He didn't try to shift Radek away, despite the truth of Rodney's words.

"Should I... go?" Rodney asked, and Radek could tell that he would, if asked.

But Carson shook his head. "He's got nothing to fear from either of us, so you ought to stay and let him find that out."

Radek had his face against Carson's chest, wishing he could open his eyes -- wishing there was room to hide underneath the bed. He heard Rodney stand up, then he was coming over and crouching down.

"Over here," Carson said. "Not behind him -- though if he bites you, it won't be on purpose."

"So I'm moving to where he *can* bite me, so he feels safer?" Rodney asked, in equal tones of surprise and exasperation.

"So he doesn't feel as though you're trying to be dominant over him," Carson snapped. "Sit down," he said again, tugging on Rodney's arm. Rodney finally sat down beside Carson, in front of Radek.

Rodney was nearly as close to him as Carson was and Radek forced himself to look. Rodney was staring at him, frowning slightly and smelling of worry. Radek was beginning to breath hard, but didn't let himself move. There was nowhere to run, anyhow.

Carson was still petting him, and that helped. Rodney raised a hand, hesitantly, then he laid it on Radek's face.


His fingers moved awkwardly and Radek had no idea if he minded or not. If, like Carson's hand, it felt good. Just to be touched -- even if Rodney was staring, eyes wide with stunned amazement. His hand moved, and Rodney said in an objective tone, "His pelt's thicker."

Suddenly Radek had a flash of being subjected to physical examination -- studied and poked and examined. He hadn't even realised he was whimpering until Carson's grip on him tightened.

"Shh, Radek, calm down," Carson was saying and even Rodney looked surprised.

Then Rodney's manner changed and he scooted in even closer. "Hey, Radek, relax. It's all right." His hand flattened against Radek's head, no longer hesitantly touching, but petting.

Radek closed his eyes again and forced himself to remain still. Carson -- Carson was safe. He smelled concerned, and Radek could detect clearly the other feelings he'd half-scented earlier. The words Carson had stopped himself from saying earlier were obvious now. Carson's hand moved past his face and Radek risked a tentative lick.

Carson chuckled. No one spoke, though, and both Carson and Rodney simply continued petting him.

Radek blinked, then, as the realisation slowly hit. He looked at Rodney -- Radek could feel Carson, smell him, and... he knew Carson had already settled into place. *Pack*, flittered through his mind. But Rodney was just sitting there, no longer the mad scientist, but this. What was this? Caring and the same gentleness as Carson. Not for the same reason -- but there were things there that Radek had only even associated with cousins he'd grown up with.

He had no doubt Rodney's questions were still there, that he still wanted to learn whatever he could. But the notebook was abandoned across the room and Rodney was sitting here without any questions in his eyes at all.

"Are you all right, now?" Carson asked. Radek was calming down; his breathing had slowed and he no longer had to fight down the whimpering that had curled in his chest.

He waited a moment to make sure. Then he shifted tentatively further towards Carson, feeling his weight start to tip them both backwards.
Carson braced himself with a quick hand behind him. Radek pulled his back legs up and scooted sideways, despite being just as large, if not the same shape, as Carson. Carson gave a grunt of protest, but did not try to push Radek back.

"Huh. I guess he *is* a lap wolf," Rodney said.

"I think he's a wee bit spoiled," Carson said, teasing lightly. "We've only been officially dating for twelve hours and already look at the liberties he's taking." He was rubbing Radek's head, letting him know in no uncertain terms that he was welcome to stay right where he was.

"Well, under the circumstances," Rodney said, "It isn't every day you turn into a werewolf with humans watching-- wait, *twelve hours*? What was... OK, you're lying. You two started sleeping together weeks ago."

Radek could feel the heat as Carson blushed again. He was suddenly grateful he couldn't speak English and and could leave Carson to the conversation. "Aye, well... yes. But it wasn't... oh for god's sake, Rodney, I don't need to explain the details to you."

"I don't know, it isn't like I can ask Radek anything. So I have to ask you. Now, spill. You two *have* been sleeping together for weeks."

Radek looked up to see Carson glaring at Rodney. "Yes."

"So? Twelve hours? Oh, don't tell me you two have been just--"

"Do you *mind*?" Carson snapped, but there was no real anger in him.

"Just having sex? What in the world for? I mean, OK, I can buy that being better than nothing. But why-- oh. Right, OK, sorry. Brain blip," he said. He gestured at Radek, and Carson nodded. "But now... it's official? We can tease you in public?"

There was a pause. Then, "*We*?" Carson choked.

"We don't have much else to do on long, boring missions except gossip about our friends. Sheppard, Ford, and Teyla and I have figured out about twelve of the couples that are trying to keep it a secret. Although we're not sure about Rogers and Lindsey. Maybe they're fuck-buddies, too? Huh. That would explain a lot."

"Rodney?" Carson asked, calmly.


"Do you happen to notice how large my lover's teeth are at the moment?"

Radek smiled.

"You wouldn't."

"It may not turn you into a wolf, but I'm pretty sure it will shut you up."

"Oh, it wouldn't," Rodney countered. "I'll start hollering then *you* will have to leave him here and go patch me up." He smiled, smugly. "Bluffing."

Radek had to admit he had a good point. But there were other ways to defend Carson -- and himself. Radek stood up, ignored the looks he got, and pounced. Lightly, not using his full weight, because Rodney *was* only human.

But it was enough to bowl him over onto his back with a loud, high-pitched yell. Radek landed on top of him, and there he stayed. He gave Carson a grin while Rodney flailed.

"Aye, that'll do," Carson said.

"Help?" Rodney said.

Carson, however, stood up and stretched. "I really need a shower. If you two will excuse me?" He walked away to the bathroom and Radek watched him go.

Finally Rodney said, wheezing a bit, "If you get off me you can go watch him. And I can leave and find some kind, *caring* doctor to put my ribs back together."

Radek knew he was joking, but... another excellent point. Perhaps Rodney *was* smarter than he was. He got up and padded to the bathroom. Behind him, he heard Rodney pick up the notebook then let himself out.

"Really, I am fine," Radek said. It was the third time Carson had asked if he really wanted to do this and still he did not look convinced. Radek felt like a small boy being taken to his first day of school; his mother had held his hand and asked him, over again, if he really wanted to go or if he wanted to put it off for a year. He'd only been four years old, but straining at her hand to get inside where there were books to read and magnificent things to learn.

Carson was not holding his hand, but Radek knew if he said a single word, Carson would find a reason to hang around the astrophysics labs all day. Or drag him back to his quarters and keep him safely tucked away.

"I'll just--" Carson began, giving the hallway towards Radek's lab a nod.

Radek frowned and did not budge. "You will go that way." He pointed in the other direction, towards the infirmary and Carson's office.

Carson hesitated, then smiled sheepishly. "So you'll meet me for lunch?"

"I will. But only if you go to work, and let me do the same, so we *can* meet."

He knew what Carson was doing. What he wanted -- what Radek wanted, as well. But if he allowed Carson to escort him the entire way to his lab, then he knew Carson would find some reason to stay for a bit. 'A bit' would stretch to an hour, then two, then the entire morning.

As much as Radek knew he would like that, he felt it would only attract even more attention. He just wanted to act as though everything were normal.

Carson frowned, slightly, then took a step towards the infirmary. "You're sure?"

Radek sighed. "An early lunch, then. Now, go." He shooed Carson off, then very deliberately turned and walked away. He did not hear Carson's footsteps for several moments, but eventually Carson turned and walked away as well.

It was rather nerve-wracking to walk alone down the corridor, despite the absence of anyone else. They'd seen very few people since leaving Radek's room, and those they had encountered had not spoken to him. There had been no hostility in the silence.

But he understood why Carson had been so insistent that he could accompany Radek the entire way. Why in fact he'd suggested they take the day off and stay in Radek's quarters. He was almost tempted to turn back and tell Carson he accepted the offer.

He knew that the more he put this off, the harder it would be. He could not hide forever, so Radek kept going, knowing that he had to get this over with.

Fortunately it was not a long walk and he passed no one else in the hallway. When he spotted the door to the astrophysics lab, he found himself quickening his steps. Then he stopped just inside the doorway.

"What--" He swallowed the question, for it was very quickly obvious what was going on. He headed towards his workstation -- avoiding Drs Kavanagh and Richardson who were picking up boxes loaded full of their belongings. Richardson paused when he saw Radek; Kavanagh made his way forward.

"Excuse me," Kavanagh said in a sharp tone, reaching past Radek to take a small box of portable memory from the shelf. Radek moved aside, hoping he would just take it and go. But Kavanagh stopped and sneered down at him. "We're moving to a better facility down the hallway." He looked over his shoulder at Dr. Saito. "You're still welcome to join us."

Dr. Saito did not look up, hunched over her keyboard. Radek could not tell if it were he or Kavanagh she was distressed by.

"Suit yourself," Kavanagh said. He turned, knocking into Radek with the edge of the box he was holding. "Watch it!" he snapped, despite being the cause of the collision.

Radek said nothing, just wanting them to go, already. If they did not want to be here and work in the same space as himself -- he was happy to be rid of them. He took a step sideways, trying to make more room for Kavanagh to walk past.

"Oh, I forgot," Kavanagh said and he walked back over to his former workstation. He picked up his coffee mug, shifting the box onto his hip to carry it with one arm. Richardson was hovering at the doorway and Radek could smell the tension and fear rolling out of him like thick, cloying salt.

Kavanagh headed towards the door, walking past Radek again. As he passed, he hit Radek solidly in the chest with his hand.

"Kurva!" Radek jumped as hot coffee spilled down his chest. He glared at Kavanagh, who was smirking.

"Watch it, Wolfboy," Kavanagh said. "You could have spilled that all over my computer. Remember we can't replace it if it gets ruined."

Radek bared his teeth. "And you should remember that tonight is another full moon. Srac!"

Kavanagh's anger vanished in a second as he stumbled backwards a step. He recovered himself and shook his head. "And you'll be hiding in your room again with that faggot--"

Radek had his hand on Kavanagh's shirt, twisting the fabric tightly in his hand before he could complete his sentence. "Neser me," he said quietly. "If you piss me off I will demonstrate just how not human I am, no matter what I look like."

There was a rush of fear from Richardson, who ducked out of the lab and hurried away. Kavanagh stank of it as well, underneath his arrogance. He knocked Radek's hand away and sneered. "Why *anyone* would--" he began.

"Get out!" Radek snapped. He did not want to hear anymore, did not want to smell Kavanagh for one more second. They were welcome to go work on the other side of the planet if they liked and good riddance to them both.

Kavanagh hesitated and Radek took a step towards him. Kavanagh retreated one more step then said, "I'm glad to get out of here." He glanced around the room as though including them all in his insult.

But he left and Radek let him go. He wished he could follow through on his threat -- although he was not convinced anyone would blame him if Kavanagh turned up in the morning missing a few limbs. He paced back and forth, still very much wanting to bite someone.

"D...dr. Zelenka?" Dr. Saito took a hesitant step forward and he looked over to see her holding out a towel.

He forced himself to calm down and nodded. "Thank you." She scurried forward to hand him the towel, practically leapt away, then stopped.

"I... that is...." She stopped and looked down, almost trembling.

"Perhaps we can get some decent work done with them gone," Radek said, trying to calm down for her sake, if nothing else.

"I'm sorry," Dr. Saito blurted, glancing up at him briefly. "I came in and they were saying... horrible things. Dr. Kavanagh told me to go, as well, but-- That is... are they true? The things he said?"

"I do not know what he said," Radek told her. There was really no way to clean the coffee from his shirt, he decided as he dabbed at the stain. It had spilled everywhere and the damp cloth was already turning cold against his skin. Luckily the fabric had protected him from being burned -- or Kavanagh would likely have more than just an irate wolf at his throat.

"He... he said... Dr. McKay!" Dr. Saito's eyes flew wide and she leapt back.

"Morning, what-- Radek, what happened?" Rodney hurried over, frowning at Radek's shirt and glancing uncertainly at Saito.

"This was Kavanagh," Radek told him. "Dr. Saito was helping me."

"Kavanagh! What did he-- where is he?" Rodney whirled, then stopped, frustrated at finding Kavanagh absent.

"He is gone. He and Richardson both. Have moved to another lab where they are not distressed by the presence of a scientist smarter than they are."

"They left because of me? Finally," Rodney said, though his humour was obviously forced.

Radek rolled his eyes. "Rodney, if Kavanagh were going to leave this lab because of you, he would have done so the first time you corrected his math."

The corner of Rodney's mouth quirked, despite his anger. "That was actually kinda fun. I thought he was going to pass out from choking."

"Which is no doubt why you did it." He sighed. "I need new shirt." Which meant making that walk back to his quarters and back again. He'd been looking forward to holing up here for the rest of the day -- except for lunch, he reminded himself.

"I've got one in my office," Rodney said. "I keep a change of clothes here--"

"For those times you spill hydrochloric acid on yourself," Radek finished.

"I never spill -- does this *look* like a chemistry lab to you?" Rodney was leading him towards his office; Radek followed, grateful he would not have to make the long trek past all those potential seeing eyes -- but on the other hand, he could have returned to his quarters and stayed there.

"My mistake," Radek said. "It must have been something that only smelled and behaved like hydrochloric acid. Which would be... let me think...." He trailed off as though trying to recall what other chemicals it might have been. "Hydrochloric acid?"

"You know what? Never mind. I'm not lending you my shirt." Rodney had already grabbed it out of a small cabinet, but he folded his arms and glared at Radek.

"Give me your shirt, Rodney," Radek said.


"Or I will be forced to tell Carson how I worked all morning in a cold shirt that stank of coffee."

"And he'll get mad at Kavanagh," Rodney pointed out. "Which, by the way, remind me to tear him a new asshole at the next staff meeting."

Radek nodded. "And you think Carson will not say, 'Rodney, why did you not lend poor Radek your clean, unused shirt?'"

Rodney narrowed his eyes. "I think I liked you better when you two were pretending you weren't together." He held out the shirt and Radek accepted it.

"We were not together," Radek pointed out as he removed his soaked shirt and dropped it on the floor.

"Excuse me! Dirty up your own office."

"I do not have my own office," Radek reminded him. He put on Rodney's shirt and tugged at it -- a size larger than his own, but it was serviceable. He tugged at it again as though trying to decide what to do with the extra fabric.

"I really do *not* get that," Rodney said. "I mean, yeah, sure, don't want to tell the guy you're sleeping with that 'hey, I'm a werewolf, want to come home and meet my folks?' Not that that's an option at the moment, but still." He shook his head.

"Are we discussing my personal life, or are we fixing your calculations for charging a new ZPM?"

"Fixing? *Fixing*? I think you misspoke. There is nothing wrong with my calculations."

"Except they do not work," Radek reminded him, wondering if he should try tucking the shirt in or not. It fit well enough, really, and it smelled of Rodney, even after being laundered. It was not a bad thing, of course, but it was very disconcerting.

"Just because an element or two of the mathematics is missing does not mean that what I have is *wrong.* And I am *not* that much larger than you. The shirt fits."

"It is quite huge here," Radek said, holding his hands over his middle.

Rodney folded his arms again. "It is not. Don't you have work to do?"

Radek grinned. "The sure sign of a losing position. Change the topic and abuse one's questionable authority."

"I am not losing the argument, I merely have a lot of work to do and so do you." Rodney pointed towards the outer lab. "I think you should get back to it."

Radek moved towards the door, happy to drop the discussion since he was winning. Rodney followed him out and Radek asked, "Is it all right if Kavanagh gets a large bite taken out of him?"

Rodney wrinkled his nose. "Eew. Why would you want to put your mouth--"

"Oh, do not even make me think that. Hovno. Now I can't do it." Radek shook his head. "It is too bad; he needs biting."

"Is... everything OK?" Rodney suddenly asked in a serious tone.

"Yes, it is fine." Radek nodded, not sure to what extent he was lying -- but he was not going to sit around fretting over persons like Kavanagh and Richardson. He had never cared for either, so if they chose to absent themselves from him, it was for the best.

"I can talk to Elizabeth if you don't want to."

Radek frowned at him. "I do not intend to tell Dr. Weir anything. This is nothing." He gestured towards his shirt and the empty workstations.

"It isn't *nothing*," Rodney began.

"It is nothing," Radek insisted. "Kavanagh bites with baby teeth -- they do not even break skin. He is harmless." He saw the look on Rodney's face, and sighed. "And I promise that if there *is* anything, I will tell Dr. Weir."

"And me -- if people on my team are giving you a hard time, I want to know about it."

"Yes, fine. I will tell you, too. And now I do have work to do." He went to sit at his computer and heard Rodney take a step after him before stopping. There was a shuffle, as though Rodney could not decide which way to go, before he finally stalked over to Saito's station and demanded an update.

Radek turned to his work, hoping to lose himself in it for the remainder of the morning. He rubbed at his chest. It was not so unusual to have Rodney's scent nearby as he worked. But -- after his encounter with Kavanagh -- it was comforting to have it quite so close.

An hour later he smelled Carson. He counted the moments, then turned away from his computer as Carson stormed into the lab. He came over and stopped in front of Radek.

"It was *nothing*," Radek said before he could speak.

"Oh, was it? Then I suppose Deanna was exaggerating, when she said she heard that Kavanagh poured hot coffee all over you and treated you like... like..." Carson shook his head, too frustrated and wound up to speak.

"It was a spill, not 'pouring'," Radek explained.

"Which you cannot tell me was an accident!" Carson reached out, then frowned at Radek's shirt.

"I borrowed this from Rodney," he explained the missing stain.

Carson just frowned harder. "And the things he said?"

Radek sighed. He had not asked Dr. Saito to repeat the things he had said to her, but he could imagine they were just as rude and ill-informed as the comments Kavanagh made about everyone else he did not like. "Are nothing. Kavanagh is a jerk -- everyone knows this. Why are you surprised he takes this as reason to be rude?" He gestured at Carson and himself.

That brought Carson up short. "He... wait, he attacked you because we're sleeping together?"

Shrugging, Radek said, "He is not fond of werewolves, either. But he is not worth being upset over."

Carson stepped back, sitting down on the stool beside Radek. "Then... you're all right?"

"I am perfectly fine. It is nothing to worry about, Carson. Really. He is gone and is working elsewhere now -- of his own choice," he added hastily, as Carson's eyes narrowed. "So I avoid him, which is no great hardship for me. You may avoid him as well and we are all happy." He stood up and stepped over to Carson, slipping in between his knees. He put his hands on Carson's shoulders and was pleased to see the worry finally leave his lover's face.

Radek gave him a kiss and Carson wrapped his arms around Radek's waist. For a moment they stood there, each apparently content to just look into each other's eyes.

Eventually Carson asked, "So I suppose it's a bit early for lunch?"

"Unfortunately, yes." Radek didn't try to move, though he expected Carson would soon try find an excuse to leave and let them both return to work. Radek gave him another kiss to forestall him.

Carson grinned. "Perhaps I could sit here while you work. They can call me if they need me in the infirmary."

"There is one small flaw in that plan," Radek told him.


Radek continued, "I can get nothing done like this." He smiled, adding, "I cannot reach the keyboard." He very deliberately left his hands where they were.

"So you're saying I should go," Carson said, though it was obvious he knew that wasn't Radek's point at all.

"I am saying...." Radek lost his train of thought. Three seconds ago he'd known exactly what he'd been going to say. Then Carson had begun rubbing a small circle on the small of his back.

"Yes?" Carson prompted.

"A bit higher, please?"

"Huh?" Carson stopped moving his hand in his surprise -- then he laughed. More importantly, he moved his hand a bit higher and went back to rubbing. "There?"

Radek nodded. He leaned forward a little, settling a little of his weight onto Carson.

"I'm not holding you up," Carson said. "We can take the day off and do this properly, if that's what you want."

"Or you can get back to work," Rodney's voice did not quite interrupt.

"Hush, please," Radek told him. "Am working."

"Really." Rodney did not sound as though he believed him.

"Am thinking about ZPMs," Radek told him. "Working on... my theory...." He sighed, happily.

"Oh, good, because for a minute there I thought you were falling asleep on top of Carson."

At that, Carson stopped rubbing -- less because of Rodney's comment, Radek thought, than because of the fact Radek was starting to fall over. Radek opened his eyes and found Carson watching him with a very bemused expression.

There was more in it than that, and Radek was surprised as how much affection he could see there. Not because he hadn't known how Carson felt, but because it seemed much stronger than Radek had suspected.

"Why did you say nothing this whole time?"

Carson frowned. "About what?"

Radek reached down and traced a finger along the edge of Carson's face. "This." The way Carson was looking at him -- it was not possible he had grown to care so much in less than a day.

For a moment Carson kept frowning, confused, and he started to shake his head. Then his face cleared. "Oh. You mean--"

"You never said," Radek repeated. "All the time we've been together, you never said how you really felt."

"Well...." Carson shifted in his seat, tensing slightly. Radek ran his fingers slowly up and down the back of Carson's neck. He seemed to relax a bit, but he still spoke quietly. "Whenever I tried, you tensed up. I thought... you knew what I was trying to ask and you'd have turned me down."

Which was not far from the truth, Radek knew. He would have had to say no -- though not for the reasons Carson would have assumed. "I am sorry."

"At least now I understand," Carson said. "Not exactly what I expected, mind. But I'm glad--" He stopped and looked away, flushing with guilt.

Radek raised an eyebrow, but Carson didn't continue. "Glad you were not the reason I would have said no?" he guessed.

Carson nodded. "Sounds awful, doesn't it?"

"If it was how you felt, it is not awful," Radek told him. Then he grinned. "You are only human."

Carson mock-glared at him. Radek quickly cut off what he was about to say with another kiss. Carson kissed him back, pulling him in close and feeling very much like he had no intention of letting Radek go.

"You know, I don't think he's really thinking about the ZPMs," Rodney said conversationally. There was a stifled laugh from Dr. Saito. "Do you think I should try to tell them we have a meeting with Dr. Weir in an hour about finding that pipe room Dr. Titov wants to explore?"

There was no reply; Radek assumed Dr. Saito was, as usual, unable to speak when Rodney addressed her directly. He kept kissing Carson, however, because an hour was more than enough time to prepare for a meeting. For that, he needed five minutes at most, consulting a map of the city to pinpoint the room he'd found.

Which left fifty minutes to think very deeply about things other than ZPMs.

"Back to your room?" Carson asked. "It's a good deal closer."

Radek nodded. "Back to my room." He stepped back and let Carson stand up, taking hold of his hand.

"Thanks for coming into work today," Rodney called after them. "Really appreciate all the effort you put into powering the city and keeping us all alive and--" The lab door closed behind them, but Radek could still hear Rodney saying, "really don't need help anyway, I can do it, no problem, you go have fun and leave me here to... you know, I think there's a way...."

At that point his voice faded, and Radek thought that perhaps tomorrow he would ask Rodney to explain his new idea.

He glanced over to see Carson watching him, and he could smell the scent of his rapidly growing arousal.

Perhaps the day after tomorrow.

Next Story: Stay the Course of Night