The Nighttime is for Lovers

The night sky over Atlantis was the hugest, blackest, most star-filled thing Radek could ever recall seeing in his life. Before, he had memories of his boyhood, out away from the village on the hills, looking up and staring at what seemed like a million stars.

His mother blamed it for his passion to explore, but Radek knew it was more than that. Had it only been stars, he would have studied to be simply an astrophysicist, or astronomer. But the need to build was equally strong in his blood as the need to stare at the stars, and so he'd become an engineer as well.

He'd never imagined going among the stars, not even when he'd gone to Antarctica and begun working on the strangest job of his life -- 'til then. Then life had turned upside down and sideways and in ways describable only by string theory, and the stars had suddenly become reachable.

The first night he'd stepped out onto the terrace on this strange new world, he'd stopped and stared at the unfamiliar stars and been utterly, delightedly lost. Hundreds of nights since, he'd done the same thing until most of the staff knew exactly where to find him when he wasn't in the lab.

Even now he still found himself caught, after years of growing to know these pinpoints of light and some of the worlds which revolved around them. He heard the door behind him swish softly open and he relaxed even more as the footsteps grew closer and a warm hand touched his back.

It took him several moments to drag his gaze down from the heavens, then he looked at Carson and smiled, unable to hold back and knowing there was no reason to disguise his joy.

His lover returned the smile, then laughed. "Aye, all right," he said, sighing as though indulgently. He shrugged in a gesture of long-suffering, but Radek knew the light in his eyes was real, no mere reflection of his own.

Carson shucked his jacket and shirt, then held out his hands for Radek's. Radek climbed into his embrace eagerly, holding back a shout of excitement. Settling his heels on the tops of Carson's boots, his back nestled close to Carson's front, Radek tensed in that moment as he felt Carson shudder.

Then Carson leapt, out away from the terrace and Radek could not contain his shout. The ocean waters spread out beneath him and he could never quite convince his brain that they were not falling to their cold, horrible deaths.

But Carson's wings caught the wind as they always did, and they soared out and away, and Radek lost his need for the stars above as the sky pulled itself in, around them.

the end