Wine, Men, and Lewd Gestures

~ Written for the Beckett Ficathon, for ms_smooth.

There was music coming from somewhere, a style that Radek didn't recognise. He had no idea if that meant it was a recording of some Pegasus-local music, or just something esoteric from Earth. It seemed to be well-liked by the other party-goers, despite the fact no one was dancing to it.

Although Radek had to admit he had no idea if this music was supposed to be danced to, or not. Dancing was on his list of skills right underneath 'baking bread' and 'small talk about popular entertainers.' He was enjoying himself, though, because most of the people available to mingle with were all scientists. Even those who were not physicists or engineers could be relied upon to have an interesting conversation about *something*.

Radek made sure to avoid the small group of military personnel, as well as the Athosians who had brought the provisions for the party.

He gave Teyla a nod as he moved past her towards the table, hoping she would not stop him to talk. He had tried making conversation with her once before, and her eyes had gone crossed before he'd even reached his fourth sentence. For both their sakes, he tried to avoid the recurrence. But she merely returned the nod and let him continue unimpeded.

His glass was nearly empty; the beer was not quite beer, and of course nowhere near as good as beer from home. But it had a good flavour and a very strong kick to it. And it was better to be drinking and discussing Ellison's theories of evolutionary design than to stand around watching people he had no business watching.

Once he had refilled his glass, Radek turned and found himself, quite by accident, with a perfect line of sight. He stopped, and let himself watch for just a moment.

Carson Beckett really was a beautiful man. Radek knew that wasn't the sort of thing to be said out loud -- for many reasons. But Radek couldn't help but think it when he caught sight of the other man. Especially at a moment like this, when Carson was talking excitedly to Dr. Stephanie Davidson, smiling and laughing.

He was being quite charming, in fact. Radek turned away. There was really no hope, and therefore no point in continuing to watch. Radek took another drink of his beer and searched the small crowd. He spotted Dr. Grodin in a small tangle of scientists, and made his way over. Conversations with Peter tended to be invigorating and heated, especially if they began debating global politics and economy.

And he could stand with his back to the rest of the room, and not look at anyone, anymore.

~~~~

Radek didn't open his eyes just yet, despite the fact he'd woken up almost instantly. He felt wonderful, more relaxed than he could recall ever being since arriving on Atlantis. He had the impression that he didn't need to leap out of bed just yet, so he could indulge in staying right where he was.

Besides, his watch alarm had not gone off, which meant it was still early. He rolled onto his stomach and pulled the pillow close. Perhaps he would go back to--

"Ah, you're awake, then?"

Radek opened his eyes and rolled back over. He looked up at Carson Beckett.

After a moment, Radek blinked. He did not feel drunk, nor hungover. Nor did he seem to be asleep and dreaming. "Hello?" he offered, tentatively.

Carson grinned. "Half-awake, then. That's all right."

"Why are you...." He trailed off. Perhaps he had been sick? Why, then, was he in his quarters and not in the infirmary?

But Carson was not helping disperse his confusion. He merely looked down at Radek, grinning widely as though he was about to start laughing. At least, thank goodness, they were both fully dressed -- Radek was grateful to note he was even still wearing his trousers from the night before.

The other option would have been far too embarrassing.

He cleared his throat and tried to figure out how to ask why Carson was here. Nothing sprang to mind. "So, why are you here?"

Carson's grin grew wider. "I live here."

Radek blinked again. He looked around.

These were not his quarters.

His head fell back onto the pillow and he groaned, very softly.

"You insisted that you would be more comfortable here," Carson continued. "Did you know that your English less accented when you're extremely drunk? Normally I find it's the other way around."

Radek wondered if it would be possible to ask Carson to shoot him. Would that violate his Hippocratic Oath? "I do not...remember...." There was a flash of something, which might have been memory -- but he rather doubted that he had actually found any giant bats in Atlantis.

"Yes, I'm getting that impression." Carson didn't seem to be at all upset. That was a minor blessing. Radek could have it engraved on his tombstone.

"I will leave now," Radek said, sitting up. "I am very sorry for imposing."

"It's all right, Radek," Carson said, in a soft, serious tone. "I could have easily hauled you down to your own quarters." Then he grinned once more and it lit up his face rather brilliantly. "But you were singing and I thought it best not to wake the entire city."

Radek buried his head in his hands. He *never* sang. Only when he was so very, very drunk that one more beer would have made him--

Oh, no.

He had another flash, this time of something that probably was actual memory. His arm slung over someone's shoulders, shouting loudly about the courage of ancient Bohemian soldiers.

But he *was* still dressed. Perhaps he could salvage his dignity from this, and remind himself never, ever to drink Athosian beer again.

"Do you have a headache?" Carson asked, suddenly. "Teyla said it wouldn't cause a hangovers, but if you need something--"

Radek didn't look up. "No, no. My head is fine. The rest of me is mortified. Thank you."

"Ah, good." It sounded as though Carson was back to grinning at him with delighted amusement. Well, he deserved some entertainment after what he no doubt had to put up with last night.

"I apologise for... everything," Radek stammered. He was very sure he was grateful that he couldn't really remember anything after yelling at Peter for something concerning factories in China.

"Oh, that's all right, Radek. You needn't apologise." There was a pause. Then, "You're quite a good kisser."

Radek didn't look up. Of course it had been too much to hope. Just because he'd still had his clothes on.... In university, he had often woken up in other people's beds after drinking too much. He had also usually woken up naked, to stories about his impromptu stripping at whatever bar they'd been to the previous night.

"I am dead man," he said into his hands, face still cupped against his palms.

"Actually, there is one thing I wanted to ask -- though if you don't remember, you might not know what you said."

Radek peeked, looking over the edge of his hand. Carson was just watching him calmly.

"It was in Czech -- unless you speak another language? I don't actually know what it was. I didn't recognise anything. But it sounded... interesting."

"Interesting?" Radek had a very bad feeling. Or perhaps it was the same bad feeling and it wasn't going away. Ever.

Carson nodded. "Well, it could have been anything, I suppose. But you did seem quite determined to remove my trousers."

Radek felt himself flush, and he put his face back firmly into his hands. "I am so dead."

He felt Carson pat him on the shoulder. "You're fine, Radek. Honestly. It's nothing to be worried over."

Of course Carson would be nice enough to say so. But Radek knew better, and he started calculating the ways in which he could get himself accidently electrocuted between here and his own quarters. Perhaps suffocation would be a better way? He could use Carson's pillow; it was right here, convenient. Inconvenient that as a doctor, Carson would probably be obligated to revive him.

"If it makes you feel any better," Carson began in a sympathetic tone which made Radek tense up even more. "You called me 'Rodney'."

Radek thought maybe he would stop breathing. Without the assistance of the pillow. "I am *so* dead," he whispered.

"Oh, not really," came another voice from the other side of the room, and Radek thought he would not have to *ask* to be suffocated.

Rodney would kill him with one of his glares. Radek forced himself to look over, and found Rodney sitting on the other side of the room, watching them.

In a deceptively-mild tone, Rodney said, "I don't actually mind that you throw yourself at another man, especially when I'm here to watch.
But I thought we'd agreed we would start more slowly, and work our way up to asking Carson if he wanted to have sex. Not just kiss him and tear his clothes off."

Radek didn't reply. He deserved to have his skin flayed from his body by his lover's sarcasm. It was not a kind death, like strangulation.

"I am sorry--" Radek stopped. He looked at Rodney, then over at Carson. Both of them were watching him in amusement. Neither of them was in the least bit upset.

He was missing something. He narrowed his eyes at Rodney.

Rodney shrugged. "While you were passed out and drooling onto Carson's pillow, we talked. I asked, he said yes, and you're not allowed to have any more Athosian beer, ever."

"You did what?" Radek asked.

"I was surprised, of course," Carson said. "But quite flattered. And I'd love to." The amusement had died away at the last, leaving only... something Radek could not find the word for. But the way Carson was looking at him -- and at Rodney, as his gaze flickered over -- made Radek think that he was, perhaps, dreaming after all.

Or still drunk, and completely misinterpreting what they were saying. His grasp of English was possibly not complete, perhaps they were really saying 'Radek, if you ever kiss anyone again we'll thump you.'

"Are you still drunk?" Rodney suddenly asked.

Radek nodded, quickly. "I must be. There is no other logical explanation. Or I am already dead, and this is... very unexpected afterlife."

"You aren't dead." Rodney rolled his eyes in a very familiar expression of exasperation.

"Are you certain?" Radek didn't know if he trusted Rodney. Not with *this*. He trusted Rodney with everything else in the known universe. But -- not telling him he was dead? Rodney was exactly the sort to lie about that.

"Maybe he *is* still drunk," Carson said, doubtfully.

"No, he's just really slow, sometimes." Rodney gave him an odd look. It wasn't the disdainful, 'how do you manage to breath without instructions' look he gave other scientists who made errors in their calculations. This was a relatively new look, apparently reserved for himself, which Radek had not yet figured out the meaning of.

"I am not slow," he objected, aware of the incredible uselessness of his protest. "I am... drunk, or dead and you should say kind things about me in my absence."

"Or Carson and I could practise, while you finish waking up," Rodney said.

"'Practise?'" Carson raised an eyebrow at Rodney.

Rodney waved a hand. "Well, work out the logistics at least. Are you a top or a bottom? I switch off, but Radek really prefers being a bottom."

Dead. He was a dead man, and now Radek could legitimately take Rodney with him.

"Oh, really?" Carson was suddenly looking at him. His expression was utterly.... Radek shifted and pulled the blanket up, bunching it up over his crotch to hide his reaction.

"Carson?" Radek asked, as politely as he could.

Carson seemed a bit taken aback, but simply said, "Yes, Radek?"

"I have decided. I want some sort of yellow flowers. For Rodney's funeral, you may have those fuzzy green weeds he is allergic to. Please ask Elizabeth to say some nice words."

"Are you planning on dying?" Carson asked, not quite able to frown through his grin.

"And music. There should be music, and much more of that beer. Everyone should get drunk and say a toast to Radek, what a lovely person and brilliant engineer."

"And what about me?" Rodney asked.

"Hmm. You do not get nice funeral. Perhaps -- donated to medical science?" Radek offered.

"Normally I would be offended," Rodney began. "But since I'm *trying* to get the chief medical officer to strip me naked and have his way with me, I don't see this as being a problem."

"Yellow flowers," Radek said again, nodding. Perhaps he would go back to sleep, and when he woke up either this dream would make much more sense or he would find someone welcoming him to his afterlife and offering him another beer.

"Hang on," Rodney said, and Radek opened his eyes. Rodney crawled onto the bed, hovering over Radek on his hands and knees. Rodney leaned down and kissed him. "Go back to sleep, Radek. We'll wake you when it's your turn."

"There should also be plaque," Radek decided. "Name something after me."

He pulled the blankets to his shoulder and rolled onto his side. He ought to be mortified by the fact he was still in Carson's bed. But if this were a dream, he was no doubt in his own bed, or Rodney's, or even passed out underneath a table somewhere.

And if he was dead, then a bit more sleep before his funeral would be a good thing.

Perhaps he would dream of Carson and the kiss that he couldn't remember, and the way Carson's smile made Radek feel like he'd just solved the problem of phase transition from liquid to glass. Just like Rodney's smiles made him feel like he'd remembered to make the coffee when he got to the lab.

He felt the mattress dip, as Carson knelt on the edge of the bed on Radek's other side, and there was the sensation of being loomed over. Radek cracked open his eyes, and watched as Carson and Rodney moved towards each other.

"Hello?" he said, again. They ignored him, and kissed. Radek frowned. "This is not appropriate behavior for a funeral."

They looked down at him; Carson was grinning. Rodney looked vaguely stunned.

Radek frowned harder. "I want one." How was it fair to do this in front of him, and not share?

"I thought you were dead or dreaming?" Rodney pointed out. But Carson, bless him, was bending down. And kissing him.

Radek thought maybe he was alive, after all.