Characters: Evan Lorne, Radek Zelenka
Pairings: Evan Lorne/Radek Zelenka
Summary: Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.
Series: part 4 of #38 in the Ancient!John 'verse (see part 1, 2, 3) . Part of Locality.
Notes: Yes, this is painfully short. But it resolves some stuff and I'm in this weird mood and... yeah, here it is.
An Ancient!John Story
22 July, 2007 – Atlantis, Nova Loegria, Pegasus
Radek doesn't say anything for the longest time. He stares at his hands, the better to avoid Evan's eyes. He wants nothing else than to find the magic words that will make Evan change his mind, that will convince him to let them go on as they have been, but he knows there are none. He's fully aware of just how horrible he's been about this, this thing they have, but he's had to be. He's known from the beginning just how easy it would be to fall for Evan – he'd known it even as he was falling and resolutely telling himself that the descent was in his control.
He falls in love with Evan's quiet competence and his low-key acceptance of everything Pegasus might throw at them. He falls in love with his sober honesty and the silences that are never awkward between them. He falls with the kind-heartedness woven into Evan's bones and with the compassion netted into his very soul and the knowledge that he deserves someone so much better than Radek but has still somehow chosen him. He falls in love and refuses to call it that, because science or not, words have power and love is the most powerful of them all.
It had been easy enough back when Evan had still been a major in the Air Force and might be transferred away at any moment – Radek would never get to keep him, so he might as well take all that he could. It hadn't been serious because it couldn't be and that… that had allowed him to get far closer than he ever should have.
But then Evan became praetor and heres and permanent in a way he'd never been before and that terrified him. Now when Evan leaves him – as he inevitably would – it wouldn't be because he has no choice, but because he's decided Radek isn't good enough.
It's not abandonment issues – Radek came to terms with those years ago, thank you very much, – it's the plain unadulterated knowledge that he's not the kind of person people stay with. Radek is safe and Radek is convenient but Radek is not the type of guy people stay with. People don't want safe and convenient. They want Romeo and Juliet; they want Antony and Cleopatra; they want the certifiable crazy that is Rodney and Sheppard, willing to bring the universe crashing down around their ears if that's what it takes for them to stay together, and that's just not the kind of person Radek is. One day Evan's going to wake up and realize he chose the wrong person and Radek doesn't know if he can take it.
No, it's better to end it now, before their hearts get broken. It's better to stop this and go back to being just friends while they still can. He needs Evan in his life however he can get and just friends is better than exes who can't stand the sight of each other.
When he finally has control of his voice, he means to say, "It's over," but what comes out is, "It's not that simple."
"Then make it that simple," Evan immediately counters. There are no words for the tone he uses then, a little sharp and a little broken, like he's taken a hammer to the in case of emergency glass around his heart and decided to use the shards as a weapon rather than pulling the alarm that will allow them to end this all. (And maybe his metaphor is a little forced, but he's not slept in three days and has so many stimulants in his system he's about three seconds from shaking out of his skin. It's the best he can do on short notice).
"I'm just looking out for the both of us," he doesn't say. Nor does he pull out his readymade list of all the reasons their relationship was a bad idea to begin with. Instead what comes out is, "I don't want to lose you."
"I'm not going anywhere, Radek."
"You say that now."
"What does that even mean? I'm not going anywhere. I've never been going anywhere. You're the one that keeps pushing me away."
"What the actual fuck, Radek?"
Radek can count on one hand the number of times he's heard Evan curse without using his thumb and its appearance now startles him so much that he glances up. This turns out to be a mistake, as the moment he does Evan catches his eyes and he can't look away. All the reasons ready on his lips – imminent death and alien priestesses and the non-zero chance that things just won't work out – fall away.
"I don't know where you're getting this idea," Evan says holding his gaze.
Radek should be searching for counterarguments, but for the moment the only thought that crosses his mind is how grey Evan's eyes look in this light, that's how badly he needs sleep.
When he offers none, Evan continues, "I love you, Radek. I love what we have, even if it makes me want to rip out my hair half the time. I miss you when I've not seen you for a couple hours and I'm getting just as bad as Icarus about finding excuses to swing by your lab, or would be if you weren't avoiding me half the time I try. I can't imagine caring for anyone else half as much as I do you, so you don't have to worry about me leaving. I couldn't if I wanted to."
"That's not what you were saying five minutes ago."
"I was trying to be a gentlemen," Evan tells him, sounding just a little bit defensive.
That's all it takes to startle a laugh out of him. It's light at first, as much a shock to Radek as it is to Evan, but deepens quickly, stealing his breath and making his abdominal muscles ache from overuse. "Jsme… Jsme taková idioti," he manages to mutter, catching Evan's crushed expression before it has time to truly settle and turning it into the beginnings of a smile.
Then he's on his feet, closing the distance between them more quickly than he would have thought possible. Evan wraps one hand around the back of his neck, pulling him closer before their lips have even managed to touch, but the angle's wrong and it's not close enough, so Radek braces himself against the couch, a hand on either side of Evan's hips as he ducks his head further. But that's still not close enough, not after a month of partial separation or a week of outright avoidance, which is how he ends up in Evan's lap, hands skimming his body until they tangle in his no-longer-regulation hair.
He could happily spend the rest of eternity like this, lost in the feel Evan's hot mouth and the still-forbidden feel of his hand sliding under Radek's tunic and creeping up his back, but Evan has other plans. Somehow he manages to flip them so that Radek ends up with his back flat against the cushions with Evan looming over him, determined to try to touch him everywhere at once and making a significant amount of progress on that front. Something in Evan's eyes distracts him momentarily – a strange, worshipful sort of look, almost as if he cannot believe he's allowed to have this, – but his confusion doesn't last for more than a few seconds before he's lost in it all again.
He pulls away just long enough to steal a breath and pant a curse at the Ancient's obsession with laces into the curve of Evan's neck before they're kissing again, more deeply now. He was an idiot to think he could ever give this up and-