Length: 3000 words
Pairing: John Sheppard/Radek Zelenka (Stargate Atlantis)
Notes: Thanks for invaluable beta from spela *smooches*
Written for katydidmischief for the ZELENKATHON. She wanted John/Radek, first time, happy ending, geek-isms, and a good vampire fic – I started out with heaps of notes for the last two preferences, but of course John and Radek had minds of their own ... Set at an unspecified time, but season 2 might make this AU once John and Radek start interacting in canon.
Summary: John had always liked the scientist, of course. John didn’t go around disliking people without provocation, not even scientists.
At first, they’d blamed it on the Wraith. A strange new galaxy full of humanoid, life-sucking creatures was bound to awake half-forgotten, yet ingrained superstitions shared by most of Earth’s cultures and lends itself to feeding people’s imaginations. When it seemed that those deadly foes came in all shapes and sizes, as the giant tick attacking Major Sheppard had shown, fears only increased.
There were no alien or even unusual life-signs to be detected, but after more and more reports about small, scuttling or fluttering creatures trickled in - “Banging against my window like a bat out of hell, I swear!” - Dr. Weir scheduled a special meeting about the nightly sightings of mysterious, potentially dangerous beings.
In the end, Dr. Heightmeyer’s sensible arguments about morale and people’s fears overruled the scientists’ scoffing. McKay and Zelenka had been very vocal about susceptible individuals (they used stronger terms) whose DVD collections should be taken away from them for their own safety. Sheppard had silenced them by asking if they’d already called first dibs on Nosferatu, which earned him two dirty looks - accompanied by a mumbled “Van Helsing” - and so Weir ended the meeting by selecting the first teams to go on “special night watch”.
It didn’t take long for Ghost Buster to replace that term.
Feeling more like the guards in the opening scene of Hamlet than modern-age explorers (the communal library had quickly run out of easy reads and cheap horror films, which did wonders for the general education of the marooned crew), Zelenka and Ford had drawn the short straw for the first night sentry at the outer promenades of the crew’s living quarters. They did so among much protesting, which had only died down once McKay pointed out that obviously the simple soldiers needed more intelligent observers at their sides (this, however, was said out of earshot of both the major and Dr. Kavanagh). Obviously the routine guard duty had never noticed, let alone scared off, whatever creatures of the night Atlantis recently attracted.
Nothing out of the ordinary was seen or heard in the first night, if you discounted a number of interesting insights into people’s sleeping habits. Sheppard had the second night’s shift with Simpson, and although thick fog had started to roll around the city at night, there was nothing to disturb the peace, and they strolled along in amiable silence until the first rays of the sun glinted on the water.
Another week and they could get back to business as usual, John thought as his head hit the pillow on the third night. He was awoken shortly afterwards by furtive noises coming from outside his room. Instantly alert, John slowly and quietly turned towards the noise until he faced the floor-length window.
He’d never been comfortable with what he still thought of as French doors in his sleeping quarters, as he felt rather exposed, but cloth was not in abundance and he had to get used to the lack of curtains. Not that he’d had much privacy in the Army, but the Ancients didn’t seem to have had much either with their ceiling-high folding or sliding doors and open terraces. Now he appreciated the over-sized window, since it meant that he'd be able to see any would-be intruders clearly.
He’d never heard of a vampire needing a glass-cutter before.
Or a drill. Something small and pointy the creature was now using to lever open his window’s locking device. John had never given much credence to superstitious rumours, and his own encounters with the very real Wraith made old horror tales from Earth seem quaint and comforting. The sight of a cloaked (and was that a hood?) figure about half the size of their new deadly adversaries did nothing to arouse fear in him either.
He saw slim hands protrude from the cloak and started to suspect some of the Athosian boys. Gliding noiselessly to the floor, he crouched down beside a heavy chair and hefted his P90, leaving the safety on.
His own little vampire was admirably adept at breaking and entering, but the moment it soundlessly stepped inside his room, John was up like a shot to grab it. Still thinking of a child’s prank, he did not use his full weight or strength, and found himself wrestling with a far stronger opponent than expected. Instead of easily pinning the intruder’s arms, he ended up in a tussle unworthy of his skills and training. John was still trying not to hurt the guy – hard chest, no breasts, guy - when they stumbled over the chair and went down. Trapped by his own weapon, John was trying to catch the breath that had been knocked out of him when surprisingly strong hands pressed onto John’s shoulders and he felt a warm, wet mouth at his neck.
That was unexpected. It shouldn’t have been, but John had forgotten all about the vampire myths during the impromptu wrestling match – and as far as he remembered, vampires were more about the sucking and less about the licking.
The lights he’d been trying to activate finally went on, and John was startled to recognize Dr. Zelenka. As if a night-time visit by the scientist were not peculiar enough, he seemed intently focused on John’s throat. John had had quite enough of life sucking ticks, he was not turned on by any sucking at his neck these days. The man did look cuter than the bug of course, with his soft unruly hair and wide eyes, but John still detached him from where he kept clinging to his neck. Gently.
Immediately, Zelenka latched onto his wrist, holding it in place with his strong, even teeth, not trying to break the skin, decidedly reminding John of a puppy. When he tried to extricate himself from the puppy’s jaw, it was with an indulgent sigh and without any urgency. But then Zelenka flicked a tongue against the vein and ... he moved his tongue over John’s pulse, gentle and completely un-puppy-like. A flicker, then a firmer pressure on skin that felt too delicate. Strange how the same kind of touch could feel so very different, skin and brain agreed with each other.
The brain recovered more quickly, and John pulled both of them upright. Standing up, Zelenka was quite obviously taller than half-a-Wraith. As John knew, of course he knew, he’d worked with the man after all. They’d just never stood that close before, with John’s mouth at the level of Radek’s temple. He felt the urge to reciprocate Zelenka’s earlier … favour and nearly pressed his lips to the faintly visible vein there. Lack of sleep did funny things to all of them, he thought.
John had always liked the scientist, of course. John didn’t go around disliking people without provocation, not even scientists, and Dr. Zelenka had proven to be intelligent as well as in possession of a wicked sense of humour, which – paired with endless patience – he surely needed to put up with McKay on a daily basis. Then again, as quiet as the Czech might seem, he was the only one able to actually put a damper on McKay. There was definitely more to him than met the eye.
And he was doing his level best to prove that to John at the moment. One of Zelenka’s hands had snuck under the loose waistband of the training pants John had taken to wearing in bed. With great determination, the slim fingers wrapped themselves around John’s flaccid cock, which traitorously decided it didn’t mind its new friend.
But Zelenka was obviously not in an able state of mind or body - his body might have felt warm and very firm under John’s restraining hands, but precisely because he liked it, liked Zelenka, he’d have to put a stop to the surprisingly amorous attack. He gently pulled the other man’s hand out of his pants - mumbling “This hurts me more than it does you” - and tried to assess his physical state Zelenka’s eyes were wide, his pupils dilated, and without his glasses he seemed to be blind as a bat.
John considered taking him to infirmary, but the man really did not pose a threat to anyone, or indeed anything, but his own dignity, nor had he in the past. It would be soon enough to speak with him in the morning, and then perhaps get him to see Beckett and Elizabeth.
Putting his arm around the smaller man’s shoulders, John coaxed him out of his bedroom and down suddenly endless corridors. Zelenka blinked in the brighter light of the public area, and for a moment did not look like a drunken sleep-walker at all, before he let himself be led back to his own quarters.
Zelenka still had not uttered a word by the time they arrived, so John gently shoved him inside, waited until his charge had lain down on the neatly made bed and then left, thinking it unwise to help him undress.
He got up early next morning to see Zelenka before breakfast, but was unable to find him in his quarters or the mess hall. The labs were milling with blue-shirted people, none of them Zelenka. Dr. Beckett had not seen him but was curious to know why the major would want to find this particular scientist; it seemed to be a very slow day in the infirmary, or the Scott was deprived of healthy company – maybe he should get to go on a few missions in the future. Whatever the reason, he managed to keep John for a rather interesting chat about a wide variety of things, after which the impulse to track down Zelenka had become even greater.
Sadly there was other work to be done, routine and smaller crisis management. He once saw fluffy hair and round glasses in the vicinity of McKay, but as usual McKay’s persona overwhelmed it, his arms waving around in a way that reminded John of chopping blades he’d have to dive through in order to get to his prey, his voice loud and insistent, demanding the major’s attention now, right now thank you very much, and then Zelenka was out of sight again.
By then John was sorely tempted to go to Elisabeth and tell her they could stop the night watch, but in the end he didn’t. Zelenka adored Elisabeth and it felt shabby somehow to tell on him. If he kept evading John for another day though, John swore to himself he would reconsider that.
That night, John prepared for bed as usual, only to get dressed again after switching off his lights. Propped up by his pillow, he settled in for a boring wait, ready to switch on his bedside lamp when a dark figure showed up at his window.
“Hi there.” John remained in his position on the bed, face in the shadow cast by the lamp, eyes seeming to glitter from under his fringe. He had practiced in the bathroom.
To Radek’s credit he only blinked once, before replying with a slightly guilty-sounding “Good evening.”
“Come in, take a seat!” John’s joviality seemed boundless and scared the hell out of his nightly visitor, just as intended.
“Yes, sir,” Radek mumbled and dropped onto the floor.
The fake smile on John’s face changed a little. He dropped his Spanish Inquisition demeanour and slid off the bed to sit down opposite Radek.
“I think you can stop calling me Sir”, he said quietly.
“Yes, sir,” Radek mumbled again.
John let it go. “Dr. Zelenka. Radek?”
Radek gave him what he considered his most innocent look, blinking owlishly for good measure.
“You are not, in fact, blind without your glasses. Your dioptre is quite low.”
“You are also quite capable of obtaining entry into anybody’s quarters by means of your brains and computer tricks, instead of the common or garden glass cutter you used.”
Zelenka opened and closed his mouth.
“Furthermore, you have never suffered from the illusion of being a vampire. Believe me, I was even looking for special terms but lycanthrope does not quite cover it.”
“Call me John.”
“Correct, John. I am really very sorry.” Radek moved to get up, but was stopped by John’s hand on his arm and settled down again. “I am sorry. I don’t know what came over me.”
“Everyone would understand if you felt the strain, Radek.” John’s face had softened all the while and grew serious as he continued, “I don’t want to report you, but if you are starting to sleep-walk you should speak with Dr. Beckett.”
A pained expression flitted over Radek’s face, quickly hidden before he asked with a steady voice: “You have spoken with him? You have told him – “
“I spoke with him, but not about this …,“ John seemed lost for words and moved his hand from where he’d held onto Radek’s forearm. It landed on Radek’s knee instead. “I wanted to talk to you first. We cannot have everyone believing in a fictional threat in Atlantis, there are too many real ones around.” He felt Radek twitch under his fingers. “Is that it? The Wraith?”
“Perhaps. I … had little sleep, and I might have accidentally inhaled or swallowed something that made me think … that made me …”
To his surprise John felt dismayed at watching Radek lose control. The scientist had always seemed relaxed, alert even in stressful situations, level-headed but also full of bright ideas. To see him both lost and lost for words was unusual, and John dug his fingers lightly into Radek’s knees, to make the expression disappear and let him know he wasn’t alone. They all had to repress their fears to be able to function at some point.
“So, you were turning into a vampire of sorts?” John tried his light amused tone again. “Since we ran out of even powdered garlic and there is hardly any wood in Atlantis, let alone any crosses, this might have been a problem indeed.”
He was rewarded by a quick smile, come and gone in a flash. “Yes, very little organic matter here. But I do come from the right part of the world. I could be Vlad’s greatgreatgreat-etcetera son,” Zelenka insisted.
“Radek, you are not even from Romania!”
“So? Does not prove anything. My grandparents might have been!”
“Radek,” John sighed, “tomorrow you will go to the nice Scottish man in the infirmary and let him tell you that you are not Radek-the-Impaler.” He noticed a flush creeping into Radek’s cheeks and continued with a slow smile, “Afterwards – after the checking you are not an Impaler - we’ll take a ride in my … in one of the Puddlejumpers and expose you to some sunlight, maybe pick up a nice pizza with garlic bread on the way …”
Blue eyes were boring into John’s as his words faded away. Radek’s expression turned to resolve again, as he said softly: “You are a kind man.”
John hoped his flush was not visible under his tan and patted Radek’s knee with a small sigh. Whatever he was going to add was cut off when Radek took his hand between his own and literally trapped him. He turned John’s hand over in his lap, looking like a modern age fortune teller, not looking at John as he said, “You wear watch and wristband all the time, why?”
Without waiting for an answer, Radek lifted John’s hand and lowered his mouth to the lighter strip of skin, pale and sensitive, just like he had done the other night, only this time John anticipated the feeling, welcomed it, felt his skin tingle, felt …
“Radek. I want to know – who else did you visit at night? Do we have to speak with any other people, did you -?”
“No,” Radek cut him off and continued matter-of-factly, “I was only looking for your room. I fear I got disorientated. You are correct; I need medical check-up.”
John just stared at him, stared at the wide sensitive mouth in Radek’s agile face, which was currently quirking another of those private little smiles at him, and he had to lick his suddenly dry lips.
That must have been an official invitation in whichever nation Radek felt kin to, because he leaned forward and softly touched his mouth to John’s.
Their hands fell into Radek’s lap as John responded by kissing him back, hard. John felt the warmth and length of Radek’s erection press against the backs of his fingers, and his own cock twitched in response. Letting out a sigh, he pulled the other man closer, making them both topple over, Radek landing on top of John, their legs in a tangle.
“Hello again,” Radek whispered, stroking his tongue into John’s mouth.
“Wait, let me … the lights! Ghost Busters are going to see …” John managed to breathe between gasping kisses.
There was a twinkle in Radek’s eyes that was definitely not due to reflections on his glasses. “I have something, Maj- … John. You might have better use for it than I did.”
And he was right, the big cloak was a rather fine curtain.