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Universal Constants by alyse [Reviews - 10]
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Category: Stargate: Atlantis > Slash
Characters: Other, Radek Zelenka
Rating: NC-17
Genres: First Time, Humour, PWP - Plot, What Plot?
Warnings: None

Summary: In every base that Michael Bates has ever been stationed, there's always been a 'go to guy'. Pairing: Bates/Zelenka





Notes: Written for maryavatar as part of the prime_not_prime ficathon challenge.

Thanks to munchkinott for the beta, and to davechicken and munchkinott for getting the whips out.

~*~

Maybe it's because he's been spending too much time with the scientific staff on Atlantis, but Michael Bates has come to understand that there are such things as 'universal constants'. Of course, somewhere in the second or third sentence after that he gets completely lost, but that's pretty much par for the course with these guys - they never use one word when one hundred will do, and the more syllables they have the better.

Bates knows something about constants. Maybe he doesn't know much about the kind of 'constant' that they go on about - the mathy kind, the kind that involves figures and letters and Greek symbols in weird combinations - but the concept of 'constants', hell, yeah. That he gets.

You could even say that he's comfortably familiar with it.

For example, there's always going to be someone who looks at the uniform he wears and curls their lip in disgust. Doesn't matter where they are in the universe, or whether they know what the uniform means or whether it just marks him as 'military' without knowing whose military he is, but there's always someone who gets that look in their eye.

Sometimes it's even someone on the opposite side.

That's a constant right there, although he thinks most of the geeks would disagree. He's long stopped caring, if he ever did, but there's a certain satisfaction in giving Kavanagh a long, slow smile whenever they pass in a corridor, showing just enough teeth to make the man twitch.

No matter what the advantage they have in the beginning, there's always some officer somewhere that screws it up. That's another universal constant, and they were only in Atlantis a matter of hours before Sheppard proved that one right.

It's only grudgingly that he admits that Sheppard appears willing to try and help clear up his messes. It doesn't make him like the man any more.

In every base that he's ever been stationed, there's always been a 'go to guy'. That's probably the most constant 'constant' of all. There's always a guy you go to - although Corporal Roberta 'Call me Bobbi' Henderson had been anything but - if you've ever had a sudden hankering for a little something something, whether that's a reminder of home or an item that's a little more esoteric. Something you can't get anywhere else or when you don't want to wait for the next care package. Even something you don't want anyone to know you're getting. Beer in a country that's dry. Porn you don't want your mom buying and sending out to you or that you want to avoid putting through the censor. Drugs, sex and rock and roll; the staples holding together the American Dream.

Gunnery Sergeant Michael Bates, USMC, has always made a point of knowing who the go to guy is on his watch. He's also made an equally strong point of not using them. It's a matter of pride, being that self-sufficient - a matter of pride and a strong survival instinct - but it's also a matter of pride that he's always had an unerring instinct about who the troublemakers are. The ones who bend the rules, who lie and steal and wriggle. He's always known who they are and exactly how hard to place the heel of his boot on their necks; giving them just enough room so that they can fill a need and boost morale but not so much that they bring the Corps into disrepute. He makes them well aware of just how far they can go before the wrath of Sergeant Bates descends.

It ain't that far.

There's never been a Bilko on his turf and there never will be, and it's also a matter of pride that just as he always recognises the 'go to guys', they always recognise that he means trouble. At least until now.

It figures that here, in the Pegasus Galaxy where everything is twisted out of shape, not only would the go to guy be someone he couldn't stand but someone he didn't have a cat's chance in hell of controlling.

There's no supply route home from here. No way of getting hold of an ice cold Dr Pepper, or even an ice cold brew. They're cut off completely and that means it's less 'go to' guy than 'make do' guy.

He didn't quite get it at first because the concept was, to excuse the pun, completely alien to him. At first he kept an eye on the Logistics personnel, because nine times out of ten the go to guy is someone who has easy access to acquisitions and itchy fingers, but here there's no fudging of orders or redirecting of supplies. Here there is just making do and making nice with whatever natives they happen to run across, and none of them yet have had a decent supply of booze.

Besides which, Weir keeps a close tally on what they do have, or at least Dr Grodin does on her behalf. There's little chance of 'appropriating' anything from under Grodin's nose unless Grodin himself is doing the appropriating. He doubts it. As well as having a nose for the go to guy, he has a nose for the 'good boys', the teacher's pets, the ones who think the sun shines out of their CO's ass. Grodin falls into the latter camp, and in his less serious moments he wonders if Weir packed the Scooby snacks to keep him sweet or whether they've worked out another reward system.

No. There's no go-to guy in the traditional sense. Here, in this city of Ancients, what you needed from a go to guy was a guy who knew how the hell to make everything work.

Which meant McKay. And that meant not just dealing with the man's ego but also dealing with Major Sheppard. He has his own issues with that. So Bates does what he's always done when he's had to deal with a jerk-off CO.

He deals with the second in command instead.

While he's always been the kind of person who sucked it up and made do, he has to admit to a certain sneaking relief when he figured out that Zelenka was about as far away from McKay as possible. He seems - to Bates at least - to have McKay's smarts but without the mouth or the attitude of superiority that goes with. On the contrary - instead of the constant ego, Zelenka is actually... peaceful to deal with. Quiet and competent and prone to both reasonableness and a demonstrated ability to remember Bates' name.

Most of the time.

No, he far prefers dealing with Zelenka to McKay. Let Major Sheppard have to deal with McKay and the attitude that has Bates wondering why the hell no one has decked McKay yet.

Not that, as Head of Security, he'd condone such a thing. At least, not while he was on duty, and Gunnery Sergeant Michael Bates is always on duty.

Even now.

"Please to move foot."

He suppresses the urge to sigh and does as he is told, shuffling awkwardly sideways and trying hard not to scratch at his scalp, which prickles and itches. Instead, he folds his arms and stares at the mirror over the sink, practicing his most forbidding expression.

Something hard and equally unforgiving hits his anklebone sharply and he yelps, hopping further away and glaring down at the source of his discomfort.

A pair of blue eyes peers up at him, a frown creasing the skin between them. There's a black mark on Zelenka's cheek, just below his eye where he's obviously rubbed it as he's thought. He looks tired, even scruffier than usual. "Please to move your foot. Further." There's a definite snappish undertone to Zelenka's voice this time as he disappears back under the sink. It's completely out of character for Zelenka, who takes even McKay in his stride without missing a step. It's almost... he dreads to think it but there's a distinct air of McKay about the Czech now, almost as though, God forbid, McKay's infectious.

With any luck it might be some weird alien bug. Drag him down to the Doc's and get Beckett to make it all better. He doubts there's a cure for McKayitis.

He rubs sullenly at the skin over his ankle, scowling down at the scientist. It's completely wasted, of course, since he's scowling at Zelenka's ass as the man busies himself under the sink, muttering darkly in Czech. His ass wiggles from side to side as he works and the motion is oddly hypnotic.

He catches himself staring, and places his foot squarely on the floor, folding his arms again and ratcheting his expression up from a scowl to an outright glare so at least there's a point in staring at Zelenka's ass. A point that isn't going to earn him a visit to the Brig.

It has no effect. Zelenka remains oblivious. That's another constant of the universe, right there - the obliviousness of every scientist he's ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

That's probably why he ends up opening his mouth.

"I know you can speak better English than that, Doctor."

"Yes, yes." Now the ass gives an impatient little twitch before Zelenka crawls back out, rubbing his hands over his face, which does nothing for the cleanliness of it. He eyes up his toolkit thoughtfully, his hand hovering over first one gadget and then another as he mutters to himself. It's weirdly endearing and familiar all at the same time, and Bates can feel the scowl settling back onto his face almost defensively.

A decision is made, a tool seized and then Zelenka's crawling back into the dark space. His voice drifts back, accompanied by the odd tinkling sound, providing the perfect percussion.

"When..." Tinkle. "I have had..." Thump. "Enough sleep..." Clank. "... and a certain..." Bang. "... cubcí syn..." Bates isn't quite sure what that means but he gathers from Zelenka's tone of voice that it isn't exactly a compliment. "Does not drink the last of coffee... Ha!"

The last word's accompanied by a triumphant wriggle, and then Zelenka's backing up to emerge ruffled and dirty, clutching a cracked and cloudy crystal in one hand. His entire body is quivering with suppressed glee. Even his hair - unruly at the best of times - seems to have caught it. He reminds Bates of that t-shirt his sister used to wear, back when she was in college and before marriage, kids and responsibility beckoned and sucked the joy out of her.

The one with Einstein sticking his tongue out.

If he was a betting man, he'd bet that that t-shirt, or one like it, is squirreled away in McKay's quarters. He'd also bet that Major Sheppard has owned one at some point too, although he doubts Sheppard has ever worn it anywhere with the kind of in-your-face pride McKay has about his geekishness.

He has his own private doubts about the Major's geekishness. He has a lot of private doubts about the Major and most of them he keeps just that - private. Some of them he doesn't even want to let himself wonder about, never mind let slip to anyone else, like whether an Einstein t-shirt is the only thing Sheppard might be keeping in his closet. The most he'll permit himself on that subject is some suspicions about whether, if McKayitis is infectious, the Major has come down with a terminal dose.

Because that's a constant he could do without - a CO who's gone native, when the natives come with pocket protectors and a nice line in snide sarcasm.

Zelenka is still staring at the crystal as though it holds the mysteries of the universe - hell, for all he knows it could - and he's not getting any younger. Or any warmer.

"That it?"

It comes out a little harsher than he intended but his goosebumps are getting goosebumps. It seems to startle Zelenka, who blinks up at him as though only just realising that he's standing there. Given that he's mostly naked - a fact that he's very conscious of - it's not exactly a reassuring look.

"Oh. Yes. This is it, Sergeant. It will soon be fixed, and you can..." Zelenka blinks again and his words slow, so maybe he's finally noticed the 'nearly naked' situation they have going on here. "...soon finish your shower."

Thank God. And he must have said that out loud, given the amused smile that settles for a moment around Zelenka's mouth. He can hardly be blamed for the impatience getting the better of him for a moment. The soap is flaking on his skin and his scalp itches from the shampoo he hasn't been able to rinse off. He's a mess - almost as much a mess as Zelenka is, after crawling under his sink - and it's also a matter of pride not to be seen like this.

Especially not by Zelenka. Not that he thinks Zelenka really cares, or even notices - the man seems oblivious to everything but faces and voices sometimes. But he cares, and that's enough.

"If you hurry up, Doctor, you might even get some coffee. Could be some left in the Mess."

If it's meant as a bribe, it fails.

"No. There is none. Rodney drank the last of the coffee, Sergeant."

Ah. He really hopes now that whatever phrase Zelenka had used earlier was uncomplimentary. Really uncomplimentary. And not just because of the way that Zelenka rolls the R of Rodney around before it slides out of his mouth. Or the casual way he uses McKay's first name. Which of course he would, because he and McKay are friends, colleagues. Nothing more.

Maybe it is time to start thinking about whatever else Sheppard might have in his closet, if only to stop him from thinking along lines he doesn't want to.

That's another constant. He tends to want what he can't have, and he craves the things that are bad for him. Unfortunately, in his case, it's not chocolate or beer or even an ice cold Dr Pepper. But he takes a certain satisfaction in not being ruled by his baser desires.

"I may have some coffee stashed away."

Usually.

Zelenka's giving him a look again, but this time it's the look he gives Ancient tech - trying to figure out what makes it tick. There's an urge to babble now, to explain away the offer, but that's another universal constant right there.

Gunnery Sergeant Michael Bates does not back down. Ever.

Even if Mike sometimes wants to.

"And do I have to hide any bodies?"

There. Make it a joke. Make it easy - on both of them.

Zelenka blinks first, and then smiles. He has these small little smiles, Bates has noticed. Understated, quiet little quirks around his mouth that still manage to reach his eyes. Nothing like the huge shit eating grins or smug smirks McKay unleashes.

They're... restful. They put people at their ease, including Bates - even when he's semi-naked and covered in drying soap suds - and in spite of himself he finds he's relaxing.

"No, no." Zelenka's still smiling as he moves back under the sink again, moving things around, presumably to compensate for the crystal that's still lying on top of his tool box. "No bodies. But thank you for the thought, Sergeant. Should I ever be driven to murder Doctor McKay in his sleep, I will know where to come." The voice is muffled, but the humour is unmistakable and he responds to it.

"McKay sleeps?"

There's a pause, and he has the impression that Zelenka has turned his head to stare out at his feet. The voice that drifts back now is less harassed, relaxed, almost as though shooting the breeze with a near naked marine in an alien city in another galaxy is perfectly normal.

"Not when he has had the last of the coffee."

Zelenka's voice is dry and it makes Bates smile, at least until he catches sight of himself in the mirror and stops. He has a reputation to maintain, after all. He tries practicing the glare again but for some reason his heart isn't in it. Maybe because his scalp is really itching now and it's difficult to look like a hard ass with an itchy scalp and a chest that could charitably be described as 'scummy'.

Maybe it's just the company he's keeping these days.
"Besides..." Zelenka's voice drifts up. "It was dregs."

That makes Bates smile again, but this time he thinks 'what the hell?' and goes with it.

"Dregs, huh?"

"Yes." Zelenka is wriggling out again and giving him that small smile, a glint in his eye adding something mischievous to it. "And I believe Doctor Simpson put her cigarette out in it."

It takes a second to place it but then the smile on his face widens. He's grinning now, a little goofily, but, hell, it's Schwarzenegger and if a love of Arnie movies wasn't a universal constant it damned well should be. And not just because the scientists can geek over the science, and he can eye up the guns.

"So?" Zelenka's eyes are fixed on his face and he's actually kind of grateful for that. He may have ample experience of military locker rooms - which is why he didn't give calling Zelenka in when his Ancient version of a shower failed a second thought - but there's something about the way that Zelenka is standing there, obviously not looking below the neckline, that makes him suddenly conscious of the fact that there's nothing between Zelenka and his relentless pursuit of knowledge but a military-issue towel. "Coffee?"

He meets Zelenka's hopeful gaze calmly and demonstrates the kind of negotiating skills that have his team up on the Major's in the 'make nice with the natives' league. Not that he's keeping score of course.

At least not anywhere that Sheppard would find out about it.

"Shower?"

Again it's Zelenka who blinks first and his line of sight starts to drift downwards, before his face pinks up and he goes back to meeting Bates' eyes again. It would be amusing if... No. No if. It's just amusing. It's amusing enough to have him using his patented Kavanagh shit-scaring shark's grin. "For me, Doc."

Zelenka blinks again but doesn't seem fazed.

"Not that you couldn't use it."

Another blink, this time managing to convey a wounded air although Zelenka's voice is mild. "It has been a long day, Sergeant Bates."

He's familiar enough with Zelenka's mannerisms by now to realise the man isn't really hurt. He doesn't take offence at much, which is probably why McKay is still breathing. He has no doubts whatsoever that if Zelenka put his mind to it he could figure out a thousand ways to make it look like an accident.

He indulges in a little Zelenka watching as the other man turns to peer at his face in the mirror, frowning slightly at the sight of his grubby face, but still not offended. It's one of the reasons he likes the man, and liking Zelenka is one of the reasons he's giving him a hard time.

He likes Zelenka a little too much but he's a little too naked to be going there.

But it's hardly fair to keep ragging on the man when he's both sleep and caffeine deprived. He's about to open his mouth to say something nicely and diplomatically apologetic without actually coming out and apologising when Zelenka beats him to the punch. Hell, it feels like Zelenka has delivered a punch, and a sucker one at that.

The man even manages to strip competently.

Shit. He thought that offering Zelenka coffee was crossing over an invisible line, a line he both wanted and didn't want to cross. Now he's somehow managed to offer Zelenka the use of his shower.

Maybe it's a scientist thing, that being military he just can't get, like testing out the machinery first before the brainless grunts are let anywhere near it. Maybe it's a language thing - Zelenka's English is good but he's tired and coffee deprived and...

Naked.

He's naked in Bates' bathroom, and suddenly the room seems a lot smaller than it did before, and he thinks the scientists might have a point with the brainless thing because his seems to have seized up completely, and Zelenka's ass is even better out of those baggy pants he normally wears.

Shit. After noticing that, he makes sure that he keeps his eyes on the man's face.

"Doctor Zelenka?"

He's aiming for that tone of voice that gets cadets stiffening to attention before the words have even had a chance to percolate through their ear drums and register in their tiny little unformed brains, but he misses it somewhere around the point where Zelenka removes his glasses and blinks at him again.

It makes him seem more vulnerable somehow. Even more naked than the whole... naked thing. Whatever it is, the 'a' on Zelenka registers a little higher than he was aiming for.

"Yes, Sergeant?"

Somehow Zelenka manages to make the question sound as normal and inoffensive as any other question he's ever asked. Despite the whole naked thing.

Why are you getting naked? is the first question to come to mind, closely followed by Haven't you got your own shower? and then by something he doesn't actually want to voice but which features a please and a yes and a right now. Maybe more than one of them. What actually comes out is a slightly more restrained, "I'm kind of itchy here." To hell with not admitting weaknesses. In situations like this it's better to admit to the itch on his skin than the one under it. "Do you mind?"

Zelenka does that blink thing again, and why hasn't he noticed how often it happens? Maybe it's the nudity - yes, nudity, not nakedness because nudity is artistic not... sexual - that's bringing it into sharp focus.

He's still keeping his gaze firmly above neck level too. Years of practice means he's quite capable of doing that. While Zelenka's facing him, anyway. Not even fifteen years in the military is going to keep his eyes above waist level when Zelenka turns away.

Suddenly Zelenka smiles and it's not just a little one. It's a huge beaming grin that just blows his mind and right now he doesn't care if it's because Zelenka is zoned out with tiredness, and in that weird state of semi-high. There's something infectious in the smile, like there's something infectious in the glee, and hell, maybe it's the whole scientific complement that are infectious, every last one of them.

He pities the person who catches a dose of Kavanagh.

Zelenka nods to himself, still smiling that big, old smile, and if Bates ever did anything approaching freaking out he'd be freaking out right about now at that look. But he wouldn't freak out, of course, not a highly trained Marine like him, so he doesn't.

"We share."

On the other hand, freaking out sounds like a perfectly sensible response under the circumstances. Even highly trained Marines have their breaking points, and he suspects he might have found his. Especially when Zelenka turns around and bends down to fiddle with something that finally, finally gets the water running.

He's left hoping that maybe Zelenka hasn't managed to fix the hot water problem, because he's certainly going to need a cold shower now, but with Zelenka's attention to detail and immense competency, it's a forlorn hope at best. And then Zelenka's ducking in and turning to face him, and still smiling...

Still naked.

Hell. Semper Fi. Do or die. And this is going to kill him.

Life is made of choices, his granddaddy used to say, but his granddaddy was full of shit. He might have had a point about this one, though, although he doubted his granddaddy ever suspected he'd be in this position. He has a choice - he can stand here and itch and look uncomfortable while the cute, naked, Czech guy takes a shower two feet from him, or he could join said cute, naked, civilian, Czech guy who is naked and wet and naked...

And looking back at him with a smile that is edging back from being a wide, beaming one to a far smaller and embarrassed one.

Oh.

Oh.

Well, the Marines trained him to react quickly, effectively and decisively in any given situation and what is a man but the results of his training?

Zelenka's eyes are even bluer up close and the spray or his myopia has him doing the blinking thing again, and damn it, it does something to him, gets under his skin.

He's not exactly a stranger to two guys helping each other out, but he's a little out of his depth here. There are rules to this - another constant - and it involves unmistakable signals, a dark corner or alleyway, and never, ever knowing the other man's name. You don't shit where you eat, you never fuck where you can get caught and you never, ever do it with anyone you serve with on a day to day basis.

He knows Zelenka. He sees the man every day. He's seen him worried and excited and on a caffeine high and even, on more than one occasion, asleep, drooling into his keyboard.

Forget being in another galaxy, this is a whole new world.

It's a damned good job that Zelenka has the soul of an explorer.

He trusts Zelenka. He's not sure why - maybe he's been sucked in too far by the scientists and their equations - but he trusts the man to be competent and to know what he's doing, even when running on three hours of sleep in two days and caffeine fumes. He trusts the man to know what he's doing with Ancient equipment that hasn't been touched in far too long.

He should trust the man with this.

He closes his eyes and tilts his head back, letting the dozen tiny jets of warm water soak the soap away from his skull. Zelenka's fingers trace the line of his ribs so gently that he finds it difficult to tell where Zelenka's touch ends and the water begins. When he opens his eyes, Zelenka's hair has finally been tamed, clinging wetly to his skull, and his gaze is fixed on what his fingers are doing with the same kind of focus the man brings to his work. They move up, over Bates' chest, the gaze following and it would be easier to look away, to stare unseeing at the wall or the ceiling while he curled his fingers around Zelenka's cock and jerked him roughly off while Zelenka returned the favour.

But he can't look away.

Zelenka's hair is thinning on the top and his smile is shy as his fingers curl curiously around Bates' dog tags. It shouldn't be erotic, shouldn't turn him on but it does. He can't help but imagine what it would be like to have those long fingers curl around his cock, cup the weight of his balls in that palm with the same kind of tender curiosity. Can't help but wonder what it would be like to take his time, to return the favour. To not wait for his partner to come with the kind of impatience born of dark and cramped quarters and a desire not to be caught but to savour it. To wring the kind of pleasured noises out of a man as he feels duty bound to wring out of a woman, if only to live up to the reputation of the Marines.

This is my rifle, this is my gun...

This is a whole new galaxy. Maybe there are other constants here.

Zelenka's wraps the chain of his dog tags around his fingers and tugs. The chain slides over his skin, rubbing against his neck, not painfully but hard enough to get his attention. To drag his attention back to Zelenka and Zelenka's grin. It's wide and joyful and, God help him, playful and maybe there are a new set of rules just waiting to be discovered.

And isn't that what they're there for? He guards the Geeks and the Geeks make the discoveries and...

Oh shit. Zelenka's just discovered an erogenous zone and who knew that Sergeant Michael Bates liked having his neck chewed on like that. Hell, Mike Bates is finding out that he likes it a whole hell of a lot.

Zelenka's fingers are sliding around his nipple now, and he feels he ought to do something, take charge like the gung-ho guy he is but Zelenka's making little happy noises that he can hear over the soft hiss of the water and far be it from him to stop the guy in his tracks. His mouth is moving up over Bates' neck, sliding over his chin and nipping at the stubble there. He's always preferred shaving after his shower, when his beard is softer and easier to manage, and now he's beginning to appreciate the friction of stubble over sensitised skin as Zelenka slides his cheek over his.

Shit... stubble rash. That's the last thing he wants showing in public, and he twists under Zelenka's hands, pulls away. Turns and pins him to the wall, only intending to stop the man from leaving traces of himself where other eyes can see.

But Zelenka likes that. His eyes widen and there's a definite interest in the body pressed up against his. Maybe he has been spending too damned long with the scientist, because he has a sudden hankering to test that theorem and slides his thigh between Zelenka's, rocking gently upwards.

He suspects that Zelenka's moan means it's a positive result, especially when the man's eyelids droop to half mast while something else goes to full.

For some reason the thought makes him smile again, burying his face into Zelenka's neck. After all, no one is going to notice, or care, if Zelenka's walking around with a little stubble rash visible above the collar of his shirt. There's even a little frisson at the idea, at the thought of the Czech wandering around with other marks that Bates has burnt onto his skin under his clothes - staking some territory for the good old US of A.

Zelenka's panting now, wriggling urgently against him, his fingers clutching at Bates' wet skin as he tries to increase the friction. A litany of words is escaping him, very few of them in English, but they're enough to give Bates the gist of it.

Please. Yes. Right now.

He could drag it out, take his time. Do everything he's never dreamed of doing, but Zelenka is urgent beneath him, his breath hot against his skin and his ass in Bates' hands. He presses harder into Zelenka, pressing him back against the wall, and yelps as Zelenka's sharp teeth find a point on his shoulder, one that will hopefully lie underneath his clothing.

He pulls away, pushes back. Finds his head caught in urgent hands and then Zelenka's mouth is pressed against his, Zelenka's tongue as needy and greedy and demanding as the rest of him. His hand slides down Zelenka's wet body, over a stomach that's softer than he's used to but damn, if that isn't a turn on too and he's finally got Zelenka's attention. There's a muffled exclamation in Czech gasped out against his mouth as his fingers tighten around Zelenka's cock and then the man's head is falling back against the tiles with a thump that makes him wince.

It doesn't seem to bother Zelenka though, who's back to gasping out broken English. "Yes. There. Please. Sergeant."

He's a pervert. He has to be. It's the only thing that explains why that broken off 'Sergeant' goes straight to his cock like that. He slides his other hand from Zelenka's neck, down Zelenka's arm to his hand and gets Zelenka with the programme, curling Zelenka's fingers around his cock so that their grips match; his hand on Zelenka, Zelenka's on him.

The man's a quick study, of course. He just blinks, once, staring straight at Bates with another one of those looks, and once again it goes straight to his cock. Just in time for Zelenka's fingers to curl, just so, and stroke that sweet spot under the head.

This time it's him swearing in broken English, bucking into Zelenka's touch. He may even have said, "Please." Whatever he says, whatever Zelenka hears, his touch speeds up, whipping over his dick in a way that's just this side of perfect.

He pulls him closer, cupping one of those perfect ass cheeks in his hand. Zelenka's chest is pressed up against his, hairy where he is smooth. He slides his other hand down further, feeling the prickle of Zelenka's pubic hair against his fingers. His fingers glide lower, over the soft scrotum, and Zelenka sighs into his ear, sliding his legs apart until Bates' fingers slide further, and are pressing up against his perineum.

The blood rushes from his head to his cock, making him dizzy at the thought of pushing his fingers back further. Pushing them into Zelenka and listening to the man moan. Pushing his cock in as well, feeling Zelenka's legs curl around his hips.

It's another line to cross and somehow, here, it doesn't seem impossible.

He turns his head, lets his breath ghost across Zelenka's face for a moment. He can't tell who kisses whom this time. Doesn't care. His tongue in Zelenka's mouth, Zelenka's in his and his heart pounding in his ears.

Zelenka's pushing against him, muttering into his mouth words that he swallows. He can feel the shape of them against his lips but they're meaningless in any language. He doesn't need to hear them to know what Zelenka wants. It's there in the way his cock jerks when Bates touches it again, in the way his hand clutches at Bates' back, blunt nails digging into the skin while his fingers measure out Bates' length.

There's a pleasure in being the centre of that focus that has little to do with the hand on his dick. It's something else, something that makes him shiver even as Zelenka tears his mouth away, burying his face in Bates' neck as the rhythm of his words and the rhythm of his touch speed up. He tenses and comes over Bates hand with a sound that sounds suspiciously like 'Sylvester'.

He only has enough time to hope that that isn't the name of Zelenka's last boyfriend before he's coming himself.

There's one thing to say about jerking off in the shower, whether on your own or with someone else. It's a hell of a lot easier to get cleaned up afterwards.

Not that Zelenka appears to be in any hurry to move. He should have guessed that the man was a cuddler. He just comes across as... cuddly. And cuddly isn't really a word that Bates would ever have used to described himself.

Zelenka doesn't seem to care. His hands are back to tracing over Bates' skin, concentric circles that don't seem to mean anything except maybe to Zelenka. He starts to pull away, because that's what he does and he's not a cuddler, not even in a whole different galaxy, but Zelenka comes with him and he's forced to support the man's weight or end up with a Zelenka shaped heap on the floor of his shower.

Still naked, of course. He guesses the caffeine fumes have finally run out.

It should irritate him but for some reason it doesn't. Maybe it's because Zelenka is strangely appealing when wet and limp and sleepy, and looking like the cat that got the cream. It's the look he has when an experiment goes right, or a repair goes the way he planned.

Or when Bates' team walks back through the wormhole unharmed.

He backs rapidly away from the thought, unwilling to examine it further. There are other, more important things to do, like avoiding having to explain to the Doc why there's a naked scientist with a head injury on the floor of his shower.

He manoeuvres Zelenka to a seat outside the stall, on the marble effect bench that runs around the bathroom. It should be cold but he knows from his own experience that it's usually cool but not uncomfortable to the touch. It's another Ancient mystery to add to the many and since he hasn't yet figured out a way to make Ancient plumbing work as a weapon he's not that interested. A far more pressing concern is how to keep Zelenka upright while towelling enough water off him to stop him from dripping all over the place.

He settles for resting Zelenka against his chest, ignoring the way the man relaxes against him. It's purely practical, that's all. It's the most efficient way to get the man dry. And if he takes his time, it's only because Zelenka is already mostly asleep and there's no point in kicking him out on his ass when he's dead on his feet.

It's therefore logical to steer Zelenka towards the bed. He has a responsibility to make sure the man's okay, and frankly he knows Zelenka well enough by now to recognise this stage - even if he manages to get the man into his clothes he'll probably find Zelenka curled up on one of the lab work surfaces, fast asleep, come tomorrow morning.

He decides against coffee. It will only prolong the inevitable and, besides, his coffee stash - one he's created by carefully nurturing his rations and nothing else - will still be there in the morning.

He owes the man a coffee at least.

Zelenka's still sleepy, but there's a sweet smile on his face as he shifts across the bed, making room. He thinks about making excuses but, hell, it's his bed and his room and maybe he owes the man a little more than a cup of java and an awkward conversation. Although he will admit that he wishes he'd taken a little more care in drying off Zelenka's hair when a wet head is placed firmly on his chest.

Zelenka is definitely a cuddler. It doesn't bother him as much as it should. After all, the man is a closet Arnie fan.

"Wait? Where did Simpson get a cigarette?"

Zelenka's chuckle is a low rumble against his chest. "She traded Grodin for it. You smoke, Serg... Michael?"

"Not since I was a snot nosed kid." The reply is absent as he ponders this new information. It's enough of a trade to let Zelenka's use of his first name slide. He doesn't wonder how Zelenka knows it. He's beginning to think that Zelenka could pull any accurate answer to any question he chose to pose out of his ass. "Grodin has cigarettes?"

A sleepy hand pats his chest affectionately. "Grodin has everything. Sometimes, Michael, you just need to know who you ask. A, as you say, going to guy?"

That sneaky little...

Zelenka's making a sound suspiciously like a purr as he burrows in closer and he shifts to get comfortable, ending up with his arm around Zelenka's shoulder and Zelenka's face now buried in his neck. "Go to guy," he corrects absently.

"Yes. Go to guy. You need a go to guy, Michael."

He pats Zelenka's shoulder and reaches for the light.

"I think I've got one."

The End


Czech phrases
cubcí syn - son of a bitch
Slyšte! - oh yes!

Note: The cigarette quote is from The Terminator, which featured Arnold Scwarzenegger as, strangely enough, The Terminator. Good film.






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