Author: Taylor Dancinghands -firstname.lastname@example.org
Characters: Rodney McKay/Radek Zelenka/Atlantis
Category: slash, established relationship, sex with an AI
Rating: *This* chapter is rated 'G', but none of the others are.
Archive: Generally yes, but please let me know where
Summary: Rodney comes to terms with his decidedly unique three way relationship
Spoilers/Season: None really. Post season 2? Also, you may want to read the prequels: "Discorporate", "In Extremis" and "Touch of a Lonely City"
Betas: Thanx to scifinut and ankhmutes for encouragement and lending some extra pairs of eyeballs for error spotting.
Author's notes: This story really won't make much sense unless you've read "Touch of a Lonely City" which, in turn, will make more sense still if you've also read "Discorporate" and "In Extremis"
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, never will, not claiming to. Just wanna play with 'em a little. Can't I, can't I, huh?
Making Love to a Lonely City
By Taylor Dancinghands
I. Rodney Addresses Atlantis: Atlantis Listens
"Okay, ahh... Atlantis?" It was a quarter till two in the morning and Rodney was alone in his locked office, but he still caught himself looking over his shoulder to make sure no one was seeing him apparently addressing the air. No one but Atlantis.
"Here, um, here's the thing. I agree with Radek, in principal. About this 'relationship' thing. I do. But there's certain... realities to contend with, what with me being... well, me and you, ahh... being... you."
Since becoming the carrier, a couple of months ago, for untold numbers of nanocites created by Atlantis for the purpose of communicating with non-ATA gene carrying humans, Radek Zelenka had come to have some feelings for the AI he had become so intimately connected with. Rodney understood that, and Radek had made it more than clear that his feelings for Rodney hadn't changed. For a wonder, Rodney had no doubts about this either, in spite of how prone to insecurity he was. Recent events had irrefutably proven, even to him, the depth of Radek's feelings for him, and his for the Czech scientist.
"I want you to know that I would never try to come between the two of you. That... that would just be stupid, and if there's one thing I'm not... well you know that. It's just... the thing is... the thing you have to be clear on... is... well... I had him first. I mean, I know that sounds childish, and maybe it is... probably is, but my point here is that he's... he's everything to me. And you... you probably could take him away from me... not that you would, I hope, but if you did? That... that'd just about destroy me."
Rodney swallowed as he paced the confines of his office, reminding himself, as Radek had repeatedly, that Radek wouldn't let her do any such thing, and that she wouldn't anyhow because she needed Rodney, almost as much as she needed Radek, and she needed him not to be broken. It all made sense, but the problem remained; Rodney didn't quite trust Atlantis and Atlantis, if Radek was to be believed (and he likely was), was just a little afraid of Rodney.
"This must be remedied," Radek had insisted. "You are both too important to me to go on distrusting each other so. This relationship cannot be merely between you and I and Atlantis and I; it must be between all three of us. It must be between you and Atlantis as well, or it is inherently unstable."
Rodney did agree with Radek in principal, but he didn't quite know how to get past the hurdles that stood between this principal and reality. Determined to give it his best effort, though, Rodney had asked himself what he would have done if this had been another, regular person that Radek had brought into the relationship. The obvious answer was that he would go seek that third person out in private, have a little heart to heart and try to find some common ground. It wasn't the kind of thing that Rodney was likely to do well under normal circumstances, and here he was trying to do that with an artificially intelligent city, for god's sake, and who couldn't talk back, either. Not in so many words, anyway. Still, he was determined to give it the old college try.
"I suppose the reason I have a hard time trusting you is that I don't know you that well. I suppose I should, seeing as I've lived with you for nearly three years now, but naturally I've only gotten to know you as a city and not as a person." Rodney had to grin at the sheer surreality of it. My boyfriend wants me to join in a kinky threesome with an artificially intelligent, ancient alien city. Beats the hell out of 'I was Bigfoot's love slave.'
"The one thing I can say I know about you is that you make Radek happy. That does count for an awful lot with me and I appreciate that. And I'm definitely grateful that you turned out to be someone that Radek can deal with, because the way he took on those nanocites... well, you could have been anybody; it could have been really bad, but it turned out okay because you turned out to be okay. So that's... something."
Uncomfortably wishing for some focus to his dialogue, Rodney turned to where he knew the AV pickup in his office was. He'd had to locate it using the city schematics data base, and he'd have never found it otherwise. He couldn't really see it now; he just knew where it was, in the corner, above and behind his desk, situated so that when he was working there Atlantis would be looking over his shoulder. Radek told him that Atlantis was always listening, always watching, and most of the time Rodney found that kind of creepy, though there were also moments that he found it comforting. It could be said, for instance, that Radek Zelenka could not possibly be safer anywhere in two galaxies than he was right here, Wraith and all notwithstanding.
"I guess another thing would be that I know you're always looking out for him, and that... that means a lot too. I mean, we both know that he could end up getting in all kinds of trouble right here, already has, and knowing that you'd be looking out for him, wherever he was, any time of the day or night, well, it's really good to know that."
Rodney made himself look away from the corner of the ceiling and began to pace again. "And you do know that he'll always take care of you, right?" Rodney continued. "Honestly, I'd say you got lucky too, with Radek, because there really isn't anybody else with the high-end skill set that you need, here or anywhere on earth. ATA gene aside, you're still probably better off with him than you would be with me, even. I mean, I may be a few IQ points ahead of Radek, but he has an understanding of systems like yours that... well frankly that I envy... a little." For a moment he considered asking her not to tell Radek that he'd said that, but he wasn't sure that there was any point to making such a request, and besides, Radek almost certainly knew anyhow.
"I suppose that in a conversation with a normal person -if there's anything normal about a three way relationship to start with- this would be the place where you'd say that you knew how important I am to Radek, and how glad you are that I'm with him and how happy I make him... I hope that's how you feel anyway, but of course I don't have a clue. At the very least, if you trust Radek -and you should, I mean you really can trust him, with anything- and you see that he trusts me -which he does, and that's not something that I take lightly- then maybe you can see your way clear to trusting me? I... I don't know if that's enough to go on or not. I hope it is."
And if it was not? Radek was right; if Rodney and Atlantis could not come to terms with one another then neither one of their relationships with him would run smoothly and Radek would be the first one hurt. Surely Atlantis had worked that out as well? Surely she must be just as motivated as Rodney to complete this circle, to make a leap of faith of her own. Drawing a deep breath, Rodney prepared to take his leap.
"As for me... well, I've never known anyone remotely like you before -though I suppose that should go without saying- but that doesn't mean I've never wondered... about meeting someone some day, with a mind like yours. You could even say it's a dream come true, of a sort. That's one of the reasons I'd really like to get to know you better; I think you're probably really fascinating to get to know, and Radek certainly thinks so."
Radek had tried, very carefully, not to do anything that would aggravate Rodney's insecurities, but the light in his eyes that he could not hide whenever he spoke of Atlantis piqued Rodney's curiosity as well as a little jealousy. Rodney knew he could ignore the jealousy for now, but curiosity was one of the driving motivations in his life. If there were no other reasons for Rodney to seek to know Atlantis better, that one alone would suffice.
"Besides that... well... after all the time I've spent here, I've come to think of you as... well, as home. I don't know if you can really understand what that means... to someone like me. See, I've never really had a place I thought of as home before, not since I was a real little kid anyhow. But I've lived a lot of places and none of them has ever come to seem, or feel, like a home to me... till I came here. I never knew what it was to have a home before, or how important a home is, once you have one, but I understand all that now, and you're the reason why."
Rodney drew another deep breath and then let it out, slowly, looking back up at the corner where the AV pickup supposedly was. He wished once more that there was some way he could know how his words were being taken, or even if they'd been heard, but he knew there was not, not without Radek present, anyhow. No, this whole business with Atlantis had become an exercise for Rodney in taking things on faith, and while it wasn't anything that he'd ever thought would be asked of him, he knew what was at stake, and he'd determined that it wasn't anything he couldn't handle. He was a genius, after all.
"So I guess that's everything I have to say, really, and it's getting late so I suppose I'll be off to bed. If there is anything you needed me to know, well I'll be seeing Radek in a little bit, so you could have him pass it on. I know that's a little awkward, but..." Rodney shrugged, "at least it works."
He stepped behind his desk to power down his laptop, unplugging it and folding it shut to tuck under his arm as he headed out, lights winking off behind him in the labs as he went. Later, when he next came to check his e-mail, Rodney would find a message from an in-system sender that he'd never placed in the system, sent at approximately 2:12 am. The message, coming from a sender named 'Atlantis' would contain only a picture, captured by an AV pickup in the infirmary a couple of months ago, of Radek, sleeping in Rodney's arms. The expression on Rodney's face was revealing, a little too revealing for Rodney's comfort, but he would get the message nonetheless. Atlantis had indeed heard, and she had understood.
Next: Radek and Atlantis!