The first time Radek Zelenka kisses Evan Lorne it's Lieutenant Cadman's fault.
To give Cadman her dues, it's meant to be McKay kissing Sheppard, but it doesn't quite work out that way.
It starts off with Cadman thinking that the Christmas party would be the perfect opportunity to get McKay and Sheppard to admit how they felt about each other. After all, Christmas is a time of friendship, of romance, of strategically placed mistletoe and a bottle of vodka added to the punch.
Unfortunately for Cadman, word of her plan reaches the two people she's trying to manoeuvre into the epic love affair of Atlantis and they arrive at the party with their respective seconds, very politely letting the other men go first.
What this means is, when Cadman and the others in the room all yell "Kiss!" and point to the mistletoe, it isn't McKay and Sheppard standing there, but a rather confused Lorne and Zelenka.
Of course, catching entirely the wrong people doesn't put Cadman off and she just grins at them. Grins in a way that has Lorne looking up at the mistletoe and then back towards Sheppard, who shrugs and says that it's a shame a let a woman down. McKay just smirks.
Which is how Radek finds himself standing under some mistletoe with Evan Lorne's mouth moving over his. There are catcalls coming from inside the room and the taste of chocolate is working its way into Radek's lips.
They don't pull apart until Rodney's muttered, "Get a room and move out of the way," reaches them, and then Lorne pulls back, winks at Radek and tosses a, "See you at the party, Doc," before he's lost in a sea of bodies.
When Rodney walks past, he's still smirking.
The second time Radek Zelenka kisses Evan Lorne, he doesn't remember it. He remembers David Parrish being too ill with flu to go offworld. He remembers Rodney asking Radek to go in the botanist's place. He remembers not feeling too well himself, but dosing up on the medication Keller gave him. And he remembers stepping through the Gate with the rest of AG-2 into a field of muted purples and blues blending together.
That's when it starts to get a little fuzzy.
He has a faint memory of wanting to sneeze, of the soft tickle at the back of his nose and throat, as if he'd drunk soda too quickly and the bubbles were popping inside him.
The next thing he remembers is waking up in the infirmary with Rodney on one side and Keller on the other, throat dry and feeling like he's taken the really good drugs.
"How are you feeling?" The words come from Keller, her hand already reaching out for the glass of water on the cabinet next to the bed.
"What happened?" Radek wants to say, but the words catch, tangled on the cotton wool that's taken up residence in his throat.
Keller moves closer with the glass, pressing the straw to Radek's lips, and the water washes away some of the mustiness so he tries again.
"What happened?" The words are barely there, but there all the same.
"You jumped Lorne." Rodney answers before Keller gets the chance.
Radek just looks at him, because he's sure that Rodney has just said that he jumped Major Lorne and that means his ears are acting up as well.
"Which I can understand," Rodney continues, oblivious to the look Radek's giving him. "I mean, he's absolutely jumpable, if you go for stunningly attractive flyboys with messy hair."
"Major Lorne doesn't have messy hair," Keller points out, and Radek doesn't know if it's her tone or the raised eyebrow that gets Rodney to shut up and flush a soft shade of red but Radek's enjoying it either way.
"Yes, anyway," Rodney mutters. "I need to get back to the lab. You look after the one relatively intelligent scientist I've got," he says, pointing at Keller before moving his finger towards Radek, "and you, stop walking into fields of alien sex pollen." He doesn't wait for a reply before he leaves.
Keller's still smiling when she looks back at Radek. "From what I can tell, the medication you're on reacted with the pollen," she says, answering the question Radek asked earlier. "It appears to have lowered your inhibitions somewhat."
Which means, "I jumped Major Lorne." He'd bury his head in his hands if he had the energy.
"You certainly did."
Radek looks towards where the voice is coming from, Lorne covering the distance between the entrance to the infirmary to Radek's bed in a few strides.
"Gave Lieutenant Daniels something to talk about at the ladies poker night tomorrow. Although, I admit you worried me, though. Not many people collapse after kissing me."
And Radek's reassessing that plan of not having enough energy to hide away from the world for year or two. "I don't remember," he admits.
Lorne just smiles. "That's okay, Doc," he says, as he turns to leave the infirmary, "I do."
The third time Radek Zelenka kisses Evan Lorne, it's less of a kiss and more of an ohgoddon'tdie while frantically breathing air into Lorne's lungs and wondering how Keller can be taking so long to get to them.
He looks at Rodney, who's battered and bleeding and only still upright because Lorne had pushed them both out of the way, taking the brunt of the blast himself. Watches Rodney's hands as they press on the Major's chest one two three times before Radek is back down, sealing Lorne's lips with his, breathing for the Major because he's the only one who can. Because Rodney's having difficulty breathing for himself, never mind anyone else, blood running down his face and neck and soaking into his clothes in an angry red as he forces Lorne's heart to keep beating.
There's the ridge of a scar on Lorne's lower lip, the only imperfection in the surprisingly smooth lips under his, and the taste of blood that isn't his in Radek's mouth make him want to crawl away, but he won't, can't.
It's minuteshourseternity before Radek finally hears the sound of people running towards them, before Keller's pulling him back gently and giving orders to her people.
The rest of Rodney's team are there, with Colonel Sheppard standing too close to Rodney, his hand twitching like he wants to run fingers over skin and catalogue the damage for himself.
He's still looking at the two of them, wondering if they realise how obvious they are, when Teyla touches his arm. "Radek?" It's only when he looks at her that he realises Lorne is gone, swept away to the infirmary by Keller.
Teyla doesn't say anything else, but stays by his side as they make their way to the infirmary. Medical staff descend on them once they get there, declaring Radek lucky to have escaped with cuts and bruises and assigning Rodney a bed for the night.
Even though Radek can leave, he doesn't. He stays, watching as Teyla and Ronon take strategic positions around Rodney's bed that allow Colonel Sheppard to hold Rodney's hand in his without anyone being able to see it. That they haven't positioned themselves so Radek is unable to see as well speaks volumes.
They wait like that, silent and careful, until Keller finally emerges, walking towards them with a smile. "He'll be fine," she says.
And Radek starts to breathe again.
The next time it happens it's nothing to do with Cadman or mistletoe or sex pollen (which he still doesn't remember but which Rodney reminds him of with great glee at every opportunity) or the taste of blood and burning. It's nothing to do with any of those and everything to do with the fact that they've won. Everything to do with the fact that the sky lit up with the fire of a hundred ships and, at the end of it, Atlantis is still standing. They're battered and they're bruised and they've lost too many good people, but they're here. And that could so very easily change.
Radek finds him next to the stairs, standing with Carter, Sheppard and Rodney and talking in muted tones. He reaches out, his hand gripping the fabric of Evan's jacket as they all look at him.
"Radek?" Evan glances down at Radek's fingers, knuckles white as they tighten on his sleeve.
I think I could fall in love with you, he doesn't say.
And then he moves.
It's the fourth time Radek Zelenka has kissed Evan Lorne, but in all the ways that matter, it's only the beginning.
Summary: The first time Radek Zelenka kisses Evan Lorne it's Lieutenant Cadman's fault.