It's late, very late when someone knocks on Radek's door. He is a little surprised he's even up to answer it.
"Something is wrong?" he asks, frowning at the worried face Rodney is making. Quite probably Rodney is here to tell him that someone has blown something up; Radek is far too tired to deal with the consequences right now.
"Um, no," Rodney says, sounding uncertain. "It's just- can I come in?"
He steps back, allowing Rodney to enter the small antechamber of his quarters. "Of course, Rodney."
"Recent events have caused me to make certain assessments," he says, stopping suddenly more or less in the center of the tiny room so that Radek has to step around him, "and those assessments have led, naturally, to changes in personal policy."
Radek wonders if he knows how like a cut-rate Dr. Weir he sounds. "You are not going to begin wearing leather and insisting I call you Rod?" he teases. "Neither one suits you."
Rodney waves a hand at him. "Don't change the subject."
He rolls his eyes at that. "How can I change the subject before I know what it is?"
"You're doing it again."
"Fine." Radek crosses his arms, intent on listening this time. "You were saying?"
"Um. Yes. Yes, I was, wasn't I?" He stutters. "Funny thing about that-"
"Out with it."
"In the past I may not have been as- that is to say, I'm not-" Rodney stops for a second, closing his eyes briefly. "Look, loving-kindness is a virtue we can all see I lack."
"Obviously," he agrees, wondering where this is going.
Rodney sighs heavily, sounding exasperated. Clearly, whatever he'd meant to be saying right now isn't coming out correctly. "You do know that I completely adore you, right?"
Radek's eyes go wide at the words, and he can't seem to stop blinking. "No."
"Oh." Rodney seems to deflate a little at that, but he presses on regardless. "Well, I do. I mean, you're far and away the smartest member of my staff- except myself, of course, but then, nobody is as smart as I am, except possibly Dr. Jackson on his best day, and he's really just a soft scientist at heart- and I'm rambling, aren't I?"
"What I mean to say is-" he stops, snorting in frustration and running his hand over his thinning hair. "I need you. I count on you. And if I yell or call you stupid, well, it means you're being stupid. But that doesn't mean I think you're an idiot."
Radek wants to ask him what it means, then, when Rodney does call him an idiot; but Rodney looks so helpless and lost, like he will just crumple if one of them says the wrong thing.
"I'll understand if, after I say what I need to say, you want to punch me or resign or something," he continues. "Actually, that sounded good before I said it, but now that I think about it, if you were going to do either of those things, you really should save it for something more serious." He shakes his head, seeming to realize he's blathering again. "I don't just think of you as a colleague or a friend." Radek has been waiting for this for a very long time, has heard this conversation in his head a dozen different ways- but his breath still catches at actually hearing it. "I don't- what I mean to say is, I want-"
Radek catches him by the biceps, holding him steady. "If you try any harder to share feelings, you'll have an aneurysm." Rodney still looks like he's going to start gibbering again at any moment, so Radek does the only sensible thing, leaning up and pressing their lips together gently.
Rodney's whole body seems to relax, letting out more tension than Radek thought possible, even for him. He all but slumps forward with it, and Radek has the wild thought that maybe this is all just the result of alien interference, that Rodney is going to pass out now and wake up not remembering a thing.
He is ever so grateful when that doesn't happen, and Rodney is still standing in front of him, his lips crooked in his accustomed half smile. "What with all the craziness and the death lurking around every corner, I just didn't want you to-" he swallows, not wanting to put words to the thought, "go on thinking my stupid alternate self cares more for you than I do."
He smooths his hands down Rodney's arms, catching his hands. "Let him worry about his own Radek."
Rodney smiles again, but this time it's wide and real. "Does that mean you don't want me to start calling you Rad?"
He frowns at him over his glasses. "If you do, I will never kiss you again."
"That would be a tragic loss," Rodney assures him. "It's very late, I should really go and let you get back to sleep," he says, but he doesn't move.
"Or you could stay," Radek says quietly.
"Or I could stay," Rodney repeats, lacing their fingers together.
Summary: "If you try any harder to share feelings, you'll have an aneurysm." Tag for McKay and Mrs. Miller.