Note: directly follows
On her way to the mess-hall, she
passes Zelenka leaning against a wall, asleep on his feet. Elizabeth
rests her hand on his upper arm, shakes him carefully.
“I’m up.” He jolts awake in
an almost painful motion, alarmed eyes coming to rest on her.
She leaves her hand where it is and squeezes
lightly when she feels him tremble from exhaustion.
“Get some sleep, Radek. You more than
He looks quizzical. “And you?”
She smiles and knows it won’t fool him.
“Later.” Her thumb traces a small, circular pattern
on his arm which she hopes is reassuring. “Go on. Go.”
On any other day, she knows he would have reacted
to that. Today he just says: “But--“
“I’m not Dr. McKay, Radek, you don’t
have to argue with me.”
He smiles weakly at that, then nods. “A
little rest, I suppose …” His eyes unfocus and the
trembling beneath her fingers grows stronger. He looks frail,
overwrought. Dark blue rings under his eyes. The wispy hair
“How many stimulants did you take?”
she asks, now using her hand to steady him.
“As many as necessary,” he answers
with a noncommittal shrug while taking his glasses off and pinching
the bridge of his nose. Even that simple gesture appears sketchy.
He tries pushing off the wall but sways dangerously.
“You’re not going to make it to
your quarters alone, are you?”
Zelenka leans back against the wall and closes
his eyes. “Probably not. But this wall is comfortable.”
She could smile at this but doesn’t.
The confusion is plain on his face. “Dr.
“Move, Radek. You’re not staying
“But you can’t --“
A frown passes over his face, he appears to
be grappling for words. “Surely you have better things
to do, than --“
In any other situation, it would have amused
her how he backs off after meeting her resoluteness, how he
always seems so eager to be on her good side. It doesn’t
“My people are my priority. You’re
one of them. This is the better thing to do. Now stop arguing
He acquiesces, the will to protest gone. Staggers
against her more than once on the long way through the corridors
to his quarters until she realises that he has fallen asleep
He doesn’t wake when she pushes him onto
the bed and tucks him in.
There’s not even a twitch when she leans
down to kiss his forehead and whispers: “Thank you.”
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