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Hard Bargain

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"The answer is no."

"No? Why you little..." Rodney snarled, stabbing his finger towards Radek and glaring at him.

He knew it was a waste of time trying to change Radek's mind once it was set, unless he could think of something Radek wanted more than the last half bottle of the surprisingly good moonshine that almost passed for vodka from his now dismantled still.

"Two Musketeers."

Radek raised an eyebrow but Rodney could see he was intrigued.

"And 100g of coffee," Radek demanded, holding up a finger. "The good blend."

Rodney was horrified at the thought of parting with even a single gram, recalling the coffee famine in the first year. As much as he wanted the moonshine to help him impress Jennifer, the price was too steep and half an hour of haggling made no difference. Eventually, Rodney threw up his hands in resignation. The only alternative was the more easily obtained but rather pungent and bitter tasting stuff brewed by the Athosians, which tasted foul.

"Why do you even need alcohol?"

"Huh! Oh... Jennifer," he stated offhand, having turned his attention back to the experiment they were working on together.

"You wish to make her drunk?" Radek sounded a little scandalized.

"Huh?" Rodney blinked across at Radek in confusion. "No! I... It was for me. I..."

"Ah! Dutch courage."

Rodney snapped his fingers and pointed at Radek for getting it straight away.

"You do not need false courage, Rodney. Be yourself-."

"Ha! As if being myself has ever earned me anything more than a slap," he murmured under his breath, but obviously not quietly enough judging by Radek's grin.

"You do not need to impress. Anyone with brains would see you are a good catch."

"I am?" He shook his head. "Wait, of course I am." Rodney smiled as his ego latched onto the compliment, the smug grin fading slightly when Radek looked away to focus hard on his laptop screen. "Wait! Anyone with brains? Do you think I'm a good catch?"

"I did not say that."

"yes, you did. You said-."

"Gah! I know what I said and..." Radek threw his hands up into the air, swearing in annoyance. "Here!" He grabbed the moonshine from beneath the lab bench. "Take drink."

"No, no, no," Rodney waggled a finger, unable to let this go. "You like me. You think I'm a catch."

"I think you are horrid, little man with ego size of planet," Radek retorted.

"I think you like me," he sing-songed, because Radek's English only deteriorated when he was getting flustered.

Radek snapped close the lid of his laptop but before he could pick it up and walk out Rodney reached out and put his hand down, covering Radek's.

"I like..." He faltered but, damn it, this was Radek, who had seen him at his best and forgiven him at his worst. "Would you like to go for a drink?" He held up the moonshine, a little flushed from embarrassment and from fear of Radek understanding his intention... and turning him down.

"You have Musketeers?"

"You drive a hard bargain," Rodney moaned as he extracted the two chocolate bars from where he'd concealed them a little earlier in anticipation of a trade, but if this led where he hoped then Rodney knew he would never have any regrets for canceling his date with Jennifer and setting up one with Radek instead.

END