Work Header

Let someone kiss it better (the heeded footsteps remix)

Work Text:

The first time Collette Biro escorts Dr. Zelenka to his bed is also the first time she experiences post-traumatic stress.

It has only been two weeks since she performed the autopsy on Dr. Peterson, and for a moment, she is back in her office getting the call. The Major's efforts must have failed, Carson must have been wrong, and Dr. Zelenka has been killed.

She is used to dead bodies, true, likes the challenge of solving their mystery, but it is different here, where the isolation connects people tighter together than even at the SGC. When she realizes he is slumped over his desk not lifeless but merely asleep, she has to fight back tears.

"Up with you, up," she commands with the voice she perfected during her residency: Loud enough to get a reaction, not harsh enough that the patient will have trouble falling asleep again.

It is no hardship at all to hoist him out of his horrendous-looking slump over his laptop, to coax him to walk with her to the nearest transporter and down two corridors. When she dumps him on his bed, he is still only half awake. "Shoes off, doctor," she says, leaves it at that because at the moment, he is not her patient and she doesn't have the right to strip him down.

In the morning, keeping a ninety-year-old Dr. Weir alive takes up all of her time. In the evening, she ushers Carson out of the infirmary and stays; she has an autopsy to plan. Her nightly encounter with Dr. Zelenka is not even a blip on her radar anymore until she sees the email with a zipped movie file.

The first time Collette swings by Dr. Zelenka's lab space with intent, her eyes are blurry after almost twenty hours of poring over the data of their dissected Wraith. She is pleasantly surprised when she actually finds him there, dozing on top of the unfinished schematics of the city's shield. "Up with you, up," she says and takes him to his quarters, drags herself back to her own in anticipation of something going right the next day.

Listening to the final chords of Viklický's Homage to Josip Plecnik, she no longer feels like she'll take her scalpel to Carson's face if she has to spend one more minute discussing Wraith physiology.

Collette doesn't know what happens in Atlantis during the siege, as she is safe among, no, entrusted with the refugees at the Alpha-site. When it is all over, she is one of the most well-rested people around, and she sends Carson to bed and works until her energy is about to give out.

He does go to bed on his own sometimes, and there are others keeping an eye out for him. When her feet take her to the lab and she finds an Ancient artefact sporting a print of his nose and cheek but Zelenka gone, she is not surprised.

No one ever talks about herding Dr. Zelenka to bed, and Collette doesn't think anyone should. Still, the habit of specifically not telling makes it rather hard to ask the marines roaming the corridors at night whether they never find Dr. Zelenka fast asleep in his chair anymore, either. She supposes it could be coincidence that he is always gone when she takes the time – with the arrival of all the new personnel, Carson has agreed to give more of the quieter late shifts to her. But three years with the SGC and a year in Pegasus have taught her to trust her instincts, and while she has no evidence to support this suspicion, her instincts tell her that the person steering the doctor out of the lab nowanights is always the same.

In the aftermath of Duranda, none of them have slept enough. Collette has more important things than one scientist's sleeping habits to think about most of the time, as life on Atlantis has not exactly become calmer with their re-established contact with Earth. When Dr. Zelenka bids her a much-too-animated "Good morning" in front of the pseudo-eggs, however, she cannot help the escape of a grumpy, "You sure look well-rested."

He doesn't, not really, and while she was taking care of the corpse of the poor Dr. Collins, he must have stayed up all night to re-examine Dr. McKay's every decision.

Dr. Zelenka casts a quick glance about the mess hall, notes both Colonel Sheppard and Dr. McKay seated in different corners of the room. When he is certain they are both out of earshot, he leans in to confide, "Major Lorne was kind enough to wake me. Is much better, sleeping on mattress, yes?"

After that, Collette doesn't expect to come across Dr. Zelenka on her way home through the city anymore. She gets used to the new personnel's presence, to the offices set up everywhere, but still prefers working at night. The two surgeons Carolyn Lam sent to Atlantis on rotation are settling in fine, leaving Collette room to come to work later and later still.

One night, when a glance out the window reveals the barest hint of the rising Lantean sun, she catches a glimpse of a tired figure slipping quietly into the physics lab. Ready to drop herself, she is nonetheless curious, which is why she exchanges an awkward "Good night" / "Good morning" with Miko Kusanagi.

It dawns on her as she walks down the empty corridor, that maybe the new hours aren't as perfect as they seem, considering how out of touch with her non-patient acquaintences she has become.

By the time the Colonel's transformation to Iratus hybrid is slowly reversing, she feels more like herself again. She keeps an eye on the first contact team until Carson has rested a few hours, watches them all doze on their stools around the Colonel's infirmary bed. When Carson's shift begins, she is happy to leave, only makes a detour to the lab to leave a fresh cup of coffee on Miko's desk.

It has been so long since she last stumbled upon him that the softly snoring form doesn't even register at first. She stands there, thermos still in her hand, looking at the rise and fall of his chest, not entirely sure what to do. Then she walks up to him, "Up with you, up," tone and motions unforgotten after all.

There are more people about tonight, personnel from the Daedalus helping out on patrol. The Lantean marines do not seem entirely comfortable, and there is still light in Major Lorne's office.

Collette doesn't notice she is still holding the coffee until Dr. Zelenka's door closes behind her. Fighting the urge to take a sip, she traces her steps back and places the thermos behind Dr. Kusanagi's monitor, confident that should Dr. McKay come into the lab early, he will not find it there.

In light of the Chopin-based jazz waiting in her mailbox in the afternoon, she will blame the late hour. If not for the pencil sketch of a sunset taped to her locker when she goes to work, she would be prepared to believe her mind played tricks on her.

As she walks past Major Lorne's office for the third time, she could swear she hears someone say the words, "Jdeme spát, Evan."