Closet Romantic

by Domenika Marzione

In the beginning, after they realized that there wasn't a ZPM lying around to open a wormhole home and before they realized that while the Wraith were probably coming, they weren't coming right now, life in Atlantis was a little... manic. The days were about optimism and discovery, spent in wonderment at how everything they encountered was so much more brilliant and exotic than they'd imagined. The nights... the nights were spent looking for ways to ease their fears (of the Wraith, of the mysterious city that seemed filled with ghosts and was so brittle and yet so grand, of the fact that their trip through the wormhole may really have been one-way). In whatever way possible.

Intellectually, Yoni understood this was a phase and that this, too, would pass. He knew that there was historical precedent for this sort of forced bacchanal, a sort of letting go before the storm. And that they'd get over it, realize that the world wasn't ending and, when the SGC finally built a ship that could travel to Atlantis, the generals would expect to see that some work was done. But knowing all of that intellectually didn't in practice keep him from being unaffected by the general zeitgeist or from not wanting to go back to his solitary quarters once the work day had finished.

Everyone was on their best behavior back in those days, even (especially) himself -- if these were the only people you might see for the rest of your life, then there was no point in getting off on the wrong foot. During the day, it meant that arguments ended abruptly or were aborted before they could flare. At night... The Pegasus expedition was mostly made up of individuals who had, consciously or unconsciously, chosen to develop their intellect at the expense of their social skills. Alcohol made everyone more tolerable and less awkward. The Slavs had (unsurprisingly) done a decent job of smuggling vodka through the wormhole, despite all of their belongings getting checked by SFs at least twice. There were stills set up in some of the labs, but nothing drinkable had been produced yet. Some may have been willing to drink the rotgut that Otkharev had made, but Yoni liked his esophageal lining just the way it was and stuck to the Islay single malt Carson had brought through in bottles labeled with noxious preservative chemicals.

Hana Sokolov was a biomedical engineer, which meant that they had an excellent chance of crossing paths during the day and no real reason to actually interact, especially because she had a specialty that was more bio and engineering than medical and Yoni had intentionally chosen lab space well away from the common spaces. She was tall and willowy and blonde and looking so very Russian despite the fact that she had no trace of an accent (she'd emigrated to New Jersey when she was ten) and altogether far too delicate to be someone he'd have been drawn to in a crowded Tel Aviv nightclub. But Atlantis wasn't Tel Aviv, nor was it the communally agreed upon monastery that had been Antarctica.

During the day, they played it cool -- he was naturally a private man and she was cognizant of what sort of messages it sent to be seen as anything other than an independent woman. At night, in the blanket-strewn rooms where they'd all gather to sit in flickering candlelight and try to relax through a combination of booze and strength-in-numbers, she'd sit in his arms and he'd run his fingers through her long hair to unbraid it while she spelled out equations and nonsense on his knee with her fingertip.

It ended with neither a bang nor a whimper, just a mutual agreement to stop before their diminished affection curdled into something harsh and unforgiving. While that was partly the city-in-a-bottle effect, for a man who tended to bring out strong feelings in everyone, Yoni was surprisingly good at avoiding the sort of romantic break-ups that came with hurled insults and hateful tears. Einat, who'd had the most reason of anyone to throw both crockery and invective, had left him with a sigh and a kiss on the cheek. Hana had nowhere to go, not until the Daedalus showed up, but when the damned nanovirus ran through Atlantis, they worked together with ease and that, really, was as good as it was going to get.

With Hana gone back to Earth, he thinks Carson is the only one who either remembers or cares that, once upon a time, there was evidence that Yoni Safir was human after all.

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26 December, 2006