blue flamingos

Lies I Have To Tell You

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2009/ ~3831 words

Pairing: (1) Cam Mitchell, Carolyn Lam (2) Evan Lorne, John Sheppard, Lorne/Ronon (3) Dusty Mehra, Alicia Vega

Spoilers: for SGA The Return, and season 5 up to and including The Shrine

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: When you're already keeping a secret from your family, keeping a different secret from your colleagues probably shouldn't be that hard; this is in three mostly unrelated segments, hence the numbers in the character listings. Mention of a character from The Unit.

Prompt: #17: Any fandom, any character, Being gay in the U.S. military means you've always got a secret -- but it also means you've always got a community

Author's Notes: Written for the 2009 lgbtfest

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

hr

We're seeing each other

"Hey," a voice says from Carolyn's open doorway, pulling her attention away from the latest report on the health of the population of M3Z 724.

When she turns around, Cameron Mitchell's leaning against the doorframe, hands tucked in the pockets of his jeans. She double checks the clock in the infirmary, just visible through the glass wall, not surprised to see the hands edging round to eleven. "I thought you'd gone home," she says.

Cameron shrugs one shoulder. "Nope."

Carolyn waits, but apparently he's got nothing further to say. "Can I help you with something?" she prompts. Her eyes sting when she blinks, a sure sign that she's been staring at the screen for too long, especially since the report has nothing of particular interest in it.

"Let me buy you a drink," Cameron says.

Carolyn studies him for a moment. He doesn't look upset or angry, not really, but there's something about him that drags her towards saying yes, against her better judgment. It's one of the things she misses about a regular hospital, where at least she didn't have to know that her patients were ignoring her advice and going back to work.

"You're supposed to be resting," she tells him, for all the good it ever does her.

Cameron smiles and Carolyn can't help smiling back, even knowing he's turning on the charm and doing it mostly automatically. "You can get the drinks, I'll sit in a corner and rest."

"That's not the usual medical definition of rest," Carolyn says, half-turning so she can start powering down her computer.

"I'll be under close supervision of a medical practitioner," Cameron says. Carolyn's still watching him from the corner of her eye, enough to see him turn his head slightly, checking out who's nearby. "We haven't been out on our own since before the Atlantis expedition came home," he adds, voice lowered slightly.

Carolyn doesn't sigh, but it's a near thing. Some days, she'd really like it if they didn't have this extra layer over their friendship, for all that they both need it. "Okay," she says. "Where's your car?"

Cameron actually pauses like he has to think about it, which makes Carolyn even less sure that he should be driving, let alone drinking. "Outside my apartment," he says finally. "Sam gave me a ride in."

"All right. But I'm taking you home, you're not coming back here."

Cameron grins. "Yes, ma'am," he says, ducking his head slightly, and Carolyn swats him on the arm with the file she's taking home with her. "I promise I'll brush my teeth and wash behind my ears as well."

Carolyn rolls her eyes, accepts her coat when he holds it out to her. "Where are we going?" she asks as they walk out of the infirmary, nodding to Dr Williams who's covering the mostly empty infirmary overnight.

Cameron holds the door for her. "Wherever you like. You're driving, remember?"

A passing airman looks up to nod to Cameron, smiling slightly, and Carolyn can already imagine the gossip that'll be going round the base when she gets in tomorrow. When she looks over at Cameron, he's not looking at her or the airman, his expression tense.

"Hey," Carolyn says when the airman's turned the corner and they're alone in the corridor. "You okay?"

Cameron looks towards her but not at her. "Yeah. Sorry. Tired."

"We don't have to go out," Carolyn says, then realizes how it sounds in context, even if she and Cameron are the only people there, and she trusts him not to take it wrong. "I can just take you home. People will see us leave."

Cameron shakes his head. "That's not why," he says, then amends it to, "It's not just that," which is less of a lie. They never do anything *just* to perpetuate this rumor they're quietly fuelling, but they never do anything that's not partly for that, either. It's been over a year and a half now, one more habit ingrained. "It's –" Somewhere nearby, a door closes and two sets of footsteps start moving, and he shakes his head again. "Not here."

"All right," Carolyn says. "Later?"

"Sure," Cameron says reluctantly.

"You brought it up," Carolyn says. "Whatever it is."

"And now I'm regretting it," Cameron says, but he's smiling. Carolyn smiles back a little, leaning round him to call the elevator. "What kind of example is this to be setting?" Cameron asks, watching her.

"I don't know what you're talking about," Carolyn says, absolutely straight-faced.

Cameron makes a mocking noise. "So it wasn't you I heard telling Dr Watkins that he should take the stairs more often?"

"I –" Carolyn starts, but she's cut off by the elevator doors opening to reveal Colonel Carter, still in uniform and clutching a pile of folders.

"Oh, Cam," she says, starting forward. "I thought you'd already – oh. Dr Lam, sorry, I didn't see you there."

"That's fine," Carolyn says. She doesn't even really mean to do it, but she still finds herself taking a slight step towards Cameron. Carter catches it as well, her eyes flickering between the two of them.

There's a beat of total silence, then Cameron says, "Something you need me for?" to Carter.

Carter looks quickly at Carolyn again, then smiles at Cameron. "Nope. It can wait."

"You sure?"

"Completely," Carter says firmly. "You two have a good evening."

"You too," Cameron says, stepping round her into the elevator when she steps out. "Don't stay here all night."

Carolyn waits for the door to close completely before raising one hand to rub at her eyes. "Well, that's going to be a fun conversation."

"I can –" Cameron starts.

Carolyn shakes her head. "Tell her it's not what it looks like? Wouldn't that defeat the point somewhat?"

"There's a difference between letting people think we're together and you out and out lying," Cameron persists. When Carolyn looks at him, he looks the way she feels, tired and worn down. Carter's his friend, his team-mate, and if Carolyn doesn't want to lie to her, it must be worse for him. She doesn't have anyone on the base who she really cares about lying to. As long as it keeps them from speculating, or getting really persistent in asking her out, she'll happy lie to all of them.

"I'm not doing it for you," she says, which is only partly a lie. The elevator stops, doors sliding open on the exit, and Cameron says, "I know," low, as he gestures for her to precede him.

It's not until they're walking to Carolyn's car, down the far end of the lot, that he asks quietly, "How's Kayla doing?"

"She's fine," Carolyn says. "She sends her love."

"I'll bet that's just what she sends," Cameron says dryly. "Don't think many army sergeants send love to air force officers."

"She's unique," Carolyn offers. She's never sure if Cameron really thinks she's making it up or not, hasn't quite figured out how to make it clear that she isn't. Her girlfriend's eight hundred miles and a five hour flight away, a sergeant in the US army, and they see each other maybe once a month if they're lucky. Cameron's the only person Carolyn can be honest with, and Kayla likes him for that, even though she's never met him. There's no-one on Kayla's base she can talk to, not when everyone is military as well, not someone Kayla wants to ask to keep the secret. Cameron's safe for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that Carolyn's not breaking any rules, and the only identifying details he knows of Kayla are her first name and rank.

"She's something," Cameron says, turning slightly so Carolyn can see his smile under the street light as she unlocks her car.

"I thought you were a gentleman," Carolyn says, mock-offended.

"Whatever gave you that idea?" Cameron asks, answering his own question by opening the driver's door for her. Carolyn looks at him until he shrugs, and she can't tell in the artificial light, but she thinks he's blushing.

Carolyn concentrates on driving as they wind down into Colorado Springs, tired enough that she needs to. Next to her, Cameron's gone quiet, like he's drawing back into himself, and she thinks of his aborted – something, confession – back at the base.

"It's quiet," he says suddenly.

"Put the radio on," Carolyn suggests. "Don't change the channel."

Cameron laughs but doesn't reach for the dial. "I meant at the SGC," he says.

"Is it?" The infirmary hasn't been especially busy of late, but she's not sure she'd define it as quiet, either. She's not sure she'd ever define the SGC as quiet.

"Last couple of weeks," Cameron says. "Since the Atlantis crew went back."

Carolyn opens her mouth, then closes it. She hasn't asked Cameron about his relationship with any of the Atlantis people, and she's not going to. That said, she'd have to be far less observant than she is not to have noticed that she saw less of him while the expedition was on recall, or that when she did see him, he was usually with Sheppard or Lorne. She's even less willing to speculate about them than she is about Cameron's relationships with them.

What she does know is that Cameron rarely suggests that they go out together on something that will be easily construed as a date without something to prompt it, and there are few stronger prompts than suddenly feeling the need to reassert his non-existent heterosexuality.

"It was nice having them around," Cameron says, sounding wistful.

Carolyn glances at him from the corner of her eye, the way he's slumped slightly against the window, and makes an abrupt re-evaluation, because that look, the one he had in her office, it's loneliness. The kind she recognizes from when she started seeing Kayla and realized it was going to be something she couldn't tell anyone about, especially her father. As a doctor, she's more or less hidden, even as the general's daughter. As leader of SG1, Cameron's really, really not. It's not hard to imagine how good he must have felt, having people around who he *knew* were safe.

She's overcome for a moment with a weird urge to hug him, but even if she wasn't driving, she really doesn't hug. "Let's go back to my apartment instead," she offers. "I've got ice cream and expensive Hawai'in coffee, and my couch is much more comfortable than any bar stool."

Cameron brightens a little. "You had me at ice cream," he tells her.

We're just friends

Ronon's quiet again, cursed and yelled and thrashed himself into exhausted sleep. In the dark, early morning silence, Evan knows he wouldn't need much to fall asleep himself where he's sitting, back against the glass wall on the observation gangway. His whole body's stiff from sitting there all night, and he knows it's going to hurt when he straightens his legs to stand up.

That's not why he isn't moving.

Outside the window, the sky's lightening to gray already, and it won't be long before everyone starts getting up. Most people don't come down to the infirmary observation rooms, but he doesn't need them to see him going back to his quarters first thing in the morning, looking like he's been up all night. He's already taking a big enough risk just being where he is at night.

It's one more thing to be grateful to the ATA gene for: he's guaranteed not to find anyone else watching over Ronon as he detoxes from the wraith enzyme when he arrives, life signs detector in his pocket. Not that it ever lasts long, and Evan wonders if he should be worried that the only person from the command staff who seems like she's getting a full night's sleep is Carter.

Teyla's his favorite person to have drop by while he's there, like getting an intravenous injection of calm and hope, even when he can feel her trembling as she stands next to him. She doesn't say anything to him, just touches his shoulder sometimes, or reaches for his hand when Ronon starts cursing them, begging for them to kill him. Evan doesn't know if she does it for herself or for him, and he doesn't care, because they both need it.

McKay's easy enough to deal with, for once, because he treats Evan like he's not even there, beyond a brief double-take the first time he came by. It's the only time he'd rather have McKay than Keller, because she talks to him, offers to find him a chair so he can watch, instead of sitting against the glass, his back to Ronon, and every time she does it, Evan feels more guilty. He doesn't know how the others do it; he can't bear to watch Ronon strapped down and struggling, or passed out looking like he's hardly breathing. Listening to it is bad enough, and the only reason he keeps going back is that not going is worse.

"He's going to be fine," Keller says, every time, smiling at him. She must believe she sounds convincing, but Evan wants to tell her to stop. He doesn't, just nods, and he wonders if she finds him any more convincing than he does her.

"Lorne," Sheppard says quietly, like he's maybe not saying it for the first time.

Evan blinks himself out of the haze he's fallen into, and looks up to find his CO standing over him, in uniform, doing a passable impression of someone who's had a good night's sleep. Evan might even believe it, if Sheppard hadn't sat next to Ronon's gurney from midnight to three am, the murmur of his voice occasionally audible when Ronon lapsed into silence.

"Morning, Colonel," Evan says, starting to straighten his legs so he can stand up.

Sheppard waves the gesture away before he gets very far, and crouches down next to Evan instead, glancing down into the observation room briefly before looking back at Evan.

"You look like hell," he says, voice still lowered. They both know he's not going to wake Ronon however loudly he speaks, but Evan's grateful for it, letting him hold onto the fragile peace of the morning a little longer.

"Yes, sir," he says.

"How long since you slept?" Sheppard asks.

"Couple of hours yesterday evening." It's not exactly a lie – he showered, changed out of his uniform, turned off the light and went to bed. He even closed his eyes. He just couldn't stop thinking of Ronon in the observation room, wishing he was dead. More than that, he couldn't stop thinking of the morning Ronon was taken, lying in bed watching Ronon get dressed to go out with Teyla. He knows there's not usually a hint of something bad coming, but it had seemed *so* normal, *so* okay.

"Couple of hours," Sheppard repeats. He looks down into the observation room again. Evan knows he won't say anything about Ronon. Neither of them ever does. It's just a part of life, traded for having people who know. It's not even a bad trade; Evan's made far worse over his career. "Well, you need a couple more, at least. I'm giving you the day off."

"Sir," Evan protests.

Sheppard sighs, and for a second, he looks exactly as exhausted as Evan feels. It's not like Evan could forget that Sheppard's as close to Ronon as he is, in his own way, but that's a sharp, stabbing reminder. "You look like someone who's been sitting up all night," he says softly.

Evan looks away, getting it. "I'd really rather be working," he says.

"I know," Sheppard says. "But not like this. Take a couple of sleeping pills, I bet you've still got some."

Evan swallows down the urge to say, "I don't want to," afraid it'll come out sounding as childish as it does in his head.

"I'm not going to be the one who explains why you're in the infirmary as well," Sheppard says. "Or why you've been sent back to Earth. Go, sleep, eat, come back when you don't look like you're going to pass out."

Evan still doesn't want to, but he knows Sheppard's taking a big risk for him already, when Sheppard's basically safe between his marriage and his near celibacy. He's grateful enough for it that he can occasionally do something he doesn't want to in return.

Sheppard stands up, offers Evan a hand and holds on until Evan gets his balance, his joints aching enough to make him feel ancient. "I'll get you if anything changes," Sheppard says. "I promise."

Evan nods, and when he wakes from drugged sleep twelve hours later, Ronon's properly awake and moved into the infirmary.

I don't care who she dates

Alicia's about to gather up her things and head over to the captains' office when a tray bangs down next to hers.

"Morning, ma'am," Mehra says, swinging into her seat with a bright smile. Her hair's still damp where strands have escaped from her neat bun, but otherwise, she looks like she's been up for hours, wide awake and ready for anything.

"Sergeant," Alicia says, returning the smile as she checks her watch. She really should be getting on, but she can see both Sheppard and Lorne, though not Teldy, occupied at other tables. If anyone asks, she can always tell them she was discussing something team related with Mehra.

"Here," Mehra says, looking up from digging into her breakfast to hand Alicia the second cup of coffee on her tray. Alicia accepts it gratefully. "Late night last night?"

Alicia rests her head on one hand, looking out into the mess. She chose the table on purpose, away in the back corner and half-hidden behind a large pot plant, so everything seems a little distant. Even so, the noise is nearly more than she can handle. "Scientists," she says, knowing it'll be enough explanation.

Mehra shudders. "I thought Captain Canavan had night shift last night."

"He did, until he managed to get himself knocked out by the poisonous spores of whatever botany's growing in greenhouse six."

Mehra presses her lips together for a moment, then cracks up. "Don't they post signs down there?"

"Several," Alicia confirms. It's not right for her to be laughing about a fellow officer with an NCO, but then, she's not laughing, Mehra is. Also, Mehra's not just an NCO, she's a team-mate and a friend.

"Well, you know what they say about officers –" Mehra starts, then looks at Alicia and bites down on the end of the sentence. "Um, I mean Air Force officers. Ma'am."

"Captain Canavan's a marine," Alicia says mildly. "And you maybe shouldn't let the battalion CO hear you say that."

Mehra makes a dismissive noise. "He doesn't even know my name."

Alicia's sure this is true, given how distracted Sheppard's been since Mehra's contingent arrived, between being in the infirmary and Specialist Dex being abducted, Dr Weir reappearing and Dr McKay nearly dying. "No, but he knows your face, and one day he'll learn your name."

"I'll worry about it then," Mehra says.

Alicia's got nothing to say to that, so she goes back to drinking her coffee, watching Sheppard's team at the table by the window. She wonders if any of them realize how close they're sitting to Dr McKay, who's totally oblivious, explaining something to Dr Keller with much waving of his hands.

Mehra nudges her with an elbow, breaking her out of idle contemplation. "You're staring," she says when Alicia turns to her.

Alicia wills herself not to flush. "No I'm not."

"Yeah, y'are," Mehra says. "S'okay. She's cute. Not my type, but cute."

"Do you want to keep your voice down?" Alicia hisses. "Unless you want us both to be court-martialed." It's not like she's not used to Mehra's inappropriate-for-public-venues comments, after four months of knowing her; she's just not sure she'll ever be used to it enough not to look around in case anyone's listening, for all that she knows Mehra's as careful as she is.

"What, in case the potted plant has ears?" Mehra asks. "Actually, scratch that, this is Pegasus, it probably does."

"Thanks," Alicia says dryly. "That makes me feel much better."

"I try," Mehra says cheerfully. "You could ask her out, for a drink or something. As friends."

"Who says I want to date her?" Alicia asks, keeping her voice down and studying the table so she won't be tempted to look over at Dr Keller again.

"Me. And the way you watch her. Why not, maybe she's interested too. You're not bad looking. I mean, for an officer."

Alicia rolls her eyes, trying not to smile. "With lines like that, I can see why you left the galaxy."

"My ex's have nothing but good things to say about me," Mehra says, mock-affronted, grinning at Alicia in a way that clearly implies exactly what kind of good things they say about her.

"I'm sure," Alicia says. She finds herself looking over at Sheppard's table again and makes herself look away. "There's no point," she says quietly.

"How do you know?" Mehra pushes her empty plate away and reaches for her coffee, dumping several packets of sugar into it.

"She's interested in Dr McKay," Alicia says, pleased to find she's kept most of the self-pity out of her voice.

"For real?" Mehra demands. "The physicist from the Colonel's team?" She darts a quick glance over to where they're all sitting together. "Isn't he old enough to be her father?"

"Only if he got her mother pregnant when he was in junior high," Alicia says.

Mehra still looks doubtful. "But still. He's so... Academic."

"Not all the time," Alicia says, thinking of when they dug him and Major Lorne out of Michael's compound.

"If you say so," Mehra says. She looks over at them again, until Alicia applies her own elbow and a frown. "So what does she see in him? If I was interested, I wouldn't look at him twice, especially next to Dex."

"That's because you're obsessed with muscles and good looks."

"And what, you want her for her brain?"

Alicia drains the last of her coffee so she won't look over at Dr Keller again. "Something like that," she says. Her brain, her badly-timed sense of humor, her compassion. How impressed she'd been when Alicia clipped the dart at Michael's compound. The way she smiles. How cool her fingers feel when she's patching Alicia up after an accident off-world. How much she wants the mild, teasing rebukes to be more careful to be more than just professional concern.

Mehra shakes her head. She's laughing, a little, but it's sympathetic, not mocking. "You've got it bad," she says.

Alicia sighs. "I know."

"No use moping over it," Mehra says bracingly, getting to her feet. "Mission tomorrow, that'll take your mind off her."


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