blue flamingos

lip balm

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2009/ ~714 words

Pairing: John/Cam

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

Author's Notes: Christmas ficlet for miss-zedem, I'm sorry, this was going to be comic misunderstanding, and it really...isn't.

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


"You taste weird," Cam says, pulling away.

John blinks, readjusting – he was expecting the along part of 'long time, no see; to go on longer and end with them naked in bed together. "That... might be the strangest thing you've said to me today."

"No." Cam scrapes his teeth over his bottom lip, stepping a little further back from John. That's definitely not how this is supposed to go. "Strawberry or something."

"Strawberry," John parrots. He shoves his hands into the pockets of his jeans, feeling off-balance and vaguely stupid in the middle of Cam's kitchen. "Strawberry jello at lunch?"

Cam shakes his head. He looks worried, even when he smiles. "You been kissing someone else behind my back?" he asks, not quite hitting teasing.

"What?" John demands. "Who? I flew in six hours ago. Unless you're accusing me of having a girlfriend in Bosnia."

Cam winces, and John's not sure if it's guilt for the accusation or just the mention of John's deployment flying med-evac while Cam was safe at home in training. So maybe guilt either way. "You've just never struck me as the strawberry lip balm type," Cam says, fair amount of accusation still in the words.

John rolls his eyes. "One of the docs gave it to me. It never got above freezing my entire deployment, she took pity on me. On a bunch of us, she got her girlfriend to send out a care package." He snatches his coat up, digs out the tube to show Cam. "Okay? She thought a bunch of macho pilots wearing strawberry lip gloss was funny."

Cam has the grace to look ashamed. "Sorry."

"Sure," John says quietly, turning away. He wants to leave, but his car's outside his own apartment on the other side of town. "I'm gonna call a cab, I think."

"Don't," Cam says. John feels him move closer, but he doesn't touch. "I'm sorry. Don't leave."

"If you don't trust me –" John starts, but Cam cuts him off.

"I do. I do, it's just..." He trails off, and John waits for Cam to say something he's heard before: you're bi, you're impulsive, I've seen the way people look at you, you'll sleep with anyone. John wants to hate the last one most for being the only one that's untrue in both words and underlying meaning, but they all hurt, he's sick of hearing all of them. "It's just that you were married," Cam says quietly.

John closes his eyes, feeling wounded. "And now I'm divorced and with you."

"I know," Cam says. "But that was easier."

"Yes," John agrees, because what's the point of pretending otherwise, when this could still get them both dishonorably discharged. There's a long pause while John feels Cam's anxiety like a third person. "Please don't do this," he says eventually.

"I'm sorry," Cam says again, then, "I'm trying."

"You shouldn't have to," John says. He remembers turning the tube of lip balm over in his hand, waiting for Cam to give him a ride, and wishes he'd just put it back in his pocket. This isn't how he wanted it to go.

"I'm sorry," Cam says, which John doesn't doubt when he sounds as miserable as John feels. "I'm not used to... this. Having someone."

"That's not why you don't trust me," John says.

"I trust you," Cam says immediately. John shakes his head, and Cam says, "I just think maybe you'll realize this is too much trouble."

John hates that he can feel himself caving under Cam's truth. He hates that how much Cam cares about him matters more than Cam's hesitance to trust in John's faithfulness. "I'd break it off with you first," John says, which he's aware probably isn't exactly what Cam wants to hear. "I didn't cheat on my wife, I won't cheat on you. I need you to believe that."

"Okay," Cam says. He touches John's back very lightly. "Can we start this again?"

It's not a promise, it's barely acceptance, but it's what John's got, and maybe it's as much how much he cares for Cam as the reverse that's making him crumble. He doesn't want it to be over.

He turns into Cam's embrace, breathes in his scent, and says, "Yeah. We can start this again."

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