blue flamingos

Contrails

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated:

Year/Length: 2010/ ~778 words

Pairing: Cam/John

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

Prompt: After the plane crash, Cam ends up leaving the Air Force. John, meanwhile, was dishonorably discharged after going against orders in Afghanistan.

Author's Notes: Gaffsie's prompt at comment_fic

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

hr

Cam wakes up, sudden and startled, and for a second, he thinks the planes overhead are his imagination, tail end of a dream. Except that's not an engine he knows or flew, and then he wakes up the rest of the way, enough to register the bright, clear light of late morning.

Pain killer hangover. It's probably why he was dreaming about planes, because he doesn't, hasn't since he decided he wanted to keep walking more than he wanted to keep flying. It's just when the pain's bad that he dreams about why he had to choose.

The planes roar past again, and they're nowhere near an Air Force base, somewhere that it would make sense. When he gets awkwardly to his feet, they've disappeared over the other side of the building, nothing but contrails.

Mystery for later, if he can mainline enough coffee to wake his brain up properly.

"Hey," John's voice says quietly as Cam steps into the den. He starts, nearly loses his sometimes precarious balance, because it's Friday and John should be at work.

He shouldn't be curled into an arm chair, bare feet, jeans and one of Cam's old shirts, looking down at the floor.

"What's wrong?" Cam asks. He's already imagining the worst: accident, illness, his family or John's.

"John?" he prompts again. John doesn't turn to him, and Cam can't get in his eye-line when he's looking down. He leans against the arm of the chair instead, hoping John will look up.

"Everything's fine," John says, talking to the floor. "Didn't feel like going in today."

It's an obvious lie, so obvious that Cam knows John wants to tell, except the planes pass over their building again, and Cam doesn't have to ask, John's eyes flickering to the window for a split second before he hunches even further into himself.

"Air show tomorrow," John says, his voice flat. "Practice run. Couple more hours."

Perils of being a homebody, because it's the first Cam's heard of the damn thing. "John," he says softly, touching John's shoulder.

John twitches away, half-turning away from Cam to press his shoulder against his drawn up knee. "My own stupid fault," he says. Cam knows John's trying to sound angry, at himself, at the Air Force, at the words, but he just sounds like he's in pain. He wants to touch, but this is still too new for him to know how far he can push, nothing like how they were the first time around, years ago.

"It's fine," John says. "I'm fine. You want some coffee? Or breakfast? I'd offer to take you out, but I'm supposed to be too sick to work so –"

"John," Cam says, risking the tips of his fingers against the bare skin above John's collar, because he does know John well enough to know that the babbling is never a sign that anything's about to get better. "Sweetheart..."

John shudders under his hand, and when he looks over to Cam, his eyes are very bright. "It's worth it," he says, wrapping one hand around Cam's wrist like he's not sure Cam will get it. "And Holland's parents got to bury him, not an empty coffin..." He looks down, then ducks his head to rest his forehead against the back of his own wrist, the back of Cam's hand. Cam shifts his weight enough to bring his other hand up to run through John's hair, and tries not to think about John, crashed and lost and grieving, dragged back to safety only to be thrown out for disobeying orders.

"I didn't want to leave," John says, very quietly. "I want to be up there."

"I know," Cam says. The planes go by again, and this time John hunches into Cam instead of himself. It's a little better, but it's still more miserable than Cam can stand for John to be. "Let's go away for the weekend," he offers. "Road trip. The beach."

John shakes his head without lifting it. "You don't have to."

"You don't have to stay here and be heart-broken," Cam says. "It doesn't have to be difficult all the time."

John makes a neutral sound. It probably won't be any easier, really – Cam does know that the planes are a trigger, not the real problem – but maybe it won't be worse.

"I'm not heart-broken," John says. "Mended, mostly." He looks up, meets Cam's eyes with a weak smile. "But okay. Yeah. I'd rather not be here right now."

"I'm glad you're here the rest of the time," Cam says, turning his hand to squeeze John's, and John sighs, touches Cam's damaged leg, and says, "Me too."


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