blue flamingos

Two-Stepping

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2007/ ~2056 words

Pairing: Katie/Laura

Spoilers: Duet

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

Summary: She's a Marine, she's used to taking risks, and anyway, what's a little humiliation between colleagues?

Author's Notes: For [info]14valentines Day 3 Body Image

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

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The thing is, Laura thinks, walking down the corridor towards the residential quarters, is that an offer to go work in another galaxy sounds great on paper. Exploring new planets no-one from Earth has ever set foot on, a pretty good chance of getting to lead your own team and, all right, life-sucking vampires, but no posting's without risk.

It just would've been nice to be warned that you might wind up in the body of an astrophysicist, and have the guy you were thinking of asking out freak completely over your first kiss.

Not for the first time since it happened, Laura wonders if she's picked up McKay's speech patterns from being in his head. Still, though, it'll make a good story if the programme ever goes public, and the rest of the Marines are mostly laughing at McKay, not her. It's all round Atlantis now, she doesn't have any choice but to laugh it off with them.

Laura takes the stairs up to the civilian quarters, swinging the bottle of Athosian almost-wine in her hand. She's pretty sure she's had better ideas in her life, but it was some kiss, even in Rodney McKay's body. He certainly enjoyed it, she thinks, smiling. She's a Marine, she's used to taking risks, and anyway, what's a little humiliation between colleagues?

She's not spent a lot of time in the civilian quarters, at least not in her own body, and her memories of them are warped. She checks the residence map in her pocket again, counting doors. She's never paid that much attention to who lives exactly where, but they seem to be divided by department: physics and engineering together, chemistry on their own, then botany and zoology, biology and medicine... She pities whoever lives next door to Rodney McKay.

She stops outside the right door and runs her hand quickly through her hair. This, she thinks, is almost certainly a bad idea, and raises her hand to activate the door chime.

She doesn't hear anyone move inside before the door slides smoothly open.

"Oh. Hi."

Laura tries on her best grin. "Hiya, Katie."

Katie Brown blinks again in obvious surprise. "Lieutenant Cadman. What can I do for you?" They'd just got to first names, if a little awkwardly, but this is clearly going to be another casualty of the past weird week, just as they were getting to be friends. Laura ploughs on anyway. She's come this far.

"Apparently spending a few days in the head of the lovely Dr McKay comes with certain perks." Laura holds up the bottle of almost-wine. "I thought you might like to join me."

"Um..." Katie looks both ways along the empty corridor, then steps back. "Sure. Come in."

Katie's place is as nice as Laura remembers, liberally decorated with cuttings from the botany labs and mementos from home. It's also much larger than Laura's room in the military quarters, but that's hardly news.

Katie produces a couple of tumblers from a cupboard and offers them with a sheepish smile. "I didn't think to pack wine glasses when I left. Or any glasses" She flushes. "I kind of borrowed these from Dr Parrish."

Laura's sure she remembers wine glasses from Katie's date with McKay, but maybe those were borrowed as well. She takes the glasses and sets them aside to open the bottle. The wine smells of blueberries and pours out dark red. Katie takes her glass and they sip together, still standing. It doesn't taste of blueberries at all, or of grapes, but it's sweet and cool.

Katie smiles again. "Do you want to sit down?"

"Sure." Laura takes a seat on the edge of Katie's bed then shuffles back to lean against the wall. After a moment, Katie sits next to her, her back very straight, a careful foot of space between them. "So. What are you up to in the botany labs?"

Katie brightens immediately, and reaches for a tray of small pots. "There's a plant that grows on the mainland, the Athosians have been using it as a kind of anaesthetic, but it turns out it works as a sort of addiction blocker, as well. We're trying to cross-breed it with some plants from Earth. It's fascinating, actually, like this..."

She points to a small plant with vaguely square leaves, and Laura watches her hands, letting Katie's enthusiasm wash over her, trying – and failing – to imagine pointing out types of explosives and detonator switches in the same way. Of course, Katie's tools are harmless, not like hers, but she can't imagine the shy botanist being comfortable if the situation was reversed.

"Lieutenant Cadman?" Katie asks and Laura looks up.

"Call me Laura," she says, to cover her lapse in attention. "Have you been off-world since you got here?"

Katie nods. "Once with Dr Parrish, to collect some samples. It looked a lot like the countryside near where I lived before I joined the SGC, actually." She smiles. "People say that Colonel Sheppard and Dr Weir are talking about setting up more off-world teams, now there are more people here, and the ZPM."

"Mm." Laura's heard the same thing; there's a rumour that Major Lorne's been told to assess the Marines' suitability for first contact and return missions. She'd kill to be chosen, but she's not sure what the position on front-line female officers is at the SGC, Col Carter excepted, of course. "Do you want to go?"

"Maybe," Katie says, then grins and admits, "yes."

She smiles a lot, and Laura doesn't bother trying not to smile back when she leans over to top up Katie's glass. "I could teach you some stuff," she offers, looking down into her own glass. "Self-defence moves, if you like."

"Thank you." Katie flushes slightly, looking into *her* glass when Laura looks at her. "I took tae kwon do back home. Black belt."

"Oh." Once she knows, Laura can imagine Katie at that kind of class, going along for fun then getting really into it. "Never mind then. Good for you."

"Yeah." Katie's face is still flushed. "It was really nice of you to offer, though. Thank you."

For a moment, Laura thinks about offering to teach her to shoot, but she's ambushed by a sudden sense memory of Katie in her arms – McKay's arms – and Katie giggles before she can make the offer, taking a large gulp of her wine. The bottle's half-empty, which is what comes of drinking it from tumblers.

"So, er... what made you join the Marines?" Katie replaces the tray of plants and leans back, closer to Laura than before, more relaxed.

"I don't like flying and there's too much marching in the Army. That only left the Marines or the Navy." It's true, in its way, but it was more than that. Laura just doesn't know how to explain everything that was tied up in her longing for a Marine uniform from the first moment she saw one. "How did you get into botany?"

Katie shrugs. Laura thinks she looks kind of confused, like she wants to push it but isn't sure she should. "It was the only thing I was ever interested in. Human biology was too much dissection, geology was all dead things, and physics and chemistry were all about blowing things up."

Laura winces at that before she can stop herself. She's got no idea, suddenly, what she was thinking of, coming here. Even if Katie wasn't obviously interested in McKay, Laura's got nothing in common with her. She should've stuck it out with Carson and his refusal to even have lunch with her.

Katie goes suddenly tense next to her, her hands clenching tightly on her glass. They drink in silence, and Laura tries to figure out how to extract herself from this before she humiliates herself even further.

Katie clears her throat, loud in the silence, and says, "was it you?" to her knees.

"Was what – " Laura starts, then her brain catches up. "The kiss?"

"I didn't know what had happened then, really." Katie's still talking to her knees. "But I thought – some of what he said didn't sound like Rodney, so..."

Laura's ears burn. Too late to avoid further humiliation, then. "Yeah, I -. He's really into you, he just needed a push. I hope I didn't -."

"No. Katie's eyes flicker to her for a moment. "No, it was..." She gulps at her wine again. "I, um... when I saw you here, I wondered. I mean, I thought... And I know I was probably wrong, but..."

Laura's brain is definitely working on a delayed time loop, or maybe in another time zone altogether. Katie surely isn't saying what it sounds like she's struggling to say, and yet... She turns slightly, just far enough to put her hand on Katie's shoulder and lean forward. Katie's eyes flicker up and hold hers.

"I was," Laura says, and leans in and kisses her.

It's a soft kiss, nothing like the grab-and-dip she executed in McKay's body, over before Katie's had chance to do more than press back slightly. They stay together, foreheads touching, blueberry-scented breath mingling. Laura sees Katie's smile in double-vision, they're so close. "Is that OK?" she asks.

Katie's nod sends her hair falling over their shoulders. She takes Laura's glass and places them both on the floor, then fits her hand over Laura's shoulder, her fingertips cool against the back of Laura's neck. "Oh yes," she says quietly, and then they're kissing again.

Like most kisses Laura's had with women, it's soft at first, almost tentative, feeling each other out. Katie's fingers stroke across her skin, Laura's own hands curling up to cup the back of Katie's head, angling it slightly so they can kiss more deeply without giving each other black eyes or broken noses. She feels a little light-headed – from the wine, from the rush of relief, from *Katie*, warm and pliant against her, smelling of blueberries and tasting of strawberries.

Katie's other hand tightens on Laura's waist, pulling her closer. Laura loses her balance, awkwardly twisted as she is, and they go over on the bed, Katie beneath her, narrowly missing knocking their heads together. Laura feels her elbow collide with something soft that almost certainly isn't the pillow, but she's distracted by Katie's feet inadvertently connecting with her shin.

They pull apart, as much as they can on the narrow bed, laughing, Katie rubbing at her hip, which, for Laura's elbow to have hit there, is a fit of twisting that she doesn't really want to contemplate too much. Laura grins down at her. "Want me to kiss it better?"

Katie's eyes go dark, even as she flushes and nods.

Laura smoothes her hand down Katie's hip, turning her head so her hair covers her face, not sure what's showing there and whether she wants Katie to see it. Katie's wearing jeans, too thick to feel anything when Laura first brushes her lips over the spot, but her breath hitches. At the edge of Laura's vision, her hand clenches and smoothes on the bed.

Laura strokes the back of her hand over Katie's stomach, feeling the muscles tighten beneath her. She looks up at Katie through the curtain of her hair; Katie's eyes are closed, her face relaxed, a faint smile touching her lips. Satisfied, Laura strokes over her stomach again, then reaches for the buttons on her jeans. She pushes them down just far enough to expose Katie's left hip, the bright pink edge of her underwear.

Katie's skin is warm under her hand, then goosebumped under her lips. Katie shudders, twisting her hand into Laura's hair and tugging gently until Laura lifts her head. "What?"

Katie smiles. "Come here."

Laura goes, and they kiss again, Katie's tongue slipping gently into her mouth, stroking over her teeth. Laura moans a little, sliding her hand up Katie's side, under her shirt. Katie goes with it, until Laura's fingertips curve over her breast. She pulls back, putting a breath between them, and closes her hand loosely over Laura's wrist.

Laura freezes. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing, I just..." Katie flushes again, the pink rising in her cheekbones already familiar. "I just wanted to kiss you some more."

Laura smoothes her hand over Katie's hair, her flushed face. "Oh, I think that could be arranged."


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