blue flamingos

Peace on Earth

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG-1

Category/Rated: Slash, G

Year/Length: 2007/ ~5137 words

Pairing: John/Cameron

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

Summary: In which romantic gestures are made, SG-1 are taken captive, complaints are lodged and the SGC is infiltrated.

Author's Notes: For [info]14valentines Day 10 Sexual Assault and Rape

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

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The news comes in a 3-page memo from the SGC, phrased as a request, but John knows how to read between the lines: none of your people have taken a vacation in months. Sort this out before we send someone to do it for you.

Elizabeth makes a face, consults Heightmeyer, and somehow they end with an Earth-leave rota posted in the corridors. After a week of listening to complaints from scientists, requests from Marines to swap with someone else, and Major Lorne saying, with increasing sincerity, that he signed up to fight space vampires, not play recess-monitor, John's not sure what he wishes for more: Wraith-attack or sudden severance of contact with Earth. Maybe both.

Elizabeth, when he complains, points out that life in Pegasus isn't exactly relaxing and that everyone needs to recharge, then asks who he wants to have stand in for Rodney on his team while Rodney takes his enforced two weeks on Earth, since they've apparently decided, for once, that senior staff absence will have to be staggered.

John gives up, and goes down to the gym to be beaten up by Teyla, who's been invited to Earth by one of his Marines and wants to know if she can go.

hr

They have an Earth calendar in the mess hall, and a clock running on Earth time, but Atlantis and Earth don't really sync up all that well, so John's genuinely mystified when he complains to Rodney in his lab that his own enforced leave is falling right in the middle of training for 20 new Marines and Elizabeth won't let him change: when he looks up, four different scientists are glaring at him so hard that he checks his hands to make sure he isn't turning into a bug again.

"What did I say?" he asks Rodney quietly.

Rodney looks round the lab, glares the scientists into turning back to their work, and says, "apparently, they left the loves of their lives on Earth and feel the need to spend the next overly-commercialised holiday together, but no-one's willing to switch so that we can get some WORK DONE without all the moping."

John takes a second to translate that into normal English and can't quite stop the grimace that he knows is breaking through. "I'm going back for Valentine's Day?" He's been away for every single major – and most minor – holiday since he left Antarctica, and been off-world for more than his share of the celebrations on Atlantis as well. It's one of many things he doesn't miss about Earth.

"Hmm." Rodney rolls his eyes and pats John's arm as he moves to another desk. "Lucky you."

"Lucky me," John echoes and thinks, Wraith attack. Definitely.

hr

Unfortunately, Elizabeth's wise to his tricks after their years together, and no amount of bargaining, arguing, bribery or, though he's denying it if she ever says anything, sheer begging will get her to change her mind. From the look she gives him, John strongly suspects that she knows something he wishes she didn't and thinks it's sweet, that he'll appreciate this.

He's got no weapons against women who think they're easing the path of true love though, so in the end he gives in to the inevitable, and sends a note through on their next data burst. He's not the least bit surprised when Earth's next dial-in with personal messages includes one for him, saying, yeah, sure, in a laid-back tone that comes through even in type-face.

He's so doomed.

hr

The thing is, the longest they've ever spent together was the six weeks when the Atlantis expedition were kicked out by the Ancients, and back then, they both had their own spaces, their own jobs, that they could retreat to. Now, one of the SGC's infrequent alien strays is living in what's still nominally John's apartment, and John has nothing to do for two weeks.

"I don't know what you're complaining about," Rodney says, looking up from his laptop as John steps over him again. "I'd kill for two weeks of peace on Earth; I've got a stack of half-finished papers..."

John stops folding t-shirts into his bag and just looks at him until Rodney comes to a halt and goes back to his laptop with a muttered, "yes, well, maybe not."

"I could always catch up on my paperwork," except he hasn't really got any paperwork to catch up *on* because between the two of them, he and Lorne have somehow devised a system that actually works, as long as they don't think about it too much.

"But seriously –." Rodney's frowning at him again. "I thought you liked him."

John throws himself back onto his bed in despair, giving up on packing. He'll do it all in a rush in the morning, like always. "It's just – Valentine's Day," he says helplessly. Rodney may be his closest friend in two galaxies, but John's not up to explaining to him how Cam, despite all evidence to the contrary, is basically a complete soft touch who will make way more out of and fuss over John's presence in his apartment on Valentine's Day for the first time ever than is in any way sane or logical.

"Cheer up." Rodney pats his knee without turning to look at him. "Maybe he'll get captured off-world and you can avoid the whole thing."

hr

General Landry meets them when they step through the stargate to Earth: John, five Marines, six scientists and an archivist John hadn't even known was there. They're shuffled through security, taken up to ground level, and shoved out of the base to make their own way for two weeks.

John turns down an offer of a lift from a Marine and his girlfriend and walks all the way to Cam's apartment, which is unsurprisingly empty, since Cam's not due back until Saturday and it's only Thursday.

It's as tidy as John remembers, books neatly on shelves, dishes stacked in cupboards, both beds made with hospital corners, even the remote lined up on top of the TV. John raids Cam's fridge for beer, tosses his jacket on a chair, just to mess with Cam's head a little, and turns on the TV to find out what he's been missing since his last enforced visit to Earth.

By Saturday evening, he's concluded that the answer is not a lot; that Cam's collection of books makes War and Peace look exciting, and that he absolutely has not spend the entire day trying to entertain himself around the apartment because he doesn't want to be out when Cam gets home. And, OK, it's not like he can phone to say he's going to be late from another galaxy, but he was due back early afternoon and John's never missed regular check-ins and radio ear pieces as much in his life.

He finally gives up at fourteen minutes past nine, puts his jacket back on and borrows Cam's bike.

Walter looks far less surprised to see him than John's entirely comfortable with, but then, he and Cam have been together, as much as they can be when they live in different galaxies, since Cam joined SG-1 and no-one's said anything yet.

"Good evening, Colonel Sheppard." Walter taps a couple of keys without looking at him.

"Sergeant." John feels like kind of an idiot now he's there, with no excuse for his presence, no way to ask what he wants to know without completely humiliating himself and probably Cam as well, and nothing to offer anyway. The SGC has their own perfectly competent rescue teams, and Cam's far better at not getting himself and his team captured than John's ever been. John just can't help hearing Rodney's joke in his head and feeling like it's tempting fate.

He stares down into the empty gate room, missing Atlantis. Their gate room really is a lot prettier, however much Rodney rolls his eyes when John says this.

"All quiet?" he asks finally, like he would on Atlantis.

Walter doesn't look up, but his tone of voice says everything. "Yes, sir."

"Good." John should really leave. Really, really leave. Or go down to their canteen, listen in on the gossip, rather than trying to make conversation with the universe's most taciturn gate sergeant. He shifts from one foot to the other, makes himself stop. "Many teams out?"

"Two, sir." He catches Walter glance at him from the corner of his eye, then Walter must take pity on him, because he says, "SG-1 are overdue. Colonel Carter dialled in this afternoon."

"Everything all right?" John asks.

"Fine, sir. Colonel Mitchell and Dr Jackson are following a lead on an Ancient device they were told was there. They're expected back tomorrow afternoon."

"Right. Thanks," John says, and goes away. He doesn't feel especially relieved.

hr

It doesn't get any better the next day. He can't settle to anything, jumping every time the phone rings and, God, do all the telemarketers in Colorado have some radar that tells them when someone's in, and drifting over to the window every time he gets up. For the first time in a long time, he wishes he wasn't posted in another galaxy: it's kind of hard to ring your friends just to hear their voices being reassuring when you have to open an inter-galactic wormhole to do it, and hold the conversation in front of any number of SGC staff. He fills in what they'd say in his head, instead, until he decides it doesn't make you any less crazy than talking out loud to yourself, even if he is doing it in private.

He forces himself to sit at the kitchen table and work through the requisition forms he brought with him, only allowing himself to look at the clock when he signs another one off. As a way of making the form-filling go faster, it's great, though he's not entirely convinced he didn't ask for 5000 packets of the English mustard no-one likes instead of the ketchup.

He's pretty impressed with himself – and his pile of forms – when it gets to half five and he's still in the apartment. Half five is definitely early evening though, at least in John's book, which means Cam is late *again*. It's not paranoia when they really are out to get you, lock you up in a backwater prison and try to trade you for coffee beans, he tells himself, and heads back to the Mountain with the requisition forms stuffed in his jacket, in case he needs an excuse.

It's really ridiculously easy to get through security, even allowing that he actually does kind of work there, and he's soon back in the gray corridors of the SGC. There's none of the tension that permeates Atlantis when a team goes missing or gets captured, but then, the SGC has a far higher turnover of staff that Atlantis does, all of whom go home to their own houses at the end of the day; maybe they're not as close, or maybe they're just more used to people going missing.

Maybe, he tells himself, trying to be optimistic, Cam's back already, in the building somewhere debriefing with his team, in which case, John is going to kill him. It can't be that hard to find places to hide a body, and they don't get that much sex that John wouldn't give it up for revenge. Unfortunately, he knows that Cam knows this as well, and that if he was back on Earth, he would have found five minutes to ring and let John know because, if Cam's the soft touch romantic in the relationship, John's definitely the worrier.

There's a different sergeant in the control room when John strolls in, one he doesn't recognise, who asks, "Can I help you?" like he thinks John might have just wandered in off the street.

John flashes his ID. "Looking for General Landry, is he about?"

"Not exactly, sir. SG-1 missed their check-in and they're late. The General's briefing the rescue team."

John's not even surprised to hear it. He can probably put the report together in his head: Cam and Jackson upset someone on their quest, got thrown into jail or otherwise captured, and someone was sent back for the rest of their team. Just like any other day in Pegasus, with probably a few more sword wielding natives, and a few less nuclear-weapon-building-freaks-disguised-as-farmers, though there's no guarantees. John's clearly brought the standard shitty Pegasus luck home with him, along with requisition forms and the nice pen he stole from Zelenka.

"Thanks." He nods to the sergeant and wanders back into the corridors. There's something unspeakably depressing about being trapped under the mountain, even if it does have a secret exit to every planet in several galaxies. He doesn't know how Cam stands it when he's not off-world. It could be the middle of the night for all John can tell; it could be the middle of a heat-wave, even in February.

He's just decided to head down to the canteen, wait around for a bit, when an alarm goes off. It's not accompanied by the usual announcement of an unscheduled off-world activation, but by the clang of heavy metal doors sliding shut all around him. The lights cut off, then the emergency lights come up on a sealed-off corridor that he's sharing with what look like a couple of gate-team Air Force officers, three scientists and a woman in a suit who's got enough files in her arms to be an administrator of some kind.

Oh yeah. He's definitely brought Pegasus's luck with him.

hr

The doors won't budge, which is a surprise to exactly no-one, there aren't any offices off their corridor, and John's not desperate enough to suggest a trip through the air vents quite yet. The emergency lights are still going strong, after all, and the alarm's shut off.

"Attention all personnel." The intercom crackles into life far too close to his head. "The base is in temporary lockdown for security reasons. Please remain where you are and await further instructions."

"Not like we could do anything else," the woman mutters darkly. She sits down against the wall and opens the top file, uncapping a pen with her teeth. She's clearly been at the SGC for a while.

"What kind of security reasons?" John asks the rest of his little band. The two Air Force officers shake their heads unhelpfully, betraying John mercilessly.

"Could mean someone's got into the compound," one of the scientists suggests, shrugging. John raises an eyebrow at him, and he carries on. "Well, if something had come through the gate, the off-world alarm would have gone off; and if it was something with one of the labs, they'd usually evacuate, or at least say what it was."

He's making a lot of the kind of sense John wishes his colleagues would come out with, and if he's right, the chances are the SGC already has its security on the issue. It's not like he can't worry about Cam just as well in an anonymous corridor as in the mess, though he'll have to do it without coffee. They can wait it out, he thinks, and settles opposite the administrator to go over his requisition forms.

hr

An hour later, there've been no further announcements and his ass is numb from the hard floor. The administrator, Karen, has given up on her work and is writing a shopping list, she tells him, when she catches him trying to see what she's doing. She gives it up after a few minutes, though, and asks him what he does, getting interested in tales from Pegasus that gradually draw the rest of the group in as well.

That gets them through forty-five minutes, then another half hour of tales from the Milky Way, courtesy of Major Andrews and Major Parker, both of whom are relatively new to the stargate programme. The three scientists turn out to be theoretical geneticists, which strikes John as a bit of an oxymoron, and they're not that chatty, but they tell a couple of horror stories from their labs, which detours into a brief debate over genetically modified crops. John carefully doesn't say anything about genetically modified enemies in his own galaxy, not wanting to step on any Ancient-appreciating toes.

They've been on lockdown for two and a half hours, and John is ready for anything to alleviate the sheer mind-numbing boredom, including a sudden run-in with a replicator invasion force, when the lights go on and the door at the end of their corridor hisses open.

"Finally," Karen sighs, pulling herself to her feet. "I'd actually rather have been in the inter-departmental finance committee meeting than stuck here – no offence."

"None taken," John says absently. There's no announcement of the end of the lockdown, and the door he came through, coming from the control room, doesn't budge when he swipes his ID over the panel. "Parker, lend me your card."

They try Parker's ID, then Andrews' and Karen's. None of them work.

"It's probably just stuck," Karen offers. "Come on, we'll go out this way, there's a parallel corridor we can go down, and I'll email maintenance to come and look at it in the morning."

"Sure." John shoves his ID back into his pocket, and gestures for Andrews and Parker to precede him out of the corridor.

He knows the moment they turn the corner that things aren't right after all, which, granted, isn't that much of an achievement, given that there's a guy hunched over a control panel, tapping furiously with one hand while a gun hangs loose in his other hand, the whole scene lit by emergency lighting, but still. Karen gasps in shock, and John shoves her and the scientists back into their corridor fast, letting Andrews and Parker take care of themselves. He can still hear the tapping as he herds his little gang away from the open door.

"What's going on?" Karen demands. She sounds far more angry than scared.

John looks over at the scientist who predicted the intruder in the first place. "Guess you were right after all." The scientist nods, not looking all that happy about this.

"Great, and he's round the corner from us, and probably heading for the control room," Karen puts in. "And, oh yes, armed."

"Yeah." John can't help the automatic reach for his 9mm, even though he knows it isn't there; when he glances over at Andrews and Parker, neither of them are armed either – he's not sure if it's standard practice for the military to be armed on base or not, but it doesn't really matter. He doesn't fancy facing off with an armed intruder for some hand-to-hand, even with Teyla's stick-fighting lessons and Ronon's increasingly stupid Satedan war-training games to back him up. "All right. Bright ideas? I don't work here; you'll have to help me out a bit."

"There must be a security team tracking him somewhere in the building," Andrews offers. "Unless there's more than one of them, of course."

"Let's just worry about the one we know about," John says firmly. He is not in charge of this base and its overall security is not his problem to deal with, even if it does seem like it should be a cake-walk after some of the search-and-captures they've done in Atlantis over the years. "Is there a way round?"

"Yes, sir. The corridor goes both ways, someone could head left, get round the intruder, meet up with the security team and get them down here."

"OK, great." Three Air Force officers, four civilians. That's not a bad ratio. Except, he has no idea if the guy knows what's in the mountain or is just trying to get as far in as he can, and they're two automatic doors and a corridor from the control room with a glass-fronted view of the stargate. "Right. Andrews, Parker, you take the civilians, work your way back round to security or the next safe place, and get security down here asap. Keep an eye out for anyone else who shouldn't be here."

"What about you, sir?" Parker asks, looking like he knows the answer.

"I'll stay and keep an eye on our friend here," John tells him firmly. The chances of them being able to take out a guy with a gun aren't that high, so the fewer people around to get shot the better, as far as he's concerned.

Both officers shake their heads, almost in unison. "We can't let you do that, sir. Two against one is better odds, for one thing."

"This isn't a democracy," John says, without thinking. "That's an order."

Unfortunately, the SGC hasn't been breeding for obedience lately, because Andrews is still shaking his head. "All due respect, sir, but you're not part of our command." He and Parker exchange a fast, wordless glance, before John can say anything else. "I'll stay with you, sir; Major Parker will take the civilians out and alert security."

Some things are exactly the same, whatever galaxy John's in, subordinates who don't actually take him seriously when he says 'that's an order' appearing to be one of them. Parker leads the civilians to the end of the corridor silently, peering round the corner, then gesturing for them to run. John strains to hear, but the tapping continues. He doesn't really know, but it doesn't sound like the intruder is progressing very fast on getting the next doors open.

"So, what's the plan, sir?" Andrews asks. He cuts his glance to the end of the corridor every few seconds, just like John, though they're too far down the corridor to see the intruder before he sees them.

"Think we can close the door?" he asks, gesturing to the open door Parker and the civilians have just gone through.

Andrews shrugs. "It's probably locked open," he says. "He's probably got some kind of control over the place, to get the lighting back up in this corridor, but not the rest."

"Great." John looks round the corridor again, but it hasn't grown a handy concealed waiting spot in the past few minutes. "All right, then. We'll get in position inside the open door, one either side. At least then we've got a chance of jumping him when he comes through."

John's hands feel oddly empty as he takes up what would be a guard position if he had a weapon to guard it *with*. If he leans round the door slightly, he can see the man, still hunched over the console and now muttering under his breath. He's not that old, maybe mid-twenties, with the kind of skinny build John associated with scientists until he got to Atlantis; that, and the loose way he holds his gun, almost slipping from his fingers, make John think this isn't some kind of take-over attempt. More like a college prank that's got a bit out of hand, in which case, it's not impossible that there're more people in the complex. It would certainly explain why it's taken security nearly three hours to track down one college kid and get the place up and running again.

He doesn't think about the meeting Landry was in when they got locked down, about Cam and the rest of SG-1 trapped somewhere off-world, waiting for a rescue attempt that's being massively delayed by no-one important. Doesn't think about all the things that could happen in three hours. Parker's probably already caught up to security; they're probably on their way as he stands there. A few more minutes, then the intruder will be carted away, the base re-opened and the rescue team will be back through the gate, dragging SG-1 with them, before the day's out.

And then Atlantic will dial in to say that the Wraith have spontaneously turned vegetarian, John thinks. Irrational optimism is usually – well, OK, usually it is his job, but only when he's got a team to keep motivated. It's not that often that he actually believes himself.

Over at the panel, the young man hisses in triumph as the doors slide open and John swallows his groan. This is already taking the kind of bad turn he's more than used to his missions and plans taking. One day, a plan will go off perfectly and without a hitch, but that day clearly isn't today.

He nods to Andrews, who nods back confidently. They don't have much of a plan for this moment, but John figures they'll start by jumping him and go from there, hopefully by way of them getting the kid's gun and subduing him, not by way of shooting and pain.

The kid slings his backpack over his shoulder, twirls his gun clumsily round one finger and strolls towards them. John presses himself as far back into the corner as he can, which really isn't far all that far, and gets ready to jump.

Everything happens in a rush: the kid strolls through the open door, and both Andrews and John hurl themselves at him, driving him to the floor, the gun skittering from his hand and spinning across the corridor. The kid shoves backwards with both elbows as they hit the floor, catching John a glancing blow to his side. Next to him, Andrews gasps for breath; the kid pushes them both up in the half-second John's distracted, and goes for the gun, John scrambling after him. They reach for it at the same moment, then he shoves John, hard, into the wall and snatches up the gun.

John shakes his head hard to clear the stars in his vision, and finds himself looking at the rapidly rising barrel of a gun. He lunges for it, but his vision's still spotty and he misjudges the distance, his fingers closing over the boy's wrist instead of metal. He makes the most of what he's got, digging in as hard as he can. The boy yells in pain.

"Let go," John says. He presses harder, feeling bones. "Drop the gun."

"No!" For someone as skinny as he is, the boy's surprisingly strong. He jerks his hand up, slamming John's hand into the wall, twice, then again, until John's fingers go suddenly nerveless and he has to let go. Behind him, he hears Andrews gasping, but he's clearly out for the duration, and the boy is running down the corridor, not bothering to look behind him.

John gathers his dodgy vision and aching hand and pelts after him, full-tilt. The boy darts through the doors and turns, his fingers flying over the lock pad on the other side. John has a moment to think that his life has turned into some cheap B movie, then he's reaching for the kid's jacket and the door slides shut on his arm with a sickening crunch.

The whole world whites out with pain for a second, before the door slides open again. He pulls his arm back, not looking, and the boy's fingers fly over the keypad again. John lunges for him through the black light-headedness he's fallen into, but someone catches him before he gets there. He blinks to see a gun against the boy's temple, a deep voice instructing him with slow care to lower the gun, then John's on his back on the corridor floor, cradling his arm close and glaring at the guy who caught him and now wants to see his injuries.

"Andrews, Andrews is hurt," he says as clearly as he can and he's left alone.

He lies very still, trying not to pass out or vomit, and in the blur of voices and movements, hears the off-world activation alarm go off; a moment later, someone announces that SG-1 are home, and calls for a med team. John gives up, and passes out.

hr

The infirmary is dark when John walks back in, two hours after he walked out. Andrews is sleeping in one bed, as are three other members of SGC personnel. The intruder apparently got round a fair chunk of the base before being captured, but he was only one person, with no idea what he was really stumbling into. He's been packed off with the local PD, and everyone's glad to see the back of him.

Parker and their four civilians were gone for the day by the time John made it out of the infirmary, but Landry assured him they were all fine, then told him what he'd done was stupid, and he must have a hard head not to be in the infirmary with a concussion. John kind of agreed at that point, so he nodded and made a quick escape.

SG-1 rescued themselves from their captivity, by methods that aren't yet totally clear to John. Dr Jackson's a bit battered, but he was in his office when John walked by; Carter, Teal'c and Vala, who'd only been captured later, are all fine and gone for the night. It's only Cam who's in an infirmary bed with a hole in his side, from getting shot during their run for the gate.

"Knock, knock."

Cam opens his eyes, looking groggy. "John, hey. How's it going? Heard you saved the base today."

"Yeah, well." John shrugs the comment away and goes to sit on the side of Cam's bed. "Did better than you, and I'm not even meant to be working."

"Can't be brilliant all the time." Cam offers with a doped up version of his usual attempt at a charming grin. John rolls his eyes and reaches into his pocket. The box is a little battered from being in there for an hour, but the contents should still be OK. "What's that?" Cam asks, his eyes shining like he already knows.

It's such a cliché that John can't quite believe it's him making this gesture. He particularly can't believe that he's making it while sitting in the SGC infirmary with a broken arm gained during his attempt to stave off an attack on the mountain by one dumb college kid, while on his vacation. He'll never hear the end of this when he gets home.

"Is it Valentine's Day already?" Cam asks, taking the box of chocolates John's tempted to throw at him.

"No," John tells him, dropping his voice, since they're doing this in the middle of the SGC, even if it is five thirty in the morning. "We missed it, it was yesterday."

"Doesn't matter," Cam says, grinning for real. It's the best thing John's seen since he left Atlantis, and it almost makes up for how completely corny the moment is.

Then Cam very carefully pulls him in for a kiss, and that makes up the rest of it. Maybe there are worse things than vacations after all.

Next: Recuperation


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