blue flamingos

What If I Told You

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash,

Year/Length: 2007/ ~2331 words

Pairing: Cameron/John

Spoilers: SGA: Sunday and SG-1: The Quest II

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

Summary: "There is peace and rest and comfort in sorrow" (Soren Kierkegaard)

Author's Notes: For [info]14valentines Day 13 Women and Work

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

hr

Cam's drifting somewhere between awake and asleep and it takes a while for the knocking to penetrate and wake him up enough to miss his apartment, where anyone important calls first and he can mostly ignore the ones who don't.

"Who is it?" He's decent, in the old sweatpants and Air Force Academy t-shirt he keeps in his base quarters, but his head feels like he's been hit repeatedly with a brick, and if he's about to be dragged off to deal with Landry, he'd rather be wearing shoes.

The knocking stops and there's a brief pause, then a familiar voice says, "Let me in."

Cam stares at the door in surprise, then, when it fails to explain itself, swings himself upright and goes to open it, mystified.

Mystified rapidly devolves into worried when he finds John Sheppard in dress blues, looking easily as bad as Cam feels. "You're supposed to be in Atlantis," he says stupidly.

John doesn't even bother to roll his eyes. "I was. Now I'm here." He sighs, his whole body sagging. "Look, there are three scientists eyeing me like they're about to call the Marines and have me removed. Can I come in?"

"Oh. Yeah, come in." Cam leans out as John steps inside and glares at the scientists, who eye him back innocently, like they weren't just giving an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel the evil eye for no obvious reason. Some days, he misses being around people who actually did as he told them, or at least faked being properly cowed.

John's standing in the middle of the room when Cam shuts the door and turns round, his back to Cam and his hands in his pockets. Cam scrolls rapidly through his mental Atlantis file, but they've been off-world for almost a week following a totally useless lead on Jackson's whereabouts, and he hasn't even checked his email since he got back. Cold dread settles in his stomach and he has an irrational few seconds of wishing he'd ignored the knocking; he's not sure he's got any comfort left to offer outside of his team.

"What happened?" he asks, sitting on the edge of the bed and looking up at John's face, closed off and somehow bruised. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm flying to Scotland with McKay tomorrow afternoon," John says, like this is a perfectly rational answer, one that Cam will be able to derive some meaning from. "His sister's in town, and he's with her, Lorne's taken Ronon drinking with his old gate team, and Zelenka and Dr Biro are asleep." He delivers his report to the wall a foot above Cam's head, then meets Cam's eyes and says, "Dr Beckett is dead."

Cam puts together Scotland and Beckett and comes up with a vague memory from the few days he spent on Atlantis, looking for Merlin's weapon, one of John's insane commando team who went to take back Atlantis and rescue O'Neill. "What happened?" he asks again.

John shakes his head and drops down beside him. "Accident with Ancient technology. Explosion. We brought him back a couple of hours ago."

Cam vaguely remembers hearing the off-world activation alarm sound, briefly, but no-one called him so he ignored it, too tired to go fake a confidence he doesn't feel that they'll find Jackson and he'll still be Jackson. He understands that everyone needs someone to project confidence and reassurance and that, as leader of SG-1, on paper if nothing else, it's got to be him, but after a week of not being able to stop for a second, he just wanted to be left alone to be defeatist in private.

"Jackson's missing," he says, when he means to say I'm sorry or are you OK?.

"Since when? How?" John asks

"Accident with Ancient technology. Kind of on purpose." Cam doesn't realise where the words come from until he hears himself say them, John looking sharply at him, and it's not that funny but they both crack up and when they stop laughing, they're lying side by side on Cam's bed, John's boots rucking up the covers, and Cameron's throat hurts. He wants to reach out for John's hand, hold on, and settles for pressing the backs of their hands together instead.

"Great fucking command officers we make," John says, bitter words in a defeated voice.

"Yeah." Cam sighs. "We left him behind. On a planet we didn't know, with the Orici, and I have no clue how to even start looking, let alone find him."

John rolls his head to face Cam and raises his eyebrows. "So, feeling about as good as me, then?"

"Yeah." They're both being pathetically self-pitying, but Cam doesn't really care. He kind of figures that's what John's here for anyway. "Come on, let's get out of here. You've got normal clothes here somewhere, right?"

John glances down, obviously surprised to find himself still in his dress uniform. "Uh, yeah. In my apartment."

The one he's still paying rent on, cos it's hard to sublet your place from another galaxy, and their stupid safe-too-risky chart puts Cam doing it for him in the too-risky column,

Yeah, they definitely need to get out of here, because just the nothing they're doing right now is too much risk after the week they've both had.

"Right." Cam drags himself up and goes looking for the jeans he knows are here somewhere; that and socks. "I'll change, we'll swing by your place so you can change and then..." He thinks about suggesting they go find John's second-in-command, make sure no-one notices he's getting an alien drunk in some bar, then thinks better of it. "We'll go find a bar. A loud bar."

John, still lying on the bed, makes a face. "What's wrong with your apartment? Or my apartment?"

"Your apartment's been locked up for months, it'll be covered in dust," Cam points out reasonably. "And there's nothing to drink in mine. Actually, there's probably nothing to eat, either."

"There's still a bed, right?"

Cam winces, because John trying to flirt when he looks worse than when they got thrown out of Atlantis is painful.

"Last time I checked." The dumb thing is, Cam figures they both want the same thing right now, and it's not like they can't find an excuse for John leaving his apartment tomorrow morning, but that doesn't stop him wanting to force the issue, for reasons that he can't explain. He pulls on a more inconspicuous t-shirt and turns to John, who's frowning at him from the bed. "Just – come on already."

John's expression doesn't change, but he shoves himself off the bed anyway. "Fine. If it'll make you happy. Just promise me one thing."

"What?" Cam bends down to tie his uniform boots, because he's never remembered to leave a pair of trainers here.

John puts on his most pathetic expression. "Don't make me spend the night in my apartment. I hate that place."

"I promise," Cam says, and leans over to kiss him, wishing it didn't seem quite so desperate, on both sides.

hr

They never make it out of Cameron's apartment.

John makes him stop there because Cam's got the only copy of John's key these days – the original one of many things that got lost in the run on Atlantis – and while he's looking for and failing to find it, John's finding the beer Cam doesn't remember buying and then it just seems like too much effort to actually leave. Plus, there's no-one to care that John's down to an odd combination of uniform pants and a sweatshirt so old the print on the front's rubbing off, his hair sticking up every which way. Cam can't stop looking at him, thinking about smoothing away the awful expression still lingering at the edges of his face, about waking up shaking with someone there and not needing to force it down before anyone notices.

It's been a while since he got drunk on two and a half beers, but he thinks he's getting there tonight.

John turns and catches him looking. "Hey." He reaches out an unsteady hand, resting his fingertips against Cam's jaw. "You OK?"

Cam shakes his head and it's harder than he expected to drop the act. Maybe he needs to believe what he's selling as much as everyone else does. "Not really."

"Didn't he already die a couple of times?" John strokes lightly along Cam's jaw line.

"Yeah. But..." He doesn't need to explain, because John's been with the SGC for three years, and the Air Force a lot longer, he knows what it's like to leave people behind; except he doesn't, because all John's major career events have been prompted by his unshakeable belief that no-one gets left behind. "I just..."

"Wish someone was telling you what to do right now?" John smiles, a sharp, painful thing, and Cam figures maybe John does get it.

He's definitely drunk, because his throat hurts, again, and it's kind of hard to focus. John's hand tightens on his jaw and he says, "Christ," sounding broken, and kind of falls into Cam, his head against Cam's shoulder, is free hand clutching at Cam's. Cam closes his eyes and drops his head against John's, and breathes.

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Much later, John hangs his uniform pants carefully in Cam's closet and they fall into bed, John's body pressed warm against his. It's a lot easier to pretend he's not trembling when John is as well; he doesn't know if it's from what he feels or the effect of not feeling it, but he's tired and kind of drunk and his brain shorts out between one thought and the next, dropping him suddenly into sleep.

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He's good at waking up and not showing anything, and he does it now: John's fingertips are tracing over his face, dotting a random pattern over his features. It feels nice and Cam doesn't care that his apartment's cold, that it's too early for the heat to have kicked in yet, which means they could still be sleeping.

John's hands keep going, down his neck, over his shoulders and his chest.

"I know you're awake," John says, his voice a lot closer than Cam expected. He opens his eyes, but John's watching his own hands in the pre-dawn gloom, the side of his head close to Cam's nose. He lifts his head a little, nuzzling at John's neck, his crazy hair.

"Ssh," John says softly. He tips his head, just out of Cam's reach, and his hands slide over Cam's stomach, tap along his ribs. "It's all right."

He doesn't know why John thinks he needs reassuring about this, but he drops his head back anyway, watching John, half-filled outlines and slow movements.

He's hard when John's fingers crawl over his cock, petting him, and he sighs, letting his eyes fall closed. It's almost silent, just his breathing, a little fast, and John's, slow and smooth, no sensory input beyond John's hands and the bed he's lying in, blankets caught tightly round his feet.

John strokes up the inside of his thigh, along the underside of his cock, then again, and around his balls, light and slow like they almost never are together. Cam blinks his eyes open, suddenly weirded out by lying in the dark, not touching. John's twisted himself round so his shoulder's right above Cam's, his elbow almost close enough to press against Cam's thigh.

He strokes Cam's cock, a loose fist that he feels all the way up his spine, sucking in a sharp breath. John pats the top of his hip. "Ssh. Lie still."

He's too relaxed – too tired – to do anything but obey, John's touch gentle and good, with a sharp, familiar twist at the end of every stroke, pleasure suffusing Cam's whole body, like the best drugs, like Vodka shots after a really crappy day, and his orgasm washes over him like a wave, until he's shuddering and spent, reaching for John like he's starving for skin contact, which is crazy, the imprint of John's fingers all over his body, but John comes willingly, pressing against Cam all over, hard against his hip.

He kisses John's hair, the edge of his hairline, until John tilts his head up to kiss properly, long and slow, John's erection rolling against him in the same rhythm, like he doesn't even know he's doing it.

"Can I...?" Cam pulls back, seeing John's face in double vision, his clouded eyes and the hurt that hasn't gone away overnight. He strokes a line down John's body until John twists and stops him.

"Just... here, come here." John kisses him again, pressing into Cam's thigh, and when he comes it's with a gasp, like he wasn't expecting it, surprised himself.

hr

They're near silent in the morning, moving around each other in Cam's neat apartment, not awkward but not exactly *not* either, comfort offered and taken except Cam still feels like he's starving for it, reaching out to brush his fingers over John's skin as they pass each other, until they're both trembling with it.

Cam's got a briefing first thing, and probably a mission to plan for tomorrow, an Ori-related one this time; John's having breakfast with McKay and his sister, seeing the rest of his people back through the gate, then catching an afternoon flight to Scotland, with McKay, again. They'll probably miss each other when John comes back.

They look at each other helplessly when Cam finds his car keys.

"I have to..." John starts, and trails off.

"Me too."

Dress uniform and base BDUs, John wearing his socks and his boxers, John's front door key in his apartment somewhere, and it was one night that wasn't enough but has to be because it's all they get. All they're allowed.

He drops John at McKay's hotel and swallows all the words they can't say.

He feels John's fingerprints, dotted across his skin, all day.


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