blue flamingos

Dreams We Never Expected

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, NC17

Year/Length: 2010/~5,877 words

Pairing: John/Cam

Spoilers: Outcast

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

Warning: contains age-play (17/18)

Summary: Cam's attempt to reach out to John after Sheppard Snr dies ends up going a little differently than he expected

Series:

Author's Notes: Written for prehistoric_sea, who won me in the help_pakistan auction

Beta:

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

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John never talked much about his childhood, but apparently he'd talked about enough, because Patrick Sheppard's house, when Cam finally wound far enough down the drive to see it, looked exactly like he'd expected: large, imposing, and unfriendly. Knowing John now, it wasn't hard to imagine him wanting to get as far away as he could, or to stay away as long as possible.

Despite it only being late afternoon, there were no signs of life, not even a car parked out front. Not that anyone was expecting him – Cam had gotten back from a mission to a text message from John saying Back for Dad's funeral. See you on base? and Landry telling the team to take a couple of days off, after being off-world for over a week. One last minute flight later, he'd been hiring a car for the last leg of the journey, reasoning that if John sent him away (not wholly unlikely), at least he'd be able to leave without having to wait around for a cab.

Nothing to be gained by sitting in the car all afternoon. Cam got out, left his duffel behind, and made for the front door, taking in the quiet that descended on him, swallowing up the sound of the car door closing.

An older woman in what was obviously a housekeeper's uniform answered Cam's knock with a polite, "Can I help you?" and a look that clearly said she didn't think much of him showing up in jeans and a t-shirt.

Cam put on his best charming smile anyway. "Hi. I'm looking for John Sheppard."

"I'll check if he's receiving callers," she said, blocking Cam from stepping inside. "Who shall I say is calling?"

"Cameron Mitchell," Cam said, swallowing the urge to give his rank, just to see what she'd do with it.

"One moment," she said, and closed the door in his face.

Maybe Cam should have found the trades-man's entrance. He was pretty sure etiquette meant at least being invited into the front hall.

A moment later, the door opened again, revealing John, dressed in what was obviously a suit minus jacket and tie, looking at Cam in surprise. "Cam," he said.

"Hi," Cam said, not sure what came next. It wasn't like John took hugging very well at the best of times. "I got your message. I thought -" He hadn't thought anything really, other than that John's father was dead and Cam ought to be there for him.

John glanced behind himself, then stepped all the way out of the house and closed the door. "Does Landry know you're here?"

"I told him I was going out of state for a couple of days. The Odyssey's in orbit, they'll beam me if they need me."

John nodded, still tense. "My brother's here."

"Okay." Of John's family, Cam had only met his mother, once, the year before she died, couldn't read what John wasn't saying about Dave.

"He's -" John sighed, looking exhausted. "Ronon was here with me, Dave thinks we're sleeping together. I think."

"I can go, if that's easier," Cam offered. "Get a hotel room, or just see you when you're back at the Mountain. Or tell him I'm a friend."

John ran a hand through his hair then shook his head. "I want you to stay," he said firmly. "I want..."

Cam took a risk, put his hand on John's arm and felt him trembling, so faintly he couldn't see it. The message had been date stamped a couple of days ago; Cam wondered if John had gotten any sleep during that time. "I didn't come out here to make things harder," he said. "Whatever you want to tell him."

"I want to tell him," John said. "I just don't know if it's a good idea."

"Stick to 'friend from the air force' and figure it out from there," Cam advised. "Or just, you know, let me in, before your housekeeper decides I'm trying to kidnap you."

John cracked a smile that looked mostly genuine. "She's used to people in suits. Grab your bag."

He was still standing on the step when Cam returned from the car, looking oddly lost. "Hey," Cam said, just to get his attention, then slung one arm round John's shoulders and kissed his forehead. John didn't tense up or move away, which just confirmed that he hadn't been sleeping, and Cam said, "I'm sorry about your dad."

John made a non-committal sound, then gently pulled away, not meeting Cam's eyes. "Come on, I'll introduce you to Dave."

The house was near silent, their footsteps echoing on the polished wood floors. It felt empty, and Cam half-expected to see ghosts, lurking in the doorways or following them between dark paintings and heavy bookcases. He could see why the housekeeper hadn't been impressed with his clothes – he felt like he should be in a suit, or maybe his dress uniform.

"In here," John said, opening the final one in a series of dark doors and leading him into what Cam guessed was probably a drawing room, all green leather chairs and dark wood. He wondered if Mr Sheppard had redecorated after his children moved out, and thought probably not.

Dave stood up as they walked in, smoothing his suit pants. He hadn't changed much from the one photograph Cam had seen of him and John, taken at Dave's graduation years ago, and he was the only one of them who looked like he belonged in the house, still wearing his suit jacket.

"Dave, this is Cam Mitchell," John said, gesturing to Cam. "He's – we work out of the same base. Cam, my brother Dave."

"Good to meet you," Dave said, the end of the sentence trailing off as he shook Cam's hand. "Is it Major as well?"

Cam looked at John, who wasn't looking at him. "Colonel, actually, but Cam's fine. John -" he started, then realized there was no way to correct Dave without explaining that John hadn't told him about his promotion in three years.

"John?" Dave prompted.

"John made lieutenant colonel, actually," John said, sounding bitter. "It doesn't matter. Cam's gonna stay for a couple of days."

"All right," Dave said, only looking slightly ruffled. "I'll ask Anna to make up a room for you."

Cam nodded his thanks, half holding his breath, hoping John wouldn't say anything they might regret. Cam had introduced John to his brother and closest cousin years ago, unable to keep him secret from his family, but even that had been the product of some thought, not a spur of the moment decision because he was hurting.

John didn't say anything, just drifted over to the window. Dave watched him for a moment, then looked back to Cam. "Can I get you something to drink?"

Alcohol at four thirty in the afternoon probably wouldn't endear him to Dave, but the tension between the two brothers was starting to make Cam itchy. "I don't suppose I could impose on your hospitality for a shower? I had a long flight."

Dave looked over at John again, then sighed, very faintly. "Of course. Let me show you the bathroom."

Dave hovered when he was finished pointing out towels and which room Cam would be sleeping in. He obviously had something he wanted to ask, watching Cam with an odd tilt of his head, but what he came out with was, "It was good of you to come, for my brother."

"We've known each other a long time," Cam said, and didn't say that it was important to have people around at times like this, since Dave didn't have anyone. Unless John was his someone. "I was sorry to hear about your father. I'm sorry for your loss."

"Thank you." Dave kept looking at him, but Cam had been stared down by a number of COs, and Dave really didn't have anything on them. "Just yell if you need anything," he said finally, and left.

Cam lingered in the shower, then went through his bag until he found the dress pants and shirt he'd packed. He felt over-dressed for early evening, but it was better than feeling under-dressed. When he checked his cell, there was a message from Vala: How's Sheppard? Ronon says his brother is strange. Maybe a host? Be vigilant.

Cam rolled his eyes. I'll be on my guard, but I think he's fine. Go home.

There was no sign of John when he ran out of excuses, even to himself, and went back downstairs, but Dave was in the drawing room when Cam stuck his head in, bent over a thick, leather-covered book. "Colonel Mitchell," he said, looking up.

"Cam's really fine," Cam said. "Cameron, if you want to be formal."

Dave nodded like he hadn't taken that in at all. "John's spoken of you before," he said, gesturing to the chair adjacent to his. Cam was pretty sure he didn't want to hear the rest of this conversation, but he couldn't refuse without seeming rude, and John was doing enough of that for both of them, so he sat. "Years ago now, when he was sent home from Afghanistan. Dad wanted him to come home."

John had turned up at the hospital, still in his uniform, looking as bad as Cam, no longer on enough pain medication to go through the days in a fuzzy haze, had felt. He hadn't asked what had happened to Cam, same way Cam hadn't asked what had happened to him, and then, a week after he'd arrived, he'd said, "I have to go, I'm sorry," and disappeared off the face of Cam's Earth until they ran into each other on Cam's first day with the SGC.

"He was redeployed," Cam said, fighting not to shiver at the memory, wishing he'd ducked out again before they could start this conversation.

"He was visiting you," Dave corrected. Apparently, he'd changed his mind about John and Ronon sleeping together.

"I was injured in hospital."

"And now you're stationed together."

"Sort of," Cam hedged, cursing John for abandoning him to this conversation. "John spends a lot of time out on missions, we don't see much of each other."

He wished he could take the words back as soon as he'd said them, cursing the opening he'd left for Dave to say something that made it even more obvious he thought they were together, but Dave just looked at him for a moment, then nodded. "John's probably out by the stables, if you want to find him. Anna will serve dinner at half past six."

"Great," Cam said, and fled.

John wasn't out by the stables, or in them, or anywhere near them. Cam pulled out his cell, contemplated calling and asking where he was, then shoved it back in his pocket. The place wasn't that big, and anyway, it wasn't like John wouldn't just ignore him. He angled back to the house, eying a summer house a good way from it, then kept going. He went in through a back door, through the kitchen, thankfully empty of Anna the housekeeper, and into the main house again. Faced with a corridor that would take him past Dave's drawing room or a mysterious set of stairs, he took the stairs, and came out at the far end of the corridor his room was on. One of the rooms had to be the one John was sleeping in, so Cam started on the left, tapping on and opening doors.

He found John on the third try, though he didn't think it was John's room, judging from the flower-patterned cover on the bed, and the black and white seascapes on the walls. John was sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed, his knees drawn up, another leather-bound book rested on them. He looked up, frowning, when the door opened, then saw Cam and relaxed.

"Thought you were Dave," he said.

Cam decided that was the closest he was getting to an invitation, and stepped inside, closing the door behind himself. "Just me." John shifted slightly, making room, so Cam sat next to him, pressing close. "What are you reading?"

John opened the cover of the book, which turned out to be a photo album. There was only one picture on the front page, a family portrait of the Sheppards, in which John looked about sixteen, his hair falling into his eyes, all of them in smart clothes. "This was my mom's," John said quietly. "The room as well. She meant to come back for all her stuff, but Dad wouldn't let her in the house after she moved in with Sarah."

"How old are you in that picture?" Cam asked. He wanted to put his arm around John, hold him close and tell him it would be okay, but this was John. It would be a waste of breath.

"Sixteen," John said. "It's my birthday."

"Your birthday's in the fall," Cam said. "That looks like summer."

John nodded, turning the page. "We celebrated before Dave and I went back to school."

"Boarding school, right?" Cam asked. The next couple of pages held pictures of John on a couple of different horses, looking pleased with himself, and Dave in a football uniform, muddy and also pleased with himself.

"Since we were kids." John sounded far away, a little dreamy, turning the pages. Cam looked over at John's face, trying to read him, then back down to the album, just in time to catch the edge of an image as John turned the page.

"Whoa, wait a second." He caught the edge of the page instead of John's hand and turned it back. "Is that you?"

It couldn't be anyone else, in jeans and a navy sweatshirt, sitting next to his mom on a bench in front of bare trees, both of them smiling. Except John's familiar dark hair was gone, nothing but a dark fuzz over his head.

"Yeah." John reached out, touched his mom's face. "Couple of days after my seventeenth birthday."

"When you harbored a not-so-secret desire to be a marine?" Cam asked. The boy in the picture looked oddly sweet, laughing with his mom, despite the severe haircut; Cam had already been at the Academy when the picture was taken, but he wondered if they'd have been friends if they'd met then. God knew they'd pretty much hit it off immediately when they first met a few years later.

John shrugged one shoulder. "I was..." He turned a few pages more purposefully, then hesitated, one page lifted far enough to block Cam's view of what came next.

"What?" Cam prodded. "Prank gone wrong? You dyed your hair blue for some reason and couldn't wash it out?"

John ducked his head, like he'd forgotten they were sitting way too close for Cam not to notice that he was blushing. "There was this guy," he said, mostly to the page that he was still holding in place.

"Yeah?" Cam asked, kind of surprised to think of John doing something like cutting his hair for a guy. It had taken him two years to convince John to leave a few clothes at Cam's place.

"Not – like that." John ran his thumb across the edge of the page. "He was... we were friends, sort of. I..."

"You were interested in him," Cam filled in. John nodded. "Did you..?"

John shook his head. "Dave was at the same school as me. And I wanted to join the Air Force. I was..." He shook his head again, obviously done.

"Do I get to see what he looked like?" Cam asked, resting his hand on the edge of the page again. It made slightly more sense of the haircut, if John had been that scared, trying to cover it by looking tough.

John glanced sideways at him, then let the page drop, showing a group of boys in matching blazers, clearly posed and moments from falling out of it, from the manic grins on their faces and the elbow one was shoving into the boy next to him. "His name's Samir," John said, pointing to the boy standing next to him, his arm casually over John's shoulders.

"Good taste," Cam said quietly, meaning it. Samir was tall and thin, wearing silver-rimmed glasses. His dark hair curled neatly, and his grin was bright and warm. John, in the picture, was looking slightly away from his friend, but he looked happier than Cam mostly saw him.

"He's out in Afghanistan somewhere," John said. "He's an engineer, he went out after the invasion."

"Smart guy."

John nodded. "I don't... he's got someone. A guy."

"Okay," Cam said.

John went silent for a long time, looking at the photograph. Finally, he said, "Mom knitted me a hat, after she saw I'd cut my hair. To keep my ears warm. I lost it in Bosnia."

"I'll get my mom to knit you a new one," Cam offered.

John smiled a little, and tipped his head to rest on Cam's shoulder, and they sat like that until the housekeeper called them for dinner.

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Dinner was awkward, full of stilted silences between Cam and Dave's attempts at making conversation, John sitting silently between them, eating his food mechanically. It made Cam, feeling uncharitable, want to poke him or glare, force him to be sociable like he knew John was capable of. He knew he wasn't the only one feeling frustrated – Dave kept glancing at his brother, asking questions designed to draw John into the conversation, obviously trying, even though Cam thought John probably couldn't help his own withdrawal.

Everyone started when Dave's cell phone rang, sudden and loud, and Dave's relief when he checked the screen was unmistakeable. "It's Andrea," he said, then to Cam, "My wife. Excuse me."

Cam waited until the door closed again behind him. "I didn't know he was married."

John poked at the remain of his mashed potatoes. "Dad didn't like his wife. She didn't like him either. That's probably why she's not here."

"Oh," Cam said intelligently, instead of asking why not. He missed his own family – grudge-holding just wasn't done there.

"He was disappointed that Dave and Andrea had two girls, instead of a son," John offered. "Especially after he found out I was queer."

And Cam knew exactly how well that had gone over, John recounting the argument to him one night after he'd come back, sprawled on Cam's floor, eyes closed and voice slurred with alcohol. "That was his loss," he said, resting his hand on John's wrist.

John didn't look up, but he did turn his hand under Cam's, holding on. "Doesn't feel like it," he said quietly.

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Cam was halfway to asleep when someone tapped at his bedroom door, then slipped inside. "You awake?" John asked softly.

"Yeah," Cam said, reaching for the lamp.

"Don't," John said. Cam felt him freeze, then relax slightly as Cam drew his hand back, squinting in an attempt to see him through the thick dark. "Can I sleep with you tonight?"

His voice sounded strange in some way Cam couldn't put his finger on. "What about your brother?" he asked.

John took a couple of steps closer. "I'll sneak back before he wakes up. No-one will see me."

Cam shifted back slightly and held up the corner of the blankets for John, who slid into bed a moment later. Cam expected him to move closer, assumed he wanted to be close to someone, but instead, he curled on his side on the edge of the bed, facing Cam, who could see his eyes were open, now that his own had adjusted to the dark. "You okay?" he asked.

"Yeah, I -" John cut himself off, reached out a hand to touch Cam's shoulder, oddly tentative. His eyes were cast down, so Cam couldn't read him, didn't have much choice but to lie there and let John touch him through his t-shirt, light, careful touches that didn't feel like John.

John didn't say anything when Cam reached for him in return, rested his hand on John's neck where he could run his thumb over the bare skin there, his evening stubble and -. He stopped, thrown. John wasn't wearing his tags, which he pretty much never took off, conditioned into it like the rest of them.

"Don't stop," John said quietly, more a request than an order.

Cam obliged, trying to remember if John had been wearing them earlier in the day, wondering if he was worrying over nothing.

John hissed suddenly, startling Cam. "What?" he asked.

John shrugged, twisting his shoulder to move Cam's hand from where it had been. "Bruise. Don't touch there."

"What happened?" Cam asked.

"Nothing," John said, then, almost too quiet for Cam to hear, "Fell off a horse."

"When were you," Cam started, feeling John tense up again under his hand. "What's going on?"

"Nothing," John said again. He looked up, not meeting Cam's eye. "Kiss me."

"No," Cam said, catching John's wrist and moving his hand onto the pillow between them. "Whatever you're trying to do, if you want me to be part of it, I want to know what I'm actually part of."

John pressed his face into the pillow, but didn't pull his hand back, which Cam took as a good sign. "My dad died," he said quietly. "My mom's dead, my brother thinks I came back for Dad's money, my city is... I just wanted to pretend."

"Pretend what?" Cam pushed.

"To be..." John shook his head. "If we'd been at school together, I would have made a pass at you."

"That's... thank you," Cam said uncertainly.

He heard John draw a deep breath, that kind that usually meant he felt he'd been pushed into talking about something he didn't want to by the other person's inability to get what he wasn't saying. "I wanted to pretend I was seventeen and you were – that we were kids together. Without all the other stuff."

That explained the lack of tags. Putting his adult identity aside. "You could have said so."

"Do you get it?" John asked.

He sounded hopeful – too hopeful for Cam to lie. "Not really," he said. Maybe well enough to make a decent stab at doing it, but not well enough to understand why. "Is that important?"

John twitched, like he'd gone to answer and then realized he wasn't sure what the answer was. "I... don't know. Do you think I'm nuts?"

Cam swallowed his first answer – that he thought John was grieving – and said, honestly, "No. I think you know what you want." There was a long silence, but Cam could feel John waiting, knew he wasn't going to speak first. "We can still try it."

John's head came up fast, his eyes wide and surprised. "Really?"

"You don't want to pretend I'm, I dunno, a teacher or something?" Cam asked, checking.

"No," John said, firm and faintly horrified. "Just – older, a bit. Experienced."

Cam bit the inside of his lip, where John wouldn't be able to tell, wanting to laugh at the cliché. John never took being laughed at very well. "Okay. Do you... I don't know. Tell me what I need to know."

John smiled slightly – they'd had this conversation more than once, on both sides; sex had stopped being simple a long time ago. "I don't know. Maybe... persuasion's okay, but I don't want... No is still no. No for real."

Cam nodded. John was definitely the more adventurous of the two of them when it came to sex, but they neither of them wanted to play that way. "Do you want a safe word anyway?"

John thought about it for a long moment. "Air force," he said finally.

"That's two words," Cam said, angling for John to laugh.

John rolled his eyes slightly instead, and sat up, reaching for the lamp. He drew one knee up, his hands linked in his lap, his head down a little – like he was getting into character, and it was oddly compelling to watch. He was waiting, Cam got that, waiting for Cam to change his mind and say no. Cam sat up instead, saw John watching him from the corner of his eye, and pulled his own tags out from under his t-shirt, over his head to pool in his palm. His shaving kit was open on the dresser; he got out of bed and tucked them inside, where he wouldn't lose them.

When he turned back to the bed, some of the tension had eased out of John, so he figured he'd done that right. "Lie down," John said quietly, back to his normal voice. Cam obliged, and John reached over to turn out the light.

"Cam?" His hand came down tentatively on Cam's shoulder, and he'd slid back into the same slightly off tone he'd used before. "You awake?"

Cam faked stirring, trying not to feel too much of a fool, and said, "John?" kind of impressed with himself when it came out sleepy. "What are you doing here?"

"I... I was..." It wasn't just the voice, Cam realized – John felt younger, somehow, enough to make Cam slightly uncomfortable, even with the evidence right there that John hadn't physically changed. "I couldn't sleep."

"Why not?" Cam asked, then, figuring that might touch a little close to reality, "Here, get under the covers. You're shivering."

He was, was the hell of it, and he curled on the edge of the bed, same as he had before. "I was thinking about you."

Cam tried to remember being eighteen, what he might have done if an attractive guy had climbed into his bed and said that. Freaked out, probably. Plan B it was. "About me?" It came out slightly unsure, but also like he was trying for seductive. "What about me?"

John drew a breath, but didn't say anything. Cam couldn't tell if he was still playing the part, or if he really couldn't think of what to say. Probably didn't help that they didn't exactly have much guidance. He reached out, ran his forefinger over the back of John's hand, curled on the pillow. John sighed softly. "Like that?" Cam asked. He did it again, then caught John's wrist and pulled him carefully closer. "Or like this?" he asked, and leaned in to kiss him.

The angle was awkward, and he couldn't tell how far was too far to push, kept it light, John tentative against him, but he thought, suddenly, of John as he really had been at seventeen, cutting his hair to look tough and wearing his mom's knitted hat, and felt a rush of protectiveness.

John must have felt the shift in his body language, because he shifted back enough to say, "What?"

Cam couldn't tell which John was asking. "Nothing," he said. "I was – I'm glad you're here."

"Me too," John said, and kissed him again, definitely seventeen year old John again now, his hand on Cam's arm, holding him in place. Cam wrapped his arms around him, held on, let John tremble against him, young and nervous, and it was like whatever switch John had flipped in himself was slowly turning in Cam as well, forty year old air force officer and gate team leader sliding off into the corner of the room somewhere.

He teased John's mouth open with his tongue, pleased when John reciprocated. He'd done this before, a couple of times, out in the back pasture with Darryl, mouths bitter with liberated alcohol, trying to think of Amy and not, quite. John felt different – breakable, even without the bruises for which he still didn't have an explanation.

He wasn't expecting John to be the one to move it on, and so the hand on his cock made him jump. John pulled his hand back immediately. "Sorry," he said, too fast. "Sorry, I -"

"It's fine," Cam said. Not that there wasn't such a thing as foreplay, but it wasn't like he had an endless line – or any kind of line, really – of people lining up to touch his dick, and he wasn't going to say no. "You surprised me."

John grinned, bright and amused, even in the dark. "Good surprise?"

"Good surprise." Cam hesitated, not sure if he could put John's hand back, then John did it himself, cupping Cam's dick through his sweatpants, rubbing at the head, where it felt really good. Cam moaned, low, and slid his own hand between them, tangling awkwardly with John's for a moment, before he got his hand on John's cock. He was already most of the way to hard, and made an odd, high-pitched sound when Cam touched him.

Cam laughed, couldn't help it, even as he pulled John closer. "Ssh. Someone'll hear."

"Make me," John said.

"If you insist," Cam said, and kissed him, hard and deep. It didn't exactly work – John groaned, clutching at Cam's t-shirt – but at least the noise was muffled.

The downside was, they got distracted, so much so that Cam only remembered what he'd been doing when John's hand slid against his dick as they moved. "Oh," Cam said.

John hesitated, not moving at all. "Can I..." he started, then, "Will you – show me. What to do. What you like."

Cam shivered, remembering – this was John's first time with a guy, John didn't know how to do this. "Take your pants off," he said.

He wanted to get them both naked, suddenly, wanted to touch properly, to make this really good, but John was already half-naked, pushing impatiently back into his arms for another kiss, and he didn't want to stop, didn't want to slow down or wait. They had time – they had the whole year, evenings and vacations and the long summer that he could use to invite John back to Kansas with him.

"Like this," he said, wrapping his hand around John and stroking. There was a voice, very far in the back of his head, pointing out what to do, what John would like, and he didn't bother trying to ignore it. Not that it mattered – John's hand was light, cool and careful against his burning skin, and that drowned out all rational thought.

"Don't stop," John said, warm breath against Cam's mouth, then his neck when John tucked his head against Cam's shoulder, his breathing speeding up, going ragged as he rocked his hips with Cam's hand.

"Not gonna," Cam promised, and John sighed, blissed out, and came. Cam froze, surprised, and John said, "No, no," like it hurt, then, "Yeah," when Cam started stroking him again, slick with come, John shuddering luxuriously against him, coming down slowly.

He blinked, looking up at Cam with sleepy, satisfied eyes. "Thank you," he said, very polite.

"My pleasure," Cam said, wincing at his inadvertent pun, the lie of the double meaning.

John apparently caught it as well, because he eased himself out of Cam's embrace and slid down the bed until he was settled between Cam's legs. "You don't have to -" Cam started, but John ignored him, ducking down to suck at the head of Cam's cock.

It felt good – it felt fantastic, John's mouth sloppy and inexpert on him, even when he couldn't take most of Cam in. Cam wanted to tell him to use his hand, or his tongue; instead, he pressed his own hand to his mouth, trying to muffle the moans he could feel building in his throat, desperate not to wake anyone who'd come in to see why he was moaning like that, why he sounded like he was in pain when he felt better than he had in ages.

It took a while, longer than he'd expected, but it was totally worth it when he got there, orgasm sweeping through him in a rush of heat that left him shaking, reaching for John, who came willingly into Cam's arms, tangling their feet together and resting his head on Cam's shoulder.

Cam held on, letting his breathing return to normal, and with it, reality slowly realign itself. Not eighteen, not in a dorm room somewhere. His hip ached the way it did when he had to travel long-distance and couldn't do it using alien technology, and he could feel the rough patch of skin left from where the wraith had fed on John, pressed against his chest. He held John a little tighter, not sure which version of John he was trying to hold onto.

"My dad died," John said, very soft, words breathed out against Cam's shoulder. He still sounded young, but not the nervous, enthusiastic young he had before; sad, unsure.

"I know," Cam said. "I'm sorry."

"He was... he... " John took a mostly steady breath and gave up.

"He was your dad," Cam said. He couldn't imagine losing his own father, especially if they'd been like John and his dad, not speaking any more. He ran his fingers through John's hair, pushing it back from his sticky forehead. John blinked, damp against Cam's neck.

"Thank you," he said finally, doing a good job of not sounding like he was upset.

"Any time," Cam said, meaning all of it: flying out, dealing with John and Dave's relationship, the sex, the fantasy. Holding on in the middle of the night. "Go to sleep. It'll be better in the morning."

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He was almost right – they woke up curled together in the too bright light of past time for John to be sneaking back to his own room, but John blinked and smiled despite his sad eyes, like he'd gotten past the part of grieving where the memory was like a slap in the face when he woke up. He kissed Cam on the mouth and dragged himself out of bed, reaching for his sweatpants with a grimace for the come dried on his stomach. "See you later?"

"Not going anywhere," Cam pointed out.

John checked the alarm clock on the nightstand. "Back in a few minutes. Nearly time for a run."

Cam groaned, which made John smile. He figured he could suffer an early morning run – he usually went in the evenings, running off the day – for that smile. "Sure."

John eased the door open, sticking his head out far enough to look both ways, then slipped out, one hand trailing the edge of the door behind him to catch the doorknob on the other side as he went. Obviously trying to be quiet, he pulled the door slowly closed behind himself, not quite all the way to latching again.

Which meant that Cam, trying to convince himself he should get up before he fell asleep again, could clearly hear Dave's voice saying, "Good morning, John. I thought Anna had put you in your old room," and John, sounding way too guilty to play it off as anything else, saying, "Dave. I didn't expect you to be up yet."

Cam groaned and pulled the pillow over his head. Screw morning runs; he wasn't going out there until that conversation was well and truly over.


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