blue flamingos

Waiting To Believe

Fandom: SG1/SGA

Category/Rated: Slash/PG

Year/Length: 2011/1057 words

Pairing: Cam/John

Prompt: I can't be the strong one all the time

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

Author's Notes: written for kanata's Transfest

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


John hates the look on Cam's face when John says, "I'm not going," a mix of disappointment and resignation and sadness and lack of surprise.

"I thought you wanted to," Cam says, holding the invitation – a reunion of the unit they both served in, back before John left the military – and looking at John across their kitchen table.

"Woman's prerogative to change her mind," John says, hating the words, hating the way they sound coming out, and Cam winces and says, "Don't. You're not – don't say that."

John bites his lip, wants to say sorry, wants to say something else that will hurt Cam the way this hurts John.

"They won't care," Cam says, softly.

John shakes his head, crosses his arms defensively across his body and hates that he's still doing that, when he doesn't have parts that he wants to make disappear any more. "They will."

Cam makes a frustrated sound, and John wishes he was the kind of person who could say the rest: that there will be questions and awkward silences and the wrong pronouns, the wrong name, people who don't want to talk to him now, people who don't want to sit with him or drink with him and don't know what to say. That people will think the wrong things about Cam and the wrong things about the two of them together, even though they can't say they're together.

And he just knows that someone will ask, "Why didn't you just stay a woman, if you're going to shack up with a man?" They have before.

He can't face it. Even with Cam, even for the people he wants to see, even for the faint promise of maybe better, he can't do it. Not after having to give up a job he loved because he couldn't bear pretending any more.

"You don't have to – they'll get used to it."

John shakes his head again, feeling exhausted. "I don't want them to have to get used to me." It's why he's only open about being gay, and then only with people he knows are safe, won't cause trouble for Cam – he sacrificed his family and the air force and most of his friends to be John Sheppard in every way, and now he has a life that he likes. He's not prepared to wreck that, not for anyone. Not even for Cam.

"I don't want to go," he says. "I know I said okay, but I don't want to."

There's a very long silence, while John studies the floor, afraid to look at Cam. It's been five years since they met up again by coincidence and John still hasn't lost the fear that one day Cam will decide he's too much trouble and leave him, no matter what Cam says.

"I wish you'd change your mind," Cam says quietly. "They're your friends as well."

"They used to be," John corrects. "And they weren't, not really."

"That's not fair."

"That's the truth," John corrects. "They were friends with the person they thought I was, not me."

"They'll be friends with you for real if you give them a chance."

"Like they'll be friends with you if you tell them you're gay and living with me?" John asks, because Cam doesn't get it, Cam will never get it, because he's too fucking nice to not believe that everyone will come around eventually, and John's sick of being the one who has to tell him the world's not like that, that there are people who hate him because he wasn't born with a dick like he should have been and Cam knows some of them.

"John," Cam says, sounding helpless, sounding hurt, and John should stop, he knows he should. He knows this isn't fair.

"My father told me he was glad my mother didn't live to see this, my brother won't let me near his kids, I'm afraid to tell your family because I don't know what will happen if they ask you to choose." John has to stop for a second, or he's just going to fall apart, right here in their kitchen in the middle of the day with the sun streaming in. "I can't risk anyone else. I'm not that strong."

It feels like a terrible admission, because Cam's always telling him, "You're the strongest person I know," Cam admires him for what he did, and John likes that, he loves it, because there aren't that many people who feel the same. Except that sometimes he hates it too, because sometimes it's too hard and he wants to stop and he *can't,* that's not an option any more but God, he wants it to be some days.

"All right," Cam says, and when did he get so close, close enough to put his hand on John's arm. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have pushed, I'm sorry."

John nods, breathes ragged and deep. He wants to touch, but he's not sure he can move. Cam doesn't hug him, and he's grateful, so he just stays where he is, letting Cam's hand on his arm hold him together.

He doesn't ask are you disappointed in me? and it's only partly because he's afraid of the true answer. The rest is because he knows Cam's answer, and he doesn't want to hurt Cam by asking for it.

"I love you," Cam says, and he doesn't say that's never going to change, because John asked him to stop and Cam does listen. Even if he doesn't like what John says – which he didn't, at the time – he listens and he tries to comply. Like how John tries not to push at Cam just because he's afraid; like how John tries not to ask for more than he thinks it's fair to ask Cam to give.

"Me, too," he says, because he doesn't say the words, not ever. It's easier like this – easier to believe it won't be as fucking awful as he knows it will be if Cam leaves him.

He doesn't think 'when,' and that's another concession he makes to Cam and their compromise of a relationship that Cam's not allowed to talk about.

"It's gonna be okay," Cam says, and John nods, because he wants to believe, and that's nearly as good as believing for real.

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