blue flamingos

5 Things Cam Mitchell Did Instead of Joining SG-1

Fandom: Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Gen, G

Year/Length: 2007/ ~1150 words

Pairing: None

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

Summary: See title.

Author's Notes: Originally posted at [info]sg1_five_things

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


"You can do anything you want," O'Neill tells him, but Cam doesn't believe him, lying in a hospital bed because he can't even stand up, never mind walk.

Anything you want, he thinks, sure. Anything.


He's never tried so hard at anything as he tries at this, at being able to walk again.

He's never failed anything so important, but apparently endless determination isn't enough this time. When he finally leaves the Air Force, two and a half years after the crash, it's in a wheelchair with a medical discharge.

He's got a car, fitted out so he can drive it with legs that only work some of the time, and it takes all of his concentration not to crash the damn thing when he forgets that he brakes with his hands.

He doesn't realise he's missed the turning until he's leaving the state, his parents' house far behind him.

Days later, he's not sure how many, he ditches his cell phone and crosses the border into Canada. He doesn't know how to explain to his parents that he's not like his dad, he's not strong enough. That he lost flying and walking, and the SGC and the Air Force, and he'd rather give everything else up than keep losing it.

Canada's cold, and hard to navigate the further north he gets, the car slipping in snow that it's not designed for.

He thinks about hitting the north coast, and keeps driving.


The day he walks out of the hospital, on his own two legs, without sticks, is the best day of his life.

The day he resigns from the Air Force comes a damn close second though.

His father doesn't ask, when Cam turns up on their doorstep three days later, but Cam tells him anyway, late that night, that he's afraid like he never was before, afraid of it happening again because he doesn't think he's strong enough to do this again. His dad doesn't say anything, and that's how Cam knows he's made the right decision.

It takes him six months to get up in a plane again, but when he does, he misses it so much he feels sick with it.

A year later, through friends of friends and a bank loan he doesn't think he'll ever be able to pay off, he's got six students lined up to learn to fly, a plane that's all his, and miles of empty sky with nothing to worry about but birds.

He doesn't regret anything.


He thinks, right up to the moment that he gets asked to decide, that he's going to ask for the SGC and SG-1. What comes out is a request to go back to flying, to pretending he doesn't know anything about stargates and aliens and secret bases in Antarctica.

His dad's always telling him about how losing his legs made him re-evaluate a lot of things and Cam's starting to think he knows what that means. He wants to prove himself, to be part of this thing that almost cost him his life, but he's too afraid of failing. These people save the world once a week on a good week, and they respect him for what happened in Antarctica. He doesn't want to lose that.

He gets posted to a base in Germany, just temporary, they assure him, so he can get up to speed again before going back into combat flight. Cam nods, and starts brushing up on his German again, getting used to the feel of the controls, and remembering that he's not got alien technology under his fingers any more.

He doesn't tell anyone about the shakes and the throwing up every time he lands, even if he thinks some of them know already. It'll go away, in the end.


He first hears about Atlantis from one of the Marines he knew at the SGC, who shouldn't be talking about it but tells him anyway, after she gets recruited for the mission for some gene she's got. It's a year after the crash, and Cam's still not sure he's ever going to walk again. He doesn't hear from her again for months, and he can't exactly ask if anyone has news from the place he isn't meant to know exists.

She's there when he finally gets a clean bill of health and has to start thinking about going back; she talks about a floating city, about life-sucking vampires and losing a quarter of the expedition, and technology that lights up for the right people. She says she's signing on again, as soon as she's done with her own round of physio for an arm shattered during the siege.

Cam asks, and he's the golden boy of the Air Force right then so they say yes.

He hears a rumour about Dr Jackson joining them, but he's not there when Cam turns up to be beamed aboard the Daedalus for the trip. What is there is Major John Sheppard, who's so polite it hurts, and two civilians who glare at him like they're contemplating feeding him to the Wraith.

"Don't worry, son," General Landry tells him, when he catches Cam's expression. "They'll get used to a new commanding officer."

"Sir?" Cam asks, with a nasty suspicion that he knows exactly what he's missing here.

"Congratulations," Landry says, stepping back. "You're the new commanding officer of the Atlantis base."

The transportation beam chooses that moment to wash over them and Cam thinks, as he dematerialises, that this may not have been his best decision ever.


It's Cam's firm opinion that you can't join something that no longer exists; he certainly can't join two letters, a dash and a number, whatever General Landry and Dr Jackson say, and there's no way he can lead the SGC's flagship team, even if it is made up of robots. He's never even been part of a ground-based force, never mind led one through a stargate. Hell, until that day, he's never even *seen* a stargate.

He sticks it out for the first day, but when he gets home, he freaks, there's no other word for it, sitting at his kitchen table, watching his coffee go cold and wishing he had alcohol in the house. The idea of leading a bunch of new recruits through the gate makes him feel sick, especially if the files he's looked at are anything to go by; the thought of being asked to lead the original SG-1, minus General O'Neill, assuming he can persuade them back, which is far from a sure thing, makes his hands shake.

He stays up all night, until it's late enough to dial Landry's number.

Forty-five minutes later, he hangs up the phone, no longer part of the SGC, on his way out of the Air Force, and thinks: now what?

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