blue flamingos


Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, PG-13

Year/Length: 2007/ ~2057 words

Pairing: John/Cam

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

Summary: John's starting to wonder if his life is destined to be characterised by Cam Mitchell suddenly appearing behind him

Series: sequel to Happy Hour

Author's Notes: Happy Birthday [info]yin_again!

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


Promotion ceremony isn't exactly the way to describe it, John thinks, standing in one of the SGC's slightly larger conference rooms. It's got a lot of the *signs* of a promotion ceremony, including him trying not to fidget in his dress uniform, and a handful of senior officers looking important, but it lacks the sense of actual ceremony. He knows he's no-one on Earth's first choice for the job, and it stings, even though he knows it's not really important; he's going back to the people who do want him, which should be – is – what counts.

"... Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard," the General says, presenting him, and John can't quite fight the grin. He knows he's not the only one who thought he'd never hear that, and the words feel good.

He and the General exchange salutes, then John risks glancing round the room. A few of the Atlanteans currently on Earth have shown up, and Elizabeth's standing to one side with Rodney and Beckett; she looks incredibly pleased with herself, which is maybe something John didn't want to know about his promotion.

There's someone else in dress blues standing a little behind them, not-quite-leaning in the doorway, like he's not sure if he should be there or not, and John thinks at first that it's someone from the SGC, though he doesn't know anyone there well enough that he'd expect them to show up in dress uniform for this.

Then the guy moves, and John catches a glimpse of half of a very familiar profile.



John jumps at the voice and fumbles with his shirt sleeve button, glad he's half-hidden by the locker door while he takes a deep breath and tries to slow his heart down.

"Some things don't change," Cam says, sounding like he's grinning.

"You work for a top secret government organization," John points out. "You should be able to creep up on me."

"And you're, what, here on the tour?" John finally closes the locker door and looks at Cam. He's half-smiling, still laughing at John, but he looks a little shell-shocked, and John doesn't believe he's in his dress uniform just for John's promotion.

"This is what you were doing?" he asks.

Cam turns his hat a couple of times, his smile fading. "Not exactly."

John fights the urge to frown, looks at Cam's medals instead. He's gotten a few new ones since John last saw him in his uniform, but so's John, even with the black mark. He reaches out to touch the first medal without even meaning to, and Cam shifts back before he can make contact.

"Sorry," John says, pulling his hand back to fasten his cuff. He's meant to be changing to meet Elizabeth and Rodney for dinner.

"It's OK," Cam says quickly. "It's..." He sounds suddenly, deeply uncomfortable. John knows he should change the subject, but he wants to know. He hasn't seen Cam since before he left for Afghanistan; Nevada's not exactly convenient for the base, and he can't think what Cam would've been doing at Area 51.


"You were flying the 302s," he says, "the first test flights."

Cam's smile is bitter this time. "And in Antarctica."

It takes John a minute to put it together, but he's spent most of his free time over the last few weeks reading about how Atlantis was found in the first place. He skimmed over the list of injured and dead after the dog fight in Antarctica, Mitchell not that uncommon a name, and he hadn't connected the two until now.

He can see realization creep across Cam's face as he watches John; his expression tightens and his eyes flicker away.

"Are you all right?" John asks stupidly.

"Yeah." Cam grins, but it looks forced. Before he can say anything else, there's a knock on the door.

"Colonel Sheppard?" Elizabeth calls. John can't help grinning, even when Cam rolls his eyes.

"Coming," he calls back. "Hey," he says to Cam, "we're going for dinner, you want to come?"

"Uh." Cam blinks. "OK. Let me just get changed."


It's a little weird at first: Rodney frowns at them both when he introduces Cam, but Beckett's decided to join them after all, and it doesn't take long for Rodney to get into a heated debate with him about something John missed; after that, it's mostly just Elizabeth shooting him the occasional curious glance across the table. Maybe she's just surprised to learn he still has friends on Earth.

She's not the only one.

"So how long have you been with the SGC?" she asks during a drop in the conversation.

Cam looks down at the table and grins awkwardly. "Three days. And, by the way, I don't suppose you could see your way to leaving Dr Jackson behind, could you?"

Rodney, miraculously, keeps his mouth shut. John hasn't yet got out of him why he doesn't want Jackson on the expedition, but everyone in the Mountain knows he doesn't.

"I'm afraid not." Elizabeth doesn't even smile, but she still looks like she's laughing.

"Come on." Cam turns to John. "What do you really need him for anyway?"

"Other than his fluency in Ancient?" John asks, raising one eyebrow.

"Sure," Cam agrees, tipping his beer at John. "Other than that."

On the edge of his vision, John watches Elizabeth's eyebrows rise.


"Hey," John says, leaning on the bar next to Cam.

Cam turns his head enough to look at him and John glances in the mirror behind the bar, half-expecting to see Cam's team sitting there. "They gone?"

"Yeah." John doesn't know what Elizabeth said– probably doesn't want to know – but Rodney left with her and Beckett in the end. He's happy to believe she thinks they want to exchange Air Force reminiscences.

They drink in silence for a minute, and John doesn't remember it being this awkward the last time they did this. "So," he says finally. "Where's your first gate trip?"

Cam sighs and leans his elbows on the bar. "Good question." John waits, and Cam says, "I asked to join SG-1," with a dry grin.

"Yeah?" John asks. He's kind of impressed: it must be nice to be able to ask for the job you want, rather than be told you're taking it, whether you want to or not. The relief of being allowed back to Atlantis is crawling through his skin the same way fear of being left behind did, but he's not kidding himself that he had anything to do with the decision.

"Yeah, except you're taking a quarter of my team back to Atlantis with you," Cam grumbles.

"Sorry 'bout that." John takes a gulp of his beer. He hasn't spent much time in the Mountain, even since they decided they wanted to keep him after all, but he's listened to Rodney complain about Sam Carter's absence enough to know what's going on. "What's the new SG-1 like?"

"Nuts? Non-existent? Me?" Cam suggests, then shrugs. "This wasn't what I had in mind when I asked for this."

"I know that feeling," John agrees.

"Atlantis?" Cam asks. He slants his gaze across at John, who holds his eye. He knows where this evening's going to end up.

It takes a few seconds, but Cam laughs and taps his bottle against John's. "To the SGC?" he says.

"Yeah," John says, and they drink.


John gets a ride in with Cam the next morning, early enough to stop by his room on the base and change before the first briefing. Which would be fine, except Rodney comes out of his room as John's unlocking his, and John really wishes they hadn't all been moved back to the base for the last few days before the Daedalus leaves.

"Morning, McKay," he says, figuring the best defense is a good offense, and that's the best he's got on three hours' sleep.

"You, er –" Rodney blinks at him, then looks both ways along the corridor. There are two marines standing at one end, probably too far away to hear them, but John wills Rodney not to say anything anyway. "I hope you're not going to be late for the science briefing, Major," Rodney says finally, tilting his chin up defiantly, and John realizes he has no idea what Rodney's thinking, for possibly the first time since meeting him.

"Lieutenant Colonel," he corrects. "And no, I wouldn't dream of being late." More because he kind of promised General O'Neill he'd behave until they leave tonight than because he wants to go, but Rodney doesn't need to know that.

"Good." Rodney nods like John's one of his scientists, and John's about to let himself into his room when Rodney smiles at him, conspiratorial and a little nervous.

John smiles back, filled with a rush of relief. "Later, Rodney."

"Major," Rodney says, and John doesn't bother to correct him.


He spends all morning in briefings, amazed that, after a week of the same, anyone can possibly have anything left to say to them, much less anything that they need to say while John's itching to go check on final preparations to leave. He doesn't like to think what his latest crop of new marines might be getting up to, left to their own devices; he's avoiding thinking about what the scientists might be doing, since they're not his responsibility.

Rodney abandons him for the labs when they break for lunch, and Elizabeth gets swept away by a group of people John thinks might be anthropologists, so he sits down in the mess by himself.

He's been there less than five minutes when Cam drops into the seat opposite him and grins.

"We might have a slight problem," he says.

"OK." They're leaving for Pegasus in six hours, even if it is going to take three weeks to get to Atlantis, so John's feeling something between incredibly relieved and jittery with nerves at what might have happened in his absence. Major Lorne seemed pretty competent during their brief (for which read two hour) handover, but John's never been great at letting go.

"Dr Jackson?" Cam says, and waits for John to nod. "He's unconscious in the infirmary."

"OK," John says again, lost for anything more intelligent to say. "Do I want to know how he got knocked unconscious in the Mountain?"

Cam grins, then stops, like he knows he shouldn't be finding this amusing but can't help it. "It's a funny story," he says, and John remembers why he sometimes doesn't miss Cam Mitchell at all.


Six and a half hours later, because military time-keeping is apparently impossible with so many new scientists, John's standing in the Mountain's gate-room, watching two of his new marines get people together to be beamed aboard the Daedalus. There are fewer people than last time they were here: expedition members who were recuperating on Earth, fewer new marines than he was hoping for, and the latest civilian recruits.

John keeps looking for Ford amongst the crowd.

Ford might be the only thing that wasn't covered in the endless briefings, beyond the General being vocally persuaded not to list him as a deserter. John's not sure that's a bad thing: he's not disobeying the order if it doesn't exist.

"Colonel." Elizabeth looks more relaxed than she has since they left Atlantis, actually happy to be going back to potential death by Wraith on a daily basis. John knows exactly how she feels.

"Any news on Dr Jackson?" he asks.

"It doesn't look like he's going to be joining us on this trip." Elizabeth looks appropriately disappointed, but John's not sure she really wanted him any more than Rodney did: she was just more diplomatic about it.

"Colonel Sheppard, Dr Weir." General Landry steps up in front of them. "The Daedalus is ready when you are."

John looks round the group again, checking for Rodney and Beckett among the unfamiliar faces. "Yes, sir."

Landry shakes Elizabeth's hand, wishes them all luck, and makes his way back to the control room. The gate technician's conversation with Colonel Caldwell comes over the loud-speakers, but John's not really listening; he can't stop thinking, home, thank God, and when the dematerialization beam washes over the, the last thing he sees is Cam in the corner of the control room, one hand raised in farewell.

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