blue flamingos

Happy Hour

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, R

Year/Length: 2007/ words

Pairing: John/Cameron

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

Summary: Two pilots walk into a bar... (pre-both series, no spoilers)

Author's Notes: Prompt: Joy is contagious

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

hr

John's car finally gives up on him halfway through Nevada, which is par for the course on a trip that's included two flat tires, a near miss with a tree and a night sleeping in his car without heat, all on the two days since he left the base.

He drifts over to the side of the road, smoke coming in alarming quantities from under the hood. When he gets out and opens it, once he's finished choking on the fumes, it's an easy decision to abandon the car, grab his duffle bag and hitch a lift into town with a couple old enough to be his parents.

They leave him on the edge of town to walk the rest of the way, feeling his hair starting to wilt in the heat, until he reaches a half-decent looking bar with a payphone.

He's about to give up when Pete picks up, sounding half-asleep.

"It's five thirty in the evening," John tells him, leaning in the corner of the corridor so he's not looking straight at the door to the girls' room. "How can you still be asleep?"

"Just cos you're still patrolling perimeters at the crack of dawn," Pete says. John hears him filling the kettle in the background.

"Officers actually have people under us to do that," John points out.

Pete laughs. "Whatever you say. So, you here already?"

"Yes, because my car's got rocket propellers and travels faster than the speed of sound." John rolls his eyes, even though Pete can't see him. The man might be the only person John's really kept in touch with outside the Air Force, but he does say some dumb things sometimes.

"Just asking." There's more clattering in the background, but John can' figure out what it is. The line's pretty bad anyway, buzzing like he's calling overseas.

"I don't think I'm going to make it," he says, shifting against the wall. Out in the bar, someone turns on Blue Suede Shoes just loud enough for him to hear it through the closed door. "The car's definitely not."

"No kidding," Pete says dryly. "I'm amazed you even got it to start."

There's not a lot John can say to that: he left the car with a friend of a friend near the base when he got there, and didn't drive it the whole time. He was amazed the guy hadn't sold it. "I'll see if I can get a flight out tomorrow, but I don't know. I'm in the middle of the desert."

Pete laughs. "Don't worry about it. Call me if you get something, I'll pick you up at the airport. In my car that's still working."

"You wanted it," John says.

"You offered."

"Didn't have to take it."

"I like a challenge," Pete says, sounding like he's grinning. "Call me about the flight."

"Yeah, OK. Talk to you later." John hangs up and considers his options. He's got enough cash for a hotel room and someone to tow his car in the morning, which means waiting a day, or he can hike back out in the sun for his credit card, which he's starting to think he left in the glove box, and try to get a flight.

John drops his head back against the wall with a thud; he's too hot to decide now, even though he can feel the air conditioning blasting from above his head. Too hot, and he's inhaled so much dust he thinks he'll be able to see it if he coughs.

The place has filled up while he was on the phone, but it's still not busy, and John's soon sitting at the bar with a beer and a map the bartender managed to find. If he cashes in his ticket back, he can probably get far enough to go somewhere and still get transport back to the base, so it's just a case of choosing. The rest of his unit have scattered to say goodbye to girlfriends and family before they leave the country, but John's pretty sure the last girl he took out doesn't care what happens to him, and anyway, he can't remember her last name. Or her first name.

There's still Pete, who'll happily put him up, car or no car, let John slob around the house while he's at work, then take him round the neighborhood's bars when he gets home. There's no-one else John would drive halfway across the country to see, and they both know it, even if the car's a convenient excuse; he could've sold it or dumped it before leaving. Without the excuse of leaving the car, though, things will get awkward, and John's not sure he wants to go there again, especially when he's about to leave the country. Some friendships are just easier at a distance.

A burst of laughter comes from behind John, and he watches in the mirror over the bar as the group of men clustered round a couple of large tables get into a loud dispute about something he missed, most of the comments directed at a guy who grins back and drinks his beer without saying anything. He'd put money on them being Air Force, presumably from the base he passed before his car died, even though they're not in uniform, but they've probably pegged him as well and no-one's come over to say hello.

He goes back to his map, trailing highways and rail lines out of town. There's not a lot anywhere near – he really is in the middle of the desert – but he could get to either of a couple of bigger towns in a day or two, and then... Visit a museum? Watch TV in a hotel room? If he's going to do that, he might as well stay where he is.

He flips the map shut in disgust and drains his beer, tilting his head back enough to catch his reflection. There's someone standing right behind him.

"Tell me you're more observant than that in the field," his companion says, grinning at him in the mirror.

John lowers his bottle and turns. "Mitchell."

Cameron's grin sticks. "Sheppard. Well – are you?"

"Wasn't it you who got shot last time we trained together?" John asks.

"So you're saying you don't notice someone behind you in a bar, but you can hear one guy in a forest in the rain?" Cameron raises his eyebrows and John remembers why he's always hated ground training.

"Usually the guy's sneaking up on me in a plane – it's kind of hard to miss." John nods at the group behind him, who've settled down again, picking at baskets of fries. "You with them?"

Cameron nods. "Celebrating. What about you – you're being stationed here?"

John doesn't remember knowing why Cameron got moved off the last base, which means it was probably classified, boring or both. He contemplates sharing what's become a tale of woe at this point, but it's kind of pathetic and he hasn't seen Cameron in a while. "Nah. Got a few days leave before we go overseas. My car's in a steaming heap outside town."

Cameron laughs like he didn't really mean to. "You got stranded *here*?"

"Let's say I'm not having my best day ever," John agrees. "You want something?" he asks as the bartender wanders their way.

"Uh, yeah." Cameron holds up his empty bottle. "And whatever he's having."

John shoves his wallet back into his pocket – if the guy wants to buy his beer, he's not objecting, since he's got a dead car to get moved.

"How long've you been out here?" he asks when Cameron's paid.

"A while," Cameron says, grinning again but not looking quite at John. Definitely classified rather than boring then. He opens his mouth like he's going to say something else but he's cut off by a yell from his table. "What?"

"Tell this guy that red team's leading in the poker tournament would you?" The guy who was being teased before gestures at someone else in a way that's got little to do with poker, and Cameron's grin brightens.

"I don't think so." He takes a couple of steps towards them, then stops and turns back to John. "You want to -?"

John looks at the group of pilots, all of them with a secret he doesn't share, at the guy waiting for Cameron with a slight frown, and shakes his head. "Go on. I've got a week of leave to work out how to fill."

Cameron smiles. "OK. See you later?"

"Sure," John agrees, and figures he'll finish his beer and go find a hotel while Cameron's still refereeing the great poker debate.

He rests his elbows on the bar, leaning his head on one hand and turning the almost full bottle with the other. There's got to be a car rental in town somewhere and he can find something to do for a few days, something that's not on the map.

Cameron's table break into laughter again, and John glances up, catching them in the mirror. Cameron tilts his head back, smiling at something his friend is saying.

John drags his eyes down. He knows that look, and it means he should go find dinner and a hotel, then get out of town before he runs into Cameron Mitchell again.

None of which explains why he's still sitting there half an hour later, rocking his empty bottle between his hands and watching Cameron's reflection as he extricates himself from the group and comes over to the bar again, more than one set of eyes following the movement.

"I don't think your friends trust me," Johns says dryly as Cameron leans next to him, too close for John to turn his head. He watches Cameron shrug out of the corner of his eye, feeling the air shift between them with the movement. "Do I want to know what you told them about me?"

Cameron shrugs again; if John hadn't seen how little he'd had to drink, he'd think the man was drunk. "That we were stationed together for a year? Pretty sure that's not a state secret."

John rolls his eyes. "Fine. You want another drink?"

Cameron waves a bottle that's still more than half full. Definitely not drunk, unless he's been stealing other people's booze. "So you're standing here because...?"

"Because you look kind of pathetic sitting here by yourself. Come join us for a bit."

John shakes his head. "I don't think I'd be welcome."

"Fine." Cameron's coordination's plenty good enough for him to climb onto the stool next to John and turn his back on his table, though John would bet he's watching them the same way John was.

John waits for him to say something, but he just sips his beer, not looking at John, projecting the same casual calm that drove John nuts when they were stationed together. Apparently a lot of things haven't changed. "What're you guys celebrating?" he asks when he can't stand it any longer.

"Nothing much." Cameron turns just enough to smile at him, inviting him to share a secret he doesn't know, and John fights the instinctive urge to smile back, sharing a different secret.

"Then why are you celebrating it?" John asks reasonably. "It's not your birthday, it it?" An unpleasant thought crawls through his head before he gets a flash of Cameron leaning into his friend, grinning, and knows the answer to the question he's not going to ask.

"Not for a couple of months. Why, you going to buy me something?"

Cameron twists to look right at him and John's smart comeback dies, his mouth suddenly dry, because, fuck, he's missed that, missed *Cameron*, and this has got to be top 5 in the list of least appropriate places for that realization to hit him.

Cameron blinks, and John tries to gulp his drink before he remembers it's gone, the bottle clinking hard against his teeth. Cameron laughs and pats John's arm, resting his hand there for a too long second before waving the bartender over.

Forget missing him; in that moment, John wants to *kill* him.

He assumes Cameron will sit around until he decides he's fulfilled whatever social duty he thinks he's got to John, or until his friends come and claim him, but neither happens. They slide into talking about people they have in common, and every time John – desperately curious despite his best intentions – gets too close to whatever it is Cameron's doing, he gets an infuriatingly calm grin, edged round with almost manic glee. It must be some kind of plane, because Cameron's never got that excited over new weapons, but John hasn't heard *anything*. And, sure, classified, it's not like he expects it to be in a memo, but everyone talks and the Air Force isn't that big.

"It's something really dull, isn't it?" he presses, a little drunk, leaning his elbow on the bar so that he can watch Cameron's face for clues. "A new motor. Revised cockpit seats."

"Nope and nope." Cameron looks at him from the corner of his eye. "You're not even close."

"You'd say that even if I was," John tells him. Is actually more likely to say that if it's true, but he knows it's not. "Am I gonna know when the rest of us get to try it?"

Cameron frowns like he's trying to make sense of that, and he's maybe kind of drunk as well; he keeps saying in a minute when his friends come to drag him back, but he's still there drinking with John, and John is absolutely not reading anything into that other than that they haven't seen each other in a while and they were friends. More than friends. "You won't get to try it," he says finally, and it takes John a moment to catch up to the conversation again.

"You saying I'm not as good a pilot as you?" he asks. "I'd fly rings round you, any aircraft you want."

Cameron laughs. "I'm saying it's a top-secret government-classified project, and I'm not telling you what it is. Also, that you're drunk and need to go to bed."

"I haven't got a hotel room," John says stupidly. He's not that drunk, and he suspects Cam knows it.

"What a surprise." He swallows the last of his beer, tilting his head back. "Come on, there's a place near here, usually has rooms. I'll walk you."

"I think I can find a hotel without help," John says, ignoring the way Cam's eyebrows go up. His reputation for having no sense of direction is grossly exaggerated, and he's perfectly capable of following directions, as long as they don't require orienting himself with a compass when he's on the ground.

"Uh-huh." Cam pats his shoulder as he stands up and John lets the rest of his arguments go.

Cameron says something to his friend, with a glance over his shoulder at John, who feels a lot like he's got a sign over his head saying About To Go Do Something That Could Get Both Of Us Court-Martialed. A big sign, obviously.

He must have been in the bar a lot longer than he thought, because the streets are the kind of empty that comes when most people are in bed. They walk in silence, in and out of pools of light, a little further apart than John would be with most people, and he can feel the little glances Cam keeps throwing at him.

"This is a bad idea," he says, without conscious thought, and Cameron starts. It really is quiet out here.

The look Cam gives him is mocking and amused. "I think we're pretty safe walking down the street," he says, his voice not quite matching his face. "I've done enough self defense classes that I can fight off any attackers while you make a run for it."

John ignores the temptation to let Cam sidetrack the conversation. Being the voice of reason sucks, but he's going to stick it out now he's started. "Tell me you're honestly out here with me because you think I'm going to get lost." Cam sticks his hands in his pockets and doesn't say anything. "Everyone in there knows what we're doing."

Which right now is having a far from discreet argument in the middle of a public street, but Cameron at least takes the meaning not the words this time. "I'll be all right."

"Good for you." John shoves his own hands into his pockets. "But we don't all work on top secret projects that the government can't risk us talking about, and I still like my job."

Cameron stops. His face is shadowed; they've stepped out of one light and not into the next, but John can't see any amusement left. "John..." he says, sounding guilty, and it's not like John hasn't known all evening that they were heading for this, he could have left, but as much as he's got to be friends with Mitch and Dex, he'll never be having this conversation with either of them, and if Cameron's friends really do know what they're doing, it can't be that much of a risk...

Well aware that he's rationalized himself right back to irresponsibility in about six and a half minutes, John takes a step closer to Cam. "I'm telling them it was all you," he says, keeping his voice low, because this is such a fucking bad idea, and that's never stopped them before.

Cam grins. He closes his hand round John's wrist and drags him in to a kiss, hot and wet and tasting of whatever the hell he was drinking.

John exerts more self-control than he's usually got at moments like this and pulls back. "Not here," he says, taking a deep breath. He's not getting breathless from one kiss like a teenaged girl, and he's definitely not leaning into Cam for any reason other than that he's a little less than sober. "Not in the middle of the street."

"Want to go check into a hotel together?" Cam asks, his voice sharp, but he doesn't let go of John's wrist.

Reality is incredibly over-rated. "This was your idea," John points out.

Cam gives him a look that's a little too close to a glare. "All right." He releases John's wrist and starts walking again, a lot closer than before.

John keeps his eyes on the street, his brain caught somewhere between 'I'm about to go have sex with Cameron Mitchell' and 'I'm about to go have sex with Cameron Mitchell,' except the two sound really different in his head, and Cam keeps drifting closer to him then away when he realizes what he's doing.

He's expecting it, but he still stumbles in surprise when Cam pushes him off the street and up against a wall between two buildings, kissing him, hard. "Smooth, Mitchell," he says when Cam pulls back to catch his breath, then wraps the arm that's not trapped against his body round Cam's neck and pulls him in to kiss again, closing his eyes.

Cam presses his hands to John's face, covering his left ear so all the sound goes muffled, like being underwater, and John's hit by a sudden, random flash of the two of them in the hanger on base, Cameron's hands in John's back pockets, pressed close together, both of them gasping and so lucky it was the middle of the night.

Apparently, potentially career-killing public sex is kind of traditional for them.

John can't help laughing at the thought, and Cam grins back at him, even though he's obviously got no idea what John's thinking. "Still a bad idea?" he asks.

"Shut up." John drags him into another kiss, because Cam's always known exactly how to kiss him, hot and messy and incredibly good, his fingers stroking the sensitive spot right behind John's ear, making him shiver, turned on to an embarrassing degree just by that, and too many hours of being close to Cam and not being able to touch.

It's warm enough for them both to be in t-shirts, but Cam's fingers are cool against John's bare skin when he runs his hands down John's spine, pushing his t-shirt away. "Fuck," John gasps, the sensation closer to ticklish than pleasure, and presses kisses against Cam's collar bone, through the soft material of his t-shirt, resting his hands on Cam's hips, tucking his fingers under the waistband of his jeans. Cam's breath catches and John wants to laugh at both of them, hard from barely more than a little groping, like teenagers, desperate for it.

He reaches for the zipper on Cam's jeans, cupping his hand round his cock and squeezing gently. Cam's whole body jerks gratifyingly before he closes his hand round John's wrist, stilling him. John leans his head back to look at Cam's face: his eyes are wide and bright, intent on John's own, and his grin is a little wobbly. "You, er – don't do that."

John raises his eyebrows. "I thought that's what we were here for."

"I'm not going back to the base with wet jeans," Cam tells him. He sounds like he's fighting the urge to giggle, which is kind of flattering, in a really warped way, and his grip on John's wrist is tight.

"Thought you said they wouldn't bother about you." John moves his thumb, just a little, and Cam glares at him.

"Yeah, well, I'm not sure I want to test it, thanks. Plus, more than I want my team to know about me."

"Fine." John moves his hand and waits for Cam to let go of his wrist before turning them so Cam's back is against the wall. He leans in and kisses him, hard, his hands on Cam's shoulders. "Guess we'll have to do it like this then."

It's incredibly, sharply familiar: the muscles in Cam's thighs flexing under his palms, the solid weight on John's tongue, his hands in John's hair, alternately twisting and stroking with John's movements, his voice muttering half-formed words between hissed breaths and stifled groans.

"God, John," Cam gasps, his fingers tightening in John's hair, and John can't stop himself grinning as Cam comes, his head dropping against the wall with a solid sounding thunk.

They stay like that for a drawn out moment before Cam gets himself together and pulls John to his feet; John's not the only one grinning. "Hey," Cam says, curling his hand round the back of John's neck.

"Hi," John says, and presses into Cam's hip. Cam pulls him close and kisses him, fumbling John's jeans open with hands that are still having to work at anything requiring fine coordination.

John pushes against his hand and Cam laughs against his mouth. "You need something?"

John rolls his eyes. "Yeah. If it's not too much trouble."

"What are friends for?" Cam says, and wraps his hand round John's cock. John swallows down the embarrassingly needy sounds building in his throat and pushes against Cam's rhythm, grasping at Cam's shirt and getting a handful of warm skin instead. Cam's got nice hands, long blunt fingers that trail up the underside of John's cock, brushing over his balls then tightening again.

"Mm, come on," John mutters; Cam twists his hand and John's orgasm rushes through him, sharp and intense.

Cam puts his arms round him, letting John lean into him as he shudders and tries to catch his breath. "All right," he says quietly, half a question, half reassurance, while John drops his forehead against Cam's shoulder and makes his hands loosen.

"Yeah," he agrees. "Good."

Cam kisses the corner of his eye and pulls back slowly. He's still smiling, his face soft and sleepy. He leans into John's hand when John reaches up to cup his cheek. John suspects his own expression looks a lot like Cam's; he'd like to fall into bed right now, too relaxed to worry about his car and his leave and his next posting. Even too relaxed to ask about Cam's mystery posting, which sucks since Cam's probably chilled enough to let something slip.

Cam frowns at him. "John?"

John grins and reaches down to fasten his jeans. "How'd I end up with the awkward damp patch?" he asks, and Cam laughs, involuntary and happy.

Next: Reunion


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