blue flamingos

How to Survive the Far Reaches of the Milky Way Galaxy

In 5 Easy Steps

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, NC-17

Year/Length: 2007/ ~4073 words

Pairing: Cam/John

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

Summary: When Cam said he wanted to join SG1, he didn't mean he wanted to lead two 10-year veterans of the program, a 300-year old Jaffa and the ex-military commander of Atlantis. Like the Rolling Stones said: you can't always get what you want...

Author's Notes: Written for [info]dirty_diana's Cameron Mitchell ficathon, for [info]kelliferfic who asked for Cam/John, AU with John in SG1. Not the same universe as my other Cam/John, AU with John in SG1.

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

hr

1.

Assume that any people who send armed and armored men to escort you to their fortress are unlikely to believe you're a peaceful explorer, particularly if you too are armed:

"I think that went well," Sheppard said, falsely bright, as the cell door swung closed behind them.

"Sure," Cam agreed, pulling himself upright with a hand on his wrenched shoulder – their guards hadn't been too careful pushing them into the cell. "They're not even intending to kill us for another three hours."

"Plenty of time to be rescued." Sheppard wiped blood from his hairline and looked at Cam to share a wry smile.

"Of course, we're not due to check in for another five hours, they took our radios, and the rest of our team are locked up somewhere on the other side of this place," Cam said after a minute.

"You're always saying you like a challenge," Sheppard said. He pushed away from the wall he'd been leaning against and started a circuit of their cell, which appeared to have been carved straight into the same rocky mountainside as the fortress. As prison cells went, it actually wasn't bad: big enough to walk around, bars at the front offering a view of the corridor and the empty cell opposite, even a jug of water in one corner. Add in something that resembled a bed and a lock he could open, and it could almost double as a really cheap hotel room.

"Yeah," Cam said, regretting every time he'd said exactly that. "Any convenient escape hatches?"

"Nope." Sheppard finished his circuit and sat next to Cam. "Time for Plan B."

"Plan A didn't last long," Cam commented, ignoring how close Sheppard was sitting. He dug through the pockets of his vest to see if the guards had left his first aid kit and found they had. "Turn round."

"It's fine," Sheppard said, wiping at the blood again, but he turned anyway, making Cam smile. They'd done this so many times over the last few months, they'd gotten it down to a smooth routine.

"Yeah, but Landry's going to have my ass if I let you bleed on any more uniforms." He wiped the blood away and folded a square of gauze to cover the narrow cut, trying to hold his left arm as still as possible. He was pretty sure he hadn't done any major damage, but that didn't stop it hurting.

Sheppard shrugged but held the bandage in place while Cam taped it. "They don't even need replacing. Anyway, it adds character."

"Whatever you say. Any other injuries?" He turned his best team-leader-I'm-a-Lieutenant-Colonel-and-thus-outrank-you glare on Sheppard until he shook his head. It was about the only time the glare ever worked, and he liked to make the most of it.

"Don't think I don't know you're hurt," Sheppard said absently, staring at the bars to their cell. He got up to take a closer look at the lock, then started going through his pockets.

"Plan B?" Cam asked, joining him to look as far down the corridor as he could. The rest of the cells appeared to be empty, but the heavy doors at both ends of the corridor were closed.

"Plan B," Sheppard confirmed, pulling what looked like four small metal rods from his pocket. They turned out to fit together into something not unlike a lock-pick, which he promptly inserted into the lock.

"Seven different prisons we've broken out of, and you're just now remembering you carry a lock-pick in your field kit," Cam grumbled.

Sheppard shrugged and continued twisting the pick. "Morris gave it to me when he left for Atlantis last week," he said flatly, and Cam winced.

"Better late then never," he offered, trying for a change of subject. That seemed a little optimistic on Morris' part, but he was never one to turn down a stroke of good luck.

Before he actually managed to come up with anything, there was a loud click, and the bars started to swing open. "After you," Sheppard said.

The lock at the end of the corridor gave a lot faster than the one to their cell, and they spent the next five minutes proving that, when necessary, two Air Force officers could take on four guards at hand to hand and win. Armed with the location of the rest of their team's cell, Cam followed Sheppard, watching him limp and try to cover it.

"Remind me, when we get back to Earth, to go over what does and doesn't count as an injury when I ask you," he said finally.

"Yes, sir," Sheppard drawled, and Cam could feel him rolling his eyes, even from behind in the gloomy corridor.

 

2.

A team is made up of personalities. Some members of your team will be best friends for life, some will put aside their differences for the sake of the team, and some just won't get on. There is nothing you can do about this. Accept this and your day will pass more smoothly:

"Explain to me again why you chose to live at the top of five flights of stairs," Sheppard said when Cam opened the door, and handed over an armful of unpopped popcorn bags.

"I generally use my crutches when I sprain my ankle," Cam pointed out, stepping back to let Sheppard in. "Beer?" He dumped the popcorn on the counter to deal with when everyone else turned up; it was always Sheppard's contribution to team nights, since the first time when he'd handed it over with a silent glare that promised dire consequences if Cam asked. Which he hadn't.

"God, yes." Sheppard was leaning in the kitchen doorway when Cam turned round, and when he reached out for the bottle, his shirt rode up slightly, giving Cam a flash of skin.

"That bad?" he asked, looking away.

Sheppard nodded and trailed back to the sofa with his beer, calling over his shoulder, "So where's everyone else?"

Cam took a few seconds to tell himself firmly to get it together, then followed him. "Sam's got a conference call scheduled with Area 51, she'll be here in a half hour or so. Teal'c's picking up the movie, and Jackson will come when Sam drags his ass along with her."

"Good to see everyone's as enthusiastic about this as usual," Sheppard said dryly, but he settled happily enough on a golf tournament, slumped sideways so his shoulder shifted against Cam's arm when he moved.

Teal'c showed up with Sam and Jackson just before Cam would have given in to the urge to do something – he wasn't entirely sure what – totally inappropriate with Sheppard, if only to end the torture that was televised golf. "Gone in 60 Seconds?" Cam asked, turning the DVD case over. The list of potential movies was over three pages long, but he didn't remember seeing that on it.

Teal'c nodded solemnly. "I believe Major Sheppard will enjoy it. It has many fast cars."

Sheppard had offered The Princess Bride when it was his turn to choose, but Cam trusted Teal'c's judgment, mostly. "Sure."

Jackson was already in Cam's only armchair, journal open on his knee and a pen between his teeth; Sam followed Cam into the kitchen to pop the popcorn. "Good news from Area 51?" he asked. Through the half-closed door, he heard the low rumble of Teal'c's voice and Sheppard's drawled response.

"Mm. I'm going to need to go out there in a couple of weeks, check on some of what they're doing."

"Okay. We'll try not to let the galaxy fall into the hands of the Ori without you."

"That'd be good," Sam agreed with a grin. "I'm sure Major Sheppard will be pleased."

"If we don't get defeated by the Ori?" Cam asked. "Yeah, I'd think so."

Sam gave him the look he'd been getting from her for years, the one that meant she thought he was an idiot. Sweet, but an idiot. "Come on, Cam. He's not exactly thrilled to have me here."

Cam had been mentally crossing his fingers, hoping she wouldn't notice the way Sheppard leaned away from her whenever she got too close, or the way he always called her Colonel while he addressed Cam as Mitchell. He'd been hoping he wouldn't have to deal with it, because he had no idea what Sheppard's problem was and he couldn't imagine getting Sheppard to actually tell him.

"He's not exactly thrilled to *be* here," he offered. "Six months ago, he was running an entire base, and now he's third in line to lead SG-1. I'm sure it's nothing personal."

Sam shook her head, but accepted the bowl of popcorn Cam handed over. "You're in charge," she said, and Cam tried not to choke on the handful of popcorn he'd just put in his mouth, because he was lots of things on SG-1, but in charge was not one of them.

Teal'c was sat on the floor at Jackson's feet, cueing the movie with the remote, and Sheppard shifted to one side so Cam and Sam could take the rest of the couch. Not for the first time, Cam thought it might be an idea to get another chair. "Jackson." Cam reached across to poke his elbow, the only part he could reach without groping Sheppard. "Whatever that is, put it away and watch the movie."

Jackson didn't even look up. "I just want to finish this article."

Cam knew what that meant – Jackson would finish that article and start on the next one, relying on Cam's distraction to get away with it. The sad thing was, it usually worked. "Whatever makes you happy," he said. At least Jackson came. At least they all came, come to that; Sheppard had been easiest to convince, even before the rest of SG-1 had come trickling back, but Cam had always suspected that Jackson only came because Teal'c, who had a pretty good understanding of team dynamics, dragged him along.

"Shall I begin the movie, Colonel Mitchell?" Teal'c asked.

"Sure," Cam said brightly, and reminded himself that team building couldn't be expected to happen overnight.

 

3.

First contact rarely goes smoothly. If it can go wrong, it will go wrong, and probably in the most awkward and embarrassing way possible. This is not always an entirely negative thing:

"This," Sheppard hissed, pulling at the ropes that bound them together and only succeeding in pulling Cam even closer, "Is why we had so much trouble putting a team together before the rest of them came back."

"Oh, I don't know," Cam said, pleased when his voice came out mostly normal. It was one thing to think your team-mate was kind of hot, and to have vague and fairly pathetic fantasies about comforting his obvious homesickness with beer and sex. It was another entirely to be thinking the same thing when you were tied together in a gloomy hut. "We could have used it as a selling point."

"Join SG-1, travel to strange new planets, explore new cultures, get involved in vaguely kinky imprisonments with your team leader and risk court martial?"

"We've been tied up by a group of half-naked villagers so we can 'demonstrate our repentance for our grievous offence and prepare for trial by fire or water' and this is only vaguely kinky?" Sheppard shifted, brushing their thighs together, and Cam tried not to groan. "That's more than I wanted to know about your sex life, Sheppard."

"What sex life?" Sheppard muttered darkly. "Okay, here, lean back, lift your hands with mine and I think we might be able to undo the knots."

Cam obliged, figuring the sooner they got out of this the better, for a number of reasons, and Sheppard's hand, tied to his own, brushed over a part of his anatomy that really didn't need external stimulation. They both froze, and Cam wondered crazily if Landry would accept 'my team leader has a big gay crush on me' as a reason for Sheppard to transfer off the team.

"You, er-" Sheppard said hoarsely, and Cam allowed himself a quick glance at him. Sheppard was staring intently at Cam's shoulder. "You, er – seriously?"

"Seriously what?" Cam asked.

"It's not just..." Sheppard made a quickly aborted hand gesture, then appeared to give up completely, turning his head to kiss the corner of Cam's mouth, until Cam got over his shock and turned into it.

It wasn't easy to kiss and not fall over with their hands and feet tied together, but they managed it, Sheppard's mouth pressing hot and hard against his, their fingers curling together through the ropes, until Cam felt his back hit the slatted wall of the hut they were locked in, and realized Sheppard had been shuffling them backwards the whole time.

He pulled his mouth away from Sheppard's and took a deep breath, trying to regain control of both himself and the situation. Which turned out to be easier said than done with Sheppard's body pressed against his, awkward through their tac vests, hard against Cam's thigh, nibbling along his jaw, his hair tickling Cam's ear.

"We can't – stop doing that – we can't do this here," he managed, sounding as breathless as he felt.

"You started it," Sheppard said, switching to sucking on Cam's earlobe.

"Sheppard –" Cam moved to push him away, forgetting that they were tied together, and they both groaned. "Don't – we need to escape."

"Yes, sir," Sheppard drawled, low in his throat, looking at Cam from under his eyelashes, and Cam gave up, twisted to kiss him again, rationalizing that, since they hadn't managed to escape in the last hour, they might as well give up and wait for either rescue or trial, and that there were worse ways to wait than sucking on John Sheppard's lower lip, adjusting to the way he deepened the kiss in random increments, listening to him moan every time one of them moved and their cocks rubbed together through layers of BDUs and boxers.

In the bands of sunlight that came through the gaps between the slats, it was hard to see Sheppard's face, beyond the occasional glint of his eyes, and, listening to his breath hitch in and out in something that couldn't just be arousal, Cam was almost glad. They couldn't go beyond kissing, not tied up and taken prisoner, and it was weirdly affectionate, something more than sex that made Cam want to wrap his arms round Sheppard and tell him everything would be okay, that Earth would be okay, be home, and that he didn't have to believe nothing good would ever happen to him again after losing Atlantis.

He didn't say things like that though, and even if he did, Sheppard didn't listen to them. He squeezed Sheppard's hands between his instead, and gentled the kiss slowly until it was barely more than a press of his lips against Sheppard's, and Sheppard sighed, closing his eyes.

Which was, of course, when Jackson and Teal'c broke down to door to rescue them.

 

4.

Good things come to those who wait. Even if it is only chocolate cake in the mess every second Friday.

Cam finally tracked Sheppard down in the mess, hunched over a laptop with his back to the door, industriously tapping away with a file open next to the computer and a coffee mug just out of elbow range. 'I kissed him,' Cam thought, but it felt unreal after six hours of running for the gate and being prodded in the infirmary and debriefing with Landry, not meeting his team's eyes the whole time. It wasn't like he didn't know he could trust them, he just wasn't ready to face the inevitable knowing looks, not without food and sleep first. At least Sam was still up at Area 51, though he had no doubt Jackson would tell her.

"Excuse me, sir," Lieutenant Hancock said, coming through the door Cam was still wool gathering in front of.

"Sorry," Cam said reflexively, stepping aside and mentally rolling his eyes at himself. He was sure discretion used to come more easily to him.

"If you've started your mission report already," he said, dropping into the seat opposite Sheppard and watching him start, "I'm sending you back to Dr Lam to check for alien infections."

"Are you trying to suggest I'm not conscientious with my paperwork?" Sheppard asked dryly.

"More outright stating," Cam said. "That's not your mission report, is it?"

Sheppard shook his head. "Briefing notes for P2X 971. With the giant rabbits? SG-7 are going next week, Landry asked me to look them over and see if there was anything to add."

"Asked?" Cam asked, risking a smile and feeling unreasonably pleased when Sheppard smiled back.

"There was a rising inflection at the end of the sentence," Sheppard said innocently. "That makes it a question."

"Uh-huh. Is it due today?" Sheppard shook his head slowly. "Right then. We're out of here. Save that and let's go."

"Go?" Sheppard asked. "Where?"

Cam took a deep breath, remembering how it had felt to be pressed against Sheppard and kissing him. "A bar. My place. Wherever." He caught Sheppard's eye and gave him the raised eyebrow equivalent of a glare. "Somewhere without security cameras."

"Oh," Sheppard said, closing down his laptop, and Cam wondered what the hell he'd been expecting Cam to do about those endless minutes in the hut.

hr

They ended up going back to Cam's apartment, because Sheppard looked at him across the front seat of his car, face dark in the shadows of the parking lot, and said, "I don't think I want to go out."

He expected it to be awkward, because Sheppard was Sheppard, touchy and obviously grieving a city that wasn't even dead, just lost to him, but it was surprisingly easy, turning from locking the front door to find Sheppard standing too close, reaching out to draw Cam close and kiss him slowly.

He'd thought, from Sheppard's look in his car, that he'd want to fall straight into bed, fast and semi-anonymous, but he seemed perfectly content to lean against Cam and kiss him, his hands on Cam's shoulders, Cam's arms round his waist, keeping him close, getting slowly hard where they were pressed together.

"So," Cam said finally, lowering his voice in deference to the darkened room and Sheppard's vaguely glazed expression. "Not that I'm not enjoying this, but I do have a perfectly serviceable bed, which is possibly more comfortable than this door."

Sheppard grinned. "Possibly?" he asked, running his hands over Cam's shoulders and opening the first couple of buttons on his shirt.

"Definitely," Cam corrected. "It's definitely more comfortable than this door."

"That's good to know," Sheppard said solemnly, and pushed Cam's shirt off.

In the end, they only made it as far as the couch, jerking each other off with their pants round their knees and their shoes still on, kissing frantically, and Cam couldn't remember, after, when it had changed from something slow and smooth to something urgent and uncoordinated, only that it had. Sheppard shuddered violently when he came, spilling over Cam's hand with a groan that Cam knew he'd be recalling at the most inappropriate moments for weeks to come, and he found himself running his free hand slowly up and down Sheppard's spine as Sheppard pressed close to him, his face damp and hot against Cam's neck.

It seemed to take Sheppard a long time to stop shivering and catch his breath, but he shifted, eventually, to wrap a hand round Cam's upper arm. "Thanks," he said quietly.

"You're welcome," Cam said stupidly, and tried not to notice that this was the first time he'd really felt like he belonged where he was since he'd been given command of SG-1. It was a little disturbing to realize that there was probably a reason it was always him and Sheppard getting taken prisoner, or locked up together, a reason that Sheppard said Doctor and Colonel and would probably have called Teal'c by his rank if he had one, but said Mitchell all the time, and never sir. Even more disturbing was the realization that the reason probably had as much to do with the bond they'd apparently developed being the new kids as it did with wanting to sleep together.

"Don't fall asleep," Sheppard said, sounding halfway there himself. "S'couch isn't big enough for both of us."

"I said I had a bed," Cam pointed out reasonably. Actually, maybe it wasn't entirely disturbing.

"Should definitely find it," Sheppard agreed, lifting his head and cracking one eye open.

"Good idea," Cam said, sitting up carefully and watching Sheppard stretch as he got up, nearly tripping himself over with his feet tied together in his pants. Maybe it was kind of nice, in fact.

 

5.

Things can always get better. They can also get worse, but that kind of thinking will just depress you. Try to keep a positive mental attitude:

One day, Cam was going to figure out why he was the one who always got called away right before they were supposed to go through the gate for Landry to give him last minute advice which more often than not amounted to 'try not to upset anyone and get taken prisoner. Again.' Which, actually, would be Cam's advice to the team, if he was inclined to give advice to three people who'd been doing this for the last eight years and the guy who'd run an entire base in another galaxy. Generally, not so much.

The one minor advantage to it was that he occasionally got to watch them without them seeing him, which, hey, he'd take all the advantages he could get when it came to team relations. Teal'c, as usual, was calmly waiting for Walter to dial up the gate, which was on hold for the next few minutes, since SG-14 were coming back early. Jackson was doing that twitchy thing that meant he was about three seconds from declaring he just needed one thing really quickly from his office and disappearing on a trip that would necessitate Cam tracking him through the Mountain *again*. Sheppard was shifting irritably, apparently trying to resettle his pack without a lot of success, and Cam's mind wandered, briefly, to waking up with Sheppard curled next to him, blinking sleepily and smiling.

When he rejoined to real world, Sam had finished up her conversation with an airman and was tweaking at Sheppard's pack while he stood very still and, to Cam's amazement, let her do it without even looking like he wanted to move away. She gave him a final pat on the shoulder and leaned close to say something, her eyes flickering across to Cam for a moment, bright with secret knowledge. Sheppard shook his head, following her look, his face turning faintly red. Cam gave him a raised eye brow back and Sheppard shook his head again, grinning like he didn't entirely mean to.

"You joining us, Mitchell?" he asked.

"Guess so." Cam shrugged away from the wall and rejoined his team, patting Sheppard's arm and bumping his shoulder against Sam's as he took his usual place between the two of them.

"Good," Sam said brightly. "The two of you can keep each other company when you get thrown in jail again."

"Yep," Sheppard said, sounding slightly strangled.

Cam pretended not to hear Sam's snort of laughter. "That doesn't happen every time," he said instead.

"No, you're right," Jackson agreed. "Sometimes we just get chased off the planet at gun point."

"And last week's run through the forest before a pack of dogs was a refreshing change," Teal'c added from Jackson's other side.

"Hey, we got some great intel on the Ori from those people," Cam argued, but he knew he was fighting a losing battle, even if it was the good kind of losing battle, the kind that meant they'd decided he was worthy of being teased.

The chevrons started to light up for an incoming wormhole, and they all took a couple of steps back, just in case.

"Buck up, Mitchell," Sheppard said brightly, watching the chevrons. "At least we always make it home in one piece."

"There you go," Cam agreed, grinning at his team as the wormhole stabilized, and wondered if Sheppard might be up for another meeting of the SG-1-maybe-not-quite-such-outsiders-after-all society when they got back.

Next: Still With Me


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