blue flamingos

Two Weeks

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, PG-13

Year/Length: 2008/ ~3728 words

Pairing: Lorne/Mitchell

Spoilers: Set post Tabula Rasa, so spoilers up to that

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

Summary: "I'm owed a lot of leave," Evan said. "I'd like to take some of it, go back to Earth for a couple of weeks."

Author's Notes: Written for the fabulous [info]domtheknight, who beta'd 53,000 words of fic for me for [info]14valentines in a little less than a month. Thank you!

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

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"What do you want me to say?" Sheppard asked when Evan finished stumbling through an apology for locking up Teyla and nearly shooting Sheppard, his throat tight with guilt and shame. "You were sick and drugged, and you couldn't remember why you were doing what you were doing. No-one was seriously hurt, and it's not as if I would have been any use if we'd been attacked for real. At least one of us was doing his job."

"Yes, sir," Evan said, swallowing around his disappointment.

"Not the right thing, huh?" Sheppard asked, picking up on it. He shifted his chair closer to Evan's, catching his eye. "Tell me what you need."

Evan looked at Sheppard's knee, wondering, again, if this would make it worse or better. The truth was that he didn't have any other ideas. "I'm owed a lot of leave from the last couple of years," he said quietly. "I'd like to take some of it, go back to Earth for a couple of weeks."

Sheppard was silent for a long time, long enough for Evan to look up and regret it – Sheppard was looking at him with the assessing gaze he sometimes turned on the marines when they were really vexing him, and Evan wanted to squirm away from it. After a moment, Sheppard sighed, defeated. "You're sure this is a good idea?" he asked, and Evan heard the question under it – are you sure you're not just freaking out and running away?

"I'm sure," Evan said, even though he wasn't, to either question.

"Okay," Sheppard said, reaching for his datapad. "Just – Evan..." He trailed off, and Evan tried not to flinch – he never got to hear Sheppard say his first name these days, always resolutely thought of Sheppard as Sheppard, never John. Sheppard sighed again. "Just make sure you come back," he said, and handed the datapad over for Evan to add his signature to the form.

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They put Evan up in one of the SGC's currently unoccupied long-term off-world visitor apartments on the edge of town; it was a lot like some of the nicer hotels he'd stayed in, everything generic and inoffensive and completely soulless, and Evan didn't have enough stuff with him to make it look anything other than temporary.

The first day, he slept in till noon, and spent the afternoon in front of the television, wearing sweatpants and an old Air Force t-shirt. It was nice, not needing to be appropriately dressed for a sudden dash to protect the city, or at least, it would have been nice, if he'd been able to stop reaching for an ear piece that wasn't there. If he'd been able to shut off the memory of Parrish's face when he'd said he was coming back to Earth for a couple of weeks, a kind of stunned sympathy that had made Evan feel more guilty about taking the time than he already was.

He didn't call up any of his old colleagues at the SGC to ask if they'd heard anything from Atlantis, but it was a near thing. He dreamt of the city anyway, a confusing mess of Wraith and Genii and Replicators, and chasing scientists, just like he had before he left.

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The second day, he dug out his address book and tried to figure out if there was anyone he could go visit, thinking that maybe Colorado Springs, with the mountain in easy driving distance, was still too close.

In the end, he called up Cadman, since she was the only person who was both someone he wanted to see and still in the country, even if she was on the other side of it.

The nice thing about Laura was that she didn't say anything about him being back on Earth unexpectedly, instead berating him for five minutes about ignoring her emails until she wound down and said, "So? Tell me all the gossip."

"Um," Evan said stupidly, his mind going completely blank.

"God, you're hopeless," Laura said with a snort of disgust. "What's the point of you being home if you don't even have any good gossip?"

"I think McKay's still seeing Dr Brown," Evan offered, though he wasn't sure at all.

"I know *that*," Laura said. "Katie still emails me, unlike some people."

"I guess I've been distracted with tracking Colonel Sheppard across the galaxy and nearly imprisoning all of our people," Evan said, forgetting that he didn't want to talk about it, and also that he shouldn't have said 'across the galaxy' on an unsecured phone line.

"Evan," Laura said slowly. "Is everything okay? I mean, you're not here because –"

"Everyone's fine. I'm going back in a couple of weeks," Evan assured her. "I just needed a break."

"I get that," Laura said sympathetically, except her break had turned into her resignation, and had been more about her relationship with Dr Simpson than it had about the stresses of living and working in another galaxy, at constant risk of death from any number of unlikely opponents. "You could have picked a better week though."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah. I've got three exams next week, I can't – I mean, I'd love to come and see you, especially since it's probably the last chance I'll get for months, but I can't. And Jeanette's up to her ears in some project she can't talk about, but... Actually," she said, her voice brightening suddenly. "Come and stay with us! You've probably got enough clearance to hear about it, and you could accidentally let it slip to me..."

Evan actually considered it – Laura had been gone long enough that he didn't exactly miss her any more, but he did want to see her, and Jeanette was his kind of person, dry and smart and intense, but... And if he knew what went at the end of that sentence, he suspected he'd be a lot closer to not needing to be on Earth in the first place. "Thanks," he said. "But –"

"But no thanks," Laura finished quietly. "No problem. We're not exactly a stress-free household this week."

"Sounds like it," Evan said.

"Listen, I have to go, I'm supposed to be leading the seminar this afternoon and I can't be late, but if you change your mind, or if you want someone to talk to..." She trailed off. "I'm always here for you."

"I know," Evan said, fighting a sudden, insane rush of...something. "Go on, get to class. Though what they're doing letting someone who used to blow things up for a living lead a seminar on bomb disposal –"

"I know," Laura said gleefully. "Isn't it great?"

Evan spent an hour that evening looking at flights, but ended up closing down the computer without booking one.

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On the third day, he got up, went for a run, bought actual food that he thought he could maybe cook with (the apartment came complete with recipe books, after all) and dug through the art supplies he'd brought back through the gate with him, throwing out all the stuff that had dried up since he'd last used it and putting aside the pictures he wanted to keep.

He didn't get anything else done, and called for Chinese take-out when he got hungry, but he figured it was a start.

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On the fourth day, someone rang the apartment's intercom in the middle of the afternoon. When Evan answered, the someone turned out to be Cameron Mitchell.

"Heard you were back on Earth," he said when Evan let him in the apartment. He was dressed in jeans and a gray sweatshirt, obviously off-duty, full of energy. It made Evan feel tired, just looking at him.

"News travels fast," Evan offered.

"Sure," Cam agreed, pulling out one of the books, apparently at random. "Plus, six different people have mentioned it to me in the last two days.

"Oh," Evan said, biting down the ridiculous urge to apologize or to ask why. He was pretty sure he didn't want to hear the answer to that anyway.

"Yeah. So, since SG-1's actually got an entire week off and explicit instructions from Landry to stay away from the place, I figured you might like to get out of here."

Evan looked round the empty apartment, thought about the mountain being so close and the compulsion to call in at least half a dozen times every day. "Give me five minutes to pack," he said.

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Cam refused to say where they were going, even as they left the city behind them, and Evan found he couldn't think of places to guess. He didn't mean to close his eyes, but it was warm inside the car, and the scenery was incredibly monotonous, and the next thing he knew, Cam's voice was saying, "Evan, come on, wake up," and Evan had no idea where he was or why Cam was there.

"You okay?" Cam asked. They hadn't stopped, like Evan had thought, so he was glancing at Evan then the road then back to Evan.

"Yeah," he said, rubbing his eyes and sitting up straight again. "Sorry."

"No problem," Cam said easily. "I would have let you sleep, but you seemed kind of –"

"Sorry," Evan said again. "Bad dreams."

"I get that," Cam said. "We're nearly there anyhow."

Once he said it, Evan noticed that they were driving down a narrow road through thick trees. He'd obviously been asleep for a while. "Nearly where?"

"You'll see," Cam said, and refused to say anything else until he pulled the car up in front of a low wooden cabin.

"You've got a cabin in the woods that you never mentioned?" Evan guessed, pretty sure he was wrong.

"General O'Neill does," Cam corrected. "He left it in Landry's care when he went to Washington and Landry gave me the keys for the week. Think he knew I wouldn't be able to keep away if I was still in town."

"Right," Evan said slowly, but Cam was gone, unlocking the front door, before he could ask whatever question he would have about that explanation.

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It wasn't until Cam, not looking up from the closing credits of The Fellowship of the Ring, said, "Think I'm going to turn in," that Evan thought to wonder what, exactly, he was doing there.

He'd always had an easier time around Cam than Sheppard, since the three of them had somehow ended up at the SGC together: maybe because he didn't have to work every day with Cam; maybe because he and Cam had been friends before they'd slept together, way back when they met on some extended training course that Evan'd long forgotten; maybe because his and Sheppard's thing had been brief and intense, in the middle of a war zone and over too fast, and wasn't safe to try again. Whatever the reason, now he was thinking about it, it was a safe bet that he and Cam weren't just out here because Cam wanted some company for the week, or even because he thought Evan needed taking out of Colorado Springs.

Cam must have stood up while Evan's brain was spinning, because he was looking down at Evan. "I'm taking the room on the left," he said casually. "There're three other rooms, if you want one. Up to you."

"Thanks," Evan said, a little relieved and a little disappointed. It would have been easier if Cam had made a clear offer, rather than leaving it quite so explicitly for him to decide.

Cam watched him for another few seconds then smiled. "All right. Night."

In the end, it didn't matter anyway – Evan fell asleep on the couch, twenty minutes into The Two Towers.

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He didn't have much to do with Cam for the next couple of days – apparently Cam didn't take 'time off' the same way as everyone else, since he'd brought a laptop and spent most of the day at the kitchen table, working his way through what Evan assumed were reports, while Evan worked his way through the General's incredibly eclectic book collection, trying to figure out which actually belonged to O'Neill and which had probably been left by visitors. In the evenings, they argued over which DVD to watch, though Evan noticed that Cam always let him win – it was hard not to, when Cam kept interrupting the movie to bitch about something implausible in the plot, the characterisation and, a couple of times, the science, though he always seemed a little alarmed at himself when he did that last one.

It was kind of comfortable, and kind of relaxing, and Evan still slept each night in the room he'd picked out for himself, once he got done tossing and turning and talking himself into, then out of going to Cam's room, feeling stupid the whole time.

On Saturday, it rained, and it wasn't like Evan had really set foot outside the cabin since they'd gotten there, but as soon as it wasn't easy to do so, he wanted to. He couldn't settle, abandoning a rapid succession of books, flicking through the TV channels until Cam looked up from his laptop to say, "I'm not even watching and you're giving me sympathetic epilepsy with that." It wasn't like he *couldn't* go out, not really; he'd been through a lot worse on any number of other planets, but that was too much like work.

In the middle of the afternoon, he took pity on Cam, even though he hadn't said anything apart from the crack about Evan's channel hoping, and went into his room to try and nap.

It worked, kind of – he was drifting, not quite awake but not properly asleep, when the door opened quietly. "I'm awake," he said when Cam didn't say anything.

"Sorry," Cam said. "I didn't mean to wake you up. I just –" He stopped, then closed the door behind himself and came to sit on the edge of Evan's bed. "You okay?"

"Cabin fever," Evan said, knowing that wasn't what Cam was really asking.

"Supposed to be nice again tomorrow. We could go out. Look for the whooping duck... thing." Evan looked up at him, or at the shadowed outline of him, and he shrugged. "Don't ask."

"Okay," Evan said, and wrapped his hand round the back of Cam's neck, pulling him down and kissing him.

"Thank God," Cam said softly, a lot later, spread over Evan, both of them half-naked, one hand careful against Evan's face, the other holding onto his arm, where it had landed when Evan had pulled him down. "Not that I brought you out here for sex or anything – well, not just for sex – but –"

"I'm here for sex now, if that helps," Evan offered.

It did.

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The next day was indeed much nicer than Saturday had been, weather-wise at least, though they didn't actually make it out of the cabin until early afternoon.

"You know, if we were armed and wearing uniforms instead of wandering around in jeans, this would be like half the missions I've had with the SGC," Cam said when they'd been walking for half an hour, not looking for anything (which was probably a good thing, since neither of them knew what the 'whooping duck thing' looked like), just appreciating the fresh air and the fact that no-one was likely to try and shoot them.

"Yeah," Evan agreed. "Though, actually, Pegasus has a lot of more developed planets. Compared to the Milky Way, anyway."

Cam gave him a mock glare. "You maligning my galaxy?"

"My galaxy as well," Evan said.

A moment later, Cam stopped and came back to where Evan had stopped. "What?" he asked quietly, then put his hand on Evan's wrist and said again, "What?"

"Nothing," Evan said, shaking himself. He couldn't remember the last time he'd referred to the Milky Way as his galaxy, the one that he'd lived in for over three decades before going to Atlantis, and it felt weird. Like he wanted to take it back. Like it wasn't really true any longer.

When he looked up, Cam was grinning at him. "Good epiphany?" he asked, looking like he knew the answer already.

"Good epiphany," Evan agreed, smiling back. That felt kind of weird as well, in a less good way, like it was maybe something he could stand to do a bit more often.

"Good." Cam turned back to the way they'd been walking. "So let's keep going, see if we can come up with any more."

As far as pointless walks through a forest went, Evan figured it was one of the more successful he'd had in a while. Plus, no-one even threatened to shoot at them (possibly because they didn't come across anyone), and he got sex at the end, which completely made up for any deficiencies in the walk, even when those included a tree dumping its entire load of water down the back of his neck.

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Cam was due back at the SGC a few days before Evan was due to report for dial-in to Atlantis, and Evan wasn't exactly looking forward to spending his last couple of days on Earth in the SGC's guest apartment, which he figured wouldn't have improved with being locked up for a week. He wasn't sure if it was the company or the setting that had helped – "maybe the activity program," Cam suggested with a grin when Evan said this to him – but something had. He felt more settled than he had when he'd left the city, more able to look at the events of the last few months as accidents rather than a terrible reflection on him and his competence at his job.

He didn't want to lose the feeling before he went back.

"Come stay with me," Cam said easily, slinging his laptop bag less than carefully onto the back seat. "I've got a spare room, if anyone asks."

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So maybe it had been the company more than the setting that had helped.

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Cam managed, using ways that Evan was pretty sure he didn't want to ask about, to get Evan's last day on Earth off as well. It was a little pathetic, how much of a thrill Evan got from being able to spend the entire day in bed, only getting up for food. The constant, low level battle readiness was one thing he wasn't looking forward to going back to.

"What was that trip to the cabin really about?" he asked, very early in the morning, when they were both too worn out for any more sex but too wired to fall asleep.

"Hmm?" Cam asked absently, running one hand slowly down Evan's spine until he shivered. It usually worked as a distraction, but Evan had been thinking, on and off, about the question since they'd gotten to the cabin.

"Why did you really take me out there?" he asked again.

"Maybe I just wanted to get you away from here so I could have my wicked way with you," Cam suggested.

Evan gave the room an exaggerated once-over. "Because clearly you'd never have managed it here," he said dryly.

"Fine." Cam sighed the sigh of the eternally put-upon. "Landry really did stand the team down for a week and forbid us from coming near the Mountain – something about training SG-2 to deal with first response emergencies."

"But?" Evan prompted. If two years with Parrish had taught him anything, it was how to cut someone off before they got onto a tangent and made you forget what you'd actually asked about.

"But I think he meant for me to take the rest of the team to the cabin," Cam said, shrugging under Evan's cheek. "Reform us into a newly coherent whole since you stole one of us."

"We didn't steal her, we gratefully accepted her when she came to join us," Evan corrected. "They're not going to be pissed at you?"

"They can be as pissed as they like," Cam said firmly. "They only come so they can mock me when I lose at poker, anyway."

It seemed like that was the end of it, until Evan, later, half-asleep, felt Cam lean closer, his breath warm against Evan's ear when he said, "I don't think you're really asleep, but – John emailed me, said he thought you could use someone to look out for you while you were here."

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"You know," Evan said the next morning, both of them in the SGC locker room, changing back into their uniforms for the dial-in and a team meeting respectively. "You could always come visit us some day. Bring Dr Jackson to look at some of the Ancient stuff we've found since the move."

"Ancient stuff?" Cam asked, raising an eyebrow.

Evan shrugged. "I get a list every week from the scientists, I only pay attention to the stuff marked 'Likely to kill us all in strange and unpleasant ways'."

"You need to work on your sales' pitch," Cam said.

"John would like to see you," Evan said, the name sounding strange. He'd never noticed, too busy not saying it himself, how few people called John by his first name on Atlantis.

Cam gave him a half-smile and a nod. "Yeah," he said, soft and considering. "Maybe I'll see what I can do."

"I'd like to see you too," Evan added, feeling like an idiot and not caring. It seemed important to say.

Cam's grin this time was a lot brighter. "Sales' pitch is improving already."

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Sheppard – still Sheppard, in the city, in uniform, in front of people – was waiting for him when he stepped through the gate, and fell into step with him as he headed towards his quarters, wanting to drop off his stuff then go find his team.

"So, how was Earth?" Sheppard asked, once they were off the main hallways and there weren't so many people about.

"Good," Evan said. "What I needed. Thanks." He caught Sheppard's eye for a second, hoping Sheppard would understand what he couldn't say out loud.

"Glad to hear it," Sheppard said and smiled, getting it. "Because I'm never letting you out of the galaxy again. The worst things always happen when you're not here."

"I could stick around," Evan agreed, and decided he'd wait till later to mention that they might be getting a visitor.


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