blue flamingos

Last Cigarette

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2008/ ~711 words

Pairing: Lorne/Sheppard

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

Author's Notes: For [info]_la_la_la, who wanted a first-time or first-meeting from Lorne and Sheppard's relationship during Two Weeks

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

hr

John really, really wanted to be drunk. Failing that, he'd settle for being off the base, since being back in the States wasn't an option.

Instead, he was sitting on the damp grass round back of the admin block, where the shadows hid everything, stone cold sober, sharing the last of his cigarettes with the only survivor of the three person team John had been sent to rescue.

It had gone dark hours ago, while John had still been waiting to get the bullet graze to his arm stitched up. Their breath frosted on the night air, even without the cigarette smoke; the afternoon felt like another lifetime, the rush of gunfire under the bright winter sun. He hadn't even been able to make out the muzzle flashes against the glint of light on the windows, the dancing shadows between the trees. They'd been out in the open, trapped between the two, and he was pretty sure Lorne's team leader had been dead before John even landed his chopper.

They'd been alive, all three of them, when John took off from the base.

Lorne dropped his cigarette end, grinding it out under his boot heel. John watched from the corner of his eye as Lorne's hands hovered, before he tucked them back into his pockets, the way they'd been when he'd come stumbling round the back of the building, breathing out a sigh of relief when he saw John there, or maybe when he saw John there alone. They really didn't know each other well enough for John to think Lorne had come looking for him.

"Here," John said quietly. Far away, he could hear the steady thud-thud of someone being shelled, but the immediate area was quiet. It had become an unofficial place to hide out, dark and sheltered, and no-one was going to disturb them.

John dug the battered pack from his pocket, shaking out the last cigarette and offering it to Lorne. He looked at it for a long moment, then nodded jerkily and took it. His hands were cold and damp, and he hadn't said a word since he'd shown up, just sat down by John and leant against the concrete wall of the building, closing his eyes.

John found his lighter where he'd dropped it in the grass and sparked it. He had to twist up onto his knees to face Lorne, who barely moved. The flame lit up his face as John cupped a hand round the cigarette to light it; John had gotten used to his easy smile, his serious concentration. He didn't think he could get used to the absolute blank of Lorne's expression, caught in the flame.

"Last one," John said, wanting to break the silence. He'd promised himself he'd quit when he ran out of cigarettes from the States, but he hadn't planned on smoking most of his last pack in one evening.

The smoldering end flared up as Lorne drew on it, then his hand came up, holding it out to John. The glow flickered until John took hold of Lorne's wrist, stilling the tremors that hadn't stopped all evening.

"Finish it," he said, one hand still on Lorne's, feeling Lorne's eyes on him. "I'm quitting."

He looked up then, meaning to smile, to insist. He wished he hadn't, watching Lorne's blank expression slip for an instant, like a crack in smooth plaster, showing everything underneath. He didn't want to see someone else looking like that, reflecting his own feelings back at him.

It was easier to use the grip he had on Lorne's wrist to pull him in, to take the excuse of a kiss to close his own eyes, certain Lorne was doing the same. He tasted of smoke, the bitter bite of nicotine, or maybe it was in John's head, since all he could taste in his own mouth was nicotine and tar.

John felt Lorne catch the back of his jacket, the bump of Lorne's fist against his spine. It wasn't a good kiss, both of them wrecked, exhausted, Lorne grieving and John burning up with his own failure. They kept going anyway, like John had known they would. There wasn't anything else.

In the grass, the dropped cigarette flared for a moment and went out.


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