blue flamingos

5 things John Sheppard would tell his brother if he could

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2008/ ~1063 words

Pairing: John/Cam

Spoilers: spoilers for Outcast

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

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

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1.

John recognizes the look on Dave's face when he's introduced to Ronon; he doesn't need to hear the way Dave repeats 'civilian contractor' to know what he's thinking.

He ignores it as best he can, just like he ignores Nancy's presence. Neither of them will say, but it had to be Dave who invited her, as much as John can't really figure out why he would.

He wishes he could say, "It's not like you think," because it really, truly isn't.

Except for the way it maybe is a little bit. He's wrong about who John is involved with, but he's not wrong in thinking that John is involved with someone, or that the person is a man.

And that's the part that he can't tell, because Cam has as much to lose as John does if someone finds out with them, and John can't trust his brother any more.

2.

When Ronon sits down opposite John in the mess a couple of weeks after the wake, he's got a piece of printer paper in one hand. John can't remember ever seeing Ronon with paper.

"What's that?" he asks.

"Got an email," Ronon says, digging into his plate of potatoes.

This is not exactly news. For a base where everyone has a radio headset, and meetings are held every other day, they generate an alarmingly large number of emails.

John's about to say this when Ronon adds, "From Earth."

"Who's emailing you from Earth?" John asks, and Ronon pushes the piece of paper over silently.

He doesn't recognize the email addresses, but it only takes him a second to recognize the names at the bottom.

"Why are my brother's kids emailing you?" he asks. They weren't at the wake long enough for Ronon to meet Dave's family; when Ronon came to get him and take him back to Atlantis, Denise and Angela were instantly charmed by Ronon, to the point that John had to prize him away from a game of tag.

Ronon shrugs, but he looks pleased. John wonders if he had family on Sateda, brothers and sisters who he lost.

He's pretty sure he isn't supposed to know about the emailing – isn't even sure how they got Ronon to hand over his email address – but if he did, he'd tell Dave, "Thank you," for giving Ronon back something that the rest of them couldn't.

3.

John doesn't have particularly good memories of being a teenager, after their mom left, but he has a handful of great memories of being a kid, memories he never shares with anyone, not sure why he doesn't. They feel too private, like telling them to people will be giving away more of himself than he's ready to.

When they step into the town square on P8H 126, he almost wishes he had. They're standing right opposite something that looks exactly like the old-fashioned candy stores he remembers from family vacation, when Dave was nine and John was five, and the rush of memory is enough to bring him to a complete halt, barely noticing Teyla bumping into him.

"John?" she says. "Are you well?"

He feels stupidly close to tears without knowing why. It's been months since his dad died, years since his mom left, and it's just a stupid candy store. "I'm fine," he says, forcing a smile. From the way Teyla sticks close for the rest of the mission, he probably doesn't do a very good job of it.

He actually gets as far as opening his email program when he gets back to the city. He wouldn't say he and Dave talk now, but they've exchanged the occasional email, since the girls and Ronon started emailing each other. He really wants, for the first time ever, to tell Dave about a mission, but he doesn't have the words for it. He doesn't know how to say, "Remember when we were kids? Remember when we were still a proper family; remember the way Mom made you hold my hand crossing the street, how great I thought you were for letting me play with you and your friends?"

He doesn't know how to ask, when maybe Dave's answer will be, "No."

4.

John's used to getting separated from his team. What he's not used to is being the one back in Atlantis while they're missing, grabbed from M9S 103 along with the three marines sent along for security. John should have been there – would have been, if he hadn't been dealing with an unpleasant disciplinary issue back in Atlantis. They should have been safe, the planet cleared months ago, but he wasn't and they weren't.

Now they're planet-hopping so fast his head is spinning, following the kidnappers as they move from world to world with his people.

He remembers going to Dave, the night before he started school, whispering what if the other kids don't like me? What if it's too hard? What if the teacher doesn't like me?

He wishes he could pick up a phone and say, "I'm so scared. I don't know what I'll do if I lose them. I've forgotten how to do this by myself."

He doesn't have a phone, though, and he knows that he wouldn't call if he did. Zelenka starts dialing the next planet, and John gathers his marines again, hoping that this one, finally, is the end.

5.

Dave invites him for Christmas, a couple of years after Dad dies. Bring Ronon, if you can, he writes. Or Teyla and Rodney. The girls would like to meet them, after hearing so much about them.

John really wants to say yes, even knowing that if past experience is anything to go by he'll be tied to the city by some crisis when Christmas comes round.

He really wants to say yes, but what he wants even more is to say, "Don't let the kids get too attached to us. Don't start thinking of me as your little brother again. You'll only end up getting hurt, you all will. It was safer when you still didn't speak to me. I don't want there to be an airman on your front door step one day."

He makes an excuse about it not being his turn for holiday leave instead; he doesn't want Dave to take his advice.

He doesn't want to lose his brother again.


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