blue flamingos

A Very Small Nudge

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2008/ ~2843 words

Pairing: Cadman, Lorne, Cadman/Teyla

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

Summary: Don't believe everything you hear

Series: Belongs in the same universe as Getting to Know You and Old-Fashioned Methods but you don't need to read either of those first.

Author's Notes: written for [info]passion_perfect's International Day of Femslash cliche challenge with the prompt 'everyone thinks we're doing it.'

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

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"I see we're going out with Major Lorne's team again," Dr Metcalfe says when Laura hands out the mission briefings at Monday morning team breakfast. Or what would be team breakfast if Li and Cooper would show up.

"Yep," Laura agrees, tucking into her cereal. "They needed another team to tag along, and we're not scheduled for anything this week."

"And Major Lorne just happened to pick us," Helena says.

Laura frowns, confused. "We're the only team free this week. Didn't I just say that?"

"I'm just saying." Helena looks at Laura over the edge of her coffee mug, sly and knowing. "It's awfully convenient."

It's too early in the morning for this. Some days, Laura really regrets agreeing when Lorne and Sheppard offered her the chance to head up an off-world team, over a year ago now, not long after the disaster with McKay and the Wraith dart. "Not really, since we keep at least one team on stand-down every week for just this kind of thing."

"No, hey, I'm not trying to imply anything," Helena says, waving her free hand dismissively. Laura bites down the disbelieving laugh at that. "I'm just saying, you know, it's nice for the two of you to be able to spend some time together."

Laura pauses, caught between pointing out that they already spend plenty of time together, Lorne being one of her closest friends in Atlantis, and pointing out that a mission to a previously unvisited but probably hostile world isn't exactly the lovers' vacation that Helena's clearly implying. "I'm sure we'll have a great time," she says eventually, and, thank God, that's when Cooper and Li finally turn up.

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The planet, story of their lives, turns out to be nothing like the database implied. It's supposed to be a planet with a naquadria mine, abandoned 12,000 years ago when the local fauna mutated into omnivorous pseudo-dinosaurs. Laura's not sure what it says about her life that the only concession she makes to this fact is to pack some extra C4.

Not that she needs it; the planet turns out to have been taken over by a friendly, nomadic tribe, who have stories about the vanquishing of the pseudo-dinosaurs that they're happy to share.

Right up until Lorne tentatively mentions the prospect of the Atlanteans making use of the mines that the nomads aren't interested in, and then it's all sacred burial ground and death-place of the Ancestors and the two teams being run off the planet at gun point.

"Well, that was a refreshing change," Laura grumbles as the wormhole closes behind them. "This always happens when we go out with your team."

Lorne, who came through the gate beside her, the last two, turns to her, already half-smiling, mouth open to crack back. The half-smile slips away fast though, and he moves fast to her side, one arm going round her waist.

Laura just looks at him for a moment, waiting for the rest of the joke, because they're friends, but they're not the kind of friends who embrace in the gate-room. Or at all, really.

Before she can say this, Lorne's hand goes to his radio. "Med team to the gate-room."

"What's going on?" Laura asks, and that's when the pain hits. She's suddenly very grateful for Lorne's arm round her, keeping her leg from giving way, because, fuck, she's been shot and how did she not notice this until now? Talk about an adrenaline over-ride. "I think I need to sit down."

"Yeah," Lorne says darkly, making Laura wince. She just knows she's in for a lecture on not notifying people of injuries.

He lowers her carefully to the gate platform, her team moving in. Cooper takes her P-90, and Li starts on her vest. Laura pulls up a grin, even though her thigh is really starting to hurt. "Not that I'd turn it down, Staff Sergeant, but are you sure the gate-room is really the place?"

Li rolls her eyes, still fumbling with the buckles on Laura's vest. Somewhere above her, she can hear Dr Weir asking what happened, and Lorne explaining. Helena's voice cuts over his, talking about... something. Cross-cultural understanding, maybe. It's usually what Helena's talking about when they come back hot, or injured.

"Is anyone else hurt?" she asks.

"Everyone's fine," Li says soothingly, and then Carson's there with his team and a stretcher, and, really, it's as good a time to pass out as any, so Laura does.

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Laura wakes up to find Carson standing by her bed, making a note on his tablet. At least they're mostly over the whole awkward break-up thing.

"Ah, you're awake," he says, looking up. "Don't try to sit up." He adjusts the bed, bringing her head up, then offers her the straw from a cup of water.

"Thanks," Laura says when she can manage it without sounding like a dying frog. "What time is it?"

"A little after midnight." Carson gets his penlight out and shines it in her eyes, while Laura resists the urge to point out that she got shot in the leg. "We needed to do a wee bit of surgery to repair the hole in your thigh, but it wasn't too serious."

She must be on the good drugs, because she can't feel a thing. "That mean I'll be back on active duty soon?" she asks without much hope, giving Carson her most charming smile anyway.

"No, it does not. It means you'll be on bed rest for the next few days, and then on crutches behind a desk until it's fully recovered." He glares down at her sternly. "You can't be too careful with injuries to the vital limbs."

A few months ago, Laura would have made a joke about liking her legs. Actually, she still would, just not to Carson. "Great," she says instead.

"I'm sure your Major Lorne will be able to keep you occupied," Carson says, and, whoa, that's kind of a snippy tone, even for Carson, who can rival Laura's younger sister for snippy when the occasion calls for it.

"My Major Lorne?" she asks.

"You don't have to keep it a secret from me, love," Carson says, not quite meeting her eyes. "He's barely left your bedside since we brought you out of surgery, and I'm not blind."

When she gets out of here, Laura's asking Katie to check for weird pollens in the air. It's preferable to the theory that everyone's suddenly gone spontaneously insane. "He's probably worried about me," she says, trying to sound rational and not irritated. "He asked for my team to join the mission, and then I got shot."

Shot, which means she shouldn't have to deal with her ex-boyfriend acting like a dick over a guy who is, as she's mentioned a couple of *hundred* times, just a friend. It's at times like this that she remembers why she and Carson aren't a couple any more.

Carson sighs. "If that's how you prefer it," he says. "He's only popped down to the mess for some coffee, I'm sure he'll be back soon."

"Great," Laura says. She waits until he's nearly gone from her curtained bedside, then adds, "We'll be sure to keep the acrobatic sex to a minimum."

She doesn't even feel a little bit guilty when Carson stumbles over his own feet and cracks his elbow against the metal shelving.

She's dozing when Lorne does come back, startled awake by his voice saying, "Evening, Doc," towards Carson's office.

He's frowning when he steps round her curtain, though it clears quickly. "Hey, you're awake, that's great."

"And you've brought me coffee?" Laura asks, giving him a wide-eyed, pleading look. It never worked when they were at the SGC together, and it doesn't now. Lorne takes the seat by her bed and a long drink of coffee. "I hate you," Laura tells him darkly.

"Just for that, I'll let you collapse in the gate-room next time," Lorne says. "Seriously, Cadman, haven't we been over the whole need to know thing enough times?"

"I could recite it backwards," Laura assures him. "I didn't realize I'd been shot. If I had, I would have mentioned it. Not that there would have been anything you could have done, since we were busy running for our lives."

"It would still have been preferable to finding out when you went really pale and started bleeding through your pants. That's the third pair you've ruined with me in the last month."

A startled cough comes from the direction of Carson's office, making both of them look that way, even though there's nothing to be seen through the closed curtains.

"He okay?" Lorne asks, shuffling the chair a little closer and dropping his voice.

"He's fine," Laura says, giving him a very fake smile. "He's got it into his head that you and I are sleeping together."

Lorne blinks, then laughs. He's smiling when he stops, and that almost makes the weirdness worth it; since coming to Atlantis, he hasn't relaxed enough to smile very often. "Do I want to know why he thinks that?"

Laura shakes her head. "I suspect freakish alien pollen," she says solemnly. "Since he's not the first one."

"Freakish alien pollen," Lorne repeats, deadpan, only a tiny hint of laughter around his eyes giving him away. "I'll get Parrish and Brown on that straight away."

"For the good of the city," Laura agrees.

"Absolutely." Lorne stands up. "And in the meantime, I'll leave you to your beauty rest." He leans over slightly to pat her arm, and of course that's when Carson walks in.

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Carson's gone by the time Laura wakes up the next morning, replaced by Dr Cole and the morning shift. Cole's always been easier to persuade than Carson, and Laura's talked her into letting Laura convalesce in her room by mid-morning.

"As long as you have someone to take you down there and get you settled," Cole stresses. "I'll find a nurse and a wheelchair."

"I don't need a nurse." She doesn't need a wheelchair either; breaking her leg three times as a kid has left her a dab hand with crutches. Unfortunately, she knows from Lorne's experience that the wheelchair is probably non-negotiable.

"You're not wheeling yourself," Cole says firmly. "Maybe I can radio Major Lorne to come and get you."

"That will not be necessary," a voice says from behind Laura's curtain, and then Teyla's stepping past it, serene smile firmly in place. Laura forces herself not to grin like an idiot, though she can feel that she's only half-successful.

"I thought you were off-world till tomorrow," she says.

"We were forced to return early," Teyla says. Laura would bet her next month's ration of Oreos that McKay and Sheppard are somehow to blame for this. "When Dr Weir informed Colonel Sheppard of your injury, I wished to see for myself how you were."

"Well, your timing's excellent," Cole says. "The Lieutenant's been agitating to get back to her quarters all morning, and I've just needed someone to take her."

"I would be happy to," Teyla says. "Though perhaps you would prefer to dress first."

Laura looks down at the white scrubs she's wearing, the top too big so that she looks like she's about to flash everybody with one wrong move. "That'd be good."

"Keep the scrub pants on," Cole advises. "I doubt any of your own pants will go over the bandages for a couple of days."

"Hey, who can resist a girl in scrub pants, right?" Laura grins at Teyla for a moment longer than Cole, waiting for the momentary flash of acknowledgement. "I think Lorne brought me clothes last night."

She regrets it the moment she says it, watching the small smile flash over Cole's face. It's worth it though, because twenty minutes later, she's dressed in her favorite soft blue hoodie and being wheeled into her room by Teyla. Someone's made the bed while she's been in the infirmary – probably Cooper, who has some weird ideas about a team-mate's duties while the team leader is injured – and there's a small box by the side of her bed that wasn't there before.

"Dr Cole was most insistent that you return to bed," Teyla says, putting the brake on the wheelchair. "Do you need help?"

"I'm good," Laura says. She braces herself on the arms of the chair, then executes a rise-twist-hop-drop maneuver to swing herself onto the bed, leaning against the wall with her bad leg stretched out in front of her. "See?"

"I am very impressed," Teyla says dryly. She moves the wheelchair to the corner of Laura's small quarters. "Is there anything else you need?"

Laura took her pain pills before she left the infirmary, and she's not due another dose for a couple of hours. She could start on her mission report, but resting her laptop on one leg will be awkward, and resting it on both will be painful. She's not even thirsty, having been given an endless supply of water and juice before Cole let her out. "Want to help me check out my bounty?" she asks.

"Bounty?"

Laura nods to the box with her chin. It's one of the things she loves about working on Atlantis, the way people are so generous with little things from Earth when someone gets injured. It never fails to make her feel warm and gooey, and slightly pathetic, inside.

"I see." Teyla picks up the box and sits carefully on the edge of the bed.

Laura doesn't quite roll her eyes, but it's close. "Come and sit by me," she says, patting the empty bit of bed.

"I do not wish to aggravate your injury," Teyla says, frowning slightly.

"It's fine. Just, you know, no attempting to have your wicked way with me."

Teyla laughs, her whole face lighting up. "I will try to resist you," she says solemnly.

"I'm irresistible," Laura says brightly. The bed shifts slightly as Teyla moves, but not enough to really jar her leg. It's worth it, anyway, Teyla pressed warm all along her right side.

"That is one word for you," Teyla agrees, but she still turns to kiss Laura, slow and careful.

Laura closes her eyes, leaning in to the kiss. This is still new enough that even just kissing feels like something precious and unlikely. She still hasn't quite wrapped her head around the way that they went from situational friends in Heightmeyer's tai chi class, to rescuing their teams together on P7F 498, to Teyla inviting her to watch 'Tap' in her quarters one evening. Laura had been weirdly touched by the gesture – no-one on Atlantis had the movie, which meant Teyla must have researched it and got it sent out specially. She'd felt kind of stupid walking through the city with flowers from Parrish's lab, but it had been worth it for the look on Teyla's face.

"Please try to avoid getting injured while I am away from the city in the future," Teyla says, pulling away slightly. "I would prefer not to return and hear that you are in the infirmary."

"Sorry," Laura says. "I blame Lorne for taking my team with his. Bad things always happen when we go on missions together."

"So I have noticed," Teyla agrees. She pulls the box closer. "Would you like to see what gifts you have been left?"

"Sure," Laura says, but she's distracted now, thinking about the way everyone suddenly thinks, after a year and a half in the city, that she and Lorne are sleeping together. Right when she and Teyla started seeing each other. "You wouldn't happen to know why everyone is suddenly making sly comments about me and Lorne, would you?"

"I do not know what you mean," Teyla says, looking down at the box. Laura follows her gaze for a moment – cool, she's got Cadbury's chocolate. That's like gold dust in the city.

Laura waits, not sure whether to push it or not.

Teyla shrugs one shoulder. "I may have – encouraged – one or two people when they suggested that you and Major Lorne were very close friends."

"Encouraged them," Laura repeats, fighting a smile. It's actually a very neat trick: if anyone ever tries to report them, there really is nothing going on beyond friendship, but if anyone starts to wonder what Laura's keeping secret, there's already an answer in the rumor mill.

"Perhaps given them a very small nudge," Teyla says. She looks up at Laura from the corner of her eye, amusement dancing across her face. "I do not know how it managed to spread across the city so swiftly."

"It's a complete mystery," Laura agrees solemnly, and digs into her box for more chocolate.

After all, no-one's going to ask why Teyla's spending the day in Laura's quarters, not when Laura's confined to her bed with a bullet wound. And maybe they can't get up to anything really strenuous, but she'd pretty damn confident they'll find some way to amuse themselves regardless.


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