blue flamingos

50 things about John Sheppard and Cameron Mitchell

in no particular order

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2008/ ~5000words

Pairing: John/Cameron

Spoilers: spoilers for SGA season 5 and SG1 The Ark of Truth

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


Summary: past, present and future


Author's Notes:


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


1. They've known each other for longer than John's known anyone, except for his brother. Not well, not for the first dozen or so years – those years were the Air Force kind of knowing, a familiar face across an air field, in a classroom, then gone for another year, two, five, except their kind of knowing had occasional sex mixed in as well. But Cameron Mitchell is one of the constants of John's Air Force career, and the comfort John gets from Cam occasionally showing up in Atlantis is at least partly about that.

2. Cam's the romantic in the relationship, which comes as a surprise to absolutely no-one who knows the two of them. If gifts are appropriate, he sends them, expecting nothing back; if something needs saying, he says it; he offers home when John's on Earth, and football when he's not, and he doesn't quite go as far as trying to send flowers through the gate, but there are days when he's kind of tempted.

3. They've seen every single one of each other's physical scars – hard not to when they've been naked together that often – but they both know better than to ask for the stories behind them. John still holds his breath when Cam's mouth skates over the iratus bug scar, waiting for a question that will let him say, 'That was when I really thought I couldn't do it. I don't know if I've stopped thinking it yet.'

4. They kissed for the first time – the first time for real, the first time that meant something more than comfort or guilt or grief or simple desire – three hours before John left for Afghanistan and Cam left for the 302s. They didn't see each other again for four and a half years.

5. After they defeat the Ori, after Sam leaves and comes back, after Teyla has a child and John gets stabbed by a tentacle monster, after Woolsey bureaucratizes Atlantis, John gets forced to take a week-long break, on Earth. Cam swings the time off and they tell everyone they're going skiing, A-Team leaders' vacation. Actually, they never leave Cam's apartment.

6. When Cam realizes there's a very real chance that he's never getting off the Odyssey he freaks out, a bit. Okay, more than a bit. He's got a lot of reasons for freaking out, starting with he's never getting off this ship, but the one that really matters, the one that makes him run lap after lap, searching for something that isn't there, the one that makes him ask Sam to create a guitar pick without creating a guitar... Is that he's starting to forget things, and he's afraid that he'll die without the memory of John.

7. Cam always, always locks his door when he gets home. Unfortunately, six different people have keys, and none of them have any compunction about letting themselves in if they think he's not there. Which is the only explanation he has for his elderly landlady's surprised, "Oh my!" one Thursday afternoon when John happens to be in the galaxy and they've snuck out of work to go to bed. As if that's not humiliating enough, when Cam comes to the sound of the door locking behind her, John's shaking underneath him from barely held-in laughter. Cam can't look at her for weeks after, mainly because the knowing grin she gives him every time freaks him the hell out.

8. Cam always figured that John owned a guitar the same way people owned sewing machines and bread makers and books about bird-watching – with good intentions and not enough time. Then John got kicked back to Earth for six weeks, and Cam figured it out, John's creeping depression playing out in Cam's living room to the tune of not-quite-perfect country and too slow blues under John's fingers.

9. John doesn't find out that Cam Mitchell and the injured 302 pilot who's taking over SG1 are the same person until he's back in Atlantis. This is probably a good thing – socking the new leader of SG1 in the nose wouldn't have helped the case for him keeping his job.

10. They've never actually flown together, not even the 302s.

11. When it comes to food, the only things they agree on are junk food: tacos, burgers, chips (not ridged), popcorn. Ice cream, barely (John: black walnut, pistachio, lemon, really expensive vanilla; Cam: chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, butterscotch. They're both looking for the taste of their childhoods). Hershey's kisses, Cadbury Dairy Milk, blue jello. They're both looking forward to the day they never have to eat another MRE.

12. John doesn't tell him this, but Lorne's the first one to find out about them. He never talks about this to Lorne (Cam does, over beers at his favorite bar near the Mountain; neither of them tell John this). John doesn't talk about this to Lorne, because Lorne found out by walking in on Cam sitting astride John, tilting John's desk chair back too far, hands under each others shirts, trying to kiss away the panic and fear of John's run on Atlantis. Lorne, cementing John's love and respect for him forever, said, "I'm sorry, sir, I thought you'd left for the night," and walked right back out, so Cam didn't even have to stop kissing John.

13. For the three years that he's married to Nancy, John doesn't once see Cameron Mitchell. He tries not to take it as a sign when Cam turns up again on the same day as his divorce papers arrive.

14. Cam's never telling anyone this, because he knows they'll think it's mostly cute and a little pathetic, and because it's his secret, one that he hoards close when there are thousands of light years between them. He knows the exact moment he realized he was head over heels in fucking love with a guy who lived in another galaxy: the last night before John and the expedition went back, when John, half-asleep, leaned into Cam's hand in his hair and muttered, "I wish I could take you with me."

15. Sam watches Cam and Sheppard when four fifths of SG1 go to Pegasus. She watches the way they lean into each other, the way they never quite look at each other, the way they're scrupulously professionally friendly and absolutely nothing more, and she suspects. Over dinner, on their way back to Earth, she says, "Sheppard seems like a nice guy," and watches the way Cam's hand goes to the barely-there bruise half-covered by his collar, and she knows.

16. Between the two of them, they find five different universes where John and Cam are both on Atlantis, and two where they're both on SG1. Cam thinks it's because the idea of a universe where John doesn't have Atlantis is just plain wrong. They never once find a universe where they don't know each other, or one where the other person's name doesn't prompt a smile of soft familiarity.

17. John thinks about asking Rodney's hologram, 48,000 years in the future, about what happened to Cam, but he doesn't. The thing is, there's no good answer, because the part of him that wants to know that Cam moved on and was happy keeps running up against the part of him that wants to hear that Cam missed him, longed for him, never found anyone else. He doesn't want to hear what happened to Cam in the end, what might still happen to him, that he died in combat, or an accident, or of old-age without the life John used to fantasize about them having. More than any of that, he doesn't want to hear that Rodney doesn't know, that his best friend doesn't understand how much this matters. So he doesn't ask, and it's not until he's trapped in Michael's lab that he regrets it, because there's a very real chance that he'll die here, and he wants to know that Cam was happy.

18. Cam goes to John's funeral, when they declare him KIA and bury an empty casket. He has to, because everyone knows they're friends, even if he doesn't really need to keep the secret any longer. He can feel Sam watching him, the whole time, and all he can think is that John's not really dead, he's alive and well and 48,000 years in the future. And Cam got old and nearly died in the space of a few seconds before it got turned back, but John's just gone. Cam's pretty sure that knowing John's out there and they can't get him is worse than knowing that he's in the coffin. Not that it matters – he gets drunk enough to cry every day for a week anyway, because nothing's going to change the fact that John's gone.

19. They have their first date after they've been sleeping together regularly for five years, when John and the others are called to Earth for the declassification of the stargate program. He's not sure what possesses him to say, clumsy and hushed in Cam's office because don't ask don't tell is going away *soon* but hasn't gone yet, "Let's go for dinner tonight. Somewhere nice." Maybe it's knowing that this is the last chance they'll have to be anonymous for a while; maybe it's just wanting to make Cam smile at him, warm and affectionate and exactly what John needs.

20. Rodney will never understand why John took up with Colonel Mitchell in the first place, when he finally finds out. He'll tell John this, at great length and little volume (this is Atlantis; for all he knows, the walls really do have ears, and he's not going to be the person who gets John recalled to Earth and discharged). John's John, so he won't say much of anything, but the way he'll smile, dreamy and happy and unintentionally, will tell Rodney that he owes Mitchell, even after the lemon incident, for being one of very few things that makes John truly happy.

21. Cam's favorite cousin has three kids, all under ten; Sam has a foster daughter, and Ferguson's sister, who's started writing to him since Ferguson died, is pregnant with twins. John's brother has two daughters, Teyla has a son, and Cam's heard through the grapevine that John's ex-wife just had a baby girl. Some days, he looks at them and wishes he could do that for John, make the longing in John's eyes when he's holding Torrin go away. Not enough to let John go find someone who can give him this, but enough that it aches, after.

22. John can cook, which is always a surprise to everyone who knows him, though he doesn't know why. Four years of college before he joined the Air Force gave him a few survival skills. He doesn't get to do it much on Atlantis, where the marines on kitchen duty are fiercely protective of their territory, so he indulges when he's on Earth. The fact that Cam finds it illogically hot is just a bonus.

23. Someone at the SGC sends pictures of SG1 dressed up in leather to go infiltrate the corn-smuggling ring, and they go round the city like wildfire, usually accompanied by speculation about what it would take to get John's team into leather pants. Well, the members of it who don't wear them already. John emails one back to Cam with a note saying Something you want to tell me? Cam's response comes in the next databurst: Leaving the Air Force to become a rent boy. Think I'm too old to be a street walker. The mental images make John laugh hard enough that he forgets he was going to torment Cam about the mind-altering corn.

24. Their sex life, as a general rule, is pretty vanilla (mainly because they're usually too tired to put in the required effort for it to be kinky). It's still amazing, most of the time, if they do say so themselves. Which they do, or would, if it wouldn't get them fired.

25. The first Thanksgiving after they lose Elizabeth, Cam sends John a bright blue guitar pick. John doesn't play much in the city, and he's never used a pick, but Cam won't say word one about why he sent it. He sends another one next Thanksgiving, pale green, and a pink one the year after. Five years later, John still doesn't really get it, but he gets that it means something to Cam, and just says thank you. It seems to be enough.

26. Teal'c believes that Colonel Mitchell is unaware that anyone knows of his relationship with Colonel Sheppard. He himself would probably have remained so, despite the numerous emails exchanged through Atlantis' databurst, were it not for the way that Colonel Mitchell's face became cold and angry when news of Colonel Sheppard's torture at the hands of a wraith and the Genii arrived. It is not even the anger that tells Teal'c; instead, it is the way that Colonel Mitchell does not appear to feel the relief of the others, too angry still at a hurt he was powerless to prevent.

27. John doesn't take Cam on a Ferris wheel (too junior high) and he doesn't take him up in the plane that no-one except Cam knows he spent his trust fund on, after his dad died (too many memories, for both of them). He's tempted to take him surfing, or horse riding, or down to the marina where he learned to sail, the only time he ever fit with his dad. Instead, he takes him up into the mountains where there's just about still snow, and holds Cam's hand where no-one will see them, trying to explain how grateful he is for what Cam and his pilots did, not just for him surviving it, so that John got what he ended up needing, not just Atlantis, but those few months on the ice after Afghanistan that he sometimes thinks are the only reason he made it.

28. John doesn't have a moment when he realizes he's completely fucking gone on the leader of SG1, nothing he could point to and say, "Then. Because of that." Instead, he has one utterly ordinary Thursday morning when he wakes up in Atlantis and knows, feels like he's always known. It's the only time he breaks his own rule and sends an email to Cam's personal account. It doesn't say anything at all, but John's pretty sure Cam will hear it anyway.

29. Cam tells John, "I love you," clear and explicit, about twice a year, because John gets twitchy and awkward and unable to say it back, and it's not really nice to make him feel that way too often. Cam keeps saying it anyway, because he can't shake the nagging suspicion that he's the only person who's ever said those words to John, wife or not; Cam grew up hearing them, knowing they were true, and he wants to give a little bit of that security and certainty to John.

30. John kind of wants to kill Cam when Carter, five weeks into her command on Atlantis, makes a joke about spiders and macaroons, and then explains while John tries not to look as shocked – as stricken – as he feels. He knows, of course, that SG1 defeated the Ori, that Cam and Carter were on the ship fighting off the replicators and that Cam fought down a half-human-half-replicator IOA member. But he's never heard word one about injuries, never mind injuries that kept Cam in hospital for days, at home for weeks, real, serious injuries, and he's so angry that he has to leave before he says something they'll both regret. He hangs out on a balcony away from the populated part of the city, trying to calm down, trying to get a grip, until Teyla finds him. She doesn't say anything, just stands next to him, looking at the same nothing he is, until he can remember worry and fear and helpless waiting. He'd still rather have that than this formless, hopeless anger, but it does help. Lets him be relieved, instead.

31. Cam misses John when he comes through the gate for his father's funeral, out on a mission so he doesn't even know it's happening until he comes home and the SGC is in crisis, a human-form replicator loose. He doesn't even know why he's surprised that John's in the middle of it, but he's glad for the downtime that comes after missions, the excuse to hang around and wait for news of John. He gets sent back out instead, rumors related to Jackson's latest quest, and when they come home empty-handed, John's gone back. Cam sends his condolences by email, knowing it's not enough; he's not surprised when John ignores the email, pretends it never happened. He's a hell of a lot more surprised when John, on Earth for a meeting about Woolsey going to Atlantis, sits down on Cam's couch one night, leans against Cam and says, "I wish you'd been there."

32. For two people who do a whole lot of life-saving in their days jobs, they don't get to save each others lives that often. That's not the weird thing; the weird thing is that they trade off similar rescues. Cam grabs John's shirt, right before he steps in front of a moving vehicle outside Cam's apartment; six months later, John tags along with SG1 on a mission, and pulls Cam out of the path of a speeding arrow by the back of his tac vest. John flies the jumper that picks Cam up from the abandoned Pegasus planet he was accidentally transported to when he touched the wrong thing; two years later, Cam's in Atlantis when John goes missing, and no-one says anything when he climbs into one of the city's new 302s and goes out to provide air support for the team that's getting him back. Actually, maybe the weirdest thing is that, until they joined the SGC, they'd never had to save each other's lives, not once.

33. They slept together for the first time when John was twenty-three and Cam was twenty-six, and they'd known each other for less than twenty-four hours. Or at least John assumes they did – they woke up in his hotel room together, naked, but also very hungover, so it's not a sure thing. Cam had to get back to base, and John was supposed to be meeting Dave, who was just about still speaking to him at that point, so whatever they had or hadn't done the night before, they didn't have time to do it that morning. Cam grinned, right before he opened the door, hauling John close to kiss him goodbye, and it felt so familiar that John knew they must have done at least that. Dave left after twenty minutes of forced conversation, telling John to call when he wasn't still drunk; John couldn't stop remembering the way the corners of Cam's eyes crinkled when he grinned. Nearly twenty years later, it's still the first thing he thinks of when he thinks of Cam.

34. John says he never sees it coming; it takes Cam a while to figure out that this is true, however unlikely it seems. After all, John's gorgeous, a pilot, friendly, charming – he has to be used to people throwing themselves at him, and he's good enough at picking up the signals when it comes to men. It's not until he sees it play out in front of him – her hand on his arm, leaning way too close, smiling too much, and John smiling back, friendly and polite and obviously not getting it – that it starts to make sense. John doesn't see it coming, because he's not *looking* for it, not with them, not what they're offering. He chooses not to see it, but he always notices Cam.

35. They don't have a good history with holidays: kidnap, imprisonment, paperwork, alien invasion, gate troubles, quarantine, it's an endless, ever-growing list. Doesn't stop the half dozen emails they each write during the day, a stream of minutiae dropping into the other person's inbox days after the holiday, chronicling paperwork and crises, oddly-colored jello and the randomness of scientists. It's a comforting kind of familiarity, and the only holiday they don't do it on is Christmas, which they both pretend isn't happening, Cam aching for the family he can't get time off to visit, John worn down by what he doesn't have.

36. The first time John sees Cam, he's a dark blur, screaming through the sky almost too fast for John to watch in a prototype plane that never ends up getting mass-produced. And John's late, and lost, and going to catch heat for it, but he stays, rooted to the spot watching someone who he wouldn't recognize if they were stood next to each other, who flies like they were always meant to do it, joy and adrenaline and speed, and John can't move.

37. John's relationship with Dave still isn't great three years after their dad died, when the rules change and suddenly it's okay for John to be in the longest long-distance relationship of his life. They're both trying though, so John asks to bring a guest when Dave invites him for Christmas, and ignores the way Cam nearly chokes when John asks him along. He's prepared for a lot of things, but not for Dave to look at him blankly when John says, "This is Cameron. Mitchell. He's my, you know, my partner," and say, "I thought you and Ronon-" Cam laughs himself sick and bonds with John's sister-in-law, and John contemplates killing him; Dave just shakes his head and smiles.

38. After John takes him to meet his brother, Cam figures he has to take John to meet his parents. He learns from John's mistakes though, and tells them that the man he's bringing isn't just a friend and that, no, Vala really was just a friend. Is still just a friend. John sinks into Cam's childhood home like he was meant to be there, nothing like how he was in his own childhood home, and he's silent and sad when they leave. Sitting next to him, waiting for their flight, Cam aches with helplessness, because while he was saying, "You belong here too," John was hearing, "Look what you didn't have."

39. John's the worrier, always has been, spinning out worse case scenarios inside his own head, while he talks optimism and never leave a man behind, meaning bring them home, whether they'll know or not. He knows Cam, knows all the ways that they're alike, and even Rodney can't hack the SGC's computer system from another galaxy. He finds a dozen other outlets for the worrying and the waiting, and none of them really work, but he manages, and tries to trust Cam to tell him, even knowing that Cam won't.

40. John never really expects them to last – death, injury, capture, bad breakup, long-distance – even though he wants them to, badly. Cam always has, because they've both been dead and come back, been lost and then found, slipped out of time and managed to catch up to it again. Because John's the most stable, solid, long-term thing he's ever been part of, even if it is the most long-distance relationship in history, and there's no way in hell he's giving it up without a fight. No way he's giving it up, period.

41. John's not exactly what you'd call graceful, unless he's in the air, but he's got a decent sense of rhythm. Cam's forty-nine before he finds out that John can dance, watching him waltz Sam round the dance floor on her wedding day. He must be good, because Sam's said, more than once, that she cannot waltz to save her life, and she never stumbles. Cam blames the bubbly feeling on too much champagne, instead of giving in to wedding-induced over-emotion and calling it what it is, which is affection and love so strong that it's overwhelming, for both of them, for this.

42. The first time someone – could have been anyone, happens to be a store assistant – refers to John as Cam's partner, they both say, "He's not –" so fast that she physically backs away. They follow it up with ten minutes of half-started, muttered sentences - I didn't mean, it's not that I don't, I know we - before John starts smiling, looking down and rubbing the back of his neck, and Cam feels a grin pulling at his own face, and it's okay again. Cam suspects it's the closest they'll get for a long time to saying that she wasn't wrong.

43. They only have one joint mission between SG1 and Sheppard's team, and everyone agrees that this is probably a good thing. Everyone's used to missions involving capture, alien-mandated sex rituals, accidental almost-marriage, sex pollen, and near-death. They just don't usually all come together in one four-hour mission.

44. When John goes to Pegasus the second time, he's got a tiny sunflower pin in the very bottom of his shaving kit. When Cam leaves Pegasus the first time, he's got an empty Ancient battery cell, barely the size of his thumb nail, tucked deep into the left pocket of his BDUs.

45. They take sides in the army/navy football game every year, have since they were on the same base for it, way back at the start of their careers, when they were just casual friends who sometimes had sex. John adopted navy way back then, to the amusement of his marines now, and Cam got stuck with army. They bet on the winner, the score, the number of touchdowns, whether anyone will streak. By the time they're both at the SGC, they're betting sexual favors that they never have time to collect on, and both of them are keeping a list of what he's owed. Neither of them knows that the other is doing this as well, or that they're both aiming to collect when they retire.

46. Don't ask, don't tell is repealed in 2011, in favor of a policy expressing tolerance towards lesbian, gay and bisexual servicemen and women. Neither of them comes out, but within a couple of weeks, everyone seems to know that they're together, and no-one seems to care. It'd hardly be worth mentioning, except that both Rodney and Sam insist that the teams should get a chance to officially vet the other person, and neither John nor Cam have learned to say no to those two yet.

47. SG1 have no problem telling John exactly what they think: Sam explains in Rodney-level detail how she'll make his life a living hell if he fucks this up; Teal'c just glares until John wants to promise not to hurt Cam and settles for running away; Vala tells him, over lunch and in excruciating detail, how he's destroyed her fantasies of a threesome with Cam and Jackson, but that if he and Cam ever want to spice things up, she can be flexible, in more ways than one; Jackson – okay, Jackson appears to be totally oblivious until Cam actually tells him, but then he looks at John like John's suggested the Ori were really pretty swell guys. The whole thing's kind of unnerving, but John's been through worse things than acceptance, SG1 style.

48. McKay's never really gotten over the lemon thing, and Cam suspects Ronon has a bit of a crush on John; Teyla just wants to protect him like she does her son. They're the most intimidating group of friends Cam's ever been introduced to, and he knows full well that, if they don't accept him, he'll be gone. He's tempted to turn on the charm, but he's heard enough about them to know that they'll never buy it. He doesn't say anything about how grateful he is that John has the three of them watching his back, knowing it's not his place to thank them; instead, he follows their cues, follows the ones John probably doesn't know he's giving out, and he doesn't know exactly what he does right, but John sticks around, so he can't have done that badly.

49. Cam quits first, after SG1 have scattered, for real this time, after he and his new team have a run-in with a pocket of Ori-worshippers who converted for real, not out of fear, years ago and never gave it up, and he spends six months trying to come back from an injury that he'd have bounced back from a couple of years ago. He's got enough time in to retire, and he's not afraid of admitting to being fucking terrified of being injured in a way he can't fully recover from. John says very little about it until, two years later, three quarters of the Atlantis expedition, including the entire senior staff, walk out in protest at the SGC pulling resources from the fight against the Wraith. Cam still has contacts at the SGC, hears about it the day after it happens, barely fifteen hours before John turns up on his doorstep, looking exhausted, and says, "Can I come in?"

50. Cam doesn't have a place that has meaning, not really. He's always had home instead, mom and dad and wide open fields, somewhere he belongs so he never has to look for it. Years later, after the SGC and Atlantis, injuries and heartbreak and a slow circling to what they found it so hard to say they wanted, they climb into Cam's car, and Cam refuses, for miles and miles, to tell John where they're going. John laughs and mock-pleads, threatens and bribes, and never once makes a serious guess. And when they get where Cam's going, when he sees the 'for sale' sign and *gets it* - Cam knows exactly what it feels like to find the place you belong, even if you didn't know you were looking.

Read Comments | Post Comments |

| Home | Email bluflamingo |

Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional