blue flamingos

Snow Day

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, G

Year/Length: 2008/ ~3000 words

Pairing: Cam/John, Alex

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

Summary: There are strange things in the sky

Series: What Happens Next verse, set somewhere between the two parts. Just don't think about the timeline too hard, okay?

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


"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Dad, Dad, Daddy," in Alex's high-pitched, terrified voice is not the way Cam wants to be woken up, ever. He carefully doesn't look at the clock – he didn't go to bed till gone two, and it's still dark, which is all he needs to know – as he sits up and turns on the bedside lamp.

Alex is right there for him to scoop up and into bed, a tiny, trembling body pressed as close to his as it's possible to get, wriggling like he can maybe get closer. The whole thing is eerily reminiscent of Alex's culling nightmares that have been steadily fading for weeks, the one thing with which Cam is not, in either his own or Alex's opinions, equipped to deal.

He hugs Alex tight to him, rubs his shoulders and tries not to think about how small, how fragile, their child is. "Ssh, it's okay. It's over now. I won't let anything happen to you." He wishes for John, trapped in the Mountain for the last few hours of a quarantine lock-down, his absence the most likely reason for Alex's freak-out. It's progress that Alex came to him, rather than lying in bed and sobbing himself to hyperventilation like he used to. "I've got you. There's nothing here to hurt you."

"Outside," Alex says, words muffled against Cam's t-shirt. "Outside my window. In the sky."

Cam's heart lurches with fear, going immediately to spaceships and aliens and Ba'al, even though he's dead. "What's outside?" he asks. John would have called if Earth was being invaded. Unless the SGC is already gone and John with it. He tells himself firmly to stop being such an alarmist, even in his own head.

"In the sky," Alex says again.

"Okay," Cam says calmly. He shifts Alex in his arms, sits up. "Let me go take a look, okay?" Alex makes a squeaky noise of terror and clutches tight to Cam's shirt. "I know it's scary," Cam says. "But I've got you, and I won't let anything hurt you." He's far more aware than he usually is of how much he won't always be able to keep that promise. "You don't have to look, all right. Less than a minute, I promise."

Alex shakes his head again, but he doesn't make any more noise, not even when Cam stands up, Alex's legs wrapping round his waist as soon as they're vertical. "It's okay," Cam says, going for soothing rather than deep and meaningful. "Everything's okay," and he lifts the curtain aside to look out into the pre-dawn grayness.

What he sees makes him gasp out a breath of sheer relief. "Alex," he says, shifting his grip on his son so he can lift Alex slightly away from his body. Alex doesn't let go of his shirt, just twists, trying to get close again. Cam can't stand the look on his face, has to turn him so he can pull Alex back to him, but facing the window. Alex scrunches his face again, closes his eyes, clutches hard at Cam's arm. "Alex," he says again, soft and reassuring. "It's nothing to be scared of, I promise you. Open your eyes for me, kiddo, come on. I wouldn't show you something that could hurt you, would I?"

Alex shakes his head, but he opens his eyes cautiously, looking up at Cam, who smiles. It takes a few seconds before Alex smiles back, watery and doubtful, but a smile anyway. "That's it," Cam says, and opens the window.

The air is freezing, enough to remind him that they're both in their pajamas, but it'll only be for a minute. He reaches one hand out into the night, keeping the other arm tightly round Alex, and they both watch the snow – just snow, nothing scary, nothing harmful, just a reminder that Alex doesn't come from here – settle against Cam's skin. "There, see? Nothing to be scared of at all."

"Tis it?" Alex asks, still watching, still wary.

"Snow," Cam tells him. "You've seen rain, right?"


"Puddles," Cam agrees. He has more pictures than John thinks he'll ever need of his partner and their son leaping into puddles the last time it really rained, both of them laughing like maniacs. "Snow is what rain turns into when it gets really cold. Like when we made ice cubes, remember?"

Alex nods. "Ice cubes from the sky?"

There's nothing like two-year old curiosity to replace fear, Cam's found, and pretty much everything is brand new to Alex, which means a lot of curiosity. "Kind of. See the roofs? And the car, down there?"

Alex looks, his eyes going wide. "All white."

There's only a few inches of snow, but everything is softened by it and, as Alex says, all white.

"I touch?" Alex asks, leaning forward where Cam's still got the window open, his fingers going numb with cold.

"Not by the open window," Cam says, channeling John's paranoia.


Cam thinks about pointing out that it's barely dawn, and freezing, that their neighbors will surely not appreciate any noise they might make, and that, really, just because tomorrow (or rather, today, at this point) is Saturday, is no reason that they shouldn't go back to bed. Then he thinks about snowball fights with Court when they were kids, and snow angels with Shelby, and building snowmen with both his parents, and his brother.

Also, there's no way Alex will go back to sleep now, so he might as well get up.

"Clothes first," he says firmly, pulling the window closed and making for Alex's room, already wondering what he can use as a distraction to keep Alex still while he gets his own clothes. "Clothes, boots, coat, hat, scarf, gloves."

"Too long," Alex whines, impatient and wriggling to get down. Cam lets him, follows him over to the drawers and pulls one open so Alex can pick out a sweatshirt.

"No clothes, no snow. What would Daddy say if he came home and found your feet had frozen and fallen off?"

Alex makes a wide-eyed, horrified face, and Cam honestly can't tell if it's at the prospect of his feet falling off (which is now freaking Cam out as well) or of John's reaction (judging by the time Alex fell off a swing and cut his knee open, a mix of fear and panic and something that Cam thinks is guilt, something both he and Alex try to avoid provoking, because it makes John shaky and sad and unsure, and Cam hates it). Whichever it is, he lets Cam get him dressed, and then get himself dressed without any more complaints.

The sun's just edging up when they open the front door to the building, turning the sky pink and gold. It's incredibly pretty, even more so because the world is completely still beneath the snow, the parking lot turned into something that should be on a Christmas card. Alex holds Cam's hand tight through their gloves, watching the snow with caution, not quite willing to step off the doorstep.

Cam crouches down, pulls off his own glove, then Alex's. "Here." He holds their hands out, lets the snow settle on their skin.

"Cold!" Alex says, but he's smiling, watching the snow come down with something closer to amazement now. It's falling steadily, not thick enough to make it hard to see, but thick enough that Cam wonders if they'll see John at all, once the lock-down is lifted.

They stay like that for a while, until Alex tugs at Cam's hand. "Out?"

"Put your glove back on first," Cam says, then retrieves it and puts it on the right way round when Alex's fingers get confused.

"Dad!" Alex protests, snatching his hand back before Cam's quite done. "Snow!"

And then he's gone, bouncing into the snow like his terror of it was year ago, not less than an hour. Cam stays where he is, leaning against the doorway, feeling less awake now that he's wrapped up and warm. He knows it'll only be a minute before Alex comes back, drags him out to play, and he takes advantage of the moment to dig out his digital camera, recording the moment for posterity and John. It's not the first time he's done it, but it never makes his heart ache any less. Alex is John's son in a way that he will never be Cam's, for all that he *is* Cam's son in every way that matters to the three of them, and John is missing bits of his childhood that pictures and stories won't give back to him. John's still not over losing Atlantis, for all that he tries to hide it, especially around Alex, and it doesn't seem fair that he's missing this as well, when it's what he gave up Atlantis for.

It doesn't help that there's a tiny part of him still wondering, even after John's agreement to tell, if John's trying to keep from getting too dependent on them, just in case something happens. He's well aware how much the same fear knocked John sideways when he first met Cam's huge family, sharply contrasted to his stilted relationship with Dave and his own family.

It's possibly the one thing that he doesn't know how to fix, because he can show John all he wants, but it won't help if John can't see.

"Dad, Dad, come play." Alex crashes into his knees, covered in snow from a fall that Cam was too distracted to notice, which is really not a good thing, considering Alex is playing in a parking lot, and people will be starting to leave for work soon. There's a lot of SGC staff in his building.

"I'm not sure," he says slowly, considering. "It looks like there's a monster running through the snow, and I don't have a monster-catching net."

"No," Alex says. "S'not a monster."

He's got John's comic timing, the slight pause that invites the other person to ask for the end of the joke. Cam obliges, even knowing what's coming. "What is it then?"

"Me!" Alex bounces away, leaving footprints in the snow, then bounces back. "See?"

"Maybe you're the monster," Cam says, which doesn't make much sense, but it's very early, he hasn't had much sleep, and anyway, Alex is too hyped up with excitement to notice.

"Not a monster." Alex bounces again, then stops. Cam waits. "You's a monster?"

"Yep," Cam says, and grabs for him, growling. Alex shrieks with laughter and dashes away across the parking lot, Cam right behind him, their voices loud in the still quiet. Cam spares a thought for the other residents of their block, who probably won't appreciate being woken by the two of them playing monster, but Alex is still too quiet most of the time for Cam's comfort, and he's not above using how adorable Alex is when he's being charming to get them forgiveness.

He chases Alex until his bad leg starts to ache with the cold and the running, then grabs him round the waist, swinging him high before rolling both of them into the snow at the edge of the lot, where it's drifted thicker. Alex shouts for help between hysterical giggles, and Cam pretends to bite into his shoulder, well padded with clothes.

"Mm, breakfast," he says, low-voiced like a monster should be.

"No!" Alex shouts, clutching at Cam's arm, red-faced with laughter and exertion. "Not for eating! Daddy! Help!"

"But then he'll eat me," John's voice says above Cam, and both he and Alex start with surprise.

"Monster caught me, Daddy," Alex says, going still when Cam rolls onto his back to look up at John. John's wrapped up warm, wearing the green hat that Alex picked out for him, and which he hates with a passion because Vala told him he looks like an elf in it (he does, but Cam values his life too much to point it out). He looks tired and amused, and he's about a foot too far away from them, like he's not sure if he should intrude.

Sometimes, Cam wishes he was Ronon or Teyla, so he could hit John with sticks under the guise of training, knock some sense into him.

"And now it's caught Daddy," he says instead, and grabs John's ankle, pulling him down into the snow with them.

John shouts in surprise, Alex shrieks and starts giggling again, and Cam bites John's ear. John laughs, bats him away, then wraps one arm round his back, pulling him in close, Alex between them. "Help, help!" Alex shouts, one hand still on Cam's arm, the other on John's. "Monsters got me!"

"Monsters do that," John says solemnly, eyes still bright and happy. "And now we take you back to our lair and eat you."

"No!" Alex cries. "No eating me."

"No?" John looks at Cam. "What do you think, Dad-monster?"

Cam pretends to consider it. "He is very small," he says finally. "Not much meat on his bones."

"Hmm, true. And I suppose it would be very quiet around here if we ate him."

"No eat me," Alex says, agreeing.

"Maybe you're right," Cam concedes. "How about feeding everyone hot chocolate instead?"

"With marshmallows?" John asks. He catches Cam's eye, his smile going warm and relaxed, and Cam thinks, please, please, just look. I'm never going to hurt you, I swear. We're not going anywhere, we're not going to find another family instead of you.

He says, "Pink and white," instead, hoping John will read at least a little bit of his thoughts in that.

They climb to their feet, covered in snow, everyone's faces red. Cam reaches over and brushes some of the snow from John's coat, his hat, uses the excuse to cup his chilled cheek in one gloved hand and kiss him. "Morning," he says when he leans back. "Wasn't expecting you yet."

"Me too," Alex says, holding his hands up for John to pick him up and hug him, kiss his forehead. Alex craves touch and affection the same way John did when the two of them were near enough living together, the six weeks John and the expedition were back on Earth.

"Lockdown was lifted an hour ago, and I figured it was okay to drive."

Cam looks round the parking lot. "Where's your car?"

It's hard to tell under the red of cold, but he thinks John blushes. "Ran out of gas a couple of blocks from here," he says, looking down. Cam laughs, can't help it, and thinks that this is a slight unbending, maybe, that John was eager enough to come back to them not to notice. It's probably also a sign that John didn't sleep during the lockdown, because he's not normally forgetful.

"Come on," he says. "Lets go feed this one, fatten him up."

"Not for eating," Alex says again, tucking his head against John's shoulder.

John takes Alex off to get out of wet coat and socks, and to change out of his own uniform, which Cam is surprised to see he's still wearing, while Cam takes a couple of pain killers and makes hot chocolate, warming his hands in the steam from the pan. He listens to John and Alex settle onto the couch, the radio going on softly, playing something classical and light that Cam doesn't recognize. Alex seems to like pretty much any kind of music, and it's better than eighties pop.

He pours the chocolate into three mugs, then the rest into a teapot that Shelby once bought him, a joke he can't remember. He adds the mini-marshmallows, finds three teaspoons, and loads the whole lot onto a big wooden tray.

John's curled his legs up under him, something Cam can no longer do with any degree of comfort, and Alex is nestled into his lap, half-covered by the blue blanket John has draped over them. He's awake, but probably won't be that way for much longer, which is fine by Cam – they all need more sleep.

John lifts the corner of the blanket so Cam can join them under it, passing mugs around. Alex shifts gracelessly to snuggle against both of them, making Cam glad he only half-filled that mug. "Not eating me?" he asks drowsily, abandoning his spoon in favor of slurping up half-melted marshmallows along with the chocolate.

"I promise," Cam says quietly, spooning up his own marshmallows. They drink in silence, the radio obligingly not starting in on anything loud or stirring, and it's not long before Alex's mug is dangling loosely from his hand.

Cam takes it, sets it carefully on the coffee table. Alex is completely pliant, feet in John's lap, head in Cam's, one hand tucked up under his cheek, fast asleep.

"Too much excitement," John says quietly.

Cam nods, reminds himself to tell John later about Alex's initial terror of the snow, something mysterious in the sky. Not now, when they're quiet and still and together. He puts one arm round John's shoulders, tugs gently until John leans into him, head on Cam's shoulder, one arm over Alex. "Build a snowman later?" he asks, sounding half-asleep.

"Think we can give it some stars, call it General Landry?" Cam asks, tugging the blanket more securely round John's shoulders.

John laughs, his cheek warm against Cam's neck. "Yeah," he says, the vowel trailing off, and John's as gone as Alex, snoring faintly the way he does when he's really exhausted.

Cam wraps his arms more securely round the pair of them, watches the snow still falling outside, and gradually drifts away into warm, contented dreams.

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