blue flamingos

Rolling Away

Fandom: Stargate Atlantis/Stargate SG1

Category/Rated: Slash, PG

Year/Length: 2009/ ~2,094 words

Pairing: John/Cam

Spoilers: The Return II

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

Summary: Going home by necessity also includes leaving; that's the part that can be hard

Series: The Return 'verse, set after the end of The Return part 2

Author's Notes: For [info]skieswideopen.

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

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It takes two days for Landry to agree to John and his rescue team going back to Atlantis with the rest of the expedition, and Cam doesn't think it escapes anyone's notice that O'Neill doesn't leave until it's been formally agreed. At least someone's looking out for John.

McKay, Beckett and Weir go back the next day, along with a half dozen returning Atlantis marines, and Lorne at the controls of the jumper. John hovers in the control room, watching them go through the gate, vibrating with tension. Landry, apparently irritated at having lost to O'Neill, is keeping John on Earth until the entire battalion is ready to go back.

"All clear at midway," Lorne's voice says over the open comm. "Permission to dial Atlantis?"

"Granted," John and Landry say at the same time, and Cam ducks a little further back into the shadows of the doorway he's leaning in, hoping neither of them will catch him laughing.

"Sorry, sir," John says, sounding apologetic, though it's ruined by the sardonic hand gesture for Landry to speak.

Landry cocks an eyebrow, obviously picking up on it, and says, "Go ahead, Major."

"Thank you, sir," Lorne says, amusement coming through the comm. John turns his head slightly, enough for Cam to see him smiling. He's always known he likes Lorne for a reason – there aren't many people who can make John smile like that. "See you back in Atlantis, Colonel."

"Don't get my city blown up, Major," John warns him, still smiling.

"No, sir, that's your job," Lorne says, and the connection cuts off before anyone can say anything else.

"Don't you have work to do, Colonel?" Landry asks, "Or if you're not busy, I'm sure Sergeant Wallace would appreciate a visit from his team leader. I believe he's still not fully recovered from that stunner blast."

"I'll try to find some time later," John promises. "Sir."

Landry waves him away, and John turns, catches sight of Cam loitering in the doorway.

"Time for a coffee break?" Cam asks, falling into step with him and heading vaguely in the direction of the mess.

"Just coffee?" John asks, one eyebrow going up.

Cam rolls his eyes, ignores him. There's a part of him that almost admires this in John, the weird bravado that makes him take these stupid risks because he thinks the policy is stupid.

There's also a part of him that wishes John would disapprove in a way that didn't risk both of their jobs.

John sighs, leans in close under the guise of stepping out the way of three scientists who are totally unaware the two of them are even there. "You're no fun at all," he mutters in Cam's ear.

"Someone's gotta keep us from getting court-martialled," Cam says, but he can't help smiling – this is the happiest John's been since the expedition was recalled, and Cam's still coasting on the relief of John not having been blown up with Atlantis.

"Fine," John says, still smiling slightly. "Coffee. But you're buying. And I want cake."

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It takes four days for Atlantis' people to start trickling back, but once they do it, it's like some kind of weird high school reunion, only with more weapons. Most of the returning marines have nothing actually to do at the SGC, even after John grabs as many as he can to help with the recall, which means twice as many people cluttering up the mess, the gyms, even some of the more interesting labs, all of them loud, and happy to be going home.

Cam doesn't know most of them, even after a year and a half with the SGC, and two weeks on Atlantis, and Landry's got him in and out of meetings about the Lucien Alliance, the Sangraal, the Ori, and whatever else he's dreamt up that morning, so he's a little removed from it all.

Unlike John.

Every time he sees John, John's got a couple of marines with Atlantis patches hovering near him, talking to him, round him, at him. John looks faintly uncomfortable, even lounging back in his chair, smiling slightly, joining in the conversation, but Cam thinks he's the only person currently on Earth who'd notice. He can't tell if it's the lack of his own team, or the presence of so many people who are clearly happy to see him that John's having trouble with – maybe both. It doesn't really matter, when he can't get close to John all day.

It makes him twitchy in turn. It's not like they've been able to be anything other than friendly colleagues at work, John's teasing notwithstanding, but he's gotten used to dropping by John's office at least a couple of times a day when they're both on base, idle conversation, trading stories of their current missions, and it's weird to get to the end of a day and realize he hasn't said a single word to John.

He lingers in his office well past the time he'd usually leave on a day when he doesn't have a mission, not sure exactly what he's waiting for. John's started dropping by his apartment when he gets off-duty without waiting for Cam to make it a formal invitation, but Cam's faith in this has faded somewhat since John ran off to save Atlantis and didn't even take Lorne with him.

Even with all of Landry's meetings, he's pretty up to date on his paperwork. He tries Daniel's office, gets shooed out after ten minutes, Daniel muttering apologetically about his research into Merlin's weapon and the coordinates he brought back from Atlantis. Sam's lab is empty when Cam goes down there, and there's no sign of Vala either. He's not going to speculate on where the two of them have gotten off too – there are some things he just doesn't need to know. Even Teal'c is missing, though Cam eventually tracks him to one of the lower gyms, where he's tossing three of John's marines around the room. Cam leaves before any of them can invite him to join in.

He tries the infirmary, finds Carolyn bent over her paperwork in a pool of lamp-light. She looks up when he knocks the door frame. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine," Cam assures her. "Just at a loose end."

"Ah." Carolyn fiddles with her pen, but doesn't cap it, which Cam knows is a sign that she's not interested in chatting. He tries anyway.

"You want to get a coffee?"

She smiles slightly. "Been a while since you invited me for coffee," she says neutrally.

Cam tries not to blush – they're friendly, mostly, bonded over being the new guys, but he's let the friendship slide a bit since he got involved with John again. He just hopes she hasn't realized this is the reason; not that he thinks she'd say anything to Landry, but he doesn't want her having to keep their secret. "Been busy."

"Searching for Merlin's weapon," she says, letting it go. "I'd love some coffee, but I have to finish this, I'm sorry.

"No sweat," Cam says, and brings her a mug from the coffee-maker in the infirmary, just in case she's really bothered by him disappearing on her.

With nothing else to occupy himself with, he goes looking for John, finally finds him at a corner table in the infirmary with a couple of returned marines and one of the medics who stayed at the SGC. Cam can't hear what they're talking about, but John's leaning in, nodding along, cutting off the medic to say something that gets both the marines nodding intently.

Cam lingers for a minute, watching: he remembers this John from when they were posted together for six months not long after John got married. Cam hadn't meant to stay near him, both of them awkward at first with the memory of the first time they'd met, the instant attraction that had ended with them kissing in John's bedroom while half the base partied in his tiny apartment. He hadn't meant to, but he hadn't been able to resist, drawn in by John's charm at first, his easily offered friendship, and then by his intensity over anything he cared about, the way he could talk knowledgably about any kind of flying vehicle anyone could name. It's mostly gone now, swept away by years of command and loss, hidden by the slacker persona John shows to the world, but Cam still soaks up the moments when it shows through.

He could go over and join them – still in the mountain in the late evening, it wouldn't be that weird for him to go pass a few minutes with them before going back to work – but something stops him. He thinks it should be fear of giving too much away, worry over the way John might look at him, or he might smile at John, but he's pretty sure it's not. It's probably got more to do with the way he can half see Atlantis' stained glass windows on the edge of his vision.

He watches them for a few more seconds, then ducks back out and heads home.

*

He doesn't expect John to show up that night, is surprised to hear John's voice asking to come up over the intercom. Surprised, but not unhappy, especially when John pushes him back inside, kissing him before the door's even closed. John doesn't often kiss him like this, like he's just doing it because he wants to, not because one of them needs it for some reason, and it feels good. Even better when John pulls back slightly and just leans into him, smiling against Cam's neck. Cam hugs him back. "Want to go to bed?"

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It's only later, lying in the dark with John asleep against him, that he finally admits to what he knows he's been feeling for the last few days, watching John bubble over with happiness at the thought of going back to Atlantis, the dull ache of impending loss that's been making him avoid John a little.

He knows it's stupid, knows he only has himself to blame, because they may have only been together for five weeks, but they've been in and out of each others lives for years, and Cam knows John, as well as he thinks anyone but his team on Atlantis do. He's seen John on Atlantis, relaxed and at home like he's never seen John anywhere else, and he should have known better than to start hoping that John wouldn't do whatever he had to to go back.

The worst part is, he does know better, and he let himself hope anyway. Let himself think, vaguely, late at night, about a month, six months from now. About having John around long-term, and even vaguer fantasies about taking John home to his parents, about introducing him to Court and Shelby, stupid dreams of the kind of normal relationship he's never had.

He thinks about John, risking his life to go save the city without even saying goodbye, without even leaving a note; thinks about John, distant and anxious until Landry agreed to him going back; thinks about John, happy and bright for the last four days, not even a second's thought for staying on Earth. And he knows it doesn't mean anything about Cam, about the two of them – though that's not a conversation he's looking forward to having, when he's barely sure of their future and John, even if he does know, won't talk about it – but there's a part of him that wishes...

That wishes that John had thought about it at all, had given any sign that Cam might be something that he misses, that this is anything other than comfort while John's away from home, the culmination of years of attraction that they never had a chance to do anything about.

John shifts in his sleep, the arm over Cam's waist tightening slightly. Cam presses his own hand harder against John's shoulder, waits for him to relax and tries to force himself to do the same. He's not someone who dwells on regrets, can't be, after his father's accident, his own. This is more than he ever expected that he'd have with John, a tiny piece of something like happiness scratched out of his duty, out of John's. There's no point in regretting the something more that it isn't going to be, or resenting John for not obviously wanting the same thing he does.

He just wishes that knowing that would make it a little easier.

Next: That Which I Should Never Say


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