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Inevitable (John Sheppard/Cam Mitchell)

Title: Inevitable
Author: bluflamingo
Pairing: John/Cam
Word count: 1873
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Major spoilers for SGA 5x20 Enemy At The Gate; none for SG1

Summary: They can't do this here, but they have to do it somewhere.



Inevitable

There are plenty of people waiting for John when he finally bows to the inevitable – and the Daedalus’ beaming technology – and goes back to the SGC. Carter, apparently channeling Landry, takes the opportunity to tell him exactly how much he shouldn’t have done that, though Davies seems pretty glad to see him in one piece. There are people who want to tell him about Atlantis’ trip, and people who want to shake his hand because he’s one of the people who just saved Earth from the Wraith, and people who don’t seem to have any reason for being there at all but are.

And, right at the back, there is Cam Mitchell.

John fights his way through the crowds, promises Carter he’ll come back for debrief after he’s had a cup of coffee or twelve, and pitches up in front of Cam. “You’re back,” he says. Cam’s got the beginnings of a black eye and he’s pale, obviously worn out, just back from the mission that kept him from joining the failed 302 attack with John.

“You’re an idiot,” Cam says. John’s used to hearing it from Rodney when he’s done something dangerous, but Cam sounds genuinely angry. Or maybe genuinely upset.

“I had to,” John says. “And, hey, I’m still in one piece.”

“Not for lack of trying,” Cam says. Yeah, genuinely upset. Fuck. They’ve been friends for so long, John forgets sometimes that Cam’s not actually around to watch him risk his life for his city. “What were you thinking?”

“That if someone didn’t do something the Wraith were going to make it to Earth and suck the life out of everyone here who I care about?” John snaps back. Okay, maybe Cam’s not the only one who’s upset or angry or – something. Something that they shouldn’t be letting out in the middle of the SGC, where there’s always someone watching.

“It didn’t have to be you,” Cam says. His face twists, like he’s just realized how dumb that is. “I don’t want –“

“What?” John asks stupidly.

“To come home and find out you blew yourself up,” Cam finishes, low and way too intense. He just looks at John for a moment, then turns and stalks off down the corridor.

Maybe John’s missed a little more than he always figured.

*

John spends the next week out on Atlantis – in the middle of San Francisco bay, like he needed his life to get any weirder. The IOA come to them, for once, which really just means that John gets to look at the pretty walls of his city rather than the concrete of the SGC while he’s zoning out in meetings. On the other hand, it does give him an excuse to disappear into the city when he’s had enough, checking up on the teams working on repairing the damage from their brush with re-entry – and, God, when he finds out who let Carson fly the place with Lorne *right there* he’s going to do something regrettable – and checking in on Zelenka and Rodney, who are arguing over whether they need one more week or two to get the city ready to fly back.

No-one mentions the way the IOA have yet to actually agree to letting them take the city home. John knows they will – they have to, Atlantis belongs in Pegasus, belongs *to* Pegasus. For everything John owes that galaxy, he can’t take this away from them.

O’Neill gets it, he knows, and O’Neill has the ear of the president. They’ll be going home, eventually.

It doesn’t stop him worrying, though, for which he’s almost grateful, because it means he’s not thinking about Cam. About the spark that was there the first time they met, that never really went away and never really got a chance to be anything else either. Apparently, things have changed while John’s been in another galaxy.

*

It goes on like that for ten days, and then O’Neill decides to come deliver the smackdown to the IOA in person. Woolsey doesn’t put it quite like that when he announces that O’Neill, Carter and Landry will be dropping in that afternoon for a meeting, but John’s been working with Woolsey for a year, and near O’Neill for five, he can read between the lines.

Teyla’s bright and energized when they file out of the conference room. Rodney and Zelenka are even deeper into a conversation comprised mainly of numbers than they were before, and Ronon’s smiling faintly. Even Lorne looks relaxed and relieved.

“How long, do you think?” he asks, heading back to their offices with John.

“Week?” John guesses. “The IOA will need to make a stand for their way of doing things for a while before they cave.”

“Yes, sir,” Lorne says, grinning at him. John can’t help grinning back – he was maybe more worried than he was telling himself, given how relieved he feels now.

“Not thinking of sticking around on Earth?” he asks Lorne.

“Trying to get rid of me, sir?” Lorne asks dryly.

“Wash your mouth out,” John tells him. He’s not sure what comes over him, but he finds himself saying, “I don’t know what we’d do without you,” not quite light enough to be a joke.

“Disappear under your own weight in paperwork within a week,” Lorne comes back immediately, but he’s still smiling, so John knows he got the praise under the joke.

“On second thoughts…” he says, and Lorne waves a hand in what could – very charitably – be called a salute and heads left towards his own office.

*

John misses O’Neill and the others beaming in, in the paperwork zone, but three different people tell him on his way up to the conference room that Jackson’s decided to take the chance to visit, again. John curses the fact that Jackson picked up the gene from an Ancient repository, and so can’t have all the doors locked against him, and dispatches a couple of marines to act as tour guides slash guards, depending on the situation.

The meeting goes pretty much as John was expecting: the IOA delegates explain with a lot of words why Atlantis has to stay on Earth and Woolsey argues with twice as many words why it has to go back to Pegasus. Rodney points out the benefits to science of being in another galaxy, Teyla very calmly points out that her people are in that galaxy and currently stranded on the mainland without a gate, John and Lorne switch off between the duty they have to the rest of the people of Pegasus and the possibilities for finding advanced weaponry, and Ronon glares, the way he does with people who don’t know him well enough not to be fooled by it. The IOA reiterates all the reasons why they can’t take the city, Rodney points out that actually they have the power to do just that if they like, Carter mediates, and then O’Neill gets fed up with the whole thing and announces that Atlantis will be leaving in five days, by order of the president.

John just can’t figure out how that takes two and a half hours, when they all knew what the outcome would be before the coffee was even poured.

He doesn’t even care about the two and a half hours of mind-numbing boredom that he’s never getting back, because they’re going home. He’s not quite whistling as he heads down to the military area to start spreading the word to his guys, but he’s maybe walking with a bit more of a bounce in his step than he usually manages.

It doesn’t do him any good when he turns a corner and walks straight into someone coming the other way.

The other guy catches his elbow, keeps him upright, even brushes off the front of his jacket. John gets his feet back under him and takes a step back, only to find himself looking right at Cam.

“What are you doing here?”

Cam shrugs. He’s making a good faith effort at relaxed, but he just hits slightly awkward instead. John knows exactly how he feels, even if he’s not the one who gave away way too much in the middle of the SGC. “Came along to keep Jackson out of trouble.”

“Is that even possible?” John asks, instead of asking where Jackson is. He’s already had his guards on the radio to tell him they lost him, then found him, then lost him again.

Cam shrugs again. “Probably not.” He pauses, like he’s psyching himself up, then says, “Listen, I –“

John cuts him off. They can’t do that here. “We just got word from O’Neill – Atlantis is going back to Pegasus in five days.”

Cam’s smile is painful. “That’s great. I’m pleased for you.”

“Thanks.” Can’t do that here, but even John, who’ll admit to anyone that he’s not great with people, knows they have to do it before he leaves, if he wants any kind of friendship with Cam to be left. Which he does, badly. “Come out here with me.”

He leads Cam onto a balcony, relieved to find they’re on the wrong side of the city to see the Bridge. Everyone congregates there, taking in the new perspective on an old view. Cam leans against the balcony rail, looking out to sea, too tense for the casual pose he’s adopting. John leans next to him, looking in to the walls of Atlantis. “I’m sorry I worried you,” he says, figuring he might as well at least start with something neutral. Maybe they can avoid the big stuff altogether.

Cam shakes his head. “You were just doing what you thought you had to.”

“Yeah.” John reaches out, rests one hand carefully on Cam’s shoulder. Cam shudders. “I’m still sorry.”

“John…” Cam reaches up to rest his hand on John’s, not quite holding on. “John.” He turns suddenly to face John, still loosely holding John’s hand. He’s still got the last traces of the black eye, and he looks exhausted, worried and sad, and John’s never been good at watching his friends hurt. At least this time he knows what to do, wants to do it, even knowing it’ll probably make everything worse.

“Cam,” he says softly. He slides his free hand round the back of Cam’s neck, and breathes, and leans closer. Cam gasps, and then his mouth is against John’s, warm and soft.

John closes his eyes.

They kiss slowly, almost chaste, a bare touch of John’s tongue against Cam’s. Cam’s hand on John’s tightens, his arm going round John’s shoulders, dragging him closer, till they’re pressed up against each other, still kissing. It’s not like any kiss John’s ever had before, like saying goodbye before they’ve even had a chance to say hello properly.

Cam pulls back just far enough to break the kiss and rests his forehead against John’s. When John blinks his eyes open, Cam has his closed. He looks worse than he did before.

John wraps his arms round Cam, holds onto him, feeling the breeze kick up against the bare skin of his fore-arms, not enough salt to feel like home, and thinks, Ask me to stay. Ask me for you, and I’ll say yes.

Comments

( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
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tesserae_
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
I love this more than I have words for, the weight of what John sees in Cam's posture, the promise not quite made at the end.

But this, too: who let Carson fly the place with Lorne *right there* he’s going to do something regrettable , dear god, yes.
angelofmercy
Jan. 15th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
And I thought I was the only one who was thinking about that with Carson. I mean, hello, trained pilot w/ gene in combat situation vs. Doctor w/ power but v. little control.
(no subject) - slybrarian - Jan. 15th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bluflamingo - Jan. 16th, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bluflamingo - Jan. 16th, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bluflamingo - Jan. 16th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
gaffsie
Jan. 15th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
John wraps his arms round Cam, holds onto him, feeling the breeze kick up against the bare skin of his fore-arms, not enough salt to feel like home, and thinks, Ask me to stay. Ask me for you, and I’ll say yes.

Oh.

You broke me.
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:17 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Well, sorry, but thanks also :o)
countess7
Jan. 15th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
ohhhh my goodness, this was AWESOME!

Cam’s hand on John’s tightens, his arm going round John’s shoulders, dragging him closer, till they’re pressed up against each other, still kissing.

*thud*

and oh oh oh! the end! OH JOHN SHEPPARD!
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

slybrarian
Jan. 15th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
Oh, John. *echoes everyone above about the last line, brokenness, etc*
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
jaekayelle
Jan. 15th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
Aww As much as I'd like John and Cam to find a way to be with each other, John should be in Atlantis in Pegasus. Not crazy about Cam taking over as military commander of Atlantis, though -- it's John's city, so I'm torn about the ending of this bittersweet fic and how I'd like their story to continue, even if just in my head. augh!

I liked it, though, lots and lots. :)

Btw, hi! I friended you the other day and forgot to say hello. I'm primarily a McShepper, but really love your stories where John and Cam are together, or trying to be together.
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Not crazy about Cam taking over as military commander of Atlantis, though

I waver on that - I've seen it done very well, but it has a lot of potential to just go horribly wrong. I usually end up sending Cam out there to fly 302s instead, thus subverting all the command issues :o)

Btw, hi! I friended you the other day and forgot to say hello.

Hi! Welcome to the madhouse :o)
skieswideopen
Jan. 15th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
I love this! I'm comparing this in my head to all of your stories where the two of them are together, and that makes it so much sadder, seeing all the lost potential. And I'm very happy to see Cam genuinely upset with John's self-sacrificing ways, because that seems like one of the things they would have to deal with. (Though I suppose Cam is mostly spared from the knowledge as long as the two of them are in separate galaxies.)

Beautiful work!
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

And I'm very happy to see Cam genuinely upset with John's self-sacrificing ways, because that seems like one of the things they would have to deal with. (Though I suppose Cam is mostly spared from the knowledge as long as the two of them are in separate galaxies.)

Yeah, he knows it's happening, but it's far away, and usually very over before he finds out, so it's a lot harder to worry a lot since John's obviously survived.
(Deleted comment)
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

And the ending just makes me ache for them.

Yeah, because they both know that asking would end up being a bad thing, but that doesn't mean they don't *want* to...
bruinsfan
Jan. 15th, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
and, God, when he finds out who let Carson fly the place with Lorne *right there* he’s going to do something regrettable
Ah, thank you for that. Carson's barely able to fire drones without killing his friends, nevermind safely navigate something that weighs billions of tons through hyperspace and orbital gymnastics. Whereas Lorne has been shown precisely steering that big asteroid into position 2 years ago. I was half expecting Carson to save the day by accidentally crashing Atlantis into the hive ship.

(I suppose it's possible that the chair would only let someone with a strong natural expression of the gene pilot it for liftoff and spaceflight, and thus Lorne and any other qualified users might not have been acceptable. But it would have been nice to have that mentioned, rather than leaving it that a purer ATA gene makes someone with the personality of Snagglepuss a better choice than trained combat pilots.)

Are you going from the assumption that the Antarctic control chair is salvagable and just has to be dug out of the rubble at Area 51? If that's the case I can maybe see Hayes giving Atlantis the go-ahead to return to Pegasus. But if it's the only platform left capable of defending Earth with drone weapons there's no way he'd allow it to leave the planet.
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
Thanky!

I suppose it's possible that the chair would only let someone with a strong natural expression of the gene pilot it for liftoff and spaceflight, and thus Lorne and any other qualified users might not have been acceptable.

I suppose, maybe, though as you say, it would have been good if they'd mentioned it. I think they just forget sometimes that Lorne has the gene.

Are you going from the assumption that the Antarctic control chair is salvagable and just has to be dug out of the rubble at Area 51? If that's the case I can maybe see Hayes giving Atlantis the go-ahead to return to Pegasus.

Sure, if you like. Or there's something else they're working on as a defense system (whatever the Odyssey was off doing) or O'Neill has some dirt on Hayes that he used to persuade him or... Honestly, I just want to imagine them going back, so fill in whatever reason works for you.
dossier
Jan. 15th, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, I have high hopes that Cam will get to go, too. so bittersweet, just the way I like it.
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
ninja007
Jan. 16th, 2009 04:24 am (UTC)
*heart*
I know that I've said it before, but I really luv you! *heart*

This was utterly wonderful and you are my absolute favorite author for John/Cam fics. I bow to your grace and talent. Whenever I want to go to sleep with happy thoughts, I read one of your fics.

I love the way you write and you've never disappointed me.

Perfect! *heart*
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
Re: *heart*
Thank you!
jessnick05
Jan. 16th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was great. And not that I didn't love the John/Cam, but I think my favorite part was John's moment with Lorne, the way they understand each other without being explicit, the affection that's subtly there between them.

The John/Cam was lovely and sad. I was actually doing okay until that last line, which broke me because I'm not sure it's true. Or maybe that he wants Cam to ask but also wants to stay in Atlantis, so maybe it's better for that first want to just stay out there. I don't know, I'm rambling! :) Anyway, this was great and a perfectly in-character John POV for me. :)
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I think my favorite part was John's moment with Lorne, the way they understand each other without being explicit, the affection that's subtly there between them.

I've developed a completely ridiculous obsession with John and Lorne's friendship/working relationship/whatever since I ended up writing them for rare pairings a couple of months ago. They get in everywhere!

I was actually doing okay until that last line, which broke me because I'm not sure it's true.

I think he means it, but I'm not sure he wouldn't regret it afterwards. I think that's why he doesn't offer, or even ask Cam out loud to ask him, because there's a part that knows that, as much as he might want it, he wants something else more, and they'll only end up hurting.
(no subject) - scrollgirl - Jan. 16th, 2009 10:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bluflamingo - Jan. 18th, 2009 02:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
angelofmercy
Jan. 16th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Forgot to say I really enjoyed this, the John/Cam interaction, the banter w/ Lorne etc. I'm glad Atlantis is going home--I have a feeling that no matter what it would be returning to Pegasus instead of staying on Earth, even if John had to lead a mutiny and seize control via the chair.


And with Lorne so close to LA, any chance he was taking unexpected leave to go see Colby? :p
bluflamingo
Jan. 16th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I'm glad Atlantis is going home--I have a feeling that no matter what it would be returning to Pegasus instead of staying on Earth, even if John had to lead a mutiny and seize control via the chair.

Yeah - someone pointed out above that it's unlikely that they'd be allowed to leave, but that part is total wish fulfillment for me. I don't want them stuck on Earth :o(

And with Lorne so close to LA, any chance he was taking unexpected leave to go see Colby? :p

Gotta do something with all that unexpected free time...
adafrog
Jan. 17th, 2009 12:19 am (UTC)
So sad. *hugs the boys*
bluflamingo
Jan. 18th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah - somehow, that one just wouldn't go towards a happy ending.
(Deleted comment)
bluflamingo
Jan. 18th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
I'd have loved to see Lorne flying the city.

And me :o( And it's not like they really *needed* him on the wraith ship, they could have taken a random marine. Sigh.

I love this last line, but I think John would never leave Atlantis voluntarily.

No, I don't think so either. I think he wants to want to, if that makes sense - he wants to want Cam that much, but he knows he doesn't, which is why he doesn't say it out loud.
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
bluflamingo
Jan. 18th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

the whole cast looked like they were settling in for the long term (possibly I'm reading too much into it, but I really wanted John to tell Ronon they'd be heading back home soon in the infirmary)

I'm hoping they were just enjoying their moment of safety before getting back to arguing for being allowed to go home, but yeah, they did look very settled.

is Cam definitely John's superior?

I don't think so - wikipdia says he was a colonel in Continuum, the latest movie, but there's no indication that he's been promoted in it, so I'm choosing to take that with a pinch of salt. He was definitely the same rank as John up to that.
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