John had nearly reached the cave when he heard Cam scream, part of that scream was not from this world anymore and deep down the Colonel feared that his friend was gone, lost forever. But then he again saw that corridor knowing with a strange clarity that Cam was there, somewhere inside that silver light. Without a moment’s hesitation John let go of this world, following the silvery light.
He found himself inside a liquid, another body struggling against him, tubes breathing into him. He reached for that other body, trying to calm him.
Teal’c heard the scream, seeing Cam wake up inside the tank. He used his gun to smash the tank surface, broke the shards away with his hands, disregarding the cuts, making enough room to lift Cam out of the gel safely, removing the breathing tube once Cam was above the surface. Gently lifting him out, once he was not connected to the machine anymore.
Cam calmed as soon as he felt the gentle touch of the one next to him. He felt hands lift him up from the gel as breathed in and out, trying to calm down as adrenaline shot through his system. “T-Teal’c?”
The Jaffa helped him to sit down beside the tanks. “Colonel Mitchell,” only the tone of the words betrayed how relieved the warrior was to find his friend alive. The Jaffa had seen the other alcove power down and letting Major Lorne out. “Major Lorne will be getting Colonel Sheppard out of the machine as well.” he said, trying to calm his friend.
Evan lifted the tube, panting as he rushed to Colonel Sheppard’s side, helping him out and unplugging the tubes and the breathing mask. “You’re going to be alright, Sir. Just breathe,” he told him as he got John out and onto the floor.
Cam looked at him, feeling his hair crawl. “Machine?”
John collapsed on the floor coughing up some of the gel. “Cam... need to find him...” only then he realised where he was. “Evan?” he asked in a whisper. “Oh god... I shot you...”
“The inhabitants of this world captured you inside a machine, Colonel Mitchell.” Teal’c replied, while he helped Cam to get rid of the remaining gel. He knew that Mitchell had read heaps of mission reports, knew them by heart, he’d find the comparisons quickly himself. “The obelisk teleported you here and you were captured.”
“Teal’c... I killed you...” Cam whispered. “I killed you,” he told him, his hands shaking.
Evan looked at him. “It wasn’t me, Sir. They were trying to turn you against us. Colonel Mitchell is just over there...” he told him.
“You did not, Cameron Mitchell.” Teal’c stated firmly, reminding him that he was right here in front of him. “It was not real.”
John looked over to Cam, realising what had happened inside the simulations, how they had turned everything upside down and... he blushed fiercely and ducked his head. “We better get out of here, Lorne,” he said, his stubbornness returning full force. “Before those guys can regroup.”
Cam looked at him and forced himself to recover. “It wasn’t real. God, Teal’c,” he said as he pushed himself to his feet. “Clothing?” he asked.
“We might not have to worry... You were powering the defense systems, Sir.”
Teal’c handed Mitchell a pair of BDU pants and a T-Shirt from his backpack. John, having received similar help, dressed too. “Good. So we just need to find a way out of here, right?” He tried to keep on the problem, not to think back about the things that had happened inside the simulation.
Cam glanced at Teal’c, dressing quickly and pulled his boots on. “John... You ok?” he asked, his mouth dry.
“I... I am okay, Sir.” John forced himself to react normal, as he was expected to be. He tied the second boot and got to his feet. “I think... I think I can sense the obelisk, it’s like an echo in mind...” he added, focusing more on what he could feel from the tech surrounding them.
“Get us out of here then. You and Lorne have got this, right? Let’s get the hell out before we get sucked back in.”
John understood those feelings well enough. He focused again, finding the Obelisk inside the tech, the echo was there... suddenly a bright light enveloped them and moments later they stood beside the Obelisk where their journey had started.
The other team pointed their weapons at them, shocked to see them. “Sirs?” Lt. Simm asked.
“It’s us. We need to get the hell out of here,” Cam said, authority in his voice. They nodded and they all hurried to the Gate, going home.
John sat alone in his now empty quarters at the mountain, looking around a last time. It was two weeks since the incident on the planet, two weeks since their return from the dreamworld. He had tried to not think of it, tried to go back to what had been before, but found he couldn’t. He couldn’t lie anymore, hide anymore. Part of him had been shown the one wish he had been denying for years, had actually gotten to live that wish for a short while. It was more than he could handle. Only three days later he had been informed that the former Atlantis expedition had been resolved for good, that a new international team would be replacing them. Inside those words he had all too clearly heard that he would not be on that new team. He was not surprised, how could he be? They had not wanted him on that expedition in the first place, he had been there thanks to Elizabeth. Now it was all gone. Somehow, somewhere the time in the dream had broken John’s will to fight for his place at the SGC, made him realise what it really was he wanted, and what he could not have. Rising from the empty bed, he shouldered his bag, looking around, making sure he left the quarters cleanly, before stepping outside and walking to the elevator.
Cam stood outside. “Where are you going?”
Surprised John looked up. “Topside?” he asked, which was the logical assumption. “Back to my place in Springs first, will take a few days to take care of that, after that... dunno.” He did his best to sound casual.
“Want some company?” Cam asked. He shifted nervously, flushing and wondering what he was supposed to do with this.
John quickly averted his eyes when he saw Cam’s blush. Why could his treacherous heart not stop fluttering like that, every time they met? “Why not? We can order some pizza, because I have only ‘weird’ food left in my place.” he replied and walked on towards the lift.
“Good. Let’s go,” he said, relieved. Cam didn’t... It just seemed like he was going to run and Cam didn’t want him to leave. “What sort of weird food?”
John shrugged, he had been home the weekend before and the remains of his cookings were still in the freezer. “A bit of pate de lapin and some Quiche Lorraine are left over,” he replied “And I made some potatoes with berries... meaning the potatoes are pink.”
“You can make potatoes with berries? I have to try this. Cook for me, Sheppard. I’ll return the favor,” he offered as they boarded the elevator to the top.
“You can cook?” John asked as if slightly doubtful. They left the evelator and approached the exit. He signed out, handing in his key-card. Everything else was already done. Then they proceeded to the parking lot. John’s car was parked in his usual spot he tossed in the bag. “We’ll make a stop at a shop to get everything, then.”
“I can cook. My Momma had me at her apron strings as soon as I could stand,” Cam told him with a grin. “I’ll ride with you. Sam picked me up this morning.”
John nodded he could always give Cam a lift back or call someone to pick him up. They drove down to town. The stop at the grocery store took a bit longer, because John needed to pick up a bunch of specific things. He tried to not think of other things. Not of what was so vivid in his mind now, that Cam was here with him. When he had everything needed they got back to the car and shortly after stopped at John’s place in Springs. Believing he might stay longer at the mountain John had actually found something nice for himself.
“Nice place...” Cam said softly, looking at the house. “I’m sorry though. About everything.”
Having set the bags on the kitchen table, John turned around. “It’s not your fault... if it is anyone’s fault, it’s mine.” he replied, flushing a bit. “I... I am sorry, Cam. For what happened.”
“John... What are you talking about?” Cam asked. “I meant... I was talking about Atlantis. Are you talking about what happened?”
John ducked his head. Loosing Atlantis hurt like hell, loosing what he had had in the dream for a short while was even worse. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have started with it.” He said quickly.
Cam looked at him, furrowing his brow. He looked around and kissed him on the lips. Cam looked him, meeting his eyes. “I am not sorry that it happened, John. Ok? I... If anything, I’m sorry that it ended.”
Startled John returned the kiss with gusto. It seemed too good to be true, too good to ever happen to him. “You don’t mind?” he asked softly, as they broke apart. “I...” He didn’t find the words and instead kissed Cam even more fiercely.
Cam returned the kiss then moaned, pulling back. “Sheppard. We can’t... I mean, we can, yes, but outside...” he told him, gesturing around them. “C’mon. Let’s get the groceries in and then we can continue this on your couch.”
John held Cam back, wrapping his arms around him. “This is why I quit,” he said honestly. “I couldn’t go back and pretend anymore. There was nothing left to... I couldn’t... I...” he stumbled over the words. He pushed them away, he was stupid to talk. Cam gave him this, he’d not squander it on talking. Together they walked over to the living room and dropped down on the monster-couch there. John leaned in to kiss Cam again, deeply and sensously.
“I- what?” Cam asked, surprised as he kissed him again. Cam settled down and kissed him deeply, his hands drifting up his sides. “John... What do you mean, you quit?” he asked when they finally broke for air.
“I meant, I quit. Quit the Air Force,” John explained, snuggling into Cam’s touch. “you caught me right on my last minutes at the base. I am a civilian now.” He had marked the reserve checker on the retirement paperwork, but Landry would rather eat glass nails than call him back to duty.
Cam’s jaw dropped. “But... John... I...” he didn’t know what to say, holding him close. “Are you sure?” he asked, rubbing his back, holding him.
John snuggled closer, gently kissing Cam on the lips. “It’s a done deal, I am out.” he whispered against his lips. If getting out got him Cam, got him Cam for more than just this one night, it was a good deal even. He wrapped both arms around Cam, his hands drifting up his back.
Cam looked at him, gently kissing his lips then his chin, kissing up his jaw. “Should we celebrate?”
John moaned, drawing Cam closer. “It’s a good reason to, don’t ya’ think?” he asked, his hands slipping up Cam’s sides.
Cam chuckled, kissing his forehead. “So... To bed? Or shall we put our groceries up?”
“Who cares about groceries?” John asked, grinning. It was so much like Cam to think of such details. He drew him up and led him upstairs to the bedroom. On the way upstairs he snatched kisses from him. “What do you like?” he asked in between two mid-stairways kisses.
Cam chuckles. “It’s your money...” he said, kissing him gently. “I like you... Do you like... being top or bottom?” he asked.
Someone should shake up his priorities, John thought. How could one think of groceries, when you had someone as hot as Cam...? They made it nearly to the bedroom door before kissing again. “I enjoy both,” John replied, snaking a hand under Cam’s shirt. “you?”
“I’ve only done top...” Cam admitted. “Is that... “ he asked, awkwardly, cupping his hips.
“That’s perfect,” John rubbed his hips against Cam, encouraging him. He untucked Cam’s shirt, quickly opening it, so his hands could slip under and explore the warm golden skin.
Cam looked relieved. “It’s been awhile...,” he warned him, his hands slipping up and taking off his shirt. “I’ve wanted this, wanted you since I saw you in the Sand box.”
“Then I’ll get all the chance to corrupt you now,” John chuckled, his lips tracing Cam’s neckline. “since the sandbox, hmmm?” He had wanted Cam much the same but instead of saying so, he let his actions speak for themselves, sucking the skin on his neck as they tumbled towards his bed.
Cam moaned out, tilting his head back. “The sandbox. I remember .. I remember seeing you in those choppers... I didn’t know what it was. But I knew I felt it for you...”
John gently licked the base of Cam’s neck, his lips trailing down further mapping out Cam’s shoulder. “I saw you there...” he whispered against Cam’s skin, gently rubbing his nipples with his fingers. “And I wanted you... I had a crush on you... but you were out of reach..:”
Cam ran his hands over John’s back. “We are really a pair...” he said with a light chuckle as he moaned.
This, each moment of this, was even better than what happened in their dream. John nudged down Cam on the bed, kissing down his chest, tracing the warm skin and the scars, as he continued to undress him.
Cam threaded his fingers through John’s messy hair. “Mmm. God.”
“Call me John,” John snarked at him, kissing his thigh. “No need to use titles...”
Cam chuckled and slapped his shoulder. “That was for blasphemy,” he said, teasing gently.
John grunted. “Says the one that’s taking the Lord’s name in vain.”
“John... Just... Let’s get on with this?” Cam complained.
“Sure,” John told him, starting to suck on his cock. Cam moaned out, so glad they were finally doing this, that they were finally getting somewhere. He had loved him for a long time... “Please? John...”
Playfully John let actually go, ghosting his breath over Cam’s very hard, leaking dick. “Yes?” he asked him nearly cheekily. Gods, he wanted Cam so much.
“Cheeky... I want you... I want you to suck me, I want to feel you...” Cam told him, brushing his thumb over his cheek.
John tilted his head to actually suck Cam’s thumb, pretending to bite it, before he returned his attentions to Cam’s needy dick. He snaked his tongue around it, licking him clean before sucking him down fully, using his tongue to further coax him.
Cam moaned out, threading his fingers through John’s hair. This was better than he imagined... better than anything he’d ever done before. “God, you’re so good... so good, John... Need you...”
Again John let go, the hard dick slipping from his lips with a slight plop. He languidly stretched beside Cam, his hand running up Cam’s chest. “Then take me,” he told him a whisper. “make me yours...” he wanted him so badly, and he want to feel Cam, his passion and his strength.
Cam looked at him and nodded, sliding the drawer of his sidetable open and pulling out condoms and lube. “I... It’s been awhile... for me,” he told him, the tips of his ears turning red.
John reached up to kiss him. “All the more reason to not waste time,” He cast a side glance at the rubbers. They both were screened for all kinds of crap at the SGC more often than other people got their hair cut, but if Cam preferred using them, okay.
Cam looked down to where he was staring. “You... You want me to go bareback?” he asked, putting some lube on his fingers and slipping one into John’s asshole.
“We’re far more likely to pass on an alien flu than common HIV,” John replied teasingly, wriggling against Cam’s hand.
“Good point... good point,” Cam said, putting the condom on the table as he slipped in another finger. “God, John... so tight...”
John pushed against his fingers, moaning softly. “Stop teasing,” His hands caressed Cam’s back, he couldn’t stop touching him. “Please... I want you...”
Cam nodded, spreading lube over his cock as he shifted John up a little so he could get to him. He gently teased his entrance and slid into his asshole, starting to thrust into him.
The hands of the dark haired man clawed into the blanket when he felt Cam claim him, he pushed down, bringing them together even more. A small moan escaped John’s lips. “Don’t... don’t stop...”
Cam looked down at him and nodded, thrusting in and out a little faster. “Not going to stop...” he promised, “I want you so bad...”
John’s smile grew all dazed, as his breathing quickened. He met each of Cam’s thrusts hungrily, wanting him, wanting it all. He body shivered, when he suddenly came, further squeezing Cam tight.
Cam moaned out. “Not going to last... Fuck...” he said, slamming inside him and coming with a yell.
John wrapped his legs around him, pushing them together fully, revelling in the moment. He cradled Cam as he came down from the orgasm. “You’re amazing, gorgeous and amazing,”
“I could say the same...” Cam told him, laying on top of him as he kissed every inch of skin he could find.
Ghosting his lips along Cam’s neckline, John found that one sensitive spot and gently began to suck the skin. He wanted to tell Cam how amazing and gorgeous he was but as he ran out of words he turned to showing it to him in other ways.
Cam moaned out slightly as John sucked on his neck, closing his eyes as he let the sensation wash over him. He pulled out slightly, pushing away and landing on his side. He tugged John back close. “Keep going. Please.”
John surely didn’t need to be told twice, he began slowly to expand the range, taking his time to explore Cam’s warm skin with kisses and sometimes even small bites.
Cam ran his hands over his body until he drifted off to sleep, his arm still lightly around John.
He woke up cuddled close to John and kissed him gently, trying to pull way without waking him. Cam went to the bathroom, taking a pee, washing his hands and face then looked around, finding a spare toothbrush. He looked into the mirror and started brushing his teeth. Cam went to the kitchen, slipping on a bathrobe and started cooking breakfast.
John blinked, feeling Cam move away. He drew the pillow closer, it still had Cam’s warmth and smell. He didn’t want to wake up, he didn’t want this night to be over. But he couldn’t pretend much longer. With a sigh he rose, going to bathroom to wash and change before coming downstairs too. “I see someone found the coffee stash,” he teased Cam, kissing his cheek.
Cam grinned. “I wanted to cook breakfast. Sorry... I probably should’ve asked... I used a spare toothbrust too...”
“That’s fine,” John chuckled. “the toothbrush will be sooo offended. But breakfast sounds great, like in really great.”
Cam looked at him amused. “You’re weird, John,” he told him with a grin. “But then, so am I...”
“Normal is heavily overrated,” John replied, for a moment wondering what now. He reached for Cam’s arm. “Where do we go from here?” he asked, as it seemed Cam wasn’t inclined to start talking.
“Well... I guess that’s up to you. I’d like to do this, be with you... but do you even want to stay here? You’re the one that retired, remember?”
John leaned against the kitchen counter. “Being retired means I can stay whereever I decide to be,” he said. “is this... me quitting... going to be a problem?” he was not sure what Cam was thinking of that.
“No... I mean... I wish you hadn’t, that you’d maybe talked to me or something... You gave up Atlantis... but at the same time, you weren’t given much of a choice either. Were you?”
“They’d never let me go back either way,” John shrugged. “but this wasn’t about Atlantis. The dream... it showed me something, it made me realise what it was that I really wanted, what I had been ignoring for too long and once I faced that... I was through with pretending. I... I guess I simply saw what the one thing was I really wanted and it became really easy to quit.”
Cam looked at him and pulled him into a hug. “I wish things could’ve been different. That you could’ve had Atlantis. I know what she means to you... But I wouldn’t change this.”
John wrapped his arms around Cam, leaning closely into his hug. “Atlantis couldn’t give me the one thing I wished for and thought I could never have,” he said softly, kissing Cam’s cheek. “You.”
Cam looked at him with a grin. “I never thought I’d ever hear that from you, John...” he admitted, deliriously happy.
Blushing John ducked his head. “I never thought you’d be interested.” he simply hugged Cam again. “and then the dream happened..:” He could feel his ears burning, remembering the dream.
“Then the dream happened. One thing for it... we got together,” Cam told him with a grin.
John tilted his head up, a smile in his eyes. “Yes, we got together,” he replied. “everything else will work out. We’ll just need to keep it away from Landry’s nose.”
“I think we can handle that... besides, he isn’t so bad,” Cam told him with a grin.
“He is a stubborn old cantankerous asshole who loves shouting at people,” John grinned back at Cam. “and he is a stubborn old moron to boot.” Half of it was teasing Cam the other half was the gleeful realisation that he actually could diss the head of the SGC as much as he liked now.
Cam chuckled. “You’re loving this, aren’t you?” he asked.
“Being free to say what I think? You bet.” The Freedom to speak your mind freely... The quote form his past brought John back to something from the dream. “Cam... inside the dream you asked me why I did not stay with ‘Prince’ Julian...” Cam had asked it first, so it had come from his mind. “how... how did that name come to you?”
“I don’t know... Is that someone from your past?” Cam asked. “I just knew that you loved him... I think when they had us together, our memories sorta mixed.”
For a moment John felt stupid, really stupid. Why had he not kept his mouth shut. “Yes, it’s someone from my past and... gods... I suddenly wondered if you’d ever met Julien. Or how you know... sorry... I am being stupid.”
“John... I’m not going to be jealous of some ex. That would be a little silly, don’tcha think? You wanna tell me about him?”
“I still feel silly,” John shook his head. “Julien and me... that was a long time ago, before the Air Force, in fact. There was a time... there was a time I thought it would be forever and ever but eventually our ways parted, the fox and the raven had to hunt on their own. We stayed friends, though. Not just like saying it, we’ve been friends ever since.”
“Sounds like his loss and my gain,” Cam told him with a grin. “Maybe you should go see him. Since you have all this free time now,” he suggested.
“His last letter said he was currently stationed on the Richelieu somewhere in the South Pacific,” John said with a grin. “so I doubt a quick visit will be in order.” He ruffled Cam’s hair. “Don’t worry, I will keep busy.”
“Ok, ok...” Cam told John with a grin, kissing him. “So... is this... are we dating, shacking up, what?”
Suddenly John looked a bit shy. “Is this what you want it to be?” he asked back. “I mean... it can be either... but... what do you want?”
“I don’t want this to be a one night stand, John. How about we start slow... date, hang out, have sex then see where it goes?”
“I don’t want a one night either,” John knew he wanted more than that, a lot more. He smiled at the suggestion. “I like the idea, we can go out when you are on Earth, I get to kick your ass on Call of Duty and we can enjoy our time together.” It was a good idea, a very good one.
“In your dreams maybe,” Cam told him with a grin. “You won’t kick my ass, John. But other than that, sounds like a plan,” he said, leaning in to kiss him as he served up some eggs and bacon.
They settled down together to eat. “I might move a bit,” John said after a while. “the SGC would wonder if I kept this place. But I can move a few miles away from here, to make it less suspicious.”
Cam frowned. “Why would they wonder about this place, John?”
“In theory I have no reason to stay here, and if I do so, they will wonder why, I guess.” John shrugged. “or I can be simply brazen, stay here and let them stew.”
“Let them stew. I like this house,” Cam told him with a grin.
John laughed. “Landry stewed, bleurgh,” he made a face. “but you are right, it is a good place.” He agreed with Cam, they’d stay here and to hell with anyone trying to get in their way.
Cam reached over and grasped his hand, glad to have him in his life finally.