Pairing: John Sheppard/Cameron Mitchell
Spoilers: SGA series finale
Notes: First time writing this fandom/pairing, please be gentle
Summary: One possible way John ends up earth-side.
Where the Mustang stopped, the tall grass of the open field whistled in with a warm breeze. He was floating on the buzz of crickets, the sticky summer air, the pull of honeyed flowers and sweet, cloying grass, breathing it in deep for his earth-starved lungs. It was much better than the recycled air deep under the mountain or onboard a ship, but vastly different from crashing waves and tangy sea salt.
It was a miracle how much he had missed the little things and hadn’t even realized until now. He’d never thought it could be like this, that anywhere but Atlantis could feel like home again.
The sun sank slowly down into the fields as John watched. They’d pulled over for a quick stop, for Cam to stretch his legs and for John, well. He was just along for the ride.
“This is nice,” Cam said as he ambled over to John, his footsteps scritch-scritching across the sun-baked gravel. They squinted out at the expanse of land beside the country road, knee-high grass swaying in a lazy breeze before them, and John leaned back into Cam’s warmth. He hooked a finger around one of Cam’s empty belt loops, knuckles resting loose against jeans. John turned his head and brushed his nose against the dampness at Cam’s temple. He smelled like leather and sweat, and very faint but still there was the tang of syrup. Pancakes for lunch at a diner off the interstate, hours ago. John remembered the way Cam’s lips tasted afterward, climbing back into the car and wrestling a bit against the seats, gearshift knocking into his ankle as John climbed over, and John hadn’t cared one bit.
Cam laughed when John’s nose tickled his ear. He stood still, soaking up the last of the sun, feeling the breeze creep up along his forearms. There was something warm and freeing about Cam’s laugh that he loved, how he could almost hear the charming drawl underneath.
“I missed this,” he murmured. He knew when Cam opened his mouth a little, eyes crinkling, that he was going to say we never had this to miss it. But Cam seemed to understand because he only smiled, pulling John against him with a palm around John’s hip. He didn’t say anything to make him regret it.
John’s things were in the trunk: two giant duffels, including a small ziploc with his toothbrush and deodorant, his mostly neglected copy of War and Peace, and a dusty guitar. Everything he owned that he couldn’t spend two weeks of leave without. Most of it was clothes and underwear. The book he took more out of habit, a comforting object like a favorite sweater or a lucky charm. When he’d been packing, looking over his small two-bedroom apartment, John had been glad he had nothing to compartmentalize. He didn’t like baggage. He had carried around enough over the years that he was happy when it had been time to finally cut ties and walk away. He had no desire to drag all of the past with him anymore, wherever he went. John just wanted one thing.
“You having second thoughts?” Cam murmured behind his ear, nosing around the shell so that he dislodged the sunglasses sitting on top John’s head. John scowled, grabbed his glasses and slipped them on.
“Just enjoying the view,” he replied to Cam’s expectant look. John stepped away to peer at him through the shades, a playful smile on Cam’s lips that he couldn’t resist turning into an indignant jaw-drop when he placed a hand on Cam’s shoulder and began pushing him back, propelling him without much resistance, until Cam’s ass hit the Mustang’s warm metal, dust getting all over the seat of his pants.
“Whoa there,” Cam said smirking. The setting sunlight wasn’t turning everything gold and tawny like it had been now that John had his glasses on, but Cam was still beautiful like that. Even in monochrome, his eyes were bright and crinkling at the corners, waiting for John to kiss him.
Cam dropped his head a fraction and leaned in, so John closed his eyes and met him halfway with as much feeling as he could, a firm, wet press of lips, just stood there and kissed him for a very long time, until Cam brought his hands up and John felt him pulling the glasses gently off, heard the clink of metal on metal as he placed them somewhere on the car roof. Then his hands were back cupping John’s face so gently that John had a flash of resentment. Cam must have seen how vulnerable he'd been just after the Atlantis expedition was recalled, disbanded, orders given for the city to be grounded on earth for an indefinite amount of time until the IOA could come to an agreement about what to do with it. But this was Cam and whatever gentleness his touch imparted was just Cam being himself, sweet as pie.
The city was a security risk, but also the best defense earth had. John had been too busy being pulled into different meetings, the logistics of everything, of who would stay and who would be assigned elsewhere and where his team would be scattered to, to spend much time worrying about where his own ass would end up. A gate team at the SGC or a boring desk job. John didn’t want one because it wasn’t his team and he didn’t want the other because it was a slow career death.
Cam had found him in the city, out on a quiet balcony during the last few days when Atlantis personnel were packing up. John had been contemplating the idea of quitting altogether and going into early retirement, if he could swing it. He thought it had been ridiculous how a few words and Cam’s easy smile got him to agree to dinner. It wasn’t just luck that eventually landed him on Cam’s gate team, and John thought he’d have a problem with that.
In the end, he really hadn’t been bothered by it at all. In the end he was just grateful, because Cam was the same person that John remembered, only John was different. If Cam wanted him on his team, John was going to try his hardest to stay on the team.
He leaned into Cam’s chest and slipped his hands around his waist, nipping at Cam’s bottom lip, thinking of the long hours between missions spent working out or jogging on base, of their first real date, and couldn’t really pinpoint the exact moment when John’s brain clicked onto something more physical, more intimate, than a working relationship. He was pretty sure that Cam had always been looking at him, though, even if they’d never actually talked about it, and how they ended up on leave together now only made John smile wider, his kisses turning light. He dodged Cam’s lips and pulled back to put some space between their bodies.
“We,” John emphasized with a soft jab to Cam’s chest, “should get moving. Don’t want to keep your folks waiting.”
Another half-hour on the road and it was well past dinnertime before they arrived at their destination. John’s stomach was grumbling, Cam’s too, as John slung his guitar over his back and they got their bags from the trunk, lugging everything up to the front porch. The porch light was on, but clearly no one had heard them pull up. Apparently a game was on the television, volume too loud, so that John and Cam almost made it past the foyer before anyone noticed.
“We’ve been expecting you for hours,” Wendy Mitchell scolded lightly with a smile on her face as she popped out of the kitchen, wiping her hands with a paper towel. She swept Cam into a giant hug while Cam’s father came down the opposite direction, his cane clacking on the hardwood. John stood between him and Cam and didn’t know what to do, until Frank stuck his hand out and John shook it on autopilot, maybe a pump or two over-eager. The nervous energy he’d been expecting on the drive over that never actually hit him finally did.
“I took the scenic route,” Cam said by way of explanation, grinning wide and refusing to glance over at John and the brief scowl flickering onto his face. As much as John loved Cam’s car and the leather seats, his ass was still sore from going over one too many potholes.
Frank smiled, clapping John on the shoulder. “Nice to meet you, John.”
John nodded and stepped out of the way, watching as Cam pulled his father into a back-thumping embrace. “Nice to meet you too, sir.”
“Please, don’t be so formal,” Wendy replied and glanced at their bags. She grabbed one of John’s, and he hoped it wasn’t the heavy one with his spare sidearm and brick of a book, then turned to John and patted him on the cheek.
“Let’s put all this away before someone trips over it.” She grinned and John half expected her to pinch his cheek, how happy she looked. “Then we can feed you boys, I’ll bet you’re starving.”
Cam grabbed his bags and raised his head, sniffing the air. “Is that chili?”
“You know it,” Wendy called, already halfway down the hall. John followed hastily. The chili did smell amazing.
Cam was fixing something under the hood when John came looking for him. He sauntered up just in time to see Cam straighten, heave a small sigh, and snatch the rag from his back pocket to wipe his hands off.
It was a beautiful morning, black paint of the Mustang gleaming in the sun. Cam must have washed it earlier if the sudsy water trails pooling around the car were any indication. If John hadn’t been a guest, he would’ve slept in and skipped breakfast altogether instead of padding into the kitchen to help with the biscuits when the clanking of pots and pans and the sizzle of bacon woke him up. Wendy had been glad for his help, and John had been grateful their conversation over coffee had been limited to her chattering on about the rest of the family, cousins that John had never heard of and grandchildren he’d probably one day meet, if he stuck around.
Cam had been curiously absent, so John had grabbed a plate of bacon and biscuits and brought it outside.
Cam’s grin was huge when he saw what John was holding. He was probably hungry, working on the car all this time. He leaned over and kissed John good morning before going after a piece of bacon. John slapped his hand away and pulled the plate out of reach.
“Dirty hands,” John chided. Cam pouted and John smirked. He wiped a smudge of grease off Cam’s cheek with his thumb. “Dirty face, too.”
“But you brought me breakfast!” Cam picked the rag back up and made a show of scrubbing his hands, but it really didn’t leave them any cleaner.
“Least you could do is feed me,” he went on in a suggestive drawl. John wanted to smack him for not sneaking into his bedroom last night so that the sudden urge to pounce Cam wouldn’t be as strong in the morning. This close, he could smell Cam’s sweat and whatever soap he used on the car.
“I could, but your parents might get ideas,” John replied, raising his eyebrows. Cam just stared at him like he was slow.
“Sheppard, they know you’re with me – ”
“With you, or with you?”
Cam traced his index finger gently up John’s throat, tipping his chin up. “With me.”
“It’s not a big deal,” Cam started then amended himself. “Well, it is a big deal, but not so much anymore. I gave them enough time and fair warning to chew it over.”
“Really?” John could feel his eyes go wide. “How long have they known?”
“A few weeks,” Cam replied, shrugging. John grabbed his finger and squeezed.
Cam shushed him, pulling John in for a kiss before he could say anything else.
“Don’t worry, they’re fine. Everything is fine.” He said once they’d pulled apart and John could see those big blue eyes, as light as the clear skies above them, so full of sincerity, that John felt embarrassed he ever doubted the welcoming nature of the Mitchell family.
He nodded once and decided that if Wendy and Frank hadn’t approved, he would’ve known by now. He also realized it was quite cruel to bring Cam a plate of food and not allow him to have any. Cam hummed happily when John offered him a piece of bacon. He fed him quietly, just a few bites of bacon and a biscuit, standing close enough that John could feel Cam’s body heat, see the light sheen of sweat dotting his forearms and disappearing into the thin cotton of the white t-shirt he wore.
He was fine until Cam’s tongue flicked out and laved at John’s fingers.
He gave Cam a warning look, but he couldn’t do much when Cam took the plate and balanced it precariously on the edge of the car, hood still propped open, and pulled John in with a fist in his shirt and a playful grin on his face. Cam kissed like he wanted John to bend, pushing him up against the front of the car, John’s hands reaching out behind his back to steady himself against the frame. He curled his fingers around metal and felt chalky grit get under his nails. The plate eventually tipped over and Cam just ignored it, ignoring everything but his ability to kiss John until John felt like he wanted to rip his clothes off and drop to his knees and suck Cam’s cock into his mouth.
“This is so not a good idea,” John rasped when he had a second to catch his breath. Cam made a noise of agreement but his hands were still gripping John’s waist, thumbs pressing against the dip in John’s hips, and he was nuzzling John’s throat, alternately licking and biting up the column of warm skin until his lips could find John’s mouth again, stealing his breath with his tongue.
“PDA!” John’s voice squeaked in an embarrassingly high register when Cam found the ticklish spot just behind John’s ear and swirled his tongue around.
“Momma won’t care as long as it’s not under her roof,” Cam mumbled against his skin. John wanted to push him away because in her yard was just as bad.
“Uh, we should just. Drive into town and find a hotel for the day. Yeah.” John congratulated himself for thinking on his feet, even as Cam’s hands moved from his ass to trail up his back, rubbing in all the right places.
When Cam finally stopped slowly driving him insane with his mouth and his tongue and his wandering hands, John was completely hard. Cam’s kisses grew less insistent and lazier, until finally he pulled back and just gazed at him, resting his arms on John’s shoulders, absently stroking a few fingers along the short hair at the back of John’s neck.
“Not a bad idea,” he said thoughtfully. Then the thoughtful look on his face turned smug, and John wanted to smack it right off. Cam knew how hard it was for John to just stand there and not jump him. John was going to repay him later, if they made it to the end of the two weeks without dying of sexual frustration. Even better if they made it to a hotel. He had plans to spend all day teasing, making Cam’s toes curl, watching his muscles twitch and strain for John’s mouth, his hands, the slow burn of John inside him.
“Clean this up and get your ass inside,” John said and bent to scoop up the fallen plate. “I want to give your folks a heads up and see if they need anything from town.”
Cam’s laughter was crystal clear and bright like the sky as John began walking back. He didn’t even make it to the porch before he heard Cam running full tilt at him, with just enough time to turn around and brace for impact, as Cam swept him up in a giant bear hug and lifted his feet off the ground. He winced in sympathy for his ribs when Cam squeezed, strong arms making it pointless to try and escape.
“Let me shower first,” Cam said, and set him down, just as quick as he’d picked him up. John grabbed him before he could walk into the house and stole a kiss.
Cam beamed, the full effect of his smile directed at John and rendering him pretty useless for those ten seconds. Then Cam pulled open the door and stomped in, hollering about the best damn breakfast he’d had in while.
John watched him detour to the kitchen, struck with the normalcy of it all, how easy it was to slip into this new, other life. He got that it wasn’t the place that made it home.
It was Cam.