And yes, Landry does seem to be showing an awful lot of interest in Cam's love life.
Prompt: John Sheppard/Cameron Mitchell, unexpected but appreciated
Cam heard Landry come up, but didn't turn to look at him. Landry didn't seem to mind; just took up position beside Cam and rested his forearms on the worn wood of the fence, staring out at the horses.
"So you and Sheppard," he began conversationally.
Cam shoved down hard against the reflexive panic rising in his chest and kept his gaze fixed on the horses. "Sir?" he said in his very best I-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about voice.
Landry slid him a sideways glance. "McKay's worked by the man's side for more than five years, and he's never met anyone from Sheppard's family. Colonel Carter was his commanding officer for a year and she didn't know anything about his background. You, on the other hand--"
"Sheppard and I served together in the past," Cam said quickly.
Landry snorted. "Lots of people have served with Sheppard, Mitchell. As far as I know, you're the only one whom his nieces greet as if he were a member of the family."
"I get along well with children, sir."
"No doubt," Landry said. He paused a beat, then added gently, "You know Don't Ask, Don't Tell is over, right? It's okay now to be gay in the Air Force." Another beat. "Or maybe not quite gay in your case."
Well, he'd always known that Landry was blunt. "Coming out might not get someone discharged," Cam said carefully, "but that doesn't make it good for their career."
"Think it will stop you from making general?" Landry asked.
So much for even the thin veil of pretense. "I don't think it will help, sir."
Landry sighed. "No, you're probably right. Would have been easier if you could have found a nice woman to marry, Mitchell."
"Yes, sir, it would have been." And it wasn't as if Cam hadn't thought of that. Wasn't as if he hadn't tried.
"Career's not everything, though," Landry continued. "It won't keep you warm at night. Or keep you company after you retire."
"Yes, sir. " Cam knows that too. It's why he's still with John, despite all the complications.
Well, one of the reasons.
It's not something he expected to hear from General Landry, though. At least not like this. Cam risked a quick glance at the man. Landry's attention seemed to be focused as firmly on the horses as Cam's had been a minute ago.
"I wouldn't have pegged him as your type, Mitchell."
"Sir," Cam said stiffly. He had a pretty good idea of what Landry thought of John and John's pre-SGC record, though he had hoped that Landry might have softened on the issue after five years of successful military leadership on Atlantis.
"I'm not insulting your taste," Landry said. "I'm just surprised. He's not who I would have thought you'd go for."
Curiosity got the better of him. "Who would you think I'd go for, sir?"
"Oh, someone more like you, I think," Landry said. "A real go-getter. Although I admit, it's not something I've given a lot of thought too. If you'd asked me a week ago...you did a good job of hiding it, Colonel."
If Cam had been asked a week ago, he would have laughed at the thought of having this particular conversation with Landry. "Yes, sir."
"So if you don't mind my asking, how long have you two been...?"
"A couple of years," Cam said, because there didn't seem to be any point in denying it. Clearly Landry wouldn't believe him if he did.
"Huh," Landry said thoughtfully. He stood silently for a moment, scanning the expanse of trees and grass surrounding them, and then turned back to Cam. "Mitchell, I hope you're wrong and it won't be an issue for much longer. But if it is--and if this gets out--you know that I have your back, right? This won't affect your career if I have anything to say about it."
"Thank you, sir," Cam said. The assurance surprised him. He'd never thought Landry would actively sabotage him for being bi--people who are that intolerant generally don't last long at the SGC--but there was wide gap between not hurting and actively helping. "I'll do my best to prevent it from becoming an issue." That was something he and John had long since agreed on. Neither of them was interested in playing poster boy for gay tolerance for the Air Force; they just wanted to go on doing their jobs.
"I know you will," Landry said. "I just wish you didn't have to."
Prompt: Cameron Mitchell/Carolyn Lam, the boss's daughter
"If you were anyone else, Mitchell," Landry says ominously, "I'd leaning in threateningly right about now, making a speech about how useful the stargate is for hiding the bodies of men who hurt my little girl."
"You've certainly got the lean down, sir," Cam replies easily. "Been practicing?" He's been anticipating this conversation for a while. Oddly enough, he's less anxious about it now that it's here than he was when he was playing it through in his head.
"In the mirror," Landry agrees, moving around to claim the seat behind his desk. "Never figured I'd get a chance to use it, though. Carolyn's always been pretty firm on not wanting to date a military man." He gestures to the chair beside Cam. Cam obediently sits. "How'd you get her to change her mind on that, anyway?"
"Must be my native charm, sir," Cam says. Truthfully, he has no idea why Carolyn decided to make an exception for him. Why she asked him out in the first place. Sometimes he worries about what he'd find if he inquired too closely, and then he reassures himself that Landry seems to like him, most of the time, so it's probably not that.
"Maybe you should ask her, sir," Cam suggests.
"I'm not sure she'd appreciate the intrusion into her personal life," Landry replies dryly.
"Yes, sir." Cam's figured that one out already. It's why Landry would never have this conversation with someone he couldn't trust--or order--to keep quiet about it.
"How'd you get this far without ever getting married, Mitchell?"
"Look at you. Attractive, personable, good career, hero pilot...how are you still single? Too busy playing the field to settle down?"
Cam thinks he could have happily gone his whole life without hearing his boss describe him as attractive. "Guess I just never met the right woman, sir. One of the downsides of being in the Air Force; there's a lot of months where I never met any women at all. At least not ones I could date."
He meets Landry's eyes, refusing to quail under the skeptical look.
"Hmph," Landry says again. "Well, as I said, Mitchell, if it were anyone else, I'd be issuing a stern warning right about now. But I imagine I can trust you to behave as...impeccably in this as you do in everything else."
"I realize she's a grown woman who can make her own decisions and take care of herself. But she's still my little girl."
"I know that, sir," Cam replies levelly.
"All right, then," Landry says, and Cam reckons that's as close to a blessing as he's likely to get.
Prompt: Sam Carter/Cameron Mitchell, looking to the future
Warning: apocalyptic, lots-of-people-dead scenario
"Do you ever wonder if this is really all that's left to us now?" Sam asked one evening. They'd been on Thaleron for about a year by then--or at least that's what Sam's best guess put them at--and they'd had to lie through their teeth to be allowed to stay. Everyone knew by then that Earth had been at the heart of the disaster, and a world of good intentions and efforts to save the galaxy weren't enough to earn anyone from Earth--or one of Earth's allied worlds--a place on the few dozen planets that had escaped the conflagration.
"Sometimes," Cam admitted, gazing into the fireplace. There were days when he fantasized about learning that one of their ships had survived; days when he dreamt that Sam might find a way to dial through to Pegasus, letting them escape to Earth.
There were also a lot of days when he reminded himself that however limited things felt here, it was nothing compared to fifty years on Odyssey. He survived that; he can survive this.
Sam, he decided, didn't need to hear that reasoning right now. "It's not that bad here," he said instead. "The people are friendly. The crops are coming in. We'll be set for winter when it hits."
"You're a farmer now," Sam said. "And I'm..."
"The local miracle worker," Cam offered. In their year here, she'd produced a half-dozen tools that had made life immeasurably easier for the locals. It had gone a long way toward earning their trust.
Just as long as neither of them showed too much familiarity with advanced technology.
"Better than being a housewife, I guess," Sam said. "I was a bad enough cook using a stove that had dials and numbers."
The locals were happy to let her out of cooking duty--and spinning and sewing--once they realized what else she could do for them. When work was light Cam cooked for the two of them, and when the workload was heavy--as it was now--they shared in the village's communal meals. No one working the harvest had enough energy to do much of anything at the end of the day.
"We're doing okay," he said again.
Sam sighed. "I don't remember signing up for 'okay.' Do you?"
Cam had signed up for adventure and duty and honour. Not this endless plodding through days and nights, feet planted so firmly on the ground that he might as well already be buried beneath it, and not a new thought anywhere in sight.
Sam, he knew, had done the same.
"Think we can get them to accept electricity in our lifetime?" he asked.
He wondered, sometimes, if he and Sam ended up together on Odyssey too, during those fifty years. Had anyone paired off? Had they swapped partners? Experimented with different things?
Were he and Sam only together now because they were the only survivors here?
He didn't like to think that was true.
"I've been trying to figure out if there's a way to explain naquadah to them," she said. "If we could find a source..."
The Thalerons' gate had no DHD. They learned from the locals that when people came to trade--which was very rare--they brought their own power supply and dialed the gate manually.
No one had come to trade the entire time Cam and Sam had been here.
"Where would you go first, if we could leave?" Cam asked. It was an old game of theirs, one he mentally dubbed the "who might have survived" game.
"The Alpha site," Sam said.
"I don't think there's much left there."
"I doubt they would have recognized its importance," Sam said. "There might be communications devices there. Maybe some way to contact a ship. Or Atlantis."
Atlantis was their holy grail now. Or maybe Shangri-la. The closest thing they'd ever get to going home. He'd be a farmer there too, of course. They'd have to be farming now, with no more supplies coming in from Earth. But at least he wouldn't have to lie about who he was. And maybe, just maybe, he could still fly there.
"Do we have any way to refine it?" he asked. "Might be better off seeing if there isn't some Ancient tech left lying around somewhere."
"Maybe," Sam said, "but we can't do that now."
Winters on Thaleron were ferocious. The people retreated to the caves for them. They'd never survive it on their own.
"We'll have to wait until spring," Cam agreed.
And with spring came planting, and if Cam skipped out on that, they'd lose their place here, and would have to find a new village and start over again. It was what had held them back the previous year. Of course, now they were better supplied. Better equipped. They knew what the seasons looked like here.
"It'll be my winter project," Sam said, determinedly cheerful. "Finding a way to mine naquadah."
"Sure," Cam said. "And I'll start putting together kits so that we can go exploring once the weather clears up."
He wasn't quite sure whether they meant it or not.
Prompt: John Sheppard/Samantha Carter, she's not on Atlantis anymore but Atlantis is on Earth
If she were being honest with herself, Sam would have to admit that she thought about it once or twice while she was on Atlantis. Not seriously--the disastrous ending to things with Jack had taught her the danger of that--but in a casual, daydreaming sort of way. It wasn't really surprising: she'd worked closely with the man nearly every day, and it wasn't as if there were a lot of other opportunities on Atlantis. Fantasizing further down the chain of command just felt wrong, and as for the scientists, well, the one she saw the most of was McKay, and she had zero interest in going there. Actually, one of the things she liked about John--quite apart from being attracted to him--was the fact that he stood up to McKay on her behalf. She didn't need it, of course, but she appreciated the effort, especially on days when she didn't want to put in the time fighting that battle yet again.
So yes, she'd thought about while she was there. And she'd thought about it a few times after she got back, occasionally even allowing herself to fantasize in a way she hadn't when she'd known she'd have to face him the next day. It was safe enough. He was living in an alien city in another galaxy.
Except now that city was floating outside of San Francisco, and she'd caught the way John looked at her after the meeting, as if he too were just realizing the implications of the two of them being on the same planet and not assigned to the same project.
"It's just dinner," she told herself, pulling back her hair. "No different than going out to catch up with Cam or Daniel." Except, of course, that she'd never fantasized about Daniel in quite the same way. Had never sat through a meeting visualizing the slender musculature beneath his BDUs...and she'd never spent quite this long getting ready for breakfast with Cam. She let out a frustrated sigh and let her hair fall loose again. She hardly ever wore it down; too many years of keeping it short had left her irritated by hair that wouldn't stay put. How would John interpret it, she wondered, if she wore it down?
Which would he prefer?
Just dinner. Ha!
Too late to worry about it now; he was already knocking on her door. (Had she made her decision when she agreed to let him pick her up?)
She'd worry it later, she decided, and went to open the door.
Prompt: Sam Carter/Cameron Mitchell, secret santa
"Remind me again how I got stuck playing Secret Santa to Vala," Cam asked, deftly dodging a stream of holiday shoppers.
"Would you rather have Teal'c?" Sam asked.
"Well, with Teal'c I could get him..." Cam paused, considering. "Okay, maybe you have a point."
"Anyway," Sam said, "you love this stuff."
"The whole holiday thing. Every year you go all out, with the tree and decorations and gifts. Tell me you aren't already planning gingerbread pancakes for the whole team Christmas morning."
"Only if we're not off saving the galaxy," Cam said. "Anyway, it looks like most of the team won't be here this year. Teal'c is planning to head off-world for the holidays, and Vala's talked Jackson into taking her to Costa Rica for Christmas."
"I think there's an archive there he wants to take a look at."
"So no gingerbread pancakes this year," she said, sounding disappointed.
"Why not?" Cam asked. "You and I can still have gingerbread pancakes. I'll just scale the recipe down a bit."
"Can you do that?"
"Sam, you have how many science degrees? Don't you know how to scale down a few measurements?"
"I know the theory," she said. "It hasn't worked so well for me in practice in the past. At least not when I'm cooking."
"Just leave it to me," he said. "What about some DVDs? I could introduce her to some good television."
"Do you even know what's airing now?" Sam asked.
"It doesn't have to be airing now. That's the whole point of DVDs." He halted mid-step. "Let's go in here."
"I thought you just said you were buying her DVDs," Sam said, following him into the jewellery store.
"I thought every woman loved jewellery," Cam said. "What do you think of this?" He gestured toward a delicate silver necklace.
"It's pretty, but I'm not sure hearts are really the way to go," Sam said.
"You don't like 'em?" Cam asked.
"Heart don't really seem like Vala's style."
"How about flowers?" he said, moving on to the next tray.
Sam shook her head.
"Yeah, I think you're right," he said. "I can't even tell what kind of flowers these are supposed to be. Maybe something more abstract. How about this?"
"Oh, that's beautiful," Sam breathed. She looked up from the jewellery case. "You aren't worried Vala will get the wrong idea?"
"Secret Santa, remember?" Cam said. "She won't know who's buying for her. She'll probably think it's Jackson. Although...Jackson might get the wrong idea. Maybe I should go with DVDs after all. Come on."
He led the way out of the store, back into the mall. "You are coming Christmas morning, right?" he said as they merged into the crowd of shoppers.
"Wouldn't miss it," Sam said, smiling. "Especially if you're making pancakes."
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