Cam Mitchell/John Sheppard, Cam Mitchell/Evan Lorne, Cam Mitchell/Amy Vandenberg, Cam/His Own Right HandRating:
John/Cam, Ripple Effect ep tag: Cam isn't surprised that this other Cam is also gay and also in love with John Sheppard. What does surprise him is how different their relationship is: different ways of thinking about being gay, different ways of thinking about sex with men, etc.Summary:
In which Cam(s) sit around and gossip like a bunch of old women.Author's Notes:
For LGBT Fest
. Beta'ed by wordwitch
"Okay, so you've been with Amy Vandenberg since high school, you lucky dog," Civvies Cam said, checking over his notepad, "and have two kids. Ash also has a pair, no extraneous siblings... who's next?"
No one at their table was quick to volunteer, although more because they were too busy scarfing down their breakfasts than any particular reluctance to take part in Civvies' "cross-dimensional intelligence gathering exercise", which a non-Mitchell would probably call gossip. It wasn't like there was anything better for them to do, since none of them could understand a word coming out of the collective mouths of the Sam Carters and Other Associated Science Geeks. Hell, in this sort of situation there usually wasn't that much to do for just one Cam Mitchell, let alone a dozen. At their table alone there were Cam (aka Tan Cam), Civvies Cam, Black Cam, Desert Cam, Flight Suit Cam, and Green Cam (aka 'Local Cam). Elsewhere in the room or on base were Blue Cam, Blue With Tiger Stripes Cam, Jungle Cam, Leather Cam, Class A Cam, Class B Cam, Flannel Cam, and to top things up, a Cammie. It was all a bit surreal and absurd.
"Come on, guys, don't make me pick someone," Civvies Cam repeated after a moment. His eyes settled on Cam and he pointed at him. "You. Yes, you. Come on, share with the group, it won't hurt. Much."
Cam smiled and took a drink of his orange juice. "Okay, fine. I'm Cameron Everett, after one of Grandad's sailing buddies and my dad. One brother, Ashton Duquesne, who's finally just got back from Iraq. I've been with my partner John about fifteen years, since flight school."
He didn't hesitate to admit it. They were family, after all, and even if someone did pitch a fit it was the completely wrong universe. Most of the Cams didn't seem too surprised, except for one.
"Wait, wait, wait," Desert Cam said. "John, as in a male John, not a Joan?"
"Yeah," Cam confirmed.
"So you're gay?"
Cam crossed his arms. "That generally goes with the male lover, yes."
"What about Don't Ask, Don't Tell?" Green Cam asked. "That's got to be a bitch."
"Don't what now?" Flight Suit Cam asked.
"Gay, huh?" Civvies Cam scribbled something down on his notepad. "You're the first, and I'm guessing from his reaction that Desert boy here is straight. Everyone else so far's been saying they're bi."
"I've been married since I was nineteen," Desert Cam admitted. "I just figured the occasional attraction to boys before that was, you know, an awkward teenage confusion thing."
"Same here," Cam said. "I mean, sure, don't get me wrong, I can appreciate a nice-looking lady, but it's all a bit theoretical. I haven't slept with anyone but John for almost fifteen years, and before that I wasn't exactly getting laid lot." He paused, scrunched up his brow as he thought about that, and amended his statement with, "Well, I haven't slept with anyone else but Lorne, but the thing between us and him is complicated."
"Lorne?" Flight Suit Cam said, perking up. "Evan Lorne from Edwards?"
"The same," Cam confirmed. "Well, probably. You know what I mean."
"You've got good taste." Flight Suit grinned and reached across the table to give Cam a high-five. "We've been together, what, nine years? Ten?" He frowned. "Shit, I hope I don't miss our anniversary. He'd kick my ass, hole in the universe or not."
"You know, I bet the Jacksons would think this is a fascinating look at social constructs of gender and sexuality or something," Black Cam said. They all contemplated that for a few seconds, and he finished, "Which is why we're not going to tell them."
"Aww, hell, no," Flight Cam said. "It'll be bad enough if they talk amongst themselves. If they hear of this, they'll never stop asking questions." He pointed at Civvies Cam. "You guard those notes with your life, ya hear?"
"Mmmm, yeah, uh huh," Civvies Cam said. He didn't seem to be paying attention, scribbling something down with a look of intense concentration and his tongue peaking out the corner of his mouth. Cam watched at him suspiciously and wondered just what kind of civilian scientist he was.
Civvies Cam finally flipped back to the original page and looked up at Cam. "Okay, go on."
"So as I was saying, I've been with John Sheppard for fifteen years."
"Cool," Black said. "I've got one, too."
"Wait, Sheppard?" Local Cam exclaimed. He made a wavy motion over his head with his hand. "That John Sheppard?"
"Yeah, that," Cam repeated the wavy motion, "John Sheppard. That's Lieutenant Colonel
John Sheppard, by the way. Make sure to write that part down, it's important."
"But... he's straight."
"He might look it sometimes, but he's really not, no," Cam said. "I mean, have you seen his face when a girl touches him?"
"He was married!" Local Cam protested.
Cam and Black Cam looked at each other in confusion. Black Cam slowly asked, "To a woman?"
"Weird. Maybe there's a reason he 'was' married instead of 'is' married."
"Seems like a good possibility to me," Cam agreed. Local Cam looked a little disgruntled by that and Cam spread his hands. "Hey, maybe your Sheppard is straight. Anyways, where was I? Right. John Sheppard, fifteen years, plus an occasional bit of Lorne on the side, and no, I'm not even trying to explain how that works. Ash is married to Cindy Lou, and they have Chandler, Stewart, and Lucy. Momma and Dad are both alive. And let's see, aunts and uncles...."
He took a big breath and started to rattle off family out to several generations while Civvies Cam sketched out the family tree. The whole exercise was of questionable value for anything beyond curiosity, but it was interesting if nothing else and a potential comedy gold mine if, say, in some universe Ash was short for Ashley. They'd already turned up a few variations that seemed to result from random chance, mostly in his generation or later; it seemed that any differences between the universes tended to crop up only in the last couple decades. It made sense, as changes further back might mean no Cam to report them.
A few minutes later, after Civvies Cam had moved on to interrogating Flight Cam, Black Cam switched seats with Desert Cam so that he, Local Cam, and Cam were all together at the end of the table.
"So," Black Cam said to Cam, "John Sheppard. Pain in the Ass, or Biggest Pain in the Ass?"
"I'll have to go with 'Biggest But Still Lovable'," Cam said with a chuckle. "Let me guess: he's about as good at expressing his feelings as a turtle, makes weird faces if you hug him or say the word love, and constantly risks his life?"
"That's him, all right. Wanna compare notes?"
"Mmm, I don't know," Cam said, just to be contrary. "That wouldn't be very gentlemanly, would it?"
"Come on, we're the same person, he's the same person, where's the harm?"
"Well, when you put it that way... why not?"
"Okay, so you said you got together at flight school, right? Next was Lakenheath and the 48th?"
"What? No." Cam frowned and shook his head. "We had to split up after basic flight."
"Really?" Black said, frowning as well. "Did you guys have bad luck and get split up?"
"Well, there wasn't a lot of choice in the matter. I was staying at Columbus while he went to Rucker."
"Fort Rucker? Oh, Jesus Christ," Black said. He groaned and buried his face in his hands. "Tell me you didn't let him go on with that idea about being a rotor pilot. Tell me you didn't."
"He loves flying choppers!" Cam protested.
"So?" Black Cam looked up again. "Half your job in the relationship is to keep him from doing stupid stuff, like mouthing off and not flying a real plane."
"Hey, I tried, but he was pretty set on it and there wasn't much point anyways," Cam said. He shrugged. "He was damned good at it, too, especially once he got into medevac."
"Of course he was good at it, he's good at flying anything you put him in. Not as good as me, of course, but almost as good." They grinned at each other. The truth was John was probably a better pilot, especially considering just how many craft he could fly. "Well, I guess that means we diverge pretty heavily from there. He didn't fly 302s?"
"Nope, that was just me. Was he in Antarctica with you?"
"Yeah. We both got ourselves pretty busted up there. You want to have a good time with him, spend three months together in a hospital room with nothing better to do than argue about who's turn it is to control the remote. It's a miracle we made it out alive."
"Huh." Cam scratched his head. Three months in traction had sucked quite a lot. Well, to be more accurate, the parts where he had been lucid had sucked. Three months with John... would have been fun for, oh, about two or three days, after which Cam would probably find a way to kill him with his mind. "It must have made physio easier, though."
"A bit, yeah. Shared pain is pain that's halved." Black Cam smirked. "Or just extra motivation to escape the complaining. Anyways, when we got done, I got SG-1 and he came along to join SG-2. He took command after Colonel Ferretti bought it."
"Wait, he didn't go to Atlantis?"
Black Cam looked surprised for a moment, then leaned forward with an intently interested expression. "You guys know about Atlantis?"
"Yeah, John's the CO there," Cam said.
"So's mine," Local Cam said, finally adding to the conversation instead of just listening quietly. "Ours, I mean. He's not mine the same way yours are yours. You know what I mean."
"Right..." Black Cam and Cam exchanged a look that said they both thought Local Cam was perhaps protesting a bit too much. After a moment Black Cam went on to say, "We never got anyone there. We didn't have enough gene carriers to feel confident about it until John was up and about, and by that time Anubis was running around again, and then the Ori showed up... the expedition just never got off the ground."
"That's probably a good thing," Local Cam said. "Without John there, they'd have all drowned about ten minutes after arriving."
"How'd he end up in charge?" Black Cam asked. "John's a good leader, but..."
"But he wouldn't be the brass' first pick, no," Cam finished for him. "It was an accident. He was doing combat rescue in Afghanistan and got himself in a heap of trouble."
"Load of bullshit, if you ask me," Local Cam muttered.
"Tell me about it. It happened just after the Battle of Antarctica and they needed someone with high clearance to do cargo runs, so they stuck him down there. He accidentally sat in the chair, Doctor Weir convinced him to join the expedition, and he ended up in charge after the original CO got eaten. It's a pain in the ass to have him out there, but it's the best damned thing that's ever happened to him."
"Now hold on," Black Cam said. "If you were injured in the battle, what was he doing running off to another galaxy?"
"Um." Cam looked down at the table. "I, uh, may have underplayed just how badly I was hurt. Or not really told him much at all, beyond that he should go on the classified, possibly long-term mission he couldn't tell me much about."
"You didn't," Local Cam said, jaw dropping in amazement.
"That's a bit of a dick move, don't you think?"
"Risky, too," Black Cam added. "What if he didn't come back?"
"Believe me, John made his opinion clear when he got back a few months ago," Cam said, rubbing his jaw at the memory. "But like I said, he's a hell of a lot happier there than he's been in a long while. Atlantis is where he's supposed to be, I wasn't selfish enough to get in the way, and I was pretty sure I'd see him again.."
Local Cam frowned, crossed his arms, and asked, "How'd you know all that?"
Cam glanced around the room to make sure none of his own team was nearby, and seeing that there were only other Cams and a random Jonas Quinn he leaned forward and lowered his voice. "You guys promise not to tell?"
"'Course," and "Stupid question," they replied, leaning in as well.
"A message from the future, from myself. Cool, huh?"
Black Cam and Local Cam did not look like they thought it was cool. In fact, they looked like they thought he was a little bit crazy.
"Wow," Local Cam said after a moment. "They must have given you a lot better drugs than they did me."
"Guys, I'm hurt. I'm not talking about a message from a drug-induced vision or something, I'm talking about a letter future-me left in the dead letter drop."
"As in the dead letter drop in Momma's filing cabinet," Black Cam said slowly. "The one full of "If I die, deliver this to my children at specified age," letters?"
"From you," Local Cam said, equally slow, "In the future."
"Yep." Cam shrugged. "Well, me from the future while back in 1939. Apparently there's going to be some sort of time travel plot that he foils. Was a plot. Will have been a plot?"
Black Cam stared at him. He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times before he finally managed to say, "And you just got this letter saying, "Hey, I'm you from the future, you should lie to your partner," and believed it?"
"Well, I've been getting them for fifteen-odd years and they've always had good advice so far. There's even a little journal of helpful instructions. Not too helpful, mind - there's some huge-ass Ori-sized gaps that are supposedly there to 'preserve the timeline', as if it wasn't already messed up. Between you and me, I'm not sure Future-Me was all there in the head when he wrote this stuff."
don't think you're all there in the head," Local Cam said. "Aren't there rules about not intentionally violating causality and destroying the universe?"
"Hey, I didn't know about how all this worked until I was read into the 302 program." Cam grinned. "I was even warned to keep my mouth shut or Sam would kick my ass, and believe me, I've taken that to heart."
"Fifteen years, helpful instructions... Jesus Christ. You cheated!" Black Cam exclaimed. He was loud enough to draw stares from all around the room and lowered his voice.
"You told yourself how to hook up with John," he hissed. "Didn't you?"
"It wasn't me!" Cam protested. "It was some other me from the future!"
Local Cam groaned and buried his face in his hands, precisely mimicking Black Cam's earlier motion. "Please tell me you didn't risk breaking the entire space-time continuum to get laid," he mumbled.
"Look, it wasn't like there were step-by-step instructions," Cam said. "Just... helpful hints. A bit of assurance that he wasn't straight and some tips on how to make an oblique approach without scaring him off. You can't blame me for using them."
"Really, we can't?" Black Cam said. "How long'd it take you to get him into a relationship?"
"Define relationship," Cam said, hedging his response. "This is John we're talking about."
"Okay, right, that does make it a bit murky," Black Cam allowed. "How about we say 'getting into his pants' and 'admitting that there's something more than just sex' to start with."
"About three months," Cam said, deciding not to even try and explain the difficulties of keeping that straight when one party hadn't even realized they were dating for most of that period. "As for the other, I'd have to say that getting him to come home a second time on our first Christmas was the tipping point, because he'd damned near got scared off just from Labor Day and still agreed to come when the whole family would be there."
"Three months," Black Cam repeated. "It took me almost a year just to get him to admit to being gay."
"I gave up at that point," Local Cam said, face still in his hands. "I figured he was straight or maybe asexual and decided to just be buddies."
"And home to meet the family?" Black Cam continued. "That took me two years
"Almost three for me, and that was as a friend."
"Wow," Cam said. "That kinda sucks."
"Shut up, you son of a -" Black Cam stopped short and reconsidered his words. "You time-breaking weasel."
"I didn't break anything," Cam insisted. "That was a different me, not me. I'm blameless."
Local Cam sat up straighter and crossed his arms. "That'd be more convincing if you weren't going along with it."
"Oh, for fuck's sake," Cam said. "It's not like I've magically got the perfectly relationship. John's in an entirely different galaxy and I keep reading reports from Lorne about how this week he's been shot at, nearly eaten, or turned into a bug. I've barely spent a week with him in the last three years, and even before that we were lucky to get a few scattered days here and there. I think there's been a grand total of four, maybe five years when we were stationed anywhere near each other, let alone at the same base. I've spent a hell of a lot more nights with just my right hand and thoughts about him than I have actually in bed with him, so you two can just go screw yourselves."
After a few moments of silence, Local Cam grudgingly nodded and said, "Okay, so maybe it sucks a bit to be you too, but you really didn't need to share that last bit. It's way too much information. I don't need to know your solutions to monogamy-enforced celibacy."
Black Cam snorted. "It's not like he's talking about something we don't already know intimately. TMI would be discussing, say, what kind of lube he likes best."
"I'm kinda partial to Gun Oil," Cam instantly said. He wondered if his face ever turned to same shade of red as Local Cam's did.
"Yeah? Same here," Black Cam said. "Original or water-based?"
"It depends." Cam shrugged. "Silicone's not a good idea when I'm on my own - don't want to ruin the toys, after all. It's nice when John's feeling extra-frisky, though. "
"Oh, God," Local Cam said. He squeezed his eyes tight shut, like he thought he could somehow block out the rest of the universe by pretending it wasn't there.
"Usually, yeah. There's less mess to deal with, for one thing. Still, there's times -"
"- when it's too much hassle to stop and find one," Black Cam finished for him. "You have to admit, it feels better that way anyways."
"I don't know," Cam said. "Sure, there's more sensation, but I can last a little longer with one on."
"That's what a cock ring's for."
"It's a bit inconvenient to carry a good one around, especially when you can't be sure when you're actually going to need the thing or if someone's going to see your stuff."
"Naw, there's these cool little leather cinches that can fold up real nice or can pass as a bracelet. You should look into getting one."
"I will." Seeing that Local Cam was still looking a mite bit uncomfortable, Cam asked, "John Sheppard: pushy sub, or pushiest?"
Black Cam grinned. "Pushiest, definitely. Half the time we try that sort of thing, even if he loses the coin toss or whatever he acts like he's the one in charge. The only way to get him to cooperate for sure is to tie him up and gag him."
"And even then he just rolls his eyes at you when you're giving orders."
"A blindfold's the solution to that."
"I hear you. It can be worth the effort, though. There's nothing quite so nice looking as him tied down and spread out across a bed."
"Personally, I like it when he's got spreader bars on him. Then you get easy access to all the important bits without as much work."
"That's a nice image, but we never really had a chance to try anything more hardware-intensive that some easily-explained and portable ropes."
"I really do not need to hear any of this," Local Cam suddenly said. He was betrayed by his own body; he shifted in his chair a little and spread his legs just a tad in a way that Cam recognized all too well from awkward moments of excitement in his own life.
"Sure you don't," Cam said. "You're not interested at all."
"You know, I think we need to do our host a favor," Black Cam said. "He's clearly got himself a problem here, with the way he's pining after John."
"Jesus Christ, I am not pining," Local Cam insisted.
Black Cam waved his hand. "Sure, sure. Call it whatever lets you sleep easier at night. The point is, between the two of us, I bet we can find a way to make sure you get your man."
"That's a great idea," Cam said. "It shouldn't be too hard to set him up with this John. Knowing he's gay is half the battle. All we need to do is teach him how to get in close without setting off John's emotional tripwires, tell him what John likes in bed, maybe show him a couple of neat rope tricks in case of an emergency, and he'll be set."
"Yeah, exactly." Black Cam nodded and grinned. "Of course, if we end up getting stuck in this universe, we might end up having to fight each other for John."
"Naw, we're big boys. We can share."
"Think John could handle three of us?"
"He'd love it." Cam smirked. "And I know from experience that he can definitely handle two of us at once, if you know what I mean."
Black Cam whistled. "Is that where the 'plus Lorne' comes in?"
"From time to time."
"Maybe I should look into that."
"You really should, as a friend, if nothing else. There's no one else I'd trust more to watch John's back. You should make sure to recruit him if you ever manage to put together an expedition to Atlantis."
"Yeah, Evan's a great guy to have around when you get into trouble," Flight Suit Cam said without warning. He gave the three of them a cheeky grin when they all stared at him, suddenly reminded that they weren't alone at the table.
"I know your Momma taught you better than to eavesdrop," Cam said.
"As if you didn't spend half your childhood listening to the women talk," Flight Suit Cam retorted. "'Sides, this is the most hilarious and entertaining thing I'm likely to hear all day."
"Ha ha, it's hilarious all right," Local Cam said, annoyed.
"It sure is," Desert Cam said, joining in as well and proving once and for all that Cam was shameless in every universe. "Weird, but still hilarious."
"I think you're outvoted," Black Cam said to Local Cam.
"And I think you're all a bunch of perverts," Local Cam replied. He made a passable attempt at looking serious and annoyed, but the way his lips kept twitching made it clear he was fighting a smile. His poker face sucked; Cam was sure his was much better.
"Someone give me a pen and some paper," Cam said. "Time's a-wasting, I need to save this poor, benighted man before the Carters fix the gate and send us home. Otherwise he's liable to die alone and never get laid again."
"I'm having more sex than you are, from the sound of things," Local Cam said. "Hooking up with John - if I was interested - might just put a crimp in my style."
"Yeah, right," Black Cam said with a snort. "When was the last time you got some?"
Local Cam considered the question. "Last Saturday. What was his name? Dan, Dean, something like that. He was a little on the short side for my taste, but he had plenty of enthusiasm." He smirked when the other Cams looked at him in disbelief. "What, you guys don't have bars where you come from? Or did you think I was some innocent virgin?"
Cam had to laugh; he'd never for a moment entertained any such notion but that didn't mean he couldn't see the absurdity of the situation. Fifteen years of hard work and all he had to show for it was a partner in another galaxy and an empty bed at night - along with a few intangibles like love, companionship, and so forth.
"I suppose you do have that one - one! - advantage over us," he admitted.
"Speak for yourself," Black Cam said. "When I get back to my universe, I fully intend to go home and screw John silly."
"Different man, but same plan here," Flight Suit Cam added.
Desert Cam nodded, too. "That's pretty much what I'm hoping for, assuming this unscheduled trip doesn't end up with me on the couch."
"The couch is fine," Black Cam said. "It might be more likely than making it to the bed, in fact."
"Okay, one advantage over me," Cam amended.
"Maybe," Local Cam said. He pushed his chair back, stood, and stretched. "It's been nice chatting, but I need to go see if the geeks have made any progress. I don't think Landry would be too impressed if I lazed around gossiping all day like an old woman."
"You do that," Cam said. "I, for one, intend to enjoy my mini-vacation."
"He's totally pining," Black Cam remarked once Local Cam was out of earshot.
"He's getting laid anyways," Cam pointed out.
"But still pining."
"Yep. He definitely needs help. I'm thinking some notes, maybe a flowchart if there's time."
"You still suck for cheating, by the way."
They put their heads together for a while and came up with a simple, foolproof plan that would be sure to either get Local Cam and Local John together or see them die in the attempt. It was fairly short and relied on stealth and a sudden, unexpected strike, giving no time for John's intimacy spidey-senses to detect danger. Alcohol might or might not play a role, depending on the exact circumstances. Alien rituals and/or sex pollen were also suggested as backup plans.
Black Cam was called away after a bit to help Local SG-1 try to fix the hole in the universe that kept sucking up SG-1s. There was a little bit of concern for a while about whether or not closing that hole would mean getting stuck permanently in this universe, but Cam was confident that it wouldn't happen. Most of the other Cams agreed with him - this was exactly the kind of weird-ass situation that SG-1 got into all the time, and they had always gotten home before. At worse, it'd be a week or two before the Carters found some loophole to get them all home.
Sure enough, by the end of the day the problem had been solved and SG-1s were being sent home in reverse order. The only surprise was that Black SG-1 had turned out to have caused the entire situation in the first place in the hope of finding a ZPM. They had tried and failed to hijack the Prometheus
and take it to Atlantis to steal theirs. Cam wanted to be surprised, but when he heard about just how desperate their home universe was getting he had to admit that he might have tried the same thing.
"Nice plan," Cam said to Black Cam in the latter's cell. "Three weeks to Pegasus, then three weeks back, with the Daedalus
able to outrun you, outgun you, and relay a warning to Atlantis - naw, that couldn't possibly have gone wrong in any way, even without SG-1 aboard."
"Yeah, well, it was the best we could come up with under the circumstances," Black Cam said, laying on the bed and staring at the ceiling. "Is there some reason you're here to gloat? This isn't even your universe."
"I'm not here to gloat, I'm just pointing out that it was a stupid plan." Cam tossed him a thumb drive. It landed on his chest.
Black Cam picked the drive up and frowned at it. "What's this?"
"While you guys were screwing around, the rest of us were doing something productive. That's got everything we could come up with about the Ori and anything else that seemed useful. It's probably not all applicable, but there might be something helpful in there."
Black Cam finally sat up and looked at Cam. "Does Landry know you're giving me this?"
"Don't know, don't care, he's not my boss."
"I made sure to include everything on Pegasus. Maps of Atlantis, locations of known ZPMs and how to get them, where you can find allies, warnings about the Wraith and Nuclear Fascist Space Amish. If you play your cards right, you should be able to do a lot better than we did and get a couple ZPMs for Earth and the city."
"I don't know that we'll be able to get there in the first place," Black Cam said, shaking his head.
"Find a way," Cam ordered. "If things are so bad that you're having to pull stunts like this, you can damned well do something as simple as that."
"It'd be a bit hard to justify taking the risk, given how little we've got to work with."
"If the Ori didn't know about the Milky Way, chances are they don't know about Pegasus. If nothing else, it could serve as a last fallback position for a few survivors," Cam said. He lowered his voice a little and continued, "And if that and the ZPMs aren't enough for the brass, fuck 'em. Take your team, take John, and take whoever else you can and do it without permission. It's not like your Earth could get more screwed than it already is."
There was a long silence before Black Cam quietly said, "I'll do my best. Thanks for the help."
"Least I could do. Good luck."
Cam knocked on the door and after a moment he was let out. Local Cam was leaning against the door and waiting for him. They walked down the corridor side by side, heading for the gate room so Cam could join his team and head home.
"That really how you feel?" Local Cam asked. "If all else fails, take the team and the family and run?"
"If it's a choice between that and dying pointlessly?" Cam nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I do. There's a time and place for heroic last stands, and there's a time to survive and hope you can come back some day."
"I hope to God we never get to that point."
"So do I." Cam reached into one of his pockets and pulled out a folded set of papers, which he handed to Local Cam with a smile. "This is for you."
"What is it?" Local Cam asked, cautiously accepting them with narrowed eyes.
"Intelligence that wasn't appropriate to put in with the rest," Cam told him.
Local Cam chuckled and tucked the papers away. "You're insane, you know. Even by our standards."
"Just trying to do my good deed for the day."
"You really think I've got a chance?"
"Maybe, maybe not. There's no reason not to try."
"I don't know." Local Cam looked at Cam with an exaggerated frown. "I'm getting a little old to be changing my ways."
"Bullshit. We're not even forty yet. We're not old, we're in the prime of life. Besides, getting old just makes it all the more important. You want someone who'll keep you company when you're all wrinkly."
"Now there's a wonderful thought." They reached the gate room and Local Cam turned to face Cam. "Thanks for the advice. I think. Just so you know, if it blows up in my face, I'll find some way to hunt you down and kill you."
Cam grinned and shook his hand. "Good luck."
Cam walked into the gate room and joined his team. Sam looked tired, Daniel was staring intently at a notebook, and Teal'c... was Teal'c.
"Well, that was fun," he said to them. "This is what the job's all about - exploring, meeting cool new people, learning things, helping others out. Right?"
"Indeed," Teal'c intoned.
"It was definitely interesting to compare situations across universes." Daniel looked up briefly and glanced at Cam. "I could study some of this data for months."
"Yeah, it was positively thrilling," Sam said flatly. She shot Cam a glare that said she had been busy working the entire time he'd been sitting around talking, that she was running on three hours of sleep, and that she wasn't really in the mood for him to be bright and cheery.
"Great to hear," he replied. The gate engaged and he stepped up onto the ramp. "Come on, let's go home."