Pairings: Sheppard/Lorne, Chuck/Parrish
Series: Dramatic Exit
Summary: Chuck takes a trip off-world, and learns that some of the more odd rumors about what happens to teams are actually true.
Notes: Thanks to archae_ology for the beta.
"Chuck. Buddy. How are you?"
Chuck looked up from his potato soup and saw Colonel Sheppard next to his table. He carefully set his spoon down and smiled hesitantly. "Fine, sir."
"You applied for some off-world time, right?" Sheppard asked, sliding into the opposite chair.
Chuck wasn't sure what had brought this up, and was pretty sure he didn't want to know. "Actually, I did, but -"
"Great. Most of Lorne's team is down with the flu, and since Ronon and Teyla are off doing their...drum thing, I was going to go with him and Parrish on their trip to Jitari." Chuck opened his mouth to ask what a check-up on a tava irrigation system had to do with him, but Sheppard continued on. "Rodney's refusing to have anything to do with it, and we need a fourth man but for some reason all the other gate team members are busy."
"Oh." Chuck knew why everyone was busy - no one wanted to go off-world with both Sheppard and Lorne, whose teams were numbers one and two in abductions, attacks, druggings, animal maulings, and other general unpleasantness by a wide margin. What had happened to poor Lieutenant Christholm with the llama-thing was still fresh in everyone's mind.
"So I figured now would be a good time for you to get some experience on a safe world. I'll see you in the gateroom in two hours. Don't worry about your shift in the control room, I've already taken care of it." Sheppard was out of his chair and across the mess before Chuck could say no.
Sergeant Ramirez, who was manning the armory, wished him well using a tone that seemed more appropriate for saying goodbye to a terminally ill friend.
Going offworld proved to be rather boring. After the initial introductions and greetings, Sheppard and Lorne went off with the local mayor to talk about their trade agreement, leaving Chuck to escort Parrish around the fields. He and one of the engineers had designed a new irrigation system for them, and now Parrish was making sure the imported crops were growing well. Chuck didn't understand half of what he and the local farmer guys were discussing, but Parrish certainly seemed really enthusiastic about it. At one point, he pulled Chuck down to look at one of the plants.
"Look, sergeant. See how it's blue along the stalk there? That's how you can tell it's the higher-yielding variant that we introduced," Parrish babbled. Chuck nodded, although if he was honest he'd have to admit he was concentrating more on the fact that Parrish seemed to have no concept of personal space and was pressed right against him. Trying to focus on the plant only meant watching Parrish's long, slender fingers all but fondle the round pods. He was surprised none of the natives had noticed and thrown a fit about desecrating holy plants or something.
Then again, one of the farmers did seem rather interested in a distinctly non-murderous way. Chuck made a point of staying between him and Parrish for the rest of the tour. The farmer glared at him, while the botanist didn't even seem to notice at all. It was probably for the best, because if he'd asked about it Chuck wouldn't have been able to explain it. He barely knew Parrish after all. It wasn't like he could be jealous.
That evening they were invited to stay for dinner with the town leaders. Chuck thought the idea was a bit dubious, but Sheppard had already gotten it cleared with Weir, and Chuck had to admit that this could have been a visit to a town in any part of Earth, it was so normal. He was starting to think that maybe the offworld teams exaggerated a bit when telling tales.
"So, how's your first trip going?" Sheppard asked beside him as they ate some sort of chicken.
"It's been going well, sir," Chuck said. After a moment, he added, "It looks like the crops are doing well, especially the berries. You can tell the new system is really helping because they're turning a brighter blue than normal." Parrish beamed at him, obviously pleased he'd been paying at least a little attention, and Chuck smiled back.
"Good, good," Sheppard said. "Honestly, I don't know why some people get such weird ideas. These are great people, never had anything odd happen with them."
Chuck couldn't help but notice that Lorne and Parrish both winced when Sheppard said that. He wondered why, but before he could think of an oblique question, their hosts set out the desert, some sort of sliced fruit served on a shortcake.
Everything after that was a bit of blur.
Chuck woke up in morning to find himself snuggled against the pleasant, firm warmth of someone's chest with an arm holding him tight. That was certainly a nice change from routine, he thought. He'd never been one for casual sex, and the weird hours had always made trying to get together with someone difficult. Something must have worked out, because he was way more relaxed than he'd been in months. He couldn't quite remember how he'd gotten there, but he was too comfortable to care.
That was the case, at least, until he felt someone stretching behind him. That seemed rather odd, all things considered, because that would mean there was someone else in the bed. A moment later a hand landed on his shoulder and a familiar voice mumbled, "Oh, not again."
Chuck opened his eyes and scooted back a little, pressing against another body. It was definitely Parrish in front of him, who looked rather cute asleep. That would be great, except for the fact that he was starting the realize he couldn't remember anything after dinner last night, and he suspected that -
"Geroff, Chuck," said Lorne, shoving him back against Parrish.
- he was in bed with at least one and probably both of the expedition's senior officers. That was probably a bad thing by anyone's standards, because even in the Canadian military that sort of thing was frowned upon. He rolled onto his back and looked left, and sure enough there was Lorne, blinking blearily, and laying on his chest was either Sheppard's head or a tribble. Parrish stirred beside him.
"Huh," the botanist said, as if waking up in a puppy pile wasn't terribly surprising or bad.
"Did we have sex?" Chuck asked, squeaking a bit.
"Hmm." Parrish shifted around experimentally. "Yeah, I'd say so."
Lorne prodded Sheppard a few times, and the colonel rubbed his face and frowned. "My ass is kinda sore."
"Oh, shut up, John," Lorne said, elbowing Sheppard in the side. He climbed over Sheppard and got up, poking through the pile of clothes of the floor. "You have no room to complain."
"Are you ever going to drop that?" Sheppard asked as he rolled off the bed and took the pants Lorne offered him. "I said I was sorry, and it's not like Carson couldn't fix -"
"Excuse me," Parrish said, sharing a look of horror with Chuck, "But I really don't think we want to know."
Sheppard looked at Lorne. Lorne looked at Sheppard. They both looked at Chuck and Parrish, then back at each other before nodding. Lorne got his shirt on and tugged Sheppard towards the door, saying, "Come on, let's check in before Weir sends Stackhouse to find us again. Honestly, why this happens every time we got on a mission together -"
They were cut off when the door closed, leaving the room in silence. Chuck was acutely aware that he was still laying naked next to Parrish. The botanist hummed and stretched out like a cat, and despite his discomfort Chuck's eyes followed the smooth lines of his body. They laid there quietly for a few minutes, until Parrish asked softly, "You ok?"
"I. Uh, yeah, I guess." Chuck stared up at the ceiling. "Give me a minute. I'm still trying to accept that I just had sex with my CO and the XO."
"You probably didn't. They get really clingy when drugged," Parrish replied, as if this sort of thing happened a lot. Of course, if Cadman was to be believed, it did. Now he was wondering how many of her stories were real and how many were made up.
Chuck let that sink in, then opened his mouth just as Parrish was about to say something else. "Go ahead."
"I really wouldn't worry about it. What happens offworld stays there and all that." Parrish paused and blushed. "Also, ah. I was going to say..."
"Yeah?" Chuck wondered why he was suddenly acting so shy after his complete nonchalance.
Parrish looked around at everything but him. "It's really too bad that I don't remember anything."
He rushed on, "And I was wondering if you, maybe, uh..."
"Have dinner or something after we get back?" Chuck finished, blushing himself. "That'd be nice."
"Cool." The two of them grinned at each other like loons and Parrish began to run his hand through Chuck's hair. Chuck flushed and leaned over to kiss him, but just as their lips met they were interrupted by someone pounding on the door.
"Were you two planning on getting up?" Sheppard called, and Parrish rolled his eyes.
"We're coming, colonel!" he yelled back, before turning back to Chuck. "Honestly. Just because they get laid regularly isn't an excuse to not let the rest of us relax afterwards."
"Well," Chuck replied, risking a quick peck before crawling off the bed, "we'll just have to start getting laid regularly, too."