Pairing: John Sheppard/Cameron Mitchell, background Carolyn Lam/Laura Cadman
Disclaimer: MGM's, not mine. Alas.
Summary: Dr John Sheppard, the newest member of the SGC, has to deal with an embarrassing case of hero-worship when he finally meets Colonel Cameron Mitchell, leader of SG-1. But what if the attraction goes both ways?
Trajectories of Two Moving Objects
"Yo, Dr Lee! Where'd you put the—" A man in blue BDUs skidded to a halt just inside the lab, his brow furrowing when he saw John. It was Colonel Mitchell, leader of SG-1, the object of John's not inconsiderable affection, though with any luck he would never hear about it from John. "Hi," the colonel said. "You're not Dr Lee."
"Hi," said John, or rather mumbled, having bitten into a cream cheese bagel. He debated spitting out the mouthful - decided that would be gross - and resigned himself to chewing as quickly as possible. Colonel Mitchell watched him with faint amusement, the corner of his mouth twitching as John tried to swallow and nearly choked.
"You okay there, buddy?" Mitchell asked, coming over to pound him on the back, which didn't help at all.
"'m fine," he coughed. He sipped his tea and let the hot liquid soothe his throat, the steam fogging up his glasses momentarily. "Sorry. Uh, Bill's not in yet. He has a dentist appointment."
"Gotcha, thanks," said Mitchell, nodding, and held out his hand to John. "Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell. Good to meet you."
"We've met," John blurted out, then promptly bit his tongue. What was that? Why did I say that? He felt his ears turning pink with embarrassment. Finally remembering the man's outstretched hand, John gave him a firm handshake, all false confidence, like his father had taught him. "John Sheppard. I'm new - transferred last week."
"From Groom Lake," Mitchell shot back, pointing a knowing finger at him, grinning. "See, I do remember you. You were one of the engineers on the F-302 project."
It was a bit pathetic how John's stomach squirmed at the thought that he'd made an impression on Mitchell. "I'm, uh, really glad you're okay now, Colonel," he stammered. "We were rooting for you the whole time - all of us involved in the project."
Mitchell's smile dimmed - twisted sideways a little. "I appreciate that," he replied, quiet and suddenly distant, his gaze turned inwards.
John adjusted his glasses, casting a surreptitious glance over at the colonel, wondering if the moment required a word of comfort. Say something, his brain urged as the lull stretched into uncomfortable silence. Tell him he's your hero! No, wait—something less obvious. "I heard you, uh, you got the Medal of Honor." He risked a smile. "Wow, huh? You must be very proud."
Mitchell's smile dropped right off his face. "Not really," he said, his voice tight. "My squadron deserved that honour, not me." He took a step back. "Can you tell Dr Lee I was looking for him? Thanks." With a curt nod, he stalked out of the lab before John could open his mouth.
Way to go, John. He thumped his forehead with his fist a couple of times, then sighed. Maybe it was for the best. With any luck, shooting himself in the foot with Mitchell would help him finally get over this stupid crush. Turning back to his computer, he resolved to put any and all good-looking Air Force colonels with laughing blue eyes out of his mind.
Of course, John's good intentions hadn't taken into consideration Sam Carter's unique ability to bridge the gap between social groups in the SGC. "We can't sit over there!" he hissed at Bill, trying to block the other man's way.
Bill stared at him like he was losing it. "You said you wanted to ask Sam about the new power conversion matrix." He peered over John's shoulder to where Sam was sitting with the rest of SG-1. "She's right there, genius." He waved at her and tried to move—again, John blocked his path. "John! What's your problem?"
"She looks busy," John sputtered. "We can talk to her later. In her lab." He sneaked a peek over his shoulder to find that SG-1, along with everyone else in the mess hall, had stopped eating and were staring at them openly. Well, crap.
Taking advantage of John's distraction, Bill steered around him and plopped into the seat opposite Sam. "There's something seriously wrong with the new guy," he hissed, not quite managing to keep his voice down to a whisper. "I think he thinks we're still in high school or something."
John strangled down an automatic protest. Better for SG-1 to believe he was stuck in a jocks versus geeks mentality than to confess his embarrassing crush on their team leader, right?
"Sit, Dr Sheppard," said Teal'c, pulling out the chair next to him, across from Mitchell. When John hesitated, he added, "We do not bite," with an amused gleam in his dark eyes.
Walking away at that point would only be rude, as well as make him look even more like an idiot. "Thanks," said John, and sat down. He focused on his lunch and not on Mitchell's warm smile or broad shoulders.
"Here's a question," Dr Jackson mused, his eyebrows squinched together. "When exactly did I become one of the cool kids?"
"Probably around the first time you came back from the dead and helped overthrow a System Lord," laughed Mitchell.
"No, I'm pretty sure it was when Janet and I threw out all your plaid shirts," said Sam, eying the cup of jello forgotten on Jackson's tray. Her hand began inching its way down the table right under Jackson's nose, but Vala's quick fingers got there first. "Vala, c'mon," Sam pouted.
Vala tossed her pigtails and clutched the plastic cup, practically tucking it into her cleavage. "There's a time for finesse and a time for aggressive action," she declared, high and lofty, and spooned up her ill-gotten gain with a hum of delight. "Mmmmm, derishush."
Thus, the conversation at the table devolved into a heated debate on various strategies useful for caging food from teammates, allies, hostiles, the IOA—whose status hovered between "ally" and "hostile". John ate quietly and kept his ears open, enjoying the friendly, easy banter.
"Okay, enough food talk. Now I'm craving steak," Mitchell sighed, licking his lips—not that John was looking at his mouth.
"O'Malley's," Teal'c suggested, with a slant of his eyes in the direction of his oldest teammates. Sam and Dr Jackson groaned simultaneously.
"I'm in," said Bill, perking up. "Cholesterol be damned—I want cow."
"We'll sneak you in, darling," Vala said to Jackson, twining her arms around his neck. "I have the most cunning disguise—no one will ever suspect."
Mitchell got John's attention with a light press of two fingers on John's forearm where it lay on the mess table. "You coming with, Sheppard? It's good steak."
"I don't know..." But John didn't have the will to say no to the man. It's just co-workers out for a beer and a steak, nothing wrong with that. "Of course, Colonel, I'd love to join you," he said in a rush, fighting down a blush when Mitchell looked him right in the eye and smiled, pleased.
O'Malley's had the best steak John had eaten in years, and he couldn't help falling a bit more in lust with Mitchell for dragging him along to dinner. The beer selection was good, the service was impeccable—though their waitress kept shooting Sam and Jackson dubious glances—and Mitchell had his arm stretched out along the back of John's chair.
Thankfully John was close enough to drunk that he wasn't trying to analyse what that meant and simply enjoyed the closeness.
Dr Lam and her girlfriend, Laura, joined them for drinks after dinner, which necessitated Mitchell shifting over until his thigh was pressed against John's, all hard muscle and warmth. "What's with the hair?" Lam asked curiously, eying Sam's long dark wig and neon pink feathered boa.
"It's a long story," muttered Sam, embarrassed. At the far end of the table, Jackson and Vala were bickering about Jackson's fake beard, which kept falling off despite their best efforts to make it stick. Teal'c had stolen Jackson's fedora not long after they finished dessert—it now sat on his head at a jaunty angle.
Mitchell snickered into his pint. "Sam, Jackson, and General O'Neill got eighty-sixed from O'Malley's back in... 2000, wasn't it?" Sam groaned, but nodded. "We have conflicting reports on how the bar fight actually got started. O'Neill's report claimed that Sam was hustling a guy at pool, Sam's report claimed that Jackson got into it with a guy for calling him a geek, and Jackson's report claimed that O'Neill threw the first, well, guy. Into a wall."
"Ouch," John winced, then laughed, throwing his head back. He could feel Mitchell's arm flexing against his shoulder blades, knew Mitchell was watching him with careful intent. "I think I'm getting drunk," he said, swirling the inch of beer at the bottom of his glass.
"You've only had two," said Mitchell, blue eyes twinkling. "Lightweight."
"I'm a cheap date," John mumbled, then flushed bright red when he realised he'd said that out loud. "Oops."
Mitchell's smile was soft, fond. "Yeah, I think you've had enough." He took John's glass and drained the last of it, then clapped John on the shoulder. "C'mon, let me kick your ass at pool."
"You're taking advantage of my impaired state," John protested, though he allowed allowed himself to be pulled up, Mitchell's calloused hand gripping his own sweaty palm.
Leaning in close, lips brushing the fleshy lobe of John's ear, Mitchell said quietly, intimately, "I'll only take advantage if you want me to take advantage."
John's brain promptly shorted out. Oh, my God. Cameron Mitchell is flirting with me. What the hell do I do now? Thankfully Lam's girlfriend was eager to play pool and claimed John for her partner, giving him a chance to step back from Mitchell and take a moment to breathe. "Sheppard and me against you and Colonel Carter," Laura told Mitchell as she twisted her copper-red hair into a bun to keep it out of her face.
"You're on, Cadman," said Mitchell, his gaze never wavering from John's face. "Loser buys the next round."
"Rack 'em up!" Sam cheered, tossing her feather boa around her neck theatrically. She took the break shot with one smooth stroke, then proceeded to run the table with effortless skill and a smug grin.
Laura paid for a round of beers for everyone with good grace. "All due respect, ma'am," she groaned at Sam, "but I kind of hate you." When the balls were racked, John asked to break—Laura waved him to the table with a wink. "Go for it, tiger."
Despite the buzz from his third beer, John's hands were nevertheless rock steady as he positioned his cue. He broke - watched the balls scatter - studied their positions on the green felt - and sank every last one of them.
"Oh, nice, Sheppard!" Laura crowed, and slapped his hand in victory. Over her shoulder, John watched as Bill went around with the most enormous smirk on his face and collected ten dollars each from Daniel, Teal'c, and Vala. Carolyn shook her head, laughing at them.
"That was... impressive," said Mitchell, coming over to stand close to John - too close, his body hemming John in against the pool table until the edge bumped his ass.
John's mouth went dry. "Th-thanks, Colonel. It's just simple physics." All the air seemed to have been sucked out of the bar. Of course, if we were in a vacuum, shouldn't it be impossible to hear Mitchell speaking?
"You got more skills you want to share with the class?"
Jerking his head in a negative, John stammered, "It's, it's getting late, I should get going."
"You okay to drive?" asked Mitchell, his tone mild, then hooked his fingers in the front pocket of John's jeans. "How about you let me take you home?" He pushed his hand in deeper, eyes going hot and electric blue when John sucked in a startled breath.
"Okay," said John, breathless, and Mitchell smiled and pulled out his car keys.
The car ride home could have been incredibly awkward, but they found a shared passion for classic American cars that kept them talking comfortably. John didn't even realise that he hadn't given Mitchell directions until they had already arrived at his low-rise apartment building.
"Hey, how'd you know I lived here?" he asked as Mitchell pulled the Camaro into John's regular spot in the parking garage.
Mitchell stared at him for a moment, then laughed. "John, I live in 302. Last week, I held the front door open for you."
"You did?" John frowned, confused. "How did I not notice you?"
"Lack of caffeine, probably. I doubt you were fully conscious at six in the morning," Mitchell replied, laughing again, and chivied John out of the car and up the stairs. Ever an officer and a gentleman, Mitchell walked him to the front door of his apartment on the second floor.
"Well, this is me," said John, suddenly awkward. "Good ol' 205." He ducked his head and fidgeted with his glasses, not quite certain whether Mitchell expected to be invited in. "Is this, uh. Was this - no, never mind."
John shook his head, staring down at the ugly hallway carpet. "I'm probably way off base..."
"Trust me, you're not." Taking one step forward, Mitchell put a hand under John's chin and tipped his head up until John met his gaze. "Cam Mitchell, pleased to meet you."
Again, John shook his head, feeling light-headed, buzzed. He didn't think it was the beer this time.
"I want to hear you say my name, John." Mitchell leaned in until their foreheads were pressed together, his mouth barely an inch away. "Say my name, John."
Drawing in a shaky breath, John whispered it like a secret. "Cam. Cameron." Mitchell's lips brushed lightly against his own, warm pressure - sweet, controlled, unhurried. His pulse pounding, John fisted his hands in Mitchell's t-shirt and fell into the kiss, dizzy and off-balance, but trusting Mitchell to steady him.
There was a rushing sound in his ears, a wind. He thought for a moment that he was flying.
Finally Mitchell - Cam - pulled away with a sigh, his big hands still cupping John's face, his thumbs caressing John's cheekbones. "I've been wanting to do that for ages," he murmured, smiling slightly.
"I didn't know," said John, blushing.
Cam's eyes were the blue of a summer morning. "Have dinner with me tomorrow?"
"You mean - a date?" John's blush wasn't going to fade any time soon. "I - yes. I'd love to."
Cam leaned in to kiss him softly on the mouth, one hand sliding down to rest on John's chest, the other tangling in his hair. "It's a date, then."
When he turned to leave, their hands catching briefly before letting go, John called after him. "Cam, wait. I wanted to ask you - was tonight supposed to be a date?"
Shrugging, Cam tilted his head and replied, "Well, no, not really. I was trying to feel you out, see if you were even interested, and I figured a group thing would make you feel more comfortable."
"Oh, okay." He unlocked his front door, then paused - glanced at Cam, who was still there, watching him - and added, "Too bad. I wouldn't have minded if it had been."
Cam frowned, looking uncertain for the first time that night. "Yeah?"
"Yeah." John didn't bother to hide his smirk. "For future reference? I totally put out on the first date."
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