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Covalence (Chapter 4 - Repulsion)

Title: Covalence

Chapter 4 - Repulsion
(NC-17: word count: 6,149)



John is twenty again, with this thing for Cameron Mitchell creeping past all of his defenses. It’s not as though he was holding a torch for Cam all this time. Not like he didn’t get over his stupid crush when he made the decision not to jeopardize his chance to escape.

The thought of having to add just one more thing to the list of John Sheppard’s disappointments, of having to go home and having no choice but to walk down that pre-ordained path, the road to redemption…it was enough to quell that ache. That need.

He had never seen his father happier than when he brought Nancy home that first time; the pretty, intelligent, charming girl on his elbow who came from the right family, and had the right education, was ambitious, and who said all of the right things. John had loved her in his own right, cared about her, enough to walk away. It wasn’t like they weren’t both using each other anyway.

But this thing with Cam is like walking through the gate for the first time; so unbelievably terrifying. This thing, bigger, bigger then you expect it to be, staring at you with a promise, a dare. Walking up that ramp, John remembers the way it vibrated beneath his feet, a hum that sent tremors through him as he walked, an electrical buzz, a pulse, like the gate had a heartbeat, like it was the mouth of a beast with the will to devour.

And he remembers O’Neill the first time they met, back when John was staring down the barrel of a court martial, and O’Neill had said ‘well I think people who don’t want to go through the gate are as equally whacked’ and John had never thought he’d give up flying for anything. But then here he was, that same feeling twisting his guts, and the ghost of Cam’s fingertips scorching the skin of stomach.

“John? Are you alright?” Kara’s voice cuts through his thoughts and John’s head snaps up to stare into her concerned eyes. He nods and smiles, but he thinks he does a pretty poor job of it because she’s looking at him with even more worry.

“Feeling sick,” he says, which isn’t really a lie considering he spent the morning revisiting last night’s dinner.

“I heard, better now?” She asks, walking towards him. He’s leaning over the wooden split rail fence surrounding the spacious back yard, one foot propped up on the heavy plank.

“Not especially,” he confesses. She comes to stand beside him, leaning against the fence on her arms and staring out at the yard.

“Want to talk about it?” She asks softly, not looking at him.

“Yeah,” John says, after a pause. She waits until it’s obvious he’s not going to say anything else.

“But you aren’t going to,” Kara says.

“No.”

“Men,” she sighs, long suffering, but her voice is light and there’s a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth that tells John she gets it.

John hates thinking about the past, locks it up behind a bulkhead door and wills himself to forget the code. But here, he remembers.

The first time he looked at Cam and saw more than the potential for a good lay they were walking back late one night from a football game. The two of them, sandwiched between a group of mutual friends riding a high from a well earned victory they could feel in every muscle stretched from grinning and cheering and hugs that felt a little more like excuses to bruise. It was late fall and the air was cool in the dark with a wind that rattled the windows on the science building as they walked. John remembers Cameron’s bare arm brushing against his and the way his hands were clasped around himself as he shivered. John remembers his fingers grasping the USAFA sweatshirt tied loose around his hips, and pulling it off, pressing it to Cam’s chest.

“Take it. I’m getting cold just looking at you,” John scowled and Cam took the sweatshirt gratefully and pulled it over his head, hood falling over his face so only his smirk could be seen peeking out through the curtain of John’s shirt.

“Thanks mom,” Cam had teased. He shivered dramatically and left his arms wrapped around himself, the empty sleeves of the sweatshirt dangling at his side. John’s friends were laughing around him and Cam was walking with his head down, staring at the concrete beneath his sneakers. John wanted to wrap himself around Cam from behind, rub his hands up and down Cam’s arms until he stopped shivering and his shoulders went still beneath him.

And sex was sex. Sex was about filling a need, a means to an end, getting off. But this, this was something new, something entirely different, and terrifying, this need to make Cam grin easy and real, to make him warm, and warm was safety and comfort and protection and there was a lightness in John’s stomach he associated with things like the flashing lights and the wind cool and clean at the peak of a Ferris Wheel, and the high of a good day of surfing. And those were feelings, emotions, and they were messy and complicated and John didn’t do didn’t deal and so he stopped, or he tried, but it was hard with sweet sharp scent of Cam’s shampoo lingering in the cotton and if John maybe breathed it in with his eyes closed tight when Holland left their tiny dorm to brush his teeth, well, it was all just temporary anyway.

“Earth to John.” John jumped, startled, turning to look at Kara, her blue eyes bright in the sunlight. They looked eerily like Cam’s.

“Sorry, spacing out.”

“I noticed.” She doesn’t say anything for a long pause, she turns away from John, leaning against the rail of the fence, her arms draped over the posts and stares at the side of the house.

“I know I’m a little biased and everything,” she starts finally, not looking at John. “But after my mom died, and I came to stay here for awhile. Cam was really protective. He’s like that, you know?” She says, and she doesn’t have to because John’s seen Cam take a bullet in the shoulder for him, to offer himself for the release of his team, give his life as collateral.

“When he cares about someone, they know it.”

 

***

Cam does a fairly decent job avoiding nearly everyone for most for the day. With the wedding ceremony and reception taking place in the backyard there’s plenty to busy himself with. He helps his brother unload the truck storing all of the tables and chairs and watches his younger cousins string flowers from the rented gazebo.

In the late afternoon he hangs in the doorway to the living room eating half a tuna sandwich and watches the younger kids all piled around the television eating PB&Js. John is sitting with Becca in his lap, her hands sticky with jelly and peanut butter smeared up the side of her face. John swipes at her cheek with a napkin, grinning. She’s talking to him, Cam can’t tell what she’s saying but John is listening with rapt attention.

His fingers are combing through Becca’s hair, and Cam nearly chokes on his sandwich when John starts absently braiding it, poorly, Cam thinks, grinning. By the time Cam takes his last bite, two more of his cousins are tucked into John’s side, half asleep. John has this thing about kids, he pretends like he doesn’t like them much, but kids love him. Especially girls, of any age and variety Cam grins, Becca looks at the two boys curled up beside John and tugs on his shirt to capture his attention.

But John is good with kids too. Cam remembers a few years ago getting caught up in the affairs of a planet with an active slave trade. None of them were exactly in support of the practice but there wasn’t much SG-1 could or had the authority to do, until a young woman caught them at the Stargate. She was nearly inconsolable, and she pushed a torn photograph into John’s hands of a young dark haired girl and cried that it was her daughter and she had been kidnapped.

“It’s kids,” Sheppard had said to Cam and maybe what they did wasn’t exactly by the book, but nothing they ever did was but four young children were safe today. They hid at night during a terrible thunderstorm in a cave in the mountains by the village and Shawna, the little brunette girl clung to John, cowering at every clap of thunder while John sang Johnny Cash and held her close.

Cam’s gaze flicks away from John to the opposite doorway, where his mother is watching him, and Cam’s smile he hadn’t realized he had, falters slightly as she disappears back into the kitchen. Cam spares a last glance at Sheppard before following his mother. She’s standing with her back to him, busy at the counter. Cam leans back against the wall beside the door and says nothing.

“I’ve always been a worrier Cameron, you know that,” his mother says finally. Cam makes a noncommittal grunt and when she turns to him he straightens and nods his head.

“Yeah, Ma, I know.”

“Don’t know what it is you do Cam, always knew it was dangerous and after your accident…well—“ She pauses, wiping her hands on her apron and looking at him. “I’m just glad I know someone is looking after you for me.” She smiles at him, Cam ducks his head, staring at his sneakers.

“He’s a very nice man Cameron.” When Cam looks up his mother is staring at him, hard, and Cam feels his face flush, wondering what that means.

“Uh, yeah,” Cam stutters, “I. Yeah, he is.”

“Good,” his mother smiles patting him on the shoulder, like that settles it; settles what, Cam has no idea.

Cam has always been attracted to John, an appreciation that’s always sort of just been there, a persistent thread of tension woven through him. But it’s never been this…potent. It’s like being back in his wheelchair right after his accident, before the PT really started to make a difference. He’d visit his friends on base, with them in their uniforms gearing up to take off and Cam stuck, immobile, legless, powerless, flightless. So close to everything he’s ever wanted but not able to take it, to just watch it all fly further and further away.

There’s been moments, Cam thinks, in their history, when the consequences didn’t seem so significant and Cam thought, maybe, but he wasn’t ever even sure how John felt about…well anything. Back at the Academy it happened for the first time. God, Cam thinks, John was so gorgeous back then, young and invincible (John liked to think so). He remembers the football game, euphoria thrumming beneath his skin, frozen in the fall air, and John’s sweatshirt warm and soft. He’d liked John back then, and he let himself fantasize on the way back to the dorms about what might happen if he forgot to give the sweatshirt back. If maybe he used it as an excuse to return later, maybe sometime when Holland was out and they could be alone, and it would be so cliché and he’d be all “I forgot to give this back” grateful and earnest, and John would invite him in and then Cam wasn’t sure what next but it usually involved a big gay romance.

But Cam wasn’t exactly an expert on big gay romances and he slipped the sweatshirt into John’s hands with a “thanks” and a smile and John never really hung out with them much after that. And now it feels the same, here. Because back then Cam thought he saw in John potential, the way John would sometimes look at him like he wanted something, like he was offering something but Cam was never really sure how these things worked and it was all a little too risky anyway.

And now Cam’s not sure what’s happening between them, because he thinks John’s hot yeah, but this is so beyond that, this is teenage horniness times infinity and the fact that Cam is thinking things like ‘times infinity’ is really just a testament to how fucked up he feels. And the only thing that’s changed is this bond, but what does that even mean? Because he’s some kind of empath, okay, but does that mean that this…ache pressing against his ribcage, settled in his stomach, throbbing in his groin, is John’s?

If it is? What then.

If it’s not? What’s worse?

 

***

Things feel irreparably tense between John and Cam. John barely looks at Cam all through dinner, relies instead on the boisterous family discussions to shield him from direct contact with Mitchell. Kara is telling him about her job as a kindergarten teacher.

“There’s this kid, Tommy, you guys would get on so well,” she laughs. John raises a brow.

“Yeah?”

“Is that the kid you says flirts with all the teachers?” Cam asks.

“How can a five year old flirt?” John questions.

“Yes,” Kara smirks. “He draws us all pictures, and he tries to share his pudding cup with me almost every day.”

“I can see why you think they’d get along,” Cam says, and it’s the first time John is able to look at him without wanting to run and hide. He smirks and Kara bumps him with her shoulder.

“He also has an unhealthy obsession with fighter jets.”

“Good.” John and Cam say at the same time, ducking their heads and grinning.

“When are the boys arriving?” Wendy asks, suddenly, turning to Cam. Cam leans back to get a better look at the kitchen clock and shrugs.

“They said around nine.”

“What?” John asks, and Kara rolls her eyes in Cam’s direction.

“Oh shi—oot,” Cam amends, avoiding his mother’s gaze, “I forgot to tell you about the bachelor party.”

“What bachelor party?” John asks.

“The one tonight,” Cam says, he smiles before standing and grabbing his empty plate and heading into the kitchen.

“You know,” John says, rising and following with his own, “everyone tells me how bad my communication skills are but you really take the cake sometimes.”

“Oh bite me Shep.” Cam snarks, dropping his plate into the sink and turning towards John. He leans back against the counter and crosses his arms. John smirks and moves to stand in front of him, sliding his own plate carefully on top of Cam’s.

“Yeah? Where?” John asks, voice light. Cam pauses.

“Where—“ Cam starts, leaning in a fraction. John hears footsteps and he steps back, turning as Kara comes bounding into the kitchen.

“You were wrong! They’re here—“she stops when she sees them. John is leaning with his hip against the counter, one hand in the pocket of his jeans one arm bracing himself against the sink. She smirks, and starts walking backwards until she slips back into the dining room.

Cam turns his head slightly, opens his mouth like he’s about to say something before closing it with a snap and pushing away from the counter. John trails after him, out into the front hall. Cam pushes the screen door open, and steps out onto the porch.

“Chris!” Cam laughs, pulling one of the six men standing on the front porch into a hug. “John! This is the lucky groom.” John smiles politely, and goes through another round of introductions. Cam is reminiscing before he’s even finished, his hand clamped around one of the groomsmen’s shoulders and laughing so hard there are tears brimming in his eyes.

“Hey,” John says smiling at the last of the group. “John, Sheppard,” he says, holding his hand out, left to make his own introductions.

“Ryan Waters,” the other man says, taking John’s hand in his own and shaking firmly. He has pale blue and gray eyes and a mess of dark hair, his skin is alabaster and John thinks he looks a little like an alien race they met once on a planet on the outskirts of the Milky Way.

“What?” Ryan asks with a grin.

“Uh…look familiar’s all,” John says, quirking a grin.

“Right,” Ryan ducks his head and looks back up, like he doesn’t quite believe him. John stares for a second longer and Ryan flushes, turning away to say hi to Cam.

He glances back a couple of times to John.

 

***

The club where they end up would, in John’s opinion, be the perfect cover page for a pamphlet on the Postmodern Apocalypse. It is as though someone has rifled through the best of the worst in Vegas strip clubs, and chosen pell-mell only the gaudiest of aesthetics.

The carpet is brightly patterned but barely discernable in the darkness, the only light sources crude sconces lining the walls, the neon fluorescents of the stage and the various black lit table lamps. That John’s first reaction is an assessment of Pandora’s architectural details while the rest of the group stares enraptured by the topless dancers, doesn’t escape John. He pulls out a wad of ones like it’s a security pass to a secret facility.

“Who’s buying the first round?” He asks.

***

Cam’s gotten drunk with John (and gotten John drunk) enough to know John’s nearing the peak of his buzz. His face is flushed high on his cheekbones, the bottle of beer held in a loose fist and his whole body in a lazy sprawl in his chair.

He’s also been around John enough (and even without the persistent twitch in his wrist) to know when John is faking the easy release of tension in his limbs. And John is tense. The slight, involuntary stutter of his leg as it bounces almost imperceptibly, the drum solo he plays against his thigh with his thumb and pinky, back and forth, back and forth, hidden at his side.

***

John’s been flirting with a girl named Carmen since he first arrived. He thinks she’s a stripper until she sits with a grin in his lap and tells him,

“luckily for you I’m not,” with a coy smirk. He leans back in his chair, and she holds his shoulder to steady herself.

“Why’s that?” John asks, voice low, and he’s aware of the way Cam goes still beside him.

“You’re not allowed to touch the dancers,” and her hand disappears from his shoulder to grip at his thighs while she straddles him. The group all ‘oohs’ as one, like the soundtrack to a bad sitcom and John fights the urge to push her away. He catches Cam’s eye, who is looking not at the expanse of Carmen’s smooth exposed brown skin, as most of the men in the vicinity are, but at John and his lips, quirked up into a smirk. John leans in just an inch further and says,

“The ratio is a little uneven though don’t you think?” Gesturing with his eyes between Carmen and the rest of the group. She grins at him.

“Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t come alone then, isn’t?”

Which is how they all end up in Ryan’s living room a half an hour later, with John unsure how or why he orchestrated this display of the heterosexual male fantasy.

Carmen doesn’t leave John’s lap, her grin a little wild as she moves on top of him. As her hands move up and down his chest she fingers at the hard shape of his dog tags beneath his t-shirt. Curiously she pulls them out and her grin goes even wider.

“Major John Sheppard,” She laughs, “you a marine?” She grins, half the room winces and John snorts at the outraged look on Cam’s face.

“Air force. Pilot,” John says, smirking at her, she’s too drunk to notice it doesn’t quite match the one she’s giving him and she leans in to kiss his neck.

“You know Cam here, he’s a Lieutenant Colonel,” someone says and Carmen sits up, giving John a wink before pulling away from him with a coy smirk to move towards Cam.

“Really?” She says, with a grin. He nods, unsure as she slides onto his lap straddling him, slender legs on either side of his hips. Cam looks a little too skittish for John to be properly envious of her. Then Cam’s eyes flicker to Carmen’s chest as she moves forward, until Cam’s face is an inch away from the swell of her breasts above the tight corset top she’s wearing.

She arches her back slightly and Cam’s hand comes up to steady her, large hand splayed across her spine, the other falling against her thigh. Cam’s eyes flick to John’s as his tongue darts out to lick at her breasts, flash of teeth nipping at the skin and the noise Carmen makes is real, a soft happy sounding whimper of approval. Her hand’s come down to pull at the string of the top until it’s loose and coming apart and Cam helps it fall away, his eyes never leaving John’s.

John stares at Cam, his arms draped over the arm of his chair, scooting lower in the seat to let his legs fall open. John tears his gaze away from Cam’s to watch as Carmen stands and turns collapsing back against Cam, her head falling against his shoulder, topless.

 “I can’t believe this is happening,” one of the groomsmen says, but John doesn’t turn to see which.

“I can’t believe we’re watching,” says another one.

“Shut up,” Ryan hisses.

Carmen hooks her arm around Cam’s head and John watches as Cam’s dog tags slide out from his t-shirt, Carmen pulls them over her own head, the metal tags resting between her breasts. She’s grinning like she’s won some kind of prize, and something low and hot stirs in John’s stomach that has little to do with the ache of his dick.

His wrist twinges painfully, the skin around the tattoo is red when he looks, the sleek lines of the symbol glowing bright orange.

 

***

Carmen tugs on Cam’s hands until Cam is cupping her left breast, the other on her hip to keep her steady as she starts gyrating against him. Carmen is hot, her skin tan and smooth, warm beneath his hands. He’s never had a lap dance before, although there was that one time at prom when Mark Hemmer tried to give him one in a cramped limo but ended up puking into the empty ice bucket instead. Cam thinks this whole thing might be kind of hot if it weren’t for the fact that he was sitting in a room with a bunch of guys staring at Carmen, and willing his erection to go away.

He also thinks it would be a lot more enjoyable if maybe he could stop staring at Sheppard. John is watching him, his hands, his thighs, his chest, his lips and eyes, Cam doesn’t think he’s even looked once at Carmen. Except…except when she’d taken his dog tags, and Cam’s never really had a military kink before (thankfully) but all the other guys are staring at them like she’s G.I Jane or something, and he wonders what Sheppard would look like in her place.

The skin on his wrist twitches and out of the corner of his eye he can see it glow a deep velvety red, he doesn’t need a mood ring to tell him it means ‘pissed off’ because Sheppard’s eyes are hard, and a little cold. He’s staring at Carmen with a predatory look in his eyes, but it doesn’t match the others’, who are staring at Carmen like they’d enjoy nothing more than beating Cam over the head with a large club and carrying her back off to the man cave. But John is staring at Carmen like she’s dared tread into his territory.

 

***

“Hey,” Cam says, eyes glazed and voice low and rough. His hands come up to land gently against the skin of Carmen’s hips. He starts to stand, rising just an inch off the chair, coercing her to move. John watches as Carmen gives a fake little moan, not quite getting the subtle message as she grinds her hips down against Cam. Cam stills beneath her, mouth parting and breath hitching. John shifts in his seat as he watches.

“Uh…groom,” Cam says, a little distracted, pointing at Chris across the room. Carmen turns her head and gives Chris a predatory grin and Chris flushes as she rises and heads toward him. John’s lip twitches as Cam removes the dog tags from around Carmen’s neck and slips them back on over his own, tucking them into his t-shirt. John watches Cam dart around the coffee table towards the foyer and the front door. His shirt is rumpled, his face flushed, and mouth obscenely red; with his dick hard in his jeans he looks the epitome of debauched. But it isn’t Carmen that Cam glances back at for a fraction of a second before he disappears out the front door.

John stands slowly, and follows Cam out a short pace behind him. Cam is standing with his back to the door, his hands splayed across his hips, as he stares out towards the street. Tall trees line the edge of the long drive, casting the small house into deep shadows, blocking the light of the street lamps, and the moon overhead.

John walks slowly up behind Cam, and not for the first time he is struck with the pulsing need to envelop Cam from behind. He stopped himself that first time, with the irrationality of a barely not teenager no less, and here, as an adult he feels like he has regressed, gotten reckless. He steps up behind Cam, so close his own cock twitches in his jeans and Cam’s breath stops. John ducks his head forward until his nose brushes the hair at the back of Cam’s head and like a sense memory John is overwhelmed by the sickly sweet scent of Cam.

John’s hands move between Cam’s arms, still attached to his hip. His fingers span across Cam’s side, tucked beneath Cam’s ribcage. John’s fingers start to travel and all the wrongbadno screaming in his head he suppresses beneath the Godpleaseyes as his fingers fan across Cam’s thigh, his fingertips barely brushing the hard line of his dick through denim.

Cam’s hand comes crashing into John’s, stopping him, his fist closing tight around his fingers. Cam pushes him away roughly and he turns around. His pupils are blown, his eyes wide and clear with confusion as he shakes his head and stutters an,

“‘M’sorry.”

John doesn’t say anything, just closes his hand into a fist and backs a few feet up, waiting for Cam to say something else, to shake his head and tell him to stop, to reach out and pull him back. He doesn’t. So John turns around and heads back into the house where Carmen is still gyrating on Chris’s lap while a crowd of drunken men cheer.

When he looks up he sees Ryan on the stairs in front of him. Ryan stares at him without saying anything, just a long devious look before he turns and starts up the stairs, his eyes never leaving John’s until he disappears around the landing.

John’s cock is still hard.

He doesn’t know what Cam wants. What Ryan is offering is obvious; so he follows him up the stairs.

 

***

Cam paces back and forth in the small bathroom, splashing cold water across his flushed face. He suppresses the desire to climb into the shower and turn the water on as cold as it can go.

“You are his commanding officer,” he hisses at his reflection, his fingers gripping the edges of the porcelain sink. “The top of a very very long list why this can never fucking happen,” he tells himself harshly. His cock is starting to soften, and then he thinks of John’s hands on the insides of his thigh and allows the thought of what would have come next to pass through his mind and his dick twitches.

He undoes his jeans, slowly, the feel of John’s hand still clear in his mind as he wills the feel of his own away, imagines John’s longer thinner fingers there instead, popping the button on his jeans, deftly making quick work of the zipper. His dick jerks and he moans, his knees go weak and,

“The fuck’s that?” He hisses to himself. He turns and collapses against the closed lid of the toilet and pushes a hand firm against his cock. He slides a hand inside his boxer briefs and nearly comes before he has a chance to wrap a messy fist around himself.

He hasn’t felt anything so intense since the first time he had another’s hand on his dick, his first sloppy hand job in the back row of a nearly empty movie theater when he was fourteen.

“Christ sake,” he hisses. He’s 37 years old, it shouldn’t feel like this. Well it should, he laughs, breathy and desperate, tugging on his dick, but it isn’t and he comes hard with a shout muffled into the crook of his arm as his cock jerks, spilling over his fist inside his boxer briefs. His wrist glows bright red and warm, he stares at it as he comes down, watching it fade to a pale blue Cam knows means ‘calm’ and he has a suspicion ‘sated’ might be another apt adjective.

He stares down at the stain covering a very unfortunate portion of his underwear and groans. Cam collapses against the toilet and tries to catch his breath.

“Fuck.”

Cam stands, does up his jeans and winces; instead he pulls them off before rolling the soiled boxers into a ball and burying them at the bottom of Ryan’s trash, hoping no one finds them. He prefers going commando anyway (but with his track record is sort of dangerous).

He hopes what just transpired is unobvious as he steps out of the bathroom and back into the living room. His head is a little clearer in that post orgasmic way.

Cam scans the living room for John but he isn’t there. He doesn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed.

“Hey Mark you see Sheppard?” He asks, Cam knows he should go find John, talk about what just happened. He’s not exactly looking forward to the inevitable conversation but he thinks he owes it to John at least.

“Uh yea,” Mark says, a little distracted watching Carmen attached now to the best man. “He went upstairs with Ryan like ten minutes ago.”

“Oh, thanks,” Cam says backing up and turning to walk back the way he came toward the stairs.

“Uh…I wouldn’t…if I were you,” Mark warns with a sideways grin when Cam turns back.

“What? Why?” He asks. Mark stares up at him in disbelief.

“Uhm…just wouldn’t is all,” he says, voice almost teasing. Cam stares at the back of his head for a second before shaking his own and walking towards the stairs. Just wouldn’t is all echoes in his head as he clamps a hand on the railing and he thinks about how hard he came, like the force of two instead of one and the way his wrist lit up. He takes a step back feeling sick and kind of angry.

He decides Mark is right and he steps back into the living room unnoticed and collapses into an arm chair facing the bottom of the stairs. There Cam sits shrouded in the dark, waiting, until Sheppard and Ryan appear at the bottom of the stairs, unabashedly together. Sheppard’s face is flushed, his hair more unruly than ever. Cam’s eyes flick to the mirror behind them, to Ryan’s hand hidden by their bodies, pressed against the hollow of John’s back and the curve of his ass.

It spurs Cam into movement, reflexively jumps out of his seat like he’s been scorched by the leather beneath him. Ryan’s hand drops away from John as Sheppard moves forward into the living room, ignoring Cam’s outburst and Cam altogether as he takes a seat on the old worn out couch. Ryan sits down beside him, far too close, with their thighs pressed together and more than the width of a leg between the arm of the couch and John, but John doesn’t move away, just grabs a bottle of beer off the coffee table and leans back against the couch.

“Bottle opener,” John says, voice rough and lazy, but he doesn’t make a move to look for one, just turns his head slightly to stare at Ryan expectantly. Ryan pulls a bic lighter out of his pocket, and takes the beer from John’s outstretched hand. Ryan pops the cap open and takes a swig before handing the bottle back to John. John turns his head towards Cam and raises his bottle in a mock toast before taking a generous sip.

Cam watches as Ryan pulls a pack of cigarettes out of his back pocket and light ones, poised between pursed lips. He manages only one drag before John slides the cigarette out of his mouth and Cam watches John’s lips, swollen and red form an O as he tries to blow smoke rings and fails. Ryan bumps his shoulder with a grin and says quietly in his ear,

“didn’t know you smoked.” John opens his mouth to answer on an exhale and coughs. Cam tries not to smirk with smug satisfaction, because he knows Sheppard hates cigarettes. Ryan huffs out a laugh, taking the cigarette from John’s fingers and blowing a messy smoke ring. John smirks, still coughing, taking a too large sip of beer that spills a drop of liquid down his chin. Cam watches, suppressing the instinct to dart forward and swipe it away. He wants to, badly, with a fingertip tickling against Sheppard’s skin, with a gentle press of his tongue tasting beer and smoke and salt.

But he doesn’t, instead he leans even further back in his chair and Sheppard brushes the drop away with the back of his hand his eyes boring into Cam’s.

“Hey we’re gonna put Chris to bed,” Mark says suddenly, breaking the tension between John and Cam. John looks away towards the others who are bent over helping to pull the drunken groom-to-be off the floor. Ryan snuffs out the cigarette on a floral printed coaster and stands up, nodding. Cam watches John as the others are preoccupied, watches John trace the contours of Ryan’s body with his eyes and the inseam of Ryan’s leg with a palm. Cam lets slip a hiss of surprise and indignation as John’s thumb brushes against the crotch of Ryan’s jeans.

John snatches his hand away as the others turn to Cam.

“What?” Mark asks. Cam shakes his head and stands up.

“Yeah, we should head out too,” Cam says, nodding. He plasters a grin across his face and claps Mark on the back, pulling him into a half hug. He turns Chris’s lolling head towards him and kisses him sloppily on the forehead, patting him twice on the cheek and letting his head drop back. “Poor bastard.”

“If he has a hangover for the wedding tomorrow we are all so fucked.”

Cam smirks and nods his agreement, watching the groomsmen pull Chris toward the stairs. Cam doesn’t want to turn around.

“You think they’ll be alright?” Cam asks, turning slightly to the other two men, and nodding in the direction of the would-be-strippers passed out on the opposite side of the room.

“They’ll be fine,” Ryan says.

“We should go.” Cam turns and looks at John. He’s still sitting on the couch, staring up at Ryan and Cam with an expression Cam can’t quite determine, like he’s waiting for something. Cam looks between and them, he’s not sure who John’s waiting for.

“Yeah, I’ll meet you at the car,” John says, taking another sip of his half empty beer bottle. Cam doesn’t move, just stares at them for a second longer, wondering what they’d do if he just refused.

“Kay.” He says finally, turning and walking out the door. The air is cool against his skin, jacket balled up in his hands. He leans against the cold metal of the car and waits. John couldn’t be gone for more than 90 seconds, and Cam wonders what they could have gotten up to in that amount of time. He thinks about what he’d do with 90 seconds of uninterrupted consequence free time with John.

He’s hard by the time John steps out, walks around to the passenger’s side, pulls the door open, and climbs in without a glance toward Cam

***
Ch 3: Nostalgia  |   Chapter 5: Contrition



 
Tags: covalence
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