Word count: 848
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate: Atlantis.
Summary:John isn’t sure when he internalized don’t ask don’t tell so deeply that it became don’t speak, but he knows he has. For kissbingo : "greeting: hello."
John isn't sure when he internalized don't ask don't tell so deeply that it became don't speak, but he knows he has. It's why words are so difficult for him, why he always keeps things to himself, why others view him as emotionally stunted or unavailable. He tries very hard not to let anything of a personal nature slip to anyone, because if he doesn't say anything, then he definitely won't reveal what he's not allowed to feel.
He's had to find other ways of expressing himself. With Teyla and Ronon, it's almost too easy to fall into sparring; to show up when he's hurting and just move through the fights with a fluidity that expresses his pain, his anger, his exhaustion. And they never press him into talking, for which John is appreciative. They support him as he asks: wordlessly.
Rodney is trickier, because Rodney just doesn't know what to do with silence. The man has an almost physical need to fill quiet with words, and John has learned to take his own form of comfort in that. When he's feeling alone, he heads to see Rodney. Rodney knows, by now, that when John shows up and pulls up a stool he doesn't want to talk, he wants to listen. And Rodney has no problem speaking – spouting facts about Ancient technology, positing theories the likes of which John couldn't hope to understand, ranting about the ineptitude of those around him. John lets the words wash over him, the cadence of Rodney's voice, and he feels soothed, though he's not sure why.
John has found a different way of communication, one that he prefers, one that he only shares with his partner. This way of speaking is physical, but somehow more expressive than a thousand words could ever be. They both know the meaning behind every touch, every breath, every movement John makes in his lover's presence, and John knows that the other man won't say anything while John is speaking with his body, loves him a little more desperately for it.
He's a talker, John's Cam, always going on about something, talking about his family or spinning a story about when I was a kid or chatting about the latest mission reports, but he knows the value of silence to John. It's why he doesn't mind that John doesn't return emails often, or that John's only response when they lock eyes in Atlantis' Gate room after Cam beams down from the Apollo is a slight crinkle around his eyes. It's why he beams a smile in the other man's direction anyway, shouting out a "Hey, Sheppard!" and walking over to clap him on the arm, a gesture between buddies, but it's enough for John to catch Cam's wrist, press his thumb into Cam's palm: I'm glad you're here.
"Why don't you show me the way to the mess?" he says, loud enough for anyone nearby to hear, but not loud enough to be overly obvious. "I'm in the mood for something that isn't labeled with an abbreviation."
The crinkle returns to John's eyes, a split-second before he rolls them and returns in the same tone of voice, "Yeah, Mitchell, nice to see you too. We've been missing that bottomless pit of a stomach you seem to have since we got an extra shipment of those purple beans from M3X-774 last month." Another, firmer press of the thumb in his palm, and John is moving away, down the corridor to the mess hall.
They grab food and make meaningless small talk – how was your flight, how's your team, how's Earth, how's Pegasus – until they've forced down the weird beans (they taste like lamb and carrots, and Cam can't help but think they'd be perfect for stew). Then they get up and John makes a comment about showing Cam to his quarters, where he'll be staying for the month, and they walk out of the mess. John's arm brushes Cam's as they step into the transporter: I'm glad you'll be here a while.
John palms open a door towards the end of the hall and it opens, showing a spacious room with a beautiful view of the ocean from the bay windows. Cam's things have already been beamed into the room, and Cam is awestruck for a moment at the scene before him: the wide ocean view, the city visible around the edges, the serene colors of the room itself. He's just standing there when he hears the door slide shut behind them, and then John is in front of him, grabbing him and pulling him close, and Cam returns the embrace.
John pulls back and leans his face into Cam's, brushing their lips together again and again, the lightest touch before he moves away, only to return a second later. Cam enjoys kissing John, likes every kind of kiss he gets, but this is the one he loves the most. It's the one that, no matter where they are or what's going on or what's to come, always says the same thing.
Hi. I missed you. Welcome home.