Word count: 1,569
Rating/warnings: PG/itty bitty swearing
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate: Atlantis.
Summary: John reflects on the day and has a conversation with Cam. Sequel to Everything (for everyone who read it and wanted to know where it went from there!).
John isn’t sure when he first started noticing his flight instructor as more than the guy who was teaching him to fly, but he’s very, very aware of it now. Cameron Mitchell is, bluntly, hot as hell, and it’s starting to wear on John’s carefully constructed psyche.
He’s noticed guys before, sure, but he’s always been able to just sort of ignore it until it goes away, or find a woman who would be willing to drive those thoughts from his head without asking what they were. It’s just something that he deals with, and until now, he’s been dealing just fine.
But a month ago, he’d found himself assigned to Mitchell for his one-on-ones. He’d heard stories about the Golden Boy of the training program, able to fly pretty much anything he sat in, polite, respectful, all the things that the Air Force would lap up like sweet cream. John had been both glad and annoyed that Mitchell would be his instructor – while it would be a benefit to have a teacher who knew what the hell he was doing, Mitchell would undoubtedly be some sort of Good Boy, and John wasn’t sure he could handle that for too long.
And then he’d met the man. Short hair, somewhere between dark blonde and light brown, cut precisely to regs, flight suit neat and clean, blue eyes and wide smile that shone from a face that screamed good ol’ boy. His handshake was firm and strong, and when he opened his mouth, John had to control his facial muscles, because the man’s voice dripped honey and promised more.
“Cam Mitchell,” he had said, and maybe that’s when John had started noticing. Maybe it had been right away.
And today – John shakes his head now, thinking back on the day. John had shown up at 1800 sharp, dressed in his flight suit and hoping that they’d actually get to go up. Mitchell had given him that slow smile, greeted him with that voice that made John want to jump him right there, and seriously, if John didn’t know better, he would think that Mitchell was laying it on thick just to get a reaction.
And then – sweet mother of mercy, then. John wants to fly choppers. It’s all he’s wanted to do since he was eight and his father had taken him and Dave up in a helicopter, the reason for the flight now forgotten, but the memory of the sensation still as fresh as if it were yesterday. The Air Force, however, seems to think he would be better suited to fly transport and has stuck him with the T-6 pretty much every time he goes up, and he’s reasonably confident that yesterday, he would have killed his own bunkmate for the chance to fly a chopper instead.
Mitchell had given him that chance, no murder required.
And John damn well knows that Mitchell shouldn’t have let him do it. It was perfectly clear that Mitchell was supposed to do the flying, maybe let John handle a few minutes in the air, but certainly they hadn’t been cleared for the things John had done. He flew moves he’d tried in the sim, some more successfully than others, trying crazier and crazier stunts until Mitchell had given him the signal to take her back down, and God, John had almost been shaking with euphoria by the time they touched the ground.
Mitchell had clearly been pleased with himself, and John thinks back to the little smile the other man had worn as John had gone through the post-flight. John still isn’t sure what made him admit what flying the copter had meant to him, why he’d grabbed Mitchell in a hug, of all things, but the surprised look on Mitchell’s face had only just covered the happy little smile, and it had been all John could do to back away, toss off some sort of offhanded comment, and walk across the tarmac.
John shakes his head again, sitting in the one of the booths in the rec room on base, playing back the feeling of the joystick, how the bird had responded to him, the heady feel of pulling it up and around and finally setting it back on the ground. He had told Mitchell the truth. It had been everything.
John blinks as someone slides into the booth across from him. Mitchell, he realizes, and tosses off a grin. “Evening, boss.”
Mitchell rolls his eyes. “Why is it that you insist on calling me that?” he asks, smooth and easy. “I have a name, Sheppard.”
“So I’ve heard,” John replies, just as easily, trying to sit still, to keep the adrenaline that’s still running through his system from making him do something stupid. Instead, he asks, “Why’d you do it?”
Mitchell smiles and gives him a half-shrug. “You hate the T-6.”
“Hate’s a little strong.”
“You loved flying that bird today.”
John doesn’t deny that, doesn’t even want to. He figures the grin he can’t stop from spreading is admission enough. “I guess the question is,” he decides, lowering his voice, “why’d you let me fly it? You were only supposed to take me up.”
Mitchell looks like he’s about to protest, but John cuts him off. “Mitchell, you’re not a chopper instructor. You’re in deep shit if Control finds out. They could ground you,” he says, trying to drive his point home.
Mitchell pours the South into his voice, damn him, and John is pretty sure he’d swear he’d never met his own brother if Mitchell asked him to in that tone. “Sometimes half the truth is better than the whole truth, Sheppard. Like I said, they’ve got this thing about not asking.”
John can’t help but flash back to Mitchell’s mention of it before, at the double entendre he hadn’t been sure he wasn’t making up, and suddenly things start to click, little things all at once adding up: Mitchell using that voice, the whole chopper experience, his little comments, his happy smiles, and holy shit, John doesn’t have any idea what to do with this information. Instead, he asks, trying to be casual, “You have a habit of not telling them… things?”
Mitchell’s smile falters, just for a split-second, and John has his answer before the words leave Mitchell’s lips. “Everyone has their secrets, Sheppard.” He’s still smiling, but John can see the strain in it, can see the nervousness in bright blue eyes, and he catches Mitchell’s wrist as the other man stands up.
“I’m pretty good at keeping things to myself,” John says, letting go of Mitchell’s wrist. Some of the tension leaves his frame, and he’s looking down at John thoughtfully. “In fact, I’d say that apparently I’m better at it than I thought I was.” He gives Mitchell a slow smile as he lets his eyes drift a little, leaving no doubt as to what he means. Mitchell sits down again, and his smile is back to the one John recognizes, light and carefree.
“Really now?” Mitchell drawls, giving John the same sort of once-over that he’d just given Mitchell, and John leans back against the booth, draping his arms across the back and giving Mitchell a smirk when the other man raises an eyebrow.
“Apparently,” he repeats. “Look, Mitchell-”
“Cam,” Mitchell offers, playing with a straw from the table idly. John blinks but nods.
“Cam. Things are… difficult.”
Cam rolls his eyes. “I’m well aware of that.” He smiles, lips curving up slowly into a decidedly wicked grin that John’s never seen before but finds himself enjoying. “One perk of being on the good side of the powers that be is that I have my own place.”
John whistles. It’s not easy, on a base like this, to be granted a place of your own. Clearly the stories he’s heard about the man sitting in front of him are true. “Impressive.”
“Less so once you’ve seen it,” Cam offers cheerily. “I think it began life as a closet.”
“You call your apartment a closet?” John asks, emphasizing the end of the question.
Cam shrugs. “Story of my life.” He grins, clearly intending the dual meaning, and John can’t help grinning back. Cam rises from the table. “Anyway, I’m in the air at 0830. Robbins failed his last qual by thirteen seconds, but Jennings is giving him another shot.”
John rolls his eyes. Robbins isn’t going to graduate flight school, and everyone knows it. Jennings, their section’s commander, is pretty much trying to let him down easy at this point. “You have fun with that.”
Cam shakes his head with a rueful smile. “No promises.” He pauses, standing next to John’s seat, and John has to slide a little farther away from him to angle his head up and meet his eyes. “You going up tomorrow?”
John shakes his head. “Classes until 1300, then I’m free the rest of the day. It’s some kind of minor miracle.”
“You like college football?”
John decides he’s moved from thinking that Cam is hot as hell to being a little in love with him in about two seconds. “Oh yeah.”
“Carolina-NC State is tomorrow afternoon. 1630. Interested?”
Definitely a little in love. “Sure. Your closet?”
Cam laughs. “You bring the chips.”
“I can do that.” And as Cam gives him one last smile and walks away, John thinks to himself, yeah, today was pretty good.
Yes, there will be a third part to this :)