Word Count: 4,176
Rating: R/non-graphic sex, Vala being Vala.
Prompt: schmoop_bingo: 'falling in love.' Sometimes it happens after you're married.
Notes: Sequel to Bonding. Finally. Vala throws a party, and she loves glitter like whoa.
“What are you doing on Friday?”
John jumped in his chair, twisting around to look back towards the door of his office. He’d been temporarily reassigned to Earth, per General Landry, “until we can sort this whole thing out,” or so he’d been told. John personally thought that the Air Force was probably having a heart attack, knowing that two senior officers of the same gender had been forced to get married, and that it seemed like they wouldn’t be able to make them get divorced, given the mind-melding process that the alien ritual had caused. Court martialling them would, of course, be a political nightmare, and probably more trouble than it was worth, given the backlash that it could potentially have. So for now, John was filling out forms in a cramped office on Earth, going home with his accidental husband at night, having lots of sex, and laughing at the military’s inability to pull its own head out of its ass. His life could certainly be worse.
“Friday,” he managed. “Um. I’m not sure.” He sent out a thought, a general questioning feeling with a vague Friday feel to it, and felt it brush against the back of Cam’s mind. He got a response almost immediately, slight confusion and the feeling of confirmation. “Nothing, apparently. Why?”
Vala skipped into his office and perched on the side of his desk, pigtails bouncing in a way that they had no business doing on a woman of her age. At least, that’s what John thought; for all he knew, pigtails could totally be fashionable for a woman of Vala’s age, where she was from. “I already told you, darling. I’m throwing you a party.”
Internal alarms went off in John’s head, and he immediately felt Cam’s slight concern. He did nothing to abate it, and Cam soon appeared in the doorway, standing where Vala had been only a moment before. Vala pouted at John.
“You know, it’s no fun plotting with you if you’re going to call in backup every time I try something,” she complained, glaring at Cam. “Honestly. It’s not like I’m trying to seduce you away from your husband.”
One good thing about Vala, John mused, was that she had absolutely no problem with the new relationship between him and Cam. Most of the people that they knew were balking, some more vociferously than others (Rodney’s reaction had been, to say the least, vehement). Vala had no such issues, and treated them as she always had, only with more sex jokes.
“I appreciate that,” Cam replied easily, not moving any further into the room. “I’d probably get jealous and then things would get ugly. I’d have to get Carter to beat you up, because my Daddy taught me to never hit a lady.”
The memory flashed quickly through John’s head – six years old, Lucy Dallins, it doesn’t matter if she broke your whistle, Cam, you don’t hit a girl – and he smiled a little. It had been happening a lot since their return from P9R-396 two weeks prior. Both of them were getting more and more used to it, little things that others said or did that triggered a flashback, a memory of some sort that the two of them now shared. It was, to say the least, an interesting way to learn about a person.
“I was just telling John that I’m planning a party for the two of you,” Vala informed him. “He told me that you don’t have anything planned for Friday night.” Vala stood from the desk. “Well, don’t plan anything. You’re booked now.” With that, she flounced from the room, pigtails swinging happily back and forth.
John groaned. “We’re doomed, aren’t we?”
He felt Cam’s mixture of amusement and resignation brush at the back of his mind. “Something like that.”
The SGC’s gossip mill spread news faster than any email system John had ever encountered, so he wasn’t entirely surprised to get a call from General Landry less than an hour later. “Sheppard,” he heard as soon as he picked up the phone. “I need to see you and Colonel Mitchell in my office.” There was a click before John could get a single word out.
He stopped by Cam’s office, and the two of them made their way towards the general’s office. On their way, they were greeted by several people, scientists and military alike, all of whom asked if there was really going to be a party. John let Cam handle answering.
“I’m not sure yet,” he kept saying. “Vala would really like to throw one, but I don’t know if General Landry’s gonna approve it.”
Finally, they entered Landry’s office, closing the door behind them. Landry’s face was a mask as he gestured for the two men to sit.
“Vala wants to throw you a party,” he said, all business, though the color was rising in his cheeks. John casually leaned sideways in his seat, touching his ankle to Cam’s. When they were actually in contact with each other, they were able to communicate clear thoughts.
Is he still…
Oh yeah, Cam’s voice echoed instantly. I’d say so.
Landry’s reaction upon their return and subsequent explanation had been… colorful, John supposed, in the most literal meaning of the term. He’d turned a nice shade of red, then gone right past that to purple, before all the color had drained from his face. He’d gotten John reassigned less than two hours later and had grounded SG-1 “until further notice, for everyone’s safety.” Cam had explained, later, about Vala and Jackson and the Goa’uld cuffs; though the epic poem that Jackson had translated hadn’t mentioned anything about what would happen should the bonded be separated, nobody was willing to take the chance.
Landry had told them in crisp, efficient tones, while staring at a point decidedly over Cam’s shoulder, that he was willing to overlook “whatever’s going on” as long as they didn’t bring it on base. They had readily agreed and had done their best to keep their relationship out of the office, per se. It had mostly worked.
It didn’t mean that Landry was any happier about the situation, though. He was the official go-between for the SGC and the regular Air Force, and as such, most of this had come down on his shoulders. It had been a rough two weeks.
“I’m going to allow it,” Landry continued, surprising John into sitting upright. “Hopefully, it’ll let everyone see the two of you, get over it, and afterwards, we can all get back to our jobs.”
“Sir,” Cam managed a minute later. “You’re letting Vala organize a party?”
“I told her to keep it simple,” Landry sighed.
“With all due respect,” and how Cam managed that with a straight face John would never figure out, “I don’t think she knows what ‘simple’ means.”
Landry made a face. “I’ve asked Dr. Jackson to help her. I’m hoping it doesn’t get too out of hand.”
“We’re doomed,” John said again, truly believing it.
“It’s distinctly possible,” Cam agreed, and they rose. As they neared the door, Cam turned back to Landry. “Sir?”
Landry had already turned his attention to something else. He looked up from the paper. “Colonel.”
“If we’re having a wedding party, and everyone’s giving us gifts…” He paused, and Landry made a get-on-with-it motion with his hand. “You can give us some time off instead of a toaster,” he finished, ducking out the door and walking quickly down the hallway. John followed, laughing.
“Subtle,” he said as they got into the elevator. Cam grinned at him.
“I try,” he said, all cheesy smile and false modesty. “I was going to add ‘so we can go on our honeymoon,’ but I’m fair certain General Landry doesn’t want to think about us having sex.”
John narrowed his eyes. “You had to say that in the middle of the day, didn’t you? Now I’m gonna be all distracted till we can leave later.”
Cam gave him a decidedly dirty smirk and grabbed his hand. The images that flashed through his mind didn’t help the issue at all, and John groaned, turning to crowd Cam into the wall.
“Not a good idea,” he breathed into Cam’s ear, pressing right up against him to let him know exactly how inappropriate this entire thing was. Cam just grinned at him, cocked his head to the side, and John saw a door with a number across the top in his mind. Cam’s on-base quarters.
“Bad idea,” he reiterated even as he was reaching for the button that would take them to the residential floors. “Very bad idea.”
“I disagree,” Cam said, rolling their hips together to prove his point. “I think trying to go about our days as normal right now would be a much worse idea.”
“You’re probably right,” John agreed as the doors opened and they walked out, quickly navigating to the room. Cam quickly keyed the door open, and as they tumbled into the room, John turned and pressed Cam back up against the door, leaning in to kiss him roughly.
It was quick, it was messy, and it left both of them glad that they’d stashed extra uniforms in Cam’s quarters, because the clothing they’d been wearing to that point was no longer fit for public. Cam started laughing as they left the room.
John scowled. “What?”
“Your hair’s ridiculous, darling,” Cam said, swatting at the mess on John’s head. It was sticking up every which way, worse than usual. “No denying what you’ve been up to.”
“Yeah, well,” John shot back. “You’ve got a hickey on your neck, sweetheart.” The pet names had started out mocking, jesting, and anyone who heard them would swear that there was nothing else behind them, given the amount of sarcasm with which they were generally delivered. Nobody knew that the endearments had become second nature all too quickly, now carried with them genuine affection, and both men were pretty well pleased with that.
“You did that on purpose,” Cam frowned, pulling his collar up a little higher.
“Yeah,” John agreed, smirking. “Sure did.”
“You’re going to be the death of me, Sheppard.”
“But what a fun way to go,” John said breezily, leaning in to give Cam a quick kiss before he ducked inside his own office. He spent the rest of the day checking the latest batch of requisition forms sent in from Atlantis, smirking as he signed off on more of them than he would have if he’d been the one who had to deal with the repercussions. Lorne would certainly be earning his keep until John returned.
The next few days were filled with much of the same: paperwork, meetings, more paperwork, lunch, even more paperwork (seriously, what the hell, John thought as Harriman delivered yet another box to his office. How many acres of deforestation was the SGC personally responsible for? He quickly realized that he didn’t actually want to know), and occasional quick sex in Cam’s quarters or that once in the storage closet in the hallway with the broken security cameras (“Seriously?” Cam had asked when John pulled him in there. He’d stopped complaining when John dropped to his knees and opened Cam’s pants). Friday was, therefore, surprising.
As soon as they pulled into their parking space, John and Cam were met by a cautious-looking Jackson. “Go home,” he told them, leaning back against the car in the next space.
“What?” John asked intelligently.
Jackson raised an eyebrow. “Go. Home,” he repeated, slower.
“Why?” John asked, crossing his arms and hoping he looked less like a five-year-old than he felt.
Jackson looked past him to where Cam was reclining in the passenger’s seat. “Your husband’s really bad at taking orders, Mitchell.”
“Tell me about it,” Cam mock-griped. “But I’m with him on this one, Jackson. We can’t just take a day off.”
Jackson handed some folded slips of paper to John, who quickly read them and tossed them to Cam with a scowl at Jackson. “You couldn’t have just called us oh, say, half an hour ago, when we were still at home?” Jackson rolled his eyes, so John added, “We could be having sex right now!”
Jackson looked like he was about to choke on his own tongue, and John grinned as Cam smacked him on the arm with the papers. “Home, darling,” he ordered, with an apologetic look at Jackson. “We’ll see you later,” he called as John pulled away, waving as Jackson attempted to stop coughing.
The papers, signed by General Landry, were actually leave requests. As per the forms, John and Cam were officially on leave for the next three weeks, effective immediately. Landry had scribbled several lines across the bottom, crossed them out, written a few more, crossed them out again, and finally left a single line: Congratulations, gentlemen, but please don’t tell me what you do with your leave.
“I can’t believe he actually gave us time off,” John commented as he navigated back to Cam’s – their – apartment. “He must like you.”
Cam was studying the papers. “This isn’t Landry’s handwriting,” he said, surprised. He squinted at the papers. “It’s Teal’c’s.”
John blinked a few times, digesting the news. “Teal’c requested leave for us?”
“That’s what it looks like,” Cam confirmed. “This is probably his wedding gift.”
“I knew I liked him,” John affirmed, smiling broadly. Cam snorted.
“You just like him because he helped Ronon pass that IOA bullshit a few years back.”
John shrugged. “And now he got us time off. What, I’m not allowed to like the guy?”
“Just as long as you like me more,” Cam said with a cheesy smile, and it was John’s turn to snort as he pulled into their parking space.
“Let’s go upstairs, and I’ll show you just how much I like you,” he suggested, and Cam quickly agreed.
Cam’s phone rang at precisely 1900. “Mitchell,” John heard as he continued to shove as much laundry as he could into the hamper. Seriously, they were going to have to move somewhere with a washer and dryer in the unit, because this Laundromat shit was a pain in the ass. John froze, a pair of jeans stained with something unidentifiable in his hands, and replayed his last thought. Cam poked his head in a few seconds later, phone closed in his hand. John felt the tentative brush of Cam’s mind against his own.
“Hey,” he said, slipping in and touching John’s wrist. “What’s up?”
John jerked his hand away and shoved the jeans into the hamper, trying desperately not to think about leaving Atlantis and living on Earth and being domestic with Cam, but that brought thoughts of going back to Atlantis and separation and maybe one of them getting seriously hurt, probably him, and the other one not being there, and he was starting to breathe shallowly, the thoughts racing through his head as his panic built. Why hadn’t he thought of this before? Why was this only just coming up?
Suddenly, there was a cool, soothing touch in the back of his mind, and John grabbed at it gratefully. His thoughts calmed and his breathing evened, and when he opened his eyes, Cam was looking at him, face full of understanding.
“Yeah,” he said, obviously having felt what John was thinking, or at least gotten the general idea of it. “We’ll figure it out, John. We’ve got three weeks to think of something.”
“Something,” John agreed, squeezing his eyes shut again. “Yeah.”
Cam leaned in and gave him a quick hug, arms settling around his shoulders briefly. It was weird, John thought, that they were fine with sex but awkward with these little displays of affection, casual touches and embraces. He turned as Cam pulled his arm back, stepping into Cam’s personal space and wrapping his arms around Cam’s waist as he leaned into his chest. Cam responded instantly, engulfing John in the first real hug he could recall getting since his mom had died. John opened his mind to Cam and he reciprocated, and they stood still for a moment, the feelings circulating through both of them. Cam pulled back after a minute.
“That was Vala on the phone,” he said, more gently than John had expected. “If we’re late to her party, she’ll be convinced we don’t love her any more.”
John laughed softly. “Isn’t it our party?”
“You keep on thinking that, darling,” Cam responded with a grin. His voice turned more serious. “Are you okay?”
John took a deep breath and nodded. “We’ll figure it out later. Let’s get to Vala’s party.”
Vala called again a few minutes later, demanding to know why they weren’t there yet, asking rather loudly if she had to come drag them out of bed. “Or I could join you,” she suggested, at which point someone – probably Jackson – reached over and snapped Vala’s phone shut.
“She’s an interesting person,” John said mildly as he swung the car into their spot for the second time that day.
Cam grinned. “She’s harmless. Well, she’s actually quite the opposite, but she won’t hurt us.” He paused. “Much. Probably.”
John laughed. “Not exactly a ringing endorsement there, Cam.”
Cam shrugged. “Okay, she’s insane, but she likes us,” he offered. “Which is better than her not liking us. I’ll go with it.”
They made their way inside and down the elevators, heading for the mess hall. John stopped as soon as they walked inside.
Cam had been right: Vala’s idea of a ‘simple’ party put any two wedding receptions to shame. Crepe paper and ribbons hung from every beam, large signs proclaiming Congratulations! and Just Married hung on every wall, and there was a large amount of what appeared to be glitter dusting the tables. It looked like she’d bought out a party supply store. Vala made a beeline for them, linking on arm through Cam’s and the other through John’s.
“There’s cake, too,” she said excitedly. “And people brought you presents. I didn’t get you one, because I organized you a party, but Daniel says I should get you something anyway.” She cocked her head to the side. “I suppose you could always use more condoms, hmm? And lubricant. Perhaps the strawberry flavored kind.”
John coughed, and Vala smiled at him slyly. “On second thought, you seem more the cherry type,” she informed him, and John’s cheeks turned an alarming shade of pink.
Cam just grinned. “Thanks for the party, Vala,” he said, extricating his arm and tugging until she released John’s as well. “Go find Jackson.”
Vala skipped off happily enough as John turned to Cam. “Insane,” he reiterated, and Cam gave him a quick peck on the lips.
They spent time milling around, trying to talk to everyone who had come to support them (or, in General O’Neill’s case, eat their cake). John pulled up short when his eyes landed on a table in the corner, and his smile was light and happy as he dragged Cam towards it.
“Guys,” he said as he approached the table. “What are you doing here?”
“I should think that would be painfully obvious,” Rodney replied around a mouthful of cake. “We didn’t get wedding invitations, so we’re crashing the reception.”
Teyla smiled at him from her seat, holding a wriggling Torren in her lap. The three-year-old was clearly intrigued by the action around him (or, more likely, by the prospect of sticking his fingers into what was left of the cake, John mused). “We are here to celebrate your union, John.”
Rodney nodded vigorously. “That insane woman dialed in the other day, said we should come,” he said, pointing his fork at Vala. “She promised cake, I promised to attend. Ow!” he yelped, glaring at Ronon, who was decidedly not looking at him.
“Congratulations, Sheppard,” Ronon said, standing to give him a bone-crushing hug. “And you, Mitchell,” he added, repeating the embrace with Cam.
John smiled at his team. “Thanks for coming, guys.”
“Yes, well, of course,” Rodney responded, obviously embarrassed. “We had to make sure you were still planning on coming back at some point.” He paused, taking in John’s suddenly tense shoulders, the way Cam’s hand had come up to rest on John’s arm. “You are coming back, right?”
John hesitated, not sure what to say, because yes seemed wrong but so did no. Cam, sensing his hesitation, looked Rodney straight in the eyes.
“Yeah, McKay, he’ll be heading back. Just give us a little time, okay?”
Rodney visibly relaxed. “Oh, good. Not that Lorne’s not, you know, but he’s, well, he’s…” Rodney waved his hands around his head, clearly unable to articulate his thoughts. “Well then.”
John was looking at Cam, who took John’s hand firmly in his own.
We’re going to figure something out remember?
John blinked. Yeah.
John looked down to the source of the voice and found Torren, one hand fisted in John’s pants, the other near his mouth so he could nibble on his thumb. John let go of Cam’s hand and crouched down to ruffle the boy’s hair. “Hey, Torren.”
Torren latched his arms around John’s neck in a familiar gesture and John stood, shifting until Torren was settled on his hip. Torren continued to bite on his thumb, staring at Cam from his perch on John’s side. “Who’s that?” he asked finally, pointing at Cam.
John smiled. “That’s your Uncle Cam,” he said solemnly. “Do you remember the Earth greeting I taught you?”
Torren’s pointed finger turned into an outstretched hand, and John watched as Cam reached out and engulfed Torren’s tiny hand in his own, shaking it up and down gently. “Pleased to meet you,” the boy said seriously, eyes darting to John, who grinned at him.
“Perfect,” he said, and Torren’s face broke into a delighted smile.
They stood by John’s team for a little while longer while Torren climbed all over his new uncle. He shrieked in glee when Cam tossed him up towards the ceiling, catching him on the way down. “Again, again!” he chanted, cheeks red and laughing.
“We’ll make a pilot of him yet,” Cam announced with a smile as he deposited the breathless child into Teyla’s lap. Torren grinned up at him.
“I want to fly, Momma,” he informed Teyla, who smiled fondly at her son. “Like Uncle John and Uncle Cam and Uncle Evan and Uncle Carson.”
“Hey!” Rodney objected. “Why am I not on that list?”
Torren blinked at him seriously. “You don’t fly good. I don’t want to fly like you.”
John quickly bade his team a good night as he and Cam walked away, trying to restrain their hysterical laughter and failing utterly. They continued their meet-and-greet, making their way around the room. It was hours later when they finally saw the last person out the door and sat, exhausted, to eat the cake that Vala had saved for them. (“I had to threaten to snap a few fingers,” she said as she placed the plates in front of them. “Luckily, they all decided to have some soda instead.”)
SG-1 slid easily into the seats around John and Cam, the only six left in the mess hall. Sam surveyed the room.
“This is a mess,” she observed. “Vala, there’s glitter everywhere.”
Vala beamed. “Isn’t it wonderful?” she practically crowed. “I think it really livens the place up.”
Teal’c frowned, trying to dust some glitter from his shoulder. “I do not find glitter as appealing as you do,” he informed Vala. “I find it difficult to remove from my clothing, to say nothing of how difficult it is to wash from my hair.”
“Spoilsport,” Vala pouted, sticking her tongue out at Teal’c, who merely stared at her. Jackson rolled his eyes and leaned past her to hand Cam a small box.
“From us,” he said with a shrug. Cam took the box suspiciously.
“I’m assuming it was you all who arranged for our time off,” he said slowly, glancing at Teal’c, who inclined his head. “And sorted out the party.”
Vala nodded. “Open the box, Cameron.”
Cam glanced around the table before setting the box on the table and gingerly lifting off the lid. He pulled some papers out, a smile slowly widening.
“What is it?” John asked, leaning over to pluck the papers from Cam’s hand.
“Hotel reservations,” Sam supplied as John glanced at the papers. “First-class transport, too. Be here at 0900 tomorrow and the Apollo will beam you there.”
“We get our honeymoon after all, darling,” Cam said excitedly. “In some tropical country with a beach and an umbrella.”
John looked up at the faces of SG-1, finally resting on his husband’s excited smile. “Sounds good, sweetheart,” he said with a smile of his own, leaning in to brush a soft kiss across Cam’s lips. “Three weeks with nothing to do except-”
“Don’t,” three voice warned, as Vala said, “Oh, do what?” a little more excitedly than John really wanted to think about. He grinned.
“Figure out what to do next.”