Ki (somehowunbroken) wrote,

More penguin crack

Title: The One Where Cam Finds An Egg
Author: somehowunbroken
Fandom: SGA/SG1
Characters: John/Cam
Word Count: 3,059
Rating: PG/complete and utter crackfic.
Notes: Oh god I need to be stopped. Um. Play spot-the-character. I stuck as many other people in here as I could


John turns from where he’s doing his best to moult in peace. It’s gross, it really is, and every time it happens he ends up with more of those ridiculous spiky head feathers that Cam seems to like. He’s almost done, thankfully, and he’s trying really, really hard not to pout at Cam, whose shiny new coat has already grown in. “What?”

“Um.” Cam’s shifting back and forth, foot to foot, and his wings are flapping in that way they do when he’s nervous or excited or isn’t sure how John’s going to take something. “You know how you think cygnets smell bad?”

“Yes,” John answers slowly, because he’s made no secret of that. “It’s because they do. And they’re constantly losing feathers. And they eat all the time. And they’re loud.”

Cam’s wings flutter a little more pointedly. “Well. Yeah. But they’re not that bad, right?”

“Yes,” John contradicts him. “Yes, they are. Why?”

And Cam shifts again, foot to foot, and John flaps his wings so hard and squawks so loudly that a bunch of feathers fly off and float to the ground. “No. No, no, no.”

But Cam’s turning and he’s rolling something towards John and it’s egg-shaped and egg-sized and egg-colored and no, this so isn’t happening, because where would Cam even have gotten an egg?

“Where did you even get that?” John asks, trying hard to keep his voice from going so high that Cam can’t even hear it any more.

Cam sighs and turns suspiciously sad-looking eyes to John. “Its mom got eaten by that whale bastard who’s been hanging around the big iceberg with the paint scrapes on it, and its dad threw himself off the bluffs in agony.”

“Penguin!” John snaps, anxiety making him a little sharper than he maybe wanted to be and, yeah, he’s freaking out, because no, no cygnets, they’ve had this talk. “Known for their amazing ability to do that and swim to safety!”

“He might have jumped in near where the mom disappeared.”

John stares morosely at the egg and thinks about waddling the egg to the plain and guarding it all winter and having to feed it and it moulting everywhere and sighs, because he so didn’t sign on for this. “How did you end up with it?”

Cam hesitates. “They lived near my brother. He and Lena have been taking care of the egg, but you know they have cygnets of their own, and Lena’s about ready to pop out their next egg herself.”

“So he called you.” John glares in the general direction of Cole’s nest, thinking about rotten fish and seal barks until he feels better. “To take the egg.”

“Yeah,” Cam sighs, shifting his feet again. He accidentally knocks into the egg and it wobbles and starts to tilt dangerously towards the snow, and before he knows what he’s doing John’s sliding under it, propping it back up, checking it for cracks. He glances up at Cam and decides that he definitely might be a little in love with the look in his eyes, watching John do all that dad crap.

“Fine,” he huffs, irritated. He pokes his wing at Cam. “But you’re gonna be its mom. Not me. I’m not a mom.”

Cam looks more than a little surprised. “Really?” he chirps, wings fluttering, this time probably in excitement. “And it can have two dads. Walter and Chuck have one, and they’re both dads.”

“Not what I meant,” John says, tilting his head to the side and narrowing his eyes at Cam. “I’m staying in the middle of the pack this year. You can trek back with all the womenfolk and find it something to eat.”

Cam chuffs. “I can handle that.”

John stares despondently at the egg. At least one of them can handle it.

The trek to the plains is, John and Cam find, way more difficult when one is waddling an egg along. For one, it’s slower, and for another, whoever’s not carrying it spends the whole time nagging the one who is.

“Careful!” Cam worries when John has the egg. “Slow down.”

“Watch it,” John says when it’s Cam’s turn. “You drop that thing and I’m going to be pissed.”

“Didn’t realize you were suddenly so excited about having a cygnet,” Cam grins at him then.

John nips his ear.

Later, when they’re huddled into the pack for the night, John says, “I’m not.” He thinks it’s a pretty good indication of how well he and Cam work together that Cam just tilts his head to the side and waits. He knows John will explain himself. “Excited about having a cygnet. I’m not.”

Cam looks really hurt, and he waddles a few steps back from John before he notices John’s wings flapping and stops. “I still think cygnets are smelly and disgusting and that I’m going to be a terrible dad. But you’re really excited, so…” He waves one wing abstractly. “I’m happy for us, you know? Even if I’m not all that happy for me.”

Cam waddles back over and snuggles into John, nipping at his spiky feathers. The egg is kind of squashed between them, and it’s not all that comfortable, but John keeps his beak shut. “You’re not going to be a terrible dad.”

“Yeah,” John counters, “pretty sure I am.”

Cam looks at him. “No way. You’re going to be the fun dad who teaches it how to dive off the bluffs and play chicken with the lantern fish. I’m gonna be the worrying dad who won’t let it out of my sight until it’s picking out a stone of its own.”

John cycles through several responses in his head before settling on one. “Wow, you really are gonna be the mom, aren’t you?”

Cam chuffs against him and snuggles in a little closer.

John manages to get a spot near the middle of the pack, where he’ll be able to keep the egg really nice and warm while Cam goes to get it some food. They stand close together, Cam rolling the egg carefully from his feet to John’s, before he pulls back. “Take care of the egg.”

“Yeah,” John says. “Get it something to eat.”

Cam nips at John’s spiky feathers, and John nips at the ones around Cam’s neck, and then Cam’s waddling off with the women headed to the water for fish.

John has forgotten how much the cold season sucks without Cam there to be his blanket, but he quickly remembers when night falls. The wind is just ridiculous, and even though he’s in the middle of the pack, John’s shivering. He bends over the egg, wondering if he can cuddle with it for warmth when he’s supposed to be its heat source, when he hears a familiar voice. “John?”

John looks to his side, taking in the shorter, rounder penguin next to him. He’s losing the feathers on the top of his head. “Hey, McKay.”

“Is that yours?”

John sighs. “I guess it is.”

McKay clucks at him shrilly. “What do you mean, you guess? Either it is, or it isn’t!”

“It’s mine,” John glares, suddenly protective. He’s forgotten how much of a jackass McKay can be. McKay, though, is looking at him with something akin to shock.

“You have an egg? Seriously? I thought you swore off cygnets! And women!”

And he’s tactless, John recalls instantly. “I did.”

“What made you change your mind?” McKay looks absolutely flabbergasted, his wings flapping madly, head cocking this way and that. John decides to screw with him because, really, why miss the opportunity?

“I didn’t.”

“Ha, ha,” McKay snaps, managing to point at the egg without stopping his manic wing-flapping. “I’d say you did.”

John waves one wing around. “Nah. I gave a guy my pebble, and then he found it. I said we could keep it.”

McKay’s wings freeze mid-flap, cocked awkwardly away from his body, and his beak keeps opening and closing with tiny clicking sounds. Finally, he squawks, “You what?”

John shifts, nestling the egg a little more protectively against himself. “Yeah.”

“Oh my God,” McKay moans. “Sweet Fish in the Sea. You’re going to be co-dads with a guy who steals eggs.”

“Hey!” John ruffles the feathers on the back of his neck and snaps his head to stare directly at McKay, who pulls his head down into his shoulders. “Its parents were eaten by a whale.”

McKay perks up. “Wait, that’s Liz and Steve’s egg?”

“Yeah,” John nods. They’re the only couple to have been eaten by whales this year. It’s been kind of a lucky streak, come to think of it.

“You’re going to be a co-dad to Liz and Steve’s kid.” McKay shakes his head in disbelief. “And I thought me finally giving a pebble to Jennifer was insane.”

“Oh, yeah, hey,” John fumbles, because he should have remembered that earlier. “Congratulations.”

“Yeah.” McKay shifts around awkwardly. “Thanks.”

“No egg for you?” John prods. Jennifer wants cygnets like most penguins want fish and sliding down snowdrifts on their bellies. It’s one of the reasons McKay was so hesitant about giving her a rock.

McKay shifts again. “Don’t tell Jennifer,” he whispers, as if she isn’t on her way back to the bluffs with the rest of the women. And Cam. “I left it with Ronon.”

All John can do is laugh. “Why would you ever do that?”

“Hey, he’s great with cygnets!” McKay protests. “And, well, someone told me you were over here, so I waddled over to check.” He looks accusingly at John. “You up and left, no warning, nothing. We thought you got eaten by a seal.”

“Sorry,” John mumbles, shifting the egg again. “Yeah, no, I’m fine.”

McKay cocks his head to the side and chuffs. “So I see.”

John huddles more closely around the egg and wonders how much longer Cam’s going to be.

Ronon drops by a few days later. “Hey, John.”

“Hey buddy,” John replies, reaching out and smacking Ronon’s wing with his own. “How’s it going?”

“Good,” Ronon grunts. (He’s the only penguin John’s ever met who can make a noise like that. He sort of sounds like a seal. It’s terrifying.) “Got an egg.”

“Yeah?” John flutters his wings excitedly. “Finally gave Melena the rock, huh?”

“Yeah,” Ronon replies. “Hard not to after she found it. Not like it’s something I could explain away.”

“Nice,” John laughs. “Where’s the egg?”

“With Parrish,” Ronon says. “His sister got gobbled by that seal right after she popped it out, and her husband’s got his wings full with their other ones, so he and Lorne are taking it.”

John chuffs so loudly that he squeaks. “Lorne’s playing mom?”

Ronon chuffs, too. “Can you imagine Parrish trying to make it back with the women? Yeah. Lorne’s playing mom.”

Ronon has a point. Parrish is the weediest-looking dude John’s ever met, and it’s a mystery to him how Parrish ended up with Lorne, who’s broad and sturdy and solid but still a little on the small side.

“Nice,” he says. Ronon nods.

“I better get back,” he says. “Doubt Parrish is warm enough to keep two eggs warm for long.”

“Good to see you, buddy,” John says. “Oh, hey, sorry for making you think I was sealbait.”

Ronon tilts his head to the side. “McKay’s the only one who thought that. The rest of us knew that if you’d gotten nabbed by a seal there would have been some sort of hilarious story to go with it.”

“Thanks,” John mutters, but Ronon’s already waddling away.

Other friends from his past drop in, on and off, and their reactions are generally on the scale somewhere between McKay’s and Ronon’s. For the most part, though, John spends his time staring down at the egg.

He wakes up one morning to the sound of cracking.

“No,” he says before he’s even awake. “You stay in that shell until Cam gets back, understood?” But it’s not his egg cracking, it’s his neighbor’s, and John’s relieved beyond measure. Soon, though, another nearby egg starts to hatch, and in no time there are cygnets everywhere, squalling and shrieking and John can already smell it, that cygnet smell, and he just knows that his own egg will hatch soon and he’ll have his wings full of tiny squawking cygnet.

Except it doesn’t. His egg doesn’t hatch, doesn’t even start to crack, and John starts to worry when he hears the din die down and realizes that most of the other eggs have already hatched and the new dads are all settling down to wait for their mates. He pokes at his egg with his wing and it rolls a little to the side, so he quickly reaches back and straightens it.

Two days later, John’s moved past worried through freaking out and into a quiet sense of dread. McKay’s already brought his by twice, and Ronon’s been there, too, with his. John settles his head dully on top of the egg and waits, because all that’s left is for Cam to come back expecting a cygnet and finding John and an egg that isn’t going to hatch.

John drifts off to sleep, trying not to think about how upset Cam’s going to be and how he might be a little teeny tiny bit sad himself, when his chin suddenly slips form the egg and he’s poked with something sharp.

“Ow,” he complains, but then he stops complaining because it’s hatching, the egg is hatching, and there are tiny sounds coming from the inside and he can see a wing and a tiny little beak and oh, wow, there’s bits of shell everywhere and there’s a little cygnet peering up at him from the wreckage.

John’s heart stops.

“Hi,” he says, leaning until his face is right in hers. “Hi, sweetie.”

The cygnet shakes her tiny, tiny head and tilts it to the side. “Daddy?”

“Yeah,” John chokes out. “Hi there.”

“Hi,” she chirps, hopping through the bits of shell to rest against his foot. “Where’s mommy?”

And yeah, there’s a conversation John didn’t want to have on his own, but he clears his throat anyway. “You, um, you don’t have a mommy. You have two daddies.”

“Two daddies,” she says. “Okay.”

And she hops up onto John’s feet, snuggles down between his legs, and goes to sleep.

The next day finds John waddling to the outer edge of the pack, where Ronon and McKay and Parrish are, and the little one is still resting on his feet. McKay’s head pops up when John gets near, and there’s this weird look in his eyes, like he’s got bad news or he ate rotten fish or something.

“Look, John, it happens, sometimes,” he says awkwardly, and John tilts his head, confused. “Maybe it was alone for too long when Liz and Steve got eaten. You just – it wasn’t your fault, okay?”

And John gets it, suddenly, but as he opens his beak to explain, he hears Parrish’s excited chirp. “Oh!”

And Parrish’s face is really, really close to John’s feet, but then so are McKay’s and Ronon’s, and they’re all staring in wonder at the little cygnet blinking at them from John’s left leg.


“It’s okay, sweetie,” John assures her. “They’re friends.”

She nods, and he can feel the tiny movements against his leg.

Before he can explain any further, there’s a loud squawk from the top of the outlook. “They’re coming! They’re coming!”

John turns automatically to the opening of the valley and sees the first of the women trudging through the snow. It’s chaos a few minutes later, and Jennifer waddles up and beams at McKay and promptly leans over to feed the baby. John looks away, because it’s not polite to watch, and plus he’s still searching for Cam.

“Miss me?”

John spins around and finds Cam behind him. “Yeah,” he replies, leaning in to nip at Cam’s neck feathers. “Forgot how cold it gets here.”

Cam chuffs and nips at John’s spiky feathers. “Very,” he agrees.

“Daddy?” comes a tiny voice from John’s feet, and Cam springs back, staring down. The cygnet is peering out from between John’s legs.

“Hey, sweetie,” John encourages, and she waddles out a little, sitting right on the edge of John’s feet. “Remember how I told you that you have two daddies?”

“Yeah,” the little one chirps.

“This is your other daddy.”

She stares up at Cam before hopping into the snow and waddling over to climb up on Cam’s feet. “Hi, Daddy.”

“Hi,” Cam chokes. And then he leans over to feed the little girl, and John looks away, because it’s fine to watch if it’s your own partner, but it’s still disgusting.

Later that night, they’re resting on the trek back to the nest. “John?”

“Mmm?” John answers drowsily. The little one is sleeping on his feet, and he’s almost asleep himself, snuggled into Cam and finally, finally warm again.

“We have to name her.”

“Yeah,” John sighs. “Got any ideas?”

Cam is silent. “Not really.”

John chuffs. “How did we not think of this? Even McKay came up with a name for his.”

Cam nips at his ear. “He named her Ophelia.”

“It’s a name,” John points out. “Ours doesn’t even have a crappy one. And what’s wrong with Ophelia?”

“Jennifer’s not going to let him name her Ophelia,” Cam says, amused. “She wants to name it after her mom.”

“Oh,” John says. “That’s nice.”

“Yeah,” Cam agrees. He does that nervous little wing-flap. “Um.”

“Don’t you ‘um’ me, Cam,” John warns. “Last time you did that, you gave me an egg.”

“Yeah,” Cam chirps softly. “But look at her.”

John has to agree. “Um what?”

“My mom’s still alive, and besides, I don’t really want to call her Wendy,” Cam says, all in a rush. “Your mom’s name was Emily, right?”

John tilts his head at Cam in astonishment, then looks down at their tiny daughter on his feet. “Emily,” he says slowly. “Yeah.”

“Is that okay?”

John leans over and nips Cam’s feathers. “Yeah. That’s perfect.”

Emily sighs and shifts in her sleep, ending up on one of John’s feet and one of Cam’s, buried between their bodies. And tomorrow there will be waddling, endless waddling towards home, but for now the three of them settle into each other and sleep.
Tags: john/cam, rating: pg, stargate

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    Question rirst! For my own edification, I'm curious, guys. What are your favorite pairings? Canon or not, slash, het, femslash, poly, anything. I'm…

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