"I hate corporate weenies," John said as he lounged back in the co-pilot seat.
"I'm with you, but they do bring in the big bucks when they charter the jet, thus allowing us to take it for our own personal use," Cam replied, running his eyes over the readouts.
"And what's the point of that if they rearrange the flight schedule so we don't get where we're going?"
"Okay, first off, we are not late."
"We were supposed to be there last night."
"Yes, we were, but that was just the rehearsal dinner. I know you're pissed that you were stuck out of town, waiting for our clients."
"I can't fix that, but I did reevaluate our trip and improved the plan. We'll be on time for the wedding, and we'll also be around for the post-wedding bash and for a few days after."
"Days?" questioned John with a smile.
"Yeah. When the corporate weenies held you hostage at Glacier National Park, I decided to clean up our flight schedule, so you and I could be grounded someplace nice with friends, which if I'm remembering correctly -"
"Was something that I was disappointed about in the original plan. You actually listen to me."
Cam smiled. "I like you, more or less. Besides, what's the point of being our own bosses if we don't take advantage every once in a while?"
John nodded. "You know, even when I was in charge of Atlantis, I think I only worked half as much as we do now."
"I know the feeling," Cam said.
John thought that was good; it would help him later on to convince Cam to reevaluate a few things. "I suppose I should get into my wedding duds."
"I got you all set up. The bag under your seat has clean socks and that kind of stuff." The voice of flight control came over the radio with their ID tag. "Suit is hanging on the seat behind you," Cam said, and then flipped a switch on the panel, so he could acknowledge their plane being passed from one air traffic control zone to the next.
John started stripping his clothes, looked out the window and then took off the rest of his clothes. Still talking to Air Traffic Control, Cam glanced at him with a raised eyebrow.
With a smile, John relaxed, putting his arms behind his head and waiting for Cam to end the transmission. "You know, I've never flown naked before."
"There're a lot of reasons for that, not the least of which is that your preferred form of transportation is breezy."
"I don't consider that a downside to helicopters," John said as he took a clean sock out of the bag and twirled it.
"I know. Probably another big reason is that you've done most of your flying for the US Air Force. They have a way of frowning at airmen being out of uniform."
"You're one to talk - you get mad at me when I don't wear something with the company logo on it."
With a smile, Cam reached over and ran the palm of his hand over John's chest, down his belly and over his thigh, letting his fingers dance just a little in other places. "If it wouldn't panic the tourists, I could get used to this look. See, there's a clear advantage of not working for the Air Force any longer." He laughed.
John laughed with him, but decided that Cam's point was a strike against his proposal, but he could work with it.
For all the delays in them getting from South Dakota to Colorado, things went fairly well. Flight Control got them a runway right away, and while John took care of squaring away the jet with the ground crew, Cam filed their paperwork. Their rental car was waiting for them at the gate.
Soon enough, they were standing in a hotel atrium with two story floor to ceiling windows, facing the mountains. The sunken space in front of them had a typical hotel assortment of couches and chairs with small tables covered with tablecloths. The plant life was tropical and was augmented with baskets of brightly colored flowers and candles.
"Look at that, we've got two hours before the wedding," Cam said. "Told you we'd make it."
"And we even look good. Speaking of people not dressed as well, did you see the plain clothes guys with earpieces?"
"Yeah." Cam leaned in, lowering his voice. "There are concerns about anti-alien groups trying to bust in. Not everyone's as happy for Sam and Teal'c as we are."
John nodded, like he was assessing how that information might impact their day. "Speaking of being happy for them, should we bring in the gift? For that matter, if we're going back to the car, maybe we should check in."
"Uh-uh, checking in can wait," said Daniel Jackson as he approached them, extending his hand, which Cam took into his.
"Daniel! Good to see you."
"Sorry we didn't make it to the rehearsal," John said, shaking Daniel's hand.
"Fortunately for you," Daniel poked Cam in the chest, "Sam understands schedules getting disrupted and has forgiven you. Provided you go inside and get some personalized instruction in your duties for the day."
"I thought all you had to do was stand next to Teal'c," John said.
"That's what Teal'c told me," Cam said. "Me, General O'Neill and Daniel on the grooms' side and-"
"There's my Daniel!" Vala shouted.
Daniel didn't even look behind him, but instead visibly braced himself for what Cam knew was a hug that would not only knock the wind out of him but potentially land him on the ground. "Hey!" Daniel grunted as he spun around and froze, blinking with a frown. "What are you wearing?"
"They call it a dress, Daniel?" Her voice was quiet, as if she were instructing a child in the finer points of an alien civilization.
Daniel let out an exasperated sigh, which just made Cam smile at John who was also looking amused.
"I know it's a dress, but it's all silky and modest and flowery," Daniel said.
Cam saw Vala's eyes get very wide and her mouth start to open and apparently, so did Daniel because he jumped to amend. "But flowery in a good way!" Sliding his hands off the gauzy short sleeves and down her bare arms, Daniel gave her a brief squeeze. "You look good. Pretty, even."
"Yes, yes, it is a trial being this beautiful, but somehow I manage. The one saving grace of all this is that Cassandra showed me pictures, and it could have been worse - much, much worse. Do you have any concept of exactly how hideous your culture makes the bridesmaids look?" Vala poked Cam in the chest, forcing him to hold up his hands and take half a step back. "I mean, sure, it'll always show off the bride better, but it seems to me that the custom might have been taken too far. Speaking of which, are you going to say hello?"
"Uh, hel-" Cam started to say, but then had the breath crushed out of him. John got similar treatment a few moments later.
Daniel was laughing, probably at them as he fussed with his pockets. "I think you look beautiful, and Sam's not the kind of vindictive bride who would dress you in lime green ruffles."
"Shows what you know, O'Neill showed up last week and kept going on and on about hoop skirts and parasols. At the time, I wasn't sure what that meant, so I was restrained in my response."
Cam lifted an eyebrow in doubt, but Vala didn't see the look or didn't care and kept going. "Fortunately, Cassie overheard him and pummeled him within an inch of his life." Vala smiled. "By the way, you all look acceptable," she said, brushing invisible dust from Daniel's lapels. "And I only moved your wallet from one pocket to the other. Don't drop any of your papers when you move it back."
Patting his relocated wallet, Daniel nodded. "Thank you for not creating an embarrassing situation for me later."
She slapped him on the shoulder, hard. "Daniel, don't be silly. I'll have plenty of time to do embarrassing things in your pockets. There will be dancing later. Now, we should get on with business, because you obviously haven't sent Mitchell to Sam for his wedding instructions."
"I was trying-"
She pushed Daniel out of the way as she took Cam by the arm, winked at him, and started marching him down a corridor.
"Cam, I'm crossing my fingers that you didn't get drafted for the bride's side," John called after him. Cam started glaring over his shoulder, but Vala just pulled at him harder.
Daniel laughed. "He should be safe, the bride's side is full – Vala, Cassie, and Sam's niece, Lisa. How was your flight, John?"
"Which one? This morning I was at Glacier National Park, trying to stuff a herd of hung-over CEOs back into what turned out to be a very small plane when it's filled with hung-over CEOs."
"Ouch – but that's not a long flight back to South Dakota, is it?"
"Around an hour and a half, which is plenty long if your passengers keep asking each other if there are any of those little paper bags."
Daniel winced. "Oh, not good."
"And I might have messed with them - done some barrel rolls - except I knew that Cam and I had to use the same plane to fly here. I took an extra ten minutes to avoid rough air. My connecting flight went much smoother, because I made Cam do the work."
"They say commercial air travel is beginning to look more and more like a bus service. I hear the Air Force is always looking for experienced pilots," Daniel's teasing smile slowly faded, as he watched John's face. "You look like you're actually thinking about it this time."
John cleared his throat and shuffled his feet. "I'm not…Look, don't read too much into it. It's just that we both quit because we thought it was a lot more important to be together and out than to have jobs that tried to kill us on a regular basis. Which is to say we kind of liked the danger and adrenaline-"
"But not the part about hiding your relationship." Daniel nodded. "I'm fully versed with the situation."
"In 2009, we had a brand new president that was promising us that 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was going away, but we both knew better than to trust a politician, and we didn't want to wait."
"And last fall when 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was fully repealed…"
"It's kinda made me think that we could have both," John said. "How's it working out for you and the General?"
"Yeah, that's more complicated," Daniel said. "Well, not so much complicated as stupid. Jack has been in a supervisory position over me for years." Daniel paused like he was waiting for a response. "Sorry, Jack laughs his ass off every time I say that."
"Ah," John smiled. "But to the uneducated outsider…"
"Yeah, so essentially we could be out, but then one of us would have to quit. We're trying to work something out." Daniel sighed.
John sympathized with Daniel's frustration. What would happen to Cam and him if they reenlisted? Would they be forced to be on separate teams? "Is there beer around here? Let me buy you a beer."
"Maybe a glass of wine for me." Daniel led the way down the hall.
"Rodney!" John elbowed his friend as he took the stool next to him.
"Jackson." Rodney inclined his head at Daniel, and then turned to John. "Sheppard – you're late!"
John rolled his eyes. "What do they have on tap?"
"There's just the stuff that American's claim is beer," Rodney said, nearly knocking over his bottle.
John took the beer from his hand.
He took a swallow and held up his arms defensively. "I'm just doing you a favor since it isn't the good stuff, and you're a lightweight."
"Hey! I've been hanging out with Russians in Atlan-"
Daniel elbowed Rodney and coughed.
"See, this is what I'm saying. Two sips of beer and he's already giving away state secrets," John said as he drank Rodney's beer and ignored Rodney giving him the death glare.
"For the love of- All right, fine. At work. I've been hanging out with Russians at work and have building up my vodka tolerance, again. And where have you been? I refuse to accept there is anything in South Dakota that-"
"I was at Glacier National Park this morning," John said.
"You'd rather risk getting eaten by grizzly bears than go to this wedding?"
"I think I might take the grizzly option over this conversation," Daniel said. "John, I'll take you up on that drink later. If you'll both excuse me." He didn't wait for a response and headed back down the hall.
"It's good to see you, Rodney, even if you're a complete pain in the ass," John said.
"I – I need another beer."
"Why are you under so much stress – it's a wedding!" John demanded. Then he took a good look at Rodney. "How many beers have you had?"
"Three and whatever I had out of that one before you stole it. I don't know what it is about this wedding, but it's, you know, this wedding, Sam's wedding."
It certainly didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Rodney's attraction to Sam mixed with alcohol was going to create some kind of problem. That was the annoying part – Rodney was a rocket scientist. "Come on, let's go to your room and hang out for a while. I thought you were over Sam?"
Rodney started walking. "I am, sort of."
"Rodney," John groaned.
Vala lead Cam into a hotel room and he stopped dead in his tracks. "Holy cow!"
Cassie punched him in the arm.
"Be more effusive, or she'll think you're calling her a cow."
"Cassie, or should I say, Dr. Frasier, Samantha Carter has never been nor will ever be a cow," said Cam.
Cassie rolled her eyes. "Please, my doctorate is only two years old – it gets crushed under the astrophysics weight of the wedding party, let alone the rest of the guest list."
"Hey, don't let Rodney get to you."
"Don't worry, Sam coached me through all that before I started working in the labs at San Francisco. I don't let him get to me." She inclined her head toward Sam and then opened her eyes wide at Cam, wordlessly demanding he greet the bride.
Fortunately Sam smiled at him when Cam crossed the room and took her hands. "You look amazing. You rock the dress thing, which is definitely a step up from combat fatigues."
Sam shook her head, but did take a step back to look down her dress, which was a fancier version of the bridesmaids' gowns. It was unconventional but stylish, just like Sam. She wrapped her arms around his neck and gave him a big hug which Cam returned. "I'm so glad you made it. Teal'c and I were both sorry you couldn't be here last night. Hey, where's John?"
"He's hanging out with some of the other guests. Vala told me that you wanted to give me my marching orders."
Sam laughed. "I wanted to say hi to both of you. If anyone's got marching orders for you, it's Teal'c. All I know is that you're one of the best men and supposed to stand beside him. "
"I thought I was the best man."
"Yeah, maybe don't say that in front of Jack," Sam said.
"Gotcha!" Cam grinned. "Speaking of Teal'c and Jack, I did get to see Daniel out in the reception area, but I haven't run into either of them yet."
Sam inclined her head. "The groom's in the adjacent room of this suite. It's got a second entrance two doors down. "I expect they're there."
"Jack's not," said the third bridesmaid, who was concentrating on texting on her phone.
"You must be Lisa," Cam said with a big smile.
She ignored him and continued to text.
Sam rolled her eyes. "Lisa, if Jack's not with Teal'c, where is he?"
"With David and Carson," Lisa said, adding a breathy seventeen-year-old's emphasis to Carson's name. "He's Scottish." She spun the screen of her smart phone around and there was a picture. A young man, who must be her brother David, had his hand out holding a cell phone and was taking a picture of himself with Jack O'Neill and Carson Beckett.
"Is that a trout?" Cam asked.
"You actually care what kind of fish it is?" Lisa spun around to continue to text.
"They're fishing," Sam said in that voice that she used when someone was juggling a nuclear bomb the wrong way.
Vala laughed nervously, "Mustn't get tense. Lisa, dear, how long ago did they send that?"
"See, they went early and now they must be done and on their way back to shower and change out of those ridiculous pants that go up to their nipples." Vala started backing toward the door. "I'll just confirm that with Daniel."
"And on that note, I think I'll go say hi to the groom," Cam said. "Anything you want me to pass on to him?"
Sam kissed his cheek. "Remind him that I love him, and that the groomsmen are his problem."
Obviously Cam was on a mission to count the groomsmen and check for waders. "Gotcha."
Rodney and John were sprawled out on the beds in Rodney's room, taking advantage of the in-room game system. "This damn controller is lame," John said jamming his finger into a button, willing it to fire.
"I know!" Rodney shouted. "The game selection also sucks, but any port in a storm."
Preventing storms was one of the reasons that John had dragged Rodney off on their own.
"So who else from Atlantis is here?"
"I know that Carson's around, but he went off with O'Neill. Radek and Lorne are supposed to be coming."
That wasn't bad. The more people they both knew, the more who could help keep Rodney from sticking his foot in it. "So, Rodney, is there any Jaffa thing I should know about? How do you congratulate the bride and groom?"
"Too many civilians around –we're supposed to stick with Earth wedding protocol. You know, congratulations and I'm sure you'll be happy, even if you didn't fully evaluate the pool of potential candidates."
John threw a pillow at him.
Teal'c grasped Cam's forearm as they thumped each other's back.
"Sorry I'm late, but it looks like I'm not the only groomsman slacking."
"I had a desire for kel'no'reem and asked Daniel Jackson and O'Neill to leave me."
"They didn't consider you a flight risk then." Cam laughed, but Teal'c face grew serious.
"I would never consider fleeing from Samantha."
"Of course you wouldn't! It's just a bad wedding joke. By the way, Sam said I should remind you that she loves you."
Teal'c gave Cameron a rare smile.
"I should probably put on my tux, huh?"
"Indeed." Teal'c led the way to a changing area where a garment bag with Cam's name was waiting.
"I hope the measurements made it through okay. The tailor in Rapid City told me it would work." Cam opened the bag and began changing.
"Mitchell, I hope that we have not created offense by failing to include John Sheppard in the wedding party."
"Oh, don't worry about that. I think you made John's day by not forcing him into a tux or one of those floral things that the girls are wearing." Cam winked at Teal'c.
"We would not have asked John to wear the bridesmaid dress," Teal'c said very seriously.
Cam remembered again that sometimes his humor didn't fly with folks from other cultures. "I know you wouldn't. It was just-"
"That duty would have fallen to you."
That stopped Cam for more than a few seconds as he scrutinized Teal'c's face, which gave nothing away. "Ha, ha."
The door opened, and Jack O'Neill's voice filled the room. "What? We just did a little fishing. It's not like we would have stayed until the hot part of the afternoon."
"It's not about me," Daniel said. "I know Sam wouldn't have taken her displeasure out on me. It's the part where Vala was taking Sam's displeasure out on me."
"Sam wasn't too mad when she found out about the fishing," Cam said.
"See, I did not piss off the bride," Jack said. "Hi, Mitchell."
Jack was wearing full military dress, his hair still damp from what must have been a post-fishing shower.
"Angering the bride would not be a good strategy," Teal'c said, doing his best menacing stance in front of Jack.
"Hey, I am on your side, big guy. I fully understand what happens to the groom if the bride isn't happy. "
Daniel said a phrase in Jaffa.
"I believe that translates as, If mama ain't happy – ain't no one happy," Cam said.
"More or less," Daniel said.
"Say, Mitchell, want to switch places in the line up?" Jack asked.
"Uhm," Cam could feel the panic coming over him. "That's Teal'c's call."
"Hey, Jack!" Daniel stepped in close. "You could always ask Sam's brother to switch places with you."
It was a small thing, but Cam could see the tension fade from Teal'c.
"For the last time, I am not walking the bride down the aisle," Jack insisted.
Cam was fighting a full-out laugh, when he pulled his wallet out of his jeans to transfer it to the tux jacket. "Huh, I've got John's wallet."
"Does that happen often?" Daniel asked.
"Every once in a while," Cam said, "but since we didn't get dressed together this morning, it's a little weird."
Daniel glanced at the other men in the room. "Jack and I have been known to mix up our dog tags."
"I never mixed up our dog tags," Jack said.
"Come on, sometimes I end up with yours, especially after you hand them to me."
Jack folded his arms over his chest and smiled. "Like, I said, I never mixed them up."
Daniel squinted at him and pulled his tags out from under his shirt. Then he shook his head and smiled at Jack.
Cam smiled, liking the glimpse of intimacy he just got. He tucked John's wallet into his tux jacket.
Almost reluctantly, John stepped away from the Atlantis contingent into the larger crowd and scanned the room. Finally he spotted his quarry on the other side of the crowd. Cam was looking out the massive windows at the Colorado mountains.
"Hey, sailor, you're looking hot tonight. Wanna blow this tamale stand and get a room?"
Cam tugged at his tux sleeve and smiled at John. "Not looking bad yourself, but I don't think it's possible to escape." Cam leaned in so that his warm breath caressed John's ear. "I think Vala put tracking devices in the cuff links."
John laughed. "Shouldn't Sam be doing that?"
"She has more sophisticated ways of tracking, and besides, I think she delegated all the paranoia-based tasks to Vala. How did you make out this afternoon?"
"I was dealing with non-Vala paranoia."
"How is Rodney?
"Apparently in unrequited love again."
"Oh, geez, he isn't going to start telling Sam and Teal'c his naked fantasies about Sam again, is he?"
"Nah. I did have to convince him that saying the better man didn't win was inappropriate no matter how deluded he is about it."
Cam rolled his eyes.
"It took me a while to get it out of him, but apparently he's currently mooning over a different woman."
"Is Jennifer Keller coming to the wedding?"
"Nope. The break-up we saw two summers ago is still in full effect. It's someone else he works with on Atlantis. I think I may have to be his wingman at some point."
"Just as long as you don’t start picking up other people to clear the field for him. Save a dance for me?"
"Your aunt told me that you always dance with the one that brung ya."
Cam laughed. "I think she likes you better than me."
"I was going to do it anyway - I’ve already got the guy I like." John ran his fingers over the tux material. "Sure you don't want to sneak into a broom closet for a quickie?"
"Our days with closets are done," Cam said and kissed him. Nothing fancy, nothing inappropriate, but John still caught himself glancing at the crowd in case there was a threatening response. Finding none, he said, "Nice to be among friends."
"Yeah. Hey, I've been with the groom and haven't had a chance to say hi to everyone. Maybe we should meet and greet?"
John shook his head. "Nope, we should relax and enjoy the view." He pointed at the big window and took a half step closer, bumping his hip against Cam's as he slid a hand over his back.
"It's a good view," Cam said, leaning comfortably into John.
John was thinking that it could be their backyard view, but that would have been bad timing because the ceremony was about to start.
The DJ announced it was time for the toast, so Cam stood up and waited a moment for the party-goers to settle. "When Sam and Teal'c asked me to join the wedding party, they told me that I had no choice since it was all my fault." Cam waited a second for some laughs. "Now, I was thinking about the time I convinced them both to join my team at Cheyenne Mountain. But they said that wasn't it. They said a batch of my macaroons caused Teal'c to need some nursing and tender loving care." He got big laughs for that, especially from John.
"Whatever the cause, Sam and Teal'c, I can only say that your love is an inspiration to us all. Here's to a future full of happiness!"
There was a hearty chorus of affirmations as everyone raised their glasses and toasted the happy couple. Jack O'Neill started tapping his spoon against his glass, which was followed by more clinking until Sam and Teal'c rewarded the small crowd with a kiss.
Then the music fired up loudly as everyone headed off to the buffet line and the bar. John kissed his cheek. "Good job, big guy."
Cam put down his empty champagne glass. "Thanks for the coaching. How's about I get us some beers?"
"Like I'm going to say no to that."
Cam laughed as Rodney grabbed John's arm and pulled him away. There were a few waves and handshakes as he made his way to the bar. The easy camaraderie put to rest any lingering nervousness he had had about showing up to a largely Air Force gathering, and being openly gay. Then again, this was the same kind of open-minded crowd that didn't mind the Earth girl marrying the guy from outer space.
"Dr. Zelenka! How's it going?"
"Oh, Colonel Mitchell, that was a good toast." He frowned. "I was going to tip the bartender, but this isn't my wallet. It's-" He frowned again. "How did I end up with Sgt. Harriman's wallet?"
Cam thought about his own wallet mix-up and starting adding a few things together. "Did I see you dancing with Vala earlier?"
"Oh yes! She's quite light on her feet, even if she insists on leading."
"Uh-huh," Cam said. "Here, I'll get this tip. I'm allowed to spend the money out of John's wallet. I just have to see if my wallet danced into his pocket."
Zelenka frowned at him, and then his eyes opened wide, and he began spouting off in Czech. The only thing that Cam recognized was, Vala Mal Doran! At least the wallet wasn't empty, Cam thought. He put some money for himself and Zelenka into the tip jar while he waited for his beers. He adjusted some folded-over papers of John's so they wouldn't fall out. Then Cam read the top of the page.
John and Daniel looking on bemused at the collection of men who had taken over the dance floor, playing musical wallets. "What the hell?" John asked.
"Vala," Cam said as he handed John a beer and put his own down on a small table.
"I’m going to kill her," Daniel said as he held up a wallet. "Evan Lorne."
John pulled out the wallet from his pocket. "General Jack O'Neill. Huh."
"I could take care of that for you," Daniel held out his hand to John as he searched the crowd for either Jack or Vala, Cam wasn't sure.
John handed over the wallet. "I suppose we should join the crowd."
"Well, it turns out I've got yours," Cam said. "You know, Vala told us earlier to watch out for falling papers. Your reenlistment papers nearly fell out when I was tipping the bartender."
John looked from the crowd back to Cam. "Wow, this was not how I was planning on talking to you about this."
"Yeah, I was kind of wondering how you were planning on doing that. 'Hey Cam, don't forget to feed the cat, I'm rejoining the Air Force?'" Cam snatched up his beer and walked over to the big windows, far away from the crowd that had taken over the dance floor.
John followed him. "Really, I don't get any credit for the last three years. You're just going to jump to assuming I'm an asshole?"
"You filled out reenlistment papers and didn't even talk to me!"
"Did you look at the forms?"
"After I read the title and your name, I thought I pretty much had the gist."
John threw his wallet to Cam, who caught it but didn't do anything but glare back at him.
"Hey! It's almost three years to the day since we told Landry we were retiring. Happy anniversary," John said and flopped into an armchair facing the windows.
"Cam, we've got your wallet!" Cassie laughed as she tugged Rodney toward them. "We're still looking for Rodney's - he had my cell phone! Come on, is this a traditional Earth game?" she asked with a wink.
"Only you erratic bridesmaids think this is fun," Rodney snapped.
Cam caught John wincing and throwing his head back. He opened his mouth to say something to Rodney, but Cassie beat him to it.
"Oh, lighten-up, Rodney, and for once in your life have some fun! Think about it as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle Game."
"What! What kind of crap are they teaching you at American Universities? You should have studied in Canada."
"I'm from Toronto, you know," Cassie said.
"What? I mean -"
Cassie held out her hands. "It says so on all my paperwork, which is exactly what I'm talking about. A wallet is just a collection of potential energy in the form of cash, credit cards, and high security identification cards. No doubt you can estimate its exact value. Therefore, according to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, you cannot know its location with any certainty." Cassie tossed Cam's wallet to John and planted her hands on her hips.
Rodney sputtered. "That is a blatant abuse of physics! See, and you do this in the lab too!"
"For the love of god, Rodney, relax," snapped John, then he muttered. "Normally I'd be having fun with this."
Rodney went, "Huh?" obviously panicking under Cassie's scrutiny.
John's head fell into his hands in frustration.
Cam rolled his eyes. He was going to have to get rid of these two if he wanted to have it out with John. Backing John's play, he waved a hand behind Cassie to get Rodney's attention. Then he pointed at Cassie followed by pointing at Rodney as he mouthed, she likes you.
"Oh!" Rodney said with a cough. Then he looked to John who nodded vigorously. Sucking in a loud breath he said to Cassie, "You're overstepping, pushing us into the quantum realm when we're still in sublight territory."
"Excuse me? Aren't you the one that always reminds us that quantum equations are always right even if they can be boiled down to simplistic and inaccurate Newtonian physics?" Cassie asked.
"Of course I do, because I'm right," Rodney said and then spun around, putting a tentative hand on Cassie's back. "Look at them. Does that look more like Heisenberg misplacing a subatomic particle or like …uhm…" Rodney snapped his fingers. "Like, like someone being beaned on the head with an apple?"
"The way I heard it, the apple just fell on Sir Issac Newton's head, inspiring him with the laws-"
"Oh, come, on. That's got myth written all over it! If there was ever an apple, no doubt someone threw it at him." Rodney spit out. Then he blinked and went on more confidently. "This wallet thing is much more like flying apples than subatomic particles. Therefore this is clearly the first law of motion."
"An object at rest tends to stay at rest. An object in motion tends to stay in motion," Cassie said.
"Unless acted upon by an outside force, which in this case was Vala," Rodney said.
"Allow me to be an independent force," Cassie said, grabbing Rodney's hands and tugging him back toward the crowd on the dance floor. "I'd love to dance."
"I don't – Really?"
As Cassie and Rodney moved away, John said. "I think he needs more than a wingman - more like a couple of squadrons."
Cam shook his head. "Or one motivated young woman, who learned all her lessons about taking action from Sam."
John stood up and pointed at Rodney and Cassie. "I want to dance at their wedding, with you. So will you read the damn papers, so we can move this fight along to more important things, like making up?"
"These papers must have hyperdrive, if you think we're moving through this fighting stage that fast," Cam said, holding out John's wallet.
John ignored the offering and instead tucked Cam's wallet into his pocket. He didn't say anything else, but he looked from Cam's eyes to the papers jutting out of his wallet.
With a sigh, Cam pulled out the reenlistment papers and tossed John's wallet on the seat of the armchair. It didn’t look much different than standard enlistment paperwork, just a big check mark in a box usually left blank and next to it John had scrawled his prior service record. Then Cam's eye caught on the box for marital status where John had checked off a definitive yes and put question marks about his spouse's military status. There were also margin notes with locations that Cam could rattle off the top of his head – Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, etc… He couldn't help but smile when he saw Canada listed with a line through it. He flipped the page and saw that it was another set of reenlistment paperwork with his name in the applicant box.
He put down the papers and looked at John. "You still can't fill out paperwork to save your life."
"Yeah!" John said enthusiastically. "Can we accept that as evidence that I planned on talking to you about this?"
"Yeah, I guess we can." Cam shoved the papers at John, who refused to take them. "What the hell?"
"I love you, I love our home, I even sort of like our employees. But I also love going faster than the speed of sound and walking into a puddle to find myself in another galaxy. You do, too."
"It's not like I can deny that because it's all true, but, John, we made the decision together to walk away from that."
"I remember, and I also remember that we both hated making that decision. The only reason that walking away was the best option was because they wouldn't let us have each other if we stayed. It changed, Cam, it all changed last September."
"Our whole lives shouldn't revolve around, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' It was bad enough that we left because of it." Cam said, pushing his fingers through his hair. "Didn’t you notice that other things changed over the last three years? Maybe what we want, and who we loved best didn’t change, but everything else."
"Cam, they're not going to let us do this forever. Someday we'll really want to retire and our house in South Dakota could be waiting for us. Hell, it's less than two hours away by light jet. We could go home for Christmas."
"Do you know how much we owe on the corporate jet?" Cam snapped, grasping at straws.
"You made me be the accountant, remember?" John said. "I know exactly what we owe on the jet, the house, the works. I don't accept any of that as a reason not to look for opportunities. I think it’s a matter of sitting down again and making a list of things that matter. You've thought about this, I know that you've thought about this."
Cam flopped into the chair, wincing and then pulling John's wallet out from under him. He handed it over. "I need a beer or maybe something stronger."
John picked up Cam's glass and handed it to him. Then he shuffled his feet. "Maybe I'll go look for that stronger stuff, give you a minute."
Cam shrugged and took a sip of the beer and then he let himself do something that he usually pushed out of his head. He tried to remember the feel of the cockpit of an F302. There were perks to the new job; he flew to beautiful places where people didn't shoot at him. He could plan time with John and not have the threat of an alien invasion get in the way.
With a sigh, he pulled a pen out of his jacket and flipped over the enlistment papers. He started to make a list.
"I can't help but notice that the cat got top billing," John said over his shoulder. He had given Cam a half hour and brought back a big plate of food along with another beer.
"The cat didn't piss me off tonight, and I don't have to clean his litter box for a couple of days," Cam said. "Whatever we're doing – and we are doing whatever we're doing together – the cat's coming too."
"Understood," John said.
Cam put down the pen. "I don’t know if I'm ready to reenlist, John. I really don’t and whenever I think about all the things I loved about that job, I also remember lying in a hospital bed, trying to figure out how to walk again."
John squeezed his eyes shut and nodded.
"Hey," Cam tapped his leg. "Don't do that. That's just me. I'm also realizing that South Dakota in and of itself isn't paradise. If you can work the numbers out, the cat and I could run the business from Colorado while you're at work. I don't know, maybe if you can convince me that I want back in, we could hire one of our pilots to run the business out of the Badlands."
"You mean Lloyd Reed, because there is no way we could trust Bill to manage the books."
"Yeah, there's still a lot to talk about, but whatever the hell we decide, I want us to be together. By the way, New York. "
"What?" John asked.
"Your list of potential gay wedding destinations. Let's do it up right and pick New York City. It's not backyard barbeque, but on the other hand –"
"Who wants to dance?" Vala did a twirl and threw herself at John, who barely caught her.
"On the other hand our friends would find ways to entertain themselves in a big city?" John asked.
"Exactly," Cam said.
John pushed Vala back onto her feet and leaned down to kiss Cam.
Cam made a noise and pushed John back, just a little. "Vala!"
She flopped onto the arm of the chair, running her fingers over the lapel of Cam's tux. "Yes."
"Wallets, both of them."
John straightened and checked his pockets.
Vala tutted, but produced the wallets from some location that John was not able to determine. "What fun is just giving them back? It's the Heisenberg game; everyone is doing it!"
John leaned down and kissed Cam, looking into his eyes. "There are enough uncertain things in life; we should hang on hard to the things that are real."
A stand alone sequel to Home on the Range - AO3