It was like having someone stroke their palm over his brain. Too intimate and invasive, and like he was about to throw up. Cam didn’t know how John did this all the time.
Concentrating on the mechanics of flight was second nature to a flyboy with as many years as Cam had under his belt. But flying an Alteran Puddlejumper was more like being a battery than a pilot. The only flesh and blood component in a cyborg design, instead of a partnership between man and machine.
Cam wondered if this was the difference between John’s natural gene and his own Beckett/McKay blue plate special.
“Hey, Shaft, hangin’ in there?”
John’s voice murmured in his ear; reassurance and mockery. Cam knew his fellow colonel was tracking Cam’s inaugural flight on Atlantis’ monitors - the smooth thin green of his projected course arching, like John’s eyebrow, alongside the orange squiggle of his actual flight path.
These things were a lot harder to handle than they looked! Cam tried to block out the smug look John’d be wearing when he met him in the Jumper Bay, and focused on re-entering Lantea’s atmosphere.
“That’s an affirmative, Atlantis Base. Approaching re-entry coordinates at expected trajectory. Mitchell, out.”
“Expected trajectory?” McKay scoffed beside John, both men’s eyes adhered to the auxiliary monitor. “Can’t he read?”
John ignored Rodney’s comment, tapped his radio and tried to project himself into the cockpit of the little ship his lover was attempting to pilot. “Mitchell, this is Sheppard, your numbers are off. Check th-”
“Mayday! Mayday! Jumper 3 to Atlantis Base. Mayday! Mayd-”
John yanked his radio from his left ear, the painful squeals of disconnected feedback static making it impossible to think. “McKay, send me Mitchell’s actual coordinates, tell Lorne to gear up!”
John was already cresting the jumper bay stairs before Rodney could offer a protest. He had to get to Cam.
“What do you mean he’s out past the mainland? He’s in the water?!” John barked at McKay as he stepped on the gas; Jumper 1 a metallic bullet streaking across cloudless blue.
“No, it’s reading as a series of islands.” McKay’s superior tone was more irritating than usual. It wasn’t like he’d known they were there either. “Jumper 3’s transmitting its location from the second in the chain.”
John watched as the HUD brought up his own flight path and altered it to reunite the two ships. It was no small relief to have the visual confirmation. “Any contact?”
“Banks has been radioing every two minutes. Nothing yet.”
John cursed under his breath, his grip on the controls unnecessarily tight.
“Colonel Sheppard, Jumper 2 is leaving the bay now.” Banks informed him, her voice a soft whisper of authority in his ear. “Major Lorne estimates his ETA at three zero minutes, Sir.”
“Copy, Banks. Sheppard out.” John severed radio contact and focused on eyeballing Cam’s jumper out the windshield.
‘You’d better be in one piece.’ John threatened silently as he descended Jumper 1 onto the deep gouge of chocolate loam, Cam had used for a landing strip.
The ramp was still lowering when John ran down it, shrugging into the spare vest, and carrying a P90 from the munitions case. Jumper 3 was as still as th-
John derailed that thought. Instead loped the thirty feet to the downed ship and thumbed the remote McKay had assured him was universal. His hopes weren’t high. Nothing had gone according to plan so far; even the cloak was malfunctioning. Jumper 3’s hull looked as if someone had half-heartedly thrown an invisibility cloak over it. Spasmodic shards of gold sparked as if from nowhere, and electric-blue smoke drifted in the dappled shade from the huge trees Cam had parked between. The forest was quiet, birdsong muted by the mid-morning intrusion.
Both McKay and John were right. The ramp of Cam’s jumper did open – but only far enough for John to climb through. Left boot, inhale, body, right boot, and in.
“Cam!” John yelled, his voice filling a dark cabin that whirred pathetically in answer to his own gene’s superiority. “CAM! Dammit - answer me!”
There was nothing to bar his way from rear cabin to cockpit. The ship carried nothing but squared-away standard issue supplies, and John’s lover. A veteran flyboy and first time Jumper pilot, who lay slumped and inert over the control panel. Its array of indicator lights sparking and hissing with ominous regularity.
John was on him. Hands efficiently gentle in their search for damage.
“I’m here.” He whispered in relief at the vibrant pulse under his fingertips; skin warm and alive. “I gotcha, ‘s’okay.”
“John?” Cam murmured, hopeful as he struggled to lean into the familiar touch. Head lolling in the rough palms that cupped his jaw.
“Yeah, it’s me.” John croaked, his tone thick with effervescent relief. “You broken anywhere?”
Cam thought about John’s question for a minute; took inventory of his body. “Brain’s fried. How d’you do this, man?”
John’s smirk vanished when Cam slumped into him and threw up his breakfast. All over the non-slip flooring, and the regulation shine of John’s boots.
“Easy. Easy.” John babbled, dragged Cam’s limp body free of the pilot’s chair and back into the rear cabin; away from the fried circuits. “Goin’ home, now.”
Cam was shaking. Shock, he knew; but still damned embarrassing. John holding him tight felt good though, and he rested his cheek against the scratchy fabric of his lover’s vest. ‘God he was tired.’
“Cam!” John barked, voice sharp with panic. “Fuck! Cam, stay with me!”
John sat, mind tumbling over what to do. Was Cam too badly hurt to move further, or should he wait for Lorne and his team to show? More willing hands meant less chance of permanent injury, right? His fist tightened around Cam’s belt, keeping his lover from sliding off the bench.
“Lorne, Sheppard, where the hell are you?”
“Descending now, Sir.” Lorne answered immediately. “Be with you in two.”
John couldn’t help a sigh at that. Getting Cam home would be easier with Lorne’s help. Especially through the groaning space of the buckled ramp, Jumper 3 was still trying to open in response to John’s thoughts. “Ramp’s jammed.”
“Copy, Sir, how’s Colonel Mitchell?”
John dragged his gaze up the length of long back and vulnerable exposed neck, traced the blonde-tipped sweep of lashes curving over tanned cheek.
“Out cold.” John swallowed hard. “Need a stretcher.”
The painful silence of dead air filled John’s ear.
“We’ll take care of him, Sir.”
Lorne’s reassurance was immediately followed by the squeal of protesting not-metal that sparked through John’s teeth, skidded down every knob in his spine, and exited out his fingertips in a full-body shudder.
John sighed in relief when his XO’s intense blue eyes sparkled reassuringly at him; backed by sunlight and a confidence that had quietly been draining from John the longer he sat in the dark. He tugged Cam closer; the man’s arm falling to hang limply between John’s braced thighs.
“We’ve got him, Sir.” Lorne, followed by Cadman and Parrish with a stretcher between them, were at his side and shifting Cam with gentle hands before John could spare a thought for orders. “Easy does it.”
It didn’t seem easy at all. Not to John who had to let go of Cam in order to climb out himself. Seeing Cam limp, pale, and motionless, with his feet hanging off the stretcher frame, was the furthest thing from easy John could think of.
“Jumper 1, Sir?” Lorne asked, already moving in that direction before John could answer one way or the other.
John didn’t remember the return flight. Didn’t remember radioing Banks, or landing in the jumper bay, or even the professional chaos that surrounded him and Cam in the infirmary. What he did remember, and literally held onto, was the warm brush of his lover’s fingers against the back of his hand. The gesture both a plea for reassurance, and an anchor. Cam knew him so well.
John startled, caught War and Peace before it slid off his outstretched legs, and blinked awake. Bleary gaze meeting amused blue.
“Cam?” John asked, shifting and straightening within the confines of the plastic visitors’ chair at Cam’s bedside.
Warm amusement enveloped John, erasing the lingering fear Beckett’s reassurances had been unable to sooth.
“See you’re feeling better.” John smirked, entwined their fingers and stroked his thumb down the length of Cam’s; knew it was safe to do so, by the closed curtain shielding them.
“How long?” Cam sounded uncertain beneath the husky unused tone that uttered such a loaded question.
“A week.” John squeezed his answer past the hard lump that’d been slowly choking him for every minute of those seven days. “Beckett-”
“Know’s his stuff.” Cam cut in, answering stroke of thumb all John really needed right then.
Cam dropped his head back on his pillow; heavy with the swirl of questions and insecurities eager to be expressed. They could wait. All he wanted right now was to lie there with John; the only place he belonged, and the one place he’d thought never to be again.
“Can’t say I’m keen to be here again.” Cam murmured as he gazed up at the blue sky through the open jumper bay doors; conscious of bruising John’s love for the jumpers, but needing to confess anyway.
“McKay and Zelenka both confirmed Jumper 3’s navigation and guidance modules malfunctioned.” John said, not for the first time since Cam came to ten days ago. “Pilot error’s a non-issue.”
Cam rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment, a gesture that would forever make John’s heart skip. “Right-O Shep, you gonna show me what your baby can do, or what?”
John grinned and tried not to run up Jumper 1’s ramp. It was a close thing. Cam was walking and talking at his side; and John had been planning this trip since Cam had first opened his eyes again. Probably before that if he was honest.
Cam rode shotgun this time, and admitted, if only to himself, that he was happier about it. No creepy brain massage. No urge to puke. Just the velvet ink of space and the apple-green orb of a planet he didn’t know the name of, filling the windshield.
“Uh, John?” Cam’s calm evaporated as John released the controls and stood up. “Shouldn’t you be, uh, I dunno, flying this crate, or somethin’?”
John moved; all fluid length and cocky flyboy smirk, laughter and a heat that wouldn’t be denied, alive in his hazel eyes. “Trust me.”
Cam had never not trusted John Sheppard; and he wasn’t about to stop now. John was so close; leaning over and in, breath warm on Cam’s skin.
“You scared the shit outta me!” A whisper of confession shot through with steely resolve. “Don’t ever do that again!”
Cam couldn’t promise John that; not with the nature of their job. God! The number of times John’d been the cause of Cam pacing his carpet bare. “C’mere, baby.”
John turned Cam’s chair and straddled his lap, armrests under his knees; moaned as Cam cupped his jaw, threaded long fingers into unruly soft black hair.
“If I kiss you, will we stay afloat?”
It was a serious question, hidden in jest, and John blushed; ducked into the hold Cam had on his face, stubble rasping warm calloused palms. “You’re pretty sure of yourself there, Shaft.”
“Never had any complaints.” Cam grinned, nudged their noses, and at John’s nod, kissed him. Wet heat and softly parted lips the only welcome he’d ever wanted.
John leaned in, fingernails digging into butter-soft leather, amping up their kiss and saying everything with his body. Cam held him fast; hands at neck and hip as John ground down. The hard line of Cam’s cock urgent beneath him.
They came up for air and John fought to be free. “Didn’t think this through.”
Cam laughed, drugged with the taste of John on his tongue. Fingers tugging at the zipper of John’s vest, his belt, his BDUs. John stepped out of reach and stripped to his waist, paused with a hand on his fly when Cam didn’t move; those blue eyes travelling the lean lines and shadowy contours of John’s body. “This only works if we’re both naked.”
“Right,” Cam murmured, hands wrestling with his own uncooperative uniform. John was so goddamn beautiful.
“You’re a bit of a looker, yourself, Shaft.”
John smirked, standing up after removing his boots and kicking free of his pants. Cam hadn’t realised he’d confessed his thoughts aloud. It didn’t matter. John stood before him completely bare, with Cam’s compliment a rosy blush over his skin.
“Get over here!” Cam growled, voice honey-thick with want. “NOW!”
John toed aside their clothing and mounted Cam’s lap; assumed the position he’d held a moment before, knees raised and spread by the arms of the chair.
“Jesus!” Cam gasped as his cock slid freely along the crack of John’s ass. “Bit of a boy scout aren’t you, baby?”
John kissed him in answer and rocked, moaned as Cam’s cock scraped his pre-lubed hole. “B-be prepared.”
“Did you stick your fingers in your ass, John, and fuck your pretty little hole open, for me?”
John nodded jerkily, swallowed at the heat flooding his cheeks. Cam’s hands were pulling at his ass, spreading him wide. He could feel the stretch and flutter of his rim, and couldn’t help the whimper of need that fell from his lips; was taken from him by his lover. The man he’d almost lost. The man who was edging his cock into John’s willing body.
“This what you want, John? Want my cock buried inside you; so deep there’s no escape for either of us?” Despite his prep it burned. The thick girth of Cam’s cock pushing on a slow slide filled him, drove deep and then some. Stole John’s breath and had him clutching at sweat-slick shoulders as his lover forced down John’s hips and drove up his own. “’Cause that’s - fuck! -what I want, baby.”
“Nnnnnggghh!” John wriggled on the rod in his ass – so hot, hard, and velvety soft - but Cam anchored him tight. No space between them. An agony of bliss.
“Feel me, John,” Cam whispered hot into the hollow of John’s throat; lips soft and knowing, a smile in their shape.
Cam shoved; bounced John in his lap and growled triumphantly at the choked off cry his dark haired lover made. The hot pulse of slick muscle massaging his length with every thrust was driving him closer to the edge. Too quick. He wanted to savour the feel of John squeezing him tight; silken glove over iron fist. The sweet full-bodied shiver John shared with him as they fucked. “Hell yeah, like that!”
John’s cock was screaming at him. The slide of friction between their bellies not enough t-
“Fuck! Cam!” John threw his head back, biceps and forearms strung taut as Cam suckled one nub and tweaked the other to the point of pain. He circled his hips, ground down, felt the pull in his thighs as his body contorted on Cam’s cock – rippled along its solid length. Shards of pleasure sparking low in his spine. “CAAAM!”
“Ride my cock, John – fuck yeah! - c’mon, wanna see you come apart for me, baby.”
‘Corny, maybe, hot as fuck, hell yes!’ Cam’s southern purr melted John’s mind, along with the rest of his insides. Opening him further for that cock to claim him deeper.
That was it. He felt his ass clamp down, heard Cam hiss as white stole his vision. Cock spasming his pleasure between them. Cam fisted him to the last and then some; ragged rhythm on the edge of too much. “That’s it – so fucking beautiful!”
Cam was thrusting for each word, battering John, tossing him in Cam’s lap as if riding a bull. John held on; a hand in Cam’s short-cropped hair, the other on a knee behind. Arching on rubbery limbs to take all his lover could give.
Cam froze beneath him, throbbing cock emptying his essence in John’s ass. He rode down to keep Cam deep inside him and claimed the soft O of Cam’s mouth for his own. He licked deep, nipped and sucked, until Cam clung to his flanks. Moaned John’s name into John’s mouth.
Gentle fingers were trailing the curve of his bicep when Cam came back to himself.
“Hey there,” John murmured into the sensitive skin behind his ear, laid soft sweet kisses between words. “Still with me?”
“Always.” Cam answered on a whisper thick with all that he felt for the man in his arms; pulled John to meet his languid kiss, and rolled his hips for emphasis.
“MMMMMM…” John circled down in agreement, warm burn of softening flesh a welcome reminder. “Approaching re-entry coordinates in five minutes.”
“Re-entry?” Cam raised a teasing eyebrow. “Y’mean you were flying us while…” Cam gestured between them, words having momentarily failed him.
John full-on grinned. Cam’s expression was definitely worth remembering. “Like I said when you gated in, I’ll teach you how, if y’want.”
Cam didn’t know whether to be impressed or jealous, though if he were honest it was a hefty helping of both.
“What I want is for you to circle the block, and we’ll see if you’re as good as you think y’are with me suckin’ your cock.”
Cam leaned in, gaze locked with wide-eyed hazel, and whispered in the pointy shell of his lover’s ear. “And we both know how much y’love my mouth, John.”