As soon as Cam suggested it, John knew it's a bad idea.
After all the commotions had died down following Atlantis' unceremonious return to Earth, Woolsey generously signed off leaves for everyone; well, everyone that wasn't tasked to stockpile Atlantis with whatever supplies he could get his hands on in preparation for the return trip. Evan volunteered for tour guide duty showing Teyla and Ronon around San Francisco, when Rodney reluctantly got 'invited' to visit Jennifer's parents. John was more than glad to hand off his team to his XO so he could head home to Colorado Springs.
Not really home like Atlantis was, but since Cam's apartment was there then it'd be home for John while he was Earth-side.
So when the rest of SG-1 finally returned from off-world to find they'd missed all the excitements and Cam purposed a joint team night, John saw nothing but a disaster brewing. Before John could protest against the idea. Cam already had Sam invite Team Sheppard and Evan, as an extension, much to John's dismay.
"This isn't going to end well," John stated, flatly, glaring at Cam's puppy dog expression. "They don't know one another."
"It'll be fun. It's not like we're inviting Landry here to witness our, um, 'cohabitation'. Sam knows your team and Ronon seems to get along fine with Teal'c. It's our teams. They're family." The grin on Cam's face only grew wider.
Cam's idea of family earned him an eye rolling. "Having Sam and Rodney in the same place over a movie is bad enough. Do I need to mention Vala?"
"You love Vala!" More eye rolling. "It's gonna be fine. Trust me."
Before John could continue to argue, Cam stopped him with a raunchy wet kiss and a firm squeeze of his ass.
"Not fair..." was all John could mutter before his touch-starved body surrendered to being pressed down into the couch by Cam's solid weight.
. . . . . .
Cam's apartment was reasonably spacious for two, barely comfortable for a gathering of five and packed like a can of sardine with ten. So when the unexpected Jennifer showed up with Rodney, even Evan's logistic skill couldn't cope with who went where in the tiny living room.
It was unclear who decided to pick "Blind Dating" for the night but John was grateful for it not being a science fiction, even if the genre did nothing to discourage Rodney's stream of negative comments and Vala's almost compulsive counter arguments. Added with Evan's attempt to explain the cultural references for those not originally from Earth, there really wasn't a dull moment throughout the movie. John's sure if Daniel wasn't concentrating on whatever he's scribbling in his journal through the whole movie, he'd be providing his own commentary on the history and significance of Indian arranged marriages.
About ten minutes into the movie John leaned back into Cam whispering, "If Vala and Rodney start a fistfight, it's your fault."
Tightening his arms around John's waist, Cam rubbed the tip of his nose against John's ear and whispered back, "They're communicating. 'Sides, it won't be much of a fight 'cause we both know Vala can subdue McKay with both hands tied behind her back."
That comment gained Cam an elbow to his ribs.
John was pretty sure it's Rodney who snorted when Cam planted a small kiss on his nape halfway through the movie. If the lack of verbal sneering was anything to go by, he was tempted to deem this a good first step for Rodney finally acting a little more civil towards Cam. It also made him want to believe the night wouldn't eventually spiral downward into a catastrophe.
Much to John's surprised delight the evening progressed without mishaps, since Vala pouncing onto Daniel's laps and knocking off his glasses was probably the worst accident of the evening. Not that he was secretly hoping for a turn for the worse, but he definitely wasn't expecting the personalities of two galaxies' top gate teams to mesh well at the first gathering. Sam's year spent in Atlantis, Teal'c's helping Ronon with the IOA review and Rodney's "Misadventures in the Pegasus Galaxy featuring fringe Asgards" with Daniel appeared to help people get along. He could, however, practically see Cam's smugness when he later said his "told you so".
When everyone was ready to leave the minute the movie was over, John's Spidey-senses started to tingle. With Evan dragging Cam off to help drive Teyla, Ronon and himself back to the hotel, Daniel offering Jennifer and Rodney a lift without prompting and Sam conveniently taking a phone call outside the apartment before chaperoning Teal'c and Vala back to the mountain, it didn't take a genius to figure out something sinister was at work.
Put any Wraith queen next to a grinning ex-Goa'uld host turned space pirate and a stoic hundred years old Jaffa, John thought she'd look like Tinker Bell.
At least that's how John felt at that moment.
. . . . . .
Vala had her arms looped around John's neck as he sat on the couch. Teal'c took his place on the coffee table in front of them, resting his elbows on his knees and his chin on the back of his hands with fingers threaded.
Like a first grader waiting outside of the principal's office to be summoned for his punishment, John swallowed audibly as both aliens had their eyes trained on him. He certainly felt like so because something about Teal'c's staring made him sit with his back straighter than he could ever remember.
"Guys, this's the if you hurt him, we'll turn you into a 10,000-pieces 3D puzzle talk, isn't this?" Fidgeting under the silence, John was the first to say something while the other two simply kept scrutinizing him for minutes. "This is Cam's team. No need to be nervous."
"While Daniel Jackson mentioned it is our duty as teammates to carry out such a discussion, Colonel Carter has apprehension regarding this conversation with someone previously under her command. We feel obligated to be the representatives." Teal'c's voice neutral as usual but to John it was all sorts of bone-chilling.
"Don't worry, love. We promise not to mess up that pretty face of yours," Vala punctuated her statement with a big sloppy kiss on John's cheek. "Cameron's extremely fond of your face. He'll be very upset with me if anything happens to it."
John wondered if Pegasus would be far away enough to hide from these two.
"I believe this conversation is entirely unnecessary, Colonel Sheppard. However, it seems prudent to uphold this Tau'ri tradition."
It was totally Rodney's fault the Ancient's personal shield was depleted, John decided. A pitcher of lemonade should be enough motivation to have Rodney find another one. There had to be more of those lying around in Atlantis, experimental or not. Right?
"The way I see it, you're a good man and a very sexy man at that. We trust Cameron's judgement during missions and we certainly can trust his judgement about sleeping you. Am I right?"
Somehow, the more reassuring Vala and Teal'c was, the more unnerved John became. If going through the gate for last five years had taught John anything, it was that one should always be paranoid when the aliens were unusually friendly. The friendlier they were, the more deadly was their bite.
"You are an honored warrior and a well respected commander. We are certain you will not intentionally cause Colonel Mitchell any harm."
John mentally cursed at Sam and Daniel. It had to be their doing to leave Vala and Teal'c conducting this mental torture. It would be less unpleasant if Sam and Daniel are doing the grilling.
"Is Lorne in on this? That traitor has to be in on this conspiracy! Why else would he drag Cam off so quickly? Should've known he's in league with Jackson to neutralize my backup. How could I not see this coming when he practically worships the ground Jackson walks on since that Unas business? Dammit! His botanist is so getting reassigned to another team!"
"Do you like children, John? I can help you and Cameron. Adria is a bad, bad girl. I know. But with my prettiness, your Ancient gene and Cameron's compulsion to do good the child will be a perfect little kid. How about we wait for Cameron to have a threesome instead of this boring talk?"
"Why aren't Teyla and Ronon here? Teyla can take Vala while Ronon handles Teal'c. Front door isn't safe 'cos Sam is probably right outside. Fire escape should be ok. Even if Jackson's back and waiting downstairs, I can take him. Yes, this route should work." Mentally, John plotted his prison break. "I need a distraction..."
John didn't hear much of it afterwards as he lost himself in his planning of the great escape. He told Cam a joint team night was a bad idea and he was right.
At least it was a bad idea for him.
. . . . . .
Sam came back with Cam when John was starting with his 23rd escape scenario. The sheepish grin on Sam was all the confession he needed.
Vala released John and linked her arm with Teal'c's to pull him to his feet, "Let's go, Muscles. Time for us to return to our windowless quarters where I have nothing better to do than to come up with new ways to have Daniel entertain me." Throwing John a wink and a sticking a tongue out at Cam, she dragged Teal'c out of the apartment. Sam followed on their heels after mouthing a silent "Sorry" to John.
Team night was finally, and officially over.
"Anything interesting happened while I was gone?" Cam with a silly grin plastered on his face moved closer to John.
Without a word, John pushed him to lay down on the couch.
The grin turned into a smirk. "Hold on, cowboy. Why don't you grab a shower so I can clean up the living room before we continue?"
Ignoring the proposal, John climbed on top and lays down with his head on Cam's chest. His right hand slid into Cam's left, fingers threaded.
"Vala is scary. Very." John shifted slightly to get more comfortable.
The remark gave Cam an idea on what might had happened. "Either she hit on you or she threatened your life. Which is it?"
"Both. The proposition is more funny than it's scary. Teal'c's menacing, but physical violence I can deal with."
Cam strained his neck to kiss the top of John's head while slipping his other hand underneath John's shirt to rest on the small of his back. The warmth of Cam's palm induced a slight shudder causing John to rub his face as if trying to burrow into Cam's chest.
"The best friend's talk, huh?"
John said nothing but nodded. After a moment, he added, "Did you know?"
"Figured it'd happen but didn't know it'd be tonight." Cam sighed, squeezing John's hand in his.
"I wouldn't, you know?"
A couple of minutes of silence passed where the only sounds were John breathing in Cam's scent and the soft ruffling of John's hair against Cam's chin.
"Sorry you got the raw end of the deal."
"Teyla was very, um, diplomatic, with the talk."
John looked up to meet Cam's downward gaze. "Them too?"
"I'm beginning to think Sam and Lorne planned this together."
As the possibilities turned in John's head, everything came into place. "Jackson to handle Rodney so Teyla, Ronon and Lorne can work on you without Rodney there to distract everyone. The battle plan screams Lorne."
"And Sam and Teal'c here to make sure Vala won't act on her, eh, threats."
"How did we get roped into this?"
"You and me, or our teams?"
"Tonight. Oh yeah, you suggested it."
"It's gonna happen even if not tonight."
"Guess so." Knowing Cam meant both team night and the talk, John shifted again trying to maximize the body contact. "What did Ronon say?"
"He growled. Lorne explained he has knives hidden on him that metal detector can't find."
John chuckled. "Gotta love Chewie."
Cam rose an eyebrow at John even though he couldn't see it. "Are you implying I'm Leia?"
"If the tiara fits, princess."
"Screw you, Sheppard."
"Mmmm, maybe later."
"Promises." Cam laughed softly. "We have good teams."
"We do. Mine better than yours."
"Is that a challenge?"
"I was running scenarios in my head to spring myself from Vala's evil clutches. So yeah, I got a few ideas."
"Kinda like Marvel vs Capcom: The Gate Team Edition? I can get behind that." Excitement apparent in Cam's voice.
"Ronon can take Teal'c easy."
Cam snorted. "Won't be that easy. They tie, I'd say. They couldn't find out who's better last time."
"Ronon's like, what, 100 years younger. He'll win."
Giving it a quick thought, Cam said, "Maybe we need to arrange a rematch just to make sure. That reminds me, you need to help me collect from Campbell."
"As in Chuck?" John was genuinely surprised. "You were in on the pool?"
"I hit the jackpot!" Pride was abundant in Cam's voice. "I got 'Carter stops the fight after an hour declaring a draw'."
"But how? You weren't even there."
"As soon as Sam asked Teal'c to visit Atlantis, I knew it would happen. My email to Campbell went through the databurst together with Teal'c's reply to Sam."
John sighed shaking his head. "I don't even wanna know what Landry'd say when he finds out."
"General Landry won't say anything. At least he hasn't said anything about what Walter and Siler are doing."
"Everyone in the program is nuts." John resigned.
"Let's consider Teal'c and Ronon a tie, for now." John shrugged at the suggestion because it really was an uncertainty with those two.
"I'll give you that. Teyla can totally take Vala."
"Teyla's good, I agree. She's smart too. But I doubt she's got anything on Vala's. She's sneaky. Remember, she took over Prometheus all by herself."
"Yes, but she got outsmarted."
"By Jackson who, I should remind you, is also on my team."
"Fine," John grunted, "Teyla and Vala is a tie too."
"So my team wins." John could literally smell the smugness.
"How do you figure?"
"Oh please, Jackson and McKay? Jackson's much better with weapons and hand-to-hand no matter how you want to see it."
"Rodney's a genius at hacking computers." Weakly, John tried to argue.
"It's a face-off, Sheppard. You really think McKay will have a chance to get near anything electronic before Jackson finishes him?"
"Let's make it a hacking competition for Rodney, to be fair."
"Fine, swap Jackson with Sam. She's as smart as McKay is if not smarter. And I'll admit she's even a better marksman than I am. McKay's going down for sure."
John groaned, unwilling to accept defeat. "Hey, you have one more person on your team. Besides, Carter's part of Atlantis now."
"Ok, you can have Lorne. Sam'll always be SG-1 and she's never been on your team."
"Lorne isn't on my team. Why don't you lose Teal'c instead?"
"He's under your command and he's saved your ass enough times to be counted as one." Losing Teal'c means no one to take on Ronon and it would eventually mean losing the fantasy face-off and there was no way Cam's going to let that happen.
"Lorne's good like that," John chortled. "But we'll be at a draw 'cause Lorne will win a hand-to-hand whether it's Sam or Jackson."
Shrugging, Cam slipped his hand out of John's to join with the other around his waist. "So our teams are equally good. Nothing wrong with that."
"I guess you're right." John knew how good his team was. It gave him peace of mind knowing Cam had one just as good to back him up.
"So what're we doing when they're fighting?"
"Making up, making out." John pushed himself up briefly to plant a soft kiss on Cam's lips. "Probably something about us that make them start fighting in the first place, right?"
"Jackson can watch."
Cam stared into John's eyes at the remark.
"What?" John wiggled in Cam's embrace.
"Why do I only just find out you're an exhibitionist after all these years?"
"Are too. You want Jackson to watch while we make out."
John had no good answer to that so he just turned his head away to avoid Cam's amused realization. He could hide his face but his ears turning bright red didn't go unnoticed by Cam.
"Either that or you have the hots for Jackson."
"Have you seen his ass?" John cursed himself as soon as the question gushes past his lips.
"Sheppard!" If it wasn't shock in Cam's exclamation, John didn't know what it is.
"Not that I want him but I can recognize nice things when I see them."
Shaking his head with repressed laughters, Cam relented, "Still, he's my teammate. I'm telling him if he catches me blushing or anything remembering what you just said."
"Sure he'll appreciate my appreciation for his ass."
"You go ahead and appreciate Jackson's. I'll appreciate Lorne's."
John pushed up on his hands to glare down at Cam. "Oh no, you did not just say that."
Cam simply gave John another of his big goofy grin, "Nice things. Appreciation."
Pushing away completely now that he had his fill of daily snuggle, John knocked Cam's legs off the couch to sit on the opposite side of the couch.
"He's my XO! His botanist probably knows some poisonous plants to kill you slowly and painfully if you look at Lorne the wrong way." Knowing David though, he would probably brag about how SG-1's team leader liked the sight of his boyfriend's ass instead. But John wasn't going to tell Cam that.
Cam got up from where he was and laid down again with his head on John's lap after kissing John's forehead, he offered with a smirk, "Same feeling about Jackson there. Only Vala'll probably drag you to bed with her and Jackson rather than killing you. Maybe even drug you for good measure."
The thought of Vala sent another chill down John's spine. "You're just saying that to get back at me about Jackson, aren't you?"
John felt the suppressed laughters running through Cam rather than heard them. "Not that Lorne's ass isn't nice, my appreciation for him only goes as far as him saving your very fine ass."
Those word brought a smile that dissolved into one of John's famous smirk. He glanced at the pizza boxes, empty beer bottles and empty bowls of popcorns. "Maybe we should clean up before bed."
"Leave it." Standing up from the couch, Cam pulled John up with him. "We can have Sam and Jackson to come clean up tomorrow. Least they can do after dumping Teal'c and Vala on you."
"Damn right." John drawled sleepily. "By the way, did Lorne say anything else? Other than Ronon's knives, I mean."
"You mean like having your marines throw me through a space gate?"
John seemed shocked. Hurting Cam he could understand but actually killing him was a bit harsh, since even if he were to do anything wrong John'd still be in love with him. And no Cam meant no reconciliation. "Did he really say that?"
"Not really, but I'd rather he did." It was Cam's turn to shudder a little. "What he actually said was, he'd find another person who makes you genuinely happy and force me to watch while buried under tons of paperwork."
"Psychological warfare. Way to go, Lorne!" John snickered at his own thought. "I think I might love my XO a little. Best XO ever."
"A little is ok. As long as no more than you do me."
John wouldn't admit aloud, but he was starting to think joint team night might not be such a bad an idea after all, now that the threatening part was done with.