Cameron loves libraries. Throughout much of his life its been one of his secrets; he's not embarrassed or anything, but it's not something he really advertises, either, and no one ever asks.
It started back when he was a kid; after Dad got injured the whole family moved back to live with Mom's parents in North Carolina. The house was large, one of those stereotypical colonial places with a front porch and columns and everything, but seven people was pushing it and sometimes it just got too much for Cameron. So he'd grab his bike and head into town, and one time about four months in he stumbled onto the public library. It was one of the few buildings in town with air conditioning, and North Carolina summers get hot, so he found himself spending the hottest hours of the afternoon there, curled up in one of the armchairs with a book propped up on his knees. His parents were bemused by his new fascination but his Grandma was ecstatic--no one else in the family had inherited quite her love for books-- and she introduced him to the classics that summer. Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Salinger, Steinbeck, Joyce-- he read them all, and loved them too, as deeply and fervently as only the young can.
Still, his favorites were the science fiction books, Heinlein and Clarke and Asimov, rocket ships and aliens and other planets. He would come bouncing home in the early evening as the fireflies came out of hiding, his head filled with new ideas and possibilities, and filled with dreams that someday he'd be the one out traveling the stars.
Ever since, the second thing he does when he gets shipped to a new city is find the library. (The first is, of course, reporting in at his new base. The third is figuring out where he's going to be living.) He keeps all his library cards from various cities, twenty or so all told, in a box along with some old family photos and wrapped up in a rubber band, because you never know. Afghanistan sucked for more than the obvious reasons because the only books he could find were in Arabic, and his spoken is okay but his written, not so much.
Then comes that year he doesn't talk about, and he can't get out and do much of anything, really, so he spends the time he's not in physical therapy reading through SG1's mission files. And boy, they read like the best science fiction ever-- rocket ships and aliens and other planets and grand adventures-- only this time, they're real. He falls asleep at night with folders still scattered across his bedspread, his head full of new ideas and possibilities, and he knows-- this is what he wants to do. That's what gets him through the nights when daybreak seems impossibly far off; if he can do this, someday that'll be him out there traveling the stars.
Colorado Springs is a pretty town, once he gets there, but he's thrown almost instantly into his new job and for the first time in years, finding the library is the third thing he does instead of the second (but only because he's been provided quarters at the SGC, and he sees those when he's given a tour of the base). He comes to the realization, after all the initial craziness dies down, that it might be a good idea to know something more about Arthurian legends, and the public library doesn't have anywhere near the in-depth information he's interested in, so he heads over to the local University of Colorado campus. They let him sit in the library there and read even though he's not a student, and they've got nice comfy armchairs, so some days after a hard mission he'll head over there with his mp3 player and sit and read and de-stress.
This last mission was a nasty one, and he really doesn't feel like thinking about it right now-- if he does, he might start breaking things again, and somehow he doesn't think that would go over so well with the psych people back at base-- so he heads over to the library and picks up this little French book about the Merlin legends in history that he's been working his way through, slowly but surely, over the last month. His French is about as good as his Arabic, but at least it's a Roman script, and they have a couple really good grammar books and dictionaries in the language section. The act of translating takes all the concentration he can muster and leaves no room for thoughts about the events of the day, at least. And he always gets this little smug frisson of pleasure when reading about Merlin, because he's one of about-- what, fifteen? people on the planet who knows who Merlin really was. And he pulled that sword from the stone, and fought a knight, and thinking about that doesn't ever get old, no matter how painful it was at the time.
He's finally winding down around 10 o'clock--that's the other nice thing about college libraries, they're open practically 24/7-- and his shoulders have started to unknot enough that he thinks he might be able to get some sleep. He shuts the books, covering a yawn with one hand and stretching with the other. A snatch of conversation from the front desk, a familiar voice, catches his attention. He picks up the books and wanders in that direction, not terribly surprised to see that it's Daniel Jackson.
"--not in the shelves," he's saying, "though the system says it's available, and I was wondering if you had it back there somewhere?" He shifts from foot to foot, obviously wanting to get on with his research as soon as possible. Cameron wonders what kind of obscure tome it must be for Jackson to not own it already.
He steps forward and sets his books down; they're heavy, and Jackson glances over briefly at the thump as he continues to talk. Cameron waits for it.
Two seconds later, Jackson does a classic double take, almost comically surprised. "Colonel!" he says. He sounds a little too surprised, actually, and Cameron finds his amusement comes tinged with a little irritation. "Hey, Jackson," he drawls, as the woman behind the desk reaches for his books. He turns to leave; he didn't come here for conversation.
As he opens the door, he hears the librarian say, "Isn't this the book you were looking for?"
Cameron can't help but smile.