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Shattered Hearts

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Nodding to the airman on duty at the complex gate, Cameron Mitchell rolled his window up and drove off base. Somehow the cosmic forces of fate aligned in such a way that he wasn't off-world when John Sheppard arrived for his routine IOA interview and the two actually had an entire weekend to themselves.

John leaned over to the radio and turned the old-fashioned dial. He settled on a classic rock station and leaned back. “So, ‘dinner and a movie’? Isn't that just a bit stereotypical?”

Because it had been the major topic of most of their recent emails, Cam knew John was well aware of the current sporting schedule, or lack thereof, Cam replied “There's always a rugby game or two on the DVR for Teal'c. ”

John shrugged. “Maybe. I guess it depends on what movie you've got.”

Casino Royale or 300, but if you give me any more shit we'll watch Twilight and you can brag about it to all your friends.” 

“Do I want to know why you have a copy of Twilight at your place?”

Cam hadn't had a chance to stock up on supplies earlier, so he pulled into a grocery store parking lot. “Vala left it.” He turned off the ignition and looked at John. “So, what do you want for dinner?”

“Besides the obvious?” John eyed him suggestively. Cam flushed slightly and got out of the car. 

John walked with him into the store, grabbing a cart as he went. The pair wandered through the aisles, Cam chattering on about sports and the new James Bond film as he dropped things into the cart. Bananas, apples, milk, bread, etc.

Meanwhile, John was also dropping things into the cart. Garlic cloves, fresh spinach, a couple selections from the gourmet cheese section, etc. When Cam finished regaling him with the exploits of the team's last softball game, John asked, “Do you have olive oil?”

“Yup.”

“Corn meal? Flour? Yeast?”

“Sure.”

“Never mind. It'd take too long. I'll just grab some pre-made dough.”

John contemplated a package of something frozen and green. Cam looked in the cart. There was fontina, asiago and a couple of other cheeses he couldn’t pronounce.

“What is all this, anyway?”

“The dinner part of 'dinner and a movie'. I'm cooking.”

“Cooking what, exactly?”

“Pizza.” He put the package back in the freezer and muttered something about them being plan B. Cam saw that it was a package of frozen artichokes.

“Pizza? This?” Cam glanced down at the cart again. 

“Yea. Why? What were you thinking?”

“Uh.... DiGiorno? Or at least something with pepperoni.”

“Trust me. This is better than pepperoni.”

“I'm sure it tastes just fine. But,” Cam looked over over his shoulder at a woman browsing the ice cream section, “isn't it just a bit stereotypical?” 

John looked at the cart. “What?”

Cam rolled his eyes and moved to the next aisle. He grabbed two six-packs of beer, both microbrews.

John cocked an eyebrow at him. “And this isn't stereotypical?”

“Shut up.”

Walking by the chip and crackers aisle, John tossed in a bag of pork rinds. “Does that help add some testosterone to our cart?”

Cam grinned and grabbed a second bag. “Someone will eat them eventually.”

They slid into a check out line, when John snapped his fingers. “Be right back.”

He returned with two round jars of Italian roasted artichoke hearts. He smiled at Cam and made a production of handing them over.

An hour later they were sprawled out on the leather couch watching Casino Royale, sipping beer and eating what turned out to be one of the most delicious pizzas Cam had ever had. 

As the credits rolled, Cam set his beer down watched John eat the last bite of his slice. Before he could get his napkin, Cam reached for his hand, “You know, I really don't want you getting greasy pizza fingerprints all over my couch,” and began licking the accused pizza remnants from John’s fingers in slow, lazy strokes.

John leaned back and stared, letting his brain short-circuit. Finally he managed to utter “What makes you think I'd do that?” but was hoping the other man wouldn’t stop what he was doing to answer right away.

He got his wish as another finger was enveloped by Cam’s mouth with an added swirling of his tongue that made John lick his lips. Meanwhile, Cam reached down to unbutton John's jeans and pushed them over his hips. With one final nibble, he released John's fingers and gave him a devious smile. “Because you're going to want to hold on to something.”

*********************************
8 months later...

Cam drove home in a daze. He should’ve known better than to read current Pegasus reports. 

He thought of the weekend he'd last seen John and how normal the whole thing had been. How miraculously, fabulously normal. They cooked, ate, laughed, watched movies and basically.. well... reacquainted themselves with each other. 

For Cam, it was a weekend full of normal couple-like discoveries. Like the fact that John would sometimes watch him sleep and that he would hold his hand if there was a Steve McQueen movie on. 

It took some pleading, but Cam convinced John to join him for a five mile run through a neighboring housing development. It was a beautiful day and they set an easy pace, not exchanging a word the entire time. Afterwards, they went to breakfast at a small diner several blocks away. They both flirted with the waitress, who gave them extra bacon and refilled their coffee frequently. As they left, she winked and claimed that they weren't really fooling anyone, but weren't they sweet?

He supposed that, compared to other aspects of their lives, their sex seemed pretty vanilla. Although they did try that whole shower thing. That certainly took some stamina and he hadn't known a person could twist that way. Then he remembered how the shower curtain came crashing down and that repairing the hole in the wall took him nearly three weeks. Overall, he decided that vanilla was his favorite flavor. 

So caught up in his memories, Cam hadn't even noticed that he had reached his apartment building. He cut the engine and sat staring at the steering wheel, still reminiscing. Burning every detail that he could into his mind. 

Speaking of burning, they burned the batch of macaroons. John had driven Cam to distraction by coming up behind him, reaching around sliding one hand up under his t-shirt and the other into his pants. Then he began nibbling on his neck and pressing into him... well, one could understand why the macaroons had to be sacrificed. John had laughed and claimed it was payback for the blow job on the couch, which didn't make any sense but Cam didn't care.

Cam looked up and discovered that it had gotten dark and had begun to rain. He got out of the car and went inside. He checked his machine for messages, in case anyone from the base called with news from Atlantis. The latest word was that Sheppard’s team was missing and presumed dead. 

He paced the apartment - unable to sleep, afraid to have a drink. He alphabetized his DVD collection by title. He alphabetized it by director. Sheppard’s team was missing and presumed dead

He checked his phone. He cleared out his freezer of unrecognizable things and took the trash out to the dumpster. He re-alphabetized his DVD collection by title. Sheppard was missing. Presumed dead

He yanked open a cupboard and began randomly throwing out boxes of macaroni, cans of soup and jars of pickles. John Sheppard was missing

His anger at not being able to do anything escalating, he swept the entire second shelf into the trash at once. John was missing

An odd shaped jar of roasted artichoke hearts went tumbling off to the side and shattered on the floor, sending shards of glass across the room.

A harsh sob escaped his throat.


*****************************************

Cam was in the middle of a briefing a few days later when the call came in. Sheppard’s team had returned with a variety of bruises, lacerations and some mild dehydration, but were otherwise fine. Their CMO declared they could formally be back on duty by the end of the week.

Cam’s vision wavered for a moment and his hands shook. He excused himself and went to clear his head, hoping the hammering of his heart wasn’t audible to anyone else.

****end****