Funny how the repeal of DADT changed things. Although John wasn't entirely surprised. After all, someone who would volunteer for an assignment in another galaxy wasn't likely to be someone that had romantic entanglements they could talk about. As tolerant as everyone thought they were, repression was still the name of the game when it came to same-sex partnerships and the military.
But combined with the proximity of San Francisco the repeal was a game changer for the folks on Atlantis. It seemed like everyone was coming out of the closet. John had known about a few couples and was mildly amused by a few others. When Major Lorne pulled him aside and told him that he didn't care if it impacted his career at all, that he was going to marry Radek this weekend anyway, John was a bit surprised but supportive. He hadn't seen that one coming.
Of course, California still didn't recognize same-sex marriage, but that didn't stop vendors and caterers in the area from putting on one hell of a party.
Cam called that night to give John his flight information. He was able to swing a three-day weekend and was flying out to see John.
“Bring a suit. We have a wedding to go to.”
Cam paused. “A wedding?”
“Yeah.” There was an awkward silence. “I thought you wanted to start telling people outside our teams about us.”
“Yeah, and you weren't comfortable with that. Now you want to get married?”
“Not OUR wedding, dumbass. My XO is marrying a scientist. The only thing he asked was no uniforms.”
“Oh. Well, okay then. I'll bring a suit.”
When they hung up, John wasn't sure if Cam sounded disappointed or not.
“Jeans and a suit jacket?” Cam asked John as they got ready to leave their hotel room and go to the wedding.
John shrugged. “I'm a casual kind of guy.”
Cam adjusted his tie and smoothed his jacket. “And you make me wear a suit.”
John smiled. “You look pretty good in a suit.”
Cam rolled his eyes and grabbed their room key. “Come on, we'll be late.”
The wedding went as weddings usually go, a mixture of amusing and awkward. Family members stood around a bit confused and co-workers drank a bit too much. If there were a few raised eyebrows about Cam and John, no one seemed surprised enough to mention anything. John relaxed and allowed himself to enjoy the evening without having to keep his guard up. He didn’t think he had actually ‘flirted’ with Cam in public, but he knew it had come pretty close.
They stood apart in the elevator, falling into old habits when the lights weren’t dimmed. Cam broke the silence. “If there was every any question about our status, I think you've cleared it up for everyone.” There was a bit of a smirk on his face, so John knew he wasn't really offended.
“I wasn't that bad.”
“You practically branded me in public, staring at me like that.”
John smiled as they exited the elevator. “Like I said, you look pretty good in a suit. I especially like the tie.”
Cam rolled his eyes and put the key card in the door, “I don't even want to know why.”
“This is why.” The door was barely closed before John gabbed Cam's tie and pulled him close, not being gentle about it. Then their mouths were clashing and hands were grasping at each other as they stumbled towards the bed.
Later, as they both lay tangled in the sheets with sweat cooling their skin, Cam began to laugh.
“All these years and I'm just finding out now that you have a tie kink?”
“I don't have a tie kink.”
“Yes you do.”
“What are you? Twelve? You do.”
John lifted his head. “You're the one still wearing the tie.”
“You wouldn't let me take it off!”
John reached over and grabbed the tie, pulling Cam in for a kiss. “Do not.”
The next day, John and Cam played tourist. They took a boat out to Alcatraz in the morning and went to the Fisherman's Wharf area for lunch. They weren't holding hands in public, but it was pretty obvious they were a couple. The way they leaned in towards each other, shoulders touching every now and then as they walked; the way they looked at each other and how their smiles reached their eyes like they really meant them.
A passerby might've assumed they had only recently become a couple, flush with the discovery of new love. That might've been partially true, the fact that they've resisted categorizing what they have for so long made the weekend feel very 'new'. But the fact of the matter is that they'd met in flight school. Neither one had ever been the type to put a label on what they had. Did it make it more or less romantic to know they'd been sleeping together off and on for almost twenty years now?
They passed a tattoo parlor and John stopped to look at the designs in the window.
“Do you remember that time ...” John began.
“... in New Orleans.” Cam finished the thought and rubbed his hip. “I still carry the scar.”
John laughed. Several months out of flight school and they'd finally gotten some leave at the same time. They had wandered to New Orleans, hoping it would be anonymous. They were reckless enough those days that the term 'gay bar' sounded like a good idea.
Of course, they were nervous. Of course, they had drank too much. When other men had hit on them, they had declared they were with each other. A large man covered in tattoos dared them to prove it. Praying that the man wasn't talking about a public blow job, Cam leaned in and kissed John in an open and messy way – all tongue and teeth.
The crowd hooted and hollered, but the man with the tattoos wasn't impressed. He insisted that if they were really 'exclusive' they'd have tattoos to prove it.
Of course, they were nervous. Of course, they had drank too much. So of course, they agreed. Cam got the outline of a 'J' on his left hip before John told the artist to stop. He muttered something about flying commercial jets and how lame that was. Cam nodded his agreement while pulling up his pants with a thankful look on his face.
“Maybe we should finish them.” John said.
Cam shook his head. “You're going first this time.”
The three day weekend was over too quickly. John dropped Cam off at the airport. With an unprecedented hug, the kind with lots of shoulder-slapping to make it appear more manly, they went their separate ways.
John took the scenic route from the airport. He drove past the hotel where they’d just stayed, the coffee shop where they’d had breakfast, and the park where they’d gone for a run. He smiled as he noticed the street vendor Cam haggled with yesterday over some trinket he was taking back for Vala. John thought they were sunglasses shaped like the Golden Gate Bridge, but he wasn’t sure.
John was already thinking about what they’d do next time. Perhaps he could get away to Colorado Springs, tack on some time while doing something official. Cam had said that there was a new Italian restaurant down the street from his place and he’d been meaning to check it out.
Returning to Atlantis, John considered how wrong it was to be on the same planet for a change and not get to spend much time together. In his pocket, his cell phone chirped, indicating an incoming text.
...3 on plane have same gate glasses. paid less. i was robbed
...want me to go beat him up?
...maybe just a stern talking to
The next several days were a blur. Not because anything moved quickly, quite the opposite. Things were being agonizingly slow. Everyone from the IOA decided they needed to be onsite for the discussions on what to do with Atlantis. John hoped it meant that they were taking the opportunity to visit the place while it was here -- implying that it would be returning to the Pegasus Galaxy soon. With that in mind, he tried to be a graceful host.
One bright spot was the cell phone in his pocket. Between meetings he’d text Cam and find random notes from him. For example, today the mess hall ran out of jell-o, Daniel Jackson spilled coffee and some idiot had covered the grips on the weight machine in the gym with tape. None of it was really important, but it was the stuff of Cam’s day. Which was something John had never really been a part of before and he found he rather liked it.
Plus, he got to actually talk to Cam in the evenings. Last night they had been on the phone for over two hours. Tonight they were planning on watching the Canucks play the Avalanche and John needed to charge his phone before the game.
A small voice in the back of his head warned him not to get used to this. He knew Atlantis belonged in the Pegasus Galaxy, he believed that. He also knew he belonged on Atlantis. But hearing Cam’s voice every day was seductive. Sharing the mundane minutia of their lives was suddenly becoming very important to him.
As soon as his mind had wandered in that direction, he got a text from Cam.
...have to raincheck. going offworld. be back 48 hr
It was nine days before John talked with Cam again, sixteen days until he saw him. The mission off-world had been a typical SG-1 excursion, which meant it was anything but expected. While he insisted he wasn’t critically wounded, Cam had to to spend four days after returning in the infirmary. Apparently Dr. Lam was even more vigilant than Dr. Keller with her patients getting rest.
John finally arranged some time at the SGC and arrived the day after Cam was released. During the briefings and paperwork, he was curt and irritable. Which, of course, made the whole process seem to take even longer. It was dark, cold and rainy by the time John stood outside Cam’s door.
Eventually, Cam opened the door. He was wearing a t-shirt and sweat pants, his arm was in a sling and his face was a mosaic of healing bruises. His weary expression lifted when he saw John.
Instead of making some crack about how shitty he looked, or doing something sensible like coming in from the rain, John said the first thing that popped into his head.
“We should get married.”
And judging by the grin on Cam's face, John figured he'd made the right call.