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Similarity and Difference

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Aeryn stares at him over the barrel of the pulse pistol, as he holds a gun just as steadily on her. He looks like John -- he looks exactly like John, enough to be his twin -- but he's not. "You're not him. Not Crichton."

His blue eyes, so familiar, look back, and he frowns. "And you're not Vala. You look like Vala, but you're not her."

"Does this mean your Vala is with my John?" she demands, pulse pistol warm and ready in her hands.

John would answer; this man just shrugs a little. "I don't know. We'll ask Sam. But I do know that thing --" he points vaguely with his free hand and she glances quickly at the pile of smoking slag under the fallen stones, "was some sort of quantum mirror. And Vala touched it. You'd think she would've learned by now, but noooo...." He rolls his eyes in fond exasperation. He decides to take a risk, because he lowers his gun. "I'm Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, from Stargate Command, on Earth."

She's wary of the military title and warier still of this stranger wearing John's face, but she lowers her weapon. "Aeryn Sun."

He flashes a grin, and it reminds her of John so much it aches. "Lucky for you, we have a protocol for reality displaced people. You wouldn't think it would happen so often we'd have one, but more often than you'd think. Come on back to camp with me and we'll see about getting you home."

Of course it's not that easy. John had once warned about unrealized realities, and he was right; because this reality proves impossible to escape, no matter what they try. It leaves her stranded in the wrong universe.

At least in this universe, the Earthers don't particularly care that she's not quite human, and they let her take Vala's place on SG-1 after she proves her competence with weapons. She goes back to being a soldier, because it's easier that way. She can shed what she became, what John helped her find, and go back to when she was alone without family. She's done it before, and it would work perfectly -- except everyday she has to see his face.

He's still there. He's John, or a John-who-might-have-been, and he's the only thing she recognizes in this new world. He's not exactly her John, but he's not exactly not either - he's a soldier, not a scientist, but they're both pilots. He still has a silly sense of humor and quotes Earth culture all the time. She finds out he named his truck Wynonna and has to turn away so he can't see the tears in her eyes.

It's worse when she sees the admiration in his eyes when he watches her on the range or when she spars with Teal'c. She doesn't think Mitchell and Vala were anything more than friends, but she sees the attraction when he looks at her now, and it feels exactly like John's gaze. He doesn't act on it though, giving her room to mourn.

She goes to the gym to beat up on a bag, one afternoon when it all falls on her again that she's never going home. But she finds Mitchell there first. He's practicing some form of stick fighting alone, and she slips inside to watch. Her fingers itch to rip the stick from him, and tell him he doesn't need to change himself into a warrior. But Mitchell has always been a warrior, and there's some relief in not feeling as if she's watching a little bit of him die each time he fights.

But he shares John's lack of awareness of his surroundings. Any Peacekeeper or Jaffa would have noticed her, but he's lost in the movements, concentrating on what he's doing. His t-shirt is damp with sweat, sticking to him, and her eyes linger on his body, so tantalizingly familiar. John never fought like this, but he does - did - frell like this, all his attention on her until the rest of the universe ceased to exist for her, too.

Her tongue dampens her dry lips. She's going to burn up inside and turn to ash, if she doesn't feel something.

She's never going home. She'll never feel John's arms again, or his lips, or anything else. And yet, in some ironic twist of the universe or the Ancients or long-missing gods, she can.

He stops, panting, and only then notices she's there. He gives her John's casual smile. "Hey, Aeryn."

She locks the door and pushes him into the wall, and his eyes widen at the feel of her strength. The stick drops from his hand to the floor. "Aeryn?"

"You're not him," she whispers harshly, and her hands are both flat on his chest. "I know that. But you look like him and you feel like him, and I --" Her voice dries up, unwilling to speak how much she needs him, and all she can manage is a whisper, "Just... please..." She leans forward and joins their mouths together.

He's trying to say something, but she doesn't let him, grinding her lips on his until he yields to her, opening his mouth, and his hands clasp her waist.

He doesn't smell right, and that's both a relief and a disappointment. Her hands find that Cameron is more muscular, too, but his shoulders and arms and chest still feel enough the same that her fingers want his skin. She reaches for his shirt yank it over his head.

He's trying to catch his breath. "Aeryn, are you sure? I -- God, you're so beautiful -- but I don't want to mess things up--"

"Shut up, Cameron." Her fingers drag up his bare flanks, where John was always sensitive, and Cameron shudders. His fingers flex, then slip down to her hips, pulling her tightly into him. She kisses him until the strangeness disappears, her lips on his face and across his jaw while she rubs a hand through his short hair.

His lips find her ear lobe and then kiss the pulse point under her ear, sucking lightly as shivers go through her. His warm hand slides under her shirt against her bare back and she's feeling hot and constricted, so she yanks off her shirt and the bra. His eyes drop to look, and she knows that gleam and the way his tongue comes out to lick his lips in unconscious hunger.

It seems to take too long for him to put his hands on her breasts, but when he finally does, she arches her back in pleasure as he caresses her. Fingers tease at her fullness, rousing her nipples to hard points, until she shudders with need.

She opens his belt and pulls down the zipper, feeling the rising swell under her hand. Shoving his pants down, she wraps a leg around his, pressing into his bare thigh, but he's the one who groans. "Aeryn..."

His hands are shaking as he fumbles at the waist of her pants before he gets them open. She doesn't want to lower her leg, but she lets him pull down her pants, too, and then he freezes, noticing the boy-style shorts she's got on. Then he flashes a grin, flaring his eyebrows. "Different. I like it." His hand slides down the front, and his fingers find their way inside the fly, exploring.

It's not the more sure she knows now, but he's more confident than John was, their first time. She shakes her head once, trying to put him out of her head and concentrate on the feel of those fingers.

But it's not enough. She frees herself and pushes him down on the weight bench. Kicking off her underwear she straddles his lap and curves down to kiss him, while her fingers reach into his fly to free his erection for her touch. She knows exactly how to touch him to make him groan her name and his teeth close on her lip accidentally. "Sorry," he mutters and kisses it away.

She eases herself onto him and it feels -- it feels so frelling good. They're clutching at each other, trying to stay more upright to kiss, but the bench is too high and too narrow and she's got no leverage to move much. He twitches inside her and beneath her, and pushes her backward. "God, you feel amazing."
And then it gets perfect, her feet around him, and his hands on her thighs. He can thrust hard, in a rhythm that seems attuned to her heart, and she clutches the bench beneath her as he pushes her into a tighter ball of fire and want.

She thinks he might finish first, because she can see how tight his jaw is, as he breathes hard and the snapping of his hips quickens.

Then the heat breaks over her in a wave, and she rides it out, her mouth open and head back in a silent shout. It slides through her again when he comes, smaller and centered between them, but still she shudders. Then he lets himself fall forward on her, and she peels her hands from the padded surface under her back to hold his shoulders.

And for just a moment, lying there with his sweat on her and his hair brushing her skin, she feels as if she's almost home.