Title: Pillow Talk
Author: Christi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Rating: PG-13. I mean, there’s nakedness, but not really. And sex…but again, not really.
Pairings: Cadman/Davis, Cadman/Sumner, Cadman/Mitchell, Cadman/Lorne, Cadman/Bates, Cadman/Beckett, Cadman/McKay.
Timeline: After S3. SPOILERS for Sanctuary.
Author’s Note: Conceived as a joke oh so long ago, I now commit this fic in honor of raisintorte’s birthday. Because almost two years later (or is it three? It might be three.), it seems she still owns my ficcy little soul. Happy birthday, Annie. Errr….late. Very, very, VERY late.
Also? The timeline on this is iffy, at best. I mean, I tried to make it sensible, but I’m sure there are one or two places it could be off. Do me a favor and overlook them.
“All of them?”
The slight squeak in McKay’s voice both amused and annoyed Laura, who glanced over her shoulder. “Honestly, Rodney, it’s not like there were that many.”
“Well, that’s certainly debatable. But let’s save that particular issue for another time. Right now, I’m more interested in how that even happens.”
Eyeing the bed he sat on, sheets still mussed from their most recent encounter, Laura found herself smiling. “The usual way. Well, mostly.”
“No, I mean – hey, what does that – wait, never mind. Stop trying to distract me! I want details, here. You’ve only been in the Stargate program for two years, so how is it that ALL of the men you’ve slept with are connected to it somehow?”
It was a question she had asked herself any number of times without any satisfactory answer coming to light. “I suppose I’m just attracted to men who have their head in the clouds,” she joked lightly, knowing it wasn’t funny.
Judging Rodney’s expression, he was all too aware of that fact. “Cadman, I swear….”
She sighed, finally turning around to look him squarely in the eyes. “What exactly are you asking for, here? Full disclosure? Because I didn’t realize we were there yet. Or really, heading there at all.”
Something in his shoulders shifted slightly, and Laura knew suddenly that she had hurt him. Predictably, his words were sharp enough to cover it. “Facts, Cadman. I like facts. Considering how often you and I seem to find ourselves like this lately, I think I deserve a few facts.”
Eyeing the state of the room and the quickly forming hickey on his neck, Laura found it strangely difficult to disagree. “Fine. But I would appreciate being able to do this without a running commentary.”
Rodney’s responding half-smile was strangely charming. “Cadman, in what universe is that going to happen? Now, come on. I want to know it all. The good. The bad. The ugly.”
The cliché just made her pat his cheek condescendingly. “Please, McKay. Do I really look like the sort of woman who has ever had to resort to ugly?”
The Navy/Air Force football game was always exciting, and the aftermath even more so. In a parking lot packed with barbeques and kegs and overzealous cadets and midshipmen, Laura found it easy to get in the spirit of the event.
Early evening found her being dragged through the crowd by a friend who was drunkenly insisting that she had found the perfect tailgating experience. When they finally arrived, Laura was forced to agree – not because of the food, which was admittedly fantastic, or the beer, which was blissfully flowing freely despite her decidedly underage status. No, it was perfect because the first thing she saw when they arrived was Paul Davis.
He was painfully out of place, standing stiffly off to the side of the party and looking entirely too conscious of his discomfort. Still, there was something about him that made her look again, and when she did, Laura realized that she wanted him.
It was a new feeling for her. High school had been all about getting into the Academy, and once she got in, life was all about surviving. Men had taken a necessary backseat to Laura’s undeniable ambition. Still, she was known to dive head first into every task set in front of her, and it was with this same eager determination that she seduced a newly promoted Major Paul Davis.
Grabbing a beer for each hand, Laura made her way to the secluded corner he had managed to claim for himself, offering him the drink. For a moment, he hesitated, but eventually his hand closed over hers, their fingers tangling together as he took the cup. “Thanks,” he acknowledged.
She shrugged. “You looked like a man who could use a drink.” A beat later, she added, “I’m Laura, by the way.”
“Paul Davis,” he replied, shortly but not unkindly as he managed to down half of his beer in what seemed like two gulps.
“Nice to meet you, Paul Davis. So, is there a reason you’re hiding back here by yourself?”
One of his eyebrows rose as he finished off his drink, watching her. “You’re not much for small talk, are you?”
She shrugged. “I don’t like to waste time. You going to answer the question?”
“It’s nothing. I just…the world almost ended today.”
Assuming that he was referring to the Air Force’s narrow victory (he hadn’t been, she learned years later), she laughed. “Just wait ‘til next year.”
He looked grimly serious. “I’d rather not think about it.”
“Better seize the moment, then. I don’t suppose you’d care to find someplace more private?” Popular opinion dictated that she should be burning with embarrassment about now. Instead, Laura just hoped he didn’t say no.
His blue eyes were vivid in the gray of the fall twilight, just staring at her in what almost seemed like shock. “Not that I’m not flattered,” he began, “But you’re a little young for me.”
Undiscouraged, she shrugged. “Drink a few more beers. I’ll be older by the time you finish.”
“And that was it? A beer and a blatant proposition was all it took the straight-laced Paul Davis to deflower a nineteen-year-old?”
She blinked, a bit disgruntled. “Deflower, McKay? Really?”
He glared at her. “You know what I mean.”
Laura grinned, kissing him on the nose - just because she could. (It was particularly fun to do when he had that annoyed look on his face.) “To be honest, I didn’t give him a whole lot of say in the matter. Just a lot of beer and a weekend of enthusiastic sex. I like to think he enjoyed it as much as I did despite everything.”
At that, Rodney rolled his eyes. “He’s a man. He probably enjoyed it more.”
“Oh, I doubt that.”
Now visibly annoyed, Rodney tugged on her hair a little. “Cute. Let’s move on, shall we? We’ve still got a lot of ground to cover.”
Now it was her turn to glare. “You’re a jerk sometimes, you know that?”
“More like all the time, which you already know. Are you stalling?”
Not for the first time, Laura found herself wondering why she was sleeping with a genius. Really though, it was more that she was annoyed at being caught. With a heavy sigh, she shifted on the bed to sprawl behind him, her chin resting on his bare shoulder. “A little. Number two is…not my proudest moment.”
Standing at attention in her CO’s office, Laura couldn’t help but be keenly aware of the discrepancy between her usual summons and her current visit. She couldn’t quite explain how she had come to expect being pushed against the wall instead of being called onto the carpet. Their affair had begun in a blur and nothing since then was making a lot of sense.
Still, she knew that this visit was different than all the others – even if his posture, his demeanor, his silence hadn’t told her that, then she still would have known. After all, she had been standing here almost five minutes and her underwear was still on. It was disconcerting, to say the least.
His back was straight, formal – cold. She could only see his face reflected in the window he was staring out of, and it gave a strange sense of unreality to the entire situation – that maybe, it was some figment she had conjured up to entertain herself.
His words, however, shattered that fancy. “I have had a complaint,” he finally stated hollowly, still refusing to look at her.
Her throat was dry, and it took a minute to respond. “About us?” she croaked.
“About the situation, yes,” he confirmed. “Thankfully, the complaint was a personal one – giving me a chance to do the right thing, he said.”
“And what might that be?”
Finally, finally, he turned her way, and she felt a strange rush of relief at finally seeing his face. He was her first commanding officer, her first hero, her first real lover, and yet…none of those men were looking at her. Instead, for the first time, he looked…small. Like nothing more than an ordinary man who had a horrible mistake.
She hadn’t realized until that moment that the mistake was her.
“Oh,” she said weakly, feeling small and stupid and unforgivably young. “Well, I…oh.”
Strangely, her discomfort seemed to rouse some affection in him, and he crossed the room toward her, leaning closer out of habit, his familiar breath washing over her face. “There’s a new munitions and explosives training program back at Nellis,” he said softly.
Feeling slightly drunk by the constant pull she felt towards him, knowing that it was wrong and forgetting to care, Laura launched headfirst toward imminent danger. “Well,” she whispered, wetting her lips unconsciously, “I do like things that blow up.”
Their lips met for one painfully brief moment, a flash of heat and passion and gut-wrenching realization that they were doing exactly what they weren’t supposed to. When he broke away with a groan, she knew that it had been their last kiss.
He turned away, his jaw clenching with frustration. “Goddammit, Laura. Why did you have to be so….you?”
Something sharp and full of blame in his voice hit her like a fist in the stomach, and her chin rose involuntarily against the blow. “It never occurred to me to be anything else, sir. Am I dismissed?”
He didn’t even turn to watch her leave. “Yes.”
She barely managed a choked “Thank you, Colonel Sumner, sir,” before slamming through the door.
“Colonel Sumner?” Rodney exclaimed. “While he was your commanding officer? Do you even realize how stupid that is?”
While she had expected him to react that way, the condemning tone ringing in his voice still stung. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Rodney, but not all of us have the luxury of screwing up by blowing up solar systems. We mere mortals have to rely on the sturdy fall back of self-destruction.”
To his credit, Rodney actually seemed to care that he had hurt her, reaching behind him to pull her forward. After a moment of resistance, she slid into his lap, biting her lip and hesitant to look him in the eye. Strange how, even years later, talking about that particular relationship could still make her feel so raw. “Hey,” he said, and if she didn’t know better, she’d swear that he was trying to be soothing. “I’m sorry. It’s just…shocking.”
With a sigh, she finally looked at him. “I know. I think back on it and I’m shocked at myself. But…I was so young, Rodney, and he was everything I had ever wanted to be. I try to think of it as a learning experience, if nothing else.”
He nodded, trying to understand, but wisely changing the subject. “So, after that, you transferred to Nellis. What happened next?”
“Well, I was sort of…shaken for awhile. For the first few months at Nellis, I kept to myself, just diving into the work and keeping my mind off of everything.”
“Which explains your now ‘expert’ status,” Rodney nodded.
“Well, that and my bucket load of natural talent, of course.”
She grinned, sliding closer. “And when I was finally ready, I braved a trip to the local base bar, where, over a game of darts, I met Cameron Mitchell.”
Darts had turned into drinks. Drinks had turned into dinner. And dinner had turned into a slightly giddy, tipsy sort of kiss…and then another…and another. Before either of them had thought too hard about it, they were stumbling through the door of his quarters, lips trying to cling together around goofy smiles and limbs tangled in gradually discarded clothing and each other.
Her shirt seemed to dissolve and his pants easily fell around his ankles – which, of course, sent him sprawling across his bed in a rather spectacular stumble. Cameron had just enough time to grab Laura around the waist, dragging her with him before they both fell across the bedspread with a small shriek of laughter.
Propping herself up on her elbows, she gazed down at him with an easy grin, because being here and doing this was more simple than it had been in a long time. Underneath her, he was wide and warm, reaching up to tuck a stray strand of long blonde hair behind her ear. She couldn’t be certain, but she thought that the expression on his face lingered somewhere between elation and awe.
“What are you thinking?” she asked, because she was just drunk enough not to care that it was a stupid question.
Thankfully, it seemed that he was drunk enough not to mind it. “Oh, I’m just a bit shocked is all. You are…incredibly far out of my league.”
“You’re a fighter pilot, Cameron,” she scoffed.
“Yes, but you’re an incredibly hot blonde. I’ve had a thing for unattainable blondes since…high school, at the very least.”
She laughed and kissed him because she could and just because it seemed like the thing to do. And it wasn’t until her mind had gone fuzzy with something completely unrelated to alcohol and she was starting to get definitively overheated that he broke away again, catching her admittedly wayward hands and forcing her to pay attention to what he was trying to ask.
“Hey,” he drawled, suddenly a bit more serious. “Are you sure about this?”
The question made her stop for a moment – not because she didn’t want this, but because the reminder that she had a choice, even when things were this far along, was so novel. It reminded Laura of who she had been before an impulsive, ill-advised affair had shaken her self-confidence.
And because he had asked, she felt completely comfortable grinning in reply. “Absolutely,” she said before kissing him again.
Later, exhausted and sweaty and trying to catch her breath, she felt Cameron chuckle. Pulling up a bit, she looked at him questioningly.
“Nothing,” he assured her, still laughing a bit. “I was just wondering what you were doing next Friday.”
She pretended to pout, looking up at him with big eyes. “You mean, we have to wait that long?”
Across from her, Rodney’s face was contorted in a unpleasant expression. Seeing it, Laura couldn’t help but laugh. “What is it?”
“Nothing. I just might have to kick Mitchell’s ass the next time he dares come here,” Rodney said wryly.
Seriously doubting the likelihood of that scenario, Laura merely raised an eyebrow in response, to which Rodney shrugged. “Okay, so I’d ask Ronon to do it.”
Bursting into laughter, she buried her head in his bare shoulder, slapping his shoulder in protest. “It wasn’t like that, Rodney. We just…had a few months of friendship and good company and occasionally, really good sex. It was completely casual and completely what I needed at the time.”
Strangely, the unpleasant look returned to his face. “What now?” she asked, exasperated.
“Does that mean I have to be nice to him?” Rodney complained.
“I would never ask you to strain yourself, Rodney,” she laughed. “Being yourself will be sufficient.”
“Oh. That’s fine then. So, who’s next?”
“Mmm, let’s see…after Cameron got transferred to
“Evan? Evan who?”
She rolled her eyes. “Lorne, Rodney. Evan Lorne.”
“Evan – wait, Major Lorne?”
“You really don’t pay attention to anyone outside your team, do you?”
“Not if I can help it, no. Although Zelenka sometimes demands it. But honestly, I just had no idea that Lorne’s first name was Evan.”
Rolling her eyes and wondering yet again what, exactly, she found attractive about this man, Laura just stayed nestled near him, enjoying the novelty of skin on skin. “Well, anyway, Evan and I were together almost a year. We even lived together for a few months.”
“Honey, I’m home!”
Rolling her eyes, Laura looked up to see Evan shutting the front door. “You know, contrary to popular opinion, that really does get old.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. It’s classic,” he protested as he came to kiss her hello before starting the inevitable shed of his uniform.
“No, it’s lame,” she corrected, grinning.
“Touchy, touchy,” he tsked. “Didn’t you get to blow anything up today?”
It was comforting, annoying, and ultimately just strange that he knew her so well. “Not one thing,” she grumbled. “Paperwork.”
“Ah,” he said, coming up behind her and moving her hair to one side of her neck so he could nuzzle the other. “No wonder you’re in a bad mood.”
She elbowed him, not wanting to be cheered up. “Evan, I’m really not in the mood.”
Instead of being properly chastised, she could feel his lazy smile stretch, still working its way down her neck. “Bet I can change your mind.”
It was smug as hell, and as Laura found herself tilting her head a bit to the left so he could get at that spot right behind her ear, completely true. “Not fair,” she muttered.
Sensing her change of heart, Evan took the opportunity to spin her around, pulling her closer and running his hands over her in just the right way. “Oh, I’ll make it worth your while.”
She glared at him, though it was an effort. “Damn right you will.”
“You know, I’m beginning to rethink this full disclosure agreement,” McKay said after she had trailed off.
He frowned thoughtfully. “I’m realizing that you’ve slept with prettier people than I have.”
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous.”
“I’m not! Paul Davis and Lorne are both that kind of annoying, perfect teeth and perfect hair sort of good looking. Mitchell has the whole daredevil, fighter pilot thing going for him. And even Sumner was all…rugged and whatnot.”
A little worried by this speech, Laura took a moment to reach up and pull Rodney close for a long, heavy kiss – the sort of kiss that implied things. When it was over, they had somehow become horizontal again, and it took Rodney a few moments to realize that she had stopped and open his eyes in protest.
Looking down at him seriously, Laura asked, “You did enjoy that, right?”
He blinked, eyes still a bit unfocused. “Undeniably.”
“Okay then,” she said, sitting back a bit.
His brow furrowed at the sudden distance. “No more?”
“Later. We’re not finished yet, remember?”
With a reluctant groan, Rodney managed to prop himself up against the headboard. “Fine. Okay. So, if you and Lorne were serious enough to cohabitate, what happened?”
“The story of any Air Force romance – he got transferred. To the SGC, as it turned out, but we didn’t know that at the time. Breaking up just seemed…easier, somehow, than trying to struggle our way through a long distance mess. And then, by the time we were both here, we were in the same chain of command and just…our time had passed, I suppose.”
Strangely, this new information seemed to make Rodney a bit apprehensive. “You mean, you just…got over him that easily? Like it was nothing?”
“I didn’t say that,” she corrected. “Getting over Evan is actually how I ended up sleeping with Bates.”
At this new revelation, Rodney groaned and purposely thumped his head against the headboard. Hard. “That’s it. I’m doomed. I’m going to have nightmares about this conversation for weeks.”
She had met guys in bars before, but somehow, this whole scene seemed a bit more cliché than Laura was really comfortable with. Maybe it was just that Evan had only left a month ago, maybe it was that the guy she was talking to was obviously nursing a bruised heart to match her own, maybe it was just that the country western music in the background seemed to scream of desperation. Still, she was seriously thinking about calling it a night and just curling up in her depressingly empty bed.
At least, she was until Bates asked, “So, why did you and your boyfriend break up?”
Laura winced. “That obvious?”
His smile was more ironic than sincere. “I guess you could say I recognize the signs.”
She nodded, eyeing his glass of neat bourbon. “Not exactly an unusual story when you’ve sworn to put the Marines above everything else, is it?”
“Not at all,” he confirmed, swishing the amber around aimlessly in his glass. “You know, I’m not sure I can drink this. It’s just too…cliché.”
She smiled, looking at her own full drink. “I’ve been thinking the exact same thing. So, what was her name?”
“Catherine,” he admitted. “Yours?”
“Evan,” she said wistfully. “How long were you together?”
“Almost a year. You?”
“The same, actually.”
He grinned. “Do Marine relationships have a built in expiration date or something?”
It was a horrible joke and an even worse thought, but she laughed all the same. “I honestly don’t know,” she admitted. “Maybe.”
Finally pushing away his drink once and for all, Bates stood and put on his coat. “I don’t think I can stand this place another minute,” he admitted with a sheepish smile. “Do you want to walk with me for awhile?”
Just the promise of company was appealing, and Laura jumped at the chance. “That sounds really nice.”
The air outside was just chilly enough to make her shiver, and when he put his coat around her shoulders without even asking, she was touched rather than annoyed. “Thanks.”
“Not a problem,” he replied, stuffing his hands in his pockets awkwardly. They wandered down the street in silence, lost in thoughts of other places and other people. But eventually, they found themselves talking, and while it was strained and awkward, it got easier.
By the time they had come full circle to the bar parking lot, she felt…better. Judging from the smile on Bates’ face, she wasn’t the only one. “This is going to be another horrible cliché,” she said. “But what are you doing tomorrow? Because if you’re free, I thought maybe…coffee?”
He tilted his head, considering it. “Do you really think that will help?”
“I have no idea,” she admitted. “But I figure it’s better than sitting around alone, moping. We could think of it as Ex Therapy.”
His laugh was genuine, and when she joined in, she realized that it had been a month since she had really laughed. She had missed it.
“You know,” he said as his chuckles subsided. “That sounds nice.”
“You make him sound almost human,” Rodney commented.
“He is,” she insisted.
“I think we’re talking about two different Bates’, then,” McKay insisted.
Exasperated, Laura rolled her eyes. “Oh, just…shut up.”
“Shut up? That’s really the best you can do?”
Her glare was quick and could have stopped a Wraith Queen in her tracks. “I’m beginning to change my mind about ‘later’.”
“Oh, fine,” Rodney grumbled. “But are you almost finished? Because I’m about one guy away from developing an inferiority complex.”
“Well thankfully, there’s only one guy left,” Laura replied lightly.
practically see a quip on the tip of his tongue, but it died before he spoke
it, the weight of realization heavy in his eyes. “
his pain far outweighed her own, she tightened her hold around him, trying to
surround him with support that he could physically feel as he waded through
that particular memory. “
She was waiting for him in the infirmary, sitting nonchalantly on top of his counter reading her own file – it made disturbingly entertaining reading. When he walked in and stopped abruptly, smiling to see her there, she put it down, studying him thoughtfully.
“This isn’t working, is it?” she asked.
He crossed the room with a sigh. “Oh, love. We did try.”
The fact that he agreed with her immediately made Laura feel better – like she wasn’t throwing away a good thing just because she could. “Oh, I’d say in some ways, we actually succeeded.”
Charmingly, his entire face quickly flushed and he refused to make eye contact. “Now, Laura, that’s enough of that,” he objected.
His discomfort made her laugh, because it reminded her why she had been attracted to him in the first place. “You’re just about the nicest person I’ve ever met, Carson. I know everyone says that they’ll be friends, but I’m not going to leave it to fate. Will you join me for breakfast?”
“Is it?” she asked, delighted. “Excellent.”
Somehow, she and Rodney had shifted back to laying down, facing each other with a long expanse of white sheet between them. “Pancake day is a good day,” Rodney remarked, though his voice seemed hollow.
“Yeah,” she agreed, trying to read between the lines of his demeanor. But without his usual snark, Rodney was surprisingly hard to read. All she knew was that he was disturbingly still as he lay across from her.
“I miss him,” he finally admitted quietly.
For most people, a confession like that would be nothing – expected, almost, or routine. For Rodney…well. Laura had just spent the better part of half an hour listing some of her most private exploits, and yet she somehow felt like Rodney had trumped it all with one sentence.
Looking at him, Laura realized that she and Rodney McKay had just slid straight from fooling around into a relationship.
What’s more, she realized that she honestly didn’t mind.
By the time she had recovered from this revelation, Rodney seemed to have slid out of his own reverie and was instead, watching her. “You have a strange look on your face,” he noted without all of his usual rancor.
She waved it away, sliding closer, noticing for the first time how honestly good she felt when he was touching her, even if it was just a hand on her back. “I just realized that eventually, I’m going to have to introduce you to my mother.”
Most men would be instantly turned off by a sentence like that. But, as she was beginning to really learn, Rodney was not most men. “Actually, I’m surprisingly good with mothers.”
Her eyes narrowed with skepticism. “Oh, really?”
“Yes, really!” he insisted. “I’m smart, gainfully employed, don’t cheat on my taxes even though I could and get away with it, charming….”
She couldn’t stop the snort of laughter from escaping, and then it was his turn to glare at her. “You don’t believe I can be charming?”
“What can I say? I’m dating a scientist, so I require proof. Seeing is believing and all that,” she retorted.
“So, just visual proof then?”
“Oh, I’d say all kinds of proof. Empirical, irrefutable, theoretical, immediate….”
At that, he smirked and pulled her even closer. “My, my. It seems that we are faced with quite the scientific undertaking. What do you say to beginning with immediate and working our way down the list?”
His kissed her throat and she couldn’t help but reflect that even though six men had done that before, none of them had been Rodney. “Oh, I would say that I’m amenable to that proposition.”