|So If I Fell, I Would Fall Right In
so i felt around in the dark
Vala, because Jackson -- Jackson at work and when he's being a pain in Cam's ass, Daniel at home and in bed and all the times in between -- won't talk about her, and Cam wants to. Thinks they need to.
She leaves -- on Earth, Cam remembers, because he doesn't know what day or month or year or even if they have days or months or years on that planet where she left -- on a Tuesday, December 10. Jackson barely talks to anyone for two straight weeks, and they spend Christmas on PX6-RJ9, negotiating a treaty that will earn them a planet that's a safe refuge from the Ori, plus also a shitload of naquadah, which nobody at the SGC ever says no to.
Jackson talks to the people off-world, the way he always does, and Cam watches him from behind a pair of sunglasses, not exactly looking for the fault lines, the fractures, but also not quite not looking. Cam also knows that he's not subtle and Jackson knows Cam's watching him; it's a circle of things they know and things they guess and things nobody says that Cam thinks should get said.
But he's still the new guy, in the end, even if he's not anymore, and he doesn't understand the protocol of SG-1 and the way they guard their hearts, but he understands that it's necessary.
They get a week's down-time after RJ9, and Cam flies home to see his Daddy and his Mama, plus all the relatives that come up just to see him, and Jackson flies out to Nevada to see Carter and collaborate on some work -- Don't work too hard, Cam said, before Jackson caught the transport, and Jackson said, don't eat too much, and Cam doesn't know if be careful, take care of yourself, come home translates in his voice.
Jackson's got a long history of not coming home, whether by his own choice or by accident of other people (other things, other higher beings). Vala chose to walk away. Cam understands what the General meant, when he told Cam to take care of his team: don't let them disappear. Make sure they come home at night, for whatever values of home apply.
Cam knows the cold, hard facts of what the Stargate Program -- what his life -- has done to Jackson, in terms of people walking away from him, and Cam isn't really surprised that Jackson's chosen to walk away, to disappear, to not come home, the times he has. And Cam's not surprised that Jackson's gone quiet and contemplative since Vala pulled her own disappearing act. She's just one more person who's walked out on Daniel, for whatever reasons she had for walking out, and Daniel's figuring out how to cope in the only ways he knows how.
Cam's just riding out that tide, and pushing when he can't wait anymore. Daniel just pushes back, snaps at Cam, insists that he isn't thinking about Vala and isn't mumbling her name in his sleep and isn't missing her. When Daniel snaps, Cam backs off, because that's all he's really trying to get -- a reaction, a reassurance that Daniel hasn't completely frozen himself off.
So Cam says her name and Daniel chucks whatever's close at hand in the direction of Cam's head (things that have made contact: the television remote, three pillows, a plastic coaster; things that have missed: a plate, two whiskey tumblers, the television remote twice) and locks himself in his office or the bathroom or disappears onto the balcony to sit and stare at the sky and shiver.
When Daniel sits on the balcony, Cam goes and sits with him, misses December in North Carolina when the air is cool and sweet and damp, and never sinks so close to your bones that you think you'll never get warm. But it's the least that Cam can do, and when Daniel's finished staring at the sky, when he's forgiven Cam for saying unforgivable things, they go inside and warm each other up.
Cam's waiting for Daniel to forgive Vala for doing unforgivable things, and it might be a long time coming but Cam knows Daniel well enough to know that, eventually, he will.
Cam spends his week in Kansas waiting for his cell phone to ring and eating too much and trying to avoid awkward questions from his relatives about what it is he's actually doing in his job right now. It's not his life, this life with his family, and there are too many secrets caught between his shoulder blades, twisting the muscles of his back up into knots while he's trying to smile and nod and appreciate the things he's got, like a family and friends and Daniel.
He misses Vala terribly, painfully, in those moments.
The day after he gets to Kansas, he's in the grocery store with his Mama, waiting while she tries to pick out a couple of frozen turkeys, on sale after the holidays, and he sees a flash of black hair, the line of a back held straight to keep from crumbling under the weight of lies and deceptions and trust. He goes off after her, leaving his Mama with the cart and the turkeys and the eight cans of pumpkin, because Cam is sure, in that strange, normal moment of grocery shopping, that it's her, hiding in Kansas because she's already hidden everywhere else.
It's not, of course -- it couldn't be. It's Janie Devereaux, who went to high school with Cam, and she's gotten married and had three kids and he makes small talk until he hears his Mama calling for him, Cameron Everett, you get your sweet butt over here and help me with this turkey.
Normal lives are things that other people get to have. Cam's just got phantoms and SG-1 and Daniel.
The night before he flies back to Colorado, his cell phone rings.
He's sitting on the porch with a beer, past midnight, and everybody else in the house has gone to bed. He's got the door propped open, just a little, because the house was starting to close in on him, nowhere to breathe, and he can hear one of the cousins who's sleeping in the living room snoring nasally, and someone's left the TV on, low and rumbling, in the den.
The sky's even bigger in Kansas than it is in Colorado, from Daniel's balcony, so Cam's looking at the stars, but there's no sky on Earth as big as the sky that Cam's seen out in the galaxy.
His cell phone rings, cradled in the hand that's not wrapped around the beer, and his fingers are cold when he answers it. He doesn't have to look at the display to know it's Daniel -- Jackson -- Daniel, so he says, "How's Carter?" without preamble.
"Good," Daniel says. "She's good. She says hi. Merry Christmas. How's Kansas?"
"Cold," Cam says. "Full of ghosts. And relatives."
"Any relatives' ghosts?" Daniel asks, a laugh in his voice, and he sounds … happier than he's sounded since she left.
"Not this year," Cam says.
"I'm not interrupting anything," Daniel says, and Cam can't tell if it's a question or a statement, but he's pretty sure it means that Daniel wants to talk.
"Drinking a beer, staring at the sky," Cam says. "Everybody else went to bed."
Daniel says, "She'll come back if she wants to."
"You're convincing the wrong guy of that," Cam says, because he's not the one who's falling apart and he's not sure what else to say any more. "I miss her, too."
"You'll be home tomorrow?" And that is a question, like Daniel doesn't believe that Cam won't walk out, too, and Cam's stomach clenches against Daniel's certainty that everyone eventually leaves.
"Yep," Cam says. "Dinner time, if I'm lucky. You?"
"I'm home now," Daniel says, which is wrong, because he's supposed to be in Nevada 'til Tuesday at least, and it's only Sunday. He offers no reasons, but Cam knows that there will be one, when Cam comes home, when they're sweaty and sated in Daniel's bed.
"I'm flying commercial," Cam says. He does not ask: meet me at the airport.
"You have your car?" Daniel says, and it's casual. They're still trying to figure this out for themselves, and it's as much fighting as it is about boundaries. What they mean and who they are to each other.
"Nope," Cam says. One of the airmen gave him a lift from his apartment to the airport; Daniel left the day before on a standard transport flight with some more of Carter's equipment.
"7:15?" Daniel says.
"Yep," Cam says. "Thanks."
Daniel snorts into the phone, and there's no good answer he can give because there are no good answers left in the world, just answers that fill the time. And answers that keep you warm at night, whether they're permanent or not. "Don't drink too much," Daniel says.
"I promise, Mom, I'm going to just finish this one," Cam says.
Daniel snorts again and hangs up, and Cam finishes his beer, goes up to the bedroom he spent his teenage years dreaming and sleeping and jerking off and living in, and he sleeps without dreams.
Where to order dinner from, because a guy can only eat so much Thai food before he just wants a goddamned pizza with extra cheese and pepperoni and black olives. Then they argue about what to order on the pizza (no onions; no green peppers; no sausage; no extra cheese; no garlic), back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, and in the end they always end up eating the same thing, which is to say the pepperoni and black olives (no extra cheese) that Cam wanted in the first place.
They fight about what kind of beer to keep in the fridge, they fight about whether to wash the dishes by hand (Cam, because that's how his Mama's always done it, even after she got a dishwasher) or just throw them all in the dishwasher and go fuck on the living room floor (Daniel, who appreciates the comforts of modern life after years in the desert, and he misses Abydos, misses Egypt, misses the life he used to have, but he appreciates the hell out of his dishwasher, his washer and dryer despite that), they fight about whose turn it is to do the laundry, and in the end, the laundry doesn't get done, there's more beer than food in the fridge most weeks, and Daniel sullenly rinses the dishes before he shoves them in the dishwasher.
Cam's never lived with someone else -- he spent most of his life before SG-1 stationed overseas or on bases, and the girlfriends he had weren't the sort he cohabited with, though he loved a couple of them in the best way he knew how. It's complicated, trying to navigate this thing with Daniel, because Cam has his own apartment but there's a layer of dust on almost everything and two old cartons of Chinese food in the fridge, since he's hardly ever there. Daniel's place is bigger, nicer, feels more like a place where somebody comes home and not just a place where somebody lives.
But it's not entirely Cam's, either, and he can't manage to figure where he's stepping on toes and where Daniel's actually conceding him more than simply space in his bed.
They come back from PT8-XR4 on a Friday, and they leave the Mountain separately -- Jackson's already gone by the time that Cam finishes his paperwork and checks in with SG-2 and SG-4. They didn't make dinner plans, didn't say anything to each other about the weekend except that when Jackson left the Mountain, he stopped by Cam's office and said, "Later?"
Cam said, "Yeah, but might be a lot later." Jackson had nodded, given Cam a slow, sweet smile, and disappeared into the hallway, whistling. It was a good mission -- another planet untouched by the Ori and so wounded from the rule of the System Lords that they'd never consider another god without checking all his references. The food was good, the booze was good, and they'd all come back through the gate whistling, cheerful, the best mission they've had in weeks.
They'd all come back happy, which is something new for Cameron, and for Cameron and Daniel.
It wasn't much later, though, because Cam was further into his mission report than he thought and most of SG-4 had already headed home. He passes a sushi place on his way from the Mountain to Daniel's -- passes a million ethnic restaurants, and sometimes he thinks it's why Daniel keeps the apartment he does, all the food on the way home from work -- and Cam isn't wild about sushi but Daniel complains because Cam won't eat it with him, plus there's a pizza place next door.
It's about compromise, his Mama once told him. She was talking about being married to his Daddy, but Cam knows she really meant something bigger, and so Cam walks into this place that does take-out sushi and noodles, orders two dozen rolls and picks a dozen pieces of sashimi off the menu at random -- he really can't stand the raw fish, but Daniel loves it, and so -- and then goes next door and orders himself a pizza with extra cheese and all the meat the place will put on the pie.
The shower's running when Cam lets himself in to Daniel's apartment, Daniel's boots kicked off in the hallway, a t-shirt tossed over the back of the couch. Daniel's mail -- two bills, a postcard of Lake Tahoe from Sam, a Macy's catalog for some reason -- is sitting on the island in the kitchen, and Cam slings the sushi next to it and the pizza on the counter by the sink. He came up the stairs thinking he should have stopped to get beer, but when he opens the fridge, half a piece of pizza in his mouth, the other half still in his hand, there's a twelve-pack of Shiner sitting on the bottom shelf, next to the snooty import that Jackson drinks.
Cam thinks he should be surprised, except he's not at all. He pries the plastic lids off the two trays of sushi, pokes the fish with one finger, and goes back into the living room, pizza box in one hand and beer in the other.
There's a rescheduled State game on ESPN tonight, canceled because of ice in the Triangle two weeks ago, and Cam's on the end of his second slice of pizza and the beginning of his second beer when the shower shuts off and Jackson emerges from the bathroom, shirtless, barefoot, wearing sweats and looking damp and rumpled. "Hi," he says.
"Dinner's on the counter," Cam says, and then, "Oh, God damn it, Sidney, you know this team can't run with Lawson and Ellington."
Daniel makes a curious noise, and when Cam tips his head over the back of the couch, Daniel raises an eyebrow at Cam. Cam looks at Daniel upside down and says, "Dinner. Kitchen. Also, bad defense."
Daniel rolls his eyes and walks away, Carolina drains a three-pointer and stretches the lead to 20, and Cam almost forgets that he's left sushi in the kitchen for Daniel. Another three-pointer, and the sound of Daniel's footsteps behind him. "Thank you," Daniel says, and he leans down to press a kiss against the back of Cam's neck.
"I don't know how you can eat that crap," Cam says, taking down his third slice of pizza in two huge bites.
Daniel sits down beside him, sets a bottle of Shiner by Cam's ankle on the table, and tucks a foot underneath Cam's thigh. He twitches his head in the direction of the TV. "And I don't know how you can care so much," he says.
"Habit," Cam says. "I've hated Carolina longer and deeper than I've hated the Ori. It's close these days, though."
"The same could be said for sushi and you," Daniel says, nudging Cam's leg. "Substitute a different emotion."
Cam grins, drains half his third beer in one gulp, and settles in to watch State lose and Daniel enjoy himself -- things that are so common and so unusual together that it seems perfectly, wonderfully, exactly what Cam wants.
Sam, and Daniel can't even remember why they're fighting about Sam. Cameron and Sam go back further than even Daniel and Jack do -- all the way back to the Academy, cadets together almost 20 years ago, but these days, Daniel knows Sam better (knows Sam's secrets) than Cam does, and maybe that's what they're fighting about.
Daniel knows that Cameron is angry that Sam went back to Area 51, but Daniel knows that keeping the band together, in Cam's words, was never the point -- they were happy to be back together, because it hurt them all (whether they admitted it -- Sam, Daniel himself -- or not -- Jack, Teal'c) when they split up. It was like losing limbs, splitting up the team, necessary but awful.
When they got back together, it was something different and familiar. Daniel was glad when Sam came back, but he knew it wasn't permanent; Cameron was happy when Sam came back, and he thought it was for good.
Cameron's still got a rosy view of the world, of SG-1, of what the team means to each other and to the rest of the base. Daniel appreciates it -- it's made the last two years worth going through the gate over and over again, because sometimes it takes someone else's eyes to make Daniel remember why it's worth doing.
They fight about Sam because Daniel isn't surprised that she leaves, because after ten years he knows what she's going to do. What she needs from what she's doing. Going through the gate isn't good enough, alone and without her lab, anymore. Cameron knows -- Daniel doesn't know what Cam knows, except that he makes jokes at Sam across the briefing table that don't sound like actual sentences to Daniel but make Sam blush and clap a hand across her face, or snicker helplessly, or lick her lips and leer at Cameron in a decidedly un-Sam way.
Sometimes Daniel thinks that they know two different Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Samantha Carters.
Sam came back to SG-1 for Cameron, but she left for herself. Two different Sam Carters.
It's not just that Daniel and Cameron aren't on the same page, it's that they're not even talking about the same book, and it's a fruitless fight. All of the arguments they have are fruitless -- all arguments are fruitless. Daniel can count the times he's changed someone's mind, really changed their mind and not just gotten them to do what he wants or the right thing or both, on one hand.
He and Mitchell fight because the Ori still scare them, and because they worry about the people around them, and about each other, and about the Earth. Because sometimes it's easier to fight than it is to sit helplessly by and not be able to fix things.
Mitchell calls Sam a couple of times a week, sometimes in her lab and sometimes when she's actually gone home, and Daniel can hear, in the one side of the conversations that he's privy to, the edge in Cameron's voice that means he still wants her to come back to SG-1. Daniel has to guess -- based on how the week has gone, who they've lost, what ground has been gained, and based on the desperation in Cameron's voice -- whether he's wishing for Sam back for him, or for the team, or for the world.
Daniel misses Jack every day, because after eight years, it went beyond trusting Jack with his life, their lives. It was something more organic, something that ran deeper than trust and life or death. Cameron and Sam go back years further than any of the rest of them, and Daniel understands the need -- the desperation, these days -- for that comfort.
Sam knows a Cameron Mitchell before the world that Cameron Mitchell thought existed was shattered all around him, torn out from underneath his feet. With Sam, Cameron can be 18 years old and clear-eyed, fresh-faced, lack the cynicism that's gotten them all through, all these years. And maybe Mitchell does it for Sam, too -- easing her burden, the brain behind the defenses that will save them all, letting her remember a time when everything wasn't ass over teakettle screwed up.
The worst part is: it's normal that it's all so screwed up. Daniel doesn't think that, even after ten years, he'll get used to things being hosed as the base line of existence. He copes, but sometimes he'd prefer life a little quieter, life a little simpler, life to be about Cameron and good wine and sushi.
It never is, though, and so Daniel concedes: gives Mitchell, gives Cameron, the time he needs to fail in convincing Sam to come home.
She'll come home someday. They all do, eventually.
All Daniel can do these days is keep Cameron warm while he shakes apart the way they've all done a hundred times.
Wet towels on the bathroom floor, and they reach a tenuous stalemate: Daniel stops complaining about them, and Cam stops dropping them immediately inside the bathroom door.
It's the only thing they fight about that isn't really about something else; it is, in the end, really just about the towels.
The General, and it's the same fight as the fight about Vala, only with different names and times and memories. Daniel's memories, not Cam's -- Cam knows the General as someone he stands up to salute, as the voice on the other end of a telephone when Daniel doesn't want to listen to the General talk about the Nationals or the Redskins or the Caps any more.
At least when they fight about Vala, it's a fight they can both fight in. When they fight about the General -- Cam says, he makes you crazy, why do you talk to him? And Daniel just shrugs, says, he made me crazy eights before you came along, like that's some kind of answer, like Cam is a cheap replacement for the things Daniel would rather have -- it's all Daniel, and Cam just feels like a teenager again, stewing in jealousy and frustration that he doesn't quite understand.
The General comes back to Colorado Springs less and less these days, but he calls more and more often. He's never been anything but good to Cameron -- after the first time, in the hospital, when he told Cam to take care of Daniel and his team, before any of this happened -- and Cam knows that the General is just weird about Daniel, because Daniel is weird about the General.
But Cam can't figure out why they fight about the General.
Maybe because Daniel and the General fight, and Cam just has a really hard time watching Daniel hang up the phone and scrub his hands over his face, lines on his forehead between his eyes where he's been frowning. Jackson's got enough on his plate without having to worry about fighting with somebody in D.C., no matter how long they were friends and teammates and family. At least, if Cam was in his place -- that's how he would feel.
But he's not Daniel, of course, and he doesn't necessarily understand the way that Daniel and the General are together, so he should stay out of it and keep his mouth shut. The thing is, Cam's pretty bad at that, too.
The General comes out to visit in May, and Cam goes to the store, fills Jackson's fridge up with food, kisses Daniel hard (pinned up against the door, the first really hot day of spring, and Cam almost can't make himself leave the apartment) and then disappears for three days.
Daniel didn't ask him to, and the General's never given a good goddamn about what Cam does or doesn't do with Daniel, but somehow it seems like the right thing to do, to clear out. Cam goes home and parks himself on the couch for the whole weekend, watching every baseball game he can get on his TV. The Cubs lose, the Yankees win, the Brewers (inexplicably) win.
It rains on Saturday night and Cam sleeps with all the windows open, the air clean and fresh.
He doesn't know why they fight about the General. It's not a fight that's really about something else, but Cam doesn't think it's a fight about General O'Neill, either. It's a fight about -- Jackson, Daniel, it's about Daniel not telling Cam stuff, it's about Cam feeling like he's missed all the good history.
It's nothing about the two of them, together -- it's about both of them, separately. Their own issues. At 3 a.m. on Saturday night (Sunday morning, and he can't remember the last time he slept in a bed without Daniel), Cam wakes up from a dream about a desert planet, no water for miles and he can't find the rest of the team, and his beer is warm and his neck hurts.
Jackson -- Daniel -- calls him on Sunday night. The General's already back on a flight to D.C., and Cam's just half-heartedly watching the Sunday Night Baseball game (Red Sox at Orioles, and it's raining in Baltimore, too) and drinking whiskey when the phone rings.
"I'm sorry," Daniel says, no advance warning, no hello, just plunges right in, which is one of the things that Cam loves about him. (And Cam does love him, loves Jackson at work in his fatigues and Daniel at home, barefoot and rumpled in jeans and t-shirts, Daniel at home, naked in bed. Not that he uses that word, not that either of them do, but there are other ways to say it, and Cam thinks that sometimes that's better. Or at least something he understands better.)
"Well, I'm a little drunk, so I accept that apology," Cam says. "What for?"
"Oh, nothing," Daniel says. "Everything."
"The General get to you?" Cam says.
"I wish you wouldn't call him that," Daniel says, sounding grumpy -- but fond -- and that isn't an answer to Cam's question, but Daniel will answer that question in his own time, on his own terms, and Cam's learned to be patient. Cam's learned that patience is worth the rewards it gets him. "What are you doing?"
"Watching the Sox kick the everloving snot out of Baltimore in the rain," Cam says, tilting his glass toward himself and looking at the way the whiskey clings to the planes of the tumbler. "Drinking whiskey."
"Which Sox?" Daniel says, and Cam doesn't get a chance to answer because Daniel hangs up the phone.
It doesn't surprise him that the doorbell rings, twenty minutes later -- that's the time it takes to get from Daniel's place to his, if you hit all the red lights. Daniel has a key, but where Cam goes freely in and out of Daniel's place, Daniel almost never shows up at Cam's. He takes his whiskey with him when he answers the door.
Daniel's damp, rain spots on his glasses and the hair at the back of his neck curling, just a little. He needs a haircut. Cam lets him in, steps back from the door, doesn't touch Daniel, doesn't say anything. Jon Miller shouts about something indistinct on the TV in the living room, and Daniel just looks at Cam, face unreadable, eyes looking for an answer that Cam hopes is written on his face because he doesn't know the question.
It's quiet for a long minute, and neither of them moves. Finally Cam says, "Drink?"
"Oh, God, yes, please," Daniel says, and when he slides past Cam and heads for the living room, Daniel runs his thumb against the back of Cam's wrist, the sort of gesture that Cam's spent the last five months taking for granted, and for all they've fought, Cam feels suddenly, completely lucky.
This isn't what he expected, what he thought he wanted, but SG-1's been nothing but surprises, nothing but redefinitions of what he wants and who he is, and he's lucky.
"So," Cam says. There's a second glass on the table, because he's used to pouring for two, these days, and he tips two fingers of whiskey into it and passes it to Daniel. Cam leaves the sound of the game on, low and repetitive and lulling, and the whiskey is sliding through his veins like oil on water. "How was the General?"
"Good," Daniel says. "He's -- Jack. He says hi."
"Hi," Cam says.
Daniel peers at Cam over the lip of his glass, and takes a long sip of whiskey. It's a stupid, quirky Daniel thing -- he does it with coffee mugs, with canteens of water off-world, with beer bottles and wine glasses and whiskey tumblers. It's the look he gives Cam when Daniel thinks that Cam is being difficult, or too sarcastic -- or when Daniel's trying to convey affection, amusement, worry.
The General is a constant in Cam's life, which is -- weird. Not weirder than Daniel, not weirder than the months with Vala, but weird. Not something Cam expected, either, and not necessarily something unexpected in a good way. But while it's weird, it's also something he's getting used to.
Like so many other things -- about Daniel, about SG-1, about the life he's living -- that have slid from weird into everyday normal.
Cam can drink whiskey and eat Thai food and understand that the General is always going to have a spot in Daniel's life that Cam doesn't understand and can't compete with, and Cam's never been the jealous type, not before this, so he shouldn't start now.
Or since he's started, he should stop.
"Jack and I have known each other for a long time," Daniel says, quiet and even.
Cam says, "I know." Boston scores on a two-run double to the tricky left field corner.
"There's things -- they're not my stories to tell," Daniel says. "But we've all got ghosts, and Jack and I know each other's ghosts." Unsaid, though he hears it in Daniel's voice: you know mine, too, and I'm trying.
Cam says, "I know." He knows. The ghosts of SG-1 have haunted him for three years, because they're not his ghosts but they shadow everything the team, now, does. And he has his own ghosts, his own specters, his own hauntings. "Are we going to talk about our feelings now?"
The General is one of Cam's ghosts -- a ghost that's very present in Cam's life, and Cam's never considered this apartment home, not the way he considers Daniel's apartment, Daniel's bed, Daniel, to be home. But Daniel's come home to him, and Cam's learned to live in the now. He can't look at the future, because he doesn't have that kind of life anymore -- once upon a time he thought he'd have a wife and a family and a life like on television, but he made choices and he turned down roads and he ended up here. With Daniel Jackson and a crowd of ghosts and a life that, strangely, seems to suit him.
"Darling, you know you're the only one for me," Daniel says, smirking, and he throws back the last of his whiskey, stands up, offer Cam a hand.
Cam doesn't pretend -- doesn't lie to himself -- that there's any permanence at all in the life he's living, but he'll take Daniel and his ghosts, for all the time that Cam can have Daniel, over a life lived alone.
Cam follows Daniel to the bedroom, strips his own clothes off on one side of the bed while Daniel strips on the other, and then he pushes Daniel onto the bed, sprawled out in the dim light with the baseball game still rumbling in the living room. Afterwards, one of them will get up, switch lights and TV off, lock the door, but for now Cam slides between Daniel's thighs, runs his hands over Daniel's scars and his mouth against the inside of Daniel's knee. Daniel's hands are gentle in Cam's hair when Cam blows him, Daniel's voice mixing with Jon Miller talking on the TV as Daniel comes.
His hands are gentle when he pulls Cam onto the bed, when he kisses Cam and wraps a hand around Cam's dick. Cam lasts about three minutes and collapses against Daniel's chest, and Daniel runs his hands along Cam's back, presses his mouth to the joint of Cam's shoulder and his neck.
"We've all got ghosts," Daniel says, quiet. Cam hears: I love you.
"I know," Cam says. He means: I love you.
They sleep with the windows open, the sound of the rain seeping into Cam's dreams. Later, when they find her again, it will rain and rain and rain, and Cam will think of this night, and ghosts, and things you get to keep and things you have to lose, and how the differences between the two aren't quite so different at all.