|My Pappy Was A Pistol, I'm A Son Of A Gun
Reynolds Coliseum, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina
"We're always off-world," Cameron said, tugging his hat down over his ears and turning up the collar on his jacket to hold off the rain.
"That's what we do," Jackson said mildly, wiping water off his forehead with the back of his hand, and squinting at the carvings on the wall in front of him, like he could see anything through the rainwater running down it. Cam sure couldn't. "Today is different, how?"
"Third year running," Cam said, shifting the light on his P-90 when Jackson tapped and pointed. "Third year running that we're off-world the weekend of the Carolina-State game. Just once, Jackson, I want a couple of days of downtime that doesn't coincide with State-Virginia or State-FSU, I want a couple of days that coincides with Carolina at the RBC, and I want to go."
"Didn't know you were a football fan, Mitchell," Carter said mildly, stepping in toward Jackson's wall and shaking water off her jacket like a dog, spraying Cam and Jackson. Jackson didn't notice, and Cam was so damn wet already that he hardly noticed.
"Basketball, Carter," Cameron said. "State football's not much to write home about, but basketball, that's where it's at. And the rivalry doesn't get any better than Carolina-State."
"I thought the basketball rivalry of note in the Atlantic Coast Conference was Duke and the University of North Carolina," Teal'c said.
"I didn't know you were an ACC fan," Cam said. "And it's not, it's Carolina-State, that's the important one."
"I am not a fan of this conference," Teal'c said, while Jackson straightened up from his crouch.
Jackson added, "But he reads the newspaper, and Jack used to make us watch ESPN. We can go, now. I can't see anything in this rain. We'll just have to send the MALP back through later on, and come back."
"Not the weekend of the ACC tournament," Cameron said. "I got tickets, and I'm going. It's in Raleigh, and it hasn't been there since ... before."
"Before what, Colonel Mitchell?" Teal'c said.
"Before State started to play in the RBC Center," Cam said. "Last time it was in Raleigh, it was at Reynolds, and I ... couldn't go."
"Overseas?" Carter called over her shoulder, hoisting her pack and taking the lead on the trek back to the 'gate. Through the rain. Where there were no big-screen TVs, and no beer, and no this being the year that Lowe finally beat that damn Williams and Cam got to see it, live.
"Ah," Cam said. "Not exactly. Wasn't born."
"Plus Mitchell was banned from attending games at Reynolds Coliseum," Jackson said, passing Cameron and splashing mud up in his wake.
Cam said, "Hey."
"Read your file," Jackson said. "Naked, Mitchell?"
"Seemed like a good idea at the time," Cam grumbled, and he heard Carter and Jackson laughing in the rain ahead of him.
"It always does, Mitchell," Carter said, and the smirk in her voice sounded affectionate to Cam's ears. "It always does."
Waffle House, 395 South 8th Street, Colorado Springs, Colorado
In Cam's defense, he wasn't actually the first one to get thrown out of the Waffle House on 8th.
In less of his defense, he certainly didn't help the situation any by sticking up for Vala when she did, which might be why his picture and Jackson's picture are both taped behind the register as well, next to the Polaroid of Vala with whipped cream in her hair and a strawberry stuck to one breast.
It was one of Cameron's favorite things about Colorado - within half an hour of Cheyenne Mountain, there were five Waffle Houses. When he joined the 302 program, an old ROTC buddy from State had warned him that the worst part about being stationed anywhere but the South was the lack of Waffle Houses, the lack of any place that wasn't Denny's to get breakfast food at 4 a.m. when you came off shift. It was to Cam's surprise and great pleasure that he found the first Waffle House, down on Fillmore, and even better when he joined SG-1 and found out that his teammates liked the place as much as he did.
There was something comforting about digging into a double waffle and a plate of hash browns after a mission. (Cam ate his hashbrowns scattered, covered, and topped; Jackson ate his scattered, smothered and diced; Carter ate hers scattered and chunked; Teal'c ate his scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped and diced, which made Cam a little queasy, not that he'd mention to Teal'c.) Something about how down home, back to Earth, the food was in the wake of spending days at a time on alien planets.
SG-1 ended up at the Waffle House on 8th about half the times they came back from off-world. Not all of them, all the time, depending on who was banged up and who was in the infirmary barfing from a variety of alien pollens, but at least a couple of them, eating like they'd been starved and talking about normal, non-alien-lifeform things.
The first time Cameron had suggested a trip to the Waffle House, stretching his arms at the briefing table post-debrief, Carter and Jackson had blinked at him strangely, exchanged a look between them that Cam couldn't read, and then Jackson had said, "Sure, Mitchell, I could eat."
Carter declined, and Teal'c was sleeping off a head wound in the infirmary, so it was just him and Jackson, and there was something about how Jackson had looked when he'd agreed that made Cameron kind of afraid that he was about to end up eating alone in a Waffle House in Colorado. Cam kept checking his rear view mirror, looking for Jackson's Jeep behind him.
Jackson hadn't bailed, though, and they'd actually had a pretty nice conversation. Later on, Jackson - and then, even later, Vala - was Cam's most constant companion in eating waffles and eggs.
The day that Cam had gotten thrown out of the Waffle House on 8th had started with a flat-out run back through the 'gate with a herd of pissed off villagers on their tails, so he should have known that it probably wasn't going to end well, either, because days that started that badly usually ended worse.
When he'd bounced a chunk of hash browns off of Vala's nose, Cam really hadn't expected to have a fried egg crammed down his pants in return, but he shouldn't have been surprised.
It was worth it, though, because later Vala let Jackson lick the whipped cream off her neck, and she retrieved the fried egg from Cameron's pants with great solicitation and maybe a little more groping than absolutely necessary - not that Cameron was complaining at all.
Lt. Colonel Doctor Samantha Carter's Third Lab, Level 23, Stargate Command, Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Springs, Colorado
"Oh, jeez," Cam said, and the weird looking box on the table started flashing in an angry sort of way - as angry as an inanimate, possibly dangerous alien artifact could flash, at least. "Is it dangerous?"
"For fuck's sake, Mitchell," Carter said. "If it was dangerous, it wouldn't be in this lab. Now get the hell out of here. And call Siler, tell him I need him ASAP."
"Sure," Cam said, backing up as fast as he could. He hadn't meant to put his elbow on the little button on the top of the angry alien box; it had just been a place to lean while Carter went on about something that he didn't understand.
Afterwards, with Siler sporting two gauze-wrapped hands and Carter missing an eyebrow (but no other harm done, thank God), Carter and Landry both suggested that Cam stay out of the labs unless absolutely necessary.
He didn't mind at all; he liked his eyebrows, thanks very much.
Boo Radley's, 407 23rd Avenue, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
He'll believe this to his dying day: War Damn Eagle is a dumbass fight call for a school whose mascot is a tiger - but maybe he shouldn't have said that to the heavily tattooed, thickly muscled, definitely drunk Auburn fans in that bar in Tuscaloosa.
He was 26, on leave and visiting his grandma (his mom's mom and not his dad's mom, who was still up in the hills of the North Carolina mountains) and a couple of buddies from high school who'd moved down to Alabama after graduation, and the trip was memorable for a couple of reasons. For one thing, Cam had never seen a real bar fight before, certainly hadn't seen a guy picked up by the back of his shirt and run down a bar on his stomach like in the movies, definitely certainly hadn't been that guy on his stomach before.
Well, what did he know about insulting Auburn fans? He'd always thought that the 'Bama fans were the hot-blooded ones; he'd thought that Auburn fans were sort of drunk and laidback, not the sorts to take offense at a kid with a degree from some out-of-state ACC school talking shit about their fight calls.
Turns out: Auburn fans, just as hot-blooded as Crimson Tide fans, and they hit a lot harder, too. Cam had never gotten a black eye from a 'Bama fan, for one thing.
After he'd been forcibly ejected by the Auburn grad bouncer, Timmy and Jake on his heels and both of them looking as worse for the wear as Cam, he'd limped home to his grandma's place and she'd just shaken her head when he stepped into the light in the kitchen and she saw his rising black eye.
"Oh, Cameron," his grandma said, and then she went to the fridge and got out a steak. She made a pot of coffee and made him hold the steak over his eye until she was certain the swelling was going to go down. He told her what had happened, every gory detail starting with the tequila shots that Timmy insisted were a good idea and ending with the bouncer's hand on Cameron's collar, shoving him out onto the street so hard he stumbled and almost went down on his knees.
His grandma laughed, and fixed Cam a cup of coffee just the way Cam liked it (more cream than coffee), and patted his hand when she said, "You're a good boy, Cameron. You should think before you talk, though."
Cameron clutched the steak against his eye and laughed.
A Large Banquet Hall during the Celebration of the Waning Moon, P7X-96A
It was one of those missions that, during the fight with the Ori, turned out not to be important at all. None of the Priors had been to P7X-96A, which the natives called Odano and Carter called the one with the weird food and Jackson called a pre-industrial but fairly well-developed agricultural nation, and the Odanons were friendly, remembered Carter and Jackson and Teal'c from a mission something like five years ago.
And Cameron remembered the Odanons from the mission report he'd read, but he didn't remember that talking directly to one of the native women was an offense punishable by expulsion from the banquet. Nothing dire, just, Cameron said something to a woman across the table from him instead of to her companion, and the next thing he knew, he was being herded (gently but firmly) and scolded (firmly but loudly) by a tribal leader.
Jackson had uncrossed his legs and straightened up from his seat on the floor. "I'll go with him," Jackson had said to Carter. "We'll hang out at the 'gate until you're done here, they're more interested in you and Vala than the two of us, anyway, I should have remembered that from the last time. Teal'c will keep an eye on you."
Teal'c had nodded and Cam had tried to dig his heels in and protest his getting thrown out, but Jackson had pressed a hand into Cam's back and shoved, not lightly.
"I don't think that was in the mission report," he complained, as Jackson propelled him out of the hall with a hand on Cam's back, Jackson's fingers warm through Cam's jacket, underneath his vest.
"It was, Mitchell," Jackson said.
"You've written a million of those things, how do you remember that one?" Cameron said, trying to cast a sad look back at the banquet being spread out on the tables behind him.
"Because Jack, General O'Neill, got thrown out of the banquet hall for doing the same thing," Jackson said. "I made sure to make a note of the social practice in my mission report, and I know Jack did the same thing in his report, although I suspect his language was probably more offensive."
Cam tried to remember about that while they'd hiking back to the 'gate; not far, just over a klick and Jackson was setting an easy pace on point. The sun was shining and the sky was blue, deeper blue for midday than the sky ever was on Earth, and there was a breeze. Jackson needed a haircut, and the wind ruffled the little pieces that hung down against the collar of his jacket. When they got back to the 'gate, Jackson sank down onto the steps and started rifling his pack. He pulled out one of the journals he never went anywhere without and unclipped the pen, flipping through the pages he'd already filled until he turned up a blank one.
Cameron sprawled out on the ground in front of Jackson and heaved a great sigh, propping his head up on his pack and crossing his arms across his P-90. Not that he thought they were going to get shot at, but the pose looked better in his current demonstration of Military Man At Rest, In Boredom.
Jackson looked up and raised his eyebrows at Cameron. "I'm bored," Cam said.
"Should have thought of that before you got thrown out," Jackson said, but he was already fishing in his pack. He threw a pack of cards down at Cam's chest. "Here."
"Solitaire sucks," Cameron said, crawling up onto the steps and bumping Jackson's shoulder with his. "What are you writing, huh?"
"Mission notes," Jackson said. "I thought I'd capture your complaints verbatim before I forgot them."
"Hey, Jackson, we're buddies," Cam said, craning his neck to try and get a look at Jackson's writing. "Don't do that, I'll never live it down in the debriefing as it is."
"Tough luck, Mitchell," Jackson said, but the corner of his mouth twitched and he started to laugh.
"What?" Cam said, feeling a little hurt. "What?"
"That's just what Jack said when he got thrown out," Jackson said.
"Huh," Cam said.
"You do okay, Mitchell," Jackson said, reaching over to take the cards out of Cam's hand. "You're not half bad at this." He nudged Cam's shoulder and dipped his head a little, grinning at Cameron out from under his eyelashes, and Cam couldn't help but grin back. Jackson was a good guy to have on your side. "Come on," Jackson said. "Drop your hat down there, we'll toss the cards at it."
"Better than solitaire," Cam said, and, "Hey, why not yours?"
"I’m a delicate flower," Jackson said primly. "I'll burn."
Cameron collapsed in laughter and Jackson joined him, leaning against each other on the steps of the 'gate platform, and when Jackson got his breathing under control, he said, "Let me tell you about the time that Sam was banned from all public bathhouses on P8L-R4A."
When Carter and Teal'c and Vala hiked up to the 'gate four hours later, Jackson was asleep on the platform with Cam's jacket tossed over his face, and Cam was flicking playing cards at Jackson's hat, which was sitting on the ground at the bottom of the steps up to the platform.
"Mitchell," Carter said. "Have a good afternoon?"
"Sure," Cam said, leaning down to pick up the cards. "So about those bathhouses, Carter?"
Carter blushed deep red and kicked Jackson in the thigh. "Ow," Jackson said, sitting up blearily. "Jeez, Sam."
"That was a secret, Daniel," Carter said.
"I want to know," Vala said interestedly.
"God," Carter said, rolling her eyes.
"I know," Cam said sadly. "Nobody said SG-1 involved this much public humiliation at the hands of my teammates."
"That was in a memo, too," Jackson said.
"I bet it was," Cam said. "Dial her up, Carter."
When the wormhole wooshed into life, Cam had his head tilted back, face up to the sun, and he thought, not a bad life at all, before he stepped through the event horizon and headed back to Earth, headed home.
author's notes: title from roger miller, "dang me". beta by j., who gave me the original idea about camshaft getting chucked out of reynolds, and asb, who audienced before she betaed.