better watch your ace (cinaed) wrote in gateverse_remix,
better watch your ace

If I'm A Loser Or Just Unlucky (It Takes Effort To Be This Unlucky Remix)

Title: If I'm A Loser Or Just Unlucky (It Takes Effort To Be This Unlucky Remix)
Author: cinaed
Original story: It Takes Effort To Be This Unlucky by raisintorte
Spoilers: SGA: "The Return I" and SG-1: "Company of Thieves" (including specific spoilers for "Momento Mori")
Word Count: 2,700
Notes: Thanks go out to the marvelous duckduck who beta-read this for me. All dialogue (except for the flashback) are from the original story.

If I'm A Loser Or Just Unlucky (It Takes Effort To Be This Unlucky Remix)

If I'm a loser
Or just unlucky
So are you

- "There's Us" by Alexz Johnson

Cameron Mitchell's momma had always sworn up and down that he'd been born under a lucky star. Times like these, though, Cam suspected he'd been born under an evil one, or at the very least a star with a weird sense of humor. He resisted the urge to sigh, maybe press a hand over his eyes, and instead spoke, keeping his voice low and even. "Just our luck we got lost and the one place we stop and ask for directions, just happens to be owned by-" He paused, fought back another sigh. "-conspiracy theorists who think we're part of an advance alien team sent by the government to prime the public for the invasion. I mean really, what are the chances?" Just thinking about 'Frick and Frack' (as Sheppard had dubbed them) with their matching Carhartts cover-alls, boots, and red plaid shirts made Cam long for some aspirin or, barring that, a stiff drink.

He heard Sheppard make a quiet noise, but it took him a second to recognize the sound as laughter. “I would say, given our line of work -- pretty high,” Sheppard commented, wry amusement clear in his voice.

Cam couldn't fight back the rueful smile that curved his lips, because from what he'd heard of Atlantis from Sam it seemed that Sheppard's team had the same "weird star" curse SG-1 had. Safely tucked behind the stack of broken-down cardboard boxes that looked ready to collapse at any second, he shifted and stretched a little, grimacing as his body protested. He'd been sitting -- well, hiding, really, if he was honest with himself -- in the exact same spot with his cardboard fortress ever since they'd been tossed into the cellar and left without their clothes, and he could feel the muscles in his lower back knotting. He'd need a back massage or -- at the very least -- a long, hot shower once they'd gotten out of this mess.

In the other corner of the cellar, Sheppard was still talking. "I noticed you just used we to describe how we ended up here. There was no we about it. You were driving."

Cam resisted the urge to snort. "And you were supposed to be navigating. Really, you can find your way around another galaxy, but you can't find your way through the mountains of Colorado? I guess you really do need your fancy little Jumper with its built-in nav system to get around." His thoughts stalled out for a moment and lingered on the thought of those Jumpers. Being able to fly with just your mind and your instincts? Of the ten commandments, Cam usually didn't stumble at "thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's possessions," but he could feel himself faltering now, want making his hands itch and something very much like envy clenching his stomach a little. He was the leader of SG-1 and the ATA gene wouldn't do him much good fighting the Ori; still, he couldn't help but envy Sheppard for his natural gene.

"My navigating skills are just fine thank you very much," Sheppard informed him. "Your listening skills on the other hand--"

Cam fought back a frown and lost, though at least he won the battle against crossing his arms like a surly kid. Instead, he busied his hands with shifting a few of the boxes and rubbing some of the goosebumps from his bare arms. "Okay," he said after a moment, unable to conceal the exasperation that colored his voice and twisted his mouth into an indignant look. "You were reading the map upside down."

Now it was Sheppard's turn to sound and look indignant. "I was not!"

"Yes, Sheppard. You were. So I chose to go the other way." Cam frowned, briefly distracted by the possible fate of his Mustang. Hopefully the two conspiracy theorists weren't touching his car. If they even scratched the paint-- Feeling his jaw going tight and his eyes narrowing just from thinking about it, Cam quickly attempted to distract himself with Sheppard's latest attempt to convince him that he was an expert navigator.

Sheppard, he was both entertained and confused to note, looked triumphant, going so far as to nod as though Cam had proved his point for him. Looking almost smug and waving his hands in some undecipherable gesture that reminded Cam of that McKay guy Sheppard seemed to hang out with a lot, he said, "Exactly!"

Cam stared at the other man for a moment. "What?"

"You chose to go the other way. Which is exactly how we ended up in Farmer-Few-Screws-Loose's cellar-- naked." Then Sheppard folded his arms against his chest and smirked a little, as though Cam now had to concede the point. Well, Cam certainly conceded to his earlier thought that yes, Sheppard had been spending way too much time with that McKay guy.

He just looked at Sheppard for a moment, taking in the smirk lighting Sheppard's face, the glint of triumph in those hazel eyes, and wondered how the hell he'd ended up here even as he tried to think of a way to concede the point without losing too much of his dignity. Well, what little dignity hadn't been taken with his clothes, that is.

Cam aimed carefully and shot, grinning in quiet satisfaction as the ball went through the hoop silently, nothing but net. His grin turned to a look of brief surprise when someone commented, "Nice shot." Turning, he found John Sheppard looking back, a half-smirk on his face as he leaned against the wall.

Smiling easily, Cam picked up the ball and tossed it in Sheppard's direction, a casual, easy pass. "Thanks. You play?" He'd seen the other man around over the past few days, of course. It'd been hard to miss him sitting in the mess hall being accosted by Jackson (who had a million and one questions about Atlantis), and even harder to miss when some scientist from Atlantis called McKay (who instantly raised Sam's hackles) had come to visit him. They'd gotten into an argument over whether Lantean blue Jello was better than SGC blue Jello, a debate which had ended with Sam dragging both men from the mess before the chef could start spitting in their meals.

Sheppard caught the ball even as he shook his head. "Not really. Plus, no basketball courts in Atlantis."

Cam snorted. "Man, some great race. Did the Ancients actually play any sports?"

"That wasn't exactly high on the list of things to research on the database," Sheppard said, but his smirk deepened and his eyes gleamed with mischief, and Cam suspected Sheppard had already made it an ongoing quest of his to find out what the Ancients had done for fun, besides building the Stargates and populating galaxies. After a moment though, the gleam vanished from Sheppard's eyes and he glanced towards the net, aimed, and shot. Cam watched the ball hit the backboard and fall smoothly through the hoop as Sheppard added, "Besides, the Ancients never seemed like basketball guys to me. Tennis, maybe."

"Tennis?" Cam fought back a laugh. "I take it you're not a big fan."

Sheppard's expression said it all, and Cam bit back another laugh. This time, he grabbed the ball and tilted his head in query. "Got time for a little one-on-one?" He kept his tone light, breezy, as though it was no skin off his nose if Sheppard said no, and tried not to think too hard on the pleased-as-punch grin that tugged at his lips when Sheppard raised an eyebrow and said, "Only if you promise not to be a sore loser."

After that, Cam suddenly kept tripping over Sheppard everywhere-- in the mess hall, in the gym, even in the gateroom, Sheppard going off-world as Cam and the rest of SG-1 returned from their latest pursuit of more leads for the Sangraal, all of which proved fruitless. Sometimes they ate meals together, but usually it was just a game of one-on-one every couple of days.

It was two weeks later that Cam ended up inviting Sheppard to O'Neill's cabin, having watched with morbid fascination at Sheppard's body contradicting itself. The skin around his eyes had started tightening with strain even while the rest of him seemed to almost sag, Sheppard slumping against doors and slouching so low in chairs it was a wonder he didn't slide to the floor. It had been Sheppard's eyes, though, their look all-too-often distant and unreadable, that prodded Cam into getting O'Neill's permission to use his cabin for the weekend, get Sheppard away from the SGC for a breather.

He blinked and realized that Sheppard was expecting a response. "Fine," Cam said at last. "But it's totally your fault we lost our clothing. You couldn't just stop the sarcasm for one moment. No. You just had to make a joke about us having transmitters in our shoes."

Sheppard momentarily radiated sheepishness, no longer meeting Cam's eyes. "I thought if I played along, they might let us go." Then he shrugged, the sheepishness shifting to a teasing attitude. "It's not like you were doing anything useful."

Cam snorted. "Playing along might have worked. You played right in!"

"Oh please. You were bound to lose your pants anyway. Carter told me to watch out for that."

He could feel his cheeks warming, the flush spreading across his cheeks and even to the tips of his ears. He was suddenly grateful for his cardboard fortress, not to mention the dim lighting of the cellar. "She did?" Oh, he was going to kill Sam when they were rescued.

“Yup," Sheppard said, and Cam could hear the smirk in his voice. "When I told her you and I were heading up to General O'Neill’s cabin for some downtime she told me to watch out for your ever disappearing pants. There was also an amusing anecdote about SG-1 finding you handcuffed to a bed with your mouth full of Twinkie. Now that is something I would pay to see -- and wow, that sounded better in my head.”

Cam cleared his throat, mouth suddenly drier than the Sahara. "I figured. Alright, moving on -- we need a plan." Yes, a plan that would derail his thoughts about Sheppard and handcuffs would definitely be a good thing right about now. Unfortunately, his mind was coming up blank.

"Yes. We do." There was an awkward silence for a moment, during which Cam resisted the urge to clear his throat once more, and then Sheppard said, "I think we're going to need to feel around the walls for cracks or creases. I've been trying to pull the foil off, but it appears to be super glued on. I almost wish we could tell them that tin foil won't protect them against aliens. Not like they would believe us, but really, tin foil? So cliché!"

"I'm starting to thing my entire life is one giant cliché," Cam half-muttered, but he had to admit, Sheppard's plan sounded good. He hauled himself upright, beginning to check the closest wall, immediately missing the cardboard fortress. It wasn't that Cam was shy -- years living on military bases had cured him of any embarrassment when it came to communal showers and general nakedness -- but even years as a military brat hadn't cured him of the discomfort that came from being naked in front of someone he liked a bit more than a friend. "You take those two walls, I'll take these."

They worked in silence for a moment, both men carefully feeling along the wall for cracks. Cam shoved aside a few boxes and then couldn't help the sound of triumph or the announcement of "Jackpot!" as he spotted a few burlap sacks. The sacks would probably be extremely uncomfortable but hey, it meant less nakedness, which Cam wasn't about to object to. He turned and then tossed one of the sacks towards Sheppard. "I just found these under this box. We can put them on, and then we won't be so-- naked."

That earned him a raised eyebrow and a smirk, along with a dry comment of, "Given the number of times I've heard you've lost your pants, I'm surprised that you're so worried about being naked."

Cam's face warmed at that and he was torn between shooting Sheppard a dirty look or ignoring the comment. He decided on the former. Busying himself with figuring out a way to wear the sack, he snapped, "Twice! I've lost my pants twice. Twice is not always! Contrary to popular belief, I don't just walk about the Mountain pants-less." Really, he was going to hurt Sam after this.


"So, Cam. See you lost your pants again. Good job!" Yeah, Sam was going to regret that. Cam would just have to figure out a way to get revenge without going too far and invoking the rest of SG-1's wrath. In the meantime, he contented himself with scowling at her and muttering, "Haha, laugh it up. Not that I'm not grateful, but why did you beam us out?" He resisted the urge to check all his fingers and toes. Asgard beaming technology was a wonder, but Cam still got a bit paranoid every time he was beamed aboard a ship.

"Daniel has a new lead on where we need to go to find the Sangraal," Sam explained, still grinning at him like a cat who'd caught a canary and grabbed a nip of cream. "We've been calling you for twelve hours, but you didn't respond. We had the Odyssey find your transmitters. You weren't within driving distance so we beamed you up." She paused and then added, blue eyes gleaming with poorly concealed amusement, "Colonel Sheppard is coming along."

Cam struggled not to narrow his eyes at her and instead played it cool, just nodding. "Gotcha." Pointedly ignoring her now, he turned away from and said, "Come on, Sheppard. Let's find some BDUs." Despite his attempt at aloofness though, he knew he radiated irritation as he stalked from the room, resisting the urge to grab at the makeshift "towel" he had wrapped around his waist. He could feel Sam's amused eyes on the back of his neck though and mentally groaned. He was never going to live this down.

"I wonder what Frick and Frack are going to think when they go back into the cellar and find us gone?" Sheppard drawled, and while he wasn't exactly in Cam's space, Cam could sense him more acutely than he had before, almost imagine Sheppard's breath on the back of his neck even though the other man was two, three steps behind him, not to mention the mischievous expression that was most likely on Sheppard's face.

Cam snorted. "I don't know, but they are probably going to think something is going on when the Marines show up to collect my car." He just prayed that 'Frick and Frack' hadn't damaged his car, because otherwise he was going to ask Landry if there was a "two free assassinations per SG-1 member" deal that he could cash in on.

Sheppard made a quiet sound of agreement. "Right. Don't envy those guys."

"Neither do I." Cam stopped in front of the supply closet where some spare BDUs ought to be and gave Sheppard a quick slap on the back, mostly to assure himself that they were actually on the Odyssey. Without clothes, mind you, but still, on the ship and out of Frick and Frack's cellar. Then he groaned as the "towel" gave up the ghost and fluttered to the floor, leaving him very, very naked in front of a very, very amused John Sheppard.

Sheppard smirked at him, but Cam caught a gleam in his eyes that hadn't been there before, a look of almost-predatory interest which made Cam's mouth go dry for the second time in the past half-hour. "You might want to fix that. I mean, not that I don't appreciate the view and all, but I don't know if this is the appropriate time for us to get naked together again." Sheppard's smirk widened and then Cam watched him saunter his way into the supply closet.

Cam looked around, taking in the empty hall, and then licked his lips, once, twice, in quick succession before taking a step inside the supply closet. He wondered what Sheppard meant, precisely, about 'appropriate time.' Some...clarification seemed to be in order.

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