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sequel/addition to Parsus by scribblinlenore (part 1, part 2)
[ parsus: the lorne edition ]
Lorne wouldn´t necessarily call himself a romantic, but he believes in love. He blames that on his parents, who have been married for forty years and still hold hands, still flirt with each other, still make out on the couch sometimes.
He´s realistic about it though, and that´s why he doesn´t think he´s a romantic. Love isn´t always easy, it´s not always pretty. He´s seen the ugly side of love, the side that made his sister stay with a misogynistic asshole that sometimes liked to take the stress from work out on her face.
Of course, that led to Lorne taking out his military training on his face, shoving the car keys into his hand hard enough to split his skin, and telling him if ever came back he´d do a hell of a lot more than break his jaw, but that´s neither here nor there.
And the thing is, you can´t control who you fall in love with. It´s never worked that way. He´d fallen in love with Tiffany Larson in the tenth grade, even though she was dating his cousin, even though she was two years older, even though she was moving to Tennessee in two months, even though she didn´t really like him all that much and kind of treated him like he was her kid brother.
If you could control who you loved, it would be easy to turn it on and off. You could decide not to love someone that didn´t love you back. You could decide to love someone you didn´t love but was kind and sweet and was so head over heels in love with you that she couldn´t even speak your name without blushing. His life would have been so much easier if he could have just loved Lauren in college.
So he´s never really been able to get on board with that whole ‘the gays are sinners´ thing, that whole ‘they choose to be gay´ thing, because it just doesn´t fit. He´s never been able to understand why anyone would actively choose to be ostracized by society, would choose to be beaten up, would choose to disappoint their parents wishes for grandchildren and a big white wedding and a nice wholesome family.
The way Lorne figures it, if your dick twitches at the sight of another man, well. That´s just who you are. He doesn´t really see a point in trying to deny it, and he doesn´t really see a point in judging someone for it, because he knows that if society said that men weren´t supposed to love women, he still would have loved Tiffany.
He hears the rumors floating around the quarters, the changing rooms, the training sessions; hears what the marines say about McKay and Sheppard. It makes him grind his teeth because it´s no one´s business for one, and for two, it´s been his experience that the military is the last place you want to be outed because it´s full of men who think that the definition of being a man is defined by how many women you fuck.
He´s never said anything because it´s none of his business, and he´s never seen anybody make any problems out of it. The men respected Sheppard, for the most part, more than Lorne had ever seen any group respect any C.O., especially those there from the beginning. So if they made dick jokes, fag jokes, behind their backs and laughed a little that was fine with Lorne, so long as they respected him. The second he saw someone smirking in front of Sheppard´s face about it though, he was gonna plant his boot in their ass.
He doesn´t think they really have anything going on, he´s pretty sure at this point it´s mostly camaraderie and being stuck in the trenches together. It´s not until McKay gets trapped in the cave and he sees Sheppard´s unshakable calm façade slip for a few seconds that he realizes that love´s involved in there somewhere.
He always knew there was a reason besides McKay´s brilliance that Sheppard put up with him and he doesn´t know why Sheppard loves McKay, he doesn´t get it. The sheer terror in Sheppard´s eyes in that moment though was all he needed to know that this was more than friends, this was more than caring about your buddy in arms.
Lorne hasn´t liked Adams since he walked off the Daedalus, fresh faced and cocky as hell. That´s what you get when Daddy´s ‘Someone Special.´ The way he smirks when Lorne orders him to do laps, the way he rolls his eyes when Sheppard gives the men that ‘we may not all come back from this one´ speech. The word insubordinate might as well be tattooed on his forehead, because Lorne can see it as clear as day.
Cosgrove and Smith are pretty polite to him anyway, because they´re just nice kids like that, but Bellson isn´t. Bellson´s never been the type to put up a front of any kind and he lets Adams know from day one that the first opportunity he gives him he´ll have him down on the mat, bloody-faced and crying. Lorne doesn´t reprimand him as much as he should because he´s too busy trying not to laugh.
That opportunity comes on a Wednesday, after a workout session led by Ronon. Ronon terrifies the shit out of Lorne but he´s a hell of a fighter, and he´d be a fool to turn away any advice he´s willing to give just because his sheer height makes Lorne feel like crawling under a rock.
Ronon´s gone and Cosgrove and Smith are talking in the corner. Lorne and Bellson are sitting on the bench talking about which techniques they need to go over and which ones they can disregard, because the fact of the matter is, there are some things Ronon can do with his body that they just can´t.
Adams is tying his shoe when Bellson says that Sheppard should have been there to see Smith go down like a ragdoll, and he doesn´t even look up when he says in a snide tone, yeah, too busy fucking McKay.’
Lorne´s first urge is to make him do laps, make him hit the mat face first and do twenty reps with his hand tied behind his back, because you just don´t talk about your C.O. that way, but he reigns it in when he sees Bellson´s face turn an angry red. Shut it, Private. Hit the showers.’
What, don´t tell me you don´t know,’ Adams says, looking up and smirking at him, and Lorne has flashbacks to high school when the jocks thought that being on varsity meant being king. It took him two years buffing up and ten minutes beating Carl Bueller´s ass before he got the respect he should´ve already had. Those two are the biggest couple´a fudgepackers--’
Boy, you are the stupidest motherfucker I´ve ever met,’ Bellson says, that low growl in his voice that´s made taller men than him take a few steps back. He´s a quiet guy until you get to know him, but he doesn´t need to say much to say a whole lot. Take the Major´s easy way out and just shut your trap now.’
Adams stands up and laughs, and that´s always been his problem. He doesn´t even realize how thin the ice he´s standing on is, and has been since he walked in here. Look, all I´m saying is I´m glad I´m not on that team, cause I don´t want those fags getting my six. They´ll be too busy staring at my--’
Smith and Cosgrove have made their way over there by that point and Lorne hears Cosgrove cursing under his breath as he stands up, his fists already clenched. Say that again,’ Lorne says, stepping into Adams personal space.
Adams just smirks at him. Say what again?’
What you just said,’ Lorne says, smiling easily back at him. The whole thing. And keep in mind, we´re off duty right now.’
Adams frowns in confusion. I said I don´t want those two fags--’
It´s the most satisfying thing in the world, the sting on his fist after he punches Adams so hard he winds up sitting on his ass on the mat. The contact of bone on bone is like scratching an itch he´s been trying to reach for three months now, ever since Adams walked onto his team.
What the fuck,’ Adams yells, looking up at him and holding his jaw. Major!’
Told you to keep your trap shut,’ Bellson says, and Lorne doesn´t have to look to see the satisfied smile on his face.
Hit the showers, Private,’ Lorne says, pointing a hand towards the showers. And I´d recommend staying the hell out of my face for the next forty-eight hours.’
What´s the matter, Lorne, don´t like the way I´m talking about McKay and Sheppard? Did you think I said Parrish?’
Lorne is so furious he can´t even form the words. He doesn´t have to because Bellson is reaching forward and hauling Adams up by his shirt collar, snarling right in his face. What did I tell you about me beating your ass, Adams? Did you forget?’
Oh, maybe it´s you two then,’ Adams says, still smirking, despite the fact that blood is trickling down his chin from where Lorne split his lip. You like suckin´ cock, Bellson?’
He makes a horrible sound when Bellson´s fist lands on his stomach, doubling over and hugging his arms to his side. Bellson grabs him again and forces him to stand up. Got more to say, shithead?’
Jesus man, just shut the fuck up,’ Smith says, holding his hands up because he´s always been the peacemaker. Just drop it man.’
Nah, ya know? I say we tag team him,’ Cosgrove says, smirking at Adams pained face. He´s obviously starved for male contact, I say we give it to him.’
Adams snarls at him. When my father hears--’
Your Four-Star General father ain´t here, Adams,’ Cosgrove says, stepping closer. Please. Please give me a reason to hit you. I´m asking you to.’
Adams tackles Cosgrove before Lorne can even blink, the two men on the floor and fists flying. Smith goes down on top of Adams and grabs him around the throat, beaning him a sweet right hook before he pulls him up. Cosgrove is up and spitting nails as soon as he gets his feet under him and the force of his punch sends Adams right back into Smith´s arms.
Lorne´s about to call it quits because Adams is pretty bloody now and Cosgrove is so red in the face he thinks he´ll have a coronary when he hears Elizabeth´s voice ringing out.
What the hell is going on here?!’
Meetings with Sheppard after that are the most uncomfortable hours of Lorne´s life. Three times a week they meet and go over missions that have been completed, missions that should be done, missions that actually will be done, and then, what used to happen was, they´d sit back, prop their feet up, and talk about the marines.
Sheppard would ask who Lorne thought was the weakest link, and he´d smirk and ask who Sheppard thought. They´d think of creative ways of punishment for detractors, and Lorne´s never laughed so hard in his life as he does when Sheppard suggested that the next marine who doesn´t obey an order be forced to spend a week being McKay´s bitch.
Their meetings were an hour long but they usually wound up lasting more like two and involved popcorn, because Lorne and Sheppard just got along that well.
Meetings now go just as they did with every C.O. that Lorne´s ever had. Strictly by the book, need to know basis, and very little extraneous conversation if any at all.
What happens now is this:
So we´re done then.’
Unless you had any other missions in mind.’
Not that I can think of.’
So yes. We´re done.’
Sheppard. If I could just explain.’
Don´t wanna hear it. You´re dismissed.’
I think you got the wrong idea--’
We´re done here, Lorne.’
I realize I perhaps went overboard, crossed a line there, but Adams--’
I will send you back to Earth on the Daedalus with a recommendation of a lifetime of potato peeling and grunt work if you finish that sentence.’
Meetings these days lasted about thirty-five minutes.
That goes on for about a month or so and Lorne never figures out where he went wrong. He can understand Sheppard being uncomfortable, and maybe, yes, maybe he´d gone overboard. Sure, it´s probably behavior not becoming a Major to watch a private get his ass beat, and kind of sort of take a part in it, but. Well. Adams had it coming. Surely Sheppard should have understood that.
Apparently he didn´t.
At the end of their Friday meeting Lorne gathers up his notes, this time only twenty minutes after the meeting started, and prepares to leave when Sheppard reaches out and grabs his wrist. Hang on. Sit for a minute. I need to talk to you.’
Lorne squares his shoulders and faces him. If it´s okay with you sir, if you stand I´d prefer to stand as well.’
Sheppard looks at him and for the first time since Adams he actually smiles at him. Lorne´s eyebrows shoot up slightly and then Sheppard shakes his head and sits down, gesturing. Sit. Sit, please.’
Lorne sits but doesn´t relax, feet flat on the floor and shoulders square and tense. He watches Sheppard watch him and clears his throat. Sir?’
Sheppard blinks and then shakes his head, leaning forward and propping his elbows on his knees. I, ah. I owe you an apology.’
Lorne´s eyebrows crawl up again and Sheppard´s grin grows. He hasn´t seen that smile directed at him in so long he´s forgotten how to return it. You do?’
Sheppard nods. It appears that I had things a bit backwards.’
Lorne frowns in confusion. Backwards.’
Sheppard nods. Yes.’
Lorne leans forward. I´m sorry sir we´re talking about Adams, right?’
Lorne shakes his head and spreads his hands. What about Adams did you have backwards? He was out of line, and I stepped out of line to handle it. Isn´t it me who owes you the apology?’
Sheppard sighs and leans back in his chair, covering his face. If I´d just let you explain to begin with god damnit.’
Lorne leans forward. Sir?’
Sheppard takes a deep breath and looks at him. I read the situation wrong, and didn´t allow you to explain it to me. That´s what I owe you an apology for.’
You read the situation wrong,’ Lorne repeats, frowning. In what way?’
Sheppard rolls his shoulders and looks up at the ceiling. My experience has been that when it´s one against many, the one is generally the innocent party.’
Lorne blinks. I´m sorry?’
Oh, for God´s sake,’ Sheppard says, laughing and looking down at the ground. I´m doing this the wrong way. I told McKay I´d do this wrong.’ He sighs and straightens his shoulders, finally meeting Lorne´s eyes. I thought Adams was gay, and that he´d been found out.’
And you thought.’ Lorne stops short, shutting his mouth shut with an audible click. Wow.’
Lorne stands up. You thought that Cosgrove and Smith and Bellson and myself kicked his ass because he was gay?’
Sheppard looked up at him, his expression sorrowful. Yes.’
Lorne tried to push down the shock and hurt, but he´d never been good at that. I didn´t realize you thought I was that kind of person, Colonel.’
I didn´t,’ Sheppard says, his hands spreading. That´s why I pulled away. That´s why these meetings recently have been cut short. I was shocked.’
So, you didn´t think I was that kind of person,’ Lorne says, his jaw clenching just a little because god damnit, he and his men had beaten Adam´s ass for this guy and he´d just. Assumed. And yet, without ever asking, without ever giving me the chance to defend myself, just assumed that that´s what happened.’
Sheppard nods, and if Lorne didn´t know him as well as he did he´d think he was completely calm. There was real regret in his eyes though, and more than just a little guilt, and Lorne felt the anger starting to drain out of him. McKay said something about projection. That I was paranoid, and angry with myself, and looking for an excuse.’ He smiles then, looking away. He´s actually kinda pissed at me about it.’
Lorne lets out a breath and sits back down. For assuming?’
Sheppard nods and looks back at him. He thinks I should give you my months stash of chocolate in recompense.’
Well.’ Lorne fights off a smirk. That sounds fair, actually.’
Sheppard´s mouth twitches. Yeah?’
Lorne finally grins. Yeah, it does.’
Sheppard´s eyes narrow. You know that´s not happening, right?’
Lorne laughs, shrugging. I thought probably not. But hey. Thought maybe McKay had more influence over you than I did. And if it gets me chocolate, I´m not about to say no.’
Sheppard just arches an eyebrow. Actually it was fairly easy to convince him otherwise. All I had to do was remind him that when he blows through his in the first half of the month, if I´ve given mine to you, he won´t get to steal it.’
Damn,’ Lorne says, shaking his head and feeling about ten kinds of relief flood through his whole body. He was really starting to hate that he´d ever considered Sheppard a friend for a while there.
But,’ Sheppard says, squaring his shoulders again and looking up at him. While I´m sorry that I assumed the worst, and while I appreciate the sentiment that can´t ever happen again.’
Lorne nods. Yes sir.’
I mean it, Lorne,’ Sheppard says, his expression all business. If they´re a jerk, they´re a jerk. I can handle my own, I don´t want you breaking their back over it.’
We didn´t break his back,’ Lorne says, smiling tugging at the corner of his mouth. Maybe his face, but not his back.’
Sheppard glares at him but Lorne can see him fighting off a grin and that´s all that matters. Lorne.’
Yes sir, no more defending your honor,’ he says with a crisp nod. Got it.’
Sheppard grimaces. My honor. What, now I´m a 1950´s heroine?’ Lorne just raises his eyebrow. Shut up.’
Lorne grins and watches Sheppard stand up and walk back behind the desk. May I ask a question?’
Sheppard gives him a wary glare. You can ask. I may not answer, though.’
Why McKay,’ Lorne asks, standing up and shifting the papers in his arms. I´ve been trying to figure that out since I got here. I don´t care, I really don´t, honestly. The last thing I care about is who you have sex with. But.’ He grimaces and shrugs. Why him?’
Sheppard smirks a bit and leans against his desk. Why not him?’
Lorne shrugs. Well sir, the thing is. McKay´s got this singular ability to simultaneously drive me up a wall and amuse the hell out of me.’
Sheppard´s grin widens. Yeah. Exactly.’
Ah,’ Lorne says, nodding. So. He´s like a fungus.’
Sheppard laughs. Lorne. Get out.’
I´m just saying I can see that,’ Lorne says, laughing as Sheppard starts coming towards him to push him out of the office. He almost stumbles over the chair. I can see how maybe he just worked his way under your skin till you gave up and decided you liked the rash.’
Two days later when he retires to his quarters there is a bar of chocolate sitting on top of his pillow and all he can do is laugh and peel the wrapper back.
Four days later Adams is sent back on the Daedalus with a recommendation for a lifetime of peeling potatoes and doing grunt work.
There are benefits to having a good sense of humor. Especially in the Pegasus galaxy.