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FIC: Reciprocity - Hotitudinosity
fiction by jalabert
jalabert
jalabert
FIC: Reciprocity
Title: Reciprocity (for Kernezelda)
Author: Jalabert
Season: Nine, spoilers for Arthur's Mantle
Category: Pre-slash, humor
Pairing: Teal'c/Cameron Mitchell
Rating: PG, for language
Betas: deani_bean and hsapiens; thank you ladies!
Summary: Cameron's mama was right; the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

Written for the Teal'c Ficathon, based on a request by kernezelda, who asked for Cameron Mitchell, on Earth outside SGC...


"What the hell were you thinking?" General Landry shouted. Cameron's shoulders sagged a little as as the general began a tirade that went on for several minutes. "Are you even listening to me?" he growled, jarring Cameron out of his stupor.

"Yes, sir," Cameron said automatically, shifting in his seat and rotating the shoulder that had begun to ache since he returned through the gate.

"Go get that shoulder looked at," Landry barked. "And if you ever go through the gate without proper authorization again, you'd better not come back!"

"Sir..." Cameron reconsidered the apology forming on his tongue and sighed. "Yes, sir." Landry nodded somewhat sheepishly, having vented his anger. Cameron returned it and left. He yawned as he made his way toward the infirmary.

"Hey! Mitchell!"

Cameron stopped in his tracks and rolled his eyes, heaving a weary sigh as Daniel closed the distance between them.

"Jackson?" he said, not bothering to look up.

"What's with the disappearing act?" Daniel demanded.

"Cute, Jackson," Cameron said, moving past him to continue on his way. Daniel, not unexpectedly, followed.

"No pun intended. You just walked out on us back there," he said. "We were in the middle of a crisis and you just walked out!" Cameron stopped and turned to him. "What the hell did you think you were doing, going off world like that?"

"I went through the gate after I heard that Teal'c's team hadn't reported in. I know the Sodan; I have a few friends there and thought I might be able to help."

"You were out of phase. How the hell did you think you were going to help anyone?"

"How the hell was I supposed to be of any help at the SGC while I was out of phase?" Cameron replied. He sighed exasperatedly. "Look, I thought I could gather intel on the problem and bring it back to the SGC. As it turned out I was able to help Teal'c," Cameron said, continuing on his way to the infirmary. "I helped lure Volnek out of hiding so they could blow his sorry ass to bits."

"I'm happy for you. What about the rest of us?"

"The rest of us?" Cameron squinted at Daniel in confusion.

"You just walked out when we were in the middle of something," Daniel complained.

"Hey; you were in the middle of something. Sam was in the middle of something. I was standing around doing nothing. I just went where I thought I would be more useful," Cameron said, stabbing at Daniel's chest with his finger. He turned and walked away.

"Mitchell!" Daniel called, but Cameron dismissed him with a wave of his hand and entered the infirmary. Carolyn Lam was doing a post-mission check on the last member of SG-22. Cameron carefully hiked himself up onto a gurney to await his turn, favoring the shoulder even more than before.

"You look like hell," Dr. Lam deadpanned when she noticed him.

"Good to see you, too," Cameron shot back. He was in no mood to for the doctor's acerbic bedside manner. She shot him a look and began to check his vitals. "Would you take a look at my shoulder, doc?"

"What happened to it?" she asked as she helped him remove his tee shirt.

"I got thrown; landed on a tree stump. Ouch!"

"Serves you right, going off world without permission," Carolyn said. "What on earth were you thinking?"

"Look, don't you start," Cameron said peevishly. "Can you just do something about this and let me get out of here?" She made a cursory examination of the shoulder and Cameron's upper back.

"It's bruised and slightly abraded," she replied. "No swelling to suggest that there's anything more serious going on," she added as she palpated the area. Cameron suppressed a hiss of pain; he had the feeling she would have enjoyed eliciting such a reaction from him. "I'll give you some painkillers," the doctor replied tersely. She walked away and returned a few minutes later with a vial of pills and a bag of ice packs. "Read the instructions and don't abuse them; they're pretty potent. Otherwise, you know the drill: rest, ice, and avoid further strain on the area."

"Thanks," Cameron said as he examined the label.

"You'd probably be more comfortable with your arm in a sling."

"Nah, I'm good," Cameron lied. The doctor wasn't impressed, but she signed him out. He didn't bother pulling the tee back on; he buttoned his shirt over his bare chest and headed for the locker room, which he was happy to find empty. Taking advantage of the solitude Cameron took a long shower. His team had a scheduled 48-hour leave and he intended to make good use of every minute of it. He changed into civilian clothes and headed for the elevator, determined to escape the SGC as fast as he could manage. The doors of the elevator opened and he stepped into the car before he noticed Sam standing in the corner. He was tempted to let it go and wait for the next one, but she'd already seen him and he knew she wouldn't let him escape.

"Cam."

"Sam." Cameron pressed the button and silently prayed that the elevator didn't get stuck.

"Is that all you're going to say?" she replied angrily. He sighed and leaned against the wall, wincing in pain as he tried to make himself comfortable.

"What would you like me to say, Sam?"

"You just walked out on me in the middle of--."

"Now, just wait a minute! I didn't walk out on anyone! You and Jackson were absorbed in trying to figure out that gizmo. I thought 'd be more useful--."

"Off world?" Sam spat, slapping the button to stop the elevator. "What the hell did you think you were doing? You had no way of knowing what going through the gate would do to you or--." Cameron rolled his eyes. "You could have been permanently trapped out there."

"...And that was my decision to make!" he spat right back at her. "Why the hell is everyone getting on my case about this? I made a decision to go and try to help out my friends, all right? I made it back in one piece. I didn't get stuck out of phase; end of story."

"You left your friends here holding the bag! You went AWOL Cam! You left the SGC without authorization and you left me to explain your absence to the general while you were off looking for Teal'c!"

Cameron slammed his palm against the panel and started the elevator again and they rode up to level 16 in awkward silence. Cameron left the car with Sam's words ringing in his ears. He ground his teeth as he strode over to the elevator that would take him to the surface. By the time he reached it he was ready to spit nails.

"Colonel Mitchell."

"I knew I'd missed someone," Cameron said as he turned to face Teal'c. " Well, go ahead and take your turn at me; everyone else has." Teal'c regarded him silently. "Come on, Teal'c, let me have it! Don't you want to know what the hell I was doing off world? Everyone else does."

"I do not."

"Too bad; I've gotten really good at answering that one in the past hour. Sure you don't want to take a shot?" Cameron challenged the stoic man before him. He waited a few seconds before turning and entering the elevator. "Last chance, big guy. No? Okay, but don't come knocking on my door tomorrow. I'm out of here." Cameron hit the button and winced in pain once again as the doors shut on Teal'c. He sighed and rode to the surface, where he signed out. He walked over to his car, popped open the trunk and tossed his bag in, wincing when the movement aggravated his sore shoulder. Cameron pulled out his cell phone as he started the drive down the mountain. By the time he reached the city a hot pizza was waiting for him at the local shop. He stopped to pick it up and drove on home.

Cameron ate his fill while getting caught up the day's news, then he watched the last three innings of the Rockies game, using the prescribed ice packs on his sore shoulder before turning in. He expected to sleep like a log, the combination of a big meal, strong medication and a boring night conspiring to make him drowsy well before he went to bed. But sleep was elusive. Cameron tossed and turned for hours, trying vainly to find a comfortable position. As he laid awake, he pondered the questions he'd been asked more than a half dozen times since his return.

What had prompted him to go through the gate in violation of procedure, logic and common sense? Sam was right; he had taken a tremendous risk, gating off world without a moment's thought for the potential consequences. Nonetheless, Cameron was certain he'd done the right thing. He refused to examine his motives for going through the gate but the rewards had certainly outweighed the risks. The Sodan could not be saved, but Teal'c and the rest of SG-9 returned to the SGC in one piece. Comforted by that knowledge, Cameron finally succumbed to sheer exhaustion and woke up early the next morning with a stiff back.

**

Cameron groaned loudly as he made his way to the kitchen to put on water for coffee. As it began to brew, Cameron went to the refrigerator for milk and a slice of cold pizza. He shoved it into his mouth as he reached up to grab his mug off a shelf. He felt a twinge of pain and swore softly. He took a painkiller and finished his slice of pizza while he waited for the coffee to be ready. When it was done, Cameron filled his mug, splattering his wrist with hot liquid. He swore again, loudly this time, just as someone rang his doorbell. Cameron set down the mug and went to answer the door.

"Who the hell is knocking at 7:30 on a Saturday morning?" he shouted as he threw open the door. He gaped at the sight that greeted him. "Teal'c!"

"Colonel Mitchell."

"Uh..."

"May I enter your domicile?"

"Yeah, sure. My...domicile is your domicile," Cameron said, stepping back to allow him to enter. He watched Teal'c walk past, carrying two shopping bags, noting the bright orange windbreaker he wore over a black tee shirt, a pair of snug fitting jeans and what Cameron suspected but refused to believe were cowboy boots. "What you got there, Teal'c?"

"Where is your kitchen?" the stoic Jaffa replied, turning to look at Cameron, who belatedly recalled that he was clad only in a pair of boxer shorts.

"It's behind you," Cameron replied. "Go on in and make yourself at home. I'm just going to go..." He gestured toward the bedroom and began to move in that direction. Teal'c simply turned and went into the kitchen. Cameron joined him there a few minutes later, wearing a pair of old, faded jeans and carrying a tee shirt.

"Teal'c," he said as he watched the Jaffa pull cartons from one of the bags. The Jaffa had set the table in Cameron's absence and was apparently preparing to serve breakfast.

"Colonel Mitchell."

"What's all this?" he demanded as Teal'c opened a carton, peered into it and handed to Cameron.

"Heat this in your microwave oven for forty-five seconds," Teal'c said. Cameron peeked into the carton, sniffed the aroma of something he couldn't quite identify and did as he was bidden.

"What was that?" he asked quizzically.

"Peaches in syrup."

"Why am I heating peaches in syrup in my microwave?"

"I am told that they are best served warm," Teal'c said reasonably. Cameron smiled and shook his head as Teal'c returned to sorting out containers. Cameron let his eyes wander down Teal'c's body to his feet. He was indeed wearing cowboy boots. Cameron idly wondered where an alien living on a military base in Colorado acquired cowboy boots--custom made, if the finely tooled black ostrich leather was any indication--but a more pressing question cut through his reverie.

"Teal'c, look; I love peaches in syrup as much as the next guy, but what the hell are you doing here?"

"When I saw you last night you appeared to be angry. After you left, I endeavored to determine the source of your anger. I spoke with Samantha Carter and she told me that you were angry about being held to account for leaving the base without permission. I then overheard Dr. Lam telling General Landry that you were inexplicably angry with her, when you should have been contrite after your insubordinate behavior. Later, in the evening, I spoke to Daniel Jackson; he said that you were most likely angry because--."

"I get it, Teal'c. So what are you doing here?"

"You asked me not to knock on your door this morning. I was under the impression, however, that you were merely using a figure of speech."

"Come again?"

"You welcomed me into your home."

"Yeah," Cameron said, frowning in confusion. "So why are you here again?"

"The microwave cycle is complete. The peaches in syrup should be removed from the--."

"Right." Cameron carefully removed the carton from the microwave. "Where do you want this?"

"Over the waffles."

"Waffles? Teal'c, you brought me waffles?"

"I brought waffles for both of us."

"May I ask why?"

Teal'c carried two plates to the table and sat down. He stared up at Cameron until he did the same. Teal'c took the container from him and poured some of the peach syrup onto a plate-sized Belgian waffle.

"I enjoy waffles," he said. "I thought perhaps that you would enjoy them as well."

"Uh, thanks. I do enjoy a good waffle on occasion," Cameron said, reaching for a fork.

"Would you care for whipped cream?"

"Sure!" Cameron said, unsuccessfully suppressing a giggle at the absurdity of the events unfolding before him. "You know, if anyone had told me that I'd wake up this morning and have waffles delivered by a Jaffa warrior..."

Teal'c smiled serenely and removed the lid from another container. He scooped a generous dollop of whipped cream onto the waffle and handed the plate to Cameron before serving himself. Cameron rose to fetch his coffee and saw that there was another full shopping bag on the counter.

"What's in that one?" he asked as he returned to the table. He brought the carafe with him and poured out coffee for Teal'c. "You take it black, right?" Teal'c nodded.

"I was uncertain that waffles would be acceptable; I brought alternative sources of nourishment," Teal'c replied as he reached for another container. He opened it and smiled briefly. "Sausages?"

"Hell, yes!" Cameron said enthusiastically. He sat down again and began to eat, forgetting for the time being that he still had no idea why Teal'c had arrived at his house that morning with enough food to feed a small army. The two men ate in silence for several minutes, until Cameron's curiosity got the better of him. "So what else did you bring?" he asked as Teal'c licked his fork clean.

"I attempted to procure your favorite breakfast foods," he replied, laying down the fork. "I recall you once telling Samantha Carter that you enjoyed waffles. You did not mention peaches in syrup, but they were part of the daily special. I also recall hearing you say that biscuits and ham, served over grits with something you referred to as 'red eye' gravy, was your favorite meal. I was unable to obtain red eye gravy. The server at the food establishment was unfamiliar with it."

"What food establishment?"

"I believe it was called IHOP."

"You went to IHOP?" Cameron said incredulously. "Where the hell did you find an--? Come to think of it, how the hell did you get here? I didn't see a car outside."

"I did not drive. Sergeant Siler was kind enough to offer me a ride."

"Sergeant Siler?"

"He is very fond of the waffles served at IHOP, particularly with peaches in syrup; however, he advised against purchasing grits."

"No grits, eh?" Cameron said with mock sadness. He shook his head in wonderment.

"I did bring ham and biscuits and maple syrup. Sergeant Siler suggested that we have eggs with them instead of grits."

"Aw, I wished you'd mentioned that sooner," Cameron said rising. "If there's one thing I can't stand it's cold eggs." He went to the shopping bag and looked inside.

"Eggs should be kept refrigerated prior to cooking," Teal'c said. "Therefore, I put them into the refrigerator." Cameron suppressed a groan and opened the fridge. Inside, he saw a small carton of eggs. "Shall I prepare them for you?"

"You can cook?" Cameron asked bluntly.

"I can do many things," Teal'c said, rising and joining him at the counter.

"That's okay, big guy. I'll just have the biscuits and maybe a bit more coffee," Cameron said, once again struck by the surreal nature of the situation. He watched Teal'c sort through cartons and smile in satisfaction upon finding the ones that contained the biscuits. He reached for clean plates and doled them out.

"Have a seat, Colonel Mitchell," Teal'c said.

"Yeah," Cameron said. Scratching his head, he did as he was bidden. He refilled his cup and Teal'c's from the carafe and a moment later, a plate was placed in front of him, bearing two biscuits and a heap of sliced ham. Teal'c sat down with his own plate. "None for you?"

"I prefer croissants," Teal'c replied, liberally coating his with jam. "Would you care for one?"

"No, no, I'm good here," Cameron said, poking at a slice of ham with his fork. After a second he dropped it and looked up. "Okay, what's going on? What are you doing here, really?"

"I am eating a croissant," Teal'c said, with an uncharacteristically impish look. Cameron raised his eyebrows and stared mutely. "There is also cold cereal in the bag and a quart of milk in the refrigerator."

"Great," Cameron said with a smile, "I've just about run out of milk. But there's got to be more to it than that." Teal'c set down his croissant and looked him in the eye.

"Yesterday, you took a great risk to come to my aid on the planet of the Sodan. I am in your debt."

"So you brought me breakfast?" Cameron sputtered. Teal'c smiled.

"No."

"Then..." Cameron waited as Teal'c proceeded to smear another glob of jam on his croissant. "I'm dying here, Teal'c. Throw me a bone."

"How would a bone be of assistance to a dying man?"

"Why did you bring me all this food?"

"It is customary. Whenever a member of SG-1 visits another member of the team in his or her domicile, he or she brings food, especially during the early morning hours. It seems to facilitate cooperation on the part of the recipient."

"Okay," Cameron drawled, "so..."

"...So you are a member of SG-1; I merely observed the established custom."

"Right." Cameron cleared his throat. "Thank you, Teal'c. I can't recall when I've ever had such a large and...unique breakfast."

"You are welcome, Colonel Mitchell," Teal'c replied with a bow of his head. Cameron rolled his eyes.

"So you must have come here for some reason other than to bring me breakfast," he said, his patience growing thin. "You said you wanted to facilitate my cooperation."

"I decided to follow your example," Teal'c informed him. "Yesterday you came to my assistance. I thought, perhaps, that with your injured shoulder you might be in need of assistance today."

"Oh," Cameron said, surprised and touched by the sentiment. "That was very thoughtful of you, Teal'c, but I'm okay."

"You are favoring your shoulder and are in obvious pain when you move it. Your back is badly bruised. You did not put on your shirt because it pains you to have anything against your skin."

"Are you always so observant?" Cameron asked sheepishly.

"I am. I have learned a great deal by observing your behavior."

"Really?" Cameron said suspiciously. "Hey, wait a minute. Does General Landry know you're here?"

"He does not."

"And that's what you meant when you said you'd followed my example, right?"

"Indeed."

"How did you get off the base without raising an alarm?"

"The alarms were off when I left," Teal'c replied simply.

"Right."

"There was an evacuation drill earlier this morning. Everyone on level 25 was required to leave the complex. I climbed to the surface via an escape tunnel. I did not return when the drill ended." Teal'c shrugged elegantly and continued eating.

"And Sergeant Siler--?"

"I encountered him while making my way down the mountain. He offered me a ride."

"You were going to walk here?"

Teal'c shrugged.

"Did he know you were AWOL?" Cameron persisted.

"I made him an offer he could not refuse."

"Teal'c! Don't tell me you threatened Siler!"

"I bought him breakfast at IHOP," Teal'c replied, somehow managing to sound smug and affronted simultaneously.

"You do realize he's going to be in a world of trouble if the general finds out he aided in your escape," Cameron warned.

"The general is already aware of my absence, though not my current whereabouts. I encouraged Sergeant Siler to call and inform him that I had left the mountain complex."

"You did what?" Cameron shook his head, but smiled in appreciation as he understood Teal'c's motive. "You're an amazing man, Teal'c."

"Thank you," Teal'c replied, bowing in acknowledgment of the compliment. He rose and began to gather up the discarded dishes. "Finish your biscuits and ham. I will do the dishes."

"No need to trouble yourself; I can manage."

"You are injured," Teal'c reminded him. "Eat." Cameron sat back and watched as Teal'c calmly washed each dish and placed it in the rack. When he was done, he took up a towel and dried each item before returning it to its proper place.

"I'll get this one," he said, rising with the last plate and his mug. Ignoring Cameron's protest, Teal'c took them from him and began to wash them. "Teal'c! What's gotten into you?"

"I am merely returning the concern you showed me," he said.

"So I risked life and limb--not to mention the possibility of being permanently stranded in another dimension--in order to help you out and in return you bring me food and wash my dishes?" Cameron asked. Teal'c shut off the water and turned to face him.

"What would you prefer me to do for you?" he said plainly.

"Oh, now that's a loaded question," Cameron said, averting his eyes. He went back to the table and picked up the tee shirt that had been thrown over the back of a chair as he fought to regain control of his heartbeat. "How are you going to get back to the base?"

"Sergeant Siler will pick me up at 1200 hours from the spot where he left me, several blocks from here," Teal'c replied, glancing up at the clock. Cameron also glanced up.

"So you've got a few more hours to kill," Cameron said tentatively. He took a deep breath and remembered the lesson he'd learned the previous day. Sometimes the reward outweighed the risk. He'd taken a risk to save Teal'c. Teal'c, in turn, had taken a risk and come to him...to facilitate his cooperation. Cameron smiled and turned back around. "Maybe... Maybe you can help me with something else."

"I would like that." Teal'c said as he slowly eyed him from head to toe. "You have not yet bathed this morning. As you have seen, I am quite adept at cleaning. Shall I assist you?"

He didn't bother waiting for a reply. Instead he headed down the hall toward the bedroom. Cameron pinched himself. Satisfied that he wasn't dreaming, he smiled and followed the Jaffa.

"Hey! If you wash my back, I'll wash yours."


The End

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