A/N: First attempt at a Mitchell/Lam story. I started wondering about other ways they may have or could have met outside the SGC. This story is then the fallout of those thoughts. I did a lot of research into the canon and timeline of seasons 8, 9 and 10 of Stargate SG1 and season 1 and 2 of Stargate Atlantis, hoping to stay as close to canon as possible. Hope everyone enjoys this fluffy journey.
Thank you ShaViva, the story is always better after you have marked it up and sent it back. I love that you are my beta reader!
Disclaimer: I do not own any part of Stargate SG1, Stargate Atlantis or their wonderful characters.
Spoilers: Probably through season 9 of Stargate SG1 and through season 2 of Stargate Atlantis.
1 – Nothing Personal
Cameron Mitchell slowly brought the weights back down to their resting position before extending his legs slowly. The soldier found the sound of the cable sliding though the weight machine rhythmic and a bit hypnotic.
"Okay Cam, let's call it a day."
Cam brought the weights down slowly to their final resting position and sat up. "What do you think, Doc?"
"I think you ask me that every week," Dr. Ryan laughed, making a notation in the chart she was holding. "Why don't you tell me what you think?"
"I think I'm going to miss our weekly dates." Mitchell gave his therapist a wink as he stood, stretching just a bit to compensate for the stiffness in his back.
"Well, I like your positive attitude and assume you're feeling stronger, but let's not get too cocky, flyboy." Angela Ryan had been doing physical therapy for about nine years, four as a contract employee for the Air Force. Cameron was the perfect example of why she enjoyed working for the military and why she'd renewed her contract each year. The determination and work her current patients put into their therapy made her job a lot easier. She enjoyed seeing the men and women who were sent to her succeed… and in Lt. Col. Mitchell's case, walk again.
"Ahhh, you're going to miss me too," he teased back.
Angela rolled her eyes and set the clip board down. "How about two weeks from tonight?"
Cam sighed but nodded. "I take it we're going to wean ourselves slowly." He understood that he wasn't one hundred percent yet, but it was hard to be patient. These physical therapy appointments reminded him that he wasn't completely healed yet. Active duty was still out of his reach.
"Don't get discouraged. A few sessions twice a month, maybe a few once a month if needed and before you know it you'll be missing me for real." Dr. Ryan gave him an encouraging smile as she began to tidy up the exercise room. Cameron was her last appointment and it was a Friday night. She was more than ready for her weekend to begin.
"Okay, Doc," Cameron agreed, slinging his workout bag over his shoulder. "Same time in two weeks?"
"Definitely. Don't push too hard in your home exercise regimen. Just keep up with what we've established." Angela stopped her tidying and turned to look at the soldier, wanting to be sure he heard this last part. "And I still don't want you running more than three miles a day."
"Sure thing, Doc." Cam hated that rule, but Dr. Ryan had been adamant about the three mile rule from the start of his therapy. He thought it was just a teasing way for her to encourage him, to remind him that he would one day run again. Now he realized it was a hard and fast rule for his whole therapy.
After exchanging goodbyes, Cameron made his way through the halls of the hospital at Peterson Air Force Base. He didn't have a lot of plans for the weekend. Maybe a phone call and update with his parents, catch the Rockies game on television, his exercise routines and probably a lot of reading. The downside of getting better physically was the restlessness that accompanied it. He desperately wanted that clean bill of health so he could get back to work.
Mitchell had seen glimpses of the worsening weather as he'd passed by a few windows on his way to the main entry, but it hadn't prepared him for the downpour he saw as he exited the building, being sure to stay under the overhang.
"Wow," he exclaimed, amazed at the pounding sound the rain was creating. Movement to his right drew his attention to the woman standing under the shelter of the awning, smiling at his assessment.
"That about sums it up," she agreed, her gaze pulled away quickly as a flash of sharp light was punctuated by the clap of thunder.
"Not even giving us a chance to count the seconds between." Cameron laughed, checking out the dark haired woman laughing lightly in agreement. She had a business-like appearance despite the small smile on her face. She was a few inches shorter than he was, but he got the feeling it wouldn't give him any advantage.
"It can't keep this up much longer," she guessed, sitting down on the bench behind her, her eyes never leaving the sky as thunder rolled on around them.
Even as she said so, the pounding lessened noticeably, something Cam didn't appreciate as he sat down a few feet from her. "It is pretty cool though," he stated, nodding toward the place in the sky that had just dimmed after another lightning strike.
"Cameron Mitchell," he offered, extending his hand to his fellow refugee.
"Carolyn Lam," she responded in kind, her hand feeling delicate in his.
Mitchell slowly released her hand as the pounding around them changed pitch.
"Seriously," Carolyn expelled, watching hail ping off of every hard surface in front of them. "That doesn't make driving home any more appealing."
"It will make it a more interesting commute," Cameron agreed, his eyes on the bits of ice littering the ground. He wouldn't mind a few more moments with Carolyn Lam.
"I'm now wishing I hadn't skipped lunch today." She turned toward him and gave a wry smile mingled with a sigh.
Cameron tried to think of a restaurant nearby and wondered if he invited her to dinner would she say yes. They were strangers and really, she should say no. A thought occurred to him, "While we wait for the storm to ease, would you like to eat with me in the cafeteria?" He tried not to look too hopeful, he wanted her to feel secure and what better place than the base, surrounded by military personnel and staff.
Cameron waited, watching her shake her head in the negative, but then she stopped abruptly and looked back toward the entrance. "I guess that isn't a terrible idea. Maybe by the time we get done eating the storm will have let up a bit."
"Exactly what I was thinking," Cam chuckled, standing up.
"This is just dinner, Mr. Mitchell. Not a date or anything close to it."
The soldier opened his mouth to correct her on his name, only to find that he also wanted to clarify that he hadn't asked her on a date. He liked the idea of this being a date, so he closed his mouth, not wanting to antagonize her. "Sounds fair, Ms. Lam."
She rolled her eyes as she preceded him back into the hospital.
Cam set his tray down opposite Carolyn's and couldn't help but chuckle to himself. He noticed her movements pause and he tilted his head up and found her watching him. "I was just thinking that this," he waved his fork over his tray of food, like a magician over a black hat, "is the first indicator that this is most definitely not a date."
Carolyn narrowed her eyes in confusion, but waited for him to go on.
"If this was a date there would be menus and waiters…and maybe even wine. Oh," he chuckled once more, "and actual chairs, not seats welded to the table."
Lam wasn't sure what to say to that, although it had her holding back a smile. "It's a good thing this isn't a date then."
Cameron took a few bites, deciding the chicken fried steak was a good choice. "So… what brings you to Peterson, Carolyn?" He used her first name purposefully, wanting to take away the professional detachment that seemed to have settled over them from the moment he'd suggested the cafeteria.
"I work for the CDC. We work with the staff here at Peterson from time to time."
"Anything going on here that I should be worried about?" Cam asked with a teasing smirk, his fork halted halfway to his mouth.
"Of course not," she dismissed.
"Okay… so what do you do then? I don't know much about the CDC… just what I see on the television. The ten o'clock news and flu shots or the newest outbreak movie and anthrax. Which one are you?" He was curious and wondered about her clearance level at the same time.
"I'm a doctor, lab work mainly these days. I usually work with the unknown. Research, identify and classify are my typical duties. Nothing too crazy, really." Carolyn tilted her head a little as she studied Cameron for a moment. "So, what brings you to Peterson?"
"Physical therapy, once a week… well, it's every other week now actually." Mitchell gave his shoulders a quick shrug. "I was in a training accident more than a year ago."
"What kind of training accident?" Lam asked, unable to keep the concern from her voice as she looked over what parts of his body she could see.
"Would you like me to stand up, Doc?" Cam asked with a quick wink, while he watched her check him out, "maybe turn around slowly for you?"
Carolyn couldn't keep the flush from her cheeks, but she gave him a withering look all the same.
"Plane crash," Cam volunteered without further banter. "I'm a pilot for the Air Force."
Carolyn should have guessed military; they were eating dinner in a cafeteria on an air base. She felt the disappointment acutely, although she didn't realize until then that it would matter to her. "So, I suppose that comes with a rank?"
"Lieutenant Colonel Mitchell," she said slowly as if testing it. She found it suited him.
"But you can call me Cam," he supplied with a slow smile. He watched her intently as they continued to eat and visit. She was good at disguising what she was thinking.
Carolyn finished her meal and although she wanted to stay she knew she needed to go. It would be too easy to fall under Colonel Mitchell's spell and she could feel his pull even now. "I should probably go see if the weather has let up yet." Lam took a last drink of her water, thinking that wine would have been better.
"I'd guess that it has, this is Colorado after all," he laughed. "It's probably stopped storming and a beautiful sunset is working its way behind the mountains."
She smiled knowing it was true as she gathered up her tray and stood with him. With trays bussed, they made their way back to the parking lot.
Once outside where the weather had indeed calmed, Cameron turned to Carolyn. "So, will you be visiting Peterson again in the near future?"
"I'll be spending the week after next commuting down here. I work out of the Denver office, so it's not really a long commute." Lam knew what was coming, it felt inevitable.
"Can I take you out on an actual date while you are in town then?" Cameron gave her a hopeful smile. "One with menus and wait staff?" he teased when she seemed to hesitate.
"I'm sorry," Carolyn began, forcing herself to say the words that she wasn't really feeling. "I have a rule about dating military men… that I don't, actually."
"Really?" Cam asked somewhat curious, but also a bit dejected with her answer.
Lam winced, "It's nothing personal, honest. It's just not the kind of life I want for myself."
Cam couldn't say he didn't understand, he just wasn't ready to give up yet either. Carolyn was a woman who would be worth the effort, he'd known that almost from the first moment he'd seen her. "It's just a date," he offered, hoping that he could change her mind if she'd just give him a chance.
"No it's not. I think you and I both know there is more here than just a date or two." Carolyn felt the regret immediately, but she wasn't going to change her mind. "It was nice meeting you Colonel Mitchell." She gave him a half-hearted smile before turning toward her car.
"Goodnight, Dr. Lam."
Cameron watched her go, wondering if there was anything he could have said or done that would've made her reconsider.