Spoilers: Season 2 up to “Duet”
Summary: Light-hearted Lorne/Cadman – written for raisintorte as part of the sgarareathon.
A/N: Kindly betaread by fififolle, rodlox & Fanwoman. I must admit I found this quite a challenge, and I'm sure it's throwing frat. regs. etc out the window, but since angst didn't seem to be part of the request I tried my best. I hope it's enjoyed, despite it's likely inaccuracy in regard to the military. It's also my first time writing either character. Constructive criticism is welcomed. :)
Major Lorne was a smart-ass for sure - with his sly, rather snide, sense of humor - but he was also a capable soldier. He knew when to keep quiet, unlike her. She almost didn't know when to shut up, but luckily knew when better than most scientists. Like... oh, for example, McKay, who really didn't get hints at all, nor - thinking back to the Dart incident - follow orders at least half the time. She rarely saw Lorne on missions, where her job was usually babysitting scientists or other civilians, largely because the scientists and civilians considered her the most amiable of the military. Her chatty, easy-going tendencies had made her friends with most of the people on Atlantis. In contrast, Lorne wasn't a people person, or, rather, people didn't see him as a people person. He wasn't their kind of person.
Carson was a people person; he was nice. Too nice, really. They were too similar to each other, she and Carson, and yet too different as well. He bumbled around her when they were alone, often not knowing how to react. She'd expected nerves at first, but they hadn't worn off. There had been a few dates, but the two of them hadn't clicked in the way you'd need to. They simply smiled at each other and didn't make any more plans to “go out”, as much as anyone went out anywhere on Atlantis, apart from the mainland.
Still, everyone seemed to think there was something going on between her and Carson. McKay had been making comments whenever he saw her around, looking so smug even though he'd gotten the wrong end of the stick - but no one seemed to know that they were wrong on that count. The truth is that she and Carson are good friends, but that's as far as it goes. And now that they’ve figured it out, she finds her time spent with him to be much more enjoyable. He's relaxed, and he actually manages to take her teasing without getting the deer-in-the-headlights look – he even teases back. It's fun, but it's not dating, and both of them are happy that way.
Lorne doesn't ask about her personal life. He taunts a few of the guys about things occasionally, but he's not one for small talk. He's much better at watching and weighing people up. He's not the Head of Security on the base, at least not yet - she's not sure who will be now Bates has been taken back to Earth. Cole seems to be the acting one for the time being, but Lorne would be good at it. Though she gets the feeling he likes the action more, and if it were offered he would probably politely turn down the cushy option. Sitting around in a nice office doesn't compare to being out in the field. It fits him, considering he's not a man of words. He likes to do, not talk about or agonize over all the options. He makes plans, and he sticks to them as best as he can. She's not sure how he deals with improvisation, but he goes out every week and he's still alive - so he can't be that bad coping with the curve balls the Pegasus galaxy throws at his team.
She doesn't even know Lorne's first name. She could look it up, but she doesn't care to. She'd like to hear it from him – although how she'll strike up that kind of conversation to get it out of him is another matter. But she doesn't let the lack of a plan stop her from trying. All it takes is a “Hey, Major” shouted down the corridor to get him to stop. Luckily, he's the only Major around at the time.
He looks at her, waiting to see what move she makes. He doesn't say a thing as she approaches; it unnerves her, which is unusual in itself.
“I was wondering if you wanted to, um...”
His expression gives away a hint of curiosity as he asks, and the question, in general, catches her off guard. She's not that into training. She does her bit to keep in shape but she's never seen him around the gym, so the question also confuses her. Is that his natural assumption, that she wants a sparring buddy? It's not that bad a conclusion for him to jump to, but it's not what she's aiming for here.
“Then what exactly were you wondering, Cadman?” He says it smoothly. He's the epitome of patience, too, as he stands casually waiting for her to spit out what it is she wants.
“I... I just wondered if you were going across to the mainland any time soon. I wanted to visit, you see, and I'd heard you've been practicing with the jumpers.”
Not too bad for an excuse made up on the spot.
“You want to visit... or you and Dr. Beckett want to visit?”
That surprises her - an unexpected obstacle. She should have known that, like everyone else, he'd be under the illusion she and Carson were an item. She was rather hoping that, of all people, he wouldn't have gone for it. He must listen to the rumor mill. It's kind of hard not to notice what goes on round here - what people think goes on, too, and interpretations thereof - but she hadn't thought he'd take much stock in gossip.
What would it take for the community to realize that it's all over between her and Carson, rather than just stalled? Because anyone aww-ing over the imaginary “ideal couple” they see in them will be sorely disappointed when they find out, and she'd rather not let people think it for much longer. Mind you, they might get the right idea if she gets anywhere with Lorne.
“Nope, just little old me,” she says plainly, smiling at him hopefully.
And maybe he does see. She certainly finds Lorne doesn't have to say anything much to confirm that. He just looks at her steadily and moves that bit closer, which is enough to set her heart racing. She has no clue what he's doing, but then he settles, and asks her with a small roguish grin on his face, “Do you want a ride in Gilly?”
She stares at him, looking up and trying to gage what he means. He gets the point and elaborates, seeming slightly unsure of himself now.
“That's my favorite jumper - I named her.”
It's fairly endearing to see him less certain of himself, like the way he makes her feel most of the time she's around him. He's smiling as he explains, both embarrassed and amused by his own idiosyncrasy.
She grins back, putting him at ease.
“I'd like that. How about now? If you have nothing else to do that is.”
“Well, since you don't have Beckett to do, then sure, why not.”
She swats him on the arm playfully for that.
“Hey! Be nice, there's nothing wrong with Carson.”
“Can't have been the right guy, though, if you're not with him anymore.”
She glances at Lorne, trying to work out if that's him fishing for details or simply calling it as he sees it. He stares straight ahead as they walk in silence, and she doesn't know what to make of him yet. Even so, she can tell there's something there, whether or not he meant anything else by his observation. There's only one way to find out.
“Maybe I wasn't the right girl for him, you ever think of that?”
“And who are you the right girl for then?”
Now he's looking at her, studying her. She wonders how much worth he'll set by her answer. As far as anyone would know, she's been in a relationship with Carson for some time, and she doesn't want Lorne to think the wrong thing. She's not on the rebound. She's not been tragically hurt, only slightly deflated by her own bad judgment or wishful thinking, but she's more than over it by now.
“I don't know, but we can always find out.”
He seems pleased with her answer. He smiles warmly and extends an arm out to lead the way into the transporter, in an unexpected but rather pleasant and gentlemanly way. There's a lot she doesn't know about Lorne, so there's gotta be a few surprises in there. She still doesn't know his first name, but she does know the name of his ship - going out for a spin in it, too - and that's definitely a decent start.