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Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 10:08 pm
This would be the story that I wrote to get out of my head, and that I'm not totally sure I want to adopt as part of my John fanon, or of WHN canon, but that's where it fits at the moment.

Title: History
Fandom: SGA/SG1, What Happens Next 'verse
Pairing: John/Cam established relationship
Rating: R
Word count: 2993
Summary: There's a part of John's past that no-one knows, but that he needs Cam to know about.

Warnings: Contains extended discussion and one fairly graphic scene of gang rape of a seventeen year old, including object insertion; also contains passing mention of past suicide attempts.



History

John's been thinking about this, been thinking about telling Cam, since Rodney and Jennifer's wedding, and he doesn't know why that did it. All he knows is that Cam knows him better than anyone else in two galaxies, but Cam doesn't know this. And he should.

It happens, of all places, at Cam's parents' house. Alex is asleep, the house is calm and quiet, the windows open to let in the warm night air, and Cam has his arm around John's waist, his chest pressed against John's back, not sleeping, just quiet together.

"Can I tell you a story?" John asks. His palms start sweating as soon as the words are out, and he's sure Cam can feel his heart racing.

Cam says, "Sure," against his neck.

"It's not a good story," John warns. "It's –" He doesn't have words for what it is. He's never told it, not in twenty-five years. "It's not a good story."

"That's okay." Cam's voice is completely calm, but for one tiny note of apprehension that John thinks only he'd be able to hear.

"You know I'm – that I didn't go to college until I was twenty?" Cam makes a small noise of agreement. John fights not to ball his hands up into fists, then does it anyway because it makes him feel more in control and he needs that. "I was with my mom. She took me out of school when I was seventeen."

There's more, but he can't say it, not without something more. He wishes Cam could read his mind, the things he's pushed aside over the years but never completely away.

"What happened?" Cam asks, soft. The hand he has on John's stomach presses just a little more firmly, enough for John to remember it's there, that this is Cam, who's so, so safe, the safest person John knows.

"I was... hurt." John hates how quiet his voice has gone, how vulnerable he sounds. He doesn't want to say the word. "They forced me, they – hurt me."

*

Someone pushed him down onto his knees, held his hands tight behind his back, and when he tried to struggle free, someone punched him, hard, in the face.

"We saw you." He didn't recognize the voice – six months at this school, after he'd transferred to be closer to Mom, he still didn't know most people. "Last week, in the locker room. Like this, on your knees."

He froze, because he knew what they were talking about, knew what they'd seen him doing, and it didn't take a genius to realize –

The guy holding his wrists jerked his head back with a hand in his hair. "Open wide. You're good at that."

He gagged helplessly around the cock shoving into his mouth, but no-one cared. Hands gripped the edges of his jaw, tight enough to hurt, and he thought about how many boys were in the classroom when he walked in, how many more.

The guy finished fast. He couldn't swallow, come running down his chin, bitter against his tongue. Even as the next one pushed inside, he thought that he could do this. Just this, he could take it and leave and it'd be all right, he'd be more careful, he'd –

He wasn't ready for the hands that shoved him down onto his hands and knees, but he was ready when they moved to the belt on his pants. He bucked away, struck out, fought as hard as he could.

It didn't do him any good. They pinned him face down, holding his hands, someone sitting on him, and then they pulled his pants down.

The first one hurt. He'd never done that before, and they didn't prepare him at all. He bit his lip as hard as he could – wouldn't cry, wouldn't let them know that they were hurting him. The second time was easier – they weren't using condoms.

The third one turned him onto his back, stroked his dick until it was hard, and when someone pushed into his mouth again, he came, unable to stop it.

He thought he went away somewhere after that. He was aware, distantly, of people and voices, of hands on him, pulling a second orgasm from him, but he wasn't really there. It wasn't really happening to him.

It was the feeling of emptiness that brought him back, and for a second he thought they were done, that it was over. Then someone said, "What is that?" and someone else said, "A flashlight," and he knew what was going to happen before it did.

They fucked him with it, until his dick was stiff again. Someone pulled him up to his knees and started fucking his mouth again, and then there was a hand on his dick, working him hard and rough. He tried to think of something else, something so he wouldn't, even though he was right there, on the edge.

*

"John." Cam sounds wrecked, like John's story is a physical hurt to him, but John feels the same distant he did when it was happening. He thinks maybe he needs that to get through the rest of it; he just doesn't want it now.

He can't feel Cam's hands on him, even though he can see them, still there, still holding him safe.

"My math teacher found me," he says. "We were in her classroom, she opened the door and –"

She said, "What the hell is going on here?" and the hand on his dick tightened and he came, arching up with it and falling away as they skittered back from him. He remembers lying there, his mouth swollen, his thighs sticky with come, his clothes stained, the flashlight still sticking out of him. She'd pulled it out, apologising, and he thinks, now, that he probably cried through it. He'd wanted to get as close to her as he could, and when she'd rested a hand on his elbow, helping him to his feet, he'd pretty much collapsed into her, just wanting to hold on, to feel safe.

"They called my mom."

*

The principal's office, and the phone on speaker so he could hear her voice.

"May I speak with Mrs Sheppard?"

"Ms Wilson. I'm divorced."

"My apologies, Miss Wilson, this is Dr Radstock, the principal of Brooke House School."

"Is everything all right?"

"I'm afraid not, Miss Wilson. There was an incident this evening involving your son."

"Is he all right? What happened?"

"I think it would be best, if you can, if you came and collected him. He's – physically not badly hurt, but it was –"

"What happened to my child? Tell me, right now."

"Several of our senior boys – we think it was a prank that went too far. He was abused. Sexually."

"I want to speak to him. Put him on the phone."

Dr Radstock offered the handset to him, finger hovering over the speaker button, but he pressed back further into the couch he was curled on, shaking his head. "He's with me now, Miss Wilson, he can hear you if you want to speak to him."

"Johnny? I'm coming to get you. Right now, as soon as I hang up the phone. I'll be there in an hour, maybe less. I'm on my way."

He nodded. He wanted her to stay on the phone, to keep talking to him like he was small and precious and she'd protect him, but he didn't know what to say to make that happen.

*

"You're shaking," Cam says quietly. "Are you cold?"

John shakes his head, not really sure what the answer is.

"Do you want to stop?"

John shakes his head again, more sure of that answer. "Hold on," he says, and he's grateful that Cam knows he doesn't just mean wait, that he also means hold on to me.

*

Dr Radstock's wife helped him into the shower, and he stood under the water, not sure what to do with his hands. He didn't know how long he stood there before she knocked at the door, called, "John, sweetheart? Are you all right? I'm going to come in and leave you a towel and some clothes."

She gave him ice for the bruising on his face when he managed to get out of the bathroom, and he was still sitting there when the door swung open and his mom ran in. She wasn't wearing any shoes, and she dropped onto the couch next to him, already reaching for him as he let himself fall into her, shaking so hard he couldn't hold onto her.

"Can we go home please?" he said.

She held him tight. "Yes, baby. We'll go right now."

*

John's stomach lurches and he gags, half-throwing himself out of the bed, stumbling on numb feet for the bathroom and barely making it before he throws up. He hears Cam's bare feet on the tile, then Cam's kneeling by him, one hand rubbing low on his back, saying, "I'm here, I've got you," as John retches again.

A door creaks, and Wendy's voice says, "Boys? Is everything all right?"

"It's fine, Momma. Go back to bed."

"I've got pomegranate tea in the cupboards, I'll make some for John."

"Really, Momma, it's fine. I've got it, I can make the tea if he wants it."

"Don't get snippy with me, Cameron, when I'm trying to help." She sighs though, easing the sting. "Wake me if you need anything."

John closes his eyes, wishing he hadn't started this here. He loves Cam's family, he does, knows they've tried hard to make him one of them, and he is, they have, but right now he wants to be anywhere else, isn’t actually sure he can stand to be in this house another second.

"Out," he says, pushing away. "Cam, please, out, please." He sounds like Alex in the clutches of a nightmare, and, God, Alex is here, their son is sleeping a couple of doors away and why didn't John *think*, he's going to wake up in the morning –

"Whoa, hey." Cam catches his shoulders, pulling him back, and holds him there. "Breathe. We're going out, right now, we're going."

"Alex."

Cam looks right into John's eyes and John can't look away. All he can see is Cam, Cam's bottomless capacity to love him through Atlantis and secrets and a child they weren't expecting. John lets Cam look at him, lets Cam hold onto him, and tells himself that this won't be too much, that Cam is strong and he won't let them be broken by this.

"Alex is sleeping. He's going to sleep all night, and in the morning he's going to wake up, and Mom will take him to collect eggs and help her make breakfast. And Dad will take him down to look at all the things starting to grow, they'll look after him." John starts to protest – he wants Alex near, he doesn't want Alex to go any place – but Cam keeps going. "Then we'll pack lunch, just the three of us, go out back by the creek and watch the clouds. All day, just us."

John nods. He wants to say thank you, but what he actually says is, "Out," his voice rasped small.

He doesn't let go of Cam's hand, all the way through the house, out into the yard, the grass damp on their bare feet. John's still shaking, his knees feeling like they might give out any moment, and he's grateful when Cam settles them on the porch swing, lets John curl against him.

John breathes deep, trying to chase out the taste of vomit, and lets the cool and the dark wash over him.

Then he talks.

He talks about how he'd pace his mom's house, her little garden, round and round for hours because he couldn't sit still, he felt like his skin was on fire when he stopped moving.

He talks about how he'd wake up crying or wake up screaming, how he'd stumble blindly down the hall to his mom's room. He talks about how he slept in bed with her like a child for weeks, then on a foldout bed in the corner of her room for months after that.

He talks about losing weight because everything he ate made him feel sick, and having to force himself to get clean because he hated touching his own body, hated seeing the places their hands had been.

He talks about begging his mom not to tell his father why he'd been pulled out of school, about how grateful he was that Dave had stayed at their old school, nearer their dad. He talks about hours sitting in his mom's workroom while she ran her spinning wheel or her loom, about learning to sew because when he had something in his hands he could sit still and not feel like he was going to explode.

He talks about the time he had to have his stomach pumped, the time his mom found him with a knife, the time he had to be resuscitated. Fourteen days in hospital, involuntary committal that doesn't appear on any record anywhere, and he still doesn't know who made that happen. The therapist who asked him if he'd liked it. The friend of his mom's who sat with him on the back porch for an hour every day and never asked him about what happened, just listened when he said he wanted to fall asleep forever.

The one who made it better, in the end.

He's exhausted when he finishes, his throat sore and his eyes gritty, but he's still in one piece, and it's over. Cam knows, now.

"Thank you for telling me," Cam says. He sounds like John does, even though he's mostly sat quietly through everything John has to say. John suspects neither one of them has red eyes just from exhaustion. "Thank you for trusting me with it."

It's an odd thing to say – oddly thought out, oddly correct – even for Cam, who's good at this stuff. Part of John wants to pull away, filled with suspicion, but it loses to the parts of him that are too exhausted to move and want to stay where he is too much. "Did you already know?"

John feels Cam shake his head. "I... wondered. Some of the things you don't like, they're more like triggers than dislikes."

Stupidly, John has to blink back tears, and they're of disappointment, of all things. "They didn't do any of those to me," he says, voice cracking, and all he can think about is the time Cam tried to pin his wrist and he nearly broke Cam's nose. He hadn't been thinking of anything when he'd done it, no flashbacks or anything like that. He'd just – had to fight.

"I know," Cam says, though John has no idea if he did, before. "I meant that I wondered if something had happened to you that... If there were things you couldn't handle because you'd been through something bad before."

Something bad. John actually likes that phrase better than any other he's ever come up with. His mom's friend – Molly, he forgets sometimes, but she was called Molly – talked a lot about survival, in the moment and later, about being a survivor. She never said what he was a survivor of, but he likes 'something bad' for being simple.

"I don't know what happened to them," he says. "I think my mom found out, she was –" She'd been so angry, for a few days, and trying to hide it, because John knew she wasn't angry with him, but he could feel it burning off her and it made her hard to get close to. He'd never asked why, same why he'd never asked if she ever found out more about what happened to him than he heard Dr Radstock telling her.

"Did you ever want to know?"

John shakes his head. "I kept waiting to be angry at them." He'd spent too long being scared, and then even longer trying to survive. There wasn't any space left for anger.

"I hope they were punished," Cam says, fierce and strong. "For what they did to you –" A shudder runs through him, hard, and John thinks about Alex. About knowing that someone had hurt Cam so badly in Antarctica, how he'd wanted to go after the Goa'uld who'd *damaged* him like that, who'd changed him.

It's not hard to imagine how much worse it would have been if it had happened to Cam as a teenager.

"You can be angry for both of us," he says quietly.

"Can I be sad as well?" John nods, and Cam kisses the top of his head where it's tucked against Cam's shoulder. "I'm sorry that happened to you."

"Me too," John says, and it might be the first time he's ever been able to say that, twenty-five years and a lifetime later.

*

He doesn't really remember going back to bed, except for how the sky was starting to lighten as they went. The next thing he's really aware of is waking up to brilliant sunlight, too warm under the covers, held close against Cam, Alex curled puppy-small in the space between the two of them, his thumb in his mouth, fast asleep.

John watches him, so small, a part of him and Cam forever. He can remember being Alex's age, just about, or fragments of it, sitting on his father's knee and being read to. He hopes Alex never goes from trusting them like that to how John felt, seventeen and violated, like his dad was another enemy, not someone to protect him.

He doesn't realize he's crying until Cam touches his cheek, says, "Sweetheart," soft and low.

John shakes his head, trying to tell Cam that it's all right, these are good tears, washing out all the ugly stuff he said last night.

"I know," Cam says.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 09:46 pm (UTC)
I read your post about whether or not you wanted to post this, and now I've read this. Purely as a piece of fic, I'd say, thank you for sharing, because it works and hurts and I come away *feeling*, from this. As part of the backstory? It's not something I would have guessed, but now that it's out there, I guess I'm just slotting it into this 'verse, and kinda accepting it.

Although it is adding fuel to my "people suck" fire, which seems to be particularly strong, recently.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
What [personal profile] fyrefly101 said. This was a difficult read, but the distance and numbness and lack of anger on John's part feels very honest and complicated. Really well written, though I hate the idea that something bad (good, useful phrase) happened to John.
Monday, April 4th, 2011 01:46 am (UTC)
Well, I guess I don't know what to say. This is so sad, to have had such a horrible thing happen to John when he was scarcely more than a child. I just wanted to cry. But it also shows how incredibly strong he is, how he found the resources to claw up from the shame and despair.

And Cam ... how much do I love him in this? More than I can say. He's bedrock.

Thank you for writing this.
Monday, April 4th, 2011 10:07 am (UTC)
For what it's worth, I'm glad you posted this. It's certainly not a happy story, but this would have been his reality whether or not he'd told Cam about it, and I'm glad he trusts Cam enough to share this.

They're both so amazing. John is so brave and strong and Cam is so supportive and lovely. A bedrock, like rubygirl said.
Thursday, April 7th, 2011 05:34 am (UTC)
I'm glad you posted this too. Cam is lovely in this, of course, but what I really like is that John actually manages to trust him--that you've give them a relationship where John will occasionally talk about the kinds of things he normally doesn't talk about. Not an easy read, but a worthwhile one.