Title: Duty Bound
By: [livejournal.com profile] kellifer_fic
Rating: PG
Category: Lorne/Novak
Words: 1,347
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue, no money!
Notes: Fic is standalone but part of the Relationship From Scratch Series

Summary: “I understand what you’re trying to do, but I can do my job,” Lorne repeated, squaring his shoulders.

“How many times do I have to say it, I’m not doing your personnel spreadsheets for you,” Lorne said as a figure appeared in his office doorway. He and Colonel Sheppard had been having a running battle for the past two weeks and it was getting closer to crunch time. When there wasn’t a response, Lorne looked up and the expression on Sheppard’s face made him shoot to his feet.

“Major, a SAR team has gone out,” Sheppard said, not moving further into the room.

Lorne frowned. “I didn’t get any call,” he said, reaching for his ear piece to check it but Sheppard put his hands up. “We didn’t call you. Ramirez’s team were already geared up and-“

“Sir, Ramirez’s team were already geared up because they’d been offworld for four days.” Lorne felt cold all over. He didn’t know what was happening but he didn’t like it. Up until that moment he’d been having such a good day. He’d had Puddlejumper lessons with the new recruits in the morning which was always scary but fun, an impromptu game of basketball at lunchtime that practically the whole city had ended up turning out to watch and he was finally, finally going to have that dinner with Lindsay Novak they’d been trying to organise for the past two weeks when she got back from…


“What the hell?” Lorne barked, rounding the table, grabbing his tac vest from his other chair on his way through. When he hit the door, Sheppard repelled him, not actually grabbing him but simply being a solid wall, arms up, elbows out and hands back, offering nothing for Lorne to tussle with.

“Settle down Major, you’re not going anywhere,” Sheppard said, the curl of authority under his voice that made Lorne automatically step back and away by instinct.

“Colonel?” Lorne breathed, hoping the one word conveyed enough of a question.

“Apparently some Genii rebels had visited PJ7 before we did and took it upon themselves to raid the village’s emergency stores, even though these people had just been hit by a round of storms and were only recovering. The locals are starving and are trying to ransom our people-“

“But we went there to give them aid,” Lorne protested. A sick dread was curling through his stomach, thinking of the people that had gone through. David Parrish and Katie Brown had gone to see the damage to local plant life and crops and if anything could be saved, a couple of structural engineers and some other anthropologists to help with the disaster relief and Novak… hell, they’d only sent two marines through.

“The Genii rebels were survivors of… well, they had Atlantis uniforms. Probably looking a little worse for wear but close enough that the locals’ first instinct when they saw our people… I guess saying distrust would be putting it mildly. “

“Our uniforms. My uniform,” Lorne said slowly. “Am I being punished?”

Sheppard blinked, and then ran a hand over his face. “Jesus, Lorne, no,” he sighed, sounding tired. “I made a command decision. We’re not going in guns blazing-“

“Why the hell not?” Lorne demanded and John paused, looking at Lorne with an inscrutable expression.

“Can’t say I was wrong to worry about your objectivity,” he mused.

“Sir?” Lorne jerked as if hit.

“I know that you, Parrish and Brown are friends and as for Novak… hell Lorne.”

“Sir, I’m perfectly capable of doing my job.” Sheppard had been lowering himself into a chair but paused before dropping the rest of the way bonelessly, kicking his feet out and crossing at the ankles so his legs were across the doorway. He wasn’t exactly barring Lorne’s way anymore, but he didn’t exactly trust him not to run out either.

“I know that Lorne, but for the first time in a very long while, I can say we have the manpower to let you sit this one out.”

“With all due respect, Sir, I’d rather be doing something,” Lorne said.

John leant forward on his knees, fingers pressing into the bridge of his nose. “What happens when you have to step over her body to save someone else and can’t go back?” he asked, his voice betraying no emotion.

Lorne felt his heart turn over in his chest.

“I mean, as much as we all like to tout the never leave a man behind line, you know we have to. You know we’ve had to.”

“I understand what you’re trying to do, but I can do my job,” Lorne repeated, squaring his shoulders. Sheppard regarded him for a beat, perhaps looking for signs of false bravado. Finally he frowned again and looked at the floor.

“The argument’s moot. I mean, Ramirez has already-“

“Begging your pardon, Sir, but if Ramirez was already gone, you wouldn’t be blocking my doorway,” Lorne said, arching an eyebrow.

Something in Sheppard’s face finally gave way and he swung his legs to the side. Lorne couldn’t tell whether he was proud or pissed off, his expression was a strange mix of the two. He didn’t spend too long analysing it though, already on his way out the door and barking for his team as soon as Sheppard had moved.


“I mean, you should have heard them apologising. It was quite sweet actually.”

Lorne was watching Novak eat in fascination. It seemed sometimes that her own feet didn’t belong to her because they certainly seemed to move independently of any conscious thought but her hands, they were a whole different story. Lorne had watched her work before, but she always tended to hunch over whatever she was doing, as if afraid someone was going to be copying her homework. Watching her cut into meatloaf with surgical precision, swift neat strokes that divided it into scarily similar sized pieces every time was like watching art.

“Linds, they kidnapped you. I don’t think you can call them sweet.”

Novak had paused in her eating and had dimpled, a small smile Lorne had never seen before and he was at a loss as to what prompted it. Colour had flooded her cheeks and the next bite she took of meatloaf was obviously too big, as she raised her hand to cover her mouth while struggling to chew. Lorne nudged her waterglass closer to her with his fingertips and she took it gratefully.

“They didn’t mistreat us and they were just scared. They thought we had come to raid from them again and they were already on the brink,” Novak protested when she’d managed to finally get her mouthful down. “I mean, there’re been plenty of worlds where you guys have had weapons thrown at you just for stepping through the ‘gate. At least these people had a reason to fear. From what I understand, they’d been hospitable toward the Genii until they were robbed.”

Lorne looked around. They were all alone in the commissary. Lindsey was eating reheated leftover meatloaf and it wasn’t exactly the setting he’d planned but Lorne had learned that you took opportunities when they presented themselves when in Pegasus, even if it wasn’t exactly ideal. He waited until Lindsay swallowed her next bite of meatloaf and before she took a sip of water, stood and leaned across the table.

Novak had had her mouth open so he caught her bottom lip between both his own when he kissed her. The angle was awkward and she’d automatically leaned back when he’d stood but it was sweet and nice and Lindsay and what made it perfect was her expression when he sat down again.

She blinked a couple of times, her hand still halfway reaching for her cup of water but her fingers had curled and the other hand was in the air, as if she’d just started reaching for him as he’d pulled away.

“I can safely say I have wanted to do that ever since I saw you drop an access panel on your foot,” Lorne grinned.
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