Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Spoilers: Travellers, Be All My Sins Remember'd
Word Count: 1148
Written For: the femme_fic ficathon challenge for bluflamingo
Prompt: I've always thought it'd be interesting to be kidnapped by space pirates.
Summary: When backing down means walking away and never coming back just to prove a point, sometimes it's best to call it a draw, and then call it a night.
Author's Notes: Lyrics and title are from the Killers song "Forget About What I Said."
All of the stars are wandering around tonight,
we used to try them on.
And sometimes I hear you,
the galaxy sings your song.
And tonight I sing along.
She watched as Larrin ran an appreciative hand along the lines of the contraption placed on the centre of the table. Cadman coughed, and said with a wink, "You'd better be careful with that. I'm not exactly sure I secured the trigger. We may go boom."
Larrin smiled that lopsided smile that always made something deep inside Cadman twist pleasantly; it was simultaneously predatory and self-satisfactory at the same time. Cadman licked her lips and looked down at her polished boots. There was a scuff on the toe of her left boot. Damn. She'll have to take care of that later. Cadman realized she was letting her mind wander. She often did that in Larrin's presence. It was something about the woman that did that to her. There was something about Larrin that wouldn't allow her to look at her for very long. Something akin to looking too long into the sun.
"Have you heard a word I've said?" Larrin snapped. There was curtness in her words, but a smile in her eyes.
Cadman wrinkled her nose and slowly pulled her shoulders straight. She could feel the others in the room watching her. She knew they were all aware of her ... "special rank" in Larrin's army. If she backed down now, she'd lose face amongst the rest of the crew, and Larrin knew it. If this was how it was going to be, fine then.
"Not a word. I was too busy thinking that your plan stinks."
Someone coughed, obviously covering a choked laugh. Other than that, a terse silence settled in across the room and Larrin openly glared at Cadman. "What did you say?"
Cadman leaned forward, her hands took hold of the edges of the table and she levelled her gaze at the captain. "I said your plan stinks," she said putting even stress on each word. "You're not putting enough emphasis on the return." She pointed at the portion of the map behind the cluster of moons where Larrin's ship would be waiting. "How are your men supposed to get back in time?"
Not since Cadman had decided to stay on with Larrin, had she considered the decision a mistake. All the time in between now and then had been great. But that very moment? There was something not quite right.
A sad look fluttered across Larrin's face and Cadman instantly caught on. She narrowed her eyes in response. "You weren't planning on waiting for them were you? Jesus, Larrin, you're some piece of work, you know that? You could at least have the decency to look -"
"To look, what? Contrite?" She sniffed haughtily and crossed her arms. Everyone in the room suddenly felt very uncomfortable. It was as though this wasn't really an argument between a commander and her subordinate anymore so much as, well, between lovers. "You don't think I hadn't considered that? I'm not a monster." Larrin turned her back, her shoulders turned inward slightly.
No one would have noticed it. No one, except Cadman; she was now familiar with the subtleties of Larrin's finer movements, the secrets and bluffs Larrin shared with her. Cadman rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. Fine.
"Look, I can set a timer to that thing. If you let me send in a second team to head in another direction, plant a second bomb with a smaller charge to serve as a diversion, I can get everyone out." Cadman pointed to a second set of schematics given to them by a Wraith dubbed "Cartman" by Sheppard. (Sheppard has a very odd sense of humour.) "Here. This is where we'd set off the second charge. If you can do that, I can get your guys out." She looked Larrin squarely in the eyes. "You know I can do it."
Without saying a word, Larrin nodded and left the room.
Cadman entered Larrin's quarters without so much as an invitation - not that she had ever needed one. "What the hell was that back there, Larrin?"
Larrin stood by the window and kept her back to Cadman. "Do you remember what you said to me your first night on this ship?"
"What are you talking about?" Cadman replied, her confusion evident.
Larrin turned to face Cadman. "When we first captured you from Sheppard's team, we had you bound and you were struggling. My men brought you to me, and you told me - what was it again?"
Cadman smiled and recalled the words she had first spoken to Larrin, "I told you 'I've always thought it'd be interesting to be kidnapped by space pirates.'"
"Yes, and then you spit in my face," she purred. There was a hint of pride mixed with anger in her voice.
Cadman knew this conversation was perilously close to the edge. Larrin's temper meant it could go either way, but Cadman was never really one to tread lightly. Not when your favourite footwear was gun boots.
"Still think it's interesting?"
"Aside from the lack of morals, it hasn't been too bad."
Larrin's expression turned dark as she crossed the room and took Cadman by the shoulders. "I probably should have shot you that night, but I admired your audacity." Larrin loosened her grip slightly on Cadman's arms and her shoulders sagged slightly. She reached up and softly caressed Cadman's cheek. "I never asked you to stay, Laura."
"No, you didn't." Cadman was a bit taken aback. It wasn't often Larrin called her by her given name. She often saved it for more intimate moments. "But I did stay, and that was a choice I made on my own, and one I don't regret." She took a deep breath and shrugged off Larrin's hands. "Look, I need to go for a run, okay. I need to clear my head."
Larrin let her go. There was something she wanted to say to Cadman, but Cadman wasn't listening. At least not right now.
It wasn't until later that night after her run, when she was washing her face, that Cadman realized what Larrin had sacrificed to let Cadman have her way. She had, in essence, shared her throne with Cadman. Twice now, she had shown her crew that she thought Cadman's ideals and opinions were equal to her own, and now what? Well, either Cadman overpowered Larrin and took over, or she shared captainship.
Or there was a third option: Cadman could step down. She could acquiesce to Larrin and let Larrin have her ship.
Something about that last option didn't quite sit right with Cadman, though. It was probably the right choice, seeing as this was, after all, Larrin's ship ... but Cadman was never really one to walk away from any challenge.
Might be what Larrin liked about Cadman in the first place.
Cadman wiped the steam off the mirror and smiled at her reflection. After all, it's what Cadman liked about Larrin.