Content Warning: Nothing really, some minor swearing is about it.
Season: This is set during 2002, which lines it up pretty much with the rest of season 6 of SG-1.
Summary: Returning to life in the U.S. Evan faces new challenges, both personal and professional as he takes on new roles and realises anew what it means to be part of a family. Again, pure Lorne, AU, and following on from Campaign Kandahar
Classifications: Family, friendship
Spoilers for: None
Acknowledgements: Wikipedia for some of the early chapters. This one wasn't as research intensive for reasons that will become apparent.
Disclaimer: The Stargate characters, storylines, etc aren't mine. I am unfortunately not associated in any way with the creators, owners, or producers of Stargate or any of its media franchises – if I was Lorne would have been in A LOT more episodes. All publicly recognizable characters, settings, equipment, etc are the property of whoever owns them. The original characters and plot and anything else I made up are the property of me, the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
Copyright (c) 2010 ShaViva
This was going to be part of the previous story but the passage of time and the change of tone just didn't fit so I separated it into its own story. It's all complete, just needs the usual editing. Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 1: I'm not in a hurry to leave you okay
Early June 2002
It was strange being home ... Lorne thought he could get too used to the comfort and the privilege of having his mother looking after him. The injuries he'd sustained in Kandahar had made that a necessity when he'd first got home but two weeks later he was still living in the lap of luxury care. Like he'd said to Elaine, it was actually kind of nice and since he wasn't fully recovered he could justify enjoying it.
Added to that was the comfort and familiarity of returning to live under the roof he'd grown up with ... the two story house a few blocks back from the shores of San Francisco Bay, with it's white paint and blue shutters, it's cluttered attic and walls adorned with years worth of art works and pictures. If you walked through the halls it was like taking a journey into the past and all it's key events ... like taking a seat inside Grace Lorne's heart through the outward display of pride and love in her two children. Evan had spent a lot of hours there the past two weeks and he was okay with that. For him that house represented home .... family .... connection. He always felt comfortable there, no matter how long it had been since his last visit, no matter how long he stayed each time.
Elaine had hung around too – it was the longest they'd lived under the same roof since he'd left for the academy. What made it particularly special for Evan was that he was sharing in the early stages of his sister's first pregnancy. With Drew away he'd stepped in as a surrogate hand holder and general mood pick-me-upper as she'd tipped from ecstatically happy to tearfully upset, sometimes without provocation. It was understandable and not just because she was pregnant. She missed her husband and was struggling with not having even told him he was going to be a father yet. Maybe she could have just emailed him but Elaine had dug her heels in, determined she wouldn't deliver such personal news in so impersonal a manner.
That was something Evan had been pushing to correct. He'd promised Elaine at the airport that he'd at the very least get her a phone call but since he didn't have an active post on U.S. soil was finding that more difficult than he'd expected. You didn't just call an Air Force Base and ask to use their facilities - not unless you were a big wig General. It'd be nice to video call Kandahar much as he used to call Cold Lake but from what he'd been told, security wise that capability was still a few months away. In the end Evan had called a couple of people he knew in Air Combat Command and that morning had finally hooked on to someone who'd been willing to help him expedite things.
Now he was just waiting for his sister to get back from her latest shopping expedition for the baby – just window shopping because she'd decided she wouldn't buy anything without Drew there to help her decide. Evan wasn't commenting on how often she needed to go out looking – it seemed kind of excessive but what did he know about babies? Although, now that he was going to be an uncle, he'd probably have to learn something about them ... eventually.
"Evan?" Elaine's voice and the sound of the front door closing interrupted his musings.
"In the living room," he called back, staying in his seat with his leg stretched out. The wound had healed nicely to the point of being just an angry red line on his upper thigh now but the underlying muscle damage caused by having a knife stabbed so deep was still giving him grief. His shoulder wasn't much better ... again, surface wounds healed but the underlying muscles and tendons still needing more work. He was doing physical therapy every day and progressing ... just not fast enough to stave off his impatience to be back on the job.
At the time, when he'd been caught up rescuing those six marines, Evan hadn't really thought about living with the consequences. It was only later that he'd realised just how lucky he'd been - any one of his injuries could have been a hell of a lot worse. Looking down at the new scar on his right forearm he acknowledged again that the burn – from direct contact with ignited white phosphorus – could have put him out of action long term, small as it seemed now. Instead of one escharotomy to cut away the thick, scabbed surface of the healing burn to let blood flow get to the new skin underneath he could have been facing multiple operations including skin grafts before the area was healed. And that was only the surface of it – if the WP had gotten into his system he'd have been lucky not to have suffered liver or other organ failure. He could have died ... out there in the field or back on base from his injuries. And maybe it wasn't a whole lot different than being at risk every time he went up in an F-16 – surface to air missiles could pick you off before you even knew they were there – but it felt different. He was still thinking about that, and the fact that he'd shot and killed two Afghan guards and blown up a host more ... still trying to reconcile it in his own mind. You had a view inside about the kind of person you were, what you were good at .... and sometimes things happened that surprised you, showed you that you were capable of being more than you'd previously thought.
"What are you doing?" Elaine appeared in the doorway, frowning when she saw him sitting there, no music, no television, nothing to distract him.
"Waiting for you," he returned. "You tired?"
"A little, but I can still do something, if you need help," Elaine looked at him with concern. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah – just thinking," Evan dropped his leg to the floor, shifting and slowing pushing himself to his feet. He'd finally gotten rid of the crutches and cane he'd been forced to use the first week back and now managed to get around at a slow pace but still with a noticeable limp. "I do need you to take me somewhere though, if you're up to it?"
"Just let me freshen up," Elaine smiled, patting his shoulder before hurrying away.
A few minutes later she returned, letting her brother set the pace as they headed for her car, borrowed from their Mom. "Where to?" she asked, not commenting on the way he winced as he folded his legs inside the passenger space.
"Ah ... across the Bay. Get on the I-80 and head east," Evan instructed. "Shouldn't take more than an hour or so ... I'll give you more directions when we get close."
"Okay," Elaine started the car and backed out of the drive. "Where are we going?" she asked curiously, merging into the traffic.
"Travis AFB - Fairfield," he replied. "It's the nearest base to San Francisco ... someone suggested I talk to a guy there about a couple of things, including maybe getting back to light duty sooner rather than later."
"You're not going back already," Elaine frowned, glancing over at him before directing her attention back to the road.
"They wouldn't let me," Evan admitted. "Not yet anyway – but once I can pass a basic physical I could get back on reduced duty."
"I didn't realise you were in such a hurry to get away from us," Elaine murmured sadly.
"Hey," Evan waited until she glanced at him again. "I'm not in a hurry to leave you okay. But it's my job Elaine, and the longer I'm away the harder it is for me to get back where I need to be."
"Afghanistan," she stated quietly.
"Maybe .... I don't know," Evan returned. "Back in the air, definitely. This isn't about you or Mom though – you have to know that."
"I know. I get it, okay," Elaine sighed. "I just ... I was hoping you'd be close by for a while longer ... at least until Drew comes home and I go back to Canada."
"So you are gonna stay with Mom until then?" It was something she'd mentioned considering, mainly because she didn't want to do all those first time pregnant things by herself.
"It's only another month so ... I think so," she agreed. "I wanted ... I have this thing coming up soon and I was going to ask you to come with me, if you could. Don't worry though, I can ask Mom – she might be able to get time off."
"Ultrasound," Elaine smiled at his dazed expression. "It's so they can check the baby – make sure everything's going okay."
"I know what it is," Evan returned insistently. "I was just ... wow – you want me to come with you for that? You wouldn't prefer Mom with you?"
"She'd have school, and besides, I did think it would be nice if you could be there," Elaine admitted. "You are my favourite brother after all."
"Old joke Lainee," Evan smiled. "I'd be happy to go with you – meet my nephew. "
"It might be a niece you know," Elaine pointed out.
"Nah, it's a boy," Evan said confidently. "I've already decided."
"You've decided?!" Elaine said indignantly.
"Sure," Evan chuckled. "What? You don't want a boy?"
"I want whatever I can get," Elaine admitted, her voice going soft and almost dreamy. "A baby – healthy and happy and hopefully just like Drew."
"I think it'd be kinder for the kid if he took after our side of the family Sis," Evan said seriously, only laughing when she smacked his good leg.
"So you'll come?" she checked once he fell silent again.
"I'll come," he agreed. "I'm not going anywhere for a while yet, okay?"
"Okay," Elaine's voice was small even in the enclosed space and Evan let the subject drop for the time being. He'd decided not to tell her there was an opportunity she could talk to Drew at Travis AFB, if everything went according to plan, because if it didn't he'd rather she not know what she'd missed out on. "Exit onto Air Base Parkway," Evan instructed when they got close. Nodding, Elaine indicated, pulling off the freeway and following Evan's instructions until they were stopping at the gate of Travis AFB.
"Ma'am, Sir," the guard at the gate greeted them.
"Captain Evan Lorne," Evan held up his air force ID for scrutiny. "My sister, Elaine Rider. We're here to see Major Michaels."
"Take this road all the way to Building C. I'll let him know you're here Sir," the guard advised, raising the boom and waving them through.
"Someone you've worked with?" Elaine asked.
"Someone who knows someone I've worked with," Evan clarified. "Should help streamline things a little."
Nodding, Elaine pulled into a car park and shifted to look at him. "Should I wait?"
"Actually, I was hoping you could come in with me," Evan said awkwardly. "They usually ask how recovery's going so if you could put in a good word that might help too."
"You want me to lie?" Elaine looked both surprised and insulted.
"Of course not!" Evan shot back with a frown. "I think we'd agree I'm recovering fine – just tell them that."
"Okay," Elaine switched off the engine and got out, arriving at his side as he got his feet under him on the other side of the vehicle. "What do they do here?" she asked, looking around with interest as they walked towards the doors.
"Air Mobility Command," Evan explained, opening the door for her to go in first. "Basically they make sure that our efforts anywhere in the world have everything - supplies, personnel, maintenance - they need. That's the busiest military airport anywhere in the U.S.," he added, gesturing outside.
Another young officer manned the front desk inside, showing them with courteous efficiency to the Major's office.
"Captain," Major Garth Michaels held out a hand as he stood to greet them. About Lorne's height and maybe ten years older he had that crisp, no nonsense air that would have screamed military even without the uniform.
"Sir," Evan shook hands, stepping back and introducing Elaine.
"Have a seat," the Major invited, moving to sit in one of three chairs he had arranged around a low table.
Elaine looked around curiously, feeling a little out of place. Not that she wasn't familiar with the workings of a military base, she'd just never been in on this kind of meeting with her brother before. Sitting back she watched both men, intrigued at seeing yet another side to Evan.
"Let's talk about that request you made first Captain," Michaels began, glancing at Elaine and then back to Evan. "We are able to accommodate you here – in fact it's set for 1430 hours today, assuming that's suitable."
"More than suitable Sir," Evan said gratefully, glancing at his watch and seeing they only had about 25 minutes left to wait. It was a much faster result than he could have hoped for. "I really appreciate this Sir."
"It's not something we hand out as a reward for service Captain, but if we did, I think you'd more than qualify after your efforts in Afghanistan."
"Ah," Evan shot Elaine a quick look and then redirected his eyes to the Major. "That was just right place, right time stuff Sir." He kept it vague, hoping the other man would understand that he really didn't want his sister being treated to the gory details.
"I think it was a bit more than that Captain," Michaels smiled. "Which brings me to the second reason for requesting you meet with me today. Normally your CO would do this but since you're not on active duty at the moment and will need to be reassigned when you are, I get the pleasure of informing you that effective immediately you're being promoted to the rank of Major."
"Sorry?" Evan hadn't been expecting that, and wasn't sure he'd heard right. A rumour started by your friends on base was a long way from reality and he'd had enough on his mind lately to have forgotten Piper's teasing.
"Your record of service along with your qualifications more than meet the criteria for promotion," Michaels seemed amused at Evan's reaction. "Congratulations Major Lorne," he said.
"Thank you Sir," Evan said, bemused. Major Lorne – that was gonna take some getting used to.
"Congratulations Evan," Elaine had held her reaction in while Major Michaels was speaking but now couldn't contain herself. Jumping up from her seat she moved to hug her brother, her smile full of excitement. "I'm so proud of you," she murmured close to his ear.
"Thanks Sis," Evan hugged her back. "This isn't what I thought I was coming here for," he added modestly.
"You're keen to get back to duty," Michaels noted. Reaching for a file on the table he opened it and quickly scanned the first page. "From the details listed here I'd be surprised if you're far enough along in your recovery to return to duty just yet. Air Command hasn't indicated where they'll place you post your promotion with the expectation that it will be a few weeks yet before you're up to it."
"What about reduced duty Sir?" Lorne asked hopefully. "I might not be able to pass the full physical just yet but I can certainly take on some duties – if you have something here on base for me to do I'd be more than willing to take it on."
Major Michaels looked thoughtful for a moment before speaking. "Let's set you up for an appointment with the base doctors. If they're happy to clear you for light duty we'll see what we can find you here."
"Thank you Sir."
"Happy to accommodate someone keen to return to work Major," Michaels replied. "And you don't have to Sir me anymore."
"Ah – right," Evan shifted uncomfortably. "That's gonna take some getting used to too."
"Yeah – I still remember my promotion," Michaels grinned. "I think my previous CO ended up yelling at me to stop Siring him for god's sake. Don't worry, you'll get used to it eventually." Looking at the wall clock, he rose. "Let's get this other matter settled and then I'll show you to medical."
Evan got to his feet, motioning for Elaine to join him. "This shouldn't take long," he told her as they followed Michaels.
"That's okay Major Lorne," Elaine said with a cheeky grin. "I'm thrilled I got to be here for that."
"Me too," Evan muttered, "completely unplanned as it was."
"Through here," Michaels said after leading them down the corridor. He held the door open to a small, darkened room with a large screen on the wall and another officer sitting at a computer console. "When you're ready Lieutenant," the Major said as they entered.
Elaine followed the two men, eyes narrowed as she took in the set up. The suspicion was rising but there was scarcely time for her to acknowledge it before the screen flickered to life.
"Drew!" She burst out, rushing forward to stand in front of her husband's video image.
"Hey honey," Drew's face went from military serious to bursting happiness in a second.
"What ... how?" Elaine looked back at her brother uncertainly.
"You wanted to talk to Drew, right?" Evan motioned to the screen. "So talk ... we'll all pretend we're not listening if that helps."
"Oh God," Elaine swallowed, tears rising to her eyes. "I ... thank you for this Evan."
"Don't waste time talking to me!" Evan pointed insistently to where Drew was watching the scene with confused interest.
"Right," Elaine laughed weakly, turning back to look at her husband, her eyes taking in every detail. He looked well ... and so good the need to touch him rose sharply inside. "How are you?" she asked, suddenly feeling nervous.
"Fine," Drew's eyes narrowed as he picked up on her nerves. His eyes went to where Evan was standing behind his sister ... he noted the amused smile and relaxed a little inside. Not bad news then. That begged the question of why they were having a very rarely granted face to face chat. "How are you?"
"Pregnant," Elaine blurted out that one word, clapping a hand over her mouth, horrified she hadn't cushioned the announcement.
"What?" Drew blinked. "Did you say pregnant?"
"Yes," Elaine swallowed, trying to pick up what he was feeling from so many miles away. "Three months along ... it ah ... it must have happened that last night before you left." She watched Drew nodding silently. "Are you ... is it okay?" she asked uncertainly.
"Are you kidding?" Drew asked incredulously. "Of course it's okay – I just wish I was there so I could show you how okay!"
"Me too," Elaine sniffed back more tears, smiling as her husband finally started to grin over the news. "I'm sorry," she cried, wiping at her tears. "I've been like a tap lately – ask Evan, it's been ridiculous."
"You'll stay with your Mom," Drew stated more than questioned, "let her look out for you."
"I think so," Elaine didn't take umbrage with his ordering her around when he wasn't there to look after her himself. "It's nice having the company ... not that we don't have friends at Cold Lake but they're not ...," she trailed off with a shrug.
"Family," Drew finished. "I'm sorry I'm not there with you Elaine ... for both of us."
"It can't be helped," Elaine said bravely, "and you'll be home soon, right."
"Two minutes Ma'am," the young Lieutenant manning the controlled announced with an apologetic tone.
"Of course," Elaine looked at Drew, tortured over what to say with so short a time left before the connection was cut. "I love you," she said softly.
"I love you too honey," Drew returned without hesitation, his eyes fixed on his wife. "I know you'll take care of yourself until I can get back there ... tell 'junior' I'm thinking of both of you."
Elaine sniffed again, managing a watery "okay."
"Evan," Drew looked at his brother-in-law intently, noticed for the first time that he was looking much better than he had the last time Drew had seen him.
"You don't even have to say it," Evan said before Drew could ask anything of him.
"I know," the two men shared a simple look. "I owe you one buddy."
"I have to close off the connection now Sir, Ma'am," the lieutenant said.
"Keep me up to date," Drew said quickly, raising his hand in farewell before the screen went blank.
"Bye," Elaine whispered in a sad little voice.
"You okay?" Evan moved closer to his sister, putting a hand on her shoulder.
Without a word she turned, throwing her arms around him. "I can't believe you did this! Thank you!" She kissed his cheek once and then again and for once he didn't pull away, content to let her express her emotions ... and her love.
Back at home a few hours later Evan was once again sitting in the living room, his leg elevated, the room quiet and just starting to get dark with early evening. Elaine had gone to take a nap before their Mom got home, the emotion of the afternoon and the unexpected tiredness of early pregnancy too much for her.
He liked the feeling of having accomplished something that day – he'd used up a few favours in the process but it had been worth it just for the look on Elaine's face when she'd first realised what they were at Travis AFB for. She'd been so happy to have spoken to Drew and finally shared her news that she hadn't even given Evan grief over surprising her with the video call.
He must have dozed himself because the next thing he knew his Mom was gently shaking him awake.
"Hey," he said, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "You just get home?"
"A few minutes ago," Grace smiled, seeing so much of her little boy in the man before her ... in the sleepy blue eyes and tousled hair. She couldn't resist ruffling that hair lightly, smiling when he raised an eyebrow at her quizzically. "I was surprised to find both my children sleeping soundly before dark."
"Elaine was tired," Evan explained their afternoon's activity quickly, leaving out the bit about him being promoted for now.
"How did Drew look?" Grace asked hopefully.
"Stunned at first, then happy," Evan summarised. "He's fine Mom – not a scratch on him."
She nodded, relieved. There were a few moments of silence and then Grace leaned down and kissed him, ruffling his hair again. "You're a good man Evan."
"Mom," Evan protested, for form really because he was smiling the whole while.
FINALLY, he's a Major! Yay Lorne! *grins* ... I have no idea how that would all happen in reality so forgive my artistic license if what I've written is completely unrealistic. I also have no idea if civilans would be allowed on a base like I had Elaine doing here, or for the purpose I used - some things you just can't confirm so I went with what I needed to happen for the story's sake.