skidmo_fic: (parrish)
[personal profile] skidmo_fic
Title: Ferns and Fern Allies
Rating: G
Pairing: Lorne/Parrish pre-slash
Word Count: 1412
Warning: Assumes knowledge through the end of Atlantis
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me...sadly
Feedback: yes, please.
Summary: Retirement didn't suit him.
A/N: I've been craving Lorne/Parrish lately, and I'm so pleased to see that other people are still writing it too.

From the American Fern Society's website: The American Fern Society is over 100 years old. With over 900 members worldwide, it is one of the largest international fern clubs in the world. It was established in 1893 with the objective of fostering interest in ferns and fern allies. To this end it encourages correspondence and the exchange of information and specimens between members...

Retirement didn't suit him. He'd always known that would be the case, but to be actually staring down the barrel of months and months and months of days spent somewhere other than Atlantis was hitting him harder than he could have guessed.

He'd been offered a transfer, of course, but where was he going to go that could possibly compare to where he'd been? What could he possibly do that wouldn't make him resent the institution that had made him the man he was, made his wildest dreams come true, and ripped those dreams out from under him?

So he'd just...stayed. San Francisco had been one of his favorite cities to live in when he was growing up, and they'd ended up there relatively often. His mom didn't live there anymore, but his sister was just in Sacramento, and compared to Pegasus, that was practically next door. He could be there for the boys' birthdays, and—most appealing of all—he wouldn't have to go anywhere.

He'd been with the Air Force long enough to get his pension, and he had years of savings from his time in Atlantis, so finding a job wasn't a priority.

He painted, and he let himself go.

He would have liked to blame that for the way Parrish walked past his stand at the flea market without a second glance, but Parrish had always been oblivious to anything that didn't perform photosynthesis, so Lorne figured it shouldn't be that surprising that the botanist kept walking even after Lorne called after him.

It wasn't until he'd shouted, “Doc!” three times that he tried another tact and yelled, “Parrish!”

Parrish looked up distractedly and for a moment he just stared at Lorne, which Lorne figured was pretty fair considering he hadn't had a haircut in months, and he hadn't shaved in at least two weeks.

Eventually, he offered a tentative, “Major?”

Lorne laughed, a bit surprised to hear himself called by his rank after so long. He certainly didn't look the part anymore. Beyond the non-regulation hair and stubble, his jeans were torn and frayed at the cuffs, his t-shirt faded into illegibility, and his sneakers actually held together with duct tape.

And he didn't feel like a major anymore. He didn't feel like much of anything, really.

It was because of that, mostly, that he felt obligated to reassure Parrish with a chuckled, “Yeah, it's me.”

He didn't even remember what they'd talked about when he packed his paintings into the back of his pickup and drove himself home that evening. All he really knew was that at some point in the conversation Parrish had scribbled his phone number onto one of Lorne's make-shift receipts and handed it over.

He knew cell phones were how people did this sort of thing now, but he liked having the tangibility of someone's number written on a piece of paper.

Not that Parrish was that sort of someone, but he still liked it.

He also had an address for Parrish's work and a—somewhat absent-minded—invitation to stop by for lunch sometime.


It was not at all the sort of place that he'd have expected Parrish to work at. He'd been picturing a small-ish, local business. Someplace that specialized in hybrid roses or resilient strains of St. John's wort.

Staring up at the gleaming skyscraper, he realized that he shouldn't be so surprised. Parrish had worked in Atlantis, after all. Cutting edge was what he'd be used to.

Either way, Lorne couldn't bring himself to actually go inside the building, afraid of what he'd see: Parrish in that cold, sterile corporate world.

He fished the scrap of paper from his pocket instead and gave Parrish a quick call.

Twenty minutes later they were seated at the sort of trendy restaurant Lorne would expect Cadman to frequent but never Parrish.

They made small talk for the most part, and Parrish picked at his salad like he kept forgetting it was there while Lorne dug into his burger to avoid having to think too hard about the conversation. It wasn't long, though, before Lorne found himself swept up in that peculiar enthusiasm Parrish had always had for even the most mundane subjects. He couldn't follow most of the details of Parrish's work, but he could tell Parrish found it interesting, and that made it seem interesting to Lorne. The little of it he did understand certainly sounded impressive.

When they left, Lorne walked him back to his building, and Parrish said that he was in meetings for the rest of the day, but that Lorne should stop by sometime to see his plants, and Lorne found himself agreeing to come down to the lab on Friday.


Watching Parrish working, Lorne would almost think they'd never left Atlantis. He had that same nervous, trembly, entirely focused energy that he'd had there, flitting from plant to microscope and back again, over to his computer and across to the incubation lamps, a constant narration running from his lips.

Lorne got caught up in that as well, the cadence of precise consonants, smooth vowels, crisp pronunciation, sound of it sinking in more than the meaning.

An hour into his visit—he only knew it was an hour because he happened to glance at the notes Parrish was making—he cut off a tribute to Adiantum pedatum to ask, “Don't you miss it, Doc?”

“Miss what?” Parrish asked, and Lorne wondered if he's really that flaky or if he just didn't want to admit how much he really did miss it.

“Atlantis,” Lorne said, only lowering his voice a little, less concerned with security now that he no longer had the Air Force breathing down his neck.

Parrish paused in his work for the first time since Lorne had arrived, glancing up from the fern he was taking a sample from to consider Lorne carefully.

“Should I?” he asked eventually, then shook his head. “I know what you mean, of course. It was...incredible. The opportunity of a lifetime. And the work was fascinating. More than anything I've ever worked on, really. But...well, there's work here, isn't there? New discoveries to be made? New applications to perfect?”

He got quiet after that, and Lorne thought they were both letting the subject drop until Parrish said, “It isn't the same for you, I suppose. Fighting aliens. Isn't that every little boy's dream?”

Lorne just nodded, and a moment later Parrish was bustling through his work again, and Lorne was getting caught up in the cadence of it.


“It's David,” Parrish said, one day when Lorne met him for lunch.


“David. My name.”

“What's wrong with Doc?” Lorne asked, but he thought he might know what was wrong with it, more than one thing, from where he stood.

“What's wrong with Major?” Parrish countered, and Lorne smiled faintly.

“Okay, David,” he said, as though testing the feel of it in his mouth.

“Thank you,” Parrish said, smiling at Lorne like he was a plant with some peculiar properties he hadn't quite figured out yet.

A few minutes later, Parrish said, “Would you like to have dinner with me tomorrow, Evan?”

Lorne looked at him a moment, pondering how it made him feel for someone from his life before to call him by his first name as much as whether or not he wanted that from Parrish. Slowly, still considering it, he nodded, and they went on with their meal.


It was David and Evan, then, and something subtle shifted between them.

Dinner was just dinner, except in the small ways it wasn't.

Lorne was no longer the major, and Parrish was no longer the botanist. They weren't former colleagues keeping in touch. They were something different, something more. Not quite friends, not yet anything like lovers.

But David kept looking at him like an interesting plant, and Evan suspected he looked at David like an unfinished painting, with a vague idea of what it would end up as, but no clear picture yet.

He could tell, though, as David distractedly picked at his burger, and Evan dug into his salad, that there would be this dinner that wasn't just dinner, and then another, and then another, and eventually they'd settle into something not at all like their life in Atlantis.

And, Evan thought, if they were lucky, they'd be something more than content.


Date: 2011-01-16 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you!

I'm not sure there will be more, but I won't rule it out completely. :)


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July 2012

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