In Practice

a Stargate SG-1 RPF story

by dirty diana

I blame this story, in its entirety, on Alysa. And Michael Shanks. Although I will take responsibilty for any bizarreness in the interpretation of three act structure. But nothing else. Beta love to guess who.

SG-1 casting spoilers for Season 9.

in the first act, the hero must make his choices

"Dude, what are they doing?"

At the sound of Joe's voice, David looked up from his coffee. His eyes followed Joe's to the next table over, where Michael had just barely succeeded in getting a doughnut down the front of Chris' polo shirt. Chris' chin was covered in powdered sugar, but he ignored it, and reached out with thick arms to wrestle a grinning Michael from his chair.

"Crochet?" David suggested. "Same thing they're always doing."

"Huh." Joe loudly slurped his soup as he watched. "You don't think they're..."

"Fucking?" Torri had come out of nowhere, placing one hand on Joe's shoulder for balance as she sat down."

"No," David said.

"Morons," Torri added.

"People think that you and Chris are doing it, you know." Amanda had kicked off her shoes and tucked her bare feet underneath her, as she sat comfortably on the couch in Chris's trailer. Her words were directed towards Chris, but her eyes focused on the TV screen. Angrily she pushed buttons, as the tiny pixelated woman on screen did a 360 flip and then wiped out. "Fuck."

Chris laughed so hard he spit a mouthful of Diet Coke. "Me and Shanks? No way."

Amanda shrugged, stretching her legs out and kicking him gently. "That's just what I heard."

"You won't believe what I heard." Michael's kitchen was always cool in the summer, with the windows and wide doors open onto his patio garden, and a breeze sweeping casually in. Chris half-leaned against the countertop as he spoke.

"Torri and Rachel behind Makeup?" he asked.

"Really?" Chris asked with interest. "But no. That's not what I heard. Apparently the rumour on set is that you and I are doing it." Chris grinned.

Michael frowned, not moving, with the beer in his hand still poised above the counter top. "Why is that funny?"

"Dude," Chris said. "You and me. That's just wrong."

"Wrong how?"


"Really wrong?" Michael asked.

"I just, I would never sleep with you," Chris said. "You're not my type. You're hideously ugly."

Michael squinted.

"I'm kidding," Chris added, taking the bottle from Michael's hand and effortlessly striking the cap from the bottle. He handed it back with a grin.

"So you would sleep with me," Michael said with satisfaction.

Chris shrugged. "Sure. Why not?"

"Huh," Michael said.

in the second act, the hero encounters a series of obstacles on the way to his goal

The scene was always the same, in Michael's kitchen, getting beer and snacks before heading back to the TV. Michael pulled a fresh beer out of the fridge.

"Let's do it," he said.

"Okay," Chris agreed easily. "Do what?"

Michael glared at him. "That thing. That we were talking about."

"Toilet paper DeLuise's house?"

"You're an idiot," Michael said, dropping his still-burning cigarette in an ashtray, and walking out.

The scene was always the same, Amanda curled into a corner of Chris' couch, flipping through his Playstation games. "So what's the matter?" she asked, as she reached into Chris' hand and broke off a piece of his blueberry muffin. "Why is Michael not talking to you?"

Chris quickly shoved the rest of the muffin into his mouth, talking between puffed cheeks. "What do you mean?"

"Please," Amanda answered. "He's always in here, and I've hardly seen him today. You guys fighting? Does he owe you money?"

Chris just shrugged. "He's acting weird."

"Weird for Michael?"

"Yeah." Chris paused a moment, and swallowed. "Remember that time he took up skydiving, and then he got up in the plane and remembered that he doesn't like heights?'

"Yeah," Amanda said.

"It's like that."

Lexa was thicker now in places, hardly enough to be noticed, around her hips and the gentle curve of her belly. Places that Michael's hand slid to automatically, seeking the familiar sensation to keep her warm while she slept.

"Baby," he whispered.

She shifted drowsily in his arms. "Honey. It's five in the morning."

"Would you mind if I slept with Chris?"

Lexa stopped moving abruptly. Michael bent his head, and inhaled her scent in the curve of her neck, the faint smell of sweat and flowers that he couldn't name.

She was quiet. Michael's Darth Vader alarm clock ticked loudly away.

"Baby?" he asked finally.

Lexa sighed. "You mean you haven't slept with Chris already?"

"Does that mean you wouldn't mind?"

"We talked about this. You don't have to ask my permission every time."

Michael squeezed her gently, just above her left hipbone. She reacted by kicking him softly, with cold feet. "I know," he said. "But I want to make sure it's okay. Is it okay?"

The alarm clock buzzed suddenly. Michael looked up in surprise.

Lexa rolled away from him, preparing to go back to sleep. "Force be with you," she said.

Chris brought Michael breakfast in the morning, a Tim Horton's coffee and danish. Michael brightened on seeing him.

"Thanks. Change your mind?"

Chris squeezed himself onto the step of Michael's trailer, pushing Michael slightly to the side. "Shanks, I'm really not sleeping with you."

"But you said you would."

"That was in theory, dude. Not in practice. In practice, you have a wife who could kill me with her stiletto heel."

"Oh, that." Michael shook his head, waving the problem away with the hand that held his coffee. "Lexa says it's fine."

Chris nearly choked on his own drink. He put the cup down too suddenly, tiny drops of milky coffee spilling over his hand. "Lexa does?"

"Sure. I asked her. You know I always ask her. She says..."

"No, dude, back up. Your wife thinks I'm doing you?"

Michael grinned abruptly. "Sure. Into the mattress. So we might as well..."


"But she says it's okay," Michael explained, very slowly. "She doesn't have a problem with it. The only asshole who has a problem with it is you."

"Shanks." Chris sighed, a deep gust of wind. "Why, exactly, do you think we should be fucking?"

Michael shrugged, blue eyes shimmering. "Why not?"

"Oh," Chris said. "There's an offer I can't refuse."

Michael stared at him. "And I want to. You're my best friend, Chris. I like being with you. Except when you're being a dick."

Chris didn't have anything to say to that, so he picked up his coffee.

The second AD ran up, pointing emphatically at her clipboard. They were already running late.

"I'm just saying, if I had Michael offering his body, I wouldn't say no."

In the near darkness of his trailer, blinds closed, Chris' eyes widened. "You know about that? Who knows about that?"

Amanda shrugged idly, stirring her tea. "Dunno. I heard it from...hmmmn." She paused. "I can't remember who I heard it from."


Amanda only smiled. "You should go for it."


"Because you obviously want to."

"Please. How do you figure that?"

"Hello." Amanda raised a hand, counting on her fingers. "You like each other. Some might say you love each other. You're together more often that you're with anyone else. And..."

"Yeah," Chris interrupted, "but that doesn't mean..."

"And he spends a lot of time in your lap," Amanda finished.

Chris hesitated. "Only when he's drunk."

"Yeah?" Amanda asked. "So why don't you kick him off?"

Chris thought about it. He scratched his head. "You really think I should do it, huh?"

Amanda giggled. "Yup. Fuck him senseless."

in the third act, things must get worse before they get better

Chris went over to Michael's house two days later. Lexa had wrapped her guest spot the day before, and flown the baby to Toronto for a visit. Michael was home alone.

Chris brought a case of twenty-four, and cigarettes. Michael wouldn't let him in.

Chris stared, confused. "But you said..."

"Fuck off," Michael answered tautly.

"Sex. You. Me. As the man once said, let's get it on."

"Fuck. Off," Michael repeated, and slammed the door in his face.

Chris went home and drank the beer by himself.

"He turned you down?" Ben asked.

"He turned me down," Chris explained sadly.

"After all that?"


"You're an idiot," Amanda said, and stole half of Chris' bagel from across the table. "You turned him down first. You hurt his feelings. You'll have to make up for it."

"Make up for it how?"

She shrugged, spreading cream cheese over her half of bagel. "I don't know. He's your best friend. What does he like?"

"Well, up to yesterday, I thought he liked me." Chris turned to Ben. "What do you think?"

Ben shrugged, and reached out to grab the other half of Chris' breakfast. "Don't look at me, dude. You brought beer. I would have had sex with you."

"Not beer," Amanda said seriously. "It has to be something big. Something you wouldn't do normally."

"You're saying he needs wooing?" Chris asked. "Like a girl?"

"I'm saying he needs wooing," Amanda agreed.

"Like a girl," Ben added.

"Huh," Chris said, and then pushed his chair back, stood up, and walked away.

"Think he's going to take my advice?" Amanda asked.

Ben shook his head. "Nope."

"Idiots," she said.

Michael had barely gotten the door to his trailer open before Chris barged through. He waved his arms distractingly in front of him, looking upset.

"I'm not wooing you," he said.


"Forget it. Like flowers, and dinner, and Star Wars trading cards and all that shit? I'm not doing it. You've been my best friend for seven..."


"Eight years, dude. I shouldn't have to bribe you into having sex with me."

"So what," Michael began, and then wasn't able to finish, because Chris was kissing him. Really kissing him. Really kissing him, pushing Michael against the wall of his trailer with all he force of his strength. Michael gave in immediately, reached for him and kissed him back. Fighting for air and space, as Chris grabbed onto him and wouldn't let go.

Just as unexpectedly, Chris pulled away, both eyebrows raised. "That didn't suck," he said.

Michael was flushed, flushed and a little breathless. Chris thought he could get used to that, thought about kissing him again.

Michael's eyes had creased at the edges, folding into a fond smile. "You're a dick," he said.

"Yeah, well, you hang out with me. So what does that make you?"

"An even bigger dick?"

"That's what I've been saying," Chris said, and kissed him again.

Michael's hands were quick and warm, slipping underneath Chris's shirt. "Did I tell you Lexa says it's okay?" he asked.

"You mentioned something, yeah."

"And you want me, right?" Michael's voice was breathless, expectant.

"Want you," Chris agreed in a low voice."

"So prove it," Michael said, and locked the door.