Author: Christi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Spoilers: Season Eight through Endgame.
Author’s Note: I hate writing angst. And yet, I did. It’s not beta-read or anything except for what the spell check yelled at me for, so excuse any glaring errors. It’s also quite possibly the weirdest thing I’ve ever written. Just as a warning. Oh, and thanks to Lyssie, cuz she made me write it in the first place to get rid of the evil angst bunnies and gave me a title.
“My one regret in life is that I am not somebody else.” –Woody Allen
For the first time since Jack O’Neill had taken over command of the SGC, he had more than 36 consecutive hours off. He had an actual four days of leave. In a row. To do whatever he wanted.
So he was baking cookies.
…Yeah, it didn’t make any sense to him either.
He hadn’t lied all those years ago when he had told Carter that he couldn’t cook. He couldn’t. Obviously, this rule extended to his non-existent baking skills. Yet, here he was with flour and sugar and chocolate chips, attempting to create something edible from the mess of ingredients. And he hadn’t the slightest clue why.
It sort of reminded him of all the weird shit he’d do when his brain was being overrun with Ancient mumbo-jumbo. It was like he had no control over his actions. He just felt…compelled to bake. Objectively, he knew that this was a waste of time. Jack wasn’t even enjoying himself, not when he could be spending his hard earned and long overdue downtime doing any one of a dozen other things, like fishing or catching up on The Simpsons or hell, even yard work. Yet, he didn’t stop.
Cream butter with sugar and eggs until thoroughly blended…
His team…no…SG-1…was on downtime right now too. This used to mean barbeque, movies, jell-o wrestling, something. Lately, it meant, “See you in four days, sir/Jack/O’Neill”. And a few years ago, that would have been okay. But at some point, Jack had gotten…accustomed to them being around. Now, suddenly, they weren’t anymore. Which might have been okay, if he still got to go off world and save the planet with them and stuff. You could do an awful lot of bonding while fighting glowy-eyed snakeheads and other scourges of the universe.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder, then mix it into the batter. Add chocolate chips…
But he didn’t get to. They went without him now, and Jack was stuck waiting, worried and alone and unable to do his job because he was too worried about blowing up Daniel and Carter in her skin-tight patent leather top.
Place dough in balls roughly three fingers apart on tray. Bake at 375 degrees for roughly 10 minutes…
And damnit, why hadn’t she worn skin-tight patent leather tops when he had been there to enjoy them?! If she was going to marry some other guy and thus cut off all possible chances of Jack getting to screw her stupid someday, then it seemed like the least she could do was wear leather tops when he was around to enjoy them.
He was pretty sure all of this fed into the inexplicable baking frenzy. It was because he was alone and left behind. Because when he had spent hours paralyzed with fear for his friends, Daniel had said, “Maybe you should have shot the ship after all”. Because when he had been horrified by the idea, even Teal’c, his ping-pong pal, had gazed at him uncomprehendingly. And because Carter was getting herself captured when he couldn’t go after her, wearing leather tops, and marrying another man.
Hmm. The smoke pouring out of the oven was probably not a good sign…
He was stressed, alone, his kitchen was a mess, and his cookies had just burned. Could he get more pathetic?
Apparently, he could, because quite without his realizing it, he had picked up the phone and hit number two on speed dial. Carter’s number. And she was talking. Damn.
“…Sir? What’s wrong? Did you need something?”
He sighed. This was stupid. And yet… “No, nothing like that. It’s just…my cookies burned.”
This preposterous statement was greeted by silence, and he wasn’t surprised. If he could recognize that he was being ridiculous, Carter would spot it in a minute, and no doubt be at a loss with how to handle her CO who was slowly sliding off his rocker.
But finally, she just said softly, “Mine always do too.”
Jack blinked. She had surprised him again. How did she do that? And could she possibly understand what they were talking about when Jack wasn’t even sure himself? Granted, she was a lot smarter than him…he got confused sometimes. Now was definitely one of those times. So maybe, just maybe, Carter understood it all. Or at least, understood enough. Maybe things could start making sense again and he could go back to fishing, because he definitely was not cut out for this baking thing.
“You wouldn’t want to…I mean, would you…do you think maybe if we made them together…?”
The stuttering invitation was the most he could manage. Maybe it would be enough.
“I…” she sounded bewildered and lost and…hopeful. “I’ll be there in an hour or so. There’s something I have to do first.”
They hung up and he tried to air out the kitchen while he waited, waving out the billows of smoke and throwing the charcoaled cookies into the trash. When she finally showed up, the kitchen was still a mess and he was still confused. But she didn’t look at him like he was nuts and there wasn’t a ring on her third finger anymore. She might have just forgotten it, which happened a lot. It probably didn’t mean anything, and he certainly wasn’t going to ask.
But she had ridden her motorcycle to his house, so she was wearing leather pants, which totally made up for the shirt. And she hadn’t called him ‘sir’ or ‘General’ since she had walked in. So…maybe…