Title: Compares With You
Author: Christi (email@example.com)
Rating: A sort of vague and non-substantial R
Category: Fluffity fluff fluff
Disclaimer: If you sue and I lose, does that mean, as I am deep in debt, that you actually have to pay my debt? Because I could go with that.
Author’s Note: So, this fic had many different inspirations. It started with me reading a rash of “Sam is unhappy in her science life and returns to SG-1” fic and I had an idea percolating, and then karma_aster requested Thor and I remembered a little piece of fluff I had never finished that I wrote for lyssie that loosely involved Thor. Even after tweaking, Thor is really only sort of involved and for that, I am deeply apologetic. I tried, I really did. Also, there’s a tiny section here indirectly inspired by b_cavis’s “Treaty of Guinness”, which is completely worth a read if you haven’t yet. Endless thanks go to kate98 for her amazing beta job, encouragement and aid in a title, which is a line from The Beatles “In My Life”.
The fish was (disturbingly) fresh, the beer was (pleasantly) cold, and Daniel was (outrageously) cheating. Not that Jack could prove it, of course, but it was the only rational explanation for Danny’s sudden talent at five card draw.
“How are you doing it?” Jack demanded, eyes narrowed. “Stacking the deck? Have cards up your sleeves? Counting them?”
Daniel smirked, shuffling the deck. “I have no idea what you’re talking about, Jack.”
“I think Teal’c is a co-conspirator,” Sam finally chimed in, eyeing Teal’c’s own substantial pile of chips.
Teal’c, of course, said nothing. But there was that expression on his face, the recently patented Jaffa-smirk. Typical.
The wood of the porch underneath them creaked as Jack shifted towards
Sam, feeling younger than he had in years. “
She nodded back solemnly, playing along. “Damn shame.”
He still couldn’t quite believe that she was here, sitting under the sun and smiling at him like that. The past week had been one of those experiences that he hadn’t really believed happened to people like him—the sort of hazy, innocent, out-of-time joy that Norman Rockwell had captured for a living and Jack had always scoffed at. But here he was with a pond full of fish and a cabin in the woods, a beautiful woman he loved, and two friends trying to cheat him out of quarters.
As he watched, Sam’s hand rose and brushed against his cheek, the warmth of skin against skin making him smile and feel ridiculously giddy considering his age. When she pulled away, there was a tiny silver fleck resting on the tip of her finger; a scale from the fish he had caught and cleaned earlier.
Finger even with his mouth, she held his gaze, still smiling that smile.
“Make a wish,” she said.
“Did you find it?” Jack asked as he climbed back up the last few rungs of the ladder to his deck carrying two cold beer. Once reaching the top, he grabbed at the blanket hanging over his shoulder before it had a chance to slip to the ground.
“Yeah, just adjusting the resolution,” Sam replied as she peered through his telescope. “You know, you really do get a pretty good view from up here. Not too much light pollution.”
He shrugged, handing her a beer that she took with a grin before settling the blanket over her shoulders. “Eh, it’s all right. We’ll take it up to the cabin next time we go. You’ll be amazed at the difference.”
She nodded, blue eyes wide with ever-present enthusiasm. “I’ll bet.”
There was a ridiculous satisfaction spreading through his chest fueled
by the fact that she hadn’t bothered to contradict or even protest his
assumption that they’d be returning to
Sam pulled the blanket a little tighter around her body, huddled up in her chair and rested her chin on her knees. “Still cold?” he asked.
“No, no, this is perfect,” she replied easily. “So…another game of chess or do you have yet another wonderfully fascinating celestial body to show me?”
He briefly considered making a remark about her celestial body, but curbed the impulse. Until he realized that she had purposely worded it that way. His eyes narrowed at her all-too-innocent expression. “Carter…” he said warningly. “Evil.”
A shrug was her first flippant response. “I know.”
Daniel was pacing again, back and forth across the briefing room while Jack watched silently. Not that he’d want to interrupt, not when Daniel was on a roll like this one.
“And after all, I am the most knowledgeable person left on Earth when it comes to the Ancients, and I’ve effectively been one at least once now, so I don’t think it’s that unreasonable for me to ask you to let me go when it’s very possible that Atlantis could be destroyed within a few days or weeks by these Wraith. Besides, it’s not like you really need me here anymore, not with…Jack? Are you…laughing at me?”
Surprisingly enough, he really was. A bone deep chuckle that he couldn’t stop from escaping shook his shoulders. “Pretty much.”
Daniel’s face scrunched up in that slightly offended expression he had perfected years ago. He looked like he was one step away from putting his hands on his hips and stomping his feet in a demonstration of defiant petulance.
To save himself from being exposed to that particular image, Jack held up his hands in surrender. “Daniel…you can go.”
Blue eyes blinked at him owlishly. “I can?”
Jack shrugged. “Sure. Look, things here are finally…good. And T’s already gone off to be a founding father or whatever. Sam’s put in for that promotion to Area 51…and it sounds like they could really use you out there.”
“Oh. That’s…a good point. I, uh…thank you.”
Jack just leaned back in his chair, his laughter still echoing in the mostly empty room.
One Wednesday evening, Jack arrived home to find a manila envelope from the Pentagon waiting for him. He read its contents once, then twice just to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating (an oft-reported symptom of extreme sexual frustration). When he was quite sure it was all real, he grabbed his keys and headed out—only to swing his front door open to find Carter standing there, clutching her own manila envelope.
He just stared at her silently for what seemed like an absurdly long time, but then in flurry, they were wrapped around one another. One hand was tangled in her hair, the other grasping, sliding, doing anything to get her closer.
Kissing her was ridiculously like he had imagined it would be, which was both reassuring and terrifying. When he finally managed to break away for a breath of desperately needed air, tripping over his own feet to pull her back into the house, he started working his way down her neck. “Got the promotion?” he mumbled against her skin.
A tiny little gasping noise preceded her reply. “Mmm-hmm.”
He nodded a little, mouth now on her collarbone as he backed her against the door. “Good. For you, I mean. I got one too.”
“Really?” she asked, somehow managing to wrap one leg impossibly high on his hips. “Congratulations.”
“Tha-aanksss.” She thrust her hips firmly against his and the end of the word got lost in a sort of hissing noise through his gritted teeth. “Jee-sus, Carter…” They needed a bed. Or a couch. Was he too old for couch sex? Probably. Really, the carpet in his living room would do right now—any kind of flat, horizontal surface. Now was not the time to be picky. “How do you feel about area rugs?” he managed while tugging her shirt off.
“Ask me later,” she responded before dragging him to the floor (and its conveniently placed rug).
“Beer really is a food group for you, isn’t it?” Daniel goaded him while watching him marinade the steaks on the grill.
“Your point?” Jack retorted.
Daniel shrugged, sipping the second of his allotted three beers for the evening. “Just an observation.”
Jack pointed the barbeque tongs at him. “If you bitch any more, I’ll make you cook.”
Daniel shrugged. “At least I know the difference between medium-rare and burnt-to-a-crisp.”
“Gah! That’s it! I quit!” Jack threw his tongs at Daniel’s head before sitting down in a huff. Next to him, Sam stroked his hair.
“Poor misunderstood General,” she said, voice ringing with (what he suspected was false) sympathy.
Daniel scoffed. “Please Sam, you’re only humoring him because you two are finally…” the archeologist trailed off a bit awkwardly, realizing that maybe some subjects were off-limits, even among friends.
That is, until Sam just smiled serenely. “True enough. Although the omelets are really quite tasty.”
This made Jack feel slightly vindicated, or at least justified in giving Daniel an increasingly hard time. “Danny, give the tongs to Teal’c. Barbequing is man’s work.”
Surprisingly, Daniel did give up the tongs, but not without sending a glare in Jack’s general direction. T just took them and went to check on the progress of the meat. Jack grinned happily. “Proper delegation really is key, you know,” he confided to Sam.
“I’ll keep that in mind, sir,” she said with a roll of her eyes.
Strangely, through the smoke wafting across the porch, Daniel looked a bit misty eyed. “Something wrong Daniel?” Jack finally asked, knowing he’d probably regret it.
The younger man shrugged a bit sheepishly. “It’s just strange to think that in two days, we’ll all be…I mean, you and Sam are going to D.C. before she heads out to Nevada, and Teal’c will go back to Dakara and I’ll have to hurry to finish packing for Atlantis…it’s the end of SG-1.”
Leave it to Danny to bring the mood down in twenty seconds or less. “Daniel…” Jack warned.
“Jack…I’m just saying…” Daniel started before Teal’c interrupted.
“I believe you are incorrect, Daniel Jackson.”
They were all silent for a moment before Jack smirked a little. “What he said.”
There was a crack in the ceiling shaped vaguely like
Thor's head, Jack noted as he lay prone on his bed in his brand new
government-provided housing. It was hard to make out at first, but the more he
looked at it, the more and more he expected it to blink in that owlish way and
address him as "O'Neill."
Underneath him, the bed shifted as Carter collapsed next to him, letting out a loud groan. "Ow. Whose idea was this whole moving thing again?"
"The U.S. Airforce?"
"Right. Don't like them."
He smirked a bit, summoning the energy to roll a bit closer to her, nuzzling against her neck and finding it damp with salty sweat. "Carter...you're all wet," he observed.
A blue eye cracked open and glared at him as well as one eye can. "Jack, it's ninety-some degrees outside and we've spent the day hauling boxes around," she griped, making a little noise of protest as he snuggled closer. "You're not exactly Mr. Fresh and Dry yourself."
He only hmmed in reply, distracted by lapping a bit of the sweat off of her shoulder. Mmm. Crabby Carter. He used to be forced to cheer up Crabby Carter with cake and bad jokes. In the past few weeks, he had discovered there were alternate ways to deal with the appearance of Crabby Carter—namely, making Crabby Carter orgasm.
Better than cake, no question. And he really liked cake.
He traced his mouth up her shoulder, her neck, her ear, while his hands busied themselves with grasping slick skin. "Ja-aaaack," Sam whined a little as his tongue played in her ear.
"Wha..." she lost her train of thought temporarily as he nibbled a spot behind her ear and that made him feel all kinds of superior. "Whatcha doin'?"
He pulled away just enough to meet her eyes with a pseudo-serious expression. "Helping?"
His thumb brushed over her left nipple and her breath hitched a bit as a shiver actually ran through her body—seriously, he could feel her wiggling her toes. "Ah. Carry on, then," she said a bit breathlessly.
"Yes, ma'am," Jack said, setting to work. In his new (and vastly improved) sex life, he took Carter-issued orders very seriously.
The phone next to his bed rang at 11 pm exactly, which surprised Jack, but not enough to prevent him from answering on the first ring. “You’re…on time,” he remarked.
“Well, we had a date,” Sam’s voice said through the line, sounding slightly affronted. “You thought I’d forget?”
“Not forget. Get distracted, maybe. You’ve got a lot of fun new doohickeys to play with out there.”
“Mmm, there is that. And today someone down on level three accidentally turned on an anti-gravity generator. It took us three hours to figure out how to turn it off and another two to clean up the mess.”
He chuckled. “Got your very own Felger, huh?”
Exasperation filled her voice. “More than one. But I can handle it.”
“Never doubted it. So you’re not regretting the job switch?” He said it with as much carelessness as he could manage, but he had to admit that the fear was still there, nagging at him.
She missed the subtle difference over a telephone wire and two thousand miles, though. “No, not even a little. This place is amazing. We’ve been so busy fighting these past few years that I had to put in insane hours if I wanted to get any work done in the lab at all. Now…now I can just concentrate on science. It’s a nice change.”
Relief washed over him, and with it came contentment. It didn’t matter so much that she was halfway across the country and he was stuck knee-deep in bureaucratic crap. This, they, were…working. “So we’re still on for this weekend?”
“Absolutely. Should I see if there’s a transport to D.C. or…?”
“No, no, I got it covered,” he assured her airily. As it turned out, there really were some pluses to being ‘the man’. “Our little buddy Thor is going to be in town, he said he’d be more than happy to beam you here.”
Actually, there had been more to that reply, including a rather disturbing but not entirely unappealing line about ‘being pleased to aid in the propagating of the O’Neill genetic code.’ But he wasn’t about to tell Sam that. Yet.
“Really? That’s sweet of him. And certainly more convenient.”
“I thought so,” he replied neutrally. “Now, Carter…tell me all about the gizmo you worked on today. In great detail.”
He could actually hear her frowning. “…Why?”
Jack shrugged. “It’s hot.”
He didn’t think he had ever seen a bar quite this crowded before. But, Jack reflected from his vantage point in an out-of-the-way booth, people had good reason to be packed in here. Namely, a very hot blonde and an almost-equally-hot brunette who were playing pool. In leather.
Daniel’s eyes were glued to the activities across the room with an equal measure of awe and outright fear. Really, Jack thought that he should have foreseen this when Daniel suggested getting together for a casual drink with the two of them while he was in town. But apparently the idea had come to Daniel right after the Appropriations meeting fiasco, so his brain was too preoccupied with coming up with ways to attempt to apologize to the Senator. Jack could understand that—somehow, reassuring another man that you believed him to be satisfactorily endowed, no matter what your alien companion had implied to the contrary, seemed a fairly insurmountable task.
So of course, Daniel had forgotten the fact that wherever he went, Vala had to follow. Jack just didn’t particularly care one way or the other, and Sam had actually expressed interest in meeting the alien woman who had Daniel twisted in knots (thus fully confirming Carter’s hidden evil nature). Now Sam and Vala were both here. At the bar. Together.
“This isn’t funny, Jack,” Daniel warned. “She’s a terror. With Sam…with Sam, well, the two of them could destroy the galaxy. We’re talking just…spontaneous implosion.”
Jack raised an eyebrow. “It’s just pool, Daniel.” Besides, he had always believed that if Sam really put her mind to it, she was fully capable of galaxy-wide destruction all on her own. There was a reason he had always been happy to be on her side and not the other way around.
“B…b…but…look at all the…” At this point, Daniel seemed to run out of words and just gestured wildly at the crowd. “Doesn’t it bother you that your…girlfriend…is surrounded by men who are all imagining her in various states of debauchery?”
Jack actually scoffed at that. “No. Carter’s hot.”
This was his entire argument, and he thought it made perfect sense until Daniel shot him a look that indicated his dissatisfaction with it. Searching for another reason to give him so he’d quit obsessing over it, Jack finally came up with, “Besides, I’m the only one who actually gets to experience a debauched Carter.”
Daniel’s face took on the quality of one who had smelled something particularly unpleasant. “Gah. Too much information, Jack.”
Like he cared. Daniel’d have to leave in another fifteen minutes with his Bondage Barbie girlfriend and then Jack could go home. With Carter.
Jack had seen Sam angry before. Actually, he was closely familiar with
that particular Carter-emotion. This, whatever it was, was something entirely
new. As he watched her gather a few things she had insisted she needed before
heading back to
“It might not be permanent, you know,” he finally offered. “Maybe you’ll fix whatever it is that needs fixing and then they’ll let you go back.”
She sighed, grabbing a pair of shoes. “No…the SGC is like quicksand in some ways. I left once with little difficulty, but I get the feeling that won’t happen again for a long time.”
“Would that really be so horrible?” The SGC held some of the best memories of his life, and while leaving it had been necessary personally and professionally, he still missed it everyday.
“No, it’s not…” She honestly seemed at a loss for words, something that didn’t happen with Sam very often. Or, you know, ever. “It’s like we’re the Beatles.”
Jack blinked. “Wha…at?”
She nodded, looking more certain of her analogy while Jack was just floundering (as usual). “The Beatles were a great band, I’ll give you that. But even decades after they broke up and had success in their own separate careers, the question they were asked most often was when The Beatles would be getting back together.”
He thought he understood. Sort of. Metaphors weren’t really his thing. “So you’re…upset because you feel like SG-1 and the SGC is…inescapable?”
“Sort of. I guess I just feel like I want to do other things, explore other areas of my life. And just when I’m getting good at that, someone’s telling me to go backwards.”
He stopped her frenetic activity by looping his arms around her, the tactile feeling of skin on skin helping to soothe her. He had figured out early on that touching Carter had a remarkably calming effect on her. “But, at the risk of repeating myself, is that so bad? SG-1 is a pretty spectacular thing to get called back to, Sam. It’s a once in a generation kind of overwhelming coolness thing.”
She smiled up at him, shuffling a little closer. “Easy for you to say. You’re John Lennon.”
That actually drew a sound of disbelief from his throat. “Don’t be ridiculous, Carter. My sunglasses are much cooler than Lennon’s ever were.”
“What’s the verdict?” he asked without so much as a greeting when he scooped up the receiver.
“It’s bad. Cameron wants me to stay. Daniel and Teal’c seem to be leaning that way too,” she informed him, sounding not-exactly-pleased with the news.
“And…what do you want?”
She sighed. “I want…to not feel like I’m stagnant. I want to change, to be different than I was, to not fall back on the old habits of working all the time and letting that mean everything.”
He drummed his fingers against his desk. “Speaking as the person who most-often benefits from your new work habits, I heartily agree with that desire. But no one’s saying you can’t do that from the SGC.”
“I’m just afraid that…that it’ll be so easy to fall back into that pattern that I won’t even realize I’m doing it,” she admitted. “I really like my life right now. I like my job. I like…us.”
That drew a smile; the idea of a tangible us always did. “I do too,” he admitted. “But I think we can handle it. I think we’ll make time. I think…we have to.” That’s what it really came down to and they both knew it—the world needed SG-1 and Sam was a central part of that.
She sighed heavily. “I know.”
He reflected. “Although now I really wish I hadn’t sold my house.”
Her laughter was dry, but less bitter than it had been. “Me too. I liked your house. But maybe next weekend you can come and we can…pick out a house…together?”
Jack couldn’t stop himself from grinning again, despite his recent observation that it was habit-forming. “Sounds like a plan.”