Title: On Your Mind

Author: Christi (christim@comcast.net)

Rating: PG-13, I suppose.

Timeline: Between season 9 and season 10.

Disclaimer: Not mine. You can try to sue, but all you’ll end up with is a bunch of socks.

Author’s Note: Written simultaneously for the gate_haven summer vacation challenge and sjfanfic10. I wasn’t planning on writing something for the gate_haven thing, seeing as I have waaaay too many WiPs already, but this just popped into my head and wouldn’t leave. I don’t think it’s particularly easy to read, and it has factors in it that are sure to drive some of you nuts. I apologize for that.

As for the sjfanfic10 thing, I think I’m probably stretching it a bit, since this is only peripherally an S/J piece. Not to mention that the prompt I used for this was “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray. And while it’s a fantastic song and I loved the prompt, I have no idea how this came from that.

But then again, I suppose that’s half the fun of sjfanfic10, isn’t it?


A week into her vacation, Sam knew that her second summer in Minnesota was going to live up to the promise of the first. She had worried that it might not—that the magic from those long, happy days of a year ago would be tarnished by a relationship (and a woman) stretched too thin.


But it turned out that after the bone-deep cold of space, there was nothing more soothing than the sunshine on her face and Jack always nearby, still occasionally looking like he couldn’t believe they were here at all.


She understood his bewilderment, because she was often baffled by it herself. What was more, she never quite understood how a place so very Jack had automatically felt like home. In a place worn down by weather, time, and the weight of memory, Sam should have felt like an intruder. Instead, she found herself centered—at peace.


It was an unfamiliar feeling. For so long now, home for Samantha Carter had been associated with a science lab, the world she ruled with comfort and familiarity. While she couldn’t say for certain, she thought that home had stopped being in a house twenty-six summers ago.


But then, she always thought about her mother in the summertime.


Sauntering down the dock, she smiled at the picture Jack made, half-asleep with his fishing pole propped against his leg. When her shadow blocked his sun, he cracked an eye open. “Hey.”


“Hi,” she replied, reaching out to straighten his hat. “Nice nap?”


“Nicer wake-up call,” was his reply as he blinked and openly began leering at her. “You look….”


She glanced down at her black bikini top, mentally congratulating herself on the impulse buy. “I thought you might appreciate this.”


With an insistent hand on her thigh, he pulled her into his lap, cuddling her close and nuzzling against her neck. Oh yeah.”


Sam smiled and gazed across the pond. Twenty-six summers ago, her father had come home with tears in his eyes and the horrible knowledge that there were no words that would help. She doesn’t remember much of the summer after that day, other than the surreal tactile feeling of the itchy black dress that she had worn to the funeral.


But she knows that when she needs an excuse to cry, she still makes chocolate chip cookies.


Around her stomach, Jack’s arms were warm, solid. Sitting here like this with him, it was hard to remember why she needed to be in Colorado most of the time, because how the world could ever end when this man and this place existed? But those are sentimental thoughts from a decidedly unsentimental woman, because twenty-three summers ago, she learned how to shoot a gun.


She was horrible at first—scared of the noise and the force behind a weapon that could kill. But after the first time her father had watched and seen her fail, she had willed herself to do better. Every day that summer had been spent at the range, practicing until her arms were sore from the reverberation and her ears rang.


By the end of the summer, she was a better shot than even her father.


“Glad you came?” Jack drawled, his chest vibrating against the skin of her back in a way that made her feel particularly giddy.


She nestled into him even closer, surprised to find that he needs to hear her reassurance. “Always.”


Twenty-one summers ago, she lost her virginity in the back of Jimmy Washburne’s truck. It was nice, as far as first experiences go, and Jimmy was sweet—the sort of guy you didn’t worry about introducing to your Air Force father. She never did, though, because at some point it had occurred to her that she had just become a statistic—one in three girls who have sex before they turn eighteen.


She thought that maybe there was something wrong with her, because she had started it and wasn’t particularly upset by it. She had even chosen Jimmy on purpose because she had figured the back of a truck would be less cramped than some beat up junker.


So while it never bothered her that she had sex, she had wanted someone to tell her that the way she went about it was okay. But you can’t talk about sex with your father, so her reaction was to break up with Jimmy and avoid sex entirely for the next four years.


“You okay?” Jack asked, face scrunched up in concentration, as though he was trying to decipher some foreign language.


“Sure,” she replied easily. Honestly though, she wondered if he would still love her as much if he knew the truth—that she was the worst kind of cliché, a girl who had never gotten over the loss of her mother.


Twenty summers ago, she entered the Air Force Academy. It had seemed so logical, because the Air Force was part of The Plan—science, success, and space. Nothing else mattered, because she was gifted, and therefore obligated to do something with it.


Wasn’t she?


He wasn’t okay with her generic answer, and demanded more. “Hey. Something on your mind?”


In this place, with his eyes on her, Sam suddenly knew that it was time to forget about past summers. Because twenty-six summers ago, she had lost her mother.


This summer, she had found out she was going to be one.


And while she wasn’t ready and she was sure to panic at some point (probably sooner rather than later), she finally considered that all of her summers combined had reached a cosmic wash—Newton’s third law of physics hard at work. For the sorrow of a twelve year old girl, the universe had given her the possibility of joy in a child with him.


“Yeah,” she said after a minute. “There’s something I need to tell you.”