Spoilers: Lost City Parts I and II
Author’s Note: So this is…yeah. I have no idea. It’s completely unfeasible, probably out of character, and really has no point or purpose or redeeming value. But the first two lines appeared in my head one day and wouldn’t get out. So I wrote it anyway.
Dedication: To Eva, because she’s sweet and wonderful and she betaed this for me with little to no provocation.
“I love you.”
Oh, for cryin’ out loud.
He had only been concocting up various scenarios of this exact turn of events for nearly five years now, and when it finally arrived and Sam Carter was standing in front of him in all of her glorious perfect imperfection, the best response he could come up with was a monosyllabic, noncommittal ‘Nuh?’! Jack knew his own faults; he knew he wasn’t great with words. But somehow, he had hoped that when it really came down to the heart of it all, he would manage all right.
Not so much, as it turned out.
Damn, she was talking again. She had a habit of doing that. Her nose wrinkled a little and her blue eyes clouded and words tumbled out of her mouth and he had to force his addled mind to focus.
“Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say that I’m in love with you. After all, there are all sorts of different kinds of love, aren’t there? I’m sure that Daniel or Teal’c or even General Hammond could all say that they love you and on some level it would be true--as a brother, a comrade in arms, a commander, a friend…” she trailed off, biting her bottom lip thoughtfully. “Actually, some of those are true for me, too. So I guess I love you and I’m in love with you. I mean, I--”
He held up a hand, stopping her ramble because he honestly wasn’t sure that his sleep-filled, still reeling from an Ancient knowledge hangover brain could handle all of this. Had she said something about Daniel and Teal’c being in love with him, too? Because that was just disturbing. But something to clarify later. Right now, she was the only one he wanted to deal with.
He ran a hand through already mussed hair and glanced behind him. His quarters on the Prometheus were small, and not exactly the setting he had imagined for his first real conversation with Samantha Carter, but it didn’t seem that he had much say in the matter. “Uh…wanna come in?” he asked, voice gravelly from sleep and disuse and general shock.
Pure blue eyes glanced back at the quarters, then up at him, expression unreadable. “No, sir.”
Shock getting worse. Confusion reaching critical levels. Emotional meltdown imminent.
She must have been able to see his confusion and tried to explain. Which meant more talking. Focus, Jack. She can’t keep talking forever…can she? “Sir, I just…wanted to tell you this now, while I could.”
She studied him, smiling a little. “You resigned, remember? I realize that it probably won’t stand once we get back to base, but…I wanted you to know now, while it was…okay.”
Resigned. He had resigned? Right. He had a vague recollection of this. Okay then. So that explained…well, nothing, really. Or at least, very little. But, if this was really happening, he wasn’t sure that he cared how much sense it made. “Uh…you’re sure you don’t wanna come in?”
He couldn’t very well maul her here, in the middle of the hallway. But again, she was shaking her head. Damnit. Well, under desperate measures….
He moved towards her, hand capturing the small of her back and pressing her closer. There was a flash in her eyes--it was either excitement or alarm, and his brain was still a little too frozen to figure out which. Well, he was going to be an optimist for once in his life and hope it was excitement. If he was wrong, she’d just deck him. He could deal with that.
Being this near to her was intoxicating, and sent him shivering, reminding his body what heat was. He had missed it. Lean a little forward, let her breath wash over your face, enjoy the way her eyes slip shut and the tremor runs through her body. Resolve to remember every second of this and bring her just a little closer….
“COLONEL O’NEILL TO THE BRIDGE,” blared the intercom.
They jumped at the sound, leaped apart, habit forcing them to feel guilty about something that hadn’t quite happened. He glared at the speaker on the wall defiantly, stuffing his hands in his pockets to avoid reaching out for her again. She just smiled a rueful little smile and tilted her head and they walked side by side to the bridge.
It was a chant in his head, pounding in time to the rhythm of their footsteps. That had been it! The moment. The one he had waited years for. Ruined!
God only knows how long it would take them to get to that point again, to actually talk…hell, who cares about talking, to actually….
And she loved him.
Wait, she loved him?!
Don’t think about that now. You’ll either start grinning like an idiot or convince yourself that you’re still frozen in that pod thing and this is another dream. That was the more likely of the two, considering he didn’t understand how her loving him was really possible.
They were on the bridge now, and Dr. Weir was talking to him, asking after his health. Oh, right. He’d better answer that. “Uh…the doc here on the ship cleared me,” he stated.
Well, the doctor had actually gone on about bed rest and fluids and blankets, but essentially, he had cleared him.
Unfortunately, Dr. Weir didn’t seem to buy it. Damn. “Right. Well, as soon as you arrive here, you and your team are on two weeks leave effective immediately. Get some rest.”
Rest. REST? He had just been frozen for three months. How much rest could he need?
Though a nap did sound nice….
“Yes, ma’am,” he said aloud, and then she went back to talking to the Captain and he was dismissed.
Good. Get back to the room. Get some sleep. Oooh, wait, Carter!
He spun around, nearly heading back onto the bridge when she emerged, smiling at him. “Nicely done, sir.”
“Didn’t do anything…” he managed, studying her, trying to figure out where they stood. Were they still in that moment?
But he couldn’t read her, couldn’t see….
He sighed. He was effectively back, that much had been illustrated in that little chat with Dr. Weir. And so they were back to the way things were, he supposed. Where things were a lot less confusing…but a lot less in general.
Try not to look heartbroken. Walk away.
What he wouldn’t give for a pair of sunglasses right now. At least then he could be crushed without worry of her seeing.
He turned on his heel again, walking back the way they had come. Lock yourself in your quarters. At least there was a cot there.
More talking! Wait, is this a good thing or a bad thing? Would it be apology or explanation? Which would be worse? He turned to look at her, waiting because he couldn’t figure out what else to do.
She stared at him for a moment, and maybe it was because he had just gotten back and thus was out of the habit, but he still couldn’t read her. More likely, it had to do with the very Twilight Zone scenario he had found himself in since he had woken up from his nap to the insistent rapping at his door and opened it to find her standing there. But he knew a Carter smile when he saw one, and there was one hanging around the corners of her mouth. It eased some of the tension catching in his chest.
“Ask me,” she finally demanded, and threw him for another loop. Ask her what, exactly? Since when was Carter so vague? Honestly, she had been very clear only ten minutes ago--what had changed between then and now?
Well…potentially everything, but that so was not the point.
She took one step closer, and his chest got even tighter as she really looked at him and the feeling nearly made his toes curl. “Ask me,” she demanded one more time, whispering now, almost pleading.
He didn’t under--OH!
Hoping he wasn’t wrong and hoping against hope that this wasn’t a dream, he ventured to let a smile of his own begin. “Hey, Carter?”
“Yes?” she asked with an angelic tone in her voice that almost made him lose his already tenuous control.
“Wanna go fishin’?”
She let the smile loose then, and the brilliance of it nearly blinded him.