AUTHOR: Kathleen Anderson
CATEGORY: Romance, angst, Sam/Jack
SPOILERS: The Curse, Beneath the Surface, Divide and Conquer
SEASON/SEQUEL: Set sometime during the end of season four, before Exodus
SUMMARY: After the death of Sam's father, Jack takes her up to his cabin.
ARCHIVE: Heliopolis, SJA, anyone else want it? Mail me!
FEEDBACK: Of course!
DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. We have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the authors. Not to be archived without permission of the authors.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I started writing this story ages ago. It's based on a dream I had one night. If some events seem similar to those of "Summit" and "Last Stand" it's not intentional, I started this fic long before those episodes aired!
Jack rubbed his eyes and propped himself up on one arm. He surveyed the scene, Daniel snoring softly away just a few feet away, Teal'c deep in kelnor'eem, Carter sitting on a log, poking a stick into the fire. It was Carter's watch, but it didn't look to Jack like she was doing a heck of a lot of watching. He extricated himself from the confines of his sleeping bag, carefully stepped around Daniel and joined Carter on the log.
She glanced up at him, briefly. Jack settled down, pushing away some stray pieces of bark. Carter's stick pushed over a log which made the fire flare up and then die down again. The light from the fire flickered over her face, illuminating her sad eyes.
"Hey Carter", Jack said quietly, not wanting to wake Daniel, "Doesn't look to me like you're doing a whole lotta watching. Why don't you rest, I'll take over for you."
Sam shrugged and banged her stick against a rock a few times, watching the sparks fly from the glowing end. She snuffed the stick out by pushing it into the ground and set it down next to her. Jack watched, expecting her to get up and head for her sleeping bag, but she didn't.
"Carter? You gonna get some rest?"
"I don't think I can sleep right now."
"You wanna talk about it?"
Again, Sam shrugged. Jack understood if she didn't want to talk. The past few days had been hard for everyone, but they had been especially hard for Sam.
SG-1 had been sent out to P5X-975, under the order by General Hammond to assist the Tok'ra with a plan that would destroy the Goa’uld Osiris. Since being released from the Osiris Jar and taking a host body, Osiris had become frighteningly powerful. Many System Lords had allied with Osiris, making for a potentially deadly situation. One of the leaders of the Tok'ra resistance to Osiris was Selmak, who resided in Jacob Carter's body. SG-1 had gone through the gate and were met by Selmak who briefed them on what had to be done.
Everything had gone according to plan until an army of Goa’uld death gliders had appeared in the sky and began firing at anything and everything. Many of the Tok'ra had been seriously injured and killed. Jacob Carter had been unable to take cover and was killed instantly. The plan was abandoned and a memorial service was held for Jacob. SG-1 had then begun to make their way back towards the gate with Jacob's body. General Hammond had been informed of Jacob's death and was already planning a proper military memorial service and burial for General Carter. Sam seemed to have taken it all in stride, but Jack knew that inside she was crying.
Deciding not to press Sam any further, it was obvious that she didn't want to talk, Jack resigned himself to staring at the fire and casting the occasional sideways glance at her. It was going to be a long night.
The first light of morning couldn't have come soon enough. Sam had eventually crawled into her sleeping bag, but Jack doubted that she'd even closed her eyes. Glancing over at the bag that contained the body of Jacob Carter, Jack decided to wake everyone up and get the hell off this planet as soon as possible. His footsteps alerted Carter and she rolled over and looked at him. Jack nodded and Sam pushed the sleeping off herself. He then went and nudged Daniel gently on the shoulder with the toe of his boot. Daniel mumbled something and Jack nudged him harder. Then Jack looked at Teal'c, not quite knowing whether or not to he was asleep. Jack was always hesitant to wake Teal'c, it wasn't like the could practically kick him like he did Daniel or gently shake him awake as he did Sam. Jack stood in front of the big Jaffa for a moment before finally touching his shoulder and giving it a slight squeeze. Teal'c opened his eyes and Jack felt relieved.
"Alright folks, let's get some food in our stomachs and the gear packed up. We move in twenty"
Sam was already rolling up her bag and Daniel was digging into his pack searching for his MRE's. Jack, who wasn't really hungry, pulled a breakfast bar out of his pack and stared at it before tearing open the wrapper and taking a bite. Teal'c had gone off into the bushes with his staff weapon, no doubt searching for any hidden enemies. Sometimes it seemed that Teal'c took his job a little too seriously.
Jack noticed that Sam wasn't eating, "Carter, get something to eat."
"I'd rather not eat right now, Sir, I'm not hungry."
"Don't make me order you to eat Major, you need the energy."
Sam sighed and cast him a look that bordered on insubordination but pulled out a breakfast bar and began eating it.
Breakfast had been had and the gear had been packed and SG-1 was ready to move back to the gate. Jack surveyed their campsite, making sure that everything had been picked up and restored to its original state. As soon as he was satisfied that his team was ready to go, he ordered them to move out. He and Daniel were in the front, carrying the makeshift stretcher with Jacob laying on it, Carter in the middle and Teal'c was bringing up the rear as was his custom.
Daniel glanced backwards at Sam who was walking silently, staring at the ground. It was obvious that she was out of sorts, usually Sam would be looking at everything and commenting on anything that interested her. Today, Daniel doubted that even a mountain of naquadah would excite her. Daniel understood how she felt though, he had lost both his parents and then there was Sha're. He'd be glad when they got back to Earth and Sam could be with Janet and the funeral could be held.
Jack noticed Daniel looking back at Sam, "Daniel, you wanna walk with Sam? I can get Teal'c up here to help me with this thing."
Daniel shook his head, he felt that carrying this burden was the least he could do for Jacob and Sam. He figured that Jack was carrying it for much the same reason. Jack had always had a lot of respect for General Carter.
The team walked relatively slowly for much of the day. As the Stargate came into view, they picked up the pace a bit and arrived within twenty minutes. Sam dialled home and they watched as the wormhole was established and then they filed through the event horizon.
"We're receiving a signal. It's SG-1, sir."
"Open the iris."
General Hammond had been waiting for their signal. He had a med team on stand-by and they knew what expect. Sighing, Hammond called Doctor Fraiser to the gateroom. His eyes then focused on the Stargate and he watched them come home. Colonel O'Neill and Dr Jackson stepped through first, carrying a stretcher made from hastily tied together branches. He chose not to focus on what was on the stretcher. Then Major Carter appeared, her face downcast but her expression unreadable. Teal'c followed her, stoic as ever. Dr Fraiser and her team appeared through the blast doors and set to work.
General Hammond went down the stairs and into the gateroom.
"Welcome home SG-1, though I wish it could be under better circumstances. I want you all to report to the infirmary for the post mission exam and then get some rest. We'll debrief tomorrow at 0900 hours."
A couple medics whisked away the body of Jacob Carter and Dr Fraiser approached the team. Putting her hand on Sam's arm she said, "Sam, why don't I do your exam now and the guys can take the locker room?"
Jack managed a small grin, "I could use a nice hot shower right about now, with lots of shampoo and soap and conditioner and maybe even some of that nice peachy stuff that Carter keeps in her locker...."
Teal'c nodded in agreement and Daniel shrugged. Jack nodded to General Hammond and then with the other two following him, he headed his nice hot shower.
Janet led Sam out of the gateroom, "How you holding up?" she asked quietly.
Sam shrugged, "I've been better."
"You know Sam, if you want to talk about it, I'm always ready to listen."
"I know Janet, and I appreciate that. I'm just not sure I'm ready yet..."
They entered the infirmary and Sam sat down on one of the beds. Janet got out her equipment and proceeded with the examination.
"Well Sam, aside from various scratches and bruises you are physically fine. I'll have the results of your blood work for tomorrow debriefing. Why don't you see if the guys are done with the showers yet and send their sorry butts over to me. Take a nice long hot shower and get some rest."
"Thanks, I'll try but I don't know how well I'll be able to sleep tonight."
Janet frowned, "Just promise me that you'll try?"
Sam managed a small smile for her friend, "I promise that I'll try."
Sam left the infirmary, rubbing her arm where Janet had drawn blood. She couldn't wait to get out of her dirty fatigues and into the shower. Upon reaching the locker room she saw that the sign still said that it was currently the males' turn but she pushed open the door anyway. They'd had their turn and Sam didn't care if they were all standing around comparing their pecs or whatever it was guys did in there, she wanted to get herself clean.
A few whisps of steam escaped through the open door out into the corridor. Sam stepped in and shut the door shut behind her. The showers were running and she could hear Daniel's voice above the roar of water, "....I'm just worried about her that's all. She never wants to talk about anything anymore."
Sam wondered if they were talking about her.
Jack's voice interrupted Daniel, "She'll talk if she wants to talk Daniel. You know Carter, she's tough, she'll be okay."
"I am in agreement with O'Neill", Teal'c said.
Sam felt a sudden surge of anger, they had no right to be talking about her. She started to head for the showers but then stopped herself. This was insane, they were just worried about her. She didn't have any reason to be angry with them, well, except for the fact that they should have been done with the showers five minutes ago.
"DanielJackson, could you please pass me more of that body wash? I find the fragrance to be quite appealing."
Sam's mouth dropped open and she glanced over towards her locker and found it open. Shaking her head she started towards the showers once more. She stopped again when she heard one shut off. She tried to turn around but found herself confronted with Colonel O'Neill, clad only in a small white towel.
"Carter! I..ah..I didn't know you were in here!"
Jack briefly wondered if Carter was infected some alien virus and was going to jump him like she did a few years back but then decided that it was highly unlikely.
Sam tried not to look directly at her superior officer but found herself failing miserably as her eyes seemed to drift towards his chest.
"Whoa, son of a..!", exclaimed Daniel as he exited showers with his small white towel covering only his shoulders, "Sam, I uh....I didn't realize that you were in here!"
Jack shrugged, "I should have warned you, sorry."
Jack didn't seem too sorry as his eyes gave away his obvious mirth. "Better tell Teal'c to cancel his usual stretches, don't want the Major bursting anymore blood vessels than she already has."
Sam felt her face reddening and she mentally kicked herself.
"Dr Fraiser wants you all in the infirmary ASAP.", Sam said, trying to sound nonchalant, "She said that she has some new needles that she wants to test out."
Teal'c had emerged from the shower by this time and seemingly had no use for a towel. He threw one leg up on the bench and began to lean over it. Sam gaped and Daniel hurriedly rushed over to him and pointed to Sam.
"I see no reason why the presence of MajorCarter should prevent me from performing my usual exercises."
Jack hitched his towel up more securely around his waist, "Trust us on this one T."
"I always trust you O'Neill. I will get dressed and perform my exercises later."
Sam breathed a sigh of relief as the guys got dressed and filed out of the locker room. Sam made sure that the sign indicated that the locker room was female and she began to chuck off her soiled clothes.
Stepping into the blast of hot water, Sam closed her eyes and let the water hit her on the back. Normally she would turned the water pressure down a bit, but today she needed it. She let her mind wander back to P5X-975 before shaking herself out of it and reaching for her shampoo. Jack had been right, she was tough and she knew she would be okay. If only it wasn't so damn hard to grieve.
Colonel Jack O'Neill stood at attention on the damp grass at the cemetery. He was flanked by Major Samantha Carter and Major Janet Fraiser. His dress uniform was making his arms itch but there wasn't anything he could do about it. The casket of Major General Jacob Carter was draped with the American flag and the chaplain began the service. Jack felt Sam stiffen next to him but he kept gaze straight ahead. Jack half listened to what was being said and tried not fidget as his right ankle began to itch as well.
Jack raised his hand into a salute and saw, out of the corner of his eye, Sam do the same thing. Thirteen shots were fired, each one cutting right through him. The chaplain then concluded the service and the rifle volley was initiated. As the bugler began to play Taps, Jack thought he heard a slight sniffling coming from next to him but he couldn't turn to look. He watched as the flag was folded up and presented to Carter and then they turned and filed away from the grave site.
Jack watched as Janet hurried up to her friend and put an arm around her. He pulled at his sleeves, cursing the person who designed the jacket and decided that he'd head home. General Hammond had put the team on stand down for two weeks, giving Major Carter the opportunity to grieve properly. Jack was thinking about heading up to his cabin, there wasn't much to do in Colorado Springs. Maybe he'd invite Daniel this time, Teal'c had sworn never to return and he doubted that Carter would appreciate an invite.
Upon reaching his truck, Jack took off his jacket and tossed it over the passenger's seat. His hat then followed the jacket and landed on the seat. Jack took a look around, saw Carter getting into Janet's small sedan, and then got into the truck and went home.
Jack picked up the phone and dialled Daniel's number.
"Hey! Daniel, how are you?"
"Uh hi Jack, I'm fine."
"That's good. Say, do you have anything planned for the next week or so?"
"Well, ah, actually, yes, kind of."
"Yeah, General Hammond mentioned something about an excavation on '775. It sounds really interesting. Apparently SG-14 found these ruins that are thought to be similar in design to those found at Chichen Itza. I was hoping that the General would give me permission to go along."
"Daniel, we're on stand down. It means that you should be relaxing, not visiting something that's similar to chicken pizza."
"Chichen Itza. Not chicken pizza."
"Whatever. Why play with dirty old stones when you could be sitting on a dock in Minnesota, with your feet perched up, sipping a cold one and casting for that ever elusive crappie?"
"Isn't that what you said to Sam the last time you invited her?"
"I thought it was a pretty good sales pitch. So what do you say Daniel, are you game?"
"Teal'c said that there are no fish."
"Daniel, it's not about the fish, it's about the fishing. The act of fishing."
"Look Jack, I really don't think I'd enjoy it very much and I probably wouldn't be very good company. Have you invited Sam yet?"
"Uh, no. I don't think she'd want to come, all things considered."
"Maybe you should at least ask her, you never know. Anyway, I've got to go Jack. I want to talk to General Hammond about going to '775."
"Yeah, you do that. Have fun."
"You too. Bye."
Jack hung up the phone and stared at it. He couldn't decide whether or not he should call Carter and invite her. It's not that he didn't want her to come, because he did. He really wanted her to come. He had his hand suspended over the phone for a good three minutes before picking it up and throwing caution to the wind.
Jack smiled. She was at home. He was half expecting her to be at Janet's.
"Hey Carter. How are you?"
"I'm fine sir."
"That's good. I mean, I know how hard this must be for you."
"Ah, thanks sir, that means a lot. Was there any particular reason you're calling, or did you just want to check up on me?"
"Well checking up was part of the plan, but also, I'm planning on heading up to my cabin in a few days and I was wondering if you'd care to join me?"
Sam was silent for a few moments and Jack didn't dare say anything.
"Uh, actually sir, I have a few things that I had planned to work on.."
"Oh come on Carter, are you really trying to tell me that you'd rather work in the dark, dank, dismal underground than sit on a dock with your feet perched up, sippin' a cold one and casting for that ever elusive crappie?"
"Isn't that what you said to me the last time you invited me to go fishing, sir?"
"It's a good sales pitch, it works, usually. Come on Carter, land of sky blue waters. It'll do you good to get away for a while."
Sam sighed heavily.
"Well, okay. Janet did say that I should get away from it all, I guess I'll take her advice."
"Great! I'll pick you up at, say....5:00 on Wednesday?"
"It's a long drive Carter, gotta get started bright and early."
"Okay, 5:00 AM on Wednesday it is."
"See you then and don't forget to pack some sweaters, it gets chilly in the evenings."
"Thanks for the tip, I'll get starting on packing right away."
"Okay, you do that. Bye."
Jack hung up the phone. He couldn't believe that Carter actually agreed to join him. He made a mental note to thank Janet for giving Sam the advice to get away from it all.
Sam stuffed another pair of jeans into her duffel bag and then grabbed the zipper and yanked it across the bag. She gave the bag a triumphant look, it had failed to defeat her once again. She still had more stuff that she needed to pack, but it wasn't much and her backpack would suffice. Colonel O'Neill was supposed to be picking her up in twenty minutes and Sam was going to be ready and waiting for him. She couldn't believe that she'd agreed to go along with him, especially after Teal'c's horror stories of mosquitoes the size of birds. The Colonel had been insistent though and Janet had been pleased when Sam had told that she was going away.
In the bathroom Sam brushed her teeth then slipped her toothbrush into a case. She gathered her shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and razor. Her stomach growled, reminding her that she had neglected to eat breakfast. She really didn't have time to eat though, she was hoping that she might be able to convince the Colonel to stop at a drive-through or something.
The sun was just starting to rise as Sam tossed her worn copy of Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander' into her backpack. The clock on the microwave read 4:55. Sam zipped up the pack and then glanced outside as she saw the Colonel's green pickup pull up in front of her house. The Colonel got out and made his way up the walk. Sam opened the door just as he raised his hand to knock.
"Ready to go?"
Sam nodded, "I've just got to get my other bag from my room."
Jack waited while Sam retrieved the bag and then taking it from her, he headed down the walk to his truck. Sam locked the door and then followed Jack.
Jack cast a sideways glance at Sam as her stomach rumbled again.
"Did you eat anything before we left?"
Sam shook her head, looking a bit embarrassed.
"I didn't have time, I got up at 4:00 and then had to shower and pack."
"I thought you started packing on Monday?"
Sam shook her head again, "I was going to but then Janet called and invited me to dinner with her and Cassie. Then yesterday I was at the base getting a few things."
Jack gave Sam an accusing look, "You didn't bring any paperwork with you, did you?"
Sam tried to look innocent, "Of course not."
"Well, just so long as I don't have to see it, I don't care. Did you want to stop for something to eat? There's an A&W just up the road, we could get drive-through."
"Yeah, that would be great."
Jack steered the truck into the drive-through lane and ordered breakfast for him and Sam. He had eaten at home, but he could always eat again.
Sam took a sip of her coffee but it was far too hot to drink and she set it back in the drink holder. Jack had finished his orange juice in one gulp and was now working on his bacon and egger.
"Do you mind if I turn on the radio?"
Jack swallowed his food before answering, "Nope, go right ahead. If you don't like the station, feel free to change it."
Sam pushed the power button on and was greeted with blaring opera.
"I like to listen it when I'm driving home from the base. It helps me unwind."
Sam raised her eyebrows, she really hadn't pegged him as an opera type guy. She pushed the seek button and found an adult contemporary station.
"Is this okay?"
Jack shrugged, "So long as the Backstreet Boys aren't played every fifteen minutes."
Sam smiled slightly at that and then tucked into her hash browns.
It was early morning by the time Sam and Jack reached Jack's cabin. Jack had refused Sam's offer to drive several times and was more than ready to fall into a bed and sleep. Sam, who had fallen asleep some time around 11:30, was awoken by the truck bouncing down a dirt road.
"Well, we're here." Jack announced and turned off the engine.
Sam hopped out and stretched her cramped legs. She then grabbed her bags from the back seat and followed Jack along a small dirt path. Jack's flashlight beam bounced off the bushes as he led the way.
"Uh sir, is there electricity here?"
"Don't worry Carter, there's a generator in the shed over there," he said gesturing to the right with the light, "I'll fire it up tomorrow. I think we can live by flashlight tonight."
"We'll have to drive into the town tomorrow, pick up some groceries and that kind of stuff."
"How far away is the town?"
"Oh, about a 30 minute drive, not far really."
They had reached the entrance to the cabin and Jack pulled a set of keys out of his pocket and opened the door. They were greeted with a slight musty smell and dust.
"I, ah, didn't get the chance to clean it up much the last time I was here."
Sam coughed a couple of times, "Obviously."
"We'll open the windows and let it air out tomorrow. Come on, I'll show you the washroom and your bedroom."
Jack led Sam to a small room, "This is the washroom. I'm afraid it won't be very handy without the electricity running. I have a couple bottles of water in my pack that we can use for brushing our teeth but once the electricity is on, there is a water pump."
"Can you drink the water here?"
Jack nodded, "The tap water, yes. It gets run through a filtration system, but I wouldn't recommend drinking the lake water."
Sam nodded, feeling somewhat relieved. She was afraid that they were going to have to boil all their water. Jack tugged on Sam's sleeve and began moving back into the main section of the cabin. He paused in front of a narrow staircase.
"The bedrooms are upstairs. Watch your step."
Sam followed Jack carefully up the staircase which creaked under their combined weight.
The ceiling upstairs was so low that Sam had to duck her head. She couldn't imagine Teal'c trying to get around up here.
As if reading her mind, Jack said, "Teal'c slept downstairs on the couch. He didn't think he'd fit too well up here. I'm inclined to agree with him."
Jack stopped and then gestured to a small room with the beam of light, "Your chambers, milady."
Sam stepped around Jack and put her bag down on the bed. She looked around, deciding that for a cabin, the room wasn't bad.
"I'll be sleeping just across the hall."
Jack put his bag down and began to paw through it. He pulled out another flashlight and a bottle of water.
"Here's a flashlight and a bottle of water. Make yourself at home."
Sam laughed and took the proffered items.
Sam awoke the next morning to the sun streaming in through the dusty window. She reached for her watch which was on the table next to the bed. 9:45. She couldn't believe that she'd slept in that late. Assuming that Jack was already up, Sam got out of bed and hastily threw on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. She carefully made her way down the steps and was greeted by Jack who was seated at the table with a bowl of cereal.
Sam nodded, "I slept great."
Jack smiled, "There's cereal and bowls in the cupboard above the sink, but I'm afraid there's no milk. I got the generator all fired up, so there should be water if you're thirsty."
Sam went over to the cupboard and saw that the cereal consisted of Lucky Charms and Froot Loops. She could see that the Colonel was eating Froot Loops. Making a mental note to herself to buy some decent adult cereal, Sam grabbed a bowl and the Lucky Charms.
"Ah, they're always after me lucky charms!"
Sam snorted at Jack's attempt at an Irish accent and poured the cereal into the bowl.
"I forgot a spoon, where are they?"
Jack pointed to a drawer, "The first drawer."
Sam got a spoon and helped herself to a glass of water, which she hoped was really okay to drink, and sat back down again.
"So, do you want to go into town first or take a look around?"
Sam tried not to grimace as she swallowed a mouthful of stale cereal and said, "Town. We really need some groceries."
Jack pulled the truck into a parking spot in front of "The Town Grocery Shoppe" and unbuckled his seatbelt.
"Well here we are." he said, rather unnecessarily.
Sam hopped out and they got a cart and entered the store.
Once inside, Sam fished around in her purse, "I made a list of stuff we need."
"How very organized of you."
"I thought so."
Jack steered the cart down the dairy aisle and took the list from her.
Sam sighed as she unpacked the Doritoes and Sugar Crisp. That stuff was so not on her list. Neither was the beer and cider but she wasn't about to argue over good beer and cider.
"So, Carter, you finally ready for the grand tour?"
Sam looked at Jack who was practically bouncing up and down.
"Just let me finish putting this stuff away and then you can give me the tour. Did you check the water filter?"
Jack nodded, "It's in perfect condition. There's nothing to worry about."
Sam put the iodine tablets she'd purchased, just in case, away in a drawer and then turned to face Jack again.
Jack raised his eyebrows, "Ready?"
Sam had already seen the lake and the dock, as it was hard to miss it, but Jack showed them to her anyway. He then showed her to the generator in the shed and briefly told her how to work it, as if she couldn't figure it out on her own.
As Jack led her down another path Sam couldn't help but smile. It was beautiful, even if it hadn't turned out to be a nice day. The sun that had been shining in the morning had disappeared, leaving in its place dark clouds that threatened rain.
"There's hiking trails all around here. One day when the weather is a little more agreeable I thought that we might try one of them. We could pack a lunch, make a day of it."
"That sounds nice. How long have you been coming here?"
"The cabin once belonged to my father. My family came here when I was young and then when my dad died, the cabin was passed on to me. I try to come here as often as possible."
Sam hesitated on her next question, but decided that she might as well ask it anyway.
"Did you bring Sarah and Charlie here?"
Jack looked a little stunned by the question, but quickly recovered, "Yeah, we came here a few times. There wasn't much of an opportunity for vacations, Desert Storm and all but we tried. Charlie loved it here. I taught him how to fish. What about you Carter, did your family have a vacation spot?"
Sam shook her head, "Not really. With Dad in the military being moved around a lot, it was hard. Then after my mom died, my father, Mark and I never really did anything together. I remember going camping once when my mom was still alive. It rained the entire time and we were all pretty eager to go home."
Sam felt a drop of rain hit her head and looked up. Jack did the same.
"I think it's starting to rain."
A drop hit Sam's nose, "No kidding!"
"These storms come up fast, we'd better get back to the cabin."
Jack made spaghetti for dinner that night. Sam twisted the last bit around her fork as she listened to the rain fall outside.
"That was good spaghetti, sir."
"Thanks, you're cooking tomorrow night."
"You sure you're brave enough?"
"I'll alert the hospital."
"Thanks a lot sir, that's really the way to instil pride in a fellow officer!"
Jack looked at the empty sauce pan, "I guess we'd better get these dishes done, they aren't going to do themselves. I'll wash, you dry?"
Sam nodded and stood up, collecting her plate and taking it to the counter beside the sink. Jack followed with his plate and the sauce pan. Sam went back to the table and got the spaghetti pot.
"I hope it stops raining by tomorrow."
"It probably will. Small storms are quite common here. It'll last into the night and then when you wake up in the morning, the sun will be shining again. You wanna try your hand at fishing tomorrow?"
"Might as well get it over with. No offence, sir, but I really don't think that fishing is my forte."
"Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. I can't believe that you've never fished before."
"Like I said, my family never really got away much and fishing was hardly a required course in university."
"It's not hard, and you never know, you might enjoy it."
Jack ran the dish water and they set about getting the dishes done.
Just as Jack had said, Sam woke up the next morning to the sun playing off the walls of her room. She lay in bed watching the dust dance in the beams of light and listening to Jack banging around with something downstairs. This pseudo domestication was strange to Sam, but she was enjoying it. Sitting up, she ran her fingers through her hair and decided that she needed a shower.
"Carter! Whoa, nice..hair."
Sam scowled at him, "I'm going to take a shower."
"Did you bring along any of that peach shower gel? I was going to take a shower this evening."
Sam merely looked at Jack and then went into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
"How does bacon and eggs sound for breakfast?" Jack yelled after her.
"Just fine, sir, just fine."
Jack went to the fridge and got out the bacon and four eggs. As he set to work heating up the pan, he decided that he would have to talk with Sam about that 'sir' thing. He wasn't about to spend a week with her in relative isolation and still have her call him 'sir'.
Sam adjusted the water temperature and then turned the shower head on. Stepping into the tub, she closed the curtain and let herself enjoy the sensation of hot water hitting her back. She reached for the shampoo which she had set on the edge of the tub and began to massage it into her hair. This wasn't so bad, she decided. Sam had thought that spending time alone with Jack would be awkward, but it wasn't. It was helping her, it took her mind off her father's death, and for that Sam was grateful.
Sam emerged from the bathroom along with whisps of steam. Jack had the table set with two plates and glasses of orange juice.
"Do you mind if I get dressed before eating?"
Jack eyed her bathrobe and wondered if she had on anything underneath, "Nope, go right ahead. Unless you take half an hour it shouldn't get too cold."
Rolling her eyes, Sam made her way upstairs. Jack sat down at the table and poked at an egg. It wobbled a bit before the yolk burst, sending little rivers of yellow down onto the plate. He took a piece of bacon and wiped at the lake that was forming beside the egg. Jack always ate eggs that way.
Sam joined Jack at the table several minutes later. Jack watched Sam as she poked her egg, in the center, and let the yolk stream down onto the plate.
"Do you always eat your eggs like that?"
Sam looked up, "Yeah, I've been doing it since I was little. I don't know why runny yolk disgusts some people, I like it."
Jack finished his bacon and stood up. "I'm going to go and grab the fishing gear. I'll meet you by the dock when you're done, we can dig up some bait."
Sam popped a strip of bacon into her mouth and nodded.
"I've got three worms, how many have you got?"
Sam gazed into the shallow bowl, "I've got four."
Jack stood up, wincing slightly, "I'm getting too old to be kneeling on the ground digging for worms, seven should be enough, for now. You can always dig up more if we run out."
Jack walked onto the dock and sat down on the end of a chaise lounge, Sam took the wooden chair next to it.
"We can switch seats later if you like, I just thought that you might it easier to cast if you were sitting upright."
Sam looked at the fishing pole that was next to the chair, "So, what do we do? Hook the worm on the end and throw it into the lake?"
"Pretty much sums it up, but there is a technique to it. I'll demonstrate and then you can try it."
Sam watched as Jack baited the line and then cast it into the lake. She didn't see why he had to demonstrate, it looked easy enough.
"Okay, your turn."
Sam picked up a worm and looked at the hook. She had never considered herself to be squeamish but putting a wiggling worm on a hook was testing that. Taking a deep breath Sam held the worm near the hook and tried to make herself put it on.
"I do have plastic tackle if you were prefer to use that." Jack said with a smirk.
"Thanks anyway sir, but I can do this."
Sam forced the worm onto the hook and looked up at Jack, triumphant.
"Teal'c had to use the plastic tackle. He refused to touch the worms for some reason."
"Maybe they reminded him of Goa'ulds or something."
"Could have I guess. Okay, now that you have your line baited, cast it."
Sam imitated what she'd seen Jack do and soon her line joined Jack's, bobbing in the still water.
"Now we wait."
"Oh joy." Sam said and leaned back into the chair.
"I think Teal'c may have been right sir."
"There are no fish in this lake."
"You've gotta give them a chance Carter, we've only been out here for 45 minutes."
Sam sighed and concentrated on watching the birds that were swooping in the sky. It could be worse, she rationalized, there could be mosquitoes. Jack seemed content to relax with his eyes closed. Sam looked at the water and wondered where those ever elusive crappies were hiding.
Minutes passed and then hours. Sam's back was starting to hurt and Jack looked suspiciously like he was sleeping. Deciding that she'd had enough of counting the birds, Sam set her rod down and crept away. Entering the cabin, Sam realized that she hungry and went into the kitchen. As she prepared herself a sandwich, she wondered if she should have woken the Colonel up and asked him he wanted anything, but he looked so peaceful that she didn't want to disturb him.
Setting her sandwich down on the coffee table, Sam went upstairs to get her book and then settled down on the couch to read. Claire Randall was being transported back in time when Sam was startled out of the book by Jack entering the cabin.
"How long have you been in here?" Jack asked, in a somewhat accusing tone.
Sam checked her watch, "About an hour. I was hungry and my back hurt. Did you catch anything?"
"Nothing except a few flies in my mouth."
"If you were that hungry, you could have just asked me to make you something."
"Ha ha ha, very funny. I take it that you like fishing almost as much as Teal'c did."
Sam gave him her best apologetic look, "I told you that I didn't think it was my forte. I like something with a little more action."
"If the weather's cooperative, we can go hiking tomorrow."
"I'll look forward to it." Sam said and then buried her nose in her book again.
Sam awoke the next morning to someone banging on her door.
"Carter! You awake in there?"
Sam rolled over and sat up, "Yes sir, I'm awake."
"Good, time to get up and at 'em! I've got the lunch packed, all I need now is you and we can started on that hike."
Sam blinked a few times before forcing herself out of the warm bed. She got dressed in wind pants over tights and a t-shirt under a light sweatshirt. Layering was the key. Lord knows how many times she'd heard that from various sources. Pulling on a pair of thick socks over tighter ones, Sam looked outside and saw the sun shining through broken cloud.
After eating breakfast and using the washroom, Sam settled her backpack on her shoulders and looked at Jack.
"Ready to go?"
"Yup, you sure the weather's going to last?" Sam asked, peering up at the sun which was still partially blocked by clouds.
"I had the radio on this morning, said that was a 15% chance of precipitation with a high of 68 degrees. Perfect weather for hiking."
Sam pulled the strap tighter across her middle and followed Jack along a path.
"So where exactly are we going, sir?"
"Jack, my name is Jack, not sir."
"Okay then, so where exactly are we going, Jack."
"This path skirts around the lake and then heads up into that hill over there. That's why we're getting an early start, it should take us the better part of the day."
The path obviously hadn't been used for a while and was slightly overgrown. Jack took the lead and got rid of spiders' webs, he knew how much Sam hated walking through those. Sam enjoyed the view across the lake and every so often the pair stopped to admire a squirrel or a butterfly.
It took them nearly two hours to reach the fork in the trail.
"If you want to, we can just continue along the lake or we can go up here."
"Let's go up, I'm ready for a change of scenery."
The path up the hill was a series of switchbacks that were beginning to leave Sam breathless. Jack appeared to be suffering a bit as well. Maybe we should step up on the physical training, Sam thought, Teal'c could probably do this at a run.
"This seems longer than I remember it being."
"You and Teal'c didn't go hiking?"
"No, we were only here for three days," Jack said in between gulps of air, "Just enough time to get some good fishing in."
"You spent all three days fishing? No wonder Teal'c doesn't want to come back. The least you could have done was taken him exploring."
Jack stopped walking and turned around to face Sam, "Look, Carter..Sam, we fished for three days because I was hoping that I could find someone to share my love of fishing with. It gets lonely fishing alone."
Jack's revelation silenced Sam and she started walking again, this time taking the lead. Jack caught his breath and then followed Sam. When they finally reached the summit, Sam had taken off her sweatshirt and windbreaker and had them tied around her waist. Jack wanted to take off his shirt but decided against it. Sam found a rock and sat down on and began pulling through her backpack looking for her water. Jack joined her on the rock and did the same thing.
The sun was directly overhead so Sam, fearing sunburn on her fair skin, began to apply sunscreen. Jack watched her with interest.
"You're lucky that you don't burn."
Jack shrugged, "I do burn, it just takes longer."
"I've never once seen you get a sunburn, even with all those desert planets that we visit."
"Maybe I'm piling on the sunscreen while you're not watching."
"Sure, sir, I watch you like a hawk and I've never seen you touch sunscreen."
"I thought we agreed that it was Jack."
Sam smeared sunscreen on her nose, "You'd better give me a few days on that one."
"I was right about the weather."
The sky had cleared totally, not a cloud in sight. Sam figured that the temperature had to be higher than 68 degrees.
"It feels warmer than 68."
"Probably is, the meteorologists aren't psychics you know."
Sam stood up and pulled off her wind pants. Jack just stared at Sam's legs.
"They're legs Jack, everyone has them."
Jack felt his face begin to flush and looked away, "I know, I was looking at uh, uh, the seams on the uh tight pants, they're very..erm..straight."
Sam looked down, "Yes they are very straight. I should write to the manufacturer and tell them how nice their seams are."
"Yeah, you do that."
Jack got off the rock and walked over to the edge. The hill, while not very high, was certainly steep and Jack was looking down a rocky cliff. He wished he'd remembered to bring the binoculars. Sometimes deer and other animals could be spotted in the forest below.
"Hey Carter, you don't have any binoculars with you do you?"
Sam, who appeared to be doing some stretches, called back, "Nope, I didn't even think to bring any. That's funny, you'd think that after so many years in the military, one of us would bring a pair along."
"One would think."
"Is there something down there?"
"I don't know, that's what I wanted binoculars for. You hungry?"
Jack left the edge and went back over to Sam and the rock. He sat back down again and pulled the lunch from his bag.
Later that day, Jack was laying on the sofa, "I think I'm getting too old for everything."
"My knees feel like mush and the ankles aren't much better."
"Don't you have knee and ankle braces to wear?"
"Yes, but I left them in my locker on base."
"Good place for them. My knees hurt a bit too, but they don't feel like mush. Maybe we should take it easy tomorrow. You want to do some more fishing?"
"I thought that fishing wasn't your forte."
Sam shrugged, "I'm willing to give it another shot."
"I'll tell you something. I didn't like fishing when my father first taught me how. I thought it was pointless and a waste of time. Over the years I developed an appreciation for it."
"Did Charlie like fishing?"
Jack chuckled, "Strangely enough, yes, he did. Couldn't get enough of it. He would wake me up early in the morning and beg to go fishing."
Jack's arm flopped over onto the coffee table where Sam's book was lying. He picked it up and looked at it.
"Mmm, yes. Good book, I've read it so many times I've practically memorized it. It's the first part of a series of books."
"What's it about?"
"A woman named Claire who travels back in time to 18th century Scotland. She meets a man named Jamie, they get married, fall in love, that sort of thing."
"Sounds interesting, they got married and then fell in love?"
"It was kind of a forced marriage. Either they got married or she would be sent to prison."
"I didn't realize that time travelling was a crime."
"She's from England, and they think that she's an English spy."
"Ah, I see. I hope that Daniel's enjoying his chicken pizza.."
"His chicken pizza?"
"Yeah, good old Daniel was spending his down time off-world studying something that's similar to chicken pizza."
"Do you mean Chichen Itza?"
" Yes, that's what I said."
"No, you said chicken pizza."
"Chicken pizza would be good right about now."
"You like chicken pizza?"
"I like any kind of pizza."
"Even pizza with..hmm, say...liver, onions and pineapple?"
"Sure, I'd eat it..."
The next day brought rain, rain and more rain. Even Jack didn't feel like fishing. Instead, they sat inside and went through closets. One of the closets had some games. The afternoon was spent playing Monopoly. Jack won the first game, he put hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place, Sam didn't stand a chance. The second game seemingly went on forever, Sam owned Boardwalk and Jack owned Park Place. Sam also bought one of each set, forcing Jack to make trades to get what he wanted. Jack eventually won that one as well.
In the evening, after an uninspired supper of Kraft dinner, Jack sat down on the couch with Sam and they talked. They talked about many things, they talked about Charlie, they talked about Jacob, they talked about Thera and Jonah, and they talked about the Zay'tarc testing.
"I'm glad that I came along."
Jack smiled, "I've wanted you to come before."
"It wasn't the right time."
"Yes, we needed to talk. There were things that had to be said."
"Have we said them all?"
"I think so."
Jack moved his hand so that it lay on Sam's. Her hand was so pale, it looked almost elegant. Sam felt the warmth of his hand on hers and smiled.
"Nothing can happen, not now."
Jack clasped Sam's hand in his own, "I know, but I can dream, can't I?"
"Only if you share it with me."
Jack hesitated a bit but then spoke, "Okay, we're here, at the cabin. I'm sitting on the couch, you're upstairs putting our daughter to bed. She looks just like you, blonde hair, blue eyes. She's smart like you too. You come downstairs, and sit with me on the couch. You're wearing a blue sweatshirt, it brings out the colour in your eyes. You're hair is longer, almost to your shoulders. I take you into my arms and hold you. Your hairs smells like apples and your skin smells like peaches. So soft."
Jack stopped and looked at Sam. Her face was flushed, but Jack didn't know whether it was from embarrassment or something else.
"That sounds nice." Sam said, her voice a little choked.
Jack moved closer to Sam, not letting go of her hand. He leaned in, feeling her breath on his cheek. She smelled nice, like peaches. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her towards him. She didn't resist, she couldn't.
"Someday Sam," he whispered into her ear, "someday."
Sam woke up the next morning to sound of a ringing phone. Cursing the blasted thing, Sam got out of bed and threw on her robe. She went down stairs and found Jack standing in the kitchen with the phone to his ear. He held up a hand.
"Yes sir, I understand sir. We'll return as soon as possible."
Jack put the phone down on the counter and looked at Sam who was standing in front of him with her arms crossed.
"That was the general."
"I assumed that, what did he want?"
"Apparently there's been some trouble at the base, he needs us back ASAP."
"Did he say what kind of trouble?"
"No, he didn't specify, but it must be serious to recall us from down time."
Sam nodded, "I guess I'd better take a shower and then get packed."
"I'll start cleaning up the kitchen, we can't leave the food here."
Sam went into the bathroom and closed the door. She didn't want to leave, but if there was an emergency at the SGC, they needed to be there. She hoped there wasn't trouble with Daniel or Teal'c, who were both off-world.
When Sam emerged from the bathroom, Jack had finished packing the remaining food into a cooler and was wiping down the counters with a disinfectant. Sam hurried upstairs and threw on some clothes then began tossing her things back into the duffel bag. It refused to close so she wrapped it up in her jacket and hoped that her things wouldn't spill out all over the backseat of the truck.
Once downstairs, Sam threw her bags into the truck and helped Jack load the cooler and fishing gear into the box. They drew a tarp over it and Jack secured it with rope.
"Well, I think that's everything. I hope you're not forgetting anything, it's a long way to go to retrieve it. Did you pick your book up off the coffee table?"
Sam nodded, "It's in my backpack."
"Okay then, I'll just make sure that all the windows are closed and the door's locked and then we're off."
Jack walked back into the cabin took a quick look around. Satisfied that everything was secure, he locked the door and then got into the truck, where Sam was waiting in the passenger's seat.
"Did you turn off the generator?"
Jack nodded, "Yeah, I got it earlier."
Sam buckled her seatbelt and Jack went to turn the ignition but then stopped.
"I had a really nice time with you here Sam. Brief, but nice. We should do it again someday."
Sam smiled and took Jack's hand in her own, "someday."
She let go of Jack's hand and he started the truck. As the drove back down the bumpy dirt road, Sam turned around and caught a brief glimpse of the cabin through the trees. 'Thank you' she mouthed and then turned around and switched the radio on.