Sam left the Cheyenne Mountain complex with several thoughts weighing heavily on her mind. The first and foremost thought was of Daniel and Teal'c. She felt guilty for not volunteering like the Colonel had for a mission to search and hopefully rescue them. And then the second thought was of Jack and all that they had experienced while on the planet. He had kissed her, and it wasn't just a one time occurance. They had talked a bit too, but nothing had been decided. Sam tried to push both thoughts out of head and enjoy spending a night in the comforts of her own apartment, with cotton sheets and big, fluffy pillows.
Jack was feeling immensely better as the pain medication Janet had given him, was starting to kick in. He knew that his orders were to go home and get some rest, but he wanted to bum around the base for a while before heading out. Out of habit, he started in the direction of Carter's lab, but then remembered that she had gone home. He wished she were here, but he was glad that she had gone to rest. Jack realized that there was really no one around the base that he cared to go see. Sergeant Siler was the only one on duty that he even knew and Siler wasn't really in the mood for talking to him since Jack had accidently pushed him over the railing. Jack stood for a while in the empty grey hallway before deciding to head home and go to see Carter in the morning.
Sam woke up the next day to the buzzing of the door alarm. She groaned a bit before looking at the clock and seeing that it was 10:00. It wasn't too early for someone to come and see her. As she stumbled for the intercom, she decided it had to be Janet checking up on her.
Jack stood outside of Carter's apartment complex, pushing the button next to the name "S. Carter" at regular intervals. He knew she was home and he figured she was probably just ignoring it. He grinned and extended a finger to stab the button when Carter's rather sleepy voice came over the intercom, "Who is it?"
At first Jack felt stupid for waking her up, but then decided it wasn't so bad, if she let him soon, he might be able to see her in her pj's. "Hey..it's me, can I come up?"
There a moment of silence before Carter replied, "sure, sir, I'll buzz you in. Just a second."
Jack noticed the sir was back again but thought nothing more of it as he made his way over to the double glass doors that lead into the lobby. When the buzzing sounded, he pulled the doors open and headed into the spacious lobby.
Sam glanced around her apartment and down at her current attire. She panicked as she looked at the glasses and unfolded blankets strewn about and at her blue silk pjs. 'Dammit Sam, get ahold of yourself! He doesn't care if your place is a mess or that you're not dressed! Get over it!' Out of pure nervousness, Sam walked over to the microwave and tried to fix her hair in the reflection of the glass.
Jack whistled a jaunty tune as he strode down the hallway towards Sam's door. He imagined himself knocking on the door and Sam opening it, dressed only a sleeveless silk and lace nightgown. He would flash her his most charming smile and she would wrap her arms around him and pull him into the apartment, all the while kissing him frantically. Of course, that wasn't how it would happen, but a man could dream.
Jack reached the door and knocked a few times before stepping back to wait. He didn't have to wait long before Carter opened it, revealing her tousled blonde hair and rumpled blue pjs. Jack had to grin, this was, in many ways, even better than his daydream. This was the real Carter, the Carter he loved, and she looked so darn cute! Before he knew what he was doing, he had stepped forward and pressed his lips against hers.
Sam pushed him away almost as soon as his lips touched hers. It wasn't that she didn't want him to kiss her..it was just that...'oh no, he looks hurt' She reached out and grabbed his hand, pulling him into her apartment.
Jack looked around as Sam shut the door. He figured she couldn't be too mad if she had pulled him into her home. Sam looked at him for a while before opening her mouth to speak, "Uh sorry about that, it's just that I have really nosy neighbours."
Jack nodded, chuckling, "Don't want them to see you making out with an old man, is that it?"
Sam rolled her eyes, "not even close sir. The lady next door, you know that old bag, Mrs Pratt? Well, Daniel somehow managed to make friends with her and if she sees us, she'll tell him and well, you know. Besides, I think she wants me to get together with Danny.."
Jack reached out and lightly touched her arm, "we really need to talk Sam."
Sam nodded slowly, "Do you mind if I take a shower and get dressed first? Then maybe we can go take a walk and talk or something. Make yourself at home."
"Sounds good to me. Do you mind if I snoop around your kitchen? I'm feeling kind of hungry."
"I said make yourself at home sir. Not sure what you'll find in the kitchen, I haven't exactly been home a lot lately."
Jack shrugged and Sam headed towards her room to grab her robe before taking a shower. He decided that among the topics of their upcoming conversation would be that incessant "sir".
As Jack poked around Sam's kitchen, he realized that she was right, there wasn't much of anything that screamed, "eat me!!" at him. Maybe he'd for go the food idea for now, he'd live. Besides, he and Sam could hit a cozy little cafe later. So Jack took a seat on the sofa and began reading the latest on the new fall fashions. He'd never pegged Sam as the "Vogue" kind of woman, but it stood to reason that she was a tall, attractive blonde and even though she was USAF, she could still be a woman.
When Sam walked out into the living room, she couldn't help but smile at the Colonel engrossed in the latest issue of Vogue. She plopped herself down next to him and pointed to a textured brown skirt, "I think your legs would look great in this." Jack hastily closed the magazine and threw it back onto the coffee table.
"You know Sir, I would have thought you would be at the base, harassing the General to let you return to Pacifica."
Jack shook his head, "I tried that Sam, the guards wouldn't let me through the doors. Apparently they had orders from Hammond not to let me have clearance today."
Sam raised her eyebrows, "I guess he really wanted you to get some relaxion. Besides, I'm sure he's already got a team off-world looking for them."
"Doesn't make me feel any better. I am responsible for those two and I should be out there looking."
"It's weighing on my conscience too Sir, but there's nothing we can do right now, so what's say we get started on that walk?"
Jack smiled and stood up. Sam followed suit and soon both of them had grabbed their jackets and were heading down the hall towards the elevator. "We can take my car", Jack said, "did you have anywhere in particular in mind?"
Sam looked thoughful for a bit before saying, "What was that place that all of us went with Janet and Cassie to? You know the place with the lake and that rocky path that Daniel got stuck on?"
"That's a good idea, I haven't been back there since but I remember there being some good walking trails."
They spent a comfortable silence until they reached Jack's Pathfinder. Jack unlocked the doors and they got in. As Sam was doing up her seatbelt her stomach let out a very unlady-like rumble. Jack glanced in her direction, "You wanna grab a bite to eat before we head out to the park?"
Sam blushed, "Sounds like it might be a good idea!"
Sam tried to look out the window as Jack drove through the streets towards a little cafe that he promised Sam "she would love" but her eyes kept drifting over to the driver's seat, or rather the person in the mentioned seat. She knew they had crossed that line and now there was no turning back. In a sick way, Sam was almost happy that Daniel and Teal'c had disappeared. If they had been there when the Colonel had returned from the malfunctioning Stargate, then they would not have gotten to spend those couple days together.
Jack tried to stifle a grin as he noticed out of the corner of his eye how Sam kept glancing in his direction and then jerking her head back towards the window. He knew they had crossed that fine line between friends and something more. The line that he was never suppose to cross and had never intended to cross. Sam had intrigued him when they first met with her offer to arm wrestle and he remembered her promise of "you'll like me once you get to know me" He certainly had gotten to like her....
Jack steered the vehicle into a roadside parking space and announced their arrival. Sam hopped out and glanced at the cafe. It wasn't a place she could imagine Jack O'Neill in, but she was willing to give it a try. Jack walked over to her side and casually, as if they had done it a million times before, grasped her hand with his. Together they walked into the cafe and selected a booth at the back.
Sam finished off the last bite of her club sandwich and watched Jack coax the last drop of rootbeer out of his mug. "I think it's gone Jack", Sam said with a smile playing on her lips. Jack put the mug down and eyed Sam's own mug. He gestured with an eyebrow towards the half-full mug sitting in front of her. Sam snorted softly and pushed the mug towards him.
Jack finished off Sam's drink and paid the bill. His hand found hers again as they walked back to the Pathfinder. "Nice place, we'll have to do it again sometime." Sam said. Jack nodded in agreement and unlocked the doors.
Sam spent the majority of the trip to the park pretending to be intrigued with her shoes. She didn't know what to say to him, so the ride was mostly silent. Jack spoke up once asking her if she wanted him to stop so he could buy her a bottle of water or something since he had drank most of her beverage at lunch. Sam declined his offer and went back to staring at her shoes. Jack drove out of the city and into a more rural area. Sam inwardly sighed, it was too bad that she was stuck underground or offworld for the majority of her days, she missed the great outdoors of Earth. Making a mental note to herself to accept the next time Jack offered to take her fishing, Sam lifted her head and watched as the scenery became more and more wild.
Jack drove through the gates to the park and looked over at Sam, who was looking wistfully out the window. "Penny for them", Jack said softly as he selected a parking spot.
Sam looked over at him, "it's gonna cost you a lot more than a penny to get inside this head"
Jack raised an eyebrow, wondering what she could possibly mean.
Sam sighed, "I was just thinking about how much I miss this...."
Jack cocked his head, "this?"
Sam nodded, "yeah, this. Just going out and doing things. Sometimes I just want to forget about the Goa'uld, about the SGC, forget the fact that my father has a symbiote and that I once was an alien."
Jack gave Sam a small smile, "I never thought I would ever hear Major Carter say that...now get out of the car!"
Sam opened her door and got out. She breathed in the clear air, softly scented with pine and was instantly reminded of the forest where she and Jack had taken refuge on Pacifica. Jack took her hand again and they started for the trailhead.
They had walked for about five minutes in silence before Jack stopped suddenly, surprising Sam. "So" he prompted, "we're walking, when are we gonna start talking?"
Sam shrugged, "now I guess."
"Now huh..well then Sam, I think we both know what's going on."
Sam nodded slowly, "I never thought I'd be having this conversation with you Sir."
Jack wished he could go back in time and kill the bastard who invented the word sir, it was the damn sir that was stopping them from attaining what they both wanted. He took his hand off of Sam's, wrapped his arm around her waist and continued walking. Sam stared at her two arms, not quite knowing what to do with either before deciding to return Jack's gesture and slipping it around him. Jack smiled as he felt Sam's arm on him.
"We both know what's going on and I think we both know why it is completely, and in every way, wrong." Jack continued.
"I don't think it's wrong in every way.." Sam replied, "in fact it's right in the most important way....."
Sam was cut off by the shrill ringing of a phone coming from Jack's pocket. Jack cast a glare at his pocket that could have killed a fly from 30 paces. He reached in and grabbed the phone, "What!"
Sam watched as Jack rudely answered the phone and then proceeded to nod a few times before sayin, "we'll be there shortly Sir" He stuffed the phone back in his pocket.
"What was that about?" Sam asked, knowing that it had to have been General Hammond.
Jack sighed, "The General...SG-6 has located Daniel and Teal'c. They're in the infirmary right now, but only as a precaution apparently. The General wants us there ASAP."
"Guess we'd better take a raincheck on this walk then" Sam said.
"Unfortunately yes, now what were you saying before we were so rudely interrupted?" Jack slipped his arm back around her.
Sam smiled, "I was saying that it's right in the most important way...." She and Jack turned around and headed back down the path.
As Sam and Jack approached the entrance to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Jack muttered, "Hope the good General's reinstated my clearance" He slowed down and stopped the vehicle at the gate. The guard in the booth looked in the vehicle as both Sam and Jack flashed their passes at him.
The guard nodded, "Good day Colonel and Major, please continue" The gate pulled open and Jack drove through. He parked his car in his customary spot. Before they exited the vehicle, Jack grabbed Sam's hand, "Dinner tonight?"
Sam grinned, "sounds good Colonel, we'd better get going though, the General's probably gone irate waiting for us."
Jack resisted the urge to block the security camera in the elevator and make out with Sam. They stood a respectable distance away from each other and both tried to pretend that just half an hour earlier they hadn't decided to persue a relationship despite the regulations. Sam tried not to giggle as she saw the Colonel stuff his hands into his pocket and look away from her.
The two entered the infirmary and saw Janet hovering over Daniel. Teal'c was sitting up on a bed and Jack went over to him. "Teal'c buddy! Good to see ya!" Jack said, giving Teal'c a hearty pat on the shoulder.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow, "It is good to see you as well O'Neill."
Sam headed for Janet and Daniel. Janet glanced up as she heard Sam's approach, "How are feeling today Sam?" she asked.
Sam nodded, "I'm good." She gestured to Daniel, who appeared to be asleep, "how's he?"
"He's exhausted, but otherwise fine. Same with Teal'c, though to a much lesser degree."
Sam nodded again, "do we know what exactly happened to them?"
Janet sighed, "Teal'c has told all that he remembers. Daniel was too weak to talk to us when he was brought back. We'll have to wait until he wakes up before we'll know."
"What did SG-6 have to say?" queried Sam.
"Not much", said Janet, "According to them, they were on Pacifica for several hours before they found Daniel and Teal'c in a small cave. Both were unconscious at the time of discovery. They managed to wake Teal'c, and Daniel awoke enroute to the Stargate. There was no signs of any recent activity in the cave and I have been unable to find any signs of mistreatment on either of them."
Jack came up behind the two women, "Well ladies, what's say we go have a little chit chat with the General. I have some things I want to discuss with him."
Janet put down her clipboard, "Let's go, he's expecting you two in his office."
The three entered General Hammond's office and took a seat. The General leaned forward over the desk, "I trust that you two have already been to see Teal'c and Doctor Jackson and Doctor Fraiser has briefed you on their conditions?"
Sam nodded and Jack pretended that he'd spoken to Janet.
The General, seeing their nods of affirmation continued, "I need to know if either you saw anything out of the ordinary while on P5X 404."
Jack cleared his throat, "Just what do you classify as 'out of the ordinary' General?"
"Any signs of life, threatening or otherwise. Any unusual rock formations?"
Sam spoke up, "I don't recall seeing anything out of the ordinary. The planet was very much like Earth, except there was no signs of life."
Jack shrugged, "there were lots of trees."
"Well Colonel, I doubt a tree could have done anything to Dr Jackson and Teal'c. At this point I'm open to extreme possibilities as to what might have happened to my men. Major, Doctor, do you have anything to add?"
Janet shook her head, "I have found nothing immediately out of the ordinary with either of them. I am, however, still awaiting their bloodwork."
Sam glanced at Jack before speaking up, "Permission to return to the planet Sir." She knew Jack would back her in the request.
The General shook his head, "I'm afraid I can't allow that Major. Dr Fraiser hasn't given you the okay yet and besides, we don't know what's out there."
Jack stood up, "with all due respect Sir, I believe it may be in the best interest of the SGC, if Major Carter and I are allowed to return to P5X 404. If this has anything to do with Goa'uld and their technology, the Major knows the most about it. And I, well I can, help her look through the rocks some more."
Hammond glanced over at Dr Fraiser, "Very well, if Dr Fraiser is willing to allow you to gate travel, Major Carter you may return to P5X 404 and Colonel O'Neill, you will accompany her. Major, do you have a theory you wish to share with us?"
Sam glanced down at her hands before speaking, "I didn't have a chance to thoroughly examine any of the artifacts before I began feeling under the weather. I believe, however, that one of those artifacts may have had something to do with the disappearance of Daniel and Teal'c."
Jack gestured to Janet, "Well Doctor, what do you say? Can she, or can't she?"
"I'll need to examine her in the infirmary." replied Janet.
Hammond stood up, "very well then, Major, please go with the doctor to the infirmary. Report back to me with your decision. Dismissed."
Half an hour later, Sam and Jack had suited up and were ready to go in the gate room. Jack checked his side arm one more time before turning around to give the "ready" sign. The gate began moving and each chevron was announced as it engaged. Jack raised his eyebrows and looked at Carter, "ready to go?"
Carter tucked her weapon under her arm and nodded. The two walked up the ramp and through the event horizon.
Jack gained his bearings and looked around to make sure that Carter had safely arrived; she had. "Wow, deju vu" commented Jack, as he looked at their familiar surroundings.
Carter chuckled, "Come on sir, let's get moving."
Jack scowled, "Sam, we are the only life forms on this planet, I think we can drop the damned sir! The name is Jack, one syllable, not hard to say. Come on now, say it with me...Jack, Jack, Jack..."
Sam eyed her colonel and holstered her weapon. She grabbed his hand and they began walking.
Several hours later, Sam stretched her aching muscles. She had been sitting down examining artifact, after artifact looking for any signs of radiation being emitted. So far she had found nothing. Jack had tried to be helpful but now he was just leaning against a rock reading a magazine he had brought with him. Sam rotated her neck, wincing as she heard the joints pop. Jack looked up from his magazine and saw Sam rubbing her neck and shoulders. He stood up and approached her from behind. Sam moaned as Jack began massaging her shoulders.
"Find anything?" he asked as his fingers brushed across the soft hair on the back on her neck.
"Not a thing. I was so sure that there would be something!"
Jack wrapped his arms around her and began lightly kissing her neck. Sam turned herself around in his arms and Jack pressed a kiss on her lips. "Uh Jack, you do know that we are on duty?" Sam whispered.
"Technically we are still on downtime" Jack whispered back, running his hands over her back.
Sam pressed herself tightly against him and giggled. "Is that your side arm again?"
45 minutes later, Jack was tracing paths on Sam's back, "now tell me that a man can do that with his side arm"
Sam pressed her face against Jack's chest and laughed softly. She checked her watch and saw that they had just half an hour before they were due back at the SGC. Jack took the hint and began pulling his clothes back on. He looked at Sam, "we still on for dinner tonight?"
Sam smiled, "yeah sure ya betcha"
The General was waiting for them when they arrived back in the gate room. "Find anything Major?"
Sam shook her head, "nothing sir"
The General looked disappointed and ordered Sam and Jack to the infirmary for the mandatory checkup. Jack grumbled all the way there, "I don't see why we need to do this, we were hardly even there!" Sam just shook her head and wondered what she had gotten herself into.