Disclaimer - All belongs to MGM/Gekko/Double Secret.
An episode insertion for the episode 'Fair Game'. Set after the System Lords insist that Earth gives up both its Stargates, but before the President agrees to hand them over.
Man, did he have a headache. Groaning, Jack rubbed a hand over his face and began muttering to himself. This was not a good day.
He felt a little better just at the sound of her voice. Lowering his hand he tried to smile at Sam as she stood in the doorway. "Carter,"
Concern covering her face, she walked into the room. "Are you feeling all right?"
It took Jack a few moments to realise she was referring to the fact that he was sitting on a bed in the infirmary. Janet - thankfully - was nowhere to be seen. "I'm fine, Carter. Well…that's a lie. I'm not fine, and I do have one hell of a headache, but I figured that for once this'd be the only place where I'd get some peace."
Smiling a little, she nodded as she sat on the edge of the bed opposite his. "I can understand that. This is a uniquely stressful situation."
"That's putting it mildly,"
Shrugging, her gaze became contemplative. "If we did give up the Stargates…I don't know what I'd do. I can't imagine not working here."
Jack wondered if she knew how vulnerable she looked, but decided against pointing it out. The moment he mentioned it she'd slam that wall up. He knew that trick - used it on more than one occasion himself. "If we did though…I mean, if we had to, what *would* you do?"
The expression she gave told him that she didn't like the idea behind the question, but that she'd been thinking about it anyway. "I suppose I'd try and get transferred to Nevada, so I could keep working on the technologies we've found. I know it's not specifically my field or specialty, but I'd love to know what makes all those machines-"
She grinned. One of her big ones. "What makes all those doohickeys work."
He could understand her decision. She may have been assigned here first and foremost as a theoretical astrophysicist, but after…*if* the SGC were shut down, Area 51 would suddenly become the most interesting place on Earth.
Sam was studying him. "What about you, sir?"
She chuckled. "Not Yu, *you*. What would you do if they agreed? If we gave them our Stargates?"
He'd thought about this before, when Kinsey had actually shut them down. He'd sworn to himself at the time that he'd never give up fighting to resurrect the program, but even so he did wonder occasionally…what would he do? "Probably retire."
"Again?" She was obviously surprised. "After coming out of retirement the first time? You'd give all this up?"
"I wouldn't be giving anything up, Carter. If I retired it'd be because they took this away from me." This conversation was definitely getting more in-depth than he was used to. He needed to do something. Fast. "Besides, nothing could compare to this place. Anything else would seem boring - you know how short my attention span is."
Letting him get away with the change in tone, she smiled sadly. "You're right, you know. It just doesn't compare - and not just the job. The people, too. I'd miss all of them. Daniel, Teal'c, Janet, General Hammond, you…even Simmons."
Jack chuckled. Maybe it was the secretive state of the project or maybe it was just luck, but everyone here shared a strong bond. And even if they kept in contact, even if they all met a few times a year, it wouldn't be the same as working side-by-side every day. He didn't mean to say the words that came out of his mouth next, but later he'd realise that he meant them all along. "I'd miss you too, Major."
Ah, that was a great expression appearing on her face. He wished he could make it appear more often, but there wasn't much that would surprise Sam Carter.
He was enjoying this. "Sure. I'll admit, it took me a while to become accustomed to your own brand of charm,"
"Ditto sir," She muttered in a voice he was supposed to hear. He let her get away with it.
"*And* you make me think more than I like to, but I guess I'm…used to you. I'm still not used to everything you do or all that deliberately confusing vocabulary that comes out of your mouth, but I am used to…you." God, imagine if he'd made this speech to Kawalsky. He'd be laughing his butt off.
Her shock was being replaced by genuine amusement. "Thank you, sir. I'd like to say that of all the people at the SGC I'd miss you the most. Of course, just because I'd like to say it doesn't mean it's true…"
She was laughing again, and because it was usually him making the jokes and her laughing at them, he let her get away with that one, too.
It occurred to him that he let get away with a lot.
Calming, she chuckled a few more times before regarding him seriously. "I would, you know."
And suddenly it was awkward.
He wasn't sure why - they'd crossed that military/friendship line a long time ago, and that's what they were. Friends.
But he knew she felt the awkwardness too, because she quickly stood up. "Well, I'd better go. No rest for the wicked, even when the fate of the planet is hanging in the balance. Results to read, reports to file…System Lords to worry about."
"Same old, same old." He was glad for the humour.
She smiled again - one of her big ones - and he felt extraordinarily relieved.
"See you later, sir."
"See you Carter."
With a nod, she was gone.
Sighing, he wiped both hands over his face, and it was only when he deliberately decided to start moaning about his headache again that he realised it wasn't there anymore.
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