Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
A 'Small Victories' episode addition, and a sequel to 'Sentiments'.
My explanation for why they were so chummy in 'Small Victories'. Set at least a day after the episode.
Thump, thump, thump.
That couldn't be Daniel, could it? His 'thumps' wouldn't be so orderly, so precisely placed.
Thump, thump, thump.
This was a steady, continuous rhythm.
Jack smiled, realising whom it was. He'd been wondering when she'd get here.
Leaning back in his chair, he pulled the sleeve of his jacket up and deliberately looked at his watch.
The thumping stopped.
"You're late, Carter." He wasn't going to grin. He really wasn't.
She hadn't said anything yet. Not because of his comment, not because of the strange trying-not-to-smile statement on his face, not because she was out of breath - although she probably was at the rate she'd come up that ladder - but because of the fact that proudly resting next to the chair he was sitting in was...another chair.
"What's this?" She finally asked.
Jack decided now would be a good time to let the watch joke go, pulled his sleeve down, and watched as she moved closer. She was smiling.
"It's a chair,"
Rolling her eyes with good nature, she crossed her arms and regarded him as if he were an eight-year-old. "I know it's a chair."
"Then why are you asking?"
She was starting to lose some of her good nature. "I mean why is it *here*?"
He felt ridiculously giddy inside. Like...well, like an eight-year- old. "Just thought it might be nice if my chair had, you know, a companion."
Carter studied the chair dubiously. "A companion?"
"Hey, chairs have feelings too. Don't want it getting lonely."
Cracking, she grinned and promptly sat in the brand spanking new chair, giving the armrests a good feel. "Very nice," She told him.
"Even has that 'new chair' smell." His own grin was starting to make its way through. The truth was, he'd been grinning a hell of a lot more lately. Ever since he, Carter and Teal'c had been stranded on the planet. Since learning what he'd learnt there, nothing - short of metal bugs invading a Foxtrot class submarine - was going to wipe the smile from his face for any length of time.
"So..." He began. It was evening, and there was a still a chill in the air, so he had his brown leather jacket on. She had her black one on. And jeans, and a top he couldn't quite make out... "Once again we save the world. Hasn't got old yet."
Nodding, it wasn't long before she became contemplative, her gaze indicating that some serious stuff was going on inside her head. So, no change there then.
"What?" Jack asked.
Shrugging, she glanced at him. "It's just...in all honesty, I don't think it'll ever get old for you."
She was probably right. She usually was. "Maybe, Carter. I'm old already, so I've already got quite a few years on it."
"You're not old," She immediately argued in that 'don't be ridiculous' tone of voice.
"Do you know how many years older than you I am?"
"What does that have to do with anything?"
Good question. Quick. Think of something. "I just thought you might be concerned that your 'favourite' might croak some time soon..."
"Oh God," Carter groaned, burying her head in her hands. "You're never going to let me forget that, are you?"
"I was hoping you might; after all, it's been a few days and you hadn't mentioned it once."
"But you're not going to let me off, are you? You're going to torment me mercilessly."
Pulling her hands away from her face, she sat up straight and met his gaze. "You should know the admission was made under extenuating circumstances."
What the-? "How? It was a beautiful, fertile, unpopulated planet. Yes, we were short on supplies but we've certainly spent worse nights on planets we've had a full load of supplies on. The sun didn't stop shining, it didn't rain once, Teal'c learnt the joys of skinny dipping-"
"You hadn't had a shower for five days."
Jack paused. "That's your reason? That's your extenuating circumstances? You of all people couldn't come up with something better?"
"Trust me on this, sir - I don't need something better."
Well, that was rather... "You know, I did bathe."
"It wasn't my fault there was no soap."
"And you were no odour free joy yourself, Carter."
"Yes sir-I smelt?"
Ha! See how she liked it! "I refuse to comment further under grounds that you may disembowel me at a later date. Anyway," He decided an abrupt change of topic was in order, because she really hadn't smelt at all. Not of anything nasty, anyway... "How did my smelling less than fragrant force you to say what you did?"
"As you may recall," She started gesturing with her hands. "You were in rather close proximity."
Frowning, Jack tried to recall exactly what happened before her admission. "Yeah..."
"And frankly, I didn't want you to be so close. We were talking about the team, how well we get along - most of the time - and rather than hurt your feelings by just explaining what was wrong-"
"A problem you don't seem to be suffering from now, by the way."
"-I knew that something like that would make you uncomfortable, and that after I'd said it, you'd quickly leave the area. Which you did."
Wow. She really knew how to ruin a guys day. He felt...terrible. He actually felt terrible. The smile vanished, his body slumped, and he was seriously reconsidering this chair thing even though he knew it was childish. "So...so you just said that to get rid of me. You didn't...mean it?"
Her eyes widened dramatically as comprehension flooded her features. "Oh God, is that what you thought?"
"I may have said it to get rid of you, but I didn't say I didn't mean it too."
It was ridiculous how hopeful he was feeling. "So it is true?"
Suddenly shy she lowered her head - did she have any idea how adorable that was? - and *blushed*, of all things. Carter blushing?
"Yes. It's true."
Instantly feeling elated, stupid and pathetic for reconsidering the chair thing, he tried to think of something appropriate to say. She'd been right before; he was crap at giving and receiving those kinds of admissions, as much as he may have secretly enjoyed hers.
Okay, he'd be as honest as he could be:
He received that smile in response, before she posed a question.
"Can I ask you something?"
"Sure. But I'm not swearing on the legality of my answer."
Looking at the chair she was sitting in, Carter rubbed a hand over the armrest between them. "This chair..."
"Did you buy it for me?"
Those blue eyes contained no doubt at all, but she was asking anyway. He wasn't really surprised that she'd figured it out - hell, he'd been not so subtly hoping she would - but it still made him feel a little awkward. Crap as he was at those kinds of admissions, after she'd made hers he'd said "Oh," and stumbled away. Buying the damn chair was the only thing he could think of to let her know that he understood.
Her admission hadn't been *that* big a surprise, when he thought about it. It made some kind of sense. They'd always got on well - initial sparring aside - and due to the nature of their working relationship he spent more time with her than any other member of the team. It was...only logical.
Reaching across two armrests, she touched the back of his hand. "I'm honoured."
All Jack could do was stare at their hands.
And then, almost in slow motion, she pulled away.
He snapped out of quickly: far, far too quickly. "So, tell me about my namesake."
She played along. "Oh it was a beautiful thing to behold, although very much like the man it was named after. Stubborn, cantankerous, prone to black moods..."
"Dashingly handsome and a babe magnet?"
"More of a bug magnet, actually."
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