Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
Spoilers for 'In The Line of Duty', 'Fair Game', and 'Learning Curve'.
Laura and I were watching Learning Curve together (*such* fun) and pretty much had the same story idea at the same time. This is as much hers as it is mine.
I know for a fact that I wasn't the only one who thought the drawing Jack was given at the end of the episode wasn't who it turned out to be. Therefore, this little fic was born. The first part is set just before SG-1 assemble in the control room (the penultimate scene of the episode), and the second is set just as Jack is being given the drawing.
It wasn't often anyone came here. Heck, it wasn't often *he* came here. Half the time he forgot about it because there was always something else to do; fiddle with something expensive looking in Carter's lab, pick up something ancient in Daniel's office, attend one of their many oh-so-interesting briefings, kill a Goa'uld.
So it wasn't often that he found himself in his own office, actually trying to do something. Of course, he'd deliberately come here today to be alone, so it was with no small amount of surprise that he slammed the large piece of paper he'd been examining down on his desk, and gawked at the woman who was studying him warily from the doorway to his office.
His own damn fault for leaving the door open.
"Major?" He still took some amount of fun out of mentioning her title. Probably because she looked so pleased with herself whenever he did it. He suspected she knew that was why he did it, but that didn't seem to stop the stupid grin appearing on her face.
She walked into the office, and held out whatever it was she was holding. "I have that paperwork you wanted."
Ah, yes. Note to self: the next time you want to be alone, don't ask Carter to bring you something. Tends to ruin that whole 'alone' vibe. "Thanks," Taking what turned out to be a cardboard folder from her he immediately placed it on top of the piece of paper, which had been covered all along by his free hand. "I appreciate you getting this to me so quickly."
"No problem," She responded absently, alternating between smiling and frowning as she glanced from his face to the paper under his hands and back to his face again with a curiosity factor of ten. "Well, I should probably..."
Oh, his guilt was starting to twinge. Just a bit. "Right."
"See you later-"
"Carter," Crap. What was he doing?
"I, uh..." Ah, just say it. "I guess you have a right to see this. It does kind of involve you."
Now she really *was* curious. Her eyes narrowed to tiny laser points. "What does?"
Feeling the need to move, he shoved the folder to one side then grabbed the large piece of paper and stood up. Pushing his chair backwards, he stepped around his desk and continued moving until he reached her side. Leaning against the desk, he held the paper out to her.
Frowning, she mimicked his pose, then took the paper from him and unfolded it.
The frown intensified for a few moments, before smoothing out and transforming into a smile. She didn't look up from the picture as she spoke. "Merrin?"
He nodded, watching her. "Yeah."
"It's incredible. I mean, given the fact that she's never painted before..."
"She's a bright kid."
"Being bright doesn't necessarily mean you're a good painter."
Her tone of voice interested him. "Lousy artist, huh Carter?"
Looking just slightly embarrassed, she half-grinned and shook her head. "That isn't what I meant-"
"But you know where of you speak, right?"
Sighing heavily, she relented. "Yes. Okay. I'm a bad painter. Happy now?"
Jack couldn't lie. "Actually...yes. Makes you a little more normal."
"Heaven forbid I should ever be 'abnormal'," She muttered in a voice that was trying to sound annoyed but was coming nowhere near. It hadn't even reached 'slightly cheesed off'. "Anyway, what does this have to do with me?"
She hadn't realised. She really hadn't realised. Amused, he pointed to the stick figure in the bottom right hand corner. "*That*," He stated dramatically, "Is you. Or more accurately, 'a representation' of you."
She blinked. Repeatedly. "Me? Why on Earth would she draw..." Her voice faded off. "Ah. I did kind of show her how to draw, earlier. I used a stick figure of myself to illustrate my point."
"Guess you inspired her, Carter. Genius to genius."
"You don't have to do that with me," Carter answered immediately, surprising him. "You don't have to turn it into a joke."
She was too insightful for her own good sometimes. Jack stood up, moving away. "No, I really have to." He suddenly felt the urge to discuss hockey. She studied him for a while as he tried not to let her study him - mostly by facing the wall as much as possible under the guise of examining a fascinating sliver of chipped concrete.
Eventually, she let it go. "So what are you going to do with it?"
Relieved, relaxed, he moved back towards her with his hands shoved in his pockets. "Dunno. Thought about putting it up in here, but I'm not sure Hammond would approve."
"How often does General Hammond come here? How often do you even come here?" Good point.
Hammond. Dammit, Hammond. He had to find a way to apologise to him, too. Not that he regretted what he'd done; he'd just regretted that he'd had to do it under Hammond's command. The General deserved better.
Carter's insight came into play again. "He understands why you did it, you know. He does have children *and* grandchildren. It may be easy to forget sometimes, but..."
"...that doesn't mean he doesn't understand."
Nodding, she grinned. "Exactly."
Chuckling a little, he rested against the table next to her again. "Shouldn't I be the one giving *you* advice? After all I'm older, wiser-" he ignored the look she shot him "-of higher rank and have generally been more of a troublemaker than you have."
She shrugged. "Never said you couldn't give me advice."
"Oh. Well. Good."
"So what advice would you give me?"
Um...okay, think of something good. Er...ah ha! "Never give mouth to mouth to a dying man on an alien planet."
Rolling her eyes, Carter shook her head. "If I hadn't done that, we'd never have met the Tok'ra."
"And oh, what a glorious day *that* was." He quickly continued, however, well aware that she was about to glare at him. "Not that they haven't been great for your dad; curing his cancer and all that. But in order to get to that point you had to have a snake inside your brain, forcing you to do things you didn't want to do, giving you memories that confuse the hell out of you."
She seemed absurdly amused by his argument. "So...what? You're saying I should never do it again? What if *we* were on an alien planet? What if *you* needed help? Would you object to me giving you mouth to mouth?"
The thoughts that burned through Jack's mind were surprising, compelling, and very, very wrong.
Her face was just starting to indicate that she'd realised she'd said what she'd thought she'd said, when Hammond's voice echoed loudly through the PA system.
"SG-1 to the control room. Repeat, SG-1 to the control room."
Saved by the yell.
"I made this for you."
Jack stared dumbly at the piece of folder paper, even as his own hand reached out for it. He had a sneaking suspicion...no; he knew exactly what was on the piece of paper. As he unfolded it, he wasn't in the least bit relieved to discover it was precisely what he thought it was.
The implications were more than a little worrying.
Why would anyone think he'd want one?
Why on Earth would anyone draw him a picture of-?
Carter spoke, apparently having the same idea. "Isn't that-?"
"Me," Whatshisname declared, then continued his babbling.
Ah. Great. Good to know. Terrific.
He wasn't feeling just the slightest gnaw of disappointment.
He really wasn't.
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