Who Nose?
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

My latest WiP is really dragging me down, so I needed to write this. Something completely PWP.

For Carla and Daniel. Set in season six.

*

Standing in the doorway that led out of the back of his house, he watched her. She was only a few feet away, sitting one of the wooden chairs on his back porch, staring towards his yard. He couldn't help but notice that ever since she'd arrived she'd been...distant.

And he had a choice to make. There were two other chairs out that at the moment: one just to the right of hers, and the second on the other side of the table. A year ago he would have sat at the other side of the table - especially as there was no one else out there with them - but there'd been a subtle shift lately. Almost as if, by silent agreement, they were trying to get back to where they'd been before...hell, before things had totally screwed up.

Making the decision he stepped out onto the porch and lowered his body into the seat next to hers. "Hey," He greeted, holding out a beer to her as she half-turned towards him.

"Thanks," She smiled, seeming genuine enough as she took it and didn't turn away again.

"Sure." He took a gulp of his own drink, wondering how to bring up the subject. "You all right?" Oh yeah. Nice and subtle.

Surprised but amused, she lifted her eyebrows. "I'm fine. Why?"

"Dunno," He shrugged. "You just seem a little quiet, and considering you're the reason we're here..." It wasn't a complaint, just a statement.

Thankfully she knew that. "It's nothing important, and I really appreciate you holding our little get together here, but..." She looked back towards the yard again. "It's just the usual Birthday thoughts."

Grinning, he placed his beer on the table. "Worried about old age creeping up on you?"

Smiling, she shook her head. "No, actually." It didn't surprise him. "Just thinking about life...my life. Everything that's happened over the past year."

His beer suddenly fascinated him, and he knew what she was talking about. He couldn't help but think of the man currently memorising every track on his entire CD collection. "Daniel."

"He should be here."

Jack couldn't help but agree, and was about to say something when she repeated a movement she'd made two times already. "What's up with the nose?"

Her beer-free hand moved away from the body part in question. "It's cold. Don't know why."

Jack looked around as if he could actually see the temperature. It wasn't nighttime yet and although there was a faint chill in the air, it certainly wasn't anything that required a jacket. "Maybe you should invest in a nose warmer."

She rolled her eyes, glancing towards him. "Maybe I should invent one."

He pointed back towards the house. "I got a scarf or something."

"It's fine, thanks." Her hand lifted up again, before she gave up with a sigh. "Of course it doesn't help that my hands are cold from holding the beer."

"Here," He told her, moving his right hand towards her before he even realised what he was doing. When it reached its target, he froze, blinking. What the hell was he doing?

Her words were vaguely muffled. "Uh, sir?"

"Yeah?"

"What are you doing?"

"Warming your nose, Carter. What does it look like I'm doing?" And he really was, his hand formed into a fist, the end with the tucked up thumb pressing against her nose.

"It's just a..." Her gaze was moving everywhere. "...a surprise. Of all the things I might have expected you to do just then, that one wasn't even on the list."

Really hadn't been on his, either. But if he admitted that, embarrassment would be sure to ensue. "Just consider it your Birthday present."

"My Birthday present?"

"Sure. You want me to move?"

"No, no," She shook her head but stopped when it began to dislodge his hand. "My nose is still a little chilly."

"Okay." He paused, wondering what to say next. "Happy Birthday, by the way."

"Thanks."

"You bet."

"So, uh," Her beer lifted up as if she intended to have a sip, but the neck connected with his arm. "Oh! Sorry!"

"Don't worry about it." He swivelled his fist counter clockwise so his arm was higher up and out of the way.

"Thanks. So, uh," She began again, this time getting the bottle under his arm towards her lips. "You do this kind of thing a lot?"

"First time that I can recall."

"In that case, I'm touched."

He couldn't help but point it out. "In more ways than one."

She rolled her eyes again, but she was obviously trying to hold back a smile. "Very amusing."

Jack really should have been moving. Hell, *she* really should have been moving. Trying to act how they used to was one thing, but this was possibly the strangest conversation he'd been a part of. With anyone. Ever. Carrying on talking as if he wasn't holding her nose.

The problem was, his hand didn't want to move. In fact, it *liked* where it was. It liked it a lot, and that more than anything else should have compelled him to move. Instead, he spoke. "So how's the research on the naquadriah progressing?"

Up leapt the eyebrows again, her eyes and her head moving to look at him, his hand moving with her face. "Still a little unstable, but I think we're getting there. I'm giving a report to General Hammond next week about it."

"Good, good," He nodded. He knew all about the fact that she had to give Hammond the report, but it was something to think about.

Yep, this was a nice experience. Sitting in his back yard, a beer just inches away, sitting next to the woman he...worked with...

Holding her nose.

Jack's own sense of the bizarre was taking a severe battering.

He ignored it.

"How's the nose?"

"Actually, I...ah...I think you'd better move."

"Why?" As crazy as it was, he was enjoying himself and most definitely didn't want to move.

"Because I'm about to sneeze."

He moved.

"WA-CHOO!"

Wow. That was impressive. "Nice one."

Faking a glare she stood up and placed her beer on the table. "Back in a minute." She disappeared into the house, no doubt to find a tissue or wash her hands.

Jack stayed where he was, staring out at his back yard, contemplating life's mysteries...and Carter's nose. It was really quite nice. Maybe even cute. Sexy? Could a nose *be* sexy?

Hell, it was Carter. Anything was possible.

"O'Neill," A familiar voice greeted as footsteps echoed on the porch, and the man in question stepped forward until he reached the wooden railing.

"Teal'c." Normally he was pleased to see his buddy, but there were certain times when he used a particular tone of voice, which Jack just knew meant - despite appearances - that a smart-ass comment was forthcomi-

"Will you perform the same ritual on my birthday?"

"Shut up."

~FINIS

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