Playing The Game
by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Set in season three, after Sam becomes a Major but before A Hundred Days. Spoilers only for ‘The Broca Divide’. Some swearing and sexual situations – nothing above PG-13.

Hey – I know this would never happen, but on this particular day I don’t care. Feedback would be appreciated.


It was weird.

Okay, so there wasn't much in his work that wasn't weird, but this didn't have anything to do with his work. Not really.

It was Daniel's idea. It'd been a while since they'd gone out as a team for dinner; in fact, they rarely had the chance to socialise anywhere together. So, Daniel had suggested that they all meet up at the highly recommended and family run Ralph's Pagoda.

Teal'c had already consented, as had Jack. But there was someone else who hadn't been asked yet.

"Do me a favour Jack," Daniel said as he shrugged his jacket on and headed towards the elevator that would take him to the surface. "You'll probably be seeing Sam again before you leave, won't you?"

"Probably," He'd replied.

Daniel had nodded, still adjusting his jacket even as he slid his card through the reader that activated the elevator. "Can you ask her for me? I haven't had a chance yet."

The elevator doors had opened. Daniel had stepped in.

Jack had agreed.

And here was the weird part:

He was hovering outside Carter's lab, planning on doing what Daniel had asked...and he was actually feeling anxious.

Not nervous. He didn't get nervous. Even off -world in the middle of a pitched battle, he didn't usually have the time to feel nervous. Too focused on doing his job, killing the other guy, not getting himself killed.

Yeah, there were still the odd occasions when he did have the time to feel a little worried, but after facing down a staff cannon or being implanted with a Goa'uld, asking Sam Carter to dinner with the rest of his team should have been nothing.

This was ridiculous. He was going to march into her lab, ask the question, and leave. With this newfound bravery (and why did he *have* to be brave, for crying out loud?), he looked up from his study of the floor and-


Crap. Typically, she hadn't actually been in her lab, as proven by the fact that she was walking towards him in the corridor from some other point of origin. Okay, think of something. Think of something.

"What are you doing here?"

Ah ha! "Shhhh..." he dramatically moved the index finger of his right hand to his mouth.

She frowned, and immediately started whispering. "What's going on?"

Perfect. He lowered his finger, and spoke quietly. "I'm thinking."

Realising that it was nothing serious, as she'd no doubt suspected all along, she grinned. "Don't strain yourself, sir."

He mock glared at her. "Well if *that's* the attitude I'm going to get, I won't even bother asking what I was going to ask."

She fixed him with that "Yeah, right" gaze.

He crumbled. "You wanna have dinner?"

Wow. That was so not how he'd intended to ask. It really wasn't what she was expecting to hear either, because her eyes widened almost to the size of frying pans.

Time to save himself. "I mean, you know, with everyone. The team. SG-1. As a whole. A unit. A-"


Thank God she'd interrupted. So much for 'saving' himself. "Tomorrow. 7pm. Ralph's Pagoda."

She smiled slightly, recognising the name. "I'd love to."

"Great. See you there." Nodding a goodbye, he stepped around her and quickly departed, pleased that he'd managed to distract her from the fact that he'd been standing around outside her lab, but confused by the sudden feeling that had shot through him when she'd said those last three words.



Jack was the first to arrive. That in itself wasn't too odd - even though Carter usually got there before everyone else. He hated being late. Daniel had commented once that it seemed out of character for him, but ever since he could remember, Jack had always wanted to be on time for everything.

Shown to his seat by Ralph Jr himself, Jack ordered a beer - the only beer he'd let himself have tonight - and did what he could to make himself comfortable. He glanced idly at the menu, sipped absently at his beer.

He hated being the first one to arrive.

Whistling aimlessly, he glanced around his surroundings. Warm, muted browns, mostly. Candles on the tables, but their effect was pretty much eradicated by the lamps located at various places around the restaurant. The inviting smell of well-prepared food wafted over to him from the next table, and his stomach growled.

Jack decided he liked it.

Daniel had been here before, but it was a first for himself and - he presumed - Carter and Teal'c, too.

Actually, when he thought about it, who the heck had Daniel come here with?

His pondering on that question didn't amount to anything, because a few moments later Carter came into view. She'd obviously just stepped in from outdoors; her normally immaculate hair was windswept - Colorado weather being what it was at the moment - and her jacket was firmly on. Shown to the table by a waitress, she ordered a diet soda and sat down opposite him.

"Hey," She greeted.

"Hey," He nodded.

"Cold out," She commented, rubbing her hands together and still not taking her jacket off.


That was pretty much their level of conversation for the next five minutes.

Her soda arrived, she commented on how nice the restaurant was, he agreed, he decided not to comment on how nice she looked in blue jeans and a black v-neck top, she began perusing the menu.

The truth was, Jack was a little freaked out. He'd never been alone with Carter in a social situation. In battle, yeah, nearly dying, yeah, but eating dinner?

Forget about it.

Deciding that if nothing else, she deserved better, he made more of an attempt at conversation. It wasn't too bad. With each passing minute he was become more comfortable, and though he was well aware that this would look questionable if Hammond saw them, the chances of Hammond seeing them were so low that he didn't let him bother him.

Ten minutes passed.

Then twenty.

Then thirty.

Jack was frowning at his watch when his cell phone rang. Rolling his eyes as if to say, "It's about time," he pulled his phone out and lowered the flap. "O'Neill."


He sighed. "Daniel, why do you always sound surprised to hear my voice when you know it's me that you're calling?" He didn't wait for a response. "Where are you?"

"Not far from the mountain. I was giving Teal'c a lift from the base when my car broke down."

Damn. "You guys okay?"

"Fine. Teal'c thought he could help since he's been reading up on 'automobiles' but if anything I think he made it worse." Teal'c no doubt disagreed as Daniel disappeared from the phone for a while, and all Jack could make out were loud mumbles. Eventually, Daniel came back on. "I'm really sorry Jack, but you might as well get started without us if you haven't already. We've called for a help but it's still gonna be a while."

Jack found himself looking at Carter, then quickly looking away. "Sure. Okay. Hopefully we'll see you later."

"I wouldn't hold my breath."

And then Daniel hung up.

Staring at his phone, Jack shook his head.

"They okay?"

He looked up at Carter's question, and closed the flap. "Car trouble. He doesn't think he and Teal'c will make it."


"Yeah." Pocketing his phone, he fought the urge to whistle again. Him and Carter. Carter and him. He flagged down a passing waitress. "Can I have another beer please?"

As the waitress scurried off, Carter spoke. "Speaking of not making it, Janet should be here by now."

He looked at her again. "Fraiser's coming?"

Sipping at her soda, she nodded. "She told me earlier. Daniel invited her today."

"Oh...well...that's good." Him, Carter and Fraiser. He flagged down the same waitress. "Cancel that beer."

She glared at him and walked off.

"Well," Jack declared. "I say we start ordering. I don't think Ralph Jr appreciates us just sitting-"

Carter's jacket began to ring.

She looked at him.

He looked at her.

She pulled her phone out, and pressed the right button. "Carter. Hey Janet, where are-? Oh, oh I'm sorry to hear that."

Carter looked at him in a way that definitely made him nervous.

Then she focused back on her conversation. "Nothing serious though, right? Good. Okay. Give her my love, okay? And Colonel O'Neill's too. No...Daniel and Teal'c couldn't make it. Car trouble. I-Janet!" She actually turned bright red, before glancing at him and turning even redder. "Look, I have to go. Take care. Bye." She promptly hung up, and tried to act as if Fraiser hadn't said something that made her blush seven kinds of red. "Cassie's sick. Nothing serious, but Janet doesn't want to leave her."

He'd figured that much out himself. He was too busy noticing just how far down that blush of hers went...before dragging his eyes away, hoping she hadn't noticed. "Ah." And then he started thinking. The skin had distracted him momentarily but again this meant...him and Carter. Just him and Carter. He waved to that same waitress as she passed their table. "Can I get a-"

She thumped a beer down on the table without a word.


He was on to his third beer when Carter spoke.

"Is it just me or-"

"It's not just you," Jack interrupted, knowing full well where this was headed. Though he'd been thinking the same thing, he was extremely glad she was the one who'd said it. Just in case he was being paranoid.

Relieved herself, she grinned. "This is a set up."

"Oo yeah." Another gulp. It was a relief actually. His 'nervousness' before probably stemmed from the fact that they were completely avoiding discussion of the truth - that for some reason, their 'friends' had conspired to get them alone together for dinner.

"But *why*?" She asked, genuinely perplexed.

Jack shrugged. "You got me, Carter."

Naturally, that wasn't all she had to say. "Not only are there regulations - which they are well aware of - but it's not like we even *like* each other that way."

"I know."

But she wouldn't stop. "I mean we like each other, but we don't *like* like each other. They couldn't be further off target if they tried!"

Jack was really starting to feel appreciated. "Thanks, Carter."

Realising she'd probably gone a bit too far in her argument she looked embarrassed, then chagrined, then amused. "Sorry. But you see my point."

"I do." And he did. He really did. There was no chance in hell she'd ever *like* him. "Well," Clearing his throat, he was determined to finish saying what he'd started earlier... "I say we start ordering. I don't think Ralph Jr appreciates us just sitting here."

As she agreed, he really did feel much more comfortable than he had earlier. Talking about it had really cleared the air. Everything was fine.


Everything was not fine. He felt like such an idiot - and it was all completely his own fault.

He'd had too much to drink. He wasn't drunk, and in all honesty he didn't feel even slightly 'happy', but he knew better than take his chances. He was just contemplating calling a cab and asking Ralph Jr if he could keep his truck at the restaurant overnight, when Carter spoke.

"Don't be silly, sir. I'll drive you home."

The idea certainly had its merits, even though he was naturally opposed to it. Yet try as he might, Carter wouldn't hear of anything else. was nice of her. What else could he say?

Ralph Jr was more than happy to keep Jack's car there overnight, especially as he didn't want to see anyone who'd been drinking getting behind the wheel of a car. It probably helped that they complimented him on his fabulous cooking.

It really had been, Jack mused as he climbed into the passenger seat of Carter's car. The food had been fantastic, the company even more so. Despite a rocky beginning, it had really turned into a great evening.

The drive home was just as comfortable as the end of the meal had been. They continued to joke about Daniel's, Teal'c's, and possibly even Fraiser's attempts to get them together, and all too soon they were drawing up to his street.

Jack spoke. "You know they've been tailing us, right?" It had been hard to miss it. Covert wasn't something Daniel had ever done well.

"I did notice," She grinned.

Maybe he *was* a little happier than he should have been. "I have an idea..."

The smile that lit up her face was magnificent. "I think I've had the same one." Saying nothing else, she pulled up in front of his house and turned off the engine. Turning towards him, she gestured. "Come on, sit up properly."

Grinning, he did as he was told, unbuckling his seat belt as she undid hers. "Yes ma'am."

Acting as drunk as he was even though she hadn't touched a drop, she moved towards him. "Come on then."

Barely pausing, he wrapped his arms around her, and she reciprocated. Snorting against his shoulder, she used the opportunity just as he knew she would - to study their observers.

"They're definitely watching us," She whispered, then turned her face into his neck. Suddenly it wasn't so funny anymore. "They've parked across the road. I think Daniel's having a heart attack, and Janet's definitely in on it."

Surprising him, she suddenly pulled away. "Give me your house keys."

He frowned, still holding on to her arms. "What?"

"Give me your house keys," She reiterated.

Confused, he fished them out and handed them over.

Taking them, she grinned. "Now get out of the car."

Still confused, he nonetheless complied, slamming the door shut behind him.

Inside the car she locked his side, then opened her own door, got out, and locked that up too.

Moving dramatically, she held her hand out to him over the bonnet of her car.

Okay, maybe this *was* funny.

Grabbing her hand, then kissing it as he moved closer just for good measure, he let her lead him towards his own house like a lamb to the slaughter.

Reaching the front door – and still holding his hand – she attempted to unlock it as he tried to point out which key was which without it being obvious, wanting to give the impression that they may have done this before.

Eventually she managed to unlock it and pushed the door open.

Finally releasing her hold, she moved her hand up to his chest, pushed him inside, and slammed the door behind them.


This had been a stupendously bad idea.

It hadn’t been so before; when they’d first gone into the house and Carter had slammed the door shut, she’d spent the next ten minutes laughing. Quietly, of course – they didn’t want to give the game away – but Jack thought the fact that she was trying not to laugh was making her laugh even more.

Some time after he grabbed a beer from the fridge and she recovered from the laughter pain in her side, she peered through the window next to the door. She was enjoying this far too much – he’d never seen her this excited about anything, and that was saying something.

“Oh my God!” She exclaimed.

He nearly spat out his latest mouthful. “What?”

She was still glued to the window. “They’re walking towards the house!”


He moved forward, wanting to see the evidence with his own eyes, but he hadn’t counted on Carter moving too. Almost without him knowing it she’d plucked the bottle out of his hand, placed it on the side, and grabbed his arms, pulling him until they were standing by the window.

“What?” He asked.

“They’re going to look through the window before actually knocking, right?”

If they were as obsessed with this as they seemed to be... “Probably.”

“So we need to give them something worth seeing.”

He should have objected. He shouldn’t have been agreeing, he shouldn’t have been grinning, and he certainly shouldn’t have taken her in his arms.

They didn’t actually kiss – even he wasn’t that insane, and it definitely would have been crossing a line too far – but if they stood at a certain angle and positioned their heads just so, he figured it would look good enough.

Of course, that still meant there’d be a heck of a lot of body contact. Which he wasn’t focusing on. He wasn’t. He really-

“Colonel?” Her breath floated across his skin.

Damn. “Yeah?”

Her voice was warm, and amused. “You should at least *try* and look like you’re enjoying yourself.”

Finding something to chuckle about, he did. “It’s just...this is a little weird, you know? This is so not me. I didn’t think it was you, either.” He had some kind of defence – inebriation. She had nothing.

“I wouldn’t say that,” She told him, and he had a feeling she would have shrugged if she hadn’t been holding him. “You should have seen me as a teenager.”

And that was probably the truth. In all honesty, there was still a lot about her he didn’t know. He only saw her at work, in battle, in her lab, working on something scientific. Actually interacting with her off base and seeing her actions there was definitely a rarity.

Maybe this was normal for her. Maybe he just didn’t know it.

Someone knocked on the door.

As if they’d already discussed it beforehand when they really hadn’t, they sprung apart guiltily. Jack indicated for her to hide, knowing three eager faces would be plastered to the window, watching. When she was gone – but not before she kissed the end of his nose just to make it look good – Jack turned to the door.

And almost banged his head against it. What the hell was he doing?

Drunk on alcohol, drunk on...

The situation. It was fun. That was all. Besides, those guys really did deserve some payback. What right did they have to try and sort his life out for him?

Sharing one last smile with Carter – who had ducked behind a large potted plant – he grabbed the handle and opened the door.

The archaeologist and the MD were overcompensating with their grins. The Jaffa had his eyebrow raised.

He tried to look surprised. “Hey guys.”




It was funny. It really was. “What are you doing here?” He could imagine Carter snickering behind her hiding place.

“Uh,” Daniel looked at Janet, then Teal’c. “We came to...”

“Apologise!” Fraiser exclaimed, before realising that was too loud and lowering her voice. “For not making it to dinner.”

Jack shrugged. “That’s okay. We had a fantastic time without you.”

“You did?”

“Oh yeah,” He replied. “Very...stimulating. Great food.” The expressions on their faces – even Teal’c’s – were priceless, but Carter was definitely laughing by now. Jack was getting worried they’d start hearing her soon.

“Well if you guys can excuse me, a good meal like that always leaves me wanting to go to bed. You know, get some sleep. Relax.”

“Just one more thing, sir,” Fraiser added urgently.

“Sure. What?”

“Is Sam here?”

He frowned. “No. Why would she be?”

This time it was Daniel who spoke. “Her car is outside your house.”

“Oh, that’s right.” Jack clicked his fingers. “She gave me a lift home because I had too much to drink, but then her car...broke down.” He hoped he was doing a good job of making this look unconvincing.


“Yep. She took a cab home from here. We’re planning on calling the mechanic out tomorrow.” He began closing the door. “Now I really need to get to bed-”

“Jack!” Daniel slapped a hand against the door, preventing him from shutting it.

“What, Daniel?”

The man in question took a step towards him, not coming far enough into the house so that he’d be able to see Carter, but so he could get a good view at Jack’s face. Could stare at him. Right into his eyes.

“Nothing,” He said eventually, stepping away. “I guess we’ll see you at work.”

“Sure,” Jack shrugged, a little disturbed by what had just happened. “See you there.”

Daniel said his goodbyes, and then Fraiser said hers. It was Teal’c who lingered the longest.

Turning to one side, he lifted that eyebrow again and Jack swore – *swore* – that he grinned. “Have a good evening, O’Neill.”

“I will Teal’c, thanks. ‘Bye.”

And he shut the door.

As soon as it was closed he turned his head and placed an ear against the door. Through the wood he could just hear some faint murmurs of conversation.

“Everything okay?” Carter whispered.

Jack frowned, still against the door. “I’m not entirely sure they bought it.”

“Well we’re not done yet,” She told him.

Pulling away from the door, he turned around to face her. “We’re not?”

Stepping out into view of the window, she deliberately sauntered towards him.

It was all Jack could do not to laugh as she pouted ‘sexily’, and held out her hand towards him. Grabbing the hand with one of his own, the other hand reached up and rubbed the side of her face.

Making sure her mouth was obstructed from view by his hand, she murmured, “Where’s the bedroom?”

It was all part of the game. He knew that. By the humour sparkling in her eyes it was impossible that she meant it to be anything else. So he silently gave her instructions, still holding onto her hand as she guided them towards his bedroom.


As soon as they reached the bedroom, they released their hold on each other.

Jack drew the curtains as Carter continued chuckling, and then he began fishing about in his drawers for something she could wear. It had already been silently agreed that she’d be staying the night – how would it look convincing otherwise?

Eventually coming up with a black t-shirt and a red pair of boxer shorts, he pushed the drawer closed with his hip, and placed the clothes on his bed. He watched as she peeked through the curtains. “There’s some stuff for you on the bed. I’m gonna,” He pointed behind his head to the bathroom, as she turned back to him. “use the facilities.”

“Sure,” She nodded, still looking pleased with herself.

Grabbing his own change of clothes, he disappeared into the bathroom.

While he was in there – washing, brushing, and changing – he tried not to think too much. He knew that he was attracted to her, but usually it was something that didn’t really matter. Tonight, however, with his judgement probably impaired and her in a *very* good mood...well, it didn’t exactly bode well.

But no. She wouldn’t be stupid enough to let anything happen even if he did forget himself – and he honestly didn’t think he would. It was just awkward.

If stupidly fun.

By the time he emerged from the bathroom, she had already changed. He decided not to comment on how cute she looked – she wouldn’t appreciate it.


He insisted that she sleep in his bed, despite her objections. The carpet in his bedroom was fairly thick, and with the right blanket he was sure he could make himself comfortable. And so he began to, even though he was pretty sure he wouldn’t be able to get any sleep whatsoever.

After using the bathroom herself, she reluctantly climbed into his bed, while Jack tried to ignore how enticing the very idea was as he plumped up his spare pillows on the floor.

Snuggling down into the pillows, and pulling the blanket up to his neck, he decided that this *was* quite comfortable. He’d be just fine.

They maintained a whispered conversation for the next ten minutes or so, discussing how much fun they were going to have with this, but agreeing that they’d keep it off the base. Even though nothing was actually going on, they didn’t want to risk Hammond getting wind of it.

Then Jack heard a noise. He ignored it at first, sure that he was imagining things, but when he heard another noise he sat up.

So had Carter. “What was that?”

Shaking his head, he silently got up from the floor. Creeping out of the bedroom, but not going very far, his brain finally recognised what that sound had been. Shit! He crept back into the bedroom. “Daniel’s got a key.”

She looked stunned. “He’s in the house?”

“I’d say they all are.” Man, they were taking this far too seriously.

The expression of shock lingered only another moment, before it transformed into a smile as she shoved her cover aside.

Jack *so* didn’t like where this was headed.

She immediately began running around the room; shoving his blanket and pillows out of the way into the bathroom, then picking up her clothes that had been neatly folded up on top of the dresser and throwing them on to the floor.

He just stood there, disbelieving.

“Where are the clothes you wore today?” She whispered.

Jack pointed to the bathroom, not knowing what else to do. “In the laundry basket.”

She ran into the bathroom, and returned moments later with the jeans and shirt he’d been wearing. Carefully sneaking out of the bedroom, she placed the shirt in the hallway, then the jeans actually in the doorway between the hallway and the bedroom.

Apparently hearing something she pelted back into the room, grabbed his hand, and pulled him onto the bed.

Jack didn’t even have time to object. He was so stunned that he basically tripped into the bed, and just lay there as Carter placed the quilt over them, completely covering their bodies – heads included.

Face muffled against the quilt, he finally fully understood what she was planning, what had been the whole point of this exercise: give them what they want. Again, they weren’t actually going to do anything, but by moving under the covers, they’d definitely give the wrong – or right – impression.

Carter started it, of course, doing just about anything that would make the quilt move. It didn’t matter that she looked like a fool flailing her arms about; the point was to make it look effective and have fun.

Soon enough Jack joined in. Poking the quilt with his hand there, sticking his foot there, trying not to touch her as much as possible – although that didn’t last long.

It was a memorable moment. Under a quilt, too dark to see anything, the only sounds being their own breath as they tried not to laugh, trying to convince their friends that they were having sex.

And somewhere, between whacking a hand against the headboard, and tickling Carter’s side, they started kissing.

It was a surprise – he honestly hadn’t expected it to happen – but soon enough he forgot about being surprised and focused on actually enjoying himself.

It was timid, at first; nothing like that kiss in the locker room all those years ago. They were both aware that this was wrong, that this was going to far, that they could get into serious trouble. So maybe that was why it was timid.

Within a few moments, they forgot about being timid. Lips met hungrily, his hand moved from where he’d been tickling her earlier up to the side of her breast. Her hands tugged at his top, pulling it up so she could get to his skin.

His head was spinning with a mixture of desire and disbelief as he broke away from her mouth to kiss her neck, and to his delight he discovered that she *really* liked that.

Jack’s hand moved back down again, matching her earlier quest to find skin. She was already driving him mad with her fingers on her back, and he was determined to-


They froze.



Panting for breath.



Lying between her legs.



He couldn’t see her. It was still too dark to see a thing, but in the seconds since Daniel had voiced his surprise, it felt like the harsh light of day had come thundering into his bedroom.

He wanted to stay where he was – dark, cocooned, warm, and happy – forever. But there was only one thing to do.

Moving away from Carter, he gave them a few seconds to readjust their clothes before pulling the cover down. “Gotcha!”


Daniel felt like an idiot, or so he kept saying.

After Jack and Carter had changed back into the clothes they’d been wearing earlier (although Jack had taken a little longer for reasons he wasn’t discussing – but it was the reason he’d remained under the cover for a very long time after she’d left the bed), everyone found their way into Jack’s kitchen.

The whole thing had been Daniel’s idea, although it had originally been inspired by a comment from Teal’c. Intrigued by the on base gossip that naturally involved Sam and Jack simply because they were a man and woman who worked together, Daniel and decided to test a theory. Teal’c had been happy to help out, and somewhere along the line Janet had become involved – probably after she accidentally discovered what they were up to.

Subtle was another thing Daniel didn’t do well.

There were lots of jokes, lots of “I can’t believe”’s, and lots of moments where Jack tried not to look at Carter.

He usually failed, but on the upside she was usually looking at him, too.

After a good thirty minutes of feeling stupid, Daniel, Teal’c and Fraiser headed home. Carter immediately grabbed her jacket and car keys, intending to leave immediately after them.

Jack figured that was a good idea.

Waving his friends off, he watched as they all walked to Daniel’s car. As he stood there with the door open Carter stepped out too, but didn’t leave completely.

“Well,” She said, turning to face him and sounding decidedly nervous.

His hand gripped tightly onto the door handle. “That...was a nice...”

“Almost date?”

Hmm. They had dinner, went back to his place, and made out. That qualified. But he couldn’t smile about it. “I guess.”

Carter cleared her throat. “I think it’s obvious that we should never attempt this kind of thing again, and that we should never discuss-”

He shook his head vigorously. “Never. Absolutely.” Life would be much simpler that way.

“Okay,” Undoubtedly relieved, and knowing no other way to say goodbye, she lifted her left hand. “See you at work.”

He was so, *so*, thankful that she didn’t call him sir. “See ya.”

Turning away, she briskly walked along the path that led out of his garden. He continued to watch as she climbed into her car, started the engine, and drove away.

This time, when he closed the door, he did thump his head against it.


There may possibly be a sequel depending on my muse, but I’m not making any promises.

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