Same Old Sam Carter
by Suz suzvoy@tesco.net

Disclaimer Ė MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

Set in season three, not long after ĎLearning Curveí although this isnít an episode addition.

Apologies for the lack of fic these last few days. Iíve had company visiting which makes it hard to write anything, especially depressing parts of a certain WiP. Hopefully I should be back in business soon.

*

"Have you lost weight?"

Frowning, Sam paused her work as she leant over the desk, and glanced down at her own body. Neither she nor Janet had had much free time to spend together lately, so Janet had decided to spend her latest break in Samís lab while she continued to work. It wasnít the way either of them would prefer to catch up, but theyíd take whatever they could get. "Not that Iím aware of. Certainly havenít been trying, anyway." She was satisfied with her weight Ė even if certain people thought she could do with actually putting on a few pounds.

"Gained weight?" Janet continued, studying her with curiosity from the other side of the desk.

Sam stared at her.

"Hair cut?"

Shaking her head Sam stood up fully, half-grinning. "Janet, whatís going on? Whatís with all the questions?"

"Iím not sure," Her friend shrugged, half-smiling herself. "Itís just...you look different, but I donít know what it is."

Baffled, Sam focused back on the naquadah reactor sitting on her desk. "Well, I certainly havenít done anything with my hair *or* my body that I donít usually do."

"Maybe itís me," Janet mused. "It could just be that itís been a while since weíve spent any length of time discussing anything other than work."

"True," Sam found herself agreeing, tightening a screw. "Speaking of which, have you gained a few inches in height lately? Or is it just the shoes?"

*

Janet had to return to work, so they parted company when she stepped out of the elevator on level twenty-one, leaving Sam to go onto the commissary alone. Happily walking out of the elevator she headed to the left, all but walking into another member of SG-1.

"Tealíc! Sorry," She stumbled back a few paces, even as he lifted a hand to ensure she didnít fall.

"Major Carter. It is good to see you." If was the first time theyíd seen each other that day, and once he was sure she could maintain her balance, he removed his hand from her arm.

"You too. How are you doing today?" She enjoyed being in his presence. He was always so calming Ė although she had to admit she appreciated his sly sense of humour. It was subtle, but it was definitely there.

"I am well, thank you." Performing what might have been an imaginary smile, a faint frown soon marred his brow. "Major Carter..."

"Yes?"

"Have you applied different cosmetics to those you usually wear?"

Stunned at the question, Sam could only blink. "Uh, no." Frankly, she wore hardly any. Heavy make-up wasnít conducive to a career in the military Ė or at least in her line of work. "Whyíd you ask?"

"I am unsure." He seemed as confused by the fact that heíd even asked the question as she was. "Your appearance seems to have changed, but I cannot clarify a specific point. You simply seem...different."

All right, this was getting weird. First Janet, now Tealíc. "Well," Sam offered. "All I can say is that I havenít changed my make-up, my hair, *or* my weight. Same Sam as always."

"Then I am in error," Tealíc accepted immediately, bowing his head. "It is not the first time it has happened, as OíNeill would no doubt point out if he were here."

"Now *thatís* something we can agree on," Sam grinned, before bidding her friend a goodbye.

As she continued her journey to the commissary, two different parts of her body were vying equally for attention: her stomach and her brain. Her stomach was forcefully informing her that itíd better get something eat *now*, while her brain was thoroughly analysing the conversations with Janet and Tealíc.

Why did two of her friends suddenly think she looked different?

As it was her stomach won out, because by the time she entered the commissary and the smell of freshly cooked food assaulted her nose, nothing other than satisfying her hunger became worthy of noticing.

Quickly grabbing a tray and impatiently getting in line, she was through the queue as fast as was humanly possible, with chicken salad and a glass of jello to show for her trouble.

Spying Daniel sitting at a table a few feet away, she quickly sat opposite him, picking up her fork even as she opened her mouth. "Hey Daniel." The first forkful of chicken salad hit its target and she chewed and swallowed happily. It tasted *really* good.

"Hey Sam," He responded, one third of his attention on his food, one third on the article he was reading, and the last third on her. "How you doing today?" Distracted, he chomped half-heartedly on what looked and smelt suspiciously like some kind of beef dish that she didnít quite recognise.

"Good, thanks. Still working on increasing the efficiency of the naquadah reactor. I think weíll definitely be able to increase it soon. When Iím done here I have to go and report my progress to General Hammond."

"Well, Iím sure heíll be pleased." Daniel replied, dragging his gaze away from the magazine to look at her. Sam didnít mind that it took that much effort Ė it was simply the way Daniel was.

"Thanks," She nodded, rapidly digging into a few more mouthfuls. It was as she was working her way around a particularly large lettuce leaf that Daniel spoke again.

"Did you get highlights?"

The chewing stopped as her gaze zipped back to him, disbelieving. She swallowed. "What?"

"Highlights? In your hair?" Obviously recognising there was no reply, he pressed on. "Coloured contact lenses? Not that you need glasses..."

Letting go of her fork, it clanged noisily against the plate. For crying out loud... "I donít believe this..." Lowering her head, she rubbed her right hand over her face.

"Donít believe what?"

She lifted her head to gape at him. "Everyone Iíve seen today seems to think thereís something different about me, and I havenít changed a *thing*! Same hair, same weight, same make-up, same eyes...I mean, is there some big practical joke Iím missing out on?" It wasnít often she got worked up, but this was freaky.

"No joke," Daniel instinctively moved his head back a few inches, and lifted his magazine up by the same amount, almost as if protecting himself. He looked decidedly scared. "Just an observation."

Recognising immediately that she was being ridiculous, Sam sighed, closed her eyes, and hung her head. "Iím sorry Daniel, I didnít mean to snap at you." Opening her eyes she met his gaze. "But youíve got to admit itís a little odd."

"I do," He agreed, moving his head forward again and lowering the magazine. "But this *is* the SGC, Sam. Odd is a way of life."

That much was true. Sheíd seen some pretty damn weird stuff already, and sheíd only been there a little over two years. "I guess. Look, Iím sorry. Really."

"Donít worry it," He dug his fork into another piece of beef Ďthingí. "Iíve certainly had enough moods. You get along so well with everyone, I guess you were due."

*

Reporting to General Hammondís office didnít help the mood in question. She stood a few feet from his desk, rattling off her update on the naquadah reactor. "...so I think we should be able to up the efficiency by about another five per cent within three weeks, sir. Of course we wonít know for sure until we can get our hands on some more naquadah, but I understand the intel on P7S 195 looks good."

Nodding, Hammond flicked through the pages of the report lying across his desk. "SG-11 are scheduled to visit P7S 195 in two days time." Satisfied, he closed the folder with enthusiasm. "Good work, Major. I donít need to tell you how rare it is that weíre able to develop an alien technology into something beneficial."

"No sir, you donít." It always seemed to be the way; theyíd gain a piece of alien technology, theyíd investigate, and it would turn out to have seriously detrimental side effects.

Smirking, the General nodded. "In that case, youíre dismissed Major. I look forward to the next update."

"Thank you sir." Briefly standing to attention, she began to turn away.

"Oh and Major?"

Pausing, she turned back, smiling. "Yes sir?"

"Have you lost weight?"

The smile froze.

*

When she barged into the elevator some three minutes later, her mood hadnít improved. In fact, it almost seemed to be interfering with her eyesight now, because she got all the way in, pressed the button for her floor and backed up to the wall when she finally noticed the person who was already standing there.

And that was only because he spoke.

"Hey Carter."

Gasping she spun towards him, automatically lifting a hand to her mouth. It was so unlike her that she immediately lowered it and tried to forget that sheíd done it at all. "Sir! Sorry, I...didnít see you there."

"I noticed," He grinned, the smile crinkling up the corners of his eyes. "Whatís got you so distracted?"

"Oh nothing, nothing," She replied instinctively, then decided she was being silly. "Itís just...do I seem different to you today?"

"Different?"

"Yeah. Physically."

Taking that as permission to take a good look at her he did just that, first studying her face and then moving his gaze...

...up...

...and down...

...her body.

She was beginning to regret asking him anything at all. By the time he was back at her face, she was sure her cheeks were bright red. Good God, what was wrong with her?

"No," He said casually, leaning against the back of the elevator with his hands shoved into his pockets. "You donít look any different all."

Relieved to have something to talk about, she quickly spoke. "Thatís what I thought. But everyone Iíve seen today Ė Janet, Tealíc, Daniel, even General Hammond Ė have said I look different."

"But you donít," He replied, apparently as confused as she was.

"I know. I just donít get it."

"Does it matter? Ultimately?"

She glanced back towards him, not moving, even though the elevator had reached her floor. "What do you mean?"

He shrugged. "Well do you *feel* different?"

"No." She just felt...happy.

"So youíre still the same person you always were? Brilliant, kick-ass soldier, capable of confusing the hell out of me in the shortest time possible?"

Sam couldnít help it Ė she grinned. "I guess. Yes."

"Then what does it matter? As long as youíre the same old Sam Carter, as long as you havenít changed, in there," A hand came out of a pocket and pointed towards her head. "What does it matter what you look like?"

Amazed that heíd said something that...well, that *deep*, she frowned, although her smile didnít leave entirely. "Are you sure *you* havenít changed in there?" She mimicked his movements, pointing to his head.

"What are the chances of that at my age, Carter?"

"Youíre not that old, sir."

"You mean Iím still young enough to get all the girls? Cool." Obviously amused, he made a play of smoothing down his hair, making himself respectable for any women who should happen to walk by.

Chuckling, she found herself reaching up a hand before she realised what she was doing. "No, no," She argued, ruffling his hair again as his own hand fell away. "Guys with perfect hair seem much too boring." Surveying her handiwork, trying to appear as if she wasnít concerned about her own behaviour (although she most definitely was, internally asking herself what the hell was going on), she pulled her arm away. "There. Much more attrac..." Wow, what was she *doing*? "...better. Much better."

"If you say so, Carter." His hand reached up to touch his hair again, but it stopped before it actually got there and lowered back down. He cleared his throat, and seemed to be staring at her. A lot. "I trust your judgement."

"Thatís good." Look away. She had to look away...now. When it didnít happen, she was just thankful her voice was still working. "Iíd hope that you would given how long weíve been working together now."

"Please," He mocked. "I trusted your judgement from our second mission together."

"Uh..." Wow. "Thank you."

"No problem," He responded urgently, as if eager to change the subject as he dragged his gaze away. "So you think I should go for the ruffled look, huh?"

Relieved as hell, she responded. "In both my personal and professional opinion, yes sir."

"Uh..."

It wasnít him whoíd spoken. It was a new voice provided by the person whoíd just stuck their head through the open elevator doors: Sergeant Davis.

"Davis."

"Yes sir. Are you, uh...using the elevator? Itís just I need to get to the control room-"

"Of course," Sam interrupted, only beginning to realise theyíd spent all that time talking on her floor. "This is my stop anyway. Sorry Sergeant." As she stepped out, she nodded to her superior officer. "Bye sir."

"See ya later, Carter."

Davis stepped inside, smiled at her, and pressed the button for level twenty-eight.

As the doors began to close, she heard a voice speak. "So what do you think of the hair?"

~FINIS

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