Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
Spoilers for ‘Children of the Gods’, ‘Meridian’ and ‘Revelations’. A ‘Revelations’ episode addition.
Teal’c needed to take a leak.
Of course, that wasn’t quite how he phrased it.
They’d left the restaurant feeling bemused, nostalgic and confused all at once, when Teal’c spoke:
“O’Neill, I need to-”
Fill in the blank.
Jack considered teasing him. Something along the lines of, “I told you to go before we left.” But being in better spirits than he probably should have been, he just nodded and told Teal’c he’d wait by the truck.
Carter had driven there in her own car, and could easily have wished them both goodnight then and there before zooming off. It wasn’t as if they’d even be heading out in the same general direction once they left the restaurant car park.
She didn’t leave, instead mimicking his posture – shoving her hands in her coat pockets and leaning against the front of his truck.
He considered small talk, but with her it had never really been necessary. Even in those first few months when they were getting to know each other, he’d never really felt the need to blurt out the first thing that came into his head.
Well, when he wasn’t trying to be funny.
And sure, so there may have been a few occasions when they were alone and he felt more than a little awkward, but that was related to something else entirely.
Instead of worrying about it he lifted his head and looked up at the night sky. It was clear – which explained the bite in the wind – but there was no way he was moving.
Leaning against his truck, looking up at the stars, with Carter.
A perfect moment.
He nodded. “Baaaaad light pollution, though.”
Hearing a faint chuckle coming from Carter, Jack stared at her and frowned. “What?”
Shaking her head, she shrugged. “I guess it’s just easy to forget what an appreciation of astronomy you have.”
*There* was that feeling of being vaguely uncomfortable. “Ah...well...you know. I can’t seem brilliant all the time; otherwise Hammond would be thoroughly unimpressed with you. There’s only enough room on this team for two geniuses.”
Silence descended as both thought over his words.
“Ask you a question?”
He lifted his eyebrows, amused. “You’ve never felt the need to ask permission before – why start now?”
She grinned briefly, quite clearly conceding his point. “Why did you do what you did? In the restaurant?”
Huh? “Why did I do *what* that I did?” Wait a minute...did that make any sense? “Okay, forget that.” Far too many do’s and did’s for Jack’s liking. “What are you talking about?”
Obviously amused, she nonetheless continued. “When we first went in...and the waitress came up to us...”
“You asked for a table for four.”
“I was hoping you hadn’t noticed.”
“I had,” She smiled kindly. “You *did* pick a good moment; Teal’c was fascinated by the fish tank, I was silently debating the merits of cheesecake and ice cream...but I heard.”
Scuffing his shoe on the cement floor, he looked down and shrugged. “I don’t know the reason. Habit, I guess.”
“We never really went out together all that often.”
No. A shame. They had to change that. “I guess not. But whatever we did do, we always did it together. I’m not just talking about dinner or going off world, but...everything. Like...” His mind grabbed onto an idea. “You’d be in your lab, working on something brilliant. I’d come and bug you because I was bored. Then Daniel would turn up; eager to share some new translation that revealed what he thought meant ‘big’ actually meant ‘bog’. Teal’c would arrive to bring his uniquely stoic opinion to every situation.” He paused, remembering. “I heard what you said to Teal’c on the cargo ship. About us being a team. About what that meant.” Jack nodded to himself, gazing back at the sky. “You were right.”
He could almost hear the blinking before she spoke.
“Do you think he’s up there, somewhere?”
Jack didn’t look back down. “I don’t know; it’s not really the kind of thing I believe in, is it? That somehow, somewhere, Daniel’s turned into a big cloud of metaphysical white stuff and is watching over us. That’s kind of a stupid thing for me of all people to believe in, now isn’t it?”
Footsteps approached before she could reply.
Teal’c had arrived.
Both Jack and Carter pushed off the front of his truck, standing upright.
“Major Carter, I appreciate that you waited for my return.”
“Not a problem, Teal’c. I guess I’ll see you at work tomorrow.”
Smiling, she moved towards him and they shared a heartfelt hug, which seemed more than appropriate given the circumstances.
Naturally, it was only as she pulled away that Jack realised she intended to do the same to him.
Okay, this was fine. He was fine. It was just he hadn’t actually done this with *her* since...well, at least two years. Closer to three. Not that he was keeping count.
Seemingly at ease, she nodded.
He nodded back and decided to let her do all the work, hoping his fake smile didn’t look too freaky.
Stepping forward, her arms surrounded him. To his own surprise, the tension slid out of his body from the moment they touched, and he returned the hug fully.
Relaxed, pleased and surprised, he began to move away...only to be hit by a powerful gust of wind, making him virtually immobile. He clutched onto her harder, trying to maintain their balance. Turning his face from the wind, he nearly yelped when he felt her cold nose against the flesh of his neck.
And then it was gone.
They pulled away quickly; she said her goodnights and vanished into her car almost immediately.
Jack didn’t move until she’d roared out of the parking lot. It was only then that he turned towards his friend.
Teal’c was smiling. His lips may not have moved one iota, but he was *smiling*.
Jack held up his hand to say something, then decided against it and lowered the hand. Sighing, he moved to the drivers’ side of the truck. Unlocking and opening the door, he glanced up towards the sky, rolled his eyes, and said one word:
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