Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them. I don't.
Knowledge of Graham Simmons' crush on Sam would help before you read this, but it isn't essential.
Well, this was a cliché.
He should have seen this one coming, he really should.
Graham Simmons had been asking for months to be allowed to go through the Stargate. Hammond had hesitated, naturally. Everyone was well aware of Simmons' reputation as...well...as a…bit of a wimp.
Plus, it wasn't his job. His work was in the control room; monitoring the status of the Stargate and the off-world teams, communicating with them, keeping the General updated...these and many more tasks comprised his function at the SGC. None of those tasks involved throwing himself through a big round ring with carvings on it.
But he had proven himself again and again - much to Jack's surprise - as a capable officer. Performing his duties well, defending himself and others ably on those occasions when something had threatened the base. Jack himself had recently suggested that they should give the guy a break. Their next mission was to some uninhabited planet, where no danger lurked. Just a quick recon to have a look around, pick up a few samples, and leave.
"Let him go with us, sir," He'd said. "Quick trip in, quick trip out, and his curiosity will be satisfied."
So Simmons had turned up on the day in question to be their fifth member of SG-1, dressed in fatigues, looking distinctly nervous, but cheering up immensely when Carter smiled at him.
Jack had felt his stomach twist and sternly reminded himself that this was all his idea. After they'd arrived on the planet and Simmons had started throwing up, he'd also told himself that the image didn't give him any satisfaction at all.
They'd walked together for a while before splitting up, and Jack had been pleased to realise that Carter was walking next to him, while Simmons walked ahead with Daniel and Teal'c, talking excitedly about everything he saw.
Noticing her frown, he'd spoken. "You okay Carter?"
She'd seemed surprised that he'd noticed. "Yes sir."
How to phrase this? "I mean...having him here...doesn't make you uncomfortable?" Jack knew that even if it did, she'd be too professional to let it affect her work, but...well, he wanted to know for himself. Everyone knew about Simmons' soft spot for Carter. Hell, Simmons was one large soft spot when it came to Carter.
Smiling, she'd leant towards him as if to conspire together about something. He'd loved that she'd done that.
"Actually sir...if it had been a few months ago it probably would have bothered me. A little. But recently...well, I don't know if his interest in me is fading," Jack thought that unlikely, and barely stopped from saying so, "but he's certainly not as...umm...obvious...as he used to be."
Even then she was trying to be modest, trying to make it sound absurd that he could have a crush on her. As if.
"Glad to hear it," Jack had grinned, then increased their pace to catch up with the others.
Recognising Daniel's expression of quiet desperation he'd then recommended that they team up and search different areas. Carter, Daniel and Teal'c went to study some rocks (boring), while he and Simmons went off to study some caves (cool!).
So he had to admit that as he looked up from the bottom of a very deep hole to barely see Simmons looking down at him, this was all his fault.
Of course the caves had a very large hole in them. Of course he wouldn't see it. Of course he'd fall down it. Of course he'd do something nasty to his ankle.
Sighing, he swore. He didn't think it was broken, but he couldn't lean on it and it hurt like hell.
"Sir! Are you okay?" Simmons' voiced echoed through the caves and down into the hole.
Was he okay? "Well, let's see Lieutenant. I'm in the dark, in a hole, in a cave, on an alien planet. I've had better days." Dammit - now his torch wouldn't work. "And I think my torch was damaged in the fall." Frankly, he knew he was damned lucky that he had nothing worse than a possibly fractured ankle and some bumps and bruises. "Have you got a spare one?"
Torchlight shone down on him as Simmons tried to see exactly where he was.
"Afraid not sir."
"Ah, well. Not to worry. I have some flares if I need to look at anything." Not that he was going to use them if he didn't have to. He didn't have many, and he didn't want to waste them. He did, however, want to see exactly where he was.
Groaning, he sat up and unclipped his bag. Pulling out a flare he ignited it and was finally able to see his immediate surroundings. Well, it was definitely a hole, but he was silently relieved that he wasn't surrounded by the skulls and decaying bones he'd expected to see. There was a distinct lack of anything except rocks and dirt.
Grabbing his radio, he pushed the button in and spoke. "Carter,"
No response. Oh he really didn't like that. "Daniel? Teal'c?" Great. Tipping his head back he yelled up to Simmons, "Can you get a hold of anyone?" He waited, listening as Simmons tried contacting all of them but - just like him - having no luck.
"No sir," He was definitely sounding worried now.
"Nothing to be worried about," Jack mustered his false bravado. "It's probably just the caves. I want you to go back to the mouth of the cave and contact the others - let them know what's happened."
"I don't like the idea of leaving you by yourself, sir."
"I'm touched that you care, Simmons, but I'll be fine. We've found no evidence of animals in these caves, and I'm not likely to fall into any other holes while I'm down here. You should be able to follow the trail we left and get out of here with no trouble."
Simmons wasn't ready to drop it. "If I go back without you, Major Carter will kill me."
"Nah, she won't kill you." He paused as he grinned. "She might hurt you. A lot."
"Simmons, I'm joking. Now go. That's an order."
The sigh was audible even from Jack's position.
Jack listened for a while as Simmons' feet slowly crunched away, and then finally his flare ran out of life and he was left in complete blackness.
"Well," He murmured. "This is fun."
Okay, so...there was no way he was even going to attempt to climb out of here with his ankle in the state that it was. It was too high for Simmons to have reached in and pulled him out, so he was just going to have to wait for Carter and the others to get there before being rescued. They'd probably be able to climb down - with the right safety equipment.
Dimly he realised he was shivering. Probably shock setting in. Mumbling to himself, he pulled out a blanket and wrapped it around his shoulders.
"This isn't good O'Neill. You're in a hole, in the dark, with a throbbing ankle, shivering under a blanket and you're talking to yourself. This isn't good. Come on Carter..."
"Simmons? Back already?" Torchlight fell on him again.
"Yes sir. The closer I got to the mouth of the cave, the better reception I got, so I didn't need to leave the caves to contact them."
Well, that was good news. He supposed. "On their way then?"
"Yes sir. Although I think it'll still take a while."
True enough. They had been exploring for quite some time before he fell. "Think you can keep me entertained for that long?"
"I'll try sir."
Jack shivered again. Dammit... "Simmons?"
"Can I have your blanket?"
The Lieutenant didn't question the request. He simply unhooked his bag, and in a few moments O'Neill felt the blanket land on his head.
"Thanks," He muttered dryly, wrapping it around himself.
They remained in silence for a few more minutes before Jack spoke again. "So Simmons, what are your hobbies?"
The younger mans confusion was evident in his voice. "Hobbies?"
"Yeah, you know - stuff you do when you're not working." Aside from ogling Sam Carter, that is.
Simmons thought about it for a while. "I...uh...like cycling. Jogging."
"Jogging is a hobby?"
"For me, yes sir."
"Oh," Man, didn't they get enough exercise at the SGC? "Anything less strenuous?"
Jack sat up straighter. "Fishing?"
"I love fishing."
Well this was more like it. "You do?"
"*You* love fishing?"
"You sound surprised sir."
Ya think? "Truth be told Simmons, I didn't really think we had anything in common, but...I suppose we haven't really had the chance to get to know each other."
"You know you don't have to agree with everything I say, don't you?"
This was like ramming your head against a brick wall. "I have a cabin in Northern Minnesota, you know. I go there whenever I can and-"
"I know sir."
Jack blinked on purpose, then realised how futile that was. "You do?"
"Yes sir. Your attempts to get the other members of SG-1 to go with you have become...well, almost the stuff of legend."
"Yes. In fact there's quite a lot of speculation as to why Major Carter keeps-"
He couldn't stop himself. "She doesn't turn me down, she already has things planned..." Jack trailed off, surprised by his words, or if not surprised then annoyed that it got to him that quickly.
Simmons was quiet for a long time. "I was going to say there's a lot of speculation as to why Major Carter keeps a salt shaker in her locker."
Various swear words leapt through Jack's mind at that moment, the tamest one being rude enough to make even Teal'c blush. Had he been there. Which he wasn't. Which was just as well. "It doesn't matter anyway. Maybe she'll go if you ask her." God he was being childish, he *knew* he was being childish but he couldn't help it.
Again with the long silences. "Sir…however I may or may not feel about Major Carter…that isn't me. I mean, it doesn't define who *I* am. It's been hard realising that, for me, and for others."
Jack briefly wondered if Simmons would like to jump up and down on his injured ankle, considering what an ass he'd been.
The young man merely continued. "But it's how some people still see me. I've actually heard myself described as 'that guy with a thing for Carter' when they couldn't remember my name. No offence to the Major, but do you know how insulting that is? Any feelings I may have for her isn't all of me. They're not the…whole enchilada."
Sighing, Jack was only dimly aware that he wasn't shivering anymore. "Graham…the way people describe you…that could describe half the men on the base. Probably some of the women, too - except for the 'guy' part. You shouldn't take it personally."
Was Simmons actually chuckling? "You may be right Colonel, but the fact remains…no one ever forgets *your* name."
And there was the implication - he'd known, somehow, that it would be coming. He didn't object, didn't argue. Maybe it was the darkness; maybe it was the fact that he couldn't even see his own hand that made him ask. "How many people know?"
Simmons didn't insult him by asking what. "Sir…it might be easier to ask the *other* question."
He knew what the other question was: how many people *don't* know? And that gave him his answer right there. "I see." Jack closed his eyes. There was no point in keeping them open anyway.
"It's not really a surprise. Is it sir?"
No, no. Not really. "No." God he felt tired. "And you're right…it's not the whole enchilada. But some days…some years…it feels like it."
The next voice startled the hell out of him. Carter. "Colonel?!"
"This way!" Simmons shouted uselessly, as she would have been following the trail anyway. "She's almost here, Colonel. She'll get you out of here."
"Of course she will," Jack sighed.
She always did.
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