Actions

Work Header

Air Force vs Navy

Chapter Text

Major General George Hammond looked up at the quick tap on his door frame and smiled. "Come in Colonel."

Jack moved into the room and took a seat across from the General.

"Captain Carter not with you?" Hammond asked.

"She'll be here in a moment Sir," Jack replied. "Daniel had her bailed up over some doohickey they've both got a hard-on for." At the Generals raised eyebrows Jack sat up straighter in his chair. "I mean..."

The General smiled indulgently at his second in command. "I got the idea, thank you Colonel."

When Hammond went back to his paperwork Jack cleared his throat. "So there's nothing you wanna share while we wait Sir?"

"Not until the Captain gets here Colonel." He was just about to suggest the Colonel go rescue his own second in command from Doctor Jackson when the woman in question knocked on his door.

"I'm sorry I'm late Sir...Sirs," she corrected at Jacks pointed look.

Hammond smiled at her, indicating that she should take a seat next to Jack. "No need to apologise Captain," he assured her. "The Colonel told me what had you held up. I can appreciate how difficult it can be to get away from Doctor Jackson sometimes."

Jack and Sam shared a look and a small smile at the Generals words.

"So, I suppose you're both wondering why I've asked you here without the rest of SG-1?"

They shared another look, this one a little more serious. "It had crossed our minds Sir," Jack admitted.

"Well as it happens, the assignment that I've volunteered you both for has nothing to do with the Stargate program."

Jack shifted uncomfortably in his chair. He'd been 'volunteered' for many missions over the course of his career and none were any he would particularly care to repeat. "Sir?" he asked really not sure he wanted to know the answer.

George Hammond smiled at his friend. "Relax Colonel," he replied. "When I say I volunteered you both...you can decline if you want to, but this would count as your required flight time for the year."

Sam chanced a glance at her immediate CO and saw the deep frown on his face. "What's the mission Sir?" she asked the General.

"Every five years the Air Force and the Navy hold joint war games..."

Jack sat up straight in his chair again.

"It's supposed to be a learning exercise, but everyone knows it's basically a...if you'll excuse the language...a pissing contest between Air Force pilots and Navy Aviators to see who's the best..."

"And you volunteered us?" Sam asked, a small smile appearing on her face.

"I did Captain."

"Oh sweet!" Jack cried, as he fist pumped the the air, grinning from ear to ear. "No need to look any further Sir," he assured the General. "We're you're guys. Mission accepted."

"Yes," Sam agreed. "Thank you for thinking of us Sir."

Jack looked at her. "Come on Carter! Show some enthusiasm! This is gonna be frigging awesome!"

She watched her CO for a moment before she started to chuckle thinking he looked seriously adorable, huge grin, his hair sticking up all over the place...a real kid in a candy store...

"If you say so Sir," she replied with a smile.

"Where's your competitive spirit? We're gonna wipe the floor with those...well I can't think of a suitably derisive name right now...but when I do that's what they are..."

"Yes Sir."

"Okay you two," Hammond interrupted as he passed an envelope to each of them. "There's all the information you'll need. Your transport leaves Peterson tomorrow at oh-nine-hundred heading for Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville Florida. Report to the base Commander at sixteen hundred."

"What about our aircraft Sir?" Jack asked, not even able to believe himself how excited he was at the prospect of actually getting in some serious flight time. Approved aerial acrobatics to boot.

"They'll be there waiting for you Colonel," he replied. "Go, get organised and read through those information packets. They'll tell you all you need to know. "

Jack practically bounced out of his chair and stood to attention snapping off a smart salute, huge grin still in place. "Yes Sir! Thank you Sir!"

Sam noticed the General looked more than a little startled before he regained his composure enough to reply. "You're welcome Colonel," he replied with a slight smile. "Don't let me down!"

Sam smiled as she gained her feet and saluted the General as well. "We won't Sir."

xxxxxxxx

Daniel rolled a small stone cylinder across Sam's workbench. "So tell me again why you're both so excited about this?"

She shrugged as she turned back to face him. "We're pilots Daniel," she replied with a smile.

"But you get to go through the Stargate, through space to other planets every day," he pointed out. "How could flying in a regular old plane compare with that?"

"The jets we'll be flying aren't just regular old planes Daniel," Jack butted in as he sauntered into Carters lab.

"It's like you being an archaeologist," Sam started to explain. "Even though you get to go through the gate to other planets, if you got to go on an important dig on Earth you'd still be excited about it right?"

Daniel thought about that. "Yeah I suppose I can see your point."

"Okay, good," Jack replied. "Now we've got that out of the way...Carter we have to go!"

Sam looked at her watch and frowned. "Sir, we've got plenty of time to get to the transport."

Jack pursed his lips. "I don't care," he replied after a moment. "Let's go before Daniel thinks of some 'Galaxy ending' important rock formation he just has to discuss with you right this instant and makes us late. Now move!"

Sam and Daniel shared a look before moving into each other's embrace.

"Take care Sam," he said as he pressed his face into the side of her neck.

"We'll be fine Daniel," she assured him as she pulled back from him.

Jack stood, an awkward witness to the easy intimacy his two scientists shared, then Daniel turned to him. "I'm good," he said holding up his hands as the archaeologist threatened him with a similar display of affection.

Daniel rolled his eyes at his friend. "Well you take care too," he said. "And take care of Sam."

Jack looked from Daniel to Carter. "You know, commanding officer or not, you would have kicked my ass if I just said that."

Sam smiled and ruffled her friends hair. "But that's just Daniel Sir," she explained.

xxxxxxxx

Lieutenant Billy 'The Kid' Grainger smiled and gave his buddy a nudge. "Here comes the transport from Peterson," he said. "You wanna go out and make our Air Force brothers feel welcome?"

"Check out the competition you mean," replied Lieutenant JG Paul 'Hally' Hanson.

The Kid grinned and walked out towards where the big plane would be letting off its cargo.

A small smile came to Paul Hanson's face as he stood next to his friend and watched the two Air Force officers come down the steps of the transport. "Looks like we're also making a sister feel welcome," he commented.

"Very welcome," Billy breathed as the hot blonde and the old guy came towards them.

"Looks like we've got a welcoming committee Carter," Jack mumbled.

"Looks like it Sir," Sam agreed.

xxxxxxxxxx

Jack wasn't too pleased to be leaving Carter in the care of the two hotshots who introduced themselves as being a part of the Navy team they'd be flying against, but he had an appointment with the base commander so he didn't have much choice.

Rear-Admiral James Hayes only kept Jack waiting a few minutes before coming out of his office and extending his hand to him. Jack shot to his feet and fought hard against the impulse to salute the superior officer, even if he was in a different service. Instead he grasped the man's hand and was slightly disappointed by the calibre of his handshake.

"Good to meet you Colonel O'Neill," the Admiral said as he ushered Jack into his office. "General Hammond has told me a great deal about you and your Captain." At Jacks wince he let out a hearty chuckle. "Believe me it was all good."

"Well I can believe that of Captain Carter Sir," Jack admitted. The Admiral was about to answer when someone came barging though the door and interrupted them.

"Sorry I'm late," the dark headed woman said without preamble. "But you didn't exactly give me much notice..." She trailed off when she noticed the uniformed Air Force officer standing off to the side. "Ah sorry Sir," she said to the Rear-Admiral coming to attention. "I didn't realise you had company."

"At ease Commander," Jim Hayes said to the woman. "Colonel O'Neill here is the reason I asked you to come over here this afternoon."

"Oh?" she asked glancing at him.

"You may have guessed that the Colonel is here for the war games, and I thought since you'll be leading opposing teams you should get acquainted."

She smiled slightly. "Good idea Sir." Then she turned to Jack and held out her hand. "Commander Eleanor Robinson Sir."

Jack had to think for a moment what her rank meant in context of his own. Obviously for her to use 'Sir' he outranked her, but he would have to ask Carter by how much. Navy aviator ranks were all screwy as far as he was concerned.

"Pleased to meet you commander," Jack replied with an easy smile as he took her hand, pleased to note she had a firmer handshake than her CO. "Colonel Jack O'Neill."

Chapter Text

"Sir?" Sam asked, surprised to find her CO, in civvies, knocking on her door at 1900 hours.

"Come on Carter, let's go."

"Where are we going Sir?"

"Commander Robinson invited us to the officers club remember?"

"The Commander invited you to the officers club," she reminded him.

He rolled his eyes. "It was implied," he argued. "Now come out and have some fun would you? This week is gonna be a blast and what better way to start it than getting to know our Naval counterparts?"

"You weren't so keen on getting to know our Naval counterparts when Billy and Paul offered to take my bag and show me my room."

His jaw tightened and he let out a breath. "Well that's because I don't know them yet," he pointed out in a response that wasn't exactly a lie, but wasn't completely the truth either. "Hence the going out to get to know them. Besides, we might also get to meet up with the other Air Force guys we'll be flying with this week."

"There are other Air Force personnel here?" she asked, surprised.

He smiled. "I know we're good Carter, but you didn't think we were going to be taking on the entire Navy by ourselves did you?"

"I guess I was that excited that we were coming I hadn't really thought about it."

"You hadn't thought about it!?" Jack asked with a frown as he reached out and placed his palm against her forehead. "Are you feeling okay? And can I have that in writing?" She blushed and he swallowed. He liked it when he made her smile. He loved it when he made her laugh. The way he felt when he made her blush...well...he wasn't going anywhere near that right now.

She gave him a look and he dropped his hand.

"Can you at least say it again so I can record it?" he said with a smirk, and he knew by the look on her face if she could tell him to 'go jump' without being court-martialled she would.

"Anyway," he said finally. "Officers club. Let's go."

She smiled and wrapped her arms about her middle. "If you don't mind Sir, I'll stay here. I have my laptop and there were some simulations I wanted to...run..." she replied, petering out towards the end at the look he gave her as he crossed his arms over his chest.

"Do I have to make it an order Captain?"

"I'm not sure you can order me to a club Sir," she replied with a frown.

He raised his eyebrows. "Excuse me?" And if the Colonel voice didn't convince her, then the Colonel stare certainly did.

"Coming Sir," she said grabbing her coat and following him out the door.

As they walked he turned to her slightly. "So remind me how Commander relates to Colonel," he requested.

Sam smiled slightly. "Commander is the equivalent of Lieutenant Colonel Sir," she told him.

"Ah," he replied. Then after a beat he added, "Stupid ranks. Why can't they just use the same as us?"

"That one I can't answer Sir," she replied, her smile widening at the all too familiar, slightly whiny tone he adopted when he didn't like or understand something, that little line between his eyebrows deepening. "Ensign is the same as Second Lieutenant. Lieutenant Junior Grade is the sa..."

"Ah!" he interrupted. "Like I'm gonna remember!"

"I could make you a little card with all the equivalent ranks to carry in your pocket for the week if you like?"

He seemed to consider this for a moment then smiled. "Thanks Carter," he replied. "Could come in handy saving me from a court martial."

She laughed. "Well for the purposes of potential charges Sir, you only need worry about any title with an 'Admiral' in it."

He looked at her. "Everything else is below me?"

Her face felt hot all of a sudden and she found she had to clear her throat before she answered. "Captain is equal rank, but otherwise yes."

He smiled. "Sweet!" Then he frowned. "Also, weird."

xxxxxxxxxxxx

Jack leant against the bar, Commander Ellie Robinson seated on the stool next to him.

"So, family?" he asked. She smiled around the neck of her beer bottle and it made him focus way too much on her mouth. She had a nice mouth.

"Not unless you count an asshole of an ex-husband," she replied. "You?"

He clinked bottles with her. "Same, though not so much the asshole part," he clarified.

Ellie glanced towards the door. "Oh great," she breathed.

Jack followed her gaze and raised his eyebrows in question.

"Speaking of asshole ex-husbands," she explained.

He nearly choked on the mouthful of beer he was trying to swallow. "Your ex is the base commander!?"

"Ellie," Rear-Admiral James Hayes greeted as he walked up to his ex wife.

"Jim," she replied.

"Colonel," he said glancing at Jack.

"Hello Sir."

"Making our Air Force brethren feel welcome I see," he said to her.

"As ordered," she smiled raising her bottle slightly.

Jim Hayes shook his head and smiled ruefully. "She sure knows how to make a guy feel special huh Colonel?"

Jack looked uncomfortably between the two not sure if he was expected to reply. "Ah..."

"And if you wanted to make everyone feel awkward...mission accomplished," Ellie countered. "Did you actually want something Jim?"

The Admirals mouth tightened into a thin line. "Pleasure as always Ellie," he mumbled. "Colonel, good luck out there this week," he said to Jack before moving away.

"Thank you Sir," Jack replied with a slight smile, glad the moment had passed as he watched Ellie's ex walk away.

Jack waited until he was sure the Rear-Admiral was out of earshot before he spoke again. "Well that was..."

"Yes."

"The base commander is really your ex?"

"Yes."

"So...I'm assuming you guys have the same frat regs as we do..."

She smiled at that. "We met when I was stationed elsewhere, so by the time I was transferred here, which as you so correctly point out put us in the same chain of command, we were already married," she explained. "And then six months later, we weren't..."

Jack didn't comment on that and she didn't elaborate, but he had a feeling the Rear-Admiral liked the female members of his command a little too much for his ex-wife's liking.

He smiled at her. "Base commander or not, you really don't hold back do you?"

She smiled back. "There are a couple of perks to being the ex-wife," she replied. "I get to keep the house we lived in on base instead of being billeted in the single quarters, and I get to call a Rear-Admiral a 'rear end' without ending up in the brig."

Jack chuckled at that thinking that he and Commander Eleanor Robinson were going to get along just fine.

"You wanna dance?" she asked suddenly.

Or maybe not, he thought as he looked at her.

"Oh come on Jack," she cajoled. "We can't let the young ones have all the fun can we?"

He looked over to see several of the younger officers, including her subordinates and his as it happened, bouncing around energetically on the dance floor. "Not really my thing," he replied. "Besides, there's no way my knees would ever let me do something like that!"

"I'm not talking about doing something like that," she replied. "This music isn't exactly my thing either."

"What then?"

She smiled. "Don't go anywhere," she said as she moved away.

The tempo of the music on the jukebox changed and Sam and most of the others who had been out on the floor returned to the bar.

"Worked up quite a sweat there Carter," Jack observed, amused when she blushed at his words.

"Yes Sir," she replied a little breathless. "I haven't danced like that in...well, ages..."

He smiled, glad his usually very serious second in command was having some fun.

She glanced around before turning back to face him. "Recognise anyone Sir?"

He shook his head. "No actually."

"No other Air Force personnel have arrived yet Sir," Billy the Kid cut in.

"Cutting it a bit fine aren't they?" Jack asked. "We're meant to kick this thing off tomorrow."

"I heard something about the transport they were on being delayed by weather," he replied. "They were hoping to get off the ground by 2000 hours, so they should be here soon if they're gonna be."

"So maybe it will be just you and me taking on the entire Navy Sir," Sam said with a grin.

Jack returned the grin as he looked at her. "You and me together Carter? They don't stand a chance..." He thought he saw something flicker in her eyes and he found he couldn't look away, almost desperate to see it again. Knowing at the same time, he should be doing everything he could to discourage it, to ignore it, not to actively seek it out.

Then there was a light tap on his back, breaking what was quickly becoming a very inappropriate moment between them. He turned, thankful to find a smiling Ellie Robinson.

"This," she said lifting a hand to indicate the music playing in the background. "Is what I was talking about."

Jack cocked his head slightly and listened to the song. He barely had enough time to shove his beer at Carter before he was dragged out onto the floor.

"Looks like we're not the only ones who are gonna be workin up a sweat tonight," Billy noted as he passed Sam her own beer.

"Huh?" she asked distractedly, glancing away only briefly from where the Colonel and Commander had started dancing.

Billy smiled and nodded towards the couple.

"Oh I doubt the Colonel will stay out there when the music ramps up again," she replied.

Billy laughed and clapped her on the shoulder. "I wasn't talking about dancing Sam."

Sam's mouth opened and closed before she managed a reply. "I really don't think that he'd..."

"Oh come on!" Billy interrupted. "Is he married?"

"No," she replied.

"Well neither is she," he added.

"And she always gets what she wants," Paul added coming to stand next to them. At Sam's frown he smiled and added, "and it's pretty obvious what she wants right now..."

As Ellie pulled him closer, nuzzling into the side of his neck he swallowed. "I'm not sure we're setting such a good example for the kids," he murmured against her cheek and felt her smile against his skin.

"What's to set?" she asked. "We don't have chain of command issues, hell we're not even in the same service. Neither of us is married..." She looked up at him then. "Or involved?"

"No," he confirmed.

"Both consenting adults..."

He chanced a glance over toward the bar and closed his eyes briefly when he saw that Carter watching them.

Ellie felt his movement and followed his gaze. She couldn't help but wonder...Captain Carter was a very attractive woman after all. "Unless of course you have chain of command issues of your own." She didn't phrase it as a question, saving him from having to answer if he didn't want to.

He looked down at her and winced slightly. "It's not exactly like that," he replied.

"Oh?"

He glanced quickly back to his Captain before looking back down to Ellie. "Look, Carter's a good soldier...who just happens to be a woman..."

"A very attractive woman..."

He frowned. "Really? I hadn't noticed." She rolled her eyes and he smiled. "Anyway...she's young and impressionable and, maybe, she might have...ah hell I don't wanna sound like I'm full of myself here..."

Ellie smiled at him. "Are you saying your very young, very attractive second in command has a crush on you Colonel?"

He shrugged and sighed. "Yeah, maybe, kind of...I don't know...some misplaced kind of hero worship thing or something. Though God knows why!" He decided to leave out the part where if he looked at her too long he cold easily get lost in those eyes, or that smile, or...he mentally shook himself. "I mean surely you've had this come up too right? You must have it all the time since I'm thinking most of your team would be male."

She considered this for a moment. "There could have been a few times, but if I suspected anything I usually had them transferred out to another unit before it became a problem. But you haven't done that with Captain Carter."

"No," he agreed.

"So could this crush...or whatever it is," she corrected at the look he gave her. "...be more than just one sided?"

He thought a moment about what to tell her, deciding that claiming he'd never thought about Carter in that way...well, he guessed Ellie Robinson would have a hard time believing that. "Have I looked at her? Yeah. Have I thought about it?" He shrugged. "Briefly, what guy wouldn't? But is it a problem? No! Carter is the best at what she does and she's saved my sorry ass more times than I can count which is why I want her to stay on my team. But if it ever did become a problem, I'd take the necessary steps."

"So," she replied running her hand down his back. "Now we've gotten that out of the way..."

He smiled. "There's no bad example to be set?"

She smiled back and chuckled in that throaty voice of hers that did things to his insides as well as his outsides. "Not unless you decide you need to jump me right here on the dance floor."

He barked out a laugh as he looked to the sky before looking back down to her. "I think I'll be able to control myself...barely..."

"We'll see if you'll be able to maintain that steely self control when we get back to my place," she replied, feeling his hold on her lessen as he pulled back slightly.

"Ellie...it's not that I'm not interested..." And he was dammit! His body was voicing its opinion on the matter quite clearly. So why the hell had those words just left his mouth!? Ellie Robinson was a stunner and a helluva lot more age appropriate than...

"Save yourself the 'I'm flattered, but...' speech Colonel," she interrupted. "I wasn't actually suggesting we go back to my place for...that..."

He wasn't sure he believed her, but he was willing to give her the out. "So what were you suggesting?"

"Well, what I was rather clumsily trying to suggest is that we head back to my place...only because it's much quieter and has much better scotch."

He regarded her for a moment, his brief moment of lunacy with Carter only minutes before coming to mind, before he gave a small nod. He needed to get his 2IC out of his brain, and maybe spending a companiable evening with a nice woman was exactly what he needed to do that. "I think I'd like that."

She smiled. "Well go get your coat flyboy."

They walked back to the bar and Sam held the Colonels beer out to him. "Here's your drink Sir."

"Ah, I'm heading out Carter," he said as he grabbed his coat from the back of his stool. "You finish it." At her frown he added, "or not."

"Well I'm pretty beat too Sir," she said as she put the bottle back on the bar. "It's been a long day. I'll come with you."

"No, no. You're having fun with the guys here, stay awhile longer and I'll see you at breakfast at 0700."

"That's okay Sir, really. I'm ready to go."

"Carter! It's okay, I want you to stay," he said.

"Yes Sir," she replied quietly to his retreating back.

"Told you," Billy whispered in her ear. She looked on as the Colonel paused beside Commander Robinson where she stood at the end of the bar talking to the bartender, touching her arm to get her attention. Then Sam's stomach dropped as she watched them leave the bar together.

When they got outside Commander Ellie Robinson made Jack's eyebrows rise as she climbed into the classic 1967 Mustang that sat by the curb.

"Wow, nice car," he commented as he walked over.

"So you getting in or were you planning on running alongside?" she asked.

He gave her his most charming smile. "Don't suppose you'd let me drive?"

She grinned. "Sorry Sir...but you'll have to do one helluva lot more than outrank me to get into the drivers seat of my baby."

As she started the big engine Jack dropped into the low passenger seat, whooping when she took off from the curb fast enough to leave strips of rubber on the pavement.

Billy came out of the bar to see Sam staring up the road and he noticed the receding tail lights of his CO's cherry ride. He gave her shoulder a nudge with his own.

"So...you and the old guy got something goin on?"

It took Sam a moment to realise what he was saying. "No!" she replied. "He's my CO! And he's not old," she added indignantly as she moved past him back into the club.

"Right..." he breathed as he followed her.

When he joined her at the bar she turned to him annoyed as hell at his assumption that she and the Colonel had 'something goin on'...

"Are you and the Commander..."

Billy grinned. "Of course not."

That made her even more angry that he would assume just because she was a female subordinate officer she would sleep with her CO. "So what made you think I did?"

He gave her a slightly quizzical look. "I've known you for all of a few hours...and even I can see the way you look at the guy," he replied. Then he shook his head. "Though why a totally rockin babe like you would have the hots for a guy his age..."

She punched him in the arm. Hard.

"Hey!" he complained. "And how the hell am I not supposed to think you got something for the guy when you react like that!?"

Sam turned away from him knowing all too well she was giving him way too much ammunition.

"And a word of advice," he said quietly. "In future...try not to look like someone just kicked you when you realise he's leaving with another woman." She looked at him and he shrugged. "Dead giveaway..."

"So I guess you've just had more practice at hiding it huh?" she said snarkily.

"I guess so," he agreed.

She looked at him. "But I thought you said..."

"There is nothing between us," he confirmed. Then after a moment. "Doesn't mean I don't want there to be..."

Chapter Text

Jack woke to a loud clang, an uttered curse word and the smell of coffee. He cracked one eye open and took in his surroundings. Eleanor Robinsons living room. He was sprawled out on her couch, throw rug over him, his boots sitting neatly to one side. He rubbed a hand over his face. He didn't even remember closing his eyes. Looking at his watch he let out a sigh, relieved that Ellie was an early riser. Just short of 0500. Even at a walk, he estimated he'd have time for coffee and it should still get him back to his quarters before 0530, at least an hour before Carter would be making an appearance. As he threw the rug aside and pulled on his boots, he thought about that, about why he should care if she saw him coming in at this hour or not. He didn't owe Carter anything apart from being her CO. There was nothing between them, there could never be anything between them, but having her see him come in the next morning after the night before...even though it wasn't the night before she probably would think it was...it wasn't something he wanted. He was pulled from his thoughts by Ellie's shadow falling across the doorway.

"Morning sleeping beauty," she greeted, the smile as evident in her voice as it was on her face.

Jack scratched the back of his head as she handed him a mug. "I fell asleep huh?" he said, stating the obvious with no little amount of embarrassment.

"Mmm...more like passed out," she replied as she took a seat next to him.

"God I'm sorry, some great company I turned out to be," he said as he took a sip of the strong brew.

"No problem," she replied easily. "You looked like you needed it which is why I let you sleep."

"Thanks," he replied, meaning it. He liked Ellie Robinson, a lot. She was a really nice person. He'd found that out in the not small amount of talking they'd done before he'd apparently flaked out on her. And sitting there so close to him in the light robe she was currently wearing reminded him of how attractive a woman she was as well. And suddenly he was glad he'd fallen asleep. Nothing had happened between them last night, but as they drank her scotch and they talked about, well, pretty much everything, he'd begun to take more notice of just how attractive she was. And he knew she'd noticed him noticing.

He finished his coffee and used her bathroom, then turned for the door. "I'd better make tracks," he said.

"Yes, you had," she agreed as she stood from the couch, moving over to join him by her front door.

"Thank you for the hospitality," he said with a smile.

"Just carrying out orders Colonel."

He raised his eyebrows. "I'm wounded if that's all it was," he said, his hand moving to his heart.

She smiled then, her eyes on his as she stood on her toes. "Well maybe that's not entirely all it was..." she whispered against his skin, her lips soft on his cheek before she took a step back opening the door for him.

"I'll see you in the briefing room Colonel."

He sketched a loose salute, his heart still beating a little erratically from having her so close. "You will Commander."

xxxxxxx

"Laugh!"

Sam was pulled from her close examination of the breakfast foods in the display at Billy's exclamation. She looked at him where he stood in line in front of her and frowned. "What?"

"Laugh like I just said something incredibly funny, and then look at me like I'm the most interesting guy in the world," he ordered.

"Billy, what are you..."

"Lover boy just walked in the door and he's on his way over here." He looked her straight in the eye and smiled. "Let's see if we can't make him just a little bit jealous."

Sam thought for only a moment before she laughed at nothing for a few seconds before her eyes found his again.

"Nice touch," he said with a smile, his eyes dropping to her hand when it came to rest on his arm.

Jack stopped a few feet behind Carter and frowned slightly at the close proximity of the Navy brat to his 2IC. His eyebrow rose, the frown deepening when he noticed her hand on his arm.

"I can't believe you just said that!" she said a little too loudly.

The kid smiled back. "Well you can't say it's not true."

"Hey kids," Jack cut in. "What're we talking about?"

Sam turned, startled by the close proximity of his voice. "Sir! Ah..."

Billy could see her struggling and jumped in. "Location joke Sir," he replied.

"Location joke?"

"Yeah," the kid replied with a smile. "As in you had to be there."

Jacks gaze turned to Carter cause he knew he would likely smack the grin off the brats face if he had to keep looking at it.

"We've been here a little over twelve hours Carter," he said with a forced smile. "How much more of 'the location' could you have possibly seen than I have?"

"Last night Sir," she replied, glad her voice sounded more confident than she felt. "You left. I stayed. Remember?"

His eyes flicked briefly from Carter to Navy and back. "Right."

"Please, go ahead of us Sir," Billy interrupted. "We still haven't made up our minds what we want yet."

Jack looked at Carter a moment longer before his eyes settled on Navy. Sam had seen that look on several occasions and she was glad she wasn't on the receiving end of it, at the same time feeling sorry that Billy was.

Billy swallowed, glad when the Colonel looked away from him as he moved past them in the line.

"Don't take all day Carter," he said a little sharply. "We're here for more than socialising. Remember?"

"Yes Sir," she mumbled.

As the Colonel left, Sam and Billy quickly began to load their plates. "Well that didn't exactly go as planned," Sam hissed when she was sure the Colonel was out of earshot.

Billy grinned as he jammed a piece of toast in his mouth. "Are you kidding!?" he said around the mouthful of food. "That went brilliantly!"

Sam looked at him like he'd grown another head. "And how do you figure that?" she demanded. "He's pissed at me and he looked like he wanted to kill you!"

Billy rolled his eyes as he headed towards his teams regular table. "Duh! I thought you were supposed to be some kind of genius or something..." he exclaimed. When comprehension still hadn't dawned he elaborated. "And why do you think that is Sam? If he wasn't jealous he wouldn't give a crap about what we got up to after he left last night."

That little revelation stopped her in her tracks. Billy could actually be right about this. But then if...

"But if..." she hurried to catch up to him. "If that's true then why'd he leave me there with you guys in the first place huh? If he was worried something might happen he would've stayed, or at least not stopped me from leaving."

Billy stopped just short of his table and turned to her. "Cause you're dependable Sam," he said. "Dependable, loyal, faithful..."

"God you make me sound like a golden retriever..."

He shrugged. "I don't think he's as blind to how you feel about him as you think he is..."

She swallowed. "What!?"

"Don't sweat it," he said. "If it bothered him he would've already had you transferred out of his team by now..."

"Transferred!?" How the hell had they gotten onto the subject of her being transferred!?

He shook his head. "The point I'm trying to make is...he thinks you've got this thing for him...which, well, admittedly you have. But he obviously thinks you're just going to be the good little subordinate, continue with your hero worship, and sit around mooning hopelessly over him..."

Sam wasn't sure how she felt about how this conversation had turned out. She did not 'moon' over her coimmanding officer.

Oh god! She didn't, did she!?

"And now you're actually showing interest in another guy..." he said with a smile. "And now he's staring straight at us."

Sam glanced over to where Billy was looking. As soon as her eyes found the Colonels he waved her over. She gave a slight nod before turning back to her new friend. "I'd better go."

"Yes you had," he replied with a grin. "And you can thank me later." His face screwed up a little. "Damn! Too bad he didn't hear that!"

Despite her nerves at having pissed off her CO Sam couldn't help but giggle at that. "I'll catch you in the briefing."

Sam gave the Colonel a slight smile as she walked towards where he was seated at a table with several other Air Force officers, nearly all of whom outranked her, and none of whom outranked him.

"Carter, this is Colonel Bill Harris," he said, introducing her to the man seated directly to his right as she took a seat across from him. "The Colonel and I go way back."

"Too far back," Harris replied with a smile.

"This is my second in command Captain Samantha Carter."

"Captain Carter," he greeted, waving her to keep her seat as she made to rise.

"And since I know Jack won't remember the names of my guys," he said with a look at Jack. "This is Major John Potter, and Captain Sam Adams."

"Major, Captain," Sam said in return.

"Captain," they replied in unison.

"I was going to remember Captain Sam at least," Jack groused, before he turned his attention back to Carter. He was still feeling a little rankled by their earlier encounter in the mess line, but his feeling of satisfaction at having his Captain removed from the immediate vicinity of the Navy brat far outweighed any lingering anger. Jack frowned. Anger? No, that wasn't the right word. What would he have to be angry about after all? Concern. That was more like it. Not only was he her CO, but he genuinely liked her and this kid seemed just a little too slick for his liking. Carter was nothing short of brilliant in a lot of ways, in others he thought she was probably still a little naive, and after that mess with Jonas Hanson he didn't want her falling for some guy with a cheesy smile and smooth lines. He didn't want her to get hurt, that was all. He was looking out for her. Pleased with his assessment of his earlier feelings he looked over at her.

"So, sounds like you ended up having a late night last night Carter?" Jack asked, trying to sound as casual as he possibly could.

"No Sir, I actually got in about 2300," she replied as she ripped her piece of toast in two, dying to ask him the same thing but thinking better of it with the other officers there. "I actually went out early for a run," she volunteered instead.

Jack was relieved at her words for all of about ten seconds, then his gut clenched at the thought she may have seen him this morning, but then he relaxed, realising that it was more likely he would have seen her first if she'd been running and he was walking. "You just beat me then," he lied.

Sam frowned. She'd been awake until nearly one and she hadn't heard him come in. Not that they were sharing a room or anything, but he'd been billeted right next door to her and she would have heard his key in the lock. Before she could think too much more about it her phone rang. "Sorry," she said as she pulled it out of her pocket. "It's General Hammond," she said at the Colonels raised eyebrows.

"Go, take it," he said. "You want me to come with?"

She smiled. "No that's okay Sir, I think I know what it's about," she said as she made for the door, answering her phone as she went.

Something to do with some simulation for the dialling computer or some such Jack was sure, otherwise Hammond would have called him if it had been some doomsday event.

Harris watched his friends second stride from the room. "A Captain getting a call from a General?"

Jack glanced at him knowing that was a tad unusual. "Yeah well, Carter is like scary smart, especially when it comes to...deep space radar...stuff..."

Harris just looked at him. "Uh huh."

"That's not the only thing she is," Potter mumbled.

Jacks eyes shifted to the younger man, not at all happy with his tone.

"You know I wasn't going to bring it up, but I gotta say, you are one lucky sonovabitch O'Neill!" Harris intoned.

Jack turned to him. "Really? And how do you figure that since you just got through telling me what a bogus assignment deep space radar telemetry was?"

Harris chuckled and clapped him on the back. "Like I'd ever really believe they'd have someone like you holed up under a mountain in Colorado looking through a telescope! You need a better cover story my friend."

"Yeah well, maybe my mouth got me into one too many holes for me to dig my way out of," Jack argued.

"Well, actually that I can believe," Harris replied.

Jack threw him a look.

"But what I was actually talking about was your Captain," he clarified. "I hear it gets mighty cold up in those mountains..."

"And?" Jack demanded not liking where this was going.

"And I don't think I could pick anyone I'd rather have keeping me warm than her."

"Amen to that," Major John Potter seconded.

"And what part of she's my 2IC did you not understand Bill?" Jack asked, deciding to ignore Potter altogether.

Bill held up his hands. "It was a joke Jack...bad joke," he added at the look on his old friends face. "I didn't mean to imply there was actually anything between you two."

Jack looked at the other Colonel for a moment longer before he nodded. "Forget about it," he said, patting him on the shoulder. "It's just...well you know how that kind of talk can turn from a joke into an allegation in the blink of an eye. And Carter deserves better than that."

Bill nodded, suitably chastened, thinking of his own daughter who had just entered the Academy. "You're right Jack, I'm sorry. They all deserve better than that."

"Well just cause she's out of your reach Colonel, doesn't mean the rest of us can't take a stab at tapping that sweet ass."

Jack had a feeling the moment he was introduced to John Potter he wouldn't like the guy and as he glared at him for that last remark he knew it for sure.

"Shut up Potter!" Harris barked.

"I was just saying..."

"That's an order Major!"

Potter dropped his fork and looked down at his plate.

Jack shared a look with Harris, glad that Major Jerkoff was not his problem.

"Colonel O'Neill."

Jack looked up and smiled. "Commander. You want to join us?"

"Better not," Ellie replied with a small smile. "Wouldn't want to be caught fraternising with the enemy. Just thought I'd come say hi."

He felt Bill Harris' elbow dig into his ribs. Jack glanced at him, then back to Ellie.

"Commander Eleanor Robinson, allow me to make some introductions..."

Ellie shared some pleasantries with the Air Force officers sitting with Jack then excused herself to go join her team.

"Wow!" Bill said as he watched her walk away.

Jack chuckled. "She does have that effect."

"I didn't see a ring..." Bill prompted.

Jack shook his head. His friend had been divorced for a shorter amount of time than he had and he certainly wasn't wasting any time getting back in the saddle.

"She's divorced."

Bill smiled. "Really?"

"Just...go easy okay?" Jack told him.

Bill slapped him on the back. "No chain of command issues with that one my friend." When Jack didn't smile back he sobered a little. "Unless of course you've already..."

Jack did smile then. "Not exactly. All I'm trying to say is...she's nice. So don't be a jerk about it."

Bill smiled. "When did you turn into Mister Sensitivity?"

Jack blew out a breath and shook his head slightly as he wondered the same thing.

Then he noticed Billy watching Carter as she came back into the mess hall and he wasn't feeling so sensitive all of a sudden.

 

Chapter Text

"Okay people," called Admiral Hayes as he entered the briefing room and the din subsided. He looked out over the gathered military officers before him and a small smile came to his lips.

"We all know why we're here," he said as he motioned to his aide to start the overhead display. "Every five years our two great institutions come together to conduct advanced aerial combat simulations in order for us all to further improve our skills."

He smiled then. "Who ultimately takes the prize at the end of the week is of course incidental."

There was a small ripple of laughter at that as everyone present knew whoever won would have bragging rights for the next five years making the prize the object of the week. Ticking the training box was the 'incidental' aspect.

Hayes then ran through the rules for the exercise. There weren't many. Don't kill yourself. Don't kill each other. And try really really hard not to ditch million dollar airplanes.

"Each plane has a tag attached designating Air Force or Navy," he explained. "Moderators will observe on radar and laser guidance systems have been modified for hits."

He glanced around the room. "Questions?" When no one spoke he smiled. "Dismissed and good luck!"

Jack turned to Carter. "Ready?" A huge grin split her features, her eyes lighting up.

"You bet!" At the Colonels raised eyebrow she added a hasty, "Sir."

As soon as she turned away from him to stand and file out of the room it was Jacks turn to grin. He followed Carter up the steps of the small auditorium his mind occupied with the thought of actually getting to fly with his second in command when a hand on his shoulder pulled him from his thoughts.

"I hope you'll have my back up there today Jack," Colonel Bill Harris said only half joking.

Jack smiled at his old friend. "I've always bailed your ass out before Bill."

Bill laughed and clapped him on the back. "I'm sure that's the way you remember it!"

Jack turned back to the exit, his smile evaporating at the sight of Carter joking around with not only Navy brat 1 but a whole slew of Navy brats this time.

"Looks like your girl's got a real fan club goin," Bill Harris commented.

Jack made a noncommittal noise in the back of his throat.

My ass he's not thinking of her as more than her CO, Bill thought not uncharitably as he studied the look on his friends face. Then he grinned. "Look on the bright side…" He waited til Jack looked at him before he continued. "Maybe they'll all be so preoccupied mooning over her that they'll forget what they're actually up in the wild blue yonder to do."

Jack tried to shake off his annoyance. "You always were a glass-half-full kinda guy Bill," he answered before he moved away.

Billy put his hand on Sam's arm and turned her slightly away from the other guys as he leant closer. "Get ready. Here he comes and he's got a face like thunder…"

Billy barely had time to finish his sentence before Sam felt someone brush roughly past her.

"Carter!" Jack barked impatiently when she didn't automatically follow him out the door.

She jumped slightly and turned towards him, not daring to look back at Billy.

xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Jack and Sam were designated Blue 1 and Blue 2. Bill Harris and his two guys were Red 1, 2 and 3. The other Air Force units that were participating were similarly designated Yellow and Green.

In all there were ten Air Force planes against the same number of Navy aviators. They were also designated Blue, Red, Yellow and Green, but were on different radio frequencies so there would be no mixup.

Jack was getting ready to ascend the steps to the cockpit of his jet when he heard a throaty voice behind him.

"Blue 1 to Blue 1…"

He turned and smiled at Commander Ellie Robinson. "You know they always designate the best units Blue right?"

She grinned. "I know that." She scrunched up her face a little. "Almost makes you feel kinda sorry for Green…"

They both stood for a moment.

"Almost…" they said in unison and laughed.

"Good luck Colonel," she said finally as she turned to walk to her own jet.

"You too Commander," he called after her.

Sam witnessed their little encounter from her own cockpit her hopeless heart now sure of what her clinical brain already knew - Billy was wrong. Not that she ever really believed him. Like the Colonel would ever be jealous over me…

Chapter Text

"Blue 1 to Blue 2."

"Blue 2, copy," Sam replied as she heard the Colonels voice over her comms.

"We just lost Red 1 and Red 3."

"Copy that Sir..."

"Just you and me left Carter."

"Yes Sir," she replied as she fell in beside him.

"Robinson and your little pal are a unit, but don't underestimate Yellow 2," Jack ordered.

"Not likely to after that last manoeuvre Sir," she confirmed. It had been Yellow 2 in conjunction with the Commander who had just taken out their latest casualties.

"Bogie coming up on our six Colonel," Sam warned.

"I see him Carter."

He waited, his next move would be decided by who it was behind them. A small smile played at the corner of his mouth when he saw the designation of the jet.

"Sir?" she queried as the plane continued to close in.

"Im going to pull up," Jack told her. "After I do, wait one then take him on a ride Captain."

Sam grinned. "Yessir!"

Jack pulled hard on the controls of the jet and it climbed steeply into the sky. Sam watched him go, waited a few seconds and then dived down and to her left. She could see their pursuer pause, making his decision he pointed the nose of his aircraft down trying to keep up with her.

Jack had noticed them employ this manoeuvre a couple of times already today and knew as he levelled out he would find himself above and behind his opposite number. The Brat had followed Carter as he knew he would, leaving Jack behind Ellie and keeping an eye out for the deceptively slippery Yellow 2. He grinned, knowing the moment she realised he was there, diving after her, not disappointed with the chase she was leading him on.

"Blue 2 to Blue 1..."

"Got him Carter."

Jack could've taken out Ellie Robinson a few times, but he was enjoying their game of cat and mouse, and now she'd led him straight to the elusive Yellow 2, currently making a b-line for Carter who was about to be outflanked by 2 Navy jets. He pulled out of his pursuit of Robinson and as the nose of his jet came around he managed to line Yellow 2 up perfectly.

Sam grinned when she heard the whooping cry of her CO over her radio as Yellow 2 fell off their radar. "Nice work Colonel."

"Thanks Carter, now it's time to take out...crap..."

"Sir?"

"I've got Robinson on my six," he replied.

Sam felt a stab in her gut at the thought of the Commander being anywhere near the Colonels six. "Hang on Sir." She darted away leaving Billy the Kid in her wake as she went to the Colonels aid.

"Careful Carter," Jack warned as he saw her coming up on his radar, wondering what the hell she was doing. "You're not leaving yourself enough room!"

Too late Sam realised he was right. In her haste to get to him she'd cut it too close and now the Commander was locked on. "She's locked onto me Sir."

Jack hauled back on his stick putting his craft between the other two, protecting Carter and making the Commander change course to avoid hitting him.

"Jesus Christ!" Ellie swore as she desperately tried to turn the multi million dollar aircraft to avoid a collision.

"Blue 2 to Blue 1," Billy called. "You okay Commander?" He'd witnessed the manoeuvre in real time and he couldn't believe what he'd just seen, his commander coming very close to a mid air collision with a crazy man.

"Yeah Billy," she replied. "Colonel O'Neill won't be able to say the same when I get a hold of him though."

Just then the Admirals voice cut across all their comms lines. "Things are getting a bit close for comfort up there people. Days over!"

Jack sighed knowing he was going to get a reaming for this one. He didn't know why he did it, it was just a game for gods sake and he could've taken out 3 planes with one stupid move. All he could think was that flying for his life against the Goa'uld the last few years had made his survival instincts kick in. He just hoped they didn't try to blame Carter for any of it. His disciplinary jacket was as thick as a set of encyclopaedia so he didn't much care if he got another black mark in it, but he knew Carter didn't even have one at all and he didn't want to be the cause of her starting one.

xxxxxxx

"And what the hell do you call that!?"

Jack looked from Ellie Robinson to the 'MALE' sign on the quickly closing locker room door and back again. At the expression on her face he decided not to bring it up.

He looked down knowing sorry probably wasn't going to be enough, but it was all he had.

"I'm sorry," he said, looking her in the eye hoping she could see he meant it.

"It's a game Jack," she all but yelled. "And you could've tanked all three of us!"

He nodded. "I know."

Ellie took a step back, wrong footed by his easy admissions. She'd been expecting a fight. She huffed out a sigh as she looked at him. Quite a lot of him actually, as she noted now she'd started to calm down a bit, that he'd only half finished dressing when she'd barged in on him. Her eyes flicked over his bare chest and tried not to linger on his hands, thumbs hooked into the open band of his BDUs sitting low down on his hips.

Crossing her arms over her chest her eyes found his. "You're not making this easy you know." His eyebrows rose and a small smile tugged at her lips. "I was expecting you to sprout some macho bullshit at me, but now you're being all reasonable about it, it's quite difficult to maintain my righteous indignation and ire."

He looked down and chuckled, before glancing back up at her.

Ellie swallowed when he looked back up through his lashes. Jesus, those eyes...

"My fault entirely," he admitted, his voice low.

They looked at each other in silence for a moment.

"Well," she breathed. "The least you can do is buy me dinner tonight then."

He was about to answer when the door banged open and a young Naval officer burst in.

"Colonel O'Neill, the Admiral wants to see you in his office Sir."

If the young man was surprised at finding Commander Robinson in the men's locker room he didn't let it show.

"Thank you..." he looked at Ellie for help.

"Ensign," she supplied.

"Did he say when?"

The man grimaced. " 'Right this damn minute' I think were his exact words Sir."

Jack nodded as the Ensign left them alone again. Grabbing a t-shirt out of his locker he turned to Ellie as he pulled it on over his head. "About dinner?" At her raised eyebrow he continued, "As much as I'd love to, I doubt I'll still be here by tonight."

Ellie sighed. "You want me to come with you?" she asked, really wanting that dinner as she watched Jack do up his BDUs.

He smiled. "Thanks, but I think I'll face the music solo."

xxxxxxx

Sam chewed at a nail as she waited for the Colonel to come out of the locker room, wondering what the heck was taking him so long. She saw an Ensign stick his head in the door before closing it again and going back the way he had come. Not good, she thought knowing it was more than likely a summons. She was desperate to talk to him, to see what was going on, to see how he was. A few minutes later she straightened as the door opened, taking a step forward when Colonel O'Neill appeared, her eyes popping, her mouth dropping open when Commander Robinson followed close behind him. Sam beat a hasty retreat around the corner, keeping out of sight until she was sure they were gone, her CO obviously not needing any support from her right now.

She walked back towards her billet, her speed increasing as hot tears threatened to fall. Breaking into a run, she was desperate to get back before anyone saw her. Rounding the last corner she smacked hard into a very solid body, instinctively grabbing out for something to stop her falling she felt strong hands close around her arms hauling her back upright. When she was securely on her own two feet again she looked up, straight into the eyes of Major John Potter.

Chapter Text

"Go straight in Colonel," Admiral Hayes secretary said as soon as Jack entered the outer office.

He gave a small smile to the woman as he pushed through the door.

"Colonel," the Admiral greeted from behind his desk. "Take a seat."

Jack dropped into one of the visitors chairs opposite the Admiral, then straightened as he remembered he wasn't in General Hammonds office. Not that he didn't respect his CO, far from it. Just that he and George had dispensed with such formalities some time ago.

"That was quite a display up there today Colonel."

Jack looked at his linked hands in his lap. "Yes Sir."

"You do realise how close you came to ditching nearly a billion dollars worth of aircraft and three pilots don't you?"

Jack didn't think Carter had ever been in any danger, but he had put himself and Robinson in harms way no doubt.

"I do Sir and I'm sorry." There was a long pause as Jack waited for the axe to fall, expecting his marching orders at any moment.

"These are war games Colonel," Hayes said breaking the silence.

"Yes Sir."

"But what are they worth if we can't give real scenarios now and again?"

Jack looked up at that, surprised at the other mans words. "Sir?"

"I'll admit what you did was maybe a little excessive for training exercises, but if you had been faced with the same situation in real life, what you did would have deserved a medal Colonel."

Jacks eyes dropped remembering when he had used that exact manoeuvre in a real life situation over a country that no longer existed during an operation that officially never was. It had been a lot closer call and the other pilot hadn't been as good as Ellie Robinson; he'd hit the ocean at more than the speed of sound when he couldn't pull out of the spiral he'd ended up in. Jack was allowed to wear the medal, he just wasn't allowed to tell anyone how he'd gotten it.

"In saying that," Hayes continued. "How about we dial it back a bit for the rest of the week hey Colonel? Don't want to be giving the brass anymore heart attacks," he finished with a chuckle.

Jacks brows creased in a frown. Wait..what?! "Yes Sir."

"Dismissed Colonel."

xxxxxx

Jack wandered back towards his billet thinking over his meeting with the Admiral, still unable to work out why his ass wasn't booked on the next transport out of there. He'd sat in the office for a few seconds after he was dismissed not quite believing that was the extent of the rebuke. When he was still in the air he knew he'd fucked up. Knew he deserved a reaming over what he'd done. But it never came. Robinson had given him more of a hard time about it. He stopped, a thought occurring to him. "Huh..." Surely Hayes couldn't be that petty about his ex-wife that he was willing to let this go because she'd been the one on the receiving end of my little brain snap...

Jack walked on, deciding not to think too hard about it. He'd got lucky. Damn lucky and for once he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Besides, he really didn't like the idea of leaving Carter here alone with Navy and all the other little Navy brats like him. As he walked past her door he considered knocking to see how she was doing. He hadn't had a chance to talk to her since they'd landed, but he decided against it. A long hot shower beckoned and then he'd call on Carter to see if she was interested in some dinner.

An hour later, Jack leant against the door frame of Carters billet waiting for her to answer the door.

After a few minutes, the door still hadn't opened and he tried again.

"Carter," he called as he banged a flat palm against the door. "Open up!"

Still no answer. He listened intently at the door for signs of life but he couldn't hear anything. Giving a slight shrug he dug his hands deep in his pockets and headed for the officers club.

xxxxxxx

"Hey Jack, over here," called Colonel Bill Harris when he saw his old friend enter the bar.

"Hey Bill," greeted Jack as he sat at the table.

"Sam, your round," Bill Harris said to his subordinate.

Captain Sam Adams smiled and stood. "Colonel O'Neill?"

"Bud, thanks Sam," Jack replied with an easy smile for the young man.

Bill watched his Captain walk away then turned to Jack. "That was a hell of a move you pulled today my boy!"

Jack grimaced.

"Just tell me one thing..." Harris waited until Jack looked at him. "How in the hell are you still here!?"

Jack held up his hands giving a slight shrug.

Sam returned from the bar and handed his two superior officers their drinks, glancing over his shoulder. "There's some none too happy Navy boys over at the bar Sir," he said to Jack.

Jack glanced past his shoulder and raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"They're not real happy about what you did to Commander Robinson today," he elaborated, somewhat unnecessarily Jack thought.

"Don't worry Sir," the young officer said gravely. "We've got your back." He looked at his immediate CO. "Right Colonel?"

Bill and Jack glanced at each other, both working hard to suppress a smile.

"Thank you Captain," he said earnestly. "But I don't think that will be necessary."

Jack appreciated the young mans loyalty, but he really didn't anticipate too much trouble from Navy Brat 1 and Navy Brat 2, especially when he noticed Robinson herself heading his way with a sizeable smile on her very attractive face.

"Colonel," she rasped.

Jack smiled. "Commander..."

After a moment her gaze shifted to the two other men at the table.

"Colonel, Captain..."

"Commander." "Ma'am."

"Would you like to join us Commander?" Bill asked.

Ellie smiled at him and took a seat next to Jack.

"Thanks Colonel. And please...call me Ellie."

Sam Adams jumped to his feet. "Can I get you a drink Ma'am?"

Ellie picked up Jacks bottle and took a long swig. "I'm good thank you," she replied with an easy smile, her hand moving to rest on Jacks thigh under the table.

Jack shifted in his seat, leaning forward over the table trying to conceal where her hand had come to rest.

"Something wrong Colonel?" she asked innocently.

He cleared his throat searching for something to say, wondering exactly what Ellie Robinson had in mind for him tonight. Finally he nodded towards the bar.

"Your boys don't seem to happy with me."

She looked over to where he'd indicated and frowned.

"I'll be back in a minute."

"Crap," Billy breathed into his glass as his CO approached. "Ma'am," he greeted when she stopped in front of him.

"Cagney, Lacey," she replied. She stared at her junior officers for a moment longer. "Whilst I appreciate your loyalty gentlemen...cut it out!"

"But Commander..." Paul Hanson's objection died in his throat at the look she gave him.

She raised her eyebrows.

"Yes ma'am," they chorused.

She smiled as she patted them on the shoulder. "Really, thanks guys," she said in a softer voice. "But the Colonel didn't mean anything by it...and it really was a good piece of flying, you gotta admit that."

They grudgingly glanced over at the Air Force Colonel and nodded in agreement.

"It really was Commander," admitted Billy. "But you did better to avoid him the way you did."

A grin split her features as she patted her second in command lightly on the cheek. "Smooth talker..."

Billy's eyes stayed on her as she made her way back to the Air Force guys.

"Roll that tongue back up into your head Billy boy," Paul muttered to his friend, not missing the way he was looking at their CO.

Billy turned to him. "Don't know what you're talking about."

Paul laughed. "Oh very convincing!"

Jack and Bill watched as Ellie spoke with her junior officers, sharing a chuckle at the looks on the young men's faces when they were being chastised.

"Quite a woman Jack," Bill commented.

Jack nodded his agreement.

"I think she has a thing for you, God knows why!" When jack opened his mouth to reply Bill waved him away. "Don't try to deny it Jack...that table doesn't hide as much as she thinks it does," he added with a laugh.

When Ellie seated herself back at the table Jack turned to her. "I think I owe you dinner."

She smiled. "I believe you do."

"Here are the menus Sir," Captain Adams chimed in handing them around the table.

Ellie took the proffered card from him and leant in close to Jack. "Not exactly what I had in mind Colonel..."

Jack glanced at Bill who was doing a very poor job of hiding his grin behind his menu.

xxxxxxx

"Not bad," Jack commented as he tucked in to his steak.

"Definitely better than what we have on base," Bill agreed.

Ellie glanced around the bar as she started in on her strip loin. "So where is Captain Carter tonight?"

Jack looked up from his plate, taking a drink. "I don't know," he admitted. "I haven't seen her all afternoon. Thought I'd find her here with your lot." He glanced over at Navy still at the bar. "She seems awfully chummy with that one," he grumbled shoving his knife in Billy's direction.

"Oh she's out with Major Potter Sir," Captain Adams informed them.

Jack and Bill both looked at him.

The young officer visibly shrunk under the scrutiny of the two Colonels.

"Well where are they Sam?" prompted Bill.

Sam Adams glanced around the bar as if looking for a life preserver, shrugging when he didn't find what he was looking for. "Don't know Sir," he admitted. "I guess I thought they'd be here."

Jack dropped his knife and fork suddenly losing his appetite.

Chapter Text

They'd long since finished dinner and Ellie had been hinting that they go back to her place again, asking if he wanted to go for a drive, even going so far as to say he could drive her classic mustang, and hadn't she changed her tune about that since last night!? But there was still no sign of Carter or Potter, and there was no way in hell that Jack was going anywhere until he knew where Carter was and that she was okay.

He knew that she could take care of herself, she'd proven that more than once and he smiled to himself when he remembered her putting that Mongol creep Turghen down. But there was something about the way that Bill Harris had looked at Adams when he'd told them she was with Potter that made all the little hairs on the back of his neck stand to attention. It was a sense he'd learned not to ignore over the years and it'd saved his sorry ass more times than he could count, so he was not about to ignore it now.

Jack turned to Ellie, just about to ask if she might know of somewhere else they could have gone when the door opened and Carter and Potter came through it, sharing a joke as they made their way to the bar.

He let out a breath, careful not to let what he was feeling show on his face. Relax, he warned himself. She's here and she's safe.

Sams face lit up when she saw Billy at the bar. "Hey," she said as she nudged his side.

Billy turned to her and grinned. "Hey sweetness," he replied good naturedly.

John Potters eyes narrowed at his date being so familiar with the young Navy officer.

"Watch your mouth," he warned the younger man.

Sams smile faltered at his reaction to Billy's words.

"He didn't mean anything by it John," she assured him. "We're friends."

He looked between them before grunting, "I'm going to the head."

Billy raised his eyebrows as the other man moved out of earshot. "Nice guy."

Sam frowned slightly. "I thought he was but...that was just a bit..."

"Over the top?" he finished for her.

She nodded her agreement.

"Why are you bothering with that guy anyway?" he queried. "You know you've got someone who's more than willing right at your fingertips..."

Sam knew who he meant, but she couldn't see it the way he seemed to. She glanced around the bar spotting the Colonel. Commander Robinson sitting very close to him.

"Sure...he looks more than willing..." she conceded with a sigh.

Billy followed her gaze and made a noncommittal noise, about as happy as she was that their respective COs seems to be getting along so well. Then he eyed her speculatively.

"What?" she asked, a slight smile on her face.

He shrugged. "If they're gonna be playing tonight, then maybe we should..."

Sam held up a hand to stop him.

"What?" he asked. Then he sighed. "Fine, at least get rid of Mister Personality," he said as Potter made his way back from the bathroom. "I've got a bad feeling about him Sam."

As she watched John Potter move across the bar towards them she had to admit, she was starting to feel it too.

Jack watched the minor altercation between the two men, then tracked Potter as he walked away. He didn't like Carter being so friendly with Navy, but he felt a hundred times worse about Potter. He held in the involuntary growl that threatened when Potter returned to Carters side, slipping a possessive arm around her waist.

Adams had gone to join some of the other junior officers and Ellie had just excused herself to go strategise with another Navy Commander.

Jack took the opportunity and turned to Bill Harris. "So?"

Bill frowned. "So? What?"

"What's Potters story?"

A smile crept onto Bills face. "Thought you weren't interested Jack?"

"I'm not!" he said a little too loudly. The other man gave him a skeptical look and Jack huffed out a breath.

Bill Harris sighed heavily. It really wasn't their business what the Major and the Captain got up to, and even though Potter was a member of his team, he had a lot more loyalty towards Jack O'Neill than he would ever feel towards John Potter so he answered his friends question.

"Well for one, he's married..."

Jacks eyebrows rose. "He's what!?"

"With three kids..."

"Oh come on Bill! How could you let him..."

"Let him what Jack?" Bill interrupted. "I'm his CO, not his keeper!" At Jacks look he turned away.

"You said for one..."

"What?" the older man asked.

"You said 'for one, he's married'. What did you mean by that?"

"I told you, kids..."

Jack shook his head. "There was more behind the look you gave Adams than that."

Harris hesitated a moment. "There was no proof, so no charges were ever brought..."

Jack stared at his friend. "What are we talking about here Bill?"

"There was an incident, last year..."

"What kind of incident?" Jack pushed, impatient now.

"We were stationed at a base in Panama for a while and there was a girl who caught Potters attention..."

Jack rolled his hand in a "Yeah...come on..." motion.

"She strung him along for a while, but then he found out she was seeing another guy."

"And?"

"And...a couple days later the guy disappeared. And the girl..."

"And the girl..." Jack prompted.

"She was found drowned in the canal the day after the boyfriend disappeared."

Jack stared at him.

"I told you Jack, there was no proof that Potter was involved in any of it. He was questioned but he was never charged with anything. The local police put it down to a jealous boyfriend finding out that his girl was seeing an American officer. He killed her and took off."

At Jacks look he continued, "There's still no evidence to the contrary."

"Did they ever find the guy?"

Harris shook his head, "No."

Jack thought about that for a moment and it was a very plausible scenario, but something wasn't sitting right.

"Okay, let's say that's what happened," he conceded. "Why would you have any doubts? What would even make you think otherwise?"

Harris sighed. "Because it wasn't the first time it happened."

Jacks mouth fell open. "What?!"

"Eighteen months ago, Germany. A girl Potter had been seeing turned up drowned in the river. Our unit were the only ones who knew he'd been seeing her. He'd kept it quiet. Then he found out she had an on again off again lover." He glanced at his friend. "When he found out he flew into a rage, smashed up our billet...the girl was found a few days later, and the lover was found in the local square."

"What did the lover have to say about it?"

Harris grimaced slightly. "Not much. Seems like he took a flying leap from a very high window of the village tower."

"Jesus Bill!" Jack breathed. "And you still have this guy on your team?!"

"I'm not happy about it," he admitted. "But there's no proof that he had anything to do with either incident."

"Did you at least report it?"

Harris nodded. "Of course I did! It was investigated and apparently nothing untoward turned up. Not much more I could do when all I had to go on was my gut."

Jack shook his head. "How could they ignore that this happened twice? Both times the women were drowned and the other guy ended up dead or disappeared..."

Harris paused a moment before he replied. "I don't know...but the way I was ordered to drop it afterwards...well I got the feeling that he has friends in high places."

"A cover up?"

"Yeah," Harris agreed. "Like he's being protected by someone. Christ knows who..."

"Fuck..."

"Keep an eye on her Jack," Harris warned.

He looked back to where Carter was standing, now looking for all the world like she was trying to extricate herself from Potters grasp.

"Hey man," Billy said to Potter. "You can see the lady isn't comfortable, how about you just step back a little?"

"And you're the expert on what Sam wants?"

"Obviously more of an expert than you are if you can't tell she doesn't want your damn hands all over her!"

Potter took a step towards the younger man and Billy stood up to meet him head on.

"Guys...come on, we don't have to resort to this," Sam tried to interject, but neither man seemed interested in listening. "Please..." After a few moments she shook her head and turned to walk away.

Potter caught the motion out the corner of his eye; turning away from Billy he made a grab for her. "Where do you think you're going?"

Jack stepped in between them easily batting the other mans hand away.

"She's leaving...with me," Jack said quietly. "Do you have a problem with that Major?"

Potter glanced between the two, his features morphing into a nasty sneer. "No Sir."

Jack stared at Potter for a moment longer before he turned to Sam. "Come on Carter, let's get outta here."

Sam nodded her assent. "Yes Sir." She sent a small smile towards Billy as she turned and fell into step beside her CO, secretly glad for his intervention. She had a feeling things might have gotten ugly. "Where are we going Sir?"

He nodded towards where Ellie Robinson sat in animated conversation with a couple of other Navy pilots, briefly thinking he'd owe her an explanation later as to why he was leaving so suddenly. "We've got some strategising to do," he said in response to Carters question.

"Is that what they're calling it these days," Potter muttered as he stared after the pair.

Jack stopped and made to turn around, but Carter's hand on his arm stopped him. "Forget it, he's not worth it Sir." As much as Jack wanted to put Potter in his place he also didn't want to make a scene, especially one involving her, so he took her advice and let it drop. For now.

Ellie looked up and saw Jack heading for the door with the lovely Captain Carter. He had assured her there was nothing between him and his 2IC, though she still wondered. He held the door open for the young woman and as he was about to walk out he glanced in her direction and she caught his eye. He gave her a smile and she decided it was about time she found out for sure.

"I'll be back in a couple of minutes," Ellie said to her colleagues as she stood and headed for the door.

As they started to walk back towards their quarters, Sam turned slightly to face the Colonel. "Thank you, for that back there Sir."

He looked at her and smiled. "You're welcome Carter."

"But I could've handled it myself." Even though she really was glad for his help, Sam still didn't like anyone to think she couldn't take care of herself.

Jack sighed. "I know," he acknowledged. "But it makes an old guy feel useful, ya know?" He was glad to see her bright smile at his response. He loved to make her happy. Aw crap! Stop thinking like that Jack...

"Ah, Carter," he started, not really wanting to have this conversation with her but deciding to forge ahead anyway. "Not that I want to try to tell you who you should or shouldn't be friends with or who you should or shouldn't...well...um...what I'm trying to say is..."

Usually she wouldn't appreciate anyone telling her who she should associate with, but in this instance she was happy to take his advice. She smiled at him as she spoke, putting him out of his misery, "It's okay Sir, I get where you're coming from."

He looked at her, relief flooding his system. "You do?"

She nodded suddenly serious. "Yes Sir," she assured. "Billy and I had the same feeling."

His smile faltered just a little. "Billy and you..."

"Yes Sir. Major Potter seemed fine, like a really nice..."

"Normal?"

She nodded. "Yeah, nice, normal guy when we were alone..."

Jacks gut clenched at her words. Alone...Jesus anything could have happened to her and I didn't even know where the hell she was...

"But as soon as we got to the bar and I started talking to Billy he kind of...wigged out..."

Jacks eyebrows rose. "Wigged out?"

A slight smile played across her lips. "He went all..."

"Broca divide?" he asked, remembering all too well his reaction to Daniel expressing concern for her when the virus started to work its way into his system. And damn Daniel if he hadn't imparted that bit of information to Carter as soon as she'd recovered herself. And as primitive as it seemed, he still couldn't help the little thrill he felt whenever he remembered the way Carter had first acted towards him when the Broca virus had gotten a hold of her; the Docs explanation of her behaviour affecting him more than he had let on. "Most female low level primates tend to choose their sexual partners according to who would give them the strongest offspring, the leaders of a pack or a tribe are usually the prime choice, you should be flattered..."

"Well maybe not that intense," she replied, breaking into his train of thought.

He looked at her, deciding not to relay Bill Harris' suspicions. He'd gotten her away from Potter before things got out of hand and she didn't seem inclined to pursue it any further so he decided to let it lie.

Chapter Text

By the time Ellie made it outside, the pair were already a hundred yards away heading back to their billets.

"Jack!"

Jack and Sam turned back towards the bar and Sams heart sunk. "You go on Sir," she said softly. "I'll be fine."

He glanced from Ellie to Carter. "If you think I'm letting you walk back to your quarters alone tonight after what just happened in there Carter, you're not as bright as I thought you were."

Her fierce independent streak screamed at her to argue. She didn't need a man to take care of her, guard her and walk her to her door like she was some fragile china doll. But she couldn't help the small smile that played across her lips as she replied, "No Sir, thank you Sir." Was that right? She shook her head slightly. "Sorry Sir..." she tried again.

Jack sent her a quizzical look; being tongue tied was not something he thought he'd seen from Carter. Ever. "Wait one Captain," he said as he jogged back to where Commander Robinson was standing.

Ellie had a small feeling of triumph as Jack turned and left Captain Carter to return to her. She smiled at him as he stopped in front of her. "You left without saying goodbye."

A slight smile came to his lips. "I did, and I'm sorry. But I had...have a good reason."

"Oh?" she questioned, glancing past him to where the Captain still stood seemingly waiting for him.

He sighed. "Yeah. Had a bit of trouble with Carter and a trumped up prick of a Major named Potter."

"What sort of trouble?" she asked with a slight frown, genuinely concerned now. She was more than aware how much the military could still be a boys club.

"Nothing we can't handle," he assured her. "Actually nothing that hasn't already been handled, but I thought it wise to get Carter out of there, so I'm walking her back to her billet."

She nodded her understanding, her focus coming back to him as she placed her hand on his chest. "So once you see the Captain safely inside, you wanna come by my place?"

Jacks breath caught as he looked down at the woman before him. He glanced quickly back at Carter and shook his head slightly. "I don't think that would be such a good idea." At the knowing look she gave him...sure there's nothing going on between you two...he continued quickly. "I just get the feeling that Potter's a bit of a loose canon," he explained. "I'd rather stay close by, just in case he decides to try and push the issue."

Ellie looked dubious. "You really think he'd do something like that?"

"I don't know, but I'm not going to take the chance."

Finally she nodded, catching her bottom lip between her teeth, deciding to give it one last try. "So...how about I come by your place later then?"

"Rain check?" he asked.

"Listen, Jack...if you're not interested..."

He reached out and grabbed her hand waiting until she looked him in the eye. "Any other night..." God I feel like such a jerk...

Ellie stared at him for a moment. She'd met her share of cocky flyboys, but god help her, she actually believed him. She smiled slightly. "Careful, I might just take you up on that Colonel."

Letting go her hand he smiled in return. "Goodnight Commander," he said softly, before he turned to go back to Carter.

When he caught her up, they started walking again and she glanced over at him. "Learn anything Sir?"

"Huh?"

"About what they have planned for tomorrow," she clarified.

"Oh, no. But hey, they're Navy," he replied. "How hard can it be?"

She laughed out loud and it felt so good to be here with him. Taking in a deep breath of the fresh sea air she stopped and looked up to the night sky, feeling him come to a halt beside her.

"How many of them do you think we've been to Carter?" he asked, following her gaze heavenward.

"The ones we can see right now?"

"Yeah."

"Probably none of them."

"Really?"

"Well, taking into account the speed of light Sir, and the way relativity tells us light behaves in space as both a wave and a particle..."

"Ah!" he warned as he brought his fingertips to his temples.

Sam grinned as she looked at him. "Sorry Sir."

"It's okay," he assured her. "I'll be okay."

She felt that tingly little flippy thing deep in her stomach when he dropped his hands and looked at her.

"So! None you say?" he asked skeptically, eyebrows raised.

She shook her head slightly. "No Sir, by the time..."

"Carter..." he warned.

"I promise...I won't hurt you Sir..."

She said it deadpan, but he could see the amusement dancing in her eyes and he warily nodded his consent for her to continue.

"By the time we can see them, they've probably already burnt out. It takes a long time for the light to reach us."

His brow furrowed. Huh! I knew that...

"See?" he said to her instead. "That wasn't so hard was it?" The patented Carter grin returned and his face softened as he looked at her.

"No Sir."

They walked the few more minutes it took to reach their quarters in silence, each occupied by their own thoughts. Stopping in front of her door she stuck her hands nervously in her pockets and turned to him. "So, ah, do you want to come in?"

"Excuse me?" he asked, eyebrows up around his hairline.

"The...um...well..." Oh my god! Does he think I'm coming onto him!? She cleared her throat. "Strategy...for tomorrow..."

Jack had to admit that his brain actually stopped working when she'd asked him that question. "Yes! Strategy! Of course!" There's a perfectly good bench right there Jack! Sit down, talk strategy til the cows come home! You do not need to go inside her room!

"Got any beer?" he asked instead.

"I think there might be a couple in the fridge," she said with a smile as she unlocked her door.

He frowned. "You have a fridge?"

She stopped and looked at him. "You don't?"

He shook his head.

"Then where did you expect me to be keeping beer?"

He shrugged. "I really didn't think it through that far."

She shook her head and smiled at him as she led the way into her room, her heartbeat speeding up a little as she heard him close the door behind him.

They stood for an awkward moment in the small space before he broke the silence. "So! I believe you promised me beer?"

"Oh! Yes Sir. Sorry," she stammered as she reached into the little fridge.

He took the proffered bottle from her hand and looked at it briefly. "I also really didn't think you'd have beer," he admitted. "You always continue to surprise me Carter."

She popped the top off her own drink and took a sip. "Billy and I got a six pack last night and there were a couple left," she explained.

Suddenly he didn't feel so thirsty anymore. "Billy and you huh?" His brain trying somewhat unsuccessfully to block out the reasons his Captain and Navy may have had to get a six pack and bring it back to her room.

Sam nodded. "Yeah." Did I just see what I thought I saw? she wondered as she studied him. It almost looked as though he was...jealous?

Jack dropped onto the little couch and placed his beer bottle on the coffee table. "So...you and Navy..."

Sam sat on the arm at the opposite end of the two seater. "Was there a question there Sir?"

Sitting forward and pulling the beer bottle between his hands, Jack began to pick at the label. "It's just that...well...you and Navy seem to be getting pretty close."

She took a breath. "We are, he's a really nice guy Sir."

Jack looked at her then. "So what's with Potter?"

Sam frowned. "Sir?"

He shrugged. "I was just wondering why you went out with Potter if you and..." Jack waved a hand.

"Billy?"

"Yeah...him..." He paused a moment wondering how best to phrase his question, waiting for her to tell him any moment to but out, cause Christ knew it wasn't any of his damned business, no matter how honourable he tried to paint his motives.

"Billy and I are just friends Sir," Sam supplied. "And John, Major Potter asked me out this afternoon, so I thought, why not. He seemed like a nice enough guy."

Jacks brows furrowed. "You know, you can tell me it's none of my business...but where exactly did you get to earlier...with him..." She smiled rather wistfully he thought and it bothered him. Potter did not deserve a smile like that from her.

"They have an amazing observatory here," she replied.

And as he watched her recount her visit there, he knew the wistful smile had nothing to do with John Potter and he was thankful for that. It also explained why they were so late getting to the officers club waiting around until full dark so she could see the sky properly.

"You know Carter, I have a pretty sweet telescope set up at my place. You should come by one night and check it out. It's huge!"

He'd meant it as a genuine offer, a friendly overture, but as soon as it left his mouth he regretted it...and judging by the look on her face, he really should've kept his mouth shut. Oh boy, harassment suit and court martial here we come. Yes Sir, I asked the Captain to come to my private residence, at night, to see my gigantic telescope. No Sir. Gigantic telescope was not a metaphor for my gigantic...oh God... He closed his eyes and shook his head slightly.

"Ah...Carter...sorry if that sounded a little..."

"Pervy?" she asked, unable to hide the humour in her voice.

He opened one eye to see a big grin on her face. "Yeah, yeah, very funny," he groused gulping the last of his beer.

Is he actually blushing? Holy Hannah that's hot...

An hour or so later Jacks beer bottle label lay in a little heap on her coffee table and he stood, stretching, his hands high above his head. "Well, enough strategising for one night Carter," he said with a yawn. "Time to hit the sack."

Her cheeks warmed as she watched him. All dark eyes and long limbs, stretched out as powerful as a big cat. "Yes Sir," she replied as she stood, subconsciously echoing his movement, the gracefulness of her own long limbs not lost on him.

"Night Carter," he said as he tore his gaze away from her and headed for the door.

"Night Sir."

As he opened the door he turned back to her, "And make sure you lock this as soon as I'm through it."

She rolled her eyes. "Yes Sir," she replied with a loud sigh, though secretly she was thrilled that he was showing this much concern for her.

Jack started to whistle as he walked the few yards from her door to his before something brought him up short. He wasn't sure if it was a sound or just a feeling, but he looked out over the small courtyard that adjoined the rooms and to the darkness beyond, searching, listening.

John Potter held his breath when O'Neill stopped and looked directly at him. After a few moments passed without the Colonel calling him out, he realised that he couldn't see him in the dark, confirmed when O'Neill's eyes continued on away from him. He watched O'Neill shake his head and move to his own door, hearing it click shut behind his retreating form.

When he was sure there was no one else around to see him he backed out from his hiding spot and stood, brushing the dirt and leaves from his pants as he walked away, his movements becoming more forceful, more deliberate. "All the same," he spat. "Just because you're an Air Force Captain instead of the village slut doesn't make you any less of a whore." He'd just witnessed that first hand, the harlot was obviously having sexual relations with her commanding officer. And him! He was no better! He laughed, a low menacing sound as he walked with purpose now. "You're all the same," he repeated. "All need saving, redemption..." He smiled. "But I cannot save you, you cannot go to meet your maker until you've been absolved of your sin...cleansed...baptised in the healing waters of his creation..."

Chapter Text

"Blue 2 to Blue 1..."

"Blue 1 copy..."

"What the hell is AF Red 2 up to Commander?"

Ellie Robinson shook her head. "Don't know Kid," she replied over her comms to her 2IC Billy 'The Kid'. "But seems like he's playing for our team today."

"Ah...you can say that again," he replied, unable to believe his eyes as he watched the Air Force pilot take out one of his own.

And it wasn't lost on either of them exactly who it was he'd taken down.

xxxxxxx

Jack landed his plane and sat fuming. He didn't have long to wait until Carter joined him, pulling her own aircraft to a halt close to his on the tarmac, also obviously not prepared to be taken out by one of her own team. He was waiting at the bottom of the ladder for her when her feet hit the ground.

"What the hell was that!?" she asked him.

He shook his head. "Potter obviously didn't appreciate what happened in the bar last night."

She snorted. "Ya think?"

He was taken back slightly by her use of his words, but quickly snapped out of it. "He didn't say anything to you this morning?"

"No," she confirmed. "As in, he actually didn't say a word to me when I saw him at breakfast."

After a beat she spoke again. "What's going on Sir?"

Jack looked skyward. "I don't know Captain, but hopefully we won't have long to find out."

xxxxxxx

Over the course of the next hour, Jack and Sam watched from the observation area as one after another the Air Force and Navy jets were eliminated from the game. Robinson and her 2IC were again amongst the few remaining aircraft in the sky, along with Bill Harris, Potter and one of the Air Force Green team.

Carter had tried to start up a conversation around Potters motives several times, but Jack more or less shut her down on the topic, not willing at this stage to impart Harris' information to her. He was in two minds about it; he needed her to know how dangerous he thought Potter was so she didn't go off and do something foolish, like try to talk to him alone, but he didn't want to freak her out either.

"Commander Robinson, Sir..." Sam tried for a different topic of conversation.

Jack turned to her, uncertain of where this was about to go.

"She's very good," she continued, nodding towards the telemetry screen.

He let out a breath and nodded his agreement. "Yeah, she is."

He'd been hoping she'd get Potter soon after he had landed himself, but the bastard was proving to be a slippery sonovabitch!

As they watched, Billy was hit by Harris and it wasn't long after that Robinson, the final Navy jet, was too outnumbered to last.

Finally Potter landed followed soon after by Harris, and Jack and Sam moved towards the locker rooms to intercept Potter. When there was no sign of him en route, Jack pushed open the locker room door, putting a hand up to stop Carter when she made to follow.

"Stay here," he ordered.

"But Sir..."

"Captain, what does it say on the door?"

"Male, Sir," she reluctantly conceded, thinking that it hadn't seemed to bother him yesterday when the Commander had been in there.

Jack couldn't give two shits about it being the men's locker room, he just didn't want Carter anywhere near that sick sonovabitch Potter. Especially not until he'd 'spoken' to him first. He raised his eyebrows at her.

"Yes Sir."

The corner of his mouth quirked up, trying to ratchet the tension down a notch. "I'll call if I need rescuing."

She let out a breath, not appreciating his humour right now. She had a feeling he wasn't telling her everything and she hated it. "Sir."

John Potter turned at the sound of the door banging open, a smirk forming on his lips. "Bad luck today Colonel," he said, not trying to disguise his contempt for the older man. "But I suppose that's the way the cookie crumbles huh? Up top one day and at the bottom the ne..."

He didn't get to finish his sentence as he was slammed bodily into the locker in front of him.

"Shut the fuck up," Jack growled in his ear. "I know all about you, you sick, perverted piece a'shit!"

Potters face blazoned a deep red; how dare this...this...excuse for a man lay hands on him! He went to open his mouth and felt his head jammed harder into the unyielding metal.

"One sound comes outta your mouth and I'll break your damn jaw!" Jack muttered into his ear. "Blink if you understand me." When Potter didn't comply he twisted his arm harder behind his back.

"You'd do well to go along with what he wants Major."

Jack turned at the sound of Bill Harris' voice. "Stay outta this Bill," he warned.

Harris raised his hands. "I have no intention of getting in your way Jack," he assured. At Potters startled look he continued, "Know I couldn't, even if I wanted to..." O'Neill had turned away from him and he needed him to look at him when he said his next words. "Look at me Jack..."

Slowly Jack turned his eyes back to his friend.

Harris made sure he was out of sight of Potter before he spoke again, hoping Jack would be able to see in his face what he intended. "I know you're pissed off about Potter here taking you and Captain Carter out of the game today..." Jacks brow creased and Harris pleaded with his eyes for him to understand...don't play your hand right now, we need to nail this bastard once and for all...

Jack stared hard at Harris for a moment, unable to see through his rage what his friend was trying to tell him. As far as he was concerned, what Potter had done today was tantamount to an attack on Carter, and he was not about to let that stand.

"Tell the Colonel you're sorry Potter!" Harris ordered.

Jack stared at his friend like he'd lost his mind. Knowing what he knew, surely he couldn't believe that...

"And don't give him some bullshit about it being a mistake either you sorry asshole! Admit you were having a pissy little fit about the scene in the bar last night..." Come on Jack...let him go for now...

Jack looked at Harris a moment longer, it finally dawning on him what he was trying to do. He gave Potter one final shove against the locker and released him, taking a step back. "Well?" he demanded, playing along with Harris for now.

Potter pushed off the locker and slowly turned around to face his two superior officers. He nearly scoffed at that thought. Superior, what a joke...But as both men stared him down, he knew he would have to lose this battle to ultimately win the war.

He rubbed a hand across his face. "I'm sorry Colonel O'Neill," he said finally. "Colonel Harris was right. I was pissed off about what happened last night at the bar and I let it come out today in the air and I shouldn't have done that."

"No, you shouldn't have," Jack agreed, trying to calm himself down, nearly losing it again when Potter said he intended to go find Captain Carter and apologise to her too. "I'll pass it along Major," Jack managed. "I don't really think the Captain would appreciate a visit from you under the circumstances." Potter just looked at him his face expressionless, and all those little hairs on the back of Jacks neck stood to attention once more. This guy is a complete psychopath...

Potter inclined his head. "As you say Colonel," he replied. "I'm sure you know what's best for the Captain."

Harris needed this to end now before things got out of hand again. "C'mon Jack," he said, pulling on his friends shirt sleeve. "Lemme buy you a drink to make up for my lunkhead Majors actions today."

Jack stared at Potter a moment longer before he turned towards the door of the locker room. "It's going to have to be a damn big one Bill!"

As he turned to follow O'Neill out the door he glanced back to Potter. "You're playing with fire Potter," he warned. "Stay away from O'Neill and Captain Carter," he finished, sure the younger man would do no such thing.

xxxxxxx

Sam checked her watch; the Colonel had been in there for a really long time. She was just considering whether to go in after him when he emerged, followed quickly by Colonel Harris.

"Carter!" Jack called. "C'mon, let's go."

They walked briskly toward the officers club bar and Sam turned towards Colonel O'Neill. "What did he say Sir?"

Jack shook his head.

"My apologies Captain," Colonel Harris replied instead. "It seems my 2IC had his male pride dented last night by you two and had a bit of a brain snap this morning."

"Seriously?" she asked, realising once it was out how disrespectful it had sounded. "Sorry Sir, I didn't mean..."

He waved her away. "It's alright Captain," he assured her. "The Colonel here made his displeasure with the situation known to Major Potter and I don't think we'll see another incident."

"Yes Sir," she replied glancing at Colonel O'Neill, wishing she could speak to him alone. She didn't get the chance.

"Go on in Carter and get us a table," Jack told her when they arrived at the bar. "I want a quick word with the Colonel."

Sam looked between them. "Yes Sir," she said finally, turning and walking away.

Jack waited for the door to slam shut behind her, turning to Bill Harris.

"You don't seriously believe he'll stay away from her do you?"

Harris shook his head. "I don't think he'll stay away from either of you."

Jack frowned. "Either of us? What are you talking about?"

"If Potter did what we think he did in Germany and Panama, we know his MO," he explained. "And that means he not only targets the woman, but the other man as well."

"Well yeah," Jack agreed. "But that'd be Navy, not me..."

"I don't think so," Harris argued.

"It was him that Potter was about to get into it with last night, not me," he reminded him.

"And if it ended there I'd agree."

"But I interrupted that..."

"You're the one who got between Potter and Carter last night, and you're the one she left with."

Jack considered his friend for a moment. "And I'm the one he shot down today."

Harris nodded. "He could easily have shot Billy down without raising a single eyebrow. Hell it was me that ended up getting him in the end, not Potter."

Jack heaved a sigh as he looked up to the sky. "So what do we do about this?" When Harris didn't answer he looked back to him, sick realisation dawning. "No!"

"It's the only way..."

"We are not using Carter as bait!" he said adamantly.

"Why don't we let her decide that?"

Jack shook his head. "We use me instead. We know he goes after both people he thinks have wronged him..."

Harris' breath caught in his throat at the look that settled on Jacks face; one he was very familiar with, though he hadn't seen it in a long time and never on friendly soil. You can take the boy out of Black Ops...

The corner of Jacks mouth lifted. "Actually I'm rather looking forward to a visit from Major Potter..."

"I don't think it'll work that way," Harris argued.

"Why?"

"Because each time it was the woman who was killed first," he pointed out. "I think maybe it's some...I don't know...some process or method he has to follow."

"What if we can make it so he can't get to Carter?"

Harris shrugged. "Then we might lose him," he said. "And who knows, maybe he'll forget all about you and Carter and some other poor woman will catch his eye..." He could see O'Neill considering his words. "And maybe he won't..." Jack looked at him. "Maybe he'll just bide his time and try later. She'll have to look over her shoulder the rest of her life."

"Shit," Jack breathed as he realised the truth of his friends words. Finally he nodded. "Okay, but it has to be her decision."

Harris let out a breath. "Agreed, but I'm not sure we can do this alone Jack. We need to keep track of Potter, but if I lose him...I can't keep eyes on all three of you at once."

"Carter and I are billeted next to each other, we'll all be in the same spot."

"I'm betting he's a coward Jack, he's not going to attack Carter with you right next door."

"Okay, so I leave by my front door, then circle around the back and come in through Carters back window. He thinks she's alone and finds both of us in there, you outside."

"And what if he's waiting around the back?"

Jack threw his hands in the air. "You're not making this easy Bill."

"Just working through all the angles Jack," he pointed out. "We think the guy has been able to do this twice already and not get caught. He may be a coward and a sick bastard, but he's not stupid..."

Jack didn't want to get anyone else involved in this, hell he didn't even want to get Carter involved in this, but he had to agree with Harris. They couldn't do this alone. "Adams?"

"I don't think so," Harris reluctantly replied. "He hasn't been in the unit long and he likes Potter, hasn't had time to see the real prick behind the mask. I'm not sure we could count on him when it comes to it."

Jack nodded, happy to accept his friends decision. "Maybe...I think there's a couple of people we could rely on."

"Billy?"

"Yeah, and Robinson..."

Bill Harris nodded his agreement. "Seems like we've got some planning to do Colonel."

Jack sighed. "Seems like..."

Chapter Text

Sam sat on her bed and stared at the two men in front of her, the fact they were both her superior officers tempering her response to their almost unbelievable claims. "You can't be serious Sirs..." They glanced at each other and she could tell they were deadly serious. She sat forward, her elbows on her knees. "I think I'm going to be sick..."

Jack moved to sit next to her, his hand resting lightly on her shoulder. "Take deep, slow breaths Captain..."

"Are you sure Sir?" she asked Colonel Harris.

He nodded. "As I can be Captain," he replied. "You've got to know we wouldn't be thinking of doing this if we had any doubts."

She nodded. She'd not long met Colonel Harris, but she trusted Colonel O'Neill with her life and it was clear he felt the same about Harris. "Okay. What do you want me to do?"

xxxxxxx

"You can't be serious," Ellie Robinson said, unwittingly echoing Sam Carters words as she looked between the three Air Force officers.

"Well I can believe it," Billy replied. "The way he went off in the bar last night and the look on his face..." He shook his head slightly. "I was glad you jumped in when you did Colonel I don't mind telling you."

Jack nodded, his estimation of the young man increasing a little. Not a lot of men would admit something like that.

Ellie stared at her 2IC, before turning back to the others. "Say I believe you," she said. "If you're so sure why haven't you reported him?"

"I have," Harris replied. "The local police in both cases checked him out. Then after I reported it, the Air Force also investigated, and both times he came back clean."

Ellie lifted her hands, palms upwards. "So? What makes you think otherwise then?" When the men just stared at her, she continued, "there are such things as coincidences you know."

Jack and Bill looked at each other, but it was Billy who spoke. "All due respect ma'am," he said. "But you haven't had much to do with him. Just that time I was near him last night..." He glanced around the others gathered there. "There's something not right about him."

"And if we're wrong," Jack began. "There'll be no harm done."

Ellie weighed their words. She didn't really know any of the Air Force officers, but they didn't strike her as lunatics and that's pretty much what they'd have to be to make up a story like this. And she trusted Billy.

"Okay," she relented finally. "What's the plan?"

xxxxxxx

"Where'd you get these?" Jack asked as he picked up one of the throat mics that Ellie had turned up with.

She smiled. "Paid a visit to a friend who might also be the base Seal Commander."

Jack nodded. "Handy friend to have."

She looked over to where Bill Harris was showing Billy and Captain Carter how to fit the mic kits. "You really think this is going to work? Even with Colonel Harris in there with her, we're taking a big chance if this guy is what you think he is."

Jack followed her line of sight, his gut twisting at the thought they were hanging Carter out there, trying to force Potters hand. "It has to," he replied eventually, before he and Ellie made their way over to the others.

"Okay, gather round," Jack said as he leant over a base map that Ellie had provided. "I want to go over this one more time."

When he was sure he had everyone's full attention, he outlined their agreed plan of attack once more.

"Okay, so we all start off at the officers club tonight," he said as he looked around the table.

"Once we have eyes on Potter, then our plan swings into action."

"After dinner, I'll leave first," Bill Harris continued. "Then I make my way to Captain Carters quarters, let myself in and stay out of sight."

Jack nodded.

"Ten minutes later I head out, go round the back of the club, and wait," Billy continued.

"Then twenty minutes after that, Colonel O'Neill and I leave and also head back to my quarters," Sam confirmed.

"I stay in the club and keep eyes on Potter," Ellie continued. "When he leaves I can call it through."

Billy nodded. "I tail him, and if we're right..."

"He shows up outside Carters billet," Jack finished.

"What then?" Billy asked.

"I've got the feeling that as soon as Carter and I leave he won't be far behind, so he should see me going into her room," Jack said. "After an hour or so, I'll come back out, drop into my quarters for half an hour or so and then head over to the Commanders place."

"Why?" Billy asked.

"Why what?" Jack replied.

"If he thinks you and Sam have something goin', why would you go over to Commander Robinson's place?"

"We don't think he'll go for Sam if he knows Jack's right next door," Harris explained. "Too much of a chance Jack will hear something. And that's where it gets tricky," Harris continued.

"How so?" Carter asked.

"We're not sure what Potter will do then," Jack replied.

"He could stay put and come straight for you," Bill explained. "Or he could follow Jack to see where he's going, make sure he won't be disturbed by him coming back."

"So you need to be on your toes," Jack warned Billy.

"I know this base like the back of my hand Colonel," he assured. "I won't lose him."

Jacks eyes flicked to Carter, then back to Navy. Billy nodded his understanding at the look the older man gave him. You'd better not...

"Going by the previous incidences, we're sure that he'll go for the Captain first," Harris explained. "So even if he does follow O'Neill, everyone needs to be on alert. He could come back to her quarters at any time."

Sam blew out a breath. "I'm glad you'll be staying with me Colonel," she said to Bill Harris.

He gave her a small smile, gently patting her on the shoulder. "I've got your back Captain."

"We all do," Ellie Robinson said earnestly. "Both of you," she added, inclining her head towards Jack.

"As soon as we know he's headed back towards Carter, Ellie and I will follow and join up with Billy," Jack continued.

"So when do we take him down?" Billy asked.

They all looked between each other.

"When we're sure we've got enough to nail the bastard," Harris replied.

Billy looked a little uncertain. "How far do we let this go?"

"He needs to get inside, at least threaten Carter," Jack replied.

Sam shook her head. "It has to be more than that Sir."

"Carter..."

"Sir," she said interrupting him. "Him just threatening me, it won't be enough."

"She's right Jack," Ellie agreed. "I've seen it more than once where a threat doesn't mean shit."

Jack looked between the two women and shook his head. "Then we're not doing this..."

"Sir..."

"No Carter!" Jack said loudly. "We're taking enough of a chance as it is, I'm not willing to let it go any further than that."

"With all due respect Sir," Sam replied. "But I think this should be my decision, not yours."

No one spoke, waiting for Jacks response.

He looked around the faces before him and nodded. "Okay." He turned to Carter. "As soon as he's inside you need to key your mic so we know what's going on."

Sam nodded.

"When we've got enough on the guy we move in," he continued. "But if at any time you need us in there Carter...say the word!"

"I will Sir," she assured him.

"Any questions?" Jack asked.

Everyone shook their heads, negative.

"So, let's get organised," Ellie said. "Everyone get their mics on and once they're tested make sure you conceal them well...we don't want to tip him off."

"As soon as you leave the bar, don't forget to fit your earpieces," Jack reminded. "We all need to be online when Ellie gives us the heads up that Potter is leaving the bar." He looked around them all again. "Make sure we keep comms up all the way through this...especially you," he said looking at Billy. "As soon as Potters outside that bar you're our eyes on this and we can't be flying blind."

Billy nodded. "I won't let you down Colonel."

Everyone nodded their agreement and set about carrying out the Commanders orders.

xxxxxxx

Two hours later they were all seated in the officers club. They'd decided to split up, with the Air Force officers ordering dinner and sitting down at a table, Ellie sitting with some other Navy commanders and Billy at the bar on his own. They didn't have long to wait before Potter made an appearance with Captain Sam Adams in tow.

"Mind if we join you?" Major John Potter asked as he stopped next to their table.

Bill Harris looked to Jack.

After a moment Jack looked up. "Sure," he said, trying really hard to make the smile he forced onto his face look half genuine. At least it would be easier to keep an eye on him.

xxxxxxx

"Well, I think I'm going to call it a night," Bill Harris said as he bunched up his napkin and threw it on his empty plate.

"Already?" Potter asked.

"Not as young as I used to be," Harris replied.

"You can say that again," Jack agreed.

Harris grinned, and as he stood he clapped Jack on the back. "Take a look in the mirror sometime."

"Looks pretty good to me," Sam murmured, making sure it was just loud enough to be heard.

Harris' eyebrows raised. This wasn't part of the plan, but it couldn't hurt. He leant over close to Jack. "Try to make sure you get at least some sleep tonight...Colonel..."

"Green isn't your colour Bill," Jack replied with a smirk.

Potter watched their display with interest. If he'd had any doubts as to whether the two officers were seeing each other he had none now. His own commanding officer helping provide the damning evidence. He nodded to himself, his plans confirmed.

With one final clap on Jacks back, Harris sketched a loose salute. "Goodnight people."

And with that their own plan began.

xxxxxxx

When Potter moved, Ellie made her excuses to her fellow commanders and headed towards an alcove near the ladies room. As soon as he was out the door she slipped her earpiece in.

"Eyes on the ball people, he's on the move."

A chorus of copy that came back to her.

"I have eyes on the target," came Billy's hushed voice over their earpieces.

"Direction?" Jack asked. He and Carter were sitting side by side on the small couch in her quarters, Bill Harris sitting on her bed.

"Heading straight for you Colonel."

"Copy that."

"He's changing course Sir," Billy murmured. "Heading for the beach."

"Don't lose him Lieutenant."

"Copy."

Billy skirted around taking a short cut along a higher path part way up the hill from the beach where he was still able to keep Potter in his sights. Although it was dark, there was enough of a moon for him to see the other man stop near a rocky outcrop on the sand. Billy watched closely as he pulled what looked like a bag from underneath the overhang, stuffed something in his pocket then shoved the bag back into its hiding place. He waited as Potter made his way back off the beach and then moved out.

"Colonel, he picked up something from a bag he had stashed at the beach. Now he's back on his way to you."

"What did he get?" Jack asked.

"Couldn't make it out Sir, but it was small enough to stow in his pocket."

"Copy that."

"Gun?" Harris asked.

"Possible," Jack replied, then into his mic, "We're now assuming he's armed people."

Ellie had just gotten out of her car in her driveway when she heard Jacks warning. "Shit," she breathed, moving quickly to her front door.

"Colonel, we're taking the long way around, but we're still moving in your direction," Billy's voice came over their comms.

"Done his homework," Jack replied.

"Affirmative Sir."

Jack glanced towards Bill. "Looks like we're a go."

Bill nodded and spun his knife in his hand. "We'll be ready."

Jack felt Carter shift next to him. "You okay?"

She nodded. "Yes Sir."

He knocked her knee with his. "You know I won't let anything happen to you right?"

Sam gave him a slight smile. "I know Sir."

Five minutes later their comms came to life again. "We're here Colonel," Billy relayed. "He's dead ahead of you across the lawn, holed up in the bushes on the perimeter."

"How secure are you?" Jack asked him. If Potter was armed he didn't want Billy exposed.

"I'm good Sir," he assured.

Jack hoped he was right. "Okay people," he said over the comms. "We're now on the countdown. Set your watches to one hour on my mark...three...two...one...mark."

"God," Sam breathed. "I'm gonna go nuts. Why did we have to make it a whole hour?"

Despite the seriousness of the situation Jack couldn't help the smirk that tugged at the corner of his mouth. "Well considering what we're supposed to be doing in here Carter, we have to make it look believable."

She looked at him and blinked, feeling her face flush.

"Then shouldn't we have made it sixty seconds instead of sixty minutes?" Bill Harris called softly.

Jack glared at him over his shoulder.

xxxxxxx

Checking his watch Jack stood and moved over to the bed.

"We're three minutes out," he said. "We good to go?"

Bill stood. "All good," he confirmed, glancing over to where Captain Carter still sat on the couch. "From what you've told me about her, she'll have him hog tied before I even get my ass up off the bed."

Jack followed his gaze. "She's more than capable," he agreed. "But this guy is a couple fries short of a happy meal, and he could be armed, so we all watch each other's backs."

"Copy that."

Jack clapped his old friend on the shoulder and went back to Carter.

"This is it," he said to her as she stood to meet him. "You ready?"

"Yes Sir."

He nodded. "Remember, anytime you wanna call this, just say the word."

"We need to catch him Sir."

"Carter..."

"Yes Sir."

Jack keyed his comms. "How we looking Lieutenant?"

"Still holding position Colonel."

"Good man. Okay team, we're one hour down. I'm about to leave Carters quarters and go back to mine." He checked his watch. "At exactly 21:10 I'll leave and head to Robinson's."

"Copy," came back from everyone.

xxxxxxx

Jack lay on his bed and checked his watch; five minutes until he was due to move out to Ellie's place and the danger would ratchet up another notch. Navy had called in ten minutes ago with a report of status quo.

A few more minutes passed and hey keyed his comms once again. "Billy, report."

"No change Sir."

"Okay. Commander, I'm on my way."

"Copy that Colonel," Ellie replied.

"Harris, Carter, be alert."

"Copy."

"Keep your eyes on him Lieutenant."

"Copy that Sir."

Jack took a breath and headed to his door.

Billy's attention went to Colonel O'Neill's door, but only for a moment as movement thirty yards below him brought his eyes back to Potter.

xxxxxxx

Potter was waiting patiently for O'Neill's lights to go out before he was planning on moving down to Carters door. He was sure he'd be able to talk her into letting him inside, but it was going to be a close thing. Once he decided to make his move he'd have to be quick; he couldn't chance O'Neill hearing her scream. He considered waiting for a night where O'Neill wouldn't be there, but he couldn't be sure that would happen before the week was out, so he'd decided tonight was the night regardless.

O'Neill's lights finally went out and he breathed out. Soon...

Then something unexpected happened; O'Neill's door opened and he came out locking it behind him. Potter became nervous. No. No he can't be going back to her. That won't work, he thought frantically as O'Neill headed towards her door. Then his brow creased as the other man continued on past.

"Where the hell are you going?" he wondered aloud. He looked from her door to O'Neill's retreating form and back again. What to do...what to do... He knew he had to make a decision fast. Stay here with her or follow him. A moment later he broke cover and followed O'Neill at a distance.

xxxxxxx

Jacks comms crackled in his ear.

"He's on you Colonel O'Neill," Billy warned.

"Copy that," Jack answered. "Stay on him."

"Sir."

Ellie knew it would only be a matter of minutes before she heard Jack knock. They had discussed how she would greet him at the door so as to leave Potter in no doubt as to the nature of their relationship; he had to believe that Jack was going to be out of the picture for some time.

Her pulse sped up as she popped a few more buttons of her shirt, making sure she was showing a good deal of cleavage. Even though she was expecting it she jumped as the soft tap sounded on her door.

Jack leant against the side of the doorframe waiting for Ellie to answer the door. He looked up when the door opened and his breath caught at the sight of her. She took half a step out the door and reached up to place a hand at the back of Jacks neck pulling him down to her.

"Make it look good Colonel," she murmured before touching her lips to his.

xxxxxxx

Billy followed close enough behind Potter to keep eyes on, but far enough back to be sure he wouldn't be made. When the other man stopped two houses up from his COs he skirted around the backs of the few houses opposite so he could see both Potter and her front door from his vantage point.

A few seconds after he saw O'Neill knock on the door it opened and his eyes just about popped out of his head at the sight of his CO dressed like...like... then she stepped forward and put hands, and other parts of her on O'Neill and dragged him in through her door.

"Jesus," he breathed, jumping slightly when his comms sounded in his ear.

"Report Lieutenant."

"Convincing show," he replied.

"Good," Ellie replied. "Where is he?"

Billy looked over to where Potter was and his heart stopped. He was gone. His eyes frantically searched the area not wanting to have to report that he'd lost Potter, especially since the reason was that he was busy ogling his CO. Just as he was about to admit his fuck up he caught movement further up the street. He breathed a sigh of relief recognising the figure as Potter.

"Looks like he bought it," he replied. "He's on the move back towards Sams quarters."

"You're doing a great job Lieutenant," Jack told him, "Stay with him and the Commander and I will be back there shortly."

"Yes Sir."

When Navy confirmed that Potter had taken up position out the front of Carters room again, Jack left Ellie to skirt around the back of the building and rapped on her window. Carter opened the window and Jack removed the screen before climbing though, replacing the screen and closing the window behind him.

"Commander, Lieutenant?" Jack asked.

"We're in position Colonel," Ellie replied.

"Us too," he confirmed. "Looks like it's time for Carter to hit the hay."

"Okay Carter," Jack began, watching as Harris nodded and climbed into the empty closet. "As soon a I close over the bathroom door turn out the light and get into bed."

"Yes Sir."

As Potter watched Carters lights went out and he smiled.

"He's on the move Colonel," Billy breathed. "Looks like he's coming in the front."

They thought Potter would break into Carters room, so the knock on the front door was unexpected.

Sam reached up and switched on the bedside lamp. Throwing back the covers she got out of bed and looked at Colonel O'Neill through the crack in her bathroom door and gestured to herself. They'd thought he'd attack her while she was in bed so she was still fully dressed.

Jack shrugged and her breath caught when the knock sounded again.

"Just a minute," she called out as she quickly stripped off her clothes, the Colonel handing her her robe from the back of the bathroom door.

She looked at him and he nodded.

Opening the door she came face to face with John Potter. "Major..."

He canted his head to the side. "Sam, please...call me John."

She paused for only a second. "What can I do for you, John?"

He smiled. "Can I come in?"

"Ah, I don't think..."

"Please?" he asked. "I'd like to talk to you, to apologise properly."

She looked uncertainly over her shoulder before she opened the door wider and moved aside to let him in closing, but not locking the door behind them.

As soon as the door was closed Billy and Ellie moved out from their cover and took up flanking positions either side of Carters door waiting for the signal to move in.

Sam stood with her arms wrapped around herself waiting for him to speak.

Potter looked around the room and then back to her.

He smiled as he glanced at her mussed up bed and it made her shiver.

"So this is where it happens," he said finally.

She frowned. "Excuse me?"

"Did it start here?" he asked. "A trip away together...you could blame the booze..."

"I don't know what you mean."

He laughed out loud. "You! Sam, you! Fucking your commanding officer!"

She shook her head. "The Colonel and I aren't..."

"Don't lie to me!" he yelled. "I saw him in here! So...did it start here or were you already letting him fuck you before this?"

"I told you Major," she spat. "The Colonel and I do not have an intimate relationship."

He moved quickly and backhanded her hard across the face.

She straightened and went to take a step towards him when he pulled out a gun.

"Uh uh Captain," he said waving it in her direction.

He hadn't moved far enough into the room for Colonel Harris to reach him from where he was concealed in her closet. Her only hope was to turn him around so he had his back to the bathroom giving Colonel O'Neill a chance to get to him. She stumbled slightly and he stepped back.

"Careful Captain," he warned.

"I don't feel very well," she said softly. "I think I'm going to pass out."

"No you don't," he said as he grabbed her arm and spun her, motioning her to sit on the bed. "We're not finished talking yet."

"What do you want from me?" she asked as she looked up at him.

"I want you to confess your sins Captain Carter."

"My sins?"

"Your sins of lust and pride. And breaking Air Force regulations by sleeping with your CO."

"I told you we're not..."

"Just...stop..." he said with a sigh.

He pulled a knife out of his pocket and flicked it open, still keeping the gun trained on her. "Don't worry," he said to her. "Once I'm finished with you, I'll make sure he pays for his sins too."

"What do you mean when you're finished with me? What are you going to do?"

"Well, I'm going to absolve you of your sins," he explained. "Usually I like to use water," he shook his head, "but there's too much risk in trying to get you to the beach and there's no bathtub here."

"What do you mean usually?" she asked. "It almost sounds like you've done this before."

He smiled. "Oh I have," he confirmed. "You know you'll be lucky number 7."

"What did you do?"

"I cleansed them in the water. Canada, Panama, Germany. You'll be the first American." His eyes focussed on her again. "But there are other ways to purify." He moved the knife and it glinted wickedly in the light from her bedside lamp. "Pain is also a good purifier."

Her eyes flicked to the adjoining wall. The one that bordered the Colonels room.

"Do you know where he is now?"

"He's in the room next door."

He laughed. "No, he's not." At her frown he continued. "If you thought you could call out to him and he'd come to your rescue Sam, you're wrong. He's busy a half a mile away in another woman's bed."

She shook her head. "No, I don't believe you."

He pouted. "But if you're not sleeping with him, then why do you care?" Her cheeks flamed and he knew he had her. "Did he tell you he loved you Captain? Is that why you let him in your pants?" he taunted her. "Well he's in Commander Robinson's bed right now, telling her the same thing..."

She shook her head again and he lunged at her, his sharpened blade about to slice cleanly into her soft white skin...

And then suddenly he was being pulled backwards by some unknown force.

Jacks arm tightened around his throat, his other hand grabbing Potter wrist.

"Surprise," he growled in Potters ear. "Drop the weapons."

Sam jumped up off the bed and Harris emerged from the closet.

"No!" Potter ground out through clenched teeth.

Jack squeezed Potters wrist and the gun fell from his hand. Harris walked over and took the knife from him and picked the gun up from the floor holding it on his former 2IC.

"Colonel, this has all been a misunderstanding..."

"Don't you say one god damned word you sorry sack of shit!"

Jack landed a hard blow to Potters kidney before he let him go watching him fall to his knees. That was for the backhand...

"Jack?" Ellie called from outside the door.

"Come in," he called, glancing over his shoulder. "It's over."

"No! It's not!" Potter screamed, pulling a small pistol from his sock and aiming it at Sam.

She kicked out at him and his arm flew backwards letting off a shot just as Bill Harris pulled the trigger of the gun he was holding. Almost simultaneously John Potter and Ellie Robinson hit the ground.

"Ellie!" Jack roared.

"Commander!" Billy dropped to his knees at her side.

"Ah...it's okay," she assured them through gritted teeth as she held her hand over her arm. "If I'd known all I had to do was get shot to have good looking men falling all over me I'd have done it ages ago."

Billy's head fell forward and he let out a sigh of relief at her words, quickly pulling his t-shirt over his head to wrap around her wound.

Jack turned back to John Potter. He hadn't been so lucky. Bill Harris had aimed to kill and Jack knew his former team mate never missed. Potter stared up through one sightless eye, the other taken out cleanly by Harris' shot. He looked to Harris now and the other man held his eye, a slight nod passing between the two.

"Carter, you're bleeding!" Jack said as he looked at her for the first time.

She looked down at herself and frowned. "I don't think so Sir," she replied.

He moved to her putting his hand up to her throat, his fingers coming back red.

"He must've nicked me with his knife," she said. "I didn't even feel it."

Jack grabbed her shirt from the chair behind him and wiped the blood away, relieved to see only a small amount welling up in its place. "It's only a shallow cut," he assured himself as much as her.

She smiled. "Lucky you jumped him when you did Sir."

His gut clenched. If I'd been a second later...

They had all just started to get their bearings when blue lights strobed outside.

xxxxxxx

"Well that's quite a tale," the NCIS agent said as he folded his hands on the table in front of him.

"It's the truth," Jack replied. "How's Commander Robinson?"

The agent looked at him a moment. "She'll be fine. It was a through and through."

Jack nodded, relieved.

There was a knock on the door and a slightly younger man stuck his head in.

"What!?"

"There's something I think you should listen to Boss."

xxxxxxx

Jack patted Carter on the back as they made their way out to the curb. "Always one step ahead Carter," he beamed. "I can't believe you recorded the whole thing."

"That's why I was trying to get him to talk about the other women Sir," she explained. "In case we couldn't get enough on him tonight we'd have his confession about the other murders."

Jack looked up to see Bill Harris and Navy come down the steps, thinking about the way things had ended. "You okay?" he asked Bill.

Bill nodded and Jack put a hand on his shoulder.

"It's always tough to lose a member of your team," he said softly.

"Potter hasn't been a member of my team for a long time," he admitted with a sigh. "But speaking of my team...I'd better go find Sam and explain all this to him. He deserves to know what happened."

They all nodded their understanding.

"With your leave Sir, I'll head to the base hospital to check on the Commander," Billy said.

"We should go too Sir," Sam suggested.

Billy shook his head. "You look like you're out on your feet."

Jack nodded his agreement. "Apparently it was a clean shot and she's going to be fine. I think she'd be more appreciative of the rest tonight. Let Billy go and we'll go see her first thing in the morning."

"That sounds like a good plan to me," Harris agreed.

They all took their leave from each other and Sam and Jack headed back to their quarters.

Chapter Text

Jack and Sam walked back to their quarters in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.

He kicked at a rock and watched it skitter across the path, not noticing Carter come to a stop until he had walked a few paces more.

"Ah, Sir?"

Jack looked up and sighed. Right...

He turned back to her. "Sorry Carter, I didn't even think..."

"Me neither Sir," she replied as she walked the couple of steps to stand next to him looking at the multitude of vehicles now parked outside her room. "Now what?"

He shrugged slightly. "Let's head over there and see what's goin' on."

As they got closer a man broke from the rest and walked towards them.

"Colonel, Captain," he greeted.

"Admiral," Jack replied.

"Bad business," the Admiral said shaking his head slowly.

"Yes Sir," Jack agreed.

After a moments pause the Admiral continued. "Well obviously you can't stay here tonight, so I've organised some quarters for you on the other side of the base."

"Thank you Sir," they chorused.

"Unfortunately you won't be able to pick up any of your gear Captain," he said to Sam. "But I've cleared it with the investigating officers for you to go in and get your gear Colonel."

Jack nodded. "I appreciate that Sir."

"Ah, Sir," Sam broke in. "My laptop...there's classified material on it that..."

Hayes waved her concerns away. "I spoke to General Hammond earlier to let him know what had happened. As soon as he knew you'd been released that was the first thing he asked about. It's in my car."

Sam let out a sigh of relief.

"If you'll come with me Colonel, I'll get you through the cordon to get your gear and then I'll drive you and Captain Carter to your new accommodations."

xxxxxxx

Fifteen minutes later Hayes pulled up outside a squat brick building, handing keys to Jack and Sam. "General Hammond requested that you call him tonight Colonel."

"Will do Sir," Jack replied. "Thank you for tonight."

Hayes nodded. "I know you'll want to see Commander Robinson first thing tomorrow, but when you're done there, I'll expect you both, along with Colonel Harris and Lieutenant Grainger in my office."

"Yes Sir."

They got out of the car and walked to their adjoining rooms.

"Need anything?" he asked.

Holding up her laptop she replied, "Got everything I need right here Sir."

"Okay...well...if you do..."

She smiled. "I know where to find you."

He nodded. "Right. Well goodnight."

"Goodnight Sir."

As she turned to open her door he caught her arm. "You did real good tonight Carter."

"Thank you Sir."

As soon as Jack got inside he dialled the Generals number and relayed the events of the last few days. Once Hammond was sure his people were okay he rang off, telling Jack he could brief him fully when they returned to the mountain.

xxxxxxx

Sam jumped when she heard the knock on her door, a little sluggish to get up and open it. "Colonel?"

"Here Carter," he said, holding out the items he'd brought over for her.

She took them from him and held them to her chest, fighting the strong urge to bring them to her face.

He shrugged, his hands deep in his pockets, a little embarrassed now. "It's only an old pair of sweats and a t-shirt...clean," he quickly added. "I just thought you'd like something fresh to change into after you got cleaned up since you couldn't get any of your stuff."

"That's...very thoughtful Colonel. Thank you."

"You're welcome. Did you need anything else?"

She shook her head slightly. "An Ensign dropped by with some toiletries a little while ago."

"That's good." He stood in her doorway a moment longer. "You okay?"

"Yes Sir, just tired."

He nodded. "Okay. G'night Carter."

She gave him a slight smile. "Night Sir."

Closing the door she laid his clothes on her bed and stripped off, folding up her clothes knowing she would have to wear them again tomorrow. Then she took the time to hand wash her underwear hanging it over the shower rail.

That done, she looked in the mirror and peeled the small bandage from her throat, the cut starting to dry out already. NCIS had a doctor look at her while she was there, and after she assured him she was okay, he'd dabbed her with some disinfectant and applied the bandage, thankfully not insisting that she go to the hospital.

Turning on the water she stepped into the shower letting the water course over her, hoping it could wash away all that she was feeling. Hoping it would cleanse...

As soon as the word entered her head she felt faint, like she wanted to throw up and pass out all at the same time. She leant against the wall, her back to it as she slid down to the floor. She pulled her knees up wrapping her arms around them and tried to take deep breaths to calm herself down. After a few minutes she stood and quickly finished washing, turning off the shower and drying off, trying to go through her usual routine as best she could.

Sam walked over to the bed her fingers trailing over the clothes the Colonel had left her. She picked up the sweat pants and pulled them on, glad for the drawstring at the waist and the elastic at the bottoms of the legs. Then she picked up his t-shirt and slipped it on over her head, just about able to wrap it around herself twice it was so big on her. His clothes were soft against her bare skin and she pulled the collar of his shirt up over her nose, closing her eyes and breathing in deeply. Even though they were freshly laundered as he'd said, they still maintained some of his scent and she let out a sigh.

So tired all of a sudden, she pulled back the covers and got into bed sure she'd be asleep before her head even hit the pillow.

An hour later she still stared wide eyed at the ceiling.

xxxxxxx

Jack ran his hands through his still damp hair and yawned loudly. Just as he was about to throw back the covers on his bed he heard a soft tap on his door. So soft in fact that he stood, one ear cocked trying to decide whether he'd really heard it at all, when it sounded again. He opened the door to find Carter standing on his doorstep. She looked so small in his oversized clothes, feet bare, arms wrapped around herself. She looked up at him and his heart ached.

"C'mere," he said as he opened his arms wide and she stepped into them.

Sam closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. She was enveloped by him, his arms, his presence, his scent.

Jack held her close, feeling the tension in her body slowly dissipate. After a few moments he realised Carter didn't seem inclined to move, which would've been okay by him except they were still in his doorway. He rubbed a hand briskly up and down her back a few times, his hands coming to rest on her arms as he moved her away from him. "Come on Carter," he said softly as he moved her inside, closing the door behind them.

She let him lead her over to his small couch and push her down onto it, watching mutely as he sat down next to her.

"You wanna talk about it?"

"I feel so stupid Sir," she murmured.

He frowned at her. "Well that doesn't say much for the rest of us if you feel stupid."

She appreciated his attempt at levity but she couldn't find it in herself to smile.

Okay, so that's not gonna work... "Why would you feel stupid?" he tried instead.

"Because I shouldn't let this be affecting me the way it is," she replied as if it should be obvious. "We've been through much worse than this off world Sir and it's never bothered me like this."

Jack nodded slowly. "Potter wasn't a Goa'uld, or a misogynistic Mongol...he was a friendly...he was supposed to be one of us. It's different..."

She felt the tears well in her eyes and looked away.

He closed his eyes briefly. "Carter, look at me." When she didn't comply he reached out and touched a hand to her face, gently turning her head back towards him. "Don't think this makes you weak," he said earnestly. "It doesn't. It makes you human."

She swiped at her cheek as she felt a hot tear roll down it. "It doesn't seem to be having the same affect on you."

"He didn't come after me."

"But we know he would've...after..."

He sighed rubbing a hand slowly through his hair. "It doesn't mean that I'm stronger than you...it just means..." He struggled for the words...the things I've seen...the things I've done...this isn't exactly high on the list of 'things that have fucked me up'...

And that was true...at least when it came to what Potter had planned to do to him. That didn't bother him at all. But how this was affecting her...that was the thing about this whole fucked up mess that was getting to him.

He tried again, deciding to put himself out there. Hopefully it would help her. "I wish it did..."

"I don't understand Sir."

"I hope you never have to see, never have to do the things I have..."

It finally dawned on her what he was trying to say. His years in Black Ops had hardened him. She knew little of his background, much of it still being classified despite her clearance, but she knew he'd probably gone through things she couldn't even comprehend. She rested her hand on his knee and when he looked at her she gave him a small smile. "Thank you." She couldn't explain it, but him telling her it was okay to feel this way, reassuring her the way he had...didn't make it completely better, but it was a start. She noticed him try to stifle a yawn and she looked at her watch. "I'm sorry Sir," she said as she made to stand. "I'll leave you to get some sleep."

He caught her fingers in his as her hand lifted from his knee and dragged her back down.

"You...are not going anywhere!"

"But Sir..."

"Ah! No buts Carter," he admonished, his voice softening with his next words, "now go and get into bed."

"Bu..." the word died in her throat at the look he gave her and in truth she didn't really want to argue. For once she didn't want to be brave, and if he wanted to take care of her, pull the covers up to her chin and tuck her into his bed, stay with her and comfort her and make her feel safe, then she was going to let him. So without further comment she rose and walked over to the bed, pulling the covers back and sliding in.

Jack sat on the couch hoping he was doing the right thing. He didn't want her to be alone tonight, no matter how much she tried to assure him she was okay. If she was okay she wouldn't have turned up on his doorstep the way she did. But there was no getting around the fact that was she not only in his room, she was now in his bed. At his insistence.

Get over it, he told himself. You've spent the night in close quarters with her plenty of times. But he wasn't fooling himself with that reasoning. The majority of those times the boys had been with them and they'd been off world on a mission. The time they'd spent inside the glacier when they'd been thrown to the second gate notwithstanding, but he certainly wasn't thinking about anything but the pain in his body and wanting to get home. A slight smile came to his lips when he remembered her giggling at his declaration about his sidearm. He sure wasn't in any shape at the time for it to have been anything else. Right now they were earth-side and on a military base...not that her being in his bed off base would have been any better.

Regulations Colonel! And how much of an ass are you thinking about her like that at a time like this!? She's come to you for help, because she trusts you...and all you can think about is...

He scrubbed his hands over his face and let out a loud sigh as he stood. He glanced over to the bed to find her watching him, the covers pulled up tight under her chin. He smiled. "Comfy?"

Sam could feel the heat in rise her cheeks and the tips of her ears as he spoke to her, a little embarrassed at him seeing her like this, not quite the professional Air Force officer persona she usually tried to maintain. And his smile made her stomach bounce. "Yes Sir, thank you," she replied finally. He nodded once and she watched as he moved to the closet pulling out a blanket and pillow from the top shelf.

He turned back and considered the small couch for only a moment before he decided he'd be more comfortable on the floor.

Sam sat up slightly as he laid the blanket out on the floor before dropping down onto it and pulling the excess over himself.

"Get the light would ya Carter?"

She frowned. "Colonel?"

"What?"

Sams mouth opened then shut again. What are you going to say? Do you want to come to bed with me?

"Carter?"

"Ah...you can't sleep on the floor Sir, I'll go back to my own room."

"I've slept on plenty worse Captain," he replied with a yawn. "Now turn the light out and go to sleep." When she didn't move he added, "please."

Sam reached out and flicked off the lamp settling back down in the bed. She felt bad that he was sleeping on the hard floor, but she also felt a lot better laying there in the dark hearing his steady breathing, knowing he was close.

Jack stretched out and laced his fingers behind his head staring up at the ceiling in the dark. She seemed genuinely surprised when he threw the blanket on the ground, which made him wonder where she thought he was going to sleep. The couch you bozo. She did not think that you'd be sharing the bed with her...

xxxxxxx

Jacks eyes opened, his breathing stopped. He lay still and listened.

Sam clutched at the hands around her neck but they were too strong. She couldn't break Potters hold as he pushed her down. She spluttered as the cold salty water invaded her mouth, her nose...

Jack knelt next to the bed and tried to wake her gently but he didn't seem to be getting through.

"Carter," he called as he shook her a little harder.

...then suddenly the hands around her throat were gone and she was being pulled back up...

"Colonel?"

"You okay? I think you were having a bad dream or something."

She let out a shaky breath, her dream still so vivid in her mind. "You could say that."

He laid a hand on her arm and gave a light squeeze. "He's dead Carter. He can't get to you."

She sighed. "I know that Sir..."

Jack paused a moment, then gave her shoulder a nudge. "Shove over."

"Sir?"

"My ass is numb from sleeping on this damn floor," he lied. "And you're hogging the whole of the soft comfy bed!" What are you doing Jack...his higher brain functions definitely had something to say about this. But looking at her laying there, he resolutely decided he didn't give a damn.

The corner of her mouth lifted as she scooted over and she felt him settle next to her in the bed. Moments later she was asleep.

Jack lay back in the bed definitely more comfortable than he had been on the floor, though he thought he'd probably get more sleep on the floor. He could feel the heat of her body on the sheets, her scent on the pillow where his head now rested. He closed his eyes and tried to steady his breathing; he needed to sleep. Then he felt her shift next to him.

"Carter?" Jack murmured as her arm moved across his stomach. When she didn't stir he slowly picked up her hand and laid it down next to him on the bed. It was going to be hard enough as it was to get any sleep without...he felt her arm snake across his middle again, her head coming to rest on his shoulder, a light snore escaping her lips. Jack rubbed a hand across his eyes and let out a sigh. After a moment he shifted his left arm out from under her and she immediately moved into his side, her leg moving over his.

"Aww crap..." He let his hand rest lightly on the swell of her hip thinking, I don't have a sidearm to blame it on this time, as he drifted off to sleep.

xxxxxxx

Sam clutched at the hands up around her neck...just the thought of his long fingers on her...his thumb moving roughly across her lips, his other hand moving up into her hair...her hands slipped down along his strong forearms trying to persuade those hands to move to other places. Places she so desperately wanted him, but he held firm, teasing her she knew. He pulled her slowly towards him and she whimpered as her taught nipples grazed his bare chest...

"Colonel..." she breathed.

Jack stirred, his hindbrain registering something that it knew shouldn't be there. A sound, a feeling...

...she moved closer to him, her nose running slowly up the side of his neck, drinking in the heady scent of him, her tongue flicking out to taste him. She laid one hand flat on his muscled chest, the other moving down over the strong planes of his back to smooth over his perfect ass...

"Ah...Carter?" Jack queried as her hand bunched in his shirt, her breath hot on his neck.

...giving his ass a light squeeze, she pulled him closer letting out a soft groan, her hips bucking involuntarily as his arousal, hot and heavy came into contact with her bare stomach...

Jacks froze as Carters leg moved further across his body, her thigh coming into intimate contact with certain parts of his anatomy. His eyes widened when her hand moved lower gripping his hip as her hips thrust into his side.

...he moved forward and she sighed into his mouth as his lips captured hers, his tongue invading her mouth, thrusting against her own. Her hand slid from his hip, fingers trailing across the soft skin low on his belly...

Jack was sure he felt her lips on his neck...he was busy trying to decipher how that made him feel when her hand moved up under his t-shirt and he could feel the goose bumps rise on his skin as her fingers trailed across his belly...he could feel himself responding and knew he had to wake her.

"Carter," he tried again. Then her fingers slipped below the band of his sweat pants...

"Whoa!" he yelled a little too loudly as he shot up, the back of his head hitting the headboard. In his haste to get out of the bed, his legs tangled in the covers and he landed on his ass on the floor with an unceremonious thud.

Sam was startled out of sleep by the noise and movement beside her. It took her a few seconds to realise where she was, then her attention was drawn to the opposite side of the bed. Brow furrowed she moved across, feeling the warmth of his recently vacated spot, the scent of him strong enough to drag her momentarily back into her dream. Glad of the darkness, her cheeks flaming, she stuck her head over the side of the bed to find the Colonel sitting on the floor rubbing the back of his head.

"Colonel?"

Jack glanced up at her.

"What are you doing down there Sir?"

He rubbed a hand through his hair deciding he didn't want to embarrass her or himself by telling her the whole truth of what had happened. "Guess I musta fallen outta bed Carter." It wasn't a lie. In the predawn light he could see her hand fly to her mouth.

"No giggling!" he groused.

 

Chapter Text

For the past few hours Sam had tried not to think about the dream she'd had. Not that she hadn't dreamt about him before...she had...alot. But never as vivid or explicit as this. Well, not when she was asleep anyway. All she could put it down to was his proximity to her at the time. She chanced a glance at him over her cereal bowl looking down again quickly when she found he was staring straight at her. And what was that look on his face all about? Oh god...please, please, please tell me I didn't say or do anything while I was asleep to give him any idea what I was dreaming about...she looked up again to find him still staring at her. Oh I think I'm gonna be sick...

When she quickly looked back into her bowl for a second time Jack couldn't help the little smirk that came to his lips. He hadn't fully registered it at the time, but he'd had a few hours now to think about what had happened. By her actions he'd been pretty sure at the time what she'd been dreaming about, but it wasn't until later that he was also fairly sure who she'd been dreaming about, certain he hadn't imagined her uttering 'Colonel' right before her hands started to wander. And that thought interested him way more than it should...

xxxxxxx

After breakfast Jack and Sam made their way to the base hospital to see how Commander Robinson was doing.

"And I don't need that!"

Jack smiled at the sound of Ellie's voice loud in the corridor. "I think she's in there," he said to Carter as he pointed to a room a few doors down.

"Please ma'am," Billy pleaded. "The nurse said..."

"Who is your commanding officer Lieutenant?"

"Why don't you give the poor kid a break?" Jack said with a grin as he sauntered into the room.

"Jack!"

"How're you feeling?"

"Barely a scratch," she replied with a smile.

"Bullet went straight through Sir," Billy added. "Doc says she'll be fine. She can even go home this morning." He gave his CO a pointed look. "On the condition that she rests."

Ellie rolled her eyes and Jack laughed.

"It's good to see you're well ma'am," Sam said.

"Thank you Captain."

"Looks like I'm a bit late to the party," Bill Harris said as he entered the room. "You're looking better this morning."

"Feeling it too, thanks Bill."

Jack looked between the two of them, the softening of her voice as she spoke to Harris not lost on him, nor was the way he looked at her. The corner of his mouth lifted slightly.

"So Billy told me what happened last night after I was carted off," Ellie said after a moments pause.

"Yeah, we were lucky Carter thought to hit record," Jack replied.

"What happens now?" she asked.

Jack shrugged. "Not sure. Once you're safely home the rest of us have to make an appearance in the Admirals office."

Ellie snorted. "You're not going without me!"

"But ma'am..."

"Just drive the damn wheelchair!"

xxxxxxx

"The Admiral has been expecting all of you," the Ensign seated at the desk in the outer office said as the five of them entered. "I'll just buzz him and you can go straight in."

Rear-Admiral Hayes looked up from his desk as the door opened, not surprised in the least to see his ex-wife accompanying the others.

"Commander, I hope you're feeling okay?"

"I am, thank you Admiral."

"Good." He looked to the other four. "Take a seat people." Once they were all settled he continued. "I won't keep you long. I spoke to the lead investigator this morning and he's assured me that there will be no charges brought against any of you. From your statements and the recording from Captain Carter, it was clearly a case of self defence."

"Will they be reinvestigating the other cases I told them about Sir?" Harris wanted to know.

"Since that's purely an Air Force matter NCIS won't be investigating but they'll hand it over to the Air Force OSI branch along with all the information they have."

"Thank you Sir."

"Now as far as the games are concerned, I'm sure you can appreciate that I can't let any of you back up in an aircraft until you've had a proper psych eval..." He paused at the collective looks he received. "I know, I know. As the Commander and the Lieutenant are under my command I'll organise that with them at a later time. Colonels, Captain, I'll leave it up to your respective COs as to how they want to proceed when you return to your own commands, though I will be recommending they follow suit prior to your return to active duty."

"Yes Sir."

"So, you are all very welcome to stick around for the remaining few days of the games. Although you can't participate you can observe. But I'll also leave you to work that our with your commanding officers."

"Thank you Sir."

"So if there aren't any questions? Dismissed."

"Oh, Captain Carter?" the Admiral called as she was just about to go out the door.

"Yes Sir?"

"You're cleared to go back into your old quarters and pick up the rest of your gear."

She smiled. "Thank you Sir."

xxxxxxx

When they got outside the group went their separate ways agreeing to meet for dinner.

Sam turned to the Colonel. "What do you want to do about the rest of the week Sir?"

"I don't have any particular desire to watch everyone else have all the fun for the next couple days Carter, I'll get onto Hammond and see if he can't get us on a transport back to Peterson."

"Yes Sir."

After a few minutes Jack ended the call.

"The soonest he can get us a ride is 1400 tomorrow."

Sam nodded. "I guess I'll head over and grab my gear, if that's okay with you Sir?"

"Yeah sure," he replied. "I'll come with."

As they neared their old rooms they could see there was a sentry posted at the door.

"Captain Samantha Carter," Sam said when they got close enough. "Admiral Hayes said I would be able to pick up my belongings?"

The man gave a curt nod. "Yes ma'am, I was told to expect you." He turned and opened the door. "You can go on in, but please stay out of the marked areas."

"Thank you," she replied.

"Thanks," Jack said as he passed the guy.

"You okay?" he asked as he stepped up behind her.

She looked away from the marked out area on the floor and headed for the bathroom to get her toiletries. "Yes Sir," she replied. "I'll be fine."

He leant back against the wall and waited the few minutes it took her to throw her few things into her bag and zip it up.

"All good to go Sir."

He pushed off the wall and gestured with his hand for her to lead the way.

xxxxxxx

They took her stuff back to her new billet and grabbed some lunch.

Coming back out onto the street Jack stuck his hands in his pockets and glanced around.

"You want to go to the observation area and watch the games Colonel?"

"I guess." As they started to walk he thought of a better idea. "You know what Carter?"

She stopped and turned to him, her eyebrows raised.

"It's a beautiful day...we're in Florida...let's go to the beach..."

"Sir?"

"The beach...you know...sand, surf..."

Sam smiled. "Yes Sir, I know what a beach is..."

"Well?"

"I'm not really sure if we should be goi..."

He sighed. "C'mon Carter, we're missing out on all the fun up there," he said pointing skyward just as a jet screamed by above them as if to prove his point. "Oh come on! Rub it in why don't ya!" he yelled at the quickly retreating aircraft. Then he looked back to her a slight pout on his lips.

"Why not..." she relented.

xxxxxxx

"I thought we were going to the beach, not going for a run Captain," Jack said when Carter emerged from her room.

She looked down at herself. "Well I actually expected to go running not swimming Sir." Then she took in his attire. Worn old sneakers, baggy knee length board shorts and a loose white tank under an open light blue button down shirt.

He smiled as he watched her silent appraisal of him. "Always come prepared Carter!"

"Boy Scouts Sir?" she asked with a smile as they turned and started walking towards the beach.

He winced slightly. "Ah, no actually. I got kicked out of the scouts."

Her smile morphed into a grin. "What did you do?"

"Story for another day Captain!" he evaded.

A few minutes later and they were on the sand. Jack threw down his towel and toed off his sneakers. Hands on hips, he closed his eyes taking a deep breath of the fresh ocean air.

Sam stood off to the side of him, and as magnificent as the Atlantic looked she couldn't take her eyes off him as he stripped off first his shirt and then his tank. Her eyes flew to his when he looked back over his shoulder at her.

"Comin' in Carter?"

She was suddenly very interested in shaking out her towel. "I think I'll just sit in the sun for a little while Sir."

"Okay, suit yourself," he replied as he made his way down to the water.

Sam laid out her towel on the soft white sand and made herself comfortable, looking up just in time to see him disappear beneath the waves. She watched as he surfaced further out in the water, smiling when he started shaking his head like a big shaggy dog. Then he started a smooth stroke heading out into the calmer waters beyond the breakers. Pulling off her shoes and her t-shirt, leaving her in her running shorts and sports bra, she laid back on her towel and closed her eyes.

A little while later when Jack came up on Carter his breath caught seeing her all laid out as she was. She looked like she was asleep so he took a minute to just look at her. In a way that you really shouldn't be looking at her...

What seemed like only moments after she'd shut her eyes Sam sat up abruptly, letting out a shrill cry as cold water dripped onto her heated skin. "What the hell..." She looked up to see a grinning Colonel standing over her...a very wet grinning Colonel. Her eyes travelled over his bare torso...a very...wow...he is so, sooo very...not even able to summon the words to describe her thoughts as her gaze travelled lower...his previously baggy board shorts now weighed down by the salt water, hanging low on his hips and clinging to his body. I really really love the beach...

"Carter?" he queried, his brow creased. "You okay? Maybe you've been out in the sun too long..." He dropped to a crouch next to her, his hand coming up to her forehead. "You look a little flushed."

"Ah...I'm okay Sir, really," she stammered. "I think I must've fallen asleep." He looked unconvinced, but let it drop as he moved to sit on his own towel next to hers.

Sam let out a sigh and turned away from him as he stretched his long body out on the sand. She didn't know what would be worse...having him all stretched out half naked in front of her, obviously content to let the sun dry his skin...or have him stand there and dry himself off with the towel...

She snuck a glance back at him, his sunglasses and cap now in place...

...his skin is always so brown...

Her fingers itched with the need to reach out and touch that skin she knew would be so smooth. She shook her head slightly and looked back out to the ocean.

"Think I'll go take that swim now Sir," she said as she stood.

He lifted his cap from his face and glanced up at her. "Good idea Captain," he replied. "You look like you could do with some cooling off."

Her head dropped slightly...if he only knew..."Yes Sir."

Jack watched as she walked down to the water, a slight smirk tugging at the corner of his lips.

Sam floated on her back and thought about the man that lay on the beach. But he's not just any man is he...

She let out a harsh laugh. "Way to go Carter...falling hopelessly in love with pretty much the one man in the entire galaxy you can never have..."

xxxxxxx

An hour or so later they lay side by side in companionable silence looking up to the clear blue sky above, marred only by the vapour trails of the few jets that remained in the games.

Never one to be still for long Jack sat up abruptly and turned to her. "You gonna come back in?"

She wrinkled her nose. "Maybe later Sir, I think I'll stay here a bit longer."

"I'll give you a head start..."

She looked up at him. "A head start?"

He shook his head slightly. "Too late..." He tapped her on the arm and jumped to his feet. "You're it!"

Sam stared at him a moment before she lunged at him.

Jack let out a laugh as he dodged away from her and jogged down the beach towards the water, knowing she wouldn't be able to resist the challenge.

Once he hit the water Sam knew she would have trouble catching him. On land she was possibly a little faster and more manoeuvrable, but in the waist deep water he definitely had the advantage of height, longer legs meaning he could evade her more easily.

"C'mon Carter," he called after he'd successfully managed to get away from her once again. "You're not trying!"

Sam knew this called for extreme measures. She feinted one way, he went the other and when she knew he'd be off balance she dove at him grabbing him high around the waist, bringing them both crashing down under the water. A few moments later they surfaced, the Colonel spluttering and shaking his head, Sam smoothing her hair back from her face.

Jack breathed hard, only partially because of the unexpected dunking he just took. When they'd come back up, they hadn't stood up completely, half floating chest deep in the shallow water, their legs tangled...then he realised he had one arm wrapped around her waist under the surface...

Sam became aware of their relative positions a fraction later than he did and as the waves hit them she let out a little squeal, her hands automatically going to his shoulders to help keep her balance.

His eyes dropped to her mouth, his tongue darting out at the sight of the water droplets on her lips. And God! They were so close it would only take the slightest movement for him to be able to gently lick them off...his eyes dropped to her bare shoulders and he couldn't help but imagine his mouth on her salty skin...the urge was almost overwhelming...

She let out a shaky breath, unable to stop her hands from travelling down over his shoulders to his chest. His eyes came up to hers, his already long lashes seemingly impossibly so, fat water droplets hanging on for dear life.

She licked her lips and his arm tightened around her waist pulling her closer, his other hand moving to the side of her neck, his thumb grazing over her cheek...then he felt her push back on him. It was only the slightest pressure, but it was enough.

"I think you're it Sir..." she breathed.

Releasing her he pushed backwards and dropped under the water. Coming up a few seconds later he stood, raking his hands back through his hair. After a moment he looked down at her, still crouched down in the water and let out a sigh. He'd blown it. Ruined it all...their team...their friendship...and worst of all...their trust...

He started to move towards the shore. "C'mon Carter, let's go. It's getting late."

Sam trailed behind him up the beach unable to keep up with his long strides. Once they'd reached the road she jogged a couple of steps to catch him up. "Colonel..."

He was so angry with himself he could hardly think straight. He'd let himself get carried away, caught up in the moment. And he'd put her in a position where she'd had to push him away. How could he have done that to her!? She tried to talk to him but he couldn't face her.

At the pace he was setting it didn't take long for them to reach their billets.

"What time do you want to head over for dinner Sir?" she asked quickly as he made to push through his door. He paused, his head down and for a moment she didn't think he was going to answer.

"I'll meet you there Captain."

She let herself into her room and sat on the couch, thinking about what had happened at the beach. She had been sure he was about to kiss her and she wanted nothing more...she'd wanted him since the day she'd first laid eyes on him. And what does she do when he goes to make the move she's been dreaming about for months? She panics and pushes him away. He had every right to be angry with her.

He slammed the door behind him and dropped onto the couch, dropping his head into his hands. Slamming his fists on the coffee table he stood and paced around the room.

What the hell had he been thinking!? But really...what the hell had he been thinking all week...he'd let things go too far and he knew it. No matter how he thought she felt about him, he had no right to do half the things he'd done this week. And if he was honest with himself it wasn't just this week.

He'd known this was a problem for a long time but he'd refused to acknowledge it, too busy indulging his little ego trip. He'd realised pretty much from their first mission through the gate to Abydos that she seemed to have a bit of a thing for him, but he couldn't really pinpoint when it had turned from being something one sided.

Jack dropped back down onto the couch and forced himself to think about it. He'd noticed her right from the beginning, how could he not? No use lying to himself about that. But that wasn't it. When they'd gone to the Mongol planet and everyone had made such a big fuss about her being a woman and she'd been forced to wear that ridiculous getup...he hadn't been serious when he'd said that the dress was doing it for him, but he'd also have to be blind not to notice certain assets that weren't usually on display. He groaned slightly when he thought about her in the locker room after they'd gotten back from their next mission and she'd gone all primal instinct on him.

God the look on her face when she slammed his locker door shut would be seared into his brain for the rest of eternity. Then she'd jumped him. It had all happened so quickly, she'd ended up on top of him and asked him straight out...

Don't you want me?

And what had he said? His brow furrowed. What had he said? He replayed the scene in his head for probably the ten thousandth time, squeezing his eyes tightly shut when he realised...he hadn't said no...

Don't you want me?

Not like this...

He remembered her nervous overture, her attempted apology for her actions after they'd distributed the vaccine that the Doc had come up with and his cutting her off saying he didn't remember it. Of course he remembered it! And he remembered teasing her about it then when he'd asked about her wound...

I was concerned.

You were?

Yeah. If it didn't heal properly you'd never wear that sweet little tank top number again.

And there it was. That was the point when he'd started reacting back. That was the point when he should've realised that this was going to be a problem. As harmless as a little flirting seemed at the time he knew it shouldn't have happened. Snippets of past conversations floated through his head, little comments, compliments. A smile that probably said more than it should've. A look that lingered too long. Jack shook his head slightly...all the little touches that didn't really need to happen at all.

He made up his mind it had to stop right here and now...losing her as a member of his team because he couldn't control himself was not an option.

Chapter Text

Around eighteen hundred hours Sam was ready to head over to the officers club to meet the others for dinner as they'd agreed earlier that day. She let out a sigh as she thought about earlier that day...earlier that day when things were still good between them...before the beach, before the kiss that never was and before the Colonel stopped talking to her...

She ran her hands through her hair. "This is ridiculous," she mumbled to herself as she headed for the door, deciding to see if the Colonel was ready to go regardless of what he'd said earlier about meeting her there.

After knocking three times, calling out twice and waiting a full ten minutes for him to answer she decided that he must've already gone without her not wanting to believe the alternative, that he was simply ignoring her, could be true so she headed in the direction of the club.

Jack was sitting at a table with Ellie and Bill, Billy just having left them to go to the bar. He looked up when he heard the younger mans voice raised in greeting.

"Hey Sam!" Billy called giving her a wave.

Sam couldn't help but grin at the young Naval officer who had quickly become a close friend, his good mood infectious. As she made her way over to him she glanced towards the tables, glad to see the that the Colonel was already here.

As she joined him at the bar Billy slung an arm around her shoulders and pulled her against him. "And how was your day?" he asked. "Didn't see you or the Colonel in the observation room...what'd you two kids get up to all on your lonesome?" he asked waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Sam tried to maintain her smile but as his question brought back the events of the afternoon it faltered badly and he noticed immediately.

Suddenly serious he turned to face her fully. "Hey...what's the matter?"

"It's nothing," she lied.

He looked at her. "Yeah right! You don't get to give me a face like that and then tell me it's nothing!"

Sam noticed the Colonel walking towards them and turned pleading eyes on Billy. "I promise I'll tell you later, but just let it drop for now..."

Billy glanced over his shoulder and reluctantly nodded feeling like punching the bastard if he'd done something to make her this upset.

"Carter," Jack greeted as he got closer.

"Sir," she replied a little stiffly.

"Lieutenant? Need help with those drinks?"

"No Sir," he answered. "We'll be over in a minute."

Jack glanced briefly at Carter before he made his way back to the table.

"So?" Billy asked when the Colonel was seated.

"Later," she replied. "Let's just get the drinks."

After a moment he relented and they took the drinks back to the table.

Billy took the chance to study both Sam and her CO over dinner and could tell it wasn't just her who had issues. Neither of them even tried to make eye contact with the other and they'd barely spoken two words to each other since Sam had turned up, not to mention they were sitting as far apart as humanly possible whilst still being at the same table. It was the polar opposite to the behaviour he'd noticed was common between them since they'd turned up three days ago, even to this morning when they'd all parted on what seemed to be good terms. What the hell happened between them to change it all so fast? he wondered.

Determined not to let her brush him off again he dragged her out onto the dance floor the first chance he got after having programmed a good number of slower songs into the jukebox so they could talk. He pulled her against him and wasn't shy in asking her straight out. "So? What's goin' on? You two can barely look at each other..."

Sam grimaced. "Is it that obvious?"

"Ah yeah!" he replied before he reconsidered. "Well to be fair it's probably not much different to how an average CO-subordinate would act around each other...but we both know that's not the relationship you two normally have..."

She glanced at the Colonel then back to Billy. "Well that's the problem apparently."

He screwed up his face a little. "You'll have to be a little more specific."

Sam debated whether to tell him but she couldn't hold it in anymore, the Colonel wouldn't talk to her and she trusted Billy. "After I got my stuff from my room this morning we went to the beach..."

"And?" he prompted when she didn't continue.

"We were clowning around playing tip and ended up in the water...kind of tangled together...and he nearly kissed me..."

Billy's eyebrows rose. "You're kidding!"

She shook her head. "I'm almost positive he was about to."

"What stopped him?"

Sam briefly squeezed her eyes shut. "I did..."

His eyebrows rose even higher. "Why!?"

"I don't know!" she admitted feeling utterly miserable. "I guess I just panicked. I honestly never thought that he..."

"This is where I don't say I told you so..."

She gave him a look. "And I appreciate that!"

He considered her words for a moment. "So...you don't feel about him the way you thought you did?"

She gave a short laugh. "That's the stupid part Billy...I do! Now more than ever!"

"So what's with the silent treatment between you two?"

She shrugged. "I tried to talk to him about it but as you can see he'll barely even look at me."

"So you think he's pissed because he thought you were into him, and when he went to make a move you pushed him away?"

She nodded. "That's what I'm thinking."

He glanced towards the Colonel before looking back to her. "I don't know Sam," he said. "I mean you obviously know the guy better than I do, but he doesn't really seem the type to act like that if a woman turned him down."

She had to agree with him. "What then?"

It was his turn to shrug. "That's a question you need to ask him."

"Yeah, but he won't talk to me!"

"If he won't talk...then you need to make him listen..."

"He's my CO," she reminded him. "How am I supposed to do that?"

"Don't give him a choice, but you need to sort this out tonight before you head home tomorrow."

She looked a question at him.

"If I can tell not all is right with you two, how do you think it'll look to the people who spend everyday with you?"

He had a good point about that.

"And besides," he added. "You want him, and even though I've been telling you so all along, now you know he wants you too." He shrugged. "You can't let that pass."

She thought about what he'd said as the next song started and she laid her head on his shoulder. "Regardless of how either of us feels, he's still my CO and you know as well as I do it's against regulations. So maybe I should just forget it." She felt him smile against her cheek.

"You know you don't always have to be Little Miss Perfect Sam..." he said softly.

She pulled her head back to look at him.

"Just don't get caught..."

After a beat she replied. "You're serious..."

"As a heart attack," he replied glancing at his own CO sitting next to hers. "If I ever got the chance to be with her..." He shook his head a faint smile on his face. "I wouldn't hesitate. Regulations wouldn't even register on the radar."

She followed his gaze, hers landing on her Colonel. Her Colonel...when had she started thinking of him that way? She looked down for a moment before making a decision. Only one way to find out if he still was...

xxxxxxx

Jack had tried not to watch Carter and Navy, really enjoying the company of the two other officers who were still at the table with him, but found there were a few times he couldn't stop himself. He wondered what they were talking about, but had an uneasy feeling he already knew.

"Well as lovely as this evening has been," Ellie began, breaking into his thoughts. "I'm actually feeling a little tired."

"You've had a pretty big twenty four hours," Bill reminded her.

She shifted her arm uncomfortably. "And I left my painkillers at home. I am definitely due for a couple of those and a good eight or twenty eight hours sleep."

Jack and Bill both chuckled at that having been exactly where she was several times before.

"You want me to take you home?" Bill asked after a moment, surprised Jack wasn't offering.

She smiled at him placing a hand on his arm. "Thanks Bill, but that's okay." She nodded towards Billy out on the dance floor with the Captain. "But you could go and get my errant Lieutenant for me."

"Of course," Bill replied as he got up and walked towards the pair of young officers. Bill tapped Billy on the shoulder and smiled when he turned around. "May I cut in Lieutenant?"

"Of course Sir," he replied as he stepped back.

Bill chuckled at the look on the young mans face. "Your Commander needs you son," he said shooing him off in the direction of the others before turning to face Sam holding out his hands. "May I?"

She smiled at him, genuinely liking the man. "I'd be honoured Sir," she answered truthfully as she took his hand, her other resting lightly on his shoulder.

"Captain, despite the circumstances, it's been an absolute pleasure working with you."

Sam felt herself blush finding she valued his opinion. "Thank you Sir, the feeling's mutual."

He nodded. "Good! You know if you ever get tired of working with an old grump like O'Neill there's a spot on my team anytime you want it."

Sam was speechless for a moment. "Thank you Sir, I appreciate that, but..."

Bill smiled knowingly. "I know Captain, you don't have to tell me..."

She swallowed. He did!? "You do?"

"Sure! I know how hard it is to give up any assignment that's as classified as yours is."

She smiled. "Yes Sir. Deep space radar telemetry is very exciting."

Bill threw back his head and laughed. "And you two definitely need to work on your cover story! What's say we go back over and say goodnight huh?"

"Yes Sir."

As both Colonels hugged the Commander in turn Sam pulled Billy to her. "Good luck tonight," she whispered into his ear.

He pulled back and looked at her.

"She could've had either of them take her home..." She let the thought hang between them.

Billy smiled as he pulled her close again so as not to be overheard. "Well I guess if it can happen to you there's hope for me right?"

"I hope you have better luck than me!" she exclaimed quietly.

He looked her in the eye. "It'll be okay, trust me," he said earnestly.

She nodded before letting him go.

Billy and Ellie took their leave promising to see the others before they left the next day if they could.

"I'm going to call it a night too," Bill said. "Early flight tomorrow."

Jack and Bill hugged briefly pounding each other on the back. "It was good to see you again Bill."

"You too Jack."

"It was good to meet you Sir," Sam said, a little surprised when Bill pulled her into a quick hug too, thankfully without the back pounding.

"Remember what I said Captain," he said with a smile as he let her go.

She smiled back. "Yes Sir."

At Jack's quizzical look Bill's smile widened. "Take care of my girl Jack," he said lightly.

"Your girl?" Jack asked, eyebrows raised.

Bill smiled glancing at Captain Carter. "She's very seriously considering a transfer over to me," he teased.

Even though the smile remained on the Colonel's lips Sam could see it leave his eyes, the smile dropping from her own face as she watched him.

"Really?" he asked glancing at her.

Bill chuckled at the look on his old friends face. "Goodnight Jack," he said slapping him on the back. "Goodnight Captain."

"Goodnight," they both replied and watched as he left the bar.

The moment the door closed behind him, Sam turned to the Colonel.

"Sir..."

Jack held up a hand, turned and walked out into the night.

Sam stared after him for a moment before she followed, hurrying to catch him up as he strode purposefully along the road.

"Colonel..."

Jack stopped and looked at her.

"I'm sorry for what happened this afternoon Carter, that's all on me and it won't happen again..." He paused considering his next words. "I don't want you to transfer...but it's your decision."

"Sir..."

"It would've been nice if you'd at least told me first..."

The look of hurt on his face as he said those words just about floored her and before she knew what was happening he turned and left her standing in the middle of the road alone. She covered her face with her hands letting out a frustrated cry. "How did things get so out of control so fast?" she wondered aloud.

She made her way back to her room and flopped on the bed staring up at the ceiling. After a few minutes she thought about the decision she'd made when she was dancing with Billy. Standing, she made her way to the door not caring if what she was about to do ended up with her being brought up on charges of insubordination. He'd been avoiding talking to her all night, not giving her a chance to explain anything. She knew he was pissed at her for what happened at the beach that afternoon, but she'd had enough and he was damn well going to listen to what she had to say.

 

Chapter Text

Jack glanced at the door when he heard the knock. He knew it was going to be her and he briefly considered ignoring it. Opening the door he stood looking at her. "Carter?" When she didn't say anything he huffed out a breath. "Well if there was nothing else Captain..." he said as he made to close the door.

Sam reached out and pushed it open again, her chin raising slightly in defiance as he pointedly looked at her hand then back to her face.

"I need to talk to you Sir..."

"Carter, I don't think..."

"And you will listen to what I have to say!"

His eyebrows just about hit his hairline. "Excuse me Captain!?"

"You don't need to remind me of my rank Colonel..."

Dropping his hand from the door, Jack crossed his arms over his chest and stared at her.

She'd maintained her resolve against the 'Colonel voice', now he was giving her the 'Colonel stare' and he was very good at it, his eyes flinty as he stared at her unblinking.

She took a deep breath deciding on a different tack. "Sir please," she tried, her voice softening.

He considered her for a few more seconds before he dropped his arms and stepped back letting her inside. He had no right to punish her because he was pissed at himself for fucking things up, and way worse than he'd imagined if she was actually considering a transfer out of the program. As he closed the door behind her he watched her move further into his room and as soon as she turned back to face him she started to speak.

"I know you're angry with me Sir..."

His brow furrowed. "What?"

"About this afternoon. Colonel I'm sorry that I..."

"Wait, Carter..." he said his hands raised to stop her, realising now just how badly he'd fucked up. She thought that she'd done something wrong!? How could she not with the way you've been treating her...

"Sir, I really need to say this..."

"Carter, I'm sorry..."

She frowned. "Sir?"

"I meant what I said before, this is all on me," he admitted. "I was way outta line this afternoon and I was...am...so incredibly pissed off at myself for...for what nearly happened...that I guess I was taking it out on you too."

She glanced down briefly, processing his words before looking back to him.

"But you did nothing wrong...in fact I should be thanking you for doing my job."

"I'm not sure I follow Sir..."

"I'm the senior officer here Carter," he explained. "And it's up to me to make sure things like that never happen...actually, to make sure a lot of the stuff that's gone on between us never happens. As soon as I started thinking about you in any way other than professionally..."

"You've been thinking about me?" she asked taking a step closer to him.

Crap...Jack thought, realising what he'd just said, admitting to her something he'd only just managed to admit to himself. He scrubbed his hands over his face and looked to the ceiling, but there was no help there. When he looked back down she'd moved closer again.

"Thinking...feeling..." What are you doing!? You're not supposed to be digging yourself deeper! "And I should never have put you in that position."

She was only inches from him now. "What if I wanted to be put in that position?"

Nononononono...He cleared his throat. "Then I'm even more at fault for letting it get this far..."

He swallowed as her hand came up to his cheek and he cursed himself for turning into it.

"Are you saying you don't want me?" she breathed.

He pulled away from her. "I thought we'd just established that that is actually the problem here..."

"What is?" she asked. She knew she was pushing him but she needed to hear it. "Say it," she whispered.

His eyes caught hers knowing he shouldn't put voice to it but he couldn't stop himself. "I want you..." he admitted, wincing as he added, "Captain..."

She moved back into him again, her eyes never leaving his, her blood just about at boiling point when he didn't pull away. She moved closer still, mirroring her dream as she stood on her toes, her nose travelling up the length of his neck, her lips ghosting his ear as she spoke.

"I wish I hadn't pushed you away this afternoon," she murmured.

He pulled his head back so he could see her face when he asked his next question.

"Why did you?"

"You surprised me," she admitted. "I never thought there was even a remote chance that you wanted me too. And..."

"And?"

She shrugged. "We were kind of in full view of...well everyone..."

He saw the truth of her words in her eyes and even though he was still firmly in the shit, relief flooded over him that he hadn't forced this on her. But that didn't change their situation. "I'm still your CO..." he said softly.

"I know that Sir."

"It's against regulations..."

She nodded. "I know that too Sir."

"So this," he took a step back as he lifted his hands and motioned between the two of them. "Can never happen."

"You seemed pretty happy for it to happen this afternoon Sir," she replied a little sharply.

"And I don't need you to remind me that I almost ruined both our careers Captain..."

She crossed her arms over her chest and continued look at him, growing frustrated with the situation, with him. Every time she seemed to be getting through to him, he'd pull away again.

"Look, Carter...like I said before I don't want you to transfer, I want you to stay on my team, but you have to know right now that all that...stuff...that went on between us before, it has to stop. I'll be your CO and you'll be my 2IC, but we can't be any different with each other than how we are with Danny or Teal'c."

"But you don't want Daniel or Teal'c," she pointed out. He didn't answer. "And I don't dream about them, the way I dream about you."

"Carter, please...don't make this harder than it has to be."

"Why shouldn't we be together?" she demanded. "You know it's what we both want, you can't deny that after today."

"You know why!" he replied his voice raised.

"We've got these feelings anyway Colonel!" she yelled back. "Trying to ignore them, especially now we both know that this thing between us is mutual...how can that possibly help!?"

He looked at her a moment. "I'll talk to Hammond when we get back..."

The smile that started to form on her face was short lived when he continued.

"You can transfer to another SG team."

"You're the General's second in command, you know that won't fix any chain of command issues..."

"No, but it'll fix this one!"

"How!?"

"If we're not on the same team anymore, then we can't compromise ourselves or each other out in the field...and if we're not spending so much time together..."

Her eyebrows rose. "You think this will just go away if we stay away from each other!?"

"It's an infatuation Carter!" he yelled. "Hell half the attraction is probably because it's forbidden! It's not like we're actually in love with each other..." He could see from the look on her face that he'd hurt her. He ground out a frustrated sigh. "I'm sorry...I didn't mean..."

"It's okay," she said. "I know exactly what you meant!"

She moved past him headed for the door and he grabbed her arm spinning her back towards him.

"Please let me go Colonel."

"I didn't dismiss you yet Captain."

She pulled her arm from his grasp and stood glaring at him...

...and he glared right back.

He looked away first exhaling loudly.

"Am I dismissed yet Sir?" she asked after a moment.

He looked back to her throwing his hands up in the air before letting them slap back down against his thighs. "Sure, why not..." he replied as he turned away from her again.

Jack heard the door open and half turned. "You know as well as I do, it's the only thing that makes any sense..." he said quietly.

She stopped, her hand still on the door handle. "What are you talking about?"

He turned around then, waiting for her to do the same.

"This..." he motioned between them. "Let's face it Carter...you are way outta my league!"

At her confused look he continued, letting out a humourless laugh.

"Oh come on...you can't deny that if we were just two people who met at a barbecue...you wouldn't even look twice at a guy like me..."

Her eyebrows rose. "A guy like you?"

"We both know I'm no genius and these aren't exactly highlights I get put in once a month," he said as he ran his fingers through his hair.

"Sir..."

"I'm just a career grunt with all the crap that goes along with it...bad back, bad knees...and you, you're..."

He sighed, hands coming to rest on his hips.

She swallowed. "I'm what?"

"You're...everything I'm not! Young, smart as hell..." His voice and his expression softened. "...and you are absolutely...stunningly...gorgeous..."

She blushed hotly at his words. "I might be young..." she took a step towards him. "But I'm not a kid..." she took another. She went to speak again but paused, taking a hesitant breath before she finally continued as she took yet another step closer to him, a little more than a foot away now. "And I know what I want Colonel..." she breathed, as she reached out her hand resting it on his chest.

He glanced down to where her hand rested on him feeling his heart rate rise. "What could you possibly want with an old warhorse like me?" he muttered, not daring to believe that what she felt for him could really be more than what he'd described.

She shook her head giving him a slight smile. "You really don't see it do you?"

He gave her one of his patented blank looks. "See what?"

"You..." Sam wondered how some men could be so completely oblivious to the affect they had on women, but then she supposed that was part of the attraction.

Taking a chance she slid her hand up to the back of his neck bringing her closer to him still, her eyes finding his. "I won't push you away this time Colonel," she whispered. She had briefly considered not using rank or title, but they were what they were and that wasn't going to change anytime soon, so there was no use pretending otherwise. If they did this they'd be breaking some pretty hefty rules so they may as well face it head on.

He closed his eyes. "Carter...you know we can't..."

Her fingers slipped up into his hair and she felt him shiver. "What I know is...I've wanted you since the first time I saw you..." His eyes came back up to hers and her breath left her. "And sometimes...I want you so much...I can't even think straight..."

Jack struggled. He'd never wanted any other woman the way he wanted her right now, her frank admission causing an almost visceral reaction in him...but how could he? Regulations aside...surely he'd be taking advantage of her...he was certain she'd regret it...you cannot do this...his fingers were digging so hard into his hips his knuckles were turning white. But as he looked at her, no pretences now, the desire she felt for him so clearly evident on her face...all the reasons his brain could think of...his body was quickly overruling...and he knew he was losing the battle, the war and anything else she wanted from him.

Her eyes dropped to his lips as they parted slightly. "Do I have to beg?"

It was out of his mouth before he could stop it. "Would you?"

Her eyes came to his, holding them as she slowly dropped to her knees in front of him, her hands sliding down over his body as she went.

Jesus! Black ops never taught us to resist this kind of torture, hethought as she continued to look up at him. He was just so tired, he couldn't fight this any longer, he really didn't want to. And he knew if she asked him again, he wouldn't say no. "What do you want from me Carter?" he choked out, giving her one last chance to change her mind and stop this.

She reached up and grabbed the front of his shirt pulling him down to her. "I want you to finish what you started this afternoon."

"You're killin' me here Carter..." he murmured as he swayed into her, one hand moving to her hip to steady himself, the other running up over her shoulder to cup the side of her face, his thumb playing along her cheekbone.

The ghost of a smile crossed her lips. "I know how you feel..."

They were so close now he could feel her breath on his skin as she spoke and he closed his eyes hoping he wasn't damning them both. "It has to be you," he murmured.

She knew exactly what he was saying...that final step had to be hers to take and a moment later her lips were on his.

He felt her lips brush against his and he responded hesitantly. Then her fingers tightened in his hair, her nails scraping his scalp and he groaned, surprised when he felt her tongue delve into his mouth. For a few seconds he let her take the lead setting the pace, but then it was like a dam broke and he surged forward deepening their kiss, pushing her backwards onto the floor.

His body half covered hers, his tongue ravaging her mouth as his hand slid up from her waist moving slowly over her ribs, his palm skimming over her taught nipple and she moaned into his mouth.

Hooking her leg around his she flipped them over catching Jack off guard, his brain a little more than foggy. At the same time she came to rest on top of him straddling his hips, the back of his head smacked into the floor beneath them so hard they could hear it.

"Ow...god!"

Sams eyes went wide absurdly wondering if that could be classed as assaulting a superior officer.

Jack rubbed the back of his head and looked up at her, the expression on her face making him grin. "You know, you're dangerous Captain..."

She bit her bottom lip and after a moment they both burst out laughing Sam dropping down to bury her face in the crook of his neck.

"Do you think I should put on some combat gear? I might need it for safeties sake..." he murmured against her skin.

"I wasn't exactly planning on you putting more clothes on..." she admitted, feeling his response reverberate through her chest as a low rumble left him.

He pushed her back slightly so he could see her face. "Bed...now..."

Those eyes...more than once they'd made her breath catch and her insides melt. Moving to stand she shifted backwards bringing her into contact with his very obvious arousal, not able to stop herself grinding against him. "Colonel..."

Jacks hips bucked up into her. "Oh god...Carter," he groaned, his hands gripping her hips to stop her movement. "If you keep that up we won't make it to the bed, and I don't think my knees will survive this floor..."

She quickly stood helping pull him to his feet before she moved away from him, pausing to slip off her jacket and shoes, a shiver running through her as she climbed onto the bed.

Jack followed her lead shrugging out of his jacket, quickly kicking off his boots and socks.

Sam watched as the Colonel slowly made his way over to her, her eyes roaming down over his body, itching to get her hands on him.

He stopped when his legs hit the side of the bed, suddenly nervous.

When he didn't move Sam reached for him pulling him onto the bed.

"So...where were we before you tried to kill me?" he asked, a slight smile on his lips.

"Hmm...somewhere right around here..." She manoeuvred him into the same position he had been in on the floor, relieved the only thing his head came into contact with this time was the pillow. "Better?" she asked.

He let his eyes openly wander over her body as she climbed on top of him. "Much."

Watching him look at her made her burn. She reached out a hand to his chest, letting it run lightly down the front of him until her fingers found the hem of his shirt pulling it up letting out a breath when she came into contact with his warm skin.

As her fingers moved over his belly Jack felt her thighs tighten around him. How many times he'd tried not to think about those thighs...and now his hands were on them, sliding up to cup her ass...something else he'd tried, and failed, not to think about. One hand moved to her hip, the other continued around, one finger tracing up the buttons at the front of her shirt, hooking in the neck of it, slowly pulling her down to him.

Sam stopped an inch away, shifting back slightly bringing her into contact with him once more. She let out a low moan when he gripped her hips tightly and thrust upwards.

How many times he had dreamed of this...he was so hard he could barely stand it...Jack wanted to take this slowly, wanted it to last but he was going insane. He slipped one hand under her shirt, sliding it up the oh so smooth skin of her back pulling her hard against his chest, lifting his head just enough to bring his lips into contact with hers.

She rolled her hips causing him to groan out loud and she took advantage of it, her hand coming up to his face, her tongue forcing its way past his lips.

Her sudden aggressiveness ignited his desire and he twisted his body, quickly flipping them so he came to rest on top of her, settling between her thighs.

The weight of him on her, against her sent Sam spiralling. She lifted one leg, wrapping it around him, rolling her hips upwards.

"Carter..."

Her hand slipped up to the back of his neck, blunt nails scraping across his skin. As she spoke her lips brushed his. "I want you Colonel..." And she thrust against him again to emphasise her words.

His mouth descended on hers, his hand coming up to the buttons of her shirt. After a few frustrating seconds he pulled back. "How attached are you to this shirt?"

She smiled. "I'm not married to it..."

Chapter Text

And seconds later she felt his hand, hot on the bare skin of her stomach, the buttons of her shirt still bouncing off the wooden floor. He thrust against her, his hardness providing her with some much needed friction, but there were way too many clothes between them still. She grabbed his shirt, pulling it up over his head, quickly throwing it aside to run her hands over the smooth skin of his back, her dream from the night before flashing vividly through her brain.

Jacks hand moved up over her ribs coming to rest just under the line of her bra, his thumb grazing up over her hardened nipple. He kissed down the side of her neck, his tongue swirling briefly in the hollow at the base of her throat.

Sam arched up into his touch, his mouth leaving a heated trail on her skin as he continued to move down over her collarbone.

As his fingers gently pushed the fabric of her bra aside his lips followed. He let out a groan when her nipple sprung free, the pad of his thumb scraping roughly over it followed quickly by the tip of his tongue. He heard her sigh, felt her hips move against him as he gently sucked the taught peak into his mouth.

Sam heard the wanton sounds leaving her mouth, but she didn't care. He'd asked her if she would beg, she had no qualms about it then and she had none now. "Sir...please..."

"Please what?" he growled against the pale milky white skin of her breast, his hand sliding down to the band of her jeans, fingers toying with the button. "What d'you want Carter?"

She slid her hand down to cover his pushing it lower.

He eased himself over to her side giving himself better access to her body. He let her guide his hand, nuzzling into her neck as he cupped her through her jeans, his fingers digging into her. "Is this where you want me?" he murmured against her ear feeling her shiver in response.

"Oh god yes," she groaned as she arched up against his hand. She turned her head, touching her forehead to his making sure she held his eyes. "I want you everywhere..."

Jack gripped her hard before bringing his hand up to flick open the button of her jeans quickly dropping the zipper, his fingers sliding under the band of her panties.

She moved her leg over his, shifting her hips, opening herself wider to him. When his fingers finally came into contact with her she reached a hand over to the back of his neck, capturing his lips, groaning into his mouth as he slipped one finger inside of her.

"Christ Carter, you're so fucking wet," he growled.

She caught hold of his wrist pushing his hand down, his finger deeper. "That's what you do to me Colonel..."

His head fell against her shoulder as he slowly thrust his finger inside her once, and then again before pulling back and rubbing roughly over her clit causing her to cry out and buck her hips. He ghosted his lips over the point just behind her ear, his hand coming up to push at her shirt needing to see, to touch more of her.

Between them they managed to rid her of her shirt, then he reached behind her to unsnap her bra slowly pulling first one strap then the other down over her shoulders, moving the garment aside revealing her to his gaze.

Sam arched up as his hands made their way down her body making her skin feel molten, and still goosebumps rose wherever his fingers touched.

He swirled his tongue around each nipple before trailing down her stomach, placing a hot open mouthed kiss low on her belly. He hooked his fingers in the band of her pants, waiting until she lifted her hips before he tugged both her jeans and panties down over her legs. He sat back on the bed and just looked at her, now completely bare before him.

She squirmed under his heated gaze groaning under her breath when that sexy little smirk came to his lips. But she needed more than just his eyes on her.

Jack leant down to run his tongue over the skin just above her small patch of hair. Nudging her legs wider with his body he settled between them, the scent of her causing a low rumble to sound deep in his chest.

Sams heart was beating hard, she needed him so badly...

He ran a hand over her knee and up along her bare leg, his lips finding the beautifully soft skin of her inner thigh and he heard her breathing hitch as he teased one finger along her opening before pressing lightly on her tight little bundle of nerves...

"Oh god Colonel, please..." His eyes came up to hers and she swore all the bones in her body turned to liquid. He slipped a finger inside of her and she closed her eyes, her head falling back against the pillow.

"Eyes open..." he commanded as he slid another finger into her wet heat...and she obeyed looking back down to him, his eyes holding hers as he dipped his head tasting her for the first time.

Sam thought she would come then and there...the sight of her Colonel, his silvering head buried between her thighs, those deep chocolate eyes mesmerising as he worked her with his tongue and those exquisitely long fingers.

He ran his other hand up over her body tweaking a nipple between his thumb and forefinger making her buck up against him every time he did it. The taste of her on his tongue, the feel of her under his hands was driving him crazy and he groaned as he ground his hips into the bed, so hard now he felt like he was about to burst.

Her fingers slipped into his hair, nails grazing his scalp when he sucked lightly on her clit. When he did it again she tightened her grip thrusting up against him, letting out a low keening sound.

"Come for me Carter," he breathed.

And when he touched his tongue to her again she did. But his fingers weren't enough. Before she'd even finished riding it out she reached down to pull him up her body, her mouth urgent, her tongue tasting herself on him. "I want you inside me," she breathed.

Jack leapt from the bed unbuckling his belt, making quick work of both button and fly pushing his pants and boxers down in one fluid motion.

Sam stared admiringly at him, completely naked and utterly breathtaking. As he was about to climb back onto the bed she sat up pushing lightly against his stomach. "Wait..."

His heart sank thinking she'd changed her mind, but then she reached out and wrapped a hand around the base of his rigid cock her tongue peeking out of those gorgeous lips to run lightly up his slit. He laid his hands on her shoulders to steady himself as his eyes closed, his head tipping back.

"Eyes open..." she commanded...and he obeyed. Her eyes stayed on his as she took him slowly into her mouth, and god he tasted so good...

Jack's hands moved up into her messy blond hair not quite able to believe his eyes, his Captains lips wrapped around him...

She moved backwards onto the bed coaxing him forward, laying back her legs opening wide for him.

He knelt between her thighs and looked down at her before he dropped forward onto his hands the rest of his body following, feeling her hot and wet on his skin. Her hand moved between them guiding him to her and he pushed forward easing just his tip inside of her groaning at the sensation, before pulling back to thrust a little deeper. He heard her whimper and felt her tense beneath him. "Did I hurt you?"

"A little..."

"Oh god Carter, I'm sorry...I'd never..." he stammered as he started to pull back.

"No...don't..." She held him still, stopping his retreat.

"But..."

She smiled. "It's okay Sir," she assured him. "It's just...well, you know...it's been a while, and..."

"And?"

"And I've never been with...well you're..."

His eyebrows raised. "I'm what?"

She blew out a breath. "You're bigger than anyone I've ever been with before..."

"Ah," he replied, feeling inordinately pleased and a little dense at the same time that she'd had to spell it out for him.

"Just...take it slow," she murmured as she started to move beneath him.

Jack let her set the pace, her hands on him guiding him as to how deep, how hard. After a short while she wrapped one long leg around him and pulled him into her, thrusting up to meet him.

"Good now?" he asked softly.

She nodded. "God yes." She pulled his head down and kissed him, her eyes on his as she spoke. "Fuck me Colonel..."

Jack grabbed her hip and thrust into her setting his own pace now, pushing that bit harder still until he was completely buried inside her. "Fuck Carter," he breathed, his forehead falling forward onto her shoulder. "God you feel so fucking good..."

She jerked a little at the sensation of him bottoming out inside her, but soon she was pushing back against that too. Every thrust, every time, he hit that spot making her feel like she was on fire, her breathing becoming more and more erratic. She pulled his mouth to hers, wanting to share the same air. "I'm so close..." she breathed against his lips.

"I wanna hear you fucking scream..." he growled.

She gripped his ass and thrust up against him. "Harder," she moaned.

He didn't want to hurt her again. "You sure?"

"Yes! Fuck me harder!"

Jack wrapped his free hand around her shoulder, planted his knees more firmly into the bed and drove into her fighting desperately to hold on.

She let out a yelp. "Don't stop!" she told him. "Keep going...just like that..."

He did and was relieved when she seemed to have adjusted to what he was doing.

Oh god yes! Holy Hannah! He is so fucking good at this! Ohhhhh...yeeeeesssssss... Sam felt like she was about to turn inside out he was making her feel so good. She could feel it building and building, way past anything she had experienced before...and then suddenly...

"Oh god Colonel..." she screwed her eyes tightly shut and moved her hips up against his in short deliberate strokes making him hit that exact spot inside of her over and over...

Jack felt it the moment she went over the edge her muscles spasming around him. He slowed his pace a little waiting for her tremors to subside.

She felt like her body had turned to liquid and she began to move again matching his languid pace. Pulling him down to her she kissed him long and hard. "That was amazing."

He thrust harder. "We haven't finished yet..."

"No we haven't," she agreed, wrapping her leg around his hip again. "Come for me Colonel..." She felt more than heard the rumble in his chest and she smiled as he increased his pace again. "I want you to come inside me..." Again the vibration, this time accompanied by a deep growl. "Ohhh...god yes Colonel..." She'd started this to spur him on, but was finding her words turning her on even more, bringing her close yet again. "I love it when you fuck me..."

Jack couldn't believe his usually meek and mild Captain had such a filthy mouth. Such a fucking turn on...

Sam could feel his thrusts becoming more erratic with every word and she loved that she could do this to him. "I'm going to come again..." He thrust harder and she could feel him swell inside of her, it was enough to push her already over sensitive flesh past the point of no return.

Jack let out an unintelligible noise as he thrust once, twice...and then he was coming, emptying himself deep inside of her, feeling her inner walls grasping hold of him once more.

"Jesus fucking Christ Carter..." he panted as he slowly pulled out of her and rolled to her side.

She lay back sweating and spent. "You can say that again Sir..."

He glanced over to her. "You do know that when we're like...this...you don't have to call me Colonel or Sir..."

She smiled a little shyly. "I know...but I kinda like it..." she admitted.

"Really?"

She nodded.

He shrugged. "Whatever floats your boat Carter."

She regarded him a moment. "You do know that when we're like...this...you don't have to call me Carter..."

He smiled not at all shyly. "I know...but I kinda like it..." and she laughed.

xxxxxxx

In the early hours of the morning Sam woke to his lips on her neck, his hand between her thighs, his cock hard and insistent against her ass.

He felt her stir and push back against him opening her legs for him and he slipped his fingers inside of her. "God, are you always this wet?"

"Only when you're around," she murmured sleepily, letting out a low moan and shifting her hips as his fingers thrust into her. "Do you have any idea how uncomfortable it is walking around like that?" He placed an open mouthed kiss to her shoulder and she felt him chuckle. "What?"

He thrust his cock against her. "Try walking around half hard all day long."

She glanced over her shoulder at him. "You do not..."

He smiled. "Swear to god! Whenever I know you're on base I pretty much have a hard on."

"But I'm constantly on base."

"Exactly!"

She smiled. "How have I never noticed?"

"Why do you think I started wearing clothes two sizes too big for me?" he asked as he dragged his fingers up over her clit.

Pulling her leg up over his he entered her from behind and she gasped at the sensation. Short easy strokes was all he could manage in this position, but the angle of his thrusts paired with his dexterous fingers had her panting within minutes.

She dropped her leg clamping even tighter around him making him groan and falter in his movement. At this rate he wouldn't last much longer...he found his rhythm again thrusting harder, pressing down on her clit. He wanted her to go first and if their earlier encounter was any indication...she liked it a little dirty...

She felt his breath against her neck, his lips against her ear.

"God I love fucking you Carter..." he growled.

His words were like a live wire arcing right through the centre of her body. "Colonel..."

He watched as she moved one hand back to grab his hip, her other moving to knead her breast, her fingers tweaking her nipples in turn. "Talk to me...tell me what you want me to do to you..."

"Oh god..." she panted.

He thrust into her hard twisting her clit. "Tell me..."

She was so close and he felt so good inside her...

"Fuck me," she breathed as she gripped his ass trying to get some leverage to push back against him. "Fuck me Colonel...I love the feel of you inside me..."

His cock twitched and his hips jerked at the sound of those words coming from her mouth. He brought his hand up to turn her head capturing her lips with his, his tongue thrusting into her mouth keeping pace with the thrust of his hips.

"I'm so close," she groaned into his mouth. "Harder..."

"Harder?" he gasped.

"Mmm...harder, faster...I want you so deep inside me when you come..."

"Christ Carter..." he groaned as he quickly pulled out of her repositioning himself between her thighs. He threw one leg over his shoulder and thrust into her hard burying himself to the hilt, not giving her time to adjust to their new position before he began to pound into her...harder, faster, deeper...

Sam actually felt her eyes roll back in her head.

He leant down so his lips brushed her ear his words coming out as a hoarse whisper. "I'm balls deep in you Carter...and I'm gonna fuck you so hard you forget your own name..."

He punctuated his words with a particularly brutal thrust and she screamed feeling like she'd just shattered into a million pieces.

Jack felt her muscles contract around him, her nails digging into his skin and moments later he followed her over the edge.

xxxxxxx

Just before dawn Jack woke to the sensation of soft wet heat surrounding him. His eyes focused in the dim light and he sucked in a breath as he watched her tongue trail up the underside of his rapidly hardening shaft.

"Carter..." he breathed, his hands coming down to tangle loosely in her hair.

"Yes Sir?" she asked innocently, her tongue swirling around his tip.

"Whatcha doin'?"

She took as much of him into her mouth as she could, pulling back slowly before replying. "Not sure what you mean Sir..."

"What I mean Captain is...oh god..." he groaned when he felt himself hit the back of her throat.

"Something wrong Sir?" she asked.

He let out a low growl as she stared up at him her eyes wide. He crooked his finger at her and she got on all fours crawling up his body.

She leant down, her nipples skimming over his chest as she caught his mouth in a searing kiss. Just as he started to deepen it she pulled back pushing up onto her knees straddling his hips.

Jack stared up at her and she was magnificent.

She laid her hands over his where they rested on her hips and dragged them around, up over her stomach to her breasts. She slid her hands down to his strong forearms helping keep her balance as she positioned herself over him.

He gently massaged her gorgeous tits rolling her taught nipples between his fingers, letting out a gruff sigh as he watched himself disappear into her as she slowly sunk down onto him.

She rode him slowly at first rolling her hips feeling every inch of him inside of her, but it built quickly and she could already feel that intense throbbing in her clit. She moved one hand down to rub and pinch at the tight little nub her head falling forward one hand on his chest to steady herself as a low moan escaped her lips. "I'm coming..." she choked out as her climax ripped through her.

Jesus he loved how she looked when she came and it was such a fucking turn on he could make her lose it so quickly. He watched as she threw back her head, panting and wild as she rode him...his hands dropped down to grip her hips, one more thrust all it took before he was coming along with her...

Chapter Text

As the sun started to peek through the small gaps in the blinds she lay with her head on his shoulder, her fingers rubbing small circles on his chest, his hand resting lightly on her bare hip. "We're going home today," she murmured, really not wanting to say the words out loud. She felt his arm tighten around her, his other hand coming up to her cheek as he placed a kiss against her forehead.

"Yeah..."

"So..."

"So?"

She turned slightly so she could see his face better. "So...what you were saying last night...about us not..." As much as she needed to know the answer she didn't want to hear it. He seemed so adamant last night that she was expecting the worst and she knew she wouldn't survive it.

He pulled her in for a long lingering kiss. "We both know it's against regulations Carter," he started. "And we'd be in a world of trouble..."

"I know Sir, but..."

He put a finger to her lips to silence her. "So...between your gigantic brain and my exceptional talent for subterfuge...we'll just have to make sure we don't get caught...as long as that's what you want..." Her expression cleared in an instant and he had no words for how it made him feel when he managed to put that look on her face.

"It's what I want." She kissed his chest and smiled up at him. "And there are so many other things you have an exceptional talent for," she breathed as she made to climb on top of him, frowning slightly when he held her still, his expression suddenly serious.

"If we're doing this, there's one thing I need you to promise me right now before we go any further..."

"What is it?"

"If you ever have second thoughts, you want to change your mind about this, promise me you'll tell me. I don't want you to ever feel trapped...like you have no choice..."

She held his eyes as she replied. "I promise. I trust you and I know as far as this goes, you'd never want me to do anything I didn't want to do."

After a moment he nodded. Then a smirk pulled at the corner of his mouth. "Then I guess there's only one thing left to say...as you were Captain..."

The low timbre of his voice gave her goosebumps and she smiled as she moved her leg over his.

xxxxxxx

Billy had just knocked on Sams door when he heard the door of the next room over open and a slow smile spread across his face, waiting until she turned towards him before he spoke. "Not doing the walk of shame are we Captain?"

She stopped a few feet from him. "I suppose it won't do any good to say it's not what it looks like..."

Grinning now he gave an exaggerated shake of his head. "Nope!"

She rolled her eyes as she unlocked her door and pushed him inside.

"So spill!" he said as soon as the door was closed behind her. "I'm assuming that you took my sage advice and you and the old guy have more than made up?"

She wanted to be annoyed with him but found she couldn't, smiling at him instead. "You could say that..."

His eyes widened. "You jezebel!" he said with a grin smacking her on the butt. "Now go make me some coffee and gimme all the juicy details!" He ducked her half hearted attempt at smacking him in the head and laughed. "Okay, okay...how about I make some coffee while you go have a shower?"

"Better," she said. Just as she was about to move past him into the bathroom there was a knock at the door.

"Hey Carter! Open up!" Jack called.

Billy's eyebrows rose. "Demanding isn't he!"

Sam shot him a look as she walked over and opened the door. "Colonel..."

He smiled as he held up his hand, her bra dangling from one finger. "I think you forgot something..." Jack's gaze moved past her shoulder to see Navy standing in the middle of the room...

"Ahh...didn't know you had company Carter..." he stammered as he quickly moved her bra behind his back before realising that it would then be visible to anyone outside the room...

Billy bit the inside of his cheek in an attempt to stop the face splitting grin that threatened as the Colonel shoved Sams bra up his shirt.

Sam bit her bottom lip as she held out her hand. "It's okay Colonel."

"It is?" he asked, his eyes flicking to Navy and back again.

"Yeah," she assured him. "He knows."

His eyebrows rose as he motioned her outside. "You told him?"

"Not exactly," she replied. "He kind of told me."

He screwed his eyes shut before looking at her again. "I'm not even gonna pretend I understand what that means." He glanced back to the young officer again. "But you trust him?"

She smiled. "Yes Sir, I do."

He nodded then, handing over her underwear. "Okay, good enough for me," he conceded. "Don't forget our ride's gonna be here in a couple hours."

"I'll be ready Sir."

Jack walked the few steps back to his own room closing his door behind him. He couldn't really explain why Navy's presence didn't bother him anymore. He actually kinda got the feeling he should be thanking the kid...he just had no idea why...

As soon as Sam closed the door Billy burst out laughing.

"Stop it!" she warned as she threw her jacket on the bed.

He held out his hands. "I'm sorry," he said earnestly. "But you gotta admit...that was damn funny..."

Despite herself Sam couldn't help the smile that came to her lips and the giggle that bubbled out of her mouth. She was going to miss Lieutenant Billy Grainger.

Fifteen minutes later Sam was freshly showered and they were seated at the small table in her room.

"So you two seem to have had a pretty big turn around since I saw you last night," Billy said as he handed her a cup.

Sam sipped the hot coffee. "I'm definitely glad I took your advice," she admitted. "It wasn't easy, but we came to an understanding."

"Oh yeah?"

"Let's just say I'm not planning on being Little Miss Perfect anymore."

He smiled. "Good for you."

"And? What about you?"

"Me?" he asked, not able to stop a small smile from coming to his lips.

Sam's mouth dropped open. "You mean you and Commander Robinson..."

"God! You get lucky and suddenly your mind's living in the gutter!" he joked. "No, I took her home and walked her to her door, you know, just to make sure she got inside okay..."

"Uh huh..."

"Then she asked if I wanted to come inside, we talked awhile and..."

"And?"

He shrugged. "And it was nice."

She smiled.

"Yeah well," he said a little shyly. "It just felt different to usual you know? Like more personal. Anyway it just kinda makes me feel like she's starting to see me as more than Billy 'The Kid'."

"Good for you," she said echoing his words.

A short while later they said their goodbyes and just as Sam finished packing her gear there was a knock at the door.

"Hey," she said with a smile when she answered it.

"Hey," he said as he walked past her into the room.

As soon as the door was closed Sam felt herself being spun around, her back pushed up against it. "It's nice to see you too," she breathed as his body covered hers his hand moving up under her shirt.

He growled, his head falling forward onto her shoulder. "I'm sorry," he said as he pulled her shirt back down. "I just don't know how long it's gonna be before I can touch you again...and it's drivin' me nuts."

She smiled as her hand came up to the back of his neck. "I wasn't actually suggesting you stop..."

He kissed her hard gripping her hip, his fingers digging into her ass. Pulling back he sighed. "Our ride'll be here any minute."

"We are rostered off duty for the weekend, so as soon as we brief General Hammond..."

He nodded thoughtfully. "You know old George has been bugging me to get SG-1 to take a couple weeks leave..."

Sam looked surprised. "He has?"

"Yeah, but I never mentioned it...well, for a couple reasons actually..." At her quizzical look he continued. "We don't usually do leave too well..."

She couldn't argue with that. "What was the other reason?"

He looked almost sheepish when he answered. "If I don't go to the SGC, then I don't see you..."

She smiled at his admission, knowing exactly how he felt.

"But now..."

"Now?"

He grinned. "Did I ever tell you I have a little cabin in Northern Minnesota on a pond where the fish grow this big..."

She laughed when he held his hands wide.

"I think maybe you may have mentioned it."

"Well did I ever tell you it's deep in the woods twenty miles from the nearest town?"

She shook her head. "Don't think you mentioned that no..."

He leaned forward his lower body pressing into hers, hands moving to her hips. "Feel like goin' on a road trip?"

She kissed him lightly on the lips. "And you said you're no genius..."