|The Perfect Accessory
Author: hilandncr PM
The only thing that sets us apart from the animals is our ability to accessorize. Jack and Sam share their first Valentine's Day together, and Sam has a present for Jack that comes with the perfect accessory. S/J established.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - J. O'Neill & S. Carter - Words: 4,292 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 1 - Published: 03-03-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6792884
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine; I just enjoy playing with them. No remuneration of any kind has been exchanged in relation to this work of fiction. All rights are retained by the legal owners of the Stargate franchise, its subsidiaries, licensees and assigns.
Set: Season 10 during the events of Bad Guys while Sam is away in Washington.
Summary: The only thing that sets us apart from the animals is our ability to accessorize. Jack and Sam share their first Valentine's Day together, and Sam has a present for Jack that comes with the perfect accessory. S/J established.
Author's Note: This was written for the annual Sam/Jack Valenship celebration on Gateworld (better late than never). Once again, the fluff bunnies just wouldn't stay away.
Thanks to Akamaimom for the helpful beta. I consider it a better story because of your advice.
On a personal note, I had to throw in a mention of my dear friend Nathan Jasinski, who is a wonderfully talented professional cellist. While in graduate school, he would play private concerts for me in my living room in exchange for a home-cooked meal. I know Sam would enjoy his music as much as I always have.
The Perfect Accessory
"The only thing that sets us apart from the animals is our ability to accessorize."
Sam Carter shrugged deeper into the soft, warm folds of the creamy cashmere scarf around her neck as a sharp breeze tugged on the loose edges of her long black wool coat, further exposing her stocking clad legs to the cold February night air. The simple black cocktail dress she wore beneath was definitely more for fashion than function on a wintery night such as this, but when she had dressed for the evening she knew she wouldn't be standing out in the elements for any great stretch of time. Nevertheless, it was the perfect excuse, as if she needed one, to pull her arms tighter around the man beside her and lean into his comforting warmth.
Sam turned her face upward into Jack O'Neill's adoring brown gaze; his mouth quirked in a gentle smile as the frosty breeze tantalizingly ruffled his silvery hair. He squeezed her gently and began to rub her arms to generate more heat between them and Sam leaned her head on his chest as they waited for their car to be pulled around the Kennedy Center plaza where they had just attended a concert by the National Symphony. It had been Jack's surprise Valentine's gift to her.
Sam had been ordered to Washington earlier in the week by President Hayes who wanted a full briefing on the scenario that had played out in the alternate reality she had accidentally found herself in several weeks before when one of her experiments on Merlin's phase shifting device had gone awry (and wasn't that piece of technology proving to be almost more trouble than it was worth.) A reality where the Stargate had been made public and martial law had been imposed amidst the panic and chaos that had ensued, especially in light of an impending Ori invasion and the possible annihilation of earth.
She had spent several days briefing the President and the Joint Chiefs and discussing various strategies for when a similar revelation inevitably occurred in their own reality. It had been an intense week. Having your actions closely scrutinized by all of the country's top military brass and minutely questioned by the Commander in Chief was a lot for any officer to handle—even one seasoned by years of intense frontline combat and as used to life and death situations as she was. But Sam believed she had withstood the pressure well, helped no doubt by Jack's supportive presence at many of the more fervid sessions.
Her time in Washington had the added bonus of allowing her and Jack to spend most days working closely together. With the exception of his brief visit to the SGC to deal with a deified Daniel, it had been some time since they had related to one another professionally like that. It surprised her how easily they fell back into their previous rhythm. They had always worked well together, and this past week reminded her how much she enjoyed being with him during the day to day. When she got too wrapped up in, or overly anxious about, certain issues he would pull her back with a silly quip that made her smile despite herself, and she would find ways to solve problems he had yet to recognize were there. In some ways it felt just like old times and they both enjoyed the comfortable familiarity. But what was not like old times was that when the day was done they went home together, and that just made their working hours so much better than before.
So Jack had found ways to stretch out her stay, and she certainly had not complained. General Landry believed her extended schedule was due to the President's incredulity about the political state of affairs in the alternate reality, namely that Landry and not Henry Hayes had been the President. She didn't feel the need to dissuade him of this notion. It stroked his ego and got her and Jack off the hook for an obviously less than efficient agenda.
In truth, if there was anyone having trouble getting past certain personal facets of her little jaunt into what Jack had taken to calling "Bizarro Reality" it was Jack. After all, in that universe she had once been married to McKay, which frankly also disturbed her in more ways than she thought could calculate, and she knew math. Jack had also seemed hurt that she hadn't gone looking for him or even asked about him. Of course he had brushed it off, but she knew it bothered him. She just didn't know how to explain to him how it had felt to discover that everyone she loved and trusted was in terrible straits. While she had valued the support of the alternate Major Lorne and Dr. Lee, and even came to appreciate McKay's assistance, she didn't have her team and she considered herself very much alone. She couldn't bring herself to ask about Jack because she knew that there was no way her Jack O'Neill would ever allow the things that were happening in that reality, which meant he was either dead or not at all the man she knew. She recognized it was cowardly of her, but she just couldn't face that. The universal constant in all the realities she had encountered to that point had been her and Jack, even before she considered there could be a her and Jack; life without him just wasn't an alternative she wanted to contemplate. She preferred to cling to the image of the man she loved and was determined to see again, untainted by the bitter taste of that ugly world.
Before Sam could sink too much further into her dour thoughts, their car pulled up to the curb. She and Jack left the relative shelter of the concert hall's covered portico and stepped out into the cold drizzle to meet the valet and retrieve the keys he held out. Jack opened the passenger door and allowed her to settle into the warm, dry interior before paying the young man and quickly moving around the car to take his place in the driver's seat. The rain was rapidly turning to sleet and while she and Jack were not particularly bothered by the weather, having lived so many years in Colorado, they both knew that something about precipitation of any kind turned most DC drivers into dangerous idiots. The road conditions were far from ideal on the dark moonless night and so they both chose to speak very little as Jack concentrated on the road and the other drivers moving rapidly west along Interstate 66 as they wound their way toward their Northern Virginia home.
Although Jack's position accorded him a government car and driver (a sign of high status inside the beltway) he mostly chose to use his own car. For him it was a symbol of normalcy in a life filled with the extraordinary and sometimes even downright insane reality of interplanetary politics. Normal was not something either of them had enjoyed much in the last decade. That's part of what made this night so special for them both. It had been extremely conventional, cliché even. Despite being married for nearly two years they had never before spent a Valentine's Day together.
They had wed just a few days after Jack's transfer to Washington became official. They had no desire to wait and every reason to make sure nothing the Air Force decided would ever keep them apart again, at least not emotionally. Physical distance was another story. Sam had moved to Nevada to head up R&D at Area 51 for a brief period and then returned to the SGC when the Ori threat became imminent. But Sam believed it was completely worth the sacrifice of seeing each other only between intergalactic emergencies because she knew he would always belong to her and she would always be his.
Because it was their first Valentine's where they were actually in the same galactic neighborhood—same planet, same time zone and everything—there was the temptation to go overboard in an attempt to make the evening really special. Sam was glad, however, that they had settled for the mundane. It was enough just to be together. So Jack had cooked spaghetti and Sam made a salad. They had a chocolate cake from the nearby Safeway for dessert. Over dinner they talked about Cassie and the team—their family—and laughed over the shear ridiculousness of some of Sam's more recent adventures like capturing alien bounty hunters in Kansas. It was quiet and intimate in a way other couples often took for granted.
After dinner Sam thought they might watch a movie and then go to bed, but Jack had surprised her with the concert tickets. They both loved classical music, but Jack knew she had a soft spot for the cello, and this particular concert featured Nathan Jasinski, a name others likely wouldn't recognize but Sam did. He was an up and coming young cellist who played with a delicacy and a passion that was mesmerizing. She had no idea he was in town and had never imagined she would see him in person. It was the perfect gift.
Sam turned her head to Jack and placed a hand on his arm as he turned off the busy main road into their quiet tree-lined neighborhood. Jack glanced briefly over at her and she smiled.
"Thank you for tonight," she said as Jack returned his attention to the road. "It was wonderful."
Jack replied with a twinkle of delight in his eyes, "Well, I couldn't have you thinking I'd do our first Valentine's together on the cheap."
"You certainly impressed me." Her features took on a mischievous twinkle of her own and she leaned in closer. "I suppose that means I owe you an equally enjoyable present in return."
Jack pulled the car into their driveway and turned off the ignition. "It's not a contest," he stated breezily.
"Shame," Sam said, sinking back down into the seat and reaching for the restraint. "I had something in mind that just might have had you beat."
Jack was halted from making a clever reply when Sam deftly removed the seatbelt, opened the door and abruptly stepped out of the car. As she sauntered up the walkway to the front door Jack paused momentarily to enjoy the view, then he casually followed her into the house.
The remains of their meal still sat on the dining room table and scattered about the kitchen and there was no question of leaving it until morning. They both had early meetings, after which Sam would return to Colorado Springs in the afternoon.
After divesting herself of her coat and slipping off her pumps Sam moved toward the kitchen in her stocking feet, grabbing the apron that hung near the doorway and placing it over the silky black dress. Jack pulled off his jacket and tie and threw them over the back of the couch. He picked up plates and glasses as he moved to join her.
She stood at the sink with the water running and turned to open the dishwasher. Jack came up closely behind her as she bent down. He reached over and placed the dishes in the sink then settled his hands on her hips as she came up and leaned into his solid frame. His arms curled around her slender waist and he brushed his lips across her neck. She began rinsing dishes.
Jack went back and forth gathering dishes and placing them in the sink, always reaching around Sam although there was plenty of room at the counter for both of them. But the whole task was made so much more pleasant by the frequent touches and occasional languid kisses they enjoyed before returning to their chore.
When the dishes were all gathered Jack decided to help her with the rinsing. He positioned himself at her back and pulled her to him as his arms reached forward and their hands intermingled in the warm, wet spray. He stroked her hands lovingly and ran his mouth over her earlobe and along her jawbone. She leaned into his embrace, the dishes forgotten, as a murmur of pleasure escaped her lips.
Then his pants began to buzz.
Sam burst out into a fit of laughter. It was Jack's cell phone, which he had set to vibrate when they had gone into the concert hall.
The mood broken, Jack pulled away and retrieved the offending electronic device from his pocket. He was even more annoyed when he read the display. He sighed with exasperation and moved toward the door, throwing a stern glare over his shoulder at the still giggling Sam. "How many times have I told you not to do that Carter?"
She stood at a parade ground perfect attention and tried to hide her mirth. "Sorry Sir." She waved him out of the room with a mock salute.
He exited and barked into the phone, "O'Neill."
Sam returned to the dishes as was able to completely the task much more quickly now that she wasn't being distracted. She could here Jack's clipped tones out in the hall and was afraid their nice normal evening together was about to come to a crashing halt. She finished putting the food away and wiped down the counters as she waited for the bad news.
Several minutes later Jack returned to the kitchen and pointedly set the phone down on the counter. Sam struggled to hide another giggle. She set the dishtowel aside and turned to lean against the counter with her arms folded. "So?"
Jack came up to her and placed a hand on either hip. "You'll never believe it," he said gruffly.
"You have to go back in to work." Her voice reflected the deep disappointment she was struggling to hide.
"No, actually." His face brightened a little at that thought. "Hank just called to give me a little heads up about an incident I'm sure to hear about in the morning." He paused as if searching for the best way to summarize what he had just learned. "Apparently, on their latest mission SG-1 decided to pose as terrorists and take hostages."
"They what?" Sam's voice rose an octave as her eyes widened in shock and disbelief and she reached out to clasp Jack's arms as if she wanted to shake him and yell, "Please, tell me you're kidding."
"Yeah," was his only reply.
She narrowed her eyebrows and asked, "I don't really want to know all the details do I?"
"Nope." He shook his head with a breezy grin.
She could just imagine all the fallout that could come to the team when the IOA heard about the incident, and she knew Jack would step in and take the brunt of it, protecting them like he always did. "This is going to be quite a mess for you isn't it?"
"Yep." He shook his head and heaved a sigh. "It's probably a good thing you're going back tomorrow. Sounds like our kids could use a little grown-up supervision."
"I thought that's what Teal'c was there for." Sam snipped.
"Yeah, you'd think." Sensing the frustration rising in her, Jack tried to diffuse her emotions with a supple kiss.
When he released her lips she captured the bottom one with her teeth and looked up at him with wide, hopeful eyes. "But there's nothing we can do tonight?"
"Nothing work related." A wickedly delightful grin spread across his weathered face making him appear much younger and slightly more impish than any seasoned military general of nearly fifty years really should. "Did you have something particular in mind?"
Sam leaned into him. "I thought we could . . ."
She paused for effect, ". . . go over my notes for the final briefing with the President tomorrow morning and maybe discuss some new applications for the transcendental phase shifting technology . . ."
"Oh no, I don't think so." Jack thought. He wasn't about to let her settle into to all that technobabble she liked to pull out just to drive him crazy. So he reached up, grabbed her face with both hands and kissed her thoroughly.
When they came up for air she had clearly decided on a change of tactics. It wouldn't do, she considered, to let him think he could get the upper hand so easily. "Guess maybe I should give you your Valentine's Day present first." She casually pecked him on the cheek and brushed past him toward the stairs.
Jack turned himself about, looking over to the stairs, then back at the counter. He stood there wondering how he ended up alone, facing an empty kitchen at the end of that exchange. He turned again toward the door and heard Sam's voice carrying from up above. "Coming?"
When Jack entered their bedroom the bathroom door was firmly closed and he could hear Sam moving around within. He wasn't exactly sure what she was up to or what she expected him to do at this point, but he decided stripping off the remainder of his suit was a good first step. Once clad only in white T-shirt and boxers he moved over to the bed and slipped under the covers to ward off the night chill.
Sam seemed to be taking much longer than was her usual for her regular evening routine and he wasn't sure what to make of that. He looked over at the stack of papers piled on the nightstand. As much as he wanted to ignore them he did have an early briefing with the President and Sam was right that the notes would have to be reviewed before then. He took one more look at the still closed bathroom door, turned on the bedside lamp, and reluctantly pulled on his reading glasses.
Sam stood at the mirror feeling supremely self-conscious. She had purchased a piece of lingerie especially for this evening. It was a soft pink. Given the impending holiday her choice had been either that or a vixen red, which just wasn't her style. The cut was romantic and tasteful, but still much sexier than was her norm. She even had a pair of matching heels so she could give Jack the full runway look, but considering the whole idea now she didn't think she would be able to pull it off.
The opaque material both hid and revealed much of the creamy skin beneath and she could make out the mottled scar across her lower back. The remnants of an Ori staff blast that had nearly killed her several months before. She knew she was lucky to be alive, but she hated that scar. It was an ugly reminder, and not just of the pain and fear she experienced when she believed she would die on a distant planet far from all she loved. It also reminded her of what she lost forever in the moment the energy stream had ripped through her body—the ability to have children. That hurt more than the wound itself.
Of course Jack had been nothing but wonderfully loving and totally accepting of her damaged body and the destroyed hopes that went with it. He always made her feel absolutely beautiful and completely desirable. He even appreciated her in shapeless BDUs and clunky combat boots, which was a mystery to her.
She stared at herself once again in the mirror then looked down at the stilettos beside her feet. She turned toward the adjacent walk-in closet. She had an idea. Something that would make her feel a lot more comfortable about this little surprise, and she was pretty sure Jack would appreciate it too.
Jack had begun to dose off when the bathroom door swung open bathing the darkened bedroom in a bright yellow light. He looked up from the papers he held on his lap and came fully awake.
Sam flipped off the harsh light and stepped into the room, allowing him to fully take in the view. She held herself with confidence as his admiring gaze travelled over her body. She was dressed in a wispy babydoll negligee that accentuated the roundness of her chest and then flared out in winsome folds of sheer pink fabric ending just below her hips, leaving the full length of her toned legs naked to the ankles where she had added one final touch. Her feet were clad in standard, military issue, tan colored combat boots.
Jack found that inexplicably hot.
Sam moved purposefully over to the bed as Jack set aside the reports and placed his glasses on the bedside table. He didn't hesitate to reach out and pull her onto him, one boot pressing against either thigh as he wound his arms around her slim waist and she laid her flattened palms on his broad chest.
The silky material was just as soft and inviting as it appeared, Jack noted, as he smoothed his hands over her hips and along her bare legs.
"This is nice." His fingers brushed the tops of the boots at her ankles. "Did it come as a set?"
Sam laughed and leaned into him to capture his mouth in a brief but fulsome kiss.
"Victoria's Camo?" He asked waggling his eyebrows as she pulled away to see mirth and a little mischief shining from his rich brown eyes. "Because I think I might like to see you in some of their other outfits." Jack continued to fiddle with the boots. "Flack vest and thong, thigh holster garter and teddy, dress uniform jacket and . . . nothing."
"Yours or mine?" Sam intoned suggestively as she worked her hands under his shirt and teased the waist band of his boxers.
"Both." He replied as he pressed his warm moist lips to her throat that was now vibrating with laughter.
She leaned into his kiss as his hands wandered away from the boots and up her body. When his fingers began to trace the scar on her lower back she pulled away abruptly, all laughing and teasing at an end.
"What's wrong?" Jack looked into Sam's shock widened blue eyes. "Does it still hurt?" He asked with concern.
Sam could see that her reaction had scared him. "No." She hastened to reassure him. "Not like that." She struggled to find words that could explain what she was feeling. "It's just . . . what it represents."
"I know," was all he said. And he did. Sam could see that. He understood her completely.
Jack reached up and cupped her face with his hand, rubbing his thumb lightly over her lips, along her jaw. No more words needed to be spoken, but he added. "You're amazing."
Sam drew in a deep breath, nearly overwhelmed by the love she saw in his eyes. How did she ever fail to see it? How could she have ever doubted it?
After a few moments she became a little uncomfortable with Jack's unabated gaze. She broke the silence with a light-hearted question. "Even with my slightly warped sense of style?"
"But it's so . . . you." He replied with a crooked grin.
He didn't just mean the boots. She was his sexy soldier. All about duty and sacrifice and honor. Tough but vulnerable. Sometimes terrified, but virtually unafraid. An absolute genius, with a giant brain, an enormous heart and a dazzling smile. They had fought side by side for nearly eight years. He had loved her for almost that long. Every mark, every scar was beautiful—evidence of everything that made her his Carter. To him, she was perfect.
Jack wrapped his arms around her and gently lowered her onto the bed. In between kisses and caresses he unlaced and removed each heavy boot and dropped it onto the floor. As he slowly and tenderly made love to his wife he was certain he'd never look at that particular brand of footwear the same way again.