A/N: Oneshot in response to the Sam/Jack Weekly Oneshot Challenge at GW, which was 'dress blues' this time.
It had been a long and very boring day, in Jack's opinion. He was tired and wanted nothing more than just go home, take off his dress blues and fall into bed to get a good night's sleep. However, it wasn't quite time to leave the base yet; Carter had gotten into a minor accident earlier and he wanted to check on her to see if she really was all right. He went over to the infirmary on autopilot and nodded to all the other personnel he encountered on his way, most of whom were also still dressed in their blues from either the awards ceremony for SG-11 in the 'gate room this morning or from having attended one of the numerous briefings with the brass later today.
Of course, Jack was the lucky bastard who got to attend pretty much all of the official ceremonies and meetings. He had just finished the last one which had been with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Maynard, and all of the SG team leaders and Hammond. That was also why he hadn't been able to stick around while Carter got checked out by the Doc. But hey, it hadn't looked that serious and she had assured him she was fine… Jack still wasn't quite sure how she could traipse around the galaxy and come back in one piece yet trip over Siler's huge wrench and nearly fall on her face in the relative safety of the SGC, but he believed her and had gone to his meeting.
One of the nurses directed him to a curtained-off bed when he inquired about his Major's wellbeing and in lieu of a door he cleared his throat loudly upon spotting her feet under the curtain. "Carter?" Jack tried not to think about how or why he could identify his 2IC by her feet alone and instead looked around while waiting for a response. Daniel wasn't anywhere in sight, surprisingly. Normally the archeologist would stay with an injured teammate, regardless of the severity of their injury – much to Jack's dismay at times. Maybe even Carter had gotten bored with Daniel's history lessons and sent him away?
His eyes shot to the feet he'd been observing and he smirked to himself when the person to whom they belonged clearly slipped off a bed, hit the floor and the lovely black pumps walked into his direction. "Yeah?"
The curtain swished aside and revealed a sheepish-looking Carter. "Hi."
She blushed and avoided his gaze by looking down at her arm. "How was your meeting, Sir?"
"Fine," he said, eyeing her sling. "You know, same old, same old. How's the arm?"
Carter shrugged before wincing at her jostling arm. "A mild sprain, nothing serious."
"Good, good." He nodded as she pulled the sling away to reveal her bandaged hand and wrist. "RICE and you'll be fine in a few days?"
"The doctor wants to see me again next week and I'm on light duty in the meantime."
Jack could have sworn she was pouting at the last bit but before he could say anything she'd turned away. "Where are you going?"
"I just want to get out of these clothes and crawl into bed," she said, fighting a yawn.
"You and me both," he replied. "Um, I mean… I want to go to my house and crawl into my bed. Alone."
She smirked, clearly amused at his explanation. "Yes, Sir."
Embarrassed, he figured it would be best to just keep his mouth shut before he'd land himself in even bigger trouble and walked with her. "So, the Doc give you any meds?"
"Just some anti-inflammatory painkillers."
Jack had expected as much, especially after seeing her earlier smile; Carter had a dopey smile when she was on the light painkillers, which he thought was kinda cute. "You're going home then?"
A dark look crossed her face but the effect was lost on him because he'd just noticed a smudge of grease on her face, no doubt caused by whatever it was she'd been doing before tripping over Siler's wrench. "Janet banned me from the base for the next few days, so I don't really have a choice."
"Well, it is the end of the week," he said, glancing at his watch. "Ah hell, it's pretty much weekend already."
"But I had a project I wanted to work on."
Sighing, he stopped in front of the elevator and bumped her good shoulder. "There'll be no tinkering with that arm, anyway. Might as well go home."
She gave him a wan smile and shrugged. "I guess."
When the doors to the elevator opened they waited for it to empty and then he followed her in, surprised when she pushed the top button. "Don't you want to go by the locker room first?"
"Daniel brought me my keys before he went to his quarters – I just want to go home."
Jack automatically patted his own pockets to check if his keys were still there and before he could think he offered to drive her home. "I don't think the Doc wants you to drive with that arm."
Carter waited until they changed elevators and were going topside until she spoke again. "I hadn't thought of that yet but you don't have to do that, Sir. I can call a cab."
Under normal circumstances she would ask Teal'c or Daniel, but the Jaffa was gone off-world to visit Bra'tac and Rya'c yesterday – or more likely to avoid all the brass on base, Jack thought – and Daniel had apparently already hit the sack. Doc Fraiser would have been an option too but she had the nightshift and still had some hours to go before she could leave. Jack knew why Carter had declined his offer but what harm was there in driving his subordinate home? Granted, it was close to midnight already but he couldn't exactly leave her outside waiting for a cab when she was tired and injured, right? "Don't be ridiculous, Carter," he said, waving his hand to dismiss any other arguments. "It'll take longer to get a cab out here than for me to drop you off at your place."
"All right, thank you, Sir," she said slowly, clearly not yet convinced but unable to argue further.
The SFs at the checkpoint offered Carter their sympathies upon spotting her bandaged arm and let him sign out for her, after which they headed out into the night. It was colder than he'd expected and Jack knew the same was true for her when she subconsciously moved closer to him. "I know I said that desert was too hot but I wasn't exactly looking forward to snow either," he said, referring to their previous four-day mission.
"Neither did I," she said. "Trust me, if I'd known there would be snow I would have gotten dressed in boots and a winter coat."
For the first time that day Jack let himself look at her glorious legs and realized she had to be freezing with nothing but pantyhose covering her bare skin. Not to mention those pumps; they didn't really offer any protection or warmth to her feet and considering her earlier clumsiness, he wouldn't be surprised if she'd manage to slip on the snow too. After glancing around the parking lot and rolling his eyes at his own paranoia, he slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her body against his. "Just sharing some warmth and making sure you're not going to greet the asphalt with your face, Major."
Carter stopped her half-hearted struggle and instead leaned into him, presumably for support. "Thank you, Sir."
"You're welcome," Jack said, turning his head to grin at her. Her face was suddenly very close and he had to swallow hard before being able to look away from her grateful smile – and that cute smudge of grease that was still on her chin. "So, what really happened to your arm?"
She stopped walking and frowned at him but at a gentle squeeze of his hand she started moving across the parking lot with him again. "You were there and saw what happened, Sir."
"Well, I came in just as you tripped, so I didn't get to see the whole show."
She snorted but didn't sound upset as he navigated them towards his truck. "Sergeant Siler and I were testing the MALP's newest feature so we could give the results to the JCS but just as I did my final check he dropped his wrench and my heel somehow got caught on it…"
"Ah," he said, nodding in understanding. That also explained why she'd been wearing her blues at the time because knowing Carter she would have been in too much rush to present the results to change out of them. Not that she was careless with her blues but she probably had Siler do most of the touching and adjusting of the MALP, and kept her own hands clean – just not her chin.
"Thanks," she murmured when he opened the passenger door of his truck for her.
Jack stood at her side, undecided, as he waited for her to get in. "Do you, um, need a hand?" She had sprained her right wrist after all and it turned out to be trickier to get into his truck than he'd expected.
"No, I'm fine, Sir."
He closed the door behind her when she finally climbed in and let out a sigh of relief. If it had taken a minute longer he would have suggested taking her little Volvo – in spite of the snowy roads – or given her six a push and he was pretty sure neither were a good idea. Walking around the car he glared at the ice the windows before getting the tools he needed out of the driver's door. He made quick work of the windows, both because he was tired and getting very cold. After double-checking the results he joined Carter in the truck and started the engine.
They didn't speak much on their way but Jack didn't mind. As of late, they'd both been actively avoiding spending time together, just the two of them. He always made sure at least one of their teammates was around and he definitely didn't visit her at home. Yet, here they were, alone together in his truck on their way to her house. The physical attraction between them had never really been a problem before until the zatarc fiasco and suddenly they both knew there were feelings involved. Everything had become complicated since then, especially the first year after the test.
Not being alone had helped but now whenever they did end up together and weren't in the field things turned awkward and uncomfortable, not to mention tense, pretty fast. He wasn't sure what that said about them and any possible future they could have together; he couldn't even figure out what to say to her in his truck!
A quick glance to his side showed a pensive Carter, looking out the window at the drifting snowflakes. He didn't know if she felt the suffocating tension too or if her wrist was simply bothering her and that was why she was so quiet. Then again, he'd seen her be more talkative with a staff blast injury…
Upon driving down her street Jack noticed there was a lot of snow on the sidewalks. The roads had been plowed for the most part but it had obviously been done for a few days in a row – days they'd spent off-world – and now everything was piled up near Carter's house. "Looks like you're gonna need some help getting through the snow," he said, breaking the silence.
"Oh, I don't know, Si-"
"Carter," he sighed in exasperation, "you're wearing a knee-length skirt with two-and-a-half inch heels and have your right arm in a sling. Forgive me for not being too confident in your abilities to navigate through that amount of snow after your little fall earlier today."
Reluctantly, she admitted he was right and waited until he'd parked the truck and walked around it to her side before she opened the door. "Whoa!"
Jack grabbed her around the waist and by her good shoulder the moment her feet disappeared in the snow. "I've got you. Easy, Carter."
"Thank you, Sir," she said, breathlessly.
He tightened his arm around her and she had a good grip on his arm before they even set the first step. Clearly, they had misjudged how deep the snow was because his shoes were starting to fill with snow already – he couldn't imagine how cold Carter's feet had to be. Her heels slipped and she nearly fell down if it hadn't been for his hold on her, before they finally reached the porch. "Ow, Christ!" He grimaced as his feet hit the first step. "I think it's safe to say we've reached the steps," he said dryly. "Careful, Carter."
Hiding a smile, she followed him up the stairs, mindful of her poor balance and injured arm. Once they were on the relatively snow-free porch she released his arm and ran a hand through her wet hair. In their rush to get away neither of them had thought to take their covers or coats with them and now there were snowflakes in their hair.
"Keys?" Jack asked, holding out his hand. He knew she could probably do it herself but he wanted her to take things easy tonight and fumbling with her keys while snow was melting on her blues wasn't part of that. After Carter handed them to him he paused momentarily, trying to figure out his next step. His offer to drive her home had been genuine and it was entirely inappropriate for him to go inside with her, his 2IC, at this hour.
"The least I can do is offer you something to drink. Sir," she tagged on the honorific, as if trying to make it sound less inappropriate but the sudden breathlessness of her voice belied her attitude.
He knew he shouldn't take her up on it but then he saw her fumble with her sling, keys and blues jacket after stepping into the corridor. "Maybe a towel would be nice," he quipped, running a hand through his wet hair. "Besides, I don't think I should let you handle any hot liquids with that wrist, Major."
She beckoned him inside before disappearing down the hall. "I'll get you a towel, Sir. Make yourself at home."
After a cautious glance around he made his way into the kitchen and put some water on, figuring they could either make tea or use it for hot cocoa because he knew she only had instant-stuff. Maybe even decaf coffee if she liked. When she got back the water was almost ready and he'd pulled his tie loose and unbuttoned his jacket. "Tea, Carter?"
"Um, sure," she said, handing him the towel. Her own hair was combed back now and it looked as if she'd padded her face dry. However, her sling and dress blues were wet from the snow and he figured her feet had to be freezing. "I should probably get out of these wet clothes…"
"Good idea. I'll get you some ice and a pillow to elevate your arm."
She smiled at him, looking infinitely more relaxed now that she was home. "Thanks, Sir."
He had already shed his jacket, poured the water in mugs and was trying to decide whether the tea bags had been in there long enough when he realized Carter had been gone for nearly ten minutes. Normally, she'd get changed in a couple of minutes… The injured wrist could make it more difficult and he knew she wasn't one to ask for help when she wasn't in the field. Taking a deep breath to steel himself, Jack grabbed the ice pack, tea towel and a pillow from the sofa and made his way over to her bedroom. He knocked on the door and called out to her, "Carter?".
"Come in, Sir."
Her voice carried some frustration but Jack still hesitated at the doorknob. "Are you sure?"
All of a sudden the door opened and he was face with a sheepish-looking Carter for the second time that night. Her sling was gone but that was the only item she had removed; only one out of three buttons on her dress jacket were undone. "I think I may need some help, Sir…"
"Sure," Jack said casually, even though his heart rate spiked at the mere suggestion. "With…?"
"The buttons." Carter was giving him her patented Colonel O'Neill-look, which was half exasperation, part indulgence and had a bit of pleading thrown in. "I tried but I'm not left handed and the fabric is pretty stiff."
He ignored her choice of words and took a few steps into her bedroom, rather bravely he thought. Her pumps were standing next to the bed and the sling was resting on her comforter, so he placed the ice pack wrapped in the towel and the throw pillow next to it. When he turned back around Carter was standing right behind him, looking uncomfortable and, if he wasn't mistaken, blushing slightly. "So, the buttons…" His fingers were itching to get to those buttons but at the same time he had to hold back and exercise some self-restraint because this was for entirely different reasons than his hands would have liked. At least she had managed to get the top button undone, he thought. The lower two were, well, lower.
Carter stood stock-still when he lifted his hands and only managed to crack a slight smile when the last button was undone. "Thank you, Sir."
"Ack! Don't jostle your wrist like that," he admonished her when she tried to shrug out of her jacket. After he walked around her he tried to help her out of the jacket, trying to ignore the feel of her arms beneath his fingers. "Do you think you can do the rest yourself?"
"I'm not sure," she said with a frustrated sigh, after fumbling with the first button.
Jack gently grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her around to face him again. He swallowed hard upon seeing there were six buttons this time but batted her good hand away to start with the top button. That one was still in a safe location, even though he could swear he felt the heat of her neck on his cold fingers. "The, um, other ones, too?"
Carter did another half-hearted attempt at unbuttoning but gave up after a few seconds. "It's not working, Sir."
"Don't worry about it," he said, more bravely than he felt. From the way she kept staring at a point over his shoulder he was pretty sure she wasn't as cool and collected as she appeared, which made him feel slightly better about his own feelings. The second button came loose pretty easily for which he was grateful considering his hands were resting on the swell of her breasts as he worked on it.
"If they just put the buttons on the right side to begin with I wouldn't need an extra set of hands," she grumbled.
Jack nodded in understanding and tried to ignore the flush creeping up her neck as he moved his hands to the third button. "Daniel says that's because women used to have handmaiden who dressed them and the majority of them were right-handed, therefore the buttons were placed on their right side," he said, hoping the small talk would help both of them relax.
"Really?" Carter's breath hitched when he fingered the button, his knuckles brushing her breasts. "When I complained about it once he told me it was to make it easier to sort men and women's clothing for cleaners."
"Personally, I prefer the explanation of drawing swords and not getting it caught in a loose seam," he said in a hoarse voice.
She chuckled softly in response, "That would make you look pretty foolish if you're trying to defend yourself."
He closed his eyes in an attempt to compose himself after her breasts brushed by his hands again with the movement and let out a sigh of relief when the button came loose and he could move onto the fourth one. This one was just below her breasts and slipped through the buttonhole pretty easily but the blouse had opened and showed some white fabric underneath, which wasn't doing anything for his self-control. The fifth one was just above her skirt and cooperated as well, but then he was faced with whether to pull the blouse from her skirt or undo her skirt first. Jack bit his lip on the inside and blindly reached behind her in search of the zipper, before moving his hands to her hips. "Zipper?"
"On the left," she whispered. "No, my left."
"Sorry," he muttered, well aware his cheeks were burning with embarrassment and oh God, how many time hadn't he dreamed of sliding down the zipper on her blues skirt? Jack knew he was taking his time with his current task but he couldn't help himself as he tugged the slider down her hip, holding his breath the entire time.
Carter's good hand was resting on his but apparently even she was distracted by his actions because she didn't move until it was too late. "Sir," she said, but she'd barely uttered the word or her skirt was pooling around her ankles.
Jack had to swallow hard when he caught sight of her long legs, covered in nothing but sheer nylon hold-ups that reached to about mid-thigh. He automatically took a step back but seeing the whole picture with her blouse barely covering her panties only made it worse. Belatedly, he moved his gaze up to her face but one look at her and he knew she knew he was aroused. Her own pupils were dilated and a pretty blush graced her cheeks but he was pretty sure she had deduced his current state from a more insistent part of his anatomy than his dilated pupils. Damn but his trousers were uncomfortable right now and without his jacket – which was still hanging over the back of one of her bar stools – there wasn't anything he could do to hide his body's reaction. He cleared his throat awkwardly and reached for the last button of her blouse. "Sorry."
He refrained from telling her they both knew it wasn't and instead moved to her wrists to undo the buttons there. "How did you get your clothes fixed after they wrapped your bandage?"
"One of the nurses insisted on being helpful," Carter said, almost jumping at the change in subject.
"Guess they didn't think you'd have to take your clothes off, too."
She shrugged and waited until he was behind her to help her out of the blouse before she replied. "I think she thought I had another meeting to attend, or maybe she was worried I would run into General Maynard while looking disheveled."
"Maybe," Jack said, moving around her again with the blouse in his hand and trying not to look at her body. "Where do you want this?"
"Um," Carter hesitated, her blush deepening. "Just place it on my bed for now."
It wasn't until he was standing in front of her again that he realized why she'd suddenly looked even more embarrassed; she was wearing one of those bodysuits, as Sara used to call them, that covered her torso and arms and had snaps in the crotch area. Oh God, he thought, it was a good thing he hadn't seen Carter undo those! "Do you, er," he cleared his throat again, "need help with that, too?"
"I can't pull it over my head with my wrist like this," she admitted softly.
That wasn't difficult to understand considering the fabric was skintight and while it probably wasn't meant to look sexy, seeing her in it made him harder by the second. He tried to tell himself it was just the same as one of those plain, synthetic long-sleeved shirts except it had an addition at the bottom that just happened to be fastened with snaps – at the crotch. It wasn't helping, even though he knew she probably only wore it because it was comfortable and wouldn't ride up or something, considering any undershirt had to be tucked into her skirt.
Taking a deep breath, Jack took a step closer until their feet were almost touching and reached for her hips to grab a hold on the fabric. He managed to pull it up to just under her breasts, where he paused to get himself under control. Carter's breathing had gotten heavier too and her warm breath was exhaled against his neck, while his own fingers were itching to caress the skin he could feel against his knuckles. "If you put your arms up in the air I'll yank it off, okay?"
The use of his honorific should have been like a bucket of cold water considering the circumstances but it did nothing to cool his arousal – either he had issues or maybe he'd just grown used to her calling him that. "On three. One, two… three."
Of course, now Carter was standing in front of him wearing nothing but a white bra with matching panties and her hold-ups. And her hair was tousled as well, which only added to her sexy look. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Jack muttered as he took another moment to regroup, looking away from her. As he balled up the bodysuit in his hands he could feel residual warmth in the fabric, especially when his fingers brushed over the crotch area which, oh God, was slightly damp. He quickly threw the tempting piece of clothing in the direction of the bed and chanced another glance at his barely-dressed 2IC, who hadn't moved an inch. "Carter?"
"Sir," she said, her eyes closed and her cheeks burning, "I can't undo my clasp with my left hand."
Christ! He scrubbed a hand over his face, only barely refraining from pressing the other against his raging hard-on and tried to come up with a way to help her out of her bra without making a complete fool of himself. "Maybe you can put on your pajama top first," he suggested hoarsely. They'd spent enough overnight missions off-world for him to know she had one of those tricks where she could remove her bra while keeping her shirt on.
"I would but I can't do that with my wrist…"
"Okay, okay," he muttered. "Shirt?" On her directions he retrieved a simple, extra-large shirt she wanted to use as PJs from her dresser and went back to her. Her arms were crossed protectively in front of her breasts but she still looked so hot, especially with her legs still in nylon… Resigning himself to a restless sleep and wet dreams for the foreseeable future, Jack kneeled down in front of her and after receiving a small nod from her he started to peel the hold-ups off her long legs. Rationally, he knew this was probably the worst idea he'd had all evening but the temptation was too big and they could just pretend she needed help getting her pantyhose off as well. Her skin was softer than he'd imagined and there was something very sensual about the difference in texture as he slid his fingers down her legs, taking the hold-ups with them.
Carter rested her good hand on his shoulder for balance when he lifted her foot to pull the hose off, after which he repeated the process with her other leg. Then, once she was standing in front of him with bare legs he got up, hold-ups in one hand and the discarded skirt from earlier in the other. "Thanks."
Jack was pretty sure that was his line, considering she hadn't actually needed his help with that part but he just nodded, trying to convey his gratitude over her trusting him enough to share this kind of intimacy with him with his eyes. After dropping the clothing items on the bed he handed her the pajama shirt to cover her front with while he went to stand behind her. He rested his hands on her shoulders, relishing the skin contact, before moving them lower to undo the bra clasp on her back. Then, he moved his hands back up to pull the straps down her arms and took a step back, before he would give in to his desire to kiss the nape of her neck. "Are you good?"
She looked at him over her shoulder, all traces of exhaustion gone and replaced with a sensual glow and rosy cheeks. Her pupils were still dilated, the blue in her eyes looking darker than he'd ever seen it before and he knew she was as wired and aroused as he was. She licked her lips and looked away, discarding her bra onto the bed and slipping on the shirt he'd given her before swiveling around to face him. Smiling gently and, in his opinion, rather seductively, she nodded. "I will be."
Oh God. He saw her giving him another onceover, her gaze lingering on his crotch which did absolutely nothing to curb his desire and balled his fists to keep his self-control. "I should go. Right now."
"G'night, Carter," Jack said, turning around and leaving her bedroom as quickly as possible. He knew neither of them would be getting much sleep after what had just happened but as he shrugged on his dress jacket and closed her front door behind him, he knew he wouldn't have traded it for anything. Even if it was going to be a very uncomfortable twenty-minute drive to his house…
A/N: I just couldn't get this little scene out of my head after reading the prompt and decided to write it down. Don't worry, I'm still working on 'Soldier On' as well.