Title: Only the Stubborn Survive
Sequel to: none
Category: AU, Drama, Angst, Romance, Adventure
Spoilers/References: Children of the Gods (1x01) The Enemy Within (1x03); First Commandment (1x06); Cold Lazarus (1x07); The Nox (1x08); Brief Candle (1x09); Thor's Hammer (1x10); Torment of Tantalus (1x11); Bloodlines (1x12); Fire and Water (1x13); Hathor (1x14); Singularity (1x15); Cor-ai (1x16); Enigma (1x17); Solitudes (1x18); There But For the Grace of God (1x20); Politics (1x21); Within the Serpent's Grasp (1x22)
Pairing: S/J, Sam/Other
Summary: Captain Carter celebrates finishing her latest project with a man she only knows as 'Jack' and learns she's transferring to the SGC the next morning, but her first off-world mission ends in betrayal. Captured by Jaffa she keeps Earth's secrets under torture but is then brought before Apophis and Klorel, who decide to make her a host. She discovers the wild fling may just save her…
Warnings: language, sexual content, non-con/reluctance, torture
Disclaimer: see profile
A/N: The awesomeAmara D'Angeli has been my beta for this fic, but any mistakes are my own. A Karswyll has helped me brainstorm to fully develop the idea. I always appreciate feedback and/or constructive criticism or just a comment to let me know why you (don't) like it.
Awards: Nominated in the categories Angst and Mature & won the Best Alternate, Hurt/Comfort/Whump and Sam Centric categories in the the Sam & Jack Multimedia Awards 2015!
Bar & Grill Downtown
July 31, 1997
Captain Samantha Carter made her way over to the pool tables, cold beer in her hand. The bar's dingy lighting bathed everyone in a sickly yellow glow and she narrowed her eyes to get a good look at the players and the game. It had been a while since she last played but she could tell the man was throwing his game by watching his opponent's breasts more than his solids. After a minute or two the woman won and the man handed over some cash, before following her like a puppy to the bar. Another game was set up and Sam decided to stick around and watch the game from a barstool as she slowly sipped her beer.
After a couple of games the crowd started to thin. The guy who had won the last couple of matches looked in her direction. His dark eyes settled on her face and he quirked an eyebrow. "You gonna stand there observing everyone all night or do you wanna play a game?"
Sam could feel a flush creeping up her neck at his brusque challenge and fought the discomfort she experienced when everyone's eyes were on her. Only minutes ago she had admired his skills – okay and the way his jeans molded to his delectable six when he bent over – and now she was annoyed with him. "Who says I can play?"
"That little frown of disapproval on your forehead whenever one of my previous opponents missed their shots."
"I haven't played in years, though." It was kind of embarrassing to learn he'd been watching her while she'd been watching the games of pool, without her even being aware of it.
He held out a cue stick for her and smirked, looking pleased with himself. "It's just like riding a bike."
Sam took it from him with a little trepidation but automatically found herself checking the weight and her grip on the stick. It was true that she hadn't played in ages but there had to have been a reason she was often referred to as Pool Shark Carter among her friends at the Academy, right? Besides, it was just a matter of applying physics to get the right angles and she did have a degree in that area. "I'll give it my best."
"Oh, don't sell yourself short," he said, still grinning. "I could almost hear you thinking about each shot from all the way over there."
Okay, now he was just being infuriating, Sam thought to herself – and damn if he wasn't handsome when he smiled like that! Realistically she knew she could beat him but she had never really enjoyed being in the spotlight and, much to her dismay, with his challenge he had turned all eyes on her. Allowing herself a small smile she looked back at him with a challenge. "And you still want to play against me?"
He chuckled – a pleasant sound – and waved his hand in the direction of the pool table. "I like a challenge."
When he continued to stare at Sam she shifted on her feet uncomfortably and wondered what he was waiting for. "Don't worry, I won't let you down."
"Good. I was gonna say 'ladies first'." He grinned mischievously and started racking the balls correctly before removing the triangle and leaning down to break the rack apart. One solid ball landed in a pocket and he shot her a pleased look. "Solids." Rounding the table to reach the cue ball he took another shot.
Sam watched him with a bemused expression as he sank another three before the next rolled to a stop just in time to block the pocket. He stepped back from the table and crossed his arms over his chest. The slight pout around his mouth tended towards adorable or boyish despite the fact he had at least a decade on her. She rounded the table, slowly and then sunk two balls quick like a viper strike before catching his eye and making one more slow, confident shot. "You're right," she said and threw him a smirk, "like riding a bike."
"So it would seem." He winced visibly when the sixth and seventh balls sank in their respective pockets.
"I just need a minute here…" She moved around the table, eyeing the position of the eight ball and trying to determine which angle and direction would be the easiest to pot it. When she looked up from her study he was rocking on the balls of his feet, an amused expression on his face and an obvious question in his eyes. Sam nodded and designated the pocket in which she would sink the ball. "There you go…" She said slowly as it rolled over the green cloth and sank into the pocket she had indicated.
"Sweet. How long did you say it had been since you last played pool?"
"Years," Sam said with a smirk. "What were we playing for anyway?"
He ruffled a hand through his hair and shrugged. "A beer?" Before she could reply he'd stopped a passing waiter and asked for two more beers. Turning back to her he smiled. "How about best of five?"
"Are you sure your ego is up to losing another three rounds?"
Instead of being offended as she had expected he simply grinned, ignoring the chuckles at his expense from the small crowd that had gathered to watch them play. "What can I say, I'm a brave man. Besides, I was going easy on you."
Sam eyed him up and down, glanced at the solid balls still remaining on the table and raised her brows in challenge. "Care to put your money where your mouth is?"
"You betcha!" He reached into his pocket and pulled out his winnings from earlier and put half of it on the wooden rail.
She pulled the same amount out of her jeans pocket and put it next to his bills, just as the waiter arrived with their beers. "Thanks." Taking a swig from her bottle she waited for her opponent's next move, and was surprised to have him hand her the triangle.
"I feel so secure with our little wager I'll even let you break."
"Best of five?" She repeated as she racked up the balls and, after thinking on it for a second, placed the cue ball in her favored location. Leaning down she positioned her cue to break the rack and was pleased to see three balls – two solids and one striped – ending up in pockets. Smirking she glanced to her opponent and straightened up, feeling both annoyed and strangely flattered when she realized he'd been checking out her ass. At least he had the grace to blush and look away, she thought as she moved around the table after throwing him a glare that had made lesser men cower. "Solids," she called her suit.
Two men stepped aside to give her the space to line up her next shot and she easily potted another solid ball. Two more followed before she took another swig of her beer and she was almost feeling sorry for her opponent when she managed to pocket the last two as well. "Eight ball in the corner," she called the shot, looking at him over the length of the table and indicating the pocket to his left with her cue.
"You're not even going to let me take a shot, are you?" He muttered as he toyed with his beer bottle, his head cocked to the side to watch her.
Sam smiled in reply and leaned over the table to set up her shot. Just as her cue made contact with the little white ball she saw his gaze drop lower and, to her embarrassment, realized he could see right down her top in this position!
The shock had caused her to ruin her planned bank shot and the cue ball completely missed the eight ball after hitting the rail. Sam straightened self-consciously and looked down to ensure her neckline was still above the swell of her breasts and not exposing anything more, before showing disappointment at her failed shot. "Your turn."
"Didn't think you'd mess that one up."
She waited until he was standing next to her, lining up his shot until she responded. "Didn't think I'd find you staring down my top when I looked up," Sam hissed.
"Yes well," he sighed, leaning down and hitting the cue ball, "couldn't help myself. But feel free to continue checking out my ass if that makes you feel any better."
"Earlier," he interrupted her with a smug look. "When I was playing against those kids, but I guess you thought I hadn't noticed, eh?"
Sam refrained from telling him those 'kids' were all adults and some were probably older than she was, and instead focused her attention back on the game; he had already pocketed three striped balls. "You seem to be playing better than before."
"Gotta up my game now that I've seen you in action," he said, pocketing another ball.
"Or maybe you were making yourself look worse in your previous games."
Smiling, he looked up from the bar table, his brown eyes glinting mischievously. "Yeah well, I couldn't show off my superior skills or you never would have agreed to play against me."
"Watch and learn." He pocketed two more before letting his eyes roam over the table, trying to decide on how to take the final shot. "Center pocket."
Sam sidled up to him as he positioned his cue but instead of watching the game – she was pretty sure he'd win this round – she let her eyes wander over the side of his face and down to check out his physique. He had one of those ruggedly handsome faces you rarely encountered outside of a movie, with high cheekbones, a straight nose and thin lips.
She decided she found his eyes most appealing. His shoulders were broad but not overly so and the same went for his arms; the muscles were clearly toned without bulging. He was slightly taller than she was and he had lean legs, a slim waist and a delectable six, all things she figured were the result of an active life rather than lots of time in the gym. He didn't seem to be vain or even aware of how incredibly attractive he was, which only made her like him more.
Maybe she would have some fun tonight after all…
"Now that's how you sink an eight ball."
"Hmm, nice shot," she said absentmindedly.
He looked at her suspiciously before reaching for the triangle again and racking up for the next game. "Another beer?"
Much to Sam's relief, most of the crowd had moved on by the time they'd refilled their beers. There were two other pool tables and apparently a more interesting bet was going on there, for which she was grateful because while she had set her sights on her opponent she wasn't looking for an audience.
He broke and sank both a stripe and a solid. He took the time studying the table before declaring, "Solids."
"Works for me."
He smirked and managed to pocket two more before he made a foul. "Aw, crap. Your turn."
Lining up her shot she noticed his gaze wander down to her ass from the corner of her eye. Well, well, looked like she wasn't the only one interested in more than pool tonight, she thought with a smile. Refocusing on the game, she quickly cleared the table much to her opponent's disappointment. "I win."
"This round." He peered at the table before reaching for his beer and taking another swig. "That's one win for both of us, not counting the first game we played because that was a practice round for you."
"Want to make it more interesting?"
That seemed to pique his curiosity. "What do you suggest?"
"Calling each shot, not just the eight ball."
"Works for me," he said with a shrug, though she briefly wondered if he was disappointed her suggestion wasn't of a more personal nature. She took one wrong shot and he took the opportunity to run the table. He turned twinkling eyes and a wolfish smile on her.
"You seem pleased with yourself."
"That's because I'm winning," he grinned. "Just one more round and you have to admit I have superior skills."
Sam decided it was time to use everything in her arsenal when he failed to make a legal break on the next round and quickly but expertly managed to land all her called shots without giving him another opportunity. "You were saying?"
"One more round and we'll see who the superior player is," she said. "Wanna break?"
He shook his head adamantly. "Oh no, I'm not falling for that one. You won, you get to break; otherwise you're gonna hold it against me when I win."
With a shrug she started racking the balls and put all her focus on the next round. She never even noticed him sidling up against her, bumping her shoulder with his. "Trying to distract me?"
"With what? My irresistible charm?"
Sam laughed and rolled her eyes at him when he waggled his eyebrows. He had said it jokingly but she had to admit he did have a certain charm. Sex appeal too, she thought, aware of her racing pulse. Up close he was even more handsome if that was possible; the lines on his face gave him character. She knew he was older than her but then she'd never been very interested in her peers and tended to go for older, more experienced men. Catherine Langford, friend and head of her department, had suggested it was because of Sam's intellect and a friend from the Academy had claimed it was because she had daddy issues. While Sam could honestly say she'd never experienced paternal thoughts towards the men she'd dated, the truth was probably somewhere between the two extremes. Either way, her thoughts about the man still standing close enough to raise her blood pressure were decidedly unfamilial.
"What are you staring at?" Her opponent asked, shifting self-consciously on his feet.
"Sorry, just thinking. Ready to get your ass kicked?"
"By you?" His easy grin morphed into something more predatory as he let his gaze move down her body, slowly.
Her breathing hitched as his smirk caused a tingling low in her belly. Thoroughly distracted by the heat coursing through her body, her break only resulted in one pocketed ball. "Center pocket, off the four."
He took a swig from his beer before nodding pensively. "Tricky."
"I'll manage," Sam said confidently, and she did but she wasn't as lucky with the next one.
He managed to pot two but messed up the third shot. "Aw crap. It touched the other ball… your turn."
Nerves were suddenly wreaking havoc on Sam's concentration when he stood next to her and she could feel his body heat through her top. It caused her to miss the next shot and she quickly reached for her beer to get some moisture in her suddenly dry mouth. It had been a long time since she had felt such a strong attraction towards a man, let alone one she had only met an hour ago. Maybe two years was simply too long between lays, she mused as he sank another ball.
"Let me guess, you were thinking again?" He grinned and gestured at the table. "If I'd known you weren't paying attention…"
"Sorry," she muttered. Walking away from him made it easier to think but she only pocketed one ball. They went back and forth for a bit until Sam saw the opportunity to win their bet. "Yes!"
He shook his head but was still smiling when he grabbed the money off the rail and handed it to her. "Good game."
"Thanks, it was fun."
"How about a consolation prize?"
Sam was instantly wary and looked at him askance. "What did you have in mind?" She had plenty of bad experiences with men, especially after playing a game of pool – which was precisely the reason she hadn't played in years, she suddenly remembered – because they somehow got the impression that they were entitled to something in return when she won.
He took in the way her eyes shuttered, her mouth tightened and her body language closed off. "Your name, pool shark," he said with an easy, disarming grin that didn't exactly disarm her.
"Yeah, you know, the name your parents gave you upon birth. That way I'd know what to call you."
Embarrassed at having thought the worst of him she flushed. "Sam."
He beamed at her and took her hand in his. "Well, it's nice to meet you, Sam. I'm Jack."
"Jack," she repeated softly, tasting the name. Fitting. The palm of his hand as he held hers for a moment too long was rough against hers and the touch made a shiver run down her spine. He – Jack – had large hands with long, sexy fingers and Sam couldn't help but wonder what it would feel like to have them on her body.
"How 'bout another round, Sam? Double or nothing?"
A/N: You can find the link to the timeline of this story on my profile.