With thanks, as always, to my Aussie BFF Tricki xx
It wasn't an immediate thing, despite what people thought. They didn't jump each other the second SG1 was on vacation, with her emotionally vulnerable after her father's death and no longer engaged, or him now free of SG Command and DC-bound.
Though, that is not to say that things didn't change.
Jack had barbequed again after the boys had left the cabin – steak, ribs, fish, corn, charred veggies – and pulled the recliner deck chairs out of storage. They had watched the night encroach with beers, easy chat, music from a tinny portable radio and bug-repellent candles once the invasions began.
When the stars came out and the temperature dropped, she moved to pass him in search of a sweater when he grabbed her wrist and pulled her down to his seat, nestling her between his legs and watching the skies. His arms wrapped around her waist; his body heat, the sheer proximity and the reality of her position warming her more than a sweater ever would. They spoke about 'what if' and 'when', initially-apprehensive kisses being dropped to her shoulder, 'one day' mentioned as if it was a tangible date in the not-so-distant future.
No, it wasn't until Prometheus exploded that things actually progressed, that they threw caution to the wind and the reg book out the window.
She pulled into her driveway to find lights on in her house, something that would have usually concerned her. She certainly hadn't kept any on when she left… a week ago? Was it more? She couldn't even remember anymore.
She stepped through her door, toed off her short heels and pushed them to the side as Jack rounded the corner from the kitchen, a dish towel over his shoulder and music following him. She had her dress blues' jacket and hat dangling from her fingers, her demeanour fatigued when he pulled the towel down to ring through his hands as they finally locked eyes.
He watched as her chin began to quiver, her eyes sparkle with tears before he tossed the towel behind him to the counter and they met in the middle of the hallway.
He held her tightly, one hand curved around the nape of her neck as the other smoothed over her back. He eventually guided her to her couch and she curled into his side, clutching his tee-shirt into her fists.
He dropped a kiss into her hair when the cries abated. "Are you okay?" He asked, not believing she could have made it out of the Prometheus without some injuries.
She nodded, inhaling a breath tinted with his cologne, ignoring the slight pain in her back where she had fallen against a console when running through the ship, "I'm fine." She attempted to smooth back the wrinkles she had caused in his shirt. "I just came from the memorial service. General Landry read out the names of the 39 crew we lost."
He drew shapes across her back, "Your name shouldn't be on there, Sam."
"Shouldn't it? Pendergast was the ship commander, but it was my ship. I built it."
"You also had a hand in building the Odyssey, Daedelus and whatever comes next; you going to go down with those ships too?"
She couldn't answer.
"Have you eaten? I made lasagna."
She couldn't remember the last time she ate and definitely not the last time it wasn't from the Mountain's cafeteria or simply a power bar from her pack. Her stomach growled as if on cue. "Stay here," he swung his arm from around her and rocked himself to his feet. "You want a beer?"
"No, just water." She didn't trust alcohol on her empty stomach. After wiping beneath her eyes, feeling the grit of day-old mascara, she picked at the hem of her skirt and listened as Jack pottered around. She wondered how long he had been in her home to have apparently learned the layout of her kitchen so well. He turned the radio up a little louder, classical music filtering through the house, before rounding the corner with two plates.
"That smells amazing," she smiled, taking a proffered plate. He draped a towel over her knee before taking a seat next to her. It tasted just as good, but honestly even little yellow blocks would have tasted incredible.
They fell into easy talk – he spoke about Cassie finally settling into college and subtly hitting him up for beer money. He mentioned how a Captain was 'repositioned' from Area 51, which she was only happy to hear, having come up against him one too many times during her short tenure there. She caught him up about Vala, unwittingly gave him mocking ammunition against Daniel, and spoke about Cam using the alien-technology to clue his dying friend into the SGC.
(He already knew the latter, had had to sign off the paperwork, but he liked hearing her voice again after so long.)
The hours drew on, her hand having found its way to his thigh and nails playing across the inner seam of his jeans, as his fingers must have been running out of shapes to draw against her skin. Her head was resting against his shoulder, her lips drawing nearer and nearer to the cords of his neck until her warm breath washed across his skin. His brain was telling him to move her away from his thigh – the combination of fingers and breath too tantalising to ignore – but his hand had moved to the bare skin just between her shirt and skirt. She hummed approval as they settled in to a comfortable silence, serenaded by the music, both wishing they were back at the cabin with a week of down-time ahead of them and no plans but fishing.
She tried to stifle a yawn, the comfort plus stressful few days finally kicking in. "C'mon, you need sleep," he told her, dragging himself to his feet and extending a hand.
She acquiesced, letting him help her to her feet as she groaned, her injured back twinging as she unfurled herself from the couch. She took the lead through the rooms, switching off lights and locking the front door before heading to the hallway.
Her room was to the right, the guest room to the left. His steps slowed until he leant back against the wall of the corridor, Sam's hand on the handle to her room. "Jack?"
He looked to his feet, hands deep in his pockets, not quite able to say the words whilst looking into her eyes. "I'm… I'm really glad you're okay." His words mirrored hers after Janet had died; after she had watched him take a staff blast, tumble weightlessly through the air and lie motionless on the sandy ground. The heart-soaring relief she felt when she found a pulse in his neck was short-lived when Daniel's voice came over the radios…
She hadn't thought he may have felt the same when he heard about the Prometheus; it didn't really register that, outside of her father, someone may care for her in the same way she cared for them.
He was still looking to his feet when she stepped forward, ducking her head to be able to meet his lips.
Tingles ran through her body at the realisation at what she had just done, just initiated, as she pressed her body flush against his. It took a moment for him to reciprocate, but when he did he grabbed her arms with a little more force than he perhaps meant. His fingers pressed into her biceps as he kissed her back, her shoulders hunched near her ears as he held her to his lips, kissing her for all his worth before he inevitably woke up in his crummy little DC apartment.
She whimpered softly – he didn't think from pain, but it suddenly dawned on him how tight his grip was - and it broke him from his reverie. He loosened his grasp, resting his forehead against hers for a moment before a gentle thud as he fell back to the wall. Her hands waited at his waist, holding him gently as his smoothed across her arms, and up to the starched ends of her shirt collar. "Are you sure?"
"It's just a uniform, Jack," she sighed, as if she was sick of the argument even if she'd only been having it with herself. "It's just a job. I need to stop putting things on hold because of my work. I have lost my father, my best friend, Cassie's in college, you're in DC – everything's changed. Teal'c is in Dakara as much as he's with us, Daniel's still itching to go to Atlantis. I need something for me. It has to be just a job." She chewed on her lip as she did when she thought she had said too much.
He began to smirk, "You realise the short answer to that question was simply 'yes', right?"
She gave him that mega-watt smile that made his stomach tighten before she curled her lips into a smirk, "Shut up and kiss me."
He cupped her face in his hands, impossibly gently for a man of his size, strength and earlier evidenced passion, and kissed her again.
"Is it weird I let myself in here?" his fingers circled her belly button, her back against his chest, the bed-sheet pulled up over them.
"It may have been a few years ago, but not now. Well," she smiled, ducking her head shyly as her leg smoothed across the roughened, hairy texture of his calf. "Definitely not now." He dropped a kiss to her shoulder, before she continued, "What did you tell people?"
"The truth: I was coming back to Colorado Springs to check on my friends. They all obviously knew of Prometheus." He didn't mention that he thought he was having a heart attack when he read the note passed to him in a meeting, nor slamming his hand into the wall as soon as he was alone; the words 'unaccounted for' and 'fatalities expected' screaming through his mind, deafening him to his afternoon meetings until he got word that the team – Sam - was safe.
"I got a hotel room across town," he continued. "I watched a little pay-per-view, had a coke from the minibar and got a cab from the supermarket to a block over from here."
She sighed, her shoulders deflating beneath his chin. "That's how it's going to be, isn't it? Sneaking around, hotel rooms? False names?"
He couldn't say no. Until he retired, any kind of relationship would have to be clandestine and careful. He'd be damned if he ruined her career, no matter how much he loved her. "I'll be Mr. J.T. Kirk. You'll be-"
"-M. Steenbergen?" She laughed when his teeth sunk into her shoulder.
"Mmm. Wait, doesn't that make me Ted Danson?"
"Well, you have the hair for it…"
"What about Sam Malone? Him in Cheers?"
"Better, I can live with that. He got Diane."
"What can I say, I have a thing for hot women who are smarter than me," he held her closer to him, his nose burrowing into the crease between her shoulder and neck.
She smiled, entwining her fingers with his over her stomach. "When do you have to leave?"
"I have a flight at 10am."
Her eyes flicked up to the clock on the bedside cabinet, factoring in travel time and checking-in. "So we only have eight hours?"
"Give or take. Unless you can pull a time machine or a time-freezer-thing outta your butt," his hand travelled between their bodies and squeezed her bare buttock. It would take a while before it registered that he was now allowed to do that – finally touch her in all the ways he ever thought about since their banter about arm-wrestling, since she walked into his life and switched it all upside down.
"Hmm, I'm afraid not," she laughed. She turned in his grasp, threading her hand through his hair, her thumb tracing over his cheek. "I'm going to miss you."
"I'm going to miss you. Do you have some vacation days coming up? Maybe we could do something."
"Landry's going to use the cabin in a few months. He wanted to take SG1 on a little team-bonding exercise-"
"Oh God," her nose wrinkled in horror.
He couldn't suppress the smirk; he didn't think she'd like that idea. "Why don't you stick around there a few more days? I'll come meet you. We can go fishing."
"I'd like that."
He exhaled a breath he felt like he'd been keeping in for nigh-on ten years, her short hair ruffling against her forehead. Bright blue eyes shone at him in the moonlight, her fingers feathering up his arm and to his collarbone, tracing skin she spent years dreaming about.
He felt calm.
Calm, in a world where Ori were taking over Galaxies quicker than a bush fire took nature, where political correctness was now something he had to give a damn about and where he was over 1,600 miles away from the action, his friends and… "So what are we gonna do with ourselves for eight hours?"