As usual, this is my life in fanfic. It's been a long summer. And it's not even my yard.
Jack O'Neill snagged the two chilled six-packs of beer from the back seat of his truck and headed up the walk to his second in command's house. The front gate was a problem – she loved it, but it was always a problem – and he tucked one pack under his arm to free up a hand to work the latch, and left the beer awkwardly squeezed against his ribs to knock on the front door when he reached it. He got no answer, and knocked again. Then rang the bell.
Screw it. She was expecting them, and he had a key. Bobbling through the ring with his one free hand, he found the right key and let himself in. "Carter?"
She wasn't in the front room, and he headed for the kitchen, shoving the six-packs in the fridge. The living room was empty, too, but the sliding door to the back was open, only the screen in place, and he stepped through it onto the concrete deck.
And found himself with a fantastic view of Carter's ass.
One eyebrow crept up as he watched her – well, half of her – bent all the way over in a patch of new grass, pulling out taller tufts of green. The cut off shorts she'd chosen for the heat were, well, short, and if he wasn't mistaken, she was wearing pink underwear. But that could have been a shadow. Pretty sure he wasn't mature enough to keep his comments appropriate, he settled for clearing his throat.
She shifted sideways at the sound, her upside-down face appearing next to one toned thigh as she looked at the deck. "Oh, hi, sir. Is it four already?" And she went back to her task, ass in the air.
Well. If she didn't mind, he certainly didn't. "Yeah. Daniel got held up – something SG-5 brought back. But he and Teal'c should be here soon."
"Okay. Do you mind if I finish this?"
Not if she kept standing like that, he didn't. "Whatever. What are you doing, exactly?"
"Well, the floods this spring killed this part of my lawn," she told him, clearly irritated with the situation. "And I reseeded, but this seed was terrible. This crappy grass is coming up everywhere." To punctuate, she wrapped her hand around another tall stalk and yanked it. The effort made the muscles in her backside contract.
"Still looks like grass to me," he offered. But if she wanted to pull it, he wasn't about to stop her.
"Can I get you anything, sir? Something to drink?"
"Nah, I'm good." Settling into a patio chair, he found that only improved the angle. And he'd feel bad about leering, but she surely knew she had her rear stuck in his face. She had to.
Then again, she'd always been a little naive. And it seemed unsporting to stare if she didn't know. But it was so... there... and he couldn't seem to look away.
No, she knew. She had to know. She couldn't not know.
"I thought we might try the new Korean place," she offered, moving to a new section. "I grabbed a menu."
"Sounds good," he said, though he didn't move. Food was definitely second place on his priority list.
"It's on the counter."
Her head shifted to the side to look at him again, and he shrugged at her. She went back to weeding. And he just couldn't help himself. "I'll look at it later. Right now, I'm enjoying the view."
"Okay," she answered in the sing-songy way that indicated she thought he was crazy.
Huh. She really didn't know.
And then, suddenly, she swung to standing, spinning to stare at him with wide eyes, and he offered a lazy smile and a two-handed shrug. He was just a man, after all. And she had very little room to complain when her tank top was tucked up under the strap of her bra, showing off her toned stomach, too.
She let out a huff, exasperated, and he waited for her to rip into him.
Instead, after a moment, she turned around and went back to work.
He stared at her – not at her ass, but at her – for a minute before he found words again. "I mean... aren't you at least gonna turn around or something?"
"I'm keeping my back to the sun, sir."
"You sure are. And I hope you put sunscreen on those lily white thighs of yours, or you're gonna be a very unhappy camper tomorrow."
"I did. Back, too."
"Good. I've never much cared for lobster." Okay, that was awful, and he needed to stop trying to get himself in trouble. Chuckling, he said, "Sorry. I'll go get that menu."
Standing to face him, she gave a shrug of her own. "It doesn't bother me, sir."
"It doesn't? 'Cause a massive sunburn is one of the very few things in life that have actually made me cry. I mean, I was, like, seven, but the point stands."
"Not the sunburn, sir. You. It's not like you're creepy about it."
She went back to work, and he gawked at that for a moment. "I'm not? What does it take to pass the creepy threshold, exactly?"
"Ask Felger," she suggested. "Or, for a different but no less creepy point of view, Major Eggert."
"He does kind of openly leer," Jack admitted. "But I may have done that once or twice, myself."
"It's not the looking, sir. It's... beyond that."
"Beyond that?" He rolled upright in the chair, alarmed. "Has it gone beyond that?"
"No, no. But it always feels like it could, you know? Felger wouldn't know what to do with a woman if he got his hands on her, and sometimes I'm afraid he's about to try. And Eggert... Eggert's one of those men who feels like any woman he picks should swoon in his arms. And I don't feel like he would take rejection well."
"Either of them ever lays a hand on you, Carter, you have my permission to break every bone in their body." And it felt awkward standing up for her honor – telling her to stand up for her honor – when her head was around her knees and her ass was in the air, but he meant it.
She twisted briefly to smile at him. "And that's why you're not creepy, sir. You understand the social contract. That women are equals. Human. That you can look, but you can't touch."
"To be fair," he mused, "There's a helluva lot more than 'the social contract' to stop me here. I mean, court martial... prison..."
"Is that all?"
"Isn't that enough?"
"Then what keeps Teal'c in line?"
He blinked. "What?"
Standing to move to the last section, she glanced his way. "You're not the only one who looks, you know."
She laughed, warm and rich. "You've really never noticed?"
"Can't say that I have, no."
Leaning back in the chair, he accused, "Now you're full of crap. Daniel does not stare at your ass."
"He never used to." Pulling the last errant tuft, she turned to give him a dispassionate shrug. "When we first started – Sha're – he didn't. But it's been a long seven years, sir."
"Yes, it has," he murmured, trying to keep his eyes on her face even though her bare abs glistened with sweat in the heat. Seven years had been a very long time to keep his hands to himself when her skin was so smooth and her body so perfect.
"He's lonely. I think we all are."
This was getting uncomfortably deep, and he did what came naturally. He deflected. "Team orgy?"
The second the words were out of his mouth, he realized he'd gone too far, and panic rose in his chest until she said, "Friday night?"
She was kidding. He knew she was kidding, but it still took a second to overcome the shock, and he considered having her treated for heat stroke. "Is this just a word-of-mouth thing, or is it formal? Should I be making invitations?"
"The more formal, the better, I say."
"I'll get right on that."
"SG-1 only, of course."
"Of course. I don't share."
"What aren't we sharing?"
Jack's head whipped over as the screen door slid open and Daniel stepped out, Teal'c right on his heels.
"Snacks," Carter answered easily. "He'd give you the shirt off his back, but don't ask for the last handful of trail mix."
The archaeologist blinked. "That's what you were talking about? Trail mix?"
"And Korean food."
"The menu's on the counter," Jack volunteered.
"I already picked," she said, heading toward the house. "Look it over. I'm gonna grab a two-minute shower."
She moved past them, sliding the screen open to step inside.
And Jack glanced over just in time to see Teal'c's and Daniel's eyes drop to her ass.
With a shake of his head, he stepped through the doorway, headed for the kitchen. It had the added bonus of cutting off their view. And as he did, he accused, "Perverts."
Carter snorted and disappeared down the hall.