TITLE: Home Economics
AUTHOR: Little Red
CATEGORY: Sam/Jack. Future. Established relationship. No plot. Fluff.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine. I just borrow them and make them play house.
SUMMARY: Sam takes issue with something in Jack's house.
DEDICATION: This isn't dedication so much as blame. It's all Tammy's fault. "Sam and Jack would even be cute and shippy making toast!" -mutters- (But she beta'd and comma-whacked so she has appropriately atoned.)
Jack had sort of figured that any complaints she would have about spending the night -- something she was doing more and more often, lately -- would have to do with him. Or, at least, have more to do with other rooms in his former bachelor's abode than his kitchen.
He snored, sometimes. (He'd woken up too many mornings during his marriage to find Sara asleep in the guest room to deny it.) Sam had spent seven years bunking next to Daniel "The Lawnmower" Jackson off-world and was used to it. Plus, she was a science geek and made off with a handful of industrial-strength earplugs from the SGC labs.
His bed, although roomy for one, wasn't built for two people. Sam didn't notice, though, because she slept practically on top of him. For someone as fiercely independent by day as she was, at least professionally, she required a great deal of cuddling after hours -- the closer, the better. Upon returning from midnight trips to the bathroom he would sometimes find that she had, in her sleep, shifted all the way over to the edge on his side of the bed searching for his missing body heat.
The built-in corner shelf in his shower had no room for such girlie things as conditioner, so she had imported some sort of plastic shelving contraption that hung off the shower nozzle. She had fretted for a while, rather adorably, that she was making too big a move on his house too quickly, that keeping hair products and fruity-scented shaving gel in his bathroom was too forward, but in all truth, he loved it. She was making tentative steps toward moving in, toward permanence, and the more clothes she unpacked into his dresser and books and shoes she left lying around his living room like it was her home, too, the more relaxed he felt. He had spent seven years observing the way she fastidiously packed up her science toys before departing alien planets and knew that she wouldn't be able to bolt on him now without disassembling her plastic shower shelf first.
As far as the kitchen went, he'd expected her to take issue with the fridge, maybe, or at least want to collect samples of some of the stuff hiding in jars in the back for analysis, but the only thing she complained about was the toaster.
"It's too slow," she explained when he asked her one morning why she was making threatening faces at it.
He supposed it was a bit slower than hers, if he thought about it, but it wasn't like it took half an hour for toast. Figuring she was in some sort of mood, and that he'd do best to back off before she turned her wrath from the toaster onto a living, moving target, he'd ignored her comment and busied himself making coffee.
He'd noticed, however, that she got rather consistently edgy while waiting for her toast to pop up, routinely peeking into the appliance to make sure that it was on at all, and asking him in annoyance if it always took this long for toast.
Personally, he'd always found his toaster to be fairly inoffensive. It had been purchased sometime in the early eighties, when he and Sara were first setting up "house" in a third-floor apartment with poorly insulated windows and plumbing that rattled so loudly the dog spent nearly all her time hiding under the bed. Upon their separation, Sara had kept all the appliances that went with the kitchen in their new house and he'd taken the boxes of things she had kept in the garage as emergency backups. He'd upgraded from the Model T microwave -- he figured that if he was going to use a microwave as his primary means of cooking, it probably shouldn't be older than the latest batch of SGC recruits -- but the toaster was sturdy and had never given him any trouble at all. Until now.
"Just... do something else for a minute," he advised her as she paced around, waiting for her pop-tart. It wasn't exactly the most nutritious breakfast on the planet, but he counted himself lucky when she remembered to eat anything at all and, really, he wasn't sure they'd been together long enough for him to make worried noises about her nutritional intake. That, and the thing about glass houses and throwing stones. They were his pop-tarts, after all. "Drink some juice or something."
She shot him a glare. "You don't have any juice."
"Yes, I do. It's just frozen."
Sam opened the freezer and examined a half-empty concentrate container with poorly masked distaste. "We don't have time to mix it," she complained.
He really shouldn't egg her on, but it was almost impossible not to. "You just said you had all this extra time while you're waiting for the toaster."
"Just-" she whirled back toward him, eyes narrowing, daring him to crack a smirk. They exchanged looks for a moment, hers something comically between flustered and threatening, his calmly amused, until she finally slammed the freezer door and stalked out of the kitchen with an "aaargh! I'm going to look for my ID. Tell me when it's ready."
He tried not to, but he had to grin at her departing back. It probably wasn't healthy that he found her fussy moods so endearing, even first thing in the morning, but he couldn't help it. Under the mountain or on other planets, she was the very model of a morning person, as bright and cheery and ready for action at 0600 as any human being could possibly have the right to be. He liked her out of uniform, liked the Sam Carter who left her clothes on the floor at night and misplaced her ID, who took hour-long hot showers that outlasted his water heater and whined about bad hair days, who, sometimes, came home from a self-inflicted 32-hour shift so exhausted that she cried for no reason before falling asleep.
It had taken quite a while, even after their professional concerns were resolved and they began to explore this strange new world of getting to know each other apart from all of that, for her to let down her guard. Her quirks embarrassed her and seemed to worry her greatly, like she genuinely believed that he had cared about a fantasy Samantha for so many years while working alongside the careful, respectful Major Carter that he would give up on her the second she failed to live up to perfection. He hoped she didn't still worry about that, but it was hard to tell. He was only marginally better at understanding her now than he was when the majority of their conversations had involved the phrase theoretically possible.
She, at least, had known what she was getting into; he had never made any pretense of being anything other than a cranky, undisciplined old man with a juvenile sense of humor.
Sam's breakfast pastry popped up with a ding! and she returned to retrieve it, ID card in hand.
"It was in the hamper," she explained with a wave of her ID card, though he really could only assume that was what she was saying since her mouth was full of pop-tart. He grinned again. They were doing laundry together now.
Sam swallowed and offered a shyly apologetic smile for her mood. He scooped a few spoons full of frozen orange juice concentrate into a glass, stirred it with water and offered it to her as a truce. She finished her breakfast in record time.
"Ready to go?" he asked, plucking up the pair of key rings off the dining room table and handing hers over. The carpooling thing seemed like a good idea in principle, since they were both going to and from the same place, but one or the other of them almost always ended up staying late, and Daniel, who lived in the other direction and whose genuine happiness about his friends' newfound romance had only given him so much tolerance, had recently put an absolute moratorium on the Dr. Jackson Late Night Taxi Service.
"Almost." She reached up to smooth his hair down with her fingers and pecked him on the lips. He caught her around the waist and pulled her closer until she opened her icing-flavored mouth. He kissed her until she hummed -- fortunately, and this blew his mind, he now knew her well enough to accomplish this without making them late to work -- and then pulled his mouth away with a pop of suction. Might as well give her something to think about as she puttered away with her naquadah reactors all day, he thought smugly as he caught her checking her watch, probably (hopefully) checking if they really had to leave that very minute to make it on time. He considered it a down payment on that night.
Jack licked a few loose pop-tart crumbs from his lips. "Will I see you tonight?" She was at his place six nights a week, lately, but it was always good to check that this wasn't day number seven and that she wasn't planning to go back to her house and her superior toaster after work.
"Definitely," she promised. "I should be done early."
"I've got a phone meeting 'till 1800, so let yourself in," he advised her, glad that her cranky mood had safely passed (he might like fussy Carter a whole lot, but it was definitely something best appreciated in small doses), and he figured his toaster woes were over for the day.
Until he came back home.