Disclaimer: Not mine. Either universe.

Spoilers: Death Knell, Heroes.

Pairings: Sam/Pete, Sam/Jack, Kitty/Pete

Rating: R. Nasty words. Vague sex. Over-blown plot devices.

Notes: Dear god, I have no clue where this came from. Okay, I know where some of it came from. It came from something Little Red was saying about pretending there was no Pete, and then my brain mis-firing badly. And then it went, "What if the wrong Pete was in the wrong universe." And that worked. Until the whole post-Death Knell scene, and then it got rather... sticky. And, dear GOD. I really didn't expect this to end up where it did. Or have any of the places along the way that it did. And I so knew A.j. was gonna hate me from the beginning (and I can kinda blame it on Foe now, too). But, hey, I made it all right in the end? The title comes from a Sleeper song, 'Sale of the Century'.

For the record: This is a crossover. Deal with it or stop the fuck reading.

Universes: Stargate: SG-1 (main), Marvel's X-Men (comicbook)--specifically Kitty Pryde and Pete Wisdom.

Burning the Negatives

by Ana Lyssie Cotton

They say opposites attract.

Samantha Carter was beginning to suspect that it wasn't true.

Not that she didn't find Pete attractive, and he was certainly quite amusing in bed (and, ok, that went a hell of a long way to making her like him more). And he didn't try to find out about her job, and he didn't give her strange looks when she staggered in with bruises or scrapes, just silently doctored them (and, damn, but he was good with his hands). Some nights he didn't even seem to want sex, just held her and stroked her and--yeah, there were definite pluses to having Pete around.

Of course, the weirdest thing was that Pete and the Colonel knew each other. It was odd, because Sam had been certain that they wouldn't (he was a friend of Mark's, for cryin' out loud. When the hell could he have met Colonel O'Neill?) get along in the least. And yet, both of them had shaken hands, then nodded once. And never spoke again.

It was like some freaky conspiracy of silence between the two of them.

There were things that Pete did that drove her nearly insane. He refused to believe that any sports team could beat Manchester United, he thought breakfast should consist of more cholesterol than an elephant could handle, and he smoked. And that was only the beginning of the iceberg. Sam was pretty sure he wasn't really a door to door salesman. But she didn't really care enough to check.

And, besides, the Colonel didn't seem to worry.

Pete drank like a fish, cursed more frequently than Daniel could (and more often, and in simple English, which had been weird after nearly seven years of curses in goa'uld and ancient Egyptian). And there were times when he would refuse to sleep in the same bed. And perhaps it was just as well. She suspected that his screaming nightmares might top hers.

He was crude. And he frequently mocked her government, the army, the navy, the air force, and anything to do with Colorado Springs.

And she would be so ready to tell him to fuck off. And then he would look at her in that way of his (which was kind of endearing, when she thought about it), and she would relent, and they'd end up having sex somewhere that required a lot of energy and athleticism.

Until the alpha site.

Realistically, it had all hinged on the night she'd finally been allowed out of Janet's worried care.

"You look like shit."

"Thanks." She hadn't expected Pete to be in her house, really hadn't expected to find him leaning back in a chair in her kitchen, his dirty shoes propped on her table (now she'd need disenfectant wipes), cigarette in his mouth and half-empty bottle of scotch dangling from one hand.

He shifted in the chair and held out the bottle. "Want some?"

Pain killers and alcohol. Janet would have a fit. "Yeah." Janet could have her damned fit. Sam was tired and drained and had been fucking chased by a god-damned super soldier for longer than it had taken her father to heal from an explosion.

Some days, she actually kind of wished she'd never heard of the Tok'ra.

The entire bottle was gone by the time Pete settled her into bed, wrapping her carefully in blankets and dropping a kiss on her shoulder. "Din't know you were so conshiderate." She informed him.

"I'm not." He touched her forehead, slid a hand through her hair, then stood.

"Oh." She pouted.

"I don't take advantage of drugged and intoxicated women."

"Pity." And for just a moment, she could feel that engulfing loneliness that had driven her to find him, to make a connection with another human being in the first place. It hurt. Dear god, did it hurt. She wanted nothing more than to drag him into the bed with her and make him fuck her until she was completely senseless.

Some of it must have shown on her face, because for a moment he looked almost... pitying.

"I don't want your pity." The words came harshly, spilled out before she could understand the advisability of them.

"Don't you?" His mouth twisted, and then he shook his head. "Go to sleep," he whispered.

"No." She struggled against the doubled pull of alcohol and pain killers that would down an elephant. Her hand fisted in the sheet. "Tell me what you're not telling me."

His eyebrow shot up. "Left yer logic at the door, have we?"

"Don't dance around the subject, Pete. What aren't you telling me?"

But the struggle was becoming less easy, and the dark was dragging at her skin and pulling her under. And his dark blue eyes were enigmatic as he bent over and kissed her forehead. "Nothin', Sam. I'm not tellin' you nothin'."

--

"But he's British!"

"Yes, Daniel, I've noticed that."

"Shouldn't he be wearing tweed, or something." Dr. Daniel Jackson was trying to be subtle. Really, he was, he thought as he pushed his glasses up his nose.

Jack O'Neill sighed. "He doesn't wear tweed. Unless Carter has some strange fetish we don't know about."

For a moment, Daniel gaped at him, then he recovered his voice, "You're ok with this?"

"Why shouldn't I be?"

Gaping even more, Daniel briefly considered swallowing what he was thinking, but this was Jack (and he'd thought) Sam, and, really... "Because Sam is dating. Shouldn't that bother you, Jack?"

"What Carter does in her own time is her business, Daniel. And, as her friend, I thought you would understand that." For just a moment, Daniel was certain there was a flicker of--something--in Jack's eyes. But it was ruthlessly throttled down. "Now, if you're not going to talk about anything else, go away."

"Uh, Jack?"

"Yes, Daniel?"

"This is my office."

"Oh. Right."

--

"Yer an idiot." The words with said with disdain and a curl of lip.

"Uh-huh." Those words were grunted with less delicacy than skinning a cat.

"Don't know how the bloody hell I got talked into this."

"You owed me."

"Bull and shite, Jack."

"I looked pathetic?"

"Closer."

A sigh echoed in the evening breeze. "You're going, aren't you."

"Did I mention the part about you being a bloody idiot, Jack?"

"Yes."

"Good. Go with that. And go talk to the woman."

There was squirming that might have been similar to a little boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "Don't wanna."

"Then I'll tell her ya git."

Oh. No. That would not work. "Ok." Damn.

A snicker echoed in the breeze as well. "Yer an idiot, Jack O'Neill."

"Don't I know it."

--

"Sam."

Mrph. No. Sleep was good. Waking bad.

"Wake up, love."

No.

"I'll pour water on yer."

Shit. One eye opened and she glared balefully up at Pete. "What?"

"Got somethin' ta tell yer." He settled on the edge of the bed and paused, as if gathering himself for a confrontation with a goa'uld. Or maybe Janet, when she was in one of her Moods.

"You do?"

"I don't love you."

She blinked. Blinked again. "That was... bald."

"Yep." He shifted, looked at his hands, then back at her. "And, there's worse."

"Worse."

"I..." Suddenly, he looked almost guilty.

Sam sat up, ignoring the way the room started to spin. "Pete? What is it?"

He swallowed and got off the bed to go hover by the doorway. "I've been dating you under false pretenses."

The NID, Anubis' spies, or something even more terran and sinister ran through her head, and she blinked. "What?" Or maybe he just was using her to get to Daniel. He'd seemed to like baiting the archeologist...

"Don't kill me?"

"Tell me."

He nodded, "Right. Jack O'Neill asked me to do a favor for him, but I didn't think it was dating his second in command, and then I met you, and you liked me, and--"

Sam held up a hand, "What?"

"He knows you're safe with me." Pete ran a hand through his already rumpled black hair. "And I'm off. I have to catch a plane to Chicago."

Safe? What the hell did-- oh. "Why, that--" But Pete was gone, and she could only fling her pillow at the doorway, then groan as she banged her head against the headboard. Maybe she would sleep. Because there was this thing about the spinning of her room. It was disconcerting.

Yeah. Sleep.

And then she would get up and drive over to the Colonel's and murder him in his sleep.

--

"You had no right."

He'd been expecting her. It was inevitable, really. he turned slowly, looking at her in the early morning light. She wasn't entirely steady on her feet and while he felt a bit of concern (she was probably still half-doped up), he also wasn't going anywhere near her. She could really hurt him if she wanted. And considering the look in her eyes, she did.

"Carter."

"You. Had. No. Fucking. Right. Jack." She bit each word off cleanly, as if expecting them to become dirty just by being said. Or as if she was really considering which sections of his anatomy to start carving first.

Playing innocent might get him killed more painfully. "Carter--"

"Don't you fucking 'Carter' me, Jack."

"Sam."

"Why?" She sagged against the railing, her anger suddenly gone. "Why did you do it?"

"I don't want to lose you."

"You've never had me in the first place, Jack O'Neill." Her tone was ironic, but her eyes were bleak.

"And whose fault is that." Shit. He really hadn't wanted to be antagonistic.

Her head snapped up a bit, her eyes shooting sparks again. "My career was more important, Jack. Saving the world, stopping the goa'uld. Did that mean nothing to you?"

"No." It had, he'd thought at the time, meant everything. Now, he wasn't so certain.

"It meant everything to me, Jack. I didn't want--or need--a life outside the SGC. No children, no family, no friends..."

Meant. It meant... "Past tense, Carter." And he stopped, broke his own habit. "Sam, why is it past tense?"

"Because I want more now. I hit my head on the damned Prometheus, and God came to me and told me I'm a lonely, sad excuse for a woman." The sarcasm bit deep.

"Oh." He breathed in. Out. In. "Sam, you wanna go fishing?"

A myriad of emotions flickered across her face. So fast he only caught impressions. Love, hate, anger, pride, fear, loneliness... Finally, she settled on something that might have been sadness. "You paid someone to go out with me, Jack."

"I didn't pay--"

"I'm not your fucking whore."

"Sam, I didn't do it--" He sighed, dropped his head into his hands. "I wanted you to be safe, happy. I didn't... I don't want to lose you."

"You sure have a funny way of showing it."

"I..." He picked at the bit of paint that was peeling off his deck chair. "I guess I do."

A ragged laugh came from her. "You're so sure of me you can't even bring yourself to apologize, can you." There's pain in her voice now. Pain and something that could be hatred, if he wanted to give it a name. "I didn't want to love you, Jack O'Neill. But I don't know that it'll be hard to learn to hate you."

She was gone, then, before he could even think of anything to say. Before in his desperation he could throw himself at her feet. Stupidly, he realized that this was it.

A clean break, he thought blankly as he stared down at the paint chip in his hand.

--

It had been a horrible flight. Screaming children, inattentive parents, bad airplane food. No smoking, and no alcohol. If Pete Wisdom didn't know any better, he'd swear he was going into withdrawal right here on the doorstep of an apartment building. Or perhaps he was nervous.

Nah. Him? Nervous? Never happen. Still... He carefully checked that he was at least slightly less rumpled than normal before finding the correct button to press.

It took a while for the person to answer, and it occured to Pete that showing up on Kitty Pryde's doorstep at 4am was probably not fabulous timing. "Yeah?"

"Hey."

There was silence for a moment. "Who the hell is this?"

"It's me, Pryde."

"Well, you can either tell me your name or I'm going the fuck back to bed."

Aw. His Kit had gotten balls since he'd walked out on her. Not that she hadn't had them before, but there were extra teeth and claws in there. "It's Pete. Pete Wisdom."

"What, is this some sort of James Bond British spy thing?"

"Affectation, Pryde. Affectation."

"Fuck you, Wisdom."

"Let me up."

Silence again. Then the door buzzed and he found himself standing in the lobby. He didn't take the stairs to her flat two at a time. He didn't run. He didn't hurry. But even so, he was sort of rattled and gasping for breath when he go to her door. She had it open and was leaning against one side of the jam, her arms crossed.

"We gonna have this out in the hall?"

"You're alive."

"Noticed that, have you." He was delighted she still had such keen skills of observation.

A slight smile touched her lips, and then she shook her head. "Get in here you stupid English git."

"Missed you too, Pryde."

"I should bloody well hope so."

--

Kitty Pryde should have known there was something wrong with it all. Pete, showing up in the dead of night, cuddling, fabulous make-up sex. And then his phone rang while he was taking a shower.

The caller id was a long distance number, so she figured she should answer it. "Hello."

"So you're the plane to Chicago." The voice was female, and sounded like she'd been crying. And angry.

"Uh... Can I help you?"

"He didn't tell you he's spent the last month screwing an Air Force Major, did he."

Kitty was silent for a moment, then said, "Who is this?"

"I'm forgetting my manners." Sarcasm. Hrm. "I'm Major Samantha Carter, and the man who's phone you're currently holding was pretending to be my boyfriend less than 12 hours ago."

"Huh?"

"I'm not insane."

"Riiight."

The woman seemed to think for a moment, then sighed. "Look, it's complicated. But he was. And I'm really not pissed at him, I guess. It's not his fault the Colonel is a jackass." There was a half-giggle. "Jack ass. How appropos."

"Ma'am?"

"Sam. I hate being called ma'am. Makes me feel so god-damned old." There was a hiccup. "Men suck."

"Sam. Are you drunk?"

"I certainly hope so."

"Listen, do you--"

"No, I'm not calling someone to come watch me. I've been smothered these last seven years by well-meaning friends who don't want me to hurt because I can't have the man I love. And besides. Janet's busy with Cassie's sleepover."

"Ok."

"I'm sorry. I'm rambling at you. I'll. Um. Go. Just... Tell Pete he's an ass."

"Do that every day." Now, anyway.

"Smart woman. Kick him for me, will ya?"

No. "Right."

"Bye."

"Bye."

Kitty stared at the phone in her hand, then looked towards the still-closed bathroom door. The shower was still on.

--

Two weeks.

Two weeks of pretending she didn't want to rend her commanding officer limb from limb. Two weeks of pretending that everything was all right. Two weeks of holing up in her lab and working as hard as possible on copies of the drone TER. Daniel hadn't noticed, thank god. The man was still too involved with acclimating Sarah to being back on Earth and without a symbiote. If Teal'c noticed, he didn't say. But then, he was like that. And he would be there if she needed it.

Which she didn't.

She knew Jack noticed.

The two of them were getting good at avoiding each other, good at not finishing each others' thoughts. And if General Hammond noticed, he probably chalked it up to the new strangeness of her dating someone.

Neither had told anyone that Pete was no longer a part of her life.

Not even Janet.

And then it didn't matter that she hadn't told Janet.

--

It took Kitty Pryde two weeks of searching and plotting and planning before she was ready. Taking advantage of her lover's slothful nature, she waited until he was good and sunk into the couch in her living room before asking. "So, Pete, tell me about Samantha Carter."

He blinked, then looked at her. For a moment, she could see the wheels in his head turning, whether to lie, to try for innocence... in the end, he shrugged, "I needed to do a favor for someone."

"What sort of favor?"

"The kind I regret."

"Awww. She wasn't hot, then? Didn't fuck good?" Her tone was mocking.

"Kit--"

"Just tell me, you idiot."

"Oh." He looked away, then nodded. "Let me tell you a little story about one Colonel Jack O'Neill..."

Ten minutes later, Kitty had the gist of the story. And she still wasn't particularly thrilled about it. "I can't believe..." She shook her head at him. "You're such a bastard, Wisdom."

"I thought I was helping."

"Right. That's why you high-tailed it back here instead of sticking it out and apologizing. Pete, for all you know, that poor woman fell in love with you!"

"Nah. She always called for him."

Kitty blinked. "You crude asshole."

"During nightmares, Pryde." He smirked. "You have a dirty mind. Didn't anyone ever tell you that was bad for you?"

"You do. All the damned time." Standing, Kitty wandered over to the door to her bedroom. "You have twenty minutes to pack."

"Fer wot?"

"We leave from the airport in two hours."

"Kit?"

She poked her head around the door, and smirked. "We're going to Colorado Springs. And I am buying Major Samantha Carter a very large drink. On you. And then we'll both kick your ass. And then move on to O'Neill. And if either of you object? I'll just do something fun with computers and leave you both destitute in LA."

"Pryde, yer an evil woman."

"And don't you forget it."

"I love you."

"Fuck you, Pete."

"We've only got twenty minutes."

"Since when has that stopped you?"

--

When Sam Carter opened the door, she expected to find someone coming to console her. Daniel, maybe, with Teal'c, if the Jaffa warrior could be talked into it. If they were really worried, they'd send the Colonel.

Not that she and the Colonel were speaking to each other (weepy infirmary embraces aside).

Or maybe even Hammond, or her father.

So, Sam was not expecting to find a short brunette standing there in jeans and an apple t-shirt. "Hello?"

"Hi." The woman held out a hand. "We've never actually been formally introduced."

"Uhhh."

"I'm Kitty Pryde."

"OK." Sam slowly shook the proffered hand. "Are you.. selling something?"

"Peace, love, understanding. Not. I'm here to offer my services in the revenge business."

"...revenge?" Completely confused, Sam suddenly realized that this voice was familiar. When had she-- "Oh. You're--"

"Yep. Pete Wisdom's girlfriend. Although he's still in the doghouse, and no, I wasn't in the picture when he was dating you."

"He moves fast," Sam observed dryly.

"Sort of." The woman gestured, "Could I come in? I promise I don't bite unless asked."

Completely disturbed and in the mood to be distracted from thinking of Janet, Sam stepped in. "Coffee?"

"Sounds great. The plane fare was bloody awful."

"Ugh." Sam agreed with a shudder.

Moments later, they were sitting around her table drinking coffee and talking of inanities like the weather and how they weren't all that fond of sports (although Pete's obsession with ManU was touched upon and mocked thoroughly). Finally, Sam sighed. "Not to be rude, but. Why are you here?"

"Pete told me. Twice, actually. And I think Jack O'Neill needs a kick in the head."

Brought back to reality, Sam looked down at her hands. "He almost died the other day."

"Ah. Deepspace radar telemetry is dangerous, eh?"

Their eyes met. Sam raised an eyebrow, and was surprised at the amusement and... acceptance in the other woman's eyes. "From what I've seen, yup." Janet. She closed her eyes and pushed Janet's memory away resolutely.

"So, anyway. O'Neill?"

"He's my commanding officer."

"Got that bit."

"He was... stupid. I'm still disturbed that he--well, paid, if you want to put it like that. Paid someone to date me. So he wouldn't lose me."

Kitty grimaced. "That does sound stupid."

"Yeah." Sam sighed. "I'm pathetic. I can't even attract a man in my own right."

"Aw, honey, don't be stupid." Reaching over, Kitty patted her hand. "I think he panicked. And there are probably tons of men that would like to date you."

"And then they'll end up dead."

"Pete mentioned that. He hasn't died yet."

"He didn't really love me."

Kitty sighed. "No, but most of those other guys only had a vague chance to be attracted to you. None of them worked with you day in and day out, saw you when you were ugly as shit, held you while you cried, or kept you standing when you were falling down drunk."

"And those are all my most attractive qualities." Sam replied, making a face.

"Jack's still around, isn't he?"

Rubbing a hand over her face, Sam stalled for time and sipped her now cool coffee. "I... I've never thought he didn't love me. All of me. But... There's no future for us. Not at this moment in time."

"And you're just going to stay stuck in this rut forever."

"There's too much at stake."

"Mhm. So, tell me, the reason you both don't pursue this is the regulations, right?"

"Yes."

"And the regulations state something about how a relationship is prohibited when it becomes detrimental to the team."

"Yes."

"So, explain to me how the two of you have kept this relationship from being detrimental for seven years, and you think it would change if you took it one step further."

"Huh?"

"You love Jack O'Neill." Kitty sounded patient. "Jack O'Neill loves you. This has been true for--how long?"

"At least three years."

"And in that time, have either of you compromised the team in any way shape or form, for the other?"

Sam had to think about that. Really. Because in all of her meandering thoughts on the subject, she'd never... The time Jack was on the moon she'd lost it. Really lost it. But then he'd come back, and it had been better. If they'd been... But hindsight was 20/20. "Occasionally."

"So, Samantha Carter, why can't you and Jack just get rid of the sexual tension? It sounds like you're pretty damned committed everywhere else."

"Committed is certainly right." Sam paused and eyed Kitty. "And you can stop talking to me like I'm a child."

"Then quit acting like one." Throwing her hands in the air, Kitty groaned. "God, I thought I'd left the self-sacrificing type at Xavier's."

"It's a virtue, you know," Sam said, her tone stuffy. But her lips were twitching in amusement.

"I have no virtues," Kitty said brightly.

Considering her response, Sam tilted her head to the side. "Didn't you say something about revenge?"

"Yep. And I've had... several thoughts."

"Thoughts."

"Let me tell ya about 'em."

--

"So, she went for it?"

"Yup."

"Bloody hell. Din't think she had it in her."

"Women are surprising creatures, Wisdom."

"True, true. C'mere, you surprising, wonderful woman."

"Why, Pete, you're a romantic after all."

"Strip, wench."

"I take that back."

--

It wasn't often that Colonel Jack O'Neill was surprised.

Less often was he so surprised that the only thing he could do was stare.

In this case, he was also drooling.

"Close your mouth, Jack." The vision sitting on his bed directed him.

"Wha?"

A sigh echoed in the room. "I never thought you were a dense man, Jack O'Neill."

"Carter?"

"Formality ain't gonna help you here, flyboy."

Oh, dear, GOD, she was standing. The effect was MUCH better with her standing. He swallowed. "Carter?"

"I ran into someone who had some interesting points to make to me today." Idly, she began slinking towards him.

His mouth went dry.

She held up one dainty, yet strong, hand. "One. We have never allowed our feelings for each other to compromise our mission." Another step. "Two. Just because we could get physically close doesn't mean that we will." Another. And he could see the way her chest moved as she breathed. "Three. Sexual tension that's been released is a hell of a lot healthier than repression."

"Guh?"

A hand touched his cheek. "I'm not sure I care about what comes tomorrow, Jack. I almost lost you. We lost Janet. And I love you." The hand trembled and she sniffled slightly.

"Nhg?"

Tears? Crying. Carter was crying. Carter never cried. Ever. "Sam--" Wasn't he supposed to be keeping this formal? But then she was cradled in his arms, and some of him was happily greeting some of her, and-- "Carter."

"Stop talking, Jack."

Since when did she think she was the commanding officer here? He opened his mouth to point this out, but never got the chance, because she'd straightened just enough and her lips were on his, and he suddenly wasn't sure he cared. And. Oh, yeah. Maybe she should be in charge of all of this. Yup.

--

"I'm sorry."

The words were whispered against her skin, and she chuckled softly. "I love you, Jack."

"Good night, Carter."

"Hrm. I'll have to remember you're grumpy after sex."

"Carter!"

"Good night, Jack."

-finis-