TITLE: Casual Friday
AUTHOR: Matt, August 2004
SUMMARY: Jack didn't need the three men in the room to tell him that this was possibly the worst idea he'd ever had.
DISCLAIMER: Characters are not mine, and I will never make any money off them. Not unless I'm able to become a millionaire and do a deal with MGM, Gekko et al.
THANKS: To Allie and Ky for the beta
Jack didn't need the three men in the room to tell him that this was possibly the worst idea he'd ever had. Casual Fridays at the base had been warmly greeted when he'd first put the suggestion forward, especially from the civilian employees. There had to be a couple of stipulations of course: there could no Casual Friday if you were going off world, or if there were important people scheduled to visit, or if you knew you were going to be visiting NORAD or the Academy during the day.
"You see the problem, General?"
"Yeah, Ferretti," Jack sighed. "I see the problem." It was hard not to really – especially when one was looking out of the briefing room window to the Gate room below.
"She's a damned fine officer, Sir. There's no one I'd rather have looking out for my six, if you know what I mean." Griff paused. "But it's just a little..."
If he couldn't find the right word, Reynolds could. "Distracting, Sir."
"It's not because she's a woman, Sir," Ferretti continued. "Like Griff said, she's excellent in the field... but..."
"Okay." Jack held up a hand to stop them and, although he found himself reluctant to turn away from the scene below, he managed to put his back to the window so he could face the men in front of him. "Obviously, Casual Friday has different meanings for some people."
"It could be worse," Griff grinned. "She could be wearing one of those cute midriff tops." He exchanged a look with Ferretti who was sat next to him at the conference table. "She's actually decently dressed. I wouldn't be able to reprimand someone in my team for wearing what she is."
"It's just distracting," Reynolds confirmed. "Especially for those in command."
Jack got the hint. These were the days he loathed being the commanding officer of the SGC. He and Hammond were totally different creatures. Hammond's ideas had never backfired, but then Hammond never would have suggested Casual Fridays. "So, bad idea then?" he asked.
"Not necessarily, General."
"And God knows it's great to get out of those BDUs and wear jeans for once."
The quickness of the responses told Jack something important. "So, it's just...?" he pointed a thumb behind him. The three men nodded.
"Perhaps you ought to say something, Sir."
"Me, Griff? And what the hell would I say? Oh, sorry, Colonel, but those leather pants are just too distracting for you to wear on base?"
"You could always blame us."
Jack smirked. "Nice try, Ferretti, but she knows you too damn well. Plus, you've seen her wear them before off base."
Ferretti didn't think that was a problem. "That's different from on base, and you know it."
"She still wouldn't believe it was you."
"So? Say it was Griff and I," shrugged Reynolds. "Look, you need to be able to blame someone else. Otherwise it's not gonna sound so good."
Lou Ferretti grinned again. "Yeah, you know, she'll think it's you with the problem."
There were also times when Jack regretted being the commanding officer to a group of guys who knew him just too damn well. Next time he got promoted to Brig. General, he was either going to say no or request a transfer.
"You could say it's me, Sir."
Jack looked towards the spiral stairwell and to the man standing at the top of it. "Nice try, Siler."
"With all due respect, Sir, I am the one having to work with her."
"She'd never believe it from any of you. Or she'd not take it seriously, or she'd demand to know why you couldn't tell her yourself."
Reynolds stood up. "Look, Sir, let me frank. There's no way in hell you can tell her you're the one being distracted. So let us take the fall for you."
If a man could be judged by his buddies, then Jack was feeling in a pretty good place right now. They'd all seen the issue and they'd come to confront him with it in the best possible way.
He risked another glance out the window. They were absolutely right. The leather pants were distracting. Sure, they were smart looking, and definitely not a safety hazard for what she was working on. There was absolutely no material that could be caught on the edges of lab benches or the MALP on which she was currently working. But they were definitely distracting.
Jack stuck his hands in his jeans pocket and turned back to the room. Four faces looked expectantly at him - four people who would all gladly take the blame for his own incompetence. But there was no way he could do that. He had responsibilities and he'd take care of them himself.
"I'll talk to her," he said quietly and, determined to get it over with, he strode out of the briefing room to the stairwell that would take him to the Gate room.
She looked up from the MALP and smiled at him. "Sir?" she queried, preparing to stand up.
He gestured for her to stay in her crouched position. It was easier for him that way; he didn't have to see too much of the 'problem.' "How's it going?"
"Good, Sir. We should have it moving out of here pretty soon."
He nodded. "That's what I like to hear, Colonel. I'm not too keen on having broken down MALPs cluttering up my Gate room."
A grin lit up her face. "Of course not, Sir."
He stuck his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet. There was no doubt about it; he could watch her all day - which was a bad thing considering he had a base to run.
"Was there something else, General?"
And there it was - a full blown smirk. Damn, it wasn't just the men in the briefing room who could see right through him.
"No, Carter, not really." With regret, he turned to go. At the last minute, he swung back. "Oh, Carter? When you're all done here, come and see me in my office, will ya. Got a couple of things we need to go over."
She nodded. "Okay."
He knew he needed to leave the room. With a smile, he waved a hand at her. "Carry on, Colonel, with whatever it is that you're doing."
As he walked back to his office there was only one thought in his mind. How the hell was he going to tell Carter that she couldn't wear those leather pants on Casual Fridays anymore because they distracted him too much?