TITLE: Random Thoughts on Colonels and Generals

AUTHOR: Matt, August 2004

SEASON / SPOILERS: Season 8 / Spoilers for Zero Hour and everything up to then


DISCLAIMER: Characters will never belong to me and I make no financial gain from writing about them

THANKS: To Allie, for her beta work as always. Any errors you spot now are probably mine!

She smiled up at him and, for a moment, his heart forgot how to beat. It wasn't the fact that she was smiling, for she did that a lot when she wasn't concentrating on something exceedingly technical. No, it was the fact that she was smiling that particular smile, the one that was just for him and that he hadn't seen in a long while.

He did his best to retain some semblance of his usual self, but she knew him too damn well.

"I'll see you later, Sir," she said, extending the grin even further, and turned sharply, her skirt-clad butt catching his attention as it sashayed down the corridor.

Yeah, he was a typical man, no doubt about it. Carter definitely had many physical aspects that were pleasurable to look at. But it wasn't just about looks. He knew that. It was also the way she could catch him out just as she had done a moment ago. She didn't have that much of an ego, but she was fully aware of the impact she had on him. Just as he was aware of what he could do to her.

Which was funny really, when you considered there were times he wondered what the hell she saw in him. He was a grumpy, old, clueless General with very little tact and a lousy sense of humour. But, if he'd correctly read her hint of a few weeks ago, those were the attributes she wanted in a boyfriend.

"Pete was nice, Sir," she'd said, "but he wasn't what I really wanted." Then she'd given him one of those big smiles and disappeared on him.

Damn, but she had a habit of doing that – bowling him over and then leaving him standing there with his mouth wide open.

"Excuse me, General." He turned and found Siler and another technical guy carrying a stepladder. He wasn't sure just where the stepladder was headed, but there was probably a memo buried somewhere on his desk.

"Uh, sure, Sergeant." He stepped aside to let them pass, mentally cursing at himself for being so un-General-like. Even if Carter could read the real him, there was no need to let the rest of the base in on the secret. He was the CO of the SGC and he had to maintain that façade.

Because really, half the time, he had no clue what he was doing behind that desk.

If he'd known Pete was going to disappear like yesterday's news, he'd never have taken the position. He'd have retired and then waited patiently. Okay, maybe not that patiently, but he'd have hung around and waited for her. Instead, their sense of timing had sucked; he'd taken the promotion and, just a week later, Petey-boy was back in Denver and very unlikely to return any time soon.

He thought back to the letter he'd written to George Hammond; the letter he'd never sent, stating his decision to retire. Ultimately, he'd decided not to go through with that decision – not able to deal with Hammond's imminent disappointment in him.

"Well, actually, George. Carter split with Pete. Thought I might have a shot at taking her fishing, you know." Yes, that would have gone down exceedingly well.

Of course, there was also the feeling that old George knew damn well what was going on. The last time the senior officer had asked him when he was going fishing there had definitely been a tone of innuendo in his voice. However, that had been just before the former colonel had accepted the promotion to desk jock.

He began to slowly walk through the corridors of the base to his prison. While he certainly saw people, his office wasn't the place he wanted to see them. He missed just being able to hang out in the commissary; he missed the sense of camaraderie that existed between soldiers. Being 'the man' meant existing on a whole other level and it seemed only his former team could bridge the gap. He definitely wondered how George had managed it.

Still, the President had been impressed; so he must be doing something right. Of course, the President hadn't known about the little shop of horrors or Ba'al's little stunt or, indeed, any of the events from the past few days.

Or had he? It was entirely possible that the 'spy' had reported everything back to him.

But still, the President had shaken his hand warmly and said how fantastic a job he appeared to be doing. He'd done a good job of saying thank you, despite the actions of SG-1, to whom the President had had his back turned. For the frontline team they could be exceedingly childish at times – probably getting that from their former CO. Teal'c's eyebrow had risen considerably and there'd been the beginnings of a definite smirk on his face. Daniel had grinned and cocked a thumbs-up at him. And Carter... had grinned.

He'd almost lost his concentration there and then.

Stepping into the elevator, he loosened his tie and breathed a sigh of relief that the day was almost over. He just needed to clear up some files on his desk, stop by Carter's lab to make sure she was actually going to go home for the day, and then he could go home.

Yes, he'd got through the day, the President was impressed, no teams were currently unaccounted for, and Carter had grinned at him – more than once. All in all, life wasn't bad, not bad at all.

Even if he wouldn't be going fishing with a blond-haired colonel any time soon.