Title: Routine Happiness

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: Chimera, set after the Lost City

Content: A little angst and a little sap

Pairing: S/J S/Pete

Summery: Is she happy?

Notes: I'm not sure about this, that I'm happy with it, but the more I worked at it, the worse it got, so I've just stopped. I knew I should've stuck to the other idea I had bouncing in my head.

Routine Happiness

Over the seven years they had established a routine. He would find her in her lab and convince her to go to breakfast with him. If they were going on a mission they would then go and talk about that before the briefing. It not, he would leave her to some lab work and he would tackle the mountain of paper work that appeared regularly in his in tray. At lunch he would go and try and talk her into going to the commissary. Sometimes she'd say yes, sometimes she'd say no. When she refused he brought a little food to her lab.

During the afternoon he would pop into her lab and sit on a stool, watching her work, chatting and playing with/breaking her stuff.

He never ate at home, not his evening meal. His house was empty and cold. Lonely. He would try again to convince her to join him for dinner in the commissary, the same as at lunch.

He would spend most of the evening trying to convince her to go home or have an early night. Trying to order her to. She'd learnt early to ignore certain orders of his. He didn't mind the insubordination, but the orders she did ignore were usually detrimental to her health.

Whether he succeeded with her or not, he'd go home around ten, have a beer or two and go to bed.

Then he'd come to the base the next morning and the routine would start over again.

He hadn't noticed how much he liked this routine until it had been taken from him. By a young cop.

He had come along and sometimes Sam was late for work. She had lunch off base. She went home at night, long before he would make his last ditch attempt to get her to get a good night's sleep.

Now when he went to her lab it was as cold and as lonely as his empty house. Even when she was there, she wasn't quite all the Sam Carter he knew. Her mind was elsewhere, thinking about another man. She didn't notice so much when he played with her stuff and she wasn't as angry when he broke something because she was thinking about spending time with that cop and not Jack.

He knew why the routine meant so much to him. It was all he had in terms of a relationship with Sam. It was all he was allowed to have and now it was gone. He felt like she had left him.

He had hoped that, when he'd come out of his frozen state, maybe a little of the routine would return. She had come to his home of her own abolition to see him, saved his ass again and shown him she cared about him. He'd hoped that this would translate into them spending more time together on the base again.

But everything was different. And at the same time still the same. They weren't together, they just worked together and now she had sometime to spend all that extra time with.

He found himself at her lab, hoping she'd be there. She was and he was shocked. He stood in her doorway and watched her, hoping no one would see him doing so.

"Everything okay sir?" she asked, not taking her eyes off her work. He smiled. Of course she'd seen him.

"Fine thanks, you're busy, I leave you to it"

"Things have been a little hectic around here, we've not really have much time to talk" she said softly, looking up from her computer.

"I guess not"

"I'm here, to listen, if you want"

"I don't need to talk Carter" his tone was a little harsher than he intended. "But thanks" he added. She nodded. He shuffled on his feet and decided, he didn't really want to be here, with her thinking about anyone but him. He didn't wear envy well. "I'll see you later" he turned around and left her lab, stopping suddenly in the corridor.

He turned around and walked quickly back to her lab.

"Do you need to talk Carter?" he asked. She looked at him, surprise evident on her face. Though whether she was surprised at his return or his question was not so obvious.

"I don't know" he smiled.

"Carter you know everything, how could you not know if you need to talk or not?" she smiled, a little blush rising on her cheeks.

"Everything feels different" she said.

"Everything is different" he said shutting her lab door behind him.

"I know" she smiled. "I just, I don't think I noticed until I woke up this morning"

"You'll get used to it, we all will"

"I know"

"But"

"It's been the same for so long, life, that maybe it's just harder to adjust to. Or maybe I expected something different"

"Like what?" he asked, he was beginning to wonder where this conversation was going. Things must really have changed for them to be actually talking about this.

"I've had a plan for every part of my life since I was seven years old" she said. "And okay I've had to adapt and change to what's happened in my life but I've always had plans and expectations. I just figured" she paused.

"You thought you'd have more by time you were Colonel Carter" he tried finished for her.

"Yes" she said. "I think. I'm not sure what it is to tell the truth sir. Maybe I just need a little more time to adjust to all these changes" he smiled.

"The most important thing is Sam, are you happy with all the changes?" she frowned, thinking and he smiled. He may not be happy with the changes and his, their, lost routine but if Sam was, then he could live. "Are you happy?"

"I guess I am" she said. "I don't know"

"You do know Carter, like I said, you know everything, you just need to think about it a little"

"I will do" she said, the promise in her voice.

"Then with that I will leave you to…..it and try and tackle my in-tray" she gave a little laugh and smiled.

"Good luck with that sir"

"Yeah thanks" he said, before leaving her lab. She watched him go, then looked back at her computer.

Was she happy?

The more she thought about it, the more unsure she was about her own happiness In life.

She had a great job, a great boyfriend and life was moving on. Before her hallucinations on the Prometheus she had been content, but realised she was stuck in a cycle that she wasn't happy with. It was predictable. Just a routine. Work and missions and emergencies with a smattering of sleep.

But she was with Jack.

She didn't like to think that way, about Jack that way. Her routine was all the normality of a relationship she could have with him, with a man she loved.

Still loved.

Now life was unpredictable, Pete was unpredictable, working life as Lt. Colonel Carter was unpredictable and the more she thought about it, the more she didn't like that either.

The routine as Major Carter had been a shadow of a life. The unpredictable life as Colonel Carter wasn't too stable. And neither the past nor the present were good enough. Something wasn't quite right.

Something was missing and she knew what it was. She knew why she was having such a hard time adjusting and she knew that, the more she thought about it, the clearer the answer became.

She knew what would make her happy, but then she'd lose her job and she'd be unhappy again.

She had to decide wish side of happiness she wanted to be sat with.

Professional or personal happiness.

"I'm coming" Jack called out. He yawned and rubbed his eyes. His alarm clock had told him it was early, three am early. The sound of his doorbell had woken him easily and he'd jumped out of bed and ran down to answer the door.

She was stood on his door step. Looking a little sad and a little angry.

"Carter" he said, shocked. "Is everything okay?"

"No sir, are you busy?"

"It's three am, what would I be busy with?"

"Sorry"

"Come in Carter, tell me what's on your mind" he said, giving her room to pass, She walked into his house, and sat down on the sofa. He sat on the chair next to her, feeling a little cold in his boxers and t-shirt.

"I shouldn't have come and woke you. I shouldn't have come" she said standing up back again.

"Sam what's wrong? You're here now and I'm awake, you may as well tell me right?" she looked at him and thought about it.

"I've been thinking" he smiled. "About what you said, about that you asked"

"Oh"

"Why did you have to ask?" she said. The question threw him.

"Sam, I…"

"I was happy until I thought about it, I was happy because I was in denial and I was happy with being in denial" she rambled out, a little anger building in both her voice and her eyes. Jack just blinked at her. "I didn't think about what I wanted or was missing or who I wanted, I had stuff I hadn't had in year and you come along and screw it all up again."

"Again?"

"Yeah, just like you did when I met you, you came along, all….you! And my commanding officer so I can't have you but, but I can't have anyone else because I want you too much and I learn to work around that and now you come along with your life altering questions and wreck it all again because now I know I need you and want you and love you again and all the more and it's so not what I wanted to be dealing with right now!" she was almost shouting by time she ended her ramble and Jack was amazed she could be so angry and babble so much and still be coherent.

Her confessions didn't kick in right away. He just started at her.

"Great, and now I want to talk about the mess you've made, you don't even want to talk about it" he shook his head hard to wake himself up from his daze.

"You love me?"

"Yes" she said, exasperated. Her face was red, her eyes dark and she was pacing his lounge.

"I love you" he said.

"That doesn't help" she said. It wasn't the reaction he had been expecting, but then, maybe he had left the particular confession too late. Maybe they had left it too late.

"I love you completely" he said. "Totally and I need you completely too, clichéd or not" he said standing up. "But if it's too late for us, I'll leave well alone. I'll do whatever it takes for you to be happy Sam."

"Really?"

"Anything" she sighed, and relaxed a little, looking up at him to see how serious he was.

"I don't know what to do Jack, which path to choose. I thought this would be all figured out by now. And I wouldn't have to make anymore decisions like this."

"Sleep on it" he said. "It'll come to you in the morning" she nodded, still looking at him, thinking. They were silent for a few moments, as if the answer would be whispered to them in the darkness.

If the walls could talk they would have the answers, Jack thought.

But when it was obvious they didn't, he gave up listening. He'd do anything for Sam, she had to know that by now.

"Don't drive home again, I think it's raining" it was a lie, he had no idea, but he wanted her to stay. "stay in the spare room" he said. She nodded.

"It's all set up" he added when she didn't say anything. "Night Sam" he said. She continued looking at him, watching him as he made his way back to his bedroom.

He barely heard his bedroom door open but he did hear it. He heard her creep into his room and quietly, but not silently, strip down to her shirt and underwear. Felt as she slid under the covers.

"Have you made your decision?" he asked, trying to hide the hope in his voice.

"How would I know I'd be happy with you?" she whispered. He turned over to face her, and tried to make out her face in the dark.

"You wouldn't. But if you don't think we'd be happy together, then there's no decision to make."

"It's not something we could try. It's an all or nothing situation" she was right, he knew she was right.

"I'm willing to give all. But you need to give all too Sam. And you have to be sure. No regrets" she didn't answer him and he sighed "Nothing is going to be perfect, no one is ever completely happy, there is always going to be something that you will want. If you keep looking for perfection, you're never going to be happy."

"Pete isn't perfect" she whispered

"Which is why you're in my bed. But I'm not either, far from it"

"Would you be happy with me?"

"I believe so yes, I have faith that we'd be happy together"

"Me too"

"Then are you staying?" he asked, trying to hide the almost desperate hope in his voice.

"Yes" she said firmly, moving closer to him.

"Forever?"

"Yes" she kissed him lightly on the lips. "Just one thing though?"

"What is it Sam?"

"What time is breakfast?"

22/08/04