Disclaimer: Not mine.
Rating: PG Pairing: Sam/Jack, Sam/Pete (mentioned). Sappy. UST. Kinda Angst.
Notes: Completely Ryuu's fault for being amusing at me (and she better write HER dancing image, damnit). The title comes from Poe's "That Day"... "Tomorrow's comin' round a hairpin curve in the road" (or it could be turn. Don't really care. It took five minutes of flipping through winamp to find something that had the correct lyrics)..

This was supposed to be fluff.

Hairpin Curve by ALC Punk!

The party for General Hammond's going away from the SGC had been going on for hours. Lieutenant Colonel Sam Carter sat at a table with Major (soon to be Lieutenant Colonel, if rumors were true) Lou Feretti and Daniel Jackson and General O'Neill, watching the three men get progressively drunker. She had considered joining them, but she still had a feeling driving might be required before the evening was out.

Hammond had actually left hours before, his lips smiling at the people who'd served under him.

It was easy to miss the General, since this was a retro-active going away party. The General had technically been out of the SGC for nearly three months. This was simply the first time so many busy schedules had been open for this sort of thing. And Teal'c hadn't been able to make it, stuck off-world with the rebel jaffa as they moved their base yet again.

A bit wistfully, she listened to the dance music and watched the couples on the floor. Pete, her boyfriend, had cancelled on her at the last minute.

She was, to put it mildly, all dressed up with nowhere to go.

Most of the men of the SGC seemed to find her too frightening to ask to dance. And those that didn't were there with their wives. Or were getting drunk.

A decision suddenly made, she stood and looked at the men at the table. "One of you is going to dance with me."

The three gaped at her for a moment, then Feretti giggled. "I can't dance, Colonel. Sorry."

"I'm drunk." Daniel pronounced this as if it were a massive masterpiece of literature. And then he giggled, too. "Jack's not, though, are ya, Jack?"

"C'mon, General," Feretti attempted to slap him on the back, missed, hit the table, and giggled again. "Do the Colonel a favor. Dance with her."

"Unless you can't dance, Jack." Daniel's tone was goading.

The General seemed to consider this, then stood and held out a hand, "Colonel?"

"Thank you, sir."

Carefully, the two made their way onto the floor. He settled one hand at her waist and took her hand in the other. For a moment, the simple box-step seemed to work, and Sam could swear he was counting under his breath. Then he crossed one leg over the other the wrong way, and they staggered.

"Sir?"

"I'm fine, Carter."

Uh-huh. She stepped away from him, "Let me lead, sir."

He blinked at her, then snorted, "Are you doubting my ability, Colonel?"

"Yes, sir."

"Fine." He let her go and shifted so she could place one hand on his waist, he put his hand on her shoulder. "Better?"

She started them up, carefully. "Think so, sir."

It was strange holding the General like this. There hadn't been a lot of touching between them for a long time. She was sure that if she tried, she could calculate down to the exact second how long it had been. It was really almost depressing.

Of course, now she had a boyfriend, so it didn't matter if they touched. She was always trying to convince herself of that, but four years of habit are hard to undo.

So now they were dancing, because she had wanted to dance. "Got the hang of it, sir?"

"Yeah. Yeah I think so."

They switched leads carefully, Sam amused that she didn't want to relinquish the role (she got to command him so little, after all). Pretty soon, the careful box step was -- still a careful box step. But he hadn't stepped on her toes, and she hadn't tripped him.

"This is... nice."

"Hmm." Her reply was non-committal. She wasn't trying to be elusive, she just didn't want to give the appearance of... Of what?

"So... Daniel's still a cheap drunk."

"I noticed." She smiled at him, suddenly wondering when they'd become so awkward again. Had it been before Pete or after Pete? Or had it always been there and she just hadn't noticed?

Silence descended again, and she regretfully wondered if this was what her interaction with Jack O'Neill would be reduced to. Meaningless platitudes, mission briefings, reports, and the occasional moment when she would have to explain the latest technological marvel to him. Perhaps this was all there ever could have been.

"General?"

He blinked at her. "Colonel."

"Don't..." She wasn't sure what she wanted to say until the words spilled out and she stepped closer to him. "Don't become a stranger."

For a moment the hand on her waist floundered, at a loss as to where she'd gone, then he settled her closer still. "I won't."

"You're... you're a good friend, I'd hate to have you think otherwise," she drew in a breath, then let it go all in a rush. "Jack."

He froze, stumbling over his next step, and she busied herself with catching them both and correcting their progress before looking back up at him. His face was back to its normal lines and she guessed that she had missed any emotion that had spilled forth. "Took you eight years, Carter."

"Yeah." She swallowed. "I meant it."

"I know." A finger stroked her waist, then stopped. He looked back towards the table, "Daniel's beginning to fall out of his chair."

She stepped back from him, "I haven't been drinking, sir. I'll take him home."

They made it around the dance floor once more before they stopped at the table. He let her go, and she tried not to imagine he was reluctant -- convinced herself she wasn't. "Daniel, Carter's gonna take you home."

"Oh, good." The drunk man stood, then giggled, "There are four of you, Jack."

"Thanks, Danny. Maybe all my work will get done if there are four of me." The General replied dryly.

"Feretti," Daniel paused to burp, "Feretti said to tell you good luck. He went home with Lieutenant Rush."

"Ah, the delectable Rush."

Sam refrained from smacking her commanding officer. "C'mon, Daniel."

"Night, Carter, Daniel."

"Night, sir."

"G'night, Jack, don't let the bed bugs bite!"

-f-