Pairing: Sam/Jack. Archiving: SJFic, yes please. All others: Go right ahead. (is there a blanket permission thing)
Notes: Title is probably inspired by Something for Kate. I was too tired to double check last night, but know for certain now:
For the S/J list 2004 Christmas Challenge:
Christmas stuck on base;
(ps. Sorry Jara, there's no smut OR assgroping)
(pps. Technically Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day)
Drifting Without Controls by ALC Punk!
They aren't supposed to be here, she thinks.
She, for instance, is supposed to be out with Pete (her cop boyfriend), enjoying Christmas Eve. Though she really has no idea what he's supposed to be doing. Asking the general what he was doing at Christmas was always too personal, since her single-minded goal was to keep everything professional between them.
A snow storm hit Colorado Springs eight hours before SG-1 returned from their pre-Christmas visit to P3X-959. A short, diplomatic follow-up to SG-5's earlier trip, they'd been there long enough to soak up some sun, smile a lot, and shake some hands. Returning to find themselves snowed in was irritating, but they dealt with it. Teal'c took leave and went to visit Ishta and Ry'ac. And Daniel, well, Sam is pretty sure Daniel is somewhere on base. She just isn't sure where.
It bothers her a little that she doesn't know him that well anymore. Three years ago, she would have found him immediately.
Now... Well, now, she sometimes wonders if she knows anyone but herself well anymore.
Her lab was too empty, and so the general's office seems to be a good haven. He hasn't spoken since he waved her to a seat, and she's okay with that. There are reports to read and sign off on, things she's been putting off for a rainy day. Or a snowy one, apparently.
She blinks out of her daze and looks at him. "Is it really that late?"
The general makes a face and gestures at the never-ending pile of paper. "Doesn't matter. I'm hungry."
"All right." She stands and stretches, surprised to find how stiff she is. Maybe they have been sitting in his office for too long. "Think they'll have jello?"
"They'd better." He came around the desk, and one of the stars embroidered into his lapel (general O'Neill refused to wear dress blues all of the time, so one of the seamstresses had efficiently sown stars into all of his BDUs) catching the light.
Sam feels a sense of pride swell. That this man, whom she'd served with, had gained distinction with honor really wasn't a surprise. She was just glad other people had noticed.
In the comfortable silence of the elevator, she again studies the star.
"Somethin' on my shoulder, Carter?"
Of its own accord, one of her hands reaches out and brushes at his shoulder. "Lint, sir."
They lapse into silence again until they reach the mess hall, then the general gestures towards the door, "After you, colonel."
"Sir." A slight smile at him, because he's being gallant, or merely hoping people will bother her first and miss him. The latter was highly possible, she decides as she stops in the doorway and blinks.
The mess hall has two dozen people crowded in, all talking and chattering. The silence that catches the room rolls like a wave until the occupants are all staring at the officers framed in the doorway.
She looks up at the small bundle of greenery he's gesturing towards. For just a second, she wants to yell, to demand to know who made this world so unjust. The one man Samantha Carter doesn't want to kiss: her commanding officer. And yet, some small part of her can still remember eight years ago when she shoved him against a locker and stuck her tongue down his throat. All things being equal, she figures she's allowed to kiss him now -- as long as it's only once, and it's a traditional kind of kiss. Besides, she has a boyfriend. "It is tradition, general."
Before he can say anything, she moves, carefully reaches for his collar, stands on tiptoe, and kisses his mouth. It's a light brush of her lips on his, but it's enough to send something sliding down her skin. She's rather glad she took hold of his collar, but she appears perfectly calm as she steps back.
He doesn't appear affected, however.
They nod at each other, then step into the mess and join the line. A few of the people in the room are now watching them like hawks. Waiting for them to step out of character, prove the kiss in the doorway was more than just a gentle Christmas tradition.
Halfway through dinner, she wonders if she imagined the way her skin shivered when she kissed him.
Conversation comes and goes between them, two people who are very comfortable with small talk and without. And they can always simply fall back on talk of work if they need to. Carter pretends not to notice his casual appropriation of her fries. Besides, it's another tradition. She always gets extra, just so he can steal them.
By the time they're done, the mess hall has cleared out twice as they dawdled and chatted. It's nice, Sam decides, just talking with the general. Even without Daniel and Teal'c there as some sort of shield (and she wonders if she ever really needed that shield), they can still converse.
They leave together, ignoring the mistletoe. After all, once is obviously enough.
It's nearly ten o'clock now, and they make their way through the base, making sure everyone's tucked in for the night (metaphorically). Quite a few people who would have gone home are stuck until the roads are cleared, and the general sets her up as the procurer of quarters for everyone. She makes a face, but complies, even though it should be Major Griff or Colonel Reynolds' job. Unfortunately, both men left on the 23rd. Once everyone who should be is bedded down for the night, she finds herself wandering back to the general's office.
"Hey, Carter." His feet are on his desk, his arms up over his head with his crossed hands behind his neck.
"Did you get quarters for yourself, sir?"
"Nah. Thought I'd leave that up to you."
"Oh." She rapidly scans through her memory, and blinks, "I'm sorry, sir, I'm afraid there's only one set of quarters left on base."
"You take it, Carter. I'll," he frees a hand and gestures at his desk, "sleep here."
"No, sir. Your back wouldn't stand it. I have the cot in my lab. I'll be fine." It's where she'd been planning to sleep anyway.
"Thanks, Carter," He makes a face, "I wanted to be reminded that I'm old."
"No you're not."
"Yes I am." But she is rolling her eyes at him.
"Hey. Who's in charge here?"
She chuckles, "You are, sir."
"Right. And I say, we can share the room -- unless the bed's too small, and then I'll take the cot."
"How kind of you, sir."
A smirk, "What, you don't think I'm going to enjoy the rumors? 'Ancient General sleeps with gorgeous woman under his command'."
"Uh-huh, sir. Right."
"C'mon, colonel, no arguing with the man in charge."
"Yes, sir," she throws him a mock-salute.
He stands and comes around, grabs her hand and tugs. "To bed with us, colonel. Or Santa won't come."
"There's no such thing, sir."
"Carter, you're such a spoilsport."
"Thank you, sir."
"Scientists." He mutters the word like an insult as he stalks down the corridor. "Which one?"
"Two floors up, three halls over. Room 23, sir."
"Gotcha. Let's be decadent and take the elevator."
She is almost chuckling when they arrive at the set of quarters. The bed is large enough to hold ALL of SG-1, if they'd been so inclined.
"Right or left?"
He nods and proceeds to drag the blankets off, handing her two and taking one for himself before pulling his boots off.
Sam follows suit, suddenly glad to be free of the confinement. She considers briefly, then disappears into the bathroom and removes her bra. Underwires were never meant to sleep in.
When she returns, he's already curled up on the right side, one arm half dangling off the bed. There's a mound of blankets and what look suspiciously like towels down the middle of the bed. She chuckles to herself and climbs in. "Night, general."
She finds the light switch on her side, and the room is plunged into darkness.
It's still dark when she wakes. The general sprawled at some point during the night (there may have been a fight with elbows, but it's a little hazy), and she has only a small portion of the bed. But she's still snugged up against his side, one of her arms over his chest and his hand up the back of her shirt. It's a strangely comfortable position, one she is unwilling to leave.
Pete doesn't snuggle. He might be a nice guy, a boyfriend with many sterling qualities; discounting the background check, and the following her and almost screwing up an operation... Perhaps Pete wasn't that sterling a boyfriend after all.
He's... nice, she thinks absently as she shifts closer to the general. Nice. Safe.
But he doesn't make her skin shiver when he kisses her.
What a strange time to have this mental discussion. Not that it matters. She would eventually have noticed these things, would eventually have changed her mind (six ways to Sunday) about dating. About moving on.
She wants to wake up like this a lot.
The hand up the back of her shirt flexes, and then stills completely. "Carter?"
Silence again, and then the hand is carefully removed, "Ah...."
"Don't you dare apologize." She moves to sit up and stares down at his face, "I didn't mind, after all."
"I don't..." She doesn't know what she's going to say, and so says nothing. Instead, she leans over and kisses him.
"Surprise attack," he manages, before instinct takes over and his arms pulls her down against him.
"Learned from the best." Her skin is shivering again.