Spoiler warning: Threads

A/N: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this isn't quite a thousand, but they are the words that sprang to mind when I saw that picture of Jack in bed with Kerry from the upcoming episode Threads. This is how it should go, anyway!

Disclaimer: As I said, this is how it should go. If I owned it, I wouldn't have to use the word 'should.'

Jack woke up with a start, then started again at the realization that he was not alone.

"Hi," said a sleepily seductive voice, one belonging to the owner of the arm draped over his waist.

Jack turned to look at her. "Hi," he said shakily. He hadn't been nervous about going to bed with her. Why did waking up with her make his heart race?

"Sleep well?" she asked. Same seductive tone. A morning-sex person. For some reason, that scared him.

"Uh, yeah," he muttered. "What time is it?"

"Look at the clock." She looked at him oddly. He made a mental note that he must be acting skittish. The note didn't help him control it.

He sprang up and reached for his clothes. "Oh, geez. I've got to get into the office."

"I thought you didn't have any briefings until this afternoon." She was downright suspicious now.

"Paperwork. Promised I would get caught up on that paperwork."

"Jack." She said his name in such a way as to demand he cut the crap. In a typical O'Neill maneuver, he went on the offensive, sitting back down on the bed and pulling her into a searing kiss.

"Kerry." He said her name in such a way as to imply that she was wrong to think there was any crap to cut. But she didn't buy it.

"You feel like you're being unfaithful, don't you?" She said it with just a hint of incredulity.

"Kerry, I've been divorced for nearly a decade now. That's ridiculous."

"I'm not talking about your ex-wife, Jack."

Of course, that said it all, but in another typical O'Neill maneuver, the one so quintessentially Jack O'Neill that it would likely end up called 'the O'Neill Maneuver' in a manual somewhere, he played dumb. "Then what are you talking about?"

There were two ways this could go. She'd either have enough doubt to drop it, or she'd push the point. The gambit didn't pay off for Jack.

"I'm talking about Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter."

Just because it didn't work the first time didn't mean Jack was giving up on the strategy. "Carter? What about her?"

"Jack, give me some credit."

"I give you all the credit in the world. Give me some, okay? Carter is a fine officer and a close friend. But I'm here with you."

Kerry sighed. Gathering her things, she didn't look him in the eye as she said angrily, "That's just it. You aren't here with me. Not completely. And until you can be, I think we better cool things off."

"Kerry..." he said conciliatorily.

Her eyes snapped up to his. "I like you, Jack. Hell, maybe I more than like you. But not enough to settle for half of you. I'd heard the rumors, everybody has. The 'tragic forbidden love story.' But I hoped you were ready to let it go."

That hit too close to home. "There's nothing to let go. There's nothing between Carter and I, there never has been, there never could be, and unless it's escaped your notice, she's happily engaged to another man."

"What was she doing here yesterday, Jack?"

"She's a friend. She came to talk."

Kerry sighed deeply and pulled on her jeans. "I'm not trying to start an argument."

"Neither am I." Jack stared at her while sheslid on her boots and gathered up her jacket.

"I just... Whatever you may say, a woman knows. You have unresolved Carter issues, Jack. Call me if you ever work them out."

"Don't. Don't do this."

"Let me give you a piece of useful advice. The committee wants you as the leader of the SGC. They won't care if it's General O'Neill or Jack O'Neill, Civilian Administrator."

In an instant, she was gone. In that same instant, with that one sentence, he found that was for the best. 'Jack O'Neill, Civilian Administrator.' Who would have thought it would have such a ring to it?