Road to Nowhere

Part 22 B

Sam climbed in the Jeep beside Jack. He had purchased the dark green Wrangler the day before. Green seemed to be the color he preferred in his vehicles. Then he had promptly removed the detachable roof. Sam turned her face up into the warm tropical sun.

"You look nice."

"What?" she asked, his comment pulling her out of her sun worship. She turned to look at him but his attention was on the road and his eyes unreadable behind his dark sunglasses.

"The dress. It's different. In a good way," he added. "You look nice."

Sam turned to look out at the passing roadside to hide her smile, but Jack caught it anyway.

"Oh, stop it," he growled. "I'm kinda out of practice paying compliments to beautiful ladies."

"You're improving quickly. Thank you, Jack," She looked down at her floral printed sundress, "You don't think I look to girly?"

"No, you look-" he stopped searching for the correct word.

"Nice?" she teased.


She reached over and patted his leg. "Keep it up, flyboy. You're getting better."

Jack had been shanghaied by Thomas into helping him with a stakeout so Sam had been entrusted to Higgins' care. Jack wouldn't allow her to go anywhere alone. While part of her bridled at being constantly escorted, she had to concede to the prudence of it. At least for the time being.

So Sam followed Higgins and his friend Agatha around all day. They were excellent guides for the Polynesian Cultural Festival. Higgins especially was a fountain of knowledge. He reminded her a little of Daniel, an older formal British Daniel, but still he could ramble on for hours. Agatha was a kind and thoughtful lady and just as knowledgeable as Higgins though more restrained in her rambling. It was plain to Sam that her feelings for Higgins were a little more than friendly. Not that he noticed.

Over lunch Sam had asked Higgins how he and Jack met. He had answered with a reply just as cryptic as Jack's had been, "That, Samantha, is a story for another day and one Jack should tell."

"My goodness," Agatha gasped staring out the windshield.

"What in the world ..." Higgins also sounded stunned.

"What?" Sam looked between the front seats to see Magnum and Jack standing in the drive way in nothing but their underwear and their faces covered in mud. The gardener was coming around the corner of the house pulling a hose. Sam opened the door and jumped out the Audi. She walked over to them trying to hold her laughter in, but couldn't contain her grin. They stood impassively with their arms cross nonchalantly over their bare chests, their clothes in a muddy pile beside them. Her laughter broke free when she caught sight of Jack's boxers covered in the yellow heads of the Simpson's cast.

Jack and Thomas were not amused.

"What the devil happened to you?" Higgins asked behind her.

Sam got her laughter under control. "I thought you were supposed to going on a stakeout not mud wrestling."

"Yes, well. That's I thought," Jack glared at Thomas who looked decidedly innocent. "I suppose this is why Rick and TC refused to help. I'm the sucker."

"Hey, you're the one that fell down in the mud, Jack," Thomas protested. "I was trying to help you up and you pulled me down."

"I did not pull you down! It was slippery. Besides if you had been paying attention I wouldn't have been chasing the bastard through the rain forest!"

"It wasn't a rain forest. It-"

"Oh, just shut up. This is the last time I'm helping you out."

"It's just a little mud, Jack."

"A little mud? I got mud in places I didn't even know I had, Thomas!"

If Jack was intending to say anything else he was silenced by a long blast of cold water in his face. "SAM!" he protested, but she only laughed and sprayed the rest of his body. "What the hell was that for?" He wiped the water from his eyes and ran a hand through his soaked hair.

Thomas started laughing him, but he was given the same treatment. After a few minutes of alternating between the two of them, they were both relatively mud free.

"That wasn't nice, Sam," Jack told her as she handed the hose back to the gardener.

"No, but it was fun. You need to relax, Jack," she taunted him.

He lunged for her, "I'll show you relaxed." Sam was quicker than he was and eluded his grasp. She continually danced just out of his reach as he chased her around the yard. She had been concentrating on staying away from Jack and had forgotten about Thomas until she ran smack dab into him. Jack was on her in an instant, dragging her down to the ground. "Gotcha!"

"Hey, that's not fair!" she protested, squirming beneath Jack trying to escape.

"I'll show you fair," Jack growled and she was suddenly drenched in water.

"That's COLD!"

"We know," Thomas told her spraying her again.

"Jack, please stop. Thomas! My dress! Jack! I thought you liked it!"

"I'll buy you another one."

Jack was sprawled out on the chase lounge watching the sun set over the Pacific. It was beautiful and Jack would have enjoyed it even more if Sam was snuggled up against him, but she was still pretending he didn't exist after the water fight. Jack grinned to himself and took a sip of his beer as he remembered how indignant Sam had been, squealing and trying to get away, but that was what she got for mocking him.

He heard the sliding glass door open and then closed. Thor jumped up and settled onto his lap, licking the condensation off of Jack's bottle.

"You know, I bought you something today," he heard Sam say from behind him. "I'm not sure if you deserve it though."

He leaned his head back and saw her staring down at him, "You talkin' to me now?"

"If you promise not to do something like that again."

"I don't think I can do that. It was too much fun," he smirked up at her.

"One of these days I'm gonna end up killing you, Jack," Sam shook her head and then leaned down and kissed him lightly.

"Probably. But I'd die happy."

She laughed, "You are such a sap." She came around and plucked Thor out of his lap and sat down there herself. Jack wrapped his arms around her and she laid her head back on his shoulder, silently watching the sunset.



"Whatcha get me?"

Sam smiled to herself and reached into her pocket and pulled out a small light green cotton bag. She handed it to Jack. He opened the drawstring and took out a length of brown braided leather with a carved green stone about the size of a quarter hanging at the center. "It's a peridot," she told him.

"That's my favorite color."

"I know. Every time I see one I think of you. I saw this at the festival today." She reached out and fingered the image carved into the stone, "That's Milu. He's lord of the underworld and wandering sleeping and unconscious souls end up in his realm if they aren't pardoned by their personal gods."

"Not a Goa'uld was he?"

"Not that I've heard of. This amulet will protect you from nightmares and being trapped in the underworld while you sleep. It was blessed by a powerful Kahuna."

"A big Kahuna?" Jack couldn't resist the joke, partly because he couldn't express how moved he was by her gift. It was so unlike scientific Sam to even give folklore a second thought. Perhaps Daniel had rubbed off on her more than he thought. He didn't even have the words to tell her how pleased he was that she remembered something as trivial as his favorite color. Something he'd probably mentioned only in passing years ago. Then there was the thought behind it. His nightmares were becoming less and less frequent since getting poisoned, but they both knew he would always have them. He knew she wanted to protect him from his nightmares as much as he did hers.

"No, actually he was kinda short," she smiled at him a little uncertainly, unsure of how her gift had been received.

"Thank you, Sam," he leaned up and gave her a grateful kiss. "Put it on for me."

Sam took the necklace from his hands and reached around his neck to tie it together. She gave it a final pat where it lay just below the hollow at his throat. He hugged her tightly to him and pressed a kiss to her forehead. She settled against him and watched the final moments of the sunset.