Author: Azilan

Title: The dating game

Summary: Jack and Sam taking the next step

Category: Romance

Season: Future season (small spoilers)

Warnings: None

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author

Author's Note:

Hi guys, I used to be an (hopefully) established Stargate fanfiction author on this website, but for various reasons I decided to create a new profile and start my writing from scratch.

The only reason why I am mentioning this is that I am curious to find out as to whether anyone will be able to guess as to who I used to be.

THE DATING GAME – CHAPTER 1

"Now where does this part go?" she murmured softly, a sparkle of curiosity mixed with excitement burning in her bright blue eyes, before bending down and glancing first at the round piece of alien technology in her hand and then at the star shaped hole in the middle of something that looked like a cross between a glass bowl and a TV remote.

She was just about to consider using brute force when the telephone attached to the wall behind her started to ring. Sighing deeply she considered ignoring the unwelcome intruder altogether, but another louder ring from the cursed device made her jumped slightly.

Straightening, resigning herself to the fact that the secrets of the universe will have to wait a little while longer, she walked over to the phone. Absentmindedly she raked a hand through her blonde hair - still very much struggling to tear her mind away from the device resting on the lab table and awaiting her return patiently - before picking up the handset reluctantly.

"Carter," she spoke in a voice that clearly stated she was busy and that unless it was an emergency – something in the line of the world about to end – she did not appreciate the interruption.

At first there was only silence.

Frowning she took the handset away from her ear and stared at it for a few moments in confusion, wondering for a second as to whether she was going mad.

"H-ello?" she inquired after picking up on faint breathing on the other side of the line.

"Carter," the person on the other side replied more in a statement than a question.

"General?" she immediately recognized the voice and was unable to prevent a frown from starting to play between her eyebrows again. Hesitating, looking at her watch and realizing that it was 2am in the morning she continued, "Sir? Is there something wrong?"

"Why does there always need to be something wrong? Can't I just phone an old colleague – a friend you may say – without something needing to be wrong?" If she did not know better she would have sworn she could hear a faint quaver in his voice – but then on the other hand surely that was not possible since it was after all Jack O' Neill she was talking about.

"I just assume…I mean it is 2am over here and I can only imagine what time it is where you are…"

"Yeah, staying up until 2am does have a way with messing with one's biological time-" he went silent for a moment before continuing, "talking about time - why are you still in your lab? Didn't I order you…oh…just a billion times to get a life?"

Biting slightly on her bottom lip Sam turned to stare longingly back at the alien device. She was tired, really wanted - needed - to get back to solving the mystery and hopefully still managed to get an hour or two's sleep before the early morning shift starts. Additionally she did not feel like getting into an arguing with the man that for all intense and purposes was currently one of the most powerful men in the United States, if not the whole world.

"Carter?" Jack asked again. When she did not reply for a while the sound of a knuckle rapping against a handset on the other site could be heard, "Earth to Carter? H-ello, ya still there?"

Sighing for the second time that night, her shoulders sagging slightly, she responded, "Sir, it is 2am in the morning. I have an urgent report regarding a new device that we found on PX-9020 to finish before 7am tomorrow morning. I am hungry and frankly a bit tired too and it doesn't sound like you are contacting me regarding anything seriously, therefore…" she allowed the rest of the sentence to trail off into nothingness, hoping that he would get the message.

"Hey!" he feigned being offended, "Who says I'm not phoning with some important information that will save the world and-"

"Are you?" she interrupted him.

"Excuse me?" he queried with a little bit of confusion in his voice.

"Sir, you were clearly surprised to find me in the lab, although I think it is reasonable to assume that there was – still is - some reason that you decided to try and phone my direct extension so early in the morning with only the slightest of change that I may actually still be awake."

It was his turn to keep quiet for a while.

Leaning with her shoulder against the wall, yawning and with her one hand rubbing over her tired eyes, she queried softly, "Sir? Are you still there?"

"Yeah," he started very faintly and then, almost like he was afraid she would not be able to hear his reply, he added louder, "Yeah, I'm still here."

"So…" she asked, emphasizing her question from before.

"Well…you see…I-I am going to be in your area next week…and…well.." Straightening, her eyes widening slightly, Sam clutched the phone closer to her ear. Surely – no – she was sure that she must have heard wrongly, the General O'Neill she knew did not stutter like a young schoolboy, or did he?

At an almost breathless pace Jack continued on, "I was hoping that you would agree to have dinner with me one night."

"Excuse me?" She barely managed to utter the words after a few moments of struggling to find anything comprehensible to say, sure that she must have heard wrong. Surely the General did not phone her at such a godforsaken time in the morning only to arrange a get-together with his former teammates?

"There is this nice little French Restaurant not far from where I used to live and they make the biggest-" he continued rumbling on, ignoring her obvious confusion.

"Sir –" she tried to speak, but was interrupted unceremoniously.

"I was thinking that maybe I could pick you up at 7pm next Friday and-"

Swallowing, her head ringing with the rush of words assaulting her from the handset, she asked the first thing that came to mind next, "Have you discussed this with Daniel and Teal'c yet?"

Jack kept quiet for a moment, then in a perplexed tone of voice asked, "Why?"

Wiping a hand over her brow, unable to shake the sensation that there was something strange about the conversation she was having with her former commanding officer, she also tried to prevent the frustration she was definitely feeling from showing in her words, before saying, "I think Teal'c said something about visiting his son and new grandson next week and Daniel is scheduled to go off-world with SG-12 to visit-"

"That's…great?" he replied slowly and then as a sort of an afterthought added, "I think?"

With the frown on her forehead deepening, steadily become sure that she and the General was not on the same wavelength – if not maybe on two different planes of existence altogether – her tongue licked across her bottom lip quickly before responding, "Why…uh…maybe…it will be great to get together with the guys but next week's just going to be too busy for all of us – why don't we maybe reschedule for another date and then-"

"Sam!"

The unexpected use of her name was enough to make Sam forget about anything else that she wanted to say. All that she managed was just, "What?"

She could hear him taking a deep breath on the other side and she could have sworn that he was mumbling something under his breath before he finally replied to her question, "Oh for crying out loud – this is ridiculous."

A few tense moments followed before he uttered the golden words that were to change her life forever, "I am asking YOU on a date Carter. Not Daniel, not Teal'c and definitely not anybody else from the base that might be interested in sharing the company of an old obsolete soldier like me."

"Oh…" was all that she managed to say. If it was not for her heart that had started to beat at a ferocious pace she would have been able to convince herself that she must have heard him wrong.

Was he actually asking her on a date?

After all these years?

A whirlwind of emotions and thoughts were cascading through her mind, with the result that she only returned back to reality to overhear the last part of his next strangely flippant sentence, "-Righto, so I'll pick you up at your home about 7pm."

Before Sam could say or do anything he had hung up, almost like he was afraid that she would get time to get her thoughts together and cancel their dinner date, and with that she was left alone with only the dark disconnected tone of the phone and her shock at realizing that she was actually going to go on a date with General Jack O'Neill.