AN: Written for the samjack4evah cliché group over at livejournal – go check out the other fantastic fiction about our favourite OTP!
Sam stared at the cardboard invitation in horror. It was pretty enough, in a teenage girl kind of way. The type of thing Cassie had liked when she was thirteen, and had convinced Janet that her room really needed to be painted pink and her bed really needed to have frilly pink covers. Sam still winced when she thought about that pink explosion of a room. It had stayed pink until Cassie turned fifteen and told her mother in no uncertain terms that pink was 'uncool' and could they please, please paint it blue? Janet had relented fairly easily, and SG-1 had once again been roped into painting.
Cassie's previous tastes not withstanding, the pink invitation with its lacy white writing and trimming was still in Sam's hand, and just as garish as it was two minutes ago.
"What's that, Sam?" Daniel asked, appearing around the corner with two hot mugs of coffee.
"An invitation," the Major said gloomily, setting the horrendous piece of cardboard against her keyboard and studying it disdainfully.
"To what, a baby shower?"
"No, a school reunion."
Daniel's furry eyebrows hiked several inches toward his hairline. "A school reunion? Did they confuse the invitation decorations?"
"No," Sam sighed, accepting the coffee Daniel offered to her. "I graduated about half an hour out of Colorado Springs," she explained. "Dad was stationed here at the time, now that I think about it. Ironic, isn't it?"
"The reunion?" Daniel reminded her, really meaning the explanation behind the pink card.
"Organised by one Mary Sue Ellis. She was my 'best friend' – and I use that term very loosely, Daniel. This is exactly the sort of thing she'd choose."
"Your best friend," Daniel's eyebrows quirked again, "is into pink and lace?"
Sam scowled. "Moving around a lot meant I never had a chance to make a lot of friends," she said defensively. "Mary Sue was… there. We just spent time together, and somehow she thought we were 'best friends'."
"But you didn't think that?" Daniel guessed.
"Thankfully we were only there for six months before I graduated," Sam nodded. "I didn't have the heart to tell her that we weren't… as good friends as she thought. We parted ways when I went off to study and she stayed home to get married."
"And now you have a school reunion to get reunited."
Sam shifted guiltily on her seat. "Actually, no, I'm not going."
"You're not going?"
"Sam, just because it's a pink invitation doesn't mean it'll be that bad," Daniel said reasonably. "You'll be able to catch up with all your old school friends."
Sam scowled. "Did I not just say I wasn't popular?" she demanded. "I don't have any old school friends, Daniel."
"You have Mary Sue Ellis," Daniel said wickedly, "and I'm sure she'd be heartbroken if you didn't go. After all, if she's organising this, as her best friend you really should go."
Sam moaned and dropped her head into her hands. "I can't, Daniel. Even if I wanted to, I can't go."
"Why not? You said it yourself; it's only a half hour drive from the Springs. I'm sure if you requested the weekend free, General Hammond would let you have it."
"Carter is going to request leave?" a disbelieving voice said from the doorway.
"Morning, Jack," Daniel said cheerily.
"I'm not requesting leave, sir," Sam said, glaring pointedly at Daniel.
"Jack, tell Sam that if she requested a weekend off she'd get it."
The Colonel nodded his head in agreement. "As long as she let Hammond know ahead of time, I think he'd agree. It's not like she ever asks for time off anyway."
"See, Sam? There's no reason for you not to go."
Sam was fairly certain it was Daniel's mission in life to torment her.
"I can't," she said firmly, still glaring at him while telepathically trying to tell him to drop the subject.
"Why not? It's a school reunion, Sam. Mary Sue can't be that bad."
"She's not," Sam mumbled, closing her eyes.
"Why not go, Carter?" the Colonel asked. "Wouldn't it be good to see what everyone has done with their lives?"
Sam supposed it would be interesting to see how everyone had turned out. To see what had happened to the popular crowd who had always shunned and mocked her. So they could see what she had achieved, despite their taunts and jibes – Sam wasn't above showing off sometimes, especially not to prove people wrong.
"I'm not going, and that's final."
Daniel frowned. "Why are you being so difficult about this, Sam?"
"Why are you so interested in this, Daniel?"
"You're hiding something," Daniel said triumphantly. "You wouldn't be this secretive about it if you weren't!"
Sam felt her cheeks warming; doubtlessly she was almost the shade of a tomato by now. "I'm not hiding anything," she lied.
"You're a terrible liar," Colonel O'Neill said blandly.
"Come on, Sam, you can tell us," Daniel cajoled. "You know I won't give up until I find out, anyway."
"And he'll tell me as soon as he knows," the Colonel added.
"I… I can't go," Sam said weakly. "It's stupid."
"Evidently," Daniel agreed.
"I've been avoiding Mary Sue ever since she found out I was back in the Springs almost two years ago," she said finally.
"Two years?" the Colonel whistled.
"Is she really that bad?"
"No," Sam said slowly. "She's not that bad. It's just… well… the last time we spoke she sort of got the wrong impression about me."
Her cheeks felt so hot Sam was worried they might catch on fire. "Well, I might have implied that I was… er… involved with someone."
"Romantically?" Daniel asked.
"No, Daniel, platonically. Of course romantically!"
"Why's that such a problem?" the Colonel asked curiously. "All you have to do is find someone to fill in and pretend. That shouldn't be too hard."
If he wasn't her superior officer, Sam would have given him a scornful glare. As it was, she simply raised her eyebrows and tried very hard not to look annoyed. "Sir, who would you recommend I asked?"
"Daniel," he said, shrugging. "Daniel could pretend you've been involved for a long time. He's known you for a long time," the Colonel added.
"I don't mind, Sam," Daniel agreed happily. "And I wouldn't mind meeting Mary Sue either."
"She's married," Sam said coldly, watching as Daniel helped himself to the frilly pink invitation.
"I'm not interested in- Oh, I can't go that weekend."
"You can't?" the Colonel demanded. "Why not?"
"It's the weekend of the Archaeologist's conference in New York," Daniel explained. "I cleared this with General Hammond two months ago already – we all have downtime that weekend so I can attend. I've told you about this several times, Jack."
The Colonel shrugged. "You could always ask Lieutenant Simmons," he suggested, "I think he's still got a thing for you."
To her horror, Sam felt herself blushing again. "No! Besides, I hardly know him. How could I convince Mary Sue I've been involved with someone for four years if I don't even know how he likes his coffee!"
"What about Jack?" Daniel suggested, his cerulean blue eyes innocent as he gazed between her and the Colonel.
"Oh, no," Sam said at exactly the same time as the Colonel.
Daniel narrowed his eyes. "Why not?"
"He's my commanding officer," Sam said, just as the Colonel said, "She's my second in command."
Daniel shrugged. "It's not like you're really involved. You'd just be pretending. For one night," he added. "No one has to know. And admit it, Sam, you'd really like to go. You wouldn't be so worked up if you didn't want to go."
Sam hated it when Daniel was right.
"You want to go, Carter?" the Colonel asked, sounding surprised.
"I did graduate with them," Sam said pointedly. And even she, Sam Carter with no social life past or present, sometimes wondered how things turned out.
"Well, if you want me to, I don't mind taking you," he said generously.
"Really?" Why did she suddenly sound like an over enthusiastic school girl being asked out on her first date?
He shrugged and put his hands in the pockets of his BDUs. "What's wrong with a commanding officer helping out his subordinate?"
Studying him with his hands his pockets and his chocolate brown eyes gazing into hers, Sam wasn't so certain it was a very good idea. "Okay," she heard herself say, trying to look away from his gaze. "Thank you, sir."
He smiled, and she realized again just how nice his smile was. "It's my pleasure, Carter."
Daniel smiled with satisfaction. "Well, I'm glad we got that sorted."
"This was a bad idea," Sam said for what must have been the millionth time.
Her plants, as usual, didn't say anything.
"A really bad idea," she repeated, just in case they didn't hear her the first time.
Another glance at the clock revealed it was only 1742 hours. Eighteen minutes until the Colonel was due to arrive on her door step in a suit to take her to a school reunion. A very, very bad idea. Sam nervously twisted her fingers together and wondered if it was too late to phone the Colonel and tell him not to worry, she wasn't going after all. Then again, she'd already paid for the tickets.
A really, really bad idea.
Sam thought the dress was possibly an even worse idea. Sapphire blue in color, and really far too daring, Janet had spun her a story which included something about it matching Sam's eyes beautifully and every woman needed a special dress for that special occasion. Sam had retorted she didn't have special occasions, and Janet had ordered her to buy the dress. Sam bought the dress against her better judgment (well aware of Janet's selection of needles) and had hidden it in the back of her closet.
Now, wearing the blue satin dress with its incredibly short hemline and conspicuously absent back, Sam felt slightly exposed. More like very exposed, she thought with a grimace, and wondered why on earth she'd decided to wear this dress tonight of all nights? It hugged her curves like a glove, definitely showing a little more than she was used to parading. Maybe she had time to change into something a little more decent before the Colonel arrived.
No, she thought, panicked, if she changed her dress she'd have to change her hair and her make up and her shoes and there wasn't time for that.
She checked her reflection in the mirror again, a little surprised at the woman who stared back. Sam knew she wasn't bad looking, but it was so rare for her to dress herself that up, that when she did she was always a touch surprised at the result.
The sudden appearance of the Colonel's truck outside her gate startled her – it was only 1747, and they didn't need to leave until at least 1800 hours.
Sam frowned, wondering why she was treating this evening as a military operation. When he rang the doorbell and she opened the door find him standing on the step in a dark black tuxedo and a white rose in his hands, she realized that if she didn't treat it like a military operation she might treat it like a date.
And that, she knew, would be a very, very, very bad idea.
"You ready?" he asked gruffly after both of them failed to say anything for almost a minute.
"Yeah," she said. "I just need to get the tickets."
He waited on the step for her as she darted back inside, unsteady running in her low heels. She picked up the tickets and flicked off the light.
"Wish me luck," she whispered to her plants as she left.
The ride to the school was almost uncomfortable. Sam wasn't sure what exactly had caused the tension between herself and the Colonel, but she did know she didn't like it. She glanced at him sidelong from beneath her lashes, and then looked away hurriedly when she realized he'd taken the moment to glance at her too.
Outside it was getting dark already, the scenery turning gray and blurry as they swept by in his truck. She had to smile to herself; the truck was anything but formal or elegant, and everything about it screamed Jack O'Neill.
"What are you smiling about?" he asked, breaking the strained silence.
"Your truck," she said honestly, grinning at him.
He grinned back momentarily before turning his attention once again to the relatively quiet road. "What about my truck, Carter?"
"Well, most people don't go to formal dinners in a truck, sir" she said lightly.
"Sorry," he said. "Next time I'll bring the limo."
The settled into silence again, this one a little more comfortable than the last, until he spoke again. "About the 'sir' business."
"What about it, sir?"
He glanced at her almost uncomfortably. "Well, if we're involved, as you put it, I don't think we'd go around calling each other 'Carter' or 'sir'," he pointed out.
"So what do I call you?" she asked.
"Jack?" he suggested. "It's what I'm usually called when I'm not at work," he added.
"And my name is Sam," she told him. "Not Carter."
"Got it, Sam."
She liked the way he said her name.
Sam had half expected the school hall to be filled with pink and white balloons and streamers, but she was pleasantly surprised to find the pink was limited to napkins and the delicate sprigs of flowers in the vases at the center of each table. Sam had also imagined that not many people would turn up, given Mary Sue wasn't all that popular at school, but again she was surprised to see the hall full of people.
"Big class," the Colonel – Jack, she thought – murmured warmly in her ear.
She nodded, not trusting her voice right at that moment, her heart suddenly racing when he put an arm around her waist and tugged her closer. She looked up at him, questioning.
He grinned down at her – even with low heels on he was still a little taller than her. "We're involved, remember? We should at least act it."
Oh, right, she thought, and looked away from his brown eyes as quickly as she could.
This was a really dumb idea, even though his arm felt really good around her waist.
"Well, shall we mingle?" Again, the warm breath in her ear sent a shiver down her spine, and she nodded as he drew her a little closer to him.
"I never told you," he said suddenly, "but you look really nice."
She flushed with pleasure as he guided her into the hall. "Thank you," she said. "You look really good too."
And he did; dressed in the tuxedo Sam thought he looked almost good enough to eat. Not, she hastily assured herself, that she actually had that in mind. But he did look pretty damn good.
The first group of people they passed looked entirely unfamiliar to Sam – then again, they had been a big year and Sam had moved around so often she hardly remembered faces and schools anymore.
They were heading toward the punch table, when someone called out, "Is that Samantha? Samantha Carter?"
The woman who had called out was beautiful. A few inches shorter than Sam with coal black hair and cat-like green eyes set in the type of face a model or actress would die for. Sam felt her heart plummet right into the bottom of her shoes and settle at the bottom of the low heels.
"Melody," Sam said, forcing a smile onto her face. "How are you?"
"I'm wonderful," she said smiling at Sam. "I must say, you've turned out quite nicely considering how gawky and stick-like you were at school."
Sam was surprised to feel the Colonel's fingers tighten around her waist. "Well, she's definitely not gawky or stick-like now, are you, Sam?" he said, beaming down at her. She could see a cold glint of anger in his eyes.
"Samantha, you haven't introduced us to your date," Melody said reprovingly.
"This is Jack," Sam said, relieved she didn't stumble over his name. "Jack O'Neill, this is Melody Sims."
"So pleased to meet you," Melody almost purred, holding her hand out.
The Colonel shook it abruptly and let it fall, immediately replacing his arm around Sam's waist and forcibly tugging her closer until she was pressed against his body. She wrapped her own arm around his waist, and rested her right hand on his hip as well, leaning her head against his shoulder. "Well, it's been lovely talking," the Colonel said, "but I've promised Sam a drink. Talk to you later."
"Oh," Melody murmured, "you bet!"
"Who," the Colonel asked as they moved out of earshot, "was that?"
"Melody Sims," Sam said with a sigh, trying not to think about the fact that they were still wrapped around each other. It was slightly awkward to walk, curled around his body, but it actually felt quite nice. Not, she reprimanded herself, that she was enjoying this. In fact, she most definitely was not enjoying this.
"Yes," the Colonel was saying patient, "but who is she?"
Sam sighed again. "Melody was the Queen Bee," she explained. "President of the cheering squad, Queen of every dance, position of honor on every society. Had more boyfriends than I had A's," Sam added spitefully.
"I didn't know there were that many males around."
She looked up at him surprise – was he joking with her? "Sir?"
"It's Jack, Sam," he reminded her. "Oh, look, punch! Would you like some?"
Sam wasn't really fond of punch, but she said yes anyway, and then proceeded to try and convince herself she didn't miss the feel of his body pressed against hers or his arms around her waist. She accepted the punch he offered her with a smile, and then settled happily back into the curve of his arm when he put it around her waist.
"So you and Melody weren't best friends?" he asked mildly, steering her toward a quiet looking corner toward the back of the hall.
"You could say that," Sam agreed, trying to hide a smile. "We were paired as lab partners in biology. I wouldn't do her assignments for her, and she failed. To add insult to injury, I got the biology award."
"I bet you got every award," he said blandly.
"I didn't get music or arts," Sam said honestly. "But it was almost a clean-sweep."
"Let me guess, Melody won music and arts?"
"And English," Sam agreed cheerfully.
"So she used to be the star student until you turned up."
Sam shrugged. "She didn't deserve that much credit; most of it was purely perception. If it's okay with you, sir, I'd rather not talk about Melody."
"I've told you, Carter, to call me Jack," he said.
She grinned. "And my name is Sam."
"Samantha!" someone called. "You came!"
"Mary Sue?" the Colonel asked, hiding a smile.
"The one and the same," Sam sighed, turning.
Mary Sue Ellis was almost exactly like Sam remembered her. Short, slightly chubby, gold blond hair and baby blue eyes. "Samantha, I'm so glad you came!" Mary Sue said, and then darted forward to wrap her arms around Sam.
Sam, surprised by the unexpected display of affection, patted Mary Sue's back awkwardly. Mary Sue, Sam thought with a trace of amusement, smelt like baby powder and too much perfume.
"Let me have a good look at you," Mary Sue said, stepping back. "Well, Samantha, just look at you! Aren't you beautiful! Blue always was your color, dear, but this sapphire dress is absolutely stunning. You look a million dollars!"
"That she is," the Colonel said, grinning at Sam. "With eyes like blue river stones."
She glared at him, trying to control the blush licking at her cheeks again. "Mary Sue, I don't think you've met Jack yet, have you?" she said pointedly.
"No, dear, is this your husband?"
"No," Sam started to say.
"Fiancé," the Colonel inserted smoothly, grinning at her. "We haven't set a date yet."
Sam felt her mouth drop open with shock; fiancé? That wasn't part of the deal.
"Samantha!" Mary Sue squealed. "You never told me you were engaged!"
"Yeah, well, it's a very recent development," Sam stuttered, trying to smile. "Very recent."
"Oh, honey, I'm so happy for you!"
And Mary Sue wrapped her arms around Sam again, hugging her tight. "You have to tell me all about," Mary Sue said as she finally let go. Sam surreptitiously wriggled her shoulders and elbows to make sure they still worked after the mammoth crush of Mary Sue's enthusiastic hug. "Come along, dear, you and Jack – it was Jack, wasn't it? – can sit with Gary and myself. We're sitting over there," Mary Sue said, pointing at a round table right in the middle of the room.
Of course, Sam thought as she glanced helplessly at Jack and let Mary Sue drag her toward the table, of course Mary Sue would be sitting in the middle of the room. And, she realized with horror as she caught sight of a certain black headed woman at the table, of course Melody would be sitting there too.
"So, Samantha," Melody said between taking delicate bites of her chicken Caesar salad. "You haven't told us how you and Jack met."
Sam glanced at Jack sitting next to her, wondering what to say.
"We work together," Jack said, shrugging when he saw Sam looking at him.
"Really?" Melody asked in surprise. "You mean you work, Samantha?"
Sam blinked. "Of course I work," she said.
"Oh," Melody murmured. "What about children?"
"You don't have children, Melody," Mary Sue pointed out.
"I don't work either," the woman retorted.
"Jack and I don't have children," Sam said swiftly, forestalling what would erupt into yet another round of ruthless sniping between the two women. Sometime in the last however many years since their graduation, Mary Sue had developed some backbone. Sam was quite impressed with that development, however she didn't feel it was quite necessary to be so antagonizing toward Melody.
"Well, where do you work then?" Melody asked.
"At NORAD, in Cheyenne Mountain," Jack said, patting Sam's hand on the table.
Mary Sue's eyes widened. "You work in Cheyenne Mountain?" she whispered, awed.
"Don't they just take tourists through the mountain on tours of the old nuclear facility?" Melody asked dismissively. "Yes, I could see that you'd make a nice tour guide, Samantha."
"It's Sam," Jack stressed her name. "And Sam's not a tour guide."
"She's not?" Melody asked, surprised. "What does she do there?"
"Sam's a Major in the Air Force," Jack said shortly. "And one of the top ranking scientists in the USA. An Astrophysicist," he added proudly. "She's pretty much head of the science department of our project."
"What is your project?" Melody asked doubtfully.
"Classified," said Jack. Sam could have sworn she heard a hint of smugness in his tone.
"And what do you do?" Melody's husband asked Jack curiously. "You don't seem a scientist."
Sam stifled a giggle. "He's not," she said. "He's a Colonel."
"That's pretty high up, isn't it?" Mary Sue asked, impressed. "I remember your dad was a Colonel, Sam, and he was important."
"He's a General now," Jack said. "The Carter family has a respected history with the Air Force."
Melody eyed Sam doubtfully. "I don't think you look like you're in the military."
"Air Force," Jack corrected.
"So how did you meet? You still haven't told us," Mary Sue interrupted.
"Well, I was assigned to Cheyenne," Sam began, glancing across at Jack in panic.
"I was in a briefing," Jack continued smoothly, his hand wrapping around Sam's fingers. "I looked up and saw Sam standing there in her uniform."
"Love at first sight?" Mary Sue asked dreamily.
"No," Jack said honestly. "Lust at first sight," he added, grinning. "Sam was a scientist, and I never really got along well with scientists."
"What changed your mind about Sam?" Mary Sue asked curiously.
"She challenged me to an arm wrestle," Jack said.
"She what!" Mary Sue gasped.
"She's intelligent, obviously," Jack continued, turning to look at Sam. Sam thought she might drown in his eyes, and then mentally kicked herself. Acting. He was acting. This was all part of the act. "And she's an amazing soldier. Funny. Considerate. Loyal. Caring." Jack shrugged, not looking away from Sam. "She's someone I respect very much."
Sam stared at him; his fingers squeezed hers lightly on the table, and he lifted his hand to her mouth, brushing the soft skin with his lips.
"I'm very lucky," he added with a whisper.
Mary Sue sighed heavily. "This is so romantic," she said breathily. "Do you remember when we were like that, Gary? All in love and dove-eyed?"
"We're not dove-eyed," Sam said, blushing.
Mary Sue smiled. "Of course not, dear."
Sam didn't like how patronizing Mary Sue had become. And she didn't think she liked being called dear either.
"But you do gaze at each other," Mary Sue added.
"Gaze?" Sam demanded, starting to feel annoyed.
"Yes, gaze," Mary Sue emphasized. "I think it's adorable."
"I do not gaze at Jack!"
Mary Sue raised her eyebrows. "Really, Sam, anyone would think you were upset at the idea of you and Jack looking like a couple. I think it's sweet, really."
Sam opened her mouth to protest, but Jack stopped her from uttering a word by covering his lips with his own. Sam froze, shocked at the feel of his lips brushing against hers. "We do gaze," he whispered, kissing the corner of her mouth. "We have to gaze," he murmured in her ear.
Sam's heart was thundering in her chest and her palms felt ridiculously sweaty where they clenched Jack's hands tightly. She swallowed roughly, and licked her lips absently, not looking away from each Jack's gaze. He had really, really lovely eyes, and they were so dark now staring at her that she-
"See, you do gaze!" Mary Sue said triumphantly.
"I cannot believe you're eating that," Melody remarked, staring pointedly at Sam's bowl of chocolate mousse. "Do you have any idea about the number of calories in there?"
"No," Sam said honestly, and took another mouthful. "It's absolutely delicious."
"Sam doesn't need to worry about calories," Jack added.
Sometime, during the course of dinner, Sam had managed to consume several glasses of wine. Jack, she'd noticed, had drunk his fair share too. And while drinking their copious amounts of wine, their chairs had somehow, mysteriously, managed to move closer and closer together until Sam was now sitting against Jack and trying very hard to ignore the arm he had wrapped around her waist to hold her against him. Well, it wasn't so much his arm that she was trying to ignore, as his fingers. His fingers, she thought giddily, were tracing delicious patters over the smooth satin of her dress on the curve of her hip. His hands were, she was quite certain, hidden from view. Still, she thought, lifting another spoonful toward her lips, he must have some reason for tracing those patterns, and seeing as it felt so damn good, she wasn't about to demand an explanation.
"Mmm," she murmured, closing her eyes. The mousse, coupled with Jack's fingers on her hip, was really quite divine.
"That sounded good," Jack murmured. She opened her eyes to find his face extraordinarily close to hers, and once again she was riveted by his eyes. They were, she thought dreamily, almost the exact same shade as her mousse, and she really liked her mousse.
"It is good," she told him, swallowing her mousse. "You should try some."
He smiled. "Okay." And promptly opened his mouth.
"Jack?" she asked, confused.
"Well, feed me," he ordered.
And who was she to disobey a commanding officer's direct order?
"You're right," he said, nodding after she lifted a spoonful to his lips. "It does taste good. Really good."
"You two are unbelievable," Melody said, clearly annoyed at being ignored by them. "You're acting like a pair of teenagers on their first date."
"I don't think teenagers would be up to anything quite that wild on their first date," Mary Sue pointed out, smiling.
"Still, I'm surprised at you, Samantha!" Melody continued, undaunted by Mary Sue's logic. "I never thought you'd be the kind of person to carry on like this in public.
Sam frowned. "You're right," she said, nodding slowly. "This is the kind of thing you did with Buddy Davids in the cafeteria right before prom night. If I remember correctly, Buddy had his hands up your shirt before Mr. Edwards put a stop to it." Sam looked down at her lap and twisted as though to find where Jack's hands were positioned. "Thank god Jack's hands aren't under my dress yet."
Melody's cheeks, Sam was pleased to see, flamed crimson red. Sam was slightly mournful to discover than Melody looked good even while she was blushing.
"Maybe it's time for a dance, Carter," Jack said, dragging her to her feet.
"Carter?" Mary Sue asked, confused.
"Pet name," Jack said hurriedly, yanking her to the dance floor.
The world, Sam was slightly disturbed to discover, was spinning, even though she was quite certain she wasn't moving. "How much wine have you had, Carter?" Jack demanded, clutching at her wait and holding her up against him.
"Enough," Sam murmured, closing her eyes. She wished the spinning would stop. "I'm drunk, aren't I?"
"No," Jack told her, hands moving against her back and her waist to hold her firmly against him. "Just a little tipsy. We'll dance for a while, and it should settle."
Okay, Sam thought, burying her head against his chest. He did smell good, she thought, and it felt nice to be held by him like this. Very nice.
"How are you enjoying your evening?" he asked. She liked it when he talked; his voice rumbled through his chest and she felt it inside her.
"It's awful," she said. "I don't know why I wanted to come."
His hands flexed against her back, and she was pleased to feel his fingers wandering over her bare skin. Maybe the dress hadn't been such a bad choice after all, she thought smugly.
"You wanted them to see you'd made something of yourself," he told her, cuddling her closer. Their feet shuffled lazily together, completely ignoring the beat of the music and creating their own rhythm. "It's normal for people to want to show those who doubted them or thought them worthless that they were wrong."
"That's very profound, sir," she told him, pressing her nose against his neck. God, he smelt good. She wondered if he tasted as good as he smelt. "When did you do your pop course in psychology?"
"You are the only person I know who could say psychology while drunk, and say it without slurring," he told her. She could hear the smile on his voice.
"I'm not drunk," she pointed out. "You said I was tipsy."
"Obviously you're not drunk, you can still use logic," he chuckled.
Despite the warmth in the hall from all the people, Sam decided her arms were chilly. She slipped her arms under his jacket, and linked her fingers at the small of his back. He felt wonderfully solid against her, and warm. She pressed closer.
"I meant what I said, you know," he told her abruptly.
"What? That I'm not drunk, or that I'm tipsy?"
"About you being beautiful tonight," he said. She had the feeling he'd suddenly changed tactic and swerved around her, and that she'd missed something important. She didn't like that feeling, and wondered what exactly he'd originally been referring to before.
"So I'm not normally beautiful?" she asked instead.
His fingers, wondering aimless patterns over her back, stilled. "No, Carter, you're always beautiful. I'm just allowed to tell you tonight."
Well, she thought. "Oh," she said.
"I think I'm slightly tipsy too," he told her.
"Yes," she agreed; she'd seen how much wine he'd consumed, and not even Jack O'Neill was immune to the effects of alcohol. "I feel warm and fuzzy inside," she announced.
"Warm and fuzzy?" he asked. "Is that a technical term?"
"It is now," she informed him, rubbing her nose against the rough skin under his jaw. His aftershave was light and refreshing; a clean smell she'd always known but never really known. She knew now though, and liked it a lot.
"What does it mean, warm and fuzzy?"
"You're warm and fuzzy too," she murmured. "Not on the outside though," she added as she rubbed her cheek against his.
"I changed my mind. You're definitely drunk."
"Probably," she agreed, leaning against him.
"What," he asked as they rocked back and forth, "what am I going to do with you, Carter?"
"Kiss me," she said promptly.
"I'm drunk," she said quickly. "You're drunk too. If we're both drunk, we won't remember it."
He eyed her warily. "You don't sound drunk when you talk like that."
"It's drunk logic," she assured him hurriedly, gripping the back of his shirt with her fingers. If she let him go now, she thought suddenly frantic, she'd never have this moment again. And suddenly, desperately, she wanted it.
"It'll make no sense in the morning," she said. "I promise."
"It doesn't make sense now," he told her.
She nodded happily. "Drunk logic," she declared, only she never finished saying logic because his lips were on hers again. This time, he tasted like chocolate mousse and fine wine and Jack, and she kissed him back hungrily. She wasn't aware of the other people on the dance floor or when the music changed over, all she knew was his hands were holding her face, his thumbs rubbing over her jaw as though she was delicate silk, and his tongue was hot as it slid against her own.
"Drunk logic," he whispered, nipping at her lip. "I like drunk logic."
"Me too," she said, looping her fingers in his belt and pulling him closer. "It makes a lot of sense."
He kissed her again, and for a long while nothing made sense except the feel of lips and his hands and his smell.
Sam stared at her boots. They could do with a bit of clean, she mused, and scuffed one toe against the heel of the other. She examined the newly scuffed toe, as though checking to see if any dirt remained on the worn surface.
"Is there an alien on your boots, Carter?"
"No, sir," she said, sneaking a sidelong glance at him. Her intentions of a quick sidelong glance, however flew out of the window the minute she laid eyes on his lips, and her traitorous brain started remembered exactly how good that particular lip had felt against her own. Damn it.
"So," he said, clearing his throat. "How was your weekend?"
She shrugged, staring at her boots to avoid staring at his lips. "I don't know," she said calmly.
"You don't know?" he asked innocently.
"No. I don't seem to remember much beyond a fair bit of drinking on Friday night."
"Oh," he said. Paused. "It'd be nice sometimes to remember what you got up to when you were drunk, wouldn't it?"
"Yes," she said, nodding as she stared at her boots. "Still, maybe you're better off not knowing what you did under the influence of alcohol. Sometimes things that make a lot of sense when you're drunk don't make a lot of sense when you're sober."
"Drunk logic," he said. She could hear the smile on his voice.
Sam rocked back and forth on her heels, waiting for the elevator to ping to a halt.
"Carter," he said suddenly, just before they reached their level. "I wasn't drunk."
She grinned at him. "I didn't once think you were, sir."
"Oh," he said. "Well. Good."
"Neither was I," she said a second later.
The elevator doors pinged before he could respond. He did, however, saunter out of the elevator with an extra swagger in his step. She followed him out with a smile on her face, surprised to find Hammond apparently waiting for them in the hallway.
"Good morning, sir," she said respectfully.
Hammond returned the greeting, looking almost suspicious of them. Sam felt distinctly uncomfortable under his piercing gaze.
"Would the two of you care to accompany me to my office?" Hammond said finally. "I have a matter I'd like to discuss with you."
"General?" the Colonel asked once they were in Hammond's office and the door was shut.
"I'm hesitant to ask, Colonel, but I'm wondering if you could explain something that was drawn to my attention by Sergeant Siler this morning."
Hammond pushed a rumpled newspaper, complete with a coffee stain, across his desk toward them. The Colonel picked it up and looked at the page, and then silently passed it across to Sam. It was the classifieds, she realized, and a small announcement had been circled with a splotchy blue pen.
of '83 would like to extend
its warm congratulations
to Samantha Carter
and Jack O'Neill
on the news of their engagement.
Congratulations, guys, and good luck!
To Sam's absolute horror, a grainy photo was printed above the writing, and she didn't have to have 20/20 eyesight to recognize the kissing couple wrapped in each other's arms.
"Should I even ask?" Hammond asked.
"Would you believe me if I told you I was drunk and don't remember?" the Colonel asked hopefully.
Sam cringed. It was going to be a very, very long morning.
"Fortunately for you two," Hammond said, after clearing his throat. "I spoke to the President already and relationships between SGC personnel are now allowed. However, any indications that this has interfered with your team work will result in the two of you being separated immediately. Do I make myself clear?"
Sam stared at Hammond, dumbfounded. "It's okay?" she asked hesitantly.
Hammond grinned. "I knew the minute I saw you and Jack together you were meant for each other, Sam, so I spoke to the President immediately. SGC has saved earth enough times to get a few benefits thrown their way."
Still absolutely stunned, Sam turned to look at Jack but before she could say anything he'd tugged her out of his chair and was kissing her soundly in front of Hammond. Sam struggled briefly against his hold, but the feel of his lips against hers once again banished all logical thought from her mind.
"What's going on?" Sam heard someone ask. Daniel, Sam realized, pulling herself away from Jack.
"You owe me twenty dollars, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said.
"I believe that's ten for me too, Dr. Jackson," Hammond added.
"Bets?" Jack exclaimed, "you were betting on us!"
Daniel nodded mournfully. "I thought it would take you two a little longer to figure things out though."
"We figured them out just fine," Jack said, his arm wrapped snugly around Sam's waist.
This time when he kissed her, Sam didn't pull away, she kissed him back happily, tangling her fingers in his hair. "We'll get you a ring this afternoon," Jack murmured against her mouth.
"A ring?" Sam whispered, her eyes closed and her lips brushing against his.
"We're engaged now, Carter, so you need a ring."
And really, there wasn't much Sam could argue about in that – who wouldn't want to be married to Jack O'Neill?