Title: Interlude

Author: Ayiana

Archive: My site, Gateworld, S/J yes, All others please ask.

Spoilers: Nothing specific

Feedback: Yes. Please. I promise to feed it well and pet it often.

Rating: PG13 (T) for sexual innuendo.

Category: Simple, unadulterated, unapologetic, romance. If the concept disturbs you, you should hit the back button. Now.

A/N: Many thanks to my long suffering beta reader.

A/N2: I've had many requests from readers who've wanted a story based on the premise that Sam and Jack are already together, even though it isn't officially canon - yet. This is for you.

Summary: Jack turns up unexpectedly, and he and Sam make an important decision.



They say that eyes are the windows of the soul. If that's true, his have storm shutters that could outlast a category five hurricane. She knows this, because she's worked with him for nine years. Those shutters are as familiar to her as the skin of her own hand.

Still, every once in a while she catches a glimpse of what lies behind the shutters. Occasionally, a spark of warmth shines through, like sunshine on rich leather. When it happens, she forgets to breathe, so maybe it's a good thing it doesn't happen very often.

Eight years, she muses. Eight years of wishing and wanting and hoping -- of sometimes giving up, and sometimes giving in, but never really letting go. There'd been times when she'd wanted him so badly she could taste it, times when she'd been ready to tell the Air Force where they could put their shiny buttons and their medals and their damned regulations. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on her mood and the position of the stars in the cosmos), her sense of honor and duty had kept her from doing anything stupid, and she'd hung in there until now, finally, the fates had decided it was their turn.

She considers pinching herself, but decides against it. If this is a dream, she doesn't want to wake up. She'd rather lay here, skin to gloriously naked skin, and revel in the simple existence of them.

He'd come to her late last night, showing up unexpectedly at an hour usually reserved for the very drunk or the very young. If insomnia hadn't driven her to the kitchen in search of a late night snack, she might never have heard his knock, and the lost key would've cost him a night in a hotel. Instead, she'd opened the door and seen him standing there in a pool of yellow light and fluttering moths.

She'd been confused for a moment. He was supposed to be in Washington, doing his duty for God and country. Then he'd looked up at her, and his soul had called to hers, and she'd been lost. Without a word, she'd drawn him inside, bolting the door with a practiced flick of the wrist before turning into arms that pulled her so close she almost expected to find herself looking at the world through his eyes.

She'd started to say something. She couldn't remember what it was now, but it didn't matter. He obviously hadn't wanted to hear it, because his lips descended hungrily on hers before she could complete the thought, and it never occurred to her to protest.

Somehow they'd made it from the front door to the bedroom, though she couldn't for the life of her remember the trip. She could, however, remember the delightful events that had taken place afterwards. This man, who knew her better than anyone, also knew exactly how to touch her. He knew the spots that would make her sigh, the ones that would make her moan, and the ones that would make her beg. He knew when to linger, and when to move on, when to draw out a moment like spun sugar... and when to hold her close while they tumbled through a star filled universe of their own design.

Afterwards, he'd rolled to his side, pulling her into the curve of his body, one arm pillowing her head while the other wrapped around her waist. She'd drifted off to sleep beneath the butterfly touch of his breath against her hair.

Now she stretches luxuriously, smiling when his arm tightens around her. She turns, wraps a leg over his bent knee, and rests her palm in the soft hair of his chest. He hasn't said anything, but she knows he's awake. His lean fingers trace random patterns in the dip of her spine.

She studies his face, revels in the moment when his eyes flicker open to focus on hers. The shutters are gone, and in his gaze she sees warmth, and love, and humor, but she also sees absolute trust. The experience is both awe inspiring and humbling. She knows he has her on a pedestal, but it seems only fair, because she has him on one as well. Still, the knowledge that she is responsible for such strong emotion in another human being is a little overwhelming, and a large part of why she suddenly finds it difficult to catch her breath. She doesn't complain. Faced with a choice between life giving oxygen and death in his arms, she'll take death. It isn't even a contest.

"Good morning." Her smile is as soft as her voice.

"Yeah." His fingers leave her lower back, striking out for new territory along her ribs. "It is."

She squirms and giggles quietly. "That tickles."

"Really." This amuses him, and he props himself up on an elbow, watching her through chocolate eyes that sparkle in the early morning sunshine. The fingers continue to dance along her side.

She tries a glare, but it only amuses him more, so she captures his wayward hand in her own, nestling both against her chest. His eyes follow the motion, linger for a moment on their joined fingers, and then climb slowly back up to her face. Her skin tingles.

"So," she says, against the sudden huskiness in her throat, "I thought you weren't due back for another week."

He shrugs, and the blanket slips down to rest in the bend of his elbow. "I missed you."

She releases his hand so that she can trace the boundary of soft fabric and solid muscle. "I've missed you, too."

This brings a satisfied smirk to his face. "Yeah?"


His arm snakes around her, he gives a nudge, and she lands on her back, looking up into his face. "You know..." he drops a kiss on her forehead, "the airlines..." another kiss, this one on the delicate outer edge of her eye, "are really starting..." the next kiss tickles the corner of her mouth, "to like us." And with this, his lips finally settle on hers, and she opens to him, her hand coming up to bury itself in the silvery softness of his hair.

There's no conversation for a long time after that, just the occasional soft murmur or quiet exclamation as they move together, renewing their commitment to each other and to the future that's finally within their grasp. And when, at a crucial moment, he stops, his eyes locking on hers for a suspended moment in time, he doesn't have to tell her he loves her. She knows it in the same way he knows that the glassy sheen in her eyes doesn't come from sadness or pain. He smiles a little, kisses her, and together they blow up the sun.

The next time she wakes, she can tell by the light in the room that it's almost noon, and for an instant she worries that she's late for work. Then she remembers that it's Saturday. Ordinarily, she'd be at the SGC, weekend or not. But this day isn't ordinary. This day has Jack.

He shifts beside her, and she hears the sleep husky sound of his voice. "You awake?"

"Sort of."



"Me too."

She turns over, pulling the blankets up to her shoulder and snuggling her head down into the pillow as she looks at him. He reaches out, traces the line of her jaw with one lean finger, and smiles. "So," he says, pretending a sternness belied by the twinkle in his eyes. "You going to feed me or what?"

Her eyes go wide and she pokes him in the chest with her finger, punctuating her words. "I'm your wife, not your maid."

"Damn," he says, and she sees the smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. "I thought they were the same thing."

He ducks just in time to avoid getting clobbered with a pillow.

"Just for that," she says, flinging off the covers and deliberately swinging her hips as she walks around the bed, "I get first dibs on the shower."

He chases her, but she laughs and slams the door before he can catch up. "I'm thinking pancakes," she says through the wooden panel. "You know where the cookbooks are."

She hears his good natured grumble, smiles, and turns on the water.

Twenty minutes later she finds him in the kitchen. He's wearing a loose pair of sweat pants and nothing else. She swallows hard at the sight. Jack O'Neill, half naked, flipping pancakes in her kitchen. It's a neuron zapper for sure. He hasn't noticed her, so intent is he on his work, and she takes advantage of his concentration to stare. Handsome, she thinks, doesn't even begin to cover this. Hot comes closer, but still not quite there. She thinks she needs to invent a new word, but before she can settle on one he sees her.

"C'mere," he says, extending his hand to her.

She does, sliding her arm around his waist and hooking her thumb into the waistband of his pants. He smells of them, and she decides she likes that.

"You about done here?" she asks.

He waves at the bowl of batter. "Depends on how hungry you are."

"How about if I finish while you shower?"

He grins. "That bad, huh?"

"Let's just say that if you don't go now, we're probably not going to be eating for a while."

She can almost hear him thinking that over. Food versus sex. What a choice to ask a man to make. In the end, food wins, at least temporarily. He hands her the spatula.

"Try not to burn anything," he says.

He doesn't move quite fast enough, and she gets in a very satisfactory swat on his six before he escapes.

"Hey!" His glare only makes her giggle, and he shakes his head as he leaves the room.

Breakfast is on the table when he gets back, and they eat in companionable silence until he steals one of her strawberries. She tries to steal one of his in retaliation, but he catches her wrist, pulls it to his mouth, and nibbles the berry out of her fingers while she watches helplessly.

"Close your mouth, Carter. You'll catch flies."

She snaps her teeth together and glares at him, but he only pops another bite of pancake into his mouth.

"When do you have to be back?"

He swallows the bite of pancake and skewers another with his fork. "Can we not talk about that?"


He sighs. "Got a meeting tomorrow afternoon."

"On Sunday?"

A shrug. "Yeah. Well. Not my idea."

And then it's her turn to sigh. He reaches for her hand. "We have today." Then, with a wiggle of his eyebrows that makes her laugh in spite of herself, "and tonight..."

They end up turning on the answering machine, turning off their cell phones, and closing the blinds. Neither of them feels guilty about this. The universe can wait for twenty-four hours.

They spend most of the afternoon on the couch. He puts his feet on the coffee table, and she stretches out with her head in his lap. Jack channel surfs for a while, watching bits and pieces of assorted sporting events. It takes him two hours to find something that holds his interest for more than ten minutes. It's a football game, and they root for opposing teams, not out of any kind of loyalty, but just because it's fun to play devil's advocate with nothing but pizza and beer at stake. When his team wins, she orders the pizza. Luckily, they already have the beer. She seriously doesn't want to go out.

Their food arrives, and Jack insists on paying even though he won the bet. She lets him. Sometimes it's nice to be spoiled. They watch an old Three Stooges movie while they eat, and Jack says Curly reminds him of Daniel. Sam points out that if Daniel is Curly, then Teal'c must be Larry. That, she knows, leaves Jack in the part of Moe. She finds this much more amusing than he does, and she's still laughing when he changes the channel.

It's only late afternoon when he takes her hand and pulls her up from the couch. She feels deliciously decadent as she follows him back to the bedroom.

They make love slowly, savoring each passing moment, squirreling away memories for the time when reality intrudes on their lives once again. Later, sated and happy, they curl up together in the middle of the bed. She thinks absently that the sheets will need to be changed, but the thought is a fleeting one, quickly set aside for more important matters.

"This is so not how I pictured married life," she says, fighting to keep the sadness out of her voice.

He pulls his head back to look at her. "What? You didn't picture pancakes at noon and hot sex three times a day?"

She thumps him half-heartedly on the chest with her open palm. "You know what I mean."

"Yeah," he says, serious now. "I know what you mean."

She pushes her head down into the fluff of the pillow, blowing out a sigh. "What made us think this was a good idea?"

"Oh, I don't know," he says, and with the tip of a finger he draws a line that starts at her chin, dips between the valley of her breasts, and then finally stops after sketching a lazy circle around her belly button. "I mean, nothing that feels this good could ever actually be good."

She turns her head away, staring out the window. "I'm thinking of leaving."

She isn't looking at him, so she doesn't see the panic that flits through his eyes, but she hears it in his voice. "Leaving?" He hooks her chin and pulls her face back toward his. "What the hell do you mean by that?"

"Not you." It hadn't occurred to her that he'd jump to that conclusion, but she probably shouldn't be surprised. He never has thought himself good enough for her. "The service."

"The Air Force?"

She nods. "And the SGC. I'm sure I can get a job teaching somewhere."

"Oh, there's not a chance in hell."

"Excuse me?"

"They need you, Sam. Hell, the entire damned universe needs you."

She starts to speak, but his finger on her lips quiets her.

"And no. I'm not just saying that 'cause I love you."

He knows her too well, she thinks. Still... "The universe will be just fine without me. Besides, they have McKay."

His bark of laughter startles her. "Tell me you're joking."

She smiles a little despite herself. "Okay, so it was a dumb idea."

"Remarkably," he snorts.

A faint scar angles across his ribs, and she reaches out to trace its shape, her gaze intent on what she's doing, avoiding him. "I want a family, Jack. A real family."

He stills beneath her touch, and she's almost afraid to see the look in his eyes. Does he think he's too old? Is he afraid because of what happened to Charlie? She forces herself to look up, but what she sees isn't fear. It's joy.

"So we'll get pregnant." Only Jack can be this casual about something this important.

She stifles a flippant response to his use of the royal we, and lifts a doubtful eyebrow. "With you in Washington and me millions of light years away most of the time? Sort of takes latchkey to a whole new level."

But he only smiles. "If--" he stops, corrects himself, "I mean when, we have a baby, I'll be the one to retire."


"No," he interrupts her. "Think about it, Sam. It makes sense. You're in the prime of your career, with no place to go but up. I'm just a washed up old soldier with bad knees and a smart mouth."

"Not washed up, not old, and I happen to love your smart mouth."

"Good thing," he smirks, "since you married it."

"Yes. Well. Dad always did say I had a masochistic streak." She kisses him, proving her point in a way that's completely satisfactory to both of them.

She pulls back just enough to see his face. "Are you sure?" she asks.

"Absolutamente." This is a new word, and she blinks for a moment while she figures out its meaning. It's 'absolutely', with a Spanish twist. She shakes her head with a tolerant half smile. He's such a goofball. Loveable, sarcastic, sexy as hell, brilliantly funny -- and a goofball. And for better or worse, he's all hers.

In the other room, the cuckoo clock reminds them that their time together is slipping away, but somehow she doesn't mind as much as she might have.

She stretches up to meet his kiss, this one so tender it brings a lump to her throat. Then she settles back into his arms with a contented hum. He is her best friend, the other half of her soul, and the person who keeps her sane. Circumstances will separate them, but only for a little while. The day will come when duty will no longer wedge itself between them.

He shifts slightly, pulls her close, and smiles when her leg slips between his.

"I love you, you know." He's sleepy.

She squirms, sliding her body closer to the warmth of his and tucking one last drowsy kiss into the curve of his neck.

"Love you, too."

As her eyes slowly close, a single whispered word drifts among the gathering shadows.