Cognitive Dissonance

He leans down on the desk beside her, too close.

Sam can feel the heat of his body through his BDUs and hers. Even with temperature controls, it's pretty cold at twenty levels beneath the surface. Still, she can feel the warmth of him only inches away. It doesn't bother her as much as it should. And that bothers her.

"So," he says as she begins taking the casing off the generator - similar to several she's been looking at in the last year. "Whatcha doin', Carter?"

A glance up shows him watching her, not her hands, a warm glint in soft, dark eyes. She looks down, self-consciously, then up again. "Do you remember the generator I fixed...oh...about six months ago on the Vakovian planet?"

"The planet with the red-haired guy who wanted to make you his third wife?"

Sam winces. He would remember that. Seven years of going through the Stargate and it seems that blonde hair and blue eyes is a rare and coveted set of traits, never mind Sam's personality, character, abilities, or capabilities.

"Until he decided he didn't want a wife who was more intelligent than him," she reminds him. The compliment had been slightly backhanded, but Sam didn't care. As long as she didn't end up as some off-worlder's trophy, the guy could be complimentary in whatever way suited him.

Colonel grins. "Carter, if you're waiting for a more intelligent guy, you'll be waiting a while."

She grins back at him with a sidelong glance. "Who says I am?" The words slip from her mouth before she can censor them, and her hands stutter to a halt as the smile fades from both their faces, and a flush rises in her cheeks.

They don't speak of it. Ever. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Moments like these used to happen a lot more - until they became careful, aware that they were walking a line, but unwilling to give up what they had.

They should. They don't.

Daniel calls it 'cognitive dissonance' - the conscious choice of the 'unwise' decision. Sam doesn't care what it's called; but the intimacy of moments like these makes her very aware of how finely they walk the line.

He shifts and moves to the other side of the desk. The tension is lost.

Sam looks down at her hands again, keeps working at the generator, answers the question he asked. "It's a similar design," she says, speaking as though nothing happened. In a way, nothing did. "But unstable. SG-9 thinks it caused a glitch in the civilisation they explored - shut down their entire power source."

He lets her talk about her work although he doesn't understand, and she lets him listen although she could get more done if he wasn't there.

In the end, what they say isn't important, it's the intimacy that counts. Even if it is unwise.

He leans down on the desk across from her, too close.

Sam likes it.

- fin -