Five Times Jack Came Close to Breaking the Frat Regs with Sam.

1) Sam is always up for anything. It's one of her most attractive qualities. Most days she doesn't even blink when Jack asks her to do something crazy.

Today he puts Sam out in front of all those stuffy Jaffa to show them the power of the P-90, frankly because she's the best shot among them. He can also see that she is proud to do it, especially when Kytano says, "The female?" in that snotty voice of his, throwing knowing looks at the Jaffa behind him.

Sam doesn't seem to hear the comment or particularly care, but she does slam every last slug home with such effortless finesse and steel-infused confidence that Jack finds himself tempted to turn to the men behind him and demand, "Now tell me that isn't the sexiest thing you've ever seen." It's probably a sense of self-preservation rather than decorum that keeps his mouth shut.

After the demonstration, Sam turns to him with an open, exhilarated smile, her eyes wide with euphoria. Jack can't quite smile back because he is sure that any small crack in his façade will unleash a torrent he has no hope of controlling. He watches her follow the rest of the crowd back to the village, the Jaffa giving her appraising looks.

Jack's not gonna lie, the fact that Sam Carter knows at least 20 ways to kill him turns him on way more than it should.

2) Another disaster averted, world saved and another ever increasingly difficult year behind them all. SG-1 is cramped around a table far too small to hold them, squeezed into delicate, wiry chairs, their knees bumping congenially into their neighbors. Teal'c's enormous double banana split takes up the majority of the table, but Sam's fudge brownie sundae is making its own claim. Daniel sips on some noxious concoction he calls an egg crème and Jack is happy enough with his root beer float. They are all a bit loopy from lack of sleep and the giggling has already begun as the sugar high begins to mix in with the euphoria. Another miraculous save with all of them still here not to tell of it. Ice cream is clearly the answer.

Jack is grinning madly, Teal'c chuckling loudly and Daniel speaks a mile a minute on a topic Jack can't quite be sure of. It's Sam's laughter though that makes all the tight spots ease. It is full-throated and uninhibited, ringing throughout the cheesy little Shoppe, reminding Jack why they bothered to save everything in the first place.

Maybe that's why he does it. Probably too entranced by her laughter and too giddy from exhaustion to know better, but when Sam accidentally drips fudge on her chin mid-giggle, Jack's thumb automatically reaches out, snagging slightly on her lower lip, and swipes away the thick, rich chocolate. His thumb is back in his mouth before he even realizes what he's done.

Sam stares back at him, her back stiff with surprise and something else that sends a visible rush of goose bumps along the delicate skin of her neck. For a moment Jack lets himself imagine the taste of her mouth, her lips chilled slightly from ice cream.

Somewhere in the distance is the sound of Daniel clearing his throat awkwardly. Sam's attention darts quickly away, turning to ask Teal'c something to cover her fluster.

Ice cream never quite tastes right again.

3) Jack's office is dark and quiet like the rest of the base, as if everyone and everything is taking a deep breath after the chaos of the day.

The door to the office pushes open, invading the dark with a clink of light. Jack doesn't look up from his prone position; chair pushed back, head lowered into broken hands. A soft click and the darkness is full again. But he's not alone. He's thankful he can't see her, see eyes not angry, but painfully understanding.

He loved her enough to kill her.

There is nothing left to hide behind. Soft footsteps cross the room and the air shifts, fuller and electric, telling him she's standing right in front of him, leaning back against his desk.


That one word tells him more than he wants to know. Maybe she's here to prove she's still alive, that she can still feel and move. But mostly she's finally letting herself believe that this thing will never be simple infatuation.

Jack reaches blindly for her, his fingers meeting the gentle curve of her waist under the soft material of infirmary scrubs. His head lowers to her stomach, flesh pliant and warm…and alive. Her fingers thread though his hair and he breathes in deeply, antiseptic and skin, death and comfort. Not a word of permission needed between them for him to lose himself in her flesh.

He's never needed something more.

Slowly, Jack pushes to his feet, molding her body perfectly to his, her warm, uneven breath washing across his jaw. The dark cradles them in false anonymity, leaving nothing behind but need.

But Jack can imagine her wide blue eyes, staring up at him, asking to be saved, begging him, just once, not to pull away.

Her face is tacky under his fingers, skin still sticky from the electrical leads that gave her passage home. He allows himself one weak moment to press his lips against her temple, feeling the sure beat of her heart, pumping on its own.

She leans into the caress and Jack has to pull away, a shock of cold where her body had been, because one more second and his weakness would be complete. He walks away into the bright light of the halls, leaving her standing alone in the anonymous dark.

Because he loved her enough to kill her.

He loves her enough to walk away.

4) Jack doesn't think much of it when the sirens go off, but he's barely diverted his steps to take him to the control room when an unfamiliar voice echoes through the PA system:

"Red Alert! Battlestations!"

Jack almost trips in surprise and he can see airmen throughout the hall blinking confusedly, no doubt wondering if they had wandered into an alternative reality. The control room is full of people by the time he gets there. Hammond's face is a particularly interesting shade of red as Walter gingerly pokes at his keyboard. Each time he pushes a key, another voice fills the small room.

"Live long and prosper!"

"Make it so."

Jack is finally realizing that they are not so much under attack as they are the butt of a rather impressive practical joke. He can't think of too many people who could pull this off. At the back of the room, Sam stands unconcernedly next to Siler, who is beaming widely.

"Major," Jack says quietly in greeting.

"Colonel," Sam parrots with a nod. "Did you know that today is Siler's birthday?"


"No, I did not." Jack turns to Siler. "Happy birthday, Sergeant."

"Thank you, sir," he replies, still grinning madly.

"Beam me up, Scotty!"

"So, Siler… Can I ask you something?" Jack asks.

"Of course, sir."

"Star Trek doesn't happen to be your favorite show, now does it?"

"Why yes, sir, it is. What an amazing coincidence." His amazement at the coincidence would be more believable if he wasn't smiling like Christmas come early.

"Tea, Earl Grey, hot."

"Carter," Jack drawls, turning to his 2IC. "You wouldn't happen to have anything to do with this, would you?"

She regards him with wide, guileless eyes and shamelessly lies to him point blank.

"No, sir."

Not even the tiniest blink of an eye gives her away.

Audience be damned, Jack almost asks her to marry him right then and there.

"Resistance is futile."

Jack is beginning to get that.

5) "Sir, at your house before Daniel and Teal'c showed up, what I was going to say was-."

"I know."

He wonders sometimes if she had hated him for not letting her finish, for thwarting yet another attempt to damn the rules when all seemed lost. There had been too much going on then, too much hanging in the balance for him to really consider it, but now, lying here, it suddenly seems monumentally important.

He doesn't want her to hate him.

His head lolls to the side, offering a clear view of her, talking lowly and firmly with Daniel, shoving him bodily out of the cave. Teal'c follows solemnly after him, sparing one intense glance for Jack.

Something funny is definitely going on, because one moment she is standing at the mouth of the cave and the next Jack's head is cradled firmly in her lap. He's losing time or she's learned to teleport herself. Judging by the warm puddle gathering under his back, Jack's willing to bet it's the first. He can't afford to lose anymore time.

"Carter," Jack rasps.

She pulls away, saying "Let me get you some water, sir," but the last thing Jack needs is more liquid conspiring to drown him, to snuff him out. His hand somehow manages to reach out and grasp her arm, stilling her flight.

"Sam," he tries again with the exact proper tone reserved for moments like this.

Her body stiffens and she stares hard at the floor. "Don't you dare," she demands hoarsely. "Don't you dare."

It's only now that he finally understands why he never let her say it, because saying it meant accepting that there was no coming back, that one of them wasn't going to walk away from it this time.

He's not walking away this time.

He opens his mouth to speak, but his throat is swamped, chords submerged and all he can do is sputter.

In the end, she saves him from having to break the rules. Just before he loses consciousness, she leans close to his ear, her lips brushing his jaw.

"I love you."