Summary: Just a little piece of fluff that passed through my brain back in June 2006. Originally archived to Gateworld. This is a short kinda of 'what if' scenario. Not my best work so take it as it is.

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"She did what!?" General O'Neill spoke incredulously into his phone. "When? And more importantly...why?"

He sat at his desk in the Pentagon listening to the explanation, all the while playing with his pen and making some doodles on his note pad.

"Doesn't make any sense," he told his listener.

Again he listened.

"Crap! Maybe I should talk to her," Jack offered. "Did you sign off on it yet?"

More listening.

"You did? Why didn't you call me first?" Jack asked annoyed.

Jack listened again, his pen moving through his fingers rapidly as his agitation was building.

General Landry had tried to explain the best that he could. It seems Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter had submitted her resignation two mornings ago, effective immediately. Hank had tried to talk her out of it, told her how much she was needed, and when that had failed, tried to convince her to at least stay on long enough to finish off her outstanding projects.

Landry had tried calling Jack before officially accepting and signing off on the resignation, but as usual, General O'Neill was a hard man to get in touch with. Usually Hank had to leave messages with Jack's administrative assistant and was lucky to hear back from him the same week. Unless of course Hank specified that it was urgent. A resignation hadn't merited an Urgent' status.

Hank had hoped Jack would have called sooner as he secretly wished O'Neill could have talked Carter out of it, but unfortunately, Jack's return call had come too late. Now Jack was pissed. Landry softly reminded him that SGC personnel decisions were no longer under Jack's authority.

"I know it's not up to me Hank, it's just that...maybe I coulda talked her out of it," he tried to hide the frustration in his voice. "We still need her. You need her...there."

Colonel Carter had advised her CO that she was burning out and felt ineffective, almost as though she didn't belong anymore. Her concentration was being affected, and to continue working on her delicate projects could put everyone at risk. Hank had offered her an extended leave which she declined, holding steadfast to her request. Apparently she had other more personal reasons for her resignation that she didn't want to discuss.

Sam had promised to update all of her notes before leaving, if he agreed to her resignation, so that it would be easier for whoever took over. She also informed him that she had a job already lined up. A lot less stress, but still within her area of expertise. They wanted her to start right away, but had agreed to let her take two weeks vacation before commencing her new post. It's what she really wanted.

When General Landry had tried to talk her out of it, Sam reminded him that she had put her life on the line, and on hold, time and again without asking anything in return. Now she wanted out, and all she was asking was for them to let her go. There were others that were as equally qualified as she, and she had put in her time. Reluctantly he agreed to consider it. When Jack hadn't called Landry back by days end, and she had appeared in his door way, he gave her what she had requested. He signed off on the resignation. He owed her that. And wished her well.

"Harvard!?" Jack bellowed into the phone. "When?"

He listened.

"Well, where is she now?" he growled.

He frowned at the answer.

"Damn!" was all he could come up with. "Thanks Hank."

Jack hung up the phone and looked down at his doodles. He had been unconsciously writing her name over and over.

Picking up his phone he began to dial Daniel's number in Colorado, but before the connection could be made, Jack's assistance appeared in his door telling him he was needed at the White House, stat.

Crap!' he thought to himself. He'd have to get to the bottom of this later. Inwardly he wondered if she had reconciled with Shanahan and he was the culprit behind her decision. His mood darkened as he left his office.

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Two weeks later, and what seemed like a hundred meetings, all urgent according to these idiots on The Hill, Jack finally connected with Daniel. Well, it wasn't entirely the politicians' fault, Daniel had been off world on missions twice in the same period. Still.

"So what the hell happened?" Jack asked over the phone line after Daniel picked.

"Oh hey Jack, nice to hear from you. How's it going?" Daniel chuckled; glad he finally had the opportunity to throw Jack's own need to open with niceties back at him.

"Hello Daniel, the weather's been crap up here. Down there? Now what the hell happened?" Jack's tone changed from nice to cranky.

"Not sure. What the hell are you talking about?" Daniel laughed.

"Sam," was Jack's terse reply.

"Oh...that," Daniel said now unsure of what else to say.

"Yes...that!" Jack didn't sound very happy.

"You probably should talk to her about that," Daniel replied wincing, waiting for the barrage.

"Well I would if I could. Seems no one has a number for her, and I don't know where the hell she is, except somewhere near Cambridge!" Jack spoke angrily.

"Um...well," Daniel stuttered. "I have a number. It's unlisted...and she screens her calls through an answering machine...when she's home that is."

"What the hell is going on?" Jack asked more quietly, now very confused.

"Look, I'll call her tonight and ask her to give you a call. I'll tell her you're concerned," Daniel offered.

"Does this have anything to do with Shanahan?" Jack asked angrily.

"Nooo," Daniel responded hesitantly. "They broke up. You know that. A year ago."

Daniel continued after getting nothing but silence from the other end, "Look...Jack...She's tired. She's been burning both ends for years. She just wanted to get out. Try something different. I'll call her. Tonight. I promise. I'll ask her to call you, ok?"

"Just give me the damn number," Jack requested.

"I can't do that Jack. Let me call her later, and I'll see if I can give it out," Daniel started to feel bad for Jack, but he didn't want to betray Sam's confidence.

"Give. Me. The. Damn. Number. Daniel," Jack hissed out.

"I'm sorry Jack, I can't, let me talk to her first," Daniel tried to placate, yet holding his ground. He hated being in the middle of this.

"Fine. Ask her to call me, ASAP," and Jack hung up without saying goodbye.

Daniel slowly returned his phone to the receiver. He thought about Sam, and he thought about Jack. Jack wasn't the only reason Sam had left, but he had certainly been part of it. It was true, Sam was tired. And she didn't feel like she fit in with the new gang anymore. She was missing the way it used to be too much. It hadn't helped; her going to Area 51 for all those months. Made it all the more difficult for her to find her place in the new niche.

But she could've done it. If Jack hadn't been such a dunce. Sam had hoped, especially after the teams, the original team that is, fishing trip at his cabin, well, that things would've started to develop. On a more personal note that is. Between her and Jack. Oh they got friendlier after that. Probably borderline illicit. Especially with Shanahan and Johnson out of the picture. But Jack had still been her CO, and that had held them back. Or at least that's what Daniel had thought was all that was holding them back at the time.

Then the shake up. He knew Sam had been hopeful then too. She had even asked Jack out on a date, for dinner, on a quick visit she made to Washington. He had refused. Was too busy to eat had been his response to her.

Daniel wondered if Jack had even realized Sam had asked him out. On a date. A real date. If they had started something, Sam would have been happier. No matter where she was stationed because although she would still miss the way things used to be, she'd have had Jack and the promise of what could be. She had been tired, and burnt out. She was especially tired of waiting for a man she could never have and wanted to move on. But as long as she was with the Air Force, she had explained to Daniel one night, she would be constantly reminded of him. His name on emails, memos, etc. She had to get away. Completely.

Jack on the other hand kept his personal thoughts and feelings pretty much to himself. Jack had never said anything about Sam in a personal sense, but Daniel knew. Just by the way he used to catch Jack looking at her. He knew. Now Sam was gone. Jack didn't know why, and it was eating away at him. It's not like Jack had been keeping in touch with Sam anyways. But now that she had officially resigned, Jack seemed upset. Well Daniel would carry out his promise and at least relay the message. He hoped that would be the end of him having to be the middle man.

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"Hi, you have reached Dr. Carter. Please leave your name, number, and reason for your call at the tone and I'll call you back as soon as possible," Daniel heard the recorded message.

"Hi Sam, its Daniel. Pick up if you're there," Daniel spoke into the phone.

"Hi Daniel," Sam answered. "How are you?"

"I'm good. You?"

"Not bad. Still trying to unpack my things. Didn't know how much stuff I had until I tried getting it all into this tiny apartment," Sam laughed. "Had my first lecture today, as you know. I think it went well. I didn't see too many glossy faces," she continued. He could tell she was smiling by her tone.

"That's great. I'm sure you'll be great, Associate Professor Carter of Harvard's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences" he congratulated. "But that's not why I called."

"Oh, what's up?" she asked, sounding like she was munching on something.

Daniel winced and blew out a breath feeling unsure of himself. "Well..."

"Well?" Sam repeated, becoming concerned by Daniel's hesitancy. Something was wrong.

"It's...Jack," Daniel cringed out.

Silence.

"Sam? You there?" Daniel asked.

"Is he alright? Has something happened?" Sam's heart started beating faster.

"No, no, nothing like that. He's fine," Daniel reassured. "It's just that, well, he... seems..ah..upset. He wants to talk to you."

"No," was all she said.

"Sam, he's just confused..." Daniel advocated.

"I said no, Daniel. Please."

Daniel heard the sadness in her tone.

"He probably doesn't even know you asked him out Sam. Probably thought it was a friend slash co worker thing..." Daniel tried again.

"Please Daniel. It doesn't matter. I'm over him. I'm moving on. Let it go. I don't want to talk to him. Tell him I'm fine. Life is great. I wish him a good one. Please," she chipped out.

She didn't sound fine.

"I'm sorry Sam, I didn't mean to upset you," he apologized.

"I'm not upset, really Daniel. It's ok. Look, I have another lecture in the morning. I should get going and finish preparing."

"Ok, I'll talk to you soon. Bye Sam."

"Bye Daniel, I love you."

"Me too."

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Daniel had barely placed down the receiver and started toward his bedroom when the phone began to ring again. Maybe she had changed her mind.

"Hello," he answered.

"Well, what? Did you talk to her?" Jack bellowed.

"Jack, nice to hear from you again," Daniel stalled with a joke.

"Whatever, did you talk to her?" Jack sounded decidedly edgy.

"I'm sorry Jack. She wants nothing to do with the Air Force. She's moving on," Daniel choked out before continuing, not wanting to hurt his friend. "She says to tell you that everything is great, she wishes you well, but doesn't really want to talk to anyone from the Air Force right now."

Not the complete truth, but not really a lie either. Daniel's face showed concern while he awaited the response from the other end.

"I see," was Jack's quiet response. "But you're different?"

"I'm not really Air Force. Just a civilian. Like her. And you know...Sam and I are...friends," Daniel couldn't figure out what else to say.

"Friends? And I'm...what?" Jack asked, his tone dangerously low.

Daniel hesitated trying to find the right words. Jack sounded like he was going to blow and he didn't want to jeopardize their friendship. It sucked being in the middle of these things. He just wanted out of it.

"Her former CO?" Daniel tried cautiously.

Jack said nothing.

"Look, Jack, I'm sorry. I tried. I really did..." Daniel started, but was cut off.

"That's great. I appreciate the effort. Thanks. Talk to you...later." Jack ended the call, but not before Daniel noticed the coldness that had seeped into friend's voice.

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Jack hung up his phone and brought his beer to his lips. It was almost 23:00 and the last two weeks had been insane. The Politicians and paperwork were driving him Nuts. With a capital N. And this whole thing with Carter resigning hadn't helped. He had been distracted with thoughts of her over the past weeks.

Why if something was wrong hadn't she called him? Hadn't she known he'd always be here for her? Why just up and resign? All of a sudden? He would've moved mountains to make whatever was bothering her better. But she never gave him the chance. He'd had to find out through Landry.

So she didn't feel the same for him as he did her. It didn't matter. At least she hadn't gotten married. That whole engagement thing had been killing him, slowly. Which is why he had turned to Kerry. But that was over too.

He had thought of trying to start something with Sam after he'd been transferred to Washington. Couldn't quite get over the feeling of not being good enough for her. She had caught him completely off guard the day she was in town and asked him out for dinner. He could've tried then to move things away from just friends and former co workers to something more. He had been busy that day. Still, he could've tried to rearrange things.

Now having talked to Daniel he knew the truth. She didn't even think of him as a friend. Just a former CO. Not even worth talking to. Sweet! Fine. As long as she was ok. He took another drink of beer. As long as she was happy. Another sip of beer. She didn't need to know he missed her. She didn't need to know how much he missed trying to muddle through her reports, just because it made him feel close to her again. He took a drink. She was fine, she was happy, that's all that mattered. A tear ran down his face which he quickly swiped away. She didn't need to know.

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Her first three months in the world of Academia were busier than Associate Professor Carter could ever have imagined. Research to keep on top of and to conduct. Papers to review and correct and grade. Study groups, lectures, and paperwork. Lots and lots of paper. Initially Sam had loved it. Not as much as she used to love her work at the SGC, but it seemed to have promise.

Her students were awesome and intelligent. All of them trying to keep up to her, astrophysics being their passion as it was her's. Gone seemed the days of her trying to explain something to a group who didn't really want to listen. Just wanted the bottom line. These people listened, asked questions, and were learning from her.

But slowly things began to change for her. More and more she found herself having to listen to and mark papers based on theories that were so wrong it was almost laughable. Worse, she had to teach theories she had long ago disproved. Yet she couldn't tell her students where they were going wrong. Her former work still classified. And the male professors were for the most part extremely arrogant. Chauvinism ran deep and Sam found herself once again in a male world having to prove she was just as good. Been there, done that, had the Eagles.

Doubt began to set in. Had she done the right thing? Leaving the Air Force? That had been her world for so long. Maybe she just needed to give this new one a little longer. Sam heard her phone ring. Having stopped screening her calls a couple of months ago she picked up. No longer did she have the fear that it might be him.

"Hello?" she answered.

"Hey Sam." It was Daniel.

"Daniel, hey, how are you?"

"Not bad. You?"

"Caught me on a bad day I'm afraid," she said.

Sam was relieved he had called and began to unburden herself of her recent issues and concerns. Daniel was a great listener, interjecting only with uh huhs' and go ons' every now and then.

"Have you thought of coming back? We could sure use your help," Daniel suggested hopefully.

Sam gave a humorless laugh, "Gee, after my vague departure? No, I can't go back Daniel. I'd have the same issues I had before. Maybe I just haven't found my niche yet."

"You could...talk to...him," Daniel suggested hesitantly.

"Ya right! That'd go over well," she bit sarcastically. "How is he anyways, since you brought him up?" Sam lightened, but not sure she wanted the answer.

"Don't know. Haven't talked to him since the day I told him you didn't want to talk with anyone from the Air Force. I think I might've phrased things bad," Daniel answered.

"What did you say?" Sam enquired.

"It's not what I said, it's how I answered one of his questions... Made it sound like...you had ...well...only thought of him as a former CO. He was...upset...I think," Daniel answered.

"I didn't mean for it to come out the way it did," Daniel quickly continued, "But I didn't know how else to explain you still talking with me and not wanting to talk to him. Does that make sense?"

"Don't worry, Daniel," Sam reassured him. "I shouldn't have put you in that position. I'm sorry if it affected your friendship."

"Don't worry about it, he'll get over it. In a year or so," Daniel joked.

They continued talking for over an hour about everything and everyone, but staying clear of any classified information. One never knew who could be listening in over public phone lines, even now.

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A few days later Sam found herself lecturing in front of forty eager would be Astrophysicists. Sadly, they would come out very misinformed. Sam looked up from her notes as she spoke and stopped suddenly. At the door stood two Air Force officers: a lieutenant and a Captain.

"And what can I do for you two gentlemen?" she asked them non plussed.

"Sorry to interrupt Colonel Carter, but we have orders ma'am to bring you back to Washington," the Captain responded.

"You do, do you? I'm no longer a Colonel, Captain. My resignation was accepted by General Landry months ago. Now if you don't mind, I have a class to teach," Sam replied evenly, waving her hand toward the door to shoo them out.

"Ah...our orders aren't from General Landry ma'am." The Lieutenant stated nervously.

"Whoever issued them then you will need to inform that I'm no longer in the Air Force and therefore don't take orders. Good bye gentlemen." Sam retorted a little too angrily and began reading from her notes again.

"Major General O'Neill issued the orders ma'am. We're to return to Washington with you," the Captain informed.

Sam's head shot up and she stared at the two Air Force Officers in disbelief. Well, at least he remembered she still existed. What? He couldn't figure something out and decided to screw up her new career now too?' Sam knew as she thought those thoughts that they were unfair, but rankled at the idea he still thought he could order her around.

"He did, did he? You can tell Major General Jack O'Neill, for me, that if he needs to speak to me about something he can get off his fat ass in Washington and come see me himself," she retorted hotly. "I no longer follow his orders."

Sam couldn't believe all of that had just come out of her mouth. Not only disrespectful, but a dare. Where the hell had that come from, and why was she so angry? Turning away from the intruders she looked out into her class. Each student staring at her in shock. Sam was shocked at herself. Gathering her composure, she began to read from her notes again and noticed the Airmen leave.

Finishing with her lecture, trying to forget her recent altercation with the Air Force officers, Sam asked her class, "Any questions?"

Forty hands shot up, and Sam chose a young woman sitting near the front.

"You were an Air Force Colonel, Dr. Carter?" the woman asked.

"Yes. Next question." Sam didn't feel like going down this road. She picked a young man closer to the back. He had submitted some interesting work recently.

"General O'Neill, is he the same guy who helped prevent Senator Kinsey's assassination attempt, I think he was a Colonel then though?" the man asked.

"Yes. Maybe I should be clearer, any questions regarding the lesson?" Sam asked in exasperation.

All of the students hands went down.

Oh brother,' Sam thought. "Fine, you can all leave. And a gentle reminder, I'll need your Spectral Interpretations - Deep Space Monitoring Systems papers on my desk tomorrow."

Even here, at Harvard, she hadn't been able to get away. It followed her. He had followed her.

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"So what happened?" Daniel asked into the phone. He'd just come back from an off world recon. The Ori were making more inroads into the galaxy and they really could use Sam's help.

"I sent for her. She refused. Apparently none too politely," Jack replied tersely.

Daniel had called him at home two nights ago. Jack hadn't been in the mood to talk. Hadn't been in the mood for much the last few months, but when Daniel had said he was concerned about Sam...well...Jack had realized that he still wasn't completely over that blonde haired Colonel, er, ex Colonel.

Jack had listened while Daniel explained that Sam didn't seem very happy at Harvard, and maybe was regretting her decision to leave the Air Force. Was there anything Jack could suggest? He had thought about it and finally suggested he send for her. A saving face sort of thing. She wouldn't have to come crawling back, he would make something up, send for her, and offer to reactivate her.

Daniel had thought it a good idea. Although Jack was still...hurt...since Sam wouldn't have anything to do with him, and for the life of him he couldn't figure out what he'd done to deserve this treatment. He wasn't going to tell Daniel that, but it would be nice to have Sam some where that he could check in on her. Great, taking up stalking now am I?' he had scolded himself.

It had been a plan. Not a very good one it seems, but a plan. So he had sent two of his junior officer's to Cambridge Massachusetts on an important mission to retrieve Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter. Only to have them sent packing back to him with some pretty harsh words. The Captain repeating Sam's sentiment almost shaking in his shoes as General O'Neill's face became an unreadable mask.

"Look, Daniel, I'm very busy. I tried, she refused, nothing more I can do," Jack explained. "I have to go, got a meeting in five."

"Wait...wait... what..what did she say...exactly?" Daniel stammered.

Jack hesitated before answering.

"She said that if General Jack O'Neill, meaning me, wanted to see her, to get off my fat ass and go myself," Jack growled. "Or words to that effect."

"So...go see her," Daniel suggested hopefully.

"Are you out of your mind!" Jack yelled. "Forget it Daniel. Now I gotta go."

"Wait Jack, please," Daniel begged.

"What!?" Jack barked

"You're the main reason," Daniel said softly.

"Main reason for what!?" Jack was becoming more annoyed by the second and wasn't trying to hide it.

"The main reason she left the Air Force," Daniel released his friend's confidence in a hush.

Silence echoed through the phone line for a good sixty seconds.

"What?" a very confused Jack whispered. "What the hell did I do?"

Daniel began to explain. "It's not what you did, it's what you didn't do."

"After her and Pete broke up and we all went to the cabin, you two seemed to get...friendlier. She had thought maybe you still had feelings for her and although she knew nothing could happen...well...she had...hopes. Then you both got transferred. She asked you out on a date. You turned her down..." Daniel's explanation was interrupted.

"She never asked me out on a date," Jack denied. "And why the hell would she leave the Air Force over that?"

Jack couldn't quite comprehend what he was hearing.

"Yes, she did. And it wasn't just that Jack, it's just part of it," Daniel continued. "She didn't feel like she fit in anymore. She missed the way things used to be. When you were here. I think she coulda managed had you two kept in touch...but...I guess it was just too many changes all at once. Too much loss all at once."

Doodling on his desk pad Jack knew what Daniel was talking about. Losing her dad, then changing responsibilities, friends splitting up. Jack noticed once again he was doodling her name. Like an idiot.

Daniel continued, "She came back from Area 51 to Cameron leading her old team, and even though she was the same rank and co lead, it just didn't have the same feel for her. She felt out of place, and she missed you. A lot. You didn't even try to keep in touch. And on emails and memos and briefings, she was constantly reminded of you."

"Didn't realize..." Jack tried but couldn't finish, his throat tightening.

"When did she ask me on a date?" he returned to that.

"Remember her quick visit to Washington from Area 51?" Daniel prodded gently.

"Ya, she suggested we grab some dinner..." Jack remembered.

"No, she was asking you on a date, doofus," Daniel informed him, none too gently.

"Crap!"

"Now will ya get off your ass and go get her Jack? We need her back."

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On Friday of the same week, two days after Daniel's phone call to Jack, Dr. Carter was concentrating writing the base 8 mathematical equation on her chalk board that she used in her theory of how to calculate stellar drift. She didn't see the classroom door open and the grey haired gentleman take a seat at the back of her class; however, almost every student head turned and noticed the man with a visitor's pass. Several young women kept returning their attention to the back of the room, all wondering if it was him. He was sitting wearing a black t-shirt and beige pants. An older gentleman, but very handsome.

"Ok, I intentionally made three errors in this equation. Your job is to find those errors, correct it, and give a detailed explanation as to your correction. I'll see you all on Monday," Sam stated watching her class copy the equation. She then began to gather her notes in preparation to leave.

"Dr. Carter?" asked a young female student up front, "Can I ask a question?"

"You just did," Sam smiled jokingly. The young woman laughed in return.

"Um...," the young woman began again, "I know you don't' want to talk about your old work,...but Julie and I," she indicated another female student sitting beside her, " were on the Air Force website...and...well...is he as handsome in person?"

"Who?" Sam asked a little more tersely then she intended. She didn't like being taken off guard, and she didn't want to talk about the Air Force.

"Major General O'Neill" the woman stated. "It's just that he is really...well...hot...for an old guy...and his ass didn't look all that fat. What does he do? It doesn't say."

Sam stared at the woman for a moment, feeling first annoyed, and then relented. This was the fifth time she'd been asked in a class about the Air Force since the officers visit, and the fifth time he had been mentioned.

"General O'Neill's area of responsibility is classified. Look, guys, I really don't want to talk about it. Most of it I can't. I'll tell you once, pass it on, because I won't discuss it ever again. Agreed?" Sam offered, tired of her student's interest in this area.

"Agreed," came from almost every female in the class. The males laughed but made no move to leave.

"My area of expertise was in deep space radar telemetry. Very exciting stuff. For eight years, General O'Neill was my Commanding Officer. He was transferred to Washington a year ago. Why he sent officer's to retrieve me I don't know. I don't care. I left. Not much more to it than that. OK?" Sam almost begged.

"Did you date him," asked another woman further back.

Sam's eyes opened wide in shock. Then she let out a small laugh.

"No, I did not date him." She answered. She remembered what it was like to be young. Everything seemed so romantic to these young would be scientists. "Air Force regulations prevent fraternization within a command structure. Is that it gang?"

"You're not in the Air Force anymore Doc, how about now?" this came from a young man snickering in the back row.

"Very funny Chuck," Sam retorted. "That's all you're getting folks. Now go home before I assign a few more chapters for study."

The class made a collective groan. As the students began closing their texts a voice came from the back row. Not so young, and very familiar.

"Actually...I'd sorta like to hear the answer to ...uh...what was it...Chuck's?...question."

Sam's head shot up as she scanned the back of the class. He stood up to make sure she didn't miss him, her face turning instantly red on spying him. Despite having resigned from the Air Force months ago she stood to attention and let out a surprised, "Sir!"

"Hello...Doctor...Carter," he smiled impishly, not missing the effect he was having on her.

Trying to compose herself she forgot all about her students who were now watching their profs. reactions to this visitor.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, no sign of amusement in her tone as she met his gaze.

"I was told that if I wanted to speak with you I would...how did you put it?...let's see..oh ya, that's it...get off my fat ass in Washington and come here myself. Here I am, fat ass and all?" Jack replied sharply, yet the smile didn't leave his face.

"Sorry about that sir, it's just that..." Sam tried to come up with an explanation but he cut her off.

"Do you have an office we could bring this too? You know me and soap operas..kinda how I feel about Sci Fi?" he asked congenially.

"This way," Sam pointed to a door beside her chalk board and watched as he walked towards her.

"That ass is far from fat...wow," he heard a young lady remark with a whistle, bringing a roguish smile to his face.

Sam led the way into her small office and Jack followed, closing the door behind them.

Plopping himself down on a chair beside her overflowing desk he took a slow look around then returned his watchful gaze to her. Sam slowly took her chair behind her desk.

"So...not much has changed," he commented, taking in the papers and doo dads that cluttered her work space.

"Not much," she replied. He had come to see her, probably to ask her to come back to the Air Force. She wasn't sure what she really wanted and having him only feet away just confused her more.

"What's new?" he asked casually.

"My job," she answered sarcastically. "Can we cut to it, what do you want?"

"You," he stated simply.

Sam's heart thundered in her chest. She was at a loss. If only he could mean what she wanted it to. But she knew better.

"I resigned from the Air Force, sir. I've signed a six month contract with Harvard," she finally responded.

"Hmmm...Landry could reactivate you under the National Defence Act. That'll look after that pesky contract," he offered.

"That simple? That easy? Why?" she asked.

"Yup, yes, and because...you're needed. But that's not what I meant," Jack replied, a serious look in his eyes.

He began to fidget with some papers on her desk as he took in a deep breath. He started to look around the room again.

"What do you mean?" Sam asked confused, his meaning totally having missed her.

Sam's hands were laced on her desk and Jack reached over with one hand and began to run his finger over them. Still, he didn't meet her eyes.

"Why didn't you talk to me?" he asked her in a whisper.

"And say what?" she responded moving her hands away from him. What was he doing?

"I don't know...you were always kinda good at...I don't know...talking?" he began. "Look, I...don't know what to say...I just...did you ask me out on a date?"

"Yes," she answered with no other explanation.

Jack sucked in a deep breath and looked in her eyes. "Blew that one didn't I?"

Sam gave him a humourless smile in return.

"And for that you left the Air Force? Kinda dumb isn't it" he asked disbelieving.

"No, I left for a lot of reasons. My feelings for you only being one of them," Sam clarified with a monotone. "And if you came to insult me, you can leave."

"No...I didn't come to insult you! Daniel said you may have changed your mind about the teaching thing. I came to give you an easy out. They really do need you back at the Mountain. We don't want to force you, so we're asking." he snipped back at her.

"I can't," she replied, her eyes moving down to her desk.

"Why the hell not...oh...me," Jack started looking around the office again. "You know, you coulda told me...how you...felt."

"I tried. I asked you out for dinner. Hoping maybe we could talk. You were too busy. Remember? What was I supposed to say? Excuse me Sir I have feelings for you, I know you used to feel something too, so let's just have at it," Sam retorted hotly, her face again burning red.

"I didn't know you were...meaning...a date," Jack said lamely. "I thought you just meant...eating. And I was...busy."

"The let's just have at it' line though mighta worked better," Jack laughed but stopped when he saw the glare she was throwing him. "Ahem."

"Glad you think this is funny," Sam derided.

Jack sat for a moment watching her before daring to speak again.

"Well it is dontcha think? Come on Sam, what the hell do you see in me anyways? I'd bore you inside an hour. I'm old..er. My IQ doesn't come close to your's. What the hell could I possibly offer you?" he asked, his face and tone now serious. She had no idea how much he loved her and he didn't think he could ever tell her.

Sam watched him closely. Could it be he was interested, but didn't think he was...what?..good enough for her? She tried to come up with something to say but her mouth kept working and nothing was coming out.

"Look," he finally said, "I'm tired. It's been a long week. This is stupid...even for me. You wanna come back? Good. I'll tell Hank. He can reactivate you, then you're out of your contract. As for me, just think about it, get back to me and tell me what you want."

Jack stood to leave but was stopped as her hand whipped out to grab his arm. He looked down and saw tears forming in her eyes. He hated when that happened.

"Answer me one thing," she looked up at him.

"What's that?" he said softly.

"Do you feel anything for me, beyond friendship, beyond...work?" she asked hesitantly.

"I...yes."

"Then I already know what I want. I want you," she whispered.

"You've had me since the day we met," Jack tried to joke, but it was the truth and he couldn't hide the depth of his feeling.

Sam stood and came around to face him. Reaching up she brought his face down to her's and took him in a slow kiss. His arms came around and pulled her gently to him. She felt his heart beating faster.

"So, you wanna go for dinner?" she asked with a smile as she broke away from their embrace.

"Sure, whatcha have in mind?" he smiled back.

"Pizza, beer, my place," she smirked.

"Now that's my kinda date," Jack laughed.

Grabbing her purse she headed out the door with Jack on her heels.

"It's good to be going home. Thanks for saving me from myself," she said softly, taking his strong hand in hers.

"Always," was his short sincere response.

-Fin-