A/N: For Jenn, who requested for "any point in between the body of Out Go the Lights and the epilogue which happened 6 years later? One small moment in between the point where they're still stealing comfort in the closet and when they're actually together." This has actually been up on my livejournal and website for some months - about time I got around to updating it on here. Sorry! Hope you enjoy.
It had been years. Literally.
Well, two years. But two years was still years, plural. Long enough for him to think he'd moved past it, certainly. Long enough for the impulses to have died down so completely, he'd almost forgotten those stolen moments...
It had been a long time. A very long, very busy time, during which he'd apparently done a lot of sublimating. But it seemed that it hadn't gone away. It had just been bubbling away underneath at an unfeasibly hot temperature. Somewhat like lava. Or, a Pop Tart.
Mmm, Pop Tarts...
So, anyhow. This wasn't something he'd ever meant to do again - not whilst they were in the same chain of command, anyhow. Once they weren't in the same chain of command... well, all bets were off. He certainly hadn't meant to do it offworld. In all fairness, he hadn't been aware that he was doing it until he'd actually, y'know... done it.
He had no idea, either, what had triggered it. She hadn't been doing anything unusual. Nothing major had happened recently - and, SG-1 being what it was, this meant that neither of them had died any time in the last few months. They'd just paused in the corridor of the local Council building, and he'd seen the dusty shelves through the open door behind her, and he'd idly thought, oh look, an alien storage closet - and then she'd smiled at his really lame joke about the Council leader's name...
And here they were. At least he'd managed not to kiss her. That was a good thing.
He slowly forced his hand to let go of her vest, one finger at a time. This left his hand conveniently outstretched, so he gave her a little shove. She took a step back, and stared at him. The trouble with alien storage closets, he decided, was that they just weren't as dark as the ones at home. Shoddy alien workmanship, clearly. "Er, hi," he said, lamely.
She stared at him a bit more.
"This... isn't what you think?" he said. "Well, it kind of is, but..."
"You're probably wondering what the hell I'm playing at," he tried, hoping she'd start talking sometime soon, and intercept the foot he'd got headed for his mouth. What were 2ICs for, after all, if not to prevent their commanding officers from making idiots of themselves?
Any time now, Carter.
"Yeah. So. About the-" He gave a wave of his hand, meant to encompass the whole grabbing-her-and-hustling-her-into-an-alien-storage-closet experience. "It wasn't - I mean, I didn't - I didn't expect - I wasn't..." Oh dear god make it stop. "It's not-"
"Did you want to tell me something, sir?"
Oh thank Christ. "Er... tell you something?" No. Not really. Talking hadn't been high on his agenda when he'd bundled her in here. He'd mostly been thinking he might kiss her until her lips went numb.
"Something... secret?" added Carter, raising her eyebrows and looking significant.
Ah, no - no, he was pretty damn sure he didn't want to tell her anything secret. "Well, er, I, that is..."
"Something pertaining to our mission, perhaps? Something you couldn't tell me in front of the others?"
"Oh!" Finally, the penny dropped. She was offering him an excuse. Oh, she was good. She was the best 2IC he'd ever had. Not that he'd had her, obviously... argh! "Yes. I wanted to... to warn you. To watch out for... bad... stuff."
Oh good grief.
She waited for him to continue, but he really couldn't think of any more elaborate an excuse for dragging her in here, right now. Normally he was quite inventive, good at on-the-spot improvisation, but right now, with her standing so close, in a small, dark, enclosed space... his brain wasn't fully functional.
"Oh. I see. Well, thanks, sir. I'll do that."
"Yes. Good. Carry on, Major." Was she staring at his lips? The light was dim and all, but it really looked like - gnnngh.
She was licking her lips.
Suddenly the closet seemed a lot darker, a lot more enclosed - a lot warmer, too, as a matter of fact. Just the sort of closet one might choose if, say, one wanted a private space in which to make out with one's subordinate...
Nonono, he didn't do that sort of thing. Not any more, that was. Same chain of command, regs, waiting, blah blah blah. He swallowed. It was surprisingly difficult. "So, we'd better-"
"-go," they both said.
Carter nodded. "Teal'c and Jonas may be wondering where we are," she said. She was making no move towards the door, though, and he felt curiously unable to lift his arm in that direction, either. And he could have sworn she was still staring at his lips.
He waited, but neither of them moved. Finally deciding that he should be the one to end this moment - seeing how he'd started it and all - he reached for the door - but her hand grabbed his. He looked quickly at her, hope flaring. But she was busy staring at her hand, as though it had taken on a life of its own. "Er..." she said. "I..."
"Yeah. Uh, Carter?"
"I don't suppose you'd like to-"
"We can't!" she said, hurriedly, and shot him a desperate look. Slowly, he nodded, ignoring the sharp twist of disappointment in his stomach.
"No," he agreed, heavily. "Okay. Yes. You're right." And suddenly it wasn't fun any more. He twisted his hand before she could escape, and grabbed hers. "I'm sorry," he said, gruffly.
Her hand gripped his, tightly. "Me, too," she whispered.
"I don't know why I did that."
"I think I do." Their eyes met. "But it's probably not a good idea."
"No," he agreed. "You'd think I'd've learnt by now to let you do the thinking, eh?"
"Well, I would agree that action's your strong suit, sir," she said, diplomatically. She gave him a wry smile, full of regret, and he finally opened the door. He waved her out ahead of him, she stepped out - and nearly walked smack into the Council leader (who was called Bayb. Bayb! "Like the pig?"). "Oh! Er, hello. We were just-"
"Discussing military tactics," said Jack, quickly stepping out to stand beside her. He observed Bayb's slightly panicked look. "To be used on the Goa'uld, if they ever come here," he added, swiftly. "So. Carry on, Major," he said, brusquely.
"Yes, sir!" She snapped a quick salute, and hurried off.
Jack dragged his eyes from her six, and turned to Bayb. "I should never have started talking to her," he confided. After all, if you couldn't tell the truth to complete strangers, to whom could you tell the truth? "That was my mistake. I should've just, y'know," he clenched his fists in some imaginary lapels, pulling them close, "gone for it. That always works out better for me. Action being my strong suit and all. Shoot first, ask questions later. Etcetera." Jack trailed off at Bayb's uncomfortable expression. "Uh, not really shooting," he explained. "I'm not actually planning to shoot anyone. It's just an expression."
Bayb nodded thoughtfully. "Uffenly zimokal manenslo," he remarked, sagely. He gestured towards where Carter had gone. "N'joma nafansi."
Jack gave Bayb a long, careful look - and then slapped him heartily on the back, startling the poor guy and probably setting back hours of negotiation. "Do you know, I really don't think I could have said it better myself."