The leader of the community that they'd found near the Stargate smiled evilly. Okay, it wasn't evilly, but Sam almost wished it was.
Seriously. How long was it since they'd come across a society like this, again?
"If none of you are man enough for your women, then I am sure we can be of assistance…"
There was a general scramble for Daniel. Vala was apparently keeping the 'quick learner' thing going, because she was wound around him before Sam could reach her friend. She made a quick decision, and embraced the man stood next to Daniel.
"Hi, honey," she said sweetly.
Cam looked scared. "You are so going to make me pay for this," he said, more as a statement than a question.
"Oh, you have no idea," she murmured in his ear, smiling for the crowd.
A few hours later, Sam had to admit that it could have been so much worse. The elders of the village had accepted that the two new lots of fresh meat… sorry, her and Vala, were attached, happily, and not looking. Although Vala seemed to be taking great enjoyment in telling the whole community that Daniel was impotent. Daniel, predictably, was looking more and more irritated as the evening wore on. Poor guy.
"When you do whatever it is you're going to do to me, remind me that that could be happening to me," Cam remarked casually.
Sam grinned. "Where's the fun in that?"
"Samantha Carter, you are evil."
She winked. "Yeah, sure, ya betcha."
They both watched Vala flirt her way through the crowd, deftly avoiding the more handsey amongst them with a skill borne of practice, Sam suspected.
"Ten bucks says someone tries to top Jackson to get her by the morning," he said, leaning back and stretching his arms.
"Ten bucks says Daniel tries to sell her before morning," Sam retorted, flashing him a grin. Ten years ago she'd've got all righteously indignant about the very thought of it, but a decade was a very long time to have chip on her shoulder, and the jokes were far easier to see these days. Daniel (probably) wouldn't do such a thing unless the (very short) distance that Vala was measuring out with her hands was meant to be what she thought it was.
Oh, boy. There were days when she considered asking the other woman to tone it down – if only from stopping Daniel from glowing incandescently (from embarrassment, not being dead). And there were days, like this one, when she was interested in seeing how far Daniel would let her push him before he said something.
Daniel had a thing about putting his faith firmly where people thought he shouldn't.
And then paying for it.
Well, last time worked out more than okay.
Except last time didn't have Vala describing his physical attributes (or lack of them) to an enraptured crowd. Jack had always embarrassed Daniel wherever possible, but he'd had limits.
"Enjoying the show?" a slightly caustic voice said from her right.
She winced. "Sorry, Daniel," she found herself saying. It was mean of her really, to take great amusement in his embarrassment.
He sat with a sigh. "The elders describe something, about an hour's walk that way," he said, gesturing vaguely in a direction that was vaguely away from the direction of the 'Gate. "It sounds like an Ancient laboratory."
"We ought to check it out, then," she surmised.
"Yeah – we've got a check in in ten minutes so we'll let Landry know then. … What?" he asked, catching the odd look she was giving him.
"Nothing, it's just… I don't know. I was thinking ten years ago it was all so different." He'd changed a lot since then. A more accepting view to the military way of doing things, for one. She resisted the urge to ruffle his hair, suddenly. God only knew where that one had come from, and she knew it wouldn't be appreciated. At all. Plus, the fact that Cam was (unsuccessfully) trying to tone Vala down, her ruffling Daniel's hair would probably mean that everyone around thought that they were into wife-swapping. Which was an idea she didn't want to encourage, frankly.
"Have I mentioned that I hate planets like these?" she asked suddenly.
Daniel gave her a look. "What? Since we've been on a planet like this? I always figured you didn't want to dwell. At least this time Teal'c and I don't have to watch you and Jack being… you and Jack."
She gave him a Look. Over the past ten years all of SG-1 had learned to fear, or at least respect, Sam's Looks.
"I believe Daniel Jackson refers to the discomfort of yourself and O'Neill during each and every pretence of matrimony, which also caused discomfort in Daniel Jackson and myself." Teal'c gave the two of them a nod as he settled on the other side of Sam.
She narrowed her eyes at the pair of them. "You're picking on me."
Daniel grinned. "Picking on Mitchell got old," he said easily. Teal'c's silence indicated agreement.
Sam suddenly grinned. "Not for everyone. Is your wife hitting on my husband?" she asked him, pointing to the two remaining members of SG-1. Cam was now trying to (gently) remove Vala from one guy without starting an interplanetary war.
Daniel winced in sympathy. "I'm devastated," he said dryly. "Aren't you devastated?"
"Heartbroken," she agreed.
"I don't know," Daniel said speculatively. "You are, technically, a bigamist now. Isn't that a bit hypocritical?"
Sam rolled her eyes at him.
"You never would have done that ten years ago," Daniel pointed out in response.
"Believe me, I would've wanted to, especially seeing as that's a very… Jack… statement to be coming out of your mouth."
"And yet," Daniel teased. "With me, you seem to be able to resist the giggles."
"Colonel Mitchell appears to be experiencing difficulty," Teal'c stated smugly.
Sam snorted. Apparently Vala had escaped, and had found a willing audience in a gaggle of teenage boys, recounting a tale with great enthusiasm, from the looks of it. Cam, on the other hand, had been cornered by a woman (and wasn't looking entirely unhappy about it, either).
"So… do we leave him or grab him?" Daniel asked, his eyebrows fast disappearing towards his hairline.
"Searching for Colonel Mitchell's clothing is unnecessarily time consuming," Teal'c pointed out. Sam had to agree. Admittedly it wasn't Cam's fault that last time he'd been the one dumped in the stream by the unstable bridge, and it wasn't entirely unreasonable that he'd want them to dry, putting on his spare pair. It wasn't his fault that a bird… thing… (she was an astrophysicist f'cryin' out loud, not a zoologist!) had stolen them either. But the three miles they'd gone chasing after them? They were his fault.
She made a decision. Standing up, she wandered over to Cam, slipping an arm around his waist and smiling sweetly at the woman who was probably going to drug/get stranded with/be murdered in front of Cam. "Hi, sweetheart," she said, oozing, false sincerity and giving him a smile that clearly indicated that he'd better play along.
"Hey, honey," he replied, blatantly gritting his teeth for what was to come. After a few pleasantries, they found themselves without a third person in their conversation.
"Do you remember, darling, the last time you decided to, uh, make friends with a native?" she asked.
"I don't think that these people are going to try and frame me for murder, baby," he replied.
"You didn't think the last one was, either," Sam remarked dryly, dropping out of character.
"Sam, I'm a big boy. I can look after myself."
Frankly, she didn't agree with him there. "Right. Well, seeing as you can look after yourself, don't expect me to help you find your pants tomorrow morning." And with that, she left. She'd had a good teacher in the art of parting shots.
It figured. It really, really figured. Cam didn't end up with a random alien, and because they were 'married', Sam ended up sleeping with him. As in sharing a bed sleeping with him. Which was great. Because she knew from sharing a tent with him, he wriggled. Which irritated her. She was used to sleeping with someone that slept like the dead, which suited her fine.
Well, she'd been more embarrassed about situations like this. As in completely, utterly, oh-my-God-I-have-to-share-bed-with-my-CO embarrassed. At least that wasn't a problem any more. Actually, that entire situation was completely not a problem anymore. She grinned.
Cam, predictably, was embarrassed. Sam turned around, only to find him stood there with his boots in one hand (it was quite amusing, really) looking sheepish.
"So… uh… you want me to take a chair or something?" he asked.
"Firstly, there's no chair," she pointed out. "Secondly, I think I'll trust myself not to give in to the urge to jump you in the middle of the night."
Cam frowned. "Are you implying that I'm not attractive?" he asked, apparently hurt.
Sam considered throwing her boots at his head then telling him that, with one notable exception, nobody looked attractive with a black eye. Hell, it wasn't technically assaulting a superior officer. She settled for giving him a Look (Cameron had yet to learn the true fear of the Look).
She resisted the urge to call him a good boy.
The person in question made a comment that sounded like "Wspp". Not for the first time, Cam had to wonder why. Why, in the name of all things. If he had to share a bed with an attractive woman why in God's name did it have to be Sam?
Actually, it could be so much worse. What sounded like a pillow fight had broken out next door a couple of hours back, followed by someone being forcibly ejected from the room. He thought, the first time, it was Daniel. The second time was definitely Vala. After that, he'd lost track until "Daniel Jackson, Vala MalDoran, please desist," had sounded out in a deep, non-threatening voice that still managed to convey the threat of permanent harm.
Quickly followed by, "Daniel darling, Teal'c wants us to keep it down." And some curses in some unnamed languages.
Cute. Very cute. Plan A had effectively stopped working as soon as he joined SG-1, anyway. He elbowed her in the ribs, quite an achievement considering their relative positions, with her wrapped around him comfortably (for her, he assumed, anyway. She wasn't moving).
She'd sat up, glaring at him, then registered the fact that he obviously wasn't who she thought he was going to be. Confusion (now that was something you didn't see every day) followed by remembrance flooded her face. She shifted an arm from around his waist to prop herself up on his shoulder. With her elbow jabbing in him. Ow.
Forget a woman scorned. Hell had no fury like a woman awakened in the middle of the night. Time to try and be funny. She liked funny, and inappropriate humour. Well, look at who she married.
"I thought you said you could resist jumping me in the middle of the night?"
And he so thought that tactic would work, especially considering what happened to the last guy.
Plan B, then.
"Seriously, Sam. I have three inches of bed. You're wrapped around me like a limpet and it's just not fair!"
Whining really shoulda been Plan C.
She patted him reassuringly. "Welcome to my life," she told him.
Which was far more information than he wanted to know, really. Sam's part – that he could live with. She was a friend, a fairly close friend. They'd known each other for years. But… oh man. The rest of it was a picture he'd be trying to erase from his mind every time he saw the man. Oh, God, no.
She rubbed his upper arm reassuringly again, then shifted over to her side of the bed. Cam flopped onto his back, stretching out as much as he possibly could with the extra room he'd been granted. "So how come you didn't get woken by the Daniel and Vala show?" he asked, wriggling his toes to work the blood around his lower leg again. Dammit, he never used to have problems with circulation like this.
"I did. I think I did – it may have been a dream." She shrugged. "I tend to sleep through the two of them."
He gave her an odd look. "So glad you got your beauty sleep," he said. She seemed to be awake now, too. "So.. uhm…"
She stifled a snigger. "Is this really the first time this has happened since you joined SG-1?"
Oh, God. It was going to happen again?! "Yes!"
She smirked. "Get used to it," she advised.
'Get used to it'? Where was the nice woman who'd come and talk 302 schematics with him; that he'd sometimes sneak up as his co-pilot when testing? She'd seemed so nice as he met her, even if she did give him a warning look, telling him to play nice with their baby airplane. Mainly 'cos the guys whose baby it really was seemed scared of him. Or maybe it was Colonel – now General – O'Neill they were scared of. He had seemed in what Cam now realised to be a particularly evil mood that day, reminding Cam that the last time anyone (in other words, Colonel O'Neill) had tried to fly a '302 (and Cam was still a little pissed about that – he'd been slated for the first test drive) he'd ended up in the middle of an ocean.
Which was always a nice thought to fly with.
"It happens a lot?" he asked. "The whole… shebang?"
She quirked an eyebrow at him, a la Teal'c. "You've read the mission reports."
"Well, yeah, but…" Reading the reports was one thing. Doing it was another. And asking about previous times was completely out of the question.
They lay in silence for a moment, Cam turning his head away from her and towards the window.
"So what would Amy Vanderburg say to this?" Sam suddenly asked.
He knew she was grinning. And trying to get a rise out of him. She was teasing him. Meanie. Oh, brother. He wasn't going to look.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," he replied, trying to muster the tatters of his dignity.
"And you believe Vala?" he asked incredulously, spinning his head to loo kat her and propping himself up on one elbow, mirroring her. "C'mon Sam, she'd tell ya the sky was green if she thought she could get away with it." And hopefully that'd put her off the scent.
"Right. Falling over yourself 'cos she walked into the room? Cute, Cam."
She was trying not to laugh. He really, really didn't like her. Really, really, really. Smirking was one thing, but laughing at him was something completely different.
"Shut up!" He turned over, burying his head under the pillow and trying to ignore the laughter that seemed to be cutting through to his ears just fine. "I'm asleep!"
A finger poked him in the ribs. Repeatedly. Apparently Sam Carter got silly at the local equivalent to 3am. He so didn't want to know that. He wanted SG-1's scientist back. He wanted his friend back. The sympathetic one. He liked her better when she was vaguely miserable the vast majority of the time, he really did.
"So… what's going on with you and her? Vala said something happened." She was trying to sound friendly, and concerned, and looking out for her, but she was just plain nosy. And still trying not to laugh at him.
He emerged from the pillow, cautiously. "She didn't say what?" he asked, incredulously. That he did not expect. He'd half expected pictures of him kissing Amy to be posted around the SGC. Subtlety, and tact. Two words not normally associated with SG-1's resident ex-space pirate.
"Maybe," she told him mischievously.
"Answer the question," Sam ordered in a tone that invited no argument.
"Pass my condolences along to your husband," he complained. "Actually, don't. I like all my limbs present and correct."
He glared at her. "What is with you?"
"I'm bored. Call gossiping a bad habit I've picked up along the way." She looked at him, perfectly happy to settle for a long, drawn out conversation, and she probably would as well. What was it with happy people and their incessant need to see other people happy? He had SG-1, right? What more did she want for him?
"She's coming up to the Springs next weekend. Happy?"
"Cam…" Oh, she was so teasing.
"You've got this huge grin."
"It's kinda cute."
"Shut up. You're just as bad."
"Yeah, I know."
Well out of earshot of the villagers, a bleary eyed Jackson rounded on him. "Next time, I call Sam."
"What!" Cam yelped. "No. No way – I don't want her!" he said, gesturing in Vala's direction. "Even if the alternative's her," he protested, gesturing in Sam's direction
Vala and Sam both rounded on Cam, both of them wearing an identical cast to their features. Jackson looked positively terrified. Cam had no idea, but he'd trust Jackson when it came to Sam and the fear began to creep towards him, too.
"Even if the alternative's her?" Sam asked, dangerously.