Unconscious Gestures, continued: between "A Matter of Time" and "The Fifth Race". . .

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Jack shrugged into his BDU top as Janet exited through the curtains around his infirmary bed. He'd just gotten a clean bill of health after his little experience with shaped charges, stargates, and black holes.

"How is he?" Jack heard Sam ask the doctor as she emerged.

"He is fine, captain," Jack answered from where he sat.

"Cleared for duty," he heard Janet reply, as if he hadn't said anything. "You can go on in, now."

Sam's head poked through the curtains, promptly followed by the rest of her. "Hi, sir," she said, coming to stand at his bedside.

"Carter," he acknowledged. "How's the 'gate coming?" he asked distractedly. He realized that he'd begun buttoning up his blouse crookedly, and proceeded to remedy it.

"Fine," she replied, poorly hiding a grin as he fumbled with his shirt. "We're running the last of the checks now, but the new iris seems like it's good to go."

"Excellent," said Jack. "So, what's with this 'emergency' briefing after lunch?" Daniel had rushed into the infirmary earlier to try and attempt to impart a barrage of information during Jack's exam, but Janet had promptly shooed him away.

"Ah, Daniel's got something from P3R-272 that he wants us to take a look at. Something related to Earnest Littlefield's planet and the 'meaning of life stuff'," she said with a smile. "I've got a copy of the mission reports in my lab if you want to look them over, sir."

"I believe I'll take you up on that," Jack said, looking up from his properly adjusted uniform. Sam nodded, turning to leave. "Oh, Carter," he said.

"Sir?"

"Really nice work with the whole bomb thing. How'd you figure that one out, anyway?" he asked. Jack already knew the answer, but it seemed like a convenient segue to a discussion of their Antarctic experience.

"General Hammond helped on that one, sir," she said with a smile. "He mentioned the second 'gate, which reminded me of how we first discovered it. . . ." She averted her eyes for a split second at that, much to Jack's amusement. She continued relating her chain of reasoning—in great detail—as Jack simply watched her. "Then all we had to do was shut it down," Sam concluded. "Sir?"

Jack realized that he'd zoned again. "Speaking of Antarctica," he said, not even pretending to have heard her lengthy explanation. "There are a few things I'm still fuzzy about from our time there."

Sam's eyes got a fraction larger, and she swallowed. "Like what, sir?" she asked.

A grin appeared on Jack's face as he went on. "Oh, pretty much everything after I sent you looking for civilization," he said.

"Well," Sam began, "I managed to climb out, but couldn't find anything. So, I came back, and you were already pretty much unconscious again, and so I just covered us up and waited for the rescue party. Not that I really expected them to come, at that point."

"I see," said Jack. "So, I didn't actually say anything, like I thought I did?" he asked, wondering how much she'd volunteer.

"Oh, you were in and out of consciousness, sir," she said, again averting her eyes briefly. "While I was on the surface, you radioed that it'd been an honor serving with me," she said tentatively, "and when I came back down. . ., you were pretty far gone at that point, I think," she finished abruptly.

"Really?" Jack asked. "What'd I say?" Sam was becoming more and more uncomfortable, but it was entirely too amusing for Jack to let it go.

"I, uh, think you said something about Sarah, and the cold. . .," she trailed off.

"And?" Jack prompted.

"And, um, you called me. And kshdm," she mumbled, apparently fascinated by her boots.

"I'm sorry, I didn't catch that last part," Jack said, his face completely serious, miraculously concealing the smirk that wanted to break forth.

"You kissed me," she said, looking him in the eye and biting her bottom lip.

"Ah," said Jack, sliding to his feet. "I thought I'd dreamt that part," he said. "Huh."

"Huh?" Sam repeated, seeming shocked out of her embarrassment.

"I was pretty out of it," Jack explained. "You didn't really expect me to remember, did you?" He was teasing, and he knew it. He just hoped she wouldn't hit him.

In amongst the disbelief, frustration, and returning embarrassment that flashed across Sam's face, Jack caught a bit of hurt. That decided him instantly, and before he could think himself out of it, he said, "Was it anything like this?" It only took half a step for him to reach her and bring her face to his. The hand she brought to his chest to automatically ward him away was soon curled in the fabric of his shirt. She really is kissing me! thought Jack. He didn't allow himself any thoughts beyond the moment, figuring there'd be plenty of time to think about the possible repercussions later.

They broke apart slowly, and Sam looked up at him with a small smile. "Um, yeah, something like that," she said.

Jack repressed a sigh of relief at her reaction, and allowed himself an answering grin. "Cool," he said, letting his arms fall from around her.

"I'd better. . .," Sam said, taking a small step backwards and gesturing over her shoulder.

"Sure," said Jack, watching her go. "See ya at lunch?"

"Yes, sir," she said, turning, and sending him a brief, brilliant smile over her shoulder.

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That's all, folks!