Many Variables

"It's a good thing I remembered to charge my laptop!" Sam said, stroking along the shiny black equipment. "This is going to take more work to figure out than I can do in my head."

"Are you sure you want to be saying that when that McKay guy is around?" Jack asked, raising an eyebrow.

Sam shrugged. "Oh, he's off talking to one of the techs about something or other. I didn't quite catch it. But he's gone for now. Thank God."

"Annoying you that much?"

"More. He thinks he's better than everyone else and isn't afraid to say so. Loudly and right to your face."

"At least he's not talking behind your back. That's something."

She smirked. "True. And it gives me a better excuse to punch him in the nose."

"Carter! Settle, girl. Whoa." Looking at her as if she had just admitted to being in love with the man she had just complained about, he made a wild gesture with his hands, a silent, please stop! He cleared his throat.

"Don't worry, sir." She smiled. "I wouldn't actually go through with it and punch him."

"Really?"

"Well…" It was likely that she would punch the man. Both of them knew it. Sam was certain that McKay knew she'd hit him too, not that he cared about that in the slightest. He treated it like it was a joke. His people skills were appalling.

"Right then, Carter," Jack said before she could take back her promise. "Let's leave it at that, okay? You'd best get onto that… whatever that is." He shrugged when she gave him a small frown.

"The theory? There are so many variables to take into account and-"

"Good luck," Jack interrupted. "I'll be in the cafeteria with cake once you're done. I hear there is chocolate cake today."

Sam nodded and forced a smile. "Yes, sir. Enjoy your cake. I'll get back to work."

Jack hesitated. "You know what? Keep working and I'll bring you cake here in a bit. Sound like a plan?"

She smiled, this time without the hidden sadness behind it. "That would be great, sir. I'll see you in a bit."

"In a bit," he agreed. He saluted her as he left and she watched him until he was out of sight before letting out a sigh.

She ran her fingers over her laptop again and listened to its gentle hum. "Back to work," she muttered to herself, and she began to type away and work on the code that no one at the SGC had been able to crack.

Fin.