Title: The Benefits of Having a Secret Transporter in Your Girlfriend's Closet
Author: Annerb
Summary: Jack's top five reasons he loves his secret alien transporter.
Categorization: Humor, fluff, silliness, tiny smidge of angst, Sam/Jack
Rating/Warnings: Teen. Little bit of naughty language.
A/N: Set in the cracky and ridiculous realm of 'Serendipity'. I believe I started this for a belated birthday gift by request for Pepper years ago, but finally managed to finish it this year (a little belated yet again). I also sort of forgot that this universe was supposed to be post-Threads and so have miraculously brought Jacob back to life. Call it a birthday miracle. Lol.

The Benefits of Having a Secret Transporter in Your Girlfriend's Closet

#5-Driving Daniel Insane

There are many, many, many reasons that having a secret transporter closet makes Jack's life so much better. There are the obvious ones—Hello, an instant doorway into Sam Carter's house. Where she then often insists upon having sex with him. (He's gentlemanly enough to consent.)—but there are also the benefits it took Jack a while to comprehend the full usefulness of. Mainly, how to make Daniel Jackson crazy.

After all, Jack has spent years carefully cultivating an aura of mystery and foreknowledge, just enough to keep Daniel guessing. Some of the tricks are easy, like waylaying Daniel's reports and memos or back dating an email or two. Or never letting on that he's actually trilingual no matter how much Daniel's Arabic sucks. (Don't even get him started on Daniel's Mandarin. Lao tian ye!) Other feats require bribery and getting on base at insanely early hours or that three-month correspondence course that Jack never wishes to speak of ever again.

Thanks to his nifty transporter closet, he now has an entirely new tool to add to his arsenal of making that funny crinkle between Daniel's eyes appear at will.

Sometimes it's as simple as when something goes fubar at the SGC and requires Jack's attention, he would dawdle at Carter's place for forty-five minutes or so and then miraculously appear on base.

"Just had a feeling," he'll say with a shrug when they all stare at him and wonder how he got there so fast all the way from DC. (Except Carter, of course. She mostly just rolls her eyes and looks self-satisfied. Jack likes to take more credit for the second than the first.)

Daniel will frown in confusion, because for all of his brains and altruism and all that stuff, he really doesn't have much of an imagination. He's just thick enough to at least consider that Jack has some weird sense of omniscience.

It's Teal'c he'll have to bribe to keep his yapper shut after the second time. (A complete box set of Sex in the City and a vintage Panama hat that cost more than his first car.) But it's worth it to keep Daniel guessing, to keep that furrowed crease well oiled.

At least until that Tuesday morning Daniel comes over to Carter's unannounced for breakfast.

Daniel triumphantly deduces that Jack and Sam are sleeping together, and that Jack is clearly racking up the frequent flyer miles with reckless abandon. He leaves looking rather smug with himself.

Just like Jack said, the poor guy has no imagination at all.


#4- Instant Gratification

"Hey, Mr. O'Neill."

Jack quickens his step in a futile attempt to shake young Fred off his trail. Since moving into this building and proving not to be a murdering lunatic, the apartment manager kid decided Jack is the coolest person he has ever met and has taken to stalking him in the hallways as he passes, no matter how quietly Jack tries to sneak by.

Carter always smiles indulgently and says it's cute when she's around to see it. "Harmless," she'll say, pulling on his arm to keep him moving down the hallway. With other more pleasant things to distract him, Jack is inclined to agree with her assessment.

Today, neither of them is so lucky. Carter is locked up in her lab in Colorado and Jack has had a day that can only be described as shitty beyond the telling of it. So, even knowing he will feel guilty for it later, Jack turns back to look at Fred and levels his most bad ass glare at the kid. The one that makes even Goa'uld tremble. (Even if it was only arthritic, crazy old Yu.)

Fred comes to an abrupt stop, his Adam's apple visibly bobbing up and down his scrawny neck as he gulps in fear. "Yeah, uh," Fred says, backpedaling. "See you later, Mr. O'Neill."

Jack sighs in the newly silent hallway and starts for his apartment once again. Shit. Now he feels bad on top of being pissed and annoyed and the recipient of a burgeoning headache.

Jamming his keys in the lock, he lets himself into his apartment. He's greeted by total and utter silence.

Kicking off his shoes, he flops down on the couch and stares around his still depressingly small apartment. He's done everything he can to make it feel more like home, but it's not like the dull view of office buildings and an industrial park can be changed into trees and mountains. At least not as far as he knows. He'll have to ask Carter.

He considers turning on the TV, but noise won't make the place feel any less empty, certainly not watching the moronic escapades that people consider entertainment these days. He sighs, tugging at his tie. To add insult to all his already present injuries, his stomach growls loudly, reminding him that his fridge is as depressingly empty as everything else.

He's just about to work himself into a really embarrassing level of pathetic whiney-ness when he hears the familiar soft chime coming from his bedroom.

He would wonder how she does that, anticipate his mood, show up at the exact moment he needs her, only it's possible he already called and bitched to her today.

"In the mood for a little company?" she asks, peering around the doorframe of his bedroom. She looks slightly nervous as if unsure of what kind of reception she might get. This is still something they are learning to navigate, but, God, she's the best thing he's seen all day. He can practically feel his headache retreating.

Looking emboldened that he hasn't automatically kicked her out (as if), she lifts a plastic bag in the air, the tantalizing aroma of handmade tamales from his favorite Mexican place in Colorado Springs wafting across the room.

He's up and off the couch in a second. Crossing the room and pulling her into a hug, he declares in no uncertain terms, "Best. Girlfriend. Ever."

She laughs, her face pressing into his neck. "Don't you forget it."

Jack sighs with perfect, blissful contentment. He thinks he could really get used to this form of instant gratification.

And the food isn't so bad either.


#3- Quick Escape

Jack sits patiently on the edge of his bed with a brightly wrapped package sitting on one knee. His eyes are glued to his watch, waiting for the hand to tick past midnight. The moment it clicks over, he pushes to his feet and heads for his closet.

Keying the controls, Jack taps his foot with excitement as the beam surrounds him and deposits him in Carter's house.

Mostly at Jack's insistence, the transporter had been hooked up to her guest bedroom closet, partially for security and partially for her own privacy. He didn't want to be barging in on her without warning. At least not much. He thought he might get points for chivalry, but Sam had just raised a disbelieving eyebrow and indulged him, muttering something about him being old-fashioned under her breath. Jack chose to ignore that.

Jack knocks gently five times on the inside of the door in the code he had insisted upon using when he came unannounced.

("Who exactly do you think is going to be showing up in my closet other than you?"

"Well, I don't know, Carter," he said with some asperity. "You tell me."

She rolled her eyes yet again—a developing habit of hers since they started dating, but in a way he likes to think of as affectionate annoyance—and knocked rhythmically twice. "Let's just hope they don't have two bits."

Jack chose to ignore that as well.)

Easing the closet door open, Jack steps out into the guest bedroom, already anticipating a warm welcome.

What he does not expect is for the bedside lamp to turn on. "Care to explain what you are doing climbing out of my daughter's closet in the middle of the night, Jack?"

Jack feels the blood leave his face. He knows that voice, knows it far too well. He turns to see Jacob Carter sitting up in the bed, arms crossed over his chest.

Oh, shit.

For the first time in his life, Jack finds himself completely frozen to the spot.

"Is that for me?" Jacob asks when Jack doesn't answer.

Jack glances down at the embarrassingly frilly package in his hands and shoves it behind his back.

The door to the bedroom pushes open, more light flooding the room with a click. "Dad? Who are you-." Carter's eyes find Jack, widening almost comically and then narrowing to a glare almost as quickly.

He frowns at her. What the hell is she doing looking at him like that? He hadn't been the one to forget to mention that Jacob had decided to pop in for a visit, for God's sake.

One of her eyebrows lifts very pointedly (for an eyebrow, at least).

Or possibly she had. Something tickles at the back of his mind, a detail he had possibly forgotten in his excitement over his little surprise.

Oh, shit.

Her eyes narrow again. He considers holding out the present, making a case for the romantic gesture of coming to wish her happy birthday exactly at midnight, but luckily remembers just what is in that bag before he does. He keeps it carefully stowed behind his back.

Somehow, he doesn't think Jacob would appreciate it in his present mood. Jack dares take a quick glance at Jacob as if to confirm, smiling weakly at the Tok'ra.

Jacob does not smile back.

Faced with two angry-looking Carters, Jack does what any self-respecting man would: he steps back into the closet and firmly shuts the door.

"Where does he think he's going?" Jacob asks, voice slightly muffled by the door.

Jack can just make out Carter mutter 'coward' under her breath before his hand touches the control and the world dissolves in white light.

Cowardly it may be, but Jack O'Neill knows the value of strategic retreat.


#2- Being There

Jack's late getting home, mostly thanks to galactic crises and near-misses and a hastily thrown together mission report that it took him ten times longer to get through than it really should have.

Carter's fine, he reminds himself for the fiftieth time that hour. She's fine. She's been through worse.

Close missions happen. They always will.

None of that really makes Jack feel any better.

He walks into his apartment and comes to an abrupt stop. Carter is curled up on his couch, face pale under the bruises.

She's injured and shouldn't even be out of the infirmary, but just as he's working through his fear and worry enough to yell at her, to point out that very valid observation, she opens her eyes, looking up at him.

He's forced to admit then that her injuries aren't what's been worrying him as much as the decisions she was forced to make today. The things from this mission that she will have to learn to live with anyway she can. The fact that he wasn't there.

She doesn't say anything, and he doesn't either. It's all there in the way she's staring at him.

Crossing the room, he carefully lifts her shoulders, sliding underneath her to hold her against his chest. She curls into him, ignoring broken ribs and split knuckles.

He holds her hand and doesn't comment on the way her fingers are still trembling.

"You're okay," he whispers against her hair, lips pressing to her forehead. "You're okay."

He knows he's saying it as much for her as for himself. She'll get through this.

He holds her until the trembling stops.


#1- Just Because

Jack opens his eyes, staring up into the dark of his bedroom ceiling, taking a moment to identify what has woken him up. There's a gentle scratch on the door of his closet, and his hand automatically slides to his bedside table—not for his lamp, but for his gun.

"Jack?" a soft voice asks, the door cautiously creaking open.

Jack releases a breath as he recognizes the voice, his hand pulling back from the drawer. "Carter?" he asks.

"Hey," she says, moving further into the room.

He can barely make out her profile in the dark, just the tiniest edge of moonlight ghosting her body. "Carter? Is something wrong?" She hadn't mentioned anything about stopping by, and considering how often bizarre things happen to them, he's understandably alert.

He hears the rustle of clothing as she moves around the room, and then she's sliding under the covers, letting in a brief burst of cold air that she quickly makes up for by pressing up against his side. Her head settles to fit perfectly in the hollow of his shoulder.

"Nothing's wrong, Jack," she says, her voice barely a whisper. She sounds sleepy and warm and completely content, her body almost boneless against his.

She doesn't sound upset or like she came to talk something out or even like she's here to yet again seduce him. (His life is so difficult some days.) She almost sounds like she just showed up to go to sleep. Here. In his bed. On him.

"Carter?" he asks.

She hums softly, a quiet mumble nearly lost in the dark. "Go back t'sleep."

He wraps his arms around her, loving the way her body seems to melt into his, filling up all the absent spaces he never knew were there.

Maybe the best reason is having no reason at all.

Her face turns into his chest, her hand patting him languidly, already half-asleep. "Ev'thing's perfect."

Yes. Yes it is.

.fin.