Puzzle

"I'm over here, sir." Sam called, seeing Jack hovering in the doorway of her lab.

Col. Jack O'Neill moved into the dimly lit room, looking for his 2IC.

"Carter? Where are you?"

"Over here, behind the table. This thing's too heavy for me to lift on my own."

Jack moved around the lab table, and caught sight of her kneeling next to a rather bulky cube-shaped artifact that was sitting on the floor. "Need some help?" he asked her.

"Yeah, but it's up against the table, so you won't be able to go around the other side."

Jack studied the situation for a second before saying, "Well, then there's nothing for it but to…" and he kneeled down behind Sam, close enough to touch her, and wrapped his arms around her in order to grab the large cube- shaped artifact and help her lift it.

Sam's eyebrows disappeared into her hairline at their position, and she swallowed a smile. "Ready? One, two, three." Together they hoisted the monster onto her lab bench and let it drop with a loud clang. "Thank you, sir." Sam said shyly. "Do you want to see what it does?"

Jack eyed her warily. "Are you going to try to explain it to me, or just show me?"

"I'll just show you for now, and if you want to know more, I can tell you how it works."

"Not gonna happen. Alrighty, what does it do?"

"Well, if you look at this side here," Sam pointed to the side facing them, "you'll see that there are several rows of colored lights that are raised from the surface. They're buttons, and you have to press them in the correct order to make the next side of the cube light up."

"Wait, is this thing some kind of alien rubix-cube?" Jack asked her, surprised.

"Yes, sir. Its only function seems to be for entertainment. It's a puzzle."

"Yeah, one only you will be able to solve."

Carter ducked her head at the implied compliment. "Do you want to see the rest?"

"Sure, why not?"

"Here, I'll show you the sequence that will light up the next panel." She rapidly punched a series of the illuminated circles on the side. "It seems to be based on an algorithmic…"

"Carter!" Jack yelped. "I said no technobabble! And do you really think I'm going to be able to repeat whatever the hell you just did?"

Sam looked up at him. "Oh, sorry, sir. Here, I'll show you which ones to push." She moved over to make room for him, noticing as she did so how close they were going to be standing. She quickly squashed the heat beginning to rise in her face. Jack moved in behind her, facing the cube, and looked over her shoulder. "Press these four keys in sequence." Sam said, pointing to a series of circles. Jack punched them in quickly, then proceeded to follow the rest of her instructions. Once finished, the panel lit up completely in a brilliant array of colors. "Good, we finished the first one, which should light up the second. Can you help me turn it?"

Jack grabbed the corners of the cube, his hands right above Sam's and together they shifted it so the next panel was facing them. Sam was staring at it, her hands still on the corners when Jack let his hands slide over hers a bit before releasing the artifact. The contact jolted through her body and she jumped a little. Jack grinned at her reaction. "So what does this side do?" He asked, not moving from where he stood. He was enjoying her reactions to him—not to mention her proximity.

"I-I'm not real sure, sir. This is as far as I've gotten, which is why I wanted to get it on the table." She studied the panel, which seemed to be made of several thin colored bars, each radiating out from a center point of the panel. The bars were raised, similar to the "buttons" that made up the previous side. Sam touched one of the bars, and nothing happened. She took one finger an lightly stroked the bar from the center out. The strip glowed and a single tone rang out from the cube. The sound was beautiful, and purer than anything Sam had ever heard. She breathed out with appreciation, excitement swelling in her at this new puzzle. Repeated stroking of the other bars produced similar results, each one emitting the same tone, but on different pitches.

"It's a musical puzzle." Sam said for Jack's benefit.

"Ah." Jack said. "May I?"

Sam moved her hand away from the panel, and Jack reached out to run a finger along one of the strips. A tone sounded, but it was loud and harsh, nothing like the one that had played when Sam did it.

"I think you may be pressing too hard, sir. Let's see." Sam reached out and took his hand, not even noticing his expression as she did so, due to her excitement at figuring out this new puzzle. He extended a finger, and she placed her hand on top of his, guiding his touch along the bars. Now the sounds were pleasant again.

Jack had absolutely no interest in this little game, but was enjoying Carter's "guidance" way too much to say anything. She seemed to be figuring out the sequence that needed to be played, and Jack could see her breathing coming a little faster. He knew it was mostly because of the game, but hoped it was at least a little bit because of him. Jack shifted his weight, pressing against her a little bit, and she glanced at him. He kept his eyes on the artifact, pretending not to notice.

They kept playing, their hands moving simultaneously over the colored bars. Sam's awareness of her CO was mounting by the second, and she glanced up at him to see if he was noticing. His eyes were still forward, but they were a little too glazed to be paying attention to what he was doing. Sam looked at their hands, still manipulating the game, and flexed her fingers a little, moving them just barely over the top of his hand. She was rewarded with a slight intake of breath and she quickly returned her gaze to the game.

"You know," Jack drawled, a little too nonchalantly, "that camera is gonna give the wrong impression to whoever may be watching at the moment."

Sam glanced up, then back down at the puzzle. "The camera's broken. Has been for weeks."

"Ah."

They continued to explore the object, Sam using about a quarter of her brain to try to figure out the puzzle, and the rest of it trying to talk herself out of what she knew was going to happen soon if she and Jack kept doing what they were doing. A couple of minutes later, she had managed to get a couple of the bars to stay lit, and was working on the sequence of tones to light the rest.

Jack had pretty much given up looking at the puzzle, and was studying Sam from his vantage point beside and slightly behind her. He could see her face, but was out of her peripheral vision, so he was free to stare as much as he liked. Her height put the top of her head right about nose level, and he inhaled her scent, knowing it would just prolong the agony that was rapidly rising in his body. What was wrong with him?? He'd been this close with Carter plenty of times, and while each one was definitely…stimulating… he'd never reacted this strongly before.

Sam was starting to feel the same thing. Still keeping her eyes, and part of her conscious thought, on the puzzle, she tilted her head back a little to stretch her neck, and encountered Jack's shoulder. He immediately lifted his free hand and began to massage the back of her neck. He did it gently, not wanting to hurt her, but his hands were strong, and his touch felt wonderful. Sam dropped her head, letting him soothe away the tense muscles, and relaxed a bit. Which was bad because all of a sudden whatever was causing their heightened reactions to each other now had free reign. Her right hand, which was still "guiding" his over the object, tightened over his fingers, and she gasped as she felt his breath and then his lips on her neck. She tilted her head, letting him do it, and groaned a little as his tongue began to explore the length of her throat. Sam let go of his hand and turned in his arms, still keeping her head to the side. Her eyes widened and she gasped again as Jack made his way back up her neck and began to suck carefully on her ear. She could hear his harsh breathing as he tried to control himself. She understood completely, as she was now clenching her fists in her struggle to not jump him then and there. They were still in her lab, and the door was open. Somehow, though, that just made the experience even more sensual.

Jack was back on her neck now, but was making his way up her jawline, heading for her mouth. Sam dipped her head and captured his lips with hers, making him inhale sharply. She opened her mouth to him almost immediately, and sought his tongue with hers. When she found it, she felt like she was going to explode. Passion ripped through her body, making her blind to everything but him. Everywhere he touched her left tingling lines of pleasure, and she gripped his shirt, wanting to tear it off. Her passion increased when he grabbed her ass and lifted her bodily onto the lab table behind her. She wrapped her legs around him, and crushed her mouth to his, her hands in his hair, and his on her back, under her shirt.

Sam shifted her position and her mouth left his to explore his neck. She sucked on his pulse point, making him groan and slide his hands further up her back. She ran her tongue over his throat and he released one hand of its hold on her to grip the side of the table she was sitting on. "Sam" he growled. "I can't…I'm gonna…oh crap."

Jack abruptly pushed her back further onto the table, and swept everything off of it to make room for what they were about to do. She let him, knowing there was no way in hell she was going to be able to stop herself, let alone him. Jack's sweeping hand encountered something large and heavy, but he pushed hard, and it slid across the table and crashed to the ground.

Abruptly the haze that had surrounded the officers disappeared, leaving them both clear headed and staring at each other.

Jack looked at Carter, "Uh, what just happened?" he asked, noticing her legs wrapped around him and his hands up her shirt. He didn't move, though, just looked at her.

"I don't know. Ummm.." Sam didn't move either. He was warm, and the sudden change of atmosphere had left her shivering a little. She shook her head and glanced down at the artifact that lay in pieces on the floor. "I think that thing may have a slight aphorismatic effect on its users."

"Ya think?" Jack said, also looking at the object, and still not moving.

"Yeah." Reluctantly Sam let her legs drop, and Jack removed his hands from her back, but not without a caress that made her gasp and glare up at him. He grinned at her. "I don't think that thing creates feelings, though. Maybe just heightens them a little." He took a deep breath and stepped away from her, putting his hands in his pockets. "Is it dead?" he asked.

Sam got down from the table and knelt beside the device. "Looks like it." She stood back up and looked at him again. "I guess it's not made for sudden drops of several feet to land on a concrete floor."

"Mmm. Too bad." Jack said before turning to saunter out of the lab.