Title: Oasis
Author: a. loquita
Summary: Jack O'Neill's perspective on Samantha Carter taking command of Atlantis. A short little bit of ship and some McKay belittling thrown in just for fun.

Spoilers: Two minor ones for SG-1, a reference to "200" and a game- let's see who can spot my little spoof on "Line in the Sand?" :) For SGA minor one for Reunion
Pairings: Sam/Jack

Rating: Teen

Rodney McKay's mouth is going a mile a minute with techno-talk. Zelenka is nodding but he adds comments, questions, and concerns here and there. Carter stands between them, like an observer at a tennis match, back, forth, back, forth.

She's so engrossed in what they're talking about that she doesn't notice my presence. None of them have. I'm doing a good job at being sneaky General today, apparently.

When I arrived on Atlantis, just minutes ago, I was surprised Carter wasn't in the Gate room. I guess whatever this heated discussion is about must be pretty important for it to take precedence over an incoming wormhole. Granted, I did get sent through with a routine supply shipment. She had no reason to imagine an unexpected visitor would come through as well.

The squabble between McKay and Zelenka is getting faster and louder. Suddenly, Carter holds up a hand, both men stop talking instantly. I grin. I love that she has that kind of power. She deserves it. But outside of that, I'll never admit to her that it turns me on.

She makes a request that they check the kiwi-lacker-fraz something or other readings before moving ahead. While I'm pretty sure I would never understand what it was she just asked, even if I had a million years to read up on the subject, both men comprehend immediately.

Zelenka nods in agreement. However, McFly over there seems to have a problem with her suggestion and he starts to say something in protest.

Carter cuts him off. "Do I have to make it an order, McKay?"

Oh, yeah, she's damn sexy.

McKay reluctantly starts to turn toward his computer but now catches sight of me. "General? I didn't know you were here."

"Yes, well," I say.

I watch Carter's back stiffen ever so slightly before she turns. I didn't let her know I was coming. Maybe it wasn't such a good plan to surprise her like this. But I figure I can always blame it on the fact that it was a sudden decision on the part of the President. He was concerned enough about the current situation here on Atlantis to send me. Not that he doesn't have the utmost respect and confidence in Carter's abilities but he just wanted my assessment as well.

"Sir?" Carter locks eyes with me. I can feel her drawing me in. It's been far too long since I last saw her. I so much want to march right up to her, grab her, and kiss her beautiful lips until she's breathless. But if I did that, she'd kill me. And I don't take that threat lightly; she knows 15 different ways to kill a man in hand-to-hand.

"Carter," I acknowledge. I have to look away from her before too much is revealed. I'm not exactly in a mood to be less than obvious about my feelings for her. I redirect my attention to McKay, to let him know I saw his insubordination. Time to take him down a notch and teach the pipsqueak a lesson, should he ever attempt to cross my Colonel again. "Problem, McFly?"

"Ah," McKay answers nervously, "It's McKay. And no, Sir. Just attempting to shut down the device that the Genii planted-"

I bark in my grumpiest, meanest old General tone, "I meant with whatever it was that Carter asked you to do?" He flinches and literally takes a step back.

"No."

"Then what are you waiting for?"

"Right, yes, of course." McKay focuses on his computer screen. Zelenka leans over his shoulder.

"Colonel," I say without looking at her even now, "a word?"

I turn toward the doorway and sense her following me. In the corridor, Carter falls in step beside me. People pass us on the walk back to her office so we still don't really talk.

I ask her, "McKay going to fix this?"

"Always does, Sir."

"Still," I raise an eyebrow and chance a quick glance at her. "He's no you."

Carter tries to fight against it, but I see the slight curve of the corner of her lips. She doesn't want to give me the satisfaction of knowing that my compliment means something. She doesn't have an ego that needs stroking. Mm, stroking-

Carter interrupts my wayward thoughts. "Sheppard and his team have come up against the Genii a number of times in the past. He's got a good idea of what they want and how they operate. McKay thinks the device works by-"

Because I sense a grand speech à la Carter coming, I cut her off. "Ah, ah!" It was going to be the kind where she uses lots of multi-syllable words and by the time she gets to the end of it, I learned nothing, nada, zippo, ziltch. Except that I've spent the last five minutes staring at her mouth, so there's always that as an upside. But the headache is a definite downside.

I say to her, "I don't want to know the details. Just a yes or no when I ask if Atlantis is about to sink without shields."

"It won't, Sir. Not on my watch."

I have no doubt.

We arrive at her office and I silently curse the all-glass walls. Privacy is what we need, but of course, I have no right to ask it of her. This is her base, her office, she's leading this dance and she knows it.

It has to be this way. Otherwise, Carter will never have confidence in herself as a leader. I do this, because I would do anything for her. I would stop breathing if she asked me to.

I look around her office. Since taking command, Carter has made it her own. There is her computer and some files stacked on her desk. She's certainly not a commander who would dare not read her memos. No, I'm willing to bet my fishing pole on the fact that Carter has a complex filing system for every piece of paper that crosses her desk.

She's got some pictures in here, framed. That's also so very Carter. Those who matter most to her– Cassie and some other people– surround her no matter where she goes, no matter how far away they are in space, time, or even death. Dad stares out at me from one of those pictures and I bow my head ever so slightly to him. I miss him probably as much as Carter does. I'm glad he's here to watch over her. Makes me feel better about the inevitability of me having to leave here and leave her. We had an understanding, Dad and I.

Carter sits behind her desk and I take one of the seats in front. This is different.

We talk business for more than 30 minutes. I go through the President's concerns and the IOA interpretation of those concerns. She takes it all in, considers several options and issues.

Teyla appears at the doorway. "Colonel Carter, I am sorry to interrupt. But Colonel Sheppard and Doctor McKay wish to speak with you."

Duty calls and Carter abandons me. I roam around because I have always admired the beauty of this place. Frank Lloyd Wright evidently was an Ancient. I smirk, Carter would be shocked at my knowing something like that. The cute little wrinkle between her eyebrows would deepen as she studied me, wondering how and why her normally thick, flippant, former commander would know something about architecture. She'd worry that I was going Ancient myself, again. Have to remember to use that, keep her on her toes.

I find myself in the commissary. There's cake! I'm happy and distracted for a while with that. Military and civilian alike leave me alone. Everyone is equally intimidated by the General whose reputation precedes him. I'm pleased to discover that even retired and working as a civilian special advisor to the President for almost two years now doesn't change the fact that I can still frighten the masses. I sniff, and reach for more cake.

As I watch the inhabitants of Atlantis come in and out, grabbing food to go or sitting with team members for a while, I mentally compare this place with the mess at the SGC. It seems like a lifetime ago that I would sit there while Daniel asked endless questions, Teal'c ate everything in sight, and Carter– Ah, Carter. Nothing was better than when I saw her every single day. Except maybe now. I don't see her nearly often enough, and yet, I have a hard time believing I'd willingly swap and go back to those days. Everything comes with a sacrifice, especially in my life, but some sacrifices end up so worth it in the end.

Carter's team, the experts here, seem to be handling things. The negotiations with the Genii began and as the evening goes on, I realize how useless I am and sneak off at some point to wander down the halls. I ask a passing young man where Colonel Carter's private quarters are. He seems to hesitate for a moment. But then takes in my uniform and directs me.

I enter and pause as the doors slide shut behind me. This place also feels distinctly Carter. The other side of Carter, the one that no one sees. The one that I was finally granted full access to after waiting for far too many years. This side of Carter longs for a soft bed with comfy warm blankets. She likes candlelight. She paints her toenails. She makes this delicious purring sound when I kiss her along her collarbone.

I strip my uniform and leave it in a pile. This is also the side of Carter where she'll admonish me for making a mess and then shake her head while muttering, "Why do I bother?"

I crawl under her covers wearing only my boxers. I'm tired. I'm old so I'm allowed to be tired. Leave it to the kids now to do all the dirty work. I'm here to simply keep watch, keep the light on.

I'm guessing the President also realized how long it's been since I've seen my girl. Plus, he knows full well that said girl would never request leave because she misses me. Nope, she's too good of an officer to have that kind of weakness revealed.

The Genii will be dealt with effectively. No doubts about that. The President is likely more worried about the most effective commander in the universe giving up her post because she misses the man she loves who happens to reside three million light years away. Ordering me on a trip to the Pegasus galaxy is less hassle than trying to replace the irreplaceable.

I drift for a while in dreamland, surrounded by the scent of Carter: vanilla, cinnamon, and something slightly flowery. Her pillow at home has lost that smell, it's been that long since I've slept next to her.

Suddenly, my dreams seem to be far too vivid. Either I'm on some good drugs, or she's really here. I open my eyes to see Carter sans shirt, unhooking her bra.

"No, don't," I say groggily, "let me."

She turns and smiles. It's that sunshine-breaking-through-the-clouds kind of smile. The one that everyone else rarely sees but I get to because I am a blessed, blessed, and triply blessed man.

Carter comes to my side and I feel the mattress shift when she sits. They could have made these beds a little bigger. But then again, it will ensure that Carter has to be snuggled up tight against me all night in order for us to both fit. So, maybe those Lantians knew what they were doing after all.

She runs a hand down my cheek, neck, and settles it on my naked chest. "You could have warned me you were coming, Jack." Carter bores into my brain with her look. "Do you have any idea how hard it was to not react?"

I have an idea. I've been dying to get my hands on her since I arrived. But I knew Carter would never want a display. She has to command these people after I leave and go home. She wants their respect and she deserves it. She by no means got this post by sleeping her way to the top. But both Carter and I are well aware that there are people who'd love to justify it as that.

"I missed you." I state plainly. It's also an apology. This woman forgives me for all the faults I have. I have thousands and have no idea why she forgives. If she had any sense at all, she'd know better. Apparently I'm more complicated than the astrophysics she's got plenty of good sense about.

She stops the movements of her hands on my skin. Duty first. Cater reports, "McKay deactivated the device. We finished the negotiation and everything's OK, in case you're wondering."

"Never doubted."

Her eyes narrow ever so slightly. "So then the President sent you here why…?"

"Hey, it's not for us to question the actions of our Commander-in-Chief."

Carter gives me a look. The kind that back in the day would have been my undoing. Well, still is. Then she leans in and kisses me. It's several minutes before we come up for air. Oh, yeah, far too long.

"You're hot," she says cheekily, "in that uniform. Gets me going every time." Then her tone drops, teasing me in a different way, "Of course, left in a heap on my floor is slightly less sexy."

"I'll get it in the morning." I promise. I would promise this woman anything, the moon, the stars, the universe. "Just kiss me."

"No argument there."

I spend four days on Atlantis. Carter and I are careful over that time, stealing moments but not allowing anyone to see the real truth. Though I have the vague notion that Sheppard suspects something. Fine, let him wonder enough that he keeps his grubby hands off what's mine.

The last chevron locks and a wormhole is established. As I walk up to the event horizon, I turn, almost half-expecting Walter and General Hammond to be looking back at me through the glass. It's Carter instead, in her office. With a smile on her lips and longing in her eyes, she silently says goodbye.

I miss her already but I also know it's going to be OK. It's not the best situation in this, or any other galaxy. But for now, it will have to be OK. Because she's irreplaceable to me too.

("Still Waters" is somewhat of a sequel to this story)