Title: Snowball Effect
Summary: Jack looked down at her and grinned. "Yes," he said, "it's definitely a good thing there are some dignified people around here, don't you think?" Fluff in the snow.
Season: Future and sometime in season 2. No real spoilers.
Pairings: Sam/Jack, with a little Daniel/Vala
Disclaimer: Still not mine? Wait, let me check. No, still not mine. Well, Maggie's mine. And the dog's mine. But that's about it.
A/N: Look! It's fluff! I'm so excited! I thought I'd never find my way out of the angst.
Sitting on the back steps of her house in Washington, D.C.'s Virginia suburbs, Sam watched, fascinated, as a beagle-like dog raced madly around the yard, distantly followed by a small, toddling girl and a very amused-looking Jack O'Neill.
A storm had dropped a few inches of snow overnight, and the dog, at least, had found it to be the most exciting development in several months, taking off into the white powder as soon as the back door was opened that morning. Their daughter, Maggie, had taken a little more coaxing, but she had finally followed her father out into the yard, eventually forgetting to be alarmed about the snow in the interest of trying to catch the fast-moving canine.
Sam watched as Maggie suddenly changed course, no longer following the dog. Instead, the little girl headed for the gate that led to the side yard, yelling something that Sam knew was 'Vala', but only because she'd heard it many times before.
Craning her neck, Sam saw Vala and Daniel coming through the gate. Vala waved as she ran over to the little girl, catching her up and spinning her around. Daniel, smiling, turned and walked across the intervening yard and patio to Sam's side. He sat down next to her and leaned over to kiss her cheek.
"I'm glad you and Vala could come," she said, returning the gesture. "It's good to see you someplace that doesn't have a conference table."
"You, too. What are you doing over here all by yourself?" he asked.
"Oh, it just hurts to move right now. So I thought I wouldn't this morning."
"Christmas baby this time, you think?" Daniel asked.
"I should be so lucky," Sam said with a wince, resting a hand on her belly. "No, I'm sure it'll be a few more weeks."
Daniel draped his arm around her. "Cassie driving down from Baltimore later?"
"She's on her way now, actually." Sam sighed. "I wish Cam and Teal'c could have made it."
"Well, someone's got to keep the lights on at the SGC for the holiday. And apparently this weekend they're going to go skiing."
She turned her head to stare at him. "Teal'c, skiing?"
"Yeah, I can't see it either," Daniel said with a grin.
At that moment, their attention was drawn back across the backyard by a particularly loud shriek from Vala, who had somehow gotten her legs knocked out from under her by the dog. Sam and Daniel sat together in companionable silence, watching the others as they continued to play in the snow, until Vala suddenly began to wave her arms.
"Daniel," she yelled, "come over here. They're ganging up on me."
"Jack's ganging up on her with a dog and a little girl, and she needs help? I feel sorrier for Jack."
"Well, I will say that the dog's a force to be reckoned with," Sam said.
Daniel laughed. "You okay here?"
"Couldn't be better," she said.
Daniel jogged across the yard, and was met by a running Maggie, who demanded to be picked up for a kiss. Once he'd set the girl down, Vala seemed to insist on the same treatment. In an exaggerated fashion, Daniel wrapped his arms around her and dipped her backwards as he kissed her. When he pulled her back upright, Vala, smiling sweetly, dumped a handful of snow down the collar of Daniel's shirt. Sam laughed as Daniel jerked away, yelling loudly, but when he scooped up his own handful and threw it back at Vala, Sam suddenly found herself transfixed, caught up in a long-ago moment she hadn't even known she'd remembered.
Sam stared up into the control room window, watching as the on-duty gate tech and one of the other sergeants looked at the computer monitor. The gate had been open for few minutes, but SG-1 had not been given the go ahead to proceed, so she assumed something unexpected had come up in the routine pre-mission check of the MALP's readings.
"What's the hold up?" Colonel O'Neill yelled from immediately behind her. Sam clapped a hand over her ear and turned to glare at him, forcing her face into a scowl when he grinned at her. "Sorry, Captain, didn't see you there."
"Yes, sir, I'm sure," she muttered just as the response came from above them.
"Colonel, Captain, you're probably going to want to see this before you head out," the gate tech said into the microphone.
"Goody," said Colonel O'Neill. "Just what I always want to hear right before a mission. Come on, kids."
When they'd trooped up the stairs to the control room, Sam followed the sergeant's pointing finger and looked at the monitor. "Oops," she said.
"Oh, for crying out loud. Captain, was there snow there when SG-3 visited?"
"No, sir," she said as she sat at the computer and began tapping out commands. "In fact, there wasn't any there when we checked the MALP three hours ago."
"Three hours? Carter, that's a foot of snow if it's an inch. I'm not walking into a blizzard."
"The MALP's atmospheric readings indicate that the weather's clearing off, sir. I don't think there'll be any more snow, at least not today."
"Not today? What about tomorrow?"
"Well, since we don't exactly have weather satellites in orbit, it's a little difficult to predict tomorrow, sir."
"Of course it is."
Daniel seemed to sense where things were going. "Jack," he said, "I really need to get a look at these ruins."
"I don't want to go wade around in the snow," the colonel said, sounding petulant. "Couldn't we wait to see if it'll melt by tomorrow?"
Sam ducked her head, hiding her grin. "As near as we can tell, it's going to be winter there for a long time, sir," she responded. "There's no guarantee the snow's going to melt anytime soon."
"This could be important, Jack. The Goa'uld dialect on the pillars at the ruins is the oldest we've run across yet. SG-3 seemed to think that – "
"All right, all right!" he said, waving his hands to cut Daniel off. "All right. Let's go get the extra gear. We'll head out in twenty."
When they finally made it to the planet, the colonel looked to Sam for her direction. "Um, that way, sir, she said, pointing to the northeast. "There's supposed to be a sort of path, some old stones, really, once we get to the edge of the clearing."
"Great," he said, shaking his head as he started down the steps from the gate with the others following. "Snow and trees. Just great. You know, I thought the snakes liked it warmer than this."
"It is possible this planet had some strategic value which outweighed the inhospitable climate, O'Neill," Teal'c responded.
"Which makes it all the more important that we see what's here," Daniel said.
"Daniel, you already got your way," the colonel said, a distinct note of warning in his voice. "Don't gloat, it isn't nice."
Sam sniffed, suppressing a laugh.
"Something you wanted to add, Captain?" he asked, falling in beside her.
"No, sir," she said, wincing a little at the sing-song sound of her own response.
"What," the colonel said crossly, "did I ever do to deserve the three of you?"
"I believe some among the Tau'ri believe in a principle known as karma," Teal'c said.
This time, Sam didn't manage to catch her laugh before it escaped. Colonel O'Neill shot her a look that made it clear she'd regret her indiscretion.
"Any particular reason you're so crabby today, sir?" she asked, figuring that if she was already in trouble, she might as well make it worth it.
"Any particular reason you're not? We're taking a thirty-minute hike in several inches of snow."
"I like snow, sir."
"I like snow, too, Carter, just not to slog through while I'm geared up and on a mission."
"No sense of adventure, sir?"
"No sense of – you're a lunatic."
"Sometimes, sir," she said cheerfully.
"I should have stayed in bed."
They'd reached the trees now and found that they were spaced far enough apart that the snow was still fairly deep even under their cover. That fact, in combination with the clumps of snow occasionally brought down on their heads by wind blowing through the trees' branches, had the colonel grumbling, and Sam laughing, the entire way to the site of the ruins.
"Okay," Colonel O'Neill said once they'd reached the site. "Teal'c, you stay here with Daniel. Carter and I are going to have a quick look around."
SG-3 had found nothing alarming when they had visited, but prudence had frequently proven life-saving during their missions. Together, Sam and the colonel made a circuit of the ruins, looking for any sign of life or disturbance, but finding none. When they finally returned to the others, Sam stood with the colonel and Teal'c, each taking a line of sight in a different direction, while Daniel examined a pillar several feet away.
"Hey, Teal'c," Daniel said a few minutes later, "can you take a look at something for me?"
Teal'c turned and walked slowly to Daniel's side, and the two were soon deeply immersed in discussion of possible translations for the ancient Goa'uld writing.
Colonel O'Neill moved to the steps leading down from the ruins to the path they'd followed earlier. He used his boots to sweep the snow from the top step and sat down with a dramatic sigh. "There's nothing here," he said, gesturing for her to sit beside him.
Trusting his instincts, she followed his direction. "Rock's kind of cold, sir," she said after a minute, poking the stone step below her.
He turned to look at her. "I thought you liked winter, Carter," he said with a smirk.
"I said I liked snow, sir. The rest of winter I could do without. Most of the places we lived when I was growing up were pretty warm."
"Air Force brat like you? What, you never made it to Europe?"
"Actually, Dad was posted for a couple of years in Germany. It was before Mom died – I guess I was about ten. I remember playing in the snow, all four of us, a few times. I don't know, maybe that's why I like it so much."
He continued to stare at her, his brows furrowed. She met his gaze for a moment, but pulled her eyes away when she felt heat beginning to climb up her cheeks. "Sorry if I've been a little annoying today, sir."
"Not at all, Captain," he said softly. She studiously avoided looking back at him, knowing her face would turn completely red if she did. He clapped her on the shoulder, and said in a completely different voice, "And anyway, I'm going to have my revenge now."
Before she could react, Sam found he'd managed to shove a handful of snow down the back of her neck. By clamping her mouth shut she narrowly avoided an undignified shriek. She jumped to her feet, grabbing her own handful of snow and staring at the unrepentant Colonel O'Neill who now stood several feet away. "I can't believe you just did that, sir," she said, her eyes wide. "I'm going to freeze."
He rolled his eyes.
"You really think I'm just going to take that, sir?" she asked as she packed the handful of snow she'd grabbed had into a ball, reaching down to add a little more to it once she'd finished.
"Well, if you throw that, it's assaulting a superior officer, Captain." he said.
"You started it, sir," she replied, feinting with the snowball. He dodged to the side.
"I don't think that actually matters, you know."
She scowled, and made as if to throw the handful of snow again. He moved out of the way once more.
"Actually, go ahead, Captain. I swear I won't bring you up on charges." He stood completely still, this time, smirking at her, and she took aim and hurled the snowball at his face. Grinning, Jack ducked out of the way, and, instead of striking its intended target, Sam's missile hit Teal'c right in back of the head.
Teal'c's hand shot upward to meet the cold remnants of the snowball and brush them away. He turned, slowly, and eyed first Jack, then Sam.
"Oh, God," Sam said, covering her mouth with her hand and fighting not to laugh.
Colonel O'Neill didn't bother to try. He was doubled over with mirth.
"I fail to find the humor in this situation," Teal'c said.
Sam gave in and started to giggle helplessly.
"I cannot believe you fell for that, Captain," Colonel O'Neill choked out as he sat down on the ground.
"Oh, dear," Sam said, trying to stop laughing. "Teal'c, I'm so sorry. I was aiming at the colonel. He set me up."
"You are fortunate I did not shoot one of you, O'Neill. It is not wise to assault a battle-trained Jaffa, even with a ball of snow."
"That shouldn't be funny," Sam said as she again dissolved into laughter.
"Nope, not funny at all," the colonel responded, wiping his eyes as he continued to chuckle quietly.
As Daniel and Vala began to throw snow at each other in earnest, Jack backed away, and Sam couldn't help but laugh at the expression on his face. He picked Maggie up and walked back to the steps to join Sam. When Jack set the little girl down next to Sam, Maggie gave her mother a hug, then promptly ran back toward Daniel and Vala.
Sam looked up at her husband. "Having fun?" she asked, smiling.
"That woman is nuts. She and Daniel make me feel like the chaperone for a school field trip," Jack replied, looking back at Vala and Daniel before settling next to her on the step. "Hey, you okay? You've got that 'I've thought of something' look about you." He put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close to him.
"I'm okay," she answered. Turning into him, she allowed a sense of absolute contentment to steal over her. "It's just something I remembered."
"Care to share?"
"Do you happen to recall the time I hit Teal'c with a snowball?"
Jack looked down at her and grinned. "Yes," he said, "it's a good thing there are some dignified people around here, don't you think?"
She felt the familiar bubbles of joy inside herself as she met his gaze. "Oh, absolutely," she said, leaning forward and kissing him lightly. Then she settled herself more snugly against him and closed her eyes.
A moment later, she felt him shift a bit, and, on instinct, she reached up and captured his wrist. "Don't even think about it, Jack," she said firmly.
He laughed, dropped his handful of snow to the ground, and then kissed her on the top of the head. "Whatever you say, ma'am."