Opening the door
Summary: Jack was in the neighbourhood (two parts, 1st part he said she still need some time and leave and that she just have to give him a sign, 2nd part she comes to Washington and open the door to his office, saying 'is that enough of a sign')
Season: season 9, just after Origin (9-03) for part 1, and just after Ex Deus Machina (9-07) for part 2
Spoiler: anything up to Ex Deus Machina (9-07)
Archives: my website, others ask please, I never refuse
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money; I just do it for fun.
Author's Note: This fic was written for Megan (returnofpiper) for the Sam/Jack ficathon. She wanted "The first time Jack and Sam see each other after he moves to DC (location up to the author). Awkwardness leading to not." Actually, this idea for a fic was sitting on my HD for a while and Megan had a request that was quite the same so here it is. This fic is in two parts because I've skipped a few weeks between the two parts
Jack stepped down from the plane and immediately noticed the car waiting for him. He sighed, getting into the back seat; if there was one thing he really hated in his new job, besides having to deal with politicians, it was not being able to drive himself. Now, wherever he had to go for his job, he had a driver. He missed being able to drive his truck; the only time he could do it was when he could sneak a few days off work to go to his cabin.
The car stopped, and he thought for the nth time that he really could have walked from the plane to the building, and he got out by himself, surprising the driver who had come around the car to open the door for him. He entered the building and was immediately noticed by the young sergeant at the desk.
"Sir, what can I do for you, Sir?"
"Actually, I was hoping you could…"
"General O'Neill," he was interrupted before he could finish.
Turning around, he saw the newly promoted Lieutenant Colonel Davis walk towards him.
"We weren't expecting you, Sir," he said as they shook hands.
"I know. I was in the neighbourhood and thought I'd stop by. So, how are things going?"
"Fine, Sir. The guys at R&D are happy to have Colonel Carter there, though I might say I was surprised that she asked to come here. I thought she would never leave the SGC."
"She needed the change after her father's death, and it was just at the same time that Cassy, Fraiser's adopted daughter," he clarified though he knew that Davis would know her, "needed her too."
"Do you think it's a permanent change?"
"I don't know. I know that the new leader of SG1, Mitchell, would like her to come back. You should ask her that, actually."
"I'll do that. So, want me to give you the tour?"
"Well, since I'm here…," Jack shrugged.
"This way, then," Davis gestured towards the elevators.
Halfway through the tour though, he had to leave Jack after an airman came to tell him that one of the scientists wanted to see him in his office. Jack assured him that he could continue the tour alone, sure that he couldn't get lost there after having spent more than eight years at the SGC.
An hour later, he realised that he was wrong when he came across the same corner for the third time. He asked his way to a scientist who was about to open a door, and was glad to find out that he wasn't far away from his destination; he wasn't that lost after all.
The door was opened and he could see only one person inside. He smiled as she didn't acknowledge him immediately, apparently too engrossed in one experiment or another. He took some time to observe her; she had her back to him and he could feel the tension radiating from her. Not that he was surprised about that; she would always be the same, no matter where she was. He noticed that the muscles on her back were tensed, and he wondered when was the last time she took a few days off to just relax.
"How long are you going to stay on the threshold, Sir?" she asked, surprising him.
"How did you know?" he asked her in answer, finally entering the lab.
"The closet door reflects the door."
"Oh… So, err… How are you?"
"Fine, sir. And you?"
"I'm pretty good," he answered, a small smile on his lips that she returned.
They both could feel it; it wasn't the same as a few weeks back. It was like they were back to the awkwardness of the first days they worked together. But even then, it wasn't that bad. They didn't have to wonder much about what had changed, they just knew.
Nothing was really standing between them now; sure as the head of Homeworld Security he was still her CO, but it wasn't the same as before. Now, they wouldn't fight together anymore, see each other everyday anymore.
"What are you doing here…, sir," she added at the last moment. She winced, realising how it sounded. "Not that you can't be here, sir, it's just… I thought you'd be in Washington."
"Well, I was just at the SGC and since I was in the neighbourhood, I thought I could come and say hi. So, hi."
"Hi, sir," she replied with a smile. "It's good to see you."
"It's good to see you too, Carter. So, when are you going back to the SGC?"
"I'm not sure I want to go back, sir," she admitted, knowing that he wouldn't judge her. "I mean, Cassy needs me, and having a job here is so much easier than back at the SGC."
"I know. I won't order you back, but they need you there," he told her and she just nodded in answer. "So… It's nearly dinner time, so stop whatever you were working on, and come on, I'm hungry. And no, 'I have to finish this first'," he added as he saw her ready to speak.
"Actually, I was going to say that we could go. Just give me a few minutes to go change and I'll be all yours."
As soon as she said the words, she blushed slightly and lowered her eyes. She expected a reply of some sort from Jack, but when she looked back up at him, she noticed his gaze had softened and his face sported a small smile.
They left the labs and she excused herself to go change. He went to wait for her by the entrance, hoping he wouldn't get lost this time.
"General," Colonel Davis called as Jack walked into the lobby. "I'm sorry for having left you earlier, but you know how scientists are. Would you like to join me for dinner, Sir?"
"Sorry, I already have other projects," Jack answered as he saw his 'other projects' walking towards him.
His jaw went somewhere near the floor as he noticed what she was wearing. Davis followed his gaze and his own jaw joined Jack's.
Sam couldn't help but smile at the look they were giving her; it was like they had forgotten she was a woman. She wasn't wearing something too fancy. Just a dress she had happened to have in her locker. Not that she was expecting this kind of occasion to present itself, but she was always told to be prepared for anything at anytime.
Jack picked up his jaw and let his gaze wander down her body. The knee-length black dress was revealing her cleavage, but not too much. He gulped; he had never seen her in that kind of attire before. His eyes locked on hers and he could see that she was glad to have that effect on him.
"Shall we…?" she gestured for the door and he nodded, before whispering something she didn't hear to Davis who immediately straightened and looked away.
"After you," he said, and she smiled; just what she was expecting.
She walked past him through the already opened door and heard him gasp; he obviously hadn't noticed that the back of her dress was low-cut before. She let out a soft laugh before turning towards him. She gave him a knowing smile, and headed towards her car.
"Wait," Jack called after her. "We should take mine. We'll come back here after dinner so you can get your car back. My driver will follow us, anyway," he explained as he saw her look.
"Ok, then," Sam agreed.
She took the arm he offered her and they walked towards the black car which was already waiting for them, the door opened. They slid in the backseat and the driver closed the door behind them. Jack let Sam give him directions to a restaurant she had heard of in town and they set off.
They stayed silent, neither knowing what to say. But it wasn't a comfortable silence like they were used to; no, they were feeling ill-at-ease, wondering if they should be here with the other. They were both somehow afraid to have nothing to talk about during the dinner.
As it turned out, it was quite the contrary. They spent two full hours at the restaurant, eating, laughing and talking about everything. Everything but one subject they'd carefully avoided the whole evening.
"Don't you miss working at the SGC?" he asked her at one point and she took a few seconds before answering.
"I do. But like I told you earlier, I'm not ready to go back. I think here's where I should be."
"For now," she nodded, with a smile. "And what about you? Do you miss the SGC?"
"Yes. But I think I've made the right choice. At least, I hope so," he said, looking straight into her eyes.
She blushed slightly, wondering if she had understood him right. But she wouldn't risk asking him.
It kept nagging her on the trip back to her car, but she managed to make light conversation with him, laughing or smiling when she should do. But it wouldn't leave her; it kept coming back to the front of her mind. She tried to reason herself, but she knew there was probably only one way to find out.
Jack noticed that something was bothering Sam, but he didn't know what, or rather he didn't want to know what. He knew it had started back at the restaurant, when he risked an insinuation. He shouldn't have said that, it wasn't the time for that, but he couldn't help himself. But now, he knew he had been wrong.
When the car finally stopped by Sam's, he stepped out after her despite her protests that she'd be fine. She opened the door and turned back towards him, a smile on her lips. He was much closer than she had expected, but she didn't let that deflate her.
"Thanks for the evening, sir. With Cassy out of town for the week, it was good to not be home alone."
"Anytime, Carter. If you happen to come to Washington one of these days, you know where to find me."
"Well, goodnight," Jack said in a soft voice.
"Goodnight," she replied, before closing the distance between them and taking his lips with hers, for a sweet kiss. She was a bit surprised at herself; she hadn't thought that she could have brought herself to do that, to kiss him where anybody working at Area 51 could see them, despite the late hour.
"No. We can't, we can't," he whispered against her lips.
"I thought you wanted it," Sam said, taking a step back from him and lowering her head. She didn't want him to see her disappointed face; it looked like she hadn't understood him right in the end. But before she could enter her car and drive away from there, from him, he took a hold onto her wrist, and putting two fingers under her chin, he urged her to look at him.
"I want that. God, Carter, Sam," he corrected himself, "I do want that, don't ever doubt that."
"But why…," she asked, confused.
"I think it's too soon," he admitted. "I know it's too soon actually. You're still settling into your new life, and you've just lost your father and cancelled your wedding…"
"It happened over three months ago…" she interrupted with a sigh. "I still mourn for my Dad, and I probably always will, but don't bring Pete in this, please, there really are no reasons to."
"Sorry. But I'll stand by what I said. It's still too soon, and I don't want to mess it up. We should wait. I… I don't want people thinking that we've been together all along"
"And that I don't deserve the promotions I got?" she continued for him, having understood his way of thinking.
"Until when?" she asked, a bit of annoyance in her voice.
"Until it's time for us. Do you understand why I'm doing this? I'm not pushing you away, Sam, I just feel that if we start something now, we might mess it up."
"I know. I understand, and I may even go as far as saying that I think you're right. I want this to work too."
"So, we wait?"
"We wait," she agreed, smiling at him.
"I'm sure there'll be a sign when the time comes."
"Then, we should watch for it. We don't want to miss it, right, Sir?"
Her look had turned mischievous and Jack knew that he should leave now, otherwise he wouldn't want to in a few minutes. But he decided to give into the temptation one last time. He leant his head towards Sam's, and captured her lips with his own. The kiss quickly heated and they were both breathless when they broke it. He rested his forehead against hers for a few seconds, trying to catch his breath.
"Until then," he whispered to her before walking away.
She watched his car drive away before entering her own. On its own volition, her hand flew to her lips that were stretched into a smile.
She hadn't expected the night to turn out the way it had, but she was far from complaining. Now, she just had to wait for the right moment for them to get together. She didn't know when that would be, but she sure hoped it would be soon enough. She was tired of waiting.
End of part 1