A/N: So, this is my first ever fanfiction of Stargate SG-1 and especially so of the couple Sam/Jack. I hope I'm not making a fool of myself with this one and I want you to know that it's all for entertainment purposes.
Disclaimer: I own nothing! Except the general story idea behind it.
Summary: Sam and McKay are stranded in space, seemingly without a way to come home. Home on Earth, Jack and SG-1 feels equally hopeless. Can Sam find her way back home?
Couples: Sam/Jack, onesided McKay-flirting
Spoilers: Set post-Grace, pre-Death Knell. Season 7.
Edit: Rewritten and edited 2013 to improve the work.
"Chevron 1 encoded!" Sgt. Harriman's clear voice echoed over the speakers in the Gateroom of the SGC.
Down in the Gateroom, Sam payed the man little heed as she crouched down by her large, black bag. With fervent, slim hands she rummaged through the bag in search of nothing in particular except that which she had forgotten. In truth, she'd already checked once already to make sure she was all done and had all she needed. Still, one more check couldn't hurt. It was in her nature to be thorough, and she rather liked the knowledge of certainity.
"Stop checking, Carter, you'll wear yourself out," her CO's voice floated down to her from somewhere above.
The blonde woman couldn't help the slight smile that tugged at the corner of her lips as she followed his command and stood from the ground. Her eyes rose to meet Jack's and the brown pools smiled back at her with genuine warmth. A far cry from the sternness they usually guarded for whenever he was in his Colonel-mode. It pleased Sam to see that both his eyes and casual body language spoke volumes of his presence today as Jack, the person.
"Chevron 2 encoded!"
"Sorry, Sir." Sam allowed him to see her own smile briefly, but couldn't prevent the 'Sir' from slipping past her lips, as they so often did. "I just wanted to make sure I haven't forgotten anything."
The Colonel nodded vaguely with half-interest in his eyes. Clearly, he didn't see the same need to double check anything for this particular trip, but was clever enough to not speak the thought aloud. Still, after so many years of friendship, the message was still received loud and clear and Sam half-grimaced, half-smiled in return. The tall man before her saw the recognition in her own pale eyes and the warmth returned to his smile as his eyes remained on her face.
"I am sure you have not forgotten anything of importance, major Carter," Teal'c said. The strong Jaffa stood beside the Colonel, with his hands resting stoically behind his back. A warm smile spread across his lips also. On Jack's other side, Daniel nodded in agreement and beamed over at Sam.
"Chevron 3 encoded."
Sam looked up at her friends one by one as she pondered the current situation. It was unusual indeed for her not to be accompanied by SG-1, but this was one of those rare missions where the whole group was not needed. Still, without their presence, she knew she would feel a little lost. They were her family, after all, and she always felt like she was missing something when one or all of them were not with her. The woman knew, of course, that they were always with her in her mind, and that she would see them soon enough.
"I guess this is goodbye for a while then," she said and jokingly added, "You won't forget me while I'm gone, while you?"
"We will not," Teal'c spoke swiftly and bowed his head, as if having taken her question seriously.
"We'll see you in a week, Sam," Daniel promised and stepped forward for a brief hug. The warmth of his brotherly embrace touched Sam's heart and she smiled up at him as he stepped back. "You take care."
"Chevron 4 encoded."
Teal'c bowed his head one final time and wished her good luck before he and Daniel turned to exit the Gateroom. With a last impish grin from the archeologist, the two men vanished from out of side. Sam dared a glance back up at her CO, who watched her with a silent, unreadable look.
Mutely, their gazes met across the space for another couple of slow seconds as Harriman's voice once more echoed clearly across the room, "Chevron 5 encoded."
"I'll see you in a week, Sir," Sam said at last and the man flashed her another smile.
The woman bent down and picked her bag off the floor, ready to depart, when suddenly Jack's dulcet tones pulled her back. It seemed he was not quite as ready to say farewell as she was.
"Just out of curiosity, Carter," the grey-haired man began. He pulled his hand from his pants pocket and pointed a firm finger towards the person on the other end of the Gateroom, "how come he is allowed to come?"
The man in question threw on his backpack in that moment and stepped forward. Not having heard the question, Rodney McKay beamed over at the Colonel and Major with a confident smirk. As he strolled over to them, he commented, "I never cease to be amazed by the… amazement of the Stargate. Did you know that the wormhole is-"
"Ah!" Jack interrupted hurriedly and trepidation danced across his dark eyes. He grimaced and shook his head in the scientist's direction. "I'm sure I don't want to know."
"Chevron 6 encoded."
The dark-haired man sighed and rolled his eyes as he turned from the military man before him. His eyes instead searched out Sam's form and his smile slowly returned. "Excited, Sam?"
The Major shrugged. "Sure."
"Just think... we'll have an entire week to ourselves on a spaceship in remote space," the man mused. "Kind of sets the mood for a... hot romance, doesn't it? Try to contain yourself until we're aboard the ship, will you."
Sam opened her mouth as if to retort, but stopped herself half-way. He simply wasn't worth it.
"Chevron 7 encoded."
The blue vortex of the Gate swirled out from the Gate in that second before it settled down like a calm, summer pool. The horizon shimmered like the endless depths of the seas and patiently waited for its travellers.
Jack turned from the Stargate and noticed that McKay wiggled his unruly eyebrows in Sam's direction. The latter tried, but failed miserably, to ignore his innuendos. She was clearly uncomfortable to be on the receiving end of someone's affection, and more so by Mckay's affection. She looked a second away from punching the Doctor in the face - quite rightly so, Jack thought - but he wanted to spare her the court martial.
The elder man cleared his throat and nodded towards the shimmering horizon behind him. "You're gonna be late, Doctor. Wouldn't wanna keep you from your hot date in space..."
"Right," the man nodded and seemed to deliberate with himself whether or not to pat the Colonel on the shoulder. He clearly abandonded the idea and instead nodded once before he turned to the ramp beside him. As he walked towards the horizon, the Doctor called out, "Come on, Sam! Let's go!"
The Major inhaled deeply, as if this gesture gave her strength. She smiled tightly up at him and, reassured by this, McKay stepped through without further delay. Both Major and Colonel watched as his body disappeared into the blue pool and out of their sight. As soon as he was gone, Sam flashed her CO one last grin and stepped onto the ramp also. She was surprised to realize that the Colonel stepped right up with her, mirroring her step almost perfectly. For a second, she thought he was pretending to be her shadow.
As she flashed him a confused glance, the elder man simply shrugged and explained, "Figured I might as well walk you to the Gate."
Even though his voice clearly tried to sound aloof, Sam could still detect a childish playfulness that the man seemed to reserve only for private times with her. She liked to think so, at least, and couldn't contain the smile that erupted as a response to her own thought. She covered it by swiftly ducking her head. "Thank you, Sir."
The Colonel and his 2IC walked up towards the Gate and the blue shimmer as Sam spoke, "About your previous question, Sir… McKay volunteered for this mission. As you know, I was asked by Alpha Site to take Earth's newest space ship-"
"The Arcanum," Jack spoke with a nod.
"Yes, Sir. I was asked to take the Arcanum out for its 'first spin' in space, from PX3-983, where it was built, to Alpha Site. The purpose of this is to test the engines and make sure they are functioning according to plan. The guys at Alpha Site requested a full report detailing the progress and process of the engines, as well as a full reading on both the heat- and oxygen meters, hyperdrive function and any other technique that I or McKay tests out."
"…And this you wanted to do on your one free week, Carter?" the man by her side asked in mock disbelief.
The woman chuckled lightly as her eyes twinkled in the same blue shade as the Gate in front of her. "What better way to spend a week?"
"Ah... good question," Jack breathed. Even though he didn't voice it aloud, the Colonel was actually wishing he was accompaning her. In truth, he didn't have anything other than paper work awaiting him for the next week, and the prospect of one week alone in space with his 2IC had seemed quite more tempting. Even if she'd spend it talking excitedly about her gadgets the entire time. Still, when he had offered his assistance, the crew at Alpha Site had explained that only two people were needed for the job, and that they had to pick the appropriate scientists first. Jack figured it was the one time he would ever lose anything against McKay, but still didn't very much like the feeling.
"In my defense, Sir," Sam said and pulled the man from his ponderings, "I didn't know at the time I accepted that McKay would be coming too. I mean, he did accept after I did, Sir."
"Yeah, I know, I'm not holding it against you," Jack clarified with a grimace. "I'm just worried about your sanity, Carter."
The blonde, slim woman chuckled by this and the taller man smiled back. Her laughter always made his heart stop for a fraction of a second, and sometimes for an entire second if he was the cause of her joy. He had acknowledged this rule long ago and hat yet to meet an exception to it.
"It's just a week, Sir," the woman commented with a sly grin. "I think I'll manage fine. Even with McKay. Besides, I've been given permission to enter hyperspace for a limited time window should I need to. I believe the crew at Alpha Site know all about how McKay can test peoples' nerves."
Jack frowned down at her. "I thought you weren't supposed to push the ship, not yet at least?"
The Major nodded as she explained, "Since it's the Arcanum's first trip, we're not supposed to push the engines beyond their capacity, in order to keep them from overpowering too soon. This flight through space is supposed to just warm the ship up and make sure it runs properly for coming missions."
Jack took a deep breath as the two of them came to a halt only a few short inches before the glimmering, blue event horizon. This meant that he could no longer postpone their goodbye and the Colonel chose to ignore all the ways this made him unhappy.
"Take care, Carter," he said as he looked at her with a noticably softer, quieter voice.
"You too, Sir."
"Yeah sure, ya betcha," he promised.
Sam smiled as her eyes twinkled. "I'll take your word for it, Sir."
"So, when's it gonna be?" Jack asked in hope of postponing the inevitable just a few beats more.
The woman by his side frowned up at him, clearly lost. "Sir?"
Jack smiled to himself. He loved making his 2IC even slightly confused, since it was no more than a rare treat to the Colonel. Usually, it was the other way around. "When are you going to stop calling me 'sir' when we're alone, as I believe I've asked of you before?"
"Sir…" Her voice held a tone of warning. He was asking much of her, almost too much. He knew there was a line in the sand somewhere between them, but still he asked the question.
"I'm talking about in private, Carter. No one's gonna have to know how 'insubordinate' you've been,." he said as he made quotation marks in the air to emphasise the word. As an afterthought he added, "I believe you can call me Jack in front of Daniel and Teal'c too, they won't mind."
Sam smiled up at him. There was a reservation to her blue orbs as they locked with his dark ones, but still the words that crossed her mouth were, "Yes, sir."
"No 'sir', call me 'Jack', or 'O'Neill' if you must… or how about 'handsome devil'? I'd listen to that," Jack said jokingly as a part of him hoped to catch her off guard. He wasn't entirely certain what game he was playing, but still he couldn't resist the temptation of playing it anyway. Besides, he told himself, it wasn't like he was asking much, was it?
"If you call me Sam, Sir." Sam countered, not missing a beat, as a most faint blush crept up her throat and cheeks.
The Colonel couldn't but agree with her point. He'd read her purpose loud and clear and enjoyed the fact that she had risen to meet him in the middle. As long as they both remained in the middle, they were still on safe ground. With a crooked grin, Jack nodded and acknowledged her win, "Fair deal, Carter."
With those words, Jack turned his gaze away from his 2IC. He knew he'd stalled her long enough and if he continued, there could be questions to answer. He knew they were already close to the gossip of the base, but preferred if it stopped right there. This wasn't neutral ground, but as safe as it could be. As soon as he backed off mentally from her, Jack noticed Sam, too, caught herself and straightened her posture.
As he stepped back half a step, his eyes once more sought hers out. He kept his gaze more vacant this time as he forced himself to remember all the watching eyes behind them. Still despite his attempt, he knew the Major could still read him as if he was one of her precious books on physics. Silently, but clear only to the pair of eyes that met his, he tried to convey his own dismay of having to stay behind.
As he had guessed, she read his thoughts plainly and smiled up at him with warm friendship. " I'll be fine, Sir."
"I know you will," he commented strongly and hoped that his eyes were telling her all that he couldn't admit or say out loud. "Well... Bye," he said finally and lowered his voice to make sure noone could overhear, "...Sam."
The woman smiled gently up at him and Jack found his gaze drawn to her lips briefly. He wished regulations weren't standing in his way of kissing her right then and there. Instead, he acted on his military training and took a respectable step back.
"Bye, Sir. See you in a week," Sam said before she turned to the event horizon beside them. Without glancing back, the long blonde walked ahead with her head held high.
As she disappeared through the Gate and the blue glimmer shut off, Jack lingered for a second or two.
At length, he nodded to himself and turned swiftly towards the exit. With steady steps, he began the long walk down the ramp and back to work. The long walk to wait for his 2IC:s return. He hoped she would return to him safely, as she most often did, and knew this would be another long week of waiting. He had every trust in her to do well, but still couldn't stop the small twitch of fear that lingered somewhere in the secret parts of his heart, where it hid with the darkness that also dwelled there.
With a last glance back at the Gate, the Colonel walked out of the Gateroom and headed for Daniel's office, hoping to kill some time torturing the archaeologist by playing with some of his precious stones and artifacts.