A/N: Someone recently asked me why there weren't more scenes with Sam and Jack around a camfire on their various adventures. I assured her that fanfic authors had covered that...then found that I couldn't find any stories that had.
That got me thinking…and thus begins what I hope to be a series of "Campfire" stories. I'll try to label them so that it's clear where they fall.
As always, the characters that you recognize are owned by others. I am not making money doing this, just playing and having fun. If you like what I've done with them, ask me to write a script for the new show!
Additional A/N, added 3/21/09: I, for some mysterious reason, did not write Campfires for all the eps of Season 1. I am going back and rectifying that error. Hopefully this will not screw you all up too badly. We'll see what can handle as I swap out chapters.
Set following Children of the Gods.
Samantha Carter drove slowly down the street, glancing between the numbers on the houses and the slip of paper on which her new boss had hastily scribbled his address. She slowed to a crawl when she saw the children playing in a yard to her right, hoping none of them would decide to sprint into the street as she was driving by.
That's what I need, she thought. Squish a kid on the Colonel's street. Probably be some best buddy of his kid's. If he even has kids. Sam's thoughts trailed off as she finally spotted the correct address on the last house on the street. Tucked at the end of the lane, the Colonel's house was nestled perfectly into the surrounding foliage; the yard was neat and tidy, and a small opening in the bushes to the left of the house hinted at a larger backyard. For now, however, Sam was concerned with finding a place to park her vintage Volvo. The only empty spot on the street was in the Colonel's driveway, and that seemed a bit presumptuous to her.
Glancing up the street again, Sam shrugged, then gave up. The driveway it is. Hope his wife doesn't mind. Sam unfolded her long frame from the tiny Volvo, then reached inside to grab the bottle of wine she'd purchased on her way over. She nervously smoothed a hand over her polo shirt and blue jeans, hoping the Colonel had meant it when he'd insisted that the get-together was strictly casual.
Halfway up the walk Sam heard laughter coming from the backyard, so she detoured through the break in the bushes. Once inside, she spotted Ferretti seated in a low chair near the picnic table, several other members of his team nearby. Across from him sat Kowalsky, moodily staring into his beer while Doctor Jackson and one of SG-2's sergeants stood over the grill, apparently bickering. Two others from SG-2 were playing catch with a worn football at the far end of the yard.
Sam hesitated, noting that once again she was the only woman present. She'd hoped, when the Colonel issued his invitation, that the other members of SG's 1 and 2 would bring their families, but now realized just how impractical that was. If the families were there, there could be no discussion of the mission and its effects; and that was what this afternoon was about. Time to relax and to try to put it all into perspective. No pressure, no reports, no interference.
Still, it was hard to once again be the only "girl" at the party. Sam bit her lip and was considering simply turning around and leaving when a low voice in her year startled her.
"Not thinking of retreating, are you, Captain?"
Sam spun and found herself face-to-face with her new CO. "Uh, n-no, Sir," she stammered. "I, ah, was just getting here." She swallowed and added, "Besides, my Dad always said, 'Carter's never retreat.'"
"Sound's like your Dad's quite a guy." The Colonel grabbed her elbow and gently guided her further into the yard. "Hey folks, Captain Carter's here, looks like we can eat now." Sam nodded in return to the greetings she got from the members of both teams, easing around the side of the crowd to set down her bottle of wine.
Ferretti reached up from his chair and inspected the bottle, peering around the bandages still covering part of his face. "Nice, Captain." He waved a hand toward O'Neill. "Colonel, at least somebody knows how to pick a good wine. Got an opener handy?"
Doctor Jackson, relinquishing the grill tongs to O'Neill, shook his head. "Sorry, Ferretti, no wine for you. Doctor's orders."
"You're not that kind of Doctor, Doctor." Ferretti's whine brought several chuckles from the group.
"Nope, but the Doc on the base was pretty clear." Jackson refilled Ferretti's Coke and turned to Sam. "Captain-Doctor? What can I get you?"
Sam glanced around and noticed that everyone, with the exception of Ferretti, was drinking beer. She nodded her head toward the cooler and asked, "Got any more of those handy?"
O'Neill left the grill and opened the cooler. "Sure do, I just brought back another case. Harp's or Guinness?" The Colonel's eyes held hers for a moment and Sam was sure she saw the faint sparkle of challenge in his tawny gaze. Sam bit back a smile, thinking, Oh, Sir. You have no idea how–and with whom–I grew up. Puhleeze...Harp's?
"I'd like a Guinness, Colonel." She paused, cocking her head slightly. She noticed most of the men drinking directly from the bottle. "That is, of course, if you're going to build it properly."
At her comment Kowalsky looked up and snorted. "Damn, Jack, she even knows how to drink Guinness like an Irishman!" The men around the table laughed at Kowalsky's comment, while Sam felt herself blushing once again. I seem to always put my foot in it.
O'Neill's voice cut through the laughter. "And a finer compliment couldn't be given, Charlie. You heathens could learn a thing or two." The Colonel gestured for Sam to follow him, handing the tongs off once again to Daniel. "Don't burn the meat, Daniel. Come with me, Captain." Without waiting, O'Neill grabbed two bottles of Guinness from the cooler and strode toward the house. Sam, with a helpless glance in Jackson's direction, quietly followed.
Stepping through the open sliding glass door, Sam saw the Colonel carefully tipping her freshly opened beer into a glass. He held the glass at an angle, slowly building the pint until the cream sat, an inch thick, atop the rich dark brew, just kissing the top of the glass. Setting the newly built drink aside, O'Neill began the process again, this time pouring into his own glass. Sam saw him watching her as she entered the room.
"Change your mind?"
Nudging his chin toward her drink, O'Neill asked, "You said you wanted a properly built pint..."
Sam raised her arms in mock surprise. "And lift the glass before the drink has settled? My grandfather would spin in his grave."
The Colonel turned, resting his back against the kitchen counter as he reached and set his own pint near hers. "Well, at least you've been properly taught how to treat the world's finest brew."
"I have." Another shout of laughter rose from the backyard, pulling Sam's attention outside. "You all seem to know each other pretty well."
O'Neill shrugged. "Part of the job, I guess."
Sam felt his gaze on her as she continued to watch the others. Jackson had surrendered the grill to Sergeant Miller and was sitting next to Kowalsky, talking earnestly about something. She quirked a small smile at the sight. Doctor Jackson seemed to always be talking earnestly about something. Sam turned her attention back to the Colonel, realizing he was probably expecting a response.
O'Neill merely raised an eyebrow and handed her the now-settled Guinness. "I think this is good. Ready to dive in?"
Sam nodded, taking as sip of her drink before they left the kitchen. "Umm. This is great, Sir. And...probably not, but let's go."
SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ
Sam stood and stretched, easing the tight muscles in her legs. She waved as Sergeant Miller helped Ferretti across the now dark yard to his waiting car, the last of that team to leave. She wasn't able to leave until the Colonel moved his truck; he'd parked behind her when he returned from his beer run earlier. Not that Sam minded, really. The party had gone on longer than she'd anticipated, and to her surprise she found she'd enjoyed it far more than she'd expected. Despite multiple chefs and the distractions of team members coming and going, the steaks had been grilled to perfection. Accompanied by potatoes O'Neill had pulled from the back of the grill, the meal had been tasty, and a lot of fun. The others had eventually loosened up with her, including the affable Doctor "call me Daniel" Jackson; although he insisted on calling her Captain-Doctor just to rile her a bit. Sam had, hesitantly at first, then with more confidence, joined in the teasing and laughter. She'd come in for her own share of ribbing, laughing with the others as Ferretti mocked her first meeting with O'Neill.
"Colonel, I was studying the 'gate technology for two years before Daniel Jackson made it work and before you both went through. I should have gone through then. But, Sir, you and your...men...might as well accept the fact that I am going through this time."
"Well with all due respect, Doctor, I…"
"It is appropriate to refer to a person by their rank, not their salutation. You should call me "Captain," not "Doctor."
General Hammond spoke up. "Captain Carter's assignment to this unit is not an option, it's an order."
Sam, after a brief nod toward Hammond in thanks, returned her gaze to O'Neill. "I'm an Air Force officer just like you are, Colonel, and just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside, doesn't mean I can't handle whatever you can handle."
Sam grimaced at the memory as she stooped and began collecting the remainders of the team's dinner and after-dinner bonfire. God! Who says things like that? What an idiot. She'd given as good as she'd gotten, however, even drawing the wry Kowalsky out of his funk from time to time. His dry sarcasm on the mission had bothered her, especially his intimation that she'd gone overboard in setting up the Claymore mines on the ridge. O'Neill had put in his own comments, telling Kowalsky that Sam was in charge of the "blowing things up" department from now on, as she did it so thoroughly. Sam grinned to herself, remembering how she'd felt when he'd said that. Tacit approval from her new boss...that was a good thing.
Gathering up the bits of paper plate that hadn't been burned, the now empty marshmallow bags and chocolate bar wrappings, she stuffed them into the trash bag the Colonel had brought out earlier. She shivered in the rapidly cooling evening air as she moved; once she stepped out of the range of the firepit, it really was quite chilly in the Colonel's backyard.
Jumping to hear him so close behind her, Sam whirled. "Would you stop doing that! Sir." The honorific was a bit late.
O'Neill merely raised an eyebrow, one arm extended and holding a dark sweatshirt. "Doing what, Captain?"
Taking a deep breath to calm her racing heart, Sam automatically reached out to take the sweatshirt. "Sneaking up on me, Sir. Can't you make some noise, or something?"
O'Neill shrugged, then reached forward to take the trash bag from her. "Nope. You know, you don't have to do this." He gathered up the last of the trash, tying the bag closed and setting it aside.
"I know. But I can't really leave, Sir."
The Colonel paused halfway between standing and sitting; he'd been about to sit on the low picnic bench that sat on one side of his firepit. "Ah...you can't?
Sam, still holding the sweatshirt he'd loaned her, stepped closer to the fire. "No, Sir. You parked me in, remember?"
"Ah." O'Neill settled himself on the bench, stretching his legs toward the fire. He gestured to the sweatshirt she was holding. "You gonna put that on, Captain?"
"Oh." Sam checked her watch. "I don't really need it, Sir. If I'm leaving."
"Got somewhere else you have to be?"
"Then sit, Captain. Take a load off." O'Neill idly poked the fire, sending sparks up into the darkening night sky.
Sam studied him for a moment, then shrugged. She slipped the borrowed sweatshirt over her head, noting that it smelled...male. She sniffed again. The Colonel didn't wear cologne, as far as she could tell, but this smelled like...him. Kind of soapy, clean...crisp. She liked the smell, she decided. Oh please, Samantha. Get a grip. It's a sweatshirt. Snorting a little at her own nonsense, Sam tugged the garment down her torso, then rolled up the too-long sleeves to free her hands. "Thanks, Sir. It is a bit chilly."
"No problem. So," O'Neill turned toward her. "Tell me about yourself, Captain."
Waving a hand in her direction, O'Neill explained. "You enjoy a 'properly built,'" O'Neill made air quotes to emphasize his words, "Guinness. You've flown F-16's. You played with dolls–"
"Astronaut action figures."
"Ah." He made the air quotes again. "'Astronaut action figures.' You like to blow things up. You're pretty damned good in a fight. You like to arm wrestle..." O'Neill paused, looking at Sam expectantly.
"I...ah...like blue Jell-O."
"Huh." The Colonel turned back to the fire, nudging a log with the toe of his worn hiking boot. After a long moment he glanced again at Sam. "Daniel thinks I was too hard on you."
"Sir?" Sam looked around, suddenly realizing she hadn't seen the archaeologist leave. "When did he leave, anyway?"
"He didn't. He's camped in my guest room 'till he gets his own place again."
"Oh." Sam shifted in her chair. "If you don't mind my asking, Colonel, why would Doctor Jackson care about how you interact with your Second?"
O'Neill turned to her. "Now, see? That's exactly what I said to him!" He stared at her for a long moment, then dropped his gaze, turning back to the fire.
Sam studied her new CO, puzzled. She didn't get it, what was the...oh. "Colonel. Have you ever had a female Second before?"
"Nope, can't say that I have."
"May I ask, Sir...do you have a problem with the idea?"
"You may ask, and the answer is 'no.' I don't have any problem with it. Or you."
"Then, Sir...why are we having this discussion?" Sam dropped off of the bench and onto the ground, bringing herself nearer to the warmth of the fire. Despite the Colonel's borrowed sweatshirt she was shivering again. She glanced up at her boss to find him staring down at her. "Did you ever have these little chats with Major Kowalsky?"
"If I may, Sir?" Sam waited for O'Neill's nod. "Tell Doctor Jackson to stay out of it. I'm fine with just being your Second, Colonel. I don't need little after-action chats to make sure my feeling's haven't been bruised. Does that work for you, Colonel?" Sam could feel herself getting riled up. It was bad enough to have to fight the ongoing anti-woman sentiment in the service, but to have a fellow scientist feel as if he had to stick up for her...
O'Neill reached down and gently patted Sam's shoulder. "Easy, Captain. That works just fine for me." He, too, eased himself off of the bench and onto the ground beside his Captain. "Daniel's had an...interesting life. Kind of sheltered. I think he felt...protective of you. Don't take it the wrong way."
Sam simply nodded. She watched as the Colonel put another large log on the fire, knowing it would take hours for wood that size to burn away. She glanced over and found him watching her, a question on his face. Sam gave a small smile and settled herself more comfortably against the bench behind her. This was good. This was nice. She felt...at home here. In Colorado Springs, in the Stargate program. If she wasn't quite accepted by everyone here, she at least felt she was by those that mattered. The others would come around or they wouldn't, either way, she was here to stay.
Almost as if he could hear her thoughts, O'Neill said, "Besides, if he gets to be too much of a pain, you can always ask him to arm wrestle."
They were quiet for a long time, listening to the popping and spitting of the sap burning away in the log and watching as the fire slowly ate its way through the dry fuel. Sam idly watched the sparks drift up the sky and disappear in the tangle of stars overhead, content to simply sit and just...be. She was pulled back to Earth when the Colonel gently cleared his throat.
It took Sam a moment to figure out what he was asking, and when she did, she grinned into the darkness. "Yes, Sir." She paused, then asked, "You, Sir?"
"Red. The only way to go."
"Yeah." O'Neill's voice was soft, matching the stillness of the night. "Blue." He let out a sigh. "I guess I can work with that."
"Good to know. Sir."