Title: I Tell You What, Let's Change the Subject
Season/Episode: Post-series, but contains no spoilers (unless you consider Sam's hairstyle a spoiler).
Summary: Jack's having one of those days where things just won't go according to plan.
Categories: Fluff. Humor.
Warnings: A fair amount of ridiculousness.
A/N: Thanks to a-loquita for the prompt, and to binkii822 for the super-fast read-through!
Jack shut the car door with sigh of relief and headed toward the back door of the house. His morning hadn't exactly gone the way he'd wanted, having been unexpectedly eaten up by a conference call he'd had to take at the SGC, but at least it had only been the morning he'd lost. Between the three Congressmen, one White House aide, and two Russian under-secretaries of who-knew-what, it could easily have taken up the entire day – a day for which he already had plans. Important plans.
Very important plans, in fact, that definitely did not involve politics, or budgets, or carefully-crafted statements that actually said nothing at all. Plans that had already been interrupted once this morning, and which he didn't intend to have interrupted again.
Plans that he immediately began to question when he walked in the back door to a cacophony of banging noises coming from the direction of the kitchen.
What had he forgotten, exactly, that had caused this? He ran a quick mental inventory of every special occasion he could think of and drew a complete blank. Tried to recall any mention of out-of-town guests or team nights or paying the neighbor down the street back for inviting them to dinner last month. Nothing. Block party, Cassie coming home ….
Another loud bang interrupted his thoughts, and he gave up. Tossing his keys on a little table next to the door, Jack made his way down the hall, wincing at the continuing succession of crashes and clangs.
Carter in the kitchen was almost never a good thing, but this had all the trappings of a downright catastrophe.
As he neared the kitchen door, the sound of her voice joined the clatter; most of the words were lost amidst the noise. Then there was a particularly deafening crash, followed by an almost-as-loud "Sorry!" The racket was somewhat more subdued after that, allowing a few more of her words to carry through to the hall.
"Yeah …" Clunk, clatter, "…been having some problems the last few times …" Clank.
She stopped speaking briefly, though the apparent deconstruction of the kitchen continued unabated. She must be on the phone. Jack was about to round the corner and enter the room when her next statement stopped him cold.
"… last night … and then this morning … just not very satisfying for me, to be honest …"
His mouth fell open slightly, and he shook his head. She couldn't mean what that sounded like she meant. Not satisfied?
" … doesn't quite have the same stamina anymore …"
Stamina? He didn't think there'd been a problem. Well, there was that one time when she … but that wasn't his fault! Really, what the hell was she talking about?
And for that matter, who was she talking to? Cassie? Geez, surely not. Cassie would've run screaming from the phone.
Maybe he'd misunderstood?
"Honestly, I'm a little concerned. It is a pretty common symptom of age …" Crash.
He nearly groaned. Well, that was pretty clear.
And on further thought, it'd better be her sister-in-law on the other end of the line, because at least her he almost never had to see. Whoever it was, there was no way he was ever looking them in the eye after this.
Oh, crap. Surely it wasn't Vala. He'd never be able to show his face at the SGC again.
This just couldn't be good.
"Yeah. I've really been having to baby things along lately. Pace it pretty carefully." Sam resumed speaking, this time without benefit of the impromptu drum set she'd obviously set up in the kitchen. She sounded frustrated, even a little forlorn. No. This was definitely not good. "It's just a lot more thought than I want to put into something I'm used to doing for the thrill."
Actually, perhaps they'd just skipped right over not good and moved straight on to really, really bad. Somewhere in the vicinity of Hathor holding her baby eel in front of your face bad.
"Yeah, I've considered that. I mean, there are a number of possible solutions, but …" she trailed off, and then the clanking started up again as she listened.
That was it. There was no way he was going to stand here, he thought, and eavesdrop while Carter discussed … treatment options. He could be a man about this. Steeling himself, he rounded the corner and walked through the door.
And he stopped again when his foot made contact with a small saucepan, sending it skating across the floor. Or at least, skating two feet across the floor until it made contact with a small sea of pots, pans, and other items that had obviously been removed from their usual spots in the cabinets.
Sam was sitting in the middle of the mess, using her shoulder to pinch the phone against her ear while she lifted the lid from a pot to look inside it. She glanced up at him and smiled. "Oh, you're home. Good."
"Hi," he said, the appalling conversation he'd just overheard momentarily wiped from his mind by the disaster in front of him.
She was speaking into the phone again. "I've got to go. Thanks for the update, Sergeant. Let me know if anything new comes up, will you? Okay."
Sergeant? He cocked his head, the concern he'd felt before coming back in full force and moving rapidly to panic. "And that was ...?"
"Siler," she said as she set the phone on the floor next to her, turned, and practically dove back into the cabinet.
"There've been some glitches with the new MALP software. I asked him to keep me informed."
Was she hiding by practically crawling into that cabinet, or just trying to sidetrack him with the view of her ass? He sighed and closed his eyes to avoid the distraction. "Didn't sound like you were talking about MALPs, Carter."
"Hmm?" He heard her shifting around and opened his eyes in time to see that she'd moved on to the next cabinet. "Oh, that. Just figured I'd get his thoughts on a little problem I've been having."
Jack could feel his eyebrows climbing up toward his hairline. "You wanted Siler's thoughts? On our sex life?" This could not be happening.
"What?" She withdrew from the cabinet so quickly that she hit her head. "Ow."
He'd have winced in sympathy if he hadn't been so busy trying to work out at what point during the day he could have dropped into a parallel reality. Maybe this reality had a she-Siler?
Okay. Maybe Carter could gossip with a girl Siler, but that was an image he really hadn't needed.
Sam, meanwhile, was unaware of his inner jaunt to scary-ville. "Our sex life?" she asked weakly as her fingers prodded gently at the back of her head.
He blinked. "You know – you, me, naked? Generally involves a bed?" Definitely does not involve thoughts of a Sergeant Siler of either gender. "Although I will point out," he added defensively, "that there have been times when my old bones were adventurous enough for a change of venue. Recent times."
"Jack, what on Earth are you talking about?"
"On the –" He gestured at the phone on the floor. "What was it? Lack of stamina, unsatisfying, old age …" he waved a hand, not really wanting to continue.
Sam covered her eyes with her hand.
"You've been babying me?" And he clapped his mouth shut, realizing that last had come out as a whine.
She dropped her hand and stared up at him, lips pursed together, jaw working slightly. She was, he decided, trying not to laugh. Then she took a deep breath, turned, and inserted her head and shoulders back into the cabinet. Her voice echoed back at him. "Jack," she said, "you are very sweet. But right now, you're also an idiot."
"I was talking to Siler about my bike."
Bike. Right. The one she'd been out riding when he got into town yesterday evening. And also, apparently, while he was tied up this morning.
Suddenly he was very, very glad she wasn't looking at him. Sam telling everyone in earshot this story the first time she had an axe to grind or a tiny bit too much to drink was going to be bad enough. It was definitely better that she didn't know exactly what shade of red his face was currently turning.
He cleared his throat. "Bike, you say."
"I do say. In fact, I think I mentioned it before."
Jack thought about it. Had she said something last night? Maybe she had. Something about having a problem with … was it … yeah, he had no idea what she'd said. She'd just gotten out of the shower, and then she'd started talking, and Carter, going on about motorcycle mechanics with that long, wet hair, wearing nothing but … what, she'd thought he was listening?
He stood awkwardly for a moment, bouncing on his toes; then he clapped his hands together. "So, Carter," he said, trying to strike a casual note. "Any particular reason you've been taking the kitchen to pieces?"
"Ah." Sam retreated from the cabinet – more carefully this time, he noted – and stood, shoving something into her pocket and turning toward him. "Abrupt subject change. Jack O'Neill's third favorite tool in the toolbox of relationship diplomacy."
"Right. Beat your man while he's down, why don't you."
"That down part's easy enough to fix," she said with a smirk as she took a step closer, lifting her hand and laying her fingers on his cheek. She tilted her face up and brought her lips to his in a kiss that started out sweet but changed to something else entirely in the space of a breath, her body sliding seductively against his from her breasts down to her knees.
She was entirely too good at that.
"You're stealing my first and second favorite tools, there," he said when she finally pulled away to smile innocently up at him.
"And those would be?"
"Oh, definitely." Her fingers ruffled the hair at the back of his head.
"And much, much better kissing."
"That's my favorite tool, you know."
"Mine too." Slowly, he leaned back in, watching as her lips parted slightly in anticipation and her eyes began to drift shut.
His lips were just millimeters from hers when she unexpectedly pulled back away from him. He growled a little in frustration and held on to her tightly with the hands he'd suddenly realized were cupping the backside he'd been trying not to stare at earlier. "What?"
"Speaking of tools," she said, glancing down as she freed a hand to reach into her pocket, "this is the reason I was … remodeling the kitchen."
It took him a minute to focus on the what she was holding in front of his face; when it finally became clear, he quirked an eyebrow at her. "I could be wrong, but I don't think most people store Allen wrenches amidst the stock pots, Sam."
"Generally speaking, I don't."
"But you make an exception in this case because …"
She sighed. "Do you remember a few weekends ago? We were in here, in a … slightly more advanced position than this. And then Vala and the guys turned up early for dinner?"
Oh yes, he remembered. Now that was unsatisfying. And had involved Carter flying to the bedroom with her hastily-gathered clothes, leaving him to somehow collect himself enough to answer the door.
"Not my favorite Saturday afternoon memory. But I've got to say, I really don't remember there being a set of hex keys involved."
"They were in my pocket. Obviously they fell out. I have no idea how they ended up in the back of a cabinet." She was staring at him as though somehow he was withholding the answer to that particular puzzle.
"Hey, I didn't do it!"
Sam kept staring.
Jack was a little lost as to exactly what contest they were having just then, but he wasn't planning on losing regardless. Sliding one hand up to her back, he slipped the tips of his fingers under the waistband of her jeans and lightly stroked her skin. "So, remind me. Did we ever get back to that? The highly inappropriate behavior?"
One corner of her mouth twitched. "Eventually. But not in the kitchen."
"Huh." He plucked the little set of tools from her hand and tossed them back on the floor amidst the pots and pans.
"Find it later. We have other things to do right now." He pressed more firmly against her, urging her backwards towards the counter. Everything was going quite well, he thought, until she tripped over one of the pots on the floor. Should've seen that coming.
In what he thought was a stunning display of reflexes and teamwork, Sam grabbed him, and he grabbed the counter, and they narrowly – and miraculously – managed to avoid hitting the floor. Jack stared down at her, and she stared up at him; then all at once she started to laugh.
He made a face. "I think …"
She loosed one hand from its tight grip on his shirt and waved it, cutting him off. "Bed sounds fantastic to me," she managed to say between her chuckles.
He cast his eyes up at the ceiling before he leaned down and captured her lips again, kissing her until her laughter turned into tiny, breathy little sighs. "Well, fancy that," he said then, heading for the door and pulling her by the hand after him. "You read my mind."
a-loquita's prompt: Fluff, with Jack overhearing a conversation of Sam's and totally misinterpreting it.