No Problem

By mara-anni

A/N: Huge hugs and thanks to AstraPerAspera for looking this over for me and giving me some invaluable tips. The woman is brilliant I tell you!

I've just got to let you know
'Cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely
Or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven't got a clue
But let me start by saying...

Jack punched the button a little more forcefully then necessary, turning the car radio off.

This wasn't right. None of this was right. He shouldn't be seeing her face whenever he heard some guy crooning a love song. The fact that the words of this one struck a particular chord irked him even more.

Jack's scowl deepened as he pulled into his driveway, slamming his car door and marching into his house.

Beer. He needed a nice cold, refreshing beer. Yep, that would make everything better.

Jack flicked the lid off the beer into the kitchen sink and headed to his beloved sofa, switching on last weekend's hockey game that he hadn't gotten around to watching yet.

The problem was, he did wonder where she was. Even now, this moment, his treacherous mind was wondering what she was doing. Had she gone back to base? Probably. He was quickly discovering she was quite the workaholic. Did she decide to hang out with Cassandra and Doc Fraiser, help them get settled in together? Was she at home, maybe sipping on her own beer? He knew she liked beer. She wouldn't be watching hockey though; nah, she'd be watching something much more intellectual, maybe she'd be reading a book, or working on some complex puzzle on her computer.

Jack put the bottle to his lips and took another swig only to discover not a drop was left. Damn! And he didn't even feel better.

More beer. That would do it. More beer and he would stop thinking about her. Stop thinking of the way his heart had pounded when he saw her elevator heading back down. Stop thinking of the way a fear he'd rarely known had gripped his chest when she didn't answer his hails through the intercom. Stop thinking about just how relieved he'd been when he heard her lovely voice telling him she was ok. Jack scrubbed a hand over his face and neck as he yanked the rest of the six pack out of the refrigerator…and he would stop thinking that her voice was lovely at all, damn it!

Jack sank back into the sofa, gluing his eyes to the TV. Maybe he was over reacting. It wasn't like this was the first time he'd ever thought about her when she wasn't around. Jack smirked. There was that sweet little tank top number, after all. He was a red blooded man and happy to admit to himself he'd thought about that on a number of occasions.

Besides, she was his 2IC, they were team mates, colleagues, associates, pals, chums, friends even, comrades in arms, it was only natural that he might think about her on occasion. He thought about Teal'c and Daniel too.

Jack refocused on the game.

Maybe she wasn't at home like him. Maybe she had a life he didn't know anything about. He wondered who her other friends were. Did she have family? Were they near by? Had she gone to see them - maybe a family barbeque with squealing nieces and nephews who would love her? Or had she gone out with some of those friends he didn't even know? What were they like? Where would they go? Did she have fun with them? Was there someone who could make her smile like he could?

The sudden painful twinge in his chest at that last thought snapped him out of his reverie. Crap! What the hell was he thinking?! This just could not be…he'd missed 4 goals! He shut off the television set in disgust.

Energy. That's what it was. Maybe he just needed a good workout. Jack snatched his keys and wallet and jumped into his truck, eyeing the radio and deciding it could stay off.

He should be pissed at her if anything. She disobeyed a direct order; his direct order. She put her life in danger. But he wasn't pissed at her; he was down right proud of her. She'd done her duty; she'd done what was needed. But she was willing to sacrifice her own life just so that little girl wouldn't have to be alone in the dark moments before she was blown to bits. No matter what she claimed, Jack knew she wasn't certain that bomb wasn't gonna blow.

Jack pulled up and made his way into the mountain.

It wasn't that he hadn't respected her before, that he didn't have a certain amount of confidence in her abilities; but his respect for her as an officer had sky-rocketed. As 'by the book' as she normally was, she had the resolve and the guts to do what she thought was right…and that was something Jack could respect above and beyond any damn saluting and 'yes sir'-ing.

Damn it! He was doing in it, thinking about her. Jack swiped his card for the elevator irritably. But, hey, this was okay. He was only mulling over his second IC's performance wasn't he? He was allowed to do that. He was supposed to do that, supposed to evaluate her potential. Yes, this was much better.

Jack made his way to the locker rooms – oh good, it was boys' turn. They really needed to get those new locker rooms finished. Great, Jar heads. Maybe he would hit Hammond up for a team only ready room; it wasn't like there wasn't enough space around here.

Changed into his BDUs, Jack headed back to the elevators.

Though there were definitely perks to a co-ed locker room. She was one of only a handful of female officers on base, and the only woman serving on an off-world team. Huh...that had never really occurred to him before. And every now and then their chance at the locker rooms would overlap a little. Ok, so maybe that wasn't the most appropriate thought either, but whatever else he was, he was also a man. It would be ridiculous to expect him not to notice…well, how damn hot she was. Besides, it wasn't the first time he'd had good looking women working with him, not on the same team granted, but still…Yep, that's all this was. She was hot and he'd noticed...who hadn't? Okay, and maybe he was attracted to her, he could admit that, but how could he not be? But that's all this was. Just a physical reaction.

Jack took a deep breath in relief. Physical attraction he could deal with. It was only natural after all and didn't mean anything at all beyond a simple appreciation of her feminine assets. Yep…it was all good. He was right, he'd been totally overreacting.

The doors of the elevator slid open and Jack took 3 long strides before he stopped and looked around. He must have pushed the wrong button on the elevator, this wasn't the gym level, this was level 19, Carter's level. Her lab was just around the corner. Well….while he was here he might as well check in, just in case he was right and she had gone back to base.

Did she like cake? Seemed that was something he should know about her wasn't it? Or maybe she preferred pie. He wasn't fussy, though cake was the food of gods.

He was right. The door to her lab was open and he could see the light spilling into the hall. She wasn't out with some friend somewhere, she was right here in her lab. Jack swaggered through the door way and saw her. "Hey." Okay, so maybe his heart rate just tripled and his stomach felt…slightly strange.

She looked up from her computer and smiled. "Hey, sir."

And maybe when she smiled and her blue eyes did that twinkly thing it made him want to grin like an idiot, but still…it was all just physical. It wasn't his fault his 2IC was a beauty. "Whacha doin,' Carter?"

"Actually I was just running some simulations on the…"

She really did have a lovely voice, lilting one might even say. And when she was in science geek mode, all excited about something, she seemed to almost glow. And when she was trying to figure something out she did this little squinty thing with her eyes and bit her lip just a little. And now she had stopped talking and was looking at him expectantly…umm.

"Fascinating stuff." He really had to concentrate more. This was easy. After all, this was nothing more than simple surface attraction, easily shelved. You notice, you appreciate and you move on.

She smiled…his chest felt funny.

Nope, no problem at all.

"So Carter…Cake?"

Her smile widened "Well, I am a little hungry."

Yes! She liked cake. He wondered which kind she would go for. She did a graceful hop off of her stool and he let her precede him. So what if he couldn't help the fact that his eyes travelled south for a minute. That was the appreciation part of the process.



"Do you like pie?"

That smile again. Breathing was important. He should remember to do that.

He'd deal with the moving on part later.

A/N: Thanks for reading...and reviews would be nice. It's not that I'm begging or anything *drops onto knees* It's just that they're, well, nice :D