It was always so fucking awkward, the brief exchanges they shared in the halls of the Pentagon. Like they were ex-lovers. Like they used to be friends. Like they couldn't maintain a relationship without Daniel and Teal'c mediating, or chaperoning.

He hated it. Hated the way she said 'hi', hated the way she was shy when he'd worked so hard to get her to come out of her shell a little when they worked together. He hated the way "how are you doing?" always came spilling out of his mouth the moment the awkward silence started.

He hated her and himself for the state of their relationship, the lack of their relationship but he had no fucking idea what to do about it. Except maybe grabbing her hand, pulling her against him and kissing her. Not great for a friendship, but certainly good for other things. He had a vague sense that, knowing his luck, their luck, in full dress blues their medals would end up getting tangled together and he'd have to get his assistant to pry them apart. He couldn't imagine explaining to the six foot surly red head exactly how they'd managed to get stuck.

He wasn't sure how they'd managed to get stuck like this, in a horrible awkward relationship. They'd been okay when he'd been in charge of the SGC, but now he was further away and they were free to be better friends, and more than friends, they'd taken a couple of steps back.

He still wanted to take a massive leap forward, like he had wanted to for years.

Fucking metaphors. Hanging around with all these politicians had made him into poor mans philosopher.

He was a man of action, but he wasn't doing much and he could already hear their next conversation in his head before she'd even stepped into the building.

Maybe today could be different. Maybe instead of his usual 'how are you doing?' he could say something else, something better, something like 'do you want to get lunch after this?'

z

That was the plan.

And while he'd had some great plans in his life time, he'd also had some duff ones. This wasn't a bad plan, it just went wrong. Like a lot more of his plans and when she knocked on his office door he looked her up and down and the first thought he had in his brain came out.

"Damn you look hot in dress blues."

It was completely inappropriate and broke so many sexual harassment rules, but it was happening more and more lately. Old age maybe, grey hair and a reduction in grey matter.

"Thank you General," Sam said. She was blushing, and had an evil little grin on her face he'd only seen a few times before. Like when she was about to destroy something really big.

He was so screwed, but he had to ask.

"What?"

"Daniel told me you had a fantasy about me in my dress blues," she said, sitting down in the chair on the other side of his desk.

"That little..." She laughed. "When?" he asked.

"Oh, a couple of years ago," she said, a casual air about her words.

He was stood behind his desk, feeling a burn on his face, and a little confused because his balls were still in place and he didn't have a split lip.

"What?" he repeated.

"Daniel can't keep a secret, discovered that very early on. Not when it comes to you and me at least."

"What?"

She smiled.

"We can talk about it over dinner if you want General. We really need to talk about the 304's first."

"Right."

He plonked down into his desk chair and took the file she had been holding, flipping it open. His brain was still a couple of steps behind.

"So," he said, "how are you doing?"