He was fed up of them arguing all the time. In the short time between coming back from Chulak and their next briefing that was coming up, they'd been seen fighting four times; twice in the corridors, once in the commissary and once in the infirmary. He'd had to break them up himself; they'd been close to physical violence, and he was pretty sure Carter could break his nose, and Kawalski could break her jaw.
He didn't want to lose Carter from his team, didn't want to see Kawalski get anymore marks on his record. Seeing them both red in the face, fists clenched, in a public corridor for a fifth time was the last straw for Jack.
He marched them both to the gym, and had them stand to attention before him, trying to curb his own impulses to hit them both round the ear like squabbling children.
"I don't know what your problem is with each other, but I want you to sort it out-"
Sam and Kawalski interrupted together.
"Now!" Jack snapped. "I'd prefer you talk it out, but if you need to fight it out, use the fucking gloves."
He gestured over to the red boxing gloves dumped by a bench with an angry flick of his hand.
"Sir, this isn't necessary," Sam said.
"I don't want to hear it Carter."
"You locking us in Colonel?" Kawalski asked.
"Do I have to?" The two shook their heads, still standing to attention before him. "Sort it out," he snapped one last time before storming out of the room.
They relaxed their postures when he was gone, but stayed where they were, not looking at each other.
"So," Kawalski said.
"So," she muttered.
They moved away from each other, to the other side of the room, eyeing each other up, then the door. Carter moved to lean on the wall facing away from him while Kawalski ran a hand through his hair and started to pace around the gym. He kicked at the mats as he passed over them, making Sam scowl with every thud of his boots on the edge of the foam.
"Can you stop that?" she asked.
He ignored her, picked up his pace a little, kicked the mat harder. She scowled again, grinding her teeth while she glared at him.
He stopped after a few circuits, and looked over at the boxing gloves. He wasn't sure if he liked the idea of actually boxing with Sam or not, he tapped a red glove with his foot, then started to pace again.
"We need to sort this out or the Colonel will have our hides."
"Then I suggest you stop being a fucking asshole Kawalski," Sam said, adding a sarcastic, "Sir," on the end. They both turned their heads to look at each other, feet seemingly stuck in place on the floor.
"You need to curb the fucking angry feminist attitude Captain."
"You need to stop being a sexist pig."
He stopped still to look at her, frowning.
"Where have you got that idea Carter?" he said.
"The constant put downs are a give away."
"That's cause you're a smart ass, not a woman," he told her, smiling, "so far you're good in the field, but you've got a chip on your shoulder bigger than this mountain. All 'cause of that damn brain of yours."
"My brain put this program together!" she cried, taking a few long steps over to him, squaring up to him.
"That's what I mean!" Kawalski snapped, throwing his arms in the air. "We all know the part you played into getting the program up and running, we don't need reminding of it every ten minutes."
She didn't reply to that, instead she just frowned at him, thinking over his words and taking a few steps back again.
"I didn't realise..."
He moved to sit on one of the benches set up on the edges of the gym, stretching his legs out in front of him and patting the space next to him. She sat down, legs bent under the wood.
"Sorry," she muttered.
"That sounded really hard to say," Kawalski said with a laugh.
"I don't make many mistakes."
She laughed at that, watching Kawalski smile, then flinch. He rubbed his temples firmly, and she leaned forward to take a look at his face.
"Keep getting them. Just need a Tylenol."
"No boxing then?" Sam asked.
"You box?" he asked, still rubbing his temples, but intrigued.
"I have done."
"Maybe we should have a few rounds some time, when this headache is gone."
She nodded and sat back again, leaning against the cold wall.
"Think Colonel O'Neill will believe we've sorted this out already?" she asked.
"I think Jack expects us to end up in the infirmary."
"I can hit you if you want Major," Sam said with a grin.
"Please don't," he said, wincing at the very idea, "head hurts enough." He smiled at her. "Plus, I still think you're annoying."
"Why?" she said, grin gone, replaced with a glare.
"You think a five minute conversation means you're not a smart ass anymore," he said.
"Hey?!" she said, jumping to her feet. "maybe I still think you're an asshole."
"Come on Carter, it's a joke, are we really going to get into another argument?"
"No, no," she said with a sigh, "maybe we should get some lunch."
"Think the Colonel's standing guard outside?" Kawalski said, looking over at the door.
There were no guards outside the door, so they were free to walk down to the commissary and get something to eat. Free to sit opposite each other with some food and try and talk. It didn't go too well for a few minutes, they were silent and awkward.
"Am I really an annoying smart ass?" Sam asked eventually, words tumbling from her, making her blush a little.
"A little, yeah," he admitted.
"No one's said anything before."
"You just spent too years at the Pentagon, surrounded by other geeks and eggheads who probably adored you."
"I suppose..." she seemed to mull it over for a moment, so he continued.
"And now you're in a mountain surrounded by airmen who don't give a crap about science, or how the Stargate works, just that it does."
"What do you all give a crap about then?" she asked. He smiled.
"Personally I like basketball, and I know the Colonel likes hockey. Ferretti is a huge Green Bay fan. Johnson, on SG-4 likes photography," he said, stabbing at his dinner with his fork as he reeled off a list of interests for the airmen he knew. "Knew a guy, Captain Lorne, who could paint like a pro."
"It's not all sport then," Sam said with a grin.
"See, that's sexism," he said, nudging her, "though I'm pretty sure the marines are only interested in shooting things, or blowing them up."
"Well, everyone needs a hobby."
He laughed at that, and finally took a bite of the food he'd been playing with, giving it a suspicious look before putting it in his mouth.
"Oh, that's gross!" he said, swallowing hard. Sam laughed at him, loud.
"That's why I stick to sandwiches. Slightly less dangerous."
"Yeah, I can see why."
"It's not the fighting that makes joining the air force so dangerous, it's the food."
"Amen to that," he said, taking another bite, spitting it out onto his plate. "Disgusting."
"Here," Sam said, passing him half her sandwich.
"It's not my responsibility if it kills you though."
"I'll take my chances."
They ate silently for a few minutes, working their way through the sandwich.
"So, what crap you into?" he asked. "Outside of all the science."
"Oh, plants, I guess."
"Noting quite on that scale," she explained, "just a few house plants."
"Not much time for a glasshouse in the Air For-" The last word was cut off as a twinge of pain passed across his face, making him hiss.
"You should go to the infirmary."
"Later," he said, pulling a blister pack from his top BDU shirt pocket. He popped two tablets out and swallowed them down with some black coffee. "If these don't work."
"Are you sleeping properly?" she asked.
"Is anyone in this place?" he asked. She laughed. "I'm not sleeping, no, the alarms sound like screaming."
"I know, crazy right?"
"Smart ass," he said with a laugh.
"No broken bones, no black eyes, no bleeding." They both looked up to see Jack standing at their table, looking at them carefully, with more than a little suspicion on his face. Sam had to try and hold in her laughter. Kawalski didn't bother. "Kissed and made up?" he asked them.
"Something like that Sir," he said.
"Good," he said, "keep it that way."
"Yes Sir," Sam said. They both saluted, Kawalski's much sloppier than hers. They looked at each other when he had gone, smiling.
"He was worried we're knock each other out," she said.
"Yeah," he said with a laugh.
"I've got a good left hook."
"I bet," he said, "hopefully I won't find out first hand."
"Outside the gym of course."
"Of course." he downed the rest of his coffee, slamming the mug down a bit hard than his pounding head could stand, wincing. "So what now?" he asked her.
"Do you want to have a drink tonight?"
"A drink?" she said, raising an eyebrow.
"Like a date?" she said in a hushed voice.
"Are you dense or is this a scientist thing?"
"You think I'm a smart ass Kawalski."
"A cute smart ass."
"I really don't get you at all."
"You started all our fights Carter. I just-responded, you pushed my buttons," he said, leaning forward a little.
"Right," she said, eyebrows still raised.
"Have a drink with me? We can talk about basketball, plants, play pool. Do you play pool?" he asked.
She looked at him, trying not to blush under his look, his scrutiny that suddenly had so much more meaning.
"I'm not supposed to date superior officers."
"I knew you'd be one to follow rules.."
"I like my job Major."
He winced when she said his rank. "So do I Captain."
She didn't reply and he sat back in his chair.
"I should've let you hit me."
"If I had let you hit me, strike a superior officer, you might date a superior officer."
"And then we'd both be court marshalled. Great."
"Come on Sam." He reached forward and touched her hand..
"Let's finish out lunch," she said, pulling her hand away, "we've got a briefing for our respective missions soon."
"575 and 57..," he said, forgetting the last number.
"7. Then maybe we can talk about this again," she said. "If you're serious."
"You should go get those headaches seen to as well."
"You don't get to boss me around before we've even gone on one date Carter."
She laughed at that.
"Call me a nag and I will hit you."
"Stop pushing my buttons then," he told her.
"You might like that," she said, her blush returned as soon as she had said it.
"Come on Sam, see how good we could be," e said smiling. "One drink."
"Ask me again after 575 and 577." The klaxons sounded again, and Kawalski groaned, rubbing his temples. "If we get to go," she added.
"And if we don't?" he asked.
"Then I'm out of excuses."