A/N: A day late for Pi Day, but too good an idea to pass up. I smell a series . . . in small parts. In researching the setting for this, I've discovered that all "Pi" days occur right in the midst of the season-ending two-parters. That makes this little story challenging, if we consider "Stargate time" to equate to "real time." So . . . some license is involved herein and this (and any subsequent "Pi" stories will take place before the last episode of each season.
As is always the case, I answer all feedback that comes with a respondable address. If you're not sure how to do that, check my main ff dot net page. Special thanks to RegularAmanda for a zippy last-second Beta and to Shannon for the original "Jack would bring pie" prompt.
Set just after Politics. GW synopsis: Senator Kinsey arrives at the SGC to investigate the program and determine whether the great drain on the U.S. budget is worthwhile, prompting the team to recall missions from the past year.
It's a Good Day for Pi
Jack O'Neill stopped in the doorway of his Second's office. He leaned carefully on the doorframe, his hands behind his back, carefully balancing his surprise. Her back was to him, but he could tell by the set of her shoulders that she was still angry. Her movements, normally graceful and full of purpose were jerky, agitated. Fragmented.
She was muttering while she worked, and O'Neill strained to hear what she was saying.
He liked her, he'd realized not to long ago. Well, not like like, but . . . like. Jack mentally shook his head. He confused even himself sometimes. He liked them all, really. His hodgepodge team. The lost boy, the stranger-in-a-strange-land, the beauty with the brains, and . . . him. It wasn't until now, that it was all being taken away, that Jack realized how much they had come to mean to him . . . to Jack, not just to Colonel O'Neill. And maybe . . . just maybe . . . he like liked one member a bit more than the others. A sigh escaped him before he could stop it.
Carter looked up at the noise, turning with a box in her hands. "Sir?" She set the box down and brushed her hands clean on the legs of her BDUs. "Did you need something?"
"Yep." O'Neill lifted himself off of the doorframe and stepped into the room. He kicked the door closed with one foot, still holding his hands behind his back. It was the middle of the night at the SGC and, while he wasn't at all worried about anyone looking in and misconstruing his actions, the Special Operations part of his soul didn't like open doors to empty hallways. Looking around at the disarray of boxes and journals, he asked, "Going somewhere?"
As she quickly cleared a space for him to sit, she studied him. "Um . . . yes? Aren't we all? I mean, Kinsey has shut us down, hasn't he?"
O'Neill nodded. "Sure. Didn't think you'd begin packing so . . ."
"Well, Colonel. It was either that or hit something." Carter shrugged. "This seemed more productive. And less likely to earn me a court-martial."
"Sir? You gonna sit?" Carter again waved him toward the stool she'd cleared, very obviously trying to not look at whatever it was he was holding behind his back.
"Hmm?" Jack gave her a small smile. "Sure."
He slid onto the stool and pulled his hand from behind his back. On the plain white plate sat an enormous slice of apple pie. With a flourish he felt was worthy of only the best restaurants, Jack produced two forks from his breast pocket. From another pocket came napkins. Jack set the plate down, balancing it carefully on a stack of folders. He pushed Carter into the stool adjacent to him and, with a dramatic shake he half-stood and reached to lay the napkin across her lap. As he did so he hesitated, realizing just how . . . not good . . . this position was. He was bent over her, one hand on the table, the other hovering over her lap, his face just inches from hers. Close enough that he could feel her breath on his face, the sensation triggering memories of their time in Antarctica. When she sucked in a startled breath, Jack's eyes snapped up to hers.
"Er . . . sorry. Here." Jack dropped the napkin into Carter's lap and straightened, hastily retaking his own seat. He busied himself with his own napkin, noting the flush that covered his Captain's cheeks.
"Um . . . okay." Sam fidgeted with the napkin in her lap, then looked up at him. "What's the occasion? I'm pretty sure we're not celebrating the SGC being shut down."
Jack slid the pie toward her, silently urging her to try it. "Nope."
Carter only raised an eyebrow as she pushed her fork into the soft, cinnamon-spiced apple filling. She raised the piece to her lips and took a bite, closing her eyes as she did so, clearly savoring the treat.
Jack tried not to notice her reaction to the pie, carefully keeping his attention on his own forkful of sweet goodness.
"Oh, this is good."
She checked her watch and frowned. "From the mess?"
"Where'd it come from?"
"Bakery around the corner from my house." He took another bite. "Brought it in with me this morning . . ." He glanced at the wall clock, noting that it was now nearly one-thirty in the morning. "Okay, yesterday."
"Yes, Colonel." Carter set her fork aside and reached behind her for her coffee. Finding it empty, she rose and poured herself a new cup, then poured a second cup for him. She set his before him and sat again, taking a long, slow sip from her mug. Her eyes stayed on his and her gaze was steady.
Jack shrugged. "It's pi day."
"Pie day?" She looked down at their half-eaten slice. "I didn't realize there was a holiday for pies."
"Not 'pies,' Carter. Pi."
Carter stared at him, clearly confused. "Ohhh-kay. Pie. Singular. Um, is it apple pie day?"
"No, Carter." Jack leaned across the corner of the bench, into her space. "Pi day. You know. Three point one four something, something . . ."
"One five nine two six five." Carter added automatically.
Jack stabbed at another piece of the sweet, crumby crust. "Nobody likes a know-it-all, Carter." He softened his comment with a tiny smile and the barest hint of a wink.
Carter ducked her head and grinned, then picked up her fork for another taste of pie. "Yes, Sir."
They silently finished the treat, Jack lost in thought as he realized just how much he'd be losing if Kinsey really did manage to shut down the Stargate program. When the plate was clean he settled back and sipped his coffee, his eyes trailing around the disordered room. He checked his watch and looked up at Carter. Raising his mug in toast, he waited until she did the same. With a gentle tap of his against hers he said, "It's now one fifty-nine so happy Pi day, Carter."
She tilted her head quizzically, then a large grin lit her face. "The date. It's 3/14!"
"And . . ."
"1:59 am." Now the grin became a chuckle and she raised her mug again in salute. "Pi day. Got it."
The grin stayed as they drank silently, and O'Neill found himself enjoying the sparkle of humor and delight in those expressive blue eyes. Enjoying it far more than was good for him. Not, he realized, that it would matter, with the program shutting down. That thought made his own good humor fade and he saw Carter's amusement fade with his.
"Well, I should . . . I mean. You know what, Carter? Leave this. Go to bed. It's past two and we have . . ."
"Nothing to do tomorrow."
Jack stood and watched as she shut down her laptop and began securing her files. He waited for her to finish and then stepped outside with her. She locked the lab and together they walked toward the stairs heading, by mutual accord, for their on-base quarters. Jack let himself enjoy her company as they walked, each lost in their own thoughts.
When they reached Carter's quarters, she opened the door and then paused before stepping inside. She turned and, catching his eyes, said softly, "Thanks, Colonel."
Carter shrugged. "I guess . . . for making it not so bad. Today."
Jack nodded and rocked back on his heels. He hesitated, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his trousers, and finally broke her gaze to study the floor. "It'll all work out, Carter. You'll see." He'd damned well try to make it work out. He planned to corner Hammond in the older man's office later this morning. Realizing she was staring at him, Jack said quietly, "Well, g'night, Carter."
"We'll . . . you know. We'll have to do this again in July."
"What, the whole plot-to-kill-Kinsey thing?"
Carter's gentle chuckle warmed him, and Jack looked into her earnest gaze. "No, Colonel. July twenty-second. That's 'Pi Approximation Day,' you know."
"Pi Approx–" Jack shook his head. "You're making that up."
Carter shrugged and stepped into her room. "Suit yourself, Sir. But if you don't believe me, you'll be missing out on more pie.
"Carter, I never miss pie."
"Then, Sir, it's a date."
She closed her door with a soft 'snick,' leaving Jack standing there, mouth slightly open in surprise. Just what the hell was "Pi Approximation Day?" After a long moment he spun on his heel and strode down the wall to his own quarters. He could look it up, he supposed, but realized it would be much more fun to have Carter tell him.
SGC or no SGC, I'm seeing Carter again in four months. For pie.