Aiden came out of the lab McKay had been given to work on the ZPM, and slammed his fist against the corridor wall. He groaned, and turned around to lean back against the wall, seeing Sam Carter staring at him confused, and concerned. He snapped to attention, and he couldn't decide if his day had just gotten better or worse. Depended on how she reacted to him punching the wall.

She smiled at him, and he figured he was good.

"As you were Lt," she told him, and he shifted positions, relaxing a little but not much. He was too wound up, and Sam Carter had always gotten him a little worked up too.

"Everything okay?" she asked, reaching out and placing a hand on his shoulder.

He was going to say yes, because he was a marine, and marines didn't go around spilling their guts, let alone to hot superior officers, but she was still smiling, a hand still on his shoulder, and she'd always, always been really nice.

"No ma'am not really."

"What's wrong?"

"I got orders yesterday to return to the Ancient outpost in the Antarctic," he said, "And I know I'm in the marines and you're in the Air Force, but maybe you can help me out here. I don't want to go back to the Antarctic. I want to go back to Atlantis."

"Aiden," she said, "you can't."

"I know, not right now anyway, but McKay's a smart guy, he'll figure it out," he said. "I'd be like to be here when that happens."

"I understand that, but I'm sure once we can open the gate to the Pegasus Galaxy again, you'll be able to return with the others."

"I hope you're right," he said.

He would prefer to be at the SGC though, with Major Sheppard and the others, but he didn't say that, he knew he was starting to sound a little like a whining child who wasn't getting what he wanted.

"Maybe I can put a word in with General O'Neill, see if I can convince him that it would be better to have you here," she said. "He's back tomorrow."

Aiden grinned at her, finally someone was saying exactly what he wanted to hear.

"No promises Lt," she said.

"I appreciate the effort ma'am."

"Don't call me ma'am," she said, with that lop-sided smile he'd only seen once or twice.

"Sorry Colonel."

"Have you had lunch?" she asked.

"No, I started bugging people about this as soon as I got here," he said, waving the envelope with his orders in the air. She snatched them out of his hand, and ripped it in half, handing it back to him.

"Don't worry about it for now," she said.

He followed her through the corridors, dropping his orders into a bin when they entered the commissary.

"I hope there's steak," he said, looking down the line at the food. "My grandfather was going to barbecue tonight."

"If you want steak, there's a great place in town."

"O'Malleys right?" he said. "used to go there with some of the other marines when I was first stationed here."

"Well, we could go later, if you wanted to," Sam said, and Aiden stared at her for a minute, trying to figure out if she was being serious. She smiled at him, then handed him a tray from the pile, nudging him forward in the queue.

"Sure, okay."

"Colonel Carter?" They both turned to see an airmen standing behind them. "You're needed in the Control Room ma'am."

"Okay thanks," she said, with a sigh. "This is why I only ever get to eat sandwiches," she said to Aiden. "How about I meet you tonight? Around seven?"

"That sounds great Colonel," he said, grinning at her again.

"And you can tell me all about Atlantis."

"Sure thing."


He was having a great day, which made him just a little suspicious, but as Lt. Colonel Sam Carter walked into O'Malleys in a black skirt and pink blouse, the concerns were pushed down. It felt like a date, even better for him, but he wasn't sure how he felt about that. Nervous, but thrilled, because Sam Carter was way out of his league. Older, hotter, smarter, and currently walking up to him with a huge smile on her face.

"Colonel Carter," he said.

"You can call me Sam off base," she told him.


She nodded, with another smile, and Aiden hated how eager he had sounded just then. Sam didn't comment on it though, she simply glided over to their table and sat down. He was really glad he'd come back to Earth at that moment.

The waitress was with them in a moment and they both ordered steaks.

"Last time I was here," Sam said in a low voice, once the waitress was gone, "I ordered four steaks and got involved in a bar fight," she continued, blushing a little, and smiling. "I was worried they wouldn't let me back in."

"Yeah I heard about that," he said, remembering some of the stories that went around the SGC about it's elite team. "Some sort of experiment with funky alien armbands."

"Something like that," Sam said grinning.

"Did you win the fight?" he asked.

"Of course!"

She laughed then, and he laughed with her, his own chuckle cut short when he felt Sam's leg brush against his for a brief moment. He wasn't sure if it had been intentional or not, her demeanour didn't change at all in that second, so he decided to forget about it.

"I spoke to General Hammond about your reassignment, he was on base so I thought I would talk to him," she said, and he felt his heart jump. "He agreed that you'd be more of an asset at the SGC."


That tone again, eager, almost desperate but this time he didn't care because he was desperate to be at the SGC, and to get back to Atlantis.

"Yes, he's going to talk to General O'Neill about it, and see where best to place you."

"I don't care," he said, jumping in his chair a little, "I just want to be around when McKay gets us back to Atlantis."

"You really have faith in him," Sam said, a little amused.

"Hey, the guy may be annoying, but he's good," he said. "Just don't tell him I said that."

"Not a word Aiden," she said softly, leaning forward a little, and he hadn't noticed the subtle cleavage before, he'd been completely focused on her legs until she'd sat down, and her lips as they spoke. He wasn't a pig, really, his grandmother raised him better than that, it was just, today, today she looked beautiful. And it was all he could do to tear his eyes up to her face and fight the flush on his cheeks.

The moment of awkward tension was blessedly broken by the waitress with their meals, and he thanked God for the interruption.

"So, tell me about Atlantis, and the Pegasus galaxy," Sam said, when they'd started eating. "I want to know everything."

That didn't surprise him, he knew Sam had wanted to go to Atlantis, and probably would visit if they could get back and forth between the two galaxies. He hoped she did at least. Over their meal he told her everything, barely aware of the people around them, Sam only told him to lower his voice once or twice. She took in the news about Wraith in without fear or worry on her face, and he knew, instinctively knew somehow, that it was because she was used to the universe being full of evil and death, and not because she didn't care. Sam Carter cared. He may not know her well, but he knew that much about her.

He'd only met her a few times during his spell at the SGC, before he'd been transferred to the Antarctic the first time, and while they'd never worked together directly, he had seen what McKay saw. Saw it right now.

Then he discovered the first brush of her her leg against his wasn't accidental, as she ran her bare foot up his calf. He almost jumped out of his chair at the contact, but managed to keep from falling over and looking like an idiot. Or at least looking like a complete idiot. She smiled at him, a flirtatious smile he'd only ever imagined and he tried his best to smile back in the same sexy way. He was feeling a little out of practice though, what with exploring the Pegasus galaxy, and trying to keep Atlantis safe, avoiding Wraith, he'd been busy.

"Colonel Carter-" he started to say.


"Sorry, Sam-"

She interrupted him again.

"You wanna get out of here?" she asked.

He looked at her stunned for a moment, this had not quite what he had been expecting tonight. What he wanted, certainly, but not what he had expected. But then he didn't know Sam Carter that well, he didn't know what the woman was like on a date.

He was learning fast though.



"You haven't spoken about your experience Aiden," Teyla said, as the team sat around a table in the mess later. Much later. He had never been so relieved to discover he had been dreaming. As much fun as he'd had with his imagination, Atlantis was where he wanted to be. Though he was considering asking Colonel Carter out if they ever did get back to Earth for real.

"Yeah, what did you do?" McKay said, mouth full, three meals worth of food on his plate, despite the fact that they hadn't been unconscious that long.

"I had a great time," he said. Sheppard sat up straight then, looking at him and waiting for him to continue. "Once Lt. Colonel Carter made sure I wouldn't haver to return to the Antarctic."

"You were being transferred?" the Major asked.

"Well yeah, the Prometheus wouldn't be repaired for months, and McKay was still tying to figure out a way back to Atlantis."

"What else happened?"

"I went on a date," he said, grinning.

"With who?" Sheppard asked.

"Lt. Colonel Carter."

McKay started to choke on his breakfast, lunch and dinner combination, and Aiden stood up to pat him hard on the back. When the man could breathe again, he handed him a glass of water and sat back down, still grinning.

"Better doc?"

"Samantha Carter?" he croaked out. "You went on a date with Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter?"

"Calm down McKay it wasn't real."

"Exactly," Aiden agreed. "Hey do you know what sort of house she lives in? Because most of it was imagination, and all I really knew about it was that she had a green kitchen. I think. Not that we actually went into her kitchen."

"She lives in a bungalow," McKay said, "wait, you went to her house?"

"Yeah, after dinner."

"What else happened?"

"My grandmother always told me a gentleman doesn't kiss and tell."

"There was kissing!"

Aiden was pretty sure McKay was going to start choking again, or have some sort of heart attack and he had to try really hard not to laugh.

He failed.

"McKay, it wasn't real," Sheppard said, smiling too, and Aiden looked across the table to see Teyla was trying not to laugh too. "It's just Fords fantasy."

"Exactly," Aiden said. "I'm gonna remember the bungalow thing for next time though."