A/N: Prompted by a discussion this morning on Gate World's shipper 2.0 thread. The speculation was whether Jack could get Sam to relax and play a video game. This is the result, based on real-life events. We overdid it on Wii ourselves last Christmas and ended up with Wii-induced strains. Loads of jokes came from that. I love all feedback.
The More Things Change . . .
The doors to the elevator slid smoothly open and Daniel stepped in, his attention on the files in his hand. He absently pressed the button for level 28 and continued staring at the words on the page, but his attention wandered. It had been more than a year since he'd been back to the SGC and things felt strangely . . . normal. The same. But . . . different, too. He didn't jump when klaxon's sounded, didn't feel his heart drop at a page for Sam, or Jack. And he still couldn't pass the infirmary without a twinge of pain and loss.
Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he looked up as the doors slid open again to reveal Sam and Jack waiting to get on, both in ABU's. Yup, just like before. Except . . . Daniel's eyes automatically wandered down to Sam's hand and he smiled at the simple, elegant ring that rested there. Though he couldn't see it, he knew the mate of that ring sat on Jack's hand. Their uniforms matched too, and not just in the ABU style the SGC had finally transitioned to. Matching "O'Neill" nametapes adorned both uniforms now.
Some things change, some things don't.
"Daniel," Jack nodded and smiled. He rested his hand on Sam's back as she stepped inside.
At Jack's greeting, Sam looked up and grinned widely. "Daniel!" She handed Jack her file and stepped forward quickly, wrapping him in a warm, welcoming embrace. Daniel returned her hug, giving her an extra squeeze.
Sam stepped back and Daniel's hands slid down her arms to clasp her hands. He noticed her slight wince and frowned as Sam pulled her hands free and rubbed her left wrist somewhat gingerly.
Sam's slightly embarrassed frown intrigued him. "Oh, it's nothing. Just sore."
Daniel glanced from Sam to Jack, noting Jack's slight smirk. "Sore? Why? Wait–" He held up a hand. "Do I want to know or is this a 'spousal' thing?"
"'Spousal' thing?" Sam looked from Daniel to Jack and back again. "What the heck . . . oh, for cryin' . . . Daniel!" She lightly slapped his shoulder with her good hand. "Honestly. Men."
Jack raised his hands. "What'd I do? Daniel's the one with the dirty mind."
"Oh, no." Daniel shook his head. He followed the other two off as the elevator got to 28. "I just, I mean . . . you know. I thought . . . oh, never mind." He tried again. "What are you two doing here, and dressed like that?
Jack answered for both of them. "Meeting at the new Alpha. Carter's gonna get the new mini DHD working and I've got some personnel changes to put forward there."
"Huh." Daniel knew some of those changes, he'd initiated the request for an off-world posting. Life on Earth was too . . . mundane. He missed the excavation work off-planet and had decided to move on.
The three made their way through the milling team, staff, and miscellaneous personnel as they headed toward the briefing room. Daniel turned to look as three people bearing the patch with a bright "SG-1" on it passed them. They looked so young. And so . . . unfamiliar. He wondered where Mitchell was.
The first to arrive in the conference room, both Sam and Daniel placed their files on the table and Sam winced again. This time Jack's smirk slipped and he was concerned. "Carter, you should get that checked."
"It's nothing. Really."
Her response was what it had been any number of times Daniel had heard Jack ask a similar question. This time, however, she offered him a sweet smile, and Jack's eyes softened in response. Daniel couldn't bite back a chuckle and then widened his blue eyes innocently when they looked at him. He shrugged. "Can't help it. Some things change, some don't." He gestured to her hand. "C'mon, Sam. What happened."
Sam looked chagrined and the smile was back on Jack's face now. A wider, genuine smile. Something he did more often that not these days. "Go on, Sam. Tell him."
She tipped her head and leveled a semi-serious glare his way. "No. It's nothing."
"If you don't, I will."
Sam tightened her stare at her husband while Daniel waited. He could see the debate going on between them and sense some of the underlying humor. Whatever had happened hadn't been serious, but . . .
"Fine," Sam sighed. "I had a little accident."
"What?" Daniel leaned forward. "Are you okay? I know you sold your bike, but . . . oh, no. Not the new Volvo."
Jack was chuckling now and Sam was an interesting shade of red. "No, no. Nothing like that. I, ah . . . well."
"Oh for . . . she crashed her Mario Kart."
"Her . . . huh?" Daniel blinked slowly at them both. "What the heck's a, um, Mario Kart?"
"A video game."
"A . . . video game?"
Jack's and Sam's responses were simultaneous. Jack's smug, Sam's resigned. Daniel looked from one to the other to see if they were pulling his leg. They were laughing, but at each other. Daniel caught his breath. Some things were the same, the uniforms–though slightly altered, the base, the people, but . . . that look. The loving look on Jack's face as his eyes traced Sam's features, and the warm, indulgent look on Sam's. That was different . . . but good.
"So . . . you, ah, hurt yourself crashing a car in a video game?"
"Well . . . yes."
"G'wan, Carter. Tell him the rest."
Resigned, Sam rested her hands on the table, still cradling her sore wrist in her good one. "Fine. Jack challenged me to a race. We have a Wii and –"
Daniel held up a hand. "'We have a wee'? A wee what?"
"Not a 'wee,' Daniel," Jack interrupted, holding up his fingers to show a small space. A 'Wii,' a video game . . . thingy. Player."
"Why's it called–never mind," he said as he caught the look on Jack's face. "Sorry, Sam. And? You have a wee, er, Wii . . .."
"Yes. So. Were racing and, I, ah–"
"She went nuts! Her character, the little blue guy? She's got him on a bike and, well, we have the controllers that are like steering wheels, and she–"
"I like to win."
"I know." Now Jack's grin was beyond smug.
Daniel leaned back, his fingers steepled before him. "So, you . . . what? Fell off the chair? Couch?"
Sam sighed again. "No, I wrenched my wrist when I did my, um . . . ."
"It's called a 'victory dance.'" Jack made the little air quotes with his fingers.
"She did. Jumped up, high-fived Cass, spun around and . . . wham! Tripped over the dog and fell. Twisted her wrist on the way down, still holding the steering wheel."
Daniel couldn't help it. The idea that Sam was playing a video game and celebrating a victory, dancing around their living room, and . . . just living, delighted him. He grinned at Jack and then at Sam, waiting for her to catch his gaze. When she did, he stood and leaned over, kissing her gently on the cheek. "You know what?" he asked.
"What?" Sam still looked slightly chagrined, but pleased at his affectionate smooch.
"I was worried coming back that some things might have changed too much for me to feel like it's home again. You know? And . . . some things have changed, but . . ." He smiled at them both. "Some things are just the same, but better. Change looks good on you.""
Jack and Sam exchanged a warm look, and Sam's hand slid across the table to squeeze Daniel's. Her blue eyes were as bright as her smile as she said, "Yeah. I know what you mean."