With fervent apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan. They write a rollicking good musical, and I use it here for my own fluffy, guttery, fluttery ends. So, I guess I have to ask two parties not to sue me on this one—the Stargate people, and the people (whoever they might be) who own the rights to the Pirates of Penzance. There's no purpose to this story at all. So, just go with it and enjoy.
And a HUGE thanks to Hlndncr, for the awesome Beta.
(You'll get it if you know the playmusical.)
Something was odd.
Jack shifted and frowned, lifting his forearm off his face to peer out from underneath it. There was a sound—a weird one. Like moaning. Or a radio left on in some distant room. Or the pipes groaning in the walls. Or—
Humming? What the heck?
He scooted upwards in bed, forcing one eye open. Singing. It was someone singing. Which, of course, begged the question—who? Who would be singing at this ghastly hour of the morning? Turning a bleary eye, Jack peered at the clock on his nightstand. The square-ish digital display told him it was E:09.
E:09? What kind of wonky time was that? It took a moment to realize the clock was upside down. It took a few more moments to remember when that had happened. And precisely how. His satisfied sigh ruffled the pillowcase as he reached out to turn the clock over.
6:03. With a green blip, it changed to 6:04.
Barely the crack of dawn and someone was singing. Jack certainly wasn't doing it. And his wife didn't sing. He hadn't heard her warble a note since he'd caught her humming in the elevator during her best-forgotten Pete days. Had she? He considered, frowning more deeply. Nope. No singing that he remembered.
The sound wafted forth from the bathroom, accompanied by the rush of water—the shower, he presumed. Chirpy and cheerful, the rhythm seemed too bright to be sung quite so early in the morning.
Jack rolled off the mattress, his feet landing quietly on the rug beside his bed. It was new—they'd bought it yesterday at some store she'd dragged him to. During this—her lengthiest leave thus far from the SGC since their honeymoon, she'd been actively remaking his house—er—their house. Not that he was complaining. He'd always intended to put a rug there, it just hadn't happened until Sam had arrived. For the barest moment, he stood still, digging his feet into the plush fibers underneath him. It felt cozy on his toes, infinitely warmer than the reclaimed hardwood of his previously bare bedroom floor, and softer too.
But still not enough to protect him from the morning chill or to keep him from longing for the warm cocoon that was his bed. The boxers he'd pulled on the night before provided jack-squat in the way of protection from the cold. Not that he was a dedicated pajama guy—he normally wore nothing fancier than sweats and t-shirts—but since his wife had arrived, wearing stuff to bed had just gotten in the way. He'd made many sacrifices in his life, but giving up warmth in favor of efficiency was one he didn't regret. Compromise. Give and take. Diplomacy. It was working for him.
Sam hit a high note just as Jack made it to the threshold of the bathroom. She didn't even pause as he shoved the door open, and didn't appear to notice him pad across the fluffy rugs on the bathroom tile—another recent addition. Using the towels hanging on his side of the glass door as cover, Jack crossed the length of the bathroom towards the shower. He stopped close enough to the door that he could feel the warm humidity from the water coursing down inside, bracketing his hands on his hips as he listened to the vocal stylings of his spouse within.
"I am the very model—" It really was more mumbling than singing. She lifted both hands to her face and scrubbed, her singing morphing into a blustery hum. Suddenly, she fell silent as she rinsed, and then the racket started again. "—both simple and quadratical. About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot of news, with many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse."
He grinned in recognition, casting a look sideways out the bathroom door and back towards their room, where his uniform jacket lay on the floor on her side of the bed. He'd thrown it there himself after divesting his wife of it. Boy howdy, it had looked really good on her the night before. That particular use of his dress uniform wasn't officially sanctioned by the military, he was fairly certain of that—but it'd been hot, nonetheless.
There'd been a party in his honor—or more correctly—in honor of his second star. It was the reason Sam had come to DC—although she'd been planning to come, anyway. But the promotion had made his offer impossible to refuse. "Major General Jack O'Neill" had quite the ring to it, and his wife had been suitably congratulatory. Multiple times, and in multitudinous ways. Apparently, she was happy enough about his advancement, so much so that this morning she was—singing.
She sputtered to a stop, her arms raised. She'd been lathering. "Yeah? What?"
She took her time in turning around to rinse the shampoo out of her hair. "What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Obviously, you're showering-but what's with the singing?"
For a brief moment, the only sound from the shower was water running. But then, it abruptly stopped, and he made out Sam's feet slapping against the marbled floor until the door opened again with a metallic clack. Water dripping down her face, his wife took up a lofty attitude. "I'm not singing."
"I beg to differ."
Sam cracked the door of the shower open further to glare at him, and Jack found himself enveloped in a cloud of steam. Still, if he tilted his head just so he could peek at the good stuff. So, of course, he tilted. Yowza.
She cleared her throat, drawing his attention back up to her face. Offering a meaningful frown, she reached out and snagged her towel from the rack, whipping it through the opening and then clicking the door shut again. When she spoke again, there was a patient, if terse tone to her voice. "I'm not really singing. It's just something that's been running through my head."
"Since last night?" Jack could feel himself preening. Taking a step backwards, he propped himself against the vanity edge. He'd made that much of an impression on her. Sweet.
The shower door clinked open again to reveal Sam, her towel wrapped around her torso, the end tucked into the front to secure it. Apparently, she'd used it on her hair first—the short blond strands stuck out around her head like a deranged halo. Shoving her bangs out of her eyes, she shrugged one lovely, bare shoulder. "Well, it seemed appropriate."
"Pirates of Penzance, right?"
Moving past him, she stopped in front of what had become her side of the mirror. Picking up a comb, she caught Jack's gaze in the glass as she went to work on taming her hair. "How'd you know?"
"Apparently, I'm not entirely uncultured."
"I never said you were."
"Because I know something about that play too, you know."
"I never said you didn't."
"And, I know the words to that song."
"In fact, you might say that 'I know more of tactics than a novice in a nunnery'." Maneuvering his body around behind hers, he caught the comb mid-swipe and wrested it from her grip, promptly tossing it into the sink. Threading his fingers through the sodden mass, he used his thumbs to gently massage her scalp.
"You don't say."
"And that 'I've a smattering of elemental strategy'." Bending his head, he placed a kiss in the curve of her shoulder, capturing a stray drop of water with his tongue as his hands made their way down her body to rest on her hips.
Sam shivered, watching him in the mirror. Her answer came in a breathy sigh. "Strategy, huh?"
"Darn straight." With his lips and teeth, he traced the line of her throat upwards, to the sensitive bit just behind her ear, sliding his hands up from her hips to her ribcage, the towel soft beneath his palms.
"So, Major General O'Neill, what are you hoping to accomplish with all this strategy?"
"Storm the beaches at Penzance?"
She giggled, lifting her hands to the front of her towel, toying meaningfully with the end poking out of its mooring. She wriggled against him. And then did it again. "You want to know something?"
How she expected Jack to answer was beyond him. "What?"
"Major Generals aren't the only ones who know a thing or two about tactics."
"Really?" And damned but if his voice didn't crack.
"How do you mean?"
She grinned. "Colonels sometimes know a little about it, too."
"And what approach would you take in this scenario?"
"Diversion." Blue eyes flashing, Sam tugged at the end of her towel, clutching the loosened covering in her fist to keep it from falling off.
"Full frontal assault."
She turned in his arms, pressing her body close, tipping her chin upwards so that her lips skimmed his. Her free hand rose to flare against his chest. "And then I'll accept your complete and total surrender."
Without another word, she slid past him and through the doorway into the bedroom, her towel pooling in a heap on the floor near his feet.
Oh yes. This was a battle plan he could really get into.
And just the thing to wake him up at E:09 in the morning.
Her tactics had worked flawlessly, thus proving her earlier theory about Colonels having great strategy, too. They'd declared themselves both the victor right after the campaign had ended, curling up around each other in the warmth of their bed. Drowsy, sated, Jack hugged his wife closer, his fingers making lazy circles on her arm.
"We should probably get up." Her breath was warm on his wrist.
"We've got stuff to do." Sam turned her head and peered at him out of the corner of her eye. "Groceries, a lamp for the office. You know. Stuff."
"But it's comfortable here."
She snorted. "Wimp."
"Hey—I'm a Major General now."
"So?" She shifted, rolling slightly to face him.
"That means I'm 'plucky' and 'adventury'. Not wimpy."
She paused, running the tip of her tongue along her lower lip. "So I have to ask."
Jack lifted a hand to tuck a wild curl behind her ear. "What?"
"Exactly how do you know the words to that song?"
"Why shouldn't I know the words to it?"
One tawny brow rose over a brilliant blue eye. "Because I know you—and I know that you're not a particular fan of musical theater."
"Ah, but I used to be a fan of cute musical theater majors."
He'd missed that grin of hers—still the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. Sam flattened her hand on his chest and gave him a little shove. "So it was a girl."
"In high school. She was playing 'Mabel'. I helped her run lines."
"And you learned the song why?"
Jack tried to look innocent. "Self improvement?"
Sam wasn't buying it. "Yeah. Right."
After a minute's consideration, the Major General offered a weak smile. "She bet me that I couldn't."
"And what did you win?"
"She let me get to second base."
"Figures." Sam laughed, snuggling closer, her head resting on Jack's arm. "I thought that you might have learned it how I did."
"From watching the play?"
"Nope." Stalling, she smiled to herself as she toyed with the hair on his chest.
"Then from where?"
"The Muppets." She scrunched up her nose. "Gilda Radner sang it on 'The Muppet Show' with a giant carrot. I used to tease my dad about aspiring to be the carrot."
Someday, he'd learn to think before he spoke. Today, however, was not that day. "And who did you aspire to be? Miss Piggy?"
With a decided glower, Sam closed her fingers, yanking on the chest hair she'd trapped between them. "That was not a brilliant move."
"So, what are you saying?"
"I'm saying your strategy's a little off."
He leaned forward and stopped her talking with his mouth on hers—hard at first, then gentling, teasing her lips open with his tongue, and then taking his time in enjoying the feel, the taste of the woman in his arms. After a long, long, time, he raised his head again. "Still off?"
"Mmm-no." This time, her fingers tugged at the hair at his nape, pulling him back down towards her. She shook her head, her eyes meeting his. "This time I'd have to admit that your tactics were just about perfect."
Her bare shoulder lifted in sultry nonchalance. "At least, for a guy with only two stars."