Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate or its characters. No matter how often I fantasize about it….. That, apparently, does not afford ownership in a court of law. Believe me. I've checked.
AN: My second Stargate story! Of course, it's Sam and Jack. This is just a little piece I wrote a LONG time ago and am just now posting. My style has changed since then, but I hope you all enjoy this anyway.
Nobody knew who had started it in the first place. The farthest back anybody could trace it was to Siler, who one day had shushed at two privates who were fighting in the hallway over who had to repaint level 27's walls the regulation beige color. "Knock it off, will ya?" Siler had barked (if barked is the right term – is it possible for a bark to be whispered? If so, Siler accomplished it). "The major's asleep, bozos!" Only, of course, he didn't say "bozos."
"How do you know?" Private Morgan asked, his voice doubting Siler's so-called omniscience.
"Easy. The number on her door is upside down," Siler replied, his eyes glancing up and down the hallways as if he were nervous that an alien was about to appear and do something hideous to him (something that happened with an uncomfortable regularity in that mountain). "That means she's sleeping. Thought everybody knew that. Take a look in there if you don't trust me; just do it quietly or somebody's gonna have your butt on a shiny silver platter."
Private Douglas took a look inside and saw that the Major was, indeed, asleep…and was then assigned KP duty in the mess hall by Captain Bryan of SG-6, who happened to be passing by at the time and took great displeasure at the possibility of Douglas disturbing Major Carter's much needed rest.
Siler's reputation as a know-it-all and the base's own version of the bat signal had both been born within the same twenty seconds of conversation.
If that number was hanging upside down on Samantha Carter's open door, everybody knew that they had better do a little tip-toeing while walking down the corridor or they would get a swift kick and some extra duty before they could say "nuisance" from whatever officer that happened to be walking along at the same time. Somebody had tried once to shut the laboratory door to give the major a little extra privacy and had managed to wake her up. He'd been made to clean the latrines for a month afterward, and those latrines could get pretty dirty what with the muddy planets and similar muck and slime that got tracked in through the Stargate.
Nobody messed with the sanctity of the upside-down number. No one.
If anybody worked hard in the Stargate Command, it was Major Samantha Carter. This was a fact which was well known and caused Sam to be the unwilling recipient of a good deal of reverence and copious amounts of butt-kissing.
It often seemed to Sam that a third of the base thought of her as some kind of a demigoddess that was always available to rush in and save the planet and then figure out a complicated alien doohickey in her spare time. All this was done, of course, while bearing a nine hundred watt smile and not getting a single blonde hair out of place.
The second third of the base hated her for her admittedly prodigious abilities that always seemed to piss somebody off because she made them look stupid (which, sadly, was easy enough to do. After all, most of them were rather stupid).
The final third of her colleagues was in love with her (she only wanted one person to be in love with her. The rest could go find real girlfriends and stop making her some kind of sex idol).
The only places where she felt comfortable were in the company of SG-1 (and even they were subject to that trusting sort of reverence when it came down to fix-it-or-we're-dead time) and her lab. Even her house was uncomfortable because it didn't really know her. She wasn't there enough for it to feel like a home. Instead, it just became a cemetery for previously healthy plants and a prim library for astrophysics books that only three other people on the planet could read and understand.
It should have come as no surprise to anyone, then, that Sam spent more than a fair amount of her time in her lab on base. The world was so much easier to understand and balance when she was figuring out that the grimy piece of stone from P4X-something or other was actually a device for planning crop rotation that automatically took into account hyper-specific field conditions.
However, more often than not, her zeal for scientific discovery would eventually come under attack by her pesky human need for sleep. Sam was a good soldier, so she would fight valiantly on until eventually she would wake up with the imprint of the farming stone on her cheek and one whopper of a neck-ache from having slept slumped over at her lab table. Sometimes these problems were compounded by an uncomfortably warm face that was caused by her having fallen asleep when the light under her table was on at the time of her unwilling surrender.
Somebody had obviously gotten tired of seeing her rub burn cream onto her face, because one day she walked into her lab and was surprised to find a fairly comfy looking green couch sitting unobtrusively in an as yet unused corner of the lab where it wouldn't get in her or anybody else's way. An afghan with a patriotic eagle woven into it was folded over one arm of the couch. Sam had tried to find out who had given her the couch but was never able to track it down. It had been delivered by an unmarked truck, but was legally placed in her lab after it went through security without a hitch. After determining that it held no spying devices of any kind, alien or Earth-wise, Sam shrugged her shoulders and allowed it to stay in her office. It had proven to be useful. She was usually able now to make it to the couch before she completely zonked out on top of whatever piece of technology she happened to be working on at the moment and that was a plus.
The gift of the couch wasn't the only piece of kindness that was given to Sam, the base's beloved miracle worker, in those despised moments when she was forced to actually get some sleep. Somehow, the entire base seemed to know when she was sleeping and would leave her alone. Daniel wouldn't pop in to find out how her piece of technology might have affected the daily lives of the people he was researching. General Hammond wouldn't call her up to his office to commend her for yet another accurate and informative report (a report that he couldn't understand and would she mind explaining it in words that had less than eight syllables?). Siler wouldn't inform her that the Gate had made some kind of weird sound and that he wanted her to make sure everything was okay. Janet wouldn't come in and talk about Cassie or the new book she was reading. It was all just blessed peace and rest.
Besides, that couch was actually damn comfortable.
It was as if everybody knew exactly when she was sleeping, because it wasn't like they had any qualms about interrupting her when she was awake – far from it. But that was just crazy to assume. Likely they were knocking and she was too dead to the world to hear it, although normally she was a fairly light sleeper. She had to be, with the amount of times she had to sleep in potentially hostile places. Maybe she had just labeled the base as "safe" in her mind and that's why she slept so soundly. (She carefully ignored all the threshold situations that they had had on base…)
Oh, well. She couldn't figure it out. Honestly, though, she wasn't going to look the situation too close in the mouth. She needed sleep and somehow, the place and the peace which she needed had been provided. Who was she to care how it all came about?
But…it really was strange…who could be doing it? ... Janet was certainly more than capable…nah, Sam, it wouldn't be him…maybe an electromagnetic pulse would get that stone to start working again…
She started to get sleepy….
Colonel Jack O'Neill walked past Sam's lab on his way to the locker room and glanced in the open door as he always did. He smiled a little when he saw that she was sound asleep on the green couch in the corner, a lump of grey stone on the ground beside the arm that was hanging over the edge. Hopefully that wasn't a bomb or anything. He flicked the number on her door upside down with a well practiced movement of his finger and kept on walking down the hallway.
Everybody would know what that meant. Bringing that couch in from his cabin had been one of his best ideas yet…along with tipping off Siler about the number, of course.
Gotta love the base grapevine.