A/N: My proper Author's Note can be found at the end. To say more, would give it away! Thanks to Niss Trah for her amazing beta skills! :-)
DISCLAIMER: As much as I'd love to, I do not own Jack O'Neill, Stargate or anything associated with it. A slightly more appropriate disclaimer can be found in my profile.
"Whatever. Look, if we go with my decision... well, it's just a great idea."
"No, it's not."
"Aww, come on!"
"Because I said so."
"But that's - "
"Don't even go there."
"Uh, I mean... aww, fer cryin' out loud!" Jack growled, throwing his hands in the air in frustration, as his companion let out an amused snort before turning back to their reading.
Silence followed and Jack took a quick inventory of the room, looking for something to keep him occupied. Seeing nothing of interest within reach, he drew in a long breath and let it go, puffing out his cheeks.
Getting no response to his obvious boredom, Jack sighed heavily and found his long, nimble fingers soon drumming something unintelligible along the arm of the chair and annoying anyone else within earshot. Still failing to receive a response, Jack waited a moment before tilting his head and staring at the person sitting on the couch to his left.
Without looking up, they bit back a smile.
"I'll make it worth your while."
A pair of blue eyes snapped up to meet his, lips twitching slightly. Tilting their head so it mirrored Jack's, they thought over his answer before going back to reading.
About to retort, Jack snapped his mouth shut and narrowing his eyes slightly, sized up his companion. In one swift movement, he reached over, deftly plucked the book from their hands and threw it unceremoniously onto the floor by his feet.
"Jack! I was reading that."
Ignoring the protest, Jack stood suddenly from his chair.
"I know how we can settle this," he stated, gesturing with his head for them to follow.
Sighing heavily, they waited for a beat before following him into the kitchen - only to stop short in the doorway.
The kettle had been switched on, two empty mugs placed beside it on the worktop as Jack sat at the table, rolling up the sleeves of his blue crew neck jumper.
"What are you doing?"
Jack shrugged idly. "Preparing."
"For... what, exactly?"
He grinned, pushing his right sleeve up slightly higher before quirking an eyebrow at his companion and pointing to the empty chair opposite him.
Regarding him carefully, they sat down and repeated the question.
"What are you doing?"
"What does it look like? I'm taking you up on your challenge."
They frowned in confusion. "What challenge?"
Now grinning widely, Jack placed his elbow on the table and extended his outstretched hand across the space.
"You. Me. Armwrestle. Now."
Bubbles of laughter escaped Sam, sending jolts of desire through Jack as she watched him look at her expectantly.
"Are you serious," she eventually asked, once her laughter subsided.
"Very. Now come on. I'm not getting any younger y'know."
Sighing, she shook her head in amusement.
"You're challenging a pregnant woman to an arm wrestle, because..."
"Because..." Jack repeated, waving a hand around dismissively.
Sam's eyes widened in disbelief. "Because I disagreed with your choice earlier?"
"Yup," he replied, popping the p.
She pursed her lips in an attempt to keep her laughter from escaping. Clearing her throat, she tilted her head.
"What's the prize?"
"If I win, we do it my way. If you win... I guess we do it your way," he finished, pulling a face.
Sam rolled her eyes, thinking over his words for a few seconds before nodding once.
She shifted in her seat, before mirroring Jack's stance across the table. She was just about to grasp his hand when he pulled back.
"And no cheating, Carter."
Offering him a placating smile, she snorted. "Yes, Sir."
Satisfied with her answer, Jack moved his right hand back towards hers and enclosed it tightly. They both flexed their fingers a few times as they readjusted their grip accordingly.
"Ready?" Jack asked, raising a brow in question.
"Always." Sam retorted with a cheeky smile.
"Alright then. Go!"
The sudden tension from both parties kept their enjoined hands hovering between them. They continued to vie for dominance when Jack began to worry.
While he had never really had to go up against Sam in a battle before, he knew without a doubt just how strong she was. However, as she easily matched him strength for strength at the kitchen table, he began to realize that challenging her to an arm wrestle was one of the more stupid ideas he'd had. Especially considering he had spent the previous hour interrupting her reading.
Yes, he had seriously underestimated her strength and now his muscles were beginning to cramp.
His moment of panic was soon followed by a string of silent expletives Marines would be blushing over as he started to struggle with each second that ticked by. Risking a glance at Sam's face, he faltered. Her cheeks were stained with a light pink flush as the exertion of their activity started to get to her as well. She was biting the inside of her cheek and had the faintest crease line between her brows, just like she always did when she was concentrating fully on something.
At that moment, she had never looked more beautiful to Jack. He felt a range of emotions stir inside him and his concentration lapsed for a fraction of a second.
As if she knew Jack was watching her, Sam met his gaze and studied him. He knew the moment she had figured it out. Knew the instant she realized she had distracted him - albeit unintentionally - and she smirked.
Tightening her hold on his hand, her soft, thin fingers wrapped around Jack's, snapping his attention back to the challenge in front of him and he straightened in his chair. He tried to ignore the new, confident vibes coming off her and he slowly matched her expression.
Two could play at that game.
Time to play dirty.
"So, Carter," he drawled. "I should really be thanking you."
"Fulfilling one of my fantasies."
Jack bit back a grin at the choked sound coming from the woman opposite him. He arched a brow in question, but apart from only the lightest change in the pressure against his hand, and a crimson blush on her face, she remained silent.
She was good.
Or maybe not.
As Jack continued to observe her, he watched the corner of her mouth quirked upwards before she answered, studiously avoiding his gaze.
"What fantasy would that be then?"
He wagged his eyebrows suggestively. "Arm wrestling."
Her eyes snapped to his and held his stare. Before she could respond however, Jack continued.
"Oh, yeah. Do you know how long I've waited to actually take Samantha Carter up on her famous challenge?"
"Since the day we met?" Sam guessed sarcastically as she desperately tried to ignore the embarrassed flush creeping along her face and down her neck.
A giggle escaped her as he became flustered.
"Ah, ah! No giggling."
Sam pulled her bottom lip between her teeth as she tried to stifle her giggles. However, as Jack observed her, the image sent jolts of desire coursing through him once more. Biting down a groan, he quickly readjusted in his chair as he became more and more uncomfortable. Clearing his throat, he glanced over to see Sam smirking. A brief conversation with their eyes told him - again - that she knew exactly what she was doing to him.
"That's low, Carter," he growled.
Sam schooled her features before applying more pressure against his hand. He narrowed his eyes in feigned annoyance as she dropped her gaze to his extended arm and she watched as the muscles flexed and rippled with each movement he made.
Her attention moved to his hand and she inspected his long calloused, yet equally gentle fingers as they wrapped around her hand, holding it securely in place and Jack watched as she swallowed hard.
As her eyes trailed back up to his face, she felt herself blushing again when Jack was grinning at her from across the top of their entwined hands. Her grip slackened and Jack quickly leaned towards her. When he spoke, his voice sounded ever-so-smug.
"Not so funny when the tables are turned, is it?"
Narrowing her eyes, she ignored his taunt and focused on their hands as Jack looked to the clock on the wall to his right and groaned. Following his gaze, Sam smiled.
"Y'know, you could just... give up," Jack suggested.
"Yeah. Me neither," he grumbled as he tried to roll his shoulder as best he could.
"I'm getting old, Carter," Jack whined minutes later.
"You're not that old."
She received a grunt in response and decided to take the latest round of silence as an opportunity to study the man in front of her.
From his salt and pepper littered hair, to his tanned skin. His left eyebrow, broken with a scar from one of his older missions, his chiseled rugged features and his five o'clock shadow - they all added to his handsome profile.
There was no way in hell did she think he was old. Distinguished, maybe. But not old.
She took one final long look and her eyes widened when she realized he was staring back at her intently.
His normally brown eyes were dark, almost black and full of desire, but that wasn't what worried her. No, it was smug, shit-eating grin he was also sporting.
It was the one he used when he had the upper hand in an argument against Daniel, and Sam felt herself sigh softly. Whatever he was about to do, she was going to have to work hard to fight against it.
Jack remained silent for a few minutes as his eyes traced Sam's features. Just as she started to feel uncomfortable under his scrutiny, he nodded and smiled approvingly.
He cleared his throat loudly and shifted once more, before tilting his head to the side.
"Y'know. I may have lied earlier," he stated casually.
Sam arched an elegant brow, silently ordering him to continue.
"Yeah. The whole... fantasy thing," he added, waving his free hand around as his voice became quieter.
"Oh?" Sam cleared her throat at the high-pitched tone evident in her voice, before trying again. "Oh?"
"Yeah. I, ah, wanted to take you up on your offer from the second you put it out there," he explained, running his free hand across his chin.
"But... I pictured it differently," he finished, looking her straight in the eye.
Sam straightened slightly in her chair, trying not to let her unease show.
Jack smirked before inching closer to Sam. He was just millimeters away from her face when her breathing hitched and her pupils dilated at his close proximity. When he spoke, his voice was low and husky.
"There was nothing but you, me and the Briefing Room table."
"That's it? A different table?" she asked incredulously.
Jack lifted his free shoulder into a semi-shrug before he leaned into Sam once more.
"There was also a large bowl of Jell-O involved."
The next thing Sam knew, her hand was pinned to the table top with Jack's resting firmly on top of hers, and he was looking down at her far too smug.
He slowly extricated his hand from hers, flexing his fingers and rolling his shoulders at the same time, while Sam remained sitting at the table, staring at him open-mouthed.
She remained watching him as he poured the now boiling water into the mugs. Setting the kettle back onto the worktop, Jack moved back to Sam. Leaning down, he hooked an index finger under her chin and closed her mouth, before letting his fingers drift to the side of her neck. Moving closer, he placed his lips next to her ear.
"I win," he whispered.
His breath was hot as it tickled her skin and pulled Sam from her reverie. At lightning speed, she jumped up from her seat, her hands flying protectively to her stomach, causing Jack to take a step back.
Realizing she wasn't in pain or going into early labor, Jack took a deep breath to calm his nerves before shrugging lazily.
Moving back to the counter, he picked up a mug of tea in one hand, a coffee in the other, and walked towards Sam.
"And you told me to play fair!"
Coming to a stop in front of her, Jack resisted the urge to smile at her obvious annoyance, instead deciding to diffuse the situation.
"Don't stress. It's not good for you or the baby."
At Jack's raised brow, she stopped abruptly and sighed. She knew he was right, and he knew it too. To Sam though, it still didn't change the fact that he had cheated.
"I want a rematch."
Unable to stop himself, Jack grinned and shook his head in amusement as Sam reached for one of the mugs. Realizing which one she was going for, he pulled the coffee towards his chest just as her fingers touched his and he handed her the tea instead. She pulled a face but smiled softly as she took it from him.
"You're such a bad loser," Jack teased after a beat, taking a long sip of his coffee.
"I am not."
"Are not. I'm just... competitive. And you did cheat!"
"Carter. Carter, Carter, Carter," Jack drawled as he stood tall before Sam.
"Face it. I won, you lost." He tilted his head and smiled evilly at her. "And now it's time for you to pay the price."
She narrowed her eyes to glare at him, but could feel her lips smiling of their own volition.
"Fine," she sighed. "But you owe me."
She laughed softly as she watched Jack virtually skip out of the kitchen and into the den. Following him at a more sedate pace, she smiled at the image before her.
He was now sitting where she had been on the couch. His legs crossed at the ankles and propped up on the coffee table. In his right hand was his cup of coffee while the fingers on his left hand were curled protectively around the television remote. In his lap, lay Sam's - now closed - book.
Keeping his gaze on the television, he patted the spot next to him. Sam slowly made her way over before sitting down and curling into his side. Reaching behind, Jack pulled her even closer and pressed a kiss into her hair.
"You still cheated," she mumbled as she placed her head on his shoulder. His laugh reverberated through her body at her whine and she playfully slapped his chest.
"You love it really," Jack countered.
"No. I really don't."
"It's a classic!"
"It's one of the worst - "
"Hey!" Jack protested, nudging her gently with his shoulder and feigning hurt. "When you agreed to marry me, you agreed for better or worse. So, tough sh... sugar, soldier," he amended when she raised an eyebrow in silent warning.
"I'm still getting used to the 'no swearing 'cos there's gonna be a kid in the house rule'," he shrugged sheepishly.
She snorted into his shoulder, before speaking. "It's definitely my way tomorrow."
Jack rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically.
"Fine," he placated. "Now, if you don't mind - it's about to start."
Shaking her head, Sam turned her attention to the television screen and resisted the urge to groan as the opening credits started.
He may have cheated, but twelve years after she first challenged Jack O'Neill to an arm wrestle, he had finally taken her up on her offer.
And it was all because a documentary Sam wanted to watch on quantum physics clashed with a new episode of The Simpsons.
A/N: I've been wanting to write a fic based on the famous arm wrestle challenge for ages but couldn't figure out how. Then, a number of weeks ago, two of my friends were unable to agree on who should pay for a pizza delivery. After a lot of debate, they decided to arm wrestle for it, and whoever lost, paid. Thus, my fic was born! :-)
Hope you enjoyed!