"Where's the pillow?"
"What?" Daniel asked from the foot of the Colonel's bed.
"The pillow, Daniel! Where is the other pillow?"
"I don't know . . . I thought you had it."
Sam huffed, tugging the top sheet into place until it was smooth. "No, I took care of the blankets. You had the pillows. Did you throw them over there?"
Daniel rotated on the balls of his feet, scanning Jack's bedroom as Sam frantically snapped the blanket over the sheets. The bed was a mess. Jack was going to walk in here any second now and just *know* something was going on.
"Daniel!" she shouted in frustration.
"O'Neill's vehicle approaches," came Teal'c booming voice from the hall.
"Damn," Sam cursed, smoothing the blanket and sweeping the comforter up off the floor. "Daniel . . ."
"Saying my name over and over again isn't going to help me . . . Got it!"
Sam didn't even look in his direction, but waved her hand in the general direction of the dresser where the open package of new sheets set. She saw Daniel move as she ran her hands over the comforter, tucking it in at the footboard of the queen size bed.
She straightened and caught the extra pillow as Daniel tossed it at her, sheathed in its new 300 count Egyptian cotton pillow case. Sam piled it at the head of the bed on top of the others and gave it a quick fluff.
"Okay, got it. Go! Go!"
Teal'c stepped into the open bedroom doorway. "He is here."
Sam grabbed Daniel's arm and yanked him back until they both sat down on the edge of the bed. She looked to Teal'c, but pretty much gave up in half a second any idea of getting *him* to sit on the bed. Her heart fluttered in her chest like a caged bird, and excitement bubbled in her blood.
She loved surprises!
"Should we not hide our presence?" Teal'c inquired.
"I think Sam's and my car parked out front pretty much gives our presence away," Daniel said.
Daniel shot her a comical glance, and Sam grinned.
She loved surprises!
The sound of the front door opening echoed through the house, carrying back to Jack's bedroom, and Sam had all she could do to keep from bouncing on the bed. She clenched her hands in her lap and chewed on her upper lip. Daniel chuckled beside her, and she caught him staring at her.
"Who's going to like this more? You? Or him?"
"Hello?" came Jack's voice. "Carter? Daniel?"
"Back here!" Daniel shouted.
Then Sam *did* bounce. Jack's footsteps approached the bedroom.
"Oooookay . . . I'm sure there's a *perfectly* good reason why the two of you are in my bedroom?" he said loudly as he approached.
He rounded the corner into the room, and he and Sam made eye contact. She couldn't help the smile on her face. Then Jack shifted his gaze to Daniel, and to Teal'c who stood to his left.
"You joining the party, too, T?"
Jack jiggled the keys in his hand and looked back to Sam and Daniel, his eyebrows arched high. "Ok, kids. What's the scoop?"
Sam blinked and tried to quell her excitement. "Oh. Um, yeah . . . Well, it's a surprise for you, Sir."
"A surprise? In my bedroom?"
His stare had shifted to her, and not strayed, and Sam felt her cheeks warming. "Uh . . . yes . . . Sir."
Daniel cleared his voice and thankfully took the initiative. "What Sam is trying so *eloquently* to explain is this . . . She's noticed - we've *all* noticed, rather - that since you took that staff weapon hit you've been, well-"
"-unpleasant." Teal'c provided.
Jack slid Teal'c a sideways glance, but focused again on Daniel and Sam, his focus more on Sam as Daniel explained.
"And through her deductive reasoning skills, Sam figured that maybe your ribs have bothered you more than you've let on."
Jack's expression didn't change. A sure sign to Sam that she was right on the money. But why did Daniel have to make it sound like this was all *her*? They certainly hadn't disagreed? Just because *they* hadn't brought any of it up!
"She also suspected that you might not be sleeping very well - due, of course, to the injury. And probably because of the fact that your bed is as old as time. Though, how she would know - Ow!"
Daniel winced when Sam kicked his foot.
Jack's eyebrows jerked slightly, and a small smirk threatened to play on his lips, but he said nothing. He just nodded his head and motioned with his hand for Daniel to continue.
"So, anyway, since your birthday is next week, she came up with the idea of a kind of *team* gift. From all of us. To you."
"And this involved all of you being in my bedroom . . . Is there a masseuse hiding in the closet?"
"No, Sir," Sam said, finally finding her voice. "It's a - " she had to pause again to clear her throat. "A new bed."
His lips pursed slightly and he took another step into the room. "A new bed?"
"A new mattress, anyway." She stood up off the bed, and so did Daniel, both stepping to the side so Jack could approach. "The woman at the store said these are the most comfortable mattresses *ever made*. It's this high density foam material that conforms to your body and -"
The glance that Jack shot in her direction forced the words to catch in her throat. Her cheeks flushed hotter.
"Have you tried it out?"
"Well, not *this* one . . ."
"Go ahead, Jack. Sit down," Daniel prodded.
Jack gave them all a wary glance and turned to sit on the edge of the bed. He splayed his hands on the comforter and pressed down, then tested the buoyancy by bouncing several times. "Nice."
Then he kicked off his sneakers and swung his feet up onto the bed, reclining back onto the pillows with his hands behind his neck and his ankles crossed. A smile pilled at his lips, creating a small dimple in his cheek.
Sam rocked on her feet and fidgeted with her hands behind her. "Well, um . . I guess we'll leave you to . . . enjoy. Happy Birthday, Sir."
"Happy Birthday, Jack."
"Joyous wishes on the remembrance of your birth."
Jack waved from the bed as they left. "Thanks, guys!"
General Hammond and SG-1 - sans Colonel Jack O'Neill - sat at the briefing room table the following morning. Everyone exchanged uncomfortable glances, and General Hammond tapped his fingers on the table top.
Sergeant Harriman came out of the General's office. "No answer at his house, sir."
"It's not like Jack to be this late," the General said. "I certainly hope nothing is wrong. Perhaps we should send someone to the house . . "
"I'll go, General," Sam volunteered. "If I get there, and anything seems out of order, I'll call before proceeding."
"Fine. It's a good thing you didn't have a mission scheduled for today."
They all nodded and stood to leave. Sam looked to Daniel and shrugged, heading to the locker room to change back into her civvies before leaving the base.
Jack's truck was in his driveway when she pulled up to his house. From outside nothing looked amiss. Sam climbed out of her car and scanned her surroundings as she approached the front door. She peeked in through the window, and saw nothing strange inside that would indicate foul play.
She raised her hands and knocked. Waited. Knocked again. Nothing.
With a confused sigh, Sam took her keychain from her pocket and found the brass key with the small 'J' sticker stuck near the top. She inserted it in the door and released the lock. The inside of the house was as quiet as the outside. Nothing was sending off her internal alarms . . . no prickling on the back of her neck . . . no tingling of her nerves.
Sam went to steps leading down to the living room. It was empty. As was the kitchen. The coffee pot was cold. She glanced towards the hallway leading to his bedroom. If something was wrong, she had to check, right?
Still no answer.
Sam moved down the hall on light feet, even though her logical mind told her that if there were someone here that shouldn't be - her calling out 'sir' pretty much alerted them to her presence. She reached his bedroom door, which was slightly ajar, and peeked through the open space.
And her heart jumped into her throat.
Jack lay on his back, sprawled across the queen size bed that looked small when accommodating his six-foot-plus frame. The comforter had been kicked away, leaving the sheet and light blanket to cover him from the waist down. From there up, he was bare.
And she couldn't seem to force her eyes to look away.
His arms were stretched out away from his body, his head nested in one of the down pillows she had picked out for him. Because she hadn't stopped at just the mattress, she had gone all out. Sheets. Pillows. The works. Why go half-assed?
But - Dear God - he was beautiful.
And he'd probably cringe if he ever knew she used *that* word to describe him. His torso was trim and defined from decades of military life, and his abdomen flat as it disappeared beneath the coverings. The blanket was low enough to show the top of his hip, and Sam had a fleeting - completely wicked - thought about what, if anything, he wore beneath.
She shook her head. This was *so* not what she was here for. And she shouldn't be thinking about him like this anyway! Wasn't she dating someone? Hadn't they both accepted years ago that this could never be?
*Couldn't blame a girl for looking!*
She pushed open the door and stepped inside, stopping half way to the bed, and cleared her throat. "Sir?"
Another four steps brought her to the edge of the bed. "Colonel, you need to wake up."
She knew he was breathing, because she could see the slow rise and fall of his chest. Her entire body flushed.
Standing this close, Sam could now see the lingering bruises from the staff weapon blast that wrapped around his ribcage to disappear beneath him. They were almost gone now, just slight shadings of yellow and greenish blue, but they were a cruel reminder of what almost was. She remembered, with a brutal flash, the way her heart had stopped when she saw him go down. When she ran to his side, his vest smoking, and he wouldn't open his eyes. Wouldn't answer her.
Sam swallowed on the emotion that suddenly choked her.
She had almost lost him.
"Sir?" she tried one last time, but her voice cracked.
Damn it . . .
Okay, things were getting desperate. Sam was beginning to wonder if something really *was* wrong. Jack was a light sleeper, always had been. Had to be, for their safety off world. Usually, all it ever took was a word and he was awake. So, why now?
He was too far across the bed for her to reach him easily, so Sam set one knee on the mattress and partially crawled towards him. Supporting her weight on one hand, she hovered the other over his chest for a moment, steeling herself against the onslaught of sensation she knew would come as soon as she touched him. She swallowed hard and set her hand over his heart.
"Jack . . . "
He drew in a slow, deep breath but his eyes didn't open and he didn't move.
Sam huffed and twisted to sit down on the bed, her back to him. Okay, now what? Cold water? Tickle him with a feather? What did she tell Hammond? *I'm sorry, General, but the Colonel is napping right now and won't be disturbed . . . "
She gasped when his arms came around her and pulled her down onto the bed, one limb circling her waist while the other automatically formed a natural pillow for her head to settle against.
"Shhhh . . . " he whispered against her ear, sounding half asleep.
His face settled against the back of her neck, his warm breath a whisper across her skin that sent gooseflesh over her body. His arm tightened around her, pulling her back tighter against his chest. She had a fleeting thought about how very little there was between them, even though she was clothed and on top of the blankets. But his torso was bare, and she felt the heat of his skin through her top. The arm that supported her head curled up to also fold across her shoulders, his fingers stroking her upper arm.
The embrace was intimate and arousing and Sam had never felt so comfortable in a bed with a man in her life.
And it was so wrong!
"Sir . . . "
His breathing had slowed again to the same slow, steady depth she immediately recognized as sleep. Sam lay there for a minute, analyzing and running through the course of events again . . . and yet, she still couldn't figure out how she went from trying to wake him up to being in his arms as he slept.
She tried to slip away, but even in sleep, his hold tightened. His hand slipped lower down her stomach and Sam gasped.
She didn't dare move again. But as she lay there, contemplating her next move - or, non-move - she realized something. The lady at the store was right. This really *was* the most comfortable bed known to man.
Daniel stood with his arms crossed over his chest staring at the tableau before him. Teal'c was beside him, hands tucked behind his back, with one eyebrow arched.
"I don't think we should mention this to Hammond."
"I concur, DanielJackson."
"What do we do? Do we just leave them?"
"I think it would be best to depart undetected. It would most likely cause them both discomfort to know we had been here. And perhaps we should not speak of it again."
Daniel nodded. "Yeah . . . " he said slowly.
He pulled Jack's bedroom door shut, leaving Jack and Sam to sleep. He just had to wonder what happened . . . but also had to smile at the two of them.
They were both either too blind . . . too stupid . . . or too stubborn to admit what was right there in front of them.
Maybe waking up in each other's arms would give them a push in the right direction.
"I've gotta get me one of those beds," he mumbled as he and Teal'c left the house.
"Indeed . . . "