Story Notes: Spoilers: "Grace"; "Chimera"

Season: Seven - "Chimera" tag

A/N: Yes, I liked Pete, and I liked Sam with Pete. Muchas smoochas to Karen and Michelle.

"I'm using you."

The sheets rustled and a warm hand slid across her belly. "For the hot sex?"

"Pete, I'm serious." Sam slapped a hand over his as his fingers crept under the elastic of her underwear. "I think we need to talk."

There was a pause before his forehead bumped against her shoulder and she felt him smile against her skin. It made her warm and cold at the same time.

"Hey, I know the giant band-aid isn't very sexy, but the doctor did clear me for 'light activity'..."


She felt him shift again and when she opened her eyes, he was propped on an elbow, looking down at her. The neighbor's floodlight glared through the blinds, casting precise shadows across his face and shoulder. "Haven't we talked enough lately?"

He wasn't smiling anymore.

Reaching up, she traced his mouth with her thumb. "It's just... I... There's just so much... I can't..." The words tumbled out too fast for her to keep them logical and linear. So when he kissed her - a light, chaste pressure against her lips - she closed her eyes again and let the words fall away.

"It's okay." His breath was warm against her cheek. "I mean, it's not exactly what I want to hear, but then again, it's not like I don't have my own relationship issues."

Sam ran her hand down his side, smooth skin giving way to gauze and tape, and remembered how warm his blood had been between her fingers. Remembered the tangle of fury and fear that had made it hard to breathe. "Do you ever talk to her? Your ex-wife."

"No." Pete blew out a hard breath, something between a sigh and a harsh laugh. "Maybe later I will," he then relented. "When it's not so easy to remember finding my life tossed out on the front lawn."

"She hurt you."

"Yeah." The admission was soft, shaky, nothing like the audacity he usually showed, and Sam settled her hand on his hip, squeezing lightly.

"I'm sorry."

Pete shrugged. "I should be thankful you didn't give me the same sort of goodbye, all things considered."

"I wouldn't have..." But that was a lie. She'd certainly thought about it, walking down the corridor to the infirmary with the colonel, both of them tight-lipped and silent. He hadn't said anything to her about the incident outside Daniel's apartment, and that bothered her more than the sarcastic reprimand that she'd expected.

"Everything's always so complicated," she finally said, swallowing the resentment that rose like bile in her throat, and Pete snorted into her hair.

"I thought 'complicated' was your middle name, Sam."

She analyzed his words, picking apart tone and inflection and pitch, looking for the censure she'd heard two weeks before. But she couldn't find it amid the regret in his voice.

"But I like complicated chicks," Pete added, his sudden exuberance forced. But then he kissed her forehead, smoothing away the sudden furrows there. "So. We done talking?"

Sam let go of his hand, but all he did was ease back down to the bed with a soft grunt and start rubbing warm, soothing circles on her stomach. She had almost dozed off when Pete started plucking at the hem of her tank top. "I know the circumstances, well, sucked, but I did like meeting your friends. You all seem pretty close."

Blinking the edge of sleep away, she rolled to face him, catching his fingers and twining them in hers. Sometimes his restlessness reminded her too much of someone else. "I've worked with them for a long time."

"Yeah." His fingertips smoothed along the back of her hand, blunt nails catching on her roughened, dry knuckles. "Colonel O'Neill's intense."

The name hung between them and Sam counted the stripes of light and shadow cast on the sheets. "He... he can take some getting used to." She spoke after what felt like far too long a pause, but Pete didn't seem to notice.

"So, uh, is he always like that, with all the scowling?"

"Not always..." She trailed off and Pete winced.

"It was because of me, right?"

"Pretty much."


Trying not to laugh, she pressed her cheek against his chest. "I'll talk to him. He'll get over it."

"Because you've..." He'd let go of her hand and was plucking at the hem of her shirt again. "You've worked together for a long time."

She watched his fingers and wondered if she wasn't the only one who'd noticed the similarities.


"Am I going to regret it if I fall in love with you?"

Sam grasped his hand again. She wanted to tell him no. She wanted to lie here in his arms and plan. To introduce him to her dad and wonder what their kids might be like and if he'd be willing to move to Colorado Springs.

Wanted to pretend, just for this moment with his skin so warm under her lips, that there wasn't a split second just after she woke up every morning when she hoped it was someone else in her bed.

She could love Pete. He wasn't perfect, and he wasn't the man she'd spent so many nights thinking about, with her hand between her thighs, but she was starting to realize that she might not need either of those things.

Maybe it really wasn't that complex.

"Probably," Sam said, but she tightened her grip on his fingers and smiled.

So did he. "I'm using you too, you know."

"For the hot sex?"

"Hell yes."

Snapping the waistband of his boxers, Sam smothered his indignant yelp with a soft kiss before turning away from him. "Go to sleep."

Chuckling, Pete spooned up behind her, and this time, when his hand slipped lower, she didn't stop it.


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