"OK spill it," demanded Dr. Janet Frasier as she walked into Major Samantha Carter’s lab. Sam was sitting at her computer working on some planetary data.
"What?" asked Sam looking up from her computer.
"What happened yesterday on P2Q269?"
Sam shrugged dismissively. "It was an ordinary mission to an ordinary planet," she said as she turned back to her computer and continued to type.
"Sam you can’t kid a kidder. I read the mission report."
"Then you know all there is to know Janet."
"Sam come on," said Janet grasping Sam by the shoulders to turn her away from the computer. "The tension between you and the guys is so thick Simmons is afraid to be in the same room as you. Daniel keeps shooting dirty looks at Jack, Teal’c even got up and left the table as soon as Jack walked into the commissary this morning. And Jack has been snapping at everyone like a bear with a sore paw. I’ve been in the military for 10 years. I’ve seen my share of cover ups. What. Really. Happened?" She insisted in her best ‘I’m the doctor...I know how to hurt you.’ voice.
"Janet leave it alone!"
"Sam tell me or I’ll tell Hammond something is wrong between you guys."
"Dammit Janet! WE GOT MARRIED!"
"OK let’s start from the beginning." Janet and Sam were sitting in the back booth of a quiet bar in Colorado Springs. The server had already taken the remains of their cheeseburgers away and the two women were lingering over a second frosty glass of Margaritas.
"OK you read the mission report. On P2Q269 we found a civilization Daniel thinks are descendants of Celts."
"Like the Scottish Clans."
"Right. Actually is was incredible. It was like Braveheart in IMAX. Big swords, shields, kilts, the whole nine yards. One of them was swinging this claymore, I’m not talking about the explosive thing...Janet it was actually a most ...inspiring place."
"Well...I mean half naked guys swinging thirty pound swords. Believe me it works GREAT for the pecs if you know what I mean."
"Oh Janet, If you ignore the dirt these guys were Fabio on steroids. They were fantastic."
"So how did a bunch of guys swinging swords turn into dum-dum-de-dum?"
"Well, they invited us back for a feast and you know Daniel, never turn down a chance to see living history. So we went."
Sam started to giggle. "What’s so funny?"
"They made the guys wear their colors."
"Did you ever notice how incredibly knobby Daniel’s knees are?"
"Right. The guys were in kilts."
"Please tell me you got pictures."
"I wish. Actually Teal’c looked good. He’s so big he just fit right in. Anyway, the food was great. No...most of it was great. The haggis...survival training aside I have to be pretty hungry to eat sheep guts. Teal’c loved them. So we ate and we drank. I tell you Janet their home brew is about a hundred times stronger than this tequila," Sam lifted her frosty glass and took a fortifying sip of the tangy mix. "Anyway Daniel was a bit tipsy and Teal’c was sober as a judge of course. The colonel, he wasn’t near as drunk as he pretended to be."
"I was dumping a lot on the ground too," She admitted.
"And the wedding?" Janet prodded.
"Well we may have been staying relatively sober, but our hosts sure weren’t. This one guy, the Laird or leader must have had about a gallon of the stuff and he was pretty smashed. Well...he decided he liked me."
Janet watched a blush creep up her friend’s face that had nothing to do with the liquor they were consuming. "Really? And how did the colonel take that?"
"He was sort of amused until..."
"Until Doughal, that was the laird’s name, decided he should get to know me better. And that’s when it happened."
"That’s when we got married."
"What’d I miss?" Janet asked, confused.
"It was all just a misunderstanding. You see when Doughal began to hit on me I tried to turn him down gracefully."
"Yeah gracefully. I mean these guys were huge and they had those big swords AND they outnumbered us ten to one. So the Colonel told them we were married. And I agreed with him."
"It was either that or watch Doughal beat him to a bloody pulp. And that was it. Doughal apologized and the party continued."
"So what’s the big deal?"
"The next morning when Daniel woke up Jack told him what had happened. That’s when he told us we were married for real."
"These people were descended from Celts who became the Scottish we know today. It seems they have a very progressive approach to matrimony. All it takes to get married or actually a more casual kind of marriage called a hand fasting is for a man and a woman to declare in front of witnesses they are man and wife. They’re then married for a year and a day. If at the end of that time they want to continue or if there is a child, the marriage is for real. If there’s no kid or they hate each other, they part ways, no questions asked."
"And the two of you declared you were married in front of witnesses so..."
"We’re hand fasted. At least by the customs of a planet 500 light years away."
"And how did the Colonel take all this?"
"OH JUST PEACHY. All the way back to the gate I had to listen to him tell Daniel how it was all my fault, that I shouldn’t have been "making eyes" at Doughal. Then he made a few jokes about the "old ball and chain". About the time he started joking about china patterns I was seriously considering shooting him. Court-martial or no court-martial. Just being in the same room with him makes me so angry I could just hit him."
"But you can’t."
"No I can’t."
"So talk to him."
"What’s there to talk about?"
"Tell him how you feel."
"And listen to him make more stupid jokes. No way."
"You sound angry."
"Angry, hurt, betrayed. I mean I’m not taking this whole hand fasting thing seriously. We didn’t even tell the general...THANK GOD. I just with it hadn’t of been such a colossal joke at my expense. A few wise cracks sure but a running commentary for SIX hours. Even Teal’c was ready to Zat him to shut him up."
"Maybe it’s...what’s that saying...Methinks he protests too much?"
"Janet, remember Antarctica?"
"How could I forget."
"There was something I never told anyone. I mean it really wasn’t relevant so I just left it out."
"After I climbed out and saw there was no hope I climbed...well...fell back into the cave. Not one of my most graceful moments. I knew we were finished. There was just no way out. I curled up next to the Colonel...I guess I just didn’t want to die alone. He said he was cold. I told him it was OK...that it was time to sleep now. Then he called me Sara."
"Ouch. Sam it’s a minor miracle he even spoke at all. He was hypothermic, bleeding internally. He was no where near in his right mind."
"I know. But he still loves his wife. No matter how I feel or think I feel and regs or no regs...there are just some lines I won’t cross. I trust that man with my life, literally, but my heart. It just can’t go down that road. I would rather have a platonic friendship that lasts years than an affair that ends in days or months or whenever the Ex-Mrs. O’Neill realizes what she’s lost and comes back. I can’t handle it."
Sam tossed back the last bit of her margarita and smothered a yawn. Janet looked at her watch. "Oh my god. It’s 0200."
"Oh man I wish I was. I’m on duty in 5 hours."
"And I have a briefing at 0800."
The two women paid their tab and walked into the night. In a booth behind them a man let out a big sigh. Oh for crying out loud had he really been such a jerk?
The next morning Sam walked through the halls of the SGC with a mission. Coffee and lots of it. It was 0745 and if she hurried she could make it to the commissary and still be in the briefing room by 0755.
"Carter, wait up." At the sound of O’Neill’s voice behind her she closed her eyes briefly, then put on her "game face" and turned to face her CO.
"Carter, you got a minute?"
"Well I’m on my way to the briefing..."
"This will only take a second," he insisted.
"Look, back on that planet, the last day...well I was a real jerk. You know I’m never one for protocol but I was way outta line. You had no responsibility for what happened and I was a bastard to keep bringing it up. You’re a valuable member of this team and you’ve saved our butts more times than I can count. Sometimes my mouth engages without clearing it with my brain first. The next time I’m being a jerk I give you permission to ignore rank and tell me to just shut up. OK?"
"Sure...Colonel. No problem."
"So... no hard feelings?"
"Sweet, I’ll see you in the briefing." With that Jack turned and walked down the hall.
Sam stood there for a minute trying to process what had just happened. ‘If a white rabbit pops out I’m going to find me a nice padded room somewhere,’ she thought as she continued to the commissary.
Neither participant noticed the pair peeking out of a storeroom window.
"I have to hand it to you Dr. Frasier, You’re a master."
"Thank you Dr. Jackson. You’re not so bad yourself. Now what’s this I hear about kilts?"