Jack took a quick glance back at Carter as the wormhole disengaged before continuing down the ramp to the General.
"Colonel? It would appear that you're twenty-four hours early and missing half your team," commented Gen. Hammond as the pair approached him.
"Yes, sir." Jack held up a small bottle. "We were given a little gift. It seems that the Pengarans have a cure for, well, everything." That had gotten the General's attention. "We brought a sample back for Doc to play with."
"Sir, they claim they are completely immune to all diseases and are in perfect health because of what's in this bottle," Sam added.
"So, we'll bring this to Fraiser and head back..." Jack felt a wave of disapproval originating from his right. He turned to her. Yep, she had that I-really-don't-like-what-he's-saying look on her face. It was only slightly different from her I-really-don't-like-what-he's- doing look.
Sam was decidedly uncomfortable. If it had been Daniel with Teal'c on that planet, the Colonel would have jumped at the chance to get a hot meal, spend the night at the SGC and go back in the morning. But since it was Jonas... While the topic of Jonas wasn't anywhere near the same level as the topic of the Tok'ra, it was still a sore point between them. And airing internal team difficulties in front of the base commander was not a pleasant thought.
The General and the Colonel looked at her expectantly.
"Spit it out, Carter."
Sam's mind raced. Staying here might help him see that Jonas really could take care of himself. But how could she get them to stay without brining up the one-sided lack of trust between her CO and their newest team member? If it had been just the two of them, she would have had no problem of voicing her concern, but the general was there and this was something she really wanted to keep within SG-1 for the time being.
"I was hoping to wait for the results of the test."
"Major, that could take a while," Hammond said looking faintly puzzled.
"Yeah Carter, as in a long while." Jack's eyes narrowed.
'Yep,' thought Sam. 'Way smarter than he pretends to be.'
She turned to the General. "Sir, I think the results of the test are going to be critical in the talks with the Pengarans. However, if the tests are not done by 0700 we could head back," Sam suggested as she continued to plead her case to the General. Jack looked at the gate. Sam could almost see his mind visualizing the trouble Jonas was getting himself and Teal'c into. Fortunately General Hammond did not have the same misgivings.
"Colonel, will Teal'c and Jonas be all right on their own for one night?"
"Well..." Jack hedged as he looked back at the gate. "They should be okay," he said finally.
"Good. I'll give the order to open up the gate so you can communicate your plans to them," Hammond said as he walked towards the control room.
"Two aliens representing Earth alone on a planet for fourteen hours. And one of them is just downright strange. Frickin' wonderful," Jack muttered.
Sam looked up at him. "Sir, with all due respect, I don't think Teal'c's strange."
"Funny," Jack retorted as the vortex rushed out towards them.
Jack keyed his radio. "Teal'c. Jonas. Come in."
"I'm here, Colonel."
"He's in one of the underground ruins. His signal must be blocked."
Great. "Carter and I are going stick around and wait for some news on this miracle drug. We'll come back through at 0700."
"Yes, that's when the big hand is on the..." Jack earned a glare from his 2IC. He took his finger off his radio. "What?"
"Got it Colonel. We'll see you tomorrow at 0700," Jonas' voice came over the radio.
"Oh, and Jonas? Get back here if there's any sign of trouble and listen to everything that Teal'c tells you." He didn't really care if he sounded condescending. Nope. He just wouldn't look at Carter right now.
God, that man was way too happy. Jack motioned to the sergeant to disengage the gate.
After turning over their weapons, the teammates walked down the corridor towards the elevator. Jack braced himself for the inevitable Jonas comment from Carter, which would, of course, lead to yet another touchy Jonas conversation. Joy. But at least he could thank his lucky stars that it looked like they wouldn't be discussing the Tok'ra in the near future.
It had to be the oddest opening Jonas comment he had heard yet. "Huh?"
"Five bucks says when we go back tomorrow Teal'c and Jonas will have spent an uneventful night on the planet and will probably be looking at the ruins, happy as clams."
Carter making a bet about a mission? That was so, well, un-Carter- like. It sounded more like something he would do. Sweet.
"Why not make it more interesting?" Jack asked somewhat suggestively as they stepped on the elevator.
Sam raised an eyebrow. Surely he wouldn't suggest anything inappropriate, right? Not that "inappropriate" didn't hold a definite fascination for her when it came to a certain colonel.
Jack mentally kicked himself. Why did his mouth always get ahead of his brain? Of course, his brain wasn't helping matters at the moment, supplying him with all different scenarios that would, in fact, make it much more interesting. An hour in the supply closet. Joint shower time. Death do us part.
"Make it ten." Somewhere a voice inside Jack's head screamed 'wimp.'
"Ooo, ten whole dollars, sir? You really know how to live on the edge. I mean, me on a major's salary, how would I ever be able to afford..." Sam grinned. "Deal." She held out her hand.
Also grinning, Jack shook it while definitely not thinking about her casual tone with him. Well, not very much.
Freshly showered, Sam wandered into the mess. Already having planned to join her CO for dinner, she scanned the hall for him. She spotted him back at his usual table, of course. And sitting alone having successfully scared everyone else off, of course. Sam liked to think that she understood: while the Colonel loved to act like a large child much of the time, he himself did not suffer fools gladly. The irony. Well, forced pleasant chitchat was personally not on her list of fun things to do, so she actually didn't mind. She grabbed her tray and went to sit down with him.
"Hey Carter. They didn't make any Jell-O," Jack said glumly. "Turns out they usually don't when SG-1's offworld."
"Yeah, I know. You didn't get the memo?" Sam smiled, grabbing a french-fry off her CO's plate.
"You are in an awfully good mood. Care to share?" Jack picked at his hamburger trying hard not to think about what actual grade of meat they used.
Sam shrugged. "No reason."
Jack leaned back in his chair. "It wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that you sort of went around me today and got your way, would it?"
Crap. That thought hadn't occurred to her. She had. "Sir, I..."
"Carter," Jack sighed, "it doesn't matter. I know why you did it."
Sam hesitated for a moment, but decided to plunge in. After all, he had brought it up. "Sir, maybe if you got to know Jonas better." She hated sounding like a broker record. "Spent some time talking to him." Oh yeah, that would happen. "I know he comes off as somewhat na´ve and a touch enthusiastic."
Jack frowned at her.
"Ok, annoyingly enthusiastic," she conceded. "But underneath that he's...well, there's a lot more depth there."
Jack grunted and resumed picking at his food.
Sam scanned the immediate area to make sure there were no nosey co- workers that could overhear their conversation. "Sir, I'm starting to become very concerned."
His eyes shot up to hers.
"It's been over six months since Jonas has joined SG-1 but yet you still don't treat him like part of the team."
"Takes time, Carter."
"I understand that but sir, I really have to know, do you honestly ever see Jonas being a true member of SG-1 like Teal'c or myself? Because if you don't then we have a problem and we should really think about replacing him. As much as I think he should be with us, we can't effectively operate as a team if there will always be this lack of trust."
Another sigh. "I believe that some day I will think of Jonas as a true member of SG-1," Jack said slowly.
"You're sure?" Sam asked, not quite believing him.
"Carter, before Jonas what was the longest that any of the tryouts for SG-1 lasted?"
"And how long has Jonas lasted?"
Sam didn't respond but just nodded her head.
"Don't know if you ever noticed, but I don't put up with things I don't like for very long." He looked at her and got a grin. "Don't tell him this, but I like...well, let's just say I don't dislike the guy."
"But you don't completely trust him yet."
"No." Jack toyed with a fry. "But I'm getting there," he said honestly.
"Okay." It was good enough for her.
Not surprisingly the test results were not finished by morning, so at 0655 half of SG-1 was geared up in the gate room waiting for their go- ahead.
"So sir, ready to part with that ten?" Sam said smiling while adjusting one of her straps.
"We'll see," Jack said. He really did hope she was right.
They stepped through the gate and immediately Sam's heart sank. Teal'c and Jonas were nowhere in sight.
"Okay. So where are they?" Jack asked, tense concern creeping into his voice. He knew it. They should have gone back earlier.
As if on cue a woman hurried towards them waiving her hand. "Earthlings!" she called while closing the distance between them. "Please come with me. Your friends are being detained in the minister's complex. I don't know all the details, but they were caught sneaking into a secure facility. You must hurry." She scurried back up the path while urging them to follow her.
"Son of a bitch," Jack muttered.
Sam winced. God, she hated being wrong.
They both sighed in unison and walked quickly after the woman.
"Well sir, look at it this way. You just made ten bucks," Sam said looking up at him, hoping a little levity was a good idea. After all, it wasn't like they were hurt. Just detained.
Jack smiled. At least there was that. Any time when he turned out to be right and she was wrong was a rare event. And the fact that there was a wager involved was even sweeter. Now if only he had the guts to have made the bet truly interesting...
"Dammit, I should have gone for the shower!" Jack chided himself, raking his hand through his hair.
Out loud. Must remember to control what is said out loud. "Uh...never mind."
- End -