Spoilers: The Broca Divide, Singularity
Summary: Jack likes to share special moments with a special person in his life. This time he has to use a little guile to do so.
“OOOH, for cryin’ out loud!” Cassie whined loudly, throwing up her hands in mock exasperation and dissolving into giggles at the indignant look thrown her way. Jack’s brown eyes danced with amusement but glared threateningly nonetheless.
“Oh, you think you could do better, don’t you?” he challenged.
“No, but you should do MUCH better than this!” she pointed at the pieces lying all over his garage floor. He looked so confused… and so funny!
“Well, when it said ‘assembly required,’ I thought it would be putting a few parts together, not sixteen billion!” he defended himself.
Cassie giggled again. Despite her eagerness to try her brand new motorized scooter — a generous gift from her favorite colonel — she was having a great time teasing Jack for his inability to put it together.
“This requires special skills… and a technical degree or two,” he muttered under his breath.
“What?” the thirteen-year-old asked.
“Nothing! We need Carter!” he finally decided, getting off the floor and pulling out his cell phone from his pocket. Cassie smiled wider, delighted about getting Sam to spend some time with them.
“Carter! Are you busy?” Cassie heard Jack practically bark into the phone, making her roll her eyes and cover her face in feigned exasperation.
When was he going to admit he loved Sam? He always treated her like an annoying geek, making fun of her and bossing her around even outside work, but Cassie never missed the longing looks when Sam wasn’t looking.
Too bad about the regs! Janet had explained to her adopted daughter why her stand-in parents couldn’t be together that way, but Cassie still thought that someday it would happen. They loved each other too much for it not to.
“Okay, get your six over here a.s.a.p.! The little squirt is having a field day making fun of me. You may find her gagged and hanging from the ceiling by the time you arrive.” He then glared at the teen, who brazenly stuck her tongue out at him.
Twenty minutes later, the beautiful captain was parking her bike by the opened garage door. Taking her helmet off and walking toward the mess in the middle of the floor, she smiled.
Jack surreptitiously admired her long, jean-clad legs and her firm, rounded bottom, so nicely fitted inside the tight hip-huggers.
Shaking her head but saying nothing at all, Sam met the amused eyes of her little friend, and they both dissolved into uncontrolled giggles, snapping Jack out of his covert perusal of his second-in-command.
“ALL RIGHT! If you’re quite done being comedians, you can get started. Here are the instructions! They’re just not right!” Jack handed over the large piece of paper in disgust. “I’m getting a beer!”
Without offering Sam a drink, he escaped into his house.
By the time he came out again, Sam had expertly sorted the pieces into groups and was already screwing some parts into the frame of the scooter. “I see you’re making progress,” Jack petulantly admitted, handing over a cold bottle of beer.
“It’s not so bad once you get organized, Sir. The truth is that the instructions are not very explicit,” she granted, taking the beer from his hand and brushing his fingers by accident. Their eyes held for just a moment, but Jack was aware that Cassie had not missed it.
“That’s not what you said a minute ago!” the girl teased. “You said men didn’t know how to read instructions and that Jack was all thumbs when he wanted to be.”
Sam blushed pink at his raised eyebrows, and she turned to Cassie with glaring blue eyes. “Why don’t you go get yourself a soda or something?” she suggested, her orbs throwing blades.
“Okay!” the girl flippantly responded, sounding quite happy to leave them alone.
“You’re rubbing off on her, Sir!” Sam accused as she returned to her task.
“I was about to say the same thing about you!” he riposted.
“Oh? In what way?” she asked him, her fists on her hips.
“In making me feel stupid,” he answered without missing a beat.
“In making me feel stupid,” he answered without missing a beat. Then he was sorry when he saw her smile disappear.
“I… I don’t… mean to,” she stammered, her eyes flooding with guilt.
“That’s okay, Carter. You’re justified,” he teased, a crooked smile letting her know that he wasn’t serious.
She tentatively returned the smile and went back to the assembly of the toy, but moments later she stopped.
“I don’t make you feel stupid!” she protested.
“Carter, it’s not your fault that you make everyone feel stupid.”
“You’re a genius! You do everything right! You solve the impossible and understand the incomprehensible! It’s just natural for people to feel clumsy or dumb around you!”
Her shocked eyes told him this was not the right way to reassure her. But it was true! He couldn’t know that she was thinking that this was probably one of the reasons why she’d not been very successful with men so far.
“Carter, get over it. You should be proud. Not many people can confuse me the way you do. I kind of… like that,” he admitted, nonchalantly taking a swig of his beer.
Her eyes, if at all possible, got bigger. “You do?”
“Yeah! You keep me on my toes!” he admitted with a wider smile. He privately sighed in relief when she smiled back.
“You don’t think I’m…” she didn’t finish, losing her nerve.
“You’re what?” he prompted.
“Nothing! Never mind.” She intently returned to assembling the scooter, already halfway done.
“I think you’re unique,” he suddenly said, his voice grave and intense.
Her eyes flew to his, holding his gaze significantly. “You do?” she asked in a little voice.
“I do,” he nodded, his eyes gentle and teasing. She was just so adorable when she wasn’t acting as the tough soldier she usually was!
Sam smiled, turning a deep shade of pink. “Thank you, Sir.” Then she frowned and added with a suspicious smirk, “I think.”
“Are you done with my scooter?” Cassie called from the door to the garage.
“Not quite, honey. A few more minutes,” Sam answered.
“Okay! I’m watching some TV. Call me when you’re done!” she perkily instructed, shutting the door again. A suspicious little giggle was barely muffled by the closed door.
Jack turned to Sam and realized that she’d also heard the girl. Not wanting to let things get awkward, he continued their previous conversation.
“Case in point!” he motioned toward the toy.
“What? You could have done this if you just weren’t so impatient,” Sam argued.
“Maybe. Maybe not. The point is that you don’t even have to think while you’re doing it. You just sit there as you chat, and your hands work away as if they had put a thousand scooters together. Your hands are just so… good at that.”
He came to sit next to her, close enough to smell her perfume. He watched her hands expertly put parts together, screw and tighten, wondering how expertly those hands could move over his body.
Clearing his throat and straightening up, he turned to find her wide blues watching him intently, and he could swear that she was imagining exactly the same thing. The third blush within the last half hour told him he was probably right.
“Your hands are good at other things,” she softly responded, forcing her eyes to return to her task and sounding perfectly innocent. But her words almost made him choke on his beer.
He knew she was probably referring to his ability with weapons or his handyman expertise, but the other possibility struck a cord nonetheless, and he couldn’t resist.
“Yes, they are,” he responded cryptically, making her eyes return to his. He watched her swallow hard and then turn away nervously.
He probably had gone too far, but he loved spending time with her like this, just the two of them, doing something together and dangerously playing with what was forbidden.
When the next part she needed was confidently handed over to her, she narrowed her eyes at him with suspicion. He’d known exactly what part needed to be fitted next, and his smug smile gave away that he’d manipulated her again.
“Cassie wanted the three of us to spend some time together,” he justified.
“Cassie did?” Sam gently asked.
“Okay. I did, too,” he confessed.
“Oh!” she said, not knowing how else to respond.
“I know we’re not supposed to. I know it could look bad. But we both love spending time with her. I don’t see why we have to take turns,” he argued, using his most convincing tone.
“Well… like you said. It could look bad,” she answered breathlessly.
“But we wouldn’t be doing anything wrong. We’d just be doing something special to both of us… together, as good friends often do,” he cajoled, slowly leaning a little closer to her.
Sam was silent for a few moments, as if thinking. “I guess you’re right. And Cassie would love that,” she admitted, unconsciously mimicking his move.
“Yes, she would. And we both want to make her happy, right?” His voice was hypnotic, and he noticed her lean a little closer, her eyes helplessly drawn to his lips.
“Uh-huh,” she nodded.
Her eyes seemed enthralled by his mouth, and Jack wondered if she remembered what kissing him felt like. He certainly remembered her taste.
She’d told people that she didn’t remember attacking him in the locker room during the alien virus incident, but he bet she did. He was willing to wager that she remembered very well how he smelled and how he tasted. He’d been unable to forget that brief encounter, and he’d always wondered whether it had been the virus that had made them so intensely receptive to each other.
A muffled giggle abruptly brought them both back to reality, and they turned as one to find Cassie by the semi-opened door, a hand over her mouth as she peeked at them.
“Cass!” Jack barked. Sam had quickly returned to putting the bike together, flushing deep red for the fourth time.
“Aw, come on! Just go ahead and kiss her!” the thirteen-year-old demon whined.
At Sam’s open-mouthed reaction, Jack felt like doing some mischief. Pulling Sam by her shirt, he leaned over and gave her a quick peck on the cheek, startling the shocked blonde into a gasp.
“You’re right! It’s the least she deserves for helping us out! Look! She’s almost done!” he pointed at the toy.
“Cool!” Cassie bounced down the few steps and came to admire her bright red, new set of wheels. “The three of us are going to the park now, right?” she asked hopefully.
Exchanging amused glances with his captain, Jack answered for both of them. “Yep! We’re gonna be spending a lot of time in the park, the three of us. Aren’t we, Carter?”
“Yes, Sir,” she smiled, hiding behind a wheel to tighten a last bolt.
All right! It had been worth insisting on getting the salesman at the store to disassemble the scooter after all. The man had remarked on how people normally paid to get the models assembled, not the other way around.
Jack could definitely be all thumbs when he wanted, and today had been one of those times.
It had turned out brilliantly!