SG-1 stepped through the event horizon back to the SGC.
"Welcome back, SG-1," General Hammond greeted them.
SG-1 was uninjured, but they looked completely miserable. Every single part of their bodies was covered in a sticky red clay mud.
"Colonel O'Neill, what happened?" General Hammond asked.
"This is the result of a 'friendship ritual' sir," O'Neill replied. He lifted his hand and looked at it. "If we don't get it off soon, it'll have to be chiseled off ." He slid a glance over to Carter to see her reaction. She gave him a weak, half-hearted smile. She was still upset with him. He sighed. It had been nearly three months since Sam had been falsely accused of stalking his former girlfriend, Andrea Carpenter. Jack had believed the accusation against Sam, like an idiot. Andrea had lost it when Jack had broken up with her after the investigation revealed that the accusation was false. She had taken Sam hostage and had almost murdered her. Sam said she had forgiven Jack, but he still had to regain her trust.
"Well, go get cleaned up, we'll debrief at 1400. Dismissed." General Hammond returned to the control room.
SG-1 trudged wearily to the locker room. The guys let Sam go first, for which she was grateful. It seemed that she was tired all the time. Janet Frasier had told her that she was depressed. Well, she had reason to be depressed. The last year had been hell, what with building a particle accelerator to rescue the Colonel, who hadn't wanted to be rescued, from Edora, saving the world from the replicators, and being falsely accused of stalking and harassment, plus meeting her alternate reality self who just so happened to have been married to her reality's Jack O'Neill. She needed a vacation badly, and she planned to request leave time to take one.
After she was finished in the locker room and dressed, she went to the infirmary for her post-mission physical. Janet check her out and gave her a clean bill of health.
"Janet, could you help me out with something?" Sam asked her friend.
"Depends on what it is." Janet leaned against the adjoining bed, crossing her arms.
"I really need a break. I hate to say this, but the stress is really getting to me," Sam said.
"I agree, Sam, that's why I've already recommended that all of SG-1 get two weeks of leave. You haven't had more than a few days off in the last year. The last vacation you were supposed to have ended up being a mission." Janet smiled. "I think Hammond's going to tell you all at the debriefing."
"Thanks, Janet." Sam jumped down from the bed where she was seated.
"Did you have anywhere special in mind for your vacation?"
"No, I just thought I'd stay home, maybe do some antiquing. I haven't done that in a long time." Sam replied.
"Sounds nice and relaxing," Janet commented.
"I hope so, I need nice and relaxing." Sam stood. "Tell the guys I'll meet them in the briefing room." With that, Sam left the infirmary.
As Janet had told her, Hammond informed them that they were all on leave for two weeks. Immediately, Jack started making plans for them all. They were going fishing in Minnesota, on the trip he didn't get to make a few months before.
"You can count me out, sir, I have plans," Sam said, a little abruptly.
"What, you don't want to help us show Teal'c the glories of bass fishing?" Jack asked jovially.
"I'm sure that you three will have a very good time. All I want I want is some rest and relaxation." Sam picked up her notes. "Have a good time." She started to leave.
"Come on, Sam, we'll have some fun," Daniel said. "Please?"
Her face softened as the looked at Daniel. He looked about 5 years old when he pleaded like that. "No, Daniel, I'd just be a drag. You'll have a better time without me." She glanced at the Colonel who was looking at her with narrowed eyes. "I'd just put a damper on your good time." She left the briefing room.
"Well, Jack, Sam won't come with us and it's all your fault," Daniel said. "What are you going to do about it?"
"I've told her that I'm sorry, Daniel," Jack said angrily. "You tell me what else I should do."
"You could try telling her how you feel." Daniel looked accusingly at Jack. "Things are just going to get worse until you do."
"Like I said, Daniel, I told her that I was sorry." Jack hunched his shoulders and shoved his hands in his pockets. "There's nothing else to tell."
"All right, Jack," Daniel said. "Play it that way. But she's not going to be around forever." With that, Daniel stalked out of the briefing room.
Jack looked over at Teal'c who was watching him closely. "Well, aren't you going to verbally thrash me too?" he asked.
"No, O'Neill, you thrash yourself quite well all by yourself," Teal'c said. "Daniel Jackson is right. Major Carter will not always be there. But you must make decisions regarding your own life for yourself." Teal'c also left the room.
'Damn,' Jack thought, 'I hate when they all gang up on me.' He sighed. "I guess I'd better see what I can do," he said.
Sam was lying on the sofa watching a movie, and eating popcorn when the doorbell rang. After switching off the tv, she opened the door. It was the Colonel.
"Sir, um, come in." Sam invited. "What are you doing here? I thought you'd be getting ready for your fishing trip."
"I came to find out why you don't want to come with us." Jack looked around Sam's townhouse apartment. "Nice place."
"Thank you, sir." Sam indicated the sofa. "Would you like to sit down? Can I get you something to drink?"
"A beer would be nice, if you have any," he answered.
"Sure, sir, I'll get it." Sam went to the kitchen and came back with a beer.
Jack sat down on the sofa with his beer and took a handful of popcorn from the bowl on the coffee table. Sam sat on the end of the sofa and picked up a sofa pillow, holding it on her lap like a shield.
"So, why won't you come with us?" Jack asked. "You'll have a great time, you don't even have to fish if you don't want to."
"Sir, I . . ." Sam shrugged her shoulders. "I think it would be best if I didn't go. I had just planned to stay here at home, doing some reading, relaxing."
"You can do that in Minnesota," he said. Sam jumped up from the sofa and walked to the window.
"Sir," she began, but he cut her off.
"Is it because of me?" he asked, his voice coming from right behind her. He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her around. "You don't want to come because I'll be there." The sadness in his eyes was obvious.
"No, sir, that's not it," she protested. He kept his hands on her shoulders. Inside she pleaded with him to let her go, but she said nothing. "I had just decided to stay home, that's all."
Jack dropped his hands and turned away. "Okay, if that's the way you want it. I just think you should get away from here for a while. It's been a rough year for all of us."
Sam looked at him, really looked at him for the first time in a long time. His shoulders were slumped, and his body language screamed fatigue. 'He's right, it has been a rough year for all of us.' She made a decision.
"I'll go." The words popped out of her mouth. Jack turned quickly.
"What did you say?" he asked, not sure that he'd heard correctly.
She smiled at him. "I said, I'll go."
At her words a huge smile spread over his face. The last time she'd seen him smile like that was when Daniel had come back from the dead after they'd blown up Apophis's attack ships. The transformation was amazing.
"Great!" he exclaimed. "You'll have a great time, I promise," he told her. "You can do whatever you want to do, read, eat, sleep, anything." He turned to go. "We'll pick you up in the morning around eight. That does give you enough time to get packed, doesn't it?"
"Yes, sir, it does." She walked to the door with him. "I'll be ready. See you in the morning." Sam opened the door.
"I'm really glad you're coming with us, Sam," he said.
"I am too, sir," she replied. After saying their goodbyes, Sam closed the door after Jack, and he bounded down the steps, a spring in his step, heading toward his car. Neither one of them noticed the figure lurking in the shadows, watching their every move.
They made the trip up to Minnesota in Jack's SUV, a huge tank of a vehicle. It was loaded down with all kinds of fishing gear and all their luggage. Sam sat up front with Jack, but then she didn't have much of an option due to her claustrophobia. Sitting in the back made her sick. Jack cracked jokes almost constantly as they made the nine hour journey.
"Here we are," he announced as they pulled up in front of the cabin. They unloaded the truck and carried everything into the house. After deciding who would sleep where, they unloaded the food they'd brought.
"I'm starving," Daniel said.
"You're always starving, Daniel," Jack said. They quickly prepared a meal, then after eating, Jack set up the poker table. After playing a few hands, Sam decided that she just had to go to bed. She was exhausted.
"I'm tired, I'm going to bed." Sam stood and stretched. "Good night, guys."
"'night Sam," Daniel said.
"Good night, Major Carter." Teal'c inclined his head. "Sleep well."
"G'night, Carter." Jack watched as Sam went down the hallway and into her assigned bedroom.
"So, Jack, how did you get Sam to come with us?" Daniel asked.
"I just asked her to come." Jack shuffled the cards in his hands. "She said yes."
"That easy?" Daniel was skeptical.
"Yep, that easy." Jack dealt the cards.
There was more to this than either Jack or Sam was willing to say. Daniel exchanged a look with Teal'c. Before they had left, when Jack had told them that Sam had changed her mind about coming with them, the two of them had discussed the situation. They had decided to keep their eyes and ears open with regards to their two friends.
After Daniel and Teal'c had retired for the night, Jack sat up for a while longer, just staring into the fire. Hearing a sound from the kitchen, he went into the room and switched on the light. There in front of the open refrigerator door was Sam dressed only in an oversized tee shirt and barefoot. She jumped when the light came on.
"Oh, sir, you startled me," she said, putting her hand over her heart.
"What's wrong?" Jack asked.
"Nothing, I was just thirsty. I thought I'd get a glass of milk." Sam took the milk carton out of the refrigerator and going to the cupboard, removed a glass and filled it with milk.
"I'll have some of that, too," Jack said. "Maybe it'll help me sleep."
Sam poured a second glass of milk and gave it to him. Then she put the carton back into the refrigerator.
"I was just sitting by the fire, wanta join me?" Jack gave a little half smile.
"Sure," Sam answered. "Why not?" They walked into the living room and sat down side by side on the sofa.
"So, why'd you change your mind?" Jack hadn't questioned it at the time, but he was curious.
"I just . . . did." Sam didn't know how she could explain to him what had caused her to change her mind.
He nodded, then he reached out and took her hand in his. "Sam, I . . . damn it, I'm not good with words, but I want you to know that if I could take back what happened with Andrea, I would. I'm sorry."
She placed her hand on top the hand holding hers. "I know." She looked into the fire. "Things have been . . .strained between us for a while now." Since Edora, she thought, but she didn't say so. "I hope that we can put it all behind us."
"Me, too." Jack grasped both of her hands and rose from the sofa, pulling her with him. "Now it's time for both of to hit the sack. Go on, I'll lock up." Sam smiled and said a soft "Good night" then went on back to bed. Jack carried the two glasses back into kitchen and put them into the sink, then he switched off the light and went to his own room.
He never noticed the shadow lurking outside the window.
The next day set a pattern for the days that followed. Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c would rise early, eat breakfast, and take the boat out for a morning of fishing. Sam would get up after they had left, have her own breakfast, then read for an hour or so, she would then walk down to the lake and watch the men sitting in the boat fishing. After a few minutes of that, she would take her book and sit down on the shore and read some more, jotting down ideas as they came to her. Then they'd all meet for lunch. In the afternoon, Sam would take a walk around the lake, most often by herself, but on a couple of occasions the guys had joined her. Then they would meet again at dinner, and afterward, play poker, or some other game. Then they would go to bed. It was a very slow and lazy time for them, and they enjoyed it.
On the fifth day of their stay, Daniel and Teal'c took off to go to an archaeological dig. It was of a sixteenth century Native American village, and it just so happened to be run by a friend of Daniel's from graduate school. They left early in the morning and didn't plan to return until late.
That left Sam and Jack at the cabin alone, which had been Daniel's and Teal'c's intention. But, it backfired sadly. Jack got up when Daniel and Teal'c did and as soon as they left, he took the boat and went fishing. Sam slept in, then she got up and took a walk. She was still gone when Jack got back to the cabin at noon.
"Sam," he called as he came in. There was no answer, but he didn't think anything of it. He'd told Sam that she was free to do as she pleased, and he'd meant it. He turned on the boom box they'd brought along to listen to some music and catch the noon news.
". . .baseball scores in ten minutes. Now, for an update on the murder at Castle Sanitarium in Chicago. The police are still looking for the killer of Mary Turner, a nurse at the facility which treats the mentally ill. It is believed that a patient at the hospital, Andrea Carpenter, killed Turner and stole her uniform and car to escape. It is believed that she also killed Arthur Thompson and stole his gun and car. Police are asking anyone with any information to contact the local authorities. The police have distributed photos of the missing woman and are warning anyone who sees her not to approach her, but to call the authorites. Andrea Carpenter is considered armed and extremely dangerous. Now Chuck is here with the baseball scores-"
Jack turned off the radio. Andrea had escaped from the mental hospital, and killed a nurse and some other guy. It couldn't be possible that she could follow them here. She knew nothing about this place, there was no way she could find them. By the time they went back to Colorado, she would be back in the hospital, in restraints he hoped. Sam was in no danger. Still, to be on the safe side he decided to call the hospital on his cell phone and find out exactly when Andrea had escaped.
Jack's hands were shaking when he severed the connection. Andrea had escaped the morning of the day before they had left on vacation. It was possible that she had managed to get back to Colorado and then follow them here. He glanced at the clock. It was nearly 2 pm. Sam had never been this late returning from her walk and he feared the worst may have happened. Running to his room, he grabbed the gun he'd put on the top shelf of the closet. Checking to see that it was fully loaded, he ran out of the cabin and headed down the trail that Sam usually took when she went walking.
Jack walked quickly and quietly, fully employing the stealth he'd learned on so many black ops missions. He was probably being alarmist, but it didn't hurt to be cautious. As he approached a bend in the path, he heard voices. One was Sam's. Listening closely, he had his worst fears confirmed. The other voice belonged to Andrea. She had Sam.
Silently, using the skills he'd learned both in training and in the field, Jack walked toward the voices. As he drew nearer he could hear what the women were saying.
". . .oh, he'll be here all right. He can't help it, he'll have to rescue his poor little Sam. Only, I'll be waiting for him. You'll die right in front of his eyes, then I'll kill him." Andrea waved a gun around.
"I know why you want to kill me," Sam said, trying to stall Andrea for time in the hopes that someone, anyone, would happen along, although she was afraid that Andrea would kill anyone who happened upon them. "Why do you want to kill, Jack?"
"Well, Sam, if I can't have him, no one can. Not you, not anyone." Andrea smiled sweetly at Sam. "No one dumps me, no one! The last one who did is dead, and Jack's going to be the same way." Andrea giggled. "Soon, soon, soon," she sing-songed.
'Please, God, help me,' Sam prayed silently. She didn't doubt for a minute that Andrea would kill her and Jack. The woman was completely around the bend. Sam had been walking along the path when Andrea had come up behind her and knocked her unconscious. If the woman hadn't hit her from behind, she probably would have been able to disarm and subdue her. But things didn't work out that way, and she was the one subdued.
Jack looked around the immediate area. The area in which Andrea was holding Sam prisoner clear of underbrush, but immediately behind Andrea, there was covering underbrush. Jack worked his way around the clearing, a task which took some time. 'Come on, Sam,' he said to himself, 'keep her talking, keep her talking.' Andrea rambled on and on, revealing just how out of touch with reality she had become. Finally, Jack had made it to the position he had scoped out, right behind Andrea, completely out of her sight. Just as Jack was about to jump Andrea, a bird shrilled out a call. Startled, Andrea whirled around, catching sight of Jack. When Andrea whirled around, Sam saw her chance, and attacked, giving Andrea a sharp chop to the back of the neck. The other woman dropped to the ground like a stone, but not before she pulled the trigger of the gun.
Sam reached down and grabbed the gun, then stood over the unconscious woman, not realizing that Jack was nearby, until she heard him call her name.
"Sam," he said. She looked up. There stood Jack, a surprised looked on his face. Looking down Sam saw that his shirt was covered in blood. He collapsed to the floor of the forest.
"Shit," Jack said as he sat on the ground. "Why me? I have to be the one to get shot." Sam rushed to his side.
"Let me see how bad it is," she said. She unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it back from his shoulder. It was just a scratch, the bullet didn't even enter his shoulder. "Thank God, it's just a scratch. The bleeding's stopping." Sam eased his shirt back into place. Even though it wasn't a severe or life threatening wound, it was still painful. Just then she heard Andrea start to stir. Jumping up, she unfastened the belt of her trousers and pulled it out. She pulled Andrea's wrists around to her back and wrapped the belt around then, pulling the belt tightly. "We need to get back to the cabin. Sir, can you walk?"
"Yeah, I think I can." Sam helped him up, then tucked Andrea's gun into the waistband of her jeans. She went back to Andrea and hauled the now conscious woman to her feet.
"C'mon, let's go." Sam pulled Andrea along back to the cabin, the woman not saying anything now, just staring straight ahead.
When they reached the cabin, Jack picked up his cell phone from the kitchen floor where he'd dropped it and called the police. Sam seated Andrea in a straight-backed kitchen chair and used some nylon cord she'd found to make sure Andrea was secure. Then she went and got the first aid kit and a new shirt for the Colonel.
She cleaned the blood off of him and bandaged his wound. Then she eased the shirt over his bandaged shoulder.
"Carter, you're getting better at this. It hardly hurt when you did that." Jack threw a lop-sided smile at her.
"Well, sir, I've had a lot of practice since Antarctica, and bandaging a shoulder isn't quite as complicated as setting a broken leg." She smiled back at him.
Just then the police arrived, and, after taking Sam's and Jack's statements, they left, taking Andrea with them.
After all the excitement of the day, when they were finally left alone, they felt awkward with each other. Sam prepared them a light dinner, and they sat in front of the fire to eat. They didn't say much, but that wasn't because there was nothing to say.
"I'm sorry." Jack said suddenly. "For this whole mess with Andrea, for almost getting you killed twice, for almost getting myself killed."
"Sir, it's not your fault. You didn't know how disturbed she was. You never do until they show their true colors. I know, I've been there." Sam thought about her ex-fiance Jonas Hanson and all that he'd put her through.
"Yeah," Jack said as he watched the movement of conflicting emotions over her face. He started to say something else, when they heard a car drive up.
"Must be Daniel and Teal'c," Sam said. She stood just as they came in.
Daniel spied the two wine glasses and the fire in the fireplace. Adding quickly, he took two and two and came up with a lot more than four. "So, you guys have a good time here alone today?" he asked.
Sam and Jack just looked at each other and burst out laughing.
"What's so funny?" Daniel asked.
"Yes," Teal'c said. "What is so amusing?"
"It's a long story," Jack said. "Sit down."
After Jack and Sam finished telling about what had happened that day, Daniel and Teal'c were appalled. That woman could have killed both Sam and Jack.
"So, she's not going to escape again, is she?" Daniel asked.
"I hope not Danny-boy, I sure hope not," Jack said, taking a swig of his beer. Sam noticed how pale he looked.
"Colonel, I think it's time you went to bed." Sam stood up and held her hand out to Jack. "Come on." Looking at her for a few seconds, he conceded to her and placed his good hand in hers and let her help him up. Not letting go of his hand, she walked with him to his bedroom. Daniel and Teal'c just looked at each other. Whether they knew it or not, something had happened between them that day. The two men just smiled at each other.
In the bedroom, Sam turned back the bedcovers. Then she helped Jack off with his shirt and shoes. She decided that he could take off his own pants.
"Thanks, Sam," he said.
"You're welcome, sir," she replied. "If you need anything, please don't hesitate to ask. After all, you did save my life this afternoon."
"Nah, some bird screeching saved your life, that's what distracted her," he waved off her thanks. "Besides, I got us both into this mess. I am swearing off obsessive, possessive women."
"Just obsessive and possessive women, not women as a group?" Sam asked playfully.
"Oh, women as a group are fine. Even women as individuals are fine. But I'm going to be more cautious in the future. I think a background check from now on might be the ticket," he quipped.
Sam laughed as he's expected her to. "Don't worry, sir," she said. "You'll find someone who's not obsessive, possessive, or insane." She moved to the door and paused. "Good night, sir. See you in the morning." Sam smiled at him, then left the room, closing the door behind her.
"I think I already have," Jack said quietly to himself.
The next morning . . .
"Damn it!" Jack exclaimed.
"Sir," Sam said, knocking on the bedroom door. "Is something wrong?"
Jack was sitting on the side of the bed, his shirt in his hands. He'd managed to put on most of his clothing, but he couldn't lift his arms up enough to put on his shirt.
"Could you help me here, Carter?" he asked, frustration coloring his voice. "Can't get the damned thing on." He shook the shirt as if he could get some cooperation out of it by doing that.
Sam stifled a smile. It wouldn't do for her to laugh at the Colonel. "Sure, I'll help you." She took the shirt and eased his arm into it, settling it on his injured shoulder, trying hard not to look at his bare chest. He really had a nice chest. Then she helped him slip it onto his other arm. "Do you need help buttoning it?"
"No," he said shortly. He moved his arms up, and with difficulty started buttoning his shirt. By the grimace on his face, she could tell that it was causing him pain. Gently she moved his hands out of the way.
"Let me do that, sir," Sam said, and she buttoned his shirt. "Daniel and Teal'c have most of our stuff loaded."
"Loaded? What are you talking about?" Jack wasn't ready to leave.
"Sir, we discussed the situation and we've decided that we should return to Colorado, that's all." Sam buttoned the last button. "There, all done."
"And why did you decide that?" he asked.
"Well, we were going to leave tomorrow anyway, what happened just speeded things up by twenty-four hours, that's all." She smiled at him. "Besides, I'd like to go home, make sure that Ms. Carpenter didn't torch my apartment before she followed us here."
"Oh, yeah," Jack said. "I guess I need to check on my house, too."
"I'll help you pack your things up, then we can load them up and leave." Sam opened the dresser drawers and started taking out Jack's clothes. Jack reached under the bed and pulled out his duffel bag. Sam started putting his things in the bag. In just a few minutes, all of Jack's things were packed and ready to go.
"Carter, this trip didn't go exactly as planned, and I feel bad about that. I promised you rest and relaxation, and you almost got killed." Jack looked really sorry. "If I had left you at home like you wanted, this wouldn't have happened."
"And she probably would have done the same thing, only this time you wouldn't have been there to try to save me." Sam walked over to him and placed her hand on his arm. "It's not worth beating yourself up over, sir."
"Yeah, right." He gave her a lop-sided grin. "All right, Carter, let's go home."
Jack was pissed off that they wouldn't let him drive. Sam started out driving, then Daniel, then Teal'c got a turn when they hit the interstate. By the time they drove up in front of his house he was a nervous wreck.
"You know, Jack," Daniel said, "you've really got some control issues." He and Teal'c were carrying the fishing gear into the garage.
"Ya think?" Jack asked sarcastically. He was carrying his duffel bag into the house, with Sam following carrying the cooler. He had tried to get her to carry the bag while he carried the cooler, which was much heavier, but she wouldn't let him because of his wounded shoulder. He took the bag into his bedroom and dropped it on the bed, then he went into the kitchen where Sam was unloading the contents of the cooler into his refrigerator.
He watched her move around his kitchen, putting things away. She was quick and graceful, a beautiful sight to behold. No superfluous movements, no coquettishness, just his Sam. It had been a while since she'd been to his home, and he realized that he'd missed her a lot.
"Sam." Daniel called.
"I'm in the kitchen," Sam answered.
"Do you want a ride home? I can put your stuff in my car." Daniel offered.
"That's all right, Daniel," Jack said. "Sam can take my car when she's ready to go."
Daniel looked at Jack, quickly hiding his surprise. Jack never offered his car to anyone. The only reason the others had driven today was because he couldn't drive himself.
Sam was also surprised. "Thanks, sir, I appreciate that." She almost said that she could go with Daniel, but the look he gave her stopped her. That he wanted her to stay awhile longer was obvious.
Daniel looked from one to the other. It looked like they were finally going to sit down and hash out their problems. Good. "Okay, then Teal'c and I will be off. I promised him that we'd stop by the video store and rent 'The Phantom Menace.'"
Jack laughed. "You mean the thirteen times he watched it at the movie theater wasn't enough?"
"It was twenty, and, no I guess not. See you guys later." Daniel turned and left the house.
"It was Daniel who watched it thirteen times," Sam said, laughing.
"And how many times did you watch it?" Jack asked.
"Just the one time when we went to see it," she answered. What she didn't say was, 'Back in the days when we were friends,' but the words were there between them.
"We need to talk," Jack said. There, he'd said it, even though the thought of actually doing it made him feel sick. Not so long ago, Daniel had told him that Sam had feelings for him, but he knew better than anyone that feelings changed when they encountered adversity. He was almost afraid of what she would say to him.
"Yes, we do," she agreed.
She followed him into the living room and sat down in the sofa. He hesitated for a second, then he sat down beside her and turned to face her.
"I just wanted to start out by telling you how sorry I am that I doubted you. I'm not the brightest guy in the world, you know that, but that time I really pulled a boner. I just hope that someday you'll forgive me, really forgive me." Jack looked contrite.
"I do forgive you, sir. I did a long time ago. It's just hard to forget, sometimes. I know that you're sorry, I'm sorry, too. What I'd really like is to be friends again. Would that be possible?" Sam asked.
"I've never stopped being your friend, Sam." He was relieved. She still wanted to be friends. "I know it would be impossible to go back to where we were, but maybe we could turn a new page, so to speak?"
She gave him one of her two hundred watt smiles. "That sounds good, sir."
"Great." He reached out his hand and she laid hers in it. "Friends."
"Friends." They shook on it.
Two weeks later . . .
"Hey, Carter," Jack poked his head around the doorway of the lab. "You ready to go?"
"Just let me finish this." Sam entered the last few figures into her computer. "There, all done."
"All right! Come on, get changed. We don't want to be late. Face off is at 8:00," he said.
Why she had agreed to go to a hockey game with him, she would never know. Maybe it was the sad puppy dog eyes when he'd said that no one else would go with him. So she'd agreed to go. Then Daniel had told her that she was the only one he'd asked to go with him. When she'd asked Jack about it, he'd admitted that what Daniel had told her was true, but he'd said that Daniel had been to a game with him before and hated it, and when he'd taken Teal'c, he'd been so bombarded by questions, that he couldn't enjoy the game. So, this time he'd asked her. And she was going.
He hustled her to her quarters and paced outside the door until she came out in her civvies. Then he rushed her through the hallways and into the elevator. He'd picked her up that morning so she wouldn't have to come back to the base to pick up her car after the game. They all but raced through the guard station and to the parking lot.
"Sir, it's only an hour to Denver," she said.
"Yes, Major, it is, but if we're stopping for dinner before the game, we need to get going." Jack unlocked his car and ushered her inside.
Things had changed since they had talked about their relationship. Jack seemed to think it was his job to keep her entertained, so in the last two weeks they'd gone to the movies, to the park, to dinner, and even bar-hopping. Their friendship was back. It was different, but it was back. He didn't have to try so hard, but she knew it would settle down soon.
"This is gonna be great," he said, looking over at her and grinning.
Sam grinned back. His excitement was infectious. "Yes, it is." He reached over and squeezed her hand. 'Yes, it is,' she thought. 'Great.' She squeezed his hand back.
Coming soon: "A New Obsession" (you didn't really think that was it, did you?)