Something was wrong. He wasn't sure yet what it was, but something was wrong. He turned, letting out a low growl and tried to focus on that ...something. It was a sound, that much he had already figured out, even though he was technically still asleep.
His tired body told him to ignore the sound and that it would eventually go away anyway. His mind didn't buy it.
Growling a little louder he opened his eyes, as he identified the sound as the ringing of this phone. Grabbing the receiver he yawned and grumbled.
"Blue or green?" a happy voice greeted him. A voice that sounded annoyingly awake at . . he glanced at the alarm-clock and cursed.
"Are you nuts? Do you know what time it is?"
"Good morning to you too, Sir." The happy voice replied.
"Carter! It's 5:30 for crying out loud" he howled in frustration.
"I know, Sir."
Even with his somewhat limited knowledge of all things scientific he knew that it actually wasn't possible to see someone smiling over the phone, yet he knew she was smiling right now. That big happy Sam smile that made even the darkest night turn into a sunny day. He moaned and rubbed a hand over his face. He was not ready to face his secret romantic side this early in the day.
"We have a meeting with General Hammond and Major Davis before we gate to P3J764, Sir. You remember that, don't you?"
"Sure" he replied trying to figure out what the hell she was talking about.
"There was a memo on this, right?"
He heard his 2IC laugh on the other end of the line and sighed.
"Carter, no laughing at me before I had at least another five hours of sleep and two cups of coffee after that, okay?"
"Yeah, right", Jack grumbled, but a smile was starting to spread on his face. He ran a hand through his tousled hair and yawned. Sam laughed again.
"Seriously, we have a meeting at 6.45, and I have to get ready, so what will it be?"
"Seriously, why don't we try another colour for a chance. This blue- green-thing is getting sooo old."
"Maybe you should suggest it to General Hammond."
"Oh, yeah. Dear General, the colours we wear are boring, please find us something a little more cheery, preferably with a tag that says Armani on it", Jack snorted, prompting Sam to giggle. Jack closed his eyes, grinning at the lightness of their conversation. Maybe it was because the day was still new and hadn't had a chance yet to throw chaos, disaster, fear and pain upon them. Maybe it was because the part of him that was all military was still fast asleep. Or maybe it was just because this was familiar territory, a ritual they hadn't given up, even though they had seemed to have given up almost everything else during the past year. No matter what reason, he cherished these little moments, when things between them were like they had been before ... everything.
"So what made you choose black, Sir?"
"Because it's the colour of the night. And at night people sleep. At least "normal" people do."
"Okay, I get the subtle hint, Sir. But I have to remind you that I didn't plan this meeting. Major Davis did."
"But he didn't call me at 5:30 in the morning."
"Want me to hang up so you can go back to sleep and miss the meeting?"
Oops, that was a little too fast and a little too loud. He cleared his throat.
"Actually, Carter, you just saved my butt. I would never have gotten up in time."
"You're welcome, Sir", Sam replied happily. Jack yawned again and made a half-hearted attempt to sit up.
"So, we haven't decided on the colour-issue yet", she continued.
"So black is not an option, huh?"
"Maybe white. We could steal some stuff from the infirmary."
"I doubt that Janet is wearing your size, Sir."
"Too bad. So it's back to boring blue and dull green?"
"Afraid so, Sir."
"Okay, what do you feel like today?"
Sam thought about it for a second and answered: "I guess I'll have to say blue."
"That was a question, not an answer, Carter. I mean, seriously, I wanna know. Why blue?"
He almost could see Sam shrug. "I don't know. Maybe because blue symbolizes peacefulness, ideals and a certain sense of the space."
"Did I mention it is 5:30 in the morning?"
Sam laughed. "Your own fault, Sir, you wanted a serious answer."
"No, actually I wanted to *know*. Big difference there."
"Yes, Sir. Okay, let me try this another way. What is blue?"
"The colour of my favorite dessert?"
"Very funny. I see you're starting to wake up, Sir", Sam teased him. Jack grinned. He promised himself to tell her one day how great it was to start most of his days with the sound of her voice.
"And I see you're not afraid of court-martials", he countered with a huge grin on his face. Sam laughed, knowing perfectly well that he was joking.
"So if its not my dessert, what is it then?"
"I was thinking about the ocean or the sky on a clear summer's day. I don't know, just gives you a feeling of staring into infinity. But it's not threatening or overwhelming, just makes you feel...free in lack of a better term."
"Free is not the term I'd use in reference to those blue BDUs."
"Gained a little weight, have we, Sir?"
"You're very daring today, how many cups of coffee have you had so far?"
"Not one actually. I'm just in a good mood, that's all."
"So blue is freedom and peace. Okay, sounds good to me. But I think I'd go with green today."
"Oh, may I ask why?"
"Just seems the right colour for today since we're taking Jonas on his first trip into the unknown. You know. Green like in greenhorn. Or the colour of his face after we step through the stargate, or . . ."
"Okay, okay, I'll get it. Sounds reasonable, but not convincing enough. Come on, there has to be a better reason for green."
"Okay, how about his: Green is the colour of nature."
"So I needed something to say in order to buy some time to actually think about what to say."
"Oh, okay. Nature. Green. Sweet. A real classic."
Jack grinned and shook his head. "You spend too much time with me, Carter."
"Not merely en..." Her voice trailed of and Jack heard something that was a mixture between a cough and the clearing of a throat.
"Sorry. Sore throat. Sooo, enough time to come up with something more creative?"
Jack smiled. So she still felt the same. He hadn't been sure during the past months, but now everything seemed . . . normal again. Jack decided to make sure it stayed that way.
"Okay, so let's hear it."
"Green is the colour of hope. You know like in winter when the ground is bare and nothing grows on it because of the cold?"
"It seems to last forever and no matter how hard you try to free the soil of the cold and make things grow there, it stays lifeless. But then one day, when you think that you'll never see anything grow there again, suddenly you see them: Little green things, grass, flowers, slowly making their way to the surface, bringing back love to a seemingly dead place."
"You mean life."
"Yeah, that's what I said. Life."
Or did he? Jack wasn't sure, because Sam didn't reply right away. He waited for her to speak and when she didn't he felt a slight panic rise inside of him. What was it he had said to freak her out? It dawned on him and he slapped his forehead. Nice going O'Neill. Hit her with everything you've got. Like that won't scare her away again, didn't know you enjoyed that recent uneasiness between the two of you so much, he scolded himself.
"Carter?" he asked slowly. Sam's quiet voice almost startled him, when she replied: "I think I see your point, but I think I have another reason for blue."
"Blue means loyality."
"Green means compassion."
"Blue means affection."
Jack closed his eyes, counted to ten, to be sure his voice wasn't cracking and replied.
"Green means go"
Silence again, then her voice, just a little shaky.
"Yes, it does."
This time the silence was broken with his deep voice whispering a simple question.
"Then green it is?"
"Green it is."
Letting out the breath he hadn't realised he had been holding he threw his head back against the pillow and raised his arms as if he had just scored the goal that would make his team win the Stanley Cup. Not that bad a metaphor, he thought amused, when he hastily pulled his arms down, realising that he had lifted the receiver up as well.
"Uh, sorry. Yeah, I'm still there."
"So I'll see you at the base in 30? We might still have some time to grab a cup of coffee before the meeting."
"Sounds good to me. 3o minutes. Meet you in the parking lot."
"Yes, Sir... oh, and Sir?"
"If you ever do get to talk about the colour-issue to General Hammond? I like red a lot, too."
"Red as in the colour of your favorite dessert?"
Laughter. Free and happy, light and unrestrained Sam-laughter. He would definitely tell her soon what hearing her voice every morning meant to him.
"Actually I was talking about something a little more profound here, but since you already pointed out that I am very daring today, I have to admit that I am in the process of changing my choice of favorite dessert to something more substantial then Jello."
They both giggled, but soon silence descended again and for a moment there was nothing to be heard but their steady breathing. Suddenly Sam spoke again, her voice quieter than before.
"So what do you think about red?"
What did he think about the color of love?
He grinned. "Can you make it to the base in 20? I'd really like to tell you that in person."
"Need time to think about what to say again?"
"Nope. Actually I've had more than enough time to think about that particular subject already."
"I'll be there in 15."
Smiling and wondering how many speeding tickets Major Samantha Carter would be risking this morning he hung up the phone for a moment and then started dialing again. When he heard Teal'c voice at the end of the line, he smiled and simply said.
"Green it is."