The mission reports had been filed, personnel paperwork had been dealt with and he had even taken the time out of his busy schedule to dress down a cocky lieutenant. It was Friday evening and Jack had officially put in his time for the day, twenty-odd floors underground.
"Base" days sucked.
Time to go home, have a beer and...stare at the TV for a few hours? After a full day of sitting on his butt, that sounded as appealing as listening to one of Daniel's endless lectures on rocks or mold or whatever the hell he always talked about.
No. He needed action! Or at least an incredible simulation.
Jack grabbed his jacket and switched off the lights in his office, closing the door behind him and heading down the hallway.
He *could* go grab Teal'c or Daniel to go do something, not that Daniel was ever interested in anything that Jack wanted to do and Teal'c always seemed to just barely tolerate their outings, but he wasn't in the mood for that either. What *was* he in the mood for?
The elevator doors opened and he stepped on.
He frowned. Something nagging at him.
Jack hit the elevator button.
But what? What was... Oh wow!
He quickly punched another button.
That was it!
He jabbed at the button a few more times.
He hadn't seen Carter the whole day! He couldn't believe he hadn't at least stopped by. Well, blame actual work for once. The last he saw her was when he passed her on his way to breakfast. She had said something about being busy in her lab and then...
Then she gave him an odd look.
The elevator doors opened on her level and he stepped out.
Well, the look wasn't *exactly* odd. Just...indecipherable.
He really should be good at reading her by now. He should. Put Sam Carter next to him in the field and she was a Jumbotron with "DRINK BEER" emblazoned in thirty-foot-high letters. Otherwise, for the most part, she was a Gameboy screen. Across the room. In the dark. Under a blanket. Did he mention the Gameboy had no batteries?
Teal'c was easy to understand. Happy/amused/confused/condescending - the eyebrow went up. Pissed off/sleeping - the eyebrow went down. See? Simple.
He scraped his access card against the wall as he walked.
That certainly was an annoying sound.
*scrape scrape scraaaaaape*
He looked over just in time to be on the receiving end of a withering glare from a passing Marine.
Oh bite me. Jack shoved the card into his pocket.
Where was he? Oh yeah.
Daniel was also easy to read. And most looks from the archaeologist also earned a "bite me" in Jack's mind. Okay, sometimes it was out loud.
But Carter... Oy! And there was this one expression of hers that just...did things to him. The Look. He had no idea what it meant. Not a clue. It was kinda like...almost...as if to say...
Sure it was frustrating as hell, but in a please-God-don't-ever-let- her-stop-smiling-at-me-like-that-even-if-I-never-find-the-answer kinda way. Of course, if Carter *were* an open book, then life wouldn't be any fun. And where was the fun in...no fun?
He bounced into her lab.
"Sir." She glanced up then quickly back down to her hands. "Studying the device we found on P34 2X3. It's fascinating!" Carter poked some long wire into the orange ball they had picked up yesterday and typed something into her computer. "The properties are amazing! We have yet to identify the elements but the energy readings kind of remind me of..."
*Why* did he always ask? Why? "Carter?!"
She looked up at him. "Sorry, sir." She tilted her head.
Right. In the field, that would have meant /I'm out of ammo/. Somehow he doubted that was the correct translation. But maybe she needed *something*.
Jack gestured over his shoulder. "Can I get you some coffee?"
"No. Thanks. I'm fine, sir." Carter smiled and returned her gaze to the gizmo.
There went that theory. And damn! Couldn't he hold her attention for more than a few seconds?
Carter glanced up again.
Yeah. That still wasn't right.
"Really. I'm fine. Thanks, sir." She gave him another small smile and went back to her toy.
"Okay then." Jack frowned. Didn't she know he was bored? And that it was Friday? Night? Maybe if he started juggling. Or hopping? Or kicking the cabinet?
Whoops. He actually did that last one. He quickly looked over at Carter who was staring back at him.
/You've got Jaffa on your ass!/
Jack's body tensed as he instinctively began to turn around. It was dumb luck that made him catch his foot on the end of the cabinet. Thanks to a few hop steps he stayed upright. Yeah, he was a smooth one. "Ta da?"
She blinked at him.
/Quit being a moron. Sir./
Unfortunately, that translated perfectly.
"Interesting floor show, sir," Carter smirked.
"Like it? Thinking about going on the road."
"Maybe you should hold onto your day job."
Ooo. He almost saw it. The beginnings of the Look but she turned away too quickly.
Carter tapped on her keyboard. "Sir, could you help me a minute?"
"Sure." Jack walked around to her side of the lab table and up behind her. "Whatcha need?"
She swiveled her chair, banging her knees against his leg. "Oops. Sorry." She patted his leg.
Well that was certainly...
The hand left.
"Just hold this right there and don't move for about thirty seconds." Carter moved his fingers to position the wire in a certain spot.
Jack looked down with suspicion at the alien thing. "This isn't going to zap me or anything, will it?"
"No." Carter turned back to her computer. "At least, it shouldn't."
"Hey!" Somehow he just *knew* she was smiling.
"Okay. Hold still, sir." She punched the keyboard.
His hand started to itch. He knew it! It was zapping him! "Carter??"
"Wow! Just amazing!" She turned and took the wire away from him.
"I take it whatever it did, it was a good thing?" Jack asked, scratching his hand.
"A *very* good thing, sir." She nodded at him.
/I've got your six./
He blinked. "You know, one of these days I'm going to get a Carter to O'Neill dictionary."
/Let's mow the sons of bitches down!/
Okay, no. That *obviously* wasn't it.
"No problem, Carter."
He slowly walked around the table, running his hand along it and picking up a box with lit numbers on it. A slight noise from behind him made him look back.
/Are you sure you want to be touching that?/
Okay, so some things translated. He put the box back down.
A thought occurred to him.
"Carter. We came back with that thing about twenty-four hours ago. *Please* tell me you haven't been playing with it this whole time."
She stared at him.
"You went home, right?"
"Slept on base then?"
Her eyes narrowed slightly.
/This alien is beginning to piss me off./
"Of course I ate, sir," she said with a thin smile.
/I'm humoring the native so I can get his naquada./
"Carter?! What am I going to do with you?"
The thin smile turned into a real smile and...
There it was!
The LOOK. He gave Carter a lopsided smirk, which only made the Look become more...more Look-like. Gah! That was *it*!
Jack attempted nonchalance. "Hey. It's Friday. It's late. How about we pack it in and go get dinner? Just you and me."
The Look disappeared and was replaced by a different Carter expression.
/General Hammond isn't going to like this./