That's about all he was good for at an event like this. Fortunately there were usually only three or four of these things a year. Jack sighed. He really hated these things. Every time he had the option of staying at home, yet somehow Sam always managed to get him to go.
In the beginning the weirdest thing was finding out that Sam had her own little following at these events. Okay, "following" was too mild of a word. It was actually some sort of insane little cult, he decided. And much to his annoyance the cult kept getting bigger. In that circle he was known as Sam Carter's husband and probably most of them didn't even know he had a name. But they knew him by sight, which meant that most of the little geeks, sorry, esteemed colleagues, had a tendency to disappear whenever he came around. Probably had to do with the "incident" last fall where one of them had actually called him Mr. Carter.
How in the world had he been talked into going this time? Oh yeah.
If anyone had been looking at Jack O'Neill at that moment, they could have only described his expression using the term "big-ass grin."
Jack gave his order to the bartender.
Tonight was just the start of the whole blasted thing. It was the mixer, which meant shaking hands with about a hundred of Sam's gee...esteemed colleagues and engaging in small talk. God how he hated the small talk.
As he waited for his order, Jack spotted a face from the past on the other side of the room. McCoy? McCleary? McKay! That was it. Last he remembered the guy had been shipped back to Russia even before Jack had retired. So it had been a few years since...
Jack watched as McKay made a beeline for Sam. He instantly recognized the look on the guy's face, considering that most of the time he himself had the same look when he was around her.
"You wanna hurry up with those drinks?"
Jack grabbed the glasses and looked back over at Sam. McKay had her pinned down, so to speak.
Suddenly this was a combat situation.
Jack picked up his target, keeping him in his line of sight as he moved slowly and deliberately in their direction.
First, he told himself, assess the situation by initiating reconnaissance. He slipped into stealth mode. Which he had to admit he had never done while carrying drinks before. The target came into range as Jack positioned himself a bit off to the side and behind McKay. He lined up his imaginary crosshairs.
Ahh...who was he kidding? Boy, the things he did when he was bored...
He was about to walk up to them when McKay's voice stopped him.
"You know, you might be asked to leave soon. You're making all the other women look really bad."
His first thought was, 'Man I haven't heard that line since I was a cadet.' His second was, 'Sam, could you be a dear and hit the strange little man? I'm holding the drinks. Thanks.'
However, instead of inflicting bodily harm, she merely smiled at McKay. The smile she gave when she was humoring someone.
Don't humor! Hit!
He kept waiting for his devoted wife to put a stop to him. Jack remembered that Sam thought the guy was mainly annoying and expected her to shut him down at any moment. But minutes ticked by and she still hadn't put McKay in his place and therefore he kept flirting outrageously with her. Well, so much for devoted. The whole thing was starting to annoy the hell out of Jack.
And then he caught her gaze.
Almost imperceptibly she raised her eyebrows a bit and nodded to him. Jack quickly put it together. The fact that she hadn't clued the guy in about her marital status. The fact that her left hand was jammed into her pocket. The fact that McKay was still upright.
She was setting the guy up.
'Oh God. She's evil. She's evil and she's drawing me into her little game of payback.' Jack smirked. The question now before him was, would he play along?
"So, how about we finally do something about this overwhelming attraction we feel for each other? I know this little place..." McKay said between gulps of his drink.
And Jack was in the game. He ambled over to them handing Sam her drink. "Hey Carter. And McKay, right?"
"Colonel O'Neill. Surprised to see you at one of these events." McKay shook Jack's hand.
"Oh, you know. Free drinks and I'm there."
"Ah, so that's the reason. I couldn't see you understanding anything past the introduction of the speakers."
Any remaining pity Jack had for the guy vanished.
"I was just trying to convince Sam to have a drink with me."
"Looks like you're drinking now, McKay."
"Come on Colonel, help a guy out. Sam doesn't seem to quite grasp just how great a time she would have with me. Can't you order her to go out with me or something?"
"I'm retired, McKay. Can't really order her to do much of anything anymore." Wasn't that the truth!
Sam continued to remain silent, sporting a thin smile and a very amused look in her eyes. 'Yep,' Jack thought, 'evil. And I'm her evil little lap dog.'
"You know Sam, right?"
"I thought I did." Jack shot Sam a look. She countered with an innocent one.
"Well then what would make her come with me?"
"Let me get this absolutely straight, McKay," Jack said, taking a step just a bit closer, "you want *me* to help *you* try and think of a way to seduce my wife?"
At first the scientist looked confused.
"Wait for it...!"
McKay visibly blanched.
"Yes," Jack said with a glare, "you can go now."
Jack watched as McKay fled, knocking down a few geeks... damn... esteemed colleagues as he ran.
"Happy?" he asked, shaking his head.
"Yep," she answered as she slipped her arm around his.
"You do realize we've probably scarred him for life. He'll probably leave the scientific world...or something."
"Well," Sam said, "he always did want to be a pianist."
He turned to her and blinked.
"What'd you say?"