Story Notes: Matter of Tact 01: Email:

Archive: SJD, please

Season: Future, complete with Season 7 spoilers.

A/N: Thanks to Melly and Emry.


She looked up from studying a scuff mark on her hall floorboards and took in his appearance with surprise. What the...? She looked around the kitchen dazedly, turned to look in the hallway, trying to remember if she'd noticed anything out of place when she'd opened her front door. "Er... hi," she said, stupidly, moving her helmet from one arm to the other.

He nodded at her, his eyes slightly more open than they usually were but otherwise perfectly normal, and then he wandered off into the living room, leaving Sam completely unsure of what to do.

Distracting herself with the mundane, she dropped her bag and helmet onto the kitchen counter and automatically checked her phone for messages. No. New. Messages.

She stared at the red zero on the little screen for a moment.

What the hell was she doing?

He was in her house. He. Was. In. Her. House. What's more - not only was he in her house - he wasn't supposed to be in her house. He was supposed to be in... in... well, she couldn't remember his speech last night since she'd been focusing on trying not to cry like a baby in front of her superiors and subordinates, but she was pretty sure there were some fishing jokes in it. And trees.

There were definitely some trees.

Did she mention he was in her house?

"How did you get in?" Sam called.

"Key!" he yelled back over the sound of the TV.

Her TV.

He was in her house and he was watching her TV.

"What key?"

"Daniel's key!"

Daniel's key opened her door? Well that was...

No, wait, she'd given a key to Daniel. Yeah. She actually remembered doing that. After his... de-glowing... Daniel had nowhere to stay and he'd bunked in her guest room for a couple of nights, then moved to the Colonel's, then to Janet's and finally back into an apartment of his own. She'd never asked for the key back because, well, it was Daniel. He'd probably lost it.

Apparently not.

She shucked her leather jacket off and draped it over one of her stools before wandering into the living room and standing in the doorway, watching him. He seemed to have been here for some time - there was a half full bag of chips on the coffee table, a couple of empty bottles of beer and he'd left his shoes against one wall.

Plus, it looked like he'd been looking through her magazine stack.

"Sir, what - "

"No 'sirs'!" he said, still staring at the screen and dropping chips into his mouth, crunching noisily.

Sam blinked.

She guessed it would be too much to ask to find out that she was actually hallucinating. Janet had checked her out fully only three days ago and she hadn't eaten or drunk anything on their last mission together off-world that could possibly cause this kind of... bizarre... reaction.

"Um, any particular reason you decided to drop by? And... watch my TV?" she queried, trying to sound respectful. Sure, he wasn't her CO any more but seven and a half years of being his subordinate at work had left her with a pretty serious habit.

"You've got a bigger TV than me."

"I do not."

"Okay." He shrugged. "Mine broke."


"I don't know. How *do* TV's break?"

He was making this up. She was absolutely positive. He was lying out of his ass. She would bet anything if she went over his to house right now his TV would be fine. Why the hell would he be lying to her?

"I thought... I thought you were.." She cleared her throat the moment her voice started to thicken and a suspicious tingling began behind her eyes. Deciding she needed a distraction, she ran her finger over the edge of a couch cushion. "Weren't you going up north?"

"Mmm. You know, I haven't watched a show like this in years."

Sam's eyes dragged reluctantly away from him - because, well, he was probably the most interesting thing in her house - and she looked at the screen. "It's a talk show. A bad one."

"Are there good ones?"

"Um. Well." Actually, Sam decided it probably wasn't a good time to explain to him the drinking game she and Janet had for Jerry Springer. He may no longer be her CO but was still, you know, *nearly* her CO.

But, on a totally different topic, his shirt was nice today.

Not that she spent much time considering his clothes, of course, because he was normally in BDUs and while he looked hot in them (Seriously, men in uniform? Huge perk of the job), seeing him in them every day got to be a tad repetitive.

Still, she had noticed that his civilian clothes sometimes tended to get a little outlandish. Like he dressed in the dark. All the time. And didn't have a mirror. Bright yellow sweaters and strange knit caps which, adorable in their terribleness, didn't do much for him as his dress uniform. The only thing he seemed to be able to buy properly were leather jackets - one which was currently tossed over the back of her other couch.

Today he was wearing faded blue jeans (yum) and a nice, soft-looking grey shirt. His hair was tousled, his face relaxed and his socks had Bart Simpson on them.


So. Totally. Cute.

He stretched, raising his arms in the air and straightened his legs, pointing his toes in the process. His shirt hiked up a couple of inches and Sam's eyes were so totally there.

So. Totally. Hot.

"I need to go get changed," she murmured faintly.


"Okay." She hovered momentarily, strangely feeling like she should be saying something. "You'll... be here when I get back?"

He lifted the remote and changed channels. "Yup."


She hovered again, then forced herself to walk to the door and out into the hallway towards her bedroom. Her ex-CO was in her house, watching her TV, eating her chips, stretching.

Why did this kind of thing happen to her? Seriously - did she ask for this? Was she cursed? Why couldn't she have a normal relationship with a guy?

Was he completely nuts?

She changed into a pair of jeans and a pink sweater, then decided the sweater was too girlie and she switched it for a green one. Then she told herself that girlie was fine - particularly considering he'd been used to seeing her in green. So she switched back to the pink. After a few more indecisions, she decided she looked better in the green and switched back once more.

Sam stood in front of her bathroom mirror and touched up her makeup. It was weird. Only that morning she'd stood in front of the mirror and miserably tried to cover up the effect his retirement had on her complexion with layers of foundation and carefully applied makeup. Of course, that morning she'd thought he'd already left, with barely a word to her, as well.

Frowning at herself, she recalled that he'd not spoken to her once the previous night, unless you counted his assurances in his speech that she'd do just fine as leader of SG-1. Not that she'd heard the assurances - Daniel had told her about them later. And Daniel, being Daniel, had been drunk and pitiful so she hadn't taken his word for it.

All in all...

She was pretty pissed off actually.


Oh God. Oh God. Ohgodohgodohgod.

Fucking. Idiot.

Jack hurried across the room and grabbed his shoes, spun around once and decided he'd better leave them there. If she'd noticed them, it would look mighty weird when she came back in and saw he'd tidied them up. Shoes, after all, didn't walk by themselves.

Quickly dropping them back on the floor, he went to her magazine stack and hurriedly restacked them into some semblance of neatness. He had a feeling they'd actually been alphabetized (a realization that both freaked him out and completely enamored him) but there was no way in hell he'd have time to do that before she came back.

What had he been thinking?

Okay, it had been pretty obvious he hadn't been thinking. He'd just been in his house, packing for his trip to Minnesota, trying to decide which pair of boots to take and he'd realized...

He really wanted to see her.

He knew he'd avoided her the previous night; he wasn't sure he could take a conversation with Carter on the night of his retirement. The one with Daniel had nearly reduced him to unmanly displays of affection and added to that Jonas's heartfelt speech on how Jack had introduced him to the intricacies of Earth slang and Teal'c's speech on Tau'ri honor... well, hell. Jack had practically embarrassed himself. In public.

There was no way he'd get through a conversation with her without becoming overly... demonstrative.

Yeah. Demonstrative. That was a tactful way to put it.

Dragging her down onto the floor and removing every single piece of clothing on her body... not so tactful. More truthful, but not tactful.

It was very important to be tactful, all of a sudden.

So, like a coward, he'd avoided her. Said some bullshit about her being a great 2IC in his speech - a speech, by the way, that he'd not prepared in advance and that had made Doc Fraiser cry copiously. But then she'd not taken her own advice and had drunk several of the revolting looking green things that Jonas had made with the aid of that nurse, Lieutenant Rush, so the speech probably wasn't as moving as he'd thought.

And now... he was in Carter's house. It was a nice house, you know. Comfortable. Pretty. Definitely a girl's house - it had girlie things in it like fancy cushions that 'picked up the tones of the room' and stuff like that.

And she did have a great TV and all the channels he really liked. Plus, she had a secret stash of Simpsons videos that she used to hide - badly - whenever he and the boys dropped by unannounced.

Look, it had seemed like a good idea at that time. Drop by, say goodbye, and see where things went from there. Only he'd forgotten that Carter worked at the weekend. During holidays. Christmas. Downtime.... after his retirement party.

So he'd thought he'd wait for her. Perfectly innocent. Admittedly, he'd waited five and a half hours and had eaten half her supply of chips, drank a carton of apple juice and a couple of her expensive beers, but that wasn't the point. He'd had honorable intentions!

Intentions that had seriously gone out of the window when she'd returned home and he'd... sort of... panicked.

She'd been wearing leather for God's sake!!!

He'd been completely struck dumb, as any sane man would have been when faced with Carter in that getup. All he'd managed was a greeting. At least, he hoped he'd greeted her. He couldn't quite remember. At the time all he'd been able to see were her leather-clad legs and sexy zip-up jacket and tousled hair and lips and eyes and hands and neck and.... Damn, and then she'd turned around....

Getting out of the kitchen had seemed like a really good idea. For his sanity. And, you know, as a matter of tact.

Because the whole 'dragging her down onto the floor and removing every single piece of clothing on her body' issue had kinda... risen again. No pun intended.


He had a feeling he'd been rude. Okay, he knew he'd been rude. Considering he'd walked into her house and eaten her food, he really should have tried to be more polite.

Instead, he'd ignored her. Because, you know, leather... dragging her down onto the floor... tact... rising... stuff like that. It had seemed the best thing to do would be to not look at her. Not even out of the corner of his eye like he usually did. He'd all but ignored her and hoped she wouldn't be too offended to kick him out until he'd at least calmed down and given her his reasons for being there.

She'd been in her room a really long time. Maybe he ought to go and look for her? Apologize.

Nononono. What if he saw her naked?


Naked Carter.

He grabbed a cushion and sat down on the couch again, placing the cushion just so as he shifted uncomfortably. Now he'd just sit here for a little while and think calming thoughts.

Fish fish fish fish fish fish fish fish.

That so wasn't working. Bizarrely, he thought of fish. He thought of Carter. Somehow... Carter became a mermaid. And he was finding the whole lack of a bikini top thing really exciting.

He was a sick, sick person.

God, what was she doing in there?

Almost before he'd finished that thought she walked into the room. Damn. She'd changed out of the leather pants. Shame. Not that the jeans weren't nice, of course, but seriously, a guy could really do things with the leather.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

He winced. Okay, sometime during getting changed Carter had discovered her temper. He should have known.

Jack switched immediately into defense mode. "Okay, I'm sorry...."

"Damn right you are!"

"Major!" he protested automatically.

"You're not my CO!" she yelled back.

Oh yeah.

He really wasn't.

He grinned, instinctively, reveling in the very idea. It was so weird to think of it - he was no longer her CO. She was no longer his 2IC. God. What a... what a relief.

And suddenly... she was grinning too.

And, still grinning, she dropped down onto the couch next to him and reached for the bag of chips, putting her bare feet up onto the coffee table and crossing her legs at the ankles. She was close enough for their upper arms to brush, but that was it.

It was a start, Jack thought.

Munching on a chip, Carter frowned at the TV. "Hey, that woman just threw that guy across the room. Cool."

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