Disclaimer: I don't own the characters that we love to watch so much. I don't even wish I did. And the actors who play those characters make more money than I do. And I made nothing on this story. Sometimes life isn't very fair, ya know?
The Embarkation Room erupted into excited chatter as SG-1 walked through the door, their eyes on each other rather than the others waiting for them in the old missile silo. Specifically, General O'Neill was waiting to see them off on their daylong mission.
Hello, kids, O'Neill's voice rang out in the room.
Forget something? he asked at their continued chatter.
Daniel turned to him, then.
No, we're just making bets
on what we'll find on the planet today.
No trees, announced a congenial Teal'c.
be a desert planet.
All eyes turned to the blast window protecting the Control Room of the 'Gate, and to Walter, who would know what the preliminary MALP readings showed.
Nope, Walter sang out through the microphone linking
the Control and Embarkation Rooms.
Verdant planet... Lots of
Doh! O'Neill said.
Better luck next time,
Then Walter hesitated.
But there is sand in the
makeup of the soil, he said.
That sort of half
Hey! General O'Neill sang out to Teal'c.
call it, Big Guy!
I vote for naqueda, but no mine, Carter said
Naqueda, but no mine, O'Neill repeated.
Ruins, of course, Daniel said,
But with an Ancient
something or other left behind in a secret room.
Don't mention anything specific now, teased O'Neill.
You would be happy just to find the ruins, after all.
True, Daniel agreed.
But where's the fun in
that? he asked.
The more specific, the greater the
Carter snorted laughter at that comment, spraying O'Neill
with what she'd had for breakfast.
Oh, sorry about that,
Sir! she exclaimed, highly mortified.
O'Neill took a handkerchief out of his back pocket and ran
it across his forehead.
Well, Carter just let us all know
what she thinks your chances are.
In no uncertain terms, Teal'c agreed with him.
Ah, Daniel confidently retorted.
I'm gonna win,
anyway. Guess I'll start thinking about what I want.
What's the bet for? the General inquired as he
restored his handkerchief to his pocket.
The loser has to..? Daniel looked at his other two
Has to wash the other's car, Carter suggested.
I no longer own a vehicle of any kind, Teal'c
Oh, yeah, that's right, Carter said.
hardly be fair.
Then Daniel snapped his fingers.
Got it, he
When he didn't speak right away, Jack prodded,
on... Don't keep us in suspense like this.
Daniel complied immediately.
Loser makes dinner for the
whole team. Winner chooses the menu.
Carter and Teal'c glanced at each other, then they both looked at Daniel. Since the bet was already down to being between only Sam and Daniel, they looked at each other with narrowed eyes.
Meatloaf, Daniel said then.
Meatloaf!? Sam yelped.
But, you forget that I can
hardly boil an egg!
Oh, come on! Jack said with a swat in her direction
that purposefully missed.
How hard can it be?
Teal'c looked at O'Neill and raised an eyebrow.
forgotten what it's like to eat ColonelCarter's cooking,
Hey! Sam yelled in offense.
Okay, Daniel said.
How's this? If Sam loses,
then Jack can help. That's fair, since he was on the team at one
time, but really isn't anymore.
Sam peered at Jack.
Help? she asked.
But he can't do it for you... Help only, Daniel
Three sets of eyes turned towards Jack.
Jack thought for a moment; Spend the afternoon cooking?
With Sam? Had he died and gone to Heaven, and everybody forgot
to inform him?
Okay, he said a last, trying to sound
reluctant when he was actually jubilant inside.
But it will
have to be at Carter's house; my oven isn't big enough to
accommodate a meal large enough for four people.
Okay, Sam agreed.
You've got yourself a deal.
But I'm not gonna lose, she predicted.
Ha! yelled Daniel.
You are so goin' down!
That so sounds like something I would say, Jack
appreciatively noted, then.
You've got yourselves a deal.
Then he regarded Carter.
And you better be sure about this.
There's a game on Saturday that I'll miss if I have to cook all
afternoon. Only he didn't sound too irritated, now, at the
prospect of missing a game, but cooking with Carter instead. His
sense of reluctance sure hadn't lasted long, he groused to
himself, but pretended to appear to be more irritated than he
really was by frowning. Hmm, O'Neill thought to himself,
watch another game on the tube, or spend time with Carter...
Hmm... Which would everybody else pick? He answered his own
question, then, deciding on watching the TV, just to be on the
safe side. But his second thought let him know that he was
simply fated to be reckless that coming weekend, and at that
point, Carter won by default over watching the game on TV.
You should be warned, Sir, Carter said to him.
have two left thumbs in the kitchen.
Then we're in luck, Jack instantly shot back.
have two right thumbs, one for both of us.
The Stargate suddenly kawooshed into the room, and SG-1 started up the ramp.
Good luck! O'Neill called after them.
away from any ruins!
Will do! Sam called back, and grinned.
But she wasn't grinning when they came back through the
Stargate at the end of that day.
We found a mine, but it was
centuries old, she reported dispiritedly.
that we found was only in trace amounts on the surface, but not
nearly enough to warrant mining. She looked pointedly at
What was there was mined out a long time
Which means.., Daniel said, indicating that he was
carrying something in his hands, all wrapped up in his pack. He
Which means... what? Jack asked, curious. He pointed
to the object in Daniel's arms as he approached the bottom of the
ramp. Jack was always at the ramp when SG-1 returned from a
mission, but it wasn't to welcome Daniel or Teal'c, they all
Yet, Daniel had the last laugh this time. He pulled the
bundle from his chest, where he was cradling it, and presented it
Take a look yourself.
Jack took it with a furrowed brow. He unwrapped it to find...
... A fully charged ZPM, Daniel said with a flourish
of his voice.
Perfect for plugging in to the weapon in
Antarctica. It should last a decade or so, as long as we're
You stink! Sam muttered then.
Do not! Daniel remarked back, incensed.
I took a
shower just before we left, I'll have you know.
Not that kind of 'stink,' the kind where I'm
really irritated at you because now I have to spend all Saturday
afternoon cooking. I had plans! Then she added,
What plans? Daniel inquired, then looked mischievous.
Planning on polishing your knife collection?
Ha ha, very funny, Sam sarcastically replied,
sounding much like O'Neill, but ignoring the way she sounded when
she said what she said in lieu of glaring at Daniel.
happens that I was invited to attend a friend's wedding Saturday
Then Teal'c broke into the conversation. Looking
consternated, he inquired,
But isn't that wedding in Canada,
ColonalCarter? Jack guffawed as Teal'c asked that question.
The Jaffa continued,
I'm sure that's where you said it was,
and that you did not plan on attending.
Sam shot Teal'c a look of irritation.
Thanks a lot,
Teal'c. See if I ever cook for you again.
You are cooking on Saturday, Teal'c replied, as if to
I do not understand.
See if I ever cook something edible for you,
This had better be edible. He
turned to his General.
Jack, stop her! She's going to ruin
my favorite meal!
No one's ruining anything, Jack said, bringing
Daniel's complaining to an abrupt halt. He regarded Carter.
What time do you want me there? he sighed, while
simultaneously hiding the fact that his heart was doing little
flips in his chest.
How long does this cooking of this meal take? Sam
The archaeologist raised his own eyebrows.
on what all you want to make. The meat takes an hour and a half.
I can get the recipe for you if you'd like, so you can buy what
you need... or Jack can just bring it over, because we know that
he has everything already, unlike you. Daniel eyed Sam
Sam rolled her own eyes at him in mock disgust; she was
never going to live this one down.
The recipe would be very
helpful, she admitted.
And we're having ice cream with
brownies for desert!
No blue jello? Teal'c teased.
No! Sam declared.
If I'm gonna do this, then I'm
going all out!
That's the spirit! Jack said.
Sam leaned in toward Jack and stage whispered,
know how to make brownies, Sir?
Jack almost lost his composure than, with her so close to
him that he could smell her skin. But his distraction had more
to do with her closeness than her question.
Sure I do, he
proclaimed instead of saying how good she smelled, and cleared
You buy the kind that already comes pre-made, and
you break them apart and put them in a pan. That's the way I
make them, at least.
Are they real brownies? Daniel inquired.
Jack stared at him with eyes like beady brown bullets.
No Daniel, they're invisible! he sarcastically remarked.
Of course they're real! he announced then.
They're the best with ice cream, Carter said, having
experienced the General's brownies before when she had stopped by
his house totally unannounced one Sunday afternoon.
Then I'll bring the ice cream. I have an unopened tub at
home, Daniel said.
You can bring it as long as it's vanilla ice cream,
Carter told him.
And I will bring the chocolate syrup, Teal'c
T! Jack mock exclaimed.
You're really going all
out for this, aren't you?
But that is the way that ColonelCarter
always eats brownies.
She does? asked a surprised Jack.
You do? he
then asked Carter.
I didn't know that. He filed that
information away for later perusal.
You always leave the Commissary before the dessert
round, Teal'c informed him.
You have paperwork, you
always say, and you claim that paperwork awaits no man, he
Well, I do, and it doesn't! O'Neill exclaimed.
Yeah, don't you have some to do now? Daniel
Jack clapped his hands together.
Oh, that's right.
Thanks so much for reminding me! His voice was so sardonic
that both Daniel and Sam smiled at his remark. He started off
for his office, then, in order to finish his work.
Saturday, thirteen hundred, Sir! Carter yelled after
Jack turned around again and walked backwards through the
Isn't that a bit early for dinner? he asked.
Not if I ruin things, Carter told him.
have time to just buy everything at the corner deli if we meet
earlier than necessary!
How 'bout if I just bring sandwiches when I come?
Jack asked as he went slowly through the door.
No cheating! Daniel objected.
The King has spoken.
He's going to be insufferable till Saturday, ya know!
Carter's voice rang out across the room.
Jack smiled at her then, a grin that lit up his eyes and
made them glow, she noticed, causing her own insides to melt.
I know! He's already insufferable! Jack called back to
Why, you..! Daniel began, but Jack was already on his
way to his office.
Thirteen hundred! Jack called back.
the beer! he promised.
* * *
Sam opened her front door to him at thirteen oh three
You're late, she announced.
Jack shifted the bag of groceries he was holding, then
glanced at his watch.
Sam grinned, and it was Jack's turn to melt.
minutes. she declared, then stepped away from the door.
Come on in.
Jack entered to hear the strains of music.
company? he asked, suddenly worried that Pete the fiancé was
No, Sam said, much to Jack's relief.
I thought I
could handle listening to something calming while we cooked, and
this is about as soothing as my music gets.
Any more soothing, and we'll both be
dead, he announced.
Better to be dead than to drop a finished
meatloaf onto the floor from being too tense, she
Then don't drop it, O'Neill suggested.
is nothing to feel tense about. Then, he was all business
the second his foot crossed her threshold.
Okay, what do you
want me to do first?
Besides kiss me? Sam thought, then berated herself
for even having that thought in the first place. She was an
engaged woman! she fiercely reminded herself.
Uh, just put
the bag on the chair, there.., Sam directed.
good. Then, she peeked into the bag he'd brought with him,
browsing through the ingredients.
What did you bring; the
Oh, that is so not funny, Carter, Jack said as
tingles started to worm out from his heart in his chest. He
wondered how he was going to make it through that entire
afternoon without kissing her.
Well, Sam shrugged.
I don't have a sink, for all
It's right there, Jack said, pointing at the corner
of the kitchen without bothering to look in that direction.
Under the window.
Wow, Sam said, her hands in the back pockets of her
You knew right where it was. I'm impressed.
And you keep one bottle of beer in the door of your
refrigerator, Jack finished.
For ease. Here, he
lifted a six pack of bottles out of the grocery bag he had
carried in. He put five bottles on the top shelf, beside the
milk, and one bottle in the door.
For later, he
No giggling! Jack commanded.
We haven't even
started cooking yet!
You're right. Sam pulled out the recipe card Daniel
had given to her the day before. Meatloaf... It couldn't be
that hard, she figured. But first, they would need...
A loaf pan.., she read.
I think there's one here
somewhere.., she muttered, opening her pan cupboard and
peering into its depths.
Jack reached into the bag and pulled out his loaf pan.
Voila! he said.
Wow. Sam straightened up to take the pan.
I'm really impressed. I didn't even know that you had
Of course I have one.
Sam shrugged, disarmed.
Of course you do. You have
Not quite everything, Jack negated. I don't have
you, for instance, he thought, but didn't state his thought
out loud. Instead, he said,
I didn't bring my aluminum
Oh, Sam said, and rolled her eyes.
And she pointed to a drawer right next to the sink.
Thanks! Jack pulled it out and began lining the loaf
Easier to clean up this way, and I'm all for keeping
And whose idea was that? she asked.
No, Jack told her, and Sam was instantly glad that
the idea had not come from his ex-wife, at least. He continued,
I read about it in the paper.
You read the cooking section? Sam asked
Don't get too astonished just yet, Jack told her.
I only read it for the good ideas in the most prominent
articles, he told her.
I don't even look at it, Sam said.
Well, to be honest, I only looked at it
that one time.
Sam laughed, then.
I won't tell anybody.
Jack's brow suddenly furrowed as an idea struck him.
Look, Carter, why don't I make the meatloaf and you make that
soufflé you're famous for?
But Daniel said that I had to make dinner myself, Sam
instantly and sadly negated.
Jack gave her a tiny grin, then whispered,
doesn't know won't hurt him. Then, in his regular, loud
voice, he went on,
That way, we won't be tripping over each
other all the time while we... cook. Oh, there was so much
else he wanted to do as well, but couldn't!
Works for me, Sam said, responding to his verbal
comment rather than his thoughts.
I'll take the
Good, cause I have to start by rolling out cracker
crumbs, Jack stated.
I had a rolling pin at one time, I
Jack whipped his rolling pin out of the bag.
Oh. Sam put her hands on her hips, slightly
sarcastic now as she regarded him.
Is there anything you
Jack hesitated as he glanced at the bag's contents.
I don't think so.
Good, Sam announced, surprising him.
probably don't have it myself.
Already thought of that, Jack said.
So I see. Sam sighed, then reached into her
refrigerator and pulled out the milk and the last two eggs,
intent on making her famous soufflé.
Sam and Jack worked side by side for a few minutes, the music sending soothing vibes throughout the house around them.
Tell me, Carter, Jack finally said.
How is it
that you can't cook, yet you're famous for this one particular
It's all I could ever make, she
It was my mom's recipe, and my favorite thing to
eat at supper.
Another piece of information for Jack to file away.
had it often? he inquired.
Carter shook her head.
Nope. Only for my birthday.
But, and she held up a finger.
I requested it every year
after I turned six.
Soufflé for six-year-olds? Jack asked. He was
already finished crushing up cracker crumbs, and ate the last
cracker in the package he'd brought before adding the crumbs to
an egg he'd already beaten in the bowl he had set on the
It's a special soufflé, was all Carter would say in
That's why it's perfect for any age
Jack shrugged and began to add the rest of the meatloaf
ingredients to the bowl he had set on Carter's table.
say so, then this soufflé must be extraordinary.
Sam just grinned.
Wait and see, she said.
They set to cooking in earnest, then, and Sam only muttered
to herself a
For drying out loud! when she was trying to
reach a pan at the back of her cupboard, and couldn't.
Jack crossed over to her, smiling at her choice of words.
He was finished with the meatloaf anyway, and he turned his
thoughts to what she had muttered. He couldn't believe it - he
was clearly rubbing off on her!
Let me help, he told
It's a pan for the mashed potatoes, Sam said.
Jack suddenly halted.
We're having mashed
We are, as long as you brought some potatoes. Sam
gazed at him out of her blue eyes.
It's not like I have some
potatoes just sitting around here. At Jack's continued look
of surprise, Sam announced,
You forgot to bring the potatoes,
Jack screwed up his features, then admitted,
No, I didn't
forget. They're in the bag.
Well, at least I can reach
Jack laughed, then.
You should have seen your face! You
looked like you had severe constipation!
General! Sam exclaimed, shocked.
It's 'Jack' when we're not on duty, Jack reminded
And you did too.
See if I don't get you for that!
You? Get a General? Jack pretended to feel shock.
A knocking at the door interrupted him. They rose together, standing very close once they were both up. But before anything could come of their unexpected closeness, the knock sounded again.
I'll get it; I just washed my hands, after all, Jack
said. He tossed a towel over his shoulder, then wiped his hands
on it again.
Sam pulled the potatoes out of the grocery bag that Jack had
brought, then went back to trying to reach the pan in her
I can almost reach it on my own! she grunted,
struggling to stretch her arm far enough to grab the corner of
Don't pull a muscle or anything! Jack cautioned her.
I'll get it when I come back. Then he yanked open her
... to find the form of Pete Shanahan standing on her doorstep.
General O'Neill! Pete exclaimed.
Well, this is a surprise, Jack said, not exactly
trying to keep the animosity out of his voice.
Carter and I
are just cooking the wager supper. Come on in. He turned,
looking for all the world like he was so comfortable in Sam's
house that he lived there, too.
Hey, Carter, you have a
surprise visitor, he announced.
Ugh! Sam yelled.
Almost got it! But with her
head in the cupboard, she missed everything Jack had said.
Jack hurried over to her side.
Don't hurt yourself,
Colonel! He stuck his hand into the cupboard and pulled out
How did you know? Sam asked, and took the muffin tin
that he handed to her.
I can read your mind, Jack joked, then crawled out of
her cupboard, more conscious of her the entire time than he was
willing to admit.
I said, you have a surprise visitor, he
Oh? Sam straightened up to see who was standing in
her living room, instantly got dizzy from low blood pressure, and
tripped on the General's outstretched leg. Her hand ended up
catching herself by splaying across Jack's backside.
Sorry! she muttered when her fall had come to a stop and
she was all spread out beside Jack on the kitchen floor. Sam
yanked her hand away, but not before it had begun to burn as if
it were on fire.
Pete came around the end of the counter, but missed the
embarrassing spectacle of Sam's hand spread all across her
commanding officer's behind.
Are you all right, Sam? he
asked in blissful ignorance.
Oh, I just hurt my dignity! Sam said, tried to smile,
and shrug the incident off. But her hand continued to throb
where she had touched the General's backside.
And Jack was only in slightly less denial than she was at
the unexpected contact between her hand and his...
you didn't hit your head, he noted, trying to distract
himself from concentrating on her touch.
A headcase hardly
goes with meatloaf.
Pete smiled, but looked confused.
I didn't know you knew
how to make meatloaf, Honey.
I don't, Sam replied while rubbing her own backside.
Jack tried not to watch her ingenuous action.
made it. And how's my soufflé?
Both she and Jack turned towards her counter, then, where a
sorry looking mess greeted their eyes.
Sam looked decidedly disappointed, but tried her best to
hide the emotion.
I must have done that when I knocked.
Sorry, Babe, but you can make another one, he said, sounding
I hate it when you call me that, Sam negatively
I always feel like you're calling me a
pig. At his quizzical expression, Sam went on to explain,
You know, from that movie a few years ago. Jack nodded to
tell her that he knew what movie she was referring to.
Oh, sorry. I've never heard of a movie called
'Babe,' Pete said.
Jack knows what I'm talking about, Sam thought,
staring at the smile on Jack's face. But to Pete she asked as
her eyes grew puzzled, too,
Pete, why are you here? Then
at the abruptness of her question, smiled and explained herself,
I mean, I thought you had to work today.
Oh! Pete said.
I traded with Richard Hudson. I
have to work next weekend, now.
But, Pete, Sam protested, appearing horrified and
Next weekend is my Dad's fiftieth wedding
anniversary party at my brother's in San Diego. I already bought
your plane ticket! I told you about it last week!
Oops! Pete said, and smiled again.
Honey. Look, I'll ask for Sunday off, so we can see each other,
but I don't think I'll make it to San Diego for your Dad's party.
I'll only have time to drive up here.
But the party lasts all weekend, Sam protested once
I won't get back till the late hours of the evening on
Sunday... You knew that.
Jack could sense a fight brewing, and decided to get out of
the way while the getting was good.
Hey, kids, why
Sam interrupted him.
You know, I've always hated to be
called that, too.
Jack raised an eyebrow, just like Teal'c had showed him. He'd practiced in front of a mirror half the morning, but this was the first chance he'd had to use the gesture. Still, Carter recognized it right away. He knew she did, according to the small grin lifting the corners of her lips.
She continued to smile, pointed at his eyebrow, and said,
Yeah, he said, then sobered.
you don't like it when I say 'kids?'
Sam shrugged and explained,
That's what my Dad always
called me and Mark.
Jack nodded, then muttered,
I'll have to remember
Then Pete seemed to recall why he was there.
Babe, you have to listen to this new CD I just got in the mail!
It's great! He stopped the soothing music that Carter had
chosen without asking her first if he could stop her music, and
popped a CD out of its case and installed it in her player. He
turned the volume up until the stereo was much louder than it had
been. Soon, twangy guitar music had replaced the calming strains
of the artist Sam had particularly chosen.
The sound of Pete's CD was completely different. Jack
God, that's an awful sound, he whispered to
himself, and shook his head in wonder at how anybody could
actually like that noise coming out of Sam's stereo. In reaction
to the music, he reached for his coat that he'd earlier flung
across a kitchen chair.
Think I'll head out! he yelled.
This music is a bit much for my tender old ears! He
skirted the couch as he went.
But what about the meatloaf... and dinner... and..,
Sam called after his retreating back, feeling slightly panicked
now. Was he going to leave her alone to cook the rest of the
meal by herself?
Just throw it in the oven at 350 degrees when it's
time! O'Neill hollered back to her.
Remember, it takes an
hour and a half to cook!
Yeah, I remember! Sam shouted behind him, trying to
show him out, but still be heard over the music. Pete had thrown
himself onto the couch, and was now thumbing through Sam's
magazines, his head bobbing in time to the drumbeat of his new
Just make sure that you kids... Jack stopped
himself, looked at Carter, smiled, then said,
have fun! Then he was outside, where there was at least some
peace and quiet.
Sam crossed to the window and made sure that Jack safely crossed the road to his truck, then strode to her stereo and jabbed the 'stop' button to halt Pete's CD. It was so suddenly quiet in the house that the air rang.
Pete glanced up.
I was listening to that, he
Sam sort of smiled.
Sorry, she said.
giving me a headache. She rubbed at her temples and
grimaced, but her expression was for her thoughts, not the pain
in her head; Why was it that lately she felt like she had to
make personal excuses when she was with Pete? And besides, she
had been having such a good time cooking with the General... But
she couldn't even think such traitorous thoughts..! Could she?
Sam refused to let herself consider what the thought of enjoying
being with General O'Neill, even if she had been cooking with the
man, could mean to her personally.
But again, Pete was oblivious to her thoughts. He
I'm sorry about your headache, Ba...
Please stop calling me 'Babe!' Sam ordered, her
pounding head making her short tempered.
I haven't started
oinking yet, but I'm about to start any minute now if you don't
cut it out!
Pete looked taken aback. Sam had rarely raised her voice to
Sam tried again to smile and relax, drawing a deep breath
through her clenched teeth, then said,
It's just this headache
of mine. It's making me cross and crabby; headaches always
Then Pete appeared to be concerned.
Are you sure that
you didn't hit your head?
Sam just barely stopped herself from saying that the General
had already declared that she hadn't hit her head, but instead of
bringing up another man to her fiancé, said,
No, I'm fine.
Except her hand kept burning. But, she didn't tell Pete about
You know, I don't like that guy, Pete suddenly
Who? The General? Sam asked, surprised.
Yeah, the General. He straightened
on the couch and tossed the magazine he was holding onto her
coffee table fronting the sofa.
He makes me kinda...
nervous, he announced.
And I'm not sure I like him being
over here and cooking with you, either, he went on.
Sam tolerantly grinned then.
Nothing happened... Except
that you ruined my soufflé. Sam forced herself to give a
Yeah, Pete said, laughing with her, shaking off his
earlier gloomy mood.
Sorry about that. But there's always
more soufflés, aren't there?
Sam clenched her teeth again, and managed to mildly say,
Of course, but I'll have to start all over again... And I
used my last egg in that one, which means that now I'll have to
run to the store... Unless you unexpectedly brought some
eggs? she hopefully asked.
Pete laughed again.
No, can't say that it even occurred
Well.., and Sam tried hard not to show her
disappointment. It's just some stupid eggs, she reminded
herself. Aloud, she added,
Maybe the General left some egggs
here. She crossed to the bag sitting on a kitchen chair.
I still don't like him, Pete commented as she fished
through the bag's contents.
Triumphant, Sam drew a carton of eggs out of the bag.
she said, then turned to Pete, egg carton in hand.
was it you said about the General?
Pete shrugged again.
I mean, a guy who knows how to
cook... When Sam just kept staring at him, he went on,
Don't you find that kind of... I don't know...
That thought had never occurred to Sam.
I can't say that
And you said you have some kind of wager dinner with your
team mates? Pete continued.
Daniel won the bet, and Teal'c got it half
right, so that left me, and I lost, big time. The General was
helping me make what Daniel wanted for supper, she
Oh, Pete said, sound like he really didn't
understanding, but was pretending to.
And I suppose that you
can't tell me what the bet was about?
Well, I can't, Sam excused, trying to envision
herself describing a ZPM without saying the word 'ZPM.'
a sort of... No, can't say.
Ugh, grunted Pete.
Sam paused on her way to starting her soufflé again.
What's that supposed to mean?
Nothing, Pete instantly answered.
No, Sam patiently said.
What did you
Nothing, I guess. It's just that
whenever you don't want to tell me something, you claim that it's
Sam laughed a bit incredulously.
No, I don't. It means
exactly what I said it means; I can't say. It's for security
reasons, like you said.
Pete muttered, a bit ungraciously,
I bet General O'Neill
Sam laughed again, definitely incredulous this time.
Well, he does work at the base, she said.
knows more than I do.
Yeah, said Pete, clearly ungracious, now.
Sam's eyes narrowed.
A little. He has to, ever since
his divorce... That is, if he wants to eat.
I thought you said this cooking was for a team
Yeah, that's what I said, noted Sam through her
tightly clamped teeth, recalling the fact that she had told Pete
all about the supper during a phone conversation with him earlier
Daniel and Teal'c are coming over tonight to
And not the General?
Well, he's not officially part of the team anymore,
Then why..? Pete started to ask when Sam's temper
snapped, and she interrupted him.
Sam distindtly said,
I already told you something like
three times; General O'Neill was helping me, as you know very
well that I will probably ruin a meatloaf, what with my cooking
abilities being what they aren't!
Pete looked surprised at Sam's angry tone.
There's no re...
Sam forgot about the eggs she was still holding when she
slammed her hand down on the counter. Egg white curdled through
Do not call me that! she said, trying to
restrain her temper. Now her head really was pounding.
That's the fourth time you've called me that, and the fourth
time I've asked you not to!
Sorry! Pete exclaimed.
Guess I forgot, is
But the General remembered what I told him after hearing
it only one time that a didn't like to be called 'kids,' Sam
thought to herself. But she didn't say that thought aloud,
either, only clenched her teeth tighter yet.
I just don't
like the name 'Babe;' I never did.
Oh, and why's that? Pete inquired.
It was the name Dad called me when he was mad at me, but
didn't want me to think he was mad at me.
You know, I think you have some father issues to work
out, Pete said.
In fact, Babe, I...
That's it! Sam yelled, completely losing all control
she had over herself and her temper. The egg still oozing
through her fingers, she stalked over and yanked him up.
Babe, why..? Pete jumped.
Hey, you're getting
egg white all over my coat!
Sam patted his cheek.
Now you have egg on your face,
too. She pushed him towards the door.
Sam, Honey, what are you doing?
I hate that name, too.
'Honey?' Pete asked.
Uh... What'r you
Sam jerked open the door, getting egg all over the doorknob.
I'm showing you out, is what I'm doing, Babe, she
said then, stressing the last word she'd said.
I just can't
deal with you and cook at the same time... It all gives me a
headache, Sam exclaimed.
Look, Sam loudly interrupted.
If you don't go,
I'm calling Daniel and Teal'c over to help 'convince' you to
Ohhh, just try me! Sam threatened. Then, as if by
magic, her cell phone was in her sticky hand, and she hit the
speed dial button for her team mate.
Daniel? she sweetly
said when he had picked up his end of the phone, and greeted her.
I'm sorry to bother you, but I could really use yours and
Teal'c's help right now. She listened for a second.
Yeah, come on over, if it doesn't bother you. She was
silent again, then said,
See ya in a few. She hung up.
They'll be here in about ten minutes.
Pete gaped at her.
Sam, are you nuts?
It had been a rhetorical question, but Sam answered it
Yeah, maybe I am. She peered at him, then
Oh, and Daniel and Teal'c are guys, too.
That's the way the military is... Full of guys. Try not to
sound too jealous when you realize that.
Guys are fine, Pete protested,
but this General...
How did he get to become a General, anyway?
You know, Sam said as she decisively took his
engagement ring off and slapped it into his hand, egg and all.
I think he took cooking lessons, and they let him in.
Then she used all her arm muscle and pushed him off balance, out
the door, and slammed it shut behind him.
She snapped the lock in place, then looked at her left hand and tried to pull in her temper by breathing slowly. Though blissful silence greeted her in the house, she still suffered from a pounding headache, she noted as she regarded her left hand. Her hand looked empty without Pete's engagement ring gracing her fourth finger, but Sam decided that she like the sight of that emptiness, even with her hand covered in egg white. She smiled. She even thought her headache was beginning to abate in the continued silence that surrounded her.
Sam crossed over to her stereo, ejected Pete's obnoxious new
CD, put it in its case, walked back to the front door, turned the
dead bolt, opened the door just enough to throw the CD case out
into the grass, then slammed the door shut again, and turned the
lock. Then, she heaved a big sigh, feeling the tension leave her
shoulders for the first time since Pete had arrived.
good, she remarked to herself, and went into the kitchen to
see about washing her hands, and set the meatloaf to cook in the
Ten minutes later, there was a knock on the door, then a
Sam! You all right?
It was Daniel's voice. Sam ran to the door, and cautiously
Daniel... Teal'c... Is he still here?
Who? Teal'c asked.
Pete, Sam explained.
We had a big fight, which
lately is nothing new, and then I broke up with him. Both
men gaped at her, but she continued,
He was still here a few
minutes ago. She had seen his SUV parked on the street when
she had looked out her living room window.
Both of Sam's team mates glanced around, trying not to
openly stare at her in total surprise at her sudden news of her
broken engagement and her disappeared former fiancé. Then Daniel
Well, he's not around, now. You still need us
here? he asked.
Cause we can stay, if you need us
Well... Sam stopped herself from instantly rejecting
their offer of help, as she'd been taught. Help wasn't such a
bad thing to have every now and then, she thought.
like it if you'd stay, just to make sure he doesn't come back...
Sure, Daniel said, and both men entered her
I need to finish cooking, anyway, Sam informed
Daniel looked around the minute he stepped inside.
Speaking of cooking... Where's Jack? he asked.
Pete was playing really awful music, and Jack... the
General... left, Sam explained.
But the meatloaf is
ready, and I just put it in the oven a few minutes ago.
And the brownies? Daniel asked.
Sam's face brightened.
I forgot about the brownies!
She whirled around to the chair again.
Let's see if Jack
brought some... She pulled out the flat package of pre-made
brownies, trying to ignore the way she had used Jack's first name
so readily. He had insisted that she call him by name when they
were both off duty, she argued with herself. Then she whirled
and displayed the brownie package to Daniel and Teal'c.
Well, let's get started! Daniel said, rubbing his
I can taste them already!
Two hours later, Sam jumped out of her car parked in Jack's driveway, and arranged the four pieces of meatloaf surrounded by six brownies on the plate in her hands. The brownies had slid a bit askew while she was driving, but now she rearranged them again and proceeded up the walk. Teal'c and Daniel had helped her bake them, but had left when the dessert was finished. As a wager dinner, it hadn't exactly been a successful venture, she thought as she knocked on Jack's door.
Jack answered the door right away. He seemed surprised to
Carter! he exclaimed.
I thought you'd be
spending the rest of the day with... that fiancé of yours, he
forced himself to say.
No... We had a fight, instead, and I gave
him his ring back...
You gave his ring back?! Jack incredulously
In fact, we were fighting about
Me? Jack asked in dumbfounded astonishment. In
fact, he couldn't have been more surprised than if she'd told him
she was planning to live out her life on a pre-industrialized
What did I do?
You knew how to cook, she answered with
a tiny smile. Then she held out the plate as a sort of apology.
Uh... Jack stood still for a second, then he was
galvanized into action.
Sure, he said as he stepped back,
inviting her into his home with the action.
Then Sam surprised him even more.
Want to come to San
Diego with me next weekend? she invited.
Jack slowly shut the door behind her.
Boy, was he ever confused! He blinked, took the plate and
thanked her as she removed her coat, then blinked again.
Finally, a slow smile crept across his face.
Sure, on a few
Sam paused as she hung up her coat.
One... That we don't have to listen to that awful music,
like the kind that... He wouldn't say Pete's name.
that your former finacé listened to, Jack announced with a
Sam chuckled as well.
I think that can be arranged,
And two.., Jack went on.
Two? Sam prodded.
Jack seemed to hesitate, then a sense of determination and
courage coursed through his eyes.
And two... I only have
money enough to share one hotel room... Sorry... And I don't
Not enough money..? Sam slyly asked,
You're joking with
me, aren't you?
Jack wagged his head back and forth, but soon the motion
turned into a definite nod.
Slowly, Sam smiled at his words.
I think I can arrange
one room, too, she said just as he kissed her lips in a
gentle, soothing motion.
I'll eat.., Jack told her in a whisper, then added,
Later. And he set the plate of meatloaf and brownies
aside on the hall table. He was too busy for brownies now,
But definitely not too busy for other, more important,
things that might happen to come along. With another glance at
the plate to make certain that he hadn't placed it on the table
edge, he smiled down at Sam, and kissed her again.
this... He kissed her a third time, a gesture full of
That's something I could soooo get used to, he
Suddenly, even cooking meatloaf didn't sound like a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. As long as he could cook with Sam at his side, he decided. And, just so that she would understand what he was thinking, and never forget, he grinned.
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