Disclaimer: You know that I don't own them... That's what writing fanfiction is all about... Doing a lot of work for nothing but entertainment purposes... and I love it! Maybe I have an alien virus? Or something?

A/N: Part III in the Marriage Series (still waiting for a better title.)

All Work and No Play Makes Sam Carter a Very Dull Girl

by Linda Bindner

Exactly two weeks and two days after the big reunion between the Carters, and when Jack's mood had flowed into perpetual sappiness, Jack poked his head into Daniel's office. Hey, break time! he ordered. Let's head down to the Commissary, pick up four cups of coffee, some chips, and come back here to call my wife away from that lab of hers... Jack grinned goofily, then. Geez, why didn't you tell me how nice it is to call someone that?

Daniel stopped his exploration of his current artifact in order to glare at his team leader and his ecstatic mood. Actually, seeing such enthusiasm as Jack's was getting... wearing, Daniel admitted to himself. But he didn't intend to tell that to Jack. So, he glared instead. You were married before now... You know exactly how nice it is!

Jack grinned even larger. He was only too aware of the reason for his friend's somewhat sour mood. Sorry, Daniel, I know that you're missing Sha're again. But, damn, this is fun!

Daniel dropped the artifact he was holding onto his desktop, and moved to join Jack by the door. Have you already called...

Called Teal'c... called Carter... Told them to give us ten minutes to get back here... Carter said something about having to see someone in her lab first... You know how she is...

All work and no play? Daniel guessed as they slipped into the corridor among other SGC personnel.

I would never say that! Jack looked horrified at just the thought.

I would, Daniel muttered.

Of course, Jack said then, She does have the tendency to lose track of time when she's working, doesn't she?

Daniel turned to regard his leader. Ya think? he asked, mimicking one of Jack's own favorite phrases.

Jack just laughed, causing the lines around his eyes to crinkle in a strangely endearing manner.

Daniel groaned: He didn't know how he was going to survive such blatant enthusiasm as Jack's... It was going to be a long break, he thought to himself.

* * *

The coffee and chips were duly gotten, Teal'c arrived at the office, and they were all waiting for Sam to appear... taking breaks in the Commissary had gotten... well... boring, Jack insisted, and Daniel's office made a nice substitute... when the phone suddenly rang. Jack answered it before Daniel had the opportunity to reach for it.

Without even asking who it was, Jack said, Carter, you are not gonna be late again. So get your cute butt down to... He paused, finally listening to the person on the other end of the line. Yeah, Doc, but Carter.., he began by saying. Then, he furrowed his brows together. She didn't! he said, paused again, then exclaimed, She did what? She's where? He paused a third time, then said, Got it. He hung up the phone, and turned to a questioning Daniel and Teal'c. They didn't even have to ask what was going on before he was telling them. McKay came in to Carter's lab... He didn't know about the marriage... He was looking at Carter's ring when... I think that was when he dropped it down the sink. And that was when Carter hit him in the face.

Well, that was probably what he, at least, half, deserved, Daniel noted under his breath. Then, he said, You didn't hear me say that.

But Jack was going on. She broke his nose, he told them, then sighed. She's been charged with assault, and is in the Holding Cells right now. He turned to head out of the office. Come on.

The three of them hurried out of the room, intent on seeing Sam in the Holding Cells, but they ran into Siler first, right outside Daniel's office.

Siler! Jack exclaimed, then skidded to a stop.

The technician also took a step back so he could scrutinize them in excitement. Colonel! he spluttered. I found it!

Jack gazed at him in confusion. Found what?

Siler stuffed his hand in his pocket, and pulled out the wedding ring. It was in the 'U' bend of the pipes... I had to take apart Major Carter's lab sink to...

Jack grabbed his hand. You found it! He turned to the other two men following him. Teal'c! Daniel! He found it!

Indeed, intoned Teal'c, in a deadpan tone of voice.

But Jack was too excited to take offense at his friend's chosen tone of voice. He plucked the wedding ring from Siler's grasp, then socked him familiarly on the shoulder. Thanks, Siler! Just let me know what I can do for you, and you've got it! he enthused. He turned then to Daniel and Teal'c. Come on... let's tell Carter..!

Daniel muttered, Tell her that she broke McKay's nose for nothing? Then he answered his own question. No thanks, I don't plan to go anywhere near her with that information!

I'd never thought I'd say this, Jack grunted as they ran down the corridor in one big group. But, thank goodness for Carter's fan club! They'd do anything for her, even take apart a sink!

Yeah, agreed Daniel, scrunching up his face in distaste. Think of what's gone down that drain! But he still ran with them on their way down the hall, anyway.

Two men were guarding the only door leading to Holding Cell number Two. What do they think she'll do,' break their noses too? Jack wondered sardonically to himself as he gestured toward the door, indicating that they all wanted inside.

Wondered how long it would take for you to show up, one of the guards commented.

Jack shot him a darker look than he'd worn on his face for a month. Just open the door, he requested.

Teal'c finished his thoughts for him. Or perhaps McKay will not be the only one to suffer a broken nose on this day.

Daniel and Jack's eyebrows rose to their hair, but they both refrained from asking him point blank if he were serious with making such a threat to begin with. But, the door buzzed, and the three men were allowed to proceed into the room unmolested after Teal'c's rather naked threat.

Sam sat in one of the few chairs in the room. Though the Holding Cells were more comfortable than the base jail cells, they still only had one or two chairs for the comfort of the occupants. Sam sat in one, her head resting on her bent arms. She was currently grinding her face into her hands.

The second she heard the door open, and without even lifting her head, she apologized, I'm so sorry, Jack! I didn't mean to lose it like that! I...

Jack interrupted her string of words. Seeing if you can break your own nose as well as McKay's? he asked of her grinding her head into her arms.

Sam's head jerked off her arms, and Jack was instantly struck with the sorrow he saw etched on her face. He couldn't stand to see such evident unhappiness on her features. He guessed that losing her ring was what was causing her current anguish, and held out the ring that Siler had just given to him. Looking for this? he asked.

Sam's jaw dropped open. Slowly, she extended her hand and took the ring he was offering to her. Where did you find this? she inquired in an astonished voice.

We wish that we could say that we sweated buckets over retrieving it for you.., Daniel began.

Teal'c finished for him. But we would be telling you a falsehood, MajorCarter, he said.

And Jack added, Siler got it for you... He must be another member for your fan club.

Siler! Sam exclaimed as she took the ring from Jack's hand. How'd he find it so quickly? she inquired.

Jack explained, He took your sink apart, and found this in the pipe's 'U' bend, he said.

The point is, Daniel completed, Since we found the article in question, all we have to do now is convince McKay to drop any charges against you, and...

Sam's face fell. We have a better chance at beating the Goa'uld, she morosely said. Daniel, it's not that I'm not very so...

Well, the least we can do is try, Daniel said, not giving her time to finish her statement. He rose from his position of kneeling beside Sam to stand next to Teal'c. Jack rose too, and pulled her out of her chair, and toward the door.

They'll never agree to let me out of here, Sam predicted of the guards, to which Jack just sighed, and grinned at her.

Why don't you try batting your eyes at them, he suggested. Then he shrugged at Daniel's and Teal'c's disbelieving looks. Hey, it always works on TV, he quipped. Then, he pounded on the door. Open up! he demanded.

One guard opened the door, but they both shook their heads when they saw the Sam planned to accompany them. It's our orders to keep her detained, and...

Sam really did grin, and batted her eyes at them. It can't hurt if I go with them if you both come with us too, will it? she asked in an overly innocent, sweet voice.

To Daniel's everlasting astonishment, the first guard looked hesitantly at the second guard. Weeeell, I guess she can't exactly do anything.

Not while we have the only weapons, the second man replied. He was more taken with looking into the grinning features of the Major as she turned her fake smile onto him.

Daniel was even more surprised when both guards nodded, and with the final admonition of, No funny business! they gestured down the corridor in the direction of the Infirmary.

Still stunned, the group moved off as the guards fell in behind them, their weapons drawn and trained on them. Daniel took the slight confusion of the moment to lean into Sam and say, Your delivery needs a little work! before he was hushed by one of the vigilant soldiers.

Thus, it was a rather solemn, and definitely a quiet, group that trudged into the Infirmary five minutes later. They had no trouble finding McKay stretched out on one of the Infirmary beds, a white bandage across his entire face. The minute he got one look at Sam, he jumped off the opposite side of the bed, and yelled, Dod led 'er cob near me!

Jack scowled at the scientist. She's not going to break your arm next!

Sam held up her left hand. I just wanted to come in here, and show you this. The gold wedding ring sparkled on her fourth finger.

McKay's expression hardly changed. Where did you find id?

Good thing for you that Siler is one of her boys, Jack told him. Or we might have to set her loose on you again.

Dod led 'er near me! McKay yelled again, backing up to the bed behind him.

Jack's scowl grew even heavier, but it was Daniel who assured McKay, You have our word that she won't do anything!

McKay turned to regard Daniel. And I know just how gud dat wowd or yours is... You all stick togeder like glue guns. Giving me your wowd is as gud as giving me a kick in de head.

Don't give me any ideas, Jack suggested, his words belied by a smile on his face... an evil smile.

McKay glared at him. Don'd give me any more reasons to...

Sam didn't give him a chance to finish. Don't you threaten him! she told the scientist. Not when I know you dropped my ring down that sink on purpose!

And..? McKay began.

Daniel cut him off. It's hardly fair to train the country's soldiers to defend the land and themselves, then punish them when they do decide to use that training, he said.

Teal'c regarded his friend. That is a good point, DanielJackson, he said.

McKay looked as though he were wavering, or at least thinking about what Daniel had just said. But, then, he rallied at the last moment. Well, she shouldn'd have hid me ad all! he yelled. A lod of gud soldiers are do us if we can'd drusd dem to know when deir draining is required.

Sam instantly said, I apologize for hitting you, but I only struck out when it was obvious that you were trying to sabotage my wedding ring!

McKay grimaced. I prefer nod do offer an apology when I don'd dink I'm in de wrong on dis!

Jack stepped back. Then we'll turn our 'training' loose on the guards, here, and let Carter finish you off while they're... occupied.

Daniel balked. Jack! he hollered. This is hardly helping, ya know?

McKay looked in irritation at Sam.

Sam looked back, equally as irritated. You now, apologizing to you is no easier for me then it is for you to say you're sorry to me.

Maybe I'm nod sorry, McKay retorted.

Maybe I'm not either! Sam belligerently remarked, her hands on her hips.

Teal'c just looked threatening as he took a single step foreword.

McKay held up his hands in a warding gesture. Okay, okay! I'b sorry!

You don't sound very sorry, Jack accusingly said.

McKay's expression turned far more irritated. Oh, and you're such a gud one do dalk! he retorted.

Jack gave him a look of irritation as well. And you're just jealous! he said.

That's enough, I think! Daniel objected. He turned to look at Sam. Are you sorry? he asked.

Under her breath, she said, No, but I'll say that I am if it will get him out of my hair.

Good enough, Daniel said. He turned back to face McKay. And you... Do you apologize for intentionally dropping her ring down her sink?

Teal'c took another step forward, frowning at McKay, who was wise enough to say, If you insisd.

I do, Daniel said. Now, shake hands, why don't you?

Sam grimaced, but she stuck her hand out across the bed separating her from McKay.

McKay frowned as well, but after a moment, he grabbed her hand with his, meeting hers in the middle of the sheets, and perfunctorily shook it.

Jack let the shake go on for a second longer than he thought he needed to, then reached over, and pried Sam's fingers from McKay's. All right, that's enough!

McKay sneered at Jack. Whad a spoils spord! he commented.

Jack smiled, but there was no warmth in the gesture. Look, I win, so get used to it!

Jack! Daniel sputtered.

Good thing my wife already broke his nose, or.., Jack began to say.

Daniel interrupted him. We'll be going now, as long as all the charges against Sam are dropped? he asked McKay.

The scientist growled, but looked at Teal'c, and reluctantly assented. Yeah, fine, whadever.

Okay... Daniel led the other three out of the Infirmary before any more blows could be delivered. He wasn't sure that he could hold back Jack or Teal'c, and he couldn't exactly be sure about Sam's good will, either.

Sam stuffed her hands in her pockets, and grumbled, He did that on purpose, she said.

But he dropped the charges against you, Daniel pointed out. Try to act a little more gracious, he suggested. You look like Jack.

Hey! Jack protested. I resent that!

Just be glad that McKay's not going ahead, and pressing charges against Sam, why don't ya? Daniel retorted. It's not every day that McKay actually says that he's sorry about doing something.

True, Jack conceded. But he didn't act very gracious himself if you ask me!

I wasn't asking you, Daniel stated right before he walked away. This is too exciting for me, he said as his parting shot. Don't wait up for me...

Thanks, Daniel! Jack called after him down the corridor. Have fun with your rocks!

Daniel waved at him over his shoulder as he walked down the corridor, and disappeared.

Ah... Silence! Jack appreciatively intoned. Don't miss it until it's gone!

I don't believe that DanielJackson would agree that he is just being noisy, O'Neill, Teal'c said.

He'd make a great lawyer, Jack told them all. And he knows it. Sam sputtered some laughter, and Jack added, Don't tell him I said that.

He will not hear a word from me, Teal'c promised.

Hey, Teal'c, Jack said. Now that I'm thinking about it... Actually, now that the excitement is over... You free to stand guard over my office door for a few minutes?

Teal'c looked at Major Carter in some consternation. Is there a problem, O'Neill? he asked.

Sam and I have some things that we absolutely need to talk about, and it sure would help if we knew that you were standing just outside the door, and peeked in every ten minutes, or so, just to make sure we stay on track.

Teal'c bowed his head, As you wish, O'Neill.

What's up? Sam asked as Jack assured the two guards that the team had things under control now, and they could both go about their duties. Hesitantly, both guards complied, looking askance at Major Carter for a second. But, since the Colonel outranked them both by quite a few ranks, they left, going slowly down the corridor to return to their duties.

Sam looked at Jack in some trepidation, but he just smiled, took her hand, then said, We're going to talk about this marriage business now, and we're not going to stop until we're done!

Sam stumbled along behind him. Can't we talk about that once we get home? she inquired a bit desperately.

Nope! Jack said back to her. We keep going off on tangents whenever we try to talk about something important... I'm not letting it happen again!

What a day this is turning out to be! Sam complained, but followed Jack to his office.

Teal'c, was all Jack had to say for their Jaffa friend to take up a stance outside the office door. Jack paused long enough to remind him, No more than ten minutes! Then, he dragged Sam though the door, and closed it behind them.

Jack! Sam complained this time.

Jack did nothing but point to the security camera. And I'm not covering it up this time, so we have to be good.

Sam sighed. Or you have to be good, she said, then sat in one of the chairs fronting his desk.

Why do you think I left it uncovered? Jack rhetorically asked. It pretty much guarantees that I'll keep my hands to myself.

I really am sorry about the whole McKay thing, Jack. Sam frowned. That's the last time I take off my ring for anybody! she added. She looked up after a moment of silence to find Jack smiling at her from the sitting position he'd adopted in the chair behind his desk. What are you grinning at?

Jack grinned some more. I'm just picturing you smashing your fist into his arrogant face.

Sam suddenly smiled. That was rather fun, she admitted. Then, she shook her head. But I can't do it again! she admonished herself.

Jack continued to grin. Don't worry... You won't.

I don't quite understand how you can be so sure of me, but... She paused. I guess, Sam admitted, then squirmed into the back of her chair. All right, what are we really doing here?

Jack reached into his file cabinet, and pulled out two pages that were stapled together. The base chaplain doesn't preach one religious sect over another, but he did have this all purpose marriage questionnaire lying around, Jack explained. I copied it, so that we could discuss its questions whenever we found the time.

Sam reached to examine it. What is it again?

Jack handed it to her. It's just some questions that point out to a couple planning on getting married what issues they might need to talk about. Jack looked at her with an odd mix of pleading guilt on his face. I thought it might help us... 'talk.'

Sam grinned mischievously. Well, we don't do much talking when we... um... 'talk.' she admitted.

Jack smiled back just as appreciatively. Well, now, we have to, thanks to the security camera and Teal'c. That's why I wanted to do this on base, he said. So we can stay on topic, and finally get a few things decided.

Like what things? Sam asked.

Jack responded by suggesting, Why don't you read the first question, and we'll 'talk' about it if we have to.

Okay... Sam still wasn't convinced that they needed this kind of help, but she read from the sheet:

What kind of finances are you planning to have: bonds, joint checking, stocks, savings account, single checking accounts, etc.?"

Wow. Jack's forehead wrinkled. I have to admit that we haven't even come close to touching on that subject before.

Sam eyed him. I vote for separate checking accounts, but that's just my opinion.

Jack leaned towards her across his desk: he asked in abject curiosity, Why do you vote that way?

Sam was quick with her response. Because I've heard too many horror stories about frozen joint accounts during divorce proceedings to want joint checking... I don't want my money stuck in limbo, thank you very much!

Jack peered at her. You planning to divorce me, or something? he only half joked. Actually, the idea of a second divorce brought on the most paralyzing thoughts of a life full of failure that he didn't even want to think about such a thing. And he hadn't even had time to consider what being divorced from Sam in particular would mean to him personally! He just preferred not to consider the entire possibility.

Sam rolled her eyes. No, of course I'm not thinking of a divorce! she exclaimed. But it never hurts to be on the safe side, just in case, she added, quoting a phrase he often said himself while in the field.

Jack sat back, conscious of the way his heart beat suddenly at a furious pace when she had mentioned that word 'divorce,' but he didn't bother her with his negative thoughts just then. Okay, since I really can't say that I have an opinion about what kind of account we get, I don't see a problem with separate checking accounts... Mischievously, he added, Mind if I play the stock market every now and then?

Only if you make tons of money at it, Sam deadpanned back at him.

Maybe I'll have Daniel play the stock market for me, then, Jack said, just as quickly. He always seems to know what's good, and what's not.

Sam didn't give herself any time to make any comments about Daniel's ability with market trends. Okay, question number two.

The comfort level you feel around your spouse is very important... How do you feel about dressing and undressing in front of your respective spouse?

Jack grew decidedly red in the face. I don't think that's a problem with us... He conspicuously cleared his throat, and said, Next question?

Sam giggled, but complied by continuing to read off the sheet.

How do either of you feel about the female taking the man's last name, or keeping her maiden name?

Jack peered at Sam. How do you feel about that?

Sam peered back at Jack. How do you feel about it?

Jack sighed. It's kinda cool, I admit, to think of you sharing my name, but...

Sam grimaced slightly. Two O'Neill's at the SGC might be too confusing.

One too many? Jack thoughtfully added.

Well.., Sam hemmed and hawed. Then, she grinned. It is a nice thought, though.

Jack grinned back at her. You think it's nice... That's all I need to hear.

So... I stay Major Carter for now, so we know who Walter is paging over the PA system...

The grin on Jack's face evolved to a full-blown smile. But Major O'Neill sounds mighty nice, too.

I bet hearing that brings back some memories of when you were a Major, Sam commented.

And not always good memories, Jack admitted with a pucker on his forehead. I didn't much like my Commanding Officer when I was a Major.

That's a shame, she said. Sam studied him in a quizzical manner.

What? Jack asked of her questioning look. I can tell by your expression that you're thinking again. You think too much, ya know.

Sam blushed. So you keep telling me.

Then listen for a change...

Sam sent a mischievous glance at the security camera in the corner by the ceiling. She whispered, I love you, ya know.

Jack grinned, blushed, but looked highly pleased with the way things were working out between him and Sam. It was one of the many reasons why he wanted to 'talk' about issues this time around instead of letting his more well-known sense of bravado take over, and make him silent again. Did you think of that just now? he asked.

Sam shook her head. I didn't have to, she joked along with him. I've known about it forever.

Just then, there was a knock on the door, which opened when Jack yelled for the person to Come in!

Teal'c stuck his head through the opening he had just created. It has been ten minutes, O'Neill, he grunted.

We're talking about last names, honest! Jack exclaimed in answer. Then, he added, You can feel free to run down to the Commissary for coffee if you want, Teal'c. In fact, bring us some... We might be here awhile.

Teal'c frowned. Do you feel safe enough for me to leave? he asked.

We know you're coming back to check on us, Jack said. We'll be good. He turned to Sam. Right, Carter?

As good as gold.

Teal'c frowned again. I am not familiar with that phrase... He turned away from the door. Perhaps DanielJackson will explain it to me later.., he said of his friend who frequently found himself explaining the odd phrases in the English language.

As good as a precious metal, Teal'c, Jack said then.

The Jaffa just shot Jack an interrogatory look, then shut the door as he left.

Jack turned to Sam. And speaking about Daniel again, which reminds me of the team as a whole...

Yes? she asked. You've got something on your mind?

He continued, Well, before I forget again, let me take a minute here to be the CO one more time... I was thinking...

Did it hurt? Sam wanted to know.

Jack sent her a sour look. Very funny! he said. Actually, steam rolled in great waves out of my ears..!

Sam smiled. Sorry, Jack, sorry... She laughed. I just couldn't help myself...

Try harder next time, Jack ordered, looking more surly now than he had in several days. He attempted to go on, and be heard over her giggling. Anyway, Major, I was thinking that it would probably be a good idea if we leave the wedding rings behind in the SGC while we go on missions, and not act... um... married... Unless the situation calls for it, he added. That way, no System Lord can ever use our connection to each other against us if we're ever captured.

'Connection to each other?' Sam asked a bit incredulously. Come on, Jack, we've slept together by now more times than I can even relate... Don't you think you can explain your feelings to yourself in a bit more of an emotional way than saying that we're 'connected to each other?' Sam was a little miffed at his reluctance to acknowledge his 'connection' to her. I'm beginning to understand more...

Okay, okay! Jack loudly interjected. I just didn't want to mix emotional relationships with the military protocol we've always known at the SGC, that's all! I guess it was a poor choice of words...

Sam's forehead crinkled in concern. I guess mixing our relationships is one aspect of being married to you that I've never considered, she admitted in a softer voice. I'm sorry, she said at last. You're right... You're just thinking like a CO, which you have to do sometimes... She shook her head, then. This being married while in a direct chain of command is more prone to problems than I ever gave it credit for!

Jack sat back in his chair, letting his anger at her anger drain out of him. Yeah, there's a lot of things to consider that... um... normal couples don't have to think about, he said.

Sam glanced up at him, a contrite look now on her face. It seems that you've been thinking about a lot of things that hasn't even crossed my mind yet...

Don't let that bother you, Jack said to her in a tired sounding voice. You're not responsible for an entire team of people, yet...

'Yet?' she asked. Do you know something that I don't know?

Jack sighed. No, it's just... He sighed again, and leaned forward once more in his chair. I have something to confess, he said in a small voice.

Her forehead crinkled again in curiosity... Damn, she looks gorgeous when she's curious! Jack thought to himself... There's more to tell me? she asked.

Jack morosely nodded. I was in the Control Room this morning, he explained, Probably at the same time that you were breaking McKay's nose... and... He looked at her while she stared at him in that encouragingly questioning way that she had... (Man, he loved that expression on her!) At last, he admitted, I was standing on the stairs, not quite in the room, yet, and Feretti and his team...

Sg-2, she filled in.

Yeah... Anyway, they were facing the windows, grouped around one of the computers, alone in the room, watching the Stargate, looking away from me, so they didn't see me, and... He hesitated. And...

And what? she prompted.

Jack definitely looked uncomfortable now. He picked at the corner of his giant desk calendar with his fingernail so that he wouldn't have to look at her. They... He sighed again. I overheard them talking about you...

Sam's face took on a harder expression. At last, she admitted, I've been in the military a long time... I can imagine what a group of guys like that were saying... She sounded resigned, as if she had encountered this kind of 'group' talk before, the kind where a group of males, once in a group mentality, says things they would never dream of saying when alone.

Jack kept picking at his calendar. Yeah... Well... I kind of lost it there for a minute, he admitted at last.

She now looked curious. You... lost it? she inquired. How?

Jack sighed once more, and leaned back again. I, um... maybe... grabbed hold of Captain James's shirt, and... sort of... slammed him up against the far computer terminal... and...

Sam blinked. You slammed him against the computer terminal? she repeated in a daze.

Jack shrugged. Yeah... face first, he told her.

Sam swallowed. Um... What did you say to him?

Um... Jack squirmed in his office chair. He'd been saying some rather... crass... things about you... that I won't repeat right now... Jack glanced down, studied his calendar like it was the most fascinating thing he'd ever seen in his life, then shrugged again. I... I said... that... I better not hear things like that... ever again... or I might really lose my temper next time...

Sam's face grew white. You know, I might get the reputation of having a... a protector... then?

I know, Jack sighed. And that's not what I want to happen at all...

Groups of guys will always egg each other on to say such things... like that, Sam then told him. You can't hear every conversation on the entire base...

No, Jack admitted. But... I stopped them right then, he said. I... He shrugged for a third time. Embarrassed at being found out by fellow soldiers that he held Sam firmly in his heart might cause more problems for them as a couple in the future than he cared to admit. Those soldiers would obviously gossip about them, as if he and Sam had been reduced to nothing but base gossip... The thought curdled in Jack's expression. Well, I just... Then, he looked straight at her. I just didn't like what they were saying about you...

Sam said, I don't need that kind of protection... I mean, I can take care of myself...

That was sort of my point at the time, Jack told her. That you're the most capable person I've ever met...

But, Sam went on, her voice changing to become more appreciative, then, and she suddenly grinned a wide curl of her lips. She added, My hero.

Jack looked relieved that she was taking being the possible focus of base stories so well, and smiled back at her. You think?

Well... And Sam blushed. Yeah, I guess so.

Huh, Jack grunted, surprised by her attitude. He reminded himself that he should no longer be surprised by Sam at all any longer, but admitted that the better he knew her, the more he realized that she could shock the hell out of him at a moment's notice. I've never been anyone's hero before, he said appreciatively.

I'd rather have it known that you're my hero than anyone else's, Sam admitted in a soft voice, her face red. She glanced at her wedding ring circling her finger, then.

Jack sighed again. Then, after a silent moment between them, he rose from his chair, pulled a black sock out of the top drawer of his file cabinet, crossed to the security camera in the corner of his office, and, while standing on a chair, covered it completely with the sock so that nobody could see what transpired next in his office. Then, he climbed down from the chair, leaned back on his hands on the edge of the desk, and mutely regarded Sam. You're the best damned second I've ever had. I know it. The guys of SG-2 know that I know it, too. The thing is, Kawalski was the leader of SG-2 while he was alive...

Sam asked through a tight throat, And?

And... Jack hesitated for a moment. And... I may have included Kawalski in the way I mentioned that you were really good... And they still have some amount of loyalty to Kawalski, since he was their leader for a short time...

Oh, Sam said in a dead voice, perhaps understanding the complex interdepartmental relationships of the SGC better than most.

Jack sighed again. He took her hand in his. The thing is that Feretti knows that Kawalski was my second at one time, too. On that first Abydos mission... And I liked having Kawalski as my second... Jack looked down at her. But, the truth is, he's not you. He glanced up. I'm not in love with him like I'm in love with you... which is probably a good thing, he added. But those feelings I have for you add a sort of... special... twist to the whole second in command thing...

There was a knock on the door, again, interrupting Jack, and he had to cross the office to allow for the interruption.

Teal'c stood outside, in the corridor, holding two cups of coffee out to Jack. Daniel stood behind him, also holding two coffee cups, and it wasn't hard to figure out that Teal'c had run into Daniel in the Commissary, they had picked up some coffee for themselves as well as for Jack and Sam, then delivered the coffee to their team leader in his office. Thanks, Teal'c, we'll probably need some caffeine real soon, Jack said. Then, he placed the cups on the far corner of his desk.

Want us to stick around? Daniel inquired. We will, if that's what...

Naw, Jack told them. I'm sure you have things to do, and Carter and I have already decided on a lot...

Okay, Daniel said. Whatever you say, he added, then socked Teal'c on his arm with his elbow. Come on, let's go visit with Janet... See if she's busy...

Tell her 'hi' from us, Jack said, waved, then shut the door.

Sam looked up at him the second the door was shut on the corridor again. You know what? she said as she reached for one of the steaming cups sitting on the edge of his desk. She blew on the hot liquid inside.

What? Jack asked as he blew on the other.

Sam smiled a tender smile into her cup before she took a cautious sip. When she had swallowed, she shyly looked up at him, blushed, then said, I think I'd like it very much if we went fishing together.

Jack's brows rose in surprise. What? Now? he asked.

Sam ducked her head, but quietly said, Yeah... Now. Today...

Another moment want by. Then Jack's grin was so big that it lit up his entire face. Sweet! he exclaimed.

Sequel: 'Talking'

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