Disclaimer: If you don't know that I don't own them by now, well... No copyright infringement is intended, and I made no money off this fic... Maybe I should think about a writing profession that actually makes money? NAH!

Enough, Already!

by Linda Bindner

General Jack O'Neill stood outside the building at Area 51 that housed the Administrative offices, the computer setup, and the science labs. It was a nondescript building, probably designed that way on purpose, so as not to attract any attention in case of an attack of some kind. If he was going to find Carter anywhere on base, he had a much better chance of discovering her in this building than in any other. So, he left his rental car parked in the parking lot, in a 'visitor' space, and headed for the door leading into the building.

On second thought... Jack turned around to scan the parking lot, looking for Carter's classic car among all the other newer models. He didn't see it after a few moments of scanning for her particular vehicle. But, that didn't mean anything, he told himself. Perhaps he wasn't seeing it among the other cars; maybe she had gotten a ride from a friend that day; it was a chance that she had been forced to park her car in another lot... Many things could be keeping him from finding her car, and he soothed himself that not finding it didn't mean a damned thing. She was surely at work. It wasn't like she might be away on a mission off-world, he reasoned with himself. She was probably in her building that day, as well. He didn't want to assume that she was available to speak to him, but...

Just go! he ordered himself. Stop with all this stalling, for crying out loud!

With that admonishment firmly in mind, Jack turned back to the building, and forced himself to pull open the door facing him.

Once inside the typically nondescript military corridors (does everything have to be beige?) Jack was halted by a pair of diligent SFs just inside the door. He told them who he was, and whom he wished to see.

One of the guards reached for a wall phone to confirm his identity.

Jack scowled, and asked, Didn't I already go through a security check at the gate? he asked. Is this really necessary?

Just following procedure, the other SF told him in a nondescript tone, then, when his companion had hung up the phone and given a nod of his head, handed Jack a visitor's pass. He pointed down the hall. Elevator's are that way, General.

Jack clipped the pass to his jacket collar. Thank you. He started walking in the correct direction for the science labs, but the corridors lined with doors all looked the same to him. How was he going to find Carter in all this mess? He knew perfectly well how easy it was to get lost in military complexes when he didn't know his way around, so he stopped a passing Captain, and asked him if he knew where Colonel Carter currently was.

Colonel Carter? echoed the captain, and switched the clipboard he was carrying to his other hand. He surreptitiously looked Jack up and down, taking in his black, long sleeved shirt, khakis, and black leather coat before answering, Wondered how long it would take for a male to come in here, and lay claim on someone who looks so good in BDUs. You'll find her in the labs on level three... Elevator's at the end of the hall.

Thank you, Jack said for the directions. Then, just as he was about to head down the hall for the elevator, stopped himself and the captain by placing a hand on the other man's arm. He couldn't resist saying, You know, Captain... He quickly read the man's name badge. ... Richards... the uniform that I usually wear has 'General' stars on the shoulders, and just because I'm wearing civies right now doesn't give you the go ahead to feel free to treat Colonel Carter with quite the amount of disdain that you were just giving her, nor to be so condescending to someone you think is a civilian... Never assume a person's identity in the future, if you want to save your butt... And save yourself some trouble. Something to keep in mind...

Jack had the extreme satisfaction of watching the man's face grow paler with each word he uttered, and the man began to stutter an apology the second Jack was finished speaking.

I'm... I'm...

No need to apologize, Captain, Jack said. But just remember to go easy on what you say, he suggested. Dismissed.

The captain walked away at a fast pace, glad to put some distance between himself and a General, it looked like, and Jack resumed his trek to the waiting elevator. But he couldn't help the grin that blossomed across his face as he pushed the button for the building's upper floors. He loved pulling rank like that, and making the underlings scurry around! He admitted that it had been totally enjoyable, too, to give the man a good dressing down for saying what he'd said about Carter... Jack acknowledged that he was a bit irrational when it came to Colonel Carter, but he figured he should be allowed a certain amount of behavioral leeway in this particular situation he found himself in. He had, after all, been forced into doing something that... Well, Jack admitted to himself.., that ultimately scared him half to death.

The elevator car arrived, and he entered with a grim smile on his face. But at least he was smiling, he figured. The smile changed to a grimace as he jabbed his finger at the button marked with a number three, then blew out a long breath. For good or ill, this was 'it,' and he was definitely on his way now.

The second Jack stepped from the elevator into the corridor again, he knew that he had hit the correct floor, the one with all the science labs on it, because he recognized the foul odor of formaldehyde right away. Wasn't that smell supposed to end in high school science? he groused to himself, but kept walking.

Colonel Carter's lab? he asked of another person in an official looking white lab coat passing down the corridor from the opposite direction. The man hardly hesitated in his walk to somewhere obviously important, but he did point to the one door in the corridor that was currently standing open. Jack didn't even have time to thank him before he was gone, around a corner.

The entire scene had been slightly frigid in atmosphere, and Jack couldn't help derisively thinking Scientists!, and snorting. But he went on down the hall to the open door that had been pointed out to him, and peeked into the room, not wanting to get mowed down by the bustling personnel inside. He conveniently ignored the fact that he currently wanted to visit another scientist, and had asked for directions to where he might find her.

And find her he did. The very second after Jack peeked into her lab, he spied the short blonde hair on Sam Carter's bent head... It looked like she was hanging over several pieces of something spread out on the table before her. This lab was at least twice as big as her old lab at the SGC, and the number of personnel who quickly walked in and out of the room illustrated her importance to the Area 51 projects.

Jack grinned slightly, then stuffed his hands in his pockets as he slowly approached the absorbed Colonel. His heart was racing inside his chest, but he tried to sound nonchalant when he asked, Hey, Carter... Whatcha doin'?

The familiar question, but one wholly unexpected here at Area 51, caused the Colonel to jerk her head up at the sound of his voice. When she had ascertained that it really was General O'Neill who had spoken to her, a wide smile of unadulterated delight bloomed across her face. Then, a heartbeat later, she smoothly contained her expression, and replaced it with a smile that was more bland in nature. But, for just a second, Jack could see her true emotions at the unexpected sight of him in her lab, and not even a more controlled smile could completely cover the joy in her eyes at unexpectedly seeing him. She spluttered, Colonel!... Uh, Sir!... Uh, General!... Uh... Flustered, she stopped talking, but her grin at seeing him didn't diminish.

Jack, he told her, his grin also wider, and fixed in place on his cheeks. I'm off duty, Carter, and besides, old friends...

Jack, she warmly said. What the heck are you doing here? She didn't realize until she had spoken aloud how familiar her words sounded, and she added a Sir, for good measure.

He gave her a look of admonishment, but, all business, only said, I need to talk to you for just a minute.

Sam's forehead wrinkled. You came all the way out here to talk? she skeptically asked.

In private, Jack quietly added then, his hands doing dances in his pockets.

Sam eyed him for a moment. Is this military business? she asked. Did something happen? She stepped closer to the edge of the table that separated them. Is something wrong with Daniel or Teal'c?

Jack couldn't quite keep the humor out of his expression as he regarded her utterly familiar, gloriously wrinkled, totally worried features. No, nothing's happened.., he instantly assured. Just calm down.

Sam closed her eyes, and visibly relaxed. Thank goodness, she proclaimed. When I saw you, I expected to hear the worst...

Carter, I do want to talk to you... Though, I admit that this is sort of... personal... though, Jack nervously amended.

Personal? Sam reiterated. Is it Cassie? What?

Jack softly laughed at her propensity to assume the worst at seeing him. No... Now, please... Is there somewhere we can go where we won't disturb anyone else? I don't want to attract undue attention through things like uniforms, and... Jack shrugged. This conversation wasn't exactly going how he had planned it when he had been on the flight to Nevada that morning... Carter, he finally whispered, I missed you, need to talk to you, and don't want to do it where the entire Air Force can hear every word we have to say to each other, that's all! Is there someplace we can go to talk?... Get away from your doohickeys for a moment? he continued.

Sam's smile, which had faded when she questioned the reason for his visit, returned in an even softer version yet. You missed me? she asked in a quiet voice that no one else in the lab could overhear.

Taken a bit by surprise, Jack reacted to the question more truthfully than he might have wanted to. He smiled, softly enough to match her expression, and told her 'yes' with a nod of his head.

Sam smiled, just enough so that it could be known as 'her' smile, the one meant just for him, and as a show of acquiescence to his request, shut her computer. John, she called to one of her many assistants. I'm taking the rest of the day off to visit with a... What was he? she asked herself. Her old CO? A friend? More than a friend? She finally settled on saying, With a really good friend.

Jack hoped that he was more than a friend to her, but he would settle for a 'really good friend' for now. Someplace that's not so full of... He was going to say 'people,' but said ... distractions, instead.

Yeah, she answered softly, still smiling. We can go to my place. It's just up the way a bit.

Her place.

Then you have your car here? Jack inquired, wondering how he could have missed it in the lot.

No, she blithely replied. I live on base. We can just walk. Without another word, she headed out of her lab, and into the corridor outside.

Jack stared after her. You live on base? he asked, and wasn't quite able to keep the incredulity out of his voice. He moved to follow her through the door.

Sam's smile faltered. Um... Yeah, she said. The apartment I have now was just too convenient to my lab to let it pass by.

Carter, Jack said as he caught up with her, ignoring his surprise at finding out where she lived. Only newly commissioned personnel live on base. Don't you think we're well passed that phase in our lives? he asked.

The elevator deposited them on the first floor. It was just so convenient, she repeated, almost as if she desperately wanted him to agree with her.

But Jack was stubborn if he was anything. Convenience aside, don't you find living on base a little... confining? he settled on at last. Especially after that cute little house you had in the Springs.

You thought my house was cute? Sam asked, blurted, actually.

Jack shrugged. Well, yeah, he admitted. Everything you owned was cute. Then he corrected himself, Is cute.

She seemed utterly stunned by his admission. Then, she laughed.

What? he asked, smiling at such a merry sound.

Sam spluttered, You could never have thought my motorcycle was 'cute!' she exclaimed.

Jack had to join in on her laughter at that statement. Well, you were cute when you wore those leathers while you were on your motorcycle, he pointed out.

Sam blushed a nice shade of scarlet. I wasn't either 'cute!' she insisted.

Jack was equally as insistent. Sure, you were! All those members of your fan club just loved it when you rode your bike in to base.

Sam sighed in relief for a second, as she realized he was speaking in general rather than specifically about his own personal opinion of her. Though she was also slightly disappointed when she realized he was teasing her. I didn't have a fan club! she insisted as they reached the door to the outside. She smiled when he held it open for her to pass through. Thank you.

No problem, he answered nonchalantly, but just as surprised that she had let him do something as macho as hold a door open for her. She was usually so 'pro feminin' that she opened her own doors. But he liked the feeling of... connection... with her that simply holding open a door for her let him feel. But you live on base? he queried again as they started down the sidewalk. That's a far cry from where you used to live!

Sam sighed, then. Well, it was all I could afford at the time.

Jack balked when she told him that. All you could afford? he repeated, as if just saying those words left a bad taste in his mouth. Surely you didn't have financial trouble that was so bad that it would reduce you to living in a house on base! She had never mentioned financial trouble to him that was so big as to put her in dire straights. If you were in trouble, why didn't you tell me or the guys about it? he asked then. We could have helped.

Sam looked a bit uncomfortable. Actually, I don't live in a house, she said. It's more like a room...

Jack balked again. A room?!

Sam rolled her eyes, right before she stopped, and covered them. I knew you would react like this! she emphatically stated. That's why I couldn't tell you about it all when... She paused her speech, then.

Jack had halted when she had. When what? he asked as they stood on the sidewalk, and military personnel scurried by them from both directions.

Damn, Sam whispered. I wasn't going to tell you that...

Jack gave her an indignant pose. All right... You want to tell me what's going on? he demanded. I could just order you to tell me, he suggested as they began their walk again.

Please don't order me to say anything, Sam begged.

Yep, she definitely begged. Her tone was as pleading as the eyes of the dog he had given to a young Cassie, it wanted her to like it so much. Sam Carter... begging? he asked. Now I am getting worried!

Sam sighed, sent him a distressed look, took in the concern lines that splayed all over his features, and gave in. Okay, I'll tell you, but you have to come to my room to hear it, and you have to let me tell you in my own way.

Jack studied her. Though doing so was very dangerous... his true emotions could leak beyond the control of his eyes at any second... he did it anyway. Okay, he finally agreed. But I want an explanation, and I want to know why this is the first I've ever heard about this money trouble of yours.

Okay, she agreed. It was awfully hard to keep such a big thing a secret from you anyway. You're as persistent as a child at Christmas.

Jack gestured back towards the cars in the lot outside her building. I have my yo-yo in my bag in the car, if you're looking for toys, he suggested.

You didn't get that for Christmas... You bought that yourself! she accused.

Jack just grinned. Yeah, but it's kinda like a good Christmas present.

You're impossible! was all she said as she led him into another building, then to a closed door, where she pulled out her keys, and opened it.

Jack would have asked her if he was a good impossible, or a bad impossible, but he was too busy looking around her one-room home to ask anything at the moment.

She had an efficiency apartment, something like a typical college student would have, not a woman nearing forty years old, one who'd been on the military pay roll for two decades. He tried not to wince when he saw it. He thought of the house she'd had in Colorado Springs, its many rooms, and tried not to compare it to this...

How the mighty are fallen, he thought to himself.

Well, this is it, Sam said, as if she were proud of this one room.

'Carter' was all over the room, from the table, to the TV and stereo set in the corner, to the (gulp) spread she had on the neatly made bed.

Okay, Jack said, still trying not to compare it to the house she'd had when they had been part of the Stargate program. You promised to explain...

Sam dropped onto her old couch that was seated along one wall. She put her head in her hands again, as if she had a headache. I did, she said to her fingers. But instead of uttering a word of explanation, she said, There's beer in the fridge, if you want one.

Jack walked to the corner of the room that was sectioned off by a beige (again) wall into the kitchen area. Good lord, she had a mini fridge that matched in size to the room! He didn't say anything as he pulled open the door, and withdrew two bottles from the door. He shut the fridge again as calmly as he could. He used the bottle opener on his keyring that held his keys to his house in Washington on it to open the beers, then handed one to Sam, who took it without a word. She drank heavily from the bottle, and Jack was just about to comment on how she should go easy on alcoholic beverages when she lowered the bottle.

He removed his coat, and threw it over the edge of the couch. After a silent moment went by, she opened the top drawer in her filing cabinet, then said, I'm basically broke because of this. Sam handed a piece of paper to Jack, then sat back on the couch.

Jack sat beside her on the cushions, and looked at the paper. It was a real estate description of a house. Hey, this is my house in Colorado Springs, he said, recognizing the picture of it right away. He had been forced to stand in his driveway for half an hour one weekend, the hot afternoon sunshine pouring over him, trying to get the camera angle just right for taking this shot. It would have been supremely frustrating, but Sam had been with him, and had kept cracking jokes the entire time he'd held the digital camera, until he couldn't hold the camera any longer, he was laughing so hard. Sam had ended up taking this picture herself.

Yeah, Sam agreed with him. I got my idea when I took this picture, but let it sit for a few days before I did anything about it, just to see if I would talk myself out of it, and to give me some time to see if I had enough money.

'Enough money?' Jack echoed. I don't get it, he said. Enough money for what? And what's it got to do with my house?

I bought it, Sam bluntly stated, as if she were sighing. Do you have any idea how hard it was just coming up with the down payment?

Jack gaped at her. You bought it? he repeated dumbfounded.

Yeah, Sam said. I got a real estate agent who was discreet, and who approached your agent, and when neither of us quibbled about what you were asking... She shrugged. I bought it.

Jack kept gaping at her. Why?

Sam took another drink of her beer, a swallow much smaller in size this time. I was going to give it to you when you retired... I keep expecting you to retire someday... But you decided to move to Washington instead.

And you moved here... Jack stopped talking, too overwhelmed at the gift to finish his statement.

Sam closed her eyes on what she was recalling. I couldn't bear the thought of anybody else living in your house. It just wasn't... Sam sighed again, a gusty exhalation of air. Anyway, that deal pretty much emptied my savings account, my retirement account... I had to cash in or sell my bonds... I still wouldn't have had enough money if Daniel hadn't loaned me $10,000.00. I've paid back $5000.00 already... But it's kept my new savings account at a rather depleted balance, she admitted at last.

It was a good thing that Jack was already sitting down, or he would have fallen down in surprise. He continued to stare at the picture. Wow, he softly whispered after a quiet moment went by. They could both hear the ticking of her clock on the tiny table beside her bed, it was so quiet.

Jack gulped when he thought of her bed. Um.., he said. Um...

Speechless? she inquired as she peered into his face. I've never seen you speechless before. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?

Um.., Jack said again. At last, he blurted, Good! God, good, definitely good!

Sam's smile slowly crawled over her face. Good, she intoned. That's good.

Jack shuffled the paper he still held in his hands, capable of doing nothing but staring at it. You bought my house! he echoed, his tone one of complete astonishment. Wow!

Yeah, Sam answered, smiling now. Like it? she asked.

Like it?! he repeated her, too amazed to say something more intelligent. He snorted, then. Yeah! he exclaimed. I mean... Wow!

Happy retirement, she said, then corrected herself, Someday, I mean.

Jack could hardly breath, he was so surprised. Wow!

Sam smiled some more, pleased that he seemed so pleased. You already said that, she pointed out in a gratified tone.

He whipped around to stare her right in the eye. You gotta live there, then. Get out of this tiny, awful...

It's not all that awful, she interjected. I have everything I need right at my fingertips. She added in bewilderment, then, Why would I want to move back to Colorado Springs, anyway?

At this point, Jack took on a look that was much more uncomfortable than his previous expressions had been. Um.., he said, trying to put off his moment of confession for as long as possible. But she had asked, and she deserved the right to make the final decision herself. I've come to... not to make an offer, but to suggest... a sort of deal.

A deal? she inquired, making certain she had heard him correctly.

Jack's face colored red; he didn't quite believe he was doing this. However, he plunged on. Yeah, a deal, he repeated, all the while refusing to look at her, and instead stared at the floor. Um... I got this phone call one day... Geez, that was a stupid thing to say.

A phone call? she dubiously asked.

Yeah, Jack went on, trying not to sound too stupid, or too desperate in his asking. From the President...

Sam balked at hearing those words. Uh... Do you get those kind of calls often? she unabashedly inquired.

Jack considered. Every now and then, he informed her. About once a month.

When he remained quiet, she hazarded to prod, And this... phone call... What did the President say?

Jack snorted. Nothing I wanted to hear.

Sam sighed, getting exasperated now. Be specific, please, if you can, she instructed. She had a better idea than most that he couldn't always tell her everything he knew about everything he knew. 'Top secret' was a phrase that had been created for a reason, after all, and she knew quite well that what he was trying to tell her about might be 'top secret.'

Jack glanced at her. He didn't say anything, but just kept staring at her. His regard was a bit unnerving. The next thing he uttered unnerved her even more. You're so pretty, he muttered in a low whisper. She would have missed his words altogether if she hadn't been waiting to hear his explanation. Sam's eyes grew just a little wider. What?

Jack sighed, but went on with his explanation as if he had never interrupted himself. He told me that I was under orders myself from the Joint Chiefs to order you to return to SG-1, he dully reported. Apparently, Landry asked for your particular... skills... And they're in bad need of a scientist who's also a genius...

But don't they already have scientists on staff? she asked. Why ask for me?

Jack sighed again, and rubbed suddenly sweaty palms against his trouser legs. You'd think that they would be overrun with scientists by now, he predicted. But I guess it's you they want... I have to admit that I understand that desire...

What? Sam asked, once more befuddled by his admittance.

Jack sighed again. Okay, I'll just spell it all out for ya... He see aside the real estate photo in his hand, then glanced her way once more. I'm under orders to ask you... no, to tell you, that you have to temporarily go back to Colorado Springs. But... Then he held up his index finger to stop her from immediately protesting. But... I made a deal of my own with him, then.

Sam studied him in her mounting puzzlement. You did? she asked. What was it for?

Jack hesitated, but then in a quiet voice, he said, For you.

Nothing could have surprised Sam more. Me?

Jack looked down at the carpet beneath his feet again. Uh... yeah, he said. He reached into his inside jacket pocket, then, and pulled out a sheaf of paper folded into thirds. He handed it over to her. While she unfolded it, and started to read, he went on explaining, I, um, said that it was always up to you whether or not you felt comfortable enough in Mitchell's command abilities to put yourself in danger again as a part of SG-1... danger that SG-1 seems to always be able to find. Then, the President said that the Joint Chiefs said that I had no real choice, and it didn't really matter what you or I personally thought... Only that you had been reassigned... Probably for political reasons as much as because of the military...

Sam stared at the paper that she held open before her. She still looked dull witted, and shell-shocked.

Jack continued, Um... He wriggled on her couch, not daring to look at her. So I made something of a deal, then, and this is just between me, you, and President Hayes...

He wrote up a Decree of Exemption, Sam said then, her voice full of disbelief.

Yes, Jack agreed with her. For me. For you. Jack closed his eyes, then corrected. For us...

Is this bribery? Sam asked in a voice full of hurt surprise. She knew how rare such an exeption was.

No. Jack's head jerked up so that he could look straight at her then. God, no, that's not how you should look on this at all.

Sam held aloft the signed decree. Then, what is this?

Jack cleared his throat. It's all there, he said. The deal is... you... you move back to Colorado Springs to work with SG-1, and... and we... Man, this was hard to explain! We get an exemption from the... the fraternization regs.

Sam just stared, first at the paper in her hands, then at him. Then she shook the paper. So what is this really all about? she asked. Is this..?

It's... How should he say this? It's... compensation.

Compensation? Sam repeated. I call it blatant bribery.

Jack suddenly grinned. Yeah, he agreed. But it's one hell of a cool bribe!

Sam laughed in spite of her agitation with the President's proposal. She stared at the paper again. A minute later, her head suddenly rose as she thought of something new. And you... What did you have to promise for this?

Jack rubbed over his face with his right hand. His left messed through his hair. You aren't going to like this, he cautioned.

That statement scared the shit out of her. What? she asked anyway, barely able to breath. Oh, God, this is some kind of a deal within a deal within a deal, and you have to become a host for some System Lord sometime down the road...

Carter! Jack stopped her with a hand on her arm. Damn! Who knew that you have such a good imagination? he asked almost to himself. Although we should have expected that you do, I guess.

Was he ever going to tell her? Well? Sam demanded, impatient. If not a host, what is it?

Jack stared down at the carpet again. His head slowly rose until she could look into her eyes. They wore a decidedly questioning expression. Eventually, he found the courage to whisper to her, I have to stay as head of Homeworld Security for at least two more years before I can even think about retiring.

Service for favors was nothing new to her, as she had been surrounded by the concept for her entire life. But this was the first time a personal friend of hers was on the receiving end of one of the military's 'favors.' You signed away two years of your life for..?

For you, Jack readily admitted now. You agree to join SG-1, I stay in Washington for two more years with no complaints, and then we get the regs pushed aside for us, so to speak. After two years, I get to renegotiate with the Joint Chiefs.

Sam's forehead settled into the wrinkles of a confused scowl. But how is that reason to make you complain, especially if you like this job that you do in Washington?

Jack gazed at her, then. Who said I like it? he softly inquired.

Don't you? she asked.

Jack met her gaze. He shook his head, then. I'm good at it, he complacently admitted. I don't exactly mind living in Washington D.C. on principle...

But? she asked. I hear a 'but' in here somewhere.

Jack sighed a gusty breath of air. But.., he said, emphasizing the word. But... It's more paperwork than even I imagined, Jack told her. And you know how much I just love paperwork... He sighed again. And it's politics, scheming, always trying to figure out what the other guy is really asking for before he asks or it... Actually, I hate it, Jack admitted then.

Sam stared at him, her bafflement growing. Then, why..? she eventually asked.

Jack's eyes rose to meet hers head-on, as if he wanted to impress upon her the importance of what he was going to say next. 'Cause you're worth it, he firmly told her. You're worth almost anything.

Sam gaped at him. Still staring in total disbelief, she could do nothing but stare as hard as she could, her mouth half open like a fish trying to breath out of its fishtank. Finally, she gasped, But... But...

Jack's gaze was trapped in hers. He turned the rest of the way toward her on the couch, and, his breath catching in his throat, he took her right hand gently into his left. it was all he could do at the moment not to kiss it just as tenderly. Sam, please don't be angry with me, he pleaded. It was all I can do at this point. And I...

You gave up our own life for me???? Sam asked in amazement. With a shake of her head, she added, And I'm not angry... How could I be? She continued to gape at him. Her eyes grew so wide and blue that they were easy for Jack to get caught by them.

And he got caught. Before he knew it, he was gazing in adoration in the blue sea that had become her eyes. He swirled away into those depths, fell totally into the maelstrom of Sam Carter... He couldn't resist such power, such a tempest of control over him, such a promise of warmth, of rest, of temptation, of love... God, Sam, Jack choked. His right hand rose, and he caressed one finger across one of her whitened, soft, warm, hallowed, divine, perfect... the list could go on forever as far as he was concerned. He lifted his hand to rub it across her cheeks, then traced her lips so softly with the very tip of his thumb. His hand trembled as she did the automatic, the unthinkable, the amazing... She softly kissed his thumb, that rested against his skin, and just as slowly, mimicked his posture there on the couch in the waning afternoon light in Nevada near the end of the year.

But for Sam and Jack, time like 'years,' and 'afternoon' meant nothing to them at the moment. They were in a place that was out of time, that was gifted, and gilded in golden light for just a moment, that had frozen between one heartbeat and the next, that thrummed and vibrated with the possibility of a choice. It made the surrounding air shimmer and shake and... In a split second, Jack had leaned into her, and in an answering movement, she had leaned into him. He whispered, Sam, in an agony of twisted wants, needs, and warring emotions... She felt his rising anxiety, and grew opposingly calmer and more peaceful by the second as his need for her blazed out of his brown eyes to consume all of her in a white, hot, cool, black, crackling, burst of an inner fire that reflected in his eyes as they grew closer, and she drew closer, and...

Then, she felt it. His lips just barely touched hers, but it was a definite brush of his skin on hers, enough to make her melt like a puddle into his chest where he caught her, and held her close. His grip tightened, just minutely, and his hand slid from her cheek, to her head, to wrap around her back, to pull her into him so that he could feel every inch of her front against him...

Sam mumbled, I hope that's not your side arm that I can feel...

Jack rumbled with his own laughter at the joke that had grown between them from when it had begun years before. He whispered a reply, You can damn well bet it's not. And he kissed her again, pulling her closer yet, as if to prove that she was feeling so much more than his side arm bulging through his trousers.

Sam's heart began to squeeze tightly in her chest as, with an overload of emotion, the kiss slowly deepened, became more intense, more heated... Just more, in every way that could count at the moment. Jack's hands were everywhere at once, searing into her skin, branding her shoulder, her arms, her breasts, her stomach, her backside... When had he and she rose from the couch?... But she no longer cared what direction she was facing, if she were up or down, if she were sitting or standing... if she were right or wrong... Sam only knew that this felt right, made her feel replete with affection, loved, treasured, loved, loved, loved...

And even the President of the United States said that it was okay. Hallelujah, and pass the ammunition, 'cause they weren't gonna stop for anything...

Jack, she whispered, then kissed the ear she was talking into. Sam felt him shiver, and the effect that she was clearly having on him caused her own shivers of desire to crawl up her spine... Or was that his hand? That magical hand that could bring out her own sensations like it was wringing the feeling from wet clothes on a line...

Sam was vaguely aware that his fingers were on her behind, reaching up under the black t-shirt that she was still wearing from work, touching the naked skin of her stomach. And nothing had ever felt so right before, so intense, so perfect, so... so sweet...

Jack, she said again when she could speak into his ear. She softly bit into his earlobe, and heard him groan loudly enough to make her smile, and purr in satisfaction, and bite down a second time in an ever so gentle caress that involved a slow swirl of her tongue this time. Jack... I'm so in love with you still... I don't care how you feel about me, or what happens tomorrow... He kissed the pulse point in her neck, rubbed with his fingers at the knots that had formed at the top of her spine from leaning over alien artifacts for too long in her lab, kissed her lips in short but gloriously full strokes of the experienced lover that he was...

He whispered to her, I think it should be pretty obvious by now how I feel about you...

Jack, Sam whispered again as he deftly released the clasps on her bra, and felt her breasts fall unfettered into his worshiping hands, where he squeezed and teased and stroked until she had reached such a state of heightened sensation that she thought she was going to implode from the pressure he was creating inside her.

That was when Jack removed their shirts in a move that was so quick that he barely had to stop the wonderful things he was doing to her body... God, Jack, she gruffly said, her throat practically closed in husky desire. If you don't make love to me right this very minute, I'll...

You'll what? he asked, teasing even as his fingers worked their magic all across her back, and down to the waistband of her pants. You'll explode? he guessed, and pulled her tight against his erection that was growing harder by the second.

No, she said, as he gingerly lowered her to the quilt covering her bed. I'll scream all the nation's secrets at the top of my lungs to everybody I meet... She had to let her head fall back into the quilt as his mouth closed perfectly over one of her exposed nipples. A hiss, a moan, a whispered, Oh, God, Jack, you're so beautiful... And she felt the first stirrings of a fire raging in her groin.

Jack somehow knew exactly what was happening; he pulled off her shoes, yanked off her socks, and slid her pants and underwear down her thighs, where his hands traced lazy, erotic circles that were clearly meant to drive her insane with passion.

Then, his lips were on her skin again, licking and kissing his way up one leg, down the other, his own pants gone, his skin warm against hers, igniting the most delicious feeling of falling inside her...

Sam! Jack whispered, his voice gruff, low, tragic, agonized, tight with unsuppressed passion... Oh, Jesus, Sam, I'm not gonna make it...

And she pushed herself onto him just in time to feel his hot, wet, pulsing, need fill her everywhere, springing the lock on her own feelings, making her explode around him as he moved just once inside her, causing her blazing inferno of want to coalesce in one point of her groin, a point that would always be 'Jack' to her 'Sam...'

Jack grunted a breath against her neck, and she screwed her face tightly together in the sweet throes of swirling surrender. Sam hissed out a long sigh, and would have screamed his name in loving passion if he hadn't kissed her at the exact moment her inner flame ruptured in a pleasant torment of tight shivers and spasms that made her toes curl. Her breath stopped for the time it took for her to shake in the best orgasm she had ever experienced in her life.

They panted for breath, tried to recover after the intensity of feeling that had just washed over them... Oh, wow, Sam whispered in a semblance of thought. That was... Oh, wow.

Yeah, Jack agreed with her. I can't think straight after that...

I can't think at all, Sam said, her eyes still closed in recovery as her hands ran all over what she could reach of his naked skin in passes of pure adoration.

Jack suddenly chuckled, and Sam felt him flutter against her insides. If I'd only known that was what it would take to make you stop thinking...

Sam smiled in rapturous contentment. I only want to feel you right now... She arched into him in a delicious sense of 'togetherness' that had never enshrouded her before. She sighed, then, and couldn't keep the grin off her face. I feel so good right now... She arched into him again, feeling the scruffiness of his chest hairs rub against her cheeks. She sighed, and said no more. But her smile said it all.

Quiet moments passed, and they were lulled into sleep by the muted sounds of the people of the base going about their business while Jack and Sam went about theirs... When Sam woke, fifteen minutes later, she shook Jack awake with the added words, You know what I find funny?

No, what? replied Jack, who still couldn't quite think clearly after such a short nap to offset hours worth of jet lag, combined with the sweet power of 'Sam.'

Sam giggled into his shoulder, and absently kissed the soft expanse of skin. You bought me, she whispered, her tone light and pleased.

Jack looked at her, then, with deep brown eyes gone hazy with his recent desire. I can't believe you bought a whole house for me.

Sam grinned. We make a good team, then, don't we, Jack O'Neill?

Jack smiled back as well. The best, he answered, and stared straight into her eyes. Always.

The End

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