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A/N Fourth in the 'Relationship Series.'

Relationship Series - Do You Want Fries With That?

by Linda Bindner

Janet steered her car into the McDonald's parking lot, and turned to speak to Sam as she sat in the passenger seat. Cassie's working here now, did I tell you that?

No! Sam exclaimed. She is?

She is, Janet affirmed. It's the closest fast food restaurant to the mountain, and she has the highest chance of seeing me while at work, and she wanted a job, so...

And she did say that she was going to work at McDonald's... Sam intimated, not meaning to remind Janet of that day she and the Colonel had run into her and Cassie at the Chelsea Street Mall, but reminding her anyway in spite of her momentary desires. She cleared her throat, and tried to say something that would return the focus of the conversation back onto Cassie. She told us... We just didn't believe her...

She did, Janet agreed. She drove her car into a parking space, and climbed out. Well, come on, let's go in, and see if we can embarrass her, or something...

They entered the establishment through the front door. Sam's gaze immediately settled on Cassie's form behind the counter. Hey, Cass! she said, and grinned. She was definitely going to have to tell Jack all about this encounter when next she saw him.

Sam! Mom! Cassie called back. What are you two doing here?

Eating some lunch on a Saturday afternoon? Janet guessed.

Cassie scowled. Very funny, Mom! Eating is why anybody even comes in here. She peered over their shoulders. Hey, where's everybody else?

Sam answered her, Daniel and the Colonel went to dig at an old ruin, and Teal'c... She furrowed her brows in puzzlement. Actually, I don't know what Teal'c is doing...

I bet Jack really loves digging up old rocks with Daniel, Cassie sarcastically commented.

Sam giggled at the image that Cassie's comment was bringing to mind. She knew perfectly well that digging up rocks with an enthusiastic Daniel was just about the last way Colonel O'Neill wanted to spend a Saturday morning.

Cassie grinned wickedly back at Sam, but didn't vocalize her specific thoughts. He doesn't like it as much as he likes some things, she said instead.

Janet frowned. How often have I told you to stop speculating?

I'm not doing anything wrong, Mom! Cassie exclaimed, then rolled her eyes in exasperation to Sam, and said under her breath, I can't get away from my mother's reprimands anywhere! Not even at work!

Sam giggled again, then decided to take pity on Cassie, and help her out. So you can get back to that job you have... I'll order a number three with the works...

Are you sure that you want fries with that? Cassie asked.

Sam shared a look with Janet. Oh, yeah, definitely fries.


Sam shook her head. No, thanks, a plain old medium is enough for me.

Janet said, And I'll have the same.

You always order the same thing, Mom, Cassie commented.

Janet remarked, That's because I like it, Cass.

Cassie shrugged. She filled their fry order, then collected their drink cups. Your hamburgers will be up in just a minute.

Thanks, Cassie, Sam said. She told Janet then, And thanks for coming here, Janet. I always go to someplace like O'Malley's with the guys, you know, someplace we can get a steak... That's what Teal'c and the Colonel always want...

Don't mention it, Janet said as Cassie handed them their cooked burgers across the clean counter. She collected the food, picked up her tray, then led Sam over to the drink fountain. Bye, Cass. See ya tonight.., she said over her shoulder to her daughter as they walked away.

Cassie smiled, and waved at them.

They filled their cups, then crossed to an empty table, and sat down.

So, Janet said as soon as they got settled, How's the Colonel? she asked.

Sam almost lost her hold on the drink she had just filled. Fine, she guardedly said when she could answer her friend. I suppose he's ready to kill Daniel by now... She started eating her burger to cover any of her leftover awkwardness from her friend's sharp gaze.

Janet noted Sam's flushed cheeks, and grinned at the effect her words seemed to have on the Major. Isn't that the truth! the doctor exclaimed, agreeing with Sam's assessment of half her team's current mission.

Sam grimaced a grin back at the CMO. Patience isn't exactly the Colonel's strongest attribute, is it? she pointed out with a sarcastic roll of her own eyes.

Janet smiled. No! She started eating her hamburger as well while continuing to regard her friend. And speaking of attributes...

Janet, don't, Sam immediately warned.

Janet looked mystified. 'Don't' what? she innocently asked when she had swallowed.

Sam wasn't amused at her friend's obvious artifice. Just don't, she said then. I'm not discussing the Colonel with you, so just forget it. She took another bite of hamburger. Man, this is good, she said, trying to distract Janet.

Janet remained mercilessly undistracted. I wasn't planning on discussing Colonel O'Neill... Do you want to discuss Daniel, then? she asked.

Sam smiled, and threw a French fry across the table at Janet. Oh! she said. That's not funny!

Well? she prompted.

No! Sam exclaimed. I'm not talking about Daniel, either!

How about Teal'c? Janet inquired. Will you talk about him?

Sam was sent into a new fit of giggles. Janet!

What? Janet innocently asked. I told you about that guy in the Science Department that I dated for awhile...

Sam peered at Janet in suspicion. I'm not dating any new guy, if that's what you're after, and certainly not Teal'c... He's more like a Jaffa-teady-bear-older-brother than a guy I can date.

Janet shrugged, then. I'm not after any particular information, here...

Good! Sam said. Eat you hamburger, then! She took a third big bite of her own burger in order to encourage her friend.

I'm just wondering if you're dating the Colonel, Janet lazily asked.

Sam choked on her bite of burger. She was just wondering if she was going to have to gesture to Janet that she needed her to perform the Heimlich maneuver on her when she was able to swallow the bite of meat in her mouth. Janet! she hissed. Will you keep it down when you ask something like that! You know I can get in trouble for you even asking that particular question!

Janet simply raised her brows up to her dark hair laying in waves over her forehead.

Janet! Sam hissed again, with the same results.

Janet did nothing but stare at Sam, and wait for a reply.

Janet, you know that I can't say one way or another! was the only reply that Sam could give her.

Or you're not willing to say anything? Janet asked next.


Janet shrugged. It's just that if I were going out with a guy like... him.., she said in lieu of saying his name, then I would want to shout it to everybody I meet.

It was Sam's turn to frown this time. In a sort of hissing whisper, she went on. It doesn't matter what I want! she emphasized. Only that the frat. rule is perfectly clear in this case, and...

Suddenly, Janet set down her hamburger so that her hands were free when she stared pointedly at Sam. You know that I know, don't you? she asked. And that I've known for a long time?

Sam sat and just stared back at Janet for a minute, her eyes devoid of any emotion but surprised shock at Janet's declaration.

Janet clarified in a whisper, I know about... you and... and... him.

Sam continued to stare at Janet, unable to make her mouth work to say anything.

Aren't you going to say something? the doctor inquired.

Sam blinked, then was able to swallow. What do you want me to say? she finally was able to ask.

Janet shrugged one more time. A 'yes' or a 'no' would be a fine thing to start with...

Janet, will you stop already?

You're not going to admit it, are you? Janet asked then.

Sam rolled her eyes. How can I admit it when admitting to anything will just get me and the Colonel court-martialed? Actually, I can't believe you're even asking me something like this when you know what this kind of a question can do to both of us...

Janet interrupted, I bet Daniel has gotten it out of him, already.

Sam looked positively sick when Janet said that. You can't tell me that Daniel..? That we sent the Colonel into..?

Janet rolled her eyes this time. What can I say? she asked. We're a tenacious lot... Cassie's been giving us pointers...

I can't believe this! Sam exclaimed then in a whisper, tossing her burger back onto its box with a look that said she wasn't going to be able to eat any more of it.

Are you going to eat that? Janet asked. I could take it back to base, and give it to Captain Saunderson... She's pregnant and craving hamburgers right now...

Sam glowered. We are not here to discuss your nursing staff, Janet!

No, we're not, Janet solemnly agreed in an overly compassionate voice that surprised Sam. Look, Sam, we've been friends for years, and I've been friends with the Colonel for years, and I just want to see my friends happy, that's all.

Sam relented somewhat at Janet's honest approach. That's noble, Janet, and I thank you for your concern, but...

What? Janet asked when Sam just studied her.

Suddenly, Sam leaned across the table, practically laying in the ketchup she and Janet had spread out for their fries. She whispered, barely making a sound. This isn't quite the best location for his kind of conversation! Too many people from work come here.

Okay, Janet said, in understanding. She was being uncharacteristically brisk. My car... She rose, took the tray, what food she wanted to keep, then trudged towards the door. After a second, Sam followed in her businesslike footsteps.

Janet and Sam slammed the car doors shut when they had gotten settled. Janet calmly unboxed her hamburger again as if she ate in her car every day. With a teenager for a daughter, Sam figured that she just might have to do that. Okay, Sam, Janet said. Here we are, in someplace totally private where no one can overhear what we say...

There might be bugs.., Sam protested.

Janet threw up her hands in defeat. You are so paranoid! she commented. Honestly! What is it with you?

Sam's forehead lowered in sudden distress to the dash of Janet's car. I'm sorry! she wailed. I know that I tend to act paranoid about this, but... I'm always so worried that everything I say can get Jack into so much trouble that I...

'Jack,' huh? Janet teasingly asked, quick to pick up on just about anything. So, I'm right?

Sam turned to stare at Janet, but didn't raise her head. You know that anything I say in here can't leave this car...

Janet rolled her eyes. Sam, we work in a top secret facility... I think I know when I need to keep my mouth shut.

Sam straightened up then, and calmed. Okay, she said after studying Janet for another silent moment. I'll tell you what's going on... As a friend, not a fellow military officer... You gotta promise not to say anything! she demanded.

Sam..! Janet just sighed in clear aggravation. All right, I promise!

On pain of death?

Sam! Will you just tell me!

Okay, okay... Yes, I'm dating Jack... uh, the Colonel.

Janet peered at Sam. Thought so, she softly said. You both seem to be way too happy for two people not getting regular sex...

Janet, I didn't say anything about sex! Sam said.

Well, are you? Janet asked then. I mean, I don't want to assume anything, here...

Janet! Sam remonstrated, then sighed, sounding defeated. Yeah, she admitted.

And? Janet asked.

And... Sam suddenly smiled. And it's really good sex.

Janet slowly grinned. Well, that's something, at least, she kindly pointed out. I mean, if you have to go to all this trouble to hide things, you at least deserve some kind of compensation.

Janet! Sam squeaked. You really are terrible, ya know!

So, Janet added, her grin still on her face. Is it worth all this trouble that you're both going to?

Sam sighed, then her slow smile began to match Janet's. I have to say that it is.... even though I also agree with the frat. rule at the same time. Being in both a relationship, and the same chain of command, is never easy, and sometimes it's downright horrifying.

Horrifying? the doctor asked. How so?

God, it was good to finally talk about this to her friend! Sam thought to herself. I'm always so worried that something will happen to him... Missions are a total pleasure, because I get to be with him, even though I'm not really being with him... And they're awful at the same time, because I know that I can't show the amount of worry that I feel when something goes wrong. She shook her head back and forth. It's a classic reason for why the regs. exist to begin with... The tears that had threatened to fall during her entire last speech finally overflowed her lashes, and streaked down her cheeks. I'm just a bundle of nerves... Sam exclaimed.

Sam.., Janet began to say, but they were interrupted by a tap on Sam's side window.

Janet started the car's power enough for Sam to lower her window. Yes, Sergeant? she remembered to politely inquire of Walter Harriman as he leaned towards the car.

Major Carter! Harriman said. Doc Fraiser... He nodded at her, then turned his attention back to Sam. I saw you two sitting here as I was walking by, and... You look really upset, Major... Are you all right? He turned to Janet before Sam could answer. Is she all right?

Sam quickly responded with a teary hiccup and a soft tone. I'm fine, thanks, Sergeant. This is... Sam looked at her hands in her lap, and the one balled up napkin she held in her fingers. She tried to sound brave as she said, It's just that this is the anniversary of my mom dying, and... and sometimes it just gets to me. She shook her head, and drew a deep, cleansing breath. But there's nothing to worry about... I'm fine.

Walter's expression became sympathetic. Gosh... I'm so sorry... Let me go inside and at least get you some more napkins to help with yur tears, then.

Could you? Sam asked. That would be so helpful...

Sure, Walter said. I'll be back in a minute... He disappeared into the McDonald's building, then reappeared a moment later, and handed Sam a bundle of beige napkins through the open passenger window. Here you go, Major, and I'm sorry for your loss.

Thanks, Sergeant, Sam said, looking appropriately sad, though simultaneously more collected. But it happened a long time ago. It's just... She let her voice trail off. Then she tried to smile at him. The result she displayed was more tremulous than anything else. She dug through her purse, and handed him a five dollar bill. Here, let me buy you lunch as my way of saying that I appreciate this...

You don't have to do that, Major, Walter immediately said. It's my pleasure.

No, please, Sergeant, it's only five dollars... take it, and have something on me... I'd really feel a lot better about all this if you did.

Trapped into accepting the Major's money, or looking like an arrogant fool for not taking it, Sergeant Harriman pulled the five dollar bill she was offering into his hand. Cool! he said with a sudden grin. Thanks, Major! He then disappeared into the building to order his free lunch.

Sam sedately closed the window as Janet let out a low, appreciative whistle. What? Sam asked when she heard the noise coming from her friend.

You're good, Janet commented in a quiet voice. But don't you feel rather despicable, using your mom's death as an excuse that way..?

Sam stared down at her lap, looking a bit guilty, but not giving in to Janet's protests. I didn't say anything that isn't true, she argued. I do sometimes think too much about my mom dying so young, and it does sometimes overwhelm me, and then I cry... It's just that in this particular instance, something else might have been what was upsetting me...

Again, Janet whistled. You're mighty calm and cool for someone who claims that nothing has happened to her lately. Remind me to never underestimate you again.

Sam cleaned the last of her tears away with the napkins that Walter Harriman had acquired for her use, then blew her nose. Jack says the same thing about you, doesn't he?

I don't know... Does he? asked the doctor.

Sam gave her an irritated look. You know he does. And I am upset this time... That was no joke!

Suddenly, Janet wrinkled her brow in question. How long has this been going on? she inquired. I know I said that I've known for a long time, but I'm not sure if it's actually been going on for longer than I've known about it... You're too practiced and smooth for it to be a new thing...

Sam smiled at that point. Well... Remember that day at the mall? she asked. When Jack and I went to see the Challenger movie?

That long? Janet asked, surprised, then thoughtfully added, I knew that it had been going on for awhile, but... You two are both really good, she then noted. I didn't know a thing back then... At least, nothing for certain. Cassie suspected, of course, but...

Sam snorted. Cassie always suspects things. She's either really omniscient, and sees everything going on around her, or she's totally paranoid, like I am.

I think there's a sort of twisted compliment in there somewhere, Janet remarked. I'll tell her you said that.

Be my guest Sam commented. Now... Are you sure that you want your fries?

Janet caved in to the inevitable, and handed Sam her fries. You better watch that junk food intake of yours, she threatened.

Sam just took the fries, and grinned.

* * *

Walter Harriman stood at the McDonald's counter, contemplated the possible selections, then stared at the five dollar bill in his hand. Slowly, thoughtfully, he shook his head. I don't know who she thinks she's fooling with that line about her mom, he quietly mumbled to himself. Her mom died in September, and now it's April... Everyone knows that. He briefly wondered if that little scene in the car had something to do with her and Colonel O'Neill's relationship... He didn't know for sure...

Then, the sergeant shrugged, and pushed the bill over the counter to a person who he thought was the doctor's adopted daughter, and he put his worries out of his mind. But, hey, whatever works...

Sequel: Wise Words from a Wise Man

Back to [Stargate SG-1 Stories]. Send comments to linda.bindner@gmail.com.

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