Stargate SG-1 fic: Not Her Idea
Title: Not Her Idea
Prompt: cabin fever
Pairing: Sam/Jack UST
Summary: When Sam finally accepted the colonel’s invitation to visit his cabin she didn’t imagine it would be like this.
This is not how she thought her vacation would go.
Her first vacation in… well, forever.
*cough, groan, cough *
Sam sighed and rubbed at the bridge of her nose, trying to ignore the noises around her. “Some vacation,” she muttered to herself.
“What was that, Major?” came a gruff voice from the other side of the room.
“Nothing, sir,” she responded with a horribly artificial cheeriness.
*cough, cough *
Come up to the cabin, it’ll be fun. I promise.
*sneeze, groan *
Daniel and Teal’c will be there. I swear you’ll have a great time. No threat of alien attack, no work, just a pond and a fishing rod.
She glared over at her CO sprawled over half of his worn brown sofa, an arm thrown over his eyes. Next to him Daniel curled into a ball with a faded blanket wrapped tightly around him. His glasses were askance, dark circles under his eyes. He stared blankly at the table in front of him.
*cough, cough, cough… more hacking coughs *
Sam gritted her teeth and closed her book. She needed to get out of here. She gently placed her book on the table next to the chair and slowly rose. She tried to ignore the way the colonel’s tired eyes tracked her every movement.
*cough, cough *
She turned towards the back of the cabin—two bedrooms down the hall just past the front door. The door to her freedom. Outside the weather was mild, or so the colonel had said, for early spring in Minnesota. It was a balmy 55F outside. Sam glanced down at her stocking feet and heavy hooded sweatshirt. They would have to do. Her shoes were in her room and she couldn’t risk taking the time to put them on. She took two steps toward the door.
*cough, throat clearing, cough *
“Going somewhere, Carter?”
Sam groaned again, her head shaking lightly. “Just need to use the bathroom.”
“It’s that way.”
She glanced over her shoulder as the colonel gestured with his head towards the hall to her left. She narrowed her eyes at him. He seemed almost as if he was enjoying this. Daniel was now staring at him with a glossy look to his red-rimmed eyes.
Sam growled under her breath with frustration and stalked down the hall. She faked using the bathroom for a minute before sneaking into her room to put on her boots and jacket. She had escaped from more heavily guarded facilities than a small cabin in the backwoods of Minnesota.
“Jack,” she heard Daniel say from the other room. She stopped as she was tying her boots to listen.
*cough, cough, cough *
“Why are you being a jerk?”
*cough, sniffle *
“Whose being a jerk?”
*cough, cough *
*loud groaning, more coughing, sputtering *
“You okay?” the colonel asked.
After another few seconds of coughing Daniel answered weakly, “need water.”
She heard some rustling in the other room and the faucet went on. Hurrying to finish tying her boots, now afraid she’d get caught, she ducked into the bathroom across the hall just as she heard footsteps around the corner.
“You fall in, Carter?”
The colonel’s voice sounded rough and low, like he had eaten sandpaper for breakfast.
“Just finishing up. Be there in a sec.”
She held her breath hoping that would satisfy his curiosity and he’d go back to the couch to annoy Daniel some more. She winced at the thought and felt bad for Daniel. She hated sacrificing her friend for her own sanity but wasn’t there a saying… something about all’s fair in war. She squinted at her reflection, trying not to think of the whole saying.
*cough, cough *
*sniffle, sneeze, cough *
She briefly considered just climbing out the bedroom window. It would be so much easier than trying to sneak out the front door with the colonel now on high alert but her pride got the better of her. She was no coward. With a sigh she straightened up and told her reflection, “you are Major Samantha Carter, you are not afraid of anything.” She didn’t look too convinced but she yanked the door open all the same. The hall was blissfully empty of a surly, sick colonel.
Using her extensive military training she quietly slid along the hall wall and peeked around the corner into the living area. Daniel was still curled in the corner of the couch. Another peek showed the colonel in the kitchen. She wasn’t sure what he was doing but his back was to the door and he was distracted. This was her only shot.
She darted for the front door as silently as her booted feet could take her. She avoided the spot to the left that squeaked, having figured that out the first day the boys fell sick and complained that every tiny noise hurt their heads, and reached for the doorknob.
The door opened with a sharp squeak before her hand even touched the handle.
“Major Carter,” Teal’c greeted around a large bag of groceries.
Sam groaned for the hundredth time that morning. With a sigh she took one of the bags Teal’c carried and headed for the kitchen. The colonel was leaning against the counter with a big smirk on his face.
She glared at him. His hair was sticking up at odd angles, his clothes rumpled and his feet were bare. And still that grin was plastered on his face. She had a momentary urge to wipe it from his face but didn’t fancy spending the rest of her vacation in the brig.
“Excuse me, sir,” she said, sounding not quite as irritated as she felt. She shoved him aside causing him to stumble slightly as she tried to put the canned goods in the cupboard behind him. He grabbed the island for support and snickered at her.
“What got your panties in a twist?”
That was the last straw. She slammed the can of soup she had holding onto the counter. Everything around her froze. Teal’c stood half in the fridge, a jug of orange juice half way to a shelf. Daniel stopped mid-cough to stare at her, too. The colonel’s smirk slid from his face in an almost comical fashion. Sam had an almost uncontrollable urge to laugh. She was cracking up. That was the only explanation for her behavior.
“There is nothing wrong with my panties,” she said through gritted teeth, “not that they would ever be any of your business.” She sent him a piercing look and felt a grim satisfaction as she watched him swallow slowly. Behind him Daniel tried to keep his last cough in with little success. Teal’c finally moved to put the rest of the perishables away. Sam continued to stare at her CO.
“Uh,” he finally said then cleared his throat. After a small cough he said softly, “I just, uh, meant… what’s wrong?”
Sam licked her lips and looked anywhere but at his face, now full of apology and contrition. He wouldn’t say the words, Sam knew that, but his eyes would try to make her understand and right now she didn’t want to hear or see it. She was pissed.
“I believe,” Teal’c cut in before Sam could answer, “that perhaps Major Carter would like to take a break.”
“Take a break from what?” the colonel asked almost as if he couldn’t control himself. He grimaced as soon as the words left his mouth.
Sam sighed and finished putting the can into the cupboard. “Daniel,” she said, “do you need me to get you anything?”
“Uh, no, Sam, I’m fine.”
“Teal’c, do you need any more help?”
“I do not, Major Carter.”
She looked back to the colonel, her eyes narrowed, daring him to say something smart.
“I’m good,” he mumbled, his hands coming up in a placating manner.
She glared at him a moment more before she turned crisply on her heel and left the room without a glance back at an ashamed looking O’Neill.
* * *
The walk around the property did much to improve her spirits but as the day grew cooler, the sun setting over the pond, Sam found herself unable to bring herself back to the cabin. She sat on the end of the deck, her knees pulled up unde her chin and watched the last tendrils of day reflect off the smooth surface of the water. She had sat that way for a good hour and hadn’t see any movement. She wondered if there were any fish in this pond.
A creak on the wood planks behind her had her head snapping around. She sighed in resignation as she saw the colonel standing there with his hands jammed in his pocket. He always looked so boyish when he was feeling guilty. She sometimes had a hard time rectifying the two halves of O’Neill. On one hand he could be this ruthless, controlled military leader and the other he was nothing more than a lost little boy trying to find his way. She shook her head and looked back at the water. She was tired.
“Some vacation,” he said after a moment, his way of apologizing. Sam didn’t want to let him off the hook that easily. A few more moments passed. She heard him take a few steps closer. “Are you gonna come back inside? Daniel is getting antsy.”
Sam huffed into her knees. He was impossible, she thought.
“It’s getting cold.”
She sighed. “Then go back inside. Wouldn’t want you getting sicker.”
She could imagine his wince at her harsh words.
“Carter-” he started but she cut him off.
“Are there even any fish in this pond?”
“Huh?” he sputtered, obviously caught off guard by her sudden change of topic. He collected himself rather quickly. “Of course.”
“Have you ever even caught one?”
“Right,” she mumbled, pulling her legs even closer to her body. Her arms slid down to her feet, her fingers now blindly twisting the laces of her boots.
“Carter,” he said again, coming up next to her, “I’m-”
“Don’t,” she said quietly.
She could hear the confusion in his voice when he spoke again. “Don’t what?”
“Apologize. I don’t want to hear it. Not right now. I want to stay mad a little longer.”
At that he chuckled softly, then covered his mouth as he was racked with a string of coughs. When he was done he cleared his throat then gently lowered himself to the cold deck next to her. His legs dangled over the edge, his feet just above the water. She watched him from the corner of her eyes as he rubbed a hand over his unshaven face.
“I guess I have been kind of milking it, haven’t I?”
“That’s your apology?”
“You told me not to apologize,” he said with a snort.
Sam sighed again. He could be so frustrating. They were both quiet for awhile, staring out at the pond as the sun set, leaving the water a glassy black. Sam shivered.
“I’m sorry about your vacation, Carter,” he finally said. She just nodded, her chin rubbing on her knees. “It’s just been a long time since I’ve had anyone to take care of me when I’m sick.”
Her eyes slid over to him at his confession. He was looking out over the water; his fingers, always in motion, frayed the cuff of his well-worn denim jacket. His face was half hidden in the growing shadows of the night but she could tell he was tired and still sick.
“We should go in,” she told him after awhile but he didn’t move to get up so she stayed still, watching him.
Finally he shifted his gaze back at her. “I’m really sorry,” he told her, his voice barely above a whisper, “I was out of line earlier.”
Sam shook her head, her cheek now rubbing against the rough fabric of her jeans. “It’s fine, sir. I’ve gotten used to your attempts at humor over the years.”
The corner of his mouth twisted into a slight grin. “Attempts? Was that another burn, Carter?”
She smiled at him. “Maybe.”
“I probably deserved that.”
She didn’t answer. He looked down at his hands, seeming to notice the damage they were inflicting for the first time. He pulled them away from his sleeve and set them on either side of his legs, his right one brushing against Sam’s body. She glanced down at it and then back up at him. He was staring intently at her as if asking permission to keep his offending appendage where it was. She swallowed hard. Even sick, his eyes were more expressive than any other person’s she had ever met.
A couple minutes passed with neither of them saying anything and, yet, saying more than they could ever voice. She watched several emotions flicker across his face, probably unnoticeable to the casual observer but Sam recognized each one because she knew this man and how he thought. He licked his lips and finally broke eye contact. She was momentarily grateful, not used to the open view at the internal workings of Jack O’Neill.
“I guess,” he said roughly, “that when you complained you’d get cabin fever this isn’t what you meant.”
She tried to keep it in but the snort escaped anyway. He turned to look at her, leaning forward when she ducked her head into her knees. She couldn’t stop the giggles that overtook her.
“No, sir, it wasn’t.”
He smiled at that, a soft chuckle accompanying another fit of coughing. “I’m sorry. I swear it’s usually a lot of fun up here.”
She finally got her giggling under control and looked over at him, resting her cheek on her knees again. “I’m sure it is. What with all the fishing…” she trailed off as she eyed the calm water.
He frowned at her. “There are fish in there,” he told her defensively.
“Of course there are, sir.” They stared at each other a moment longer before they both burst out laughing. “Maybe next time you can prove it.”
She couldn’t help but hear the hopefulness in his voice. She nodded. “Not during flu season.”
He smiled and Sam was sure his face flushed but told herself she was probably imagining it. He looked away for a moment and when he turned his face back all his defenses were down again.
“I’d really like that,” he whispered.
Sam swallowed hard, unsettled by his openness.
“Me, too,” she answered just as quietly.
Slowly, he reached over and pushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear, his hand only briefly pausing as he waited for her almost imperceptible nod of approval. She fought the sigh of contentment that overtook her. This, she thought, was why she had avoided the cabin all these years. It was way too easy to get lost in his eyes and gentle stolen touches.
Another set of coughs shattered the moment. The colonel had one hand over his mouth, the other gripping the pylon, his nails digging into the soft wood. She sighed. He was going to catch pneumonia out here.
With effort, her body stiff and cold, she pulled herself to her feet. She reached a hand down to the colonel. “Come on, we better get you back inside before you catch your death.”
He finally stopped coughing and wiped spittle from his chin with the sleeve of his jacket. He looked up at her with that charmingly boyish grin before accepting her help up. “Like death has ever stopped me before.”
She snorted at that and rolled her eyes. “You’re incorrigible, you know that,” she said without thinking then tacked a belated, “sir,” to the end.
He just smiled as she lead him back to the cabin with it’s warm lights glowing from the windows.
“You wouldn’t have me any other way,” he said, giving her hand a squeeze.
She shook her head slightly in exasperation. “No, sir, I wouldn’t,” she told him quietly getting yet another big smile from her CO.
He stopped her just as they got to the door, the smell of soup cooking making her stomach grumble. She watched him as he pulled his emotions together then looked down at her. “Carter, I-” He seemed to stumble over his words and for once Sam had no inclination to jump in and help him out. She just stared up at him and waited for him to figure out what he wanted to say. Finally he licked his lips. “Next time I’ll take care of you.”
She nodded, understanding his meaning. “I promise to milk it for all it’s worth, sir,” she told him before heading into the cabin. She could just imagine his look of indignation slowly morphing into a wide grin. And she meant every word of it.