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Stargate Sg-1 fic: Talk of the Town

This is another story written for day #2 of theme week at [info]stargateland .  I only needed 100 more words to get my full points for the day but I ended up with this instead, lol.  It is what it is.  The prompt was: 04- SG1, Jack O’Neill/Sam Carter, stuck offworld.

Talk of the Town
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Stargate SG-1
Jack/Sam UST
2741 words
rating: PG-13
WARNINGS:

Sam and Jack get stranded on a planet when the Gate malfunctions. What to do with their time?

don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.

“You know, Carter,” Jack said, kicking at a half-buried rock, “people are going to start talking.”

“About what, sir?” Her voice was muffled by the DHD, her head buried in the innards of the ancient device.

“Us.”

She pulled her head out and looked up at him, squinting at the sun that glinted over his shoulder. “What about us?” She had that look in her eye. The one that said she thought she knew what they were not discussing.

Jack pulled his gaze away from her and stared at the barren horizon. This planet was desolate. No civilization. No habitation at all as far as they could tell. They did their tests, set up their equipment and huffed it back to the gate as quick as possible.

“Just… these things keep happening to us,” he finally said with a slight grimace.

Carter grunted. “It’s not our fault the Gate malfunctioned.” She ducked back into the DHD, a string of muttered curses following her.

Jack smiled at her and tried to ignore the fact that all he could see was her wiggling backside. He quickly looked away, his thoughts confirming his concern over the situation. “No, it’s not. But when the same thing keeps happening to just us.”

“It’s not always just us, sir. Last time Teal’c got stuck with us.” She continued to grumble to herself as she tried to figure out the issue with the DHD this time.

“I know that. Doesn’t stop people from talking.” Jack kicked at the offending rock, finally breaking it free of it’s grave. It skittered across the hard packed dirt landing next to Carter’s leg. She suddenly rocked back on her heels and threw a broken crystal into the now empty compartment with disgust.

“Since when do you care what people think?”

“I don’t.”

She got up and dusted herself off. “Then why are we having this conversation?”

“I just thought maybe you’d be upset-”

“Why? I don’t care what they say either. Let them think what they want.” She gave the scattered tools and crystals a glare then sighed. “I don’t know what’s wrong with it.”

“Wouldn’t Hammond-”

“Dial right back as soon as Daniel and Teal’c came back without us? Yes.”

“So that means-”

“Either there is something wrong with the SGC gate or Daniel and Teal’c didn’t make it back to the SGC.”

Jack scratched at the back of his neck and regarded his 2IC. He wondered if she even knew she was finishing his sentences. She was still staring at the DHD, a frown wrinkling her brow. When she started muttering about ancient devices and wormhole theory Jack turned away to stare at the gate, willing it to activate. It sat silent and still, mocking him.

After awhile he sighed. “Well, it looks like there isn’t anything else you can do so why don’t we just take a break.”

He could tell she was barely listening to him, her mouth silently reciting code or equations or something Jack was sure he would never understand. He chuckled to himself then lightly gripped her arm and guided her over to the steps up to the Gate.

She sat without protest, a long-suffering sigh escaping. “This sucks,” she mumbled.

Jack grunted his agreement while he dug through his pack for some MREs he knew were hiding at the bottom. He passed one to Carter without even looking to see what it was. She just stared at it for a long while.

“Penny?” Jack asked her around a bite of what was supposed to be mac and cheese but tasted a little more like doughy slop.

“Huh?”

“For your thoughts.”

She shrugged. “I was just thinking about what you said earlier.”

“What did I say?”

She shot him a look before returning her eyes to the unopened MRE dangling between her legs from grubby hands. “About how people are talking about us.”

Jack swallowed his last bite slowly, biding his time. Stalling. He wiped his lips with the back of his hand and dropped the rest of his meal onto the stone step next to his feet. “I thought you didn’t care what they said.”

“I don’t.” The MRE crunched in her hands, flipping end over end between two fingers. Jack watched it for awhile before speaking again.

“Then what’s the problem?”

Her shoulders lifted almost imperceptibly. She seemed a little deflated now that there was nothing she could do to the DHD. He watched her as she mulled it over, his own meal long forgotten. She was quiet a long time before she spoke again, her voice low, “are they really talking about us?”

Jack shrugged. “Not when I’m around.” That got a small smile and soft snort. “Daniel’s heard things, though.”

Carter sighed at that and got up, rubbing at the back of her neck. Jack tried to ignore the way her fingers played with the hair at the nape, pulling slightly before letting her hand fall to her side. His eyes tracked it’s entire movement without fail. When he finally pulled his gaze away she was staring at him with an amused look on her face. He gave her his best lop-sided grin—the one that never failed to get a full fledged Carter smile, the kind that reached her eyes and made them twinkle. He was duly rewarded.

“It’s just frustrating,” she said after finally looking away.

“What is?”

“This.” She gestured between them and Jack’s heart skipped a beat. “Them. The talking. The constantly having to be on guard and worrying about what other people think.” Jack looked down at his boots, dust covering the toes and stuck to the laces. “Sometimes I just… I just want to, I don’t know…”

Jack got up to stand next to her. “What?” he encouraged, his voice sounding way too throaty for his liking but unable to stop himself.

Her eyes darted up to his then away just as quickly. A heat welled up in the distance between them that Jack was sure had nothing to do with the overbearing suns that left the planet so devoid of vegetation and animal life.

“I wish it didn’t have to be this way,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper, disappearing on the soft breeze.

Jack felt his throat close up and fought to swallow the lump forming. He wasn’t entirely sure what they were discussing any more and his mind reeled with the possibilities before he chastised himself and locked those thoughts back up in the corner where they belonged. She was staring at him now, probably wanting an answer but Jack didn’t know what to tell her so he just nodded.

Carter sighed, a sad look playing across her face for a moment before she schooled it. She turned away to stare at the horizon, a dust storm stirring up in the distance catching her eye. Jack couldn’t move, his eyes glued to the way the little wisps of her hair fluttered from under her cap and glinted golden in the sunlight. Finally he swallowed hard, the motion almost hurting, and took a step closer to her. Her arms curled around her chest, hands gripping her sleeves tightly. Was she protecting herself? From what? Him? Jack didn’t know. Carter confused him in more ways than one and he’d given up figuring her out years ago.

“What’s really bothering you, Carter?” He was only a foot behind her now and distinctly heard her sharp intake of breath at his question. She shook her head—another non-answer. “Carter?”

She let the breath out slowly and turned to face him, her arms still wrapped securely around her body. “I’m tired of being watched all the time. Judged. Every little thing we do is up for interpretation even when we aren’t doing anything wrong. It’s driving me mad.”

Jack was momentarily shocked at her bold honesty. But she wasn’t looking at him. Well, she was staring at a spot on his chest—nothing near his eyes. He cleared his throat but his voice was still scratchy when he spoke. “You said you didn’t care.”

“I don’t.” Jack raised an eyebrow; she grimaced. “Not really. I try not to care but-”

“I get it,” he said, interrupting her rambling. They stood like that for several minutes, each lost in their own thoughts and the space between them growing smaller. Jack wasn’t sure who took the first step. Part of him wanted to believe neither did, that it was some natural phenomenon that had them suddenly within inches of each other, their breath coming in fast little bursts.

“Sometimes,” she whispered, “I wish I didn’t care at all. What they think. That I could just…” She glanced up at him, her eyes wide and unguarded. “…say, ‘screw it’ and…” She swallowed hard. Jack copied the action, his heart pounding hard against his chest, the blood rushing into his head creating a backwash of noise that drowned out all serious thought.

“No one’s watching now.” Jack barely even registered the words coming out of his mouth. The startled look on her face was what alerted him and he mentally kicked himself for even thinking them.

But then she surprised him by softening her expression, a dreamy smile crossing her face as she batted her long lashes at him. She licked her lips slowly. “No, they’re not.”

Alarm bells went off all over in his mind but were quickly shoved into a box and ignored apparently along with his common sense. His hand drifted up to her face but didn’t close the distance, his fingers hovering inches from her tanned skin. Her tongue moved slowly in and out of her lips again, her eyes darting from his down to his mouth and back up repeatedly. All sense had left him because, god help him, he didn’t think he could stop himself even if he wanted to.

Without another thought he closed the distance, his hand coming to rest on her cheek, the other joining quickly and his lips crushed hers in a kiss so electrifying he was sure he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end. For a second he thought maybe he’d misjudged her actions but then her hands slid up his body, under his jacket. He felt a low growl build in his chest, forcing itself to the surface. Carter smiled against his kiss, her fingers curling in the soft fabric of his t-shirt.

He shifted his weight closer to her body, deepening the kiss to wipe the smirk from her face. Her mouth opened at the pressure from his tongue and she sighed. Carter actually sighed. His mind was spinning out of control with all sorts of emotions he had tried to keep contained for too long. Things were way out of control and he knew it and, yet, found himself unable to stop them. More like… unwilling to stop them.

Carter was pulling him closer, her right hand now twisting in the hair on the back of his head, the other wrapping around his waist. He let his drop from her face to her body, sliding down her back and tugging slightly at her shirt tucked firmly into her pants. Some part of him was still screaming to stop before they went too far. Maybe no one was watching but they’d know. All the years of keeping to the rules and duty and service. Of integrity. With a whole lot of effort Jack finally pulled away, a whirl of dust filling the hot space between them. Carter looked up at him with confused, hurt eyes and he fought the urge to scoop her back up and nibble on that pouting lower lip.

Another gust knocked her hat from her head, sending her hair swirling around her head. She blinked, her cloudy eyes starting to clear just as the fog in Jack’s brain began to lift, too. They both glanced around as they rocked back with the force of another blast of wind, their skin buffed raw by the flying grit. Crap, Jack thought.

Without words they scrambled to gather their gear, the abandoned MREs long since blown into the distance, before hunkering behind the limited cover of the DHD.

Sam was breathing hard. Jack wasn’t sure if it was from the sudden onset of the dust storm or what they had just done… were about to do. He realized his breath was coming just as fast and labored. She turned her head up at him and he gave her a crooked smile hoping she’d interpret it correctly. There was no reason to worry, they read each other so well words were hardly ever needed. Although, sometimes, he thought, they needed to be said.

“Carter-”

“Forget it, sir. Never happened.” Her voice was mostly lost in the roar of the wind.

Forget it? Never. If he died right now he’d be a happy man with that as his last memory. But he wasn’t interested in dying today.

“Let’s try another address,” he practically yelled into her ear.

He felt her nod next to him and brace against his shoulder as she fought to get up against the wind.

“Where to, sir?”

“Anywhere has got to be better than this.”

A few seconds later Jack was pushing her through the open wormhole. He hadn’t asked where they were going. Didn’t really care at the moment. They landed with a thud on the other side, Jack half on top of Carter. She grunted as his weight hit and he mumbled an apology into her hair. That made her giggle which caused butterflies to take flight in his stomach. He wondered if he was too old to feel this giddy over a sound a girl made.

“Uh, Jack?”

Jack sat back on his heels as Carter scurried out from under him. Daniel and Teal’c and a whole slew of SGC personnel were standing over them with equally curious looks on their faces.

“What’s going on, Daniel?” It took a lot longer than he’d like to gather himself and not look like the cat that ate the canary. So to speak.

Daniel gave him an amused look. “Not sure. I thought I dialed Earth but we ended up here. So did everyone else that tried to go through.” He nodded back at the growing group of green and brown clad individuals.

“Must be some kind of Gate malfunction,” Carter was saying, already on her feet and heading for the DHD to investigate.

Daniel reached down to help Jack up which he accepted graciously as his knee popped rather loudly. “What happened to you guys?”

Jack ruffled his hair suddenly remembering that Carter knocked his hat off during their passionate embrace. He knew his ears were pinking up by the devilish look in Daniel’s eyes. “We couldn’t get through to the SGC but then this sand storm hit so we dialed…”

“P2R-772,” Carter said with her head inside the dialing device.

“We ended up here.”

Daniel nodded. Curiosity assuaged and seeing that Carter was on the job the crowd dissipated—going back to small groupings just lounging around or playing cards, anything to pass the time. Daniel was still staring at him.

“What?” Jack asked, a little unsettled by the scrutiny and more than a lot uncomfortable as he realized sand had gotten into some undesirable locations on his body.

“You know, Jack,” his friend said, voice pitched low so only the two of them could hear, “people are starting to talk. When only me and Teal’c made it through… Let’s just say there’s a pool going.”

Jack’s eyebrows jumped up his face and Daniel smirked at him. “What are you trying to say, Daniel?”

He shrugged. “I’m just trying to say you two should be more careful.”

“And what does that mean?”

“It means whatever you want it to mean, Jack.”

Daniel wandered off to go bug Carter. Jack watched him leave with a frown then muttered, “it’s not our fault the Gate malfunctioned.” He looked up to see Teal’c watching him, one eyebrow raised in… what? Amusement? “It’s not our fault,” he reiterated more firmly.

“Of course not, O’Neill.”

Jack covered his face with his hands and groaned. They really did need to be more careful, he thought, then spent the rest of the afternoon pointedly not looking at Carter’s rear wiggling around in front of the DHD.

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