Stargate SG-1 fic: Making the Best of It
This was started last month for a fictionland challenge but I never could get it to the minimum wordcount needed so it kind of just got forgotten. I decided I like my original version the best (after adding almost 500 words to it) so here it is.
Making the Best of It
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Jack and Sam get stranded off world when the Stargate falls into the ocean. Now they need to learn how to get along with each other.
don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
The cabin stood in a valley between the swell of two grassy hills. They glided up on either side like waves of green. A small stream snaked along the contour of one hill before disappearing into the woods behind the house. Out front a large pasture stretched out for acres, small cow-like animals grazing in the warm, summer sun.
“It’s kind of small.” Jack pulled his sunglasses off and let them dangle from the cord around his neck.
“Not everything can be your cabin in the woods, sir.”
Jack glared at the small wooden structure. It had a thatched roof that sagged in the middle around a crooked stone chimney. The windows were small squares set every five feet on the walls except where the door—made of rough-hewn wood, worn and splintered, with what looked like iron hardware that barely held it in place—interrupted the pattern. .
He sighed and glanced over at Carter. She was staring up at him with barely hidden anticipation, her weight shifting from foot to foot as she rubbed at her uncovered arms.
“Well, it’s not Minnesota but it’ll do, I guess.”
She gave him a small smile. It was something, he guessed.
The door creaked on opening, one hinge snapping off. Jack let it drop with a thunk to the dirt floor. Carter watched with apprehension until Jack settled it against the wall and took his first look around the cabin. “Roomy.”
That got a grin and a soft snort from Carter. She followed him in and traced a path around the perimeter of the room, her fingers tracing patterns in the dust. “Doesn’t look like anyone’s lived here in decades.”
“They said it had been abandoned for awhile.”
The cabin was just one room with a massive stone fireplace taking up most of the back wall. A large metal pot still hung in the opening. Jack hoped the last meal of the previous owners wasn’t still on the menu. Under the windows of the right hand wall a small counter held more cooking utensils, shelves underneath overflowing with pots and bowls. On the opposite wall was a table and three chairs, their caning long since worn and frayed. Jack gave one a shake testing its sturdiness.
Carter had stopped across from the fireplace. A single bed made of tied logs and a straw mattress filled the corner. The quilt covering it looked ancient, the colors faded to a dull gray. She hugged her arms around her body. Jack came to stand next to her.
She startled as if she had forgotten he was even in the room. “Yes, sir. Just…” She let out soft sigh.
“Yeah, I know.”
“Do you think Daniel and Teal’c are all right?”
Jack shrugged and moved back to the table, setting each chair upright and dusting them off. If just to have something to do with his hands. “You’re the ‘Gate expert.”
When he turned around Carter was gone, her footprints in the dust indicating she left in a hurry. Jack slid his shades back on as he exited into the blinding sun. It warmed his skin almost instantly, a bead of sweat popping up around the brim of his cap. He tugged it off and let the breeze cool his head before repositioning it.
He found Carter behind the house staring at the bubbling creek, the water swirling and gurgling around large rocks. “I’m sure they’re fine, Carter,” he said, coming up behind her. “They went through several seconds before we even got close to the ‘Gate. It takes what… a half second to transport and reintegrate.”
“Point three seconds, sir.”
Jack smiled at her back. Her hands wound around her body, holding herself tight. He frowned. “Carter, what’s wrong?”
She didn’t answer at first. A long silence descended between them broken only by the cheery chirping of birds in the trees. Jack finally joined her at the edge of the stream. “I wonder if there are any fish in there,” he mused, kicking a rock from the shore into the water.
“You’ll have lot’s of time to find out, sir.”
“Carter…” he said with a sigh. She turned away and he shoved his hands deep in his pockets to keep from reaching for her.
“How do you do it, sir?”
“Do what?” He kicked at another rock as he waited for her explanation.
She was quiet a moment before taking a deep breath and facing him. “Start a new life on an alien planet? Where you don’t know anyone and you’re on the other side of the galaxy from your friends and family.”
To anyone else she would have sounded down right calm but Jack picked up on the slight raise in pitch. The way she didn’t quite meet his eyes. The way she was still hugging herself. She was scared. He couldn’t blame her. Jack was a bit anxious himself. Just a couple days ago they watched the Stargate fall off a cliff into the ocean just moments after Daniel and Teal’c went through.
He licked his lips and tried to think of something reassuring to say. Finally she turned her face up and met his eyes. Jack could see the plea in them… to make everything right.
“It’s gonna be okay, Carter.”
“We’re trapped, sir. Alone. How can you say it’s going to be all right?” She suddenly threw up her hands and ran them through her hair. Without thinking Jack crossed the distance between them. He grabbed her by the upper arms, gently pulling her hands free from her hair. She sucked in a surprised gasp at the touch.
“Carter, you’re not alone. That’s the biggest difference from when I was trapped on Edora. I was alone.”
She tried to pull away but Jack refused to let go. Instead he tugged her closer. He could feel her breath hot and rapid against his neck. She didn’t struggle but she didn’t relax either. He leaned a little closer so his lips nearly brushed against her ear.
“We’re going to be okay, Sam. I promise,” he whispered. Carter shivered at the use of her first name and finally leaned into Jack, her forehead coming to rest on his chin. They stayed that way a long while, the heat building between them until Jack felt he might actually burst into flames. Slowly he slid his hands down her arms to rest on her waist. Another tremor shook her slightly, and she sucked in a sharp breath.
Some part of his brain tried to tell him this was a bad idea—that it was too soon to be this close. Carter seemed to have the same thought. She placed her hand on his chest—directly over his racing heart—and pushed off gently. She swallowed hard before looking up at him.
Jack could see the red rimming her eyes, the unshed tears glistening in the corners of her eyes. The way the sun brought out the freckles on her nose. He gave her a lopsided grin. “Better?”
“Yeah,” she said with a sheepish grin. “Sorry.”
“For what?” Jack turned back to the stream and scooped a handful of pebbles from the shore.
“Getting so upset. You don’t need to deal with a hysterical woman on top of everything else.”
Jack snorted. “That was your hysterical? Daniel’s got you beat by a mile in the drama department then.” He started tossing the rocks into the water one by one. Carter came to stand next to him but continued to stare back at the cabin. Jack glanced over his shoulder at it. “It’ll be okay, Carter. We’ll fix up the house. Maybe plant a garden. We have cows.” He could see the smile tugging at her lips.
“Are you sure those are cows?”
“They look like cows.”
“If cows were three feet tall and covered in long, curly hair.”
“Okay, so they’re sheep-cows.”
Carter chuckled at that. “If you say so, sir.” Jack watched from the corner of his eye as she finally started to relax. He had to admit the familiar banter eased his own apprehension. Carter grew quiet again.
“What?” Jack asked as the last rock skipped across the water to land in the mud on the other bank.
“Of course you were.” Another smile—he was on a roll now. “About…”
She suddenly turned a fantastic shade of red. Jack narrowed his eyes at her. She bit down on her lower lip, her gaze looking everywhere but at his face.
“Major?” he asked in a playful, warning voice.
She rolled her eyes. “There’s only one bed.” Her voice was low.
Jack felt his own face flush. “You noticed that, too.” He turned to stare at the crumbling chimney on the back of the house. “Well, since I am a colonel…” The glare she shot him sent a warmth spreading through his whole body. “I’m kidding. We’ll figure it out, Carter. It’s too hot to sleep in the house anyway. We can worry about the sleeping arrangements inside when winter comes.”
She gave a reluctant nod in acceptance of his plan. Several moments passed, both caught up in their own thoughts.
“So,” Jack finally said, “what do ya wanna do now?”
Carter smiled sweetly. “I thought we could see if there’s any fish in the creek.”