Stargate SG-1 fic: Back in Action
And here’s the other story from my sneak peek post yesterday. This one is also Sam/Jack but a lot cheerier. The prompt was “back to work”. As usual I started thinking this would be short and it just went off in it’s own direction.
Back in Action
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
WARNINGS: slight cussing
Jack’s feeling a little down when it takes longer than usual for him to heal after a mission. But Carter shows up to raise his spirits and help him out. If only his body can handle that on top of the injuries.
don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
It takes a lot longer to heal this time. That’s probably a sign to throw in the towel. But Jack plugs on. He sits up in bed with a groan, hands rubbing at the scruff on his face—he hasn’t bothered to shave since he left the SGC over a week ago. Not much point in it anyway when he’s just sitting around his house. Actually it’s a bit of a luxury.
It’s another five minutes before he convinces his muscles to do as they’re told, hauling himself out of bed, propelling himself towards the bathroom. Thirty minutes later he’s showered and shaved and nearly dressed. That’s when the doorbell rings. Followed by a quick rap. Jack sighs. Now what?
He’s making his way down the hall, intent on not limping when there’s another knock. Louder this time. “I’m coming,” he grumbles under his breath.
Carter’s on the other side of the door, suddenly looking sheepish. Jack eyes her then moves out of the way so she can come in.
“I brought donuts,” she says brightly, covering her obvious discomfort.
He watches her head bob as he follows her into the kitchen. She puts the box down and starts making coffee like she owns the place. Jack eases himself into a chair while he forces his fingers to button up his shirt. They’re giving him an awful amount of trouble. Which is just pissing him off.
“Where do you keep the sugar?”
“I don’t know, where do normal people keep it?”
He cringes at the sound of his own voice and when he looks up Carter is staring at him, one hand holding a can of coffee. She slowly turns and sets it down. Jack closes his eyes. He hadn’t meant to snap at her. But these damn buttons!
He hears her footsteps crossing the room and is out of the chair before she can make it to the front door.
“I’m sorry, sir, I didn’t mean to disturb you. I’ll go.”
There’s a sudden realization that her leaving is the last thing he wants. So he grabs her arm when she goes to open the door. “No, I’m sorry.”
She just stares at him, her brow wrinkled in confusion. Jack’s not sure what else to say—he sucks at this kind of thing. And Carter knows that. He knows he should say more but the words escape him. He wills her to understand. Finally, she relaxes some, apparently deciding he’s sincere or something.
“Does it hurt much?” she asks quietly.
Great, now she wants to talk about it. Jack shrugs. “It’s tolerable.”
“Maybe you should take some more time off.”
Jack grunts at that thought, turning back to the kitchen. “I’ve had more than enough time off.”
“But if you’re still hurting…”
“I’m fine, Carter.”
She stops questioning him after that. They both know it’s a lie but she won’t call him on it because she’d say the same thing if their roles were reversed. Jack heads over to the coffee maker and digs the sugar out of the cupboard above. Carter’s already getting the mugs out of the dishwasher so he just moves out of her way.
She finishes with the coffee, setting the steaming cups on the table. Jack’s regretting his earlier quick movement to stop Carter, pain flaring up in his hips and knees. Not to mention his fingers still won’t button his shirt. He feels his anger rising again but then Carter’s invading his space.
Without a word she starts buttoning his shirt. He watches her fingers work, so long and nimble and unscarred. Not like his own mostly useless hands. Slowly, she works her way up, like she’s afraid he might yell or push her away. Finally she gets to the last one then straightens his collar before flattening and smoothing the entire shirt.
Jack knows he’s staring but he can’t seem to look away. His mind is reeling with all sorts of thoughts and emotions he shouldn’t be having, can’t seem to make sense of or stop. Carter’s hands are still on his arms, but her eyes are locked somewhere on his chest. And he’s still staring at the top of her head. He can’t see her eyes but he can feel this heat building between them. And, damn it, he doesn’t want that to end. The heat soothes his sore back and legs. And other parts of him. It makes all the confusing feelings worth the headache they inevitably bring.
He’s not sure how long they stand like that; the phone ringing brings them out of it. Without words they begin moving again. Carter sips at her coffee while staring out the window. Jack clumsily answers the phone. It’s just Daniel and he’s able to end the call quickly.
He has no idea what to say to Carter. Whatever just happened was more than her just helping him with his shirt. Was this just another thing for them to lock in that room, to pretend never happened, to haunt his dreams? Yeah, probably. That would be better. Better than what? Admitting this…
He’s so used to denial that he can’t even bring himself to say it inside his head but he feels the emotion stalking around the perimeter of his thoughts. Like always when they are alone. The minutes tick by—Carter staring, Jack considering his options. He has to do something, say something. But what?
Finally he decides on some honesty. But not about the big damn elephant in the room. That’s still off limits. “My back is killing me.” His voice sounds small even in the quiet room.
Carter turns to look at him. “Is it bad?”
He shrugs. “It’s hard to move. And I can’t seem to coordinate all my limbs.” He lifts his hands, slightly trembling, as proof. She shocks him by steadying his fingers with hers, her grip strong, skin soft against his. He somehow manages to stop the gasp in his throat.
She doesn’t say anything for a long time then slowly lets his hands go, her arms wrapping around her body. He knows she wants to lecture him, tell him to take it easy. He knows because that’s what he’d do if she was the injured one. He’d want her to take all the time she really needed, to be one hundred percent. But, because she’s Carter and he’s the commanding officer she bites her tongue and hugs herself into silence. Jack can’t stand it any more.
“I just can’t sit around this place any more. Alone. It’s driving me crazy.”
Carter looks up at him and Jack can see the wheels of her brain turning, a small grin pulling at the corner of her lips. “I could stop by more often.”
Jack smiles. Carter’s grin grows. “That might help.”
“Actually, sir, I think I have some vacation time saved up.”
“That you do.”
“And it’s not like I’m doing much at work, what with SG-1 on stand down until-” She waves her hand in his general direction.
“And, honestly, I could use a little break.” She smiles up at him.
“It might not be so bad if I had a little company. You know, to help me. Get me coffee and answer the door when the pizza guy comes.”
“Uh huh,” she says with a snort.
“Maybe button my shirts for me.”
Carter bites her lips. “I could do that.” Her voice is so soft Jack almost misses it.
He swallows hard. “Might need some help unbuttoning them, too.” He can’t look at her now. He knows she must be bright pink because he can feel the flush on his own skin. He can’t believe he just said that. He’s waiting for Carter to say something or leave or just… something but she just stands there, feet away from him.
It’s an agonizing few beats before she turns her gaze back up to him and, yep, she’s beet red, but she’s got a sly smile on her face, eyes twinkling. “I could do that.”
Jack’s suddenly breathless. And his throat’s dry—swallowing seems impossible. And the heat… It feels like someone just cranked the thermostat up to ninety. He’s not sure what to say so he’s kind of surprised at what comes out of his mouth when he opens it. “Okay then, we have a deal.”
“Okay,” Carter answers, her hands suddenly back on his shoulders, smoothing the fabric of his shirt. “You’ll owe me, though.”
“Naturally.” The mischievous glint in her eye has him suddenly concerned. “What exactly will I owe you?”
She smiles, pats his arm then goes to get a donut. “You’ll find out soon enough,” she tells him around a large bite of food. Then she disappears into the living room.
Jack’s left confused, breathless and more than a little turned on. A pretty bad combination if he takes time to think about it. But, then again, his brain doesn’t seem to be working at the moment. Maybe he should just go with it? Carter seems to be enjoying herself. And if Carter’s happy… what else is there?