Stargate SG-1 fic: Just to See You Smile
1297 words | [PG]
After everything they’d been through, in the end, Jack would do anything for Sam, just to see her smile. Even if it meant giving her pre-wedding advice. AU after Affinity.
Lyrics by Tim McGraw.
And yesterday I knew just what you wanted
When you came walkin’ up to me with him.
So I told you that I was happy for you,
And given the chance I’d lie again.
Just to see you smile.
Jack sat on the roof of his house, a beer dangling from one hand, watching the stars twinkle far above. Like so many other times, he wondered how many of those specks of light he’d visited. How many of them had planets orbiting them that they hadn’t yet discovered? Not that he’d be going to any of them. Being a general generally sucked most of the time.
He took a sip of his beer. The cool breeze tickled his skin, causing goosebumps to pop up all along his arms. It was getting colder—summer was over.
Slowly, his eyes slid shut, but he forced them open. He didn’t like what he saw whenever they closed. There was that little black box and that nervous expression on Carter’s face. It had taken every ounce of military training to keep his face neutral. How could she have asked him about that? He swallowed hard because he knew why. She was giving him one last chance to stop the whole thing. To make a move. And he didn’t take it because of honor and the regulations and he was a big fat chicken.
Now she was marrying that cop. Jack still couldn’t bring himself to think of the guy by his name. Marrying him. Tomorrow. Jack’s insides twisted into a knot. A dull ache had settled in his chest the moment he’d seen that ring. Almost a year later and it hadn’t gone away. He chugged the rest of his beer then tossed it into the pile with the rest. There better be some kind of emergency on base tomorrow so he had a good excuse for not showing up.
With a defeated sigh, he rubbed his hands over his face then just held them there, trying to rein in his emotions made loose from the alcohol. He was so confused and sad and angry. And just hurting. Deep down in his soul hurting. He groaned, pushing his palms into his eyes.
Jack froze. Now he was hearing things.
“Are you okay, sir?”
He swallowed hard then pulled his hands away. Colors popped in his blurred vision, but he was sure he saw Carter standing at the edge of his roof deck. He shook his head clear then sat up straighter.
“Carter, what are you doing here?”
She looked around sheepishly. “I, uh-”
“Very articulate.” Damn, that was harsh. He cleared his throat and forced a smile. “So, what can I do for you, Colonel?”
She looked around, taking in the cooler and pile of empty bottles in the corner. “I could really use a beer.”
Jack smiled for real at that. He pulled out two beers, being careful not to let their fingers brush as he handed one to her. She took a long sip before setting it on the railing. She leaned there staring at her shoes for a long while. He was damn curious why she was at his house in the middle of the night. He checked his watch: 0120.
“Pre-wedding jitters?” he asked when he couldn’t take the silence any longer.
“Huh?” Carter’s head jerked up like she hadn’t quite heard him. She frowned. Jack loved the way her face scrunched up when she was confused.
“I asked if you were getting cold feet?”
She grimaced. Damn, hit that one on the head. Jack leaned forward in his chair. “Carter, what’s going on?”
After finishing her beer, she sighed. “I don’t know.”
Jack popped the top on another and handed it to her. She chugged at least half of it. Whoa. Jack sipped at his, waiting.
She wiped her mouth on the back of her hand. “I just-” She took a deep breath. “Can I ask you a personal question?”
Taken aback, Jack blinked. “Of course, Carter, you don’t have to ask permission.”
“When you got married did you- I don’t know, was it weird right before. It’s just I keep getting these, I don’t know, anxiety attacks when I think about tomorrow. What if the flowers don’t arrive on time? What if I trip over my dress? What if I forget my vows? Or drop my bouquet, or-”
“Carter,” Jack said over her, getting her attention, “it’ll be fine. Like I said—pre-wedding jitters, everyone gets them.”
The pleading look on her face crushed his heart. “Yeah, sure.”
“So you got them?”
Jack thought back to the night before his wedding to Sara. He’d been so anxious he couldn’t sleep. Kawalsky had been there, laughing his ass off at how nervous Jack was. They ended up in some half-drunken wrestling match—the laughter finally calming Jack’s nerves.
“Yeah,” he said to his feet with a slight grin. “Yeah, I got them.”
“So, what did you do?”
Jack frowned. “No offense, Carter, but why are you asking me? It’s not like I have a great track-record with marriage.”
Even in the moonlight, he could see her face flush. “I- I don’t really know many people that are married. None that I’m close enough with to ask personal questions.”
“Oh.” Jack couldn’t help but feel a little pang of disappointment. She was here because he had experience. Nothing more. When he looked up, she was staring at him with that far-off look in her eyes again. He swallowed hard. “I guess I just found something to distract myself so I wouldn’t think about it. By the morning, we were too busy rushing around to worry about little things. And then it was over.”
She nodded but didn’t look convinced.
“Hey,” Jack said, tapping her foot with his so she’d look up. “In the end, you don’t remember all the stuff that goes wrong. You just remember standing at the altar and saying, ‘I do,’ and that’s all that really matters.”
“You’re going to be there, right?” Her voice was impossibly small for someone as strong as Carter.
He should have known this was coming. The ache in his chest turned to a crushing vice grip of terror. How the hell could he sit there and watch her marry another man? How could she ask him to do that? When he didn’t answer she took a deep breath and started to apologize.
Jack cut her off. “Sure, I’ll be there, if that’s what you want.”
She let out a relieved breath. Her smile, though, didn’t quite reach her eyes, but it was something. “That would really make me happy.”
“Then I’ll definitely be there. With bells on.”
That got a bigger smile from her. “I think we could do without the bells, sir.”
“Are you sure? They’re festive. I picked them up at Christmas—jingle bells, you know?”
Carter rolled her eyes, an exasperated look on her face. But she was still smiling, and in that moment, that was all that mattered.
“Thank you,” she said softly. “I really appreciate your advice, sir.”
The lump in Jack’s throat was so big he wasn’t sure he could push it down, but finally, he found his voice. “Any time, Carter. You know I’ll always be here for you.”
She nodded but didn’t look at him. Damn, this sucked. “Tomorrow, er, today, at eleven?” he asked, checking his watch.
He thought he saw a quirk to her lips. “Without the bells, sir.”
“Whatever you say, Carter. It’s your special day.”
He watched her climb down the ladder with a longing that he knew would never go away. Tomorrow was going to be hell, but he’d be there.
If just to see her smile.