Attraction





Attraction

 

Physics. The electric or magnetic force that acts between oppositely charged bodies, tending to draw them together.

 

 

Colonel Jack O'Neill opened the door to the briefing room and unexpectedly caught sight of a heavenly body. Being an astronomer, he fully appreciated a rising moon, and the one before him was an outstanding specimen; he paused, grinning.

 

The woman was on her hands and knees, searching the carpet, oblivious to the fact that her short skirt had ridden high enough to expose a charming view of her long thighs and perfectly rounded derriere. O'Neill mentally acknowledged his sexist pig side and simply enjoyed the view for a moment. She was grumbling to herself as her fingers swept the ground; gradually O'Neill felt compelled to cough and announced his presence. She glared over her shoulder.

 

"Yeah, I know you're there. Now that you've gotten a good eyeful, do you mind helping me find my earring? It's a pearl and if I don't find it I'm going to be very cranky."

 

"Sounds to me like someone already is--" O'Neill pointed out even as he knelt down and managed to pluck the missing jewelry up. The woman took it from his proffered hand and sighed with relief.

 

"Yes! Thank you, Colonel. If I'd lost this, I would be in doo doo so deep I'd never get out."

 

"Hey!  Watch that language--you're on a military base now--" he chided with a mock stern grin. "We use classier terms, like shit around here--"

 

The woman grinned as she carefully put the earring back on. She was still on her knees as she extended her hand up to him.

 

"Rose MacGyver," she cheerfully told him. "I think I'm the reason you had to get into the dress blues today."

 

"You're the rep from the DXS?" O'Neill's eyebrows went up and he helped pull her to her feet. Once up, she was barely to his shoulder. He studied her with a fresh surge of interest.

 

She was curvy and delicate, with freckles and deep auburn hair that she wore in a chignon at the base of her neck.  Her business suit was a shade of peach that complimented her coloring, and the soft pearls matched the strand around her slender throat. O'Neill struggled to bring his attention back to her words.

 

"Yes. I get to sit in on the debriefings, help Captain Carter and General Hammond assess the threat or benefit of each mission and generally stick my nose in whenever anything might affect national or world security. I expect you're going to resent the hell out of me."

 

"Really?" he murmured mildly. She nodded.

 

"Sure--I get to argue with you and the other members of SG1 about what constitutes a threat, and what can best be achieved to counteract one."

 

"Like you?" came his pointed, slightly bitter observation.

 

"Oh I'm no threat," she assured him with a quick smile. "Unless you decide to be a complete asshole and stonewall me. Try that and I may have to get drastic--short-sheet your bunk or something."

 

"Suddenly I'm terrified--" O'Neill kept a straight face. The door opened again and Daniel Jackson ambled in, followed by Teal'c, Captain Carter and General Hammond.

 

"I see you've already met Ms. MacGyver, Colonel--" Hammond rumbled. O'Neill nodded.

 

"Yes sir--she was just threatening me."

 

Rose bit back a smile as Hammond loftily ignored the remark and had everyone settle down at the table. He glanced around before beginning.

 

"This is Ms. MacGyver from the Department of External Services. She's here as a representative for that organization, and is to be considered a member of the SG1 team."

 

Blank looks focused on Rose; she coughed and smiled back.

 

"Okay, I see a little clarification's needed. The DXS is a joint operation by the CIA, FBI and NSA. I get to represent all those agencies here. My job is to assess each mission in terms of national and international security and pass that information on to the appropriate parties."

 

"Why?" Daniel asked softly. "I mean, doesn't the Air Force already do that?"

 

"To a certain degree--" Hammond broke in. "But I think we all agree that the threat of the Goa'uld is global in scope, and we need to keep our fellow nations aware of the situation. It's a sensitive issue, and certainly not an easy one."

 

"Ms. MacGyver, does this mean you'll be coming through the gate with us?" Carter wanted to know. Rose shrugged.

 

"On certain missions possibly, but not all. I'm a civilian, not a trained soldier or archeologist. I do have medical training, and enough experience to help where I can, but believe me, I don't plan on getting in the way."

 

Carter nodded. O'Neill frowned, fiddling with the pencil in front of him.

 

"General, if Ms. MacGyver is representing three different government agencies, then I take the president and the joint chiefs have agreed on the military importance of the Stargate?"

 

"That they have."

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

The tour was exhaustive, and yet Rose managed to take it all in with good grace and serious questions. She was familiar with military protocol, and understood the importance of Cheyenne's tactical layout. The SG1 team, however, had gone through enough negative experiences with outside representatives and was wary of Rose. They were polite and answered her questions, but the tour was impersonal and swift.

 

"And finally--this will be your office--" Hammond announced, his tone slightly apologetic. He opened the door on a small closet of a room, windowless, airless and smelling of paint. Rose smiled graciously.

 

"Looks good--can we get a few phone lines installed?"

 

"Of course, of course--" Hammond glanced at his watch. "I have a meeting in a few minutes so unless there's anything more, Ms. MacGyver--" he let the question hang in the air. She shook her head.

 

"No, and thank you, General. I look forward to working with you and SG1."

 

Hammond shot her a smile of relief before leaving; Rose stepped into the tiny office and gave a deep sigh.

 

"Oh Mac, what am I in for now--?" she whispered.

 

"I'm sorry?" Carter popped her head around the doorway; Rose spun to smile at her.

 

"Just talking to dead, Captain. I do that when things get overwhelming."

 

Carter gave her a milder smile.

 

"It is a pretty dismal office, but we'll leave the door open and get it aired out. You'll have your phone lines in before the end of the week, and I know Hammond will req you some furniture--"

 

"Eventually. Right now I think I'm going to pound a window through the wall using my forehead--"

 

Carter laughed and came into the room, crossing her arms over her chest. Rose looked around again.

 

"This was a paint locker wasn't it? And Hammond assigned it to me in hopes that I'd get the hint that I'm not particularly welcome."

 

"Ah--" Carter looked at the floor, uncertain how to respond. Rose rolled her eyes.

 

"I bet it was O'Neill who suggested it, too. The man looks like a born headache."

 

"The colonel is somewhat--opinionated," came the captain's reluctant agreement. "And he's not fond of bureaucrats, but when it comes to the missions, there's no one I'd rather serve under."

 

Rose looked at Carter and nodded.

 

"Fond of him, are you?"

 

"He's my commanding officer, and a good man, Ms. MacGyver."

 

"--And handsome as the dickens to boot--" came O'Neill's personal assessment as he appeared in the doorway. Both women pinkened; Rose was the first to sigh.

 

"That does it--you're definitely getting short-sheeted, Colonel. Maybe even doorbell ditched. I guess you're here to collect Carter?"

 

"'Fraid so," he agreed. "Like the office?"

 

"Oh I adore it," she replied with a lift of her chin. "It's always good to stuff useless things in the closet, isn't it?"

 

Both Carter and O'Neill said nothing, and Rose planted her fists on her hips.

 

"Okay, you two scoot and go continue the plotting against me while I figure out where to put the cable lines in, all right?"

 

They left, walking in silence down the corridor the elevator. Once inside, Carter turned to her CO and bit her lip.

 

"She's--different."

 

"She's sharp, but she's one of them, Carter, and nobody said we had to like her."

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

After eight weeks however, even O'Neill had to admit that for one of them Rose wasn't too bad. She was quiet and attentive at the debriefings; she rarely disagreed with anyone's comments and kept her promise to stay out of the way. Occasionally she roped one of them down to the closet office for paperwork; Daniel mostly since he knew more about the cartouches than anyone else--but other than that, she kept to herself and whomever she reported to. Even Doctor Frazier seemed to like her.

 

"Set her up for her annual physical today and she just agreed--no argument, no fuss, unlike some people I know--" Janet gave Jack a significant look that he ignored.

 

"Nothing overly nosy?"

 

"Just wanted a quick peek at the yearly psych evaluations and more details on Teal'c."

 

"Really?" O'Neill stuck out his lower lip as he mused. "Wonder why?"

 

"Probably because he's the only alien on Earth?" Janet teased back. "Think about it, Colonel--what you and I take for granted is still pretty amazing for the rest of the world in general."

 

"No, I meant the psych evaluations," he shot back. "Who gave her authorization for that?"

 

"You all did--I saw the forms myself."

 

"No, I don't remember signing anything like that--"

 

"Colonel?"

 

But O'Neill was gone out the door, fuming. His pace increased as he approached Rose's office, and without knocking he burst in.

 

"All right, just who gave you the right to read our psych--" he stopped; mid-tirade as a semi-dressed Rose clutched her bare chest protectively and glared at him. Half of her clothes were on the floor; he'd startled her in the middle of changing. He flushed, a strange and unfamiliar sensation to him as he stared at her.

 

She was pretty. Her hair was starting to come loose, and the slope of her bare shoulders was covered with freckles. The lusciously rounded curves of her chest drew his attention immediately, and the responding surge of lust that rose through his system was enough to make him slightly dizzy.

 

"Ah--sorry, I'll just wait outside--" he tried backing up, but missed the door, slamming against the wall instead. Rose was pink. All over.

 

"Colonel O'Neill, the door is to your left. If you need to speak to me, have the courtesy to wait until I have clothes on," she hissed. Meekly O'Neill slipped out the door and paced in the hall as he gritted his teeth and ran a hand through his short grey hair. When the door finally opened, he looked up, a chagrined expression on his face. Rose waved him in without meeting his eyes.

 

She was in an olive drab t-shirt and shorts, and O'Neill remembered what Janet had said about the physical. He kept his eyes down, but still managed to notice that the shirt was enticingly tight.

 

"All right, I just want to apologize, Ms. MacGyver," he began, but she snorted.

 

"Oh forget it--it's not as if you never seen a pair of knockers before, Colonel. So what little outrage brings you to my door? The psych evaluations?"

 

"I don't remember agreeing to give you access to those records," he hurriedly began, desperate to get the conversation back onto something less personal. "In fact, I don't understand why you'd need to look at them at all."

 

"Because the mental health of SG1 is a major factor in your successes. The fact that the four of you have endured great deal of emotional trauma and ongoing stress is pretty important," she moved past him and into the hall; he followed her as she closed the door. They headed for the elevator.

 

"But you're not a psychiatrist and records like that are strictly confidential," he argued. She nodded, punching one of the buttons.

 

"They are, that's why I had you all sign the authorization for me to look at them. Nobody else gets to access them but the doctors and myself. I have your signature on record, Colonel. Are you saying you want to withdraw your permission?"

 

"Maybe I should--" came his annoyed response. "After all, it's not as if any of us are seeing yours."

 

"Oh I think you've seen plenty of mine!" came her sharp response, "But if you want more you can have it--I'm an A positive left-hander with mild claustrophobia. I've been widowed for eight years, like beer, borscht and pistachios, in music I like the Doors, in sex I like it doggie style--is that enough for you, Colonel?" The doors swooshed open and she marched through them without looking back, leaving Jack O'Neill with his mouth open. He slumped back against the rear of the elevator and stayed that way for a long time.

 

"Down, boy--" he muttered to himself.

 

 

The first mission Rose went on came a week later. She and O'Neill managed a forced politeness that set a few tongues wagging, but for the most part the team accepted that she was going along to PK13334. She listened to the briefing that Hammond headed.

 

"The probe indicates a marshy setting with a great deal of animal life," he began in his low southern rumble. "Normally we'd pass on this one, but the gate seems to be built on a raised platform that indicates some sort of civilization."

 

"Great, a society that likes to keep their feet dry--" O'Neill snorted. Daniel chuckled.

 

"With any luck, one the Goa'uld haven't visited," he added.

 

They stood on the ramp, waiting for the final chevron to lock into place. Rose shifted uneasily next to Teal'c; he gave her an encouraging stare.

 

"It is not painful, Ms. MacGyver," he assured her in a low tone. She tried to smile up at him, but didn't quite manage it.

 

"Thanks. So we just sort of walk through?"

 

"Saunter on in, like a cowboy through swinging doors of a saloon," Daniel smiled. Rose grinned.

 

"Come on kids, let's go stomp in the puddles--" O'Neill lightly ordered as he motioned for Carter and Daniel to go through. Teal'c followed. Rose swallowed hard, but O'Neill had a heavy hand on her shoulder.

 

"Time to go, Ms. Rose--" he lightly gave her a push and stepped close behind her through the wavy wall of water.

 

Too close, it turned out. Rose stumbled out of the gate on PK13334, and O'Neill fell right on top of her.

 

"Hey!" His weight was solid and heavy; Rose struggled under O'Neill for a few moments until he clambered off of her back to the silent amusement of the others.

 

"All right, what are you all staring at? I tripped, I'm up--what's the planet look like?"

 

"Wet, sir--" Carter kept her smirk averted. She waved the barrel of her M16 across the horizon, to the low lying marsh all around them. The almost overpowering stench of methane hung in the air.

 

"--And smelly," Daniel added faintly. "Geez, the atmosphere must be about thirty percent decayed matter."

 

"Yeah, just charming," O'Neill agreed as he made a face. "What about the platform here? Goa'uld or something else?"

 

They looked around. Rose watched them, noting how both Carter and O'Neill were waiting for Daniel and Teal'c's assessments.

 

"Not Goa'uld," Teal'c announced. "This structure is not of their design."

 

"I agree," Daniel chimed in. "It's weird though--the gate is built into the side of a thick wall here, but it's not very well done. I mean look at the way these bricks are just sort of slapped together. Maybe seismic activity shifted them."

 

"Something has--there are cracks along the face  and the corners are all smoothed down--it doesn't look like natural erosion," Carter agreed as she moved closer to the wall. "It looks like something's been rubbing against it--"

 

Teal'c looked sharply across the horizon, his stance alert. The others glanced at him.

 

"Something is out there," he told them quietly. Immediately O'Neill stepped forward to the edge of the platform and scanned the distance with his binoculars.

 

A large flock of birds exploded out of a nearby copse of trees, their cries loud in the air. Rose and Daniel jumped back; Carter raised her weapon defensively.

 

"Okay, that's not a good sign--" Rose murmured, "It's the response to the presence of a large predator--"

 

"Large predator?" before O'Neill could ask more, a deafening roar rolled out over the marsh, and all five members of the team looked around nervously.

 

"Jack, I think we may have found the reason the wall is in such bad shape--" Daniel gulped as the approaching dinosaur lumbered towards them.

 

"Oh my God that's a Tyrannosaurus!" Carter squeaked. After a pause of a nanosecond, all five of them ran to the DHD, crowding around it.

 

"Dial, dial!" O'Neill yelled, looking back at the rapidly approaching carnivore. Swiftly Daniel smacked the appropriate keys and they all lined up at the gate. The sight of the T. Rex mesmerized Rose as it swiftly trotted across the slough, making the mucky ground shake with each bouncing step. He was less than fifty yards away.

 

The sudden whoosh of the gate caught the monster's attention; he cocked his head and shifted his course. O'Neill groaned.

 

"Here he comes, and here we go--" with not so gentle pushes, O'Neill herded his team back through the gate. They tumbled onto the ramp, Rose once again under the colonel as they rolled to the floor of the Embarkment room. Up in the observation window, Hammond grabbed the mic.

 

"What happened?"

 

"General, I suggest we immediately rename PK13334 Jurassic Planet," Daniel gasped. The odor of methane clung to the team and permeated the gate room, making the guards on duty flinch.

 

"Oh dear God--Dinosaurs?"

 

"Yes sir--at least one T. Rex, but we didn't really hang around long enough to see if there were any more--" Carter called up to him. Hammond chuffed out a sigh and shook his head.

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

"I want a BATH--" Rose complained as she toweled off her hair. Carter shot her an amused glance before looking in her locker.

 

"I take it they didn't give you one of the better BOQs?"

 

"Nope--no bathtub, a rinky little living room and a kitchen smaller than a toilet stall. It kills me since I love to cook. Right now I've got a real craving for some of my homemade spaghetti and French bread--"

 

"Oh man, now I do too," Carter sighed. "With a tossed salad and maybe some tiramisu for dessert--"

 

"Give me a kitchen and a few hours and I'd have the whole thing whipped up so fast--" Rose sighed. "Some good Chianti with it, and we'd have a blast--"

 

Closing the locker, Carter bit her lip and flashed a smile at Rose.

 

"I've got an idea--if I can get you a kitchen, can you make enough spaghetti for say, six?"

 

"Oh sure, Not a problem--" Rose nodded happily. "The more the merrier. What's the plan?"

 

"Leave it to me--and get your shopping list ready." Carter advised. Dressing swiftly, she left the locker room and went to O'Neill's office, knocking on the open doorframe to catch his attention.

 

"Sir?"

 

"Carter--you ladies finally out of the showers?" he frowned, since he still carried the nauseating fragrance of the last mission.

 

"Yes sir. Ah, I have a question for you."

 

"Shoot."

 

"Where can I pick up some tiramisu?" She shifted in the doorway as he stared at her.

 

"Tiramisu?"

 

"Yes sir. Rose is going to whip up some hot, fresh homemade spaghetti along with a warm loaf of French bread and maybe a salad, and I told her if she did that I'd be happy to pick up dessert, so I need to know where I can get tiramisu and maybe some wine--"

 

"Spaghetti? With warm bread?" O'Neill's dark eyes had a hungry puppy look to them, and Carter grinned to herself.

 

"Oh yes sir. Rich meaty sauce, hot noodles, grated parmesan cheese--"

 

"And you ladies are fixing this tonight?" he weakly murmured, "For dinner?"

 

"Well we want to, but it might be tough since Rose is stuck in those god awful BOQs. She was telling me that the kitchen's actually smaller than her office here--"

 

O'Neill leaned back in his chair, lacing his fingers behind his head.

 

"Tell you what--you and Ms. MacGyver can use the kitchen at my place in exchange for some of that dinner. Sound reasonable?"

 

"Does what sound reasonable?" came Daniel's question as he peeked around Sam's shoulder. She smiled.

 

"Spaghetti feed at O'Neill's--bring Teal'c. Food should be ready by seven, and find some tiramisu and wine, okay?"

 

Smartly she sauntered off with both men glancing after her. Daniel looked at O'Neill, who shook his head.

 

"Did we just get suckered into something or not?" Daniel asked softly. O'Neill shrugged happily.

 

"If it means a free spaghetti dinner, I'm willing to overlook the manipulation. Let's go wash off our sewer cologne--"

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

"Oh Lord I am sooo stuffed--" Daniel sighed contentedly. He stretched out on the sofa, one arm over his eyes. Carter was on the floor sighing as she sipped her wine and looked through the CD collection in the basket there.

 

"You should be after what, three helpings?"

 

"You had two, Sam, along with about three of salad--" he replied sleepily. Teal'c was finishing a plateful of dessert; he glanced at his companions.

 

"Food is to be savored," he proclaimed softly. "As is the company in which it is consumed. Ms. MacGyver has honored us with this meal."

 

"No argument there, Teal'c." Daniel agreed. "I have tremendous respect for anyone who cooks this well. Any chance she can do it again--say tomorrow night?"

 

Carter laughed. "You'd have to get use of the kitchen too, Daniel."

 

"Oh come on--Jack had three helpings and enough bread to keep two bakeries in business," Daniel pointed out. "I think he'd be willing to have Rose cook again. How about you Teal'c?"

 

"I am in agreement, Daniel Jackson," he replied simply. For a moment, none of them spoke, just savoring the afterglow of the meal. Gradually Sam stirred.

 

"Where is Jack anyway?"

 

"He is upstairs showing off his big instrument to Ms. MacGyver," Teal'c told her. Sam's eyes widened and Daniel erupted in a chuckle.

 

"The telescope, Sam--" he corrected. "Get your mind out of the gutter."

 

"It wasn't in the gutter--precisely--" she protested, but giggled anyway. Daniel rolled over to look at her and they both grinned. Teal'c allowed a small smile to cross his usually impassive face. All three of them glanced up the stairs, then back again at each other's expressions.

 

"So boys and girls--how long?" Daniel murmured. Sam thought carefully before sipping her wine again.

 

"Well, given that she's been widowed eight years, and that Jack's only about four years older than she is--"

 

"--And both of them are strong type A personalities--"

 

"--One week," Teal'c rumbled with complete confidence. Both Daniel and Sam shot glances at the Jaffa, who met their gazes calmly. "It will be at least seven days before they will give into their mutual urges."

 

"And you’re basing this on--" Daniel prompted with an amused twinkle behind his glasses. Teal'c set the plate he was holding down and sighed.

 

"Colonel O'Neill is a man of strong passions counterbalanced with strong discipline. He is not impulsive. Nevertheless, the constant presence of Ms. MacGyver these past eight weeks has had and continues to have an effect on him that he has no control over. The attraction is--"

 

"--Like a matter of physics. Charged bodies being drawn together. That's romantic, sort of--" Sam sighed. Daniel grunted.

 

"My money says two days, tops. Anyone else in?"

 

"I will stand by my observations," Teal'c told him. Sam lifted one shoulder and began to rise off the carpet.

 

"Four days. But Daniel--how are we going to know? I'm not going to ask any questions--"

 

"Give me a break, Sam--the morning Jack O'Neill comes in grinning, the deed's been done. Is there any more Chianti?"

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

By midnight, Rose looked around the kitchen and sighed.  Carter had taken Daniel and Teal'c home after extracting promises from both herself and O'Neill to do the dinner thing again, and now that the dishes were washed, it was time to head back to the BOQ. She set the dishtowel down and walked to the living room.

 

O'Neill had taken Daniel's position on the sofa, right down to the forearm across his eyes. Rose walked over to him and nudged his crossed legs with her sandaled foot.

 

"You're out of dishwashing soap--" she told him. He grunted.

 

"I'll leave a note for the cleaning lady. You taking off?"

 

"Yeah--I've got blood work and a cardio-endurance test with Janet at eight," Rose replied, gathering up her purse.

 

"Dinner was good--even if you and Carter did scheme to make it over here."

 

"All the conniving little blonde's idea, I swear. If I hadn't complained about wanting a bath in a real tub none of this would have happened," Rose argued with a smile. O'Neill lifted his arm to study her expression.

 

"Geez, a real bath--what's the matter, Ma'am, not crazy about wearing eau de dinosaur poop?" He struggled to sit up as she giggled.

 

"Something like that. Call me insane, but I swear I probably still have methane in my hair--"

 

O'Neill stood and towered over her, raising his eyebrows. She tilted her head back to look at him.

 

"Let me check--"

 

Cautiously he bent forward and sniffed her hair, his nose just above the crown of her head. She quivered at his nearness, the solid presence of his long and lanky form but said nothing.

 

"Smells like roses to me," he whispered gently. She made an exasperated noise deep in her throat to cover her nervousness.

 

"All right Jack O'Neill that was corny as hell--you're a little rusty in the flirtation department, aren't you?"

 

He shot her a priceless look: half annoyance, half frustration.

 

"Boy, try and pay a compliment around here and you get pegged as a sexist jerk--" But he didn't get to finish the complaint; Rose reached up and grabbed his nose gently between her knuckles.

 

"Ow, ow--"

 

She pulled his face down close enough to admire the rich deep chocolate of his eyes.

 

"No, rusty still works, pal--" ever so gently she planted a light kiss on his cheek, lingering a moment to press the side of her face to his before releasing his nose. They stood there, caught in the heated overlap of their mutual personal space. Rose pulled back first and shook her head to clear it.

 

"So pick another night and I'll cook for you guys again--meatloaf, baked ham, pot roast--" she murmured lightly. O'Neill's eyes lit up.

 

"Pot roast? Did you say pot roast?"

 

"Ja, mein Chicago born schatzi--a good rich German beer basted pot roast," she boasted, heading for the front door. O'Neill's eyes glittered as he followed her.

 

"Now we're bordering on too good to be true--are we talking pot roast with noodles or pot roast with rice?"

 

"You choose, Colonel, I'm easy--" the minute the words left her mouth she flushed. He grinned.

 

"Yeah, but I'll never tell--" he assured her when she looked up, blue eyes wide. Swiftly, fiercely he grabbed her upper arms, pulled her to him and dropped his mouth on hers. They fell against the door heavily; Rose moaned as O'Neill's tongue dueled with hers. She responded, her hands sliding around the back of his head to hold him. He gasped for breath in her ear.

 

"God I've wanted to do that for about a month and half--"

 

"Lust at first sight?" she asked dizzily. He kissed her again, sucking on her lower lip until she whimpered, his big hands slipping from her arms to cup her face.

 

"Jack, stop! We need to think about this--"

 

"I've already been thinking about this," he panted, " A lot. Too damned much in fact--" he kissed her again and for a while neither one of them had enough breath to talk. Rose pulled her swollen mouth away from his finally and whispered,

 

"Jack, please--you're driving me crazy here!"

 

"We could go upstairs--"

 

"Colonel!"

 

He drew in a deep shaky breath, pink flushing his face "Okay, fine--the couch is right here--"

 

Rose grabbed a handful of his grey hair and lightly shook his head.

 

"Listen to me! We've had a lot of wine, we're obviously hot for each other, but we're not sleeping together tonight, okay? You'd end up furious with yourself, and start acting weird around me at work, and that's not what either of us wants--get your hand off my ass right now or I'm going to rip a fistful of this hair out of your scalp!"

 

He took a deep, deep breath and pressed his forehead to hers sliding his hand back up her spine.

 

"Okay, you've made your point, Rose, and yeah, things might be uncomfortable tomorrow, but if you write this all off to the wine and the lateness of the hour, you're full of shit, " he growled in her ear. "I'm a big boy, I can take no for an answer--but that's not really what you’re saying, is it?"

 

She shook her head, her hair tumbling down around her shoulders.

 

"I want you too, Jack, but I need some time, okay? It's not that easy for me--" she pleaded. He sighed heavily, and released her, taking a reluctant step back. In the low light of the living room he looked slightly dazed. Rose fought the rising urge to pull him back into her arms.

 

"Jesus, you look--"

 

"--Like Hell?" she prompted, trying to put her hair back up. He shook his head.

 

"--Hot," he groaned. "Teenage 'the parents aren't home let's go all the way' hot--this is insane. I'm too old for this--"

 

"Um, no you're not. I want you pretty badly too, you know--" she admitted in a shaky voice as she turned to pick up her purse. "Damn! You're a handsome man, Jack O'Neill."

 

He shot her a vaguely disbelieving look, but she nodded, licking her puffy lips.

 

"We'll get through this--" Rose promised him brokenly before stepping out the door and into the cool air of the night. Jack shut the door and let his head drop against it in disappointment.

 

"Pot roast---" he growled to himself, desperately. "Pot roast."

 

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

 

"So--you started when?"

 

"Age thirteen, right in the middle of French class."

 

Janet Frazier smiled. "Sounds about average--I was at Girl Scout camp myself. Okay, and no pregnancies?"

 

"No. We talked about it, but neither Mac nor I really felt it was the right time . . ." Rose puffed as she continued her run on the treadmill. Little bleeps and pings sounded from the monitors.

 

"Check--no miscarriages or abortions?"

 

"No."

 

And now--?"

 

"Now what?"

 

"Are you sexually active, Ms. MacGyver?"

 

"Ah . . . no. Not for the last eight years."

 

Janet raised an eyebrow and looked at Rose, who kept her eyes on the readout of the treadmill as the silence stretched on.

 

"Okay--but you still achieve orgasms, right?"

 

Rose tightened her mouth. Janet looked down at the questionnaire and waited.

 

"No," it was the softest of whispers. Janet locked her gaze on the paper in her lap, slightly shocked.

 

"Not manually, not even with a vibrator?"

 

"Nothing," came the hushed confession. "When Mac died, it was like everything below the waist shut down. I didn't miss it for a long time--"

 

"Rose, grieving is one thing, but eight years is a pretty serious stretch for a healthy woman like you to go without--" Janet pointed out gently. Rose increased her speed on the treadmill, her lips tight.

 

"I know. Once in a while I'd have an erotic dream, and I'd be so grateful--but it's just--not a part of my functioning anymore. I'm numb."

 

Janet made a notation on the paper and tucked the pen behind her ear. She looked at the monitor readout for the treadmill for a while before replying.

 

"You're agitated--slow down. Rose, have you seen anyone about this? Sexual dysfunction is pretty easy to treat these days--"

 

"I didn't care until recently. And now, I'm terrified that I can't change--" Rose felt the tears begin to well up and savagely brushed them away. Janet sighed.

 

"Okay. The very fact that you're concerned is a healthy sign, and emotionally induced frigidity is completely reversible--it's a matter of taking things at your own pace. That and compatibility with your partner."

 

"I told you I haven't got a partner--" Rose broke in hastily, making the doctor look at her knowingly.

 

"--Yet. And I want you to keep something in mind, Rose MacGyver. No matter how wonderful your marriage was, the fact remains that your husband is dead and you aren't. Had your situations been reversed, you would have wanted him to enjoy living to the fullest--so why are you choosing to believe he'd want you emotionally eviscerated like this?"

 

Rose stared at her with huge eyes. Janet shrugged.

 

"It's something to think about. Spend five minutes cooling down and come out for the blood draw, all right?"

 

 

 

Jack O'Neill studied the big glass star map, charting the next series of planets due for probes and let his mind wander. He hastily tapped on the glass with a pen as he tried to focus on the numbers in front of him.

 

"Anything interesting?" came Daniel's question. The archeologist wandered to him and looked over his shoulder. Jack shrugged.

 

"PK 13336 has denser gravity than earth and seems to be in an orbit around a yellow giant. And Rose mentioned that she might make pot roast next time."

 

"Hmmmm--does 13336 rotate, and is she talking chuck roast or rib roast?"

 

"I dunno. On either one--" Jack admitted, pursing his mouth. "I guess it depends on what the probe brings back."

 

"Sure, we could just launch it into your kitchen--" Daniel made a swooping hand gesture, playfully grinning. Jack chuckled against his will.

 

"Better not--I suspect there are some life forms in there that even SG1 isn't ready to face," He muttered. Daniel kept his eyes on the chart.

 

"So--what time did our intrepid cook leave last night anyway?" he asked, oh so innocently.

 

Jack turned to look at the other man, but Daniel gave him an ingenuous smile.

 

"Midnight or so--I seem to remember the three of you ditching out on KP duty--"

 

"Not my fault!" Daniel held his hands up in a placating manner, "Besides, you were out of powder for the dishwasher."

 

"You can do them by hand, Daniel--it's what we old fogies used to do back in the dark ages--" O'Neill shot back. Daniel grinned.

 

"Did you kiss her?"

 

"None of your business."

 

"So you did--"

 

"--Shut up."

 

"Jack--!" Daniel ran a hand through his hair and smirked as the door opened again and a Master Sergeant came in with an armful of preliminary reports and ended the line of questioning. Jack made a great show of sorting a pile and carrying them down to his office, away from Daniel's meaningful smile.

 

He looked up an hour later as Janet Frazier rapped on his open door.

 

"Got a minute, Colonel?"

 

"Sure--what's up, Doc?"

 

She shot him a long suffering look followed by a grin. "You've been dying to say that line for years, haven't you?"

 

"Who me?" he managed a look of wounded dignity. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

 

She shifted the report in her hand and sighed.

 

"Right, sure. I need you to sign off on Ms. MacGyver's physical--right here on the CO line."

 

"She's fit for duty?" came O'Neill's soft inquiry as he picked up the paper, studying it carefully. Janet looked at him, and a flash of insight hit her; widening her brown eyes she smiled.

 

"You. I should have guessed--"

 

"Doctor?" O'Neill glanced up at her; she crossed her arms and gazed at him for a moment as if weighing something mentally. She cleared her throat.

 

"Colonel, Ms. MacGyver is physically fit for duty. Her psychological evaluation isn't due for another three months, but I can tell you right now that there's going to be an anomaly in it that you might need to know about."

 

O'Neill set the papers down and turned his full attention to Janet, who suddenly looked uncomfortable.

 

"An anomaly?" he asked slowly.

 

"Yes sir--she's suffering from emotionally induced frigidity inhibiting climactic sexual response--" she murmured. O'Neill continued to stare at her until Janet managed a sickly smile and waved a hand helplessly in the air.

 

"Okay, in layman's terms, it's been eight years since she's had an orgasm."

 

O'Neill's eyebrows went up and he cocked his head. Janet nodded, rushing on.

 

"I know, it's hard to believe but I don't have any reason to think she'd lie about it."

 

"Eight years," O'Neill echoed, stunned. "She never said--" Janet held up a hand to stop him.

 

"Sir, this isn't my field of expertise, and whatever advice I give would be strictly on the QT, but Rose is more than ready to overcome this. The same techniques used in dealing with male impotence would be perfect for her."

 

"Whoa, whoa--" O'Neill muttered uncomfortably "This is--"

 

"--A little awkward, yes sir, but considering how this is going to affect your relationship with her, I think it could be important to deal with."

 

O'Neill opened his mouth to deny it, saw the knowing look on the doctor's face and closed it again sharply. He ran a hand through his hair, making it spike up as he sighed. A long minute passed, and finally he asked, very softly.

 

"Okay--what do I need to do?"

 

Janet smiled.

 

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

Rose looked across the briefing room table at O'Neill, wondering why he was in such a good mood. She certainly wasn't. Every time she looked at him she could feel the slow ache of stifled desire through her loins, and the fact that he kept resting his dark eyes on her didn't make it any easier to concentrate on what Hammond was saying.

 

"So effective by the end of today, the stand down should last for two weeks. If you've got vacation plans, Godspeed and see you in fourteen days. That's all, people."

 

SG1 broke into smiles, and even Teal'c looked faintly pleased. Sam slammed her folder shut as around the table people rose and began talking.

 

"--Perfect time to renew those contacts at the Smithsonian," Daniel was telling Jack with boyish urgency. "I mean, with the new programs and records available, it would be so meaningful--"

 

"And you?" Jack turned his attention to Carter, who sighed blissfully.

 

"California dreamin’, sir. A couple of beaches are calling my name--" she smiled. O'Neill glanced over at Teal'c, who returned the gaze.

 

"I am accompanying Captain Carter to the shore," he announced. Daniel dropped his chin to his chest to hide his smile.

 

"You'll have the surf bunnies all over you, Teal'c--" O'Neill muttered. Teal'c raised an eyebrow.

 

"Surf bunnies?"

 

"Babes, chicks, women wearing little or no clothing--" O'Neill explained. Very slowly the tiniest of grins flickered at the corners of the Jaffa's mouth.

 

"I think I will enjoy the beach very much, Colonel O'Neill."

 

"Oh yeah, yeah--big hulking stud like you--I'm sure it's going to be a rough time--" Daniel murmured with a hint of envy. Rose nearly made it out the door, but O'Neill managed to trail out after her, lightly snagging the sleeve of her blouse and holding her back as the others moved down the hall.

 

"And just where do you think you’re going, Ms. MacGyver? Your debriefing's not over yet--" he intoned seriously in a low voice. She glanced up at his face in confusion, but he motioned with his head back to the room and she had no choice but to follow him.

 

Once inside he shut the door and set a chair in front of it--not enough to keep it shut, but enough to be bumped should someone try to open the door. Rose watched this with a tiny hint of fear, but O'Neill motioned for her to sit and then took the seat at the head of the table. He cleared his throat.

 

"We have an interesting situation here, Princess, and while the facts are for the record, I think it can be stated without argument that I want you. I want you so damn bad my teeth ache." He paused, noting that the look on her face was a blend of empathy and rueful amusement. She dropped her hands on the table and intertwined her fingers nervously as he continued.

 

"Somewhere along the time your tasty tongue made it deep into my mouth I assumed the 'let's-get-naked feeling' was mutual, and that we'd be making the earth move in new and interesting ways, but alas, that was not to be for the moment."

 

"Oh come on, Jack--you don't have to make it sound so impersonal! Last night was pretty amazing for me--"

 

"Rose, let me finish--" he leaned back in the high backed chair and laced his fingers over his flat stomach.

 

"I spend a somewhat sleepless night dreaming of pot roast and sex, which I assure you isn't my normal fantasy fare by any means. This morning, I was determined to back off and let things take their own sweet time until Doctor Frazier needed me to sign off on your annual physical."

 

Rose went pale; she turned her wide gaze out the blast window and stared at the gate, blinking hard as Jack said nothing for a while.

 

"Christ, Rose--eight years? I'd say you were overdue for some serious lovin' Babe. Even flatworms and insurance salesmen get it on more often than you have."

 

"God, do you think I want to be this way!" Rose exploded angrily. "I've tried and I've tried, but I just can't make myself feel--"

 

"So stop trying!" he shot back. "It's not a timed event. Hell, if I was climbing back into the cockpit after eight years you can be damned sure I'd go through practice sessions and dry runs until it all felt like second nature to me again. And that's what you need, Rose. Some practice. Some dry runs. Some time, sweetheart."

 

This last came out with so much soft compassion that Rose burst into tears, dropping her face into her hands. Sighing harshly, Jack rose out of his chair and moved over to her, pulling her into a hug. She shuddered her sobs against him as he cradled her, hoping none of the technicians down below could see them.

 

"Jack, I'm afraid . . ." she whispered shakily. He brushed the hair away from her ear.

 

"I'm not. Just like on the missions, you follow my orders, we'll get through this, okay?"

 

She raised her face to give him a wondering wistful look; he lightly kissed her nose and winked.

 

"Tonight we start with the most basic of basics--hanging out."

 

"Rent a movie and pick it to pieces?"

 

"Atta girl. Your place, around seven. No skirts or I may be unable to maintain my natural coolness--stop giggling."

 

But Rose chortled against his shoulder again.

 

 

It rained.

 

Rose glanced out the window of her quarters to see the solid wall of water and bit her lip. Twice she picked up the phone only to set it down again and paced back out to the living room. Flashes of lightning briefly lit the sky followed by the deafening rumble of the thunder. She picked up a towel and was carrying it to the door with a knock startled her. She yanked it open to see O'Neill standing there, drenched and grinning, the water plastering his hair darkly on his scalp. His demin jacket and jeans were nearly black.

 

"Thanks--" he took the towel from her and stepped in, dripping puddles on the carpet. Rose winced, shaking her head.

 

"Jack, you're completely drenched--what did you do, swim here?"

 

"Practically--the only open parking was across from the gym, so I had to run from there--two and a half blocks I think--" came his muffled voice as he toweled his head dry.

 

Rose looked with dismay at the water stain on the carpet and took a deep breath.

 

"You're going to have to get out of your clothes and let me run them through the dryer--at this rate you can't stand or sit anywhere in here without making a mess--"

 

He looked startled, and finally glanced down to see the spreading wetness at his feet.

 

"Shit! I didn't even think about that--" he muttered. "And stripping down was not actually on my agenda for tonight--"

 

"Forget about leaving, O'Neill. You're here, you're wet and I have access to a dryer. Let me get you more towels--" she grumbled to cover her nervousness. Rose handed him the terrycloth and stepped into the kitchen, deliberately keeping her back to him as she fiddled with the bottles of beer.

 

"I picked up Blazing Saddles," she called out. He gave a grunt.

 

"Good choice. Hey, you have anything bigger? These potholders aren't exactly covering the situation if you get my meaning."

 

"In the bathroom on the back of the door is a robe--it should fit."

 

She heard him squishily walk down the tiny hall and step into the bathroom; to stifle a giggle she took a big swig from her bottle, letting the dry flavor burn down her throat before going to collect the wet clothes.

 

"Anything else for the dryer?" she asked through the door. It opened a fraction, and a pair of soggy boxers hung off of his index finger.

 

"Oh baby!" she giggled. He growled.

 

"Just wait, your turn's coming, princess--"

 

Rose scurried out to the back porch and dumped the clothes into the washer, adding detergent before she gasped and realized what she had done. With a resigned shrug, she set the washer and steeled herself to go back in.

 

Jack stood in the kitchen, the robe wrapped around him as he sipped his beer. She walked around him and grinned.

 

"Seems to fit--"

 

"For the moment. I think I used every towel you've got though--" he sighed. Rose shook her head and led the way to the small living room, settling down on one of the chairs, but Jack shook his head.

 

"Nope. Acclimation begins tonight. Sofa. You, me, close proximity. You need to get comfortable around a male body, and mine's the only one available right now."

 

"You're having too much fun with this--" came her grumble as she flounced on the sofa and squeezed into the corner of it. Jack flopped down right in the middle and dropped his bare feet on the coffee table, crossing them at the ankles. He took a swig of the beer.

 

"Damn straight, princess. Caters to my king of the universe fantasies. Where's the remote?"

 

For the next hour, they laughed and chatted through the antics of the new sheriff, with Rose pausing only to shift the clothes from the washer to the dryer mid movie. O'Neill finished his beer, and part of hers while she made popcorn. Rose found herself relaxing against his shoulder, timidly setting her head there while Madeline Kahn sang.

 

O'Neill kept still, fought the urge to put an arm around her small shoulders and draw her closer. Instead, he concentrated on shifting his weight towards her, pressing his thigh against hers, letting the soft warmth take on a comforting naturalness. Rose responded easily, and well into the feature, their feet were playfully intertwined.

 

Before the end of the movie though, there was a sudden surge, and with a whine, all the power went out.

 

"Ah geez--" annoyed, O'Neill rose off the sofa and shuffled to the window, pulling apart the blinds to study the landscape.

 

"The whole base's down--must have been a strike to one of the power lines."

 

Rose jumped up and stumbled out to the dryer with a snort of dismay.

 

"Half dried. I should have remembered that demin takes friggin forever--"

 

"No problem," O'Neill grunted. "I've worn worse."

 

"Look--" Rose could see his outline in the dark, "Just sit tight and maybe they'll get it fixed in an hour or so, right?"

 

"Maybe--" O'Neill sighed. He stepped forward blindly, and Rose slid into his arms. They dropped around her comfortably, and Rose shifted her weight, laughing softly.

 

"Have this dance, Mister?"

 

"Mmmmm absolutely--" he replied, a little breathlessly. The robe gaped open, and Rose pressed her cheek against his bare chest, drinking in the soft scent of his skin. She could hear his heartbeat, feel his strength. She felt another sort of heat surge powerfully between her thighs again.

 

"You smell good--" came her comment. He tightened his grip for a moment and then let it go.

 

"So do you. Listen Rose, just let me go take care of something--" his voice was slightly strangled, and she could feel the heat of embarrassment rising off of him so strongly she could practically see it.

 

"The bathroom?"

 

"Ah--yeah, that's it--" he tried to pull away, and Rose felt something brush her thigh. She drew in a sharp breath.

 

"Oh my God! Jack! No! You are not going to whack off in my bathroom and then come out here pretending everything's fine! I may have some problems, but I'm not stupid!"

 

For once, both of them were grateful it was dark. Rose grabbed the lapels of the robe and yanked. Normally her chances of moving O'Neill would be none, but he was too stunned to brace himself, and surged forward.

 

She kissed him. Hungrily Jack responded, wrapping around her tightly, pressing her back against the low counter for a long steamy moment before pulling himself back with a stream of curses.

 

"No, no no!" he growled helplessly at himself. "God, much as I want to, I'm not doing this, princess, you're not ready--"

 

"Jack, shut up or I'll make you shut up--" she threatened as she let her hands yank the robe open. He shook his head even as his body quivered under her hands.

 

"Rose, don't do this to me--" he ordered. She ignored him, and busied herself licking his throat. He groaned, knees buckling slightly as she started nipping.

 

"Jack baby, right now I'm so turned on I can't see straight. I don't know if I'm going to come, but I'm going to make sure as hell you do--" she promised him.

 

"Shit! That's not the objective!" he panted even as his hands tugged at her shirt. She laughed.

 

"It over, O'Neill--say your prayers, flyboy, 'cause that's all she wrote--"

 

With a fluid grace, Rose dropped to her knees and tugged the robe open, then wrapped both hands around his throbbing shaft.

 

"Whoa princess--" he gasped.

 

O'Neill chuffed out a surprised breath that turned into a deep groan when her head bobbed forward. Instinctively he widened his stance and turned his face to the ceiling as the heat of her mouth engulfed his cock.

 

"Ah God!"

 

Swiftly, O'Neill's entire concentration centered on the molten sensuality of Rose's lusciously skilled mouth. The undershaft caress of her tongue was enough to keep his knees wobbly, and the leisurely pace of her orality left him breathless. After a while he sensed the approach of the point of no return and reluctantly backed away from her talented lips.

 

"No. *Not* like that . . ." he managed to gasp. His ego soared when her upturned face held disappointment. Forcefully, he tugged her to her feet again pulling her body in a long slide up against his. He vigorously began to wrench the blouse off of her, buttons flying. She whimpered happily.

 

"Rose, I don’t . . . want to . . . hurt you--" he cried softly into her hair. She clung to him half laughing, half moaning as he lifted her up onto the counter and tugged at her slacks. The pants dropped to the linoleum and Rose wrapped her bare legs around his lean hips, one hand guiding him between her thighs.

 

O'Neill pushed. Rose gave a crooning sound and wrapped her arms tightly around the back of his neck, her fingers sliding through his hair, her lips dancing over his face. He cupped her rear, a desperate low groan erupting out of him as he thrust slickly into her. Rose sighed urgently, and sent a fresh frenzy of kisses across his face as he pumped again, settling into a deliberate rhythm of such urgent power that she panted.

 

"Oh Jack, oh God . . ." came her sob. He kissed her, sucking hard on her tongue as his tempo increased, the demand of his powerful body sweeping her up in its needs. Rose clung to him. He arched into her deeply; she felt the hot surge of his wet lust filling her and with a sigh of wonder closed her eyes and spasmed hard herself against him, her teeth nipping his shoulder.

 

O'Neill's kisses rained down on her face between murmurs.

 

"Oh God . . . Rose . . . Princess . . . are you all right?"

 

"Jack--" she whispered through a surge of tears, "Jack baby--I have to tell you . . . "

 

"Yeah?" the hope and trembling wonder of his voice came through clearly in the dark.

 

"--I am way too fucking old to be called Princess--" she laughed.

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

The drive back to O'Neill's house took only half an hour, but neither of them seemed to notice. Outside, the rain still obscured the sky, and the streets and roads were flooded. He was concentrating on driving, but Rose had no such distraction, and her hands squirmed in her lap.

 

"But what if they page me--"

 

"You've gotta beeper, they'll find you. Sheesh! Calm down woman--it's not as if I'm smuggling you across state lines or anything!" he muttered, but without malice. He grinned at her for a moment, and Rose had to smile back.

 

"Okay-- I'm still a little scared, Jack, even though I--"

 

"--Popped like a piñata?" he arched an eyebrow at her playfully for a moment before looking back to the highway. "Sweetheart, before I'm done with you, tonight will seem like a polite handshake. No point in getting coy, Rose--I want you, I'm having you, end of discussion."

 

"Mmmmmm. I guess I should have packed more toothpaste--"

 

"Already bought you some. And a brush--" he admitted. Rose's mouth dropped open, but he shrugged. "After yesterday I was feeling optimistic, okay?"

 

"O'Neill, you are--"

 

"--One of a kind. Now let me concentrate or we're going to hydroplane right off the highway."

 

The house suddenly seemed huge to Rose; she rubbed her upper arms as O'Neill lugged her suitcase upstairs. Second thoughts crossed her mind, and she looked at the front door behind her, thinking of escape. It was a mistake, since the sight of it brought back fresher, hotter memories.

 

O'Neill hollered down the staircase.

 

"Get your ass up here to bed, Rose. Old men get cranky if they lose too much sleep--"

 

Grinning against her will, she trotted up dutifully. The sound of running water brought her to the master bedroom, and she caught sight of O'Neill in faded flannel pajama bottoms, brushing his teeth at the sink of the bathroom.

 

"Uors iz a ween on--" he managed through a mouthful of foam as he pointed to the green toothbrush. She nodded, and went back into the bedroom digging through her suitcase for her nightgown. Swiftly she shucked out of her clothes and put it on, stifling a giggle as O'Neill came out of the bathroom, yawning.

 

"Geez, what are you wearing?"

 

"My nightgown--" she looked down at the tattered, faded blue nylon. O'Neill snorted.

 

"That does it--tomorrow we go shopping, babe. Right now, about ten hours of sleep is the first order of business--Get in bed."

 

"Jack, you are not my CO at the moment, and I don't have to take orders from you!"

 

He gave her a look she had come to know well, a no-nonsense gaze with enough heat in it to make her twitch. She lifted her chin. O'Neill shook his head and climbed into bed, leaving her standing in the doorway of the bathroom. Rose brushed her teeth slowly and came back out with great reluctance, flicking off the light and feeling her way to the bed. A soft sound startled her and when she realized it was O'Neill's gentle snores, she laughed to herself.

 

 

"Wake up Sleeping Beauty, we've got places to go and things to do--" came a voice in her ear. Sleepily Rose opened her eyes to see O'Neill, showered and dressed leaning over her. She groaned.

 

"But I thought we'd sleep in--maybe do some other things--" she let her hands reach up to touch him. He briefly dipped lower and kissed her forehead.

 

"We jumped a little ahead of the official timetable last night, Sweetheart, and while I don't regret a moment of it, I think it's better if we go back to the master schedule. We've got plans."

 

"But I want you--" Rose tried not to whimper, but her lower lip began to quiver and O'Neill grew agitated.

 

"Aw, don't do that, okay? It's hard enough without having you do that--"

 

"Do what?"

 

"That lip thing . . ." he muttered helplessly, "It drives me nuts."

 

"It does?" Rose asked, surprised.

 

"Yeah, and the only way to stop it . . ." he leaned down and ever so gently kissed her, brushing his mouth against hers warmly. She reached for him, but he dodged out of her grip, chuckling.

 

"Get dressed, ya wicked temptress. We're hitting the mall at oh nine hundred."

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

"Jack, no--"

 

"Rose yes--" With gentle force he dragged her through the glass doors of the Victoria's Secret, past the displays of fancy bras and delicate bustiers. Rose frowned as he steered her to the counter.

 

"Excuse me, can I speak to the manager please--" he asked the thin black girl behind the register. She gave him an amused look, but nodded, disappearing behind the curtain and returning with a fashionably dressed yuppie.

 

"May I help you sir?" she asked in gravely amused tones. O'Neill nodded. He held up a credit card and leaned forward, dark eyes glittering.

 

"This--" he waved at Rose, "Is a gorgeous woman. And this--" he tossed the card on the counter, "--is an obscenely high line of credit. I want you to provide this woman with three week's worth of your sexiest, finest lingerie."

 

Rose squeaked, but the store manager gave a thoughtful nod, as if this were a perfectly reasonable request.

 

"Certainly sir--have you any preferences?"

 

"Black satin is nice, and I'm partial to leopard prints, but I'll trust you to throw in a few surprises. You've got one hour to supply her from toes to nose: shoes, stockings, garter belts, thongs, bras, whatever the hell else women are wearing under their clothes these days. I'll be back to sign for it all in approximately sixty minutes."

 

He strode out, leaving Rose with the two salesladies. The younger one sighed.

 

"He your boyfriend?"

 

"Ah--actually, he's my commanding officer--" Rose replied faintly. The girl sighed again.

 

"Damn! Sign me up for his battalion!"

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

In the parking garage, Rose rolled her eyes.

 

 "Jack, you must have blown about a thousand dollars today!"

 

"It's just money, Rose--they give me a lot of it every month," he replied carelessly. She looked at the pile of bags he was loading into the trunk and something deep inside her snapped.

 

"Jonathon Michael David O'Neill, I don't know what the hell you expect, but forget it! I'm too old and too realistic to play games with you--Christ! One orgasm isn't going to pave the way to happiness!"

 

"Agreed," he replied simply. With a slam of the trunk lid, he leaned against the back of the car and crossed his arms, looking intently at her. Rose narrowed her eyes.

 

"What's that supposed to mean?"

 

He pursed his chiseled mouth and drew in a breath, his stare as seriously focused as a laser.

 

"Rose, I'm over fifty. In grade school I lusted for Annette Funicello, I know how to use a record player, I remember a flag with 48 stars on it," he began gently. "I've been shot, I've been left for dead at least twice and I've seen things that other men have only dreamed of--"

 

Rose stepped closer to him, her hands going out to his; he took her fingers, interlacing them with his. A car went by searching for a space.  

 

"--And in all that time, I've harbored a deep suspicion that life is basically unfair. The dice are always stacked in God's favor, and rogue Irishmen like me never get a break."

 

"Yeah?"

 

"Yeah. But occasionally wonderful things slip into the recesses of my black hairy soul. Charlie lives there. Kawalski lives there. Sara has a empty room she's never coming back to there." His tone was thoughtful but resigned. Rose held her breath.

 

"You’re there. You'd have to be, since I don't function on lust alone, Rose. A person has to mean something to me, has to have depth and worth and value to be there. Are you getting any of this, Babe?"

 

"Some--" Rose admitted cautiously. "Basically, I'm not just a fling for you--"

 

"--That's definitely the drift, yeah. I know we're going to scorch the sheets pretty damn good, but jumping each other isn't the only thing going on between us." O'Neill pulled her into his arms and held her; she gave a contented sound.

 

"You afraid?"

 

"Oh yeah," he admitted, planting a kiss on the top of her head, "On top of all that, frankly, it's not easy tiptoeing around your sainted dead husband either, ya know."

 

"Mac was no saint!" Rose laughed in sorrowful resignation. "Trust me, the man may have saved five kids, but he was a human being."

 

"So why the eight year hiatus?"

 

"First year, shock; second year anger; three through five depression and the last three, habit I guess."

 

"I'm going to help you break that habit."

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

"Lesson Two--re-acquainting yourself with male anatomy--"

 

"I know what that is--"

 

"Ah! Ah! Look but don't touch--first rule."

 

Unabashedly naked, O'Neill stalked over to the bed and stretched out on it, folding his arms behind his head. The soft light of the afternoon shone through the blinds of the bedroom window. He managed a straight face.

 

"Men, sweetheart, are ugly hairy smelly animals--we burp, fart and spit a lot. You may have forgotten that we tend to snore and scratch too--" he announced to Rose, who was turning red in her attempts to hold back her giggles. Even lying naked on the quilt he managed to glare at her until she calmed down somewhat. She sat primly on the edge of the bed near his hip, hands folded in her lap.

 

"--All right, that's better. As I was reminding you--men in general are pretty disgusting. We have hair in too many places, we take pride in our scars . . . Oooohhh--" he trailed off as Rose reached over and ran a gentle hand down the side of his neck, rubbing the tension there.

 

"Like that?"

 

"Un huh . . . let's see--uh, pride in our scars . . . and we give our genitalia nicknames."

 

"Jack---!"

 

"Sorry it's true and no, I'm not about to tell you any more than that," he pinkened slightly. Rose glanced down the length of his flat stomach to the member in question and arched an eyebrow. Defiantly, O'Neill clamped his lips. Rose ran a finger down his ribs, making him twitch.

 

"I could torture it out of you . . ." she whispered. O'Neill rose up on his elbows and glared at her as a shaft of sunlight spilled over his chest, highlighting the grizzled fur there.

 

"Obviously I've said too much already. Moving on--that which defines our dubious gender is medically known as a penis--"

 

"Jack, I know all this--" Rose murmured patiently, her hands sliding down to touch his swelling member. He watched her, trying not to groan.

 

"--But in cruder laymen's terms  it has any--Oooohhh . . . number of interesting names . . ." he weakly muttered. Rose batted her eyes at him, and let her hands begin a slow stroking caress, making him swell eagerly in her warm palms.

 

"Let me see what I remember--it's a cock, a prick, a hard-on, a dick, a whang, a boner--"

 

"Ahhhhhh! Okay, yes, obviously you have a good grasp of the concept . . . Rose . . ." caught in the growing pleasure of her caresses, O'Neill dropped his head back, his lean hips beginning to thrust forward. Rose luxuriated in the simple seductive power of touching him. Her fingers tightened lightly.

 

"Good?"

 

"Ahhh. . . yes, yes it's goooood . . ." came the deep throated growl from O'Neill as he tried to stay coherent and failed. Biting his lower lip, he closed his eyes as low moans rumbled out of his chest with every thrust. Rose sighed happily, running a thumb ever so firmly on the underside of his shaft. Swiftly O'Neill's breathing grew ragged and his eyes glazed a bit.

 

"Rosestopstopstopaaaaaaaggghhhh!" the wet and sticky spray spurted up thickly, part of it splattering across his stomach, the rest bubbling over Rose's hands. She gave his still throbbing cock a light squeeze; O'Neill shuddered.

 

"Dear God, woman when will you stop--"

 

"--Taking matters in my own hands?' Rose snickered. O'Neill tried to frown, but it was hard to do; a crooked smile crossed his features.

 

"--Getting ahead of the program? This is supposed to be about your orgasms, not mine!" he complained half-heartedly. Rose stepped into the bathroom and brought back a warm wet washcloth; with gentle strokes she cleaned him off as he studied her through half-closed eyes.  

 

"You're incredible, you know that--"

 

"Shhhh. Just because I got the better of the big zamboni and the hat trick twins here--" she murmured. O'Neill burst into a deep roaring laugh and she joined him, the sound echoing through the room.

 

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

Rose looked at his face and steeled herself for the bad news. O'Neill slammed the receiver down with more force than he needed and scowled at it, as if accusing the phone itself of creating the crisis instead of just conveying it.

 

"Hammond and I have to leave for DC in an hour and a half, sweetheart. An impromptu meeting with three senior members of the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled for tomorrow and we're required to be there."

 

"Oh Jack--" she murmured, deflated. He shook his head in frustration.

 

"That's three days out of this stand down at least--I'll be back by Friday if I hop a transport returning to Travis--ah shit, Rose this was not part of my plans."

 

Rose nodded sadly and started to pick up the dinner plates, but O'Neill put a big hand on her forearm.

 

"Stay here while I'm gone. Wait for me--" he urged with an intensity Rose found endearing but she gave him a puzzled look in return.

 

"Why? It's not as if I don't have a place of my own--"

 

"Because I want my sheets to smell like you--" he admitted huskily, "Warm and sweet--"

 

She lowered her gaze, the heat rising on her face; O'Neill grinned at her expression.

 

"Geez you blush like teenager, Rose--" came his amused comment. She tossed her hair back and tried to frown.

 

"You're serious?"

 

"Completely. You can collect the mail, water the plants, and take that bath you wanted--"

 

"What about the cleaning lady?"

 

"She was last week," he grunted. "Look, if you don't want to, just say--Mmmmmm,"

 

Rose cut him off very effectively with a good solid kiss before picking up the dishes again and smirking.

 

"Want to--go pack or you'll be late."

 

 

On that first day, Rose wandered through O'Neill's house like a cat, delicately looking and touching and studying things. She noted the tidy garage with the fishing and hockey gear neatly stored, the mishmash of tools and repair jobs in various stages on the workbench. With a grin she changed the calendar page over to the right month, rolling her eyes as another bouncy bikini babe smiled at her.

 

The kitchen she knew already, but suspected the organization was done by the cleaning lady rather than O'Neill himself. Somehow she couldn't picture him alphabetizing the spice rack, or choosing paper towels with cheerful boarders. Restlessly she drifted out to the living room and let her gaze slide over the bookcases. Military manuals, Tom Clancy novels, War College and Command and Staff yearbooks, photo albums. Curious, she pulled an older one down and thumbed through it.

 

A very young scowling Jackie O'Neill, decked in the full altar boy regalia glared out at her and she burst out laughing. Clearly this nine year old was not happy to be on film. As she caught her breath, the phone rang and she reached for it.

 

"O'Neill residence--" she murmured.

 

"Rose--" came O'Neill's tinny voice. "Listen, I need you to do me a favor and set the timer for the sprinklers. It's on the wall by the back porch, okay?"

 

"Of course. Are you at your meeting?"

 

"Just about to walk in and get my ass chewed out by a lot of whiny bean counters about budget overruns. So--" his tone dropped into a lower register as he demanded conspiratorially, "--whatcha wearing?"

 

Rose giggled. Taking a breath, she thought of what still lay packed in the shopping bags and lied through her teeth.

 

"Oh nothing special--I've got on a black garter belt with these filmy stockings, and really sweet strappy high heels. These tiny lace panties have cute little bows you can untie on each hip---"

 

She heard him draw in a sharp, hurt breath before he growled, "Screw the meeting, I'm hopping the next flight back--"

 

"Ah ah--Hammond needs you, your country needs you--"

 

"I've got needs too, Rose. I need to undo those bows with my teeth--" came his frustrated growl. Rose laughed.

 

"Did you want to hear about the push-up bra?"

 

"Right now I've got too much pushed up as it is--" he admitted, "And I'm going to have a hell of a time walking into a roomful of guys."

 

"Hey, isn't there a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in place?"

 

"Oh you're a riot--gotta go sweetheart--"

 

"Okay--"

 

Both of them paused and the silence swelled with what neither one of them quite had the courage to say. Rose very slowly hung up. She was trembling, and huddled on the sofa for a moment, wrapping herself in the afghan there.

 

She didn't sleep well, rolling restlessly in the big bed, her thoughts seesawing between vague guilt and growing elation. Finally, she got up and wandered over to the closet, pushing the sliding door open. Rose let her fingers brush the neatly hung uniforms, a few still in their plastic dry cleaning bags. She stepped closer, and her bare foot snagged on something soft. One of O'Neill's black t-shirts lay on the floor, carelessly discarded; Rose realized he'd dropped it there when he'd changed for his flight. Swiftly she snatched it up, pressing it to her cheek, breathing in the warm fragrance. It was Jack: that clean slightly musky scent was so familiar to her now that she swayed in sheer relief. Carefully she stripped and pulled the t-shirt on over her bare skin, savoring the sensation. It hung to mid thigh, but Rose didn't care. She turned her head to bury her nose against the shoulder and sighed happily as she climbed back into bed.

 

***                  ***                  ***

 

The doorbell rang. With an oath, Rose got up from her laptop, leaving the sixth report to await her return. Checking the peephole, she was startled to see a deliverywoman holding a long rectangular box.

 

"Are you the lady of the house?"

 

"I'm Rose MacGyver," she replied, skirting around the issue with a smile. The deliverywoman looked at her clipboard and shrugged.

 

"Here--" she handed her the box and pointed to the slip of paper "--Needja to sign--"

 

Rose did, and carried the box into the living room. Common sense told her what they were, as did her nose, but she carefully opened it and unwrapped the tissue with trembling fingers.

 

The three long stemmed crimson roses filled the living room with their heavenly scent. Rose reached for the gold edged card tucked in with them, seeing O'Neill's familiar strong handwriting.

 

Sweetheart--

 

Three for those words I should have said--

 

Jack

 

 

Stunned, she dropped the box.

 

 

 

The C5 touched down on the tarmac with a shuddering creak and rattled down the runway. Hammond shot O'Neill a curious look and cleared his throat.

 

"You seem a little wound up, Colonel--are you all right?"

 

Startled, O'Neill glanced over at his commanding officer and gave a slightly pained squint.

 

"Just a little anxious to get home, sir--" he admitted as the plane taxied up to the terminal. Hammond nodded in agreement.

 

"I know the feeling. And I appreciate you coming along on such short notice. You know how Washington is--"

 

Any reply O'Neill would have made was swallowed up by the howl of the wind as the door opened up and the ramp locked onto the plane. Swiftly they climbed out, returning the salutes of the terminal personnel and collecting their bags. Hammond sighed and managed a small smile.

 

"You still have nine days of stand down, Jack--I'll try not to take up any more of it."

 

"Thanks General," O'Neill muttered as he picked up his kit and walked swiftly to the parking lot. The moon was waning, and the cool night air chilled him. He glanced at his watch, cursed at the lateness of the hour, and drove along the almost deserted highway towards home.

 

O'Neill fumbled for the house key, glancing up worriedly at the dark windows as he did so.

 

"Jack--?" came a soft, anxious voice from the staircase. He stepped in and looked up; in the dim light from the living room windows he saw her poised in her robe there, eyes wide, hair in a tumbled cascade over her shoulders. He shot forward and grabbed her, pulling her pliant warmth against his body, his big hands moving with desperate strength down her slim spine.

 

"Rose--" he murmured against the warm tender flesh of her throat, lips moving in a grateful sigh. She took his face in her small hands and pulled him back enough to meet his hungry gaze.

 

"Missed me?" He asked in a low rough voice. She nodded.

 

"Only with every heartbeat, flyboy," she admitted, a little breathlessly. His fine dark eyes glowed, and the slow seductive grin crossed his face.

 

"Do I feel bows on these hips?"

 

"Mayyyyyyyybe---"

 

He darted his face forward to catch her in a kiss, gathering Rose to him tightly enough to squeeze the breath from her. She wrapped her legs around him, nearly knocking them both down the stairs, but O'Neill managed to brace his back against the railing in time.

 

They kissed with an exuberant moan-filled intensity; they knocked pictures off the wall. Somewhere on the way up the stairs O'Neill lost his tie and jacket; Rose her robe and bra. Once they reached the landing, O'Neill scooped her up and strode into the dark bedroom.

 

"Jaaaack--" Rose squealed from his arms. He flung her bodily onto the bed, pausing to admire the way the dim moonlight lit the curves and hollows of her torso.

 

"God I want you--!" came his fierce confession. Rose wriggled enticingly and smiled.

 

"Then come get me--" she pleaded. O'Neill dropped on her, licking a trail down the side of her slim throat and between her breasts, his hot tongue swiping eagerly at her flesh. Rose arched up when O'Neill's hands slid over her breasts, fingers dancing over the hard nipples in a nimble caress.

 

He kept kissing her body, taking her breath away with each touch of his hungry mouth, and Rose wondered if her pulse would ever slow down again. She tried to sit up, but he planted one big hand on her ribcage and pressed it lightly, showing her what he wanted; she lay back obediently.

 

"For the record . . . . You, sweetheart . . . taste . . . damn fine . . ." came O'Neill's breathless assessment as he made his way down her stomach, warm tongue flicking her navel playfully. She wriggled, hips shifting impatiently, but he gripped them tight in his hands, fingers toying with the little bows.

 

"Oooohhh time to unwrap a present for Jack--" he muttered happily.

 

Rose gave a pleased little gasp as he slowly undid the tie on her right hip. Delicately, O'Neill took the silk cord in his teeth and shook it, the way a dog does a bone. It made Rose giggle in breathless anticipation, and pleased with her reaction, he undid the left hip tie quickly.

 

"Just what I wanted--Pie alamode on a black silk placemat--" he teased gruffly before peeling down the top of the panties. Rose tried to stifle her laugh, but it echoed through the room.

 

"Jack O'Neill--!"

 

"At your service, Ma'am--" he dropped light kisses across the gossamer soft curls between her parted thighs. A shudder ran through Rose's entire frame and she began to sit up, but he raised his head to look up the length of her body and very softly growled at her.

 

"Mine . . ." O'Neill warned. She quivered, wide-eyed as his tongue flicked out again, sliding along the slick valley that defined her sex.

 

Gently but determinedly he nuzzled his warm mouth into Rose, tasting, teasing, tormenting the sweet folds of her flesh until she began to buck against the quilt.

 

"J-j-jaaaaaaaaacccccckkk!" came her wailing crescendo amid her thrashes. O'Neill slid his hands under her, cupping her round bottom firmly, resting his cheek against her inner thigh until she relaxed, slumping with a long heart-felt sigh. He sighed as well. 

 

"You know I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure you weren't faking that. . ." he began conversationally. Laughing, Rose reached down and stroked his grey hair lovingly.

 

"What gave it away, flyboy? The loud yodeling maybe?"

 

"The taste--" he told her with a contented sound in his voice. "You've got the same sweet tang as that heavy syrup they put in canned peaches, sweetheart. I love that flavor--"

 

Shyly, Rose squirmed away from him and rolled over, rising up on her hands and knees. He gave a soft grunt deep in his throat as she tossed her hair and looked over her shoulder.

 

"Guess what I want--" she whispered to him. He arched an eyebrow and got to his knees, shucking off his trousers hastily.

 

"Feeling somewhat canine, are you?"

 

"Just call me a bitch, darling--" she giggled as he dropped down and nuzzled her shoulders.  "Do me, Big Boy---"

 

"Woof!" O'Neill gave a rumble of pleasure, and Rose pressed her advantage by reaching down between her thighs with gentle fingers stroking his heavy shaft as it eagerly nuzzled up against her wet fur.

 

"If it hurts, I'll tell you," she assured him. O'Neill planted another kiss between her shoulder blades, whispering into her freckled skin, his voice serious.

 

"Gotta promise me--"

 

"I promise . . ." She shifted her hand, guiding him and O'Neill drew in a breath, unhurriedly pushing forward into the velvety folds of her. Rose gripped the headboard tightly and a long low cry escaped her. Slightly alarmed, O'Neill paused, but she sensuously rolled her hips, lifting them higher as she rested her cheek on her crossed forearms.

 

"Oh yesss .  .  ." came her soft urgent plea. O'Neill cupped his hands around her slender waist and rocked forward again, deliberately slow in his strokes, but Rose drove back against him happily, arching her spine. She swayed in counter rhythm to him, twisting and making soft sounds of pleasure, and finally O'Neill groaned, thrusting into her freely.

 

Rose sighed, her senses on overload as the heat kept relentlessly building between her thighs. She felt exquisitely tight around his thick shaft, felt stretched to the limit and ready to fly over that precarious drop into molten ecstasy; dimly Rose knew by his panting that Jack was nearly there as well. She threw her head back and a musical keening rose out of her throat as she shuddered in surrender.

 

Rose felt the passionate deluge when moments later O'Neill gushed deeply within her. She felt the warm weight of him drop across her back as he tried to catch his breath. Looking over her shoulder she felt his sweat drip onto her shoulders and his dog tags clinked against her spine.

 

"Oooohhh that was sweet . . ." she managed to gasp. "So tight and so good. . ."

 

"Marry me," he rumbled, trying to catch his breath. "Jesus Rose, please."

 

She chuckled, gently pulling away until she could sit up and kiss his face.

 

"No. You know I can't--proposals made in bed don't count."

 

"I know, but I'd be out of my mind if I didn't at least go on the record trying, okay?"

 

 

 

"Jack?"

 

"Yeah, sweetheart?"

 

"Are we out of our minds?"

 

"Probably," he yawned, rolling over to wrap his lanky nude form around hers sleepily. She resisted for a moment, and then began to relax as he nuzzled her hair with his nose.

 

"I mean it's a violation of protocol--"

 

"Possibly,"

 

"And a breach of security--"

 

"Unlikely--"

 

"And if anyone found out, I'd be taken out of the Stargate program and you'd be reprimanded--"

 

"Not going to happen, sweetheart. I know too much about the goings on in Cheyenne Mountain, and I mean all the stuff above and beyond the gate. As long as we're discreet and stay professional on the job, I don't see how anyone's going to get away with regulating our private lives, okay?" he assured her with a quick hug. She turned towards him, resting her head against his shoulder.

 

"So . . . you want to keep seeing each other?" came her oh so soft comment. Without opening his eyes, O'Neill tightened his grip around her waist, pressing closely against her bare skin.

 

"Does this--" came his sleepy purring growl, "Give you your answer, Rose?"

 

She chuckled into the hollow of his throat, slowly letting herself be pulled on top of him as the first hint of dawn shone through the bedroom window.  

END

 






     
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