Conflict





JACK

 

Conflict. I’ve learned to live with it on a daily basis, cope with it by making choices swiftly and keeping regrets for the bad ones to a minimum. In all my years in the service, I’ve understood that the quickest way to resolve a conflict is to acknowledge all options and make the decision needed in a timely fashion.

 

That code of conduct never made me popular, rich or even talented, but looking back over my track record, I can sleep most nights, which is more than others can say. In the field, I’ve brought more people back alive than dead. In combat, I’ve met objectives that range from impressive to distasteful, and been rewarded with the eagles on my shoulders. In my personal life the choices might not have always been smart, but I live with the consequences and taken the bitter with the sweet without flinching.

 

All of that commentary boils down to is the fact that I can make command decisions and stand by them, with gritted teeth if necessary. This is integral to the core what makes Jack O’Neill who the hell he is. It may not be pretty, but it’s honest. At least, it was.

 

I made a decision recently that I’m regretting. SERIOUSLY regretting. My misgivings are enough to give me a sour stomach and a disposition comparable to a constipated Grizzly. Since coming to this decision, Carter’s studiously following orders to the letter, Teal’c’s given me Jaffa attitude, and Daniel is staying the hell out of my way. The only one remotely sympathetic is Rose of course, and therein lies the crux of the problem. Her gentle kindness and empathetic looks are enough to drive me to rash and unacceptable fantasies, most of them involving her and a spare storage closet.

 

Or one of the beds in the infirmary.

 

Or Hammond’s office.

 

Damn it.

 

I suppose it goes without explaining that the resolution in question has to do with my civilian consultant’s capacities beyond that of SG1 team member?

 

Our verdict was mutually reached and agreed to a week and a half ago. Eleven days. And nights. During the days I manage to find more than enough to occupy my time and keep from running through the litany of morose counterarguments that run through my brain ceaselessly. Some of that distraction tends to make me run a bit roughshod over folks, but I’m sure with time I can tone it down. I suspect I’ll get a knife in my ribs if I don’t.

 

At the rate I’m going, I may have to fall on it myself.

 

 

 

ROSE

 

Jack is having a hard time. I mean that both metaphorically and literally, and he certainly isn’t the only one. For all his talk about the good of the team, and the necessity of this decision, he’s gritting his teeth through it. I’m flattered to think it’s that difficult, and depressed because it isn’t any easier for me, not by a long shot. I may not be touching him, but I still love him. I simply cannot turn that off, or shut that down, try as I might. Jack can sit across from me during the briefings looking as morose and bleakly unapproachable as he wants; I still get fluttery stomached looking at him, remembering him.

 

His mouth.

 

His warm muscled weight.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time compiling reports and typing up assessments, keeping myself busy, busy, busy. Upcoming meetings, briefings, lots of loose ends to catch up on while we wait for the next field assignment—none of it any easier every time I see those brown eyes across a table.

 

The rest of the team senses the shift; Carter keeps shooting me concerned little looks, and Daniel is almost as apprehensive. It’s not as if any of them have to be told, in so many words; they’re experts at the undertext. Distressing, yes, but it will get better in time, right?

 

Right? Please tell me it’s going to get better—

 

 

 

CARTER

 

Holy Hanna. Looks like Rose and the colonel are falling back. This is not good. After all the months of subtle manipulation Daniel and I have put into their dynamic I’ll be damned if the colonel decides to get a case of nobility on us now. This won’t do, not at all.

 

I thought their mutual attraction was just my imagination until Daniel pointed it out four months ago over coffee. The looks, the clumsy affection that seemed so scattershot, even for the colonel—they all pointed in the same direction. It was a bit of an eye-opener. After a single soul-searching afternoon I wholeheartedly joined Daniel’s campaign to get the two of them to Kissy Face city.

 

Kissy Face City? I’ve been hanging around Cassandra too long, I swear.

 

After a few weeks I noticed Teal’c helping out as well—conveniently Kel No Reeming, taking the third leg of watch, and steering conversations into interesting territory. His inquiry into the merits of older women as sexual partners was a mindblower. Jerry Springer be damned, it was hysterical to see the colonel hanging onto every word of THAT discussion!

 

I’ve enjoyed it. Naquada and black holes and theoretical quantum physics are my life, but just getting in touch with a simple human element is a wonderfully grounding experience. Plotting with Daniel, watching Rose—it’s almost like being in an episode of the Brady Bunch, although trying to see Teal’c as Alice is—never mind.

 

 All I know is that working with them, BEING with Daniel, the colonel, Teal’c and Rose is the closest I’m ever going to get to a real family these days. I love them all, would lay down my life for them. I know they’d do the same for me and almost have far too often. SG1 just doesn’t have a normal life, and our happiness is limited to this mountain and each other right now.

 

So Daniel and I better hustle before the colonel’s testosterone level makes him decide to arm-wrestle Apothis.

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

Jack’s not getting laid, and I’m not sure why. Sam and I were pretty sure he and Rose had passed into the home base territory well over three weeks ago what with the smug grins and bemused staring that filled a few of our briefings. Frankly I was looking forward to a kinder gentler O’Neill, and now this backsliding has me worried. Did they have a fight? Is there, God forbid, some sort of um, dysfunction going on? Inquiries are going to have to be very subtle at this stage of the game.

 

It’s a two-sided unhappiness, obviously. Rose looks miserable, and the fact that she’s trying to hide it adds a layer of pathos to the whole thing. Normally she’s a cheerful bundle of energy, practically throwing sparks as she tears through paperwork. Right now she’s barely twiddling her pen, and sighing under her breath. I have to confer with Sam and get a plan of action going—after all, someone on this team needs a love life.

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

Colonel O’Neill and Ms. MacGyver have ceased to exchange notable affection. This is most disturbing. I will consult Daniel Jackson on the proper protocol for re-establishing a beneficial and mutually supportive relationship between them. Perhaps certain rituals from Chulak may be of help. Or possibly Oprah.

 

 

 

JACK

 

All right, things are officially getting weird. I know I haven’t been the bearer of Sweetness and Light for a while, but when Daniel sidles up to me and shoots a sympathetic look my way, I know something’s up. Something besides certain parts of me.

 

“Feeling all right, Jack?”

 

“What the hell is THAT supposed to mean?”

 

“Okay, I guess that answers my question—“

 

Daniel can be an infuriating little shit. He smiles at me as he scoots into the briefing room, taking a seat down near the foot of the table, spreading out notes and papers, humming to himself. Carter strides in moments later and sits at his right hand side, a definite smirk on her face. Must have built herself a Naquada vibrator or something. Rose slinks in and plants herself on the faaaarr side of the table, not even looking up at me, and the dull pain in my throat throbs a little. I don’t look at her, and take my time counting all the stars on the flag in the corner. Teal’c does his majestic glide into the room and takes a chair at Rose’s side.

 

We all sit. Goodie goodie.

 

Hammond makes it in, finally, and shoots a look around the room that tells us he’s aware of the tension here.

 

“Major Carter, if you’d care to begin—“ he rumbles in that flat Texas twang we know so well. Carter shoots to her feet, happy as a clam to start the AV show. I look at Rose. I can’t help it; habits die hard, but not as hard as other things.

 

Crap. REALLY regretting my late-in-the-game attack of conscience here. Rose is nibbling her pen. Luscious lips with a hint of gloss. Lips I have not nearly had my fill of. Full sweet warm lips that have yet to keep promises made in the heat of a kiss--

 

“—Sir?” Shit. Hammond’s staring at me. He repeats his question.

 

“Colonel, do you have any concerns about the MALP report?”

 

Did I?

 

“I don’t think so sir—tropical beach, warm weather, potential Trinium and Naquada traces in the initial soil sample—looks like a nice stroll through the gate to me.”

 

“Fair enough, Colonel. SG1, you have a go.”

 

Rose under a tropical moon. God help me, unless I go full bore bastard, I am SUCH a dead man.

 

 

 

ROSE

 

The hardest part about being in love with Jack O’Neill is the complete isolation. I can’t tell anybody—not when I was so damned happy I could have tap-danced up the ramp through the gate, and certainly not while I have to drag myself up it this time. Going from heaven to hell in less than a month is hard on the hormones. I’ve had more chocolate in the last week than Hershey’s can keep up with. Carter keeps trying to cheer me up—I guess she thinks I’m pre-period or something. We’re kitting up and she’s talking about sneaking in a bathing suit, and tanning for a while—

 

“Not with YOUR complexion—“ I remind her gently. She’s undeterred, and just smiles some more. When I look at her I’m reminded of a dandelion: long green stem of a body in the olive green camo, topped with the wispy flyaway blonde hair that looks like the down of a baby chick in the wind.

 

“Come on Rose—this is going to be a RELAXING mission—“ she cajoles me, cuffing my arm.

 

“You and me crammed into a pup tent with snoring Daniel next door?” I scoff. I neglect to mention Jack or Teal’c of course. She shrugs.

 

“Teal’c’s on a Kel No Reem marathon so he needs his own tent. Daniel’s my problem, but I’ve got earplugs—“

 

Wait a minute—that leaves me bunking with—

 

No. No. Not fair, timeout, King’s X!

 

 

 

CARTER

 

Things are going very well. A little protocol strategy works wonders when everyone co-operates. Actually the Colonel didn’t WANT to, but I’ve learned how to get around him in various ways. The Air Force has a wonderful superabundance of regulations I can spout until his eyes glaze over and he waves me off. Getting it through to him that Daniel and I were taking a tent this mission was a piece of cake.

 

“Sir, if Daniel and I are taking the first two watches, it makes more sense—instead of waking four people up at each shift it would only be two—“

 

“—Fine, fine, Major you’ve made your POINT,” he snaps with no real malice as he adjusts his sunglasses. We’re standing in front of the Gate looking over a multicolored paradise—pink water, green sand, tall jewel-colored palm trees. It looks like Hawaii colored in by a four year old. Already Daniel’s run down the length of the pier to the sand, looking at the ground and grinning. Teal’c is scanning the jungle up above the beach like the warrior he is, following the Colonel’s visual sweep of the area.

 

“This area appears to be uninhabited,” he announces, making a point to wave to the ground, “There are no tracks of any kind.”

 

“We can change that in a hurry—Daniel! Quit playin’ in the sand and get your pack!”

 

Grumpy old men—lord help me, it’s going to be a long night if this doesn’t work.

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

I wish I could say this was fun—parts of it are, but not enough of them. Sam and I are working like fiends to keep the tension from building any higher. We’ve managed to get Rose out of her clothes and into Jack’s, and arranged for them to share a tent, so the basic thrust of our plan is underway.

 

Poor Rose—to be shoved off the Gate pier and into the water headfirst by Teal’c probably wasn’t the gentlest way of getting her and her pack soaking wet, but it certainly worked. When she bobbed to the surface, sputtering pink water, it took everything I had not to laugh. Teal’c apologized, but the job was done—all of her gear was sodden. Naturally Sam didn’t pack any spare clothing, and just as naturally Jack’s mother hen instinct kicked in right on cue. Rose is now wearing his spare black tee shirt, and a very cute mini dress it makes on her too. Her gear is spread out on the sand drying slowly. Jack practically has his tongue hanging out every time he looks at her.

 

I have an inkling of his mindset. He’s worried about how his field command is going to be affected by his relationship with Rose—it’s almost textbook here, Jack’s withdrawal. When I laid it out for Sam and Teal’c, they both could see it as well, hence the plan.

 

He’s such a contradiction, Jack O’Neill. He can duck behind protocol and chain of command when it suits him, and cut through it all just as ruthlessly if any of us are in trouble. From the first mission Jack was closer to all of us than he should have been—getting into our psyches and souls. It’s part of what makes SG1 such a cohesive unit. There was always a piece missing for him though, a hole in his heart that I assumed would never be filled.

 

It’s good to be wrong sometimes.

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

Ms. MacGyver is most forgiving despite my deliberate strike against her. As a warrior I understand the need to perform distasteful actions to ultimately achieve honorable goals, however I hope this will be the last needed to realize harmony between her and O’Neill. Should this fail, I will suggest the time-honored Jaffa tradition of binding them together for three days.

 

 

 

JACK

 

God. If I didn’t know better, I’d just chalk it all up to coincidence, but I’ve been around too long to take anything for granted. I’m being set up. It’s in the little smirk on Carter’s face, the innocent look in Daniel’s eyes. They’re in on it together, conspiring.

 

What the hell is going on? First Teal’c, the least clumsy man I’ve even known manages to knock Rose off the Gate platform into the water. She’s fine, but of course soaked. Okay, we can deal with that until Carter confesses she hasn’t got any spare gear.

 

That’s not like my overachieving second in command. Not at all. Rose can’t stand around in wet gear, even if it IS the tropics, so I give her my spare shirt, absurdly pleased to see it on her. It’s a guy thing, getting turned on when your lover wears your clothes.

 

Former lover.

 

Anyway, if that wasn’t enough, Carter’s watch rotation monolog sinks in as we make camp and I realize I’m bunking with Ms. MacGyver. If I make a fuss about it, I’m going to upset her, and tip my hand to the kids, so I have to suck it up and pretend I’m fine with the whole deal.

 

Hell, parts of me are—the big throbbing bit in particular. Being in the vicinity of a soft sweet woman dressed in nothing but my tee shirt is doing a lot of bad things to my self-control. Knowing she’s going to be within arm’s reach when we’re lying down isn’t helping much either. I have to concentrate on other thoughts to keep Mr. Happy from doing the wave at the moment.

 

Set up. What the hell does Carter think she’s playing at? I don’t like this—throwing this much temptation my way is dangerous for everybody. You’d think they were TRYING to—No. They wouldn’t. They couldn’t. I mean, why the hell WOULD they?

 

I’m keeping my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut. Gonna figure this out if it kills me. Which it freak’n might.

 

 

 

ROSE

 

I’m being punished—my personal embarrassment has hit new lows and keeps dropping, starting with my dip into the Kool Aid Ocean here. Teal’c didn’t mean to, but clocking me off the edge of the pier didn’t help. Being soaking wet didn’t help. Sam telling me she had no spare clothes REALLY didn’t help.

 

Wearing Jack’s shirt damn near made me cry. It’s clean, but I can smell the faint trace of him in it. The hem hangs low enough to make a dress of sorts. I’m okay as long as I don’t bend over. One of the few good points is that Jack’s noticed me for the first time in two days. I’ve missed him looking at me.

 

I’ve missed more than that, but I’ll settle for what I can get. Since my boots are as waterlogged at the rest of my stuff I get to wander around barefoot as I collect fuel for the fire. Jack makes nagging noises about not wandering out of sight. I want to throttle him sometimes. It never ends, this desire of his to round us up like sheep and keep us from harm. I thought he’d loosen up a bit now that we decided to got back to being—uninvolved. Fat chance. He’s just as alert.

 

In a few hours I’m going to have to sleep next to him, and God help me I don’t think I can do it. To be within touching range, to remember the heat of his skin, the taste of his tongue—

 

Why torture myself this way? What’s done is done, and we willingly walked away from it.

 

 

 

CARTER

 

My secret weapon is almost ready. Daniel and I emptied it at dinner between us, burping up the carbonation and apologizing with splutters and giggles. The colonel was not amused. If I didn’t respect him so much I would have given him an extra bird, frankly. If this doesn’t get the ball rolling—

 

It should, though. Daniel’s pretty sure something THIS juvenile should appeal to the Colonel, and that Rose will humor us so I don’t have to be the only girl playing. And I’m NOT kissing the Colonel, no way. But Teal’c and Daniel wouldn’t be bad at all—

 

Sparkling grape juice flavored Daniel—oh my, the sacrifices I make for the cause of Team tranquility.

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

It’s been a really, really long time since I played Spin the Bottle, and I seem to remember that there should be an even number of men to women. Ah well, I suspect we’re only going to last a few rounds anyway, thank God. Sam’s fairly confidant that Jack’s close to the breaking point and I have to concur. He’s been silent all through dinner, feeding the fire and staring up at the dual moons while I’ve chattered on about Polynesian cultures and what not. I’ve noticed that Rose’s clothes aren’t quite dry yet either.

 

Sneaky Teal’c.

 

Anyway, finding a surface flat enough to spin this bottle was a challenge until I offered up a notebook. O’Neill made no comment, but he did come and join us while I explained the concept to Teal’c.

 

“I understand the process, Daniel Jackson, but to what end is this game played?”

 

“End?”

 

“What is the goal?”

 

That’s when Jack broke in, just as I knew he would.

 

“Fer cryin out loud, Teal’c, kissing is a process and a goal in and of itself!”

 

“Indeed.”

 

“Jack’s right of course—in most cultures, the youth have few social outlets for their burgeoning sexuality, and games with a veneer of social acceptability that allow physical interaction are one of the few options open to them.”

 

There, done my Socialology bit. Sam is grinning into the sand. Rose is equally amused, and I suspect it has something to do with memories of this game. Perhaps that’s why Jack is scowling so much as well. I’m sure we’re closer to ignition than I thought.

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

I sense this pastime is merely a ploy for Daniel Jackson to goad O’Neill into reestablishing affections with Ms. MacGyver. Compliance is critical therefore, and I am willing to participate to the fullest of my capacity.

 

Given the osculating nature of this game I sincerely hope I do not draw either O’Neill or Daniel Jackson.

 

 

 

JACK

 

The jig is officially up. God knows why, but preliminary evidence seems to indicate that Daniel wants to get kissy faced. Jesus! If the boy’s got the hots for Carter, all he has to do is wait until we sack out to make his move. I mean, why drag the rest of us into it?

 

I so do NOT want to be put in the position of kissing Rose in front of an audience, even if it IS just the kids. I won’t make it, can’t bluff my way through something as all consuming as that. Need it too much to even get started, and sleeping’s going to be impossible as it is. Maybe it’s time to check the perimeter for a while, and let them play without me—

 

Wait a minute. With two on two for this party the chances of Rose locking lips with Teal’c or Daniel—NO way. No fucking way. I don’t care if it’s Dog in the Manger; I am NOT sharing the Rose experience with any damn one of them, Carter included! Problem is, there’s fuck all to do on this planet. I can’t shut down this game without cause, damn it, and looking at Rose across the firelight—Think, O’Neill—

 

 

 

ROSE

 

Spin the Bottle? What IS this, an overnight at Camp Crayola Beach? Daniel’s looking incredibly amused, and Carter is just short of giggling. I don’t DARE look at Jack. Spin the Bottle. God. I don’t believe it—Sam and Daniel KNOW.

 

These two brats KNOW, and they’re flaunting it as brazenly as they can without a direct comment.

 

Damn it, I’m going crazy here—how did they find out? When? And why are they doing this? Has this entire trip—oh shit. My clothes. The sleeping arrangements—

 

Samantha Carter is SO dead when we get back!

 

 

 

CARTER

 

Rose finally bought a clue; the colonel is still working out one vowel at a time. The look she’s shot me promises dire revenge once we hit the showers back in the mountain, but I don’t care—I have a chance to kiss two handsome men and get my team leader to thaw his nuts. Too bad I have to leave all of that out of the mission report, but those are the breaks—time to get that bottle spinning!

 

Daniel, of course. Lovely to set a precedent, and he looks tickled about it too. Ohhhh lovely mouth, always thought so, nice to get the sensory feedback. No tongue of course, but a girl can dream. He’s pink now, a little embarrassed, but I can feel my own blush. The colonel’s got that ‘trying not to smirk’ look on his face. I notice he’s wedged himself next to Rose, cutting her off from Teal’c. Whose turn is it?

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

Daniel Jackson assures me he has no personal prejudice against kissing me, but will forgo the experience to keep within the predominantly heterosexual nature of this pastime. I am profoundly grateful, and will reciprocate the stance.

 

O’Neill is coughing a great deal.

 

 

 

JACK

 

Fer cryin out loud! Only Daniel could sweetly talk a six foot two Jaffa out of kissing him and actually sound sincere about it! I may hack up a lung here trying not to laugh; Carter and Rose aren’t doing much better. Dignified my ass—Teal’c looks disappointed! I see it’s Daniel’s turn—right at Rose. Gritting my teeth here, NOT liking this. He better make that one damned chaste peck or Danny boy’s gonna need a new set of lips! Time it—longer than three seconds and I’ll—

 

 

 

ROSE

 

Whoah! Talk about the look of death! If Jack wants to keep things subtle and under wraps he’s going to have to work a bit harder on his poker face. All Daniel did was kiss me—obviously a sore point for our fearless leader. I can’t help but feel a little amused at that. Maybe Jack is jealous. Should I be kind and drop out of the game? Or should I take a mean-spirited stance and push the envelope? After all, I LIKE kissing, and if Jack won’t do it, I’ve got three very nice potentials right here. Not letting Sam off the hook either, the rat.

 

 

 

CARTER

 

Rose’s turn. The colonel is stewing nicely now, on a simmer level that’s pretty close to erupting and I have every intention of getting out of the way once he goes nova. Oops, little mistake there. Need to spin again—Oh wait! She CAN’T be ser—

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

Whoah. Not a scenario I would have imagined, but intriguing. And a bit, um, hot. Okay a LOT hot—wow! Rose is NOT shy on the lip service. Sam looks a little panicked here, and JACK---

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

Ms. MacGyver is kissing Major Carter. This image is both intriguing and unexpected. It will take a great deal of Kel’No’ Reeming to restore my symbiote to any semblance of serenity. I can see how this pastime has gained a reputation of notoriety. O’Neill seems quite agitated as well.

 

 

 

JACK

 

Jesus! As if my damn chain hasn’t been yanked ENOUGH tonight! Grabbing Rose by the shoulder, yank her up, haul her off out of the circle of firelight, not hard enough to bruise, but she’s not getting the option to say no, NOT this time! Shoot the ‘Stay Put if you God Damn Well Know What’s GOOD for You’ look at the kids.

 

Hustle her off a good distance, beyond the tents. Enough light from the moons to see our way, keep moving. Not going to have an audience for this ass chewing—damn it! I’m hard, aching restless hard. Cannot let Mr. Happy do the talking!

 

“What the FUCK are you DOING?”

 

“Kissing, Jack—remember it?”

 

“I can’t FORGET it! And why the hell are you doing it with CARTER!?”

 

“Because she—never mind, Jack. I’m not getting into this with you, all right? It’s just a stupid game.”

 

“Of course it is. Stupid.”

 

Touching her, got her shoulders, warm in the palms of my hands, little kitten-boned woman. Sleek muscle under the cotton here. I can smell the sweet heat of her, the aroused Rose scent. God! Push her back, away. Touching is BAD. Can’t touch. Will NOT touch.

 

 

 

ROSE

 

Jack you’re killing me here! Your voice is saying one thing and your hands are telling me the complete opposite. I feel the heat of them massaging my shoulders, the strength of your grip. You WANT me, I know you do—for God’s sake, either let go or take me. I can’t handle much more of this and I don’t think you can either. I told you I’d stand by our decision, but it’s not fair if you’re going to torture me this way. Oh God, yesss, pull me close, closer—

 

 

 

CARTER

 

Houston, we have lift off. The argument ended about two minutes ago, and the muffled noises we’ re hearing are NOT those of any indigenous animals. I can see Daniel’s cleaning up the game and trying very hard to keep a straight face, but I’m grinning and rightly so. Neither Teal’c nor Daniel can meet my eye—I think they’re both intrigued by Rose’s pounce on me. Actually, I’M still a little shaky on that—I truly didn’t see that one coming, and I guess I deserved it, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m just glad that the colonel and Rose are back together.

 

Darn it, I never DID get to kiss Teal’c.

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

Talk about a night of surprises—kissing Sam, watching Sam GET kissed, hearing Jack fighting his baser nature further down the beach—not the sorts of things Hammond’s going to want to know about, but the main point is that at least Jack’s back to the physical level with Rose, and that’s a good point. I don’t know how much more the three of us can demonstrate our approval short of a round of applause.

 

Privacy is probably the element they need most, so Sam, Teal’c and I need to make ourselves scarce for the night and hope the two of them manage to work this out before we have to do an intervention. Given Teal’c addiction to tabloid TV, that could get ugly.

 

Speaking of which, perhaps it’s a good thing Sam’s taking the first watch as well—I’m not sure I could handle being too close to her at the moment. While I appreciate her as my co-conspirator and dear friend, parts of my anatomy are much more into the concept that she’s a beautiful woman who’ll be sleeping barely a foot away from me.

 

Going to be a loooong night.

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

Originally Major Carter procured a separate tent for me under the subterfuge that I would need to KelNoReem for most of the night. It seems that the deception may in fact have become the truth. When we return I will seek out General Hammond and request an opportunity to return to Chulak at the earliest convenient moment.

 

Should that not be possible, I will insist on submitting myself to Doctor Fraiser’s monthly seminal fluid collection.

 

 

 

JACK

 

Rose is trying to say something but I don’t have a clue what it is because I keep losing myself in her mouth. Kisses are top priority at the moment, can’t stop even if I WANTED to which I don’t not by a long shot!

 

Every kiss convinces me that I’m wrong, that trying to change the status quo is going to destroy me from the inside out. Concepts like right and wrong don’t have any weight in a moment like this, when my arms are full of what I crave.  Jesus! I suddenly know the difference between a want and a need; I want to do the right thing, but I NEED Rose.

 

Hell of a revelation.

 

Gotta talk to her, get this explained to Rose if I can just stop sucking her tongue long enough for the two of us to talk—

 

 

 

ROSE

 

God! Love this man; love every bad goofy inch of him! He’s not making any sense, he’s all over me, and I’m not putting up any sort of fight.

 

Deep, deep kisses; lovely wet ‘want you so damn BAD’ kisses melting my spine, leaving me breathless and hungry for more. Hot and achy, Jack makes me hot and achy. I shift my thighs and try to touch him everywhere. Too needy too weak, I can’t get clear enough to talk, don’t want to talk. Need to feel his skin, his pulse—

 

“Need you, Jack—“

 

“Yeah, me too—“

 

“But we said—“

 

“—Fuck what we said. Didn’t know it was going to be this bad—“

 

“--Carter and the others—“

 

“—You don’t buy it any more than I do, Rose. We were set up. Oh, more—right there—“

 

“B-but why?”

 

“Talk later---“

 

 

 

CARTER

 

Okay, this is boring and frustrating. In an attempt to fix up my colonel’s love life I get to ponder the pitiful state of my own. Pace in the dark, brooding over Martouf the Maybe, and Narim the Namby Pamby. Not the most spectacular of choices, and I’m not even considering Simmons at the moment. Let’s take a look at this objectively, shall we?

 

Martouf is in love with an element within me I can’t even consider to be my own. Nice man, fairly attractive, and he’s met Dad, but it’s not as if I made a choice to be with him. I look in his eyes and see Jolinar there, blonde, perfect and totally Tok’ra.

 

Narim—handsome, winsome, has a steady job, but probably the walking definition of wishy washy. I’m not addicted to men of action per se, but Holy Hanna, he acts as if he has to contact the high council every time he wants to change his socks. Wonder how much paperwork he’d have to file for a kiss?

 

That leaves guys closer to home. Daniel? Maybe, when he’s had time to deal with Shau’re being truly gone. Teal’c? Maybe, but I wouldn’t dare to presume. The colonel would have been a No Go even without Rose around.

 

Siler? Davis? Janet?

 

JANET?

 

Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

Oh boy. I need a distraction. Think about something innocuous as I lie here in the dark. Cuneiform, maybe. Linear B, text on the laws of agriculture for the Markets of Immenhotep—or as Jack would announce, Squiggly thing, bird thing, wavy lines, wheat, jump rope, more squiggly things—

 

Dear God, I’m sounding like Jack. Must be a hormonal reaction to the rising level of testosterone around here.

 

I wish I hadn’t thought ‘rising’.

 

Boring thoughts. Briefings. No, that leads to thoughts of briefs, and that brings on images of underwear, which is too close to skin—umm, let’s see. What else is boring? Getting my blood pressure done. Cuffed, getting pumped—NO!!

 

Shit. It’s impossible to be bored when you’re compulsively apodyopsistic. I hope Teal’c’s getting his rest, because at this rate he’s going to be the only one who is.

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

*******************

 

 

 

JACK

 

Not to brag about it, but I’m strong enough to heave the woman up on one shoulder and haul her delectable ass back to the tent; which I do, despite her splutters and useless pounding. Rose and I have much to work out, starting with her body from her clothes. Given the flushed and wide-eyed look she’s got on her face, I’m only getting token protest. I know my honey well enough to sense that.

 

The campfire is out, and I sense instinctively that the kids have deliberately taken a powder leaving mom here and me to muddle through the dark. Muddle. Good verb, prone with hot and sticky possibilities. Rose is going limp as she dangles, waiting to hear my command decision.

 

“In the tent—“ I hiss, shifting her off of my shoulder and into the dark sand. She staggers a bit, and drops her hands on her hips.

 

“Jack!”

 

“That’s an order, MS. MacGyver—“ I announced loudly in my best Colonel Bastard tones. She huffs once at me, but rather than risk me yelling anything else, ducks into it quickly. I follow, making a point to close the flaps, closing us in our lovely canvas cocoon of dark dank mildew.

 

I could care less what the place smells like as I reach for Rose. Damn it! Rose is clearly in the lead since she does the dodge in the dark very well, avoiding my grasp out of a sense of self-preservation I assume. I thought kissing would take the edge off my appetite for her, but instead it’s honed the hunger to a coppery edge bordering on desperation.

 

How to get this friggin’ discussion over with so we can get back to the REAL agenda?

 

“I was wrong!” I blurt out in the darkness, listening and trying to figure out exactly where my field analyst is hovering.

 

“WE were wrong—“ she swiftly corrects, giving away her location. I drop down, but the creaking of my knees warns her and she shifts in the dark tent, damn it.

 

“LoveyouneedyouWANTyou,” I snap, feeling a compulsion to get the talking out of the way as quickly as possible.

 

“Geez Louise, I knew that before we decided to cool things down, Jack,” comes her slightly scornful reply. If I wasn’t so horny and so chagrined by her insight I’d be much pissier.

 

“Then cut me some slack here, babe—I’m TRYING to do the meaningful dialog thing.”

 

“So talk already, Flyboy, because I for one am not convinced this isn’t a desperate ploy to indulge in your off-world nookie fantasies. How do I know you won’t retreat into Colonel Hardass mode tomorrow, Jack? You can’t just expect me to capitulate because you’re horny!”

 

“WE’RE horny!” I’m compelled to point out in the interests of fair play. The way Rose was trying to write her name on my tonsils with her tongue was a dead giveaway.

 

Her silence speaks volumes, and I manage a grin as I continue.

 

“Look, we talked about the good of the team, Rose—the essential balance of professionalism, experience and empathy. We hashed out what makes SG1 work, and concluded that the two of us scorching the sheets would screw things up—this sounding familiar so far?”

 

“Far too—“ comes Rose’s voice from behind me. I heard her.

 

“But we made two big mistakes.”

 

“Two?”

 

“Oh yeah. In the course of going all noble and self-sacrificing here, I tried to squash down the fact that I fell in LOVE with you!” I snarl. This baring of my soul should be depressing the hell out of Mr. Happy, but he’s traitorously straining forth like the bastard he is.

 

 

 

ROSE

 

We’re talking. Sort of. I’m staying out of arm’s reach, which isn’t easy, and getting Jack to open up, which isn’t easy either. It’s not that he has a problem with emotions, far from it—he has no common sense with them. Jack’s sarcastic when he should be thoughtful, glib when he should be cautious—the list goes on. Nobody who knows him could ever accuse Jack of being emotionless, just clueless.

 

Myself included.

 

I can’t get smug about this decision to break things off with Jack—it WAS a joint resolution between us, an honest attempt to do the right thing as we saw it at that time.

 

But I faced the truth a bit sooner than he did—it only took me three days to realize that I was truly, madly, deeply besotted with the Chicago O’Neill. I was buttering my toast, thinking about the times I’d watched him brown his to a shade somewhere between Teal’c skin and charcoal, and it just hit me in the stomach how much I loved the man.

 

I gave a damn about his toast, for cryin’ out loud!

 

So I waited to see if Jack was going to be able to stay strong. The days went by, and I started to crumble inside. He was bleak but resolute, flintier than I’d ever seen him before; determined to bluff it out and keep SG1 on an even keel. I might have bought the act, too, if I hadn’t caught a few clues.

 

He kept “borrowing” my coffee mug. It was my favorite, the one with the enameled fishes on it. There could be eight mugs around Daniel’s coffeemaker, and Jack O’Neill would invariably take mine every damn time.

 

The other was when Sergeant Siler caught me. I was trying to repair one of my shelf brackets in my office by standing on a chair on my desk—stupid, I know, but maintenance was talking FOREVER, and I though I could do it myself. The door was open, and I was trying not to teeter when the sergeant came carrying a load of files.

 

He startled me; I twitched, and the chair leg slipped. I fell, but Siler dropped the files and reached up to catch me. Good man, the sergeant—quick reflexes, strong muscles. Too bad Jack stepped in to find me clutching Siler like a life buoy.

 

“There had better be a damned good explanation for this,” he hissed in a low voice as he crossed his arms and waited. Siler set me down and shot me a brave look; I sighed.

 

“I fell and the sergeant caught me, sir—“

 

“And just what the hell were you doing up on the desk?” Jack came closer, brown eyes narrowing.

 

Siler managed to slip out, leaving me to face a twenty-minute lecture on safety in the workplace and a stern promise not to engage in dangerous acrobatics, even as Jack paced around in a desperate attempt to keep from touching me.

 

Ah Love.

 

I digress—the point was and is, that Jack was subliminating Big Time, and it was only a matter of until he came to his senses. Considering this was Jack, however, that could stretch out longer than my sanity.

 

 

 

CARTER

 

Janet? Is this because Rose kissed me? Am I a lesbian and didn’t know it?

 

Sheesh! Let’s put this to the test then. Who would I rather take a bubble bath with—Janet or Martouf?

 

Okay, that wasn’t a fair test.

 

Who would I rather kiss in the rain, Rose or Narim?

 

Shit!

 

This is definitely getting weird.

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

Ohhhhhhhhh dear. This is not good. I’m definitely turgid. Unfortunately, I can’t take matters into my own hands as the saying goes, because I have no idea when Sam’s due back in, and getting caught in a privately intimate moment would be an incredibly BAD thing. I suppose I can I scoot off to the latrine pit for relief if I can manage not to lose my way or fall in.

 

This time.

 

Okay, Jackson, time to concentrate on that which is going to kill your libido. Think of symbiotes in your coffee, think of Maybourne in a thong—Ooooh yeah. THAT’S incredibly vile. If I lose myself in that image I may never have a hydraulics problem again—

 

Trouble is, the memory of Rose diving into Sam’s mouth is still a little too recent to put out of mind completely, if I’m going to be honest here. This might call for the worst of the worst—Bra’tak and Maybourne going at it—

 

Oof! Regurgitation is a distinct possibility here—

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

******zzzzzz*******

 

 

 

JACK

 

“I love you, ya know!”

 

 I reiterate this point, just to make sure Rose knows I’m not mincing any words here. She’s right behind me now; I can feel her breath between my shoulder blades. Itching to pounce on her, but it’s still not quite the right time, and she’d probably scoot out under the flaps anyway. I take a deep breath.

 

“I know, Jack. Believe me, I know,” comes her sorrowful reply. The sound of it cuts deep into me; I’m aware of how much she’s held back trying to accommodate me on this stupid decision. Rose isn’t chiding me—exactly. I shake my head, even though I know she can’t see it.

 

“It was a bad choice, okay? Even though we thought we were doing the right thing, turns out the gestalt of this unit runs deeper than we thought,” I respond in a low voice, “ A lot deeper.”

 

“In what way, Jack?”

 

“You . . . “ it’s hard to put into words and have it mean what I really feel, but I give the old Air Force try, “ground me. Keep me balanced, babe. I’m connected to everything that matters to me through you.”

 

For a long moment she seems to digest this, and her arms slide around my waist as she snuggles in. The heat of her against my back seeps in, feeling righteously good.

 

 I relax.

 

“I didn’t know that,” she confesses with a little hitch in her voice. I love that sound, the tiny choke that means she’s trying not to cry. Lightly my fingers slide over hers and I squeeze them. Not big on the emotional thing, but even I’M a little chokey here.

 

“Jack I tried, darling I really did—“ She rushes in, grip tightening around me, “—but I was on the verge of asking Hammond to reassign me. I couldn’t deal with seeing you all the time and not being able to completely cope with what I was trying NOT to feel—does that make any sense?” she trailed off uncertainly.

 

 

 

ROSE

 

Woo boy, Jack O’Neill in touch with his Feelings—alert the media! Don’t know if I can take much more of this, what with my arms full of warm sensitive man, and my head full of his words.

 

So it’s mutual. It’s definitely mutual here. We agree on that much, and that’s progress, for us anyway.

 

“You were having trouble dealing with your lust for my saggy ass—“ he teases me warmly. I bite his shoulder blade through his damp tee shirt and he flinches.

 

“No mauling the aging love toy—“ comes his slightly breathless reply. I snort.

 

“Jack, are we going to give this another go then?” I demand quickly, getting it out without flinching. He sighs and I feel his ribcage expand in a deep powerful move. In a swift move, he turns in my arms, and drops a kiss on my mouth—a tender one, sweet, but gentler than the ones we indulged in earlier. Those were demands; this is a promise.

 

“We already ARE,” he points out, “because the second mistake we made was assuming the rest of the team wasn’t a part of this. And it’s pretty obvious that they are even to ME.”

 

I rest my forehead on his chin; Jack absently kisses my hair.

 

“Teal’c and Sam and Daniel have a say in this?”

 

“A BIG say, apparently,” comes a mutter against my skin. I hug him more tightly. He does the same. I LIKE what I’m feeling.

 

“It’s all understated, Rose—all in the subtext of what we do. Believe me, if anyone had a problem with us being US we’d have heard about it. Not just the regs thing that Carter would spout, but in dozens of other subtle little ways.”

 

He’s right. You can’t be this close to the people your life depends on without knowing the body language, the telltale signs of mood and temperament and trust.

 

It’s clear to me that we owe the kids an explanation, an apology—something.

 

“Jack—“ I begin, uncertain what to say. He draws me closer, his big calloused hands sliding up under the tee shirt.

 

“Hey the LEAST we can do is take the hint—“ he whispers, and I can feel his grin on my throat.

 

 

 

CARTER

 

I LIKED kissing Daniel! And just because I can’t seem to manage any sort of stable relationship outside the Air Force is not indicative of gender issues! I thought I left this all behind at the Academy, and here it is again, smacking me in the face. Thank God my watch is over and I can let Daniel pace around and fend off mosquitoes a while. Stomp my way back to the tent. Not much noise. I peer over twenty feet at the Colonel’s tent. Not much noise.

 

“Daniel?”

 

“Sam?”

 

He doesn’t sound good—crawl in, give him a quick pat on the knee—

 

Um.

 

That wasn’t his knee—

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

Oh.

 

Think fast, duck and cover, Jackson—don’t let this get out of hand—or IN hand--

 

“Watch the No fly zone!” I hiss in desperation.

 

Did I really say that? And she’s . . . she’s--

 

GIGGLING!

 

“Sam!”

 

“S-s-sorry! I had no idea you had hostile territory there, Daniel!”

 

How to move beyond this moment—this is NOT the sort of moment I handle well, but it’s also not the only time I’ve ever been groped, or misgroped in the dark. Sam is shifting, and I’m clearing my throat in wretched embarrassment, trying to WILL away this lump in my shorts and pretend the last minute of our lives didn’t happen—

 

Oh. Sam’s moving closer. She smells nice, warm and sweet. Her fingers are brushing my face, gentle and slow.

 

“Daniel, don’t sweat it—I have a brother, I know about male physiology okay? Just a hormonal response.”

 

“Um, yeah,” comes my weak reply. She’s sitting next to me, and I lean into her warmth, enjoying it between us. Suddenly I notice something I hadn’t before.

 

Sam’s nervous.

 

I wonder why?

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

*****Prim’ta, Kree!

 

 

 

JACK

 

Oh shit, is this just like those fantasies I used to have during Boy Scout camp big time—musty tent, great outdoors and half-naked woman in my arms. Having freed Rose from my tee shirt, I drag her down to the camp bed and proceed to taste as much of her exposed skin as I can. She’s appreciative, but before her moaning gets too loud, I drop a gentle but firm hand over those lips.

 

Rose gets the message, but then starts licking my palm, making my knees buckle a little. I pin her down under me and fumble one-handed for my fly, but Rose lends a hand here, still whimpering against my fingers. We scrabble with my boots and socks and finally, FINALLY toss it all to the sandy floor and slam together on the lumpy bed.

 

Ohhhh Yeah, missed this, REALLY missed hot skin made cool when wet, kisses, kisses, kisses—deep slow plunges into that naughty mouth, impatient hands sliding all over my torso. Rose the analyst is dependable and competent; Rose the lover is a wantonly pushy woman with a pretty clear agenda of what she wants of me.

 

She’s gonna be getting it, too—

 

 

 

ROSE

 

Jack O’Neill weighs a ton, but breathing doesn’t matter to me at the moment, not when I have him lying on my stomach, skin to skin like this. Lost in the lovely sweet weight of him.

 

Gonna be fast and furious, Ohhyeah, come to mama big boy—neither one of us is going to last long, but that’s okay—ohGodohhhhhGod!

 

 

 

CARTER

 

He smells so good, and man is he hot. This isn’t just tropical sweat hot, this is tangy aroused hot. Daniel in lusty sweetness . . . I think I want to kiss him again. Forget that, I KNOW I want to kiss him. He’s not pulling away, just waiting there—what do I do, what do Immmmmmmph—

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

--Mmmmmmph, okay, THAT is good. This is a program I can get with, definitely. Kissing Sam. Tasty Sam—Mmmmmmmmph

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

I have met my KelNoReem needs and will inquire if Daniel Jackson wishes to alternate his watch with mine.

 

After further consideration, I will not. Although I will subtly chide both him and Major Carter for their lack of discretion it does not matter at the moment. I feel a sense of accomplishment at reuniting Ms MacGyver with O’Neill and the union of Daniel Jackson with Major Carter is an unexpected benefit. I will watch the sun rise and wait our return to the SGC, then seek out Doctor Frasier to relieve my engorgement. Possibly more than once.

 

It is much better to work with Tau’rii who are as they say, Getting Some.

 

 

 

JACK

 

After weighing all the factors, and re-evaluating the pros and cons I officially rescind the disastrous command decision of a week and a half ago. Clearly a deprived and desperate leader negatively impacts the team dynamics and esprit de corps. For the sake of SG1 and my own damned sanity, I officially countermand said erroneous decision.

 

Sweet!  That sounded official, and all it really boils down to is that the kids have a mom, officially now, if that doesn’t come across as a little too friggin’ Brady Bunch.

 

Rose is a nice boneless bitty heap on me, right where I like her. I have teeth marks in my palm from keeping her enthusiastic vocalizations down, but hey, that’s what fingerless gloves are for covering up. Mr. Happy has gone completely ecstatic three times now, and persists in coaxing me to an encore, but I don’t want to wear out my welcome with She Who Worships me here—

 

 

 

ROSE

 

Mmmmmmm. Happyhappyhappy. The Three Little Pigs are still on my naughty list, and will be dealt with at the appropriate time of course, but for the moment I’m very comfortable here on my Beautyrest O’Neill.

 

Amazing how getting laid can change your whole outlook on things. Mind you, this will be the first and last time it’s going to happen off-world. Lovely as it was, there are SOME ground rules that make sense and that’s one of them. That and keeping the PDA’s to a bare minimum of course. I respect Hammond too much to put him in a tough position.

 

Eek! Jack’s nuzzling me again, and not with his nose! No more, I mean, honestly, you’d think he hadn’t gotten any . . . Ohhhh, well if he’s going to play it THAT way . . .

 

 

 

CARTER

 

I have found a whole new interest beyond science---wow! From physics to physical via the Doctor Jackson interactive experience! Stroked like a stone tablet, fondled like a petroglyph, and then jumped so completely and intensely that even my eyebrows are sighing!

 

This is embarrassing—that all of this was under my nose the whole time and I never realized it. While I was trying to be respectful about Shau’re, it never dawned on me that Daniel had already started to move forward again.

 

Love him? Don’t know—but I could sure get used to encounters of the Daniel kind, absolutely.

 

 

 

DANIEL

 

Oh my. I jumped Sam. SAM. Not only did I jump Sam,  I A) LIKED it, B) suspect she liked it and C) am considering how to do it again as soon as humanly possible.

 

Okay. One thing at a time. I’m a reasonable human being with a normal sex drive and a modicum of intelligence. I loved my wife. My wife is dead. My libido is not, obviously. So at some point last night after kissing Sam and seeing Sam kissing Rose my body decided enough was enough and it was time to stop pretending Samantha Carter doesn’t have a fabulous ass because she damned well DOES.

 

I can respect that. I’m astonished, delighted and stunned that she felt the same way, and pounced on me at the same time I pounced on her. A mutual pouncing as it were.

 

Do I love her? I’m not sure. I respect her, adore her, and admire her, but---we’ll need to talk. Absolutely. With more pouncing just to be sure.

 

 

 

TEAL’C

 

The Tau’rii are a complicated and confusing race. This morning O’Neill announced that quote you have a new mom, kids, unquote. I find this perplexing because there was only Ms. MacGyver with him, and she did not look particularly maternal. She looked annoyed with O’Neill, and somewhat disheveled. She limped a bit, and muttered under her breath that O’Neill would be occupying a location known as the ‘wet spot’ for the rest of all time.

 

When I asked Daniel Jackson for clarification of this idiom he turned quite red and mumbled a reply that it was a vulgar label for post-coital ejaculate and could I please not ask about it further at the moment. Major Carter too, seemed uncomfortable with my question. As we returned to the star gate, only O’Neill seemed to be alert and in a state of mind best defined as ‘smug’.

 

“Nothing quite like winning at Spin the Bottle,” he announced loudly before ushering us all back through the gate.

 

I am mystified, since to the best of my recollection he did not in fact, play.

 

 

END

 






     
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