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25 February 2012 @ 09:18 pm
Fic: All That Comes After [SG-1]  
Title: All That Comes After
Word Count: 1211
Rating: K+
Original/Fandom: Stargate: SG-1
Pairings (if any): Jack/Sam
Warnings (Non-Con/Dub-Con/RPF etc): none
Summary: Sam wonders whether her reason for joining the Air Force measures up.
Notes: Written for Weekly Drabbles Challenge at writerverse. Prompt: secret



All That Comes After



Teal’c helped Jack roll Daniel onto the guest bed. The archaeologist had passed out hard about an hour before and showed no signs of regaining consciousness for a while.

“You coming back out, Teal’c? The night’s still...” Jack looked at his watch and raised his eyebrows in surprise. He shrugged. “Well, it’s still dark anyway.”

“I believe I should perform my kel-no-reem now, O’Neill. I will remain here in case Daniel Jackson experiences any problems.”

“Okay, yeah. Good plan. Just let me know if you need anything,” Jack replied.

He returned to the living room to find Sam seated on the couch precisely where they had left her, several full shot glasses still sitting on the coffee table; sticky spills spread across the surface, remnants of their possibly ill-advised game of I Never. Drinking games weren’t a typical activity for them, but Sam had been telling a story from her Academy days and mentioned the game. Daniel had lamented that his young age and single-mindedness had precluded experiences like that during his college years. Teal’c then suggested that they play, claiming that he wanted to experience the game; he could afford to as he wasn’t drinking actual alcohol, Jack mused wryly.

He winced as he thought about the hangover Daniel was sure to be facing in the morning. He then looked at Carter again with concern. She was hunched forward, her arms resting on her knees, staring at the shot glass in front of her as if it were the most fascinating and problematic alien doohickey she’d ever seen.

“Well, we’ve lost half of the party. Maybe we should call it a night,” he said.

She looked slowly up at him, squinting slightly due to the combination of dry eyes and a slight sense of alcohol-induced vertigo. She smiled ruefully. “I’d better call a cab, then, Sir.”

“Why don’t you go ahead and take my bed? I can crash out here.”

“I couldn’t, Sir.”

He nodded, understanding that she wasn’t just being a polite guest. Even with Daniel and Teal’c there, it would look incredibly bad for both of them if it were discovered that she had spent the night in his house.

“I’ll call for you,” he offered. After placing the call, he sat down to wait with her.

“Some night, huh, Sir?” she asked suddenly.

He nodded. “Yeah, I could probably have lived without knowing a couple of those things about Teal’c.”

“Jaffa culture, Sir,” she clarified unnecessarily. With each revelation, Daniel had launched into an extemporaneous lecture, excitedly theorizing about the development and meaning of certain rituals and behaviors, until even Teal’c was tired of hearing about it.

She was looking at him intently. “Why did you join the Air Force, Colonel?”

The sudden change in the conversation threw him for a second, especially as she sounded like the answer to this question was incredibly important. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any deep, profound reason to give her.

“To fly,” he said simply. “What about you?”

She downed another shot before answering. “To try to get my father to talk to me.”

Jack was surprised. He had assumed that Carter had planned out her life at an early age, and that joining up was a natural part of those plans. Sure, he knew that the Carters from the two alternate universes they had encountered hadn’t been military, but he had thought they were the aberration. So why was she telling him this now? Was this just an extension of the game? Some drunk confession of secrets? Was she rethinking her choice?

He opened his mouth to speak but she continued on without him. “I guess my relationship with my dad was always difficult, but it wasn’t until my mom died that I realized how much she held us all together.” She shook her head. “We all just stopped talking: Mark, my dad, me. After a couple of years of that, I was so lonely. I was looking at colleges and it occurred to me that if I went Air Force, if I was successful at it, maybe it would give me some way to connect with Dad. Maybe he would respect me.”

Jack took a minute, trying to collect his thoughts. He wasn’t drunk, but he wasn’t sober enough for this conversation, whatever it was. He knew the kind of family life she was talking about, had seen it often enough through the years. Mom raises the kids day-to-day and Dad comes by to inspect the troops. He could easily see Jacob that way. The man was a formidable officer and possibly the only Tok’ra Jack could stand, but it couldn’t have been easy on Sam growing up in that house.

She was still looking at him, embarrassment and insecurity obvious as she waited for his response.

“Did it help?” he asked.

“No,” she scoffed. “Nothing did until he joined with Selmak.”

Jack had only met Jacob the one time before the older Carter was joined with Selmak. He could remember her moodiness on the flight back from Washington following the canceled medal ceremony a year ago. He had been distracted with his own issues, but wondered how much of her distress had been due to seeing her father.

“But you stuck with it anyway.” She nodded. “Why?”

She looked at him, surprised. “Why?” She thought a moment before answering. “Because it turned out to be the right fit. Because I got to do things that I would have only been able to dream about otherwise. Because I love it,” she finished, smiling.

“So, what’s with the big confession?”

“I just feel... silly, I guess. I mean, Teal’c has all these warrior codes and culture and history. And I just wanted my dad’s approval. I kind of feel like it doesn’t measure up.” Her smile faded a bit.

Jack tapped the arm of the couch as he thought. “You were, what, 18 when you started at the Academy?”

“Yes, Sir.”

He chuckled. “Carter, if any of us make the right decision for good reasons at that age, it’s a miracle. The point is what we do in all the years following. And you’ve got a lot to be proud of there. You know that. The team knows that. And so does your dad.”

Her smile returned. “Thank you, Sir.”

“Anytime, Carter,” he replied. They both turned as they heard the single beep of a car horn outside. He stood up and offered her his hand. “I guess your cab’s here.”

“Guess so.”

They walked to the door together. Jack opened the door and waved a ‘one minute’ sign at the cab driver while she shrugged on her jacket.

“See you bright and early Monday morning, Major?”

“Yes, Sir. Thanks again.” Before he could react, she gave him a quick hug and the lightest of pecks on the cheek. Then she was out the door, in the taxi, and driving away.

Jack shook his head, trying to ignore the tingling where her lips had brushed his skin. He closed up and headed to his room, just in time to see Daniel making a beeline for the guest bathroom.

“No more drinking games,” he said to himself as he wearily made a u-turn to get a glass of water for Daniel.



 
 
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Ami Ven: Team Playwrightami_ven on February 29th, 2012 06:50 am (UTC)
Very nice! I can completely believe this was Sam's reason for joining up- and for staying.
magickmoons: Jackmagickmoons on February 29th, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad it rings true. She certainly had a complicated relationship with her father. I think someday I might like to delve a little farther into that (note for future).