It's New Year's Eve and Samantha Carter has had enough.
She spent Christmas with her brother, as always. Her nephew is looking at colleges and starting on his high school's basketball team. Her niece is in love with Justin Timberlake and drawing hearts on her book covers with Jimmy written in them in floral script -- and blushing furiously when Sam asked her who Jimmy was.
And Sam -- Ph.D., Air Force Major, the top scientific mind of the most important classified base on the planet -- has spent the last seven years mooning over a man she can't have.
"I think you just need to get it out of your system," her sister-in-law said, late on the last night, when Mark and the kids had been sent off to bed and the two women were drinking red wine in front of the automated gas fire. "I bet it won't be as great as you're imagining. He's just a guy, Sam."
Strangely, Sam's become closer to Kristin than she ever was to Mark. And all of her girlfriends from the Academy and Washington are in the military -- hardly any help.
"I don't know," she said. "It's not a simple thing."
"But I know you, Sam," Kristin said. "You're going to torture yourself about this forever and nothing's ever going to change unless you do something about it."
This was a thought Sam had had before -- more than once -- and she was just about fed up enough to accept it as truth. She considered the idea of throwing herself at her superior officer. And blushed.
So now it's two days later and it's the colonel's turn to host their annual I'd-rather-be-here-than-spend-the-last-night-of-the-year-alone party. They used to do this for Cassie's benefit, but Cassie's off with her friends now and they're all still here and that, Sam thinks, should tell them something. And Daniel's begged off for the first time, to spend the holidays in Cairo. Maybe he had a better offer, or just bought a clue, Sam doesn't know.
She has way too much to drink and a dinner of pretzels and nachos (Colonel O'Neill's never been one for fancy entertaining). And she turns up their customary flirting a notch, though not, she hopes, so much that the others will notice. She sits a centimeter too close, brushes her hand accidentally on his thigh when she gets up to get another beer, smiles at him just the right way in the kitchen. He returns the smile but it's got an edge of confusion to it, like when he's pretending not to grasp one of her theories.
Sam spins around, heads back to the living room, and imagines the look on his face when she walked away. She sits next to a thoroughly plastered Janet and the two of them start heckling the hideous teenybopper band on the TV.
The ball drops and there's no kissing, there never is. Sam wonders what Cassie thought the first time her boyfriend tried to stick his tongue down her throat at 12:00:01. Teal'c brought the kind of noisemakers that unfurl when you blow them and they all dutifully partake, but Sam notices that the colonel's eyeing her carefully while he does it.
Janet has to leave right away, to make sure Cassie gets home for her 12:30 curfew; Sam says she'll stick around to help clean up and they live in different directions anyway, so there's no use sharing a cab. Teal'c is staying the night and disappears into the guest room soon after Janet goes. Smart man, Teal'c. He was probably onto her the minute she walked through the door.
And now it's just the two of them, at 12:20 AM on the first of January. She sits cross-legged on the couch, shoes still comfortably off, and watches him collect empty bottles. It's hardly a mess; there was no real reason for her to stay, and they both know it.
"So," he drawls a little awkwardly, "Happy New Year, Carter."
"Happy New Year, sir." And the happy little hum that's been buzzing between her legs all night makes her inject a note into the words that wouldn't normally be there.
"Maybe this'll be the one where we finally kick some serious Goa'uld butt, huh?" He looks at her -- he probably thinks it's a sly look -- and she interprets it easily: This can't go on forever. Just wait a little while longer. Don't do anything stupid.
So she promptly does something stupid. All those brilliant ideas, it's gotta be her turn to be the dumb one by now.
"I want to get laid," she announces.
He chokes. She intentionally timed it when he was finishing the last of his cheap beer. When he recovers, he starts for the phone and says, "Okay then! One cab, coming right up!"
"No, listen to me." He actually stops and looks at her. It's not often she gets to tell him what to do. She kind of likes it. "You ever think maybe we're making it out to be a much bigger deal than it really is? Maybe it's like -- when you're absolutely dying for chocolate, and you have some, and the craving is gone." She knows she sounds ridiculous and drunk and adolescent and probably desperate, too, but she can't quite care enough to stop.
He stands in the middle of his living room, still patting his chest and sputtering a little, the recycling bin dangling from one hand. The bottles are going to fall out if he's not careful. "Chocolate," he says stupidly. He's had a lot to drink, too.
Right -- he's not a huge chocolate fan. "Donuts, then," she says, knowing quite well that won't make any sense when she's sober.
He finishes the bottles and retreats into the kitchen; she can hear him washing his hands. "You really think one chocolate-covered donut is gonna help?" he asks as he returns. And she can tell by the way he's carefully not looking at her that she's starting to piss him off. And she likes that.
"Shit, I don't know," she admits. "I'm just so tired of this. This little game we play. Worrying what other people might think. Masturbating alone on Saturday nights."
He ignores the last because he's fixated on the first, and his eyes are dark as he sits beside her. Too close, like she was earlier.
"I have never played games with you," he says in that voice that means he's about to erupt. She likes that, too.
She knows it's cruel and at least partially untrue but she says it anyway. "Haven't you?"
"No. And if that's all you think it is, then -- Jesus, Carter."
She starts to relent, half-decides to apologize and take it all back, but she's drunk too much courage tonight and the solo sex is getting really, really old and maybe Kristin was right, after all. Maybe he's just an itch she needs to scratch.
"You can't even say my name," she says, and recognizes it as the worst kind of emotional manipulation even as the words come out of her mouth.
He frowns. "I say it. When -- you know -- " His eyebrows dive together, his jaw working furiously. "On Saturday nights."
She smiles at that, delighted, and lays a hand on the slight bulge in his khakis.
His eyes roll back in his head. "Jesus," he says. "I -- you -- this is a really stupid idea, Carter."
"I don't care." She squeezes and he sucks in a desperate breath. He's just a guy, she tells herself. He won't say no and she's about to get what she's always wanted and it all seems so, so simple right now and she's not going to ruin it with thoughts of tomorrow.
So she leans in for a furious kiss, forces her tongue into his mouth, tastes anger and desperation and joy and need. She rises up on her knees so she can throw one leg over him, straddling his lap, and holds his face still with both hands. His tongue melts under hers and his arms rise to circle her back, pulling her closer to his chest, and she knows she's won.
One hand slides down the back of her jeans to grab her ass and she groans out a "yes" into his mouth. His head tilts on the back of the couch. She reluctantly leaves his lips to nibble at his throat; the stubble feels sharp and dangerous against her mouth. She's so pale that she gets rashes from this but she wants him to mark her, on her face and elsewhere.
He uses both hands to drag her hips down until they're in full contact, and he's hard and hot through the layers of cloth. She circles to find the right angle, shamelessly rubs against him.
"Oh, God, Sam," he says into her ear. Then he pulls her head back up to meet his, for another burning kiss.
She reaches between her own legs and under his shirt, trying to find his belt, but he grabs her wrist. "Not here," he says breathlessly. "Teal'c. C'mon."
His bed is unmade, two piles of dirty laundry -- whites and darks -- on the floor. She's been here exactly twice but both times were with backup. So she hangs back a little nervously by the door, then decides that's ridiculous and starts pulling off her own clothes.
"Don't," he says, though he's already loosening his pants to relieve the obvious pressure. "I wanna do it."
They share a smile and she lets him lead her by the hand to the bed, settling her gently on the pillows. He kisses her once, a lot more sweetly than he should. Then he unzips her jeans, slides a hand into her panties, and gasps at what he finds.
"Holy shit," he says, and starts tugging. "You're -- wow. I swear I've only seen this kind of thing on the Playboy Channel." She rolls her eyes -- definitely just a guy. And suddenly she's naked from the waist down and he's studying her with the intensity of Daniel and a prize artifact or herself and new, foreign gadget. Well, what do you know -- she's finally found the thing that turns him into a geek.
He pushes her thighs wide -- she's been doing yoga, she knows her extension is impressive -- and slides his thumbs along her smooth, bare skin. "It's beautiful," he says, and looks up at her face with a kind of wonder. "You're beautiful."
"So are you," she says, all tenderness now, and rubs her palm over his hair.
"Does it feel different?"
"More sensitive," she says. And certainly now, when he's got all ten fingers exploring, touching, gliding. "When I first had it done I couldn't stop touching myself."
"Oh, God. That's -- " He searches for words, finally settling for, "That's incredibly hot, Carter."
She starts tugging at his shirt and he gets the message, rising up long enough to get it off and then reaching for hers. But he leaves her bra on, cupping her breasts through the nylon before sliding his hands back down between her legs. He's got all his weight on his elbows and knees, his khaki-covered behind high in the air. She can't reach it and she kind of likes where he is at the moment, his breath cooling her heat.
He carefully spreads her apart with two fingers and slides his tongue inside. Oh, God. OhGodohGodohGod. And the next second he's sucking all of her into his mouth, teeth scraping her lips while she bucks off the bed. She shoves the cups of her bra aside so she can squeeze her nipples. He hooks his arms under her thighs, holds her down, and gets to work, his eyes closed in greedy delight. He licks her all over, all of her bare skin, spreading the wetness but avoiding her clit.
"Gonna make you come so hard," he murmurs as he kisses the hollow where her pelvis gives way to her thigh.
"Oh, God, yes," she says, pinching her nipples harder and watching him, his face buried between her legs. She wants him inside her -- has always wanted him inside her -- but that can wait. His lips and his teeth and his tongue are right where they belong and yes, he really is beautiful. And sometimes, when she's alone, she's imagined his head right there, or him watching her from across the room.
He nibbles on her clit, sucks it in, soothes it with a flick of his tongue, and then he's gone, lower, darting inside.
She cradles his head in her hands. "Turn around so I can touch you," she says.
He shakes his head, which makes his rough cheeks grate against her sensitive flesh, and grunts out a "no." Which is okay, because she doesn't really like giving blow jobs anyway -- though maybe she would with him, but that's a thought she shouldn't be thinking -- and she only said it because she was starting to feel selfish.
He untangles one of his arms from her thigh so he can push two fingers into her, and curls them until her gasp tells him he's found her favorite spot. His tongue is relentless on her clit now, lapping and sucking and lapping again and the pleasure is too much, she can't take it. She breathes in deep and she does come hard, like he promised, her insides tugging on his fingers while she spins away. And she tries to push his head aside but he just changes his point of attack and won't stop.
She lets him keep going for a few seconds but then moves out of his reach and forces him onto his back. He helps her get his pants off and he's rigidly at attention, hard and impressive, and she needs him in her now.
"Oh crap," he says a little dreamily, hand rising to his forehead. "I don't keep condoms in the house."
She actually has a couple in her bag, but that's a long way away. "I'm on the pill. And I'm sure Janet would have told us if we had anything contagious."
"Why are you on the pill?" he asks. She takes it as simple curiosity, though she could take it as jealousy if she wanted to.
"Makes life more predictable," she explains, kissing his belly while she curves her fingers under the weight of his balls. He groans and reaches for her chest; the bra is still on, the seams digging into the undersides while her nipples point out taut and red.
She centers herself over him and meets his eyes.
"Wanted you for so long," he says, his thumbs drawing circles on her breasts.
"Yes. God, yes." And she uses a hand to direct him, balancing the other on his chest, and surges down to take him in.
Oh, God, yes. He nudges her cervix -- he's a little bigger than she was prepared for -- and it's uncomfortable for a moment but she has wanted this for so fucking long, another body and not a piece of plastic. This body. OhGodyes. She slides up a bit and slams her hips against his, the sound of slapping skin intoxicating and wet and so very sexy. His hands rub up and down her sides while he moans with each thrust, and he never takes his eyes off her. Like he's memorizing her.
She looks down and she can see where they're joined now and she knows she's going to come again. She wants to come again, more than anything she's ever wanted in her life. He's filling her so perfectly and his fingers are digging into her hips and now he's saying her name.
"Sam -- God -- Sam -- I can't -- " And his orgasm seems to go on forever, his face screwed up tight, his hips flying off the bed. He slides a hand around her hip and blindly searches for her clit (still a gentleman; she should probably thank his ex-wife for that) but he's shaking too much so she does it herself. He's getting soft already now, but her legs are spread just right, her muscles burning, and he caresses the crease of her thigh while she rubs frantically. She climaxes with a tight gasp while he whispers, "Yes, Sam, yes." And it's perfect, it's absolutely perfect as she lies down on his chest, wrapping her arms under his shoulders, and he pulls her as close as humanly possible.
Yes, this is what she wanted. Only this.
Samantha Carter wakes up two hours after falling asleep in her CO's bed, runs to the bathroom, and throws up.
It's always been like this, her metabolism so quick that her hangover can't wait until morning. But he's there behind her in just a few seconds, rubbing her back and whispering, "It's okay, it's okay." He wraps a bathrobe around her, hands her tissues and a wet facecloth, and does he really have to be so damn nice?
Finally, she leans back against the tub and groans.
He stands long enough to draw her a glass of water. "I'll try not to take that personally," he says, sitting back down, naked, on the tiles.
She snorts -- it tastes like bile, disgusting -- and pulls the bathrobe closer around her body. She's freezing. "Not you," she says, accepting the glass. She takes a few tentative sips. "Oh, God, I'm so sorry."
"Don't worry about it. It's hardly the first time I've seen you blow chunks."
The image is almost enough to make her dive for the toilet again. She puts the water on the rim of the tub. "Lovely," she says.
He gives her that boyish grin of his, but it fades quickly. "Didn't know you were that drunk," he says, troubled.
"I didn't think I was. Shit." She's still not entirely sober. She covers her face with her hands. "I'm sorry."
There's a long pause, and then he says, "It's not exactly a night I'll remember with revulsion, Carter."
"No. Not about that. I -- shit."
"Carter? You okay?"
She reaches for the water, takes a long drink, and looks at him. "Truth?"
"Uh. Sure?" And he's wearing a sort of lost, hopeful, I'm-so-about-to-get-dumped expression that makes her heart hurt.
"God, I am going to kill Kristin," she mutters.
He plays dumb, and it's almost comforting, familiar. "The truth is that you're going to kill your sister-in-law?"
"Ugh. I -- " Oh, this is hard. "I never really thought it was like chocolate," she says quietly. "I'm sorry I said that."
"I was just kind of hoping."
"Would've been a lot more convenient," he agrees, kindly. And he nods a little, understanding.
She thinks carefully -- as carefully as she can, because she's even more aware now that she's not fully in possession of her faculties and, damn, how much did she drink last night? -- and finally admits, a little shyly, "It was a horrible analogy anyway. I'm completely addicted to chocolate."
He smiles a sweet, soft smile. "I'm pretty crazy about donuts, myself."
So now she's shivering, she's still a little drunk, she's sitting half-naked on a bathroom floor with her completely naked boss, she's got way too many emotions rushing at her, and she's either going to throw up again or cry or both. Her eyes fill up painfully and she looks at him, helpless.
"C'mon back to bed," he says.
She nods dumbly and keeps the bathrobe on and he pulls the covers over them both. She curls into his arms, spooning, grateful.
"It'll be okay," he whispers into her hair on the pillow. "We'll be okay."
"We can't do that again," she says.
"No. But it'll be okay." And she wants so badly to believe him.
In the morning Teal'c is up early, watching the parade; Sam's sure it's so he won't be around to see who emerges from which bedroom door. She hears the television from the living room and hopes they weren't too loud.
The colonel is beside her, reading a magazine, his glasses on. She never sees his glasses. She's on her side, facing him, and she takes a minute to admire the curve of his bicep while he turns a page, the curling pattern on the inside of his ear, his strong, flat chest, even the kind way he's pretending not to notice she's awake.
So not out of her system.
"I don't want to go," she says, finally.
He puts down the magazine, takes off his glasses, and slides back under the covers to face her. "I told you. This is gonna be the year we blow those snaky bastards to hell." It's a promise, and it's something. But they share a long look and his eyes are saying, I don't want you to go, either.
She looks away and asks if she can use his shower.
So now it's January second, and Samantha Carter is half an hour early for work. As she waits at the elevator on Level 11, her CO appears at the security check-in.
"Good morning, sir," she says. She just barely avoids raising her hand to her cheeks to make sure her stubble rash is gone.
"Morning, major. Happy New Year."
The elevator door closes behind them and he looks her up and down and no, he's not lingering at the apex of her thighs -- she's got to be imagining that. But he's holding a bag in one hand and she knows immediately what's in it, the bakery smell filling the small space.
"Brought donuts," he says, not quite smiling. "The chocolate ones are just for you."