Chapter 1: In Every Heart there is a Room
Chapter 1 – In Every Heart there is a Room
“Shep,” Jack said as he walked into Aiden and John’s apartment, a six-pack under one arm and a box of pastries from Jaffa Java in the other.
“Yo,” Ronon said to Jack as he came in.
“Sup,” John said to Jack.
Aiden raised his beer at the newcomer.
“None of the girls came?” Jack asked, a little disappointed.
“Nah. Liz and Sam are studying today, and Rhea has a project to finish.”
“Haven’t they heard it’s summer?” Jack asked in bewilderment.
“Where are Teal’c and Daniel,” John asked.
“Teal’c has to work and Daniel isn’t really into sports.”
“That’s got to be annoying.” Aiden said, but no one answered him because John knew Jack wasn’t gay, and Ronon didn’t care, and Jack had no idea what he was talking about in the first place.
Jack put the beer in the fridge and plopped onto the couch next to Ronon. “How’s it going brother?”
“Got no complaints. You get that table and hutch done yet?”
“It’s getting there. Wasn’t happy with the dovetails on the drawer, so I had to redo it.”
Ronon nodded in understanding. He was a perfectionist too. “I’ve got those corner pieces done for you, and the oil finish is baking this weekend. I don’t like leaving the heat booth unattended, and I don’t trust the shop guys to turn off the heat when the timer goes if they get working on other stuff.”
“It’s fine. Bring them by Monday if you are around. I want to get staining before I put them on anyway.”
“Good plan. You waxing or poly after?”
“I think wax. I want it around a long time.”
“Don’t blame you. Can’t believe you aren’t charging for it.”
“It’s a gift.” Jack told him simply. Hell Sam didn’t even know he was building it for her. Monday Teal’c, Daniel, and himself were going over to Sam’s ex’s place and getting her furniture and anything else he had back. Jack had used his contacts in the Air Force to find out Jonas’ duty roster and knew he had leave Monday all day.
“Who’s the gift for?” John asked Jack in idle curiosity as he pulled out a glazed confection from Jack’s box of goodies.
“A woman,” Ronon filled in before Jack had a chance to speak.
A look of surprise flashed across Sheppard’s face.
“For your sister?” Ford asked.
”Not unless she’s at least 5’9, blond and rides an old Indian.”
Basically ignoring Ronon’s comment, John said, “Well, if she does, why haven't I met her?”
”Like I would let any of you near my sister,” Jack added.
John’s brow puckered a little bit. “So, you do have a sister? “he said, his voice thoughtful.
“Hey,” Ronon warned, “You’ve already got a woman.”
“Yeah, okay,” John defended, eyes twinkling. “If I have a woman, then so do you.”
“I don't think so, dude,” Ronon said, grinning, “I don’t recall moving anybody’s furniture lately.”
“Hey,” John said sharply, ”I'll have you know, that was weeks ago.”
Ronon scoffed, if the med student wasn’t Shep’s girlfriend, it was because he hadn’t asked. “This girl definitely isn’t Jack’s sister,” Ronon said, his voice heavy with meaning.
“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?” Jack asked.
Jack's words went ignored this time, and John gave Ronon a suspicious look. ”How would you know?”
”Well, she never mentioned a brother when we spent a leisurely few hours keeping each other company.”
The room grew quiet for a second as the others just looked at Ronon. ”She's the hot blond chick, with the bike. Remember, I picked her up the same day you were supposed to be helping me but instead played house with Liz.”
”Wait? What?” John said. ”Jack knows a hot biker chick?” Sheppard said, getting ready to ask why he didn't know when Ronon spoke again.
”It's Sam. you know, leggy blond physics major and your new neighbor.”
“Wait - that geeky girl that wears Sailor Moon t-shirts and hangs out with Liz?” Aiden asked.
“So she is your girlfriend.” Aiden said triumphantly.
John glared at him but no one noticed because Jack had the oddest look on his face. “Sam has a bike?”
“We covered that Jack. Try to keep up.” Shep told him but Jack hadn’t lost the thread of the conversation so much as he was having rather sudden wild fantasies of Sam in leathers.
Jack shook himself out of his fantasy. “Hey Shep, you on duty Monday?”
“I kind of have a thing and I want to make sure I can get backup if it goes sideways.”
“Well that’s not vague at all.” Ronon said sarcastically.
Jack huffed. “Sam’s ex still has all her furniture and stuff. Danny and Teal’c and I are going over to liberate her couch and dresser and stuff.” he said with a vague shrug.
“How do you know he’ll be home? I can’t let you commit a B and E Jack.” John told him pointedly.
“He’s Airforce.” Jack said as though this explained everything.
“That shit ain’t cool, dude,” Ronon said, his tone no longer sarcastic. He folded his arms over his chest.
Eyeing how the giant Samoan appeared to grow even bigger of the corner of his eye, John asked, “so what, he's home on Monday's?”
”Yeah,” Jack said.
“You want me to come with you.”
“Would I be asking if I didn’t?” Jack said dryly.
Sheppard shrugged in agreement. “I’ll come, if for nothing more than to keep you guys from getting an assault charger.”
“I’m coming too,” Ronon said gruffly.
”Now, I definitely need to come.”
“Wear your uniform.” Jack thought a moment. “Your TO is going to be ok with this?” Jack asked concerned. He didn’t want his friend screwing over all his hard work for Jack’s romantic entanglements.
”We can just do it after my shift ends. We are technically helping a friend move. I can just say I stopped by to help load a couch,” Sheppard said, looking over at Ronon. Not that anyone would believe they needed his help if they got a look at Ronon. ”You know ‘cause princess here broke a nail,” he added dryly.
“You’re sure?” Jack questioned.
Sheppard shrugged, “Yeah. I might mention it to Odenson, make sure it’s alright for me to help move a couch in uni.”
Jack chuckled. “Listen, Carter doesn’t know we’re doing this so keep your big yaps shut.”
“I don’t get it.” Aiden admitted.
“In theory, Tinkerbell here and Teal’c are going to stand over the guy while Daniel and I grab her stuff. Danny had been pumping her for information on which stuff the jerk still has of hers so I have a list of things to grab. I don’t think he’s going to give a couple guys twice his size any trouble. I’m sending Danny to the door because he’s the most harmless looking one of us, meanwhile, we flank out of field of vision. When he opens the door we’ll just barge in and invite him to get comfortable while we grab her stuff. Hopefully he hasn’t put it on the curb already or something but I kind of got the impression he’s the kind that keeps stuff out of spite.”
“Sam tell you that?” Shep asked.
“Nah, some of my buddies still in. Honestly she’s lucky she got out. I guess he’s a real piece of work, and he was running around on her too from the sounds of it. Anyways, I don’t want him finding out where she is now and I don’t know this op will work out the way I planned it because there’s too many variables I can’t pin down. If we don’t get her stuff back, I don’t want any of you saying anything to her about it. If it gets back to her eventually I’ll deal with the fall out. If she confronts you, just tell her it was all my idea because it was.” Jack took a long swallow off his beer.
Ford still looked a little confused but shrugged. “You guys have fun with that. I don’t get off duty until late Monday night anyway.”
Ronon smiled. “Just let me know when.”
“Isn’t that saying when you go into the woods carry a big stick?” Sheppard questioned. “This one over here is more like a bull in a china shop than Tinker Bell,” he added thoughtfully. ”I think Teal’c’s more like Tinker Bell, Ronon’s more like the blunt object you use to beat people with.”
”I can see your point, ” Jack said thoughtfully, eyeing the larger man. ”I always did appreciate a good sturdy blunt object,” Jack added, pretending to swing a bat. ”Sometimes that's the best medicine when finesse doesn't work.”
Ronon’s eyes burned brighter with amusement as he watched the two older men. “I am happy to be whatever tool you need.”
“Sam’s ex has the tool part covered. We’re bringing the light of truth into his world.” Jack said with a glint in his eyes.
Chapter 2: A Sanctuary Safe and Strong
Chapter 2 – A Sanctuary Safe and Strong
“Oh, hey Jack. What’s up?” Sam asked him when she saw who was calling her.
“Carter, why is there an Indian in my atrium?”
Jack sounded more confused and perturbed than strictly angry so Sam went for broke. “It was going to rain.” She told him as if that was the most obvious reason in the world to park a motorcycle inside an apartment building.
“It was going to rain.” He repeated dumbfounded.
“Yes sir.” He could hear her smile through the phone.
“There is a motorcycle inside my building Carter.”
“Yes Jack. It was going to rain.” She said to him the way she would a little kid.
Jack ran his hand over his face in exhaustion. “Carter, get the bike out of the building.”
“Is it still raining?”
“Does the bike fit in the elevator?”
“It does the freight one in the back.” He said then realized where this was going. “You are not putting a motorcycle in your apartment Carter. The floors can’t take the weight.”
“I know what the weight distribution is for a standard multi-level complex is Jack.”
“How do you- you know what, never mind. It’s not going in your apartment. That’s final.”
“You told me to bring the bike here from storage. I don’t mind leaving her out when it’s nice but it’s raining Jack.”
Jack let out a long suffering sigh. “What do you want me to do Carter?” It was kind of a plea as the bike couldn’t stay there or everyone else would start parking their bikes and scooters and any other nonsense they thought of to clog up the back entry and with his luck that would be exactly when Samuels showed up on one of his little surprise visits.
“If I put her in the basement, everyone is going to paw at her while they do laundry.” The building did have cages but there weren’t many of them and none of them were big enough to lock the bike in.
So far no one but Eli seemed to have caught on that there was something going on between them and he wanted to keep that between them until she was out of her no commitments phase of post break up so he wouldn’t surrender his heart to a woman that wouldn’t be his at all yet he’d have to see her daily. He’d know when she was ready for more. She knew where he stood or he thought she did. As of yet, they had only shared heated kisses in dark corners of the building and made out on game nights after everyone was too drunk to notice.
They were technically taking this slow. If you called heated make out sessions and blow jobs slow.
“All right. You have to swear to me that you absolutely will not tell anyone where your bike is stored or everyone and their mother is going to want to store their crap in my work shed. And you move her the moment it stops raining back out to the yard.” The back slots had an awning so it wouldn’t be sitting in the sun fading the bright red paint on her tank, but Jack had to admit it didn’t keep out many other elements and his shed was climate controlled.
“You’re sure? Jack - I could kiss you!”
“Yah yah. Keep it in your shirt Carter. I mean it. If anyone finds out she’s in my workshop, she’s sitting back in the yard again.” He was grinning though. “Listen I need to take off for a bit. See you at Daniel’s at two?”
“Will bells on, Jack but where are you going?”
“Apparently I need to make an extra key to the shed.” He grumped and hung up.
Sam held her phone stunned. She’d almost told him she loved him. ‘Oh shit’. She thought. When the hell did that happen?
Chapter 3: To Heal the Wounds of Lovers Past
Chapter 3 – To Heal the Wounds of Lovers Past
Jack was hand plaining a board and humming along to Billy Joel when Sam came in to get her bike out. “It’s too wet to ride Carter.” He said absently, still humming For the Longest Time while his hands slid the plainer over the mahogany board. He’d tried playing a bit of guitar earlier but kept finding himself playing torch songs which wasn’t helping that whole take things slowly with Sam thing he was working on at all. Not that Billy Joel crooning about eternal love was much of a change but his hands were busy and his 200 disk CD changer was set on random so the next song could be nearly anything.
The side door had opened with a swirl of damp rain scented air. Jack was engrossed in his work but only a handful of people would invade his sanctuary and only one of them brought him work to do. Fortunately, the door had revealed one his favorites.
Sam watched him for a moment. Sawdust had settled into his hair and there were curls of wood in the hair on his arms and he looked… content. This was clearly his happy place inside this dusty work shed surrounded by woodworking tools. He was humming along to an a cappella song she didn’t recognize. Hard rock and heavy metal were more her speed but she could see how it would be relaxing while working with sharp objects.
“It’s too wet to take the bike out Carter.” He said again absently, never taking his eyes off the board he was smoothing out.
“Yah, I know. I was hoping you would be ok with me doing a little maintenance on her if you don’t mind.”
Jack waved a hand absently. “Have fun.” He told her.
“Ok.” She said under her breath. She wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting. Their interactions were usually so charged you could blow Cheyenne Mountain with how forceful it was. Today he just seemed to be in his zone and even her staring at him had gotten little response. Not sure what to do with herself having failed to distract him the way she’d expected to, Sam wandered around the small twenty by twenty building. Eventually she came to the table and hutch.
“This is really pretty Jack. How long have you been working on it?”
“Oh, not long.” He said absently then blew off the board he’d planed smooth and started marking it against a template.
Sam continued looking at the hutch wondering what was motivating him to make it in the first place. She was so lost in thought she didn’t notice him come up behind her until a pair of warm arms encircled her waist and a chin plopped gently on her head.
“Do you like it?”
“I said I did.” She told him and leaned back a little into his warmth. It was a damp day and he was warm and smelled of fresh sawn wood and a smell that was uniquely him.
“Good.” He said simply and she could hear the smile in his voice.
“I’m not sure my opinion matters Jack. Isn’t this more about your customer’s tastes?”
“Oh I suppose, but it’s a gift.” He snuggled her tighter. “And I value your opinion.”
“You hardly know me Jack.” Which was asinine as she was already falling in love with him after only a few weeks.
“I think I know enough.”
“And what all is that?”
“You’re brilliant, sweet, tough, oh and you bake really good cookies.”
“What, nothing about my eyes or my looks?” she asked archly.
Jack turned her in his arms. “Sam,” He tilted her chin up so she’d look at him. “You are one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, but that beauty comes from inside you.” And he hoped she could see how much he meant that.
Sam looked up at him in slight suspicion. Jonas had wooed her with how pretty he thought she was, how hot she was. He’d never genuinely cared about the things that interested her and that had become apparent after she moved in with him. His interest had been nothing but surface effort to get her to agree to move in. After that his only interest had been in her physically.
“Sam.” He murmured, seeing she was lost in her memories. “I don’t know what that guy did to you and I don’t know what I’d have to do to convince you otherwise, but I’m not like him at all Sam. When I love someone, I love them for their entire person not just the stuff that makes them good arm candy.” His fingers gently stroked her face. “We’ll take this as slowly as you need to.” It didn’t help things were complicated by him being her landlord. “I care about you a lot more than I’m supposed to.” He admitted.
Sam looked into his warm brown eyes. “Jack.” She breathed and found herself kissing him slowly and deeply, telling him how she felt about him with her body because she was afraid to tell him yet. It was too soon. They barely knew each other. But this felt so right with him and he was hungrily devouring her kiss and demanding more until they were both breathless.
Jack rested his forehead against hers and his hands that had been insistent were now soothing. He could have her now and he knew that but he wanted her heart not just her body. She wasn’t quite ready to surrender to her own feelings yet and he could wait.
Calmer now, Sam stroked his cheek gently, understanding why he broke off the kiss. Her dad had been right, Jack wasn’t looking for just a good time and she didn’t want to take something he wasn’t offering. “I should probably go study.” She told him.
“Ok. I’ll see you later Sam.” He said gently as he released her arms.
The radio switched to Freddie wailing about finding somebody to love. Jack picked up his abandoned cup of coffee and saluted the Persian pop siren. “I feel yah Freddie.” He said before taking a long swallow and getting back to work but his eyes strayed to the red early-40s Indian and wondered about her owner.
Chapter 4 – Until the New One Comes Along
Monday morning dawned bright and Jack glared at the sliver of light pummeling his left eye where he didn’t draw the curtains tight enough. Jack got up and scratched himself absently as he walked into the office and taped his note that the office was closed today to the glass door facing the atrium and call Siler in an emergency. He turned around and went back to his apartment, locking the door behind him. He didn’t care if non-residents came to the outside door of the office. It was locked whenever he left the office unattended anyway. All the records and checks were in the safe in his apartment so he wasn’t worried about being gone all day.
Jack stripped off his t-shirt and sleep pants and turned on the shower. The warm water ran down his back and he wasn’t at all shocked to find his thoughts turning to a particular brilliant blond woman he just happened to be sticking his neck out for today. Not that she knew. He didn’t want her to get her hopes up frankly. Jonas could have burned all her stuff for all Jack knew.
Jack was a little confused. When he met Sara, they had dated for a while and slowly developed feelings for each other. What was going on with Sam felt more like a sledgehammer to the gut. Hell, he’d almost kissed her the first day they met and things had been getting harder to handle since. She was his tenant which made how he felt about her a bit off limits in the first place. George would look the other way but he wasn’t a fan of his employees dating the renters because it can cause favoritism. Not that Samuels had managed to get a date around here. The guy was even more abrasive than Jen’s friend Rodney.
Jack didn’t know what to do with this sudden onslaught of feelings. He’d love to be able to just give in to lust and they had to a certain extent but any time it started getting any further than oral sex he pulled back. He was never one for casual sex anyway but he wasn’t dumb enough to deny he’d had his share of one night stands. The problem was that he wanted way more than a roll with Sam. He could take what she was offering but then he’d end up with an empty bed and a broken heart and he’d already been though that a bit over a year ago. He’d stopped licking his wounds when he’d been given the manager job by George and Sara had already moved on and moved in with someone else. She’d been kind about it, but it still stung like hell to be replaced so quickly by a woman he’d thought loved him.
Jack toweled off and texted Danny to get his lazy ass up knowing the younger man was staring at his coffee maker willing it to go faster. They would stop at Jaffa Java for a pick me up on their way. Food was going to be super expensive today What had started out as three guys had doubled and two of them ate enough for three people together. Jack looked up the number for Chicken Shack and checked what time they opened. He’d put in a catering order after they got to the complex where Sam’s ex lived.
Ronon had offered to borrow his buddy’s trailer so between them they had a truck bed, a cargo truck and a trailer which meant they didn’t have to schlep a bunch of loads and go back for more. Jack actually liked this situation better as it gave Hanson less time to think about the situation and the added bonus that he didn’t have to move most of the heavy stuff himself. He planned to hang back with Danny and get the hutch upstairs then go get the food. He wanted the guys to get most of the credit for this and stroll in with dinner as though he’d had little to do with any of it.
Shep had second watch which was from oh six hundred to fourteen hundred. As soon as he got here, they would head over to Hanson’s condo and liberate Sam’s things.
Teal’c showed up at noon promptly, Rya’c in tow. Jack gave Teal’c a questioning look. “His mother chose to spend her day engaging in other endeavors.” Which was Teal’c polite way of telling Jack that his ex-wife had a date with yet another random man and had pawned their son off on Teal’c.
Jack sighed. “Not sure if this is the best mission to take a kid on. No offence Ray. It’s just we don’t know if this guy is going to get violent on us and I don’t want you getting hurt.” Jack said apologetically to the twelve year old. “Tell you what, let me see if Janet is home, you can pay video games with Cassie.”
“I can take care of myself.” Rya’c insisted, his voice held hints of his African heritage though his accent was predominantly northwestern. They had moved to the States for his mother’s job when he was five. Teal’c had already carried dual citizenship through his father who had left him enough money to start his cleaning company ‘Mountain Gate’.
“My son, no one questions your ability to defend yourself, but the man we will be confronting today is military special ops and he may be volatile. I would be very upset if you were to witness him injuring Doctor Jackson or Officer Sheppard.”
“You are not worried about Mr. Jack?”
“No son, Mr. Jack can handle himself in a dirty fight.” Teal’c told him. They had spent enough time in the gym together that Teal’c knew Jack was wiry but tough.
Meanwhile Jack dialed Janet and hoped she was home. “Jan, hey, need a huge favor. Drey dropped Ray off this morning at Teal’c’s and we are heading off for a thing.”
“What kind of thing Jack? You can drink at home you know.” Janet said in exasperation.
“What? No. Not that. Look, don’t tell her but we are headed to Sam’s ex’s place to get her crap back from him.”
“Don’t you think that’s information you should share with her?”
“If it turns out he’s trashed her stuff or tossed it I don’t want her getting her hopes up.”
“Well, that’s very sweet of you dear. Cassie is bored anyway. Send him up. I’ll keep him until you page me or send a text. If you guys aren’t back by the time her babysitter is here, you owe her ten an hour for her time.”
“Yes ma’am.” Jack told Janet who was his age but who was also effectively the building mom being one of the few permanent residents. Jack grinned at Rya’c. “You’re all set kiddo, Cass will be waiting for you.”
“Enjoy yourself my son. I doubt you really wanted to move furniture anyway.”
Rya’c grinned but headed for the elevator.
“I’m glad I didn’t have to try to call Carter and lie to her. Thank god for Jan.”
About an hour later, Daniel finally surfaced.
“You got the list?” Jack asked him as he let him into his apartment.
Daniel tapped his head and sipped his coffee.
“You were supposed to write it down Danny. We can’t see inside your head to work independently.” Jack groused.
“We could just take everything and throw the leftovers on the lawn.” Daniel suggested.
“Bad idea. We don’t want him knowing where she lives now.” Jack reminded the younger man.
“Oh. I didn’t think of that.”
“That’s why I’m the brains of this operation.”
“You are the brains of this operation because you are trying to get a date O’Neill.” Teal’c told him to Daniel’s laughter.
A bit after two, John and Ronon showed up ready to get to work. True to his word, John had left his uniform on and had instructions from his TO that if they ran into any trouble at all they were to call his desk directly.
Jack divided everyone up, putting Daniel with John and Ronon so he wouldn’t be folded up like an accordion in the jump seat of his truck. “We’re stopping at Jaffa Java on the way. I’m going to need coffee.” Jack admitted.
Chapter 5 – I Spoke to You in Cautious Tones
They pulled up in front of the attached condo that Sam had shared with her ex. Ronon parked in the street behind Jack’s truck that was currently blocking in the late model Ford in the driveway. Daniel got out first and strolled casually to the door and waited for the rest of them to take up position. Jack and John had opted to stand out of visual range on either side of the door. Teal’c and Ronon were stationed at the head of the driveway by the garage door. Both men were fast movers and wouldn’t need much time to rush the entry as long as Jack could get his foot jammed inside.
Daniel looked at Jack and waited to knock until he got a curt nod from his older friend. Jack had gotten the neighbor’s names to get a good cover story for the breach. He blew out a breath slowly and plastered his best wide eyed look onto his face. Then he knocked.
The man who opened the door wore a tattered brown bath robe and stank of alcohol and vomit. “I already found Jesus.” He told Daniel and let out a short bark of a laugh.
“Er, actually I was visiting friends next door and when I came out a work truck had me blocked in. I didn’t realize I had the wrong driveway. Would you happen to know who’s truck that is?” He said earnestly.
“Nope.” And Jonas started to shut the door but found it blocked by a large foot and a glaring Jack.
“I believe you have some things that belong to a friend of mine.” Jack said in a low, cold voice to the other man.
“I take it that’s your van. Get it the hell out of my driveway so the professor here can leave.” Jonas said with a sneer.
“Samantha Carter. I’m here for her belongings.” Jack said, his voice cooling to a dangerous edge he rarely used.
“No idea who you’re talking about dude.” Jonas said flippantly.
“Perhaps I shall jog your memory.” Teal’c said coming up the porch step.
“I can help with that.” Ronon agreed from his side.
“Sir, we don’t want any trouble, we just want our friend’s things.” Daniel tried diplomacy.
“Possession is nine tenths of the law. That cheap slut can find some other loser to buy her stuff.” He said with a humorless laugh.
Jack’s eye’s narrowed as his arms bent back into fighting stance and Teal’c put a large hand on his shoulder.
Ronon pushed the graying man back through the door, eyes narrowed and forced him onto a chair.
“You will be silent.” Teal’c told Sam’s ex and hovered over him. He had held back Jack for the singular reason that he did not want his friend to spend his afternoon in a holding cell for assault.
“You can’t just barge in here and take my things.” Jonas insisted.
“They aren’t your things Major Hanson.” John told him coming into the room to the right of the front door. “Miss Carter’s friends are here to collect her belongings which you are unlawfully in possession of. Now I doubt you want trouble with the Colorado Springs PD so how about you just sit there and let them handle their business.”
“If she wants her stuff back, she should come get it herself. Better yet, tell me where she is and I’ll deliver it myself.”
“Over my dead body.” Jack growled from the other room and started towards Jonas before Daniel held him back.
“Jack, he’s just trying to bait one of us into admitting who is dating her. Don’t give him the satisfaction.” Daniel told him.
Jack glowered but gave Danny a sharp nod. “You’re probably right. All right. Let’s get to work. Which stuff in here is hers?”
“Well, that piano for starters, it was her mom’s and the sewing box over there and both those slipper chairs.”
They worked their way through the condo. Daniel directed everyone to Sam’s things and everyone took shifts watching over Jonas except Jack who by tacit agreement by the other four men was going to be too easily goaded by the man who was inanely quoting scripture like he was the victim here.
“I tire of Major Hanson. Someone else take my watch.” Teal’c said finally.
“He is a bit annoying.” Daniel agreed. “What did Sam ever see in that guy.”
“I bet a buck he’s a good actor in public.” Jack growled. Sam was a smart woman. This guy likely acted nothing like his actual personality unless Sam just had really terrible taste in men which arguably might be the explanation for her interest in a middle aged apartment manager who only had a job because an old bald guy had felt sorry for him. Everyone loves a vet. No one wants to hire a guy with a medical discharge because he ruined his eyes studying.
“Something.” Daniel agreed. “I’ll go baby sit the drunk loser. You guys are good here for a while right?”
“Yah, we’ve got this.” Jack told him. He had most of the list Daniel had explained memorized and if he wasn’t sure he was taking it anyway. She could toss out any crap she didn’t want.
“Ronon Dex seems un-phased by Major Hanson’s religious tirade.” Teal’c said to Jack.
“I don’t think he subscribes to the idea of a higher being T. He probably has just tuned him out.”
“I imagine that would make it easier to listen to instead of fighting the urge to correct him.” Teal’c agreed.
Jack nodded. He didn’t personally have much faith in a higher power but he knew Teal’c was a devout orthodox Tewahedo Christian. As it was one of the oldest versions of the religion, Jack knew about he’d take Teal’c’s word over a clearly day drinking Air Force screw up. How did you get that old and still only be a Major anyway? And how unfair was it that this piece of crap had a commission he wasted drinking and screwing up and Jack got a discharge when his eyes failed him.
He guessed it was just as well the other guys wouldn’t let him take a turn at babysitting the bastard. He had a very punchable face.
“I’ll have your badge.” Jonas told John.
“Dude, my Sergeant knows I’m here. You really want your CO to know you kept some girl’s stuff and threatened her when she wanted it back?”
“I did not.”
“Yah? What do you call trying to find out where she lives? If she wanted you to know she’d have told you. When was the last time you took a shower? You smell like a toilet.” John told him. The reek wasn’t just vomit, his robe, on being forced to remain in a room with the man, smelled like stale chronic masturbation. “How much porn have you been watching anyway? You smell nasty.”
“Better to spill my seed watching a harlot than to bed an unclean woman.” He said in a sing song voice.
“You better not be calling Sam unclean dude.” Ronon warned the smelly man.
“Are you the boyfriend? One of you has to be the boyfriend otherwise why would you be here?” Jonas chuckled. “Wait, I know, it’s the wide eyed innocent looking professor guy.” He continued laughing at the joke he thought was hilarious. Ronon made a move towards him.
“Ronan. No.” John said quietly. “Don’t give him the satisfaction.”
“Behold the righteous one who stays the hand of the brute. I think he’s the boyfriend. No, not him. He doesn’t get mad so she’s not important to him but you my big fellow… you are angry at me. Has she fucked you yet? She likes it rough, you know. She turns you down until you have to force her.” And he laughed hysterically when John stood between their charge and Ronon who had his own fish to fry but Sam was his friend and he felt very brotherly towards her.
Daniel walked into a standoff of Ronon glaring at Jonas over John’s shoulder. “Ronon, why don’t you go help Jack for a while. I’m sure Officer Shepard and I can handle this for a few minutes.” Daniel looked mostly harmless but Teal’c and Jack had pointedly made him go to the gym with them and practice self defense combat. Jack had talked him into going to the range a few times too. He was no marksman but he could hit center mass consistently.
On his way out of the room, Ronon glanced at the table by their prisoner and gave the man a mean smile. Picking up the remote for the cable box he snapped it in half then dropped both pieces into his lap before walking away with a grin on his face
It took Jonas a moment to recover from the demonstration then finally his hubris got the better of him. “Do you two honestly think you can stop me if I get up?”
“Well, no, but he has a gun and a badge so you do the math.” Daniel replied.
John just gave him a feral grin.
Jonas picked up his remote and examined it. “Tell Sammy her new boyfriend is paying for my cable service call.”
“Why don’t you stop by the precinct and we’ll talk about it? I’m sure she’d be happy to have a PPO ready for you to sign in a couple hours at my Sergeant’s suggestion.” John told him with a grin.
Jonas frowned. It was as if it didn’t occur to the man that Sam would ever fight back.
“Oh and just so you know, I live on her floor so should you ever figure out where she lives which I highly recommend against you doing, if I hear so much as a scuffle you’re going to go home in a body bag. You feel me dude?” John told him.
Daniel hugged his arms around himself and studiously looked anywhere but either man as he was fighting laughter at Ronon’s behavior still. “I guess I should mention half the male residents are armed.” He said as though it was a passing thought. He knew Shep and Ford were as was Teal’c and Jack. That was still a decent potential for ending up dead if you attacked someone in the building.
Had any of them known what her dad did for a living they wouldn’t have been nearly as concerned but Sam had yet to share that information with anyone.
Half an hour later all of Sam’s known belongings were packed up and tied down in the trailer. They had grabbed a few things they weren’t sure about and eaten most of Jonas’ food out of the fridge and pantry for good measure and taken every roll of toilet paper they could find.
“All right, when we get back, we’ll unload the truck bed first so I can go get dinner. Danny, you and I will get the hutch out of the shed and put it by the elevator. Just take it up with the rest of the stuff with a blanket on it so she doesn’t notice it for a while. Answer any questions she has with ‘we’? Do not mention my name at all. Got it?”
“Look man, I still don’t get why you don’t want credit for all this.”
Jack sighed. “Because Teal’c was right. I wanted to do it to score points not because it was the right thing to do. So now it’s the right thing to do and you guys get the credit.” He jammed his hands in his pockets and they stood around silently a moment absorbing what this said about Jack’s nature.
“It is time we left O’Neill. Officer Sheppard, you are certain the call from this address will be routed directly to your TO?”
“Yup, we had a bit of a chat about it and he’s going to show up all sympathetic then lose the paperwork.” John said in amusement.
“Is that legal Shep?” Daniel asked.
John shrugged. “It’s not illegal. B&E investigations almost always turn up nothing.”
Jack chuckled. “All right. Let’s get going campers.
Chapter 6 – You Answered Me with no Pretense
Sam was flopped on her bed studying when she registered a lot of noise in the hallway. Must be someone new moving in she thought ideally and turned up Metallica to drown it out. Her bed and her desk chair with a borrowed card table were her only furniture so she spent most of her time laying or sitting n her bed unless she was eating. She’d only brought what she could fit into her Volvo so it had been clothes, the chair, the folding table and her baking pans because she’d be damned if that bastard was going to burn pizza rolls on her good air pans again.
She heard knocking and turned the music up again until she realized the insistent knocking was on her own door. “Dammit.” She muttered and got up and went to the door. Whoever it was would just have to deal with sleep pants, a spaghetti strap tank and hair sticking up on end. “What?” she said rudely as she opened the door to Daniel who still had his fist up to knock harder.
“Jeeze Sam, can you even think with that racket?” He said of the music.
“It helps me relax.” She said with a shrug and narrowed her eyes, causing a line to appear between her brows. “Are you the one dragging a body through the halls?”
“Nope. We come bearing offerings.” He said with a huge grin.
“An offering?” she asked confused.
Daniel motioned behind him and Shep and Ronan rolled Sam’s piano into the room. “Just tell us which room for which and we’ll handle it.” John told her.
“That’s…” Sam stammered.
“I’m pretty sure we got everything but if we missed something I’m sorry.” Daniel told her.
Sam walked over to her piano and ran trembling fingers over it in disbelief.
“We tried to be careful Sam, but it probably needs a tune up from being bounced around the back of the trailer. I know a guy who owes me a favor for some work I did for him so he’ll be by in a few days for you.” Ronon told her.
Teal’c walked in with a box on his shoulder “I have carefully packed your grandmother’s music boxes, Samantha. In which room would you like me to place them?” he asked her.
Sam walked over to the door and saw her belongings lined up to be brought in. “You guys.” She looked at each of them then ran to the bathroom and shut and locked the door.
“What just happened?” Shep asked in general.
“Samantha has become overcome with emotion. She will return shortly.” Teal’c told him and set down the box in the space by the kitchen that was generally a dining area. “Continue bringing things in. She will recover soon.” Teal’c was good at reading people. He wasn’t surprised that Sam had reacted the way she did. O’Neill had done the right thing by not taking credit. It would have made her afraid to talk to him after for fear she’d screw something up or think he expected gratitude which he did not.
“All right, you heard the man.” Ronon said and went out to grab another piece of furniture.
Sam came out about fifteen minutes later in better control of her emotions and hugged each of them fiercely. She wondered why Jack hadn’t joined this endeavor but he’d been gone all day so she had no way to ask him. Even his phone had been off.
The guys had brought in quite a few things so Sam started directing boxes to their appropriate rooms. While she was putting things away in her room at Daniel’s suggestion as they brought up more stuff, the guys quietly brought in the hutch and put her TV on it and the music boxes of her grandmother’s on the shelves.
Half an hour later she emerged to Ronon placing the last couple breakables on the top of the hutch and her fingers flew to her lips.
“Do you like it?”
“This was for me?” she asked him flabbergasted.
“Well of course it was for you. Who did you think it was for? I helped a little.” He told her pointing at the decorative metal pieces on the corners of the piece. “Cat proof.” He explained with a grin.
Sam hugged Ronon tightly. “This was very sweet of you both but why?”
“Ask Jack. I’m just the delivery guy.” Ronon returned the hug though. She really was a nice girl. Jack was damned lucky if she fell for him as hard as he clearly had for her.
Sam looked at him confused and Ronon just shrugged. It wasn’t his story to tell after all and Jack had been really specific so he went back out to grab some more boxes and ran into Jack coming back with dinner and beer.
“She likes the hutch.” Ronon told Jack with a grin.
“I kind of figured she would.” He said pulling greasy catering boxes out of the truck passenger seat. “Why don’t you take this stuff up and I’ll go park the truck in the back.” Jack suggested.
“Sure you don’t want to take it up yourself?”
“Nah, I’m good.” Jack said as he got back into the cab. He was suddenly nervous about seeing her. This had started out as a way to gain her appreciation for his superior skills in outwitting problems he was presented with but now he really didn’t want her knowing he was involved at all and he couldn’t figure out why. Perhaps it was what Teal’c had said about his motivations but Jack really didn’t want her appreciation for this so when the truck was parked instead of joining everyone for dinner he went back to his apartment and worked on some bills and logged in the checks that had been passed through the mail slot on the office door.
Ronon brought the chicken and beer up to cheers and everyone sat around Sam’s table in her dining room in chairs pulled from other apartments and devoured cubes of batter fried chicken and steak fries with BBQ sauce and Ranch.
The last box that had been brought in was every single roll of toilet paper in Jonas’ condo including the ones off the rolls. Sam had laughed hysterically and hugged everyone again.
In a couple hours though the crowd thinned out as people left. Ronan had been the first to leave pleading an early morning. John had been next. Teal’c had left with Janet who had brought Rya’c and been invited to eat with them as there was more than enough food. Finally she sat alone with Daniel who was contentedly stuffed.
“You should make a plate up for Jack and take it down to him.” Daniel said with a yawn.
“You’re going that way, why don’t I get you a to-go container and you can drop it off on the way by, I don’t want to bother him if he’s busy.” Sam tried to dissemble.
Daniel stood. “Sam,” he smiled. “Trust me.” He leaned over and kissed her cheek fondly and left.
Sam sat looking at the door for a few minuets then turned and looked at the hutch her TV was now on.
Chapter 7: And Still I feel I’ve Said Too Much
Chapter by Mini_Goat
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Chapter 7 – And Still I feel I’ve Said Too Much
A soft knock came from the office door that Jack ignored. The last thing he wanted to do was deal with some trivial problem tonight. A few moments later the soft knock was on his apartment door. “Jack,” a familiar voice came from the other side. “It’s me. Can we talk?”
Jack sighed. Of all the people to drop in Sam was the last person he wanted to talk to right now but his legs weren’t listening to him and he found himself facing his door and unlatching the lock. “Sam, I’m really tired. Can this keep for tomorrow?” he asked her impatiently.
Large blue eyes looked up at him imploringly. “I brought you some chicken. I, ah, I figured since you bought it you should get to eat some of it.”
“Who told you I bought the chicken?”
“The receipt.” She said and held up the greasy white slip of paper. She smiled softly. “Can I come in?”
“Yah, sure, you betcha.” He murmured and moved to let her in but he shoved his hands into his pockets.
Sam busied herself getting him a plate and warming up the chicken, unsure of how to talk to him about what he’d done then chosen to inexplicably avoid her. Eventually she ran out of things to do and sat down in the other chair opposite the one she’d prepared his meal and a beer at and waved a hand for him to sit. He’d been leaning on the corner of the wall watching her silently.
Jack sat down with resignation. She was determined that he’d eat so he’d eat. Even though he was dog tired and the last person he wanted to spend time with right now was her. It had taken him a while to sort out his feelings but he’d finally nailed down the reason for his sudden change of heart. It had taken listening to Hanson in the next room rambling on about nonsense to finally realize how emotionally manipulative the guy had to have been to trick someone as smart as Sam into a relationship and subconsciously realize his actions were no better. His reasons for getting her stuff back hadn’t been noble at all. He’d wanted to impress her so she’d fall for him instead of doing it because it was the right thing to do and he was ashamed of himself for it.
“The hutch came out beautiful Jack. It was really thoughtful of you. Ronon put my grandma’s music boxes on it. His metal work was a nice touch.”
“I’m glad you like it Sam.” He said simply and ate a couple pieces of chicken as she was looking at him expectantly.
She watched him for a while. Jack was not one for chatter but this was unusually quiet even for him. “Are you angry at me?”
“What? No!” He insisted but didn’t elaborate as he didn’t know how to tell her how selfish his reasons had been for his actions.
“Then why are you acting like this?” She finally snapped at him.
Jack sighed and his shoulders slumped. “Sam, you deserve better than me.” He finally told her.
She looked at him perplexed. The man had bent over backwards and they weren’t even technically dating yet and he was already dumping her after a singular grand noble gesture. “What in the world are you talking about?”
Jack just shook his head and wouldn’t look at her.
“Jack. What are you talking about?” She insisted.
Jack scowled. “I’m no better than that piece of garbage you dumped.”
Sam was confused a moment until she realized something. “You orchestrated all of this today, didn’t you?” She said softly.
“It doesn’t matter Sam.” He said resigned.
“I think it does.” She said firmly.
“Yah well that’s the problem.” He said cryptically but she had already figured out why he was so upset with himself.
“You think because you wanted to impress me that makes you just like him.” She said leaning forward, her voice firm.
Jack scowled at her.
“I don’t know what she did to you Jack, but whatever it was, your ex didn’t tell you the truth. You’re a good man and I’ve yet to see you act dishonorably.” She told him, holding his eyes with her own.
“Sam, the only reason I did any of this was to get you to fall for me. That’s not very noble.”
Sam shrugged a little and gave him a soft smile. “Possibly not, but you didn’t do it because I was an acquisition. You did it because you’re falling in love with me and want me to fall in love with you too.” Her dad had been right about Jack. She had better be sure she shared his feelings before making a move on him because his heart was already involved. The thing was, hers was too. She wasn’t sure when it had started but it had nothing to do with their heated make-out sessions. Those were just an added bonus.
Jack stared hard at her. She’d been dancing away from him every time he expressed his genuine feelings that he was a little troubled now that she was doing it after his grand gesture. He didn’t want her to feel obligated to return his feelings because he’d done something nice.
“Do you remember the night on the roof?” she asked him. “You told me you didn’t want to be the rebound guy because you thought we might have potential for more than that.”
“Yah.” Where is she going with this he wondered.
“And I left because I said you might be right, there might be, and I knew that if not, the last thing I wanted to do was hurt you.”
Jack nodded slowly, perplexed.
“Jack,” she said slowly, “I don’t think anything you did today would have made any difference in that.” She admitted. And then she chuckled at the confused look on his face so she got up and sat in his lap, lightly draping her arms around his shoulders and looking into his warm and utterly confused cocoa brown eyes. But his hands did lightly settle on her hip and her thigh to keep her steady in the somewhat small fifties vintage dinette chair.
Comprehension didn’t dawn on his face until she lowered her face to his and lightly brushed her lips against his own. “Samantha.” He breathed as his fingers tightened on her.
“I, um, Jack I don’t know if this will work out at all and I think we should take things a little slowly because I’m still pretty screwed up after everything Jonas did to me emotionally but, um, would you like to go out together some time? Like, for coffee or a walk in the park?” She asked him hesitantly. She knew it was up to her to ask first because Jack had already determined she needed that bit of control over her relationship with him. The idea had solidified after witnessing Hanson’s domineering side today.
“I’d love to go get a coffee with you. How does tomorrow morning sound? Six hundred?”
“Why are you up so early on a Tuesday?” she asked him bewildered.
“So I can get some woodworking done before the office opens.” He told her as if that was obvious.
“Of course.” She said chuckling. “All right, six am.”
“Go get some sleep Sam. If you stay here much longer, you won’t be getting any at all.” He admitted.
She could feel his arousal pressing against her rear and smiled mischievously. “Sooner or later we need to do something about that.”
“Yah but not tonight.” He stroked his fingers through her short tumble of golden hair. Something told him it had been a break-up haircut because she’d been letting it grow out the last few weeks. “I want our first time to be special, ok?”
Sam blinked at him. She’d suspected he was something of a romantic but she’d met zero guys who cared about this kind of stuff until him. “All right.” She agreed and brushed his lips lightly again before getting off his lap. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning Jack. Enjoy your chicken.” She told him with a soft smile and left.
Jack sat staring at the door for a long moment then turned to his half eaten plate that was cold and greasy. He tilted his head consideringly and shrugged. He’d eaten worse during training and scarfed down the rest, chasing it with the lukewarm beer.
The chapter titles to this song are meant to express Jack's state of mind when it comes to Sam. If you are unfamiliar with the song it is Billy Joel - And So It Goes. In it's entirety I think expresses How Jack feels about her in context of who and where he is in his life.