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Settled. Comfortable. Routine.

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Samantha Carter wondered if she had known at the beginning what she knew now if she would have stayed with the Stargate program or taken the door as a scowling Colonel O’Neill was advising the new recruits seated before him to do. It amused her how he reveled in making his portion of the orientation as opposite of General Hammond’s encouraging welcome as he could. Even though they sat with deer-in-the-headlights looks on their faces, not one of the recruits moved to leave. She laughed to herself watching him looming menacingly over the shrinking young people. Maybe they were more scared of what the Colonel would do to them if they tried.

She watched the Colonel gleefully terrorizing the recruits with examples of all that could go wrong on an SG mission. Interestingly almost the entire set of examples he presented happened to her. She had been infected with an alien virus, attacked by a Goa’uld assassin, stuck unaware in a time warp, had come face to face with her AU self, not to mention been possessed by an alien intelligence – twice. So why hadn’t she quit the program after any one of those or other incidents? Because Jack O’Neill had kept her focused on the fact that it was about more than just her and she loved him for it.

That thought affected her as it always did with sadness and longing. Yes, she loved him but she had never told him, had never shown him. She knew it was for the best, but the best for whom? She wasn’t always so sure anymore but she had become, after a fashion, comfortable with the situation.

Sam waited in the hall as he turned the orientation over to Daniel who would do his cultural, historical overview of the impact of the Goa’uld on earth. Her part of the orientation regarding Alien Tech would be after lunch. After Daniel, the unsuspecting group would be exposed to their first (known) encounter with an extra-terrestrial when Teal’c gave his short but effective presentation. Both she and the colonel would go back in for that. It was always fun to watch the recruits’ reactions when Teal’c displayed his symbiote. They had a running bet on how many would faint and or throw up when they saw it. She almost never won.

The colonel complained good-naturedly about the current class of recruits as they made their way to the mess for the Colonel’s mid-morning coffee and cake run. There was always a large piece waiting for him as the staff learned early on of the terror that could be wrought if the colonel’s sweet tooth wasn’t sufficiently satisfied. As they picked up his cake and coffee, Sam was quiet as they made their way down the hall. When they came to the junction where they would normally split up to go to their respective offices, the colonel slowed to a stop

“Carter?” he said a touch of concern in his voice. “Anything…wrong?”

Sam turned meeting his eyes with a level thoughtful gaze. He was so used to her arguing back with him, chiding him respectfully about his high intake of sweets and caffeine that it threw him off if she didn’t. They had settled into their own long standing routine and it worried him if she broke it.

Settled, comfortable, routine: her relationship with Colonel O’Neill.

“Sir, could I see you for a minute? In your office?”

“My office?” Generally they met in her lab. “Uhm…sure, sure,” he said and she could feel his level of concern rising as she followed him down the hall.

Sam marveled as she did on each of the rare occasions she had been in the Colonel’s office at how neat the desk was and how symmetrical the display of books, pictures and knickknacks on his shelves were. It belied the “devil may care” attitude he presented to the world and she wondered if it was why he always came to her instead of having her come to him. Placing coffee and his cake carefully to the side on his desk, the colonel leaned back against it, crossed his arms and waited. Releasing the breath she had been unconsciously holding, Sam pushed the door closed, walked over to Colonel O’Neill, took his face in her hands and kissed him. Hard.

She could feel him stiffen in shock as she pushed her tongue past his lips. Leaning against him, she threw him off balance on the edge of the desk causing him to flail as he tried to steady himself with one hand and push her back with the other.

“Carter - ?!” he exclaimed as she broke the kiss just long enough to take a breath. She continued to kiss him deeply, one hand moving to lovingly caress the short cut hair at the back of his head, the other grasping firmly at the lapel of his Air Force blue uniform jacket. After an almost non-existent struggle he began to kiss her back.

Their lips parted. Raising her eyes to his, she saw a look not un-similar to the deer-in-the-headlights look he had caused on the recruits faces just moments before. Stepping back, Sam straightened her uniform, glancing casually around room. Stunned, Colonel O’Neill continued to sit on the edge of the desk, uniform rumpled, staring at her.

Sam nodded with a satisfied smile. Just as she thought. The world did not come to an end.

“Thank you sir,” she said briskly and walked out of the office. As she paused briefly on the other side of the door she heard an explosive, “WHAT THE HELL - ?!” from inside.

Settled. Comfortable. Routine.

Not any more.