“Then he goes, 'Hanson, Hanson, Hanson. I am disappointed in you, my son.'”
“Right before he sets you on fire,” Sam says, completing his story before he can.
“Almost sets me on fire. I'll never forget the look on that Arab devil's face when the ambassador barged in with armed guards and ended that 'interrogation' session right quick.”
Jonas thinks he sees Sam stifle a yawn, or a wince. So what if he's told her about the Tehran mission before? He needs to make sure that she never forgets what really happened to him, just in case she ever hears something different. He changes the subject to throw her off. “So this transfer you're getting. It requires security clearance higher than mine?”
“How...” She frowns, totally surprised that he knows. Oh yes, he has channels. He knows men up her chain of command. Plus, his black ops training includes wiretapping expertise. She hesitates before continuing: “It's only analysis of deep space radar telemetry.”
“Yeah, right, Doctor Nanotechnology.”
“Jonas,” she hisses, looking around the tavern like a paranoid freak. It's so easy to make her do that.
“What? You can't hide anything from me, baby, so you might as well tell me everything. No secrets.”
Then she stands up, pushes her chair away. “Oh my god. Here is not the place. Actually, there's no place where— you know what?” Her cheeks are flushed, and she's losing some of that Strong Woman composure. She's so ravishing when she's vulnerable. “I'm calling a cab. You can play your sick little control game all by yourself tonight.”
He watches her leave in a huff. Do all military babes learn that Feminazi act in Basic Training? But he knows how to get to her. He doesn't call her for two days, then leaves messages about how he's lost without her, yadda yadda, will hurt himself, et cetera.
Damned if it doesn't work this time around. Three evenings later he finds a long note on his kitchen counter with the key to his apartment. After paragraphs of touchy-feely stuff about how “it's not anyone's fault”, it closes with these lines:
I can't fix what only a therapist can. Please get help before you sabotage your own ambition. Schrodinger misses you, and so will I.
He only pretended to like that stupid cat. Then he sees the ring he gave her tied to the same ribbon as the key.
When they see each other again, she's shocked that he's made it into the deepest levels of Cheyenne Mountain, and he's a little surprised that she now bears the same rank he does.
“Lookin' good, CAPTAIN Carter.” He lets his eyes wander appreciatively.
“Captain Hanson. Wow.” She smiles as though she's forgiven him and they're long-lost colleagues. “It's been, what? A year?”
He grins. “About that long. Heard you got assigned to Colonel MacNeal's unit.”
“O'Neill. Two Ls,” interrupts a tall, cocky bastard with a smirk as he passes them in the hallway. “Carter's my second in command.”
“Yeah, SG-1,” she says, beaming. “We're geared up for our second mission.” She nods to a stern dark hulk of a guy with a gold emblem on his forehead and a long-haired geek with glasses waiting for the elevator to Level 28.
“Wow. Second in command? Isn't that nice?” Then he plays his ace in the hole: “I just got assigned to SG-9. I'm commanding officer.”
The look on her face is priceless. She's at a complete loss for words.
He shrugs innocently. “I lead in the way of righteousness in the midst of the paths of judgment.” The strings he pulled to get here were worth it.