Samantha Carter logged off her laptop, flicking the lid shut and disconnecting it from the port replicator on her desk. She packed it up silently and efficiently, her movements practised and precise. Within seconds, the black laptop bag was over her shoulder and she was closing her lab-slash-office door behind her. She turned towards the elevators, her booted feet striking the concrete floor evenly.
`G`night, Major.` An airman called as she passed another office. She waved in acknowledgement, mind already set on freedom. On fresh air and the wind blowing in her hair as she drove home through the evening heat. She got to the elevator and swiped her card through the security slot, calling for the carriage. She heard the cables begin to whine as the carriage answered her call, then the doors opened and she stepped in, smiling as she saw her Commanding Officer standing in one corner.
`Hey, Carter.` He said as she stepped in. She glanced at the buttons and noticed he`d already pressed the number 12, so stood on the other side of the elevator carriage, facing slightly towards him.
`Hey, sir. You headed home too?`
`Yup. Finished my paperwork about half an hour ago and then heard that the Doc was on the prowl for some volunteers for a new procedure. That was my cue to vamoose. Quickly.` He looked pointedly at his watch, then back at her. `What about you? A little early isn`t it?` She bristled at the implied insult and he held up his hands. `Don`t get hissy.` He grinned at her winningly, not noticing that she glared harder at his `hissy` comment. `Just, it`s not usual for you to leave before the sun goes down, that`s all.`
`I have somewhere to be, sir.` She said, icily. The doors opened at that point, and he ended up chasing her down the corridor, past the guards who watched blankly. They turned a corner and then stopped. Jack O`Neill pressed the button for the next elevator, standing silently next to his second in command.
`Sorry, Colonel.` She apologised eventually. `I`m just a little tired. I think I need a weekend off.` She offered a smile and he accepted her offering, smiling back. The doors opened and they entered, pressed the `g` for ground and ascended the rest of the way in relatively comfortable silence. They stepped out of the elevator and signed their names in the log book, both of them murmuring platitudes to the guards standing around the desk, then started walking towards the end of the tunnel, both of them getting their sunglasses ready.
`So, gotta be somewhere, huh?` Jack asked, picking up the conversation.
`Yessir.` She replied, placing the glasses on her nose and effectively cutting of his vision of her eyes.
`Anywhere I know?`
`My house. I have a friend coming over for dinner.` There was a slight hesitation, but Jack caught it.
`A friend, huh? Anyone I know?` He asked, giving the word exactly the same weight as she had.
`Probably.` She replied, then turned towards her car, dismissing him. `See you tomorrow, sir.` She called as she unlocked her door and swung in. Jack stood and watched as she activated the automatic roof, making her neat little t-bird the convertible it should be. He knew that the model hadn`t come with an automatic roof, but as surely as he knew that, he also knew that Carter would have installed her own version of one. Which would have been more cost effective, efficient and would need repair pretty much never. She waved as she spun away, wheels kicking up a bit of gravel as she left the car park.
* * * *
`You have no idea how hard it is, Sam.` He whinged as he sat at her table, hands sliding through his slightly greasy inch long hair.
`Probably not. But isn`t that what tonight`s about? Easing that difficulty?` She placed the meat in the wok, it`s sizzle drowning out the mutter behind her. `Sorry? Didn`t quite catch that.` She called as she tossed in the garlic and onion.
`I said, it isn`t helping. God, the girls. They drive me nuts. All they want to talk about is this boy band, or that Hollywood hunk or the latest jeans fashion. You can`t even hold a decent conversation with them.` He thumped his head down on the table, causing the glassware to rattle slightly. Sam stayed quiet as she prepared their meal, letting him mope for a while. She poured in a cup full of water, set the meal to simmer, then sat down opposite him.
`Hey.` She said, tapping him on his outstretched hand. He looked up, brown eyes bleak and lonely. `You wanted to do this, remember?` He nodded, mouth twisting. `So, now all we have to do is figure out a way for you to cope. You can`t hold a decent conversation with them? Why is that? You never seemed to have a problem with Cassie.`
`Cassie is a child!` He protested.
`So are you.` Sam held her hand up to stop his violent rebuttal. `Your body is. Cassie is actually older than you, chronologically. But you, as your old self, never had a problem talking to her.`
`Maybe.` He admitted reluctantly.
`So maybe,` she said, continuing her train of thought, `the problem is that you`re expecting too much of these girls.` She hesitated, unsure if she should continue.
`Go on. You`re making sense at the moment. Don`t stop now.` He told her, sitting back and taking a sip of his coke. He did so wishing it was beer. Or whisky. Or anything of an alcoholic concoction.
`The problem is their age, yes? Their maturity? And yours. So, why not wait. Give it a couple of years. You said that in two or three years, the Air Force is going to pick you up and do the genius promotion thing anyway, yes?`
`So, why not just mark time until then. Get your scores up and you know that Janet and I will help you there, but only in a tutor type role. Once you`re ah eighteen,` she grinned, `you get in, shoot up the ranks faster than the F-303 can go into hyperspace, and voila.`
`Voila, what? Oh, and your meat is boiling.` He nodded to the steaming, smoking pot on the stove, hiding a grin.
`Shit!` She cried, dashing around the bench to the sizzling wok, lifting the lid and crying out at the abrupt eruption of steam that harassed her skin. She stirred the meat madly, feeling it stick to the bottom of the pan, and almost cried in frustration. `Dammit! The bloody things burnt.` As she mourned her ruined dinner, the doorbell rang and she looked up.
`Get that, will you?` She snarled, heaving the wok and dumping it metal and all into the garbage bin by the dishwasher. Seconds later, a hunger inspiring smell wafted from the lounge room.
`You ordered pizza?` Sam asked, delight and insult warring within her.
`Figured it was safest, after the last effort.` He replied, bringing the two boxes back to the dinner table. Sam considered refusing to eat, but her stomach rebelled and she sat down opposite him. After several minutes of hunger-sating silence, broken only by moans of delighted tastebuds and slurps of coke, they both sat back, replete.
`So. Does this constitute a date?` He asked.
`No, Jall. I`m sorry, but it isn`t.` Sam looked at the young man before her, sorry beyond telling that she couldn`t give him what he wanted.
`Why not? I`m still me. I can still remember everything I did up until three months ago, when I woke up like this.`
`But that`s just it, Jall. You didn`t do it.` Sam hated explaining this again, hated hurting him, but she didn`t have a choice. `What you remember is someone else`s life. Someone else`s emotions.`
`But I still have them. I`m still him. Only younger.` Jall Koneic pleaded with her. `You said once you have feelings for him, me. Us. Whatever. Surely they still exist.`
`They do.` She said quietly, not breaking eye contact.
`So why can`t this be a date?` He cried out.
`Because you`re not him.`
`Sorry, Jall, but you`re not.` Sam sighed, racking her brain to make him understand. `Look at it this way. You once said you had feelings for me, yes?`
`Yes. That hasn`t changed.` He admitted.
`Okay. Imagine that I was sitting here and a clone of me came along. Imagine this close was, oh, fifteen years younger than me chronologically. She remembered everything I had done in my life. Remembered all the good and the bad. Now, we`re sitting side by side. Who would you chose? Who would you still have feelings for? If we said you can only have one of us, who would it be.`
`You.` He answered straight away.
`Why?` She countered, leaning forward.
`Because you`re you.. oh.` The light finally dawned, and he sat back. Sam`s heart wrenched as she saw him figure out what she`d been trying to tell him for the last two months, ever since they`d found out that the young Jack O`Neill had in fact been a botched clone attempt. `Because of who you are, what we are together. Or rather, what you and he are together. Your history. You couldn`t turn your back on him any more than he can on you.`
`Exactly. I`m sorry Jall. More sorry than I can say.`
`I guess I should have realised it when you kept calling me by that assumed name.` He said, head down.
`It`s not assumed any more. You are Jall Koneic.`
`Who came up with that, anyway?`
`Daniel. It uses all the letters in Jack O`Neill. He was bored.` She shrugged, then touched his hand gently again. `Jall, I hate to get all cliché-y on you, but I think it`s time you let go of your past. Today is the first day`
`Of the rest of my life, I know.`
`Actually, I was going to say that today is the first day of August, and you`ve less than twenty months until you`re 18.`
`April Fools day.` He grinned. He still delighted in that choice of birthday.
`So. Study. Get fit.`
`And start thinking like Jall. Because that`s who you are now.`
`You know` he said slowly, thinking. `This is the second time this has happened to me.`
`What, cloning?` Sam asked, frowning.
`Well, kinda. First, it was Harlan and his robots. Now me. Anyone would think they`re trying to reproduce me for some reason. Maybe because I`m so advanced?`
`Jall, please. I`ve just eaten.` Sam protested, then ruined the effect by giggling into her wine.
`I mean, come on, Sam. Who could resist a specimen like myself? Smart, witty, charming, handsome.` He continued, ignoring the choking noises from the other side of the table. Maybe he couldn`t have Sam, not in the way he wanted. But if he could have her friendship, it would do. It looked like he didn`t have a choice. `. Distinguished, creative, sensitive.`
* * * *
The elevator doors opened and Carter stepped in, pressing the button for her floor. She heard a barked call just as the doors started to close, and shoved her hand in the doorway, opening them back up again. Jack O`Neill shot her a grateful smile as he stepped in and pushed the button for his floor.
`So.` He said, leaning back against his corner.
`Morning, Sir.` She said, leaning back against hers.
`How`d dinner go last night?` He was jealous. Really, he wasn`t.
`Good.` She replied, biting her lips to keep from grinning. Her Commanding Officer was almost green with jealousy. Not that he`d ever admit it.
`Good. Glad it went well.` Jack turned his eyes to the flicking numbers, hyper-aware of his second in command.
`Sir?` She asked just before her floor.
`Jall says hi,` she replied then stepped out and watched as the doors closed on his open mouthed stare. She was sure he would ring the second he got to his office, demanding to know why she`d had dinner with his clone. She just wasn`t sure what she`d tell him. Well, sir, I kinda confessed to mini-you that there can`t ever be anything between us because I`m in love with the other you. Which would be you. But not him. It sounded remarkably like a speech the Colonel himself would make.
`Maybe I`ll just go visit Janet instead. He won`t find me there.` She turned back to the elevator and called the carriage. Level 22 sounded just about right. At least 5 floors away from her CO`s office. Almost perfect. The doors opened and she stepped inside, noticing as she did so that her shoelace was undone.
`Damn.` She replied, punching the button and kneeling to do up the lace. Then she noticed the other presence in the elevator. She looked up just as he punched the emergency stop. `Damn.` She repeated. Colonel Jack O`Neill grinned evilly down at her.
`Carter, we need to talk.` He announced.
Stargate SG-1 Fanfiction