Jack stood as the al'kesh landed in the meadow, the remains of his makeshift camp still smouldering from Harry’s lobbed grenade. Jack squinted as the ramp lowered and SG-1, led by Carter, emerged. He waved and turned back to Harry only to be spun around by an insistent Major.
“Sir, are you alright?” Her eyes scanned him for injuries as if convinced that he wouldn’t tell her the whole truth.
“A little banged up. In need of a good shower with soap, but yeah, I’m fine, Carter. See to Maybourne. He’s in worse shape than me.”
She scowled but knelt down next to the prone ex-Colonel. “Where does it hurt?” She prodded Maybourne none too gently. Not only did she owe him for zatting her, but he was responsible for Jack being missing for over a month. She would never leave Maybourne to die, but honor didn’t preclude her from taking a little revenge.
“OW! Major! Careful. Bad enough Jack shot me but are you trying to finish the job?”
She mumbled, “I’m sure he had good reason.” She addressed her next comments to Jack. “Sir, the bullet went clean through and missed any major arteries.” She applied a pressure bandage with a little more force than was required. “I’ll inject him with some antibiotics but he should be fine for the trip back to Earth provided he rests and doesn’t attempt to use his arm. Now, let me look at your leg, sir.” She pointed at the gash in Jack’s leg that he had crudely cauterized. From the looks of it, the wound had still managed to get infected.
“Later, Carter. Now about that trip back to Earth, who played taxi driver? Dad?”
She pulled a piece of rent fabric from his leg wound before he slapped her hand away. “No. My father is on a mission and hasn’t been reachable. Jolen had the closest available ship.”
“Jolen? Don’t think we’ve met but he’s probably not going to like what I’m about to ask.”
Teal’c assisted Maybourne to his feet and half dragged him towards the al'kesh. “You have a plan O’Neill?”
Carter looked up sharply from where she had positioned herself under Jack’s arm so he could keep some of the weight off his leg.
Jack frowned. Maybourne had been convicted of treason by a military court and had been sentenced to death for his crimes. And while Jack could never condone Harry’s deeds, without his assistance they never would have rescued Carter from Adrian Conrad in time. Jack owed Harry in no small measure for that alone. “I’m thinking a nice, isolated planet.”
“Sir, he’s been convicted of treason,” Carter spat.
“Yes, Major. I know. But it’s complicated.”
“Complicated how?” Then she added after a beat, “Sir.”
Jack raised his eyebrows and shot a look at Teal’c but the Jaffa was too busy settling Maybourne into a berth on the Tok’ra vessel. He leaned against the bulkhead to allow Carter room to set up an IV and get Harry settled. He nodded for Teal’c to follow him into the next compartment and raised an eyebrow at his friend.
“Major Carter was very distressed by your absence.”
“She blamed herself.”
“Yes, but ultimately came to realize only Colonel Maybourne and yourself were responsible.”
Teal’c shot him a look that for a Jaffa was the equivalent of d’uh. “Major Carter said that you leapt through the portal after Colonel Maybourne while she was still incapacitated by the zatnikatel blast.” He raised an eyebrow at Jack.
“Well, yeah. I was pissed. He lied to me.”
“And he shot Major Carter.”
Jack’s eyes widened and then narrowed. He would have to be more careful hiding his feelings, especially around Teal’c. Carter wanted to leave things in that room and he would do his damnedest to honor her wishes. He was an Air Force Colonel, damn it, not some teenage kid with overblown hormones. “Look, Maybourne is a rat bastard, but he has helped us.” He looked pointedly in Carter’s direction. “We never would have found her in time if Harry hadn’t helped. I’m not saying we put him some place too nice, but I don’t think he deserves a death sentence either. I’m going to ask Jolen to find a suitable planet.”
“Is that wise? Colonel Maybourne has much knowledge of the Stargate program.”
“Yes, he does. But he wouldn’t betray Earth. Besides, Adrian Conrad is proof that Earth is not as safe as we would like to believe.”
“Very well. I will not object. I believe Major Carter will prove more difficult to convince.”
Jack grimaced and slapped Teal’c on the shoulder. “Wish me luck, T.” The two men headed towards the cockpit, nodding to Carter who was busy securing the IV pole to the bulkhead. Maybourne was either asleep or unconscious. Jack returned moments later after winning the relatively short debate with Jolen. The Tok’ra considered Maybourne a Tauri problem. He would honor Jack’s request as a favor to Jacob/Selmak, but that would be the end of the Tok’ra involvement in the matter. Now to convince Sam.
“A word, Major.” Jack nodded towards the room he and Teal’c had conversed in earlier.
She grabbed the first aid supplies and followed him into the deserted compartment. The sleeping berths were tucked in behind solid wall panels covered in symbols of the Goa’uld. Sam hit the sequence of symbols Jolen had indicated earlier. An unpadded bench slid out. “Sir, I need to have a look at your leg.” She pointed to the bench.
“I’m fine, Major. I promise I’ll bandage it up later.”
She batted away the hand that attempted to take the first aid supplies and backed him towards the bench. “Sir, you’ve been declared M.I.A. and until Janet clears you for active duty, I am in command here. Now let me look at that leg. It’s infected.” She deftly undid the buckle on his belt and had the zipper halfway down before he could even utter a word of protest.
“Major. Sam. STOP!”
A surprised Carter looked up from where she had knelt down to tend his leg, her eyes widening at the source of the Colonel’s distress. Her crotch eye view provided a close up look of something she’d only fantasized. Fantasies that would now be revised to include this longer and thicker version. She exhaled and his naked cock twitched in response. Oh boy. “Uh, sir?”
A mortified Jack tried to retreat but the sleeping bench caught him in the back of the knees. He went down with a hiss of pain with Carter lying half on top of him as she went to catch him. They remained deathly still for a moment before Sam’s giggles broke the silence. “I don’t suppose you’ll buy that it is my sidearm? And what did I say about giggling Major?” She barely heard his muttered addition, “It does wonders for my ego.”
She smiled at him ruefully before adding cheekily, “Sorry, sir.” Although she clearly wasn’t.
“Sorry, Carter. It was laundry day.”
He reached to refasten his pants but was stopped by a determined Major. “Sir, please. I wasn’t kidding about the infection. You’re burning up. Besides, I’ve already seen it.”
He closed his eyes and wondered if this day could get any more humiliating. But the ever efficient Major had already stripped him of his pants and had thoughtfully covered his exposed bits with a blanket from the first aid supplies. A blanket that was noticeably tenting. He hissed as she began to clean the area around the wound.
“So, what was it you wanted to discuss?”
“Huh?” The muscles in his leg rippled as she spread the antibacterial salve but he didn’t cry out. “Oh, uh, I asked Jolen to find a planet to exile Maybourne.”
She expressed her displeasure by cleaning the wound a little too vigorously.
“Ow. Major, it’s fine. You’re done.”
“No, sir. The wound is close to an artery. If the infection spreads there is risk of blood poisoning.” She massaged the ointment into the wound, then reached under the blanket to wash an area further up his leg.
He flinched and nearly jumped off the bench. Sam restrained him but during the struggle grabbed a very intimate part of Jack’s anatomy. Both officers froze, neither daring to breath. Her fingers glided slowly down his silky length as she withdrew, pausing at each involuntary twitch as if memorizing his sensitive spots for a later date.
“Major Carter. Do you require assistance?”
“No!” She said a little too sharply.
Teal’c appeared in the doorway, his raised eyebrow the only indication that he had noticed where her hand had been. “General Hammond wishes to speak with you. He is concerned about the delay in our scheduled return.”
“Sir, I need you to turn over on your side. I need to give you a shot.”
He glared at his second-in-command.
“I know you hate needles, sir, but you need a strong dose of antibiotic to combat the infection. Especially if it is going to be a few days before Janet can get you checked out.”
He groaned as he complied, although relieved that he would be able to hide his rather obvious erection. He felt a slight burn at the injection site and then nothing as he slid off the narrow bench and drifted off to sleep. “Well that will keep him off his leg for a few hours.” She packed up the remaining supplies and dropped the soiled bandages into the incinerator.
“Do you think it wise to sedate O’Neill without his consent.”
She grimaced. Jack was going to be all kinds of pissed when he woke up. She shrugged. “He’s running a low-grade fever and the infection is close to a major artery. By rights I should have Jolen take us back to the planet so we can get both of them to the infirmary.”
“But that is not your intended course of action.”
She checked on the sleeping Maybourne as they made their way to the cockpit. “No. I’m not sure I’m on board with Colonel O’Neill’s plan, but that’s because I don’t like Maybourne.”
After a carefully worded debate with Hammond, Sam returned to the aft compartments to check on her patients. Jalen, in the guise of providing her privacy during her communication with the SGC, had used a Tok’ra healing device on a conscious Maybourne, who was now consuming his third MRE. “Do you have any more of these? I feel like I could eat a dozen. Where’s Jack? He said he’d see about dropping me off someplace nice. Someplace where I’m not facing a death sentence.”
“Shut up, Maybourne. Or I’ll shoot you myself.”
“Hey, why all the hostility Major? I didn’t force Jack to come along.”
“You stupid sonofabitch!”
Fortunately for Maybourne, Teal’c restrained her before she could reinjure the man. “Perhaps you should check on O’Neill. I will keep an eye on the prisoner.”
Sam slipped into the aft compartment so as not to disturb Jack. Janet often complained that the Colonel didn’t remain under sedation and often awoke early, but he was still out to the world. She shrugged out of her overshirt and removed her shoes before carefully sliding under the blanket she had used to cover him. She would catch a few hours sleep and then take her turn on watch. She snuggled up next to Jack, resting her head on his chest and succumbing to the overwhelming urge to reassure herself that he was safe.
Jack heard Carter enter the compartment and feigned sleep. Later he would have a conversation with her about the merits of sedating your commanding officer without permission, but for now he was curious as to what she had planned. It took all of his special ops training to remain still while she slid under the covers and snuggled up to him. He knew he should put a stop to it, but he didn’t have the heart when he felt her tears dampen his t-shirt. Besides, he figured they had earned this small measure of comfort. He wrapped his arm around her and dropped a chaste kiss to the top of her head before drifting back to sleep.
Sam’s eyes flew open, but the rest of her remained perfectly still. Did the Colonel just kiss the top of her head? She would have written it off as wishful thinking except his arm was most definitely wrapped around her. Still, it could be a reflexive response. She smiled. No, she had witnessed the Colonel’s instinctive response when startled awake and it had cost poor Daniel yet another pair of glasses. Tears pricked her eyes at the memory. Months had passed, but she still felt Daniel’s loss just as keenly as if it were yesterday. She dried her eyes. This time it sounded like the Colonel really was asleep and he would not appreciate waking up to her crying on him. She was going to have a hard enough time explaining their odd sleeping arrangement. Still, hearing his heart beat strongly under her ear while surrounded by his unique -- if currently a little ripe -- scent comforted her. As she drifted off to sleep she thought Janet could give her a medical explanation involving pheromones and mate selection, but for right now she was content with more primal feelings. Safe. Mine.
The next time Jack woke it was to the sound of approaching footsteps. Carter must have snuggled closer because her soft breaths now tickled his neck. He briefly considered waking her, positive she would not like to be found in such a compromising position, but was forestalled by Teal’c’s soft call.
“O’Neill. We have arrived at a suitable planet. Do you wish me to supervise Colonel Maybourne’s relocation?” He looked pointedly at the still sleeping Major.
“No. I should …”
“Shhh. Jack, go back to sleep.” A sleepy Carter mumbled while tightening the arm that was draped across his chest. She nuzzled even closer.
Teal’c raised an eyebrow. “Your duty is here. Major Carter has not slept well during your absence. Jonas Quinn and I will see to things planetside.”
Maybourne chimed in from behind Jonas, “It’s about time, Jack. No need to get up on my account. I’m not one for sentimental goodbyes.”
Jack frowned but made no attempt to move. Carter must really be exhausted. He nodded. “Take care, Harry.”
The corners of Teal’c’s mouth twitched into a small smile as he watched O’Neill affix the blanket more securely. Duty and regulations would soon dictate that his friends regain a professional distance, but for now he and Jonas Quinn would see that they were undisturbed.