Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
They weren't dead. That was a plus.
Jack had to keep reminding himself that there were in fact plusses because right now the
minuses were killing him. He felt better - courtesy of a more professional setting for his
leg and an abundance of painkillers - but that gave the tedium of being stuck in the
infirmary the chance to drive him nuts. He hated the inactivity and the sheer boredom of
laying there. Although having to hobble around on crutches wasn't exactly going to make
him a happy camper either.
He glanced down at the clock next to the bed. 3 am. He should be asleep -- the painkillers
and sedatives the Doc had insisted on giving him should have seen to that -- but instead he
was well on his way to becoming an insomniac. It was probably just from all the lying
around. Or maybe it was jet lag.
Hey, a guy was entitled to some jet lag after flying home from Antarctica.
Funny how he'd gotten so used to alien planets that their own was somehow more mind
blowing these days. Daniel must be close an aneurism over all the possibilities - a second
gate on Earth. Jack was sure he was combing through all the available histories at a
feverish pace looking to unravel the mysteries of Earth with this new-found explanation for
alien influence. But Jack couldn't really give Daniel a hard time right now -- not even in
his own mind. The man and his ever-churning brain had saved Jack's life. He owed
Daniel a break or two at least.
Jack contemplated just getting up and going to his quarters. He knew he couldn't drive
with the cast, so he was stuck at the SGC, but even his own quarters would be an
improvement. Dr. Fraiser probably wouldn't appreciate finding his bed deserted, but it
wouldn't be the first time he'd done something she didn't appreciate. He glanced over at
Captain Carter's empty bunk. She had escaped days ago, leaving him alone in medical
Captain Carter. Sam. Sometimes Jack still wasn't exactly sure what to make of her. In
some respects she and Daniel were peas in a pod - curious, wide-eyed explorers. But
Carter was also military and that seemed to keep the more foolhardy variety of curiosity at
bay. She had handled herself well on this mission despite tough physical and
psychological conditions. She had played a significant role in saving his life too. Looks
like he was going to have to get used to having his ass pulled out of the fire by PhDs.
But there was something about the way Carter was willing to break from military standard
behavior that threw Jack off guard. Maybe it was just because she was a woman. He
didn't anticipate waking up to find Teal'c curled up on his chest anytime soon - Antarctic
glacier or not. Sure, it was a practical move, but it just threw him. It wasn't like she meant
anything by it other than keeping them warm.
There couldn't... She wouldn't ...
She couldn't possibly mean anything by it. She was just trying to save both their lives.
Besides, he was just a grumpy old colonel. Not to mention being divorced with a whole lot
Oh, hell. If he couldn't be honest with himself who was he going to be honest with? That
was the real issue right there - there was no point tip-toeing around it.
Carter threw him because she looked so damned much like Sara.
Oh not the Sara of right now, of course. Carter was like a younger, more innocent Sara -
back when her smile was wide and carefree. Sara before the tears had drawn permanent
creases around her eyes.
Sara before Charlie died.
But she had never really had Carter's soft features and wide eyes. She'd always had a
flintiness to her that Jack adored. Even when she was younger, she had a look that said no
one was going to be able to put anything past her -- not even a smart-ass soldier willing to
do just about anything to get her attention.
So why did it feel like Carter was somehow a second chance? Why did it feel like he was
making up for what happened between him and Sara when he held her? It was ridiculous
and he knew it. Carter wasn't interested. She was beautiful, smart, and capable. She sure
as hell didn't need a relationship with some doddering old fool trying to 'fix' his past. Not
to mention the fact that the regs couldn't be much clearer on the point of dating a junior
officer being a major no-no.
Jack pinched the bridge of his nose. This was pointless. Carter meant nothing by anything
she'd said or done while they were in Antarctica. He was not going to stroll through some
delusional parade ground decorated with painkiller confetti. Time to come back to reality
land, Jack old boy.
Reality land -- where he was stuck in the infirmary with scrambled organs, broken ribs,
and a broken leg. Oh yeah, that was an improvement. Maybe he would stick to a
daydreamed relationship with a member of his team that if consummated could spell the
second end to his military career - this one a bit more ignominious.
Jack pulled the pillow out from behind his head and covered his face with it in frustration.
He had to get some sleep or his brain was going to drive him nuts. Maybe he could score
another shot of whatever sedative Dr. Fraiser had given him earlier. Of course if he
actually asked her for anything, she'd probably either keel over from the shock or decide to
start running a whole battery of tests. Probably the latter, which he could really do
Jack tossed the pillow away and pressed the heels of his hands against his eyes for a
minute. This was hopeless. He took a slow deep breath, carefully rolled onto his side, and
gingerly swung his legs over the edge of the bed. His ribs filed a formal complaint and he
had to wait a minute, panting until the pain subsided, but at least he was sitting.
Careful to keep as much weight on his good leg as possible, Jack tottered to a stand. A
pair of crutches rested against the wall next to his bed. He hated them, but at least they'd
let him get where he wanted to go. There was only one thing left that was sure to turn his
brain to mush and finally let him sleep. He was still on the hook to write up his report for
the mission, and nothing bored his mind silly like paperwork.
Jack swung the crutches under his arm and made his way out of the infirmary, hoping he
wouldn't run into anyone on the way to his office. With any luck he'd have the report
written before they tracked him down. At least he was accomplishing something semi-
useful with his insomnia -- as much as paperwork could be considered useful.
Besides, writing a detailed report filled with names, ranks, and serial numbers could dull
the shine on anything -- even the shine left by blue eyes warm with concern and soft
blonde hair tucked under his chin.
Or at least Jack hoped it would anyway.
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