TITLE: Day of Rest

AUTHOR: Little Red (mylittleredgirl at gmail dot com)

RATING: PG-13

CATEGORY: mini!OTP, fluff

SPOILERS: "Fragile Balance," "The Curse"

SUMMARY: Clue for 49 across.

***

Sam has a new appreciation for mornings.

When she was Major Carter (she still is, but she isn't, and it's a distinction that's getting easier to live with), she never lounged in bed. One hit of the snooze button was a luxury, two extravagant when there were worlds to save and commendations to earn. Even first thing in the morning. Even on Sundays.

Things are different now. Everything is different now, but there are some parts of that she likes.

Now it's already 10:45 and she can hear that it's raining outside but hasn't yet been up to check. The Sunday paper is strewn all over the bed. Jack is grumbling about the stalled hockey players' union talks and playing with her hair while she flips through Parade Magazine.

She's starting to understand, at thirty-nine and sixteen, why weekends are something to look forward to.

The newspaper rustles excessively next to her. She's not really reading the inane article about how upgrading her PDA will change the way she does business, but she still can't muster up the energy to turn over and see what sort of elaborate origami it sounds like Jack is constructing next to her.

There's more rustling as sections of newspaper slide off the bed onto the floor, and then Jack is sliding down the bed behind her and spooning up against her back. The magazine is unceremoniously yanked from her hands and set down somewhere behind him.

"I was reading that," Sam says, but she can't really work up even that much fake indignation on a Sunday morning. It occurs to her that she's not sure where her clothes ended up last night and she makes a mental note to check underneath the bed and amidst the bedding before she takes the laundry to the coin-operated machines in the basement.

"Read this instead." Jack holds a wad of folded newsprint with a crossword puzzle front and center before her eyes.

He snuggles closer as she takes the crossword. He's warm around her and smells of relaxation in a way that's intoxicating. They were ridiculous for a few months after they started to explore a physical relationship -- she doesn't think she has ever had as much sex as she had over the past summer -- but some of the frantic desperation has had a chance to wear off. There's something incredible about just being naked together without it immediately turning sexual. She trusts him enough to let him touch her and hold her and sit next to her with the lights on, even when she is who she is and looks like she does.

Holding the newspaper in one hand, Sam reaches over the necessary few feet to the milk-crate nightstand where she left a pencil holding her place in To Kill a Mockingbird the night before. She feels a flash of guilt when she thinks of the stack of homework requiring her attention -- the rest of that book included -- but mentally waves it off in a voice that sounds surprisingly like his. Twenty years ago -- hell, four months ago -- she started her homework at 3 on Fridays and never dreamed of renting the movie instead or of using Cliffs Notes as anything but additional, supplementary reading material. She calls him a bad influence on her but some part of her thinks that maybe he's teaching her just as much now as he did when he taught her how to think six tactical steps ahead and keep her cool on the battlefield and command the respect of men in uniform.

"Fine. 1 across." She doesn't even read the clue aloud, penciling in ACRE for 'land measurement.'

"You've got to give me a chance," Jack chides gently, his breath rushing warm and gentle over her ear and cheek. "I knew that one." She knows he'll outgrow her in height soon enough, but right now they're more or less even.

She shifts, tangling her legs with his and closing her eyes for a brief moment. "You read it, then."

He answers the ones about sports and popular culture and kisses down the top of her spine until she squirms and giggles when 59 down has the clue back of the neck. He knows she likes addressing the clues in numerical order -- someone once told her that it's more of a challenge that way and it has been a habit ever since -- so he skips around as much as possible. They argue over a six-letter word for trouble beginning with T when he insists it must be Tok'ra, and she lets him write it in if only to see how he'll find a way of starting 22 down with an apostrophe. She swats his hand away -- somehow he found another pencil in the sheets -- when he tries to write THOR in for a blank four-letter "combining form meaning 'strange'."

"JACK fits too," she points out, instead of picking bones about the definition of combining forms. It was a long time before they could joke about anything Asgard and actually find it funny, longer than for other aspects of their lives, but her stomach and fists no longer coil tight when she remembers her last time on an Asgard ship.

They are making themselves okay with it. Neither of them will say that they're grateful it happened, that it's a good thing that they were cheated out of the lives they knew and exiled into these bodies and this life, but, nearly a year into this strange second childhood, she's not always unhappy. They have found ways to make the best of it, to make this new rather than simply reliving a part of their lives they've already gone through. She's sure they would go back if given the chance to erase what happened, but she also thinks she would miss this.

"Egyptian goddess of fertility," he reads, and then pauses. "Four letters. Did we meet that one?"

"Well, I did. But she was dead and in a jar at the time," Sam turns her head enough to offer a cheeky smile after she crosses out an errant O and writes in ISIS. Her attempts at the Sunday crossword used to be a lot neater, but the company makes up for it. Weekend mornings in the cold, quiet kitchen of her old house feel very far away.

"I heard about that symbiote autopsy thing," he says, making a face that reminds her of exactly how he used to look whenever Daniel translated the literal name of some alien delicacy to them. "Fraiser gave me the gory rundown. With pictures."

She's often startled by the way he's growing into the man she will recognize. The features are all already there, on both of them, but they are yet to be hardened into place and it's only sometimes that it really strikes her. There are moments when he'll smile at her the same way that used to send warmth like spikes through her in long, boring briefings, and he'll look so much like Colonel O'Neill that she can't help remembering the guilty mantra of regulations and inappropriate conduct that beat through her grown-up head for all those years.

He does it, too. He still doesn't narrate his emotional state to her much, but now that she's allowed to look she can read it all over him like he's wearing subtitles. She can tell that he remembers how she was off-limits when she's slouched just the right way over her honors physics textbook.

Distraction is usually their means of dealing with the unusual paradoxes of who and what they are and the lives they have, and today is no different. Jack kisses the hollow under her ear, rubs a hand up and down her ribs, and asks, "What's next?"

They've completely butchered the crossword beyond repair, filling it with invented spellings and alien races and even the name of Sam's English teacher for "famous 19th century despot." Sam is getting hungry and, as well as she has managed to ignore it so far, she really does have homework to do. They both have a history midterm to study for.

"Brunch?" They're past being able to call it breakfast.

"What, giving up?"

"It's afternoon," she points out. She can justify wasting a Sunday morning, but, even as a sixteen-year-old, she can't write off the entire day. "And we should have started studying for that history test already."

He pokes her in the shoulder a few times as she disentangles herself from the sheets. "You wrote out flash cards last week."

"But now I have to study them," she explains. "And so do you."

He beams at her, the same grin that used to cheat her out of the last glass of jell-o in the SGC cafeteria when she wasn't paying enough attention. "But I sit next to the smartest kid in class."

"Nice try."

"Hey, there was a question about the 28th President on the crossword," he point out, getting himself up and digging pants out of the dresser.

"'Hammond' was not the 28th President of the United States," Sam echoes their earlier argument.

"Past life," Jack shrugs. "Saw it on The X-Files."

She groans and heads for the kitchen, picking up a shirt on the way. "Want pancakes? I think we have mix still."

"I'll make them," he offers, too quickly.

"Oh?" She has gotten better with pancakes, now that she figured out the fluctuations of their finicky stove, so she doubts it's culinary self-preservation.

"You can teach me history."

She really doesn't mind him using her flash cards -- is oddly pleased, in fact, that he still relies on her intelligence even in a capacity limited by an eleventh grade curriculum. "After I shower," she bargains.

"It won't take long to make. Shower after, and I'll bike to the video store for To Kill A Mockingbird. Unless you're actually going to finish reading that."

She will, after he goes to sleep, but she won't mind watching the movie anyway, especially if he's willing to brave the rain to get it. "Okay."

She heads for the living room to locate either of their history books, and he calls after her, "Chocolate chips in the pancakes?"

"Definitely," Sam yells back, and thinks that there are a lot of good things about Sunday afternoons now, too.

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