Title: "Right Ingredients"

Author: Little Red

Rating: PG-13

Category: Jack/Kerry, fluff

Spoilers: pre-"Threads"

Summary: She calls him 'honey.'

Author's Note: Medie asked nicely. Entirely for her.


***


She calls him 'honey.'

Jack's pretty sure it's accidental, slipped in somewhere between telling him the milk in his fridge has gone sour and asking where he keeps the spatulas, so innocuous that he doesn't even notice it himself until the omelette's already on the stove.

The conversation has moved on and it's too late for him to call attention to it, so he settles for giving her a bit of a funny look.

Kerry holds up an unlabeled jar of white powder with the amused smirk she gets whenever she catches one of his stranger born-again-bachelor habits (drinking from the carton, laundry piled up shoulder-deep next to the machine awaiting a dire underwear emergency, Simpsons shower curtain...). "Sugar or salt?"

He twists off the lid and sticks in a finger. "Salt."

She doesn't comment, but she rolls her eyes a bit as she salts the eggs with just enough feminine derision to make Jack suspect that she'll attempt to recivilize him someday.

Not that they really think about 'someday.' It's less casual than the standard backdoor office affair, but they're not yet at the point of deep and heavy conversations.

They're not fooling around, though. They're comfortable. After all this time, he's surprised how easy it is to have another body in his house.

Everything about their relationship so far has been easy, like they speak the same language and had some cosmically prearranged agreement about who would sleep on the right side of the bed.

And boy, what a body. She's wearing nothing but a button-down shirt and bright red underwear, and even better, she doesn't care if he stares. Dressed like that, all legs and messy brown curls, she can pretty much call him whatever she wants and he won't object, 'honey' or otherwise.

"I've got a few meetings in D.C. on Friday," she announces. "I don't suppose you want to come along?"

"General Hammond ask you to track me down?" Jack has managed to avoid taking the trip for any of the past two months' worth of Homeworld Security meetings thanks to the wonders of the teleconference, but he doubts he'll manage to escape the clutches of dress uniforms for long.

"Nope. Hey," she waves the business end of the spatula at him without even looking, "less staring, more toast, please."

He draws his eyes away long enough to keep his fingers intact while slicing the bread she picked out. She swears he'll like sundried tomatoes in bread, and, even though he argued about the proper division of vegetables and other food, he's inclined to believe her (she's both half-naked and has never been wrong about his undiscovered food preferences before).

"The President?"

"No, nobody wants you for any important meetings." She rolls her eyes, and then half sing-songs, "But the Bolshoi's at the Kennedy Center this week."

Ballet? "The what?"

Kerry's grin is completely wicked. "You don't like the ballet, honey?"

That time it's on purpose because she's teasing him, so there's really no cause for alarm. Besides... he's not actually all that alarmed, anyway. He abandons his seat -- viewing gallery, really -- at the counter and wraps an arm around her from behind. His face ends up in her hair and he has to breathe in -- he knows, rationally, that it's just shampoo, but she smells fabulous and it seems a bit like female witchcraft. He has always loved women with long hair.

"How about... you hop a plane back after your meetings instead."

"Ah, the Jack O'Neill pizza-and-beer-on-the-couch Friday night out?"

He was thinking more of the Jack O'Neill naked-in-the-bedroom Friday night out, in fact, but he never said no to pizza and beer. "Something wrong with that?"

"No." She smiles and, strangely, he completely believes her.

"Pick you up at the airport?" It's a bad sign when he volunteers to hit Friday traffic in that area just for the company. Kerry never backs out on plans, though, so that's one way to ensure she'll be back in Colorado for the weekend.

She waves off the offer. "I'll have to rent a car anyway. Your job can be to buy beer. Besides, I'd hate to get stuck at the airport in event of a... Jaffa emergency."

"Ah, yes." Always a concern. He tugs a bit on the side of her shirt collar as she finishes with the eggs, hoping the buttons will magically come loose. Not that he even needs to plan sneak attacks to see her naked anymore -- a notion that stops him in his tracks about three times a day with the sheer unlikeliness of it all -- but... well, more naked is never a bad thing.

Kerry tosses him a lazy look over her shoulder, not quite seductive but not quite not. "Breakfast first."

He doesn't repent, but he does let her collar go to bring over a pair of plates.

"We could go out this weekend, you know," she says. "Not- oh, relax, not to the ballet. Just... to a movie or something. There can even be explosions in it."

Jack shrugs, plates in hand, feeling suddenly awkward. There's something almost magical about their relationship existing only in this house, an out-of-the-way handful of restaurants, and a few telling looks in his office. He likes it like this -- unscrutinized. It feels pretty close to perfect when it's just the two of them, and couched in the rational wish not to feed the SGC rumor mill is the irrational desire to keep her to himself.

The longer the silence stretches on, the tighter her expression seems. He puts it off, "We can think about it. If you want to." Then, because he really doesn't want to think about it now, he echoes her earlier statement. "Breakfast first?"

She purses her lips and pauses for a moment, contemplating. He can almost see her mind working, debating airing the serious discussion now or agreeing to the delay -- for her own reasons, maybe, but probably for his. He can't keep her behind locked doors forever, he knows that. It doesn't even make sense for him to want to.

"Okay," she agrees. Then, "Kiss first." She takes hold of the edges of the plates in his hands to keep toast and egg from spilling off them and offers a kiss. Her mouth is warm and feminine, enough to relax the edge from his worries with just a casual brush in the kitchen. It feels normal. They've done this almost every day for a month, and it's blowing his mind an inch at a time.

By the time she pulls back, she's smirking again. "It's all right," she assures him, to ward off any lingering concern that she might be annoyed at spending every night in. Again, he believes her. This feels pretty all right, after all.

Which is weird, in and of itself, given the way his life tends to go. He always expected that, if he ever got into another relationship, there would be an explosive and hellish amount of drama to wade through. With Kerry... she's beautiful, she's rational, and she makes it easy. They're at the phase where she casually calls him pet names, and there was no fanfare or struggle to get them here. This is good. Strange, a little, but good.

He's already getting used to it.


*end*


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