TITLE: "Real Life"

AUTHOR: Little Red

CATEGORY: Sam/Jack, vignette, happy future fluff. No pretense at plot.

RATING: PG-13

SUMMARY: In the future, Sam has something nice to come home to.

PROPS TO: Tammy, for being my substitute self-esteem, and A.j., for explaining what a vignette is.


***


Sam woke up gently, feeling warm sun on her skin and an even warmer hand tracing soft patterns on her bare back.

"Hey," she murmured, turning her head just enough to find him and letting out a sigh.

"Hey," Jack replied, his fingers going to brush her hair out of her face before returning to her back. The angled light through the room told her it had to be late afternoon already -- she must've been out for hours. She wondered how long he'd been sitting there, and spied a paperback book face-down on his lap. "You feeling any better?"

"Yeah." She rubbed a hand across her eyes and, feeling slightly disoriented, lifted her head enough to see the clock on his night table. 6:30? Already? She must have been more wiped out than she'd thought. "I thought you were going out with Teal'c tonight."

His hand didn't stop moving across her upper back. "Thought you might want some company when you woke up."

One hand, still half-numb with sleep, found his thigh and squeezed it. "You didn't have to do that." Still, she found herself happy that he had. After almost a year, it still amazed her not to have to go home alone after a tough mission. She'd found her way to Jack's house automatically, it feeling almost as much like home to her now as her own place and certainly less empty. She'd managed to stay awake through a short shower, but had collapsed on the bed and dozed off only half-dressed. "But thanks."

Jack slid down the bed until they were face to face, setting his novel to the side. "S'okay. Teal'c was pretty tired after getting back, too." He kissed her forehead and then pulled back to look her face over with a smirk. She could only imagine how she looked, pillow creases on her face, bed-head and all. "You up for getting some dinner? I didn't know if you wanted me to let you sleep."

"No, no, I slept too long as it is." Sam closed her eyes with a yawn and tried to stretch the sleep out of her body before turning back to him. "I'll probably be up all night."

His casual smirk morphed into a near-leer in the face of her exposed skin. "I can live with that," he assured her, giving her a kiss and running a callused thumb along her collarbone. She shivered with the sensation and with irrepressible feminine pride. She would never get tired of that look on his face.

"Mmm..." her eyes drifted closed and tilted her head into the pillow to give him better access when he went to kiss her neck. This was heaven, she decided absently as the rough pads of his fingers moved to trace the outline of her breasts. This was what she'd been waiting for, held out for all those years. Someone -- him -- to come home with every night, to sink into after saving the world or spending three days dug in on an alien planet with fifty-odd Jaffa between her team and the 'gate, someone who knew just how she liked to be touched... She rolled onto her back, offering sleepy kisses when his lips crossed hers, sighing when his wandering hands brushed across her belly...

And then his hands and mouth were gone, so abruptly that the previously summery room felt instantly cold. Her eyes flew open, barely biting back an indignant 'hey!' before the syllable could reach her lips.

"Dinner," he reminded her with a smug grin.

"Jack..." she wasn't actually pouting, as that was beneath her, but a well-placed lilt to her voice always managed to weaken his defenses.

"It's important to keep your strength up," he half-chirped, giving her an excessively platonic pat on the shoulder. "Besides, I'm hungry. I missed lunch while we were waiting for you guys."

Usually managed to weaken his defenses, she amended her previous thought. Her legs were trapped by a sheet he must have covered her with after finding her asleep in only a pair of shorts, limiting her ability to just roll on top of him as an exhaustion-hampered substitute for seduction. "C'mere," she encouraged instead, tugging him down to her by the fabric of his t-shirt.

He didn't put up much of a fight, and the kiss was long and delicious even though she could still feel him smiling against her. Distantly, she heard his book slap to the floor as he shifted half on top of her for better leverage. She could feel her blood moving faster through her veins, chasing off the sluggishness left over from her nap, and she blindly went for the buckle of his belt.

He caught her hand and pulled away from her mouth.

He was breathing a little less evenly. That was something.

"You just don't want to get out of bed," Jack accused her.

Busted. "... Maybe." But it was nice.

"After food," he said after a moment of silent debate. "Starving."

With a sigh, she pushed him off of her, and he landed on the pillow next to her with a faked 'oof.' Now that she was waking up, she could appreciate his desire for food. She couldn't even remember the last time she'd had a proper meal. That was probably why Janet went off about nutrition at every single physical, but she wasn't about to admit that.

"Fine, you win." With a chaste kiss to his lips, Sam rolled over and started digging through the bedding for the bra she knew she'd taken out of the dresser before conking out. "Find me my shirt," she commanded, waving a hand toward the patch of floor where it had probably landed on its aborted journey from the closet to her body.

"This?"

It was probably wrinkled, but it didn't really matter. Ten to one they were headed to the diner only a few minutes' drive from Jack's house. On nice nights they usually walked, but she didn't feel the need to add any mileage to the ten-klick hike she'd led SG-1 on that morning to get back to the 'gate from where they'd ended up after three days of eluding Jaffa patrols, and, if he was as close to starvation as he claimed, he probably wouldn't mind driving.

Only a few months earlier, nothing short of a Goa'uld mothership appearing in orbit -- certainly nothing as mundane as hunger -- would have kept him from her naked body whenever she offered it. Their relationship had been new and untested, and everything about it felt miraculous and fleeting, as though it would all disappear like a dream the moment they began to get used to it. This was better. He was coming to expect her to be in his bed every night, and she was discovering that she really didn't mind being a foregone conclusion. Not with him. Not with this.

He was comfortable as much as he was exciting, and the combination amazed her every single day.

"Ready?" he pestered from the bedroom doorway as she tugged a brush through her uncooperative hair and scrutinized her appearance in the dressertop mirror. Honestly, she thought as she poked the hairbrush at a spike of short blonde hair ridiculously sticking straight up, she had no idea how he'd managed to communicate with her so far without cracking up.

"Just a second," she tossed back. After a moment of further struggle, Sam abandoned the hairbrush and pulled an emergency bandana out of one of the dresser drawers designated as hers. "Are you okay with driving?"

"Sure. Let me find my keys."

Sam beat him to the truck. The weather on P8J-189 had been thoroughly dismal, making the evening June sun all the more welcome against bare toes in open sandals. She hadn't even gotten the chance to take off her boots in three days, let alone get a proper night's sleep. She leaned against the warm metal and closed her eyes, breathing in the clean smell of pine that filled Jack's woodsy neighborhood.

"You can't fall asleep again yet," Jack reminded her, crossing in front of the truck and climbing into the cab.

She settled into the passenger seat with a roll of her eyes. "I'm awake, I promise. Should we rent a movie on the way back?"

"I thought we had... other plans."

She snickered at his dramatically suggestive tone, but found herself reaching for his hand across the truck cab before he could turn the ignition and offering a suggestive smile of her own.

"Glad you're back," he said, squeezing her fingers before dropping her hand and bringing the truck to life.

"Missed you, too." Before this, before him, she had rarely even thought about what, if anything, might be waiting for her back on Earth while she was on another planet. Having someone to really miss was something new to her. It was as wonderful as it was hard to have this to look forward to from the trenches, to hear his voice through MALP relays and radios and billions of miles and know that she had only two more days until they were back on the same side of the galaxy.

He didn't release the parking brake right away, letting the truck idle as he searched her face for something deeper, checking her over to make sure she was all right. She knew he still wasn't quite used to his former teammates going off-world without him. A year of them coming back alive and relatively unharmed made it ordinary, but she knew it still wasn't easy.

In her own way, she liked that he almost never left the base while she was off-world. Fifteen miles shouldn't logically make a difference in the face of distances usually measured in light-years, but he felt closer.

She wasn't quite used to leaving him behind, either.

"I'm okay," she assured him. He already knew the critical facts about the mission. They were lucky to have made it back uninjured, but they had. She'd been doing this more than long enough to know that if they fretted over every near miss, they wouldn't have time to do anything else. And, now that she had other things to do, she liked doing them. "It's nice to have this to come home to."

He leaned over and she met him half-way for a quick kiss, made only slightly awkward by seat belts. "Good." He tugged on the edge of her bandana, either straightening it or setting it askew. She couldn't tell.

Something warm and right, a sensation she was getting more and more used to as the months went by, washed over her as he released the brake and backed out of the driveway. She must have been staring, because he shot her a curious look as he switched gears on his quiet street. "What?"

"Nothing," she dismissed him, settling back in her seat and slipping off her sandals to put her bare feet out the window.

Yeah, she thought. This was exactly what she'd been waiting for.

*end*

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