Jon yawned and stretched as he ambled toward the shop. The barn walls gleamed silver in the moonlight, casting eerie shadows on the ground. He frowned at the hint of winter he could just smell on the edges of the light breeze blowing against him. It was early, for snow. Even for Colorado. The garden was taken care of, thanks to the Garden Patch Crew. Root cellar, basement and freezer were all packed to bursting, but they still needed a few more cords of wood or their electric bill was going to be a nightmare.
Things were finally settling down, he thought with some regret.
The BBQ had gone well, and Will had even gotten a few more students as a result of the demonstrations. They had given up their flyer routes, and although he missed working as a team, he had to admit it was time. He and Daniel had moved the best of the remaining parts cars into Alex's basement, packing them in like sardines. He doubted they would get the remainder in the field finished before the snow fell, but better to get as many under cover as possible while they could.
Now that the cash needs created by the training facility had ended, they could relax a bit. Work on new hobbies. Will was working on decorating the library. Daniel was writing a book of some kind. Jon was toying with the idea of a set of french-style patio doors inset with a stained glass mural for his entrance onto the rooftop deck from his bedroom. Alex...
...Alex was getting there.
She had been quiet and withdrawn during September. He put it down to the higher level of competition now that she was a senior. During the past year most of her teammates had put on height and muscle. She was still kicking ass, but when she got hit these days, it was like being tackled by a Jaffa.
He should know, he had seen the bruises.
He could not help the involuntary flinch as he thought about the reason he saw them in such detail. Three weeks ago she had tentatively asked if he would be willing to help with a therapeutic massage program Harper had prescribed. His mouth twisted at his own folly. Fool that he was, he had said yes. He supposed he had had some thought in the back of his mind about getting her to trust him again.
So...now he knew.
He only looked sixteen. He knew when a woman was responding to his touch and Alex most definitely was not. At first he had put it down to tension. At the unfamiliar feel of his hands on her body. Then he had tried to blame it on the bruises. But she had been bruised before and still looked at Jack with a subtle heat in her eyes. She had learned to relax as he gently kneaded the knots and tension from her abused muscles, but not once had he ever gotten the impression his touch had sparked even the smallest desire for anything more.
So...now he knew.
He supposed the only thing left was to decide what he was going to do about it. A hard knot of something that felt like panic twisted nauseatingly in his stomach. If it was just his face, he could wait. Another year, two at the most, and maybe she would be able to see Jack again, when she looked at him. Maybe...
Maybe it would be a good idea to start dating.
That was, as soon as dating women his own age did not make him feel like a pedeophile. On the other hand, once he was eighteen, he could legitimately start dating women in their thirties. Take the edge off. Maybe if he was not so desperate around her, she would feel safer. Less pressured. Maybe...
He contemplated the idea without any real enthusiasm. His body thought he was brilliant. Then again, his teenage body was not very picky. Never had been. And he missed sleeping with someone. He missed all the things Sara had never known he had valued, because telling her would reveal too much about why he had valued them. Sara had loved him. But he had known without a doubt that he sometimes scared her. And not in a good way. Not in a 'I-will-miss-you-if-you-die' way.
Sara had loved him.
But she had never really known what he was.
Was it wrong to want more?
He pulled open the shop door and stepped inside. Surprised to find the shop entirely in darkness, he felt for the switch and flicked it. Nothing.
"Don't bother. The light's broken," came a low voice off to his left.
He jumped reflexively."Jeez, Carter. Give a guy some warning next time."
He took a couple steps forward, stopping when he felt his toe strike something solid,and heard glass crunch under his foot. Bending carefully, he reached for the solid something. He had just wrapped his fingers around the object when he heard a slight sniffle. He snapped his head up and stared blindly in her direction.
Another sniffle, more of a quickly indrawn breath. The kind someone made when they were trying to hide the fact they were crying. He was about to demand she tell him what was wrong when he recognized the feel of the object in his hand. He lifted it and sniffed to confirm his suspicion. It was the container of muscle cream she had given him to use on her bruises. From the feel of the glass underfoot, and the location, it had also been the reason the light bulb was now in a hundred pieces on the floor.
His eyes had adjusted enough that the moonlight seeping in through the upper windows let him pick out her huddled form. She was sitting on the floor, back leaning against a tarp covered car, one of the sports cars from the Graveyard that she was rebuilding. He could not see her expression, but the moonlight turned her tears silver, leaving lines on her face that were impossible to miss.
His fingers clenched involuntarily, squeezing the container in his hand. For a moment, he tried to remember how to breath past the pain and regret. Then he looked down sightlessly at his damn hands. She knew he knew. Ah damn. He fumbled for some way to tell her that it was okay. That she did not have to hurt for him so badly. It was not her fault. He would survive. That's what he did, and it was not so bad being alive these days.
"It's nobody's fault, Carter," he said finally. "Actually, it's Loki's fault, but it sure as hell isn't yours. I just...I shouldn't have pushed for more than you could give. I'm sorry. I won't..."
She climbed slowly to her feet and stood silently. When she did not say anything, he tried a smile. It wobbled a bit, but it might pass in the dark. "So...do you think the college girls will go for the skinny but cute look? At least the acne has cleared up. I..."
He grunted involuntarily when she tackled him. Got her shoulder right under his ribcage and lifted him clear off his feet. He hoped like hell it was the hood of the Corvette he had just landed on, because he was damn sure he had left dents. He was shaking his head and trying to catch his breath when she scrambled up on top of him and planted her knees on either side of his hips, pinning him to the car beneath. She threaded her fingers into his hair and clenched hard enough to hurt.
"Don't you dare," she ordered fiercely.
Then her hands were sliding down his body and she fastened her mouth onto the side of his neck. Sprawled like a pagan sacrifice across his own car, he could not get any leverage. Not unless he wanted to go sliding off, taking her with him. Bad idea. Glass everywhere.
His hands settled on her hips and he had some vague idea of asking her what she was doing when she sank her teeth into his shoulder. He yelped, too confused and not turned on enough for it to be anything but painful. Then her hand slid under his t-shirt and oh thank god for track pants. Her hand wrapping around his balls got his complete attention.
He banged his head when he arched reflexively, one foot kicking back against the grill. He tightened his grip on her hips, unintentionally pulling her against him. Her hand got in the way, but oh, shit, his body did not mind. He couldn't thrust against her, but he did not need to. She moved her hand, then settled against him, her groin making full-contact with his aching hard-on. He groaned as she rocked, her open body cradling his hips, the fabric of her jeans rough against his skin.
She was whispering something against his neck and he tried to focus, some distant brain cell not trapped by sixteen year-old hormones shrieking that it was important. He tried to hold her still, only to have her grind her hips frantically against him, nearly ending everything right there. Shit. Had he really been this fast when he was sixteen? Christ, he had a shorter fuse than a damn bottle rocket and would she please slow down?
"Carter...?" he managed.
Her whispered words started to line up into coherent syllables. He caught the word, "please" over and over again. Not knowing what she wanted, but responding to the frantic tone and forceful thrusts of her hips he fumbled with the zipper of her jeans. She did not seem to notice, too intent on rubbing herself against him and he was about to make some smart-assed comment about teenage hormones, when he slid his fingers across her clit and found her absolutely dry.
Her words abruptly untangled themselves and he thought his heart had stopped when he realized what she was saying. "Don't leave" and "I'm sorry" rang in his ears and when he turned his head and caught the side of her face with his lips, he tasted tears.
"Carter...?" he asked softly.
She did not hear him, not even seeming to notice the sudden slackness of his body. He wrapped his arms tightly around her waist, pulling her to him, belly to belly and pinning her in place.
"Carter, stop," he ordered sharply.
The command filtered through; luck or training, he was not sure. She froze, then a long slow shudder worked its way through her body and she collapsed against him. Not, he thought bitterly, for the reason he would have hoped. He lay still, feeling her breath coming in short pants against his throat. She scared him then, giving a low animal moan, like something dying.
Broken in a way he had never heard from her.
His pulse started to trip-hammer. *Don't panic, Jack,* he told himself. *This would be a bad time to panic.* But he had no idea how to fix this, and when she started to cry, panicking began to look like a damn good idea. He tightened his grip on her body, trying to convince her she was not alone. One thought kept circling in his head.
This was bad.
It was completely Carter to try and solve a problem on her own, to blame herself for not seeing the obvious solution. That was Carter. She thought big. Really big. All the 'possibles' and the 'could be's' and the 'what if's' mounted a rearguard action and took over her brain. Too many damn trees. Pink ones, with purple polka dots.
Carter attacked a problem with logic. With facts. With dizzying, convoluted, gravity defying science that masked the fact that she was beating the square peg on the head until it surrendered. Scarily, for her, it usually worked. When it didn't, she confessed all to SG-1 until one of them gave her an idea and off she went swinging her mallet. She was his own personal secret weapon in BDUs and strawberry-flavoured lip chap. Aim. Fire.
Very cool. Very sexy.
This emotional meltdown was not her. She should be arguing with him. Telling him the problem in dizzying detail. Explaining very carefully why it could not be fixed, right before she went ahead and fixed it anyway. So why had she been trying to fix this on her own? Considering the problem she was dealing with, it sort of made sense to have the both of them involved.
Last he heard, couple's therapy required couples.
Unless she did not really want to solve the problem.
He brooded on that for a moment, then dismissed it. Carter had made the first move. She had obviously been working on something with the massage gig. And he assumed that being thrown across the hood of his car sort of implied she was interested in sex. He was not exactly thrilled with her solution to the problem at hand, but he guessed it made a fuzzy sort of mallet-swinging logic.
The car part was cool.
"I wanted this," she said suddenly, voice and tone defeated. "I just..."
She dug her face into his throat, and inhaled deeply, her hands clutching at his shirt.
"No option four," he heard her whisper sadly.
She yelped when he rolled, got his feet under him and yanked her off the hood of the car. She stared at him in shock as he glared.
"The hell there isn't," he told her.
No way. No damn way was she giving up. She pulled him into this fight. Fired the first salvo. He was damn well going to finish it. She was his. Or she wanted to be. He was not going to lose her. Not because of his body, and certainly not because of his face. He had spent two years trying to be someone else. Trying to be Jonathan. Fuck it. She wanted Colonel Jack O'Neill?
She could have him.
She had avoided looking him in the eyes the whole time she had tried to seduce him. He noted almost absently that she was still using peripheral vision to drift along the edges of his face, not line of sight. Easily solved. She did not resist when he spun her around and trapped her against the front of the car. As much as he wanted to believe it was because of curiosity, he would have to be careful.
Be damned if he would let this become rape.
Her knees braced against the grill and he wedged his own knee between hers, pushing her legs apart and settling against her. He walked her hands forward until she was bent over the car from the waist up. Stretching her arms above her head, he pressed forward, letting her feel him. Tension gripped her body as she considered what he planned to do.
"You think too much, Major," he rasped against her ear, his voice a good octave lower than normal. Whiskey harsh.
A shiver rippled down her spine. He could feel it. And he heard her breath hitch in shock.
"Don't think, Carter," he commanded bitingly, snapping the order out. He drew the tip of his tongue across her shoulder to the base of her skull in a disturbing, sinuous path. Before her brain could catch up, he bit her. Right at the base of her neck. She jerked in panic, reflexively fighting the remembered pain of a scar that no longer existed.
"Don't think, Carter," he snapped again, before she could recover, and she shuddered as he thrust powerfully against her, leaning his full weight across her back, trapping her against the car. Surrounding her with his body. Reminding her that she was safe. For a moment, when she cried out, he was scared he had gone too far. But when he released her hands, she did not move. And when he slid his hands beneath her, she arched her back to give him access to her breasts.
Cautiously, he rubbed and circled and rumbled fractured orders against her ear until he heard her moan slightly. He kept it up until he could feel her hips begin to press rhythmically against the car. In time to her motions, he thrust against her, dry-humping until she stopped pressing against the car and started pushing against him. He lost the ability to touch her breasts when her clothing began to frustrate her and she dropped flat against the car to get a better angle, better contact.
He smiled against the back of her neck.
He spoke as little as possible, keeping his voice low. At first, he simply tried to be what she wanted. Heavier. Older. Stronger. Then he forgot the part he was playing and it was 1969 again and he was doing what he had not even fantasized about doing the second time around. He ignored everything but the feel of her hot skin sliding across red paint as her shirt disappeared, and the logistics of tight Levis threatened to fuck up his perfect scenario.
His knife was in his hand before he had time to rethink the matter and she hummed approvingly as he sliced the tight fabric from waist to knee on either side. The fabric fell away and the smell of her arousal, and the slippery wetness that coated his fingers nearly drove him over the edge. As he cut away her underwear, he had just enough presence of mind to remember that her body was not as experienced as her mind: to kept from shoving himself inside her and pounding away until she screamed.
He let his fingers do the walking.
She groaned as he pushed a finger deep inside. From the frantic way she started to flex and squirm, she was hovering on the edge. However, he did not want her to simply feel release. He wanted her begging. He wanted her screaming his name when she came. He wanted to know she wanted him buried inside her and he wanted to believe her.
She started to whimper as he curled his finger, looking for the sweet spot. He figured he found it when he pressed hard against muscle and bone and she tried to impale herself on his hand. He pushed two fingers inside her and started stroking. Hard. Soft. Slow. Hard. Never deep enough or hard enough to trigger her orgasm. She began to thrash her head in desperation and he waited for her to start begging.
She was grunting deep in the back of her throat with every thrust of his hand, but she would not beg.
He snarled and stopped. A sob broke from her and he leaned forward, fingers embedded deeply, but no longer thrusting. Just scissoring gently from side to side, stretching her, widening her. Her body began to shake as he put his mouth near her ear.
"Do you trust me, Alex?" he asked, low voiced and harsh.
She stilled completely, but he could feel her inner muscles contract in surprise, tightening against his fingers. Slowly she nodded.
He kissed her gently along her shoulder.
Her eyes were closed, and he waited patiently.
He was caught off guard when a sudden, brilliant smile curved her lips.
"Never," she said defiantly.
He pulled his fingers out. "Never is a very long time, Major," he warned her.
She braced her hands on the hood of the car, elongating her body as she spread her knees wider and tilted her ass toward him. Wide open. Inviting him in. Oh...crap. Carter locked and loaded.
He was a dead man.
He began stroking with his fingers again, only to stutter to a halt when she moaned throatily, long and low. The sound rippled from his spine straight to his dick and he swallowed tightly as it jumped in shock. He stroked again and she moaned once more, arching her back. Stroke, moan. Thrust, groan. A hard press of his fingertips against her g-spot, and she writhed on the hood of the car, grinding against it, trapping his hand as she moaned and sighed, and flexed her ass invitingly, visibly savoring every second of his touch.
One flex of his hips and he was home. She flinched slightly as she tore, but when he seated himself deep inside her, the moan she let out was harsh and no longer playful. It curled around his spine and tripped something hot and primitive and he forgot who he was. Forgot who they were. Forgot everything except the sound of her pleasure as he surged into her and she took him as violently as he gave himself away.
"Let it go," he told her."Let it go."
Her hands slipped on the slick hood as he thrust harder, and she shook her head.
He wrapped his hands around the front of her thighs and hoisted her against him, aiming for maximum penetration.
"Let it go, Alex," he ordered.
She shook her head again and he growled, refusing to lose this battle. He leaned into her, pinning her to the hood and used the car for leverage to thrust again and again. The car rocked wildly as he nailed her, hard and fast. She cried out repeatedly and the shocks squealed, collapsing with the rhythym and then throwing her back towards him, up into the next thrust. Her hands flexed and scrabbled for purchase as she struggled to hold her position, as she tried to balance, spreading her knees as wide as they would go, twisting and straining to open wider as he pounded into her.
She ordered him to go faster. Harder. Deeper. He jack-hammered away as he had not been able to do since he was thirty-five and wrecked his knee for the first time and he heard her laugh insanely as her name became a chant on his lips as he plunged into her, going as deep as he could go. Carrying her name with him.
Jack groaned one word brokenly against her ear as his own need claimed him.
She screamed as she convulsed in his arms, taking him with her.
They were sprawled wet,tangled,and boneless across the hood of his car. Her brain struggled to wrap itself around that particular cliche, but the neurons were short-circuited. Fried beyond repair. Apophis himself could come crashing through the door and she did not think she would care. His weight felt good, surrounding her, inside her, and she had no desire to move him. Besides, it would probably be three days before she could walk again.
She felt him start to tremble. It took her a minute to realize he was laughing. He brushed his lips across her bare shoulder and she felt him smile.
"Think this counts as Option Five?"
She snorted at the lazy satisfaction in his voice. He was going to be impossible to live with after this. On the other hand...
"I guess there are advantages to having two good knees," she said, with some satisfaction of her own.
He danced his fingers up and down her arm. "Want to try it again sometime?" he asked hopefully, tone carelessly light. "If I remember correctly, in addition to the acne and mood swings, I'm quick to reload."
Considering that he had lodged himself possessively inside her body and she was making no attempt to get away, the question seemed pointless. Then again, that was not what he was really asking. She considered how to answer him. She knew what she wanted. She knew who she wanted. While she was not prepared to make promises she did not know if she could keep, her last excuse was now a complicated mess of collateral damage.
She was tired of hurting him.
She was tired of being afraid, too, but she would have to learn to live with that.
There was a momentary silence, then he kissed her softly on the shoulder. He did not say anything and she knew if she looked at him, his eyes would give nothing away. It was the tentative way he was holding her that gave her the only clue to his thoughts. The nervous way he kept running his hand down her arm. Soothing. Petting. Betraying a need for contact, yet light enough to let her escape if that was what she needed.
Offering her the freedom to walk away.
He belonged to her. One way or another that had always been true. There was no other choice. Jon or Jonathan, he was still Jack. If he wanted her for the wrong reasons...so be it. She did not expect the words. Not yet. Maybe not ever. He was still Jack and all that implied. She was still Samantha Carter and terrified of losing him.
But when had they ever done easy?
"You're over the limit," she told him seriously. "I think I'll keep you."
He froze against her back, then she heard him snort softly and he relaxed as he accepted that much of her claim. Maybe someday she could say the rest of it. That she loved him, every annoying, frustrating, exhilarating, military-begotten piece of him. Even the parts she sometimes hated.
It was not perfect.
It was going to be painful, and terrifying, and annoying as hell. But she was determined that someday, she would look back and be satisfied that it had been perfect for her.
Whatever it took.
He was worth it.