Title: Birthday Girl
Author: Susan217
Rating: PG
Codes: (O'N/C) UST, (Sh/C)
Category: Romance, UST
Summary: Pete gets to see Carter really interact with her team. He realizes things may not be what they seem.
Disclaimer: Never owned these characters. Just borrowing them.
A/N: Ozchick is the rockin' beta goddess above all other betas. Again she has made me look like a decent author. Season seven spoilers.

Stomach churning, Pete followed his girlfriend into O'Malley's and halted.

"Come on," Sam insisted, tugging on his arm, "I promise they won't bite."

Pete looked at the four men sitting around the table in the far corner and looked back at her doubtfully.

Sam crinkled her nose and looked thoughtful for a moment. "Well, Teal'c might," she said, then burst into laughter. "It's my birthday, Pete. I wanted them to be here."

"Whatever makes you happy, Sam," he said, and meant it.

The rest of SG-1 noticed their presence and smiled in their direction. Daniel waved and gestured for Sam and Pete to join them.

"Remember, you promised no biting," Pete said jokingly as they made their
way between the tables.

"Pete," Daniel said quietly. He offered his hand and Pete shook it eagerly. The man radiated an intelligence and warmth that he couldn't help but like.

"It's good to see you again, Daniel."

"And how is the birthday girl?" Daniel asked, pulling Sam in for a hug.

"She is happy, Daniel," and looking back at Pete. He smiled and kissed her lightly.

Teal'c bowed his head in greeting and Pete nodded back. The guy was huge, and rarely smiled, but anyone Sam trusted, he could trust.

He started to take a seat, and accidentally bumped into the colonel.

Jack greeted him with a lazy grin. He'd only seen a brief glimpse of the man at the SGC, but his smile seemed genuine which put him at ease. "Pete, I was just going to the bar. What can I get you?"

Pete smiled back. "How about a Labatt draft?"

"Coming up," Jack said, and turned to go.

"Wait," Pete said. "Sam, honey, do you want anything?"

Jack and Sam looked equally surprised. "I'm sorry, Carter," Jack said. "I just assumed you wanted a..."

"Molson, sir."

Jack nodded and left for the bar.

It was Pete's turn to look confused. "How did he know that?"

"We've been coming here for seven years," She took his hand and pulled him down into the chair next to hers. Daniel sat to his left, and Teal'c to Daniel's.

"Glad you finally got a chance to make it back to our part of Colorado," Daniel said.
"We've heard a lot about you, the last time we met wasn't the best for introductions."

Pete laughed and Sam squeezed his hand. "No, it certainly wasn't," he said.

Jack returned, balancing three beers in his arms. He set the glass down in front of Pete and placed Sam's bottle next to his own. Jack swung the chair out and planted himself on it, resting his arms on the back, his knee brushing Sam's.

Pete waited, but Sam kept her own leg where it was, her bare knee touching Jack's jean- clad leg.

He frowned but mentally admonished himself. These people had been friends for years. A little physical contact was to be expected.

"Carter, did you catch that full moon last night?" Jack asked.

Sam's face lit up. "I did, sir. Though I'll bet my view wasn't as nice as yours was through your new telescope."

Jack shrugged. "You could join me any night. You know where the spare key is."

Sam's face seemed to soften, and their eyes locked. Pete felt out of place beside her.

"We missed that one. Teal'c was insistent on catching the last new episode of Tremors," Daniel said irritably.

Teal'c raised an eyebrow. "El Blanco had fallen ill."

Sam looked at Pete, her eyes alight with laughter.

"What is Tremors?" he asked.

"You asked for it," Jack mumbled under his breath. Sam smiled and briefly covered his hand with her own. Pete frowned.

"It was a television show,' Teal'c said. "Daniel Jackson says that it was cancelled because no one was watching it. The station has obviously been misinformed. I was watching it."

Pete looked around the table. Sam was looking off to the side trying to hide her smile, and Jack and Daniel had become fascinated by their beers.

"Umm…I'm sorry to hear that," Pete said.

Teal'c merely nodded in response and sipped his water.

"Who's ready to order dinner?" Sam asked, squeezing Pete's hand. He grinned.

**

Sam squealed when she opened the box Daniel had given her. "I love it!"

Pete frowned as he looked at the dusty old book. "What is it?"

"It's a very old book on astronomy. It really has no place with today's advances, but I adore reading about how they explained phenomena like solar flares, and craters on the moon. Oh, Daniel. This is great," she said, hugging him tightly. Daniel flushed and nodded his thanks.

"I would ask that you open mine next, Major Carter," Teal'c said.

"Okay, Teal'c," she said, picking up the small blue package. She ripped it open, revealing a worn VHS copy of Star Wars.

"On Chulac it is customary to give something of your own," Teal'c said. "An item that you yourself have enjoyed."

"I will treasure it," she replied, smiling warmly at the Jaffa. The smile was acknowledged with a nod.

Pete was baffled, but grinned at seeing the bond between them.

"OK. Mine next," Pete said, pushing the box in front of her.

She ripped back the paper and he grinned at her enthusiasm.

"It's beautiful, Pete," she said, pulling out the delicate gold chain. A small heart locket hung down in the middle. "Thanks," she said, pulling him close for a kiss.

Sam looked over at Jack, a look of expectancy in her eyes that Pete couldn't miss.

Jack stared back at her blankly. "Something on your mind, Carter?"

She laughed and slapped his arm. He caught her hand and their fingers laced. It seemed a natural habit, and not something either of them did on purpose.

Jack pulled out a large box, and placed it before Sam. Pete had to smile at the way her eyes lit up when she was excited.

Sam tore off the packaging and ripped open the box. She pulled out a large ceramic vase, pale blue, and obviously hand crafted.

"Sir…" she said, her eyes again lifting to Jack's. "Did you make this?"

Pete could have sworn that everyone else had vanished from the room. He knew that the two of them were aware only of each other.

"Yeah, no big deal. It's a little lopsided…"

"I love it," she said, running her fingers along the edge and down the side.

"He's been working on that for months, Sam," Daniel said, laughing when Jack shot him a glare.

Pete frowned. He'd only bought her gift a week ago.

"It is true, Major Carter. Colonel O'Neill put much time and effort into your gift," Teal'c said.

Jack stood abruptly, his face flushed. "I'm going back to the bar. Can I get anything for anybody?"

They all refused another round and he headed for the bar.

Sam stood, ignoring them all, and followed him. Pete watched Sam gesture toward the vase, and Jack shrug off whatever she'd said. He was obviously trying to hide a grin, though. They leaned into one another chatting intimately. Sam laughed at something he said, and Jack smiled.

Pete sat back in his chair, and sighed.

**

Jack stood and stretched. "I think I've had enough. I'm heading home."

"Well, fine, you party pooper," Sam said, laughing. Jack shrugged but smiled. Again Pete felt as if he had missed something.

Jack began shaking hands, and when he got to Pete he smiled. "I think you've passed the test," Jack said with a grin.

"Can I walk you out?" Pete said. "There was something I wanted to ask you."

Jack looked startled, but quickly recovered. "Sure."

They passed through the restaurant doors, and walked in silence to Jack's truck.

"How long have you been in love with her?" Pete asked.

Jack reached inside his pocket and fished his keys out. He shifted them from hand to hand, looking off at the passing traffic. He didn't reply.

"I'm not angry. I'm just wondering where I stand."

"I think you know where you stand. She's with you, Pete."

"I'm never going to be able to compete with the Stargate program. You're the biggest part of that."

Jack unlocked his car. "Go back inside. You've won the battle." The truck door swung open and Jack climbed in.

"Yeah, I've won the battle. But I think we both know who's going to win the war."

Jack's eyes briefly locked with Pete's. Then he shut the door of his truck, started the engine, and drove away.

Pete glanced back at the restaurant. Through the window he could see Sam laughing.

He'd take what he could get.
*****