To those of you who are reading A Shove in the Right Direction – don't worry, I'm still working on that, but – this demanded to be written.

Title : The Darkest Shade of Grey

Author : Charlie Brown

Email : charlie_girl_brown

Status : WIP

Category : Sam/Jack

Spoilers : Shades of Grey, Chimera, Heroes

Season info : Season 7 (set any time after Heroes)

Sequel info : None

Rating : PG

Content Warnings : None

Summery : Jack's attitude toward his team has taken a nose dive

Disclaimer : I'll only say this once – I have no money. Please sue me so I can get some fame!

Author's Note : Haven't actually seen Chimera yet, or Heroes, so let me know if I'm way off canon.

*********************************************

"So you can see from the rate of decay-"

An extremely bored Colonel Jack O'Neill interrupted his 2IC, "For Crying out loud, we don't need to know this."

"Sir?" Sam was a little taken back with his statement. She knew he could get restless in briefings, or debriefings as the case was, but this was a little over the top, even for him.

"Colonel?" The General also questioned the interference.

He directed his reply at Major Carter, with a look of annoyance. "Look, your geek buddies might appreciate all that technobabble, but we don't really need to know, do we?"

"Not all the details, of course, but understanding-"

"Ah!" He held up his hand to stop her. "Yes or no, Major." He pinned her with a look she had never seen before. It was almost patronizing.

Feeling somewhat flustered by his attitude she meekly responded with a "No, sir"

"What was that? Could you speak a little louder?" the tone he used was usually one he reserved for bawling out new recruits.

"NO, sir." She grated out, unable to look him in the eye. She didn't understand why he was treating her this way.

"I thought so, now sit down and shut up."

Sam's eyes shot up in surprise to meet his, but quickly dropped back down at his challenging glare. Moving quickly to her seat, spitting out "Yes, sir" and more quietly "No, sir. Three bags full, sir"

"I'm sorry, do you have a problem, Major?" The Colonel wasn't yelling, but the tone had the same effect, causing her to jump slightly in her chair.

"No, sir." She replied, in her best military voice.

"Excellent. Shall we get on with it then? I believe Dr. Jackson was next. Daniel, do you have anything to add?"

"Aah, yes." He began, a little confused and some what uncertain. "The religion that the inhabitants of..."

Jack just sighed and closed his eyes as Daniel continued to explain the ins and outs of the culture on P59-227. Leaning back in his chair, making it obvious he wasn't paying any attention, he tapped his pencil against the legal pad in his lap.

The General couldn't do much about the turn of events. The Colonel was fully within his rights as CO of SG-1. The most he could do was try and defuse the situation. As soon as Dr. Jackson was finished he jumped in before Jack had a chance. "I think we've all heard enough. SG-1, you're dismissed – except for you Colonel, I'd like a word in my office.

* *

As the scientists and alien of SG-1 took their seats in the commissary, Daniel broached the subject of their commander's behaviour. "Does anyone know what that was all about? I know that Jack can sometimes be, well, Jack. But he was openly rude today.

"Not just today, Daniel." Sam admitted. "He's been acting like this for a couple of weeks. Not quite as bad as this morning's briefing, but little things."

"I too have noticed the change in O'Neill." Teal'c's somber tone had an edge of disappointment in it.

"I guess I have as well." Daniel sighed. "I guess I just attributed it to everything that's happened recently."

"I know, I was hoping that that's all it was, I really do. But he wasn't like this after you ascended, Daniel. He was upset, but he didn't take it out on us, not like this." Sam was visibly worried.

"Well, when did he start acting this way? And what has he been doing? You mentioned he was 'little things'. What sort of things exactly."

"I have not witnessed any 'little things' as Major Carter put it. I have only noticed his mood becoming worse with each new day."

"Sam, what have you noticed."

Biting her lower lip, then exhaling in defeat, she went through all the things she had noticed. "The first thing I noticed, was that he stopped visiting me in the lab. The next, was the way he spoke to me, only talking to me when it was absolutely necessary, like it was a huge effort for him to be chatting to a geek."

"He called you a geek?" Daniel was a little shocked. "Are you sure he wasn't just joking around?"

"He didn't use the word geek – it was egghead. And he definitely wasn't joking." Sam paused at the memory. His comment had put her in a bad mood all day and was threatening to do so again. Daniel was right, he'd been incredibly rude and she had a feeling she knew why. "It seems that I'm the target of his attitude and you two are just getting caught in the crossfire."

"Excuse me?"

"How have you come to this conclusion?"

Daniel and Teal'c weren't quite sure how she'd made the leap in logic.

"He's been acting like this since he found out I've been seeing someone." She seemed confident in her theory. 'He's jealous.' The revelation gave Sam a surge of female pride. That she could produce such a strong reaction meant that he might actually feel something for her.

"You're sure?" Daniel shared a dubious look with Teal'c. "I guess it's possible."

Sam seemed to have her mind made up. "I'm going to see the colonel." She said, leaving behind two very worried men. They could only imagine the conversation that was about to take place.

* *

A knock on his office door brought Jack out of his contemplation. He was mulling over his conversation with the general. He had subtly pointed out that his behaviour was bordering on unprofessional.

"Enter" He called to his uninvited guest.

"Permission to speak freely, sir?" Sam Carter all but demanded as she walked in the door.

"Go right ahead." He was a little surprised to say the least, and at the same time, curious over what she had to say.

"If this attitude of yours has anything to do with my seeing Pete, then you really ought to..." Sam trailed off, interrupted by the sound of the Colonel in suppressed fits of laughter.

"Oh, please don't stop on my account," he waved his hand about to indicate that she should continue.

"I don't see what's so funny!" Sam was completely thrown off by his reaction.

"Sorry to burst your little bubble, Major, but why should I care that you're seeing someone? Just because you have a crush on me, doesn't mean that I'm going to get jealous because you finally got a boyfriend."

Sam had never been so humiliated in her entire life. She was so sure that it had been about Pete. She just stood there, without a clue what to say.

When it became obvious that she wasn't going to say anything Jack continued. "Why don't you run along back to your lab, and we'll forget this whole conversation, huh? I wouldn't want to have General Hammond assign you to another team. I'd probably end up with Major Thomas in your place, and - as nice as the guy is, well - let's just say that his equipment isn't as nice to look at as yours is."

Completely embarrassed, Sam exited the office as quickly as she could. Her cheeks burned and tears of humiliation stung at the back of her eyes. God, why did she have to make such a fool of herself. Of course he didn't care. That's why she'd gone out and gotten a damn boyfriend in the first place!

Arriving at the elevator shaft, she waited for it to arrive. Pushing the call button over and over again in frustration. Her other hand ran through her hair and came to cover her mouth as she shut her eyes against the tears. She would not cry over him, she would not.

As soon as the elevator doors opened she stepped inside and took a deep breath. Calming her nerves by concentrating on the movement of her lungs. By the time the doors opened on level 19 she was once again, the ever composed Major on her way to the lab. And for the rest of the afternoon buried herself in her work.