Disclaimer: Herein lies my statement that I do not own anything related to Stargate (sadly), and am not earning any money for any stories I may write.

That said, this story is from my own quirky imagination and I would like to think that just maybe in some reality somewhere, Sam ditched Pete soon after the incidents of Chimera, and I'm sure she was very nice about it.

Note: I would like to thank DevilishMe for her great suggestions and ideas about this story. She's wonderful, and I appreciate it.

Not A Soap Opera

He hadn't been sure that coming to see her was a good idea. However, when she opened the door and he laughed out loud, he was happy he had. The open doorway of her house revealed Sam Carter wearing decidedly worn green sweats, fuzzy pink bunny slippers, a bath towel tossed over her shoulder and wet hair sticking out in all directions! This was what could be called a Kodak Moment, and he didn't have a camera!

"Sir!" she said.

Speech failing him, the huge grin plastered all over his face spoke volumes for him.

Blushing slightly, her own face lighting up with an enormous smile, Sam curtsied slightly, and said "Why, thank you, sir. I finally got to make you laugh!"

"Cute, Carter. Really cute!" came the reply. Then, "Can I come in? Or are we going to stand here discussing how amusing you look?"

Sam stood back, allowing Jack to pass her, then closed the door and followed him into the living room, where she motioned for him to sit wherever he wanted. And as an afterthought, "Can I get you anything? Wine? Beer? Water? …"

He opted for a beer, and she excused herself briefly, returning with an already open bottle of Guinness, which she handed to him. And being already a little more than relaxed after a long hot bubble bath and a glass of wine, she flopped into a big easy chair, tucking her slippered feet alongside her in the chair.

"So, to what do I owe the honor of this visit, in my home, at this hour of the night, sir?"

Jack appeared to be looking down the neck of his bottle of beer, as he absently picked at its label. He finally looked up. "I thought I'd see how you're feeling after the ... uh, … events of the last few days."

Sam didn't answer immediately, as she was taking a sip of her second glass of wine. Jack had just taken a mouthful of beer, when Sam said, "I think I should join a convent!"

Beer sprayed from Jack's mouth, all over the front of his shirt and the coffee table in front of him, and he choked a little on some of the beer that traveled to his windpipe.

Caught in a fit of giggles, Sam managed to control herself enough to dash into the kitchen for a towel to wipe up the spray and dab at the wet spots on Jack's shirt … which only managed to make the dampness spread.

"Sorry, sir," she said and rushed to the bedroom, leaving Jack wondering why she seemed to be running out on him. He wasn't alone for long, as Sam returned with a man's shirt. "You can put this on instead..." she motioned at the now wet shirt he wore.

"It's Dad's," Sam supplied, on seeing the puzzled look on his face. When Jack raised questioning eyebrows in a what-does-a-tok'ra-want-with-an-earth-shirt way, she rolled her eyes and added, "He likes to fit in when he's here, so I have a bunch of his clothes."

Satisfied with the answer, Jack took the offered shirt and excused himself, going to the bathroom to change. He heard the phone ring, and a cheerful, "Hi, Mark," as Sam picked up before he closed the door.

Over the years, Jack had been in Sam's bathroom a number of times, but it was the first time after she had a bath and apparently not gotten around to cleaning up. He found the messy appearance to be endearing. Articles of clothing had been more or less thrown toward the hamper, along with a towel - all of which had missed the hamper. The bath mat was still damp. There was a soft scent of some sort of flowers in the air. Catching sight of the bubble bath container, he instinctively picked it up and smelled it before reading the label. Lavender and Citrus. Finally, he had a description for Sam Carter's scent. He put the bottle back down and went about changing the shirt for the dry one. While he and Jacob were not the same size, the borrowed shirt was a fairly decent fit.

As he left the bathroom, he passed Sam in the hallway, still on the phone, and continued to the living room. He could still hear bits of the conversation though.

"Yes, I forgive you. Yes. I believe you didn't know he would do something like that, Mark. Seriously. Just relax." Silence, then. "Okay, love you, too. Bye."

Back in the living room, and having retrieved his beer, Jack settled back into the sofa, and when Sam returned, said, "Okay. Now, how about explaining that stuff about joining a convent."

Getting comfortable in the chair she had previously occupied, Sam followed up on her comment. "Well, considering the crappy history I have with men, I'm starting to think maybe that's where I belong. After all, some of the men that have been attracted to me since I joined the SGC have died. And one that survived did something stupid enough that I don't want to keep seeing him. Thus, I'm thinking maybe a convent would be an appropriate place for me."

Without realizing Sam was being somewhat facetious, Jack attempted to derail that notion. "Oh, for crying out loud, Carter. You can't seriously believe you had anything to do with them dying. They probably would have anyway, even if they never met you. And this guy … well, yeah, if he hadn't been dating you, this wouldn't have happened." Gulping down a large mouthful of beer, he forged ahead. "But, come on … the guy had no respect for you and thought he was above the rules and could bypass classified information for his own curiosity. You didn't make him to do that. He did it all by himself. And you are not to blame for what he did. He should have known better."

Silence ensued for several minutes as each was caught up in their own thoughts on the subject, as well as the forbidden one that was not to be spoken of between the two of them.

Slouching down in her chair, Sam stuck her legs out on the coffee table between them. Deciding that looked comfortable, Jack slouched down on the sofa and propped his own legs on the same coffee table. Waiting for a comment from Sam, he again noticed her fluffy pink slippers, and nudged one of her feet with one of his. "And where on earth did you get those slippers, anyway? "

Grinning, Sam said "They were a present from Cassie." And added a bit defensively "And besides, they're comfortable. I felt like having something snuggly warm on my feet this evening."

"He' s not good enough for you Carter," Jack blurted out, wondering how that had gotten out of his mouth. He hadn't even had a whole beer! It didn't usually make him talk to Sam like this. And it certainly didn't involve telling her how to live her life (unless this was her way of "getting the life" he had ordered her to get; damn, did that mean he was sort of responsible for this?). Maybe the beer was spiked! But with what...

"He's a nice guy," she said. Jack didn't know Pete, but he definitely didn't agree. Thankfully the "spiked" beer didn't encourage him to respond. "But I guess it's better that it didn't work out."

She noted as she said this, a look on Jack's face that she couldn't quite interpret.

Taking a deep breath as though to gather up her courage, "Actually, it's just as well this didn't work out." She paused, wondering whether to continue, and decided to bite the bullet. "There's somebody else I care about, and I guess it isn't fair to get involved with anyone when something like that is getting in the way." There, that was vague enough and yet, it said so much. She couldn't look at him, so she looked casually around the room; anywhere but at him.

Then, quick as a wink, she changed directions, and said "Do you ever watch soap operas or read romance novels?"

Fortunately for Sam's supply of Jacob's shirts, Jack wasn't holding his bottle of beer or about to take a drink from it. Otherwise, he would have sprayed it all over his borrowed shirt and the table his legs were propped on; and Jacob's stock of shirts would have been in serious danger of being depleted. He didn't have time to process what had been said before this latest confusing statement, let alone react to it, so all he managed to do was sputter "Huh?"

Sipping at her wine, Sam continued as though unaware of his confusion. "I've been following this story recently. It's about two people who work together. The guy is her boss, and they became very attracted to each other. But, sadly, they aren't allowed to do anything about it because of some rules and regulations concerning office relationships."

Another sip of beer, and Jack sat back and listened, since he had better than a passing acquaintance with that particular besides, listening to Sam's voice like this was far and away better than listening to the technobabble he was so used to hearing.

"You see, they do very dangerous work, and it's considered poor behavior to have any sort of romantic feelings about each other. At one point, though, they were forced to admit their feelings for each other because of some really stupid confusion by a machine, of all things," her voice full of disbelief and even a bit of disgust at the notion that a machine could be so misguided. "And after that, they agreed they would simply tuck it away and not talk about it.

"Everything was fine for awhile. They were still good friends and still got along famously, even though they both still harbored these feelings for each other. Then things took a turn for the worse when the guy actually had to kill her."

"But, it didn't turn out as bad as it sounded. Because, you know, in all good soap operas, a person isn't always dead when they've been killed." She giggled as Jack snorted loudly at this last bit, both of them thinking briefly of a close friend of theirs.

"Anyway, she lived, but he began to distance himself from her emotionally for a long time, and acted as though they were nothing more than colleagues, … and she just didn't know what to do, because they couldn't talk about 'them'."

"Fairly recently, she became lost for several days, and was injured with a massive concussion. Happily found, though, she was brought home, and when she awoke, he was there at her bedside. She was still in a bit of a daze when she saw him and spoke his name. He seemed confused at hearing his name, because she almost never called him by his name. Then she got confused and didn't understand his confusion and thought he was annoyed with her for calling him by his name." A twinkle sparkled in her eye, as she said "Clear as mud, huh?"

"So, she decided that maybe she should just move on and find somebody else and see what dating was like. Because, you see, she hadn't done that for a very long time, and was wondering if she'd even remember how to act on a date. She met this nice guy, and they got along well. But the guy did something rather stupid, and the girl decided she couldn't trust him, even though she forgave him. And now she's alone again."

Jack was silent for several minutes after Sam stopped talking. Finally, he smiled somewhat crookedly, then said, "You know, I think I've seen some of that soap opera …"

When a smirk appeared on Sam's face, Jack waved a hand at her and suggested she keep that information to herself, because he'd deny he ever said it if she told anyone.

Somewhat hesitantly, and wondering if he should even say anything, Jack forged ahead anyway. "Maybe it's not that the guy isn't interested anymore. Maybe he doesn't think he's good enough for her, and just wants her to be happy." So not looking at Sam as he spoke.

Blinking, Sam stared intently at Jack, as though she wasn't sure she heard him correctly. He thought he wasn't good enough for her? To borrow a phrase from the man, she thought "oh, for crying out loud! If that doesn't just take the cake!" It had simply never occurred to her that he could think so little of himself.

Choosing her words carefully, so as to leave no room for doubt or misunderstanding, "I think I'm pretty safe in saying that not only is he good enough for her, but nobody else even comes close to how good he is for her. And he is what makes her happy." She mentally patted her own shoulder, feeling that she hadn't gone overboard, but had made herself clear.

A flush crept up Jack's face at those words. He'd just been given an awesome compliment and he didn't know how to reply. So he mulled over Sam's story. He had gotten more answers than he had bargained for, and it gave him a reason to think that maybe he hadn't lost her after all. Not that there was anything he could do about it for the time being, but at least the foreseeable future didn't look quite so bleak.

Curiosity getting the better of him, Jack asked "Since when do you have time to watch soap operas or read romance novels?"

Grinning, Sam replied "Oh, I don't. Apparently some of the women on the base record some of their favorite 'soaps' and have a tendency to discuss them in the commissary, and I seem to wind up sitting near them when I've gone to get some food. One learns a lot from unintentional eavesdropping."

Jack nodded. "Ah, I see," was all he could come up with in response. He wanted to add something to Sam's "soap opera", but nothing seemed quite appropriate.

They had been talking about a soap opera, after all, not someone's real life. They were good at talking fantasy. They had both been doing it for a long time and were pretty much experts at it by now. Still, Jack was restless because he realized she had done all the talking. He needed to add something to this story as well.

However, he decided that maybe it was best to say goodnight and give them both some time to absorb what hadn't actually been said.

Sam walked him to the door, and as another long silence began to develop, Jack quietly spoke, "You know the guy in the story … well, I think I know what he would say."

Sam was silent, but her look of intense curiosity encouraged him to continue.

In spite of the amount of room in the hallway next to the door, they were standing close together, inches apart, neither willing to look away from the other. Jack lifted his hand to her face, his index finger gently tracing the line of her jaw, coming to rest with feather lightness on her lips. Sam shivered slightly, but didn't look away.

"He would say something like 'I still care a lot. A lot more than I'm supposed to. And I'll find some way for us to be together'."

Sam's eyes closed momentarily, and she leaned slightly into the hand against her lips.

Another moment of silence, then "Well, I guess I'll be going. See you tomorrow at the office?" And Jack was gone into the night, … and he was whistling.

Leaning against the closed door, Sam's own fingers came up to touch her lips. She smiled, delighted at this revelation, and thought, "So not a soap opera!"