Voice of Experience

by Domenika Marzione

"Some place you got here."

John looked up from his tea and cookies and laptop. Samantha Carter was grinning at him. She gestured with a tilt of her head, asking to sit with him.

"Please," he said, waving his hand expansively, careful not to hit his sippy cup.

"Anything to keep you from the paperwork?" Carter asked with a wicked grin as she sat down. She had a tray full of food and slid it on to the table carefully.

He shrugged artlessly. Lucius would have been a helluva lot funnier if Rodney hadn't taken it one step too far. He wasn't as pissed as he had been, mostly because everyone else was still furious -- Carson still wasn't able to talk to McKay without getting worked up. "There's a certain perverse joy in coming up with ways to describe people under the influence of foreign substances without actually saying what they did."

Carter spread her napkin and picked up her fork. "Especially the inappropriate romantic behavior," she said with a wink, digging in to her salad with gusto. "That it never goes in the AAR doesn't change the fact that it's got an embarrassment half-life of at least six months."

Even though all of the paperwork wasn't done yet, the fact that Atlantis's security had been compromised so completely had made it a necessary topic in the first databurst that followed, so John knew that SG-1 probably knew what had happened. What he didn't know was how many comparable experiences there had been at the SGC. He knew there had been, just not how many and how similar. Although the name 'Hathor' had come up a few times, but John hadn't had the time to go look up who he (she?) was.

"I'll make sure to use the time wisely," John promised. It would be a lot more fun, however, if the people he'd most like to tease weren't all people who could hurt him. (That, and watching Elizabeth blush and stammer with embarrassment really was uncomfortable for him.)

"Do that," Carter told him, stabbing at a baby potato. She popped it into her mouth, chewed, and swallowed. "Because next time? It'll be you."

"Oh, I think this was my reward for going buggy last year," he replied ruefully. Which was the other reason (apart from the threat of lasting physical injury) that he did not mock Teyla.

Carter ate unselfconsciously, like a soldier who knew to eat when food was there and that there was plenty of chance that she'd be working it all off before the day was finished. John didn't know what he'd been expecting when he'd realized that he'd finally get to meet the famous Samantha Carter, but he was pretty sure that this wasn't it. She was both far more and far less geeky than he'd imagined Rodney's ideal woman to be, comfortable in her skin and in her uniform, and alternately amused and annoyed by Rodney. That part, he'd pretty much expected.

"I'm surprised you guys went this long before something like that happened," she said, taking a drink of water. He knew she knew about the nanovirus, so he didn't bring it up. "We barely lasted a few months before we had the entire Cheyenne complex quarantined because we were all going crazy and it was catchy. The first of many -- many -- times."

"We've got a very vigilant epidemiology unit," he said blandly.

"You're all scared of Safir, aren't you." She didn't make it sound like a question.

"Maybe a little," John agreed without shame. "Well, not Lorne."

"Lorne fears no man after three years on SG-11," Carter told him. "But I have to admit that I kind of miss Yoni a little."

John knew that Safir had worked at the SGC for a few years before Antarctica, but almost nothing about on what or with whom. "You like watching people cry?"

"No, that part I don't miss," Carter admitted wryly. "But he can be a very good teacher if he doesn't think you're going to ask stupid questions. I learned a lot from him and so did Janet. Of course Janet also tried to get him to work on his ability to play well with others, which I am pretty sure is how he ended up in Antarctica and then here. But I think he liked her anyway."

John didn't know who Janet was, although he got the distinct impression that he was supposed to and that she was either no longer with the program or no longer living. He'd ask Lorne later, whenever he could be pried from the side of the newly arrived Major Leonard. John hadn't ever considered Lorne lonely in Atlantis, but seeing him with Leonard -- even acknowledging that the two of them had been friendly (if not friends) previously -- made John wonder. Among the military personnel, Lorne didn't have anyone his own rank to hang out with and while normally one paygrade wasn't such an insurmountable and forbidding barrier, it became one when the top of the chain of command was so very narrow and there were only marines below. He and Lorne couldn't be friends, not in the way the three marine captains were or even the way John was with McKay (most of the time, when Rodney wasn't pissing him off or doping him with pheromone-based narcotics).

"I heard you offered to take Mitchell off-world," Carter went on after she'd mopped up the near-deer gravy with her roll.

John made a what-else-could-I-do face. "I feel for him. You've got your project with McKay, Doctor Jackson's got his research, and Mitchell's kind of standing around watching."

Too many missions of his own team ended up like that for his taste -- McKay doing his readings, Teyla making nice with the locals, and John on Ronon-sitting duties that often degenerated into both of them getting stink-eyes from Teyla. Granted, sometimes they switched up and John made nice with the locals while Teyla Ronon-sat, but he still recognized the look of I have nothing to do on Mitchell's face.

"Cam's a little restless," Carter agreed.

"And my team's not going to be doing much while McKay's tied up with helping you save the Milky Way," John finished. "So it's a good deal all around."

It was. Elizabeth had suggested it, actually, and John was quite sure it was so that she didn't have two bored O-5s wandering around Atlantis causing trouble.

"Just make sure he keeps his pants on," Carter warned.

John cocked an eyebrow because he was fairly certain that this was the same kind of information sharing that went along with John giving Mitchell a lemon. (He wasn't as pissed at Rodney as he had been, but he wasn't not pissed and Rodney was easy to tweak, especially over his very mild citrus allergy.)

"I don't know what gets left out of SG-1's AARs," he said primly, "but we don't do that sort of thing in Pegasus."

"Don't worry," Carter said as she stood up, bunching her napkin and then dropping it on to her tray. "You will."

And with a wink, she left him.

feed me on LJ?


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28 January, 2007