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"No buts, Jessie."
"I feel fine."
"And that’s great. It tells me you’re healing. But I won’t release you to active duty until you finish your rehab."
"By the time that happens, I’ll be old and gray."
Janet shook her head at the exaggeration. "Just stick to the schedule I gave you. And behave yourself. Teal’c was telling me you’ve been going a little heavy on the weights."
"Teal’c’s clucking; I’m just pushing it a little."
Janet finished her notations in Jessie’s chart and closed it. "Clucking, huh? Well, you need to keep in mind how badly you were injured. We came damned close to losing you." Opening the prep pad, she rubbed the alcohol wipe over Jessie’s arm. In a quieter tone she asked, "How are you and Cam doing?"
Jessie watched Janet ready the Depo shot. "We’re good; even better now since you let me resume ‘normal physical activity’."
Janet giggled. "And if you don’t behave yourself, I could easily rescind that privilege."
"That would be cruel."
"Uh huh." she said as she gave her the injection. "Remember
that when you’re tempted to ‘push it’. Besides, what would you rather
pump, the weights, or…"
Janet’s eyes twinkled mischievously. "Just getting my point across." She went and dropped the syringe into the sharps container. "You’re done here for today. Continue your strength exercises using moderate weights, and I’ll talk to Teal’c about letting you move on to defensive training."
Jessie let out a sigh. "Yes ma’am." It wasn’t exactly what she had wanted, but it was a step in the right direction.
Later that day Cam found Jessie in the weight room, working out under Teal’c’s supervision. He watched quietly for a couple of minutes before making his presence known.
"Is she behaving herself, T?"
Teal’c gave Cam a ghost of a smile, and then looked at Jessie as he might a recalcitrant child. "She is almost as stubborn as CaseyJackson, but has been adhering to the prescribed exercises."
Jessie grinned. "I’ll take that as a compliment."
Cam knew exactly how stubborn Jessie could be. "How’s your shoulder doing after a work out?"
"It’s good; almost back to normal."
Coming to stand in front of her, he held his hand up with his fingers slightly spread.
Having done this a half dozen times in the past few weeks, Jessie laced her fingers through his and pushed back slowly.
"Good. You’ve definitely increased your strength." Cam ran his fingers over her shoulder, probing the joint. "How does it feel?"
"There’s a little soreness, but the shooting pains have gone away."
Stepping behind her, his eyes came to rest on the scar that was visible at the edge of her sports bra. He touched the spot where Kaitsenko had stabbed her with the godstick. "How’s this doing?"
Jessie shrugged. "It itches sometimes, but Janet said that’s to be expected as it heals."
Teal’c had moved alongside Cam, looking at the scar on her back.
"So what do you think, Teal’c? Is she ready to step up her training?"
Jessica turned, an expectant look on her face.
Teal’c waited before replying, as if he were carefully assessing the situation. "If I were to cluck, I would say to wait one more week." Teal’c’s face was unreadable as he stared back at her. "However, since I do not cluck, I would say she is ready to advance her training in self-defense."
Jessica squealed and launched herself at Teal’c, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him on the cheek. Cam laughed out loud at the surprised look that registered on Teal’c’s face, before returning to his impassive expression once again.
"Why don’t you go get cleaned up, Watson. I’ll get you scheduled for tomorrow."
"Yes, Sir," she said as she grabbed her bag and headed for the door. Stopping at the threshold, she looked over her shoulder.
He smiled and inclined his head in her direction, watching as she disappeared around the corner.
Cam waited until she was out of earshot before bringing up what had been bugging him.
"Teal’c, I’m no expert on Goa’uld technology, but shouldn’t the scar on her back have disappeared when Sam used that healing gizmo on her? You can’t even tell where Janet made the incisions around it."
Teal’c reset the pins on the weight machine. "It depends on the extent of the injury, and the individual operating it. Colonel Carter has utilized the healing device before, but as she stated, she is still on the learning curve."
Cam thought back to those days in the infirmary. At first, Janet opted not to use the device on Jessie, since her fever had been the one thing slowing down the damage from the poison—the results would have been catastrophic if the poison hadn’t been completely neutralized. Once Jessie was on the mend, though, Sam had gotten the go-ahead. The stab wound and the incisions had been red and angry-looking, but when Sam was done everything had disappeared, except for the original wound. The best she could do was to transform it into a small circular scar a few shades lighter than the surrounding skin.
"So, you think she’s up for more rigorous training?"
Teal’c gave a slight smile. "I do believe she has healed sufficiently from her injuries. She is impatient, but stubborn and determined, characteristics of a good warrior. The incident with Kaitsenko weakened her self-confidence, and that is where she is now vulnerable. Honing her skills of self-defense will serve her well."
Back in his office, Cam filled out the forms documenting Teal’c’s recommendations. He knew that Jessie was biting at the bit wanting to get back out with SG-7 again. As soon as she had been discharged from the infirmary, she had insisted on helping Casey and Daniel with the data gathered from the temples—data holding the clues Kaitsenko had damned near killed her for in his search for the "Destroyer of Armies" weapon. If the descriptions were accurate, the weapon would render an enemy’s shields inoperable, and a weapon like that would be invaluable to them. It wasn’t a straightforward endeavor, though—the translations had led to an interplanetary scavenger hunt. For some unknown reason, the defensive weapon had been disassembled and the individual components hidden on several planets. They were in the process of recovering the pieces, with the hopes that reassembly would go smoothly. Turning his attention back to the form, he signed his name at the bottom.
Jessica Watson. He shook his head. Damned if she hadn’t turned out to be a hell of a lot more than he bargained for. The only consequence Jessie seemed to have suffered from her ordeal was that she had little memory of initially regaining consciousness in the infirmary, nor of the message she had relayed from Fergie. Cam, however, remembered every single word. Looking at it from different angles, he kept coming back to the same conclusion—he was in love with her. He couldn’t quite put his finger on exactly when it had happened, though he had to admit he’d already been falling in love with her before the mission to Nanda. Hell, if he were being honest, it probably started during that argument Jessie had with Calloway when he had tried to fail her on her marksmanship exam. It had been the first time Cam had seen her angry, and the way she dug in and wouldn’t let Calloway get away with it had caught and held his attention.
That, and there was the incident with the Kootenay. When he found the loophole in their rules and had discussed strategy with Daniel, he hadn’t said, ‘if I say she’s my mate’…he told him specifically ‘Jessie is my mate’. His subconscious mind already knew what his conscious mind hadn’t picked up on. At the time, though, he had been running purely on primitive instincts—there hadn’t been an opportunity for thoughtful reflection. That had come later.
A mischievous smile spread across his face. While Jessie was recovering, Cam had spent most of his free time at her house, making sure everything was taken care of, as well as to ensure she took it easy. She had been pretty good-natured about him fussing over her, even letting him get away with insisting she take naps. Little did Jessie know how much Cam had learned about her during that time.
Two weeks earlier
"Time for you to go lay down."
Jessie wrinkled her nose up at him as she dried the plate and placed it back in the kitchen cabinet. "You’re starting to remind me of my mom."
Cam chuckled, coming up behind her and giving her a hug. "Hmmmm, is that a good thing?"
Jessie smiled. "When I was little, she was always fussing at me to go take my naps."
Cam ran his fingers gently over her left shoulder. "Well, there’s a good reason for the naps now. Conserving your energy will help you get well faster." He placed a soft kiss on it to emphasize his point.
"Lay down with me?"
Cam groaned. "If I do, I’ll end up doing stuff I’m not supposed to do. You remember what Janet said."
Jessie made a sound that was close to a growl. "I don’t see how sexual activity would be detrimental to my health."
Cam kissed her neck, then nudged her ear playfully with his nose. "She just wants to make sure you’ve recovered enough. Soon, I promise."
Trying to hide her disappointment, Jessie said, "If you’re bored and want to take off, or have something else to do, go ahead. I’ll be okay here."
Cam shook his head. "Nope. Don’t have anything else to do, and I’m not bored. You’re stuck with me. I’ll just find some books to read in your library."
"Suit yourself. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Death from boredom isn’t a pretty sight."
He shook his head at her as she went into the bedroom, and after getting something to drink he headed to the library. He had noticed she had an impressive collection of books, but just hadn’t gotten around to looking through them. Setting his drink down on the side table, he walked over to one wall and began looking through the titles. There were, of course, a large number of books on archaeology, ancient civilizations, as well as historical volumes on individual countries. Scattered amongst them, though, were several books on politics and political theory. A well-worn volume of ‘The Art of War’ caught his eye, and he opened it to find several notations in Jessie’s own handwriting scattered throughout the book. ‘My kind of woman’, he thought.
Replacing the book, he continued his perusal. Napoleon, William the Conqueror, George Patton, Genghis Khan. He grinned at that one. Cam had read in the National Geographic News about Khan’s reputation of being a prolific lover through the spoils of war, as evidenced by 16 million descendants in that region today carrying a nearly identical Y-chromosome linked to his genetic lineage. Filing that thought away for future reference, he moved to the next wall. Here the books transitioned more to literature—quite a few of Shakespeare’s works, the classics, poetry. He chuckled when he came across the do-it-yourself home repair books slipped in between. Every once in a while he would come across some romance novels—mainly historical, a few contemporary. He was finding that the library was a lot like Jessie—the expected, the unexpected, intermixed with surprises—treasures to be found if you took the time to look close enough.
Glancing down at the floor, he saw a paper sticking out from beneath the desk. Retrieving it, he recognized it as one of the many notes he, Daniel, and Casey had pulled from Jessie’s notebooks the day they were searching for the key to her encoded message. They had come back some time later and straightened everything up, but apparently had missed this one page. Not knowing where it had come from originally, Cam reached for the first notebook he saw with the intention of slipping it inside for safekeeping.
On opening the notebook, though, he discovered a course description for Human Sexuality, apparently from a class Jessie had taken in college. Curiosity getting the better of him, he looked through the papers contained within. The professor teaching the course had been a woman with degrees in psychology and sexuality, as well as being a published author. A paper Jessie had written on the subject of the Kama Sutra caught his attention, along with the note the professor had written in the corner. "You are the only one of all my students who focused on the cultural and political aspects of the Kama Sutra!" Cam chuckled. The professor had given her a B, which he was certain had ticked Jessie off. She was a perfectionist, but going by the time frame when she had taken this course, and what he knew of her history with the opposite sex, the class alone would have been pushing her own personal boundaries at the time.
There were a few more notes from the professor, the contents of which told Cam that she had been fond of Jessie, and aware of her inexperience. He slipped the errant page he had found beneath the desk in the opposite pocket and was getting ready to close the notebook when something else caught his eye—a clear report binder that obviously contained several sheets of paper. Pulling it out, he saw the A+ at the top, and a note—"I knew you could do it—Great job!" It was the title of the report that kept him from putting it back.
Cam had the argument of good boyfriend/bad boyfriend for all of a nanosecond before he sat down and began to read. Halfway through, he could definitely see why Jessie had earned the A+. Not only had she researched several books written on the subject, she had also interviewed a number of women for her report as well. She covered a wide range of fantasies, some of which had even him raising his eyebrows. The best part of all, though, was the fact that not only did she document the viewpoints of the women, but also recorded her own feelings in great detail about each fantasy.
‘Christ,’ he thought, ‘I’ve hit the mother lode.’
Glancing at the door, he listened for a moment, assuring himself that Jessie still slept before he continued reading.
It took a while, but he managed to finish the report before Jessie woke up. Cam sat back, adjusting his pants to a more comfortable position as he did so. The woman definitely had a way with words. What he had read was about as close to being a voyeur into her most private thoughts as one could get. Cam now knew, at least fantasy-wise, exactly what she liked, didn’t like, found intriguing, as well as what she reserved judgment on until she had experienced it herself. Granted, she had written the paper a few years ago, but he doubted much had happened in the intervening time to change her preferences in a major way. Slipping the report back inside the notebook, he returned it to the shelf, taking note of its location. He felt the slightest twinge of guilt, but reasoned she had written the paper for a class—she knew others would be reading it. ‘Yeah, but not you,’ the little voice whispered inside his head. Cam would’ve had to have been a saint not to read it, and the last time he checked he wasn’t on that short list. Nor was he above putting the knowledge he had just gained to good use. This opened up a whole new level of possibilities, and he was definitely going to use it to his advantage.
A few days later while at work, Cam came down the hall and found Daniel exiting the elevator.
"Hey, Jackson. Whatcha doin’?"
Daniel raised the coffee cups balanced in the to-go holder. "Made a Starbucks run for some real coffee. Casey and I ran out of our private stash, and we’re still working on deciphering those instructions in the linguistics library."
Cam glanced back down the hallway. "Mind if I tag along for a minute? I’ve got a question for you."
Daniel shrugged. "Sure. What’s up?"
Cam waited until they were near Daniel’s lab, before motioning Daniel inside, closing the door behind them. Cam slipped his hands into his pants pockets, clearing his throat as he did so. "I noticed that Jessie, Casey and Sam have some romance novels they trade back and forth with each other."
Daniel immediately started grinning, knowing where this conversation was leading. He set the coffee down on his desk. "The bodice-rippers."
Cam glanced at Daniel with an amused look on his face. "Bodice…rippers?"
Daniel nodded. "It’s a more apt description for the books. The stories pretty much run along the same vein, similar plots, but the sex scenes can be really hot."
Cam looked towards the door before asking, "Do you know if any particular ones are favorites?"
Without missing a beat, Daniel replied, "My personal favorites, or Casey’s?" The look Cam gave him was priceless, and Daniel burst out laughing.
"I was thinkin’ more along the lines of the women’s favorites, but if you wanna throw in your two cents…"
Daniel wiped his eyes. "Sorry. I don’t read them, per se, cover to cover, but I do get some good ideas from the scenes themselves. So does Casey." He grew quiet for a moment, thinking about the different ones he had read. "Basically any ones they keep around are the ones they like. The others they trade in at the half-priced bookstore. Let me do some checking, and I’ll get a couple of titles for you to look for." Daniel picked up a notepad and made a notation as a reminder.
"I don’t want Jessie to know anything about this, Daniel."
"Well, I kinda figured that, since you were asking me about it. You just looking for ideas, or are you planning something special?"
"I’ve got something in mind, but I want to make sure I’m on the right track."
"Well, believe me, you’ll get plenty of ideas from those books." Putting the notepad away, Daniel grabbed the coffee tray once more. "Mind getting that for me?"
Cam moved to open the door and stepped aside so Daniel could get by.
Daniel gave Cam a knowing grin. "Later," he said as he made his way back to the linguistics library.
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