Even Better Than the Real Thing
by indie

RATING: PG-13, references to sexual situations, nothing explicit.
SPOILERS:  Everything through Fragile Balance.
TIMELINE:  About a year after Fragile Balance.
DISCLAIMER:  The Stargate SG-1 universe is property of MGM, World Gekko Corp, SciFi Channel and Double Secret productions. No copyright infringement intended.  No profit is gained from this work.
AUTHOR'S NOTE:  My attempt at mini!OTP.  Assume Thor cloned Sam too.


Bracing her hands on the sink, she leaned forward, staring.  The apartment was respectable, but it had been built some time in the early sixties and the bathroom light fixtures buzzed loudly.   Curving her lips, she exhaled sharply, causing the hair that framed her face to flutter.

A zit.  She had a zit.

And the dance was two days away.

Scowling, she opened the medicine cabinet and pulled out a tube of Clearasil.  While applying it, she met her own gaze in the mirror.  This sucked.  A lot.  And she didn't just mean the zit.

Her first experience trapped in adolescent hell, everything had been so damn terrifying;  would she get the SAT scores she needed, would the boys ever catch up to her in height, would the constant, nagging insecurity ever abate?  She had been so serious, never lightening up for a moment for fear that her world would spiral out of control.

Nearly two and a half decades later, it was unbelievably tedious.  Pimple angst aside, she now had the mental and emotional distance to honestly evaluate the situation.  Everyone looked funny at sixteen.  Everyone was insecure.  No one had a clue what they were doing.  Plus, regardless of the fact that she (well, not she, but the Original) had taken damn good care of her physical body, forty just didn't have anything on sixteen.  Had her hips ever really been this small?

A metabolism so fast you could eat anything went a long way toward soothing ruffled feathers, but it didn't make up for the fact that at the end of the day, she was sixteen.  She couldn't drive.  She couldn't vote.  She wasn't legally an adult.  She had to go through school.  Again.

Sighing, she flipped off the light and headed for the living room.  The TV was blaring as usual and she simply slid down onto the couch, tucking her cold feet under his thigh as she leaned back against the armrest.

Of course, there were a few benefits to this new life.

He looked over at her, eyebrows raised in the universal sign for what the hell were you doing in there?  For a brief moment, she considered griping about the blemish, but one look at his face and she thought better of it.  His skin was terrible, so terrible in fact that it would be really cruel of her to complain about her one zit.  Not that she had a problem with his acne.  He, too, was sixteen and there wasn't anything he could do about it.  He was in that horribly awkward boy/man stage, cracking voice, hands and feet too big for his body, bad skin, metabolism so fast he could eat circles around her and still look like a POW.  He also needed braces, but she wasn't going to bring that up.

Luckily her awkward phase had been at thirteen and she was spared that particular horror in this incarnation.  Right now, she looked pretty much the way she was going to look.  Physically, everything was present and accounted for;  breasts, hips, features, height.  She was too skinny but she knew that problem would all too soon remedy itself and she'd have to start watching every single calorie.  She was cute and without the crippling insecurities of the real sixteen-year-old Sam, she could appreciate that fact.  She wasn't going to be a supermodel, but she was attractive and confident in a way her real sixteen-year-old self never would have dreamed.  Boys were attracted to her because of it.  Flattering as it was, she didn't have any trouble fending off their advances.  They were, after all, boys.  And she wasn't a pedophile.  That day Carson Harris asked her to the homecoming dance, all she could think was I'm old enough to be your mother.

After that, she and Jack got a lot more obvious.  It had been really nerve wracking at first.  Cuddling up together in the apartment was one thing, but holding hands in public had taken some getting used to.  Old habits, apparently, died even harder than she'd thought.  But the PDA served its purpose.  The boys still flirted with her, but few of them dared to make a pass.  She knew this was due much more to their respect for the fact that she was obviously "into" Jack rather than fear of retribution for encroaching on his territory.  Sixteen year old Jack was decidedly on the (wiry, his word; scrawny, her word) side.  (Though she hoped given he could eat his body weight in pizza he'd be having a growth spurt soon.)

One morning several months ago, Tracy had asked, with surprising tact for a junior in high school, why Sam was dating Jack.  Sam had pitied the girl and her age.  She pitied Tracy because Tracy didn't have a clue what it meant to really love someone.  Jack's physical body was irrelevant.  Sam loved him.  She loved the passion and wit and humor that made him who he was, regardless of the wrapping.

Sam also pitied Tracy for not having the foresight to see what an absolute hottie he'd grow into in the next five years.  Waiting wasn't a hardship.  Not when she knew for certain what the future held.

"Nice zit," he said, turning his attention back to the X-Box game he was playing.

She scowled, not that it did any good.  Oh yes, she loved him because he was so damn him.  With all the emotional carnage and inappropriate remarks such a distinction entailed.  She definitely found her Prince Charming.

She flexed her toes against his thigh.  "So, we're going to the dance on Friday, right?"

It wasn't a question and he'd done enough living to know that.  But it didn't make him like it.  "Carter, you've got to be kidding me."

The look on her face was answer enough.  No.  I am not kidding you.

"This is ridiculous," he groused.  "Why would I want to spend my Friday night with a bunch of kids?"

"Probably because you are a kid," she replied dryly.

He frowned, pausing the game.  "This body may be a kid, but I," he motioned to his head, "qualify for AARP next year."

She looked pointedly at the X-Box, the three empty cans of Red Bull and the snowboard in the corner.  "Yeah, I can tell."

He frowned and then obviously decided on another line of attack.  Pausing his game, he turned his body toward hers, taking her feet in his hands and slowly massaging.  She sighed in bliss, sinking farther into the couch.  "See," he said softly, "wouldn't ya rather stay in on Friday?"

He gave her this look which she took to mean he was trying to be seductive.  It didn't really work, especially since Easy should have been his middle name.  He really wasn't much on the seduction, unless of course, "Hey, Carter, I'm bored, wanna fool around?" qualified.  (Sadly, most days it did.  Her middle name probably should have been Sure Thing.)  Also, as far as she could tell just about anything could get him in the mood;  sweat pants, the smell of cucumber melon bath gel, cheese sticks, bad kung fu movies, stamps, foosball.  Some of that, she knew, was due to the fact that he was sixteen and therefore imbued with the potent hormone cocktail inherent to the age.

But she was beginning to suspect that most of it was just Jack.

"We need to go," she countered.  "That's what kids our age do.  They go out together so they can be together."

"Carter, we live together."

She sighed in exasperation.  "But none of them know that," she snapped.  And a damn good thing too.  Their governmental handlers, though largely unobtrusive, had been quite distressed to learn that Subject K87U5 and Subject B03Z6 had taken it upon themselves to cohabit.

Sam wasn't sure herself exactly how they'd ended up living together.  She just knew that it seemed rather absurd to go to all the trouble of maintaining two households when they spent all their time together anyway.  Besides, they were discrete.  Their shabby little apartment building was close to campus and as such, populated mostly by college students.  A young couple living together didn't generate much attention even if, on closer inspection, they seemed a little too young.

At first, sticking together was pure instinct.  She tracked him down – what else was new – and convinced him she was indeed who she said she was and therefore in exactly the same boat as him.  So, they reverted to old habits.  The two of them alone in a hostile alien world, that was old hat.  They were both seasoned vets, well used to that state of affairs, and thankfully well over the gut wrenching angst and sexual tension phase of their relationship.  They were professionals.  They were adults, mentally if not physically, but more than that, they were friends.  They were both stuck in this horrible limbo sort of existence.  They couldn't go back to their old lives yet they didn't fit into their new lives.  They were teenagers, but they so clearly weren't.

Of course, the first time she accidentally ran into him while exiting the bathroom wearing nothing but a towel, the changes in their paradigm were quickly brought to the fore.  They weren't officers in the United States Air Force.  They were simply two hormonal sixteen year olds sans parents sharing an apartment.  They never even made it to the bed.  And for as much grief as she gave him for being skinnier than her, there were some major benefits to him being sixteen.  Two words were at the top of the pile:  refractory period.

"Jack," she said in a petulant voice Major Samantha Carter never would have dreamed of using, "take me to the dance."

He looked at her and sighed.  It wasn't a look that Colonel O'Neill would have given Major Carter, and she liked that.  It was the look that Jack gave Sam, often.  "Fine," he acquiesced, turning back to his game, "but if Scott grabs your ass again I'm breaking his arm."

Scrawny or not, he still had his Special Ops training and she knew he wasn't kidding.  She found that incredibly endearing.

"Thank you," she said softly.

This life was tedious and annoying to be certain.  But that look he gave her, sweet and humoring, that almost made up for it.


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