Holy cannolis, people. It's even money on whether real estate will drive me to sociopathy and racism or a major identity crisis.
Sam Carter doesn't know what bugs her more: the fact that she has to take high-school physics again, or the fact that same injustice doesn't seem to bug Jack at all.
Of course, that could be because he rarely actually pays any attention.
"Hey, come on, it's not like you ever actually use any of this stuff after high school," he tells her, and she always responds before she realizes he's goading her.
"Sir, we used to use this every day." She only calls him sir when they're arguing, especially if it's over something stupid.
"And I always had you there to explain it to me, didn't I?"
"That's not the point."
She doesn't really have a point, but sometimes she just feels the need to argue. And it's not like she's jealous of the vapid head cheerleader who always passes Jack notes in that class, because Stephanie is about a quarter of Jack's actual age, but it irritates her anyway. There's often a herd of twittering teenage girls hovering within ten feet of Jack, the same ones who attend all his baseball games and invite him over for study sessions in their parents' basements. His aloofness is taken as mysterious disaffection, apparently irresistible to the text-messaging generation; her aloofness was taken as an attitude problem, but she has gotten much better at faking adjustment in the past few months.
Sometimes he gets better marks in physics than she does, too, because she works too hard at correcting technical inaccuracies and misinformation on principle, and he's apparently gifted at multiple choice.
Not surprisingly, he got a big charge out of that. "Stop trying to copy my answers," Jack whispered at her during the daily quizzes for about a week until Ms. Howe, a girl barely out of college, separated them to opposite sides of the room.
Ms. Howe considers Sam a project, which irritates her on her irrational, hormonal days and amuses her on her few rational days.
"You're so bright, Sam. You don't even realize your potential yet."
"You really need to engage yourself more in your schoolwork."
And her personal favorite:
"High school boyfriends come and go, Sam. I know this may seem like the end of the world, but you've got to build your future rather than settling now for Jack O'Neill."
Not that Sam doesn't see now that her attachment to Jack O'Neill may have led her to bad things -- agreeing to be cloned, for instance. Thor's imploring praise over her intelligence and the need to preserve that was certainly flattering, but she doubts she would have consented so impulsively to this if it weren't for the idea of Jack all alone. She was his second in command; it's her duty to back him up to the end.
She doubts anyone at the academy really considered this degree of loyalty. She also doesn't think military loyalty was her real motivation.
All that aside, Ms. Howe doesn't understand the first thing about their relationship. She's not just wasting her time having sex with a boy who hasn't yet "found himself" amid the letterman jackets and the prom committees.
She's not settling.
She might have that same overpowering, desperate feeling the average teenage girl feels at contemplating the unfathomable possibility that their romance will end... but she has a much better reason that she can't exactly explain to a high school teacher.
Sam casts a glance over her shoulder to where Jack is sitting at the back of the room, feet resting on the desk chair next to him, carving something into the desk with a pen. He was creating a mural, last time she checked. He looks up at her and smirks, then gets up and heads for the classroom exit, making some vague pointing gestures toward the bathroom as his excuse to Ms. Howe. Sam raises her hand a minute later to ask permission and is given a hall pass for the trouble.
He's waiting right outside the door.
Sam lets out a breath and rolls her neck.
"Can't believe Howe started correcting your grammar like that," Jack says, probably as an invitation for the venting to begin. Sam heads off toward the landing of the fire stairwell and he follows her, adding, "I'm surprised you didn't kick her ass."
"I don't know how you get away with being the golden child in that class. She never picks on you."
"Simple," Jack shrugs, same shrug he's always had, different shoulders. "No one has any high expectations for me."
Sam groans. "That's the trick?" She wishes she'd figured that out the first time around. Never in her life did she expect that, given the chance to live her life over again, her strategy would be to try and slack off more.
Jack stuffs his hands in his pockets. "You need to cultivate a laziness ethos. Then kids like Howe won't bug you as much."
They're quiet for a bit -- her pacing in silent frustration, him examining his fingernails like he doesn't have a care in the world. She suspects this has screwed him up just as much as it has her -- more so, maybe, because he sees her predicament as his fault -- but he rarely shows it to her, and never shows it at school.
"Some of the guys are planning to hit a movie after school. Do you want to go?"
"Not really." She tries to limit the hours in which she needs to be Sam Carter, Sixteen Year Old Girl.
"C'mon. It'll be fun. And you know what Howe says about you needing extra-curricular activities for your college resume..."
She laughs. "That's not what she meant."
"We could just go home..." she suggests, licking her lips. She's braver in this new body in some ways, and she's not above trading sex to avoid having to hang out with 'the guys' at the mall.
Not surprisingly, he agrees.
Ms. Howe gives them both a dirty look when they arrive back to class together, but doesn't notice when Jack flicks a paper football at Sam's head with five minutes left until the bell.
She unfolds it and blushes so hard that the girl next to her notices and tries to read the laundry list of suggestions over Sam's shoulder.
She hides it and corners him after class. She almost wants to snap at him, but holds back because it did improve her mood, and there were four or five things on there that she's also considered, but hasn't had the chance to mention.
"When did you come up with all these ideas, anyway?"
He kisses her from her mouth to her ear amid the sea of students and then asks, "What do you think I'm thinking about in Physics class?"
OMG THURSDAY SPREADSHEET HELL IS OVER! Time to go hoooome! *vanishes*