Disclaimer: I own nothing except the house I live in. And even that is out on mortgage.
Sam rolled onto her side on the couch in her living room,
and groaned again.
The next time I see Siler, I'm going to
kill him... as soon as I can lift a gun, she muttered quietly
to herself. It didn't make any difference if she was being
facetious in her statement or not. It sure felt to her like she
should be allowed to take retribution on somebody for
this... this... this darned illness... that she was
currently suffering from.
Another wave of stomach cramps assailed her, and she gritted
her teeth against the pain, wrapping her hands on her stomach.
The warmth from her own touch did little to actually alleviate
any discomfort, but Sam found some a tiny amount of consolation
from the sensation of warmth generated by her fingers. At any
rate, she kept her hands immobile as she heard a knock on her
Come in! she yelled as loudly as she could,
but even that wasn't particularly loud.
The doorknob rattled, then she heard Janet yell,
Sam groaned again. This meant that she would somehow have to find the energy to rise, and move to the door so she could unlock it for her friend. Instead of energy, her stomach rumbled ominously, a sure sign that she was about to lose her dinner from the night before... again.
But before she had the chance to swing her legs down to the floor, and head for the bathroom, she heard someone mutter something to Janet, and a key slid her dead-bolt aside. She had just risen from the couch, prepared to run for the bathroom, when Janet and Colonel O'Neill entered her front hall.
Sam looked at them, vaguely noted their identities, but that was all she had time for as her stomach rumbled once more. She wisely listened to its warning, waved halfheartedly at her two visitors, then ran down the hall towards the bathroom. She didn't have time to close the door, or even to turn on the light, before she was on her knees on the toilet rug, throwing up the contents still in her stomach with more animation than she had shown for twelve hours.
Then Sam felt a cool hand smoothing her hair back from her face, and a delightfully cold washcloth on her forehead. Janet's calm, welcome, voice filled her ears when she could quiet the rushing sound she was hearing long enough for Janet's words to sink into her tired brain.
It's okay... We're here. Just let it all out, Janet
Sam grimaced at her.
Like I have choice? She
grabbed the washcloth, and held it against her cheeks. Oh, that
coolness felt good!
No, Janet was saying, but Sam had a hard time
registering her comment as 'that feeling' assailed her yet again.
She turned her head just in time to send the Chinese noodles from
her supper of Vegetable Lo Mein into the toilet.
Charming, she thought in sardonic disgust.
When she was finished losing her supper for the umpteenth
time in the last few hours (how could there possibly be anything
left in her stomach?), she heaved in a breath of air, and turned
back to Janet.
Okay, I think I'm done... for now.
Geez, Carter, a new voice proclaimed,
Can we just
aim you at some Jaffa, then stand back and watch the fun, or
Great, Sam groaned to herself. The Colonel, come to watch me puke my guts out. Can this day possibly get any worse?
Apparently, it could. Sam had barely fallen back onto the
cushions of the couch in the living room when Janet knelt beside
her, feeling her forehead with the back of her hand, then
sticking a thermometer in her mouth. A few silent moments passed
before the doctor again removed it so that she could read it.
You have a fever, announced the doctor.
Oh, yeah, Sam answered.
How many times have you run for the bathroom? Janet
Geez, Sam thought. Did the doctor have to know her
entire medical history while she was here?
I thought you
wanted to help, Sam accused back, her voice sounding as
peeved as she felt.
I'm gonna kill Siler. She rested her
head on the back of the couch, and just breathed.
Both Janet and the Colonel chuckled at her promise.
Well, you'll have to get in line, then, Janet told her.
Whatever he brought on base that his kid had is on the
rampage. I've got ten people in the Infirmary already, and when
you called in sick today, we got a bit worried that you had the
same symptoms. What you need is a bed, an I.V., and some
God! Sam groaned.
No soup, please! I couldn't
keep it down even if I wanted to, and I'm not sure I do!
Colonel O'Neill spoke then.
What's wrong, Carter? Soup
not your cup of tea? He smirked at the joke he'd just made,
but Sam was in too much pain to enjoy his humor.
No, Sam seriously stated.
If I actually
want soup, then I know I'm sick, she told them.
Is that your first clue? asked the Colonel as he
handed her a tissue from the box resting on the coffee table
fronting the couch.
Sam took the tissue, and wiped around her mouth with it.
Then, she looked belligerently at Janet.
I'm not going in to
the Infirmary, she said.
You might as well just shoot me
But Janet wasn't so easily waylaid.
You're going in if I
say you're going in. I'm your doctor, and I...
Give her a break, Doc, the Colonel piped up, then.
She just lost her kitchen sink, I think. She needs some peace
and quiet more than she needs the Infirmary.
Janet half turned to face him.
Yes, and she'll get the
quiet that she needs in the Infirmary!
Colonel O'Neill barked a laugh.
With all those
well-meaning nurses you have running around in there, waking her
up every five minutes so they can take more of her blood? he
Forgive me for saying this, Doc, but your... uh...
'attention to detail' sort of precludes rest, he said.
Just doing our jobs, Janet argued.
Yeah, you're doing your jobs with enthusiasm,
O'Neill agreed, and frowned.
Janet turned back to look at Sam.
Have you eaten
anything today? she asked.
Sam shook her head.
I've had nothing since I ate the
Chinese takeout I got last night. I haven't dared eat anything
The hand was placed once more on her forehead.
have a low grade fever, so I'm not surprised you're losing your
I think I've lost about twenty or thirty meals, Sam
groused in a low voice, but her comment made Janet laugh anyhow,
though Sam had meant to be serious, not funny.
I really think you should go into the base, anyway, in
spite of what my favorite patient says. Janet glanced at
His eyebrow went up.
I'm your favorite patient? he
asked in some surprise, but clearly pleased at the
Janet smiled, then belied what she had claimed by shaking her head back and forth.
Oh, you're saying I have a reputation for crankiness, and
that's made me famous, that's what you're saying,
I didn't say anything, Janet negated then.
You didn't have to, O'Neill groused.
you just gave to me said it all.
What I'm saying is that you've become
something of a celebrity to those on my Nursing staff, she
And I'm not saying that it's good
notoriety that you have.
Sam would have grinned if she'd had the energy. Instead,
she placed her hands on her stomach again. Oh, blessed warmth!
Take your argument outside... All the noise is making me
You're dizzy? Janet asked, unable to contain her
Janet! Sam then yelled... sort of.
Get out of
here, and go back to your patients. I'll live. You can both go
back to base.
Janet looked at her in reluctance.
You know I can't do
Can't, or won't? Sam asked then, no longer caring if
she sounded polite or not.
Janet threw up her hands into the air.
impossible! she stated.
Thank you, Sam sassed.
The Colonel taught me
everything I know.
She saw O'Neill grin.
Thanks! he extorted, sounding
That's quite a compliment!
It's not exactly something I would be
proud of, she retorted back.
Then it's a good thing I'm not you, O'Neill said.
Janet again returned her attention to Sam.
though, Sam, it's for your own good that I take you in.
Before Sam could object once more to Janet's medical zeal,
O'Neill interrupted by suggesting,
I have an idea; what do you
have to say to me staying here with Carter? He glanced at
Sam, then went on,
I'll make sure she gets her liquids, her
Janet peered at Sam in indecision.
I don't know,
Colonel... she hesitantly said.
Just think of how often you'll have to clean up the floor
and my bed if you drag me in, Sam said then.
losing my supper every half hour for six hours straight, she
Whoa! O'Neill said.
That's a vived image!
Sorry, Sam replied, not sounding contrite at all,
The truth hurts.
Yeah, but does it have to hurt that much? the Colonel
Sam just groaned, and rested her head on the arm of her
couch. Wow, was she ever tired!
So tired, she said.
You take me in, and it'll kill me, she predicted to
Janet unhappily sighed. Then, she at last gave in.
right. But I want you to come to the Infirmary the first thing
after setting foot on base again, she ordered.
Does that mean I get to stay home for now? The
hopeful note in Sam's voice was unmistakable. The idea of
putting on a coat, and walking outside to Janet's car was really
more then she could withstand at the moment.
Janet's gusty sigh sounded again.
As long as the Colonel
Sure, O'Neill interrupted.
I'd say that I love you for staying, but I think I have
to throw up again. Sam would have been embarrassed by her
admission if she wasn't launching herself in the direction of the
bathroom once more.
And on that happy note, I think I'll be going, now,
Vivid sounds assailed them from the bathroom, but Sam
couldn't stop to yell to her friend that she would see her later.
Janet swung up, turned to O'Neill, ordered,
Call me before the
end of the day, tell me how she's doing. And get some water in
her if you can! And some soup! And some...
Yes, yes, yes, I promise, O'Neill said.
I get the
picture, Florence Nightingale. Now, just go, while the getting's
good. I'll call Hammond, and tell him where I am.
I doubt you'll be going anywhere, Janet predicted,
For a stomach virus like this, you unfortunately have
to let it run it's course. There's nothing I can really do for
her anyway. Janet headed for the door.
O'Neill grabbed her coat off the hooks by the door, and
helped her put it on.
What was all that 'gotta take her in'
Suddenly, Janet gave a wicked smile.
Just giving Sam a
hard time, she said.
O'Neill whistled low in appreciation.
That's the last
time I'll ever underestimate you again.
Do so at your own peril, the doctor said with a
I'll keep that in mind the next time you threaten to use
the extra long needles on me, O'Neill told her as he held
open the door for her.
I'll take you and them more
She hefted her medical bag in one hand, and Sam's file in
Who says I'm just gonna threaten? Janet
Get outta here! the Colonel brusquely ordered in a
Before I throw you out!
Janet grinned again.
See you tomorrow. Then she was
O'Neill sighed, thanking his lucky stars that he had managed
to distract the overly zealous doctor until she had actually gone
through the door.
Peace, he appreciatively said before
turning back towards the bathroom.
Sam knelt in the dark in front of the sink after brushing her teeth. She was just to tired to stand any longer. Her eyes were closed, and her head was resting on her arms. The Colonel ran cold water on a cloth again, then pressed it to the back of her neck.
Sam reached up to catch the cloth, but she caught his
fingers as well as wet material. They would have had an
interesting moment if she'd been more coherent about what was
going on. As it was, she simply took the washcloth, and rubbed
it across her entire face.
Oh, God, thank you! she
That's just what I needed! How did you know,
She was playing dumb... of that, O'Neill was fairly certain.
But she was sick, so he went along with her ruse.
Janet, he said.
It's me. Janet's gone, so it's safe for
the natives to come out once again.
Sam gave a small grin.
Thanks, anyway. It's just
what'll make me feel better, she said on a whisper of
O'Neill helped her to stand.
You know, you kneeling like
that reminds me of all that 'kneel before your God,' crap we get
every now and then. Let's get you standing before I start seeing
snakes in every corner of the room.
Can't have that, Sam quipped. But, her hand went to
her forehead as they stopped in the doorway.
Dizzy? asked the Colonel.
Sam held her breath, and nodded.
How about if we stay
here until the room stops tilting all over the place?
The Colonel put one supportive hand on her arm encased in
the baggy sweatshirt she was wearing. He tried hard not to think
about who that arm belonged to.
Works for me, he
I've got nothing better to do than stand
around here all day... But even he knew that jokes would not
be enough to distract him this time from whom he had his hands
around. He let his voice trail off as they stood quietly for
I'll never tell Janet, promise. The
truth was, he would never tell anybody how his heart fluttered at
even this light touch! It was almost embarrassing how she could
affect him, he thought to himself.
Sam smiled, then, even if her eyes were closed.
Thanks! she said.
You know, Doc admitted that she can't do anything for
your symptoms, O'Neill told Sam, then, voicing the first
thing that came into his head.
She was just riling you up
with all that stuff about forcing you to go into the
I'll get her... after I get Siler, Sam vowed.
Good to see you haven't lost your sense of humor,
Major, O'Neill noted.
I was being serious, Sam protested.
That's the spirit. Get the doctor, I
always say. They stood for another minute, then O'Neill
Ready to try this again?
Sam opened her eyes. The steady bathroom met her gaze this
Yeah, I'm all right now. Let's go.
They made it back to the living room sofa in time for Sam to fall onto her back on its cushions. The Colonel left her lying down, resting her head on the arm of the couch, and disappeared into her kitchen for a minute. Sam vaguely heard the sound of her dryer buzzing in the background, and remembered that she had yet to do her laundry. But she had been rather preoccupied lately, she reminded herself.
The Colonel returned, carrying a hand towel, which he gently spread out over Sam's stomach.
The towel was warm against her skin.
breathed in reverence.
Is that ever what I need! she
Thought so, O'Neill said.
Earlier, I saw you
putting your hands on your stomach, and figured that heat helped
to ease the cramps you're having. He then let a blanket
billow around her form on the couch.
Why don't you just lie
back, and try to get some sleep?
But Sam resisted by putting her arm onto the back of the
couch, and trying to lever herself up. Such movement was
difficult in her weakened state.
I can't... I still have
laundry that I need to do, and...
Relax, said O'Neill.
I hope you don't mind, but I
noticed the clothes basket on the floor in front of your washing
machine closet... I put in a load for you. Now, go to sleep...
I'll take care of everything.
Sam sighed, then lay back on the couch. Maybe she would
close her eyes for just a few minutes. She snuggled under the
blanket spread on top of her.
Mmmm. Feels good, she
And thanks for doing the laundry.
No problem, O'Neill whispered.
You just go to
Sam was silent for a moment, and she heard the Colonel sit
in one of the chairs in her living room. From the kitchen came
the far away whir of the washer as her clothes spun clean.
Finally, she said with closed eyes,
My laptop's in my bedroom
if you're bored... There are games on it.
Hey, thanks. Sam could hear the brighter note in his
voice the second he spoke.
That might come in handy later...
How do I find them?
Go to 'My Computer,' click on the file marked 'Games,'
then on what you want to play. I've got all sorts of things in
O'Neill laughed lightly.
Sam Carter... Computer Game
Connoisseur. Who knew?
Sam grinned from her place on the couch.
exactly.., she said.
They're for you, not for me.
For me? O'Neill sounded surprised.
I knew they'd come in handy some day... Sam's voice
trailed off, and a minute later, her heavy, even breathing told
him that she had fallen asleep.
O'Neill heaved a deep sigh of gratitude that she had fallen asleep at last, then he reached into his coat pocket to pull out his cell phone. He flipped it open, and dialed.
General? O'Neill softly inquired.
Yeah, I'm at
Carter's, and I'm not going anywhere... She's pretty damned
sick... No mission today? Right. We'd end up carrying Carter
through the 'Gate at this point. For all that, SG-1 might as
well be put on downtime until we all get passed this virus thing
that's going around the base. We don't want one of us to
contract this on some alien planet while facing an army of
Jaffa... No, that would not be good. Then, O'Neill
listened as Hammond said something into the phone.
there? Hey, can I talk to him for a minute? Thanks...
O'Neill paused for a second, then said,
Hey, Teal'c! Can you
do something for me? Can you grab Daniel, and have him drive to
the grocery store for Carter? Yeah, she's out of just about
everything. You writing this down? Okay, she needs 'Tylenol,'
'laundry detergent,' dishwasher detergent,' 'soup,' 'bread,'
'butter,' and 'cinnamon.' Tell him to get whatever else he
wants, too. Oh, and some candy bars... No, those are for me!
Then can you run them over to her place this afternoon? I think
she's about out of the Tylenol that's on her counter, and she
needs some to take for her fever. Hey, I appreciate it. See you
in a while. He flipped the cell phone closed, removed his
coat, then sat for a minute to just stare at Sam as she
peacefully slept on her couch.
She is so pretty, he thought. And the best part about her was that she had no idea of the effect she had on the men in the entire base, and him in particular. She just spent most days going about her business, oblivious to the effect she had on everyone stationed in the SGC.
It surprised the hell out of him when she turned over onto
her back, and said,
I'm not as oblivious as you think.
She was faking being asleep! O'Neill smiled at her artifice, then she really was sound asleep, no longer faking, leaving him to wonder at what he had been thinking about.
But O'Neill couldn't ask her for her opinion about the subject of what effect she had on the men of the base if he didn't want to wake her, and that was the last thing he wanted to do. So, he just sat for a few moments, watching her sleep, aware of every breath she took, and wanting more than anything to smooth down her hair that the blanket had mussed when she turned over. Finally, he rose, intending to search her room for her computer, but instead found himself pausing beside her couch. Oh, this was not good, but he couldn't help himself. His heart hammered in his throat as he very slowly reached out a hand, and brushed back a strand of her hair that had fallen on her forehead.
That strand must have been more annoying than he thought, because Sam grinned at the way he had moved it, then leaned into his touch on her head. She smiled again, just a little bit, and O'Neill froze where he was standing beside her couch. She sighed once, sounding content for the first time since he had arrived, and her hand clutched at his on her cheek.
O'Neill stood, unmoving, half bent over, for as long as he could handle the unmoving position. At last, the crick in his back forced him to either kneel down beside her, or leave completely. He chose to kneel on the floor so that he was at more of a level with her face. He knew his knees would protest his new situation if he remained in it for very long, but at least his back wasn't in intense pain any longer.
His breath practically frozen in his chest, the Colonel very slowly, very carefully brushed her cheek with the back of his index finger. He was more than glad that there was nobody else present to witness the softening of his features as he let his feelings show on his face. If she had been more fully awake, he would never have allowed the love he was feeling to leak through his eyes like this, or his affection to curve his mouth into a smile. But she wasn't completely awake, and no one would ever know the way he felt for his second in command.
Sam let loose one last sigh, and snuggled up to his hand just a bit more until his fingers were trapped under her cheek. She had turned onto her side again, and latched onto his hand like it was her one anchor to the only reality she had ever known.
O'Neill studied here face for a moment, then reached out his
other hand again, and touched her briefly on the shoulder. He
gingerly shook her, always conscious of what the swaying motion
could do to her stomach.
Carter! he whispered into her
ear. She didn't wake, or even stir. A little more frantic, now,
O'Neill whispered again,
Though he was actively trying to wake her now, he was still
surprised when he heard her answering whisper,
There's no one
else here, no security cameras to record our every move, no one
to bother with wondering what they think of what and how we say
what we say... And I'm sooooo tired... Maybe that's why I just
don't care anymore when it's only the two of us...
Carter.., O'Neill whispered again, his heart still
pounding in his chest. But whether it was pounding fear or
exhilaration through his veins, he wasn't sure.
What are you
saying, here? he asked.
We're not breaking any regulations by thinking what we
think, she interrupted, her eyes still closed.
least, no more regulations than we're already breaking, she
added as an afterthought.
What are you saying, then? he repeated, his voice
still so low as to be a whisper in her ear. His breath barely
moved her hair, even as he leaned in close.
Sam smiled, in spite of another wave of cramps that assailed
her. She tensed against the inevitable pain she was feeling,
then relaxed as the knots ebbed away.
I'm saying... She
paused, and her forehead wrinkled.
Actually, I don't quite
know what I'm saying. She smiled into the side of the pillow
she had laid at the end of the couch.
All I know is that I
feel really rotten right now, and you're making me feel a lot
better. And you want to take that away because of what somebody
else says that you're supposed to, or not supposed to, feel?
Sam sighed again, then appeared distressed at the image of what
she had just suggested.
I really wish you wouldn't.
O'Neill wasn't entirely sure if she meant that she wished he wouldn't feel like he was doing something wrong just because of his feelings for her, or if she simply didn't want him to remove his hand so soon. He wasn't sure he cared any more, either, as the finger of his other hand once again gently stroked across her cheek.
Sam sighed once more at his touch, then slipped a hand outside the top of her blanket to curl around his fingers. She pulled his hand close to her cheek, sighed one last time, then fell into such a deep sleep that O'Neill had to wonder if she was even aware of his touch any longer.
He sat on the cold hardwood floor by the couch while she slept. He tried to ward off his softer feelings for her, but they swept over him now in waves of sensation that threatened to overwhelm him in thirty seconds flat. He smiled at her, squeezed her fingers with his, not expecting a reaction from such a sleepy person. Thus, he was surprised, and overjoyed, when she squeezed his fingers back. But she didn't say anything to him, only snuggled even deeper into the couch cushions, taking his hand that was cradling her cheek with her.
Braver now, O'Neill soothingly ran his hand again over her forehead, letting his fingers linger on the feel of her soft skin under his rougher touch, though she seemed not to mind his coarse hand. Sam grinned in her sleep, rubbed his hand, sighed, and continued to sleep.
The Colonel kept staring at her face, unable to pull himself away from her side, trapped by his own perceptions of her, which he buried so often, and by the fact that she had imprisoned his hand under her warm cheek. He couldn't help but revel in the feel of her, or in the sight of her face so close to his. He sighed once in contentment, a breath of air that he heaved into the now quiet room, and as he looked, he couldn't quite restrain himself from wondering what it would feel like to kiss that smooth skin of hers.
Get a grip! O'Neill told himself in a scornful, self-remonstrating tone. There's no way that you're ever going to find out what it's like to kiss her skin, so just get over it!
But even as he yelled at himself, the dryer suddenly buzzed, waking Carter from her first sound sleep in hours. Her eyes blinked heavily open, and she lazily regarded him with her own sigh of contentment. Did life get any better than waking up to see him first thing? It didn't occur to her that only a little while before she had been wondering if life could get any worse than it already was, but since she and he had been alone, things couldn't have been better.
You know, Carter, he whispered to her,
to be even harder to act normally around you after this.
I know, she answered.
I'm still so sick that I
can't care much about what's going to happen next. I only have
just enough energy to worry about the here and now.
Here and now? he asked, echoing her.
now, I have to admit that I want to kiss your forehead, then rub
it a little.
Sam smiled when she heard that.
Really? she asked,
her tone a hare brighter.
Don't let me stop you... Go right
The Colonel looked at her, a bit taken aback by her suggestion. Had she really just given him permission to be more intimate than he had ever been with her? She had always acted like such an upstanding, restrained soldier before that he was quite astonished to hear her suggest that something else was appropriate now.
Still smiling, though, in spite of his thoughts that were contrary to her words, O'Neill bent over even further, and rested his cheek against the skin of her forehead for just a minute. He heard her issue another contented sigh, and when he pulled back, it was to find her smiling with her eyes closed in reverence of the illicit sensation.
More, she whispered, her voice barely audible.
sure don't mind.
You're sick, Carter, Jack protested.
would feel good about now.
The cold washcloth doesn't hold a candle to your
cheek, Sam told him.
And I know that I'm sick... I have
the stomach cramps from Hell to prove it.
It's Netu, not Hell, Jack said, and grinned.
His comment made Sam grin in response.
she corrected herself.
All I know is that your touch feels
damned good right now.
It does? Jack softly inquired.
Sam nodded as much as she could with the blanket catching
You do, she insisted.
I mean, it
Jack smiled. He couldn't help feeling delighted at what she
Since you're sick.., Jack said, purposefully
letting his voice trail off at the end of his statement. He
grinned down at her again, even though her eyes were closed, and
she had little chance of seeing him. He gently brushed her light
colored bangs aside again from her forehead, noting that her hair
was soft on his rough touch, just like he had always expected it
Then, his cheek was once again rubbing at her forehead. He heard a rustle of blanket, and a moment later, her fingers were twining themselves into the graying hair at the base of his neck. The feel of her fingers felt ridiculously good, and made him courageous enough to slightly turn his head, and just barely brush his lips over her hot skin...
Sam had a fever, there was no doubt about that. The minute his lips came in contact with her skin, he was thinking words like 'fire,' and 'heat.' The warmth he was feeling radiating from her encouraged him to kiss her a tiny bit more firmly, as if kissing her would somehow cure her. He could feel her soft hair on her hairline under his lips, but mostly, he felt the totally delicious thrill course up his spine at her touch. He gingerly rubbed his hand against here cheek, and the fact that she had leaned into his touch encouraged him even more. He kissed down her reddened nose, then moved onto her cheek as she smiled at his touch.
That's the first good thing I've felt all day, Sam
said on another sigh. She smiled, then turned her head towards
his even more, as if the move was the most natural thing in the
That instant, Jack found himself staring into the blue depths of her eyes, the resolve firm in her gaze as she looked back at him.
Sam, you're sick, Jack pointed out to her.
only worry that I'm taking advantage of you in this
She interrupted him.
Then, by all means, take advantage
of me, she said.
Is that an order? he joked.
Will it help if it is?
I outrank you, he pointed out.
You can hardly
give me an order that I have to follow.
Then you better give it, she suggested.
An order like that goes against regulations, he said
I can't give an order that goes against regulations,
and expect it to be followed.
I'm sick, she said.
My judgment is
But mine's not, he sadly argued.
You're getting sick just being around me, Sam said
Neither one of us can be held accountable for our
That would never hold up during a court-martial, he
Sam sighed, and a hint of exasperation coated her features.
Regulations... Court-martials... Very compelling arguments,
for sure, but hardly encouraging thoughts at the moment.
Sam.., he started to say, regret coloring his
She interrupted him again.
So, you have a choice,
she said. She had to pause as another wave of stomach cramps
assailed her. She grunted against the pain, then forced herself
to relax. His hand, which automatically moved to soothingly
cover her blanket-enshrouded stomach, felt warm and inviting,
even through the material covering her.
Oh, that feels
good, she told him.
Sam.., he started to say again, this time his voice
coated even heavier in remorse.
There is no time here, you know, she cut him off.
There's no Air Force, no regs, no Commanding Officers, no
subordinate officers, no nothing.
But how can we go back to the way it was before after
this? Jack asked her.
I know that I can't. Can
Who says that I want to? Sam asked him.
That question shocked the hell out of him.
want to? he asked.
But it was you who thought 'leaving it
in the room' was the right thing to do, he protested.
Sam wriggled on the couch, as if his comment made her
uncomfortable, both physically as well as mentally.
did, she agreed.
But, now that I've had years to consider
my options, she told him,
I tend to think that I was a big
idiot at the time. I'm really rather surprised that you didn't
at least try to talk me out of keeping everything in that Za'tarc
Jack was astonished again.
But that's what you
wanted, he blurted in a whisper. His breath washed over her
lying on the couch.
At first, yes, she agreed with him.
Now, I'm not so sure at all, she divulged.
conveniently 'in the room' allowed me to once again run away from
things, she told him.
I'm good at running away from
things. I think I've run away from every relationship I've ever
had, she confessed.
Jack started to protest,
You have not...
Have too, Sam said.
There's Tom Willis, then Chad
Stump... You don't know about them. They're from high school
and college, she told him. Then, she groaned.
then came that whole Jonas thing...
You can hardly be blamed for that, Jack
I sent his ring back through the mail with a note, and
left for the Pentagon before he got it! Sam said then.
That's running away in my book, she said then.
came from another planet entirely... Another good excuse to stay
far away from him...
I didn't know that you wanted to have anything to do with
Narim, he said.
I didn't, she told him.
But the fact that he came
from a billion miles away helped convince me that I could
convince him that even being in contact with each other
was a rotten idea from the beginning. She shifted again,
kissed his palm in an artless gesture of affection that was over
practically before it began, then went on as if nothing untoward
had just happened.
Then, there was Martouf... He
conveniently belonged to Jolinar...
Martouf? Jack repeated in slight incredulity.
you had to kill him in the end...
Yeah, Sam said, then lifted her eyebrows under his
fingers that had rubbed her skin back and forth since she had
Convenient, wasn't it? she asked.
But you were so upset about him... Jack wondered if
he had misinterpreted her behavior at the time she had been
forced by circumstances to kill the Tok'ra.
Oh, I was upset, she insisted.
Or, Jolinar was.
It was really hard at the time to separate my feelings from hers.
Actually... And don't tell anybody this, she said as an
It'll make me look so coldhearted...
Not a word will ever pass my lips, he promised.
She smiled, affection clear in her gesture.
If there's anybody I can trust, you're the
Jack was pleased to hear that she could allow herself to
trust him so much.
Thanks, he sincerely said.
good to hear that, I admit.
Sam's smile continued to warm.
I've always trusted
you, she simply stated.
You don't trust Daniel and Teal'c? he asked, a bit
concerned now. They could hardly be a team if she wasn't able to
trust them. But still, it felt good thinking that she trusted
him just a touch more than the others.
Actually, I trust them with my life, she said then as
if she could tell what he was thinking just by reading the
expression on his face.
He breathed a sigh in relief, both that she trusted Daniel and Teal'c, and that she trusted him just a bit more than she trusted them.
No worries, Colonel, she said, and squeezed his
It was strange how she kept guessing his thoughts by correctly interpreting his what passed over his features.
I'm not reading your mind, Sam protested.
made sense that you would be a little worried about me trusting
them, or trusting you, especially after what I just said, she
But, I do trust you just a little bit more than
anyone else, she went on.
It's not exactly a secret that
I feel this way, she argued.
I've felt the same way for
years. It must be obvious to both Daniel and Teal'c by now, and
they would talk about us on missions, I assume.
Do you think they do? Jack asked then.
us, I mean.
What's to talk about? she rhetorically
We've never done anything that...
And we should probably keep it that way, Jack said,
interrupting her this time.
She turned her gaze on his face.
Is that what you
want? she asked.
What I want? Jack echoed. What did he want?
he asked himself then.
To be honest, I try not to let myself
think about what I've always wanted...
Well, I'm asking you to, Sam said.
What is it
that you want to have happen?
Jack decisively and immediately answered,
I want it to be
a perfect world, where it's okay to... He paused once more,
finding the actual voicing of his most buried, hidden desires to
Why did you stop? she asked.
never know if you don't tell me.
All right, Jack said.
I want you, and all the
baggage that comes with having you.
Sam smiled at him, then, and despite her being sick, the
smile shone out of her eyes.
I have to say, that makes me
feel damned good, she admitted.
I want to have...
something... with you, too, she shyly said then.
Only, it's really hard...
Yeah, the regulations.., he voiced.
But Sam shook her head.
No, that's not what I was
It's not? Jack was surprised again.
I don't exactly have a good record when it
comes to all this relationship stuff, she admitted to him.
I might hurt you sometime down the road...
You would never do that! Jack protested.
I might not mean to, Sam told him.
always that possibility, and I don't want to hurt you for
That's admirable, Jack noted as he kept slowly
rubbing his hand across the hot skin of her forehead.
that's a chance you'll always have to take. Then he
That we'll both have to
The regs are just one more convenient excuse, I
suppose, Sam said then.
If I'm as honest as you
are... She had to stop as more stomach cramps assailed her.
She unconsciously tightened her grip on Jack's fingers, and his
hand stilled on her forehead until she loosened her grasp,
knowing subconsciously what she was experiencing.
You should sleep, he suggested.
I should, she agreed.
But this conversation is
far more interesting. I can sleep at any time. But I get you so
rarely... She smiled.
It probably comes as no surprise
to you that I love you, she stated in a nonchalant manner.
If I had a penny for every time I've dreamt about you in the
past, I'd be rich by now.
Jack stared at her, indecision running rampant across his
Sam! he exclaimed in an agony of
God, I want to say the exact same thing so
often! You have no idea!
What stops you? she asked.
The fact that we're in the Commissary, or the Infirmary,
surrounded by other people who can scream 'court-martial' at the
time is what's usually the problem.
What if we keep things away from work? Sam inquired
Jack considered that option.
Honestly, I've often
wondered about that.
It would be hard, she said then.
But we don't
know if we can do it unless we try. What we have right now is
basically the same thing, just without any of the fun...
Jack had to laugh when she said that.
Sam shifted again until she was lying completely on her
side, facing him.
Damn, you're hot, she said.
I'm not the sick one, yet.., Jack started to
Not 'hot' as in fever hot, but 'hot' as in
damned handsome... cute... really good looking...
Jack grinned, delighted that she would think so.
know that people think that about you, too, he said, leading
her to his thoughts.
And that I think...
Actually, Sam said, shaking her head.
don't. Nobody ever tells me... Then sent him a forgiving
Not even you...
Jack didn't need any more encouragement. He leaned forward
You're one really cute scientist...
Sam couldn't help but giggle, and the movement caused the
muscles in her stomach to hurt.
Oh, that's not good! she
said, though she grinned the entire time.
Laughing makes my
stomach hurt! she explained.
Jack grinned at her anyway, but stopped his gentle laughter.
Hot... Cute... Sexy... Did I mention sexy?
Sam nodded, also smiling at him.
How can anyone be sexy
in BDUs? she sardonically asked.
I have no idea, but you pull it off quite
well. Ask anybody...
I don't care about anybody, she said then.
care about what you think.
If I had a penny for every time I've thought about you in
the past, Jack said, echoing what she had said earlier.
... in BDUs or not... I would be rich by now, he
Her fingers moved in lazy circles through his hair. She
You better kiss me now, or I'll have to
purposefully misread my compass on our next mission...
That sounds like something I would do, Jack
appreciatively said, and grinned. He obligingly leaned forward,
caressed her cheek while she caressed the back of his neck.
Then, in one simple, smooth motion, she pulled him the rest of
the way to her, until their mouths touched in the most soothing
motion that either had delivered that afternoon.
That was the moment that someone knocked on the door.
The sound cracking through the silent house made Jack jump,
as if he were being caught doing something wrong. But it was
with a grin that he turned his head back to face Sam.
that thought.., he ordered, and climbed to his feet.
Nothing could make me lose it, Sam promised with a
smile of her own.
Jack jogged to the door, schooled his expression, hoped that his face wasn't too flushed with his feelings for Carter to be natural, then pulled the door open to see Daniel and Teal'c on Carter's front doorstep, each loaded down with grocery bags.
Hey! Daniel said in greeting.
everything, I think.
I should say you did! Jack replied, eyeing the
plethora of bags. He was less irritated at their interruption
than he would have thought that he would be.
Come on in!
he invited, and moved aside to make room for them in the
Daniel stepped into the house.
Where's the sickie?
he asked in a loud voice meant to penetrate the entire house.
I'm right here, Sam said from the couch.
was trying to sleep, but you've kind of ruined that idea for
Sorry about that, Daniel said, not exactly sounding
contrite. He hefted the bags in his arms.
Where do you want
Kitchen, Sam ordered.
Just set it on the counter.
I'll get it later...
Like hell you will, Jack affably said.
it all away for you... Just supervise from the couch.
Well, this is different, Sam remarked.
in the kitchen while the woman sits in the living room, and tells
them what to do. Sam turned on the couch so that she faced
Okay... Soup in the cupboard by the stove...
Bread on the counter... Cinnamon in with the other spices...
Tylenol PM in the bathroom...
And we got soap, Daniel called.
Bathroom cupboard, Sam called back.
Is that for
me, or for the Colonel? she asked Teal'c as he set three
candy bars on the countertop.
O'Neill, Teal'c told her. He faced his leader.
He is brave, as he will probably be getting this disease
Sam grimaced at the thought of throwing up chocolate.
It's his stomach, she direly predicted.
Thank you, Jack said as he pulled more stuff from the
bags sitting on her counter.
At least we agree on that.
And he grabbed a candy bar, ripped open the outer covering, and
took a big bite.
Damn, that's good! he said after he had
Don't gloat, Sam sourly called back.
better than you know, damn you.
Jack didn't react to her humor more than to take another big
Mmmm, that's good, he said with a satisfied
Oh, shut up, Sam said,
Ugh! she grunted
again, as more cramps hit her. She burrowed her forehead into
the arm of the sofa, and grimaced as she held on until the
cramping came to an end.
Jack instantly inquired,
You need your towel heated up
It's not very hot anymore, she said, and
handed the towel to him. He then threw it in the dryer.
have chocolate in the corner of your mouth, she said
I did that on purpose. But he cleaned
his mouth off with one of her napkins.
That's got it, Sam told him.
Daniel smacked Jack on his arm when he had returned from the
Serves you right, he said.
For eating in
front of the afflicted one.
But, boy, was that good! Jack enthused.
Sam only rolled her eyes.
I'll get him back when he has
this.., she threatened.
Bring your own chocolate, was all Jack said.
Sam laughed, then frowned, and held her aching stomach.
Jack cautioned then,
No jokes, guys. Don't make her
Jokes seem to be your pervue, O'Neill, Teal'c
I'll try not to be so amusing, then, Jack said.
Can I help it if I'm funnier than hell? he asked.
A matter of opinion, Daniel said.
Sam laughed again.
Jack couldn't keep back his grin, but then, they were all grinning at Sam.
Hey, catch, Daniel said as he threw a box of cold
medicine her way.
We put everything away, but we're not very
good at putting everything in the right place, so you might find
the TV remote in the refrigerator, or something just as
wrong. He and Teal'c headed for the outside door.
see you later, Sam, Jack...
See you when we see you, Jack called as they left
then. He turned to Sam.
What did they bring you? he
Tylenol PM in a box, Sam responded.
To help me
sleep... if I can ever get the box open...
Here, let me try, Jack suggested, his hand
outstretched to take the box of medicine from her.
Your fingers are too big, Sam said.
You won't get
it open either.
Jack cocked his head to the side, and in a very deadpan
Then we'll hit it with a sledgehammer.
Damn, I'm not supposed to make you laugh.., Jack
said, remembering too little too late.
Sam tossed him the box of medicine. In one swift move, he pulled it open. She gaped at him, an expression that was ruined when she scrunched up her face as more cramps hit her.
Jack pulled out the bottle of pills inside the box, tore off the plastic safety cover, and shook out three pills.
I think I'm only supposed to take two, Sam
This is an emergency, Jack said.
And it's only
I thought it was Tylenol PM, Sam corrected.
Daniel put that in the bathroom, Jack explained.
Damn, Sam said with furrowed eyebrows.
Jack got a glass of water, pulled the towel out of the
dryer, then crossed to her.
Now, be a good patient, and take
all your medicine.
I'm not going to laugh, I'm not going to
laugh, she chanted. She took all three pills at once, and
washed it all down with a slug of water.
Careful, Jack said then.
You don't want to throw
Janet will be so proud of you for getting me to take some
water, Sam said then of her recent drink.
That's right, drink plenty of liquids, Jack said.
The doctor will like you soooooo much better than if you
don't. Plus, he added,
It's my job to make sure you're
getting your liquids. Now, lie down on the couch again, he
Sam eyed him.
I thought you would never ask, she
Jack glared at her in good nature as she lay down again,
then he spread the towel out over her stomach.
You must be
feeling better; you're making jokes...
I'd feel even better if we picked up where we left
off, Sam suggestively said.
Patience, he advised.
Give me a
I'll give you longer than that if you ask, she
I've created a monster.
Can I be your monster?
Jack couldn't withstand her smile any longer. His heart
doing dances inside his chest, he grinned.
Any time, he
said, and pulled her close on the couch. With no segue into the
action, he slid her up next to him, smiled in supreme
contentment, smiled even more, and kissed her as deeply as he had
ever dreamed of.
Sam tasted... Damned good, he decided! Damned good! Good enough to make his heart spin, and tumble through his chest. Good enough to make his toes curl. Good enough to make him want to taste the rest of her, too.
Sam answered his gesture, and the kiss was just leading to hands caressing enticingly under shirts when the phone rang.
Jack pulled back, still grinning.
That's Doc Fraiser, or
I'll eat my shorts.
Eat your shorts all you want, but
please don't talk about eating.
Jack laughed, then climbed off the couch with
Be right back. He
kissed her one last time, and crossed the few steps to the
ringing phone sitting on a table at the end of the couch.
Bring it back here, and sit with me, Sam
Jack grinned back at her.
Wild horses couldn't keep me
I thought the proper phrase was 'domesticated
equines?' Sam asked.
Only on missions, Jack whispered to her, then sat
down beside her again, phone in hand. He picked up the receiver
from the phone cradled in his lap.
Carter residence... Hey,
Doc, how ya doin'? he said in one long breath before he even
finished chanting his greeting. He paused as Fraiser (he'd just
known it had to be the Doc calling) said something into
the phone on her end. Jack smiled. Janet said something else.
Jack placed a hand on Sam's forehead as a consequence, and Sam
pulled it down to place a kiss on his palm. Jack shivered at the
contact, and had to clear his throat to continue his
conversation. Sam smiled at his reaction to her.
still has a slight fever. He paused.
No, it's been about
two hours since the last time in the bathroom... Sam
blushed; she hated having her medical history discussed so
Dinner... Toast, soup... Will do, Doc, Jack
And water, lots of water. You can count on me...
Suddenly, Jack scowled.
No, I am not paying more
attention to the game on TV than to my job here. He listened
to Janet again. Then, he smiled again.
You can ask her
Jack handed the phone receiver to Sam. She took it, held it
far from her ear and mouth, yelled,
I'm fine for a contagious
person who's talking on the phone! Now, go away!
Jack grinned again as he took the offered handset back.
See, she's fine. Will be as right as rain as soon as she eats
some food, and gets some sleep. He paused.
See ya tomorrow. He hung up the receiver, and set the phone
at the end of the couch on the floor.
Doc says 'Hi.'
Sam gave him no window of opportunity to rise from the sofa, and head for the kitchen to make something to eat for him and her. She kissed him fast, hard, and very deliciously. Jack was taken enough be surprise that his emotions wove through him, making him melt at just her touch. He was goo in seconds. He could feel her fingers in his hair, on his neck, on his shirt... His heart was a racing sledgehammer in his chest...
A minute after she had drawn back to stare into his eyes,
she nonchalantly said,
Now you can try to get me to eat
something. I'll see if I can keep it down.
Jack grinned, his smile so soft that it rivaled velvet, and so affectionate that it made her want to kiss him again. She did.
Jack sighed, utterly content. He could really get used to
this! He sighed once more, then rested his forehead against
Thank God for stomach cramps.
That's only because you don't have them, she
Sam released him, and Jack forced himself to head out to the
kitchen, where he cycled the laundry again, then prepared some
cinnamon toast for her, and put it on a plate, which he then
carried back to her.
Try it. Doc thinks it's time.
Sam reached for the food, but looked him in his eye and
Time for other things, too.
Jack followed the plate she held in her hand.
gotten into you lately? he asked.
Where's my 2IC?
She's finally wised up, Sam answered.
Keep kissing me like that, Jack answered with a grin.
and I won't mind anything ever again.
I'll remind you of that the next time the
General assigns us to write reports. She took a cautious a
bite of the toast, chewed, and swallowed. They waited a few
moments, but nothing happened. Her stomach didn't even rumble.
It's lookin' good. She took another bite.
Here, let me take half. Jack tore the toast into two
parts, then proceeded to devour it.
Practicing for when you get this disease a la Siler, or
do you just like toast?
I'm hungry, Jack explained around the food in his
I can't watch you eat, and not eat myself.
Suddenly, Sam's face wrinkled in thought.
Did you put
chocolate in this? she asked suspiciously.
Jack grinned. Then, in a completely deadpan voice,
I tried, but the toaster kept melting my candy
Don't make me laugh, she warned.
Jack placed his hand on her stomach muscles.
dream of it.
Yes, you would, Sam stated instead.
Okay, I would, but you have such a
beautiful smile, and sound so cool when you laugh.
A remark like that needs a reward.
Was Sam Carter flirting with him? Jack asked himself. He didn't have time to ruminate too deeply on the subject, as she kissed him wholeheartedly.
But she paused about two seconds into the gesture. Just when the kiss was moving into deeper territory, and getting interesting, her eyes widened in shock. She unceremoniously pushed him back onto the coffee table, and ran for the bathroom.
Jack would have been slightly hurt at her abrupt behavior,
but the sounds of a person with a stomach strongly rebelling
against the food she'd just put in it reached his ears, and he
sighed before following in her footsteps.
Too soon, he
said to himself as he wandered down the hall.
Another cool washcloth on her neck soothed her just enough
for Carter to smile wanly into her arms crossed on top of the
toilet. Jack didn't think he'd ever seen his second in command
in such an unprofessional position before. He pulled her up
after a minute or two had passed.
Come on, he said in a
quiet voice that wasn't meant to frighten her by loudly
announcing his presence.
Come with me, and keep my stomach warm, she said as
they stumbled to her bedroom further down the hall.
Now Jack knew that Carter was more than sick, as she was
requesting far more dangerous activities to him than just making
out on her couch.
Is that wise? he asked.
I just know that I'm tired, and cold, and you're so
warm.., she stated.
Yeah, but can I behave? Jack asked.
Would you do anything with the sick lump of dough that
I've become? Sam inquired.
I trust you.
But I'm not sure if I should trust myself, Jack
pointed out in a harsh voice.
I have enough trust for both of us. And I
promise to take full advantage of you when you get
Well, in that case... He pulled the
covers on her bed up to her chin, tucked it lovingly around her
side, then removed his combat boots, and, fully dressed, joined
her under the covers.
My God, you're my own personal space heater, Sam
Then let me warm you up...
Sam threw her arm across him as he spooned up beside her.
Please do, she said.
In the next moment, they were both asleep as the darkness at the end of the day crept over the room.
* * *
Jack woke surprisingly clearheaded the next morning. He stared at Sam's head tucked under his arm as the sun slowly crested the horizon and snuck through the cracks in the shade pulled on her bedroom window.
He smiled as she nuzzled her nose into his chest. Even with his t-shirt on and acting as a barrier between them, he could feel her contentment all the way to his toes. It made him feel just as gratified. Actually, it made him desperately want to kiss her. So, with no word or warning of any kind, he leaned in closer to her and kissed her forehead first, then her nose, and when he was certain that she was awake, her hot and ready lips in a sense of abandoned glory of long suppressed emotions let loose. He kissed her so deeply that it was barely even noticeable that she had worked her hands under his black t-shirt in seconds.
Things were progressing quickly to the stage where he wanted more than anything for the both of them to remove the encumbrance of clothing, so that he could feel her hot skin on his, when a strangely familiar tightening sensation began to accost his face, one that had nothing to do with Sam, or kissing her to oblivion. In the next instant, he was jumping away from her, out of her bed, and running for her bathroom so fast that his movement was akin to Jaffa being hot on his ass.
As the sound of retching reached her from her bathroom, Sam sighed once to show her resignation, her regret, and then her resigned acceptance of the new state of affairs. It was rapidly looking like she was going to take another sick day, but this time it was to tale care of her Colonel rather than letting him take care of his Major.
Sam then gave a wicked smile; she ought to get a promotion for this!
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