Disclaimer: Don't own anything, and I'm even trying to sell my car, so I won't even own that pretty soon. I better sell the car for a lot of money, since I didn't make a single cent off this piece of fanfiction... Anybody want to buy a car?

Freeze

by Linda Bindner

General Jack O'Neill hated grocery shopping, but it seemed that lately, he was always at the local grocery store, buying food. It also seemed that every time he was actually allowed to leave the SGC and go home, he was inevitably out of food, or what food he had was spoiled. He didn't know how many cartons of milk he had been forced to pour down his kitchen sink since he had taken over at the SGC. General Hammond had never warned him that the job would demand more sacrifices of him than just his time. He always watched the white liquid milk chug down his kitchen drain the few times he received leave. And spoiled milk always stank, too. Life could be deceptively rotten, he admitted to himself. Rotten, and smelly.

And the ice cream! He had taken to eating an entire tub at one sitting (one of the small tubs, admittedly, but still..!). If he left the carton in his freezer, there was no telling when he would be able to finish eating it again. As many times as he had poured his spoiled milk down his sink, he had found crystallized ice cream in his freezer. Ice cream crystals were less appetizing to him than a Goa'uld searching for a new host.

Therefore, he was aiming for the frozen goods section of the grocery store, pulling his cart along behind him. His cart was full of the canned goods that he had already selected for purchase, food that wouldn't become spoiled over time.

But not so for the ice cream he wanted to buy, or the milk he'd already loaded into his cart. He was determined to head home in another few moments, to drink a tall glass of cool milk (it might be the only one he got from the entire half gallon) and to eat ice cream. He was thinking that a small tub of Ben and Jerry's brand Double Chocolate Fudge ice cream was just what he wanted. Teal'c had started his love affair with chocolate ice cream while the General had still been a member of SG-1, and that love hadn't changed when his promotion from Colonel to General had come through. So, his mouth already watering as if he could taste the frozen desert on his tongue, he half pushed, half dragged his cart across the aisle from the milk, towards the frozen dessert section. He wanted to just stare at the store's selection of many ice cream flavors before he made his same choice, as he did every time. He could taste the ice cream already, even as he began to peer at all the possible choices he could make from the store's many cases.

But when he had pushed his cart aside, and went to stand next to the blonde lady also gazing at the ice cream, her back to him, he was surprised as hell to find that he was staring not at ice cream, but at the tear streaked face belonging to Sam Carter. In fact, he was so surprised to see her there, in the middle of his grocery store, far from her own home, that he forgot to look at the ice cream selections altogether.

Carter! he blurted, astonished at seeing her in the middle of a weekend, far from her own house and local grocery store, staring in transfixed silence at all the imaginable kinds of ice cream flavors.

She abruptly turned her head to look at him when she heard her name issued in his voice, unable to cover the strained, tired, depressed expression on her face quickly enough to keep him from seeing it. She tried to smile at him, but the gesture came off as terribly weak. Hi, Sir, she said instead as a way to distract him. But he clearly proved to be undistractable as his concern grew at the sight of her stained skin. As a second attempt to force his attention away from her, she glanced at the cart beside him.

She suddenly, and very sadly, sighed at the sight of his full cart, though he had no idea what was so sad about groceries. Doing grocery shopping, I see, she pointed out in a morose sounding voice.

He eyed her, and couldn't help staring in even more concern at her face. What's wrong? he immediately inquired instead of answering her rhetorical question. You look like someone just ran over your dog. He leaned in, then, and grinned a small grin in her direction. Only I know that didn't happen, because you don't own a dog.

Despite how sad she obviously was, she chuckled at his joke. You're right, no one ran over my pet dog. She stopped in order to sniffle, then stood, unmoving, and saying nothing, her arms crossed defensively over her chest. She stood that way, a statue of silent misery, for several minutes. Neither of them moved an inch. At last, she said in a low, whispery voice, You shouldn't feel like you have to stay here just because I look like the world has ended.

In a tone that held nothing but caring, perhaps more than he should show, (but he couldn't help himself at the sight of her obvious distress), he said, No, I don't feel like I have to stay... I've got nowhere else that I have to be... Then he regarded his full grocery cart. Except home, unloading all this food... Then he turned back to look at her. But I'll stay as long as you're upset... What's bothering you, Carter? Is it your dad again? They had attended Jacob Carter's funeral only last week, and Jack knew that Sam had managed to maintain control by only a thin thread since then. Actually, he'd been waiting for her to break down just like this ever since the funeral.

But Sam was shaking her head. No... I mean, yeah, I miss Dad... a lot, actually... but that isn't it.

Then, what is 'it?' Jack asked. You never cried while we were on SG-1... And there were plenty of reasons to cry then... This must be awfully... awful.., he lamely noted.

Again, she sighed. Actually... She paused to gaze at him, judging him for a moment. She must have either reached a decision to talk to the old friend that he had become, or to trust her commanding General with her thoughts, for she finally just told him. Actually, I was thinking of drowning my sorrows, and eating an entire tub of ice cream. And I was at the house that Pete bought for us before we broke up, and I ended up coming here... since I was in the area... and now, I'm staring.

Jack didn't want to talk about the house she'd almost... he balked... almost?... owned, but he at least understood the art of trying to drown one's sorrows in ice cream. He'd done the same thing often enough right after Charlie had died.

But what did Carter have to be sorrowful about? Besides the obvious? Jack dredged through his mind, trying to come up with any reason that he knew about that might have upset her. Yet, he was stumped. So, he asked her. Why do you want to drown your sorrows in ice cream?

Sam sighed for a third time. I do that every time I get depressed.

Jack stared at her in puzzlement. You just said that you weren't upset about Jacob... What's depressed you? Is it that house? he asked. He timidly shuffled his feet, his reaction to every time she mentioned that house. But just yesterday, you told me that you didn't much care for it.

Sam turned to him again with a jerk of her body, and she suddenly blurted a question of her own that completely changed the subject of their discussion. Do you think that there's something wrong with me?

Jack's eyebrows rose to his hair. Wrong with you? he repeated. What was she getting at? Of course not. But... Wrong... how?

Sam sighed one more time, then turned to contemplate the closed freezer door they were standing in front of. A shudder coursed through her. This relationship stuff, she announced. I can't seem to get it right, and...

Of course you got it right! Jack forced himself to tell her. You were engaged, after all...

But Sam was shaking her head the moment the word 'engaged' left his mouth. 'Were..,' she mournfully repeated. I'm not now. She closed her eyes, as if fighting off some particularly bad memory, and whispered again, Not anymore. She was as distressed about the fact that she had another failed relationship under her belt as much as for that failed relationship itself.

Jack's brows lifted even higher. Relief at her ended relationship with that Denver cop engulfed him once again the minute she spoke of it, and he fought to hide the sensation from leaking out to show in his own expression. He hadn't heard a thing about any 'ending of her engagement' from the SGC rumor mill... Daniel had whispered it to him just an hour before... but he couldn't be secretly more thrilled at her news. You're... You're not engaged anymore, right? He wanted to make sure himself. Jack was still so astounded to actually hear her say those words that he could barely talk.

Nope, Sam reported, confirming his beliefs. Not any more. I ended it.

A silent moment passed while Jack tried to internalize her words, and not shout in triumph at the same time.

In a contained voice that was almost as quiet as a whisper, she added, I didn't have much of a choice. After another silent moment went by, where Jack's questioning gaze inquired why she felt that she'd had no choice in this 'ending of her engagement' matter, she shook her head. I loved him, certainly, but was never in love with him, she explained. Though, I have to wonder why... She looked at Jack then out of watery, distressed eyes that were startling blue from her recent tears. He was kind... Gentle... Caring... The perfect person to marry, she wistfully said, if in a sarcastic way, as if she couldn't believe what she had just done, but had gone ahead and done it anyway. Yet I had about as much true love for him as the Goa'uld have for us Earthlings.

Jack knew that she had to be very upset in order to mention classified terminology like 'Goa'uld' aloud in a public grocery store. He also could only think that he cared about her as much as any man could care for her, even if he had been unable to illustrate how very much he cared. In fact, his hand reached up to brush tenderly against her shoulder even now. But before he could do anything, she turned to face him once more.

Am I just destined to never get married, or what? she desperately asked him, her tears threatening to start falling anew. Maybe I'm too...

You're not 'too' anything, Jack blurted then, knowing only that he wanted to wipe away the unhappiness he was seeing on her face. Don't even think that you are.

Sam turned back to face the displayed cartons of ice cream. Oh, you're just saying that to be nice because you've worked with me for years, she excused. But all I know how to do is save the world, and talk scientific babble that nobody understands, and...

Jack glanced down at his shoes resting on the store's scuffed linoleum floor. He couldn't argue with her that he rarely understood all the technical things she said. But... I've I always liked your techno babble... talk... stuff, he confessed. Still do.

She turned on him again, but there was pleased surprise showing right next to her desire to cry, now. You did?

Jack nodded. Sure. I sometimes call you into my office just to hear you talk about something or other... It's relaxing... Helps me see solutions to problems that I haven't considered yet because I'm always so uptight, and... His voice trailed off before he ended up saying too much. He probably had already said too much.

But Sam was grinning at him through her tears, and this time her smile was more genuine than it had been since he'd unexpectedly encountered her at the grocery store. Really? she asked, sounding like she didn't entirely believe what he was telling her, but that she wanted to badly believe all of his words.

Yeah, Jack reinforced his previous statement. I do... I mean, I do all that... all the time. His voice trailed off again.

Sam turned back to the ice cream. Well... Then, she suddenly sighed, and shook her head, all signs of happiness at his commentary gone. Damn, she whispered. I'm doing it again.

Jack gazed at her quizzically. Doing what? What was she getting at? And did he have to read her mind in order to get a straight answer out of her?

But, in spite of his questions, Sam remained stubbornly silent, and just stared at the ice cream.

Carter? Jack prompted at last. Earth to Colonel Carter...

I'm hiding from telling the truth again, Sam quickly admitted in a quiet voice. I'm... She rolled her eyes as she heaved a breath. I'm doing an encore performance of lying through my teeth to you... I'm not telling you the truth.

Jack also heaved a sigh. Okaaay... She wasn't telling him something that she wanted to? What's going on? he accusatorily asked. You're not making much sense, and the Carter I know makes sense most of the time, and...

I'm in love with you, she blurted on a teary whisper. She wiped away the water leaking from her eyes while he stared at her in open-eyed shock... not necessarily at what she had confessed, but that she had put voice to her feelings for him at all. That's why I couldn't marry... him. She took a second shuddering breath as she continued on, and kept wiping at her wet cheeks. Then she faced his surprised expression. I'm sorry... I shouldn't have told you that... I'll just go... I'll ask for an assignment somewhere else... Get out of your hair... She sounded so... defeated.

Jack's heart was still doing flips inside his chest at her earlier words about loving him. Now that he was over his shocked astonishment, he wanted to grin and dance around the grocery aisle. Instead, he tried to remain dignified, and behave in a sedate way more befitting an Air Force General. But simultaneously, that didn't stop him from feeling like he was lighter than the air around them. Carter, you've never been 'in my hair,' he softly noted, echoing her own words back to her. It was the first thing he could think of to say that might make her reconsider such a rash choice as asking for a reassignment. I don't want you to go to another base. Jack also drew in a deep breath, and as he did so, comprehended why she had done the same... It bolstered flagging courage. The SGC needs you.., he said.

Sam snorted. Is that all? she reviled. The SGC would get along just fine without me.

Jack again said the first words that popped into his head. But I won't.

Sam gave another jerk towards him. She took a shivery breath, then asked him, Do you mean that you wouldn't get along without me as the leader of the SGC, or..?

No, that's not how I mean it, Jack confided before he lost his inner push to divulge this secret of his own.

Sam stared at him, and Jack wondered what she was thinking behind that enigmatic gaze if hers.

Come on, he suddenly said. Let's get out of here. he reached into the freezer they were standing before, and pulled out two tubs of Double Chocolate Fudge ice cream, tossed them both in his full cart, then grabbed her by her wrist.

Sam followed him, letting him lead her to the cashiers at the front of the store, just like he'd been leading her places for the last several years. Jack unloaded his cart of all the food he wanted to purchase, paid for it, then grabbed the bags in his hands. Come on, he said to her once again. Let's take my truck. There's no way I'm letting you drive when you're this upset... This agonized... This... um... this... honest. He gave her one handful of bags he had been carrying, then wrapped his fingers around her wrist again, not hard enough to detain her, but with warmth, as if he valued what he was holding. He strode through the front doors, Sam following. She was being so quiet, so cooperative, that he felt he needed to add, Besides, we need to... talk. His voice was so serious that she could never misinterpret his intent.

He loaded his groceries and hers into the back of the cab of his truck, opened the drivers' door, said, After you, and followed her into the cab of his vehicle.

Jack drove out of the store parking lot at a fairly sedate rate, though Sam didn't notice much about his driving technique, as she had leaned her forehead against the passenger window, closed her eyes, and didn't speak again, not even when he glanced at her. She merely brushed the odd tear away as it oozed from her eyes, and glistened wetly as it traveled a path down her white cheek. Jack made no move toward her except to cover her hand with his as it rested on the seat between them. Considering how rarely he had touched her in the decade since he'd met her, it was a bold move on his part.

Firmly holding her fingers, Jack drove left handed back to his house, which didn't take long, as the grocery store was only a few blocks away. He stopped the truck in his driveway, and they climbed out of the vehicle the same way they had climbed in. Jack grabbed the bag containing the two tubs of ice cream he had bought, then proceeded to the front door. He opened it, stored the frozen desert in his freezer, grabbed an old, ugly brown blanket from the closet in his entryway, and pulled her out his side door and onto his deck. The entire time, neither of them had said a word.

Jack flung the blanket over his shoulders, settled back into one of the two white Adirondack chairs that graced his deck, then pulled her down onto his lap, and wrapped the ends of the blanket around her. The day was cold and gray, and a wind that held no warmth strafed over them and their blanket. But no frigid air snuck into the nest he had made with her, and only their cheeks glowed red with the cold as she rested her head against his shoulder. It was fairly certain, however, that no one would hear anything they said to each other if they were outside, as it was too cold and dreary to be a very popular place to spend time.

There, Jack said, his arms firmly ensconced around her sides. Comfy? he whispered in her ear.

Sam nodded, the only sign she had made in the last twenty minutes that she was even aware that another person was with her.

Good, Jack commented. He glanced at her, then smiled, and finally allowed himself the luxurious sensation of rubbing his cheek against the skin of her forehead. So.., he began, still smiling, though his voice was so soft, it barely filtered to her hearing, even though her ear was practically underneath his lips. He decided that he would let his lips get some satisfaction out of this situation before he started talking, and maybe destroy their current bubble of cozy 'togetherness' by speaking his words in the first place. That would be just his luck, he cynically thought to himself. So, he turned his head just a fraction towards her, and rubbed against her forehead. Then he went so far as to gently kiss that treasured skin, but he refused to let himself think about the possible consequences of his action; it was too scary to think about the aftermath of such affection in too much detail. So, he repeated. You think that you're in love with me? he forced himself to gently ask after a gulp of air that choked his tight throat.

I don't think it, Sam stressed woodenly without opening her eyes. I know it.

Jack was silent for a minute then, just glorying in the feel of her finally in his arms, even if it was simply a way for her to stay warm. But she tightened her grip on him, and he was grinning once more at the confession she'd just made. At last, he couldn't stay quiet a second longer. You know, that's about the best thing anybody's ever said to me.

Sam heaved in another sad breath. I can't imagine why, she told him. Me saying such a thing will only cause a lot of trouble for you, and...

Jack quietly interrupted her. There's no trouble when I tell you that I've only been waiting for you to say those words so that I would find the courage to say my own confession. He also heaved in a breath of cold, damp air. I love you too, ya know, and I've hated having to stay quiet all these years, hated your engagement, but was happy that you were able to be happy yourself, at least, and...

Wait, she cut him off. She lifted up her head so that she could stare him in his eyes. Her eyes still held tears shimmering in them. What did you say?

Jack regarded her out of a gaze that burned with the truth of his words, both concerning the past and present. I hated having to be quiet all these years, but the regs...

And speaking of the regs, Sam said.

What about them? he asked.

Sam simply gazed at him, and finally asked, How..? She took a deep breath, and tried again. How... or what... do you think about them now? She stared at him. I mean, why did you decide that now is the right time to break them if..?

Why did you? he softly countered. His arms squeezed her a bit tighter under their warming blanket. She was so cute when she was confused, as she obviously was right now. Because.., he thoughtfully explained when she continued to just stare at him, waiting for an answer to her question. Because you reminded me that the moment I've been dreading for months... That day of your marriage... It isn't going to take place, he went on in a soft, pensive tone of voice. And ages ago I promised myself that if this time ever, by some miracle, happened, I would immediately take advantage of it, regs or no regs. He turned to face her. I'm not about to let you go a second time. Even I can only be that stupid once in a lifetime.

Sam stared at him, her eyes flicking over his features, coming to rest on his own brown eyes until she saw that he was telling her the truth. You're not stupid, she contradicted at last, so she wouldn't have to specifically deal with what he was divulging to her.

Yes, I am, he instantly and firmly negated. When it comes to you, I am, he asserted.

But she was shaking her head. No, she whispered. If you had said those same words to me any time before now, I might not have been miserable enough to run to you, and search for 'us.' Instead, I'm sitting here on your lap, the nicest place to be in the whole Universe...

Nicer even than Nirti's pleasure palace? he teasingly inquired.

Picking up on his joke, but not entirely thrilled to let it remind her of more bad memories that she would just as soon forget, she had to snort again, this time in contradiction of what he was asking. If I recall, I almost ended up being a puddle on the floor during that particular mission... And usually you're the only one who can turn me into a puddle on the floor.

I was so scared then, he admitted to her. So scared that I was going to lose you like I had already lost Charlie...

But you didn't, she told him, her eyes closed against the world once again.

Jack rested his forehead against her blonde hair, letting the ends of her hairs tickle his nose, and gratefully sighed. Thank goodness I didn't lose you, he breathed. Thank goodness... I don't know how I could have gone on without you in... His voice trailed off, and he just held her in arms that suddenly shook from what was often his worst nightmare. I was so scared, he said again, repeating himself as a way to stress his own heartache at the time.

Sam instinctively understood what he wasn't saying. I could only think of you, too, she said. How you would take it if the worst happened, and I died...

Jack's arms tightened, and this time he couldn't quite hold back his own tears that worked their way through his eyes. He was forced to let them manifest themselves as a tiny streaks of emotion. I'm so glad that you didn't. He hugged her just a tiny bit tighter.

Sam hugged him back. And I did everything that I could to help you get away from Ba'al that time you were captured.

You did enough, he told her. Like you always do. He kissed her forehead again, more firmly this time. It was up to me to take advantage of the situation you gave me. He sighed once more. I knew you would come through for me, though. I just had to be patient, and not lose my sanity while I was waiting.

I wanted to hug you the second you walked down the Stargate ramp, Sam divulged in a soft voice. But General Hammond was there, that girl was there, all those other people were...

Jack cut her off this time. You helped me get through that time with Ba'al more than you know. Thank you.

Part of that was just doing my job, Sam explained. Though I was doing it with perhaps more fervor than was absolutely necessary.

Jack stared at her then, helpless to not let his emotions show clearly as they ran across his face. He looked partly joyful, and partly terrified. The two parts chased each other in an agonized race across the planes of his features as he looked into her blue eyes. Sam, I... He began one more time. I... But he couldn't explain his feelings for her this time, either. So instead of trying to speak, useless as that attempt may have been, he leaned in closer to her, whispered, I love everything about you, especially the way you talk technology mumbo jumbo that I don't understand. And he kissed her with one of his hands splayed on her cold cheek, and the other on her shoulder under the blanket in order to keep her close.

Sam kissed him back with all the intensity that she had previously channeled into her former misery. Her own feelings surged under the power of his emotions for her, catapulting her heart into her throat. She clung to him, her kiss equally as passionate as his, as emotive, as glorious.

When it had ended only because they needed air in order to survive, she gasped in the cold wind as it blew across them on his deck, and leaned her head into his chest. I couldn't marry him because you're the only person that I could ever marry, she told him, the words bursting out of her as if her emotional floodgates that had been holding back her feelings for him for years had finally overflowed. Just you, and I tried to get past whatever it was I had for you, I really tried, but I was such an idiot to ever think that I could do anything but...

Jack was kissing her again, searing her soul with a passion that was so strong as to be almost scary, touching her feelings in places that she hadn't even been aware existed. She whimpered as he pulled her even closer than she had been to him before. He swallowed her sound just before threading fingers into hair, pulling her head closer, locking it into place, his hold keeping the other from inadvertently escaping. Neither of them planned to ever let the other go.

The minute that her lips left his, Sam illustrated her instant and unquestioning surrender by moving her caresses to his neck, down to the collarbone left free of his shirt, and she gently bit into the skin along his throat.

Jack sucked in a cold breath of air at her action, enjoying the shiver that tore up his spine at the feel of her teeth. Jesus, Carter, where did you learn to do that? he grated into her ear.

Reading romance novels when I was a teenager, she told him. Only those books never read like this felt so good to the characters in those books...

Romance novels, huh? he asked, forcing his voice through the haze that was quickly wrapping around him as her hands moved from his back to caress his skin under his shirt. He was going to suggest that they move their activity to his bedroom when one of her wandering hands happened to 'wander' right over his erection hidden by his trousers. Oh, God, Carter, he groaned. He didn't think he could move now for anything. You're going to kill me, or I'm going to explode, whichever happens first.

I'm going to make you explode, she told him with not a hint of remorse in her whisper. Not like the Goa'uld fireballs in the sky, but in the other way, like I've dreamed about doing for years... Her fingers passed once more over his erection, and he groaned again at her light touch.

Carter... Sam.., Jack breathed.

That was when it began to rain, lightly at first, quickly turning into a downpour that soaked through the blanket wrapped around them, and through their clothes to reach their skin.

Jack squinted against the water falling into his eyes, and looked up at the cloudy gray sky before locking his gaze with hers. This isn't exactly what I had in mind for this activity...

Sam couldn't help but laugh. I like you soggy as well as I like you dry.

It's a good thing.., Jack mumbled.

Then he pushed her off him, out of the clingy wet of the blanket, and steered her, laughing, into the house. The warmth hit them like a physical force the second they came in and shut the door leading out onto his deck. They dripped puddles onto his clean floor as they removed shoes, socks, and blanket, throwing them all into his dryer. He took a side trip into his bedroom to find sweat pants and a sweatshirt for her before finding some dry clothes for himself as well. All the time he was searching for clothes for them, he was thinking that he should just rip her wet clothes from her and enjoy whatever he found underneath them... But, he respected her too much to capitulate so easily to the emotions that he had held in check for so long, to give in without so much as fighting them for a moment longer.

Sam looked clearly disappointed as he handed her the dry clothes, and ushered her into his bathroom to change. Her expression stayed with him so consistently that, the minute he had changed clothes, he was waiting for her in his living room, on his couch/love seat, and he swept her into another heartstopping kiss the second after she emerged.

But that was all Jack did, much to Sam's ever frustrated sense of deportment. But again, Jack's respect for her was too strong to ignore completely. She was mostly glad about the amount he naturally respected her, as any woman would be overjoyed at such regard. But another part of her, the part that tingled and flipped at each of his touches, wanted him to be less of the gentleman than he was determined to be. She wanted to see his wild side, the side that allowed him to shoot at things, to enjoy big explosions, to love her so unconditionally. She half wanted to feel his hands everywhere on her skin, even the forbidden parts... especially the forbidden parts...

Jack.., she started to say.

But he would have none of her lead ins. Sam, he intoned instead. We need to talk about this.

I don't want to talk, she insisted. I want to feel all of you instead. Sam ran her hands enticingly over his erection again.

The move made Jack jump, in spite of his so-called control. Sam, he groaned, panted, whined, his voice sounding half despairing, and half entreating. Stop. No... You may think you want this sort of thing right now... Hell, I want this sort of thing right now... But we would only hate ourselves if we didn't talk about this first.

You go ahead and hate yourself, Sam told him, and kissed his chest again through the material of his dry t-shirt. I would rather make you explode... Then Sam leaned into him and captured his head with her hands so that she could kiss him in a searing display of burgeoning affection.

Jesus, when had she learned to kiss him so... sweetly? he wondered. God, she was hot!

Somehow, Jack resisted her touch. Sam...

Don't wanna talk... Her hands spread her fingers wide over the skin of his chest.

Usually, she was the one who wanted to spend time talking. This was truly ironic, he decided. Ironic, in a really aggravating way.

But, at the same time, Jack didn't want her to feel in any way sad about this encounter with him, either. He wanted her to understand... But she was rubbing her fingers over his stomach and chest, now. He closed his eyes to shut out any sight of her mesmerizing features. He was so close to the edge as it was... Geez, Carter, your fingers are so warm, considering we just got so wet...

Tingly? she asked, her voice hoarse with seduction.

Oh, God, yes, he answered, his eyes screwed firmly shut, his head back, reveling in the feel of her hands anywhere they wanted to be. The idea of talking, and his sense of natural deportment, was quickly diminishing as the seconds ticked by. He couldn't resist her for much longer, and he knew it.

Sam pushed into his front, and fire shot up his spine to encompass his entire body in the tingles that had started in his chest. His groin was all but throbbing, now. Still want to say something to me?

God, I love you, he immediately whispered as if his life depended on uttering those four words.

I love you more, she told him.

The feel of her lips on the skin of his neck was so incredibly warm! He was almost ready to surrender to her... He could feel it... He was spinning from all the sensations she was unleashing in him with just the pass of her hand over his stomach.

Then, Sam's fingers lazily stroked his erection once more.

In a blaze of passion, Jack was lost, flung into his raging emotions for her that tore against his restraint. He returned her next kiss with as much fervor for her as she was displaying for him. This was no longer a case of two colleagues sharing stray threads of affection for each other. This was raw, and hot, and demanding, and wet, and stark... This was utterly glorious in the most primitive possible way.

Before either of them knew it, they had slipped down on his couch. Jack leaned into Sam. Sam drew Jack tightly into her desperately growing embrace. She pushed her hips up against his in an unmistakable manner, one that could mean only one thing. And his groin reacted to her in the only way it could... It throbbed for her... Searched for her... Yearned for any connection to her insides... He wanted her, so badly... Oh, God, this is not good...

Yes, it is... Sam was panting, now, straining against him, yanking his t-shirt over his head, pulling off her own. Her underwear was in the dryer, so he could feel all of her, and it was an intense experience as he touched, and licked, and kissed, and sucked at all of her exposed skin...

Sam arched her back, levering her chest into him. I want to feel all of you, she whispered against the skin of his chest. I want to feel your softness, your warmth, your heat... I want you...

Had Sam Carter just whispered that she wanted... him? Yehaw!

The Universe would have to explode now to make Jack stop. His touch burned across her stomach, scorched the skin under the waistband of the sweat pants he had loaned to her, seared through every one of her defenses, and whipped her insides to a wild, incoherent frenzy. Oh, God, now.., she ordered, her voice a worshiping tone in spite of the feelings that were buffeting her from every side. She was straining against him again, pulling him to her, pushing his and her clothing aside, guiding him into her, heat washing through both of them the second his skin came in contact with hers.

Jack pushed into her. Sweeeet! was the only coherent thought that he could force his mind to form when he felt her tightness surrounding his very core of being. It was a few seconds before he realized that tightness belonged to him, was his feelings of desire, surging through him, churning, gripping, demanding... Jack desperately claimed her mouth with his own, trying his best to keep such strong feelings at bay, but they threatened to tear into him... And then she moved, and fire exploded through his heart, stampeding to his veins, coursing, burning...

He muttered something completely incoherent into her ear as the tatters of his emotions ripped through him to freeze him in eternity for just an instant in time as emotion soaked into his brain, and his fingers, and his legs... His heart was not his any longer. Like she had for the last eight years, she held it as tenderly, and as securely as she ever had.

Jack grunted into her skin, breathing hot puffs of air into the valley between her perfect breasts. Sam threw her head back into his couch, and issued one primal growl. Then she threw herself into him, and wrapped her legs more firmly around him, anchoring herself onto him as if she would never let him go. She gasped for breath, once, twice, and shivered under him in a burst of her own emotional high. Muscles they didn't normally have reason to use tightened, and convulsed, and stroked naked flesh that was hyper aware of everything they were feeling until satisfaction practically dripped from their languid muscles. Sam sighed, content, and Jack sighed, content as well, and content that Sam was content...

You are so perfect, she whispered with a grin.

My knees want to argue with you, he told her, then ruefully added, Especially after... He was going to say 'loving her,' but changed his mind at the last minute. After being with you on this couch. He shook his head at her. I'm not as flexible as I was a year ago.

Sam sent a mock grimace at him. It's amazing what flying a desk for a year does to your body.

I didn't hear you complaining too much a few minutes ago, he was quick to point out.

Sam couldn't help but grin appreciatively at him. I was soooo not complaining, but if you would rather move to the bedroom...

It'll be more comfortable there...

We'll have more room...

For cuddling, and...

I have something more energetic in mind than cuddling. She smiled wickedly at him.

Good, he instantly replied. I may be old, but I'm not dead yet.

I won't let you die.., she whispered to him, her face a picture of seriousness.

Jack gazed down at her, straight into the blue eyes that he had spent the last eight years avoiding. We've already established that I will do anything to keep you from dying...

Sam smiled. I know.

And that was all they said on the subject. They rose, and Jack led her to his bedroom, still gloriously naked. He pulled her close to him the second they were both under the covers. I always wanted to get you in my bed, he half joked with her.

Sam teased him back. Not as badly as I wanted to get you in my bed. You'd think that a genius could figure a way to accomplish that...

Jack interrupted her to softly and affectionately say, You may be a genius... are a genius... but you're a bit dense when it comes to your own personal life. His statement would have sounded like a citicism if he hadn't imbued it with as much genuine affection as he was able to.

Sam stared at him in only partial hurt. I'm letting you say that, ya know. If it were anybody else but you saying it, I would probably throw them to Timbuktu for telling me...

I know, Jack softly said, and added a kiss to the end of her nose to soften his words. And I say it with the most affection that I can show... He took a deep breath, considering her. It's almost as if you're afraid to let someone get too close to you, love you. He regarded her again, a thoughtful look on his face. I hope you let me love you.

Sam snorted in an unladylike manner. Like I have any choice in the matter!

Jack smiled, too. If you pretended not to love me all the time, I would just hunt you down, and throw myself at you in a most embarrassing way, he agreed with her. And as I don't want to embarrass myself, I'll have to ask you to save me, and let me love you like I've always wanted to.

Sam intently stared at him. That will be hard, she cautioned, warning him of what was to come.

But when had Jack ever backed down from a challenge? Nothing worth having is ever easy, he told her. When they were both silent for several minutes. he grinned at her, then declared, And this is so worth it!

Sam smiled, and nuzzled her nose affectionately into his chest. Suddenly, she lifted her head so that she could stare straight at him. Her grin firmly affixed to her face, she commented, We forgot to eat our ice cream!

Jack grinned back at her. I don't need any ice cream... I've got you.

The End


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