Disclaimer: Don't own anything, least of all these characters, so please don't sue me if I 'borrow' them for awhile to take them for a little spin.
Jack pounded frantically on the front door of Carter's
house, not really caring who heard him at this point.
You in there? Then please open up... Or I'll have Teal'c drive
out here to meet the police I intend to call, and they'll break
down your door on suspicion of foul... The lock clicked
suddenly, and the door opened.
... play, Jack lamely
finished as a very teary, red cheeked Sam Carter greeted him on
her front step.
She didn't look particularly surprised to see him, and he
couldn't decide if that was a good thing, or a bad thing. In the
meantime, she tearfully sobbed,
Carter.., Jack said in return. He studied her red
cheeks surrounded by a face that was far too pale, marred by
stray tear streaks among the too-white skin.
matter? You look like... Well, I bet you can imagine how you
look... Not good, he announced right away.
Sam gave him an incredulous stare, as if he were a raving
lunatic not to have expected that she greet him looking a mess.
Well, you're leaving, she practically shouted at
him, as if her reason for being such a mess had to be obvious,
mindless of the noise she was creating. Which was an oddity for
her, he slowly realized, as she had always been careful in the
past of what she had said around him, and how she said it. She
rhetorically went on,
Just how did you expect me to
Flummoxed by her angry tone, and unexpected question, he
stuttered his reply,
But she cut into his answer, finishing for him.
I'm supposed to look like I should be thrilled? Or maybe like I
just don't care? she scornfully continued.
I don't think
I can do the 'I don't give a damn' expression anymore, but I can
try if you want me to do. She sobbed between every word.
Jack gaped at her.
What I want? he
incredulously asked of her.
This isn't about me, or what I
Sam thrust a yellow envelope under his nose, then.
a transfer, too, to Nevada. She stared down at him from her
top step, looking highly annoyed even as more tears streamed down
her face. She took a deep breath to attempt to control her
choking sobs. It didn't work.
He tried to stay positive under the pressure of her obvious
distress about this news.
Nevada, he repeated.
R&D, she responded.
Research... As if I don't do
enough of that already... And I'll have to move! she
accusatorily yelled, as if that part of the equation should be as
evident to him as her reasons behind her sudden, foul mood.
Of course she'll have to move, he thought. Moving
around all the time was a part of military life. She ought to
know that, if anybody should; she had moved tons of times while
growing up. She had even told stories about some of those moves
so many times that he had them memorized. In fact, living in
Colorado Springs while working at the SGC was probably the
longest she had ever lived in one place.
What's wrong with
moving? he asked.
I'll have to move, too.
Sam screwed up her face until her blue eyes squeezed
together. But even in her apparent sorrow, she still looked
beautiful to him.
I know you'll have to move! she wailed.
And that's part of the problem! she exclaimed.
that is..! Without warning, she grabbed onto the sleeve of
his jacket, and hauled him roughly through the door, slamming it
shut behind him.
How much more awful can it get!? she
yelled after closing them into the relative privacy of her
But if she kept yelling like that, she wasn't going to keep anything private for long. He was on the verge of telling her to lower her voice lest she be overheard, something he would never have expected to have to do with her when she took an unexpected, belligerent step forward.
Jack took a step back to distance himself from her
hysterically crying form. (Carter, crying? When had that
started?) He blinked once.
Okay, he calmly, wanly said,
and raised his hands in a conciliatory gesture.
this whole thing all over again, and maybe one... or maybe
both... of us will make more sense. He blinked again, then
Carter, you're not answering your cell phone, your
email, or your regular phone. We were getting worried about you,
That was as far as he got when her tirade started again.
She quickly disregarded his desire too begin their communication
over for a second time.
'They' just plan to wipe their hands
over everything I have here, and all you can say is that the gang
is worried about me?
Jack was fast losing his patience with this exchange, even
if it was a shared conversation with Carter.
What do you mean
Again came the highly annoyed look.
This house! My lab!
My friends! You! Everything! It's all gonna be gone! Wiped
Jack gaped at her.
But this is what living as an officer
in the military is like. You know that, he protested.
She broke into a fresh stream of tears.
And that is just
shit, if you pardon my French, Sir!
Jack gazed at her in total bewilderment, then.
what's gotten into you today? he asked.
Do you have some
funky alien virus that you forgot to tell me about?
Once more came the snorting sobs.
You..! she huffed.
You..! she tried again. Finally, she quit trying to tell
him what was on her mind, and instead wailed.
I have to blow
Okay, he said, trying to help her contain her
emotions so that she could settle down enough to tell him what
her problem was.
A box of tissues is what you need, then,
he told her, as if she wouldn't already be aware of that.
I know! she sobbed.
There's one on the coffee
table! she suddenly informed, then burst into another string
I keep them there in case Daniel ever needs
She swiped at her tears with her hands, only spreading the moisture around her cheeks with her useless gesture. After her action, she grabbed a tissue from the box sitting on one corner of her coffee table. She blew her nose with a terrible sounding sob that tore at his heart, but he covered the emotion as best he could in order to go on with the conversation.
Carter, Jack began in a sympathetic tone of voice,
though in truth barely knowing what to say. Crying women were
typically out of his league of knowledge, he admitted to himself.
He always seemed to say the wrong thing at times like this. And
it was immediately apparent that this particular time wasn't
going to be any better than most.
You certainly didn't seem
this upset when you transferred to the SGC from the Pentagon
eight years ago, he pointed out.
Her glare gave him the quick impression that he had, indeed,
said the wrong thing this time, too. She put her hands on her
hips and regarded him with a disbelieving gaze.
me, but it just so happens that I wasn't in love with my CO from
the Pentagon, as you well know, and...!
Jack's heat stopped beating for an awful second. He could
only interrupt her with raised brows. In a voice so hoarse, it
cracked, he incredulously echoed her,
In love with your
CO? The suddenness of her confession, even when that
confession had been a known commodity, terrified him to the
extreme. Because he was so frightened, his fear manifested
itself as anger.
Well, excuse me for reminding you that until
two weeks ago, you were an engaged woman!
That's just details, and you know it! she hollered
It was a detail that was pretty damned
important if you ask me!
It was important that you didn't do anything to stop
it! she noted.
How the hell was I supposed to know that I was supposed
to stop it? Jack inquired.
You seemed perfectly happy
Of course I wasn't happy! Sam informed back.
all you could tell me the day I asked for your advice was that at
the time, if things had been different, you wouldn't even be
here, so it wouldn't have mattered what you did, or what I
Well, I shouldn't have been here! Jack
informed her, still yelling.
I could hardly help what my
original orders had been on that first Abydos mission!
This information made Sam's anger pause for a moment.
Looking totally confused now, she asked,
What were your
original orders, then?
Jack scowled at her.
Like you don't know... Everybody
in the entire SGC knows about that! Even General Hammond
Sam's eyes were incredibly, impossibly wide. She shook her
I have no idea wh...
Jack did nothing to soften the blow of his information for
her, as her last words hadn't had time to register in his
conscious mind before he was telling her,
A suicide mission,
Carter! It was only six weeks after Charlie had died, and I
wanted to die right along with him!
What? Sam barked.
You wanted to what? Commit
Suicide! he yelled in her face, his expression lost
in his own ferocious frown.
Sam's sign of unease turned into one of absolute horror.
Oh, my God! she exclaimed. She gave a stumbling start
into the front of her sofa.
They really did that to you?
she asked in a quiet, dismayed voice.
No one did anything to me that I didn't do to myself!
Jack bitingly told her.
If it hadn't been for
It was Sam's turn to take an involuntary step back.
Daniel? she repeated.
What did he have to do with
He saved my ass when I couldn't save it myself! he
told her in no uncertain terms.
If it weren't for him, I
would have been dead before you and I even met!
Carter's white face turned even whiter, and she didn't have
time to comment on his seemingly ridiculous statement before her
throat closed so that she could barely say anything at all. She
looked at him with a dismayed cast to her face, indicating that
she felt more lost than any expression he had ever seen coming
No.., she muttered.
Jack belatedly thought that he shouldn't have told her this
information, at least, not so bluntly. It was clear that she
hadn't known, even if he had thought that she had known
the barest sketches of that first Abydos mission, if not the
details. Her reaction to his words were infinitely awful to
watch. He thought for one scary moment that she was either going
to get sick right there in her living room, or that she was going
Carter! he called in alarm, and grabbed onto
His voice seemed to be coming from very far away to Sam, it was so fuzzy. She felt her head pound, her ears ring, her eyes sting, and the blood drain to her feet. Suicide? she thought in shock. Her knees sank out from under her, no longer supporting her weight.
Jack guided her down sideways to her couch with the hand he
still had clutching her arm.
God, Sam, I'm sorry, he
said, his voice now as contrite as it had been angry barely a
Sam... Sam! he repeated again. His
hands were in her hair, on her cheeks, rubbing, caressing, doing
anything to encourage some color to come back into her face.
Sam...! Oh, God, say something!
Slowly, the room came into focus again for Sam. It was at
that moment that a glass of cooling, revitalizing water was
shoved into her hand, and up to her lips.
She knew how to follow an order, even in the worst of circumstances. She gulped at the liquid in the glass.
Slowly.., Jack cautioned.
So help me, Carter, if
you spit that water back in my face...
She was breathing in great gasps of air.
Sorry... Sir, she said, her teeth now chattering
You have nothing to be sorry for, Jack told her. He
wiped his hands across her cheeks again in order to remove the
evidence of her previous tears.
Come on, tell me, what's
eating at you?
Sam looked horrified now at her recent behavior.
apologies... I should never have yelled...
Yell at me all you want, Jack said then.
good for me to hear it every now and then... Just don't faint on
me... Don't get sick, or anything... God, I would feel so
Then it happened, just like that. What Carter had said
earlier about being in love with her CO finally sank completely
into Jack's brain with a snap. His eyes widened at the inner
Holy... crap, he whispered as he just stared
Did... Did you... Um... Did you mean
What was he talking about?
What? she asked then.
Did I mean what?
Jack seemed utterly shocked that she didn't inherently know
what he was referring to.
You said... He exhaled a burst
You said that you...
Sam cut him off as realization finally struck her.
I love you? she sadly ascertained. She closed her eyes, now
showing the regret she felt. But it was regret for how little
had ever come of her feelings, not that she had them in the first
It's hardly a secret, she told him.
have left what we said during those damned Za'tarc tests 'in the
room,' but the entire SGC knows about every word we said to each
other. I don't know who we thought we were fooling with all that
effort we made over the years.
Jack stared at her, still too shocked to do more than goggle
You... You... He couldn't put his concerns into
a complete sentence now if his life depended on it. He forced
himself to swallow, and try again.
That makes you sad,
doesn't it? he was finally able to ask.
Sam's eyes filled with tears... What was it with her and
all these tears? Jack wondered. What had she been doing?...
Saving them all up to throw at him now?
No... Not sad..,
she answered, laying her fingers over his on her cheeks.
least, not about that. At last, she admitted,
sad that nothing can ever come of it... Sad that we wasted so
Jack's eyes narrowed.
Who says that nothing can come of
it? That we wasted so much time?
Sam hesitated for a moment.
Well, isn't that what we
always thought? That the whole thing was... useless? That we
should just forget about everything?
Jack scrunched up his face.
I thought that's what
you wanted. That's why I asked if we were both all right
with 'leaving it in the room,' which you said...
Sam stared for a minute.
No... I thought that's what
you wanted, she told him in stunned silence.
leave it 'in the room.'
Jack stared at her.
Sam stared at him.
At last he whispered to her,
No... I never... He
stopped, and drew a taut breath. Finally, he whispered in a
We were so quick to agree with each other at the
time... We never really talked about it, though, did we?
Sam made a low, indecipherable noise in the back of her throat, kind of like a moan of surprised horror. She looked at him, her eyes wider yet, her white face schooled to a frozen gesture of shock as their shared idea of 'mistaken assumption' settled into her mind.
Sam stared some more.
Jack stared some more.
Oh, God, Carter whispered a groan at last.
This... That... isn't what I wanted at all.
Me neither, Jack softly informed her.
I think I'm gonna be sick, Sam deadpanned back to
After I am first, Jack told her. And he did indeed
look as if he would hurl at the barest provocation.
Jack still gazed at Sam.
Sam still gazed at Jack. It was like she couldn't look away now that she fully comprehended what she was looking at.
Do you still..? she started to ask.
Do you still..? he started to ask at the exact same
time she began her question.
Of course I.., they both said at the same time.
And that engagement? he asked of her.
I wanted you to stop it right from the start, she
told him, still sounding breathy and sucker punched.
I thought you were happy with him...
without me... And I want you to be happy... I always
He was stopped when Sam literally threw herself into his
arms. She squeezed at him, and clutched, and hugged until even
Jack couldn't breath.
But he wasn't you! she wailed in a
I feel so bad to have hurt so many people,
but... She hid her face in the front of his shirt.
Jack squeezed, clutched, and hugged her back.
here now, he said, like his comment was a promise.
I'm not leaving.
Yes, you are! she choked.
reassigned! she continued.
That's how all this started...
remember? she tearfully told him... She was going to start
crying again in another second.
Jack stopped her tears before they even really got started.
No, I'm not leaving, he firmly said.
We may be
apart... Hey, we're good at that being apart stuff, he told
But we won't ever be any further away than a plane
You'll come visit? she asked, hating the beseeching
tone to her voice, but begging him anyway.
Youbetcha, he said. He kissed her, then, on her
cheek, the top of her head, her fingertips... It was as if he
had been kissing her for years. He knew right where to make her
shiver the most.
Oh, geez, she thought, he's kissing me right between my fingers... How does he know that I love that? She pulled him even closer than before.
Jack went on, whispering in her ear,
And we'll snuggle
together on your porch swing once it gets dark...
She pressed her hand to caress his chest right where his
heart should be.
I don't have a porch swing, she
whispered to him as she touched.
Jack was about to answer when a knock at her door answered
for him. He smiled.
You do now, he told her, and
quickly, and searingly, kissed her on her lips.
As Jack crossed to the front door to let his coconspirators into the house, Sam sat on the sofa, still too shocked to move. Stunned, she heard Jack's voice as he ushered Daniel and Teal'c inside.
Thanks for picking up that swing for me, guys! he
I owe you one.
Teal'c looked around the room, his gaze lighting on Sam's
red face. He instantly said in his rumbly voice,
been making Colonel Carter cry, O'Neill... No one makes Colonel
We had a fight, too, but that's beside the point,
Jack conversationally told Teal'c and Daniel.
Uh.., Daniel said. He paused, noticed the red
streaks trailing down Sam's cheeks, the ashen cast to Jack's
frowning face, and asked,
You guys all right?
Couldn't be better, Sam told him, still sounding
faint and stunned, but quickly recovering to be more like her
What did you do..? Daniel asked them.
threaten to kill each other?
Nope, Sam said, much more calm now than she had been
We plan to take it out of the room, she told
them with no uncertainty in her voice.
At first, Daniel seemed too surprised to say anything.
Then, he grinned a huge grin, and Teal'c almost smiled as well.
Daniel whispered to himself,
Thank God. With a sudden and
absentminded slap onto Teal'c's heavily-muscled stomach, he
Teal'c, let's leave these guys alone for a minute
or two, and go out to hang the swing... How 'bout it?
Teal'c responded with his usual tact.
'Sounds like a
plan,' as O'Neill is fond of saying. He turned and followed
his friend back out the front door as if he couldn't leave the
room fast enough. It was a well known fact at the SGC that
Teal'c liked the presence of emotions about as much as Jack
Where were we? Jack asked Sam the instant the door
shut behind them both.
Her placidity equaling her sudden happiness, Sam swiped
again at her tears to clear them off her cheeks, and said,
were about to show me how stupid we've been all these years, and
what I've been missing.
Oh, yeah, he said, and kissed her again
in a blaze of emotion.
That's the part that I love, and that
can go on forever, he said against her lips.
Serious, Sam responded,
It will. She kissed him
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