The alarm sounded throughout the base, signalling the unscheduled offworld activation. General Hammond hastily left his office and headed for the control room.
“What have we got Sergeant?” he asked as he came down the stairs.
“The iris is secure, Sir. Awaiting an IDC... It’s coming through now, Sir,” Sergeant Davis explained as the General stopped behind him. “It’s SG1.”
“Open the iris,” General Hammond instructed as he made his way down to the ’gate room.
The security forces were lined up in front of the ’gate and they waited, weapons at the ready.
After a couple of seconds, Teal’c and Daniel stepped through the ’gate, closely followed by Colonel O’Neill and Major Carter. The wormhole deactivated behind them as they made their way down the ramp.
“SG1, you’re ahead of schedule,” Hammond commented as the team stopped in front of him.
“Yes, Sir,” O’Neill responded. “We had a little disagreement with the locals.”
Hammond’s eyes widened. “What kind of disagreement, Colonel?”
O’Neill glanced at Carter before replying. “They took a liking to Major Carter, Sir... Wanted to keep her for themselves.”
Carter rolled her eyes a little, then addressed General Hammond herself. “It wasn’t that bad, Sir. They just said they wanted to do everything they could to make me happy.”
“Yeah!” O’Neill snorted. “After they kidnapped her, tied her to a chair and probed her with all sorts of machines.”
Hammond turned to Carter. “Are you okay, Major?”
“I’m fine, Sir. They didn’t touch me. They just scanned me... a lot,” Carter assured him with a smile.
Hammond nodded. “Have Doctor Frasier make sure, anyway... We’ll have a full debriefing at oh-seven hundred hours. Get some rest.”
Hammond left and SG1 filed into the corridor. Daniel was talking animatedly to a very silent Teal’c about the architecture on the planet, whilst O’Neill and Carter walked behind them.
After a minute or so of looking around and pretending to be listening to Daniel, O’Neill turned to Carter. He studied her profile for a moment before opening his mouth to speak. But he changed his mind and remained quiet, turning to face forward again.
“Really,” Sam startled him when she spoke. “I’m fine, Sir. They didn’t touch me.”
He smiled at her ability to read his thoughts and nodded.
Her medical examination went smoothly, as Sam had known it would, and now she was heading to her quarters. It had been a long and unusual two days and she decided it would be better for her if she slept on the base. That way she could have more sleep, and still make it to the debriefing on time.
Closing the door behind her, she immediately headed for the bed and collapsed onto it, instantly feeling some of the fatigue draining from her. She reached down to her feet, managing to unfasten and remove one boot and sock before tiredness overcame her and she sank into the bed, claimed by sleep.
A knock at the door woke her. She considered ignoring it, but remembered she was on the base, and therefore it was probably important.
Throwing her legs over the edge of the bed, she stood up. She stumbled due to only having one boot on, but walked through it, and opened the door.
There was no-one outside.
She frowned and then peeped her head round the door frame to see if whoever had knocked remained in the corridor. What she saw was the back of Jack O’Neill. Her frown intensified, and she stepped her booted foot out of the room.
“Colonel?” she asked.
He stopped and turned around.
“Carter... Did I wake you?” he said, semi-cheerfully.
Carter shook her head, despite knowing that her dishevelled appearance would give away the fact that he had.
Jack nodded, but didn’t move or make any attempt to say anything else. He simply stood looking at his feet, hands in his pockets.
“Sir?” Sam asked.
“Yeah?” He looked up, shuffling his feet uncomfortably.
“Did you want something?”
Jack shook his head. “Nope... Nothing.”
Sam smiled. “So you woke me up for nothing?... Sir.”
He stopped fidgeting and his face was suddenly serious. “I did wake you. I’m sorry.”
“I’ll make you a deal. You tell me why you’re here, and I’ll forgive you for waking me up,” she offered pleasantly.
Jack gave a small smile. “And if I don’t tell you?”
Sam raised an eyebrow at his challenge. “You don’t wanna go down that road.”
“Is that a threat, Major?”
“Yes, Sir,” she smirked.
Jack’s eyes widened. “What you gonna do? Kick me with your one boot?” he grinned, looking down at her feet.
Sam’s eyes followed his and she wiggled the toes on her bare foot, then she looked up at him, defiantly. “I was tired,” she shrugged. “In fact...” she continued. “Permission to speak freely, Sir?”
“You mean you haven’t been so far?” Jack smiled.
“I’ll take that as permission... I still am tired. And, seeing as you are the reason I’m awake, the least you can do is get in there and justify the fact that I’m not asleep!” Her voice wasn’t raised, but her tone was authoritative.
Jack walked towards her. “Jeez, you’re moody when you’re tired,” he commented as he walked past her into her room.
She smiled and followed him in.
He sat down at the table as Sam shifted some papers off the other chair so she could also sit down. Turning around she noticed that he had his feet up on the table. And he only had one boot on.
At her raised eyebrow he shrugged. “When in Rome...”
She laughed a little and sat down. “So what brings you to Rome?”
“I was in the neighbourhood.”
Her look told him that wasn’t going to suffice.
He lowered his legs, sat up straight and looked her in the eye. “I wanted to make sure you’re okay...”
She frowned and was about to respond, but he didn’t give her chance to.
“... I noticed your car was still here, and thought it was unusual for you not to leave the base. Naturally, I checked your lab first,” he smiled. “When you weren’t in there, I thought something must really be wrong.”
Sam smiled. “Sir, I told you I’m fine.”
He nodded. “I know, but – ” He stopped himself and looked away. “Well, as long as you’re okay...” He stood up. “I should let you sleep.”
Sam watched him, confused, and concerned, by his behaviour.
He didn’t stop.
“Sir?” She repeated, standing up.
He still didn’t stop. He reached for the door handle.
He stopped at the use of his name, but he didn’t turn round.
“But what?” she asked.
He turned round slowly. “Did I say ‘but’?”
“Sir, are you okay?”
There was a long silence as he simply stared at her. In his eyes she could see that he was fighting with himself. He looked like he wanted to speak, but couldn’t allow himself to.
“Just say whatever it is, Sir,” she said, further concerned by the turmoil she could see in his eyes.
“Sir?” he snorted. “What happened to Jack?”
Taken aback, Sam frowned at his question. “I thought... It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to – ”
“If we’re sticking to what’s appropriate, then I can’t ‘say whatever it is’, so I’ll go.”
She stepped towards him. “Jack...”
“You need to rest.”
“Like I’m gonna get any sleep now... Jack, what’s going on?”
When he allowed his eyes to meet hers, she recognised what she saw there. She had seen it before, years ago on Apophis’s ship. She felt her heart rate increase, and her stomach flipped.
“I’m glad you’re okay,” he said solemnly.
Sam nodded to show that she understood how deeply he meant that.
Suddenly his eyes dropped their defences and everything was bared.
“God, Sam, if anything had happened to you.” He stepped forward and took her hands in his.
By reflex she stepped backwards, shocked by this display of feelings they had long since agreed to keep hidden.
He moved away from her, closing his eyes and rubbing a hand over them. “I’m sorry.”
Instantly regretting her actions, Sam moved back to him and lowered his hand.
“I was just surprised... What... Why?”
“When you were on the Prometheus, I swore when you came back I wouldn’t let anything keep me from telling you how I feel... But I did... Then when I turned around yesterday and you weren’t there – I was so scared I’d lost you. And I can’t do this anymore. I quit. If you still feel the same, I want to be with you.”
Her heart was beating so loudly that she considered that maybe she hadn’t heard him correctly.
“Jack?” she stuttered, through the wave of emotions flowing through her mind.
“I love you, Sam.” He spoke softly, cupping her face gently in his hands.
Her breath caught in her throat and she couldn’t speak. Her mind was reeling, trying to make sense of what was happening.
“Sam?...” He stroked his thumb along her cheekbone.
“I can’t let you – ”
“I’ll resign anyway... I’ve done this for long enough. It’s time I took a chance. You’re not asking me to resign. It’s my choice. You’re much more important to me than the few years I have left in the Air Force.... You won’t be ruining my career... ”
Sam managed to laugh a little. “You know me too well.”
He stepped even closer. “Yes I do. Too well to be your commanding officer... I would like to be so much more, Sam.”
And he kissed her.
It took her a second or two to process it – those were his lips on hers, his arms wrapped around her, his body against hers. Catching up with reality, she returned the kiss before he pulled away.
Feeling her relax into his embrace, he deepened the kiss, holding her tight to him, letting out all the feelings he had kept bottled up for the last seven years.
She had one arm around him, keeping him pressed against her, whilst her other hand played in his hair, stroking the back of his neck. As she paused for air he took advantage and moved his kisses along her jaw and down her neck. Revelling in the sensation, her head fell back, allowing him full access.
His hands found the bottom of her t-shirt as he backed her, slowly, towards the bed, sending a shiver up her spine as his fingers connected with her skin.
Her lips sought his again longing to dissipate the tension that had built up through the years.
His hands were moving gradually up her back, when the back of her legs hit the edge of the bed. They both stopped, their eyes meeting intensely as they breathed heavily for air. Silently he asked if she was sure about this. Ignoring the many voices in her head that were shouting that it was wrong, she leaned forward and pressed her lips softly against his. Then she pulled back and smiled invitingly. A low rumble erupted from his throat, at which she giggled, as he took her in his arms and lowered them onto the bed.
“No giggling,” he reminded her before he captured her lips.
This just made her laugh more. But the more she giggled, the harder he kissed her until, eventually, her desire replaced her laughter and she could only concentrate on kissing him back.
Her hands found his back and lifted his t-shirt over his head. She trailed her fingernails down his bare chest, then, as his hand moved under her t-shirt...
Sam woke up.
She was breathing deeply, her entire body aroused. Eyes wide, she looked around the room. Empty. She closed her eyes and tried to calm herself down, taking slow deep regular breaths. Then her eyes shot open and she quickly looked at her watch.
“Damn!” she exclaimed jumping off the bed. It was six forty-five.
Sam reached the briefing room just before seven o’clock. She stopped running at the door, made sure her uniform was straight, fiddled a little with her hair and stepped inside.
Daniel and Teal’c were seated inside. Daniel seemed to still be talking to Teal’c about the same subject as yesterday. Briefly Sam wondered if the two men had even parted.
She hadn’t realised she had stopped just in front of the door until she felt a presence behind her. She could tell who it was. Immediately her body tensed.
“Carter?” His voice was quiet, and right beside her ear. She felt his breath dance across her cheek and prayed that she wasn’t as flushed as she felt. “Are we going in? Or we just gonna watch?” he continued.
Despite the awkwardness her dream was causing, she had to smile. “Sorry, Sir,” she responded and walked into the room.
Daniel stopped talking as the military half of their team entered. Teal’c nodded to the two of them and Daniel turned to them and smiled.
“Are you okay?” he asked Sam as she sat down opposite him.
“I’m fine,” she said, her body tingling as O’Neill’s presence brought up very vivid images from her dream.
“You look tired,” Daniel continued.
“I’m fine,” she insisted.
“Rough night?” he asked.
“No,” she said, trying a smile to cover up the tension this conversation was causing her. “Not at all.”
“Ah!” Daniel grinned. “A sweet dream? Didn’t want to wake up, eh?” Daniel laughed but noticed that Sam didn’t seem to take it as a joke. Her cheeks burned red, and her eyes glanced uneasily at Jack before hastily looking elsewhere.
“Oh, yeah?” Jack smirked beside her. “Who were you dreaming about, Carter?”
Sam desperately tried not to blush any deeper. “It was nothing, Sir... I don’t even remember it,” she lied as she felt his hands on her back, his lips moving against hers. She closed her eyes momentarily to try to disperse the images. Opening them she found Daniel looking at her questioningly. Luckily General Hammond walked into the room at that moment, giving Sam a viable reason to look away.
General Hammond dismissed SG1 until their next mission briefing at seven o’clock the following morning, and Sam hurriedly gathered her things, said her goodbyes and left the room.
Her mind and body were still spinning. With Jack sitting beside her for the last few hours, the images of her dream were persistent, and all her feelings for him stirred just below the surface. She couldn’t wait to get home – away from him, away from reminders of him.
Daniel. He ran up to her and fell into step beside her.
“What’s up, Daniel?” she asked as pleasantly as she could, considering he was interrupting her escape.
“Are you okay?” he asked, having to practically run to keep up with her hurried pace.
“You’ve asked me that already.”
“You left in a hurry.”
“Bathroom, Daniel... That okay with you?”
Daniel frowned. “Did... something happen with you and ... Jack?”
He ended up ahead of her when she suddenly stopped walking.
“No!” she exclaimed, rather quickly.
He turned round and walked back to her. “You just seemed uncomfortable around him this morning.”
She shrugged. “I didn’t notice.”
Daniel’s eyes narrowed as he studied her. “Well, I did... What’s going on, Sam?”
“Nothing’s going on Daniel... I just didn’t sleep very well, that’s all.” She accompanied her words with a reassuring smile, hoping that might satisfy his curiosity.
“You said you didn’t have a rough night,” Daniel commented.
“I just didn’t want everyone fussing... The fact that I couldn’t sleep is hardly worth all the attention it would get.”
“We’re just concerned, Sam... Were you having nightmares? Flashbacks to what happened on the planet?”
“As I keep telling people, they didn’t do anything to me. There’s nothing for me to have nightmares about. Occasionally people just can’t sleep, Daniel... Now, is it okay if I go to the bathroom?” She smiled so he wouldn’t think she was being uncharacteristically bad-tempered.
Daniel nodded. “Sure... Sorry... I just wanted to check you were okay.”
She smiled again. “And I appreciate that.” She smiled her thanks to him and then walked away down the corridor.
Daniel checked that the corridor was empty, then called after her. “’Cause if I’d had a dream about him, I wouldn’t be okay!”
Sam stopped. Daniel grinned. She shook her head slowly. He laughed.
They went their separate ways, smiling to themselves.