Seeking Comfort

By Diane


EMAIL: dianekateri@beneath-the-surface.net

RATING: Suitable for all

SEASON: Seven

SPOILERS: The Lost City Pt. 1, small reference to Fragile Balance

CLASSIFICATIONS: S/J, a little angst, missing scene.

SUMMARY: Jack did say she should have phoned.

ARCHIVE: SJD, Heliopolis, anyone else please ask.

DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 is a registered trademark of MGM, Gekko and Double Secret Productions. No copyright infringement intended.

FEEDBACK: Constructive criticism welcome.

**********

Lying on her back, staring into the dark, Sam desperately tried to clear her mind. She wanted to forget everything that had happened over the past few days, to sleep for just a few hours and leave behind the helpless feeling that had settled deep within her. The feeling she'd had ever since the Colonel had stopped Daniel from interfacing with the repository of knowledge.

She'd seen the look in his eyes as he'd held Daniel back, had known without a doubt what he'd intended to do. And she knew now, as she did then, that there was absolutely nothing she could have done to stop him.

Every time she closed her eyes she replayed the scene over and over again. Saw and felt everything as she had experienced it then. From watching helplessly as he placed his hands on either side of the repository, watching as it reached out and held his head in place as it downloaded the information they so urgently needed into his brain. She felt now, as she did then, the knot that had appeared in her stomach at the first sound of gliders, felt it tighten as she saw him fall to the ground, knowing what he had done would eventually kill him.

She tried again to block the images, and the pain, but it wasn't working.

Turning on her side her gaze landed on the luminous digits of her clock. She shut her eyes, blocking out the time, not wanting to be reminded that every minute that ticked by was a minute closer to an outcome that she had absolutely no idea how to prevent.

She'd had so little sleep the night before. Between tossing and turning and then pacing her house, she'd foolishly thought she'd have little trouble getting to sleep tonight. But if she were honest with herself, Sam thought, a severe case of insomnia when the Colonel was in trouble shouldn't come as a surprise to her.

Giving in, she opened her eyes again, this time making sure she avoided the view of her clock. Instead, she found herself looking at the phone.

'You should have called'.

Isn't that what he'd told her that very morning? When she'd stopped off at his house and found herself admitting that she'd been unable to sleep the night before.

The knot that had grown in her stomach from reliving the past few days so vividly gradually gave way to butterflies as she contemplated phoning him. Should she call? Could she? It wasn't something he would offer lightly, in any situation.

Unwilling to allow herself to dwell any further, she reached out and turned on the bedside lamp and grasped the phone. Blinking as the soft glow filled her room, she lay back on the bed, phone in hand, one finger hovering nervously over the first number she needed.

But still she hesitated. It wasn't easy trying to ignore the boundaries she'd set for herself over the past, what... seven years?

No, she thought, maybe it wasn't easy, but this was far too important for her to suppress or ignore, as was her usual habit.

Deciding it was time to ignore the butterflies instead, Sam dialled the colonel's number and then held the phone to her ear. Eyes closed, heart pounding, she listened to the dialling tone, each new ring making her doubt her decision.

Just as she thought he wasn't going to answer, the ringing came to an end, and she opened her eyes while waiting for his voice.

"O'Neill?"

Hearing his voice had the butterflies in Sam's stomach multiplying and left her mind blank. She had no idea what to say. She'd debated with herself on whether she should ring or not, but she hadn't given a thought to anything that would come after.

She bit her lip, and tried desperately to find the words she wanted, needed to say. But the silence was broken before she had the chance.

"Come on over, Sam."

Slowly releasing her breath, she nodded, altogether forgetting he couldn't see the action. Another moment later she answered, "Thank you, sir."

"I'll see you soon," he spoke quietly before hanging up.

When she heard the click on his end Sam disconnected and set the phone beside her on the bed. She took a moment to draw herself together, then threw her legs over the side and sat up. Seeing the clothes she'd worn earlier in the day, the clothes she'd uncharacteristically abandoned, she grabbed them and prepared to leave for the colonel's.

*******

The drive to his house hadn't taken long at all, not with the streets being deserted as they were at this hour. She'd pulled up behind his jeep a few minutes ago, but hadn't yet gotten out.

His house was in complete darkness, a fact that merely served to heighten her earlier concerns about calling him.

He must have been sleeping.

Still not quite sure what she would say when she saw him, she unhooked her belt and reached for her keys. Opening the car door, she finally stepped from the vehicle and gently closed it behind her.

She shivered a little as the cool night air surrounded her, and felt glad of the sweater she'd grabbed at the last minute. Unusually cold, she thought, even for a summer's night.

Sam walked slowly up the path, arms wrapped around herself as much from the chill as for the comfort. She'd only been here at night on one other occasion, but that had been with Daniel and Teal'c, waiting for the Asgard to come and take the clone they'd made of her CO.

She hadn't realised then quite how quiet it was here at night. With no traffic on the streets nearby, no sounds from the birds in the trees that surrounded his house, none of the sounds that accompanied day, it really did leave her with a surreal feeling. The only sound was the slight trickle of water running in the stream behind the Colonel's back yard.

She tentatively approached his door and was just about to take that last step when it opened quietly, taking her by surprise, and leaving her unprepared. She hadn't expected him to be quite so quick.

She arrived at the door and stopped at the threshold, just as the it opened completely. Her eyes wandered up his body, saw that he was dressed in the same sweats and old air-force t-shirt he'd worn that other night a few months ago.

When she finally made eye contact, she knew she'd done the right thing in phoning. There was no questioning look, but rather one of understanding.

"Come on in," he invited, before she could say anything.

Sam stepped through the doorway and passed him, relieved to find the hesitation and tension that had been palpable that afternoon was no longer present.

She waited at the top of the few stairs that led down to his sitting room, her back to him. She realised immediately why there was no need for any lights. The ceiling to floor windows allowed the natural light reflecting off the moon to cast a comforting and relaxing glow throughout the room. She could imagine him sitting here on nights just like this.

At the sudden touch of his hand on her back, she turned to see him, and realised he was gesturing for her to go right in. She walked down the stairs, and headed for the couch, taking the side where he had sat that morning.

She watched as he joined her, wondered what he was thinking.

"I'm sorry if I woke you." It was the only thing she could think to say.

He shook his head. "Couldn't sleep."

"Me neither," she confirmed.

She felt rather than saw him settle more comfortably into the couch, noticing the usual safe distance wasn't quite as safe as usual. She looked down at her hands, realised she was pulling at the edge of her sweater.

"Sir..." Sam lingered, unsure how to word what she wanted to say.

"What?" The prompt was quiet and gentle, urging her to continue.

"Sir," she tried again, determined to speak her mind before any possible interruptions. "Even if we do find the city of Atlantis, and even if we manage to find weapons to defend the planet..." she looked up at him as she hesitated.

"Hey," Jack nudged her on the arm with his fingers. "As I said earlier, that would be worth it. All this would be worth it."

His hands waved around his head, indicating the changes that would very soon take effect.

Sam sighed, frustrated.

"Even if we do find what we're looking for," she repeated, "we might not find the technology we need to help you."

There, she'd said what she wanted to say, what she had begun to work up to before Daniel and Teal'c had interrupted that morning. Well, yesterday morning now, Sam distractedly thought.

She looked over to him, tried to see whether he had understood what she was trying to tell him. But he wasn't watching her anymore. He was looking through the window, eyes focussed on something in the garden. She began to wonder if he had even heard her.

"Sir..."

He may have been looking elsewhere, but soon Sam saw the subtle changes on his face, in his posture. He had been listening, and clearly understood the meaning behind her words.

She began to speak again, but stopped when he suddenly turned and looked directly at her. Her breath caught at the look on his face and had her lost for words.

She was only vaguely aware of him raising his hand towards her face. Her eyes were locked on his, but she was certainly aware when his fingers began to tenderly trail down her cheek.

"Two years ago," Sam almost whispered, "just before Daniel ascended, I told him I didn't know why we wait to tell people how we feel about them."

She shivered as he gently swept aside some hair that had fallen to cover her face. She was finding it harder to concentrate.

"I think, sometimes, the people we care about know exactly how we feel about them," he said intently.

Sam let out a shaky breath, nodded at his words.

"Come here."

Without hesitation, Sam moved into Jack's open arms and settled her head on his shoulder. As she relaxed deeper into his embrace, she couldn't help but think of all the times he'd comforted her like this, of times that they'd drawn comfort from each other.

But this time she was very aware that there were no restrictions, no holding back. She felt his whole body welcome her, his right arm wrapping around her while the left lay across her waist, almost anchoring her to him.

Her own arm gripped his t-shirt, fisted it with a possessive fierceness.

"This is hard," she whispered, suddenly finding it hard to keep her eyes open.

"I know." She heard the hoarseness of his voice, felt him pull her more securely to his side. "I know."

The End

Copyright © Diane 2004

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