|Out of the Ashes They Rise
Author: BrenRenQoI PM
Post Out of MindInto the Fire, Jack needs some help getting past the experience of being temporarily Goa’ulded and Sam rises to the occasion, redefining “Above and beyond the call of duty” once again.Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Drama - S. Carter & J. O'Neill - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,526 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 8 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 09-11-05 - Published: 08-28-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2556428
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Out of the Ashes They Rise
by Bren Ren
Summary: Post Out of Mind/Into the Fire, Jack needs some help getting past the experience of being temporarily Goa'ulded and Sam raises to the occasion, redefining "Above and beyond the call of duty" once again.
Disclaimer: Still playing with my CyberBarbies; Sam & Jack aren't mine, 'cause if they were, we'd see this stuff on screen!
Author's Note: This is the second installment in what will henceforth be known as my Missing Moments series. The first part, "It Was A Good Year" can be found at (for the younger/innocent crowd) and the Sam & Jack Adult Archive for the dirty-minded souls out there! We know who we are, don't we!
And One More Author's Note: Huge Thanks to Lanaeé for Beta-like services, for sharing Thor, and for encouraging my unique, if warped, sense of humor, and of course, my love of Sam & Jack. I couldn't get these things written half as well without you!
Sam slowed her car as she rounded the last bend in the long, winding drive. As Jack's house came into view, Sam steeled herself against the barrage of butterflies waging war in her stomach. She'd had an unshakeable sense of malaise; it had been plaguing her since their return from Hathor's weird mind-trip through the mock-up SGC. She couldn't shake it, couldn't sleep through it, until it finally had driven her into her car in the late hours of the night.
She stopped the car, put it in park, and turned off the headlights and ignition. Then she sat there. She glanced at her watch. Almost the witching hour, she mused. She would've worried that she was too late, but she spied the soft glow of lamplight radiating through the windows. She drummed her fingers on the steering wheel.
She'd gone over this so many times in her head, she was sure there wasn't a thing he could say that she didn't have a ready response for. The only thing holding her back was… where to start? Sam sighed in frustration. She had come too close to turn back now. With one last, resolute sigh, she unfastened her safety belt and opened her door.
The night air was sharp and brisk, the breeze whipping across her cheeks with a sting. Sam pulled her leather jacket tight around her as she gently closed the car door. She walked the short distance to his doorway in even, measured steps, and only hesitated a moment before rapping sharply on the solid wood door.
Sam measured time in heartbeats as she waited for him to answer. Each breath came a little faster as the anticipation built. She heard a slight noise from inside the house, and her breath hitched in her throat. She heard his almost shuffled steps approaching the door, and fought against a new surge of "fight or flight" symptoms.
A light flickered on over the porch. The door opened.
He looked tired, she thought, as worn and ragged as she was feeling. She could see hints of darkness beneath his eyes. He was clad in baggy sweatpants and a simple white tank top that showed his broad chest far too sexily. Her breath hitched in her throat again, and Sam couldn't find her voice.
"Carter? Something wrong?" His voice was full of warm concern, but his face wasn't quite readable. A slight frown creased the corners of his eyes, and his mouth was almost a grim line.
"I…" Her voice cracked, and she swallowed hard, then tried again. "I couldn't sleep. I… just wanted… to see how you're doing…" she paused again, still not quite finding the right words to express her concern. "I needed to know how you're coping with… with what Hathor did…"
Jack's expression shifted slightly, becoming even more guarded, more wary. "I'm fine."
She stared hard at him, mentally evaluating the truth, or lack of, in his statement. At last, she spoke. "No, sir. You're not."
His frown deepened even more. They were suddenly locked in a battle of wills; a staring contest from which neither was willing to back down. Sam could feel the blood surging through her veins, the roar in her ears deafening as the adrenaline kicked in. Afraid her trembling would be visible, she wrapped her arms tight around her chest.
That was the moment when Jack conceded. He backed down, backed away, and motioned for Sam to come in. She was shocked; she had expected more of a fight than this. He must be worse off than she imagined. That thought was both sobering and disturbing at once.
She heard the door close behind her with a soft hiss, then a definite click as he engaged the lock. Sam could feel the hairs at the back of her neck stand on end as every sense jumped to full alert.
A slight pressure at the small of her back signaled Sam to move though the hallway. She wouldn't allow herself to turn and confirm it was Jack's hand, she didn't need to. She could feel the warmth of his fingertips, even through the tough leather of her jacket, so attuned to him was she at that moment.
When they stepped into the living room, she felt his hand fall away. Sam continued moving forward, slowly taking in the details of his home. She paused at the small model airplanes on the low table nearest her, gently touching one with a reverent caress. She could easily picture Jack's long, nimble fingers working at assembling the little figure, and a small smile tugged at the corners of her lips.
She continued through the room in a slow, pensive promenade. She wished she had convinced herself to come earlier, if only to enjoy the view out his large picture windows. She reached the fireplace mantle and paused again. Several picture frames were carefully arranged with a handful of knick knacks. In each one were happy, smiling faces unfamiliar to Sam, but she was certain they were members of Jack's absent family.
She was acutely aware of Jack's presence in the room, and the fact that he hadn't moved since she started her tour. She could feel him watching her, but rather than make her nervous, it put her at ease. He was waiting, patiently, for her to come back to him in her own time. Sam bowed her head, a soft sigh slipping past her lips.
"I haven't been here since Daniel's wake," she said at last.
"A bit premature, that one." His response was short, but not tense.
Sam turned and walked back towards him, pausing one last time at the row of pictures adorning the ledge between his dining room and living room. "You didn't have all these out…" She reached out to one frame, her finger just trailing along its side. It was a picture of Jack with his former family. He looked so happy, she thought. They all did.
"There were a lot of people here," he replied.
Sam turned to face him. "It just amazes me… that you can surround yourself with…" she paused, then waved her hand around the room, "all of this. All these memories… I know you've been through… hell… but instead of shutting it all out, you've chosen to keep it… to hold on to all these little moments of happiness, when I know they must bring back the more painful memories with them."
She turned back to look at the picture with Charlie and Sarah. "When Mom died… Dad couldn't… he packed it all up into storage… every last thing that could remind him of her… It just hurt too much, I guess. It all stayed packed until Mark and I moved out. Most of it went with him. I kept a few things…." She trailed off, lost for a moment in her own memories.
"If I don't have something to remind me that there were happy times, I'm afraid I'd get lost in the bad ones." Jack's voice was so soft, she had to strain to hear him, even though he was only a few feet away.
Sam took a deep, steadying breath, and fought to pull her soldier mask back into place. She turned to face him once more. "I know that technically… I'm probably the last person you should be discussing such… personal issues.. being your second in command. But…I'm the only other person on the planet to survive being… infested… with a symbiote."
Her words hung in the air for long seconds. She could fairly see the gears spinning in his head, and she almost expected the smoke to start seeping out his ears any second. Then his shoulders dropped. His whole body seemed filled with defeat, and it truly frightened her.
Jack moved around her and dropped gracelessly onto the plush sofa behind her. Sam turned and gently lowered herself to sit beside him. Her knees pressed into his thighs, and again Sam registered his warmth seeping through to her bones. She desperately wanted to reach out to him, but she wasn't sure how.
"Ah, hell," Jack muttered. He turned his head to look at Sam with eyes so… broken, her heart cried out to him. "If I can't talk to you about this, who the hell can I?"
Sam opened her mouth to speak, but hadn't a clue what to say. Before she could form words, Jack spoke again.
"We can just… leave it all here in this room, whatever we say tonight."
Sam rolled the idea round her head for a moment, then cocked her head to the side, a slightly wry smile forming on her face. "Like we left in 1969?"
Jack smiled for the first time that night. "I should be so lucky."
Sam couldn't help the soft giggle that slipped out. It felt good, and at last, the tension had broken. For the first time, she was sure coming here, coming to him, had been the right decision. He needed her; even if he couldn't quite admit it, he wasn't going to deny it, not face to face with her.
He needed her. And she had a distinct need to be needed tonight.