Title: All You Knew

Sam/Jack, post-Meridian, pg-13

Summary: 'For once you were honest, you didn't hide behind your walls, and you tried one last time to tear down his.'

xxx

He was hurting, but he wouldn't talk to you. They say actions speak louder than words. You were sure that your actions that night spoke louder than almost any other, because for once you were honest, you didn't hide behind your walls, and you tried one last time to tear down his. You succeeded more than you had done at any other time. And for that you were grateful – you finally realised that though he doesn't talk to you much he trusts you implicitly, and that will never change. And every so often he will even show you how much pain he is really in.

You turned up on his doorstep, refusing to leave. He had a bottle of beer in his hand; you asked if he was going to offer you one or just leave you standing on his porch. He was too much of a gentleman to do anything but invite you in and offer you one yourself. He moved to sit on the sofa so you joined him, thinking for some reason that it was important to - sitting across from him with a table in between you would do nothing for the situation.

You're not quite sure what happened next. You tried to get him to talk. You went and fetched more beer. You weren't sure how many he'd already had, but there were already a couple of empty bottles on the coffee table. At one point you'd finished yours and he was swirling his around, so you took it from his hands and took a big swig before giving it back; it was too much of an effort to go to the kitchen to fetch another one. He didn't seem to mind. He didn't even seem fazed by the action his second in command had just taken. Because then, in that moment, in that evening, in that situation, you weren't CO and 2IC. You weren't anything at all, really, you just were.

At some point you moved closer. And you started to talk. And he listened. At some point in the course of the evening his walls started to crumble; you were sitting together, two friends, with a fire going and the warm glow bouncing off your faces, and he opened up. Not that he said much. But he wasn't rigid, and he even took your hand in his. He might have said something, you're not sure. But in that moment you started to cry. You cried for Daniel, for the brother-like best friend that you had just lost. You cried for everything that had gone wrong in your life, and you cried for your broken relationship that couldn't even be called a relationship but yet still was one. He took you in to his arms and held you tight, not needing to say anything. Eventually he murmured that he missed him too.

In that moment you wished that this could be forever. You wished that he could wrap his strong arms around you at any time with no consequences, because it made you feel safe; this was the man you loved. This was the man you wanted to go home with every night. This was the man who could make you laugh – not many managed to do that. And this was the man who would die before he let anything happen to you, because he loved you just as much.

You needed comfort, and so did he, but you couldn't even give yourselves that. But this was good enough. Strong arms and that one small admission was all you needed – you knew it wasn't just you feeling this pain. He released you after a few more moments, and you apologised. He told you not to, that there was no need. And you smiled a watery smile and he reached to cup your face with his hand, wiping away the tear tracks with his thumb. He told you that you were in no condition to drive that night. You nodded, silently. He stood, holding out his hand to you, which you took, gratefully. He didn't let go.

He led you to the spare room and told you where everything was, even though you already knew. He handed you an old shirt to wear but you didn't have the energy to change; you simply sat down on the bed and looked at your hands.

'Hold me?' was all you asked that night. He hesitated; unsure. But when you looked up at him all regulations flew out the window; he loved you, and you were hurting. And so was he. So he moved towards you as you stood up, and pulled the covers back. You climbed in and he climbed in beside you, wrapping an arm around your waist, pulling you closer. You turned round so that you were facing him and lay your head on his shoulder; the closeness was all you had but it meant the world to you. Tonight there were no rules; tonight there was pain and friendship and love, and you both provided the little comfort you could to each other while you had the chance. Finally he was acknowledging his pain, and you felt it wash over you intermingled with your own.

And tomorrow you would have to grieve in private again. Tomorrow you would have to start moving on. But tonight was tonight, and you could grieve as much as you needed to, with the man you needed to grieve with.

Fin