All standard disclaimers apply. Just for kicks, pallies.

Post-Affinity and will end up AU.

Author's Note: The title comes from a lyric from the U2 song 'A Man and A Woman' : I could never take a chance , Of losing love to find romance, In the mysterious distance, Between a man and a woman. Another inspiring lyric : When the soul wants… the soul waits… This whole song just reminded me of Jack and Sam when I heard it and fitted in nicely with this fic, but I wouldn't call it a song-fic. It was already in progress when I heard the song. Anyway, I thought I'd shared what inspired the title. And if you haven't picked up their new album How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb, you should it's wonderful. I'll quit rambling now.

Mysterious Distance

Part 1

"For cryin' out loud, Daniel, what do I always tell you about touching crap?"

"Arg." Daniel groaned not wanting to open his eyes.

"And here you are in the infirmary AGAIN after nearly getting yourself electrocuted."

Daniel decided he might as well get Jack's relatively good natured ribbing out of the way or he'd keep him up all night. He opened his eyes and tried to focus on the blurry figure of Jack O'Neill. "May I have my glasses?"

Jack plucked them off the night stand and placed them in Daniel's hand. "Why don't you get that laser thing done?"

"Because I don't like the idea of someone pointing a burning laser in my eye."

"Point."

Daniel put his glasses on and looked around the infirmary suddenly realizing someone else was supposed to be here. "Where's Sam?"

"She didn't look so hot, so I sent her home and told her to get some rest."

"No. No. No." Daniel shook his head frantically. "Jack, you idiot. That's the worst thing you could have done."

"Excuse me?"

Daniel ignored him and threw the covers off of his bed. He was about to rip out his IV when Jack stopped him, pushing him back down on the bed, "Whoa there, Danny. Don't go playin' my games. You're stuck here until morning."

"You don't understand. She promised she'd be here."

"What're you afraid of the dark now?" Jack tucked the covers back around Daniel. "I'll get one of the pretty nurses to read you a bed time story. Okay?"

"Don't patronize me, Jack. You don't understand."

"So enlighten me."

"Pete broke up with Sam."

"Oh." Jack didn't know what to say to that or want to examine the little jolt of something he'd just felt and refused to name.

"She shouldn't be alone."

Something about that statement set Jack off. He didn't know why. Maybe it was that he didn't want to believe that Pete really meant enough for her to be upset. Or maybe it was the fact that Carter had told Daniel about the break up and not him. Or most likely all of the above. "Oh, come on, Daniel. Carter's a big girl. She saves the world every over week. She can handle some stupid little break up. She doesn't need you to hold her hand."

Daniel stared at Jack as if the was the stupidest being in the galaxy. Jack hated getting that look from him. "You really are completely and utterly oblivious, aren't you, Jack?" Daniel asked with more than a touch of anger.

"Apparently." Jack sighed heavily and his mind ran through the various possibilities until he stopped on the most un- Carter-like possibility he could think of. "Is Pete in danger?"

"No, but Sam might be."

"How?" Jack asked, not really sure he wanted to know.

"Jack, I know it's hard to believe but Sam doesn't always keep things together as well as you think."

Jack did not like the sound of that. In fact, it scared him to death. Carter keeping everything together and in order was the one thing he could always count on. "Okay. What do I need to do?"

"You need to get them to release me."

"I can't do that, Daniel. You know better than that."

"You'll have to go then."

"Where?"

"Kate Elder's."

"That dive. What the hell is Carter doing- Ah, drinking herself to oblivion." Jack knew a thing or two about that. He'd just never pegged Carter to be that type as well. He really must not know her and that saddened him indescribably.

"Yeah. It might not be that bad. I hope. Don't let her know you're there until it looks like something bad might be about to happen. It'll just make things worse."

"How do you define 'bad'?"

"Trying to drive drunk. Picking a fight with a biker twice her size or trying to go home with one."

"Shit." Jack rubbed his eyes hoping that this was all a stupid dream. This could not be his Carter they were talking about. "Carter does this often?"

"Just when something very bad happens."

"So, often, right?"

"Yeah."

"Why don't I know about this?"

"It's never effect her work. No need for you to know."

"No. I meant as her friend." Jack realized that might have been a stupid thing to say. Was he her friend any more or was he ever?

"She made me promise to never tell you. She doesn't want you to think she's weak. She didn't want you to think she wasn't perfect."

"Oh, God, Carter…"

"Go, Jack," Daniel told him. "Please keep her safe."

Jack went and was terrified of what he might find.

---

TBC