Disclaimer: Not mine. Rating: R. angst, death, mentions of sex, bad language, adult situations, dogs sleeping with cats, lambs going to four-course meals with lions.
Set: Season 3-season 4, late.
Notes: nos caused this. Seriously, she's been prodding me for something like this for a while. I hope I did it justice, dear. ;)

Walking on the Moon
by ALC Punk!

They aren't exclusive. She has to tell herself that as he flirts and smiles at Laira. As the other woman does the same back.

Exclusive means having ties and claims, and that's not what they're about (not that some part of her wouldn't mind, but isn't she a liberated 90's feminist who doesn't believe in commitment to one man alone, anyway?). It's never been about that.

She keeps telling herself that, while he flirts, and Laira flirts, and they spend a few days dodging meteors. She tells herself that as they stare at a non-responsive gate.

Major Sam Carter knows him. He's alive, she can feel it in her gut.

And he has Laira, she considers. A week, and the gate is still inaccessible. She stops working on other projects, applies herself to this one: Get the Edorans home. (Get him back.)

Janet asks if missing him is going to be a problem, and she says it isn't.

Because if it was, it would mean they were exclusive, that sex with her commanding officer meant something more than just two people finding gratification in each other.

She doesn't think about what being sick in the morning means until one of the Edoran refugees says something about children.

There are no ties between them, she thinks as she stares down at the pink strip. No love, nothing but lust. And he isn't there anyway.

She tells Janet it's a guy she met at a bar. A one night stand she barely remembers.

The doctor doesn't believe her, but she doesn't press. She promises to eat better and sleep. Daniel and Teal'c notice something, but don't push for answers.

Building a particle accelerator in three months feels like child's play (a cliche). And then he's back. It hurts more than she thought it would that he asks Laira to come back with him. She was right. He did have Laira.

Teal'c and Daniel close ranks around her, protecting her from the colonel (not that he knows, or would care).

By now, she's almost showing, and her dress blues are a little extra tight, but she never says anything.

They aren't anything anymore, she decides numbly as he resigns. (I haven't been the same since I met you.) The words cut deeper than she would have thought him capable of.

It takes two days of solid argument with Janet.

"Sam, you need to tell him."

"He's retiring to Edora."

She refuses to let a mistake ruin her career (which is shaky enough as it is). And Makepeace has command, anyway.

Janet makes the appointment for her with stiff lips and dark eyes.

The clinic is soothing and distant from her real life.

Faceless people see her through a procedure she never thought she would be able to stomach. And faceless people smile at her, and wish her a good life, and tell her to take care of herself.

The cramps the next day aren't as bad she'd been warned, and she's glad she didn't take the day off.

Makepeace doesn't notice, but she doesn't think the vaunted colonel Jack O'Neill would have, either. Daniel does, and he must have clued in Teal'c. The two of them watch her like hawks, not letting her push too hard (and she wants to object, but doesn't).

It's ironic that two days after destroying the growing child within her, she gets her lover back. He returns triumphant, smug. It was an operation, a ruse to smoke out the traitors.

She should have had more faith in him, she thinks in horror. But they aren't exclusive, and he never asked.

Time passes, she gets over it. She stops sleeping with him (he never notices). They lose Daniel again.

She and Janet have an argument again over telling the colonel, and Sam finally snaps, yelling (quietly and viciously). Janet stops talking to her.

Daniel takes his time about letting her know what he heard.

It's almost two weeks after he's back that he confronts her at her home.

"You have to tell him."

"No I don't."

There is further arguing, but she ignores it. And then the colonel notices he's missing something, and he quirks a finger. It scares her how easy it is to slip back into the role. Second in command, lover, friend. They spend nine days having sex in every way, shape and form. Teal'c disapproves, and he doesn't even know the truth.

They aren't exclusive.

After returning to Earth, she gets a shock. Dr. Frasier and General Hammond, and they talk about her fitness to stay on SG-1. She fights them both, but agrees to see someone about emotional instability (like she has any).

Three visits, and the psychologist signs off on her return to active duty. Just in time to put on a silly bracelet and be super-human.

It always seems to her that time is her enemy. If he hadn't been stuck on Edora, if the timing of his return hadn't been so screwed, if they hadn't spent nine days having sex... Because the Tok'ra think they're za'tarcs.

And she wonders if they're right.

"We lied," she tells Janet as sleep begins to swamp her.

His eyes flicker a bit, "Oh. That."

Yes, that.

He goes first. There's no need to mention sex, instead, he uses feelings. As if those are any purer.

"You are not a za'tarc."

"Now re-test me."

She talks about the ship, the naquadah, the bracelet. And skirts the truth.

Anise is watching her, and Sam knows that the 'caring' line didn't work. She licks her lips. "You need more."

"I'm afraid so."

She wants to close her eyes and can't. She knows exactly what she was thinking when he was staring at her through the force-shield.

"I was thinking," she pauses, because she doesn't want to say this. And has to. "I was thinking how I never told him that if he hadn't retired to Edora he would have been a father."

The words fall into the stillness of the room. Janet is staring at her, eyes dark and concerned. Teal'c is blank, head tilted. He gets it, of course. Jack O'Neill isn't a stupid man, and the revelation slams into him with the force of a mack truck.

Anise is telling her she's not a za'tarc, but she's not paying attention.

It's a blessing in disguise that they still have to think, and act. And she wonders as she cradles Martouf's body, if he let her shoot him as a penance. Probably not. Jack O'Neill is rarely a subtle man.

She waits for the axe to fall for weeks, and it doesn't. Beyond normal interaction, he doesn't talk to her, doesn't look at her, doesn't acknowledge her. It's business as usual, and they weren't exclusive anyway. If Daniel or Teal'c notice that they're not sleeping together anymore, they don't say anything.

Teal'c does, at one point, simply touch her shoulder. A long day, and there's no end in sight yet, and for a moment, she lets her guard drop.

She wants, right then, to lean against him, to borrow his strength (because there's none of hers left). But she doesn't.

And then the moment is past.

SG-1 is a team, and they do everything for that team. Daniel must be getting better at understanding them, because he never pushes. Ironically, she wishes he would.

Jonah and Thera had life simple.

As she stands there and looks at him, she inclines her head. Sir. There is no going back, not with the soft revulsion in his gaze, the way his mouth tightens.

They were never exclusive.

Janet looks almost hysterical when she hands her the sheets of paper.

"I don't - oh. Oh, god."

"He's a very fertile man, apparently."

She has to tell him, this time.

It takes her two days to work up the courage, and she isn't sure she can handle it, but does it anyway. You're a liberated woman, she tells herself fiercely as she steps into his office and closes his door.

Leaning against it gives her the strength. "I'm pregnant."

The words fall into the chasm between them, and he simply looks at her, as if he doesn't know her.

"I thought... I thought you would want to know. I - I haven't decided anything yes," she babbles, trying to see if she's gotten through to him. She doesn't know what she's looking for, really. They were never exclusive, and this is a worse complication than ever before. She knows her options. "I can resign, and take a full-time science position, I mean, I don't want to leave the Air Force, but this is the end of the road, unless I..." She falters, staring at him.

"What do you want from me, Major? A commendation?"

"No. Sir, I - the baby is yours. Jonah's."

His face shuts down completely, the mask like stone. "You made it pretty clear last time that my wishes had nothing to do with it."

"You weren't here last time!"

"No. I was running an operation, and hoping that my friends trusted me." He gives a bitter laugh. "Funny how that worked out, huh?"

They are not having this conversation, she thinks. "I'm going to -"

"Kill my child, Major?"

"No." It had hurt too much before. And they weren't anything anymore, but she still couldn't do it. "I'm going to talk with General Hammond about my options."

The General listens to her as she explains about Jonah and Thera and the baby. He listens to her reasons, and then he sighs. "Major, I can't simply let you go. This facility needs your brain and abilities too much."

"I'm not..." She straightens in her chair, "I don't know if I want this baby, sir. But I do know that I can't kill it." Not again.

"How about this, Major. You take a leave of absence from the Air Force, and when the child is born, we reassess? I'll hire you on here as an independant contractor for the time until you require maternity leave." Hammond shook his head, "I don't want to lose a fine officer, Sam."

"And, the, the relationship between the colonel and I, sir?"

"You were brain-washed. There will be no repercussions."

She closes her eyes, almost wishing there had been.

Things go well, and five months pass swiftly. Daniel and Teal'c still acknowledge her, telling her about the new kid they broke in on SG-1. She tries not to miss the job, sometimes burying herself in computer work that Janet frowns at her for. Late nights and early mornings, and she isn't getting enough sleep.

Her dad doesn't know about his impending grandchild, even though the Tok'ra are keeping in steady contact with them. Her reasoning is simple: the child will be given up for adoption.

She's discussed the idea with Daniel several times, and knows it's what she wants. Being a mother isn't something she's ready for. If this had been five years before, she might have handled it fine. It scares her to think that she's changed like this.

At six months she feels ungainly, having to wear the largest BDUs and waddle around in her white lab coat feeling like a tank.

The other scientists take it in stride, only Felger sometimes watching her with something odd in his gaze.

It takes her most of the day to realize that she's in pain. Carters always have high pain thresholds. It's seven o'clock at night, and everyone but her has gone home. Reaching for the phone is an effort.

By the time Janet is there, she's curled in a ball, whimpering.

There's a blur, and she only remembers pain and horror and something odd. A hand holding hers so very tightly she thought her fingers would break.

Janet doesn't have to tell her, when she wakes in the infirmary.

"Sam. I'm sorry..."

There are no tears. She can't afford tears right now. "It's okay, Janet."

She spends two days in the infirmary, recovering from the miscarriage. At the end of those two, Hammond sends her home with strict instructions to rest. He also has her see a psychologist.

The woman is very nice, but Sam doesn't need the help.

Everything is already boxed up, and the sessions go fine until the woman sends her back to the SGC.

The Air Force is happy to have her back.

"What do you want from me, Carter?" He sounds tired.

She's back in his office, to request he take her back. She stares at him across his desk, "I want you to love me, but that isn't possible, is it." The words startle her, and she steps back, hitting the door as he looks up at her.

A harsh laugh echoes.

She squeezes her eyes shut, "I was going to request a transfer back to SG-1, sir, but I feel that we no longer have anything approaching a working relationship, and-"

Colonel Jack O'Neill's lips are on hers. Uncompromising, unkind. His body presses her into the door, one hand tangled in her hair, and she thinks she wants him to let her go until he pulls back, and something much more languid passes between them.

Sam isn't sure which of them is crying, she just knows it feels wrong.

When he pulls back and brushes a tear from her cheek, she sighs. "You were holding my hand."

"I can't." He says.

"I know." She tries to smile as he steps back, and can't. "General Hammond thinks that a science team might be the best place for me." The door is open when she turns back. "Goodbye, Jack."

And it is. Because they were never exclusive.