Note: Wow. I have been truly blessed by your comments. Never, ever did I think when I wrote this that I would receive so much feedback. I am so glad you have enjoyed this story.

I'd also like to again extend my thanks to Allie. Betas can be wonderful creatures when they make the writer actually think about what they are writing. Allie is certainly one such creature; when something that made perfect sense to me didn't make sense to her she let me know. After all, what good is your work when it doesn't make sense to the readers? All writers should be as fortunate as I am to have someone like her critique my work.

TITLE: The Key


She was standing in the open doorway when he pulled up, the light from the hall silhouetting her frame. He really hadn't wanted to face her tonight, but the moment she'd informed him of his wallet's whereabouts he knew he had to return. He just hoped Davis would have the decency to keep out of the way – that was if he was still there.

"Carter." He stood by the front gate, willing himself to move forward. He'd faced down Goa'uld, why was this so difficult?

"Jack." She acknowledged him by name, then turned and went inside.

He followed, confused. She didn't seem as angry as before, and there was the whole calling him by his name thing. As he closed the front door behind him he couldn't help wondering just what exactly was going on.

His jacket was where he'd left it, as was the evidence of his few hours spent there earlier. "Ah, crap. I'm sorry. I hope I didn't ruin things for you and Davis."

Sam stood by the fireplace. "We need to talk," she said.

"Yeah, you said so on the phone. Look, I'm sorry. I got the key you sent, and, well, look, it's completely possible I misunderstood things… between us," he clarified, gesturing between them. "You seem happy enough with Davis, so I'll get out of your way."

She shook her head and it looked like she was trying not to smile. "You think I'm seeing Paul?"

"Well, aren't you?"

Now she did laugh. "God, no. Paul, is, well, he's someone I can talk to about the Stargate program. I hate it here, they've got me working on some meaningless project and I just miss you all terribly."

Jack tried lightness. "Hey, we miss you too. Daniel is driving me insane, and he complains every time he gets loaned out to a team..."

"Jack." Sam stepped forward a few paces and stopped just in front of him. "I don't know what you misunderstood when I sent you the key. Maybe I should have explained myself clearer; but, I realised shortly after I moved here there was nothing standing in our way anymore: just the distance and that could be worked out." She turned a pale shade of red. "I know it's a cliché, but I was sending you the key to my heart. If you still wanted it."

Jack's heart soared, but he tried to keep his voice solemn as he cupped her cheek in his hand. "And you know how much I hate clichés." Then he pulled her into his arms and revelled in the feel of her against him.

After a while, he pulled back and looked down at her. "So why the anger on the phone?"

She stared down at their feet. "I thought you'd just used the place and left. It wasn't until I saw the back door was open that I realised there had to be more, and I couldn't believe you'd just disappear like that."

"I'm sorry," he murmured. "But when I saw the two of you approaching and how happy you looked… I couldn't deny you that, Sam."

"He's someone I can talk to," she repeated, smiling at him. "You make me happy." Her arms snaked up around his neck and the smile turned into a predatory grin. "Though you could make me happier."

The moment was right. He inclined his head towards hers, but just before their lips met a thought occurred to him. "I'm not going to need a hotel room tonight, will I?"

"I hope not," she replied softly, and then their lips did meet and there was nothing more to be said.