Title: Watching Him Sleep

Chapter: 1

Email: I love to watch him sleep…

Category: Romance/Fluff.

Pairing: S/J

Rating: Suitable for all.

Season: Between 8 and 9

Spoilers: General spoilers up to the end of season 8.

Content Warnings: None

Archive: SJFic: Yes

My site: Yes

Anywhere else: Yes

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Which is really quite pathetic, when you think about it. ;-)

Author's Note: Feedback will fill the empty place caused by having no food. :-(

Author's Note 2: This is written from Sam's POV.

I love to watch him sleep.

I always have.

When we were offworld I would sometimes lie awake and just watch him.

The first time I remember finding myself doing it he was dying.

Stranded in Antarctica, watching him fade in and out, desperately trying to find a way home, I watched him sleep.

When everything is okay, when he feels safe, he sleeps on his side, one arm curled beneath his head.

When we're in danger, when he feels tense, he barely sleeps, never leaving REM for the true rest that only deep sleep can bring.

On these occasions it is difficult to watch him, the slightest thing out of place and he wakes up.

His special ops training is evident in the way he wakes up. Probably feeling my eyes on him, he doesn't move, suspicious of the fact that he's being watched. His eyes slide open a fraction of a millimetre and he scans the immediate area.

It's the same every time.

He's never caught me watching him, though, luckily enough. I can't imagine what I would tell him if he ever did, it just seems like such a sappy thing to do.

Sleep takes away what years of service to the Air Force have done to him.

An extraordinarily good looking man when awake, when he sleeps it's as though all the self-recrimination and hurt disappear. He stops being Brigadier General Jonathan O'Neill, USAF, and becomes Jack.

I always wanted to see what Daniel sees when he looks at him. Not the Colonel, and latterly the General, just… Jack.

Even Teal'c sees his friend first, commanding officer second.

I talked to Daniel once about the way Teal'c addresses people. Daniel said that he thinks that Teal'c addresses him as just O'Neill is a mark of respect and familiarity, of brotherhood.

After all, Teal'c still, after all these years, addresses me by my rank and my name, and Daniel by both his names, while he is just "O'Neill".

This is not to say that Teal'c doesn't respect me or Daniel, or anyone else for that matter. He just feels more of a fellowship with Jack.

Yes. He is 'Jack' now. He always has been, in my head.

But now I can call him Jack aloud now. It's a good feeling.

He stirs beside me, rolling onto his opposite side, facing away from me.

I allow my eyes to wander over the flesh of his back.

Scars. Lots of them.

Over the past eight years I've gained a few, and will gain a few more yet, but I doubt I'll ever match him.

They stand out, silvery against his tanned skin.

When I can't sleep I play a game, trying to remember where he got each one.

There are more scars I don't know the origin of than ones I do.

A long thin scar stretches diagonally downwards from his left shoulder towards the middle of his back. I don't know this one.

I reach out and run my index finger over it, feeling the heat of his skin.

I trust this man implicitly. I always have.

If it's in his power to prevent it, no harm will come to those he cares about.

I know that he's always been this way, but I suspect that Charlie's death made him more determined that this should be so.

I know he does not expend this protection to himself. He considers himself expendable. The first time I realised this it frightened me. How could he think that?

But he does. Nothing anyone does will ever convince him otherwise.

When he was still on SG-1 he held that his job was to see us home safe. Nothing more. Occasionally he would have to come drag one of us out of a 'situation'.

He got Daniel out of the South American jungle.

He got the information I needed to get Teal'c out of the Stargate.

He saved me from the super soldier.

And we save him.

I'm sure he can't work out why, but doesn't want to ask, in case we stop doing it.

How did we get here?

In the end it was extraordinarily simple.

There were no misunderstandings, no declarations of undying love. From either of us.

The week after we cremated my dad, General O'Neill came to my lab.

He said nothing, just handed me the letter from General Hammond detailing his retirement and his appointment of a new officer to run HomeWorld Security.

One Brigadier General Jonathan O'Neill, to be precise.

I stared at the letter in my hand for a moment.

"Yeah, I know." He said. "Jonathan." He pulled a face.

I looked up at him, mutely.

He grinned.

"So… Carter,"

I smiled. I knew what was coming.

"How does the land of sky blue waters sound to you now?"

I smile in the darkness of the bedroom. Our bedroom.

Daniel and Teal'c came with us to the cabin. They needed a break just as much as we did.

Jack's on leave until he takes up his new post in Washington in a week's time.

Until then, I'll watch him sleep.