Title: Though a Candle Burns…

Chapter: 11 of 11

Email: What if Daniel had managed to get Jack to ascend in Abyss?

Category: Angst /Romance

Rating: Teen

Pairing: S/J

Season: 6

Spoilers: Meridian and Abyss are the obvious ones, but anything up to the end of season 6 is fair game.

Content Warnings: None

Archive: My Site: Yes

SamandJack: Yes

Anywhere else: Yes

Disclaimer: Only the story is mine. Nothing else.

Author's Note:

Sam paced the floor of her lab.

Teal'c and Jonas watched her from where they sat, unsure whether or not they should say something.

Finally Jonas said, "It must have been weird, Colonel O'Neill just showing up in your living room like that."

Sam didn't stop moving. "My bedroom actually."

Jonas and Teal'c shared a look, which Sam seemed to sense, even in her state of unrest. "What?" She asked, pausing in her pacing.

"Nothing." Jonas said quickly.

"You are worried, MajorCarter." Teal'c observed.

"I have reason to be." Sam sighed.

"Indeed." Teal'c said.

Sam shot him a look, but the Jaffa remained silent.

"What are you all doing in here?"

The three members of SG-1 turned to look at the door, where Jack was leaning against the wall, hands shoved deep into the pockets of the BDU's he had changed into since they last saw him.

"Colonel," Jonas' greeting was almost overtaken by Teal'c's "O'Neill."

Sam however, took her time taking in the uniform and what it meant, before saying, "Sir?" with only the slightest hint of a question in her voice.

"Carter, I promise you that your lab will still be here in two weeks time. Get outta here!"

Teal'c rose and walked to the door. "It is good to have you back, O'Neill," he said as he drew level with Jack.

"Good to be back, Teal'c," Jack responded, "stop by my place tomorrow, we'll hang out." He paused, "I still have a place, don't I?"

Teal'c inclined his head and moved out into the hallway.

As Jonas drew level with Jack on his way out Jack said, "You too, Jonas. See you tomorrow."

"Yes, Colonel." Jonas said, managing to downplay his delight at the Colonel's apparent acceptance of him, but unable to disguise his usual grin. As Teal'c and Jonas moved off down the corridor Jonas' voice reached Sam's ears. "Hang out?"

She heard the start of Teal'c's low-voiced reply but they must have turned a corner because it was cut off abruptly. 'It must be nice for Teal'c to have another alien to explain what he's learned to,' Sam thought.

"Carter, you're eating into your downtime here," Jack said, bringing Sam's attention back to him.

'He needs a ride home,' Sam remembered. She nodded, "Let's go, sir," she said, walking towards the door, careful to avoid his eyes so that he wouldn't see the hurt in her own.

As she reached past Jack to turn off the lights Sam felt a slight pressure on her arm. In the light from the corridor she could see Jack's fingers closed around her slender wrist.

She finally met his eyes, questioningly. Her mouth opened to form a question.

Jack shook his head. "Save it for the surface, Carter. General's orders," he said curtly.

Sam held his eyes for a moment then nodded and walked into the corridor, feeling Jack following her.

They were silent all the way to the surface, the elevators seeming to take twice as long as usual. When they finally exited the elevator they walked to Sam's car in silence. The only time any words passed between them was when they came to the turn off for Jack's house.

"Turn here," Jack ordered. Sam did so, obeying the order before she even thought about it.

When they reached Jack's house it was almost dark. Jack got out and walked to the front door, putting his hand in his pocket for the key. Sam followed, slowly, unsure of what was going on and still more than a little hurt at Jack's behaviour.

In the house, Jack tossed the keys on the kitchen counter and opened the fridge. Someone had been here and emptied it while he was… gone, but there was still beer in there, making Jack think that whoever had taken the food out had held out hope for his return. He took two beers, opened them and handed one to Sam.

She took it, hesitantly and took a sip. Jack leant on the counter behind him and downed at least half the beer in one gulp. Sam caught herself watching his neck and looked away, not sure if that had become 'inappropriate' once again.

Finally she felt that she just had to speak. "Sir, I-"

"Whats with the 'sir' crap?" Jack asked gently.

"You tell me?" Sam snapped back, angry now. "What's with the 'Carter' crap?"

Jack smiled slightly, "We were on base." When Sam's expression didn't change he sighed. "New rules. On base you and I conduct ourselves properly, best traditions of the Air Force and all that. Off base?" He paused. "That's up to us."

"Up to us?" Sam asked.

"Well, you, really," Jack said, "I already know how I want to conduct myself."

The way he said it made Sam shiver slightly, Jack must have noticed, because he smiled, a slow lascivious smile that Sam had never seen before, one that did nothing to help her shiver.

"How is that?" She asked weakly.

Jack tilted his head to one side, and gave her a look. Then he stepped forwards quickly and pulled her face up to meet his, crushing her beer between them.

After several minutes he stepped back and sipped at his beer as though nothing had happened. "Kinda like that," he said, "only… more."

"And we can do that without losing our jobs?" Sam asked, managing to inject strength into her voice that she somehow couldn't give to her legs, which we trembling slightly.

"And more." Jack confirmed.

Sam smiled, a huge, brilliant smile.

"We just have to make sure that we can still do our jobs," Jack said, a note of warning creeping into his voice

"Nothing's changed," Sam said. Jack opened his mouth to protest, but Sam cut him off. "I don't mean the rules, I mean here," she waved a hand in the space between them, "I still feel the same way about you as I have for a long time, and I've always done my job up until now."

"Exactly." Jack grinned. Then he stretched and yawned theatrically. "We should go to bed."

Sam looked at her watch. "It's eight o'clock and we're on downtime, we don't need to sleep yet." She pointed out.

"Who said anything about sleep?" Jack shot back, stepping into her personal space.

"Good point," Sam said.

Jack nodded approvingly and took her hand, leading her out of the kitchen and towards the bedroom.

"Do I get to know what you said to the General?" Sam asked.

"Tomorrow," Jack promised.

It was several hours later that Sam awoke in the darkness. Jack was sitting up against the headboard, holding Sam against him.

"Have you been to sleep?" Sam asked.

"Little bit," he replied.

"Come here," Sam said.

Jack snuggled down in the bed until he was face to face with Sam.

"You said that you didn't want to ascend," Sam said. Jack nodded and Sam continued, "Why not?"

"I wanted to come back here." Jack said simply.

"But if you were going to die…" Sam said, and trailed off, unable to complete the sentence.

"Well, I'm hardly suited to all that… glowy stuff, am I?" Jack said, "All that 'if you know the flame is a candle' crap. Its Daniel's thing. He always was smarter than me."

Sam looked at him crossly, "You're smarter than you give yourself credit for."

Jack snorted laughter at that, "Yeah, Daniel said that too."

"And what did you tell him?" Sam asked.

She could hear the smile in Jack's voice as he replied, "Though a candle burns in my house, there's nobody home."

Sam laughed outright at that. Jack watched her laugh, his expression thoughtful.

"What?" Sam asked.

Jack smiled softly at her. "I'm home now."