You're Not the Only One in Need

Part Five
A Couple of Weeks Later (After 'Descent')

They crashed down on either side of the bed, feeling sweaty and exhausted and completely satiated. Once their breathing had almost returned to normal, Sam turned onto her side to face Jack. She tucked one hand gently under her cheek and gazed lovingly at the man beside her.

They remained quiet for a while when she finally decided to break the silence. "What is this thing? This thing between us?" she quietly asked him.

Jack sighed heavily. "I don't really know myself, Carter. Why ask me?"

Sam continued her interrogation, "I was just wondering if it's just about the sex... you know, fulfilling a need."

He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close so that her head was now resting on his chest. "Sam... All I know is that every time I'm with you like this, I grow to need you just a little bit more. It's actually starting to scare me – the way I feel about you."

She propped her chin on his chest to look at him, her eyes filled with bewilderment. "Why?" she asked.

His hand wove through her hair and he held her even tighter to him. "Because I know it won't last...maybe if the SGC had been closed and I could've retired...but that's not a possibility now."

He closed his eyes tightly, trying to calm his doubts and insecurities, "All I know is that someday soon you're going to wake up and realize that you want more - that you want a man who is free to love you openly. Someone who will take you out to dinner and the movies...someone to go on vacation have a family with...all of the things I can't give you."

Sam pulled out of his embrace sharply and glared at the man beside her. "How can you say that? I will never want anyone else but you," she declared.

Jack reached out with his hand and brushed back the short wisps of blonde hair that had fallen down over her face. "Yes. I know you believe that now, but someday you are going to get tired of the sneaking around and hiding. You are going to want a normal relationship with a man you can be with openly."

Sam was contemplative, so he continued, trying to make her understand, "Do you want to know what I was thinking on Anubis's ship as the water rose around us?"

"Perhaps that we were going to die?" she quipped sarcastically.

"Well, there's that..." he murmured, "but there was more to it than that. I was thinking that I was going to die with you – that we were going to die together."

He paused and took in a deep breath before continuing, "And the sick part was that I was glad. I was relieved that I would never live to see the day when you would leave me. When you get tired of this...this 'thing between us' as you call it...when you leave me for someone else who can give you what I can't. And you know what? I hate that. I hate feeling that way. And I hate that man, whoever he is. Sometimes I even hate you – because I know you'll leave me and I don't know how I will ever be able to survive that." He continued to brush her hair back possessively.

Sam sat forcefully up in the bed and faced him. Her entire demeanor and posture directed her fury at him. "Don't you dare say that, Jack O'Neill. How can you hate me for something I haven't even done yet? For something that I know I will never do anyway?"

She paused and continued to glare at him. With determination in her voice, she commanded, "Listen to me and listen carefully. I have never loved another man the way I love you. And I will never love another man the way I love you."

Jack's face revealed his initial shock at her admission of love – it was the first time either one had admitted such. Quickly, he composed himself again and warned, "Don't make promises you can't keep, Carter."

She sighed in frustration. "What can I do to show you? How can I make you understand?" She moved directly in front of him and grasped his head firmly between her hands, forcing him to look into her eyes.

"Don't you see? There will never be anyone but you in here," she whispered as she reached to place one of his hands over her heart.

Jack quickly moved to capture her lips. Their entwined hands remained over her heart, while his free hand snaked around behind her to urge her body closer. He then gently leaned her backwards on the bed and began exploring her skin with his fingers, savoring the shape and feel of her body.

Unlike their earlier communion, this time the experience was slow and intense, with both trying desperately to demonstrate their commitment to each other.

At the conclusion of their lovemaking Jack sat up, laid back against the pillows, and pulled her on top of him. He brushed his fingers through her sweat-dampened hair as she rested heavily on top of him, reveling in the feel of her. She was there...she was alive...and she was his at least for now. He reverently placed a kiss on top of her head.

"Amazing..." he murmured. "I know I should feel guilty...but I don't. I could never regret needing you like this."

Sam did not move but remained very still, sprawled on top of him. Her only movement was that of her hand gently brushing her fingers up and down the arm wrapped tightly around her.

A revelation dawned on her as she lay there deep in thought – although she had openly declared her love for this man, he had not reciprocated the gesture. The only thing he had confessed to was needing and wanting her - not being in love with her.

She quietly voiced a response to the last words that Jack had uttered before drifting off to sleep. "Don't make promises you can't keep, Jack. Don't make promises you can't keep."

The End

TBC in "Without You" - Part Two of the In Need Series