All Through The Night
Pairing: Sam/Jack, some Sam/Pete
Spoilers/Keywords: S7, anything before Heroes Pt 2, Sam/Jack sorta-UST, angst
Notes: Stargate and all related characters are the property of MGM/Gekko Productions and no money is being made from this work of fanfiction. Big, huge thanks and hugs to my betas, Christi, Risa, and ChaosAngel. They did a tremendous job on editing this and made it loads better. Also, thanks to Lyssie for letting me spam this at her over AIM. This is my attempt at a Heroes-tag that's Jack and Sam-oriented without going porny. Because frankly, Sam going to anyone but Pete for comfort-sex at the end of Heroes doesn't really make all that much sense to me. And yes, the title is from a Cyndi Lauper song. Enjoy!
The last thing she'd wanted was to lose control and start crying in front of him. Just get in there, check on Jack, and then get out and find somewhere isolated that she could collapse and bawl her eyes out. But the attempt at conversation had failed spectacularly, and she'd already managed to blurt out far more than she'd planned on telling him. So now Sam was trying to find a graceful way to stop crying and get herself out of the room, and then he was standing right in front of her.
His arms were around her, holding her tightly against him, and she was really crying and didn't seem to know how to stop. And his lips were brushing her neck, Sam realized, her mind unexpectedly focusing on that little detail. Her CO was holding her close and kissing her neck while she struggled not to soak his shoulder.
"You gonna be okay, Carter?" he whispered in her ear. "I know things aren't okay now."
"No, they aren't," she agreed, swallowing hard. His hug tightened. "I...I'll be okay, sir. Thank you."
"Of course you will," he murmured soothingly, lips brushing her neck again.
"I know," she said, closing her eyes and letting herself be comforted by the warmth, scent, and solid familiarity of Jack O'Neill. "Can
I..." she took another deep breath and finished in a small voice, "Do you need a ride home, sir?"
Jack pulled away slightly, his eyes gentle. "Wouldn't say no, Carter."
"We can leave now if you want." Her smile was shaky but it was a smile. Jack let her go, giving her shoulders a final reassuring squeeze, and nodded.
She almost hesitantly reached for his hand, drawing him from the room. Her clasp tightened briefly, and then she let go as they reached the corridor. They walked silently to the elevator, Jack's shoulder occasionally brushing hers.
Jack had tried to stay awake on the ride from the SGC, he honestly had, but the combination of pain medication, the warmth from the late-afternoon sun, the motion of his truck, and Carter's quiet attempts at conversation had lulled him into a half-awake state. He was dimly aware that she'd glanced over at him once and stopped talking and he really wished she hadn't. Even when he wasn't following what she was saying, the sound of her voice always made him feel more secure. He concentrated on the bright warmth across the side of his face and suppressed the desire to ask her to start talking again.
"We're here," Sam said softly, waking Jack from his light doze. He blinked and sat up, looking groggily at his house through the passenger side window.
"Yeah. Looks like we are." He grimaced. "I hate pain meds. Have I ever mentioned that?"
Sam shot him a small smile. "I think you've mentioned that a few times, sir." She pulled the keys from the ignition and unclipped her seatbelt. "I'll help you inside."
"I don't need you coddling me," he grumbled, not wanting to admit that part of him enjoyed it all the same.
"I'm not, sir," she protested quietly, a mildly hurt look crossing her face. "There have been plenty of times where I've been injured and you-" She trailed off, looking away. "Fine. If that's what you want, I'll just go home."
"Carter." He reached out and caught her hand, hating himself for snapping at her. "Look, you know how I am after a trip to the infirmary."
"Yes, sir. I do," she whispered, still looking away.
His hand tightened on hers. "Please stay." He paused, then shot her a tentative smile. "I've got Simpsons DVDs you haven't even seen yet."
Sam let out a small snort, some of the tension visibly leaving her posture. "Shoulda known this was a ploy to get me to watch cartoons," she murmured.
"Yep." Jack smiled faintly, his fingers shifting to stroke her palm. "It's always about cartoons, Carter."
She shook her head, her lips curving upwards as she looked at him. "I'd love to stay and watch cartoons with you, sir."
"Good." He let go of her hand and unclipped his own seatbelt. He moved to open his door and winced as his midriff protested. "Carter."
He sighed. "Looks like I'm going to need some of that coddling after all."
Sam looked at him, her expression calmly matter-of-fact. "Of course, sir." She got out and walked around, helping him out of the passenger side and into the house. Figuring he could get away with claiming he needed the physical support, Jack slid a companionable arm around her shoulders. She said nothing, but he felt her tense muscles slowly relax.
They got to the door, Jack digging in his pocket to fish out his keys and let them both in.
"Want to order pizza or something?" he asked, desperately not wanting to move his arm from around her shoulders. Sam nodded and tilted her head towards the couch.
"I'll make the call, sir. You get some rest."
Jack sighed and stumbled over to the couch, sinking onto the cushions with a relieved sigh. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. "No pineapple."
"No pineapple," she agreed, walking over to the phone.
He let out another sigh and let himself doze lightly as she began asking about specials.
"Oh…there's so much I don't know about astrophysics," Homer Simpson mused anxiously. "I wish I'd read that book by that wheelchair guy."
Sam let out a small chuckle, earning a grin from Jack. He carefully reached out and snagged another slice of pizza from the box.
"Cartoons are okay, huh?"
"Yeah." She leaned more comfortably into the couch. "Cartoons are okay, sir." She eyed him for a moment, then hesitantly allowed her head to lean against his shoulder. Jack blinked before slipping his arm back around her, holding her in a loose embrace.
"How about you, Carter?" he asked.
She sighed. "I…I'm pretty sure I'll be okay too, sir."
"Good." His arm drew her a little closer. They sat in a companionable silence for a few moments before Sam spoke again.
"I…" she swallowed, then continued in a tiny voice, "I don't want to be alone tonight."
Jack blinked again. "Carter, if you want…I mean, shouldn't you be asking Shanahan?"
Sam bit her lower lip. "Not…not sex, sir. This isn't about that," she said in a softer voice. A bleak look suddenly filled her eyes. "I just want…I want to be with someone who understands."
"Carter…he's a cop," Jack pointed out. "Losing someone in the line of duty…" he trailed off for a moment, then finished with, "I think he'd get it."
"I know he would." She sighed and reached out for his free hand, turning it over and tracing the palm, fingers running feather-light across callused skin and fortune-teller's lines. His breath caught briefly and he didn't even try to stop her. "But this isn't the same thing. Not to me."
"Carter-" he began.
"Sir." She looked up at him, the bleak look still in her eyes. "Don't make me beg."
He closed his eyes for a moment at the brief surge of pain her forlorn expression invoked in him. "No." He pulled his hand free, and pulled her into a careful hug. "Stay here as long as you need to, Carter."
He could feel her shaking slightly as she hid her face against his shoulder and reached up to stroke her hair soothingly. "Hey. I'm here, Carter. You aren't alone."
"It sucks," she said shakily, her voice muffled by his shoulder. "All of it. You…you were lying there and all I could think was 'God, not the Colonel. Anyone but him…'" A shudder went through her. "So I wound up losing my best friend instead."
"Carter, this wasn't your fault," he murmured, tangling his fingers in her hair.
"I know that." She looked up at him, her eyes oddly bright. "But that doesn't make it better."
Jack sighed heavily. "I know it doesn't." He leaned in enough to kiss her forehead. "I miss her too."
She closed her eyes, a tear escaping to trail down her cheek. "I've still got you, though."
"Me and Daniel and Teal'c," he agreed. "Yeah." He brushed the tear away with his thumb. "You are never alone, Sam."
"Thank you," she whispered, opening her eyes and focusing on him again. Jack found himself caught again by the conflicted emotions of trust, despair, and unbearable weariness clouding their blue depths. Slowly, feeling like a fog had settled over his brain, he gently tilted her chin up and kissed her lightly, just brushing his lips over hers before pulling away again.
"Let's get to bed. Been a long day."
"I, uh, don't have pajamas," she stammered.
"I'm sure I can round up some sweats or something," he replied, deciding that this was definitely not the time to make the quip that his mind immediately came up with. He let her go and stood, holding out his hand to her. "C'mon. Things always look better after a good night's sleep."
She nodded and got up, then slipped her arms around his waist and rested her head against his shoulder. "Thank you," she said again.
Jack wound his arms around her back, kissing the top of her head and holding her close for a long moment. "Don't mention it, Carter." He let her go and fumbled for the remote to turn off the DVD player and the tv, then reached for her hand and led her towards the back of the house. They reached his bedroom and he drew her inside, pulling her into another quick hug before moving away to fumble in one of his dresser drawers and presenting her with an Academy t-shirt and a pair of grey sweatpants, then pointing towards the bathroom. "I hope those fit."
"I'm sure they'll be fine, sir." She smiled slightly and ducked into the bathroom to change.
Jack eyed the closed door before quickly donning his own sleeping attire and tossing the clothes in the direction of the hamper. He turned the covers down and looked up when the bathroom door opened. Sam stepped out, clad in the slightly too-big clothes, looking almost shy.
"Having second thoughts?" Jack asked softly. "I can always sleep on the couch tonight, Carter."
She shook her head and walked over to his bed, climbing in and curling onto her side. Jack shrugged and flipped the light switch, then got in beside her and hesitantly slid an arm around her waist. Sam sighed and promptly cuddled into his shoulder, her tense muscles slowly relaxing again. He let his free hand tangle in her hair and smiled.
"Night, sir," she murmured sleepily.
Time seemed to slow to a crawl. She watched him jerk backwards, falling almost gracefully to the ground, smoke rising in a grayish-white curl from his torso.
Sam was almost certain that body parts shouldn't be able to give off smoke like that.
"Sir!" she called out, running across the battlefield, wondering if she was about to get hit by another staff blast, and vaguely disturbed to discover that part of her didn't seem to care.
Get up, she silently urged him, Oh god, sir, get up. Move!
Another staff blast, a soft cry, and Daniel's frantic cries for help reached her and her head jerked up to find her best friend lying slumped next to Wells. Daniel turned his face to her, his eyes filled with horror.
Sam froze, realizing that she had no time. She could save the Colonel or she could save Janet, but she couldn't save them both.
"Sam! Help me!" Daniel cried out, tears starting to stream down his face. "She's not moving!"
She glanced over at Jack who still lay motionless and wondered if it was already too late for him.
"Sam!" Daniel pleaded.
Sam let out a soft, despairing moan, and felt a hand clasp her shoulder, shaking her gently.
"C'mon, it's just a nightmare," Jack's voice urged, reassuringly, "You're safe."
She moaned again and tried to pull away from the hand. It wouldn't let her go.
"Carter. Wake up."
Now the words were an order, and Sam had grown accustomed to following his orders. She struggled towards his voice, finally opening her eyes to find him leaning over her, a look of concern on his face. He reached out to stroke her cheek.
"Bad one, huh?"
Sam nodded, turning into his touch. He cupped the side of her face and kissed her forehead.
"Need to talk about it?"
She blinked before grinning despite herself. "Now you sound like Daniel, sir."
"Hey!" He tried to look stern. "I'll have you know that I'm perfectly capable of being sensitive, Carter."
The grin faded. "Yeah. I guess you are, sir," was the soft reply.
Jack studied her for a moment, then kissed her again and lay back down, cuddling her against him. "So…need to talk about it?"
She shook her head. "I guess it wasn't anything I wasn't expecting."
"Oh." His hug tightened, one hand moving to rub circles into her back. "Hey, you know I'm here when you need me, right?"
Her only reply was to lift her head enough to kiss him, her hand curving warmly at the back of his head and drawing him closer. Jack let himself get a bit lost in the process of kissing Sam Carter, wondering how she managed to have such nice breath at this hour and hoping that his own wasn't a turn-off, although she really didn't seem to be complaining.
Her hand slid to his upper arm, stroking the bicep and the kiss became a bit more intense.
Really, really nice breath.
He'd always known she was special.
Mutual need for oxygen had them break the kiss a few moments later. Jack traced her lips with a fingertip, staring at her wonderingly.
"What was that for?"
"It works both ways, sir."
"What?" he asked, trying to figure out if he'd missed something or if he was still befuddled from that kiss. His fingers moved from her lips to her neck, tenderly stroking along the smooth length of it.
Her mouth curved into a lopsided smile. "The being here," she clarified. "I'm here for you too, sir."
"But you're going back to him in the morning," Jack pointed out.
"I-" She looked away and sighed. "What am I supposed to tell you, sir?"
"Carter-" he began.
"Yes, sir." She looked back up at him. "I am going back to Pete in the morning. What other choice is there?"
"You could…" he trailed off, pretty sure that he didn't want to finish that thought.
"I could stay here?" she replied. "No. I really can't."
Jack closed his eyes, wishing he hadn't said anything in the first place. "Look, Carter-"
She swallowed. "You and I both know that we can't ever-no matter how I feel about you."
"So, it all gets left in another room, huh?" he said with a sigh.
"It has to be," she answered.
"I know." Jack hugged her tightly. "I know. I'm sorry."
"Jack…so am I," she whispered, blinking back sudden, unexpected tears. "I-I should-"
"Don't." Jack started rubbing her back again. "Stay. Till morning, at least."
"It's okay." His lips brushed her neck again. "I meant it about being here when you need me."
"All right." She let herself relax, gently running a hand over his side. "Until morning."
They lay silently for several moments, taking comfort in the other's presence. Sam's hand kept running idly over his side, a gesture that Jack found unexpectedly comforting. He nuzzled her neck, reveling in her scent and the warmth of her skin.
"Jack?" she whispered again.
He stroked her upper arm. "Does…does he love you?"
There was a long pause and then a soft, "Yes. I really think he does."
"Good." Then Jack snorted. "He'd be an idiot not to."
Sam smiled faintly, still running her hand over his side. "Thank you."
"Y're welcome, Carter." He kissed her cheek. "Wanna try to get some more sleep?"
She nodded. "Another busy day tomorrow."
He gently resettled her and leaned his head back into his pillow. "This comfortable?"
"Yeah." She leaned back and closed her eyes. "Jack?"
Her voice was almost too soft to hear. "I still do care, you know. I never stopped."
Jack let out a deep breath. "I know. I never stopped either." He reached up and stoked her hair again, his voice thick with emotion. "Sweet dreams, Carter."
"You too, sir." She snuggled into his side again and relaxed into sleep, knowing he'd still be holding her in the morning.