Warning: Explicit adult material ahead. I went back and forth over whether or not to include it in the story. I didn't want to degrade the material at all, and I wanted to stay away from anything that might be misconstrued as voyeristic. But then I realized that rediscovering sexuality is a momentous step in rape recovery, and, in order to stay true to the subject matter, it had to be included. At first, I tried to make it not-so-scandalizing, but it lost the quality I was looking for, so I tried for a balance between the two, which I'm not sure I achieved. At any rate, here it is.


Alea Iacta Est

Part V:

Reconstruction


She awoke slowly, unaware that she had ever been clutched by sleep, and moaned softly as the brilliant warmth of the sun fluttered across her eyelids.

"Good morning, sleepyhead." His voice was muffled as if her ears--or his mouth--were wrapped in cotton wool. And then the bed was moving, dipping as he purportedly stretched out next to her and she felt his fingers brush like butterflies against her forehead. She tried to speak, but her tongue felt swollen, her throat parched. Instead of words, her body convulsed as a raspy cough swelled in her lungs and sped through her throat.

"Easy, baby," she heard him whisper. "Take it easy." His arm was beneath her shoulders then, and she was being elevated to better accommodate her breathing. "Take a couple sips of this," she heard as a straw brushed her lips and eased itself into her mouth as she opened it. The water was cool against her mouth's arid tissues and felt like a blessed draught of pure heaven. Relinquishing the straw, she felt her body being laid back against the bed with the utmost care and then heard another voice--female this time--trickle down from somewhere close, somewhere above her body.

"Sam, can you open your eyes, honey?"

Janet. Janet was next to her; she could smell the doctor's perfume. Struggling mightily to do as her friend requested, she managed to open her eyes to narrow slits and immediately shut them again as a blinding light grated against her irises. She heard someone moan and belatedly realized that the sound had issued from her own throat.

"Shut the blinds," she heard Janet utter. Seconds later, the red-orange tint beyond her eyelids and the warmth accompanying it vanished. "The blinds are shut, Sam. It's not as bright now. Do you think you can try opening your eyes one more time?" She wanted to nod, but her muscles refused to cooperate; instead, she again forced her eyelids apart and, after her eyes had focused, she found that she was looking into Jack's beautifully rugged, handsomely concerned face. He was reclining next to her, his body screaming that it ached to hold her, but was refraining out of respect for the others present. He offered her a relieved smile instead.

"Hey there," he said tenderly, whisking his fingertips softly around the edge of her jaw. "'Bout time you woke up."

She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. Her throat convulsed in a difficult swallow and on her second try she managed, "How long...?"

"Almost thirty-six hours, Sam," Janet intoned. "We were starting to get a tad worried."

"She was starting," her father corrected softly. "The rest of us began worrying thirty-five and a half hours ago." He was trying to cover his concern with humor, she knew, but was failing miserably. "Do you remember anything, honey?"

Succeeding at nodding this time around, she added a soft, "Yeah," before again swallowing harshly. Suddenly her eyes widened as the haze enveloping her memories faded and, almost in a panic, she asked, "Where's Daniel?" She needed to see him, she knew; talk to him. She needed to talk to him right now.

"Whoa, honey," Jacob told her, "take it easy. He's in the living room. You want me to get him?"

She nodded, her eyes still open and quite alert. "Please."

"He's been a mess ever since you...passed out," Jack muttered, gently smoothing a tendril of her hair that did not require smoothing.

She nodded again, her eyes looking up at him, pleading. "You weren't mad at him, were you?"

"Well..." Jack began, but was immediately cut off.

"Yes, he was," Daniel said from the doorway. "And with good reason."

Sam disengaged her fingers from Jack's and held her hand out to her friend. "No," she whispered, tears welling up in her eyes. "Come here," she managed before her voice broke, the constriction of her throat disallowing her further speech.

Surprised by her entreaty, Daniel stepped into the room and crossed to her bedside, cautiously sitting next to her at her request. As she lifted her back from the mattress, her movement greatly aided by Jack's hand supporting her shoulder, she reached her arms around Daniel's neck and clung to him, her tears finally falling as she felt his arms tentatively encircle her back. "Thank you," she breathed, clutching his body as tightly as her weakened muscles would allow. She smiled through her tears as his embrace strengthened and his hand alighted on the back of her head, softly cradling it against his shoulder. Drawing a deep, shuddering draught of air, she exhaled, her breath again forming words. "Thank you..."

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"Did you check the bathrooms?"

"Yes, Mom."

"Funny," Janet scowled as she lugged her suitcase down the steps. "But when we get back and you discover that you left your toothbrush on the bathroom counter, don't expect me to go back and get it for you."

"Nice try, but I don't have to brush my teeth. Selmak takes care of plaque and gum disease and all those other oral hygiene nightmares."

Daniel glanced up from packing the trunk of the sedan, his eyebrows arched appreciatively. "Now that's a perk."

Jacob grinned and tossed him a duffle bag. "Tell me about it."

"So, class," Jack began as he whipped a pillow into the backseat, "this week in Intro to Snakes 101 we have covered the two main advantages of sharing your body with a reptile. One--you can play hours of football and mock the puny ability of the lesser mortals. Two--you never have to visit the dentist again. Any questions?"

"Yeah, I got one," Jacob said, a deep frown etched across his face. He paused dramatically and placed his fisted hands firmly on his hips, utterly enjoying watching Jack O'Neill squirm under the severity of his scrutiny. A smile breaking his features, he asked, "When did I ever call you a lesser mortal?"

"You didn't," Jack replied, obviously relieved and not missing a beat. "I was referring to Daniel."

"And to think that I actually wanted to stay the extra two weeks," Daniel muttered as he stepped back to examine his work on the trunk.

"Aww, c'mon, Danny," Jack enthused warmly. "You know you had fun. You can still stay a couple more days. You know you want to."

"No," Daniel answered, slamming the truck with a decided push. "No, I don't." He paused, a slight smile flickering across his face. "Besides, I think you and Sam need some time to...get better acquainted."

Jacob grinned at the comment, but raised his hands. "Hey, not in front of her old man, huh?"

"You guys talking about me?" Sam's curious tone beckoned them as she carefully walked down the steps and approached the suddenly quiet trio. She glanced up at Jack, her eyebrow arched suspiciously as she silently begged an answer.

Slipping an arm around her waist, Jack replied, "Only about your finer qualities."

Her eyes narrowed, her disbelief apparent, but she chose to dismiss it in favor of giving her father a warm embrace. His arms were gentle as he pulled her towards him, mindful now of her fragility. Though she had gained strength in the interceding two and a half weeks since their arrival, she was still quite frail and would be for some time. "I am so proud of you, Sammie," he murmured and placed a soft kiss on her temple. "Don't ever forget that."

She sniffed slightly and shook her head. "I won't." Pulling away from him, but leaving her hands on his shoulders, she looked up, her eyes bright, and whispered, "Thank you for staying."

He smiled and gently cupped the side of her face in his palm. "Anytime, honey. I love you."

Returning his smile, she nodded, murmuring, "I love you, too," and then stepped towards him to give him another hug before walking over to Janet who had emerged from the cabin after having double checked the entire thing for forgotten articles. Her smile turning decidedly sheepish, Sam said, "Thanks for putting up with me. I know I got kinda..."

Janet smiled dryly. "Childish? Immature?"

"I was thinking more bitchy,'" Sam said, her face alight in a full-fledged grin.

Janet chuckled. "Don't worry about it." Casting a glance over Sam's shoulder at Jack, she muttered, "I've dealt with worse." Her mood sobering briefly, she added, "We'll get you back in the SGC, Sam. Hammond is dead-set on it. I think you have the backing of every officer on base. ...but in the meantime," she continued, her lips curving into a suggestive grin, "You and Jack have fun...out here...together...alone."

Sam smiled shyly at her friend's implication and glanced down at the ground briefly, her teeth nervously working across her bottom lip. "Yeah..." she murmured, her chest expanding as she drew a deep breath.

"Hey," Janet beckoned softly, stepping closer to her friend and placing her hand gently against Sam's arm. "Remember what I said. A) he's not them. B) you deserve it. And c) just let yourself go." She smiled reassuringly as Sam nodded, her blue eyes still tinged with nervousness, but sparked with determination. Raising her arms, Janet wrapped her friend in a tight embrace and whispered, "You'll be fine, honey." After several moments, she pulled back, her eyebrows arched in anticipation. "And I expect a full report when you get back, Major." Both women grinned and Sam chuckled softly at her friend's unabashed eagerness.

"Uh-oh," Daniel muttered from behind them. "Two doctors--one medical, one scientific, and both women--are laughing very softly tucked way back here in a corner. Should I be concerned?"

Sam grinned and shook her head. "You shouldn't, no."

Daniel's eyebrows inched up his brow slightly and a small smile crossed his face. "But someone should be, eh?"

"I didn't say that."

"No," Daniel admitted as one of his eyebrows arched dramatically, "but you were thinking it."

"Daniel," Janet sighed, a slight smile dancing on her lips. "I hate to break it to you, but you are not telepathic."

"You haven't given me a physical in over two weeks, so how would you know? Maybe the Asgard kidnapped me in my sleep; maybe this is some sort of Goa'uld mind trick to lull you into a false sense of security; maybe..." he paused for dramatic effect before narrowing his eyes and saying, "...I've been cloned."

"Maybe I need to schedule an MRI ASAP."

Daniel's eyes widened. "Maybe not."

Sam laughed, her blue eyes sparkling merrily, "Maybe you've been around Jack for far too long."

Daniel nodded, his lips pursed thoughtfully. "That seems like a much more likely scenario."

Janet smiled broadly at them, winked over her shoulder at Sam, who was still grinning at the antics of her friends' exchange, and headed over to Jack to bid him good bye. When she had left, Daniel smiled down at Sam and opened his arms for a hug. They did not say anything as they embraced, having already tackled the brunt of what needed to be said during the interim of their extended visit. She had saved his life and he, in turn, had saved hers. Under that light, the rest, really, was trivial. Withdrawing from their embrace, Daniel wrapped his arm loosely around her shoulders and escorted her back to the others.

"Hey, careful there," Jack warned as they approached, his eyes narrowing at the pair's proximity. Sam grinned at him and, after pressing a chaste kiss to Daniel's cheek, sidled up to Jack, wrapping her arm snugly around his waist.

With final wishes of safe travel, the pair watched Jacob, Daniel, and Janet pile into the car and take off down the driveway, a small trail of dust billowing from beneath the tires. After the vehicle was out of sight, Jack moved out of Sam's embrace and held out his hand for hers. Silently, they made their way up the walk to the cabin and into the blessed stillness of solitude.

---------------------------------------------------------------

"You warm enough?"

Sam turned at his voice, startled from her ruminations on Janet's parting comments, and nodded as she accepted the cup of tea he handed her. She shifted slightly to make room for him beside her on the couch and then snuggled herself against his side before taking a tentative sip of the steaming liquid.

"What were you thinking?

Thankful for the dim light of the fire as a blush slowly crept up her neck, she shook her head, a reticent smile edging her lips. "Nothing," she murmured as she brought the mug again to her mouth.

"Horse hockey," he said as he arched his neck to look at her askance. Intrigued by her sudden timidity, he lifted his hand from around her shoulders and buried his fingers in her hair, a small smile forming on his face. "What?" he asked softly.

She sighed. "Just something Janet said before she left."

He groaned and rolled his eyes before lifting his mug of Irish Crme-enhanced hot chocolate to his lips. "What did she say now? Don't forget to floss?"

"No," she quietly drawled, her courage slowly mounting as the conversation progressed. "Actually, it was more like...advice."

He swallowed and arched his eyebrow curiously. "Advice? What about?"

She smiled inwardly. "You."

Jack's eyes widened as he turned towards her, certain he had misunderstood. "Me?" He asked, his incredulity eliciting a small grin from her. "What the hell could she possibly tell you about me?"

"Oh," she replied softly, her eyes shifting down to contemplate the golden depths of her drink. "Just some things I need to be reminded of every once in awhile."

"Such as...?"

She paused momentarily before looking up at him, her eyes gleaming passionately in the warm orange glow of the fire, but still replete with apprehension. "That you're not them," she whispered, looking away quickly as his face broke in understanding and his hand stilled its gentle massage of her scalp. Taking a deep breath, she continued, "That I deserve the love you want to give me and..." She paused, the third article being the hardest for her to voice and the most difficult for her to reconcile. "And to...just let go...and feel."

Jack was silent for several moments before his fingers reinitiated their tender caress along the nape of her neck and he murmured, "She's right."

She closed her eyes at his affirmation and nodded. "I know." Several moments elapsed in silence before she murmured, "It's never going to go away, is it?"

"What?" he asked softly. "The memories?"

She shook her head and swallowed, willing her tears to remain at bay. "The fear."

Almost immediately after the words had left her mouth, Jack plucked her mug from her hands and sat both of their drinks alongside the couch. Looking up at him questioningly as he shifted her gently away from his side, she felt a spurt of terror shoot through her limbs as she briefly thought that he was leaving her. But as his mouth tenderly claimed hers, the thought fled along with a majority of her fear. As his tongue glided across the crease of her lips, she wrapped her arms around his neck and eagerly allowed him access to her mouth, reveling all the while in his soothing caresses and the reassurance of his hands softly circling her back and neck. Gradually increasing the intensity of the kiss, his mouth moving over and in hers with a passion he had yet to display, he gently pushed her back against the cushions. As he shifted one of his legs in between her thighs and pressed the entire length of his body against her, he broke off their kiss and gazed down at her, his breath coming in ragged gasps. "You scared?"

Lack of oxygen disallowed a verbal response, but Sam shook her head, her eyes wide and darkened. As she began to pull him back to her, yearning suddenly to feel his mouth again on hers, he reluctantly stopped her. "As much as I love where this is going," he murmured, his breath still slightly labored, "and as much as I love this couch, I'm thinkin' we need a bit more room."

Sam smiled up at him and nodded, attempting to squash the small fragment of apprehension that threatened to invade the space in which her passion had come to reside as their physicality lapsed very briefly. Silently mourning the temporary loss of his body, she took his hand and followed him to their bedroom, her trepidation increasing as they neared the doorway. She stopped involuntarily just inside the threshold and silently cursed herself as she found that she could not meet his gaze. Warmth surrounded her body then as he embraced her and slowly eased her into the room.

"What's that first thing Janet told you to remember?" he murmured, his breath soft and smelling faintly of chocolate and Irish Crme.

"It's you and not them," she replied, her tone practically inaudible as Jack pulled back just enough to look at her.

Briefly pressing his lips to her forehead, he gently cupped the back of her head and settled it against his shoulder. "And the second?"

"That I deserve the love you want to give me."

He nodded, his fingers twining into her hair and gently pulling her head back. The love drenching his eyes caught her breath and incited a faint flutter deep within her belly as she heard him softly whisper, "The third?"

Her gaze darted from his eyes to his mouth and back again as she whispered, "...to let go..."

As his mouth gradually descended towards hers, he prodded, "And...?"

Closing her eyes as his breath passed over her parting lips, she breathed back at him, "And feel."

The passion they had left in the living room found them again as he claimed her mouth as he had minutes before, his tenderness ridding her of any lingering doubt or fear. She gave herself fully to their embrace and when he slowly backed her up until the edge of the bed pressed lightly against her legs, she willingly lowered herself onto the comforter, whimpering slightly as his mouth left hers.

Smiling down at her as he reached over to tug the pull chain of the bedside lamp, he allowed himself to admire her under its dim light; her beauty augmented by the passion in her eyes, her hair beautifully mussed from his fingers, and her lips, swollen and glistening from his kisses...God, she was intoxicating. All thought fled from him then as she grasped the front of his shirt and gently pulled him down to her waiting lips. Nestling one leg again between her thighs, he slowly eased one of his hands under the fabric of her sweatshirt to feather his fingertips over her abdomen. When she jerked at the contact, he released her mouth but did not stay his hand. "Who's touching you?" he murmured, his fingertips brushing gradually up her side, intent, she knew, on enveloping her breast.

But they were his fingers, his soft, strong hand that traveled the course of her skin. Not theirs. This tender exploration founded in love, in passion, was not the brutal violation of 275. This was different, poles apart from that equation where touch equated pain, and penetration was nigh on dehumanization. Under his gentle handling, her body was not a commodity, separate from her mind, distanced from her Self; here, as his hand drifted over the gradual swell of her breast and her eyes slipped blissfully closed as she allowed herself to respond, her mind was present. And he was loving both.

"Who's touching you, baby?" His words were breathless and as she opened her eyes to look up at him, to finally answer his question, she was awed by the bottomless depth of his passion.

Gripping his shoulders, she pulled herself up to sit beside him, her brilliant eyes, her passion unfettered, locked onto his as she slowly raised her arms above her head. "You are," she breathed, a smile flickering across her lips as he sat up and grasped the hem of her sweatshirt to delicately pull it over her head. Knowing that his eyes were gazing unabashedly at her nakedness, she reached both of her hands under the fabric of his shirt and ran her fingers lightly up his stomach and chest, delighting silently in his low groan as her nails gently scraped the two small nubs on his upper body. Jack grabbed the fabric bunched around her wrists and whipped it over his head and arms before tossing it haphazardly over his shoulder.

He gazed down at her then, his face softening as he watched her eyes roam the firm expanse of his chest, her brow furrowing when she caught sight of his collection of battle scars. Her hand reached across the space separating them and a soft fingertip slowly traced the whole of his exposed scar tissue, a feather-soft caress leading from the end of one to the beginning of another. He did not touch her and barely breathed while she reverently explored his torso, intent instead on allowing her this uninterrupted span of moments to realize that his body was marked as hers was--with the remnants of the battles he had fought and survived. When her finger stilled a few inches away from his navel, she looked up at him, her irises crystallized by unshed tears. "I love you."

A smile flitted briefly across his lips. "I love you back." When her lips tipped up slightly at his use of her own oft-spoken words, he gently pushed her back onto the mattress, conciliated by her assurance that she understood--she loved him, body, mind, and soul, just as he loved her. The scars did not matter; if anything, they added character, not disgust. Secure in this realization, she watched him as his eyes freely roamed her bare body and did not flinch when he delicately traced the line of her collarbone to her sternum and slowly eased his fingers across the expanse of her abdomen to the elastic band of her sweatpants.

As she permissively lifted her hips, he bent to place a reverential kiss to belly, the light scratch of his whiskers and soft heat of his mouth eliciting from her a sharp, involuntary gasp. He withdrew, a slight smile across his lips, and hooked his fingers around the heather-gray waistband, pulling the garment and her underwear from her body and depositing them absently on the floor.

He had witnessed her nakedness several times previously, but now he allowed himself the privilege of gazing down at her with unbridled appreciation and did not bother to quell his arousal as he had before. "God, you're beautiful," he breathed as his eyes openly roamed the slopes and curves of her body sprawled lazily across the mattress.

He did not see her protruding bones, her slowly healing contusions, the scabs speckling her limbs and breasts--he saw only his Samantha, the soldier, the scientist, the woman with whom he was so desperately in love. When his eyes again beheld her face, she was smiling radiantly through her tears and reached out towards him, silently beckoning him back to her side.

"What are those for?" he whispered, nuzzling a kiss against her neck before gently pressing his lips to her dampened cheeks. She shook her head, her eyes locked onto his, their depths clear and unmistakably vibrant. He frowned slightly at her response, and delicately traced the contours of her face. "Are you scared?" Tears welled up anew in her eyes as she again shook her head before wrapping her arms around his neck and pressing a reassuring string of kisses to his shoulder.

He smiled inwardly as he rolled onto his back and settled her slight weight over his, his growing erection brushing against her through the thin fabric of his cotton shorts. She started slightly as she realized the import of the caress, her eyes darting in the direction of the intimate contact before again finding his. Brushing his thumb across her tear-streaked cheekbone, he whispered, "Now are you scared?"

Drawing a deep breath, she shifted slightly over him, her breasts pressing firmly against his chest, and nodded, her reluctance palpable. "Yes," she admitted softly, her gaze drifting momentarily from his. "But," she continued slowly, her hands grasping his shoulders to pull herself up towards him. "I don't want to stop." She bent to kiss him, but was stayed by his fingers pressing softly against her lips.

"If that changes, let me know," he whispered, his eyes suddenly fluxed with sincerity. "We can stop at anytime."

She nodded, greatly relieved by his words, and continued her descent towards his mouth, her lips parted and eager to receive his. As their mouths dueled ardently for long, sweet moments, his hands traveled in sensuous loops across her back and buttocks, squeezing her flesh to increase the pressure between their hips. She moaned softly into his mouth and suddenly longed to feel his body pressed fully against hers.

Twining her arms around his neck, she rolled onto her back and willingly accepted his weight as he propped himself on his elbows above her. As he began to trail a hot path of open-mouthed kissed down her jaw and neck, she gasped his name, an intense heat settling deep within her belly as her hips began to leisurely rock against his hardening member. Smiling as he moaned in response, his fingers tensing slightly around her ribs, she quickly buried her fingers in his hair as his mouth descended upon the sensitive flesh of an aureole. His tongue swirled around the dark skin, and he delighted in its gradual tightening under his ministrations. As his hand trailed up her side to gently attend to her opposite breast, he reveled in the taste of her skin, the soft gasps that issued from her throat, and pressure of her nails across his scalp and shoulders. Gently kneading the supple flesh, he released its twin from his mouth and blew across the moisture his tongue had left behind, his arousal steadily growing as she began to writhe beneath him, his name dancing raggedly off of her lips, her neck arched against the pillow. God, she was beautiful...

Well aware that she was hanging on his every caress, he slowly eased his fingers down her abdomen and across her hip to the delicate skin of her inner thigh. Her eyes opened then as he expected they would, but the tinge of apprehension he caught flittering across her pupils did not sway him. Instead, it only increased his longing to allay that fear, to prove to her body and mind that he would not harm her, that her memories were now memories only and had no power over her Self in the present. She was safe here and allowed to feel as a woman should in the arms of the man who loved her.

Easing himself off of her body, he settled himself on his side next to her, his full length contacting her skin. Pressing a soft, reassuring kiss to her lips, he gazed down at her, his love apparent as he stared warmly into her troubled, highly aroused eyes.

"Jack?" Her voice was breathless, but tinged with anxiety.

Bending to nuzzle a kiss into her golden hair, he whispered, "Trust me, baby." As she nodded slowly, assuring him of her faith, he added, "...just feel," and began circling his fingers around her sensitive flesh. Her eyes fluttered shut as an involuntary shiver claimed her body and small goose bumps arose along her thighs and arms; he smiled lovingly down at her, knowing that she needed to feel her body and mind as one before their consummation and was awestruck that she had entrusted that post to him. After many long moments of exploring the inner skin of her thighs and committing her every response to memory, he slowly traced a single fingertip along the crease of her intimate folds, tangling his fingers gently in the coarse, golden curls.

Her hips bucked at his action and his name tore from her throat as her fingers twined themselves into the silvering strands of his hair. Ignoring his own arousal, he gently eased his finger in between her moistened lips, his eyes never straying from her face and her glorious display of unfettered sensuality. As he began to trace the circle of her tender opening, her eyes opened, her lids heavy, but her sudden consternation evident. He smiled reassuringly down at her and slowly caressed his way up to her clitoris. Her eyes widening as he softly brushed the small bundle of nerves with the tip of his finger, he whispered, "Keep your eyes open, baby. Keep looking at me." Numbly she nodded, the heat that had been creeping through her muscles flaring as he added a second finger to his caress and slowly began to massage her, his skilled touch unerringly pressing the moist bud gently against her pubic bone.

She moaned softly, her eyes fluttering shut briefly as she allowed the sensations to overtake her. When she opened them again, Jack was staring down at her, his eyes replete with love as he watched her slowly succumb to the building intensity of his caress. He knew what he was doing to her, his murmurs of encouragement and gentle kisses augmenting his fingers' movement between her thighs as her body began to quake with the driving force of her arousal. Gasping as she felt a new wave of her own juices flow from her body, her neck arched involuntarily as his speed quickened over her slick folds.

"Jack..." she moaned, her fingers digging frantically into his shoulder as the muscles of her legs contracted sporadically and her back involuntarily arched. As her tremors heightened and the sensations mounted to overwhelming proportions, she grasped the short hairs at his nape and breathed, "I can't..."

She was on the brink, he knew, so close to orgasm that her body was painfully on fire. "You can," he assured her, his motions slowing somewhat as he placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

She shook her head, her eyes wide and almost fearful. Her breath coming in ragged gasps, she whispered, "It's too much...I can't..."

"Just let go," he soothed, his hand gradually increasing the pressure between his fingers and her pubic bone. As she gasped his name again, he gently placed his forehead against hers and whispered, "I'm right here, baby...just let go, don't fight it..." And then her hands clutched his shoulders, her nails digging fearsomely into his flesh as her hips bucked sharply against his hand. Smiling down at her as he felt her entire body clench and heard his name tear softly from her throat followed by a train of soft gasps, his fingers continued their course along her flesh, his eyes savoring her gentle, euphoric spasms as she surrendered entirely to the intensity of the orgasm. As her muscles gradually eased of their tension, his fingers stilled and withdrew from her slick folds, the knowledge that she was ready to receive him should she elect that route stirring his own desire. He wiped her juices from his fingers on the material of his shorts and gently gathered her glistening, gasping body into his arms, pressing a soft kiss to her tangled hair. He held her tightly, his fingers trailing softly across the expanse of her back and tangling in her hair as she gradually regained her breath.

When she pushed against his chest several minutes later, he looked down at her and was greeted by her warm, moist lips pressing urgently against his own. She shifted onto his body, her thighs pressed against both sides of his hips and the heat of her wetness settling enticingly onto his lower belly, and proceeded to feather his face with fleeting kisses. Groaning softly as her intimate juices moistened his skin while the coarse hair at the apex of her legs tickled his abdomen, he lifted his hands to gingerly cup her breasts, his thumbs flicking over their tightened peaks. She gasped, her fingers digging into the comforter on either side of his head, and gently rocked her hips against his body. Smiling as his fingers tightened around her breasts and he gasped her name, she wrapped her arms around his neck and rolled onto her back, her thighs parting to accommodate his hips.

Claiming his mouth hungrily, she skirted her nails down his back and eased her fingers beneath the waistbands of his shorts and boxers. When she began to push them from his hips, he pulled back from her kiss and asked breathlessly, "You sure you wanna keep going?"

Her eyes narrowing at his comment, she lifted her feet to either side of his hips, hooked her big toes around the fabric of his remaining garments and, after he raised his hips for her, slowly eased them over his buttocks and down his legs before releasing them as they encircled his feet. Quirking her eyebrow at his stunned appreciation of her leg work, she smiled smugly as he kicked the offending articles to the floor and muttered, "I guess that answers my question."

As he lowered his naked body onto hers, his hips settling gently between her thighs, he kept his eyes focused on her face and attempted to discern any sign of her remaining consternation. But as she shifted beneath him, her eyes alight and alive as he had not witnessed since before their mission to 275, and tenderly traced the outline of his lips, he was relieved of his hesitation. A small smile edging the corners of her mouth she closed her eyes as his lips descended towards hers, her arms wrapping around his neck and shoulders as he shifted more of his weight onto her small frame. God, she was so frail beneath him, so tiny that he feared crushing her; but the passion in her caresses and kisses belied her physical size and served to ease his concern.

Releasing her mouth, he began a hot, wet trail of passionate kisses along her jaw and down her throat. Groaning softly into her neck, he felt his arousal pulse fervently in his groin as she raked her nails down his back and rocked her hips against his. Double-checking her readiness, his eyes narrowed as she gasped when his finger gently probed her small, slick opening. Uncertain whether her cry was due to fear or pleasure, he placed a beckoning kiss on her lips and again traced the periphery of her channel. When her mouth parted and his name was hot on her breath, he smiled and eased one long, gentle finger into her body, preparing it for their imminent union. Her eyes fluttered open and locked onto his, his groin tightening as he simultaneously plunged and gazed into the silky depths of her desire.

Needing to feel her climax with him and knowing that he would not be able to sustain himself for long after they were coupled, he flicked his thumb over her sensitive nub and gently withdrew his finger slightly before repeating the caress. Keeping up that pattern, he buried his face in the crook of her neck, his lips and tongue swirling over her glistening skin; several seconds later, a groan wrenched from his throat as her thigh shifted and rubbed firmly against his hardened length. Looking down at her, her breath as labored as his, he withdrew his hand from between her thighs and braced himself above her. Moaning softly as she gently guided him to her entrance, he kept his eyes fixed firmly on her face as he slowly began to penetrate her folds.

Her eyes widened as he stretched the opening of her moist channel and he momentarily ceased his descent. He knew this would be the hardest part for her; even though she had come this far with him, trusted him enough to follow him to the brink of their consummation, he knew that she was terrified of their joining. He did not blame her and would not be surprised if she could not continue. But she did not ask him to stop, nor did her eyes grow dim with the onset of recollection. Instead, her chest expanded as she drew a deep draught of air into her lungs and her eyes closed briefly before she shifted underneath him and nodded for him to continue.

His desire kept tightly reined, he whispered, "You're sure?"

She nodded again, her muscles slowly relaxing as she did so, and she reassuringly caressed his cheek. "Just go slowly," she whispered, her eyes wavering slightly. "And don't look away." He nodded, his understanding of her requests apparent. They had refused to look at her, he knew, and they had taken her quickly. Much too quickly, he thought as he began to fully realize the extent of her small size. He proceeded into her body with agonizing deliberateness, the pressure of her excruciatingly tight heat around his substantial girth nearly driving him mad.

She whimpered then, her nails digging deeply into his shoulders and her eyes closing painfully. "Am I hurting you?" he gasped, his eyes still steadily trained on hers. She nodded briefly, but clutched his hips as he automatically began to withdraw.

"Just give me a minute," she whispered, her hands moving from his hips to grip his neck and shoulder. He watched her carefully as she splayed her legs further and bent her knees until her thighs brushed his hips, her feel flat on the mattress; her eyes were still closed, and the skin around their edges creased as he felt the muscles surrounding his arousal gradually ease of their tension. Opening her eyes, she nodded up at him, a small, encouraging smile about her lips. "Okay," she whispered.

But he did not move. Frowning slightly, he murmured, "I don't want to hurt you."

Tenderly cupping his jaw, she answered, "Jack, I have so much scar tissue that the pain is inevitable the first few times." Cocking her eyebrow slightly she added, "And I'll be damned if I'm going to let a little pain stand in the way of our sex life. Is that clear, Colonel?"

He grinned down at her. "Crystal, Major." He bent down and captured her mouth, his tongue quickly separating her lips and plundering her recesses as he gradually began to enter her again. Removing one of his hands from beside her, he gently kneaded one of her breasts to distract her from the pain, his thumb and forefinger alternately pinching and flicking her tightened peak, and smiled as she moaned wantonly into his mouth. Moments later his tip gently impacted her cervix, abruptly calling an end to their kiss as their mouths disengaged and their eyes met in a long gaze replete with the intensity of their combined passion.

After several moments spent reveling in the fullness of Jack seated within her body, Sam began to gently rock her hips, instigating his matching rhythm as he started to slowly withdraw and thrust back into her depths. As their rhythm gradually began to escalate, their breathing grew increasingly ragged, punctuated every now and again by soft moans and her breathless gasps. She was so blessedly tight around him, her body so willing, so warm beneath his own. Gazing down into her heavy-lidded eyes, he ground his pelvis against hers directly over her most sensitive folds and watched as her head flew back against the pillow; a low, guttural groan issued from deep within his belly as he felt her internal muscles beginning to contract around him.

She moaned as he began to increase the speed and intensity of his thrusts, her hands grasping his shoulders as she once again felt the first flutters of orgasm building within her belly. And then suddenly he was still within her, but his hips shifted over hers until their weight was pressing firmly against her clitoris; she gasped as he began a series of short, deep thrusts, each one ending with a jolt to her sensitized nub. His name tore from her throat as she involuntarily clenched around him and her eyes closed blissfully as her orgasm overtook her; her back arched as he groaned her name, thrust one final time into her body, his own fluid merging with hers, and held her close as they simultaneously shuddered and convulsed with release.

As his breathing slowly regulated and the outside world came back into focus, Jack lifted his head from the crook of her neck and pressed a series of soft kisses to her jaw and throat. Sam smiled tiredly and languidly stretched her neck against his mouth. His lips moving to brush against the sensitive ridges of her ear, he whispered, "That wasn't so bad, huh?"

She laughed and looked up at him, her eyes shining brilliantly in the dim light. "No," she replied softly, a small grin spreading over her face as she traced the outline of his lips and he gently bit the proffered finger. "That wasn't bad at all." Her lips parted for his immediately as he bent to kiss her, their tongues caressing each other lazily in the afterglow of their love making. As he withdrew from her mouth he shifted and began to withdraw from her body as well, but her hands clutched his hips tightly, disallowing his intended action. "Not yet," she whispered, as he raised his eyebrow questioningly. Tugging gently on his shoulders, urging him back into her arms, she pleaded softly, "Stay just a little longer."

"Sam," he murmured, propping himself above her on his elbows and gazing at her with a mixture of love and hesitation. "Baby, it feels like I'm crushing you."

She shook her head and wrapped her hand around the nape of his neck to gently pull him down to her. "You're not," she whispered, one hand alighting on his head while the other wrapped securely around his shoulders. As he relaxed over her, she sighed and hugged him tightly, cherishing the security of his body as it pressed her into the mattress and lay softening within her depths. Gradually though, his weight became an impediment to her breathing and, as if sensing the change, Jack lifted his head from her shoulder and kissed her tenderly while withdrawing from her. She whimpered softly at the sudden lack of him, and watched as he reached over her head to turn down the blankets. Moving to crawl into the proffered warmth, she gasped sharply as a dull, unexpected ache shot through her lower belly.

His hand was immediately wrapped around her arm. "You all right?"

She nodded, still wincing and continued to ease herself underneath the covers. "Just a little sore," she murmured, offering him a small smile as the heat of his body wrapped reassuringly around hers.

He frowned and pressed a gentle kiss to her mussed strands as his hand alighted on her lower abdomen and began to tenderly massage the area. Sighing softly, her eyes slipped blissfully closed as Jack continued to soothe her sore muscles, unaccustomed and ill-prepared as they had been for their recent exertions. As she gradually began the smooth descent into semi-consciousness, Jack's low timbre beckoned to her, his intonation that of a question.

"Hmm?" she muttered lazily, having missed the original inquiry.

She heard his lips part as he grinned. "A little tired are we?"

"Hey," she groused as she returned his grin. "Give me a break. That's more exercise than I've had in awhile."

"Mmm," he mumbled, his lips burying themselves in her hair as he shifted closer to her, his free arm wrapping tightly around her waist. "We'll have to fix that." When she turned to look up at him, her eyes hesitant and her bottom lip tucked partway between her teeth, he added, "Slowly. Very slowly. You know, like all good exercise regimens are supposed to be laid out. Working the various...muscle groups separately, toning and strengthening them until the...desired effect has been achieved." She smiled dryly up at him and his selective emphasis. "What?" he asked innocently.

She shook her head, her eyes rolling slightly, and then nestled herself closer to him as she removed his hand from her belly, the dull pain having been alleviated. Wrapping her arm around his chest, she asked, "So why did you wake me up? It sounded like a question."

"It was," he said, his hand settling on her forearm. "But it can wait till morning."

"Nu-uh," she replied, a yawn lengthening her jaw. "I'm awake now." Glancing up at him, a sheepish smile on her lips, she added, "Well, sort of." When he grinned down at her and tucked a wayward tendril behind her ear, she asked, "What was it?"

He sighed, and his fingers brushed against her cheek. "I asked why you were crying before."

She frowned and shook her head. "When?"

His voice dropping in register, he clarified, "When I was looking at you."

Understanding passed over her in an undulating wave, leaving her timid and vulnerable in its wake. Her eyes shifting away from his, she murmured, "You called me beautiful.'" She shrugged, her body caving slightly with the admission and added quietly, "I've never thought of myself as beautiful, even before...everything happened. I've never had reason to." A deep sigh flushed across her lips and over his chest as her upper arm unconsciously left him and crossed protectively over her breasts. "And now that..." She trailed off, her voice very near breaking, and pulled slightly away from him, his presence suddenly overwhelming.

Sensing her emotional shift, he pushed her gently onto her back and propped himself beside her, placing a soft kiss on her forehead before removing the covering from her upper body. Her hesitation was palpable as he tenderly grasped her wrist, eased her arm away from her chest and placed her hand on the pillow beside her head, his fingers lingering reassuringly on her forearm. His gaze wandered from her eyes to her breasts and the five bright red scars and the purple ridge that stood out in harsh contrast to her porcelain skin. Silently, he traced a single fingertip along the raised surface of each, drawing an imaginary line from the end of one to the beginning of the next, his finger stilling as it rounded the swell of her left breast and came to the end of the purple discoloration. Slowly, almost reverently, he gingerly cupped her supple flesh and placed a train of delicate kisses along the rise of the mark, his breath leading his lips from one healing wound to the next until he ended up where his fingertip had begun the deferential journey.

Looking down at her then, he smiled tenderly into her watery eyes and silently kissed the tears from her cheeks. Cupping her jaw gently in his palm, his pulled away to gaze warmly down at her, his brown eyes sparkling radiantly in the dim light. "I love you," he whispered.

Her eyes wavering beautifully back at him, she reached up and softly caressed his lips. Smiling as he kissed the proffered finger, she breathed, "I love you back." He bent down and brushed his lips tenderly against hers before placing another longer kiss on her forehead and reaching across the bed to turn out the light. She came willingly into his open arms, settling her head in the crook of his shoulder and wrapping her arm securely around his chest, her fingers curling round the curve of his neck while her legs tangled themselves around his. Safe and warm and feeling beautifully loved, she tumbled easily into the gentle tides of sleep.

-----------------------------------------------------------

He loved watching her, especially when she was unaware of his scrutiny. She was marvelously free to be herself--not that she was not herself when she was with him, but her endearing little habits, her unconscious quirks presented themselves more readily when she was oblivious to the attention. The problem she was in the midst of tackling was obviously vexing her. He could tell by the way she worked her teeth across her upper lip and absently twirled the soft tendrils of hair that had fallen out of her French braid around the end of her pencil.

Her hair had grown out, falling past her shoulders and to the middle of her back in rippling waves of pure silk that his fingers ached to run through unhindered. Lips curving almost indiscernibly, he recalled that morning, how he had woke before her and then, like now, indulged his perpetual desire to watch her, to gaze down at her breathing body lax in sleep and utterly angelic under the gentle arc of the breaking sun. The rays swept across her contours and cast a warm blush across her face and neck, over the soft rise of her shoulders and the slight swell of her exposed breast. And her hair had been strewn across the black fabric of the pillowcase, the strands set on fire by the mask of daybreak. God, she was beautiful...

She never slept long under his scrutiny and, true to form, she had awoken after only a few minutes, her eyes bleary and blinking up at him as her mind crossed the threshold between sleep and awake. She had smiled lazily up at him, her eyes shining brilliantly from underneath their heavy lids and radiating the satisfaction from the previous night that still permeated her body. But he knew from experience that her apparent satisfaction did not hinder her reception of him; she preferred making love in the morning, before the day's duties and complications wore their nerves thin and left their minds addled. Besides, she said, it ensured a bright start and that he couldn't argue with. Due to time constraints, however, their morning together had not ascended to brilliance of that intensity, but waking before the alarm had afforded them a solid ten minutes to say good morning.

She had gained most of her weight back over the interceding year and a half , but her muscles were not as toned as they had been prior to her release from the team which was fine by him. Perhaps it was a blight of his male ego, but he was a bit intimidated making love to a woman with a perfectly sculpted abdomen and rock hard biceps. He preferred her softer form; to use her morning terminology, she was "cuddly" and he was definitely a fan of "cuddly."

There were still times that her memories of 275 impeded her daily functioning and left her a mangled emotional mess, sometimes for days. Because of this, he had transferred from SG-1 shortly after their reinstatement and took a position as tactical supervisor while retaining his status as Hammond's second in command with the understanding that Sam's condition was his top priority. Hammond understood and was quick to allow the both of them whatever time they needed; it was the least the military could do for two people who had been integral in preserving life on Earth more times than he cared to count.

During their time together, she had told him more about what had happened on 275 behind those gilded, horribly ornate doors which had allowed him to come to a deeper understanding, a greater appreciation of her suffering and of her love for him. Not only had she bourn the trauma willingly, but she had chosen to be with him in the aftermath. She trusted him to love her and to be patient as she shifted through the turmoil reaped by the inhabitants of "that damned planet." He did and he strove to be, contenting himself to ride the ebbs and flows of her ability to receive affection, but pushing gently against her boundaries with the understanding, proven hundreds of times over, that he would not hurt her. And she knew that--not only believed it, but knew it, trusted in it, had faith in his intentions towards her and loved him unremittingly and without hesitation. In his book, that was better than any morning spent in bed or passionate embrace.

She coughed softly and her beautiful eyes--eyes that had the ability to speak into his very soul, to communicate more to him in a glance than she ever could with words, to melt his defenses and leave him breathless; eyes that he had spent the past glorious year and a half memorizing--darted across the page of calculations in front of her, narrowing slightly and then widening only to narrow again as she caught sight of something off, something not quite right, something that someone in some department somewhere had missed. Smiling as she turned to her legal pad and began a rampant flurry of incoherent scribbles, he slowly advanced into the lab, clearing his throat to announce his presence as he ambled towards her.

She glanced up from her paper, her pencil momentarily halting its rapid movement, and smiled at him before turning back to the Problem At Hand. Coming to stand behind her, he wrapped his arms around her waist and nuzzled a kiss into the crook of her neck. Resting his chin on her shoulder and thanking the designers of the barstool-esque lab chairs for their foresight in increasing the height of the seats, he looked down at the pad she was concentrating on, or at least attempting to. "What'cha workin' on?"

She sighed. "Just some analysis the guys from SG-5 brought back from P2R-894. Gentry is a great biologist, but he's no physicist. The calculations are a mess."

He pressed a consolatory kiss to her temple and smiled inwardly as she tossed her pencil to the table and wrapped her arm around his shoulder, her fingers tangling absently in his hair. She was still thinking about the equation, he knew; yet another reason he hated mathematics. Nestling another kiss to her throat he muttered, "I'm really likin' your hair back like this. It makes your neck a hell of a lot more accessible."

Sam laughed and used his elbow as leverage to turn the chair to face him. "I thought you liked my hair down."

"Oh, I do," he said, idly playing with one of the fallen tendrils.

She smiled wryly up at him and narrowed her eyes. "So what you're saying is...?"

He looked at her, his eyes wide, and shrugged his shoulders. "Nothin'. I'm just sayin'."

Rolling her eyes slightly as he grinned, she spun around again, gathered her various instruments, implements, and pieces of paper into her arms and strode over to the desk to put them away. "What're you making me for dinner tonight?"

Damn. It was Friday. He always made dinner on Fridays. Actually, he always forgot that he was supposed to make dinner on Friday; sometimes he intentionally forgot that it was Friday to give him an excuse to take her out. However, tonight that was not the case. "Uh...whatever you want for dinner tonight?"

She turned briefly from the filing cabinet, her eyes positively lecherous and latching onto him suggestively.

His eyebrows shot upwards at her unmistakable intent. "Okay," he managed, "I can arrange that."

"I thought you might," she grinned as she sauntered back over to him and kissed him softly, the fleeting contact holding the promise of more to come. She regarded him for a moment, her eyes softened, yet still quite...hungry. "Let's get out of here," she murmured.

Obediently flanking her, he said, "Yes sir, Doctor O'Neill, ma'am. I got your six." Raising his eyebrows appreciatively as she exaggerated the sway of her hips, he muttered, "Have I ever got your six..."

He grinned as she laughed, her eyes sparkling merrily as the light caught the diamond on her outstretched hand. "Come on you. Let's go home."

Sweeter words have never been spoken, he thought as they made their way down the corridor and into the elevator, their fingers loosely intertwined as they headed to the surface together.

finis


For those who identified personally with this story, I wish you the strength of spirit to continue that you may find your joy, hope, and peace once more. It's damn near impossible sometimes, but "impossible" is just another word for "incredible," right? We survived; we're already incredible. :) And feel free to contact me if and when you need to talk to someone who's been there.

mabynn (at) gmail (dot) com