While You Were Sleeping
by Constance Eilonwy, a.k.a Dotfic
Written: 12.29.2004, revised 3.22.2005, posted to Heliopolis April 2005, posted to fanfiction dot net October 2005

Episode: Season 3, "Deadman's Switch," Disclaimer: Stargate and characters is owned by MGM and Gekko. Thanks as always to my beta readers Missy and Amy.

Carter's still just a bit dazed and confused as we stumble up the ramp, back into the hold of Aris Boch's ship. Once we're in, the ramp whirs upward and clangs shut behind us. I can feel the ship rising upwards. Before I can so much as mutter "Great, just great" or another of my sarcastic and witty comments, Carter sort of staggers, and puts her hand to her forehead.

"Uh, sir, I..."

Her knees buckle and I catch her before she topples. The full weight of her sinks into my arms. Now I have an armful of Carter. That's something I didn't expect to have today.

Set her down gently...I kneel on the metal floor with her propped against me. I try to remember field medic training, to do all the things Dr. Fraiser would advise. Check her pulse. Pulse good. I gently shake her but her head just lolls against my shoulder.

Stupid zat gun. Stupid bounty hunter.

Best thing to do is to wait and let her wake up when she's ready.

I start to place her on the floor. Honest, I do.

But an armful of Carter feels so comfortable, and she's kind of pale, strong steady pulse or not. Surely it wouldn't be out of line to just...stay here like this. Just for a minute or two.

It occurs to me that this is a perfect opportunity to get a few things off my mind.

"Well, Carter, here we are."

At least here I am, you can't hear me because I just realized I said that aloud, and that won't do, not at all. I'm just going to think. Uh-huh. It's such a cliche, the guy tells the girl how he really feels while he thinks she's out like a light, only the girl's not really asleep and actually hears his confession, and then he's all embarassed and...it's just...dumb. I hate cliches, Carter.

So, hi, Carter. I mean Sam. I think it's okay if I call you Sam in my head. Who's gonna know but me? You are cute when you're asleep. I like how your lashes look over your cheekbones. Did I mention I'm worried about you? I mean, zat gun zaps are not the end of the world, just a jolt to the system, but you're still out and what if there really is something wrong with you? Probably the electricity or whatsis in the zat just hit you harder than usual. I'm sure you'd have some technical explanation, something to do with not having had enough fluids today.

My arm starts falling asleep, so I shift a little.

I know I shouldn't do this. But the floor looks kind of cold. If you do wake up right now you will probably kill me dead. The truth is, Carter, it's difficult at times working with you. No, you're not difficult. I'm a pain in the ass. But you're not difficult. I mean the...situation...is difficult.

I don't know if you've noticed but it's getting more difficult lately. We're not supposed to feel how we feel and I guess I'm not supposed to look at you the way I'm afraid I've been looking at you sometimes. Need to watch that. I mean, you have this great little butt and...nevermind that now. Where was I? Uh, right. Difficult.

Her breathing is still slow and steady. I fumble to put my fingers against the pulse at her neck, and my sleeve catches on the antenna of her radio. So clumsy. I'm no Doc Fraiser. Her pulse is the same as the last time I checked it, but she still doesn't show any signs of waking up.

I hope there's nothing really wrong...

The problem is if I let myself think about this stuff I might let something show. So I don't even think about it most of the time, it's just safer that way.

It's never just you and me. It's always "Sir" and "Carter." Right now, in this instant, it is you and me. It's something I'm just taking for myself, just for a moment. Because--oh hell, I don't know. Because I'm having a bad day, because a bounty hunter is after us? Because a lot of crap has happened to us lately, and I'm not supposed to feel more than what I'm supposed to feel. Only I feel an awful lot for something that's not supposed to exist.

There's that phrase again. "Supposed to." Comes up a lot. Don't look at her like that, Jack, you're not supposed to. No, you can't hold her right now and try to ease some of the pain, you're not supposed to. You're not supposed to be this angry when someone hurts her, when she's hurt, only to the degree you would feel for a friend and a member of your team.

I trace my finger over the design of the patch at her left shoulder. Never really looked that closely at our patches before. They were just there.

This is how it should be. It's the only way it works. I'm not really complaining. I'm kinda okay with the way things are. And kinda not okay. I don't even know what I'd do to make it different.

It's like the man said, you can't always get what you want...etcetera, etcetera.

I need to have you explain physics to me even though I don't always understand. I need you to fight by my side. I really, really like saving the world with you, Sam.

I'd rather have things be how they've been than face the prospect of not having it at all.

She starts to stir in my arms. Wild relief comes with a chaser of panic before I remember, that, hey, right, I didn't say any of that out loud!

By the time she wakes up, we are both properly arranged the way we are supposed to be. She's on the cold, cold floor. And I no longer have my armful of Carter.