June 14, 1997 (Part II)

Jack found her sitting in a corner, her knees resting underneath her chin as her body was silently racked with sobs. "Go away, Daniel! I don't want to talk right now!" She said, not looking up.

"Excuse me? Daniel?" Jack asked, looking around him

Sam looked up, almost panicked when she recognized her commanding officer's voice. She furiously wiped at the tears running down her cheeks. "Sir, I'm…I'm sorry."

She moved to get up, but Jack waved her efforts away. "'Sokay, Carter. Actually, I came because…I guess I should be the one apologizing."

"You?" She asked, surprised.

"Yeah. Daniel gave me this letter, and I went to deliver it, but when I did so…well, long story short, I still had the letter and you never got it."

She paled. "You were…you were the one…"

"Yeah." He said, sitting next to her. There was an awkward pause before Jack started talking. "So…that guy that I talked to through your intercom was your husband?"

"I'm not married." She replied, quickly.

"Ex-husband?"

"Actually, even when you were there, he was my ex-fiancée."

"Ah."

"He was trying to get back together with me, but…"

"You flattened him instead." He said, trying to be somewhat lighthearted.

She remained silent.

"Carter, I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable…"

"You're not, sir."

"I think I am."

She looked his direction, and then returned her gaze toward the wall opposite her.

"Look, I know we just met, and that we didn't exactly have the best interaction, but…I just thought…" He ran his fingers through his hair. "I don't know what I thought. I guess…I feel responsible for what happened."

She looked down at her knees and then over at him. "It wasn't your fault. It was Jonas's. He should never have been at my place."

"I don't know, sometimes, I think it would have been better if I had just mailed the damn thing. But no…I had to wait two weeks and take it myself. My last 'official' duty."

She touched his arm, lightly before retreating it to her lap, somewhat ashamed for initiating the intimate contact, but even more ashamed for how good it felt. "No, sir, I…I really appreciate the thought…I just…it's been a hard couple of years."

"Tell me about it."

"Hey! Colonel!" Kawalsky said, entering the chamber that they occupied. He stopped, somewhat self-conscious about seeing his commanding officer alone with one of the junior officers on the team. "Uh…maybe I should come back…"

"What, Kawalsky?" Jack asked, irritation evident in his tone of voice.

"Daniel found something…fate of the universe kinda thing…he wants us to check it out."

Sam stood and dusted off her BDUs. "I'll be there in a moment."

"Uh, actually, Captain, he…uh…he just asked for the Colonel."

Sam looked from the clueless major to the helpless Colonel and brushed past them.

"Man, who put a stick up her butt?"

"That's enough, Kawalsky. I don't want to hear another derogatory remark about anyone on the team."

Charlie studied his friend. "Is everything ok, sir? You seem a little…"

"I'm fine."

"Good, 'cuz for a moment…"

"Kawalsky, she worked hard to get where she is…and people like you and I are undermining her natural abilities for our own pleasure. I've had enough."

"Yes, sir."