Carter.

Sir.

Eight years of 'friendship' and they address each other with defense mechanisms.

It doesn't take an archaeologist to figure out what they're doing, running from each other, the depth of their devotion leaving them terrified and vulnerable. The irony being that by running they are left with what they fear. They are alone. They cling to their shield of excuses, denying their feelings and abandoning them in an observation room on level 27. Maybe they believe that denial will hurt less than failure, but in reality it's just a slower form of torture…a long drawn out torment upon their souls.

He hates clichés, yet is overly familiar with the age old concepts of heartache and soul mate. He gets to see her every day as they save the world together and yet he has to wait until he is on his death bed to hear her call him by his first name. Every cloud has a silver lining. The thought forms laughingly in his mind as his eyes speak to her in an ancient language.

Months pass by and we watch as they continue to deny and appear to move on, regardless of the cost. Changes occur rapidly, General O'Neill takes charge as Samantha starts leaving for Denver during down time.

We agree it won't last.

Something snaps.

No one is quite sure what why when, but the next thing we know she is about to become the future Mrs. Samantha Shanahan nee Carter and her eyes are twinkling with fake hope.

We smile and congratulate and watch him out of the corner of our eye as he works furiously to maintain that mask of professionalism.

To Jack there is no deeper betrayal than to watch her leave, as she goes to her fiance...as he sits drowning his sorrows with beer after beer, doing his best to avoid thinking about her…fraternizing with the enemy.

Teal'c and I agree it won't last.

We are rarely wrong twice.


A/N: Hope you liked this, my little foray into slightly angstier territory! I always thought the best thing about this episode was THAT sound. Symbolic above all else.