Harder Than She Thought by SqueeG-1

Summary: Missing scene of Jacob's funeral featuring Sam with the rest of the team supporting. Some slightly shippy bits with Sam/Jack.

Author Notes: Originally posted on Gateworld. Special thanks to my beta CeeKay Sheppard who beta'd this after its original posting.

Just wanted to point out a couple of potential continuity issues - (1) I decided that Sam's mother had been cremated (so her remains would be able to go with the family if Jacob was ever transferred) but can't remember if there is an official take on this; (2) I have assumed at least a week to a week and a half between Jacob's death and the visit to the cabin. Feedback welcome. Thank you.


It was a lot harder than she thought it was going to be. Until this moment she thought she'd been dealing well with her father's death. She had gone to a Tok'ra ceremony for her father and Selmak already. But now, standing in front of the grave, the enormity of it all hit home.

Colonel Samantha Carter stood at attention, pale and unseeing, in her dress uniform. She was flanked by generals, O'Neill to her left and Hammond to her right. Daniel and Teal'C stood behind her. Across from her on the other side of the grave stood her brother and his family.

Her father had been cremated in a private service earlier and was being interred, along with her mother's ashes, at a cemetery near her house. Together again. Not only did Sam have to bury her father, she was made to relive the pain of her mother's death years before.

Mark was taking the death of their father hard. Although things had been better the last few years, he was no doubt regretting the years lost to animosity. It had also stirred up memories of his anger towards Jacob from when their mom died.

Robbed of his old target, who had always been the easy one to blame, Mark had lashed out at Sam instead. He blamed her for not calling him when Jacob was sick; for her break-up with Pete, for her secrecy; for the "efficient" (that is to say, military) funeral service she had arranged; and, and, and. Sam hadn't reacted to his harsh words at the time, knowing Mark was really upset with himself, but now they churned in her head with other random thoughts, regrets and feelings. Her brain seemed to be nothing but white noise.

Sam swayed slightly and Daniel put a steadying hand on her back. It pulled her back into focus and she reached a hand behind her and squeezed his. Although Sam didn't agree with General O'Neill's theory that Daniel "planned" his deaths/ascensions so that they would hold yet another memorial service to say nice things about him, she was so very happy that Daniel had returned, once again safe and sound.

The service drew to a close with a fly-by which shook the ground and brought a tiny smile to her lips. She loved to fly. Jacob loved to fly. Of course, it had been quite awhile since he had flown anything as routine as a jet, trading those in for tel'taks and ha'taks...

Samantha remained at the graveside as people drifted away to their cars. Even though they were holding the wake at her house, she just couldn't bear to walk away just yet. She saw Mark walking towards her and sighed inwardly, steeling herself for more abuse. She felt, rather than saw, General O'Neill approaching. Sam hadn't said anything to him about Mark's verbal attack the day before, but he knew her so well that Sam should have known he'd picked up on the tension. Although he stopped several yards back, Sam knew that he would not hesitate to step in if he thought Mark was going to say anything more to hurt her.

Instead, Mark stood silently beside her staring at the grave. Then he cleared his throat. "Sam..."

"It's okay. I know you didn't mean it."

"I'm still sorry."

"I know."

They stood in silence for a little longer. Mark cleared his throat again. "I'm going to head to the house and make sure everything's okay there. Stay here as long as you need, okay?"

Tears welled up in her eyes as Sam nodded. Mark touched her arm and walked away. He was replaced by O'Neill. Sam closed her eyes and pulled herself together. Then straightened herself up and looked at O'Neill.

"I'm okay, sir. We can go now."

"Are you sure? Your brother said to take as long as you need."

"And leave my brother in a room where 90 of the people are USAF? I don't think THAT would be a very good idea."

O'Neill chuckled at that and was pleased to see that Carter was chuckling too.

"But, Daniel the mediator is there to smooth things over. Or Teal'C!" said O'Neill.

"Hmmm, that is tempting, isn't it?" Sam chuckled again. Then she sighed. "We really should go, sir."

In her head she said, "Goodbye, Mom. Goodbye, Dad," and was surprised to hear O'Neill echo the second aloud.

When she looked at him he just shrugged a shoulder. "He was a good man, Sam. I loved him too."


Back at the house, Sam circulated and chatted with the people that had come to pay their respects to Jacob. Many of them were people that he had served with. There was also a large contingent of people that she served with at the SGC. Colonel Carter was well liked and respected and many of those on the base had at least seen her father in passing on the base during his time as a Tok'ra.

Those few civilians in the crowd stood out among all the dress uniforms. Sam was glad to see that Mark, despite his discomfort, was circulating as well and seemed to be holding his own, allowing Sam to have a chat with her sister-in-law and the kids with a promise to come visit them soon.

Soon, however, Mark came up to Sam.

"I hate to leave you with this on your own, but I think we're going to head out now, Sam. I told ... Pete ... that we'd stay with him for the night before heading home."

Sam winced inwardly at the mention of Pete's name, but tried to keep her face neutral.

"Of course, I understand. I'll come and visit you guys soon, okay?"

"We'd like that a lot." They exchanged hugs and kisses and listened as the kids protested that they didn't want to leave 'Aunt Sammy' yet as they were hustled to the car.

O'Neill came up behind her as she waved goodbye. Speaking quietly into her ear, "So, can we call you Colonel Sa--?"

"Shut up... sir."

Smiling, "Insubordination, Carter?"

"I learned from the best, General."


Mark had been worried about leaving Sam alone, but he shouldn't have been. Her team was there, watching her back as close as they would off-world.

Sam soon found herself running out of steam. The white noise was back in her head and she unconsciously kept running her hand over her forehead. Daniel came up, hugged her briefly, handed her a drink of water and put a couple of Advil into her hand. She popped the pills in her mouth, without even registering. When she realized what he'd done she searched him out of the crowd and flashed him a smile. He responded with a nod.

Sam wandered into the study off of the living room and gazed out the window. Teal'C quietly took up a position blocking the door, keeping those that would bother her at bay. One look at the imposing man and the visitor quickly decided that there were plenty of other people to talk to instead. However when one young woman approached with a plate of food, Teal'C smiled, bowed slightly, and stepped out of the way.

She walked over to Sam and put an arm around her waist. Sam started and then put an arm around her shoulders.

"Eat. That's an order."

Sam laughed out loud. "You do that well, Cassie."

"I had a good teacher. Are you okay?"

"I will be. It's... hard."

"I know. I just wish I could do more for you. You did so much when Mom..." Cassie stopped short.

"All I need is for you to be here." Sam rested her head on top of Cassie's and held her tighter.

After awhile Sam said she should get back to the living room. Although quite a few people had left, there were still people that Sam hadn't spoken with yet and her sense of duty told her that she should visit with them all, however briefly. Cassie insisted that Sam eat all of the food on the plate before she would let her go back.

"Teal'C will back me up on that, Sam, and I don't think you'd be able to get past the door if he didn't want to you to."

"Indeed," came the low voice from the door. He didn't even bother to turn around.

Sam didn't feel like eating and the thought made her slightly nauseous, but Sam knew when she was beaten and did what she could. When she was finished, Cassie took the plate and said that she was going to head out, but that she'd keep in touch. The two women hugged goodbye and as she watched her go, Sam thought, not for the first time, about what a wonderful person Cassandra had grown up to be despite the hardships she had suffered. The sole survivor on her planet, and then the loss of her adopted mother last year. The loss of Janet ...


General O'Neill kept a watchful eye on Carter as she said goodbye to Cassie. Actually, if truth be told, he'd been keeping a watchful eye on her all day.

He had watched as she interacted with everyone. He watched her face. The friendly but reserved look for those people she didn't know. The friendly but reserved look for those she did know, but who did not know "Carter". The respect in her eyes for the man before her as she spoke with General Hammond, that mixed with sorrow and pride for her father as Hammond spoke. The stiffening of her spine when her brother was saying goodbye. The exhaustion she was feeling. The joy in her eyes during her exchange with Daniel. The way she had relaxed, even just a little, the slight change in posture, when Cassie had been with her. The chagrined look she shot at Teal'C's back. And the deep sorrow that flashed over her face after Cassie left. This was all harder than she thought it was going to be.

Then she looked up and caught him looking at her. He waggled his eyebrows and she smiled a little. And then took a deep breath and went back to do her duty.


Later that night it was just the four of them. Daniel, Teal'C and O'Neill stayed to help Sam clean up and then they all hit the couches, turned on the TV and opened beers. Well, a fruit juice in the case of Teal'C. They watched TV in comfortable silence until someone's stomach rumbled.

"Jack, how can you possibly be hungry when you've spent the day in a house that had food everywhere?" Daniel asked incredulously.

"I don't know, but I do know I'm too tired to go to the kitchen. Pass me the phone."


"I'm going to order Chinese."

"Sir, I could go to the kitchen and get you leftovers. Or a casserole. It seems everyone that turned up today brought me one of those."

"Forget it Carter, you're tired. And I hate casserole. And I've already dialled."

As he started to place the order he heard Carter mutter something about how that was too bad since she was sending the three of them home with casseroles as parting gifts. Fighting the urge to snort, he finished placing the order and hung up the phone.


Sam picked at the Chinese food on her plate. She still wasn't hungry but Daniel had handed her the plate of food and she knew better than to refuse it. So she nibbled a bit and then pushed the food around so it would look like she ate. Then she surreptitiously put the plate on the table beside the couch and hoped the guys wouldn't notice. Even with that thought Sam felt Jack's eyes on her. She turned to look at him and saw the concern in his eyes. But he didn't say anything and she left the plate where it was.

She settled back into the couch and listened to the other three argue jovially with each other. Well, the two of them actually with Teal'C throwing in the occasional "deep" comment. She didn't listen to what they were talking about, just the tone of their voices and thought about how comforting it was. In short order, Sam drifted off to sleep.

The conversation quieted. O'Neill looked at the faces of the other two guys and knew that their expressions were mirrored on his own.

"T - why don't you put Sam to bed?" Teal'C nodded his agreement and lifted the woman carefully so that he would not wake her.

Daniel and Jack cleaned up the Chinese food detritus in silence. When Teal'C rejoined them, O'Neill said, "You guys might as well head out. I'll hit the couch in case she wakes up."

Daniel looked like he was about to argue and then thought better of it. "Okay Jack, but we'll probably need to do this is shifts."

"What is it you discuss, Daniel Jackson?" questioned Teal'C.

"Well, Sam is going to need people around her for a bit. I don't think it's quite hit her yet that Jacob's gone. And we don't want her to be alone when it does."

"I agree Daniel Jackson. It would be one thing if General Carter had died in battle, but when something may have been done sooner, it is difficult to reconcile such a death."

"You said it, Teal'C. All right, kids. Go home. Get some sleep."


Sam woke in the dark of night with a splitting headache. She got out of bed and headed for the kitchen. For some odd reason that's where she kept her bottle of Advil. Most people would keep it in the medicine cabinet, but...

Without turning on a light, sure that would only increase the pain in her head, she made her way towards the kitchen. Even though she knew her way around in the dark, she was glad the guys had forgotten to turn off the TV.

She found the bottle of pills, poured herself a glass of water and washed down a couple of tablets.


Sam jumped. "Sorry sir, I thought you'd all gone home."

"Didn't mean to startle you Carter. The three of us didn't want you to wake up alone. I drew the short straw." O'Neill sat up on the couch, stretched and then got up and walked to the kitchen. His eyes went to the bottle on the counter. "Headache?"

With a sigh, Sam admitted, "Yeah."


Jack put his hands on her shoulders and turned Sam around. Then he started massaging the tense muscles at the base of her neck.

Sam stood still as Jack worked on her neck. Then, almost as if the tension had been the only thing holding Sam together, she buried her face in her hands and started to cry. Jack stopped massaging the muscles and put his arms around her, resting his cheek on the top of her head.

When she stopped crying Jack lightly kissed the top of her head and then started massaging her neck again until she seemed okay.

"Alright, back to bed Colonel Sa-- oof!" he broke off as Sam elbowed him in the ribs.

Smiling, he quipped, "Hitting a senior officer, Carter?"

"I learned from the best."

He laughed and walked her down the hall to her room. "Bed. That's an order."

"Yes, sir."

As she climbed into bed and pulled the covers up she smiled as O'Neill muttered on his way back down the hall, "I never hit a superior officer. I don't think...?"


Sam went back to work on the base the next day because O'Neill knew better than to try to keep her away. She needed to work. Sending her off-world was out of the question, of course, but O'Neill figured Carter had enough work in that confounded lab.

Besides Sam didn't seem to be left on her own that long. Indeed, it seemed that she was being watched in well-timed shifts by Daniel and Teal'C. Daniel started bringing stuff to show her in the lab and then stayed to work there instead of going back to his office. When Sam decided to sleep in her room on the base and then realized that she couldn't actually sleep, Teal'C just happened to be in the corridor outside of her room to suggest that they go work out or to drink "heated bovine lactose."

Of course O'Neill wandered by every so often to wreak havoc in her lab. He couldn't enter the lab without playing with (messing up and/or breaking) at least one thing. Sam decided that the safest thing to do when he showed up was to leave the lab and distract him with the thought of the pie in the commissary.

O'Neill conveniently showed up at least three times a day, because the only time Carter seemed to actually eat anything was when she suggest they leave the lab and go to the commissary.

Both parties felt quite smug about pulling the wool over the other's eyes.

However, after several days of this, Carter was starting to feel a bit claustrophobic. She wanted some time to herself. She appreciated their concern, she really did, but ... Silently apologizing to Daniel, who hadn't shown up for his "shift" yet, Sam snuck off the base and went home. When she got there, she changed, took her bike out of the garage, put her helmet on and drove away. She had no idea how long she was gone for or where she went, Sam just drove. When the tank of gas got low, she stopped at a gas station and pointed the bike in the general direction of home.

When she pulled up at her house, General O'Neill was sitting on her porch. She pulled a face as she removed her helmet. Carter put her bike away in the garage and then walked to the front porch. She noted with a bit of surprise that the General had a beer in his hand.

"Hey Carter, I jimmied your door. Got a beer, hope you don't mind."

"Ummmm, no? Sir?"

"Oh, and I did a bit of packing for you. Shirts, pants, stuff like that, but you'll probably want to pack up some 'girlie' things too. You know, like shampoo."

"Sir? Is this about me sneaking off base? I'm sorry about that, it's just ..."

O'Neill interrupted, "Actually, I expected you to pull a runner yesterday. Now you've messed up the timing on the plan." But he was grinning as he said it.

"Sir ...?"

Taking pity on her, O'Neill said, "Look Carter, I convinced the hard-ass in charge at the SGC to let SG-1 have a long weekend off. It took a bit of sweet talking, but I managed to convince him. Of course, I had to promise that SG-1 would do nothing but fish on their long weekend. But everyone needs to make sacrifices. Yeahsureyoubetcha."

Sam had started smiling at the "hard-ass" comment and by the end of O'Neill's little speech was laughing. "I'll go finish packing sir."

"You do that."

"And then we'll have a little chat about the 'jimmying' and the packing you started." She called as she walked down the hall. O'Neill just grinned.


A short time later they were sitting on the front porch waiting for Daniel and Teal'C to return with O'Neill's truck.

O'Neill passed his beer over to Carter, "Some?"


"Well, it is really your beer after all."

"Not just for the beer. Thanks for everything Jack."

"Think nothing of it."

They were sitting there smiling and sharing a beer when the truck pulled up.