Spoilers: Everything up to and including Avalon (1) Season 9

AU from the start of Season 9.

Pairings: Well DAH!!!


Samantha Carter, Lt Colonel of the United States Air Force, was working quietly in her lab, retro-designing some piece of Alien Technology that he been brought back through the Star Gate some time ago. She had left SG-1 and Cheyenne Mountain when he left and took the transfer to Washington. Her General - now head of Home World Security. She told her self she couldn't stay at Cheyenne Mountain; it would've been too painful. Even when he had given up command of SG-1 he was still there, watching over them. It wouldn't be the same without him.

The constant ringing of her telephone pulled her out of reverie and she quickly answered it "Carter"

No response

More forcefully "Carter"

Frustration had begun to creep into her voice. He heard it too.

"Samantha"

"Sir, General?"

"Hey, Sam, how are you?"

Jack sounded strange. It had been several months since he had relocated to Washington and she had gone to Research and Development at Area 51 and she hadn't heard from him in that whole time.

"Sir, is everything alright?"

"Yeh, Sam. Hey Sam, I'm not your boss anymore, any chance you could call me Jack?" he queried.

"But Sir, you're head of Home World Security, and I'm still part of the Star-Gate program so technically you are still my boss".

"Oh, Crap"

"Sir is everything Ok?" She asked again, this time a little more confidently.

Silence followed, and she began to worry. What time was it is DC? Had he been drinking again?

"Jack?" she said tentatively.

"I miss you Sam. I miss Daniel and Teal'c, but mostly I miss you".

"Oh"

"I'm sorry Sam, I shouldn't have called".

"No sir.. Jack, that's Ok, I'm a little busy at the moment, any chance you can call me later at home?"

"Sure, 1900 hours suit you?"

"No problem"

At 1900 hours exactly Sam's home phone rang. She recognized it as Jack's cell number and picked it up immediately.

"Carter"

"Hey Carter, 1900 exactly"

"Yes Sir"

"Sam?"

"Yes… Jack"

"Better"

"Sam, I want to continue our conversation from earlier today. Is that Ok?"

"Sure Jack"

"But it occurs to me that this conversation should be conducted in person"

"In person?" Sam exclaimed

"Yeh"

"Are you coming to Nevada?"

"Yep"

"When?"

"Well, funny thing about that"

"What?"

"Already here"

"What! Where?"

"On your porch"

"What!"

"Yeh, any chance you could let me in. The desert's pretty cold this time of year when the sun goes down"

In shock, Sam opened the door and ushered him inside, telephone still at her ear.

"Uh Carter, you can hang the phone up now"

Sam just stood there, dumbfounded, he was in Nevada, and he was at her apartment – holy Hannah!

"What are you doing here Sir"?

"Well, I'm officially here on business, but I thought about killing two birds with one stone, metaphorically speaking".

Jack never used big words, something was definately up. "What?" Sam questioned again.

"Well, when Hank rang me for the 10th time, begging me to get you to come back to SG-1 I thought, I'd come and ask you personally"

"General Landry's been ringing you?"

"Apparently you kept telling him no, you were needed here, although I don't see why" he said flippantly.

"My work here is very important" she replied indignantly.

"Cut the crap Sam, you know as well as I do why you transferred here. The same reason Daniel and Teal'c left"

"And why is that Sir?" She spat with venom in her voice. How dare he come in here and tell her why she left.

"Because, it wouldn't be the same. I had already given up SG-1 to command the facility and then I took the job in D.C. Whilst I was still there it was Ok".

"How dare you come in here and tell me why I left. I left because I was needed here, there's lots here that needs doing".

"Bullshit Sam, anyone can do this stuff, you're needed on the front line…" but before he had a chance to finish his sentence, she screamed at him, as tears threatened to erupt from her eyes.

"YOU LEFT FIRST!!!!" You're needed on the front line too Sir" How could you have just left, left us all there, left me?" The hurt in her eyes betraying the coldness in her voice. Jack winced at what he heard and what he saw.

"I left because I couldn't do it anymore Sam. I couldn't stay at arms length anymore. I left to get some distance. I left because I couldn't suck it up anymore. I left because it was getting harder and harder sending everyone who was important to me into dangerous situations. I left because I couldn't have the one thing I'd wanted more than anything. I left because I couldn't have you"

He had shocked her with his admissions and she replied in a small voice. "You left because of me?"

"Yup"

She was at a loss at what to say. It wasn't often that Samantha Carter was wordless. She just stood there, head hanging, tears streaming down her face. As she heard him step closer, she felt his hand on her chin and raised her face to look into his and she whispered "why are you here Sir?"

"Because of you"

"Me again"

"It's always because of you Sam. Everything I've done for a long time is because of you"

"Oh Jack"

"Sam, we want you back at the SGC"

"I can't go back, I can't do it without you" she pleaded

"Sam, go back to the SGC, go back to SG-1. Daniel and Teal'c will be waiting for you.

"They're back?"

"Sure are, we all knew it would take heavy artillery to get you back there and we pulled out all stops. Daniel came in from Atlantis about 3 days ago and has been itching to see you, but I had to do this first. Teal'c been back at the SGC about a week now."

"Oh my god. What about you?"

"I'm still head of Home World Security"

"How does that change anything, you're still not there"

"I might not be at the mountain" he said as he raised his hand and tentatively placed it over her heart "but I'll be here"

"You've always been there Jack, but that's not where I need you. I need you to be with me, I need you … " god, how can I say this she pondered "Jack, I need you in my bed"

There she had said it, it was all out in the open, now he knew how she really felt, that she was willing to go the whole way for him.

"Sam….."

"Jack, it's everything or nothing. There's no halfway for us anymore. You think about it and when you decide you know where to find me. I won't go back, I can't go back, not to all those memories if I don't have new ones to replace them with, it'll be too hard"

"Sam…"

:"No Jack"

"Can I finish?" he demanded and as she stayed silent he continued. "Sam, sure I came here to ask you to return to the SGC and SG-1, but come on, I could've done that over the phone. The conversation that I wanted to be face to face is this one. After we spoke this afternoon, I rang the President who advised me that although I am Head of Home World Security and therefore technically head of the Star Gate Program and therefore technically your boss, and although we are technically in the direct of command, I am not YOUR commanding officer. I answer to the President, Landry answers to me, you answer to Landry, I cannot give you a direct order without going through Landry first, so therefore.. Well I'm getting a little confused now, but you get the picture. I AM NOT YOUR DIRECT COMMANDING OFFICER."

"Really?" She queried

"Really" He answered, a slight smile showing on his lips.

"Wow, that's a lot to take in. So what you're really saying is that we can do this, right?"

"Yep"

"And you want to do this"

"Yep"

"Oh God"

"Sam, do you want to do this?" Jack asked as her complexion noticeably paled.

"Holy Hannah, I have to sit down," she whispered. "Oh boy"

"Sam, you OK?"

"Yes Sir, I just need a minute"

"I can be generous, take 2 minutes" he quipped.

"If I do decide to go backm when do you want me at the SGC?"

"Beginning of next week too soon?"

"Wow, that soon, Sir I've got work here, I've met great people here"

"You've got family at the SGC Sam, Daniel and Teal'c can't wait to work with you again"

"And you're sure about us Sir"

"Sam.. The name's Jack, especially now if we're gonna do this" he said waving his hand between the two of them.

"Sorry Jack, Ok, I'll go back, but there's something I need to tell you first"

"Huh"

"Well, you see, it's like this.. I''ve become very fond someone here and I have to tell them first"

Jack thought his heart had been pierced with a knife – again. Was he too late again? He felt jealousy and rage all at once and was finding it hard to maintain his normal stoic control over his emotions

"WHAT" he bellowed

"Hey, calm down. I was lonely when I got here and well, and we really hit it off. I wasn't looking to get involved with anyone, but she's smart and funny and likes the same things I do. You'd really like her"

"She?" he choked out, "you're seeing a woman?" Jack couldn't stop the image of a naked Carter cavorting with an equally naked woman dancing through his mind.

"Well sort of, but don't worry, she knows all about how I feel about you"

"You're sleeping with another woman?"

"God no! How could you even think that? Of course not! I just needed companionship and she was there for me when I needed someone. I could confide in her about my feelings for you and she held me as I cried about it. Jack I've been miserable since you went to DC. I've missed you so much and then you didn't call me or write me and I thought you had forgotten all about me or worse, that you didn't care for me anymore. I thought after that trip to your cabin after dad died, that things were going to be different, but they weren't and you left and I was all alone again. Jack, I died a little inside that day and I died a little more each day when I didn't hear from you"

"Hey listen, that goes both ways, you didn't call me either and besides I haven't gotten involved with anyone in DC, although, believe me I had plenty of chances"

"No fair Jack, I did, you were just too busy to take my calls. Your assistant was as far as I ever got and I'm not involved with anyone, we're just close, just like Janet and I used to be".

"I never got any messages and exactly how close are the two of you?"

Sam, getting frustrated, said through gritted teeth "No I didn't leave any messages, but at least I tried and will you please stop trying to change the subject"

"You could've tried harder," he said softly, trying to take the sting out of the argument, but not succeeding.

Sam, not taking the bait continued her tirade. "What! I could've tried harder, what about you? Did you once pick up the phone and call me? No, so don't you tell me I could've tried harder"

"Sam don't you get it, I did try like a million times every day, ok well maybe not a million times, but everyday, I picked up the phone and dialed the base number, only to be a chicken-shit when it really counted, I always hung up before it answered at the switchboard. Once I actually had to courage to ask for you and was put through to your lab, but chickened out before you picked up. I didn't do it because I didn't and still don't have anything to offer you, I'm a beat up, worn out old mental case of a soldier who's seen and done too many bad things to be able to be sane again. I wanted you to have the life that I didn't think I could possibly offer you. And then the last time General Landry rang me to try and convince you to return, It was like this light bulb went off in my head, you know, like in the cartoons, I realized why you left the SGC and SG-1 and I realized why you didn't want to go back and I decided that if it was because of me and if I had affected you like that, if I had made you that miserable, then maybe I could make you happy. That's why I came out here Sam. I came out here to share something with you".

"What? What couldn't you tell me over the phone Jack?" Sam demanded, still irate with him, ignoring the gentle pleading tone of his voice.

Jack almost chickened out again and chastised himself internally don't be such a chickenshit O'Neill, you came here to complete a mission, you've never backed out before, so don't start now.

Sam seeing Jack's internal conflict, questioned him again.

"Why did you come here Sir?" her voice slightly softer, but still commanding, she could sense something was coming and she didn't want to scare him off.

The Sir again, she was pissed, it's now or never O'Neill. Carter or bust.

"I came here to … ah hell, I love you Sam, have for longer than I can remember"

Her silence made him nervous, but he soldiered on. "You're the reason I stayed with the program. I had every intention of quitting again after that second trip to Abydos, after we brought back Daniel and then it was about finding Skaara and Sha're, but it was also about spending more time with you. You made me feel again Sam, feel things I thought were long dead within me, desire, longing, lust, but it was enough to just spend time with you in the field and then we had that disastrous mission with those armbands, do you remember when you were stuck behind the force field and I wouldn't leave?"

"How could I forgot"

"I realized that day that I cared for you far more than I should. I wanted to tell you then, but the force field went down and we got out and then it was back to normal, business as usual. Working, laughing, a little flirting here and there, trying not to get killed – again. And then Anise had to turn up with that damn Zartec device, forcing us both to admit out loud our feelings for each other. After that you sort of distanced yourself and I understood why, it was too difficult to go back to the way we were. You remember that "groundhog day", time loop we had a while later. When Daniel told me that it would be great to be able to do anything without fear of consequences, I handed in my resignation and kissed you before the time loop reset"

"You kissed me?"

"You bet and you kissed me back too, I mean really kissed me back. It was great and then the damn loop reset and well anyway. Sam, most of all I thought I lost you when Pete came on the scene and when that didn't work out, I wondered again if perhaps we had chance after all, but I'd already accepted the job in DC and didn't want you to have to endure the long distance thing, and I was scared, I left, turned my back on you all because I didn't want to disappoint you".

Just then the doorbell chimed and Jack cursed to himself at the horrible timing "Typical. Just my luck, I'm on a roll here and the damn doorbell rings"

"I'll try to get rid of them Jack"

"Good" he snapped, he didn't want to loose this emotional outpouring he was having, he was being honest with himself for the first time in forever and had more to tell her.

Sam opened the door to find her new friend Melinda standing there.

Seeing Sam's tear stained face she immediately expressed her concerned "Hey Sammy, everything OK?

Jack turned and mouthed at Sam "Sammy?"

"Mel, it's not a good time, can I call you later?"

"What's going on Sam?" she demanded as she pushed her way through the door. She stopped dead in her tracks at the sight of Jack

"General O'Neill I presume? "About time you showed up"

Jack raised himself to full height and took on his hardest 'I'm a General in the USAF' look "I beg your pardon miss..?"

Sam obediently introduced them, this wasn't going to be pretty "Jack this is Melinda, Melinda, this is Jack. Melinda works at Research and Development as well, although, she's not military"

"Not military huh, lucky for you, that about time thing almost got you court marshalled!"

"Don't try and pull that crap with me Jack. Sam's been miserable the whole time she's been here and it's all because of you".

"I'm aware of that NOW Melinda, since Carter has just finished explaining it all to me and if you don't mind we have several other things to discuss, so if you'll excuse us, we have to discuss her return to the SGC"

"You're going back?" Melinda demanded of Sam

"Yes, I'm needed there"

"You're needed here"

"No, I'm not, you know as well as I do I was just hiding here. You can do whatever needs to be done"

"You sure Sam? I want you to be happy" Mel said

"I know Mel, I think I will be happy, when Jack and I sort a few more things out"

Mel rounded on Jack, "You better take care of her, she's special you know? You treat her bad again, and you'll have me to deal with"

"Thanks for the advice, but I think we'll be good"

Melinda just glared at Jack as she turned back to Sam. "I'll miss you"

"You too Mel, come visit me at the SGC, you have the appropriate clearance, maybe the General can give you permission to go through the Star Gate some time".

"See ya Sam, love ya babe" Melinda said as she leaned in to kiss Sam on the lips.

"Love you too Mel" Sam replied as they broke the kiss. It wasn't a passionate kiss, just a kiss between good friends, but once again, those pictures of two naked woman started to invade Jack's mind and he had to try his hardest to reign in his rampant desire and squelch his growing erection and try prevent himself behaving like a fool in front of Sam

As Sam closed the door behind her, she heard Jack say "she really cares about you, you're really lucky to have made such a good friend in such a short period of time"

"I know, it's going to be hard leaving her, but I do want to go back to the SGC and it's the truth, I have been hiding here"

"No more than I've been hiding in DC"

TBC…