Sam woke up shivering. She had thrown her bed roll off sometime in her sleep, and the early morning chill had woken her. Not that the little sleep she'd managed to get had been particularly restful. She never remembered her dreams, fortunately, typically waking with just an impression of what they had contained. Yet last night's had left her with a vague sense of dread. Because she had been missing something. Or someone. Someone important.

And that's when she remembered. She glanced across to where the Colonel had dropped his gear the day before. She could just make out his still empty bed roll in the early morning light which filtered in through the gaps in the tent. She decided she'd had more than enough sleep. She sat up carefully and slipped out of the tangle of her blankets. Grabbing her gear, she quietly left the tent.

Sam usually loved this time of day, when the camp or village they were staying in came slowly to life around her. The smell from the cooking fires wafted invitingly towards her, and her stomach growled in acknowledgement. But there was no way in hell she was going over that way – no way she'd risk running into the Colonel and —

She headed towards the outskirts of the camp, away from the welcoming smells of food, towards where the first rays of the sun were even now streaking the sky pink. She just needed some time along to pull herself together before facing the day. A day destined to be spent sitting next to the Colonel and across from –

But she wouldn't think about that. Settling down in the grass at the camp's edge, the cold dampness of the ground seemed to match her mood perfectly. She was determined to enjoy the sunrise. Nobody had made any rules against that. Not yet.


He had been standing chatting by the cooking fires when he'd seen her passing between two nearby rows of tents. Instead of heading over for breakfast, however, she'd taken off in the opposite direction. He didn't even give himself time to think. Grabbing his recently filled thermos and a plate of food, he quickly followed after her.


She smelled the food he carried before she heard his approach. Looking up over her shoulder, she confirmed what she already knew.

"Sir…" she started to shift to her feet.

"No, Carter. Stay there. I just saw you headed this way and figured I'd join you…" Their eyes met, and she could tell he'd realized the potential awkwardness of the situation at the same moment she had. He finished sitting down next to her and held the plate he carried towards her. "You should eat," he explained a bit lamely.

She began to protest, "No, sir, I'm not…" but a noise from the direction of her abdomen gave lie to her words. And broke the mood. Sam chuckled despite herself. "Yes, sir," she concluded instead.

"Thought so," he declared, smiling in satisfaction as she took the offered plate.

Damn the man. Despite everything, she was finding it impossible to stay mad at him. After all, she had no claim on him besides friendship, anyway. Whatever he may or may not have done the night before, the bottom line was, you couldn't betray something which didn't really exist. Shaking her head in defeat at the maddening man sitting next to her, she dug into the food.

The Colonel reached behind himself, grabbing the portable thermos he'd slung over his shoulder. Her anger dissolved completely when he held it up, offering, "Coffee?"

She couldn't help laughing as she grabbed the canteen cup off her web gear. She held it up for him to fill. "You need to ask?"

He chuckled in response, "Not really. No." The Colonel poured himself some coffee before setting the thermos down on the ground.

Leaning back on one arm, he gestured towards the sky in front of them. "Beautiful sunrise, huh, Carter?"

She looked up at him, to find him looking back at her. Even though she wasn't quite sure if he'd meant to give his words a double meaning, she knew she was grinning like an idiot anyway. She quickly turned away, taking a quick sip of coffee to hide her smile. After a few more sips, having regained control of her expression once more, she looked back out at the sunset. "Yes, sir."

They sat together for several long moments, and suddenly, to her surprise, Sam realized that – at that specific place and at that specific moment -- she was happier than she could ever remember being. Watching an alien sun rise over an alien landscape while sipping coffee with Jack O'Neill.

He was the first to break the silence, saying softly, "Carter?"

"Yes, sir."

"We're done here, ya know."

She looked over at him in surprise. "Sir?"

He smiled back at her. Too knowingly. "I spent the night hanging out with Pra'nac's night watch. And in the morning, they helped me convince him that they could use some of their own 'Tau'ri Weapons'. So, it looks like this mission won't be a complete failure after all…"

She stared at him in surprise for a few moments, mouth open and mind racing. Jack had known. Known why she had woken up so early, and why she had avoided the cooking fires with their promise of breakfast and coffee to seek solitude at the edge of camp… But the only words she could eventually come up with were a simple: "Good job, sir."

And -- god help her -- the blasted man winked.