A/N: Just a shortish piece. I don't know where it came from really, guess I was feeling a little morbid. I was thinking how pissed I'll be if we never get any real confirmation from TPTB that Sam and Jack are together. And I decided I'd rather see this happen than believe for a second that they're not together now...well not really, but like I said I was having a moment. Anyway i'll stop babbling on so you can read it...if you want to that is : )
Oh, it's set in season 7.
Just One Breath
Colonel Jack O'Neill sat alone, gazing down through the glass at the figure occupying the single bed in the isolation room. His features were stony, belying the turmoil that raged within him. Major Sam Carter, his Second IC, was sleeping curled up on her side with her hands tucked under her chin. It was a familiar sight to his tired eyes and meant she was sleeping deeply and soundly. He knew her so well, even in sleep. He knew every rhythm of her breath. He didn't have to see her eyes flashing back and forth under her lids to know when she was dreaming anymore. He didn't have to gaze into her lovely face and watch the slight fluttering of her long eye-lashes that signalled she would soon wake, though he often did anyway. He didn't have to turn over in his bed-roll to see if she too had woken abruptly at some sound that could mean danger or to know when she'd gone back to sleep after determining the sound was no threat. And though he couldn't hear her breathing from the observation room, he knew she always curled her hands together under her chin when she was sleeping peacefully. She was doing that now. Thank God for small mercies, Jack thought to himself. She was alone down there, surrounded by a heavy clear plastic isolation curtain that came down only about four feet from the bed. It was enough to let her get up and walk around sometimes, she hated staying in bed. And though she would never admit it, she was as bad at lying idle in the infirmary as he was; she just wasn't as vocal about it. Every now and then the door would open allowing a nurse into the room. The nurse would do her thing checking computer readouts, monitoring Carter's condition, but she never went in there with her, skirting around the plastic as if just touching it from the outside was dangerous. No-one could go in there. Carter had had to hook herself up to the monitors, she'd even had to draw her own blood for testing.
She was alone. And soon he would be too.
He wasn't sure when he'd come to rely on her quit so much. When had seeing her smile become the highlight of his day and the thing he yearned for more than anything when he woke up in the morning? He realised, sitting there watching her, that he would gladly cut off his own right arm if it would make her smile and her blue eyes twinkle at him in that way they did.
He'd been forced to confess some of what he felt for her three years ago, but he wondered if she really knew. Hell, he didn't even admit it to himself most of the time. Never voiced it; even in his own mind he'd never admitted those three little words.
He loved her.
He let out a derisive bitter snort, thinking what a fat loud of god that admission did him now!
The truth was he'd loved her for so very long, he had no clue when it began. Sure he'd been attracted to her physically from the moment he laid eyes on her silhouetted in the doorframe, her dress blues on. He was just a man after all, and Sam was…Sam was the beautiful thing, in that one moment and ever since, that he'd ever seen. He remembered how difficult it had been for him to tear his eyes away from hers. They shone the brightest blue and he remembered thinking they matched her class A uniform perfectly. But he wasn't sure when it had moved from attraction to utter devotion.
Being a man that avoided examining his own feelings at all costs, he hadn't even noticed that he'd developed a rather…inappropriate…attachment to her, until Jolinar. He'd felt his heart seize when he saw her lying their pale and motionless. He'd felt the tear escape his eye as he'd watched the medical staff swarm around her and it was then he realised what he felt. He never cried, never! Not even when Charlie…he didn't think he was capable of it, until Sam.
So there it was. He loved her.
But those three monumentally important and powerful words weren't enough. Not for her. They didn't even come close to describing his feelings for her. He had never thought it was possible to feel this kind of deep connection, affection, need, desire, concern…love…for another human being. Somewhere along the line she had become his reason for breathing in and out.
And now she was leaving him behind.
What would he do when he could no longer swagger nonchalantly into her lab and watch her working on some doohickie? The way she would bite her lip when she was thinking something through; the way her eyes would narrow and her brow would furrow when she'd had an idea; the way she would tilt her head when she was examining some alien contraption or run her fingers over it without actually touching it; the way the light from her laptop would make her skin glow blue while her fingers flew over the keyboard. Who knew he would ever find that sound familiar and comforting, but he did. It meant she was there, with him.
How could he live in a world in which he would never again hear her say 'Sir, I've been thinking.'?
And that was the crux of it. He was sure he couldn't; or rather that he just didn't want to. He'd said once, years ago that he'd rather die himself than lose her. He'd meant it, he still meant it.
The heavy Iso room door slid open letting Teal'c and Daniel enter. As if sensing their presence Jack saw her stir. Her eyes fluttered and then one hand rose to rub at her eyes before they opened.
"Hey guys." She croaked with a sleepy smile.
He rose slowly and left.
Jack could never stay away long though. He climbed the stairs of the observation room to find General Hammond and Doctor Frasier standing there, staring down at Sam.
Daniel and Teal'c were still with her but she was out of bed now, slowly walking around the small space, smiling and laughing lightly as they chatted. Jack could almost pretend there was nothing wrong with her, until she coughed. She grabbed at a cloth that had been resting on the bed, clamping over her mouth. Her whole body spasmed with the strength of it. She tried to hide it from her friends, but Jack saw the deep red, almost black substance covering the cloth as she brought it away from her face. Blood. She'd been coughing up blood for a while now.
Jack saw Daniel excuse himself and leave the Iso room before he turned to Frasier, "Doc?"
Dr Frasier looked at him with stricken eyes. Unable to speak she simply shook her head as Daniel joined them in the observation room.
"She's so alone in there…" He said.
Sam had just recovered from another coughing fit when she looked up through the clear curtain and locked eyes with Jack.
He simply stood as though carved of marble, his eyes boring into hers.
He saw the moment she understood, the moment she knew what he was going to do. Her eyes grew wide, her whole face showing her sudden fear.
Jack moved, abruptly turning away from her toward the stairs.
"Sir!" Sam yelled at his retreating back in terror.
"Jack?" Daniel asked with confusion. But jack ignored him.
Jack bounded down the staircase and Sam turned to the Iso room door expectantly. It slid open and Jack marched resolutely through and toward the quarantine area.
"Teal'c, please, you have to stop him!" Sam shouted desperately.
Teal'c intercepted Jack, standing before him barring his way with a hand on his chest. Sam watched as Jack held Teal'c's eyes. She saw the silent communication pass between them.
"No!" She yelled as forcefully as her hoarse voice would let her.
She watched in horror as Teal'c slowly nodded, bowing his head deeply and dropped his hand from the Colonel's chest.
Sam couldn't breathe as Jack continued quickly toward her. She backed away as far as the Isolation curtain would allow, stretching her arm out in front of her.
He raised a hand to the curtain.
"Colonel, no! Don't do this. Please!" She pleaded powerfully.
But he slipped through the folds of the curtain and into the contained area with her.
It was over she knew, the contagion she had was to virulent. He would have been infected as soon as he passed through the curtain.
"Sir." She said in a small voice as he approached her, slowly now.
He stopped a foot way from her, gazing into her blue, swimming eyes. He's seen this expression on her face once before, through a Goa'uld energy shield. It pleaded with him not to do this; pleaded with him to save himself. It told she didn't care if she died as long as he was okay. But she didn't know, didn't realise that if she died without him, he would never be okay.
He closed the distance between them. Her arm was still outstretched and collided with his chest, but she didn't lower it, instead she tried to push him back. "Please, sir. No, you…" Her efforts were useless; he was too strong for her in her weakened state.
Suddenly she broke. Tears streamed down her face as she screamed at him. "You bastard! How could you do this…!"
He grabbed her flailing forearms as she tried in vain to hit him.
"Carter," He said simply. His voice quiet and gravelly.
Their eyes locked. He released an arm to wipe at a tear stained cheek, before he engulfed her in his arms and buried his head into her neck. Her arms slipped around his waist, her hand finding his shoulder blades. She fisted his blue shirt in her hands, gripping tightly as they sank to the floor. She buried her head in the crook of his shoulder and he pressed his lips to her neck softly as he rocked her in his arms. She wasn't alone anymore; neither of them were alone now.
In the observation room, the other looked on, astounded and horrified at what they'd just witnessed.
Daniel joined Teal'c in the Iso room again, their eyes fixed onto their two team mates who were bound together on the floor. Soon they would lose them both. Daniel didn't bother to hold back the tears. He glanced momentarily at Teal'c's grim features, before returning his gaze to Jack and Sam. He didn't need to ask, Daniel knew.
In some ways they all knew it would come to this. Maybe not here and maybe not this way, but they all knew Jack and Sam would go together. The incredible bond between them might have gone unacknowledged by everyone, including themselves, but on some level they had always known it was a case of lose one, lose the other. For Daniel and Teal'c though, a dark shroud had descended over their lives and while they would go on, the sun would never shine quite as brightly as it used to.
Daniel and Teal'c sat in the Isolation room by the side of the curtain for the last watch.
General Hammond sat in the observation room with Janet, whose tears fell freely down her face.
But there were no tears in the eyes of Jack and Sam. They lay above the covers together on the single hospital bed. Jack lay on his left side facing her, gripping her right hand in his left between their chests; their faces only millimetres away, noses almost touching and their eyes locked together.
With her left hand Sam stroked his beloved face, every part of it. She had long ago committed his every feature to memory, but she had never known the feel of his handsome face under her fingers. She relished it now, a small smile gracing her lips. He smiled back at her; that lopsided smirk that made her knees go weak and she felt it under her fingers. Nothing could be better she thought, until he brought his free hand up and cupped her cheek with his broad palm and his long fingers. With his thumb he caressed her cheek lovingly.
It was hard to breathe, but Jack didn't care because she was smiling and her eyes were twinkling at him. He ran his thumb over her pale lips.
Slowly their faces tilted, closing the slight distance.
"Sam." Jack whispered.
Their lips came together in the softest touch and their eyes fluttered closed.
Their last breath left them, their eyes never opened again.
A/N: Thanks for reading, please review and let me know what you think. Seriously my in box is dying of thirst, reviews are life giving.