He stopped for a second on the pavement turning to face her as if he was going to say something but changed his mind and continued walking forward again. It was silent around them, no traffic or talking, no people padding around the paths with them. They were alone; having dropped Daniel and Teal'c off at their hotel first, Jack was now walking Sam to hers. The night sky was misted white from the clouds, blocking out the stars and the crescent moon.
Dinner had been fun, a lot of laughter, Jack had ever made Teal'c laugh and Sam had laughed so hard at one point he was sure she was going to choke. She'd clutched his arm and buried her face into his shoulder to try and calm herself, to hide her face from everybody. That had made him smile more than anything
He was a sap.
"How come you're staying in a different hotel?" He asked, skipping the subject of Atlantis.
"Daniel and I argued."
"You argued? Really?" He wasn't sure he believed her, and by the look on her face she didn't quite believe it herself.
"It was stupid," she shrugged, "he wanted to try a different hotel someone had recommended, I wanted to stay in our usual hotel," she shrugged, "childish really."
"Not like you at all." He said, straight and serious, "bit like Daniel though," he added with a smiled.
"I was worse."
"Which is why you're in separate hotels."
"At least you get me to walk you back."
"There is that." She smiled at him.
"I take it you two made up." She nodded.
"We only really argued because I'm going away and he's going to miss me. And I'm going to miss him. We're okay."
"Good." He dug his hands into his pockets, "So, Atlantis."
"Yeah." She smiled at her, eyebrows raised just a little. She was waiting for him to say something else, anything else about Atlantis, but he was stuck.
She was going to Atlantis.
He knew that, hell, he had put her name forward to the IOA, but still.
He had concluded that he must like to torture himself. Especially, when it came to Sam.
"Nervous?" He asked, forcing the word out before she could say anything.
"A bit, I'll admit. I come out of stasis, lose my team and gain a mountain, was a bit intense."
"You didn't lose us," Sam said, voice firm and a touch of annoyance in her tone, "we were still under your command. Still there for you."
"I know that."
"We still are," she interrupted him, "you just have to say the word." She had stopped walking, staring at him, hands clasped together tightly, twisting around, "I mean, it'll take a little longer to react, being in Atlantis, but whenever you need us." She smiled, head dipping down, "need me."
He smiled back, unsure what to say to that, but he had never doubted her, or the guys, had never thought they wouldn't be there for him whenever or wherever he needed them.
"So," he said, "are you nervous?" He asked. She looked up at him, looked around her then took a step closer to him.
"Terrified," She admitted in a whisper. She stepped back as soon as the word left her mouth and looked away, turning to the side to carry on walking. He reached out and grabbed her arm before she could even take a step, a warm smile on his face but she didn't look at him, simply staring at the ground.
"It's okay to be scared, Sam." He said, words careful, loosening his grip on her arm. She turned then, still not quite looking at him, but facing him at least.
"You have a whole city to look after, a couple of hundred people, two different alien threats, you have to work with McKay."
"Wait, I haven't finished yet."
"It's a bit different from just commanding a team through the gate into the unknown, but I wouldn't have suggested you to the IOA if I didn't think you could do this."
"I know. That actually makes it worse." She admitted, finally looking at his face, into his eyes for a moment.
"I'd hate to let you down." He smiled.
"You will fuck up," he said, "make mistakes, lose people, lose yourself too, for a bit." She said.
"Again, let me finish."
"But you could never let me down," he had to look away because she was smiling at him now, that huge bright smile with tears in her eyes.
"I mean it." She nodded but the tears didn't fall, didn't dry up and eventually he had to start walking before he hugged her tight to him, after a few steps she caught up to him and walked with him again, shoulders brushing.
"Any advice?" She asked.
"Well, make sure your scientists get enough rest, get a good assistant, and don't sleep with your second in command."
"Excuse me?" He didn't repeat it, he knew he didn't have to; he just smiled and kept walking. "Is that how you ran the SGC?"
"Did you want to sleep with me?" She asked a casual air in her tone and an innocent look on her face. Jack wanted to answer with the same attitude.
It was hard to display any attitude in one word.
"Do you still want to sleep with me?" She was still walking, still looking ahead.
"Do you want to sleep with your current second in command?" He could see the grin on her face and he laughed.
"As handsome as Colonel Everett is, he's just not my type, red hair, way too muscular and taller than me." She made a few coughing noises, covering up a couple of giggles, until she had to stop and let the laughter come, holding onto his arm again, but this time laughing into his chest.
When her laughter tapered off and she had calmed down again, she looked up at him and grinned. He considered kissing her, just leaning down and capturing her lips for along lingering moment but Sam had never indicated that she wanted to sleep with him and he wasn't sure he could be as bold with her, and just ask outright like she had.
She spun around on her toes and started walking again, the hotel was in their sight now, and in a few strides Jack was by her side again. They reached the hotel in silence, Sam stopping and turned to face him once more. She placed her hands on his chest and reached up to kiss him on the lips, a chaste touch followed by a brilliant smile and those sparkling eyes.
"Do you want to sleep with me right now?" She asked, grinning.
His only answer was to smirk, take her hand and let her lead him into the hotel.