Sam stepped through the gate in a haze. She blindly, numbly, greeted General Landry and the omniscient Siler. They watched in self imposed silence as she walked proudly to the locker room.
Her civvies chafed as she rode the elevator silently to the surface. The ride home was endless; the memory of the trip vanishing as she pulled her keys from the ignition.
Daniel looked bad. He sat quietly, forlornly, on the hard concrete stoop nestled at the front door. Sam sucked in a breath. She could do this.
He nodded slightly and she returned it, their eyes burning stories in a desperate fiery pitch. Sam closed her eyes tightly a moment her fisted clenching reflexively, drawing a trickle of crimson around her fingers.
Her head bowed. "I wasn't there."
Daniel ran a hand agitatedly through his hair. He drew a loud breath. "Don't"
They huddled together, she and Teal'c and Daniel. Cam and Vala stood to the side, watching the group.
Sam smiled and hugged and ground her teeth, the perfect hostess. She found respite in the arms of her strong brothers, her world.
And so the afternoon went.
Sam drank Guinness until it poured from her ears, flicking a cap. It beaned Daniel who simply rested his face in his palms, grinding the heel into his eyes.
"Teal'c and I will take the guest rooms." She nodded slowly.
She wanted to vomit. She wanted to scream, rail, rage. Instead she maintained her steady silence. A spoonful of jello caught her attention. Daniel raised it to his lips. She stood abruptly, knocking her chair to the floor. She backed away from the knowing gaze of her family.
Without knowing how she got there Sam was in bed. His pillow clutched to her chest. The pressure, that terrible weight surged upward, rising in an uncontrollable wave of anguish. She moaned, her face reddening, eyes burning.
She let out a quiet sob.
She lay there, tears falling quietly in a blue-burning pitch until sleep claimed her.
He watched, his magnificent heart. As she drifted away his fingers ghosted her temple. She shifted and her tear-streaked face shifted into a slight smile.
"Love you," she breathed.
His lips drifted across hers.
"Love you too."
As night faded Jack followed his eyes burning Sam in her sleep as he went.
Sam slept on, the cold, lonely cravass in her chest clenched in loss.
So it was.