Title: A Brief Moment
Author: By Tracy
Summary: Sam has a cold
Season: Eight, after Heroes, before the promotions
Archive: Yes, please
Feedback: PLEASE! To
Author's note: This just popped into my head one day, as is. Not beta'd, so any mistakes are mine alone. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and it's wonderful characters are not mine, but I wish they were. No money or profit was made on this or ever will be.
Jack shifted his weight against the stone wall at his back, rearranged the P-90 in his lap, and watched Sam sleep. Even with the glow from the fire illuminating her face she looked pale, the shadows under her eyes emphasized by the flickering flames. She had a fist curled under her chin, and he knew this meant she was sleeping deeply. After eight years together he knew the signs that she was either absolutely exhausted or fighting an illness. He wondered idly if she slept like that when she was a baby, and pictured a small blonde toddler sleeping with a fist curled under her chin.
Carter had been suffering from a terrible cold the last few days. Bad enough he wondered if she didn't have a touch of pneumonia, but she refused to let the illness slow her down. He'd seen a Monty Python movie once where a knight ended up having all his limbs cut off in a sword fight, was bleeding to death, and still kept trying to fight his adversary saying "It's just a flesh wound," "C'mere, I'll bite your leg off." Sam was a bit like that. Never say die, that was his Carter.
He knew she'd be mortified if he asked her to sit this mission out. She hated to show any weakness to the team, felt she was letting them down if she let anything slow her down, but he'd been so concerned about her, he'd asked if she might just maybe stay behind for this one mission. He may as well have insulted her first-born child. Sam insisted she was just fine--between coughing fits--and he ended up giving her an ultimatum.
The only way he'd let her go is if Dr. Brightman gave her clearance. No help from that quarter. Doc Brightman had told her to "take it easy" and granted clearance. Jack snorted. Clearly Brightman didn't know that 'take it easy' was not in Samantha Carter's vocabulary. What he wouldn't give to have Janet Fraiser back in charge of the infirmary. Ol' Doc Fraiser would have not only kept Sam from going, she'd have confined Sam to one of the infirmary beds before Sam could blink an eye. He sighed to himself. He missed Janet Fraiser for a million and one reasons, and wished her back for just as many.
Jack glanced up as Sam coughed a couple times in her sleep and rolled over.
He cupped his hands and blew into them, then rubbed them briskly together. It had been warm on the planet during the day, but once the sun went down, it had gotten downright cold. He thought about moving closer to the fire, but he needed to keep an eye on the path that led to-and from-the village, just in case.
He'd had a bad feeling about this place from the moment they'd gated through. Daniel had wanted to examine some of the ruins that lay strewn about the landscape, thinking they may have a link to the Ancients. They'd attempted the usual Meet-'n-Greet with the locals, with mixed results.
The population of the planet consisted mostly of men, having bred out the majority of females as an inferior species centuries ago, but common sense dictated that if you breed all the females out of a species, you breed out the species. Duh. The Naral were just figuring that out, apparently. They currently resorted to buying, stealing or trading for females as they could, but the males were still the dominant gender on the planet, and the poor females who ended up living there were treated abominably.
When SG-1 had arrived, they had been greeted warmly enough, and given food and the offer of shelter, but Jack hadn't liked the predatory way they were looking at Sam-or Daniel, for that matter. The males on the planet had apparently turned to each other due to the lack of feminine company, and Daniel had received many speculative looks. Jack and Teal'c were exempt from this perusal, apparently, as dominant males. These people knew what a Jaffa was, and Jack was regarded, correctly, as the leader of the group. The Alpha male.
Jack decided to decline their offer of shelter before the looks turned to actions. The leader of the village had asked if Sam were Jack's mate, and before Sam could answer, Jack had put an arm around her and agreed that she was, while trying to ignore Sam's startled look. Before she could refute his statement, he squeezed her a little tighter in warning, and Sam, always quick on the uptake, fell silent. The leader then hopefully asked about Daniel. Jack had stammered a moment, loudly cleared his throat, and muttered in a low, voice, "He, uh, belongs to the Jaffa." That resulted in the necessity of squeezing Sam again, and she covered her gasp with a fit of coughing.
He'd thought maybe that had settled the matter until he'd gotten distracted talking to their leader, Marfon, and lost track of the others. He heard a commotion and looked up to find Sam, fighting for all she was worth, while some big ape tried to manhandle her. As Jack approached the man laughed harshly and slammed Sam up against the wall, pinning her there with his body. "C'mon, sweet, doesn't your husband want to share?" Before Jack could think clearly, his P-90 was held against the man's head as he ground out in a deadly voice, "He. Does. NOT. Let her go-NOW!"
The room fell silent. Daniel and Teal'c were instantly at his side, weapons drawn. The niceties were clearly over for the evening. Jarned, the ape in question, slowly lowered Sam so her feet touched the ground again, and removed his hands from her, holding them up so Jack could see. Jack slowly lowered his weapon from the man's head, and turned to face the room in general.
"We're leaving now. I suggest none of you tries to stop us." No one did. At least not at the time.
They took their leave as quickly as possible. Jack was all for dialing home and getting the heck out of there, but Daniel pleaded that the Gate was a good day's walk from their current location, Sam needed to rest, and he wanted at least a short time the next day to examine the ruins. Against his better judgment Jack had agreed and they decided to set up camp next to the rubble of what had once been some kind of shelter. It now consisted of one large wall, with a few pieces missing, and two lower, nearly destroyed walls. The fourth had most likely been carried off in pieces for newer shelters or fences, Daniel had speculated.
Jack couldn't shake the feeling they'd been followed and were now being watched. If they let their guard down he could just picture the locals trying to spirit Sam and Daniel away by whatever means they found necessary.
He glanced at his watch and sighed. Just five more minutes until Sam's watch. Damn. He really didn't want to wake her and make her come out here away from the shelter of the fire to sit watch for two hours. Normally, she would wake instantly if he just called her name softly, but she was dead to the world right now, and he just didn't have the heart to interrupt her few cough-free hours.
"Daniel," he called out softly and Daniel was instantly awake. Groggy, but awake. He muttered "Yeah..." and fumbled around for his glasses, getting up and stumbling over to where Jack sat. "I'm up, I'm up." Jack wondered if Daniel was trying to convince him or himself.
"My turn already?" He muttered, sticking fingers under his lenses and rubbing his eyes. "Do we have any coffee?" Jack indicated the pot he'd left next to the fire, and Daniel looked at him somewhat reproachfully before retracing his steps to get some. He made a detour to get his boots, coat and zat before returning to Jack's side.
"Er, Daniel," Jack fiddled with the strap to his gun idly. "It's not really your turn yet, but I wanted to let Carter sleep a while longer. I would have just done her watch myself, but I'm getting pretty fatigued and I don't want to miss anything if our new friends come looking for us."
"Oh, no, no, that's fine," Daniel was instantly alert and agreeable. "Sam needs to get as much sleep as she can. That cough sounds terrible. Besides, she's doing the fist thing." He tucked a fist under his chin for a moment in illustration. Jack was somewhat taken aback that Daniel knew about the fist thing. He thought he was the only one aware of it, but he supposed after eight years they'd all noticed each other's little personality traits. He nodded at Daniel gratefully without comment.
"Listen, Daniel, I'll sit out the watch with you if you want," Jack offered.
"No, no, go get some sleep, Jack. I'll be fine." Jack was so tired he hurt, but he didn't want to let his guard down when it came to the people of this planet-and he felt bad for dragging Daniel out of bed two hours before he should have.
"I will stay with Daniel Jackson," Teal'c appeared out of the shadows looking rested and refreshed. "Then I will take watch afterward. I have observed that Major Carter is sleeping deeply. We should allow her to continue."
"The fist thing?" Daniel asked, and Teal'c inclined his head slowly in agreement. "Indeed."
He felt better about Daniel and Teal'c keeping watch together and after bidding them good-night, practically crawled over to his bedroll. He removed his boots and coat and climbed into his sleeping bag. He was about three feet away from Carter, and he lay on his side facing her. Watching her slow, even breathing until sleep overcame him.
His internal clock woke him at first light. He opened his eyes and found himself practically nose to nose with Carter. He didn't know if he'd moved closer to her in the night, or if she'd moved closer to him, but their faces were just inches apart. He allowed himself to lie quietly, content to just watch her sleep, when, without warning, her eyes opened.
At that moment, just gazing into her sleepy eyes, Jack's universe held nothing but her.
He was suddenly reminded of a poem. The poem:
She walks in beauty like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes
The first day Samantha Carter had walked into the briefing room, the first time he lay eyes on her, that first line of the poem, 'She walks in beauty like the night," popped into his head, he wasn't sure why, or how he knew those words, but it certainly fit his view of Sam, and he made it his business to find out the rest. Daniel would plotz if he knew Jack could recite the poem, hell, even Old Lord Byron would be spinning in his grave if he knew Jack O'Neill could quote him. Of course, the words he remembered were just the first part. Byron had droned on and on for many more paragraphs, but Jack liked the first part best.
As he now gazed into her eyes, he reflected that some of the best communicating he and Sam had ever done was conveyed completely without words. This was no different. They were both content to just gaze silently at each other. As he leaned in to slowly erase the distance between them he heard Daniel's voice call out, "Wakey, wakey! Sam, I brought you some coffee." The spell was broken. Daniel bustled over to them and as Sam sat up he handed her a steaming cup. Sam started to cough again, covering her mouth with the back of her hand. When she could, she took a bracing gulp of the hot coffee.
Jack sat up and ran a hand through his hair, which, from the grin Sam gave him over the top of her cup, he could tell was now standing pretty much straight up. He glowered at Daniel.
"You didn't bring me any coffee," he grumbled in mock affront, but when Sam wasn't looking he nodded to Daniel in thanks.
Daniel grinned at him and shrugged.
Jack pulled back the Velcro covering on his watch and announced, "Daniel you have exactly one hour to poke around these ruins while we break camp."
"An hour? Jack..." Daniel began to whine.
"Daniel," Jack's voice held a warning. "The best I can do is tell you we'll pack your gear while you sniff around, okay?"
Daniel huffed out a loud sigh. "Okay, an hour."
Jack looked to Sam and waited for the other shoe to drop. No way was she going to let them off the hook about taking her watch last night. She said nothing, however, packing her gear away, stopping to bark out a few coughs, but no reprimands about the watch.
She must really be sick, he thought. This was really unlike her.
In exactly an hour Jack dragged Daniel away from the pile of rubble he was investigating, ignored his pleas for 'five more minutes' and they were on their way to the gate. Teal'c had been keeping watch for any of the inhabitants of the planet, but surprisingly no one had appeared to challenge them, thank God.
They walked in silence for quite sometime before Sam came up along side him and said quietly, "Sir, you really should have got me up for my watch," and then moved past him.
"Carter," Jack said loudly enough for her to hear. "Have you ever seen Monty Python?"