Secrets

Secrets

Disclaimer: Only my stuff is mine.

A/N: So, I really like this episode. I mean, when Jack meets Sam's dad…fricken hilarious. Plus, the really awesome shippy looks between Sam and Jack. Awww…

Okay, enough with the sap. LOL. This has probably been done before, but I don't feel like going through hundreds of pages to check. Heehee.

Um, one thing, Henry Hayes is president in this story. I know he wasn't during this episode…but, hey, it's fanfiction. Spoilers for "Children of the Gods."

BTW: Beginning dialogue is straight from the episode.

ENJOY!!

"I was hoping to stick around long enough to see you become an astronaut."

Sam squeezed her eyes shut, wanting to scream at him for being so stubborn, but wanting to cry because of his condition. He had cancer. Her father, the invincible General Jacob Carter, had cancer. And it was killing him.

Seeing the warring emotions on her face and hearing it in her sharp intake of breath he continued. "Sweetheart, I don't care what it is you do in that mountain…nothing in the world can live up to the chance of actually going to space." He paused, when she closed her eyes again and dropped her head slightly. "Not for you…it's something you've wanted your whole life."

His voice was low, pacifying. He had done this for her. It was a last ditch attempt to smooth over the last few years. He knew that he had never been there for her…that he had missed so much of her life. But…her dreams couldn't have changed that much…could they?

Did she still dream of becoming an astronaut? Deep Space Radar Telemetry couldn't possibly live up to going into space. Maybe she wanted to stay because of that Colonel O'Neill? He had only seen them together for a few minutes…but it was enough. He knew his daughter well enough to know that she was head over heels for her CO. He was sure that George knew it too. The man worked with them everyday. And he wasn't blind.

But, Sam wouldn't throw her dreams away for a man that she couldn't have…would she? 'Maybe he's not just "a man." Maybe he's something more to her.' Jacob mused as he stared into the tear-filled eyes of his daughter. The way O'Neill had been looking back at her…he felt the same way. Jacob didn't know whether to laugh, cry…yell. This was too much.

It was time to get out.

"And I admit it…I wanna see you fulfill your life's dreams before I die." He hated doing this to her. He knew he was being selfish.

"But, it's my dream…doesn't that make it up to me?" Her voice was strong, clear…but the expression in her eyes gave her away. She was torn. She wanted to please him…but she didn't want to leave her job.

"Father's have dreams too." He had meant that as a peace offering…a way to stand on even ground, but she took it completely differently. Jacob saw the telltale determination shining in her eyes. She looked so much like him when she did that.

"I'm sorry. I can't" Her voice dropped in volume and she looked like she was truly sorry. She knew he was only trying to make her happy. Trying to make up for the painful lack of childhood memories.

Sam felt the sadness and regret bubbling into her throat as her father regarded her with disbelief and slight offense. She wanted so much to make him happy…to have him be proud of her…and she hated that she couldn't tell him about what she really did. She hated that he couldn't know the truly amazing things she did under that mountain and beyond.

But he would never know.

And he would never know why she was turning down her life's dream that he had worked so hard to make come true.

"Alright." He said in a tight voice barely above a whisper. Without another word he turned away from her and made for the exit. Sam squeezed her eyes shut again, trying to force back the tears.

She turned as her father paused. "Like I said, this is gonna go on for months, so you don't have to check up on me tomorrow or anything." His voice was removed.

"Dad, please…" Tears were choking her voice. "Don't go like this."

"Congratulations on the medal. I'm sure you deserve it." With that he turned and strode from the room.

"Dad…!" her voice was strained and filled with anguish. He couldn't just go. He had cancer…he could be dead tomorrow and they wouldn't have parted on a good note. But he didn't turn around. He ignored her pain-filled pleas and kept walking down the hall; back straight, chin up…like the soldier he was.

………………………………………………………………………………

Sam turned to face the window again. This couldn't be happening. Tears ran down her face and she didn't bother to brush them away…more were coming soon. She tried to swallow them, but the painful lump in her throat halted any possibility of that. Collapsing heavily into a nearby chair she dropped her head into her hands and let out a quiet sob.

Why did he always do this? Why couldn't they ever just talk? Why couldn't he ever let things go?

She was interrupted when she heard the voice of the last person she wanted to see right now. Or maybe the person she wanted to see too much.

"Hey, Carter!" Jack bounced into the room, her back facing him. "Hammond says we're headin' out. Told me to…" he trailed off when he saw her too-fast straightening, hastily wiped face, and heard the hitch in her liquid-y voice.

"Sir." She spoke automatically, not knowing what else to do. Careful to keep her back to him, she swiped a hand over her face and tried to calm herself. Sam really didn't want him to see her like this.

Hell…she knew that if she turned around and saw the concern in his eyes, she would lose it. She would lose all of it. And that wasn't acceptable.

"Carter…?" He took another step into the room, closing the door behind him. "You okay?" his voice was low, guarded. He wanted her to know that he wasn't pushing and that it would be okay if she told him to go to hell.

"Fine, sir." She answered too quickly. Taking a deep breath she stood up and straightened her dress jacket, but did not turn around.

"Carter." He warned. It was one thing to tell him to leave her alone…it was another to lie.

"It's just…" she sat heavily back onto the chair. "It's just my father." Her voice was quiet and resigned, but the bitter undertone was evident.

"Your…father." He repeated, taking a few more slow steps toward her. He didn't want her to close him out. "What happened?"

"He…he just…doesn't understand." Sam hated that her voice cracked with emotion. She didn't want her CO to think she was weak or too emotional. So why did she suddenly have this overwhelming urge to tell him everything? 'Because I trust him. Because I--,' she shook her head slightly. She couldn't even let herself entertain those thoughts.

"Understand what?" he questioned. He was now standing next to her. Considering his options for a moment, he sighed and slowly sat down, not wanting to scare her off.

"About my job. About why I can't do the one thing he thinks I want to do. The thing he pulled a lot of strings to get me." She shook her head and laughed humorlessly.

"What 'thing?'"

Sam shook her head. "Ever since I was a little girl…I wanted to be an astronaut. He doesn't understand that I have so much more than that. I go to other planets on a weekly basis. He can't understand why I won't take the line he's offering."

"Carter--," Jack started, but she cut him off.

"Sir, I won't say anything to him. I know I can't and I would never give away the stargate…it's just…"

"Hard. I know." He shifted uncomfortably. He didn't know what to do. He had only seen her cry two or three times and each time he had the inexplicable urge to wrap his arms around her and hold her until everything was better.

"Sir…he has cancer." Sam choked on her words and ducked her head further away from him as the tears started to flow again.

Jack blanched. He had a feeling that she had just found out…and that things hadn't ended well.

"Carter…I…" Sorry just didn't seem to cut it. He sucked at stuff like this. She turned to face him for the first time since he entered the room…and the look in her eyes made him want to take her in his arms and never let her go.

There were tear tracks on her cheeks and more were filling her clouded blue eyes. Her mouth was set in a determined line and a slight flash of anger darkened her eyes.

"He's just so damn stubborn." She muttered, not breaking eye contact. "He can't accept the fact that I forgave him for what happened to my mother." Her eyes widened. She hadn't meant to bring that up. Jack cocked his head, but didn't question her. He merely waited for her to continue.

She shook her head. "He still blames himself and keeps trying to make up for it by doing what he thinks is best. They're just not the things that I want to do. He just can't let things go."

Jack nodded, eyes narrowing as he studied her face. Her pain was causing a lump to form in his own throat. "Carter…I'm sorry about…" he gestured his hands in the universal sign of 'everything.'

She gave him a small smile before dropping her head and half-turning away from him. "Thank you, sir." She took a shuddering breath, mentally preparing herself for the walk to the car. "You said General Hammond told us to ship out?" she asked, still not meeting his eyes.

"Yeah." He drew out the word, not moving from his position in the chair. Sensing that he had something else to say Sam stayed still, waiting. "Carter…you know that if you ever need anything…" he paused and scrubbed a hand through his already mussed hair. He gently rested a hand on her shoulder and turned her to face him. She slowly raised her eyes to meet his. "I'm here for you, okay? For anything."

Sam smiled sadly. "I've heard that before, sir." Her tone wasn't sarcastic or disbelieving…just quietly resigned. Jack felt his insides twist. What had the world done to her? How was she so incredibly strong that she still managed to push through each day?

"I mean it." Jack asserted, voice strong. "I'm not going anywhere, Carter. I'll be wherever you need me to be." Sam heard the deeper meaning of his words and felt her heart lurch. She needed him. She was strong, but he made her stronger.

She loved him.

'No point denying it now.' Sam thought ruefully as she gazed into her CO's eyes. His hand was still on her shoulder and he squeezed it lightly. Even through the thick material of her dress blues she could feel his warmth.

"Thank you." Sam managed to choke out before more tears rushed into her eyes and the lump in her throat returned with a vengeance.

"C'mere." Jack said as he saw her eyes glisten with more unshed tears. The unadulterated sadness in her eyes clouded his mind until all he could think about was ridding her of that sadness permanently.

Holding his gaze a second longer than she needed to, she slid across her chair and buried her head in his chest, holding onto him for dear life. His arms wrapped around her back, crushing her to him. Not for the first time, Sam marveled at how deeply she had fallen for this man.

He was kind, funny, loyal, smart, wary, strong, protective…he was everything she needed. Everything she loved. His clean, slightly woodsy scent wrapped around her and breathed deeply. She loved his smell. She loved waking up to it in the morning when they were offworld.

She missed it when she woke up in her own empty bed.

One of his hands was slowly smoothing her hair. She closed her eyes. He had no idea how much just his presence comforted her…let alone when he was physically touching her.

Neither one had any idea how long they stayed like that…nor did either of them care. Knowing that if she allowed them to stay in this position any longer she would never let go, Sam pulled back and wiped her face with her hand, careful not to disturb her make-up. She knew the colonel wouldn't care if she had smeared make-up…but she still had to walk through a room of military big-wigs. And there was no way she could let them see her like this.

She wouldn't give them any more ammunition to question her value to the SGC.

"Sorry, sir." Sam mumbled as she tried to smooth out the wrinkles she had made in his shirt. The wet stain…she couldn't do anything about that.

Jack shrugged, but did not release her shoulders. "Don't worry about it."

"But your shirt's wet." 'Way to point out the obvious, Sam.' she chastised herself.

Jack smiled. "Yes. It is." She gave him a look when he didn't continue. How could that be all he had to say? Now he had to walk out in front of a couple hundred people with her tear-stain on his shirt.

"Colonel?" she questioned when a few moments had passed and he still didn't let her go.

He merely smiled at her. "I don't mind, Carter. As long as you're okay." He narrowed his eyes, silently turning his statement into a question.

Sam nodded. "I'm fine, sir." Her smile faltered as his gaze grew more intense and his expression grew more serious. "Sir?"

"This…wasn't supposed to happen." Jack said quietly, his gaze muddled with too many emotions.

"What wasn't, sir?" Now she was worried. There was no way he was talking about what it sounded like he was talking about…right?

Jack opened his mouth, but shut it suddenly, at a loss for words. He shook his head and held her shoulders tighter.

"Colonel?" Sam asked again, her anxiety evident in her voice.

His gaze found hers and her stomach clenched nervously. His expression was unreadable. She wasn't afraid of him. She could never be afraid of him. But she was terrified of what he might be saying.

He couldn't feel the same way about her…could he?

TBC

A/N: Part two up tomorrow! Please R&R!