A/N: I was struggling with a bit of writer's block for chapter 8 of "The Ninth Chevron" yesterday so I decided to watch Metamorphosis. Inspiration hit... but not for the chapter. I figured, "What the heck? If I write this, maybe my muse will refocus so I can get unstuck in my chapter." It worked. I ended up with this little doodad and I'm hard at work on chapter 8 again, which will hopefully be posted tomorrow.

Disclaimer: The universe does not belong to me. The people don't belong to me. The blood, sweat and tears do.

Warning! Jack/Sam ship ahead... in a really big way! Turn back now if you're not so inclined... on second thought... don't turn back. You clicked on the link... read the thing anyway! :0)

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Waiting

"Get some rest. That's an order."

She thinks about that one a second. I can see the gears in her head cranking away. She's wondering if it would be a sign of weakness. Even worse, she's wondering if she'll wake up again if she goes to sleep. She realizes she has no choice, though. I've taken it away from her, knowing her brain would be pondering these very things.

So she moves… but not back to the pallet. She shifts and her head is on my shoulder.

Her head is on my shoulder.

Oh, God. She's going to die.

I look down at her sweat streaked features. They're pinched with pain, but she's trying to push past it so she can follow my order. Her eyes are closed, her breathing stilted. I tell myself at least she's still breathing.

And her head is on my shoulder.

It shouldn't be, but I want it there. I don't say anything, just lean back and revel in the contact. It's not much, but it's something and I refuse to deny myself this… to deny her this.

Teal'c sits in the cell next to us, his back turned away to give us privacy. I knew it the moment he turned. He'd taken one look at Carter and then me, his lips had curled up slightly and then with a small nod I almost missed, he turned away.

I stare at his back a moment, then at the deformed people meandering about. I want to hate them. They did this. They were dumb enough to let it happen. We could have helped them, but they threw it back in our faces. They deserve what they get, don't they?

But she won't blame them. She'd still help them if she could. I wish I was that honorable. She's more forgiving than I'll ever be. Is that why Niirti took her instead of me? Is she jealous of Carter's purity; her appeal? Is it because she knows the Major is the best of all of us? Is that why she's chosen to destroy the one thing that matters?

I hate her.

Carter's body has relaxed a bit. She's found a comfortable position. I can feel her warmth through the shoulder of my BDU's. Suddenly I can't stop thinking about all the time we've spent together, yet still alone. I picture the way she watches me when she thinks I'm not looking. Little does she know; I do the same… stolen moments I refuse to be ashamed of.

There's a gurgle behind us. A sense of dread pulls from my stomach and I want to lose my breakfast. I know what it is, but I don't want to look. If I look, it'll sink in. It'll be like the preview before a movie… coming soon to a cell block near you…

And then what? What will I do when it happens to her?

Her head lifts off my shoulder and I suddenly feel cold… barren.

I turn, glancing at her tired features on the way, but then I continue on to the pallet in the cell behind us. Some morbid curiosity draws us both in. We look silently at the soldier as he struggles to breathe like he's under water. We watch in horror as his life pours from his mouth and he gasps. We don't do anything… don't say anything. We just watch as the man fights against death. And as his body falls apart in a flood of liquid my heart seizes. Reality sets in.

I hear her sentiments drift from dry lips and I echo them in my head. "Oh, God."

Oh, God. She's going to die.

Like that. Cold. Painful. Final.

I close my eyes.

I know true fear.

I open them again and our gazes meet. Neither of us can find the words. We just sit there, motionless.

Finally, I break the silence. "Get some rest," I tell her softly, "that's an order."

It's all I can say. All I'm allowed to say, but I try with all my might to tell her silently all those other things.

I don't know if she hears my unspoken confessions, but she nods and leans back, putting her head on her flack jacket.

She folds her hands across her stomach and closes her eyes with a stuttered sigh.

I can't help it. I reach out and lay my hand on top of hers, needing the contact. Needing to know she's still here. Needing to tell her I am.

She gives me a small smile and turns her hand palm up to slip her fingers between mine.

We sit and wait, hands clasped together.

You're born and you live and you die… it's something I came to terms with a long time ago. It's something I've accepted; embraced, even.

But it's not good enough.

I want more.

I sit and I watch as she drifts away. Her features calm and her breathing grows deeper.

There's nothing to say.

I tighten my hand around hers and I wait. I wait for her to die.

Waiting is something I'm good at.

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A bit angsty... a lot of dark fluff. It's what I do. innocent shrug

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