Title: Sam's Five Biggest Regrets

Author: Rebecca Johnson [.com]

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Rating: PG

Spoilers: The First Commandment, Divide and Conquer, Abyss, Jolinar's Memories/The Devil You Know, Threads

Summary: title tells it all

Disclaimer: Unfortunately, Sam does not belong to me. I wish she did. Really.

1. The day itself had been respectful; everything was grey and cold, as if the sun just knew that its appearance would be inappropriate. They had stood together at the church and again at the interment, her father's dress blues a bright backdrop for the dark navy of her dress and the even darker face of her brother. Together they were a single unit, the remains of a broken family held together by grief and responsibility. But as soon as the last person had drained away, the temporary bond was overrun by the anger that had become second nature to them and two watched as the third stalked off to his car, not to be seen again for the better part of a fortnight. When Jacob reached out to his daughter, to try to comfort and hold on to the one child who was still talking to him, his hands met empty air as she stepped away from his embrace. The act had been completely instinctual and, as she looked up and saw the look of pure heart-break on her father's face, she regretted it immediately but there was nothing she could do to erase it. Ever.

2. When the back of her head slammed into the wall, her cheek red and stinging from the imprint of his hand, she knew she had to get out. As she slid down the wall, her body slinking much slower than her own sense of regret, she watched him turn on his heel and stalk out of the room. She couldn't believe the situation she had found herself in, could not believe that she had convinced herself that she could help him – a premise he had clearly refuted, declaring her continual attempts to 'heal the emotionally wounded' useless as he propelled her across their small apartment.

When she had first met Lt. Jonas Hanson he had been charming and witty, keeping up his efforts to persuade the young officer Samantha had been to join him for dinner despite her generally solitary nature. He was still charming when he wanted to be and certainly had a way with words – though now his persuasive wit was not directed at getting a smile of laughter from her but at ensuring her compliance in all things he said and thought.

Closing her eyes against the deafening pounding in her head she saw the same scene running over and over in her mind: Jonas grinning broadly as he pushed the engagement ring onto her finger. It was funny that now, as she gingerly checked her limbs for injury, she couldn't remember ever actually saying 'yes'.

3. Sitting across the room from him, her eyes stared directly into his as she coaxed his confession from him, inch by painfully remembered inch. Never before could she recall being both so unbelievably happy and yet still so guilt-ridden. She knew it wasn't really her fault, that it was just an unfortunate circumstance that they both had to get through, but still, the fact that she had to prompt him, guide him along that carefully straight line that revealed something that neither of them were ready to admit, that she normally would never have asked of him caused her very soul to ache. He returned her gaze completely, never looking away from her. 'I understand,' it said. 'We'll get through this.' But still, it ached.

When it was over, she forced herself to face him, to say the words that she knew she would regret for the rest of her life (… leave it in the room). She didn't like it, she hated it, but it had to be done.

4. His face looked odd peering up from the pillow; features long since memorised etched into a sallow mask that she had never before seen from him. She was used to seeing him injured. Shot, burnt, bleeding and gasping, all of these she had experience with, but illness, this was unexpected terrain that she had no idea how to cross. No idea except one.

She regretted that she had to be the one to do this, hated that she was their best bet and resented that everyone had known it. It wasn't fair, but just as she had known this, she also knew that there was no way she could ever have turned this 'assignment' down … just as she also knew that he would never turn her down. He would refuse, he would be appalled, and, if he had the strength, she knew he would damn well be yelling too. But in the end he would agree. He would look into the eyes that just could not manage to hide the desperation and unyielding fear that was pooling behind them and he would agree.

For her, he would agree.

5. The sound of regret, it turns out, is that of a man in love walking away in a straight line. Sitting on the bench outside the house he had bought for them, for their life together, Sam's guilt grew with each step Pete took across the perfectly green grass, towards the perfect little mailbox, and took the 'sold' sticker of the sign, never looking back at the woman who had just returned the heart he had presented to her so willingly.

She hadn't meant to hurt him, to use him. She thought she had loved him and that they could be happy together, but, as it is wont to do, the truth crept up on her slowly, day by day, until she could no longer see anything but its large black form. She had made a mistake – an understandable, well-intentioned, but heart-breaking mistake – and she has not willing to let him live with the consequences. Either of them.