A/N: Once again Sally strikes again. She posted this question on the Sam/Jack Family thread (httpcolon double forwardslash forum dot gateworld dot netslashshowpost dotphp?p=10265830&postcount=184172): 1- would you think sam and/or jack would be more honest when very tired, or the opposite? That question sparked this.
Set on a planet of my choosing. This is not a Campfire fic.
Sam sank gratefully to the ground, dropping her pack by her side. She was, quite uncharacteristically so, exhausted. The daylong hike from the stargate, usually invigorating and challenging for her, had instead been an endless trial. Shortly after setting out she'd realized that she wasn't feeling quite right. Sure, she'd spent the night in her lab, but really. This was unusual. It was a good thing the planet had proven to be–or at least this small portion of it–without threat because it had taken every ounce of her concentration to simply put one foot in front of the other and keep up with her team.
Once or twice she'd stumbled over a rough patch of ground, and either the Colonel or Teal'c had reached to steady her. The last time O'Neill's hand had lingered on her arm long enough that she'd turned to find him watching him, his normally amber eyes dark with concern. She had smiled and thanked him, then determinedly strode forward to walk with Daniel. Sam had long ago worked through her need to impress her CO, her need to prove herself. However, because she was feeling less than her normal self, she'd pushed to keep up, unwilling to admit to feeling ill. She was well aware that when her defenses were low she tended to revert back to the little girl who needed to show daddy she was tough. Completely inappropriate for this situation, but the feeling was there, nonetheless.
And now, finally, they had stopped. They'd walked through lunch, not bothering to stop earlier and she was grateful now that they'd found a place in which she could rest. Oblivious to everything but the growing need to sit, Sam slid down the tree and slumped, utterly weary. She watched as Daniel and Teal'c paced the perimeter of the area they'd chosen for the night. Daniel was clearly unhappy with their stop.
"There's still about three hours of daylight left, Jack. I'm pretty sure we could make that ridge."
"It is true, O'Neill. There looks to be an easy path, perhaps an animal track, leading in that direction."
The Colonel looked up at the ridge and then back toward the setting sun. His eyes traveled down to his team, taking in Daniel's dancing eagerness and Teal'c's unusual support of the younger man. He turned to Carter to ask her opinion and was startled to see her sprawled on the ground at the base of a tree. Before he could ask what was wrong, Carter's voice carried across the small clearing.
"How 'bout you guys go and the Colonel and I will just stay here and snuggle," Sam muttered, settling deeper into her slumped position against the tree. It was the utter silence that brought her out of her semi-doze. She opened her eyes slowly, her jaw going slack as she took in the stunned gazes of her team. Even the normally impassive Teal'c looked surprised. His head was tilted slightly, reminding Sam of a curious terrier, and one eyebrow had risen high enough to constitute actual hair. Daniel stood, one arm still lifted toward the ridgeline, his mouth open in a surprised "O," his eyes almost as large as the lenses of his glasses. But it was the Colonel's expression that brought home what she'd said. He simply stood before her, a rare, mile-wide smile on his face, his brown eyes warm and sparkling as he gazed down at her.
Oh. My. God.
"Did...I..." Sam sucked in a breath and closed her eyes. "Please tell me I didn't just say that out loud." Her whispered plea was faint, hopeful.
Suddenly both Daniel and Teal'c were busy elsewhere and the Colonel was squatting before her. "No can do, Major."
Sam let her head drop back against the tree, the last of her energy draining from her body. "Oh God."
O'Neill stayed where he was for a moment, his eyes on his suddenly very pale Second. He stood and strode over to where Daniel and Teal'c were setting up the tent. After a few moments of conversation the archaeologist and the Jaffa both nodded and disappeared down the faint animal trail, Daniel looked back once at Sam in concern before he disappeared into the trees.
Sam was barely aware of her teammates' movements. She was concentrating on staying awake, staying focused. As the Colonel began laying rocks for a firepit, she tried to summon the energy to rise. What the hell is wrong with me? Closing her eyes in an attempt to focus, she shook her head, feeling as if she were trying to move through thick wads of cotton. She opened her eyes, squinting through lids suddenly covered in grit. She needed to get up. To help. To... do... something.... It took an enormous effort to unclip her P90. Instead of setting it nearby in case she needed it, she simply let it fall to the ground. She pushed herself to her knees and then rose unsteadily to her feet. Taking one shaking step forward, Sam suddenly pitched sideways.
The Colonel was suddenly at her side, his lightning reflexes the only thing that kept her from falling headfirst into the small fire he'd lit.
Muzzily, Sam stared up at her CO. Okay, this is more than being tired...
"Okay, Carter. This is more than you just being tired."
Sam just blinked at him. How had he known what she was thinking? What was wrong with her? She'd been tired when they'd left the SGC, but she chalked that up to another sleepless night in her lab. Well, not really sleepless. She'd actually fallen asleep in her lab, waking only thirty minutes before they were due to depart. Grabbing a power bar on her way to her shower, she'd even managed to eat something before they left. They'd all had lunch, albeit while on the move, but still.... Lost in her own thoughts, she was brought back to the present by the impatience in O'Neill's voice.
"...er? CARTER!" Now his voice took on a sharper edge, panic coloring his tone. He shifted to sit, cradling her in his lap. He gently patted her face. "C'mon, Carter...wakey, wakey. C'mon...open those baby blues and let me see 'em. C'mon..."
Sam blinked several times, trying to bring him into focus. His constant tapping on her cheek was annoying, so she turned away from it, pushing her face into his chest. "Don' wanna. No, please. Later maybe, kay?"
O'Neill stopped patting her and simply rested his hand on her face, his thumb absently caressing her cheek as he watched her tuck herself deeper into his lap. He lifted his hand and ran it across her forehead, frowning as he realized she was hot. Very hot. Hotter than she should be, even considering their recent trek hike from the 'gate. Damn. "Carter." Jack bent low, shaking his Major again. "Sam...c'mon. Wake up." Her only response was to burrow closer, tangling her fingers into his shirt and pushing her face into his jacket. "Great. Just great." In another time, another place even, this position would be...interesting. Now? Now it just meant trouble.
Carefully supporting her head and shoulders, O'Neill eased them both up. He half-carried her over to the fire and laid her down, snagging his pack with his foot and dragging it over. Still holding her head he tucked the canvas bag under her and stood. He pulled off his hat and ran a frustrated hand through his hair, leaving it standing spiked in all directions. Shrugging off his jacket he bent and laid it over her shoulders, indulging himself by laying his hand across her forehead again. The touch became a caress as he slid his fingers through her hair, tucking the fine strands behind her ear and away from her flushed face.
Not good. This wasn't good at all. O'Neill glanced again at the setting sun then up toward the ridge where he'd sent the other half of the team. He looked down at his sleeping Second and shook his head. He reached up and keyed his mic. "Daniel, Teal'c."
"We copy you, O'Neill."
"We have to scrub. Carter's sick. Really sick." Looking around, Jack stepped over to her gear bag and pulled out the tent they usually shared. "It's too late to head back to the gate tonight, so we're gonna camp here. I need you both back."
"We're on our way, Jack. Tell Sam to hang in there."
"Will do." Jack released the mic and glanced down again at his sleeping officer. "When she wakes up," he muttered.
SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ
Hot. Too hot. Really, really hot. Sam shifted and twitched in her sleep, restless and uneasy. She flipped open her sleeping bag, and sucked in a grateful breath as cool air flowed over her heated skin. Still hot, she fumbled with the edge of her t-shirt, pulling it up to expose her belly to the cooler air. A warm hand closed over hers and gently eased the shirt back down.
"Shh, Carter. You should probably keep that on, okay?"
Sam turned toward the voice. Her eyes felt as if they were glued shut. "Sir?" Her hoarse question sounded harsh to her ears.
O'Neill released her hand, apparently satisfied that she was going to keep her shirt on. For now. "Relax, Carter. You're sick. It's," he paused, pressing the button on his watch to illuminate the time. "Um, it's only zero one ten, Sam. Go back to sleep."
"Of course you are." The Colonel reached behind him and pulled over his canteen. "Here, easy now." After fumbling for a moment he uttered a soft oath. "Hang on a second, Carter." A moment later a soft light filled the tent. O'Neill repositioned his flashlight, keeping the lense tucked into his spare t-shirt. The muted light provided enough illumination to give Carter something for which she could aim. O'Neill reached behind her and supported her head as she drank, absently noting her temperature as he did so.
Sam swallowed the water gratefully, feeling the cool fluid easing the pressure on her throat, soothing her mouth. "Thanks, Sir," she whispered, her eyes dropping closed again. "Sorry."
"For what, Carter?" O'Neill let her head settle on the makeshift pillow, running a careful hand across her still warm brow.
"F'r bein' sick. I never get sick."
"Got news for you, Major. You are most definitely sick." He brushed her hair aside again. "And, it's silly to be sorry. Not your fault."
"I know." O'Neill pulled her sleeping bag closed over her again, carefully tucking her hands back inside of the fabric. Once she was settled again her rolled onto his back and let his eyes drift closed again.
Sam shifted again, then rolled onto her side. A moment ago she'd been so hot she couldn't stand it. Now she didn't think she'd ever be warm again. Instinctively she rolled toward the nearest source of heat, not caring at the moment that the person from whom she was seeking warmth was her CO. Inch by inch she moved across the floor of the small tent, snaking her arm out of her bag to aid in her navigation. Finally finding what she was searching for, she ran her hand across O'Neill's shoulder, finding a soft spot upon which to rest her head.
"Carter," O'Neill whispered into the darkness.
Releasing a long sigh, Jack gave in. He slid an arm under her and pulled her close, making certain to keep her sleeping bag closed as he pulled her into his own. "C'mere, Major."
"Kay." Sam mumbled, already giving in to the weight of sleep. She was vaguely aware of him tugging her closer and wrapping an arm around her to hold her in place. She gave in to the heavy pull of exhaustion. Just as she faded away she thought she felt the caress of his lips across her forehead, but dismissed it as a fever-induced fantasy.
SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ• SJ
The next time Sam awoke it was because she desperately needed to relieve herself. She blinked into the darkness, shaking her head slightly in an attempt to clear her head. She felt slightly better, but still so incredibly tired that she considered ignoring the needs of her bladder and going back to sleep. Deciding that she could wait, she'd just set her head down on her pillow and let out a sigh when the pillow moved.
Suddenly she was very awake. Cautiously she reached up, her fingers tracing a path along the shoulder on which she was resting her head to find the neck and stubbled jaw of...her CO. Uh oh.
Yup. Now's a good time to go pee, Sam. Yes, indeed. Let's move. But... Slightly dizzy from even the smallest movements, Sam decided to slow down. She rolled away, back toward her side of the tent, only to find that she was effectively trapped. O'Neill had apparently tucked her, sleeping bag and all, into his own bag. She took a moment to regain her equilibrium. Even that simple attempt to change position had taken a lot of energy. Okay, still sick. Got it. God, she hated being sick. Shaking her head, she reached over and shook O'Neill's shoulder.
"Sir," she whispered.
"Hmm? 'S okay, Sam, we're okay." O'Neill's voice was thick with sleep and he turned, his arm reaching dreamily for her.
Sam grabbed his hand and guided it back to rest on his hip. "Sir, I need you to wake up a minute, okay? Please?"
"Kay. C'mere." Still deeply asleep, the Colonel rolled onto his side, gathering her close to his chest.
Oh God. Despite her increasingly desperate need to use the bathroom, Sam couldn't suppress the quiet moan that slipped out. They'd danced around their feelings for nearly three years. Three very long years. They'd not-talked about them repeatedly, funny little partial conversations which one of them would start and the other would quickly steer in another direction, always coming to the same non-conclusion. She loved him and he loved her. She knew that. Deep down inside, she knew that. The silly za'tarc test had forced them to admit things in as oblique a manner as possible, but she'd known long before then. Just as she'd known–as he did–that nothing would change between them. For now.
Sometimes they slipped. Sometimes it became too much. When Daniel "died" in a fiery burst and she'd been hypnotized, they'd slipped. He'd swept her up into his arms. When he'd come by her house to drop something off and found her crying–she'd just left Cassie with Janet to settle into her new adoptive home–he hadn't said a word, simply wrapping her in his arms and holding her. Again, as they both lay dying on the ice planet that turned out to be Antarctica she'd snuggled into his arms. And again, late at night in the SGC infirmary, after Janet had taken Cassie home, still lost in the miasma of emotion left by Jolinar's death, Sam had suddenly been overwhelmed by his warmth as he crawled into the bed behind her. He'd simply said, "Shh," and held her while she sobbed. When she'd awakened in the morning he was gone. And once more, when they'd knelt, desperately clutching each other, both trembling and shaken, after Hathor's death in the false SGC. Other times too, becoming more and more frequent, despite their mutual–if unspoken–resolve.
Oh, it was so easy. Too easy, really, to slip with him. To allow herself the comfort of his arms. To offer him the comfort of hers. Sam knew she was sick enough that this could be another of those times. That she could just close her eyes and let herself be held by him. To slide her arms around his back and hold him in return. As enticing and...perfect...as that sounded, the more prosaic needs of her body demanded that she not do so. And with that came the sense of duty and responsibility that always followed. She placed her hands on his chest and pushed gently. "Sir." She pushed again. "Colonel. I...I need to get up. Really."
"'Kay, honey. C'm back soon." O'Neill pressed a soft kiss to her forehead and rolled onto his other side, still obviously deeply asleep.
Sam bit back a smile. The urge to relieve herself became critical and Sam decided that she needed to address that before she tackled–metaphorically, of course–anything else. She eased out of her somewhat damp sleeping bag and slipped her feet into her unlaced boots. As she prepared to get up she realized she had absolutely no idea how their campsite was laid out; therefore she had no idea where they'd decided the latrine area was. Just as importantly she realized that there was no way she'd be able to stand and walk very far. Poking her head out of the tent she spotted the solid bulk of Teal'c sitting at the edge of the fire.
The Jaffa rose and silently crossed the small campsite. Sam explained her need and he quietly held out a hand, helping her to her feet. Together they shuffled to the edge of the clearing and then, after she'd finished, back again. Their entire trip was made in silence, and for that Sam was grateful. She could barely stay on her feet and didn't feel up to talking. Teal'c's hands were gentle as he helped her ease back into the tent with a solemn nod and low bow.
Flipping on her own light, but careful to keep it muted, Sam took advantage of her brief mobility to exchange of her sweat-dampened t-shirt for a clean one. Once finished she was as exhausted as she'd been at the end of their hike yesterday. She shivered in the darkness and contemplated her sleeping bag. Suddenly it seemed too much effort to get inside. Even to get warm again. Overwhelmed with exhaustion, her eyes flooded with tears. Beside her, O'Neill mumbled in his sleep and rolled over, one arm restlessly patting the ground next to him. She watched as he came awake, apparently realizing she was no longer there.
"Here." Sam sniffed and wiped away the tears.
He blinked up at her sleepily. "Hey, what's wrong? You okay?"
"Um hum." Listlessly she tugged at the edges of her sleeping bag, struggling to kick off her boots and get inside. She closed her eyes as O'Neill's warm hand settled over her own.
"Carter. Let me." O'Neill reached over and slipped off her boots. Without looking up he pulled her bag over to his own, then opened it, patting the inside and inviting her to lie down again. "C'mon on." He looked up her now, his eyes warm and soft. "It's okay, Sam."
O'Neill tugged at her, pulling her closer. He gently eased her legs into her sleeping bag and then helped her lay back. Instead of grabbing her pillow he guided her head down to his shoulder and wrapped his arm around her, snugly trapping her against him. "Sam, it's always okay."
Suddenly, being sick wasn't so bad after all.