MacGyver has Nothing on SG-1by AndromedaMarine
Author's Note: Just to make it clear, this is set a couple of days before the "Heroes" mission, in which Jack takes a staff blast to the torso. Dramatic irony, if you will. Bonus points to whoever can spot the second "irony." R&R!
"Sir, can I ask you a question?"
"Carter, how many times do I have to tell you to call me Jack off duty? And yes, you can ask me a question."
"Sorry. Jack, do you think our luck will run out someday?"
"I don't know what that means, Carter. Please, enlighten me." Jack takes a sip of his beer.
"Will the day come when we end up dying off-world or worse – become unwilling hosts to a Goa'uld? Daniel can't Ascend every time he dies."
"That's pretty heavy stuff, Carter," Jack says softly, abandoning his beer bottle to rub both hands over his face and through his silver hair. "I think, Sam, that as long as we manage to, we should keep walking, jumping, and flying through that Stargate until we can walk, jump, and fly no more. Sound good?"
She notices the change to the use of her first name. Sam shakes her head slightly, her voice low. "That's a fool's answer, Jack."
He sighs. "I know it is, Sam. But let me tell you something that I'm sure should get past all that logical thinking I know you're doing right now. MacGyver has got nothing on SG-1. Got that? We've survived this long. I plan on surviving for a whole lot longer."
"That's nice to know, sir."
"Carter." He gives her that look that says he's pretending to be annoyed and takes the beer bottle again in his hand.
"Right. Jack." She's unused to saying his name so casually, without the formality or presence of life-support machines. "You were right. It's nice to know you won't be purposefully dying on me anytime soon."
"Sam, would I purposefully die on you any other time?" He grins at her with a freeness he hasn't felt since that incident with the time loop, but he becomes aware of the effect of his words on the Major. He's "died" too many times for Sam to count on both hands. "Ah, ah, ah, nope. Don't start crying, Sam. It's all in the past."
She looks up at him, her eyes shimmering. "But what about the future, Jack? What about Thursday's mission? What about the overall threat of the Goa'uld? The Re'tu? Other aliens we've managed to piss off, sir? How can you be so callous about your life like that? The Nox can't revive you every time, and the day might come where Janet can't bring you back to me."
What began as a drink at Jack's house swiftly dissolves into a discussion of their lives.
"There were too many times where we could have lost you for good. Where I could have lost you."
Her words jolt him like words had never before. Jack stands up from his lawn chair and towers over his second-in-command, forgetting the beer for good this time. He offers his hand to her, and when she accepts, he pulls her up and into a hug, softly saying, "C'mere." His signature word whenever she sought him out after a day he's "died;" a word that between them has more meaning than the contact they share.
She buries her head into the hollow of his neck, savoring the warmth his body provides. He can feel her tears on his skin and the mere thought saddens him just as he is saddened every time she seeks him out after those critical missions. "I'm sorry sir," she manages to force out in hope of saving her dignity.
"It's not necessary for you to be sorry, Samantha. But I should apologize for dying and almost dying too many times to count properly. You don't deserve that kind of instability." He keeps his arms wrapped tightly around her, preventing her from maneuvering away from his form. "I don't think MacGyver had the same woman in his life for seven years, like I've had you. Just another item to add to the list of why he's got nothing on our team. He's got nothing on us." Jack gently kisses the top of her head, letting her know the only way he can how much this discovery means to him.
Sam is overwhelmed by his show of affection. It is more than she had hoped for; more than she could ever have hoped for. The man is holding her against his chest like she is the most precious thing in the world. She loves him, and she wants him to know this, but she is afraid of the possibility that he will refuse her. The logical section of her brain is repeating the mantra that how could he? He's got you in his arms right now, kissing your hair! How could he reject you? "Jack?" she whispers fearfully.
"What is it, Sam?"
"I'm scared of dying alone."
"Samantha, if I have any say in it, you won't be dying for a very long time, and you will never be alone."
It is enough to bring more tears to her eyes.
He lifts her chin so she is looking him in the soul. "Sam, I love you too much for anything the Stargate throws at us to take either of us away. Got that?" When he sees even a hint of a smile touch her lips, he closes the short distance between them and kisses her tenderly, pouring seven years of love into the contact.
"You have no idea how long I've waited to hear you say that," she whispers back when he breaks the kiss. "No idea how long I've waited to say it to you. Jack, I love you too." She has waited seven long years to proclaim her feelings to the only man she has ever really cared about (besides Daniel, Teal'c, and Jonas, of course), and she does not want to go through the harrowing uncertainty if he dies or comes close to dying again. The man has too many scars from those occasions for her to properly count.
He holds her with the impossible intention of never letting her go.
She holds him with the impossible wish that he will never be harmed again.
They hold each other in love.