TITLE: P3.5X-234 (What Needed To Be Said)

AUTHOR: Feli

EMAIL: feli.ca@web.de

CATEGORY: Missing Scene, Hurt/Comfort, Romance

SEASON: 3/4 between 'Nemesis' and 'Small Victories'

SPOILERS: 'Shades Of Grey' (small ones for 'A Hundred Days' and 'Nemesis')

RATING: PG

SUMMARY: Do you think Jack ever explained his actions during 'Shades Of Grey' to Sam? And how did he make up for it…?

STATUS: Complete

ARCHIVE: Heliopolis and Fanfiction.net

DISCLAIMER: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. This story is for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The situations and original story are the property of the author. Not to be archived without permission of the author.

AUTHOR'S NOTES I:

Thanks go to my fantastic beta Kat, and to Alli Snow for the wonderful inspiration her video collages of Superman-Jack and Me-Daniel provided

AUTHOR'S NOTES II: P3.5X-234

In 'Nemesis' Teal'c tells Jack that they're escaping from Thor's ship to P3X-234. In 'Small Victories' Teal'c talks about returning from P4X-234. There have been some attempts to explain this, from producers' mistake to Teal'c saying it wrong in the heat of battle.

Who knows…?!







"Are we okay then, Teal'c?"

Teal'c bowed his head thoughtfully at O'Neill's question. Then he looked at Jack directly. "We are indeed okay, O'Neill. I am glad we have had this discussion."

Jack looked out over the lake. "Yeah, me too, Teal'c." He also knew that his talk with Teal'c had been easy compared to the one he'd have to have with Daniel, once they were back on Earth.

Jack inwardly cringed at that thought. All the things he'd said to the young archeologist during his pretended retirement were racing through his mind.

He'd been angry, yes.

Angry at those criminals who stole from earth's allies. Angry at the Tollan and the Asgard for requesting that he – alone – capture the traitors.

Angry at himself for not standing up against the demand not to include his team. His team!

Jack buried his head in his arms. Anger was never reason enough to treat a friend the way he'd treated Daniel that day. No excuse for verbally slapping Daniel in the face.

'So this whole..uh..this whole friendship thing we've been working on the last few years…'

'Apparently, not much of a foundation there, huh?'

And what was even worse, afterwards he hadn't found the time to sit down with Daniel and talk. Hadn't wanted to find the time. Instead they'd gone on a mission, then another, and another. Then Daniel provided them with some downtime during his appendicitis. Maybe after his fishing trip, he could have sat down with Daniel and talked.

Explained.

Apologized.

Daniel wasn't military. Although he could rationalize Jack's actions intellectually, he couldn't understand them. Couldn't understand why the rest of SG1 were kept in the dark. Couldn't understand why Jack behaved so cold when Daniel came to visit him.

Would always fear that in Jack's words that day lay a grain of truth.

'So this whole..uh..this whole friendship thing we've been working on the last few years…'

'Apparently, not much of a foundation there, huh?'

Jack shuddered as his words kept playing over and over in his mind, haunting him. He had to talk to Daniel. Soon. He needed to try to re- establish their friendship, convince Daniel that he hadn't meant what he'd said.

Jack's silent discourse was interrupted by Teal'c. "I will return to our camp site, O'Neill. Do you know if Major Carter is there?"

Jack looked up and sighed. "Don't think so, Teal'c. She said something about taking a walk around those cliffs at the end of the lake. Why?"

"It is of no importance, O'Neill. I will talk to her later." With a nod of his head, Teal'c turned and walked back to their makeshift camp on P3.5X- 234.

---------------

Jack stood up and took the few steps to the edge of the lake. Grabbing some pebbles he started skipping them onto the water's surface. He'd been pretty good at this as a kid, making the pebbles bounce off the surface five, six or even seven times before they finally sank down to the bottom.

Unbidden, another memory came back.

'Well, sir, with respect, you aren't exactly acting like yourself.'

'No Carter, I haven't been acting like myself since I met you. Now I'm acting like myself.'

Apparently Daniel wasn't the only one he needed to talk to.

Jack scanned the hills that surrounded the lake for the figure of Sam Carter. When he couldn't see her he sat down again, frowning while his thoughts churned in his mind.

Of course, Carter was a soldier. His 2IC. She understood how it worked, how you sometimes had to do things you didn't want to do.

Things that could hurt your friends.

Things that hurt you, too.

But was that really all? Why had he said those words?

Jack rose from the rock he'd been sitting on. Something wasn't right. Something that had been smoldering inside him for weeks, but that he hadn't recognized. Restlessly he started walking to and fro between the trees that bordered one side of the clearing.

What he'd said to Daniel was so outrageous that now, afterwards, it could be accepted as the lie it was. What he'd said to Carter, though …. Was it really so totally beside the truth?

Or wasn't the underlying truth in his words the reason why he couldn't bring himself to talk to her?

---------------

From the direction of their camp site came the sound of rustling leaves. Jack turned to see Carter walking towards him. When she realized that he had noticed her she halted. Then, crossing her arms in front of her, Sam came closer.

"Teal'c said that the two of you had a talk about that time when you outed Colonel Mayborne and his off-world team." She looked at him expectantly.

"Yes, we did. And I think you and I should have a talk, too, major. Want to sit down?" Jack indicated the rock he'd been sitting on earlier. Sam nodded and sat down.

Jack wasn't sure where to start. He hadn't finished fully sorting through his emotions when Sam had arrived. Noticing her tense posture and the angry red spots on her cheeks, he decided to let her vent off some steam first.

He lowered himself down to the grass and with his best, mother-in-law- approved, self-deprecating smile he said: "Okay, hit me."

Sam shot him an angry look and got to her feet again. "Oh, if that's what you want, sir, I'll tell you." Taking a deep breath she started: "You had no right to treat me the way you did! I was trying to help you!"

Jack opened his mouth but before he could say anything Sam silenced him with an impatient wave of her hand.

"Sir, you've been my commanding officer for three years now. Although at times, it may not seem like it to you, I have always held you in the highest respect. Furthermore, I'd trust you with my life. Not because you're my CO and I have to, but because you're who you are. I trusted you."

Jack felt like she'd punched him. Trusted? "So you don't trust me anymore?"

Sam's eyes sparkled with anger. "How could I trust you now? I don't even know who you are.

Even you said that you haven't been acting like yourself since the day we met."

"Sam, I.."

She interrupted him again. "We've had our disagreements over the last three years. But I always thought we could work them out, because I always knew which side you were on.

Always knew that you were on the right side..!"

Jack got to his feet. "But Sam," he asked incredulously, "you know that I just pretended, right? All that stuff about stealing technology 'n all.. ."

---------------

Sam turned away. Of course she knew that. But something inside her wanted to hurt him as badly as he had hurt her. She wanted to shout at him, to shake him and hit him with all the pent-up anger and helpless fury she'd been feeling for the past few weeks.

For several weeks actually! Because he hadn' t said much after his return. Hadn't explained, much less apologized to her and Daniel and Teal'c.

Instead, with a small, embarrassed smile, he'd only told them "I'm back!". Then he'd murmured something to Daniel about 'having lied because his place was bugged' and Daniel had gotten back to him with his remark about drawing straws.

But that had been the end of it.

Until today.

---------------

Jack felt the impact of her words like icicles shooting through his body. She didn't trust him anymore!?

"You don't believe me when I say that I lied?"

Sam faced him again. "You just pretended, alright. But those lies came pretty easily to you, sir, didn't they? Or did you rehearse your role so well?

Oh, I see…. The Tollan gave you the proper lines to deceive us with, when they demanded that we'd be treated like possible traitors as well!"

Jack didn't know how to reply to that. Outwardly Sam's behavior had seemed normal during their last couple of missions. He hadn't known what she'd buried underneath, hadn't even suspected it.

Helplessly he raised his hand to touch her arm but stopped in mid-air when she looked at him, unshed tears glistening in her eyes.

"Sam, I never meant to hurt you. Can you at least believe that?"

---------------

Sam pondered his last words. She did believe him and that was probably the worst part of it. How could she care so much for a man who could so easily tear her whole world apart with just one remark?

Sam froze on that last thought. Did she care for him? And how much?

He was her commanding officer and she respected him, just like she'd said. And she also trusted him. She might deny him that truth in her anger, but deep inside she knew that even the events of that time hadn't changed the fact that she trusted him implicitly.

He was also her friend. Just like Daniel and Teal'c, he was someone she could talk to. Sometimes it was even easier talking to him than to the other two. Jack was an Air Force officer who knew what it was like for her, who would understand her problems and try to help, even if he'd never admit to it.

She also liked being around him. Enjoyed his witty cynicism and often had to bite her lips when he was poking fun at their favorite archeologist.

So he was her boss and her friend. Was that the way she cared about him? Could the words of a superior or even the words of a friend hurt so much?

Still hurt so much, now that she knew the circumstances in which they'd been said?

Sam shuddered and hugged her arms around herself. She didn't want to analyze this any further. Because looking any closer would mean tapping into feelings she didn't want to acknowledge were there, much less admit to.

---------------

Jack watched Sam silently. The way she hugged herself tightly spoke volumes of the war she was waging with herself.

When she turned around to gaze out over the lake he stepped behind her, not touching, yet close enough for her to hear his softly spoken words: "I'd never hurt you, Sam!"

Still with her back to him she replied: "But you did, sir!"

Inwardly cursing himself Jack turned Sam around to face him. "I am sorry, Sam, I really am. Will you let me explain my side of the story now…please?"

For a moment Sam didn't move. Then she nodded curtly and resumed her position on the rock she had vacated earlier.

Jack wracked his brain where to begin. He started pacing in front of Sam, absently stroking his hand through his short, graying hair.

"I had just returned from Edora when Hammond called me into his office. You guys didn't notice 'cause he used to call me in quite often during that time." Jack began.

The mention of Edora made Sam flinch. This was another time she didn't like being reminded of. She had managed to keep herself busy during his three month long absence, busy enough not to have to think about what she was feeling. What she was in fear of losing.

Jack sighed. "Hammond gave me a message he'd received from the Tollan. It claimed that they, as well as the Asgard. had been stolen from repeatedly and that they had sufficient reason to believe that the thieves came from earth. Possibly from the SGC. They threatened to sever all ties with us if we didn't apprehend the thieves ourselves."

Jack went on: "I was just going to call you guys in, but Hammond stopped me. He said that the Asgard had requested – better yet demanded – that I do this alone, and the Tollan agreed to it."

'Although High Chancellor Travell certainly never gave the impression that she thinks quite this much of me..' Jack thought bitterly.

He turned to Sam. "Sam, it was an order. I didn't believe for one second that you or Daniel or Teal'c were responsible for the thefts, and neither did General Hammond. But he gave me a direct order! What would you've had me do?"

---------------

It was on Sam's lips to retort that he'd defied orders before. She opened her mouth to remind him of some of those notable occasions but closed it again when she took in the sight of him.

He stood there with an intense, imploring look on his face. Sam even thought that she detected traces of ... what?... guilt? despair? in his eyes.

He wanted her to understand. Needed her to understand how hard it had been for him, too.

And slowly Sam did understand.

She'd been so wrapped up in her own anger and self-pity that she'd never even tried to consider things from his point of view.

Sam felt all blood rush from her face and groaned. How could she have done that? If she was his friend she should have known that something was wrong, despite what he had said to her or to Daniel.

His integrity and loyalty were two of the traits she'd respected him for from the start. But after Edora her emotions had been in such a turmoil she hadn't been able to think straight.

---------------

Jack hadn't moved. He still stood facing her, waiting for her to react to his last question.

Finally Sam looked up. "I owe you an apology, sir..." she said evenly.

"No, you don't, Sam… you don't" he interrupted.

"... but still ..."

"Wait, let me finish my story first."

Jack sat down next to Sam and continued. "I argued with the general a bit. A lot actually.

But the Tollan had already outlined a plan and Hammond wanted to get this thing over and done with quickly. So did I."

"And everything went according to the plan, didn't it?" Sam concluded.

"Yeah, almost" Jack replied. "We convinced everybody of my change of heart and Mayborne, that snake, appeared on my doorstep only a day later."

Softly he added: "After you asked me if you could help. And after Daniel was there to visit me." His shoulders slumped.

"Yes, sir, ehm... about what you said to me..." Sam ventured hesitantly.

Jack straightened and looked at her. "It was too much, I know that now. I was angry at having to do this, so angry that my words came out harsher than I intended."

"So you didn't mean it?" Sam felt compelled to ask, while his words played over in her mind.

'Well, sir, with respect, you aren't exactly acting like yourself.'

'No Carter, I haven't been acting like myself since I met you. Now I'm acting like myself.'

---------------

All of a sudden Jack needed to get away from her, to put a little distance between them, so that he could sort through this tumble of his emotions and thoughts.

Of course he didn't mean it. At least not the way it had come out. But still, the truth was that he hadn't been acting like himself around Carter. Maybe not from the day they met but definitely since ... later ... . He couldn't put a date to it but now it ... something ... was there.

Jack drew a deep breath. Was this the time and place to analyze this something? Was there ever a time and place for it – if it/something was what he suspected it was?

He looked around him as if for the first time. He took in the clearing he and Sam were in and the lake in front of them. In the distance he could see the cliffs where Carter had taken a walk earlier. About half a mile in the other direction, hidden behind densely wooded hills, were the Stargate and the camp site for their impromptu vacation on P3.5X-234.

Jack let out his breath. Suddenly he knew the answer to his last question.

Now was the time and the place!

Determinedly he focused his attention back on his 2IC.

---------------

Sam was watching Jack quietly. She could see that he was fighting a battle with himself, yet she wasn't sure what that battle was about.

Then he spoke: "I did mean it, Sam. Just not in the way it came out."

"What do you mean by that, sir?" Sam asked puzzled.

Taking another deep breath Jack plunged forward. "I care about you, Sam. A lot! But you're an officer on my team and I can't ... I'm not allowed to ..." helplessly he waved his hand through the air "... to feel this way about you.

Sam was stunned. "Sir?! I ... uh ... I .. don't know what to say..."

Nervously she sprang to her feet. A host of emotions started swirling inside her – shock, anger, confusion, fear…joy, elation.

Purposefully she clamped down on those feelings.

"Sir, we can't!"

Jack held up a hand placatorily, then drew it through his hair again. "I know, Sam, I know.

But you wanted to know. When I said that I haven't been acting like myself it was because of that. Nothing else."

---------------

Now it was Sam's turn to put a little more distance between them. She needed to breathe.

He'd said it. He'd said the words she'd thought she would never hear. Because she wasn't allowed to hear them.

Because he wasn't allowed to say them.

They were both military. Fraternization was against the regulations.

But hadn't she dreamed about this? Carefully Sam probed her own feelings. If she was honest to herself she had to admit that she had. Could she be honest with him, too?

Sam's thoughts were interrupted by Jack. "Sam, please… don't turn away from me now."

He rested his hand lightly on her shoulder and spoke softly: "I can't change what I feel for you. And I don't want to change it. But if I've made you uncomfortable now I'm sorry."

Sam didn't move. He was so close. She felt his hand on her shoulder and the heat from his body behind her. She longed to lean back against his solid frame and feel his arms close around her.

Longed to let her most secret dreams come true. Yes, she admitted to herself, this was her dream, had been her dream for some time now.

But still she resisted. Shaking her head Sam turned to face Jack once more. "Sir, this is against regulations. We can't ... ."

Jack let his hand drop off her shoulder. His face was a mask of controlled passivity, although a glimmer of hurt flickered through his eyes.

Formally he said: "I am sorry, major, if I have offended you."

Then he softened and with his head bowed he whispered quietly: "I was so damn sure you feel the same."

---------------

Something inside Sam shattered. It felt like a dam had finally broken and all her feelings for Jack flooded through her freely.

It felt wonderful. Alive.

Could something that felt so right be wrong? And what if she denied her feelings for him? Would he give her another chance when ...? Yes: when?

When he retired in a couple of years? When she received her own command? And if she never did?

Sam made her decision.

---------------

Determinedly she raised her eyes to his and said: "I do feel the same, Jack."

At the use of his first name Jack raised his head. "Sam?"

Sam smiled. "I'm in love with you, Jack. It's against regulations and I don't know if I'll be able to forget that. But I do love you."

Unbelievable joy swept through Jack at her words. Drawing her into his arms he said: "I can't forget the regs either, Sam. And I can't make you any promises for the future. But we're here now, and I love you!"

With that he hugged her closer and bent his head for a kiss. Their lips met slowly, both of them fully savoring this new sensation.

Jack traced his tongue along Sam's upper lip, then angled his head to deepen the kiss. On a moan Sam parted her lips and invited him in.

She pressed her body against his, reveling in the feel of his lean, hard frame against her softer curves. Jack reacted with a groan and ran his hands down her back to crush her even more into his heating embrace.

For several minutes they stayed that way, locked in each others arms and lost in their first passionate kiss.

Only when Sam shivered in his arms did Jack reluctantly return to reality. "The sun's almost gone down, we should get you a jacket" he murmured while he lightly traced kisses from her ear down to her collarbone.

"Mmhh" was the only answer he got. Sam was not yet ready to leave the protective circle of his arms. Sighing she snuggled closer into his embrace.

Jack laughed softly, although he'd rather have shouted his joy to the world. He felt light-headed and almost dizzy with all the emotions Sam's confession and their kiss had unlocked in him.

"Okay, wait a second. I think Teal'c left a blanket behind those rocks when he was doing kel'no'rem yesterday." Jack moved toward the rocks, careful not to let go of his hold on Sam.

Ahh, here it is."

Jack bent down and retrieved the blanket. 'Thank you, pal' he silently thanked his teammate. Then he sat down, pulled Sam in his arms again and settled the blanket around them.

Instantly their lips found each other again, the heat of their kiss keeping the chill of the night at bay. Sam wrestled with the buttons of his shirt and sighed triumphantly against his mouth when she managed to slide her hands under it. With slow strokes she started exploring his chest.

A moan escaped Jack and he broke the kiss. "Sam?"

She looked up and found him searching her eyes intently. "Yes, Jack?" Speaking his name aloud felt good she realized.

"Sam, I want you very much!" As if to prove his last statement Jack moved Sam in his lap so that she could feel the extent of his desire beneath her.

Sam looked at him questioningly. But then she understood and nodded. "We can't go farther, can we?"

A lump started building in Jack's throat. "I don't know" he answered hoarsely. "We're here on this planet, far away from earth and the SGC... ."

"... But soon we'll be back and you will be my commanding officer again" Sam finished his sentence. "Oh God." She buried her head in her hands as she felt the desperation wash over her.

Jack rested his cheek on her head and closed his eyes. She felt so good in his arms, so right. It was where she belonged!

But deep down inside he knew that it couldn't last. The military and its regulations were too much a part of both of them, they couldn't just throw everything they'd worked for and achieved to the wind.

Jack tipped Sam's face up to his and kissed her tenderly. She wound her arms around his neck and returned the kiss. Then she said: "So this is it then, isn't it?"

After a pause she added: "It has to be!"

Still holding her in his arms Jack acknowledged Sam's decision wordlessly. He looked out over the lake where myriads of stars were now reflected in the water, thus turning the lake's surface into a shimmering, sparkling pool of black and gold.

He directed her head towards the spectacular view and made a promise. "We still have tonight, Sam. Whatever happens tonight … we'll take it with us. And it'll always be there!"

Sam turned back to him and nodded solemnly. Then, slowly, a wicked smile spread across her face. "Whatever happens tonight…?!"



FIN

Fin? Of course this night is up to your imagination alone…!