"Where are we going?" She whispered as he led her silently through the maze of outdated boilers. "What are we doing?"
There was still no response from her gray-haired companion.
"Jonah..." She complained softly.
They reached a small, vacant alcove before he turned and kissed her. The kiss was intense, and she felt like she was on fire as his warm lips burned into her own.
"This is wrong," she murmured as his kisses trailed down to her neck.
"Don't care," he returned softly, not pausing in his work.
The passion inside burned more fiercely, more hotly, than even the greatest of the boilers she watched over.
"Someone will see..."
"No one here."
She pulled away, reluctantly. "What if they catch us?"
"This isn't real, Thera." He murmured. "You know that as well as I do. We'll figure it out, and we'll get...wherever we're going...just give me one night. One time to feel you. To touch you..."
She swallowed, catching her swollen bottom lip between her teeth. "All right. Just once. And then...we rejoin the others..."
The doorbell rang, waking Sam from her dream.
"Who could that be?" She asked herself aloud as she struggled to pull herself off of the couch.
She managed to regain her balance as she pressed a hand to her softly rounded stomach. "You sure are making things difficult, kiddo..." She murmured to the eighteen-week-old fetus.
She peeked through the peephole to see her commanding officer, Daniel, and Teal'c standing on the porch in the snow. She sighed softly. The last thing she needed right now was to see Jack O'Neill.
She forced a smile to her lips as she opened the door. "Hey, guys."
"Carter!" Jack grinned. "We brought a movie and some pizza. Mind if we come in?"
"Of course not," she lied as she opened the door more widely. "I was just...sitting on the couch...thinking..."
"About what?" Daniel asked as he walked in the door.
She coughed uncomfortably as she felt Jack's eyes on her. "Stuff. You know...for the baby's room."
"How is the little tyke?" Jack asked, allowing his eyes to rest on her swollen belly.
"Uh...fine." She said as she closed the door, feeling a draft from the cold winter night.
She rubbed her arms in an effort to quickly warm herself. "So...what movie did you bring?"
"Star Wars..." She murmured.
"I wanted the Simpsons, but T, here, thought you wouldn't want to watch it."
"I think his name's...Homer..."
She felt almost sick. "Uh...not really..." She finally managed.
"Oh." Jack said, quietly.
She'd shut him out when she'd learned of her pregnancy. With Martouf's death, the za'tarc testing disaster, and their long entrapment in the underbelly of P3R-118 as Jonah and Thera, she'd had too much on her plate. Too much to think about. She sighed. Too much to shield him from.
"Where's that boyfriend of yours?" Jack asked, conversationally, as he stepped into the kitchen with the pizza.
She looked up in surprise.
"You know...the one you got just after we got back from...well...you know..." Jack looked at her, snapping his fingers. "What's his name? Ben, Brick, Brendan..."
"Brock." She corrected. Though why she cared about the name of her fabricated boyfriend, she didn't know. She sighed. Yes, she did. He was her only ticket out of a court martial. "And he's out of town on business."
"Happens a lot," Jack said, suspiciously.
She swallowed, wondering if he remembered their last night together on P3R-118 as clearly as she did. "He's...busy. So am I..."
"Yes," Jack said, skeptically. "How are the science labs?"
She cringed internally. "Fine...sir...how was your latest mission?"
He bit the inside of his cheek as he studied her. "Fine."
"Hey, Christmas is in what? Three weeks?" Daniel interrupted.
"Why don't you all come to my apartment?" Daniel invited. "We could all hang out, drink egg nog and pass out by the fire." He eyed Sam's small belly, and grimaced. "Well...we, guys, could get drunk and pass out by the fire, but you could sleep in the guest room...or my room for all I care..."
"I...I can't." Sam said, shaking her head. She didn't want to spend more time with Jack than was absolutely necessary. Especially since his jealous streak was running rampant because of her lie. "I promised Mark that I'd visit him this year."
"Dad coming for a visit?" Jack asked, casting a sidelong glance toward her.
"I don't know," she managed. She reached for a few plates and placed them on the counter beside the pizza before she served herself. "He'll come if he can."
"Well, maybe we can do a New Year's thing, then." Daniel said, walking over and serving himself some pizza as well.
"Great." She sighed, rather unenthusiastically, as she walked back out to the living room and cautiously sat herself down in the arm chair by the fireplace.
"We still regard you as a member of our team, Major Carter." Teal'c said, from where he sat on the couch perpendicular to her.
"Well, I'm not anymore." She snapped as Jack entered the room. She softened as she looked at her slowly diminishing lap with a small sigh. "And probably won't ever be again if this baby has something to say about it."
"Not true. Barry can do the stay-at-home "dad" thing." Jack said, sardonically.
Sam sighed as she closed her eyes.
Daniel looked over at her. "There's a bigger problem than that. You're...you're not happy about this baby."
She caught Daniel's gaze with her own. "I...I should be." She murmured. "Having a baby is supposed to be a happy thing..."
"Brock...and I...aren't going to work out," she lied. "Which makes me a single mother, and puts me forever in the science labs."
"Cut the crap, Carter."
Sam's head snapped up at Jack's outburst.
"Excuse me, sir?"
"There's no Brock, and we both know it."
She tensed. "I-I...I don't know what..."
"You were transferred off SG-1 only a few weeks after we got back from that...ice planet..."
She swallowed, feeling flushed with embarrassment.
"And right before we left, you and I..."
"Stop." She whispered as hot tears welled up in her closed eyes.
"You're just trying to protect me." Jack finally sighed. "And we all know it."
Sam looked over at Daniel and Teal'c, who both looked only mildly shocked at the revelation.
She set the plate on the coffee table as she heaved herself out of the chair. "Excuse me." She murmured as she left the room.
Daniel and Teal'c looked at Jack, who set his own plate on the coffee table. "I'll, uh...be right back..." He said as he stood and followed her.
"Take your time." Daniel murmured.
He knocked gently on the open door to her bedroom before he stepped inside.
"How long have you known?" She asked, her back to him.
"A couple of weeks...just didn't know how to say it..."
She nodded slowly as she raised her kleenex-clutching hand to her nose.
"When did you figure it out?"
He took a few steps toward her before he stopped himself. "Uh...that day when Danny asked you what you'd been doing the night before?"
"You said you'd gone on a date...I, uh...I had been sitting in my truck outside your house, trying to get up the courage to go up to your door."
He stood, awkwardly, for several seconds only a few steps inside the room. "So, uh...I thought you, women...I mean...there's usually a...mandatory...you know..."
"Birth control shot?" Sam asked, looking over.
"Funny thing about being trapped offworld for an extended period of time..."
"Wears off?" He asked, swallowing.
She nodded as she returned her gaze to her rounded figure. "Yeah."
Her head was bowed as she looked at her hands which touched her rounded stomach as if trying to make sure she wasn't in some bad dream.
He watched her for a moment before he took another step forward. "Look...I'm sorry."
She looked over at him, studying him for a few seconds before she looked back down with a sigh. "I know you are. You weren't yourself...it's okay. I understand."
He sighed as he looked down at the floor. Finally, he took the last few steps to where she sat on the bed. She scooted over, wordlessly, and he studied her profile for a moment. She'd begun letting her hair grow a little longer, and it just now brushed the nape of her neck. Her blond locks shielded her face from view, and he hesitantly reached out a hand and brushed it back so that it was caught behind her ear.
She didn't move her neck, just darted her eyes to the edge of her peripheral vision to catch a glimpse of what he was doing.
"Maybe..." He began after inhaling in an effort to gather the courage he needed in order to speak to her. "Maybe I wasn't myself. And maybe...you weren't yourself, either..."
She closed her eyes in humiliation at the thought of the entire experience.
"But...we're ourselves now."
She looked over at him, almost unsure of whether or not to trust him, as she studied his features. He was in earnest, she determined as she watched him watch her.
He reached a tender finger out to brush the errant tears from her cheeks, having seen the pain in her red, swollen eyes.
"And...for better or worse...we're not in the same chain of command..."
"What are you saying?" She asked, her voice thick with emotion.
He looked down for a moment. "I..." he began, softly. "Don't want to make the same mistakes I made...that I..." He paused before he looked up at her. "Th-this is a chance to start over. And I'd like to try..."
She felt the tears well up in her eyes again. "I c-can't."
He inhaled sharply. "Oh. Okay..."
"This...this is not a "sir" conversation..." He said, shaking his head with his eyes closed in humiliation.
"Okay. Jack..." She finished. "I just...right now, I'm...I'm confused...when I said "I can't," I..." She sniffed, wiping at her nose with the kleenex again. "I only meant that...that I have t-to figure...things out..."
"Martouf?" He asked, knowingly.
She nodded slowly. "Yeah."
They were silent for a few moments before Jack looked back over at her. "So...Christmas with Mark? Sounds...fun..." He managed, limply.
She swallowed. "I guess."
"You don't want to go?"
"Mark's just...going to ask a lot of...questions that I don't want to answer."
"So tell him that you have to work and stay here."
"And go to Daniel's?" She asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Don't have to if you need the space." He said, shaking his head. "You could stay here."
"I...could come..." He shrugged nervously.
She breathed in over a period of several moments, taking the time to let the oxygen slowly seep into her lungs before she nodded. "I'd, uh...I'd like that."
"Okay then...if Daniel asks, I'm going to the cabin, and you're going to Mark's..."
She nodded slowly. "And if anyone asks about this...baby...my boyfriend and I broke up when he found out I was pregnant."
He tensed. "You sure?"
"No sense in ruining both of our careers," she said, simply.
He bit his lip as he nodded. "As you wish..."