They wait together in the tight hide, lying flank to flank, legs intertwined in an awkward parody of post-coital bliss, concealed by the tall grass that whispers around them. The colonel is watching the scene unfold below them through his monocular and Sam waits for his signal. They are minimalist in their movement; concealment is key to success.
They are heavily outnumbered.
It's hot. Moisture trickles along the curve of her jaw, between her breasts, rolls between her shoulder blades. She wishes for a breeze, but the air is mockingly still and does nothing to disturb the insects performing their grating, chirping symphony. She breathes quietly; cognizant that the tiniest of sounds that might give them away.
She can smell his sweat from beside her, tastes him on the back of her tongue as she inhales, shallow at first, and then deeper, slowly filling her lungs with the scent of dust and sunshine, the dusky smell of sun-dried grass, adrenaline and him.
Her mouth waters. She swallows and exhales. Inhales and tries to ignore the rush from the fresh oxygen to her brain.
She feels his boot twitch where it lies across her ankle, and in any other situation, with any other person, it wouldn't be worth noting. Here, it's the subtlest of gestures that will either save all their lives, or end them full-stop on this dusty late-summer afternoon a billion miles from home.
Her pulse quicken as his foot twitches against her again. She draws her eyes to where he gestures with a simple tilt of his head and squints into the slanting orange sunlight. Teal'c and Daniel are below now, bound and heavily guarded, but mobile under their own power. It's probably the best setup they can hope for right now, save for a platoon of Marines storming through the gate in the nick of time.
She leans down, settles the rifle against the bundled jacket she's using to steady the barrel. This is not the well cared for tool of a marksman, all sleek and deadly precision. No, this pilfered gun is worn and weary. Scuffed and bruised, it has seen its share of conflict, but it feels trustworthy in her hands. She runs her hand along the age-polished stock and feels the gouges and scars in the wood that tell the story of its lifetime to the few who care to listen. She knows it will take care of her.
The head honcho is parading around below, calling to them, baiting them with Teal'c and Daniel's lives. Sam lines him up and adjusts her position.
She feels the colonel's fingers, light on the back of her hand; he doesn't want to startle her, but at the moment, while she lays splayed on her stomach and defenseless, he is her eyes. He waits until he's got her attention and then drags his index finger through the sand in front of them. Numbers, calculated from formulas for angles and wind speed and distance, and essential to the success of this shot. She squints from the shape in the dirt, back down to her target and realizes that there is a breeze now, kicking up more dust and spinning it in a half-hearted parody of a funnel cloud. The grass breathes a tired sigh around them.
She's been so intent on the target that she'd almost missed this crucial component. But the colonel hadn't and he'd known that she had. He is neither reproachful, nor disappointed. It's not a mistake; it won't be unless she misses, but rather, another facet of how they work. One acting as an extension of the other.
Sam corrects for the breeze and sights down the barrel, but the sun is in her eyes. He sees this and takes off his cap, places it on her head, and adjusts it just right so that her eyes are shaded, all without making a ripple in the grass. It's an intimacy few can appreciate.
She sights down the barrel once more and waits for the moment of clarity.
Their stillness is rewarded. The players line up just right. Clarity comes.
She exhales smoothly and squeezes the trigger.