STARGATE SG-1

Need You Now

By Gen Varel

Category: Romance/Angst

Season: After the end of Eight

Rating: PG

Pairings: Jack & Sam

Warnings: Fluff

Summary: How Jack and Sam got together after he got promoted and went to DC. Short fanfic inspired by the Lady Antebellum song, Need You Now, my current favorite.

Author's Note: Lyrics of song indicated by italics and in bold.

My thanks to my betas, Laura and Renee, who did their usual great jobs in catching all my mistakes.

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are not my property. I have written this story for the enjoyment of Stargate SG-1 fans all over the world. No copyright infringement is intended and no monetary gain is expected.

Picture perfect memories scattered all around the floor.

It was funny how sometimes a song captured your exact situation and frame of mind at a particular moment, she thought. It was almost eerie tonight.

Leaning back against the couch and ignoring the snapshots littering the cocktail table before her, the ones she had finally been putting into an album, she listened to her stereo more closely.

Reaching for the phone 'cause I can't fight it anymore.

She sat on the floor of her small apartment, thousands of miles away from where she really wanted to be. She stared at the phone and wished she had the courage to pick it up, dial his number, and take the first step.

She knew that he never would. This had always been up to her, ever since the beginning. He had never spoken to her directly about his feelings. Not even once.

Even four years ago, during that awful zatarc test, he had said only the required minimum to get them out of trouble and nothing more. After that, he had never uttered another word about it.

He had not spoken up when she had gotten engaged to Pete, either. She had given him the chance to open up and tell her what he felt, but he had refused to hold her back. He had responded with fatalistic acceptance and let her go, and she knew that he had done so because he had never believed that he could make her happy.

Jack had never believed that he was worthy of her, a totally ridiculous assumption, but one that she just knew he probably still held on to with complete conviction. He thought he was too old for her. He thought he was not smart enough, or good enough. Nonsense!

And I wonder if I ever cross your mind,

To me it happens all the time.

It happened every single moment of her day. She could not get him off her mind. She could not stop wondering whether he thought of her the same way, whether she still had a chance to convince him that she really did love him, that she wanted no one else.

'Do you ever think of me, Jack O'Neill? Or is it all one-sided now? Did you really get over me? Do you feel anything at all anymore?'

It's a quarter after one. I'm all alone,

And I need you now.

She felt really alone in Nevada. She missed her old job even though her new one was interesting enough. She also missed her team terribly; but the only one she really despaired for was her former commanding officer, the best man she had ever met, the only man she had ever felt passion for.

She missed him so much that it hurt!

I said I wouldn't call, but I lost all control

And I need you now.

She had told herself that their time had passed, that even if she could not marry Pete because of her persistent feelings for her CO, it was too late for her and Jack. She had thought that she had accepted that fact and had decided that she would never approach him about her feelings. Now… she was not so sure, but obstacles remained.

She had tried to move on by dating another man and getting engaged for the second time in her life. She had failed miserably, but Jack had clearly succeeded in his own effort.

He now had a relationship with another woman, a young, beautiful, intelligent woman that had made Sam feel old and mousy with her manicured nails, unburdened smile and long, thick mane of hair. She still could picture Agent Johnson on Jack's deck, looking beautiful and sexy in a shape flattering sweater.

Her heart had broken that day, but she was not sorry for going to his house and finding out about his new love. It had answered the question in her mind. It had driven home the fact that she was not over him, not by a long shot. Seeing him with another woman had hurt too much.

It had hurt so much that she had not had a doubt in her mind about breaking up with Pete. She just could not marry a man when she felt this way about another. It was not right.

And I don't know how

I can do without;

I just need you now.

It was a visceral feeling, a steel claw tearing her up inside. Tonight her need for him reminded her of her utter despair while he had been stranded on Edora, and of the time he had disappeared along with Maybourne. She had almost gone out of her mind with worry, with the horrible possibility that she might never see him again, and the crack in her armor had been visible to her friends on both occasions.

Janet had called her on it the first time. Teal'c had witnessed her tears the second time. Everyone else had felt the sting of her temper, her patience stretched to its limits by the stress of his absence. Her anguish had been clear to anyone that had cared to notice.

Guess I'd rather hurt than feel nothing at all…

Like the song said, she had chosen to hurt rather than forget about him. Despite Agent Johnson standing in the way and the distance between DC and Area 51, she held on to her love for him with the same tenacity she showed for everything else.

Picking up a snapshot from the table, she brought it closer. It showed the last picture taken in the Gate Room by Siler, one of SG-1 and General O'Neill. They were all smiling, but she knew that they all had felt the same thing that day. They had felt relieved and happy that the war was over, but they had also dreaded parting from each other.

They had gone on to Jack's cabin after that, for one last team weekend of relaxation and camaraderie. She had still been mourning for her father and the demise of her relationship with Pete, a man she still held dear to her heart. She had felt horrible for hurting him, and she had been silent and despondent with sorrow and guilt.

Her friends had silently coddled her that weekend, but no one had broached the subject of her cancelled wedding. They had acted as if the only loss she mourned had been her dad's, and she had felt thankful at the time for their discretion and respect. Now, however, she wished that Jack had done something to give her the push she needed.

She really had not known how he felt anymore. He had been kind and solicitous, and unusually gentle and affectionate, placing a hand on her shoulder often. His eyes had hardly left her all weekend, but he had had a girlfriend waiting in DC, so Sam had not dared to broach the subject of her feelings for him. She had needed some kind of sign from him, more than the concern he had shown for her during their last days at the SGC.

She had felt grateful for Jack's constant presence and support during her dad's funeral and all the days after, but she had wanted so much more! He had been nothing but supportive and attentive at every moment. He had been the perfect commanding officer, and the perfect friend.

She needed more.

It's a quarter after one. I'm all alone,

And I need you now.

It was late, but she eyed the phone with a little more courage this time. She willed herself to move and she got to her feet. In two steps she was standing by it, glaring at it as if willing it to move to her hand.

He was in a relationship. He did not need her or want her anymore, but maybe there was enough left in his heart for her to work with. Boldly stealing a man from another woman had always seemed callous to her, but she reminded herself that she had been there first. She had loved him for years. She had the right to take him back.

I said I wouldn't call, but I lost all control

And I need you now.

She dialed his cell number and held her breath. Her heart was racing inside her ribcage, the sound of the palpitations louder in her ear than the single ringing tone before she heard his voice.

"Carter? To what do I owe the pleasure?"

She exhaled and gulped air before she forced herself to smile and greet cheerily, "Sir! I hope I didn't wake you."

"Nope. I was just sitting here, watching TV… thinking."

"Thinking, sir? This late at night?" she teased, so nervous that her hands were shaking. She wondered whether her voice shook as well, whether he noticed how scared she was. She forced herself to sit down and attempt to reign in the mad rush of her heart.

"Very funny, Carter. Not bad for 0100 hours. What's going on? Are you okay? You sound a little breathless," he replied.

"Really? No, nothing is wrong, I… I was just sitting here, putting some pictures away. One of them was our last one by the Gate."

"I like that shot," he replied as if she made perfect sense. "I blew it up and hung it on my bedroom wall."

"Really? Wow! That's… sweet! Maybe I'll do the same."

"Why are you really calling, Carter? Something is wrong. I can hear it in your voice. Is everything all right in your new job?"

"Yes, yes! Nothing's wrong, I promise! It… it really has nothing to do with my job."

"Then what?"

He sounded worried. He was waiting for an answer. She owed him an explanation.

Sam inhaled again, hesitating as she wildly searched for a good excuse for calling him so late at night. There was none. Honesty was the only answer.

"I missed you. That's all," she admitted in a defeated tone.

She had said it. She could not be more obvious than that. Now what?

She heard nothing for long moments. She held the phone tightly in her hand, closed her eyes, and waited with her heart beating in her throat. Her panic increased by the second.

"Sam."

That was all. His soft tone made her panic turn into an uncontainable hurricane of regret and shame. Was that pity she had detected in his voice? Oh, God! Not pity, please!

"I miss you, too," he added. "Very much. Too much."

Her utter relief was as sudden and explosive as her panic, and she collapsed against the back of the couch, letting out a sigh. Thank God!

"You do?" she asked hopefully, wishing for more.

"I'd been hoping that you'd call," he incredibly revealed.

"Really? Why?" she asked softly, not daring to make any assumptions and prompting him to reveal more. He, after all, was in a relationship.

"Because it has always been up to you. I don't deserve you, but you know how stubborn I am."

She could not believe her ears. Was she hearing right?

"I… I thought… that you didn't…" she hesitated, thoroughly confused. When she did not finish the sentence, he finished it for her.

"That I didn't what? Care anymore?"

Despite the teasing tone of his voice, she was dead serious. She could not make any mistakes tonight. She had to be crystal clear on everything. This was too important!

"Yes. You have a girlfriend…"

"Had… a girlfriend," he swiftly corrected.

"What?"

"Yeah! Didn't you know? That was over weeks ago! Even before your dad passed away! She dumped me because she realized how I felt about you."

"What?" she exclaimed, sitting up again and opening her eyes wide. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"You didn't ask. Nobody did. Not even Daniel."

"Oh, God!" she exclaimed, covering her eyes with one hand.

"I wanted you to know. When I found out that your wedding wasn't happening… I hoped… but," he paused with a sigh, "Nothing happened, so I waited. I've been waiting."

So many days wasted! So many sleepless nights! So many anguished hours riddled with pain and regret!

"I'm sorry! I was…"

"Upset. I know. That's why I didn't say anything. I didn't want to approach you while you were still mourning. It wasn't the right time. I would have eventually called you, though."

"I wish you had called me weeks ago," she honestly replied.

"Yeah, maybe I should have, but let's not dwell. We're talking now."

They were both silent for a few moments, but then she dared to ask. "Jack?"

"Yeah?"

"Is it too late for us?"

She could hear his wide smile over the phone, as incredible as that was. "Never, Carter."

"Do you still… care for me… that way?"

"Always!"

His answer made her heart explode with joy. "I never stopped caring for you, Jack."

She heard him sigh, which brought a smile to her lips.

"When you didn't call after seven weeks…" he paused. "Well, let's just say that I wasn't taking that too well. You were going to find me at your doorstep one of these days."

"I'm so sorry it took me this long, but I thought…!"

"That I had a girlfriend. That was my mistake, Sam. I should have just come out and told you."

"No, no, I… I should have asked."

"Why? You had no reason to. I should have said something. I just thought that you knew after I made it a point to tell Teal'c."

"Never mind that. We both made mistakes. It's in the past," she said, shaking her head. Teal'c was a tomb. He would have only said something if she or Daniel had directly asked. They had not.

"Ssso… what now?" he drawled sexily, making her smile again.

"I think… we should get together soon. You know… talk," she proposed.

"Talk?"

"Yeah!"

"Just… talk?"

She chuckled at that, feeling now so happy that she could not contain her pleasure.

"Just to begin with, of course," she bantered back.

"I like the sound of that."

She chuckled again. She could feel her cheeks heating up. The wild images in her mind were definitely R-rated.

"When?" she asked, not bothering to hide the eagerness she felt.

"I can come over this weekend for a couple of days."

The day after tomorrow, Saturday. Friday was going to be the longest day of her life!

"I can't wait," she honestly admitted.

"Maybe I can make it there by tomorrow night…"

"Even better!" she replied excitedly.

"All right, then! Tomorrow night it is!" he said, reflecting her enthusiasm. She could tell he was smiling.

"I'll be waiting for you at the airport."

"No. Not at the airport. Too many witnesses."

She chuckled for the third time, feeling like an idiot but not caring a bit. "Here, in my apartment?" she suggested with a seductive tone.

"Perfect!"

She felt so elated that she dismissed the past miserable weeks as if they had never happened.

"Jack?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm sending you a song for you to listen to. Check your e-mail tomorrow."

"Really? Which song?"

"The one that made me call you."

"Then it's already my favorite."

She smiled, hugging the phone to her neck and snuggling up in the couch. The song was ending.

Oh, I need you now!

"I wish you were here already."

"Me, too, Carter. Me, too."

The End