Author's Note: Written for the "What Should Have Been" challenge at stargateland at LJ.
Disclaimer: I own neither the show nor the characters. I don't earn any money with this piece. I just do it for fun.



"Come here."

She leans into him, too tired to care about regulations and appropriateness. His arm is a welcome weight, warm and solid, curving around her shoulders, protecting her, and Sam lets her body relax even further into his half-embrace, her eyes closing as her head rests against his neck.

It might have been just a few minutes or maybe half an hour, she doesn't know it, lost all concept of time for once, when she hears the Colonel quietly instructing Teal'c to strip the warrior of his weapons and call back to Colonel Reynolds.

At the sound of his voice Sam jerks back to reality, her body crying out in pain at the abrupt move, and she groans. Jack breaks off immediately and she can feel his burning gaze searching her face, his left arm tightening while his right hand cradles her cheek, gently touching the bruises, assessing the damage.

"Carter? You're hurt anywhere else?"

"I...I'm fine, sir," she whispers hoarsely and manages a weak smile. Jack ducks his head and his brown eyes find her blue ones, his thumb wiping away traces of dirt and blood. "You sure, Carter? 'Cause your leg looks like hell and I don't know about the rest of you and unless you want me to prod and poke you...?"

If she were in top form, she would stop right there, move away and close the door to another room. But she isn't in top form. She is tired, hurt, and right now light years away from regulations and the SGC. And so Sam tells him about the cracked ribs and the map of bruises, never leaving the safety Jack's arms.

The last word has barely left her lips when Jack turns back to Teal'c. "Teal'c, we're moving out. Tell Reynolds to send a team with medical supplies. We're going to meet them half-way."

He shifts, from sitting next to her to kneeling at the ground in front of her, his fingers never loosing their hold on her.

"Sir! Your knees, do-" Sam starts to protest but Jack cuts her off. "Carter, stop, okay?" His hands move from her shoulders over her arms, taking note of every bruise and mark, then across her ribs, pressing lightly but stop the second she winces, until they reach her wounded leg. She trembles at his touch but Jack ignores her reaction and concentrates instead on her leg.

"Can you move?" But Sam doesn't hear him, her mind is focused on his fingers, resting lightly on her torn pants and for the first time since this whole ordeal started, she feels like crying.

"Carter? Car-Sam?" Her eyes snap back to his as she hears her name coming from his lips and she can't stop the first tears from falling.

Jack instantly moves closer, one of his hands grasping her shoulder again, the other caressing her skin, catching her tears. "Hey, hey, it's okay. You're gonna be okay."

"I know." She sniffles but smiles through the tears. "Now that you're here, I'm going to be." Her hand seeks his, interlacing her cold fingers with his warm ones, and she turns her face into his palm.

"Thank you for coming for me." Sam doesn't add the sir. It doesn't belong in this moment.

His fingers flex and the sensation of his calloused skin on hers sends another shiver down her spine.

"Always."

- END -