Executive Decision

by Sharim



AUTHOR: Sharim

EMAIL: misssharim@yahoo.com

CATEGORY: S&J, Action, Angst

SPOILERS: Minor Divide and Conquer; Secrets, Matter of Time.

SEASON / SEQUEL:

RATING: PG

CONTENT WARNINGS: mild violence

SUMMARY: Another meeting with the President has serious consequences when terrorists become involved.

STATUS: Complete

ARCHIVE: Heliopolis Sam and Jack. Others...please ask.

DISCLAIMER: Story is all mine, made it up all by myself. I don't, unfortuenately, own anything other than my imagination. Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. We have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the authors. Not to be archived without permission of the authors.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

FEEDBACK... You know the big guy with the gold emblem on the head and the go'auld in his gut? That's Teal'C. You know how scary he can be? Well...that's got nothing to do with anything. Please send me feedback...I'm begging here (And no, a Schmacko's {doggy biscuit for those un-australians} would not substitute for feedback)



Okay. So this was definately not supposed to happen. Aren't there rules about these sorts of things? That situations like these only - and I stress the word 'only' - happen in movies where the heroes always come out the victors? That's one aspect about real life that sucks. We don't always win. Not everyone always gets to stay alive. There isn't another to be continued or miracle that suddenly happens.

No, this is real life. I know we've been living a really wierd, really crazy life for the last few years, but that doesn't mean we can't die either. And that's what's happening now. She's dying. My decision. My hesitation. My actions. Her death.



"You nervous?" I grinned at her, trying to dispel the butterflies in my own stomach. It wouldn't do for anyone to know, especially not Carter, that I was nervous as hell. Not because I knew we were going to go in front of who knows how many people in just an hour to get medals for bravery. I was nervous in a scared kind of way.

Carter's gonna get a promotion. No more Major, no, she's going up a level. Lieutenant Colonel. I know that for a fact, I'm her CO. Hammond told me. That's not what I'm worried about, that she's catching me up. No, what I'm scared about is losing her.

No way am I ever going to get promoted again. I've made to many enemies and broken too many rules to ever step beyond the title of Colonel. And, quite honestly, I don't really give a rats ass about being promoted. I'm happy as I am. CO of SG-1, 2IC to General Hammond, and that's all I want to be. I don't think I'd bother staying in the military if the SGC was closed down or I got transferred.

But if Carter keeps getting herself promoted - which is probably a good thing in most aspects - then sooner or later one of us is going to be transferred. She's ready for a command of her own already, but I don't want her to go. I'm being selfish, keeping her on SG-1, for more than one reason.

1. She's the best 2IC I've ever had, and that's saying a lot.

2. It's very confidence boosting to know that your 2IC is the one continually saving the planet with some idea that no one else really understands because they're not smart enough.

3. SG-1 is a family. Me, Daniel, Teal'C and Carter. We balance each other out perfectly and usually have the best results. Split that up and you loose one damn good team.

4. I want to be the one looking out for her, and I need her on my missions. A good luck charm if you like. Having her on my team is encouragement to never give up. The fact that we haven't had a chance together yet makes me fight to stay alive, for that opportunity in the future.

Point 4. That's a tricky one. That's why I don't normally like lists, they make you think to much. Thinking is Carter's job. See, look at that? I don't think much, but whatever I do think about usually ends up leading back to Carter.

But, as I've said before, there's nothing between us. Yet. There won't be until circumstances and our positions change, but for now knowing that she feels the same way I do is enough. We look out for each other, and that gives us more confidence because we trust the other so completely.

"Yeah. I'm a little nervous." She smiled a tense little smile at me.

"Been a while since we saw the President, hasn't it?" I blurted out, wincing when I saw the slight flash of pain cross her face. Last time we saw the President was when she had to shoot Martouf. Not a wise move, O'Neill, bringing that one up.

"Yeah." She agreed, forcing the smile to stay on her face.

I want to hug her, to say sorry for apologising, to tell her it wasn't her fault. But I couldn't. Not my position, not my liberty and not my style. I don't talk like that I and I don't know to tell people I understand, because a lot of the time I don't. This time I did understand, but there was nothing I could to let her know that.

"Colonel O'Neill, Major Carter?" An aide popped his head around the corner. I waited for him to continue. "The President would like to see you in his office for a few minute before the ceremony starts."

I glanced at Carter. This was unusual. Wonder what it was about.

We made our way to the office pretty quickly, not a smart move to keep the President waiting. Inside was pretty much like I remembered it, so I dismissed it from my thoughts pretty quickly. Glancing at Carter I realised she hadn't been in here before, so her eyes were drinking everything in for storage, ready to be removed later and analysed very carefully. Give her a few hours and she'd be able to tell you a hell of a lot more about the man than you would have thought possible.

"Colonel, Major, nice to see you again." The President stood up and offered his hand out to me. I shook it pomptly, and was pleased to see Carter doing the same. "Wondering why I called you here?" He smiled at us, looking completely relaxed.

"Well, yeah." You know. Never stay silent when a smart comment would do instead.

"My own curiousity, really." He admitted, sitting down at his desk and motioning for us to do the same.

"Oh?" Nothing unusual about this. Me and Carter being used to fill some high and mighty leader's curiousity.

"Yes. I was wondering if you could give me some personal news on the Tok'ra." He asked us casually. I sighed. Who would have known that old Perces and this guy would have hit off so well. So now, on a regular basis, I'm singled out to deliver personal messages to the Tok'ra high Councillor, and given ones to be sent back to the President himself.

"He's fine, Sir. Said he's looking forwards to seeing you again in a few months time." I relayed to comment.

"Oh. And how are they doing?" He asked me, interest in his eyes.

"Not bad, not bad." I glanced quickly at Carter, waiting for her to jump in.

"Anise has gotten really far along with the Za'tarc decoding." She jumped in, despite how much I knew it hurt her. "I'm not really sure what my Dad's up too, but they all seem pretty happy out there."

"That's good to hear." The President seemed genuinely happy. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out why this guy had such an affinity for the little snake heads.

"You know, Mr. President...." I never got to finish what I was saying because I heard what suspiciously sounded like a gun with a silencer attatched. When I turned around, I realised my suspicions were well founded. A dead man was lying on the floor in the middle of the Presidents office.

"What the hell is happening?" The President demanded, standing up and throwing his chair back.

"Get down!" Carter yelled as another door burst open and two men ran into the office, holding their guns in front of them. Hostiles.

"Stay where you are!" A voice barked and I heard the sound of a gun being cocked. Not good. They were behind us too.

I swallowed and put my hands up. Carter look at me in disbelief but then slowly followed suit.

"So what the hell is going on here?" I asked casually, ready for the bullet to hit me any second.

"Why, Colonel O'Neill, I would have thought you could figure that out for yourself." Someone said. I didn't recognise the voice, but if it had been Maybourne I wouldn't have been surprised. At all.

"Well, you know, as thick as I am good looking." I sighed dramatically, relieved to catch sight of Carter rolling her eyes. Some things never changed.

"You're hostages." The voice continued, ignoring my little comment. And then I realised why I didn't recognise the man's voice. He was a foreigner, probably from the Middle East somewhere. Uh oh. Now we were in trouble. Terrorists. Damn.

"How they hell did you get in?" The President demanded. I nearly snorted. As if they would ever tell us how they...

"The security was surprisingly light around your office, Mr. President." The voice said snidely, and I felt the cool point of the gun between my shoulder blades. "Colonel, this way if you please." He instructed me, and I was curious to see Carter and the President being moved to either side of me, but far enough away so that I wouldn't be able to get to either of them.

I realised, as my hands were being tied, that it wasn't going to be too long before someone realised what was going on.

"Mr. President, remind me never to accept another offer for a medal in Washington again, okay?" I sighed, remembering our last trip to DC. "Got that Carter?" I checked with her and grunted as a fist connected with the back of my head. I dropped to my knees, squeezing my eyes shut and willing the pain to go away. It did, gradually.

"What are you people after?" The President demanded.

"You know very well, Mr. President." The man used the title mockingly. "And now we will get it."

Okay. So this was all about politics gone wrong, and once again Carter and I were caught in the crossfire. Damn.

I studied the room carefully, running possible strategies through my mind.

I was against the middle of a wall. Carter was in the corner to the left of me and the President in the righthand corner. Not good, they had us too far spread out for us to work together on anything. Two of the three gunmen were positioned between us, in the spaces between me and Carter, and me and the President. Which mean that even if I did get my wrists out of the ropes they were in and somehow attacked one of them, then the other would still be free to shoot either Carter or the President.

I did get my wrists out of the ropes, surprisingly enough. I watched Carter and noticed her arms were still moving sligtly, obviously working on trying to get them out of their binds without attracting attention to it. How on earth did I get mine out? Now wasn't really the time to ponder those thoughts though.

The President was openly fighting against his binds, but without success. I sighed. Wait for re-inforcements and then make my move.

"So what now?" I asked, growing tired of the agonising silence. Where were the rest of the security people?

I glanced at Carter and saw her watching me. With a discreet movement I showed her my untied hands and saw her shake her head slightly. No luck, damnit.

I was just about to ask another question - which I'm sure would have gone unanswered - when the two doors on the otherside of the room burst open. The third gunmen was ready for this though and instantly started firing through the door closest to him, the one on the Presidents side.

I watched with a horrified fascination as the other gunmen turned around to shoot as well. The first gunmen fell to the ground, and the other two realised their leader was gone.

I knew what they were going to do. Kill the hostages. I jumped to my feet, looking at Carter. She knew as well. I had to save her, no way in hell was I going to let her die. I saw the man aiming at her stagger suddenly, he was hit.

"GO!" She screamed at me, her eyes wide with fear. Time seemed to slow like it did with the BlackHole. I watched the room in a detatched state, everyone seeming to move as slowly as Henry Boyd had in his last moments.

My eyes fell on the man turning his gun towards the President.

Love or duty? If I chose Carter she'd never forgive me, we'd get kicked out of the military probably, a black mar on our records. If I chose the President then I was doing exactly what I promised my country I would.

I glanced back at Carter quickly, her gunmen was starting to slump. Chances were good she'd be okay.

I made my decision and jumped towards the gunmen aiming at the President. I heard the shots rining clear and hang in the air as I seemed to fly towards the last gunmen. I saw his gun jerking with each shot he released, and knew that I was probably too late.

I landed on top of him and he fell backwards, hitting his head on the chair I'd been sitting on earlier. He was unconscious. I felt stickiness on me and looked down at my hands. Blood. Who's was it?

Mine, I realised dimly, noticing for the first time the fire seeming to burn on my left shoulder. I glanced at the President. He was okay, the gunman had been shooting at me.

Carter. I struggled to my feet, the world spinning slightly. I froze.

"Sam!" I screamed, running over the dead terrorists on the floor and shoving Security out of my path.

She was lying limply on the ground, her face colourless other than a small trickle of blood running out of the corner of her mouth. "No, Sam, NO!" I dropped to my knees next to her. Three large patches of darkness stained her uniform. One on her stomach, one in her chest on the other on her shoulder. A straight line up. The bastard had shot her three times. He knew he was gone, he was determined to take her with him.

"Sam, you're not dying okay? Don't you dare die on me Carter, that's an order!" I was shaking her head gently, my hands numb as she didn't move. "Sam, NO!" I begged her, feeling movement beneath my fingertips. She had a pulse, a faint pulse.

Her eyes flickered open and focused slightly on mine. She was in pain, the glazed look and pull of her lips told me that.

"You're not going to die, okay Sam? I'm ordering you not to die." I reitered, caressing her cheek softly. Her hand moved and closed over mine. Her hands were cold and clammy.

"You did good." She told me softly, the trickle of blood moving down her cheeks as she spoke. I wiped it away with my thumb and smeared it on my trousers leg, hiding the truth from myself.

"No I didn't...Sam, don't leave me." I begged her, tears running down my cheeks. I couldn't care who saw anymore, it wasn't in the room anymore, but it was too late.

"You did good, Jack. You made the right decision." She was ever the scientist, and the slight smile touching her lips nearly broke me.

"Sam, please." I choked my tears back, bringing her hand up to my lips and kissing it gently. "Please."

"I love you." She told me softly, her eyes closing.

"Sam, I haven't told you yet, don't go!" I panicked.

"I know Jack." Her quite words stunned me as her hand grew limp in mine. She did know I loved her, but I still hadn't told her.

"Colonel..." A voice at my ear told me we'd had an audience the whole time...and I really didn't care anymore. I felt anger now. I refused to move as the medics appeared from seemingly nowhere and started yelling in their strange language at each other. The world was growing fuzzy, slipping away and the roaring in my ears was growing louder. I started to see blackness creep around the edges of my sight. Soon I was going to fall into unconsciousness, but not yet.

I felt as though I was gone, watching them working around me on the floor as I sat clutching Sam's hand. Then her hand was gone, pulled gently out of mine. I saw as she was lifted onto a trolley and rushed out of the room. Suddenly it was cold and the room was too big.

I felt anger in me then, and I jumped dizzily to my feet.

"Colonel, you should be..." A voice started, a hand on my shoulder.

"Did you see that?" I demanded, finding the President and focusing on him. "Did you?" I hissed at him, feeling like a maniac. "They shot her. They shot *her* because I saved *you*!"



My arm hurts. No, it doesn't hurt. My arm is burning up, if feels like I'm constantly being shot with staff weapons. Janet says it's called infection. She says I should get some sleep. She says that Sam's condition won't change overnight, and if it does she'll wake me up.

I've said I'm not moving. I've said I don't care that my arm hurts. I've also said that I'm defineately not moving. And no one has argued with me since. Not even Hammond.

She's lying on the bed, a frail shell of her former self. She's been lying there for two weeks now, one week of which I was completely out of it.

Her list of injuries reads, 'ruptured spleen - removed; three fractured ribs, 2 completely smashed in; 1 punctured lung; 1 damaged vertabrae; 1 broken collar bone; blood loss. Her official report says 'Coma'. I hate that word.

Coma. She could wake up, she couldn't wake up.

Like I said before, it's a bad movie turned real. Now if only it could be a movie the whole way through and she could wake up. Then the President would (I'm going to have serious words with him) let us ignore a certain regulation and have a life together.

Why did it take me up until now to realise just how important she is to me? Why was I so determined to believe that we could and would wait until something changed?

Well, now something has changed. My priorities have changed. I think that was the problem in the first place. We both believed that we were so important, vital to the SGC that we were willing to put our personal wants and longings aside.

I've decided that because we were denying what we as humans wanted, we're denying what we're trying to save in the first place. Doesn't life as we know it, consist of living? Doesn't it mean we're supposed to have new experiences each day, to find someone to love and be happy with? We're fighting the Go'auld to keep the world free. Freedom. What's it mean?

Freedom. o Personal or civil liberty

o Liverty of actoin

o undue familiarty

o Exemption (From)

o Membership, honorary citizenship (of)

o Unrestricted use (of)

Okay. I'm not even going to pretend that I understood half of that, but from what I can tell, the first one pretty much covers it. We're fighting for personal freedom, the choice to live our lives the way we want and to do with them what we want.

If Sam and I wanted to get involved but we didn't because of these rules, we're denying everything we're fighting for.

Maybe when she's better I'll take that argument with us to the President. Then we'll get together. Or I'll resign. And then she can explain what the rest of the definitions mean.

A squeak in the dimness alerted me to someone's presence. I looked up from her still face and find Hammond seated opposite us. I made no move to let go of Sam's hand, and I saw the slight smile crossing his face as he saw the look on mine.

"How you feeling, Jack?" He asked me. Good, keeping it personal, not professional. I like Hammond, best CO I've had in a long time, a good man.

"Fine." I lied through my teeth, and we both knew it. A glance in the mirror just after I got up two days ago told me I looked like shit. Seeing as I was feeling worse now than I felt then I'd be guessing that I looked worse as well.

"And Sam?" He asked me gently. Unintentionally my fingers tightened on hers ever so slightly for just a second.

"Same old, same old." I didn't elaborate and he didn't push me.

We sat in silence for a while, listening to the wheezy sound of the respirator and the constant beeps of all the machine's Sam was hooked up to.

"What are you going to do now?" Hammond asked me eventually. I looked at him, slightly surprised by his question. I'd been expecting a lecture, maybe if I was lucky a fatherly lecture and not a military lecture. I'd even been letting myself hope for good news, that if Sam pulled through we would be allowed to have a relationship.

Who was I kidding? Not even myself. Why should the President and the whole military turn a blind eye to fraternization between a CO and his 2IC, who was considerably younger than him? What was so special about us that we were an exception to the rule? Nothing.

So we'd saved the world more times than I can remember. So we'd just both risked - and maybe even given - our lives just to save the President's smarmy ass, so what that we were constantly living lies just to keep the SGC a secret from the whole world. The plain and simple truth is, we're just another Major and another Colonel in the Airforce, following the same rules and regulations that apply to any other Colonel and Major. The only difference was our exact job descriptions.

"I'm going to sit here until she wakes up." I said stubbornly, pushing my thoughts away. They could wait.

"And if she doesn't?"

"That's not an option." I said calmly, refusing to accept for one minute that I might lose her before really finding her.

"It could be the only one, Jack." He sighed, standing up after resting his hand on my shoulder for a minute. I saw his eyes flicker towards our hands on the bed, and my fingers tightened protectively over her cool, limp ones.

His eyes met mine again, and I saw an acceptance in them.

"When she wakes up, what's going to happen?"

"She's going to hurt. A lot." I stated knowingly, my own arm giving testimony to this.

"Jack." He sighed. I was avoiding the question and he knew it.

"I'll think about it." That was a laugh. That's all I've been doing, going over possibilities in my head. Why won't Sam wake up? She's good at this sort of thing.

"You need some rest too, Jack." He told me quietly, and then he was gone as well, leaving me alone with my thoughts and the still figure of Sam lying next to me.



"Colonel." Janet's voice startled me.

"Yes?" I snapped myself together, trying to convince myself that I wasn't really falling asleep at the table in the cafeteria.

"Would you come to the infirmary, please?"

Oh no. Not now. I felt fear clutch at my heart. It's like the movies, right? The doctor calls you gently and then you know. She's gone. Sam's died.

"Yes." I croaked out, standing up and following her silently out of the room. I was numb. Six weeks Sam's been holding on, not getting any better, just staying the same. Now she's given up. Why now? Why not right away? Why make me wait and stress all these extra nights?

The door to the infirmary is the same colour it's been since we started the SGC. What an interesting colour. Oh, hey, look, is that a new mark on the far side of the infirmary? I swear it looks like Mickey Mouse wearing a..

"Colonel." Janet's looking at me strangely. I know, Janet, I know what you're going to tell me. You don't have to say the words, I know that we've lost Sam.

"Yes?" My voice stays neutral, hiding the betraying emotions raging in my chest.

"She wanted to see you." Janet smiles suddenly.

She wanted to see you.

"She's not dead?" Okay, now that was a dumb comment.

"No Colonel, she's not dead." Janet smiles gently and pushes me towards the bed that I've been spending 9/10's of my time next to for the last six weeks.

"Carter?" I touch her hand hesitantly. It's cold and limp, just the same as before. Her eyes are still closed and her skin is still just as pale. But there's no respirator anymore, and a few of the machines have disappeared. "Sam?" I whisper her name, scared suddenly.

Then it's over. I see her eyes opening briefly, a smile lurking in their depths.

"Oh, thank you God!" I prayed for the first time since Charlie. "I thought we'd lost you for sure that time." I stated bluntly.

"Not that easy to get rid of me, Sir." She whispered, her eyes closed again but her fingers moving slightly under mine.

I curled my fingers around hers lightly and saw her lips smile delicately. I missed her smiles, I realised.

"No, it's not." I agreed, letting go and stepping back. "So, Carter, if you've quite finished being a human pin-cushion, General Hammond's got this nice little planet all picked out for SG-1." I started off. "It's got rocks for Daniel, dirt for you, more rocks for Teal'C and I do believe there are ever a few trees for me."

She chuckled slightly, but I could tell she was drifting off again.

"Yes Sir." She whispered.

Those were the sweetest words I'd heard in a long time.



TA DA!!!

So, what did ya think? Huh huh? Was it good? Was it bad? Did it really really suck?

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Baa to all and to all a Merry Easter