~ It only happened once ~

The elevator was packed tight as a mob of personnel made their way down from the surface to the sublevels of the SGC. There was a dense, morbid silence as everyone thought about his or her first day back without the base's Chief Medical Officer. The reality of Janet's death had taken point in the minds of every airman, officer, and civilian since her funeral yesterday. It was one thing to die on the front line with a rifle in your hand. It was quite another to die while saving another man's life.

Sam brushed away an errant tear that begged to fall as she pressed herself to the back of the elevator. She was vaguely aware of the people standing around her, but she recognised the silver haired man directly in front of her as her Commanding Officer. She did not even realise he was there until the doors had closed, too enrapt with controlling her emotions.

She didn't say anything. All she could do was dip her chin and sniff as quietly as possible. She didn't see the minute turn of Jack's head towards her. The lump in her throat was as prominent as ever and Sam closed her eyes briefly, trying to will the sick feeling in her stomach away.

As she leaned against the wall with her eyes tightly shut, Sam felt a warm hand grasp hers. Her eyes snapped open, a little blurred with unshed tears and she looked down at the large, calloused hand holding hers so tightly. She followed the BDU covered arm up to Jack's shoulder. He squeezed her hand and she allowed him to adjust his fingers so they interleafed with hers. His knuckles were solid between her fingers as his hand snugly spooned against the back of her own. In the cramped confines of the elevators and the little space between their bodies, their hands were perfectly concealed.

Sam dared to look up and find him still facing away from her. He appeared perfectly ignorant to the gentle brush of his fingertips in her palm. Sam felt the pull of a smile play at her cheeks for the first time since Janet's death and she clenched his hand in thanks.

Jack released her hand a few seconds before the elevator stopped at sublevel fourteen, casually pushing his hand into his pocket. Sam let herself smile and nod her head. Things would go on as normal. As though nothing had occurred between her and the Colonel.

Nevertheless, it would be okay.

~ SJ ~

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