Title: Fading Light
Rating: Teen
Characters/Pairing: Sam/Jack UST
Season/Episode: 2x09 Secrets
Summary: Missing scene from Secrets, before Sam, Jack, and Hammond go back to the SGC.

A/N: Requires a bit of handwaving of the episode timeline, honestly.


Sam was studying the bright red carpet of the hotel hallway when O'Neill finally answered her knock, the door swinging open slowly and with a faint squeak to the hinges.

"Hey," she said, her eyes shooting up to meet his.

"Captain," he replied, his voice curt, his body blocking the doorway.

His demeanor was anything but welcoming, and for a moment Sam was sorry she'd come, wishing that she'd opted instead to head back to her room and call Janet. Unable to think of a tactful way to retreat now that she stood here, she forged ahead. "I wasn't sure if you'd be back yet. I just wanted to …." She trailed off, uncertain how to explain to her commanding officer that she wanted company without sounding needy or weak to her own ears, a little too much like everything she'd always felt women in the military shouldn't be.

He regarded her for several more seconds before jerking his head, ushering her in. Before the door had even closed, he had turned around and was heading away from her toward the window.

She paused for a moment, then started after him. "You finished giving the police your report?" she asked.

"Yeah," he said without turning to look at her. "Hammond back yet?"

She shook her head, feeling foolish when she realized he couldn't see her. "No. He's been on the phone all afternoon, trying to figure out what's going on."

"Goddamn politics," the colonel bit out as he continued to stare out the window. "You know, I'm not even sure I believe it was an accident."

Sam tried to think of something to say, anything that might ease his mind, but her own was too occupied with other things. Moving to the desk that stood against the wall, Sam pulled out the chair and sank into it. She folded her hands together in on the surface of the desk and stared at them in abstract fascination.

When he turned, probably to see why she didn't respond, she saw it out of the corner of her eye. He moved to lean against the desk, his hands a sharp contrast to the dark brown surface. "What's up?" he asked.

Sam sucked in a slow breath, but blew it out again when it seemed like too much for the words she had to say. "I just found out my father has cancer," she said in a rush, her voice soft. "Lymphoma." She looked up at his face when she'd finished speaking and caught the end of his wince.

One of his hands moved, just barely touched her elbow. "You all right?"

"Not really," she answered, jerking her eyes back to her own hands before his sympathy could unbalance her.

His sigh was loud in the otherwise silent room; he pushed away from the desk, and she assumed he would walk away. Instead, his hand closed around her upper arm, and he tugged gently, urging her out of the chair. "Crappy day," he muttered. Her breath caught and her heart raced – surely from surprise – when he pulled her into his arms.

Reflexively, her arms wrapped around him; comforting her, she assumed, distracted him from his own worries. Resting her chin on his shoulder, she stared out the window, irrationally amazed that it could still be such a bright blue after the events of the afternoon.

"I'm sorry about your dad." As he spoke, his breath stirred the hair by her ear, and she shivered.

"Me too." Turning her head, she rested her forehead against his neck; he moved his hand to rest on her hair. She concentrated on regulating her breathing, on not reliving that last exchange with her father, and gradually, the scent of the man holding her began to permeate her senses. An alarming awareness of the feel of his body against hers followed, and she was suddenly conscious of the very precipitous ground on which she stood.

With enormous effort, she restrained herself from pushing away from him immediately. Instead, she tightened her arms around him and then released him, hoping she'd avoided betraying her unexpected panic.

His eyes met hers when she stepped away, but Sam found nothing she could read in them. "Okay?" he asked.

His voice sounded far gentler than usual, which only unsettled her more. Nodding, she deliberately changed the subject. "Sir, I'm sure if what you saw wasn't an accident, General Hammond will find out. He'd never stand for something like that."

"Yeah," the colonel replied. "Yeah, I know. But any secret, there are people that would kill to keep it. Something this big …." He gestured helplessly.

Sam walked past him to look out the window. The sky was just beginning to show the signs of the day's end. "Intellectually, I know you're right, sir, but I can't really make myself believe it."

She heard him move, felt him standing behind her. "No," he said. "No, you wouldn't, Captain." He sounded resigned, or perhaps bitter; she couldn't tell. His hand brushed the back of her neck before landing on her shoulder and applying pressure until she turned to face him. He jerked his head at the door. "Go get changed, and we can grab dinner."

"Yes, sir," she answered. Without looking, she knew his eyes followed her as she left his room; resolutely, she put that knowledge out of her mind, not to be considered again.