Rating: PG for the moment
Summary: Fallout from the SG1 episode “100 days”.
Disclaimer: Ya de ya. I own nothing. Song by Will Young.
Notes: Thanks to Booster.
I'm here just like I said
Though its breaking every rule I've ever made
My racing heart is just the same
Why make it strong to break it once again?
And I'd love to say I do
Give everything to you
But I can never now be true
The happy smile faded from Sam Carter’s face as she watched as the man that she had worked so hard to rescue, turned away from her to walk back to the village, his shoulders tensed. Pleasure turned to hurt turned to anger.
The bastard. How dare he? How dare he? Hadn’t she worked her butt off for the last three months to get him back? When everyone else had thought him dead, she had carried on, oblivious to the compassionate glances of her colleagues. She had gone without sleep for as long as she could remember and only eating when Janet or Daniel reminded her to. She had been so desperate to get him back and now that they were standing on the same planet again, he couldn’t even bear to look at her.
The hot tears that suddenly rushed into her eyes surprised herself and she brushed them away, hoping that Daniel and Teal’c had not seen her. Sam breathed in and out deeply a few times to calm herself down. Her feelings had raged to the surface so quickly but now was not the time or the place. She smiled wryly to herself. Who was she kidding? He wouldn’t even look twice at her. She didn’t even compare to the soft feminine features of Laira. She flushed, unaccountably and suddenly aware of her masculine hair cut, the unflattering BDUs and the tears threatened again. She had always been one of the lads, part of the team and that was how he would always see her. A man in a woman’s body.
Teal’c had been covertly watching Carter school her features into her very best “Dutiful Carter” expression but her eyes betrayed her as they always did. He was well aware that she had worked herself into the ground to succeed at bringing the Colonel home and the Colonel’s less than ecstatic reaction had basically thrown all that hard work back in her face.
As O’Neill bade Laira goodbye, Carter turned away, unable to face seeing the expression on his face. She was the first through the Stargate on that occasion, staying in the briefing room for the minimum time possible before almost running for the showers. The water was so hot it turned her skin red but it hid the tears that finally won the battle and flooded down her cheeks. To her intense relief Hammond had ordered her to take some time off, knowing she had been pushing herself to finish the accelerator. Her heart clenched painfully in her chest as she pulled her jacket on. Her bike was parked in the car park and if she could just make it there without running into anyone then she could let rip on the highway.
Jack O’Neill was sitting on his usual bed in the Infirmary as Dr Fraiser scribbled in her neat handwriting.
“So can I go then?”
“I’m keeping you overnight Colonel, just to be on the safe side.”
He groaned but knew better than to argue. One night could easily become two. He settled himself on the bed, prepared to be plugged into various machines, to have his heart monitored and all the other bits and bobs that Dr Frasier liked to inflict on him.
She began to attach the sticky pads for the heart monitor to his chest and as she did so, she said conversationally “You know, between you and Major Carter, you could keep me in business 24/7.”
“Carter? What’s she been doing?”
There was a moment of silence and O’Neill met Frasier’s disbelieving eyes.
“You’re kidding me, right?” she said, turning to the monitor and switching it on. She blew out an exasperated breath. “She’s been working every minute to build the accelerator to open the Stargate on Edora. Without it, you wouldn’t have got home. You obviously didn’t notice, Colonel, but Major Carter has lost approximately 20lbs over the last few months. I’ve had to remind her to eat and sleep, even sedate her on some occasions because she couldn’t sleep.”
“Really?” he was stunned.
“Are you telling me you didn’t notice?”
“No, I….” O’Neill trailed off into silence. He ran through the moments when his team had come through the Stargate, the joyful smile on her face and the babble of explanation as to how she had managed it. He had seen her, but he hadn’t SEEN her. He had gone to Laira to explain. He hadn’t wanted to hurt the woman but from the moment Teal’c had appeared out of the ground and the Stargate had been activated, she had known that he would be returning to Earth. Carter had been unusually speedy out of the briefing room that day and, come to think of it, he hadn’t seen her since.
He looked up into Janet Frasier’s full watt glare and wilted. “Oh crap” he muttered.
“You didn’t even say thank you, did you?” Fraiser subjected him to her coldest tone of voice and he shook his head dejectedly. “I’m going to speak freely here Colonel. You’re an ass.”
She ripped off the stickies that were holding the heart monitor wires in place and he winced as some of his chest hair got ripped out with it. He knew that part of that was vindictive but frankly, it sounded like he deserved it.
“You better go and do your apologising Colonel.”
He nodded, not even bothering to argue, and pulled his t shirt over his head and was out the door and down the corridor in the space of three seconds. He started out by walking but eventually breaking into a run, reaching her quarters and banging loudly on the door before flinging it open. They were empty and her leather jacket, usually hung on the back of the door, was gone. “Damn it”, he cursed. He turned to head to the elevators at the end of the corridor and saw her standing there. Relief flooded through him.
“Carter? Wait up,” he called. She turned at the sound of his voice but the expression on her face was one he had never seen before, not even on the first day they had met. She was guarded, cautious and her tone was wary.
He jogged up the corridor and stood next to her at the elevator. She banged the button a few times and he wanted to tell her that it wouldn’t make it come any faster but he realised that it was her telling him that she didn’t want him to be with her right now. She wanted to be as far away from him as possible.
“I just wanted to say that I know I owe you a lot, getting me back and all. And I know that I wasn’t that thankful on Edora but now I’m back, I am. I’m grateful.”
“That’s OK Colonel. I was just doing my job.”
“From what the Doc tells me you worked pretty hard.”
Carter glanced at the numbers to the side of the elevator doors, another 4 floors to go. She shrugged but still didn’t look at him.
“I would have done it for anyone.”
To her immense relief, the elevator doors slid open and she stepped in. To her immense annoyance he got in with her.
“Well, I’m glad you did it for me.”
Her eyes flew to his and he found himself pinned under the bright blue stare. She looked as though she was about to speak but instead she looked away and bit her lip.
“I’m glad you’re home safely Colonel.” Her tone was still flat and emotionless but he knew her well enough to know when she was angry and to keep his distance. Her temper made the occasional appearance but when it did, all hell broke loose. The doors slid smoothly open at ground level and she stepped out and walked off in the direction of her bike without a second glance. O’Neill watched her go thoughtfully and waited until she had pulled out of the car park, her long legs astride the powerful machine and sped down the road and off the base.
The elevator ride back down to the Infirmary level was a long and lonely one and when he walked back through the door, Fraiser was seated at her desk, her head bent over some charts.
“Did you find her?”
“Did you apologise?”
The tone of O’Neill’s voice caused Fraiser to look up from her work. It was clear that he had tried in the same way that he always tried and completely failed to say the right thing and Sam, as she had every right to be, was still very angry and had not forgiven him.
O’Neill hoisted himself up on the desk next to Fraiser and kicked his feet disconsolately.
“I don’t understand.” He said finally. “I apologised. She’s still mad.”
She smiled at him. “You were married Colonel. You of all people should know that it’s not that easy.”
“Yeah, but its not like I can send flowers to Carter to make it up. Or even take her out for dinner.”
The two of them sat thinking about Sam Carter.
She was Frasier’s best friend, popping in for gossip, laughter and the holder of each other’s secrets. They could be completely honest with each other, even if it hurt like hell and Frasier had seen her friend slowly falling apart over the last few months. It had to have been a real kick in the teeth for O’Neill to treat her the way he had and yet, Frasier knew as well as Carter did, that there was no official reason for her to be angry with him. Fraiser was firmly of the opinion that there was something brewing between the Colonel and the Major and yet neither of them would acknowledge it. Which perhaps was causing all the problems. Frasier sighed. She knew she was being unfair. As a member of the SGC staff, she knew how O’Neill would have felt and perhaps she might have felt and done the same in his position but Sam was her friend. And her friend was hurting deeply.
O’Neill on the other hand was beginning to see Carter in a whole new light. He also knew that there was no official reason for her to be angry with him. So why was she? Because he hadn’t said thank you? Because he hadn’t realised that she cared enough about him to work herself almost to the point of collapse to save him from god-knew-what? So there was something else. Something much deeper that shouldn’t exist between a Colonel and a Major under his command. As he sat in Frasier’s office, he realised that it did exist and as he thought about it, he realised that, deep down, he had been just as relieved to see Carter and the first feeling that had washed over him was guilt. Guilt that he had betrayed her with Laira. All completely understandable and yet the worst thing he could have done. He had given up all hope of rescue and a new life had stretched out before him, a simple life, something that he always secretly longed for. But somehow, in the dreams that he had dreamed about his simple life, there had always been a tall blonde woman beside him. How had he never realised? How could he be so stupid?
The bike roared down the highway, Carter uncaring of the speed limits she was breaking, just desperate to get as far away from the SGC as possible as quickly as she could. The howl of a siren behind her brought her thudding back to reality and she slowed and then stopped. The highway patrol had the worst timing ever. He took his time getting out of the car, walking up to her, requesting that she take off her helmet which she did. The gleam of surprise in his eyes almost made her come out with a sarky comment but she knew better than to say anything. She took the ticket and bit her lip through the lecture on safe and responsible motorbike riding and sat on the bike until he had returned to his patrol car and driven past her.
Keeping a firm control on her anger, she rode her bike at a more careful speed back to her house, parking it in the garage, before going through to her kitchen, dumping the helmet and jacket on the counter top.
Her hands were shaking but it was difficult to tell why. Anger, hurt, annoyance, the feeling of wanting to scream loudly like a child who hadn’t been able to get their way overwhelmed her and she swept her belongings off the countertop in an angry motion, flinging them to the floor before sinking to the ground herself and letting the unwanted tears come.