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Fanfiction: Deny, Endure, Embrace

Fandom: Stargate SG1
Summary: Jack contemplates his love for Sam... 
Rating: PG-13
Author's Notes: Sam/Jack. Spoilers for SG1.  I was inspired by the recent snow here in the UK. 
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Written for entertainment purposes only.

 

 

Deny, Endure, Embrace

Nobody chooses who they fall in love with.

Or when it will happen.

Or the how or the why of it.

Not really.

The only decision someone actually gets to make is whether to embrace it, endure it or deny it.

Deny

Jack O'Neill wasn't in love with Samantha Carter.

He hadn't fallen in love with an officer under his command.

His heart didn't stutter at the sight of the injured woman across the frozen cave from him; her blonde hair sticking up wildly; her eyes ominously shut, lashes casting tiny shadows across her too pale skin.

Carter was just a very valuable member of his team, Jack told himself briskly as he kept his mind on building the fire they needed. Not his old team, SG1, as that was actually her team since their respective promotions. But she was still very valuable in his new team which actually encompassed the entire SGC. She was the leader of SG1. She was the chief scientist; Head Geek; Queen of the Technobabble. She was important; special; a national treasure.

And she'd fallen through ice saving his ass.

Jack had yanked her out of the water, got her breathing and carried her to the cave through the fat clomps of snow that drifted endlessly down from the lilac sky of P3Y898. He'd stripped Carter down efficiently, administered first aid with a grateful thought that her leg was only torn-up; the sharp edge of ice had cut through the BDU pants, through skin and muscle. The other good news was that the creeping hypothermia was slowing the blood loss from the jagged wound. He'd left her wrapped in survival blankets and sleeping bags while he gathered firewood.

Jack shivered through the damp layers of his clothing and focused on the twigs in the shallow pit he'd scooped out of the hard ground. They needed warmth if they were going to survive. They would be rescued, he assured himself. They just needed to stay alive until the rescue party arrived.

The mission had gone to hell so fast. SG9 with Daniel Jackson had hammered out a treaty with the Litians to have access to a naquadah mine in return for help improving their town's ability to cope with the cold weather conditions. Jack was supposed to have been guest of honour at the treaty signing; SG1 had come along as his escort. They'd been half-way through the feast when the civil war had broken out.

Jack was vague on the details of how a group of survivalists who hadn't wanted the treaty had managed to get their hands on explosives and weaponry but he remembered giving the order to retreat to the Stargate.

Major Micheson had gone down; Lieutenant Jargey too. Teal'c and Daniel had been half-carrying them with the other two civilian members of SG9 trying their best to help. Jack and Carter had gotten cut off. He'd fallen back to provide covering fire; she'd stayed with him, saving him from a small group trying to outflank them. Years of fighting together so ingrained that it was automatic; locking into place with the synchronicity of jigsaw pieces snapping together to make a complete picture. The others had reached the Stargate and Jack had ordered them through to the SGC. 'We'll make our own way back.'

He and Carter had been circling back around the town. There had been a group of the bad guys, chasing them – herding them, in hindsight. Both he and Carter had stepped out on a frozen river which had been completely snow covered. They had only realised belatedly what it was when the ominous cracking sound had echoed around them. That was when the bad guys had laughed at them and left. A moment later, Carter had pushed him off to safety and plummeted into the icy water below.

Jack shivered violently.

OK, no more thinking about the almost-drowning, Jack determined fiercely. He blew gently on the kindling and finally it blazed in the shallow pit. He carefully fed the fire more twigs before adding the heavy log he'd found.

Of course when he and Carter didn't show in a couple of hours, there would be a SAR organised. Hopefully, Reynolds would load up the group with lots of Marines. They'd find their radio signals because tracking them would be impossible with the fresh fall of snow. They would be fine. Carter would be fine

Jack shivered and turned to check on her.

She was awake; wide blue eyes blinking at him. 'Sir?'

'Ice. Drowning.' Jack explained succinctly. 'I found us some shelter but it's not exactly the Ritz.' He waved around the small, dark cave.

Her blue-tinged lips curved upwards and she blinked heavily again as though it was effort to keep her eyes open. 'I think I remember the ice and drowning part.'

'Good.' Jack hadn't been sure she hadn't hit her head. He crawled over to her.

'You need to get dry and warm, sir.' Carter looked at him evenly.

Jack could feel the heated flush rising within, sending painful tingles across his chilled skin. 'First things first.'

He offered her water, encouraged her to sip enough that she could take a couple of painkillers. He swallowed down a couple of mouthfuls of water himself before without anything else to do, he stripped. His fingers were numb and caught on the buttons and zippers as he fumbled his way out of his clothes. He spread the garments out by the fire along with Carter's. He positioned his P90 in easy reach for himself, his Beretta in easy reach of Carter; Carter's own weapons were wet and useless. He left his boxers on and manoeuvred quickly through the nest of blankets into the sleeping bags, attempting to keep the cold from reaching Carter for as long as possible.

'This is such a cliché.' He muttered as he spooned his body up against hers tentatively; she would benefit from Jack's warmth at her back, the fire at her front. He tried to ignore the fact that they were both pretty much naked apart from the underwear.

'And I know how you feel about those.' She quipped weakly as she took his hand, the one that had been seeking safe neutral territory to rest against and failing, clasped it into her hand and placed both against her belly.

He rested his chin against her blanket covered shoulder. 'Comfy?'

'Reminds me of Antarctica.' Carter said tiredly.

'Next time we're stuck somewhere together, Carter, let's make it a tropical beach with palm trees.' Jack replied lightly.

'No argument from me, sir.' Carter agreed.

Her fingers tightened around his; a cold grip that he knew better than to rub warm. He felt helpless and inched closer to her. He could keep her warm even if that was all he could do.

Jack hated Antarctica; it was always trying to kill him one way or another. He hadn't been much use that first time; injured from their crash through the wormhole, broken leg, broken ribs, internal bleeding. He didn't remember much, only fragments. He remembered that Carter had worked tirelessly to get them out. He remembered the cuddling, joking about his sidearm and her asking him about regrets.

'I'll regret dying.' He'd replied with all his usual confidence and dry wit because she'd needed him to be strong; to have no regrets. In truth, apart from the open aching wound of Charlie's death, he really hadn't had regrets to share.

Of course, he also hadn't realised he was in love with her then.

Endure

It had been hours.

Hours of waiting for a rescue that Jack wasn't sure anymore was going to come.

The delay might have been caused if the Stargate was guarded by the survivalist freaks and the SGC had decided to wait them out before caving to the inevitable offensive action of retaking the gate with stun grenades and the more explosive type.

It might have also been the snow keeping their people from finding them; it had continued to fall in an endless white curtain beyond the mouth of the cave. Conditions outside were bad and not getting any better.

Conditions inside were bad and not getting any better.

The fire flickered in a desultory fashion. It was on its last legs and Jack hadn't been able to find more fuel for it. That was bad because even with the fire, the temperature in the cave had plummeted from freezing to beyond freezing.

He'd managed to heat some of the water; they'd eaten one of the MREs. There had been a very brief bathroom break. But for the most part they'd remained under the blankets and wrapped in the sleeping bags.

They were partially dressed under the blankets at least. In the long, long wait for their rescue, the t-shirts had dried out enough to wear again. Jack was grateful on several levels. Mostly because it was something warm to wear and it meant they were decent for their late, late rescuers but also for the minimum protection of sorts against the seductive quality of Carter's skin which he was prepared to admit was seductive simply by virtue of being Carter's skin. It was soft, freckled and…

Cold.

So cold.

He pressed up against her, trying to warm her. Keep her alive. That was his only goal. For her to live.

'Because I'd rather die myself than lose Carter.'

His declaration of love echoed through him like a mantra. It was still true. Would always be true. He would always want her to live even if that meant he died. He couldn't imagine his life without her in it; didn't want to. He could remember waking up on the Asgard ship after months in stasis and learning of Carter's alleged death and wondering what the hell was the point; that they should have left him frozen.

Maybe that was selfish but he didn't care. Luckily Carter hadn't been dead. They'd both lived to…to be promoted and the possibility of them made even more remote by the stars on his jacket. Not that they hadn't already locked the possibility of them in a room, buried it in more denial after Carter had almost died at the hands of a computer entity, and resolutely ignored it as Carter dated someone else in an attempt to move on and be happy.

The universe hated him, Jack considered with complete certainty. There was no other reason why it would conspire to strand him and Carter on an icy planet where they had to snuggle together for hours for the body warmth.

It was a whole different type of torture designed to drive him insane. Because he and Carter weren't…couldn't…

And there was Pete.

The image of an engagement ring; the diamond hard and cold like ice shining in the depths of the fancy jewellery box flashed through his mind. Pain arrowed through his chest, sharp and bitter. He inched away from Carter, needing the space to catch his breath.

He knew what she had been asking when she'd shown him the engagement ring. He'd known at the time. He knew her showing him the engagement ring was a question: do you love me? It had been unfair of her to ask, no matter how obliquely. But Jack knew he had spent the last couple of years pretending that he didn't love her, and OK, sometimes he'd do it better than others, but he'd deliberately set out to plant the doubt in her mind and so it was his own fault. He couldn't blame her.

He hadn't answered her in the end. Sure, there had been words but he'd evaded the question. He wasn't sure why.

Half-formed thoughts that she was happy with Pete; would be happy with him. Happier than she would ever be with Jack. Hurt that she'd even attempted to move on and if she didn't want to marry the guy, he wasn't going to make the decision for her. Anger at himself for letting her go; for not objecting when she'd started dating Pete, for not fighting for her. Because in the end that's what had happened. He'd denied his love her and left her to be loved by someone else.

Her engagement ring wasn't on her dog-tags. Jack had noticed that. Some women kept their rings on the chain when they served; some men too for that matter. Her fingers were bare. He wondered where she kept it.

Carter stirred restlessly. She muttered something under her breath. It took Jack a while, his mind surprisingly sluggish, to work out that she was calling for him.

'Sir.'

He closed the miniscule distance between them again.

'Something's gone wrong. You should go to the Stargate; get help.' She said slowly, her teeth chattering between every word.

'No.' Jack said automatically. She was trying to save him again; sending him for help knowing she would die alone in the cave. He wouldn't leave her. 'They'll be here soon and we'll go together.'

He tucked himself around her and she turned, cuddling into him until Jack couldn't tell where he ended and she began. He was grateful that she didn't look at him because he knew she'd see the truth in his eyes just like she'd once seen the truth of how he felt for her standing behind a blue force-shield. He hadn't been able to leave her then either.

They dozed; Carter murmuring equations into his neck.

When Jack woke the fire was out. Their breaths puffed out in icy smoke. They were both hypothermic, Jack mused through the fog in his mind; recognising the lethargy and numbness. Neither of them were putting out enough body heat to really help the other anymore. All they could do was hold on and hope help would arrive.

Where the hell was the help? Because if they didn't turn up soon, he and Carter were popsicles; dead popsicles. It didn't matter about him but he couldn't bear the thought of her dying.

'Jack.'

It was barely a whisper. His name. Like she said it every day. Jack's heart squeezed tight in his chest.

He didn't remember the second time in Antarctica but something flashed into his head. Snow all around them; the Ancient chair beneath him, speaking in the only language he could recognise with the Ancient knowledge crammed into his head. Carter's hand had been on his cheek; her blue eyes drenched in pain, and she had said his name.

And suddenly it hurt too much to keep pretending she didn't matter to him; to keep pushing her away because of some misguided idea that she was better off without him, that he loved her but couldn't have her.

It was all too much to endure.

If this moment, the cold icy walls of a cave and only each other to cling onto, was all they had, would have, then Jack would take it.

'It's OK, Sam. I'm here.' Jack assured her softly. His lips grazed the top of her head and he closed his eyes again.

I love you.

Embrace

Sam shifted above him, elbowing him in the ribs.

Jack's eyes snapped open and the stony dark of the cave disappeared into nothing leaving only the safe and boring expanse of the cabin ceiling, lit up with the flicker of candle light. Warmth flooded over Jack; heat from the fire roaring in the hearth; from the comforting wool throw that covered him and Sam as they cuddled on the sofa; from his wife's naked body blanketing his.

Jack shifted, easing out the ache in muscles worn tired by the afternoon in the snow. The outside was like a Christmas card picture of perfection; unmarred white snow drifts on the ground; trees laden with a frosty icing; snowflakes falling from a perfectly blue Minnesotan sky.

They'd built a snowman; made snow angels; had a snowball fight. They'd been soaked and cold when they'd come inside. Getting naked and sharing body heat had seemed like the only way to go.

He smoothed a hand under the weight of Sam's long blonde hair, down Sam's back following the length of her spine and enjoyed the play of her muscles beneath his palm.

He felt his heartbeat slowing again after the panic of the dream – memory. Neither he nor Sam remembered getting rescued. He'd woken in the SGC infirmary with Sam curled up asleep in the next bed, swathed in what Jack figured were all the blankets in the infirmary. He'd read the reports; of the SGC Stargate going offline due to a computer bug, the repair and subsequent search and rescue for them.

But they'd survived and before Jack could assimilate that, Daniel had headed off on the Prometheus and Sam's Replicator version had turned up. He'd wrestled his inappropriate love back into Denialville and continued to endure. Right up until Sam had stopped denying, stopped enduring the impasse and a relationship she had realised she didn't want, and faced him with the truth of it even if she'd never actually gotten the opportunity to say the words out loud.

Jack dropped a kiss on the top of her head. A few years had passed since then. They were both older, wiser. They'd battled Ascended wannabe Gods with their freaky looking Priors (and seriously Daniel had to stop falling over bad guys), weathered the year Sam had been assigned to Atlantis, and had settled into their relationship with surprising ease.

Sometimes Jack worried about that. Mostly, he thanked the universe for giving them a break.

Finally.

His hand settled on her lower back, slowly stroking the skin there. It was still seductive.

Sam raised her head eventually, blinking sleep rather than cold out of her eyes. Her skin was glowing with the gold of the fire; pink streaking across her cheekbones. 'Hey.'

'Hey.'

They moved until they were lying on their sides; Sam between Jack and the fire; his back against the slick leather. He held her safe against him with the hand at her back.

'Been awake long?' Sam asked, stretching.

Jack enjoyed the feel of her pressed against him. Skin to skin. He kissed her, a soft brush of lips. 'Not long.'

Sam kissed him back. Another soft, slow brush of lips across his. There was a question in her eyes.

Weirdly, Jack didn't try to evade it. 'I was dreaming of the last time we were cuddled up together for warmth.'

'P3Y898.'

Her hand rested against his sternum; over his heart. He didn't think it was a coincidence.

'Hmmm-hmmm.' Jack acknowledged. Her ability to know Stargate addresses was one of the things that he found inexplicably hot about her.

She propped her head on an elbow to look at him better. 'I still only remember the ice and almost drowning part.'

'Whereas I remember the fun stuff.' Jack replied with a small rise of his eyebrows. 'Like snuggling with you.'

'And the almost dying.' Sam murmured. Concern flickered in her eyes.

Jack kissed her again; longer this time, a slide of lips against lips that made her lick hers as he drew away. 'We made it. That's the important thing.'

His gaze dropped to her hand; to the glitter of rings there. The ones that branded her as his, just as the gold on his left finger branded him as hers. She never wore them on duty; never placed them on her tags, which was where he kept his own ring on duty even if he could have worn it in the relative safety of the Pentagon. She always left her rings with Jack. He knew it was her promise to come back to him.

'You told me to leave you.' Jack said idly.

'You wouldn't go.' Sam said with complete certainty.

Jack smiled at her lopsidedly. 'Nope.' He frowned suddenly. 'You left me in Antarctica.'

Sam's elegant eyebrows rose, and OK, so maybe that had come out a little more accusingly than he'd meant it to. 'Which time?'

'The first time.' Jack answered because that had been what had been in his mind. But then he frowned. 'Both times actually.' He tried to hide his smirk but he was fairly sure she could see it in his eyes. 'I'm sure I'm owed compensation.'

'I don't know,' her blue eyes were twinkling with mirth, 'after all, I only left because I was ordered to and you're forgetting something,' her finger poked him in the chest, 'I came back.'

'Which time?' Jack asked pointedly.

'All of them.' Sam replied, huskily.

The mood shifted suddenly from playful to serious. They were kissing again without a conscious decision being made, and there was nothing slow or hesitant in each greedy taste of lips they shared. The heat between them had nothing to do with the fire, and everything to do with them.

Jack told her he loved her with every kiss, every touch, and surrendered to her embrace.

Because Jack O'Neill was madly, deeply, in love with Samantha Carter, and he'd really never had a choice about that at all.

fin.
 

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
psychomonkey_29
Dec. 4th, 2010 12:30 am (UTC)
Great story!

Love that is from Jacks point of view- do not get alot of those(at least in great stories). The way that you write these two characters is so them...thanks and please continue!
rachel500
Dec. 4th, 2010 10:11 am (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you liked it!
julimond1402
Dec. 5th, 2010 07:40 am (UTC)
Le sigh. Beautiful. Perfect read for a snowy winter day. Loved it :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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