Okay - I'm not going to say any of these characters would act in this way at this point but hey, this IS my first Stargate fanfic. Tell me what you think.
Disclaimer - characters belong to MGM, Gekko, whoever…just not me.
Set after the events of the first season episode 'Cold Lazarus'.
Sam sighed, rubbing a hand over her face. Every day at this place seemed only to end after a bizarre string of events, and today had definitely been no exception. After an emotionally draining day, topped off with an extraordinarily long briefing, all she wanted was to have a shower and go home. Or go home and have a shower. Something that involved one or the other but preferably both.
Entering the locker room she paused when she saw who was there - sitting on the bench, elbows resting on his knees, hands either side of his down-turned face. He must have heard her footsteps. There was no way she could leave without him knowing, no way to sneak away quietly without embarrassing either of them. So, she walked in.
"Colonel," She greeted, quickly opening her locker, deciding she'd definitely have her shower when she got home and she really didn't need to stick around-
There was no way to mistake the tone of voice. It wasn't a greeting. Still clutching whatever she had managed to grab from her locker, she turned to look at him. He hadn't moved.
He may have lifted his head a little. "You don't have to walk on egg shells around me, you know? I'm okay."
Sam walked towards him, slowly. "I'm sorry sir…but you're sitting in the locker room, by yourself, with your head in your hands, after taking a duplicate of your…son, through the Stargate. My assessment of the situation is that you're not okay."
Lowering his hands, he lifted his head and smirked at her. "Your 'assessment'? Geez, Carter…but in any case, you're wrong."
"Uh hu," He nodded. "I'm not by myself. You're here."
"Well I am now," She argued.
"But you weren't before?"
"Which is my point."
Okay, now she was confused. "What point?"
"You're here now, but you weren't before. You can't change anything, Sam. You can't talk me into feeling better about it because it's not possible. I know you probably think it's the right thing to do, that I need closure or some God damned psychological term for what happened to Charlie…but it's not possible. You don't get closure for something like this."
Sam shook her head, ready to argue, when she saw that the door to his locker was ajar. Obviously he'd been in there, but probably hadn't noticed… "Sir, may I?" She asked, indicating his locker.
The Colonel shrugged.
Pulling the locker door open, Sam looked on the shelf - where she knew it would be - and pulled out the box resting there with her free hand. Turning back, she carefully sat next to the Colonel and handed him the box.
He stared at it, unopened.
"Your…uh…double, was looking through this, earlier," Sam explained, trying to read his expression. "I realised that I'd never seen it before, never even seen you look through it."
His fingers rested gently on the edges of the box. "The band is missing."
"There was an elastic band around the box."
She simply nodded.
O'Neill continued touching the box, but didn't open it. "Do you have any family Carter?"
Sam blinked. "Not my own. I mean, no kids and no husband. But I have a niece and nephew - I never get to see them enough, but then I guess the reason we do what we do is for them."
"Yeah," He murmured.
She was about to speak again when he lifted the lid of the box. Apparently knowing exactly what photograph he was looking for, he pulled one out of what she presumed was Charlie in the bath. She found herself smiling, a little.
"He…he used to love his bath. Some kids don't like that, you know? They don't like the soap or the water, but Charlie always dived right it. I'd lather his hair up and then we'd mould it into a little spike. Of course, then he'd insist on doing the same with mine…"
Chuckling at the image, Sam's smile faded as she saw the expression on his face. Closing his eyes he lifted one hand to his face, and spoke, almost too quietly for her to hear.
"Why can I never say this stuff to Sarah?"
Clearing her throat, Sam tried to think of something to say. "Sir…"
Standing suddenly, surprising her, he excused himself with "I gotta get out of here," and quickly left the room, letting the box and its contents fall to the floor.
Staring after him she almost called out, then changed her mind and carefully set about picking the photographs up and putting them back in the box. She'd just retrieved his wedding band and put it back when she heard his voice.
He was in the doorway, looking at her.
She stood up and faced him.
He took a step in to the room. "It's just…I don't talk about this. To anyone. And no offence Carter, but least of all to you."
Nodding, she attempted a smile. "It's all right sir. I understand. But, if I may…?"
Lifting the box, she held it out to him. "Take this home tonight. Look through it."
Hesitating, he eventually accepted the box slowly, frowning. "Thanks,"
"You're welcome sir."
Something seemed to catch his attention. "Carter…"
"You know, you don't always have to call me 'sir'."
All right, this she had not been expecting. "I don't?"
"Or 'Colonel'," He continued.
"Oh yeah," He told her. "You know…when we're talking and it's just the two of us… if it's not about work…just two pals chewing some bark…you can call me O'Neill."
Sam couldn't help it - she chuckled and shook her head. "Sir…"
The Colonel's own smile was firmly in place. "Good to see a smile come back on that face, Captain. Goodnight, Carter."
She watched him leave. "Goodnight sir."
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