by Suz email@example.com
Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
Spoilers for 'Learning Curve' and 'Metamorphosis.' A 'Metamorphosis' episode addition. Yup, Suz has been hit by the sap bus once more. Special thanks to JS and JT, who gave the muse something to work with.
From the moment they left the building, he kept touching her back.
When they climbed down a hill or stumbled on uncertain ground he'd separate, but only for as long as was necessary. As soon as they were back on flat land again, his hand would drift back into position, to the curve at the base of her spine.
Sam couldn't really say that she minded.
Teal'c and Jonas walked ahead, which wasn't particularly appropriate - the Colonel *was* the leader and as such should have been in front. Leading.
Neither one of them questioned his decision to walk behind, at her slower pace. Whilst she was feeling so much better than earlier, she was still feeling exhausted. It was probably a decidedly normal reaction to having your DNA reprogrammed to something else, and then reverted.
God, what a weird job. It was easy to forget that sometimes.
She was probably concentrating on the feel of his hand a little too much when she lost her footing. There didn't seem to be anything particularly in her way, she just...went over.
Great. Now she was tripping over her own feet. Maybe a delayed reaction from being ‘healed’...
"Woah!" He yelled, managing to grab her before she humiliated herself completely by actually hitting the ground. Helping her to stand and find her balance, he held securely to the top of her arms. "You all right?"
She was dizzy as hell but she wasn't about to admit it, forcing her eyes to stay open. "Yeah. Sorry. I hate being this weak."
"Weak?" He mocked. "You? Never!" Pausing, he glanced towards Jonas and Teal'c who'd both turned around at the commotion. "She's fine," He slid his gaze back towards her. "Right?"
Sam nodded, inciting another wave of dizziness and not entirely sure she was able to hide it. "Yeah."
"Good. Let's keep moving."
The guys lingered long enough to ascertain that she really was all right, and when they were convinced they finally turned around to continue walking. Sam intended to follow right behind them, even if she did have to take her time, when the unexpected feel of his arm wrapping all the way around her caused her eyes to snap *wide* open.
She stared at the face a few inches from hers. "What are you doing?"
He began walking; realistically doing most of the work that was keeping both of them moving. "Part of not being weak is also knowing when to accept a helping hand." He wrinkled his nose in disgust. "I can't believe I just said that."
She smiled tiredly; she couldn't really argue with the sentiment. Besides, she was doubtful she'd make it all the way to the gate unaided. "You should start a greeting card company."
"Oh, already have. Haven't you seen it? O'Neill's Ornithological Collection."
"Going for some alliteration. And hey - birds are cool."
Of course. "Ah. And I take it all of your cards contain lots of messages about supporting friends, accepting their help, working together...?"
"Are they expensive?"
"To the general public, yeah." He glanced towards her, grinning. "But you being a friend *and* someone I work with...well, I could probably cut you a deal."
This was an insane conversation, but it was keeping her alert. So she happily joined in. "What if I help you design your next range?"
"Who says I need any help?" He definitely sounded offended.
Typical O'Neill. "Sir, you have *no* artistic talent."
"Oh! Listen to Sam 'Stick Figures' Carter!"
Okay, okay. Fair point. And why on Earth was she *blushing*? But...wait a minute... "When have you ever seen me draw something that isn't a technical diagram?"
He resolutely kept walking them forward.
He definitely wasn't looking at her.
"Look, I've seen you draw before, Carter. We *have* known each other for something like six years."
It was instinctive: "Five years, eight months."
"And two weeks." Apparently reacting just as instinctively as her, he turned his own interesting colour. Now he really *wasn't* looking at her. "Ah...it was Merrin, okay?"
"Merrin?" That name really wasn't what she'd been expecting to hear.
"Yeah. You, uh, drew a picture of yourself for her when you were trying to explain drawing - she told me all about it before she went back for the..."
There was no need to say it. For the Uvarium. "And?"
If he found the ground any more interesting he may as well have dived right into it. "And I *may* have asked her what you drew it on, and then *may* have gone to have a look. I really wasn't intending on taking it," He insisted, as if that excused him.
Sam couldn't quite believe what she was hearing. She'd completely forgotten about the drawing until he'd brought it up and, well...he *took* it? Even though, apparently, he didn't think it was particularly good? She wasn't sure what she was more upset about.
And then she did. "You didn't like it?"
"Now I didn't say that. I just said that you don't have great artistic flair." Sighing at her offended expression (and okay - she may have been playing up to it, *just* a bit), he pressed on. "Look, I kept it. Doesn't that say something about me liking it?"
It did. It spoke *volumes* about how much he liked it. Had it been anyone else, she probably would have found it disturbing, but him...well, the Colonel was a 'special case'. In more ways than one. Nothing quite applied to him in the same way it did to everyone else.
Not that she was going to tell him that. "Yeah, but you probably liked it because it's so bad it's *funny*."
"Are you deliberately trying to aggravate me?"
"Don't know. Is it working?" Yup. She was definitely feeling better.
"Ya know, you'd think that after five years, eight months, and two weeks, I'd learn not to let you do that to me."
She grinned as they trundled along. "I'm just glad that you do."
"Yeah," He sighed, looking up at the sky. "Me too."
They were almost at the gate. Teal'c was starting to dial out, Jonas was getting the GDO they'd retrieved from the building ready, and the Colonel spoke as they slowly stopped walking.
"Think you can make it on your own?"
Funny question, that.
Sam knew why he was asking: despite the fact that he'd helped her here, he wasn't sure how she'd feel about the two of them appearing at the SGC, all but hugging each other.
Resting her head against his shoulder, she watched as the gate whooshed open. "No," She told him, smiling as his arm tightened around her. "I'm going to need a hand."
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