by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

This is based on spoilers for the upcoming season six episode 'Paradise Lost'. Spoilers for 'Divide and Conquer', 'Entity', 'Between Two Fires', 'Desperate Measures' and 'Paradise Lost'.



It's not one thing. It's never just one thing: one incident, one bad day, one bad year.

He listens to the click of the phone being hung up.

It's a culmination of everything. Living, dying, working, fighting, sleeping, eating, breathing,'s never just one thing.

But at some point, it needs to be erased for a while.

The deal was made four years ago; a quiet night when they were both too drunk, both too talkative, and everyone else had gone. He could never quite remember who suggested it, though the image of her lying across his sofa, smiling, often came back to him when he least expected it. He liked to think it was her, but in all probability it was him.

She'd certainly never argued against it.

But the deal was made. They'd be there, whenever they were needed, no matter what.

It made a strange kind of sense. Their relationship...their working relationship had almost always been a team more than anything else; it was rare he needed to assert the authority that came with his rank. Most of the time, he didn't even think of her as his subordinate: she was just Carter.

They needed to support each other. *Know* each other. And this was an effective way of doing that.

He wasn't using it as an excuse - he knew it was wrong - but he honestly thought they worked better because of it.

Throwing aside the covers he stands up, immediately searching for clothes. He locates some jeans and a top he can't quite decipher the colour of in the dark - it doesn't matter. He carelessly tugs it on before heading to the bathroom, where he takes care of a few things.

Less than five minutes later he's out of the house, pulling on his jacket, clutching his car keys.

It's a little after two a.m.

During the drive, he ponders. It's been a long time since he made the journey at this time of night. By silent agreement they very carefully hadn't done *anything* since the za'tarc thing.

It was never meant to go that far.

But they never said, not once, that they were going to stop.

And she made the call. He couldn't say no.

The radio is playing mostly sappy love songs so he flicks it off, almost angry. That so isn't what tonight is about.

After fifteen minutes he reaches the motel, pulling into the parking lot. Her motorcycle is nowhere to be seen - no doubt sequestered out of sight somewhere, away from anyone who may put two and two together.

She was always good at that, when it should have been the other way around.

He doesn't need to go anywhere other than room number eight. It's always room number eight.

Huddling inside his jacket against the chill in the air, he knocks on the door.

It opens, a seemingly calm, heartfelt smile standing behind it.

She's on him almost as soon as the door clicks shut. The curtains are already pulled, the only illumination coming from the lamp on the bedside table, and they awkwardly stumble towards the bed. He can't help it. Not only is he surprised, but his leg hasn't fully recovered yet.

He has to pause as they thump onto the bed, the wind getting knocked out of him.

She isn't smiling.

He recovers; she's pulling at his clothes already.

Something's wrong. It may not always be 'happy smiley' dream world, but it's never like this.

His jacket is off. "Carter,"

She ignores him, pulling his top up.

Grabbing her hand he tries again. "*Carter*."

Her head moves from where she's leaning over him, eyes angry, frustrated, and...moist?

"What's wrong?" He asks.

She retreats, emotionally if not physically. "*Now*," She replies, the last coherent word she'll utter for the rest of the night.


He can't blame her. There were so many times when he almost called, when he got halfway through dialling the number before slamming the phone down.

So many times after one incident, just to make him feel better. Just to be selfish.


Adrian Conrad.

The entity. After he killed her.

She's lying next to him now, snoring softly, so different from the woman who pulled and grasped and all but branded his skin with her nails. How nails so short can leave marks so large he has no idea, but then she's always been capable of anything.

He studies her face, resting near his chest; her features smooth and relaxed now that she's asleep.

He can't blame her as he brushes a few strands of hair away from her forehead, even if this wasn't part of the deal.

He understands. When he was trapped, with no hope of escape, with the blood oozing from his wound...she was all he could think about.

It was never meant to go that far.

For the first time since they started doing this he stays with her for the rest of the night, and wonders why he can't sleep.


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