by Suz email@example.com
Disclaimer – MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.
A ‘Desperate Measures’ episode addition, so contains spoilers for that episode. Could be considered a sequel to ‘The Seeker’, but it’s not necessary to have read it.
As ever, this is for Anna who once again said one little thing that sparked off the idea.
She should have been happy.
After a four-day nightmare she was home, she was safe, and she was surrounded by her team.
They’d showed up at her house some three hours ago, bringing with them pizza and a movie they’d all seen ten times before but that they knew she loved. It was kind, it was sweet, and though they swore they only came because they wanted to make sure she was all right, she knew they were doing it because they were worried about her.
That they cared about.
So she should have been happy.
Daniel was next to her on the sofa, although he’d fallen asleep some twenty minutes after the movie started. The rest of them had derived some amusement from watching him and sending indulgent smiles to each other. For all that Daniel had become, and all the changes he’d undergone since they’d first met, when he was asleep it was as if the time hadn’t passed at all.
His face was free of the experience that came of doing what they did; he was the believer, the dreamer, the man she’d met five years ago.
Teal’c was out too, now, on the chair to the left of the sofa – the chair closest to her. Apparently since discovering she was missing he hadn’t kel’no’reemed at all. And it was only now, simply being in her company – conscious or not – that he allowed himself the necessity.
She should have been happy.
So it was just her and Colonel. She was still on the sofa; he was on the chair furthest away from her at the far end of the sofa.
Her and Colonel, watching a movie that neither one of them was paying attention to.
She didn’t know why she wasn’t happy. It was obvious that the events of the last few days would have upset her, but she was a soldier. It certainly wasn’t her first close brush with death: not by a long shot. And as she’d thought earlier: she was surrounded by her friends.
She was home.
Feeling the urge to move, she unfolded her legs and stood up, immediately drawing his attention. “You want a drink?” She murmured.
He nodded; expressing his thanks, and went back to pretending he was watching the images flickering across her television screen.
In the darkness of the kitchen, she opened the fridge door and pulled two cans out – and it was as she was closing the door that she saw the calendar.
Still holding a can in each hand she moved away from the fridge, and backed up until she hit the counter surface barely a foot behind. Turning until she faced the counter she lowered the drinks down, but didn’t release them.
It all made sense now.
She’d known, she’d always known that she didn’t really have a social life but it tended to come with the territory. And unlike most she had a damn good explanation – she was usually too busy saving the world. That tended to rank up there against getting your nails done.
But the result of that was...
“Hey,” His voice softly entered the room as he did, no doubt coming to check everything was okay. She’d been gone far longer than it took to get two cans out of the fridge. “You all right?”
No. No, she really wasn’t, and she was horrified to discover that she was starting to cry.
He must have been just as horrified, because he automatically backed away a couple of inches and peered into the living room in the vague hope that Daniel or Teal’c would notice his plight.
A few years ago he wouldn’t have hesitated about pulling her into his arms, about telling her that whatever was wrong they’d fix it.
Now his right hand awkwardly patted her on the shoulder. “I, uh...I know you had a rough time, Carter. Can’t have been easy.”
God, look at her. This was pathetic. She was standing there crying in front of her commanding officer, confirming every stereotype...
No, she suddenly thought with a burst of anger. What the hell was wrong with just *feeling* something? Of expressing an emotion? Of acting like a normal human being? “This isn’t about that,” She complained, finally letting go of the drinks and shoving them out of the way until they clanged onto the floor, denting the cans.
He backed even further away. “Um...”
She spun towards him, her words more accusing than she intended. “Two days,” She told him. “It took you *two* *days* to realise I was missing.” She saw the moment *he* understood, and kept talking. “How is that right? How can it be that the people I care most about didn’t know I was gone for over forty-eight hours?” It wasn’t like she was some half-forgotten old relative in a home.
“It would have been just the same if any one of us had been taken,” He replied, finally finding his voice.
“And does *that* seem right?” Sam demanded. “We’re a team. Best friends allegedly. But how often do we contact each other when we’re on downtime? How often do we go out and do something that doesn’t relate to work?”
“What about tonight? Doesn’t that count?”
“Tonight only happened *because* of what happened at work,” She argued. “Because I...” God, she was crying again. She’d said earlier that this wasn’t about her kidnapping, but that wasn’t entirely true. If this really was about admitting that she was feeling something, when she’d realised they’d been about to kill her she’d been terrified. Off world, in battle, there was no time to think about dying.
But strapped to a bed, with nowhere to go and no one to fight, there was nothing else to think about.
She stumbled away to the right, disgusted with herself and him, when a pair of hands grabbed her shoulders, turned her around, and he was holding her.
Her breath caught, the tears drying as her arms wrapped around him.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m *so* sorry,” He was whispering into her neck, apologising for things he could never acknowledge.
Sniffing, she clutched onto him, revelling in the normal human contact. “So am I. I really didn’t mean to lose my temper with you-”
“Yes you did,” He interrupted, amused as he pulled away just to look at her. “And I can’t say I blame you.” Still not moving, he lowered his gaze, closed his eyes, and gave part of himself away. “When we realised you were...gone,” He sighed heavily, obviously uncomfortable. “I lost it. I mean, not in front of Hammond, but...” He pointed to his head. “Up here. I just about tore the SGC apart.”
Far more pleased with his words than she should have been, she smiled up at him in the semi-darkness. Just for that moment. Just for that one moment. “Thank you.” She needed to hear that, today of all days.
“Hey, you know me,” He joked, shrugging, mock-peering over her shoulder and abruptly changing the subject. “I don’t think you’re gonna want to open those cans for a couple of days.”
Regretfully pulling away, she wiped the back of her right hand over her face and bent down to pick up the cans. He was waiting as she stood up, plucking the cans out of her hands and putting them back in the fridge.
As he had slipped away from the door, she suddenly found herself grabbing his arm. “You make me a promise,” She demanded, as surprised as he was but not taking back the words. “Whenever we’re not off world, we all call each other. Every morning.” That was hard for her – admitting that fear, that need. Not appearing perfect.
She needn’t have worried.
He simply grinned, nodding. “Come on,” He said, slowly letting their arms separate, leading the way back into the living room.
And though they didn’t hold hands, didn’t touch, and didn’t hug again, they woke Daniel up, kicked him off the sofa, and sat down just to watch the end credits together.
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