Thank You Seem To Be The Hardest Words
by Suz

Disclaimer - MGM/Gekko/Double Secret own them.

A 'Paradise Lost' episode addition.


Sighing heavily, Sam rotated her neck muscles. She was *not* looking forward to this. At all.

She knew that, morally, it was the right thing to do. She had to fix things, apologise.

She just hated admitting when she was wrong.

Staring at the closed, grey door, she lowered her shoulders. This was not the way a Major in the Air Force behaved. Setting her resolve, she knocked firmly.

"Come in,"

Upon hearing the familiar voice she did as it beckoned, grasping the handle, turning it, and pushing open the door. She knew for a fact that he was alone; the others had been spotted in the commissary; one talking animatedly about their work, the other merely seeming bemused.

Stepping inside, she soon saw that he was where she expected him to be: behind his desk, awash with paperwork. It always seemed to come part and parcel with the job. "Major," He greeted, sounding surprised.

"Dr Lee," She nodded. "I just came to-"

He wasn't alone.

Sam paused, shocked, as she stepped further into the room, the door creaking back to reveal that sitting in a chair on the other side of the desk, was Colonel O'Neill.

She was torn between two reactions: pleasure at being reminded once again that he was *here*, he was alive, albeit injured.

Did Janet know he was out of the infirmary?

And then there was, of course, the horrified reaction that he might just find out what she'd been doing while he was gone.

It came out. "What are *you* doing here?" Oops. "Sir."

"Carter," He greeted casually, but frowning in obvious confusion at her reaction. "Dr Lee here asked to see me. Wanted to have a little word about something."

Suddenly panicking, her gaze flew back towards the doctor. Oh God, what if he *told*? Silently pleading that he not say a single word, she looked back towards the Colonel and suddenly wasn't particularly bothered about apologising for anything. "Oh. Well. I didn't mean to interrupt, sir. I'll come back-"

"Oh don't be silly, Carter. This isn't really a private conversation, is it Doc?" He gestured towards the scientist, who shrugged helplessly. Taking that as confirmation, the Colonel turned his attention back towards her. "Besides, you obviously want to see Lee about something; you might as well talk to him while you're here."

"Yes Major," Dr Lee agreed quite happily, almost but not quite smiling. He never actually smiled. "Why are you here?"

Crap. There was no way she could say what she'd actually been planning to say in front of Colonel O'Neill. Though it wouldn't have been anything that even threatened to break regulations, he still would have had *way* too many questions. Okay...she simply had to be creative. She was used to doing that. "I just wanted to...thank you, for all of your help on the planet. You and your team put in a lot of hours, and I don't think I ever really appreciated how much you did." It was the closest she could come to an apology without actually apologising. If she did that, the Colonel would want to know why.

"But we didn't find anything," Lee shook his head, confused. "We didn't actually *help* at all."

"That's not the point," Sam argued. "You put the time in, you did everything you could, and it's very much appreciated." She met and held his gaze. "Thank you."

Finally seeming to understand what it was she was actually saying, he slowly nodded. "You're welcome, Major."

Standing to attention, she sent them both a grin. "Well, with your permission Colonel, I'd like to get back to-"

"I'll go with you," He interrupted, glancing towards Lee. "We're done here, right?"

"Yes Colonel. As you know, we were done just before Major Carter arrived."

Dammit. Why hadn't he said that when she got there? Why did he have to sit and watch as she said that?

He began moving, gasping as he tried to get out of the chair. Rolling her eyes, Sam immediately moved to help him. He really wasn't supposed to be moving about...slowly pulling him to his feet, she glared. "Does Janet know you're out of the infirmary?"

He grinned shamelessly. "I doubt it. And if we move quickly, she won't *ever* know."

Still holding on to him, she helped him walk out of the room. If he needed this much support, how the hell had he made it all the way down there alone? "Obviously you haven't spent quite enough time in the infirmary, otherwise you'd know that Janet is like a bloodhound when it comes to patients who are MIA."

He grimaced in pain, but kept the banter up. "That explains the breath,"

"Uh, goodbye Colonel, Major."

Oh. Right. Dr Lee. She wasn't going to turn around while she was helping the Colonel stand - it was way too much effort. "'Bye."

"'Bye Doc,"

They made slow progress into, then along the corridor and towards the elevator. Sam muttered the entire way. "...and I don't know why you keep putting yourself at risk like this, even on base. Keep this up and you *will* get yourself killed one of these days - either from your injuries, or from what Janet'll do to you when she finds out." She swiped the pass that would summon the elevator, carefully shoving it into a pocket with the hand that wasn't holding on tightest to him. "Do you go looking for trouble? It's not like you don't find enough of it without even trying," The doors opened, and they both grunted as they shuffled him inside. When they were in, she pushed the button for level twenty-one, and rested briefly, stumbling until their backs were pushed against the rear wall of the elevator.

Pleased for the reprieve, she renewed her efforts. "I know SG-1 as a whole have been freakishly lucky over the years, but-"


For some reason it was very, very important that he not say anything.

"-I really think you should be more careful-"

"I missed you too."

Silence. Absolute.

She was still wrapped around him, and he her. It took only the barest of movements for them to hold each other in a way that had nothing to do with supporting weight.

She hated that she needed it so much. He was there, he was there, he was alive. "What did Dr Lee say?"

"Oh," His chin brushed against the top of her head. "Something about a Major with a stick up her ass...though he may have phrased it differently." His face lowered, his cheek just brushing hers. "It wasn't your fault. If anything it's mine for trusting Maybourne in the first place."

He didn't understand; she needed the blame. The fault had to be hers. There'd been nothing else keeping her going. "Sir,"

The elevator stopped moving. Sam immediately pulled away to where she had been before, intent on looking like nothing more than a second supporting her superior officer.

He pulled away too.

Only more.

And, though in pain, though hobbling, though only moments earlier he'd apparently needed her strength to stand, he made it out of the elevator entirely under his own power.

Sam's eyes widened at the same time that her mouth did. "Hey!"


sign my guestbook

back to fanfic