Disclaimer - They belong to MGM/Gekko/Double Secret…blah blah.
Takes place after 'Beneath The Surface' and assumes they got up to more than we saw in that episode…
He wasn't entirely sure how they ended up in quite this position. Since they'd returned from that Goddamned planet they'd been going out of their way to avoid each other as much as possible - only working matters ensured that they'd even be in the same room together.
Time, he told himself. With a little time things would work out. They always had before.
Part of him knew that he was fooling himself. Things may have always worked out before but…things had been different, before.
They hadn't kissed, before.
It shouldn't have made such a huge difference, now should it? All over the world - hell, all over the universe, probably - people kissed everyday. Friends, co-workers, colleagues, sometimes complete strangers. People kissed everyday, did more than kiss everyday, and it didn't change a damned thing. Why should it here?
As he stared down at the woman he had just bumped into in the corridor leading to her office, he knew the answer, something he'd known for the past few years since he met her but rarely had the opportunity of acknowledging: Sam Carter and Jack O'Neill together led to big problems. Or, as her scientific brain would probably see it:
SAM CARTER + JACK O'NEILL = TROUBLE.
It was a situation he could easily have backed out of. Just bumping into her in the corridor wasn't unusual - everyone was always bumping into someone around here. He could just step back, mumble an apology, and step around her.
It was a situation he could very easily have backed out of, but his brain - not often used, admittedly - knew that this had to be dealt with.
He opened his mouth intending to say something; amusing possibly. Sarcastic probably. Unemotional definitely.
But he was already staring at her face, her eyes, her skin and the memory that had never really left his consciousness in the first place returned full force.
Someone - he really wasn't sure which one of them initiated it - touched fingers with the other one as their arms hung by their sides. Fingers brushed, clasped, then grabbed desperately, turning skin white where they clutched at each other.
She opened her mouth and his knees nearly gave out.
It could never happen.
It was something they both knew. They were military. They loved their jobs, their careers, their work at the SGC…they wouldn't risk that for anything.
Not even each other.
Moments of weakness like this one were to be expected, but that was all.
He knew she knew that. But he needed to vocalise it anyway, needed to make it seem real as if the burn of her lips, the touch of her hand on his face, the feel of her breath weren't going to haunt him for as long as he could remember anything.
It was her smile that was nearly his undoing. It wasn't one of her electric smiles - one of those damn things that could throw you halfway across the room the moment she looked at you.
But it was nearly as effective.
She was smiling. With understanding.
She understood. What they were giving up, what - realistically - never had a chance. And she was willing.
So was he. He was willing, and he could live with it.
An inexorable tightness enveloped his chest, his whole body, and only worsened when she allowed herself the luxury of murmuring his name before slowly, ever so slowly, pulling away. Her hand began to release his and she moved, fingers bumping his slightly and he tried, God he tried, to grab that hand back, to grab her back to take back the stupid thoughts, the words, just do anything to stop her from going.
He didn't. He was paralysed. He understood.
He understood and watched as she smiled with moist eyes, turned around, and walked away.
The next morning at the briefing she smiled at him, one of her electric smiles. It almost made him feel better.
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