Divide and Conquer
"Carter, are you- Doc."
"I assume you were..."
"Looking for Sam, yes, sir."
"Not found her though."
"Right. In that case I'll..." Jack gestured out of Sam's lab.
"Yes, sir. Me too, sir. Um, if you find her first could you tell her I was looking for her?"
"Sure, no problem."
"Hey, there you are."
Sam was sitting on the mountainside, in a spot favoured by SGC personnel who felt the need to see some sun in their breaks. It was rarely occupied at night.
"I needed some space."
"Understandable." Jack sat himself down beside her. "It's been a bit of a day."
"To put it mildly, sir. Sorry. Jack. Habit."
"When did you realise?"
"How did you work out we weren't Zatarcs?"
"Is that really important right now?"
Jack was a little surprised by the vehemence of Sam's reply. "Well, it's certainly been going through my mind."
"I can't say it's the first thing on mine. Martouf just died."
Taking a moment to really look at her, Jack thought about how she'd been acting since the incident in the gate room. "You're taking this... rather hard."
"And that surprises you?"
"Honestly? In some ways, yes."
"I wish there was some way I could make you understand. The closest analogy I can think of is... think about how you'd feel if you'd just been unable to prevent, even partly responsible for, Sara's death." Sam watched pain flicker across Jack's face, quickly disguised by a dawning understanding. "You're not in love with her anymore, I know that. But I also know her death couldn't help but affect you."
"I was never with Martouf, and I never wanted to be. But Jolinar did and she was, and though she's not in me now she shared everything of herself with me. On top of that, he was my friend. What happened to us today comes further down my list of priorities."
"You're right. And right now all I want to do is hold you tonight but..."
"The doc was looking for you earlier."
"She's worried about you. And she has no idea how to deal with me right now."
"In what way?"
"Oh, just the way she was speaking to me. It wasn't very... Fraiser. Too formal, I guess. In fact," Jack let a smile slide across his face, "she sounded a lot like you."
"It's true! I've never known anyone use the word 'sir' quite as much as you."
Sam turned to look out over the mountainside before replying. "It's a sign of respect."
"And we seem to be getting off the point."
"Yes, we do. What does Janet looking for me have to do with our plans for this evening?"
"I think you should go to her tonight."
Sam turned back to face Jack so quickly she almost gave herself whiplash. "What?"
"Sam, as far as she's concerned, she and Cassie are the closest people on this earth to you. She won't want you to be alone."
"And she can't know I'm not."
"So you'll go?"
"I'll go. I'll go because, if I don't, she'll call or come round, and when I'm not in she'll know what's going on. But sometime soon," Sam paused and her gaze dropped down to her lap. "Sometime soon we need to stop spending nights apart."
At that moment, Jack wanted nothing more than to take Sam into his arms. But, this close to the mountain, especially tonight, he simply couldn't.
"We will, Sam, we will."
Sam shot him a defeated glance, then got up and brushed herself down. "Has Janet left the base?"
"I don't know. Probably, she looked like she was on her way out earlier."
"I'll try her cell." Sam started to leave, but turned back before she'd taken more than one step. "Jack, I know I said that what happened with us wasn't as important to me tonight as everything else that's happened. But, if Hammond calls us in tomorrow, I'm not sure if I can-"
"We'll deal with it, Sam. If he decides to make an issue of it, we'll deal with it." Jack stepped towards her, and took her hand in his. "I won't give you up though."
In spite of everything, Sam smiled. "Be sure that you don't."
And then she went to find Janet.