Convolutions Chapter 6. Agreement
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions. I have written this story for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are the property of the author(s).
It was Monday morning and Jack was still sleeping. He rolled over, unconsciously reaching for Sam, needing to feel her against him, longing for her, even in sleep. When his arm came to rest on the empty space beside him his eyes opened and he stared into the darkness.
He opened his mouth wide preparing to call out to her, but stopped short. As his mind came fully awake so did his memory and his shoulders slumped a bit in resignation, she was down the hall, in the guest room.
He lifted his muscular frame from the bed and walked silently across the room and into the hall. Pushing open the door, he admired her sleeping form sprawled carelessly along the length of the bed. Peaceful and beautiful, she slept in almost the same position he'd found her three days ago, one leg dangling free of the covers and her hair tickling her face. He leaned against the doorframe and watched her, already regretting giving in to her, but convinced it was either that or lose her completely. So he had agreed, in theory at least, to go along with her, to give her what she wanted. They would separate. And as far as the world was concerned, she would be free but he knew his heart would never let go.
Jack crossed the room silently and ran one finger lightly along her arm. She turned towards him without waking and he stood there a long moment just looking at her before he leaned down and pressed a soft kiss against her cheek. She mumbled his name and a small smile tugged at her lips as his hand stilled her movements. He didn't want to wake her; he wanted her to sleep because while she slept, she still loved him. He allowed himself a few more moments of watching her and then walked away to prepare for the rest of his life.
He showered and dressed quickly then began to repack the small bag he'd brought with him. He was just zipping it closed when he heard Sam approaching quietly behind him. Taking in a deep breath, he turned to face her.
She was smiling, her hair tousled from sleep and she seemed small, almost nervous as she approached him.
"Uh, yeah. Washington called and you...don't really want me here."
"Jack, I thought we agreed..."
"I agreed...I didn't say I'd be happy about it."
His voice was harsh even though he tried to maintain an even tone.
"It's only temporary, Jack, I promise. Let me work this out and then we can figure out what to do...how to be really happy."
Jack drew his lips back quickly in a tight grimace.
"Yeah, I want you to be happy." Memories of her days with Pete flashed across his mind in brilliant Technicolor and he quickly pushed away the thoughts of torturous days ahead. "That's why I'm leaving. Well, I better get going. I've got a few things to take care of before I leave."
"Are you going to the SGC?"
"Yeah, I have to see Doc before I leave, tie up a few loose ends, meet with Landry...."
He waved his hand in the air as he spoke.
"I'll drive you."
"No, thanks, I've got the rental. I'll have to be at Peterson later and you'll be...busy."
He was struggling for control, forcing himself to be calm and emotionless.
"When do you leave?"
"Anytime I want. I'm a general, remember?" The sarcasm was heavy in his voice and Sam flinched knowing he was using it as a front. "They'll have a jet ready whenever I'm ready."
She nodded her head up and down quickly as she kept her eyes locked with his.
"Ok, see you on base then."
He slipped on the jacket of his dress blues and she stepped into his space brushing her hands across his shoulders and tugging gently at his tie. She lifted a hand to his cheek and caressed it softly, lovingly as she leaned in to place a soft kiss on his lips. His arms came around her and he pulled her close, pressing his lips against hers in a gentle, deep kiss, drinking in her essence and knowing it might be the last time he held her. Suddenly he pulled away and stepped back, his tongue tracing his lips while she stared into his dark eyes that were holding her immobile.
"I love you, Sam. I always will."
He watched as her eyes darted across his face, their movement almost frantic as she watched him and he could see that she was suddenly unsettled and unsure. Sam opened her mouth to speak and he waited, hoping but she only shook her head slightly as tears welled up in her eyes. His hand caressed her cheek tenderly and then he moved to pick up his bag and walked quickly past her towards the front door. She followed him, dabbing at her eyes and trying to swallow the tears that were threatening to fall.
He opened the door and glanced down at the table to pick up his keys when his eyes caught sight of the papers he had hastily stuffed into the pocket of his bag as he was leaving Washington. He set the bag on the floor and retrieved the crumpled papers. He studied them for a moment, skimming over the words before turning back to her. He was hurt, but he was also angry.
"Do what you have to, Sam, find your way again, but don't expect me to sign these."
His frustration overwhelmed him suddenly and he flung the papers at the table as if they were burning his hands.
"And don't expect me to wait forever."
He set his jaw and his eyes were as cold as a frozen wasteland as they drilled into her, enforcing those final words. Then he pulled on his hat, setting it low on his forehead, picked up his keys and walked out, closing the door softly behind him. She didn't hear him cursing softly as he crossed the snow kissed lawn.
Sam stood frozen for a moment then reached out to pull the curtain away from the narrow window beside the door. She watched him toss his bag in the car, get in and back out of the driveway. As he disappeared down the street she leaned against the frame and whispered, "I love you, Jack."
Two hours later at the SGC -
"So, Doc, what's the verdict?" Jack was buttoning his shirt as he smiled at Dr. Summers.
"Well, General. You're in remarkable health! Maybe, I should be asking what your secret is. These results could be those of any healthy 35-year-old! Do you have any complaints?"
"No, I'm fine. Head still aches a bit, but other than that, I'm ok."
"Well, the headaches should disappear over the next few days. How about your knees?" She was reading as she spoke to him. "It says here you've had several surgeries and on-going problems with them in the past. Have they improved since your change in assignment?"
Jack was chuckling under his breath as he slipped his jacket on.
"I skinned them up a bit when I fell, but just between you and me, Doc, they're fine."
Dr. Summers squinted her eyes as she looked up at him.
"They're fine? I don't think I understand, Sir. You should..."
Jack gave her a look of frustration tinged with amusement, the one he used on Daniel when he just refused to see things Jack's way.
"Doc, my knees are fine. There's nothing wrong with them, see?"
Jack did several quick deep knee bends without a hitch and the doctor's mouth dropped open.
"Might be best if you didn't put that in the chart though." He smiled broadly at her.
Her eyes were wide and she dropped the chart down to her side, staring at him in disbelief.
"Doc, it's just something we have to do. Doc Frazier started it. She was sort of protecting me from the outside world, helping me look normal. You know about Baal, right?" Dr. Summers shook her head as he watched her. "Well, I haven't had any problems since then. Seems the bastard did me a favor after all but we don't exactly advertise it. That's the reason I still come here for my physicals, so it's our little secret, ok?"
"I understand, Sir."
"So all you have to do is tell me the truth and then write down," he pointed to his chart, "what everyone else expects to see for someone my age and history. Keeps the brass happy and keeps the bad guys wondering."
He smiled at her warmly as he saw real understanding flicker in her eyes.
"Yes, sir. So you really are fine then and my tests aren't wrong."
"No, Doc. Your tests are bang on, I'm sure."
"Well, I'm glad to hear it, Sir. I like my patients to be healthy. So, this means that I'm your physician of record and if something happens to you, they'll send you back here?"
"Or they'll send for you, but with any luck you won't see me again for a year, at least not as a patient! The Pentagon is dangerous, but not in a physical way. Nothing like gate travel."
Dr. Summers smiled and sent him on his way assuring him that his secret was safe and she'd make the proper notations. But a sudden thought occurred to her and she ran to catch him before he stepped into the elevator.
Jack stopped and turned to her with a questioning gaze as she looked over her shoulder and around the hallway to make sure they were alone.
"Sir, does Colonel Carter know?"
Jack dropped his eyes to the floor and then smiled up at her devilishly, "No, not exactly. And let's keep it that way for now."
She nodded her head and walked back towards the infirmary as Jack waited for the elevator, smiling as he considered that Sam actually should have questioned his health, but never had. Oh, he'd continued to complain about his knees and go on about getting old but she'd been around him enough to know differently, maybe, he realized, she'd didn't care enough to notice. His shoulders sagged a bit as he continued telling himself that he'd been a fool, a blind fool and maybe she'd never really cared at all.
"Everything all right, Sir?"
Jack looked up to see a young airman staring at him with concern and realized he'd stopped dead still and was just standing there, immobile in front of the open elevator doors.
"Yeah, fine, Airman. Just peachy."
He smiled and stepped inside the car, pressing the button that would take him to the floor that housed Landry's office. It was time to get this meeting over with and get back to Washington, before he lost it. When the doors opened again, he squared his shoulders and stomped off down the hallway, making sure that his attitude and determination made him completely unapproachable.
"General! I heard you were here. How are you?"
"I'm fine. Just wanted to check in before I left and see if there's anything you need."
"Well, more funding would be nice! Other than that, I think things are going ok. Is there something on your mind, Jack?"
"How's Mitchell doing?"
"Still a bit unsteady, but he'll get there."
"You mean if he doesn't kill his team first?"
Jack's eyes were cold and slightly threatening as Hank furrowed his brow at their silent implication.
"Well, no, I didn't mean that. He just needs a bit more experience - a little more time to get up to speed. He'll be fine and he's got the experience of SG1 backing him up."
"You need to be sure about that, Hank. It can get pretty hairy out there when you least expect it. He's in command, he has to be ready for anything."
"I understand that, Jack. I've been sending them on a lot of diplomatic missions, taking it one step at a time until he can really get his feet under him. Have you had complaints?"
"No, no, just wanted to see how he was adapting. It's a totally different assignment for him, plus it's hard to judge his progress from just the reports, but I have every confidence in your judgment."
"Glad to hear it. I know he's new at this but I really think he'll be ok with Colonel Car..."
His voice trailed off and he met Jack's eyes with an unasked question.
"No, Hank. She didn't say anything. I'm just doing my job. I'm leaving for Washington in a few hours so if you have anything to say, now's your chance."
The warm smile in Jack's eyes relaxed him and he smiled back at his old friend who was now also his commanding officer.
They discussed all the teams and their assignments for the next hour or so and Jack was reassured that Hank really did have a handle on things. He knew there was some unrest on SG1, but he didn't quite know the nature of it. He was trying to let it work itself out and Jack agreed with him. The other teams were doing well, although there had been casualties, not as many as there had been earlier in the program. Jack promised to try for more funding and stood to leave, shaking Hank's hand and then clapping him on the shoulder affectionately. He had reached the door when Hank called out to him.
"Try not to worry too much, Jack. I'm doing everything I can to protect her...to protect all of them."
"I know you are, Hank. Thanks."
Jack stepped through the door and ran head long into a preoccupied Daniel.
"Jack! Sorry, I was just reading..."
"Yes, I see that. Want to get some lunch?"
"Well, sure Jack. Are you meeting Sam?"
"Uh, don't know. She had some work to do in her lab."
They were walking in the hallway with Daniel still staring at the text in his hands.
"Oh, well, what are you doing here then?"
"Just checking in, I'm leaving later today."
"Oh! I didn't know you'd be going back so soon." Daniel closed his book, turning all his attention to Jack. "I was hoping you'd be staying a while, Sam really misses you."
Jack turned to look at Daniel as they walked.
"What makes you say that, Daniel? Isn't she staying busy? I mean between you going off world and her research, I wouldn't think she'd even notice."
"Yeah, well that's one reason it took you so long to marry her, Jack," Daniel chuckled at Jack's comment, "she misses you, trust me. Are you two ever going to stop playing this game and just admit you need each other? Come on, let's go get her to join us for lunch."
Daniel stopped as he encountered the strange look in Jack's eyes. It was an unfamiliar sadness, almost regret.
"No, better not. She said she'd be really busy today. Maybe I'll stop by later."
They were sitting down at the table before Daniel spoke again, grinning broadly as he watched Jack set a container of blue jell-o onto the table beside his red one. He chuckled aloud as Jack met his eyes.
"Just like old times, huh?"
"What do you mean?"
"I thought you said Sam wasn't joining us?"
Daniel smirked and nodded at the dessert still in Jack's hand.
"Damn! Old habits die hard, I guess."
"Jack, what are you guys fighting about?"
"Yeah? Well, sometimes those are the worst kind. Is it really 'nothing' or is it that you don't know?"
"Daniel, I'd rather not..."
"I just can't believe that after all the years you've waited, all you've been through...it just has to be something silly."
Jack flashed a heated warning glance, but Daniel being Daniel, either didn't notice or chose to ignore it.
"I mean you already know each other so well, you've both seen the good, the bad and the ugly long ago...you're not even really living together, so what...." Daniel froze as he stared at Jack. "Forget I said that. She misses you, Jack and she needs you, no matter what she said."
"I tried, Daniel."
"So that's it? You tried. End of story?"
"No! At least, I hope not. It's out of my hands, Sam's calling the shots."
"Jack! Come on!"
His voice was softer now, he'd seen the pain in Jack's eyes and he recognized it for what it was, a deep, intense sadness.
"It's a long story, Daniel."
"Jack, you know I'm your friend. I just want to see you guys happy and that offer to help still stands."
Jack focused on his plate and on not looking at Daniel, he didn't want him to see the emotion that was welling up inside as he thought of losing Sam again. His mind reeled and spots flashed in front of his eyes as he struggled to reinstate his military stoicism. Slowly, the general took control again and he began to eat with a vengeance, swallowing his emotions as Daniel watched, growing more and more worried, as his friend disappeared into the hardened soldier.
When they'd finished, Jack picked up the untouched blue jell-o and walked back to the food line picking up a chicken sandwich. Then he met Daniel at the door and without a word they started down the hallway towards Sam's lab.
"Is she doing this often, Daniel?"
"Skipping meals. Working all hours."
"Oh, well, sometimes I guess. You know Sam."
"She'll work herself sick if no one stops her you know. Don't let her do that, ok?"
"Sure! No, of course not, Jack. I'll try to watch her a bit closer."
"I'd appreciate that."
Jack pushed open the lab door and Sam didn't even flinch. She was staring at the computer screen but her mind was obviously miles away.
"Are we disturbing you, Colonel?"
Daniel threw a confused look at Jack as he addressed Sam so formally. Sam jumped just slightly and stood, just as she would for any general that entered her lab.
"Uh, no, Sir. Sorry, I was busy, I didn't hear you come in."
"Skipped lunch again?"
Sam lifted her arm to glare at her watch.
"Uh, yes, Sir, I supposed I did. I was working I didn't realize..."
"Yes, well, I brought you this. I thought you might be hungry."
He smiled and his eyes were like warm chocolate that she wanted to melt into. He held out the sandwich and she took the plate, grazing his fingers as she took it and set it on her desk.
"I just came to bring your lunch, Sam and to say goodbye. I'm leaving for Peterson."
She looked away then, avoiding his eyes and Daniel began to fidget nervously.
He'd never been uncomfortable around them before. They'd spent so much time together he didn't think it was possible, but he suddenly wanted to run away as fast as his legs would carry him. In the space of that thought, Jack had closed the distance between himself and Sam and was pulling her into his arms. In another heartbeat he was kissing her. Daniel wanted to look away but his eyes seemed locked on them, he knew they were married but it still sent a warning signal to his brain. He'd spent a lot of years watching them tease each other only to pull back to avoid breaking the regulations or getting too close and this was something he just wasn't used to yet. He dropped his eyes to the floor and looked back again with a soft blush accenting the smile on his face.
Jack was pulling her closer and letting his hands wander low on her back as Daniel watched. He saw Sam stiffen but then almost melt into Jack, becoming a part of him as their bodies pressed against each other and they became almost indistinguishable. He saw her arms slip around Jack's shoulders and press down against the dark blue of his uniform, gently tugging him closer. He saw Jack's smile as he kissed her and he smiled too sharing in their momentary embrace. If they weren't in love, he couldn't imagine who was. Jack was nibbling at her face, biting and pulling, then pressing back against her with such passion that Daniel turned away feeling that he was intruding on something exceptionally intimate. His hand was turning the doorknob when he heard Jack's voice call out to him.
"Hold up, Daniel."
Daniel stopped and turned back to them slowly. They were staring into each other's eyes intensely, still wrapped in each other's arms as if they were memorizing each other's face. Jack spoke again but his voice was softer this time, almost a whisper as he spoke to Sam.
"I have to go. I just wanted to say goodbye."
She nodded her head and then pulled her eyes away from his, slowly releasing her hold on him. Jack's hands slid down her arms until he captured her hands and squeezed them tight.
"Do what you need to do, Sam."
She nodded again and Daniel thought he saw tears filling her eyes but Jack shifted their bodies slightly, completely eclipsing Sam and limiting his view to Jack's back. He saw Jack lift her hand to his lips but he didn't see him mouth the words 'I love you.' Daniel suddenly felt a bit of sadness envelope him as he realized this wasn't just goodbye...it was goodbye, as if Jack wasn't coming back.
In one sudden movement Jack was beside him and pushing him out the door as if the Goa'uld were hot on their tails and he didn't slow down until he reached the elevators. When the doors had closed, sealing them inside, Daniel turned to Jack.
"You've seen me kiss her before, Daniel, don't act so stunned."
"Well, yeah, but it still surprises me. Besides it was more than that, Jack...that was...that was goodbye."
"Yes, Daniel, I'm leaving."
"Right, but it's only temporary, you're coming back, right? I mean that kiss...well, it looked final, like you're really leaving...forever. That's not true, is it, Jack?"
Jack stepped out of the elevator and onto the hard surfaced roadway. He lifted his sunglasses to his face, signaled to one of the airmen guarding the entrance and then he looked back at Daniel.
"I hope not."
A car pulled up beside Jack and as he reached for the door, Daniel grabbed his arm forcing him to look up.
"Jack! It can't be that serious, what's going on?"
Jack took a deep breath and straightened his shoulders looking off into the distance as he spoke.
"I don't know, Danny, I think maybe she didn't fall as head over heels as I'd hoped. Keep an eye on her, ok?"
Then a sad smile crossed his lips and he shrugged just slightly as he stepped into the car and it pulled away leaving Cheyenne Mountain and Sam behind.
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