Stargate SG-1 fic: Last Chance (11)
Title: Last Chance
“As if we needed another way to possibly die,” the colonel grumbled as he paced in front of the pallet. Sam pulled her knees tighter to her chest. Her nerves were still shot and she couldn’t stop shaking. The colonel seemed to be using his adrenaline high to wear a hole in the floor. She watched him go back and forth for a good five minutes until his energy was spent. He finally dropped down next to her on the pallet, rubbing his hand over his face.
“What the hell were those things?”
Sam shrugged. “Some kind of cat it looked like.”
“I told you they were evil.”
Sam turned her head, laying it on her knee, to look at him in the dim light. “I think you implied that geese were evil.”
Sam couldn’t help but smile. He could make light of just about any situation. She knew it was a coping mechanism, his way of dealing with all the crap going on around them.
He sighed and started pulling his vest off. “What now?”
“I really don’t know, sir. There doesn’t seem to be anything left to do except…”
He stopped and looked down at her. “Yeah,” he said softly, suddenly averting his eyes. “I’m gonna go…” He got up and gestured into the dark hold.
Sam nodded her understanding and he left. She sat for a long time before finally moving to take off her own vest. Her feet and knees were soaked from where she had slipped and fell during their run back to the ship. Her sleeve cuffs, too. Her hands felt like ice and every muscle twitched as the adrenaline began to dissipate leaving her with a shaky, weak feeling. With no food to help build her systems back up she had no choice but to just sit there and wait for her chemical balance to regain it’s equilibrium.
She tried to forget about it all as she sat there in the dark staring at the worn toes of her boots. An hour ago she had been so positive that she would not act like this was her last day but now… it seemed pointless to kid herself. There was no way out of this and she knew it. So did the colonel. Surprisingly there were no more tears. She didn’t even feel like crying any more. She just felt a dull, aching regret take up residence in her chest. She wondered what her father would think. She frowned at that thought then got an idea.
She rummaged in her bag until she found a small notepad and pen contained in a Ziplock bag. She pulled them out but then paused. She looked over both shoulders searching for signs of the colonel. He’s probably ream her for giving up and writing her… what? Last will? Good-bye letters? She didn’t really care but preferred to do it in private.
She started with a letter to her father explaining all the things she had never been able to talk to him about growing up. Then moved to General Hammond, leaving him a detailed mission report and a short personal letter thanking him for being such a great leader and friend. The next letters were harder: Daniel, Teal’c, Janet and Cassie. Each one pushed her resolve farther and the tears finally started to press against the back of her eyes when she got to Cassie. She wiped at the growing dampness before they could fall down her face.
Several hours had passed by the time she finished. She folded each letter and labeled the outside sheet of paper with a name and placed them in her bag knowing that if anyone ever found their bodies they would find them. Just in case it wasn’t anyone from the SGC she wrote another note guiding the finders to return everything to the Alpha Site.
Emotionally drained and raw she got up and stretched, realizing the colonel still hadn’t returned. The hold was growing steadily colder, the light above the door dimming slightly. Sam made her way to the back and fiddled with the crystals to draw the last of the power from all the systems. She had no idea how long it would last. Probably not long. The room was too quiet, sending uneasy shivers down her spine.
She found the colonel on the other side of the hold, leaning against the angled outer wall, his arms resting lightly on his bent knees, eyes closed.
“Sir?” she said softly, afraid of disturbing him if he were sleeping.
“You once asked me if I had any regrets,” he said, taking her by surprise.
Sam squatted down in front of him and nodded. He looked broken, beaten by life and it nearly broke her heart.
“I’m pretty sure I made some flippant response.”
“You said you regretted dying.” The moment was crisp and vivid in her memory. He was quiet for a long while. Sam moved over and sat down next to him. “And how about now?”
He opened his eyes slowly and looked at her. Sam bit back the gasp that fought to escape. His eyes, usually so guarded, were open to her. She could see every emotion imaginable there screaming at her to understand without words. She swallowed hard, an almost uncontrollable urge to touch him overtaking her.
“I’ve tried to live my life without regrets,” he told her, never taking his eyes from her face, “to do the right thing according to my own conscious so when I looked back I could honestly say I did my best.” He licked his lips and took a deep breath. “And I thought I had done a pretty damn good job of it.”
“But?” Sam asked knowing there was more.
“But… I was wrong. I’ve been sitting here going through it all in my head and wondering if I could have done something different.”
Sam nodded. She could see the pain and confusion in his eyes.
“Sam, I…” He finally looked away, stumbling over the words he obviously had been trying to get out for awhile.
That was all it took to break every resolve in her. She reached out and slid her hand across his cheek, turning his face back to her. She could feel his jaw working under her light touch and hear his shallow breathing as he fought to maintain control of his emotions.
“I… I…” he tried again but Sam stopped him with a soft kiss, her lips barely brushing against his. He sucked in a deep breath at the contact, his eyes shutting tight.
“It’s okay,” she told him, her voice so low she could barely hear it but he was shaking his head against her lips.
“I should have told you,” he mumbled.
Sam brought her other hand up and cupped his face, resting her forehead against his. “You couldn’t-”
“I could,” he said more forcefully, “I chose not to.”
He snorted. “What kind of coward hides behind rules and regulations?”
Sam sighed and pulled away from him so she could see his face again. He licked his lips slowly but didn’t open his eyes. She watched him for a few moments, both of them quiet and reflective. Finally she found the nerve to speak and hoped her voice would stay steady.
“Jack,” she started then took a deep breath to carry on when she was sure she had his undivided attention, “I never saw it that way. You, we… we both did what we thought was right. There shouldn’t be any regret.”
He looked up at her. “Doesn’t seem to work that way, though.”
She studied his face again then sighed. “No, I guess not.” She started to pull away but his good hand caught her arm holding her in her position. He slid his hand up until he was running his fingers over the back of her hand, pushing it into his cheek. Turning his face his lips slowly brushed against her palm sending an electrical charge up her arm and right into her chest.
“I guess I never thought things would end like this. Despite everything that happens to us I figured we’d come out of it in the end and then… then there would be time for,” he paused and looked her straight in the eye, “this.”
Sam bit back the tears threatening to escape again. “Jack,” she mumbled as she closed the distance between them, letting him wrap his arms around her slightly shivering body.
“I’m so sorry,” he said into her hair.