Stargate SG-1 fic: Happiness Is a Lie
OMG…fic. This came from a prompt at comment_fic left by obsessed_psyco way back in May. Her prompt was “the ring fitted her finger perfectly.” Not sure what she had in mind but I don’t really write fluff so you get angst instead. It’s the first thing I’ve written in awhile so I’m not sure how good it is.
Happiness Is a Lie
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
WARNINGS: spoilers for season 7 and 8
Nothing was right about the situation. And nothing would ever be right again. Sam/Jack angst set in season 8. Sam’s engaged to Pete and they will both have to learn to deal with that.
don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
The ring fitted her finger perfectly. Too bad it belonged to another man. Jack felt his throat close up as the sun glinted off the diamond. It took all his willpower to pull his gaze away before Carter looked up, a nervous smile playing across her lips.
“Can I get you another beer, sir?”
Jack swallowed hard, his voice escaping him. His eyes landed on her face but remained unfocused. He didn’t want to see the look she was giving him…sympathy, pity, regret.
“Sir?” she asked again, her voice more hesitant this time. God, he wanted to be anywhere but here—in Carter’s back yard having a bar-b-que to announce her engagement. Pete was around somewhere, too. Jack faintly remembered him dragging Teal’c inside to look at something.
He took a deep breath. “Yeah, sure,” he said with more gusto than he actually felt. She smiled softly at him then skirted past into the house. Jack let out the breath as he ran a hand through his hair. A second later the screen door snapped shut again causing his heart to momentarily race, but it was Daniel that came up along side him.
Jack sighed. “I’m fine, Daniel, so drop it.”
The younger man stood there with his fingers tangled around a half-filled beer, each thumb taking a turn sliding across the top. Jack grimaced. Daniel had more to say and he knew from experience there was no stopping him.
Daniel brought the beer up to his lips but never actually took a sip before lowering it back to the railing of the deck. “This is wrong,” he said softly.
“Yeah.” Jack’s words had Daniel’s head snapping up. “The way you waste beer is a damn shame.” He pulled the bottle from his grip and chugged it, his stomach protesting the onslaught.
Daniel frowned. “Jack-”
“I said to drop it.”
Jack felt every nerve ending fire at once as he spun around to find Carter standing in the door with a fresh beer in one hand—the one with the ring. Jack’s eyes were drawn to it like a moth to the flame.
“Uh, nothing,” Daniel muttered. The tension was so thick it made Jack’s skin crawl.
“Okay,” she said slowly, coming fully out onto the deck and letting the door slam behind her.
Daniel shifted his weight from foot to foot like he was considering making a run for it. Jack thought he had the right idea. He opened his mouth to say something but voices from inside cut him off.
“-and you wouldn’t believe the mess—feathers everywhere, men in dresses running every which way, kids squealing, ice cream on everything.”
The door banged open again as Teal’c and Pete exited the house. “What’s going on, Babe?” Pete asked as he threw a possessive arm over Carter’s shoulder, snagging Jack’s still untouched beer from her hand.
Jack tried to ignore the way the cop smirked around the bottle as he took a long swig. Or the way Carter tried to shrug off the weight. Or the way she flinched when he called her, “Babe.” He felt his face flush with anger, an urge to hit something nearly overwhelming him.
“Nothing,” Carter murmured, her eyes darting around but not resting on any one thing for long. Pete adjusted the position of his arm so that his fingers rubbed absently along her neck. She closed her eyes and Jack could see her taking long, controlled breaths.
“Looks kind of like something,” Pete continued, pushing the topic—he was obviously drunk. His eyes narrowed on Jack who just stared back with his blankest look.
“Uh-” Daniel started to say, always the diplomat.
“Really, it was nothing,” Sam interrupted him, smiling up at her fiance.
Jack felt sick. “That’s my beer.” He hadn’t meant to actually say it. The look on Carter’s face had him flushing with a touch of shame. Daniel’s mouth dropped open. Pete glared at him then glanced at the bottle in his hand. He leaned forward and opened his mouth to say something, a dangerous look overtaking his normally placid face, but Teal’c interrupted.
“Perhaps Daniel Jackson would be interested in hearing of your humorous case, Detective Shanahan.”
Pete’s eyes slid from Jack over to the Jaffa then to Daniel. Jack could see the silent conversation pass between his two teammates before Daniel nodded.
“I’d love to hear it. Must have been crazy, huh?”
Teal’c gently guided Pete away from Carter and into the back yard. Daniel followed along, shooting Jack a menacing look over his shoulder. Jack sighed.
“I think I’m going to head out.” He didn’t wait for Carter to answer as he pushed past her into the house to grab his jacket. He got all the way to his truck before Carter caught up with him.
“It’s fine, Carter, go enjoy your party.” He stared at the roof of the cab, his hand resting on the door handle. Neither of them moved. Jack closed his eyes, taking slow, deep breaths. He really should leave, he told himself.
“I’m sorry,” whispered Carter.
“For what?” The words were out before he realized what he was saying. He slowly turned to face her. The late afternoon sun glinted off of her golden hair, creating a halo effect around her face. She looked angelic. But, then, Sam Carter always looked beautiful. Jack fought back a grin.
She licked her lips slowly. “For everything.”
“You have nothing to apologize for,” Jack finally answered with a sigh. “You haven’t done anything wrong.”
Carter looked away. “We both know that’s not true.”
Jack swallowed hard. He was so used to playing their little game of denial that he didn’t know what to say to her bold confession. “Carter-”
When she looked back up he could see her fighting back tears. God, he hated to see her cry. Hated even more that he was the cause.
“I’m so sorry.”
Her hands covered her face, and Jack was crossing the space between them without even thinking. “This isn’t your fault,” he whispered into her hair as he pulled her close.
“Isn’t it?” she said into her hands. “It’s all my fault. If I hadn’t…”
Jack didn’t know what else to say. Silence enveloped them, the tension building, and Jack was very aware that Carter’s fiance was only a few yards away on the other side of the house. He pulled away from her, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear. “It’s no one’s fault. Things just…” He sighed at the sad look on her face. “They just weren’t meant to be.”
Her lip quivered slightly but no tears escaped her eyes. She shook her head, dropping her gaze to the ground. Her hands had landed on his chest, resting casually on either side of his heart. He could feel the warmth through his sweater. His pulse quickened at the light touch, the closeness of her, the smell of her perfume she only wore off-duty. He swallowed the growing lump in his throat.
“Do you love him?” he finally asked, barely getting the words past his lips. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to know the answer. His heart sped up as he waited for her to respond. Why did it have to be so hard? he wondered.
“Yes,” she finally said, her voice so soft he almost missed it.
“Then that’s all that counts.” He watched the emotions play across her face…confusion, uncertainty, regret. “I just want you to be happy.”
She looked up at him. “What about you?”
“I’ll survive,” he said with a crooked grin. “I always do.”
Carter frowned. “Jack-”
“I’ll be fine, Carter,” he interrupted, trying to ignore the way his stomach flipped at the use of his first name. “As long as you’re happy, I’ll be fine.”
The sad look didn’t leave her face. They both knew that was a lie. Jack would never be fine as long as Carter was married to that cop. He knew things were going to change between them. Nothing would ever be the same. Daniel had been right—this was so wrong. But there was nothing Jack could do about it. And they both knew that.
He took a deep breath before looking down at Carter again. She was biting her lip. Jack couldn’t help but grin at her anxious tic. It was so familiar, so Carter. He leaned his forehead against hers. “Just tell me you’re happy,” he whispered.
He felt Carter swallow, her fingers tightening around the fabric of his sweater. She nodded slowly. He could tell she was unsure but it would have to do. He wouldn’t call her on it. “Okay, then.” With that, he pulled completely away from her and dug in his pocket for his keys. He needed to get away—as far from her house as he could. Minnesota was calling to him, and he was already plotting some excuse for why he needed to take a week off.
He yanked the door open and glanced over it at Carter. She had one arm wrapped around her body, the other hand covered her mouth. Her eyes were shut tight and he knew she was fighting for control. It took every ounce of willpower to not run back to her. To not scoop her into his arms and beg her to run away with him. To not say to hell with the regulations.
“It’ll be okay, Carter,” he said instead, happy his voice stayed even and unemotional.
She opened her eyes and gave him a look that said nothing would ever be okay again but before Jack could respond voices drifted over from the side of the house.
“Babe, you out here?”
Jack grit his teeth, his hand tightening around his keys. Pete stepped out from the yard and stood there watching them. Carter shook herself, schooling her features.
“I’ll be in, in a sec,” she called, not looking back at him.
“You okay?” He took a step closer.
She swallowed hard. They’d never be okay. Jack knew it. Carter knew it. He felt an overwhelming sorrow descend over him. “Yeah, I’m fine.” Her voice didn’t even waver but Jack could see the matching regret in her features. He nodded at her and climbed into the truck.
“See ya tomorrow, Carter,” he yelled over the roar of the engine starting up. He slammed the door before she could say anything else and nearly peeled out of the driveway, his hands gripping the steering wheel so hard the knuckles turned white. He didn’t once glance into the rear view mirror. Things were never going to be right, he thought as he headed home. His heart beat painfully against the tightness in his chest and he rubbed at it. But nothing eased the hurt. He figured nothing ever would.