Jackfic Archive Story

 

In Deep Conversation

by Su Freund

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).


Title: In Deep Conversation

Author: Su Freund

Email: su_freund@ficwithfins.com

Website: http://www.ficwithfins.com/

Category: Angst / Romance

Content Level: Age 13+. A much longer Adult Only version of this story can be found on my site at: http://www.ficwithfins.com/AA3_1/archive/1/indeep2.html

Content Warnings: Contains minor use of mild language and sexual situations

Pairings: Jack & Sam

Season: S9

Spoilers: General for S9

Summary: Sam is now heavily pregnant and the couple are having more problems with their marriage. Jack reminisces about better times a few weeks before.

Sequel/Series Info: Sequel to Different Conversations

Status: Series

Copyright (c) 2005 Su Freund

Author's Note: The wonderful photo manipulation of a pregnant Sam that illustrates this fic on my site was created by ninja_girl, and made into a book cover by Fulinn28. I am very grateful to both of them. To see the book cover go here: http://www.ficwithfins.com/AA3_1/archive/1/indeep.html The original artwork can be found in ninja_girl's gallery on the site. Thanks also to Bonnie for beta reading this fic and making such excellent suggestions for its improvement. Any remaining mistakes are entirely my own.

In Deep Conversation

Jack lay on the bed and stretched out, wearily. It felt good to lie down and relax peacefully for a few moments. No Sam, no Air Force, no pesky aliens, no boring paperwork, no Stargate; nothin'. He had to admit that he wasn't so sure about the no Sam part and he reached over for her pillow, pressing it to his nose to breath in her scent, and then holding it as he would so love to hold her if she was there.

It seemed a long time since he and Sam had been intimate. Jack wasn't just thinking about sex, although it had been quite a while, but about those warm and cosy moments of touching, holding, exchanging meaningful looks and whispering in each other's ears. The small but exquisite and significant things that had played such a huge role throughout their relationship, but no longer seemed to feature. Not since that last big argument.

After that he hadn't wanted her to think he was clinging and making too much fuss. She had accused him of smothering her so he had withdrawn and she had done nothing to re-ignite their flame. He missed it badly; missed her. Admittedly, he could have made more of an effort himself, but he didn't. He was Jack O'Neill and Jack O'Neill was generally pretty crap at that kind of stuff.

Sam had busied herself by nesting, as pregnant women do. Long hours were spent preparing for the arrival of their baby. She cleaned, tidied, stored things away, and then cleaned tidied and stored more things away. Sometimes, it was positively disconcerting. She could spend hours searching through catalogues, or wandering round shops, looking at baby things - from the, very practical, sublime to the, totally frivolous, ridiculous.

She considered color schemes, dcor and furniture for the nursery; toys, clothes, strollers, cots and goodness knows what else that was required to make a baby comfortable these days. Maybe this phase of the pregnancy was designed more for the comfort of the expectant mother than the baby to be. That was the way Jack figured it, so he humoured her and played along, not totally unhappy about it, but not totally happy either.

It was amazing how much a new baby could cost. Jack thought that some of this stuff they seemed to need must be gold-plated the price was so ludicrous. He didn't mind the notion of spending lots of money on the baby. He wanted to and was happy to pay whatever it took. Money was money. If you have it, spend it.

He didn't give a fig about money. All he cared about was that they had a healthy, happy baby, and that they be happy along with it. However, he hated wasting money and believed that some of these retailers were piss-taking profiteers. Most of all, he knew that money didn't buy happiness. A clich', he realised, but only too true. Right now, Jack was not very happy and it bothered him a lot. Healthy wallet but a heavy heart.

Sam had been studying every nook and cranny of the house to work out how to baby proof it. The number of things that had been packed away into storage was disturbing. Their Colorado home had changed almost beyond Jack's recognition. It didn't seem like home anymore and sometimes he was grateful to get back to Washington and be surrounded by the familiar and comforting.

She had been so right about things changing but Jack had never considered how much this might impact on him. He'd been too concerned about how it might affect her and trying assuage her fears. What about his fears? What about his life? What about his reality?

Nor had he talked to her about it and, as the weeks went by, they became increasingly distant and detached from each other. He realised that some of this was of his own making, but all marriages are between two people, so no one person is normally to blame for everything that goes wrong.

He was a married man but felt lonely and isolated: a crazy state of affairs. Jack could have had a riot in Washington. He was still there for at least half the week, often longer, and had quite a few offers of companionship, both subtle and more direct. He could have been sorely tempted on more than one occasion to take advantage of them and seek what he wasn't getting from Sam: to start an affair.

Jack knew that he didn't need to look far, if he wanted to look at all. He'd seen the signs from a number of women in the Pentagon, at parties, in bars, and even one woman in the outer office of the President of the United States. Casual sex on a regular basis was definitely an option, or even something more intimate, affectionate and longer lasting.

So he was tempted, but did not give way to those temptations. Betraying Sam was not really an option, in his opinion. An old-fashioned view, perhaps, but he was proud to hold it. Marriage was a sacred undertaking and, despite some problems, he was still inextricably bound to Sam, and loved her very much indeed.

Jack had spent almost his whole life doing the honorable or right thing, and keeping promises and vows. Things would have to get much more desperate than they were right now to make him stray from that chosen path. Maybe it was his Catholic upbringing but when he put the ring on Sam's finger, he considered that a life long commitment: body, heart and soul. If she wanted out, like Sarah had - and God alone knows he couldn't blame his ex-wife for that - then things might be different. He didn't want out and believed he never would.

For many years Jack had been alone - mainly, although not always - and had been used to his own company. He had yearned for Sam but effectively suppressed it. Once they got together, he had no need to suppress it any longer and he'd taken great joy from both the companionship and regular sex.

He missed that a lot and, lying there alone, thought about it a lot, remembering how it had once been, and until fairly recently. At one point he'd been in both heaven and hell, or perhaps stuck in the limbo between the two. He reminisced, holding the pillow and thinking about his sexy and beautiful wife and what it had been like.

Sam was one of those women who got real horny when pregnant. Not that he'd objected, it sure meant they got a lot of sex and was way better than the alternative, which was no sex. It was great, just fantastic, but the woman seemed insatiable and he hadn't been sure he could keep up.

Sometimes he believed she was wearing him out. Even when he was totally exhausted from a hard and stressful day at work she would be jumping his bones almost as soon as he walked in the door. He cursed himself for complaining about it, even inside his own head, even just a little. That was wrong on so many levels. Sam was an extremely sexy woman and knew exactly which of his buttons press. He couldn't get enough of her; really he couldn't.

Occasionally he had to ask himself if he was getting too old for it and hated to contemplate that notion. Dammit, he was going to keep up with her if it killed him, which he sincerely hoped it wouldn't. He sure wanted to be around for the birth and upbringing of his child. Jeez, he deserved to after all the grief, joy and exhaustion her pregnancy had provided. Sometimes they made love so much that he seriously questioned whether he would ever recover sufficiently for him to walk straight again.

He had a vision of hobbling into the SGC looking like John Wayne having just got off his horse and all eyes turning towards him with smug grins on their faces as if to say 'we know what you've been doing.' He should be proud if that happened, and would be, kind of, but he would also be way too embarrassed. What he and Sam got up to in the privacy of their own home, or wherever else they chose to have sex, was nobody else's business but theirs.

He had kept thinking that, as she grew larger and drew closer to the big day, she would feel incapable and give him a break. Did he really want a break? Was he crazy? Just to think about having sex with her could make him tingle all over. Where there was a will there was a way, it seemed. They sure got a lot of practice finding good positions to be in for great sex, given the increasing mound that was Sam's womb; their baby. Looking back, it was monumentally ironic.

On the other side of the coin, he secretly wondered whether he was addicted to sex with her. The pain and the exhaustion was all worth it, every single moment. When he was in Washington he missed her so much that sometimes he could almost smell her, feel her: her hands wandering over his body, turning him on and bringing him off. It had been an interesting and wonderful phase of her pregnancy and, although it was inevitably going to happen, he regretted its passing.

The vivid memory of another time: Sam arriving in Washington unexpectedly and surprising him in the shower. That had been at the peak of her hormonally charged desire for sex. In her condition, they couldn't have intercourse in the shower, but there are others things two lovers can do. Almost immediately after the shower, they had made love on the bed; in fact, he recalled that a lot of that weekend had been spent in bed.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of a key in the door. Sam!

"Jack, you here?"

"Yes, honey!"

He gathered himself together and went to greet her. Their welcoming kiss was somewhat perfunctory and Jack longed to embrace her properly, but didn't. Questioning his reticence did not prompt him to act on his disquiet.

Sam was concerned for her husband. He seemed preoccupied and tired lately and she couldn't get him to open up. Realising he wasn't an opening up kind of guy was no comfort. In the past she had managed to prize his shell ajar to reveal the pearl inside and was annoyed with both herself and her husband that it wasn't working this time.

He hadn't been sleeping well, and was having nightmares again, but was trying to hide it from her. That made her unhappy. If it turned out that this was one of those Jack O'Neill 'protect my wife at all costs during this pregnancy' things she was going to be so pissed.

The distance that seemed to have grown between them bothered her deeply, but she wasn't sure how to tackle it. Although she had been preoccupied by the impending birth, Sam would have been a fool to have failed to notice things between them were not quite as they should be. She had even paused to wonder whether Jack was having an affair, but didn't believe it. A lot of wives could hoodwink themselves that way, but Sam didn't think she was kidding herself.

For the last few weeks they hadn't been as close as she would have wished, and nor had they been sexually active. She'd finished her ultra horny phase, which didn't mean she didn't want to have sex, just that she didn't want to jump on Jack virtually every time she saw him. Her husband had withdrawn from her and wasn't totally sure why, although she had some ideas.

Ever since their argument, when she'd told him he was suffocating her, things had changed between them. It was her fault, but she was also intelligent enough to know that Jack wasn't a totally innocent party. He had insisted they didn't need to talk about it, but clearly they should have done exactly that. So instead of agreeing boundaries, Jack had made them up.

Admittedly, at first she had been pleased to get him off her back, which is why she chose to ignore it and throw herself into major baby planning. The fact that this coincided with the end of her horny phase probably hadn't helped matters. They'd stopped having sex altogether after the argument and Sam realised she should have instigated lovemaking to prove to Jack she still wanted him.

Now, it had gone too far and on for too long. She had to force the issue but, if she even tried to broach something personal like that, Jack found a way to avoid it. Sam wished she could think of a way to breech his defensives. She had done it before, so why not now? She had no answer to that question.

Despite all of that, he had been there all the way for her, attending almost every baby appointment, with the exception of the odd very understandable emergency. She had dragged him around shops, scoured magazines, catalogues, paint color charts, fabric swatches, and he had reacted with a stoic acceptance, and even encouragement. Jack hated shopping, but would do it for her sake.

She knew he loved her, so that was not the problem. Maybe her declarations of feelings had seemed too careless and routine. She imagined that she hadn't been entirely encouraging and recognised she had to find a way to demonstrate her feelings. Jack was not a words man; he held greater store in what he could see and feel.

Tonight she was too tired so promised to act the next day and then wondered how many times she had thought the same thing. However, she needed sleep and was determined to turn in early, so she did exactly that, leaving a lonesome Jack contemplating what he should do to resolve their self-made dilemma.

*****************************

Sam woke to find his side of the bed empty and reached to grasp his pillow to inhale his scent. It was damp with Jack's sweat and she felt the sheets, which were similarly clammy. Nightmares! Pulling herself out of the bed, with a little trouble at her advanced stage of pregnancy, she waddled off to find him.

Having fruitlessly scoured the house, she opened the doors to the porch and found him sitting in the dark in his boxers, despite the night's slight chill. Even in that faded light, when he looked up she could see he had been crying and her heart leapt into her throat.

"Jack?"

"Go back to bed Sam."

She ignored that request, taking a seat in a nearby chair.

"I don't think so," she responded.

"Please Sam."

It was a plea and his tone was sad and bereft, causing her to reach out to touch him, but it seemed he wanted to refuse her offer of comfort.

"No, don't!" he said, fending her off as gently as he could while still rejecting her.

Sam leaned back in the chair, trying to make herself comfortable, which isn't easy when carrying a huge mound of a belly. She was finding these latter stages of the pregnancy the hardest to deal with and couldn't wait for it to be over. The morning sickness had been pretty disgusting, and lasted for way too long, but to her this was far worse. It was so hard to get comfortable, relax, and to sleep.

She'd figured out ways to sit and lie down in partial comfort, sure, but she hated her inability to move around efficiently, the lack of activity and her usual athleticism and grace.

She contemplated her husband in silence. After their huge bust ups earlier in the pregnancy they had made promises, but neither of them had kept them. It wasn't just Jack; it was her fault as well, and she recognised that. Life wasn't a bed of roses; it was as simple as that. Nothing or nobody is perfect, and that included them, and their marriage, although she still loved Jack with all her heart, and believed that feeling was mutual, despite their ups and downs. Who didn't have ups and downs, for crying out loud?

Sam smiled at herself for mentally using one of Jack's own favorite expressions. She'd heard him exclaim "Holy Hannah!" on many occasions, and picking up these small habits from each other were inevitable consequences of such a long-term relationship.

"Okay, no touching, but I'm not going away," she said, settling down for the long haul.

Jack said nothing, simply sitting and staring at nothing, a distant expression on his face.

"You'll catch cold sitting out here like that, Jack," she ventured after a lengthy silence.

"I'm fine."

"Sure you are."

Her tone was sarcastic and she eased herself up, waddling into the house and returning with a blanket, which she wrapped around Jack's shoulders.

"For Christ's sake, Sam!" he snapped, but she chose to ignore him and he didn't fight her off this time.

Instead, he pulled the blanket around his exposed body and accepted a hand squeeze from his wife before she sat back in her chair to continue her vigil. Sam was pleased he had allowed her to offer that small amount of comfort, but it wasn't anywhere near enough. She was beginning to realise that she needed it too and if Jack wouldn't accept or give it willingly she would have to force it.

"Jack, talk to me please. We made some promises..."

"I know. But you know me Sam. It isn't as simple as that."

"No, simple you aren't, Jack O'Neill, and never have been. But right now I need my husband and he is drifting away from me, I can feel it. Tell me about the nightmares."

For the first time, Jack looked into his wife's face, saw her sadness and fear writ large, and felt ashamed of himself. He knew she was right, but that didn't make it any easier for him, just more inevitable that he make an effort. The silence lengthened and Sam thought he wouldn't respond but eventually he did.

"You aren't the only one who's scared, Sam," he confessed and she was shocked by those words.

"Scared?"

She reached to grasp his hand and this time he let her hold onto him. It was a good start.

"It's my job to protect my family from harm. Last time round I didn't do that. I don't trust myself."

"Oh, Jack... your nightmares have been about Charlie?" He nodded a response. "Tell me?"

"Not just Charlie, you and the baby too. You know me and worst case scenarios, Sam," he tried to quip but the joke fell flat. "I didn't want you to know and I wish you hadn't asked."

"Trying to protect me from your nightmares?"

"I didn't want to scare you. You're gonna have our baby soon. You could do without all that crap."

"You're my husband Jack, and I love you. We should be sharing the good and the bad. That's what marriage is all about, isn't it?"

"Sharing is hard."

"I know, but we have to do it anyway. I realise I haven't always been great at doing that either, but we need to try."

"Sam..." he couldn't continue his original thread, saying instead, "I should have guessed this would happen. These bastard nightmares like to attack when I'm down."

"And you're down? Oh god, Jack, come here, my darling, please?" she begged.

Jack moved from his chair at last, sitting on the floor at her feet, wrapping the blanket around him and resting his head on her knee. She cradled his head in her hands, smoothing his hair and cheek with her fingertips. If she could have bent to kiss his head she would have, but it wasn't physically possible, so she did her best to convey her feelings with her hands.

Sam was astounded when she felt and heard her husband sobbing and recognized that he must have been bottling all of this up for way longer than she realised. Jack never did this. When he first awoke from a nightmare, yes, but never like this. She wasn't sure how to deal with it, and realized he wasn't sure either, which gave her the confidence to try.

"So you re-live the nightmare of Charlie's death?" she probed.

"I try to stop it happening, but I'm helpless to do anything. I can never get there in time. I just have to watch him die, over and over."

"And me and the baby?"

"Sam, please..."

"No, Jack, I'm not letting go of it. You have to tell me."

As he told her the tears continued to run down his cheeks, his body sweating and shaking. He dreamed Sam would lose their baby and he was helpless to stop it happening; he dreamed of loss, blame, regret and powerlessness; he dreamed that once their baby was lost to them, Sam was lost to him.

The words came tumbling out, filled with heart rending sorrow, and Sam's own tears started falling as she held and caressed her husband in an effort to reassure him. By the end of it, the pair were both sorrowful and shattered. Jack pulled away from Sam's arms to take her in his own, as best he could, and offer the same consolation she was trying to give to him.

"I'm never going to let you go, Jack, never. I'll always love you, no matter what. I'm here, my darling, and I always will be. Don't let me go. Hold me."

They rocked in each other's arms for a long time as Sam whispered such soothing words, and eventually, their tears stopped falling and they fell silent, simply holding each other as if their lives depended upon it, and maybe they did.

"I didn't want you to worry, sweetheart," Jack said, looking into Sam's bloodshot eyes with his own.

"But I have been worried, Jack, about you, about us. Worried we wouldn't make it, that you were withdrawing from me..."

"I'm sorry, I never meant for you to feel like that."

"I know."

"I just wanted to protect you."

"I know that too. Pregnancy is stressful, Jack, and not just for me, for both of us."

"God, Sam, sometimes I'm such an asshole. Why did you ever marry such a jerk?"

"We both have our moments. I happen to love this particular jerk."

"Something for which I will always be grateful, even though it's totally perplexing."

"You always were a much better person than you gave yourself credit for."

"Yeah, I guess you saw something in me that I didn't."

"I saw a brave, intelligent and humorous man. I saw a man who would make me a wonderful husband and be a terrific father for my children. And you will be Jack, really you will."

"You think so?"

"I know so. You are great with children. I've seen how great you are. Cassie always adored you, and you adored her. And she isn't the only one. You seem to have that affect. It's just you. They trust you without even thinking about it."

"It's trusting myself that's the problem."

"Remember you saying something to me about all we can do is our best? That's just as true for you as it is for me. I trust you. Does that count for anything?"

"Yes, it counts for a lot."

"Then trust me to know. Trust the mother of your child."

"I do."

"Then believe me?"

"I'll try."

She smiled at him and he returned it with a crooked grin, but his eyes were still tinged with sadness. Sam wondered what else she could do to help him.

"Jack, it's a little uncomfortable sitting here. Can we go back inside?"

"Sure honey."

He helped her up and they entered the house hand in hand.

"Do you want to go back to bed?" he asked.

"Not sure I can sleep yet. You?"

"I doubt it, but we could lie down and cuddle."

"That sounds really good, Jack. Hey, I'm thirsty. I'll get some juice."

"You go lie down and I'll get us both some."

Jack pottered off to the kitchen, fetching the juice and taking it to the bedroom where he found Sam lying on the bed already, propped up with pillows.

"You are so beautiful!" he declared as he approached, handing her the juice.

"You really think so?"

"I told you I find pregnant women sexy."

"Yes you did. I wasn't sure if I believed you or you were just trying to make me feel better. I'm an elephant!"

"Well if you are, you sure are one helluva lot sexier than any elephant I've ever seen. I wish..." he tailed off.

"What?"

"That I could make love to you," he confessed after initial uncertainty about whether he should tell her that.

"It's been a while since we've... I've missed you Jack."

"And I've missed you. I just want to get close to you Sam."

"Then come here, handsome."

She held out her arms and he sat next to her, leaning in for a kiss.

"Shit! It's impossible for you to get near me!" Sam exclaimed.

"No it's not."

He lay down beside her, stroking her face and covering it with small kisses. His hand strayed down her neck and over her body. The maternity nightdress she wore was not her sexiest ever outfit and Sam knew it, regretting that she wore it tonight. Thinking about sex, she wasn't sure that she either wanted it, or was capable, or even if it was possible. Maybe Jack needed it and, if he did, she wanted to oblige, but wasn't sure how.

"Let me take off your clothes?" he asked. It seemed too long since he'd seen his wife naked and he realised he craved that.

"You wanna see the elephant in all her overweight glory?"

"I want to see my beautiful wife naked, yes."

She nodded and he managed to strip her, kissing her exposed flesh as he did so.

"Are you warm enough?" he asked with concern and she nodded again. He softly caressed her swollen breasts with his fingertip, "Do they hurt?" he eyed her enlarged nipples.

"My breasts are a little sore, yes."

Kissing her shoulder his finger moved down to the bulge in her belly and, smiling, he leaned over to kiss her there and rub her skin with his thumb.

"I want this baby so much, Sam. I just..."

"I know you do, darling. It's okay, everything's gonna be okay. I promise."

Her hand snaked to reach his and she took a firm hold of it as he gently rubbed his head against her stomach.

"I'm not sure I'm up for sex, Jack," she whispered quietly.

He patted her belly, gently, and looked up to meet her eyes, kissing her stomach once more before moving up the bed to rest his head against hers. She turned to her side and Jack spooned behind her, continuing to stroke her stomach soothingly, and kissing her neck before he snuggled up to it.

"I can live without the sex. I just want to hold you Sam."

"I'd like that a lot."

"Good."

He snuggled even closer, giving Sam a gentle squeeze, and she took one of his hands in hers, rubbing his knuckles absently.

"That feels really good," she muttered, contentedly.

"I missed this, why did we stop doing this?"

"I think you know why. It's my fault, again. I pushed you away. We've never been quite the same since that argument. We should have talked about it. I never explained, you seemed to be happy without picking over it all, but we stopped making each other feel loved; we stopped touching. I never meant those terrible things I said, you really do know that, don't you?"

"Yes, I know that. You're right. The nightmares started not long after that. I guess I didn't see the connection, or didn't want to. I never wanted to face that conversation with you."

"Why not?"

"I don't know, I just couldn't. And although your words hurt me, I knew you were right. I was smothering you Sam and I had to back off. Maybe I backed off too far."

"I think maybe you did."

"Sorry."

"Me too."

"When you hold me I feel safe, secure and loved Jack. I've missed feeling like that. Yes, I felt suffocated, but... Oh Jack, that day I said those hurtful things, I don't know where that came from. My own self-doubts, my fears. Everything that happened between us happened so quickly. One minute you were my CO, the next we were dating and lovers, the next we got married, and then I got pregnant. I love being your wife, Jack, to have and hold you forever. I love that we're having a baby, that we will become a family. I wanted all of that with you, and I got what I wanted."

"But? I know there's a but in there somewhere," he searched her eyes, not shying away this time, wanting to hear what she said, perhaps more confident of it now than he had been before.

"But... I've always been so married to my work. Success in relationships isn't something I'm used to. I've always been crap at that. As for commitment, I don't know why I always shied away. Probably because it scared me. It scared me that I could no longer be me, that I would get subsumed, lose control of my life."

"You didn't seem to have a problem committing to Pete," Jack commented evenly, wondering how she would answer that.

"God, yes I did! That's why I broke it off, that and the small fact that I happened to be in love with another much more wonderful guy, and had been in love with him for a very long time. My heart was already committed elsewhere. Dammit, I'm not sure I'm explaining this too well, Jack."

"You're doin' fine. I know you have this thing about control, Sam, controlling your own life and destiny. You still do control it, my love, but a good relationship is all about compromise, meeting each other halfway. Neither of us have total control anymore. It simply isn't possible. I try to let you control your life as much as I can. God, I've done a lot to make this situation work, you know that. I just want to do what's best for you, Sam, for us, and our baby. That's what I want to do more than anything. I never intended to smother you. You do know that, don't you?"

"I know all of that and I love you all the more for it, Jack. I never thought it was possible to love you more, but I do." She stroked his face lovingly, "Sometimes I guess it all becomes too much for me. That day... it was one of those times. And boy, have I lived to regret that. I've missed you fussing over me. I've missed your gentle reassurances, and your loving touches. I've missed the sex, the cuddling, and the feeling of deep abiding love that comes from all of that. I don't regret this marriage, Jack, not for one single minute. I wanted it, and I still do. Don't we always lash out at the people we love when we're frustrated or pissed off?"

"And you were frustrated and pissed off?"

"Yes, but it wasn't really with you. Well maybe some of it was, but it was mainly with me. I'm not even sure I remember why now. Probably because I was frustrated with my brains turning to mush, like I knew they would. Pissed about my inability to think straight anymore, to problem solve effectively. Pissed because my body wouldn't do what I told it too. All that kind of stuff. God, Jack, I need this; those strong arms around me, to feel your feelings, to know you love me."

"But you do know I love you, don't you?"

"Yes I do, but it's not the same as feeling it."

"I've been feeling the same way. I just didn't know what to do about it."

"Neither did I."

"We make quite a pair, don't we? Hey, he kicked!" Jack exclaimed delightedly. It always seemed to thrill him, and each time it happened he was similarly enthusiastic.

"He certainly did, the little monster. I thought he was asleep."

Although they had steadfastly refused to be told the gender of their child, they had fallen into the habit of referring to it as a he, for want of anything better. I was way better than 'it', although Sam light-heartedly maintained that it was infinitely inferior to 'she', which made Jack chuckle.

"You think I woke him?" Jack asked.

"I think maybe he wants to say hello to his daddy."

"Yeah, maybe."

Sam could almost see the smile through non-existent eyes in the back of her head and squeezed his hand in acknowledgement of his pleasure. It seemed she'd pulled him out of that black hole into which he had fallen, and she hoped she could keep him out.

"I love you Sam," he said.

"Yeah, and that makes me very happy."

"This makes me happy."

"This?"

"Lying here with you, as close as we can get."

"Me too, we haven't done it nearly enough lately."

"I know, and I regret that. I needed it but was also scared of it; scared you didn't want it; scared of too many stupid things. Does that sound nuts?"

"Not really. I wish I hadn't made you feel like that. I wish you hadn't tried to deal with the nightmares alone."

"I promise I won't do that again. Okay?"

"Promise? A Jack O'Neill promise is better than a signed, sealed contract."

"Wish that was true, but I'll sign and seal it if you want."

"God, Jack, I love you so much, you know that? You can sign and seal it by making love to me, if it's possible."

"I've never tried it with an elephant before, but there's always a first time. Are you sure? Don't do it if it's just for me, Sam."

"It's not just for you. I want it."

"Okay. Stay there."

"Where are you going?"

"Just here. Taking my boxers off."

Actually, he had other intentions. Standing at the base of the bed, he took her foot between his hands and played with the souls of her feet and toes. Then he kneeled on the end of the bed, between her legs, nibbling his way upwards. Sam looked at him with a small smile playing across her face.

Their lovemaking was over way too quickly, but neither of them minded that. The important thing was that they were physically close again, and that would make all the difference in the world.

Jack pulled the covers over them both and curled back up to Sam, continuing to spoon against her back, and kissing her neck and hair.

"Everything suddenly looks a whole lot better," he declared.

"Yes, it does."

"Looking forward to the baby, Sam?"

"What do you think?"

"So are we gonna try to finally make up our minds about the nursery?"

"You mean am I going to finally make up my mind?"

"I guess," he chuckled, "As if I have any say in the matter!"

"It's good of you to humour me, Jack."

"I love you. I want you to be happy."

"I want you to be happy too. We mustn't let something like this happen again. Next time, we talk."

"I'll try."

"Is that your final offer?"

"Sam, I'm sorry I'm not the kind of man who finds it easy to open up."

"It can be damned annoying, but I do love you just the way you are."

"You do? In that case I think I'll be very happy."

He smiled contentedly and they spoke no further but just slept cosily in each other's arms, at last.


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