DISCLAIMER: The story, and characters and anything and everything else concerning SG: SG1 belong to MGM, Gekko, Secret Productions etc, they are so not mine and no money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
SPOILER: Divide & Conquer, Upgrades, Need.

Divide & Conquer 2
Leaving it in the Room
By Celievamp

It was getting towards dusk when Colonel O'Neill parked his truck in front of Janet Fraiser's house. It had been another busy day. Daniel and Teal'c had been tied up for most of it with the continuing treaty negotiations with the Tokra, mending the fences that the zatarc incident had broken down. He had spent the day writing his version of events and trying to avoid Anise who ostensibly wanted to check that there had been no side effects from the testing. He noted that she didn't seem to want to check on Carter. But then again Carter was on sick leave on Doc Fraiser's orders, resting at home for the next forty eight hours at least. Which was why he was here. He had fences of his own to mend.

Jack knew he didn't do the emotion thing well at all. He never had. After Charlie's death he had been unable to talk to Sarah and he had lost her. He would be damned if he lost Carter as well. And the Doc. It was always a good idea to keep on the good side of the Doc.

Janet was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches to dinner when she heard the doorbell. She knew that Sam was still upstairs getting dressed after her shower. "Cassie, could you get that for me?" she called.

"Okay mom," her adopted daughter called from the den. A few seconds later she appeared in the kitchen doorway. "It's Uncle Jack. He wants to speak to you and Sam. Should I let her know he's here?"

Sam heard his voice and instinctively flattened herself against the wall. What was he doing here? What did he hope to achieve? She could not possibly have made it any clearer that she had no interest in him. And less than twenty four hours ago he had agreed with her to 'leave it in the room'. So much for Jack O'Neill and his promises. She could not go downstairs. She could not face him and his well meant bumbling. Had he changed his mind? Because she had rejected him was he out to destroy her career?

No. The Jack O'Neill she had worked alongside for the last four years would not do that. He was a better man. She knew why he had come. To make things right, not just with her but with Janet. Closing her eyes she concentrated on getting her breathing back under control. She could do this, she could…

Jack followed Janet into the living room. "I thought we needed to clear the air a little," he said and then paused, glancing at Cassie. There were some conversations a fifteen year old girl with a serious case of hero worship did not need to hear.

Janet took the hint. "Cassie, have you finished your homework?"

"Not exactly," Cassie tried not to whine, "but I haven't seen Uncle Jack for ages!"

"Well you can see him after you've done your homework."

"Okay, mom. I'll tell Sam that you're here."

"No, don't…" Cassie had already left the room. Janet turned on Jack before he had chance to speak. "I thought we all agreed to leave it in the room."

"We did. This isn't about that. Okay, that's a lie, it is, but I need to know that I'm okay with both of you. You especially, Doc. I know Carter and I are going to have to work this out, but we've got years of military training to fall back on and at the end of the day we trust each other to do our jobs and watch our backs. I would never leave anyone behind, Doc – not Carter, not Teal'c and not Danny. Whoever had been stuck behind that forcefield, I would have stayed. It just happened to have been Carter. It was a moment, we both lived through it and we never brought it up again. Not until that zatarc thing."

"And you honestly didn't know about my relationship with Sam."

"Honestly, no. I mean, I knew the two of you were close, and I always thought that was a good thing, for Carter especially. I noticed how much happier she's been the last year or two and I guessed that had a lot to do with her friendship with you and with Cassie. But that you were… that close. No, I never guessed. Teal'c might have, but he's got his own code. He'd never let on to anyone."

"I know." Janet trusted Teal'c with her life. She trusted him with Sam's life, which meant a hell of a lot more. Janet realised that she trusted O'Neill as well. "Thank you."

"For what?"

"For staying with her. For being her friend as well as her commanding officer. For letting her be the kind of person she is."

"Always thought of her more as a kind of force of nature," O'Neill smiled. Janet started to laugh. They heard footsteps on the stairs.

"Talking of forces of nature," Tornado Cassie swept into the room and plonked herself on the sofa beside Jack.

"Do you want to see what I got last week for my Playstation?" she asked. "Sam managed to beat me the first time we played it, but she hasn't beaten me since."

"Is that a challenge?" he asked, grinning.

"I'll tell Sam that you're here," she heard Cassie say and heard the young woman start up the stairs without hearing Janet's attempt to stay her. Sam hastily retreated to her room and sat on the bed, picking up the hairbrush she had been using a few moments earlier to try to bring some order to her hair. She was definitely going to get it cut, whatever Janet might say about preferring it longer. It was too much bother, too uncontrolled like this. Like the rest of her life.

Cassie tapped on the door and peeked around. "Sam, you okay? Uncle Jack's downstairs."

"I'm okay, Cass. I'll be down in a minute. I just want to freshen up a bit," Sam said, smiling at the young woman. She was growing so fast, almost sixteen now. Sam loved her like a little sister and daughter rolled into one.

"Okay. Mom says I gotta finish my homework before I can challenge Jack on the Playstation." Blowing Sam a kiss that made both of them giggle, she left.

Sam couldn't believe that she had found it hard to show Cassie the love that she felt for her after Janet had adopted her. Cassie wasn't hers to love. And Sam's own experience of family life and friendships had taught her to guard her love, not to give of her heart without reservation. It had taken Janet's friendship, the slow courtship between them that had developed almost without them realising what was happening, for her to give of her heart, her true self again.

"You've never really known love, have you?"

Sam shivered. Always when she was feeling sorry for herself Daniel Jackson's words came back to haunt her. Okay, he had been completely off his head at the time suffering from sarcophagus withdrawal. But still she more than half believed them to be true. Sam knew that when her mother died something inside her died as well. It explained her choice in men - Jonas Hanson and the rest of the lunatic fringe. Love meant danger, hurt; love meant adrenaline, ultimately fight or flight. Until Janet.

"Hey," someone took the brush from her hands and put it back on the dressing table. The mattress dipped slightly as additional weight was put on it, someone moving to sit behind her, small hands gentling the tense muscles in her shoulders and neck, lips touching her throat, kissing their way to her jawline. Sam realised that it was getting dark, the sunset glow appearing across the sky. She must have been up here lost in thought for at least an hour.

"I was getting worried," Janet said softly. "Are you okay?"

"I think so," Sam leaned back against her lover and closed her eyes. "I was just considering how empty a person I was before I met you. How much I owe you. And how much I love you. Much more than I could ever put into words."

"You seem to be doing fine at the moment." Soft lips kissed her temple. "You owe him a lot as well," Janet said. "You need to talk to him, Sam."

"He's still here?"

"Yep, Cassie's beating him on some shoot-em-up at the moment. If you don't come down and talk to him soon I think he's preparing to spend the night on our couch."

Sam smiled. "That won't please him." She leant her head back further and Janet reached down to kiss her deeply, one of her hands moving down to cup Sam's breast.

As always she was amazed at the effect Janet had on her as she felt herself melt into her touch. Who'd have thought that this woman, this wonderful caring woman would be able to cause her to lose the ability to speak? "Mmmm," Sam broke away reluctantly. "Much as I do want to continue this, I don't think I can face the Colonel all hot and bothered. I need a cool head or I'm gonna do or say something that I'll regret later."

"I know," Janet sighed. She climbed off the bed and pulled Sam to her feet. "Come on, my girl. Just be gentle okay, he put himself on the line for you, yesterday."

"I know. Who was to know he'd rather get his brain fried than tell me he cared for me?"

It came out sharper than she intended. Janet took hold of her arm. "Just what is eating you up about this?"

"You didn't see his face when I told the truth," Sam said.

"When you said that you were in love with me."

"He looked as if he'd been sucker punched. He looked… god, Jan – he looked OLD! I mean I've always know he had a bit of a thing for me but nothing this bad."

"Why do you think that you're so hard to love?" Janet asked, softly stroking her fingers through her lover's hair. "Do you have any idea how much you mean to people, Sam?" Janet remembered the steady stream of enquirers and well wishers to the Infirmary every time Sam was injured. Everyone who worked at the SGC knew that they owed their lives to Sam several times over. "Don't ever believe that you're unloved. Everyone from General Hammond down over loves you, Sam, as a friend and colleague, a sister. And if they're as lucky as I am, as a lover. Jack O'Neill thinks the world of you, Sam. And he wouldn't be human if he didn't hope for a little more than the relationship you already have with each other. After all, how many other women is he close to?"

"How come you can be so… understanding about all of this?" Sam asked after a long contemplative silence. "I mean, I spend days at a time in Jack's company, nights too when we're off world. Aren't you even the smallest bit jealous?"

"Sometimes, but only because he gets to see more of you – timewise – than I do. Don't forget, Sam. I know your heart. And the za'tarc test did prove something. Your heart is pure and true – and unquestionably mine."

Sam cuddled into her for a moment. "I'm being stupid, aren't I?" she said softly. "And when did you get so wise? I think I'm ready to talk to him now."

Cassie jumped up and hugged Sam as she came into the room. "I told you she was okay, Uncle Jack."

"Sure you did, kiddo," Jack O'Neill gazed appraisingly at his II1C. She was still too damn pale and had that watchful look in her eyes but she was more herself than she had been since this whole za'tarc crap had started. "Look, I need to talk to Carter. Can we call this game a draw?"

Sam glanced at the screen. The Colonel was on his third life and a six figure sum behind Cassie, who had all of her lives left. She smothered a smile.

Cassie glanced at both adults. "We can do that – but you've got to promise to take me iceskating again, soon."

"Okay, soon as I check the details with Janet. Now, scoot!" Cassie giggled and after a final hug with Sam left the room.

"Feeling better?" he asked.

"Yes, thanks," she replied. There was a long silence.

"Hammond says we've got the rest of the week downtime. It's gonna take Danny that long to smooth things over with all parties concerned in yesterday's disaster. Most of the Tokra have gone home. They took Marty with them."

Sam nodded. There was another long silence.

"About Anise and that damned machine. I meant what I said, Carter. I care about you a lot more than I should. I… I… love you. But I always knew it could never come to anything. I mean, there's the age difference, and the fact that you don't like fishing, and not to mention that you're way smarter than me. And I would be so very bad for you. So I always sort of knew it couldn't come to anything. But it didn't hurt to dream, okay. And I would have stayed if it had been Teal'c or Danny on the other side of that barrier. You know that."

"Yes sir, I know that. And I admit that in the beginning I was more than a little attracted to you. I mean you know about my engagement to Jonas, about the whole lunatic fringe thing. No disrespect sir, but the way you were when we first met, you fit right in. And you're a good looking man. And it would have been easy to fall in love with you. But there was Janet. From the first day I met her, there was Janet. And although it's hard having to be so careful in front of everyone else because of the regulations, I wouldn't give her up if my life depended on it. I meant what I said, sir. What we said – what I said – it has to remain in the room. No one else can know. Do I have your word, Colonel?"

"You have my word, Major."

Janet had either been listening at the door or had her sixth sense in full twitch mode tonight. She tapped on the door and then nudged it open. "I thought we could use a coffee and maybe a drink, she said, bringing in a tray with three steaming mugs and a bottle of whisky. So, are all our fences mended and the door on a particular room closed again?"

Jack stared at Sam. She smiled one of her dazzling smiles at him that made him (and anyone else who saw it momentarily forget to breathe) and then got up to take the tray from Janet and set it on the table. "I think so," she said, pulling Janet down into her lap. "So, sir. We heard Anise kissed you. Spill the beans. Enquiring minds want to know…"

The End

Sequel Divide & Conquer 3

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