Another day, another disaster averted. Another naked, unascended Daniel back where he belongs.
“You know this is getting old,” Jack tells him, staring at Daniel over their table in the commissary. “You just can’t keep dying and coming back again. It’s gotta stop.”
Daniel shrugs. “Third time lucky?”
“Ah!” Jack interrupts, hand lifted. “Don’t. Just don’t. No tempting fate.”
With a smile, Daniel sips his coffee and then grimaces. “You know, the coffee was much better.” He rolls his eyes toward the ceiling. “Up there.”
“Oma Desala’s Restaurant at the End of the Universe.”
“Oh, you have no idea.” He takes another sip, yawns, and says, “So what did I miss?”
Jack thinks about it, but really only one thing comes to mind. “We lost Jacob.”
“No.” Eyes wide. “Oh my God, what happened?”
“Selmak died…of old age, apparently.”
“Old age?” Daniel is as disbelieving as Jack had been. “They couldn’t find a new symbiote?”
“Got me. Something to do with—” He gives up. “I don’t know; it’s a Tok’ra thing.”
Pulling off his glasses, Daniel presses his fingers into the corners of his eyes. “Poor Sam, how’s she holding up?”
“You know, Carter. She says she’s fine.”
Daniel fixes him with a look. “And is she?”
“You saw her… I don’t know. She seems okay. If it hadn’t been for Selmak, she’d have lost Jacob four years ago. And they’ve been close, these last few years. She says she sees it as a bonus.”
“I should— Where is she?”
“I sent her home. She only came in because of the whole end-of-the-world thing.”
Daniel nods, rubbing at his eyes again before slipping his glasses back on. “I’ll miss Jacob. I wish I’d had time to say goodbye.” He pauses, drifting in thought. “But at least Sam’s got Pete.” He casts Jack a wary look that that hovers somewhere between guilt and challenge. “I mean, at least she’s not alone. You know?”
He feels his lips press into a thin line of denial. “Yeah...”
“'Yeah'?” Daniel’s perceptive gaze narrows. “What does that mean?”
“It’s an abbreviation of ‘yes’.”
“No.” Daniel shakes his head. “No, that’s not what you meant.”
“You tell me.”
“Daniel—” But that look isn’t abating and he figures he might as well tell someone. Maybe he wants to. “Okay,” he says, leaning forward across the table and lowering his voice. “Just between you and me, Carter’s having doubts about the wedding.”
He opens his mouth to answer and then closes it with a snap. “I… Not entirely sure.” Liar.
Daniel doesn’t look like he buys it either, but all he says is, “Did she tell you that, about having doubts?”
“Yeah, she came over the other day but we got, uh, interrupted.”
“She went to your house?”
“Yeah. But then Jacob got sick and…” He sighs because it’s so damn complicated. “I thought I’d just wait and see how things shake out. I don’t want to…confuse things.”
He doesn’t answer; he knows Daniel understands the tangled nature of his relationship with Carter but it isn’t something he plans to discuss.
Daniel’s eyes widen in understanding a moment before his face folds into his customary, thoughtful frown. “Have you considered,” he says, picking up his coffee and taking another reluctant sip, “that the reason she told you about her doubts was because she’s already confused and she was looking for…clarity?”
Daniel blows on his coffee, peering over the top of his glasses. “Maybe she wants to know how you feel.”
“Just talk to her, Jack,” he says. “Just go to her house and tell her how you feel about her. It’s really not difficult.”
“Yes it is. You know it’s against the—”
“Fine.” Irritated, Daniel stands up and pushes his chair back with a screech that echoes around the commissary. “Then don’t. I’m sure it’ll be a lovely wedding; I’ll buy you some confetti to throw.”
A number of curious glances drift in their direction and Jack glares until they turn away – his prerogative as base commander.
But Daniel doesn’t move he just stands there with his eyes squeezed shut; Jack can already see his temper ebbing. “I’m sorry,” Daniel says after a moment. “I’m tired.”
“Coming back from the dead’s a bitch like that.”
Daniel gives a faint smile and opens his eyes, as incisive and honest as always. In a low voice he says, “I’m sick of seeing you both miserable, Jack. Really sick of it. And I don’t get it. I don’t get why you’ve let these stupid rules keep you apart for so long.”
“They’re not stupid—”
“If it was me,” Daniel says, talking right over him. “I’d have broken them years ago. I’d have broken the laws of physics if it meant I could be with Sha’re. I still would.”
There isn’t an answer he can give to that, so he doesn’t try. Instead he gestures for Daniel to sit down again, which he does, although he only perches on the edge of his chair. He really does look washed out. “You know,” Jack says, feeling confessional, “you’re not the first person to make that point to me.”
“Oh?” Daniel’s eyebrows lift in surprise. “I’m not?”
“Look, I know how it looks from the outside, but I’m just trying to do the right thing here – as her CO and her friend.” He runs a hand through his hair. This whole thing is getting ridiculous; he’s let it get way out of hand. “I don’t want to get in her way. I don’t want to be that guy. I just want her to be happy.”
“And you think Pete makes her happy?” Daniel sounds dubious.
But Jack just shrugs. “Maybe. That’s not something I can be objective about.”
Daniel shakes his head like he doesn’t believe him and pushes his coffee to one side. “Fine,” he says. “It’s Sam’s choice. But you have to be honest with her, Jack. Whatever happens, she deserves to know the truth.”
“The truth is that we can’t— It’s still against regulations.”
Daniel spreads his hands on the table; Jack can see he’s trying to control his frustration. “All the information, then,” he says. “Jack, this decision will affect the rest of Sam’s life. Doesn’t she deserve to have all the facts before she makes it?” He lowers his voice and adds, “Don’t you think that’s exactly what she was looking for when she came to your house?”
Put like that, it actually sounds reasonable; good decisions are always based on sound intel. He can’t deny her that, can he?
He taps his fingers on the table, thinking. This isn’t something he’s going to jump in to; he has to consider the options, the repercussions, the consequences. He needs, he decides, to speak to George Hammond.
“I’m going to Washington,” he announces.
Daniel blinks. “Right now?”
“I’ll only be gone a couple of days. Try not to die before I get back.”
Daniel doesn’t comment on that, but he does look at him over the rim of his glasses. “And then you’ll talk to Sam?”
He answers obliquely. “If I do, any idea what I should say?”
Daniel smiles, leaning back in his chair. “You could start with ‘Don’t marry Pete’.”
A week after Sam cancels the wedding she still hasn’t told anyone. Well, she’s told Mark so that Pete couldn’t get there first. And the venue, and the caterers and the florist. None of them are particularly sympathetic – she has to pay for everything in full, but she expects that. Pete offers to go 50/50 but she wants to pick up the full cost herself; it’s her mistake, after all. She should never have said yes.
But of everyone she’s called, Mark is the least sympathetic.
“But why?” he asks, at least a dozen times.
“Because it would have been a mistake.”
“Because I don’t love him, Mark. At least, not enough. Not the right way.”
“What does that even mean?”
She can’t explain, so doesn’t try. “I’m sorry,” she says, weary of talking about it. “I know you guys are close.”
After a silence he says, “It’s not about me, Sam. It’s about you. There’s more to life than your career, you know.”
“Believe me,” she says, reigning in a dry laugh. “I know that better than anyone.”
So, she hasn’t told anyone that the wedding is off. And by anyone she means anyone at work. And by that she means Jack O’Neill. It isn’t that she’s avoiding the conversation, it’s just that she hasn’t had the opportunity and she certainly isn’t going to risk driving over to his house again. Hell will freeze over before that happens.
But he’s hard to pin down. First he disappears to Washington for a few days, and she only knows because Daniel mentions it with a strange, conspiratorial look in his eye. And after he gets back he’s busy catching up. She passes his office a couple of times, but he’s always in meetings – once with Kerry Johnson, who glances up as she passes by with a flat, ambivalent expression. The general doesn’t look in her direction at all.
And, when it comes right down to it, there’s no real reason to tell him personally, is there? And the longer she goes not telling him, the harder it becomes to broach the subject.
By the way, did I mention I broke up with Pete and cancelled the wedding?
She considers telling Daniel instead, and letting him spread the news. He seems interested; he keeps asking her about the wedding. But deep down she knows that’s a stupid, cowardly idea. She’s never hidden her relationship with Pete from Jack, why should she hide their break-up?
She doesn’t really have an answer to that, beyond the fact that he’s seeing Kerry Johnson. And he didn’t tell her about that, did he? He let her discover it all on her own.
But she doesn’t have that luxury because, if she doesn’t tell him then she can’t tell everyone else and soon they’ll be turning up to an empty church. She’s glad she stipulated no gifts, despite Pete’s objections. Looking back, maybe she’d always known this would happen. Maybe he had, too.
“I’ve sent out cards,” Pete says that evening as he stands in her kitchen, clutching the last box of his stuff: DVDs, a pair of sneakers, two sweaters and half a jar of artificial creamer. “For my side.”
“Letting them know it’s cancelled.” Holding the box one-handed he tugs something from his jacket pocket and lays it on the counter. “I had some left over, if you want them.”
She glances down at the cream and gold envelopes, matching the invitations. “Do they make cards for this?”
He gives her a blank look. “I had them printed.”
She nods. “Right. It’s a good idea, I should do that.”
“I’d have thought you couldn’t wait,” he says.
He closes his eyes, frowns. “Sorry.”
“No, I’m sorry. This sucks.”
“Yeah.” He shifts the box in his arms. “Well, I guess this is it then.”
Sam sighs; he looks sad and hurt and resentful. “Look, I know you don’t want to keep in touch, Pete, but—”
“I don’t,” he says. “I’m sorry; I just don’t see the point.”
She thinks of Jack and wonders whether she’ll keep in touch with him if he marries Kerry Johnson. It’s an easy question to answer: yes. Of course she will. It would be easier to cut out her own heart than to cut him out of her life, no matter how hard it is to see him with someone else.
“Okay then,” she says, feeling vindicated. “I guess this is it.”
Pete doesn’t say goodbye, he just nods and walks away. A moment later she hears her door close behind him and on that chapter of her life.
Ignoring the blank cards Pete left on the counter - however she tells people, it won't be like that - she flicks on the lights against the darkening evening and starts to fix herself dinner. She’s done a lot of cooking over the past year with Pete and actually finds she quite enjoys it. But it’s odd, cooking for one, and she remembers why she’d so often fallen back on the cafeteria or take-out.
This time she puts half the tomato and tuna sauce into the freezer for another time and settles down with her pasta, a glass of wine, and a couple of reports she’s been meaning to catch up on for weeks.
She’s just finished eating and is enjoying the last of the wine, curled up and comfy in the corner of the sofa, when someone knocks on her door. Three sharp raps, not exactly impatient but certainly assured. Not Pete; he always rings the doorbell.
Uncurling her legs, she sets down the report and her glass and pads into the hall. She catches a glimpse of uniform through the glass in her door and feels a sudden flash of panic. Has someone come to break bad news? She pulls open the door and—
“Carter.” It’s General O’Neill; he looks wary, glancing over his shoulder as if expecting trouble. “Hi.”
“Sir?” Instinctively she follows his line of sight, down the street outside her house. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing,” he says and rakes a hand through his short hair. He looks tired and rumpled, still in his BDUs. He’s obviously come straight from the base. “I just stopped by to...” He runs out of steam, then looks at her and says, “Can I come in?”
She shakes off her surprise and remembers her manners, holding open the door wide. “Sorry sir, I’m just surprised to see you here.”
“Not as surprised as me.” He hesitates on the threshold, peering past her into the house. “I’m not interrupting?”
“No, come in.”
“Because I can come back if you’re busy...”
“I’m not busy,” she assures him, stepping back. “I was just catching up on some reading.”
“Ah...” He follows her inside and she closes the door behind him. He’s rarely been inside her house and not once in the past year. It’s strange seeing him standing there; he seems taller in her narrow hallway, his presence dominating the cramped space. It’s getting dark and she has to reach past him to switch on the hall light; it’s closer than they’ve been in a while and she can feel her body react to him, a charge buzzing across her skin like the static kick of an open wormhole.
She glances up, catches his eye and for once he doesn’t look away. Something tingles along the length of her spine, something she hasn’t let herself feel in a long time. She swallows, turns away and heads into the kitchen. Kerry Johnson, she reminds herself and, over her shoulder, she says, “What can I do for you, sir?”
He doesn’t follow right away, hesitating again before stepping carefully into the kitchen. She has the distinct impression that he’s entering enemy territory and resisting the urge to turn a slow three-sixty and order her to cover his six. It’s strange.
“So...” he says eventually, apparently satisfied that there are no dangers lurking in her house. But he doesn’t say anything more and they laps into silence.
“Um,” she says when it begins to feel awkward, “do you want a coffee, or something, sir?”
“Maybe a whiskey,” he says with a flicker of a smile.
She lifts her eyebrows. “You’re in uniform, sir.”
Glancing down, he looks faintly surprised. “Oh. Yeah, I came straight from the base. Daniel was—” He makes a face, somewhere between a grimace and a smile, and says, “Look, this won’t take long. There’s just something I need to tell you.”
The anxiety in his voice triggers a low pulse of dread in the pit of her stomach. Is he leaving Stargate Command? Oh God, is he marrying Kerry Johnson—? She clears her throat, arms folding defensively across her body, bracing for impact. “Oh?” she says. It’s about all she can manage.
He frowns at the counter, his fingers tapping against its surface. “The thing is, Carter,” he says, “I haven’t been entirely honest with you.”
Mouth dry, she tries to swallow but can’t and her voice sounds hoarse when she says, “About what?”
He glances up, watching her with that guarded look she’s grown to hate over the last few months. After a hesitation he says, “About Pete.”
“Pete?” He never talks about Pete. “What do you mean?”
His frown carves a straight line between his eyebrows as he returns his attention to his fingers, still drumming on the counter. “There’ve been a couple of times,” he says, “when you’ve tried to talk to me...”
Heat creeps into her cheeks and she finds herself studying the floor tiles; they could do with a clean. “Sir, I—”
“Carter, just let me say this.” His voice is tight, constrained; it’s almost, but not quite, an order. He pauses, collecting himself, but his fingers don’t stop moving. “I knew what you were trying to talk about, but—”
“Sir, please.” She can’t let him carry on; it’s mortifying. “If I’d known you were involved with someone I’d have never come to your—”
“It’s not that,” he says, cutting her off again. “Look, I don’t know whether you should marry Pete; I don’t know how you feel about him. But I know what I—” He stops, blows out a nervous breath as he looks at her again. “What I’m trying to say here is...”
He grimaces in frustration and then he goes still, the way he does when he’s made a tactical decision and is about to engage the enemy. He looks at her, his darkly guarded eyes intent and focused. There’s a moment of breathless calm when neither of them move and then in two steps he’s in front of her, cupping her face in his hands and kissing her.
It’s tender and eloquent and sends her free-falling.
All she can think is yes, yes, yes...
But then it’s over and he’s pulling back, just far enough to look at her, his hands still cupping her face. “Don’t,” he says, as heartfelt as she’s ever seen him. “Don’t marry Pete.”
It hits her like a brick, this game they’ve been playing, this futile resistance to the inevitable. It wouldn’t have been so bad if they’d only been hurting themselves, but now there’s Pete and maybe Kerry too. She feels tears, grief and anger at the whole senseless mess. “Oh God, we’ve been so stupid.”
“No,” he objects, looking concerned and like he doesn’t know what to say. “Carter…” And then he does what he always does when he’s lost for words and pulls her into his arms.
She holds on tight, presses her face against his shoulder. “I’m not,” she says in a shaky voice, her lips brushing the collar of his shirt. “I’m not marrying Pete.”
He makes a gruff noise in the back of his throat and his whole body sags, his relief so powerful it’s physical. And that just makes it worse. She holds on to him tighter. “I’m so sorry,” she whispers, and she means for everything – for all the years of hopeless repressing, ignoring, and denying. For lying to Pete, for lying to him. For lying to herself.
“Not your fault,” he says, stroking her back. “Just a screwed up situation.”
She nods against his shoulder, not ready to let go. “But now what?” she says, because nothing’s changed. He’s still her CO; this is still against the rules.
“We’ll figure it out,” he says and he’s not letting go either. “But something’s gotta give.”
Sniffing, she tries to pull herself together and she lets him go enough that she can swipe her hands over her face to dry it. They’re still close though, almost touching. She takes a breath. “I guess,” she says, “it’s pretty obvious that this is never going away.”
“It’s not like we didn’t try,” he says, with half a smile.
But she can’t smile, she feels like she’s being torn apart – desire and duty about to rip her in two. “So what do we do?” she says. “What do we do?”
He looks at her, like he’s testing her mettle, and then he makes a decision. She can see it in his eyes. “We just stop fighting.”
It takes her breath away, his certainty – like he’s giving an order, giving permission. Her heartbeat kicks up a notch. “You mean we just…stop?”
“You said it, Carter: this is never going away. We can’t fight it.”
“But the regul—”
He stops her words with his fingers on her lips. “We’ll figure it out,” he says, brooking no argument.
Her mouth is dry, she licks her lips and her tongue touches his fingertips. Heat like she’s never seen before flares in his eyes; for the first time since she’s known him, his guard is down. His gaze dips to her mouth and stays there as his fingers trace a path from her lips across her jaw and into her hair. Her heart’s racing; this feels so tantalizing, so forbidden. She’s tingling all over and she thinks she’ll die if he doesn’t kiss her again.
Fingers thread through her hair, pulling her closer. When he talks she can feel his words like a breath across her lips. “Tell me to go,” he says, giving her the final decision. “Tell me to go and I will.”
Lightly, she touches his face, the light stubble of his jaw. “Don’t go.”
She says nothing, just leans into him and presses her lips against his. And this time there’s no hesitation, no pulling back, and suddenly everything is hands and mouths and need and want and now. Right now.
She feels the hard edge of the counter behind her, his hand under the hem of her shirt, palm flat against her skin, the chain of his dog tags tangling in her fingers as she tugs his shirt open.
And then he’s pulling back, breathless, and searching her face with dusky eyes. “Are we really doing this?” he rasps. “Are we doing this, here?”
“Yes.” Fire, she’s on fire. She’s never felt desire like this. Never. If they stop now she thinks she might die. She grabs a handful of his shirt and pulls him back to her, kissing him, pressing herself against him from top to toe. Every inch in contact. But it’s still not enough.
“No.” He pulls back again and for a moment she wants to scream, but then he grabs her hand and growls. “Bedroom.”
It’s a frenzy of clothes, buttons, belts. Damn it, combat boots! He laughs, fumbles with the laces. “Didn’t think this through…”
And then it’s skin and heat and no more talking. Just feeling, flying, so intense and wanton she hardly knows herself. And there’s him – tender and urgent, demanding, devoted. Hers. Oh God, he’s hers.
Then a moment of mind-blanking white heat before she’s falling, falling, swept away by a vast tide of emotion. She sobs as a wave of everything she’s locked down, pushed back, and denied crashes down on her - it’s entirely overwhelming. She can only cling to him until it passes, listening to the slowing of his racing heartbeat and the way he murmurs her name like a promise.
When she surfaces she’s wrapped safe in his arms. Its dark outside and they didn’t close the drapes so the streetlight filters into the room and casts stark shadows over the floor.
She thinks she slept for a while, somehow both emotionally exhausted and unspeakably blissed out. It’s a potent combination. She’s boneless and ecstatic.
His fingers move on her arm, a gentle drift up and down. He’s lying on his back, gazing up at the ceiling, one arm keeping her close and the other curled behind his head. When she stirs, he looks at her and smiles. “Hey.” She’s never seen that smile before, not once. It’s warm and intimate and adoring.
She touches his face with one finger, tracing his jawline. “Hey.” It still feels illicit to touch him like this, as if it’s wrong.
He shifts enough that he can look her in the eye. “So...that was intense.”
“Yeah... But good.”
He looks like he’s trying to articulate something, but in the end he simply kisses her again – a kiss just like his tender smile. He’s always been a man who would rather act than talk. She likes that about him.
“Are you hungry?” she asks after a while. She always gets hungry, after. Sometimes Pete would run out for ice cream, but she doesn’t want Jack gone for so long. She doesn’t want him gone for a moment. “We could order pizza.”
“I could eat pizza,” he says, although he doesn’t move and presses another kiss into her hair, then her forehead, then over her eyes, then her lips, then her throat... “Later,” he decides. “I could eat pizza later.”
She doesn’t argue.
This time it’s slow and languorous, a delicious exploration. The emotional rush is somehow both less and more; less overwhelming, more loving. She cries again as she floats back to earth and he holds her close. “I don’t always do this,” she promises, words muffled by his shoulder. “It’s just… It’s just so…”
“I know,” he says, stroking her back. “For me too.”
It’s midnight by the time they eat pizza, in bed. They’re a little bit dressed and Sam can’t ignore the uniform he’s sort of wearing, the rest cast haphazard about her bedroom. It’s a reminder of something she doesn’t want to remember.
She goes to fetch a couple of beers from the fridge and when she gets back he’s scooping his dog tags off the floor. He looks at them, at her, and drops them onto her nightstand. “Better not lose them,” he says, with a smile that’s sort of ironic.
She sits on the bed in front of him, crossed legged. He’s got his back against the head rest, one leg stretched out and the other bent. He’s resting his arm on his knee, beer dangling from his fingers. “So,” he says, watching her as she sips her beer.
“So,” she agrees. “Now what?”
She smiles, but doesn’t let him get away with it. “We have a briefing in eight hours’ time, sir.”
He winces. “Don’t,” he says. “Don’t do that.”
“I’ll have to,” she says, softening it with a hand on his leg, just above the knee. “Tomorrow, I’ll have to. It can’t be weird.”
He takes another sip of beer and she can see there’s something he’s not telling her. She narrows her eyes. “What?”
He shakes his head, glances over to the window. The drapes are shut now, there’s nothing to see there. “Two choices, I figure.”
“First,” he looks back at her. “I retire. For good.”
She knew that would be an option, but isn’t convinced it’s what he wants. He’s still got too much to offer to spend his days idling in his cabin. “What’s the second choice?”
He hesitates, and then says, “There’s talk of a job in DC.”
“Wow.” She’s floored. On the one hand it might solve a lot of problems, on the other…Washington? “What’s the job?”
“It’s not official,” he says, playing it down – he looks a little self-conscious but she can tell that tell he’s pleased. “But, ah, Hammond might be going.”
She stares; she can feel her eyes widen like saucers. “No way.”
“Maybe.” He smiles like he can’t help himself.
“That’s… That’s some job.”
“Yup.” He’s looking at her seriously now. “But I won’t take it if— You know that this,” he gestures between them with the beer bottle, “this is more important to me.”
Uncurling her legs, she takes his beer from his hand and puts it, and her own, on the nightstand next to his dog tags. Then she climbs into his lap and he holds her there, arms looped loose around her waist. “I’m so proud of you,” she says.
He shakes his head, self-deprecating. “Carter…”
“No, I am,” she says. “I’ve always been proud of you. Proud to serve with you, proud to be in your team.”
He hates this, she knows he does. He shakes his head, looking away. “Come on, stop it.”
“No.” She takes his chin in her hand, making him look at her. “You’re probably the finest man I know, Jack O’Neill. And you deserve this job. More than deserve it - we need you to do it.” She smiles. “Who else would they get?”
“Duty,” he says, and there’s a weight in his voice. “Maybe I just want this, Sam. Just you and me for a while. Not too much to ask, is it?”
She thinks for a while, leaning into him and resting her head against his shoulder. His hands stroke her back; she can feel the heat of his fingers through her shirt. “You’ve got me,” she says, “you know you’ve always got me. But we can make this work – Washington’s not so far.”
“It’s not here.”
“It’s the same planet, the same continent, even.”
“Strictly speaking,” he says, “you’d still be under my command.”
“But not my CO.” She shrugs. “Rules can bend, Jack. They need you, and we deserve this.”
“They need you too,” he points out. “And much more than they need me; anyone can push a pencil, but you can blow up stars.”
She laughs, but doesn’t argue the point. The fact is that they’re both pretty indispensable, which means they have a certain degree of leverage – even with the Pentagon. “We deserve this,” she repeats. “Tell them it’s non-negotiable. It’ll tell them the same. If they want us, then we get this.”
He lifts an eyebrow, lips curled in that amused half-smile that means he’s impressed. “I love the way you think, Carter.” And then the smile turns into something serious and her heart skips a few beats as he touches her face, brushing his thumb over her cheek, his breath leaving him in a sigh like surrender. “God, I love you.”
She closes her eyes, just for a moment, because something fierce is welling up. “I love you too,” she says, and he pulls her into his arms and buries his face against her neck.
“So much,” he whispers. “So, so much.”
Later, curled up beneath the covers and sinking into sleep, she hears him whisper. He’s pressed up behind her, holding her tight against his chest, and when he speaks his breath stirs the hair on the back of her neck. “Carter?” He’s drowsy, drifting off.
“Wanna go fishing?”
She smiles, feels it spread out from her heart until she’s glowing with it. “Thought you’d never ask.”
Pressing a sleepy kiss against her hair, he says, “Is that a yes?”
He sighs, smiling against her skin. “Been a long five years, Carter...”
“I know.” She feels a tug of regret for all those lost days, lost years. Lost chances. She rolls over so she can see him; they’re almost nose to nose. “Thanks for waiting.”
His smiling eyes are full of her. “It was worth it, Sam.”
And it was, for this moment alone it was all worth it.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed it. :)