Unlocked Doors von Merkaba

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Disclaimer: I do not own Stargate or any of the characters you recognize. I'm just borrowing them for entertainment. There is no monetary gain and no copyright infringement intended. The lines of dialog you recognize are from the show, the rest you don't recognize are from me.

AN: Happy New Year everyone! Thank you to everyone reading and all of you that have been kind enough to leave me what you thought of it so far. And of course, thank you Gategirl7 for being an awesome beta! Any mistakes are mine and mine alone, probably added after I got the edited version back.

Chapter 3 – Second Thoughts

Sam had never been so glad to walk into her own house as she was at that moment. This day had been as emotionally hard as any she could ever remember. She was on autopilot as she dropped her keys on the table by the door along with her unopened mail.

Comfy clothes, wine, couch that was the mantra that she'd kept going in her head most of the way home. As she settled into a warm bath and laid her head back against the cool porcelain of the tub, Sam felt herself back in the Gate room.

She'd felt numb when she rushed forward and caught Martouf. She'd been fast. Caught him as life left him and he slid to the floor. So many emotions were swirling inside of her. She was glad for the automatic 'clear' that issued from her lips as she retrieved the weapon from his lifeless hand. She was operating on training alone at that moment. Too much was happening. The part of her that had been Jolinar and contained the Tok'ra's feeling and thoughts grieved, almost crumbled with the killing of her lover. The trouble was that those emotions had become intertwined with Sam's since Jolinar's death.

Silent tears slid down her face as a wave of grief flowed over her. It wasn't just Jolinar's grief, she'd come to like the Tok'ra man. Both symbiote and his host had become important to her and they didn't deserve to die this way. Maybe if she and Jack, no Colonel O'Neill, not Jack, she corrected herself, not ready to deal with those emotions yet. Maybe if they hadn't been so busy having inappropriate feelings for each other and denying them, maybe Anise would have focused on the right person. Maybe there would have been the chance to save Martouf.

The trouble was that even when she was consumed with grief and guilt, holding the man she'd just killed, Sam had felt the Colonel's presence at her back. He was there. He was always there, protecting her, them. He'd almost given up his life on the Goa'uld ship because of feelings he had for her. That thought flooded Sam. Jack O'Neill had feelings for her, more feelings than just commanding officer and subordinate. Sam's heart flipped in her chest at the thought. She heard him again as he locked eyes with her and added, 'way more than I should'. It was as if he wanted to make sure she knew how deep those feelings were, not the Za'tarc detector, just her.

Sam smacked her head against the back of the tub. She'd been calm when she'd told her CO that they could leave the feelings in that room, but knowing for sure that he had feelings for her hadn't quite sunk in yet. There had been too much going on then. There hadn't been time to do more than push the feelings to the back of her mind for later. She and the colonel had been in danger of being Za'tarcs, facing death, lifelong imprisonment at the very least. When Sam had realized that she had being holding back and that he must have been holding back as well for the machine to have read them both as compromised, she'd been too elated at finding that she and the Colonel weren't Za'tarcs to think about the ramifications for them both personally.

"Ramifications," she said out loud. There weren't going to be ramifications. They were going to leave their inappropriate feelings in that room. It had been her idea. She shut her eyes against the words that she could still hear ringing in her ears. 'None of this has to leave the room.' Those had been her words. Words she didn't mean the second she said them, but she couldn't seem to stop herself from saying them, but then again, he'd agreed to them pretty quickly. Did he do that because he thought that was what she wanted or because he honestly didn't want her.

"God, I am such a coward," she told her bathroom. She'd felt so uncomfortable about what they'd just revealed, in such a public way, that she'd done what she always did, she'd hidden from the feelings. "I can face a planet full of Jaffa trying to kill us with less fear than talking to my CO about my feelings," she said in disgust. The water was getting cold and the bath hadn't soothed her. Standing, she reached for a towel and stepped from out of the water onto the bathmat.

As Sam leaned in and pulled the plug to let the water drain, the clothes she'd hung on the towel rack caught her attention. There was blood on the leg of her pants. She hadn't seen it. She'd been in such a hurry to escape the mountain and the emotions of the day, she hadn't changed, just taken off the shirt she'd had on over her black t-shirt and pulled her jacket on.

It was Martouf's blood from where he'd been shot. Grief hit her. She'd killed the man she'd liked and a part of her loved. Her grief for him was real, but her grief for herself was just as real. As much as the emotions around Martouf hurt, the ones she was holding at bay about Jack hurt too. She'd effectively killed any chance there as well. Not that there had been any chance.

"He is your commanding officer," she told herself in the mirror. "No future there." She remembered how uncomfortable Jack, Colonel O'Neill, she corrected herself, had looked when he'd met her eyes as she'd helped release him from the chair.

The sound of her doorbell caught her off guard. She actually jumped at the harshness of the sound breaking the silence. Glancing at the clock, Sam was surprised to see it was only 6:30 in the evening. It was that time of year when the school kids were just starting back. All kinds of fundraisers had them knocking at her door these days. She usually didn't mind. Sometimes it made her feel a little connected to the world. Knowing the things she knew because of the Stargate made her feel removed from the world she fought everyday to save. Spending a little money on terrible frozen pizzas or the latest gift wrap and cookies reminded her that people had normal lives and hopes, hence she tended to be an easy sale. Her house was a popular stop for the kids these days.

Pulling on a fuzzy pink robe Teal'c had gotten her for Christmas last year and belting it securely around her, Sam padded to the door in bare feet. The robe made her smile lifted her spirits a bit. Teal'c had discovered the Home Shopping Network the year before last. He'd bought everyone presents with no help from anyone. Jack had Simpsons' slippers, Daniel had a no-spill coffee cup that held an amazing amount of coffee and kept it warm on top of that. He'd even gotten Hammond a furry hat with ear covers. For Sam, Teal'c had gotten a Pampered Kit. The kit contained a fuzzy soft robe, bath salts, candles and a pillow for the bath. All in all, the former first prime had done an amazing job of getting them all thoughtful gifts they'd laughed over and loved.

"Coming," she shouted to the door. This time, the fundraiser was going to be out of luck. She just wanted them gone. She wanted to be alone to lick her wounds and somehow get herself together so that she could face the Colonel in two days when she had to go back to work. How was she going to look at him, treat him like nothing had changed? Nothing can change Sam, she told herself as she reached for the door. Their ranks, their careers, the regs all stood in the way. Even if those things didn't stand in the way, she'd just assured the Colonel that she was fine with things they way they were. Now all she had to do was find a way to actually be ok.

"I'm sorry," she started as she opened the door. "This really isn't a good time,"

"Sorry, Carter,"

"Colonel," Sam stammered, shocked to see him at her door. He'd never come there alone before. Actually, he'd only been to her house a few times in the years that they'd worked together. "I thought you were one of the neighborhood kids."

"Fundraisers?" he questioned. He didn't look any more at ease than she felt. "They've been hitting my house hard the last couple of weeks."

"Yes, Sir," she smiled slightly. "What are you doing here, Sir?" She didn't mean it to come out that bluntly. He winced.

"Thought I should check on you," he started, and then seemed to reconsider. "Can I come in?" God, she'd been so disconcerted, it hadn't even occurred to her to ask him in. All she could think was that her hair was wet, she had no makeup on, and she had a pink fuzzy robe on, bare feet, and he could probably tell she'd been crying. The man had perfect timing.

"Sir, this really isn't the best time," she started. She couldn't face him being nice to her about Martouf. Why was he here anyway? He'd never come alone to check on her before. "I'm ok. Thank you for checking on me."

She was surprised to see the Colonel's face darken. "No problem, Major,' he snapped, "glad to see you're ok." He was already turning away. He was mad. "Sorry to have troubled you." Sam got the feeling that things had just gotten a lot worse and this wasn't going to stay in the room. She wasn't sure what had just happened, but she knew she didn't want to let him walk away.

"Colonel," she called, taking a step toward him, but he was already down the steps and headed out of her yard. He held a hand up in acknowledgement of her, but didn't stop.

"See you at work, Major." He'd come to her house alone and she'd dismissed him. She'd basically told him that ignoring any feelings they might have was what she wanted and then he'd shown up at her door and she'd told him to go away. God, she had made things such a mess and if he reached his truck she wasn't sure if she'd have the guts to try face him again.

"Jack," she called. Swallowing hard when he stopped in his tracks, she held her breath. She'd never called him by his name like that before. That had gotten his attention, now what. He was the one that had come to her door. She had no idea what he wanted. She had no idea what to say now, but she knew she didn't want to watch him walk away from her, especially not angry at her.

"I'm sorry," she almost whispered. She let out the breath she'd been holding when he turned and came back to her. He was still mad, she could see it, but at least he wasn't walking away.

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