Major Sam Carter looked up in surprise. By the tone of her CO's voice, he'd shouted her name more than once.

"Yes sir, sorry sir, be right there sir." she answered, ashamed that her personal life had been distracting her from her work once again.

"Everything all right, Carter?" Colonel Jack O'Neill shouted again, as she still hadn't caught up with the rest of them. Even for Carter, saying sir three times in one sentence was unusual. He was really starting to worry about her. During the last few missions she'd been distracted and withdrawn.

"Yes sir," she answered, hurriedly packing away her gear. The thing was he could tell she wasn't fine and she'd never say. He'd have to talk to Janet when they got back. He was sure she would know if something was up.


Janet smiled when she saw her best friend walk through the infirmary doors. It was rare that after one of SG-1s missions she walked anywhere for weeks, after all with Daniels clumsiness, they often came back injured.

"Hey, Sam!"

"Hey, Janet." Sam didn't even smile. Janet frowned. Sam was normally a bubbly, smiley person and, over the past few weeks, she'd become sad and withdrawn. Janet started her exam and she noticed some odd bruises on Sam's ribs and upper arms.

"Sam... did you get hurt on your last mission?"

"No," she answered, a little bit too quickly.

"Then what are all these bruises from?" Sam looked down at her feet and that's when Janet knew something was seriously wrong. Sam would never avoid eye contact unless there was something she didn't want Janet to know.

"Sam, honey, what's wrong?" Janet asked, her voice concerned.

"Oh God... it's Pete.." With that Sam started sobbing uncontrollably, and Janet pulled her into her arms. They must have stayed that way for 10 minutes before Sam stopped crying and said, "You won't tell anyone will you?"

"Not if you don't want me to honey," Janet said resignedly.


"Why don't you leave him, Sam? You don't deserve this."

"I tried Janet! I really tried! But he just found me again and it was ten times worse." Sam's voice had an edge of desperation to it.

"O sweetheart," Janet whispered as Sam fell back into her arms. God, she hated seeing Sam so broken. Pete Shanahan would pay. Someday, he would definitely pay.


Back at the SGC, Jack decided that during his post-mission physical he'd talk to Janet.

"Hey doc" he started halfway through.

"I'll be done in a minute and I won't use any big needles, sir," she said with a smile on her face.

"Surprisingly enough, I wasn't actually gonna say anything about that." Janet just raised her eyebrows, but he carried on, "I was just gonna ask you about Sam. What's been going on with her lately? She's been so... different." If there hadn't been so much love and concern in his eyes, Janet never would have told him.

"You'd better come into my office sir," she said quietly. Jack followed Janet in and kicked the door shut gently behind him.

"Alright, what's goin' on?"

"Well, you know she has been seeing Pete. "Jack visibly stiffened at the mention of Pete's name "The thing is, sir, he's been physically abusing her." Janet rushed the last words quietly.

"WHAT!" Jack exploded. Janet had never seen him so mad.

"Sir, calm down! I wasn't supposed to tell you so please, please don't tell her that I told you."

"I won't let her suffer this anymore. She *does not* deserve this!"

"I know, sir, I know," she whispered to his retreating back, as he jerked open the door and stormed out of the office.


Rage was taking over inside Jack as he stormed down the corridors heading to Daniel's office. The airmen in the corridors gave him a wide berth. Jack didn't even knock and Daniel jumped 3 foot in the air when Jack stormed in.

"Hey Jack... no need to bother knocking, I wasn't working or anything."

"Not in the mood for jokes at all. Get Teal'c down here, now."

"Jack what's going on?" Daniel couldn't remember every seeing Jack this angry. "I'll explain when Teal'c gets here. Get him down here, *now*!" Danny did as Jack said and, within a minute, Teal'c was in Daniel's office.

"Will you tell us what's going on now, please?" Daniel asked impatiently.

"Sam's being abused," Jack said bluntly. Neither Teal'c or Daniel missed the use of Sam's given name rather than Carter or major.

It took a minute for Daniel to process this and then he said, "What!" It would have been funny at any other time.

"Major Carter is being harmed by PeteShanahan?" Teal'c asked, a flicker of emotion crossing his usually impassive face, clenching his jaw.Teal'c could be very dangerous when his friends were being threatend

"Pretty much," Jack said, anger blazing in his eyes.

"Well what are we gonna do then? We can't just let him carry on."

"Damn right, Danny. I think it's time we went round to Sam's," Jack said with a grim smile on his face.


An hour later, Jack's 4x4 truck had pulled up to Sam's pretty little house in Colorado Springs. Teal'c stepped onto the sidewalk, armed with pizza and videos. They walked up to the house trying to keep their anger under control for just a little bit longer. Jack knocked at the door and leaned casually against the door post. They heard Pete yell inside, "Hey, get the door you lazy bitch!"

"Hey Sam," Daniel greeted her when she opened the door. Shock registered on Sam's face when she realized what the guys had just heard.

"Hey guys, listen now's really not a good time..." Sam said awkwardly.

Daniel smiled kindly and pulled her into his arms. "Its ok, we know."

"Oh, thank God." Sam collapsed, sobbing into his arms. Teal'c helped her into her bedroom. The sight of Sam sobbing uncontrollably cut deep into Jack. Anger burned inside him. He walked into Sam's house and the state of her house made him more angry. Sam's normally tidy and well-kept house was full of beer cans and empty pizza boxes. There was only one person who could have done this - Pete.

"What the hell are you lot doing in *my* house?" Pete asked angrily.

"This is *not* your house, Pete." Jack said the name with disgust "It's Sam's and you'd better get your ass out of it. *NOW*." Jack's voice was low and dangerous.

"No way. You're just jealous anyway, O'Neill." That was the proverbial straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Jack couldn't take watching the smarmy grin on Pete's face any more. He walked over and punched Pete square in the jaw.

"That's for Sam, you bastard!" Jack hissed.

"How can you do this to a woman? Not just any woman either. Sam Carter. Beautiful, smart, brave. Did you really think that we wouldn't do anything? We all love Sam more than anyone else in this world," Daniel said, his eyes blazing and his fists clenched at his sides.

More than she'll ever know, Jack thought.

"You, PeteShanahan, are a pathetic excuse for a human being." Teal'c allowed a rare flash of emotion to cross his face. It was disgust.

"Fuck off, the lot of you. It's up to Sam, if I stay here," Pete said with a smug smile on his face.

"And I say, *get out*!"She had dragged herself out of her room to come and face Pete, one more time. God, Jack respected her even more ever. Sam was, without a doubt the strongest woman he had ever, or would ever, know. With that, Sam turned round and walked out.

"Now Pete, you're gonna pay. And I am gonna enjoy it," he said, a grim smile on his face.


It took Pete all of ten minutes to give in. He never really stood much of a chance against a pissed off USAF colonel, a former first prime of Apophis, and a civilian archaeologist who had been working out. Jack literally threw him out, his anger giving him strength. Daniel and Teal'c went to look after Sam in her room.

"You ever, *ever* come back and I will *personally* kill you. Got it?" He Didn't even bother to wait for an answer, just turned his back and slammed the door behind him.

When he got to Sam's room, he saw she was still crying but much more controlled now. He took in the state of her room and the rest of the house and said, "Teal'c get her in my truck; Danny get her some clothes. There's no way in hell she's staying here tonight."


Jack got back to his house after dropping the guys back at Daniel's house, with a firm promise from both that they would visit the next day. Sam was still fast asleep when the two of them arrived home and Jack didn't want to wake her.

"Guess you're gonna make me do this the hard way, huh?" he said softly. He walked round to her side before gently prying her from her seat and carrying her in his arms to the door. It was only when he got there that he realized it was going to be difficult trying to unlock the door and carry Sam. He did manage it though by balancing her on his knee and supporting her with one hand, while unlocking the door with the other. The thing that worried Jack was the fact that she slept through all of it. Sam was normally such a light sleeper because of Air Force training, that it worried him he hadn't noticed just how tired she'd been.

He carried her up into the spare bedroom and lay her on the bed. He took off her shoes then pulled the duvet over her. She is so beautiful when she is sleeping, he thought. Again he felt guilty. Guilt for not seeing. Guilt for neglecting her because he had been hurt by the fact she had a boyfriend. But most of all, guilt that he hadn't been there when she had needed him most.

He leant over and gave her a gentle kiss on her forehead and quietly left the room.


When Sam woke up the next morning, she felt better rested than she had in months. She wondered where she was until the events of the night before came rushing back. She figured she must be at Jack's as it looked just like it she would expect his house to look. Although she hadn't heard the rest of what had happened last night, she was sure that Pete was gone. She smiled, a real smile, for the first time in weeks. She breathed in deeply and smelled breakfast cooking.

Sam pulled herself out of bed and followed her nose to the kitchen. When she walked in, Jack had his back turned toward her and she took a minute to just look at him. He looked very sexy in just his boxers and an old t-shirt.

"Morning sir." To his credit, he managed not to jump and he didn't turn around.

"Morning Carter," he replied. "Sleep well?"

"Yes thanks. Sir... is he... what I'm trying to say is…"

"Yes, he's gone."

"Thank you… ah... Jack." Tears were starting to course down her cheeks. The use of his given name did make Jack turn around finally. When he saw her crying, his heart broke. The one thing he should have been able to stop hurting her he hadn't.

"C'mere," he said and pulled her into his arms. "I'm so, so sorry. I should have seen it before. You shoudn't have had to suffer like that. I love you too much..." He trailed off when he realised what he had just said. Nice one O'Neill, he thought. He felt her stiffen and pull back slightly.

"You love me?" She asked, a hopeful look in her eyes.

"Who wouldn't?" he answered softly.

"I love you too, Jack O'Neill." Sam leaned up and kissed him gently on the lips.

There were going to be tough times in this new, different relationship, and they both knew it.

But that didn't matter.

They had each other.

And they always would.


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