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rocketfic | hold on hope

Title: Hold On Hope by Rocketchick
Rating: 15+ Pairing: Sam/Janet
Notes: Set after "Heroes."

Everybody's gotta hold on hope
It's the last thing that's holding me
Guided by Voices

I wish I could remember how I'd talked her into taking a vacation. I never thought she'd actually consent to it, so I didn't bother to keep track of my tactics.

It took a week for her to "stand down," to relax enough that she didn't automatically wake up at 0430, or that the ring of the phone didn't send her diving for her car keys so she could rush off to base.

I've informed her that the universe can just do without her for a little while, and I think she's finally starting to agree with me.

We've had a rough year. I died... for a while, anyway. We know now that Anubis' soldiers recovered my body. I thankfully don't remember much after that until a dazed-looking Jaffa told me I was free to go. A Tok'ra ship showed up a couple days later on Jaffa clean up duty, and they sent me home.

The party they'd thrown after Anubis' defeat was just ending when I showed up. I took a few steps down the ramp from the gate, waved feebly to soldiers I didn't recognize in the control room, and waited. The door to the gate room opened. Sam walked in, then stopped dead in her tracks.

I'd been imagining this moment of reunion for... God, I didn't know how long. Here we both were, and we were both too stupefied to reunite properly.

Daniel bounded in behind her and gasped. "Janet? Is that you?"

Such a smart man. Such a tenuous grasp on the obvious.

He moved to step around Sam, but she stopped him with a raised hand, then began to walk toward me.

I recognized nothing in her expression. No relief, no joy, no surprise. Her brow furrowed. She was studying me, trying to decipher my presence.

I'll never forget that split second when she realized I wasn't a Goa'uld, and that I really was me, alive and well. Her last two steps toward me were so quick that the startled SFs in the gateroom nearly shot us both. She scooped me off the ground in a hug so hard it bruised, and spun around in a circle while I clung to her for dear life.

She put me down as the gateroom exploded in questions. Why wasn't I dead? Where had I been? Were there other humans out there that needed rescuing?

I couldn't answer; all I could do was look at her, and the tightly shuttered expression on her face.

My Samantha had given up hope.

I've since come to understand that in some ways, she died with me on P3X-666. When I came back, for a time the relief of being together again was actually too much to bear.

We fell apart -- just like the SGC without General Hammond, just like SG-1 without Colonel O'Neill.

But we're rebuilding, all of us.

Tonight Sam and I are stargazing on my porch. I think we've traded maybe a dozen words all day, but it doesn't matter. Sometimes words get in the way of actual communication.

Her arms wrap around me as we stare up into the night sky. I settle my head back against her shoulder and just revel in the moment. "Show me the constellations."

She chuckles, and the vibrations tickle my back. "You know them as well as I do."

"Maybe. Or maybe I'm just flirting with you. Make something up."

She ponders that for a moment and then shuffles slowly, turning me with her, until we're facing north. Then one long, graceful arm lifts and points to a tight grouping of stars. "P3X-666 is a part of that cluster," she whispered. "It took me hours on the base computer to locate it."

The unexpected horror of that particular insight is a punch in the gut.

We'd parted on harsh terms that morning so many months ago, arguing over some stalker she'd acquired named Pete. I'd taken it out on her by flirting shamelessly with Emmett Bregman, then getting myself killed. She returned the favor by finding me in the sky.

"It's one hundred and three light years away," she continues quietly, right in my ear.

In the cosmic scheme of things, a hundred light years is but a stone's throw. No wonder Sam had been so preoccupied this last year; the biggest threat our species has yet known was looming in our galactic backyard. I didn't really understand that at the time. I'd thought Anubis was like every other Goa'uld. Dangerous, of course, but ultimately defeatable. I had no idea what it would cost for humanity -- for Sam -- to prevail, nor did I have any inkling that I would end up an expenditure along the way.

"Can you see it in a telescope?" I ask, and can barely recognize my own voice.

"Yeah," she answers. Her head dips and presses into mine, as if she can no longer bear to look at points of light above. "I watched for you."

All of a sudden I realize the magnitude of what she's done, and I can't help but suck in a breath as it all comes flooding back.

I remember getting shot. I remember staring up into the sky. I remember seeing the light of the alien sun as it split the clouds overhead. I remember the light growing, consuming me as I whispered a goodbye.

I remember it fading again as the sarcophagus parted above me.

In one hundred and three years the sunlight of that alien day will reach the place I'm standing now.

Suddenly I'm certain that Sam would have waited. She would have found a way to be here when the light of my death reached Earth, just to make sure she didn't miss any more of me. She would have found a way and not given it a second thought, because the laws of life and time and physics don't actually matter when it comes to how she feels about me.

Sam hadn't actually given up hope, but I had. She'd just held onto it for me until I returned.

I realize I'm crying, and as soon as I'm aware of it all control dissipates and I'm absolutely sobbing, there in my lover's arms under the stars.

I turn and bury my face in her shoulder.

Her hold never falters, even though I think she might be crying too. One of her hands tangles in my hair, cradling my head against her chest.

I've always resented her extreme focus on work. We'd argued about her health, about her stress level and fatigue. I've never understood her need to shoulder so much of the galaxy's burden.

"I had to win for you," she whispers.

"I had to come back for you," I manage to say in response.

"I know."

I can hear her smile.

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