Stargate SG-1 - Something Real by Kimberley Jackson

A Stargate SG-1 Fanfiction

She pours herself a glass of wine in the kitchen and looks out the window thoughtfully. When she accidentally knocks the glass down, and it shatters on the white tiles, the red liquid spilling everywhere, she can’t help but stare.
And for a moment, just the blink of an eye, she sees her broken heart lying before her on the kitchen floor.

A Stargate SG-1 Character Study of Sam Carter set between Grace and Affinity.

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Rating: PG

Content suitable for all audiences.

Category: Drama/Romance/Character Study
Pairing: Sam Carter/Jack O’Neill, Sam Carter/Pete Shanagan

Find a detailed “Behind The Story” explanation in my journal: Behind The Story – Something Real

 

„Can I kiss you?“

For a moment, just a moment her mind goes blank as her brain processes the unexpected question. She isn’t used to people asking, isn’t used to having to give permission. And she hasn’t expected it either.

Therefore, her eventual nod is more of an almost automatic reaction, than it is actual consent. Sure, she thinks, why not kiss? It’s just a kiss. Just lips touching. Nothing more.

Yet, there’s this faint feeling of her heart breaking when their lips finally touch. He is soft, and gentle. He is a good kisser, she rationalizes – or at least he is better than most of the men she kissed before. His tongue strokes hesitantly against hers, and slowly, very slowly, she can feel herself getting into it.

The pain stops. She doesn’t know if it actually disappears or if the kiss just numbs it like a narcotic, a drug that artificially disables the emotional pain receptors in her brain. But it is good that it is gone, she decides when they finally break apart.

There’s a little jolt of joy in her when they finally break apart and she looks into his dark eyes. The color of his eyes is mildly familiar, and if she looks into them just long enough, she can just feel herself to start pretending…

No! No more fantasies. No more getting stuck on ‘what-ifs’ and ‘could-bes’, she decides. He’s here, and he’s warm and real in front of her; he’s not just some desperate fantasy that can barely ease her longing in cold and lonely nights. He’s real.

She wants something real. Anything.

Anything real is better than dying and having hung on to possibilities, which might never become an option. Even if it makes her feel like she is breaking up inside…

Still, who thought that parting with a fantasy, with a dream can be this hard?

She’s not in her twenties anymore, and she’s slowly getting to an age where she can’t just rely on the assumption that someday things will turn out the way she desperately wants them to be; because someday might be too late.

It’s not that she wants children or a family right away; but the option is better than a fantasy after all. Isn’t it?

“Want to come home with me?”

Her lips twitch into a hesitant, awkward smile at his question and she starts fiddling softly. It’s a tempting offer. Or is it? He is not the man she wants; but he is the man she can have.

“Pete, I…” Her voice is trembling softly. She isn’t good with these kinds of conversations. Somehow it is easier with him, because she doesn’t really feel anything. Yes, she likes him, he is a good guy. But she doesn’t like him to the point where she’s getting insecure about herself, and she doesn’t know whether he will ever be able to give her those feelings. “I need time. Besides, I have to be at work early in the morning.”

“Okay.”

He gives up too fast, she decides, at least in the light of how insistent he was to convince her to go out with him tonight. She looks at him a moment longer. Her smile never fades, and she is sure that he can’t see the remorse at his simple acknowledgement in her eyes.

Be a bit more relentless, she begs quietly. Don’t give up… don’t ask me. Seduce me! Make me forget…

She knows, she often comes over as intimidating. Her job, air force major, is pretty overwhelming. Her intelligence adds the rest. Guys think she likes them sweet, and reassuring – and who can’t? She does like them – but she falls in love with those who make her lose her control.

If only he was a bit more like…

STOP!

She shouldn’t be having these thoughts. It isn’t fair to compare him to a fantasy.

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“You want me to take you home?”

“Sure.” She nods.

On their way home, they are mostly quiet. Every now and then, he looks at her, and she looks back at him, smiling softly.

He isn’t too bad after all, she decides. She can settle for him. He is even cute in a way with his short hair, and the little dimples that form when he smiles.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Maybe he’s all she can have… all she can hope for…

He stops his car and looks at her, and she leans in automatically to place her lips against his in a cautious, almost formal touch. “Thank you. It was a great evening.”

“It was.”

“We could have breakfast together on Thursday morning, before I go in to work,” she offers. She desperately wants to try; try having a life; try moving past what she can’t have.

His smile broadens. There are the dimples. He looks good.

“I’d love that.”

He is very much into her, she realizes. He is hers if she wants him. Maybe she should give him a serious chance. Who knows, he might just sweep her off her feet if she gives them both time…

He gets out and walks around the car to open the door for her and let her out. He’s sweet, she thinks again, as she gets out and he carefully closes the door behind her. He’s a good guy.

“Good night.”

They look at each other with a faint smile, and for a moment, Sam’s heart beats a hint faster when he looks like he’s about to pull her in for a kiss. A part of her wishes he would, because she can feel the hint of a sting again inside when she realizes what she has to give up; what she can never have.

The pain remains, as he turns around and gets into the driver’s side of the car again. She looks down and fumbles with the keys to her house.

When she is finally inside and the door falls close with a soft click of the lock, she leans against it and closes her eyes.

It’s not perfect. But then again, what is really?

Certainly, the situation as it has been until now isn’t…

There comes a point in life where you have to face reality and part with dreams.

She pours herself a glass of wine in the kitchen and looks out the window thoughtfully. When she accidentally knocks the glass down, and it shatters on the white tiles, the red liquid spilling everywhere, she can’t help but stare for a moment.

And for a moment, just the blink of an eye, she sees her broken heart lying before her on the kitchen floor.

She isn’t sure how it happens, but for a moment she really tunes out.

Humming? Initially she is just as confused as he looks at her. Was she really humming? She realizes, that for a moment, she forgot about him as she thought about her last date with Pete.  It’s easy being with him. It’s easy having somebody who is available. It is so much easier than to keep hurting…

He’s somewhat different from the type she normally goes for, but that is a good thing. So far it never worked out with her usual type anyway. She needs somebody who is down-to-Earth, who keeps her grounded, and most of all who is available. She enjoys the first twinkle of joy in her heart that comes with falling in love. Not the overly romantic kind of love, but it’s good. It’s safe. It’s steady.

Then her heart skips a bit when her commanding officer calls her out on humming. He looks at her, and she feels the need to justify herself; feels as if she is cheating on him.

Can you cheat on a possibility?

She doesn’t have time to dwell on the thought because he releases her by waving it off; telling her that he’s happy she found someone.

It doesn’t hurt, she realizes, and faintly wonders whether that is just because a heart that is already broken cannot be broken again, or actually a sign that she is moving on with Pete. In any case, suddenly his presence is becoming awkward, and all she wants to do is run away.

He is perceptive, as always, and he calls it exactly for what it is. “Bit uncomfortable, isn’t it?”

There is no subtlety with Jack O’Neill, and she has always loved that about him. One of the many things that she adores him for.

“Yeah, a bit.”

Without another word, he leaves, and she is torn between gladness and sadness about the fact the he is so willing to leave; that he appears to care so little about her that he would just accept this desperate attempt of hers to find somebody who is equal to him; who makes her feel the same.

Then she straightens out and forces her mind to focus back on the happy things.

He is just a fantasy after all…

“Pete gave me this.”

She doesn’t know why she is showing him the ring that she has carried around with her for two weeks, and that becomes heavier and heavier in her pocket with every day. She doesn’t know what exactly it is that she expects from him either. He will not give up his career, and she won’t ask him to. Neither will he ask her. They have reached an impasse.

Maybe it’s a last desperate call for him to save her from making the biggest mistake of her life.

Maybe she needs another reassurance that he is just a fantasy after all; because if he weren’t…

He encourages her, tells her meaningless phrases about how it is possible to have children and keep working at Stargate Command. It isn’t what she is going for, therefore she finally she takes all of her courage and looks up at him.

“What about you? If things had been different…” She can’t finish the sentence, not without unlocking the door to a room that they both decided to close long ago, and she can’t help lowering her eyes. His eyes seem to bore into her, and even though she knows he is not looking away, she can’t face him while she’s waiting for an answer.

He can save her. All he needs to do is tell her that they can be real… All he needs to do is tell her not to say yes.

“…I wouldn’t be here.”

She looks up at him, puzzled for a moment by his uncharacteristically ambiguous statement. It doesn’t provide her with the answer that she needs, but she also doesn’t have the courage to ask again.

He leaves, and she looks down at the black little box which holds another possibility; a separate path for her to choose. She is at a crossroads, one road offering her an alluring fantasy that could or could not turn out to be all she ever wanted in the future, and the other one being a chance at happiness in the here and now. It won’t be breathtaking. But at least it will be real.

And yet…

The moment she says ‘Yes’ to Pete, it’s more of a spur of the moment decision, but she actually feels something resembling enthusiasm as he asks her if she’s sure, and she repeats her answer over and over again.

That’s it. It’s done, she thinks when he hugs her, and mostly she feels relieved that she has made a decision.

It is the right choice; it is the safe way.

Pete is a good man, he is nice and he makes her smile. There is no breath-taking passion between them, but she is not the heroine of a romance novel. Passion is fleeting, after all –just a temporary illusion. She needs something safe.

She can live with him. Maybe she can even learn to be happy with him.

At least he is something real.

The End (19.04.2014)

 

Author’s Notes

Please read before you hate on me!

This story was my attempt at something different. Similar to ‘Moments Like This’ I wrote it in one session within roughly two hours.

I usually don’t write present-tense fiction – but somehow this story kept resounding my head in the present tense. And there’s a bit ‘stream of consciousness’ here and there – which is probably outdated, but I like it. So I left it because I felt it would be so much stronger like this. 

You can find a detailed evaluation of my motifs for writing this story here: Kimberley Jackson’s Behind The Story: Something Real