AN: Angsty piece that has been floating about for a few years...time to share the misery...

SUMMARY: DEPRESSION WARNING AND SPOILER ALERT (Heroes Pt1 7.17). Sam is upset after speaking at the ceremony after 666. Jack seeks her out to see if he can help. In Canon Angst/Friendship, K+ Rated One-shot. Complete.

As soon as Janet's funeral was over she had disappeared so fast that he knew she was deeply, deeply upset and so as quickly as he could get away he had set out to find her. It had taken him a whole lot longer than he had expected because this was the one place he had never thought she would go. It was where he would have wanted to bring her, but it is not where he expected her to end up of her own volition.

He had been standing watching her for almost two minutes now, she had not moved one iota. She was just sitting there, facing away from him, staring at the ground. Quietly Jack O'Neill made his way across his own backyard to where Sam Carter sat.

Sam had known he was there long before his footsteps sounded on the gravel and he voiced her name. "Carter?" he asked and she closed her eyes tight, his use of just her surname was an instant stabbing reminder of where she had just been.

"Can you please not call me that." she voiced, the words thick with emotion. Reasons why crowded her mind, filling it with images of Janet in her casket, Janet on her final battlefield, Janet...her best friend, dead amongst the piled up corpses of their enemies. It never should have happened like never should have happened at all.

She felt him standing behind her, no more words on his lips so Sam repeated her request with the intention of offering an explanation. "Can you not call me Carter...not now." Still she did not look at him. "I don't feel like Carter at the moment...I don't want to be her, not today...I just want..." She stopped, he would never understand. How could he, she did not fully understand herself. I mean why was she even here, in his backyard of all places? It did not make any sense. What was he supposed to do? What was anyone supposed to do?

"I get it." Jack whispered. He knew she did not want to feel like she had to be the strong soldier right now and he understood that feeling. At this moment in time she was just an ordinary person who had lost a close friend and needed to begin the process of grieving in safe surroundings. He got that...he knew that ache...the one that had not yet become pain and he felt for her, he really did. She let out a soft sigh and by the way she had just dropped her head it was clear to Jack that she did not realise that he already knew of the turbulence that was growing inside her. Slowly he sunk down onto the edge of the concrete patio she sat on. "She was your best friend." he stated simply.

Sam's heart skipped a beat. His words were so simple but his tone was so complex that it gave her pause, she waited for him to speak again.

", you miss her." Jack felt inadequate, he knew that was not quite an accurate description of things...not yet anyhow. She did not miss Janet, it was too soon but before long she would and it would be hard, a lot hard than she thought. The numbness and confusion she was feeling never lasted that long and what came next was always, always a shock. It did not matter how many times you lost someone, the reality of it fell on you with the weight of a skyscraper and brought home the memory of every other death you had ever struggled through. "I understand Sam." This time he spoke only to keep Charlie at bay.

"Do you?" she asked, somewhat sceptical that anyone could understand what she was feeling.

"Yes." he stated with an air of almost quiet desperation.

Carter blinked away a tear and finally lifted her head to look at him where he sat at her side, his hands tightly clasped together, shoulders tense. His face was tight and drawn and his brown eyes ran deep with a sincere, honest emotion that she could not name but recognised all too well. Her mouth opened but no words came out past the lump in the back of her throat, nothing made sense in her head.

"C'mere." Jack eased and slowly pulled her close. She did not resist and fell neatly into his arms, pulling him nearer as she bunched her fingers into the back of his uniform jacket. Acting instinctively he dropped a kiss into her hair and rocked her for just a fraction. "I want to tell you everything is okay Sam, but it's not." She tightened her grip. "I want to reassure you that everything will be fine and this will not hurt like hell but it will...and...I'm, I'm here for you. That's all I got right now." It did not seem like nearly enough.

Sam drew in a ragged breath, already she was feeling more secure. It was like he was tethering her to the ground so that she did not just float away into some kind of painful oblivion and for that she was thankful. "Thank you. I know you are here...and that..." she looked up at his blurry features. "And that's more than enough for me. I don't think I could do this without you." she confessed somewhat unwillingly. Being this honest, even with because it was Jack, was hard.

"You won't have to do this alone, I promise. I'm with you every step of the matter what."

Sam looked back up into Jack's eyes. He was her anchor, her anchor in a sea of grief...she trusted him...and with that the first of the tears began to flow.


AN: Actually...I'm glad I found this one tucked away in my files...any thoughts?