Summary: my twist off Threads 8x18
Rating: PG13
Disclaimer: I ain't got no money, and nobody'd be daft enough to pay me for this. As it is thought, so let it be said; you make the toys, I play with 'em.

"For being there for me."

Jack felt a knife twist in his gut at her words; since when did she need to *thank* him for being a friend? What did that say about just how much of a mess he'd made of their relationship? If only it *was* still just the damned regs; but somewhere along the way, they'd lost each other. With a pull of grief, he wondered if there was any chance at all of rebuilding any part of the bond they'd once had.

But at the least he had to *try* to let her know that she could always count on his help. "Always."

Feeling her cuddling into his touch for reassurance after that too-surprised look filled him with even deeper regret; so many things were wrong with this picture. Looking back into the observation room at the other so very wrong part of this, he just caught a flash of Jacob's foggy eyes going by him.

This felt too much like losing his own father, no matter how little he had the right to the feeling. Daniel still missing and all the dead after Dakara and the replicators had just been softening punches for this blow. He hardly dared to guess how badly this was messing up *Carter*; no matter what she said.

As one of the Tok'ra visiting her father nodded up at her and she stiffened, Jack realized that she really shouldn't be going through this alone; her fiancé should be with her right now, or her brother. Such a damned mess. Then he registered that the man below was nodding to him to follow Sam and he frowned, hurrying to do as her dad asked.

Sam felt the general come to stand just behind her shoulder and was grateful for his presence. For the anchor he was and the strength he gave without even touching her. She hadn't lied about being grateful to have finally known her father, but as she felt the approach of death, again, all that she was losing choked any words of goodbye from her and she felt the tears start, staring into her father's fading eyes as he struggled to whisper.

"I. love. you." his eyes shifted over her shoulder and he tried to smile, "Both."

Touching his cheek tenderly one last time, she barely caught the soft, mourning reply from besides her, "Dad-"

When she lifted her head from her goodbye kiss, she looked besides her at Jack, catching him swallowing thickly, his eyes closed with the same grief that bowed his head and twisted his lips. Sam felt that same sudden loss coiling up through her and, for once, she took the initiative, stepping up to him and ignoring the doctors, SFs and Tok'ra. The pain in his eyes was as real as hers and she didn't see any sign telling her to stop. She dropped her head between Jack's neck and shoulder and wrapped her arms around him, feeling him return the grip.

Neither of them cried; they just held each other tightly, safely, neither inclined to think. Eventually, Walter's voice on the intercom called for the commanding general and they separated slowly, loath to give up the easy, undemanding comfort. When he was paged again, they both half-smiled and he patted her shoulder one last time before heading back to his duty.