Title: Old Wounds
Category: Ship, Angst
Spoilers: The Fourth Horseman
Summary: Sometimes all it takes are a few words to heal old wounds.
Disclaimer: Stargate, Stargate SG-1 and all of its characters, titles, names, and back-story are the property of MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions, SciFi Channel, and Showtime/Viacom. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author. This story cannot be printed anywhere without the sole permission of the author. Realize this is for entertainment purposes only; no financial gain or profit has been gained from this fiction. This story is not meant to be an infringement on the rights of the above-mentioned establishments
Sam rubbed her hands together as she hovered by the hospital door. With the door opened a crack, she could only catch brief glimpses of the activity inside, something that just made the knot in Sam's stomach tighten even more. She caught sight of a nurse. A doctor. And more medical equipment than she would have ever expected.
She just wanted this to be over. All of this.
"Ma'am, you can come in now."
She nodded to the nurse, took a deep breath, and entered the room. Inside, she saw balloons, get well cards, and some flower arrangements, but overall, the room felt cold and lonely. Sam tore her gaze off the flowers, focusing on the hospital bed and the sad, still form that lie there.
While Sam had mentally been preparing herself for this for days, the actual sight of Pete's withering form was too much. She brought her hand to her mouth and choked back the sob that threatened to escape from her lips.
He looked terrible, a mere shell of the man that she had once loved. Gone was the cheerful smile that used to greet her every morning. Gone was the light in his eyes that would brighten her days. Now, he was a mess a dark circles, pasty skin, and lackluster eyes.
Sam closed her eyes.
When she opened them, she found that she and Pete were alone. He watched her from his bed. "Now, I can't be that bad," he said.
She forced a quick smile, grabbing a chair to sit by his side. "No."
He let out a broken laugh. "Now, you're lying? This is why I always won at strip poker, you know."
Sam smiled at the brief memory, but the joy quickly faded as she continued to assess his condition. "Maybe I let you win."
"Sneaky," he said. "A man could grow to like that."
She couldn't help but chuckle at the comment. No matter how badly his body was broken, Pete was still in there. Sam just hoped it was enough.
She tucked her hair behind her ear, shaking off her growing insecurities as she got down to business. "The doctors say you're going to pull through. Luckily, they were able to administer a cure in time."
"Cure." He nodded and stared at her. "It's some alien thing, right?"
"I mean, it has to be," he said. "You wouldn't be here otherwise."
Sam swallowed hard and looked at her hands. She felt a spark of anger over Pete's accusation, but also a twinge of guilt. She bit her lips and closed her eyes.
She hadn't wanted to end like it did. The last thing she wanted to do was to hurt Pete. She didn't want to hurt anyone, yet she always did somehow.
"We keep sidestepping it, Sam."
She gazed up at him. "I know."
"Was it so terrible--?"
"No." She thought of all the happy mornings on her porch, the dinners, the movies, just unwinding in her home, the two of them alone, together. "No," she said again. "It was great."
He frowned. "Then, why?"
Her thoughts turned to the house. She saw herself sitting inside, gazing out the window, as she sat alone, dog by her feet, baby napping in the bedroom. She saw herself touch the windowpane, trying to reach the stars that were just out of her grasp.
"I just…wasn't ready for that kind of life," she said, gazing at him directly. "I'm not ready for that kind of life. I couldn't do that to either of us."
"Why not just tell me?" he asked, his voice hard. "Why, for once, couldn't you just tell me? You keep everything bottled up and I—" He looked away and sighed. "I thought we were great together."
Sam wiped away a tear. She cleared her throat, trying to chase away the pain that had settled in her chest. Hesitating only briefly, Sam reached over and grabbed his hand. When he turned to her with surprised, she squeezed his fingers.
"I didn't come here just on business," she said.
Pete stared at her. "No?"
She shook her head. "Pete, things…the way it ended, we…and now…" She took a swallow of air and brought her chin up a little higher. "I just wanted to see you again."
He squeezed her hand in return. "I've been wanting to see you, too." He paused, as if gauging her reaction. Then, he took a deep breath, his gaze never wavering. "Maybe we could see more of each other?"
Sam found herself smiling. "I'd like that." And when she said those words, she didn't realize just how much she met it. She slid her chair closer to his bed, her smile breaking into a full grin. "I'd like that a lot."