Sam built up the courage to knock on his office door. She had chickened out at least five times between her office and here. It was taking her longer to approach his office than the actual conversation would last, that is, if she knew Jack O’Neill at all.
“Yah.” She heard him say before she entered. She could see him behind the desk with a ton of paperwork. “Carter.” He said gruffly. “What can I do for you?”
Closing the door behind her, she took a deep breath then gathered her thoughts. “Sir, I was wondering--if it's okay--”
“Carter!” he snapped.
“Why won't you let SG--1 go through that wormhole? It's just a simple recon mission.”
“It's standard procedure--” he started but didn’t get to finish.
“That didn’t stop you before.” She interrupted, putting her foot down before he looked at her with a raised eyebrow and she hastily added “Sir.” As if it would help it not sound insubordinate.
“Carter, I’m not going to put at risk my best tea--”
“So, you do doubt my command abilities?” she interrupted him again, which only seem to rile him up.
“No, Colonel!” He said, standing slowly from his chair, “This is about assessing the risk, and my assessment is that SG-1 needs back up, so I’m giving you more people to command, Colonel. SG-1 and SG-3 will be under your command on that recon mission--”
“But sir, if you were there--”
“Then everyone’s lives would be in my hands and I would bear the blame if anything went wrong. If you died…--” Sam looked up with the unexpected change of pronoun. It just went from a collective to a singular. To her “--that would be on me. If I were there, I would have your back. I would be there to keep you safe, and I’m not anymore. So, I have to keep you safe and if I say the best way is to have SG-3 cover your back then that’s what will happen!”
“Yes sir.” She managed to answer, trying to swallow the lump in her throat which was forming. She realized that she had made him yell, which was rare when she served as his second.
“And if I doubted your command ability, you wouldn’t have command over anything as much as a teacup. Do you understand, Colonel?”
“Yes sir.” she said quietly. She stood silently for a moment while he sat down, and she tried to make it right. “I guess I don’t know General O’Neill as well as I thought.”
“If you think I would risk your life, then you never knew me at all.” He muttered, not looking at her.
Sam took a deep breath and felt him distancing himself from her again. The pain was excruciating and she wondered if she had been gunned down in the field if it in fact hurt less than this feeling she was having at the moment. “Yes sir.”
“Dismissed.” he growled, picking up his pen.
She turned and went to the door, her hand on the handle before she whispered, “I know you’d never put me in danger, sir. I’m sorry if I made you think otherwise.” Then she opened the door then closed it behind her.
Jack continued writing furiously for a few minutes, until he was sure she was out of eyesight before the pen he was using went hurtling towards the glass pane. Closely followed by the paperweight on his desk which luckily missed the glass but hit the plaster underneath leaving a visible dent in the wall.
“Damn it.” he muttered under his breath, scrubbing one hand against his face. Slowly, he crossed his arms in front of him, and slowly laid his bowed head on his desk.