Year One

I fell in love with apocafic, and had the scene in my head of Sam and Jack fighting off bandits in the snow. Thus the fic was born. If you want to read other good apocafic, let me know. 

 Autumn

The world ended in red and fire and smoke and screaming where life had been gray, the SGC burning from the bottom up, forcing its people up into a world filled with the dry leaves of fall.

In the end, it was neither the Goa'uld nor the Replicators, and not even the damn Ori who vanquished the Tau'ri; it was something elemental, something stupid, something completely unexpected.

The fire burned its way out and across the globe, cutting swaths across farmland, cities, even oceans in a display that had the scientist in Sam screaming that this was impossible, that nothing could burn like that, leaving trails of ruined land behind and yet leaving great plots of earth completely untouched.

It took over half of the major cities, including L.A., D.C., New York. The scientists who were left pulled their hair at the menace that had come and gone so quickly. Somehow the truth came out. SGC personnel--those who had survived--received warnings in the night: leave now or die at the hands of a mob.

Diaspora.

Daniel had been off-world with the rest of SG-1, attending some sort of Jaffa rite. Probably safe and bored out of his mind.

Jack had been visiting, waiting for SG-1 to return, spending his free minutes with Sam in her lab, annoying her for old time's sake.

He hadn't let go of Sam's hand yet. He dragged her out of the SGC when it became obvious she wasn't going to pull the solution out of her ass in time, dragged her out of the burn area, dragged her to a hospital where she couldn't tell them what was wrong, couldn't say anything at all, just sat staring at nothing, her calculations erased, her confidence shaken. They shook their heads and said they couldn't help her and didn't he understand that they had serious injuries to deal with?

He wanted to tell them—loudly—that this was the most serious thing, this woman sitting in front of them, that she was worth more than all their other patients combined, that she had already saved them countless times and they didn't know it. He didn't, because she tightened her grip on his hand and looked at him--really looked at him for the first time since it happened.

She whispered, "I'll be okay, Jack."

He thought, bitterly, that even when she was in fucking shock she was still ahead of the game. He wished she'd failed earlier, though less spectacularly. They'd become too used to last-minute saves.

He gathered their coats and they left, quietly.

They went to Minnesota, where they listened to reports of violence and starvation in the cities. Beneath the reports, they heard the announcers realize, report by report, that their world was gone.

Jack turned the radio off.


Winter

There was no more electricity.

It was too cold to consider any other option, so they huddled together anytime they weren't working on surviving. They closed off the upstairs and slept in front of the fireplace, sometimes not even bothering to take off their shoes, their bulky clothing making it difficult to get comfortable.

The first group of--they debated between the terms raiders or refugees--turned away with little prodding, unwilling to risk being shot by one of their shotguns, let alone the P-90 Sam still had somehow.

"I don't even know how the hell they found this place," grumbled Jack as he tended the fire.

Sam's shoulders sagged as she realized just how lucky they'd been. Despite being freezing nearly every minute, they had enough supplies to last even a harsh winter. Jack had spent most every penny he had left, but the spare rooms were full of cans, bottled water, and even some chocolate. It was this kind of thing that she suspected the refugees might guess from the smoke in the chimney, or the light in the windows.

She hoped they found their way south, because although the damage was greater there, it was warmer and she thought there might still be some sort of government trying to patch things up.

Jack just hoped they wouldn't come back.

The second group smashed the car before moving toward the house. There were ten of them, Sam knew, because she counted them as she and Jack dragged their bodies away from the house the next day. They didn't even try to bury them in the frozen ground, just left them for the larger predators to carry away.

That night, as they listened to the wolves outside, Sam shuddered, suppressing sobs, her feet icy despite her socks. Jack finally pulled her close, and she cried into his shoulder.

"I couldn't save them," she said, and Jack knew she meant the men outside just as much as she meant anyone else. He didn't point out the other times she had, or say it wasn't her fault, just held her until she fell asleep, exhausted. Then he kissed her forehead and watched her the rest of the night.


Spring

Jack walked nearly thirty miles to the nearest town once the roads became passable again. It took him two days to hike it, even though he was wildly out of shape from the winter. He returned in a Jaguar. Sam raised her eyebrows. He shrugged.

"It's not like I paid for it. Everyone's gone."

Sam tried to tease him about it, saying he was just indulging because he could, but they both knew it was for her. It sat in the yard for weeks, Sam carefully ignoring it each time she went to try to plant something else in the garden they were attempting to start. She also ignored the keys that were conveniently located on the table near the door. They constantly talked about moving the table because each time they went in or out their hips would brush it and occasionally the corner would dig into their flesh, but once the keys appeared, Sam stopped commenting on it, instead seeming to contemplate the sound the keys made as a counterpart to Jack's cursing when he'd hit the table particularly hard.

It was a brilliant spring day the day she finally took it out in the early morning. She slipped out while he was asleep, although he woke up at the sound of the car starting. He tried not to worry about her out there, alone, and probably--definitely--driving too fast. He hoped she'd come back, and he hoped she'd come back because she wanted to, and not because she had nowhere else to go. She returned after midnight with batteries, a generator, more ammunition, some explosives--which he fully intended to tease her about later--more cans of food, blankets, bolts of fabric, a couple of tarps, and various other items that he really should have thought about earlier, all piled in the back of a huge truck.

She watched him as he looked it all over.

He whistled. "And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why women should do the shopping."

She laughed, relieved, and gave his shoulder a small shove. They carried everything in that night, tripping over branches in the walk, lighting a couple of extra candles in celebration as they piled everything into the living room to sort through in the morning.

As they fell asleep, Jack asked softly, "How'd she handle?"

Sam murmured, "Like a dream."

Summer

In July, the Asgard beamed them up to Thor's ship, exchanging the warm, humid air for the cool, metallic taste of the ship.

Jack blinked. "Thor, old buddy! Haven't seen you in a while."

"It is good to see you, too, O'Neill."

"Hi, Jack," Daniel said, stepping out from behind a pillar. "Sam." His tone was heavy, in a way Jack hadn't thought about before. He wondered if he used to sound like that--like the whole galaxy rested on his shoulders.

Sam paled. "Oh, my god." She started shaking. Jack reached for her hand, covered in dirt like his was from working outside.

"Uh..." Daniel looked from one to the other and at their entwined hands.

Jack ignored him. "What's happening, Danny-boy?"

One more look, and Daniel sighed. "We've been pretty busy these last few months. We didn't know what was going on at first, and then the Ori...Jack. Sam. I'm sorry we didn't get back here sooner."

Jack looked at Sam, who was still trembling, her eyes wide. He thought about the hospital, and the cold, and the truck, and the fact that he still hadn't seen her really smile in over nine months.

"Yeah, well, maybe you didn't take long enough. You wanna come back in a year?"

Daniel gasped, but Thor merely nodded his head. "If that is what you wish, O'Neill."

Sam was looking at him like he was crazy--which, he admitted, he probably was--but she was still clutching his hand.

"It's not that we don't appreciate it, Daniel," he started to say, "it's just that--"

A beam of light, and they were back on Earth. In their garden.

"God, I love that guy. No questions... just," and Jack made a motion to approximate being beamed.

"A year?" Sam asked.

"Yeah, well, you know Daniel--absolutely no concept of a vacation."

She stared at him.

"What if it was important?"

"They would have told us. They obviously didn't need us that badly. They didn't even offer cake!"

A small smile.

Jack hesitated. "You didn't want to, you know...go?"

Sam opened her mouth and then shut it, considering.

Finally, she smiled widely--a smile that reached her eyes and made the last tight knot in his stomach loosen.

"No. Not yet."