by B. Cavis
by B. Cavis
He’s been through this before, and he knows, logically, that it will get better eventually. He knows that he will live through the next few hours and once they are done, he will be stable and steady enough to try and repair some of the damage to his psyche. When all of this is over, he will never look back and laugh, but he will have the option, and that’s support enough.
But God, he never wanted to go through this again-- never in his life. The first time was hard enough; getting himself off of the opium paste that they fed him to keep him docile and easily caged in that god damn shit hole in the sand. That had almost killed him. Sitting in the hospital that no one was allowed to acknowledge existed, with Sara out there somewhere in the dark as to whether or not he was alive or dead. With Charlie out there growing up without him.
That time had almost destroyed him because he knew that if he gave into the longing to see his family again, while still addicted, it would destroy all three of them. So he had sat with his legs and arms in bandages and plaster, trying not to scream out his weakness to the tiled ceiling, as the withdrawal worked its way through him and tore at his insides.
He returned home eventually, and felt the sweet pressure of Sara’s arms around his bruised ribs and the beautiful smell of Charlie’s hair pressed up against his nose, but he had left a part of himself behind in that sterile hospital room.
He had left more of it there than he had in the sand, and that scares him to this day.
When he first opened his eyes in the glowing, beautifully gray room, all that he had felt was relief. No more pain. No more torture. No more of Baal and his Magic Box of Nine Lives. He was here again. He was safe and sound in the place that was as much a home to him as anywhere else.
He’d looked up at Sam, Teal’c, Jonas, and GlowingJellyFishDaniel, saw the relief and love in their eyes, and felt his world restart on his terms. Felt his control coming back.
To have it torn away again so quickly by the remnants of what that bastard did to him… It makes him sick, and it makes him ashamed.
He is supposed to be The Great Jack O’Neill (no flash photography please). He is supposed to be untouchable and untouched; funny and happy. He is supposed to be the one who comforts his team mates when they go through shit like this.
They won’t see him like this. He won’t let them. That is one role reversal he won’t let happen in this lifetime.
He remembers holding Daniel in that store room and the pain that rolled through him as he knew that he was in danger of losing his friend to something dark and beyond his control. He remembers how helpless he felt and how angry and guilty. How he hated himself for not being able to do something.
How he wanted to find a rock to crawl under, and shrivel up and suffer for failing the man he saw as a brother in such a horrific, inexcusable way.
It is the nature of his team, of his family, that when one is hurt all suffer. That is just the way it works-- when a bond is this strong and this permanent, there is no way to just feel sympathy when the others are in pain. When Teal’c hurts, they all hurt. When Sam cries, they all want to. When Jonas has another piece of his innocence taken and shattered on the ground, they all feel that part of them die.
He won’t let his team see him like this because he knows what he feels when he sees them in pain, and he won’t have it reversed on them. He won’t.
Jonas came in a few hours ago to let him know that everything was fine and peachy, then left smiling when Jack muttered something about how he was doing a good job keeping him updated.
Teal’c had looked in on him just as he was feeling the first pains of withdrawal pulling at his body. Jack had simply… looked at him. And Teal’c, in with the understanding of the needs of a warrior, had turned and left.
Jack doesn’t want anyone to see him like this. Jack doesn’t even want himself to see him like this.
His hands have started to shake and the morphine drip has slowed. He could press the button again and escape from the pain. He could easily slip under the enchanting spell, replacing one drug for another.
He could be pain free for another hour.
But he’s not going to be.
It started in his hands-- strong, stable, soldier’s hands. Callused and thick with age and experience; he has always been able to depend on his hands and their fingers to keep him steady and in control of a situation. They have always tightened on the trigger when he commanded them to. They have always pulled the pin from the grenade when he needed them to.
Jack’s hands are an extension of his mind and his bravery.
They start to shake.
He knew it would happen this way. It did before. So when the first tremors run through him, he sits up, ignoring the pain in his head (it’ll be the least of his problems soon enough) and pulls the IV out. He doesn’t need to rip his flesh open any more this week, and a jerking hand with a large sharp needle in the back of it is just the way to do that.
Janet came in to see him earlier. He’ll be on his own for the rest of the day because he told her that he just really wanted to sleep. She’ll come tomorrow and know he was lying, know what he was going through.
Teal’c, if he’s any kind of friend, will keep Sam and Jonas from coming in to see him, and he knows that the big guy won’t come in on his own. T and he have an understanding; it’s been there since the beginning, and it survives every trial and tribulation the team goes through.
Protect those who need protection.
And right now, it’s Sam and Jonas. Right now, Jack needs them both safe from the sight of him and he needs to be safe from the shame of it all.
So no one is coming to see him. He feels overwhelmingly relieved and just a bit lonely, and he is willing to accept the lonely part.
The stomach pains come, and he doubles over, grabbing his flesh to ease the pain, even though he knows there is nothing that can be done about them. No one can fix this-- only time, and while he knows it, he hates it.
He tries to think about something else; to use something more pleasant as a distraction. He replays “The Simpsons” episodes in his head. Thinks about conversations he’s had recently. Gives his dick a pull or two to see if he can escape into some kind of pleasure, to have some kind of release (hey, it’s a private, unmonitored room-- he’s had wet dreams that start out like this) but the pain coursing through him takes all of his body’s interest and kills it quickly.
He imagines what he’ll say to Daniel if he ever sees him again, and hopes that he will. The conversations are full of emotional truth that he will never be able to actually say face to face with the man, and he knows it, but it takes time up and that’s all he really needs it to do. He will never tell Daniel how much he hated him in those first few days after the ascension, for tearing SG-1 apart and then giving them little more than a breeze-- a fucking blow of air-- to piece themselves back together with. He will never be able to tell him how much he appreciated seeing him there in that chamber; how it gave him so much comfort and hope in himself and his ability to endure.
He will never tell Daniel that he is glad he refused to kill him, because he will never mention that little scene to anyone ever again in his life.
But eventually even that exercise runs out. His clothing has started to stick to him, and he kicks the sheets off as the shivers start to pound through his limbs. The bed is too soft. The sheets are too warm. Need something… Need something…
He steps onto the floor and stumbles over to the corner, legs shaking as he clings to the wall for support. He feels his legs give in as he collapses onto the cement floor, palms splayed on the gray painted walls on either side of him. He presses his back into the angle and tries to resist the urge to strip down to his bare skin and let out a howl-- to release all of this angry tension in his body through his mouth.
Janet said his wouldn’t be as bad as Daniel’s-- more times in the sarcophagus, but with the “added bonus” of something actually being wrong with him when he was put in; she said he should just suffer a mild case of withdrawal.
But this is worse than the opium was. This is much worse. He feels like his body is dying; like it has to take its last breath before he can be born anew, but maybe he doesn’t want to breathe anymore. Maybe he just wants to die…
Ah, he thinks, trying to find some kind of humor and failing miserably, now we’ve reached the suicidal stage.
He wonders how he is going to get through this; how is he going to survive? He remembers hearing somewhere that goals make things easier-- that if you can find something to have to look forward to, you’re more likely to make the effort and go the distance.
Last time, he used Sara. Her hair, her eyes, the way she moaned when he thrust his face between her thighs and ate her. He clung to every memory he had of her, and when he thought he was going to die, he replayed them over and over in his head.
He doesn’t think he can use Sara this time.
There is no one in his life right now. The last time he had someone in his bed it was a random blond he had picked up at a bar, with great legs, who hadn’t seemed to care that he hadn’t remembered her name long enough to call it out when he came. She’d left understandingly the next morning, and he hadn’t thought about her since.
She wasn’t really the one he’d wanted in his bed, anyhow.
God, how pathetic was he? Sitting in a corner, going through withdrawal and shaking like a vibrator… and he was thinking about Sam?
Jack closes his eyes and takes the closest thing to a deep breath he can manage. Sam. Last time it was Sara; hell, for the longest time it was Sara. He remembers hearing her voice in Antarctica, telling him it was all okay; he had looked for Sara and then there she was.
That had boggled his mind for those weeks spent in the Air Force hospital-- how Sara had spoken to him. He had finally chocked it up to the fact that, hell, brains don’t work right when you put them on ice and leave them there for too long. He’d thought of asking Sam about it, but if his hallucination had been a two person deal, then either Sara was learning astral projection or something was seriously wrong with the both of them, not just him.
Jack presses his fingers into his eye sockets, hard enough to hurt just a little, and drags himself back to his original thought. Sam. Sam can be his lifeline.
Even though he knows that time isn’t really constant (something he loved having her explain as many times as he could for too many years) it helps Jack to imagine his time with Sam in future chronological order; to write a mental time line of images and videos. Future implies that he will get through this, and that when he does, he will have Sam waiting for him to make these images reality.
And he really likes that idea.
Maybe next week he’ll invite her fishing and maybe she’ll say yes this time.
He picks her up in his truck and she throws her duffle bag into the back before climbing up beside him in the cutest pair of jeans she owns and a tight zip up sweater. She spent hours trying to figure out what to wear, and since the naughty part of her wanted him to suffer (just a little bit) while the practical side of her knows she has to wear a certain style, this is the compromise.
He’s be harder than a rock by the time they reach the cabin.
They argue over what music to listen to, before opening up both of their CD cases and realizing that, damn, they have the same five Beatles albums, the same Rolling Stones album, and the secret fix of Coldplay in the back. She pulls hers out and plugs it in, and when “The Scientist” comes on, they both try not to look at each other and smile.
They try to pretend they don’t love each other, and when that fails she blushes bright red while he fumbles with his sunglasses.
He knows all of the right things to say to her-- no uncomfortable questions and no double entendres to make her nervous. She laughs because he makes her, and he smiles because she laughs.
The drive leaves them both physically exhausted, and she falls asleep for just a little bit on the way, leaving him to look at her and wonder just what the hell he is doing.
(Though maybe, he thinks as his hands quiver and his head drops down to rest on his knees, she’ll only be faking sleep, and when he looks away she’ll peek through her eyelashes at him and know that he loves her and know in her heart that she loves him.)
When they get to the cabin, she hops out and stretches her legs before gazing around like she’s never seen anything so beautiful. She takes a deep draught of air and throw her arms out to bathe her face in the sunlight filtering through the pine trees.
And he watches her out of the corner of his eye and feels… good. Feels really good.
He tries to carry her bag in, but she grabs it first and refuses to give it back. “Do you have a naquada reactor in there, Sam?” he teases, and she smiles wide and wicked in that way that screams “Sam” as opposed to “Major Carter.”
“No, just sex toys.”
And since that officially blows his mind for the next five to ten minutes, she makes her way into the cabin without him, finding the guest room and dropping her stuff there before going out onto the back porch and waiting for something that she tells herself isn’t his company, but that she knows really is.
The air smells of pine and lake water, and when he comes out onto the back porch and hands her a beer, she smiles and take a sip before saying anything. “I can understand why you love it here so much,” she sighs, and he feels like maybe it was the best decision he’s ever made to bring her here with him, and not just give up after all those times she said no.
“I’m glad you like it,” he says mildly, and she smiles wide enough to make his heart bounce in his chest.
“I like it here with you,” she replies, soft and honest. And then all he can see is the blue of her eyes as she lean up towards him, tangles her hand in the hair at the back of his head and pulls his lips towards her because that’s what she has been thinking about doing with his big mouth for the part six years.
She nips at his bottom lip when he pulls away (and he will be the one who pulls away because she’s too focused on the feel of him against her to think about anything as pathetic as air) and he groans because she truly is heaven wrapped in buttermilk skin. Her eyes are half lidded, her lips swollen, and she licks them as his eyes trace the soft pink of his downfall.
“Are you sure?” he asks, because if she wants out he will (he has to) let her out. It’ll destroy him, and he’ll never be able to look at her again without seeing those lips first and foremost, but he has to give her the option. His hands are on the small of her back and between her shoulder blades, gripping her shirt to hold her steady because she keeps swaying towards him.
“Yes,” she says, and that’s the end of that masturbation chocked chapter of his life.
He pulls her inside and she follows willingly, and it’s hard to move them both towards his bed because they’re still pulling at each other’s mouths and bodies, but somehow they manage.
He pushes her onto the blue down comforter, and she lays there with a smile on her face and a satisfied glint in her eyes. He gets her naked (though later, he’s sure, he won’t be able to remember how he did it) and one minute she’s clothed and the next she’s not. Her skin is ivory and peach against the dark blue blanket, and she’s exposed without shame or fear. She’s spread out on his bed, and he has to get naked himself and start making her babble or he’s going to actually pause to think about what he’s doing with her, and suffer three simultaneous heart attacks.
He laps at the crease of her thigh, soft and teasing, and when she starts to whimper and spread her legs wider for him, he starts to move down to feast upon the rest of her. Her hands bunch the blankets, desperate for a hold to keep her tied down and stabilized, and for the rest of the night, his focus is on getting her to release that hold on the world and simply hold on to him.
He bites down gently on her labia, her scent filling his nose and lungs, and he watches as her head tilts back and her eyes close.
And Jack makes the first promise he will ever make to Samantha Carter regarding their union. He laps at the tip of her clit with careful precision, and when she starts to make that noise in the back of her throat, the one women have been making since the beginning of time, he lifts his mouth off of her and whispers his intentions to her in a voice he barely recognizes.
He will reduce her to screaming, he tells her. He will make her howl for mercy and God. And when he gets inside of her there will be nothing in the world that can pull him out.
She arches up towards him, whining softly, and when he’s absolutely sure that his words have sunk in, he lowers his head to her once more and takes away her ability to hold a thought.
The dry heaves have started. He finds an empty bed pan hiding in one of the cabinets and empties his stomach of nothing but bile and fluid, and hates the tears that come to his eyes even though he knows it’s just a natural part of retching.
Hates himself for the weakness. Hates himself for not being able to deal with it.
He tosses the bedpan across the room when he’s done, refusing to throw up anymore, and takes a deep, vomit tinged breath.
The tremors have died down a little bit (he doesn’t look too much like a crack head anymore) but the sweating continues. He knows that he is on the peak right now-- that it’s all down hill from here-- but even that doesn’t offer much support. Even if the next part of this is nothing compared to the last part… it still hurts. It still burns.
He’s still in withdrawal, and there is nothing he can do to speed it along but try and focus on something else.
“You’re not allowed to see me,” she reminds him as he steps into the room. “It’s bad luck…” He pulls the box from out behind his back and shakes it enticingly. “Oh, you brought chocolate.” She stands there in her simple white dress, tapping her finger against her chin, weighing her options. “Chocolate versus bad luck…”
“They’ve got almonds in them.”
“Come in and sit down.”
He laughs and slips into the room fully, closing the door behind him. Janet is off getting into her dress blues-- Sam relented when Janet flat out refused to wear any of the bridesmaids dresses they found in the boutiques-- and they have the room to themselves. She settles her dress around her legs and sits down carefully to keep from wrinkling it.
“You look beautiful,” he tells her softly, and she blushes red before grabbing the first chocolate from the box, eating half, and offering him the other bit. He eats it without a conscious thought.
“You mean, I didn’t look this gorgeous in my BDU’s?” She smirks. “Damn you, Jack O’Neill.”
“You look gorgeous in everything, Sam. You’re beautiful. The clothing doesn’t matter.”
“Thank you. Your father is looking for me to give me some kind of pep talk.”
“Ah, so that’s why you came to me with chocolates. He just wants to make sure that you know he’ll kill you if you ever hurt me.” She waves a hand easily. “No biggie.”
“Didn’t he give me that speech when he found out we were dating?”
“No, that was the ‘if you have premarital sex with my daughter, I’ll break your face’ speech. This is the ‘if you don’t make her orgasm in your now finally moral sex romps, I’ll kill you’ speech. Big difference.”
He looks over at her, one eye brow raised. “I see. So I guess I better make you orgasm then, huh?”
“That would be advisable,” she whispers back as his hand comes up to play with her hair and the diamond drop earrings she is wearing as her something old.
“Well then it’s a good thing I can play your body like a fiddle, isn’t it?” he asks softly, and she grins wide and cheerful.
“Yes, I suppose so-”
“Jack!” Daniel pounds at the door, and the two of them look up. “Jack, Jacob is going to kill me if I can’t find you, and Hammond is too busy laughing to care-- get your ass out here now or I’ll send Teal’c in to get you.”
“Indeed,” Teal’c agrees. “The sexual relationship of yourself and MajorCarter must be put on hold for the next few hours, O’Neill.”
Jack drops his head to her shoulder, shaking with laughter, and feels her trembling with repressed giggles. “They think you’re getting lucky,” she whispers breathlessly.
He raises his head up and kisses her, slow and sweet; the way he wants to say good morning to her every day for the rest of his life.
They’re both grinning when he pulls away, and she has a starry look in her eyes. “Well,” he whispers, touching her cheek one last time as an unmarried man, “they’re right, don’t you think?”
He finds a spare hospital outfit in he metal drawer under his bed and changes into it quickly so the pain in his stomach doesn’t have time to strike again. The sweats have stopped, finally, and now all that remains are the chills. The nervous energy inside him is still there though, and he paces the room mindlessly, arms wrapped around his stomach because he knows that if he leaves them by his sides, they are going to swing and knock something over to bring people in here.
He feels empty and worn, like an elastic that has been stretched one too many times and will never go back to its original shape. He wonders how long the scars of this experience will follow him around.
Will he ever be able to sleep on his back again? Or where tan and brown clothes? Will he look at the knives in his kitchen and wonder how they would work on the chicken if there was zero gravity?
Just as well, he thinks sourly. When he sleeps on his back, he snores something awful; chicken gives him indigestion; and tan makes him look… bloated.
“I think I just felt it kicking!” He tells her excitedly, lifting his head up off of her stomach. She looks away from her crossword puzzle and smirks.
“Yeah. She’s active, easily bored, and never makes things easy for the people in charge. Wonder where the heck she gets that from?”
“Don’t be so hard on yourself, Sammie,” he replies seriously, and laughs when she punches him in the arm. “How do you know it’s not a he?” he asks.
“I just do,” she answers, mysteriously.
“No you don’t.”
“Thor said it was a girl.”
“Thor also said I was an advanced human being. Take everything Thor says with a grain of salt and a raised eyebrow.” He lays his head back on her swelled stomach, listening to the noises that are coming from inside her. She indulges him, her hand resting in his hair. He’s told her about how he wasn’t around for most of Sara’s pregnancy-- one mission or another-- and how he regretted not knowing more about it once Charlie died.
So… she lets him listen. She lets him touch. She lets him come with her to all of the doctor’s appointments, even the unimportant ones, and she lets him fuss until it drives her up a wall and she has to send him away.
He jerks up again. “She kicked me in the head!” he says, enthused, and she laughs.
“Well, I guess she gets that from me.”
In the morning, with his face pale and his eyes sunken, Jack pokes his head out of the door of his room and nods at Teal’c who is sitting quietly on the floor opposite the door, mediating. The older man nods back in acknowledgement.
“Hey T, good buddy, do you think you could find me some shoes or something?”
Teal’c rises easily. “Dr. Fraiser has said that you require several more days rest and recuperation time.”
“Yeah, but the floor is really cold.” He jumps from one foot to the other. “I promise not to go anywhere while you’re gone, really.”
“No,” Teal’c says calmly. “You will not. MajorCarter will ensure it.”
Jack jerks backwards, almost retreating into the room entirely. Don’tletthemseemedon’tletthemseemedon’tletthemseeme… “Sam?” he squeaks.
A groan comes from the cot nearest his door, and he glances over to see a blond head and a brown head on opposite sides of the bed. Jonas and Sam.
“Teal’c,” he hisses-- what happened to the agreement? What happened to loyalty? What happened to the warrior bond? He can feel the panic building in his stomach and closing in on his throat, and a soft, but rough voice dispels it all in a brush of words.
“Oh, come on,” Sam murmurs to him, head propped up on her hand as Jonas sleeps peacefully on, hugging her legs as a security blanket. “Teal’c could keep me out of the room, but do you honestly think he could make me leave you in there?” She shakes her head, but her eyes don’t leave his. “There’s no way,” she reaffirms. “Just… no fucking way.”
Teal’c bows his head in agreement. “MajorCarter and JonasQuinn were most insistent on being allowed into see you. When they could not convince me to let them, they commandeered the bed they are currently lying on.”
Sam shifts to untangle herself from Jonas, and slowly stands up, shaking the pins and needles out of her legs. Jack can’t move to save himself, but he knows he should. He should dive back into the room and lock the door, he should push past her and out into the hallway, he should just get away from her and her all knowing eyes and her perfect soul and beautiful hands.
Sam pulls a chair out of no where and forces him to sit down.
Her hand rests lightly on his shoulder, offering unconditional support and friendship. He looks up at her and she smiles fiercely. “You’re going through withdrawal in the infirmary,” she whispers. “Where the hell else would we be? Where would I be but standing outside waiting for you to let me in?”
He has a feeling she meant to say “let us in.” He doesn’t correct her.
Teal’c walks out of the infirmary in search of shoes and socks, and Sam walks into the room Jack so recently lost control of himself in. He can hear her moving about, but she doesn’t speak to him again.
When she comes out, she has the scrubs he took off, the bedpan he threw up in, and the sheets he covered in sweat in a clear medical waste bag. He watches her as she walks over to the airman at the door and hands it to him.
“Throw this out,” she orders, and he runs quickly to comply. Sam can be scary when she needs to be.
She walks back to stand in front of him, taking in his sickly appearance and sicker aura, before reaching over and taking the blanket off of the bed she was lying on and bringing it back. He puts it over his lap without protest, but doesn’t meet her eyes.
“Stop trying to be the brave one,” she says.
“I’m not,” he grumbles, but it comes out as a rasp.
“You are,” she argues, “and it’s not working. Let me ask you something, Colonel,” she says, and pulls over another chair, straddling it and resting her chin on her arms. “If I had been captured by Baal, what would you and SG-1 do?”
He works his throat to try and form words instead of whispers, and when they come he feels stupidly proud of himself. “We would have gotten you back,” he says.
“That’s right. And we did that for you, didn’t we?”
“What’s your point, Carter?”
“If I had been put through everything you’ve gone through in the past few days, would you have left me to sort it out on my own in the infirmary?”
Oh. That’s her point.
That’s actually a really good point, and he hates her for making it. “No,” he mutters, “I guess not.”
“And if I had been the one in that room, going through what you did last night, would you have looked down on me the next morning for it? Thought I was weak?”
His head jerks up, horrified at the idea of her thinking him that much a monster-- he would never see her as weak, never see her as a failure of any kind. He loves her too much to look down on her and her…
Oh. So that’s her real point.
That’s actually a really, really, good point too.
“No,” he whispers. “I wouldn’t.”
She smiles, like it’s all going to be okay, and maybe she’s right and maybe she’s wrong but he wants to believe her. He wants to believe that when he wakes up tomorrow and the day after that the pain will gradually lessen. He wants to believe that they will all always be there for him and that no one will ever make that change.
He wants to believe in Sam.
“You know what you are to me, Jack,” she whispers. No one can hear her but him, and he knows that he is being taken back into The Room for just a moment, and welcomes it. “You know exactly what you are, and I’m only going to tell you this once. What you are to me will never change, because not only is it incapable of it… but I don’t want it to.” She smiles again, pure and loving, and he nods because, hell, what else can he do?
“I know,” he replies. “Come fishing with me?”
She shakes her head and looks downcast for a moment. “I’d sleep with you.”
“That was the plan, yes,” he agrees, and she snorts.
She sits up and unfolds her arms. “You know we love you, right?”
“Good,” she concludes, and touches his shoulder again quickly. Jonas is stirring on the bed. “So,” she says, in a much more cheerful and conversational tone, “if I can talk Janet into letting us do it, would you like us to bring you some real base breakfast? I’ve finished everything I need to do in my lab and Teal’c is just sitting around meditating all day. Jonas has memorized every book he can find and the weather channel is on the fritz… we’ll eat in here.”
He watches her, vaguely aware that she is the brightest point in his life, and smiles for what seems like the first time in his life. “I’d like that.”
She bounces up cheerfully. “Great! Jonas,” she orders the blinking man on the bed, “watch Colonel O’Neill. Don’t let him leave the Infirmary, or it’s your butt Janet’s going to chew. I’m going to get food.”
Jonas nods and drops his head back to his arms, still mostly asleep. “Sure thing, Teal’c. I’ll wash it. And I’ll get the hard to reach places behind the ears and wheel wells.”
“Good boy,” Sam applauds, giggling to herself. “Sir,” she adds, turning to him with a smile, “if Jonas tries to give you a sponge bath, call for help.”
“Go get food, Major.”
“Stay here or I’ll kick you in the head, sir.” She smiles and slips out of the room. He watches her go, then turns his attention back to the more important things in life.
“Jonas,” he sing-songs, “time for school.”
The alien groans and rolls over into Sam’s warm spot. “Idonwannago!”
Oh, he is going to have so much fun with this.
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