Title:  Harbinger of Sorrow...Herald of Joy. 

 

Author:  Lingren.

 

e.mail:  dalintel@aol.com

 

Status:  Complete.

 

Category:  Angst, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Romance.

 

Warnings:  Maybe a Tissue? Character Death?

 

Pairings:  Sam/Jack.

 

Season:  6. About two months after Metamophosis.

 

Spoilers:  There But For the Grace of God, Metamorphosis

 

Content Level: 13+

 

Summary:  A messenger from the future visits the SGC.

 

Disclaimer:  Don’t own Stargate SG-1. No copywrite infringements intended. Just borrowing the Characters for a bit of fantasy and imagination.

 

Author’s Notes:  *And now for something completely different......*  A little bit of a liberty taken with the characters and the result is pure fantasy. Please ignore any spoilers for season seven’s *Heroes* episode as I have included Janet in this story.

 

File Size: 183K

 

 

HARBINGER OF SORROW...HERALD OF JOY.

 

 

by  Lingren.

 

 

Colonel Jack O’Neill woke from refreshingly pleasant dreams, and stretched contentedly, then spooned up against the woman he was sharing the king sized bed with. He curled his arm around her and nuzzled his face into the short blonde hair of Sam Carter, kissing the warm expanse of neck he found there. She responded immediately by sighing and settling herself back against his strong body, resting her head into the hollow of his shoulder. He blew the strands of her hair away from his mouth, and glanced up at the digital clock on the bedside table. The over large illuminated red numbers standing out brightly in the darkness, were telling the lovers it was time for her to leave the warmth of his bed and return home. He groaned, reluctant to let her go, holding onto her more tightly, making her giggle in response.

 

“No giggling Major,” he whispered in her ear.

 

“C’mon Jack...I have to go. You know I do.” She pulled his arm away slightly and wriggled round with difficulty to face him, only to have his arm tighten behind her again, effectively trapping her against him. Planting delicate kisses on his nose and mouth, and trailing her fingers lightly down his bare arm, she broke into his barely concealed thoughts. “You know it wouldn’t look good if I were to leave here too late. We can’t risk it.”

 

Jack sighed deeply again, growling in frustration. He lightly kissed her lips before reluctantly releasing her from the prison of his arms.

 

“Yeah I know. It’s just that...I don’t ever wanna let you go. I wish....”

 

“Shhhh.” She placed a finger against his lips, effectively stopping him from voicing his feelings on the subject of regulations. “You don’t have to say it. We have to be content with this for a while. You know that I love you,” she smiled, and his brown hooded eyes smouldered and reflected the deep emotions running though him.

 

“I love you too Sam,” He answered softly, placing another quick kiss on her nose and allowing her to wash up. She emerged refreshed, from the bathroom, while he now lay on his back, locking his hands behind his head and watching her every move as she dressed. Sam studied her reflection in the long mirror, straightening the T.shirt and skirt into place before turning to face him once more.

 

“Presentable Colonel?”

 

He sighed deeply, his eyes roaming her hungrily.

 

“As always Major,” he grinned.

 

He forced himself upright swinging his feet to the floor and sat on the edge of the bed, pulling on some sweat pants over his shorts, and dragging a T-shirt over his muscular torso. Shoving his feet into some sneakers, they then walked together down the stairs and towards the front door.

 

They hugged each other goodbye for long moments before parting with a passionate kiss, which left them both yearning for more, yet satisfied that they had decided to test their relationship to it’s limits despite the regulations, and in secrecy from their SGC colleagues, but more particularly from their CO, General Hammond. Only their nearest friends were party to their true relationship. Janet knew of course. As Sam’s closest friend and Doctor of the SGC she was well aware of the chemistry between them. After all those years of sexual tension, Janet believed it was about time they worked to resolve the situation.

 

As much as the two participants wanted to keep it a secret, it was only fair as members of the same working team that the two aliens should know about it, just in case it interfered with their working relationship. The understanding being, that if they found that the Air Force half of the team were not performing their duties properly, then they would point it out, and they would all discuss it. Teal’c was genuinely pleased for his friends. He had seen them grow closer over the years and had watched their frustrations build up to bursting point. As the new boy to their ranks, Jonas was just happy to let it happen, promising faithfully to keep it to himself.

 

Jack reluctantly opened the door and Sam picked up the pile of work, tucking it under her arm, and stepped out into the cold night air. The formality of Regulations and rules once more in place for the benefit of the neighbours or anyone else who might be watching.

 

“Goodnight Sir. See you tomorrow,” she called back without turning.

 

“Goodnight Carter.”

 

Dumping the pile of folders onto the hood of her car, she unlocked the door then placed them on the seat beside her, starting the cold engine without looking back at him standing in the doorway, illuminated by the hall light. Shutting the door against the chill breeze, he retreated to the living room before she had pulled off his driveway.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The sun poked it’s early morning rays into every crevice along the tops of the mountains, leaving the shadows fleeing in it’s wake as it rose ever higher. Jack hummed a tuneless ditty as he drove along the road, happy in the knowledge that he would soon be seeing Sam again. Although this time it would mean keeping a tight rein on his thoughts and emotions. It was difficult, but he knew he had no choice. Taking the plunge had been a huge step forwards in their relationship, but one they had both been willing to take, despite it’s risks. That was all part of his job...wasn’t it? Taking risks. Working undercover was second nature to him. Hadn’t he spent years doing things just like this during his time with Black Ops? Their status as CO and 2IC allowed them to have meetings to discuss tactics, strategy and missions, and the so called informal gatherings of his team under his roof. No-one was any the wiser. It all appeared innocent enough to the outsider.

 

Parking his car in the lot, he sauntered brightly over to the check-in desk and signed his name with a flourish, greeting the familiar guards with the ease for which he was well known. He had a reputation that nobody stood on ceremony where he was concerned. Taking the elevator down into the depths of the mountain, he had no idea what this new day would hold in store for him, but the repercussions it held would live with him for ever.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Jack’s early morning meeting with General Hammond was going well. SG-1 were due for a team briefing before they left very early the next day on a retrieval mission. He and Hammond were now discussing mundane issues, several requisitions for various items, and new staff. Suddenly the Klaxons burst forth into their loud wailing and both men leapt from their seats, wondering who would be contacting them this early. None of the teams currently off world, were due to return just yet, or perhaps one of them was in trouble. Jack took the steps two at a time, skidding to a halt behind Sam’s chair. Her fingers were rattling over the keyboard to discover who their visitor might be.

 

“Who’s calling on us Carter?” he asked her, watching through the window as the chevrons slid into place, culminating into the kawoosh as it settled into an established wormhole, glowing brightly in the grey room.

 

“I don’t know Sir. This doesn’t make any sense. It says that the point of origin is Earth.”

 

“Do we have a code?” he asked sceptically.

 

“No Sir. Nothing.”

 

“Close the Iris,” he snapped, using his authority as 2IC of the base, to issue the order.

 

“Closing the Iris.” The sergeant stated in the background, reaffirming his orders, and they all watched it slide shut, effectively cutting off the glow from their sight. General Hammond by now had joined them, demanding to know what Sam had meant.

 

“Major? I though that was impossible. How can anyone on Earth, dial home to or from here?”

 

“I’m not sure Sir. Theoretically it’s just....” her words cut off in mid sentence as the Iris slid back, once more revealing the shimmering event horizon.

 

“Who gave the order to open the Iris? Close it, damn it,” Hammond demanded, and the Sergeant once again placed his hand over the scanner, but the Iris remained fully open.

 

“It’s not working Sir. It won’t close.”

 

Sam’s fingers flew over her keyboard once more.

 

“It’s not responding Sir,” she confirmed.

 

“Stand by in the gateroom,” Barked the General into the mike, alerting the SF teams below. “Unauthorised traveller in transit. Take up defensive positions.”

 

The guards hurried to their stations and pointed their assorted arsenal towards the gate. The huge metal doors of the gateroom closed, effectively sealing them in a potential tomb. Jack stood silently, still hovering behind Sam’s chair, one hand resting tensely on the back of it, wanting desperately to rest it reassuringly on her shoulder just a few inches away. They waited anxiously with bated breath to see who would step from the shimmering flux.

 

The tension in the control room rose another notch or two, as the minutes dragged past. Would their unscheduled visitor be friend or foe? How...they all wondered...had whoever was coming, managed to disable the Iris? Their only means of defence. Was it the start of the battle for their very existence? Jack didn’t know what to expect, and he geared his mind into drawing a battle plan just in case. His body tense, ready to spring into action the minute a shot was fired. He certainly didn’t expect the scenario now in front of him as a lone woman, dressed similarly to their off-world fatigues, stepped easily from the wormhole, her hands held high in a gesture of submission.

 

“Please...don’t shoot. I’m unarmed.”

 

Hammond leant forward grabbing the thin mike, and barked into it.

 

“Who are you and why are you here?”

 

“General Hammond?” she asked, half smiling, looking up at him behind the glass.

 

When no answer came forth, she hesitated, unsure of herself. Everyone looked to the General in surprise that she knew his name. He shrugged at Jack’s unasked question. The woman then continued.

 

“My name is Captain Jacqueline Miller. I’ve come to see Colonel Jack O’Neill. I need to talk with him...in private.”

 

All eyes now turned towards Jack and he now raised his eyebrows in surprise. He looked back at the General, and shrugged.

 

“Hey...don’t look at me.” He placed a hand over his heart in a gesture of honesty. “I don’t know any Captain Miller Sir. I swear to God. I don’t know who she is. And where the hell did she come from anyway?” He looked towards the woman again, studying her hard. She was about 25 or thereabouts, and wearing an olive green baseball cap, very similar to his own, and one that had seen far better days. Her short fair hair just peeking from beneath it. Dressed in olive green BDU’s and wearing the familiar jacket with the SGC logos on the sleeves, she stood patiently waiting for someone to say something. “She’s wearing SGC gear Sir, but I don’t recall anyone here by that name, so maybe she’s from one of those... Alternate...thingy’s...you know,” he speculated waving his arms around, knowing that Sam would understand him.

                                           

“An alternate reality. Yeah...it’s possible,” Sam theorised.

 

The General once more addressed the stranger.

 

“Where did you come from and how did you disable the Iris?”

 

“General Sir. I came from the Alpha Site. Technology has advanced since you retired Sir.”

 

General Hammond let go of the mike and stood back dumbfounded. He turned to see the same reaction to her statement on everyone else's faces. He couldn’t risk the SF’s finding out anything more, and ordered Jack to collect her and escort her to the briefing room.

 

“Stand down in the gateroom,” he ordered before climbing the stairs behind him.

 

Jack was by now deadly curious. Why did she want to speak to him? How did she know him? When and where had they met? He stood in the doorway to the gateroom, his hands thrust deep into his pockets, giving an air of relaxed calm, whilst inwardly ready to leap into action, before walking over to her. It was something he was good at after all his years of training. Now he could get a closer look at her, he thought she looked vaguely familiar.

 

She never took her eyes from him the moment she’d spotted him framed in the doorway waiting for the door to open properly before stepping into the room. A Tiger, coiled ready for action, imediately sprang to mind as she took in his poised stance. A shy smile lit her face, as he sauntered forward. She brought her hand up in a smart salute, waiting for him to reciprocate it, before offering it to him to shake. He saluted her back hesitantly, and placed his hand in hers. It was warm, and the grip was firm, and she was reluctant to let it go, bringing a slight frown to his face.

 

“Finally, after all these years, I get to meet you. I’m so pleased to meet you at last...Sir,” she grinned, and he responded likewise. He liked her, whoever she was. She had an air of calm about her too, despite her obvious nervousness. Her bright brown eyes sparkled with mischief and her lopsided grin was infectious. He imagined her being unflappable in a crisis.

 

“You have me at a disadvantage Captain. I don’t have a clue who you are. I don’t recall ever knowing a...Jacqueline Miller,” he stated, as he led her from the room and up the stairs to the briefing room, where the General and Sam were now waiting.

 

Sam looked her over, feeling a slight pang of jealousy as she noted the woman could hardly tear her eyes away from Jack. Captain Miller saluted the General then surprised them all by stepping forward and hugging him.

 

“It’s so good to see you again uncle George.”

 

Jack couldn’t suppress a quick smirk at the look on the General’s face, when he almost suffered an apoplexy in surprise. Jack risked a look at Sam and she sniggered back, both of them sharing a moment of pleasure at Hammond’s expense.

 

The General coughed, and straightened up again, speechless.

 

Jacqueline then turned and walked across to Sam. She saluted in turn then shook her hand, before hugging her too. Sam remained stiff and almost unresponsive in her arms, still unsure about this young woman’s intentions. Jacqueline stood back looking intently at the slightly shorter Major.

 

“It’s good to see you too...em...Samantha,” she hesitated over Sam’s name slightly. It felt strange to utter it to her face now. “It’s been a long time. I never truly realised how incredibly beautiful you were. The photographs of you never did you justice,” she said cryptically, causing Sam to look at her curiously.

 

“Wow...thank...you.” Sam stuttered, her emotions in a whirl, along with her deepening curiosity.

 

“You said you wanted to see me?” Jack asked, interrupting them. Jacqueline turned to study the Colonel again, sweeping her eyes over his face, hungrily.

 

“Yes. But in private. What I have to say is between you and me only. I’m sorry if all this sounds a little peculiar, but it is very important.” She stood fiddling with the threadbare cap she’d removed from her head, the long thin fingers of her hands, twirling it round and smoothing at it lovingly as if it meant a great deal to her.

 

General Hammond nodded his approval, still dubious, but puzzled by her behaviour. He and Sam left them to talk, and before Jack could move to sit down, she flung herself onto him, hugging him with tears evident in her eyes.

 

“Oh God...I never thought I’d ever be doing this,” she cried nervously. Jack was stunned, but cautiously put his arms around her, giving her a modicum of comfort she apparently seemed to need. He caught Sam staring up at him, her face level with the floor as she paused in her descent of the stairs down to the control room. Her eyebrows rose in surprise, and he gave her a ‘your guess is as good as mine’ gesture, until Sam turned away abruptly and he could hear her booted feet clattering noisily down the metal steps. Eventually, after what seemed to Jack a very long time, Captain Miller released him from her fierce hug, wiping away the dampness from her eyes with her sleeve.

 

“I’m sorry. It’s just...well I never expected to really meet you, not even in my wildest dreams. This is all so strange.”

 

“You wanna tell me what this is all about?” Jack asked motioning her to sit at the table. She sat next to him, turning the chair to face him, while he sat facing the table, resting his arms across it’s polished surface, hands locked together by restless fingers, but his eyes were looking straight back at her. Taking a deep breath, she launched into an explanation.

 

“Funny really...now I’m actually here...I...don’t know how to tell you.” She fidgeted for a moment. His gaze dropped to her hands holding onto that hat for dear life, as they lay in her lap, and his head reeled in the familiarity of the movements, as the long, slightly curled fingers flexed and stretched whilst caressing the cap. He looked back at his own hands, smiling as a seed of curiosity took root in his brain.

 

“Why don’t you start from the beginning?” he urged gently.

 

“I know all about you. I came here...from the future. Your future.”

 

He was momentarily thrown by her statement. It wasn’t what he’d expected.

 

“The future? Mine?” his eyebrows rose higher than Teal’c’s.

 

She nodded, smiling.

 

“You have a mission to P7Z 488 tomorrow don’t you?”

 

“How did you know...?” He was at once wary of her intentions until realisation dawned. “Ah...of course you would...because you’re from the future...yeah right.” His mouth reacted quicker than his brain again, making him sigh. “Sorry...stupid question...go on.”

 

“Once there you will find an artefact that is emitting an EM field.”

 

“That *is* why we’re going,” he stated the obvious.

 

“Of course. That’s why I have to warn you not to touch it. Whatever happens...please...don’t go too near it.”

 

“Why? Why mustn’t I touch it?” his curiosity now peaked.

 

“It...It will kill you.” Her eyes reflected back much sorrow as he looked into them, rooted to the spot, rigid in the bluntness of her statement.

 

He sought his voice again with difficulty. He was going to die? Tomorrow? What gives her the right to alter his fate? His thoughts jumbled together until he accepted her statement, but worried about his predicted demise and what it meant for Sam. He didn’t like the idea of dying, not now it seemed imminent. He always knew he would die someday, but now it was actually going to happen, he didn’t want to face it.

 

“So...it’s gonna kill me? How?” His voice sounded a lot calmer than he felt.

 

“I don’t know all the details, only that you touched it and it zapped you into the next kingdom.”

 

“And...just why are you giving me this warning? What difference will my dying, or not dying tomorrow, make to you or anyone alse? Why are you so afraid of it?” he gulped, still trying to swallow the information, wondering again how he could sound so casual about his impending death. “What gives you the right to change things?”

 

“Because it’s consequence will have far reaching effects for Earth. Our homes. Life...our very existence....” His short bark of laughter made her stop, suddenly puzzled by his attitude.

 

“Oh come on. I can’t see that I’m that important to Earth’s history. I mean me? You’ve gotta be kidding me...right?”

 

“My Foster Mother always said you were self-effacing and cynical. I see she was right.”

 

“What? Who?” he blustered.

 

“My Foster Mother. She knew you well.”

 

“Okay...so she knew me well. But...What difference will it make to you or anyone else, if I live or die?” He already knew it would make a big difference to Sam.

 

“Actually it will make all the difference to my real Mother.” She waited with bated breath for the penny to drop.

 

“Your real Mother?”

 

She nodded and could almost see his brain ticking over.

 

“Then that would be.......Who? You gotta give me a clue here......my brain doesn’t work too well with all this...complicated thinking.”

 

She gave a frustrated little sigh, looking up to the ceiling before taking the plunge.

 

“Oh for cryin out loud....” she muttered not quite under her breath, “Do I have to spell it out for you?”

 

He was taken back by the familiar words, spoken in exasperation, just as he would have uttered them.

 

“Ah...No...I think. But I want you to tell me anyway.” She looked at him then, looked into his eyes, seeing he already realised half the truth, but was waiting for confirmation from her.

 

“You...are...were...my Father,” she stated simply. “I was named after you, Jacqueline...but everyone calls me Jackie. They knew the reasons why and deemed it was only fitting really. I was given my Mother’s maiden name, to protect her from recriminations. For some reason no-one seemed to make the connection, either that...or they just kept quiet about it.”

 

“And I’m supposed to die...tomorrow? Which means that....” He put two and two together and his words failed him for once.

 

“Yes...Sam is pregnant...she’s my Mother.”

 

The silence between them swallowed the whole room, as nothing disturbed the atmosphere around them. Life just didn’t exist for a few moments. There was just him, and her words ringing through his brain, then suddenly the whole world came crashing into his thoughts again as their enormity hit him.

 

He propped his elbows on the table and scrubbed his hands across his face and through the  unruly greying hair, suddenly feeling old and weary. He groaned softly.

 

“Oh God...what have I done? What a mess,” he whispered, closing his eyes, envisioning the reactions that Sam would go through if he did die now, leaving her to pick up the pieces of a shattered love life and face the consequences of their actions alone. She would have to leave the Air Force, probably in disgrace. God alone knew what they would say or do to her, when they found out. Out of the corner of his eye he caught Jackie’s hands rapidly twirling the cap nervously again, and Jack reached out to stop her, clasping his hand over hers. She looked up at him and grimaced.

 

“What’s with the cap thing?” he asked exasperated with her constant fiddling with it.

 

“It...It’s yours actually. Mother gave it to me in one of her more....” her voice trailed off.

 

Jack sat staring at the so familiar cap and it brought the reality of it all home to him even more so. He was supposed to die, and Sam had kept his cap, and his memory alive by calling their daughter after him. Could he change that outcome? Should he even try to? Reaching a decision, he spoke, softly probing the possibilies.

 

“Okay...so if I don’t touch the device. What then? That in itself is gonna change your life. What about everyone else’s on this planet? Should I even contemplate being responsible for the consequences of change?”

 

“If you die, it will finish Sam’s career for good.” He frowned and she continued, “It’s not so much what the Air Force said or did. She never told them you were the Father of her child. The only person to know the truth was my Foster Mother. Although I have an idea uncle George guessed it was you.”

 

“That’s another thing I don’t get...just why did you have a Foster Mother? What happens to Sam? Is that why your name is Miller?” he asked urgently, needing to know why she had been raised without Sam around. Was she destined to die too but at a later date?

 

“Mother took your...death...very badly and was...hospitalised for most of the time. She never recovered from that day. She blamed herself. Kept on saying it was all her fault. The SGC lost two of it’s finest that day. She never worked again.” Jackie let this news sink in, and watched him closely, as his shoulders slumped in defeat. “And by the way, Miller is my married name,” she added.

 

His head reeled and his heart sank beneath the depths of heartache and despair. How could Sam have let him into her heart so much, only to be broken so deeply by his death? Ironically he thought, he had done what the Goa’uld could never have hoped to achieve. He had ruined Sam’s life and her career. But had he ultimately sealed the fate of Earth too? How?

 

“Why will this affect the Earth?...apart from the fact that neither of us were out there fighting the Goa’uld.”

 

“Later on as more technology came to light, gathered from different worlds, it became clear that Mother would have been the right person to figure things out. She was so brilliant. She would have been the only one to know how to use the new device. Sam was irreplaceable, no-one ever came close to her acheivements, but instead she was only a shell of her former self, living a dream life where you still existed, she couldn’t face the reality. Her mind was locked in the past. Earth needed her, and she wasn’t there, all because you’d died.”

 

He sighed, deeply affected by her speech. His poor, unhappy Sam.

 

“Yeah...okay, but why did the Earth need her so much? What happened?” he asked wondering why it should affect everyone else.

 

“The device was a weapon of great power, and the scientists were urged to discover it’s potential quickly as we faced the threat from the latest Goa’uld System Lord. It would have saved this planet from destruction....”

 

“You’re telling me that because I...died, this Planet...Earth...will be destroyed years later.”

 

“Yes. Without Sam around to study it, and add new safety protocols, the President ordered us to use it straight away, but no-one saw the danger, and it backfired on us. Several groups of us were off world at the time, and now we have nowhere to go, except to remain on the Alpha site with the Tok’ra and coexist with them. Working beside them...to keep fighting...to learn new technologies. That’s when we discovered this little gadget.” She showed him a small device with many glowing lights and buttons on it. “It allowed me to come here, back in time to warn you. It’s set ready for me to return again. With the new weapon we could have defeated the Goa’uld. Now there aren’t that many of us left, and it won’t be long before they finds us and destroy us too.”

 

“When did all this...does...all of this happen?”

 

“To me it was just over eighteen months ago, although it seems like a lifetime, but to this...Earth, it won’t happen for another 24 years. You can stop this...Daddy....” The word sounded strange to her lips even as she spoke it, not sure if he would accept it, but he never commented, too deep in his thoughts to acknowledge it. “If you don’t touch the device, Mother will remain working for this facility, even after the baby...I...was born, and then she will be able to stop it happening. It’s our only chance.”

 

“How can you know that? How the hell do you know it all boils down to my death?”

 

She hung her head and tears glistened as they rolled down her cheeks. She wiped them away angrily with her sleeve again.

 

“I’ve seen it before. I visited an AU world, where...things happened, just to prove those events. They survived intact and went on to defeat Goa’uld when they came. I saw it all for myself. I saw Sam working on the extremely complicated device. If they hadn’t defeated that Goa’uld, then I wouldn’t be here now, and I wouldn’t be able to warn you. I was trapped there during the fighting. I know what I saw, and it wasn’t a pretty sight even though they did win the battle.”

 

She stopped, her eyes pleading with him to believe her. They were filled with a hope which he could only empathise with. He saw the desperation in their depths and knew that what she had spoken must be the truth. Hadn’t Daniel experienced the same desperate hope, the same urgency to save this world from destruction, before, all those years ago when he’d witnessed an alternate world’s demise.

 

“Then I guess I don’t have much choice do I?” he whispered. “So I’ll stay away from the damn thing, and I won’t let anyone else touch it either. I promise.”

 

“Once it has discharged it’s protecting energy force, it will be safe to transport. It’s force is dissipated exponentially. As it is touched....”

 

“Ack...don’t.” He held up his hand to stop her mid flow. “You obviously take after your Mother,” he grinned. Now as he studied her features a little closer, he could see visually, that she was like both of them. She had her Mother’s hair, but his eyes and nose. Her shapely lips were Sam’s, and she was tall and slender like both of them. This was their daughter sitting next to him. He’d given up hopes of ever having a new family altogether. Sam had told him that Janet said she couldn’t have any children. What had changed for it to happen?

 

She grinned back at him, remembering what her Foster Mother had told her of him. Many a night as she was tucked up in bed, had she spoken of him, telling her what he was like. All the little details she could recall, and Jacqueline couldn’t hear enough about him. She roused from her thoughts and smiled at him wistfully.

 

“I’m glad I got to meet you, and if you do survive tomorrow, then I know I will have had the best life I could ever have dreamed of.” He took her hands in his, and stood up, drawing her up from the chair and into a hug. The world fell silent as they were wrapped in each other’s arms, oblivious to anyone watching. Jack found it an intensely emotional moment, to be held by a daughter he never imagined he would have, and one who loved him despite his absence from her life. “Take care of yourself Daddy,” she cried.

 

Sam had chosen that moment to climb the stairs again to see if they were still busy talking and spotted them embracing, unintentionally eavesdropping, listening to the Captain’s words spoken softly but just loud enough for her to hear and understand. She realised she was witnessing something monumental. This was Jack’s daughter? How? When? Who’s? Jack had never mentioned any daughter before. Why had he kept her in the dark about this? Embarrassed and feeling like an intruder she ran back down the stairs again, hurrying from the control room to seek companionship with her friend Dr. Janet Frasier.

 

After they broke contact, both Jack and Jacqueline, felt slightly strange, and he ventured to ask further questions that had niggled at him. He turned his thoughts away from the tragedy and focussed on her instead.

 

“Wow. Married?” he commented, his mind quickly realising she was old enough after all.

“Kids?” he asked sitting down again.

 

She sighed, smiling wistfully and nodded, once more settling into the chair.

 

“Two. Here.” She delved into her pocket, pulling a dog eared photo and handed it to him. It was of two small blonde boys, posing from the back of a truck, each sporting an identical and familiar cheeky grin. He spent a long moment studying them. “Your Grandsons....” she enlightened him, watching a smile creep across his face. “Ben was 2 and...Jack was 3 when we took that.” 

 

“Wow...my Grandkids huh? Another Jack too...cool,” he grinned. “They look great kids, and full of fun.”

 

“Yeah...you would have loved them, full of mischief they were. I...I lost them when...*it* happened, along with my husband Ronnie, and the rest of the population.”

 

Her words hit him like a driving blow to his gut, making him reel with sudden earth shattering memories of pain. Taking a last look, he handed the photograph back to her with shaking fingers.

 

“Oh God...not again. I’m really sorry,” he choked out, “I...I don’t know what to say. It sounds kinda cheesy to say I know what it’s like...but I do.” He felt the tears sting behind his eyes and wiped away a single tear as it rolled from his eye, remembering what it felt like to lose a child. He’d lost his son Charlie, but she had lost two sons, and her husband. He reached out to grasp her hands in his, gripping them tightly, sharing the deep feeling of loss.

 

“I know all about Charlie, Daddy....” she whispered softly, “I’m sorry too. I’m sure I would have been proud to call him my brother.”

 

Jack nodded speechless. His couldn’t trust his voice just then. Long moments passed before he dared venture to speak again, changing the subject to get back on track, and lighten the sombre mood that had fallen over them, still searching for answers.

 

“Uncle George?”

 

She laughed suddenly, and now saw only confusion in his face.

 

“I was practically brought up in here. I spent many hours running around these corridors. General Hammond became like an uncle. He was so very fond of Sam. She was like a daughter to him, and he felt her departure as keenly as your death. He often went to visit her in the hospital whenever he could, and after he retired, would spend hours with her, reminiscing over old times. You were both very popular here, and I grew up listening to lots of stories about how you often *disobeyed* orders, played practical jokes, or acted the fool, as well as your daring exploits with SG-1. Mother told me you were waaay smarter than you ever let on.”

 

“Sam told you?”

 

“No...my Foster Mother, I should say. Janet Frasier, she was more like a Mother to me than Sam was.”

 

“Ah...that explains it.”

 

“Can I go see her?”

 

“Sure. She has to check you out anyway.”

 

They both stood up and left the room. Jack smiled as he walked through the corridors beside her, Jackie knowing exactly where to go. He grinned at Ferretti’s face, when she greeted him by name, and he looked back at her blankly. Jack shrugged at him and they continued on, leaving a puzzled Major behind. She greeted another officer just outside the Infirmary and Sam who had been chatting to Janet, heard them coming and made her excuses to leave, not wanting to intrude again.  She paused in the doorway, letting them through first. She was about to give him a half smile in passing but her breath caught in her throat, and the smile quickly faded from her lips as she overheard the whispered ‘Mother’ issue from the Captain’s lips when she’d spotted Janet. Sam’s heart clenched painfully, as she witnessed the inevitable embrace with the Doctor.

 

This was Jack’s daughter, and she’d just referred to Janet as her Mother. Sam felt herself blush, and looked away quickly, rushing out of the door and down the corridor, away from the scene, needing to escape. She blinked back the tears smarting behind her eyes, at the thought that Jack had obviously  deceived everyone about his relationship with her best friend. How could he have done that? How could Janet? she wondered, sobbing inwardly. She’d barely made it to the bathroom when the growing nausea suddenly overwhelmed her and she retched pitifully. Sliding to the floor, she sat leaning against the toilet, sobbing hard, and feeling utterly wretched. All her hopes and dreams lay shattered around her. She felt them flush down the toilet along with her last meal. He had betrayed her trust, and loyalty. Had all her love for him been for nothing?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Leaving Jackie in the guest suite to rest, Jack took off to brief the General. He wasn’t quite sure how he was going to explain everything to him, and knew he couldn’t say anything to his CO about Sam’s condition, without speaking to Sam first. He decided to just stick with the basics for now. The news would eventually come out regardless of the outcome of the next day’s events.

 

He spent the next hour going over the facts with Hammond, convincing him that it was still worth their going to retrieve the device, and promising wholeheartedly to stay as far away as possible from it, and not allow anyone else to touch it, until it had been made safe.

 

Escaping at last from General Hammond, Jack looked at his watch and knew he would be just able catch Sam before she left for home.

 

He stood silently in the doorway closely observing her pale and unhappy face. Was that a tear he saw, hovering on her lash? She looked sick, and he wondered if her being pregnant was responsible. Did she even know about the baby yet? he wondered. If she did, then she hadn’t told him. Why not? She was putting her things away when she looked up and caught him standing there leaning against the frame watching her. He grinned widely at her, his eyes full of warmth and affection. He was slightly puzzled by her cool reaction, as she looked away almost ignoring him. Warning bells rang in his brain. Perhaps she’d just found out and was angry about becoming pregnant. She had looked a little upset when she left the infirmary earlier. He took the plunge, and walked over to confront her, wanting desperately to pull her into his arms and reassure her that things were going to be just fine. Her cold words stopped him abruptly.

 

“Is it important *Sir* because I really am tired?” The way she emphasised the word *Sir* brought an imaginary ice cold hand up to clutch at his heart.

 

“Sam?” he asked confused by her chilly reception.

 

“Colonel.”

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“I just want to go home to bed *Sir*. Can it wait until the morning?” There it was again, that so cold *Sir*.

 

“I only wanted to know if you want me to drop by tonight?” he whispered, “I have something to...look...we really need to talk.”

 

“That won’t be necessary *Sir*. I’ll see you in the morning. Goodnight Colonel.” Her voice quivered over the words and she hurriedly grabbed her coat, rushing out of the door before he’d realised it.

 

He turned to follow her with his eyes, a puzzled frown covering his face. Taking a couple of steps outside the lab now, only to watch her disappear quickly down the hallway.

 

“Carter?” he called after her, “Sam?” She didn’t respond, just kept going, heading for the elevator, head down, practically running. Running away from him. Jack stood, flummoxed, shoving his hands deep into his pockets. She obviously wasn’t taking the news particularly well. He shrugged his drooping shoulders and walked from the lab, lost in his thoughts, feeling guilty once again at what he’d done to her. Wondering if he was doing the right thing. Should he leave her to think things out by herself, or if he should confront her, assuring her of his wholehearted support?

 

Wanting to change and go home too, he entered the locker room only to find it teeming with SG teams recently returned from missions. Jovial conversation was the last thing he wanted right now, and turned his back on the raucous noise, walking away from the hubbub which always signified the release of built up tension when teams returned safely. He decided to leave her to get over it on her own. They could sort it out later, after the mission. Sam was good at working things out by herself, why should this be any different? Because....the answer came back in a flash...she’s carrying your child. Still, he thought, give her some time and space to think things through. It was a momentous change for her.

 

He headed back to his office, and although it was late, he couldn’t help thinking that if anything *should* go wrong tomorrow, he’d better clear up his paperwork tonight. Switching the computer back on, and pulling the keyboard closer, he opened the word processor application, and began to compose a letter to her. He had a lot to say, but if she was unwilling to listen to him, and he did die, then perhaps she would read this note and understand how he really felt.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Sam avoided his eyes as they waited, geared up and ready to go, at the bottom of the ramp. He, on the other hand, was chatting to Jackie who was clinging onto his arm and talking non-stop to him. Every now and again he would look in Sam’s direction and try to catch her eye, but she was having none of it. She’d spent the best part of the night crying over his duplicity, and was full of suppressed anger right now. It was this that kept her flagging spirits up, giving her the necessary energy to face the mission, otherwise she just wanted to curl up and die. She’d thrown up once or twice during the night, and again this morning, and now felt like a wet rag. She knew she could pull out of the mission if necessary, but that would be the easy way out, and she wanted to show him just how furious she was with him. The planet was supposed to be uninhabited, and it would prove as good a place as any for a private argument, away from listening ears and prying eyes, if only she could push her emotions away long enough to actually talk about it with him. More tears stung behind her eyes and she resolutely blinked them away, furious with herself for her own weakness.

 

The chevrons lit up one by one and the event horizon burst outwards, before settling back to form the wormhole within the Naquadah circle. Jackie reached over and kissed Jack on the cheek, and he grinned back broadly, causing a few odd looks to pass between Jonas and Teal’c and they in turn looked at Sam, who had to look away from their scrutiny. Jackie’s gesture bringing a few curious looks from the security detail around them.

 

“I’ll be fine. See ya later,” Jack reassured his daughter, as she removed her hands from his arm.

 

“You just do that,” she chided.

 

Sam turned her head away not wanting to see the warmth already evident between the two. The very idea of Jack and Janet, almost undoing her resolve, evoking another feeling of bile rising in her throat, and she fought against it. His voice brought her back to reality again.

 

“Carter? You okay...you look a little green this morning. Are you sure you want to go through with this? You could sit this one out if you’re...sick.” His voice, soft, full of concern, making her feel worse if anything.

 

She looked up to find him standing next to her, his face wearing a worried frown.

 

“I’m fine *Sir*.” she snapped, heading up the ramp away from him.

 

He stood there sighing, frustrated again. There it was again...that coldness carried over from yesterday. He had really blown it. She was really angry with him, and he realised that she was obviously worrying about her future now she was carrying his child. Maybe they could talk about it on the planet after they’d collected the device. He took a deep breath and marched up the ramp, after his team, only turning round to give a quick wave to Jackie, before disappearing into the shimmering surface.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The first thing he saw as he stepped from the wormhole, was Sam hunched over a huge rock, having evidently thrown up. He hurried across to her, barking out the usual questions to the others as he went.

 

“What have we got Teal’c? Jonas?”

 

“Nothing O’Neill. The area is secure.”

 

“No signs of any hostiles Colonel.”

 

“Fine. Keep your eyes open kids.” He reached her side, and laid a hand on her arm. “You’re not all right are you? Sam please....”

 

She yanked her arm free of his touch, and stepped away, putting a little distance between them, vowing to put in for a transfer to another team as soon as they returned home.

 

“I’m fine Sir. It was a rough ride that’s all.”

 

In all his travels through the gate, rough or smooth, he had never known her to lose her last meal because of Gate travel. Even on their first mission together, she’d been nauseous, but had never actually thrown up.

 

“Sam we’ve got to talk. There’s...something we need to discuss.”

 

“There’s nothing to talk about. Whatever it was between us, is all over now.”

 

“What? Sam...you can’t mean that?” he whispered fiercely.

 

She turned on him then, her eyes full of hate.

 

“Oh but I do,” she snapped.

 

“Sam?...I....” He was trying to fathom out what she was thinking and why she wanted to end it.

 

“I don’t want to discuss it right now,” she interrupted.

 

He sighed. This was going to be harder than he’d imagined.

 

“Okay. If that’s what you want. But we have to talk it over sooner or later.”

 

“Fine. Whatever.”

 

He turned away from her abruptly, feeling the pain of disappointment at her words. Squashing them into that little corner of his heart where all his hurt lay deeply buried. He reverted back into the hard military commander mode.

 

“Okay kids let’s get this over and done with. Teal’c take our sixes. I’ll take point. Jonas...you’re with Carter.” Without another word he strode forward setting a blistering pace. It was some three hours later that Teal’c’s voice penetrated his churning thoughts.

 

“O’Neill. It is time for a rest period.”

 

He turned back to see Teal’c supporting Sam by her elbow.

 

“Major Carter is unwell,” he stated simply.

 

Jack wanted to run back to her, to throw his arms around her and find out what was wrong, but her words now stood between them like an invisible barrier. He was hating himself for behaving like an ass, but he couldn’t stop himself from biting the harsh words back to her.

 

“Why didn’t you say something earlier Carter.”

 

“I’m fine Sir. Teal’c is being a little over protective Sir,” she ground out through gritted teeth, gamely ignoring the nausea which threatened to overwhelm her again.

 

“The hell you are Carter. Why didn’t you stay behind? I could have gotten someone else to take your place.”

 

“I said, I’m okay Sir. It’ll pass.” The normal feeling of nausea that bothered her every month, usually passed off after a few hours, but this time it seemed to want to hang around, making her feel much worse than she’d ever felt. Mainly the guys would never notice this, but today...well, Teal’c had noticed, and so had Jonas. Only Jack seemed oblivious, but that could be because he was probably pissed off with her now, she deliberated.

 

He looked at her pale face, and knew she must have been feeling really worn out from his enforced pace, especially in her condition, and after having thrown up too. He felt guilty at making her keep up with him, just because he was miffed with her. Why didn’t he think. It dawned on him then that if he continued to push her like this, then she might well lose the baby and change the future altogether. Hadn’t it changed already? How was she supposed to feel that much love for him?...when right now they were falling apart from each other with the gap between them widening with every word spoken in anger.

 

“Take 20 kids,” he said softening a bit, and dropping wearily to the ground to join the others. He surreptitiously watched her every move, from below his hooded eyes, hidden behind his sunglasses. She took a few sips from her canteen, swallowing down a couple of tablets. What they were he had no idea, but hoped they wouldn’t harm the baby. She never touched a bite to eat while the others chewed on energy bars, she stuck with the water.

 

After 20 minutes, of feeling remorseful, he stood up again, relieved to see the colour creep back in her cheeks again.

 

“Carter? Feeling better?” he enquired, a little kinder than his last words had been spoken.

 

“I’m just fine Sir,” she answered coldly, her look saying...‘with no thanks to you’.

 

“Good. Take point.”

 

She looked at him then, her expression unreadable, but Jack ignored it. Giving her the lead meant she could set her own pace. “I’ll take our sixes,” he added, wanting to put as much distance as possible between them.

 

They started off in silence. Teal’c and Jonas just looked at each other, knowing something had happened between the two officers, to cause the tension crackling in the air around them.

 

Onwards they marched, much slower than before. Jack hardly noticed the landscape as the miles passed, his thoughts filled with Sam and how things were changing rapidy between hem. He was glad to see that Teal’c and Jonas were at least cooncentrating on the task of keeping a look out. After another two hours of trekking through the unknown wilderness, they arrived at the structure they were seeking. It wasn’t exactly a temple, nor was it an ordinary building. It was an unusual edifice to say the least, with towers and arches, surrounding a large crumbling dome to one side.

 

Jack peered round the doorway, poking his P90 through it, and following it cautiously into the darkness, staying close to the walls. The device was sitting in the middle of the room, a glow and slight crackling emanating from it. He swept his flashlight round the darkened room, and perceived no danger to anyone.

 

“Okay...It looks safe enough. I don’t think it’s gonna fall down on us.”

 

Sam held her gadget out towards the glowing device and confirmed it was emitting an EM field around it.

 

She approached it carefully.

 

“It seems to be surrounded by an energy force field Sir. The readings are off the scale.” she reported, swallowing her emotions and trying to sound as neutral and professional as possible.

 

Jack wandered closer, but heedful of his prior warning from the future, he stayed back from it.

 

“That’s close enough Carter,” he warned.

 

“I have a job to do Sir. I need to get closer,” she snapped back.

 

He knew that if she got much closer and anything happened to her, then even Jackie would cease to exist. He had to think of the consequences. He stepped forward, nearer to the device, and took the meter from her surprised hands.

 

“Then I’ll do it,” he snapped, holding the gadget up towards the device. Sam was furious.

 

“Sir. I’m perfectly capable of doing my job, thank you. “ She went to snatch it back again, but he held it away from her, ever nearer to the force field.

 

“I do not understand your behaviour O’Neill. Major Carter should be allowed to carry out her survey. Have you acquired an understand of the science required to interpret it’s readings?”

 

“No...I haven’t Teal’c, but....” Sam snatched the gadget from his fingers as he turned to face the Jaffa. She stepped forward away from him again, probing the air, walking ever closer. Jack heard the whine of the force field as it began to build up it’s charge. He leapt into action, grabbing the gadget from her fingers and pushing her away with all his might, shouting a warning to her.

 

“Sam...no...the baby....” Sam was shoved roughly away from the device, landing ungracefully onto her butt on the ground, shock evident on her face at his words and the sight now playing out in front of her.

 

The static beam of energy seemed to leap from the device towards him, zapping the gadget in his hand.  Jack fairly sizzled as he writhed and yelled in agony, caught up in the grip of it’s  electrical power, as it flowed through his body. The powerful charge stopped as suddenly as it had started and he dropped to the floor like a stone, to lay unmoving and still in the silence that followed.

 

Teal’c hurried forward to remove Jack’s smoking backpack and turn him over onto his back, feeling for a pulse. Sam looked on horrified, not only by his unconscious state and his charred hand, but because of his last words to her. She placed a hand to her stomach and realised he knew something she hadn’t and the whole idea of her being pregnant sank into place. The nausea...so much more than normal, the tiredness, the emotions running wild. She was carrying his child...and he knew? How? Teal’c’s next words knocked her for six.

 

“There is no pulse Major Carter.”

 

“Noooooo,” she screamed, unable to contemplate the harsh reality as it lay before her. “No Teal’c he can’t be dead. He can’t be. I won’t let him die.” She scrambled to her feet, with help from Jonas, and rushed over to him. Jonas picked up the gadget, from where Jack had dropped it, commenting that it had been fried, along with their CO.

 

Sam tore away Jack’s P90, and yanked open the vest and jacket, desperately starting CPR on him. The others watched helplessly as she worked to try and get his heart started again. Her hands fused together, pushing down on his chest while she counted off, then stopped. Breathing now into his mouth in order to get air into his lungs, she then continued again with the compressions. Seemingly endless minutes passed, the air around them punctuated by grunts from her efforts to revive him.

 

“Please Jack...breathe...damnit. You can’t...die on...me. Come on...breathe...do it...for me,” she sobbed in between the overwhelming struggle to bring him back to life again. “Don’t you...leave me...now...do you...hear me?...Not now...Jack.”  

 

Jonas took over the compressions from her, and she concentrated in blowing life-giving breaths into his mouth. They had almost given up hope when she felt him shudder beneath her as he took his first hesitant breath. It was shallow, but it brought tears of joyous relief  to her eyes. His pulse was weak, and it beat erratically beneath her fingers. She sat back on her heels and cried, and wiped the sweat from her brow, before issuing orders that they needed to get him home again quickly.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Janet had spent the afternoon chatting with Jackie. She didn’t need to be told anything about the facts, she could see them for herself. She could see it, in the likenesses between her and Jack and Sam to realise just who this young woman was, and the closeness she’d seen as they talked together earlier. And Jack had made no secret of her identity when he introduced her to Janet.

 

Suddenly Jackie staggered against the desk and Janet quickly grabbed hold of her, preventing her from falling. Janet eased her down into the nearest chair, and took her trembling hands in her own as Jackie looked up, tears rapidly filling her eyes.

 

“I didn’t stop him. It’s too late,” she sobbed, shaking her head. “I warned him to be careful, but it’s too late now. He’s dead.”

 

“Who Jackie? What do you mean?”

 

“Daddy. I came to warn him, I told him not to touch it, but it didn’t stop him. Now he’s dead.”

 

“You don’t know that. How can you possibly know that?”

 

“I do know. I can feel it. The past hasn’t changed at all. If he’d kept away from it and lived, it was supposed to change everything, but it hasn’t. It’s going to happen all over again.”

 

“You knew this was going to happen? Today?”

 

She nodded, still crying.

 

“Then that means Sam is...your....”

 

“My Mother...yes.”

 

“Ohhh my God. Poor Sam,” she muttered softly, half to herself. “Tell me what happens,” she demanded.

 

“Daddy touched the device and was zapped by an energy force. He was electrocuted and his heart stopped. They managed to revive him, but he didn’t make it home again. His heart just kept stopping from the massive shock. It never settled back into a proper rhythm again.”

 

Janet thought about the problem for a few moments and suddenly grabbed Jackie’s hand and pulled her from the chair.

 

“Come with me.”

 

“What?”

 

“We’re going to see General Hammond...Now.” Janet dragged her through the door and down the corridor to the elevator, explaining as she went.

 

“It’ll be different this time. I’m going to get the General’s permission to meet them on the way back to the gate, and then I can stabilise him before he really dies.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Sam called them to a halt again. They had already stopped several times for her to check on Jack’s pulse. This time when she felt for it, there was nothing to feel. She cried in frustration again, and Teal’c lowered Jack’s lifeless body to the ground so they could start to revive him once more. Jonas doing the compressions as before and Sam gave Jack ‘mouth to mouth’ breaths. After endless moments he gasped in another ragged breath and they all heaved a sigh of relief. This was the third time since he’d been zapped that they had resurrected him. How many more times could they carry on doing this? Sam asked herself. Surely he would end up with brain damage after all this time. Was it worth it? Would he think any the less of them if they had given him his life back only to suffer the ignominy of mental disability. She vowed then that if he did suffer, she would always be there for him, no matter what. Despite the fact that he had a daughter with Janet, she still loved him, and it was clear to her, that his attitude towards the Doctor had never seemed more than just friendly these days.

 

As Jack’s breathing increased gradually, they all sat catching their own breaths, Sam’s radio crackled and a familiar voice came over the air.

 

“Major Carter...SG-1 come in please.”

 

“Janet?” Sam exclaimed.

 

“Yes. I’m on my way to meet you. How far from the gate are you?”

 

“We’re about 6 miles due west. How did you know we needed help?”

 

“Captain Miller told me. I’ll explain it all later. How is Colonel O’Neill doing?”

 

“God Janet...we just had to revive him again. I’m worried about brain damage. His pulse is erratic and he keeps arresting.”

 

“I know. Don’t worry. I’ve got all the necessary gear with me to keep him alive and get him home again, until I can hook him up to the right equipment back at the SGC. Keep doing all you can Sam. Be with you soon.”

 

“Roger that. Out.”

 

Sam released the button on the radio and slumped in relief. Janet was on her way with much needed help. She nodded to the others, they had overheard the conversation and were relieved too, Sam was smiling for the first time today.

 

“C’mon  guys let’s get to the rendezvous. The quicker we get him to Janet the better.”

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Janet watched as the struggling group edged ever closer. She and her team quickened their pace, until the last several hundred yards stretched between the two parties, before they were running to meet them. She could see Teal’c had stopped walking suddenly and she watched as he quickly laid Jack onto the ground, and Sam furiously started CPR on his limp form again. In no time at all, Janet was beside her shouting orders, gently pushing the others out of the way, she had no time to lose, not if they wanted to change the inevitable outcome. She took over the compressions while a nurse cut the sleeve of his jacket, exposing his arm and quickly injected a dose of Epi into it. As one, the nurses worked together with Janet, in a well rehearsed scenario. Someone fixed an oxygen mask over his face, bagging him, and IV needles were inserted under the skin of his now bare arm, where fluids were started. To everyone’s dismay nothing was happening, and Sam was hovering on the very brink of despair as she watched him for any signs of reviving.

 

Janet opened up the portable defibrillator, leaving the compressions to another of her nurses, and charged up the paddles. Everyone stood clear as Janet shocked his body into arching from the ground, and they all stood around holding their breaths, hoping it would work. Again nothing happened. Janet shouted that it needed it to be done again and charged the machine to a higher setting. She zapped him a second time, and this time as he arched beneath her, they heard a heartbeat from the monitor and he started to breathe once more. His heart rate settled into a more steady rhythm making everyone sigh with relief.

 

Jonas and Teal’c both placed a comforting arm round Sam’s shoulders. She hadn’t even realised she was crying. Crying because she and Jack had somehow been at odds with each other. She had been really angry with him, she still wasn’t sure what was going to happen to him. Crying because she was pregnant with his child, and if he died...what then? Crying because she didn’t have the energy to work it all out. And crying because she did know that he had saved her life and that of the baby, by pushing her out of harm’s way. How could she be angry with him for that, when it was obvious that he cared that much for her? Maybe he would explain it all to her when he recovered. The next thing she registered, she  was sitting on the hard ground, Teal’c behind her supporting her. She was leaning back against his solid chest, with Janet fussing over her. When had she sat down?

 

“It’s okay Sam.” Janet reassured her, seeing Sam now looking thoroughly confused, but with them again in spirit and body.

 

“What happened?” Sam asked looking around her at their concerned faces.

 

“You fainted. Look...Jack’s going to be fine. He’s stable for now, but we have to get him home. Okay?”

 

Sam nodded, she didn’t remember a thing about passing out. Jonas offered her the water canteen and she swallowed a couple of mouthfuls of the tepid liquid. The two other men in her life both gently pulled her to her feet and supported her. She looked across at Jack, now laid out on a stretcher surrounded by all the portable equipment Janet had attached to him. They were ready to take him home.

 

“Thanks guys. Sorry about that.” she smiled shyly. It wasn’t everyday she would pass out, but then she grinned inwardly...t wasn’t everyday she got to carry a child. One which Janet had believed she couldn’t bear. Somehow she had conceived. Maybe when her experience with Nirrti’s DNA experiment had been reversed, it had put right the damage, somehow it had given her back more than she thought possible...the chance to have a longed for child one day. Now here she was, carrying Jack’s child, and it was making her feel so different inside now. Was this what Motherhood was all about? She placed a hand over her stomach again in awe of the developing infant inside. She realised the others were looking on in amusement.

 

Janet smiled across at her as they walked on towards the gate.

 

“Sam...I do believe congratulations are in order,” she whispered away from her staff. “I don’t know how yet...but whatever happened, I’m so glad for you.” She put out a hand and squeezed Sam’s arm in support, as a gesture of their friendship. Janet really wanted to pull her into a hug but couldn’t yet, not only would it look odd to her nurses, but it would take her away from her main concern right now, and that was Jack. There would be plenty of time to show how pleased she was, later. Sam laughed back, happy beyond words, knowing he was going to pull through now, and that Captain Jacqueline Miller, the one who was ultimately responsible for saving his life.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The shimmering flux rippled and Janet, closely followed by her staff bearing the stretcher with Jack safely strapped to it, stepped from the wormhole to place him onto the waiting gurney then hurried from the room. General Hammond looked to Janet for some reassurance. He had been anxiously waiting to know whether his 2IC was going to live or not. Janet saw him and, a moment before she disappeared after her team, she spared him a quick smile and a nod. The General sighed deeply and turned to watch the rest of SG-1 walk down the ramp towards him. The wormhole dissipated behind them, leaving the room quieter now, and somehow a gloomier place without it’s glow.

 

Sam saluted to the General.

 

“Welcome home SG-1. Teal’c, Jonas, get yourselves down to the Infirmary and get cleaned up. We’ll debrief in two hours.”

 

“Yes General,” they chorused.

 

“Not you Major. My office now,” he ordered.

 

He turned away quickly and Sam could only wonder at what was coming. Somehow the General must know about her condition, and he certainly had a right to be angry about it. She sighed and looked at the others. They, in return smiled back, silently giving her their support whatever happened in the General’s office. Taking a deep breath she belatedly followed Hammond from the room and wearily climbed the stairs to his office.

 

She knocked and entered. He was already seated behind his desk, giving off an air of authority and he silently motioned for her to sit down.

 

“Sir,” she stated hesitantly...it was neither a question nor a statement, more full of resignation and acceptance of impending doom.

 

“Major...while you were away I had the opportunity to talk with Captain Miller. We had an enlightening conversation to say the least.”

 

“Sir...please...let me...expl....”

 

“Major Carter. Allow me to finish,” he sighed. Sam nodded in defeat, waiting for the axe to fall.

 

“Yes Sir. Sorry Sir.”

 

“I believe you have something to tell me Major. Something that would take you away from your duties as Second in Command of SG-1?”

 

Sam looked down at the floor, trying to gather her thoughts.

 

“Yes Sir. I...I’m sorry Sir. I didn’t think it was possible, but now it’s happened, I don’t want to get rid of it. I...can’t do that Sir.”

 

“No-one is asking you to Major. That choice is up to you.”

 

“She told you didn’t she?”

 

“Captain Miller told me in the strictest confidence Major. No-one else need know for the time being. Will you tell me who the Father is?”

 

Her head shot up then. Didn’t he know already? Had the Captain kept the secret for her sake?”

 

“Sorry Sir. No...I’d rather not say.”

 

General Hammond sighed. This was a delicate subject. One he’d hoped never to encounter in his career as a CO.

 

“It’s up to you Major, that’s your prerogative, but you know the regulations as well as the next man or woman under this command.”

 

“Yes Sir. I do,” she said, puzzled by his statement.

 

“Yet you went against them willingly?”

 

Maybe he did know. She was confused, and kept her eyes averted from his steely blue/grey ones.

 

“I’m disappointed in you Major. And in Colonel O’Neill....”

 

She looked up into his face then. Afraid of what he was going to do to Jack and herself. What they’d done was, after all, a Court-martialable offence.

 

“Sir....” She began, but he held up a hand to stop her, frustrating her efforts to explain.

 

“When Captain Miller explained the situation to me, it was my duty to contact the President and inform him that my two best officers had developed a relationship. This....” he waved a hand at her stomach, indicating her pregnancy, “....was something I could not keep the lid on Major, you know that. It’s a foregone conclusion that most of the base suspects there’s something between you. Hell there’s even a wager on the odds, going round. What I’m disappointed by, is the fact that you didn’t come and confide in me sooner. We could have avoided a lot of the unnecessary secrecy.”

 

“Sir?” Now she really was confused. When she looked up into his face, he smiled down at her. Smiled? He was smiling at her? “I don’t understand Sir,” she dithered, as he smirked back.

 

“Sam...I had a long talk with the President and he’s prepared to overlook this indiscretion because of your reputation of saving the world on several occasions. Plus the fact that now in your condition you won’t be able to continue going off-world with SG-1 anyway, and therefore will no longer be under the Colonel’s command. He’s therefore allowing you both to carry on working here. There won’t be any Court-martials. You will be free to pursue your relationship as you see fit. Without you here, there will be no SGC in the future. Hell there won’t be any Earth if we lose you. We need you Sam. We need you here. This is where you belong. In fact we need both of you. That’s why I sent Dr. Frasier out to meet you. To ensure Jack made it back alive.”

 

“How did you know Sir? Janet said Captain Miller told her, but how......?”

 

“She came to warn Jack. She told him that without him around you...would...give up your work here...and as a result the Earth would be destroyed. I won’t go into details. As the Captain said the future hasn’t been written yet. Now that you’ve changed it, it’s all different for her. Her reality, her past had been changed...for the better, she says. Just before she left, she wanted me to give you and Jack this note.” He handed her a sealed envelope and she took it with a shaking hand, noting the names written neatly across the front.

 

It’s simple address startling her, making her realise that Jackie was the child inside her, and not Janet’s as she’d concluded. Everything seem so unreal now. ‘To...Mom and Dad,’ it read. She continued to stare down at it between her fingers for a long time before looking to him for permission to read it. He nodded his approval, and she tore open the seal, unfolded the note and began to read.

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

 

I guess if your reading this then you know most of the facts by now. Daddy survived his ordeal and now my life has almost completely changed. It’s odd really. I sort of remember both lives. The old one without you both, and now I have memories of the new life too. A life of growing up surrounded by your love and happiness. I can’t go into any details. I have lived them, but you are yet to make them. Mom can explain it to you Daddy, I’m sure, if you would only listen. Yes...there will be times when it’s...hard, but they were far outweighed by the good times. Thank you for giving us hope in the future. Yes, us. Because things have turned out differently, I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with my two brothers now. Both of whom you can be proud of. They also followed you into the USAF.

My son’s are growing up now too. Thank you for giving them back to me. They just adore their Grandparents, especially you Daddy. You’re still the big kid at heart and they love you for it, just as we did.

I can’t tell you any more. Things could still change yet. It all depends on you two. Our lives are in your hands. Please take care of yourselves. We all love you both loads.

 

Your ever loving daughter,

Jackie.

 

 

Sam ‘s silent tears spilled over and dripped onto the letter. Wiping the moisture from the paper, she folded it back up and returned it to the envelope, drying her own face with her sleeve afterwards.

 

“Who are we to deny you your destiny Sam? No-one is going to stand in the way of your happiness. Not after this. The Earth owes you and Jack a great deal, and this is your reward.”

 

Sam looked up, her face still damp from crying. The General’s expression, soft and forgiving, almost fatherly.

 

“Thank you Sir,” she swallowed forcefully. “Sir? Permission to....”

 

“I insist on it Major,” he grinned.

 

“Thank you Sir.” She stood up, smiling at him, and saluted smartly, before she hurried from the room. He really was a *Teddy bear* she grinned to herself. Everything had just dropped into place. They had the President’s blessing to be with each other. She had the reassurance she needed. Nothing could stop them from being together now.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

“How’s he doing Janet?” Sam asked as she entered the Infirmary the next day.

 

She looked across at the still unconscious form of Jack O’Neill. Lying pale against the light green of the pillows. His burned hand bandaged and lying on a soft cushion to his side. Sam touched it gently, and her mind flashed back, seeing that bolt of energy entering him through his hand where he’d held the device. He was still attached to the monitors, and they bleeped out their mournful tune, reminding her that he was still vulnerable. Janet had managed to revive him, and his heart beat rhymically now, but they still had no idea if he’d suffered any lasting damage. According to Jackie’s letter he was going to be just fine, but it still continued to worry her. Their daughter never mentioned if Jack was still working, only her.  She eased down onto the hard plastic chair once more, and took his good hand in hers, gently squeezing it briefly, resting it firmly in hers, letting him know she was there with him again.

 

More hours passed and Janet kept returning to check on him. Sam dozed slightly, nestling her head on her arms at the edge of the bed, still clinging to his hand.

 

The incessant beeping of the monitor had been his constant companion as he drifted in and out of a place with soft lights, and nothingness. Gradually the noise pierced his sub-consciousness and he realised it was the sound of life. His life. He was still alive. Jack forced his eyes open and looked up, blinking against the brightness of the room. He acclimatised his eyes and looked around, recognising the truth. His softly spoken words rousing Sam from her sleep.

 

“I made it,” he gasped, his voice barely above a whisper.

 

Sam’s head shot up, and she grinned widely at him.

 

“Jack. Yes, you made it back. Thank God.” A tear snaked down her cheek, and he tried to lift his hand to wipe it away. He only managed to raise it a few inches before he realised he had IV lines attached to it. He gave up the effort and let his hand drop back to the bed. He tried with the other hand but Sam stopped him, laughing softly at his confusion when he saw the bandages.

 

“It’s okay.” She wiped it away herself, trying not to let more fall. “Save your strength Jack. You’ve had a rough time.”

 

“Tell me about it,” he craoked. “Did I get flattened by a truck? ‘Cos that’s what I feel like.”

 

“You got zapped by the device on P7Z 488 and technically you......died, but we managed to revive you....” her voice trailed off as Janet arrived, after hearing them talking.

 

“Colonel. Good to see you’re awake at last,” she said brightly. “You had us all worried there for a while.” He tried to move, wanting to sit up, but gave up, groaned and exhausted by the effort. “Lie still Sir. You’re still very weak. Your body needs to recover properly. It’s been through a very traumatic experience.”

 

“I guess dying could be classed as traumatic,” he agreed, grinning through the soreness. “My chest feels like someone hit it with a sledgehammer.”

 

“That would be from the compressions to restart your heart. I’ll give you something for the pain.”

 

“No...it okay. Just a bit sore. Thanks...but no thanks.”

 

“Good. Well, I’ll leave you two to talk. Not too long though. Sam make sure he doesn’t tire too much. Take it easy Sir. It’s early days yet.”

 

“Yeah...sure Doc.”

 

Janet smiled down at him, and then looked up at Sam again. Her expression unreadable to Jack. He waited until she was in her office before he spoke again.

 

“Sooo....” he began, not really sure what to say. After all, he recalled, the last time they had spoken to each other had been in anger.

 

“Jack...I’m really sorry I doubted you.”

 

“Huh?” he muttered blankly, looking up at her, more confused than before.

 

“I didn’t understand what was going on. I overheard Jackie call Janet *Mother*, and I thought....”

 

“You thought that I...me and Doc...Oh pleeease. I may be a bastard sometimes, but I mean...me and...that...that Napoleonic power-monger. You gotta be kiddin’. I would never do that to you Sam.” He looked up into her moist blue eyes. “I love you Sam Carter. With all my heart,” he whispered softly, looking around to see if anyone was in hearing distance. “We have a lot to talk about.”

 

“Yes Jack we do. My answer is yes,” she beamed widely, her smile lighting up her face and almost splitting it in two.

 

“Yes? I haven’t asked you yet.”

 

“I know, but you’re hardly in a position to get down on one knee,” she laughed.

 

Jack caught his breath, which ended with a coughing fit, sending the alarms on the monitors into overdrive. Sam handed him a drink, making sure he didn’t choke over it. He lay back exhausted, weariness almost overcoming him. Janet rushed up to him, to check on his vitals, warning him again about getting excited. Happy he was still okay, she reluctantly left them to it.

 

“You’ve spoken to Jackie haven’t you?” he accused, when his breathing had settled. “Where is she?” he asked hoping to see her again.

 

“No I didn’t get the chance to talk with her. She went home, just before we returned. Once she knew you were safe, she said she had to leave. Said her 'self-fulfilling' prophecy had succeeded, and she had a new life to go home to.”

 

“Ah...yeah I guess she did.”

 

He smiled at the memory of their chat, and hoped that her new life was everything she’d hoped for. His eyelids fluttered closed and he drifted off to sleep. Sam pulled herself closer to his bedside, and leaned over to lightly kiss his brow, before settling down in the chair to stay beside him.

 

It was some hours later when he awoke again. Sam was still there, talking softly with Janet, who, once again checked him over.

 

“Good to see you’re awake again Sir. How d’you feel today?”

 

“Fine.” He meant it too, he felt stronger than...yesterday? Was it another day already? How had he slept for so long?

 

“Feel like some breakfast Colonel?”

 

“Sounds good.”

 

Janet helped him sit up a bit, Sam fluffing up the pillows and placing them at his back. Moving was still a problem, he felt like a wet rag, and lay back, nestling into the soft support wearily. Just the effort to sit up had tired him. Janet watched him closely.

 

“It will take a little time Colonel, to get your strength back. It’s not everyday you die several times and still survive....” her words trailed off. She had almost forgotten about his time with Ba’al. So much had happened lately, she just didn’t think and knew by his expression that the unwanted reminder had caused him grief again. “Sorry Sir...but it is what happened.” He looked at her puzzled, so she told him how many times he had to be revived until they got him stabilised. “Technically Sir, you died half a dozen times, and each time Sam and Jonas worked on you to bring you back again, that’s why you’re so sore. I managed to revive you using the defibrillator, and so far it’s worked to keep you with us.”

 

The sheer willpower of them all to prevent him from dying shocked him. He hadn’t realised how much heartache it must have caused Sam to go through all that. He shook his head.

 

“What can I say Doc? Thanks. It’s not much, but for what it’s worth...Thank you.”

 

“I’ll go get you something to eat.” She smiled, suddenly feeling in the way, judging by the look shared between Sam and Jack as he tried to come to terms with what Sam had done for him. She turned and walked away, leaving them to talk.

 

“I had no idea. God Sam...hell...I must have frightened the life out of you. Are you okay?” he asked, taking her hand in his, whilst trying not to dislodge the IV needle. She nodded, smiling back at him.

 

“Yeah...I’m okay now. Jack...I’m sorry...It was all my fault. I should never have....”

 

“Ack...don’t. It’s over with. I’m fine. At least I will be. There’s no need for recriminations.” He wanted to say more, but the door opened and General Hammond entered the room, having been told by Janet, that his 2IC was now awake.

 

“Jack. Good to see you’ve decided to join us again,” he grinned, but then his face took on a stern look, and Jack wondered what was coming. “Colonel, I believe you have some serious explaining to do.” Jack gulped.

 

“Uh...Yes Sir. About that. Ah...we really need to talk.” he blustered.

 

Jack wasn’t sure just what or how much the General knew, but he wracked his brains trying to come up with an easy way to admit he’d led his 2IC astray, and crossed that forbidden line of fraternisation.

 

“You couldn’t even stick to those regs, could you? You had to go just that one step further.”

 

General Hammond looked down at him expectantly, and Jack was puzzled by Sam’s behaviour as she quickly turned away from him and walked away, holding her hand over her mouth, as she disappeared down the corridor. Seeing her shoulders shaking he believed she was crying. The General seemed to ignore her, leaving him to explain everything by himself.

 

“Uh well. We...I...” He struggled to find the right words. “It’s like this Sir. Carter and I... em...Sam and I...we...”

 

Hammond could contain himself no longer as he watched his second, squirming beneath his hard gaze, and grinned down at Jack’s indecisive face. He thought it was probably the one and only time he would ever see Jack actually lost for words. He laughed outright now, deciding at last to put the man out of his misery. He stretched out a hand and laid it on Jack’s shoulder, patting him reassuringly.

 

“It’s okay son. I know all about it. I’ve already spoken to the President and as a result, you two have his permission to pursue your relationship. Major Carter will be able to stay put in her lab, which means that she will no longer be under your command. This world owes you Jack. You deserve some happiness out of it. Sam will fill you in on all the details later.”

 

Jack looked up at him in amazement.

 

“I...We can?” he stuttered, breathlessly. “No Court-martials?”

 

Hammond just shook his head smiling back at him.

 

“Wow,” he grinned. Suddenly everything became too much for his fragile body, and his vision dimmed, the world spun with the earth-shattering news. It was too much for him to take in. His face blanched, and he closed his eyes against the unwelcome feelings coiling through him. The monitors began to screech again, making Hammond step back hurriedly as Janet and her staff rushed in. Even as the Doctor leaned over him, her stethoscope poised above him, Jack slowly opened his eyes again. Janet listened as his heart rate settled down once more, though it was still a little rapid, for her liking, and she noticed he was still slightly breathless. He grinned at them sheepishly. “Guess that came as a bit of a shock,” he whispered weakly.

 

“Take it easy Colonel. Relax.” Janet reset all the machines again, and glared at the General.

“No more excitement today Sir, it’s not good for the Colonel.” Hammond sighed, looking duly chastised, but the relief he felt when Jack had seemed to recover quickly enough, helped to dispel any guilt at causing the problem in the first place.

 

“I’m fine...really,” Jack insisted, but lacking the strength behind his words, for anyone to take him seriously. In reality he felt tired, bone tired. His whole body felt weary, and was still reeling after the startling announcement by his CO.

 

“Of course you are Sir,” she quipped dryly, “That’s why the monitors went haywire. Any more of that and I’ll ban all visitors for a few days.”

 

General Hammond took the hint.

 

“I’ll leave you to think it over Jack. Just...rest easy.”

 

“Yes Sir. Thank you Sir...for everything.”

 

Hammond grinned back, from his position by the door, before he left the room. “My pleasure Jack,” he countered.

 

As soon as the General left, the door opened again, admitting a nurse with his breakfast on a tray. He wasn’t so sure he felt like eating now, and only picked at the meal, managing a few sips of coffee and a bite or two of the toast. His mind was on other things. He lay back, wearily, pushing the tray and the table away, yawning. He tried desperately to stay awake, to savour the idea of Sam and himself together at last, but he was so very tired now. He closed his heavy eyelids thinking of all the things they could do now. Sam filled his every thought, and only moments later he was asleep, worn out with the excitement and it’s effects over him, and the effort of talking.

 

Sam entered his room after a while, and smiled at sight of his sleeping figure. She pushed the table, with the barely touched meal on it, over to the next bed and moved the chair back, taking her place beside the bed again, gently holding his hand and waiting for him to wake up again.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Janet and her nurses smiled brightly to each other as they passed the bed where Jack sat, swinging his legs over the side, waiting patiently for his ride home. They were getting their infirmary back after it’s sole occupant had driven them to distraction over the last few days. Their relief was palpable and the atmosphere in the ward became almost one of celebration as the time drew nearer for him to leave them.  Janet strode up to him, happy that he was fit enough to go home again. He looked into her smiling face and sighed.

 

“Ya know...you don’t have to make it so obvious.”

 

“Colonel?”

 

“It’s that big silly grin. I’ve seen all your staff wearing it today, just because I’m outta here.”

 

She laughed. They couldn’t keep anything from him.

 

“Now I wonder why Colonel? Maybe it’s that constant *When can I get out of here whine* that gets to my staff. Or perhaps it’s the constant battle to keep you in your bed to rest, when instead we find you trying to escape. Or there again it’s the problem of getting you to take your medication that just drives my nurses crazy. Next time I’m going to borrow some handcuffs from the armoury,” she tried to sound gruff, putting on her best  *obey my orders or else* voice. She’d tried to be cross with him, but she couldn’t help but think over the last few days, how many times they’d nearly lost him, and what the repercussions would be if she’d failed to stabilise him again. She knew he was the best officer she ever served with, and that the SGC wouldn’t be the same without him.

 

“Doc? You okay? You kinda went all quiet on me.”

 

She snapped out of the worst case scenario playing inside her head, and smiled at him again.

 

“Sorry. Just thinking.”

 

“Yeah. Been doing that a lot lately too.”

 

Sam entered the room, and he looked up and smiled at her, sliding off the bed ready to go.

 

“Hi. Ready Jack?” It felt good to be called by his name instead of that constant *Sir* or *Colonel*.

 

“Yep.” What was even better, he could now call her *Sam*, and they were both on a week’s break. She was off mainly to watch over him, while he recuperated.

 

He collected his things and began to follow her from the room, when he stopped and turned back towards Janet. He wanted to say something, but wasn’t sure how to start. Janet sensed his awkwardness and waited patiently for him to speak.

 

“Doc...I...I just want to say thanks. I know things will all work out differently now, but thanks for being there for Jackie. Without your...care...maybe it would...well anyway...who knows? It’s gonna be okay now. But thanks anyway.”

 

“Anytime Colonel. You just take care of Sam and that baby.” He grinned back, turning once more to follow Sam who had walked a little way ahead and stopped, waiting for him to join her.

 

“I will Doc. No problem.”

 

They rode the elevator in a tense silence. It had been difficult to talk in the infirmary about things they knew were now going to take place. Now they had the freedom to pursue their dreams, it sucked all the thrill of forbidden togetherness from them, like the summer sun when it dried the puddles after the rain, it was like all their emotions had been drained. Sam had yet to show him the letter from Jackie, she had been waiting for the right moment. They both knew what the future held now, and both were slightly in awe of it’s hold over them, and it scared them both a little. Things had changed, Sam was carrying Jack’s child, something he was thrilled about, yes, but something that had also built a barrier between their relationship. They both knew that it spelt the end of the team. Something neither of them   wanted to happen. Jack felt responsible and guilty for being the one who caused it. It was his fault she became pregnant. If he hadn’t led her astray, if he hadn’t persuaded her to cross that line. They’d all made a great team, he’d already lost Daniel, and now he was going to lose another member of it. Things were happening way too fast and he wanted the world to slow down and give him time to adjust.

 

Sam felt guilty. She knew that she should have kept up with her contraceptives but Janet had said there wasn’t much hope for her, so she’d not bothered. After all there hadn’t been anyone, no shared intimacy for years, and then there was Jack, but she’d not given it a second thought that they would be able to bear a child. Until Nirrti had come along and changed all that. That’s when it happened. After that, they couldn’t hold back their emotions any longer, it had been too close for comfort. She had come so close to dying that day, it had changed them for ever, in more ways than one, and the result was now growing inside her.

 

The truck pulled up outside his house. The silence from the elevator had spilled over into the ride home. She followed him inside, carrying the groceries they’d bought on the way. Being absent from home for a week or more, had devastating effects on the contents of the Fridge and cupboards. Fresh supplies were always needed. Sam automatically stacked the fresh food in the cupboards, while Jack cleared the rotting food from the Fridge. Emptying the sour milk down the sink, he realised that they’d just behaved like any normal couple would. Coming home, putting the shopping away, all naturally done and without a thought. They belonged together, and now was the time to prove it.

 

He threw the empty carton in the trash and stepped up behind Sam, snaking his arms around her waist and gently pulling her backwards towards him. She tensed slightly, as he nestled his lips against her skin, kissing the back of her neck. He felt her draw in a quick breath and shiver, then relaxed, leaning against his body, dropping her head back against his shoulder. He couldn’t see her face, but he knew she was smiling. She stiffened again, trying to pull away from him, but he held her firmly. His hand moved to spread across her still flat stomach, as if to feel the baby inside, eliciting a gasp from her lips.

 

“Sam...I love you. I’m sorry...I....” words failed him, and he forgot them as she squirmed in his arms. He released her slightly so she could turn to face him, but he held onto her. Sam looked up into his soft sad eyes, seeing only a deep love in them, and then the tears came.  His simple words of affection, his apology, against those she was helpless and couldn’t hold back the tide of emotions any longer, letting the dam burst. He pulled her to him, hugging her tightly, whilst the deep sobs wracked her body. They stood there for a long time, just the noise of her sobs and sniffs breaking down the tense atmosphere that had surrounded them. When she quietened a little he led her to the sofa, and they sat down, clinging to each other. When the tears abated, she sniffed pulling out of his embrace and looked up at him, finding her voice at last.

 

“Jack. I love you. I’m the one who’s sorry.”

 

“You have nothing to be sorry about Sam. This is all my fault.”

 

“Why? Because we both wanted it? I’m the one who....”

 

He quickly held a finger to her lips, stopping her from saying anything.

 

“Ack...Sam. No. I’ve wanted this for a long time, and I sorry it’s put an end to your career with SG-1. If I hadn’t insisted...if I hadn’t made you cross that line, then none o....”

 

“It’s too late for that Jack. We both knew the consequences. Now we have to face them. I saw you with Jackie. She adored you Jack, I could tell. Don’t you want that? She’s here now, growing inside me. Isn’t it enough? What’s done is done. Nothing can change that...and I don’t want it to either. It’s our destiny. You know we belong together.”

 

“I thought you hated me then, I thought you didn’t want the baby. When you...wouldn’t speak to me, I thought you would get rid of it...her.”

 

“What? I didn’t even know I was pregnant then, and I would never have gotten an abortion. She’s your child Jack, and mine, made from our love. That means a lot to me. I want this more than anything.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Positive.”

 

“Oh God...I love you,” he murmured, drawing her closer and into a long deep kiss, as she melted into his arms.

 

Now she was sure he wasn’t staying with her under any obligation to their unborn child, and now she could show him the letter. She’d had to make sure it was what he really wanted first. They sat there for some time, just entwined in each others arms, it just felt so good to be free of restrictions, and regulations. To be able to embrace without the fear of being caught and the repercussions it would have imposed upon them. Sam closed her eyes savouring every moment.

 

When she opened her eyes again, it had grown darker and she blinked away the remnants of sleep. When had she dozed off? She found herself with her head in Jack’s lap, with her feet curled up on the cushions, her hand resting against his chest, and looked up into his face. Deeply hooded eyes sparkled back in the gloom.

 

“Hi there sleepy head.”

 

She nestled into him comfortably, and he brushed his fingers gently through her short hair, grinning down at her.

 

“Hi yourself,” she grinned. “When did I fall asleep?”

 

“Don’t know. I guess we both did. Only been awake myself for a few minutes. Sorry if I woke you.”

 

“It’s okay.” She sat up with his help and she slid her feet to the floor, recalling their earlier conversation. “I have something to show you.”

 

“You do?”

 

“Yes...I...Janet told me to wait until you were stronger. She didn’t want you getting overexcited.”

 

She withdrew a letter from her pocket and handed it to him, before standing up and flicking on the lamp beside him so he could see to read it.

 

Jack fingered the envelope, staring down at it and running a hesitant finger over the names across the front. Sam observed from the chair opposite him, watching as the emotions running across his features. His smile widened.

 

“Cool. Jackie...she gave you this?”

 

“No. I never...General Hammond handed it to me, after we got back. I never got the chance to talk to her. I...was...wasn’t...exactly feeling friendly towards her before we shipped out. Now though...I know different. I never thought that she would be my...our daughter.”

 

“I couldn’t tell you at the time. We had to let things resolve themselves for the most part. I knew you were upset over something, but I didn’t understand what it was. I thought you’d discovered you were pregnant and hated me for it.”

 

“And I thought you’d betrayed my...love and...and slept with Janet. I was mad with jealousy and well...I felt like death warmed over too. Thank God the nausea has eased up now. I never realised it was because I was pregnant, and that all my hormones were all over the place. It wasn’t until your warning shout that the penny dropped, and things began falling into place. Sort of,” she paused before asking, “Why did she call Janet ‘Mother’? What changed?”

 

“Jackie came back to warn me that I was going to die, but now that’s changed.”

 

“So?”

 

“Because I’m still alive...you won’t leave the SGC, and become...*ill*...and have to give her up. Janet looked after her and became her ‘Mother’. I guess this explains it huh?” he said waving the letter at her.

 

“Not exactly...just read it Jack.”

 

His hands shook slightly as he took the note from it’s envelope, slowly unfolding it, he started to read.

 

Sam waited with bated breath and watched in relief as a wry smile spread over one side of his mouth into that lopsided grin that she always loved, and his brown eyes sparkled with amusement. After he’d finished it, he refolded it, tucking it back into it’s place.

 

“I told you we were fated to be together.”

 

He stood up and walked over to her, stretching out his arms, taking her hands in his and pulling her to her feet, enfolding her into his embrace. “We were meant for each other Sam. I always knew we were.” He buried his face into her warm neck, kissing the soft flesh and making her giggle as her body tingled in response. “I love you Samantha, and don’t you forget it.”

 

“I love you too Jack,” she muttered surrendering her senses to his touch as he continued kissing her lightly. She moaned with sheer pleasure. “Oooh....I could get used to this.”

 

“Never Sam. Being with you will be like discovering something new every day. What we’ve got will never grow into a habit. It’ll never get old.”

 

“Amen to that Jack.”

 

 

The End.