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Spoilers: The First Commandment, Season 6, Descent
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 is an original MGM, Greenburg/Anderson, Gekko, Top Secret, Kawoosh! production. Any material relating to Stargate SG-1 is for entertainment only, and is in no way meant as an infringement on copyrights. In other words, I own nadda.
The atmosphere in the cargo ship was frigid.
Jack didn't think he'd ever seen anything like it. Jacob was staring icily out the front, his jaw line tense, his facial muscles tight, his whole body taut with anger. Carter was vacillating between glaring at her father, glaring out of the front window, and glaring at Jonas - whose fault this mess had been in the first place. Jonas was hovering, uncertainly, wishing he'd never been born probably. He kept looking appealing at Jack but Jack couldn't think of a damn thing to say.
Teal'c had made his escape about five minutes before the bomb had been dropped - lucky bastard - whereas Jack was unfortunate enough to be sitting (damn ship needed more seats) against one of the walls close to the front. He knew Carter could see him out of the corner of her eye and Jacob was hypersensitive anyway so he couldn't make a run for it without attracting their attention.
*This* was why families shouldn't work together.
Uncomfortably, Jonas shifted in between Carter and her dad. '' Um... I think I'll... go see Teal'c.''
When nobody responded, Jonas scurried off, wincing, his banana clutched tightly in his right hand.
The silence in the cargo ship was the kind of cliché silence - the deafening kind. Jack decided he'd had enough of staring fixedly at his boots and it was time to deflate the tension. He eased himself up off the floor and meandered on over to Carter. Casually, he put a hand on her shoulder, though it wasn't casual at all. He planned every bodily contact they ever made down to the last detail.
She looked up at him, and he saw at once that she was upset. He flicked his eyes over to Jacob, decided it was safe, and raised the hand from her shoulder to touch her cheek. Had they been alone, no doubt it would have gone further than that (not much further - they never went as far as they wanted), but for the time being that would have to do.
'' Can I sit down, Carter?'' he asked testily, putting enough of a childish tone in his voice to make her smile.
'' Sure, Colonel.'' Carter jumped up and slid past him, their hands brushing and tangling briefly before he dropped down into the chair with a sigh.
He grabbed her arm suddenly. '' Hey, Carter, why don't you go and make sure Jonas isn't fiddling with anything back there? You know how he is.''
She smiled, properly, grateful for the reprieve. '' I'll do that, Colonel.''
Then it was just Jack and Jacob. Jacob and Jack. Dad and... Jack.
Openly staring at Jacob now, Jack wondered how long it would take for the man to crack. Mentally he started counting. One, two, three...
'' Did *you* know?''
Jack nodded. Three seconds. Funny, it took Carter exactly the same amount of time as well.
'' How long have you known?''
'' Five years... and five months.''
As with all things related to her, Jack pretty much had it recorded to memory in detail. He knew the most ridiculous things about Carter - things he would never admit to her. He knew what waist size she was, he knew what shoe size. He knew her birthday, the password for her computer. He knew her favourite colour. He knew what salon she used, her favourite shampoo. He knew the length of her ear at its longest axis (look, they were bored, in the infirmary, with a ruler, on numerous fun drugs), and her favourite movie, ice-cream flavour, pizza topping.
'' Right.'' Jacob shook his head bitterly. '' That's fantastic. You knew. I didn't. Her CO knows more about her past than I do.''
Frankly, Jack had been pretty surprised too. The moment Jonas had brought it up, he'd expected Jacob to say something - Jack had always wondered what Jacob had thought about Hansen. He'd never expected Carter to have never told her father that she was engaged.
'' Did you, um, even know the guy?''
'' I met him once. I didn't know it was serious.''
What? Had Carter and Hansen been really good actors? '' They didn't actually get married, Jacob. She was probably going to tell you, then when she broke it off,'' he shrugged, '' she decided she wouldn't bother.''
'' That's not the point.''
Jack sighed and had a feeling Jacob wasn't going to drop this anger on the journey home as he'd hoped. '' You're upset because it just shows how far apart you two had grown,'' Jack summarised, hoping he was somewhere in the vicinity of the truth.
Jacob grunted. '' No. It just shows my daughter didn't feel I needed to know she was about to make the biggest decision of her life.''
'' She *didn't* make that decision.''
'' She was going too.''
'' She *didn't*.''
Jacob threw his hands out. '' She was engaged, Jack.''
'' She broke it off.'' Why was this not getting through to Jacob's brain? '' Selmak? A word please?''
Normally, Jack would avoid talking with the Tok'ra at all costs, but this Tok'ra had a special place in Jack's heart. Okay, that was such a lie. This Tok'ra didn't bug him because she, at least, had some measure of tact and knew when to keep quiet. He suspected it was also something to do with knowing Jacob before he became a host. Invariably with the Tok'ra, Jack was never sure when the host was speaking if he or she was being influenced by the snake. It made them really difficult to trust. At least with Jacob, it was so obvious who was in control.
Jacob lowered his head, then lifted, and somehow his body took on an entirely different persona. '' Colonel O'Neill.''
'' Hey, what's up with Jacob?''
'' It is as you said, Colonel O'Neill, he is angry that he allowed the relationship with his daughter to deteriorate to such an extent that she could not find it in herself to inform him that she had found a life partner.''
'' Then why the hell isn't he over that already? He knows their relationship is better.''
'' He is a very stubborn man.''
Despite himself, Jack grinned. '' Too right. Give him a kick up the backside for me, would you Selmak?''
'' Trust me, Colonel, the conversation we are having internally is not for the faint hearted.'' The head lowered and then came back up again. Jacob scowled. '' That was low, Jack. Even for you.''
'' You're upsetting her.''
'' You know she should have told me.''
'' Jacob, he wasn't the right man for her. Unconsciously, she probably knew that, which is why she didn't tell you.''
'' And if you had a daughter, and she didn't tell you she was getting married, how would you feel?''
Jack shook his head. '' It would never happen. My daughter would be able to tell me. That's the point, Jacob. Carter's a different woman from who she used to be. You're certainly... a changed man.''
'' So, if Sam got engaged tomorrow, she'd tell me?''
He opened his mouth to agree, then realised just how impossible that scenario was.
Unfortunately, Jacob took it for confirmation of his worst fears. '' See? That's exactly what I thought.''
Miserably, Sam sat down in the place her father had just vacated for her. She'd already had a go at Jonas, who was now cowering in the back with Teal'c, but that hadn't made her feel much better. In fact, it may have made her feel worse, because Jonas had done nothing wrong. He hadn't realised there were things they didn't talk about in front of her father. In fact, she had a feeling, the Colonel had no idea either.
The fact of the matter was that Sam herself was in the wrong. She knew that. She should have told her father - if not when she'd been engaged to Jonas Hansen, then at least afterwards. It had taken her five months of wearing the engagement ring before she'd finally given it back - during that time she'd had numerous opportunities to tell her dad she was about to take a big personal step.
It just hadn't seemed right. Each time she'd picked up the phone, it hadn't felt right. The words wouldn't come to her lips: Dad, I'm marrying Jonas.
Colonel O'Neill reached across and touched her shoulder with his fingers. Needing some comfort, Sam lifted her hand and clasped his warm fingers. '' I really screwed up,'' she said, shakily.
'' He does know you didn't have the best father-daughter relationship.''
'' But that's not the reason I didn't tell him.''
The Colonel frowned. '' What is then?''
'' It never felt right. Nothing during that engagement felt right. You know?'' But then, he'd been married, happily married, too. Probably everything had felt right in the beginning for him.
'' You're not talking about nerves? Coz those are natural.''
She shook her head. '' No. I didn't have nerves. I had great... looming... doubts.''
He half smiled at her. '' Well, obviously they were built in a great foundation. The guy was nuts.''
Sam's heart twinged with sadness. '' We would have been terrible together. We fought like... nothing I'd ever experienced before.''
'' Why the hell did you get engaged?''
'' Because I loved him.''
The Colonel's fingers tightened reflexively in hers. '' You loved him,'' he repeated.
Sam turned to look at him, seeing the worry in his eyes. '' I did, yes. But not....'' She left the rest of the sentence unspoken and watched as he comprehended, and nodded.
Silently, they let go of each others hands and sat back in the Goa'uld chairs, watching through the front as they travelled through space. It was on the return journeys from missions that Sam was allowed to finally admire the view, remember the awe of it. She'd always wanted to go into space and now here she was - long before Earth's time.
She must have made some noise, because she saw his head tilt towards her. '' What?''
'' It's great, isn't it?''
'' Now you're sounding like Jonas. Er, the second one.''
She giggled. '' You know, until recently, it never really clicked that he and Jonas have the same name.''
'' It's certainly spooky.''
'' Maybe we should make a collective effort to call him Quinn.''
'' No. No more second names in this team.'' She laughed as he made a face. '' I'm not going to have to browbeat two of you to call me 'Jack' when we're on downtime.''
'' You know, I noticed the other day that you're the only one who calls me 'Carter'.''
He grinned at her. '' Ah. I wondered when you'd realise.''
'' You already knew?''
'' Why do you think I don't complain about it so much anymore?''
'' Oh.'' She was a little disappointed. '' You could have told me.''
'' Please, I like having my little guilty secrets.''
The Colonel was deliberately trying to keep her mind off her father, and she liked it. Didn't mean it was working, but it did mean she found him all the more endearing. '' Beyond the big guilty secret, you mean?'' she teased.
He waggled his eyebrows at her, then leaned across. '' Um, about the big guilty secret...'' He trailed off, his eyes going to the right.
Sam followed his gaze and saw her father had walked into the room. '' Dad,'' she said, coolly.
'' The next time you get engaged, Samantha Carter, I want to know. I don't care where I am - you get a message through to me.''
Sam swallowed. '' Dad...''
'' I want your solemn promise.''
A promise? Oh God. '' Um...''
'' Sam,'' he said threateningly, his eyes practically bulging out of his head.
She glanced, panicking, towards the Colonel, who was also wide-eyed and afraid.
'' Jacob,'' he began consolingly.
'' You keep out of this, Jack. Sam?''
Sam licked her lips, looking between her father and the Colonel, her father and the Colonel. The Colonel shrugged minutely, making his opinion clear: it was all up to her. She sighed. '' Dad, in that case, there's something I've got to tell you.''
She swallowed. '' Um, about three months ago... shortly after, we lost the mothership... you remember when we were trapped in the... well, the water was rising and... and...''
Jacob was now looking between the Colonel and his daughter. '' What? What about it? Go on.''
Finally, the Colonel managed to help her out, '' I proposed,'' he blurted.
'' And I said yes.'' Sam said on an out-breath.
'' I thought we were gonna die,'' he explained quickly.
'' But we didn't.''
'' So I said it still stood.''
'' And I said my answer was still the same.''
They looked at each other shyly, then back at her father.
Jacob blinked. Twice.
For a long moment, he stood perfectly still, then his head lowered and rose again. '' Samantha, Colonel O'Neill, Jacob is currently unable to form a coherent sentence. May I offer you my felicitations in his absence?''
Sam and Colonel O'Neill smiled wanly and sat back in their chairs.
'' For the time being, I shall remove Jacob from the area. I think it would be best if we went to lie down.''
Softly, Selmak walked off.
'' Well, that could have been worse,'' Jack murmured a second or two later.
Frankly, Sam couldn't see how. That really hadn't been the way she wanted to tell her father. Then again, how else was she going to tell him? And this time, she definitely had been. '' *How* could it have been worse than that?''
'' He could have a weapon. And then I'd be dead.''
'' Good point.''
'' It felt right, though?'' Jack asked in concern.
Sam smiled. '' Well... thinking about it, I don't imagine there was any better way to tell him. We're in space. On an alien ship. Still in the Air Force. I'm still your 2IC. It was probably the most honest way to do it. At least he knows the whole score.''
'' So it felt right?''
'' Yeah. It did.''