"Forgiveness" by Ziva

Chapter one

'Why does Daniel always have to get so excited over a pile of rubble? I mean you'd think by now he'd be a lot harder to impress, particularly when we've found some pretty amazing stuff on other planets. This stuff doesn't seem to be anything special,' Jack O'Neill decided, as he walked the perimeter of the small site that was currently SG-1's assignment for the day.

It was really nothing more than a place of worship, not a city or even a village. Daniel had explained the ruins to him when they'd first arrived on the small, desert planet that the SGC had designated P3X-299, and now the geeky scientist was up to his elbows and asshole in dust and debris, as happy as a tick on a dog.

"Daniel, how much longer," Jack yelled, stopping to tie a boot lace that had come undone. He hated new boots, and new laces as well, but since he'd ruined his favorite pair of boots by stepping knee-deep into that bog last week on P3X-whatever, he'd had no choice but to replace them. And now his feet were hurting, and Jack just wanted to get back home and have a nice long soak in his hot tub with his favorite other geeky scientist, Doctor of Astrophysics, Samantha Carter.

"Jack, we're just getting started here," Daniel told him, and Jack could see Jonas Quinn's knowing smile even from where he sat several yards away. Jack had just sunk down onto a large monolith that had fallen over some time ago. The big rock now lay partially buried in the soil, but there was still room enough for Jack to relax, and that was just what he intended to do. If the geeks wanted to play, then he'd let them. After all, he was the man in charge!

Jack unlaced both shoes and took them off, figuring he might as well get comfortable. Stretching out on his back on the huge slab of rock, Jack placed his P-90 across his ribcage and relaxed his grip. His dark glasses rested on his upper chest, attached to a thick nylon cord around his neck. He closed his eyes.

"T, I'm just gonna take a little siesta. Keep your eyes peeled," he told Teal'c, the fourth member of his team.

"I will indeed," Teal'c responded as economically as usual, as he paced around the perimeter of the temple complex, his blast staff held at the ready. Jack still had not been able to convince the big alien to carry a gun, even though Jack had taught him how to use one.

The Jaffa had been with the SGC, and primarily with SG-1, for almost two years now, and Jack had come to trust the man as much as any human, and much more than most! Jack had saved Teal'c from certain death at the hands of a Goa'uld system lord named Chronos, after the Goa'uld had raided Teal'c's village and slain almost everyone in it. Since Teal'c's wife and children had been killed, Teal'c had left his home planet willingly, welcoming the chance to join Jack and the warriors of the Tauri in the fight against the monsters who had killed his people.

"Jack, have you ever considered the importance of what we do," Jonas Quinn asked companionably, as he pulled out his canteen and took a drink.

Jonas was the newest member of SG-1, having joined the SGC only three months ago. He was on loan by his government in their effort to learn as much as the multi-talented alien could about Earth and also about her enemies. The people of Jonas' home planet of Kelowna were still relatively new to gate travel, and the Kelownans had not had any run-ins with the Goa'uld or any other nasty alien types...not as yet anyway. Through Jonas the Kelownans hoped to become better prepared for just such an occurrence.

And the SGC was certainly benefiting from having Jonas on one of it's teams. Because although the Kelownans appeared to be human, they were really not, having an extra set of chromosomes in their genetic make-up that resulted in some pretty fantastic abilities...like pre-cognitive powers, the ability to manipulate objects with their minds and the ability to learn really fast.

Many times Jonas had been able to alert his fellow team members of a danger, before the rest of them had any idea it existed. And while Jack appreciated Jonas' special talents, he still found his constant chatter and happy-go-lucky attitude to be very aggravating.

As usual Jack suspected there was a catch to Jonas' seemingly innocent question, and probably it would lead to one of Jonas' long diatribes about something or other. 'God, he's worse than Daniel,' Jack thought with irritation. But Jack answered him anyway, figuring he'd just pretend to listen, if what Jonas had to say became too boring.

"Of course I have, Jonas; we are protecting Earth from invasion and certain devastation by the Goa'uld and the other bad guys out there," he answered, before putting his sun glasses back on.

Dark glasses always helped hide the fact that he wasn't listening...a trick he'd learned years earlier when he'd begun working with another geeky scientist by the name of Daniel Jackson...the man who was currently brushing the dust from a stone table he had just unearthed nearby.

"Well, that's true. But I don't mean just that, Colonel. I mean all the other things we do...like chronicling the history of humans in the galaxy, finding new technologies and medicines, and helping people on other planets to defend themselves or live better lives."

"Ah, yes, Jonas, there is that," Jack replied, shutting his eyes and tuning out the Kelownan's bubbly enthusiasm.

Jack wished he could be as happy as the guy obviously was, but lately his personal life had hit a snag...one that he was having trouble handling. And of course it involved his significant other, Samantha Carter, extraordinary scientist and gorgeous female, founding member of the SGC.

If anyone had told him just fourteen months ago that he'd now be living with such a smart, hot woman, Jack would have said they were bonkers...wacko! But they had started dating, and within a few weeks, they had professed their love for one another. And then he had asked her to move out of her mid-town apartment and into his spacious ranch house in the suburbs of Colorado Springs, and she had agreed. Much to his continuing shock and amazement, she had been living in Jack's house for seven months, and she still didn't seem to be getting tired of his ill humor or any of his bad habits.

In fact everything had been going great in their relationship, until Sam's close friend and colleague Dr. Janet Frasier-Jackson, the base CMO, had gotten pregnant. And like many girlfriends do, the two of them had talked and decided it would be nice if Sam became pregnant too. And that was when their relationship had began to suffer.

It wasn't that Jack didn't like kids...he loved kids! He had once had a son named Charlie, 'once' being the operative word. His son had accidentally shot himself with Jack's service revolver, and Jack couldn't forgive himself for what had happened. And the thought of losing another child...whether it be to an accident, to illness or whatever...was not something that Jack wanted to face...never...ever again!

Hell, he'd rather face a hoard of Goa'uld and their Jaffa warriors, than face something as heartbreaking as losing a kid again! So, for Jack the subject was closed. Fini! But for Sam it seemed to be just one more challenge...kind of like figuring out how to build a naquadah reactor, he thought as he let his mind wonder.

The sun felt good on his face, and laying there and letting his mind simply drift was very relaxing, even if there were scientists babbling about something or other in the background. Jack sighed.

Sam was being pretty persistent about this wanting a kid thing...as persistent as she was with anything of importance to her, and lately Jack had taken to staying at the base longer and longer, just to avoid going home. Many nights in the past month he had arrived home after she'd already gone to bed. Jack suspected she knew what was wrong, and he knew she'd say something about his behavior eventually. It was like waiting for the other shoe to drop, he thought, as he lay daydreaming about Sam and the conversations they'd had on the topic of babies.

Maybe you need to let her go, so she can find someone younger...someone who wants kids, he thought for probably the hundredth time that month.

"Jack...Jack!"

"Huh?" Jack swung his legs over the rock and sat up, giving Daniel a bleary-eyed look.

"I said we can go…for now. I'd like to take this tablet back to the lab... run some tests to find out how old it is. Didn't you hear anything I just said?" he asked, obviously exasperated.

"Ya, sure, I heard you! You don't have to get all huffy," Jack groused as he put on his boots, quickly lacing them up. Then he rose to all 6 feet 2 inches of height and put on his dark glasses. Without another word to the irritated scientist, he began walking toward the gate, Teal'c walking about ten paces ahead of him. Daniel stumbled along behind Teal'c, trying to record something in his notebook as he walked. Jack looked back over his shoulder. The Kelownan brought up the rear, but he wasn't paying attention to anything but the device in his hands.

"Jonas, get your ass up here in front of me, so I can watch your six," Jack chastised the younger man. He waited until the alien was walking in front of him, and then he began following a few paces behind, looking from side to side, just in case something unexpected should happen. This planet really was a dull place, but Jack knew that could change in an instant if a platoon of Jaffa arrived in a ring transporter.

Jonas tripped over a rock that was partially covered in sand and stubbed his toe, and Jack smiled in spite of his somber mood.

"Be careful, Jonas, you could hurt yourself. I don't want to have to carry you," Jack teased.

"Yes, Sir," Jonas said, but his tone was a bit testy as he punched at the keyboard on his new toy.

Sam had bought a PDA for Jonas as a birthday gift just two weeks ago, and the present had been a definite hit. In fact, Jack figured that the Kelownan had not been without it for more than five minutes, taking notes on anything and everything he saw. Jack had jokingly told Sam that the guy showered with the thing.

Jack had never seen anyone so intent on learning, with the exception of maybe Charlie. Jack often wondered what Charlie's interests would be now. He would have been seventeen this month, with college just a year away. Jack shook himself out of his reverie and stepped up to the dialing device, watching as Daniel punched in Earth's address. The huge ring began to spin as the other three men stood to one side.

Chapter two

In two minutes they were stepping out of the wormhole and walking down the ramp in the gate room toward the leader of the SGC.

"Colonel, is your mission complete?"

"Yes, General, I'd say we milked that little baby for all she's worth," Jack quipped, but Daniel put in his two cents' worth, as he often did.

"Actually, General Hammond, I think we should go back. I just wanted to get this tablet to the lab," he began.

"Ah, Daniel, for cryin out loud, there's nothing there!"

"You don't know that for certain, Jack. There could be a lot of information hidden there beneath the surface. Look at this tablet I found almost completely buried beneath the ruins. Do you know how old this could be?"

Hammond just shook his head and smiled to himself. He'd heard this all before...many times. And though he appreciated Dr. Jackson's quest for knowledge about all the civilizations that existed now or in the past on the planets they traveled to, he had to agree with his second-in-command; if it didn't help them in their fight against the Goa'uld, or other alien enemies, then they didn't have time for it...or the funds. And funding had become, particularly of late, a very sore subject for George Hammond, as he was faced with another yearly audit of the base's expenses. In fact, that aggravating little man, Woolsey, was due there any minute.

"Well, Doctor, I understand how you feel, but at the moment I'm just trying to keep the lights on, so to speak. Woolsey is on his way here," he said with a grimace, and all of SG-1 murmured words of support and understanding to their leader.

"No need to de-brief, SG-1. Just turn in your reports before you leave. You're all on down time until otherwise notified," Hammond reminded them, and then he walked away, heading up two levels to his office.

"Are we being put on down time because of budgetary constraints," Jonas asked, a concerned look on his normally unlined face.

"Yes, Jonas, I'm afraid that's it in a nutshell," Daniel answered, patting Jonas on the back as they followed Col. O'Neill to the locker room.

"Colonel," the Kelownan began, the sound of worry in his voice, "is it really likely your government will not continue to fund this program when it serves as Earth's only protection against the Goa'uld?"

"It's not as simple as that, Jonas. You have to remember that the public just found out about the stargate two years ago, thanks to Teal'c, I might add."

Jack recalled how upon arriving on Earth the big alien had rebelled against being kept hidden underground, and had made his way to the surface. He had been found hours later at a nearby shopping mall, surrounded by a hundred or more curious shoppers and some very eager news reporters...with cameras.

After the local news aired the story, it was almost immediately shown on all the national networks, and soon Teal'c had become almost as popular as his favorite TV personality, MacGyver. Since then he had not been allowed off base again, except in the company of Jack O'Neill, and then only if he agreed to keep a low profile and not to reveal his true identity to anyone.

"Many people still don't believe that the stargate exists or that it really is a transportation device. They think the story about Teal'c was all a hoax! And many of the ones who DO believe are still not convinced that we should be using the stargate. And since it's the peoples' tax dollars that pay the electric bills around here, they need to be convinced that their money is being spent in the wisest way possible."

"Therefore, would it not be prudent to convince the public that the stargate is real and that it really does what is claimed? Also, should not the public be educated about the Goa'uld and the other aliens, like me and Teal'c, who populate our galaxy?"

"I also wish to know the answers to these questions, JonasQuinn," Teal'c agreed.

"T, sometimes I think you and Jonas should go talk to the President and the Joint Chiefs and maybe even the Congress. Maybe you two could talk some sense into them...make them see that keeping this stuff from people is not the way to go," Jack said as he sat down on the bench and began untying his boots.

"I would welcome an audience with your great leader, O'Neill," Teal'c declared as he removed his armor.

General Hammond had decided to allow him to wear his own off-world attire, since it really did offer him better protection than anything made on Earth anyway. Teal'c had worn the armor when he served Chronos' enemy Apophis, before his kind had rebelled against the Goa'uld, and it was the only thing he had left of his life before he joined the SGC. Even so, Jack had drawn the line at allowing Teal'c to wear the huge helmet, which completely covered his head and made him look like some kind of snake or something. Jack had simply told him it scared the locals.

Stripping down quickly and efficiently, Jack was the first one in the shower, even though he wasn't looking forward to going home. It was 1900 hours, and by now Sam would be home, probably curled up in front of the TV or in their bed, with a big, fat science book in her lap. Or she'd have her laptop across her knees. To Jack it seemed like Sam was always working on a project for the SGC, unless they were making love, which didn't happen all that often anymore.

Jack frowned thinking that the last time he could remember making love to her had been almost two weeks ago, right after Jonas' birthday party, which Sam had insisted on throwing at his house. Jack didn't mind really. It was just that he wasn't used to having so many people in his house at one time. He preferred smaller groups, and he'd often had SG-1 over for a cookout and to watch a movie.

Before Teal'c had joined SG-1, Jack's best friend and the man his son had been named after, Charles Kawalsky, had been on SG-1. But then Charlie had an opportunity to get back into action in the Middle East and he had jumped at the chance. Charlie had always thought gate travel was too unsettling anyway, and so he'd transferred out, and now Jack hadn't heard from him for over two months. Jack figured Kawalski was alright, or the Air Force would have notified him by now, being as he was listed as the man's next of kin. But Jack worried anyway, because he knew things weren't going too well; the peace talks in Egypt had broken down, and the Saudi's were threatening to attack again. Jack just hoped that Charlie wouldn't be sent home in a body bag.

And now that Captain Porter had been put on maternity leave, they had added another new member in Jonas Quinn. And although Jonas was only going to be on Earth temporarily, Sam had wanted him to feel welcome, which was just like her. Jack smiled to himself, thinking what a terrific person she really was...so smart and beautiful, and very little scared her either! She was fully qualified for gate travel, and had even passed weapons training and hand-to-hand combat classes, neither that were required of a civilian, but something that she'd wanted to do.

Jack didn't doubt that she could easily have made a success of a military career, if she'd been interested. It was just that science was her life...before she met him, or so she used to say. And now she wanted to be a mother, and Jack hated to refuse her anything. That she would be a terrific mother, Jack had no doubt. That he was not fit to be a father, he also had no doubt.

Jack toweled off and got dressed, listening to the chatter of his teammates. Jonas was challenging Teal'c to a game of chess, and Teal'c was suggesting they first go to the commissary before it closed. The big guy wanted to have a snack. Jack chuckled under his breath, thinking of the huge amounts of food it took to keep the guy happy...one thing that the Joint Chiefs probably hadn't accounted for when they agreed that Teal'c could become part of the SGC.

"Sounds like a good idea, Teal'c. Good-night, Colonel, Daniel!"

Jack and Daniel bid the two aliens good-night, and Daniel reminded them to phone him the next day about going into Denver on Saturday night. They were both allowed off base, but only in the company of Jack or Daniel. This time it was Daniel who had offered to take them out for some entertainment (most likely female mud wrestling), and Jack almost wished he were going along.

Except that if Jack volunteered to go and leave Sam all alone on a Saturday night, he suspected that Daniel would have something to say about it. In fact Jack wondered when Daniel would get around to talking about him and Sam. Daniel and Sam had become like brother and sister, and there wasn't much that Sam didn't share with him. In fact Daniel had been the first to know about Jack and Sam moving in together. Jack recalled the man's obviously happy face when he'd found out.

Daniel's voice broke into his reverie. "Jack, are you going straight home?"

Daniel shoved some folders and books into his leather case, as he watched Jack put his wallet in his back pocket and grab his keys off the top shelf of his locker.

"Why, Daniel? Need a ride?" It seemed like the man was always having car trouble. Jack wondered why he didn't just buy a new car. It wasn't like he couldn't afford one!

"Yeah, my car's in the shop again," he said with a grimace. "And Jan has to work the late shift...again."

"Did it ever occur to you to buy a different car, Daniel," Jack asked as they walked to the elevator.

"I would, Jack, but I don't know much about cars, and I just never seem to have the time to go out and look. There are just so many makes of cars, Jack!"

"Well, I'd be happy to help, Daniel, and I'm sure Sam could give you some pointers too," he offered, thinking about the motor cycle engine Sam currently had in about a thousand pieces in his garage.

"That would be great, Jack! I'll see if I can make some time soon."

Once they got up to the surface and into Jack's truck, Daniel's curiosity got the best of him, and he asked Jack about something that had been bothering him for a while now.

"Jack, I know it's none of my business, but Sam seems unhappy lately."

"You said it; it's none of your business, Daniel."

"But Jack, you know I care about Sam and you. What's the problem?"

"I have a feeling you already know," Jack said, glancing over at him. He figured Sam had told Janet that Jack didn't want kids, and of course Janet would tell her husband, the interfering little weasel.

"Sam wants to have a baby, and you don't?"

"No, I don't."

"Why not, Jack?"

Daniel suspected he knew the answer, but he wanted to hear it from Jack. He had met Jack the first time, right after Jack's son had shot and killed himself. Jack had been close to suicidal, and Daniel had always wondered why the Air Force hadn't placed him on medical leave, instead of sending him to Abydos.

"Daniel, I'm not going to talk to you about this."

"I think you need to talk to someone about it, Jack, before this ruins your relationship with Sam. Is that what you want, Jack? Do you want to lose her?"

"Of course I don't want to lose her, Daniel! What the hell kind of question is that!"

"Well, then why don't you go talk to Dr. Petersen?"

"The base shrink? I'm not crazy, Daniel!"

"I didn't say you are, Jack. I just think maybe you could use some help getting over your guilt, that's all."

"My guilt?"

"Yes, Jack. We both know you've never been able to forgive yourself for Charlie's death," Daniel said, and Jack slammed on the brakes, sending Daniel lurching forward in the seat. He was glad he was wearing the seat belt. He was also glad they were not on the highway yet, and that there were no cars behind them on the narrow road that wound down the mountain.

"Look, Daniel, if you're gonna continue talking about this, then you can get out of my truck right now," Jack shouted.

"I'm sorry, Jack, I didn't mean to make you angry. I'm just trying to help," he reminded Jack, and Jack took his foot off the brake pedal and began driving down the road again. Neither of them said anything for quite a few minutes, until finally Jack spoke.

"Look, I know you and Janet both care, and I appreciate it. I've just got to deal with this in the only way I know how. If Sam can't accept that, then maybe we shouldn't stay together. I'm sure there's some young guy out there who would give her all the kids she wants...someone much less grouchy than me," he said, a small smile playing around the corners of his mouth, but his eyes remained black with the intensity of his emotions.

"I'm glad you can joke about it, Jack."

"What else have I got but my good looks and my subtle humor, Daniel," he asked with a smirk.

Fifteen minutes later they were pulling up in front of a very large, brick house in a quiet, residential neighborhood in the oldest part of Colorado Springs. It was called The Country Club, for good reason. Jack knew that most of the houses, including this one, were worth millions.

He had to give Janet credit for taking that no-good first husband of hers to the cleaners when she divorced him. Jack couldn't feel too sorry for the guy, since he was one of Denver's most well-known cosmetic plastic surgeons.

"Well, I guess I'll see you at the base Monday, Jack. Maybe Hammond will have good news for us by then. Tell Sam I said hey," Daniel said as he jumped down out of the vehicle.

"Will do, Danny."

Daniel watched until the big, black truck disappeared around the next corner. Then he walked up the long, curving driveway. He was very worried about his friends, and he really wished Jack would listen to him and seek help from a professional. But he suspected it would probably be a cold day on Abydos before that happened.

Chapter three

For the fourth time in less than a half hour Sam deleted the report she had been typing. Nothing she had said sounded right, and if she was going to get the support of the Congress as well as the military, she needed to present her case more succinctly than she was currently able to do. But her mind was not on her work, and Sam knew it wouldn't be until she could put her demons of doubt to rest!

It wasn't that she doubted that Jack loved her; she was certain he did. It was that she doubted herself. She had never been good at relationships, dealing with emotions...hers or anyone else's. In fact she was hopeless at helping the other person cope when times got rough. Her one and only other long-term commitment had ended badly when her fiancé had flipped out. He had eventually gone AWOL and was later arrested and imprisoned. That she had totally failed him still upset her. That she was failing Jack in pretty much the same way, was what worried her the most.

With Jack she wasn't fairing much better. They hadn't made love in weeks. He was moody or otherwise avoided being alone with her. And even though she knew what was wrong with him, she didn't know how to make the situation better. It wasn't just that she wanted children and he didn't. It was WHY he didn't want children!

The sad truth was that he still blamed himself for his son's death, and she didn't know how to convince him that he was wrong. And if she couldn't help him, then maybe she should let him find someone who could, or at least find someone who wouldn't ask him for something he wasn't willing to give.

Sam heard his truck in the driveway, and she sucked in a breath and held it, waiting for the sound of the key in the front door lock. But after a few minutes and she didn't hear the familiar sound, Sam put her laptop on the coffee table and stood up. Out of the corner of her eye, she detected movement out the back window. Padding quietly to the French doors at the back of the dining room, she looked outside, able to make out the silhouette of Jack's tall, lean body as he stood by the deck railing.

Without stopping to wonder whether or not she should join him, she opened the door and stepped outside. It was just the end of Spring in Colorado, and the evenings were still quite cool. The deck floor under her bare feet was cold and had a slightly dusty feel to it, and Sam thought fleetingly that it hadn't been hosed off recently...not since their last cookout, which had been weeks ago for Jonas' birthday. And if she was not mistaken, after their friends left that night had been the last time they'd made love.

"Jack, what are you doing out here," she asked as she stopped right behind him, wrapping both arms around his waist.

"I was just looking at the stars," he answered, his head tilted back. He turned around then and enclosed her in his arms, pulling her to his chest, where she rested her cheek against him.

"Did you have a good mission today?"

"Ya, it was okay. Pretty run of the mill. No alien bad guys, no great discoveries...although Daniel might disagree with me about that. He found some clay tablet he thinks is really old. You know how he gets," he finished and Sam hummed in agreement.

"So what have you been up to this evening?"

"Nothing really. Actually I couldn't concentrate, Jack. I've been thinking about us," she said, and Jack let out a heavy sigh.

"About us? And what have you been thinking exactly?" Part of him was afraid of her answer, but another part really needed to know.

"I've been thinking that maybe I'm not the person to help you with things."

Jack knew exactly what things she was referring to, and it aggravated him that she wanted to talk about this tonight or any night. He dropped his arms and stepped sideways, turning back to face the yard. Sam stepped up and stood next to him, her hands on the railing.

"Now you're starting to sound like Daniel; he thinks I should talk to a shrink," Jack confided.

"Jack, that's a great idea! I mean it's certainly better than what I've been thinking," she admitted.

"And what have you been thinking?"

"That if I can't help you, maybe someone else could," she repeated.

"Someone else? If not a shrink, then who?"

Sam was afraid to say what she'd been thinking, as though to say it aloud would make it so...would jinx their relationship somehow. But she didn't have to say anything else, as Jack had already figured it out.

"You mean another woman? Are you saying you want out?"

"No, Jack," she said, laying her hand on his forearm. He turned to face her again, and she gripped his forearms with both hands, her nails digging into his skin in her eagerness to make him understand what she was feeling.

"NO! I don't want out. I love you, Jack, more than I ever thought I could! But if I'm not the right woman for you...if I can't help you, then maybe you deserve someone who can...someone better...someone who isn't such a loser when it comes to personal relationships. My personal life has always been a mess, you know that, Jack."

"I know you seem to have a weakness for guys with mental problems, so I guess I fit your short list of qualifications," Jack chuckled, trying to feel a little less concerned. At least she was questioning herself and not just him. "So, you sure you don't want out?"

"Yes, I'm sure. Now will you please come inside? My feet are freezing out here," she complained, as he hugged her to him.

Jack's hands wandered over her backside, one sweeping down her thigh and up under her short robe. His hand came to rest on her bare butt and squeezed, and Sam quite literally purred. It seemed pretty clear to Jack that Sam wasn't just sitting around in her robe and nothing else, just for the heck of it. She clearly had intended to seduce him when he got home, and that was just fine with him!

"Something else feels pretty cold too, Sam. Let's go inside, and I'll warm it up," he whispered, his lips brushing her ear before he kissed the side of her face.

Then he took her hand and she led him inside and down the hall to their bedroom, flipping the wall switch that turned on the little bedside lamp. When they got to the bed, she stood and turned to face him, untying the robe and letting it fall open.

Jack pushed the robe off her shoulders and glanced down at her curves. Her smooth, creamy skin was sprinkled with just a few pale freckles on her shoulders and arms, her hips were narrow, her legs long and shapely, and her full, round breasts were crowned with dark rosy areolas with prominent nipples that called out to be suckled. She looked absolutely good enough to eat, and that was exactly what Jack decided he would do.

"Get on the bed, Sam. I'll be right with you," he told her, quickly kissing her forehead before he went into the bathroom. Sam let the robe slip to the floor and did as Jack asked. Stretched out on her back, she rested her head on a pillow and watched him return to the room and undress. Seeing his naked body had always excited her, and this time was no different. And by the time he crawled onto the bed and came to rest between her spread legs, she could feel the evidence of her passion tickling her labia.

Jack wrapped his arms around her thighs and dipped his head toward her sex, breathing in her scent as he stared at her glistening curls.

"Oh, God, Jack," she moaned, her hand immediately reaching out for his head. She had always loved the silky feel of his silver hair. But there was no time she loved it more, than when she caressed it between her fingers while he pleasured her this way.

He could see just how wet she was for him, the moisture glistening on her dark blonde curls. He gazed adoringly at her dark pink lips, and her little clit. They appeared to be standing at attention, just waiting for his tongue, his fingers and his cock to do wonderful things to them. And her clitoris was already protruding from its hood, begging for him to take it first.

He licked her swollen lips, avoiding her clit for now. Jack wanted her to beg him for it! And it wasn't long before she did. She kept rotating her hips, trying to get him to give her what she most wanted. Finally she took hold of his head and pushed him toward her swollen nub, hissing, "Suck it! Please, Jack, suck my clit!" And he did, and she nearly convulsed from the electric, incredible feel of his tongue, lips and teeth on the little bundle of nerves.

Their love making had always been good...very good. But tonight there seemed to be desperation in everything they did, as though they need to reaffirm their love for one another. Almost three hours later, Jack lay behind her, his rigid shaft still inside her body, his hands cupping her tender breasts. He had been resting, his forehead pressed to the back of her neck as he wondered how many years he would be able to keep up with this insatiable, younger woman.

"Jaaack," she whined, wondering why he had stopped. She was sore and over-stimulated from the five previous orgasms she'd had, but that didn't stop her from feeling the buildup of another, or from wanting him again and again.

"I'm resting, honey. You're wearing this old guy out," he said with a chuckle.

"You're not old, Jack. In fact I'll wager you're in better shape than most men ten years younger than you! Now get back to work, Mister," she ordered, swiveling her hips and grinding her ass against him.

Her compliment made him feel young, just as her attraction to him always had. He still couldn't believe that someone so much younger and so hot would want anyone like him, and usually he did everything he could to keep her from looking at another man. However, lately he had been unwilling to give her something she wanted, and it really had him worried. But maybe if he gave her everything else...maybe she wouldn't think so much about the children they didn't have.

Jack leaned into her, pushing her over onto her stomach, his hands still cupped around her breasts as he rocked his hips, repeatedly driving his long, thick cock into her. It had taken him a long time to come, just as it always did each time they made love for hours, but finally Jack could feel that familiar pressure coiling in his gut.

"Can you come again?" Jack asked her, realizing he was very close.

"Maybe. Yes, I think so. Just..."

Before she could ask, Jack's fingers found her clit and began to put pressure on it. At the same time he continued to thrust into her, picking up the pace just a bit.

"No, too sore," she said finally, and Jack decided to try something else.

"Lift up a bit."

Jack brought his left hand down under her pelvis and lifted her off the bed, till Sam was resting on her knees, her head down and her cheek pressed into the bed. Then he adjusted his position, leaning on his left elbow while his right hand slipped in between their bodies, his long fingers circling her anus before one of them entered her. Sam flinched at first, until the movements of his finger imitated the movement of his cock...in and out, in and out...and then she began to feel the familiar stirrings of yet another climax.

Jack thrust into her harder now, his body ready to explode. And suddenly Sam was crying out, and Jack felt her muscles squeezing his cock... her entire body quivering and shaking, and that's when Jack lost it, pumping into her furiously until he too felt the release of his pent up sexual energy. After a minute he pulled out of her and flipped over onto his back, pulling her against him, his arms encircling her as they both came down from their sexual high.

"Good?" he asked, and she nodded.

"Always, Jack."

Chapter four

And so their relationship remained on an even keel, and the subject of children didn't come up, until one night three weeks later when they were invited over to Daniel and Janet's house to have dinner. While the women were in the kitchen finishing the dinner preparations, the men were inspecting Daniel's so-called treasure room.

"Daniel, do you even feel at home in this mausoleum? Wait a minute, maybe I just answered my own question," he said with a smirk, as he walked around Daniel's study, touching everything within reach.

"Jack, be careful, would you? Most of this stuff is priceless," Daniel reminded him. "Why would you think I'd be at home in a mausoleum? Oh, wait, I get it! You think because I am an archaeologist, that I feel right at home with dead people, right?"

"Sort of. I just think this place is way too big for the two of you. Plus it's so cold and austere and not like you at all...or Janet for that matter."

"Why thank you, Jack. I do believe there's a compliment in there...some place," Daniel said with a smile. "Actually, I think Janet only keeps the place, so she can rub it in her ex-husband's face every time she sees him at a conference. Apparently he loved it...designed it himself. And don't forget, it won't seem so large when we have kids...one of which is due to arrive in less than two months, you know."

"Ah, yes. As if I could forget."

"So have you and Sam worked out your problem?"

"No, Daniel, we haven't. We're just avoiding talking about it," Jack answered honestly, surprising Daniel by his frankness.

"I doubt that's wise, Jack. It's foolish to think you can avoid a problem indefinitely. I think they generally come back to bite you in the ass," he said, taking a crystal dildo out of Jack's hand and putting it back on the self where he'd gotten it.

"Is that really a..."

"Yes, it is, Jack. People have been using dildos for thousands of years," he said, watching Jack's eyebrows rise to his hairline.

"Wow! Thousands of years?"

"Yep."

"But glass! Isn't that kind of hard?"

"Precisely, Jack. And it can be heated or chilled to give the user added stimulation."

"Ack! Too much information, Daniel."

Daniel laughed, and then they both heard the soft chiming sound of the dinner bell. "That would be dinner being served. I guess the girls are ready for us."

It hadn't escaped Jack that the actual cooking had been done by the Mexican housekeeper before she left for the day. All 'the girls' really had to do was set the table, heat the bread and make the salad. They were already standing behind their chairs when the men got to the big, formal dining room. The long, cherry table, which sat twelve, was set with the most elaborate china, crystal and silverware that Jack had ever seen, and he suddenly felt like a fish out of water.

"Whoa, Danny boy! How can you even sleep at night? Aren't you afraid someone will break in to steal all this stuff?"

The men helped the women into their chairs and then seated themselves. In order to make passing the dishes and the wine easier, they were using only one end of the big table, but even so it took Jack's long arms to help everyone get what they needed. By the time they were all served, he almost felt like one of the hired help.

"Sorry, Jack. Next time we'll eat in the kitchen. That table only seats eight," Janet said, seeing the grimace on Jack's face.

"It's okay, Jan. Just don't expect me to wash the car or mow the grass."

Everyone laughed, which made Jack feel more at ease. Maybe this evening was not going to be a 'let's all get on Jack's case night' after all!

"Which reminds me, when are you gonna make this penny-pinching husband of yours buy a decent car," Jack asked, wondering if he'd gone too far.

"Funny you should ask that. I've got something exciting to tell both of you; we ordered a new car today! Actually it's an SUV," Janet told them with a smile, as she patted Daniel's hand.

"You ORDERED one? You can't just go down to the lot and pick one out like the rest of us?"

"No, Jack, it a brand new Mercedes. And besides, we wanted to get just the right features and the color Janet wanted," Daniel explained, and Sam looked at both of them and then pursed her lips and raised her eyebrows.

"What?" Janet asked, looking at Sam.

"Oh, nothing. I was just thinking how spoiled that baby of yours is gonna be, the lucky little bugger!"

"Well, we have the money, so I say why not spend it! You know, I went for years not buying or needing anything, because I lived at the SGC all the time or I was off-world somewhere sleeping in a sleeping bag. Now I'm spending a lot of time here with Jan, and soon we'll have a family. And I've got all this money saved. So I figured why not spend it on the things we need, and give Janet and the kids the best that money can buy."

"And we don't have a house payment or any car payments, so really this car is not going to bankrupt us," Janet added.

"I'm sorry, you two. I was just kidding. And even if the child is spoiled, he or she is gonna have the two best parents in the world...the galaxy! And I would know, because I've been all over the galaxy, and I've never known two finer people than you and Daniel,"

Sam said, raising her wine glass.

"To our best friends and their baby," Sam offered with tears shining in her eyes, and everyone raised their glass, although Jack was a bit slow to do so. Sam nudged his leg under the table with the toe of her shoe, and Jack knew he'd better say something nice or face her wrath later.

She realized this talk about the baby was probably making Jack nervous, but she wasn't about to ignore their friends' good fortune just to make him feel at ease.

"Well, I gotta say I'm impressed, Danny. I always thought you were a tight wad. And now I won't have to drive you home anymore," Jack enthused, trying to lighten the mood.

"So you must be getting excited about becoming a father, Daniel," Sam stated more than asked. She had decided not to let Jack off the hook so easily tonight. If he wouldn't talk to her about having children in the privacy of his house, maybe he'd be forced to talk about it here...with their friends.

"I am! Actually I've been wondering what he will want to study when he grows up. Maybe he'll want to be an archaeologist!"

"Or SHE might want to be a doctor of medicine," Janet put in, her hand resting on Daniel's forearm. Daniel took her hand in his and squeezed as he gazed into her big, brown eyes, a sweet, loving smile on his face.

"I wish..." Sam started to say she wished she could have a son just like Jack...one who would join the military and be a hero, just like his father.

"What, Sam? What do you wish," Janet asked.

"I wish I could have a baby who would grow up to be just like Jack," she said, deciding to take a stand. She was through trying to hide her longing for a child! And damn it, Jack would just have to deal with it!

Jack's face went almost white, which was quite a change from his usual tanned appearance. His mouth was a grim, thin line as he shoved his chair back abruptly and stood up.

"Jack? Sit down, honey." But Jack was not listening to her as he hurried out of the dining room. Everyone stood up, but no one spoke. Sam waved them back as she ran after Jack.

"Jack! Jack, don't go!" She caught up with him at the door of his truck, which was parked in the half circle driveway, directly opposite the front door. He turned around and faced her, his eyes cold, like the depths of a dark, black sea.

"Sam, I've had enough! If you want kids, you're going to have to have them with someone else...someone better...someone who won't hurt them."

Then he got in and drove away, leaving Sam standing there. And that's where Janet and Daniel found her a few minutes later. She was still standing there, tears streaming down her face.

When Sam had gotten home that night, Jack was not there. Sam called around to a few of the bars she knew he liked, and she also tried the base. He hadn't checked in there, and no one knew where he had gone. Sam went to bed, but she didn't sleep a wink. The next morning she heard his truck as she sat at the breakfast bar having a cup of coffee. She hadn't been able to eat anything, as her stomach was still churning from the events of last night. And now she felt like she was going to throw up. She took a big breath and concentrated, willing herself to feel better.

Sam waited patiently for Jack to come inside, instead of doing what she really wanted to do, which was run to him and apologize. She looked up as he came into the kitchen and tossed his keys and cell phone down on the counter next to her. He didn't say anything at first. He just went to the cupboard and got out a coffee mug. Then he poured himself a cup of coffee. Sam could see his hands were shaking, and she felt sorry for him. She had put the poor man through hell lately, and she was truly sorry. Now seemed to be the time to tell him, but before she could say anything, Jack spoke...words which she hoped she'd never hear.

"This isn't working. I'll help you move out as soon as you've found a place to live," he said, and then he walked out the French doors and onto the deck.

Sam just sat there in stunned silence. She knew he was upset, but she never dreamed he'd say something so blunt, so final! But he had, and Sam felt her heart break in two. After a few minutes of sitting there in shock, she slid off the stool and went into their room...his room...and began to pack. If he really wanted her to go, she had no choice. She wouldn't put up a fuss like some weak, simpering female. She'd just go quietly and leave him in peace. And he wouldn't have to help her move either.

Chapter five

About an hour later Sam was standing under Janet's front portico, three suitcases, one computer case, and two boxes of books next to her feet. Daniel opened the door and Sam went into his arms, great sobs wrenched from her chest.

"Sam! Oh, my God, what happened? Janet! Janet, it's Sam!"

Janet came in a hurry, her untied robe flapping as she waddled to where they stood in the foyer. She took one look at Sam and opened her arms, giving Sam a huge hug.

"I can't believe he asked you to leave," Daniel said as he brought Sam's luggage and other items inside and shut the door. Sam sniffed and wiped her eyes and nose with the tissue Janet gave her.

"I couldn't believe it either, but he did. Would you mind if I stay here...just until I can find a place? Jack said I could stay there until I had a place, but I just couldn't stay where I'm not wanted."

"Of course you can! In fact, you can stay here as long as you want! Space is something we have a lot of, as you know. I'll put you in the blue room...or no, make that the lavender room," Janet enthused. "Come on. Daniel, bring Sam's things, so she can get settled in," Janet instructed, and Sam smiled with puffy, red eyes, as she picked up her computer case and one of the smaller suitcases.

"This will be fun, Sam! I only have three more weeks before my maternity leave begins. We'll go shopping, and to the spa and stuff, and you can help me get the baby's room ready. Don't let that bastard get you down, honey. In fact, I'll wager that he'll be sniffing around here in no time, wishing he had never let you go. You'll see," Janet assured her as they climbed the curved staircase.

And so Sam settled in at Janet and Daniel's mansion, not knowing exactly how long she would be there. And it wasn't so bad really. She and Janet got to spend plenty of time together once Janet began her maternity leave, and they did have a lot of fun, particularly on the shopping trips, when both of them got to spend hours and hours picking out tiny baby shoes and clothing and other things for Janet and Daniel's baby.

Sam had managed to avoid seeing Jack at the base. He was frequently gone on missions anyway, now that the budgetary problems had been overcome. But she heard about the conquests of SG-1 and their illustrious leader on occasion, and when she did, it hurt a lot...a hell of a lot, particularly since she had found out she was pregnant.

After the initial shock had worn off, Sam thought about it and figured she would deal with this issue alone. This was one thing she had decided to keep secret from everyone for a while, even Janet and Daniel. But she still hadn't figured out exactly what she was going to do. She just knew she wanted this baby more than she had ever wanted anything! The idea thrilled her and terrified her at the same time.

Although they wanted to talk to Jack, Janet and Daniel had decided to leave him alone for now. Daniel had told Janet that the man seemed bent on punishing himself more than anyone he had ever known, and he didn't think either one of them was qualified to help him. He wasn't even sure Sam could help him.

On one particular day Janet, Daniel and Sam were decorating the baby's room by hanging pictures, mobiles and other things on the wall and ceiling. Janet had said she wanted the ceiling to look as much like space as was possible, so Daniel had found a mural artist who had painted stars and planets on the space, and this was the first day the room had been ready for the furnishings.

Daniel had moved the baby bed, the bassinet and other furniture back into the room, and now he and the women were putting the final touches on everything. Sam had just finished hanging a fabric valance, covered with planets and moons, above the bay window, and Janet had been sitting on the carpeted floor, putting supplies away in the bottom of the changing table. She laid back on the floor and looked up at the ceiling, appreciating the great job the artist had done.

"I just love it, Daniel! He did a really great job. Don't you think so, Sam?"

For weeks it seemed like Sam had been quieter than usual, and although Janet had been worried about her attitude and lack of appetite lately, she had ignored it. After all, she was not Sam's doctor, and Sam was old enough to take care of herself. When Sam didn't respond, both Daniel and Janet looked over to where Sam was now sitting on the window seat. She had her back to them, but they could see her shoulders shaking. Daniel sat down next to her and put his arm around her shoulders, hugging her close.

"Sam, honey… Sam, please don't cry."

"I'm sorry, you guys. I didn't mean to put a damper...quite literally...on your day. The room is lovely, and I know the baby will like it," she sniffed as she swiped a hand over her face to try and dry the tears.

Janet had managed to sit up, and was now leaning against the wall. "Sam, if this is too hard for you... You know we would understand, if you decided to move," Janet offered, not knowing how else to help her friend.

"I may be moving, Janet, but not because of this." Janet and Daniel looked at each other and both shrugged their shoulders and shook their heads, indicating they had no idea what Sam meant.

"Moving? When? Where? WHY?" Janet reached out a hand to Daniel, who got up immediately and came over to assist her. Once she was on her feet, she came over and sat down by Sam. Daniel resumed his place on the other side.

"Actually, I've been offered a really great job...in Washington, D.C."

"Washington! But I thought you loved your job at the SGC, and besides we need you here!"

Daniel looked almost angry, which was unusual for him. He was normally very even-tempered, but the idea that Jack might be driving away the SGC's brightest scientist, not to mention his and Jan's best friend, really irked him!

"Sam, are you sure this isn't just a knee-jerk reaction to your break up with Jack," Janet asked her. Janet realized that for there to already be a job offer, Sam must have applied for the job several weeks ago, probably right after Sam moved out of Jack's house.

"Well, it is and it isn't. You see..."

Should she tell them the truth? Did she have the right to burden them with her news? And if she told them, would they keep her secret from Jack? Sam looked from Daniel's blue eyes to Janet's brown ones and she knew she couldn't keep her news from her two best friends. It was, after all, happy news, because she was elated to finally be having a child...particularly Jack's child.

"If I tell you this, you have to promise not to tell anyone...specially Jack," she began, and they both swore not to tell him. "I'm pregnant."

"OH, MY GOD! How long have you known," Janet shouted, throwing her arms around Sam. Daniel hugged her too, and then they all three held hands.

"Well, I've suspected for about four weeks, and then I went to my doctor a few days ago, and he confirmed it. I'm eight weeks along."

"No wonder you've seemed so different lately," Janet said with a frown. "You poor kid."

"But Sam, this is wonderful news," Daniel added. Then all three of them sat quietly for a minute with their arms around each other in a group hug.

Janet was the first to speak. "Honey, this doesn't mean you have to leave the SGC. If Jack doesn't want this baby, then so be it! You have it, you raise it, and there won't be anything he can do about it. And if you stay here, we can help you. You're gonna need a support group, you know. In fact, you should stay here indefinitely! We have plenty of room, and this place is gonna be a haven for kids! Wait till you see the playground equipment we've picked out!"

"Janet, that sounds wonderful. And I appreciate your offer...I really do, but I don't know. I don't think I can stand the thought of running into Jack once he finds out." And Sam knew it wouldn't be long before she'd start to show, and then Jack would know.

"Why? You know, it might just do him some good to see the woman he loves carrying his child, Sam," Daniel told her. "I know there's nothing I love more than to see Janet pregnant with my baby," he said as he reached over and caressed Jan's belly. Janet smiled and nodded, putting her hand over his.

They continued to gaze lovingly at one another until Sam began to feel a little uncomfortable.

"Okay, you two, I'm going to get out of here for a while. I need to think about everything. I promise I won't make a final decision without talking to both of you," Sam assured them as she extricated herself from their arms. Daniel slid over to Janet and put his arms around her, pulling her in for a short kiss.

"We'll hold you to that, Sam," Janet told her.

"Sam, I just want to say one more thing. Did you ever think that maybe what Jack needs is for you to force the issue? I mean maybe the only way he's gonna ever believe he can be a good father is for him to actually get involved with another child of his own. I know he wants children, Sam...your children to be precise. So don't give up hope; this baby may be exactly what he needs," Daniel told her.

Sam nodded and smiled, and then she left the two of them alone. She needed to do some serious thinking, and so she decided to go for a walk down to the little park about a block away. She sat on a bench in the sun and watch children at play on the swings and monkey bars. Colorado Springs was a good place to raise a child, and she knew that Janet was right; she would need a support group. She certainly had no one else but Janet and Daniel now, since both her parents were dead. Sam placed her hand flat against her belly and prayed that her child would have a happy life, whether Jack was part of it or not.

Chapter six

Janet and Daniel had been very relieved when Sam told them she had decided to stay in Colorado Springs and at the SGC. And so now they poured every spare minute of their time trying to make sure she was kept busy with fun things to do, to take her mind off of Jack. Janet had even enlisted Sam's help with her natural childbirth classes; when Daniel could not go with her, Sam went along to act as her coach. Janet figured it would be good training for Sam anyway, since it wouldn't be long before she would need to think about giving birth to her child.

On weekends, or when they were not off-world, Teal'c and Jonas would come over for cook outs or to play video games and ping-pong in their huge family room. Daniel had purchased a home theater entertainment system for Janet for her birthday a few months back, and in the evening they'd all gather around on one end of the big room and watch movies.

The first time that Jonas and Teal'c had come over to spend an afternoon and evening there, Jonas had voiced his confusion as to why the Colonel was not there. But after Teal'c had a talk with the young man, Jonas had stopped asking. Daniel had questioned Teal'c on the matter, but all that the big Jaffa would say was that he had handled the situation.

And so things went along smoothly for a while, and the five friends enjoyed many good times together, and all without the company of SG-1's team leader. But after a few weeks, it became obvious, at least to Daniel, that Jonas was feeling awkward around Jack on missions, and even Teal'c was noticeably on edge, as though waiting for a volcano to erupt.

One day, on Daniel's last mission before his requested vacation break, the volcano...in the form of Jack O'Neill...blew it's proverbial top!

"Jonas, I don't care if you like it or not! I'm your CO for now, and that's the way it's gonna be! And if the rest of you have anything to complain about, just tell me right now, so we can handle it here...before we get back to the SGC."

"Now, Jack, that's not fair," Daniel began.

"Ack! I don't wanna hear it, Daniel! You guys have been treating me like nothing but your CO for weeks now, so don't expect me to feel all warm and fuzzy! I know Sam's living with you, Daniel, and you're all in cahoots...taking her side in all of this. I get it! I'm not wanted in your private lives anymore, and that's fine by me! But just remember that when we're on a mission, I'm your CO, and you're gonna have to deal with me, whether you like it or not!"

"We all just want what's best for Sam and your ch..." Shit! Daniel swore to himself over his slip. He had almost blurted out the truth! He quickly recovered and changed his tack.

"We just want Sam to be happy, Jack. She's our friend."

"And I was your friend too, Daniel, but I guess I'm not anymore. I can't blame you for that," Jack admitted, and Daniel looked at him, almost in shock.

"You can't? And why is that? Oh, wait! Could it be that it's because you realize you broke Sam's heart?"

"DanielJackson, I see no point in this conversation," Teal'c said, his voice showing signs of concern for Daniel's life.

"Don't worry, T. I'm not gonna take his head off, although there have been times..."

"There have been times for me too, Jack! And the worst one was the day Sam showed up at my door with her suitcases...the day you threw her out!"

"I'm sorry, Daniel. You too, guys," Jack said, and then he walked out of camp and they didn't see him for several hours.

When Jack returned the sun was already setting on this lovely green planet, and it was time for them to pack up and head home. Jack breathed a sigh of relief as he stepped onto the gate ramp, tromping out of the gate room with barely a grunt and a half salute at General Hammond.

"Welcome back, SG-1. There will be no debriefing. Just have your report on my desk by Monday morning, Colonel," he said to Jack's retreating back. "What's eating him, Dr. Jackson?"

"Ah, General, I'm afraid he and I got into it...over nothing really. You know how I can be; I'm afraid I was a little too whiny today," Daniel lied, not wanting the head of the base to know there was a serious problem. If Hammond thought the team wasn't getting along, he'd undoubtedly separate them, and Daniel didn't think any of them, with the possible exception of Jack, really wanted that to happen.

"Alright, just make sure you and he work things out," Hammond reminded him. This wasn't the first time Daniel and Jack had an argument, and the General was certain it wouldn't be the last.

Daniel assured him that all would be well, and then reminded General Hammond that he would not be seeing the SGC for a while.

"That's right! I had almost forgotten it's about time for that baby of yours to be born."

"That it is, and I can tell you that Janet is more than ready for it to happen," he said with a laugh as they strolled out of the gate room together. Teal'c and Jonas had walked on ahead, eager to get to the recreation room to play video games.

"I remember what the last month is like, son. My wife used to pack her over-night bag and sit it by the door those last three weeks. Then every night she'd say, "George, I wish to God this baby would come tonight! And I'd tell her not to get her hopes up. She really hated those last few weeks. Our daughters were both born late...the first one two weeks and the second one five days. I thought Margaret was going to have a fit!"

"I can imagine, Sir. If Janet's late, I may opt to stay here. She's just about at the end of her rope. But at least Sam's been there to help her pass the time. She's been a blessing in disguise, Sir."

"How is Doctor Carter doing? I heard that she and Jack broke up."

"Yes, they did, and it has been pretty hard on both of them." Daniel assumed that Sam had not told the General that she was pregnant yet, and Daniel certainly was not going to be the one to break the news.

"Well, I feel badly for both of them, but maybe it wasn't meant to be. After all, they are complete opposites," Hammond said, and then he went off toward his office.

Daniel knew that General Hammond was correct; Jack and Sam were complete opposites in so many ways. But he also had never seen two people more in love. Daniel let out a sigh and went to find Jack. Maybe it was time he apologized to the man for making him feel so left out. And maybe it was time he did something to get Jack and Sam together...at least in the same room together!

When he got to the locker room, Daniel was surprised to find Jack still there. He usually high-tailed it out of the base as soon as the infirmary staff was finished with him...most of the time without even changing into his civvies.

"Jack, can I have a minute?"

"Sure, Daniel, what is it now?"

"Actually I want to apologize to you. Janet and I have been excluding you from our social lives lately, but that's over. If Sam has a problem with you coming around to the house, then she'll just have to deal with it," echoing what Jack had said to him a couple of month previous.

"Seriously?" Jack looked up from where he sat on the metal bench.

"Seriously! In fact, why don't you come over tomorrow? We're having a cookout...to help take Janet's mind off of her due date. It's Tuesday, by the way. And she's driving both me and Sam crazy! I think that she would welcome the challenge of having both you and Sam in the house at the same time," he said with a laugh.

"Ah, I see, the old distraction ploy! Well, in that case I would be happy to be Janet's distraction...to help take her mind off whatever."

"Great! Then we'll see you tomorrow afternoon...about four. Well, I guess I better get to the infirmary and let that nervous Nelly, Taylor, take a gallon of my blood. How'd she do today, by the way?"

"Oh, I think she only jabbed me in three or four places before she hit a vein," Jack joked, and Daniel made a face.

"Ewww! Well, wish me luck!"

"Good luck, Daniel! I'll see you tomorrow!"

Jack was all smiles as he went and took his shower. Tomorrow he would see Sam! He hadn't felt this good in weeks! He knew he missed her, but he hadn't realized how much being left out of his other friends' lives had hurt him. When Teal'c and Jonas had been there to change earlier, they had talked about their plans for the weekend, and they had barely said two words to him. Well, maybe after tomorrow things would change back to the way they used to be, and they would include him in their discussions and their plans.

Jack would never have admitted it to anyone, but he had really missed taking the two aliens to hockey games and mud wrestling and all the other fun things they used to do together. Jack began to sing an old Irish lullaby as he soaped himself up. But then he realized what he had been singing and changed the tune to a Irish drinking song, which was much more fitting for a macho man like himself.

Chapter seven

A larger group than normal was gathered in the Frasier-Jackson backyard on the sunny, summer Saturday afternoon. Besides SG-1 and Sam, Janet had invited a few of her nursing staff, and Daniel had invited their old teammate Captain Janine Porter and her husband Jeff. And of course they had brought their four-month-old baby, Natasha.

Janet had been getting ready when Daniel had sprung his surprise on her. And although he had expected her to disapprove of his decision to invite Jack, he had been relieved that Janet had seemed okay with it. In fact, she said it was probably about time they face one another, and maybe breaking the ice in the company of a large group of friends was just the ticket!

And now it looked as though Jack wasn't going to show up.

"Daniel, he did say for sure that he'd be here, didn't he," Janet whispered, as she stood behind him at the bar-b-que grill. Since moving into Janet's house Daniel had been perfecting his grilling techniques, and could now burn a steak as well or better than Jack. So Janet liked to stand nearby with a spray bottle of water, just in case he got a little carried away.

"Yes, honey, he said he'd be here. Just be patient."

Daniel listened to the group of shouting people in the pool, who seemed to be having such a good time playing volley ball, and wished he could join them, instead of standing in front of the hot grill. Maybe when Jack gets here, I can convince him to watch the meat, he thought, wishing his old friend would hurry up.

He noticed that Sam was now in the server's position, and he hoped she would not be too upset when she saw Jack. Daniel saw her hold up the ball and begin to serve, when suddenly she stopped moving, her body frozen in mid-swing. Daniel looked behind him, to where she seemed to be staring, and saw Jack O'Neill coming around the side of the house carrying a case of beer. He had obviously not seen Sam, as his eyes were on Janet as she stood on bare tiptoes to kiss him on the mouth.

Daniel looked back to Sam and was relieved to see her serve the ball over the net to the delighted cries of her teammates, and then the game continued.

"Jack! Hey, it's good to see you! Janet was afraid you weren't coming," Daniel told him, reaching out and taking his hand.

"Wouldn't miss it for the world! But I gotta say I had no idea you'd invited so many people. I may have to go buy more brews." Several people called out their hellos to Jack, and he returned their greetings with a wave, and a bright smile.

"Nah, we got plenty, but of course they're not choice like the ones I see you've brought," Daniel acknowledged the case of imported lager.

"Only the finest for my friends," Jack enthused, as several men, including Jonas Quinn, came over and helped themselves to one of Jack's imports. He carried the box to the outdoor refrigerator and put it inside, taking one for himself, and then his eyes scanned the yard and the pool until he found Sam Carter. She was in the pool, and all he could see was her shining blonde head and her sun-kissed, freckled shoulders above the water.

As the game ended, one of the couples got out of the pool and begged off, but the others wanted to stay in and play another game.

"Jack," Jeff shouted, "we need you in here, man! Come on! Charlie's team is kicking the crap out of us!"

"Oh, alright, but we still need one more. Trish?"

It was common knowledge that Trish Minogue, Janet's long-time head nurse, had a thing for Jack, and Janet thought this might prove interesting...and might be just the thing to make Sam fight for her man! The tall, red haired, Irish lass eagerly accepted his invitation to join the game, and they both stepped down the stairs into the shallow end.

But then Charlie Kawalski reminded everyone that it was his team's turn to be on the shallow end, and so everyone went under the net and switched sides.

When Jack got to the net he lifted it and held it up for Trish. Then he ducked under it himself and was about to let it go, when he saw Sam heading his way. So he held onto the net and allowed her to go under it before he let it fall back to the water.

"Thank you," was all she said, but to Jack it was as if she had said he was the most wonderful man in the world.

"You're welcome," he replied, and then he took his place in the serving position, and the game began.

The game continued smoothly for several minutes, until Teal'c lobbed a ball over the net and it hit Sam square in the abdomen.

When Sam came to, she was laying on a chaise lounge with several people standing over her, and the one looking the most worried was Jack O'Neill. Janet, who was seated next to her, was holding a wet towel to her forehead and asking her to wake up. Sam tried to sit up, but Janet wouldn't let her.

"Sam, are you in any pain?"

"No. What happened?"

"I am entirely at fault. I regret that I hit you with the ball, Samantha Carter," Teal'c said, bowing his head.

"Oh, now I remember. Oh, my God, the baby," Sam gasped and brought her hand down to her belly.

Several people gasped, and Jack's mouth fell open. Daniel and Jonas, who were standing next to him, were worried that the man might copy Sam and faint dead away. But he remained standing where he was, looking not only worried but confused.

"I'm sure the baby's fine. We just need to get you inside where I can examine you. Do you think you can walk?"

Jack stepped up as Janet stood from the chair.

"She's not walkin' anywhere. I'll carry her," he said. And before Sam could even think to protest, he had lifted her up in his arms and was following Janet into the house. Poor Teal'c just stood there, and Daniel felt sorry for the man.

"Come on, Teal'c...everybody, she'll be fine. She's got the best doctor in Colorado," Daniel called out. "Now...who's ready to eat?" Several people applauded and of course there were jokes about going down to the local fast food place to get some food that wasn't charred beyond recognition.

Once inside the house Jack laid Sam on the sofa in Janet's office, where she hoped they could have some privacy. Seeing that he wasn't inclined to leave, Janet had to swear to him that he would be the first to hear, once she knew what Sam's condition was. Only then would he consent to leave them alone.

Sam had been shocked when he picked her up like he had, but also very touched that he was so concerned. All the way inside she could feel him staring down at her body, and she was glad her middle was covered by the tank-style, bathing suit top that she wore. And when he had bent over and lowered her to the sofa, their faces had come so close together that she thought for a minute he was going to kiss her. A huge part of her was disappointed he had not.

"Sam, we need to check and see if you're bleeding. You probably aren't, but we need to make certain. I'll get a towel to cover you," she said as she headed for the door. Jack was waiting impatiently and jumped at her the instant she emerged.

"Jack, I don't know anything more yet. I have to get something to drape her with...a towel will do. If you want to help, then go to the linen closet in one of the guest bathrooms and get a large towel. No, get two of them," she said, and then she went back inside the room.

Jack was back in less than a minute. He opened the door a crack and handed the towels through to Jan's waiting hand. She pulled the door shut in his face and locked it.

"You'll need to wiggle out of that wet bathing suit. But first lets' put this towel under you," she said, and Sam's face grew more worried.

"Honey, the exam is just a precaution. I'm sure you're fine."

Sam stripped off the bottom of her swim suit and dropped it onto the floor. Janet had forgotten about the wood floor, and Sam's suit was still dripping wet, so she grabbed it up and went to the door. The second she unlocked and opened it, Jack was there. So she handed him the soggy suit and told him to take it to the nearest bathroom and leave it in the sink. Then she shut the door again and relocked it.

"That man is worried sick, Sam," Janet said, thinking that maybe this was the best thing that could have happened. Well, not exactly this, but something that involved Jack finding out that Sam was pregnant. Janet just wished it hadn't involved the bouncing the ball off the baby part.

"Are you having any pain now? Twinges, anything?" Janet pulled on a pair of latex gloves with a snap. Then she reached under the towel that was now covering Sam's lower half and gingerly examined Sam. There was no blood, and Sam didn't seem to be feeling any pain.

"Sam, you're not bleeding, and I see no reason to worry. If anything changes...you have pain, cramping or bleeding, I want you to go see your doctor as soon as possible. Okay?"

"Yes, I think it just scared me. The poor kid must wonder what kind of a mother I'm going to be," she said with a laugh.

They'd had this discussion before, and Janet knew that Sam doubted her ability to be a good mother. Just like those other times, Janet made light of Sam's concerns.

"Sam, you're going to be a great mother. Heck, I don't think there's anything you couldn't do and do well! Now, what's say we get you dressed in something else besides a wet swim suit and then get you something to eat?"

"Yes, I'd like that very much."

"Okay. I'll be right back with some clothes."

"Janet, you shouldn't have to climb all those stairs for me. I can go..."

Janet had just opened the door and of course who should pop inside the room but Jack. Janet laughed, thinking suddenly that maybe they should start calling him a Jack in the box!

"What d'ya need? More towels? Hot water? A stethoscope? YoYo?"

"No, silly! Sam needs some dry clothes. I was just going up to get them."

"Janet, I don't want you climbing those stairs on my account."

"Janet, she's right. Besides I can get them," he offered.

"No, Jack, I don't think that would be such a good idea," Sam said.

Assessing a situation and making a quick decision on how to proceed was what he was good at, so he marched into the room and scooped up a shrieking Sam, along with the two towels, and headed out the door. As he carried her, Sam put one arm around his neck and hung on tight, while she used her other hand to make sure she wasn't being over-exposed!

Janet just shook her head at the two. "I just hope they make love and not war while they're up there," she said under her breath.

When he reached the top of the stairs he said, "Which one is your room?"

When they got to Sam's room, Jack was able to lower Sam so she could reach the door knob. She turned it and Jack nudged the door open with his shoulder, kicking it shut with the heel of his shoe before carrying her to the bed. He gently sat her down on the side of the bed, and then he got down on one knee, between her parted thighs. His hands had come to rest on her knees, as she sat gazing at him with her big, blue eyes, and for a few seconds Jack forgot why they were there.

"Jack, my clothes?"

"What? Oh, ya. I just... You're pregnant."

He was still in a state of shock, but gradually the shocked was turning into something else. His eyes drifted from her face and down to her belly, which was covered by the towel.

"Yes, Jack, I'm pregnant," she echoed.

"How long?"

"Eleven weeks."

"Can I see?"

Jack's hand was hovering over the towel, and Sam just nodded her head. Slowly he pulled the towel away and stared at her. He could definitely see her waistline had thickened, and there was a small bulge in her usually flat belly. Reverently he placed his hand on the swelling.

"Lay back, Sam. I want to see our baby," he said softly, and she did as he asked, scooting back, so she could bend her knees and place her feet flat on the bed. Jack laid down beside her and placed his hand over the baby again. Then he laid his head on her chest and let out a long sigh as he looked at where his hand lay.

"You know I didn't plan this. I mean, I didn't deliberately get pregnant. It just happened. Are you okay, Jack?"

"Ya, okay. I'm a little scared, but I'm okay. No, that's a lie," he said, and then he lifted his head and looked at her, his face mere inches from hers. "I'm not okay. And I'm a lot more than just a little scared; I'm terrified."

"Me too, but we have each other, you know. It's not like we have to do this alone...unless you don't want to be a part of our baby's life," she said, praying that he would not let her or their baby down.

"Of course I want to be a part of it's life! How could I not? It's my flesh and blood! And it's yours, and I love everything about you...every part of you! Sam, I've been miserable without you, honey," he admitted, and then he brought his lips to hers in a gentle, soft kiss.

But gradually they both began to feel a need for the closeness they had missed for the past seven weeks, and Jack pulled her to him, insinuating his tongue into her mouth as his knee separated her thighs. He was about to push her onto her back, when there was a knock at the door, and Daniel's voice called out to them.

"Guys! The food is ready!"

"Go away, Daniel," Jack said irritably.

"Janet wants to know if everything is okay," he said.

"Ya, Daniel, everything is great! Now go away!"

"Okay then, I'm just gonna go."

"Janet wants to know, my ass," Jack hissed. But then he looked at Sam and smiled, his eyes roaming her lower half.

And suddenly Sam was embarrassed by her nudity. She blushed and covered herself again with the towel, but Jack chuckled and tried to tug it out of her hands.

"I've seen you before, you know. How do you think you got pregnant," Jack joked, wagging his eyebrows at her suggestively.

"True, but it's been a while, and anyway I'm still not sure Daniel won't bust in here to rescue me. I really should get dressed."

Jack backed away and, with a motion of his hand, indicated he would not try to interfere.

Sam scooted off the bed and got up, holding the towel around her as she went to the dresser to get a pair of panties. He was disappointed when she stepped into the walk-in closet to find something more to put on.

Jack was already fully aroused and sorely in need of release or a cold shower. On the chance that Sam might help him with his problem, he followed her into the closet. He found her standing there, dressed in just the pair of panties. When she turned around, she was surprised to find him standing behind her, his hand on his groin.

"Jack! What are you doing?"

"I can't go downstairs like this, Sam. I'm either gonna fuck you, or you're gonna have to help me with this," he declared, reaching for her hand and placing it over his erection.

Sam pulled her hand free, put both her hands on his chest and pushed, and for a minute he thought she was trying to push him out of the closet. He stepped back to the wall, and that was when Sam melted to her knees and pulled down his swim suit. Then she took his balls in one hand, plunging her mouth down on his engorged penis, as her other hand encircled the shaft. And that was all Jack remembered until she was licking her lips and standing in front of him.

"All better?"

"Oh, ya," he said breathlessly. "I'm sorry we can't...you...I would, but..."

"I know, Jack. It's okay, really! You can pay me back later tonight," she told him as she slipped a sun dress over her head. Then she turned around and waited for him to zip it for her.

Chapter eight

The party had been a big success in more ways than one. Everyone had fun, Janet had been distracted from her anxiety, Jack and Sam had gotten back together, and Daniel hadn't burned all the meat!

Afterward the cleaning crew, otherwise known as Teal'c and Jonas, helped Daniel pick up all the paper goods, plastic and glass bottles and take them out to the trash can in the alley. Jack and Sam rounded up all of the plates and other glassware and utensils, and Jack carried them into the kitchen, where Janet put them into the two dishwashers. Anything they missed would be taken care of by Rosa the housekeeper in the morning.

When they were finished, Janet was exhausted and more than ready to go to bed. But before leaving she told Jack he was welcome to spend the night...on the sofa...or with Sam...whichever they preferred.

"I would prefer to stay with Sam, if it's okay. I mean what about the baby," he asked, and everyone knew exactly what he meant.

"I doubt the little bugger will mind you poking around in there. After all, it's much worse to get hit by a volley ball, than to get prodded by a peanut," Janet quipped, and everyone but Jack laughed.

"Hey, I think I resent that!"

"That's what you get for causing Sam so much heartache, Jack," Janet said, but then she stepped over to him and opened her arms. Jack hugged her gingerly. Before she let him go she whispered that she still considered him a good friend.

"I'm glad, Janet. Me too," he whispered back.

"Good-night, Janet, and thanks for everything," Sam said as she went over to her petite friend and kissed her on the cheek.

"Any time, honey. I'm just glad things worked out for you," Janet said. "Have fun," she said with a wink.

Jack put his arm protectively around Sam and she looked up at him, love's light shining in her eyes.

"Daniel, are you coming to bed, or staying up?"

"I'll be up in a bit, Jan. I just need to unwind a bit." He hugged her as closely as he could, and kissed her on the lips, making a loud smacking sound. Then he bent over and kissed her belly through her dress and patted it. "Good-night, kid," he said, and Janet laughed. Then she left, slowly making her way up the stairs.

"Well, what can I get you guys? Beer? Wine? Oh, Sam, I forgot. How about some juice?"

"I will take a bottle of water, but I'm kind of tired too." She looked at Jack, and asked, "Wanna watch TV in bed?"

"Television in bed? How decadent," he said, standing up and pulling her up next to him.

"I know. These people I'm living with have so much money, they don't know what to do with it!"

"Very funny," Daniel called on his way to the kitchen. Jack and Sam followed him, and each got a bottle of water. Then they said their good-nights, and Jack and Sam went up to her room.

"We should shower off the chlorine before we go to bed, Jack," Sam said as she began to get undressed. She came out of the closet in just her panties, and looked curiously at Jack.

"Sounds like a plan to me." He spun around, looking around the room. "But first tell me something," he said, looking around again. "Where's the TV?"

"Here, silly," she said, picking up the remote. She pushed a button, and a TV monitor began to rise up out of the top of the cabinet at the foot of the bed.

"Holy Hannah! Well, that explains it; I knew I hadn't seen a TV in here earlier."

"Now, come on. Get that suit and t-shirt off," she said, tugging on the bottom of his shirt. When he reached for her breasts, she backed off, giggling. "Nope! Take off your clothes and get in here," she called out as she sprinted for the bathroom.

Jack quickly stripped off his shirt and suit and tossed them into the corner by his duffel bag. He was glad he'd brought a change of clothes with him, or he'd be driving home tomorrow in his swim suit.

Jack hadn't been inside the ensuite bathroom yet, and when he finally saw it, he whistled.

"This place is awesome! Maybe we should take a bath instead," he said, looking at the big Jacuzzi tub.

"Some other time. Get in here, Jack," Sam said, and Jack followed her voice. She was already in the snail shower, which was as big as most people's entire bathroom.

"Wow, this is really cool! I love that there's no need for a shower door or a curtain on one of these things." The steam was filling the space so rapidly that he could barely see.

"Where are you? Oh, there you are. Oh, my god," he said as he finally saw Sam naked and waiting for him. Jack thought she looked like a sea siren waiting to capture his soul, which was fine by him!

Sam had a sprayer in her hand, but there were also about a dozen jets of water spraying out from the wall all around them, as well as from the ceiling overhead. Jack pumped some liquid soap into his palm, and began soaping her body with his hands, caressing her voluptuous curves, and sliding his fingers between her vulva and the cheeks of her ass.

Sam leaned her head back against his shoulder and moaned. Then she turned around and let the jets rinse her off, before reaching for the controls on the wall. She changed the setting so that just the hand-held sprayer was working, the water jets pulsing rhythmically, and then she aimed it toward Jack's groin and watched his reaction.

"Jeezus!" He was already partially erect, so it didn't take long before his penis was throbbing and doing some pretty mighty pulsing of its own.

"Do you like that, Jack?"

"Ya, it's good, but not as good as being inside you. Do you use it on yourself?"

Sam nodded and hummed her answer, slightly embarrassed that he'd found out one of her little secrets.

"Gimme that thing," he said, pulling it out of her hands.

Jack took the shower massager in one hand and turned her around, so her back was turned to him once again. Then he held her firmly in place against his body, one big hand cupping her breast, while he pointed the sprayer at her vulva, maneuvering it until he felt her jerk and gasp. Almost immediately he began to feel her react to the pulsing vibrations of the water jets on her clitoris, and in a very short amount of time she came and came hard, her back arching against him, her body shuddering as she cried out in ecstasy.

Jack held her tight, moving his arm around her ribcage, when he felt her body begin to slide to the floor. Sam tipped her head back against his shoulder and moaned, letting the rapture of her orgasm flow through her.

After a couple of minutes Sam had recovered enough to turn off the water. They dried off hurriedly, and Jack helped her to the bed. Sam scooted to the center of the bed and lay on her back, spreading her legs to make a cradle for his hips. Jack hurried to join with her, and in one fluid motion he buried himself deep inside Sam's body, her swollen, tender tissues still tingling from her previous orgasm.

"God, I've missed you, sweetheart," he crooned as he began to rock his hips forward and back, driving himself into her molten flesh.

"I've missed you too, Jack. So very much! I love you, you know," she said, her voice almost pleading with him. Even though they were here like this, she suspected he still hadn't forgiven himself for anything.

Jack stopped moving and looked down at her face, his upper body weight supported on his strong arms. Her silken skin glowed alabaster in the subdued lamp light, and Jack thought she had never looked lovelier. Could it be the pregnancy that made her look even more beautiful, he wondered.

"I know you do, but I'm not sure why," he said honestly.

"When you say stupid things like that, I'm not too sure why either! Jack O'Neill, you don't even begin to realize what a good man you are, do you?"

"I guess not. Most of the time I feel like a total waste...like I can't do anything right. I had a wonderful family, Sam. I had a wife and a beautiful son who loved me, and look what I did! I killed that boy, Sam, just as sure as if I'd pulled the trigger myself! And then when Sara needed me the most, I deserted her...wouldn't talk to her. I found out later that she thought I blamed her for our son's death."

"Sara had no one but her father to turn to when Charlie died. I don't blame her for leaving me, Sam. I wanted to leave me too," he said with a sigh, his forehead coming to rest on Sam's shoulder. Then he pulled out of her and flipped over onto his back.

Sam knew exactly what he meant. Daniel had told her that Jack had been bent on killing himself when they first met. And the thought that Jack might still consider taking his own life scared her to death! It also made her very angry!

Sam shot up off the bed, her temper flaring. As she paced back and forth beside the bed, Jack leaned back on one elbow and watched her.

"Jack, you are the most stubborn, pig-headed son-of-a-bitch I've ever known! And if I didn't know for a fact that you are also a brave, self-effacing man who would do anything for your country and the people you care about, I would say 'go ahead and end it!' But I DO know you!"

"I know, without a doubt, that you would never do anything to harm anyone you love. What happened that day to Charlie was an accident! You didn't set out to kill your son! I'm betting that the gun wasn't even out someplace where Charlie just happened upon it; am I right?"

"Well, actually it was on the top shelf of our closet, in a box," Jack told her. This was the first time he had ever told anyone this information, since the day he'd had to tell it to the police. "I always unloaded it and put it away when I got home."

"And Charlie got it down somehow?"

"The chair was still there in the closet. He'd had to stand on it so he could reach the box," Jack said, his head falling back to the bed. A single tear escaping from under the lashes of his closed eyes.

"And he loaded it?" Sam's voice was quavering as she shared Jack's emotions.

"Yes. I taught him how. I was planning on taking him out to the base practice range, but I hadn't had time." Jack's voice was choked now, his emotions making it hard for him to speak.

"And you had talks with him about the danger involved when handling a gun?"

"Yes, I told him never to handle one unless I was with him. But you know how kids are. I guess he just had no fear."

"You did the right things to keep him safe, Jack. Why can't you see that?"

"I guess..." Jack threw an arm across his face, and Sam knew he was trying to hide his tears from her. She walked over and sat on the edge of the bed, turning sideways to look at him.

"No guessing about it! He was an impetuous child, and he made a mistake. It was simply not your fault, Jack," Sam said, her voice strong and calm now. "And if he were here now, he would tell you that it wasn't your fault...that he doesn't blame you."

"I know, but it just seems like..."

"Like what, Jack?" Sam crawled over to him and sat down next to his hips, her legs tucked under her.

"It seems like there should be someone to blame! He's gone, Sam! My little boy is gone, and he's never coming back," he sobbed, unable to contain his emotions any longer. Much to her relief, Jack allowed her to pull his arm down from his face. Then she laid down next to him and cradled his head to her bare chest as he cried.

"Go ahead and cry. It's alright; you've got a right to cry...you've got a right to miss him, Jack. You'll always miss him. But don't forget he's gonna have a little brother or sister soon, and they're gonna need their father, Jack. I need their father too," she said, kissing his forehead. For a few more minutes they just laid together like that, Jack freely expressing his grief like he never had before.

Jack swiped a big hand over his face and sniffed. Then he pulled out of her arms and got off the bed, going into the bathroom. Sam waited nervously to see what his reaction to their talk would be. Would he be able to find the forgiveness that had eluded him for so many years? Or would he still blame himself?

She could hear Jack blowing his nose, and then she heard the toilet flush. Jack came hurrying back to the bed and pulled the goose-down-filled comforter up over them.

"God, it's getting chilly in here tonight," he shivered. Sam didn't say anything, but she had learned recently that Janet liked the temperature set on 68F degrees year-round

"Then we'll have to keep each other warm," Sam suggested.

"I think that sounds like a plan, honey," he said as he pulled her into his arms. "So...you still wanna watch tv? Or you wanna get some sleep?"

"Neither! As I recall there was this guy who was about to have his wicked way with me a little while ago. Where'd he go," she asked playfully, smiling up at him.

"He went to a shrink to get his head on straight," Jack replied.

"Oh? And did the shrink help?"

"Ya, she did," he admitted, hugging her tight.

"Good! Now, tell that stubborn man to get back in here and make love to me," Sam said, her hands pulling him toward her.

"Ya, sure, you bet'cha!"

Sam really wanted to feel him inside her right now, but Jack had other ideas. Pushing her onto her back, he kissed a path down her body, pausing to suckle each taught nipple, sending shock waves directly to her clit. Her senses were in overdrive now that Jack was back in control.

Jack thought she was like the finest porcelain statue, yet not. She was warm and vocal and arched gracefully in his arms, as his teeth gently teased her swollen buds. Her long, smooth legs were wrapped around his upper back, over his shoulders, as he buried his face in her moist mound. He listened as she vocalized her passion, a smug smile on his face.

Then Jack pushed himself up onto his hands, forcing her to release him. Sam groaned at the loss of him between her legs. But soon he was pulling his body over hers, chest to chest, mouth to mouth as he pressed his lips to hers in a rapturous kiss. Jack reached down between their bodies, grasping his thick, hot cock, shoving it greedily between her swollen lips.

"Fuck me, please! Now" she pleaded, as she clutched at his hips with strong fingers. She pulled him toward her, wrapping her legs around him in a vice-like grip.

Jack couldn't hold off any longer. Hell, he didn't want to! Giving into her desire and his, he grabbed her tightly around the shoulders. Bracing his toes against the footboard of the bed, he began to squeeze his leg and butt muscles, pistoning his raging hard-on into her steamy depths again and again. It was too much and not enough at the same time, and almost immediately he felt her climax radiating out from her body and into his. Jack surrendered and exploded along with her, unable to resist the feel of her muscles squeezing his rigid length.

"Sorry, I didn't mean it to be over so soon. You really have an effect on me...a good one," he whispered in her ear. Kissing her cheek, he rolled off her and onto his side, pulling her into his embrace.

"Me too," she said, drowsily. "Now I think I need to get some sleep. I've got some moving to do tomorrow."

"Oh? I don't know; I kind of like this place. It's big enough for all of us, including all the kids we wanna make, and it has nice furnishings, cool showers and TV's and stuff," he said, nipping her earlobe playfully. "Although it could do with a coat of paint," he joked.

Sam grinned and pulled the covers up over them, tucking the comforter under her chin as Jack spooned up behind her.

She realized that Jack would always find it easier to use humor, rather than talk about his real feelings, and that was okay by her. But at least maybe now he was beginning to forgive himself for Charlie's death and believe that he had it in him to be a good father. Yes, they'd be alright now, she decided, before drifting off to sleep.

The End.

AN: Don't forget to check out my Marie Caron website for information about my romance e-books. See my bio for the exact web address.