It's the nicest wake-up that Samantha Carter has had in a long time. Even mostly asleep, she knows that she's not at work, because it isn't claxons calling her to duty reminding her that the whole world relies on her. It's not the industrial blare of the military issued alarm clock in her quarters on base-always waking her after she's only gotten a few hours of sleep.
It's not the gentle nudge of her commanding officer's military boots waking her for watch an off world watch half an hour after her watch was supposed to start (it's a kind boot nudge, downright sweet).
It's not an alarm with "Rocket Man" that awakes her on the nights she actually makes it to her own bed in the house she barely sees.
It's also not the sunlight which wakes her up when, once in a blue moon, she sleeps as long as her body needs.
It is a gentle velvety sigh. A body moving closer to her. A tiny body. Sam pulls the blanket away to reveal a little girl. Her pale cheeks are flushed with baby sleep. Her hair is so blond it is almost transparent. Her limbs look thin and brittle like she could break with a strong wind, but Sam knows they are stronger than they look. She knows that the same way she knows the eyes will be blue when they open.
She remembers when all of these things belonged to her.
A mewlike objection comes from the girl's mouth about the absence of the blanket.
"Who are you?" Sam asks.
The girl doesn't answer, but just pouts, and clings to Sam.
"Sweetie, do you know where you Mommy is?" This child is a spitting image of Sam when she was her age, but she knows that isn't possible. Then again, her job is to do impossible things.
The girl looks up at her confused and alarmed, "Mommy?"
"Um…no," Sam says.
She picks up the phone, and dials speed dial one. She tries to pretend that the only reason her boss is the first person on her speed dial is because she's a workaholic. It's a lie, because she's never actually used the number. He's on the base almost as much as she is, and she drops by the office he pretends he doesn't have whenever she has something work related to tell him. The speed dial? It's a symbolic thing. Because after seven years, you take intimacy where you can.
"Sir?" She says into the phone.
"Ah, Carter, I've got a problem here, can I call you back?" the startled voice of Jack says.
"No, please, I think I might have kidnaped someone in my sleep or something," Sam says desperately before he can hang up.
"Huh, you too?" Jack replies.
"Potty!" The little girl demands.
"Sir, I think I'd better…" Sam begins.
"Yes, of course! I'll meet you at work later. No. You don't have car seats. We'll pick the two of you up."
"You have car seats?" Sam says surprised.
"I had a kid, Carter."
"Right," sorry she says.
"How big is she?" he asks.
"Tiny," Sam replies. The girl is drowning in Sam's t-shirt, and a pair of Sam's pajama pants are pooled on the bed next to her.
"Yeah, I'm going to need more. How many months? Pounds?"
"I don't know, Sir, I skipped the baby measuring class at college."
"She's talking right? Closer to two or three?"
"Potty!" the little girl says more insistently.
"Two maybe?" Sam says picking her up, and carrying her to the bathroom.
"Seriously, if you are going to jump on the bed, jump in the middle," Jack scolds to the child on his side of the phone.
Just then Sam catches sight of her face in the mirror of the bathroom.
"Sir, we've got a problem in addition to the munchkins," she says staring at the startled eyes looking back at her from the other side of the mirror. It's not really her face anymore. It's the one she used to wear. Before her body had been taken over by an alien, even the first time. Before she fell for her commanding officer. Before she went through the Stargate. Before Jonas almost derailed her life. Before the Academy. Before the Gulf. Before her mother died.
"You always were," he laughs over the phone.
"Not this young." Eleven. Was she eleven the last time she didn't have hips?
"Little Potty," the girl pleads.
"I've got to go, Sir," she says. Eleven in small for lifting a toddler.
Jack is older than she expected. Older than her. Younger than he used to be of course. He is maybe fourteen. He seems flabbergasted by her age.
"You weren't kidding about young, were you Carter?" he asks in shock.
"No," she says.
"I didn't expect this kid to be that much younger than the one with me," he observes nodding toward the miniature version of him who at the age of about four is clutching his hand and looking at Sam like she is an interloper.
"Well Sir," she points out, "I am a lot younger than you are as well."
He chuckles, "Well, I don't exactly think we've got a linear decrease going on here." He fiddles through the clothes in his hand, sizing up a little shirt. "I'm sorry I couldn't find anything resembling appropriate underwear for her. Charlie was a boy," he says handing the shirt and a little pair of overalls to Sam.
"You expect me to dress her?" Sam asks in horror.
"I think it would probably be better if you did," he says looking down at the little mite who wrapped her tiny arms around Sam's leg at the first words to come out of the large man.
Sam sighs, and retreats to her bedroom to quickly dress the little girl.
She comes out just in time to overhear the tail of a conversation Jack is having with the little boy with chocolate brown eyes. "It's going to be okay, Buddy."
"Who is my mommy? Who is my daddy? Who is Gampa?" the child protests.
"I don't know Buddy, but I promise that I am going to take care of you until we find out."
"What if you can't?" the boy pouts.
"If we never find out, then I'll take care of you forever," he says giving the boy a side hug.
"Daddy?" the little girl asks coming out into the room.
"I'm Jack, little one," he corrects her with a smile. Then he pulls her up, and sets her on his hip. She nestles her head against him in a way that clearly means that he will do for a father, no matter what he says. He turns to carry the toddler to the car. The little boy grabs onto Sam's hand, and then looks up at her as if to ask permission after the fact. She smiles and nods at him.
The car seats are a bit of an issue. Johnny, as the little boy is apparently called can easily be put into the seat that Jack already installed. Jack has to try three car seats out from his trunk before he finds one that is the right size for the little girl. Then he still has to get it installed into the car, and the child installed into it. The whole time she has her arms flailing about so ambitiously that you would have though that she was an octopus.
Finally, Sam finds herself sitting next to Jack O'Neill in his trunk. But somehow this is never how she pictured it. The girl in the back seat has downgraded her protest from an outraged yell to a quiet whimper.
"I'm Johnny," the little boy tells her.
"Sammy," she sniffs. This gives Sam a little start, and she looks over at Jack just in time to see that he is hiding a concerned look at her.
"It will be okay," the smaller O'Neill tells the little Carter, reaching his chubby baby arm out in an attempt to grab hers.
"Where?" she sniffs.
"I don't know what's happening either, but they'll take care of us," he says motioning to the adults in the front seat.
"Who?" Sammy sniffs once more.
"Good people," Johnny says with confidence.
Sammy puts forth her hand and grabs onto Johnny's then, and Sam can't help but wish the older Sammy could grab the hand of the older Johnny.
"I need to talk to Daniel Jackson, Teal'c, and the General, and you really need to get me some coffee," Jack says with an edge of annoyance in his voice that wasn't there the first few times that he stated similar requests.
"Kid, you need to tell us who you are, and who they are," the soldier says looking at the young children that are clinging to the older ones more and more frantically, "so we can get them back to their parents. I'm sure they are worried about them."
Sammy starts to cry turning around so she can burry her snot covered face in Sam's shoulder.
Sam pulls the little girl closer to her, and then demands. "No, you need to stop terrifying the children, and you need to bring me Janet Fraizer, because if anyone can figure this out it is going to be her."
"Doctor Frazier is a very busy woman…." The soldier begins.
"She's not too busy to figure out why her best friend woke up having lost decades and gained a mini-me."
"And get the kids a snack while you're at it," Jack adds grinning at the force behind the words of his miniaturized second-in-command.
Janet stops short at the threshold of the door. She's seen pictures of Sam when she was younger. There are two versions of Samantha in this room right now, and that's enough to convince her that the other two versions of Jack are genuine as well. She doesn't need a DNA test to know that something is going on here. Her first reaction is to run in, and wrap arms around her best friend.
She's worked in the job long enough to school the expression on her face. They could be a trick, a copy. They could even be some sort of perfect genetic model of their younger selves without having any of the memories that would involve.
"I guess I'll have to cancel that shopping trip with Cassie," Sam quips.
"Yeah, you're not quite driving age yet, are you?" Janet asks staring before her. "Of course, we are going to have to arrange some shopping for them before that." She glances at Jack with compassion in her eyes, "I'm guessing those are Charlie's?"
"Airman, I'm sure that they are telling the truth. Can you please shut the door, and leave us for a few minutes?"
"I don't think that would be wise, ma'am," he replies.
"Doctor patient confidentially," she says shutting the door herself.
"So, both of you have all of your memories in tack?" she asks.
"I'm the same person that I was when I went to sleep last night," Jack declares.
"How about you, little one?" Janet asks turning to the older toddler, "You have the memories of an old man in there?"
He stares at her.
"Do you remember the Ferris wheel?" Jacks asks the little mite.
He shakes his head, "Too little to ride."
"Do you remember your Daddy telling you that you were too little?" Jack asks with excitement.
"You know my Daddy?" the little boys says excitedly.
"I used to. You don't remember him do you?" Jack asks.
"No," the little boy pouts.
"Do you remember anything before this morning?" Janet asks softly.
The little boy starts to cry.
"Hey, it's okay, little man. It just means it's your birthday."
"Me too?" the little girl asks hopefully.
"You remember anything before today, Kiddo?" Jack asks.
She shakes her head.
"Then it's your birthday too. We're going to have to do something about that before too long. Assuming we've earned enough trust with the good doctor," he adds grinning at her with no less hope in his face than the two children he's made promises too.
"I think we can arrange something. I need to know one thing before we open the door. Whose house were you at last night?" she asks looking from one of the adults to the other.
"What are you talking about, Janet?" Sam says.
Janet sighs, "I'm not going to disclose anything. We're going to have to send people to the place where this change happened. I need to know which of your houses to send that too."
"You're going to have to send them to both our places, Janet. We never broke the frat rules," Sam says looking honestly at her friend. Then she swallows, glancing quickly at Jack before looking back at her friend, "If there was something between my commanding officer and I you'd be the first to know."
"Oh," Janet says putting a hand over her mouth, "Then we might have an even bigger problem than I thought we did."
"What?" Jack asks a headache growing in the back of his head, he really didn't need something else on top of this day.
"We haven't been able to get ahold of Daniel Jackson today."