AN: This is it. Thanks for everyone who had been so patient with me and send their support, you make this story possible, I really appreciated it. Hopefully you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it. This chapter is once again beta-read by the ever wonderful JayBee-Bug. Enjoy the story everyone.
"What do you mean it isn't finished?" Sam said through gritted teeth. The nerve of that man. Couldn't he do anything right?
The slightly older man who was at the receiving end of her anger squirmed uncomfortably. "One of the machines stopped operating last night, thus we don't have the necessary data to ..."
The machine? How dare he blame the machine. The machine was perfectly alright, it was her baby, and her baby could never do anything wrong. Her eyes narrowed dangerously. "Well, if you are competent in what you do, then obviously --"
"Dr. Felger, could you excuse us for a moment?" General Hammond who had watched the interaction between them interrupted, stopping her from going into a long and well-composed tirade.
"Of course, Sir. I'll be in my office if you need me." She saw him sending a grateful look to the General before finally fleeing to the office without waiting for the General's answer.
She looked at Hammond questioningly, wondering what was so important that he didn't want that idiot Felger to hear.
Smiling at her, he motioned to the chair. "Take a seat."
"Have a seat," he repeated.
Obeying his request, she sat on the chair and waited.
Giving her a knowing smirk, he said, "Jack went fishing, didn't he?"
She blushed and looked down guiltily like a child who got caught with her hand in a cookie jar. "I was being too harsh with Dr. Felger, wasn't I?"
He chuckled slightly. "I take it things are going well between the two of you then?"
Sam sighed deeply. The question didn't make her uncomfortable, but it was still a bit personal. Hammond was like her second father and he was being supportive of her and Jack's relationship. As soon as Jack retired, six months ago, they had been seeing each other. But things went too slow, to their frustration, because she was too busy dealing with all the changes in the SGC since he had left. SG-1 had two officers as his replacement, Captain Charlie Green, one of SG-Alpha's members and Captain Peter Dean, who used to be one of SG-7's members. She also had to deal with more paperwork than she was used to.
"Sam?" he asked wearily, as she didn't answer his question.
She met his eyes. "We are ... alright."
They went on several dates, but that was it. They were not fighting or anything like that, but that was just because they didn't spend enough time together to talk, let alone argue. She missed him. A lot. Sure when she went home at night, he would be there to hold her through the night, but she wanted to be with him 24/7.
"Take a break."
She did a double-take. "Sir?"
"You've been working hard lately, Sam. You deserve a break."
She could just kiss him right now, but she knew that she couldn't take it. "But what about the experiment and the --"
"Two weeks. I'm sure we can handle things around here without you for a couple of weeks," he insisted calmly.
"But SG-1 has a mis --"
"It isn't an important one. We could postpone it."
She appreciated the generous offer, she did. But she didn't want to be treated differently just because she was the General's favourite subordinate (she knew it for certain since he was her surrogate Godfather).
"You have been banking your downtime since you joined the SGC. I think it's the right time to cash some in." As if reading her mind, he smiled gently. "You have a life outside the SGC now. Take as many chances as you can, Sam, because as someone who thinks of you as my own daughter, I want you to be happy." He paused for a moment. "Even though I'll have to face the wrath of Jacob."
She grinned at the mention of her father. Jacob liked and respected Jack, but he had a hard time accepting the fact that Jack was dating his only daughter. He said that he had seen it coming, but there was nothing to prepare even the most loving parent for admitting the fact that their children had finally found someone to share their life with. His response when she told him about Jack was classic. He was so stunned that Selmac had to take over and offer her congratulations while Jacob was recuperating from the heart-attack. Selmac even told her that he demanded her to tell him that it was only a dream (a severe case of denial). But when he did recover from the shock, he hugged her and told her that his baby girl had grown up (she didn't know whether to take it as a compliment or not).
"Dad likes Jack," she found herself defending him.
Hammond smirked. "He only said that so he wouldn't upset you."
It was only the second time that she had ever been to his cabin but she wished that it could have been more. She saw him looking at her car from the deck while she was parking it next to his jeep. By the time she got out of the car, he was already by her side. Without saying a word, his forehead rested against hers and his hands rested on her waist.
"Hi." She smiled at the welcome that she was given.
He lowered his head and brushed his lips against hers firmly. She could feel the desire and possession in their kiss as her arms rose to wrap around his neck loosely while their bodies moved closer together. She felt relief to know that he had missed her as much as she missed him. He pulled away from the kiss first.
"Hammond didn't just sack you, did he?"
And then his lips were back on hers. But it wasn't brutal or forceful, it was gentle and soft. She giggled at the suggestion and pushed him to arm's length.
"He gave me two weeks downtime." She stepped forward and buried herself in his arms, her head resting on his chest. "I'm turning into this awful, bossy and demanding CO without you. Hammond sent me here hoping that you would be a good influence on my mood."
This was one of the best things that she liked when he was no longer her Colonel. She was able to whine and act childish around him. And it really helped that they had the same sense of humor.
"Me? Good influence? Has Hammond finally lost his mind?" He ran his fingers through her hair. She found out that he loved doing that, he could just play with her hair all day long even though it was so short. He liked planting kisses there, massaging her scalp with his talented hands, messing her hair up and then patiently combing it with his fingers.
"Miss you." She closed her eyes and welcomed the warmth of his body.
"Me too." He sighed in contentment. "Come on, let's get your things inside."
She let him go hesitantly. But her face brightened as she remembered something.
"Wait here, I wanted to give you something."
She crawled back in her car and took something from the large plastic box that was seated next to the driver seat. She held it carefully and then handed it to him.
Jack held his present carefully as it wiggled, trying to escape from him. "For me?"
She nodded as she recognized the adoring look that he gave to her gift. "You always said that you wanted a dog, right? My friend told me that her Golden Retriever had just given birth. I saw him and I just knew that he was the right one for you. He's a bit rebellious, but I know that you can give him the proper discipline. It's too bad that I couldn't let you two meet earlier, but the owner wanted to make sure that he was old enough to be separated from his mother."
"That's why you've been saying 'no' to all the dogs that we look at in the pet shop?"
"Of course. I had to prevent you from having another dog besides him. He gets jealous easily, you know," she teased him.
Both the puppy and Jack looked at each other in such a similar fashion that she couldn't help but laugh. Their eyes were a picture of trust and love.
"What's his name?" Jack asked. He stroked the soft light brown fur of the puppy until it calmed down and started to settle in his arms.
She shook her head. "He's yours. You name him."
He leaned forwards and kissed her again. "You're wonderful. Have I told you that today?"
"Any name but 'Thor'."
He eyed her suspiciously. "How did you know that I was going to name him that?"
Gee, she didn't have a clue.
Maybe because she actually listened when he talked?
She rolled her eyes. "You told me."
"Okay. Why not 'Thor'? He's a buddy, he named a ship after me." He kissed her again.
"It's not going to work," she stated calmly.
"What's not going to work?" Another kiss and her eyes were closed.
"You kissing me to get what you want."
"It worked before." Yet another kiss and she was fighting a losing battle. He had his way with her and sometimes it drove her nuts. He might not be her CO anymore, but he sure knew how to make sure that things went his way.
"No," she said firmly, trying to convince herself that she could resist this man.
"Please." He didn't kiss her fully this time, but he bit her lower lip gently, scraping his teeth on her soft flesh. She could feel his tongue tracing the outline of her lip slowly.
She shook her head and stepped backward. His kisses had clouded her mind. What were they talking about? She couldn't remember for sure, but her instincts told her not to surrender. Ever.
He advanced towards her as she kept moving backwards. When she felt her back bump into her car, she knew that she was trapped. He was still holding the little puppy, but that was not a problem for him. He leaned down and started to nibble on her earlobe, and then he whispered hoarsely, "You know you want it too."
Jack watched her sitting in front of the fireplace from the kitchen, knowing for certain that she was pissed. Thanks to him of course. But then again, 'Thor' was definitely worth it. That and she was so incredibly stunning when she was irritated.
He walked towards her bringing two empty glasses and a bottle of wine. He took a seat next to her and handed her one of the glasses and poured a generous amount in it. She was just so beautiful that he couldn't resist kissing her again.
"I'm worried," she said as soon as their lips were apart.
"Why?" He poured himself some wine.
She sighed as she turned her head to look at the fire. "We've been together for almost six months now and yet we haven't even fought just once."
Did he hear that right? "What do you mean?"
She put down her wineglass and tuned to him. Taking his glass from his hand, she put it down next to hers and then her hands covered his. "Don't get me wrong, but I want to have a normal relationship with you."
"Sam, our life is anything but normal," he gently stroked the back of her hand with his thumbs. She still had that tendency to think too much.
"I know that, but I can't help it, I want it to be normal." Her eyes were pleading and he found himself falling to her feet, ready to do anything she wanted.
"What do you want?"
Her eyes went wide for a while. "I don't know. I want to spend more time with you, with ... the puppy."
"His name is Thor."
She flashed him an indignant look. "I'm trying to be serious here." And then her expression turned sad. "I'm thinking about giving up some of my positions in the SGC."
He knew that she was the head of the astrophysics department, SGC liaison with the Pentagon, as well as being the SG-1 leader and Hammond's unofficial 2IC. She handled the responsibilities well, but it came with a price. And he also knew how hard it was for her to do what she had just told him.
"Come here." He put his arms around her and held her close. "I won't tell you what to do and what not to do. Just bear this in mind. I'll support you whatever your decision is."
She snuggled closer to him. "I don't want to lose you." There was fear in her voice. "Do you remember Halle?"
He recognized the name. "Wasn't she the Lt. who was on SG-Alpha?"
"She's a Captain now. Just got promoted last month."
He vaguely remembered the young woman. "Good for her."
"She broke up with her boyfriend soon after that mission. Who was also her former CO."
And suddenly, he knew where the conversation was going.
"We're not them."
She looked at him with an exasperated expression. "I didn't say that we are. I just admired her. She was making a hard decision, set her priority straight and got what she deserved."
"And I was thinking that what I want is to be with you. So ..."
Thor chose that precise moment to bark from his make-shift bed in the kitchen. He smiled at her, "I'll be right back."
He went to get him and got back to her. The Golden Retriever was safely cradled in his arms, his head resting on his front legs. "He must have missed his Mum," Jack said.
When Thor saw her, he leaped away from his new owner and started to climb on her shirt. She helped him a little until he finally was able to lick her face affectionately.
He couldn't resist teasing her, "Thor, buddy. That's my girlfriend you're licking."
She groaned. "This is why I didn't want you to name him Thor." She shuddered slightly. "I got some funny images in my head and I have to blame it all to you."
Thor just wiggled his tail as Jack laughed at her. "Blame me all you like Ma'am. I don't mind."
She gave him an annoyed look, letting him know that she didn't want to be his source of amusement. Too bad the position was especially made for her. Ignoring him, she turned her attention to the puppy and scratched his ear, eliciting a purr from him.
Jack put his arms around her. "Sam."
She looked up to meet his eyes.
She frowned. "What for?"
He was in his beloved cabin with the only person that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with and the dog that he had always wanted.
"Making my dream come true."
The brilliant smile was back on her face.
"Your dream is my dream."