Title: "In Demand"

Author: Jackie W.

Email: jackiesfic@aol.com

Rating: PG-13

Classification: S/J Romance

Season: Season 6, Begins after Disclosure, and just keeps going!

Summary: Everybody wants a piece of Carter and O'Neill's time. But when the General comes up with a plan, he opens a whole other can of worms.

Author's Notes: One day I was reading all of the great spoilers for the last 5 eps of Season 6, and everybody kept mentioning how comfy O'Neill and Carter seemed together after META. Every time I read one, my muse gave me a little kick. I finally had to write this to stop the bruising. It was meant to be a short piece of what if. It turned into a series of short pieces that has a life of it's own!

As always feed back craved!

Major General George Hammond looked at the stack of requests on his desk and sighed. If there was one problem with having the Air Force's best under his command, it was that they were constantly in demand to work on other projects. This was especially true of Major Samantha Carter, who seemed to currently be urgently needed in four places at one time. She was a vital part of the SGC, and as such, was needed right where she currently was, in her lab. Of course as a member of SG1, she was an important resource out in the field, too. In the pile in front of him were high priority requests for her to spend time in Nevada working on some of the problems the X-303 had experienced on it's last flight, and to spend a month at the Pentagon working on a joint project with NASA, the Russian space program and a private satellite company to improve deep space observation capabilities. Of course there was also the standard request from the Academy for her to come lecture as well. The woman worked too hard as it was, although he had been happy to see that she had followed Doctor Fraiser's orders to take it easy after that whole Nirrti mess and had actually gone home and stayed there for the whole weekend several times over the last month. He certainly couldn't ask her to find time in her current schedule to fit any of these other requests, except perhaps for the one from the Academy.

If that wasn't bad enough, there were two requests for Colonel Jack O'Neill's services on his desk as well. Both also were considered high priority. With troops amassing in the Middle East, there was a demand for people capable of teaching level 4 hand to hand combat, and O'Neill was one such person. The Academy and several Air bases had requested that he come to provide training. His experiences in Iraq also made him uniquely qualified to help train some of the special forces headed to that area, and there was a request for him to spend an undetermined amount of time with some of these divisions before they shipped out. But O'Neill had been taking on a lot of the responsibility for setting up the Alpha site, and it was due to start a major expansion within the next three months. He would be needed there for at least the start of that. His team was also one of the first contact teams and as such had been out scouting planets for a possible Beta site. For the first time, General Hammond began to wish they had kept those robot doubles around.

Instead, the General began responding to the requests as best he could. He promised the Academy that Major Carter would make herself available for a one day class in the near future, stipulating that the class would need to be organized on a few day's notice. He was trying to diplomatically word his responses to the other requests denying the services of his officers when an idea struck. After mulling it over for a bit, and checking his calendar, he called Colonel O'Neill to his office to discuss the plan.

"Colonel, I know we have talked about giving Major Carter more command responsibility, and after reviewing all of these requests for various projects either you or she are needed to help on, I came up with an idea. What would you say to you and Major Carter splitting command of SG1 over the next 3 to 4 months? I would assign a temporary member to the team, and while she is in Nevada or at the Pentagon, you would command SG1. Conversely, while you are off training, or at the Alpha site, she would command SG1. It would mean that the team would be available to continue scouting planets for possible Beta sites, and for other missions, and at the same time you would each be able to help out on these other projects, which quite frankly all have merit."

O'Neill was silent for a long moment. Even his hands, usually in constant motion, were still. Hammond was actually becoming concerned when the Colonel spoke up.

"It would be a great opportunity for Carter, Sir, but I have some personal issues that I would like to consider before I agree."

"Personal issues? Is there something that we need to discuss? We can talk off the record if you need to," Hammond offered.

"Let me think about this first. I'll get back to you by the end of the day."

"Alright, And, Jack, I'm serious. If you need to talk, just let me know."

"I might take you up on that, Sir," O'Neill said with a small smile.

And with that he asked to be dismissed, leaving a confused and now very concerned General behind. Jack O'Neill with a personal issue that he might want to discuss? Hammond had been the Colonel's CO for almost 6 years, and the man had never once discussed s personal matter. Something was seriously wrong.

O'Neill, on leaving the General's office headed straight to Major Sam Carter's lab, where he knew he would find his 2IC, who after all was the other person who would be most affected by this decision. He stopped when he got to the door of her lab, which was open, so he could determine just how deeply involved in a project she was before he interrupted. He had learned from past experience that startling her at the wrong moment could cause serious damage to her equipment, and once even to her when he had snuck up on her while she was actually inside a piece of machinery. Today, she was sitting at her PC, making some notes, so he decided it was safe to intrude.

"Carter, we have a problem," he stated bluntly.

Four hours later, after a lengthy discussion between O'Neill and Carter, which they had eventually brought their teammates in on, the two officers were waiting outside the General's office. Shortly, his secretary emerged and told them they could go in.

Hammond looked at the two standing at attention in front of him. Since O'Neill had not come by himself, he assumed that there would be no discussion of personal matters. He was enormously relieved.

"Be seated both of you. I'm assuming that you are here to discuss the plan I proposed to Colonel O'Neill this morning."

"Yes, Sir," the two answered in harmony, causing all three to smile.

"Yes, Sir," O'Neill continued. "We like the basic idea, but we would like to tweak the plan a bit."

"Some of the timings can certainly be flexible, if that's what you mean, Colonel. If you have specific dates that you need open just let me know."

"It's not exactly that, Sir," Carter jumped in. "It's more that as the plan stands, the Colonel and I would have basically no contact with each other for 3 or 4 months except for a day or two to hand over command here and there. We would like to add some time in between each of us taking off where we can both be at the SGC at the same time. Maybe even go off on a few missions with a 5 man team. "

"For what purpose Major?" Hammond asked, sure that there was some logistical reason he was missing.

O'Neill and Carter's eyes collided, and a silent conversation took place. Hammond had always been amazed at how the two communicated, even when neither said a word. Finally, they both nodded slightly and looked back at the General.

"I think that this is the point where we talk off the record, General," O'Neill said with a sigh, and General George Hammond felt a major headache coming on.

Jack O'Neill was a master at reading the expressions of his opponents, so it only took a second for him to figure out the thoughts going through his CO's mind.

"Relax, General. We haven't broken any regs," he said with a grin. "Maybe bent them a little, but nothing that won't hold up in a court of review."

Now Hammond's curiosity was peaked. If they weren't about to confess to an inappropriate relationship, what was this all about?

"Actually we meant to tell you this all right after it happened," O'Neill continued, "but then there was the whole thing with Nirrti, and when we got back you were off in Washington. Carter and I don't want to be separated for months because, well, we are married, Sir."

There was a moment of silence while that last sentence floated around the room.

"Married? I thought you said that you hadn't broken any regulations? Marrying your 2IC is definitely against the fraternization regulations, Colonel!" Hammond bellowed, jumping to his feet.

"Yes, but she was not under my command at the time we were married, and it is not against the regs to *be* married to your 2IC," the Colonel quickly added.

Hammond stopped and sat back down with a frown. "Explain."

"Sir, you know that Carter and I have had feelings for each other for years, and that we have always kept our relationship extremely professional despite those feelings."

Hammond nodded. He'd always been aware of the extreme sacrifice these two officers made every day, and quite frankly had often wondered if he would have been committed enough to do the same if he were in their place.

At this point Major Carter took up the explanation. "Sir, after the Colonel got back from his little adventure with Colonel Maybourne, Janet put him on sick leave to make sure he had no ill effects from that plant and to give him time to get his leg back to full strength. You asked if I would use my downtime to go to Nevada to work on the X-303. Before I left, I felt that the Colonel and I needed to talk, so I went to see him. Turns out that Teal'c had mentioned to him exactly how upset I had been while he was missing, and we had a lot to talk about. Again. We sat up all that night before my transport left and had actually decided that we had had enough. We were coming to talk to you about one of us transferring off of SG1 as soon as I got back."

Hammond paled at the thought. He'd always dreaded that exact scenario, and had breathed a sigh of relief each time the two officers had once again sucked it up, and carried on after a close call or particularly tough mission.

"After she left, I went to see Teal'c and Jonas, and let them know about our decision, since this was going to effect them. Jonas, of all people, asked why we didn't just get married," O'Neill said with a chuckle. "Seems he had questioned Teal'c a few months after joining SG1 and had gotten an explanation of the fraternization regulations. He took it upon himself to read up on them, and he picked up on the exception for married couples right away. I had to point out that it would be considered fraternization to marry a junior officer under your command. I've got to give Jonas credit for this one, he pointed out that Sam was in Nevada, under command of Colonel Barton at the moment, and that there was no waiting period to be married there."

Carter chuckled at that. "And we all know that the Colonel is a man of action. Without so much as a phone call he showed up, ring in hand, and proposed. You can imagine my surprise when he told me that Janet, Cassie, Teal'c and Jonas where in Las Vegas just awaiting word that it was a go so they could finish planning our wedding. By the time we met up with them there, they had the whole ceremony and reception set up, and had even found a dress for me."

"Not to mention booking us a great Honeymoon Suite," the Colonel added with a huge grin.

"So, let me get this straight. You got married while Major Carter was temporarily assigned to Area 51, and there was *NO* fraternization before that?" Hammond questioned.

"Absolutely not, Sir." Major Carter stated emphatically. "And since by the time I was back under Colonel O'Neill's command any *fraternization* would fall under the spousal exception, there has been no breach of the regs."

Hammond thought this all over for a few minutes. This was certainly better than the alternative that they had presented. He wouldn't have to split up SG1. And these two officers had certainly shown time and time again that they could keep things professional. Suddenly he found himself smiling. He couldn't help but be happy for them. Even through the concern they had at his reaction to the news he could see a quiet joy. And he realized that that was what had been different over the last few weeks. SG1 had been in some stressful situations, but the team had seemed relaxed and happy overall.

"Well, then I guess the only thing to say is Congratulations. And of course we will need to sit down and talk about the ground rules to make this work. Obviously, Colonel O'Neill will no longer be giving you your performance reviews, Major. And there will be a few other changes, but we can discuss those later."

Suddenly Hammond's smile grew larger as he had another thought. "Have you told Jacob yet?"

Carter's eyes grew large. "No, Sir. And we would appreciate it if you didn't say anything to him if he shows up, until we have had a chance to talk to him."

Hammond would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation. O'Neill looked almost green at just the thought. But all he said was "Of course not Major. Now let's see if we can come up with a schedule that doesn't keep you two apart anymore than necessary."

Several hours later, with a tentative schedule worked out, and two possibilities for a fifth member to be temporarily assigned to SG1, Hammond dismissed the two officers. As they got up to leave, they stopped, and turned back to their CO.

"General," O'Neill said, "we would just like to thank you for your support."

"Yes, Sir, " Carter added, "we appreciate everything you have done for us over the years. We know that there had to have been several times that you considered splitting up SG1, and it means a lot to us that you have always trusted us to do what was right."

"You two have never given me any reason to regret those decisions." Hammond stated proudly.

"And we won't now either, General," O'Neill added. And with that they left.

Hammond hesitated a moment and then picked up the phone, and dialed the number for base maintenance.

Might as well get the rumor mill started.

"Yes, this is Hammond. I need to talk to someone about setting up some married quarters on Level 22."