It had been three days since they returned from P5X-771. Three days of being able to reach things, see herself in the mirror, and look her comrades in the eye. Sam felt she would never take her height for granted again.
She had been checked in the infirmary and endured several tests before being cleared. She had then been ordered by Doctor Frasier, General Hammond, and Jack to take 5 days of downtime. She was not to set foot in the mountain. For once, she didn't argue with anyone. Sam was more than happy to return to her own home and spend some time there, alone. No one to watch over her; no one to suggest she rest or be careful. Blissful time alone. To do what she wanted, when she wanted and to have no one, however well meaning they may be, hovering over her.
Her yard had been sorely neglected during the last few weeks, so Sam decided to take advantage of the sunny fall day and accomplish some of the outdoor tasks she hadn't gotten to in a while. She had already mowed and raked the yard this morning and was now ready to tackle cleaning the gutters. She hummed to herself as she carried the ladder to the backyard, then went back to the front to retrieve a pair of work gloves.
Jack drove down Sam's street on that cool, fall afternoon. He had been surprised and relieved that Sam had so willingly taken her downtime. He knew she was spending time at home and she was perfectly fine on her own. All the same, he felt the need to check in with her. He did have some things of hers he needed to return. That was the true reason for his visit, he told himself as he neared her house.
He saw Sam walking around to the back of her house. She was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and appeared to have work gloves on. Wondering what she might be doing, Jack pulled up in front of her house and got out of his truck, grabbing the duffle bag he had brought with him. He dropped the bag on her front steps and made his way around the side of her house to the backyard.
He stopped as he turned the corner of her house, gave a short, quiet laugh and shook his head. There was his Major; up on a ladder, cleaning out her gutters. It figured!
Not wanting to startle her, he said in a normal voice as he walked over to her, "Now why am I not surprised to see you up on a ladder, Carter?"
Sam looked down in surprise at her visitor. "Colonel! What are you doing here?"
"I had some things of yours I though I should return," he replied as he came closer. Placing his hand on the ladder, he looked up at her. "So, do you want to tell me what you're doing up on a ladder? If I recall, you are supposed to be resting."
She grinned down at him. "Just doing some yard work, Sir. Things I haven't gotten to in a while. The storm last weekend took down a lot of leaves. I thought I'd better clean out the gutters before more fall storms come."
"You ever heard of hiring someone?"
"Yeah, but why pay someone when I'm just as capable of doing the work myself?" she asked as she took one more handful of leaves out of the gutter and tossed them on the ground.
"I guess," he answered. "Look Carter, you mind coming down? I'm getting a crick in my neck looking up at you."
"Now you know how I felt all last week!" she smiled at him. At his frown, she dropped her last handful of leaves and began her descent from the ladder. Jack kept his hand on it to keep it steady, letting go taking a step back when she was a few rungs from the ground. Sam hopped of the last few steps and turned to look at him with a smile. "Better, Sir?"
"Much. So, is this what you've been doing the last few days?" he swept his arm around indicating her neat and organized yard. "Doing yard work? You do know the meaning of the phrase 'take it easy', don't you Carter?"
"This is relaxing for me Sir. I don't have to think, I just do," she replied with a shrug of her shoulders. She pulled the gloves off and stuck them in the back pocket of her jeans.
Jack frowned as he noticed her left wrist. He stepped forward and took hold of her left hand, raising it up as he asked her, "Aren't you supposed to still have that air cast on? You're going to reinjure your wrist."
"Janet said I could have it off for longer periods of time. It doesn't exactly allow me to fit a work glove over it!"
"Ah, okay then," Jack responded. He held her hand a moment longer, rubbing his thumb absently over the top of it. He abruptly released her hand as he realized what he was doing. "So, things are going fine then?" he asked in order to cover his embarrassment.
"Uh, yes Sir. Just fine." Sam was also a bit flustered at what had just happened. Thinking quickly, she asked him, "Would you like to come in for some coffee Sir? Or a beer? I stocked up on both," she smiled.
"Yeah, that'd be great. But on one condition." At her raised eyebrows, he continued, "Quit the Sir stuff. Look, we spent a week together outside of work and got to know each other a little better. We also got into the habit of using first names. I'd like to continue that when we're not at work, if it's OK with you?" He put his hands in his pockets, waiting for her reply and trying to look as nonchalant as possible.
Sam gave him a smile and said, "I'd like that too. As long as I don't have to call you "Uncle Jack' that is!" she said with a grin.
He grimaced as he said, "Oh please, that would sound wrong on so many levels!"
The tense moment gone, they laughed as they walked toward the back door and into Sam's kitchen. Sam preceded him into the house and made her way to the refrigerator. She turned when she heard his voice still in the doorway.
"Uh, Sam? Please tell me these aren't yours!" Jack was holding up a pair of rollerblades that he had found sitting by the back door.
Sam smiled at him as she answered, "Actually, they are. I bought them the other day. Haven't used them yet though! I thought I'd wait until Cassie comes by again and we can go rollerblading together. Aside from the little spill I took, I had a lot of fun when we went out the other day!"
"Oh great, just what I need, my 2IC to break her other wrist!" he rolled his eyes. "You will wear a helmet and wrist guards, right?"
"Yes, Jack," she rolled her eyes at him as she handed him a beer.
"And knee pads and shin guards? Maybe shoulders pads as well?" he continued.
"Yeah, right! You know, you don't have to worry about me anymore, I'm a big girl now!" she said with an impish grin.
He looked at her briefly, trying not to notice the way her t-shirt hugged her curves. "Yeah. I did notice that." Sam cocked her eyebrow at him, but didn't say a word as she led him into the living room. They sat on either end of the sofa, Sam curling her feet under her as she turned her body slightly toward him.
"So, did you draw the short the straw?" she smiled as his eyes flashed their recognition of another time when his team members drew straws to visit him.
"No actually. Daniel and Teal'c both wanted to come visit you as well, but I thought you might not want that much company. You are supposed to be resting after all," he reminded her.
"I have been. Just doing some work around the house, a little work on my laptop, reading some science journals. I did help Mrs. Nelson with her yard work after the storm." She smiled at him as she said, "She asked about you. Wanted to know how you did taking care of my niece."
"And you told her...?"
"That you were wonderful, if not a little overprotective." Sam hid her grin as she took another drink of her beer. She was really enjoying the light bantering that was taking place between them.
"Yeah, well, you got into trouble every other minute, what do you expect?" he asked with mock gruffness.
"Hey, it wasn't all my fault! You did give me all that sugar that one day, remember that?"
"How could I forget?" Jack groaned. "Little Sam on a sugar high was not a pretty sight, believe me. It was even worse when you came back down!"
Sam leaned over and lightly punched him on the arm. "I wasn't that bad and you know it!"
"To tell you the truth; I actually miss having Little Sam around," he confessed. "It wasn't so quiet around the old homestead, especially when you cranked up your CD player," he said with a grin. He got more serious as he added, "You brought some life to the place. It was nice not coming home to an empty house every day."
"I enjoyed staying with you as well, Jack," Sam replied quietly. "I I belonged there." They sat quietly for a few minutes, gazing into each other's eyes. Everything they had shared and done in the past week had increased the closeness they felt to each other. Thoughts and feelings they had been trying to keep beneath the surface were struggling to break the barrier that had been set between them.
No willing to let that happen and possibly ruin their deepening friendship, Jack broke eye contact first. He put down his beer bottle and got to his feet. "I left your things on the front steps. Let me go and grab them." He walked over to the front door, trying to regain his composure once more, and grabbed the duffle bag. He returned to the couch and plopped the bag between the two of them. "Here you go; all your former worldly possessions in one duffle bag!"
Sam smiled at him as she took the bag and opened it up. She held up the small leather jacket and grinned widely. "I love this jacket! I sure was surprised when Siler gave it to me. I still wonder why he did that," she thought out loud.
"Probably because he has a crush on you, like every other male on base! That or he just wanted to butter you up for the next time he needs your expertise on something involving the gate."
Sam chuckled softly, then pulled out her small BDU's, the boots and other clothing she had worn last week. Her expression grew thoughtful as she as she examined each small article of clothing. "I wonder what I should to do with these now?" she wondered.
"Save them," Jack answered. "Maybe one day you'll have a daughter. How many kids can say they have their mother's hand me downs?"
"Not many," Sam answered. Biting her lower lip, she pondered if she should ask the question that was on her mind. Jack read the indecision on her face and helped her make up her mind.
"What is it?" he asked in that way of his that told her she'd better fess up.
Sam looked down at the small jacket still in her hands, then let her gaze travel to his face. "I was just wondering. Do you ever think about having children again? You were obviously a great Dad, I was just wondering if you ever though about it," she hurriedly asked.
Jack sat quietly for a few moments and Sam didn't think he would reply. She was just about to apologize when he looked back at her and gave her an answer. "Yeah, I guess I do think about it sometimes. It scares the heck out of me though. But after spending time with you last week, even though you weren't technically a child, I do kind of wish I had a daughter." He fiddled with his beer bottle before continuing. "If I ever had a daughter, I'd like her to be just like you. Just the right combination of smart and sassy,' he said with a grin.
"Thanks, I think," Sam replied.
"What about you? Ever think about having kids?" Jack asked.
"Sometimes," Sam shrugged. "The thought of kids scares the heck out of me as well. Maybe someday, when the time is right...," Sam looked at him and saw him gazing back at her with the same intensity she felt at the moment. Once again, neither of them spoke as they looked into each other's eyes. This time, Sam was the one to break eye contact first.
"Um, thanks for bringing this stuff by, Jack. And for stopping in to visit; even though you were just checking up on me," she gave him a sideways grin.
Jack stood up, ready as well to end this particular conversation before it went too far. Although part of him really wanted to stay and see what she might have been thinking, the other part of him told him it was time to hit the road.
"Just showing my concern for a fellow team mate, that's all," he said as he made his way to the door.
"Oh, hang on a second Jack. I have something for you," Sam said as she reached into her closet and pulled out a box wrapped in green paper. "Here," Sam held out the package to him. "It's just a little something to say thanks; for everything you did."
Jack eyed her curiously and then looked at the package in her hands. "You didn't have to do that Sam. Like I said, I enjoyed spending time with you."
"I know. But I wanted to. Will you just take it?" she insisted. As he reached for the package and took it from her hands, Sam stepped forward and gave him quick, impulsive hug. Surprised, Jack stood there for a moment before wrapping his arms around her as well. He held the package with one hand while the other encircled her waist.
"I really do appreciate everything you did. You went far above and beyond the call of duty - Thanks!" she whispered.
"You're welcome," he answered her quietly, resting his chin on the top of her head. Sam stayed there a moment longer, enjoying the feeling of being held in his arms, before pulling away and looking up at him with a smile.
"OK, now open the present. I spent a long time trying to find it."
Jack narrowed his eyes as he took in the twinkle that appeared in hers. He could tell that she was desperately trying to hold back a grin. "What is it?" he asked suspiciously.
"Just open it and see!" she insisted.
Still squinting at her in suspicion, Jack tore the paper off the box. He set it down on the table in her entry way and lifted off the cover, peeling away the tissue paper that hid the gift within.
Jack pulled out a gray sweatshirt and groaned loudly. "Very funny, Carter!" he exclaimed as he turned around, holding the sweatshirt in front of him.
Sam laughed out loud at the look on his face as he held the special sweatshirt she had picked out just for him. Emblazoned across the front of the gray sweatshirt, in bright red, were the words, 'World's Greatest Grandpa'!
"Just like I said, smart and sassy. A bit too much on the sassy side for my liking though," Jack stated in mock annoyance. He flipped the shirt over his shoulder, and strode out the door, unable to keep the grin off his face as her laughter followed him to his car.
A/N: And so end the adventures of Little Sam. Like many of you, I will miss her antics and adventures. I tried for some shippiness here and some humor. I had that ending picked out way back when Sam and Jack went shopping at Target! Hope you enjoyed it!