TITLE: For All She's Done
AUTHOR: Matt, Sept - Oct 2004
SUMMARY: She's accepting an award, and he's looking back
SEASON / SPOILERS: Future fic / anything up through season 8 is fair game
DISCLAIMER: Characters are not mine and I make no money. Got that? Good.
FEEDBACK: Is always welcome
THANKS TO: Allie, Jodi Marie and Ky for their comments and edits

It's good to be here this evening. I never thought I'd ever find myself at an event such as this, surrounded by people with whom I have almost nothing in common. Yet here I am, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be – especially tonight.

They're talking about her now. Pictures of her flash up on the big screens behind the stage, along with diagrams of some of her non-classified work. If it was just the two of us I'd make some crack about having to stand on my head to even begin to understand it. Here in this grand auditorium, I just nod my head and smile proudly.

I am proud of her, always have been even if I couldn't always show it. As a captain in the US Air Force - as she was when I first met her - she astounded me with her assertiveness. She was determined to pull her weight, to hold her own in a male-dominated culture and show me that she could handle anything I threw at her. I might not have been sure of her before we went to Abydos, but by the time we came home from our trip to Chulak I knew she was going to be an asset to the team.

Of course, I wasn't exactly a great commanding officer for her. If not for my prior 'experience' with the Stargate project I'd never have been recalled to active duty and, given my record, I should never have been put in a position of command. I was still mourning the death of my son and the break-up of my marriage. I put the team into positions they never should have been in, and General Hammond was both a fool and a saint to let me stay under his command.

She says she learned a lot from me. I don't doubt that most of what she did learn during her time on SG-1 was a lot of bad habits. Other team leaders would tell me that she was far too insubordinate, but how could I ever reprimand her when I also had a smart mouth? So, I let her talk freely, and in turn she saved my sorry butt more times than she should have.

The times I was able to promote her are times I will never forget. There was just something about pinning either the oak leaves or eagles on her shoulders that sent a thrill through me – or maybe it was the way she smiled at me as I was doing so. There was so much we couldn't do, so much we couldn't admit given our working relationship, that just to be able to do this for her was something we both appreciated.

When she came to me, announcing her intention to leave the Air Force, I was shocked. I couldn't understand why. I had thought that her job was her life. The Stargate had been a part of that life longer than it had been a part of mine. And she had become part of my life as well, as much as she could be allowed to, anyway. I wanted to dissuade her, make her change her mind, but ultimately I knew it was what she wanted. I had to let her go.

Once the scientific world knew the great Doctor Carter was available, the offers came flooding in. She could have taken a position anywhere in the world. Yet she chose to stay in Colorado Springs. Instead of a top research position, she decided to teach physics at a high school in one of the poorest areas of the city. She's done amazing things with the kids who've passed through her classes. Some of them have even ended up at the Air Force Academy. I've got my eye on a couple for the SGC – they'll fit in as well as their mentor ever did.

Then there were the books and the published papers. I'm a smart guy, but the stuff she writes? It's no lie to say I'm easily lost in the first few paragraphs. Still, some of her theories have really changed the scientific community. She's invited to guest lecture at various institutions on a regular basis. The Carter Principle is, well, I'm led to believe it's something incredible.

And somewhere, in between the books and the teaching and the mentoring, she managed to get the family she always wanted. Twins, who'd have thought it? I wouldn't have, until Jacob informed me that her Aunt Ruth is actually his twin sister. So, she got her boy and a girl, with the unlikely names of Martin and Rochelle. I wasn't keen on the names at first, especially when she told me they were in memory of Martouf, and Jolinar's previous host, Rosha. But the names eventually grew on me, and the kids are amazing. Even though they're just ten years old, it's easy to notice they've taken after their mother in the smartness stakes. It's definitely not something they'd ever get from their father. They're sitting beside me this evening, taking in every adoring word said about their mother, and they're as proud as I am.

Don't get me wrong. The woman's not perfect, in fact; she's far from it. Having her prepare dinner while E something is floating around her head is not a good idea. In fact, you better damn well have the kitchen fire extinguisher and the pizza delivery menu ready. She's also been known to lose track of time. I've frequently received phone calls from the twins' school to say that no one has been to collect them again. If I can't go get them, I usually end up dispatching Walter. The school has a list of approved people who can pick up the kids, and we made sure a number of trusted SGC personnel got put on it early on.

A number of those people are here tonight actually. I can see Daniel and Cassandra across the hall from me. And if I crane my neck I can see Jen Hailey and her fiancé sitting a few rows back. Jacob sits on the other side of Rochelle, and Mark and his family are after him. Walter's here, as well as Siler, Simmons and George Hammond, and I think I spotted Ferretti earlier. I even suspect that if he wasn't still having fun in the Pegasus Galaxy, that geek McKay would be here as well – sitting at the back and fuming quietly. Several of her current and former high school students came as well, scraping together hard earned pennies to get here; that's how much she's liked and appreciated.

But you know what really amazes me? It's not how much a success she's become or how popular she is. It's the fact that eleven years ago, she consented to be my wife. I came so close to losing her at one point that a cliché comes to mind. The first part of it is that if you love something, set it free. She was happy with the guy she was with, so how could I not be happy for her? Could I have really denied her any form of happiness? The second part is that if something's meant to be yours once you set it free, it will come back to you. And she came back to me. It was her own decision to make, and she chose me. I'm still wondering why, but life has seen fit to give me a beautiful wife and two wonderful children.

And now we stand and applaud as she's introduced and she shyly comes onto the stage. Sam's never been one to accept compliments easily. When she was military, she would just duck her head and say, "Yes, Sir," while smiling bashfully. But she'll accept this award gracefully, and when she makes her short acceptance speech I'll be the one with the broad smile on my face.

Because I'm proud of her and everything she's done and, to top it all off, she's mine.