Sam walked beside Jack into the house, leaving behind them the small circle of friends that had come to celebrate with them. The food was out, and she looked around until she saw Hannah sitting in her Grandpa Jakup's lap with Teal'c beside them. As she watched, Grandpa George joined them carrying a bowl of fruit for Hannah.
They disappeared from her line of site as she and Jack followed the President into the house and they sat down at the dining room table. President Hayes motioned to his Secret Servicemen to leave them, and took a seat at the table. The sliding glass door opened, and General Hammond came in, taking a seat as well.
"I'm sorry to keep you waiting, Mr. President."
"Not a problem, George. Look, I'm sorry to party crash here, but I guess I just had to see for myself that all the stuff you put in your report was true." He looked to Sam and Jack, and Jack took her hand on top of the table. "I guess it is."
"I honestly wasn't expecting to hear from you quite so soon, sir," General Hammond said. "It's only been a few days."
"To be honest, I don't want the leadership of the SGC to be unclear for any length of time. You guys are our front line. I wanted this resolved."
Jack's hand squeezed hers gently, and Sam sat silent. Waiting.
"You've made a decision, then, sir?" Jack asked.
President Hayes leaned over the table, linking his fingers in front of him. "I have. And while I may be the Commander in Chief, some things are simply out of my control. The policy of the United States Air Force strictly states that relationships, including marital ones, are not permissible within the same line of command. And to be quite honest, I pretty much thought we were screwed."Sam smiled at the President's bluntness. "Excuse me, sir. It sounds to me like you may have found a solution?"
"I have, indeed. Based on the information George here sent me a couple of days back regarding you, Colonel Carter. Oh, excuse me, Colonel O'Neill. You going by O'Neill? Or are you going to do one of those hyphenated names?"
"It's O'Neill, sir."
"Good. I never went for all that his name – her name crap. How the hell do you name the kids? Anyway... my point is this. Colonel O'Neill, you informed General Hammond of your desire to no longer travel off world. Correct?"
"Yes, sir. For a time, I can't anyway."
"Understood. So, if you were to stay at the SGC outside the capacity of SG-1's leader, you would – I assume – prefer to work on the science end of things?"
"Yes, sir.""She can't be long without her doohickeys, sir. Trust me. I know," Jack said, teasing.
"Well, that right there gave me my out. Jack, I said months ago that you were the best man to run the SGC once George here moved on to bigger and better things. I stand by that. And while I'm going to have to put a caveat in your permanent file, officially expressing my unhappiness with the situation, I want you to remain in that position. There will be no Courts Martial, as we have all agreed there were extenuating circumstances. But I couldn't let this go without note."
"I understand, sir. Thank you."
"As far as I'm concerned, you can report back as soon as you like. Course, I'm assuming you'll want to take a little time..."
"And as for you, Colonel O'Neill. We still have the issue of chain of command."
Sam drew in a breath and squared her shoulders. "Yes, sir."
"I have submitted a formal request to have you removed from General O'Neill's command. You will now be directly reporting to General Hammond in your position as Head of Scientific Studies."
"Congratulations, Colonel," Jack said and leaned over to kiss her temple. Sam blushed hot, and smiled.
"I hope this all seems agreeable?"
"Yes, sir," Jack, Sam and General Hammond said in unison."Good, because the food out there looks delicious, and I'm anxious to meet your little girl, Jack. Hannah, is it?"
They stood together and headed for the back door. Hannah looked up and waved, and President Hayes waved back.
"I had a great aunt named Hannah. She always smelled like Bengay and peppermint candies, but she could make the best blueberry cobbler in all of the tri-county area. Won the blue ribbon at the state fair two years in a row..."
Jack leaned over and kissed Sam's temple, hooking his arm around the back of her neck as they went.
The SGC, 2 months later
Lieutenant Haley sits at her customary table in her customary corner of the SGC mess, taking in her customary morning events. She discovered the routine several weeks before, even before the legendary trip of SG-1's to P9X-4EV. But since their return, she enjoys her morning routine even more.
Months ago, she sat and ate her scrambled eggs with ketchup and a side of raisin toast and watched General O'Neill eat his fruit loops and Colonel Carter whatever fare she chose for the day. The two of them would talk, and he would pick miniscule fuzzies from his coffee cup. But they never looked at each other for too long, and they never touched. Not even a brush of his long legs against hers beneath the table. Eventually, Dr Jackson and Teal'c would join them. Dr. Jackson liked waffles, with extra syrup and often would be so excited over some topic that his hands never stopped moving as he argued his point. Teal'c always had a tray full of fruit. Lots of fruit.
Some things had changed since then, some hadn't. The General and the Colonel always arrive first, as they always did. And they always sit at the same table. But he doesn't sit across from her anymore. He sits beside her. And she doesn't get her own breakfast, but eases her pregnant body down into the chair while the General gets it for her.
And she's not Colonel Carter anymore. She's Colonel Sam O'Neill. And she is no longer the leader of the Alpha SG team. She is the department head for all scientific studies that stem from off world missions.
The General always has a smile on his face now, where before there always was a shadow. When he brings their tray back, he leans in to kiss her – always thoroughly and deeply, never just a peck – before setting the food down. They sit close now, not worrying if his knee should rub against hers. His arm is usually draped on the back of her chair, his fingers rubbing across the base of her neck. They talk with smiles of their faces, and their heads inclined towards each other as if they share the secrets of the world.
Eventually, Doctor Jackson comes with his tray of waffles. He always sets it down and moves to the other side of the table to press a kiss to Sam's cheek, and usually to smooth a hand over her ever-expanding abdomen. Teal'c joins them, his tray loaded with strawberries and melons and bananas. He smiles, and Lieutenant Haley sees his eyes fall to Sam's stomach, as if assessing the growth.
The days only vary in small degrees, but Haley enjoys watching them all the same.
When she first came to the SGC, she had seen their team -- the former SG-1 -- as a cohesive group. Each member bringing with them a strength that added to the whole. Then O'Neill had been frozen for weeks, and she had seen the other three pull together even closer to bring him home again.
It was then that Haley had begun to see them as more than just a team. They were a family, finding strength and friendship with each other that none of them could find anywhere else.
And now, it was even more so. And she thought to herself many mornings, how lucky a woman Colonel Samantha O'Neill truly was.
Today, Teal'c is late, the others nearly done by the time he arrives. As always, his tray looks more like a cornucopia horn. General O'Neill glances at the food, and at his friend.
"You really should eat more fruit, T," he says with a cocky grin. "All that crap isn't good for you."
Teal'c raises an eyebrow, and Dr. Jackson smothers his chuckle in his coffee. Sam smiles, her face clean of the subtle tension that had marred it before. General O'Neill leans towards her and kisses her cheek, his large hand spanning her stomach.
They wait for Teal'c to finish eating. As they clear the table, General O'Neill stacks the trays, Dr. Jackson takes them away, and Teal'c offers his hand to the very pregnant Colonel to rise from her chair. He says something to her, and she smiles with a nod of her head. The big Jaffa, whom many see as stoic and unemotional, presses his large, dark hand to her stomach.
The four of them walk to the door, and meet with Sergeant Harriman as he enters. As they talk, General O'Neill puts his arm around his wife and pulls her close to press a kiss to her temple. Moments later, they go through the door and Haley stands to return her empty tray.
As far as she is concerned, Jack and Sam should have been stranded on that planet years ago...