Disclaimers: Previously.

Coconut Island, Chapter Five.

One year, six months and four days after the world is safe from communism, Earth opens the gate to Pegasus and hustles through another batch of supplies. Along with them go retired General Jacob Carter and his symbiote Selmac, as the first Tok'ra ambassadors to Pegasus; Dr. Daniel Jackson (leaving Colonels Davis and Feretti in charge of the SGC); and two unnamed civilian consultants.

--

In the bustle of people and stuff coming through the gate, the two of them aren't noticed. Sam leans against a wall and watches as more and more people come through. Daniel is still on the other side directing the traffic. They considered bringing Cassie through, but there were other considerations (her schooling, the war zone) and so she is simply transferring to another school. Barrett has promised to keep an eye on her.

"Nice wall." Jack mutters.

Sam shifts closer and settles her arm around his waist. "Better than reporters and flashbulbs." She is still getting used to being this ungainly. At six months, and she feels like a god-damned house on stilts.

They're still being ignored by Atlantis at large when Daniel steps through, followed by her father. Sam blinks twice, then feels Jack stiffen beside her. A hundred thoughts crowd her head. Why is her father there? When did he get in? Why didn't Daniel tell them? What will he say? Nervously, she wraps her hand around one of Jack's belt loops. Neither of the two men have spotted them yet. In fact, Dr. Weir (looking slightly world weary) is greeting them off to one side. She seems to be smiling.

"Carter--"

"I didn't know."

His arm tightens around her shoulders. "Think he'll..."

"I don't know. I don't know at all." She recalls having told Cassie about her plans. Having known that she would have to cut herself off from everyone she loved. Mark, her father -- of course, at the time, her father was god knew where, running errands for the Tok'ra, and there was no way to tell him that she wasn't dead. And considering how Daniel took her resurrection...

Daniel and Dr. Weir and Jacob leave the area, walking off talking animatedly. Daniel doesn't even look around for them, and Sam wonders if he is waiting to let them get used to being there or if this is obscure revenge.

Probably the latter.

"Think we should..." Jack gestures with his free hand.

"No." If she could make the wall open up and swallow her, she would. "I'm staying right here."

His lips twitch, she notes as she glances at him sideways. But he doesn't say anything more, and they watch as the last of the supplies come through and the gate powers down. People continue bustling around, directing the flow of supplies to this store room and that lab and the people to this section of the city for barracks. Finally, the large room is empty again, the only sound that of a city at rest (or possibly the machinery that keep it running) and the occasional voice from up above in the operations room.

"Well..."

"Yeah."

They lapse into silence again, neither willing to take that next step which will bring them to the attention of other people. They had enjoyed being in their idyllic little world -- and now the house of cards has fallen down around their ears.

"Oh, there you are." Daniel's voice comes from above, and they turn their heads up to find he and Jacob and Dr. Weir and Dr. McKay staring down at them.

"You're supposed to be dead." McKay sounds almost whiny.

"Sorry for disappointing you," Sam replies dryly.

"Hey, Sam." Her father is looking at her, his expression blank.

"Dad, I--"

"It's all right. Teal'c told me the truth. I've had," he pauses and sighs, "Months to get used to you not being dead. I'm still not all that happy about it, though." He turns his gaze to Jack. "And you, mister. What the hell are you thinking about, dying and then getting yourself attached to my daughter?"

"She seems to like me."

"Da-ad."

"For the record," Weir says, her voice interrupting them although her lips are twitching. "It's very good to have you aboard, Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

"Mrs.?" Sam glares at Daniel. "So, what, I missed my own wedding?"

At the same time, Jack says: "For cryin' out loud, I haven't even asked her yet!"

"But, I thought..."

The two of them glance uncomfortably at each other.

"They're already joined at the hip," Daniel says dryly. "I figured this was simply a good cover story."

"Married." Her hand is still wrapped around the belt loop on his jeans and he hasn't taken his arm from her shoulders. Then she pauses as her brain catches up with her hearing. "You were going to ask me?"

"Eventually." If he could have, he would have shoved his hands in his pockets and shuffled his feet. Instead he simply meets her gaze with one of his own. "When it felt... right."

"And if it never did?" Her voice is a whisper, and she knows this is part of the healing process. Of finding each other and working through years of denial and sublimation and just plain stupidity.

"I could always die again."

"Ah." Her eyes close, and she leans her forehead against his shoulder. "Jack?"

"Hrm?"

"Will you marry me?"

"They're so sickeningly cute. Dr. Weir, did they bring airsick bags with them?" McKay was definitely unchanged

"Yes."

"Good." Sam tilts her head back up, "Hey, dad?"

"What?"

"Did you bring enough money to fund an intergalactic wedding?"

"Hey, Daniel, this means you gotta give me away," Jack calls.

The archeologist-linguist-diplomat snickers. "If you two are done, can we please get on with the business of orienting ourselves to being in a new galaxy?"

--

One year, seven months and five days, and the battle with the Wraith is becoming something that almost seems manageable. Some tacticians caution that this isn't going to be so easy.

Meanwhile, the rumor circulates that O'Neill and Carter have been having an affair since she was a Captain in the Gulf.

--

They have been in Pegasus long enough to know their way around Atlantis blindfolded. Sam works daily in the labs (when Beckett isn't hounding her to take it easy -- Jack, of course, knows better, and simply ambushes her with sex or back rubs that leave her relaxed and sleepy) alongside Zelenka, Grodin and McKay. They're all very good at their jobs, and while she catches up, she knows they are running rings around her when it comes to this new technology.

Jack learned to drive puddlejumpers and ferries supplies around, sometimes to the Athosian encampments on the mainland, other times through the gate. She knows he is happier now than he was before.

Perhaps they both need something to do.

The balconies on Atlantis are some of the most beautiful places. Majestic views of miles of sea on one side, and massive towering spires of city on the other. As Sam steps out onto one she's begun to think of as her favorite, she finds her father there. Indecision almost leads her back inside, but she knows they need to talk.

"Dad."

"Hey."

Sam moves to stand next to her father, gazing out over the vast stretch of water that Atlantis floats on. "So..."

"Was living with Pete really that hard?"

Not a question she was really expecting. She is silent, watching the ripples in the water until a sigh escapes her. "In comparison?"

"To what?"

"Women who are abused, who aren't loved, who spend every day wondering if they'll survive?"

"Okay."

"Then, no, it wasn't." She wonders, as she wondered the day she walked into Barrett's office and told him she wanted to die, if this could have simply been easier if she'd just told Pete no.

"And compared to Jack?"

"Yes. That's the rub, isn't it."

"He was your commanding officer."

"He is my friend now, Dad." And lover and the only person who understands every mood and withstands them all without protest. Just as she does for him. But she doesn't feel the need to tell her father what it's like living with Jack O'Neill in daily life.

"And more."

"Yes."

"You're happy with him."

"Generally." Honesty is now her policy, even if it hurts. "There are days I want to kill him, dad. But..."

"But you don't." A snort. "I still wish..."

"Yeah. Me too."

--

One year, nine months and seven minutes after the world is safe for democracy, Cassandra Fraiser graduates from a fast-track program and settles into an internship. Meanwhile, the SGC still continues to shuttle personnel and equipment to the Pegasus galaxy for the on-going war with the Wraith.

No one has been able to find O'Neill or Carter, and the media frenzy slowly dies down with nothing further to fuel the fire.

--

Atlantis is shades of green and blue and orange and red, colors which tug at the eyes, which call forth thoughts of life and carnival and joy. For Sam Carter, right at this moment, it only makes her more irritated and (arguably) pissier.

"I'm going to kill him."

"Sam, you can't--"

"Daniel." Her voice cuts off with a gasp as another contraction takes away her focus. The hand she's grasping doesn't break under her hold, but she knows Daniel will have bruises in the morning.

"You're doing just fine," calls Dr. Beckett.

"Fine. I'll give him -- OW -- fine."

Daniel's free hand strokes her forehead. "Sam, he'll be all right. Sheppard just needed his help with this negotiation."

"Well, good for -- him."

She doesn't want to remember how long she's been in labor. Dr. Beckett never lets on, but she knows he is worried -- between the naquadah in her blood, the protein marker, and her age this could be a difficult birthing. It is difficult (at least she's assuming it is, considering this is her first child -- and ONLY, if the father doesn't get his ass back here).

Time slides away from her, and she knows only the constant push and pull from her abdomen. Her entire body then becomes active in expelling this child.

Eventually, she hears Beckett coaxing her. Push here. Wait there. Push, push, push.

A baby's cry splits the air, and Sam suddenly comes back to the present, focusing on the fussing, crying infant Beckett is handing to a nurse to clean. "Congratulations, Colonel Carter. It's a girl."

The Colonel sounds wrong, but she doesn't pay attention, eyes filled with nothing except the child. "Can I hold her?" Her voice sounds tired and disused.

The nurse smiles and steps up, laying the tiny baby on her chest. Sam carefully touches her, tracing a line across the cheek of her daughter. Her daughter. "Ma'am?" The nurse's voice is tentative. "We need to clean her up the rest of the way, check her out."

"Hrm?" Sam refocuses on the woman, then looks down at the child she has created. "Oh. Right."

They take the infant, and Sam finally notices that Daniel is still sitting next to her, his head propped on one hand. "Hey."

"She's beautiful."

"Yeah." Smiling through her sudden tears, Sam shifts, aware suddenly of feeling strangely empty. And wistful.

"Sam?" The tentative voice from the doorway draws her eyes.

"Hey, dad." A blush stains her cheeks as she remembers yelling at him to go the fuck away some time before.

He comes to the bed, looks down at her, "You ok?"

"Yeah." She catches his hand. There are so many things she regrets about the last four years. Seeing her father again is not one of them. "I'm sorry I kicked you out earlier, I just--"

"It's all right." His free hand strokes through her hair. "I'm just glad you're all right."

A commotion at the entrance to the infirmary resolves itself into Jack O'Neill, John Sheppard and Teyla. The latter limping between the two men, her voice softly filling the air with colorful curses in both English, Ancient and Egyptian. Sam is amused by this, Daniel has spent more and more time with the Athosian woman. Beckett bustles in from where they took her child, and glares.

"I thought I told you no more injuries!"

"Sorry, Doc," Sheppard says, his tone laconic. "There was this stubborn root, and Teyla fell, and--"

"I took an arrow in the thigh, Doctor." Her voice dry, Teyla settles carefully onto a bed. "I sincerely apologize for making O'Neill late for the birth of his child."

"The-- what--"

Sam has seen Jack O'Neill speechless very few times. But this one has to take the cake. "Daniel, I thought someone was going to meet him so he knew?"

"They must have missed them."

"Hey, Colonel, congratulations." Sheppard tips a salute at her, then ungently shoves Jack.

"Carter?"

"I'm not speaking to you."

"Ah, Sam?"

Jack swallows convulsively and steps towards her, "Sam--"

"I'm joking." Sort of. But it is kind of irritating that the one person she really wanted to be there wasn't. A smile touches her lips and she meets his eyes with her own. "She's beautiful, Jack."

"Can I see her?"

Sam pulls herself into a sitting position and shifts until she can let her legs over the side of the bed. Beckett is still busy with Teyla's wound. "Yep. C'mon, boys, help a mother out here."

Mother. It's such a strange title to apply to herself. And damn scary.

Daniel hastily slides an arm around her waist and together they get her standing. Jack takes her other side, and she can smell the dirt and sweat on him and feels irrationally jealous that he was out in the field and she was stuck here in unending torment.

The walk to the other room is short, and the nurse looks up at them and frowns when she sees Sam standing between the two men. But she lets them approach the bed where the infant is sleeping. Sam is beginning to regret this whole walking thing, and wonders if all women feel like they've been hit by a truck after giving birth.

"Wow." Jack's arm tightens around her.

"Have you decided what to name her?" The nurse tilts her head at them, "We need to know what to put on her chart."

"Olivia." Sam says.

"Last name?"

"Well, technically... Carter."

"I thought it was Smith, this week," Daniel says dryly.

"No wedding yet. She's still a Carter." What with Jack suddenly discovering he could go off-world again, and Sam trying to get up-to-date on all of the new things the Atlantis expedition had uncovered, they Generally didn't have time off unless they were asleep. Or having sex. But you can't have a wedding while you're having sex.

"Olivia Carter." The nurse is suppressing a grin as she writes quickly. "Middle name?"

"Elly."

Sam tilts her head, then nods. "That works."

"Elly?" Daniel looks at Jack, "Where'd that come from?"

"Nowhere."

"Uh-huh." He sounds unconvinced.

Sam isn't all that convinced, either. But she doesn't press, just guess that Jack is naming their daughter after Lieutenant Elliott. "Just be glad we didn't name her Daniella Georgina Tealketta." She mutters.

"AHEM." The throat-clearing from the door is accompanied by a very irritated-looking Beckett. "And who said you could get out of bed, Colonel?"

"No one." She meets his gaze, refusing to back down. After all, she'd defied Janet Fraiser on occasion. Beckett holds little fear. "And it's not Colonel anymore, damnit."

"Fine. Whatever. Back into bed with you, young lady."

She rolls her eyes at him, but complies. It's becoming harder and harder to remain upright. Apparently, having a child is hard work. Jack and Daniel get her back to the bed and she curls up, dragging the blanket around her. Her dad hovers nearby, watching them all.

--

Two years after the world becomes safe for humanity, the Tok'ra - Earth Alliance begins to crumble at the edges as they argue over how exactly to deal with the Wraith. The Tok'ra are contemptuous regarding this new threat, assuming that the humans are blowing it out of proportion. The Tau'ri, on the other hand, believe this is a great threat to the entire galaxy.

--

The lights are on again. Sam frowns as she steps into the room, eyeing the child sleeping in the middle of the bed. Olivia is barely three months old and has already charmed the hell out of every person who comes across her. Sam figures this is Jack's genes showing through, he keeps saying its hers. One strange anomaly is that they keep finding the lights to their quarters switched on at strange times.

"Heya, kiddo." Walking over and sitting down, Sam reaches out to touch the child and then stops, tilting her head to the side.

Big blue eyes are staring at her, innocent and unknowing.

And the lights are on. And Jack has the Ancient's gene. Her eyes close as her brain finally makes the connection. "Oh, dear. Olivia, honey, you're going to be a holy terror, aren't you."

The baby makes a gurgling noise.

"Sam?" Daniel comes in from the other room, "I was just using.... the lights are on. Did you turn them on?"

"No."

"Oh-kay." He pushes his glasses up his nose. "Then who did?"

"She did."

"Sam, she's a baby."

"Yep. And she has Jack's special Ancient genes." Probably. It was something they could have Beckett test.

"That's, uh, interesting."

"Yeah."

"Well, I've got to go. Teyla and I are running over some translations together, and then--"

"You and Teyla?" She wonders if they could have gotten back to this level of friendship if they had stayed on Earth, and knows it wouldn't have worked. Too much time spent apart and they had already drifted too much. She can be thankful for this new cliche on life, if it's given her back her friend.

"Ye-es." Daniel eyes her, "Sam."

"What?"

"No match-making."

"Yes, Daniel."

"I'm serious. Besides, Teyla has a thing for Sheppard."

"Ok."

When he is gone, she sits on the bed, looking at her child. And wonders what the future will bring.

-f-