Secrets and Shadows
There'd been blood everywhere.
Jacob couldn't remember if Mark and Sam's births had been this bloody - or this painful for Thea.
Childbirth is always a messy and painful process, Selmak reminded him as he removed the healing device from his hand, and handed it off to one of the SFs.
They were moving Sam's unconscious form off the gurney and onto a proper infirmary bed, complete with heart rate monitor and IV drip. Dr. Brightman seemed to think that neither Sam, nor the baby was in any immediate danger, she felt that the new mother was merely tired out by the fourteen hours of labour, but wanted Sam under supervision nevertheless.
Just as well we were here to help, Jacob said. He tried not to shiver at the thought of his little girl bleeding her life away. As it was, the birth had taken a lot out of her, and she lay on the bed, eyes closed, sleeping. Too damn close...
Jack was arguing with Dr. Brightman, his hands cradling the spluttering newborn with all the protectiveness of a father. "Brightman, don't argue with me in this. She wanted the child to..." There was a slightly embarrassed pause, "You know..."
"Yeah. She wanted to do that immediately after the birth." Jack spoke with a lot more authority than the 'friend' he still claimed just to be.
"Might I remind you, that Colonel Carter..."
"Doctor Carter," Jack corrected.
"...is significantly weakened from the birth. Breastfeeding is not an activity..."
"She. Wanted. It."
Dr. Brightman - it was so strange to be in the infirmary and not see the familiar, tiny form of Janet Fraser striding about the room, Jacob mused - drew herself up. "General..."
"Doctor, this isn't a discussion."
"I could override you, you know."
"It's no longer a medical emergency," Jack said, and there was no mistaking the relief in his voice. Then he glanced around the room, "Uh, you might want to clear out..."
Infirmary staff wheeled their trolleys out, as Dr. Brightman looked Jack in the eye, "Did you want to put the child to her breast, or would you rather I do it?"
A bright flush tinged Jack's cheeks, but his response was firm. "I'll do it."
Jacob had a momentary vision of his hands wrapped around Jack O'Neill's throat, General or no General. Jacob, Selmak reminded him, irritably, If you do that again, I'm going to take control of this body and not let go until after we have left Earth. These violent impulses of your are more foolish than trying to negotiate safe passage through Baal's territory by bargaining trade goods.
Which were strong words, coming from his Tok'ra.
There was a click of heels, as Brightman came up to him, "General Carter, I leave him to your tender mercies."
Jacob hid a smile as the door shut behind the last of the personnel. It was just Sam, Jack, and himself now.
And your newest granddaughter, Selmak reminded him.
"Thought you'd want to leave."
Jacob came to stand on the other side of the bed from his pale, sleeping daughter. Jack had carefully unlaced the maternity gown, and attached the tiny girl to her mother's breast. One hand held the infant in place, the other rested lightly on Sam's wrist, almost out of her father's sight.
In the year since the Tok'ra went into hiding, so much had changed in her life. And Jacob hadn't been there for any of it, abandoning her...
We had other tasks that needed doing. Samantha understood that.
"I haven't spent much time with Sam in the last year," Jacob pointed out.
"It's a bit difficult when you and a bunch of other people are hiding out from the System Lords," Jack observed. "We don't get that option."
The SGC had to sit 'in plain sight' as it were, a continuing target of the Goa'uld's wrath. And Jacob had always kept his eyes and ears open for news of the 'Tau'ri' from which he had come.
"You've been doing a good job, Jack," he said at last.
"I have good people to work with," came the simple reply. Jack regarded Jacob. "And a good incentive." The younger General looked back down at the baby girl. "Even more incentive now."
It was difficult to watch the way Jack O'Neill looked at Sam, it put Jacob too much in mind of some old pictures of him looking at Sam's mother. Instead, he focused on his granddaughter. Tiny, blonde-haired, blue eyed; perfect. "Does she have a name?"
Jack looked up, "Emma."
"You already decided on it?"
"It would have been Brendon if it was a boy," Jack said lightly. He looked from little Emma to Jacob. "So, has the urge to ribbon device me into next month faded a little?"
"A little." Jacob's first reaction to Sam upon his return had been to stop dead and stare in shock. An ungainly eight and a half months pregnant, there had been no doubt about her condition. The second reaction had been to turn to Jack and demand exactly what the man thought he was doing. "You're not home free, yet, Jack."
It would not hurt to be a little less severe on the General, Jacob, Selmak chided him. He loves your daughter.
And you shouldn't blame him for what he cannot control.
But that would be logical. And you are not inclined to be logical? Selmak didn't bother to hide his irritation with Jacob. From the sound of it, General O'Neill will be a far better partner for Samantha than the man who fathered her child. However 'against regulations' you believe their relationship to be.
Emma appeared to have finished her dinner, the tiny face had turned away from Sam's nipple, and she was stretching and looking around her with large, blue eyes.
"Carter's eyes," Jack noted as he handed Emma over to Jacob. "Hold her for a minute."
Carefully, Jacob took hold of his newest grandchild, supporting the swaddled bottom and the oversize head. He jiggled the baby once to settle her firmly into his grasp, then moved away from the bed.
And was startled as he felt the resonance of naquadah in his granddaughter's blood. It was weaker than the resonance he got from Sam's presence, but it was definitely there.
Interesting, Selmak remarked. There have been many speculations as to whether the child of an ex-host would have any sensitivity to naquadah. It seems that they do.
Emma stared up at him with her big blue eyes. Jacob had this sudden memory of holding Sam in his arms in such a way, some thirty-something years previously. "Hey there," he said softly, as a little fist stretched out and the little mouth opened to full capacity in a huge yawn. "How're you doing, little one?"
It was decades since he'd held a baby this young. When Mark's kids were born, Mark and Jacob hadn't spoken for years, so Jacob missed the youngest years.
Will I have to miss this one's infancy? He asked Selmak, knowing the answer even as the question left his lips.
If you know the answer, why do you ask? His symbiote replied, but with sadness. Our duty requires us to leave in a few days. It was pure serendipity that we could come when we did. The Council is still not secure, and the factions are growing ever deeper.
Emma seemed to be considering her grandfather thoughtfully, blinking doe-eyes up at him. Her lashes were long and perfectly curved. In fact, everything about her was perfect. "Someone's going to be beating the boys away with a stick in sixteen years," Jacob murmured. He glanced over at Jack.
Jack was looking down at Sam with an expression of tenderness on his face. If he'd heard anything Jacob had said, he wasn't showing it. Instead, he was resting one elbow on the side rails of the bed, and holding her hand.
"...had me worried there for a bit. Thought you might leave Em an orphan - a bit unfair on her, don't you think?" It didn't escape Jacob's notice that Jack didn't mention his situation if Sam had died.
And Sam shifted in the bed, turning her head towards him. Her lips curved up in the tiniest bit of a smile, "She'd have you," she mumured, the words barely making it out of her mouth. Then she opened her eyes briefly, before the lids drooped. "Emma?"
Jacob brought Emma back, and laid her in the crook of Sam's arms. "She's beautiful, Sam."
"I know." Her voice was the faintest vibration, barely audible over the humming of the monitors. Her gaze rested on Emma, doting, then flickered up to Jacob. "Thanks, Dad."
He crooked a smile at her, "I'm glad I was here," he responded.
She crooked a smile back, then looked over at Jack. "Sir."
That seemed to be all that needed to be said between them, for her lids drooped, and she fell asleep with her daughter in her arms, Jack holding her hand, and Jacob watching them in the peace of the infirmary.
---- THE END ----
AUTHOR'S NOTES: And
so ends all things. It's been a long journey, and I couldn't have done
it without the friends and betas: Denise (denise1), Abby, Amy, and
Allie. Tah, girls, ever so!
FINAL NOTE: Thank you very much for making the long journey with me - I hope you enjoyed it! If you did, let me know! And before you start asking for a sequel, save your breath. There won't be any. Ever.
Sel (17th Dec, 2004)