Sam didn't realize she'd been slowing down the closer she got to the infirmary until she was at the door and nearly unable to move forward. She knew he would be there and she wasn't sure she could keep the remaining vespers of Thera within her under control when she saw him. Part of Sam didn't want to, and that terrified her.
Sam felt the pull of her daughter, just beyond the door, like a physical tether tugging on her body. She had been gone only long enough to shower (she had ignored Janet's insistence she eat for the time being) but already there was a frenzied stirring in her deepest emotions that she had to see her baby, had to know she was still safe. Sam felt she'd been separated from her child too long and instinctive, maternal parts of her psyche cried for reassurance. Her hands itched to touch baby-soft skin and her breasts were growing tight and sore with the need to express milk.
She just needed her baby. She would tell herself that enough and maybe Jack wouldn't effect her when she saw him. If she could make it all about the baby and not about her commanding officer maybe she could keep it under control. Her control as of late, sadly, felt sorely lacking.
She felt more than a little out of her head and that was not typical Sam Carter.
Sam stood in the hallway, waiting for her self-control to slide back into place. In the end it became a battle within herself. Her need to avoid the turmoil that seeing Jack O'Neill wrought and the need to see her daughter locked horns.
Finally, her baby won out and Sam took a deep breath and opened the infirmary door.
At first the utter silence struck Sam and she felt as though she'd walked into a crypt or deserted facility. There was no sign of Janet and none of her nurses were around, and that was somewhat abnormal. Apparently Janet's 'stay out of the infirmary unless absolutely necessary' order was still in effect. Sam felt the silence and stillness like a held breath and her heart ached for the pain sure to come.
Sam looked toward the left, where the beds were lined against the wall, and her throat closed up when she saw him.
Jack was lying flat on his back on one of the gurneys, both legs bent but one folded such that his foot was planted on the bed and his knee crooked in the air. The other leg folded and crossed through the bent arch provided by the first leg. He was wearing the blue BDU pants and still had his boots on (Janet would not appreciate his 'shoes on the furniture' if she saw him thus). Jack's blue jacket, however, was tossed haphazardly on a nearby stool and it left his torso clad only in the black T-shirt.
Sam took in the rest of him and her heart beat wildly, painfully, in her chest and Thera battered at her ghostly restraints to be again.
The baby was with Jack, lying on her stomach atop Jack's chest. Her little face was turned toward the door so Sam could see the girl's tiny features and could tell she was sound asleep. Her arms were spread wide, as though in a gigantic hug. Jack was breathing deeply and the tiny body was riding up and down with his respirations. His hands covered most of her body as he cradled her on her perch on top of him. His left hand rested on and covered her back, his right spanning from her behind to her calves, leaving only bare little pink feet exposed.
Jack's head was propped up on a couple of pillows such that his face was right at the baby's head. From where Sam stood she could see his lips just barely grazing the top of the infant's head, as though he'd kissed her wispy locks then never bothered to fully pull back. His nose was touching her and he had to be inhaling her scent with every breath. His eyes were closed and Sam might have suspected he was sleeping but she knew Jack too well. She knew what her commanding officer looked like when he was sleeping and when he wasn't, and even if she had not known such an intimate detail the small movement of his thumbs brushing gently against the baby was proof enough of his state of consciousness.
Sam thought it might kill her, just the mere sight of Jack and the baby and what it represented, and she wanted to cry all over again. Her one hope for preserving her sanity had been the idea that maybe she could take her daughter, raise her on her own, and see as little as possible of Jack. It wasn't what she wanted to do, but she thought it would be the only chance she had at not losing her mind in the process.
Watching Jack at that moment, however, Sam knew it was a dead idea before even getting voiced. There was no way Jack would let her keep the baby from him. If she was thinking straight (which she apparently was not) she would have known from the notion's very inception that he would never have consented to being cut out of the little girl's life. Jack had just as much right to that child as Sam, and she knew Jack and children. Jack wouldn't leave behind the child of a stranger, and he certainly would not let his own be taken from him.
Sam swallowed and felt slightly faint. His child. Jack O'Neill's child.
Despite the torturous quality to the sight, Sam stood and watched Jack and the baby. She felt she could have watched them forever, a self-imposed purgatory to tease her with the false hint of happiness and tranquility in a cycle of never-ending denial.
Sam ached all over and she just wanted to curl up next to him on the bed and wait for it all to disappear.
But she was Sam Carter, and she couldn't curl up next to Jack O'Neill.
Jack slowly opened his eyes and looked over at her. Sam tried not to fly apart but she knew her face paled and her eyes screamed sorrow. She forced herself to meet his gaze and couldn't help but steal glances down at the baby.
"Hey," he offered softly.
Sam fought past a dry throat to return, "Hello, sir."
Jack's face flickered in a frown and he turned his eyes down to the baby lying on top of him. His attention thereafter became thoroughly diverted. A very small smile, despite his efforts, tugged at one corner of his mouth and Sam wanted to yell 'what are you doing to me?'.
"I..." Sam began to speak lamely, "I hope she wasn't any trouble."
Jack looked back at her and the familiar hue of his brown eyes finally forced Sam to look away. It was that or crumble on the spot.
"No," he answered and Sam felt a heavy awkwardness bloom. Her arms needed to be filled, she wanted so desperately to take the baby from him, but she didn't dare to disturb the scene before her. Jack looked peaceful, content, with his daughter sprawled on him, and she couldn't bear to snatch her away from him. Instead, to try and appease her arms' need to hold, Sam crossed her arms over her front and hugged at her own flesh. It was not nearly as satisfying but at least it restrained her from all but stealing the baby from him.
Jack looked over at her and a flash of concern ignited beneath the wary, guarded mask of professionalism he always sported. He asked softly, "You okay?"
Sam gave a watery smile. "Fine."
He used her first name. Her first name, and that reprimanding 'I know you're lying' tone, did her in and she winced and turned partially away, her arms still holding her ribcage. "No, I'm not okay," she confessed. What did he expect?
Silence again and Sam could have screamed. 'Thera' in her kept chanting 'go to him', but Sam knew it wasn't right anymore and yet Thera's presence would not be vanquished for simply being, all of a sudden, damn inappropriate.
"Doc said you were having a rough time," Jack's voice came again, and Sam flinched. She glanced over at him and his eyes were entirely on her.
Sam looked down at the baby, still held so tenderly to him, and it was an ache she couldn't fight any longer. The only sense of stability or security she had left was her daughter who lay an impossible and tormenting three feet away, made impossible and tormenting merely by the one who cradled her.
"Can I have the baby?" Sam asked in a small voice, not braving to look up into Jack's face as she made her request.
Jack's hands momentarily closed tighter around the baby but after a second he said, "Sure," and gingerly sat up with the baby held against him. He lowered his hands, baby included, and the child woke and whimpered in complaint at the disappearance of his body heat. Jack barely held the baby out to Sam for her to take.
Sam practically swooped in and gathered the baby up, almost desperately even to Sam's own estimations. She brought the baby to her and for a moment the wildfire of insanity in her cooled and she was fine again because she was skin to skin with her child.
Sam glanced up and saw Jack watching her intently, his own arms now painfully empty. As though to ward off the sense of deprivation, he rubbed his palms over his thighs and cleared his throat uncomfortably.
Sam withdrew a step and turned her eyes wholly upon the baby. She knew, intellectually, the child was half of Jack, but at the moment she could see only her baby, a product of her flesh, and it was easier to look at that than Jack.
"We... probably need to, you know, talk," Jack finally said, voice and words hesitant. Classic Jack O'Neill discomfort at talking about dreaded 'feelings' sang in his tense tone and though she didn't look at him Sam could imagine his acutely discomfited expression, like he needed an antacid.
For once, Sam would just as soon he stayed uncommunicative on the matter.
Sam closed her eyes in defeat and sighed. "Sir... please, can we not do this right now?"
"I don't think putting it off will help."
"Please... I can't." Sam felt her control slipping, sliding dangerously on thin ice, and she fought to compose herself. She felt like a time-bomb, an unpredictable chemical reaction, and she hated being so unstable.
"Doc Fraiser said your hormones are running rampant... it's normal."
Sam snapped, "Why is Janet telling you anything!"
Thick silence descended after her outburst, and Sam Carter in her waited for a reprimand for her insubordination, then Jack said deliberately, "I guess she thinks I have some right to know. You are the mother of my daughter, after all."
Sam clenched her teeth and willed back tears. "Thera is the mother of Jonah's daughter."
"You are the mother of my daughter, Sam, and we have to face that."
"Why?" Sam countered and at last looked up at him. It was a mistake. She saw Jonah in the concerned expression, the deep brown eyes, the intense stare, the body braced for unwanted confrontation with her. At first he looked taut and provoked but as she watched him she saw a change overtake his body. He eased up, backed off, and the boldness in his body language ebbed and his expression gentled. It was a little too much like Jonah for Sam to take but she couldn't take her eyes off him. He'd become a quantum singularity to everything she was and looking at him had been the step over the event horizon.
Jack cant his head faintly and asked after a long moment, his voice calm and wounded, "Why are you fighting this?"
Sam bit her bottom lip and finally managed to tear her eyes from him to look down at the baby. The tiny girl was half-awake, groggy and close to cranky, and Sam suddenly didn't want this fight to happen when one of them was holding the baby. The infant might not understand a word but Sam couldn't put the baby, literally, in the middle. She wouldn't use her daughter as a shield in her own battles. Especially not as a shield against the child's own father.
Sam moved toward the gurney's side and gently returned the baby to the bin next to her bed. The whole time Jack watched and waited silently. Sam took what he would give and was in no rush as she nestled the girl snugly in the bin, the child's dark eyes watching her the entire time like an accusing party, the most innocent of victims.
Sam sighed to herself and reluctantly withdrew her hands from the plastic bin.
When at last the baby was securely tucked away Jack broke the silence that had engulfed the infirmary. "Sam?"
Sam grimaced and stepped away from the baby... and Jack.
"Sir...please... I'm really not feeling up to this. I can't do this right now."
"Fight over her," Sam said in a cracking voice and gestured toward the quiet baby.
Jack looked taken by surprise at the turn of conversation. "You think I'm going to try to take her from you?"
"No," she whispered, but 'yes!' her mind actually screamed. It had crossed her mind to do just that to him, so why shouldn't it cross his to do the same to her?
Jack looked between Sam and the baby a couple of times before his gaze came to firm rest on Sam. "Sam...listen to me, I'm not going to do that. I would never do that."
Sam clasped her hands together to quell the compulsion to tremble and she turned away from him completely. His words were a blow. Now she would have to know the rest of her life that he'd been a better parent from the start for never thinking of taking the baby by himself as she had. Still, to know he wouldn't do it... "Thank you, sir, that eases my mind. Are we done now?"
Jack sighed and she could hear him getting irritated. Years in the field together she'd gotten good and knowing his moods and what each sounded like. At that moment, she would prefer to not have that kind of knowledge about him.
"No, we're not done. You're not okay and I'm not okay and we have to do something to make us okay."
Sam stilled at his second admission...he said he wasn't okay. That sent up warning flags and made Sam take notice. Jack O'Neill was always okay. He could be broken and bloodied and drugged and he'd still be okay because the leader could never be anything but. He had to be okay because only okay could take care of the rest of the team.
She turned back to look at him and saw him on his feet facing her, watching her closely and his eyes so intense. It ensnared her, he ensnared her, and Sam knew it could only lead to heartache. He wasn't Jonah and it was something she would have to learn to accept.
Sam frowned. "Sir..."
"Not 'sir', don't talk to me like your commanding officer, talk to me as Jack."
The request in itself sent Sam's mind reeling. She shook her head. "I can't do that."
Jack looked down-trodden but determinedly said, "Then talk to me as Jonah."
Sam's eyes widened and she physically took a step back. Blasphemy, heresy, mine-field. "No!"
Jack crossed to her in four steps and took her shoulders in his hands gently but firmly. Sam, stunned motionless at the touch, could only stare up at him. He looked her straight in the eye, so close she could almost kiss him, and he said insistently, "Come on, Thera, talk to me."
Sam's immobilized body reacted and once again she could move. She pushed at him but he held her just tight enough to prevent sweet escape. Sam continued to try and tug loose and her eyes watered and her voice rose as she returned, "No! You're not him."
Sam, emotionally wrung, ceased fighting and stood there, defeated and broken in his grasp. "You're not. Jonah's gone."
"So you're saying Thera's not still inside you? You're saying that you don't feel what she felt, or think what she thought, or remember what she did? You're saying it's just me?"
Sam felt tears fall but she tried feebly to pull out of his hold once more and shook her head. "Stop, please."
"I'm here," Jack said...but it wasn't Jack, it was Jonah. The same tone of affection and adoration that he used only with Thera. It was the voice Thera had treasured as much as his touch, as much as his smile, and it broke Sam Carter in two.
Sam choked on a sob and Jack was gently tugging her close and Sam went into his arms and cried. She wrapped her arms around him and it was all so familiar and right. He felt the same, he smelled the same, his arms wrapped around her the same way. Like this, if she shut down her higher intellect, it could be Jonah. Sam closed her eyes and clung to him and tried to let herself believe it could be that easy.
"It's okay," Jack murmured to her again and again as she wept. One of his hands traced circles over her back and it was a gesture so characteristic of Jonah that Sam trembled against him.
"I miss him," Sam said amid her crying, and Jack hugged her tighter.
Sam buried her face in his shoulder and his hand left her back and began to pet her tied-back blonde hair. Jonah's hands in her hair, a haunting memory, but this wasn't memory, it was real and it wasn't Jonah, it was Jack.
That thought galvanized her to move.
Sam sniffled and pulled away... but not enough to pull free of his arms. He was Jonah enough and she Thera enough that she couldn't muster the strength to do that much.
Sam took a few deep breaths then said lowly, "I've never been as happy as Thera was." She only looked up into his face after the fact and Jack was painfully, emotionally raw just on sight. There was an openness to his face and eyes Thera had only ever seen from Jonah, complete trust in her with his feelings. His walls were down and he was exposed to her, emotionally at her mercy, and she could see how much the very effort terrified him. A wounded heart surrendered again stood before her, so near to being hers. If Jack would stop looking so much like Jonah it might be easier for Sam to let him go.
Jack gave an uncomfortable smile, his eyes soft, and he said, "I know what you mean. You made me feel things I haven't felt in a long time...Sam."
"You can do that? Just take everything Jonah had and was and make it yours?"
"Isn't it mine? Doesn't Thera belong to you? Aren't you her?"
"Thera had what I never could, and that's the difference...Jack."
Jack's mood darkened slightly but he didn't step back and Sam still couldn't quite pull away.
"Do you want Jonah to disappear?" Sam's breath caught at his sudden query and Jack pressed on. "Is that what you want me to do? Pretend he was never real, just push him out of existence and treat you like Major Carter again, as if nothing on the planet happened? Do you want me to act like there never was a Jonah?"
Sam slowly shook her head. Jonah wholly and truly gone? The thought made her hurt and it made what remained of Thera inside of her grieve terribly.
"Then what, Sam? Tell me what you want me to do."
Sam abruptly upturned her eyes and stared at him. She was thunderstruck by his forth-right request. He was practically begging her to let him fix it, fix them. Fixing things was usually her job, not his. She'd never seen Jack so conciliatory before. He gave the orders, he made the decisions, and Sam followed his direction, not vice versa. It was as though he'd forgotten the nature of Jack O'Neill, but Sam had not.
"There's nothing to be done, you know that. There never is."
Jack frowned but she could tell that he understood her, all too clearly. He looked briefly away and she could practically see him mulling over the options in his head, that tactical mind running full-throttle. She waited, dreading the outcome that would be unavoidable (for it was always the same with them), and knowing the destined fate of their conversation she treasured one last chance to stand in his embrace, as Jack, or Jonah, whichever he was.
Jack finally looked back at her and asked, "All right, let's try it this way then. What do you want?"
Sam looked away that time. The answer was easy, but Sam Carter telling him, Jack O'Neill, the full truth was the hard part. Still, he deserved to know, for what lived of Jonah inside him she owed him that much.
"I want to be Thera and I want Jonah. I want this entire 'rescue' to have never happened."
Jack's hand was suddenly on her face, guiding her to look at him, and Sam did so reluctantly. His eyes were so warm and tempting, so hypnotizing and compelling, and she found Sam and Thera aching for Jack and Jonah, and that was more dangerous than she could risk scrutinizing closely.
"You can't be Thera, Sam, and I can't be Jonah, but you have me. Jack. I know it's not what you want, but it's all I have."
Sam could have retreated and curled up in a corner. If only it was as simple as that.
"Jack...look, I know how you are, and I know you feel responsible for what Jonah and I did, but I don't expect you to do the 'honorable thing' or anything. You don't have to do this. I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I'll be fine on my own and I don't need your chivalric gesture."
Jack did not react the way Sam expected him to. She thought he'd be genuinely relieved, in the end, to know he wouldn't pay for Jonah's actions when he'd had no control over the alter-ego's behavior. The instant fire in his eyes and the furious set of his jaw at her words took her off guard. "Is that what you think I'm doing? You think I'm just covering for Jonah for screwing you? And do you even notice you keep talking as Thera? What you and Jonah did? You know what, that was me as much as it was you. I can remember every night with you, Thera."
Sam swallowed and her eyes darted to the corner only to flick back up at him as he pressed, "I remember it all, I remember every kiss and every time together. That was me, make no mistake about that."
"But it wasn't. It wasn't you and it wasn't me, it was Jonah and Thera."
Jack groaned in frustration and from her bin nearby the baby gave one short, malcontent cry as if sensing the volatile mood.
"Sam, will you listen to what I'm saying?"
Sam went dutifully quiet, she was so accustomed to obeying Jack that it was second nature.
Jack paused a moment, clearly torn, then he said more calmly, "Everything Jonah said and did and felt was real. The only difference, Jonah didn't have regulations stopping him from saying all the things I've wanted to say to you."
Sam, shocked and blind-sided, blinked at him. Of the all the things she'd thought he would say those confessions had not been among them. "W–what?"
Jack looked like he had to fight the urge to roll his eyes. "For crying out loud, you're going to make me say it, aren't you?"
Sam was utterly baffled and could only stand there stupidly and stare.
Jack's voice did a one-eighty and suddenly it was gentle and soft and tender as he said, "I love you, Sam."
Sam gaped up at him. This was Jack, no doubt, and he'd spoken to Sam.
And she knew, just from his expression and his voice, that he was dead serious.
In the wake of his proclamation Jack waited, a little nervously, and after few seconds Sam finally got her voice to work. She looked up into his eyes and said in muted wondered, "Jonah never said that to Thera." It was true. Jonah had said plenty of other things that Thera knew meant 'I love you', but he never outright said it. He'd do things that let Thera know, but never the words.
Jack gave her a small, lop-sided smile and said, "Then I guess I'm one up on him."
Sam felt disconnected from reality, as if her consciousness had decided to detach from her physical body. The entire moment was surreal.
Jack took her disorientation for discomfort and he started to fidget. "Um...look, maybe I misread this whole thing, I mean...you know. I mean, I mean what I said, but if you don't...well, I'm...just...saying." Jack made a sour face at his own fumbling words and averted his gaze.
"What exactly are you saying, Jack?"
Jack, made uneasy by Sam's sudden stillness and turn of tactics, took a step away and rubbed at the back of his neck with one hand. "Well, I just thought..."
"Jack," Sam interrupted very calmly, and he looked up at her. "I told you what I want, and that was hard for me."
Jack scowled and looked like he was on the verge of cut and running but his eyes fell on the plastic bin holding the baby and he went still. He seemed to get lost in himself, deep in thought, then he looked back at her. Colonel O'Neill resolve had bled into his presence. "I want...I hoped, that you would feel the same about Jack as Thera did about Jonah. I hoped we could...you know...try to make this work. I thought we could give our daughter one last name."
Sam didn't know what to say.
Jack, in the next second, amended, "But I'm obviously wrong and forgive my presumptuousness and I'll understand if you want to file an official complaint with the general for my behavior."
Sam stared at him, flustered and let-down and insecure, and Thera and Sam got lost in one another and suddenly there was only one mass of woman and one love for Jack and Jonah, for they too had combined into a single man, a solitary entity. The lines Sam had been scrambling to paste together, the fences of toothpicks and dental floss between who they were and who they'd been, shattered and just the act of surrender was a relief. She could love him, Jack, because he had been the brave one to accept Jonah as himself and deal with the consequences while Sam had tried to separate Thera from Sam, what she now knew was a supreme act of cowardice and ultimately an exercise in futility. She would always, in some way, be Thera, just as Jack would always be, in some part, Jonah.
Jack looked dejected, nearly heartbroken by her assumed rejection, and Sam felt tenderness and affection for him, Jack O'Neill.
"Why would I want to report the father of my daughter, Jack?" she asked, and Jack's eyes jerked up to her.
Sam offered a tentative but brilliant smile.
Jack's face started to lift in hope but he quickly changed tacks and said, "Ahh...not that I don't trust a hormonal new mother's smile or anything, but does this mean that you might want to..." he gestured between himself and her questioningly, index finger and middle finger of both hands moving animatedly to bridge the space between him and her.
Sam gave a truncated nod and took the leap over doubt. "I'm sorry, but I can't pretend the things we did on P3R-118 didn't happen. I can't ignore the feelings that were brought to the surface when we didn't know it wasn't allowed. Believe me, I tried, I tried so hard, but it didn't work."
Jack's lips twitched in a quirky pseudo-smile and it made Sam bold even as it melted her ability to resist the things he did, things he'd always done that had always, from day one, captivated her.
"I can't deny loving you," Sam at last said, "not when you tell me it's still there for you, too. Now that I know you feel the same way I do, I can't walk away from it...and I won't."
For a second one could have heard a hypodermic needle tip drop on to a bed sheet.
Then the second broke and Jack moved first.
Jack instantly stepped over to Sam and with a rushed, low-pitched, "C'mere," wrapped his arms around her in a hug. Sam, positively elated, snaked her arms around Jack and buried herself in his embrace.
"I missed you so much," she whispered to him.
Jack hugged her tighter and dipped his face into the crook of her neck. "I missed you, too," he whispered against her throat. Neither said 'Jonah' or 'Thera' because the names were auxiliary to the person. Each had missed the other, regardless of name. And they were okay.
Janet walked back into the infirmary, files in hand, and the same utter silence that had rushed at Sam earlier assaulted the doctor. The perceived emptiness of the room was oddly a relief for a place like the infirmary, it meant there were no life-threatening injuries to mend or lethal illnesses to combat. Janet liked the infirmary when it was ghost-town quiet, it meant her friends and colleagues were okay. Janet was the kind of person, given her profession, that would much prefer to never be needed.
Janet scanned the medical room and strained for sounds from the single area where the curtain was drawn to conceal the gurney inside. Since Janet could see the rest of the infirmary and noted it empty it was the only possibility of human life in the room besides herself. When she heard nothing she set her files down and moved quietly toward the concealed bed.
The sight that greeted Janet when she drew back the curtain made her smile.
She would never have believed three bodies could cram on to a single infirmary bed.
Jack and Sam were both lying together on the single narrow bed, Jack on his back and Sam on her side snuggled against him, half lying on top of him with her head on his shoulder and one of her legs tangled in his and her right arm looped around his waist. His right arm was snaked around and under her and holding her at the shoulders while his other arm held his hand in place over the baby that was sleeping on his chest. The baby girl's head was turned toward Sam, Sam with her own face tucked in such a way that mother and daughter were practically forehead to forehead, breaths mingling, both sound asleep. Jack's head was cant sideways to rest his cheek on the top of Sam's head, and at first Janet assumed he was asleep too, but when she stood there a moment longer than strictly necessary he opened his eyes and looked at her.
Janet had never seen Jack O'Neill so happy. It glowed in his eyes and shone in the smile he threw her way. He didn't move to wave or anything of that nature, he didn't take his hands from his daughter or his lover, but the tick of the left side of his mouth and the twinkle in his brown irises were gestures enough.
Janet knew, at that moment, everything would be all right with the recovered SG-1.
The doctor shared a smile with Jack, took one more moment to merrily study the family picture presented to her, then she pulled the curtain back into place and left them alone.
Jack, in the wake of Janet restoring their privacy, rested his head more comfortably atop Sam's blonde head and hugged her closer as he cradled their daughter more securely with his other hand. He basked in the moment and, with a small smile on his lips, closed his eyes.
Sam began to stir and Jack rubbed her shoulder softly with his hand. "Hey."
Sam opened her eyes and lifted her head just enough to look at Jack. Her eyes moved from him to the baby and back again and she smiled serenely. It was a look beyond Thera, more than Sam, utterly the woman she became with Jack. Sam lowered her head back to his chest and let her eyes lock on the sleeping infant. She moved the hand casually draped over Jack's waist and brought it up to gently trace the baby's arm and face.
Jack watched her movements with rapt fascination and almost unimaginable content. There was a minute of bliss when neither spoke, both merely laid pressed together and touched their slumbering child. For a minute since their return from the ice planet everything was perfect.
"What happens now?" Sam asked against his shoulder in a subdued voice, loath to break the peace of the moment and content to stay in his arms forever if that was his plan.
Jack thought on that a moment, his hand tracing idle circles on her shoulder, and he answered with their bodies still tangled together, "Well, a lot of that's up to you, but I have a few ideas."
Sam moved her head to almost look at him but she continued to watch the baby instead. The intent was clear enough and Jack took his cue to continue.
After a breath's pause he plunged onward.
"Moving in together, that's high on the list. Then, of course, making you an 'O'Neill' instead of 'Carter', that'd be top priority once things settle down a little. We'll have to straighten out our work situation since SG-1's someone else now and I can't be your commanding officer anymore, which works out well because I'd hate to blatantly and unrepentantly break regulations, repeatedly, while trying for baby number two. And naturally, you'd be duty-bound and obligated to finally come up to my cabin with me. Oh! and our daughter still needs a name."
Sam giggled and countered, "Why don't we start with the baby's name?"
"Then...?" he pulled back and looked down at her hopefully, clearly wary of the possibility that he might have already scared her off with all of his 'big change stuff' talk and his Jack O'Neill fashion of dropping it all at once like a bomb but delivered with an overtone of flippancy so that, if she balked, he could pass it all off as a joke. It was his safety net and from there, after a chuckle and shrug off, they could try another route, something slower and more cautious. Nothing he'd said had been on whim; he'd been turning all of it over in his head the entire time she'd been sleeping next to him, almost panic-stricken at the prospect of telling her all he wanted for them.
Sam lifted her head again to look at him and smiled as she said, "Then we'll see about getting to the rest of your list."
Jack's face lit up and he gazed at her hopefully, almost unable to comprehend she might be amenable to his suggestions. "Really?"
Sam's only answer was to slide her hand over the side of his face and shift upward on the gurney to lean down and pull him into a kiss that would have made Thera downright jealous...if she hadn't already been Sam, that is.
Jack returned the kiss, their child on his chest, and he thought it was ironic, really, that becoming a slave had been one of the best things that ever happened to him.