If they were mine, I'd smile all day
The things they did would be my way

But since mine they are not
Fanfic is all I've got
Don't sue me 'cause I cannot pay

Setting: Season Eight, Pete (unfortunately) exists.

Episode References: Broca Divide.

Author's Notes: This came out of the way Jack just seems to read Sam, and always contrives to be in close physical proximity. I thought, wouldn't it be interesting if there were a reason for it? Plus, I felt like doing another fluffy 'stop the wedding!' piece, but I didn't want to get predictable. Hope everyone likes it!

Permanent Divide

How do you throw a bridal shower when nearly all the bride's friends are men? This was the problem facing maid-of-honor Cassandra Frasier. With Daniel's help, Cassie contacted the few women Sam was friendly with at the SGC. Pete arranged the invitations for his female relatives and Sam's sister-in-law. Cassie resigned herself to making the best of a tedious occasion.

The bridal shower was a sedate affair, held on a Saturday afternoon in a small Victorian-style tearoom. Sam smiled, oohed and aahed over her gifts, and seemed happy – if you didn't know her, and thankfully most of the guests really didn't.

Cassie helped Sam carry her gifts out to her car. "Thank you, Cass, for organizing this. It was... nice. Very... nice."

Cassie stopped to face her, arms loaded with packages. "Please! You were bored off your ass."

Sam laughed, loading the packages in her trunk. "Did it show?"

"Not to them," Cassie replied, gesturing back towards the restaurant with some disdain. "I'll make it up to you at dinner tonight, I promise."

Sam sighed. "I don't know, Cassie. I have so much to do..."

"I won't take no for an answer. I hardly get to see you as it is, and I have to head back to the dorm tomorrow. C'mon, Sam," Cassie wheedled.

"Alright, alright," Sam caved in. "I'll come by the house around 7:00."

"Oh, I'm not staying at Jack's. I'm at the Marriott."

Sam paled and her mouth drew in a taut line. "Does the general need privacy for some reason?" she asked abruptly, regretting the words as they left her lips.

"Not that you should care," Cassie gently teased, "but it was my idea. Jack wanted me to stay, but I felt like pampering myself. The hotel has a nice spa, and I don't have to sit through any cartoons."

Sam looked unconvinced, but accepted her explanation without argument. She assumed Cassie didn't know she'd found out about Kerry, and was trying to spare her (or protect Jack - she wasn't sure which). They arranged to meet at Cassie's hotel that evening.

Sam needed to feel sexy. She refused to analyze the reasons why, but as she dressed that night, she allowed that need to express itself. What harm would there be in turning a few heads or flirting with a waiter or two? She didn't need a reason, dammit!

So, now, here she was in the hotel elevator, shivering in a backless silk halter and tight low-rise jeans, wishing she'd at least had the sense to wear socks and warm boots instead of strappy high heels. She sighed at her own foolish behavior as she stepped off the elevator and decided to borrow a more practical shirt from Cassie before going to dinner.

Sam knocked. At the moment the door flew open and three dozen people yelled 'surprise', it was impossible to say who was experiencing that emotion to a greater degree – Cassie, upon seeing her normally modest friend dressed in a way Cassie would catch hell for from same said friend, or Sam at finding what seemed to be half the men of the SGC in Cassie's hotel room.

Cassie recovered first, grabbing Sam's arm and pulling her through the open door. "Surprise!" she repeated.

"What is going on here?" Sam hissed under her breath.

"Just come with us," came a voice in her ear. Jen Hailey grabbed Sam's other arm and together she and Cassie steered Sam through the crowded suite to the bar. Behind the bar, Daniel popped the top off a beer and offered it to Sam with a smile that suggested she would need a drink.

"Can I have your attention, please?" Jen called loudly. The room quieted and all eyes turned to the women at the bar. Jen nodded to Cassie, who addressed Sam and the crowd with a tone of grand pronouncement.

"Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, you stand as a shining example of gender-equality in today's military. Therefore, we - your friends - decided it was only right that traditional gender roles not be allowed to stand in the way of your having one kick-ass bachelorette party!" Whistling and hooting broke out. Cassie raised her hands for order. "Of course, some of the more sexist traditions have been eliminated."

Jen interjected, "Only because the guys wouldn't chip in for a male stripper!"

"Umm, let's not start that again," Daniel added quickly.

"You could still volunteer," Jen told him with a leer.

"Moving on..." Daniel said, looking to Cassie for help.

"Keeping true to the spirit of the bachelorette party while maintaining a non-sexist atmosphere proved challenging," Cassie continued her speech with mock seriousness. "Music, dancing, and getting falling-down drunk were all deemed appropriate, but how were we to manage the 'final fling' component without strippers or dirty videos?"

"That's not necessary, really," Sam objected.

"Oh, but it is!" Jen exclaimed, as several people voiced their agreement (and many more their amusement). "There are important reasons for these traditions. They help you examine whether you're really ready for commitment. Ask Dr. Jackson. He told us all about it."

Sam turned to glare at Daniel, who raised his hands defensively. "I just said..."

"Save it, Daniel. You're already done for," she growled.

"And so, with much thought," Cassie carried on, "we arrived at a gender-neutral idea that still honors the tradition. We have a gift for you, Sam. Every man and woman in this room has a piece. You earn each piece...with a kiss." Cassie leaned over and kissed Sam's cheek, as she placed a small satin bag in her hand. Jen dropped something in the bag and kissed Sam squarely on the mouth. While a shocked Sam was still processing the idea, Cassie threw up both arms and yelled, "Music! Let the carousing begin!"

"What the hell are they teaching you at that school?" Sam asked, raising her voice to be heard over the sudden volume of music and conversation.

"It's not at the school, it's at the frat parties!" Cassie replied as she slipped away out of reach.

Sam turned to find Daniel at her side. She stared at him as he dropped something from his pocket into the satin bag she held. He leaned in and kissed her chastely on the lips. "I thought I ought to do that before I mentioned that you look incredibly hot tonight."

"Oh, God," Sam groaned. In her surprise, she'd quite forgotten about her clothing, or the lack thereof. "I wonder if Cassie has anything in her suitcase that would fit me." She looked around the suite trying to spot her.

"She's not actually staying here, Sam. That was a lie to get you here."

Sam's attention snapped back to Daniel. "Then where is she staying?"

"At Jack's."

Sam tried to ignore the relief washing over her. "I think I need another drink. Something fruity. I've got a lot of people to kiss, and very little else to keep me warm."

You could tell a lot about a guy by when he got his kiss. The respectful types, like Teal'c, Lt. Connor, and Sgt. Siler came first. By then, the shy ones - like Walter and a few of the boys from the science lab - had worked up the nerve for a peck on the cheek, at least. Then the disinterested people (gay, married or female) figured they'd get it over with. The mischievous waited, hoping she'd have a few too many drinks in her by that point, and some even came back for seconds, hoping she wouldn't notice. (She let them, because she did have a few too many, and because she was increasingly disturbed by a notable absence.) Finally, the severely deluded made the attempt, namely Felger. He grabbed Sam, dipped her, and planted a wet kiss on her lips. As he let her go, Sam barely managed to get her footing again before he fainted dead away. She probably could have caught him if she'd tried.

Making her way over to Cassie, Sam reported her progress. "I've completed my mission, and then some. All kissed and accounted for, Ma'am," she said with a salute and a smile.

"Not all," Cassie replied. Grabbing Sam's hand, she led her to the bar. She handed her two bottles of Guinness and pointed to the balcony. Sam understood instantly and marched outside.