Title: As the 'Gate Turns: Home
Author: Annerb
Warnings: Minor language, fluffy fluffiness
Summary: Epilogue (Yes, that means it's the END:)
Classifications: Series, Drama, Romance
Season: Mid-season 8, up through End Game (AU from there)
The characters mentioned in this story are the property of Showtime and Gekko Film Corp. The Stargate, SG-I, the Goa'uld and all other characters who have appeared in the series STARGATE SG-1 together with the names, titles and backstory are the sole copyright property of MGM-UA Worldwide Television, Gekko Film Corp, Glassner/Wright Double Secret Productions and Stargate SG-I Prod. Ltd. Partnership. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and solely meant for entertainment. All other characters, the story idea and the story itself are the sole property of the author.

Author's Note: Wow, I can't believe this is it. You, my faithful readers, have made this all worth it. I hope this will make you all happy, without ruining the mood of the story. I also shamelessly borrow (coughsteal cough) from Frank Herbert's Dune and the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear. What can I say, I just love it. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery or something, right:) I hope this fluff is reward enough for sticking with me…:) If you hate fluff, just pretend the this epilogue doesn't exist. Montage and Triptnx, my endlessly patient and enthusiastic betas: I am forever in your debt :)

Feedback: Always appreciated!

Part 21: Home

Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart. – Marcus Aurelius

"Good morning, Earth! Happy Disclosure Day! Today marks the five year anniversary of the de-classification of the Stargate Program that sent shockwaves throughout the galaxy. In this broadcast we will revisit the events that lead to that amazing revelation: the defeat of the Goa'uld and the reinvention of the Ancient power source by Colonel Samantha Carter! Also, we will take a look at where the major players in the Goa'uld War are now. We will also check in with major celebrations all over the United Planets this week!

"First up, Ron Segal reports on our favorite heroes, the infamous SG-1! Ron."

"Thank you, Jennifer. I caught up recently with the original commander of SG-1, former General Jack O'Neill. Credited not only with the defeat of countless Goa'uld lords, O'Neill also forged relations with Thor, the Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet, while leading the Stargate Program's premiere exploratory unit.

"As we all know by now, he is a bit camera-shy, but we ran in to him, of all places, at the local supermarket!"

"Really, Ron. How interesting! What was he buying?"

"Well, Jennifer, I got a pretty clear view of some double chocolate fudge ice cream and jello in his basket."

/Polite laughter/

"We don't have to guess who that might be for."

/Dry chuckle/

"Right you are, Jennifer.

"Anyway, O'Neill was in a bit of a hurry, I'm sure it was something of galactic importance. He is, after all, chairman of Stargate Galactic Station, the centerpiece of the United Planets Association on Earth.

"He seemed surprised to hear that it had been five years already since Disclosure Day. Before he, um, politely told me he was too busy for an interview, I did hear him mutter that he was 'getting too old for this.'"

/Polite laughter and image of O'Neill abruptly ducking into the nearest aisle to escape cameras/

"He's quite a character, isn't he, Ron."

"You said it, Jennifer."

"Did you manage to get in touch with Colonel Carter?"

"Unfortunately, I didn't. Colonel Samantha Carter, the leading Stargate expert on Earth, if not the galaxy, spent 10 years on SG-1, discovering a wide variety of amazing technologies and defeating her own fair share of enemies along the way. Remember, she once blew up a sun!"

"And saved the Asgard home world from the Replicators, Ron."

"Who could forget that?

/Polite laughter/

"Well, these days Colonel Carter isn't running around the Galaxy. She is now head of the Research and Development Sector that is a joint venture between Cheyenne University and Stargate Galactic Station. She is the only person to ever win three consecutive Nobel Prizes for her work in Physics!"

/Image of Carter holding Nobel Prize in Dress Blues/

"Don't forget that she has also won a spot on People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People for five years running!"

"Right you are, Jennifer. Let's move on to the next member of SG-1, who also has a permanent spot on the 50 Most Beautiful People list. A man often said to be the galaxy's most eligible bachelor, Dr. Daniel Jackson! As an archaeologist and cultural expert, Dr. Jackson was the moral compass of SG-1 for ten years. After tragically losing his wife to the Goa'uld, he dedicated his life to making the galaxy safe.

/Image of Jackson in a tuxedo in an art gallery/

"Dr. Jackson, the most reclusive member of SG-1, relocated off world four years ago, to the beautiful planet Elysium, one of the first Terran colonies. He is now Head of Cultural Affairs at Heliopolis, the Elysian University dedicated to the study of the galaxy's cultures and languages.

"No word yet if he will be putting in an appearance at this week's Gala celebration."

"What about Master Teal'c?"

"Yes, Jennifer, we have word that Master Teal'c will be visiting Earth this week as a representative of the Jaffa Free Nation. Master Teal'c, as we all know, was the fourth member of SG-1. After turning against the false god Apophis, Teal'c swore his loyalty to Earth and served as a role model for Rebel Jaffa everywhere! These days, he makes his home on Chulak where he serves on the Council of Elders and spends time with his ever growing family."

/Image of Teal'c staring rather frighteningly into the camera/

"He doesn't quite look old enough to be a grandfather, does he?"

"The wonders of tretonin, Jennifer."

/Polite laughter/

"Thank you for that report, Ron."

"My pleasure, Jennifer."

"And now we join Mary Cho, who is outside Cheyenne University with Cassandra Fraiser. Mary?"

/Video feed of Cassie with reporter/

"I'm here with Cassandra Fraiser from the Terran Peace Corps, the program dedicated to helping previously subjugated planets rebuild their economies and societies after the fall of the Goa'uld. Ms. Fraiser, tell us about the work you are doing these days."

"Well, for Disclosure Day this year, I am working on encouraging young people to dedicate some time off-world to help those peoples who are less fortunate. The Goa'uld may no longer plague this galaxy, but their legacy lives on in the form of illiteracy, decimated ecosystems and poor standards of living on many planets. We all have a responsibility to help our brothers and sisters rebuild. Plus, it can be a lot of fun, getting to travel and meet new people."

"As an alien yourself, whose entire population was wiped out by the Goa'uld, does Disclosure Day hold special resonance for you?"

"For me, Disclosure Day is not about the end of the Goa'uld, but about the new beginnings afforded to countless millions under the thumb of the Goa'uld. Dwelling on the unpleasant aspects of the past won't help us move forward. We should remember those who were lost along the way, and work to make the Galaxy better in honor of their sacrifices."

"Well put, Ms. Fraiser. We appreciate you giving us some of your valuable time. Back to you, Jennifer."

"Thanks, Mary. Up next, an update from Atlantis on the battle against the Wraith and Cindy Westerfield will give us the latest on Celebrity Watch! Is there the pitter patter of little feet on the way for Samantha Carter and Jack O'Neill? Stay tuned!"

"How can you watch that crap?" broke in Jack as he flopped himself down on the couch next to Sam.

"Cassie was on," Sam said with a smile as she took in Jack's rumpled hair and grumpy expression.

Jack merely grunted in reply.

"Coffee?" Sam offered, pushing up from the couch. She didn't get far though; Jack already had his arms around her and was pulling her back so that they ended up in a tangle on the couch.

"I didn't get to say 'good morning' yet," Jack mumbled with a smile, pressing a kiss to her neck.

Sam let out a small contented sigh and tilted her head to give him better access.

"That was a great shot of you in the supermarket, by the way," Sam teased.

"Is it my fault that I'm just so damn popular?"

In the background, the broadcast had returned from a commercial break and two women were now avidly gossiping about the strange combination of ice cream and jello in Jack's cart at the supermarket.

"For cryin' out loud!" Jack groaned in protest. "Maybe Daniel had the right idea, getting the hell off this rock."

"Is this the retirement speech, Jack? 'Cause I seem to remember hearing that one a few times before."

"Is it really my fault that this damn world can't function without me?"

Sam chuckled and lazily ran one hand under Jack's shirt, her fingers splaying across his abs.

"Carter," Jack complained. "That is not the way to make sure that I make it to my meeting on time."

Sam smiled; she loved it when he called her Carter. She sent her other hand on similar explorations. "I seem to recall that you started this, Jack. Plus, isn't that one of the perks of being the Chairman? It's not like they're going to start without you."

Jack grinned widely. "Have I ever told you that I love the way your brilliant mind works, my little evil genius?"

He didn't even bother to reprimand her when she giggled.

A couple of hours and one late meeting later, Jack and Sam were at the Stargate pavilion to meet Teal'c and Ishta who were supposed to come through that morning. While the Stargate was now public knowledge and used by the population at large under civilian control, it was still guarded by an international coalition of soldiers. The Goa'uld might have been a distant memory, but none of them, least of all Chairman O'Neill, were foolish enough to ignore the other possible threats.

IDCs now replaced tickets and various tourists, exploratory teams, students, dignitaries and academics routinely traveled throughout the galaxy. The iris still kept unwelcome guests from appearing on Earth. But it had been quite a while since anyone with hostile intentions had tried to access Earth through the Stargate. But Jack insisted on diligence.

As they stood there waiting, Jack's precautions were proving useful, if not completely effective.

"Unauthorized incoming traveler," called out an automated computer system. The iris automatically shut over the face of the wormhole only to slide open again.

Easily slipping into old habits, Jack barked, "Get that iris closed, airman!"

A few technicians were scrambling around, punching various commands into the computers, but it didn't seem to be responding. The iris remained open but nothing came through. With a flash of light, however, the event horizon began to swirl and the blue light gradually turned glassy-black.

"What the hell?" Jack muttered. He was just about to order a general evacuation of civilians when two figures emerged from the still, black surface.

They wore long blue robes and had hoods pulled up over their heads. The figure on the left took a few steps forward. One slender hand pushed back the hood to reveal a striking woman. At least Sam assumed it was a woman. Her skin was deep blue and seemed to almost shimmer in the bright light of the embarkation room. Long locks of white hair flowed from intricate knots and braids on the crown of her head. Her eyes were the deepest black.

"I bring greetings from the Sisterhood of Shakti Duvai," the woman said, her voice heavily laced with an earthy accent. She calmly surveyed the room. "We carry no weapons," she said spreading her hands wide.

"Stand down," Jack ordered the guards before he stepped forward cautiously. "I'm Jack O'Neill, chairman of this facility."

"I am Niyati," she replied, inclining her head in greeting. "I have come to return something that is yours," she said, gesturing to the figure behind her.

The figure in question slowly stepped forward and pushed back her hood. It took a moment for Sam to actually register who she was looking at. She had changed so much. She had aged at least a decade and a flash of white now mingled in her brown hair that was carefully styled like Niyati's. Her face seemed worn, but it was definitely Haley. There could be no doubt.

Silence hung heavily over the room and Haley made no move to speak.

"Sister Asha," Niyati said, causing Haley to turn and look at her. "The time has come to step out of your cloister. Know always your weaknesses and have faith in your strengths. Never submit to fear. Make the path your own, my daughter."

"So it will be," Haley replied softly, crossing her arms over her chest and bowing her head.

Niyati placed her hands on either side of Haley's head and gently touched their foreheads together.

After a long moment, Niyati pulled away with a soft smile on her face. "Be well," she said, before touching a device on her arm.

The Stargate flashed into life once more, its surface inky and calm. Everyone turned to watch the graceful alien walk up to the event horizon. She disappeared into the blackness and the Stargate blinked back out.

Haley stood, still isolated at the base of the Stargate, her back to the watching crowd.

"Sister Asha?" Sam finally said uncertainly.

Haley slowly turned around. "Yes, that is what they call me." She took a few steps closer to Jack and Sam. "It means 'hope.'"

Sam reached out one hand and after the slightest hesitation, Haley took hold of it.

"You're really here," Sam said softly.

"Yeah," Haley answered with a small smile.

Sam reached out with her other hand and touched the white streak of hair next to Haley's temple. "Was it horrible?"

"It was…what it needed to be. And it still is."

Jack cocked an eyebrow at the vague statement and Haley smiled softly in response.

"It didn't 'fix' me. I was just offered another way of doing things. And I work at it, every day." Her voice was calm and even.

Jack gestured vaguely towards Haley's head. "Is everything still, ya know?" he asked rather inarticulately.

"It is a part of me and it always will be." She suddenly looked rather unsure of herself, glancing around at the crowd that continued to grow around them. "Can you accept that?" she asked softly.

Jack grabbed Haley's free hand and pulled her into a hug. "Of course we can." He met Sam's eyes over the head of their daughter.

Jack eventually pulled back and let Sam grab Haley into a hug. "I just have one question," Jack said, his eyes twinkling.

Haley nodded, looking rather uncertain.

"Sister?" Jack asked.

Haley smiled. "Yes. That is my title within the Sisterhood."

"As in nun?"

"Well, yes, I guess that's the best translation," Haley said, raising one eyebrow at him in confusion.

"Sweet," was all Jack said, and Sam smacked him in the arm in response.

"What?" Jack said in mock indignation, rubbing at his arm.

Haley was looking between the two of them with bemusement, her eyes lingering on the plain band on Sam's left hand. "It's about time," was all she said.

They managed to get Haley to Jack's house with little incident, but soon enough there were reporters camping outside, all curious as to the 'aliens' that had come through the gate earlier today. But Jack was not without friends and he had a sweet little force-shield from Thor that kept people off the property.

"Sorry about this, Haley," Sam said, coming up behind Haley as she stared out the window. "Everyone's a little Stargate crazy these days."

Haley just shrugged, a bit unnerved by the attention. "I suppose you just get used to it."

The doorbell rang and Haley turned rather quickly to see Cassie coming in the front door.

"Haley!" she squealed, grabbing the other woman into a fierce hug.

"Cass," she replied, squeezing her back, a little overwhelmed by everything.

"Is that Cass?" Jack called from the kitchen. "Tell her to get her butt in here and help me with lunch!"

Cassie smiled and rolled her eyes. "Duty calls," she said wryly before disappearing into the kitchen.

Haley turned back to look out the front window, remembering to take careful deep breaths.

"He's not here," Sam said quietly from behind her.

Haley didn't see any point in playing dumb. "But he's okay," she replied, without turning from the window.

"More or less," Sam answered. "This," Sam said, waving vaguely at the people surrounding the house, "got to him. He couldn't stand the constant limelight."

"I can understand that," Haley said earnestly.

A little too earnestly, Sam thought. "You're wishing you hadn't come back."

"No," Haley said quickly. "I just didn't expect this. It's a little overwhelming."

Sam came up to stand next to Haley, their shoulders gently touching. "Maybe you could get away for a while, until this dies down."


"There's a nice quiet planet called Elysium," Sam offered with a smile.

"Elysium?" Haley asked suspiciously.

"Yeah. I'm sure Daniel would put you up for a few days."

"Sam…," Haley said warningly.

"You can't avoid him forever and something tells me that you don't want to anyway."

Haley didn't bother to disagree. She sighed and looked out the window again. "I'm just not sure I can face him, after everything I've done."

"Do you really think he wouldn't understand?"

"No, I know he will. And that's what scares me."

Sam dropped an arm around Haley and squeezed her gently. "Never submit to fear. Isn't that what Niyati said?"

Haley nodded.

"Smart woman," Sam commented.

The next day, Haley stepped through the wormhole to find herself on a beautiful ocean planet. The Stargate sat on a large cliff overlooking a seemingly endless sea. Haley took a deep breath and tasted the salt air on her tongue.

"Welcome to Elysium," greeted a young woman.

Haley smiled at her. "Your world is beautiful."

"Thank you," she replied graciously. "Would you care for an escort to the city?"

Haley nodded, seeing the skyline of a small city in the distance. "I'm here to speak to the head of Cultural Affairs."

"Of course," the woman said, smiling widely. "I will have someone show you the way."

Haley took a deep breath and silently chanted to herself. Fear is the mind-killer, I will not fear…

At the sound of approaching footsteps, Daniel pulled further back into the garden. He had hoped that Elysium would offer him some relative privacy. While it certainly was better than on Earth, he still had days were he felt like there just wasn't enough of him to go around. Not that he didn't love his work. Every day brought new visitors and new interesting cultures and artifacts. But a part of him would always long for the obscurity of the old days. He almost laughed, thinking about how he used to wish he could tell everyone who ever thought he was crazy that he had actually been right. Now that they all knew, he would rather that they still thought him insane.

"Dr. Jackson!" called the familiar voice of his aide. "You have a visitor from Earth!"

Daniel let out a long breath. He could only hope that Jack or Sam had managed to get some time off to visit. He couldn't really think of anyone else he would want to see.

He spied Stephan standing on the back lawn with a tall woman dressed in long blue robes that seemed to almost iridesce in the sun. She must be warm in all that cloth, Daniel thought inanely as he approached, noting the sun beating down on her. The woman lifted her face to the sun for a moment, in an eerily familiar motion. Daniel only managed two more steps towards the figure before he stopped dead, his heart threatening to pound its way out of his chest.

It couldn't be, he told himself, just a trick of the imagination. Daniel had often caught glimpses of her in a crowd, only to find upon inspection that he had been mistaken.

But now she stood solidly in front of him, only mere paces away. Her hair was elaborately knotted at the crown and the rest cascaded in long waves down her back. A bright streak of white hair flowed from her right temple. Her eyes bored into him, the same fathomless blue that he remembered. He wasn't sure how long he stood there; staring at what he was sure was an apparition.

Finally she took one step towards him. "Daniel," she said softly.

Suddenly Daniel's legs had rediscovered mobility and he covered the distance between them, not stopping until she was in his arms.

"When? How? Why?" Daniel whispered in rapid succession. Then he shook his head before she could answer, "Never mind. I don't care."

She laughed softly against his chest. "I like your planet," she said quietly.

"I knew you would."

Daniel pulled slightly back so that he could look at her face. He could see she was nervous and slightly unsure.

Daniel smiled and touched her face, tracing new lines and old scars, still trying to convince himself that this wasn't a dream. "Are you okay?" he asked softly.

The smile dropped from Haley's face and she suddenly looked centuries older. She had always been able to do that, to switch from a careless young woman to a wizened ancient in the space of a heartbeat. "There are so many things that can't be changed. The past will always be there, but the future… I didn't choose my path. I can only choose how I walk it."

"And who you walk it with?" Daniel asked softly.

Startled eyes flew to meet Daniel's. "I…It wouldn't be easy…everyday is still a battle."

"Nothing worth having is ever easy, Haley. And before you even ask: yes, this is worth it."

"I don't deserve it," she said in a small voice.

"Yes, you do," Daniel said with quiet intensity, his hands on either side of her face. "You are the most amazing person I have ever known. You are a good, kind, caring, beautiful woman and if it takes the rest of my life to convince you of that, I'll do it gladly."

Haley's eyes now sparkled with tears. "Daniel…," she said in a heavy voice.

"Please, Haley. Stay here with me."

The silence between them stretched long, but Daniel was aware of nothing but her. Then a horrible thought occurred to Daniel. It had been a long time; maybe she didn't want this anymore, if she ever had.

He tried to gently pull away. "It's okay, Haley. If you don't want-"

But then her fingers were against his lips, silencing him. "Some things never change, Daniel," she said softly, bringing his hand against her chest. He could feel the frantic beat of her heart beneath his fingers.

"Then what is it?"

"I wanted to hurt you. That part of me didn't magically disappear."

"You're not perfect, Haley. And no one expects you to be."

"I can't ever have children," she blurted out in a rush, looking embarrassed. Daniel only had time to stare at her in confusion before she continued on. "I won't. I won't bring another like me into this existence. And even if somehow we could guarantee that they wouldn't be like me…after Jonathan and the others…" She broke off and Daniel could feel a soft shudder wrack her frame. "I just can't ever go through that again."

"I can understand that, Haley," Daniel reassured, his heart aching for her.

But then Haley was shaking her head and pushing away. "You deserve more, Daniel. A chance at a real, normal life."

"A normal life? Haley, I live on an alien planet! What exactly is normal about that?" Daniel asked incredulously, pacing back and forth. "What's normal about exiling yourself from your home planet because you can't stand the constant pressure of the press? What's normal about choosing your new world purely on the fact that you just know, without a shadow of doubt, that the woman you're in love with would just adore it? Even knowing she would probably never get a chance to see it?"

Daniel stopped pacing and looked up at Haley's face. She looked more than a little stunned. He gave into the urge to pull her back into his arms. "You are the one normal thing in my life, Haley. The one thing that makes sense. I don't want to let go of you again."

Letting out a long breath, she finally relaxed into his embrace. "When I knew I was coming back, part of me really hoped that I would find that you had moved on. That maybe you had forgotten," she confessed softly.

"I didn't. I'm not even sure I was aware of doing it, but all I've been doing is waiting."


"Stay with me," Daniel asked again, his eyes intense.

This time there was no hesitation. "Yes."

This time, when he kissed her, there was only Haley and Daniel. Nothing else intruded.

They spent the next few days exploring the city, sharing stories and learning to be just Daniel and Haley, together. They walked the endless beaches and Haley hesitantly pointed out a spot that she thought would be perfect for a small temple. Maybe she could teach people the ways of the Shakti Duvai, if they wished to learn. Daniel thought it was a great idea and listened eagerly to the history and philosophy of Niyati and her people.

"I should go back tomorrow," Haley said softly one evening as they watched the sun set.

"Yeah," Daniel nodded.

Haley leaned her head on Daniel's shoulder and his hand began to absently play with her hair. "How long has it been since you've been back to Earth?"

"Almost two years."

"You don't have to come."

He grabbed her hand. "Of course I'll go with you."

"But the press…"

Daniel shrugged. "I can handle them for a few days."

"And Jack?" Haley asked with a small smile.

"Might as well get it over with," Daniel said with a grin. "At least we've got Sam on our side."

"Yeah," she said absently. Then she sat up and stuck out her pinkie finger. "Okay, two days at the most and then we come back home. And we stick together the whole time, watching each other's back."

Daniel almost laughed the way she made it sound like a mission into hostile territory or something. And he didn't miss the fact that she had called Elysium home. "It's a deal," he said, twisting his pinkie around hers, pact made. Then he tugged her back into his arms and watched the fading colors in the sky.

First thing the next morning, they walked through the Stargate together, hands determinedly clasped. Sam and Jack were waiting for them and the room was blessedly free of press and people. Jack didn't waste any time with pleasantries.

"Daniel," Jack immediately said in a stern voice, eying their entwined hands. "My daughter has been on your planet for three days."

"Yeah, sounds about right, Jack," Daniel said lightly, not willing to be intimidated by Jack.

Jack's eyes narrowed. "Three days. My daughter. The nun."

Daniel's mouth dropped open. "Uh…nun?" he said uncertainly, turning to Haley.

Haley was valiantly trying to suppress a smile. She then coughed awkwardly and Daniel raised one eyebrow at her.

Haley smiled and clarified with a slight blush. "Not that kind of nun."

Daniel looked distinctly relieved. "Good thing," he said.

Jack groaned and covered his ears. "This is so wrong on so many levels," he complained loudly.

Sam just patted Jack sympathetically on the arm and shared a knowing smile with her daughter. "Just to be clear, Daniel," Sam said sternly, "this does not mean that you can call me Mom."

Haley laughed softly into Daniel's shoulder and he knew without a doubt that he was probably grinning like an idiot. But he just couldn't bring himself to care.

Jack's grumbling didn't instantly stop, but he seemed to settle into a routine of grumpily razzing Daniel every once and a while. Haley could tell that he didn't really mind; he just couldn't pass up on giving his best friend a hard time.

Jack hosted a barbeque for them. It was the first time all of the original SG-1 had been together in a long time. Haley was watching Teal'c's grandkids run around in the backyard, their foreheads blessedly clear of the marks of slavery. She couldn't help but see in them all the children who had come before, the ones who had never known such bliss.

Her heart began to beat a painful staccato and her hands dug into the wood railing. For a moment, the children's faces blurred unpleasantly into others. Then the sharp prick of splinters against her fingers grounded her again and she took a deep breath.

"Haley?" Daniel asked softly, following her gaze to the children.

Two more breaths and she was able to turn away from the children. "I'm fine," she said with a small smile. Ignoring the sounds of continued play behind her, she instead watched Jack and Sam laughing over at the barbeque with Teal'c. Everything had changed so much, but some things were always the same.

Haley shook her head at the sight. "It's strange to think…all this happened because of one moment of weakness in a dark cave on a far off planet."

Daniel smiled. "Maybe it was fate."

"Things happen for a reason?" she asked, tilting her head to one side.

"Yeah, something like that," he said, wrapping one arm around her and kissing her on the temple.

In the distance, they could hear Jack groan in mock disapproval.

Sam leaned over the railing on the back porch, half-listening to Jack and Daniel banter back and forth, arguing over the proper names of star constellations. She sighed softly; glad to have her family back together again.

Sam felt someone's gaze on her and looked up to find Haley watching her with a speculative look on her face. She slowly walked up to Sam and placed one hand on Sam's stomach, her eyes closed.

"Haley," Sam asked uncertainly, "what are you doing?"

Haley opened her eyes and smiled. "I'm just saying hello to Grace."

Sam felt her mouth drop open and then slowly placed a hand on her abdomen. She glanced at Jack, who was watching them with a question in his eyes. Then she looked at her daughter and smiled.

"And what does the future hold for her?" Sam asked softly.

Haley looked up, her blue eyes momentarily free of dark shadows. "Whatever she chooses to make of it."

It was a new beginning, for all of them.

The End!

"'Cause it's a winding road
I've been walking for a long time
And I still don't know
Where it goes
And it's a long way home
I've been searching for a long time
Still have hope
We're gonna find our way home"

Bonnie Somerville, Winding Road