Notes: Since this is the last chapter, I'm going to ramble a bit for a moment here...
I could never have imagined this story being so well-received, nor could I even imagine writing something this long to begin with. Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing, whether you just recently discovered the story and worked your way through it in a couple of days, or whether you've been reviewing every single chapter.I cannot thank you enough.
This is the end of this story, but I suppose there's always room for a sequel somewhere down the road.
Ch 28: Small Miracles
Sam was beyond exhausted. Janet was positive that if there weren't so many people paying attention to her, she would be crying. When General Hammond and Thor crowded into the already-crowded room, checking on her for the third time that hour, it was just too much. Janet said loudly, "All right, everyone listen up!"
The various conversations died down and Janet waited until everyone was looking at her. It took a surprisingly short amount of time.
"I know everyone here is ready for this baby to be born, but that simply can't happen in a room this crowded."
Everyone started arguing as to why he or she should be allowed to stay. Janet yelled, "QUIET!" and waited a second before continuing. "Colonel O'Neill and I are going to get cleaned up and ready for the delivery. Sam, you need to decide if you want everyone else to wait in the hallway or if you're okay with them watching from the observation room." She nodded up at the high window that led to the observation room.
"As soon as the Colonel and I come back with the nurse, you're all out of here," Janet added firmly, nodding at Jack for him to follow her out of the room. Jack looked back at Sam, reluctant to leave her 'alone' with the room-full of people all more concerned, at the moment, with arguing over why they should be allowed to stay than anything else.
"Come on, sir, it only takes about five minutes," Janet said firmly, tugging on his arm to get him moving.
Jack followed her out the door reluctantly, glancing at his watch. "Doc, has it really been this long?" he asked wearily as they headed to the infirmary to get prepped.
"Yes," Janet said grimly as they got ready.
She watched Jack carefully. He looked like he was trying to psych himself up for what was about to happen. "This is the home stretch, Colonel."
"I know, it's just... Sam's going to be okay, isn't she?"
"Physically, she is doing wonderfully," Janet assured him. "And that's my primary concern in there, okay? Yours is keeping her focused. She's been having a lot of trouble focusing, although with the crowd of people she's been insisting on I'm not surprised, so hopefully once the room empties that will help some. But for a man who can't sit still for five minutes, you have a strangely calming effect on other people, Colonel. Sam especially. So I know you can do this."
Jack nodded repeatedly to himself and followed her back down the hall. He paused just outside the door to Sam's room. "Janet..."
Janet looked at him in surprise. He almost always called her 'Doc.' Occasionally 'Fraiser,' but never by her first name. He actually looked scared.
"If anything... if anything bad happens in there I... I won't..."
Janet squeezed his arm, letting him know he didn't need to finish the sentence. "I am going to do everything I can to make sure that everyone is just fine, Colonel." He nodded and clenched his jaw. "Good. Okay, let's go see if you've got a boy or a girl," Janet said, smiling encouragingly.
The room had already emptied significantly; only Daniel and Teal'c remained, on opposite sides of Sam, each holding one of her hands. Daniel frowned at the nurse that followed Jack and Janet into the room. "If you need an assistant, I could do it, I've delivered three babies by myself and..."
"Daniel, no," Janet said, firmly but patiently.
"Let us join everyone in the observation room, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c said firmly.
"Okay, Sam, you're fully dilated now so when the next contraction hits you're going to start pushing, okay?" Janet began.
"How long?" Sam asked wearily.
"There's no way to tell, sweetie. It could still take a while."
"I bet you wish Thor could send you back in the bubble, huh," Daniel commented lightly as he kissed her goodbye on the cheek.
"It doesn't work like that, Daniel, time is relative!" Jack snapped.
Everyone looked at him in surprise, Janet smiling slowly and shaking her head. Teal'c herded Daniel out the door. He left, muttering, "Never thought I'd see the day... Jack O'Neill correcting me on something scientific..."
Janet waited for the door to close behind them and smiled encouragingly at Sam. "Okay. You ready to have this baby?"
"I don't think I can watch her go through this anymore," Jacob Carter confessed quietly. He was sitting between Daniel, who looked like he was rooted to the spot in a kind of horrified awe, and Hammond, who had been present for the birth of his second granddaughter already, although the entire labor had only taken about four hours in that circumstance.
Hammond looked down at his watch and saw that they were now well into the thirtieth hour here. He didn't blame Jacob at all – he could barely watch one of his favorite officers going through this, and doubted he would be able to if it were his own daughter.
Cassandra Fraiser had left the room hours ago looking horrified and was waiting in her mother's office. George decided to use that opportunity. "Jacob, why don't you go see how Cassie's doing?"
"Yeah... that's a good idea, George," Jacob said numbly, getting to his feet. Teal'c, who was standing behind the row of chairs, helped him with a supportive hand on his shoulder as he passed.
Thor, to General Hammond's left, spoke carefully. "I did not understand what I was asking Major Carter to go through. She will surely hate me for this."
"No she won't," Hammond assured him.
Teal'c took the seat Jacob had vacated and asked quietly, "Daniel Jackson, are you okay?"
"Yeah," Daniel said, swallowing hard. He felt like he was watching someone being tortured, for hours. He had even cried himself a little, two hours ago.
Sound from the Iso room was muffled, but they had all clearly been able to hear when Sam had collapsed against her pillow, crying and looking utterly defeated. Janet had firmly encouraged her, but Sam just shook her head and sobbed, "I can't do this anymore, I just can't."
They had all heard Jack's firm, "Yes you can," and her answering, "Jack, please..." but that was the last the crowd in the observation room had heard from either of them in two hours. They could hear Janet's occasional directions to the nurse and frequent updates to everyone on what exactly was happening, but nobody else could hear what Jack was saying to Sam.
He was next to the bed with his back to the observation window, leaning over her at an incredibly awkward angle so he could speak directly into her ear while still helping hold one of her knees up. Whatever he was saying was obviously working, but Daniel's simple innate curiosity and the brotherly love he felt for both Sam and Jack made him wonder. He couldn't help but wonder if Janet would tell him if he asked later, if she could even hear it at all. Probably not.
Just as Daniel was positive that Thor had somehow made time just stop entirely, Janet smiled up at Sam brightly and said, "Sam, this is it!"
Hammond quickly picked up the phone to get Jacob and Cassie back. They made it back to the Observation room just in time to see Janet placing a very loud, very messy looking baby on Sam's stomach. Jack and Sam were both sobbing. Daniel was crying too. Teal'c's eyes glistened but no tears fell. Hammond, Jacob, Cassie and Thor all just stared, four pairs of wide eyes and four mouths hanging open.
"What is it?" Cassie finally had the sense to ask. The baby was surrounded by so many bodies cleaning it off and still working on Sam that they couldn't tell, and nobody had bothered to tell them.
Hammond pushed the intercom button and spoke into the microphone. "Dr. Fraiser, the most quickly organized betting pool in SGC history is waiting to be settled."
She smiled up at the window and said, "It's a girl."
Nearly an hour later, Sam and the baby were all clean, the baby wrapped up in a yellow blanket Cassie had brought, wearing a tiny pink hat. They had even had their first nursing 'lesson,' although Janet and Sam had admitted that the baby seemed to know much more about it than either of them did. Everyone was exhausted, but deliriously happy, Sam most of all, on both accounts.
"This is by far the coolest thing you've ever done," Jack commented casually as he stared down at his daughter. "Way cooler than blowing up that sun even."
"We're not normal at all," was Sam's casual response/observation to that.
"I don't think I can keep everyone out of here for much longer," Janet said quietly, smiling fondly at Jack and Sam, who were staring down at the baby in a kind of amazed shock, like they still couldn't quite believe they had actually made her themselves.
"You ready to meet the rest of your family?" Jack asked the baby, making a tiny, imperceptible adjustment to the little hat. He looked up at Sam and they held one of their rapid-fire silent-conversations Janet had always found somewhat unnerving to watch. "Okay, Doc, open the floodgates," Jack said quietly.
Everyone filed into the room as silently as possible, smiling with barely-restrained excitement. Cassie and Daniel both looked like they might pee their pants.
"Er, well," Jack started as Sam pressed the baby into his arms. He held the bundle in the blankets at an angle where they could all see her. "This is... the baby. She's a girl."
"What's her name?" Cassie demanded.
Jack and Sam looked at each other and Sam nodded slightly; he was giving her the go-ahead to pick. Leaning into his arm to look down at the baby, Sam looked back up at him and Jack somehow knew what she was going to say. "Jordan," she told Cassie.
"That's a boy's name," Daniel pointed out immediately. Jacob elbowed him in the ribs. He yelped and quickly added, "But it's a lovely girl's name too," as he rubbed his ribcage.
"What's her middle name?" Cassie pressed.
Jack groaned. "We were too busy arguing over the first name to think about a middle name..."
"You pick," Sam said.
"Me? By myself? You're delirious honey, you haven't slept in over thirty hours."
"I picked Jordan. You pick her middle name," Sam said simply.
He looked down at the sleeping baby in his arms. "You sure?" he asked again with a teasing smile. "You remember some of my ideas, right? Danielle, and... Teal'c-o-lette and..."
Daniel and Teal'c looked at each other and laughed. "O'Neill, I am honored, but please do not name your child Teal'c-o-lette," Teal'c said with a tone of urgency rarely heard in his voice.
Jack laughed and mouthed something that only Sam could see, but whatever it was made her face light up. "That's perfect."
Jack grinned and said, "Okay then. I pick Janet."
"What?" Janet Fraiser asked, truly surprised.
"Jordan Janet O'Neill," Jacob said experimentally.
"Carter," Jack corrected. "Jordan Janet Carter O'Neill."
"Good Lord her name is bigger than she is," Hammond said with a chuckle.
"Danny, T, get over here," Jack said, gesturing them closer with his head. Teal'c inclined his head for Daniel to go first, and Daniel didn't need to be asked twice. Jack passed the baby to him carefully, the movement waking her up. She screamed loudly, scrunching her face up.
"Well, she sounds like Jack," Daniel commented, shifting her to a more comfortable position against his chest. Once she was warm and snug, she stopped crying even though everyone in the room was laughing loudly. It had been quite a long and strange day for the newly born Jordan O'Neill. Jack stepped back from Daniel and Teal'c, returning to the bed. He sat down next to Sam and pulled her into his arms, and they both watched Daniel and Teal'c looking down at the baby. So did everyone else.
Jordan opened her eyes, blinking up at Daniel with huge blue eyes. "Hi," he said quietly, smiling at her. "I'm Daniel."
"Uncle Daniel," Sam corrected.
His grin got even bigger. "Uncle Daniel. Um, it's nice to meet you."
Jack laughed at the formal way he was speaking to the baby and absently wondered how many times he had heard Daniel introduce himself like that. Although, Jack had to admit, he had never quite seen that look of complete happiness on Daniel's face as he introduced himself to anybody else. "Okay, Uncle Danny, give Uncle Teal'c a turn," Jack said after a few moments.
Daniel passed the baby to Teal'c, and she suddenly looked even tinier cradled in the huge man's arms. She focused on his Apophis symbol and tried to reach for it with her tiny hand, but she was bundled up too tightly, so she settled for staring at it instead. "She resembles you a great deal, Major Carter. That is most fortunate."
"Hey," Jack objected half-heartedly while everyone laughed quietly. Sam patted his arm placatingly.
Cassie took her next, as she was standing next to Teal'c. She looked a bit uncertain for a few moments; she had held babies occasionally on Hanka, but never one quite so new, and that had been a long time ago. Jordan was quite happy with everyone holding her so far, however. Cassie looked down at the baby, who seemed to be trying to memorize her face, and said, "She looks really smart."
"Would Cassie be 'Aunt Cassie' or 'Cousin Cassie?'" Jack asked Sam, rubbing her arm to try to wake her up a bit, as she was starting to doze off against his side.
"Mm, well, since I don't see Mark and his kids all that often, it would be nice for her to have a cousin around here, and she already has an Auntie," she said, smiling at Janet.
"Do cousins get to babysit?" Cassie asked hopefully.
"I'm sure that can be arranged," Sam promised.
"Cool." Cassie smiled down at the baby again and said, "All right I guess maybe sex isn't so bad if you get to bring home one of these afterwards."
Janet groaned. "Just what every mother of a teenaged girl wants to hear, sweetie."
As she said this, Jack simultaneously said, "Quick, someone take that baby away from her!"
Hammond, who was standing next to Cassie, took the baby next. He sat down in a chair so that Thor could look at her properly as well. Jordan made a gurgling sound, which Jack interpreted for the rest of the group as, "What was that, Jordan? You want Grampa George to set up a nursery here at the SGC so you can come and visit all the time?"
Hammond rolled his eyes and said, "We'll see, Jack."
Jacob finally got to hold his granddaughter, although he quickly realized Sam had saved him for last so he could hold her the longest. He smiled down at her for a long time while everyone else started talking quietly. Finally, Jack called over to him, "Well, does she pass inspection, Dad?"
"Yeah, she'll do," Jacob said, grinning at him. Jack had never noticed how similar Jacob and Sam's smiles were before. Of course, Jacob's didn't quite stir the same feelings in him as Sam's did, but still.
"She looks just like you did when you were born, Sam," Jacob told her. Jordan chose that moment to yawn loudly, which made Jacob chuckle. "And I think she's getting tired," he added.
"I think we're all beyond tired," Janet said, taking the baby from him and handing her back to Sam. "Let's all get some rest."
She started shooing everyone away. Everyone left reluctantly, promising to come back later after they had a chance to rest and everything. Daniel, Teal'c, and Cassie went off to plan a baby shower, Cassie and Daniel already conferring over what things she had already picked up for the baby and what they would still need.
As they walked out the door, Sam burst out laughing as she heard Teal'c say, "Daniel Jackson, this is a very unusual custom, even for the Tauri. As most humans prefer to bathe alone, where exactly are we going to find a showering facility large enough to accommodate all of these guests? And would a shower not be a dangerous thing for young Jordan O'Neill?"
"Oh brother," Jack said mildly as the laughter about Daniel and Teal'c's conversation died down. "How many years do you think it'll take him to just call her Jordan?"
"I think that's a lost cause at this point," Sam said.
Hammond waved goodbye, and he and Thor started to follow Jacob out the door but Sam stopped them both. "Thor, wait," Sam said quickly. She had noticed how much Thor had hung back when everyone was admiring the baby. Thor stopped by the door and came over to the side of the bed, his shoulders drooped. As strange as it sounded, to Sam, it was the first time Thor had ever looked small. "Is she not... what you expected?" Sam guessed quietly.
"Oh, Major Carter, that is not it at all," Thor assured her. "She is very impressive. A beautiful child. I have not even conducted any tests yet."
Hammond was hanging near the door. He felt like he and Thor were in this together. "So why so glum little buddy?" Jack asked.
"I owe you an apology, Major Carter," Thor said seriously, looking down. "We researched human reproduction but I did not fully understand what I was asking you to go through. Believe me, if I had known how much pain was involved, I would not have suggested it. You are my friend, and I do not want to be responsible for causing you pain. I am sorry, please forgive me."
"Thor, there's nothing to forgive," Sam said quickly, smiling at him. "I should be thanking you for putting all of this into motion in the first place."
"Me too," Jack added. He felt guilty now; Sam had noticed Thor was upset and he hadn't even been paying attention to him at all. "Really, Thor, you haven't done anything wrong at all," Jack added. "You actually... made everything right. You too, Grampa George," Jack added, nodding over Thor's head to Hammond.
"I'm glad everything worked out," Hammond said, smiling at the three of them. "Thor, let's go call the President. He's been waiting by the phone."
"You kept the President of the United States waiting for a loooong time, young lady," Jack said to the baby, who looked at him calmly as though she could care less.
Sam smiled at Thor again and he tilted his head, satisfied that she wasn't upset with him. "I would like to stop by once more to say goodbye before I must leave," he said carefully.
"You better, or Jordan will never forgive you," Jack said lightly.
As Thor made his way to the door, Janet told him, "Don't worry about Sam, Thor, there are all sorts of lovely hormones and endorphins and things that will kick in and make her forget how badly most of that hurt."
Thor looked optimistic. Or rather, Janet thought he did at least. He stood up straighter and started speaking at a slightly faster pace as he said, "In that case, perhaps if our tests on Jordan O'Neill prove fruitless, Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill would not be opposed, without our assistance of the time dilation device of course, to reproducing again in the near future. Don't forget, O'Neill is not as young as he..."
"THOR!" Jack and Sam both objected, although Janet suspected they were probably objecting to different parts of Thor's statement. As enamored with Jordan as Sam obviously already was, Thor's timing was definitely off: nobody in their right mind would want to discuss starting that whole process all over again so soon after going through a thirty-plus hour natural delivery.
And the Colonel... well, he and Thor probably shared about the same amount of tact when it came to things like that, but when it came to hinting that the Colonel was getting up there in years, he was likely to raise an objection faster than anything.
Hammond shot Jack and Sam a slightly apologetic look over Thor's head, shrugging slightly with an 'aliens – what are you gonna do about them, right?' look on his face before holding the door open for Thor. Hammond and Thor finally left, closing the door softly on their way out.
Janet finished up whatever she had been working on in the corner for a few moments and came back over to the bed. "I know how much you love paperwork, sir," she said to Jack, handing him a thin folder with a smile.
"Oh you have no idea how much I missed it, Doc," Jack replied sarcastically as he opened the folder, tilting its contents at an angle so Sam could see them as well.
The top piece of paper was Jordan's birth certificate. "General Hammond was right about her name; it was tricky getting it all on one line but we managed it. You might be interested in the next certificate too though."
Jack pulled it to the front curiously. Sam gasped as she read it; it was their marriage license, now properly signed by the 'witnesses,' Major General George S. Hammond and Dr. Janet Fraiser, and signed and stamped by the President of the United States himself.
"Wow," they both said quietly. Jack arranged the documents side by side and realized the difference between their dates was only a few days. And in all the pictures from their wedding, Sam was most definitely not nine months pregnant.
"We'll have to make sure we put these in different rooms," Sam said quietly, but she didn't seem concerned about it beyond that, so Jack decided not to worry about it as well. Suddenly an idea occurred to him.
"You still want to do another wedding thing, with everyone there and all?"
"Yes, eventually. No rush though, I'm kind of tired right now," she added lightly.
He laughed and said, "Yeah, but I was thinking we could do it on the day when we actually thought we were getting married. This year or next, whichever. I mean, I've already committed that date to my memory as our anniversary, and you know me and numbers..."
"Sounds like a plan," Sam agreed, trying to stifle a yawn.
"You need to rest, Sam. All three of you do," Janet interrupted gently. "I'll give you some time alone but then I'm going to need to put Jordan in the bassinet. She can stay in the room with you but you both need to get some rest. And Colonel, I know it's been a while for you, so I'll just remind you that if you object I've got a nice sharp needle with your name all over it."
"Nice to know some things never change, Doc," Jack called in a friendly tone as she left to give them some privacy.
"I don't know what Teal'c was talking about," Jack commented once they were alone. He tugged the little pink hat off of the baby's bald head and kissed her gently. "She's got your eyes but right now she mostly looks like General Hammond."
"Jack!" Sam objected indignantly.
Jordan scrunched up her face. For a second, both thought she was going to start bawling, probably due to the loud tone of Sam's voice, but rather than foreshadowing a loud wail, her scrunched up face led to a huge sneeze.
"Oh no," Jack muttered as Sam laughed at the way Jordan appeared to have confused herself with the sneeze. "I'm so blaming Daniel for that."
"Jack, you do know that Daniel and I don't actually share any DNA, don't you?" Sam asked mildly.
"That is not the point," Jack said firmly. "This is his fault. I'm sure of it. The baby's got Hammond's hairline, Teal'c's patience, Daniel's allergies, your eyes... she's so tiny there can't be room left in that little body for any part of me!"
Sam knew he was just teasing her with the complaints, but felt the need to respond anyway. "Well, as far as the hairline goes I sincerely doubt that will last for very long, there's a little bit of fuzz even now. And one sneeze, even one as big as that, doesn't necessarily mean she's doomed to a life of antihistamines, but even if she is you may as well blame that on Janet if you're going to blame it on Daniel. As far as the other thing, you know that's not true, Jack. I actually think she seems a lot more like you than like me."
Jack looked down at the tiny, soft, slightly pink baby that was studying them carefully and then looked at Sam like she was completely out of her tree.
"She's got a... a look about her," Sam tried to explain. "It's something in her eyes and the corners of her mouth. I'd be willing to bet that on the inside, Jordan O'Neill is going to be a chip off the old block."
"Well, while I do tend to enjoy taking you up on any bet you've ever proposed, and are you calling me old?"
"Of course not, I only meant that..." she trailed off as both watched Jordan's eyes start closing very slowly. "See dear, nothing to worry about," Sam said, leaning up to peck him lightly on the mouth. "She's clearly got your attention span."
"Hmm, where do I go to buy 'baby's first yo-yo?'" Jack asked.
"Thor, I have to ask you something," Hammond said as they went into his office.
"What is it, General Hammond?"
"Do you really think Jack and Sam's baby is the key to solving your cloning problems?"
Thor narrowed his eyes slightly and said, "It is... possible."
"How... possible?" Hammond pressed.
"The odds are not, as you would say, in their favor. But I have never known that to keep Major Carter or Colonel O'Neill from doing anything before."
"That's a good point," Hammond said as he sat down in his chair and picked up his red phone to call the President. He paused, set the phone down again, and asked, "So... if you really weren't counting on this to work... you were actually just using this as an excuse to get us to overlook the regulations for them, weren't you?"
Thor climbed up into the chair opposite Hammond, sat down, and said evenly, "And were you not doing the same thing when you offered to assist me, General Hammond?"
They looked at each other calmly and Hammond picked up the phone again. "That never leaves this room, Thor."