Disclaimer: Nope, still not mine by a long shot.

A/N1: I think once again I'm teetering over the line between T and M. I'm leaving the rating at T, but I will warn you that there is one, relatively small, section that some people would consider M. I have my doubts given what I've heard often passes for a party game among middle schoolers these days. Sometimes I think theseyoung teensknow more about sex than I do.


Chapter 8: Flash Forward

Sam

Sam woke from her dream happy, content, and comfortable. She allowed the memory to play on in her mind as she snuggled into the warm body next to her.

oOo

They hadn't made love that night. Jack still hadn't been convinced that this was really what she wanted. However she'd taken comfort in the flash of shock, desire, and need that he hadn't quite managed to suppress when she'd finally stripped down to her surprise. He'd barely been able to stutter out her name. His nervousness had been adorable to her and the final factor in her decision.

"Goodnight Jack."

She'd left him standing in the middle of his room and crawled into his bed. It had taken him long enough to join her that she'd almost fallen completely asleep. When he'd curled up behind her she'd been mildly surprised to realize that he'd stripped to his boxers. He'd stroked a hand from her shoulder down her arm to intertwine their fingers.

"You didn't have to…"

"No, but I wanted to."

He'd placed a soft kiss on her shoulder and they'd both drifted off to sleep.

oOo

Sam remembered how she'd woken before him that morning too. Back then, as now, sunlight had filtered through closed curtains to spread weak illumination through the room.

Time to wake Jack. Since this seems to be a morning for walks down memory lane…

Sam reached out and began tracing patterns on Jack's bare chest and stomach.


Jack

Jack didn't want to wake from his dream. His first time with Sam had been amazing and he didn't want to ruin the memory by waking to find out that she was no longer there. Originally the feeling of her hand on his skin had been comforting, grounding him to reality. Then it had become arousing. Now, twenty years later, he was afraid that it was just another reminder of how much he'd lost. So Jack screwed his eyes shut and willed himself into the dream.

"Oh no you don't. I know you're awake, Jack. Open your eyes and look at me. I'm real. This is real."

That did it. That little speech hadn't happened the first time.

That's not right. She's supposed to tell me to trust her. To trust that she knows herself, mind and body, well enough to make this decision. Is she right? Is this real?

Jack cracked open an eye. All he could see was a sliver of ceiling, but it was enough.. He was in his cabin in Minnesota. The only time he came here was…

"Sam? Baby?"

"I'm right here Jack. The same place I've been every morning for the past five years."

Jack opened his eyes fully and rolled his head to look at her.

I swear she only gets more beautiful.

"Has it really been five years? I'm sorry I'm still so bad at this."

"It's okay Jack. I promise I'm not going anywhere. Besides, mornings like this one are becoming less common and some days I can barely even believe it myself. Twenty years ago I never could have imagined that this is how we'd end up, well at least not the way we got here."

"Me neither. Although this was certainly on my list of things to do…Happy New Year Mrs. O'Neill."

"That's Carter-O'Neill to you…and everyone else. Mrs. O'Neill makes me look around for your mom."

"Yeah, well Carter still makes me look for your brother."

"Lord, do you remember the look on his face that morning?"

"He seemed to have a tough time deciding whether to kill me first or just get the hell out and save it for later."

oOo

The pace of their love making had been slow. Jack had used all the tricks he'd learned so far to hold himself back and ensure that Sam was as ready as possible for the finale. It had been difficult for both of them during the first few moments and Jack had almost backed out completely. Sam had stopped him with a simple request.

"Kiss me."

He had, of course, complied and distracted her. By the time he'd regained enough confidence to touch her she'd been sighing happily and shifting eagerly beneath him. From there they'd both continued to completion and he'd collapsed along side her. They drifted back to sleep with Jack's head on her shoulder and his arm draped over her stomach. The sound of footfalls outside his door had reawakened them.

"Jack, you lazy bum, get your ass out of bed! We need to leave in an hour in order to get back in time for practice. I can't believe your mom let you sleep so late. Let's get a move…"

Mark moved down the hallway, opened Jack's bedroom and walked in. He stopped mid-speech when his brain registered the presence of two people in Jack's bed. One was obviously Jack. The other was clearly female, but hidden enough behind Jack as to be unidentifiable.

"Ja-ack…what do you think you're doing?"

Mark's tone turned dangerous.

"Nothing at the moment."

"Not the time for it, O'Neill. I can see two basic situations here: first, that's Sam in there with you or second that's not Sam. Either way I get to kick the shit out of you. So which is it going to be?"

"Carter, do we really need to get into this now? I'm sure Samantha's feeling distinctly uncomfortable at the moment."

"Sammie? Are you all right Sis?"

"Well I was doing better before you walked in and started threatening Jack."

"Sam…I…I'm gonna go. Jack, I'm leaving in 1 hour."

Mark backed out of the room and slammed the door behind him. He collapsed on the stairs and started lightly banging his head into the wall.

oOo


Sam

"You wouldn't take my calls for over a week. I'd started to worry that you weren't ever going to want to see me again."

"Yeah, well I sorta figured I wasn't any good to you dead. It took Catherine and Janet that long to talk Mark out of trying to kill me. Actually, Coach is the only reason we're still friends. He sat us down and told us that neither of us was going to play until we worked this out."

"I was so happy when you called. I was still incredibly nervous when I drove out to visit at the end of the season even though I'd talked to you almost every day, Mark once a week, and Catherine or Janet every other day."

"I was so thankful to T and Danny too. I can still hear T's response to some of Mark's ranting… 'Your sister seems sufficiently mature enough to make her own decision Mark Carter. Are you not glad she has chosen a man you respect so well?'"

"Did I ever tell you what Daniel said to me?... 'Jack, huh? Could be worse I suppose.' …We've certainly put those guys through a lot over the years. We're truly blessed to have them put up with us for so long."

Jack cupped Sam's face with his hand.

"I can't have survived any of it without you. The memory of you, especially of your graduation, you were beaming, kept me going through everything even when I couldn't talk to you. I'm sorry I was such an ass through it all. Thank you for giving me a second chance and sticking with me."

"Jack, how could I stop loving you? Through it all…Sara, Charlie, the black ops and top secret missions…you were only trying to do the right thing."

By now they were both crying and Sam leaned forward, squinting through the tears, to capture her husband's lips in a passionate kiss. Jack returned her kiss with equal fervor, his hands leaving her face to explore her body.

He's so good with those hands. Soft touches…rough calluses…all the right spots…distracting.

Sam took advantage of the fact that Jack lay mostly alongside her to roll herself to the top. She caught his hands in hers and placed them on her hips.

"No moving."

Sam pulled her tank top over her head and smiled as Jack's eyes glazed over.

"Glad to see you still approve."

She leaned down to kiss him, deliberately rubbing against him as she moved, causing him to groan into her mouth. Breaking the kiss Sam sat up again to give herself space to stroke her hands over his body. She shifted, settling herself lower so that she could follow her hands with her mouth. Sam hooked her fingers into the elastic of his boxers and ran her tongue along their edge. She moved to pull the boxers down his legs.

"Well General you're up early this morning."

Sam whispered against him.

General? Where did that come from?


Jack

Jack knew he could die happy at this moment as he watched his wife, his lover, his Samantha move to take him into her mouth. As he moaned and his eyes rolled towards the ceiling he caught a flash of movement elsewhere in the room.

What the…

"Shit! Danny? What the hell?"

Sam stilled instantly as she heard the name. She looked up at Jack to find him staring over her shoulder.

"Daniel Jackson…what are you doing in my bedroom, in my cabin, on New Year's Day?"

Jack watched Daniel's profile as he tried to decide where to look and what to say.

"Hi Jack. Sorry Sam. Umm…we, uh, need to talk. I'll…go wait in the kitchen. Yeah...uh…going now."

Daniel left the room and Sam lifted herself off of Jack and collapsed beside him on the bed.

"Well I guess we should get dressed."

Jack rolled out of bed, his back turned to Sam and the temptation she represented.

What the hell is going on? How did Danny get up here? He's never been here before. He was supposed to be spending the semester break in Egypt with Janet and Sha'uri.

Jack paused to smile at the thought of his, now nearly grown, god-daughter. The girl had inherited her father's tendency to over talk, his sense of wonder, and her mother's no nonsense approach to life. It made for an interesting combination.

Does this mean Janet and Sha'uri are here too? Why not bring T and Mark along for this lovely little reunion? This had better be damn good.

Jack stuck his head through the neck of an old college sweater and turned to Sam.

"Ready to go sort this out?"

"The sooner, the better I suppose."

Reluctantly the two walked down the short hallway to the large living room, hand in hand.

"O'Neill, Colonel Carter, it is good to see you."

Jack and Sam looked at each other, confused, before returning their gazes to the large dark skinned man standing in the center of the room.

"Nice to see you too T, but what's with the colonel bit? I've never been …"

"That's kinda why we're here," interjected Daniel.

"What are you talking about Daniel?"

"Well…uh…you see…the thing is…"

"What Daniel Jackson is attempting to say is that this is not real."

"Of course it is T. Look, if I pinch you it hurts. If you pinch me, it hurts more. Definitely not a dream."

"Actually Jack, it's more like the Matrix."

At this Sam felt the need to interject.

"So which of us is playing the savior role in this quasi-Christian allegory?"

"I wasn't so much referring to the movie as a whole, but the concept of the matrix itself, a collaborative intellectual existence with no connection to true physical reality."

"A concept which is unachievable at our society's current level of …"

Jack tuned the two out, knowing that such philosophical conversations often lasted for hours unless forcibly interrupted.

Well they're never going to settle this one that way.

Jack heaved a sigh.

"Daniel Jackson I believe a demonstration is in order."

"Teal'c I'm not so sure that…"

Everything went dark and it took Jack an instant to realize that his eyes were closed.

"…is such a good idea."

The sound of Daniel finishing his though had Jack's eye flying open and searching the room frantically. Sitting up in two beds to his right were Daniel and Teal'c. On the other side of him Sam moaned as she pulled herself upright.

"Why am I so stiff? I feel as if I've been lying here for days."

"It has in fact been two weeks since you and O'Neill did not return from our last mission, Colonel Carter."

This time Jack groaned.

"It's going to take forever to straighten this out isn't it?"

"Indeed."


A/N2: So this is where I'm choosing to end this particular fic. Don't worry. The story will continue. Please remember that my death will accomplish little other than actually preventing the completion of this series. ;-) I know this chapter was a huge leap, but its where I always intended to end up, so please forgive me for employing scifi cliché number 8 (one of my favorite numbers). Let me know how you think it works (or doesn't).