Jack was standing at the podium on the ramp of the Stargate and gazed out over the gathered members of the SGC for the final time under his command. Thank God. Jack took a breath and began speaking, "Y'know, every time I stand up here to give a speech I can't help but hope Thor will rescue me." Jack paused a moment and glanced at his watch. "But it doesn't look like my buddy's gonna come through for me this time, so I'll keep this short. It was an incredible honor to serve with you all these past years and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I also want to thank you all for making my year in command as relatively easy as possible. I had some big shoes to fill and I'm not sure how well I did. I know General Landry is more than up to all the challenges I found so difficult. So don't be afraid to give him hell occasionally." There was some laughter and his friend Hank Landry mouthed 'Thanks, Jack.' He grinned and winked at Hank before continuing. "As my first official act as a retired man I thought I'd settle a couple of bets. Colonel Carter please step forward."
Sam stared up at him in frozen shock and he smiled at her encouragingly. She didn't move. Then Daniel gave her a little shove and she stumbled forward out of the ranks. She turned and glared at him but he shrugged and grinned. Sam recovered her military bearing and strode to the end of the ramp to where Jack was now standing with his hand extended. The skin of her palm had barely just touched that of his when she felt her entire world shift on its axis. She found herself bent back and completely supported by Jack's strong arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck and closed the distance between their lips.
After sometime Jack broke the kiss and set her upright on her feet. He still kept an arm around her waist. Which was a good thing, because she didn't know if her legs could support her after that searing kiss. Jack gave General Landry a sketch of a salute. "It's all yours, Hank."
Hank grinned along with the rest of the SGC as he took the podium. "I'm sure anything I have to say wouldn't be able to follow General O'Neill's 'speech'. So, you're all dismissed."
Jack sat on the bench running through the center of the locker room. His locker was nearly empty except for a few changes of clothes he might need when he returned for 'consultations'. He sat rifling through the cigar box that contained his most precious mementoes when he heard the door open. Jack knew it was Sam by the rhythm of her heels on the concrete floor. She stopped just behind him and he could feel her glare burning holes in the back of his head. He smiled to himself.
"I hope you're satisfied with yourself, General," she said her voice carrying a slightly angry edge.
"Ack! Retired!" he corrected, not bothering to turn around.
She sighed heavily, but he still felt her glare, "Do you have to be so melodramatic?"
"Yep." He picked something up out of the box and held it out to her, "You want this?"
Sam stared at the glittering object in his outstretched hand. It was a platinum and diamond Art Deco style ring. Stunned she asked, "What is that?"
"My grandmother's ring."
"Why would I want it?"
"I thought we could get married."
"What if I don't want to?"
He shrugged and turned around, a smirk on his face, "We could always live in sin."
She plunked down on the bench next to him and took the ring from his hand. She didn't put it on, just scrutinized it like she would an alien artifact. She glanced speculatively at him, "Is this how you proposed to Sara?"
"No, actually I did the whole down on one knee thing like she was expecting, but you know how the knees are. I don't think I'd be able to get back up these days. Besides, I thought we were a little beyond all that cliché fake romance crap."
"Yes, we are," she agreed. "And I had enough of that gooey hearts and flowers crap with Pete."
"I figured that too." He watched her continue to study the ring. "Sara didn't wear that, if that's what you're thinking. I bought her a new one. She didn't care about old jewelry, but I thought that kind of suited you."
It did suit her. She liked the modestly sized diamonds and the clean geometric Art Deco design. She slid it on her finger and smiled up at him. "Okay."
"Cool." He grinned back and reached out a hand and gently caressed her cheek before sliding his fingers through her hair and slowly pulled her head to his. Their lips met and he murmured against hers, "You make me the happiest man in the universe." He felt her smile before her lips parted beneath his.
They reluctantly pulled away from each other and turned to see Walter standing next to two burly marines carrying lockboxes.
"Yes, Walter?" Jack asked with a questioning eyebrow raised.
"I thought you'd like your winnings, sir."
"Winnings?" Sam and Jack asked at the same time.
"Yes, sir. Maj-"
"Loose the 'sir', Walter. I'm retired," Jack interrupted.
Walter shrugged before continuing, "Major Kawalsky placed a bet-" he held up his notebook and began reading, "On February 9th 1997, stating that 'Jack O'Neill will retire again and 'hook up' with Samantha Carter.' He also asked that you," Walter nodded to Jack, "be given his winnings if anything happened to him."
"February 9th? That was the date of that first briefing," Sam said rather shocked.
"Yes, ma'am. Major Kawalsky placed the first bet regarding your- er- situation. Major Ferretti was the second."
"See, ' Jack laughed. "This is what you get for threatening to arm wrestle a superior officer. People talk."
Walter went into one of the lockboxes and withdrew a small bundle of cash. As he handed it to Jack he noticed the ring sparkling on Sam's finger. He pointed to it. "Engaged?"
Walter flipped through a couple of pages in his notebook. "Did he go down one knee?"
"Uh huh. Is that his mother's ring?"
"Uh huh. Did he-"
"Walter," Jack interrupted in exasperation. "Can we save the interrogation for a later date? You're kinda ruining the moment."
"Sorry." He closed his notebook and smiled at both of them. "I think I speak for everyone on base when I say I hope you both will be very happy and we're very happy for you. You both deserve this." He turned back to the marines, "C'mon, we've got some more bets to settle with this new information."
Jack was just stepped out the shower when the phone rang. It only rang once before Sam picked up in the living room. He toweled of and pulled on his jeans. He nearly had his shirt buttoned when Sam called out, "Jack, it's for you!" He picked up the receiver, "O'Neill."
"General O'Neill, this is Pete Thornton of the Phoenix Foundation-"
"Ack!" Jack cut him off. "Listen, Pete- I hate that name by the way- I told Bud- uh- Mac that I would get in contact when I was ready to work with you guys."
"No, you obviously don't understand. Yesterday, I retired and got engaged. Tomorrow, my fiancé and I are going on a two week vacation to Hawaii and the only thing she's packing is a very tiny bikini. I don't care if the world is coming to an end. Let Mac save it. Goodbye. Don't call again." Jack shut the phone off and tossed it on the bed.
He spent a minute digging around his closet until he found the box he was looking for. When he walked into the living room he found Sam curled up on the couch and flipping through the channels on TV. He dropped the box on the coffee table before her. Then he sat down beside her and picked up the beer she had set out for him.
Sam eyed the box curiously, "What's with the box?"
"Those are all the inappropriate gifts I've bought you over the years," Jack told her taking a sip of beer.
"Inappropriate?" she asked mystified.
"Not 'dirty' inappropriate, just 'too personal from a CO' inappropriate. I think I've ended up buying you two gifts for every holiday."
Sam pulled the box into her lap and opened it to reveal a bunch of brightly wrapped packages. The door bell rang. "Must be the pizza," she told him and he got up to answer the door.
Jack opened the door to reveal a stout blind man with a seeing eye dog and another man who looked suspiciously like him. Jack took a long swig of beer and then addressed the younger look alike, "You know a Thor?"
"How 'bout a Loki?"
"No," the man shook his head. "Only in Norse myths on both those."
"Huh. Then who are you?"
"I already got one of those and I'm satisfied with her."
"Actually, My name is Sean Angus Malloy, but I go by 'Sam'."
"You're Bud's kid?" Jack asked. That certainly would explain the likeness.
"Yeah," Sam turned to the man beside him. "This is Pete Thornton-"
"Oh, for cryin' out loud. You people don't give up, do you? I told your buddy Pete-"
Sam interrupted, "Dad's missing."
"Crap. There goes my vacation."
The End- For now. May be continued at later date with a series of Mac and Jack adventures, but don't expect them anytime soon. Thanks for reading.