Jack's long, white cane tapped rhythmically against the sidewalk. Listening to the cars driving on his right, counting roads and other landmarks that he passed, he reached his destination: a small coffee shop. He pushed open the door.
"Jack!" Sam's voice greeted him as he took a few steps away from the door and to the right. He heard sneaker-clad footsteps coming in his direction as he folded up his cane. Sam's ring-adorned hand slipped into his.
"Good morning, Lovey," Jack greeted his fiancée with a mediocre impression of "the Millionaire" from Gilligan's Island. He brought his hand up over her arm to her chin and kissed her.
She took his hand again and led him over to a table. They ordered coffee and struck up a conversation easily, Sam laughing often at Jack's numerous jokes.
It had been four months since Jack had gone blind, and the week before, Jack had asked Sam to marry him.
"I don't deserve you," he told her sincerely.
"Yes, you do, Jack," Sam replied.
"Don't think so little of yourself," Jack said. He took a sip of his coffee.
"If you have such trouble convincing yourself, how do you expect to convince my father?"
Jack choked on his coffee, coming inches away from spraying it all over his fiancée. Sam grinned, at his startled expression.
Jacob Carter stepped from the Stargate event horizon. At the bottom of the ramp stood his daughter, her former CO, George Hammond, Daniel Jackson, and Teal'c.
"Hi, Sweetheart," he greeted Sam with a hug.
"Hi, Dad." She smiled brightly.
"Hi, Dad," Jack said, grinning wryly.
"Jack." Jacob gave the blind, former Air Force colonel a wary look.
He and Sam have been going out for a while, but they're not…
I am sure he is just being Jack O'Neill, Selmak told her host, trying to reassure them both.
I can never tell what that man is thinking, Jacob thought, frustrated.
"Hello, George," he said, turning his attention to the other occupants of the room. After greeting the archaeologist and the Jaffa as well, he turned to Sam. "You said there was something you wanted to talk to me about?"
"Actually, Dad…" Sam started, glancing at Jack.
"Actually, I wanted to talk to you," Jack interrupted her, worry crossing his expression before it went impassive again.
"You?" Jacob asked incredulously.
Uh, oh, Selmak echoed her host's thoughts.
"Yeah, is there somewhere we could talk?" Jack asked.
"You can use my office if you like, Jack," George offered.
"Thanks, George," Jack said. "I'm sure you want to spend sometime with Sam, Jacob. I'll meet you there in an hour."
Jacob knocked on his old friend's office door.
"Come in," Jack called from inside. He was sitting at George's desk. "Jacob?" he asked, standing up.
"Yes, Jack. So, what did you want to talk about?"
"Well, Jacob…Do the Tok'ra fish? I mean, living that long, they've got to have some sort of hobby. And I'm sure they could catch all sorts of alien fish, with big fins and…wild colors or—"
Jacob interrupted his wry stalling. "Jack," he said warningly.
"Sorry." The younger man sighed. "Jacob…Sam and I are getting hitched."
Jacob gawked at him. "Hitched?" he managed.
They're not! This man is not marrying my baby girl.
He is a good man. A little strange, but it is obvious Samantha loves him.
Jack started reeling off synonyms. "We're getting hitched, tying the knot, getting married, jumping the broom—"
Not quite over his shock, Jacob retreated into himself and let Selmak take control. "Colonel O'Neill."
Jack blinked for a moment, before saying, "Retired."
"Jacob and I understand what you mean," the Tok'ra told him.
"I know that, I'm just sayin'."
"Saying what?" Selmak asked.
"I…Look, tell Jacob we would have told him, but you guys were away and it's not exactly easy to get in touch."
"Jacob understands this as well."
"Can I talk to him? No offense to you, of course."
"Jacob needs a minute to, as you say, 'gather his wits about him'."
"Well, I wouldn't, 'cause that's a cliché and..."
Jacob took control again, "Jack."
"Jacob, haven't seen you in…ages," Jack said, apparently unfazed this time by the sudden change in voice.
"Jack, you and Sam have my blessing."
Jack blinked again. "Just like that? No threats, no warnings, no bodily harm?"
"I trust Sam's judgment. And I raised her to be her own person, it's her choice."
"Thank you, Jacob." Jack dropped into the general's chair, in obvious relief.
"But, Jack?" Jacob said, causing his daughter's fiancé to sit up, alert. Jacob had a feeling Jack hadn't realized he was still in the room. "If you hurt my little girl, you'll receive all those things you mentioned and much more."
"Don't worry, Jacob, if I hurt Sam, I'll beat you to it," Jack said soberly.
Jack rocked back in forth on his heels, drumming the fingers of one hand against his leg.
"Relax, Jack," Daniel said from behind him. "You've done this before."
"Oh, yeah, which is the same reason I'm never nervous before going into battle," Jack replied sarcastically as he adjusted the jacket of his dress uniform.
"Right…I get your point."
The wedding march started, and Jack's excitement rose a couple levels. Jack visualized what was happening. Sam's niece and nephew would be walking up the aisle as flower girl and ring bearer, followed by Janet, Cassie, and Sam's sister-in-law, as the maid of honor and brides maids respectively. The music changed, and Jack shifted his weight from one foot to the other. Sam would be coming down the aisle now on Jacob's arm.
He felt Jacob put Sam's hand in his. Together, Jack and Sam stood before the altar.
"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here…" As the ceremony continued, Jack couldn't believe it was happening. He had never thought he would get another chance at marriage, at raising a family. After Charlie and Sara…
"Do you, Jonathan, take Samantha to be your lawfully wedded wife, and do you covenant to be true to her, to love, cherish, and protect her, in sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, until death do you part?" asked the Air Force chaplain who was performing the ceremony.
"Yeah, sure, you betcha," Jack said, making Sam laugh soundlessly. Then he added for clarification, "I do."
"Do you, Samantha, take Jonathan to be your lawfully wedded husband, and do you covenant to be true to him, to love, cherish, and honor him, in sickness and in health, in poverty or in wealth, until death do you part?" the chaplain continued, after clearing his throat.
"I do," Sam's voice came from Jack's right.
"You may share your vows with each other."
"Sam, you're beautiful, kind, funny, and way smarter than I am. I don't deserve you. But if you want to throw away your chance at a better man, I'm not protesting. I'll always be there for you even when I don't have a clue what to do or say. I love you and nothing in the universe will change that." The ring bearer handed Jack the ring and he placed it on Sam's finger.
"I love you, Jack. I've never met anyone like you, you can make me laugh with just a glance, you're a good man and a strong person, and I feel safe when I'm with you. You've suffered a lot and I promise to be there for you. You are the only one for me." Sam slipped the other ring onto Jack's finger.
"As a minister of the gospel and by the authority invested in me by the State of Colorado, I pronounce you husband and wife. Whom therefore God hath joined together, let no man…"
"Or alien," Jack whispered, causing Sam to giggle; she stifled it as best she could.
"…put asunder," the chaplain finished, his tone wavering a little at the noise Sam was making. "You may kiss the bride."
As Jack and Sam's lips met, a familiar noise and feeling broke them apart. The sound of a crowd of people trying to be quiet was replaced by the hum of alien machinery, the echo of a large metal spaceship, and that odd whispering and clicking that always graced the inside of an Asgard vessel, telling Jack at once what had happened.
"Oy!" Jack exclaimed in exasperated frustration.
"We're on an Asgard ship," Sam said.
"Thor! You have the worst timing!"
"I am sorry, O'Neill," the short, gray alien's voice came from in front of them.
"You—" Jack started forward and tripped on a step, "You forgot something." The noise of the Asgard transporter sounded and Jack's cane was in his hand. He unfolded it and went toward the alien again. "We would've invited you to the reception," Jack said wryly. Sam came up behind him and took his hand.
Thor paused, "You would not have. The people of your world do not all know of our existence."
"Well, if you'd just asked, we could have had another party at the SGC. You know, invite you, the Nox…the people of Argos know how to throw one, I'm telling you…We could let Selmak out to play…You realize about a hundred civilians, with no security clearance whatsoever, just watched you transport us off the planet?" Jack added conversationally.
"Again, I apologize, O'Neill. I wished to present you with a wedding present."
"Really?" Jack's curiosity was peaked.
The transporter activated again, and Thor took Jack's larger hand in his left and placed something in it with his right. "Put that on your temple," the alien instructed.
It was roughly the size of a quarter, flat on one side and round on the other. It was metal and reminded Jack of the Tok'ra memory device, sans the sharp part. Jack placed it on his temple as he was told and, to his surprise, it stayed. Another familiar sound was heard, this time the one that accompanied Thor waving one of his rock things…
Suddenly, everything became bright. Jack squinted against the sudden light, shocked that he was seeing something. But that was nothing compared to what happened next. The light faded into a soft glow, and Jack could see Thor looking at him expectantly. Jack stared in wide-eyed wonder at the alien and his ship, the first things he had seen in six months.
Then he looked at Sam. She was standing beside him in her wedding dress; a simple, white, strapless dress that widened into a full skirt at the waist. He took in her lovely features, her sky blue eyes, the way her brow was furrowed in confusion—like he remembered it did when she had some scientific puzzle that was eluding her—and her short, blonde hair. He reached out and caressed her cheek, blinking back tears.
"Jack?" She asked questioningly.
"You're so beautiful," Jack breathed.
Sam's eyes widened as she realized what was happening. "Oh, my gosh, Jack! You can see?"
"Oh, yeah," Jack said with a broad grin.
Sam smiled back—a smile that lit up her face, the smile he had wanted to see since his capture. He pulled her toward him, kissing her and then hugging her tightly.
"I see you are happy with it," Thor said.
Jack turned toward the alien. "Ya think?" he said with another huge smile, "But I sure could have used this thing, say, six months ago."
"It was difficult to adapt the technology to human physiology. It was not ready until now."
"How does it work?" Sam asked, and Jack smiled again, this time at Sam's focus on the scientific.
"You would not understand the details, so I will simplify," Thor said. Jack made a "thank-you!" gesture. "The first time the device is used it scans the wearer's eyes and determines what parts of the eye are nonfunctional. It then replaces the damaged part of the eye in that function. As it is, it performs the function of your damaged retinas. If it was another part of your eyes, you would need to use two such devices," Thor explained.
"Oh," Sam said, sounding impressed, but still curious, "How does it—"
"Ah!" Jack exclaimed. "I'm sure you two geniuses have plenty to discuss, but how about we come back for another visit sometime? We have a wedding to finish."
"Oh, right," Sam said, chagrinned.
"Thanks, buddy," Jack said solemnly, shaking Thor's hand.
"You are welcome, O'Neill." Thor reached for a stone on his chair.
"Wait!" Jack held out his hand to stop him. He reached up and with a rueful glance at Sam took off the device. Everything went black again. "Better put this back where you found it." He held up his cane. It was beamed away. Jack slipped Thor's present into his pocket. He smiled at Sam. "Where were we?" He took her chin in his hand. "Energize, Mr. Scott," he said to Thor, and kissed his bride.
Jack O'Neill adjusted the position of his Asgard version of Geordi LaForge's visor and put his hat back on.
"Chevron 7, locked," Sergeant Davis announced from the control room.
As the Stargate ka-whooshed to life, Jack tossed his wife a grin. It was good to be back.
Since Jack was legally blind, his commission couldn't be reactivated officially. Not wanting to lose Jack as a unit commander, the president and the joint chiefs of staff had decided to create a new position within the SGC so that Jack could continue to lead SG-1. It was a civilian position, but the president had granted him the same authority—within the SGC at least—as he had when he was a colonel. Jack would have preferred to be a member of the Air Force, but he had resigned himself to civilian life already, back when he first went blind.
"SG-1, you have a go," Hammond told them.
Jack was happily married to Samantha Carter, doing what he loved to do, and, at least while he was on base, he could see again. Life couldn't be better. Unless of course he had a couple—dozen—kids.
As Jack stepped through the event horizon, he knew that he had everything to live for.
Author's Note: There it is! Happy ever after for everybody (except the Goa'uld). I'm thinking of writing a sequel. Tell me what you think of this story and the idea for a sequel! Thanks, everyone!