A/N from Natters: This is the end (of the beginning) my friends and gentle readers.
We are dedicating this final chapter to you all, many of whom have put up with our evilness, short chapters and irregular posting since the start of this epic which was supposed to be a "short" story. Fortunately (or unfortunately for some ;) the muses had other ideas.
I think I managed to fit you all in even if I had to fiddle your names around slightly. And my apologies if I had to call you an inanimate object or an animal to make the chapter flow slightly.
Please DO NOT take offence!
This chapter is meant as a tribute to you all. It's not great, it has no plot, and it is out of character, but it was a challenge I was determined to complete. Be prepared to be confused:P
And last, but not least, my co-author Abbot of Beregost, who began this epic, and encouraged me to join the dark angsty side of fics.
So long, and thanks for all the… reviews ;)
2 years later
"Revvie-S!" yells my daughter as she pushes herself along on the little truck that Jack has called Gillian under our willow tree.
"Hey Gracie girl. Are you having fun? Daddy will be home soon from the SG-"
"Fan!" calls Max, Janet and Daniel's son, his nick name for me as he pops his head up from playing with his "littlemaccyd" toy that he refused to put down the last time Jack took them out for the day.
"Hello Maxwell, yuy" My voice is muffled as my husband Jack O'Neill with two L's sneaks up beside me and pulls me into a kiss. Not that I'm complaining you understand.
"JamSack" protests Max as he is suddenly ignored for a total of more than five seconds.
"Hey Max! Grace. How's our little ones today?" asks Jack as he pulls back with a evil grin.
"Dada, lovstar." Says Grace, holding up her favourite book with a star on it.
"You want a story baby? You know, you're turning into a proper BookWorm, young lady."
"Jack. You say that like it's a bad thing." I chide softly.
"Hey Carter. I've only got a few years before both these kids can outthink me and come up with an Arrant Schem-"
"Ata." Copies Max from below us, as he tries to say my maiden name.
"To run rings around all of us, give an old guy a break huh?"
Old guy my ass. That's why he was out here this morning at 0500 taking Grace for a run with Milly, molly, mandy and Mackenise Jackson, their family dogs; and JohnnyQ, Connor and Equinox our dogs.
"SamNJack!" yells Cassie from across the road.
"Hey Cassie." I call back, waving at our honorary niece as she crosses the road.
"Great, I caught you before you left for the zoo."
"You wanna come with? There's lions, and tigers and bears. Oh my. Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!" chants Jack as he tickles our daughter and she squeals in delight.
"Sure, I'll come, Uncle Jack. Thanks."
"Sure Cass. Pick up your brother and we'll go inside for some WarmTea." I reply as I rescue my only daughter from her Dad. "Jack, will you bring the toys please?"
"Sure, Mrs. Sam Carter O'Neill. Wagtail!" He scolds as Mackenise grabs his trouser leg and pulls.
"Jedi are very strong DanielJackson, much like the Jaffa." Says Teal'c as we enter the kitchen. "I believe the Stargate-"
"Fan! Da here!" says Max as he informs me that his Dad has been taking a break from the kiddies by discussing Star Wars with Teal'c again.
"Yes Max, your Dad's here." I reply gently as the infant squeals in his step sisters ear. She shifts him onto her other hip as he leans over and reaches for Daniel.
"It's okay Cass. I've got him." Says Daniel as he takes his son from her arms. "Maybe Teal'c but I still think the Andromeda character RomieG-" he trails off as his son sticks his hand in his mouth.
"Unk T!" shrieks my little terror in my ear.
"GraceLynnMichelleO'Neill, desist your screams." Says Teal'c softly and Grace pouts but obeys without hesitation. One of these days, we might get him to just call her Grace. Or maybe not.
"Vid Z?" asks Grace softly as she sees the TV in the corner of the room. She loves to watch the Simpson's videos with her father.
"Not this morning, Grace, we're going to the zoo."
"Zoo?" asks my daughter with a curious look on her face that I know she got from Jack.
"To see the animals. The Fawna of our planet"
"Yep. We're gonna see the animals Gracie girl. Where they study them, like your Aunt Brynhild-of-Valkyrie does with humans."
"Jack! Heimdall is not that bad." I laugh. Despite all the time Heimdall spent with us, Jack still doesn't completely trust her. I couldn't have made it through the whole nine months of pregnancy without her reassurance that everything was fine with Grace. Not that I don't trust Janet, but Asgard technology is considerably more sensitive to any Anomalies.
"But she's like a human Asgard. She smiles! She tells jokes! It's not right." Protests Jack.
"You're just mad because she came up with the SeedC nickname for Grace before you did." Says Cassie with a giggle.
"She did not. She stole it from me. I musta muttered it while she had her beady little Asgard eyes on me." Says my dear Intergalactic smart-ass of a husband.
"Jack, lay off the Starbuck223, will you. You're always grouchy after one of those on the way back from the Mountain." Replies Cassie.
"Hey! You went to Starbuck's and didn't get us anything?" protests Daniel.
"Yep. I was gonna, honest but then I ran into Sarah Sidle. I got distracted." He shrugs at me with that little-boy-lost look and I roll my eyes.
"She reminds you of the Nox woman." Says Teal'c.
"Yes, the rose of the gate." Quips Jack. "Her hair is Totallly Random. It's like she's a Windrider and she has a frizzyhead every single day."
"I always think she's like a Mother Winter figure. Haley compared her to Athena or an Ice Goddess." Says Daniel.
"We should pack sandwiches for the journey. The children will be hungry later." Says Teal'c.
"Yeah, and we don't want to pay the silly prices of the zoo tea shop, do we kids. No we do not. Hey, have we got any monstermunch? The kids think they're the best thing since cookies. And crumpets!"
"Crumpie!" squeals Max banging his hands on the table.
"MaxwellJustinJackson." Warns Teal'c.
"Sowy, Unk T. Unk Jaka."
SG-1 SG-1 SG-1
At the Zoo – Sam's POV
"And here we have the PantherGoddess!" says Jack with a spooky effect to his voice. My husband. The big kid.
"Teeth ike Dragula!" states Grace as she leans closer to the big cat.
"Yep, she'll come along and Bite Beccy."
"No kittn!" protests Grace, hugging her doll Rebecca closer to her. "No bite Becky."
"207." states as Daniel he reads the numbers on the stand in front of him to his young son quietly. "Janissima, Arafel Sedai, Nikki and Syzygy; the three black panthers are-"
"Danny-boy, please spare us the lectures until the kids are at least three."
"Buyokitty." Says Max as we move on to the next animals and he waves the panthers good bye with his own stuffed toy 'Adafrog'.
"And here we have the Queen Tigress: Mkiara and Katrina, Leanne, Tashnia and Gia Rai." Says Jack as we reach the tigers. "I wonder how they picked all these names?"
"I can help you there. My name is Angelena H.Granger. My Mom, Candice works with the Big Cats. Angie, Shelly and Kate do to. They name them after favourite characters or friends or give them their own nicknames. Leanne is named after me."
"That is most impressive." Says Teal'c to the young girl at his side.
"Look out." Mutters Jack. "Darth Tater's been watching Star Wars again. I caught him watching it with Grace the other day. He's trying to turn her into ascifigirl."
Teal'c stands up and raises his eyebrow at Jack.
"O'Neill. You're daughter requires more intelligent education than the Simpson's can provide. Particularly if she is to be come a stargazzr2"
"Hey! I have no objections to her being a StarrGazer like her Mom, but don't diss the Simpson's Teal'c."
"Jack. Teal'c." warns Cassie as Max starts to whimper.
"Hey, little man. It's okay. I was just getting into a discussion with your Uncle T. Shh. Come on kid. Hey, don't you think your Aunt Sam is a Rockin Chick? She looks like a blonde Trinity crossed with a StarGazer when she gets that look in her eye? Isn't she a hottie that MajorSam of mine?"
"Jack, please. He's not even 18 months old yet." Protest Daniel.
"Come on Daniel, Jack is Sam's husband. He's supposed to say stuff like that when he's in trouble."
"Yeah. I'm supposed to say stuff like that when I'm in trouble. Other wise she won't let me live2rite all those reports, when I'm burning the midnight oil for Hammond. Not that being unable to write those things would be a bad thing."
"Poor Jack and Melopomene- muse of tragedy."
"I think you mean musings-of-apathy Danny-boy."
"And here we are at the insects section."
"Ah hah! The creepy crawlies!" states Jack as he teases Grace, earning him a slap on the arm from me, behind Grace's back. "Hey look Gracie, it's a Horsefly. And a Weta, they're from the same place as the Kiwi."
"Let's go back to the bigger animals Jack." I warn as I notice the way Max, Grace and Teal'c are all squirming at the sight of the flying bugs behind the glass.
"Okay. Okay. Let's go find the wolves."
After a few minutes walking, we stop at the wolf enclosure. "Hey Grace, look at the names of the wolves. They've got Lostwlf, Canadia, Elvenbattsai, Meesh, Mishy-mo, Maguchi, anner87 and Jiltf."
"Dog go woof!" states Grace as she looks over to the wolves behind the barrier.
"Yes dogs say woof. But these are wolves honey. They're like dog's cousins." Says Cassie beside me.
"Cous! Ike Max."
"Yeah, I guess it's a little like you and Max." She replies with a helpless shrug in my direction as we move on to the next section of the zoo.
An elephant trumpets in the distance making Grace look up excitedly. "Nelly!"
"Yes Grace, we're going to see the elephants."
"Yeay!" My daughter, bounces up and down with joy.
"Come to Daddy Grace. Mommy's arms need a break." I pass Grace off to Jack and kiss him on the cheek.
"Thanks sir." I whisper softly and his eyes twinkle at me.
"Anytime Carter. Anytime."
We enter the elephant house and Grace keeps very quiet as she gazes in awe at the gentle giants.
"Well, lets have a look. They've got Dottid, ArtysThunder, Brenda, Tinatwin, Linseed, Picco, CJ and K80cue."
"Come on kids, next animal." Says Daniel. "There's lots more to see." I see him rubbing his eyes and notice his allergies must be getting to him with all the straw and hay in the room.
"Stay 'Cey and Max!" states Max emphatically and for an instant he looks just like Janet when she's putting her foot down.
"Come on Mini-Napoleon. We can come back to see the elephants later." States Jack, earning him a glare from me, Daniel, Teal'c and Cassie.
"What? What'd I say?"
I ignore him as he turns his puppy dog eyes on me and we walk out of the elephant house and towards the Giraffe's. Teal'c has an extra bounce in his step as we near their enclosure. Teal'c loves Giraffe's.
"Lon' 'eck." Says Grace as she looks up from her Dad's embrace.
"Yes, sweetie a very long neck. But they have the same number of neck bones as we do. They're just much longer." I reply and she grins at me.
"Here's the plaque with their names, Grace. Jennyvre Moss, Maritza Carmichael, Denise Carlsn, AT Fan, LJ Evans, Madame Vivian and Sdf."
"Next." Orders Max as he rubs his eyes and we all share a look. Someone's getting tired. We'd better wrap this up and head home.
"Okay, kids, the last animals to see are the Kangaroo's and then we'll go back to the elephants. Okay?"
"Nelly." Says Grace with a grin, and Max just settles against his father with a sleepy nod.
We walk along quietly as Max settles, and Grace looks over at him before holding a finger to Jack's lips.
"Yeah, I know sweetie. I'll keep it down. Promise Princess." He whispers and she grins, looking around at the people and animals we pass. She watches the Kangaroos as they bounce along.
"Roo Da." She whispers.
"That's right Grace. Kangaroos just like in Winnie the Pooh. Who's a clever girl?"
"Me an' Mommy. Ant' Cass. Ant' Jan. All 'ever."
I kiss Grace on the cheek for that and she kisses me back.
"How about we go back to the Elephants and then head home for dinner. Would you like that?"
"Yes pweas, Ant' Cass."
"Okay, but very quietly Princess. Max is almost snoozing."
SG-1 SG-1 SG-1
Back at Sam & Jack's
I get to the house just as Sam sends me an SMS message that they're heading along "Deathstreet" and they'll be home in a few minutes. I grin as I recognise Jack's nickname for the road half a mile away that needs resurfacing… badly.
The dogs are all curled up together and bless little mollys heart, she's almost squashed the teddy bear that General Hammond gave Grace for her first birthday, but the dogs kidnapped. The once white t-shirt still reads "SGCFan4ever" but Grace's young mind happily lets the dogs 'share' it as long as she gets it on the weekends.
Jack's truck sweeps quietly into the front yard and my extended family climb out. First out is Jack, who waves to me as I watch from the doorstep. Next comes Cassie from the front seat, who quickly turns to help open the back doors and get the things from the boot.
The way they creep around, I'm sure at least one of the kids is asleep. Probably Max if I know my little boy.
A moment later, Sam is helped out of the truck by Jack and he swings Grace up onto his shoulders to carry her indoors. The young girl looks around happily from her perch and waves quietly to me.
"Hey Doc. Your family is all tuckered out Ma'am." Says Jack as he gestures to the truck before ducking inside with his wife and daughter. I hear Grace chattering quietly and smile as Teal'c lifts my Max out of his car seat as if he was no heavier than a feather. Cassie, helps Daniel carry the bags from the boot and a moment later, Teal'c deposits my sleeping son gently in my arms.
I nuzzle the soft hair and skin of my child as the rest of the family heads my way. Daniel rests a hand on my gravid stomach before greeting me with a soft kiss, which has Cassie protesting as she enters the house. "Get a room, fer crying out loud."
"They already did Cass, and look what happened!" quips Jack, earning him a silent mental lashing from his wife, which we've all learned to recognise and steer clear of, because it usually leads to them flirting and acting like they did on Yamyria.
Daniel takes Max into his arms and helps me sit down in the living room. "Hey Danny-boy, when are ya gonna make an honest woman out of the Doc?"
"Never probably." We reply in unison as Sam starts giggling, earning her a warning glare from her other half.
"After all Jack. You've already set Cassie and Grace the good example. We're quite happy living in sin for as long as we both shall live. Right Daniel?"
My partner nods silently as Max stirs in his arms.
"Hey, I had no choice. It was get married that night or go back to that Sir-Carter cra…thing. Not that I had any objections, my dear wife. After all, Sam, you and Grace are the best things to ever happen to me."
I roll my eyes as he leans in close and they hover apart for a second, the sparks practically flying between them as Sam's hard expression melts into a smile.
"Kiss!" demands Grace and Jack turns away to look at his daughter, seated happily in Teal'c's arms, with a smirk.
"You think I should kiss Mommy gatelover Grace?"
"Kiss." She orders again.
"You're absolutely right."
Grace claps happily as Jack sweeps Sam into a kiss and dips her. The rest of us avert our eyes from the daily Jack and Sam show.
"Oh puh-lease." Protests Cassie and Jack helps Sam straighten up, both of them flushed and breathing heavily.
"Indeed." Adds Teal'c.
Sam wraps her arms around Jack and blows Grace a kiss.
This is my family. And as Cassie sits down carefully beside me and rests her head on my shoulder, I can't think of any place on Earth… in the Universe, I'd rather be.