Author's Note: This is the last chapter. Thanks so much for reading! Hope you enjoyed it. I especially want to thank the people who took the time to review this fic. Being a person who unfortunately lacks self-confidence, it was actually more difficult to post this fic than to write it in the first place. I cannot express how much your reviews have meant to me.
Chapter 10: Epilogue
One Year Later, SGC Alpha Site
Daniel and Teal'c stepped from the wormhole, behind a large group of SGC trainees that filled the Alpha Site's Gate room. They were expecting to be met by Jack, as he was usually waiting impatiently on the other side for the trainees as they arrived on their first trip through the Stargate. This time, he was noticeably absent.
Instead, Colonel Reynolds stood before the group of young men and women. "Good afternoon, I am Colonel Reynolds of the SGC and, unfortunately for you, your friendly instructor for this training session. I know you were all expecting to get the opportunity to work with the famous Brigadier General Jack O'Neill, retired. Unfortunately, he will be indisposed for the next few days. If you'relucky, you may get a chance to meet the man, but don't get your hopes up."
At this, Daniel and Teal'c looked at each other in worry, wondering what could have happened to Jack.
Reynolds continued his introductory speech and then instructed the trainees to head for the conference room for their first briefing at the Alpha Site. Once all of the new recruits had left the room, Daniel and Teal'c approached Reynolds, concern evident on their faces.
"Dr. Jackson, Teal'c...nice to see you this fine afternoon," he greeted them cheerfully.
"Nice to see you too, Colonel. Um...where exactly is Jack?" Daniel asked.
"Not to worry, Doctor. He's in the infirmary. Nothing serious, but you might want to go down and see him," Reynolds answered before turning to leave to join the recruits in the conference room.
As he was walking through the door, Daniel stopped Reynolds and asked, "What about Sam? Do you know where she might be?"
"I sure do, Doc. She should be in the infirmary with Jack. It's been a very, very long night."
Daniel looked puzzled by Reynolds's words. Daniel then proceeded to walk towards the infirmary with Teal'c right at his side. Reynolds had claimed that it was not serious, but they still worried about their friend. They both knew it had to be serious, if it was enough to keep even Sam from meeting them at the Gate.
They entered the infirmary and found a surprising sight. Sam was sound asleep, tucked safely in one of the infirmary beds. The lights had been dimmed, apparently to facilitate her rest. A fully dressed Jack was sitting in a chair right beside her bed. Other than appearing somewhat tired, he was obviously fine physically. That in itself was not too surprising. What was surprising was that he held something bundled in his arms.
"Hey guys!" Jack whispered as he saw them enter the room. "You couldn't have timed it better. This is Grace Janet O'Neill. Six pounds, eleven ounces, born at 0230 this morning." Jack glowed with pride.
Daniel and Teal'c looked at the tiny baby in awe. She was so small and pink and her face was scrunched up as if deep in thought. Daniel hesitantly asked, "Can I hold her?"
"Sure," Jack answered as he handed Grace to him gently.
Immediately, Daniel began to make funny sounds to entertain the baby. At the sound of his voice, Grace's tightly closed eyes opened revealing two bright blue orbs filled with wonder. Jack merely grinned at his friend's actions. It was obvious that Grace was going to have everyone wrapped around her tiny fingers within mere seconds.
"She looks like Sam. Although I spy a hint of the O'Neill determination in her expression," Daniel noted.
Teal'c peeked at the baby from over Daniel's shoulder and smiled softly at the infant. "She is indeed very beautiful, O'Neill. Congratulations to both you and Samantha."
"Thanks T. I can't argue with you there. Carter and I sure do know how to make 'em, don't we?" he joked.
The sound of voices finally woke the woman sleeping in the bed near them. Sam eyes fluttered open and a tired smile broke over her face. "Hey guys. When did you get here?"
Daniel looked up from the infant who had already completely entranced him to smile widely at his exhausted friend. "Hey Sam. We just got here. Looks like Grace decided to make an early appearance. We were planning on being here for the birth."
"Be glad you weren't, Daniel. Mrs. O'Neill is not nearly the mild-mannered scientist she pretends to be. The language that came out of her mouth was enough to make even me blush." Jack winked at his wife, "I think you permanently traumatized the poor doctor."
Sam smirked at him and objected, "You are so exaggerating, Jack. And anyway, I think I am entitled to use some colorful language. I just spent almost nine months in complete discomfort, followed by ten hours in intense and excruciating pain."
"But look what you got for it, Sam," Daniel softly noted as he walked over and handed the baby to her mother.
Sam took Grace and cradled her in the crook of one arm. "You know, I never thought I would live to see this day. I didn't even think about having children of my own for so very long. I was so focused on my career and working at the SGC that it didn't even enter my mind."
Grace then took the opportunity to latch onto her mother's fingers with a tiny hand. Sam smiled in wonder at the little life that she and Jack had created. "When I finally decided that I was ready and that it was something that I wanted, I came to the conclusion that it would never happen. You know, the timing always seemed to be screwed up." She paused to place a gentle kiss on the soft hair on Grace's head.
She continued, "After the Joint Chiefs decided to keep the device from PX7-496, I couldn't think of anything else but how much I wanted a child someday. I was haunted by the prospect of being alone and never having kids or a family of my own, like the people of that planet. I think it was the main reason I did what I did. I knew I might spend the rest of my life in prison, or that I might even get the death penalty, but I couldn't be responsible for other women facing that kind of heartbreak. I couldn't be responsible for what would've happened to Earth. It's strange, really...my actions led to this moment. I probably wouldn't have married Jack and we wouldn't even have Grace now if I hadn't done what I did. So, everything worked out in the end."
"Just as it was meant to," Jack added as he clasped her free hand in his and kissed it softly.
Sam lay back against the pillows of her bed. Her eyelids suddenly becoming heavy as she drifted off into a peaceful sleep – surrounded by her best friends, embracing her sweet Grace, and holding the hand of the man she loved.