Disclaimer: No, they're not mine.
A/N: This was my first SG1 fic and only my second fic ever and while you guys seemed to like it, I didn't have a beta and there were more than a few mistakes. A few years and more than ten stories later, I do have a beta and I've learned a lot about writing and I thought it was time to fix it up. So, my good friend Puppet, who's also my beta, went over it; she's never really seen SG1 before but she really enjoyed and have now became a fan and bought the dvds!! Hehehe, that's about the best compliment there is, isn't there? I added the prologue to make it a bit more intense, I hope you like it as much now as you did before. Please, let me know what you think!!
Jack sighed as he laid down the pen he'd been fiddling with. He closed his eyes and let his head fall back onto the chair's headrest. The last few days had been beyond difficult. Between the replicators and Anubis attacks, Daniel disappearing and Jacob getting sick, Jack had more than his hands full – both professionally and personally. Command had never been harder and he'd only been base commander for a year.
He hadn't joined the Air Force for an easy life and he'd known accepting command of the SCG would only complicate an already complicated life. It hadn't been an easy decision to make, as he really wasn't ready to give up Gate travel; but he'd accepted it, because it was the right thing to do and because he wasn't a stranger to doing things that were hard.
Throughout his career, there'd been more than a few days when he had thought he couldn't go on, but he always had – in part, because Jack O'Neill was not a man to give up and in part, because he didn't know how to do anything else. He'd known accepting the promotion would bring more of those days but, foolishly, he'd thought that as time passed, it'd get easier. It hadn't; if anything, it'd only gotten harder. He felt more and more isolated every time he saw SG1 go through the Gate. Being SG1 commander hadn't exactly been easy but at least then, he'd had his team to back him up; as base commander he didn't really have anyone at his back.
Oh, the team was still there, willing to help him with anything, but it wasn't the same. He was no longer part of the team; no longer out there with them, fighting with them, protecting them. Instead, he was stuck behind this desk watching everyone else go through and fight for Earth while he filed and signed some of the most menial and inane forms along with some of the hardest and most life altering orders it had ever been his misfortune to give.
With another sigh, he rubbed his hands over his face and ordered his self to put those kinds of thoughts behind the door labeled 'later' – the room behind that particular door was pretty full, but there just never seemed to be enough hours in the day to deal with them. And if he sometimes actually looked for things to do to avoid dealing with them, well, that wasn't a crime, was it? With a grimace at the realization that he was now justifying his actions to himself, he dived back into the pool of paperwork that was his desk.
Sometime later, he might not like paperwork but he still got lost in it when it needed to be done, his concentration was broken by the ringing of the phone.
"O'Neill," he said into the phone, without putting down the report he was reading. A grin spread across his face when the caller identified himself. "George!" he said, as he dropped down his pen and placed his free hand behind his head, stretching backwards. "How the heck are you?"
"No, not really," he said, shaking his head a few moments later. "Just doing some paperwork, that's all. And you know me, any excuse to put it off is fine with me," he added with a chuckle. "So, what's up?"
Less than half an hour later, he very carefully set down the phone and tapped it once, before leaning back in his chair. Well, that had been . . . unexpected, to say the least. That option opened doors to possibilities he hadn't dared think about in years but which, much to his chagrin, had been brought up more than once in the last few days.
He'd thought that boat had sailed, so to speak. But apparently the events of the last few days had made Carter reconsider her decisions and she was now single once again. A state in which he also found himself again, since Kerry had decided it wasn't going to work between them. Not that he could blame her; she'd just had the courage to call a spade a spade, something he'd lacked.
The solution she'd offered to his dilemma, however, hadn't been a feasible one. Even if some days, retirement and his cabin in Minnesota beckoned him like the mythological sirens had beckoned sailors to their doom, he knew it wasn't a realistic option. He'd tried it before and he knew he'd be bored inside a month. That was if he didn't go crazy worrying about everything that could be going wrong without him, while knowing or being unable to do anything about it. And he had been a military man too long for him to be comfortable with the idea of running the SGC as a civilian.
But Hammond's news offered a possibility he'd never even thought of. And, he had to admit, it was a very tempting one. It wasn't perfect, but it was the closest he'd ever get to having his cake and eating it too – and they all knew how much Jack loved his cake!
But it would mean big changes, not only in his life, but in the lives of all those he loved. It wasn't a decision he could make without serious thinking. It also wasn't a decision he could make on his own. But before he could go talk to anyone about it, he had to decide what he wanted and what would be the best for everyone – for the SGC, SG1, himself and Sam.