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When Major Samantha Carter bought her house, the ad had rhapsodized over the generous master bedroom. The ad's author hadn't anticipated filling the room with a queen-sized bed complete with an expectant mother on bed rest and six of her giddy friends. Several chairs, since the party had been going on for too long for everyone to stand and the unoccupied side of the bed was full of food, took up even more space. The room now felt more like a walk in closet. Sam didn't mind a bit. These were the people she would most want to be with in a walk in closet or a submarine or a hot air balloon or any other small confined space. In any case, their lively attempt to buck up her spirits before the c-section scheduled for the next morning, by definition, made the room exactly the right size.
Colonel Jack O'Neill, her commanding officer, and in a bizarre twist of fate, the father of one of the two twins she carried, stood in the middle of the free floor space, waving a clipboard. During the time Sam, Jack, and a third team mate, Dr. Daniel Jackson, had been imprisoned by aliens, their captors had used Jack's involuntary contribution to make her pregnant without the least breech of the non-fraternization rules on either of their parts. "All right, campers," he announced, his stern tone compromised by his grin," we ARE holding a mission briefing here and I expect a little more decorum."
Teal'c leaned over and whispered something in Dr. Janet Fraiser's ear. Teal'c was completely deadpan but he must have said something really wicked about Jack because Janet exploded with laughter, unintentionally snorting some of her beer up her nose, and people began unnecessarily pounding on her back while she sputtered. "No need to do that sort of thing when someone's breathing just fine," she said, trying to enlighten them from her superior medical knowledge but the worst offender in the pounding department, her daughter Cassie, was getting too much of a charge out of the pounding to stop quickly.
Jack repeated, now doing a very credible imitation of an irritated commanding officer who is about to tell a whole platoon to drop and do punishment pushups, "Decorum, people, decorum."
They all more or less subsided except Jack's fiancée, Sara, who figured it didn't apply to her. She just kept giggling at him, stopping, and then starting again. He pointedly ignored her. "Now, let's make sure that we're all clear on our roles for Operation C-Section." Mention of the medical procedure that they were all a little afraid of did calm the room a bit. "First we have the mission lead, Major Dr. Samantha Carter." Sam raised clasped hands over her head and gave a sort of fighter's salute to the crowd. "Sam has met the quals for mission lead by being pregnant which I damn well hope no one else in this room can say?"
He looked at Cassie in a minatory way and waggled his eyebrows. She quickly responded, "No, no way that would be me, Uncle Jack."
"Remember that young lady," he said. "Next we have the labor coach and co-father, Dr. Daniel Jackson. Where are you, Dr. Jackson?" he asked as if his best friend was not standing immediately beside him.
"Right here, sir. Reporting for duty, sir," Daniel snapped out sounding very military, and then blowing it by cracking up. Sam turned to mush inside, watching Daniel, the other man the aliens had used as a donor when they inseminated her. He hadn't yet formally proposed again but two weeks before they had finally gotten past all the hurt from her initial rejection of him and his subsequent involvement with Janet and committed to each other.
"Do you have your credentials with you, Dr. Danny?" Jack asked.
Daniel whipped out a card showing he had completed the training as labor coach. "Very good. Moving on, we have the logistics team. Ms. Sara, formerly and in the future once again, O'Neill, and Ms. Cassie Fraiser. Please review your preparations, ladies."
Sam looked affectionately at Sara as the woman consulted her own clipboard and begun going down a list. During their five-month alien imprisonment, Jack and Daniel, kept together in the same cell, had helped each other to reevaluate their lives. As a direct result,Jack had reconciled with his ex-wife and Sam had gained a very close and valued friend.
Sara stated briskly, "Suitcase packed with nightgown, footies, birth announcements, change of clothing for the mother, cosmetics and toiletries, clothing for the babies, and receiving blankets."
Cassie said, "Check."
"Diaper bag ready."
"Baby car seats for bringing babies home."
"Coach's bag ready?"
Jack interrupted, "Coach's bag?"
"You didn't want to be a coach, Jack. It's not your problem," Daniel said, good naturedly.
"I think as the CO of this base, I need to look into this coach's bag thing," Jack responded.
"Who made you CO?" Janet asked.
"I believe that the logistics check is being interrupted by some ill-advised insubordination," Jack said warningly and pantomimed bopping Janet over the head with the clipboard without really contacting with her head.
"Supplies for the waiting room," Sara continued.
"Check," Cassie said quickly to move the group along before they got back to the coach's bag again.
"Excuse me," Teal'c said. "I am on the waiting room detail and I wish to know what sort of supplies is being provided."
Sara pulled out a list, a couple of sheets down, from her clipboard and gave it to Teal'c. He read it very seriously and handed it back. "I see no alcoholic beverages. Is this due to Tauri regulations or improper planning?"
Sara pretended to be quite offended and punched him lightly. "There is nothing left unplanned about this mission, bud."
Jack decided it was time to resume control and said, "Moving on to the critical role of Waiting Room Coordinator. Teal'c, are you prepared to keep this group of people in-line?"
Teal'c said, "I have drawn up some rules, ColonelO'Neill, and I will distribute them at the end of the briefing." He looked at Janet and she sniggered. It was apparent there was, in fact, a sheet of paper with some not too serious rules listed dreamed up by the two of them. Sam was intrigued by this byplay. Ever since Janet and Daniel had broken it off, Teal'c had been spending a lot of time with Janet. It looked to her as if they had connected beyond Teal'c just providing a shoulder to cry on.
"Finally, we have the medical observer, Dr. Janet Fraiser," Jack concluded. "Dr. Fraiser, any words for the mission team?"
"What can I say?" Janet responded. "You're trained, you're equipped, and you're eager. I see nothing but glory ahead."
There was a lot of cheering and hi-fiving and Cassie actually winked at the group, raised a Bic on high, and flicked it. When the hubbub ebbed a bit, Jack said, "All right now. Let's hit our bunks. We're deploying early."
"Grab food on your way out," Janet added and in a matter of seconds, food and people disappeared from the room; that is, except for the labor coach.
He sat down on the bed next to Sam and took her hand. "You okay?" he asked, looking at face anxiously for any sign of jitters.
She nodded. "This was great," she said. "Whose idea was this, anyway?"
"We're a hive mind anymore," Daniel laughed. "We've all spent so much time together supporting you since you were put on bed rest that it's hard to tell where any idea comes from. It's like it's there for everyone, boom, all at once."
"I've got to say I'm awed by Janet being so much a part of things," Sam said. "She's magnificent, stepping aside so you would be free to be with me and, it appears, not holding it against me."
"I think the whole time Janet and I were together, you were there in the background. We never let the relationship become complete," he blushed a little, "you know what I mean, because she had to be sure I was really over you."
"You know what the weirdest part of this is?" Sam asked.
"There's so much weird to choose from," Daniel said, looking at her a little sadly, and stroking her hair for just a second. "Like the two fathers of your children are best friends, really close. Like your best friends are the fiancé of one of your children's fathers and the ex-girlfriend of the other."
"We really do sound like some sort of commune, don't we?" Sam laughed. "No, the weirdest part is that you and I are in love and talking about marriage, having a child together, and we've never done more than a couple of brother/sister closed mouth kisses."
"Do you think I don't want to?" he said, a little annoyed for a moment. Daniel didn't always pick up on the fact that someone was joking as quickly as he should. His first reaction was usually careful, serious consideration of any statement. "The doctors were really emphatic. Not only no sex but no sexual excitement. And we didn't get together until after you were put on bed rest."
"Daniel, I don't really think they meant no kissing. I think they meant no orgasms," Sam said, exasperated and more than a little frustrated.
"If I kissed you, really kissed you, I don't know that I could stop," Daniel said. "This is better, safer. Speaking of which, I think I need to let you get some sleep. It is an early morning."