SG-1 sat around the briefing room table in the eerily silent SGC. It was 0300 hours and no teams were scheduled in or out, due to the previously imminent threat of Anubis' attack. A threat that General Hammond was just confirming as defunct.
Sam was sitting next to Jake, who had fallen asleep with his head on the table. Sam absent-mindedly stroked his hair. Across the table from her, Jack was sitting back in his chair with Gracie curled up in his arms, the little girl was wide-awake, staring at the table, unseeing. She had been that way since she had killed Anubis, and Sam couldn't help but be worried. Looking at Jack, she could see he was worried too. Knowing him, he had already found some way to blame himself for this.
Jack looked up and his eyes met Sam's. He held her gaze for several moments. There were still so many questions between them that needed answers and they hadn't had even one chance to talk since he had rescued them from their cell on the mothership. Hoping to express her own feelings, Sam smiled at him reassuringly. Jack smiled back and looked back down at Gracie.
General Hammond entered the room and Sam got to her feet. The General looked at Jack who had not stood and nodded his understanding of the Colonel's reason.
"At ease, Major," Hammond said, taking his seat at the head of the table. "We have confirmed that the two motherships headed for Earth have exploded," he began.
"That must have been a huge deja-vu," Daniel said.
Hammond nodded. "Now, I'd like to know what happened over the past couple of days. Colonel?"
"Sir?" Jack asked, all innocence.
Hammond's impatience showed in his face, but not his voice, "What in the world made you steal an X302 and attempt to stop the attack single handed?" he asked quietly, mindful of the sleeping child at the table. His quietness couldn't mask his anger, but Sam got the feeling that the anger was borne out of worry, rather than exasperation at Jack's non-compliance with his orders.
"General," Jack began, then faltered, "you know why, sir," he said, looking down at Gracie then across the table at Jake. "Plus, the other plan, I knew that was never going to work."
"You've been extremely lucky, Colonel," Hammond said, "If you hadn't pulled this off, the pentagon would be all over you right about now. As it is, we are all, once again, in all of your debt." He paused, and took on a more genial tone. "Now, tell me what the hell happened. Tell me how this little girl," he nodded towards Gracie, "could take Anubis out, when nothing else could."
SG-1 were silent, unable to give an answer. Then Daniel spoke, "Jake told us," he paused, "Gracie's special."
Hammond sighed. "Tell me exactly what happened."
It was an hour later.
Sam was speaking, "And he just… died, sir. I don't know what Gracie did, but he was gone."
"So," Hammond said, "Am I to understand it that neither Baal nor Anubis are a threat any longer?"
"No sir," Jack said, "they're not."
"Because of your… daughter?" Hammond said, after only the tiniest of pauses.
Jack and Sam shrugged.
"I'll tell the president." Hammond said. He looked at Gracie, "How are you?"
Gracie was silent for a moment. Then she raised her eyes from the table and looked straight at the General. Sam almost gasped at how much older the little girl looked now. Then Gracie smiled and the shadow was gone, "I'm ok, George." She said.
Hammond appeared to study her for a moment. Jack was staring intently at the top of Gracie's head, while everyone else looked on in amazement. Gracie had not spoken since Anubis' death, and now she seemed fine.
"I'm ok. Really. ," Gracie insisted, as though sensing their thoughts, "I've been thinking it over and he was a bad man. He's much better off this way. He can't hurt anybody anymore."
Jack gave a half smile and stroked Gracie's hair, nodding to Hammond. The General held Jack's gaze for a moment, questioning his second in command, then he nodded too, trusting Jack's instincts.
"All that remains now is what to do about you two." Hammond said, his tone making it clear that he wasn't talking about Jake and Gracie.
Daniel spoke up. "Surely they can get a special dispensation of some kind, General? Circumstances don't come much more special than these." He waved a hand in the general direction of Jake and Gracie.
Sam noticed that at some point while they had been talking, Jake had awoken and was now only pretending to be asleep.
Hammond held up a hand. "Doctor Jackson, please."
Daniel fell silent, only for Teal'c to speak. "I for one will be forced to leave the service of the SGC if two such fine parents are forced apart."
Sam blushed and looked down at the table. Looking up at Jack from under her eyelashes, she saw he was trying not to smile and occupying himself with stroking Gracie's hair.
"Especially because of some rule made obsolete by the work we do here." Daniel piped up, earning himself a stern look from General Hammond.
Hammond sighed again. "Neither of you have said what it is you want." He said to Sam and Jack.
Sam opened her mouth to speak, but was cut off by Jack, "Time, sir. We want time."
Hammond looked between them then nodded. "Okay. SG-1 are on two weeks downtime. Call it a reward, for saving the world again." The General stood and everybody else followed suit, Jack lifting Gracie with him.
Sam gently shook Jake, knowing no one was supposed to know he had been awake. The boy did a pretty good impression of someone just awaking out of deep sleep and Sam had to stifle a grin.
"I expect you both to be off the base within the next two hours," General Hammond said sternly, looking at Sam and Jack, who both nodded. "Dismissed."
Daniel and Teal'c filed out of the room, followed by Jake and Sam.
"Daniel, can you take Jake to the infirmary and have him checked over for me? I have some stuff to do before we leave." Sam asked.
Daniel nodded but Jake pulled a face. "Do I have to be checked again?"
"Yes, you do." Sam replied, "I'll meet you in the commissary in an hour and we'll go home." She looked up at Daniel and Teal'c, "Tell the colonel, when you see him."
Daniel and Teal'c nodded and strolled off with Jake, still grumbling. Sam turned and headed in the opposite direction.
Back in the briefing room, Gracie slid down out of Jack's arms and walked over to where General Hammond was tidying his paperwork. "I'm sorry about the Prometheus, Uncle George." She said, putting her tiny hand on top of the General's.
"It wasn't your fault, Gracie, you don't have to apologise." Hammond said gently. His tone was the one he used when talking to his grandchildren. Jack was amazed at how quickly Gracie and Jake had worked their way into the hearts of everyone around them. But then, they would, wouldn't they? They did belong here.
"I wanted to save them," Gracie said, sounding upset, "I did. But they were unsavable. If I had saved them, everybody else would be dead." She said the words in a comforting tone, as though explaining it all to the General. She sighed, "I am sorry though."
Hammond smiled at her and stroked her hair, "You saved the world, Gracie, that's more than enough for now."
The little girl beamed up at the General – a real Carter smile, Jack thought – then turned back to Jack. "What now, daddy?"
Jack stilled the flip of his stomach her words produced and said, "Infirmary for you, young lady. I want the doc to have a look at you."
"Is that where mommy and Jake are?"
Jack thought briefly about how she had almost seemed to read the future on the mothership. How she'd known both what was happening and what was going to happen in places she couldn't even see and wondered if she was just asking to be…normal. Looking at her, he knew she wasn't. Whatever 'powers' she had had on the ship had either left her or just plain didn't work here. He was glad. Aside from making his own life easier, he suspected hers would be better without the 'powers' too.
"I think so, sweetheart. C'mon."
It was two hours later and Sam had still not reappeared. Jack left the sleeping Gracie and Jake with Daniel and Teal'c and searched the base, looking in all her usual haunts. When he didn't find her he returned to Daniel's quarters.
"Anything?" Daniel asked quietly.
Jack shook his head. "No one's even seen her."
"I don't suppose she did a you and left already?" Daniel asked.
Jack glared at him briefly before shaking his head again. "Security haven't seen her."
"She'll turn up," Daniel rationalised, "Sam wouldn't leave these two here for no reason." He looked up at his friend. "Are you ok?"
"Why wouldn't I be?" Jack asked, slightly too quickly for it to be believable that he had no idea what Daniel was asking about.
Daniel pressed ahead anyway. "The whole thing with Gracie killing Anubis…"
"She's fine with it, so am I. She was right anyway. He was evil. He had to be stopped and she did it. I'm proud of her and she's proud of herself." He looked over at the sleeping kids. "I'm proud of both of them actually."
"And the whole thing with Jon?" Daniel asked.
"I'm sorry-" Daniel began.
Jack cut him off, "No, you just gave me an idea. I'll be back."
Sam was in the SGC morgue.
She really had had stuff to do, but it had only taken a half hour. Then she had come down here. At this time of morning it was empty and she was glad of t the seclusion.
She found the drawer marked 'O'Neill, J' and slid it out, pulling a stool up to it so she could sit for a while. She unzipped the body bag and looked at the still form on the slab.
She didn't know where this morbid need to see him had come from, but she knew she wouldn't be able to leave tonight until she had fulfilled it.
Jack had insisted on bringing the body back and Teal'c and Daniel had volunteered to carry it in their glider, so as not to upset the children. No one had questioned Jack bringing Jon's body home; they all knew why he did it.
She remembered Gracie walking over to Jon's body after she had kicked Anubis and kneeling down beside him, placing her little hands on either side of his head and closing her eyes as though concentrating intensely.
"What's she doing?" Daniel had asked Jake in a hushed whisper.
"Sometimes she can fix stuff. Cuts and bruises. I think she's trying to heal him." Jake had whispered back.
"Will it work?" Teal'c had asked, not whispering, but his voice pitched low enough that he wouldn't disturb Gracie.
Jake had shaken his head. "He's dead. And it didn't work on mom." He'd said sadly, then apparently remembering that Sam was standing next to him, he 'd added, "I mean before."
Sam had nodded. Then she'd looked up at Jack. He'd had his eyes shut tight against what he was seeing and feeling.
She'd reached out and touched his hand and his eyes had snapped open. He'd met her eyes for a split second then walked over to Gracie.
"Gracie, honey, there's nothing you can do here. Lets go home, baby." He'd picked her up and held her against him, but the little girl hadn't been crying, she'd already entered that state that Sam had feared was catatonia until Gracie spoke in the briefing room.
Then Jack had helped Daniel and Teal'c load Jon's body into their glider and they'd set off, just enough ahead of their explosions that they weren't caught in the blast, and they weren't followed.
In the morgue, Sam continued to study Jon's corpse, tears streaking down her face.
"Sam?" Jack's voice came from the doorway, but didn't startle her. She figured she'd been away too long and that he'd be the one to find her.
"It would have been you," she said quietly, "if he hadn't been there, it would have been you." She snorted bitter amusement, "It was you."
"Looking at him now, I see two people," Sam continued, almost as though he hadn't spoken, hadn't admitted how easily it could have been him on this slab. "I see you… and I see Jake."
She sensed that Jack had moved and was standing directly behind her, so close she could feel the fabric of his BDU's against her own.
She turned on the stool and looked up at him. "I don't ever want to see either of you like this."
"As long as it's in my power to prevent it, you wont." Jack said.
Sam nodded, knowing this already, not needing to be told.
Jack leant past her and zipped up the body bag. Then he slid the drawer back into place. Behind him, Sam said, "I'm resigning my commission. I'm going to work as a civilian from now on."
"I would never ask you to do that." Jack said.
"What now?" Jack asked.
"Where are the kids?"
"With Daniel, sleeping."
"Our daughter killed a system lord." Sam said, "She's only seven, Jack."
Jack cocked his head to one side, deciding it was time to bring her out of this funk. "Yeah well. You can't stop genetics."
Sam looked up at him, incredulous that he'd make a joke at a time like this. Jack stared back at her, unapologetic.
Then Sam grinned. "You're an ass."
"Carter," Jack said, scandalised, "that's no way to talk to me, even if you are a civilian!"
"Sorry." Sam said, "You're an ass, Colonel."
"That's better." Jack replied, grinning back at her.
"Are you ok?" Sam asked.
Refreshingly, Jack didn't pretend he didn't know what she was asking about. "He died doing what he wanted to do, Sam. He saved us, all of us. I'm not okay, but I know I'd have done exactly the same in his position, and I'm glad as hell that I didn't have to."
Sam nodded. "What about us? Are we in trouble?"
Jack shrugged. "I doubt it. But hey, we're on downtime. Let Hammond sort everything else out. Lets go get the kids and go home, I could sleep for a week."
They left the morgue together, collected their children and went home.