The Collective Years
13: Happy Anniversary

Disclaimer: Still not mine. Nothing's changed since I started this.

A/N: I'm sorry it took so long for me to get this out. Thank you all for your patience. I actually broke my ankle two weeks ago. When I posted the previous chapter I was lying on the floor with my ankle elevated in serious pain, the same place I've spent much of the past two weeks. So I found it rather hard to concentrate enough to finish this up. Regardless here it is, though since I wrote myself into a corner I'm not sure it lives up to everything else. Enjoy.


Jack was confused. The solid wood outer door to Sam's office was never closed. He knocked.

Where is she? She knows we're supposed to be on the road in an hour.

There was only silence from behind the door. This time Jack pounded.

"She's not in there Jack."


Jack spun around to see a mop of red hair sticking out from one of the offices across the hall.

Who the heck is that? She looks familiar. She must be the new Post-Doc. Hailey? We were introduced last week.

"Thanks. Do you know where she is?"

"I think she said she was going to be working on integrating that new dialing program with the scope's old software. So, the observatory, I suppose."

"Thanks again. Hailey? Right?"

"Yes Sir. Have a good trip. Don't let her worry about the lab too much. I'll make sure it doesn't blow up while she's gone."

Jack nodded to the young woman.

Young? Jack, she's only a few years younger than Samantha. And Samantha's years younger than you are. That makes her young and you old. Stop being so pessimistic Jack, you're not that old. Are you kidding O'Neill? You're over 40 years old. That's old to everyone under the age of 38. Stop bitching and go find Samantha. Otherwise you're going to miss your flight.

Jack headed out of the building, flipping open his cell phone and hitting one on the speed dial.

"Hi Gorgeous, yes I know I'm late. I'm almost done with this."

"What if I'd been someone else?"

"The caller ID wouldn't have shown 'Jack'."

"Well aren't you just a genius? Now get a move on it sexy. I'd rather not miss our flight."

While he was talking, Jack climbed into his truck and headed towards the observatory. A few minutes later he parked, exited the car and slipped into the building. He bypassed the front office and the main telescope room to head for the mainframe in the back. Sam was sitting with her back to him typing madly on a keyboard and cursing at the computer. Jack leaned over her shoulder and hit the escape key.

"Hey! I was working on that."

"And working very hard from what I saw, but you are supposed to be on vacation as of ten minutes ago. I bet you haven't even packed yet."

"But I need to finish this before I leave or the scope won't track properly."

"I'm sure Rosa will be able to figure it out. And I happen to know she plans to come in extra early before her session tonight to finish up. Now let's get you out of here before you get sucked back in."

"But I…"


Jack pulled Sam from her chair, spun her around and pushed her towards the door before shutting off the computer and following her out to the truck. Sam was still complaining.

"Damn it Jack! I work here. You can't just keep barging in here and dragging me out in some caveman act."

"Samantha, you work so many more hours than everyone else in your department that I'm sure nobody minds it when you actually take a break. As your husband, it is my job to make sure you have a life outside of this campus."

Jack held the door open for Sam.

"Now let's go."


The short ride back to their house had lasted longer than Sam's annoyance at Jack's high handed manipulations. After all he was whisking her away for a two week vacation up at the cabin. Despite the fact that Sam packed as quickly as possible, shoving sweaters, fleece lined jeans, snow boots and other essentials into a large duffle, they still almost missed their flight. Only the fact that it was delayed because of the weather allowed them to make it in time. During the flight, Sam caught up on her sleep, she hadn't been sleeping well ever since the pregnancy test she'd taken earlier in the week had shown positive. But curled up against Jack, she drifted off before takeoff.


"Hey Sam are you feeling all right? You look paler than usual."

Startled, Sam jerked her attention away from the screensaver she hadn't realized she'd been staring at.

What was that? Oh, busted.

"It's the middle of winter Hailey. I haven't been out in the sun for months, of course I'm pale."

"Yeah, but usually lack of sun doesn't result in a green tinge to the pale. And you've been running off to the restrooms rather frequently, especially in the mornings. I don't mean to stick my nose in it; I know I'm new here. I was just wondering if this was…"

"My usual behavior?"

Hailey had the grace to blush. She shrugged and gestured vaguely with her hands.

"You're very perceptive. I only realized what was going on this morning and Jack hasn't noticed yet."

"I probably wouldn't have noticed, but I'm the oldest of seven and my thesis advisor had her first while I was working for her. I've had plenty of practice recognizing the signs. So I guess you haven't taken a test yet?"

"I bought one on the way in this morning but I haven't really had the chance."

"Do you want to do it alone? I could call Rosa?"

"That's all right Hailey. I think it's a rather forgone conclusion at this point. I'll go do it myself. I'm supposed to be briefing our two new undergraduate researchers in a few minutes. Please start without me if I'm not back before they arrive."

"No problem. My simulations won't finish running until this afternoon."



The drive from the airport up to the cabin took longer than usual as the roads were snow-covered and the driveway was nearly impassable.

Good thing Jack remembered to get a plow attachment this time. Calling the tow truck to come pull the truck out of the drift last time was so embarrassing, not to mention all the time we wasted. The chimney's already smoking. Jack must have remembered to call Mrs. O'Malley. Thank God! The cabin will be warmed up already.

Light from the headlights reflected off the falling snow as Jack pulled the up alongside the cabin's front porch, making sure that the snow being carried by the plow blade piled up away from the walk.

"Wait here. I'll get the bags and make sure the cabin's warmer than the car."

Jack hopped out of the truck and reached behind his seat to heft their duffels over his shoulders before trudging into the cabin. He came back a few moments later and opened Sam's door for her.

"Looks like we're all set. After you Mrs. O'Neill."

Jack stepped back and Sam slid out of the truck. Even stepping in Jack's tracks the snow almost came up over her boots.

"Why did we come up to Minnesota in the middle of winter on vacation again?"

"Because you said something about a certain fantasy of yours, being snowed in…"

"Remind me not to give you ideas from now on."

"You mean you don't want to get busy on the old bear skin rug in front of the fire place?"

"I didn't say that."

"And out in the ice fishing shack? We can pretend we're camping somewhere exotic like the Artic circle."

"That's pushing it."

Sam trudged past Jack, adjusting her stride to try to stay within his boot-prints. Jack strode past her and stomped up the stairs, trying to knock some of the snow off his boots. By the time Sam made it up the steps to the front door Jack had finished dusting himself off. Then he turned his attention to making sure she was snow free before disappearing into the cabin.

Jack must be tired. He didn't even turn on any of the lights when he went in.

The heat radiating from the cabin doorway drew Sam inside. Following Jack's example she stopped just inside the door and struggled out of her boots. Her parka landed on the back of the couch as she peered around the darkened cabin.

Guess he's in the bedroom. It has been a long day.

Sam headed towards the softly glowing bedroom door. As she pushed it open a smile broke across her face. Jack was sprawled face down on the large bed, his legs hanging awkwardly over the edge, their bags on the floor near his feet. The bedroom was actually being lit by the faint light of a moon shaped nightlight in the attached bathroom. Sam stepped forward and pulled the duffels away from the bed. Then she pulled her top two layers over her head before sitting down next to Jack. Her hand drifted down and stroked Jack's hair back from his forehead.

"Jack, you can't sleep like that. Come on; let's get you out of some of these clothes."

With a groan Jack rolled over onto his back and propped himself up on his elbows.

"Do I hafta?"

Sam rolled her eyes as Jack smirked.

"Nope, just don't expect me to snuggle. That sweater's scratchy."

Sam wriggled out of her jeans and after turning down the covers, she rolled herself into the far side of the bed, with her back to Jack. He sighed.

"Fine, fine."

Sam felt the bed shift as Jack removed the sweater in question and his pants before he slid under the covers and spooned up behind her.

"Do you remember the first time you brought me up here?"

"For our honeymoon?"

"Yeah, I thought you were crazy at first, insisting we come up here in the middle of winter instead of going on a traditional honeymoon."

"I had a feeling you'd love it up here."

"And I did; I do. It felt like I was coming home. I'd dreamt about this place for years."

"You dreamt about the cabin?" mumbled Jack.

"Yeah, it freaked me out a little to be dreaming of a place that I'd never been and that you never really talked about, at least not about the cabin itself. But I knew which turn you were going to take off the highway and what the cabin was going to look like before we pulled up."

Sam stopped talking as she realized that Jack had fallen asleep. She smiled to herself, remembering their first trip up to the cabin.


They'd almost missed their flight up to Minnesota that first time too. Back then it had been Jack's fault; after all he'd been the one to wake her up repeatedly the night after their wedding for mind blowing sex. So Sam hadn't been particularly inclined to listen to Jack when he'd tried to hustle her out of their hotel suite that morning.

"Samantha, stop honey. We're going to miss the plane."

Jack tugged at Sam's shoulders trying to pull her up and away from his naked body. Sam's response was muffled against his upper thigh. Jack gave up as Sam's tongue stroked wetly over his hip and his eyes rolled back in pleasure.


He'd gotten his revenge during the flight when his boredom had led him to begin tracing patterns on Sam's thigh. She hadn't protested until his fingers began to brush along the rise of her jeans.


Sam looked around nervously as the pressure of his touch increased.


Sam grabbed Jack's wrist and squeezed, without looking up from the book she was reading. Jack leaned in and whispered in her ear.

"I thought you liked to be distracted while flying. Just relax Samantha. There's nobody within three rows of us."

Relenting Sam took down her tray table and shifted slightly, opening her legs to his touch, while pretending to continue to read.


The truck rumbled through the snowy woods as Jack rambled on about his summer trips up to the cabin to visit his grandfather.

"I don't think we're going to be doing much fishing this trip."

"Ice fishing can be lots of fun."

"I was thinking we could come up with some much more entertaining activities," Sam replied turning to smile saucily at Jack.

Jack turned to look at her quickly and he smiled at the glint in her eyes.

"I'm sure we can come up with something between us."

The small dirt driveway curved sharply and the truck skidded briefly. When the tires caught again Sam looked up in relief and drew in a sharp breath at the cabin in front of her.

I know this place. I've dreamed of sitting on that dock in the spring alongside Jack, waiting for Daniel and Teal'c.

"Well, here we are."

Jack parked and came around to help Sam out. He took her hand and led her up onto the front porch. He used his free hands to unlock the door and open it. Sam started to enter the cabin but Jack tugged on their joined hands pulling her back into his arms.

"Will you let me do something right?"

Jack kissed Sam lightly and when she wound her arms around his neck he slid his hands down over her butt and lifted her against him. Deepening the kiss, Sam complied with Jack's silent demand by pulling herself up on him and wrapping her legs around his waist. Jack stepped forward and crossed the threshold of the cabin. Sam's breath washed over Jack's cheek as he broke the kiss.

"Hey Mrs. O'Neill"

"Hey yourself, Mr. O'Neill"

"I should go bring the bags in. Make yourself at home."

Sam sagged briefly against the wall before pushing herself up to wander the cabin. The small entry way opened into a large grand room.

The kitchen's over there and the bedrooms are off that way. How do I know that? Well it's not like this is a huge place.

Sam wandered into the kitchen and began filling the teapot she found in the first cabinet she opened. She hummed while she waited pulling two mugs from a second cabinet and box of tea bags and some instant coffee from a drawer.

How did I know where everything was? If I didn't know any better I'd swear I'd been here before. Guess I've just known Jack long enough to know how he thinks. A place for everything and everything in its place. I wonder if it's a military training thing.


"In the kitchen, Jack."

Jack came into the kitchen and wrapped his arms around Sam from behind. He nuzzled his nose against her neck.

"Wasn't there something else you wanted to be doing?" he asked, placing a string of kisses along the column of Sam's throat from the collar of her shirt to just below her ear.


Jack's laughter was low and smug. His hands slipped under her top and caressed the smooth skin of her stomach and Sam shivered at the cool touch.

"I think its time for bed."

"Isn't it a little early in the day for that?"

"It's never too early for sex."

Jack had smirked and turned towards the bedroom. Sam had barely remembered to turn off the burner under the teapot before hurrying after him.


How times change. It's only been five years but all either of us wanted to do when we got here tonight was sleep. Still, we'll make it up to each other tomorrow. And then I have to tell him I'm pregnant. We've never talked about having kids. Before Charlie I wasn't ready and afterwards there wasn't time. I didn't really think about it when we first got back together but now…what if he doesn't want to have kids?

Sam shifted restlessly, rolling onto her back to stare at the ceiling. Jack moved to rest his head on her shoulder.

"Does your brain ever stop running? Go to sleep. Otherwise I'm going to start feeling bad for falling asleep on you."

Sam smiled and leaned down to press a kiss against the top of Jack's head. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly.

"Good night Jack. Happy Anniversary!"

This is the night before the morning described in the final chapter of 'The Holidays' and Chapter 6 of 'The Explanation' and the end of this journey. To my most vocal reviewers: SpaceMonkey67, Bookworm37, Sci Fi Fan Gillian, "Thank you for your encouragement." I'm not sure I would have made it through the entirety of this monster without you. For anyone who hasn't read the rest of this little series yet, I promise the whole story is out there just a little out of order. I don't have my next story planned yet, but I promise you haven't heard the last of me yet. Peace.