Chapter 10: Reunion
The drive was just as long and boring as Daniel remembered it to be. As Jack drove up the road leading to his cabin, Daniel began to wonder if it had been wise to accept Jack's invitation. He had never liked fishing and there was absolutely nothing else to do at Jack's cabin besides fish.
As Daniel stepped out of Jack's truck, he was completely unprepared for what happened next. Coming from behind the cabin, running as fast as her legs could carry her was Emma. Daniel immediately dropped the bag in his hand, too shocked to comprehend what was going on.
"Uncle Daniel!" Emma launched herself into his arms, wrapping her little hands around him.
He immediately picked her up and swung her around in the air, burying his face in her long hair. "Emmy? Oh God…Emmy! How is this possible?"
When he looked up, he was staring at Sam who was witnessing the scene before her with tears in her eyes. "You're alive…you're both alive…"
Sam smiled at her friend and walked over to him. He held his free arm out, inviting Sam to step into his embrace. As they hugged, Sam whispered, "Yes, Daniel. I'm so sorry for putting you through all of this. If you'll come inside, I'll explain everything."
Jack picked up Daniel's bag and his own and led the way into the cabin, followed by Sam and Daniel who was still carrying Emma in his arms.
Once they got to the living room, Daniel put Emma down and Sam motioned for him to take a seat beside her on the sofa. Jack went to put away their bags and then returned to the room.
Realizing that Sam and Daniel needed some time alone, Jack called out, "Hey, Em…You wanna go into town with me and pick up some stuff for dinner?"
Emma smiled widely at the question. "Can we get hamburgers and hot dogs?"
"And you'll grill them for supper?"
"Sure thing. I'll get the grill going as soon as we get back."
Emma rushed over and grabbed his hand. "Okay…let's go Daddy! Bye Mommy…bye Uncle Daniel."
Jack looked at Daniel and Sam sheepishly, knowing that he and Sam had not wanted Daniel to find out the truth about Emma in this way. "We'll be back in an hour and a half or so. Anything either of you want from the store?"
The two people sitting on the sofa both shook their heads in the negative, while Daniel looked back and forth between Jack and Sam in confusion.
Jack and Emma left hand in hand, leaving Daniel still staring at Sam with his mouth hanging open in shock.
"Daddy?" he asked Sam disbelievingly.
Sam shrugged and bit her bottom lip nervously. "It's a long story…a very long story."
Daniel sat there for an hour, intently listening as Sam related the whole unpleasant story to him – how she had stumbled across the incriminating files, how threats were made against those she loved, and her reasons for faking her own death and Emma's as well.
"Okay…well…I'm very glad you're both alive and all right," Daniel muttered, still trying to fully comprehend everything she had just told him. Then he looked at her inquisitively. "What's this about Jack being 'Daddy'?"
Sam took in a deep breath and then replied, "Jack is Emmy's real father, Daniel. I didn't find out about her until after I had moved to California with Alec. By that time, Jack hated me and everyone believed I was married to Alec."
Daniel did a double take. "Wait a minute…you're not married to Alec?"
"No. I never was. We faked that as well."
"So… let me see if I have all this straight. You found the files on the Trust, they threatened your life as well as the lives of all the people you care for, you and Alec took off and pretended to get married, then you pretended to have a child together… a child that turns out to be Jack's… and then you fake your death so that you can finally reveal the evidence against the ex-members of the Trust." Daniel rambled on quickly in typical Daniel fashion, not even pausing to take a breath.
Sam nodded assuredly. "Sounds about right."
"What are you going to do now?"
"Emma and I are going off world to start over," Sam explained. She frowned sadly before adding, "I don't know if Jack is going to come with us or not. He's still very angry about what I did. I don't know if he can forgive me."
Daniel laughed wryly. "I can understand…I'm a bit upset myself."
Sam's eyes once again began to fill with tears. She couldn't bear for Daniel to be mad at her, in addition to Jack. "I'm sorry, Daniel. I never wanted to hurt you. But you have to understand…I had to protect Jack and Emmy. I could never forgive myself if anything happened to either one of them."
"Don't worry, Sam. Jack knows that you did what you thought was right. And now I know why he has been so happy this past year and a half. When I came for a visit this year, it was like seeing a completely different man. The sparkle in his eyes is back and I haven't seen that in over six years now. Although…I take it you two are not together…"
Sam shook her head sadly. "No. We've been meeting up here at the cabin on weekends so he can spend time with Emmy. I've tried to make amends…but so far we've only managed to rebuild our friendship with each other. Perhaps it's too much to want more than that."
Daniel took Sam's hand in his own and gave it an encouraging squeeze. "I don't know… Jack has never been good at the whole forgiveness thing. Just give it more time, Sam. I know he still loves you. I could tell by the way he looked at you earlier. He'll forgive you when he's ready to."
Daniel shook his head, chiding himself for not seeing it before. "I should have known… she's just like Jack. She looks just like him and acts just like him."
Sam giggled and pointed out, "I always told you she took after her father."
Suddenly, another thought crossed Daniel's mind. "What about Alec, Sam?"
"He'll always be like a father to Emmy. We're going to keep in touch and arrange visits. But Jack is her father and she's always known that. Alec is starting a new chapter in his life. He got married to Carly Green just a few weeks ago actually."
"Really? I didn't even realize they felt that way about each other."
"They have for a long time. It's been hard on them as well and I'm glad they can finally get on with their lives."
Just then, they both turned as they heard the door to the cabin opening. In walked Jack carrying a couple of grocery bags, followed by Emmy struggling with one bag that she carried all by herself.
"We're home!" Jack announced as he placed the bags on the kitchen counter. He then took the bag from Emmy, relieving her of her burden. "You two have a nice chat?"
"We did, Jack. So…what's for dinner?" Daniel asked.
"Let me go get the grill started and we should be having burgers and hot dogs in about a half an hour or so."
"You can help me with the salad, Daniel, unless you want to watch Jack burn the meat," Sam noted teasingly.
Jack looked at her in mock indignation. "I'll have you know that I do not burn the meat. I just happen to like it very well done."
"Me too, Daddy!" echoed his daughter.
"That's my girl. A woman of exquisite taste, I might add." Jack leaned down and tickled Emma, reveling in the sound of her voice giggling uncontrollably.
Daniel interrupted their tickle-fest by pointing out, "Isn't Cassie supposed to be here?"
"Actually, she's driving up with Teal'c tomorrow morning," Sam answered happily.
Jack smiled and replied, "Sure… can't have a family reunion without T."
After dinner, Jack and Sam sat out on the dock watching the stars shining brightly in the sky. Daniel was inside entertaining his favorite niece, telling her about all of his non-classified experiences in Antarctica while they watched her favorite documentary on penguins.
As they stared up into the night sky, absorbing the beauty of the universe above them, Sam and Jack spoke no words…they merely enjoyed the comfort of being in each other's presence.
Finally Jack broke the silence. "It's rather fitting…"
"What is?" Sam asked.
"This is exactly where we were when you broke up with me."
Sam's face was etched with regret and shame. She contemplated getting up and returning to the cabin, as she was not in the mood for yet another guilt trip. Then she felt Jack's hand on hers, gently holding it.
He continued on, "Perhaps this is the best place to start again…to forgive and move on."
"Forgive?" Sam looked at him in surprise. It was one word she never thought she would hear from him.
Jack nodded. "I've had a lot of time to think about all that happened, Sam. I've had a year and a half to get used to being a father. Spending these last eighteen months with Em… and you… it's given me back my life. You and Emma are my life… my family. I know now that I want to be with you both for the rest of my life."
Sam smiled hopefully. "So…you've decided to come with us after all?"
Sam immediately looked away, disappointment and hurt washing over her. "I don't understand… I thought you just said…"
"I want to be with you and Emma," he completed her train of thought and then smiled shrewdly. "But I was thinking…after the trials are over and Fisher and his cronies are safe behind bars, you and Em will no longer be in any danger. There's really no reason why you two have to go to another planet."
Sam laughed sarcastically. "Except for the fact that we are technically dead on Earth, Jack."
"Well… you could always come back from the dead," Jack suggested. "Just ask Daniel. He does it all the time."
Sam once again turned to look at the man beside her, an inquisitive expression on her face. "You mean… announce to the world that it was all a set up… that we faked our deaths in order to get Fisher and the others off our backs?"
"Why not? That way, you and Emma can stay here on Earth…with me. We can buy a house, get a dog…be a normal family. Well, make that semi-normal."
"That sounds so nice." Sam sighed wistfully at the thought.
"Is that a yes?"
She smiled brightly, the moonlight reflecting in her eyes. "Yes."
At this answer, Jack became immediately excited and began relating all of his plans to her. "I was thinking… why not get a place in California… on the coast. Perhaps near Monterey?"
Sam smiled at the idea, thinking of how much her daughter would enjoy living there. "Emma would love being near the ocean."
Jack face once again broke out in an enormous grin. "Sure she would. We could get a boat. And…you could continue working at CCT with Alec. You two have really accomplished so much. And it would be such a shame to waste that brilliant brain of yours."
"This sounds too good to be true, Jack. It's everything that I have ever wanted. It's what I would have wanted had I never found that file." A shadow of doubt crossed Sam's face as her smile faded. "But…are you sure this is what you want, Jack?"
Jack looked into her eyes, trying to convey his complete sincerity. "I've never been more sure in my life. It's taken me a long time to come to terms with all the hurt and pain you put me through, Sam. But it all comes down to one thing… I love you and Em more than anything. You two are the most important things in my life and I don't want to lose you ever again."
"Does this mean you've forgiven me?"
Jack shrugged. "I guess it does. So…will you and Em stay with me?"
"Always, Jack. I love you so much." Sam began to lean over towards him, hinting that she desired a more physical confirmation of their feelings for each other. Before her lips could reach his, Jack pulled his hand from hers and began fidgeting.
"That reminds me… There's something else I wanted to ask you." He looked as if he were searching for something in his pockets.
"What?" Sam was decidedly confused about his reaction to her attempted kiss.
Suddenly, Jack got up out of his chair and pulled something out of the pocket of his jeans. Kneeling down beside Sam, he took her hand once again in his. Sam covered her mouth with her other hand, completely stunned at what she knew was about to happen.
With a very serious expression on his face, Jack began, "Samantha… I have been waiting over ten years for this. For many of those years, I was prohibited from doing this because of regulations. Then when I had my chance, I kept putting it off… I put my job and the Air Force ahead of you during the two years we were together and I'm so sorry for that. Then I lost you…first to Alec, or so I thought… and then to death, or so I thought. But now I have you in my life again and I'm not going to wait another day. I love you more than I can express with words. Sam…will you marry me?"
Sam leaned over and clasped Jack's face in her hands, pulling his lips into a long and passionate kiss before answering, "Of course I will."
Jack stood and helped her up from her chair, wrapping her tightly in his warm embrace. He then cupped her face in the palms of his hands as he tenderly kissed her under the stars. As they walked back to the cabin hand in hand, both knew that they would not have to wait another day to be together. Their day had finally come.
AN: Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Hope you enjoyed the fic as much as I enjoyed writing it.