Disclaimer: They're still not mine.
A/N: This is the sequel to 'Te Quedaste'. It's about the engagement and wedding of Jack and Sam. It begins about nine months after it and about three days after the first chapter of 'Encounters'. It is still the same fic as before; it has just been betaed so that it sounds much better. Please let me know what you think.
Chapter 1: Monday Blues
It was Monday again, and Colonel Samantha Carter had come to pretty much detest Mondays. She used to, if not love them, then, at least like them a heck of a lot more than everyone else seemed to. After all, Mondays meant coming to work without getting a lecture from her CO about getting a life; even when she went and got that life, in the form of a boyfriend who then became a fiancé, she didn't mind Mondays.
Of course, that was before. Before she got her heart's true desire and before said desire moved to Washington DC and could only get back to see her on weekends. Because now, going to work, for him, meant going back to DC and so Mondays meant being alone, again, going to bed alone, again, coming home to an empty house, again and pretty much missing him with everything in her and being miserable until he came back, again.
So, Mondays were really not a good thing in Sam's book; then again, neither were Tuesdays or Wednesdays or any other day of the week, but Mondays, Mondays were the pits. It was during Mondays that she missed him the most because he had just left and it was during Mondays that she had to get used to being without him and she hated doing that. She had done it for so long, one would think she was used to it by now and she was, but still, she just hated it.
All of this was going through her mind, as she stared morosely into her cup of coffee, when her best friend and confidant sat down in the chair next to her in the base's cafeteria. "So, Monday blues again, huh?" Daniel asked, unnecessarily, in Sam's opinion.
"Umm," Sam answered with a shrug, not really feeling up to talking, even with Daniel. She wanted a good, long sulk. She was entitled to a good, long, sulk damn it!
But Daniel wouldn't let her enjoy it. "You know, I'm seriously thinking about talking to Jack about not coming to visit so much anymore." He said, as he took a sip of his one and only addiction: coffee.
Sam whipped her head up from where she'd been staring at her cup and almost yelled; only years of military discipline stopped her, "Not visit so much! What the hell are you talking about? It'd been two months since I'd seen him and before that we only saw each other one weekend a month for the most part. I don't think that's too much! And if you ever say a word to him about not coming to see me so much I'd . . . I'd," it took Sam a few seconds but she came up with the perfect revenge, "I'd stopped you from drinking more than cup of coffee a day." She finished triumphantly.
"Huh, you couldn't." Daniel said confidently, as he took another sip of the wonderful drink.
Sam just stared at him with her 'I'm your CO and I can make your life hell if I choose to' look. It was a look she'd learned from Jack, seven years as his 2IC had taught her quite a few things – intimidation being one of the better ones in her opinion. Though Jack's was scarier, he had after all been doing it longer than her and his face was more suitable to it, Sam's was surprisingly effective. "Do you really want to try me, Daniel?" She asked in a tone of voice that she must have also learned from Jack, Daniel had sure never heard it before she became CO; even after that he had only heard it a few times. Sam was not as predisposed to intimidation as Jack was but she could sure manage it when she wanted to.
"Umm, no, thanks. Somehow, I think you'd find a way to do it." Daniel said, after he gulped down the sip of coffee he had taken. "I promise I won't say anything to Jack," Daniel began.
"Good," Sam said, as she turned back to her cup.
"But," Daniel continued, "Sam you really need to find a way of dealing with his going back to DC."
"I am dealing with it, Daniel." She said, a bit sharply.
"Ok, then what I meant to say was: find a way to better deal with it." Sam turned and glared at him again but this time Daniel knew he was right and wasn't intimidated (he had grown immune to most of Jack's looks years earlier and though Sam's could take him by surprise, because he wasn't used to her making them, they didn't really affect him that much, Sam was much prettier than Jack and no where near as liable to break him in half as Jack.), "I mean it, Sam. The day after he leaves you go around like a black cloud is hanging all over you, depressing everyone around you or snapping at them and sending them running for cover; heck, Sam you're getting as bad as Jack!"
"I am not," Sam said emphatically, and then more tentatively, "am I?"
"Yes, you are, Sam," Daniel answered, and nodded his head for emphasis.
"As bad as Jack?" she asked again.
"Well, maybe not that bad," Daniel said, with a small grin, "but you are getting close."
"Really?" Sam couldn't help asking once more.
"Yeah. Well, at least these last few weeks; you weren't as bad when you two first got together, but these last weeks you've been doing a pretty good imitation of him."
"Daniel," Sam said exasperatedly, "I hadn't seen him for two months, I missed him! I think I was entitled to be a bit out of sorts, don't you?"
"Yes, I guess you were," Daniel paused for a bit and took another sip his coffee, as he thought of the best way to say what he wanted to say, "Look Sam, I know it must be hard to be apart after being together for so long," Daniel paused again and then added, "even if you weren't together, together then."
"Yes, it is hard, harder than I thought it'd be. I guess we did get spoiled being on the same base for so long; most military couples don't." Sam sighed.
"Yes, but Sam you have to find a better way to deal with this than going Jack on us; I have to tell you it's getting a bit scary."
"Oh, Daniel, you're exaggerating,"
"Perhaps a bit," Daniel answered, "but not much. Sometimes when we're in the field, Teal'c and I have to turn around and make sure you haven't suddenly morphed into Jack, you sound so much like him."
Sam looked up from her continued study of her cup of coffee, and once again asked, "Really?"
"Yes, really. Most of your orders, command decisions and plans are just what Jack would do."
"Daniel I was his 2IC for seven years, most of what I know about conducting myself in the field I learned from him; it's only natural that I analyzed situations and reacted like he would. And frankly that's about the greatest compliment you could give me – he's the best and I'm glad I had the chance to learn from him."
"Yes, Jack is the best and I'm glad you learned so much from him; frankly it is comforting to know that even when he's not around physically, he's still there with us because of what he taught you. But Sam, it's not only his field behavior that you've copied, it's everything: how you word your commands, your expressions, your come backs, how you send hapless SF's running. It's, well, it's getting a bit creepy, Sam." Daniel finished talking and took another sip of his coffee.
Sam stared at Daniel for a while looking surprised; she hadn't realized that she'd been acting so much like Jack, but now that she thought about it she could see Daniel was right. "Well, what do you know?" she said with a smirk.
"You like the idea, don't you?" Daniel asked, surprised.
"Yeah, I gotta say I do," Sam said with a smile, suddenly she was feeling better.
"Umm, well I'm not sure how much I like it. I mean it's great that you channel Jack while we're in the field. But great as Jack is, he can also be quite the jerk and you really don't want to take on those characteristics, do you?"
"Oh, Daniel, don't worry so much. I'm probably just acting like this because I miss him and it makes me feel closer to him, that's all."
"Yeah, you're probably right." Daniel agreed.
"And you know what they said about couples taking on each other's characteristics," Sam added.
"Yeah, it's just that the couples in question have usually been together more than nine months," Daniel argued.
"Well, while we weren't together, together we were pretty close for eight years, you know," Sam said.
"Yes, I know, I was there, too."
"Umm," she said, as she went back to stare into her coffee mug.
After a few minutes of silence, Daniel said, "Ok, what is it?"
"What do you mean? I just miss Jack," Sam answered.
"No, I mean I know you do but there's something else, I can tell. So, tell me what else is bothering you?"
Sam opened her mouth to deny any such thing but closed it when she saw Daniel's face. He wouldn't buy that nothing else was wrong, he knew her too well – almost as well as Jack did, which made this all the more frustrating. Why hadn't he said something? "It's just that I'd be somewhere else at this point in my life, that's all?"
"Somewhere else as in somewhere other than the SGC or as in more abstract?" Daniel asked.
"Both, I guess."
"Sam, do you regret coming back to the SGC?" Daniel had thought that she was happy to be back or at least content, Daniel didn't think she could be truly happy if Jack wasn't around.
"No, not really, I was needed here and I like my work; plus I really missed you guys." Sam paused and took a sip of her coffee.
"But?" Daniel prompted; sure there was a but in there somewhere.
"But, well, I'm not getting any younger, Daniel."
"Sam, no one is," Daniel said with a smile.
"No, but there's a difference between you and me, Daniel," Sam started to explain but Daniel cut her off.
"Really? You mean besides the obvious?" Daniel asked with a smirk.
"And you say I've been around Jack too long?" Sam asked, as she put one elbow on the table and brought her fist under her chin, "My biological clock is ticking, Daniel." Sam said bluntly.
"Oh," was the only thing that came to Daniel's mind at the moment.
"Yes, oh, and if I don't do something about it soon, it'll be too late." She said as she sat back on her seat and started picking at her nails.
Daniel watched her for a few moments and then said, "Well, why don't you do something about it, then?"
Sam looked at him with an incredulous expression, "Because it takes two, Daniel."
"Oh, I'm sure Jack will be more than up for it," Daniel said smirking a bit at the unintended pun. "Sorry, it was unintentional," he apologized when he saw Sam's glare. "But it's true. I'm sure he'd be happy to participate; I can't image him not wanting to have kids with you. He loves kids and he loves you. Have you talked about this?"
"Yes, and you're right, he wants kids."
"Then I don't really see the problem here, Sam."
"You don't? Well, I'd kind of like to be married before I start having kids, Daniel. I'm weird like that." She said irritated; it seemed like none of the guys got it, despite of how well they knew her. Maybe she should be having this conversation with a girlfriend, but she didn't have any; well, she supposed Vala was a girlfriend but she just didn't think she would get it anymore than the guys did. It was in moments like these that she realized just how much she missed Janet.
"Oh," once again Daniel could think of nothing better to say; almost thirty languages and they were all useless at times like these. "I see. Well, haven't you talked to Jack about that?"
"Yes, I have," Sam answered, staring into her coffee mug again.
"And nothing; he made it clear that we'd get married someday."
"So, what's the problem?"
"The problem is that that was when we first talked about getting together and since then there have been almost no talk about it and he sure as heck hasn't asked me yet!" Sam was really getting irritated with Daniel; he was acting way denser than usual.
"Ah," well at least he changed vowels this time, "Sam, you're an independent, modern woman, why don't you ask him?" Daniel proposed what he thought was an eminently reasonable solution.
"Because Jack is old-fashioned and he'd want to do it, and because regardless how modern and independent I may be I'm also a woman and I want the man I love to get on his knee and ask me to marry him." Sam explained, as if talking to a two year old.
'Ok,' Daniel thought, 'so maybe not that reasonable a solution. But who knew that Sam could be so, well, girly.' And when he thought about it, he gave himself a mental smack on the head, 'Duh, I should have; I mean you only have to look at how she acts around Jack to realize it.'
But then he thought of something else and he looked at her searchingly for a few moments before he said, "You know, being married to him won't make the separations any easier to bear."
Sam started at that comment and looked at Daniel with wide eyes. After a few seconds, she looked back at her cup and said, so low Daniel almost didn't hear her, "I know." And with that she confirmed Daniel's assessment of the situation.
"Then, why?" Daniel asked, wanting to understand where she came from.
"I just, I don't know; I guess I just want to feel secure." Sam tried to explain something she wasn't sure she completely understood herself.
"Secure?" Asked Daniel surprised. "What do you mean secure?"
"Just that. I want to know that he is mine and that now that we're together nothing will come between us." Sam said in a whisper.
"But, Sam, you know he loves you; he's loved you for the past nine years and he's been yours for just as long. Now that you guys are together nothing will come between you because he won't let it – heck, nothing came between you before; I don't think anything could come between you. How can you doubt that? How can you doubt his commitment to you?" Daniel looked at her with a disbelieving expression; he couldn't believe she was feeling like this.
"No, Daniel," Sam answered with a sigh. "I don't doubt his commitment or his love or that he won't let anything come between us. It's just that . . ." Sam trailed off with another sigh, shaking her head.
"It's just what? Sam, I really don't understand." Daniel said confused.
"No, of course you don't," Sam said with sarcasm. "Sorry, Daniel," she apologized when she saw the look on his face. "It's, I guess it's just a woman thing. I know he loves me but I want everyone else to know also. I want it to be official and legal; if something were to happen I want to be the first person they call because I'm his wife and next of kin. I don't want there to be any doubts about it; I don't want it to depend on whether the persons around know about us or not. I guess I just want to be Mrs. O'Neill with everything that entails."
Daniel was, to say the least, surprised by her outburst, but he also caught something there that might explain why Sam was acting that way and which alarmed him. "Sam, is Jack ok? Is anything wrong with him?" He asked, now very worried.
"Huh?" Sam asked, and then she saw how worried Daniel looked and thought about what she'd said and realized that she'd given him the wrong impression. "No, no. Nothing like that; everything is fine, thank God. It's just that I was talking with Mark a while ago and he was ranting about how he still doesn't know what truly happened with Dad and how there even wasn't a body he could have said bye to. And thought much of what he said was just his usual anti-Air Force spiel, I saw how much it still hurt him to not know what really happened and it started me thinking that if anything were to happen . . ." She didn't finished the sentence but then she didn't need to, Daniel finally got it.
Daniel took a few moments to really absorb all of it, and then feeling his way carefully, he said, "Sam we work in a top-secret program and I know that it sucks that your brother didn't get to say goodbye to your dad or know what a hero he was, but it is top-secret for a very good reason and there's nothing we can do about it right now. And, I know he's your brother, but he's not the only one that has been in this situation; think of all the people we've lost and how their families have had to cope with the same lack of information." He paused for a minute, wondering whether he should continue but then thought, 'what the hell' and did.
"Look, Sam I don't pretend to understand the military mind, but it seems to me that those that enlist or join know the risks and they still take them because they believe in their cause and because for them it is the right thing to do. That dedication and bravery is admirable and to be commended and their families should take pride in that. Now, I know that losing a loved one without knowing the circumstances is one of the hardest things to go through, but to rant against the military because of it, well, that just takes away from their sacrifice, doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does." Sam answered completely surprised, wondering what had gotten into the archeologist.
Daniel saw the surprise on her face and with a rueful smile said, "Sorry to get so off topic; it's just that I've seen what you guys go through, what you put yourself through, all the things you have sacrificed to protect this country, hell this world and it just, well, let's just say that it irks me when someone bad mouths you." Daniel couldn't believe what was coming out of his mouth; then again, yes he could.
The last ten years had changed him and while he still didn't agree with many of the military's decisions or way of doing things and he certainly would never join, he could appreciate and maybe even understand why they did some of the things they did. He had actually come to admire and respect a great many people in the military; hell, all three of his best friends were military (ok, so Teal'c was a warrior from another planet, it still counted). And while it was ok for him to complain about the military, he just wouldn't sit still when someone else did.
"Daniel, you go through the same things, you've put yourself through it and you have certainly sacrificed as much as the rest of us." Sam pointed out, not about to let him ignore his contribution. Not after that moving speech; she'd never thought she'd hear Daniel defend the military so strongly. 'Wait until Jack hears of this,' she thought with an inner smile, 'he won't believe it.'
"Maybe," Daniel answered with a shrug. "But I'm not military, Sam, and I don't have the same restrictions as you guys. I have more options; I could leave if I wanted."
"So could any of us, Daniel, all we'd have to do was ask for a transfer. And while you may have a bit more latitude, you still have to follow most of the same rules and to pretty much the same degree. Face it Daniel, the fact is that you're as military as you can get without actually joining. Heck, you have more training and more combat experience than most any military personnel outside the SGC. You're part of the military establishment, Danny boy, whether you like it or not." Sam finished with a smirk.
Daniel started to deny it, but then he started to think about it and realized that she had a very good point. Ok, he might not have a rank, could not be court-martialed and he might not have much authority outside the base, but that didn't change the fact that inside the base he did have authority. With or without rank, the SFs jumped whenever he told them something, just as they did with for any other senior officer; they might not be able to court-martial him, but he was expected to follow the same rules and when he didn't, he got the same dressing down as anyone else – something Jack had been especially good at.
And while he hadn't followed military protocol with Jack, that was because Jack was his best friend, general or not. He had followed them, to a certain extent, with Hammond and he certainly followed them with Landry. Geez, when he thought about it he realized that he was as military as you could get without actually being in the military. Better not to think about it or he'd develop a huge migraine and be tempted to quit.
Sam looked at Daniel as he thought about what she'd said and the look on his face, as he realized it was true, (as if he had just sucked a lemon) was priceless and she couldn't help the huge grin that spread across her face. She just wished she'd had a camera with her so that she could have shown it to Jack and Teal'c; she knew they would get as much of a kick out of it as she did. "I'm right, aren't I?" She couldn't help rubbing it in a little.
"Maybe," Daniel was not prepared to admit it out loud, not yet, maybe not ever. "But we were talking about you, Sam." And with that reminder, Sam's grin evaporated. Daniel was sorry to see it go but he had something to say. "Sam, you would never be in the position your brother is in. You would know almost immediately if something was to happen to Jack and you would get the real story. You know that."
"Yes, I know that. But I'd get it because I'm part of the program too, not because it was my right as his family to know, do you see the difference?"
"Yes, but if you were just his family and not part of the program, then you wouldn't get to know the real reason," Daniel argued, logically. He hadn't yet realized that he was not dealing with Dr. Carter the logical astrophysicist, but with Sam, a woman in love.
"No, but I'm not leaving the program, so that's not an issue." Sam replied.
Daniel shook his head and said, "Then what is the issue, Sam? I just don't . . ."
". . . Get it." Interrupted Sam. "And I don't think you are going to get it, Daniel. You're looking to get a list of logical reasons; for an A leads to B leads to C type of answer, the ones I usually give – but I don't have one this time. I just know that I love Jack and he loves me and I'm ready to be Mrs. O'Neill; but apparently he isn't. So, I just have to deal with that and wait until he is ready. Because I know he'll be ready but you just can't rush Jack O'Neill. In the meantime, I might become a bit more like Jack than you'd be comfortable with; I'll try and not get to bad – but there is only one thing I can tell you:" and she paused for effect as she got up and picked up the remains of her breakfast. She stopped before stepping away from the table, turned to Daniel and said, "Deal with it." And with that, she walked off.
Daniel watched her as she left the cafeteria, then he looked back into his cup of coffee, shook his head and thought, 'women, how the hell can anyone understand them if they don't understand themselves.' With another shake of his head, he got up, 'And I thought I had problems dealing with Vala. Never realized what Jack had to deal with; but then I never realized that Lt. Colonels that were usually calm and cool could become as confounding and irrational as former space pirates. Better give him a call and let him know what's going on with Sam.'
Twenty minutes later, Daniel was locked in his office as he dialed Jack's direct number in DC. "O'Neill," Jack answered, giving his standard greeting even though it was his direct number and only good friends ever used it.
"Jack, it's me."
"Hey, Daniel. So, what's going on?" Sam might have thought that he had no idea that she'd had something on her mind this weekend, but he'd known. He also had a pretty good idea about what it was, he just wanted it confirmed and there was no one better for that job than Daniel.
"You were right, Jack. She's getting a bit antsy that you haven't talked about marriage since you guys got together. In fact, she told me that she was ready to be Mrs. O'Neill, twice, but that obviously you weren't ready yet. Isn't it interesting that she went out with Pete for over a year and not once thought about marriage to him and in fact took two weeks before she said yes?" Daniel asked rhetorically.
"Yes, very interesting; especially the fact that she said yes at all. But let's not dwell on that, ok? It's so not my favorite topic. So, I was right, huh? I had a feeling I was." Jack tried not to gloat, but it wasn't a very good effort.
"Yes, and what are you going to do about it? She's getting really antsy, Jacky."
"There's not much I can do about it, Daniel, you know that. I still don't have all the naquadah I need for the ring nor have I found someone who knows how to make it into a ring." Jack answered.
"You still haven't got the naquadah?" Daniel asked surprised. "Hey, what good is it to be the Head of Homeworld Security if you can't get what you need in a decent amount of time. Being 'The Man' is not all that it's purported to be, huh?" Daniel said with a smirk in his voice.
"You're telling me!" Jack exclaimed. "And don't think I've forgotten that it was you that put me on this road by telling me I could do whatever I wanted if I became commander of the SGC."
"Hey, how was I to know that you wouldn't get complete autonomy?" Daniel defended himself. "You're the military guy around here, Jack, you should have known better. I don't know why you listened to me." Daniel was still smarting about Sam's comment about him being military and was going to take any opportunity to point out that he was not.
"Because, Daniel, you've been with the SGC for ten years and by now you know as much about the military as most SF's and officers on base. You've become a pretty good military man." Jack had had a call from Sam a few minutes ago and had heard all about Daniel's defense of the military and his reaction to being told he was military and Jack was not above having some fun with him - even when he had just gave him a huge favor.
"I do not make a good military man, Jack. I make a lousy military man and you know it."
"If you say so, but you know, Daniel, if it walks like a duck, and looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are, it's a duck."
"That may be, Jack, but I am not a duck."
"No, but you dress like a military man, you walk like a military man, you talk like a military man and with that haircut, you definitely look like a military man. Hell, I'd even bet you that you think like a military man when you're in the field and probably when you're not on the field too." Jack was teasing, but there was an undercurrent of truth and pride to the words. Daniel had changed a lot in the last ten years and had somehow managed to retain his curiosity and idealism and combined it with the military training he'd received.
Daniel heard the pride in Jack's voice and was warmed by it, but he still changed the subject. "Yeah, well, we're not talking about me here," and heard Jack laugh at the other end. "What are you going to do about Sam, Jack?" Daniel asked again.
"There's not much I can do, Daniel. I want everything to be perfect when I ask her to marry me and things are just not ready yet." Jack answered with a sigh; he'd like nothing better than to ask Sam now, but he'd made his plan for a reason: Sam deserved the best and she was going to get it.
"Could you hurry it up, please? Sam is getting so frustrated that she has started to turn into you."
"Really?" Jack asked, sounding as pleased as Sam had been.
"Yes, really, soon she'll be able to give a run for your money in the grumpy department." Daniel told him, in a somewhat morose voice.
"Oh, don't worry, Daniel," Jack told him with a laugh. "I'm sure that's just temporary."
"I hope so, 'cause I'm not sure the world is ready for two Jack O'Neills - oh, wait that'd be three Jack O'Neills wouldn't it?" Daniel finished with a smirk.
"Umm," Jack said noncommittally. "Well, I gotta go, Daniel. Have tons of meetings, paperwork and other generally type stuff to do." Jack said.
"Ok, Jack. Talk to you later."
"Yeah, talk to you later. And Daniel, thanks, really." Jack said sincerely.
"No problem, Jack. Glad to be of help." And with that both friends hung up and went back to their work, both wishing that the proposal could happen now - though for vastly different reasons.