a/n: This is the last chapter. Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed. Your thoughts and comments mean a lot to me, especially considering how much trouble I had writing this story. 'Shades of Grey,' was never one of my favorite episodes, so basing this story mainly from that episode was very trying. I'd like to acknowledge Katie (bamagirl) and Axania (Axania chic) whose combined personalities inspired the character Lt. Katie Axania. I am planning on finishing off my last lingering fic on this site and then start posting a miniJack story that I've already started writing, so stay tuned!
Three months after Sam was moved to protective custody, the trials finally began. Jack, General Hammond, and Dr. Frasier were all summoned to court and eagerly arrived at the military courthouse in DC early Monday morning.
They were sitting in the long, wooden benches lining each side of the large corridor outside the courtroom. Several men and women had already arrived and entered the courtroom, but as all three of them were testifying, they were ordered to remain outside until they were called in.
It was still early. The trial wasn't due to start for another hour. Jack shifted in the hard seat, his weery eyes scanning the people walking past them in the busy corridor. Janet was sitting on an identical bench on the other side of the corridor. Every time he shifted, she would raise her eyes to his and give him a piercing glare. She knew he was impatient, bored, and frustrated, but his constant moving was driving her crazy.
General Hammond sat a few feet down from Jack, and thus far, seemed unaffected by Jack's fidgetting, or by the childlike glares passing between two of his finest officers.
After another fidget and groan from Jack, and another glare from Janet, all three officers turned their heads to the sound of the elevator dinging and the doors sliding open. Two men stepped out, donned in their court-room best. And, right behind them, Jack's heart stopped as he took in the blonde hair and blue eyes of Samantha Carter.
"Sam!" he exclaimed, standing up and approaching in long strides. A large grin spread across his face.
Immediately, one man stepped in front of Sam, effectively blocking her from Jack, while the other reached his hand out and stopped Jack from advancing on her. "I'm sorry, sir, please keep your distance," the man in front of him said.
"What? Why? She's my…." Well, what the hell was she now? Before, he always considered her to be his girlfriend, but after the whole Laira fiasco and Sam finding out the way she had, he was pretty sure she wouldn't go along with that title anymore……"friend," he finished sadly, his eyes desperately trying to find hers, with no luck.
"It's okay," Sam's sweet voice sounded out behind the two suits. "He's okay," she said again, her voice sounding like magic to Jack's ears.
The two guards stepped away, and before Jack could get a command to his feet to move, he felt two forms brush past him and saw Sam disappear into the embrace of Janet and General Hammond.
Jack stood there and watched them hug. For the first time, he felt unsure of himself. The last three months he had berated and chastised himself constantly for hurting Sam the way he had. He never should have gotten involved with Laira, never! But, he had, and he had hurt the woman he loved in the process. But, without Sam around for him to beg forgiveness to, it was easy for him to assume she would forgive him. Now, seeing her in person, his heart beat erratically at the thought that she might not be as forgiving as he had imagined.
Janet and Hammond finally stepped back, and Jack was once again, awarded the image of Sam. He smiled shyly at her, unsure whether or not he should approach her. "Hi," he rasped out, his voice betraying him.
Sam smiled warmly back. "Hi."
Awkwardly, Jack took a step towards her and held out his arms. Giving her the choice to hug him or not. She looked nervously in his eyes and then down to his outstretched hands. He could almost hear the thoughts running through her head. Tentatively, she took a step forward and looked up into his dark brown eyes.
They were so warm, so full of love, and before she knew it, he had wrapped his arms around her and pulled her the rest of the way into his arms. "God, I've missed you," he breathed in her hair, holding her tight with one hand and slowly stroking her back with the other.
"Me too," she whispered, closing her eyes tightly to keep any tears from escaping. Her hormones had been all out of whack for the past two months, and she had become very emotional.
Along with her hormones, her sense of smell had increased significantly, and at the moment, she was filled with the smell of Jack. His shampoo, aftershave, the intoxicating cologne he used, his body soap, the natural smell of his skin, she could smell it all, and her body craved it desperately. The hormones had her body going crazy, and now that she was in Jack's arms, she never wanted to leave. Her body cried out for his, a need for him she didn't know her body craved so intensely until that very second she walked into his arms.
"You okay?" his soft voice asked, still holding on to her as if his life depended on it.
"Yeah, they took good care of me. You?"
"Yeah, good. Missed you," he murmured, dipping his head into the crook of her neck.
It was at this point, when her body was humming in joy at his touch, basking in his warmth, that she remembered his wife. As if burned, she stepped back and out of his grasp. "I-I shouldn't have, I'm sorry, that was probably inappropriate," she started stammering.
Jack wrinkled his eyebrows in confusion at Sam's sudden distance. "What are you talking about?"
"I-you, we shouldn't, it's not right," she continued stammering. Sam was starting to look a little pale, her body raging at the sudden loss of warmth and peace Jack's embrace had provided. As if that wasn't enough, her stomach flipped at the sudden agitation, and Sam's senses were filled with a multitude of smells that did not mesh well.
She closed her eyes and desperately tried to breathe through her mouth as the potent smells assaulted her. The smell of the fresh-waxed floors, the smell of bleach wafting out from the bathrooms, the pine air freshener that was attached to the wall adjacent the bathrooms, the smell of stale coffee still in the foam cups the SG members had sitting on the benches. It was too much. The smells were mingling and her stomach couldn't take it.
Janet noticed the pasty complexion that had risen on Sam's face, and the beads of sweat that were forming. Worried she might be having a panic attack, Janet took a step towards her. "Are you alright, Sam," she asked.
But, the smell of coffee-breath was enough to do the captain in, and clutching her stomach, Sam moaned, "Oh, God!" and ran into the women's restroom.
Janet turned worried eyes to Jack and General Hammond before chasing after the ill-woman. "Sam?" she softly called, entering the restroom.
Unbeknownst, to either woman, Jack had followed Janet into the bathroom, and stood at the door.
Janet entered the stall that Sam hadn't had time to lock in her rush to the toilet bowl where she was currently retching in to. Janet stroked her back in comfort. "You okay?" she asked, once it seemed Sam's body was coming back under her own control.
"Yeah," Sam croaked out. "Just give me a minute," she breathed, closing her eyes and trying to catch her breath.
"Does this happen a lot?" Janet asked, still thinking Sam just had a panic attack.
"It has been," Sam whispered hoarsely. "The doctor said it should stop anytime now."
"Because of the trial?" Janet asked in confusion.
Sam lifted her head out of the bowl and leaned against the wall. "No, she said it usually doesn't last after the three month mark."
"The three month mark?" Janet repeated in confusion, and then, realization dawned in the medical officer. "You're pregnant!"
Sam nodded, her body still shaking from the sudden onslaught.
"When, three months," Janet asked and then answered her own question just as fast. "Who?"
Sam looked up at her friend with sad blue eyes, never expecting a happy ending with the father of her child.
Janet read the look immediately. "You slept with Colonel O'Neill when he was undercover," she whispered.
Sam licked her lips and nodded, her cheeks flushing, even though her face was still quite white. "It was just once," she croaked out. "But, it wasn't like condoms were high on Maybourne's list of items to ship through the gate, so…" Sam trailed off.
Janet nodded, still trying to recover from the unexpected news. "When did you find out?"
Sam coughed, trying to dislodge the nasty taste from the back of her mouth before it caused her to vomit again. "Uh, about two months ago. I was in protective custody and my guards thought I had been poisoned," Sam laughed dryly.
Janet grinned. "Are you going to tell him?" she asked seriously.
Sam closed her eyes and forced herself to take deep breaths. "I don't know. I know I should, he has a right to know, but he's got his own family with Laira and…"
"No, Sam, he doesn't," Janet interrupted.
Sam's blue eyes locked on the brown ones of her friend.
"She left him and went back to Edora, she knew he was in love with you."
"But…..what about the baby?" Sam squeaked.
"What baby?" Janet asked in confusion.
"They said, they said Laira was pregnant with Jack's child, that's why she stayed on earth when Jack went undercover."
"No, Sam, that was just a cover. Laira was never pregnant. She wanted to be, but she's no longer capable of having children. She left Jack right after you went into custody."
Sam felt her heartbeat speed up. Could it be true? She had cried herself to sleep for months thinking she had lost her chance with Jack. Because of her stupid desire to bring down the NID, she had compromised her relationship with Jack and ultimately lost him to a woman who would leave her own world to be with him. He deserved to be happy, and she deserved to be miserable, and as she had stroked her still-flat stomach, she knew she would regret her meeting all that time ago with Maybourne every time she looked at their child, their child she would have to raise alone.
But now, was it possible? Could she still have a chance at happiness? She knew she didn't deserve it. She had taken him for granted, expected him to wait for her, and at the same time, save her whenever she needed it. She was selfish. She had been all too well-aware of that while holed up in protective custody. She didn't deserve him. He had been her knight in shining armor, saving her in more ways than one. He deserved so much more than her selfishness.
Just then, the stall door opened and Jack's body appeared. "Hey," he softly spoke, his eyes locked on the blonde sitting against the wall.
Janet stood up from her position kneeling next to Sam. "Should I leave you two alone?" she asked, looking from Sam to Jack and back again.
Sam nodded and Jack cleared his throat as he held the door open for her exit.
Janet, her eyes filled with concern, looked at the two remaining occupants one more time before leaving the restroom.
Jack walked into the small stall, happy that Sam had picked the larger handicapped stall when she bolted in. Lifting his pant legs to give him slack, he sat down next to her, taking her hand in his. "You're pregnant?" he whispered.
"You heard?" she whispered back, not lifting her head.
"Yeah, I was standing at the door. I heard everything."
Sam just nodded in response.
"Sooo, will you forgive me?" Jack asked, his voice filled with uncertainty.
Sam lifted her head and looked at him. "For what?"
Jack gazed in her beautiful blue depths, knowing how easy it is to get lost in them. "For Laira, for not getting to you sooner, for letting Tobias almost shoot you, for making you think you'd have to go through all this alone, take your pick."
"Do you forgive me?" she asked quickly, her eyes searching his.
Jack crinkled his forehead. "What? There's nothing to forgive you for."
"Yes there is," Sam cried. "I was so selfish. My life was perfect. I was adopting Cassie, I had you, I had a position at the SGC. I could've taken it all and been so happy, so happy with you. But, I didn't, I had to prove myself, Jack. I was selfish. I'm so sorry! I could've walked away, I could have been with you all this time, but I didn't. I spent all this time on a stupid planet doing stupid stuff and wasting away my life, losing my chance with you."
Jack took Sam's chin in his hand and turned her so she was looking in his eyes. "You never, never lost your chance with me!" he snapped. "You are the most unselfish person I know, Sam. Yes, I would have loved to have had the fairy-tale life with you and Cassie, but that would have been going against who you are, Sam, why I love you so much. You couldn't have walked away from that meeting anymore than I could have walked away from the SGC. It's who you are, who I love."
Sam pulled out of Jack's hand and covered her face with her own, a loud sob escaping. "I just….I just feel like I've wasted so much time with you, I took advantage of your love."
"Well, apparently, I'm easy to take advantage of," Jack tried to joke. "I'd do it all over again, Sam. All of it. It was worth it. Look what you did, look at what you accomplished! Not only did you bring down Maybourne and all his cronies, but you got Simmons and Kinsey too! No one else would have been able to pull off what you did. No one! You were the only person for this job, Sam……I had to put my life, our life on hold, but it was worth it, every second of it. And now, you're back, we're about to fry those rat bastards, and Hammond's got a shiny new position and a promotion all ready and waiting for you back home. Cassie is ecstatic, waiting for you to come home, and my house is even waiting for your return."
"Your house?" Sam asked, a small grin fighting for it's place on her face.
Jack smirked. "Oh yeah, especially my bed!" he teased.
Sam giggled. "We're going to be okay?" she asked tentatively.
Jack pulled her onto his lap, his hand running through her blonde locks. "Always, Sam," he whispered, then pulled her down to his lips.
When they finally parted, Sam stood up, her body finally feeling hers again. She grabbed Jack's hands and pulled him up after her. Grinning, she looked at him and said, "Let's go fry some rat bastards."
Jack grinned. "That's my girl!" he exclaimed, taking her hand and leading her out of the restrooms.
The trials lasted for weeks, as each defendant had his/her own trial. The evidence Sam and her allies had accumulated was extensive, and there wasn't one person on trial who wasn't found guilty. Kinsey's trial had been way too much fun for Jack, he smirked and laughed as the former senator fumed in his seat, his face turning several shades of red as the trial progressed.
When it was all over and Sam was finally released from protective custody, Jack refused to leave her side. A huge welcome home party greeted the couple when they returned to Colorado Springs. Just as Jack had said, Sam was immediately promoted to major on her first day of work at the SGC. Being pregnant, she was denied gate-travel for the time being, but was put in charge of research and development, something that had not been going too well in her absence. She had moved in with Jack, and even though Cassie was happy with Janet, the young girl often came and spent time with Sam, a woman she would always think of as another mother.
They still had their problems, arguments, annoyances, as every couple do, but they wouldn't change it for the world, or the universe, for that matter.
Many of the rogue agents who were innocent, found jobs at the SGC, including Lt. Katie Axania. She and Sam remained friends throughout the years, and she worked very closely with Daniel, who had, surprisingly, taken Martouf's death from a zatarc incident very hard.
Daniel found the whole thing with Martouf very disconcerting, and had eventually seeked counseling. He was having a hard time separating Jolinar's thoughts from his own, and was quite irritated that he was finding men attractive. With the help of Dr. Mackenzie, Daniel was able to distinguish between his own desires and those of Jolinar, and finally started dating women again, though he still had a penchant for fashion magazines.
Two years after Katie Axania joined the SGC, she met a young alien man by the name of Jonas Quinn. She quickly fell in love with the dimpled, banana-loving man and when he returned to Kelowna, a little over a year later, she went with him, willing to leave her own world, her own life behind to be with him.
As the stargate engaged to return the Kelownan to his home world, his new bride by his side, Sam hugged her long-time friend good-bye. "I'll miss you," Sam told her.
Katie smiled up at the major. "I'll miss you too," she admitted before letting go of Sam completely. Taking a few steps up the ramp, she turned back around to Sam and raised her hand up in the air. "To politics!" she cheered.
Sam and Jack both grinned. "To politics!" Sam agreed, smiling warmly as her two friends walked to the wormhole, eager to start their new life together, a life they hoped was as wonderful as the one they had observed between Jack and Sam. A life that would have never been if not for politics!