Chapter Fifteen: A Sam without a Jack?

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Previously:

"D-Daniel?" she questioned in shock.

"Yeah, it's me! Elliot came to our reality. He told us where you were and we found a mirror. We came to take you home!"

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And now……..

Everyone's eyes were on Sam, standing in the middle of the infirmary, her face the picture of surprise. Jack stepped back and against the wall, his own face reflecting shock as well. This couldn't be happening! This could NOT be happening!

Sam realized all eyes were on her, and at the same time, really realized that the man in front of her, was in fact, her Daniel. She let a little of the surprise on her face fall and warmth and love filled her eyes for her people, her reality. "Daniel," she said again, more confidently, a small smile gaining space on her pale features.

Daniel's grin grew larger and he launched himself in Sam's arms. "Sam! Oh, we've missed you!" he expelled, holding his long-time friend in a tight bear-hug.

Sam wrapped her arms around him and hugged him back, a tear escaping her eye. "I've missed you, too, Daniel, all of you," she added, looking up and seeing Teal'c and Mitchell hovering. She opened her arms and was immediately filled with a larger-than-life jaffa and an impatient lieutenant colonel, along with her rambunctious archaeologist.

As the four hugged in the middle of the infirmary, all eyes belonging to the current reality shifted to the man against the wall. Worry, grief, and sadness filling their hearts as they saw the look of pain flash across his face before he shifted and hid everything under his mask of indifference.

Jack could feel his people's eyes boring into him and knew he had to get out of their scrutiny, coughing to break up the little reunion taking place, he lifted his hands and gestured towards the door. "We should…probably take this to the briefing room," he told them, his controlled voice a direct contrast to the turbulent storm wreaking havoc through his body.

Sam swallowed the lump in her throat when she saw Jack's discomfort, nodding, she smiled at her people and then started for the briefing room.

As the large group worked their way to the briefing room, Sam tried to talk to Jack, she reached him, his long legs taking large steps in hurry. "Jack," she said in a low voice, grabbing the sleeve of his shirt.

"Not now, colonel," he snapped back and lengthened his stride even more.

Sam stopped, sorrow filling her heart. He was going to push her away now. He was just going to let her go. Sam took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Why was this happening?

Sam was the last to enter the briefing room, and was a little surprised to see it quite so full. Lt. Elliot, her Daniel, Teal'c, and Mitchell, along with Kawalsky, Boyd, Daniel, and the general were already sitting around the table.

She noticed they had left the seat next to Jack empty. Kawalsky was on one side, but the other was empty, for her, she knew that. Fighting back the grief, Sam walked over and took her seat.

Immediately, Daniel started spilling the tale of what happened after Sam vanished from their reality. Daniel had correctly translated the writings in the chamber, and knew just as much as the Daniel of the present reality. They had no idea how to get Sam back until, out of the blue, Lt. Elliot appeared in Sam's lab.

Lt. Elliot picked up from there, explaining how he had no idea what had happened and was discovered by Col. Mitchell moments after arriving. He had been taken to the infirmary where he told them all he knew while they ran every possible test on him.

Sam couldn't help but remember how she had been imprisoned upon her arrival in this reality and was thankful her people had not done the same to Elliot.

Daniel, in excitement, cut off Elliot and continued the story. He told them how Elliot had been from the reality where Sam had gone and how he must have been transported to their reality because he had that reality on his mind after learning about it through Sam.

Daniel began rambling on about the impressive technology and writings in the temple at Dakara, so Mitchell took over and finished the long spiel. He explained that once they knew where Sam was, they began hunting for a quantum mirror, and with Elliot's help, found the correct reality and came through.

Once the long story was finally all out, Jack ordered drinks and food brought up from the commissary and everyone mingled in the briefing room. Daniel and Daniel were talking rapidly with each other, while Teal'c and Jack spoke quietly in the corner. Mitchell, Kawalksy, Elliot and Boyd sat at the table and discussed the differences in realities, while Sam felt out of place. What was she supposed to do? Who was she supposed to go to? What reality was hers?

A little while later, Janet had joined the mix with test results and Jack had retreated to his office to let the joint chiefs know what was going on. Daniel, Teal'c and Mitchell were all shocked to discover the petite doctor was married to Kawalsky and had a daughter.

Jack had hung up the phone with the joint chiefs and sighed, his hands instinctively running through his silver hair when he heard a light knock on the door leading to the briefing room. He looked up and saw Lt. Elliot standing on the other side. He waved for him to come in.

"Sir," Elliot greeted, walking in, leaving the door open a crack.

"At ease, lieutenant," Jack announced with a sigh. "Some trip, huh?" Jack asked with a laugh.

Elliot chuckled. "Yes, sir!" he agreed, relaxing more as he stood in front of his CO's desk.

Jack eyed the young man before him. He had developed into quite an efficient and mature officer, and he found himself quite proud of the young man. "It's good to have you back, lieutenant," Jack announced.

Elliot shifted uneasily on his feet. "Uh, actually, sir, that's what I wanted to talk to you about."

Jack raised an eyebrow suspiciously. "Oh?"

"Sir," Elliot started, nervously. "I would like to take this time to tell you what an honor it has been working with you."

"But," Jack filled the space when Elliot had paused his speech.

"But, I will be returning to the other reality."

Jack's gaze took in the officer before him and he settled back in his chair. "Is that so?"

"Yes, sir," Elliot replied.

"May I ask why?"

Elliot kept his eyes on his CO, trying hard not to be intimidated by the general's sharp tone. "Sir, the device sent me to a reality where I belong. I would be a fool not to take advantage of that. I-I forgot…"

"Forgot what, son?" Jack asked when, once again, Elliot had paused.

Elliot blinked. "I forgot how much I cared for Jennifer Hailey, sir."

Jack leaned forward in his seat. "So, you're going back for a girl?" he asked, his voice turning vicious.

Elliot gulped. "No, sir. I'm going back because it's where I belong."

Jack stood up, his anger at the whole situation finally taking control. "Then why the hell did you come back at all!" he yelled, his fists clutched on his desk, the knuckles white from the stress.

Elliot took a step back, his face full of fear as he witnessed the anger radiating from his commanding officer. "S-sir?" he meekly responded, but was cut off by Sam coming into the office.

"Lieutenant, it's okay," she told him with soft eyes and nodded for him to leave.

"Ma'am," he replied in relief and rushed to the door, more than happy to get away from the irate general. He had not expected him to take it that bad!

"Jack," Sam started, her eyes locking on the angry eyes of the general.

"Don't" he immediately replied, his voice faltering slightly, but still filled with venom.

Sam crossed her arms on her chest and glared at the man she loved. "I'm not going anywhere, Jack," she announced in a calm, yet still angry voice. "Did you really think I would just leave you?"

Jack's eyes softened instantly. "It's your reality," he shakily replied.

Sam cocked her head. "Is it?" she asked and licked her lips.

Jack just stared at her, confusion taking the place of his anger.

Sam lowered her head and sighed. Lifting it again, she pointed towards the briefing room. "I'd better get back. Are you coming?"

Jack swallowed hard. "Uh, yeah, just ah, give me a minute."

Sam nodded and turned, walking back out to the briefing room.

An hour later, everyone but Sam had left the briefing room. Elliot had gone to gather his belongings and say his good-byes. Everyone else had wandered off to do something or other before the guests departed through the mirror.

Sam was standing in front of the large window, staring down in absent-thought at the stargate. Since returning from Area 51, she had been going through the gate frequently, mostly with SG-1. She hadn't been officially assigned to any team, and she secretly enjoyed the flexibility that offered. She heard the footsteps enter the room, and immediately knew who they belonged to.

"You're not coming back with us, are you?" Daniel's soft voice cut across the briefing room.

Sam turned slowly and smiled at her friend. Licking her lips, she looked at her friend lovingly before replying, "No."

"Sam," Daniel replied, walking up to her. "Are you sure?" he asked when he reached her, taking her hands in his.

Sam nodded. "I am, Daniel. I love you, and I'm going to miss you, all of you, but……I belong here….I can feel it."

Daniel watched his friend, taking in her words, trying to read in her face what she wasn't saying with her lips. "You found Jack," he finally said in a soft voice.

Sam lowered her head. "Yeah," was all she could say.

Daniel squeezed her hands. "I'm happy for you, you know. I might be massively depressed that you're not coming back with us…..but still…..if you're happy…." Daniel shrugged, and Sam looked back up at him, tears in her eyes.

"Oh, Daniel!" she cried and wrapped her arms around him once again, hugging the man who she had loved like a brother for so long.

No more words were needed between them.

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"I don't want you to stay for me," Jack's strong, soft voice sounded from behind Sam. She had ventured to her lab for some privacy before her team left back through the mirror.

Sam didn't turn around. "I'm not," she quietly replied.

Jack stepped into her lab, his presence filling every nook and cranny in the room. "Then why?" he croaked.

This time, Sam did turn, if not just to see the look of anguish on his face. "I'm doing it for me, Jack."

Jack took another step, coming right up to her. "But, it's your life, Sam. You can go back and have everything back again."

"Not you," she whispered, looking up into his dark eyes.

"I'm not worth giving everything up for…."

Sam lowered her head. "The device was right, Jack. I don't belong in that reality anymore."

"Sam…"

Sam cut him off, her blazing blue eyes shooting up to meet his once again. "You said it right the first time, Jack. There can't be a Sam without a Jack. I knew it, when you said it. I knew it was true. I'm nothing without you."

"God, Sam," Jack moaned, pulling her into his arms. "You're so much more."

"No, I'm not, Jack. I'm not. You-You make me who I am. You complete me."

Jack pulled away to look into the loving face of the woman he never imagined he could love so God damn much. He stroked her face with his thumb, wiping away the tears that were wetting her cheeks. Unable to form the words that would complement her confession, Jack merely lowered his mouth to hers, expressing his love the best way he knew how.

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Daniel touched the quantum mirror and felt the familiar tingle as he reappeared on the other side, the feeling of displacement quickly evaporating. He looked up at the mirror, Sam crying on the other side, in the arms of General Jack O'Neill, a friend he never thought he'd see again.

His heart was happy and sad all at the same time. He would desperately miss Sam, but at the same time, he knew she was finally happy. Finally able to be with the man she had loved from afar for way too long.

A sad smile swept across his face as he watched two of his best friends, a world away, slowly fade as the mirror deactivated.

Teal'c's large hand came to rest on Daniel's shoulder.

"I can't believe they're gone," Daniel finally spoke up.

"They should not be mourned, DanielJackson. ColonelCarter has been unhappy for quite some time. I believe the device, in which you claim is flawed, was correct in sending ColonelCarter to that specific reality."

Daniel's wide, inquisitive eyes turned to take in his large friend. "Really?"

"Indeed, DanielJackson. ColonelCarter has found where she belongs. We should rejoice in her happiness."

Daniel nodded. "Yeah, Teal'c, I think you're right," he told him, taking one more small glance at the mirror. "And, we can always visit."

"Indeed," Teal'c replied, both men turning towards the door.

"So, wanna go with me to inform Hailey she has to fill Sam's shoes permanently now?"

"Indeed."

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Our Reality: right after Ripple Effect

"Hey," Major General Jack O'Neill said, walking in to the lab of Lieutenant Colonel Samantha Carter.

"Hey, yourself," Sam replied, turning and grinning at the silver-haired man still wearing his dress blues. "Briefing over?" she asked, her eyes dancing in merriment as she took in the man before her.

"Uh huh," he replied, picking up a device sitting on her worktable. "Kind of disappointed I missed a roomful of Carters. Damn paperwork, I could've gotten here yesterday before they left."

Sam chuckled. "Sir, exactly what would you do with a roomful of Carters?"

Jack's eyebrows shot up suggestively. "Oh, I could think of a few things, Carter," he drawled out with a sexy smirk.

Sam grinned and shook her head.

"What's this?" he asked, his attention drawing to the doohickey he was playing with.

"It's a device that transports a person to a different reality."

Jack immediately dropped the device, wiping his hands off on his pants as if the device had contaminated them. "What?"

Sam laughed and picked up the device. "Don't worry. It's perfectly harmless to us, look," she said and touched the device to make it hum, a holographic image of herself appearing from the top."

"Sweet!" Jack exclaimed, forgetting his discomfort. "That's one life-like hologram."

"Uh-huh," Sam replied and swept her hand through the hologram, the image rippling as her hand passed through.

"So, how does it transport you to another reality?" Jack questioned.

"It won't send us. It only sends people who are no longer fulfilling their destiny."

"Huh?" Jack asked, cocking his head in disbelief.

Sam grinned again. "It mostly works on people who have lost their significant other. Don't worry, sir, we won't be affected."

"Hmm, is that right, colonel?" Jack hummed, invading her personal space and wrapping an arm around her waist. "And how can you be so sure?"

"You know all those Carters you were so excited about?"

"Uh-huh," he absently replied, his tongue running along her earlobe.

"One of the Carter's lost her Jack," Sam laughed and pushed back when his tongue had reached the ticklish spot behind her ear. "The device sent her to another reality where she ended up marrying the General O'Neill from that reality."

"Really?" Jack asked, pulling back enough to look at Sam, his forehead still pressed against hers.

Sam nodded. "Uh-huh. Their reality is quite different from ours. They've been married for a week now."

"A whole week?" Jack teased.

Sam grinned. "This was her first mission after their impromptu honeymoon."

"Well, then, I'm glad she got home," Jack quietly replied, his lips descending on hers.

When they pulled back, Jack looked in her eyes, lovingly, his hand cupping her face, his thumb caressing her cheek. "Are you ready for our impromptu honeymoon?" he asked.

Sam crinkled her forehead. "I think a wedding is supposed to come first," she replied.

"Yeah, well, once in awhile it's nice to have dessert before dinner," he teased, his smirk spreading to a full grin.

Sam laughed and punched him lightly in the arm, rolling her eyes.

"Fine, fine. We'll have the wedding first," he whined, rubbing his arm dramatically.

Sam looked at him in disbelief as he pulled a small velvet box out from behind him. "So, what do you say?" he asked, a grin still on his face, though his eyes were full of nervousness.

Sam took the ring out of the box and placed it on her finger. "I say, why not have a little dessert before the dinner."

Jack's grin broke across his whole face as he pulled Sam into his arms. "A little dessert can't hurt," he confirmed before capturing her lips in a kiss shared all throughout the infinite multiple realities.

The end.

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A/N: It's been fun writing this. I hope everyone enjoyed the ending. I couldn't resist throwing our reality in at the end. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts. Thanks for sticking with me through this.