The rest of the evening came to be a blur for Sam. By the time she crawled into Jack's bed, she couldn't quite recall how dinner went from the time she shouted "stop" and now. (She knew she'd be able to if she thought about it, but she really didn't want to.)

It was certain to have been disastrous.

A knock on the door. "Sam?" Jack asked softly, opening the door a crack and peeking through.

"Yeah?" she mumbled, not rolling over to look at him.

"Can I come in?"

Sam snorted a laugh. "Of course," she said a bit sadly.

A moment later she felt the bed dip. "Are you mad at me?"

At hearing this question, Sam rolled over and sighed. "No," she admitted. "I got a little…peeved…back there, but I'm not made at you."

Jack nodded. After a moment, he asked, "Wanna cuddle?"

It was so out of the blue and so sweet. Sam smiled weakly, nodded, and rolled over. She felt his chest press against her back as he molded his form to hers. Gently held in his arms, Sam fell asleep blissful minutes later.


(A Few Days Later)

"Merry Christmas, Sam," Jack said, smiling down at her.

Sam blinked, eyes adjusting to the sunlight. "Merry Christmas, Jack," she said, sighing. She wrapped her arms around his neck and shoulders and pulled herself up for a quick kiss.

"Mmm," he said as she let go, resting on the pillows again. "I love you."

Sam quirked an eyebrow. It wasn't all that unusual to hear those three words from her lover, but there was something about this time that seemed playfully suspicious. She'd expected to hear, "I love mornings like this," or, "I love waking up like this."

"I love you, too," she replied nevertheless.

"Marry me?"


Sam's jaw dropped almost as suddenly as his impromptu proposal. "Jack?" she squeaked.

Inside, her conscience was shrieking at her: Why wasn't she yelling, "YES!"? Did she WANT him to think she didn't want to marry him? Was she really going to screw up something she'd – secretly – hoped and even longed for for ages?

"I know it's sudden…" Jack paused, and then got up. Rummaging through the nightstand drawer, he pulled out a tiny velvet box and presented it to her, open to show a diamond ring that sparkled in the morning sun. "I wasn't sure what style you'd want, so I got the basic engagement ring…"

Sam barely looked at the ring; she couldn't seem to take her eyes off him. "Jack?" she asked in a quivering voice.

She caught a glimpse of his worry before he hid it. He sat on the edge of the bed in his nonchalant, masking manner. "Yeah?"

"Tell me this is real," she whispered. "Please?"

She half expected his shit-eating smirk, but received a smile, tender smile that stole her breath into the next century. He lay beside her fully on the bed and said, "It's real, Sam. Marry me?"

Only a millisecond's moment of doubt (Is he asking because of his father's thing about us not marrying?) flashed through her mind before her heart completely and totally dismissed everything. "YES!" she squealed, throwing her arm around him and molding her body to his.

Jack dipped his face into her neck and she felt his smile. He murmured against her flesh, "Thank you, Sam. Thank you so much."

Sam pulled back slightly, and was surprised to see tears in Jack's eyes. He never cried; not from nightmares, not from Gou'ald torture tactics, he didn't even cry the happy kind of tears when he learned about the baby. "I should be thanking you!" she exclaimed. "I – I've been wanting this for a while now. For a long while."

Jack winced slightly, and said, "Me, too, honey. I wasn't sure, though, if it was the right thing or if you wouldn't want to. But the way you handled Dad, the terrible two's, the way you charmed Liz and Ma... I knew it was time. I knew it would work."

"You had doubts we'd work?" Sam asked.

"A bit. I didn't want to propose because of the baby," he said. "I love our baby, of course, I don't mean that! But I always knew that if we married, it would be because of us, not because it was the 'honorable thing' or 'the right thing' to do. None of that. I wanted us to marry for us."

Sam nodded. "I understand." She only half-heard anything he'd said; she was marrying Jack!

"Does this mean I get to be an O'Neill?" she asked cheekily.

Jack's full-brown grin shined at her. "Why, yes. Why, you looking forward to being Mrs. Jack O'Neill?"

Sam's eyes narrowed of their own accord. "Mrs. Samantha Carter-O'Neill, please," she said, her smile still firmly in place despite the indignant correction.

Jack's smile didn't falter either.

And now for the dreaded final words…

The End.

(A/N: Just so you all don't go into cardiac arrest, there will be a sequel! I haven't begun to write it, but I believe the title will be "Surviving Love". No other spoilers! – I'm evil like that –evil grin--)