"Spending a lot of time here, aren't you?" Jack accused Daniel walking into the Ancient database interface room.
"I like the more personable interface."
"It's not her you know."
"And Rodney's always complaining about the drain."
"I am not." McKay said, hitting his head on the underside of the table.
Jack looked under the table to find Rodney working.
"He's been like that all day," Daniel explained.
"He's been like that as long as I've known him," Jack accused.
"I have not." Rodney defended.
"Tell her you're sorry, Rodney." Daniel pleaded in a tone that indicated it was not the first time he had made that recommendation.
"I will not. I didn't do anything wrong."
"Who are we talking about?" Jack interrupted.
"Oh, well then definitely apologize." Jack recommended.
Rodney looked exasperated.
"She yelled at me, you know." Daniel told Jack.
Jack pointed at the blinking hologram, "Her or Jennifer?"
"Yeah, she's been like that for weeks." Jack acknowledged.
"You know why?" Daniel inquired.
"I know what the problem is." McKay interjected.
"So you can fix the database?" Daniel asked.
"No, I know what Sam's problem is. This is more of an engineering issue, Dr. Zelenka can fix it faster. It would be a waste of my valuable time."
"What's wrong with Sam?" Jack asked now concerned that Rodney would know what was wrong with his wife and he wouldn't.
"It's physics, gentlemen."
"She's been driving us all in the Physics Department nuts with questions of time travel paradoxes. Now, I happen to be one of the few that has the clearance to know that it is not merely an idle curiosity of hers. It is a paradox that Anna is here and her past as been changed and how her existence came into being when technically she no longer has a "birth day". So she is waiting for that particular moment to pass."
"What will happen?"
"That's the point. I mean certainly if one of us knew it would be me or, I suppose, Sam, but we don't at this point. It is just a thought experiment and will be until Anna's real "birth date" has passed.
"Should I be concerned?" Jack asked.
"I don't know. I mean this isn't some 80's sci-fi movie. She is here. There is no precedence that she will just disappear from existence. But then again we don't really know enough about time travel to predict-"
A knot developed in Jack's stomach, one he was sure Sam had been living with for the past 11 years. He suddenly looked concerned.
"So you're going to the cabin for Anna's birthday?" Daniel interrupted.
"Yeah, we always do. I'd better go. I have to help get the kids packed."
Living on Atlantis had been something Jack would not have imagined for his family. Living on Atlantis secretly in the San Francisco Bay was even more unimaginable. But they had been here now for seven years. They had tried for years to keep Anna in her school with a normal life, but complications of their work made that all but impossible. When Atlantis returned to Earth, Jack requested reassignment. There was already a community established there and more were quickly reassigned. The city was huge. Researching the city took teams of scientists. Sam was happier than he had ever seen her. Security was not an issue and living within the safety of Atlantis they soon had two more children.
The drive had not been as much fun as he had hoped. Jack knew they didn't have to drive to get there anymore, but he wanted the kids to have memories of trips to Minnesota that did not include just beaming in. Sam and Anna were quiet much of the trip. Jack felt like he was the only one entertaining six year old Grace and four year old Jake most of the time and was grateful to get there and let them run around.
Anna's birthday had been full of fishing, laughing and most importantly cake. Now the sun had set and it was getting late. Sam lay in the hammock with Anna. They looked at the stars naming the consolations and laughing, holding tight to one another.
Jack left them alone. Sam had been on edge most of the day, but she seemed to relax at dinner. Sam had watched Anna closely all day and Anna gave her a hard time of it. Anna was following in her mother's footsteps and planned to attend the Academy next year. Certainly the significance of the day was not lost on Anna's scientific mind, but thankfully she seemed to be handling it with all of the arrogance of an invincible teenager. He saw Sam kiss Anna's head and then they got out of the hammock, giggling some more.
"Goodnight, Daddy. Thanks for a great birthday!" She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.
He looked at her intently, "Happy Birthday."
"Seriously Dad, not you too. I'm fine. Look all here," she turned around. She was the spitting image of Sam, tall, lanky and blonde, except the eyes. Those she got from him.
"Sure thing, Princess." He nodded and she headed toward the cabin.
Sam stayed over by the lake and he hesitated until his beer was gone, but concern got the better of him and he came to stand with her.
"Hi. Kids are in bed. I told them you would tuck them in – after they were asleep. Jake insisted he would wait up for you, but you know that never happens," he smiled.
"Are you alright?"
"I'm a Physicist!"
"Honey, I've been aware of that since the day we met."
"There are certain things that are not supposed to be possible."
"So you've mentioned once or twice…"
"Anna's has never been born in our timeline."
"Yeah and yet she's here."
"I didn't know what would happen today… When the day she was supposed to have been born passed. It's just-"
"You needed to get past the time she was born, at 1551 to let it go. Rodney explained or tried too."
"Yeah. So you're okay?"
She looked thoughtful for a moment, "Yeah, I'm good."
"Good, so what are we going to do tomorrow?"
"Oh, I like that plan." He put his arms around her and they looked out over the cool spring pond and he could hear Anna's little voice sing to him across the water. "It's a beautiful day for the fish to play!"
The End. Thank you.