EPILOG: WHAT WILL REALLY SAVE THE WORLD?
In the end it is love that will save the world.
Seven weeks after little Jon's birth, Janet and Daniel hosted a family party to celebrate the baby's christening and another surprisingly happy family event.
Jon, now weighing in at a whopping four and a half pounds, had come home just one week earlier, two weeks before his due date. The baby had progressed as Luke had predicted, steadily gaining weight and gradually able to take nourishment by conventional means. Though still unable to breast feed, with patience he was able to take sufficient formula using a tiny bottle and special premie nipples.
The tiny baby boy came home to a household where many things had changed in a matter of weeks. Soon after Sam was discharged from the hospital, she'd been visited at home by Orlin and Oma. As promised, they performed the necessary procedures to remove the growth that had infiltrated her brain. In amazing Ancient fashion, this was done without surgery of any sort. Physically, the procedure left no scar or permanent reminder. The terrible headaches were gone as was the telekinesis. Moreover, during this visit, the Ancient emissaries informed the O'Neills that the telekinetic abilities of their children would most likely fade with age, leaving little concern that Jake or Grace might develop similar tumors.
The weeks following Sam's return home were busy to say the least. Sam went to the hospital every day to spend time with Jon. Both she and Jack tried to spend as much time with their new son as possible, making every effort to ensure the bonding that was so important, especially with a high risk infant. Needless to say, balancing Jon's needs with the needs of the twins, who'd been through their own rapid fire changes, was a challenge.
The O'Neills' extended family helped out in this area as much as possible. In the long run, the older munchkins felt as loved and cherished as ever before.
With a third child coming home, Jack decided to cut back on his work commitments, particularly those that demanded regular and frequent absences from home. Two weeks after Jon's birth he requested a meeting with President Hayes and presented his proposal. Actually, it was a statement of fact. He was resigning from Homeworld Security. As anticipated, Henry Hayes initially refused to accept his resignation. Jack's follow-up statements had not been the highlight of his diplomatic career. He'd basically explained to his Commander-in-Chief that if the arrangement was unacceptable, he'd resign his commission completely, take his family through the Stargate and say goodbye to the whole ball of wax.
In the end, President Hayes got the message. Jack was allowed to resign as Head of Homeworld Security. He became Ambassador to the Asgard (Thor's personal request of course). Additionally, he would serve as consultant to the SGC, allowing him to maintain his high security clearance and stay abreast of the challenges Sam would continue to face at work.
Grace and Jake were thrilled to have their baby brother home. They'd been treated royally by the people who loved them over the past few weeks, so there was little reason to see Jon as any threat to their status as beloved children. They'd simply gained new status as big brother and big sister.
Janet and Daniel had planned a simple summer garden party for family. They'd known that where Jack and Sam would appreciate time with friends, they just weren't ready for a big shindig. For now, a barbecue with extended family would be perfect. So of course Teal'c, Cassie and Maureen were there. Gen. Hammond had made it from Washington as well and with him was a new, very important family friend.
"George, glad you could come," Jack welcomed his old CO.
"Wouldn't miss it son," George replied sincerely.
Turning to the man who'd accompanied George Hammond, Jack smiled and held out his hand.
"Welcome, Luke. Make yourself at home."
"Thanks, Jack. It's great to be here," Luke replied, shaking the hand his old adversary had offered.
Once he was certain Jon was in good hands, Dr. Sisko had returned to Washington to check in on his own practice. He'd kept tabs on Jon's condition through Janet; Maureen had kept him up to date on the rest of the family.
In the weeks before Luke had gone home, he'd had more than one challenging conversation with Jack O'Neill. His son's life was enough to make Jack as least willing to listen to the man he'd considered a traitor. As they'd talked, Jack surprised himself with his willingness to give Luke Sisko another chance.
And a good thing that was too, seeing as the man seemed destined to become part of the family. Only a few days ago, Jack had a call from Maureen letting him know that Luke had asked her to marry him and that she'd said 'yes'. So today's gathering was doubling as an informal engagement party.
"Luke, you're here," Maureen cried happily from the house. She came out carrying a tray of food, promptly placed it on the table and joyously threw her arms around her fiancé.
"Can we join the party too?" Sam said, coming out the house holding baby Jon. As usual, Jake and Grace were running three steps ahead of her.
A twin went over to greet each of their favorite uncles, Teal'c and Daniel of course. Then it was big hugs and kisses for Grandpa George and Aunt Janet. Finally Maureen and Luke were brought into the act. Luke had become Uncle Luke very quickly after Jon was born. The fact that the 'baby doctor' had managed to sneak them in to see their little brother right away had made him very popular with the twins.
As everyone began to settle down for a nice meal and a relaxing time together, they were surprised by two more unexpected guests. Out of nowhere, Oma and Beth appeared in front of the nearest flower bed. Oma and Beth appearing out of nowhere would normally be par for the course, but today was different.
"Oma, this is a surprise," Jack said calmly, as he walked over to greet the new arrivals.
"O'Neill, we wanted to thank you before we leave for our new home," Oma began.
"New home, you say?"
"Yes, Jack," Beth said happily. "Mother and I are going far away to a new place where there are many children of Ancient descent. They even have swings!"
Jack was confused. As always, he looked to Sam for help.
"You don't think…?" Sam mouthed quietly to her husband.
Anticipating their question and the questions of the group of friends that had gathered round, Oma explained, "We are both quite mortal now. Silas agreed to teleport us here to say goodbye before the final transport to our new home."
Daniel couldn't resist asking his own questions. "But, what happened? Did you do something they didn't like again, Oma?"
"No, Daniel. Not at all," she began. "Things have changed greatly since we defeated the Ori. Many of the ascended Ancients have decided to restructure or completely change their lives. In particular, the parents of the Innocent have seen their errors and moved to correct them with the help of their children."
"So has everyone … descended?" Jack asked.
"No, not everyone. Many of the parents have simply restructured their lives so that their children live with them on a permanent basis. But others of us, like myself, have decided to recapture our original lives with all the joys and sorrows that were a part of them. Beth and I will live as we had originally been destined, among our people in a community of Ancients."
"And you aren't going to miss… being immortal?" Jack asked skeptically.
"Aunt Sam, do you miss being ascended?" Beth asked innocently.
"No, not at all," Sam answered.
"Of course, it will take getting used to, for both of us. But now I get to hold my little girl in my arms, push her on swings and watch her grow up. I believe the trade is a good one."
"Will we see you again?" Sam asked.
"Probably not, Samantha," Oma answered solemnly. "Indeed that causes me sadness as I know it does Beth. We owe you and your family debts of gratitude which we can never repay. Know this, you will never be forgotten among our people. In fact you are part of us."
"Okay then folks," Jack said. "Think you can persuade old Silas to give you an extra hour or two before he whisks you off to the final destination? We're having a family party here, and right about now, it's looking like you belong."
In the end it is love that will save the world.
Last A/N: Wow! Forty-six chapters!
Thanks to everyone for reading this story.
Special thanks to all of you who have reviewed at any time. Hearing from you was always encouraging.
Extra Special Thanks to "Ilovesg1", who reviewed every single chapter! Wow! No small feat when we're talking 46 chapters. Pretty amazing and much appreciated.
It's been a joy hearing from many of you on a regular basis; your comments and suggestions helped build the story and maintain my enthusiasm for it.
Yes, there will be a Part 6 in the Alone series. It will pick up where Saving the World left off. For a special sneak preview, check out my profile page.
Thanks again for all your support!