Everything to Me
Rating: T (For some mild language and sexual situations)
Pairing: Sam/Jack, Sam/Other, Jack/Other
Category: Angst, Romance, S/J Established Relationship
Spoilers: Season 8 – Threads; Season 9 – Avalon, Origin, The Ties That Bind, Beachhead, Ex Deus Machina, Ripple Effect.
Set: Just after Season 8 and during Season 9 (before "Crusade")
Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, Gekko Productions, and Sony Pictures Television. No copyright infringement is intended. Created for entertainment not monetary purposes.
Summary: What happens when love is not enough?
Author's Notes: Like many shippers, I was quite perplexed by Season 9. After all, why was Jack looking so depressed in "Origin"? And why did Sam almost kiss Martouf in "Ripple Effect"? So this is how I am going to try and explain what could have been going on between Jack and Sam. I started writing this before Season 9 aired and erroneously thought Sam would be stationed at the Pentagon during her absence from SG-1. So for the purposes of this story, Sam resigned from SG-1 to take a research position at the Pentagon (and to be with Jack in Washington), then transferred to Area 51, and then rejoined SG-1 after "Ex Deus Machina." Flashbacks are in italics.
Jack stormed down the long halls of the Pentagon, eager to reach the sanctuary of his office before yet another high-ranking officer wrangled him into another boring and pointless conversation. He was in no mood to politely stand there and listen to anyone at this moment. It had been a very long and excruciating day of meetings, most of which had consisted of going over budget reports with a fine-toothed comb. This was his life now. Today was like every other day for him ever since he had taken the position of Director of Homeworld Security and had transferred to the Pentagon from the SGC.
Although he liked the title, the promotion to Major General, the paycheck, and the nice parking space near the front door, he had quickly found that he hated every minute of his job. He hated the Pentagon, he hated the politics, and most of all he hated the paperwork and never-ending meetings. He was a man of action, after all. Sitting behind a desk and going over memos and reports was not his thing. And who would have thought that Jack O'Neill would ever spend his days attending meetings...and that he would actually have to pay attention in them? And yet, he did it all because he felt he had an obligation - to his country, to General Hammond, and to Sam.
As he walked, he thought back to that fateful conversation late last spring - the conversation that had landed him in a city he disliked and in a job that he hated. It had been a lazy Sunday afternoon in Colorado Springs. He had been sitting back, drinking a beer, watching a basketball game on TV, and waiting for Sam to arrive. They were planning on having an early dinner as "friends" to discuss his approaching retirement and their plans for the future. When he heard a knock at his door, he obviously expected it to be her. But it hadn't been…
Jack opened the door and peered outside, his eyebrows shooting up in surprise to find his former commanding officer standing in front of him wearing a bright shirt and khakis.
"Hello Jack." Major General George Hammond smiled amiably back at him.
"I thought I told you to call me George."
Jack returned the smile as he opened the door further and motioned for Hammond to enter his humble abode. "Well, you know that I can't do that, sir…at least not until approval for my retirement comes through. You're still my superior officer, after all. So… what brings you to Colorado Springs, General?"
Hammond and Jack made their way into Jack's living room and the older general took a seat in the large armchair near the fireplace. Once he was seated, Hammond answered Jack's earlier question, "I dropped by to spend some time with my grandchildren…and to talk to you."
"Really?" Jack looked at the man in surprise. Nothing sprang to Jack's mind to give him any clue as to what Hammond could want to talk to him about. The SGC and Earth were no longer in danger and Jack was set to retire at the end of the month. "Is something up?"
"Nothing too serious. It's about your retirement…"
Jack chuckled nervously and shook his head in disbelief, hoping that this was a joke... a very bad retirement joke that his friends had put Hammond up to. In fact, he half-expected Sam to come strolling through the door at any second with Daniel and Teal'c in tow. Then he saw the seriousness in Hammond's expression.
Jack's hands shot up in protest and he emphatically shook his head. "Oh, no…the replicators are gone, the Goa'uld are defeated for the most part, the Jaffa are free, and Earth is safe. So unless you are here to congratulate me on a job well done and wish me well in my retirement, I don't want to hear it."
Hammond looked at him, a hint of regret and sympathy in his blue eyes, obviously dreading the fact that he was about to bring all of Jack's plans for the future to an abrupt halt. "The Joint Chiefs and the President have looked over your request for retirement and have decided not to approve it. They all believe that you are still essential to the program, and I agree with them."
"General…not to seem ungrateful, but I have a very good reason for wanting to retire," Jack interrupted.
"I know, Jack," Hammond answered before quietly adding, "I do too."
Those three little words immediately got Jack's attention. "What?"
"I also put in a request for retirement a week or so before you did." Hammond smiled softly as he continued to explain the situation, "I had no idea that you wanted to retire, Jack. I'm very sorry to have to tell you this, but I had already submitted your name to the President to be my replacement."
"But sir..." Jack started, attempting to persuade his CO to give in to his request and then he paused. He slowly sank onto the sofa as the full meaning of Hammond's words finally sunk in. "Wait…you want me to take over for you?"
"Yes, Jack. The way I see it, you are the only man for the job. And the President and Joint Chiefs agree."
Jack rubbed his hands roughly over his face, trying to banish his frustration and suddenly realizing that this was going to be a long and difficult conversation. It was unlikely that either man was going to convince the other of anything. So instead, Jack decided to dig a little deeper. "Why did you decide to retire, sir?"
Hammond shrugged slightly. "Probably for the same reasons you did, Jack. The war with the replicators and the Goa'uld is over and I want to spend time with the people I care about. I'm not a young man anymore. If you remember, I was supposed to retire over eight years ago. Back then I was looking forward to spending time with my daughter and my grandchildren. But then the situation with Apophis came up and it was one thing after another. I felt I owed it to my country and to the people of Earth to continue on at the SGC. But now, I am no longer necessary and I can finally spend more time with those I love."
Jack groaned in frustration. He could see exactly where Hammond was coming from. They had both sacrificed their personal lives for the good of the planet. They had both put duty and honor before their own personal desires. And now, Hammond was asking him to continue making that sacrifice when he himself was so very close to having everything he had wanted for so long.
"I know exactly how you feel, sir."
"I'm sure you do, Jack," Hammond acknowledged. "When I found your retirement request on my desk, I was completely shocked. I had no idea you wanted to leave the SGC. I thought you were finally settling in and enjoying the job. Then I did some checking around and found out that a certain someone is no longer engaged to be married…and that if you retired you could be together." Hammond paused thoughtfully. " I'm sorry about this, Jack. If I had known before that you wanted to retire to be with Sam, I would never have recommended you as my replacement."
Jack smirked mischievously, "Well…can't you just un-submit my name?"
Hammond chuckled lightly at the suggestion and then his expression immediately turned serious once more. "Unfortunately, I can't. You really are still needed, Jack. The SGC and the Atlantis Expedition need you in Washington. There is no one else I can trust to take over the Office of Homeworld Security."
"But, General…you know that I'm no good at the whole Washington thing. I'm not a politician and I'm definitely not a diplomat. One day with me at the Pentagon, I would end up pissing off some congressman or senator and both the SGC and Atlantis would lose all of their funding entirely." Jack paused thoughtfully before suggesting, "What about Davis? He's good with the politicians and big-wigs. He knows how to get the job done."
Hammond scowled, slightly disappointed that Jack was underestimating his own abilities and being so stubborn. "Paul Davis would be perfect for the job, but he is only a lieutenant colonel right now. This is a position for a general, and you know it. No, Jack…the President wants it to be a general and you're the only one I know of with the necessary clearance and knowledge to do the job."
"With all due respect, sir… I'm an idiot. Why would you entrust the future of the SGC and Atlantis to me?" Jack grinned sheepishly at his superior officer.
A scowl once again descended on Hammond's face as he caught onto younger man's meaning. Jack didn't think he was good enough for the job. Jack's obstinacy had always been infuriating, but one thing George Hammond had little patience for was Jack's tendency to put himself down. He was a brilliant officer who knew practically everything about the programs involved with Homeworld Security. And even if he didn't like to admit it, Jack O'Neill was intelligent and clever enough to know how to beat the Washington bureaucrats at their own game. Homeworld Security needed a man like him…especially now.
"Don't give me that bullshit, Jack. We both know you are nowhere close to being an idiot. You are a brilliant soldier who has saved his planet more times than I can count. And the people in Washington know it too."
Hammond's demeanor quickly softened as he continued to explain his reasons for wanting Jack to take the job, "You are a hero, Jack. Don't you realize that? Every time you speak, people will listen to you. Every time you ask for something, the powers that be will take note and do their best to make it happen. Everyone who knows about the Stargate program, knows the sacrifices you have made. Even if they don't like you, even if you do ruffle their feathers a bit, they still respect you and what you have done. In fact, I think you will be able to do much more for the SGC and Atlantis than I was able to do."
Jack was rendered speechless by his commanding officer's words. He never realized how much faith Hammond had in him. He never realized that he had made such an impact. After all, he had just been doing his job all of these years. He was no hero – at least in his own eyes.
"Sir…I'm touched, really. But I'm ready to have a life of my own. Hell, I deserve to have a life of my own. It's just…I've waited so long…"
"To be with Sam?"
"Yes." Jack's answer was immediate and indisputable.
Hammond thought to himself for a moment, his expression guarded and serious. After a few seconds, a knowing smile lit his face, "Why can't you then?"
"Won't I still be in her chain of command? Won't the regulations still apply?"
"Not necessarily…especially if Colonel Carter's request for reassignment is approved."
Jack was shocked and his eyes widened in surprise. "Wait a minute…Carter asked for reassignment?"
"No…well at least she hasn't yet." A shrewd grin erupted on Hammond's face as he thought about the situation. " What if Colonel Carter were to apply for a position as head of Research and Development? There's actually an opening right now that the Pentagon was hoping she would fill, since she is more than qualified for it. In fact, she's a shoe-in. It would be a nice step up for her and it would allow her to have more flexible hours."
"And she would be living in Nevada while I'm stuck in DC," Jack complained.
"Not necessarily. Technically, it is under the joint command of the Office of Scientific Research and the Office of Homeworld Security. She would have to spend a lot of time at the SGC and at Area 51, but the job can be based out of the Pentagon if she so chooses."
"But she would still be in my chain of command," Jack pointed out.
Hammond shook his head. "She could report to the head of the Office of Scientific Research instead. General Wright is a good man and he could be responsible for all of her evaluations and recommendations concerning her career. We can work something out, Jack. The President wants you, son. He is willing to make it worth your while to take the job. Besides, the Pentagon would be thrilled to have Colonel Carter take the position at R+D."
"So let me get this straight. I am being offered the position of Head of Homeworld Security. I will have to move to Washington, fly a desk, deal with the brass and various slimy politicians on appropriations committees, and I am supposed to jump at the chance…why exactly?"
"Duty, Jack. Your country needs you. And I need you to take the job as well. If you don't take it, I can't retire and am stuck there until a suitable replacement can be found."
Jack thought to himself and considered all of what the General was saying. "But if I take this job…I can still be with Sam?"
"Most definitely, Jack. I personally will make sure of it. It will all work out, you'll see."
Jack shook his head, amazed that he was actually even considering this proposition and trying to think of a way to break the news to Sam. "I still have to talk it over with Carter, sir. I don't even know if she wants to head up R+D. She's only been in charge of SG-1 for a year now and she just might want stay at the SGC. But we'll see."
"You go ahead and do that, son. I hope everything works out…for us all."
And so he was now living and working in DC. The only good part of the deal was that he was now allowed to pursue a relationship with Samantha Carter. They had started dating as soon as her transfer had been approved and she was no longer in his chain of command. And hence…the reason he was in a particularly bad mood today.
It was not just the slew of meetings today that had been the sole cause for his present mood. No…the scowl on his face, which had been firmly in place all day, was mostly the result of not being able to welcome the woman he loved to Washington.
Sam had arrived in DC that very morning, after driving hundreds of miles across country the day before. Today she was going to move into her new apartment and then spend the weekend getting everything in order before she had to start her new job at the Pentagon on Monday.
Jack had hoped to make the transition a little easier by being there to help Sam move in her furniture and unpack boxes. If he was honest with himself, he really just wanted to be near her. It had been two whole weeks since he had last seen her and he missed her terribly. But alas, he was stuck at work, having to attend a full day of meetings with bureaucrats and paper-pushers. Boring couldn't even begin to describe it.
Jack turned the corner into the Homeworld Security office suite, loosening his tie as he pushed the door open. As Jack entered the suite, he was immediately greeted by a pretty brunette sergeant sitting behind a reception desk, "Good afternoon, General."
Jack smiled at the young woman's enthusiasm. She was technically just his secretary, but from her attitude you would think she had been given the most important mission ever assigned. 'Oh, to be that young and innocent again,' Jack thought to himself as he casually returned her greeting.
"Hi Marcy. Any calls?"
"No sir," she answered assuredly. "There are a few reports that came in for you to read, though. They're waiting on your desk."
Jack let out an irritated sigh, "Of course there are. Aren't there always?"
In the two months he had been at Homeworld Security, Staff Sergeant Marcy Bedford, General O'Neill's overly eager and efficient administrative assistant, had become as indispensable to him as Walter Harriman had been at the SGC. She made sure that every report and memo was read, every paper filed away where it belonged, and every phone call logged and returned. In short, she was the perfect person to keep him in line and the Office of Homeworld Security functioning properly. She was the complete opposite of him, and he knew he would have been kicked out on his ass by now if it hadn't been for Marcy Bedford's by-the-book attitude and capabilities.
Although she took herself and her job way too seriously, Jack was relieved to find that Marcy also had a rather laid back, pleasant personality. She laughed at his jokes, and had never been hesitant to tease and joke around with her commanding officer on occasion. In all, they had quite a congenial working relationship. Marcy got up from her desk, her uniform annoyingly immaculate as usual, and approached the General with a large pile of papers in her hands.
"Here are some memos you need to read and sign off on, General. You also have a meeting in an hour with Colonel Brooks about the X-302 program budget."
O'Neill looked at her, his face suddenly scrunched up in a combination of distaste and confusion. 'Not another budget meeting,' he thought to himself. He was a man who could hike 20 clicks through the desert, who could battle an entire battalion of Jaffa with just a P-90, and both of those prospects seemed much more desirable at the moment than having to attend yet another discussion about budgets and numbers.
"I thought Webber was going to handle that meeting with Brooks on Monday?" he whined, hoping that Marcy would be empathetic and maybe clear his schedule for the rest of the day so that he could leave early.
Unfortunately, he was not so lucky. Marcy responded with a sympathetic smile and in the most accommodating voice she could muster, she explained the situation.
"Unfortunately, something came up and Colonel Brooks has to fly out to Colorado on Monday for a few weeks and can't make it at the time he originally scheduled with Major Webber. He called to reschedule and this afternoon was the only time available on both of your calendars. And as you know Major Webber had today off, sir. He has quite a lot of leave time built up and decided to take a long weekend. He was going to be back on Monday in time for the meeting."
O'Neill raised his hand, bringing an end to the sergeant's rambling. "Yes...I remember," O'Neill stated, clearly frustrated that his top aide, Major Jason Webber, was not around to handle the meeting in his place. It was just his luck to be stuck with yet another meeting that would probably stretch for at least a couple of hours. 'So much for leaving early to be with Sam,' he thought.
He paused for a moment before looking seriously at the young woman standing before him, "Marcy?"
"Why is it that I can't take long weekends?"
Marcy shot her commanding officer a dazzling smile and teasingly pointed out, "You can, sir. Remember a couple of weeks ago when you went to your cabin?"
As Jack thought back to his time at the cabin, a faraway smile lit his face. It had been four days of pure pleasure. The weather had been perfect, the fishing had been disappointing as usual, but the company had been exquisite.
"Was that only two weeks ago? Seems like a lifetime." He was still deep in thought, remembering back to the last night he and Sam had been together in Minnesota. They spent the whole evening sitting on a wool blanket near his pond, observing the night sky glimmering high overhead. He had held her close in his arms for hours, while they softly talked and laughed, keeping each other warm the whole time. And then he had slowly lowered her back on the blanket and covered her body with his own. His lips found hers and…
"Don't worry, sir. Things will settle down and you'll get back up there again soon enough." Marcy's voice abruptly shook Jack out of his daydreams of Sam.
He frowned slightly, disappointed in having to return to the real world of memos and budgets and being 'the man.' "I can only hope. Thanks, Marcy. I'll get to these memos right now...I promise." Jack shot her a boyish smirk, then turned and crossed the short distance to his office.
Marcy smiled pleasantly at him as he walked away, calling out to him as he went, "I appreciate it, sir."
As the General's form disappeared behind his office door, Marcy Bedford's smile quickly faded. She went back to her desk, sat down, and picked up a small piece of pink paper lying there. She read over the information on it once then crumpled the sheet between her neatly manicured fingers.
She pressed her lips together grimly, as she considered what she was about to do. 'The General is a very busy man,' she told herself, trying to justify her actions. 'No need to bother him with such trivial matters as phone calls that don't pertain to his work.'
With one swift and deadly accurate toss, the crumpled ball of pink paper landed in the wastebasket a few feet from Marcy's desk. After all, what General O'Neill did not know would not hurt him.