Samantha Carter stepped through the doorway into one of the most famous bedrooms in America with Jack O'Neill following closely behind her. She turned to face him as he closed the door firmly, sealing out the rest of the world. He leaned back against the door frame, fumbling to undo the tie knotted around his neck. Jack never did feel comfortable in his dress blues.

"Here," Sam ordered, bending forward to loosen the tie for him. He could be such a little boy. "Better?"

"Oh, yeah," he murmured, his gaze somewhere below her face. He slowly licked his lips as he pulled his eyes back up to hers, the smile on his handsome features anything but boyish. "Much better."

Sam suddenly realized what bending forward must have done to the plunging neckline of her dark blue evening dress. She flushed, knowing she had been tricked. "Jack… We need to talk…"

"Uh-huh," he nodded, stepping towards her, his actions contradicting his words as he reached for her. 'That's what I've been thinking all evening."

"Jack! I mean it…"

He chuckled low in his throat, the sound more a growl than amusement, and Sam suddenly found it very difficult to breathe. "Oh, me too," he agreed. He grabbed her around the waist, pulling her to him, and proceeded to show her exactly what it was he meant.

---------------------------------

Later, Sam sat facing Jack on the small sofa in the bedroom's sitting area. Her knees were tucked up to her chest and she had pulled the fluffy 'Lincoln Bedroom' souvenir robe she was wearing around her legs for added warmth. Sipping her coffee, she silently studied Jack's face, waiting for him to speak. Someone had to break the silence. "Well?" she finally asked.

He glanced up at her, and she could read the indecision in the depths of his eyes. "I honestly don't know, Carter. President Hayes is right. With General Hamm – George – facing mandatory retirement, I am the only logical replacement. It's just…"

He shifted uncomfortably, and she buried her bare toes further under his robed thigh, suddenly needing the increased contact. "I know. But, really, it's not that far from D.C to Colorado Springs. And besides, I'm offworld most of the time –" A flash of pain crossed his face, and she stopped herself. She caught her bottom-lip between her teeth, not wanting to continue, but knowing she had to. She hurriedly concluded, 'We usually get three or four days off at once when we're home, and I can spend them in D.C. almost as easily as in Colorado Springs."

"Yeah…" He breathed in deeply, letting his breath out slowly before continuing, 'I guess."

There was clearly something still bothering him. "What?" she asked.

He looked surprised at her question, then started to chuckle. "Love does make you crazy, Sam. I just realized I could care less about all the shit I thought was making me miserable at the SGC. Not hearing from you for weeks at a time, not knowing where you are or what you're doing -- " She said nothing, merely nodded, waiting for him to come to the logical conclusion. He looked directly at her as he finished. "Even without all the practical 'serve humanity' kinds of reasons… I need to do this."

She nodded again. She had known from the moment the President has suggested Jack take over for George Hammond what his decision would inevitably be. She knew him to well to have any doubt about his honor or his love. "I know." She tried to smile. "Anyway, you would have made a pretty terrible house-husband. Last time you tried to retire, it took you, what, a week to be bored out of your mind?"

"Yeah," he agreed. "But I didn't have coming home to you to look forward too."

She really smiled this time. "Makes almost anything okay, doesn't it?"

He returned her smile. "See, I told you I was nuts. Because right now, even living in D.C. and wearing my dress blues all the time doesn't seem too bad, not when I can do this…" He leaned forward, kissing her gently on the lips.

She arched one eyebrow. "Is that all you've wanted to do?"

He actually laughed. "And this?' Leaning forward again, he pressed his lips more firmly against hers. She opened to him, but instead of accepting her invitation, he caught her lower lip between his teeth, tugging gently before releasing her. "God, I've wanted to do that for years…'

"Years?"

"Oh, yeah. You make it look so good…"

"Jack!"

He smiled unapologetically. "And it is…" He moved still closer, whispering against her lips, "Very good… But not as good as this…," and this time, Jack did not stop until she lay exhausted and satisfied beneath him in the huge Lincoln bed.

-----------------------------

Later, Jack woke up slowly. Carter was curled against him, her head pillowed on his shoulder. He lay for long minutes listening to her breathing, savoring her warmth and softness pressed along the length of his body. Then, as he listened, he realized her breathing was too quick and too shallow. She was awake.

"Carter? Are you awake?" he whispered.

"Yeah… Sorry. I've couldn't sleep. I've been thinking…"

Uh-oh. "Really?"

She chuckled before continuing, "I still need to get away from the SGC until you can find yourself a replacement."

"I've been thinking about that all week. If the Daedulus hadn't been sped into service and was halfway to Atlantis with that ZPM they dug up, I'd suggest you and the rest of the team head out that way for awhile. But as it is…"

"Yeah. Hey… you know, the Prometheus is due for a retrofit, and they haven't gotten anyone to replace Colonel Mallozzi yet, and I really am the best qualified…

He looked down at her, and as she tilted her head up to look at him, Jack couldn't mistake the light shining in her eyes, illuminating her face. "You want to do this, don't you?"

She giggled. "That obvious?"

He hugged her more closely. "To me." The thought of her at Area 51, safely tucked away in a lab even if only temporarily, made him happier than he would ever admit. He knew what would happen if he did, and he could not live with the inevitable consequences.

"But, it would solve the problem… Right?" She looked so uncertain and hopeful. Obviously, Sam still had no idea how impossible it would be for him to deny her this request.

"Yes, and of course considering where it's coming from, it's the perfect solution."

"It's not too terribly far from Area 51 to the SGC, either. I mean, if we're totally miserable…"

He kissed her forehead. "Carter, I've been miserable for the last eight years. Just knowing you're mine – wherever you are – and that when you come home it will be to me, is enough." She smiled, and he continued, "Now, Samantha, I think that covers just about everything we needed to discuss. And, since we have the whole rest of the night in this magnificent room, and it seems such a waste to spend that time sleeping…" He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively, and she giggled.

"Yes, sir. C'mere, sir." He obediently rolled to face her, gathering her into his arms and, for the remainder of the night, neither of them got anymore sleep.