Samantha found herself, quite suddenly, standing in the main room of a cabin in Minnesota. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, this was the least surprising thing to happen to her in several weeks. After taking a moment to catch her bearings, she pulled on one of several down jackets hanging by the front door and stepped outside.
The sound of someone chopping wood from the side of the cabin attracted her attention and she stepped over to the right side of the porch. Leaning against the railing, she spent several long, private moments secretly watching her husband work. As if sensing her gaze, he suddenly stopped and looked up, brown eyes smiling straight into her blue.
"Hi, Honey. I'm home!" she called out, unable to resist the joke.
He swung the axe down, firmly planting it in the chopping block before looking back up and replying. "Well, you gonna stand there watching all day, or are you going to come over here and help me carry firewood? The nights get awfully cold."
"That's why I came up here," she teased, "I don't think you'll need this much firewood to stay warm now…" But despite her words, she was already moving to help with the respectable pile of logs he'd split before she'd arrived.
As he loaded logs into her outstretched arms, he asked, "How'd you make it up here so quickly. Last I'd heard you had just decided how to get all those alternate Sams and Dans and Cams and Teal'cs and who knows who else home. Although I had some rather interesting ideas on what to do if you couldn't figure out how to send them all back home…" He raised his eyebrows suggestively.
"What on earth would you want with nineteen Cameron Mitchell's?" Samantha asked innocently as she set her firewood pile down on the porch.
Jack just laughed as he set his down next to hers. "Not exactly what I had in mind…." Changing the subject, he continued as he led her into the cabin, "I take it the Asgard beamed you up here?"
"Yup. Got a three-day pass, and they were around so I figured, what the heck. They still owe us one."
"Or twenty, or thirty—hundred. We did save their entire civilization. Several times."
"That's our specialty." She stepped over to the kitchen and poured two cups of coffee while Jack stirred the fire Sam set both still-steaming mugs on the coffee table as they settled together onto the sofa in front of the roaring flames.
"So, I know how strange things can be having two Carter's around. How strange was it with 18?" Jack asked after several minutes in which their mouths – and various other anatomical parts -- had been involved in more interesting activities than conversation or drinking coffee.
Sam sipped her reclaimed coffee and snuggled back against Jack's chest. "Very." She paused, considering for a moment before continuing. "Did you hear Martouf was on one of the alternate SG-1s?"
He sounded nervous, and she could guess why. She quickly continued. "Well, I've often wondered what would have happened if…"
"Things had been different?"
"Yeah. And now I know."
"Care to share?"
She chuckled. "Don't get too big a head…"
"Well, their Sam and Martouf did get together…" She could feel him stiffen against her back. "But they didn't stay that way. Turns out, she's been married to a certain General O'Neill for nearly three years. In fact, there was no Sam on that team. It seems she's been on Maternity Leave for the last two months."
Now it was his turn to chuckle. "There but for the grace of god…"
She elbowed him gently in the ribs. "Very funny. I found out something else, too. Jolinar's not quite as gone as I'd thought. Seems Martouf was still able to dredge up those old memories. Took me completely by surprise, though."
"Oh?..." More concern.
"Don't worry, Jack. Nothing happened. Let's just say the Asgard only owe you nineteen-ninety-nine or twenty-nine-ninety-nine and leave it at that, okay?" She glanced over her shoulder at him, meeting his eyes squarely.
He seemed to read her reassurance in their depths because that oh-so-familiar mischievous grin lit his features as he asked, "So, give. What about the other eighteen Sam's?"
"Well, in what Cam is calling the 'evil alternate reality', Jacob Carter never died and it seems 'Evil Sam' went on her honeymoon with Pete instead of going back with you and the rest of SG-1 to retrieve the ZPM from ancient Egypt."
"I know you, Carter. You couldn't resist asking the others... "
"Damn it, Jack. You were up nineteen to one counting our reality and the missing Sam. Happy?"
He chuckled, masculine pride clearly satisfied. "Very." And before she could say another word, he had taken her coffee cup, set it down next to his, and begun his equivalent of a victory lap.