Stargate SG1 is somebody else's, probably MGM/Gekko Corp/Sci-Fi, and I freely admit that whoever's it is, I'm borrowing their show and they retain all rights, etc.
Author's Note: So this is a thank you story for everyone who has supported my Stargate fanfiction to date, especially those who have left a review or sent a message. As anyone who writes knows, knowing someone has enjoyed your work is a fantastic feeling.
This story is set after Uninvited in S10 and does have mild spoilers for S10. It is S/J so if you don't like the pairing, please turn away now. There are mild references to adult relationships but nothing overt. I blame the wonderful Shippers over at Gateworld for the fishing and the whipped cream...
'You know you're as bad as Mitchell.' General Hank Landry complained good-naturedly as he sat down beside Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter on the porch bench and gestured at the laptop she had open on her knee. 'You're supposed to be relaxing.'
'Just finishing up my report, sir.' Sam assured him but she saved her work and set the laptop aside, reaching instead for the mug of coffee she had abandoned.
'Hmnph.' Landry sighed and took a gulp of his own coffee. The rest of the occupants of the cabin behind them were in bed after their disturbed night of hunting monsters, an unfortunate side-product of the changes they had made to the Sodan cloaking devices to accommodate human physiology. He'd been surprised to find Sam up. 'This weekend hasn't exactly gone to plan.' He murmured.
'No, sir.' Sam agreed amused. It was one way to describe the events that had disrupted the General's planned team bonding weekend at Jack O'Neill's fishing cabin in Minnesota.
Landry noticed the suppressed laughter in her voice and gave a small chuckle of his own. 'I guess I really should have expected that by now.'
Sam kept quiet.
'I just figured you all deserved a break especially after what happened with Ba'al.' His voice trailed away and he stared unhappily at the ground. It still rankled, he realised, that Ba'al had tricked them and on his watch. He caught the look of dismay that flitted across Sam's face and felt a pang of guilt for mentioning it. He knew the Lieutenant Colonel was still smarting herself from the events of the previous week. She had acquiesced to giving Ba'al the information he wanted as a delaying tactic believing the Goa'uld had no way off the base and had been stunned when he had escaped.
That was his fault, a voice whispered in his head. He'd been too slow to react. He should have locked out her codes; he should have ordered the poison to be released sooner; he should never have kept all the Ba'al clones at the SGC…should haves and what ifs…they were all pretty useless. The fact remained Ba'al had escaped with all the gate addresses in their database, believing one address would lead to the Sangraal; the one weapon that might defeat the Ori. Landry's expression firmed. Well, they would just have to find it before Ba'al; that's all there was to it.
He cleared his throat. 'By the way, Colonel Reynolds was very complimentary about your stint as base commander.'
Sam beamed. 'I enjoyed it.' She admitted.
'Good,' Landry said seriously. 'Because I think you should seriously consider it as a possible command position in the future.'
'Oh, I don't know about that.' Sam said with a self-deprecating laugh.
'I do.' Landry said firmly. 'You're a natural for the role, Colonel.' He gestured at her with his mug. 'You have a ways to go in terms of rank and command experience but I think it should definitely be on your list of goals.' He was torn between disbelief and amusement at the way her cheeks went pink at the compliment.
'Thank you for the vote of confidence, sir.' Sam said gratefully. It was good to get the validation after her mistake with Ba'al, she thought.
'I should be the one thanking you.' Landry commented with a huff of laughter.
'What for, sir?' Sam asked quizzically.
'For coming back to the SGC.' Landry said his brown eyes meeting her blue ones directly. 'I know it hasn't been easy for you.'
Sam shrugged. Her transfer back to the SGC ultimately hadn't been her decision; the escalating threat of the Ori had prompted the Pentagon into ordering her back. But then, it hadn't really been her decision to leave, she mused. The decision she had made was to pursue a relationship with Jack. It had inevitably led to a discussion with the Air Force about how to handle their status given Jack had been her CO at the time and they had both refused to let the other leave the Air Force. They had found their superiors sympathetic but eager not to set a precedent for exempting two senior ranking officers no matter how many times they had saved the world. The compromise had been to allow them to have a relationship but to move to non-combatant status; Jack to a position in Homeworld Security as Special Advisor to the President and Sam to Area 51 as Stargate R&D commander. Although Jack would have some oversight over her work, there was less potential conflict of interest and enough layers between them to offset the regulations and allow the Air Force to agree the exemption they needed.
Jack had been just as unhappy as she had been, Sam remembered fondly. He'd wanted her to remain as SG1 leader, partly worried that she might come to resent him in time for the loss of her field command. Sam hadn't worried about that but she had worked hard for her position and she would never claim giving it up had been easy. Leaving the SGC and especially the other members of SG1, Daniel Jackson and Teal'c, had been anything but.
But it had been worth it.
She and Jack had gotten their chance to be together and they had grasped it with both hands, marrying in a quiet ceremony with only their close friends and family present. Jack managed to wheedle the Air Force into basing him out of Area 51 although he still travelled a lot into Washington and as an additional benefit they were close to where Cassie Fraiser had started med school. Cassie provided a useful cover story for them given the other condition on their exemption was that they were discreet about their relationship. Both of them had started their life together determined to make the most of it.
Sam had tackled her new command with enthusiasm and discovered that she enjoyed it. Having the time to focus on her research projects, tweak the technology on the 302s and 303s brought her immense satisfaction. Additionally, she had found herself in charge of a large team of scientists and engineers. In many ways it had given her challenges in command she had never faced leading Daniel and Teal'c, and she had risen to them. She had been surprised to find herself happily turning down Cameron Mitchell's plea to return to the SGC and even more surprised to realise that she would have done so even if she hadn't known it was unlikely the Air Force would approve a transfer back. Of course that was before Daniel had run into the Ori.
The order to return to the SGC after the Ori's first attempt at a Supergate hadn't been a surprise; the IOA had demanded Sam and Jack's return. In the end, the President had refused to completely let go of Jack and her husband was splitting his time between duties in Washington and spending time at the SGC. Sam had simply been summarily reassigned to the SGC by the Air Force and in doing so had found herself without a command. The Air Force had no intentions of being seen to give into the IOA completely and have Sam resume command of SG1. Jack had been apoplectic about it; she had been realistic. It had happened; there was nothing she, or he, could do about it.
Landry, at least, had tried to make it easier on her; she reported to him and the General gave her mission commands more often than not although Mitchell retained formal leadership of SG1. It might have looked like favouritism; Landry was Jack's friend after all but she barely knew the General even after months of working with him. It was also lucky she had a good relationship with Mitchell, she considered. Still, Landry's comment that it hadn't been easy for her to return to the SGC was fairly accurate.
Landry's dry voice brought her out of her musings and she refocused her attention on the General with his brush of sticky-up brown hair and piercing dark eyes.
'I truly believe you and the rest of SG1 are the key to us winning this fight.'
Sam repressed a smile. This was obviously the pep talk the General had wanted to give them all. She wondered if Mitchell had heard a variation during his time alone with Landry. 'We'll do our best, sir.'
He nodded. 'I know you will, Colonel.'
Sam breathed in the fresh air and settled back drinking her almost cold coffee without thinking.
'I don't know how Jack stays away from this place.' Landry commented as he followed her example and relaxed beside her, his eyes drinking in the sight of the green trees and the blue sky.
'We still come up every opportunity we get.' Sam replied absently.
Landry smiled noticing the use of the 'we'. He and the rest of SG1 were amongst the few people aware of their marriage. 'You know,' he suggested casually, 'I have to head back to the SGC this afternoon and the others will probably follow but if you wanted to take some time…'
Sam's blue eyes flew to him startled as she considered his offer. Maybe her husband could get away too…she cleared her throat. 'Are you sure, sir?'
'Absolutely. The whole purpose of this was for you all to take some time off.' Landry said firmly. 'I'll see to the paperwork when I get back to base and I'll make sure Jack knows where you are.' He smiled and winked at her.
She coloured which only served to broaden his smile further and she felt the same reckless spark that had led to her victory at poker earlier that morning. She stood up, her chin lifting challenging. 'Thank you, sir.' Sam said sweetly. 'Would you remind him we're out of whipped cream too?'
The sight of her CO going bright red had her grinning as she made her way back into the cabin.
'Are you sure you want to stay here on your own, Sam?' Cameron Mitchell opened the car door and turned to look at his team-mate sceptically. They had just watched General Landry leave in a helicopter and Mitchell was about to depart taking with him their SG1 team-mate, Teal'c and the newest addition to the SGC, Vala Mal Doran.
Sam smiled at him and nodded at his doubtful expression. 'I have stayed here before, Cam and I'll be fine; don't worry.'
Mitchell frowned. 'What if there's another monster in the woods?'
She repressed the urge to sigh and pushed her hands into the back pockets of her jeans. 'It's unlikely that there's a third monster.' She repeated. 'Besides, I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself.'
There was a note in her voice that warned Mitchell to back off and he did, nodding his head slowly in agreement. He gestured back to the cabin. 'I wouldn't have thought fishing was your thing.'
Her blue eyes lit up. 'It has its attractions.'
'Indeed.' Teal'c's amusement from knowing exactly what attractions Sam had discovered in fishing coloured the single word and Sam turned to grin at him.
Vala shuffled impatiently beside the Jaffa and waggled her dark eyebrows at Mitchell questioningly. He shrugged; he had no idea what Teal'c and Sam were referring to either. Although he had worked with SG1 for the better part of a year, there were still times he felt just as much as a newbie as the former Goa'uld. He tapped the roof of his car. 'Well, we'd better get moving.'
'I'll see you back at the SGC in a couple of days.' Sam confirmed as she hugged Teal'c goodbye. She was taken aback when Vala reached for her, obviously following her own example with Teal'c, but Sam returned the other woman's enthusiastic hug and gave her a bemused pat on her back. She watched the three of them climb into Mitchell's small car, biting her lip to stop from laughing out loud as Teal'c folded his large body into the classic vehicle. A few seconds later, she waved them away back down the dirt road that led up to the cabin and gave a sigh of relief; she was on her own.
She breathed in a lungful of air and slowly breathed out, feeling her shoulders loosen, her body relax. She could scent the moisture in the air from the rainstorm; the fresh smell of wet leaves and grass permeating the woody trees. Her nose wrinkled and she stepped back into the cabin. Sam wandered into the kitchen and looked at the stack of dirty dishes with a frown, her blithe assurance to the others that she would take care of them coming back to her regretfully. She hadn't wanted to delay their departure, she reminded herself. She rolled up the sleeves of her checked shirt, and blue polo undershirt and started to fill the sink with soapy water.
The act of washing dishes and stacking them neatly into the drainer was surprisingly soothing and she found her mind drifting again to her conversation with Landry. She blushed. What on earth had she been thinking making that remark about whipped cream? She sighed. She had been thinking her CO was out of order with his suggestive wink; that's what she had been thinking, she reminded herself. She started to grin as she remembered Landry's embarrassment. Maybe he would think twice in future.
It would be good if Jack could get away, Sam mused. The last time they had seen each other was just after she'd got back from the Pegasus galaxy a few weeks before. Jack had been at the SGC for the debriefing and they had managed to be in the same place for a couple of days before she went off-world to Sahal. Their long distance relationship hadn't been so bad in the beginning; apart from the incident with the Ori plague, Jack had managed to split his time pretty evenly between Washington and Colorado with the visits to the latter neatly coinciding when Sam was scheduled to be Earth-side. It had gotten more difficult since the Ori had successfully created the Supergate and SG1's visit to Atlantis hadn't helped. Sam calculated that they had actually seen each for a grand total of six days in the last two months, and not all of those had been consecutive. It just wasn't enough.
She placed the last plate in the drainer and set about making a fresh pot of coffee. As the daughter of an Air Force General, she understood that long distance relationships were the norm in the military. Anyone who served was subject to the whims of the service and the assignments they were given. She knew she and Jack were luckier than some couples who went for months without seeing each other. Still…she'd like to spend some time with her husband, Sam thought tiredly.
Sam poured a mug of the coffee and headed back into the living room with her laptop. She'd finish her report and then call Jack to check whether he could get away; if he couldn't then she'd travel to Washington, she decided. Either way she wasn't going to miss the opportunity to spend time with him.
It was the sound of the helicopter that woke her. She jerked into an upright position and wondered when she had actually lain down on the sofa. Her laptop was on the floor and she had a vague memory of switching it off after sending her report in. She frowned; she must have fallen asleep. Shouts outside caught her attention and she hurried over to the window. She started to smile. An Air Force chopper was sat in the clearing outside the cabin and a certain grey-haired General was clearing its beating rotors, waving a thank you to the pilot before the machine ascended back into the sky. She hurried from the room to meet her husband.
Jack dropped the bag just inside the door and caught his wife as she threw herself into his arms. He kicked the door shut as he wrapped her tightly against him, his lips meeting hers eagerly. They made their way to the bedroom stealing kisses and undressing as they went. It was some time before either of them spoke.
They were lying wrapped up in each other's arms in the bed, the afternoon sunlight flooding over them. His fingers gently stroked her hair away from her face as he gazed at her with the sense of wonderment he always had when it hit him that she was really, finally, his.
'I hate this.' Sam muttered as she laid the palm of her hand against his rough cheek.
Jack's eyebrows tweaked upwards in surprise. 'I could shave.' He offered.
'No…' she laughed, 'not you.' She sighed and met his questioning brown eyes. 'I hate not being with you. Snatching moments like this. It's not enough.'
'Yeah.' Jack agreed. 'It sucks.' He shifted their position a little to look at her fully. 'I could retire.'
'The President wouldn't let you and besides, you're needed.' Sam pointed out. She bit her lip. 'I could resign.'
'I won't let you.' Jack objected. 'And besides,' he added, 'you're needed.' He smiled at her. 'Hank told me you did a great job running the SGC and that you worked out these monster things all at the same time.'
'It wasn't just me.' She sighed and lifted one bare shoulder from the pillows. 'I guess we just keep doing what we're doing.'
'No.' Jack stated linking their hands and squeezing hers reassuringly. 'I'll talk to the President; see if I can't persuade him that I need to spend more time at the SGC.' He leaned forward and kissed her. Her stomach growled. He lifted his head. 'Somebody's hungry.'
'I need food.' Sam admitted. She dropped a quick kiss on his lips. 'I'll get up and make something.'
'We'll get up.' Jack corrected as he followed her off the bed and into the bathroom.
Their food was slightly delayed by their decision to have a joint shower and they were both hungry when they sat down at the table to enjoy the makeshift meal they had put together. They lingered at the table, holding hands across the wooden surface as they talked and caught up with each other.
'Daniel still in England?' Jack asked.
Sam nodded. 'He met some earl with a private library of books about Merlin and Morgan.'
'Ah.' Jack shook his head. He hoped the find would raise the archaeologist's spirits; Daniel had been down ever since his trip to the Pegasus galaxy and his run in with Morgan Le Fey. Realising the Ascended Ancients weren't going to help them in the fight with the Ori had been tough for Daniel to assimilate and it hadn't helped that the two addresses they'd retrieved from Morgan had turned out to be dead ends. 'When are we planning to extract him if he doesn't show up?'
'Friday.' Sam said grinning. Her smile fell away. 'I just hope he finds something to give us a lead.'
Jack's expression softened and his thumb stroked over her hand. 'We'll find the Sangraal before Ba'al.'
'How can you be so sure?' Sam asked seeing the surety of his statement gleaming in his eyes.
'Because Ba'al is an overdressed pompous son of a bitch and we're smarter than he is.' Jack said firmly.
'I don't know about that.' Sam sighed. 'I should have worked out his escape plan way before it happened. I can't believe I missed seeing how bringing all the Ba'als together would boost their locator beacon signal to punch through the jamming technology.' She frowned. 'I should never have given him the information.'
'No,' Jack agreed, 'you shouldn't but I'm glad you did.'
Her eyes flew to his.
'Ba'al's an expert at torture, Sam.' Jack said quietly. 'He would have followed through on his threat to kill the hostages and if that hadn't got you talking, he would have started on you.' He held her gaze. 'I know exactly what he can do and I'm glad you didn't go through that.'
Sam's thumb stroked over his knuckles. She remembered too well the details of Jack's torture from his report.
'Besides,' Jack continued, 'you shouldn't have been put in that position. Your codes should have been locked out as soon as you got captured.'
'Maybe.' She muttered.
In Jack's head there were no maybes about it. He opened his mouth to speak but there was a loud clatter outside the cabin. Both of their heads snapped to the front door. They turned to look at each other before they both hurried from the table to grab shotguns. He silently signalled for her to circle around back; he'd take the front.
He opened the door silently and stepped out onto the porch cautiously, the shotgun was poised to shoot as he let his eyes adjust to the gathering gloom. He slowly looked around the empty clearing; his gaze glancing off the rental truck parked up on the far side.
He relaxed imperceptibly. Maybe all the talk about monsters over dinner had spooked them both, he thought amused at the idea. He started to lower the shotgun.
There was a shriek and the beast bounded toward him so quickly he barely had time to raise his weapon. His first shot hit the beast in the side. It staggered and slowed. Sam fired another shot from the side of the cabin; this time at the beast's chest. It impacted and the thing growled before it turned and ran. Jack's second shot missed; Sam's hit it in the back but it didn't slow it down as it disappeared into the foliage.
Jack lowered the shotgun, his heart pounding as Sam walked up beside him. 'Was that…?'
'One of the mutated monsters from the Sodan cloaking devices?' Sam nodded. 'I think so.'
'I thought you said you guys got them all.' Jack said a little heatedly.
'I said it was unlikely there was a third one.' Sam corrected exasperated. 'Obviously there was, I mean, is.' She looked up at the night sky. 'The second radiation packages were dropped earlier. It must have driven it into this area.'
'Good for it.' Jack said glibly. He hefted the shotgun and gestured at the underbrush. 'Call the base, Carter. We're going to need bigger guns.'
Sam's lips twitched at his furious expression; the monster had obviously pissed off the wrong General.
Sam shook her head at the strange sense of déjà vu from standing in a field command tent in front of the cabin for the second night in a row and grasped her gun firmly as she began the debriefing. 'Earlier this evening, General O'Neill and I shot at an unknown creature which is likely another mutated animal from the extra-dimensional parasites attracted by the Sodan cloaking devices.'
'I told you there might be a third.' Vala interrupted smugly. 'Did I not say…'
'Yes, you said. Several times already.' Jack interrupted brusquely. 'And now you're shutting up.' He ordered.
Vala opened her mouth to protest before her eyes caught on Jack's steady resolute gaze. Teal'c standing beside the General gave a subtle shake of his head and she took the hint. She closed her mouth again and subsided back into her place beside Mitchell.
'We think the creature is in this area.' Sam indicated a small circle on the map; the cabin was in the centre. 'Same plan as last night but as we have less personnel available it will be teams of two. We'll conduct grid sweeps, no more than three hundred metres apart with radio contact every ten minutes.'
'Great. Let's move out.' Jack ordered. He watched as Colonel Reynolds fell in beside Sam and sighed. He knew he couldn't pair up with her for appearances' sake but he still wished it was him and not Reynolds. Teal'c nodded at him before the Jaffa gently steered Vala into the forest.
'You ready, sir?' Mitchell asked respectfully.
Jack slapped an olive green baseball cap on his head and waved a hand at the forest. 'After you, Mitchell.' He followed the younger man into the foliage and began searching.
It occurred to Jack after a little while that he was strangely relaxed given he was in the middle of a dark wood hunting a monster. It felt a little strange to be back in the green BDU of the SGC but good. He was getting too used to wearing the suit, Jack mused. He hated the suit; another reason why he needed to spend more time at the SGC apart from the fact that he missed Sam like crazy. He sighed and focused on the mission. 'Anything, Mitchell?'
'No, sir.' Mitchell replied. His eyes pinned to the hand-held scanner. 'You said you and Colonel Carter wounded it?'
'Yep. Didn't slow it down any.' Jack noted.
Mitchell nodded. 'The two we bagged last night were big critters.' He looked over at Jack. 'You enjoy hunting, sir?'
'I prefer fishing.' Jack replied easily.
The radio crackled to life. 'Sir, we're picking up a signal to the north west of your position.' Sam informed him crisply.
'Understood, Carter.' Jack replied. 'Mitchell?'
'We're still not showing anything.' Mitchell said frowning.
'Are you sure that thing is working?'
Mitchell tilted his head. 'It was working last night, sir.'
Jack stopped and signalled for Mitchell to do the same. He reached for his radio. 'Carter, we're not getting anything. Can you confirm signal?'
'Yes, sir.' Sam reported.
'We don't see it, Carter.' Jack radioed back. 'We're holding position.'
'We are also picking up on a signal closing in on your position, O'Neill.' Teal'c's low voice rumbled through the radio.
'We're on our way to you.' Sam radioed.
'Roger that.' Jack looked Mitchell. 'Back to back.' He ordered and stared hard at the foliage as the other man took his place behind him.
'Do you see anything, sir?' Mitchell asked, his eyes scanning the trees. His finger caressed the trigger on the P90 he held.
'Just take it easy, Mitchell.' Jack said calmly. 'And unless you have a visual on the monster, hold your fire. It could be one of our people.'
'I realise that, sir.' Mitchell retorted slightly stung at the order.
'Good.' Jack said breezily.
There was an uneasy silence; the only sounds their harsh breathing in the darkness.
Mitchell cleared his throat. 'Sir, may I ask you something?'
'Sure.' Jack agreed.
'You were SG1 leader for a long time…' Mitchell began.
'How did you do it?'
Jack frowned in confusion. 'Do what, Mitchell?'
'Control the rest of SG1, sir. Daniel, Teal'c.' He cocked his head with a rueful smile. 'Colonel Carter.'
'You don't.' Jack shot back.
'You don't?' Mitchell asked incredulous.
'You've been leading them for a while now, Mitchell.' Jack commented bluntly. 'What have you learnt?'
'That I can't do it without them, sir.' Mitchell responded without hesitation.
'There you go.' Jack said gesturing in the darkness.
'Yes, sir.' Mitchell's frustration bled through the simple words.
Jack sighed heavily. 'Trust them, Mitchell.' He said quietly. 'They'll keep you alive; and you do your best to keep them alive. It's that simple.' He debated whether to say the rest and gave in. 'You're doing OK, Mitchell.'
'Thank you, sir.' Mitchell said grateful for the other man's seal of approval. He didn't even try to pretend it didn't mean something to him to get it.
'Well, you're all still alive.' Jack pointed out. 'That's something.'
'Yes, sir.' Mitchell replied grinning.
The bushes rustled and he raised his gun.
An instant later, Teal'c appeared. Jack breathed in sharply and lowered the gun infinitesimally.
'So where is it?' Vala said loudly coming up to stand beside the Jaffa, her eyes pinned to the scanner she held. 'It should be right here.'
Mitchell closed his eyes briefly at her words in exasperation before he opened them again. He immediately spotted the beast over Teal'c's left shoulder. 'Down, Teal'c.' He yelled as he raised his gun.
The Jaffa threw himself at Vala and took them both down into the thicket as Mitchell pressed the trigger on his weapon. Jack whirled around his gun spitting fire into the darkness to back him up. The beast screamed and lurched away.
'Where did it go?' Mitchell asked.
'I don't see it.' Jack admitted. 'Teal'c, Vala. You guys alright?'
Vala looked up at Teal'c lying above her, protecting her. 'You know, Muscles, we seem to be making a habit of this.'
Teal'c's eyebrow arched upwards and the slightest smirk crossed his lips. He turned his head towards Jack. 'We are both well, O'Neill.' His dark eyes widened. 'O'Neill! Behind you!'
Jack and Mitchell spun around.
The beast galloped toward them.
Both fumbled for their guns.
Bullets flew from the left in a stream of white across the dark.
The monster jerked rapidly at the onslaught; it staggered and fell inches from them.
Jack's head snapped to their left.
Sam lowered her gun. Her eyes met his across the small space and they exchanged a look of complete understanding.
He cleared his throat. 'Nice timing, Carter.'
She grinned back at him. 'Yes, sir.'
Jack glanced behind him at Teal'c who was helping Vala to her feet and then at the younger man beside him who was stood transfixed at the sight of the dead monster. 'You OK, Mitchell?'
Mitchell's piercing blue eyes looked from the dead animal to Teal'c to Sam and back to Jack. 'Yes, sir. We're all still alive.'
Jack smiled and patted his shoulder. It took them a while to see to the transportation of the dead monster and to sweep the forest again. Jack finally called a halt at day-break and they all headed back to the cabin.
Teal'c, Mitchell and Vala lounged against the helicopter and watched the Air Force vehicles pulling away.
Sam walked up to join them. 'You guys all set to head back?'
Mitchell nodded. 'You got everything you need here?'
Sam looked over her shoulder at the front porch where Jack was pacing, speaking on the phone animatedly. She nodded. 'I've got everything.'
'Yes, you do.' Vala agreed her blue eyes sparkling as they met Sam's. 'I believe I understand the attraction of fishing now.'
Sam merely smiled smugly at the other woman.
Mitchell straightened suddenly and Sam wasn't surprised when she felt Jack beside her a moment later.
Jack waved the phone at them. 'That was Daniel. He says hello. He's getting the next flight back. He says he's sorry he missed the fun.'
Sam looked at her husband knowingly. 'No, he isn't.'
'No.' Jack agreed cheerfully. 'He isn't.'
It took a few minutes to say their goodbyes before he and Sam retreated to the porch and watched the helicopter disappear into the morning sky.
Jack slid his arms around his wife. 'Does Vala usually hug people goodbye like that?'
'That would be my fault.' Sam admitted as shifted to face him and hooked her arms around his neck. 'I hugged Teal'c goodbye yesterday.'
'You know I'm pretty sure she felt me up.' Jack said sounding slightly scandalised.
Sam smiled. 'Probably looking for your wallet.'
'Hmmm.' Jack frowned. 'Daniel's really sure about her?'
She nodded. 'Vala's OK.'
Jack searched her expression. 'I do believe you like her.'
Sam smiled but didn't reply. The other woman might be opportunistic and have her own self-interests at heart a lot of the time but Sam admired the strength of character that had enabled Vala to survive her time as a Goa'uld host and make her way in the universe afterward. She would admit Vala could be annoying from a purely military perspective of following orders and procedure but outside of mission critical situations, Sam was often amused by the other woman's slightly outrageous behaviour.
Jack smoothed a hand down her back. 'Now where were we before we got interrupted?'
'Right about here.' Sam said.
They kissed deeply before they walked back into the cabin, their arms around each other. The door closed behind them and Sam made for their bedroom as Jack picked up his abandoned bag.
'Hmmm?' Sam stopped in the doorway and looked back at Jack.
His brown eyes twinkled at her and he drew out an object from his duffle bag. He waved the canister of whipped cream at her. 'You want to tell me why Hank told me to bring this?' He asked his voice brimming with suppressed laughter.
Sam felt her cheeks heat with mortification; she couldn't believe that Landry had actually mentioned it to Jack. She groaned and covered her face with her hands. 'I can't believe I said that to him.'
'He was impressed.' Jack said walking over to her still holding the whipped cream.
Sam lowered her hands. 'He was?'
'Said you put him in his place.' His arms slid around her waist, tugged her towards him.
'He did? I did?' Sam's lips quirked upwards.
Jack nodded as she returned the hug. 'I told him he shouldn't have needed to be put in his place.'
She warmed at his wholehearted support of her. 'Have I told you how much I love you yet, General O'Neill?'
'I have a feeling you're about to, Colonel Carter.'
'That would be your deductive reasoning skills at work?' Sam teased.
'That would be them.' Jack dipped his head and caught her lips in a slow, deep kiss that left them both breathless. She took his hand to lead him into to the bedroom and stopped as he went to place the whipped cream canister on a side table. She leaned back and snagged it.
'It would be shame to waste it.' Sam grinned wickedly. She could be a little outrageous herself on occasion, she considered happily as she sashayed past her stunned husband.
'Yes, ma'am.' Jack said as he hurried after his wife and closed the bedroom door firmly. Yep; he definitely preferred fishing.