As the cocktail reception neared its close, Dr. Bill Lee started to search the room for Colonel Samantha Carter. He had had a productive hour, and was going to be meeting up with a certain tall brunette 'friend' once the conference's opening banquet had concluded. Unfortunately, table assignments had gone out weeks ago or he would have actually had a date for the evening. Still, there would be plenty of time later for them to get to know each other.

Now, if he could only find Sam so they could go in and sit down for the dinner. Despite the fact that the time here in Philadelphia was two hours ahead of the time he was used to, Bill was still hungry. He decided to make one final trip to the hors doers table before continuing his search.

Bill turned around a bit too quickly after grabbing several of the few remaining cheese cubes on the table and bumped into the man standing behind him.

"Oh, excuse me –" he began, but then, suddenly realizing who he was speaking to – "General O'Neill… What are you doing here?"

"Grabbing some food. You know, with the welcoming speeches and all, its going to be at least an hour until we get to eat, and it's a long drive up from D.C."

Bill was now completely lost. "Yes, sir," he managed to stammer.

General O'Neill smiled, which was odd enough in and of itself, before correcting him. "And it's just Jack here, Bill. I'm not working." O'Neill – Jack – pulled on his tie, and Bill realized the other man was dressed in a civilian suit. Which wasn't that surprising since Sam was also wearing civvies to this event.

Still, it didn't explain what Jack was doing here. "Then why--?" But Bill's question was interrupted as Sam Carter appeared at Jack's side. "Hi, guys."

To Bill's complete surprise, General Jack O'Neill slipped his arm around his former second-in-command and pulled her to him. Some of Bill's shock must have shown on his face, because Jack chuckled at his reaction. Looking down at the woman tucked against his side, Jack asked her in wonder, "He didn't know?"

Sam bit her lip as she shook her head. Even Bill could tell she was trying to hide a smile. "Nope. I was going to tell him, but he took off with some 'admirers' before I could." She glanced at Bill with a slight grimace. "Sorry, Bill. We've been keeping a low profile for obvious reasons, but I really thought you knew."

He looked at the two Air Force officers, not quite able to believe his eyes. "Knew what?"

"Why did you think I left the SGC, Bill?" Jack asked. "My love of politics? Sam and I have been together now for nearly two years."

"Two… What? You mean… The two of you…?" There had been rumors, of course, when they had both left the SGC that something was going on between them. After all, you'd have had to be blind not to notice how much they were attracted to each other. But Sam had returned to the SGC, and he'd never thought anymore about it. Though, now when he did think about it, she had seemed rather happier and more relaxed since returning. "You're… dating?" he finally asked, still unable to completely believe it.

"No, Bill,' Sam laughed at his amazement, "We're married."

Married? O'Neill and Carter? Unbelievable. And yet, as he looked at them now more clearly, standing in front of him and smiling at each other, Bill found himself believing. In fact, it suddenly seemed hard to believe he hadn't noticed something before. Then, as he looked more closely, he noticed something else. And he suddenly realized why he had been unable to find Sam when he'd been looking for her earlier.

Chuckling now himself, he reached down, grabbed a napkin off the food table, and handed it to Sam. "Just one last thing, Colonel… If you're going to try keeping this relationship a secret for much longer," he said, pointing towards Jack's face. "You might want to make sure to wipe all your lipstick off the General's face before leaving the broom closet -- or wherever you two were…"

With that, Bill Lee walked off, having for once managed to get in the last word. And, when they joined him at their table a few moments later, all trace of the offending lipstick gone, Bill did his best to ignore both the slightly embarrassed look on Samantha Carter's face and the rather infuriatingly smug look on Jack O'Neill's.