V-DAY:

Thanks to everyone who followed and reviewed. This is it, with the epilogue so you don't think I would diss my fave couple by not making their ship actually come in! Silly, irreverent but it's off my chest so back to angst, danger, hurt, yadda, yadda, for Team SG-1. Oh, hope you like the wrap up, love to know what you think.

Summary: Sam's challenge: who wins? The stakes are high: Loser loses all. Jack's rap. (Think old-fashioned rap: the part of a love song that's spoken to the music instead of sung). Conclusion. FLUFF ALERT- VERY HIGH!

A/N: Inspired by Annie's Song as sung by John Denver, but trust me!

IV: Sweet Little Tank Top Number

Jack O'Neill resisted the impulse to rush through the SGC's corridors. Only a few minutes remained before the appointed hour, zero three hundred. Jack felt as nervous as an actor at an audition. Only yesterday he had traversed these halls en route to another assignation.

She, and there was only one She, was still way too angry with him. She was right, of course; he'd led her to expect to see him for Daniel's Valentine's Day party. According to Dr. Lam, Sam was the MC over a fun-riot. Still, she hadn't expected to be the odd wheel, and he shouldn't have left her to feel that way. Not that she'd complained to anyone; she'd simply dealt with it in her way: gave a little joy to others. Besides, Teal'c, Cassie and Daniel more than covered the outrage for her. Jack's ears rung even now.

Jack never expected Sam to pull that sizzling vamp thing that kept him hotwired the rest of the previous night. He was still taking in that picture of her, and still feeling her hot imprint all over him. NOW he knew without a doubt that Sam, his Sam, cared deeply for him. Beyond all reason, she even wanted him in a way he hadn't dared to hope. A fitting punishment, then: if be didn't do this right he'd never be that close to her again.

He would do this. Jack pulled on his coolest aspect. His walk became a long-striding stroll, eating up distance without hurrying. He arrived at Teal'c's door and knocked just as his watch signaled exactly zero three hundred hours. The sound echoed in the silent nook.

The door swung open a half second later and there she stood. In sweat pants and that cropped tank top he favored during the only time he'd ever seen her wear it, the cave-man mission (as he called it). This one was black instead of gray but made her slender neck and arms no less delectable. Oh, and hot.

Sam coolly took in the sight of him in the doorway. She flicked her clear blues over his civvies: blue jeans, black tee shirt and his black leather jacket slung over one shoulder. The expressive eyes grew soft when she noticed he held a single long-stemmed blush rose, in perfect bloom, in his hand. But when she reached for it, he didn't extend it. Instead, Jack raised the rose so that he could inhale it while watching her. He bent toward her and inhaled closely at her ear and neck. She started. He slid the rose lightly around her earlobe.

"Samantha, even a rose doesn't smell as sweet," Jack said, entering around her. He stayed facing the room until he heard her shut the door behind him. There were candles lit to accentuate the one lamp he left on. "I know when I'm in your space. If I close my eyes I could fill my head with you." He tossed his jacket on the bed and waited.

Jack finally turned around, the rose twirling in his hand slowly. Sam stood by the door, waiting for his move. Her lips looked extremely kissable, and her chest rose and fell as her breathing quickened. Jack's eyes softened as he gazed at her; she was so tense. Cautiously, he approached her. He extended the rose but did not allow her to take it. Instead, he lowered the petals onto the junction of her neck and shoulder, lightly stroking her skin there.

"Even when I can't touch you, I know how soft you are, softer even than this," Jack whispered as he closed the distance until he stood close enough to see fine bumps rise on her arms. In the muted lighting, he was captivated by the flush of color that rose from her chest up to her neck and into her cheeks. She had her eyes closed, trying to remain aloof. Not gonna be that easy, he thought. Jack went still. A second later her eyes opened, seeking him. He winked and let the flower travel across her shoulder and down her arm. She gave him a wry, it-was-worth-a-shot smile.

Jack lowered his head to her neck to inhale and exhale. The vein, just there, throbbed; Sam's breathing changed. He did the subtle sniff at the hairs at the nape of her neck. She rolled her shoulder restlessly, which brought his lips in contact with her skin. Jack used that lucky movement to tap his tongue there. This time her reaction was an audible hiss. She turned to him but Jack took her hand and twirled her as if in a dance, and released her. Sam grinned with pleasure.

"You know, talking's never been my thing, Samantha. You and Danny-boy have that covered," Jack began. He sat on the end of the bed, twirling the rose this way and that as he stared at it. "But there's a song I know..."

"Really, sir? Are you going to SING?" Sam asked, truly shocked, "Oh, I have to sit for this." Sam moved toward a chair, unconsciously graceful, tempting.

"Stay," Jack replied. His manner was not in command mode; still Sam halted in surprise. Jack's eyes swept over her, his longing for her naked, unguarded. He saw Sam's mouth open as if to help her breath again. He swallowed, hard. Control, ol' buddy.

----

"Jack..." Sam said softly. Watching him, listening to him she heard him with her heart even as he sought the right words. Words for her from this man of few words. She didn't expect him to come so…softly, especially after she jumped him last night. Yet, his approach was quietly powerful, so like him. Jack had a voice she could listen to for hours; it curled itself inside of her, lulled or seduced or excited – Sam could feel all of those things right now.

He'd barely touched her, but sparks of anticipation lit her nerves and crackled under her skin clamoring for more.

----

Jack stood now and came close to her, the rose at his chin. She looked sympathetic, understanding even. But no, she really didn't know, never really knew it all. That's why they were here tonight.

"Touch," he whispered. Her hand eased up to stroke his upper arm. The muscle tightened in her warm grip. He smirked and preened a little. Smooth one, Sam. "The rose, touch it."

"Oh," Sam replied all innocence. She ran a finger over the velvety petals only to find her finger in his lips. "Ho, boy..." she murmured when his tongue licked and released it. She stood so still, close enough for her warmth, her scent to reach into him.

"Since we met, you've put my senses on overload. You're like a forest at night, all queenly heights and mysterious shadows. Each leaf turns up something new about you. I could spend thousands of nights exploring every limb," and here he paused to catch her eye. Lifting her toned arm, he brushed the rose petals on the sensitive inside of her elbow, then his lips. "Each trunk." Here the rose trailed across her bared abdomen, stopping to wiggle in her navel. She giggled and pulled in reflexively. The sound arrested him; he couldn't help grinning at her. "Yes, the forbidden giggles, I would hunt for them in the day, in the night; they exist only in the forest of Samantha."

Jack eased behind her, breaking his tender gaze to trace her lower back with the rose. Then he used a finger to follow the same path. She arched back as she released a sigh. He really loved causing her to make that sound; he did it again.

"But all of you is different, and when you're not mysterious and deep and so cool, you're like a storm in a desert. Or is that a storm in the briefing room? You take my world, the world around you, and rip it up with your brilliance."

"Jack, I'm not. . . "Sam said, and abruptly stopped when the rose reached around to her lips, silencing her. She inhaled, shyly subsiding.

"You're a sirocco; a storm of caring, of passion to know, to make things work, to find the truth and sometimes it burns everything and everyone around you. I'm not afraid to be near you when you catch fire; it's your gift and I'll take the heat, your heat. I have fond memories of sharing your heat." he smiled against her neck as she gave a suspiciously watery giggle. "What?"

"We almost froze to death, Jack!"

"We didn't, because of you. It's official, you're hot, Sam," he said. "And so much more. My back-up, my brain – two are better than half of one -" Jack grinned as she giggled again. "My only dream, my only treasure."

Sam shivered. Jack slid one hand around her waist, and used the rose to trace a solitary tear from her eye. She yielded easily as he eased her back against him, resting her head into his shoulder. His hand shook as he caressed her bared skin just under the cropped top. Sam sucked in a breath, but let her arms dangle as he swayed them in place. She raised her chin as he pressed his lips under her ear, her gesture he dared hope for: Surrender. This is it; lips don't fail me now.

"Samantha, you're more than I deserve. But," Jack whispered in her ear, then had to squeeze her to him when she attempted to speak, "I dream that you'll let me wake up beside you, be with you, let me. . . let me fill my arms with you, my senses, my life with you," Jack said softly, earnestly. How he wanted her, not just now, but always. "When our time comes, Samantha, will -can you love me, too?" He didn't breathe, unknowingly flexing his fingers on her skin.

----

When our time comes.

"Oh, Jack. I can love you - " Sam replied, her voice choked with emotion. Jack pressed a kiss into her shoulder. The next she knew, he turned her into his arms. Now she could look into his eyes and see it all. She felt the light start from inside her like a grateful sunbeam banishing the dark. She couldn't speak but her mind whispered, "For me?" His beautiful expression of happiness and affection answered her.

She only had it partly right yesterday: Now she was home.

----

Jack's lips claimed hers in a loving, thorough plunder. It was as if the important words were finally out of the way. Nothing frantic this time, just the steady, hot melding of their desires. They wanted only to savor the fulfillment of their need to touch and hold and share feelings they yet concealed from others. Hands lovingly relearned all the hot places on their bodies, boundaries of cloth disregarded. Lips feasted on bared skin at throat or ear or shoulders or navel.

Until there was a beep: his watch sounded.

Too soon, Jack reluctantly separated them. Sam's eyes were exactly as he dreamed they would be. Surprising her, he lifted her in his arms and cradled her lovingly against him.

"Do you know what I'll like of all of your sides, Sam?" Jack asked against her hair. She only shook her head against him. She was totally relaxed, only raising her eyelids languidly to look into his. "Your eyes, right now, will look like this - calm and sleepy-blue after; after we love, and love again. I'm filled with that image, you lying beside me - god!" He took a deep breath. "I need you, Samantha, believe me," Jack whispered. And then softly, "Time's up." He kissed her forehead. Sam's arms slid up to bring his lips to hers again for one more deep kiss. Jack raised an eyebrow when she released him.

----

"A bonus to a man who hasn't got a way with words," Sam whispered back. He set her on her feet reluctantly, holding her a few moments longer. Jack took her hand and kissed the inside of her wrist, then placed the rose there. She reached to stroke his hair gently, wishing she could stay. Then sighed. "I should go now. We have to talk, if you haven't used up your reserves, Jack." But he'd said more than enough for a permanent space in her dreams and her heart.

----

"Ye-ah, I'm a little tapped out BUT – I'll do whatever it takes to never disappoint you, or me again, Sam," Jack replied, cuddling her close one last time. "Although you tend to leave me speechless most of the time." Sam laughed softly. He walked her to the door, slipping her sweat jacket over her shoulders, and zipping it up for her. She smiled tenderly and quickly left him. Jack stared at the door and a swell of loneliness overtook him.

Then he realized his hands, his skin, his lips; everywhere Sam had touched him, kissed him still tingled in sweet remembrance. The hint of fragrance on her skin and the scent of the rose surrounded him. Jack sat on the bed again, re-living their interlude and cooling himself down. Well, at least he knew she liked blush pink roses; she was going to run into a few dozen in her lab and at home. With a start, he realized he'd met her challenge, issued in anger but resolved in love.

He jumped to his feet and threw his hands up.

"YES!"

THE END (of the Beginning) [I just knew the guy could rap when he's motivated!

Epilogue

And thus it went, every year on their anniversary, "Uncle Dan" would recount for the avid little ones and tolerant older ones, how his Valentine's Day Bash finally brought Sam and Jack to wedded bliss. Of course his role became more exaggerated over the years but no one minded.

Least of all Sam and Jack. They would be lovingly coerced into telling the final tale leading to their nuptials. The part where Sam leaped at the Area 51 assignment like a prize long-jumper and Jack met her like a champion sprinter and they were married faster than the finish of a record time drag race. That was the inevitable Cam Mitchell version, amended each year to be more outrageous whenever it was his turn to toast to the happy pair.

"Stop telling it like that, Cam!" Sam would eventually admonish the grinning colonel. "Everyone in Atlantis thinks we were Olympic track runners!"

"An Olympic record, for sure! Eight years to the finish line!"

At that familiar and inevitable punch line, Colonel Sam would just plop herself onto Ret. General Jack's lap where they would engage in a passionate kiss to the cheers from family and friends. Jack would have the final words.

"This was worth the wait!"

The End.

Love to know what you think; please talk back! And thanks for reading.

A/N: The lyrics to John Denver's Annie's Song (and Queen of the Night) can be found online.