When one finds oneself walking into the middle of what is supposed to be an in-progress wedding without a bride, one begins to get suspicious that all isn't well. In fact, one comes to the conclusion that the groom has been left at the altar.

When one is Samantha Carter, on the other hand, one finds out that the whole Jack O'Neill wedding thing was an elaborate ruse on behalf of one's friends so that one's boyfriend may propose marriage.

It had taken her a minute or two to realize that the group of people inside the chapel were only those that she or Rodney knew and that they were dressed a great deal more casually than she. It took her a few seconds longer than that to realize that--not only was there no wedding in progress--there was no priest, no organ player, no nothing. Just a lot of people inexplicably milling about inside a church.

At first, she'd turned to Rodney with confusion, but the look on his face--one that a cat that recently deprived a cage of its canary might wear--told her that he was in on it...whatever it was. The second they had entered, the place had gone quiet and she narrowed her eyes at her escort.

"Rodney," she said, her voice as low and menacingly close to a growl as she could manage. "What's going on?"

He beamed at her brightly, eyes alight as he dropped to one knee far too smoothly while retrieving a little box from one of his pockets and offering it to her. He opened it with an audible creak of the hinges and she stared at the diamond solitaire that was glaring up at her from within the black velvet. Everyone in the immediate vicinity--friends, co-workers, human, alien, military men and civilians alike--all looked at her expectantly. She could feel the weight of their expectations and it made her horribly uncomfortable.

"Samantha Carter," Rodney said in a rush that came out like he'd been holding his breath for the past hour. "Will you marry me?"

She blinked at him for three seconds in complete bafflement before her throat and mouth moved in tandem to create sound without her permission.

"Are you INSANE?" she squawked indignantly.

There was silence.

And more silence.

And more silence...

Until...

"It hasn't been ruled out," Colonel Sheppard stated from somewhere off to her left, though the barb was more than likely intended to ease the sudden tension than to hurt Rodney's feelings...not that they could be bruised any more severely, if the look on his face was any indication. If he'd had a puppy and she had kicked it across a football field, the man could not have looked more pathetic.

Hell, he couldn't have looked more pathetic if he were the imaginary puppy victim of her ire.

And the black eye she'd already inflicted certainly wasn't helping matters.

"Sam?" Rodney said quietly, his voice worried and meek.

She glared at him angrily, one eye twitching just a little and then her eyes slipped shut as she turned away from him, counting under her breath. She took air in through her nose and slowly let it out, trying to regain control of her temper.

Opening her eyes, Sam looked back down at her would-be beau, feeling only slightly less homicidal.

"Rodney? May I speak to you--" she grabbed him by the ear and hauled him up off his knees, "outside?"

"Ow, ow owowowowowowow!"

She didn't release him until they were out on the church steps and the door had closed with a noisy SLAM behind them. In the midday sunshine, squinting against the harsh light assaulted her eyes, she looked at Rodney as though she wanted nothing more in the world than to set him aflame.

"What were you thinking?" she exclaimed, motioning with her hands a bit more expressively than was absolutely necessary.

"That I would ask you to be my wife?" The look on his face and his tone of voice were such that she was forcibly reminded of a child brought before a particularly strict and foreboding teacher, so unsure of the correct answer to her question that he tried to make his reply sound like a query of his own.

She felt her eyes bug considerably and she pursed her lips into a grim line so hard that they turned white. "Rodney…"

The scolding note to her tone wasn't lost on the physicist and he noticeably winced.

"You faked a wedding?" she asked rhetorically. "You faked a wedding and decided to ask me to marry you in front of everyone? What were you thinking?!"

"Well! You blow hot and cold all the time!" he defended, "I wanted to make sure you wouldn't maim me when I asked you!"

"Maiming. Maiming is an excellent idea!" she exclaimed. "Did you really think that would save you? That asking me in front of friends and colleagues you wouldn't make me angry?"

"Well I thought--"

"Rodney! How could you humiliate me like this?"

"I didn't mea--"

"We aren't even--we haven't--Rodney, marriage? Have you lost your senses completely?"

"Probably," he snapped. "But I don't care if we haven't slept--"

"Marriage, Rodney! I can't believe you'd ask me to--"

"Of COURSE I would ask you to!" he shouted in her face. "I love you!"

She froze in mid-tirade and stared at him. It was like she'd had ice water dumped down the back of her ridiculous dress and couldn't move as a result of slipping into cold-related shock.

"You…what?"

He took a step back, realizing that through the course of their argument, they'd gotten nearly nose to nose as they screamed at each other.

He cleared his throat and said meeky, "I...love you."

Stunned, all Sam could manage was, "Really?"

"Yes, really."

"Even though we haven't--"

"Sam," he said warningly, "do you really think so little of me? Do you think that I couldn't love someone enough to marry them without taking them for a test drive first?"

Her hand slapped his shoulder before she could control the impulse. "Don't talk about me like I'm a Ferrari! This is serious, McKay."

"Yeah, it is. You still haven't answered my question. That's pretty damn vital."

"Rodney, you can't just spring this sort of thing on me--and my God, what were you thinking, staging it like this? Wasn't there a better way? Moonlight, roses, things like that?"

"Er…it was…um…hrm. Well, originally, that's what I was going to do er…but--" He looked sheepish for a moment. "It was General O'Neil's idea."

Her eyes narrowed dangerously. "I'm not surprised."

He met her eyes again, a silent apology written in their depths. "Listen, Sam, I'm…I thought…this was the best way. I...okay, so I did want to do moonlight and roses, but then Jack suggested to Daniel that--"

Her eyes narrowed even further. "Daniel was in on this?"

"Er…yes? But…as I was saying, it…just…originally, we were just going to surprise you in the mess hall, but then we couldn't get everyone there we wanted to be and--"

"Why fake a wedding?"

"To…er…soften the blow? Um…to let you get used to the idea of marriage and weddings bouncing around your head without cluing you into the fact I was going to ask you to marry me." His lip quirked up slightly. "It was really brilliant of Elizabeth to say that you needed time to get used to the idea of marriage--"

"Doctor Weir too?"

"Well…yes. I needed ad--"

"Just how deep does this conspiracy to get me married to you go?"

"Pretty deep," he answered honestly. "We didn't get the president involved, though…Sheppard wanted me to but--wait. We're getting off track. You haven't answered my question."

"What? Rodney, you can't be serious."

"I am. I'm dead serious. I asked you to marry me and I want you to answer me right now."

"Right now?"

"Right now."

"No."

"No you aren't going to answer me or no is you answer?"

"No is my answer."

Rodney seemed to deflate and he staggered back, nearly tripping on an uneven piece of ground. "No? You…no? You won't marry me? No? How could--NO?!"

She stood her ground and folded her arms over her chest. "No."

He sank to the ground and flopped in a heap, knees drawn up close to his chest. He looked so lost when he stared up at her. "Why not? What is it? What's wrong with me? I'll fix it!"

"I didn't mean I'd never marry you," she said with a sigh, "Just…not right now."

Carefully, she slid down to sit next to him, mindful of her dress. "We haven't even talked about marriage, Rodney. We haven't talked about living together. You're taking things a bit fast."

"No I'm not."

"Yes, you are," she barked automatically. "We've only been 'together' for six months--"

"I don't care. I just don't. I've certainly wanted you since the first moment I laid eyes on you and now…I do love you, Sam. I can't think of ever being with anyone else ever again. It doesn't fit in my head…so isn't marriage the logical course of action in this case? I mean, if I'm never going to be able to be with anyone else ever again, shouldn't I be married to the person I'd like to be with?"

She gave him a critical look. "That was maddeningly logical, given the circumstances."

"So you see where I'm coming from then."

"No. I still think you're nuts to have asked me this particular question like this."

"It seemed like a good idea at the time."

"Most of General O'Neil's do, but they rarely actually are."

"So…this was all for nothing then?" he asked sadly.

"It managed to spike my blood pressure; if that was one of your mission objectives, I'd say you succeeded in that regard, at least."

"But…I got you an engagement ring and everything."

"Rodney…"

"Well, I did! I hardly think that it should go to waste. I happen to know it'll fit your finger just perfectly, Sam."

"Rodney, no. I'm not going to say yes."

"But--"

"Rodney," she said sternly. "Give it six months. Give me time to get used to the idea of my marriage--not someone else's."

"Wait. Give it six months? So...you're not dumping me for this?"

"As much as I should…you had good--if incredibly stupid--intentions, and life with you as my significant other has never promised to be anywhere near the realms of normal or sane, so I should've expected something like this."

"Does that translate as a 'no, I'm not dumping you, McKay'?"

"Basically."

"Six months?"

"At least."

"And I'm not dumped, we're still dating?"

"Yes."

"With the intention of eventual possible matrimony?"

"Did you have that question drafted by a lawyer?"

"No."

She lifted one eyebrow.

"Maybe."

Both shot into her hairline.

"I had to be prepared!" he said heatedly. "In case General O'Neil's idea didn't work out, though I had confidence it would, my calculations were obviously horribly, horribly flawed, and--"

"Rodney, you have this habit of talking long after you should shut up."

"I get that a lot."

"That's the second time today you've managed to not surprise me."

"I think the fact I asked you to marry me cancel out the not-surprises, though." He stared straight ahead, hands lying palm down on his kneecaps. "So…this means we start over?"

"Not from square one, but we can try and forget this little incident ever happened."

"You'd do that?"

"Rodney, if you think I wouldn't make a conscious effort to forget it even without the starting over, you're delusional."

"Oh. Okay. Well, then…since you're not mad enough at me to dump me, I guess everything worked out alright. Except for the not saying 'yes' to my proposal, of course. That's still disappointing."

Sam tried not to smile, despite her dismay at the entire situation, but failed. He had a bad habit of making her do that, she noticed…

"So, since you won't marry me and make me the happiest man in the world and I'm leaving Earth again in two days--" he leaned over a little ways and wriggled his eyebrows at her. "Do I at least get to take the Ferrari out for a spin?"

Her glare was half hearted, since she was still smiling a little and she leaned over to peck him on the lips, punctuating her sentence with a series of three kisses. "You. Are. Incorrigible."

"Vroom!"

-

A/N: I may or may not have been drunk when I wrote this. I don't care. I know it's not realistic, but then, this series was never intended to be taken seriously and I like the ending...and I'm tired. Oh, and drunk. Very, very drunk. This is what happens when I go stay with friends who are bad influences...and that have alcohol! And cookies. I have cookies! Birthday cookies. Mmm.

I should go to bed.

Thank you, you've been a wonderful audience. I now wash my hands of Carter/McKay shipping until further notice. Please give my other stories a look (and a review, if you want; that makes me happy inside) if you liked this one and its predecessors!