A/N: Special thanks to Becca for volunteering to be a beta!! You can find her stories under spacegypsy1 !!
"Persistent little thing you are," Sam said and Katana smiled in agreement. "Okay, well, after we defeated the Replicators, and my father died, and I broke off the engagement with Pete, and…"
"Pete?!" Katana jumped in.
Sam hoped to just go through the list of what had brought her and Jack together but apparently that wasn't going to happen. "Pete was my fiancé before Jack. He was, is… a good man, but I didn't love him the way he deserved"
"Than why did you get engaged?"
"In way, because Jack didn't stop me."
Katana frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Um, it's complicated," Sam sighed at the memory. "I was going through a lot when I met Pete, and I needed someone to be there for me, to love me. So, when I met him, I was, you could say open to love. I'd given up on Jack, and Pete was very patient."
Sam paused. "When I showed the ring to Jack, he practically numbered the reasons why I should accept. I can't say I resented him, but…"
"I don't know. I expected him to stop me. I was disappointed. So, I accepted. I truly believed I loved him, and that there was no future with Jack."
"Why did you break it off?"
"When my father was dying, he told me I would never be happy if I settled for less than I desire, and deserve." Sam fell silent caught up in her thoughts, remembering the events, slight pain creeping around her heart.
"What happened next?" Katana asked feeling for the first time like a child of the woman if front of her. She was curious about the love her parents felt for each other.
"I wanted Jack," Sam said simply, "and I was determined to be with him, if he'd have me. So the first thing I did was break off the engagement, and than requested a transfer for Area 51."
"Didn't you have to put that request through Jack first? Didn't he question you?"
Sam smiled. "No, I went to General Hammond, and he took me to the president."
"No way! What did you tell them?! 'Hey, Mr. President, I'm in love with my commanding officer, so can you please court marshal me'?" Katana said laughing.
"Something like that," Sam laughed herself, remembering her nervousness at that time. "When I told them I wanted the transfer, they were stunned. I still remember General Hammond's face," she laughed again. "I don't think he would have been more surprised if a pig walked in and told him it wanted to rule the world."
"I can imagine, you, who never want to leave the SGC, making such a request, it must've blown him away!"
"Yes! First they both asked why. I told them it was for personal reasons, but they wanted to know the exact reason for me leaving, and when your Commander in Chief orders you to do something, you obey."
When Sam remained quite for a moment, Katana couldn't stand the suspense. "Come on! What did you say?!"
"I was so nervous. I told them I was in love, but they didn't get it. They congratulated me, and saw no reason for me to leave the SGC."
General Hammond told me he was aware of my engagement to Pete Shanahan and that he knew Pete supported my work. I tried to tell him, to explain but the President interrupted saying he would give me every benefit I wanted. I could choose what missions I wanted to go on, how many hours I wanted to work.
I kept interrupting, trying desperately to find the words to explain, repeating that I had called it off with Pete - that we had broken up. General Hammond shook his head the whole time telling me he didn't understand. He kept saying 'you said you were in love' over and over. I told him that was the reason I wanted to leave.
Then the President started in again – he didn't understand how that related to my choice of leaving… My throat was so dry I couldn't speak, or maybe the possibility of a Court Marshal for my next words kept me from speaking for a moment. I took a sip of water and decided to face the bullet. I told them, well, I blurted it out…'I'm in love with my CO.' Just like that, I said it!
The following silence nearly destroyed me. I feared I couldn't look up, but somehow I did and if I hadn't been so scared I'd end up in jail, I would have laughed. I swear the President's face looked like he couldn't figure out if I was pulling a fast one on him or not. And the General's mouth had dropped open and he was apparently speechless.
Before they regained their senses I told them quickly that WE hadn't done anything inappropriate. HE didn't even know about my feelings. HE's probably suspecting, but I haven't told him yet. I wanted to remove myself from his chain of command first. I left a little room for speculating who HE was. I thought I was gonna die from expectation. I remember thinking what I wouldn't give for a Replicator attack at that moment! I had to beg them to say something.
The President started, asking me to excuse them a moment. I left the room, the minutes felt like hours. A million thoughts crossed my mind in just one second. Jack always says I think too much. It was a half an hour before they called me back in. They appeared so solemn I genuinely expected the SF's to come and haul me off to jail.
Finally, the General spoke saying he wasn't surprised by my feelings for Jack and strongly repeating he hoped I had never acted on them. I tried to tell him no, but he continued like he didn't even hear a word I said. I've never seen him so serious – he went on and on about fraternization and Court Marshal offenses and that no matter how many times I saved the planet, there would be no saving me or General O'Neill.
I was respectful, agreeing with everything but I couldn't really get a word in edgewise. General Hammond scolded me for interrupting him. Then he went on to say he believed me. And, strangely enough, that he believed I deserved happiness.
I felt a sound of relief and surprise escape me, and it was then they finally smiled. The president turned to pick up a file and approached me. His face was kind and held a look of understanding.
He told me that he believed me, and said that what we had fought so hard to resist is what makes Jack and I so special. We had waited so long, never putting our feelings in front of our duty. The President agreed that we both deserved to be happy, then he placed the file he held in my hands. It contained all the papers I needed, then he told me my transfer was effective immediately. AND then he added that my leave of absence was also granted! Leaving me quite confused.
I didn't have a clue what he was talking about for the longest time, then he clarified it, adding that he'd decided a month would be enough. I was so surprised, Katana, I actually said and I quote, "I'm not even sure if he'll have me…" I stopped talking, blushing at what I'd just said, I couldn't believe I was discussing my love life with the President, and General Hammond, even if he was the closest thing I had for a father.
Aware of my discomfort the President smiled and said Jack would be a fool not to and Jack O'Neill is no fool. Then the General hugged me and wished me luck with tears in his eyes.
Twenty minutes latter I was in a plane going Jack's way. At the airport, a car waited to take me to his cabin. And suddenly, I realized I didn't know what to say, I didn't expect all this to happen so fast. I started shaking at the thought he might say no. I mean, I knew he was seeing that Kerry person, and she could be there… I must have looked bad, because the driver asked if I was alright. He had stopped the car outside of Jack's cabin. Ironically, he asked if this was in the right place? That put a stop to all my fears. I WAS in the right place!
Jack answered the door with his usual, 'Carter?' I couldn't speak, every sense in my body wanted to hug him, kiss him, but I couldn't move.
And he asked me what was wrong, worried, seeing me in my official uniform. I chuckled, knowing nothing was wrong. In fact, everything was great. I had to ask him if I could come in because he just stood there holding the door open without speaking. He moved, allowing me to pass, staying right behind. And of course I got the 'You want something, beer?' You don't know Jack well, Katana, but that statement usually follows most of his statements when you're at his place.
Katana smiled. "I didn't know that."
I remained calm, and turned to face him, refusing the offered beer. We were now standing in his living room, staring at each other, and I decided it was time to take charge. I moved closer to him, just an inch from his lips. Closer than we've ever been... except for maybe the whole tank top incident...anyway...that's another story. He started to back away. But I followed. He finally hit the wall, and there was no where to run. Like a trapped mouse, and believe me, I felt like a cat.
He was obviously nervous, swallowing hard, calling me Carter and asking me what the hell I thought I was doing.
I placed my hands on his neck, pulling him into a kiss, telling him 'something we should have done a long time ago'. Our lips only brushed, before he regained control, and sliped away from me.
He spoke incoherently, something about trying to regain control of himself, then chanting over and over about regulations and Court Marshals and I told him I really couldn't care less about regulations!
He didn't care about himself, as usual, Jack being the wonderful person he is he was worried about my career and he kept backing away as I approached him. He slammed into a glass door which lead to the back yard. I smiled again. I could see him loosing his resolve about not ruining my carrier. So, I handed him my transfer papers.
He took his time reading it. He looked so funny trying to cope with the information. Poor Jack, he just couldn't stop reading and asking why I was leaving the SGC.
I moved closer again; I could feel his breath on my face. It was so liberating, finally able to show him I loved him. I didn't have to answer. He knew. I was there. He didn't back down this time, which kind a surprised me. He was always so closed up, and now he clearly showed me he was just as ready for this as I was.
It shocked me when he asked about Pete, but I quickly let him know I had broken it off, returned the ring. I'm sure my voice conveyed how much I regretted ever accepting his proposal.
I clearly remember telling him, 'There's only one man in my heart, and I've waited far too long… I hope I'm not late,' he knew I was referring to Kerry.
And I will never forget his whispered words, "Sam, you could never be too late," and he pulled me closer till our lips met. I still get butterfly's remembering that kiss. It quickly became more passionate, and we didn't waste any more time, he unbuttoned me so fast…
"AAaa!" she placed her fingers in her ears, "Lalalalalalaa!! Don't tell me that!" Katana yelled disgusted.
"Okay…" Sam immediately stopped telling her story. "I'm sorry if I told too much, it's just that I didn't have anyone to talk about this stuff before. Being a secret 'love affair'…"
"Oh, God. I've already apologized for that!" Katana welcomed the change of subject, even if it was a remainder of her mistake. The last thing she needed right now, or ever for that matter, was a mental picture of her parents doing it.
"I know, I know…"
"And you accepted the apology!"
"Yes, yes, I did. But I'd still like to know the reason."
Katana tried to think of a way to warn her, without actually saying anything that can disrupt her time line, but couldn't find a way. "I can't."
"Yeah, I should know better anyway," Sam shrugged.
"One day you'll understand, but it won't make you feel any better. I can only hope you'll forgive me than," she whispered the last words, as she had never said them before, and it was difficult to admit that all these years, she had been wrong.
"Hey," Sam put a hand on Katana's shoulders, "I forgive you in advance. After all it turned out for the best," smiling, Sam pointed to the engagement ring Jack had recently given her.
"Yeah, I guess it did."
"Come on. We have to rest for a while; we have a big day tomorrow." Sam stood up, giving Katana a helping hand, and turned to lead the way to their quarters, but Katana stopped her.
"I…" Katana paused, hugging her mother, "I'm sorry," she whispered once more.
"Katana, I already told you, it's all right," Sam said confused, "Don't worry about it."
"Please," she pulled away enough to look at Sam, "I just want you to know I didn't really mean anything I did or said to you, or from your perspective, what I'll do and say."
"Okay," Sam said comfortingly, "now let's go." What was so terrible that it caused the young woman so much shame? Sam resisted the urge to ask and remained silent just to be on the safe side. But Katana's tone of genuine sorrow and redemption had Sam wondering.
Katana would've told her everything had Sam asked. She was grateful for not having to. Because even if she could understand, Katana was sure her mother would never forgive her after everything she put her through. Even a mother's love wouldn't stand for that. Just another thing to put on her 'regret' list.
The following week was difficult. With much hard work they finally found the right solar flair, but the notion that it would happen 10 months from now left Katana feeling lost. On one side she'd have time to get to know her parents, on the other, she's gonna witness her own birth, and that was something she'd rather miss. It didn't go so well for her the first time, so she doubted it's gonna be better this time. Gratefully, she didn't really have time to think about it, given that all she did on Atlantis was explain the codes Ancients used, and how to build a ZPM.
"Welcome home SG-1" Landry said, looking at them from the control room, with Jack at his side. Since Sam didn't expect to see him, it brought a delightful smile to her face. "It's good to be home Sir," Cam said and the jumper headed upwards.
Once released from the infirmary they sat in the briefing room, reporting the events.
Of course, it was mostly dry stuff on how they came to understand the spec's and code's and whatever they were saying. Jack wasn't really listening.
"Good work. This is going to be a great advantage in fighting the Ori as well," Landry looked around the table. "What about the solar flair?"
"We…" Sam started.
"We found one of enough magnitude," Katana watched Jack flicking his pen in the air.
"That's great!" Landry's enthusiasm was quickly dispelled.
"In about ten months," she finished.
"Ten months?!" even Jack realized the impact that could have on the time line.
"We'll have to decide what to do with you…"
"Yes, sir," Katana responded sadly. "You know," she continued with hope, "there are no official papers of the next ten months to a year in the computer in my time!"
Landry didn't follow, but Sam had an idea where she was going with this. "So?" Landry asked.
More excitedly Katana continued. "It could mean that you knew I'd be here, and all information about me was hidden, or removed."
"But that wouldn't explain why the entire data from the following year would be locked, or deleted…" Cam said
"Unless – "
"Unless," Sam cut her off, "you were a part of an SG team."
"I don't think that's possible," Landry said.
"You can't keep me locked here for ten months!" she stated passionately, but without anger.
"We'll see," the General speculated, "SG-1, you have four days off. Get some rest," he stood up.
"Yes, sir!" Vala saluted, and he smiled at her, knowing full well this was her favorite part of the job.
The next four days Sam and Jack spent at his cabin.
"Ah, Carter, I … well, I went ahead and planned the wedding, ya got about a month. I did it all while you were gone." Jack flipped a burger on the grill and waiting for her reaction.
"I know how busy you are, and with all new discoveries on Atlantis I imagine you'll be spending a lot of time at SGC with all your geeks…"
"Geeks?" she was looking at him lovingly, not really hearing him. She wondered what she'd done to deserve him.
"You're not listening!" He knew she'd react to his remark about her precious scientists if she were.
"You haven't heard a word I said."
Chuckling, Sam took the burgers from the fire before they turned to charcoal. "Not after the 'I planned out the wedding,'" Dropping the patties on a plate she wrapped her arms around his waist. "I'm happy."
"Mmmnm, I love it when you're happy…"
They kissed slowly. "Happy," she mumbled against his lips.
Four days alone with Jack made it all that harder to go back to work. She was tempted to call in sick. Surprisingly she'd never thought about doing that, but when she was with Jack all the problems of the world seemed to disappear.
"What? Now you want to take advantage of being a General's girlfriend?" he teased.
"Yeah…I should go to work," she said pulling away from his arms, getting up, but he pulled her back chuckling, kissing her, not really wanting her to go.
"Four days in bed, not to shabby for an old guy."
"We could make it a week," she said.
"Didn't you hear the last thing I said? Old guy!"
"There's still some gas in you, I can tell…" she hoped to change his mind. That was strange, her not wanting to go to work and him pushing her.
"Hey, hey! Lets leave it for the honeymoon!" now he was the one getting up. "We should really go."
"We?" she asked surprised, following him to the bathroom.
"Yes, we. I need to discuss something with Hank," he was preparing to shave, "and thought to stop by and see Katana. Kid's been stuck there for four days, and I can relate to that."
"Kid? She's twenty-five! She's been married, she's way smarter than we are,"
Jack almost cut himself - that comment was strange coming from Sam.
Sam continued unaware of Jack's confusion. "you should really see her fight! I saw the training she had with John, Teyla and Ronan at Atlantis! She's a brilliant young woman!"
He looked at her, stunned. "Have you noticed how we're almost fighting over her?"
She thought for a moment. "Yeah, that's strange. And how easy it was to forgive her? I feel like I could forgive her just about anything," her hands were on her stomach.
"Yeah, I get the same feeling, but I just thought..." his voice trailed off.
"You just thought?"
"I don't know," he tried to shake off the feeling, "She kind a reminds me of you," he said. "She has your eyes, nose, smile!"
"Really? I haven't noticed," she smiled at him. "You're seeing me everywhere!" she teased.
"No, that's not it," he said defensively like Sam had no idea how much he loved her. "At first I thought she might be your daughter, so…"
"She has black hair, blue eyes, she could be Vala's child for that matter."
"You know, about black hair… Jacob comes in mind."
Sam's mind was racing. Jack was right, and it'd certainly explain so many things.
"But," he continued, "I'm pretty sure that's not the case."
Sam frowned. "You just said…"
"I know, I've already asked her about her parents."
"And, she told me they abandoned her. We would never do that."
"So it's we now," her smile grew wider. "We never talked about children."
He could see the idea of it appealed her. "Do you want children?" he asked already knowing the answer.
"YES!" she immediately said, and he rejoiced at her excitement. "With you, that is," she blushed a little, still smiling. "You?"
He started at her, sending a clear message. "I'd like nothing more Carter."
She fell into his arms. "I thought it was O'Neill?" she said making it clear she'd take his last name.
"Yes! We're gonna have so much fun with that! Imagine when you become a General!!
It'll confuse the hell out of everyone!"
"You're leaving for P3X-747. There's been reports of Priors visiting them. It's a standard recon," Landry looked concerned. "Heads up! Dismissed."
They went to get ready, as they did so many times. Teal'c having just came back from visiting Ry'ac, was happy to report his son was enjoying married life. Cam spent his down time with friends outside of SGC, and Vala and Daniel talked.
Sam noticed the changes in the two. Vala was quieter, while Daniel smiled with new found joy, nothing bugged him.
"Vala?" Sam asked curiously as they entered the locker room.
"Yes Sam?" Vala tried to remain calm, but her lips were forming a smile.
"What's going on?"
She turned, grabbing Sam by the shoulders. "Daniel gave us a chance."
"For our relationship! We spent these four days together, talking, nothing more," she added, "Well, there've been moments, but nothing really happened. Not my idea! I wanted to, but he said we should wait."
"Oh my God! That's great!" Sam hugged her.
"Yes, I know! Thank you Sam."
"When you said I could loose him, I realized I couldn't imagine my life without him in it, and when we got back from Atlantis, I went to see him, and … I confessed everything to him. My fears, my love…everything."
"I know. It was a risk, but well worth it," she happily gave her another hug.
They both smiled. It seemed that things were getting better by the second. They all now had full lives to lead; happiness wasn't out of the reach any more.
"Hey," Jack sat across from Katana.
"Hi. What're you doing here?"
"It's nice to see you too!" he looked as his words made her smile, reminding him of Sam again.
"I'm sorry. It's nice to see you Jack."
"I see you're enjoying the cake," he pointed to the slice of fruit cake on the plate.
"Yes, thank you for recommending it. So, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in Washington or something?"
"Or something," Jack reached over and took a bite of her cake.
"Hey! That's mine!" she pulled the plate closer to herself.
"You should really learn to share," he frowned.
She returned the plate to its previous position, letting him know it was okay to take another bite, and he wasn't shy about it.
"So," he said chewing, "what've you been up too?"
"I've been going crazy! I can't stand being indoors for so long. I need air, sun, air!"
"Alright, alright, be cool," he responded calmly, "It's why I'm here actually."
"Yes, at the very least, I'm gonna make sure you'd be allowed to go off base."
"That would be wonderful!!" Her face lit up. "I can't wait! Maybe you can see if I can be on one of the SG teams, too?"
"Going a bit over board, are we?"
She opened her mouth to say something, but the voice and alarm broadcasting over the base speakers stopped her.
UNSCHEDULED OFF WORLD ACTIVATION.
The smile they both had, disappeared, a terrified feeling in their gut. "Sam," they said at the same time.