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: Sam/Jack so please turn away now if you're not that way inclined. This is a bonus story thank you to most of my readers (the shippers!) for their continued support of my writing. It's set within the SGA S4 episode 'Reunion' but I'm posting it here as it's all about Sam's goodbye to SG1. It does contain mild spoilers for all seasons of SG1 and SGA.
A Fluctuation in the Event Horizon
The moon was bright.
It was the first thought that leaped into Samantha Carter's head as she looked up at the night sky. She wrapped her arms around her body in a desperate attempt to ward off some of the chill. She'd forgotten her coat on the way out and her blue sweater was designed for fashion rather than warmth. At least her jeans provided some protection, she mused as she sat down on the old chair Jack O'Neill had dragged onto their roof.
She smiled. It still seemed strange to think it that way. She glanced down at the gold band on her finger and rubbed it with her thumb. Married. Their wedding had only been a couple of months before although they'd ostensibly been seeing each other for two years. It was weird in some ways that they hadn't married straight away; she knew he was the only man for her and she knew he felt the same way about her yet neither of them had pressed the issue. A brief look of puzzlement crossed her face as she wondered why.
Sam sighed. It didn't matter; two months before they had said their vows in a small church outside of Colorado Springs and it had been joyful. It had been a small, private affair but perfect. She grinned. The only thing Jack had insisted on was cake.
It was good that they were married given her new command, Sam mused, hugging herself tighter. She had known she would have to move on ever since her promotion to Colonel. The inclusion of two senior officers within SG1 had always been a little awkward and Sam had always known she would be the one who would be reassigned eventually – after all, Cameron Mitchell had been assigned as leader and she had only rejoined the team because of the Ori threat and now that threat was manageable after their finding the Ark.
She breathed in the crisp air and raised her face back to the sky. The single moon beamed down on her and she found her thoughts meandering to her new assignment; Atlantis. The city had landed on a new planet with five moons although only two seemed visible. It had fascinated the astrophysicist in her; five moons. She guessed she would have time to explore her fascination while she was there.
Sam stared into the bright circle above. It was going to be a challenge. She was taking over for a much-loved leader. Elizabeth Weir was officially MIA having remained on the Asuran home-planet to allow her team to escape. Sam liked Elizabeth. She admired the other woman; her compassion and dedication, her warmth and strength of character. She knew Elizabeth had made a home on Atlantis and that the team there had become a family. Elizabeth had been a major part of that. She was going to be a hard act to follow. Sam wondered if Elizabeth had felt the same way taking over at the SGC from General Hammond and wished the brunette was around to ask. Of course if Elizabeth was around then there would be no need for Sam to go to Atlantis, no need to ask her and the whole issue would be kind of moot.
She started to smile at the sound of Jack's voice. He always sounded like chocolate to her; warm and velvety, like a hug wrapped up in words. She looked over her shoulder. He was standing by the ladder; hands in the pockets of his khaki pants, wearing the green sweater she had bought him for Christmas and a curious look.
'Hey.' Sam stood up and waved him over.
Jack took her hand in his. He grimaced as he realised how cold she was and he sat down on the chair, tugging her onto his lap.
Sam wrapped her arms around his neck and snuggled into his chest, burying her face into his neck, breathing in the scent of him.
'You know they're wondering where you are down there.' Jack commented as his own arms tightened around her waist and back, pulling her closer. 'It is supposed to be your leaving party.'
'I just needed to get some air.' Sam said, tangling their fingers together.
Jack smoothed a lock of hair over her shoulder and tucked her closer. 'You're missing out on cake.'
'Well, if there's cake.' Sam raised her head to look at him. His face was so familiar to her; she knew every line, every scar. Her finger traced over the one that intersected his eyebrow before moving down over his cheek to his jaw with its faint hint of stubble. 'I love you.'
His brown eyes warmed on hers appreciatively. 'I know.'
She laughed at his smug reply and kissed him. It took seconds for the kiss to shift from tender to passionate. They broke away breathing heavily. He hugged her hard against him.
'So,' she began conversationally, 'I was wondering when you would do this.'
'What?' Jack asked bemused.
'The pep talk.'
'I'm not here to give you a pep talk.' He immediately denied.
'Jack.' Sam traced the lettering on his sweater. She looked up at him knowingly.
Jack looked knowingly back at her. 'So, you're not up here wondering whether you're really ready for this?'
'You're going to be great.' Jack murmured as his eyes roamed over her pale face.
'You're biased.' She pointed out.
'Sure.' He agreed easily.
Sam rolled her eyes at him.
His expression sobered. 'You're ready for this.'
Sam dropped her gaze.
'Hey,' Jack nudged her chin back up, 'you're more than ready for this.'
'I know I'm ready for it and I've been expecting it for a while now, I mean with the Ori threat under control. It just feels odd to be going to Atlantis.' Sam admitted with a sigh. 'Every time I think about Atlantis, I think about…'
'Weir.' Jack nodded. 'You know how long it took me before I stopped thinking about her and Hammond when I took over the base?'
She looked at him with blatant interest. 'How long?'
'The day I handed over the keys to Hank.' Jack admitted with a sheepish smile.
She couldn't stop herself from smiling back but she poked him in the chest. 'Not helping, Jack.'
'Look,' Jack said, 'you know this.'
She knew he was right; she did know it. When she had succeeded Jack as SG1 leader, she had never stopped wondering what he would do; she still did when she was in the field.
'And you know the second part.' Jack commented.
She glanced at him questioningly.
'You know when the first crisis hits, it really won't matter what Elizabeth Weir would do if she were around.' Jack expanded. 'All that will matter is what you, Samantha Carter, will do.'
Sam nodded. 'I know.' She admitted with a sigh. She pressed her lips together as her mind moved from the professional concerns to the personal. Atlantis was a great assignment but it was in another galaxy. She had been a military brat and she knew the military life; she knew she and Jack could be assigned anywhere and that most marriages in the military involved some kind of long distance relationship at some point. She and Jack had weathered worse so why was she worried?
'And we're OK.' Jack said.
She stared at him. How had he known she had started to think about them?
He tapped her nose. 'I know you.' He reminded her.
'It's stupid,' Sam began.
'It's not stupid.' Jack stopped her with a finger on her lips before he cupped her cheek. His eyes held hers. 'As much as I know this is the right thing for Atlantis; for you,' he paused and took a breath, his thumb rubbing against her jaw, 'I hate that we're going to be separated by an entire galaxy too.'
She turned her head and kissed his palm.
He pulled her close and buried his face in her neck.
'We have the bridge; it's only thirty minutes between Atlantis and the SGC.' Sam's fingers stroked through the short grey strands of hair and down the back of his neck; it was her turn to comfort him.
Jack held her tighter. 'I love you.'
Sam shifted to look at him. 'I know.' Her lips were curving into a smug smile as he kissed her.
Jack watched Sam brush imaginary lint off the pristine surface of her uniform. In complete contrast to his own feelings about wearing the suit, he loved her in it. It had been the first thing he had ever seen her wearing; happy memories.
Sam looked up and caught sight of him in the mirror watching her. She smiled and reached for her earring. 'You're staring.'
'I'm allowed.' Jack said with a smirk as he crossed the room. He placed his hands on her shoulders as she fixed the earring and dropped her hands to fiddle with a brush on the dresser. 'Daniel's here.'
'Already?' Sam frowned and looked at her watch. 'He's early.'
'You know Daniel; he probably has a whole speech planned.' Jack pointed out as his thumbs skimmed over the eagles she wore; his. The same eagles he'd been wearing the day he'd met her.
Her brow creased as she caught the nostalgia in his eyes and she turned in his arms. 'What are you thinking?'
'How we met.' Jack admitted.
'Ah.' Sam smiled widely. 'The uniform, huh?' Her hands smoothed down the front of the t-shirt he was wearing.
'What can I say?' Jack grinned. 'You look hot.' He leaned in and kissed her. 'Ready?' He asked gruffly. He was proud his voice was steady. They had already agreed that they would make their goodbyes in private at home. He'd wait until she had left before he would make his way to the SGC for his meetings.
Her eyes caught his. 'I just need a minute.'
He nodded and stepped away. 'I'll be…' he gestured vaguely at the door. He wandered down the stairs of their house and into the den where Daniel was waiting. The archaeologist stood in front of the mantelpiece holding a picture. Jack knew which one it was; SG1 toward the end of their first year together, just after they had saved the world from Apophis's invasion but before Sam's encounter with Jolinar. The nostalgia must be catching, Jack thought with rueful amusement. He walked over and plucked the frame from Daniel. He looked at it again before replacing it on the mantel.
'We all look so young.' Daniel complained as he watched Jack adjust the position of the photo.
'You were.' Jack said dryly. 'Teal'c, on the other hand…'
They smiled at each other recognising the joke. Teal'c had already been over ninety when the picture had been taken even though he looked no more than thirty. The Jaffa aged slowly although he was now over a hundred and fifty thanks to a time bubble.
Daniel looked at Jack. 'You OK?'
'I'm not the one leaving.' Jack said, trying to deflect his friend. His finger traced over Sam's youthful features. She'd always been beautiful.
'That's why I'm asking.' Daniel pointed out.
Jack looked back at his friend and shrugged. There was no point lying to Daniel. 'She deserves the position.'
'Yes, she does.' Daniel agreed readily.
'And she was the best candidate. Everyone agreed.' Jack continued. 'Even Woolsey.'
'If anyone with a military background can lead a mostly civilian scientific expedition, it's Sam.' Daniel said.
Jack nodded, a lump in his throat. 'Damn right. They need her.'
'So do you.' Daniel said quietly.
'I have her.' Jack replied. His brown eyes gleamed with unexpected emotion. 'I just don't have her.'
Anyone else would be confused but Daniel simply nodded; a sign of their years of friendship.
Jack took a deep breath and shoved his hands in his pants' pockets.
'You sure about staying here?' Daniel asked.
'We can't say goodbye properly at the base, Daniel.' Jack reminded him. On the base, the military protocol would be in play. He and Sam would stop being husband and wife; they'd be General and Colonel.
'You know we'll make sure she's OK.' Daniel assured him.
'I know you will.' Jack had complete confidence in the rest of the SG1 family, not only Teal'c and Daniel but the newer members; Vala and Mitchell. He knew they'd be there to watch her six as Sam stepped through the wormhole to Atlantis.
The sound of heels on the parquet floor had them both turning. Sam stood awkwardly in the doorway.
Daniel looked from Jack to Sam and back. He smiled shyly. 'I'll wait for you in the car.' He patted Jack's shoulder again and left.
Jack looked at his wife. 'You got everything?'
'Not everything.' Sam crossed the space between them and took his face in her hands. She kissed him deeply. His hands shot out to hold her; he wrapped her into his arms and when they stopped kissing, he simply held her.
'You'll remember to call Cassie and check on her?' Sam asked; her voice thick with tears.
'I'll remember.' Jack promised.
'And don't give her a hard time about her new boyfriend.' Sam chided him.
Jack's arms tightened on her. 'Of course I will.'
Sam gave a chuckle and he pulled back. He wiped away the tears that ran down her cheeks.
Her hands came up to swipe at her eyes. 'Damn. I thought I wasn't going to do this.' She admitted brokenly. 'It's just…hard.'
'C'mere.' Jack pulled her back into a hug as her voice broke. He struggled to hold his own swirling emotion in check.
'I'm going to miss you.' Sam said eventually.
'You'd better.' Jack threatened lightly.
It made her laugh and the tight feeling in his chest eased. He let her pull away an inch and handed her a tissue. She wiped her eyes and blew her nose before she threw it in the trash.
He took her hand and they walked out to the car.
Daniel obligingly got into the driver's seat leaving them to say goodbye to one another.
Jack gently cupped her face and kissed her again; slowly, tenderly, lovingly. He looked deeply into her blue eyes and his heart settled at the love that gleamed back at him.
She kissed him again softly. 'Not goodbye.'
'No. Not goodbye.' Jack agreed gruffly. He held open the car door for her and saw her safely seated as Daniel started the engine. He closed it and leaned through the open window. 'Don't forget, they're really going to like you when they get to know you.' He knew she'd be worrying about how the team in Atlantis were going to take to her – as though the final outcome was ever in doubt.
Sam smiled in recognition of the words she'd said to him before her first trip through the wormhole. She waggled her fingers at him as Daniel pulled away.
Jack stuffed his hands in the pockets of his pants again as he watched the car disappear down the road. 'I adore you already.' His reply to her words replayed in his mind and he shook his head, staring up at the morning sky. He still adored her.
Sam was grateful that Teal'c was by her side as she entered the gate room. Her breath caught at the gathered personnel. Half the base and operational SG teams had crowded into the space. She spotted Sergeant Siler standing to the right next to Doctor Lam and her med team; Colonel Reynolds presided over the military contingent while the scientist contingent was headed up by Bill Lee who was standing next to a despondent looking Jay Felger. The gate technicians were gathered in the control room; Walter Harriman nodded at her from his place at the computer. Her eyes skipped over him and landed back on SG1 beside her.
Teal'c inclined his head; he'd been in on the surprise; Vala beside him looked thrilled. The former thief gave her two thumbs up as Cameron Mitchell grinned irrepressively next to her. Daniel shrugged at her chiding look; his intelligent face alive with amusement.
General Landry grinned at her surprise. 'You didn't think we could let you go without a little fanfare, Colonel?'
Hoped. The word sprang into Sam's mind but she covered with a resigned, slightly embarrassed smile and took a deep breath. 'No, sir. I guess not.'
'I only have a few words.' He winked at her; he was evidently enjoying the moment and she relaxed letting her CO have his way.
'I don't mind saying that it was a huge disappointment to learn within moments of my arrival at the SGC that you would be transferring to another command.' Landry began. 'I think my reaction was only slightly less horrified than that of Colonel Mitchell's when he learned of it.'
Mitchell's blue eyes took on a pained look and Sam bit her lip. He'd arrived expecting to join SG1 only to learn they'd all moved on in the wake of defeating the Goa'uld and destroying the Replicators; her to Area 51, Teal'c to Dakara and Daniel had been set on Atlantis back then. But that had been before the Ori and events which had brought them back together as a team.
'It was clear to me that you were a large part of why we were still standing; why we so often beat the odds.' Landry continued. 'And when the chips were down and we needed you, you came back. You probably didn't realise it at the time but just having you back here at the SGC made everyone here believe we could fight the Ori and even win. With your continued outstanding work as part of SG1 we have done just that.'
Sam blushed at the nods of the personnel around the room and looked down.
'Your contribution to SG1's successes cannot be over-emphasised, Colonel. There isn't a man or woman on this planet who doesn't owe you their lives several times over, myself included.' Landry noted.
She looked up as he paused.
'But I know it's time for you to leave us. Atlantis needs you and I know you'll give them the same dedication and loyalty that you have given to the SGC every day of your time here.' Landry's dark eyes held hers. 'It has been an honour, Colonel.'
The room broke into spontaneous applause and Landry joined in. He ceded the floor to her and she shook her head.
Vala's cry had Sam turning sharply to pin her friend with an aggrieved look. Vala grinned back at her unrepentant.
Sam cleared her throat and the noise died down. 'I just want to say thank you to everyone for coming. This place has been more than somewhere to work for the last ten years, it's been a home. I'm not going far,' she smiled slightly, 'well, only to another galaxy…'
There was a ripple of laughter and she waited for it to die out before continuing.
'And it gives me confidence to know that you're all here to give me and Atlantis back up, should we ever need it.' Her eyes travelled back around the room. 'It's been an honour to serve with all of you.'
Another spontaneous round of applause and Sam felt the tears welling in her eyes again. She took a shaky breath. She wouldn't cry; not again. She'd already done it saying goodbye to Jack; when she had talked about leaving with a wistful Daniel on the drive in; with Teal'c in her lab as she had finished packing…she took another breath as Landry ordered Atlantis to be dialled. He saw her shock and grinned.
'Your things will go via the mid-way station.' Landry confirmed. 'But the Pentagon and the IOA are agreed that as the new leader of Atlantis taking command of the expedition, you should have a direct trip this time.'
Sam nodded shakily. She had never travelled a whole galaxy through a wormhole before and she hoped to God she kept her stomach. She repressed a grimace, regretting the large breakfast Jack had cooked her that morning.
The gate began to dial.
'You should say your goodbyes, Colonel.' Landry advised.
Sam found herself besieged by hugs and well wishes.
Mitchell gave her a quick hug. 'I packed you a lemon.' He muttered in her ear.
She grinned. Rodney McKay was allergic to citrus and Mitchell knew it; he also knew her own history and interaction with the scientist was somewhat fraught at times. She had worried how McKay would take her assignment; he'd seemed OK, a little pole-axed when he'd interrupted her briefing with John Sheppard a day before. It was a thoughtful gift.
'If the universe needs saving…' Mitchell said.
'I'll be there.' Sam promised, remembering her words to him a couple of years before when he had asked her to come back to SG1.
He stepped back and nodded respectfully.
Vala sprang forward to replace Mitchell. Her hug was harder than Mitchell's; fierce and over-the-top like Vala herself. They'd become good friends and Sam was going to miss Vala with her cheeky wit and outrageous comments; the girly shopping trips with Daniel's credit card.
'You know it's deeply unfair of you to leave me alone with the boys.' Vala said strongly as she broke their embrace enough to stare with suspiciously damp eyes at Sam. 'Who's going to bring me wine and gossip with me now?'
Sam gave a small smile. 'I'm sure Teal'c will keep you company.' She said innocently with a cheeky glance at the Jaffa.
Teal'c glared at her.
'Thank you, Muscles.' Vala patted his large bicep absently as she surreptitiously swiped at her face. 'But don't you be a stranger!' She pointed a finger at Sam.
Sam nodded unable to speak.
Teal'c moved forward and wrapped her into another gentle hug. 'Remember. We are only a call away should you ever be in need of us, Colonel Carter.'
'I remember.' Sam hugged him back. She knew in her heart she would still be a member of SG1 just like Jack had never truly stopped being a part of the team despite his promotions.
The Jaffa stepped aside for Daniel and the archaeologist wrapped his arms around her.
'Take care of him, Daniel.' Sam whispered, knowing he would understand she meant Jack. She knew her husband; he would never admit it but he would need their friends, their family.
Daniel nodded. 'I will.'
The wormhole blossomed outward and Sam felt Daniel step away. Teal'c handed her the briefcase she had placed on the floor and she took it with a grateful smile.
The call snapped Sam to attention and she realised belatedly it was meant for everyone but her as they all followed their CO and saluted.
Sam snapped off a salute in response. Her head held high; her posture parade ground perfect. With a final look to Landry, she began her walk up the ramp. She stopped in front of the event horizon. The ripples across the blue and the glimmers of light made her smile.
She'd stopped the first time too, Sam remembered. She had been so in awe of the gate; of the wormhole itself. She had marvelled at the wonder of it. Jack had pushed her through. She could feel the imprint of his hand on her back as though it had happened moments before. She blinked at the sensation and looked back over her shoulder to the uppermost window of the briefing room.
Jack stood there solemnly. He was dressed in his own uniform; the blue jacket open, the tie slightly askew. She could see the stars on his shoulders shining under the artificial lights.
Her blue eyes met his. 'Thank you.'
'Being here for me, sir.'
One look and an entire conversation.
They'd never needed words.
Sam smiled; the butterflies in her stomach settling. She turned back around and with a final look at the fluctuations in the event horizon stepped through to Atlantis. It was time for a new beginning.