whatever a sun will always sing is you

Jack spent the next day in his office trying to clear his desk of all the paperwork Colonel Reynolds couldn't deal with and which Jack had been putting off, hoping they would compost themselves into a little pile of dust. He sighed and pulled out a request for reassignment- Sam's reassignment. Suddenly, with the paper in his hands, the reality of the situation struck him and he felt a dark, nebulous rage building up. She was leaving him to save him. How fucked up was that? Neither of them wanted her at the SGC, though for different reasons, and she was far too valuable to be stuck at the Pentagon. He couldn't come up with an appropriate spot for her there in his wildest dreams without taking a beating from the brass higher up. So off to Area 51 for her, and they could just suck it up like they'd been doing for years. He put his head in his hands and wondered if they'd ever have a normal life and be normal people without nightmares, without concealed weapons permits, without naquada in their blood.

The phone rang, jerking him out of his misery. "Yeah. O'Neill."

"Jack. You don't sound so peppy, son." It amused Jack that there was someone left on this earth that could call him "son."

"Sorry, George. Signing Carter's re-ass papers."

"I heard you had a little party, Jack. That was smart- but you should have invited your CO." Jack could hear the smile in George's voice. Damn. News did travel fast. "I have to say I'm catching a little flak over this, Jack. You didn't do anything wrong, by the books- it just looks contrived."

"It was." Jack stated flatly. The Air Force could do a lot of things to them, but one thing it couldn't do was annul a marriage.

"It'll be all right, but I have to ask you a few things."

Yeah. Find out if it really is a strategic decision.

"Are we under any threat that would make her essential personnel at the SGC?"

"No. All quiet on the galactic front."

"You got married yesterday, but you've cared for her a lot longer than that, Jack."

Jack didn't know what to say. If he said "no", that would be a lie and pretty much unbelievable given the circumstances. If he said "yes", it could be interpreted as fraternization. "That's true, George."

"I never once saw you make inappropriate command decisions because of Sam." George said.

Jack heaved a sigh of relief. "George, I actually killed her in the interest of national security."

Hammond laughed. "You've convinced me. Just remember, I'm responsible for you two. Don't screw this up. Now, I'll hang up and you get a three-way call set up between Sam, you, and me."

O'Neill set the phone down. Let's see, a three-way call between his office, his house, and General Hammond. He picked up the receiver, and put it down. Set up a call between his office and his house? He was sure the communications center was one of the gossip hotbeds on the base.

He dialed home. Sam answered with a simple, "O'Neill's."

"Sam." Jack was unexpectedly pleased to hear her voice at the end of his phone number, saying his name- their name.

"Hi. What's up?" Sam was actually out of bed, showered and dressed before ten o'clock for the first time in days.

"Can't I call my beautiful wife for no reason?"

"You can, but you don't,"

"Less than twenty-four hours, and you know this?" Jack smiled. She was right.

"I do."

"You did."

"I know." Sam smiled, twisting the ring on her finger. "So?"

"So, Hammond wants to talk to you."

Sam's smile evaporated.

Jack could feel her unease. "Sam, he thinks it'll be okay. I just wanted to ask you about a three-way call with him. You're at my house, and the operator will know it." Jack waited.

"I told you I'm not hiding this under a rock, Jack. If it's pertinent to work, then we deal with it at work. Otherwise, we leave it at the door."

"I don't get it," Jack whined, "Now that we're married I'm going to have to stop watching your… you ... walk down the corridor?"

"For crying out loud, Jack, just set up the call." Sam hung up. Jack looked at the phone and smiled again. Despite everything, he was doing a lot of that lately.

He dialed the base operator. "Hello, this is General O'Neill. I need a three-party call set up between my office, my home and General Hammond." Jack listened, "Yes, that's what I said. It'll be Colonel Carter. Ring General Hammond last, please." He hung up.

Around nine, Jack let himself in to a darkened house. He hung up his jacket, and turned on the hallway light. In the dim light, he could see Sam, asleep on the couch. There was a box beside her, with a few things scattered around it, their identities too difficult to ascertain. Jack carefully walked around the box, noticing that Sam's face was tear-stained and pale. He looked at her with a lump in his throat, and he intensity of his feelings stunned and scared him.

Then he noticed she was holding something- a little doll that used to be black and white. Jack lifted it gently from her hands and recognized Major Matt Mason. The little Major didn't know how many memories he held. The first day Jack had ever laid eyes on her. A father's love and dreams for his brilliant little girl. Jack's eyes drifted to Charlie's picture, and at that moment, the wall that took him ten years to build crumbled, and he quickly put the doll back in her hands.

Jack sat down and watched her, gripping the arms of the chair until his fingers were numb. He loved her so much. He admitted it. Don't let anything happen to her. Please. That's all he wanted- was for Sam to be safe. It had been the driving force in his life for so many years, whether he'd realized it or not, and he'd always held himself responsible. Gradually, he relaxed his hands and shook his head. She's just going to geek central out in the middle of nowhere. And he was glad, but he still stayed in the chair, watching her breathe, until he fell asleep.

Jack woke up to the phone ringing, and then he could hear Sam talking in the kitchen. She came out and handed it to him. It was Siler. "Sir", Siler explained, "We, ah, have a little problem with the computer system. The glyphs aren't making it to the gate, I don't think it's serious but until it's straightened out we can't dial the gate. We've got two teams-off world."

"Well, maybe mice chewed through the cables." Jack took a cup of coffee from Sam and smiled.

"No, sir."

"You checked for mice?"

"Yes, sir." Siler said.

"Oh for crying out loud Siler, I'll be right there." Jack hung up. He drank some coffee and looked at the box on the floor, which was now packed, its lid folded neatly. Sam stood at the door, putting her jacket on.

"Where are you going?" Jack stood slowly. Chairs were definitely not meant to be beds, especially when one was over fifty.

"To the SGC." Sam fished in her pocket for her keys. She'd obviously been up a while. Jack made a mental note to try not to miss her next shower.

"Why?" Jack took another drink of coffee and put it on the table. "You don't work there anymore."

"Siler asked me to come."

Jack saw the uncertainty in her eyes. "Siler would be the last one to be chatting up the fact you're at my house at eight a.m." Jack put his arms around her waist and kissed her. He put his face in her hair, inhaling the scent. "Jack, I've got to go." Sam peeled his arms from around her.

"Married two days and you're cutting me off already." Jack teased. "Can you at least wait for me?"

"No, sir." Sam kissed his cheek. "No favoritism." She walked out the door.

Sam looked at her hand on the steering wheel. She never wore any jewelry but her dog tags on base. She'd never worn earrings, or Pete's ring. In all honesty, she didn't want Jack to see that ring, so the policies were fine with her. She just didn't know about wedding bands, so few people she knew managed to stay married. She tried to remember about General Hammond.

Arriving at the base, she slipped off the ring and placed it securely in the buttoned breast pocket of her BDU jacket. She finished getting dressed and went out to find Siler, who was checking connections from the computer to the stargate.

He turned and stood at attention. "Colonel Carter." Siler never did that. "At ease, Siler." She wished she could tell it to herself. They started reviewing the data he had collected so far, and soon they both fell back into their usual easy technical talk. Jack came into the gate room, saw them intently discussing the situation, and turned on his heel. He wanted no part of that. He went up stairs to the control room get the list of team members who were off-world, in case they were due back today. Jack hated calling families to inform them of late arrivals.

"Here you are, sir." Sgt. Harriman handed him the list. "No one due back today. Alpha, beta and gamma sites were all fine as of early this morning." Jack took the list from Walter and studied it. Walter studied Jack's left hand.

"All right, Walter, I'll be in my office."

"Yes, sir." Walter grinned into his headset.

Jack went up the last flight of stairs to the briefing room and then his office. More requisitions to sign. He sighed, hung up his jacket and sat at his desk. There was a manila envelope marked "Eyes Only." Very interesting. Jack undid the brass clasp and shook the envelope, and out fell a large greeting card. He started to smile. "Congratulations on your wedding." Opening it, he found "It's about time," marked across both panels in big red letters. With the card was continuous feed computer paper, with scores of signatures on it. It unfolded itself from the desk down to the floor.

O'Neill phoned down to the control room. "Sgt. Harriman, tell Colonel Carter to report to my office." Walter smiled, and complied.

Sam looked up. "Okay." She checked one more thing with Siler and then went up to O'Neill's office. "You wanted to see me, sir."

O'Neill sat back in his chair. "That was weird."

"Weird, but necessary." Sam said, seriously.

"I suppose." He sighed. "I've got something to show you, Carter." He patted the desk.

"Sir?" Carter blushed.

"Sam, I can control myself, really," Jack grinned. Sam walked over to the desk. She saw the card and read each signature and greeting, smiling and chuckling her way down the list. He watched her, soaking in that smile to save for the long days he knew were coming.

Then Jack stood up. "Give me your ring." Sam sighed guiltily and took it out of her pocket. Jack slipped it back on her finger. "Don't make me do that again." He looked in her eyes, dead serious, and it scared her.

"All right Jack, I won't."


"It's funny," Sam said as she and Jack sat on the couch, in complete denial about her move to Nevada the next day, "I feel like we had our honeymoon before the wedding." She put her head on his shoulder and sighed. "I'd like to go back to your cabin."

"Whose cabin?" Jack raised his eyebrows and looked down at her.

Sam smiled. "I'll never love it as much as you do."

"I went there every summer since I was able to walk." Jack reminisced. "It was my uncle's. He taught me how to fish."

"Wasn't he worried you'd fall in and drown?"

"Nope. He was more careful than I was." Jack stared at the flames crackling in the fireplace.

"Jack." Sam gently reprimanded him.

"I still miss him, Sam." Jack's face was impassive.

"I know. I imagine you always will, just like I miss my mom - and now my dad." She sighed. "But Dad once told me that love didn't always have to end in pain."

"That sounds pretty wise. Are you sure it wasn't Selmak?" Jack smiled down at her.

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Does that bother you?" Jack said, nodding toward the picture of Sara and Charlie.

"No, Jack. I actually think its- nice." It shows that when you love, you love deeply.

Jack regarded her thoughtfully. "If I ask you something, will you promise not to flip out on me?"

Sam turned her head to look at him. "I don't know. Look how I acted when you asked me to marry you."

"This isn't a big deal. Just, uh, more nosy."

"Nosy is fine." She was really curious now.

"We haven't been using any birth control, have we?" Jack tilted his head and looked at her.

Kids. She smiled- he was definitely not one to waste time. Even if there hadn't been Charlie, it would have been impossible not to see that he loved kids. It was one of those paradoxical parts of Jack's nature that made him intrigue her like no man ever had. "Well, actually, we have. Janet wrote the policy requiring it for all women going off-world."

"Oh, Sam…" The careless way she said it made Jack's heart ache. Of all the risks she'd had to take, rape was just another one on the list for her. Then he remembered Jolinar, and what Sam knew and maybe even experienced, and he felt worse.

"I was always all right, Jack." Sam said quietly. "Remember when I kicked Turghan's ass?"

"Oh yeah. So richly deserved." His mood lifted slightly thinking about that expedition, when he first began to appreciate all the fine qualities of his 2IC. He watched the flames for a moment, then turned to Sam with a sly grin. "I have to admit I was hopeful you'd just forgotten. I could get used to the idea of a little O'Neill conceived in the heat of the moment."

Sam smiled. "Sorry. Maybe someday." Maybe next week if you keep smiling at me like that.

"Soon?"

"Jack. I'm just adjusting to a few major life events, and now you're pestering me about another one. Not to mention we won't even be living in the same state." Sam tried to be upbeat, but could feel the little protective bubble around them bursting.

"All right." He could hear the stress in her voice, but he knew how to fix that. "How about we go practice, then?"

Sam sat up. "Jack?"

"Yes?"

"You really are a very bad boy."

He smiled, and stood up, offering her his hand. "Only for you."