General George Hammond closed his laptop with a click and glanced at his watch. 18:37. He smiled softly, that was
one of the perks of being head of Homeworld Security – you got to go home almost on time. He stood and slid his
dress jacket on.

There was a knock on his office door and Hammond sighed. "Come."

The door opened and his assistant entered the room carrying a single sheet of paper. "Sorry to catch you on your
way out sir," she said, "this just came through."

"Thank you," Hammond said, taking the paper from her, "See you tomorrow."

She nodded and exited the room, closing the door softly behind her. Hammond looked down at the sheet of paper
in his hand. It was Jack's official acceptance of his new job. Brigadier General Jack O'Neill, Commanding Officer
of Stargate Command.

Hammond sighed. Of course, he was happy for Jack. Heaven knew the man deserved the promotion, but after what
he'd seen in Major Carter in Antarctica, Hammond knew this effectively postponed any thought of the two of them
finally being able to be together, if not squashed the idea all together.

He hadn't had the chance to speak to Jack since he was… defrosted. The day after he got to the Antarctic facility he'd
been called to Washington and talked through his new job and his promotion. Frowning at the paper in his hand he
thought to himself, I'll call him when I get home.


As Hammond entered his apartment he knew something was wrong. Moving with far more stealth than one would
have expected to look at him. Before he had gone more than a few steps, however a lamp was flicked on, revealing
Jack O'Neill sitting in the best easy chair.

"Jack," Hammond greeted.

"Sir," Jack responded.

"I think you can call me George now, General," Hammond said, taking a seat opposite Jack.

"George," Jack said.

"Not that I'm not pleased to see you, Jack, but why have you broken into my apartment?"

"Just wondering how you were settling in to the new job…" Jack said in a weak attempt at humour. General
Hammond simply stared at him. "I wanted to ask why, sir –George?"

"Why?" Hammond repeated, although he had a pretty good idea what Jack was asking.

"Why me?" Jack asked simply.

Hammond took a moment to study the younger man. This was the first time he'd seen his friend since Thor and
SG-1 brought him back and he had to admit, Jack had changed. He seemed… quieter. Not so quiet that people who
didn't know him well would notice, but then again, Hammond knew him extremely well.

"You know why, Jack," he said, "You're the best man for the job and you deserve it." When Jack still looked
disbelieving, Hammond continued, "If I can't be there, there's no one else I'd rather have taking care of our people."

Jack looked down at his hands and for the first time Hammond noticed the half-empty beer bottle he was rolling
between them. He decided it was probably time to level with the younger man.

"That being said, it wasn't be who suggested you for the promotion."

Jack's head shot up at that, dark eyes boring into Hammond's face. "George?" He interrogated softly.

"I thought that if you were going to be commanding the SGC, and off SG-1, that you could do so just as ably if you
were a civilian."

Jack's face looked confused, but his eyes shone with the glimmer of understanding before it was masterfully
masked. "George?' he said again.

"Don't play dumb with me, son. We both know you're not." Hammond sighed and leaned back in his chair. "When
you were in Antarctica I visited you, did anyone tell you that?"

"Teal'c might have mentioned it," Jack replied, clearly wondering where this was going.

"While I was there I spoke to Dr Jackson, Teal'c and Major Carter. They think a lot of you, Jack. They were all
extremely upset at the idea that we might not be able to revive you."

O'Neill shrugged, uncomfortable.

"Major Carter was especially upset," Hammond added, gratified whensomething flashed across Jack's face.

"You know how Carter gets when she can't fix something, sir," Jack said, reverting to the formal address.

"Bullshit, Jack."

Jack stared at Hammond, trying to remember if he'd ever heard the man swear before. He must have done,
but never so vehemently, and never at him.

"I wanted you to run the SGC as a civilian to give yourself and Major Carter a chance to pursue a, shall we say,
closer personal relationship."

"Carter would still have been under my command," Jack pointed out, abandoning any attempt at concealment
in the light of General Hammond's clear knowledge of the facts and apparent willingness to help.

"You're forgetting, Jack. I'm head of Homeworld Security, and you've saved the world enough times to warrant
a few favours," Hammond paused, smiling at his friend, "Dr Weir said you were making a list?" Jack nodded.
"I hoped I'd be able to help you with at least one of the things on it at the same time as helping Major Carter
with her own list."

"So what happened to that plan?"

"The president felt you deserved more than retirement and a new job, he wanted to keep you in the Air Force and
promote you to Brigadier General. I could hardly tell him my reasons for wishing otherwise. Not without some
signal from yourself or Major Carter." Hammond said, his voice sounding heavy.

"I thought you were friends?' Jack quipped.

Hammond smiled, some of the old Jack seemed to have survived his promotion then. "He's still the president, son."

"Carter is in a relationship, you know that, right?" Jack asked, his gaze returning to his bottle.

"Is that why you accepted the promotion?"

Jack nodded.

"I saw the way she looked at you when you were in that pod, Jack. I've known Sam Carter since she was a child.
She cares about you."

Jack shrugged. He raised the beer to his lips and downed the rest of it in one go. Putting the bottle on the end table
next to his seat, he rose smoothly. "I should go. I have to be back in Colorado by tomorrow morning."

"There's still time, Jack," Hammond said softly.

Jack checked his watch, "My flight's in an hour, George."

"That's not what I meant."

Jack shrugged again. "Thanks for the chat," he said, his voice taking on the light tone Hammond was used to,
"I'm sure you'll be hearing from me soon. When the paperwork mounts up." He turned and headed for the door,
pausing after going only two steps and walking back to where Hammond sat. He dug in his pocket and pulled
out a sheet of paper. "Here," he said, handing it to Hammond. "Can you put this through ASAP? Its another
one of the items on my list."

Hammond nodded and Jack turned and exited the apartment, closing the door softly behind him. Hammond looked
down at the piece of paper in his hands and unfolded it. It was a request for the promotion of one Samantha Carter
from Major to Lieutenant Colonel.