Finally sitting in the briefing room at the SGC, Daniel allowed himself to ask Teal'c the question that had been burning in his mind for the entirety of the trip home.
"How long were we out there?"
Teal'c, as could have been predicted, raised an eyebrow. What Daniel didn't expect, however, was for his friend to answer. "Fifty years."
"Long time to be stranded in space."
They turned at the sound of the familiar voice coming from the doorway, Landry going so far as to actually turn his body around in his chair. Jack was leaning on the doorframe that led from the General's office to the briefing room. Dressed in the green BDUs he never wasted any time changing into once he arrived at the SGC.
Sam and Cameron stood to attention.
Jack grimaced. "At ease… Colonels."
Mitchell retook his seat, but Sam remained standing. Jack tilted his head to one side inquisitively.
"What are you doing here?" Sam asked.
Jack's mouth quirked in a half smile. "Carter"
"Sorry. What are you doing here, sir?" she rephrased.
"Heard you guys had an odd mission," Jack said. Daniel raised his eyebrows and out of the corner of his eye saw Vala open her mouth. "Odder than usual," Jack conceded.
"How did you hear-" Sam began, taking her seat again.
Jack's eyes flicked to Teal'c, before he continued, "So I took a couple of days off to make sure you guys got home safe." He looked at General Landry. "Hank, this is a debriefing I don't wanna miss, but can it wait 'til tomorrow…" he looked at his watch, "afternoon? Transporter-lag."
Landry smiled. "Okay people. Back here at thirteen hundred" Jack coughed "fourteen hundred tomorrow," Landry finished, rising. "I expect you all to get some rest." He left the room and headed for the elevator to the surface, leaving Jack with SG-1.
"So..." Jack said, "fifty years?"
"Indeed," Teal'c said.
Daniel looked from Jack to tealc and back again, realisation hitting him. "Wait a minute," he said to Teal'c, "you told Jack what happened, but you won't tell us?"
"He didn't tell me everything," Jack said, making Daniel look back at him. Jack's eyes however, were still firmly locked on Sam's. "I'm gonna head home, see you guys tomorrow. Carter, walk with me?"
he walked past them and out of the briefing room.
Sam uttered a quick, "See you tomorrow, guys," before hastening after him.
Daniel watched them go, then turned back to the table only to find Vala grinning at him.
"Well that was…" Mitchell began.
"…rude," Daniel finished.
"I think they've got the right idea, actually," Vala said, rising and extending her hand to Daniel. "Walk me to my quarters, my Daniel?"
Daniel rolled his eyes, waiting for her to laugh at him and drop her hand. When she didn't something compelled him to rise and follow her from the room.
After changing into civvies, Jack and Sam rode the first elevator in silence. As they made their way to the second still neither of them spoke. Sam could feel her mind running a mile a minute and was frustrated by the air of calm she could feel emanating from Jack.
She kept shooting him sideways glances, expecting to catch him looking at her, but each time he was fully focussed on the corridor ahead.
As the doors to the second elevator closed and Jack hit the button, Sam leant against the back panel, deciding she could wait him out.
Jack turned and took her hand, pulling her into his personal space and kissing her. Sam surprised him by sliding a hand into his hair and pulling him down, pressing into him.
After several moments, Jack pulled back and looked at her, "Okay, now you're freakin' me out." He turned and hit the emergency stop button, picking up the phone and ensuring the technicians that all was well.
"You are way too into this, considering where we are," he looked at her intently, making sure she met his eyes, "it didn't happen."
"Yes, Jack. It did," Sam said, sighing and stepping away from him.
"Well… yeah. It kinda did, but then in a very real way it… didn't." Jack finished lamely. "Carter, look… you know there's no way I'm ever going to get this, but, the way I see it you're here now. It didn't happen to you."
"It happened to Teal'c," she pointed out.
"And Teal'c seems to be dealing with it admirably," he remarked, "Why aren't you?"
"Its just… fifty years, Jack. Can you imagine-"
"Tryin' not to," Jack interrupted. He sighed and looked at her forlorn expression. "Carter, you really have to let this go. You're home. You're safe. That's all that counts in my book."
She looked up at him and Jack saw determination in her eyes.
"That's better," he said, nodding. "C'mere." He pulled her to him again, kissing her just as fervently as she'd kissed him.
Minutes later, Sam pulled away long enough to say, "I think we should probably continue this at home, Jack."
"What? Oh. Right." He turned again and hit the button holding the elevator. Sam felt them start to climb upwards again.
She and Jack leant against the back of the elevator in companionable silence, their fingers loosely intertwined.
As the elevator reached the surface, Jack said mildly, "Remind me to call my office tomorrow."
"I thought you were on leave?"
"I am. I just want to tell them something before I forget. Something I'd like to put in motion as soon as possible." He said, walking through the checkpoint and heading for his staff car.
"And that is?" Sam asked, sliding into the backseat beside him.
"We're not naming any more of our ships after Greek tragedies," he said, looking at her with a devilish glint in his eye, "its just asking for trouble."