An Epilogue, as promised! :). I'm giving you this a bit early because... well, because I feel like it. Tomorrow is my birthday, and I wanted to share this with you. Call it a birthday present from eh, well, from me to us all. That sounded a bit cliché, I know, but I'm like that right now. This chapter can tend to do that to you, I should warn.
Reviewers: Thank you for your adorable reviews and the support you've given me over the course of this story. I want you to know that your words have touched me and will be remembered.
makki - Thank you very much (- does her best Elvis impression) A wedding would have been great, but alas... Ah well, someday, right? There is an AU continuation! :D
Baku babe - Thank you very much, you know it was tempting not to add one, but the majority wanted one... Hope it doesn't ruin things though :P.
ilovesg1andNASA - Your vote won!
Allie108 - Fishing is a good way to end an epilogue, don't you think? ;).
HAZMOT - I thought Sam and Jack would be on the same wavelength on this. I mean, in a way it was kind of such a simple thing to do. Follow the signal to the goal, you know. It's something Jack would think of easily, and something Sam might overlook and then realize it might actually work. And the hugs - Ah, Jack, you old softie. You know he just couldn't let go of her, probably doing his best to keep touching her even after the chapter ended.
Bumling - As you wish. :).
ALIMOO1971 - Your wish is my command ;).
sg1 huge fan - thank you! :D.
Cecilia Friesen - You must have reviewed almost at the same time that I updated. Either way, here is an epilogue. :).
Cenza - Thank you, that was very kind. :). Fishing, it is!
If you don't stick around for my other stories, readers, I wan't you to have a nice life or just a nice evening, whichever you prefer. :).
Enjoy this Epilogue!
Epilogue: Gone Fishing
Sam stood silently in the hall of Jack's cabin, taking in her surroundings. The cabin in itself seemed cozy and there was just enough space for two-three people, possibly even four. The rustic wooden walls brought with it a smell that somehow was so uniquely Jack and so uniquely right. Sam allowed the corners of her lips to tug upwards into a faint smile as she remained in place. Eventually her thoughts of peace were interrupted by someone clearing their throat behind her, Sam turned around to face Jack who was standing in the doorway, with both of their bags in his hands.
"So, what do you think?" he asked, looking almost sheepish.
"It's great," Sam said truthfully and flashed him a grin that he gratefully returned.
"I'm glad you like it, 'cause I plan on keeping you up here for a week," Jack said with a pointed look as he walked into the hall as well, placing the bags on the floor by the door and slowly turning back to Sam.
"Really?" Sam asked with an amused smile. "And what if I grow tired of this? What if I can't wait to get home?"
Jack feigned a hurt expression, "You wouldn't."
"You're right, I wouldn't."
Jack smiled at her and silently took in her appearance in his cabin, he'd finally gotten her up to Minnesota, several years after he'd first asked her. Jack thought it was about time, and knew that this little fishing trip would bring change for the both of them.
"So… What do you wanna do first?" Jack asked, breaking the silence that had begun descending over the couple.
Sam smiled again and Jack found his gaze transfixed on her lips, "Do you even have to ask?"
"I guess I don't," he responded hoarsely. "Fishing it is."
Sitting in a chair on the dock by the pond, Sam found that she was completely relaxed. She couldn't remember a single time in her life that she'd ever been this relaxed, she'd been so consumed in work for such a long time, but up here none of that mattered. She knew it should concern her, after all, work had been what kept Jack and her apart for so long and that wasn't about to change any time soon. Still, Sam knew, this trip meant a promise for something more, she just wasn't sure how much more.
She cast a glance in Jack's direction and was pleased to see a similar level of relaxation as he lazily fished by her side, slowly reeling in his line. She was aware that after they'd arrived back to Earth after her twenty day trip out in space, Jack had practically barricaded Hammond in his office and they hadn't left the room for several hours. When he'd stepped out she'd asked him what they'd talked about but he'd refused to answer her questions instead giving her one in return; he'd repeated his invitation to his cabin and she'd accepted yet again. Just a few hours later they'd set off. Already on the way up, Sam had been made aware that something had changed in their relationship, or at least in Jack's approach to their relationship, as he'd begun relaxed small talk that had lasted until they arrived at their goal.
"Hello, Earth to Sam," Jack called and Sam was drawn from her thoughts. She turned to watch Jack with wide eyes as he looked back at her, amusement twinkling in his brown eyes.
"Where were you? You seemed light years away."
"Oh, sorry," Sam said, straightening a bit in her chair. "I was just… contemplating."
"You don't say?"
"I do," was Sam's reply, she knew she was being elusive.
"Sam…," Jack said, and Sam heard the inquiry in his voice.
"Contemplating us," Sam added then and noticed how Jack's hand stopped reeling in the line.
"Oh?" he asked casually. "Anything you want to share?"
"Actually, I was going to ask you the same question."
"What?" Jack asked, frowning in confusion. "What do you mean?"
"I'm just wondering, Jack," Sam said. "exactly what you and general Hammond talked about."
Jack glanced at her a few seconds, looking as if he was thinking something over, then, without warning, he placed his fishing rod down on the dock and turned around in her direction.
"Before we go in to that, I just want to know… where we…," he waved his hand in the space between them, searching for the right words. "…where we stand."
"Oh," Sam said, placing her rod down as well. "I thought it was obvious."
"Amuse me, Carter," Jack said and Sam raised her eyebrow at the use of her last name.
"Well, sir, I think our mutual feelings are quite clear."
"Yeah, sure, you betcha," Jack smiled. "I'm just wondering how much you want this."
"What?" Sam frowned. "Do you even have to ask?"
Jack searched her eyes a second before nodding, "No. Good. Yeah, good."
"Jack…," Sam started softly. "Could you please tell me what's going on here?"
"I'm retiring, Sam."
"What?" Sam asked, her eyes wide as saucers. "You can't! The job means so much to you-"
"You mean more to me than my job, Sam," Jack interrupted.
"But, sir, I-"
"No, Carter, it's what I want."
"…You're not even going to let me try and change your mind, are you?" Sam asked, feeling almost crestfallen despite it being good news for them.
"Sam…," Jack sighed before continuing. "Let me explain. I went in to Hammond's office, resolute on retiring, at first he out right refused. Then he offered us a second choice."
"I'll remain at the SGC, Sam, as a civilian."
"But… then you can't lead SG-1 and we need you. Who'll lead us if you don't?"
"Me?" Sam's voice hitched an octave. "But I'm not ready for this, not yet, not now."
"Sam, you are. I've watched you evolve as a soldier and as a team player for almost seven years now, you are ready to try on the role of leader."
Sam thought about his words a second before cautiously asking, "What about you?"
"What about me?"
"What will you do?"
"Oh, I'll still go with you on as many missions as the big guys will let me, though I'm probably going to miss a few."
"Oh, Jack," Sam said, reaching out her hand to hold his. "You can't sacrifice all this for me."
"I'm not sacrificing anything, Sam. I'm kind of being promoted actually."
"Hammond said that as I'm not going to be the leader of SG-1 anymore, I should move on to bigger and better things. Let's face it, Sam, it's been coming for awhile… I'm getting too old for field work anyway, this way, I can help Hammond and the others and keep my knees in one piece."
"He asked you to run the SGC with him, didn't he?"
"He did," Jack smiled, squeezing her hand in his as Sam's smile returned. "So you see, I'm not really losing anything in this deal, I'd like to think I'm just gaining things."
"And you won't get bored?" Sam asked.
"Maybe a bit. But I'll at least have you to cheer me up when I do," Jack said, barely resisting the urge to wiggle his eyebrows.
"Oh, God," Sam said suddenly, her smile vanishing quickly. "I shouldn't let you do this. I should be offering to retire, not you."
"What, are you nuts?" Jack asked, eyeing her with amusement.
"Maybe I am."
"Sam… you can't retire, you haven't even reached Lt. Colonel, and when you reach it, you're not going to stop there. One day, you'll be made a General," Jack said.
"Sam," Jack interrupted. "I'm okay with this, if you are. I promise you, we can make it work this way, at least we have a chance."
Sam's frown faded and Jack saw she was processing the last few minutes, Jack was aware that if he let her, she'd overanalyze the entire thing. Jack squeezed her hand again, letting his thumb stroke the back of her hand, her eyes met his and she smiled, a wide, genuine smile.
"We're really doing this, aren't we? Having this talk, I mean?" she asked.
Jack smiled back, "We are."
"Do you really think we can make this work?"
"Yeah, sure… you betcha," Jack said. "We just have to be open for change, Carter."
"…That sounded an awful lot like a cliché."
"I know," Jack groaned. "Not one of my prouder moments, Sam."
"I like it," Sam admitted.
"Yeah, well, don't expect too many of those popping up."
"I don't want clichés, sir," Sam said, her eyes twinkling in amusement. "I want you."
Jack's smile widened, "Alright, I think we've had enough clichés for a day, if I hear any more I'll have to run off into the woods and bury my head in the ground."
"Duly noted, sir," Sam said.
Jack tugged gently on her hand and she moved closer, until their foreheads touched. Jack searched her eyes and finding what he was looking for, he closed the distance between their lips and kissed her. The kiss was gentle, but still promising. It wasn't the most passionate of kisses, yet it was just enough. It was a promise of a future together, and they both knew it. Pulling back after a few seconds, Jack smiled at Sam.
"I've always wanted to do that," he admitted and Sam giggled.
Jack leaned over the side of his seat and picked up his rod, just sitting with it in his hand. He glanced down at their joined hands as Sam retrieved her rod too, he could let go of her hand to reel in his line, but he just didn't feel like it. He could fish any day,but it wasn't everyday you got to hold the hand of your former 2IC, though, Jack figured, he'd probably do it a lot from here on out.
"You know what, Sam?"
"I love… fishing. I really love fishing."
"Me too, Jack. Me too."