A/N: A little "angsty SJ fluff" related to Sam's upcoming reassignment. In my imagination, this piece takes place somewhere shortly after the first episode in SGA season 5; all the crew are safely back in Atlantis thanks to Sam and her efforts.


LOVE

He'd welcome her home.

He'd welcome her home with open arms and a full heart.

Major General Jack O'Neill would be there, at Stargate Command, in the gate room when Colonel Samantha Carter O'Neill returned from Atlantis – to stay.

Her tour was over. In their infinite wisdom, the IOA had decided to replace her as leader of the Atlantis expedition. Needless to say, that didn't sit well with Sam. They said she'd taken unnecessary risks to rescue captured members of her team. In Jack's opinion, Richard Woolsey, the bureaucrat they'd tapped to replace her couldn't tell a risky situation from a spring walk in the park. Then again, no one was asking for his opinion.

It was done. Sam was coming home. She wouldn't be bored, that's for sure. The Air Force had given her yet another plum assignment, command of the SGC. To Jack's way of thinking, it was a fairly strong sign of the military's faith in her command abilities. Still he knew Sam. She'd be smarting over the loss of her leadership post in Atlantis, second guessing what she'd done to be recalled. He knew it was a political whim on the part of the IOA. And in the logical parts of her extraordinary brain, Sam realized that as well. But his wife never took well to being told to stand down, step aside, to go away before the job was done. This situation would be no exception.

From talking with her over subspace channels these past few days, he'd gotten a fairly good sampling of her mood. As relieved as she was that all her people were safe, she was struggling to come to terms with her dismissal. His repeated statements of how glad he'd be to have her home had fallen on deaf ears. She wasn't ready to hear it. Nothing he could say right now would put a positive face on this.

So, for the time being, Jack planned to conceal his childlike delight at having his wife back in the same galaxy, on the same planet, even the same continent. As much as he was certain of her love and devotion, he realized she wouldn't share his glee, at least not yet. She'd be in mourning of sorts, missing the friends and colleagues she'd left behind in the Pegasus Galaxy.

He knew when to try a different tact.

He'd walk patiently with Sam through the next few weeks as she readjusted to life planet-side. He certainly understood the stresses of her new job and he'd do his best along with the transitioning Hank Landry to help orient her. More importantly, he'd be her sounding board as the demons of self doubt, anger and resentment raised their ugly heads. If she couldn't be real and vulnerable with him, her husband, who would be there for her?

In his heart, Jack knew everything would work out for the best. The woman he loved would be closer, safer, a bit more out of harm's way. He'd never have asked her to leave Atlantis, but he'd be glad to have her home. They'd still live a less than typical married life, what with him spending much of his time in Washington and Sam headquartered in Colorado Springs, but it would be a heck of a lot easier.

His only sadness was her sadness and disappointment.

They would come through it together. They'd been through far worse.

And as the gate activated and Sam stepped through the incoming wormhole, Jack knew this was a new beginning for them. With that thought in mind, he made sure his was the first face she saw, standing at the end of the ramp, silently welcoming her. It wasn't the raucous, celebratory reaction he'd have preferred, but it was love. It was love, real, genuine and profound, ready to take on whatever came its way.

They were going to be alright.

They would be better than alright.

They would be for always.

THE END ... or only the beginning


Reviews as always, much appreciated!