A/N: This takes place six weeks after the events of the SGA episode, Trio.
A Memorable Memorial Day
They'd spent most of the day at Arlington.
It was a Memorial Day tradition for Jack, as it was for countless others. Visiting a cemetery on this day set aside to honor those who gave their lives for their country. It just so happened that many of Jack's fallen friends and comrades were buried at the National Cemetery as war heroes.
This year, Sam Carter accompanied him on his grim walk through the shaded hills of the place. She helped him find the plots where his friends found their final rest. It was inevitable that he got lost each and every year. In the interest of military precision and impressive simplicity, each grave marker was identical and equally spaced from the ones on either side. And today, the stars and stripes flew over each grave, a reminder of what these men and women fought to defend.
Visiting the graves of the dead had been a bittersweet experience for both of them. This year brought the new, untried angst of visiting Jacob's grave. Though he'd more than earned burial in Arlington, the military and the Tokra had followed his wishes and laid him to rest in a private graveyard outside Washington, next to his wife.
The O'Neills were married a little over a year ago. For most of that time, Sam had been in the Pegasus Galaxy, commanding an expedition often fighting for their very lives. In fact, she'd been the one fighting for her life not so long ago. If it hadn't been for Rodney McKay's heroism and quick thinking, she'd have died in a galaxy far, far away leaving a distraught widower to mourn her.
But as fate would have it, she'd survived yet again. Bruised, her leg was badly broken, but she was alive to fight another day. And now she was healed enough to spend a week on Earth with her husband.
Now it was midnight, her second day back on Earth. They'd come home to Jack's townhouse by 1900 hours after a long, emotionally draining day. Sam had offered to cook, but thought better of it when Jack deftly offered to order Chinese take-out. There was something strangely consoling about a familiar simple meal.
They sat in silence as they ate, often finding each other's eyes. If you asked Jack, words were highly overrated anyway; he could read Sam like a book and was certain she could do the same with him.
Once the remains of the meal were cleared away, the couple found their way to the small private patio behind the modest home. There, still without words, they sat together in an old fashioned metal swing Jack had refurbished with plush cushions. And watching a gorgeous sunset, they fell asleep in each other's arms.
Sam woke up mere moments after sunrise. It took her awhile to remember where she was. Fortunately, she got her bearings before rolling over like she would in bed. The fall would have been humiliating if nothing else.
To her surprise, Jack was nowhere in sight. In all honesty, she wasn't all that surprised; he usually woke before sunrise. What was a bit out of the ordinary was how they'd both slept out here all night long.
Then she remembered the silence of yesterday evening, the sadness in her husband's eyes. At the time, she'd assumed he was reacting to the tears she'd shed earlier in the day at Jacob's grave, or maybe still unhealed memories of his son. This morning she wasn't so sure. All she could do was go find him and ask. It was, after all, time for a few words.
She found him at the front of the house, sitting alone in the small garden they'd put in on Saturday. They'd enjoyed working together on the project; they seldom got the chance to work side by side anymore on much of anything. He'd seemed happy to have her with him. She knew she was glad to be there.
"Jack," she called softly, walking over to him.
He turned slowly, smiled and greeted her.
"Morning," he said. "Coffee's on, I thought you'd need some soon as you woke up."
"You're right," she admitted. "I'm pretty useless without it."
Jack lapsed back to silence.
Sam was puzzled.
Whatever was going on, she'd do better getting to the bottom of it with caffeine than without. With that thought in mind, she went into the kitchen, poured two cups of the fresh, rich smelling brew and returned to the garden. Slowly she approached Jack and offered him a cup.
"Thanks," he said. "We did a good job with this yard if you ask me."
"We did," Sam agreed, leaning in to kiss him softly on the cheek.
"What's wrong?" She finally asked, worried by the flatness of his tone and the sadness in his eyes.
"I'm sorry, Sam," he said. "You didn't travel thousands of light years to see me mope around.
"Jack, I doubt you've ever 'moped around' in your life," she protested. "That's beside the point. What's going on with you?"
"Same old, same old," he said. "Memorial Day, remembering everyone I've lost. Men and women under my command, those I served with, side by side, those with every bit as much right to be here, alive and happy as I do. But I'm here and they're not.
"They gave everything, Sam. Like you and me, they never really believed they'd be the ones to die. They thought they'd pull through, like they always did. But one day it didn't go down like that. And that one day was all it took. They deserved better."
Jack and Sam sat quietly again. She'd pulled up a lawn chair close to his, turning it slightly so she could see his face. And she reached out to take both of his hands in hers.
"There's something else, isn't there?"
Jack leaned forward at her question. With his right hand, he stroked her face tenderly.
"You could have died," he said, his eyes locked with hers. "If McKay hadn't found the guts to get you out of that damned mine shaft when he did, you'd have died on that godforsaken planet."
Now she understood. That's what this was about. Jack had visited her on Atlantis the day after she returned from the ill-fated mission where she and two teammates had unceremoniously fallen into a hole that turned out to be an old Genii mining facility. As luck would have it, the planet was experiencing seismic fluctuations which rendered the whole complex unstable. Then she'd gone and broken her leg. Jack was right. Without McKay's heroism she'd have been buried alive when the whole area collapsed in on itself.
"Jack," she said, still puzzled. "Its not the first time I've been in a situation like that."
"Maybe not," he said. "But that doesn't make it any easier. I know I promised not to hold you back, but the thought of losing you. You know how it feels."
"Yeah," she admitted, remembering the times she'd been driven to distraction when Jack had gone missing.
They lapsed into silence again. This time, it was companionable, less angst-filled, the tension of the past few moments starting to fade. As the sky continued to brighten and the morning moved on, Sam decided it was time for Jack's surprise. She'd waited to tell him in person. Though she'd been here for two days, for some reason she'd waited till this moment. Inexplicably, now it felt right.
"I'm pregnant," she said, without preamble.
She had his attention. Without another word, she had his undivided attention. Unerringly, Jack's eyes found hers again. They zoned in, leaving her no doubt of the intensity of her husband's reaction. Seconds later, those beautiful eyes she loved snapped shut and the corners of his sensuous mouth turned up into a heartfelt smile. He breathed deeply, the breath of new life and his eyes reopened to find hers.
Jack stood up slowly. With one hand he reached out and took his wife's hand, leading her to a standing position as well.
"Come 'ere," he whispered. And Sam was wrapped in Jack's arms, his lips pressed to her forehead.
"You're pregnant," he echoed, simply to hear the words.
"Six weeks, Jennifer tells me," Sam said.
"My visit," he knew immediately,
"That's the one," she confirmed.
"I love you," he said simply, his face tucked in against her neck, inhaling her fragrance.
"I'm coming home," Sam added.
Predictably, at Sam's final announcement, Jack pulled back from the embrace, just far enough to see her face.
"Home? Earth?" He asked. "Leaving Atlantis?"
"Yes," she said. "Unless you have any objections."
"No, no objections," Jack said softly. He could feel unfamiliar moisture gathering in his eyes. He so did not want to cry.
"That's why you have the meeting with the IOA tomorrow," he ventured.
"Exactly," she said. "I'm going to tell them I'm leaving for medical reasons as soon as my replacement can be found. I'm not taking any chances with our baby."
In spite of his best efforts, salty water, otherwise known as tears, leaked slowly from both of Jack O'Neill's eyes.
"Hey," Sam said. "I thought this would be happy news."
"It is," Jack said. "These are 'happy tears'."
Sam grinned, remembering how uncomfortable her tears made him and how many times she'd used that line.
"That's my excuse," she quipped. "I am a woman after all."
"That's a bit sexist, don't you think," Jack said with a smirk.
"Absolutely," Sam shrugged.
"Just because my reproductive organs are on the outside …" he started, stopping in his tracks as his wife began to guffaw loudly.
"Hey, if the line's good enough for the most brilliant woman on the planet," he protested.
The last comment was rewarded with one of his wife's heart stopping smiles.
"I love you, Jack O'Neill," she said. "Happy tears, sad tears, cock-eyed smile, I love it all."
From now on, Memorial Day would hold happy memories for a couple who deserved as much happiness as their hearts could hold.
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