"Homecoming, Part One"
By Torquelith and Mara-DragonMaster
The event horizon seared blue into the back of Sam's eyes. Her vision blurred and she winced at the brightness, blinking. Then it was gone, along with her team; gone to another world without her. She turned and walked slowly down the hall, her forefinger held tightly by a little blond girl.
"Daddy, bye bye?"
"Yes, honey. Daddy bye bye." Sam said, and she clenched her jaw, walking faster until her belly muscles clenched in protest. She was 34 weeks along with the twins. Not only was it difficult to move with her large belly, but her muscles and her back were just plain tired. "And here I am, waiting again." Her brows drew together in frustrated anger.
She and Daniel had agreed that only one of them would go off planet at a time for the sake of their daughter, and right now she wasn't going anywhere. Not until the twins came. She understood and accepted it; but she didn't have to like it.
She dropped Share' off at the daycare room and headed for her lab. Stepping through the door her elbow suddenly collided into a large motor sitting on a table, causing it to wobble and rock dangerously. Sam grabbed her elbow, biting off a string of words she no longer used since becoming a mother. She leaned forward, holding her arm, and started to walk to her desk and proceeded to smack her small toe into the table leg. Giving an enraged shout she turned and dropped into the chair in front of the desk and pulled her leg sideways, till she could finally– if barely– reach her toe, and she closed her eyes, holding it.
After the throbbing lessened, her eyes opened slightly and she looked around the room. Every surface was covered with odd miscellaneous mechanical artifacts that had been found by the team while she and Daniel were marooned. Jack had very thoughtfully saved all of them for her, hiding them away from the other curious scientists. Her mouth curved in a rueful smile.
"I knew that whatever the other scientists couldn't figure out would be just right for you, so I saved it all. I knew you'd get back eventually." Jack had said with a nonchalant shrug.
"Thanks, Colonel." She had said, glancing around. "I just wish you didn't trust me so much."
She sighed. Daniel's room didn't look any better. In fact, Jack had boxes waiting in the storage facility for him. Of course, Daniel was thrilled and actually hated going off planet– which meant leaving his notebooks and study. (And – she liked to think – herself and Share'.)
Running her fingers through her hair, she smiled at the feel of the short locks against her palms. When they had returned to the SGC and settled in, she had decided to cut her hair but had checked with Daniel first, and was relieved to discover that he loved her hair however she did it, and was fine with her having short hair again. So she had gone in and got it pixie cut. When she got back she had found Daniel studying himself in the mirror with a thoughtful expression, trying to decide if he should also cut his hair. With a smile Sam had leaned close and whispered something into his ear, and he had blushed; and kept his long hair.
Picking up her latest project, smiling, Sam slipped it under a spectrometer.
Jack lifted his gun up and peered at the distant hills through the sight. "Hmmmm, not very populated, is it?"
Daniel squinted, looking through his binoculars at the nearby vegetation. Tall, mossy trees formed a dense forest canopy, and huge ferns towered high, twice as tall as a man. The air was thick and humid, with dust motes floating through the beams of light that filtered down through the leaves to the forest floor below. Monkey-like calls echoed and hooted through the forest, some near, and some far, and occasionally a tree branch would suddenly shake as something moved through the trees.
Jack pointed with the tip of his gun. "Daniel, is that a trail I see?"
Daniel looked, his eyes crinkling at the corners. "I think so." He said. "It could lead to a village or something."
"Alright." Jack said, glancing at his two companions. "Let's go."
The trail was overgrown and narrow, leading through the undergrowth in a westerly direction. All around them were the strange calls and cries, and suddenly they saw, leaping from one high tree branch to another, a very small creature with long silky fur. As it landed it turned to look down on them, a golden-orange figure amidst the green leaves.
For twenty minutes they hiked on, with Daniel turning and spotting in every direction carefully. Suddenly all three of them drew up short as the undergrowth shivered on one side, and out came a large green lizard with six legs, squirming with amazing speed across the path and into the ferns on the other side. A moment later they saw it circling up a tree trunk, coming up under another unsuspecting furred creature that was eating a piece of fruit.
Jack made a face a second later, and shook his head. "Ew."
Continuing on they came across a small clearing near a little stream that ran alongside the path. In the center of the clearing, with new little trees starting to grow up around and inside it, was a small half-built building, which was beginning to crumble and fall apart.
Daniel stopped and set his hands on his hips, eyeing it curiously. "Huh." He said.
"What?" Jack asked.
"Well, it's just interesting," Daniel mused. "That the building is obviously falling apart, yet it looks like it was never finished in the first place."
"Colonel O'Neill. Over here." Teal'c called. He was standing next to a tipped over cart. Scattered about were Goa'uld supply crates and pallets, all broken and thrown about.
"Well this doesn't look good." Jack commented, following Daniel over to Teal'c's side.
Daniel bent down and picked something up with both hands. "Um, Jack?"
He held two pieces of a Goa'uld pain stick. Where it had been broken in half there were deep teeth marks.
Teal'c pulled up his staff, scanning the jungle around them.
Jack set his gun to his shoulder. "I have a very bad feeling about this."
Daniel dropped the broken pain stick, and brought up his own gun.
Just then a high, soft chirping sound caught their attention, and they whirled around to face the path again. Standing in the middle of the path was a small creature that they could only describe as looking like a raptor, the only difference being that it had five fingers, not three.
"Ohhh boy." Jack groaned.
The small raptor eyed them, blinking, and then it lifted its nose into the air and emitted more chirps. It did not appear to be aggressive. It seemed to be curious, and kept eyeing them, and then chirping some more, as though saying hello.
"Jack," Daniel whispered. "I think it's trying to communicate with us."
"I don't care." Jack hissed. "It's a dinosaur!"
"I know." Daniel said, with his gun still held ready. "Just thought I'd point it out."
"It is small." Teal'c observed. "Perhaps it is a young one?"
"If it is, there's a mother nearby." Daniel gritted.
"Right." Jack said. "Let's get out of here."
At that moment the ferns surrounding the clearing exploded, and three giant raptors rushed them. A moment later there was blackness.
Sam eyed the food in the commissary with trepidation, half balancing her tray on her stomach. One never knew what might be available. She smiled as she saw the choices; today was her lucky day.
"Mom-ma, ello pease?"
"Sure, honey." Sam said, grabbing a plate of spinach lasagna and one of chicken alfredo. "You want blue jello or red?"
Share' pressed her little nose against the glass of the refrigerator case, standing on her tiptoes. "Pink!"
"Okay." Sam opened the door, and had Share' hold it wide while she reached in herself and got a red jello cup. Grinning, her bottom lip held in her teeth, Share' closed the door and toddled over to a booth. Sam got them each a carton of milk, then she joined her daughter. Setting the tray on the table she pulled over a highchair, and then held Share's hand as the little girl climbed up onto the bench. Then carefully, watching her feet the whole time, Share' climbed from the bench into the chair, with Sam helping to support her. Once she was seated Sam clicked the little highchair belt around Share's waist, and pulled the bib from her pocket and tied it around Share's neck. "There you go!" she said, smiling. Then, holding her breath, she squeezed in between the bench and the table.
"Mom-maaaa!" Share' whined, banging the highchair tray and reaching. "Mom-maaa! Ello!"
"Share'!" Sam frowned at her. "You ask nice."
Blue eyes widened and looked at her sweetly, Share's hands folding together. "Pease?"
"Good girl." Sam picked up the cup and shook a few of the jello cubes onto the tray. Share' picked one up between her thumb and forefinger and put it in her mouth. Then she looked at her mom, her blue eyes shining, and she made a long 'mmm' sound.
Sam smiled, cutting up some chicken into small bites, which she put on the tray with a few noodles. Then she picked up her own fork and started to eat. At one point she caught Share' carefully mashing a jello cube with her finger. "No, Share'." Sam scolded, grabbing the little girl's hand and wiping the finger clean with a napkin. "Don't squash your food. If you do that I'll take the jello away."
Share's eyes got big, and her bottom lip stuck out.
Sam cleaned up the smeared jello, then went back to eating her alfredo and lasagna.
Putting a noodle in her mouth, Share' pointed at Sam's spinach lasagna. "Mom-ma, pease?" she asked.
Sam blew on a small bite of the cheesy spinach and noodles, then held the fork out. Share' opened her mouth wide, leaning forward for Sam to put the food in her mouth, then she chewed contentedly, looking down at the food on her tray. She smacked her lips, then picked up a piece of chicken and put it in her mouth, and then tipped her head back and forth, chewing loudly.
When their meal was over, Sam held Share's hand as they made their way down the halls to Sam and Daniel's on-base quarters. As they walked and Share' babbled nonsense, with few intelligible words thrown in here and there, Sam made a list in her head of the things she wanted to get done while Share' took her nap. She wanted to review several different mission reports and all attached notes and video, hoping to find something that may have been forgotten that could be used against the Goa'uld. While Share' slept, she would have the opportunity to do so. As they walked Sam felt a twinge in her back, and she grimaced, reaching back with her hand to massage the area until the spasm left.
"Colonel O'Neill? Daniel Jackson? Are you awake?" Teal'c said quietly. He sat against the tree, his hands tied above his head and the rope looped and tied over a branch. He and his companions were bound around the tree, hands and waists; Teal'c and O'Neill were facing the forests, able to turn their heads to see the camp, but they would be unable to maintain that position for very long. Daniel was tied at the front, facing the camp directly.
When his question had gone unanswered for a minute, Teal'c tried again, keeping his voice low so as not to attract unwanted attention. "Colonel O'Neill, are you awake?"
There was a long, drawn out groan. "Owwwww…" Jack shifted beside him. "Oh, whoa. What hit me?"
"I believe it was a large wooden club." Teal'c replied, ignoring the slight throb of a bruise on his forehead.
Jack twisted to look at Teal'c. "Are you sure? I could have sworn it was a tree."
Teal'c merely raised an eyebrow.
Turning the other way, Jack craned his neck to see the final member of their group. "Hey, Danny boy." He said. "Wake up." There was a groan. "Daniel. Rise and shine."
"What…?" Daniel raised his head, which immediately tipped back against the tree, his eyes squinting shut. "Ow."
"Give it a second." Jack advised.
Daniel kept his eyes closed. "What happened?"
"Um– we've been captured," Jack said, glancing past Daniel at the camp. "By– large– dinosaurs, raptors." He frowned. "There's something distinctly not right about this." He muttered.
Opening his eyes, Daniel squinted. "My glasses are gone."
"Probably happened when they hit us with those trees."
"They were large wooden clubs, O'Neill." Teal'c corrected helpfully.
"Right." Jack said. "I knew that."
Daniel stared at the camp before him. There were large fires burning, and wooden lean-tos with large nests of leaves within them. Some raptors were carrying more wood in for the fires, and others were leading small deer-like creatures that were mottled green and brown, and these they secured with ropes to the same tree as SG1.
"Hey, excuse me," Daniel said, trying to get the raptor's attention. "Is there someone we could talk to? A leader, or something?"
The raptors glanced at him. One of them made some clicking and hissing sounds to the other, and they started to walk away.
"Wait!" Daniel called. In desperation he tried copying their clicks and hisses, hoping he was saying something they would understand. Although they did glance back, their look was one of disgust, and they continued to walk away.
From one of the lean-tos some large barrel-like items were brought out, looking like hollowed tree trunks, and then three of the raptors took up some wooden clubs, and began to beat upon them. A few others gathered around the fires and lifted their heads, belting out loud calls and trumpets that carried for miles. This continued for a long while, until in the distance they heard answering trumpets and drum beats, growing steadily closer. Through the trees and large ferns Daniel began to see another tribe of raptors coming, entering the camp in a large pack. When they reached the central fire, a single, smaller raptor stepped forward from the visiting pack. Daniel guessed it was a female. She extended her neck, and trumpeted loudly, the firelight dancing on mud-painted designs on her skin.
An answering trumpet came from among the native pack, and a large raptor painted with similar designs stepped forward towards the female.
"I think it's a wedding." Daniel whispered to his teammates, his eyes wide.
"Great." Jack said, beginning to squirm. "Can one of you get your hands free?"
"The ropes are tightly tied, but I shall attempt to do so." Teal'c answered.
Daniel moved carefully, since he was in direct sight of the camp. Suddenly he hissed, "They're coming over! Stay still!"
Some large raptors approached them, and untied the deer-like creatures who began to bleat desperately. Pulling them to the fires, the raptors tied them upon wooden spits, and then set them over the fires, still alive. Daniel stared in horror, his face going white as the screams of the dying deer filled the air.
"Oh, geez." Jack groaned, turning his head.
"Jack, I think I'm going to be sick." Daniel whispered.
"Focus on getting free instead." Jack ordered, his voice hard.
Looking up Daniel began to twist his hands, frantically trying to get loose of the ropes. In the center of the camp, the large painted raptor began trumpeting yet again, and bowing to the female raptor. He led her towards SG1. As they approached Daniel realized that hung about her neck was a belt of some sort with many long-furred pelts upon it.
"Uh oh." Daniel muttered, freezing. "Guys–"
The raptors reached them, and the male gave a low rumbling sound. The female walked around the tree, eyeing them, and she poked Teal'c appreciatively, and clacked her jaws. She moved on to Jack, and poked him, then moved on to Daniel. She poked at him as well, then she suddenly stopped, and stared at him. Daniel shrunk back. Her movements became slow and gentle, and she leaned forward, sniffing his hair, blowing out hot, wet breath onto his face. Then she reached out, and ran her claws delicately through his shoulder length brown locks, making a crooning sound as she did so, and her other hand strayed to her neck, where she fingered the pelts hanging there. Daniel's eyes grew large, and it suddenly became very difficult for him to breathe.
Teal'c stared, the lines in his face deepening until his frown was heavy and harsh, his eyes becoming black. Jack pulled at his ropes, his own deep-set eyes like black coals. "Oh no you don't." he growled. "You're not scalping my boy."
Reaching up, the male cut the ropes and then presented them to the female, who crooned and rubbed her nose against him before accepting the ropes with a slight bow.
Turning she handed the ropes to several very large raptors, who then dragged SG1 to one of the fires. Jack and Teal'c were laid upon large wooden spits and tied, then lifted and set over two beds of red-hot coals. Jack gave a loud yell, and began blowing frantically as more wood was brought and laid next to the beds, struggling against his bindings. Daniel was thrown to the ground beside the fires, and a male pressed a knee and a hand upon him, holding him still. In his other hand he wielded a large machete made of wood, its edge honed sharp. Daniel gave a yell and began to struggle. Jack heard and looked up for a moment, and his eyes grew wide in horror.
Sam tried to concentrate on the mission report before her, but her back kept cramping. "Stupid chair." She frowned at the rigid office furniture and then gasped as her abdomen joined in. She stood slowly.
"Maybe Janet can give me something for these tired muscles." She walked slowly to the medical wing.
Daniel suddenly went very still, his blue eyes glittering up at the large raptor poised above him. Then his right hand whipped up and embedded his boot knife in the raptor's throat. It reared back and toppled, tail snapping wildly as it made gasping sounds. Daniel dragged himself to his knees and slashed quickly at his bindings.
The female raptor trumpeted and then suddenly, the camp went silent. She walked toward Daniel bobbing her head and cocking it to one side to eye him. Daniel backed toward Jack and Teal'c, and moving slowly as she watched, he pulled them away from the coals.
The other raptors surrounded them in a circle, bobbing their heads, but keeping their distance from Daniel and his ridiculously short knife. The female trumpeted again, and her new mate stepped forward toward Daniel. The drums began. The male drew closer and snapped at Daniel who jumped back and spun into a crouched position.
Jack watched from his side in the dirt. "Watch your back, they move fast."
Daniel feinted toward the raptor, who snapped at him, only Daniel wasn't there. He rolled by, slashing at the raptor's underbelly as he passed. The male screeched in rage as blood trickled ran free. Daniel panted and moved slowly around the circle. The raptor came raging toward him and grazed his shoulder as Daniel dodged. Once again, Daniel slashed, catching the tail with his knife.
The raptor spun, and the tail smashed Daniel across the back, throwing him across the circle into Jack and Teal'c.
"Any suggestions?" he gritted.
"Move faster." Teal'c answered.
"Move faster." Daniel muttered to himself as he rose to face the raptor again.
The female was thrumming in her throat and beating her tail on the ground rhythmically. The male thrummed to her and then trumpeted at Daniel. As he was trumpeting, Daniel launched himself in a spinning kick that caught it in the jaw which was snapping toward his leg. As Daniel fell in a roll, he slashed again across the neck and belly of the male. Roaring in fury, the male snapped at Daniel who rolled and leaped. Suddenly, the roar ended abruptly and the male halted, wavering drunkenly. Daniel stood and watched as the large male toppled, Daniel's knife in its eye.
The female stopped thrumming and crooned softly. Then she stood upright and walked toward Daniel. He crouched, prepared to fight again. She delicately fingered the scalps at her belt, eyed her fallen mate, and then she bowed before him. The rest of the raptors bowed immediately.
"Daniel, now would be a good time to cut our ropes." Jack suggested.
Daniel yanked his knife from the fallen male and cut the ropes on Jack and Teal'c who stood slowly. The raptors kept their heads down, thrumming in the back of their throats.
Walking slowly backward, the three of them eased their way out of the clearing. The raptors moved forward and lifted their fallen leader over their heads, still thrumming.
Meanwhile Sam was in labor. "I am a Major in the U.S. Air Force, and I am not having these babies without Daniel!"
Janet smiled as she prepped her. "I've told General Hammond who is contacting the team right now."
Daniel ran through the event horizon and stumbled to a stop on the metal ramp.
"Welcome home soldier. You're to report to the infirmary immediately!" General Hammond announced over the loudspeaker.
"I'm fine General," Daniel reassured, hands on his knees as he caught his breath. "I'll wait for the rest of the team."
"I don't think your wife will like the wait."
Daniel frowned. Then– as comprehension dawned– his eyes widened, and he took off running from the room, to General Hammond's chuckles over the speaker. He ignored the stares and exclamations as he ran through the halls, knowing that he probably made quite a sight with his wild hair and covered in blood. Bursting through the infirmary door he was met by Janet, who had been forewarned by General Hammond that he was coming.
"Hold it right there!" she commanded, holding up her hand.
Daniel pulled in a deep breath. "Where's Sam?"
"She is in the other room, but there is no way I am letting you in there like that." Janet said, indicating his appearance.
Daniel glanced down at himself.
"You have time. Now go."
Biting back another protest Daniel sighed in frustration, clenching his jaw as he glanced longingly at the door leading to his wife. Then he turned and headed for the infirmary showers. As he left Janet smiled, her eyes twinkling.
After the fastest shower known to man, Daniel threw on the clothes he found waiting for him on the bench in the changing room– pants and a t-shirt– and then he hurried out and through the infirmary into the delivery room. Sam reclined in the bed, her hair already damp and sticking to her face, panting as she released the bars next to the bed. When Daniel entered the room she looked up, and her face relaxed in relief.
"Oh thank goodness!" she exclaimed, reaching one hand towards him. "Now I can push!"
Daniel smiled, taking her hand and brushing her hair from her forehead. "Don't worry, I'm here."
Janet looked over from her position next to the monitors, and her eyes scanned Daniel from his head to his feet. "Well, you appear to be in one piece. Anything I should know about?"
Daniel glanced up briefly. "Scratch on my shoulder; nothing serious. The soap felt lovely."
Janet's mouth quirked. "I can imagine. Why don't you let me take a look."
Sam groaned, her grip on Daniel's hand suddenly increasing. "I can wait." He told Janet. Then he directed all his attention to Sam. "You're doing great, honey. Just keep breathing."
"I'm– trying–" she panted, hanging on to him for dear life. When the contraction was over she leaned back into the pillow. "Oh boy." Then she looked at him and smiled, reaching up and tucking a wet strand of hair behind his ear.
Daniel turned his face and kissed her fingers. "How you doing?"
"Okay." She nodded. Turning she looked at Janet. "Please tell me I'm ready."
Janet checked a few things, then looked at her with shining eyes. "You're ready." Settling down by the end of the bed she nodded. "Okay, Sam. Now push!"
Ten minutes later two small voices filled the room with loud cries. Janet wrapped each baby in little blue blankets, and handed them to Sam and Daniel. "Congratulations; you have two healthy little boys."
Daniel held the one bundle in the crook of his arm, and gently offered his finger to the small hand. A smile spread across his face as the five tiny fingers curled around his, opening and closing as they felt it. Looking up he caught Sam's shimmering eye. "They're beautiful." He said.
She nodded, cradling the second bundle in her arms. "They have your mouth."
Squinting, Daniel looked down and studied the pursed little lips. "You think?"
His eyes twinkling, Daniel leaned close. "I love you." He said before he kissed her.
She smiled against his mouth. "I love you too." She whispered, the words slightly muffled.
When they finally pulled back Janet was busy checking the monitors, a little smile on her face. Daniel sat down on the edge of the bed. "So," he said. "We still agreed on the names we discussed?"
Sam nodded, her eyes drinking in the sight of her two sons. "Yes."
"Good. I just wanted to be sure, because I was going to take them out and introduce them."
"Good." Janet agreed. "That will give Sam a chance to clean up."
Daniel looked at Sam. "You ready?"
Sam continued gazing down at the yawning baby in her arms, her eyes glowing, and it was with great reluctance that she handed him to Daniel. "I'll be back soon, I promise." He said, and winked.
She smiled back. "Okay."
Carefully carrying his two precious charges, Daniel left the room and ventured out to the main room of the infirmary. Jack jumped up from the bed he'd been sitting on, holding Share', and a grin spread across his face as Daniel approached. His face was red like he'd been sunburned, and he sported a gauze bandage on his right cheek. "Hey! What's this?"
Teal'c rose from his own bed and strode over, a soft smile on his face as he saw the faces of the two baby boys for the first time.
"Guys," Daniel said quietly. "Meet Jacob and Charles."
Jack's eyes rose and locked with Daniel's for a moment, and some unreadable emotion flickered through them. Then a wet sheen covered them, and the corner of his mouth rose slightly. "Good choice."
Teal'c nodded. "They are very beautiful, indeed."
Daniel smiled in pleasure, then looked at his daughter, who was staring at her new brothers with big eyes, her finger hooked in her mouth. "Share', meet your little brothers."
Her eyes flickered between Daniel's face and the two small figures in his arms. Finally, in a little voice, she said, "Be-bee?"
Daniel nodded. "Yes. Our babies."
Turning and looking at Jack, Share' grinned, wrinkling her nose. Jack chuckled, then grimaced, gingerly poking his tongue into his cheek.
Daniel noticed and frowned slightly in sympathy. "You guys okay?"
Jack nodded. "Little crispy 'round the edges, but we're okay."
"You have nothing to be sorry for, Daniel Jackson." Teal'c assured him. "It was not you who burned us."
Jack frowned and tipped his head. "Are you sure?"
Teal'c looked at him with complete sincerity. "I am, Colonel O'Neill."
Handing Share' to the Jaffa, Jack leaned over the two bundles. "May I?"
Nodding, Daniel carefully adjusted his hold on one of his sons and Jack took the baby, holding him gently in the crook of his arm. His eyes took on a faraway look. "Daniel," he said quietly, looking up. "Thanks. You know, for saving our butts back there. When we were being routisseried."
Daniel smiled a little, looking slightly embarrassed. "You're welcome, Jack."
Jack nodded, then looked down at the baby boy in his arms. "Hello there." He said, rocking back and forth without realizing he was doing it. "I'm your Uncle Jack, and I am going to teach you how to fish."
Daniel picked up his breakfast plate from the table, and balancing the dishes in one hand and six-month old Jacob on his hip, he deposited the plate and silverware into the sink. "Okay, Share', finish up breakfast. It's time for Mommy and Daddy to go to work."
"Otay, Daddy." A little, high voice sing-songed behind him.
Sam cleared the rest of the table, then grabbed a damp dishrag and leaned across to wipe Share's sticky fingers. Stepping up behind her, Daniel leaned forward and pressed his lips to the back of Sam's neck. There was a shiver and a small laugh, and then she turned around and put her arms around his neck, smiling. "Hi."
"Hi." Daniel smiled, and raised an eyebrow. "See you later?"
"Mmm." Sam kissed him. "Don't work too late."
There was a grin, and then Daniel went over to the packed and ready double stroller and tucked Jacob in. "There you go." He said as he buckled the baby boy in, smiling at the large blue eyes that blinked and looked up at him. "Be a good boy, Jacob. Love you." He kissed the small forehead, then straightened and turned. "Share', get your shoes on."
While the little toddler slid from her seat and tip toed over to her shoes, Sam lifted Charlie from the playpen and brought him over to the stroller. Daniel reached out and gently rubbed his head and kissed his cheek. "Bye, Charlie." He said. "See you later."
Sam smiled, then buckled her son in next to his brother. Daniel grabbed his stack of books and notes, and she stepped behind the stroller and took hold of the handles. "Share', are you ready?"
"Okay, let's go."
"Hang on." Daniel crouched down in front of his daughter, who was still sitting on the floor trying to put her left shoe on her right foot. "Here, let me help you." He said, chuckling, and quickly and easily got the correct shoes on the correct feet. "There you go. Now give me a hug."
Share' stood up and wrapped her arms around his neck. He gently squeezed her, then pulled back and gave her a quick kiss. "Bye, Share'."
"Bye Daddy." She said, planting a light, wet kiss on his cheek.
Daniel held the door open, and they all filed out into the long SGC hallway. Glancing at his watch he frowned and turned, quickly striding away. Sam turned the other way, pushing the stroller ahead of her with Share' holding the hem of her shirt. Glancing back Share' widened her eyes as she watched Daniel leave, and her chin began to quiver as her bottom lip poked out.
Two passing women saw, and as Sam disappeared around a corner with her children they turned to one another with looks of sympathy and disapproval. "Oh, Carol, look. That poor little girl." One of them said. "Her daddy doesn't even look at her."
Carol leaned in close. "I haven't seen them speak to each other in over a week."
"You know how it is, Tanesha." she said. "She has her girl and her two boys– she's got what she wants. She probably keeps herself so busy and so tired that she never looks at that poor man anymore."
"Girl, if I had such a good looking man, I can guarantee you I would never be too tired." Tanesha stated, raising her eyebrows.
A few days later, while Sam and Daniel walked together towards the nursery at the end of the day, Sam animatedly described her troubles with her new assistant. "I'm trying to work on this consul, and he's going through the data on the computer, and he's going about it the long way. So I tried to show him a simpler way to get the same results, but he's just so stubborn and so snide! So finally I just threw up my hands and said–" here Sam threw up her hands and raised her voice. "'Fine! I don't even care anymore! You do what you want!'"
Janet, just stepping out of the nursery, froze and stared, barely recovering in time to plaster a smile on her face and nod as Sam and Daniel passed her. When they had disappeared into the nursery she walked quickly away, her mouth open and her eyes large. "Oh dear." She whispered to herself, putting a hand over her mouth. "So that's what Carol was talking about."
As another week passed, Janet kept a close eye on Sam whenever she passed her in the hall or saw her in the cafeteria. More than once, when Sam ate lunch, Janet saw her with a jewelry catalog looking wistfully at the section of wedding rings, and her heart went out to the blond scientist.
One evening, around six p.m., Sam went to workout in the gym for an hour. Trying to fit in time to spend time on herself was difficult, but Daniel made sure that three times a week he would watch the kids and handle supper so that Sam could have a few hours.
While Sam ran on the treadmill, her ipod pumping music into her ears via little white ear buds, Tanesha and a small group of women exited the locker room, showered and changed with their gym bags over their shoulders.
"Oh, girls, look at that." Tanesha remarked, pausing. "That is the third time this week she's been here 'stead of home with her man."
The other women clucked and fussed.
"Poor Daniel." She sighed sadly. "All alone, taking care of those babies by himself. He's too sweet to deserve that."
One of the women leaned in. "Did you know that they've been back for eight months, and they still aren't wearing any rings?"
Tanesha looked at her. "No! Really, Julie?"
She nodded. "That says something to me. No relationship formed in dangerous circumstances ever lasts."
As Tanesha and the women left, Janet entered the gym, a towel around her neck and her gym bag over her shoulder. She glanced around for an open weight machine and her eye caught Sam. Pursing her lips Janet wove her way through the gym until she reached Sam's side.
Noticing Janet, Sam turned the treadmill down to a slow walk, breathing heavily. Pulling out her ear buds she smiled. "Janet. Hi."
"Hi, Sam." Janet said, her expression and her smile full of empathy. "Mind if I join you?"
"Not at all." Sam answered, indicating an empty treadmill next to her.
Setting her bag and towel down against the wall, Janet stepped up and turned on the treadmill. As she walked she glanced at Sam from the corner of her eye. "So how are the boys? It's almost time for their six month checkup."
"They're good." Sam nodded. "I was planning on bringing them in next week for the checkup and shots."
"I think I have some time next week." Janet agreed. "How's Share'?"
"Good; getting more teeth. I think they're her two year old molars." Sam shook her head. "She's taken to scribbling in all of my notebooks and spare paper, just like Daddy. And she hums and sings all the time. Yesterday she made up a song during breakfast about coffee and eggs and how she loves her jam on toast."
Janet laughed, arms swinging in time with her steps. "Two is such a fun age."
Sam grinned, nodding.
"And…" Janet hummed. "Daniel? How is he?"
"He's good. Working hard." Sam picked up her water bottle and started twisting off the cap. "Still trying to catch up from the backlog left from when we were gone. There is so much, I don't know how he'll ever get through it."
"Does he help with the kids?"
She nodded, swallowing her water. "Yes. Quite a bit, actually. But what about you? How have you been?"
"I've been good." Janet answered. "So he's been supportive?"
Sam glanced at her from the corner of her eyes. "Yes…"
"You're feeling okay? Not too overworked or stressed?"
"Any trouble sleeping?"
Sam looked at her. "Why?"
Janet glanced over. "Just checking. It can be trying raising twins and a two year old."
Sam shook her head. "I… sleep fine."
Janet nodded, and they walked for a moment in silence. "Sam," she suddenly said, her voice soft and reassuring. "If you ever need to share anything or just need someone to talk to, day or night, just call me. I'm here for you."
Eyebrows pulling together, Sam glanced at her. "Okay. Thanks, Janet."
Janet smiled at her.
When Sam finished she gathered her things together and headed for their on-base quarters, looking forward to a nice warm shower. Daniel was sitting at the table, looking through a real-estate magazine with a highlighter. Jacob and Charlie were in their playpen, and Share' was sitting next to Daniel with a box of crayons and an old newspaper, carefully scribbling with an intense look of concentration.
Glancing up, Daniel pushed up his glasses from where they had slipped. "Hey. How was the gym?"
"Good. Exhausting and energizing at the same time. I can't wait to take a shower." Dropping her gym bag, Sam leaned forward and set both hands on the table. "Do I seem depressed?"
Daniel blinked. "Um… not that I've noticed." His eyebrows drew together. "Why?"
Pulling out a chair, Sam dropped into it and leaned her arms on the table. "I was just psychoanalyzed. By Janet."
His frown grew more puzzled. "Okay."
"I think Janet is worried I have post-partum depression." Sam ran one hand through her hair, standing it on end. "I know I've been a little stressed lately, but I don't think I'm sad. Do I seem sad and withdrawn to you?"
Eyebrows lifted, and a moment later the corner of his mouth twitched and a light entered his eyes. "Nope. You haven't seemed very withdrawn to me."
Sam narrowed her eyes, then stood up. As she passed she gently smacked his arm and then strode purposefully towards the bathroom, swinging her hips a little. "I'm withdrawing to the bathroom!" she called over her shoulder, and she heard a burst of laughter.
When she came out thirty minutes later, the table was set, and in the center was a bowl of salad, a pan of chicken, and some sliced bread. Daniel was cutting Share's chicken into manageable bites, looking up when Sam came in. "How was the shower?"
"I found some houses I think we should look at. You know, since we lost ours being gone for two years." Daniel nodded towards the counter, where the real-estate magazine lay open. "Maybe this weekend?"
"Sounds good to me." Sam said, sitting down. Her face grew wistful. "A place with windows and a backyard."
When supper finished she and Daniel got all three children ready for bed, and while Daniel read a story to Share' Sam nursed Jacob and Charlie to sleep. Once both boys were tucked into their cribs she went in and kissed Share' goodnight. Closing her daughter's bedroom door slightly, she returned to the main room and smiled at Daniel, who had changed into a tank top and some shorts, with a bandana tied around his head to keep his hair back.
"Don't wear yourself out." She said, and leaned in to kiss him.
"I promise." He smiled, and kissed her again, sliding an arm around her waist. "Be back soon." He promised, pulling back with a soft expression on his face.
Sam smiled. "I'll wait up."
Jack wiped his face with his towel, sitting down on one of the benches in the gym, his dark eyes even darker than usual with thought. When he had first arrived with Teal'c, Janet had been there, and upon seeing him had quickly pulled him aside. What she had told him made his mood grave with concern, and he had spent the last hour pondering. Apparently Sam and Daniel were having some problems. Though Janet couldn't say for sure what had happened between them, it seemed that Sam was being ignored. After hearing about the little fiasco in front of the nursery, and Janet's observations of Sam during her lunch hours, Jack had come to the same conclusion as the doctor.
The door opened, and Daniel entered the gym, heading straight for one of the weight machines. Glancing down at his watch with a frown Jack noted the time, and raised an eyebrow. Little late for a married guy to workout, wasn't it?
Rising to his feet Jack strode across the room, appearing next to Daniel just as the archaeologist started to add some weight to the machine. "Daniel."
"Soo…" Jack set his hand to his hips and glanced around, puffing out a breath of air. "Kind of late, isn't it?"
"What?" Daniel looked up at him, puzzled.
"You know, wife at home, kids at home, nine o'clock at night… and you're at the gym."
Daniel sat down, curling his fingers around the weight bar. "Yeah. Kids just went to sleep, so I thought I'd fit in a workout."
"Ah." Jack nodded. His eyes glanced at his friend. "Busy much?"
"Yep. Very." Daniel grunted as he started to lift the weights. "Still working on all that work you saved for me. Thank you for that, by the way."
"I'm actually in the middle of translating some Ineriam text. It was hard at first, but I think I'm getting the hang of the syntax of their language…"
Jack's eyes squinted and he tilted his head. "The In-whatians?"
"The… Ineriams." Daniel lowered the weights, then pushed up again. "You know, P4X-826? You went there over a year ago. The place with the big library?"
"Oh yes! How could I forget?"
"There's some mention in the text I'm reading right now of some possible cures for common diseases," Daniel continued. "Hopefully I can figure out what they are and get the information to Janet and her team."
"Uh huh." Jack agreed. "Sounds cool." He looked around awkwardly. "Okay. Well, um, don't stay too late, alright?"
Jack nodded. "Right. Well, goodnight."
Daniel smiled, a bead of sweat trickling down from his temple. "Goodnight, Jack."
As he left, Jack thought back over what he had learned from Janet and his conversation with Daniel. He would watch, he decided, wait and watch. See what happened.
Two days later, at six forty-five a.m., Jack ambled into Daniel's office and looked around. The archaeologist was not there. Jack smiled in satisfaction, glad that Daniel was home where he should be instead of working. Hands in his pockets he rocked back on his heels, surreptitiously glancing over his shoulder into the hall to see if anyone was around to observe him. Then he heel-toed it over to one of Daniel's file cabinets, and glancing around one last time, pulled open the top drawer and proceeded to plunder the goodies hidden within.
Five minutes later, holding a bottled Mocha Frapuccino and licking crumbs from his fingers, Jack reached into the drawer once more for another chocolate walnut cookie.
"Jack! What are you doing?"
Spinning around, hand still in the drawer and mouth still full of cookie, Jack stared wide eyed at the shocked and somewhat furious archaeologist standing in the doorway. "Nuffin." He mumbled. "Gu munin."
"What good morning? You're stealing my cookies!"
Jack swallowed and slowly withdrew his hand from the drawer, brushing his fingers across his front. He grinned boyishly. "But I opened a Frapuccino for you!"
Daniel rolled his eyes, a hint of humor starting to sparkle through. "You already drank half of it."
"Did I?" Jack glanced at the bottle in disbelief, frowning, then he shrugged. "Oh dear. Here, let me get you another one."
Shaking his head, Daniel stepped into the office and deposited his armful of books and notepads onto his desk, then accepted the new Frapuccino from Jack. Shaking it before he twisted the top off, still shaking his head, he took a drink.
"Cookie? They're really good with the Frapuccino."
A chuckle burst free, and Daniel conceded defeat. "You know they sell these at the bakery in town. You could get your own." He said as he accepted a cookie from Jack.
"But they haven't been Danified."
Daniel's nose scrunched in confusion. "What?"
"If they don't come from your office, they haven't been Danified and are not worth taking."
"Thanks. I think." Daniel sat down in his chair. "So other than stealing my cookies, did you need anything?"
Jack leaned back against the file cabinet, helping himself to another cookie. "Just checking in. How's the quest for cures?"
"Promising. I'm translating some more of the Ineriam texts, and I think I'm getting closer to their description of this cure."
"What does the cure cure?" Jack asked.
"It seems– from the descriptions, you know, pains in the head, pain in the belly, odd growths on the skin, wasting away– I'm thinking it's some kind of cancer. At least I'm hoping it's cancer."
"Sweet." Drinking his Frapuccino, Jack eyed Daniel. "So, how's Sam?"
"You guys aren't working too hard, are you? Getting enough time together?"
"Well, we're both pretty busy, you know. But we make sure we're around to spend time with the kids."
Jack nodded, then glanced at the clock on the wall. Seven a.m. "You're here kind of early, aren't you?"
"Yeah, well, Sam and the kids are kind of morning people." Daniel slumped in the chair. "I've had to make a few adjustments."
Jack's eyebrows lifted. "Like?"
Daniel grimaced ruefully. "Like pretending I'm awake and acting like I'm awake. Even without coffee." He lifted the Frapuccino and took a long drink.
A kidlike frown pinched Daniel's face. "I've had to stop working as much. You know, I never thought about it much, but it's actually kind of a pain not being able to just work on something until it's finished. Like this translation; I'd be a lot further along by now if I could just work late, or through the night, like I used to."
"Well," Jack ventured. "There are some perks to going home to a wife and kids."
"Yeah. I guess." Daniel mumbled.
Jack's eyes narrowed. "You guess?" he snapped. "I wish I still had a wife and kid to go home to!"
Daniel blinked in surprise at the outburst, staring. Fuming but feeling he had let a little too much slip out, Jack strode from the office and away down the hall, trying to get himself back under control. How could someone not appreciate what they have like that?
Five days later Jack stretched, sitting on the couch in his quarters, easing his stiff back. Sighing he looked down at the open photo album laying out on the small coffee table, pictures of Sara and Charlie smiling back at him from one of their last camping trips to the cabin on the lake. Touching one of the pictures Jack felt the all too familiar ache; he had lost more than a son that fateful day. And it was his own fault. Snapping the album closed he stood abruptly and left his quarters, needing to get out.
Stalking down to the commissary he headed across the dimly lit room, digging in his pocket for change, and shoved some quarters into the vending machine. A blue jello chunked into the drawer where Jack retrieved it. Nabbing a plastic spoon from the empty condiment table he peeled back the foil from the top of the cup and dug into the jiggly blue stuff. As he ate his thoughts returned to a time years back, how Sara would smile when he got home on time instead of working late. He remembered how she would hug him, tucking her head in under his chin, and how soft her hair was and how it smelled.
Clenching his teeth Jack gave a frustrated exclamation and threw his empty cup and spoon into a garbage can several feet away. Shoving his hands into his pockets he strode out of the commissary. Without a clear destination in mind he started walking, wandering the halls with no discernable aim, until he found himself walking past Daniel's office. Light was shining out from under the door.
Pausing, Jack frowned. Feeling his anger rise he glanced at his watch, and when his suspicions were confirmed it only served to increase his anger.
The door exploded inward, and Daniel– completely engrossed in his books and notes and translations– jumped back with arms spread out, almost tripping over the wheels of his chair. "Jack!" he exclaimed, putting a hand to his chest.
"What are you still doing here?" Jack demanded, his dark eyes stormy.
"Um… translating?" Daniel eyed him in confusion.
"It's two in the morning!" Jack's voice rose. "What is the matter with you? You have a gorgeous wife! You have three wonderful kids who probably miss you! For someone so brilliant you can be so stupid!"
Daniel blinked several times, trying to figure out why Jack was so upset. "Sam knows where I am, Jack." He said. "And the kids have been asleep for hours. I put them to bed at eight."
Jack's eyes flickered around the office and settled on one corner of the room. "So what is this?" he strode over to the couch and snatched up a pillow and blanket, shaking them. "Now you're sleeping in your office?"
Daniel's eyes dropped in slight embarrassment.
Jack's breathing was heavy. He pointed a finger at Daniel. "You'd better start appreciating what a good thing you have!" he seethed. Then he spun around and stormed out, slamming the door behind him.
Daniel stared at the door in bewilderment, his brows drawn together and his lips pursed. Glancing around he took in the scattered notebooks and papers and books, and the blanket and pillow laying in a heap on the floor, and he sighed, shaking his head. "Just come back tomorrow, Daniel." He said, pinching the bridge of his nose. Pushing his glasses back up he reached out and clicked off his lamp, then quietly walked to the door, opened it, stepped out, and closed and locked it. Then he began to walk slowly down the hall, hands shoved into his pockets, chin down. Jack's words continued to reverberate through his head, making the line between his eyebrows deeper and deeper, darkening his scowl.
Their quarters were quiet and dark when he finally arrived. He could hear the small breaths of three sleeping children when he paused at the door of their room. One of them was snoring, still getting over a slight nose cold. He smiled.
Sam was curled on her side, blankets tucked in around her, the faint pale light from the clock radio shining off of her hair and illuminating her face. Daniel quietly closed the door behind him, then walked over and knelt down next to the bed, watching her. Her blond, short hair was spiked and rumpled all over from sleep, a strand laying down into one of her eyes. Gently Daniel pushed it aside with one finger. Sam's face lifted slightly as she took in a deep breath, turning towards his slight touch until she could nestle her cheek into the palm of his hand, and then she sighed, smiling in her sleep.
A smile curved Daniel's mouth. "You're so beautiful, Sam." He whispered.
She was. Even more than on the island, before children. She liked to complain about her weight and how she couldn't get rid of the soft spot on her lower belly– her 'pooch', as she liked to call it– but she was still her slender and strong self, and she was his, and the mother of his children.
Leaning forward, Daniel moved to brush his lips against hers in a goodnight kiss. Before he could pull back, Sam's hand rose to stroke his chin, and she lifted her face to kiss him deeply. After a moment he felt her catch his bottom lip, and as she nibbled on it his breathing quickened and grew deeper.
Later, laying on his belly next to her with his arm around her waist, Daniel turned his face into her hair and breathed in. "I love you." He murmured.
She smiled, snuggled against his shoulder. Her fingers absently trailed and combed through his long dark hair. "I love you too."
Daniel suddenly raised himself onto his elbow and looked down at her, his hair falling down the one side of his face and into Sam's eyes. Puffing she pushed it aside. "You will not believe what happened tonight." He said, looking down.
"What happened?" she asked, looking up at him. Her blue eyes were sparkling.
"I was in the middle of translating when Jack suddenly burst into my office like a madman!" Daniel frowned. "Well, maybe that's not so unusual, but he had a fit that I was in my office and not with you, and he said that I'm ignoring you and the kids and don't appreciate what I have. I think he thinks I might lose you." A look of bewilderment filled his face once more.
Sam's pale eyebrows pulled together. "Everyone I talk to lately has been saying the same thing. I think we must be giving people the wrong impression."
"Well, if you think about it, when we're not at home we're not together. At all. Jack is not dumb, despite how he acts sometimes, and neither is Janet." She adjusted next to him, looking up with one squinted eye. "I think it's time to plan our wedding reception."
Daniel blinked at her owlishly. "Our… what?"
"Our wedding reception." Sam tilted her head. "The first time around was pretty low budget. And no one came."
"We could have food, and music, and dancing– we could have our party. Besides, I think it might go a long way showing people that we are happy and okay."
Daniel's lips pursed thoughtfully. "Hm."
"You know what a reception is…" Sam's eyes twinkled. "A traditional cultural ceremony declaring to our people that we are now a couple."
Rolling his eyes, Daniel did not even try to suppress the grin that crossed his face. "Okay. Let me know what I can help with."
Teal'c arrived at the commissary one morning for breakfast, pleased that he had come early enough to beat the crowds of people. When his tray was satisfactorily loaded he turned to scan for an appropriate table, and his eyes lit upon a solitary figure hunched at a table at the far end of the room. With a pleasant smile Teal'c joined the figure, sitting down across from the scowling man.
"Good morning, O'Neill."
"Mornin." Came the mumbled answer.
Teal'c tipped his head, observing the vicious manner in which Jack stabbed his cheerios with a plastic spoon. "Does something vex you?"
Jack scowled. "Cereal's soggy."
Teal'c raised his eyebrows. Since his companion did not seem in a mood to converse, he applied himself to his food while it was still hot.
"Did you know that Daniel has been sleeping in his office?"
Teal'c looked up. "I did not."
"I know it's not all the time, but it's a bad habit to start! Little things start to slip, and next thing you know you never see each other!" Jack shook his spoon, little drops of milk littering Teal'c tray.
The big man looked thoughtful. "Is this not characteristic of Daniel? And is he not working on a very important translation?"
"That's not the point!" Jack waved his hand, spoon still between his fingers, and milk droplets flew everywhere.
Raising an eyebrow, Teal'c inclined his head.
Narrowing his eyes in thought, Jack leaned forward. "I know what I need to do." He said, pointing at the Jaffa. "I need to have a heart to heart, man to man. That's what he needs. Good counsel."
"I disagree. I believe that Samantha and Daniel Jackson are content, and are not in need of counsel."
"Well I do." Jack said.
Later that night Jack stood outside of Daniel's closed office door. Though he still felt justified in his anger the other night, his outburst– he admitted– had been a little abrupt and explosive, and a small peace offering was probably warranted to smooth things over so that Daniel would listen to him. So now here he stood, burdened by said peace offerings, trying to figure out how to alert the archaeologist to his presence. Finally he lifted his foot and banged it against the door, hopping when he almost lost his balance.
The door opened, and Daniel looked tiredly out. "Yes, Jack?"
Jack smiled, and held out before him a Grande Espresso from Starbucks.
Daniel glanced from the coffee to the steaming pizza box to the small white bag clutched in Jack's other hand, then back to Jack. "You went to town?"
Jack shrugged. "Yeah, well, it's fun to keep people guessing. Can I come in?"
Taking the coffee Daniel stood aside for Jack to enter the office, and then he closed the door. "Those cookies aren't 'Danified', you know."
"Give 'em a couple minutes in your drawer."
A smile crossed Daniel's face, and he chuckled, going to the file cabinet and opening the top drawer. Jack deposited the bag within, and they closed it. "Five minutes." Jack declared, checking his watch.
Glancing around, Jack then held up the box. "Pizza?"
Daniel cleared a space on his desk, and when the box was opened he looked hungrily at the Meat-lover's pizza with extra cheese. "Smells good."
Taking a piece, Jack sat down on the couch and put up his feet, eating while Daniel got himself some pizza and sat down opposite him.
When Daniel had drank some coffee and eaten about half of his piece of pizza, Jack cleared his throat. "Sorry about the other night."
"I would… like to share some advice."
"Jack," Daniel shook his head, his expression strangely amused. "Sam and I are fine, you know."
"Just let me say my piece, okay?"
Daniel sat back patiently.
"First of all I want you to know that I understand that both of your careers are important to you. That's fine. I also know that a lot of people begin relationships in stressful situations; it happens a lot in wars, and then when things go back to normal and life is just everyday humdrum, then things start to fray around the edges and you realize that you maybe don't know each other as well as you thought you did."
Daniel pushed up his glasses, then held up his finger. "Um, Jack, Sam and I knew each other long before we ever–"
Jack raised his hand. "Now, Daniel, just listen,"
With a sigh Daniel sat back and lifted his coffee, waiting.
"Okay. What you need to do now is to find ways to show her she's still special. That you still love her. Don't let work get in the way. Believe me, I made that mistake."
Daniel's eyes softened slightly.
"You guys might need to make some compromises, maybe a few sacrifices–" he extended his hand, referring to the 'morning sacrifices' Daniel had told him about. "But they are worth it. Find some things to do together, things that you both enjoy."
Daniel raised his eyebrows.
Jack shook his finger. "Other than that."
There was a grin.
Hesitating, Jack continued. "Something… I might suggest… All women like jewelry. Even career women, and the ones who say 'it's not important.' Don't believe them! It is important."
"Don't keep interrupting!" Jack chided with a mock frown. "It's been almost a year since you guys got back. You need to get her a ring."
Daniel nodded. "You're right. I should."
Jack also nodded, pleased with the progress so far. "And your kids. They need to have their dad around enough so they know you. You're their role model. Don't be the dad who's never around and never has time for them." His eyes glanced to the side, then he nodded decisively. "Good. Now eat some pizza."
Daniel managed to stifle his laugh, getting up and obediently getting more food. Behind him he heard the file drawer open, and the crinkling of a paper bag. When he turned around Jack was leaning against the cabinets, holding the bag in one hand and a cookie in the other. He held it aloft with a triumphant look on his face. "Danified." He declared, and popped it into his mouth.
The following week Sam and Daniel got permission from General Hammond to have a small party in the commissary, and to have food catered to the parking lot of the base where some SGC members would deliver it inside.
The next week Sam stood at the bakery case looking through the cake folder. She smiled when she glanced to one side and saw the plate of chocolate walnut cookies her husband always bought.
Behind her Teal'c stood with Share', who kept trying to grab the cowboy hat from his head, giggling ferociously, and beside him was the double-wide stroller with the two sleeping babies.
"Okay," she said, laying down the folder. The baker tipped his head, listening closely. "I would like number twenty-three, the chocolate walnut cake with cream cheese-cherry filling, and cream cheese frosting."
"Wonderful. Excellent choice." He said, writing her order on an order slip. "How many layers?"
"Three. And a sheet cake."
"Any special designs?"
"Nothing fancy." Sam pulled a crinkled photo from her diaper bag, of a fountain with a flowering vine around it. Someone had taken the photo for her and Daniel when a mining team went back. "Could you do some flowers like this?"
"Hm." He studied the photo. "Well– yes, I could do something like this, a vine with little white flowers."
"Thank you." Sam smiled. Then she gestured over her shoulder. "He'll pick it up."
Later Teal'c watched the three kids while Sam tried on dresses. To keep the rambunctious little girl quiet he let her pick a few storybooks from the book section, and he read them to her. As Sam tried on each dress she would come out and ask his opinion, and then go back and try on some more. Once, when he raised an eyebrow, Sam turned and marched back in.
"Nope. Not this one."
Finally she came out with a beaming face. "I think I found it." She said, and turned for Teal'c to see. It was a brilliant scarlet dress, tightly fitted down to the waist, sleeveless, and with a halter strap. The skirt was looser and ended just above her knees.
Teal'c nodded his approval. "It is a most becoming dress."
"You think so?" Sam ran her hands down the front, smoothing it. "Now I just need shoes."
Teal'c blinked, and then, handing the storybooks to Share', suggested that she go and select a few more.
An hour and a half later everyone and the purchases somehow managed to cram into the car, the back and the trunk bulging with invitations, party favors, decorations, snacks, clothing, shoes, and anything else Sam could think of, including her regular shopping for groceries and diapers.
Elsewhere in town, unbeknownst to Sam, Daniel was standing before the counter in a jewelry store. The clerk returned with a small velvet box. "Here is your ring, sir." The older woman said with a smile, opening the box for him to see.
Nestled inside was a gold diamond solitaire engagement ring and wedding band, already put together. Daniel accepted the box and gazed at the ring with glowing eyes. It had taken him six months to pay for it; he had carefully observed the rings Sam looked at in the catalogs, and mentally noted which style she seemed to circle every time.
"Is everything satisfactory?"
"Yes." Daniel nodded, looking up. "Yes, it's perfect."
"Good. Good." She went to the register. "Now if you need to get it resized or cleaned or anything, you just bring it right back and we'll take care of it for you."
"Thank you." Daniel made the last payment on the ring, and then slipped the box happily into his pocket.
The day of the party arrived. They had arranged for a sitter and dropped the kids off that morning. The rest of the day they spent decorating the commissary, and setting up the sound system (complete with microphones for karaoke, Jack's idea). When the caterer arrived in the parking lot, Sam and Daniel went up with a crew and got the food, and Teal'c left with Jack to pick up the cake.
During the activity, Sam and Daniel were watched closely by many members of the SGC. As they talked and laughed together looks were exchanged, and there were quiet whispers.
Tanesha watched with Carol and Julie as Sam stood on a stool, reaching as high as she could to attach crepe paper to the wall, Daniel holding her by the hips to keep her steady. Sam gave a loud, desperate exclamation. "Aaah!"
"You got it?" Daniel asked, peeking around her.
"Yeah; yeah, I got it." Sam replied, letting go and watching it with suspicious eyes to see if the tape would hold.
"You sure?" Daniel's voice was amused.
"Yep. I'm sure." She turned slightly in his grip and glanced down. "You can let me down."
Suddenly there was a high pitched shriek, and heads turned to see Sam grabbing Daniel's hands as his fingers, still in their place on her hips, pinched. Laughing he let her down, ducking as she smacked at his arm playfully.
"My my." Tanesha commented. "Looks like they're getting along again, don't it? Lucky girl."
"You coming to the party tonight?" Carol asked.
"Are you kiddin'? I wouldn't miss it for the world!"
"Me neither." Julie agreed. "This is going to be the most fun I've had in months."
Janet, helping to set up the hors d'oeuvres on the tables set against the wall, turned to watch Sam and Daniel blowing up balloons together. Or trying to. She laughed as a balloon suddenly blew free and flew across the room, making a most undignified sound as it did so.
Finally everything was ready. The regular Base cooks arrived to take care of setting up the rest of the food and the cake, and everyone else disappeared to get ready.
Sam and Daniel showered and changed, Sam into her red dress and high-heeled red strappy shoes, and Daniel into the outfit Sam had bought for him. Black pants and jacket and a brilliant blue silk shirt, with the top button undone. His hair was smoothed back into a sleek ponytail.
Sam came out of their room in her dress and shoes, with an Austrian crystal necklace and earrings, set in gold, and she wore red lipstick. Daniel stared, and then a smile broke across his face. "Wow."
She spun around. "You like it?" she asked, glancing at him playfully.
"Huh…" his blue eyes widened and he nodded. "Oh yeah. You look gorgeous." Stepping up he put his hands around her waist. "Mm."
"Don't mess up my makeup." She warned, putting a finger on his mouth as he looked at her meaningfully. "Later." She whispered, then laughed when he rolled his eyes sufferingly. Shaking her head Sam adjusted the collar of his shirt and jacket, then ran her hands along his hair, making sure it was smooth. He smiled at her.
"Am I perfect yet?"
Sam grinned and stood on her toes, kissing the end of his nose. "For years."
His cheeks turned slightly pink.
The party was just starting when they arrived. As they entered the commissary there was thunderous applause and the sound of many trumpeting party favors. Smiling Sam and Daniel waved at everyone, nodding at Jack and Teal'c, General Hammond, and Janet. Then they walked in holding hands.
Some people stared at the couple they had labeled as 'the nerdy scientist and archaeologist.' Daniel hardly looked like a nerd, dashingly handsome in his suit, and Sam made people gawk as she walked by in her heels. Even Jack had to stare for a moment. Were these really his two geeky team members?
The meal was served buffet style, so that everyone could get as much or as little as they wanted. Ham, beef roast, potatoes, corn, stuffing, gravy, the works. Then out came the cake, and everyone insisted that Sam and Daniel cut and serve each other a bite. There were a few moans that they did not smear the frosting on their face, but cameras went off all throughout the room, capturing the moment.
Before the cooks could come out and cut the cake, Daniel raised his hand and said, "Wait, before we eat dessert, there is something I would like to do."
A hush fell over the room, and Sam eyed him curiously.
Turning to Sam he took her hands, got down on one knee, and reached into his pocket. Hoots and cheers erupted throughout the room, and the cameras went off again. Sam blinked rapidly, biting her bottom lip.
"Sam, I just wanted you to know how much I love you and how lucky I am." Daniel said, talking quietly to her yet still loud enough that people heard. Janet sniffed in the crowd, pulling out a handkerchief. "I got this ring as a symbol of that, and as a promise." Opening the box he pulled out the ring and slipped it onto her finger. Sam's breath hitched, and she pressed her other hand to her mouth. "I'd marry you again in a heartbeat." He whispered.
Sam laughed, wiping at a stray tear. "It's beautiful." She mouthed. "I love you."
"I love you too."
As Daniel stood up, holding Sam's hands, he kissed her and the room burst into laughter and cheers. Smiling shyly Daniel pulled back and turned towards the cake, about to motion to the cooks, when Sam tugged slightly on his hand. "Wait," she said, and then a mischievous grin filled her face. "You forgot something." At his confused expression she winked, and then she pointed her right foot and bent the knee, hooking the bottom of her skirt with one finger and drawing it up just enough to reveal the white garter. Daniel's eyes widened, his cheeks turning pink, and he started to laugh with one hand covering his mouth as the noise in the room tripled with mirth. Amid hoots and catcalls Daniel knelt back down, still shaking with laughter, and as he gently hooked his fingertips over the garter and began to pull it down her leg the noise grew even louder around them, and his blush deepened. When he finally stood he looked down, noticing a slight weight to the white satin and lace, and there at the front– tied with a ribbon– was a gold man's wedding band.
Laughing and with a sheen in her eyes, Sam started to untie the ribbon, whispering: "It's not pretend." As she took his left hand and started to slip on the ring he had to blink quickly, his eyes suddenly very blue. "I'm so glad we got stuck on that island together." She said, her voice catching. "It was the best thing that ever happened to me."
As Sam looked up into Daniel's face, she felt taken aback at the glow of absolute and total love in his expression, and felt her heart hitch in her chest. Then he turned to the crowd and lifted the garter. There was a mad scramble of men as he closed his eyes and Sam spun him. Then he threw.
When the chaos died down everyone tried to see who had caught it. In the back, a surprising throw for Daniel, stood Jack, staring dumbly at the white garter in his hand, Teal'c beaming behind him.
There arose a moan from all the women as they turned and stared woefully at Sam, who got an expression of surprise and then frantic problem solving as she turned around and around, looking. Finally she grabbed a rose from a vase on the cake table, and held it up. "Ready?" she called.
Rushing in towards the middle the women raised their hands and waved, jostling each other. Sam put her hand over her eyes, was spun by Daniel, and then tossed the rose over her head as far as she could. When she turned she saw one of the cooks rising from the floor, pushing hair out of her face as she held the rose triumphantly aloft, beaming.
When everyone had had their fill of cake, the music was turned up and the floor cleared for dancing. After-dinner snacks were set out, and drinks, and Sam happily got herself a strawberry-mango margarita with a skewer of fruit.
Neither she nor Daniel were very good dancers, but neither of them cared, completely absorbed in one another and singing along loudly with the songs to each other. People around them watched in amazement at the normally professional couple, and many perceptions were changed as Sam and Daniel continued in a completely careless, carefree, and unprofessional way on the dance floor.
Watching in satisfaction, Jack nodded. "You see." He commented. "My advice worked."
Teal'c looked at him, raising one eyebrow. Then he smiled and returned his attention to the dancing couple.
Finally there was the whine of a microphone turning on, and Jack's voice over the speakers. "The stage is now open!" he announced. "Now I know I'm not very good, but I believe that karaoke is not karaoke without at least one sad and lonely singer. Therefore, I shall oblige by beginning the night with 'Wonderful Night' by Fatboy Slim." Turning to Daniel and ignoring the exaggerated groan from the crowd, he extended his hand in a bow and said, "Now you shall see me for what I really am: my younger rapper self."
People laughed, with Daniel covering his face in mock embarrassment as he tried to contain himself. The music started, and the result was so terrible that Daniel and Sam had to find themselves a booth where they could safely double over in laughter. At one point Jack suavely pulled his sunglasses from the pocket of his jacket and smoothly slid them on, much to the amusement of the crowd as they laughed at his poor dancing and off-key performance, dancing along with him and cheering when he finally bowed extravagantly and handed the microphone off to a group of nurses singing 'You Drive Me Crazy' by Britney Spears.
The night continued, and Jack joined Sam and Daniel and Teal'c on the dance floor, showing off his own unique moves that they eventually all started to copy. Sam and Daniel continued to sing along to each song, and soon Jack was leaning close with one ear cocked towards them.
"What's this?" he exclaimed. "Why aren't you two up there singing?!"
Daniel looked embarrassed, and shook his head. "Oh, I don't think so."
"We couldn't…" Sam continued.
"Nonsense! Get up there!" Jack demanded.
"You do indeed have great singing capability." Teal'c agreed.
"Go! Go!" Jack waved at them. "One of you! Up!"
Glancing at one another, Sam finally shrugged and tipped her margarita back, downing the last two mouthfuls. "Why not?" she declared. "You only get married once!" Turning she handed Daniel her empty glass as he watched her in amusement and disbelief, and then strode up to the microphone. Pulling it from the stand she whispered to the DJ, then faced the dancing crowd. "I'm going to sing a Shania Twain song!" she announced.
There was a mix of groans and excited hollers, and then Janet's voice from the back shouting "Go for it, Sam!". Smiling Sam nodded at the DJ, then looked out and found Daniel's face. "This is for you."
When she started to sing it was to the music for 'You're Still the One,' and bit by bit the room grew quiet as her throaty, pure voice filled the air, notes hanging perfectly when they should, rising and falling in perfect pitch. Jack, sitting at the booth with Daniel where they had sat down, leaned close. "Sam can sing?!"
Daniel, gazing out at her with glowing eyes, smiled. "Yeah. I know."
Jack glanced at him, then settled back, watching them both with new eyes.
When her voice faded on the final note there was a moment of silence, and then people started to cheer and clap. Her cheeks flushing slightly Sam returned the microphone to its stand and crossed the room to the booth, sitting down next to Daniel. "That was fun!" she laughed.
Daniel smiled, and kissed her cheek. "You were incredible."
Jack clapped Daniel on his shoulder, beaming. "Now you, Danny boy." He said, taking a drink from his beer.
"What?" Daniel turned. "Oh no, no way–"
"Come on, Daniel." Sam hooked his arm. "You've got a good voice."
She widened her eyes and looked at him sweetly. "Please? For me?"
Daniel heaved a long, heavy sigh, rolling his eyes to the ceiling. Then he stood to the cheers of his friends, causing people to turn and watch, joining in when they realized what was happening. Turning to Sam with playfully narrowed eyes he pointed his finger. "You owe me." He muttered, and she blinked innocently, leaning on the table.
For a minute or two Daniel spoke quietly with the DJ before finally approaching and taking hold of the microphone. The music started, and there were 'awes' from the crowd as people recognized the tune of 'Love of My Life', by Jim Brickman. There were chuckles from the men, and Jack shook his head, laughing. Waiting for the cue in the song, Daniel pulled his jacket off and laid it over a stool behind him.
When he started to sing, people at first didn't think it was really him. The voice was rich and deep, and pure and smooth and vibrant. When they finally realized that it was, indeed, him singing, mouths opened and eyes widened.
Sam watched him with glowing eyes, her chin resting on the back of her fingers, and as the song continued her smile grew.
"I look in your eyes, I'm lost inside your kiss. I think if I'd never met you, about all the things I'd missed…"
Daniel watched her in the dim lighting, and he felt a smile slowly creep across his face at her expression. When the song ended he dropped his eyes at the applause, and moved to leave the stage. Suddenly Jack's voice was heard.
"Okay, I know this is really corny with both of you sounding like American Idol, but– now both of you go sing! Together."
Looking up Daniel saw Jack pushing Sam from the booth while people clapped and encouraged her to go forward, begging them to sing together. As Sam made her way up to the stage, laughing, Daniel chuckled and held out his hand for her to take. The DJ leaned over and whispered with them for a moment, and then pulled out a second microphone for Sam to use. When the music started there were some chuckles and exclamations of pleasure, especially from the women, recognizing it as a song from Moulin Rouge.
Looking at his blushing wife, Daniel lifted the microphone.
"Never knew I could feel like this. Like I've never seen the sky before; Want to vanish inside your kiss, Everyday I love you more and more.
Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing? Telling me to give you everything. Seasons may change, winter to spring… But I love you, until the end of time.
Come what may, come what may, I will love you until my dying day."
Sam's eyes sparkled. "Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place; Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace. Suddenly my life doesn't seem such a waste– It all revolves around you."
They heard a whoop from the crowd, and a quick grin crossed Daniel's face as he sang with her.
"And there's no mountain too high, no river too wide. Sing out this song and I'll be there by your side. Storm clouds may gather and stars may collide… But I love you, until the end of time.
Come what may, come what may. I will love you until my dying day. I will love you, until my dying day."
As the last notes of their voices blended and faded together into the silence, people held their breath, surrounded by the harmony. Then the silence broke.
When it was finally quiet again the DJ put on some fast pop music with a heavy dance beat. People began to move, and Daniel and Sam once again made their way to the center of the dance floor.
To Be Continued:
Seven Years Later… When someone threatens the SG1 family, what will happen to Sam and Daniel's children… and Sara?