A/N: I decided to add Chapter 2 in honor of Gateworld's upcoming Ship Day!
Chapter 2: Consequences
It was a long debrief.
After Sam and the team returned through the Gate, we were subject to a two hour session with Hank Landry and the ever present IOA interrogators. If nothing else, it was amusing to hear Sam try to explain time travel to someone even denser than Woolsey. I'll bet ole Richard understands a bit more after spending the last few weeks in Atlantis. Maybe we ought to send these bozos too.
Anyway, as the consummate professionals they are, none of the SGC personnel broached the subject of my unexpectedly emotional reunion with Carter earlier today. Thinking I was home free, I made my way to the locker room to pick up a few things before heading home with Sam. Imagine my surprise when I found Vala, hardly the consummate professional, waiting for me in the men's locker room. She looked like a Cheshire cat, waiting to pounce.
"General O'Neill," she purred, her voice dripping with, I don't know, something suggestive. "You sly fox, all this time you and Colonel Carter," she went on, clearly angling for some juicy details.
"Vala," I answered calmly, "this is the men's locker room." At that moment I couldn't decide whether to be disappointed or relieved this woman wasn't a member of the military, subject to my orders. If she was military, I could charge her with insubordination. But then, what would I do with her?
"Oh now General," she said, "don't be like that. I'd think you be very sorry for keeping such a delicious little secret from me."
With that, I knew I was in for it. Where was Sam when I needed her?
"Vala, do you mind?" I said, trying to work my way past her to my locker. "I have to pick up a few things before I head home. Someone's waiting for me."
"She wouldn't happen to be a certain blond-haired, blue-eyed Colonel with a hidden wedding ring, now would she?"
Oh hell! Might as well give the woman what she wants, I thought.
"As a matter of fact, yes," I said. "Sam and I are heading out for a quiet evening at home."
"Ah ha!" Vala whooped triumphantly. "I thought as much. A private evening alone, snuggling or ..."
"Akk!" I held up my hand in the universally recognized signal to cease and desist.
Even Vala understood that one. She smiled, clearly proud of herself for confirming what she'd suspected.
"So, you and Sam..."
I surrendered to the inevitable. Talking with the gossip magnet of the SGC about my relationship with my wife was so not in the plan. Then again ...
"Yep, me and Sam," I admitted pleasantly, grabbing the jacket I needed from my locker. "Married, five years now. And happy, did I mention happy?"
"You don't need to, General," she said, her eyes dancing. "It's plain to see. Written all over your face."
"Yeah?" I asked rhetorically in what I could hear as my normally gruff tone.
"Yessss..." Vala replied. Damn it, I swear she was purring again. "Yes it is."
"Fine," I finally gave in. "Sam's the best thing that's happened to me in years. Having a real relationship with the woman I love and getting married, well, those were two of the best decisions I've ever made." That ought to about cover it, I thought.
"Satisfied?" I asked.
Her smile told me she was. At last, peace. Then she had to go and ruin it with yet another typically irreverent comment.
"Absolutely, General," Vala pronounced. I swear the woman was literally bouncing on the tips of her toes. "And I can tell you are as well, satisfied, that is."
Ow, I could so do without these days ...
Waiting for the elevator, Sam was having much the same experience. Fortunately for her, Cam Mitchell was a bit more inhibited than Vala Mal Doran would ever be.
"So," Cam said softly, standing directly to her right and out of earshot of others. "You and General O'Neill? That's great."
"Thanks, Cam," Sam replied genuinely, a soft unfamiliar blush suffusing her face.
With that, the elevator doors opened and the two teammates entered the empty cubicle.
"You do know I'm happy for you, right?" Mitchell asked.
"I know," Sam said. "It's just that after all this time trying to keep things quiet, be discrete, it's feels different, embarrassing almost. I can't believe I did that in the gateroom."
"Why the hell not?" Cam asked, genuinely puzzled. "You thought he'd died. Why shouldn't you throw your arms around him when you see him alive and kicking?"
Turning to face her friend, Sam smiled softly. He really did get it. She shouldn't have been surprised.
"Anyone would have done the same thing?"
"Anyone who loves somebody as much as you obviously love General O'Neill," Cam replied, a knowing twinkle in his eye.
When Sam looked at him quizzically, he continued.
"Hey, it's hard to miss. When you look at the guy, you light up," he said.
"I do, don't I," Sam acknowledged, that very light in her eyes now. "You can't imagine how hard it's been to keep that under wraps the past few years. Didn't do such a good job, huh?"
"Well I have gotten to know you in some pretty tough circumstances," Cam observed. "I like to think we're friends."
"Of course we are," Sam said. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you."
"I understand." He paused meaningfully, appearing to study the elevator buttons while they drifted inexorably upward.
"You know my first clue?"
"Hmm?" Sam asked, not sure what he was getting at.
"My first clue about you and General O'Neill," Cam clarified.
"Ah, no," Sam admitted, not sure she liked where this was going.
"Well, it was that time he showed up for the thousandth trip through the gate thingie… you know, my party, Martin's movie idea, all that. Well the look on your faces when Vala was spinning her yarn about that wedding … hard to miss …"
Sam smiled in spite of herself. She'd thought as much.
"Then you got hurt … and your password was fishing," Cam recalled. "I've heard about the General's favorite pastime."
"Think you're pretty smart, don't you?"
Just then the doors opened. They were on the surface. Teal'c was at the entrance waiting for them.
"Colonel Mitchell," he said, "I was not aware you would be accompanying Colonel Carter."
"Oh, not accompanying," he said, "only riding the elevator. Actually, I have to be on my way. See you guys," he said brightly. "Oh, and belated congratulations, Colonel."
"Thanks," Sam said, wondering why she'd never told him about Jack before this. As Cam left, she turned to her inscrutable Jaffa friend.
"Was it so bad, Samantha?" Teal'c asked.
She didn't have to ask. She knew what he meant.
"Telling Cam?" she surmised. "No, not bad at all. He's happy for me."
"As he should be," Teal'c said. "As all your friends will be."
Sam smiled. Then she remembered Jack was supposed to meet her.
"Have you seen Jack?" she asked. "He should have been up here by now."
Teal'c nodded solemnly.
"General O'Neill is on his way. Apparently he was distracted by a strange conversation with Vala Mal Doran," Teal'c explained. "About your relationship, it seems."
"Holy Hannah!" Sam said, readily imagining the talk. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry.