Outside the house, the storm raged. Sam snuggled down into the depths of the
couch and pulled the comforter up to her neck, her eyes on the lightning-lit garden.
The silence of the house was in stark contrast to the noise outside. Her thoughts
flashed to her baby daughter, sleeping upstairs. She knew she had nothing to worry
about. Jessica could sleep through anything. She'd slept right through the night at
only a week old. Eighteen months later and the little girl knew when her bedtime was
and became annoyed if anything got in the way of it.
It had been a peaceful couple of years, she mused. Almost a year ago Jack had taken
over as head of the SGC. She'd watched him settle to his new task with difficulty, unsurprisingly
finding the transition hard.
She sighed. The promotion had come at around the same time as Jessie's birth and since
then he'd been… different. Distant, somehow. Quieter. She'd gone back to work when Jessie
was six months old, the child going into the day-care unit at the SGC that she'd known
nothing about until now.
Jack had spent less and less time at home. She glanced at the clock, unsurprised to see it
was almost midnight. He'd be home soon, most nights he would come home at about this
time. When he got home he was tired. Being the commanding officer of the SGC was taking
its toll on him.
She heard the front door open and close.
'Watchin' the storm, huh?'
She turned to see Jack standing in the doorway, an amused glint in his eyes. He looked tired
under the amusement and he was soaking wet from the rain, she noted. She nodded in
response to his question.
'Jake's at his friend's house and Gracie's over at Janet's with Cassie, Jessica's sleeping.'
Jack nodded and slid his leather jacket off, hanging it on a hook. Then he turned and walked
over to her, lifting the comforter and sliding beneath it.
'Jack! You're all wet and cold!' Sam protested half-heartedly.
He put his mouth to her ear and whispered, 'So warm me up.'
She smiled as he slipped his arm around her shoulders. After several quiet minutes he said,
'I uh… had some news.'
Not taking her eyes from the storm, Sam said, 'Good or bad?'
'I'm not sure yet. I wanted to talk to you about it.' This made her turn slightly so she could
look up at him. 'I've been offered a new job.' She stared at him, waiting for him to continue.
'General Hammond's retiring.'
'And they want you to go to Washington,' Sam finished for him.
Jack nodded. 'I get a promotion,' he said, in the tone of one announcing the death of a close
Sam smiled. 'That's great.' Then she stood and said, 'I have to go check on Jessie, are you
coming to bed?'
Jack looked up at her, wondering at the things she wasn't saying. 'Sam…'
'I'll see you in a minute, Jack.'
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. After several minutes he rose and went upstairs.
He checked on Jessica. The little girl was sleeping soundly, as always. Long dark lashes
rested against her cheek. He smiled to himself. Jessie had darker hair than Jake, but the
same startling Carter-blue eyes.
He turned and went into the bedroom he shared with Sam. She was standing in front of the
mirror, combing her slightly longer than shoulder-length hair.
'Hey,' he said softly, walking over and standing behind her, sliding his arms around her
waist. Since having Jessie, Sam's figure was slightly rounder than before. Very slightly,
but he noticed it, and liked it.
'Hey,' she responded.
'Wanna tell me what's bothering you?'
'Nothing,' she said, not meeting his eyes.
'Liar,' he responded, his tone soft.
She bit her lip and he turned her to face him, surprised at just how upset she was. 'Sam?'
'I'm just worried we're going to lose you,' she said, directing her words at his chest,
rather than look at him.
'Why would you lose me?'
'I know what its like, Jack. You know what its like,' she paused, 'You'll be there, we'll be
'I'll be here, too,' he said.
'We both know how involved the job is,' Sam said quietly.
Jack put his hand under her chin and tipped her face up so her eyes met his. 'I don't
have to take the job, Sam.'
She gave a half-smile. 'Who else is there? There's no one else I'd trust in that job,
He sighed and sat down heavily on the edge of the bed. 'What do you think I
'There isn't really a choice. Its only one change, we'll deal with it.' When he was
silent, she said, 'What aren't you telling me?'
'They want to reactivate you. Make you a Lieutenant Colonel and give you SG-1.'
'I've been commanding SG-1 just fine as a civilian.'
'I know that. They just think that, if the SGC is going to remain a military base, the
flagship team should have a military commanding officer.'
She sat down on the bed next to him. 'This sucks.'
'We could both refuse.'
'I know.' He turned to look at her. 'I'm not going anywhere, Sam. We can make this
'What about the kids?'
'You being a colonel won't make much difference to them. We're untouchable in that
respect – they can't exactly un-marry us.'
'You won't be here.'
'I'll be here as much as I can. It'll be more than you think.'
'You can't keep flying across the country, Jack, you'll be exhausted.'
'I don't care. I need to be here. Just because the Air Force needs me to be somewhere
else, doesn't mean I'm not going to do everything in my power to be where I need to
be. Okay?' She looked at him. His jaw was set in grim determination. 'Its not forever, Sam.'
She nodded and stood, walking back to the mirror and continuing to comb her hair.
His reflection smiled wryly at her. 'This is ridiculous.'
She smiled back. He rose and stood behind her again, kissing her neck. 'Congratulations,
She put the comb down and turned in his arms. 'I'm not going to congratulate you,' she
murmured against his lips.
'Don't. Major General. Makes me feel old.'
She grinned. 'What's the cliché? You're as young as the woman you feel?'
He rolled his eyes. 'Maybe we should get on with that, then.'
She giggled and pushed him gently. He fell back on the bed, taking her with him, his
fingers flying to the hem of her shirt and tugged it upwards.
'When do you leave?' Sam asked.
'We're so not talkin' about this now,' Jack growled, finally pulling her top over her head.
He rolled until he was lying on top of her, doing wonderful things to her with his hands and lips.
Sam allowed herself to be swept away on a wave of sensation, but couldn't silence the
tiny nagging doubt in the back of her head.