Samantha Carter sat in the hospital bed, staring intently into the face of the brand-new person lying in her arms and who, for once in his short life, wasn't hungry, sleepy, dirty, or monopolized by his proud father. Or any combination of the above. Not that she was complaining. Jack's attentiveness - and his experience - had allowed her to get at least some sleep between their son's all too frequent feedings. And it had been rather nice to have his advice during those first difficult diaper changes and nursing sessions rather than that of a relatively impersonal nurse.

Still, with Jack finally getting some much needed sleep on the cot set-up for him in the corner, it was nice to finally have some time alone with their son. Sam couldn't get over how light he felt in her arms, how thin and deceptively frail his tiny fingers looked as they curled tightly around one of hers, or the perfect yet miniature form of his nose. And his mouth. And his ears. Most of all, though, she marveled at the intensity of his gaze - as if he were trying to understand the whole of the universe through a study of her face. And maybe he was.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. Since, for the last day and half, they'd been continually interrupted by various members of the medical staff on missions of varying importance, this wasn't at all surprising. "Come in," she called, softly, trying not to disturb the infant starting to doze in her arms.

What was surprising, however, was the face that popped inside the door. "Hi, Sam!" he said.

"Daniel!"

Daniel stepped into the room, carrying a bouquet of flowers, which he set down on the small table probably designed for that purpose. Cameron and Vala followed close behind him. Sam would have welcomed them, but she forgot all such niceties the moment Teal'c entered the room behind them, carrying an enormous stuffed blue bunny.

After a moment of stunned silence, and another of laughter, she finally managed to say: "He is going to kill you, Teal'c."

The large Jaffa looked at her and, with absolute predictability, answered, "Indeed." But she knew him well enough to recognize by the twinkle in his eyes and the twitch at the corner of his mouth that he was as close as he ever came to laughter.

All the noise of their friend's entry and Sam's subsequent laughter had managed to wake Jack, though fortunately it had not woken his son, who was sleeping with the coma-like soundness only a warm and well-fed newborn could achieve. "Who's going to kill…" he began to ask as he joined his friends, but the words were cut off suddenly as a look of stunned horror swept across his features when he realized what Teal'c was carrying.

Before Jack could say anything more - or prove Sam prophetic - Daniel had crossed to the bed. "So … this is Matthew?" he asked brightly, leaning over to look at the baby more closely.

Jack was sufficiently distracted by the opportunity to show off his son that he not only forgot about the stuffed rabbit, but didn't even bother with an appropriate rejoinder to Daniel's absurd question. "Yeah," he said, grinning broadly. He stepped to the other side of Sam and pulled back the blanket so their friends could get a better look. "Isn't he perfect? "

"Takes after his mother," Daniel observed.

Again, Jack failed to play. "Yup."

Cam muttered "Lucky kid," under his breath.

Cameron wasn't as privileged as Daniel. "Watch it, Mitchell," Jack warned, but even that failed to sound properly severe.

"Yes, sir," Cam replied, then smiled as he looked back down at the infant. "Besides, I can see a lot of you in him too, sir."

"Poor kid," Jack said, catching Cam's eye with a wink, and everyone laughed.

Seeing her former teammates, who had become more like family than friends themselves, all there together, being so them, their love and their laughter filling the room as they celebrated Matthew's birth, Sam felt her own happiness expand - impossibly - with theirs. Without even knowing it, she had needed them there; it wouldn't have been right without them. Suddenly overcome with gratitude, she said: "Hey, guys." They all turned to look at her, grown suddenly serious themselves by the seriousness in her tone. "Thanks for coming."

"Don't thank us," Cam said.

"Thank the General," Vala added brightly, "He bought the tickets. And I haven't been to DC for awhile, so I figured, why not?" But the smile she gave Sam clearly indicated that that was not the real reason.

Sam looked at Jack. "Really? You planned all this?"

He shrugged and grinned sheepishly in that self-effacing way he did when throwing off his own brilliance. "Well, I heard they were 'around'," he explained, drawing quotes in the air, "And I figured you'd want them here." His eyes, when he looked at her, told her the rest.

Her heart did that funny little half-beat thing it always did whenever Jack told her he loved her, with or without words; and she smiled up at him across the circle of their friends, telling him she loved him back in the way she knew meant more to him than words. Once again, Jack had proved he understood her better than she knew herself. In sharing her joy with her friends, her own became truly complete.

-end-