Title: Year Twelve
Rating: K PG
Spoiler: All through whole series of SG1, set after Enemy at the gate for SGA
Summary: Sam invites her colleagues from Atlantis to celebrate the twelvth anniversary of the stargate program
Disclaimer: All characters are not mine which is damn unfortunate....
Author's Note: Okay, I was trying to cure a case of writer's block on my other story G&R, and this came out instead. It's been in my head for ages, so maybe now I can continue with my other idea... Oh and sorry if this is a bit dialogue heavy!
John was there when they beamed her down from the Daedulous, waiting, a smile planted on his face. "Colonel!"
"Have you come to check over the base?"
"Officially," She replied, turning around and taking in her surroundings. Atlantis hadn't changed much, if at all. Even throughout the year that she was based here as commander, she still looked at the gate room with a quiet sense of awe.
Sam thought she saw a glint in his eye. "Unofficially," She sighed, a smile creeping upon her face, "I'm here for nostalgia's sake."
"In that case," John grinned, "Fancy a guide?" He stretched out his left arm and beckoned for her to lead. Returning his smile, Sam stepped forwards and headed down a corridor.
"So... How long until Landry comes back?" John asked, stepping into stride beside her.
"Oh, he came back early – all this excitement with Atlantis landing on Earth, and he just couldn't stay away... How do you think I wangled this trip?"
John watched as a grin eased itself across her lips, lighting up her eyes. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but something was different about her. He hadn't really noticed it before, what with having to save the world his mind was kind of preoccupied. But now, with the afternoon sun streaming through the city and bouncing colour off her features, he could definitely tell something had changed.
"So, what about you?"
"I'll stay in town for another week, before heading back to Washington."
"Washington?" John enquired. An eyebrow rose and he stopped, turning to look at her.
"Oh, didn't I tell you? That's where I'm based now." John shook his head. "It's nicer than Nevada," Sam added as a way of explanation.
"It looks like it agrees with you."
"Thanks." John watched as a wave of embarrassment crossed her face and then quickly diminished. "We're having an anniversary party at mine next week, you should come!"
"Anniversary?!" John eyed her suspiciously for a moment.
"Yeah, of the Stargate program – it'll be twelve years. You should bring the others too..."
When they approached the front door, the sounds of music, shouting and female laughter echoed around them. John exchanged glances with Rodney - that definitely wasn't Sam. The other man shrugged, and before he could ponder the identity of the other guests, John knocked on the door.
A young woman with long brown hair answered and John almost stuttered in confusion. "Hi...?"
"You must be John Sheppard? I'm Cassie," She shook his hand, not waiting for any answer before ushering them all in. John felt Ronan and Teyla tense slightly behind him, not knowing what to expect. To be fair, the sight before them was a little...odd.
Five pairs of eyes did a sweep of the living room. In the corner, on stool with elbows resting on a small coffee table, Teal'c and Mitchell sat arm wrestling. The Jaffa had a smug look on his face, while the other had gone bright red with sweat dripping down his forehead. They watched in amusement as the colonel swore at his opponent and shouted "Ah come on!"
On the floor was another male, also swearing, albeit for different reasons. Vala had Daniel Jackson lying on his front; an arm twisted behind his back and was sitting on top of him, preventing him from moving. Apart from struggling.... Which he seemed to be doing a lot. The woman simply laughed and held him tighter.
After inspecting his equally baffled team mates faces, John turned to the young female beside him.
"Welcome to the mad house," Cassie simply grinned and broke his gaze before yelling "Sam?!" at, what John felt like, was the top of her lungs. Cringing, he turned slightly, following her gaze to the kitchen.
There was another scene he didn't think he'd witness.
Samantha Carter was busy arranging what looked like food onto some plates. But it wasn't the site of her cooking that had John confused. More the civvies-clad general that stood behind her, one hand on her waist, while the other one snaked around her to steal some food off the plate. He watched as Sam tapped his hand away, dodging his attempt to stuff a sausage roll in her mouth and then grin proudly at him over her own success.
A look down at Teyla beside him said that she'd witnessed it too.
That simple glance away was all it took, and when John looked back up, General O'Neill was walking towards him.
"Sheppard, guys... and girls, good of you to come." Jack shook John's hand and nodded politely to the others behind him. "Cassie?" He turned to face her.
"I'm going!" Cassie cried, shrugging on a coat and heading towards the door.
"Remember what I said?"
"Yes!" The girl suddenly grinned and John noticed a secret look pass between them.
"And don't let that boy-"
"Jack I'm not fifteen anymore!"
A fond smile formed on the general's face. "Have fun!" Was all he said and he shooed the girl away with his hand. Accepting his unspoken apology, she reached round to hug him instead, before bouncing out the door and leaving the man a little confused.
"So," Jack said, shaking his head and rubbing his hands together. "Cake anyone?!"
Sometime later when things had calmed down a bit, John found himself sitting with Rodney and Jennifer on the couch in the living room, each with a beer in their hands. Daniel, Cameron and Teal'c were sitting on the opposite side of the table on the floor.
"So do you have one of these parties every year?"
"Pretty much," Daniel nodded his head in answer to John's question. "Since way back when we first started going through the gate."
"Really?" Rodney asked, his interest suddenly peaked. "How come I was never invited before?"
There was pause when Daniel pursed his lips, and Rodney frowned, before Teal'c finally spoke up. "I believe Samantha Carter once found you quite annoying."
A laugh rumbled out of John's mouth before he could stop it.
"Hey!" Rodney cried, reaching round Jennifer and trying to whack his team mate on the arm.
"Everyone finds Rodney annoying at some point," Teyla announced. She and Ronan crept into the room and positioned themselves on one side of the fire. Ronan handed Teal'c a cranberry juice.
"So what are guys talking about?" Ronan asked, a little confused.
"Daniel was just about to tell us the story of what these guys have got up to on each anniversary," John said, motioning at the archaeologist with his bottle.
"Well, we mainly started it for Teal'c's benefit," Daniel added. Teal'c's eyebrow rose. "To help you integrate into Earth's society..." he added quickly.
"And then there was helping Sam get over the whole Tok'ra thing with Jolinar," Daniel continued, "And Jack with the Ancients knowledge downloaded into his brain..." Daniel's face glossed over briefly, obviously reliving the memories. "I think we spent the second anniversary with Cassie – after everything that happened in 1969..."
"What happened in 1969?" Rodney asked. Several other faces peered over at Daniel and Teal'c.
Cam looked from Rodney's face and back to his team mate's. "Will you guys stop hinting at what happened back then, and tell me?" He squinted down at Daniel, trying to appear threatening. "Us?" He corrected, before realising it made no difference.
"We are not at liberty to discuss that mission," Teal'c stated, turning to Rodney to answer his question.
"Why not?" John asked. He sounded a little annoyed.
"Because officially that mission doesn't exist," Daniel responded. He cleared his throat and took off his glasses, pinching his nose and closing his eyes momentarily. "Anyway," He added loudly, keen to get them off the subject, "Then after that, let me see..."
"I believe on the third anniversary we went bowling, Daniel Jackson." Teal'c bowed his head to the group, a slight smile on his lips.
"I take it by that you won?" Cam asked. Upon Tealc's nod, Cam laughed and shook his head.
"That's right – Jack thought it would be a good 'team building exercise'..." Daniel bent his fingers in mock quotation marks, the memory making him glance over at Teal'c.
"He made you go on team building exercises?" Teyla asked. Her expression conveyed a mixture of horror and amusement.
"Daniel Jackson was recovering from being out of phase after the incident concerning the discovery of the crystal skull," Teal'c added. As though that explained everything. Teyla simply nodded despite not understanding what the other alien was talking about. "Prior to that O'Neill had been stranded on another planet for several months-"
"And there was the whole thing with the NID," Daniel added.
"So, what you're saying is," Cam stepped in, "that you'd all been through a lot that year?"
"Quite, Colonel Mitchell." Teal'c bowed his head again.
"Of course, that was just before we discovered the replicators..." The room went quiet momentarily as everyone considered the words that came out of Daniel's mouth. "Then you and Jack went through the time loop thing," he nodded to Teal'c, "and if I remember correctly, we spent that year's occasion in this very room watching DVD's."
"You celebrated by watching DVD's?!" Cam asked in disbelief. "Four years of the Stargate program, and you sit down and watch a movie?"
"Well Sam was still recuperating from being taken over by that alien entity thing," Daniel waved his hand in the air in some defensive gesture, "Which meant Jack was in an odd mood-"
"Obviously-" Cam shut his mouth when Teal'c glared at him.
"Teal'c was in an even odder mood over this thing with Taneth-"
"Excuse me!" John looked over as Rodney shouted. "There are people here who are trying to follow this and have no idea who Taneth is!"
Daniel glanced at the faces around the room and pushed his glasses up his nose. "I'm sorry! Taneth was a Goa'uld who pretended to be a Tok'ra-"
"He killed someone I cared deeply about," Teal'c stated, cutting Daniel off and once again plunging the room into silence.
"Anyway...." Daniel tried to get everyone's attention back on him, instead of the simmering Jaffa in the corner. "On the fifth anniversary.... Hmmm... Teal'c?"
"I do not believe we celebrated on the fifth year."
"Why not?!" Vala's voice cut through the room and Daniel turned. He couldn't remember seeing her enter the room, and it was doubtful that she would have kept quiet that long throughout the discussion. And yet she sat on the floor next to Teyla and Ronan, quietly playing with her hair. "It was the fifth year after all..." She added.
"Daniel Jackson was struck down with radiation poison and lay dying in the infirmary..." A few gasps were omitted but Teal'c kept his gaze on the female before him. "That is why we did not celebrate, Vala Mal Doran."
Daniel looked at his hands, refusing to meet anyone's gaze, especially Vala's. He heard her gulp all the same.
"So what happened in the sixth year?" Cam asked, trying to lighten the mood and keep the conversation going.
"Well, I was still ascended so..." Daniel turned to Teal'c.
"Jonas Quinn had joined us." The Jaffa stated. "I spent much of that year educating him in the ways of the Tauri."
"What about Sam and Jack?"
"Well in light of things, they were probably off doing some educating of their own... Ow!" Cam scowled at Vala, rubbing his arm where she'd hit him.
"Samantha would kick your butt!" Vala exclaimed. She placed her hands on her hips and tried to appear menacing.
"Come to think of it," Daniel rubbed at his chin with his hand, "They did keep asking me if I remembered anything from when I was ascended..."
"Hang on!" John cried out. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?!"
"What is he saying?"
All heads turned as the woman's voice echoed around the silent room. "Why do you all look guilty?" Sam asked. She moved from the entrance to the kitchen and placed more plates of food on the coffee table.
"We were just explaining what we did for each anniversary," Daniel stated, watching as Sam took a seat on the floor on the opposite side of the fire to Teyla.
"What year are you up to?"
"Six," Cam answered. "Teal'c was just explaining how you all taught Jonas the customs of Earth."
Everyone looked at everyone else in the room, before their eyes fell on Sam to gauge her reaction. "Ah yes," she cried, "We took him to O'Malley's..."
"Ah yes," Jack chimed. Everyone watched as he slid to the floor next to Sam. "We educated him in the fine cuisine of a nice big, juicy steak..."
"Were we not still banned from O'Malley's at that time?" Daniel asked, looking over at Sam.
She simply smiled at the mention of the memory. "I think they'd forgotten by that point."
"You got banned from O'Malley's?" Cam asked, voicing the question on everyone's lips.
"Uh, yeah..." Sam ducked her head before looking over at Daniel.
"Danny boy started a fight!" Everyone looked from Jack to the storyteller in glasses.
"That wasn't in the mission report," Cam suddenly stated.
"No, it wasn't," Jack agreed. He cleared his throat and decided to change the subject. "Next?"
"Well the following year was just you and me," Daniel replied, looking Jack in the eyes briefly before turning away. Everyone watched as both men stared at the bottles in their hands and remained silent.
"What happened in year seven?" Jennifer, who'd been silent throughout the whole discussion, suddenly spoke up. She'd been watching the interchange with a mixture of fascination and admiration. She'd heard the stories of SG1, listened as Rodney had mentioned a few things, but never heard any of them speak about their adventures so openly before. As commander, Samantha Carter had never said anything about her previous experiences, and Jennifer noticed that even now, she remained quiet.
"Doctor Frasier had recently passed away." Tealc's voice was the quietist that it had been all night. When Jennifer's gaze lifted from the Jaffa's and back to her former commander's she noticed Jack's hand rest on her knee and squeeze it lightly. "I believe you once told me, Daniel Jackson, that you both spent the night drinking under the stars."
Daniel and Jack both nodded solemnly and Sam's hand suddenly appeared on top of Jack's. No one from SG1 seemed to notice. In fact all seemed to be quietly contemplating some event that was obviously going unspoken. John noticed it too, by the expression on his face, and sent a silent plea to Jennifer to keep quiet.
"Is it not customary for people of your culture to grieve together?" Teyla asked gently.
"I was looking after Cassie," Sam stated, almost defensively. Her hand squeezed Jack's subconsciously and John could tell that she was lying.
"And I was away tending to the Jaffa Council," Teal'c added. The room went silent again after that.
"The following year was good!" Daniel suddenly chimed, the mood promptly rising as several heads began to nod.
"Ah, that was the best!" Jack agreed. He and Sam exchanged a sly grin and Daniel coughed deliberately, trying to divert their attention from each other. The action only served to encourage them further however, as Jack hooked his arm around Sam's shoulder and pulled her close.
As Teal'c agreed, Sam laughed and threw a peanut at Daniel and the several Atlantians watched as the Earth based team playfully squabbled over who threw what and why.
"That was just before I started, right?" Cam asked.
Sam nodded. "Yep! We went fishing..." A wistful look appeared on her face.
"See, how come we've never been fishing?" Vala suddenly asked. She put on her best pout, resting her head on her knees and glaring at the general until Cam nudged her.
"Hey, it was too cold last time," he said, "That's why we've always ended up playing cards." He watched as Vala huffed and sighed. Then, picking up a peanut that had landed by her feet, attempted to throw it at Jack. Luckily, Cam caught her arm mid air and placed it back down on her knee, patting it in a patronising way. "Now, now, remember what happened last time you did that?"
"What last time?" Upon hearing his sigh at her question, Sam looked up at the man wrapped around her.
"Last year," Cam said, answering for him. "When you were on Atlantis – the eleventh anniversary to be exact. Vala started a food fight-"
"I did not!"
"Yes you did, Vala," Daniel sighed, staring at the raven haired woman. "You stole Jack's cake, then threw it at him when he complained."
A giggle erupted from Sam and she covered her hand with her mouth as Jack frowned down at her. "It was not funny!"
"Oh, you can talk!" Vala cried back at Daniel, studiously ignoring the couple by the fire. "You threw up everywhere! All over Sam's flowers in the back garden and on my new shoes!"
"Now that," Jack said, "Was funny!"
Everyone else sat silent for a few minutes as Daniel and Vala exchanged insults. The occasional peanut was thrown again, prompting Cam to tie Vala's hands down and shrieks to start coming out of her mouth. Other conversations had started up again by this point; Sam and Jack continuing to laugh over the cake throwing incident; John having a discussion with Teyla and Teal'c over bizarre human behaviour; Rodney and Jennifer commenting on relationships at the SGC.
The only one who remained silent was Ronan. Until he coughed loudly to get everyone's attention. "What happened in year ten?"
A few looks were exchanged among the members of SG1. "Oh, that was the ten year ball held at the SGC." Daniel said, suddenly remembering.
"A ball? With dancing and suits and officials?"
"Yes," Daniel nodded.
"So... the biggest anniversary event over the whole history of the Stargate program, and you all remember every year apart from that one?"
A few more glances were thrown around the room, before everyone settled on Ronan. "Yes!" They all cried in unison.
"So..." Sometime later, John found himself alone with Sam in the kitchen. He watched as she pulled some more beers out of the fridge before turning round to meet his gaze. "You and General O'Neill..." A slow smile appeared on her lips, "When you were in Atlantis...."
The smile grew into a grin as John's question faded out. "I wanted to tell you..."
"But I didn't know you as well then, as I do now," Sam tilted her head slightly. "Besides," she added, "It was my first command – I didn't want people to view me differently."
"By differently, you mean gossip?"
Sam almost winced. "And that... It's no reflection on you, you know?" She stared into John's eyes, making sure he understood what she was trying to say, waiting for him to nod before breaking eye contact. "And I did invite you to our glorious party...."
John laughed and accepted the bottle that she held out to him.
A few hours had passed, and most of the guests were gathered in the living room. The majority were standing in small groups, drinking, eating, and in Rodney's case, inspecting Sam's bookshelves.
"I mean, look at this!" Rodney pulled a volume off the shelf and handed it to Jennifer. "She has books on the theory of relativity next to, next to... next to fly fishing?! What's that doing here?!"
"Rodney," Jennifer slowly drew out his name between her lips and patted his arm gently. "Something tells me that's not hers... In fact-"
"Ah there you are!" Rodney cried as Sam and Jack tried to filter back amongst the others in the room, unnoticed. "Look at this!" He cried, not noticing as everyone else had stopped talking and were suddenly staring in their direction.
"It's a book," Jack stated, staring at one of Sam's science books in the man's hand.
"Rodney?" She may not be his commander anymore, but that tone Sam used still managed to halt the scientist mid ramble. He looked at her apologetically but didn't say anything, instead swallowing a lump in his throat.
"I'll just put this back..."
Sam stifled a smile, exchanging a look with Jennifer, before having to turn away.
"You know, one thing I don't get," Rodney began. He'd placed the book back on its shelf and turned to face Sam and Jack. "We heard all these stories today of your wonderful Stargate anniversaries, and this one – the first one that we actually get invited to, and nothing exciting happens!"
"Well, I wouldn't say that exactly...." A slow smile formed on Jack's face.
"I mean not that this isn't fun an' all but-"
"Will you just shut up?! I said something exciting has happened!" Jack glanced around the room, checking that he had everyone's attention. Despite his somewhat frustrated outburst, a grin was plastered all over his face. He looked at the woman by his side, his eyes locking with hers, his brain somehow registering her equally full blown grin. "A few moments ago," Jack spoke, addressing the other guests yet his eyes clearly stayed glued to that of the blonde in front of him, "I asked Samantha Carter to marry me...." The room descended into silence and Jack could swear that everyone was holding their breath.
"And?" Someone called out from behind him, but Jack didn't dare move.
"And I said yes..." Sam answered for him, and for all of a split second the room remained still.
Vala was the first to react, shrieking and running over to the couple in a matter of moments. She pulled them both into a hug before pulling on Sam's hand and demanding to see the ring. A flurry of people and faces enveloped them next, hugging; patting them on the back, grinning and laughing.
Only Rodney remained routed to the spot. "Well, I guess I was wrong..." He said. But no one heard it.