Secrets

What was Sam's relationship with her father really like? Why did she and Mark really stop talking to him? Dark, AU.

"I see General Hammond's already doing the rounds," Sam said, spotting the man standing with someone whose back was turned to them.

"Oh yeah. He's a player. He knows how to work a room. Punch?" Jack offered, and Sam smiled.

"Yes Sir, thanks." Jack walked off to get the punch, and Hammond caught Sam's eye, waving her over.

"Dad!" she exclaimed, horrified. She hadn't spoken to him for fifteen years, what was he doing here?

"I invited Jake myself, Captain. I thought you might enjoy the surprise." Hammond explained with a smile.

Sam forced herself not to look revolted, after all, Hammond didn't know. Couldn't know. "Really, Sir. That's sweet."

"George and I served together back when the Air Force really was this country's first line of defence." Jacob explained.

Sam bit back the urge to vomit at the sound of his voice, the sight of him the memories. "It still is," she retorted stiffly, not willing to talk to him but not being able to stay silent.

""Of course it is. I was talking about when the Cold War was still, er... Anyway, when George told me you were up for the Air Medal for your work in... what the hell was that again? Um..."

It sickened her that he was acting like there was nothing wrong between them, like they still had casual conversations, like he'd done nothing wrong. "Analysis of deep space radar telemetry," she said stiffly.

"Right," Jacob was sceptical.

At that moment, Jack returned with the drinks. "Sam," he exclaimed, handing her hers. He studied her for a brief second, noticing her discomfort. "Are you alright?"

"Yes, Sir, thank you, Sir," she replied promptly.

"You look a little…"

Hammond cut him off. "Colonel Jack O'Neill, Jacob Carter."

"Carter? As in...?"

"As in, my father Sir, yes."

"Get outta town. Sam's Dad? I've heard nothing about you, Sir."

"What's there to say about an old general waiting to retire?" Jacob shrugged pleasantly.

Sam clenched her jaw resolutely shut.

Jack grinned, completely unaware of the history between Sam and her father. "I retired myself one time. Couldn't stay away."

Jacob was incredulous. "From your analysis of deep space radar telemetry."

Jack paused, "Well, it's just so damn fascinating," he covered.

"I'm sure it is. Otherwise you wouldn't be receiving the Air Medal."

"We have our moments." Jack said mildly. " Um, will you excuse me? We just don't get out of Cheyenne Mountain enough. I'm gonna grab some air. Outside. General, Captain, General, Waiter?" he left.

"I guess I'll go make the rounds," said Hammond, and Sam yelled desperately in her mind for something, someone to come and rescue her from being alone with him.

"Just between us, your cover stories could use a little polish." Jacob commented casually.

Sam suppressed the urge to either run as fast as she could in the other direction or pull out her firearm and shoot him. "I don't know what you're talking about, General Carter," she said instead.

"Look, I'll tolerate your being here, but I don't want to talk to you. Go find some old friends and chat, go hide in the bathroom, I don't care, but keep away from me, okay?" she didn't wait for an answer, and abruptly left.

"He's got great hands. He can really snap the jab. He was getting off all night, so he cut in with three good ones, then he feinted with his right, came in with a left hook and right cross and the guy was down! It was a great..." Hammond was animatedly telling a story to a bunch of officers.

Jack interrupted. "General, a moment please?"

"Excuse me," Hammond said, walking off with Jack.

"We've got a problem, Sir. We've sprung a leak. Apparently someone with knowledge of the program talked to a reporter."

"This reporter approached you?"

"Yes Sir," Jack affirmed.

Hammond nodded, worried. "And you said?"

"Denied everything. He didn't buy it."

Hammond nodded in approval of Jack's actions, worry still evident on his brow. "How much does he know?"

"Well, if he knows me - he knew how to find me here - a lot."

"Then you're right, we've got a problem."

"Yes, sir." Jack agreed. "Do you know where Carter is?"

"I saw her father following her into a room earlier. They're probably having it out," Hammond told him, even as they both walked toward the room in question. "Jake seems to think that she and her brother blame him for their mother's death, they hadn't spoken in fifteen years."

Jack raised an eyebrow, Teal'c style. "And you thought it would be a good idea to invite him?"

Hammond shrugged. "They're both adults. I figured they'd be able to work through it."

As they drew closer to the room, they could hear muffled yelling. "I said, don't touch me!" Sam's voice was almost hysterical.

Jack and Hammond exchanged a worried glance, quickening their pace, and almost about to fling open the door when they heard another voice. Jacob.

"Sam, please. I called in a few markers. I filled them in on your qualifications; you apply again, as an Air Force nominee, young lady, and I think you'll find NASA supportive."

Jack took his hand from the doorknob, and by unanimous decision, they decided to let the two finish their conversation.

"There's a waiting list a mile long." Sam informed her father, a note of visible panic still present in her voice which neither of the listening men could figure out.

"Not for you."

"You can't do that, General,"

"For God's sake, Sam, is it so hard to call me Dad?"

Sam's voice was dripping with sarcasm when she answered. "No, not at all. You were such a 'great' father."

"Sam," Jacob sighed. "You have to know I'm sorry. I wanted to make amends before I die."

"Which will be when, precisely?" Sam didn't seem to care much.

"I have cancer. Lymphoma. I've got maybe a couple of months."

Sam's response to this was not at all what Jack or Hammond expected. "Good riddance to bad rubbish. And when you're dead, I'll come spit on your grave."

Jacob's voice was tired. "Sam, please, I thought you'd be bigger than this. I thought you'd forgive me."

"Let me get this entirely straight." Sam said, her voice icy. "You're dying, and you've decided you don't want me on your conscience. So you come and offer me NASA, finally delivering on your promise from 21 years ago, but I don't want it. So you try and guilt me into forgiveness? Well, I've got new for you. Not. Going. To. Happen."

Jacob's tone changed, becoming condescending. "Oh, come on, it's not like you didn't like it."

Sam scoffed. "I don't have to listen to this, you make me sick. There is no way in this universe – or any other – that I enjoyed being raped. Not when I was eight, and certainly not when I was fourteen."

Jack's expression turned shocked and disgusted, and his hand returned to the doorknob, ready to go and rescue Carter. Hammond grabbed his arm, preventing him from going any further, and pulling him toward a different room. "Do you really think she would appreciate us knowing?" he asked him.

"Well, no," Jack reluctantly agreed, but mentally imagined crushing the man's throat with his bare hands for what he'd done to his 2IC. "I still want to kill him."

George nodded. "I was the one who invited him here," he said regretfully. "If I had known…"

They heard carter storming out of the room, and intercepted her. "We've got a problem," Jack informed her, carefully scrutinising her body language to make sure she would be fine.

"A leak," George confirmed. "Shall we just go in here for a moment to discuss it?"

Sam nodded, her face the expression of calm. If they had not overheard the conversation, they would never have even guessed there was anything wrong.

"Say he runs this story - how bad can it get?"

"Bad. The domestic repercussions alone - half the government would want to bury it, the other half would want a piece of it. After that the international fall-out when Russia and China find out we've been keeping it from them..."

TWO MONTHS LATER: Jacob's Funeral

Sam was standing stiffly at the graveside, her brother standing awkwardly at her side as they watched their father's body being lowered into the grave. Both of them knew that he didn't deserve the honour and praise that various colleagues were giving him. Both had both refused to give a eulogy, and instead the job was left to people who he'd served with.

After the ceremony had finished, they both stood there silently, unmoving.

"It's over." Sam said finally. "I thought… I thought I'd feel better. I thought I'd get some peace. But… I just don't feel anything."

Mark hung his head. "Sam, I'm so sorry," he began, but Sam silenced him.

"I know," she placed a hand on his arm.

Mark nodded in acceptance. He and Sam rarely spoke these days, even seeing Sam was a painful reminder to Mark that he'd failed as a brother to protect her. They hugged lightly and parted ways, Sam going to stand with SG-1, while Mark ushered his family away into a car.

"Are you okay, Sam?" Daniel asked. He and Teal'c were still unaware of what her father had done to her. Jack and Hammond had eventually come clean about what they'd overheard and she was slowly coming to terms with it.

She took a breath and nodded.

"C'mere," Jack said, and bundled her into his arms, where she felt safe and protected. Her father was gone, and she'd finally found her real family with SG-1.