Doctor Samantha O'Neill, previously Carter, always known of other Samanthas. Major Samantha Carter had been the first she had met, even though she had heard about another from Daniel.
Captain Daniel Jackson had come back thru the Quantum Mirror and insisted that he had just narrowly escaped the destruction of Earth. General O'Neill had given him a stern dressing down, and then sent the young Captain off for the same thing from his CO Colonel Hammond.
Of course it wasn't anything that Daniel hadn't heard before. He struggled with his devotion to the military and his focus on languages and history. The only reason he had hung on as long as he had was because of his work on the Stargate Program.
Samantha had done her own work on the program right from the beginning. Together, along with the influence of Catherine Langford, they had been the main force in opening the Stargate.
Catherine had rescued Daniel, who was on the verge of being drummed out of the military after a failed mission as a team leader. But his crazy theory, the one that had made him the laughing stock at most of his previous postings, saved his career.
It was that same crazy theory that had brought him into the life of Colonel George Hammond, who after the death of his wife had took on what was supposed to be a suicide mission.
Of course, Doctor Samantha Carter hadn't known that at the time, she had just been extremely upset, to say the least, about her exclusion from the mission, all because she was a civilian.
For the first time in her life, and her career with working for and with the military, Samantha had contemplated calling her father, Lieutenant General Jacob Carter, and seeing if he would use his influence to get her on the team that was about to journey to another planet.
When Daniel and Hammond returned, Samantha was glad that she hadn't been on the mission. She was even more excited when they reported that they had found humans on the planet they called Abydos.
The best part of the whole deal was when General West was relieved of his command. It seemed that a small fraction of the United States government had been responsible for convincing the President that the Stargate was a threat and they needed to send a bomb thru it to destroy any possible threat to Earth. They had repeatedly reassured him that there was no way there would be life on this new planet.
The fact they were wrong, was enough to tip the scale in favor of a man who had spearheaded the argument against sending the bomb.
The president had rewarded him by naming him as West's replacement.
Of course no one had told any of them this until after they had given him the cold shoulder from the moment he arrived at his posting to Cheyenne Mountain as the CO of the newly formed Stargate Command.
Doctor Samantha Carter, Doctor Catherine Langford, Captain Daniel Jackson, and Colonel George Hammond were at Hammond's house discussing the upcoming change in leadership.
None of them knew him personally.
In fact, they hadn't been able to find out much about him at all.
This left them with a large amount of uncertainty.
And considering three-fourths of this gathering was made up of people who were scientists of some kind, uncertainty did not go over well with them.
"What if he turns out to be worse than West?" Samantha questioned as they all dug into the pizzas.
Catherine looked at her in surprise. Usually Samantha was the one of the two of them that supported the military whereas Catherine was the doubter, especially after how hard she had had to work to get the program up and running.
"He can't be worse then West, can he?" Daniel asked, ever the doubter of the ineptitude of some members of the U.S. government.
Hammond groaned, which forced everyone to look at him.
"Every time someone says that, something bad happens," he explained.
Unable to help herself, Samantha chuckled.
How they managed to avoid shop talk for the rest of the evening, none of them remembered.
But they did.
Samantha personally believed that it had to do with the amount of alcohol they consumed.
But it was nice to be able to connect on a level that didn't involve work.
Especially when they met their rather… eccentric boss the next day.
His name was Brigadier General Jonathan O'Neill.
He was different to say the least.
He didn't like scientists.
"I don't like scientists," he flat out told them in his very first meeting.
The looks around the table were ones of pure shock.
Why would someone like this accept command of a place like the SGC, where science and the military needed to work together seamlessly?
"And I don't like women," the man next to the General, Colonel Ryan Samuels, West's original executive officer, said as he added his own two cents worth to O'Neill's comment, which only proceeded to anger more people, especially when the General failed to reprimand him for the comment immediately, something which Samantha took upon herself to fix.
"I don't like ignorant military men," Samantha spat out, "But that doesn't mean I go around telling everyone."
The temperature in the room dropped 20 degrees, and if it had been high school, she pretty sure everyone at the table would have been saying 'ooooohhhh', like Doctor Cater had laid down the gauntlet, and now Samuels was expected to respond.
The man eyed from his position next to O'Neill, trying to size her up.
"And you are?" Samuels asked, attempting to place one of the many scientists who had been working here for a while now.
"Doctor Samantha Carter," Samantha responded with confidence she didn't know she had.
Samuels' eyes lit up as he finally was able to place her face with a name that he had surely heard previously. "Ah yes, Doctor Carter. Well, I'm sure with your infinite experience with the military, you'd be the one I'd ask for an opinion of the military."
Samantha glared at him.
"Or about traveling through the Stargate," he added as he tossed out a file folder that was overflowing with papers to the middle of the table. "I believe it was Major Ferretti who equated traveling through the gate to a bombing run in an F-14 at 8 plus Gs, and I doubt you have the experience to comprehend that."
Samuels smiled in triumph, thinking he had bested the scientist.
Samantha worked hard to keep the smirk from her face. "I believe it was actually Major Kawalsky who wrote that about an F-16. And for your information sir, I have had that experience. It is a standard part of the physical test of astronaut applicants to NASA. It is quite an experience. Have you ever had the joy of doing that Colonel Samuels?"
Samuels was force to recover from shock rather quickly, but didn't get the chance to mount his own response as O'Neill redirected the meeting back to its original topic by clearing his throat.
Business had continued as usual for the next several months at the newly formed SGC.
General O'Neill spent most of his time in his office, only to emerge occasionally to eat, sleep, or attend briefings. And when he ate, it was strange things like cake or red Jell-O.
Samantha knew she had a strange preference for blue Jell-O at weird hours, but it appeared this particular General lived on desserts.
The first sign that General O'Neill wasn't going to be another West was when he joined her and Catherine for their first trip thru the gate to Abydos.
General O'Neill was a man who couldn't sit still, the evidence was the number of pens that were casualties of his restless hands. Briefly, Samantha wondered what Sergeant Walter Harriman did with all of the parts and pieces after briefings ended.
But when someone handed him a gun and took away his dress uniform, he became this still and silent soldier that kind of reminded Samantha of her father. Yet there was also this twinkle to his eyes and a slight smile on his lips as he stood before the gate, waiting for everyone to assemble in the gateroom.
"Excited about traveling to another planet?" Catherine braved asking the man that was as much a mystery to his subordinates today as he had been the day before he took the job.
"Yes!" Jonathan O'Neill exclaimed. "You wouldn't believe how boring paperwork can be."
From behind him, Samantha could see the surprise on Catherine's face that the General had bothered to answer her question.
"Then why did you take the job General, if you don't mind me asking," Catherine wondered aloud.
O'Neill grimaced. "Anything is better then D.C. and when the President 'asks' you to do something, you can't really turn him down," he pointed out.
Further conversation was prevented by the dialing of the Stargate and its eventual activation.
Soldiers preceded them thru the gate, securing things on the other side before radioing back the 'all clear', meaning that the two scientists and General could follow them through.
The General gestured for the two women to go first and Catherine stepped to the event horizon and then though it without a second glance, like she had been doing it all her life.
Samantha was the one who took the opportunity to stand there and admire it. Even though she had seen the gate activate before, this was the first time she had gotten close enough to study it.
General West had refused to let her any closer than the control room when the gate was active, and while the gate had been opened several times since Hammond and Daniel's return, Samantha hadn't been willing to tip the metaphorical pot by asking General O'Neill for permission to study it.
"You can see the fluctuations in even horizon," Samantha said in amazement.
General Jonathan O'Neill grunted, and then gave his foremost expert on the Stargate a shove which sent her stumbling into the wormhole. He looked back at the control room, gave a casual wave, and stepped through the event horizon under his own power.
Samantha couldn't do more then glare at him when he arrived, not because she didn't want to, but because a group of natives were there to greet them. There was no way she was going to let him get away with it, but she also no way she would undermine his authority by calling him out in front of their hosts.
She might not be military, but her parents had taught her some manners, contrary to what her brother had claimed in their childhood years, and her father was a General. She wasn't a 'military brat' for nothing.
She was surprised to see the General glance at her past the forms of their hosts, and attempt to look the part of an innocent child in the process.
It was in that moment that his whole body seemed to lose twenty years, and she realized how young he actually was.
Especially for a Brigadier General.
In fact, if Samantha had to guess, in that instant she would have said that he was younger then Colonel Hammond. After her initial meeting and those that followed, she would have put the man in his mid-fifties, but after that glimpse of him, Samantha was forced to reevaluate everything she knew.
His hair was brown, not a speck of gray was showing, unlike Hammond who was going to be bald before his first grandson was born, he liked to joke. Of course, he had three granddaughters already. So the Colonel was quite possibly older than the General. It didn't happen often, but Samantha was starting to think that it was quite possible that O'Neill was only in his early 40s.
'Makes him a little more than 8 years older than me,' Samantha figured, only momentarily thinking about why the age difference between the two of them was so important before she turned her focus to the people who had come to greet them.
The first thing she noticed was the lack of women. The whole bunch was male and they were jabbering away with Daniel in some language that only he could speak.
"Captain," O'Neill called, interrupting the conversation.
"Sorry sir," Daniel answered, breaking off his conversation.
There was silence for a few seconds, as no one was quite sure what to say.
"Well, what are they saying?" O'Neill finally asked.
"Oh. Um, there's a sandstorm outside, so we're stuck here for a while until it passes sir," Daniel explained.
"Ah. Carry on then," O'Neill ordered. He walked off to take a look around while Samantha and Catherine settled down to study the device that was connected to the Stargate.
It was late that night, sitting around the campfire when Samantha got her next peak into the puzzle that was General O'Neill.
All day, he had been shadowed by a boy of not more than twelve named Skaara. While the General had kept a distance from his subordinates over the last month, this boy had wormed his way into the General's good graces- all in the course of a few hours.
Skaara had proven to be a fast learner and he spoke basic English, a language he had never heard six weeks ago. As the son of the village leader, he was also the leader of the local children. The fact that Skaara liked the General and the General seemed to return his interest, only helped the people of Earth as they began trade negotiations, using Captain Jackson as the intermediary and translator. While everyone else had spent the day sitting and negotiating, General O'Neill had had introduced the local kids to an intergalactic version of soccer.
Samantha had disappeared for almost an hour, and had sat in the shade, watching as the kids ran circles around the man. It was cute watching five to fifteen year old boys and girls try and steal the soccer ball from him.
Momentarily, Samantha wondered where the soccer ball had even come from, and then she realized that it must have been one of those items in the General's overstuffed pack.
First chance she got, she would have to question the General on how a soccer ball could be considered an 'element essential to survival', as the General had repeated multiple times during their pre-mission 'First time off-world' briefing.
Still though, it seemed that soccer was the perfect activity for tiring out young children, because no matter how hard he tried, Skaara was barely able to keep his eyes open.
"You should go to bed," Jack told the boy, nudging him with his elbow.
"No sleep. Skaara want to stay with you O'Neill," Skarra stuttered out.
The General smiled at him. "I'll still be here tomorrow," General Jonathan O'Neill promised the young boy.
"We will play more of your… soccer?" Skaara questioned, looking hopefully at the General.
"I promise," the man vowed. "If you go to bed like you're supposed to."
Skaara smiled, jumped to his feet, hugged the man, and ran off to bed.
"You know, I wish my girls had listened to me like that," Hammond claimed.
"Maybe you'll have better luck with the granddaughters," Catherine suggested.
"Ha. Grandfathers are supposed to spoil their grandkids," O'Neill declared.
"Do you have kids?" Captain Jackson asked, curious as to what kind of life this man had.
"Nope. Never even been married," the General admitted.
"A young thing like you, still single?" Catherine stated in disbelief.
"When you disappear for periods of time at the drop of a hat, women tend to not want to hang around and wait," he explained.
"I can relate," Samantha assured him. "I did my doctoral, and then set my sights on becoming an astronaut. Neither of those is very conducive to a relationship unless I wanted to date a nerdy guy with horn-rimmed glasses."
The General attempted to hide his snort of amusement, but no one else even bothered to hide their laughter.
"Surely they weren't all that bad," Catherine questioned, thinking of her own days of working on her doctorate.
Samantha starred her down. "The ones with decent personalities were nerdy and the ones that saw me as nothing more than a woman, well let's just say that they left me alone the first time one of them took a knee to the groin."
"You didn't?" O'Neill couldn't stop himself from asking.
"Of course I did. I wasn't going to just let them walk all over me."
"Remind me never to get on your bad side," the General spoke aloud, and the other two men nodded their head in silent agreement.
Catherine's yawn signaled her turn for bed.
It didn't take long for the people around the fire to find their way to their own tents, leaving just Samantha and Jonathan who had somehow drawn first watch together.
Months later Samantha would wonder if someone had done that intentionally, having noticed the subtle attraction between the pair, but at the original moment, she wondered if it was because she was the most likely candidate for being capable of dragging information out of him.
"So," Samantha began, trying to break the silence.
"Yes?" Jonathan asked.
"I was wondering when soccer balls became part of the list of gear that was 'essential for survival' General?" Samantha questioned and then held her breath, waiting to see if the man would take her words for the joke they were intended to be, or if he would turn stony cold.
The General chuckled. "Caught me, did you? Should have known I couldn't sneak anything past you Sam."
"Yeah, you know, short for Samantha?"
Samantha repeated the name a few times in her head, trying it out. "I don't think so… Jon."
The General physically flinched. "You sure? I always pictured you as the tomboyish type…"
Samantha smiled in what she knew had to be a slightly evil manner. "Ask Daniel, sorry Captain Jackson about what I wear when we're not on duty some time," she suggested. Truthfully, Daniel hadn't seen her in anything more revealing than a low cut tank top she had worn with her leather pants one night to a bar, but something told her that this man would never get up the nerve to ask his subordinate about it.
For a split second Samantha thought she saw a flash of jealousy cross the General's face, but it was quickly replaced by something that was close to the leer that she had seen on so many of those geeky scientists she had worked with before. But for some reason, it didn't set her running in the other direction like it had years ago.
"Maybe sometime we'll have to go out so you can prove me wrong," the man suggested after a brief period of silence.
"Maybe," Samantha responded before she even realized what she had said.
Which of course gave him a reason to stop by her house a week later- unannounced.
Not that Samantha would have normally minded, as in the last week she had gone from being convinced the General was another West incarnate, to believe that he might actually be a decent guy, especially after he had dressed Samuels down in front of the whole senior staff at the SGC.
Then there was this whole thing where Samantha thought she might be slightly attracted to the man, but that was not something she could permit herself to even think about.
He was her boss.
That was it.
End of story.
Yeah, so the denial wasn't working on her, but she was pretty sure everyone else believed it.
Anyways, someone rang the bell at her front door, which sent Samantha scurrying to put on her last high heel and scrambling to find her purse before the guy at the door got too impatient and started trying to play a song using the doorbell as his only instrument. He was about three beats into the song when she swung the door open. "You're earl-"
A whistle cut through the air. "Guess you weren't lying about the whole dressing up thing, were you Carter?" General O'Neill asked.
Seeing the look of shock on her face, he continued.
"But something tells me that you weren't sitting around the house all dressed up, waiting for me to drop by," he guessed.
"No, I have a… date," Samantha confessed. It wasn't really a date, but then again she kind of wanted to keep her private life separate from her work life before she informed the General of this particular piece of information.
"A date, is that what you're calling it now Sammie?" A voice asked from behind the General, causing Samantha to cringe twice over.
But what happened next was totally unexpected.
"How do you know Samantha?"
"You mean Sammie? She's my daughter," Lieutenant General Jacob Carter responded.
"Your daughter?" General O'Neill repeated, turning to look at the woman he had only known as Doctor Samantha Carter before this moment, but now realized he knew quite a bit more about her if she was the 'Sammie' that her father often talked about.
The same thing was happening for Samantha. She had heard from her mother over the past year about a 'Jack' that her father was constantly signing the praises of, and had even, grudgingly, admitted that he seemed to be a nice man from the several times they had met at official functions.
"And you know," hand gestures were involved in this grand question.
"I should let the two of you get going where ever it was that the two of you were headed…" Jack said. "We should get together some time while you're out here though Jake…," he suggested hesitantly.
Jacob Carter looked between his daughter and the man that had grown close enough to him that he was almost a son. "We probably should. I'll give you a call."
The younger General nodded on his way past. The two Carters remained silent until his truck was out of sight.
"So, should I tell your mom to get a part-time job to pay for the wedding, or is it going to be a small thing?" Jacob asked his daughter with a huge smirk on his face.
"Dad!" Samantha blushed crimson and began vehemently denying her father's accusation.
She spent the rest of the weekend dragging snippets of information about Jack O'Neill out of her father, only to be left speechless at her father's parting words.
"You could do a lot worse than Jack O'Neill honey, a whole lot worse," Lieutenant General Jacob Carter advised his daughter before he gave her one last kiss on her cheek, put on his cover, and left her standing on the front porch watching him leave.
Within a week, the atmosphere at the SGC did a complete 180 with respect to the way that they treated their General, at least for those who had hated West. With a few quiet words to the right people, namely Daniel, George, and Catherine, they had been able to make reassurances that their new CO was a good man, worthy of the trust and respect of everyone on the base.
Eight days after Jacob Carter left to return to D.C., Jack O'Neill wandered into Samantha's lab. He slouched on a stool, looking rather relaxed and comfortable in the BDUs he had started wearing daily on base ever since his first trip off-world.
"Thank you," he began.
Samantha tried to look like she had no clue what he was talking about, but knew that she was failing miserably. "Oh?"
"I can't prove it, but I'd bet my next paycheck on the fact you had something to do with the reason why most of the base has started to actually think I'm not going to send them all on a suicide mission the next chance I get," Jack explained.
"Wasn't me," Samantha denied, probably a little too quickly.
"If you say so," he offered, picking up some tool she had laying on her lab table.
"I do," Samantha responded, blushing at the double meaning of those words, especially given her father's comment. She hesitated briefly before continuing. "But maybe you should stop by my house tonight, say 1900? I have this thing about hanging around my house all dressed up with no where to go… and you know, it is kind of my fault that everyone gave you the cold shoulder when you first got here…"
"Are you asking me out on a date Doctor Carter?" Jack asked.
"Call it a way of making up for my lack of thoughtfulness," Samantha suggested with a small smile.
Jack stood up. "1900 you said?" he confirmed.
"I think I might be able to fit that in."
Their first date turned into two which turned into three, which turned into quite a few more, up until the point where Jack walked Samantha to the door of her house.
She unlocked the door and then hesitated. "Come in?" she asked, obviously worried about how he would respond.
"Carter," Jack said in his warning tone.
"Jonathan," Samantha returned, desperately trying to break him of his recently developed habit of calling her by her last name. She had a firm belief that if everything went well, she wouldn't be a 'Carter' a year from now.
Unless Jack had his heart set on a big wedding, that is.
"You know if I walk through that door," he gestured with his hand, "I won't be drinking any coffee unless it's for breakfast tomorrow morning."
"I know," she assured him, offering a smile that showed just how relieved she was that he had gotten her point. It wasn't like she had a lot of experience doing this.
"Samantha," he began after a long pause. "As much as I would love to come in, I think we both know what would happen. And even in the little time I've spent with your mother, I know that she would seriously disapprove. I respect your parents way too much to sneak around with their only daughter. Not to mention that your father would probably shoot me if he found out, and then use that sargenofigus to bring me back to life so your mom could have her turn!"
Samantha couldn't stop herself from giggling even at the realization that her offer had been turned down. "I understand," she admitted, slightly relieved at his insistence they wait.
Jack returned her smile and gave her a parting kiss. Samantha stood on her front porch for a long time after Jack's taillights were out of view.
Their, well really Jack's, decision to wait turned out to be a good one down the road.
But they had other obstacles to face before they got to that point. They had their first of many arguments, yet somehow they always managed to come out better on the other side because of them.
They learned a lot about each other too. Samantha finally felt comfortable wearing something 'tomboyish' around Jack. It seemed that he didn't really like dressing up all the time either.
Jack's truck was in the shop, so Samantha had offered to pick him up. They were going to the movies, so Samantha had dressed in something slightly more casual- jeans.
Jack opened the door and sighed in relief. "Thank God!"
"I was running out of dress shirts to wear… Sam," Jack explained, once more using the shortened version of her name, something that only he did, and she rarely let him get away with.
Samantha sighed. "You realize that I don't like that name, right?"
Jack smiled smugly. "I know." He leaned over and tugged her through the door, giving her a kiss in an attempt to make her forget what they had been talking about.
After they parted, Samantha looked at him. "You know that won't work forever," she claimed.
Jack smirked. "Then I have to take advantage of it as long as I can," he responded.
"It fits you, you know? Samantha makes you sound like a delicate flower. Sam is a tough woman's name."
"Are you saying I'm not enough of a woman for you or I'm too much of a woman for you?" Samantha questioned giving Jack 'the stare'.
"Ummm… Is there a right answer to that question?" Jack asked, smart enough to know that that was a question he shouldn't answer.
Samantha turned her stare into a glare.
"Would now be a good time to tell you that I love you?" Jack asked, trying to get out of the hole he had dug himself.
Samantha's glare quickly became a look of shock. "You love me?" she repeated.
Jack shrugged, quite out of his element on this one. The only other woman he had said that to had laughed at him, kissed him, and eventually walked out of his life. But Jack pushed that belief from his mind. Samantha wasn't her. Jack cleared his throat. "I do. Love you that is."
Samantha continued to look at him in utter disbelief. "You love me?" she repeated again.
"Yes," Jack said, simplifying his earlier response. "I love you, Doctor Samantha Carter."
Samantha's shock turned to confusion and then finally to this look of dreaminess.
"Is that okay?" Jack asked after a period of silence passed.
"Is it okay that I love you?" Jack repeated.
Samantha gave him a full blown smile as her answer. "It's perfectly fine," she assured him, also offering a kiss for an additional reassurance.
It didn't pass Jack's notice that Samantha didn't return his sentiment, but he knew that Sam's experience with serious relationships was limited to the one she was currently in. She didn't know what to expect or what she was supposed to do in a relationship. Talking wasn't something that Jack did easily or very well, but with Samantha it was something he forced himself to do.
Samantha deserved nothing less than his best. Not to say that he was the expert in relationships, because he had had nothing more than a few dates with the occasional girl and one long term relationship that had ended rather abruptly- and badly. He wasn't going to let the same thing happen with Samantha.
Still, he felt like he was going to be holding his breath until she returned his earlier sentiment, but he also knew that he couldn't force the issue.
After a night spent watching movies from Jack's couch, he walked Samantha to her car. He opened the door to her car for her, trying to be the gentleman. Samantha smiled gratefully at him.
"Goodnight Samantha," he said giving her his own smile.
Samantha didn't get right into her car, instead leaning in to give Jack one last kiss. "I love you," she blurted out before trying to duck her head. Jack wouldn't let her though. When they finally separated, they both happily went home with huge grins on their faces.
Saying 'I love you' was only the first of the many things that happened in their relationship.
There was also the adventure of meeting the parents. Jack's parents had been dead for several years, but Samantha's parents were very much alive, and were clamoring to have her come to Washington D.C. for Christmas. Her mom had been the one to suggest that she bring Jack along, and Samantha speculated it was because she wanted the opportunity to gather more information on the man.
Surprisingly, Jack had been more than willing to take the trip.
One of Jacob's meetings ran late, so Jacob sent one of his aides to collect them from their rather uncomfortable Air Force flight, but considering the limo that they rode to pick him up in, neither of them could really complain.
"I forgot how many perks there are to being a General in Washington," Jack confessed in a whisper to Samantha as they settled on the plush leather seats of the limo.
"Do you miss it?" Samantha asked, concerned that he might miss it and actually be contemplating moving back to Washington.
"Heck no! Give me the SGC any day over this."
Samantha giggled and within minutes they had picked up Jacob and were on the way to the Carter's Alexandria home. Jacob indulged himself by teasing both his daughter and the other General on their newfound relationship.
Truthfully, he had always liked Jack, but he knew the real opinion in the matter of Sammie's boyfriend would belong to his wife. She had always been the protective parent, especially of their daughter. Both of their children had expressed an interest in joining the Air Force, but Molly had convinced Samantha that MIT would be a better choice for her future career path.
He had to admit that Molly had been right, but he wasn't going to tell her that! If she hadn't decided to pursue a research based career, Jacob was confident that his daughter would be in space by now. But he also knew that whatever she was currently assigned to was important, and had to be safer than going into space.
He knew Jack was overseeing the project, and that he was in constant communication with the President. Nothing said important like a direct line to the Commander in Chief. Jack had also garnered a personal invitation to the President's Christmas gala. Invitations were easy to get, but a personal invite from the President was not.
It made Jacob curious as to exactly what was going on in that mountain. Not curious enough to start pulling strings to find out, but curious nonetheless.
When they pulled up to the Carter's Alexandria home, Molly Carter beat the driver around the car, and flung open the door herself. Jack slid out of the car and offered a hand to Sam, who was quickly wrapped up in a hug from her mom.
"I'm so glad you're here," Molly Carter cried, wrapping her arms around her daughter, and rocking her from side to side. She had always been very close to her daughter, and ever since Samantha had finished school, she had lived and worked in D.C. except for the short length of time she had spent trying to get into NASA. Samantha's decision to move to Colorado Springs and continue working on the project that had become her life had been hardest on Molly.
Mother and daughter spoke by phone several times a week and traded e-mails daily. It didn't mean that they didn't miss each other though.
Jacob cleared his throat. "Aren't you going to greet our other guest?" he asked.
"Let them be Jake. I'm sure between the two of us, we can get the luggage in," Jack suggested as Jacob's driver unloaded three bags from the trunk of the car.
Jacob grunted. He had no doubt which of the suitcases belonged to his daughter. Family vacations with Sammie and Molly had always been an adventure. So many clothes, so little room. Jack hefted what Jacob figured to be his own suitcase and the larger of Sammie's. The two women disappeared, chattering up a storm as the men followed carrying the suitcases.
"Where to?" Jack asked once they made it through the front door.
"Upstairs. Sammie will stay in her old room. I'm guessing Molly will want you in the guest room…"
Jack grunted. They dropped Jack's suitcase off first, in a room that Jacob casually mentioned was right next to Mark's, who would be arriving the following day with his wife.
"Just come right out and say what you want to say Jacob," Jack suggested.
"I don't know, and I don't think I want to know what the two of you do at home. Just be aware that Molly still thinks Sammie is an innocent little girl. It would make your stay go a lot smoother if Molly could continue to believe that. Be nothing short of the perfect gentleman you've been previously in her presence, and you'll walk out of this visit as her new favorite person," Jacob advised.
"You have nothing to worry about Jacob," Jack assured the man. "Sam is my girlfriend nothing more."
Jacob eyed Jack, obviously not believing him, but something in Jack's face must have convinced him that he spoke the truth. "Okay. C'mon, let me show you Sammie's room. You're gonna love this one!"
Jack set down Sam's bag and had agree, this was a great room… if you were a fifteen year old girl! There were pictures of once popular bands on the walls, an ancient computer on a lab counter, and a whole bookcase full of textbooks with multi-syllable names. It was a time capsule of the last fifteen years of Sam's life.
Jack became so caught up in his examination of the room, that he never noticed Sam enter the room.
"Find out anything interesting?" Samantha asked, causing Jack to jump.
Jack turned and smiled at her. "You had a thing for horrible music and were probably smarter than I am now at age eighteen."
Samantha could stop herself from giggling, a sound that she knew Jack loved to hear. "Come on, Mom has dinner ready," she said.
Jack easily slipped his hand in Sam's and they went to eat dinner.
By the end of the evening, Jack felt like he had faced less grueling interrogations at the hands of trained interrogators. He was actually more then happy to volunteer for dish duty with Sam so he could escape. They dishes were cleaned far faster then Jack wanted, but got a kiss for his work so far.
"Mom will let up soon," Samantha assured him, accurately interpreting Jack's sudden desire to help with the dishes.
"Am I that obvious?"
Samantha patted him on the shoulder. "Only to someone who knows me as well as you do," she assured him.
The rest of the evening was spent enduring more questions, that Sam later reassured Jack he was doing fine at answering. The next morning, Jack knew he needed to seize the opportunity Sam was granting him by leaving the house to meet up with some old work friends from the Pentagon. But that still didn't mean that he wanted to be left alone with Jacob and Molly Carter.
It didn't even take Molly five minutes to corner Jack in the living room.
"So where do you really intend for your relationship with my daughter to go?"
Jack opened his mouth to speak, only to have Molly cut him off.
"And don't give me that lame answer you tried last night. I'm smarter than that," Molly added.
Jack worked hard to contain his grin. "I want your permission to ask Sam to marry me," he stated.
"JACOB!" Molly bellowed, causing Jack to flinch.
Jacob walked into the room like he was an Airman on report, raising his eyebrows and looking at Jack, silently asking 'What did you do now?'
"Yes Molly?" Jacob asked patiently.
"He- he- he- wants to ask Samantha to marry him!" Molly stuttered out at a level that was well above a regular talking tone.
"And?" Jacob questioned.
"Talk some sense into him!" Molly directed flaring her arms about. "Tell him he can't! Do something!" she ordered.
Jacob looked at Jack.
Jack looked at Jacob.
"I think we need to talk Jack," Jacob finally said.
Jack cringed. Was it so bad that he hoped Jacob was going to just let him off the hook from this experience?
Silently Jack followed the older man out onto the back deck, after pulling on the requisite shoes and coats. Washington D.C. in December wasn't quite as cold as Colorado Springs, but it was still cold.
They stood at the railing, looking out at the backyard.
"I should probably say something," Jacob said after a while.
"Not that I know what to say. You're the first guy Sammie has ever brought home for me to meet. I wasn't around much when she was a teenager… so I'm a little lacking in experience," Jacob admitted. "Any ideas what I'm supposed to do?"
"I think you're supposed to threaten me, you know tell me if I ever hurt Sam you'll hunt me down and kill me, no one will ever find the body, that kind of thing," Jack informed him, quite surprised to find out that Jacob wasn't going to do the normal fatherly thing.
"That's kind of obvious Jack."
"Well didn't Mrs. Carter's father ever threaten you? Or can't you remember that far back?"
"Careful," Jacob warned, even as he ran a hand over his balding head. "I vaguely remember something about a shotgun the first time I took Molly out, but then again we started dating when we were 16. We were high school sweethearts; neither of us ever dated anyone else, and as soon as I had enough money, I bought a ring and asked her to marry me. The rest is history. Molly probably wants me to say something about how long the two of you have known each other or been dating," Jacob admitted.
"It's been what, seven, eight months?" Jacob asked.
Jack cleared his throat. "Known each other for eight, dating for six," Jack admitted.
"And in that short amount of time you know you want to marry Samantha and spend the rest of your life together?"
"How long did you know Sam's mom before you knew she was 'the one'?"
"Three months," Jacob admitted reluctantly. "It took me almost two years to even mention marriage though. You have talked about it right?"
"Of course," Jack answered a little too quickly. "A couple times," he amended at Jacob's disbelieving look, "In passing, probably in the vaguest terms possible," he finally admitted. "I love her though Jake."
"I sense a but coming."
"No but, just I can't lose her."
Silence reined again.
"Something tells me you're not telling me everything son. I'm not asking you to, but I've seen too many relationships go south because those involved didn't talk. Don't hurt my daughter by doing that or else I will come after you with that shotgun," Jacob warned.
Jack nodded, gracing Jacob with a rare smile. The examined the back yard further, before Jacob made a suggestion.
"You know, we probably shouldn't look all buddy buddy when we go in the house."
"Try to make Molly believe that I really read you the riot act would you? And please, whatever you do, don't ask Samantha in front of her," Jacob advised. "Ask her in private and then announce it in public, so Molly can't do anything but put on a happy face."
Jack smiled and followed his (hopefully) soon to be father-in-law into the house. That conversation hadn't gone anything like he had thought it would, not that he minded of course.
A day later found Jack and Jacob in their dress blues, waiting for Sam and Molly to emerge from their respective bedrooms.
"How long does it take to put on a dress?" Jack complained.
Jacob chuckled. "You've got years of this ahead of you. Get used to it."
Before Jack could smart back, two women began to descend the stairs. He hardly paid any attention to Molly because of how good Sam looked. Her dress was new, and it was a lighter blue then his uniform jacket. The dress hugged her in all the right places, and was long enough that it almost swept the floor.
Shyly, Samantha stood in front of Jack. "You look great Samantha!" He gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, ever aware of the watchful eyes on him and Sam.
"Shall we?" Jack asked, offering Sam his arm. Sam smiled, took the offered arm, and they followed her parents to the waiting car.
It didn't take long for Jack and Samantha to become separated at the party after they passed through the President's receiving line. Being a General and a former General in D.C., Jack had to make nice with way more people then he wanted to. She watched him make the rounds, forcing smiles, shaking hands, and generally playing nice with the various people one encountered at events like this.
She couldn't help but feel slightly miffed when Jack shared his first dance of the night with a pretty young red-haired woman rather then her. He even gave the young woman a genuine smile, something he hadn't done when talking to other people tonight. She sat at the table and waited for Jack to come find her.
But before he could make it, another good-looking man found his way over to her.
"Can I get you a drink?" he offered before pulling out a chair to sit down next to her.
"No thank you," Samantha refused politely.
"Are you here with someone?" The man asked, obviously trying to create conversation.
"Yes," Samantha said shortly, hoping the conversation would end there.
The man studied her further. "Forgive me for seeming forward, but you look very familiar. Have we met before?"
"I don't think so."
Before Samantha could come up with an excuse and politely excuse herself, Jack returned, with the red-head on his arm.
"You won't believe what kind of people you can run into around here!" Jack exclaimed as he pulled out a chair for the woman on his arm, before coming around to sit next to Samantha.
"I could say the same for you General," the man next to Samantha shot right back.
To her surprise, Jack actually chuckled. "I've missed having you around Paul. It'll be good to have you on my staff out in Colorado."
"Paul?" Samantha asked, his name finally clicking in her head. "Paul Davis?"
"That's right. So I'm guessing you do know me," Paul stated giving her a cocky grin.
"I've heard my dad talk about you. He claimed one of the best things he did was steal you away from Jack's staff when he left," Samantha explained.
"You're General Carter's daughter!" Paul exclaimed. "He has a picture of you on his desk, an older one, but that's where I've seen you before."
Samantha smiled, relieved that this wasn't some strange, unknown man, but rather someone that worked for Jack and her father.
"Paul is going to be our liaison between the base and D.C.," Jack explained for the benefit of everyone at the table.
"I can't wait to find out whatever it is that you guys do," Paul stated, the excitement showing in his voice.
"You aren't the only one Major," Jacob said as he approached the table with Molly at his side.
"You can ask as much as you want, but we won't tell you," Jack responded in a singsong voice.
Samantha wasn't quick enough to hide her giggle.
Later that night, as Samantha and Jack were dancing, she caught a red-haired woman and an Air Force officer dancing out of the corner of her eye. She internally sighed as she realized that she had nothing to worry about. Whoever that woman was (no one had ever bothered to officially introduce her before Paul had swept her off to another table), it was obvious that she had designs on a different man, one Major Paul Davis.
Briefly, she wondered if it was normal to feel such an 'ownership' over her boyfriend. Jack tightened his arms around her, and Samantha just smiled. Maybe she wasn't the only one experiencing the need to have some 'ownership' tonight.
The following day, Jack O'Neill met the final member of the Carter family, Major Mark Carter. Mark had no qualms giving Jack a stern talking to about what kind of man Jack was, and how he expected Jack to treat his sister.
Jack had stood by and listened, nodding in all the right places, and giving appropriate answers when they were required. Mark's 'talk' was much more of what Jack thought a father's talk to a future son-in-law should be, but he didn't tell Jacob that.
Christmas Eve arrived, and Jack seized the opportunity when it arose for him to sneak off with Samantha, ring box hidden away in the pocket of his jacket.
A light snow was falling, creating the picturesque setting for the holiday they would celebrate tomorrow.
The fact Jack was nervous was the first thing that Samantha picked up on. When Jack was calm, he was capable of sitting still for hours on end, given the appropriate distraction of course.
But right now Jack could not control his hands. His fingers tapped out a rhythm once they cleared the snow from the railing.
Suddenly Samantha was nervous. Had coming here been the right thing? Had her mom done something to push Jack away by convincing him that he wasn't good enough for her little girl? Maybe it was Mark. He wasn't easy to get along with either, especially when it came to protecting his little sister, though Samantha was pretty certain that he would be protecting his own little boy or girl here soon, is his wife got her way.
Which she would.
Samantha covered Jack's hand with her own, stilling the motion.
"Sorry," he whispered.
"What's wrong?" Samantha asked, trying hard not to let fear seep into her voice.
"Nothing," Jack said just a little too quickly.
"Nothing?" Sam repeated the disbelief evident in her voice.
"Nothing bad, well at least I don't think it's bad," Jack amended. "I mean I don't think you'll think it's bad. I actually hope that you'll think that it's good because I think it's good-"
"Jack, you're rambling," Sam cut him off, unable to hide the smile on her face. Usually she was the one that did all the rambling.
"I want you to marry me," Jack blurted out, and then shut his eyes in disbelief, opening them to find Sam staring at him, the surprise evident in her face. "That so wasn't how I wanted to ask," he quickly assured her.
"Ok-ay," Samantha said slowly, drawing the word out.
Jack rushed to pull the ring box from his pocket. "I mean, I wanted to tell you how much I love you, and how I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I had this grand speech all planned out and everything!" he protested.
Samantha tried really hard to hide her grin by covering her mouth, but she couldn't help herself and she started to giggle.
This whole thing was just so Jack.
It was just one of those things she loved about him.
He was never going to be all hearts and flowers, but he knew how to let his actions speak for him at times when he couldn't find the words.
And he always knew when he needed to just say 'I love you'.
Jack looked at her in shock as her case of the giggles turned into full blown laughter.
Sam watched as Jack bowed his head, the defeat evident in his body. Before Jack could get too disappointed, Sam latched onto his arm.
"Can I see the ring I'm going to be wearing for the rest of my life?"
Jack fumbled to get the ring box open.
Sam held out her hand expectantly, waiting for Jack to slip the ring on her finger.
Unfortunately, Jack had chosen to study other things besides his girlfriend slash soon to be fiancé.
Sam cleared her throat. "Do I have to put it on myself?" she asked, in as serious of a tone as she could muster, given how happy she was right now.
Jack finally looked up at her, his study of the porch railing being interrupted by Samantha's question. "What?"
Sam couldn't stop herself from grinning any longer and she gave Jack a mega watt smile. "Yes."
"You mean yes, like yes you'll marry me?" Jack clarified.
"Yes, I'll marry you," Sam repeated.
Jack's look of worry and fear quickly changed to a huge grin as he slipped the ring on her finger. He leaned down to kiss her, sealing their new commitment with a kiss. Movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention, and that was when he realized that they had an audience.
Mark, Jacob, and Molly Carter were all standing with their noses pressed up against the window that looked out on to the porch.
And the only Carter who was smiling was Samantha.
In that moment, Jack decided that as long she kept smiling, he could deal with anything.
Looking back on that moment, Jack realized that he should have remembered that belief in the months to come.
Samantha opened the door to her house and was surprised to find Jack standing there. He had disappeared three days ago without a word. Walter had assured her that he was fine, especially after Jack didn't return her phone calls.
He had bags under his eyes, evidence that he hadn't gotten much sleep in the past few days. That fact he couldn't look her in the eye should have been Samantha's first hint that something was wrong.
But it didn't. Even his words didn't tip her off.
"We need to talk."
Sam gestured him inside. Jack settled himself on the couch tentatively, almost like he didn't want to be there. He licked his lips a few times, and then said the last thing Sam ever expected.
"I need to ask for your ring back."
Doctor Samantha Carter gaped at him. Those words hadn't even been in the realm of possible things Jack might say. "What?"
"I need to ask for your ring back," Jack repeated, his voice emotionless.
Samantha felt as if someone had punched her, knocking all of the wind out of her.
"Please," Jack begged now.
"I just… there are some things that I… I just… I can't marry you."
"Can't or won't?" Samantha pushed.
"Can't. Won't. A little bit of both, I guess."
"I'll wait," Sam offered. "I'll wait as long as it takes for you to be ready."
Jack shook his head sorrowfully. "I can't ask you to do that."
"You're not asking me to, I'm offering."
Jack shook his head in the negative again and held out his hand, asking silently for his ring back.
Doctor Samantha Carter slipped the ring from her finger and dropped into Jack's hand without ever touching him.
Jack rose to his feet and headed towards the door. He paused in the doorway of the living room and gave Samantha one last look. "I never wanted to hurt you Sam, and in the coming days, no matter what you find out, please," he begged, "Please remember that."
The door shut softly behind him, and Jack disappeared into the night.
He left behind a confused woman who spent the rest of the evening crying her eyes out, wondering when, where, and how her relationship with Jack had gone wrong.
Even now, that time period in their relationship was one that was kind of hazy to Jack, probably due to his many sleepless nights, and the new person in his life.
And all of it was because of her. Jack had gotten several phone calls from her, begging him to come quick. He had ignored them until it was a doctor relaying the message, saying that she was asking for him, and that she was only holding on for him.
He had hoped on the next plane.
He remembered standing by her bed and listening as she made her dying plea for forgiveness and for a promise.
"I'm dying Jack. Cancer. I don't have much longer, and I need you to promise me something."
"Promise me that you'll take care of my son. Charles. I call him Charlie."
A million things ran through his mind.
"Your son," Sara explained. "I changed my mind Jack, but by the time I did, you were gone."
"Were you ever going to tell me?" Jack demanded, red hot anger running though him at the mere thought she had kept something like this from him, especially after how their last encounter had ended.
"I don't know. Probably. Maybe. I don't know."
This revelation brought silence to the room.
"Where is he?" Jack finally asked.
"My son," Jack grunted, his feelings starting to get the best of him. Having all of this dumped on him so suddenly was not doing good things for his mental state. He had just gotten engaged, and Sam had recently been talking about setting a date for the wedding sometime during the fall. There had even been a couple of joking questions from Jacob about when he could expect his first grandchild from the happy couple.
If only Jacob had known about this little aspect of Jack's life.
"With a friend. I wanted to talk to you before you met him. Will you take him?"
No matter how much Jack wanted to ask some question that would shove the whole situation back in Sara's face, he couldn't bear the thought of her changing her mind because of it.
"What do I need to sign?"
Sara's head dropped back against her pillow, her whole body relaxing for the first time since Jack had walked into the room.
Two days later, she had slipped away in her sleep. With all the paperwork signed, and arrangements made, Jack was left to return home to Colorado Springs with his son, by the end of the day Jack would have gone from an engaged bachelor to a single parent in less than three days.
All of it was worth it though when Sara's friend had placed the sleeping Charles Jonathan O'Neill in his father's arms for the first time. Nothing could compare to holding your child for the first time, even if he was two years old the first time it happened.
Charlie had woken up and looked at him with sleep filled brown eyes that matched his father's and Jack had known in that instant that he was going to have to make some changes in his life, that involved putting his son first, no matter how much those decisions were going to hurt him in the process, and someone else in the process.
He only hoped that Sam would understand his reasoning.
Jack didn't realize how much he had hurt Samantha until Jacob had showed up at his door, looking like he was ready to kill someone.
Jack had no more then gotten Charlie settled down for a nap, something which required more effort then he ever thought possible, when the doorbell rang. Not even checking to see who it was, Jack swung open the door.
Now Jacob Carter considered himself to be a reasonable man, much more so then his wife, which was the only reason why he refrained from greeting the other General with a punch. He figured it was just cold feet, and that Jack just needed someone to talk some sense into him.
Jacob was more then willing to do that task.
Except for the fact Jack looked horrible.
"Have you been drinking?" Jacob asked in an accusing tone, taking in the man's appearance.
"You looked horrible," Jacob added.
"The way Molly talked, you were the one who broke things off with Sammie," Jacob explained. "But I told Molly that there was no way you had done something like that. You loved Samantha and you had promised me that you would talk to her, so that I wasn't going to have to come after you with a shotgun. So do you want to tell me what happened, so that I can go home and tell Molly it was all some big misunderstanding?"
Jack's words were stopped by a cry from the back of the apartment. "Excuse me," he said and he left Jacob standing in the entranceway as Jack went to check on his son.
"Me want Mommy!" the little boy cried.
Jack picked Charlie up and cuddled him. "I know." Jack didn't know the words to use to comfort his son, so he just held him close.
He knew this whole transition had been rough on Charlie. Jack had moved Charlie across the country to a cold place filled with this white stuff that Jack had told him was snow. Charlie had never see snow before. Most of his toys and clothes would not arrived until this morning, so he was a bored little boy in unfamiliar surroundings, with a man who until a few days ago he had only seen in pictures, the same man who had never really spent much time with children up until Sara had unceremoniously dumped the boy in his lap a few days ago.
"Foo's vat?" Charlie asked, pointing over Jack's shoulder.
Jack swung around to see who it was, but the sinking feeling in his chest told him who it was already.
"I'm Jacob," Jacob said in obvious shock and awe at the young boy's mere existence. Looking at him, Jacob knew if he had to be related to Jack, just by how much he looked like him. "Who are you?" he asked, taking a step towards the boy.
"Charwee Jonafin O'Neill," Charlie said, quite proud of his name. He even turned in his father's arms so that he could see the man. He quickly found nothing of interest. "Can I go pway Daddy?"
Jack's body cringed at the word 'Daddy' even if his face didn't show it. He lowered his son to the ground and watched him totter off to find something to amuse himself with.
Jacob waited until 'Charwee' was out of ear shot before he glared at Jack. "I think you have some explaining to do. Now," he ordered.
Jack sighed and ran a hand through his messy hair. "It's a long story," he warned.
"I have all the time in the world," Jacob replied, not letting Jack get out of this one.
"Did I ever tell you how I ended up in D.C.?" Jack began by asking.
Jacob shook his head no.
"I had been dating this girl, Sara, off and on for a couple years, mostly while I wasn't out of the country on a black-ops mission. I thought it was more serious then she did, something that I didn't realize until I told her I had been offered a promotion to go with a position in D.C. I asked her if I should take it, and if so, would she come with me. She asked me if I wanted kids. I said yes. She told me she didn't and that I should take the position. I pushed a little bit and she finally told me that she was pregnant with my child and that she was going to have an abortion," Jack said as he looked up at Jacob suddenly.
"I begged her not to. Offered to take the child and disappear if she would carry it to term. Marry her. Quit the Air Force. Just about everything I could think of, and Sara wouldn't listen. I finally gave up and took the promotion and position in D.C."
Jacob nodded his head, the pieces of the puzzle beginning to fall into place. Jack had been pretty miserable when he had first arrived in D.C. It had taken some time for Jacob to work past his gruff exterior. "Then?" Jacob prompted.
"Then about a couple weeks ago Sara started calling and leaving messages. I blew them off until her doctor started calling and asking me to return her calls. I caught the next plane south where Sara told me I had a son. It seemed that she changed her mind about the abortion and then couldn't find me to tell me," Jack huffed. "The only reason she told me now was that she had cancer and she wanted me to take Charlie. I agreed. She died. Now I'm a single father of a two year old, who also happens to be a Brigadier General running an Air Force base. How am I supposed to do this alone Jacob?"
"First of all, you aren't alone," Jacob reminded him. "You have friends here who can help you. People like my daughter."
"She hates me right now."
"Well considering you dumped her, for lack of a better term, without any explanation, can you really blame her?"
"I can understand why you did it," Jacob stated. "But that doesn't mean I agree with your decision," Jacob cautioned. "Sammie loves kids, and that little boy," he gestured out towards the direction Charlie had gone, "Is too cute not to love."
"I didn't want to force an instant family on her."
"Did you ever think that she might want an instant family? Gosh darn it Jack! She loves you! I've spent the last couple days listening to her cry her eyes out to Molly over the phone. Samantha wants to know what she did that messed things up between the two of you and Molly wants to know why I ever trusted you! Care to enlighten me what you plan to do now?" Jacob barked.
"I don't know Jake," Jack admitted, shaking his head.
"Daddy? Why Facob yew at you?" a little voice interrupted their conversation.
"Because your daddy did something really dumb and hurt someone that he really loves in the process," Jack explained to his son who was studying the scene before him very carefully.
Jacob took two steps towards Charlie and opened his arms, offering to hold the boy. Charlie looked to his father, questioning if it would be okay. Jack smiled encouragingly and Charlie took two tiny steps forward until Jacob could reach down and pick him up. Charlie had no trouble finding Jacob's dog tags, an item which fascinated him when Jack held him too.
"Let me tell you what you're going to do," Jacob began. "Charlie and I are going to go find some ice cream."
"Ice Cweam!" Charlie echoed.
"You," Jacob said emphasizing his words as he looked at Jack, "Are going to go visit Samantha and explain everything. And I mean everything. You are not going to mention marriage, weddings, or anything related to it. What you are going to do is make sure that she understands that Charlie is the priority in your life right now. She'll understand."
"What if she doesn't?" Jack asked.
"She will," Jacob assured him. "Now get out of here," he ordered.
Jack paused to place a kiss on his son's head as he left the room. "Behave for Jacob," Jack instructed the boy as he gave him a little tickle under the chin which made him squirm and giggle.
"Now," Jacob said looking at his charge, "What kind of ice cream do you like?"
"Chocowate!" Charlie cried.
Two hours later, Jacob was remembering just how much work kids were. Jacob had raided Jack's freezer and there been just enough chocolate ice cream left to make two decent size helpings when one was for a small child and the other was for a grown man. Of course, Charlie had needed a bath after their snack, which had been another adventure that left Jacob soaked. He had finally gotten Charlie settled down for the night, after reading several stories, and promising that 'Gwampa Jacob' would be back to visit the next day.
He heard a key slide into the lock and the door open. Jack came in quietly, followed by Samantha. His daughter quickly got over her initial surprise at seeing him there. "He's in his bed," Jacob said, directing his comment towards Jack all while studying his daughter.
It was obvious she had been crying, evidenced by her red rimmed eyes, and that things between her and Jack weren't great because Jacob could feel the tension in the room. Jack disappeared to check on his son, leaving Samantha and Jacob to exchange greetings.
Jacob hugged his daughter who clung to him.
"I don't know what you said to him," Samantha said, her words muffled by the fact her face was pressed into her father's shirt. "But thank you."
"He told you everything?" Jacob asked as his daughter pulled away, allowing him to study her.
"Yes, I told her everything Jake, just like you told me to," Jack said as he walked into the room, a sleepy eyed Charlie in his arms.
"Aren't you supposed to be in bed?" Jacob asked pulling on Charlie's foot, which produced a small giggle from the boy as he continued to clutch his father and a love-worn stuffed puppy dog.
"I'm sure he just heard us talking and wanted to get in on all the action," Jacob suggested while Samantha studied the boy.
He was an obvious spitting image of his father. Big brown eyes, and light brown hair that wouldn't lie flat no matter how much someone tried to make it. And there was the fact he had Jack's smile.
Samantha Carter was already falling in love with this child and wanting to raise him as her own.
Well, her and Jack's of course, if Jack would let her.
Her attention was drawn back to the conversation going on without her when she heard her name mentioned.
"And this is Samantha, but you can call her Sam. She's a good friend of mine," Jack explained. "She's Jacob's daughter," he further stated, pointing at the man.
"Gwampa Jacob!" Charlie exclaimed, looking at his new favorite friend and holding out his arms, asking to be held by him.
Jacob smiled happily, holding out his arms to take the boy, and sparing only a glance at Jack who was clearly surprised at Jacob's new title, but didn't say anything.
Samantha looked at her father and mouthed the word 'Grandpa' to him.
Jacob just smiled as he cuddled his 'grandson'. To him, there was no doubt in his mind that Jack and Samantha would one day marry, and this boy would then truly be his grandson.
And if allowing Charlie to call him 'Grandpa' pushed things in that direction a little bit faster, well then Jacob wasn't against that either.
Molly Carter might not like it, but he figured a couple of nights on the couch would be worth it.
Any grandchild was well worth it, especially one as cute as Charlie O'Neill!
It was late before Jack managed to pry a sleeping Charlie out of Jacob's arms and send the Carters on their way. He was pleasantly surprised when Sam left him with a rather lengthy kiss on the lips, one that he wouldn't want his son to see! She also smoothed down Charlie's hair on her way past.
Jack slept better that night then he had in a long time, and the good mood he left the apartment in on Monday morning was negated by the cold shoulder treatment he received from his subordinates when he arrived at work.
Seemed that word had gotten around about him asking Samantha to return the ring, and effectively ending their engagement. He couldn't really blame the men and women under his command, but it really made for a tough start to his day.
Walter didn't arrive with Jack's normal first cup of coffee for the day.
Colonel Hammond, Ferretti, and Kawalsky didn't meet him in the mess for breakfast- and the cook informed him that the mess was out of cake and red Jell-O, but had the gull to offer him some of the blue stuff.
Jack was sensing a revolt by his people, and wondering if he should watch his back and check his food before eating, but tried putting it all down to coincidence until he didn't have a single interruption relating to anything but a requisition for better toilet paper at the SGC.
Yep, his people were silently showing their support of the project's lead scientist. He was kind of proud of them, but if this didn't stop soon, Jack was probably going to go insane.
Which was why he made his way to Sam's lab, intent on dragging her away for lunch. He was hoping that if people saw them together, he would no longer be on the receiving end of the silent treatment.
Especially when the newly arrived CMO Doctor Janet Fraiser reminded him that he was due for a full physical. He wondered how the new doctor had had time to already become friends with Sam; because he could have sworn that his last physical had been only been six months ago.
He paused just outside the door, and he was glad that he had when he heard what Sam was saying.
"Yes, I have a date tonight Daniel, is there something wrong with that?" Samantha asked.
"No… it's just that is seems like you're moving a little fast. Weren't you engaged just a few days ago?" Daniel pointed out.
"Yes, but I just met him, and he asked so nicely that I couldn't say no," Samantha explained, oblivious to her unseen audience.
Jack beat a quick retreat, having heard plenty of the conversation.
He ate alone in the mess hall and tried to ignore the various glares that were being cast in his direction. He finished up and went home as soon as he could; just hoping that Jacob had kept Charlie from tearing the apartment apart.
He knew that he needed to start looking for a house. Charlie was a boy in need of a big, fenced in back yard to play in come summer. Originally, Samantha and he had talked about moving into her house once they got married, but that had been before Charlie.
It was almost like he could divide his life into to segments now, with the first being before Charlie and the second being after Charlie.
And while there a lot of changes and things Jack needed to do yet, he already knew that he wouldn't change having his son in his life for anything in the world, even one Doctor Samantha Carter.
Charlie was worth that much to him.
The reception he got when he walked through the door reminded him of that. Charlie came running to the door as fast as his little legs would carry him calling for Daddy at the top of his lungs. Jack scooped the boy up in his arms and held him tight, kissing the top of his head.
Jacob followed at a much more sedate pace.
"How was he today?" Jack asked.
"He was just fine," Jacob assured him, smiling at the scene before him. He had always thought Jack would make a good father, and these past couple of days had only confirmed it for him.
"What did you today?" Jack asked, poking his son in the stomach as he did so.
"I haff a date daddy!" Charlie exclaimed.
"I think you're a little young for a date kiddo," Jack informed his son in a serious tone. "You have to be at least 15 before you even think about dating."
Jacob chuckled. "Is that what you're going to tell your daughter?"
Jack's eyes got real big. "A daughter? I don't have a daughter!"
Jacob smiled smugly. "Oh, but you will someday. Charlie will need at least a brother or a sister. I'm all for a whole football team of grandchildren to spoil."
"You would be," Samantha said from behind Jack, giving a wave to Charlie as she stepped through the doorway of Jack's apartment. "You don't have to carry them around for nine months and then give birth to them."
"I thought you had a date tonight," Jack said casually.
Samantha smiled happily. "I do. That is if his dad doesn't mind sharing him," she explained looking directly at Charlie.
Jack looked back and forth between Sam and Charlie, the pieces starting to fall into place, and he was starting to feel really stupid.
Sam hadn't been talking about dating a guy- but doing something with Charlie.
Jack smiled, suddenly convinced that everything was going to be okay.
It had taken some time for Jack to get everything settled where Charlie was concerned. He had found a babysitter slash nanny that was willing to come to his apartment and then his newly purchased house.
The house was just one of the many things that Sam had helped him purchase, but it was the one he was most grateful for her help with. Knowing that she approved of his choice of houses made him confident that when (not if) the time came for them to discuss and then decide to get married (again), that she would be okay with moving into his house.
Jack was probably most pleased by the fact Samantha had been the one to suggest that they only consider houses with 4 or more bedrooms plus an office. It made him believe that there was a good chance for at least one more child, if not more, given that they actually settled on a house with 6 bedrooms, an office, and large backyard deck. The house was much bigger then Jack had planned on buying, but the final selling point had been the rooftop viewing platform, perfect for stargazing.
The best part was Jack had to only do a little bit of work on the house to get it ready for Charlie, mostly installing some basic safety and security features that were necessary when there was a child around.
By the time Jack was ready to throw a party to celebrate Charlie's third birthday, he was ready to ask Samantha to marry him- again.
But first he had to win over a woman.
Molly Carter had never been an easy woman to please. She knew that. She had raised her children almost single handedly, with Jacob being gone so much. She had known that was going to happen the day she had agreed to marry him.
But she had never imagined that kind of life for either of her children, and now she was faced with history repeating itself not once, but twice.
Mark had entered the Air Force Academy with Jacob's blessing and Samantha had been poised to do the same, but Molly had made sure that hadn't happened. Samantha wouldn't know the life of the military, and off she had gone to MIT on a full scholarship.
Then Samantha had been ready to marry a military man and history was about to repeat itself. Molly had been willing to live with that, especially given the fact that Jack wasn't going to be gone as much as Jacob had when they married. Jack was a General and would be out of harm's way, and fully capable of being home on a regular basis.
Then there had come the revelation that Jack had a son from a previous relationship. If the man hadn't already asked for his ring back, Molly would have been up in arms demanding that Samantha returned it. Molly was old fashion like that, and she thought she had raised her children to be the same.
Yet her husband seemed to be going against this very logic. Jacob had welcomed this, this… boy like he was his own flesh and blood grandchild, of which he was about to actually have in six months.
And on top of that, he had gone so far as to encourage Jack and Samantha to get back together!
Sometimes, Molly wondered why she had ever married Jacob Carter, and this was one of those times.
After the initial revelation that Jack had a son, Molly had spent the next days, weeks, and then months listening to Jacob sign the praises of not only his new 'grandson', but of Jack. Jacob was even making increasingly frequent trips out to Colorado, and the trips weren't just to visit Samantha.
That was another thing that bothered her about Jack. He routinely shortened her beautiful name to 'Sam'. There was just something wrong with a man who did things like that.
Still, she tried to keep an open mind as an Airman drove her and Jacob to Jack's house.
They pulled to a stop in front of a large, really, really large house.
Molly watched as the front door of the house swung open and a small boy tumbled out the door and down the steps. Jack followed him.
She silently observed Jacob as he greeted the boy with a hug and Jack with a smile and handshake. Charlie was so intent on speaking with Jacob that he was oblivious to Molly's presence.
But Jack wasn't.
Jack greeted his future mother-in-law with a smile and a nod, keeping a watchful eye on his son, all while helping the poor Airman pull luggage out of the back of the car. He finally understood where Sam's packing style came from. There were four bags for a three day stay.
How could a woman possibly wear that many outfits in three days?
Jack was prepared for a cold greeting from Molly Carter.
But Molly's greeting wasn't just cold; it was like a frozen Siberian tundra blizzard.
Jack would keep a careful eye on her over the weekend, but would not allow her to prevent Sam, Charlie, or himself from having a good time this weekend.
After all, Charlie was only going to turn three once!
Any real possible greeting between Charlie and Molly was prevented by the arrival of Samantha. It had been Christmas time since Molly and Samantha had seen each other, making their reunion that much more powerful, and one Jack didn't want to interrupt.
If only Charlie had gotten that memo.
Charlie insisted on being put down so he could greet one of his new favorite people. He tugged at her jeans, clamming for attention. "Sawantha!"
Sam pulled away from her mom to pick up the little boy. "How's the birthday boy?" She asked, planting a kiss of her own on the boy's cheek.
"Me tree!" Charlie said quite proudly, holding up three fingers to reinforce the idea.
"Yes you are," Samantha agreed with a small chuckle. "Mom, have you met Charlie yet?"
"I'm afraid we haven't had a formal introduction yet," Molly admitted, getting her first up close and personal look at the little boy. He was cute, she would give his dad that, but he wasn't Sam's son.
And he wasn't her grandchild.
"Charlie," Samantha said, directing her words to the boy, "This is my mom, Molly. She is Jacob's wife."
"Gwandpa Jacob!" Charlie cried, waving his arms around.
"Can you say Molly?" Sam asked the boy.
"Mowie," Charlie repeated obediently.
"Close enough," Jack decided, hoping to intervene before things turned ugly.
"Can you say 'Grandma Molly'?" Jacob prompted the boy.
"I am NOT his grandmother," Molly said firmly, cutting off any response from Charlie.
Silence settled onto the group.
Jack broke it by clearing his throat. "How about we go in and pick up our toys Charlie? Give the Carters a chance to catch up a little bit?" he suggested, refusing to look at anyone except his son.
Samantha waited until Charlie and Jack were well out of earshot before she dug into her mother. "Did you have to say that Mom? He might not be my son by blood, but he will be by marriage."
"If you get married, that still won't make him my grandchild," Molly declared, emphasizing the word 'if'.
Sam decided to end the conversation there before she said something she would regret. She loved her mother, but there were some things that it was obvious they might never see eye to eye on.
"Sammie," Jacob tried calling out after his daughter, but he received no response.
So it was Jacob who was left to try and keep the peace with his wife.
"You know, Sammie could do a lot worse then Jack."
"Samantha," Molly stated, emphasizing her daughter's full name, "Could do a lot better too then an older Air Force General."
"She probably could," Jacob agreed. "But," taking his turn to emphasize a word, "Would another so-called 'better' man love her as much as Jack does? Probably not. Jack's a good man, and he's showing that he can be a great father. Sammie and him are already talking about having more kids."
"Samantha doesn't have any children," Molly corrected. "Jack has a son."
"A son that I'm pretty sure Sammie will think of as her own, if she doesn't already," Jacob informed his wife, quickly growing impatient with her attitude and lack of insight into their daughter's life and more specifically, her feelings.
"Why aren't you this excited about Mark and Kristy's baby?" Molly questioned.
"Mark and Kristy? You mean the Mark and Kristy that I talked to yesterday, the ones that we're going to visit right after we leave her? Did you know that Mark was thinking about requesting a transfer to Colorado Springs so he could be closer to his sister and her new family? Don't accuse me of not knowing what is going on in the lives of my children!" Jacob yelled, glaring at his wife in the process.
Molly gaped at her husband. He had actually yelled at her. The last time he had yelled at her had been over her helping Samantha decide to go to MIT instead of the Air Force Academy. Jacob just didn't yell at his family, at his subordinate yes, but not his family. She wasn't quite sure what to say in response.
Then Jacob did something totally unexpected. He left her.
"Come in when you're ready to act your age," Jacob told his wife and left her alone on the front yard.
Normally Jacob would have continued arguing with her until they were both blue in the face. It didn't make any sense that he had stopped now.
Jack caught glimpses of what was going on in the front yard as he watched Sam and Charlie interact. He had expected resistance from Mrs. Carter, but not this kind of attitude.
It was like she hated him.
And because she hated Jack, Charlie was also on her blacklist.
It wasn't until later that Jacob had the opportunity to pull Jack aside and apologize for his wife's behavior.
"I'm sorry for Molly's behavior Jack. For some reason I thought that she was better adjusted to the whole idea. I guess I was wrong," Jacob claimed.
"It's not your fault Jacob, any more then it would be mine if Sam had done something similar," Jack assured him.
Jacob smiled. "Sammie's not your wife," Jacob pointed out.
Jack got this look of shock on his face, like he was a deer caught in the headlights. He sputtered to come up with a response that wouldn't end in his untimely death.
Jacob's grin just grew, and he patted the young man on the shoulder affectionately. As he walked away, he wondered if all fathers had this much fun torturing their future son-in-law as he was having.
Maybe he would ask Jack or Mark one day.
On the other hand, maybe he wouldn't.
In the war of words between Molly Carter and pretty much everyone else, things finally came to head the day of Charlie's birthday party.
Things had been going rather well, the burgers and hot dogs had tasted good, the cake had been perfect, and Charlie had gotten more presents then he could every possibly use in a year, let alone between now and Christmas.
What caused the final battle in the war of words was when some unsuspecting soul told Molly that she had such a wonderful grandson.
Molly's response was almost textbook classic, and of course, loud enough for everyone on the deck in the backyard to hear.
"Charlie is not, nor will he ever be my grandson. His mother is not my daughter," Molly spat out, her voice full of scorn at the mere suggestion.
Jack drew himself up to his full height, and shrugged off Sam's hand which was attempting to pacify him. "We need to talk," he said abruptly pulling Molly from her seat and forcing her to walk in front of him into his house.
The house that would soon belong to Sam and him.
Jack walked her to the office, one of several rooms in the house that still needed some work. He closed the door behind him to make sure there would be no interruptions.
Jack chose his words carefully as he spoke with conviction to Molly. "I don't care that you don't like me. I can live with that. But there is nothing more important in my life then my son, and if you can not deal with the fact that he is that important to me, then you are no longer welcome in my home."
"You would cut me off from visiting Samantha here?" Molly questioned.
There was no right answer to this question in Molly's mind, of that Jack had no doubt. But there was only one right answer in Jack's mind.
"In this house? Yes. I can't and won't stop her from visiting you elsewhere, even in Colorado Springs, but until you can see Charlie as something more then my 'bastard' child, I'm not interested in seeing you and I don't want you anywhere near Charlie."
Jack turned to leave the room, but paused with his hand on the door and gave Molly one last thing to think about.
"I love your daughter Mrs. Carter, and there is no one I want to be the mother of my children more then her. The mother of all my children, including Charlie. I just hope that she doesn't have to chose between Charlie and I and you," Jack stated matter of factly.
Molly Carter was left alone with her thoughts for a long time before Jacob came to find her and take her to a hotel. It seemed that she wasn't welcome at Samantha's house either.
She spent a long night alone, with just her thoughts for comfort.
Jacob Carter returned to the O'Neill household after dropping his wife off at a hotel. Jacob already had plans for the evening which included spending some quality time with Charlie O'Neill while Jack took Sammie out for a real, live, grown-up date. And sometime during that date, Jack was going to ask Samantha to marry him.
Jack hadn't asked permission this time, rather choosing to simply inform Jacob of his intent. Jacob's only words of caution had been "Don't screw this up again Jack."
Jack had promised to do his best not to.
Four hours later, they were in Sam's backyard, lying on a blanket and staring up at the stars when Jack did his best to try and be romantic.
"I love you," he told her one hand in his pocket, fingering the ring box and turning it over and over again.
"I love you too," Samantha returned, scooting a little bit closer to him where her head rested on his arm.
Jack smiled. Hearing those words from Sam never ceased to fill him with emotion.
Using his skills perfected during his black-ops days, Jack carefully slid the jewelry box out of his pocket and placed it on Sam's stomach. Jack congratulated her on a successful completion of his mission when Sam didn't even notice the extra weight.
That is until she sat up and the box fell into her lap.
"What's this?" she asked, even as she realized how stupid of a question that was because there was only one piece of jewelry which came in a box like this one.
Jack shrugged his shoulders, all innocent. "I don't know," he claimed. "Maybe you should open it," he suggested.
Sam gave him a look which obviously said 'I don't believe a word, but I'm going to do as you asked until I come up with something better'. She opened the box, thinking she was prepared for what she would find.
Instead she was confused.
The box was empty.
"Gotcha." Jack looked quite smug, which only made Samantha wonder what he had up his sleeve. He sat up and pulled something else from his pocket. He held it out in the palm of his hand.
"Do you want this?" he asked.
"I don't want it-"
Samantha actually got this gleam in her eye. "I don't want it unless you're willing to fully commit to everything that goes with it. A weddings, kids, the whole 'For better and for worse' thing. No pushing me away when things get rough." She stared at him pointedly, questioning his resolve in relation to his proposal.
Moments like these were ones that made Jack realize how lucky he was to have a woman like this in his life, someone who knew him so well. "I can do that," he vowed. "Now will you marry me?" he asked.
Doctor Samantha Carter smiled with her answer. "I would like nothing more."
Jack stumbled through the door to his house an hour later, surprised to see that the lights were still on in the living room. He had fully expected Jacob to go to bed shortly after Charlie, because the boy would be up early the next morning, raring to go.
Instead, Jacob was waiting up to interrogate him not even three steps through the door.
"How did it go?" Jacob asked.
While there were many things Jack could respond with, he chose the simplest. "She said yes."
"Good." Jacob patted Jack on the shoulder before he turned and left. "Don't screw it up this time," he tossed over his shoulder.
Jack's vow that he would not was softly spoken, but somehow Jacob still heard it.
It turned out that winning Molly over might be something that Jack might never do, but it had reached that point where it didn't matter any longer.
As the wedding approached, they had reached some sort of unspoken agreement.
Molly and Charlie would be kept apart as much as possible, with the understanding that at times, Charlie was going to be around, no matter how much she didn't want anything to do with her non-grandson.
With the arrival of the wedding day, none of that had mattered.
Jack hadn't slept much the night before. Nerves were getting to him for the first time in his life. Despite repeated assurances, he still had this fear that Sam was going to smart up and realize that she shouldn't marry him.
When Charlie woke up, he became the perfect distraction that Jack needed. Getting him a bath, and then dressed in his suit and tie took quite a bit of effort, and Jack was momentarily glad that Sam had decided against tuxes. The tie was no more then on, and Charlie was pulling at it. A bow-tie would have been almost impossible to keep on the young boy.
Jack dressed quickly once Charlie was ready then prepared to receive the first of the wedding guests. The decision to hold the wedding in his backyard had been one of the few things that Molly had objected to, but like all the other objections she had raised, once Sam had stated that this was "What she wanted," Molly had quieted.
In private, Jack had questioned her choice, but Sam had continued to reassure him that she really did want nothing more then a quiet backyard wedding complete with a white dress and him in his dress blues.
And as Sam had wished, Jack had done.
Quiet meant small, and so only their closest friends and family had received invitations. The base personnel had received invitations for them and their families to attend a backyard BBQ over a month ago rather then an invitation to the actual wedding. It was a way to avoid some of the awkwardness of being invited to your CO's wedding, something that Jack could recall from his own days a freshly minted Lieutenant.
Besides, it was way more fun to have sack races with the Marines then to listen to them give toasts to him and his new wife.
Jack smiled at the word wife. Even today it still amazed him that he was married to someone as wonderful as Samantha Carter.
Their wedding had been wonderful, the actual ceremony a big blur, but wonderful nonetheless. There had been laughter, smiles, and even a few tears from both of Samantha's parents. Ferretti and Kawalsky had pulled off an excellent toast to the happy couple, and Charlie had even managed to behave most of the day, probably because of the repeated threats that he would not receive cake if he misbehaved.
He knew they had both spent most of the day looking forward to the time they would have alone that night, together as husband and wife, and their plans to make love for the first time.
Oh what a night that was!
Their actual honeymoon was going to be five glorious days in Hawaii but their plane didn't leave until noon the following day, so they would be spending the night in a plush hotel's honeymoon suite.
Sam had disappeared into the bathroom to shed her wedding dress, and had reemerged wearing something that Jack knew he should probably thank the good doctor Fraiser for picking out.
"You like?" Sam asked, quite nervous to be standing there in front of her husband wearing so little.
"Very much," Jack assured her as he stood before her in just a pair of boxers and a t-shirt, and gave her one of those smiles that said what he often didn't.
Much later, Samantha gave a contented sigh as she relaxed in Jack's embrace. She was almost asleep when she heard Jack whisper "I love you Samantha O'Neill."
The next morning, they just barely managed to make their plane as they recreated the previous night's performance, with just a few added twists, for prosperity sake.
It turned out to be a great start to their life as a married couple.
They fought, but then they made up.
They disagreed, frequently, about choices that Jack made at work, and those disagreements tended to follow them home more days then not.
But as long as they remembered they loved each other, things seemed to work out at the end of the day.
For the most part.
Like the time that Sam found herself in trouble with the two most important men in her life when her assistant mistakenly booked her for a week of work at Area 51 at the same time they were supposed to take their first family vacation to Jack's cabin in Minnesota.
Father and son forgave her after some fast talking on her part, and went on their own, enjoying some father and son bonding time. They managed to make it back in one piece, with only a few new bruises and scratches to show while Sam had some news of her own.
They were getting ready for bed, having finally gotten Charlie settled in for the night after he told her multiple stories of his adventures in "Innesoda".
"You were right," Jack finally said.
"That we would have fun without you and that we needed to spend some quality father son time. Nothing against you," he was quick to assure her, "But I think it needs to become an annual thing, not a week per se, but at least a weekend where it is just the two of us boys."
Sam looked at her husband out of the corner of her eye, preparing herself to drop the bomb.
"What will you do if the baby is a girl?" she asked, barely able to contain her grin.
"Hff. I suppose she could come along," Jack relented slowly. "She's have to promise not to whine about getting all dirty though."
Unable to contain herself any longer, Samantha stood looking at her husband, a huge grin lighting her face as he talked on.
"Personally, I'm hoping for a boy though. Boys are so much easier. I know what to do with a boy. You teach them how to fish and play baseball. What am I supposed to do with a girl?" he asked, turning to look at his wife who had remained strangely silent during his tirade, which was unusual because she usually cut him off and told him that a daughter would be much easier to look after. It was one of those arguments that they kept having for the pure fun of it.
They both knew that they didn't really care what sex baby they had, as long as the baby was a healthy one.
It was just fun to argue.
And then go to work on making their baby.
But the smile on Sam's face, and the fact she had been so happy to see them both that afternoon- muddy boots and all- made Jack wonder if maybe, just maybe she had a secret she wanted to share.
"Something you want to share with the class Mrs. O'Neill?" Jack asked. He would have been sitting on the edge of his seat waiting for her response if he had a chair to sit on at this point.
"Nope, just with you Mr. O'Neill," she responded, her grin growing impossibly larger. "What do you think about adding another member to our family?"
A slow grin spread across his face and that was the only answer Sam was going to get because suddenly the both of them were holding each other, crying in the bathroom.
A month later, they told the rest of the Carters. Everyone offered the obligatory congratulations, even Molly who was completely taken with her new grandchild, Luke Michael Carter. Kristy immediately set Sam down to start offering advice, for which Samantha was probably more grateful then Jack who received his own advice from Mark and Jacob.
Sam had a surprisingly easy pregnancy with little to no morning sickness and very few extremely strange cravings.
But all of that would be made up for when it came time for her to deliver the baby.
Sam was two days past her due date and her parents were scheduled to arrive in a few hours, which was the only reason Jack had let her on base. It saved him a trip home to pick her up, not that he minded, but he knew she was going out of her mind with boredom at home.
They were expecting the return of Captain Jackson and Colonel Hammond when the gate activated and instead of an SG team coming through when the IDC was entered, they got a team of Jaffa and a false god.
The base went into lockdown due to the intruders and not thirty minutes later, Samantha's water broke.
They had the iris up on the gate, preventing anyone from going anywhere at this point, but at the same time, Jack couldn't see a way to get into the room without taking the chance of some of his people being killed.
Until he watched on the monitor as the head Jaffa made several circuits of the room. He even looked directly into the camera several times, studying it. He deactivated his weapon directly in front of it.
Jack knew this might be his only opportunity, so he took it. One… alien… that wasn't going to shoot his men on first sight was better then none. He radioed his teams to prepare to enter the room, giving specific instructions about the gold tattooed Jaffa, and then keyed the microphone.
"I am going to count backwards from ten, and give you the chance to surrender by putting your weapons down. Anyone still holding a weapon will be considered an enemy, I will be forced to fire on them," he stated, even though technically it wouldn't be him doing the firing but his men, but he had made his point.
Jack started counting down and watched as the scene played out. The Goa'uld was telling his Jaffa not to put down their weapons, and to defend their god. He reached five and hit the button to open the doors to the room, surprising it's occupants.
Well placed shots to the head took down most of the Jaffa before they had the chance to return fire.
Jack reached the door in time to see just two of the enemies were left standing.
The Goa'uld and the head Jaffa.
"Teal'c!" The Goa'uld roared. "Protect your God!"
In that instant, Teal'c made a decision that would change the course of his life in this universe.
He spun and fired on his 'god'.
And in that moment, Teal'c made a friend for life in Jack O'Neill.
Of course that wasn't what Jack was thinking 24 hours later after his wife had berated him during the delivery of Riley Jacob O'Neill. Then he had to deal with his mother-in-law's extreme displeasure when Jack forgot them at the airport (he had been dealing with an alien incursion and the birth of his second child at the time, but Molly hadn't seen that as a valid excuse).
Yet all that seemed to be washed away when Jack got (more like begged) permission to take Riley up to a conference room on one of the upper levels of NORAD so that the now two or three time grandparents (depending on which grandparent you were referring to) could have their first look at their newest grandchild.
It was this moment that turned the tide in Jack and Molly's relationship.
And convinced Jack that if this was all it was going to take to keep Molly Carter happy, he was going to have to convince Sam that they needed more kids.
Maybe a little girl next time.
"He's perfect Jack!" Jacob congratulated the new father, who had grudgingly handed the baby over to his grandmother.
Jack smiled quite happily as he held his other son, helping him get his first look at his baby brother.
"He's too small Daddy!" Charlie protested.
"He'll grow up fat Charlie. You'll be able to play with him before you know it," Jack assured his son.
"You'll have to teach him how to do everything that your parents taught you," Molly broke in, speaking for the first time, and looking directly at Charlie. "Can you do that Charlie? Be a good big brother?"
Charlie looked at his grandmother with big eyes and nodded his head, taking her words to heart. He was going to be the best big brother ever!
It would take several months before they would find out what caused Molly's sudden change of heart.
It seemed that being faced with the prospect of dying can really change someone's outlook on life. So for the next 18 months Molly Carter battled cancer with her husband at her side while the rest of her family battled aliens on other planets.
But Molly never lived to see Earth win the decisive victory that Supreme Commander Thor ended up bringing.
She didn't even live to see her namesake, Margaret Molly O'Neill, or Maggie as Jack quickly deemed her.
But Molly Carter did leave a lasting impression on her grandchildren, especially on the only one who was named for her.
It had been a difficult pregnancy for Samantha. Her mom wasn't there and the war with the Goa'uld was at its peak, leaving Samantha stressed out even before she thought about caring for two rambunctious boys and her new pre-teen daughter Cassandra.
But despite the morning sickness, which was more like all-day sickness that seemed to be hunting her down to repay for it's absence during her previous pregnancy, Samantha was happy to be pregnant again.
Except it seemed like her hormones were all over the place.
She could be crying one minute and laughing the next for no apparent reason.
And she was exhausted all the time.
Not having Jack around enough was probably part of it too.
The news that Jack had been shot was the straw that broke the camel's back of her somewhat difficult pregnancy and sent her into labor three weeks early.
Maggie had been born healthy, and for that Samantha and Jack, who had merely taken a shot to the vest and had not really been hurt, were thankful.
But Samantha had no qualms telling Jack that there would be a sudden use of birth control in their house because she was done having children unless things got more settled.
Four kids were enough for her to handle.
A year later, Thor delivered the message that the Gou'ald would threaten Earth, or any other planet, no more.
Jack got rewarded with some time off and a vasectomy for all his hard work. Jack had actually been the one to push for the procedure, after several discussions with Samantha and the joint decision that they were done adding to their family.
During his brief vacation, Jack also got his second star during a trip to D.C. with Samantha while Jacob kept all the kids at home in Colorado.
Samantha and Jack spent some time talking with the President and First Lady at the big party. They stayed around long enough to put in the appropriate amount of face time before retreating to their hotel room.
Two months later, Samantha recalled their weekend in D.C. as she looked at her doctor and long time friend Janet Fraiser in disbelief.
"But he had a vasectomy!" Samantha reminded her friend.
"He did," Janet agreed, "But it take up to two months for things to get cleaned out…" she trailed off not really wanting to discuss the sex life of her CO.
"Jack didn't tell me that!" Samantha protested.
Janet wasn't sure what she was supposed to say that wouldn't sound callous. Luckily Sam's next words meant she didn't have to come up with something to say.
"I'm going to kill him!" Samantha declared.
Janet was forced to hide a chuckle, but not for too long as Samantha stormed from the room, probably to go looking for her husband.
Samantha found him in his office. His aide tried to stop her from storming in, but his attempt was only half hearted. Doctor Samantha Carter-O'Neill was one of those people who was to be avoided at all costs when she was mad, and she was definitely mad right now.
Samantha barged into her husband's office, ignoring the fact that he as on the red phone. She hung up for him and started yelling. "You stupid, idiotic man! What were you thinking? Oh wait you weren't!"
"Sam?" Jack questioned, quite surprised by her behavior and tirade. Normally Sam was the picture of calm no matter how large and insurmountable the crisis was.
"Don't talk to me right now!" She ordered. "I hate you!"
The door swung open slowly and Jack's aide stuck his head in, as if trying to determine if he would be facing grave danger for doing so. He cleared his throat, interrupting Samantha's tirade.
"What?" she demanded.
The poor young man cleared his throat again. "The President is on the phone. He would like to know if everything is all right or if he should just call back later?" The man asked timidly.
They both said at the same time.
Jack looked at the man with pleading eyes.
"I'll tell him to call back later," he quickly decided as he shut the door.
Samantha continued to stare at her husband as if daring him to say something.
"I hate you," she stated again.
"You already said that," Jack stated.
The intercom buzzed. "General, the President is on the phone. Should I tell him you'll call him back?"
"Yes," Jack said at the same time Sam said "No."
"I'll uh… put the call through," the poor man stuttered.
Within seconds the phone rang and Sam answered, putting the call on speaker.
"Good afternoon Mr. President," Samantha greeted the man.
"Good afternoon Doctor Carter," the President returned. Samantha could almost hear the curiosity in his voice.
"I'm sorry for interrupting your phone call sir, but I needed to speak to my husband."
"I understand totally Doctor Carter. My wife barges into the Oval Office at least one a month about something. Please don't tell her that she can hang up the phone for me though, or else I'd probably end up hanging up on somebody important," the President chuckled.
Samantha couldn't stop the corner of her mouth from turning up slightly, hinting at a possible smile. "Of course not Mr. President. Though I doubt your wife would be delivering the news that she's pregnant again."
The First Children were actually college age or older, so the likelihood of that happening was slim to none.
Samantha studied Jack's face carefully as it cycled through emotions. First there was surprise.
"But I thought…"
"Maybe you should listen to what the doctor is saying next time," Sam suggested bluntly, giving her husband what Cassie named 'the stare of doom' and indicated that the recipient was in deep trouble.
Then there was a true Jack O'Neill smile.
And last but not least there was concern. Worry for her and the baby. "Are you okay?" he asked concerned.
Samantha shrugged. "As far as Janet knows."
The other person in the room cleared his throat. "Congratulations Jack, Samantha. This will be O'Neill number five correct?"
"Yes sir," Jack answered quite proudly, keeping his eye on Sam who was only now starting to relax and lose some of the steam that had built up in her since receiving the news from Janet.
"I'll let you two finish," Samantha whispered to her husband, who got up quickly and hugged his wife.
"I'm sorry," he whispered in her ear.
Samantha pulled back to study him, 'the stare of doom' returning.
"I mean, sorry about messing up, but not sorry about this," he quickly assured her, placing a hand on her stomach where a baby was growing again.
"You can make it up to me," Samantha assured him with a knowing look.
"I will," Jack assured her.
A month later Jack found his very life being threatened again, though at least this time Samantha was lying on a hospital bed, being slightly restrained by a doctor who was in the middle of showing them the ultrasound.
"Twins?" Samantha repeated in disbelief before turning to her husband. "This is all your fault!"
Jack held up his hands and took two large steps back but that didn't stop the barrage of words from Sam threatening everything from his life to the appendage that had gotten her in this situation.
The female doctor hid a grin and Jack shrugged his shoulders. There really wasn't much he could do about the situation now, was there?
Five and half months later, Jack found himself being threatened as Samantha went through labor for what she made him swear would be the final time or "I'll find out if Thor was serious about doing anything for me, because I'll be asking him if it is possible for you to get pregnant!"
Samantha's words were eventually forgotten, temporarily, when she got to hold her new babies. Her face smile grew impossibly larger when the rest of her children arrive to greet their new siblings.
Six was the number of children Jack had originally wanted, and six was now what he had.
Guess that meant he was going to have to get her the cat she'd been asking for.
Of course Jack and the kids had come home with a kitten and puppy, another matter of compromise in their marriage.
Still life was good.
Samantha was happy, her children were healthy, and the universe was (relatively) at peace.
Even if life did occasionally include an unplanned side trip to an alternate universe, just so she could receive a reminder of just how lucky she was to be Samantha O'Neill.
AN: Thanks for reading and for all the wonderful reviews!