So here's the funny thing. If any of you read the Wizard of Mazd, you know that I'm not technologically oriented. I actually did press "Complete" on Passing Go, but for whatever reason, it didn't take. So, this will be short, but this is the final chapter to this saga.
I guess you ask for it. . . you get it.
The "Final" final chapter.
"So, what's all this stuff, Daniel?"
The archaeologist looked around in excited confusion. "I really don't know, Jack. I mean, look at all these artifacts—it's going to take a lifetime to catalog them all."
"And she sent it all to you why?"
"I guess Catherine knew that I'd be the one to appreciate it the most. The most likely person to be able to decipher what it all means." He consulted something on a clipboard, then wrote on a different piece of paper.
"And how long is that going to take you?"
"Like I said, Jack, it'll take a lifetime."
"You don't have a lifetime." O'Neill rubbed his face—a little stubble was growing on it. It itched. Sam kind of liked the stubble. He could handle the itch. "You have a day."
Daniel dotted an 'I' on the clipboard rapidly—in frustration. "Jack."
"I mean—come on. Look around you." Daniel's face glowed, which Jack thought was a little weird.
If a bunch of old stuff gave Daniel this much pleasure, then the Space Monkey really needed a woman, Jack thought. He knew this fact to be true.
"I'm looking at a bunch of old stuff that will still be old when we get back."
"But this is—this is—life changing stuff."
"Ah—" Jack raised a finger in a perfect imitation of Thor. "But is it 'Meaning of Life' stuff?"
"Come on." Daniel whined. He actually whined.
"Listen, Danny Boy. I've waited eight years. EIGHT. Nearly nine, if you want to be picky about it. We are going fishing. We are going together. We will have fun, and we will catch no fish. I don't care what you have to do, but you will be ready tomorrow. Is that clear?"
"Is Sam really coming?"
Jack ducked his head and bit his lip to hide the enormous grin he'd broken into.
She would be if he had anything to do with it.
The object of his grin stepped into the lab, excitement clear on her face. "I just heard, Daniel. Do you really have one?"
"Yeah—I heard from Dr. Lee that you got one in this shipment."
"I think it got put in your lab."
"Damn. I came here straight from the commissary—I thought it would be here."
"We can go to your lab to see it." Daniel put his clipboard down and motioned towards the door. "You in?"
Sam grinned and nodded. She glanced over at the General and quirked her eyebrows. "You coming, Jack?"
O'Neill glanced at Daniel, whose mouth had frozen in the shape of the letter 'o'. Daniel hadn't been invited to Vegas. He hadn't been there when Sam had acquired her brand spankin' new last name. Jack and Sam themselves were still getting used to this—she was technically under the jurisdiction of the Groom Lake commanding officer right now, but he'd given her three weeks to gather her equipment and pack her lab. The only time she answered to Jack was when he called her cell phone. She wasn't using his given name in public, yet, though—the slip up in Daniel's lab could obviously be attributed to her excitement over the Zero Point Module hidden within the items in Catherine Langford's estate.
Jack knew that the cat, however, had escaped the bag. Or however that particular cliché went. Everyone knew how the General felt about cats.
"Jack?" Daniel looked at him over the top of his glasses.
"What?" They'd meant to tell Daniel at the cabin. And Teal'c, too.
"She just called you Jack."
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Carter's eyes widen. She raised a hand to cover her mouth and the embarrassed grin that had graced it.
"Well, yeah. She's not under my command anymore. We're friends." Jack punctuated his point by gesturing to her vaguely. "She can call me whatever she wants."
"No. No-no-no." Daniel shook his head. "That's not how it works. She just called you 'Jack'. That means something."
"Daniel, what could it possibly mean? She's called me that before. Now be a good boy, show her the glowing thing, and then get ready to go fishing."
Sam shrugged and cast the General an apologetic look. She went through the door first, followed by Daniel, Jack trailing in his wake.
"I'm just saying." Daniel said once they were in the elevator. "She always calls you 'sir'."
"Apparently not always."
Carter wasn't helping. She chose to chew on a fingernail instead of helping out, her cheeks still a decidedly rosy shade of pink.
"Sam? Come on. What's going on?"
She blatantly ignored him, though, concentrating on being first out of the elevator when the doors opened.
Jack again brought up the rear, following as Daniel chased after Sam. He wasn't even in the room before he'd heard Daniel pleading.
"Sam—you gotta tell me."
"Daniel—what is there to tell?"
But they often underestimated how smart Daniel was—his ability to read people. "I know something's going on. I just know it. Something's different."
Jack sighed as he watched Sam cross to the table in the center of the room. She paused at the edge, eyeing the box that sat, open-topped, in the middle.
"This is it. It's beautiful." She breathed. She reached out and pushed some straw packing material to the side, exposing the dull glow of the ZPM. "It must be at least half-way charged. No other one we've found has had this particular color to it."
"Are we sure it hasn't been futzed with?" O'Neill peered at the thing over her shoulder. "Remember the Camel-Ass one had a funky color, too."
"No—this one's pristine. I'm pretty sure of it." Sam ran her fingertips along its side.
"Yeah. Whatever. Pretty." Daniel glanced perfunctorily at it before narrowing his eyes at Sam again. "Now spill. What's going on with you two?"
Sam sighed and turned away from the device on her table. She cast a questioning look at Jack, who rolled his eyes and nodded.
"We were going to tell you at the cabin." She began, then bit her bottom lip. Jack had recently learned that she didn't only do that when she was nervous, she also did it when she got really—well—happy.
"You were going to tell me what at the cabin?"
"You know that I'm not technically part of the SGC anymore."
"And General O'Neill's being transferred to Homeworld Security."
"Well, we—we uh—"
Jack threw his hands out in exasperation. He stalked over, threaded his arm around Sam's waist, and claimed her mouth with his own.
This kiss lasted longer than he'd intended, partly because Daniel's expression was so priceless, and partly because the novelty of finally kissing Sam on base, in her lab, was better than he'd expected. He held her close to him afterward with a hand on her lower back, watched her recover. It took longer than normal for her eyes to refocus. Obviously, the location had worked for her, too.
"Holy Buckets." Daniel let out a little half laugh, his eyes huge behind his glasses.
"Daniel." Jack took Sam's hand, partially turning towards their friend. "I would like for you to meet my wife."
Sam grinned and laid her forehead on Jack's shoulder, then pressed her cheek against it. She was pink again, but from something other than embarrassment.
"Wow. Guys." Daniel stammered. He suddenly burst into a wide, real grin. "Congratulations. It's about damned time."
"So. You now know. Let's get this show on the road."
Sam let go of O'Neill's hand and turned to the table. She lifted the box. "OK. I'm gonna get this up to the lab for analysis."
"No." Jack said. He took the box from her, tucking it under one arm. "I'll take it. There's a whole room full of geeks up there just dying to get their hands on this. You've got packing to do."
He passed by her on his way to the door.
On an impulse, and because Daniel was watching, he used his free hand to smack his wife on her perfectly rounded butt.
Just because he could.
And because, if he got really lucky, she'd return the favor once they got back home.
The End. This time I really mean it.