Author's Note- The first two parts are set somewhere between the very end of season 3/beginning of season 4 and the last part is set post Threads.

Best Laid Plans

She hadn't planned on this.

Oh, she'd noticed from day one how attractive her Commanding Officer was. How handsome he looked in his service dress or his BDU's. How attractive he looked with his big brown eyes, crooked grin and tanned skin.

She wasn't the type to fall for her Command Officer. She was by the book, and she did what she was told. Falling for someone in her chain of command was inexcusable and out of the question. She had fought too hard and had seen too much sexism and prejudice to even think of tarnishing her career like that.

She'd fallen for him all the same. Maybe it was the way his deep brown eyes twinkled when he laughed at her, his sense of humor or that deep look of sorrow that never quite left his eyes. The way that he treated her as an equal, saw the officer rather than just 'the girl'.

Somehow though, against her better judgment, maybe without even realizing, this handsome, kind hearted man had captured her heart. It had snuck up on her, wormed it's way into her heart until she knew there was no way she could go back.

The feelings weren't shared she knew. He didn't see her that way she knew, oh he might have flirted with her on occasion, came to her lab to annoy her or even on occasion bring her a cup of her favorite flavor of Jello but that's where it ended. The realization that she loved Jack O'Neill was mingled with the deep sense of loss of something she'd never really had to begin with. He was someone who was out of her reach, someone who she couldn't be with…not any time soon.

*******

He hadn't planned on this.

He wasn't sure when it had happened but he'd gone from seeing his second in command as an officer and friend, to seeing her as something so much more. It had started out as trying to simply get a smile out of her, to just hear her laugh. It had just been a different route to the commissary, seeing her alone in her lab and wanting to get her out a little more, have her actually get a life.

Between those little moments, between her smiles and her laughs, he'd started to care for her. A lot more than he had been supposed to. It had crept up on him unawares, until he knew that there was no way that he could change his feelings for her, no way he could go back to seeing her as just a friend and colleague.

So he put on that crocked grin, promising himself that he'd never let her see how he felt about her. Never be able to see that look of modification or of rejection on her face. A woman like Carter did not fall for her Commanding Officer, especially not when she was one of the smartest people in the country, hell maybe even the whole world, and he was a worn out soldier, who had seen too much through the years, to ever be completely whole again. He convinced himself to bury whatever he felt for her, to put everything he felt for her, that he shouldn't, locked away so that no one would ever be able to guess about his feelings for her.

*******

They hadn't planned on this.

Neither one thought that they'd end up together, not after what they'd been through, not with no end to the war in sight.

The words had never really needed to be spoken out loud. His feelings were clearly laid out for her in a hundred different actions, spelled out in a thousand different looks through the years. But when the words were finally said, when their feelings for each other were finally spelled out, with no hidden meanings, did they finally realize how much they needed each other. Not as officers or as friends, but as someone that was so much more to each other than that.

They sat along the edge of the pond, the comfortable silence filling the quiet Minnesota woods, the water lapping softly against the ground. A shift had taken place in their relationship, a shift for the better, one that hadn't been planned at all. One that had come out of chance and circumstance, one that had begun with the whispering of a small word, packed with more meaning and feeling than either one had said to each other in over four years.

Always.


Author's Note- Thanks for reading and if you liked it let me know!