I know I've already done a take on this theme during my "Passing Time" story, but that's the beauty of fanfiction--we're allowed to imagine all the possibilities. . .

So here's another go at it. . .

And fluffier than fluffy, and probably a little schmaltzy as well. What can I say? I'm just that kind of shipper. . .

The Pier

"You know, we really should have done this years ago."

"I already told you that. This afternoon." He looked out over the pond, his body completely relaxed, sitting on the edge of the pier, his toes barely skimming the surface of the water.

The pond gleamed like ink in the night—ripples marred the surface, creating tiny flickers of reflected moonlight. Wind shushed through the trees and bushes and tall grasses, tickling the golden soft hair of the woman next to him. She turned her face into it, breathing in the heady mixture of nature and freedom, of newfound possibility. How odd, he thought, that with a galaxy at their fingertips, they'd chosen to stay Earthbound in order to find their future. His smile wavered only briefly when he thought that their time together would be brief—and had to matter that much more.

"Yes, well, I still maintain that I'm not dwelling."

"Oh, I beg to differ." He glanced sideways to find her watching him. "But I won't hold it against you."


He frowned. "What's wrong?"

Her teeth made a bright white slash in a face otherwise shadowed. "Well, I really don't mind when you hold things against me."

He heard himself snort, felt himself smile. "Funny."

She nudged him with her shoulder. "I try."

"So, I guess that Daniel and Teal'c are heading back to Colorado Springs on Tuesday."

"Teal'c wants to go and spend some time with Ishta. Daniel wants to do research on all that stuff he got from Catherine's estate."

"So, that's three days that we've got all together."

"The last three days of SG-1." She shook her head. "It's kind of weird to think about."

"Yes. A bit." He dipped a bare toe into the water, watched as a new wave of ripples spread from the disruption and echoed across the pond.

"And in a way I feel guilty." She reached out and grabbed a long piece of grass from the lawn next to the pier.

"For what?"

"For wanting to move on—for dismantling SG-1 and starting something so completely selfish."

"Selfish?" He watched her peel the outer edge off the blade of grass with her long, graceful fingers.

"I feel selfish, Jack, for ending it—for requesting the transfers—for wanting more." She peeked at him from bangs just a tad too long. "For wanting to be with you."

He smiled briefly, feeling whole for the first time in a decade. These past few days had been like being reborn. He'd been living in a vacuum for years—focused so completely on specific galactic goals that personal desires and needs had been shoved aside, sublimated, quelled.

When Sam had arrived on his doorstep the night after her father's funeral, he'd felt his life start to open back up. And when she'd told him that she'd ended her engagement and requested a transfer to Area 51, he'd felt his soul begin to heal.

Which brought him to now, the evening after the morning they'd arrived at the cabin. The evening after the morning that she'd followed him into the master bedroom and deliberately set her suitcase down there, next to his. The evening after the afternoon when she'd stepped close to him in the kitchen and lifted her lovely face to his and dared him to kiss her right there—with Teal'c and Daniel gaping at the dinette. The evening after the afternoon that he'd kissed her there, in the kitchen, with Teal'c and Daniel gawking at them.

"Well, far be it for me to deny you anything."

"Really?" Her fingers stilled. "We've kind of been denying each other a lot of things over the years."

He shook his head. "Not really. I think we've been denying ourselves. Big difference."

She leaned closer and rested her forehead on his shoulder. Simply, without fanfare, her breath warm through the fabric of his shirt. And it occurred to him that now he could reach around her and trace her upper arm with his fingertips, could scoot closer so that they were one—from shoulder to ribcage—from hip to thigh. Her bare toes were cool and light on his ankle, and when he slid his hand down and cupped the swell of her hip through her jeans, he could have sworn that she'd hummed a little sigh in the back of her throat.

He wondered, around a knot in his gut, if she made that sound at other times—when the moon was high and naked toes wrestled in a cool breeze, when it wasn't water, but sheets that spread out in rippled abandon around her.

"Not anymore." His statement rang more like a vow.


"No denying, not anymore."


He rested his chin on the top of her head, then tilted his face and pressed a kiss to her crown. "I can't do it anymore—pretend that we aren't something more than casual acquaintances."

She raised her head and looked at him—their faces close. Her eyes nearly the color of his pond, narrowed in question.

"I want—" He paused, then dropped his head. "I need to make this real."

"It is real."


"What are you saying, Jack? We talked about taking it slow."

"It's been eight years, Sam—hell, almost nine." He studied her fine features, her mouth, where her pulse beat in the base of her throat. "That's slow enough."

She licked her lips. "But, what are you saying?"

"I want it all."


"It doesn't have to be big—we don't have to have a big white dress and a church, if you don't want that, because I really don't—I'm good with just a Justice of the Peace at City Hall and both of us in BDUs, if you want. We can probably dig up rings from somewhere—there's a mall in the next town over. And Daniel can take pictures. Because I think I'd want a picture on my desk at the Pentagon."

"A picture of what, exactly?" And damn but if he didn't feel her tremble just a bit under his arm, against his body. It felt like she was—

His lips thinned. "Are you laughing at me?"

"No." But her body convulsed slightly again, and she was hiding that beautiful, brilliant smile behind her hand.

"You're laughing at me."

She turned and wrapped her arm around him, pressing a kiss to his neck, breathing in little bursts on the sensitive skin under his ear. "Tell me the rest, Jack."

"The rest of what?" Had he been saying something? He couldn't think with her tongue doing that—

"The rest of this wedding we're going to have."

He steeled his resolve. Cleared his throat. "Not with you laughing at me, I won't."

"Not laughing." She sighed against the junction of throat and shoulder. "Just—happy."


She raised her head and grinned at him, and he took that as answer enough, and lowered his head to taste that smile, to breathe in that happiness.

And somehow he found it necessary to lay her back on the pier, her head cushioned on his arm, their legs tangled, mouths nipping and testing and learning. Her hand moved in a slow, deliberate caress from his shoulder blade to his waist, and his fingers smoothed back her hair and then drifted lower, past her shoulder, down her side, to curve around the warmth of her ribs—his thumb teasing at the underswell of her—

She pulled back from his kiss, her lips swollen, glinting slightly. "I wasn't laughing."


"Really. I was relieved."

"You laugh when you're relieved."

"Shut up, Jack."

"No—it's just that you think you know someone—" But he stopped when her expression filled with something he'd never seen before, and couldn't name. A combination of emotion stronger than he'd ever seen—through battles and losses and victories and turmoil. She'd never looked like that any of the times that Daniel had died, he was pretty sure. "You okay?"

"I'm good." She watched as he steadied himself above her, balanced on his elbow, his other arm framing the other side of her body. "Like I said—I'm just relieved."


And the hand on his waist made its way up to his face, and her fingers traced his features, her thumb making sense of his bottom lip. And the shine in her eyes—he could have sworn it was something more than the reflection of the moon.

"I'm relieved," Her smile tugged at something nameless inside him. "Because I thought you'd never ask."