Epilogue

They transport directly to the SGC's embarkation room, where Major General Jack O'Neill waits surrounded by Marines. General Landry has already briefed him from The Odyssey on its way back to Earth, so Jack already knows the highlights of what happened.

The moment she materializes in the room, Sam walks directly toward him, not waiting for any of her teammates. She can tell that the same questions that plagued her during the trip back are swirling in his mind. She can read him that easily, but all she feels right at that moment is immense relief. She has never felt happier to see him, and she decides to show him, to soothe his fears as soon as possible.

He is standing straight and calm despite his anxious eyes, coolly in command, but his arms immediately envelop her body when she unexpectedly wraps her arms around him and hugs him closely.

"Jack!" she utters with such an intense feeling of adoration that she is hard pressed to contain tears.

Despite the breach of protocol and the staring eyes around them, he buries his nose in her neck in that tender, familiar way that never fails to disarm her, to tell her how much she means to him. He holds her almost painfully tight.

"It's all right, Sam. It's over. You're home." He then kisses her head without letting her go.

She just nods. She knows that if she tries to speak, she will break down, so she holds on to him for long moments in order to regain her full composure.

She finally pulls back and looks at his face after she hears that most people have vacated the room. He is staring at someone over her head.

"Teal'c," Jack says, making her turn around in his arms and look at their Jaffa friend, who stands only a few feet away with Cameron, Daniel and Vala. General Landry is standing a little aside, watching them as well. "You're looking… distinguished," Jack finishes his thought.

"It was an exceedingly lengthy mission, O'Neill," he replies, making Vala huff and widen her eyes as if she couldn't agree more, but Sam knows that the woman barely can wrap her head around what really happened.

"Needless to say," General Landry unexpectedly speaks up, "it's also going to be a very long debrief, but Teal'c is sworn to secrecy… by us… it seems, about a lot of the personal details."

"Makes sense," Jack nods, his right arm still firmly wrapped around Sam's shoulders. Her left one won't relinquish its grip on his waist. "Thank you for your sacrifice, Teal'c, and… for everything else."

There is an understanding without words that the two men acknowledge. By the looks on their teammates' faces, Sam realizes that no one else seems to comprehend exactly what "else" the general is thanking the Jaffa for, except for her and Teal'c.

A moment later, realization suddenly downs on Daniel. She notices by the way his eyebrows rise slightly, but he doesn't say a word. He just nods imperceptibly as if to himself.

No words are needed to understand about uncompromising loyalty and devotion. It is a tacit thing, so real between them that it is almost palpable. The four of them know, without a doubt, that there is nothing they would not do for each other. They know that they will always have each other's back. Time has no bearing on that fact, and that is all that truly needs to be remembered.

The End