How Jack Lost His Yo-yo

He was playing with a glow-in-the-dark green yo-yo. The last, tragic aria of Madame Butterfly was playing softly in the background, the speakers hidden from view by the darkness.

"Hey," she said as she climbed over the railing to his rooftop observatory.

"Hey," he said, walking the dog with the yo-yo.

"You called," she said, a little surprised that Daniel and Teal'c weren't there. But maybe they hadn't arrived yet.

"I did," he said, catching the yo-yo in his hand. "Teal'c and Daniel aren't coming," he added, reading her mind.

"Oh," she said, suddenly sensing that something was amiss.

He gestured at the telescope. "You can see four of Jupiter's moons."

"Really?" she said, leaning forward to peer into the eyepiece. It took her a moment to adjust the view, but after a moment, she could focus on the four bright points of light lined up in orbit about the planet, obviously an unusual alignment. She wondered which moons they were; tried to remember which could be seen from Earth. Europa, Ganymede, Io, and one other…

"Have you given any more thought to the Area 51 offer?" he asked.

She straightened up, glancing at him curiously. "I know Cassie is having a hard time, but I really don't feel like I should leave the SGC right now."

He nodded, the glowing yo-yo lazily traveling up and down in the darkness. "I just wondered if it would make a difference if I wasn't at the SGC any longer."

"Excuse me?" Sam said, startled by the unexpected suggestion.

He was silent for a moment, the yo-yo momentarily caught in his hand. "Hammond announced his retirement. They've offered me his job."

"Oh my god," Sam said before she could edit the words, her mind spinning with the implications.

He waited quietly for her to say something else, but for the life of her, she had no idea what to say.

He flicked his wrist and the yo-yo bobbed up and down. "I don't trust the yahoos at the Pentagon to pick someone good to replace Hammond if I turn them down."

Sam nodded. He was right, of course. He was, without question, the best person for the job. But… that would mean he'd be leaving. He'd have to move to Washington. And she very selfishly did not want him to go.

He caught the yo-yo again. "Sam," he said, and she looked up at the use of her first name. "If I were in Washington, you'd be out of my direct chain of command."

It was one of the first things that had crossed her mind, of course. "But… you'd be in Washington…"

"The Air Force has planes. And the Asgard are providing us with beaming technology." He shrugged. "Long distance relationships are hard, but not impossible," he said softly.

Sam was almost unable to believe they were having this conversation after so many years. "You want… a relationship?" she asked hesitantly, needing to confirm that they were on the same page.

He grinned. "Yes, I do." He cocked his head to the side. "Preferably the kind with kissing involved."

Sam smiled. "I'd like that, I think."

Jack looked at the yo-yo in his hand. He slid the loop of the string off his finger and wound it tight. Then he tossed it aside, and it sailed pale and green over the railing before disappearing. "C'mere," he said, holding out his arms.