Almost Normal

Chapter Three

Based upon Stargate: Continuum

For my good friend Ms. Erma and my Daddy, the one with the BMW roadbike.

- . - - - . - Several weeks to a few months later

Jack watched the silver Volvo with the little U-Haul pull into two of the parallel parking spots on the street store front. He chuckled to himself before picking his broom back up and heading towards the back of the store. It was probably some city slicker on their way through. He paused in his thoughts. City Slicker? He was spending too much time with Erma.

The little bell on the door rang and he made his way towards the front of the store. In front of the counter, staring out the storefront at the street, stood a woman, tall and slender with dark wavy hair halfway down her back. She wore a black fleece jacket with a Cabela's logo near the seem on the bottom. He didn't recognize her.

"Can I help you?" he asked, leaning his broom against one of the shelving units.

"Oh, I think so," she said as she turned. The moment her mouth opened he had recognized her. However, seeing her all-too familiar face framed by unfamiliar hair confirmed her identity, eliminating any and all doubt.

Samantha Carter.

She smiled mischievously at him. "I'm new in town and I was thinking about picking up a new hobby."

He swallowed hard, she wanted to play. He could play. "Like what?"


He almost swallowed his tongue.

"Are you alright?" she asked.

"Yeah. It just that you look a lot like someone I know," he said.

The corner of her mouth twitched. "Really? I think I would remember you."

He shrugged. "You can't be her, she's a blonde."

They stood there in silence a moment, grinning stupidly at each other. Well, to be fair, he was grinning stupidly, she was grinning playfully. "Fishing," she repeated, reminding him of their game.

"Oh, right," he said. "Let me show you what we've got." Jack motioned for her to follow him and led to her back to several rods hanging on the wall. He pulled one down. "I think you'll like this one."

She took it from him and fiddled with the reel a little. She made an abbreviated short cast.

"Here," he stepped up behind her, putting his arms around her. "Like this," he adjusted her grip on the pole and made another abbreviated cast. "Better?" he asked quietly.

She leaned back every so slightly, turning every bit of contact into a bit of pressure. "Much," she almost moaned.

His arms fit around her just as they had the first time he ever held her, she hadn't changed at all. He tucked his face to her neck and nuzzled some of her long locks out of the way. She had taken a shower this morning, he could smell it. She may have changed her hair color, but she hadn't changed shampoo, he could smell that too. He grazed his nose along the side of her chin, feeling her smooth skin.

Sam's breathing deepened at his nearness. Her breathing hitched when he pressed his lips to the side of her neck. He loved the way she reacted to his touch. God, he had missed her.

She tilted her head to the side, making eye contact for a brief moment before gently pressing her lips to his. It didn't take long for the chaste kiss to deepen. He released the fishing pole with one hand and pressed it flat against her stomach, right above her belt. He wiggled his fingers in order to hike up the very bottom of her shirt and sneak a few fingers underneath it. She moaned into his mouth and leaned back into him even more.

He couldn't believe it. He couldn't believe that Sam Carter, his Carter, was here. She was here, in his arms, kissing him. It felt like it had been so long, and now . . . Now they were going to be together again. No more pity holidays with Erma because she simply refused to let him be alone. No more cold sleepless nights. Now he could hold her every night. Now he could kiss her every morning. Kiss? Hell, now he could . . .


Jack released Sam and whipped around to see Erma standing behind him with her eyes and mouth wide open. He felt like a four year old with his hand caught in the cookie jar, or a teen caught by his girlfriend's dad with his hand up her shirt. Sam, however, was laughing hysterically.

The sound of her laughter made him laugh, too. "Erma," he slid his arm around Sam and pulled her to his side. "I don't think you've actually met my wife. This is Sam." He realized they probably looked ridiculous, standing next to each other with giddy grins and Sam holding a fishing pole.

Erma's look of absolute horror turned into delight and she rushed Sam with open arms, shoving Jack out of the way. Erma wrapped her arms around her. "I've heard so much about you, Sam!"

Sam laughed, hugging Erma back. "Good things, I hope."

"Excellent things, I assure you," she said, taking Sam's shoulders and leaning back to take a look at her. She frowned. "I thought he said you were blonde," she said, looking back at Jack.

He looked sheepish.

Sam smiled, fingering the locks. "It was time for a change," she explained, looking past Erma to Jack.

Erma regarded them carefully, noticing that she was out of the loop. After a moment, she turned to Jack with an authoritative glare. "Jack, what the devil are you still doing here? Were you born in a barn? Are you a complete and total swine?"

"What?" he asked, finally ripping his gaze from Sam.

"Your wife's finally here and you're not moving her into the house. Get her out of that U-Haul and into her house!"

"Her house?" he repeated. Hey, it was his house!

Erma glared at him and started shooing him towards the door, with Sam following while trying to contain her laughter.

"I'm going!" he tried to get out of Erma's reach, but she could be very insistent.

"I better not see you in here later today, or tomorrow for that matter."

"Fine," Jack said, knowing better than arguing with the old woman once she had made up her mind. She was known for grabbing the broom and wielding it like a quarterstaff.

"And bring your lovely wife by tomorrow evening for some supper. You cook like the devil."

Sam's almost well contained laugh burst.

Jack smiled at her before turning back to Erma. "We'll be there, I promise."

Erma hugged Sam again. "It was so nice to finally meet you dear. If you need any help with this one, just call me."

It was good to see Sam smile so genuinely. "Oh, I think I can handle him, Ma'am."

"You too?" she asked. "I couldn't get him to stop calling me that for weeks." She put both her hands on her own chest, "Erma."

Sam smiled, putting her arm around Jack's waist. "Erma."

Erma smiled then waved them off. "Get that city-slicker-mobile out of my store front before the natives get suspicious."

Laughing Jack led Sam outside. Sam laugh again as the door shut behind her.

"What?" he asked, realizing she was laughing about something else.

She let go of him and opened her car door. "She's your mother."

Jack looked back at the store from the other side of Sam's door. "She is not."

"Oh yes she is. It's amazing she didn't tell you to stop slouching."

"I was not slouching!" Well, that wasn't a good response for his argument.

She leaned towards him over the car door and he met her halfway, their lips meeting softly. "Of course you weren't," Sam said, even though she was obviously not conceding her point.

"Let me get my truck and you can follow me home."

"Home," Sam repeated quietly.

He kissed her again. "Yeah."

- . - . -

She followed his half ton Ford, similar to the one he had owned where they came from, through town and down some rural roads to a dirt driveway with thick woods on either side. It was a long driveway, but not two hundred yards, to a small clearing that held an old two story farm house and a barn. They sat on a small pond. There was a small orchard on the other side of the pond and a sat decrepit-looking swing set that must have been there when Jack bought the place.

He had told her about it when they were last together, but seeing it took her breath away. It was quaint, it was quiet, it was perfect.

He pulled up into next to the house, the driveway was paved for about thirty feet right at the house. He got out of his truck and met her next to her little car, similar to the one she had owned where they came from.

"So, Carter, what's in the U-Haul? You can't have that much crap."

She smiled. The little covered trailer was not for her clothes and things, they could have easily fit into her car, she just didn't have that much stuff. She hadn't collected much in the year they'd been there and she didn't care to bring with her much of the stuff the Air Force had supplied her with. No, the trailer held something much more familiar to her.

It took her a while to find it, but find it she did. It was one of the few things that made her feel like Samantha Carter.

"See for yourself," she offered.

He circled around to the back and opened the trailer. He let out a low whistle. It was her Indian.

Well, it wasn't her Indian, it was an Indian, but she loved it just the same. He smiled at her. "That is so sexy," he said with a wink. Reaching into the trailer, he undid the tie straps and pulled the Indian out gingerly and started wheeling it towards the garage.

She followed him.

He paused at his truck, reaching inside and hitting the garage door opener before continuing. He paused as the door opened.

She watched the door raise, glancing over at him. He was staring at her. When the door opened enough to see the contents inside, she knew why. Inside stood a large BMW road bike. She smiled back at him. "We can go riding together."

He set her bike upright on its stand and grabbed a large sheet from the corner and covered it. She didn't let him see her smirk. Why did Jack O'Neill keep extra sheets in his garage? Because he was expecting his wife to bring her motorcycle when she came to live with him. She loved him so much. God, she had missed him.

When he turned back around, he must have noticed her change in demeanor. He carefully approached her and slung his arms around her waist. "We can do a lot more than that, now."

She slung her arms around his shoulders and rewarded him with a soft smile. He leaned down and kissed her gently before releasing her with a gentle squeeze of her hip.

"Let's get your stuff inside, we can unpack later," he said, his tone turning light again.

She followed him back to her vehicle and grabbed a box. She loved the way he could change the subject and his demeanor at the drop of a hat. She knew he was still brooding too, but was better at hiding it than she was.

Not having many boxes to move, all of her things were sitting in the living room in a short while.

She leaned against the back of the couch and he brought her a beer. She took a few sips of it.

"Ready for the tour?" he asked, offering her his hand.

She took it and followed him around the house. He showed her the kitchen and the laundry room, telling her that he had to go grocery shopping to buy something other than beer, TV dinners, and bags of chips. He showed her the stairs to the half-finished basement, which he said that they could finish it together in their spare time, it they wanted. He pointed out the bathroom on the main level. He showed her the den and the grandfather clock, after walking by the living room and everything she had already seen.

Behind a pair of sliding stained glass doors was the "parlor" which he said with air quotes and a false grandiosity. Jack said that it was there when he got here and hadn't touched the room since, the amount of dust told her he wasn't lying.

He led her up the stairs and showed her the three empty bedrooms. They were fully furnished and even had sheets and blankets on the beds. He told her that keeping up the rooms was one of the things he did to keep himself occupied. He showed her the two hall closets and the full bath.

But he paused at the door at the end of the hall, the master bedroom she was sure.

"Close your eyes," he said.

She looked at him incredulously. They weren't the romantic close-your-eyes kind of people.

"Humor me," he said.

She did and let him maneuver her into the room. He wrapped his arms around her waist and rested his chin on her shoulder. "Okay," he whispered, so she opened her eyes.

She knew why.

It was the same. It was exactly the same. She didn't know how he did it, but it was exactly the same.

It was a plain wooden frame queen sized bed. The exact same plain wooden frame queen sized bed they had shared so often up at his cabin in Minnesota. The quilt. It was the same quilt, she almost believed it was actually the same quilt. The same pattern of worn warm colors.

She whispered his name and covered his hands with her own. She just stared for a few minutes, her mind blank yet chaotic at the same time. This was it, she was finally home. Sure, this wasn't really her home at all and the Goa'uld were still coming. But, to be honest, at that moment she couldn't have cared less. Sam was done with solitary holidays and early bedtimes following a stiff drink.

She turned in his arms and walked backwards until she sat on the bed, pulling him down with her. After a bit of shuffling and a refusal to sacrifice skin contact, he was sitting on the bed propped up against the headboard with her straddling his thighs. She kissed him slow, reveling in the fact that they didn't have to rush and that it wasn't going to be over in the morning.

When one of his hands left her, she turned to find it. He had wrapped a few strands of her hair around his finger. He was fiddling with it.

"Like it?" she asked.

He took his other hand from its place on her lower back and threaded it through her hair, his palm tight against her skull. He smiled and nodded. "It's nice."

She was glad he liked it. She did it to try and lessen the countless stares she got whenever she went anywhere. Samantha Carter was a national hero. People had named their newborn children after her. Tears started to well in her eyes as she remembered that she wasn't allowed to be Samantha Carter anymore.

Jack stroked her cheek with his thumb. "None of that," he said, "you'll always be Sam Carter to me."

For a brief moment, Sam wondered how much he had worried about her issues with lack of identity in the months they were apart. He wasn't one to over think things, but he definitely have them the consideration they deserved. However she pushed the thought aside when he kissed her softly. She offered him a small smile.

He smiled back at her, and in a voice thick with emotion, he whispered, "Welcome home."

- . - FIN - . -