Epilogue – pure unadulterated fluff.
Jack complained all the way to his room. There was nothing he hated more than being wheeled through the hallways in a wheelchair.
"I'm fine", he'd insisted. "It's just a few bruises." That, of course, hadn't dissuaded the hospital staff who told him it was hospital rules.
"I'll hold your hand Jack", she'd grinned. "That'll make it better, won't it?"
"No", he said ungraciously, but he'd quickly recanted. "Of course it would. A kiss would make it even better."
"I tell you what, you get in the wheelchair and let them take you to your room. When we get there I'll give you a kiss."
"That's blackmail", he frowned.
"No it's not – it's bribery." She grinned again as she watched him move into the chair. He grumbled the whole way but she figured it was more because he thought it was expected of him than because it bothered him all that much. He did hold her hand the whole way, even stopping his grumbling occasionally to kiss it.
He groaned a bit when he got into bed, although when she looked concerned he grinned. "Hey, I was just hoping for a sympathy kiss. I really am okay, you know."
"I was so worried", she said again. "You could have been killed and I never would have forgiven myself."
"Sam, I'm fine and you didn't do anything that would require forgiveness. I was the one who made the mistake. If I'd listened to you in the first place I wouldn't have gone out and gotten into an accident. Anyway, let's forget about it. I want to think about the future, not the past."
"There is a future, isn't there?" she asked, hope in her eyes.
"Yeah, there is," he said simply.
She looked at him and then leaned forward and gave him a soft kiss on the cheek. "I love you, you know."
"I know – and I love you." He closed his eyes and smiled, laying his head on the pillow. He was tired – it had been a bumpy ride in more ways than one. He reached out blindly with his hand until Sam took it. "Stay with me?" he asked.
"I don't think the nurses will let me."
"We won't tell them", he answered.
"I think they'll figure it out Jack."
He grinned again, not opening his eyes. He just scooted over a bit and patted the bed beside him. With a grin of her own she climbed up onto the narrow hospital bed and carefully snuggled up next to him.
"That okay?" she asked softly. She didn't want to put pressure on his bruises.
"Oh yeah – that's definitely okay."
It didn't take long before he was sound asleep. Even though he hadn't been seriously hurt, she knew he was still recovering from his previous wounds and the accident must have affected him somewhat, even if not seriously. She sighed and snuggled a little closer, again feeling at home.
"Can you please tell us the room number for Colonel Jonathon O'Neill", Teal'c asked the woman behind the front desk. He and Daniel had finally arrived from Colorado and had taken a cab to the airport. They'd already heard from Sam that the Colonel was okay. They were both incredibly relieved but wanted to see him for themselves.
It was early morning when they had finally arrived and Daniel had worried that it was too early for visitors.
"We are not visitors Daniel Jackson", Teal'c had answered. "We are teammates."
"Uh, I don't think they have special rules for 'teammates' Teal'c. It's only family that can visit outside of visiting hours."
Teal'c looked at him with that 'inscrutable' Jaffa look. "We will inform them that we are family then", he finally replied, as if it wasn't an issue.
So, when Teal'c asked for Jack's room number, he wasn't surprised when the woman gave it to him without complaint. They then made their way up to the fourth floor.
"Did you try and call Major Carter?" Teal'c asked.
"Yeah, but her phone is off. You're not supposed to use cell phones in the hospital."
Although they were the only people walking down the corridor at this time of day, fortunately the on-duty nurse didn't notice them as they walked by. All their years of stealthily creeping through Goa'uld ships came in handy!
"Here it is Teal'c", Daniel whispered. He pushed the door open, expecting to see Jack asleep. What he didn't expect was to see Sam curled up beside him, also sound asleep.
Teal'c pushed him gently out of the way as he stood in the doorway, frozen in surprise. He too stopped when he saw their two friends together.
"It appears as if things have been resolved between O'Neill and Major Carter", Teal'c said quietly, a rare smile on his face.
"It looks that way", Daniel too was smiling.
The two men realized, at about the same time, that Jack was awake and was looking at them. He gave a small smile and held his finger to his lips. He mouthed, "she's asleep, don't wake her up."
Daniel and Teal'c both grinned and nodded. They gave Jack a small wave and left as quietly as they'd entered.
"So, are you hungry Daniel Jackson? I believe hospital cafeterias often keep donuts in stock."
"Donuts huh? Yeah, I could go for a donut – as long as it's glazed."
"I believe that those with powdered sugar are superior to the glazes ones." The two friends walked down the hallway, continuing a debate on the merits of glaze vs. powdered sugar.
"Mr. O'Neill, you're not supposed to have someone in bed with you! This is a hospital, not a – a -"
"A what nurse?" Jack asked with a frown. "What in the world do you think we were doing in here? She was worried and tired and fell asleep. I don't really think that's a crime, do you?"
She actually 'harumphed', something he hadn't heard since he was a little boy and his maiden aunt Gladys had caught him picking her prized gladiolas.
"Well, you'd better wake her up. The doctor will be here shortly."
"Sam", he said softly into her ear. "Sam, it's time to wake up. The doctor is coming and you certainly don't want to have him see you sleeping. He'd be terribly shocked!" He looked over at the nurse and glared at her.
"Huh?" his beautiful Sam, with the most spectacular bed head, and sheet marks on her face, lifted her head and looked at him with total confusion. "Jack?"
"Yup, that's me."
"What – ur – what am I doing here?"
"Well, you were sleeping with me but the nurse thinks you should get up now."
"Nur – oh my God!" She sat up suddenly and looked over at the nurse who was looking at her as if she was a fallen woman. She immediately slipped out of bed and stood beside Jack, still half asleep.
She blinked a couple of times and then spoke. "How are you this morning?" She looked at him closely, daring him to lie.
He smirked broadly. "Me? I'm good, fine, great. I'll be even better when I can get out of here."
Just then the doctor arrived and Sam excused herself to go clean up in the Ladies' Room. She glanced at the nurse as she walked by but the woman obviously hadn't forgiven her for committing the terrible sin of falling asleep in a hospital bed when she wasn't a patient.
By the time she returned Jack was up and dressed. His clothes were dusty and one shoulder was torn on his shirt, probably from the seat belt, but other than that he looked good. He was still a bit pale and bruised, but his face was relaxed and he actually appeared happy.
"Ready to go?" she asked.
"Yup. The nurse is just bringing in my discharge papers and then we can go. I asked them to call Daniel and he and Teal'c will pick us up."
"That's great – but where are we going?"
"I thought – to my cabin?" His look was unsure. As good as things seemed they still hadn't really talked and he didn't want to presume anything.
"That sounds good. Are Teal'c and Daniel going to stay?"
"I thought I'd ask them, if you're okay with that?"
"Oh yeah – that would be great. We haven't really spent time together for a long time and I want to be with you guys."
Daniel drove them to Jack's cabin in the rental car. It was a good thing it wasn't too far away, as Jack was feeling pretty sore and stiff. Still, it could have been worse – he could have been stuck beside Teal'c! Instead, he was cuddled up in the back seat next to Sam, at least as cuddled up as you could be while wearing seat belts.
They chatted casually, about not much of anything, until Jack fell asleep, warmed by the sun coming in the window and Sam's soft presence.
"He's asleep?" Daniel asked, looking in the rear-view mirror.
"Yes. It's good – he needs all the rest he can get after what he's been through."
"I believe we all need rest after the last few months. It has not been easy for any of us." For Teal'c to admit he'd had a hard time was unusual, to say the least. Sam felt a touch of guilt – he always seemed to handle things so well that she sometimes discounted how much he suffered.
"It must have been hard being imprisoned", she said quietly, not wanting to wake up the sleeping man beside her.
"It was difficult", he agreed, "although they did not harm me physically. What was most difficult was not knowing what had happened to the three of you. I worried."
Both Daniel and Sam knew that that simple statement covered a lot of pain.
"I'm sorry Teal'c", Daniel looked at his friend.
"You have nothing for which to apologize Daniel Jackson. We were all victims of the aliens."
"We there yet Dad?" Jack's voice whined, a few minutes later, from the back seat. He was stiff and hungry and wanted to get out of the car.
"Yes Jackie", Daniel teased. "We're almost there."
"Jackie?" The Colonel said in disgust. "No one's called me that since I was five!"
"Really? You were called Jackie?" Daniel sounded interested.
Jack just groaned. "No way Daniel – you even think about calling me that and I'll -"
"You'll what? You've called me Danny for years."
"No it's not."
"Yes it -"
"Stop now or I shall make both of you get out and walk", Teal'c said sternly. Sam giggled, but the other two men shut up. Neither was sure how serious Teal'c really was.
They arrived a few minutes later, to everyone's relief. Daniel and Teal'c had loaded the car with groceries before going to the hospital so they spent the next few moments hauling things inside.
They spent the rest of the day relaxing, talking and taking naps. Everyone was both physically and emotionally exhausted after all they'd been through and no one wanted to deal with anything serious.
That evening, just after it had begun to get dark, Jack could feel himself start to tense up. He and Sam still hadn't really talked. Other than to acknowledge they loved each other, and Jack's admittance that he had made a mistake in turning Sam away, they hadn't made any decisions. He realized he didn't even know where she wanted to sleep that night.
Technically they were still under Air Force regulations, although he figured they had some leeway until all the paperwork was cleared up. They'd faithfully reported that they'd been together, although he was sure the AF wouldn't do anything about that. If they continued a relationship however, that would be a different matter, unless one of them got out.
Teal'c and Daniel both called it quits around 9:30, saying they wanted to head to bed. Jack was pretty sure they were just giving Sam and him some privacy. They automatically went to the room with the two twin beds, which left one other guest room and the master.
After saying goodnight he looked around and realized that Sam was gone. He checked outside and spotted her on the porch, sitting looking out at the lake.
"You're going to get chilly", he told her, draping his jacket around her shoulders. She smiled at him and pulled it closer to her.
"It's so quiet out here. It kind of reminds me of Calia."
"I know." He sat in the chair beside her. "That's why I left."
"Were the memories so bad?" she asked sadly.
"No. They were so good – too good. I couldn't bear it, knowing that it was all over."
"But it's not all over, not now."
"No", he said, but his voice sounded hesitant.
"Jack?" She faced him, her expression worried. "You're not changing your mind? Not now?"
"No – I – look Sam, we still have the same problem. We can't be together the way things stand. I've been thinking – I'm going to retire."
"Saaam!" he entreated. "you know there's no other way."
"I can retire."
"You? Absolutely not. Look, we've had this conversation before. You know darn well that it should be me, has to be me. I'm not gonna be any great loss but you – you would be."
"Jack you've had this conversation before, I haven't."
"What?' he looked confused. "Yes you have – I mean, yes we have."
"No. You've said this stuff before but I haven't agreed with it. Look, I told you once before that you can't make the decision for me. It's up to me to decide what I'm going to do. I want to be with you and that's final. Those months in Calia – even though I couldn't remember who I was, I felt more complete than I have in my entire life. I'm not whole without you. I need you."
"So, I'll retire -"
"And go crazy in a month."
"I'll find something to do. I could take up gardening or something."
"And go crazy in two months."
"Look Sam, we have to do something or this thing", he wiggled his finger between the two of them, "won't go anywhere."
"I know", she said calmly.
"Well then, I don't see much choice. I'll talk to Hammond when we get -"
"I already did."
"You already did what?" The frown lines were growing ever deeper on his forehead as she continued to confuse him.
"I already spoke to Hammond", she sat back calmly and closed her eyes.
"You – and what did you say to him."
"I told him I was retiring."
"Yes, I did." She grinned briefly, wondering if this was going to turn into a Jack/Daniel type of argument.
"But Sam – why?"
"I told you why. I want to be with you."
"But it's your life Sam. You can't give up the SGC."
"I haven't and anyway, you're my life."
"What? What do you mean you haven't?" He was pretty sure his head was going to explode.
"I mean I haven't given up the SGC. I retired from the Air Force but I'm staying on as a contract employee. I'll be just like Daniel, a civilian attached to an SG unit."
"Sam", he whispered. "You shouldn't have done that. You could have made General – you're one of the best officers I've ever seen."
"Thank you", she turned until she was looking at him directly. "That means everything to me, coming from you. But please Jack, this is what I want. I've made the choice and now I just want us to be together. We'll worry about work when we get back. For now, I want to be just 'Jack and Sam'."
"Or Aden and Beth?" he smiled, reaching out with his hand and gently tucking a wayward strand of hair behind her ear.
"Yes, or Aden and Beth." She leaned forward and gently placed her lips against his in kiss that was a promise for the future.
He returned it and sat back. "You're too far away", he complained. He reached over and pulled her on to his lap.
She curled up, laying her head on his shoulder and sighed. "This is nice."
"It is", he agreed. They sat quietly for a long time, letting the still evening breezes wash over them.
"Sam", he finally said.
"Mmm hmm?" she murmured into his neck.
"Uh", he cleared his throat.
"What?" she lifted her head, hearing the hesitancy in his voice. "What's wrong?"
"Wrong? Nothing's wrong. I was just wondering-"
"Whether or not you knew if you were – you know", he pointed to her stomach.
"Yeah?" He was looking at her relatively calmly, and maybe even a little hopefully. Whatever it was however, it gave her an incredibly warm feeling. She had made the right decision to be with this man.
"Maybe", she answered, letting her head rest against him once more. "I haven't checked. I didn't want that to become a reason for us to be together. It wasn't was it?"
"No", he answered shortly and clearly truthfully. "I actually didn't think about it until just now."
"And?" she wanted to know, again raising her head to look at him.
He slowly grinned and lowered his lips to hers. "Just curious", he answered. "Right now", he said as he lifted his head, "right now I want to be just Jack and Sam", he said, repeating her words. "If there's someone else", he placed his hand over her belly, "I'll be thrilled and we'll love him or her – but that's for tomorrow."
"Yes", she sighed. "tomorrow", and she placed her hand over his.
Thanks for coming on the ride with me. I hope you all enjoyed it.