Title: Thanksgiving at the O'Neills
Sequel to: Anniversary in Colorado
Theme: Shipsgiving 2012
Category: Fluff, Romance, Family, AU
Season: post SGU
Summary: It's Thanksgiving Day and Sam and Jack have invited their former teammates to celebrate the holiday with them. However, not everything goes according to plan in the chaotic Carter-O'Neill household.
Disclaimer: see profile
A/N: This is a sequel to Anniversary in Colorado from the GW S/J Shippy Holiday Series but each story can stand alone. I don't have a beta, so any mistakes are my own. I always appreciate feedback and/or constructive criticism or just a comment to let me know why you (don't) like it.
November 22, 2012
Colorado Springs, CO
Jack took a last glance at the crib before he soundlessly closed the door to the nursery. Then he quietly made his way down the stairs and into the living room, where Carter and Gracie were snuggled up on the sofa. The sight of the two of them reading aloud together never failed to elicit a smile from him. Today was no exception. Gracie was still wearing her pink PJs and those silly striped toe socks she loved and Sam was simply dressed in a top and some comfortable sweatpants, which only added to the homely picture they made.
He loved watching them when they were squashed together on the couch or just doing anything together, really. Probably because Sam hadn't always been there to witness those important firsts and had simply missed out on too many moments with their daughter because of her assignments – first Nevada and the SGC, followed by Atlantis and the Hammond all the while he and Gracie were in DC. Or maybe he was just getting sentimental in his old age…
However, now that they had moved back to Colorado upon his retirement and Carter was commanding the SGC they all got to spend more time together, especially after she was ordered to take it easy because of complications in the pregnancy. It hadn't been long after their housewarming and anniversary that Doctor Lam had referred Sam to a specialist at the Academy Hospital just to be on the safe side and shortly after meeting her new obstetrician Carter had been ordered on bed rest. Obviously that was about the worst thing someone could order her to do but with the risks of miscarrying, premature labor and other complications she had wisely given in… and by doing so she and Gracie had been able to spend much more time together.
It had become habit for him and Gracie to join Sam on the bed at least a couple of times a day and Gracie had taken to snuggling up to her mommy on the sofa too, with the two of them focusing on her homework, reading together or just talking. Unfortunately for Jack he'd been stuck with doing household chores, groceries and making breakfast, lunch and dinner, otherwise he would have made sure to snuggle up with his favorite two ladies too!
It had been five weeks since Sam's maternity leave had been over and she'd resumed her position as commander of the SGC but even during those eight weeks of convalescence she and Gracie had kept up their routine whenever possible. Just the two of them and he knew they both cherished those times, so he would make sure there wouldn't be any interruptions for that hour or so. He and Sam both agreed that Gracie needed moments alone with them – together or separate – on occasion now that she wasn't an only child anymore and couldn't rely on their undivided attention, hence he'd gladly let his wife take over the bedtime routine he had started with Gracie all those years ago.
Of course, there were still times that Carter couldn't make it home in time from base after one crisis or another and he would be on his own with the kids. But, hey, that's why he had retired in the first place, right? Stay-at-home dad was definitely more fun than being commander of HWC, although both could be equally hectic! Still, he had to admit having Carter at home 24/7 during the months of bed rest and maternity leave had been great and it tugged at his heartstrings to know that had been the most time they had ever spent together consecutively due to their jobs.
The pregnancy complications and difficult delivery hadn't made it any easier as it had only made him more aware of how much they had spent apart since getting together – which was ironic really – and there had been moments he'd feared they would lose her just as they were finally living together as a family! Instead of enjoying the pregnancy and looking forward to the delivery, both he and Carter had been anxious those last couple of weeks knowing how many things could go wrong this time around and in spite of their precautions she had still gone into pre-term labor at barely thirty-six weeks late in the afternoon of August 21st. Concern didn't cover the way he'd felt for all that time until the obstetrician had finally insisted on a C-section in the early hours of the morning because of the breech position she couldn't correct and other complications – he'd just been glad Gracie had slept through most of Sam's long and painful labor and hadn't woken up until she could officially call herself a big sister…
"Hey," Carter said, interrupting his little trip down memory lane.
"Hi… sorry, I was just thinking."
Her eyebrows twitched as she regarded him funnily before she glanced in the direction of the staircase. "Everything okay?"
"Yep," he nodded and jerked his chin in the direction of the baby monitor. "Sound asleep!"
Gracie popped up her head over the back of the sofa and grinned at him, showing off the adorable gap between her upper front teeth. "Daddy the baby whisperer!"
"He sure is," Carter agreed, chuckling.
Jack smirked, pleased not only with the compliment but also his wife's reaction; Sam had been a bit upset in the beginning – now as well as their first time around with Gracie – that he was apparently better at hushing and calming down babies and getting them to sleep than she was. With Gracie she had been more accepting, assuming it was because he had the experience from when Charlie had been a baby while she didn't have much experience with babies at all, especially of the crying kind. Therefore she had assumed it would go better now and had been disappointed that, according to her, she was only good for feeding and expressing milk so he could take over at night!
Naturally he had tried to convince her otherwise and had explained it was probably because of her constant exhaustion and the pain from the scar, which had also been the reason they had agreed that he would do the midnight feedings with a bottle so she could get her rest – to aid in her recovery and nowadays because she was back to working full time. Not to mention that he had been far more mobile and quicker on his feet in the first two weeks or so, meaning he had far more opportunity to practice his baby whispering technique.
Fortunately Sam had come around after the first two weeks or so, around the same time that she started to feel better and they all had time to readjust to their chaotic household. However, the moniker had stuck but these days it was only used out of praise and not Carter's sullen mood caused by exhaustion and out-of-whack hormones. If anything she used it as an excuse on occasion when they were woken up by ear-deafening cries in the middle of the night, smiling at him sleepily and muttering how lucky she was to be married to such a great baby whisperer and that he stood a much better chance at remedying whatever was wrong – he could take a hint…
"Well, hopefully this means we'll have about two hours of peace and quiet," Jack said, walking over to the couch and leaning down to kiss first his wife and then their daughter. "So, if you two are done lazing about then we can get started in the kitchen."
"Can I help?" Gracie asked eagerly.
He glanced at Carter, who nodded in return and got up. "After we get dressed, hon."
"Yep, we wouldn't want your Tinkerbell pajamas to get dirty, would we?"
Gracie gasped, her eyes wide in that same shocked expression he had seen on her mother's face a few times over the years. "It's Princess Aurora and her fairy godmothers, Daddy!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, sweetie," Jack said patiently, suppressing the urge to roll his eyes. She had at least three pink pajamas with little figurines on them and he couldn't possibly tell them all apart! "Now, why don't you and Mommy take a shower and get dressed, then you can help me in the kitchen afterwards, okay?"
"Okay," she sighed and got off the couch with exaggerated effort, clearly reluctant to get ready.
"Come on, Grace," Sam said, grabbing her hand and shooting him a smile. "Don't forget your book."
Sam rolled her eyes as her husband continued to mutter about the crowded counter as he was working on the turkey. "Jack, why don't you just focus on one thing, like getting the turkey done?" She suggested cautiously, knowing he usually didn't appreciate her helpful advice when it came to cooking. Or anything related to preparing food, really. It was true that he was a much better cook than she was, even before they had gotten together and he'd been more or less 'forced' to cook meals every day because of Grace instead of ordering takeout or eating TV dinners. But sometimes he had the tendency of overdoing it, wanting to make everything ready on special occasions like Thanksgiving and start working on everything simultaneously.
The only free counter space left was at the kitchen island she and Grace were sitting at. Their daughter was peeling an orange for his cranberry sauce, having already neatly and painstakingly cleaned and picked over the fresh cranberries and blueberries. She herself was stirring the icing to apply to the chocolate and vanilla cake she had made last night. Sam had also helped Grace to weigh, measure and prepare the other ingredients for Jack's sauce, with everything sitting in bowls around them now.
"I am," Jack replied, casting a look over his shoulder at her. "See," he gestured in front of him, "I've already cleaned the brine off it and just applied the melted butter. You just focus on that cake of yours."
"I'm just saying you would probably find it easier if you didn't put every single ingredient you'll need out on the counter already, when some things like the potatoes and the stuff for the gravy isn't needed yet until tonight," she said, shrugging. "Or at least group the ingredients for each dish together instead of scattering everything around. That way you'd have more space to move around."
He grunted something incomprehensible and roughly started stuffing the turkey. "I don't need more space and I can find everything just fine, I have a system."
Sam bit her tongue to keep herself from commenting on his 'system' or mention how he could have at least loaded the dishwasher and put away the remains of their lunch, and instead focused on her cake. After a few more minutes of his grumbling she couldn't take it anymore, though and looked up just as he finished up and started washing his hands. "There's no rush, you know. We still have hours until everyone comes over-"
"I know," he interrupted her, glaring at the cut on his left thumb before letting the water clean it again.
"Then why are you rushing yourself?"
"I told you, I have a system, Carter."
She sighed. "But you don't need the potatoes until tonight so why peel them already?"
"Because I hate peeling potatoes and now it's out of the way," Jack said simply as he dried off his hands.
"And you cut yourself in the process," Sam needlessly reminded him. "Because you were rushing yourself and wanted to get it done but almost forgot about the turkey and-"
"I didn't forget," he argued, returning his attention to the remaining vegetables and decorating the roasting pan with them. "I told you those potatoes were no good and that's why it took me longer and why I cut myself."
"Okay, fine," she said. If he wanted to be stubborn about it then so be it. "Do you have the ingredients for the whipped cream there as well?"
Jack nodded as he poured white wine over the roasting pan. "Yeah, it's over there somewhere," he gestured with his left hand to the other side of the kitchen.
"I'll get it!" Grace volunteered, tossing the last pith of the orange in a bowl before wiping her hands on her colorful apron.
"Wash your hands first, munchkin. Or they'll be smelling like orange all day," he admonished her. "And don't use your apron as a towel."
She smiled sheepishly and went over to the sink to do as she was told. "I finished preparing the fruit, Daddy."
"Good job, Gracie," he nodded in approval as he set the empty cup down. "Bring me all the stuff and I'll get started on the cranberry juice."
"Okay!" She said in a singsong voice and, after drying her hands on the towel, went over to the other side of the kitchen. "What do you need, Mommy?"
Sam looked in her direction and described the items she needed. "And the two packs that say cream, the one with the long name and the word 'sugar' on it and the small pack that smells like vanilla. Just put it all in that bowl you grabbed and bring it over here," she instructed.
Grace walked towards her, biting her lip in concentration as she held the bowl with the ingredients and the mixer. "Here you go!"
"Thanks, hon. If you continue to be so helpful you can help me apply the whipped cream and maybe even get to lick the beaters, okay?"
"Hey, what about me?" Jack whined, turning around to look at both of them. "Can I clean a beater too?"
Sam grinned and waved her icing knife at him. "Only if you're gonna be a good boy today, Jack O'Neill."
He waggled his eyebrows at her suggestively. "But I thought you liked it when I was bad, Carter?"
"No Daddy, if you're bad you're not gonna get any pie," Grace warned him, as she finished collecting the ingredients for his cranberry sauce.
"That's right," Sam said, chuckling.
He looked down at their daughter's head when she handed him the first bowls with fruit. "But Gracie," he said in a stage whisper, "we can still share, right? Mommy doesn't need to know…"
"No!" She replied, wide-eyed. Then she stood on her toes to whisper back at him, but Sam could still hear it. "Mommy can tell when we've done something bad!"
"That's right," Sam confirmed loudly, grinning when Grace looked startled at being overheard. "You should know better than seducing our daughter to the dark side, Jack."
"But they have cookies!" He replied dramatically with a hand on his chest.
Their daughter looked between them, frowning in confusion. "But Mommy has whipped cream, Daddy."
She chuckled softly and beckoned Grace over. "And I have icing!" She used her thumb to wipe one side of the knife clean and licked it off. "You want something too, hon?"
"You betcha!" Jack said enthusiastically.
"Not you, me Daddy!" Grace cried, quickly running over to her. "Can I?"
Jack let out a long-suffering sigh as he slowly made his way over to the island where they were both enjoying the icing. "You two are really mean, you know that? Here I am, slaving away at the stove to get dinner done and you girls are eating cake!"
"Icing, Daddy," Grace corrected him with a beaming smile. Then she held out her right index finger to him. "Want some?"
"Hmmm," Jack hummed as he tasted it. "Delicious. Are you sure there's enough icing on that cake, Carter?"
Sam glanced down at the cake, which was completely covered with it and rolled her eyes. "I'm sure. But you can always add more to your piece when we're having some later today."
"Excellent. Well, I'll get started on that cranberry sauce," he said as he collected the other bowls with ingredients, "and you two get working on that whipped cream. Do you have enough for both the pumpkin and pecan pie?"
"More than enough," she confirmed as she threw the cream, confectioners' sugar, sour cream and vanilla extract in the bowl and plugged in the electric mixer. "I made sure of it, knowing Teal'c is coming over. And you know Cam will eat just about anything just to compete with him."
Jack nodded as he returned to the stove and started boiling water and sugar, raising his voice as he replied to be heard over the mixer. "Too bad Jonas couldn't come… although, we probably would have needed another bird if he had been able to make it!"
"Are Uncle Cam and Uncle Daniel coming, too? And Aunt Vala and Cassie?" Grace asked.
"Cam and Daniel are both scheduled to arrive in…" Sam glanced at the clock after turning off the mixer, "… the next two hours. Vala and Cassie couldn't make it, unfortunately."
Jack threw the fruit and nuts in the saucepan and put the cover on it before looking in her direction. "Why isn't Cass coming?"
"I told you, she's going to spend today with her boyfriend and his family," she explained again, wondering what else he'd ignored when she'd been talking to him about their Thanksgiving plans.
"Why? She's only known the guy for five minutes! She could have spent it here with us and, if necessary, that boy of hers could tag along," he said.
Sam grinned as she used her pinkie to taste the whipped cream and nodded in satisfaction. "Like she would bring a boyfriend over for an introduction to her make-shift family when all you guys are present."
"You and Uncle Teal'c would try to scare him," Grace giggled softly, referring to the last time Cassandra had brought someone along, almost two years ago.
"Yup, then we could see what he's made off and she wouldn't have to waste her time on a wimp," Jack explained with a smirk. "We'll be doing the same thing when you're older, munchkin."
She scrunched up nose and shook her head. "Boys are icky, I don't want a boyfriend."
"That's the spirit!"
"Jack," Sam said, rolling her eyes at him. He was enjoying the role of overbearing father figure far too much with Cassandra already, he didn't need to start on their daughter too.
"Daddy, you forgot the orange," Grace said suddenly, pointing at the counter.
He quickly turned around and groaned. "Oh crap! Think I should just leave it out, Sam?"
She frowned, silently wondering about his great 'system' and sighed. "Well, can't you still add it? I didn't go through all the trouble of boiling it last night so you can leave it out only to complain during dinner about the cranberry sauce not being good enough without the pureed orange."
"Right," he muttered, walking over to the food processor. "Wait, all the 'trouble'? How difficult exactly is it to boil an orange, General Doctor Samantha Carter?"
"You know what I mean," she muttered, flushing slightly. "I'd been working on base all day and most of the evening only to come home and realize I still had to bake the pies and cake! Then, just when I was almost done you wanted me to boil an orange, for crying out loud."
Jack just grinned at her, no doubt storing her remark for future teasing and squeezed the juice from the pith into the processor before adding a teaspoon of sugar. "Gracie, could you hand me the peel?"
"Sure, Daddy," she replied. "When can we have cake and whipped cream?"
"Just a little bit longer, hon." Sam double-checked the whipped cream, as Grace did as she was told, and then put it away in the fridge for later. The two pies were still waiting there to be eaten as well and they looked delicious. She could hardly wait and wondered how much convincing Jack would need to start on one of the pies or maybe the chocolate cake earlier when the guys were here rather than saving it for dessert. It probably wasn't wise for her to eat much of them at all considering she still had some pregnancy weight to lose but it was just one day… and it was going to be a long and hectic day so she could probably use the sugar rush, right?
When she walked back to the island to retrieve the chocolate cake she noticed Jack had somehow found a free spot on the counter for Grace to sit on as she pressed the button on the food processor with a wicked grin, and smiled at the sight the two of them made. She had always been impressed by the glimpses of his soft side when it came to kids, knowing how deadly and tough he could be most of the time but it had been amazing to see him transform into the man he was now; mostly soft and caring with only glimpses of the battered soldier when he or someone he loved was threatened. Grace had probably been the biggest reason but retirement had also released him from a heavy burden – and to think they had both been so worried how things would turn out when they discovered she was unexpectedly pregnant again!
Just as she brought the cake to the fridge and looked for a spot to shelve it a soft cry sounded through the baby monitor and quickly increased in volume. Sam shoved the cake in the first free spot she found and slammed the door closed. "I'll go, you finish your sauce…"
"No, I'll help," he said quickly, as he added the pureed orange to the cranberry sauce. "The turkey is ready to go into the oven anyway. I'll put it away and then I'll come up to help."
Daniel got out of the car and slammed the door shut, waiting for Mitchell to lock it and quietly wondering when he and Teal'c would stop talking about Vala not being present – again. As far as he was aware she was still out there in the galaxy with Ba'al's former host, trying to help the guy adjust and deal with his trauma… He didn't think it would work; the man might be a clone of technically only a few years old but he still had all the memories of the former host and the Goa'uld that went back thousands of years. It wasn't unlike Apophis' situation so many years ago, when the symbiote and host had been dying in the SGC's infirmary – and Daniel hadn't felt very forgiving towards him either.
Not to mention that Vala's usual running away from emotional situations was bothering him… It was kind of ironic how he'd always thought Sam and Jack's relationship was so dysfunctional with them working together for years and denying their feelings for each other, yet in the end they had gotten together in spite of all the obstacles – the military, frat regs, their respective assignments and emotional baggage – and were even raising a family together, while he and Vala hadn't even come close to talking about their feelings for each other after all these years…
"Um, look guys, maybe we should change the subject," he suggested, waving at the house of their friends and using it as an excuse, knowing how Sam and Jack felt about the Goa'uld.
"Indeed," Teal'c agreed, sounding a bit relieved.
Daniel wondered if the Jaffa was getting exasperated with them after spending most of the afternoon together in isolation at the infirmary. They had planned on getting here much earlier but now it was already early in the evening. He had tried calling both Sam and Jack's cell phones but no one had answered, which wasn't all that strange if they were busy working on their elaborate Thanksgiving dinner and perhaps had forgotten their phones upstairs or put them on silent. Considering neither of them had called the base or tried to reach any of them, he figured they weren't bothered by it. Or maybe Sam had already heard about the outbreak of poisonous alien pollen on the base from Colonel Altman, her 2IC who was commanding the SGC on her day off. Fortunately for him, Teal'c and Mitchell the reaction to the pollen would have been visible within one to two hours and none of them had any symptoms. Doctor Lam had kept them there for five hours in total, just to make sure and then had given in to their pleas to release them – she probably understood they were anxious to see their friends after nearly four months and with only so many days of leave.
"Hey, do you guys know why Lam wasn't joining us for dinner?"
"Was she not fulfilling her duties at StarGate Command, Colonel Mitchell?"
Mitchell shrugged in reply as they made their way up to the path. "Well yeah, but she's the boss in the infirmary so I'm sure she could have had someone cover for her. Sam told me she had invited her, knowing General Landry and her mother were both too busy with work to celebrate the holiday."
"Ah, I think there are still some issues between them," Daniel said hesitantly.
"Between Landry and his ex-wife?"
"Um no, Sam and Doctor Lam," he replied.
Even Teal'c looked surprised, his eyebrow nearly reaching his hairline. "I was not aware of any disagreements between General Carter and Doctor Lam."
He grimaced and stopped in front of the porch steps, waiting for his two former teammates to follow his example. "Not really a disagreement, but… well, you know what happened with Sam's pregnancy and the complications that occurred. It was only then at thirty-three weeks that she referred Sam to a specialist at the Academy Hospital and if she had done so sooner it could have gone down a lot smoother," he explained. "Not that Sam or Jack blame her or anything, but I think Doctor Lam blames herself for not acting sooner and thinking she could treat Sam."
"But I thought Lam had experience with pregnant women during her residency or something," Mitchell commented.
"Yeah, she is qualified but it had been a while and the necessary equipment isn't as up to date at the SGC as it is with Sam's obstetrician etcetera," Daniel said, rummaging in his pocket for the house key. "She's just being too hard on herself and that's probably why she declined the dinner invitation and took the Thanksgiving shift. It's not like she could have prevented the complications as Sam's was already considered a high risk pregnancy."
"Carrying such a self-imposed burden is unhealthy and serves no one," Teal'c said.
Mitchell nodded in agreement. "He's right. Maybe I should talk to her or Sam about it before I leave," he mused aloud. Then he walked up the steps and looked at them. "Well, come on. They might start on dinner without us if we keep the Generals waiting much longer."
"Don't ring the bell," Daniel warned him. "Sam said to use my key because we don't want to inadvertently wake someone."
"That is indeed a most prudent strategy," Teal'c said in an approving tone.
"Yeah, crying babies turn me right off a meal," Mitchell added as he stepped aside to let him through.
Daniel chose not to respond to that and instead just used his key to open the door. "Hmm, it's much quieter than I thought."
"Maybe they're upstairs in the nursery."
"There is a burning smell coming from within the house," Teal'c said in an alarmed tone and pushed them aside.
Quickly following him into the kitchen Daniel was stunned by the sight that greeted him. "Oh boy… what happened here?"
Mitchell joined them and gaped at the mess as Teal'c turned off the stove. "Princess, what did you do?!"
Little Gracie was blinking back at them with those familiar wide blue eyes. "Nothing," she said in a sweetly, innocent tone.
"This is not 'nothing'," he chastised her, glancing around the messy kitchen and her own appearance.
"It appears Grace O'Neill takes after her father and has helped herself to the confections, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c needlessly stated, alternating his disgusted glance between the half-opened fridge, the floor, the kitchen island and the burned saucepan in his hands.
"Mommy said I could have cake and pie later and that I could help put the whipped cream on them," Grace explained softly. "It's later now."
Mitchell coughed awkwardly and averted his gaze. "That explains the chocolate on her face and hands."
"And on the fridge and table," Daniel muttered.
"I believe there is also whipped cream in her hair," Teal'c said after an appraising glance at the young girl.
Daniel could feel a headache coming up and the burned smell in the kitchen wasn't helping. "Grace…" His voice trailed off, at a loss for words.
"Couldn't you at least have used a knife to cut the cake?" Mitchell questioned, eyeing the abused cake.
Grace's face turned into what Daniel could only describe as a perfect imitation of an outraged Jack. "No! Daddy says I'm not allowed to use the cake knife because I could hurt myself."
"Maybe a fork instead of your hands then?"
"Wait, where are your mom and dad?" Daniel asked, suddenly realizing that looking at the amount of missing cake – cake! – the upside down pie on in front of the fridge and how much whipped cream was on the floor and table that this hadn't happened in ten minutes or so.
Grace lifted a sticky-looking hand in the direction of the open living room.
"In the living room?" He frowned, wondering why this had gotten so out of hand if they were nearby and how come they hadn't said anything yet.
Before the girl could reply Teal'c had already strode over there and rounded the couch. "I have found O'Neill and General Carter," he said, the corners of his mouth twitching. "And their latest offspring."
Utterly confused, Daniel followed him to take a look for himself. A smile broke out on his face at the adorable picture they made. Too bad he didn't have his cell phone with him or he'd take a quick snap with its camera!
"Jackson, what's going on?" Mitchell questioned as he sat on his haunches in front of Grace, helping her out of her dirty apron.
"They're asleep," he replied, still grinning. "They must have been exhausted or they would have woken up by now."
"Hey princess, how long have they been asleep?"
Grace shrugged at Mitchell as he wiped her hands clean with the soiled apron. "When the small hand was at one," she said. "But I gave the babies a bottle when it was at four, because Daddy always does that and lets me help."
"And they didn't wake up?" Daniel asked, incredulous. Then again, his two friends had slept through this conversation and Grace's antics… He knew Sam had mentioned that the twins weren't sleeping through the night yet and that she and Jack were both exhausted, but to this extent?
"Sophie and Tess were awake but they weren't crying yet so I let Mommy and Daddy sleep."
"O'Neill, General Carter," Teal'c said in a bellowing voice, "you must awaken now."
However, it wasn't the two adults the Jaffa had awoken but the two three-month-old girls, who quickly started crying. Daniel winced at the shrill sound, suddenly understanding how it was possible such little angels could cause rough nights. Fortunately Sam and Jack were attuned to the cries of their daughters, Sam immediately waking up with bleary eyes while Jack simply tightened his grip on the sandy-haired girl lying on his chest and automatically started stroking her back. "Welcome back to the land of the living."
"Daniel? Teal'c?" Sam blinked, looking at them. "When did you guys get here?"
"Not in time to prevent your eldest from redecorating your kitchen with confections, General Carter," the Jaffa replied in an amused tone.
"What did Gracie do?" Jack muttered sleepily as he too slowly opened his eyes. Keeping a firm hold on the baby he sat up straight.
Daniel squirmed uncomfortably but eventually succumbed to the inquisitive gazes of his two best friends. "Um, you may have promised her she could have cake and whipped cream?"
Sam's eyes widened in the same manner he'd seen on her daughter not so long ago. "Oh God," she muttered, quickly getting up and going over to the kitchen. "Holy Hannah!" She looked around and was clearly stunned by the mess, all the while gently cradling the baby in her arms. When her eyes fell on her firstborn with the guilty expression she quickly rushed over, pushing Mitchell aside. "Here, hold her," she handed the baby over to a suddenly excited Cameron Mitchell. "Tess, this is your Uncle Cam. Cam, this is Tess."
"Aw, she's so cute, Sam," Mitchell cooed. "I couldn't tell from the pictures that she was ginger!"
But Sam's focus was on Grace, quickly checking the messy girl over for any injuries before coming to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with her. "We will talk about your behavior later, young lady. First we have to get you cleaned up – again – and clean up this mess you've made."
"I'll get her in the shower," Jack said in a stern voice. "You probably need to feed the girls again, Sam."
"Um, why don't I help Grace become, er, presentable again, while Sam feeds the twins and you check on the food, Jack. There was something burning on the stove when we got here," he added.
"I believe it was cranberry sauce," Teal'c supplied helpfully.
Jack glanced at the clock and suddenly his sleepy eyes widened in shock. "The bird!" He quickly handed Sophie over to Teal'c and dashed towards the oven… "Oh damn! It's toast."
"Are you sure?" Sam asked as she got up, taking her youngest from Mitchell.
"It's close to turning black," Jack huffed as he turned off the oven. "I thought we'd set a timer?"
"You said you did," she reminded him.
As Daniel looked at Grace he recognized the way she was biting her lip and sighed. "Grace?"
She shyly looked up at Sam and Jack, hopping from one foot to another. "It was ticking so loudly I was afraid it would wake you and the babies…"
"… so you turned it off?" Jack guessed with a grimace.
"I'm sorry, Daddy! But you said we had to be quiet when Sophie fell asleep in your arms and-"
"It's okay," he muttered, waving it away with his hand. "Daniel if you could get Gracie cleaned up then Sam can feed the twins and I'll get started on cleaning the kitchen."
"I shall retrieve one of the brochures of nearby eating establishments," Teal'c stated.
"I'll help the General," Mitchell volunteered. "Um, I meant General O'Neill! Not Sam, um, General Carter."
Daniel snickered at his stammering and grabbed Grace's sticky hand. "Well, I'll leave you to it… Oh and Grace told us she had fed the girls a bottle about three hours ago."
Jack groaned, scrubbing a hand over his face. "Damn, we must have really been exhausted not to wake up during all that."
"That was very smart of you, Grace," Sam praised with a small, but tired smile. "However, next time just wake us up, okay?"