The months had moved on since the drunken incident Colonel Jack O'Neill had at his 2IC's home. Major Samantha Carter had long forgiven him and their bond never faltered. With the missions they had been deployed on, there were numerous situations where they had to save each other's ass.

When she and her father went to another world to help fight Anubis' new super drones, it once again became clear to her that she may not be making the right decision staying with Pete Shanahan. The entire time she was trying to avoid being killed by Anubis' new fleet, all she could think about was getting back to see her CO Jack O'Neill.

She had no idea he and Teal'c were sent to find her but she knew deep down Jack would never accept leaving her out in the universe alone without leading a search party, even if it was a one man search party. Their bond was too close and she would do the same for him. When she finally was able to blow up the super drone she finally sat down to rest assessing the deep wound in her leg, thinking it was over until it stood up. She was frozen, it was directly in front of her aiming for her when all of the sudden shots came from across the dirt lot giving her time to run and get under cover. She didn't see who it was that shot at the drone so she assumed it was one of the other SG teams that were with them.

As the drone redirected its attention back to her and began shooting, Jack came running up behind her with the weapon she and her father had designed. She gave Jack the cartridge he needed to take down the drone. When the drone landed, Teal'c came running from the woods and Jack threw him the weapon to be sure the drone didn't try to get up, but Teal'c acknowledged it was dead.

When Jack saw the extent of his 2IC's injuries, he was concerned. He asked if she wanted to get up but she was out of energy at that point and almost in shock. She turned to sit on the rock and Jack thought for a moment as he always did before showing feeling or concern and sat next to her. He knew a CO should not be holding his female 2IC but this was Carter, HIS Carter. He looked at her all battered and broken and put his arm around her "C'mere", and she leaned into him.

Once in Jack's arms, she felt comfortable again. He just oozed compassion for her and she knew he would die protecting her if he needed. They sat like that for quite some time, giving Carter the time to rest. Teal'c kept his back to them covering the drone, not worried about the relationship between his team members and would never say anything even if he knew there was anything more.

Over the next month Sam had heeled from her wounds . SG-1 , Janet & Cassie had met a couple times for a barbeque at Jack's house. They were all still quite a tight team and enjoyed each other's company. Cassie was still excited every time she got to see her Uncle Jack & Aunt Sam as well as Daniel & Teal'c and they loved spending time with her. When she was younger, Jack would play with her, playing tag or getting everyone involved in a game of hide & seek and after dinner, by the time things started quieting down, Cassie would fall asleep on Jack's lap or shoulder and he ended up carrying her to his bed so he could mingle with the adults which was usually a game of poker or just drinking around the fire pit out back. Now she was a teenager and he would always challenge her to a game of chess or checkers and she would usually kick his butt. He truly missed being a father and with Cassie being about the age Charlie would be, it hurt his heart at times when he had gone a long time without getting to see her.

In the morning the team had all arrived at the SGC and were informed a camera crew were going to be interviewing each of them. None were very happy and Jack did his very best to avoid them.

During Sam's interview, she was asked about Colonel O'Neill and she spoke very highly of him almost blushing. She was asked in a roundabout way if there was any relationship between them as they worked so closely together and had saved each other's lives countless times. Sam did her best to respond in a professional manner saying that everything was professional just as it was with all the other CO's and 2IC's in the military.

The film crew were interviewing Dr Frasier and discussing Colonel O'Neill's past injuries and incidents while Sgt Siler was being treated for his latest blast to the chest. Suddenly there was another alarm making the crew more interested in what was happening so they ended the interview.

When one of the SG 13 members came through the gate they told General Hammond Major Wells was hit by a staff blast but still alive and the others were staying behind to cover him. When Jack ran down and found out half of SG 3 were also down he, asked permission to go and Hammond gave him the ok and to also take SG's 5 & 7 as well as Dr Frasier.

While they were off world, Jack was struck by a staff blast. Carter ran to his side trying to keep her feelings in check when she dialed the gate and told the SGC they were under attack and coming in live. She couldn't help but feel lost especially when she found out her best friend Janet Frasier was killed in action and she didn't have Jack to run to as he too was injured.

The following day she heard Jack was being sent home so she went to his quarters where she found him getting dressed. When she saw him she broke down and had to tell him how she felt seeing him hit and lying motionless. She tried to choke back the tears but it didn't work. Jack said nothing and gently walked to her and stopped. He looked her up & down before inviting her "C'mere" and took her into a tight embrace letting her empty her tears onto his shoulder. He knew how she felt, he too had seen Carter almost die and it almost broken him. Unfortunately this time, one of their closest friends was also dead and she left behind a young girl.

Sam wanted to get to Cassie because she had been staying with a friend. Jack decided he wanted to go with her, not only because of Cassie, but because he didn't want Sam to be alone. As they were leaving the base Jack asked Sam if she should call Pete to let him know she was ok but she shrugged it off.

"Is everything ok?" he hated to pry but he knew something was up. She smiled back, "ya, I suppose I should give him a call. He doesn't know any of this has happened yet." Jack looked to her, "Do you want me to drop you with Pete and I can go get Cassie?" Sam was confused about his question until she thought about it. Pete WAS her boyfriend after all and Jack was just trying to be mindful of the fact. "No, that's ok, I'll call him when we get home." Jack nodded and continued to the address of Cassie's friend.

When Cassie saw Sam & Jack drive up she ran out and hugged them both. The neighbors would have thought the trio was one family if they didn't know any better. Jack grabbed Cassie's stuff from the porch while she and Sam climbed into the truck and they all headed for Sam's house.

The following day, Jack picked up Sam & Cassie to took them to the base for Janet's Memorial. Afterword, the three stayed together for the reception and the three left to return to Sam's house to talk about how to proceed. Cassie was not quite old enough to live alone and with Jack & Sam off world all the time, they didn't want to leave her alone in the event something happened. She agreed to move in with Sam and to also have Jack as her guardian so he offered to clean out one of the spare bedrooms at his house just for her when she stayed.

After Jack spoke to Cassie's friends mother, who's husband was in the Air Force out of Peterson AFB, she agreed to let Cassie stay with them while both Jack & Sam were deployed together on missions. Of course the woman had no idea the girls guardians were leaving the planet, but what she didn't know wouldn't hurt her.

Days later SG-1 was requested in an investigation in Los Angeles. Jack told Sam to lead the team and he would stay back with Cassie. He didn't want the girl alone yet with her mother dying only days earlier. So it gave Jack & Cassie time to get her new room all decorated and set. He had also taken Cassie back to Janet's house to start packing things. Jack told the girl to pack anything she wanted to keep from Janet and later he would have SGC personnel come and pack up the rest.

Most of the items were taken to Sam's house but Cassie picked a few things to be kept at Jack's. It meant a lot to him that she was so cooperative and understanding during these emotional times. A few times she had seen something and broke down crying but Jack was always there to hold her and get her through it while he choked back his own tears.

When Sam returned a few days later, she went to Jack's house and Cassie was excited to show Sam everything they had done putting together a new bedroom for her. Sam knew Jack was going to make space but didn't realize he was going to go all out. Sam shot Jack a look and he smiled and shrugged his shoulders. "This way she always has a place of her own whether at your house or mine. Besides, I like having her around."

The three smiled and sat down to talk a bit. Jack wanted to be filled in on what had gone down with the NID so Sam explained in short. They agreed to go out to dinner before Sam and Cassie went back to her house where Jack followed them so he could show Sam what they did at her house and to see if she wanted anything else moved or changed to fit the teenager more comfortably into the small home.

Hammond had given a two week leave to SG-1 in order to get things settled with Cassie so it gave Jack & Sam a lot of time together. This also gave Teal'c a chance to return to Chulak to spend time with his son and Daniel went on a mission with SG-11 to look at some ruins. Never during this time, did Jack ever see Sam talking to Pete or even mentioning him so he thought the man may have hit the road. He figured he wouldn't ask and eventually Sam would tell him the truth. He enjoyed spending his time with the two and missed them when he returned home at night. A couple days they did hang around Jack's house and have cook outs and bon fires.

One of the nights they were sitting around the fire and it was getting late. Cassie looked over and saw Sam resting her head on Jack's shoulder while he played with a stick in the fire. She smiled at them and blurted it out, "why don't you two just kiss and get it over with? It's SO obvious you two love each other, I'm no small child anymore, I know you two love each other."

Sam sat up and Jack froze not knowing what to say, "Cassandra Frasier! You devil you! Jack and I are just very good friends, we are not a couple." Cassie grinned ear to ear, "Ya right! I know lovebirds when I see them!" Jack's eyes were looking for something to target on so he could avoid the conversation. Sam just smiled and explained to Cassie why they couldn't be a couple. The girl was smart so she understood what was said. "You really let that stop you? You were supposed to kill me and you didn't follow THAT order, but you will live unhappily just because a piece of paper says you can't have a relationship with someone you love so deeply? Sound's ridiculous to me."

Everything Cassie was saying made sense to Jack who all night had been thinking about retiring and keeping this little family together and maybe building more. Cassie had decided she was tired and wanted to go to bed so she disappeared into the house. What she really wanted was to give her new guardians time alone to think about what she had said.

When Sam & Jack finally got the fire out, they went in to check Cassie who was sleeping, or at least pretending to. Sam decided it was time to leave to go home, "Smart kid that one." Jack said. Sam smiled back, "Ya, little conniver. She just wanted us to be alone." Jack paused and stared into Sam's eyes as she stared back. "Ya… Sam, maybe she's right. I mean, I've been doing some thinking. If I retired now, Cass will have someone home every day with her and we won't have to worry about us both being sent off world and leaving her." Sam was chewing her lip, she wanted nothing more than to be with this man but did not want him to give up the Air Force so she shook her head. "You don't want that, you'd miss going to work, the adventure." He leaned into her not knowing if it was going to be completely inappropriate. "Samantha, you know I'd give it all up to be with you."

She continued to chew her lip and after a deep breath, leaned into him and the two were kissing. Jack finally grabbed the side of her head and the two stood with tongues dueling until Jacks mouth started wandering down to her neck making her close her eyes and just breath in his scent. God she loved him but she started thinking about Pete and stepped back. "I ah, I gotta go. Have Cassie call me when she wants to be picked up."

Jack stood in wonder if he had crossed the line, "Sure, will do. Oh ah, tomorrow I plan to go into the SGC for a while. Are you going in? Maybe we can meet you there?" Sam smiled, "Ya, sounds like a plan." Jack threw his hand up, "O and Saturday night I have dinner plans with some guys and then we're coming back here for poker. With that crew I think it may be better that Cass not be here. They can be a bit rough around the edges." Sam smiled knowing what he meant. She had met some of those guys and they were pretty rowdy when they got to drinking or having fun.

In the morning Daniel had called Sam about an interesting Ancient device he wanted to go check out. Jack woke up Cassie and told her he and Sam were going to have to go off world for the day so he dropped her off at her friend's house on the way. Unfortunately while they were off world, Jack ended up having the entire Ancient Repository downloaded into his brain again.

Jack had asked for a couple days off to get things in order just in case things didn't work out this time and Hammond gave him the ok. Sam went and brought Cassie home to her house and explained what was going on. Sam had not been able to sleep all night so in the morning, she drove by and stopped to visit Jack. She had been trying to talk to him when they had a few awkward moments, one of which he told Sam she was one of Earth's Natural resources, if not National Treasure's. She was trying to figure out a response when Daniel & Teal'c knocked on his door followed by General Hammond.

Unfortunately with everyone showing up, it made it impossible for Sam to tell Jack how she was feeling but Jack knew. When Hammond showed up, he told his # 1 team that he had been reassigned and that the SGC operations were being suspended for a 3 month evaluation. He also informed them that a civilian was going to be in command of the program.

The following day was interesting, SG-1 had gone into work and met Dr Wier as well as Vice President Kinsey who was obviously trying to win the new commander to his side but Jack was able to make her consider his theory.

As the day progressed jack's mind began to leak Ancient hinds and Daniel was able to figure out the gate address for the Lost City Jack had been talking about. They were able to get Teal'c to find a ship and bring them to the location as there was no operable Stargate. As Jack was reconfiguring the crystals on the ship, Sam approached him to let him know General Hammond had given her orders to take command if she felt the Colonel was not able to. Jack told her to take command now and she accepted. She tried to tell him what she wanted to tell him at his house and he stopped her, telling her he knew what it was she was going to say.

When they arrived on the planet, Jack led them to several area's. The second area he was able to control and release the weapons against Anubis via a chair. After the weapons were released Jack went limp. Sam ran to him and found he was still alive just not coherent. She took his chin in her hand, "Don't you dare leave us now! We won!" She was choking back tears, "Please… Jack."

Jack was barely awake and was mumbling something when Daniel realized he wanted to go back to the pod. Teal'c picked him up and carried him to the pod. He mumbled a few more words which Daniel translated to "Goodbye" and the pod sealed him in stasis. Sam was about to fall apart thinking she would never see him again. "We can't just leave him here!" She walked over and placed her hand on the clear film covering him and fell apart.

Daniel & Teal'c assisted her to the rings so they could be transported back to the ship. When they returned to the SGC they had a briefing with Dr Wier who couldn't believe what had happened and wasn't sure she was ready to command a military operation such as this. The first mission she sent the flagship team out on resulted in the loss of one of it's finest members.

Daniel took Sam home and stayed with her and Cassie for most of the evening. When Sam finally was able to fall asleep on the couch, Cassie told him it was ok to go. Her heart was completely broken over the loss of her Uncle Jack but she was smart enough to know that she had to stay strong for Sam so Sam could figure out a way to get him back.

Pete had called the following day just to check on Sam not knowing what had been happening. When he found out, he rushed over and found Sam crying, curled in a ball on the bed. They talked for a while and between he and Cassie, they were able to get Sam up and fed.

They kept trying to get through to her that the SGC needed her to help get Jack back. Several days later Sam reported to work and they had a briefing with Dr Wier who told SG-1 they could not carry out Sam's plan as it sounded like a suicide mission. Later, Sam was able to talk her into allowing only herself and Teal'c to fly the cargo ship out to find the Asgard who owed them a favor and Dr Wier agreed. Cassie agreed to stay with her friend and Daniel was going to be checking in on her each day to keep her up to date on what was happening. He also agreed to keep Pete in the loop, though Daniel could feel a little tension between the couple. Most likely because Pete couldn't know exactly what Sam was doing, only that she was going off world to try to rescue Jack.

A lot had happened with Sam & Teal'c being trapped by a black hole and Thor having to save them. Then Sam was captured by the replicators and assumed dead when the Asgard blew up the ship she had been on before Thor had been able to save Jack and have his mind fixed by having the Ancient knowledge downloaded to their computer.

Thor's planet was saved with the device Jack had designed when he had his mind downloaded into Thor's ship computer. Jack, Teal'c & Daniel were beamed onto the planet near where the replicator ship had landed. The trio were amazed that the replicators seemed to be running away or toward something rather than at them when they saw the ship leave.

Jack thought his only chance of seeing Sam again was gone when Thor picked up a heat sensor saying there was a 4th person nearby. Teal'c found her and ran to her as did Jack. There were little words needed as the two's eyes met and said everything they needed.

After returning they were given a clean bill of health and Jack went up to speak to Dr Wier. She was packing and when he asked why, she said she was being transferred to oversee the Ancient Outpost. He asked if that meant Hammond was coming back and she informed him Hammond was being promoted to oversee Earth's defense and command a new department called Home World Security.

Jack wasn't happy but when she told him the new commander of the SGC was military he asked if they would know this "shrub". She was smiling at him when she leaned in, "Well you know him rather well…. Brigadier General Jack O'Neill" He was taken back, "Me? Brigadier, ay." He made his case about the pro's but not wanting to be in charge of anything. Dr Wier sent him on his way to think about it.

When he informed the rest of his team he was still puzzled about what he wanted to do. "All my life I've spent it sticking it to the man. If I take it, I'll be the man. I don't think I can be the man." The rest of the team was reminding him of the state of affairs taking place while he was still thinking. Daniel reminded him he would do fine, especially with his advisors, meaning SG-1.

During the Promotion Ceremony, Jack accepted his position and the first order of business was to promote Sam to Lt Colonel. He figured if she was going to lead SG-1 she deserved the new rank. It took everything they had up on the stage not to take each other into an embrace but they acted as professionally as they were required.

On the way home they picked up Cassie and everyone met at Jack's house for a celebration. Daniel even promised to bring beer and cake. Cassie was so excited to see them both she was almost crying. She worried about them, that they wouldn't return but here they were. They thanked the parents of her friend and off they went back to Jack's house in time to get home before the guests arrived.

They had a great time with all their friends from the SGC, even Siler stopped over and left without an injury. After the guests had all left Sam & Jack were still out by the fire pit. Cassie had fallen asleep on a blanket behind them as it was late. "Should we wake her up? I don't want her to wake up in the middle of the night in the dark and I don't wanna leave the fire going without someone watching it."

Sam looked Jack in the eyes, "jack.. I still never got to tell you what I wanted before all this happened." Jack never took his eyes off her but he put his finger to her lip. "Shhh.. we don't to wake the kid" as he leaned in closer and Sam gladly accepted his kiss. They finally took each other into an embrace and just held each other, not talking, every once and a while Jack would give her a soft kiss on the neck near her collarbone sending goose bumps through her body.

Finally after a few minutes, they heard "Get a room!" from the girl who was thought to be sleeping. Jack threw an empty water bottle at her, "why you rug rat!" as they were all laughing. Cassie got up to run when Jack made a move to tag her. Sam stood up and was laughing at the two of them playing. Cassie was soon to be 18 and would be graduating High School but she loved Cassie and especially loved seeing her having fun and she always loved watching Jack with kids. She would sit back and almost mourn over the fact that Jack didn't get to raise his son as she was sure he would be the perfect father.

Sam decided it would be safest if she and Cassie went home so she could process what just happened. Cassie invited Jack to go along to see some colleges in the morning and he agreed to pick them up at 9:00 for a fun filled day as long as he was back by 6:00 cause he had plans with the guys. They agreed so Cassie gave Jack a big hug and went outside leaving Sam in the doorway with Jack looking down at her, hands in his pockets. "Goodnight sir." She smiled at him and turned to leave but he gently took her arm. "How many times do I have to tell ya to knock off the sir when we are alone and not at work." She grined. "Sorry, it just comes out that way."

He smiled back as the same thing happened to him when "Carter" would come out even though he was thinking Sam. He got a serious look on his face at stared at her, "Sam, I ah, I wanted to say…." She could tell he was almost blushing and he was now looking at the floor so she stopped him. "I know Jack." He nodded his head and smiled back as she left.

In the morning he picked them up and visited the campus' Cassie was considering. She was set on going to school to be a doctor just like Janet so wanted the best options where she'd get the best education. They had stopped for lunch and while Cassie was on the tour at one of the colleges, Jack & Sam got to spend time sitting by a pond filled with ducks to watch.

Jack took a deep breath before talking, "So, what's up with Pete? He still around?" he really didn't want to know but figured before he would attempt to move forward anymore he had to know. She became still and wouldn't look his direction, "Pete is doing well." It was an awkward moment. "He ah, he's still around. I just haven't had much time to see him, with your situation and then everything with the replicators." Jack was nodding and thinking to himself, Good, then it wasn't Pete who comforted Sam when she returned without me! He had heard she was a wreck when they had to leave Jack behind and he wondered whos arms she ran to.

"He did come over a couple days before I went back to work but I think Cassie being there put a crimp in his plans so he didn't stay." Jack was happy to hear that. "Ya, that kid is great huh? She'll make it for sure. She's a smart cookie." Sam nodded at Jack's words.

The two walked back holding hands and met with Cassie after the campus tour. She was glowing, "I think I found the right one, I want to go here!" They walked back to the truck where Jack opened the door for his ladies and drove them home to Sam's while they listened to every reason Cassie had for attending THIS school. They pulled into the driveway and parked the car, Jack said he had to get going because he had to stop at the store for beer and pretzels for the guys.

Cassie leaned over the seat and gave him a kiss on the cheek, "Thanks Uncle Jack!" and she bounced out the back door. Sam turned to smile but he leaned in to give her a kiss on the cheek as well but she met him and he hit her lips. She intended to do it and he savored the opportunity. When she pulled away she looked but Cassie was in the house, "You are one special guy, do you know that?." He stared back at her with questioning eyes, "I do!" and he had a big grin. "Carter, I will ALWAYS be here waiting for you." They sat and stared at each other for a moment and it put Sam in turmoil. She loved this man so much and yet had Pete on the line as well. But she knew she could have Pete, Jack was still legally off limits. She finally turned and got out of the truck not saying another word. She just didn't know what to say so she said nothing. Jack drove off not knowing what that meant. Had he crossed that line again? He never knew but if Pete was still around he knew she had things to work out.

As he was leaving the package store he hopped in the truck and found a message from Sam. "Jack, I do love you. I just don't know how we can work it out." and the message ended. He tried to replay but there was nothing more to listen to. He sighed and tried calling her back but there was no answer so he left a message. He knew the call was just missed, he wasn't in the store more than 5 minutes. He tried again ten minutes later but again to voicemail:

"Sam, It's me.. call me. I got your message. Call anytime. It doesn't matter what plans I've got, I can break 'em. All you gotta do is call and I will turn this truck around at the next red light. I don't mind tellin' all the guys I can't meet 'em. We can all go raise some hell on any other night."

He went home thinking about what she said. He had a blast with the guys, they were pretty rowdy and it was always fun to act like a guy. Drinking, swearing, cheating in cards, he always had fun. At least this time they didn't go out to a bar just to be kicked out.

The guys left around midnight and he had not heard Sam call back so he checked his phone and found she had called. Dammit, they were too loud, and I missed it! This time he'd had a few beers in him so he was feeling brave. He knew he was too drunk to drive but thought he could carry a conversation. He listened to the message, "Jack, I got your message. Hope you're having fun with the guys. No need to stop your party just for me. Hope you're not busting up some bar or something. You guys are probably somewhere that's too loud and you missed this. Call me when you can so we can talk. I'm just laying here in bed thinking about what to do about us."

Jack's mind ran away while she was talking. He was picturing her in a skimpy summer nightgown just laying on the bed talking on the phone. When he got up the courage to call it rang to voice mail again. "Sam, it's me again. Want me to come over? I've been thinking about what you said. Now you got me thinking…. I would love to see you now… all you gotta do is call me. You don't have to worry 'bout it baby, you can wake me up in the dead of the night, wreck my plans, that's alright. This is a drop everything kinda thing so swing on by, I'll pour you a drink. The door's unlocked, I'll leave on the lights. Baby you can crash my party anytime….." the voice message time ran out so he hung up.

He went to bed but was laying waiting for a return call and after another hour of laying there thinking about the woman he wanted so badly. He finally decided to call back again. He knew if he didn't do it while he had the courage of the alcohol, he would never.

Again another message: " Sam, it's me again. Hey ya know there ain't a spot downtown that's rockin' the way that you rock me. Ain't a bar that can make me buzz the way that you do. I could be on the front row of the best show, And look down and see your face on my phone. And I'm gone, so long, hang on, I'll meet you in a minute or two. So if you wanna call me, call me. Even if it's two in the mornin' and you're feelin' lonely, and wonderin' what I'm doin', go ahead and call me. Baby you can crash my party anytime…!"

He had finally fallen asleep not sure how long he was out when he heard a slight tap outside his door. He looked out the window but didn't see anything cars shining in moon light. He quietly grabbed his hand gun and tip toed towards the door when it opened slowly. He was about to raise the gun when he heard her soft voice, "Jack? Are you still up?" his hand quickly brought the weapon down and he placed it on the kitchen table. "Sam!" he walked over to her and took her in for a hug.

"Jack, what are we gonna to do?" She questioned and he just held her wondering himself. They spent the night talking and holding each other but in the morning they both knew they had to go to work where Jack was the new General and she, still the Lt Colonel.

They decided she had to work things out with Pete first. Jack told her that if she loved Pete and if she thought he would be a great husband and father, that she should stay with him. She deserved a man who could love her openly in public and father her children. All the things Jack couldn't do right now. All he could do was love her in secrecy which he said he would do after 8 years of bottling it all up inside but decided not to be selfish and allow her to have more.

He hated telling her that, he wanted her for himself but he loved her too much to keep her from being the mother she hoped to be and the wife to a man who could make her happy. He kissed her on the forehead and got up. "It's time for me to get ready for work." She stood right after him and they just watched each other. "You go… I have no ill feeling if you chose to stay with Pete. He seems like a good guy, you deserve that. Just remember, you can crash my party anytime! I will always be here.." She laughed and gave him a hug and thanked him before she left but she still didn't know what to do.