Story Notes: Spoilers: Heroes II, Inauguration

Season: AU, Future

Sequel/Series Info: Sequel to Long Enough, which in itself is a sequel to Not Letting Him Down

Content Warnings: Mild language and references to sex

Author’s Note:

1. This fic was written at the special request of my beta, web mistress and transatlantic friend Bonnie (Fulinn28) and is dedicated to her in thanks for all her hard work for me and our website, and her words of encouragement, over the last few months. I hope it is what you wished for Bonnie.

2. A wonderful S&J artwork by Annie B. illustrates this fic on my website - converted to a gorgeous book cover by Fulinn28. Thanks to both of them for these creations. You can see it here:

"Did that mean yes?"

Jack was bowled over. He'd just totally botched his attempt at a proposal of marriage. Although he had asked Sam if she would rather wait, she'd said they had waited long enough. Yes indeed, more than long enough. It had sounded like a yes.

"Yes Jack. It meant yes." She took his hand in hers as if that provided further confirmation.

"Are you nuts? We've never even been on a date!" He was flabbergasted. Despite that her letter had declared her feelings as openly as his own, he would never have truly believed this was possible.

"We just spent the night together Jack. That doesn't count? I think we skipped the dating part." She kissed him and gently touched the side of his face with her hand, staring into his eyes. Jack put his hand over hers. "Trying to back out of it?"

"No! Never!"

"Sure sounds like you are, Colonel O'Neill." She teased.

"See, there's a problem, right there." He was all too aware that they weren't actually in a position to marry; not while he was her CO.

"Jack!" Sam did not need to be reminded that this liaison was strictly off limits.

"Sorry! Trust me to screw up the moment. I guess it wasn't that much of a moment, huh? I can't even propose properly. God Sam, that wasn't exactly the most romantic marriage proposal ever was it?"

He looked a little crest fallen, regretting that he had chosen to even hint at his intentions on the spur of the moment. Jack promised himself that he'd ask her again in a more appropriate way and situation - he'd ask her right next time. Did people reaffirm marriage proposals? Hell, you could reaffirm marriages, so why not?

"You deserve better." He added.

"I have the feeling I'm gonna get just what I deserve!" She smiled brilliantly.

"Oh, really?"

He started to tickle her, then captured her in a kiss, and one thing led to another. Although he had not intended to raise it again right now, afterwards, as they lay wrapped in each other's bodies, he could not help himself.

"Sam, I was serious about the… the marriage thing."

"So was I." She replied and this time it was him that dazzled her with his smile.


The next day he went to see Hammond and tendered his resignation, telling no one, not even Sam. He couldn't lead SG-1 and have an affair with his second in command. It just didn't sit well with Jack. Hammond was shocked.

"Why Jack? We need you."

"Not as much as I need this Sir. I want…" He was reluctant to tell Hammond, admit he and Sam had already started this relationship. "Things have changed between Carter and I Sir." He looked embarrassed and reddened.

"Oh." The General stared at Jack with his mouth open.

It wasn't so much that he didn't know Carter and O'Neill felt something special about each other, it was that he hadn't seen this coming. He should have guessed it, had even thought about whether Jack's death and resurrection would be the defining moment between these two.

He'd seen with his own eyes how they had reacted to each other in the infirmary the day Jack had returned to them. However, he had not wanted to believe it, had not wanted to lose O'Neill, so he tried to push it to the back of his mind. He would almost prefer that they carried on an affair behind his back, but he could see that Jack meant business. This was not about having an affair.

"We want to get married Sir."


That was quick work, thought Hammond but it confirmed what he had thought a moment earlier; Jack didn't want to do this behind anybody's back. Hammond imagined that, in all likelihood, he wanted it to be very public indeed.

"We've waited long enough Sir."

Sam had been spot on about that and he was impatient to be with her openly. No way did he intend to screw this up by being forced to lie to their friends and sneak around as if their relationship didn't exist. Additionally, he didn't want an unequal relationship with her and knew it would be if he was her CO. This thing with her had to be right. Secretly, he was fearful that it wouldn't work between them and wanted to give it his best shot.

Whatever happened now, it was too late to put the genie back in the bottle. He had to go for it all the way. If it failed it would not be because of that. He needed to know they could be normal; as normal as two veterans of the SGC ever would be.

"Perhaps there's another way Jack." His CO replied and they discussed the matter for a while, Hammond warding off all other demands on his time. It was worth it if he could keep both of them.


That night as they sat in each other's arms Jack insisted to Sam that they should still have a 'proper' first date. He figured they'd missed something and wanted to woo this woman as a man should.

"What would you do on a first date Jack? Tell me about it."

"Take you to dinner?"


"Burger King?" He laughed at his own tease and Sam giggled. "Or maybe… some nice expensive French or Italian place? With candles and dancing?"

"Do they have those in Colorado Spring?" She half joked. She sure as hell had never been taken anywhere like that in the Springs. "Then what Jack?"

"Don't you want any surprises?" Looking at her expression he thought, I guess not. "The dinner, the dancing? What more is there? Like dancing Sam?"

"I'm a little out of practice."

"So we'll practice together." She smiled and leaned to kiss him when he said this. She thought dancing could be pretty romantic; in the right atmosphere. "So, what after the dancing?"

"I dunno, maybe a moonlit walk where I can take you in my arms and kiss you. We can pretend it's the first time I ever kissed you. And then I'd take you home and kiss you again at the front door."

"No coming in for a… night-cap?" The wicked grin on her face told him she was talking about more than just a drink.

"On a first date? You're kidding, right?" A quirky smile appeared on his face and he leaned to kiss Sam's hair. She was thinking it sounded like a nice first date and letting her imagination run away with her, picturing them dancing cheek to cheek. Then her practical side took over and she frowned. "We can't go on a date Jack. What if someone from the SGC sees us?"

They had not yet discussed the practical side of their changed relationship; that they were breaching the regs and having an illicit liaison. Sam didn't seem to want to discuss it, as if she was avoiding having to face the consequences of their recent actions. He didn't want to spoil that for her for a while. Jack was still thinking about Hammond's proposals and figured that maybe the discussion should be delayed until he had thought it all through. So, for now, he would make like it had never happened.

"Good point, Sam." He looked saddened that she had crushed his fantasy.

"We could do all of that right here Jack." She suggested. "Get a take out and pretend we're in a restaurant. Play music and dance. You could even pretend to walk me to the door if you like?"

"Nice." He replied, warming to the idea of the make believe scenario.

So this is what they did. Jack picked her up and, much to her surprise and delight, brought her flowers. Red roses; a dozen. She was thrilled that he had dressed up in a tux and bow tie; the first time she had ever seen him so attired. He looked stunning and her heart flipped at the sight. Wow! She had also opted for formal evening wear; a long blue evening dress that matched her eyes. When she had opened her door Jack's eyes had nearly popped out of his head.

"Wow, Sam, you look… you look gorgeous. I'm honored." She smiled a reply and noted the shy look on his face. That a guy his age managed to look so shy and boyish never ceased to amaze and delight her.

"Roses Jack?" He handed them to her. "Thank you." She leaned to give him a chaste peck on the cheek, going with his fantasy that this was a first date. "I'd better put them in water before we go out. Come in and wait?"

After that, he drove her to his place, their fantasy restaurant. He'd set a table like a good restaurant would; tablecloth and candles, with all the right place settings and cutlery. He dimmed the lights and lit the candles, put some good background music on the CD player. He handed her a 'menu' and they discussed what they might like to eat. Once they had made their choices, he called the restaurant to order the delivery, having organised some of this with them beforehand.

Jack had bought a very good, expensive wine like one might get in a decent restaurant. Having chosen her preference, the excellent red, they sat and talked like it was a first date, asking the basic questions that one might ask a person one did not know very well. They talked about their jobs, the people they worked with, as if they didn't know they worked together, or anything about each other's work and lives.

The food arrived under special silver lidded platters that Jack had organised. The restaurant had sent one of their waiters to serve it to them. Sam thought it pretty incredible that Jack should arrange this; the restaurant didn't do deliveries and she idly wondered how much all this had cost him. He was more romantic than he gave himself credit for.

The waiter left so they could eat alone. The food was as perfect as it could be; not quite a fresh as if served at the restaurant, but pretty close.

They continued their talking while they ate and both found out things about each other that they hadn't known. Silly trivial things, but new things nonetheless, and this thrilled both of them.

After they'd finished, and let the meal settle a while, Jack asked Sam to dance. At first they stood a little apart, as if nervous of the contact, but as the dancing continued, they drew nearer until it would have been almost impossible to get any closer to each other. Jack's breath in her ear made Sam tingle and she closed her eyes and held him tight as if she would never let him go. Only a few days beforehand she had thought this man dead. Now he was very much alive and she desperately needed him close. Sam was enjoying the fantasy. Jack was more charming than she had ever anticipated, and a great dancer.

They danced until the restaurant 'closed', Jack having checked the closing time, and he brought her coat and helped her with it like a gentleman. He took her arm and they walked down his street. Much to his delight it was a beautiful moonlit night, as he had imagined it might be. He walked her around the block then back to his place. Stopping at his truck he looked into her eyes.

"May I kiss you Sam?" He asked, as if he had never done it before. She smiled, nodded, and let him take the initiative. The kiss was gentle and very sweet, though fairly brief for a kiss from Jack. For almost the first time, Sam didn't feel the need of an oxygen mask to aid her breathing. A good first date kiss, she thought.

He opened the door to his truck and helped her in, and then drove back to her place. Once there, he leaped out of the truck and opened the door to help her out. Walking her up to her door, he held his hand lightly on her back, as he had done many times before during their working lives.

When she'd opened the door he kissed her goodnight. This time the kiss held more passion, like a second kiss might, having already tested the waters with the first one. Then he kissed her cheek and bid her goodnight.

"I don't want you to go Jack." She stated, simply. "Come in for that night-cap?"

"Can't I at least pretend to go?" He replied, which made her laugh.

"You mean I have to pretend I don't want sex with you right now, on the doorstep if necessary?"

Her tone was teasing but he could see lust in her eyes. How could he deny her? He wanted her as much as she wanted him. So he adjusted the fantasy to fit, pretending he was making love to her for the very first time and slowly seducing her. It was the best sex between them so far and she could almost sense every emotion he felt for her as they made love.

"Do you always do this on a first date? He asked, afterwards, a smirk on his face.

"Only with men I've loved for more years than I can remember."

That was some answer, Jack thought. He could hardly recall the last time he had felt this happy, or this close to anyone.


The next day, Jack arranged a team night out. He and Sam had been so wrapped up in each other since his return from the dead that he had not seen them outside of work. Both Daniel and Teal'c had guessed there was something going on, it was pretty obvious from their behaviour at the SGC. They were surprised it was quite so obvious, given that their two friends could find themselves before a court martial if they weren't careful. They did notice, however, that the pair took more care when 'outsiders' were around. It pleased them that Jack and Sam could be more open with them.

Throughout the evening the two friends could see Jack and Sam's eyes stray to meet each other's frequently. Sometimes it appeared they were having a separate, telepathic and very intimate, conversation. As they were eating their food, Jack decided it was time to come totally clean.

"Guys… I have something to tell you." Daniel and Teal'c both looked up from their dinner. "Sam and I are… getting married." He held Sam's hand under the table, giving it a squeeze, uncertain how they would react.

Daniel nearly choked while Teal'c just smiled enigmatically. It was the expression Jack thought of as his omniscient look. Was Teal'c ever actually surprised by anything?

Daniel put down his fork, got up and stood to pull Sam into the biggest, tightest hug ever, his smile conveying his joy.

"Congratulations. I'm so happy for you. You guys waited long enough." Then he moved over to Jack and slapped him on the back in a time honored manly tradition, quickly caving in and pulling him into another happy hug.

"It's about time you asked her Jack." He seemed unperturbed that it had happened so quickly after Jack's return.

"I know."

"I am happy for you both O'Neill, MajorCarter." Teal'c bowed towards them as he spoke their names. Sam gave him a kiss on the cheek and he looked pleased.

"Umm…" Started Daniel, awkwardly. Oh boy, here comes the million dollar question, Jack realised. "Isn't getting married a little awkward Jack? I mean with Sam and you on the same team and everything?" Although Daniel understood the reasons why the fraternisation regulations were in place, he didn't really agree with them, or certainly not in this case. Surely it shouldn't matter as long as it was all out in the open?

"I resigned." Jack said quietly and there was stunned silence from all three of his companions. Sam looked shocked.

"Resigned? Jack? You never said anything." She said, not able to think through her feelings and reaction to this news. Daniel looked equally stunned and had lots of questions but decided to keep his mouth shut for now and let Sam get on with it. Teal'c, of course, said nothing, merely listened and looked unperturbed.

"So far, he hasn't accepted that resignation." Jack added, hastily.

"W… what?" Sam stammered. "Does he know? About us?"

"Kinda." Jack replied, looking very sheepish that he had failed to mention it to her.

"Jack!" Sam looked horrified and Jack thought he should have guessed what her reaction would be. He hadn't handled this very well. He should have spoken to her first. Dumb ass, O'Neill! He told himself. Sam's career is on the line here.

"I told him I wanted to marry you." He admitted, quailing at her shock and anger. "I'm sorry, I should have told you. Asked you even. I just wanted to resign and didn't want you to try dissuading me. I didn't know I would end up talking to Hammond about it."

"This affects all of us Jack." Daniel piped up, "Sam's career, our team…" He left it there for effect.

"Shit! I wish I hadn't said anything. I've ruined the evening." He was angry with himself for being such an idiot. "Sam, we aren't going to have our first row over this are we?" Sam could see that he was upset and had to confess her own secret.

"I… um… I saw Hammond myself Jack."

"You did?" Both Jack and Daniel said it simultaneously.

"I asked to be transferred to another team."

"What?" Again Jack and Daniel exclaimed together.

"We discussed my options."

"We discussed mine too. Hammond's a sly old dog." They both laughed and the tension lifted.

"So what are they?" Asked Daniel, pointedly.

"What are what?" Jack asked innocently.

"The options, Jack, don't play dumb!" He was losing patience.

"I think Sam and I have it discuss it first, Daniel." He noticed Daniel's crest fallen look. "I know it affects you and Teal'c too but this is our lives we're talking about here. Come on Daniel. You're happy for us, you made that obvious. Let's not spoil it any more than I have already. Ok?" Daniel conceded defeat and Jack looked towards Teal'c who smiled sublimely and nodded his consent. Good old Teal'c, Jack thought, and changed the subject.

"So, Sam tells me you three went to the zoo while I was… gone. Pity I had to miss it. Feel like another visit, the four of us?" Teal'c face lit up with a huge smile at the suggestion and Sam and Daniel exchanged amused looks. Teal'c and his giraffes!


Later, in bed, they discussed it. They had spent each night together since his return. They could hardly bear to part. Sam thought she had been parted from Jack before, in the most final way possible, and she wasn't about to let go any time soon. Jack was happy to spend as much time with her as possible, amazed and pleased that she found him more diverting than her scientific experiments. Since his return she hadn't stayed late at the SGC once, but had gone home eagerly to prepare for their liaison. They were making up for lost time.

"So what are the options then?" He asked her. "What do we do?"

"Well, Hammond said either you could resign, or I could. The latter is definitely not an option for me." She looked at Jack and saw he firmly agreed. Sam was career military through and through. "I'm not sure it's an option for you either Jack. What do you want?"

"What else is there?" He said in a tone that was meant to encourage her to continue.

"You could be reassigned, maybe an instructor at the Air Force Academy, who would be very lucky to have you, I might add." He grinned at her confidence in him. "Or… I could be reassigned, similarly, or as ground personnel at the SGC." He turned his nose up at that idea, she noticed.

"You'd love the work but miss the action." She nodded her agreement. "So?"

"Or I could be reassigned to another SG team. As team leader." Yeah! Jack thought. Perfect! But what about Sam?

"So what do you want to do Sam?"

"I want us both to stay at the SGC. You don't want to be put out to pasture yet do you Colonel O'Neill?" She had a mocking grin on her face. "Teaching at the Academy? That will be great… sometime, maybe, but not now. I can't believe you wanna give it all up? The SGC, saving the planet. All that." The grin was ever more teasing.

"Your own team Sam. It's about time."

"You think I'm ready for it?"

"More than ready. You'd be great."

"We're going to end up seeing a lot less of each other."

"I know." This was the one thing that made him unhappy about the whole idea. "But when we do see each other…"

The rest was left unsaid as he kissed her and his mind wondered to them both going home to the same house each night they could. It was a dream that appeared to be about to come true. In fact, it was true right now.

"I hate the idea of breaking up the team. And I'll miss you. But it is the right thing. For me. Unless you resign it's the only sensible option." Said Sam when they surfaced. "And no, don't get that look. I don't want you to resign. I'll see even less of you. She added hastily when she saw his perturbed expression. "And the idea of coming home to you having sat around moping all day is not a pleasant prospect." She joked, although he thought it was probably a good assessment of how miserable he would be to see her go off to the SGC and not be there himself. That time would come soon enough, but it didn't need to be now.

"I'm gonna miss you too Sam. We all will. SG-1 won't be the same. For starters, who's gonna save my butt from here on in?"

"I hope my replacement leaves your butt well alone," She replied with mock horror, "very nice butt though it may be." With that she grabbed his ass. "Ok. Enough serious discussion for tonight Jack. Now for the sex." She started to seduce him and he let her have her wicked way with him. Was this woman insatiable? He asked himself. Boy, oh, boy he was one lucky camper.


The next day they saw Hammond and told him their decision. Hammond thought this was the best possible outcome for all of them so was happy. The other two team members took the news well, considering. Neither wanted to lose Sam but realised that this was a good career move for her. She couldn't stay in Jack O'Neill's shadow forever.

Jack organised the first date scenario for real and took Sam out in public for the first time. This time he didn't try to pretend it was a first date because he had something else in mind. They sat in a secluded corner of the restaurant with the candles and the ambience. Sam was enjoying it but believed she'd loved the original make believe version better. So what that it was in his home, it had been special. That was before.

Then Jack made this night extra special. She wondered what he might be doing when he got up after they'd finished dinner. The next thing she knew he was kneeling on the floor by her side, her hand in his. In his other hand he held a small box. Oh my! Sam gulped.

"Sam. I love you very much and only one thing is going to make me happier than I am now. Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?" He choked on the words, trying to make it sound right, and then opened the box. Inside was a beautiful diamond ring.

"It's me that would be honored to marry you Jack. So yes, yes I will. I love you Colonel O'Neill… my darling Jack."

Staring into her eyes and oblivious to his surroundings, and a few eyes turned in their direction, he smiled happily and put the ring on her finger.

"It fits. Cool. Cassie and I weren't sure. I hope you like it Sam. Cassie helped me choose."

"I love it, it's beautiful." As she leaned down to kiss him some of the restaurant patrons cheered and clapped, so Jack obligingly got up to take a bow, red faced, but exhilarated. Maybe this hadn't been perfect but it was way better than the first time he'd asked her.

When the clapping died down and the waiter appeared with a bottle of champagne on ice.

"To us." Jack said, raising his glass to her.

"To us." She repeated and they both drank to that.


When they met the guys the following morning to visit the zoo Sam flashed the ring in their eyes. They may not be on the same team anymore but these people would forever be her friends. Their pleasure at her and Jack's happiness made them both even happier, if that was possible. Inside the zoo entrance Jack asked where they should go first, knowing what Teal'c's answer would be as Sam had told him about his strange giraffe obsession.

"The giraffes, O'Neill."

Jack tried not to laugh as he caught Sam's eye. A special gleam seemed to have entered Teal'c's at the thought of seeing the giraffes once more. Jack was looking forward to Teal'c's expression when he found out what Jack had arranged for later. He knew someone that worked at the zoo and had called in a favour.

"Then giraffes it is Teal'c, old buddy."

Sam luxuriated in the company of her three favourite men, recalling her sadness when she had come here with Daniel and Teal'c after Jack had died. It felt good to be here with him, and to walk somewhere publicly with their arms around each other and have no fear.

They didn't have to go far. The giraffes were displayed in the African Rift Valley section of the zoo, which could be entered once inside the main entrance. The African Rift Valley, or ARV as it was often called, was also home to a number of other animals and birds. The clever nature of it's design could make you think that these animals truly roamed free. The ARV and it's accompanying exhibition were considered state of the art for zoos

They watched the giraffes for a long time. Daniel was happy to humour Teal'c's peculiar fixation. The ARV covered a large area and they walked and watched, stopping to allow Teal'c to feed the giraffes or just gaze besottedly at the creatures. Teal'c had bought a large number of 'giraffe crackers' at the gate and there were several giraffe feeding stations set up for this purpose.

"Why giraffes T?" Jack asked him, quietly, as he admired them.

"I know not, O'Neill." Teal'c replied. "They are slender and graceful and yet strong, and a most interesting colour combination." He added.

"So how did you find out about them. TV?"

"Did you not know that they have what is called a live giraffe cam on the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo website on the Internet, O'Neill? Giraffes are symbolic of the zoo which houses the largest herd of giraffes kept by a zoo on your world. They are your planet's tallest living mammals. Males of the species can grow up to 19 feet tall. Their tails can be a yard in length and their long tongues 18-21 inches. Those horn like structures on their heads are called ossicones, which are formed before birth. They are cartilage covered with skin and hair which become bony nodules with age. They have seven vertebrae in their long necks, the same as man. The website also shows pictures of a giraffe giving birth. It is truly wonderful, O'Neill."

He stopped and smiled at his friend and Jack stared in amazement. He didn't think he'd heard so many words at once from the Jaffa's mouth and the glint that appeared in Teal'c's eyes as he spoke amused him, endearing him to the man even more than ever.

"You seem to know a lot about them Teal'c."


When Daniel returned from getting them ice creams, Teal'c turned from the giraffes.

"It is time to proceed. We should see more of the zoo."

"We'll come back again later T." Jack promised and Teal'c smiled at him.

"It is good to have you here with us O'Neill, my friend. We missed your presence on our previous visit."

"He's right Jack. This is great." Agreed Daniel, happy to have his closest friends together.

"I'm flattered guys. Really." Jack said humbly. "Hey, we'll have to come back and do this safari discovery trail sometime." The trail was inside the ARV animal yard and led by experienced zookeepers. It was probably the closest one could get to a safari without visiting Africa, but you had to book in advance to have any hope of going on one of these guided excursions.

"Charlie would have loved this." He whispered to Sam. "None of this was here when we last came." Sam searched his eyes and saw some sadness glimmer within them.

"Are you alright Jack?"

"Fine, honey, I'll be fine." Kissing her on the head he added, "How do you feel about having kids Sam?" They had never even discussed this issue, yet they planned to get married, were even discussing potential dates.

"Little O'Neills? Yeah I want some little O'Neills, Jack. I want them very much." She stopped and gave Jack a very passionate kiss which Daniel watched in amusement. It was good to see his friends happy at last, getting everything they ever dreamed of and wanted. He sincerely hoped it all worked out. In his experience there was no such thing as a fairytale ending.

They wandered around, not really worrying too much about what they saw, but more involved with each other's company. Lions, elephants, bears, butterflies and bats; the zoo had them all, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and a whole lot more. Jack had forgotten what a great place this was to visit, and it had changed so much since the last time he was here.

After an extremely late lunch in the Safari Café they wandered back to the elevated boardwalk to wait for the evening giraffe "stampede". Jack wanted to ensure Teal'c got a good viewing position. The boardwalk allowed visitors to watch the giraffe herd pass through a drawbridge, which was designed to allow the creatures to leave their building each morning and re-enter each evening.

Teal'c was more than satisfied with his day so far but was wary when a man approached them.

"Colonel O'Neill." The man said, extending his hand to shake Jack's. "It's good to see you again."

Jack introduced them. The man was Harold Palmer. Jack had once done him a huge favour by ensuring that an airman at the mountain kept well away from Harold's beautiful but underage daughter. Actually he had done a lot more than that but Harold didn't know the half of it.

Needless to say the airman was no longer at the SGC and had briefly needed a hospital bed before his transfer to other duties. The airman had been a philanderer and all round bad guy and Jack hadn't liked him much, particularly trying to take advantage of an innocent young girl, half his age at 15 years old. Of course, nothing of this was stated now.

"I got a surprise for you T." Said Jack gaily. Even Sam didn't know about this.

"O'Neill?" Teal'c raised an eyebrow curiously.

Harold led them to the giraffe house and took them inside. Although all zoo visitors could see inside the giraffe house there were restricted areas that SG-1 gained access to on this visit. Teal'c looked on in wonder, delighted to get a look behind the scenes, and see more of his precious giraffes. It turned out that a baby giraffe had been born very recently. She had not been displayed to the public yet and Teal'c and his team mates were going to get a sneak preview. Jack had not been able to believe that luck when he had spoken to Harold on the phone, and Teal'c was overwhelmed by his friend's gesture, and the miniature giraffe.

"So you are a big softie under that hard exterior, Jack O'Neill." Sam whispered affectionately. She was going to marry this marvellous man and the more she got to know him the more she knew that it was a decision that she would never regret.

Meanwhile, Teal'c revelled in being with the giraffes, watching the youngster suckle at it's mother, and learning so much about them from their keepers. When it eventually came for time for them to leave the zoo had closed. The friends were parting at the gate, Jack and Sam going to Jack's place and Daniel taking Teal'c back to the mountain.

"It is an honor to call you friend, O'Neill." He said, clasping Jack's hand and bowing.

"I… I… Thanks Teal'c. Back at ya." Jack was stuck for words, as ever when someone flattered him.

"It was a great thing to arrange Jack." Added Daniel. "You don’t think you could call a favour to get me to meet Julia Roberts do you?" The friends laughed.

Harold also bid them goodbye.

"Thanks Harold, I guess the debt is paid." Said Jack as they shook hands again.

"I will never consider that debt sufficiently paid Colonel. Anytime you want a favour."

"Then maybe you can do the same thing when we have kids." He smiled and nodded towards Sam.

"I'd be delighted." Harold responded and waved goodbye.

"Ok. See you kids at the SGC tomorrow." Jack said to Daniel and Teal'c.

"MajorCarter." Teal'c inclined his head towards her in a goodbye gesture. Tomorrow would be the first day of the new SG-1, and for Sam's new team. "I have been privileged to work by your side for many years. You are a formidable warrior, and woman." Sam blushed to her roots.

"Isn't it time you started calling me Sam, Teal'c?"

"I think not, MajorCarter." She crossed over to hug him.

"Teal'c, you've been a good friend. To me and to Jack. How about Samantha?" It was Teal'c's turn to blush as she whispered this in his ear and kissed his cheek.

"Samantha." He repeated with a big smile, trying the name on for size. Sam had always been too small a name for such a woman, he thought. "I would like that very much indeed, Samantha."

"What was all that about?" Jack asked as they got into his truck.

"Teal'c calling me Samantha." Jack looked at her enquiringly, eyebrows raised in surprise.

"Samantha? Hey, don't I get to call you Samantha?"

"No way, Jonathan O'Neill." She teased. "Major Carter to you Colonel. Or maybe Sam on special occasions." They both laughed. Boy, I love this woman, thought Jack.

Later Sam asked him about the debt to Harold Palmer

"It's a long story Sam."

"Tell me?"

"Sure. Sometime. Right now we have more important things to do."

"Like what?"

"Date. Wedding." That distracted her.

"I don't know Jack. Tomorrow?" He grinned a response.

"Come on Sam. Have you made up your mind? Long engagement or short?"


"So, any preference?"

"As I said. Tomorrow. Failing that, as soon as we can." A woman after his own heart, thought Jack who would have married her tomorrow if it was possible.

"June?" He asked, knowing Sam yearned for a spring wedding. If it was the end of June they could just sneak it in under the wire.

"Ok." It was May now so only a few weeks away. "Where? And the reception."

"I'll get on it. I've some ideas."

"Care to share?"

"Ummm… give me a couple of days?" She nodded assent. Jack was excited at the prospect of arranging it but she was sure she would have her say; bride's privilege. "We have to try and get hold of your father. I'll ask George in the morning." Jack paused then added in a worried tone, "Will your father be alright with this Sam?"

"More than alright I think Jack."

"I hope so."

"Jack he'll love it." She could see he was doubtful. "By the way Colonel, I love you." She ran her fingers lightly down his cheek. "Did you tell you that lately?"

"Not for at least 24 hours… Samantha." He replied and she giggled. "Hey, what have I said before about giggling, Major?


It was kind of strange on the team without Sam. She, however, seemed to be thriving as a team leader of her own and Jack was happy to see it. As he suspected, he missed her and so did Daniel and Teal'c. It was worth it, though, to be free to see each other when they chose, spend the night together and have no worries about being found out. Even Kinsey wouldn't be able to fault them for this. And they saw each other as much as possible, spending as many nights together as they could.

Jack had nearly laughed aloud when Hammond told him Lt. Hailey was replacing Sam on SG-1. He liked her, she was trouble but his kind of trouble. She would keep them on their toes, and was almost as brilliant as Sam. Another scientist to break in. Sheesh!

Sam had also been amused but told him if she found him checking out Jennifer's butt he'd never hold a P-90 again. As if! Why would he want to check out anyone's butt except Sam's? He did confess that he took a sly peek to see whether it was worth facing Sam's wrath but decided it wasn't. Sam had laughed herself silly at his confession.

Hammond had one heck of a job sorting out the paperwork for Jack's return from the dead. It was a bureaucratic nightmare. That was nothing compared to the headache Jack gave him when he discussed his hopes for the wedding. Hammond certainly had his work cut out but had warmed to the idea and wanted his favourite couple to be happy.

The General was delighted, although surprised, when Jack asked him to be his Best Man. Sam had been equally surprised when he had suggested it, thinking he would probably choose Daniel. Jack had some good reasons for choosing Hammond. He respected, liked and admired him, for starters. It ensured that no one's feelings got hurt, least of all Daniel's who was not the only person who might have thought he could get asked.

Jack also knew that Hammond loved Sam like a father, or maybe a kindly uncle was more accurate. He thought the General would be thrilled to be so closely involved with Sam's wedding, and believed Hammond deserved it. The man had been very good to him over the years, to them both.

There was a lot of fun and games with legal crap that Jack needed to sort. He'd found a quiet legal genius in Levinson, though, who came through for him with the minimum of pain and Jack was very relieved to find he now owned his house, the cabin, his truck and the Harley. Sam had insisted that he had to have it back, although he had wanted her to keep it. What would she do with two bikes? She argued. Besides, she still harboured her dream of riding out into the hills on their bikes. She had described it in her letter and Jack shared the dream.

With this in mind they had started to fix up the Harley. Jack wasn't exactly dumb when it came to motor engines. It was fun doing it together, although they would frequently interrupt their task and get down to the serious business of love making. So the fixing the bike sessions almost became a code for sexual activity. When she mentioned fixing the bike Jack's eyebrows would waggle mischievously and she would laugh. They both knew what would be coming later.

"Sam, pass me that doohickey will you?" Jack's long fingers pointed to a tool of some kind.

"Doohickey? You mean I'm fixing this bike with a man who doesn't know a spanner from a screwdriver?"

"I do too!" Jack cried, defending himself.

"Uh, huh? So what's that called?" She indicated the tool he was asking for. He scratched his head, puzzled, and gave in.

"Hey, does it matter?" Jack grinned. "I just know that I need that to do this." He showed her what he was doing and he was right, much to Sam's amazement. "Man's gotta use the right tool for the job." He said smugly and she hit him with the dirty rag in her hand.

"Hey, that's so not fair, you've got a weapon!" He laughed, grabbing hold of her to wrestle the rag from her grasp. Once he had hold of her… well things got a little out of hand.

The great thing about working on a bike, thought Jack, was that it was a dirty job. They would get covered with oil and grease and need a shower. Then they would have to wash each other clean, hair, fronts, backs and… there was nothing quite like a shower with the future Mrs Sam O'Neill. Sam O'Neill? Cool!

"I think that's got it." Said Sam one day a couple of weeks before their wedding. She was smiling at the bike with pride. It looked great, and better than that, it appeared to work. Jack put his arm around Sam.

"Test run?" He smirked.

"The hills? Tomorrow?" She blushed as the fantasy she had imagined while she'd thought Jack dead hit her full force. Jack nodded eagerly.

"Hills, tomorrow."

Jack took Sam home so she could pick up her gear and bike. On the way back he stopped off to get groceries for a picnic. His eyes widened in admiration when Sam arrived at his place in her leathers. Sam couldn't help but notice his reaction and smiled secretly to herself. You wait until tomorrow Jack O'Neill, I am so gonna get you. Meanwhile Jack was thinking, I can't wait to divest her of those tomorrow, I hope the weather holds.

It held and was a beautiful early June day, unseasonably warm. The Harley was working like a charm and they took off into the hills outside the Springs. Colorado wasn't as hilly as people tended to think but there were enough to find something secluded that they didn't have to share. They left the bikes and walked until they found a good spot. Quiet, isolated, beautiful view. They didn't see anyone else around, which suited them entirely.

Jack had brought way too much food; sandwiches, pie, chicken drumsticks, salad, double chocolate chip muffins

"Had to add something vaguely healthy." He said by way of explanation for the salad and the expression on his face made Sam laugh.

When they'd finished he pulled Sam towards him and put his arm around her.

"There are millions of guys out there Sam and I'm the lucky one who is marrying you." His sigh sounded like one of deep satisfaction and she took his hand in hers, holding it to her lips to kiss it gently.

"You're not the only lucky one Jack." Her look of love as she spoke made his heart flutter with joy and he leaned to kiss her.

"Time to get rid of those very sexy leather pants of yours Sam." He said breathily in her ear, and they went on to live her fantasy.

Lying totally naked in each other's arms afterwards, they didn't speak, feeling no need. This relationship was still young yet they were intimately acquainted. It felt so special and, to them, it was.

Jack recalled a conversation he'd had with Daniel a few days after they'd all been to the zoo.

"I just hope your expectations aren't too high, that's all Jack."

He and Daniel were arguing about Jack and Sam's relationship, of all ridiculous things. He wasn't sure how it started originally but Daniel had eventually said something like,

"Well I'm not sure I believe in fairytale endings Jack"

"What you talking about? You're looking at one." Jack was beaming from ear to ear as he had been most of the time lately.

"See, that's just it. That's where you're wrong!"


"You say it's a fairytale ending, Jack, but endings rarely are."

"Daniel, I always thought that you were the romantic and it turns out I am. Go figure!"

"Jack I just don't want you to be disappointed. You've held Sam up on a pedestal far too long and…"

"Hold on a minute there Danny boy. I do not hold Sam up on a pedestal. Jeez, I've known her for far too long to do that. This is real, Daniel, real, not just my fantasy. I don't think of Sam as some perfect, flawless woman and expect her to live up to that dream."

"Eventually all this romantic 'in love' stuff will wear off Jack. Then it will be real."

"Maybe. But we'll be friends and companions for a long, long time after that ever happens. Besides, my heart's skipped a beat nearly every time I've seen her for the last 8 years, why should it stop now?" Daniel looked surprised by that remark. He would never have guessed. "Daniel, I thought you were happy for us."

"Don't get me wrong Jack, I didn't mean to imply…" Daniel looked perturbed that he had given the wrong impression. "This is a philosophical argument. I am happy for you, really I am."

"Philosophical argument? For crying out loud Daniel, do you really expect to have one of those with me?"

"Ok, we'll change the subject. I just hope your expectations aren't too high, that's all Jack."

In Sam's arms on the hillside Jack pondered this. Were his expectations too high? He didn't believe so. If anything Sam had exceeded his expectations. Were they marrying too quickly? Jack realised that their intimacy had been alive only briefly in the grand scheme of things but they had known each other for years, albeit in different roles, as colleagues and friends. They remained colleagues and friends, they had added lovers to the list, that's all, and were about to add husband and wife, and perhaps mother and father someday, if he was very lucky.

Of course they would have their arguments, their ups and downs. That was part of being a couple, sharing and living together; an element of the human condition. That did not mean they would stop loving each other deeply, or respecting the hell out one another. Daniel was wrong. This was a fairytale ending; as fairytale as it could get on this world.

Reluctantly Jack and Sam parted, dressing again when it got chilly and watching as the sun set. They had travelled to many different planets, those with more than one moon, more than one sun, different skies, different landscapes, but there was nothing quite like being right here on Earth and watching the sun go down; particularly with Jack in my arms, thought Sam. Did dreams really come true? It seemed so.

"Thank you Jack." Sam whispered as she luxuriated in the feel of his arms encircling her, his body close to hers, his masculine smell assailing her nostrils.

"What for?"

"For today, for all this, for coming home alive to me, for loving me."

Jack smiled and kissed her hair. She's thanking him? God, he should be thanking her. She had given him a chance to be happier than he had ever imagined being again. When he'd lost Charlie and then Sara he had never thought he could feel like this, had despaired of feeling anything but emptiness. Then he'd met her, SG-1. She had saved him, they all had.


Sam was right about Jacob Carter, he was pleased as punch.

"Welcome to the Carter family Jack." He said, sporting a wide smile as he pulled his future son-in-law into a hug. "And good luck. You'll need it." He joked.

"I didn't think that you'd be too thrilled about it Jacob. I might not seem like a very good catch."

"Why do you say that?" Jack merely shrugged and said nothing. "Listen Jack. I like you, always have. You're a fundamentally good man. You and Sam are crazy about each other. It's been obvious to me for a long time. What more is there?" Jack eyed him curiously. "Come on Jack, give an old General a break, particularly one who has an old and very wise Tok'ra symbiote living inside his head. Don't color me dumb."

"You've never said anything Jacob." Jack was surprised.

"Neither did you Jack."

"I was never in a position to."

"I know."

"I'll take good care of her Jacob." Jack promised.

"I know that too. You always have and you always will. If I didn’t think that I might not be so thrilled. I was relieved when she didn't marry that Pete guy. I never liked him much."

"Married Pete?"

"Oops. You didn't know he'd asked her?" Jacob started to worry that he had said too much, wondering why Sam had never mentioned it to Jack.

"No. She said no?"

"Well yeah, duh, Jack. She couldn't marry you if she'd said yes, could she?"

"Why did she say no?" Jack asked, stupefied by the notion that Pete had asked her.

"Why do you think Jack? She's in love with you. That's when they broke up and Sam actually saw sense."

"I wish I'd known."

"Well it doesn't matter anymore, does it?" Jack knew that Jacob was right. Sam would be Mrs O'Neill in less than two weeks. He longed for that day.

Just then Sam came walking through the door and interrupted them.

"Sam," said her father going to give her a hug, "congratulations. I'm delighted.

"He told you? I knew you would happy for us dad."

They were in Jack's office at the SGC. As soon as Jacob had arrived Jack had pulled him in there to tell him the news, fearful of his reaction. He'd told Sam to keep away for a while. She hadn't even greeted her father as he came through the gate, sending apologies because she was in the middle of an experiment. In reality she had been twiddling her thumbs in the lab wondering how long she should give them to talk. Jack had insisted that he tell her father alone although she had wanted to be there. She had quickly lost patience and gone to seek them out.

"Sam, you need some money for the wedding."


"Don't dad me. I'm your father, it's part of the job description. I want you to have the best. You only get married once, I hope."

"This is for life dad." She said softly but Jack heard her anyway and was proud that she believed it.

"You seem pretty sure of that sweetheart." He father said.

"I am." She let go of her father and went to Jack, who put his arm around her and took her hand.

"We want this simple dad. No big affair."

"Okay. That doesn't stop your old man paying for it, does it? Give me that and walking you down the aisle and I'll be a happy man. Although I wouldn't say no to more grandchildren." He looked questioningly, unsure whether his daughter valued her career above family.

"That's a wish we hope to grant you Jacob." Jack said.

"Good. So, where's the wedding?"

When they had finished telling him their plans he sat back in astonishment.

"And this is simple?" He asked.

"Well, not entirely. But George pulled off a minor miracle."

"Good old George." Jacob smiled.


When they were alone, much later, Jack asked about Pete.

"You never told me Pete asked you to marry him." He looked at her enquiringly.

"I… does it matter?"

"It's just…" He paused, uncertain how to continue, "He must have felt pretty confident you'd say yes Sam."

Sam eyed Jack speculatively, recalling the words in his letter that spoke so clearly of his poor self esteem, certainly as far as they were concerned. He still lacked faith.

"Marrying him was never an option Jack, not to me. I just didn't truly appreciate my feelings until he asked me. That my first thoughts were of you gave the game away." He smiled at that. "Jack, don't ever believe it isn't you. It was always you." She caressed his face gently in reassurance.

"I guess I still can't believe how lucky I am." He replied.

"Then you had better start believing it, Jack O'Neill. We're getting married, you have to have faith in us. God, didn't my letter tell you anything?" Her tone was slightly frustrated.

"I'm sorry, I'm an old fool."

"You got that right!"

"Brains were never my strong point."


He grinned, then laughed lightly, pulling her into a hug.

"So, what was he like in bed?" He asked after a pause.

"Are you fishing for compliments Jack?

"Maybe." He shrugged, a mischievous smirk lighting his face.

"Women shouldn't tell you know."

"Damn!" He exclaimed, in mock disappointment.

Sam kissed him gently and whispered in his ear.

"But as we're getting married… You're the best colonel I ever had." She teased and Jack pouted his bottom lip.

"And just how many Colonel's have you had Major?" He asked, returning the tease.

"Just the one. But I love him very much. He's brave, bright, funny, handsome and sexy. What more could a lowly Major ask for?"

"You think I'm sexy?" He smiled proudly, preening himself.

"Every gorgeous inch."

"Well, that's good then. Just as well I guess, Mrs O'Neill to be."

"Can I let you into a little secret, husband to be?" He nodded, eager for her confidence and she leaned to whisper in his ear again. "You're the best lay I ever had."

With those words she set out to prove her feelings for him in the most obvious way possible, slowly seducing him. Her lovemaking was both torturous and glorious and Jack let her do as she wished, responding with fervour. Afterwards, as they held each other close and revelled in the embrace, it was his turn to whisper in her ear.

"You're the best too Sam. I love you."


The fact that Mark and his family were not going to be able to come to a June wedding clinched it. Neither of them wanted any other outsiders at the wedding ceremony. The day before the wedding Sam was promoted to Lt. Colonel. She wanted to wear her dress uniform in her wedding day, and her brand new silver Oak Leaves were the something new she wore.

Under her skirt she wore a blue garter, something which Jack was very much looking forward to removing later. Her something blue. The something borrowed had caused her a problem at first. What did one borrow to wear with dress blues? Eventually Cassie suggested a necklace that had belonged to her mother Janet and, although like the blue garter it couldn't seen, Sam wore it with a great deal of pride.

The gate room was lined with people who all stood and saluted as Sam arrived on her father's arm. Jack stood at the top of the ramp in front of the gate with General Hammond as his best man. Hammond had been both surprised and thrilled when Jack had asked him. It was the last thing he had expected and it made him proud.

When Jack had suggested the gate room as the location for their wedding Sam had immediately said yes. The idea fascinated her, to marry in the place that had been so important to their joint lives; indeed the place that had kept them apart for all those years. An irony that was not lost on either of them.

This would be the most unusual wedding in USAF history. Of course they'd have to shoot anyone who saw the wedding photos! But they'd arranged for some shots to be taken elsewhere so that they could be openly displayed and shown. The ones in front of the gate would be kept close until and if the gate became public knowledge.

Arranging to have a wedding in the gate room had probably been one of the more difficult and unusual tasks ever set for a best man. Hammond had almost torn out his non existent hair but, in the end, the President of the United States was a very powerful man and wanted to keep his friend Jack O'Neill happy. It was the least he could do for a man who had saved this planet more times than he had attended political conventions.

As the wedding march played Jacob squeezed Sam's arm and smiled at her. She was positively glowing and if he ever saw anyone look more beautiful in dress blues he'd be most surprised.

Cassie was near the front with Daniel and Teal'c and had a tear in her eye, wishing her mother had been here to see this. Sam was her other surrogate mother and Cassie loved her very much, but she still missed Janet. Seeing Sam like this, and marrying Uncle Jack, made her heart swell with love and pride. She adored both of them and for this to happen was like a dream come true.

The base Chaplain was nervous. Weddings were not his area of expertise and he had read the service over and over to ensure he would get it right. The Chaplain was the only cleric with clearance to be in the gate room so there weren't many options. Hammond had fought hard to get special dispensation for him to perform the ceremony; another minor miracle he'd pulled off like the magician he sometimes appeared to be.

Jack thought Sam looked radiant. This ranked as one of the best and happiest days of his life. In fact he thought he'd been having quite a few really, really good days lately. His heart soared as Sam and her father approached and when Jacob gave Sam to him in the traditional manner he thought his heart rate would go through the roof. His mouth went dry with nerves. Oh God! This is it, this is really it!


"Dearly beloved. We have come together in the presence of God to witness and bless the joining together of this man and this woman in Holy Matrimony." The Chaplain started. Jack glanced at Sam, their eyes met and they smiled nervously.

They had decided to make their own vows, rather than merely agree to the traditional words from the Book of Common Prayer. This would make it more special and meaningful to both of them although both had independently chosen to adapt the traditional words and make them their own.

Sam took a deep breath knowing that it was her turn first. Neither knew what the other intended to say; they had agreed it would be a surprise. She unwaveringly stared into Jack's eyes as she spoke.

"I love you Jack and I always will. I will treat you with the honor you so richly deserve, succour you when you are sick or in need and celebrate with you when you are well and in good spirits. I will never want or need another above you and will forever keep faith in us and our love and friendship. I give myself to you totally, and my body and soul will stand by your side always."

Jack's heart continued to hammer rapidly in his chest. Beautiful words Sam. How can I top that? I can't. He held her gaze when it was his turn and his voice cracked a little while he shifted uncomfortably. Jack O'Neill did not normally voice these feelings in public.

"Sam, my one and only true love. My heart and respect are yours, and we will grow old together side by side. My body and soul are yours, and we will be friends and lovers forever. My loyalty and devotion are yours, through both the good and the bad. My protection is yours and our children's forever, and I will keep you safe and secure. My life is yours for all eternity."

When the Chaplain pronounced them man and wife and Jack kissed Sam the whole place became an uproar of cheering, clapping, with shouts of 'way to go Jack!' from the Marines. Jack and Sam took no notice and continued to kiss with a passion, for the very first time as Mr and Mrs O'Neill. Or was that Colonel and Colonel O'Neill? Actually it was Colonel O'Neill and Lt. Colonel Carter. Sam was keeping her maiden name for work and her married name for pleasure.

Cassie hugged Daniel and Teal'c with tears of both joy and sorrow flowing from her eyes. Jacob and General Hammond both kissed Sam in congratulation and heartily shook Jack by the hand, all smiles. The whole thing, plus the picture taking and many congratulations afterwards, went by in a daze for both of them.

Jack had also suggested a slightly unusual location for the reception; Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. When they'd visited he'd noticed that they had facilities for wedding receptions so he'd called Harold to ask about it. They rented the Safari Lodge for the night, which included access to the ARV area. The reception goers would be surrounded by giraffes as they celebrated. Teal'c was delighted. So was Sam; she thought it a wonderful location and marvelled at Jack for the idea.

This was how Cheyenne Mountain Zoo came to be Jack and Sam's special place. They became regular visitors, getting to know the staff well, and frequently took their children in later years, privileged to see many things that remained hidden to other zoo visitors.

The reception was pretty special and Harold had arranged for the Safari lodge and ARV area to remain open a lot later than normal, calling in a few favours of his own. Jack invited Harold, and his wife and daughter, to the reception. Harold's daughter, Penny, was pretty and vivacious and wanted to join the Air Force, much to Jack's delight. He wondered if one day she would find out the secret that lay beneath the mountain she knew so well in an entirely different context.

Jack became her mentor and she, like Cassie, called him Uncle Jack. Harold and Vicky, his wife, became firm friends and they or their daughter would gladly baby sit for the couple when they were able.


It took an age for the four old team mates to get together for any time alone. There was the food, the speeches and the first dance, during which Jack twirled around with Sam like an old pro. She had recalled their mock first date and, however happy she felt now, would always remember dancing with him that night. Even dancing at their own wedding would never beat that.

She had pondered all the photographs which had been taken that day. She looked forward to the pictures of the four of them with the giraffes, Teal'c looking as happy as he was ever likely to, surrounded by his favourite animals from his adopted home planet. There would be many of her and Jack, in front of the gate, in the Safari Lodge, outside with the ARV backdrop, with giraffes.

However, she still believed that nothing could mean more than the one of her and Jack that Daniel had taken all those years ago and that Jack had left for her when he'd died. It had brought her comfort and joy at a moment in her life when there had been so little to feel joyful about. How things had changed since then. She still marvelled at it.

The four stood outside, a fair distance from the Safari Lodge, looking out over the ARV.

"Hammond let you off gently in his speech Jack." Daniel said, grinning. "Didn't you, kinda, make yourself a hostage to fortune by asking him to be your best man?" Jack laughed.

"Not as much as if it had been you, Danny boy! I do not want them all hearing about that time I walked around with my flies undone the whole time we were on P… whatever. Or…"

"Hey, I couldn't have said that in front of outsiders!" Daniel said with mock vexation.

"You would have found a way." Jack rejoined and Sam smiled at him, taking his arm in hers and leaning to whisper in his ear.

"It's just as well you don't go commando on missions, Mr O'Neill."

"Maybe if I had I would have got you sooner, Mrs O'Neill." Jack whispered back, waggling his eyebrows, and they both laughed.

"Mrs O'Neill." Sam repeated. "Sounds good Jack." Her eyes twinkled gaily as she smiled. "It wasn't that long ago that I thought I'd lost you forever and now… here we are."

"Yes, we are." Jack softly put his lips to hers and Daniel coughed.

"It's ok… we can go." He said waving his arm in the general direction of the rest of the guests.

"No Daniel." Sam stopped him.

"You and Jack want to be alone. It is your wedding night."

"Daniel, we just wanted to…" Jack started, tailing off. Daniel and Teal'c simultaneously raised their eyebrows in a look of enquiry. "Well we just wanted to say goodbye to you guys before we go on our honeymoon, and say thanks."


"For being there." Said Sam.

"For being our friends." Added Jack. "Good friends." Jack gave Daniel a friendly hug, a huge grin on his face.

"Happy Jack?" Daniel asked, quietly.

"You kiddin'?" Jack replied, the smile growing even bigger. "Fairytale ending, Daniel, happy ever after and all that." Daniel's responding smile was crooked and made him look like a young boy.

Meanwhile Sam held onto Teal'c.

"Look after Daniel while we're away won't you Teal'c?"

"Indeed, Samantha." Sam smiled up into Teal'c's face, thrilled he used that name.

"Thank you Teal'c, for everything, including the Samantha."

"You are most welcome." Teal'c's heart leapt at her smile because he loved this woman. Not in the same way as his friend O'Neill, but as a friend and comrade in arms, and like so many other people seemed to love her.

The friends swapped places and Daniel whispered to Sam.

"I'm so happy for you Sam. And I've never seen you look happier either."

"That's because I haven't been, Daniel."

"Jack's a lucky guy. And he knows it, which is good."

"Thanks Daniel." Sam blushed a faint pink.

Jack and Teal'c faced each other. Jack was very fond of the big Jaffa and the feeling was mutual.

"I am most pleased with this outcome O'Neill." Said Teal'c.

"Me too."

"SamanthaCarter is a formidable woman my friend."

"Yeah, I'll be careful." Jack quipped.

"But you are also a formidable man. A most interesting combination."

"I'm flattered to be compared favourably to my wife." Jack smiled. My wife. God I'm married to her. He had to keep reminding himself that this was true and had pinched himself on more than one occasion that day.

"So where's the honeymoon? Are you gonna let us in on your little secret at last?" Asked Daniel.

"Ummm… no." Jack replied.

"Oh, come on you guys, play fair." Daniel looked to Sam in the hope that his puppy dog eyes would persuade her, but knew immediately it was a lost cause.

Jack and Sam drew close to each other and held hands. Daniel had noticed they hadn't stopped touching or looking at each other all night. Now that they could express their feelings openly they did so almost instinctively, without thought. He couldn't believe the change this relationship had wrought on both of them.

"Oh come on, give us a clue." He persisted. "How you getting there? How long does it take to get there? Plane? Drive? Hot? Cold? Anything?"

At that moment Hammond arrived, interrupting Daniel's interrogation of the newly weds.

"Glad to see you're here on time Jack. I hope you both enjoy yourselves. Good luck." Daniel looked curious, wondering what on earth the General was talking about, and opened his mouth to ask, but Jack spoke.

"Didn't want to miss the ride Sir."

Jack and Sam were suddenly bathed in bright light, and then gone. Daniel stood open mouthed and even Teal'c looked stunned.

"Wha…?" Daniel managed to say.

Hammond was grinning from ear to ear.

"Oh, that? I told him I drew the line at using the gate for honeymoon couples. So, Jack arranged his own transport."

Thor? Jack had been right, Daniel thought, in SGC terms this was a fairytale ending.

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