Sam couldn't believe it. It had been right in front of her the whole time! She, along with General Hammond, Teal'c and Jonas were en route to Nellis, where the Tok'ra Torren had landed in a cargo ship, along with O'Neill and Maybourne a few hours earlier. Apparently, both had various cuts and scrapes, but they were going to live. (Apparently the Tok'ra were now in the process in finding a suitable planet on which Maybourne could reside.) Jonas was enjoying the journey immensely.
"Now that Colonels' O'Neill and Maybourne have returned, I'll be able ask them what is what like to be away on that moon. It must have been a fascinating experience. Just imagine the techniques they would have used for survival." Jonas enthusiastically chattered.
Sam gave him a weak smile in return. Her mind was not on the blasted 'experience'! She had to see for herself that the Colonel was alright, and tell him how sorry she was for allowing Maybourne to gain control! It would be such a relief to see him again. She had almost given up hope, and now here she was, on her way to see him. It hadn't completely sunk in yet.
The pilot chose that moment to start his descent of the aircraft. Well, here they were, it wouldn't be much longer Sam thought, impatiently.
At that moment, Sam wasn't the only person being impatient. Jack had already hit the showers, and been through the infirmary at Area 51, and was now pacing (well, *limping*, was more accurate, he thought) inside the temporary guest quarters. Maybourne was nervously eyeing off the SFs, and by the look of the time, the jet carrying Hammond and the rest of his team was about to land. He felt like shit, and he couldn't wait to see Sam again, Hell, he had missed her. Maybourne was a lucky man that Jack wasn't going to beat the crap out of him... he could have done that very easily for zatting her.
'Oh, God what's taking them so long?' The thought kept running through his head, especially as he thought about Sam. How had she been? Had she ever given up on him, he wondered. He could not wait to see her, to touch her... as inappropriate as that might be.
'Is Sam as anxious as I am?' Jack wondered. 'Has she been blaming herself for what the rat-bastard Maybourne did?'
Jack agitation must have been quite obvious, because Maybourne was starting the look at him warily. Hey, it wasn't his damn fault that time was passing so slowly and that his anxiety about Sam was getting the better of him! He had thought so much about Sam, and what he should do... he still wasn't sure if it was a wise choice or not...
After what seemed like an eternity, Hammond, Sam, Teal'c and Jonas were escorted into their temp quarters. After a month of not seeing her, Sam was the only thing he noticed. Her face looked tired, and her eyes nervous, but she was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. Eventually her face broke into a huge grin, and he found himself wrapping her in an embrace.
"It's good to see you again, sir" Sam remarked, sniffling a little. "I thought I'd never see you again. I am so sorry for what happened, if only I hadn't..."
Jack broke her off, "You didn't do a thing wrong, Sam", surprising himself by the use of her name, "you did exactly what any good officer would have done, don't blame yourself."
"Thank you, Sir", replied Sam, hating having to use the formal title, "but you do have every right to blame me... Oh, I'm so relieved to see you!"
"As am I," said Teal'c, adding his own sentiments to the conversation. Jack finally broke from his embrace with Sam, to pull Teal'c into a back-breaking hug.
"You too, buddy! Jeez I needed you there," said Jack, glancing at Maybourne, who seemed very bored by the turn of events. "I needed someone who could enjoy the finer qualities of fishing." Teal'c merely raised an eyebrow.
Hammond broke in with, "It's good to have you back Colonel, we thought we'd lost you there", he smiled broadly.
Jonas chose that moment to say, "So, Colonel, how was your experience on the moon? It must have been some adventure."
Jack rolled his eyes. Jonas had a lot to learn, especially when it came to his ideas of 'fun'. He was worse than Carter! It was going to be a long trip home...
After having a good nights sleep, and after consuming the largest breakfast he had ever eaten, Jack felt much more human and ready to tackle a talk with Carter. Naturally, he found her in her lab, intently staring at some alien artefact. "Whatcha doin'?" he enquired, taking a stool.
Sam looked up, grimacing, "Catching up with the backlog of work I missed doing this last month", she admitted. "What can I do for you, sir?"
"Oh nothin', just seeing what new doohickeys you have to show me." Said Jack, trying to give the situation some levity.
"Right!" was all Sam had to say about that, sounding *completely* convinced!
"I, uh, well... I was wondering, um, whether you want to talk about what happened." Said Jack, mentally kicking himself, for his lack of eloquence. 'Damn, damn, damn! I don't know what made me think I should do this!!'
Sam blinked a couple of time, seeming taken aback. "Look, sir, I am sorry for..."
Jack cut her off, "Cut it out, Cater. I told you, this *was not* your fault! You know, just as I do, that Maybourne set that whole thing up!"
"Sir... if you hadn't come back, I would've never forgiven myself..." Sam continued, uncharacteristically flustered.
"Hey, hey!" He shushed her as he put an arm around her shoulders. "You were what got me through it! That and my overwhelming desire for revenge on Maybourne!" he added, light- heartedly.
"Oh, I was such a bitch to everybody!" She commented with a sigh, "I can't believe the shit I gave Dr. Lee... none of the other scientists will ever want to work with me again!" And with that, Sam started to chuckle.
Jack grinned, "You really are something, Samantha Carter. Look, why don't we just go out tonight. As friends - Jack and Sam?"
"You know something, that sounds great!" Sam beamed.
Having finally shaken off Jonas and his incessant questions, and Doc Fraiser with her demands to look at his leg, Jack had picked up Sam from her home, and was on his way a local pizza palace. Jack thought that Sam looked particularly gorgeous, dressed in blue jeans and a cream sweater. 'Well, here goes nothing', he thought.
"I'm betting that this is the first night you've had off since the mission with Maybourne." Commented Jack, "Am I right?"
Sam looked at him, "That comment isn't even worthy of a response, Sir."
"Uh, uh - it's Jack tonight." He grinned. "And don't be rude to your superior officer!" Jack added, cheekily.
Sam laughed, some of her tension releasing.
They continued their banter, and soon reached the pizza palace. Jack pulled up in a parking space. Sam was relieved to see that the place looked mostly empty. She really didn't want any extra company. As it was, just going out as friends would look a bit suspicious, and that was something she didn't need right now, especially after her 'little performance' over the last few weeks.
It turned out to be a pleasant evening, though. They shared a pizza, and the conversation soon turned to the happenings of the last few weeks.
"So, what happened, I mean what was it like for you? - Not what you told us in the briefing yesterday." Sam questioned soon after their pizza had arrived.
"Oh well, it was good fishing. Maybourne kinda ruined that part though. No appreciation for the art of it, at all. Maybe I could take him to Minnesota with me, and show him how it's done. Unless you still want to take me up on that offer."
Sam chuckled, "Haven't we already been through this. And didn't I tell you only this morning I have a lot of work to do?"
Jack looked at Sam with puppy-dog eyes and a pout. "Please!"
"You are such a big kid", said Sam, as she took a bite of pizza. "Okay, I dare you to find a way of making me", she continued with a wicked gleam in her eye.
"A challenge I can't refuse! You're on! Be prepared and beware!!"
The conversation did get a little more serious as the evening wore on and Jack did confide in Sam about his feelings of being trapped off-world, and to Sam's surprise, his anxiety about her. She was actually surprised at his openness about the whole ordeal, but at the same time, pleased.
Eventually, the evening came to a close, and Jack drove Sam back home. As they stood in the doorway, they were standing quite close, and they both started to lean towards each other... Sam, in shock, stepped back and stammered "I guess I'll see you tomorrow, then."
Jack reached out and grabbed her hand, "wait!" he cried out urgently. 'Okay, don't screw this up Jack!'
"What is it, Sir?" Sam asked nervously.
"Um, there's something I want to ask you. Can I come in?" He stammered.
Sam, looking uncertain, nodded her head, and Jack followed her into her living room, and sat down next to her on the couch.
"I had a lot of time to think while I was stuck on that moon, and even though I know we can't be together yet with regs and all, but damn it, I love you and I don't want to put you through all that wondering again. If something happens, I want you to have something solid to hold onto. That's why, as a promise for the future, without actually breaking any regs, I want you to be my wife." He said, producing a ring from his pocket. It was a gold ring, set with a heart-shaped diamond.
Sam gaped in shock. She found her voice enough to blurt out "wife... me?"
Jack nodded, looking uncertain, "That's if you take me".
To Jack's surprise, Sam burst out laughing, "Yes, of course! Jack, I love you too, even if we have to wait!" And with that, Jack produced a golden chain necklace, slipped the ring onto it, and fastened it around Sam's neck. She then slipped it out of sight (a fact she felt was symbolic). They both beamed at each other.
Jack stood up, "As much as I hate to, I'd better leave..."
Sam stood up as well and hugged him tight, "we don't want to break any regs", Sam finished.
"Well, except for one", Jack commented, kissing her cheek, and headed towards to door.
Sam watched him leave, placing her hand to her cheek, savouring the memory of his kiss, as unprofessional as it was!!!
Copyright (c) 2004 Emerald Green