Story Notes: Never Alone: Email:


Content Warnings: use of mild language and small references to sex

Season: 9 onwards

Spoilers: General S9 spoilers

Sequel/Series Info: Sequel to Never Alone Part 17: Moving On…

Status: Series

File Size: 68 KB

Archive: My site, Jackfic yes, SJD yes, Gateworld, FanFiction Net

Author’s Note:
1. The fic challenge on the As The Stargate Turns Group this week (issued 1 Jan 2006) was to use the line "I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get elected" and/or the word 'horseback' and I have used both in this fic.

2. My eternal thanks to Livi for our thought provoking discussions. She provided me with so much useful information about various aspects of accommodation and locations in the US, particularly the Washington / Virginia area and Alexandria, as well as supplying a lot of other helpful information, some of which will no doubt be used in future fic. She was also good enough to read through my draft fic and pick up some errors, as well as supplying me with some additional ideas. This chapter is dedicated to her. Despite her help, any and all errors in this story are entirely my responsibility. Also thanks to Lee for some useful information about hops, and pilots, used in this fic.

Never Alone: …And Moving In

Jack stared in frustration at the unopened boxes scattered through the house. Moving was such a pain! Now he had to find somewhere to put everything and make the place a home. In the long run it was going to be worth it, but the short term filled him with dread and he wished Sam were there to help him decide what to do. Jack wanted this to be a place where she felt truly at home. As far as he was concerned it was as much hers as it was his – or he wanted it to be.

Stepping out into the yard for some air, he smiled. It was going to be so great there once the plants and trees came to life again over spring and summer. And Sam loved the fall, the leaves turning all shades of brown and red as the trees prepared for their winter wait for life, and starting that journey all over again. There was something comforting about the cyclical nature of life. In fact, Mother Nature was one heck of a woman all round.

He was trying to be optimistic but Jack had grave doubts about the decisions he'd been making. Selling the house in Colorado Springs was such a final act, closing a chapter of his life that had brought great sorrow, joy, pain and pleasure. The SGC had been an adrenalin rush of a ride!

Jack had also made friends there: close and dear friends who meant a great deal to him. Although the most intimate of these were Sam, Daniel, Teal'c and George Hammond, Jack counted a number of people in that group. He mourned their loss along with the loss of the life he had led there.

He was a man of action and always had been. Now he seemed to be a man of inaction. Jack missed it and always would but knew there was no way back. This was going to be as close as he got anymore: sitting behind a desk shuffling papers; having argumentative meetings with bureaucratic morons, or worse – politicians; an occasional side trip to exotic locations as far flung as Antarctica; and if he was lucky he might get to go off world once in a very long while.

Jack hoped he'd made the right decision about this house and that he could be happy there, while still knowing that his heart and soul were elsewhere.

'Pretty damned depressing, Jack,' he told himself, 'but you just need to suck it up, soldier.'

While they were house hunting Gladys Fox had run rings around Jack. The woman was a demon and Jack marvelled at her energy, as well as her quick wit and gritted determination and pluck. She was a handful, almost forcing Jack to look at various brochures and drive around the likes of Alexandria, Arlington and a whole A-Z of places that were a reasonable commute to the Pentagon.

In the end she had fallen in love with a house in Alexandria, which was a location that Jack had decided he liked a lot. He loved the house too, and what hope did he stand of making his own choice when Gladys was at his elbow and secretly conspiring with Sam behind his back?

He loved it, but thought it a bit too large and unmanageable. Or maybe it was that his old house in the Springs had been small and that was what he was used to. Gladys argued against a small place, telling Jack that he was a General in the US Air Force and, "damn it all, you should live like one."

He wasn't sure he saw it quite that way. Jack's true home was a cabin in Minnesota and always would be, and he had never been a man to desire material things, although he did like comfort. When you spend half your life sneaking around out in the field, getting coated with sand or mud and camping in uncomfortable and cramped conditions, comfort at home was a necessity. On the other hand, it didn't take much to be more comfortable than that so it's relative.

Nevertheless, it wasn't as if the house was gigantic and it was pretty much the norm for the area. At least it wasn't one of those mansions Generals were entitled to if they opted to live somewhere like Fort Belvoir.

He had joked about the idea of moving to Springfield. When he discovered there was such a place in Virginia the notion of emulating his hero, Homer Simpson, had overtaken his imagination for a while.

"For crying out loud, Springfield!" he'd exclaimed with a big childish grin on his face. "Maybe I can live next door to Homer and Bart. Move over Ned, I'm movin' in!"

Gladys had found it amusing and Sam laughed when she told her, but then Gladys took Jack to Alexandria and his fate was sealed.

The city had so much history attached to it and was an easy commute to the Pentagon. Its Old Town, by the Potomac and part of the original settlement dating back in 1749, was a bustling hive of activity with attractive stores and restaurants. That area was a bit beyond Jack's means, and way too central a place to live for his tastes, but it was appealing.

Jack could envisage wandering around with Sam, perhaps going to the farmer's market on a Saturday morning, maybe dropping in for an occasional drink at a nice bar or for a meal in one of the cosy looking restaurants.

He smiled at the notion of this dog friendly area. Storeowners welcomed dogs, and many had their own pooches sprawled over the floor of their stores, watching the customers browse with a wary eye. The Holiday Inn, which was located across the street from the City Hall, even hosted a dog happy hour on their patio in summer. He found that idea charming and even began to wonder if it was time to get a dog of his own.

Jack loved dogs. They simply were the best people you could find on planet Earth. The absentee nature of his job had stopped him from getting one but, settled in a place like Alexandria in a house with a big yard, maybe he could consider it. It was a dream worth savouring.

Then he remembered that Sam seemed to be more of a cat person. Ack! Jack didn't like cats so much, although he guessed he could tolerate them. They were just way too independent for his liking. He was drawn to the loyalty and devotion displayed by dogs - his kind of people.

Those thoughts provoked fantasies of living in a nice house with Sam, cats, dogs and kids. It was a dream that, mere months ago had hardly seemed possible, but now…? Dammit, he didn't even know if Sam wanted kids. Laughing at himself, he decided he was being a bit too fanciful. Before even considering any of that he had to ask Sam to marry him. When it came down to it, Jack didn't give a rat's ass about dogs, cats or even children – just her. The rest would be a bonus.

Jack decided that Gladys was right about the house. He really ought to do some, entertaining at home. It was the way of things in DC circles but Jack wasn't even sure where to start. His special omelette was not something one could serve to Generals and the like for dinner, although he figured Gladys would enjoy one.

Also, he wasn't married like so many of them were, with wives who seemed to be born for that sort of thing. Gladys was a natural and he knew that she would advise him if he wanted or needed it. Even if he were married, Sam would not be that kind of wife. She had her own life and career to think about without having to concern herself with his. Jack would never ask that of her. Sam's future was way more important than his, although he might help the Stargate Program some by becoming more of a politician than he was. It was a gradual process but he was getting there – kind of.

Even the word politician made Jack want to spit. He so hated that about DC. But he was stuck there now and had to learn to swim along with the tide, or drown trying. Jack was not the drowning kind; he was the kind that would fight until the bitter end to keep his head above the water, and that was now the life he had to settle for. Maybe he could begin to like it. And pigs might fly!

Many times Jack had been known to quip, "I don't approve of political jokes. I've seen too many of them get elected", and now he had politicians coming out of his ears as well as every other orifice you could mention, many of them un-elected. His derisory view of politicians was a running joke with his old friends in the SGC.

Daniel made a point of collecting political jokes, joke books, satire and related ephemera especially to give them to Jack. The older man would moan and grumble when Daniel gave him such a gift but he had grown very fond of that little habit and Daniel knew it.

Maybe it had started as a way of getting under Jack's skin but nowadays it went way beyond that. Jack had quite a collection and treasured each item, and Daniel was constantly hunting for suitable things to add to that collection.

Jack knew he could afford to have a fairly swanky house. He was a Major General and had been in the Air Force for a long time, so his salary was pretty good, as was the housing allowance he would be getting, which would mainly pay the rent. He had no family to keep, except for his mother's expenses, and didn't pay any alimony. Cassie was not far from being self-sufficient; Janet had ensured that.

Being a member of the US Armed Forces also gave him other privileges. There were perks, like reduced prices in the PX in Fort Myers, close to the Pentagon. Fort Belvoir was not that far away and, if he chose, he could shop in the PX there, which sold just about anything you could think of at reduced rates. Jack also saved a lot of money by eating at work on a frequent basis. He really didn't get around to eating at home that often.

One of the best perks were the hops, which meant that Armed Forces personnel could hitch a free ride to almost anywhere in the world on military flights. Jack had taken a lot of advantage of that over the years and was well-travelled man, both inside and outside of the United States. In the grand scheme of things, pilots were a pretty small community, and many of the commercial ones were ex-military. This meant that other pilots could often get reductions on commercial flights too. Sometimes it was a matter of whom you knew, and Jack knew one heck of a lot of people.

The Armed Forces offered a lot of benefits that helped reduce the expenses of their personnel. Someone like Jack, with his rank and responsibilities, probably could have earned way more if he were in an equivalent job in a private company. All the perks added a lot to the overall attractiveness of the Armed Forced package, although they owned you for years even after you retired, which many might see as a downside.

The sale of the house in the Springs was going to net him a tidy profit. When he came to think about it, he was laughing all the way to the bank, although he worked damned hard for it, and had done for years, so he figured that was okay. In the final analysis, Jack didn't actually spend that much of his hard earned cash.

Didn't he deserve a nice place where he could rest his weary ass when he managed to get home? Keeping house in a larger place might be a pain but he could probably afford to pay someone to clean for him, and even to do the yard work. It wasn't as if he had that much time to do it himself and when he did get time that was the last thing on Earth he wanted to be doing with it.

So he had gone with the flow and rented a larger house. The one they chose had been built in the fifties so was fairly modern, a traditional detached rambler. Although a rambler, it actually had two levels as the basement was fully useable space with big picture windows, and led directly into the back yard through a large patio door.

It just about doubled the square footage and was a bright, light space, which housed another bedroom and bathroom, as well as the recreation/family room and a laundry room. Jack figured he could virtually live down there if that was what he wanted, rarely venturing into the rest of the house. All he needed was to put some beer and snacks into the refrigerator that was already there.

Overall it was bigger than the apartment that he had just moved out of. Altogether, there were four bedrooms, which is one of the reasons Jack considered it to be big, plus three full bathrooms. The other bedrooms, living room, dining room and kitchen were on the main floor of the building and all the rooms were spacious, light and airy. One of the bedrooms had been used as a study and Jack would retain it for that purpose. He couldn't imagine why he would need four bedrooms.

Jack had lots of furniture and other stuff to move in, but not enough to fill the place. He figured that some new furniture would be required and hoped Sam might be willing to help him pick it out. That, at least, might be a task they could share. Generally Jack hated shopping, but choosing stuff for his own home with Sam could be fun – until he got bored with it!

The house stood in just over half an acre of land, with a large neat lawn at the front, and what would be pretty flowerbeds come spring, and it had fairly long driveway leading to the double garage. At the back, the yard was spacious, with a large patio leading to the lawn, and plenty of trees. All in all it was fairly private, something that appealed to Jack above almost anything.

The journey to the Pentagon only took about 20 minutes from there, and it was a hop and a skip into the centre of Alexandria, and all its attractions. There was enough there to keep one occupied without having to cross the Potomac, if one so desired.

Busy unpacking as he was, Jack didn't think much about the sound of a car pulling up close to the house and carried on emptying the box of kitchen equipment while recently made coffee awaited his pleasure. Then he heard Gladys's voice calling from the front door so stopped what he was doing and picked his way through the obstacle course of unpacked boxes to greet her.

"Gladys, come in!" he cried, pleased that he might have some company in his solitude.

He hoped she might stay for a cup of coffee and a chat, which could help lift his mood. Jack felt so lonely and down, the move having unsettled him more than he could have guessed. He wondered whether his blues might have more to do with Sam's absence than the move itself, but couldn't distinguish those feelings from the ones of loss he still felt for the SGC. He was trying his damnedest not to dwell.

Stepping into the lobby, his eyes widened as Gladys entered followed by a mop of very familiar blonde hair. He froze, heart hammering rapidly at the sight of the woman he loved standing in his doorway and his negative mood lifting immediately. Gladys smiled at his reaction thinking that a similarly idiotic grin was probably plastered all over the face of the woman she had brought with her.

"Surprise!" Sam exclaimed.

"You're good at those," he replied, still too stunned to move.

Thinking she ought to break the spell of this frozen tableau, Gladys spoke.

"I told Sam I would pick her up at the airport and bring her over, Jack, but I can't stay." She smiled engagingly and Jack turned towards her.

"The work of a General's wife is never done, huh?" he quipped, "Your husband is a slave driver," he added with that cheeky smile that Gladys always found so endearing.

"But we all love him madly," she said.

"You betchya!" Jack's grin broadened.

"Actually," Gladys continued, "I have to confess that I am having some me time. I'm going riding."

"You still ride?" Sam asked.

"You don't, Sam?"

"I never kept it up. I never seemed to have the time."

"My dear girl, you mean I wasted all that time teaching you the finer equestrian arts and you stopped?"

Sam shrugged a little sheepishly.

"I didn't know you could ride a horse," Jack declared with surprise, eyeing Sam.

"You did so. What about…?" she replied, drawing to a halt when she realised that Gladys might be an Air Force wife, and married to General Fox, but she probably didn't know anything about the Stargate Program, "It's been a long time since I did it for pleasure, Jack. I used to love it. After mom died Gladys taught me. It helped a little." She turned towards Gladys and gave her an affectionate peck on the cheek and a hug. "Gladys, I wouldn't say your efforts were wasted…"

"Then you ought to come with me one of these days, Sam," Gladys interrupted. "I find it so relaxing and it gets me away from everything. There's nothing that blows away the cobwebs better than being out in the open air, flying along on horseback," she said wistfully.

"I will, I promise," Sam vowed, smiling at her old mentor.

"Um, just like that dinner you said you'd come over to eat." Sam blushed and started to stammer a response. "Sam, I'm kidding. I'd love to see you both but I know there are probably other things you can do with your time, most of which I would adore if only I were young and in love." She winked mischievously and Jack laughed.

"Young? I wish," he responded, taking Sam by the hand and glancing at her with a boyish smile.

"Ack! You're young enough, Jack O'Neill," Gladys countered. "I should be your age!" Looking at her watch she added, "Now I really must be getting along. I have a date with a beautiful horse and I'm betting you two would like to play catch-up."

"I-I, um, thanks Gladys, for everything," Jack said moving towards her and giving her a hug. "And don't tell me you're not young enough, Gladys, because I won't believe you," he added impishly.

Gladys was surprised to find she was blushing and looked into Jack's face, smiling shyly.

"I hope you know how lucky you are, Sam my dear," she said, brushing Jack off and closing in on the door.

"I do know, Gladys, really I do."

Then, without further ado, the whirlwind that was Gladys Fox had gone.

"Whoa! She sure is something!" Jack exclaimed, staring open-mouthed at the door.

"She surely is. Jack… come here and hug me."

Jack didn't need to be told twice and moved towards her, his heart swelling with a feeling of love and desire that he hardly recognised. He could never have expressed how happy and relieved he was to see her at that moment. It was like a dream come true: he would share this with her, as he had wanted. Sam smiled but said nothing and Jack swept her up into his arms.

"I thought you might need some help," she said as he squeezed her tightly, his embrace making her melt into his body as it if was where she belonged, and she believed that it was. "I hope you don't mind."

"Mind? You're kidding, right? Look around. I could do with all the help I can get!" he joked, "So, thought you'd surprise me, huh?"

"I wanted to help you to move in, be here for you, see your house, help you to settle. Guided tour?" she grinned.

"Later. J-just let me hold you for a while." He swayed her in his arms, unbelievably happy to have her there. "Coffee?" he asked after a while.

"I'd love some."

"Then come this way through the obstacle course," he said, taking her hand and leading her around the boxes to the kitchen. "It's scary how much stuff one accumulates over the years," he added, gesturing at the chaos.

"Nothing like moving to bring that home to you," Sam agreed, eyeing her surroundings and liking what she saw. It was just as Gladys had described and the photos she'd received via e-mail simply hadn't done it justice. "Great place Jack" she commented.

"You like it? I so wanted you to. I'd like for you to have helped me choose a place Sam but…"

"I did help," she interrupted. Jack turned to look at her with surprise and she revealed the conspiracy.

"You are way too crafty," he smiled, pleased with her plotting.

"Blame Gladys for that. It was her idea."

"She's a scheming woman, but terrific with it, just like you."

"Scheming? Tsk! How dare you, Jack O'Neill," she admonished with a smile.

"Did I say that aloud?" he joked, "Whoops!" He grasped her, swinging her around in his arms, and then added, "I sure would love to go horse riding with you one day, Sam."

"You like horse riding?"

"I think I would love to do it with you."

"I'd really like that."

"That's settled, then. Maybe next time you're here."

"You know, if it hadn't been for Gladys… Sometimes I wonder how I would have borne my mother's death without her."

"Tell me?"

She nodded. The brief conversation Jack had with Betsy at the Pentagon weeks before had got her thinking. She never really had told Jack much about her own past. Did he resent that he had spilled his guts but got nothing in return? He had joked about it but Jack's jokes were so frequently a cover for something else. Sure, she had a few secrets but nothing compared with the one's he had shared with her, but she could share something and talking about this was a start.

So, as they sat amongst the boxes drinking their coffee, Sam told him about the loss of her mother and Gladys's interventions, which had made her life so much better than it might have been after such a heavy loss.

"I blamed dad for mom's death and Mark's attitude didn't help. He really turned against dad after that," Sam said, "I'm betting dad's heart was breaking and he didn't know how to deal with it, or us. Looking back I regret…"

"You made peace with Jacob a long time ago, Sam. Never forget that. He wouldn't want you to have those regrets."

"You're right. Poor dad. He probably blamed himself way more than either Mark or I did."


"Gladys helped me so much. She became a kind of proxy mom for quite a while. Took me under her wing. Without her and Betsy I would have gone insane. It was a bad time to lose a mother. You probably don't realise it at the time but when a girl becomes a teenager it's when she needs her mom the most."

"You were lucky to have her."

"Yes, I was. In so many ways she helped me to come to terms with it, both mom and dad, although you never really get over that loss. Sometimes I still wish that mom were here to see what I've accomplished, and just to talk to. Dad too."

"I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel the same way about grandma and grandpa. Of course you miss them. Both of them." He squeezed her gently and kissed the top of her head. "So she took you horse riding, huh?"

"I loved that. For a while I was obsessed and dreamed of being a show jumper or a jockey, but in the end I still came back to astronaut."

"Matt Mason," Jack responded with a grin.

"Right, nothing like hero worshipping a doll is there?" she said, pleased Jack remembered that from their first meeting at the SGC.

"Until you met me," Jack smirked, "a real life hero. General Jack O'Neill at your service ma'am," he teased and Sam slapped him playfully.

"You never take anything seriously," she complained with a faked pout, pleased he'd lightened the tone of the conversation.

"Life's too short."

"Yes it is, but we wasted enough of it, didn't we? I wish I'd known years ago how happy you would make me."

"It wouldn't have made any difference, would it? I still would have been your CO."

"Maybe we would have worked something out."


The silence between them stretched way too long so Jack diverted the subject back to Gladys and horses.

"You said you haven't ridden in years, so did you give it up after moving away from Gladys?"

Sam smiled up at Jack, grateful for both the diversion, and the memory it provoked.

"Actually, no, I carried on for quite a while when we moved on. I found a riding school and dad thought it was worth paying for the lessons. It kept me happy and he didn't know how happy."

"Oh?" he queried and was surprised to see her blush, "You're blushing, which has me intrigued, so don't stop there."

Sam laughed and continued.

"You may not want to know."

"Stop teasing and spit it out for crying out loud!" Jack retorted, raising an inquisitive eyebrow to the heavens.

"I lost my virginity to the guy who was teaching me to ride," she stated, waiting for his reaction.

"You what?" Jack chuckled, highly amused by that notion, "You had an affair with your riding instructor? You minx! So he was teaching you to ride in more ways then one, huh?"

"You could say that," she smirked.

"Jeez, Sam, I bet dad would have been pissed to find out what he was paying for!"

"No doubt he would have been."

"Gladys never knew what her lessons would lead to."

"She might have appreciated it, actually."

"Did it go on for long?" he asked curiously, pleased to be learning something about Sam's past, albeit a slightly bizarre something: totally unexpected and surprising.

"Long enough. I thought I loved him of course, but it was just a crush. He broke my heart and that's when I gave up riding."

"He broke your heart? My poor baby," he kissed her cheek with a smile. "So where'd you do it? In the stables? Out in the open country? Tell Jack all about it."


"Oh, come on, don't be a spoil sport," he pleaded.

"Whenever and wherever the opportunity arose. Dad thought Kevin was kind to drive me home after lessons. It never even occurred to him what we might have been getting up to in the car."

"Kevin? You lost your virginity to a Kevin?" Jack teased, "Oy! So was he any good, this Kevin?"

"Any good at what?"

"Good in bed, what do you think I mean?" he winked.

"He was okay, but no cigar," she grinned. "And before you try fishing for compliments, General O'Neill, you are so way better that this guy was in a totally different league and that wasn't even the minors. You're the best."

"Wow! Really?"

"No bullshit."

"What about…?"

"Don't even ask!"

"Alright, already. Just curious."

"What would you think if I asked about you and Sara?"

"That's different. We were married for ten years."

"Different? Maybe, but that doesn't stop me from being curious."

"We probably shouldn't discuss exes."

"You started it."

"I so did not!"

"You're right, you didn't. Whoops! Okay, change of subject. We really should get on with some work."


"You have something else in mind?"

"Actually, I wouldn't mind going for a walk. Fresh air, show you around the place."

"I have been to Alexandria before, you know. I worked at the Pentagon, remember?"

"Sure. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, but I haven't. I wanna get to know my new home town, with the woman I love on my arm."

"Cute, Jack."

"I know," he grinned.

"There still lots to do," she objected.

"A lot of the really important stuff is done. There's always later, or tomorrow. It’s a sunny day, maybe a little cold, but sunny, and if it snowed tomorrow we'd be pissed we didn't go out today."

"Gee, you'd say just about anything to avoid unpacking, wouldn't you? I can't recall snow being on the weather forecast."

"But at this time of year it could happen at any time," he whined, a pleading look in his eyes. Sam caved. She never could resist those puppy dog eyes.

"Okay, show me the town, mister!"

As they walked around, Sam thought Jack was a little like a giddy schoolboy who had found a new toy and wanted to show it off. It was pretty obvious that he had fallen for the charms of Alexandria and she had to admit that she couldn't blame him for that. The Old Town had many charms, although built up around it over the years was a more modern place.

The folk of Alexandria, however, had had the good sense to agree to strict architectural and demolition guidelines for the Old Town to keep it from being spoiled and, as a result, had the dubious pleasure of attracting huge numbers of tourists each year. Alexandria, after all, held an interesting place in the early history of the United States and its fight for independence from the English throne thousands of miles away.

George Washington himself had had a town house there and served as a Trustee of Alexandria, as well as Worshipful Master of the Masonic lodge. He'd had numerous social and business connections to the town and even drilled militia troops in the Market Square. The town had served as a supply and hospital centre during the Revolutionary conflict.

The city was also closely linked to the War Between the States, as the Alexandrians call it, and had been occupied by the Union military forces at the beginning of that conflict, becoming a logistical supply centre for the Federal Army. No doubt that must have pissed off the locals, whose sympathies were obviously on the Confederate side.

Robert E Lee's two boyhood homes were situated in the Old Town and both were now open to the public as museums. Having married into his family, Lee was related to George Washington. In the middle of Washington Street there stood a statue of a Confederate Soldier as a "monument to our Confederate dead", which still always had flowers laid at its base. The main highway to the Pentagon was named "Jeff Davis Highway" after the President of the Confederacy.

Ties to the military, and the defense of the nation, ran deep in Alexandria.

"You should feel right at home here, Jack," Sam commented as they walked arm in arm though the Market Square.

"With two Admirals, a couple of NASA scientists, a soon to be retired AF General and a couple of Colonels living on my street, I should think so," he joked. "I just wonder who isn't connected to the government in some way in this town. One of the biggest employers around here is the Department of Defense."

"You could be right about that, although lot of companies have their headquarters here."

"Yes, companies involved with defense contracts."

"And the Salvation Army," Sam countered.

"Just another type of uniform, Sam," he quipped and Sam smiled. "Did you know this place had huge ties to the slave trade? Bought and sold in this very square, one of the biggest slave markets in the country, if not the biggest."

Sam felt him shudder at the notion. Jack was a big believer in freedom. It's what he fought for and probably what he'd joined up for in the first place. She wondered how much of that was rooted in his unhappy childhood and being bullied, beaten and dominated by his father, locked in the cupboard and longing for his own freedom. So much complexity went into making this complicated man that she loved so dearly.

"Yes," she replied, "but ironically it also has a history of free black communities, and Afro-American's flourished here, with churches, social organisations and businesses. A lot of the early Afro-Americans were skilled artisans.

"Really? That's comforting."

"Did you know that, at his death, George Washington freed all his slaves? Their descendants still live here."

"You seem to know so much about this place, Sam. You really should become my tour guide and help me find my way around my new home town," he said with a smile.

Sam said nothing but leaned up to kiss his cheek and he turned his head, briefly possessing her lips and then unlinked arms and wrapped an arm around her, pulling her close.

"Perhaps we should be getting home soon," he said, "although we should probably eat out before we go back."

"Know any good take-outs?"

"Not yet, but we can experiment if you like. You'd rather sit amongst the packing crates and eat?"

"Put like that it sounds slightly less appealing, but maybe we can eat out tomorrow. Right now I just want you all to myself, Mr Scarecrow."

"I think you'll find I have no objections to that Dorothy."

"Before we eat I think we ought to have some rip roaring sex, don't you agree?" she smirked.

"Rip roaring sex? Oh man, do I like the sound of that!"

"Good because I'm expecting you to do all the ripping and roaring."

"It would be an honor to rip and roar, Sam," he responded with a huge grin.

Then, turning into the sharp, cold wind, they made their way home and Jack unexpectedly realised that he was going to feel happy and at home in this place. His doubts about moving, selling his house in the Springs, and finally letting go of Colorado and the SGC were gone. He'd done the right thing, and made the right choice.



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