Believe the Lie
Samantha Carter was late, more than an hour late, and it wasn’t the first time this month.
"Miss Carter, I’m glad you could fit us into your busy schedule."
"I’m sorry, I was held up by a student." Sam kissed her daughter’s forehead as she knelt to help her gather her things. "Hallie honey, why don’t you go get a candy bar?" She handed the young girl some change from her pocket allowing her to run out of the class room to the vending machine down the hall.
"Maybe it’s time for you to consider an alternative care solution for your child." The teacher suggested coolly.
"There isn’t an alternative, I’m a single parent and I have to work."
"There are after school programs, the front office will have a list for you."
"Thank you, but I think I’ll just focus on getting off campus on time." With that, Sam grabbed Hallie’s backpack and lunchbox before spinning on her heels and going to hunt for the child in question. She found the little girl with light brown hair and hazel eyes sitting on a bench eating a Snicker’s bar.
"Hey Hal, half now, half after dinner, okay kiddo?" She took one last bite of the candy before handing the remainder to her mother who put it in her backpack.
"You’re welcome honey. Sorry I was late; I know it sucks to have to wait around for your parent to come pick you up."
"I know, the best laid plans of astrophysicist colonels, right?" Sam laughed, had that just come out of the mouth of her six year-old?
"Hallie Danielle, who have you been talking to?" The pair giggled all the way to the car, where they took turns detailing their day to one another.
Later that night, Sam tucked Hallie into bed, reading her one of her favorite books before kissing her good night. Turning to walk out, she felt a pang of sadness in her chest as she heard Hallie’s soft voice say, "Goodnight Dad." as she looked at his picture before turning off her lamp. Walking down the halls of their house made Colonel Samantha Carter feel as if she wasn’t completely alone, the walls were covered in framed pictures, mostly of Hallie, but interspersed with those were shots of her father, her own childhood, as well as sever shots of Hallie’s dad, a man who had been absent from both of their lives since before the child was born.
The next day, Sam was on time, she’d blown off three cadets who wanted to discuss their exams with her, but she’d made it to see the flood of children come out the doors of the school as the final bell rang. On the ride home, Sam decided they could use something to break up the monotony of their nightly routine of homework (for both of them), dinner, and bed. "Where would you like to eat for dinner tonight, Hal? Anything’s game, your choice." The girl smiled, a mock-pensive look on her face.
"Hum, does pizza sound okay?"
"Pizza sounds great, let’s change out of our uniforms first though; we don’t want to look too stuffy, do we?" She pulled a face, getting a familiar laugh from her daughter. Soon, both women were dressed in jeans and sweaters, ready for a night on the town.
They ate much more pizza than actually agreed with their stomachs, before seeing the latest kid-flick that was in theatres, bonding as they had done before Sam had taken on two extra classes of cadets who felt the urge to learn astrophysics.
They were in the car headed home when Sam's cell phone started ringing. "Will you grab that Hal?" She did, fishing it out of her mother's purse which was in the backseat with her.
"Hello, Hallie Jackson speaking." There was a pause before, "Just a minute please." And Sam felt the small weight of the phone against her shoulder.
"This is Colonel Carter." She spoke a few minutes to the panicked technician before ending the call. "Mind if we stop by the academy for a few minutes so I can check on something?" Hallie didn't mind, she liked going to the Air Force Academy, there were a lot of interesting displays in the halls that she could look at while her mom attended to whatever boring stuff it was that she did.
Once, while looking at a "Special Operations" display, she'd recognized one of the men in one of the pictures as her dad's best friend, Colonel O'Neill. Hallie had decided not to tell her mom about the picture, she always got really upset whenever someone started talking about the deaths of Hallie's dad and his friends. Instead, that display was now Hallie's favorite, she would stare at the man when her mom wasn't around, wondering about his life. At six, Hallie saw the man as a mystical sidekick to her Dad's eager explorer.
Sam and Hallie arrived at the Academy soon enough, going straight to the lab where all the commotion seemed to be emanating from. After Colonel Carter had swept in and fixed whatever it was that had gone awry, she grabbed her daughter from her contemplation of one of the special ops displays and they headed home, it was a school night after all.
Other than the ambient light from the street, the blinking of the answering machine was the only visible light as Sam carried her now-sleeping child through the door, up the stairs, and into her bedroom. The little girl was placed in her bed and kissed on her forehead before her mother left the room, closing the door behind her.
Sam went to the answering machine first, hit play, and went to get a drink of water, she came back to listen more closely when she heard her father's voice.
"Hi, just wanted to let you guys know I'm in town, I'd really like to see my two favorite girls this trip, if you're not too busy for an old man like me. If I don't hear from you, I'll just catch you next time."
That was their one and only message, Sam checked her watch, noted that it was still relatively early and decided to call up her dad. "Hey kiddo, how you doing?" Jacob asked, once Sam had waded through all the security it took to get the Tok'ra ambassador on the phone.
"I'm good, Hal and I were at the Academy trying to smooth over the wreckage of one of my experiments a student maimed earlier."
"How is my munchkin doing?"
"The munchkin is good, this new school is killing me though, I can't seem to pick her up on time, but she does seem happier there."
"Selmak and I are here until Tuesday; do you think you two could find some time for me before then?"
"Why don't we go out for dinner tomorrow night, you can spend the night and we'll have all day Saturday to do whatever we like."
"Sounds like a plan, do you want to come pick me up, or would you like me to meet you somewhere?"
"Think you could get a lift to the Academy? You could meet me there and we could surprise Hallie together." The two arranged a time to meet at the Academy before saying their goodbyes and hanging up for the evening. Sam went into her bedroom, put on a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt before brushing her teeth and saying goodnight silently to the man whose picture was in her nightstand drawer.
The next day went the same as every other had for the last six years, there were students who seemed to be doing the work of Jack O'Neill in breaking her experiments and other students who wanted to debate every single mark on their papers. This kind of boring work had taken her from a Lieutenant Colonel to a full bird Colonel; someone must have been noticing her work since leaving the SGC upon the death of her entire team.
Shortly after her promotion from Major, Sam Carter had tripped over something off world, and broken her arm, putting her out of commission. Their next scheduled mission was to be a simple meet and greet, which Teal'c, Daniel, and Jack were sent on without a fourth member to round out the team. Something went wrong shortly after SG-1 gated out, there was some sort of feedback and they stopped receiving a signal from the alien gate mid-transit. They tried redialing, but it couldn't connect, somehow the gate on the other side had been destroyed or disabled before SG-1 could be reconstituted. The SGC did everything they could, checked the buffers on their end, but there was nothing, or rather no one, lurking in the gate.
All of SG-1 was gone, Sam Carter was alone, she wore herself out trying to find some loophole in the gate system that would allow the three men to be alive, but there was nothing they were just gone, their molecules probably spread through the galaxy by now. When she was physically forced to stop looking, stop investigating, the then Lieutenant Colonel Carter decided to request reassignment to the Air Force Academy where instead of having to look at the gate that stole her family everyday, she could just train up the next generation of gate experts.
Less than a week after her move to the Academy, Sam discovered she was pregnant, reinforcing her decision to leave the SGC. Her dad came and stayed with her towards the end of her pregnancy, he was there right through her labor, the eldest Carter didn't even bat an eye when she'd put Daniel's name on the birth certificate, he hadn't ever asked who the father was, his claim was that this was his grandchild and that was all that mattered.
And it had been seven years, Sam couldn't believe it had been so long since she'd been in the presence of the Stargate, she hadn't even missed it since she'd had Hallie, the little girl monopolized her mind 24 hours a day. It wasn't a bad life she'd made for them, it was just lonely sometimes; spending time with her daughter was the best thing about academia for Sam, but there were times she wished there was another person for her to share it all with, an adult. She couldn't bring herself to date, the only time in nearly seven years since 'their death' that she'd gone on a date had been a blind one set up by one of her coworkers and boy had it been bad. The first thing the guy had said in response to a crying baby at a nearby table had been 'boy do I hate kids' it had gotten progressively worse from there. From then on, Sam vowed to never become one of those women who ceaselessly search for a replacement daddy for their child.
Jacob Carter arrived at the Academy early, and as Sam had a class, he had nothing to do. He was in full Air Force dress uniform, a remnant from a meeting he and Selmak had left to come directly to the Academy, this earned him several looks as he just wandered the halls marveling at how much the place didn't change in between his visits.
Looking at the exhibits, Jacob recognized several of the men in the pictures as fallen comrades, when he came to a newly added display, he nearly walked on without really stopping to look, but Selmak must have seen something because she made him go back and take a closer look. It was about special ops training, and in one of the pictures was a man who had once been a fixture in Jacob Carter's life. The photograph was a surprise to him for more than one reason, in it Jack O'Neill had grey hair, which meant it was taken after he came to the SGC, and because with his excellent memory, courtesy of Selmak, it was clear as day to him that this photo was taken at the Alpha Site. It was nothing that would make a person say "huh, that doesn't look like Earth." The sky wasn't even visible in the shot and all of their buildings were from Earth, Jacob just recognized the layout and the forest which was on the edge of the site because he and Selmak had lived there.
"Not you too." Jacob was startled out of his contemplation of the display.
"Huh?" He responded, displaying the power of both he and Selmak's combined intelligence.
"That's Hallie's favorite display, whenever I lose her, this is where I always know she'll be."
"Do you know why she likes it so much?"
"I've never really looked that closely at it; I don't come through this hallway very often."
"Ah, well I think I know why Hal is so fond of it."
"And why is that Dad?" Her father placed his hands on her shoulders, directing her to stand directly in front of the display case, he knew she'd seen the picture when her breath hitched. "Her entire life, whenever someone's mentioned Daniel, the Colonel hasn't been too far behind, I guess it would make sense that Hallie might become attached to him too." She leaned forward. "Is that the Alpha site?"
"Yes, it is, I noticed the same thing."
"I wonder why no one told me his picture would be part of the display."
"They probably just didn't associate you with the SGC when they got the photo in the first place. You have been gone for almost seven years."
They were only a couple of minutes late to pick up Hallie, there were still a few kids waiting around for someone to claim them. The girl was so excited when she saw her grandfather that she ran and threw her around him.
"Grandpa, I'm so glad you're here."
"Me too Hal, I've missed my favorite girls lately."
"We've missed you too, how long are you going to be here with us?"
"For a couple of days." He said, helping Hallie get into the car.
The little group went out to dinner at an 'adult' restaurant before taking Hallie to an ice rink where she and Jacob held tightly to one another in hopes of not falling on their rears.
Sam sat on a bench and watched the entertaining scene, though soon Jacob was too worn out to keep up and went to join his daughter.
"Does she ever remind you of her father?" He asked, after a minute of watching Hallie spin in circles.
"Constantly, makes me miss him more and treasure her more."
"Daniel Jackson was a good man." He stated.
"That he was, all three of them were good men, but they left me alone to raise Hallie, and it's been hard, so hard without them here."
"It was the same for me when your mother died." Jacob shared. "You and Mark were both still pretty young. I felt so alone those first few years that I didn't know what to do with myself. But, soon you both grew up and became wonderful adults." He smiled, "and now you've both given me wonderful grandchildren to spoil rotten."
"Do you really think she looks like Daniel?" This was the closest they'd come to actually discussing Hallie's paternity in the last six years.
"I think she looks like your mother, honestly. But, maybe I can see a little Daniel in her face; god knows she's inquisitive enough to be him." Jake sat back on the bench, watching as Hallie skated around with the other kids on the ice. His granddaughter's paternity was something he'd thought about more often than Selmak would let him admit. It just disturbed him, the idea that Daniel Jackson and his daughter's relationship had changed so drastically from a near sibling friendship to a romantic relationship without him having a single clue.
Three months later, Sam Carter was late again, only this time she didn't show up, a young woman wearing a waitress uniform did. "Myumi!" Hallie yelled when she saw her.
"Hi Hal." She went over the where the girl was now standing. "Your mom had to go away for a little while, you mind spending a couple days with me?" This young woman had been Hallie's next door neighbor her entire life, and she was the closet thing to a babysitter Sam had, but with her hectic work schedule she usually wasn't available, though in an emergency she could usually get off.
The girls went to Hallie's house, ready to spend the night watching DVDs and eating junk food.
Sam sat at the briefing room table in the SGC for the first time in nearly seven years, the only thing on her mind right now was Hallie. She hated leaving her like this without giving her a reason, but when she'd gotten the call from the SGC she had run from the grocery store straight to Cheyenne Mountain.
She'd been told about twenty minutes ago at a briefing led by the new General in charge of the facility that SG-6, while scouting out a new planet, had stumbled across a Goa'uld mining operation. Once they had checked out their situation, to make sure they had not been detected by the resident Goa'uld, they noticed three angry Jaffa beating up on one man, while another man was being subdued by a couple more. Despite recognizing the men as two of the SGC's own, the brief message from SG-6 didn't contain the identities of the two men.
Sam didn't know what she was feeling, after Hallie was born, she'd resigned herself to the fact that her team was dead, that there was absolutely no hope that they would just pop through the gate and claim it was all just a big joke. Now it seemed that whoever was alive and who wasn't, she and Hallie were going to have a lot to deal with.
After a while, they sent the weary Colonel to rest in one of the VIP rooms, considering she was no longer a part of the Stargate program, she wasn't allowed to have any involvement in what was going on in the control room or on the planet.
After six hours of fitful sleep, someone shook her awake, the minute she saw his face, even in the darkened room she threw herself into his arms.
"God I missed you, why did you have to leave?" She asked into his chest as he stood solidly while she gripped him.
"We did not leave you; it was merely an unfortunate chain of events that led to our capture by the Goa'uld and subsequent enslavement in a mining colony." Teal'c explained quickly, afraid for his friend's state of mind, he had no idea of the things that were flying around in her head. "If you have awakened sufficiently Samantha Carter, then we should make our way to the infirmary before it is discovered I have escaped." Sam couldn't help it, Teal'c had left the infirmary against orders to find her and she just couldn't contain the laugh that bubbled up at the thought of them 'losing' the big Jaffa.
Once she had gotten herself standing and run her fingers through her hair, she took Teal'c's hand and allowed him to gently lead her down the corridor towards the infirmary. When they came to the doors Sam decided she didn't want to know who was on the other side, whoever it was would still mean bad things, it would mean one of the most important men in her life was dead. It would mean that she would have to introduce a dead man to her young daughter, and it would mean so many changes for Hallie to overcome.
She swallowed her fear and pushed through the doors, noticing Teal'c stayed outside. He was laying there, looking asleep, but that only lasted until the sound of someone walking towards his bed made him shoot up into a sitting position.
"Damn, ow." He exclaimed, evidently hurting ribs she hadn't known were broken.
"Hi." She stated, getting his attention off of his aching body.
"Hi." The battered Colonel replied, his breath quickening if the increasing speed of the beeping of the monitors attached to him was anything to go by. She stood there a minute, looking intently at him, trying to size up what was actually Jack O'Neill and what was just the result of the beating that had gotten them home. "You look good." He broke the silence. "Very... relaxed."
"Well, you look like crap, so one of us had to look good." Sam couldn't believe she had just said that, her life was crashing down around her and she was joking with a man who eight hours ago had been dead.
Until he'd mentioned how she looked, Sam hadn't even given her attire a second thought since she'd gotten the call from the SGC while she had been grocery shopping. She was meeting the men who had once been the most important thing in her life while wearing a pair of faded old jeans with a t-shirt that may very well have belonged to Hallie and a pair of very dirty old tennis shoes she'd shoved back on her feet when Teal'c had woken her up.
"I was at the grocery store when I got the call they'd found you. I teach at the Academy four days a week now, today was my day off."
"You're not with the Air Force anymore?"
"Oh, I still wear blue, I just don't worship the Stargate anymore." She added quietly.
"Colonel," Some unknown doctor walked into the room. "You shouldn't be here right now; this man has suffered life threatening injuries."
"Sorry, I'll come back later." She sighed, exiting the infirmary as fast as her legs would allow.
"Carter, Carter wait!" She heard O'Neill call after her, she didn't stop, couldn't stop.
Teal'c was waiting outside the VIP quarters when she arrived; evidently the infirmary staff wasn't as obsessive about him as they were the battered Colonel. Not caring if Teal'c saw her cry, she just pushed through the door and allowed him to follow her in. The minute the door was closed, she broke down, going into Teal'c's arms the second they were offered.
"I'm sorry Teal'c." She said later. "It's just that you guys have been gone for so long and being back... I'm just having a little trouble dealing with it."
"Do not worry, I'm sure that being back at the SGC will be an adjustment for O'Neill and myself as well."
"Teal'c, what happened to Daniel?" She hadn't asked the question yet partly from the shock of the two men being back, but partly in fear of discovering Daniel Jackson's fate.
The look Teal'c gave her was one of near shock, as if he had to think a minute to remember what had occurred in their time away. "I am sorry Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson was killed in his sleep by one of our fellow prisoners in our second year of captivity."
"Four years ago? Daniel's been dead for four years?"
"We enacted revenge on the man who took his life, swiftly." She tried not to shudder, tried not to let Teal'c know how much the idea of he and O'Neill tracking down and killing a man bothered her. By this time they were sitting on the bed next to one another, just gaining solace in the other's presence.
"Teal'c," Sam broke the silence that had quietly descended over them. "I have a daughter."
"That is wonderful news, what is her name?"
"Hallie... Hallie Danielle Jackson." She paused to gauge his reaction, which was nothing at all. "She's perfect Teal'c, absolutely the most wonderful thing in my life, and she's going to love you."
"When do I get to meet this child?"
"As soon as you're cleared to leave the base, if you want to."
"Of course I wish to meet your daughter. Perhaps O'Neill would enjoy meeting her as well."
"I don't think that would be a very good idea Teal'c, the Colonel is going to be in the hospital for a very long time with his injuries, and Hallie can't come to the SGC." It was the truth, but it sure felt like she was making excuses.
"You should inform O'Neill of her existence, he would wish to know."
Nearly twenty-four hours later, the SGC made the decision to ship O'Neill out to the Academy Hospital, Sam decided to go home and take care of her daughter. When she walked in the front door, Teal'c was close on her tail, pleased to have been allowed to leave the SGC to stay with Sam until his scheduled debriefing.
"Mom, you're back!" Hallie ran towards her mother excitedly, skidding to a halt when she saw Teal'c. "Teal'c?" She asked, awestruck.
"Yes honey, this is my friend Teal'c, he was just found and the Air Force brought him home." She tried to explain the man rising from the dead.
"Did you know you're really tall?" The young girl asked, getting over her anxiety quite fast.
"That I did Hallie Jackson." He smiled, tilting his head respectfully.
"You know my name." She said, coming closer in her excitement and hugging her mother while smiling at the happy Jaffa.
For the next three days, Teal'c stayed with Sam, going to work with her and spending the entire day with O'Neill, Sam didn't go see the Colonel at any time; she couldn't bring herself to see the man without breaking down.
Sam picked up Hallie at school a few days later, on time, but without Teal'c in tow for the first time since he'd come to stay with them.
"Hal we've got to go pick Teal'c up from the Academy Hospital."
"Is Teal'c sick?"
"No baby, Teal'c's just visiting a sick friend."
"What's his friend's name?" She asked innocently as they were stopped at a red light.
"Colonel Jack O'Neill." Sam responded quietly, not missing her daughter's eyes grow huge at the thought of the great man being alive too.
"I think we should go see him, it would make him feel better." Hallie announced when they pulled into the hospital parking lot.
"I don't think so Hal, he's very sick, we wouldn't want to disturb him."
I'll be quiet, I promise, please mom, pretty pretty please can we go see him?" Sam finally gave in, hoping that Jack O'Neill would be too drugged up to notice their visit.
Hallie just plowed right into O'Neill's room once it was pointed out to the two women, leaving Sam to follow her in quickly so as to not cause a scene.
The Colonel was awake and didn't appear to be the least bit drugged.
"Well hello." He greeted, noticing the small girl enter his room.
"Hi." She responded, whispering and going to sit on Teal'c's knee.
"Hallie, you don't have to be that quiet, he's awake." Sam said bravely, finding her voice and forcing down her shock at the look of the once strong Colonel.
"This belong to you Carter?"
"This is my daughter Hallie, Sir."
"Your name's Hallie? That's a cool name, my name's Jack."
"I know who you are," Hallie responded. "You commanded special operation missions until you went missing six and a half years ago."
"Woah Hallie, you a military history buff?" He asked, disbelieving.
"I spend a lot of time at the Air Force Academy, you should go there sometime, Colonel."
"She definitely belongs to you Carter." He turned back to Hallie with a big charming O'Neill smile on his face. "Than you for visiting me, do you think you can take Teal'c downstairs to get a drink? I'm sure he's thirsty after spending all day with me." Hallie looked over to her mother for approval.
"Stay with Teal'c." She admonished, handing them each a dollar.
"Sorry about that, I don't know what you're rules are regarding vending machines and such, but I just didn't want to ask this in front of your daughter, so you can feel free to say no to me." She nodded her understanding. "They've decided to let me out of here tomorrow, and seeing as how the US Air Force so kindly sold my house, my only option is going back to the SGC. I was just wondering if maybe I could crash at your place for a couple days." He spoke the last sentence as one long word, so quickly in fact that it took her brain a minute to pull it all apart, Jack took this as hesitation. "Look, I understand, I'll just get a hotel, your husband probably wouldn't want all of us invading, and I'm sure we've already interrupted Hallie's schooling."
"Woah Jack, slow down, Hallie and I have enough room for you and Teal'c to stay with us for as long as you need to. As for Hallie's schooling, she goes to school every morning when I leave for work and we come home together in the afternoon."
Jack O'Neill was stunned speechless, Colonel Samantha Carter (as her uniform now told him) had just offered up her house to two KIA soldiers for as long as they wanted to stay. "Thank you Carter."
"My last class gets out at 2:30 tomorrow, should I pick you up then?"
"Yeah, that'd be great." He shifted in the bed, wincing as something moved that shouldn't have.
"Is there anything you think you'll need, we have stairs, are you going to be walking, or would you like me to set up a bed in a downstairs room?" She felt guilty that she hadn't even inquired about his injuries yet.
"I'll be okay, stairs shouldn't be a problem."
She started to leave the room, feeling like she had allowed the conversation to get uncomfortably personal, while staying away from anything that might seem remotely less than necessary.
"Hey Carter?" He spoke up.
"She looks just like you; she seems like a wonderful kid."
"Thank you, I'm sure she's going to become your shadow once you move in."
Six am Tuesday morning, Sam was cleaning. She'd cleaned every speck off of every surface in the second guest room, twice; she had brought in books and magazines and set out some of her father's 'Earth clothes' that looked like they would fit the battered soldier.
Hallie and Sam left Teal'c at home that day, electing to let him rest up for O'Neill as well as enlisting him to do some grocery shopping at the store down the block since Sam had not been able to complete her shopping the previous Friday.
The day flew by for Sam; she didn’t have a single student with a ridiculous request or a careless hand. She lectured, no one challenged her words and soon her last class was over, Sam knew that she would have to hurry and pick up O’Neill or risk being late to get Hallie.
When she arrived at the academy hospital, O’Neill was cursing up a storm in his hospital room, it was nice to know some things didn’t change, the thing that did seem to change was the fact that many of the words coming out of his mouth were Goa’uld. As she poked her head in the door, the nurses that were busy with his chest seized the opportunity to leave.
“Thank god you’re here Carter, the Nazi’s were just repacking my ribs.” With his shirt off she could see the extensive bruising that covered his torso, and that was just what the tight bandaging around his midsection didn’t cover. Without needing to be asked, she walked over to him and helped to pull a grey t-shirt over his head, this first physical contact in over six years startling both of them.
“Can you walk, or should I go get a wheelchair?” Sam recovered first.
“I’ll be fine, could you hand me those boots, please?” He nodded to a ragged pair of combat boots in the corner.
“Where’d you get these?”
“A friend at the SGC pulled them out of storage.”
Sam nodded, knowing that to help him put his shoes on would be a little over his limits of self-sufficiency. Once Jack had managed to place his shoes on his feet, he slowly stood up and gathered the few things he’d gotten since arriving back on his home planet.
“We’ve got to pick Hallie up at school on the way home.” She warned, once they were underway.
“All right, I’m in no rush to get anywhere.”
“Why were you cursing at the nurses in Goa’uld earlier?”
“It’s what I’ve been speaking almost exclusively for the last seven years, so it comes kind of naturally, but also no matter how much they were hurting me, it wasn’t their fault and they didn’t need to know the things I was calling them.”
“You curse like a Goa’uld sailor, very admirable. Just don’t teach my daughter those words, please.” She joked, enjoying being back in the man’s company, despite the awkwardness.
“What does Hallie know about the SGC?”
“Nothing, other than the fact that Mommy used to work in the mountain before her friends died.”
“Is Jacob still in the picture?” He questioned cautiously.
“Yes, and Hallie has yet to meet Selmak. I think Dad’s saving that little surprise for her first boyfriend.” Jack laughed.
“Well, we’re here, damn, late too.” Jack followed her into the building, stating that sitting upright was worse than walking on his ribs. The two came to a classroom, which was empty and seemed to agitate Sam who shot off in the opposite direction. When Jack caught her up, she was entering a door marked ‘office.’
“Hi, I’m looking for my daughter.”
“Of your child, ma’am.” They stern woman at the desk corrected.
“Oh sorry, Hallie Jackson.”
“We were unable to get a hold of you; your emergency contact came to pick her up.” Sam’s sigh was audible to Jack, but it was only vaguely registered due to the fact that the rest of his mind was focused on the mention of his best friend’s name, his dead best friend’s name.
They left the school and got back in Sam’s car before Jack dared to open his mouth.
“Does Hallie have a father?”
“No, but we get along fine without one.”
“Was he ever around?”
“Look Colonel, if you want to know about Daniel and my relationship, just ask me, don’t beat around the bush.” She chastised bluntly.
“Hallie was conceived about three weeks before I broke my arm. I didn’t realize I was pregnant until they called off the search for you.” Jack’s head was reeling, math and emotions he just couldn’t classify all warring for a little processor time.
They pulled up in front of a diner and almost immediately Hallie was out the door and in the car, she’d obviously been watching.
“Hi mom, why were you late?” She took in the back of the head of the other occupant. “Hi Jack!”
“Hey Hal, sorry your mom was late, it was my fault, I didn’t have my bags packed.”
“It’s all right, Myumi got me on her way to work.” Hallie responded, the six year old giving Jack an understanding smile.
It was four days in the Carter-Jackson household before Jack managed to wrangle being alone with Sam. He didn’t know what to make of her or her life now. He found that the numerous photographs of Daniel Jackson on the walls, and tables, did leave him feeling a little smothered. It had been so many years since he had last seen the face of his friend that the constant sight of the man everywhere he looked was just too much.
“Carter, do you wish Daniel were here instead of me?” Hallie and Teal’c were out of the house, off to the park to see how much trouble they could get into or something, they’d taken a picnic lunch, so Jack figured they would be gone long enough for him to get some honest answers out of Sam.
“Colonel, why would you think that?”
“Don’t call me Colonel, Sam, we’re the same rank. Who is Hallie’s father and why are you so obsessed with Daniel?”
“Daniel Jackson fathered my daughter,” Sam replied emotionally. “Nothing can change that.”
“Oh, I don’t know Sam, Daniel was only impotent his entire life.” He said it harshly, quite a bit more harshly than he had intended it.
“Daniel, our Daniel? How?”
“You never thought it was odd how he and Sha're were married for over a year and she didn’t get pregnant when, by all accounts, they were like bunnies, but then after less than a month with Apophis, Shifu was conceived?”
“That doesn’t prove anything; the Goa’uld could have enhanced the process.”
“No Sam, Daniel had himself tested. He had a zero sperm count.” Sam tried to digest this information for a minute; seven years of her life were being blown out of the water by Jack O’Neill.
She sat down next to him, put her hands over her face and started to speak. “I never slept with Daniel, once he was dead he was the easiest candidate, no one ever questioned my relationship with him.” She admitted. “To answer your question, no, I would not rather have Daniel here over you. True, things would be easier, Daniel would have taken Hallie as his daughter, but it would have furthered the lie that I’ve been feeding Hallie for six years now. God Jack, my daughter is the most important thing in the world to me, and her entire life has been a lie, I’ve been putting my career before her for so long.”
“Who is he then? Hallie’s father, I mean.” Sam started to fidget, feeling trapped, but not able to move herself into flight. Jack reached over and grabbed her hand.
“You are.” Two words, that’s all it would take to end her career and hurt Hallie’s trust in her, two words barely scratched out by her raspy voice, two words that did strange things to Jack O’Neill’s mind.
The two adults just sat there in stunned silence, Sam couldn’t believe she’d just admitted something that no one else had known for six years to the only other person who really mattered other than her daughter. Jack O’Neill had nearly forced himself to forget about his relationship with his Major of days gone by, they had spent three nights together after a particularly trying mission before they’d both decided they couldn’t be together while the world was still in danger... those were three nights that haunted him for seven years while he mined and was beaten and did things he wished he could block out of his mind.
He was still holding her hand.
“Why’d you choose Daniel?” O’Neill broke the silence after more than half an hour.
“I held out that you would magically return at first, and then I couldn’t allow myself to be court marshaled if I wanted to be a mother and support Hallie. By that time I had accepted you were gone and I just went with it, I should have been up front with Hallie from the day she was born, but Daniel was safer, kept people from gossiping at the academy... kept my Dad off my back.”
“Your father is going to skin me alive. That is... if you want him to know.”
“Jack, from now on we’re just going to have to deal in tact. We have to tell people in a certain order, I even think that maybe we should bring my dad in before we tell Hallie, it would be good for her to have him there for support.” Jack’s spirits lifted, his daughter would know him as her father, if he lived through Jacob Carter knowing him as the one who impregnated his daughter first.
“When should we be expecting Jake to show up?”
“Well,” Sam finally released Jack’s hand. “he was just here a couple months ago, but once word gets around that Jack O’Neill is back in the game, he should pop in.” She stood and walked into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator, slammed it closed, and walked back into the room. “What do *you* want for dinner?”
“You’re talking to the guy who is still in shock that he gets more than one meal a day.”
“Well... now that we’re providing regular nourishment, would you like to help me make dinner for Hallie, Teal’c and ourselves?”
“Or course, this way I can eat without the nagging fear that there’s poison in my food.”
Sam’s face fell as Jack maneuvered himself off the couch. “Six years of utter fear? God Jack, how did you survive?”
“I’ve been a POW before, as have you, and I had Teal’c there to keep me together. You were there sometimes too, giving me hope.”
After a few awkward moments, both of their confessions still hanging heavy in the air, the pair started to make dinner. By the time Teal’c and Hallie came through the door, it was 7pm and they were ready to eat.
“Did you and Teal’c have a good time at the park today Hallie?” Sam asked, once everyone was seated and served.
“Yes, we went and studied the way humans communicate, it was really cool.”
“Did you know that some animals communicate through scent alone, Hal?” Jack asked, getting brave enough to speak to the little girl he now knew to be his own.
“Does that mean they sniff each others farts and stuff?” Jack nodded with a smile. “Eew, gross.” The four people ate dinner and then went out into the back yard to enjoy one of the last warm nights of the year before getting Hallie packed up for school the next day.
A couple weeks later, once Jack’s ribs were well on the way to recovery and he was beginning to feel something a little closer to human, Sam received a call from Jacob Carter telling them to expect his presence after a short trip up to Washington DC to report to the President.
“Are we seriously going to tell your Dad tomorrow?” Jack asked nervously, they were waiting on their daughter to finish up ballet class before meeting Teal’c for dinner.
“Hallie deserves to know and after so many years of me pushing your memory out of our lives, you have the right to be her father.”
“Just remind him- I’ve been tortured for my sins already.” He said lightly, smiling as Hallie bounced towards them in a frilly, pink ballet outfit.
“Mom, Colonel, you’re going to love our performance next week. I didn’t fall off the stage a single time tonight.”
“This been a problem in the past?” Jack questioned of Sam.
“I have my moments.” Hallie replied, not waiting for her mother to respond. “I could have sworn the stage was moved out from under me last class.” There was a mischievous smile behind her eyes, it was a look so identical to her father that it made him wonder why no one had thought of him before.
“Who’s hungry?” Sam asked, pulling Jack and Hallie out of their conversation.
“Okay then guys, let’s go meet Teal’c at Mexico City.”
Mexico City, a family-style Mexican restruant in downtown Colorado Springs was a fairly casual place that, once he’d come back to Earth, Teal’c had nearly become addicted to. When the two adults entered with the bouncy little girl they could instantly make out Teal’c’s broad smile in the crowd of patrons.
“How was your trip T?” Jack asked, helping Hallie into the booth. “You’re either happy or you’ve had a face lift.”
“Things are indeed well O’Neill, for my son Rya’c chose a wife in our absence, she is now pregnant with their second child.
“You’re a grandpa Teal’c, that’s great, how old’s the first one?”
“Two years, her name is Anatole, and she has just begun speaking in proper sentences. I will be returning there frequently from now on, I wish to be present to care for Anatole during the birth.
“That’s wonderful news Teal’c, congratulations.”
“Thank you Colonel Carter, I was very pleased to see how well my people have been doing, they are becoming more established and my grandchildren will grow in safety and security.”
Tomorrow came too quickly for Jack O’Neill, he dropped Sam off at work, keeping her car for the day, and then took his daughter to school.
“Have a good day, Hal, I’ll be back to get you after school to take you over to Myumi’s restaurant.” With a nod and a smile, Jack watched Hallie Jackson go and join a couple of friends who were standing next to a bike rack before they headed into the building while Jack was stuck in traffic getting out of the parking lot.
O’Neill then returned to Carter’s house to do a through cleanup of any messes that had been left since his and Teal’c’s resurrection. He did a couple loads of laundry, smiling when he came across the t-shirt Sam had been wearing when she’d come to the SGC, it had turned out to be Hallie’s, but he pit it in Sam’s clothes pile, just in case she remembered wearing it that day. Teal’c was out of the house all day at the SGC because this week was his week to be debriefed on their captivity. Jack had until the next week before he had to go in for the through recounting of the last seven years.
Due to his and Teal’c’s closeness over the last few years, Jack and Teal’c had only used one of Carter’s guestrooms, with Jack using the bed and Teal’c performing Kel-nor-reem to keep Junior going (the acquisition of a new symbiote for Teal’c two years ago would surely be called into question during their debrief). Jack shook his head, he was going to be facing Jacob Carter in a few hours and he couldn’t allow himself to worry on any topic other than that. Jack pulled the sheets off of all the beds, originally intending to wash just the ones from the spare guest room, he decided to do it for Sam so that it was one less thing she would have to worry about.
Once the laundry was in the dryer, Jack left for the grocery store. Using the cash he had withdrawn from the bank a few days before, when he had ordered a check book and a debit card for his account, he purchased an array of foods he knew Sam and Hallie would eat along with quite a few selections he was fairly certain Selmak/Jacob would enjoy, and tossed a couple things in for he and Teal’c. Both their appetites had changed during their incarceration in the labor camps and prison facilities the Goa’uld had moved them around in, giving them a delightful tour of the seedy underbelly of the galaxy, they were both used to highly spiced cuisine, probably because there were a lot of rancid things that could be hidden under a heavy coat of spices. Some of the things they’d poured on perfectly innocent foods had made Sam and Hallie turn up their noses.
O’Neill took the groceries back to Sam’s, unpacked them, and placed the now clean sheets on his and Jacob’s beds. He then went to Hallie’s room, seeing the picture of Daniel on her night stand causing a brief stab of jealousy in his heart, made her bed, and placed her now clean clothes on top of her bed spread, a quick glance at his watch told him he was going to be late picking up his daughter if he didn’t get a move on.
He made it, getting there to see Hallie bid another little girl goodbye before getting in the car.
“How was school, kiddo?”
“It was all right, I got in trouble for talking in class.” She smiled. “I’ll just have to use a quieter voice next time.”
“Hallie Danielle, does your mother know you’re like this?”
“I don’t know, she must, we talk non-stop when we’re together.”
Jack laughed; his daughter was just like he had been at her age, mischievous, and yet not a real trouble-maker, he had hoped that when she found out he was her dad that Hallie was able to deal with it, if not, it was going to hurt not only him and Hallie, but Sam as well.
Jack walked Hallie into the diner where Myumi worked, noticing that everyone greeted her warmly, he sat down with her long enough for her to order dinner and pull out her homework before he thanked Myumi for watching her and gave her enough money to cover dinner and anything the girls would want to do that night. He kissed Hallie’s forehead and lef her to have fun.
Going to the Air Force Academy for the first time in years, Jack realized the campus hadn’t changed much, there were a couple new buildings spotted around, but everything familiar remained.
“Colonel O’Neill?” Someone stopped him the minute he stepped inside the building Sam had promised him her office occupied.
“We didn’t know you were coming today.” The woman, presumably the secretary belonging to the office she had just exited.
“I’m here to pick someone up.” He stated, attempting not to be rude. “Sorry Ma’am, but we’re late for an appointment.”
“I’m just glad you’re home safe Sir, I remember your funeral, it was a hard time for us all.”
“Thank you Sergeant, it’s good to be back.” He walked away, hoping to find a sign or a map to lead him in the direction of Colonel Carter’s office.
As it turned out, it didn’t take any time at all for him to locate her, a secretary informed him that the colonel was in a meeting and he could wait in one of the chairs lining the wall. Obviously, O’Neill thought as he sat down, this particular secretary wasn’t up on the news of his return, or even his existence probably, and he was okay with that - wouldn’t do to have Carter’s secretary spreading rumors about him “taking the Colonel home.”
Ten minutes later the door opened and out walked a Brig. General Jack was unacquainted with, which after seven years wasn’t that out of the ordinary. The secretary nodded to him that he finally had permission to enter Carter’s inner sanctum.
“Everything all right Carter?” He asked, her back to him as she gathered some things from her desk.
“Hey, you startled me. Hallie get to Myumi all right?”
“She’s fine, started her homework, and ordered dinner. I gave Myumi enough money for them to have a good time tonight.”
“Thank you, Jack.” She glanced at her watch. “We’d better get out of here; Dad’s going to be at my house in two hours.”
They got out of the building without anyone feeling the need to stop them to chat.
“So Sam, what was with the General back there? Don’t think I didn’t notice you changing the subject to Hallie.” Jack was driving again, to him it was nice to feel in control once more, the Goa’uld liking to take away every shred of self... they controlled everything down to bodily functions.
“General Amark likes to threaten my funding at every opportunity. That, and he’s famously self-absorbed, when we were still the same rank, he asked me out every time we saw each other.”
“And you never went?”
“Of course I never went, I don’t date... or have relationships with men. I don’t want to allow myself into a situation where Hallie could potentially get hurt.” Jack felt strangely relieved, afraid in the back of his mind that Sam’s boyfriend was going to come around out of nowhere. “You seem relieved.”
“I didn’t expect you to stay single forever, I wouldn’t have blamed you if I came back and found out you were married with five or six kids...”
“I know, for some reason once Hallie was born I couldn’t date, I tried once, but that lasted about ten minutes before I wanted to deck the guy.”
“Ah,” He sighed. “well, it may sound selfish, but I’m glad there’s not another man in her life, other than Daniel, that will keep me from getting to know Hallie. Unless your dad kills me in a couple hours.”
“It’s not selfish Jack, to want to get to know your daughter. Though, even if I had found someone else, I would have made sure you got to know Hallie.”
When they arrived back at Sam’s house, she immediately set about putting dinner on while Jack disappeared upstairs. Once she’d put the chicken in the oven she mounted the stairs in search of the wayward colonel.
He wasn’t in his room, which surprised her since she had been expecting him to want some time alone to prepare for her father’s arrival. She continued down the hall, the door to her bedroom was ajar so she went in and found Jack O’Neill standing stock still at the foot of her bed.
“Jack?” He visibly shook himself, turning to face Sam where she now stood beside him.
“Hey, sorry, I was putting the sheets back on your bed and got distracted.”
“Distracted?” She questioned, automatically worried, Jack O’Neill never allowed himself to become unaware of his surroundings.
“This is the same bed we conceived Hallie in.” He looked at her. “I just didn’t notice it earlier when I was in here. I don’t know why it struck me so hard no either.”
“I hated going to bed for a few weeks after we were together, but then you died and I went a little crazy until I found out I was pregnant and I had to go on.”
“My memories of our three days of downtime helped me to get though the first couple years in the labor camps. Then I realized I had to let go of anything that could be used against me. When Daniel was murdered my brain brought your image up, dying right in front of me, I snapped and went a bit crazy myself, but insanity’s not that uncommon in the camps.” Somehow, while he’d been speaking the two of them had wrapped their arms around each other.
“God I missed you.” Sam grasped him tightly. “I don’t know how I survived the last seven years without you, but I know I won’t do it again Jack.”
“I won’t go away again, and you’re the smartest person I know, don’t doubt yourself in that Carter.” The moment his words of encouragement lad left his mouth, her lips were on his. The kiss was frantic and, like impassioned teenagers, it began to get out of control with hands straying under loosened articles of clothing alarmingly fast for two very mature adults.
Sam’s nails were scraping their way up Jack’s back when the doorbell rang, showering them both with a bucket of cold water. “That would be your dad.” Jack said against her forehead, as they leaned on one another trying to catch their breaths.
“I hope you live through this,” Sam stated jokingly. “I’m really starting to like you.”
“Sam?” They heard Jake’s voice from downstairs.
“Be right down Dad.” Sam called out to her father, straightening her uniform and stepping further away from Jack.
They came down the stairs together, deciding to not try and walk down at separate times; it didn’t take a Tok’ra symbiote to realize they’d both been up there.
“Jack O’Neill, I’d heard you had been resurrected.”
“Kree Selmak.” Jack stunned Jacob by speaking to his symbiote in a string of fluent Goa’uld. Sam was even more stunned, she knew he had started speaking the language, but not to the point of it seeming more natural for him to speak Goa’uld than English, she also realized he was speaking so fast with her dad’s Tok’ra that she couldn’t understand a word.
The flood was over soon enough and Jacob retook control from Selmak. “What the hell was that about, Jack? Selmak’s never repressed me like that before, what’s going on?”
“I’m sorry Jake; I want to talk to you without any control or input from Selmak. She’s going to take a little nap tonight, and let you think for yourself.”
“I still don’t understand what’s going on, but I guess after seven years of Goa’uld captivity I’ve got to give you a little leeway.”
“Why don’t you two talk while I go finish up dinner?” Sam suggested, realizing that Jack was okay alone with Jacob and would probably want this to be a “man to man” conversation anyway. Other than a “What the?” from her father and a couple loud Goa’uld words from both men, Sam didn’t hear any of their conversation.
After the food was off the stove and out of the oven, Sam went back into the living room where she’d left her dad and Jack. Jack was there alone, sitting with his head in his hands and his elbows on his knees.
“It’s all right, your dad went to get changed and ready for dinner. Maybe we shouldn’t have sprung this on him the minute he walked through the door.”
“How did he take it?” She placed a hand on his shoulder, squeezing lightly.
“Better than I expected, actually, there were a few comments about my parentage, but he calmed down and we talked a bit more civilly. There were questions about my parenting and what I expect to get out of Hallie... and what I expect from our relationship.”
“Oh god, why would he want to know that? That’s our business Jack.”
“I know where he’s coming from. I slept with his daughter before and he didn’t even know; now I could potentially hurt not only his daughter with any relationship, but his granddaughter as well.”
“Then don’t hurt us Jack.” He turned his head and gave her a small, lopsided smile.
“That’s all I have to do? That will fix all of my problems?”
“Pretty much, yeah.”
“That and you’re not allowed to leave us again.” She kissed him briefly, stopping abruptly when they heard her dad’s bedroom door squeak open.
“That I can definitely handle.” They heard the bathroom door close, and both got off the couch and headed into the kitchen.
“I know we’re not going to be the Jackson/Carter/O’Neill family right away, but we’re going to aim for that, right?”
“I’d like to. I love you, you’re Hallie’s father. I couldn’t imagine anyone else in my bed or raising my children.” Jack couldn’t respond to that, he’d been in a Goa’uld labor camp for seven years, only to come home and find the woman he loved had given him a child and wanted to be with him, despite all of his baggage and problems their relationship could bring. He responded the only way he was capable- he reached out and took her hand.
This time when Jacob opened a door it wasn’t a false alarm, they heard him come down the stairs and then heard his footsteps once he got on the hardwood of the kitchen floor from the living room. He eyed their joined hands before sighing and opening his mouth to speak.
“When do you two plan on telling Hallie?”
“As soon as we can, we would like you to be there when we do tell her, there’s no school tomorrow so we could tell her and then she would have all weekend to figure out how she feels.” Jack suggested nervously, trepidation of both Hallie and Jacob’s reactions weighing heavily on him.
“I’m going to stand beside both of you on this, Sam, I already told Jack, so I figure you should know as well. I’m not happy you had an affair with your commanding officer and then didn’t tell me about it for seven years, but your happiness and Hallie’s well being mean more to me than my feelings on the issue. You are an adult and I realize that, but if the Air Force catches wind of this and decides to press charges, there’s nothing you or I could do to get you off and the two of you need to be able to accept that before you tell Hallie and make a family because I can’t watch that little girl go through a divorce.”
“Thank you Dad.” Sam threw her arms around her father. “We know it might get tough, but we’ll work through it for Hallie. Now, why don’t we go finish setting the table while Jack gets dinner from the kitchen?”
They told Hallie the next day. She didn’t say anything, just hugged her grandfather goodbye and walked slowly upstairs to her bedroom.
“I’ll be back in a month or so Jack, take care of my girls. Remember, the truth’s rough for Sam too, she’s the one who’s been lying for so long.” Jacob reminded, once he’d said goodbye to his daughter and she had wandered into the kitchen with tears in her eyes.
“You know I will Jake.”
That night Jack moved into Sam’s bedroom, there was no grand display, they didn’t make love, they just shared a bed and held each other close.
In the morning, Jack made Hallie’s favorite breakfast for her- Fruit Loops- before going to knock on her door.
“Hallie? You up yet? Breakfast’s ready whenever you are.” After living with ‘the girls’ for nearly two months, Jack knew that Hallie never slept past Sam, even on days she didn’t have school, so therefore he was pretty confident in his assumption that his daughter was indeed awake.
Ten minutes later, Hallie wandered into the kitchen and took the seat across from where Jack was reading the paper at the table.
“Morning Hal, sleep well?”
“What am I supposed to call you?” She spoke, ignoring his greeting. “Colonel, no, that’s too formal, as is Mr. O’Neill. Should I still call you Jack... or Dad?” The last one was spoken almost as if she were expecting to be struck down immediately.
“That’s all up to you Hallie, Jack sounds good for now... if you want to call me dad you’re welcome to wait until you’re ready. No matter what you call me, I’m still going to be your dad and I’ll be here whenever you need me.”
“Am I going to get a new last name?” Jack was starting to notice now was the time Hallie was asking curious questions she didn’t get to ask while Jacob was still around to help out.
“Only if you’re okay with it, the man you get your middle and last names from was my best friend and I have no problem with you keeping them. Maybe, someday, if you don’t want to be a full O’Neill, maybe we could hyphenate... make you Hallie Jackson-O’Neill.” Jack sighed, looking at his child as she dug into a bowl of her favorite breakfast cereal; she was beautiful, the perfect blend of Sam and himself. “Look Hallie, you’re only six years old, you shouldn’t have to think about stuff like this. Your mom and I aren’t going to be making any big decisions without you having a say, so have fun being a kid, okay?”
“I have fun.” She protested.
“I know you do, all I’m saying is that you shouldn’t worry.”
Hallie and Jack ended up spending the whole weekend together, though Hallie didn't willingly speak a single word to Sam the entire time. The following Monday afternoon, on their way to pick Sam up from work, Jack broached the subject.
"Why haven't you been talking to your mom lately, Hal? You two used to talk non-stop, remember?"
"She lied to me Jack; things just don't feel the same anymore." The girl confessed quietly.
"She's still your mother, and what she lied about was for your own good, if she had said I was your dad she would have lost her job. We both love you, and we want the best for you."
"Are you and mom going to get married?" Jack groaned inwardly, she seemed to be in awkward question mode again.
"I don't know Hallie, I love her, but neither of us wants to rush into anything right now."
"Well I think you should, it would be really cool."
Jack couldn't help the smile that formed on his lips. "Thanks, at least now I don't have to ask how you feel about it."
Minutes later Sam got into the vehicle where Jack and Hallie were playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. "Hi guys, how was your day?" She greeted, placing her bag at her feet.
"School was okay, how was your day mom?"
"Work was fine, though I'm already wanting a pre-holiday vacation." She said, rubbing her own tense shoulders.
"Speaking of vacations... can the three of us go away together for Christmas?"
"We'll think about it Hallie, maybe we could take Jack to meet Uncle Mark."
Hallie's ballet performance was to be that night, so after swinging by a fast food joint for a quick dinner for the young girl, her parents dropped her off and headed back home to change and grab the video camera.
"I finished debriefing at the SGC today." Jack announced, watching openly as Sam changed from her Air Force blues into a knee length skirt and nice shirt.
"That's great Jack, were there any problems?"
"No, apparently Teal'c and my stories matched up perfectly, except where my memory was lacking. The SGC did receive word from the Pentagon that, effective tomorrow, I will officially be retired, ineligible for return to active duty."
"Are you serious? You're going to be out of the Air Force? For good?" She'd come up to him, wearing only her skirt and bra, innocently frantic to know the fate of his career. "God Jack, I'm sorry, the military has meant so much to you." She threw herself into his arms.
"Don't be sorry Sam, the Air Force put you under my command, without it as the major driving force in my life I wouldn't have had you... and you never would have given me Hallie." The feel of Sam's breasts against his chest was almost too much for Jack at that moment. "Carter, I should go back to the guest room before I do something stupid."
"What?" She questioned softly. "Why would it be something stupid if it were something right?"
They made love languidly in the bed their daughter had been conceived in, only this time it was full of promise and many years of fulfillment yet to come. Many things changed in the Jackson/Carter/O'Neill household after that night, the first being the marriage of Sam and Jack. After that blessed event it was nearly eight months before Hallie brought up the subject of a name change to her Dad, making her full name Hallie Jackson Carter-O'Neill.
Being retired allowed Jack to be a stay at home dad, handling all of the cooking and cleaning, chauffeuring, and anything else that needed to be done. He did this so that his lovely wife could spend her free time enjoying their child; their wonderfully brilliant daughter who was dead-set, at age seven, to become an astronaut, as well as their marriage, especially the special assignment of making a little brother or sister for Hallie. Life for the Carter-O'Neill's was good, they were finally a complete family and to top it all off General Dick-head, as Jack liked to call General Amark, ended up getting himself court marshaled for sexual harassment, seemed Sam wasn't the only female airman he'd expressed interest in.
Life on Earth went on... the Goa'uld were still a threat, but for Sam and Jack, it wasn't their time to fight any longer. Now was their time to tell their daughter they had been keeping another secret from her, the news of a little sister on they way was sure to be forgiven by Hallie, especially considering they had been able to keep it under wraps long enough to get a decent ultrasound to show her.
There would be no more lies in their lives, Daniel would be remembered fondly, but only as a friend, and Jack counted himself lucky that he was getting a second chance at life, and this time around things were looking pretty bright.