samandjack.net

Story Notes: Part 12 of The Conversation Series. Sequel to In Deep
Conversation

Archive: SJD, yes

Content Warnings: Contains use of minor language and sexual situations. Angst, Romance

Art Credit: Many thanks to Fulinn28 who made the book cover from the wonderful picture of Richard Dean Anderson and his daughter, Wylie Quinn Annarose Anderson, which can be viewed here:
http://www.ficwithfins.com/AA3_1/archive/1/conversationpiece.html

Dedicated to all those women who are brave enough to keep the human race going from generation to generation. Thanks to Bonnie for beta reading this fic and her suggestions for changes, particularly about childbirth
and after, which improved this fic and made it more real. Nevertheless, any mistakes that are here are all mine.

Email: su_freund@ficwithfins.com

Website: http://www.ficwithfins.com/

Copyright 2005 Su Freund


Conversation Piece


Jack was totally awestruck by the whole experience. When Sara had Charlie he'd been away on a mission in the back of beyond so never witnessed the birth of his child. Now he was there for Sam every step of the way, being as supportive as possible: encouraging her to breath properly; holding her hand; stroking her forehead; and all number of things to try helping her through the trauma of birth.

He was so wrapped up in it that he was almost trying to deliver the baby himself and the doctor had to sternly warn him to move away on a number of occasions. As well as all of that, he drank in the experience in wonder and admiration for his wife's strength, and the strength of all women who gave birth to their men's sons and daughters.

Unable to literally feel her pain, he felt it anyway, in his own way. He figured that he and Sam were connected like he had never been connected with anybody, and this experience had both confirmed and sealed it.

Not generally given to being overly, or overtly, emotional, Jack cried when his child was born. Real hot tears dampened his cheeks; tears of joy. He couldn't have loved his wife more than at that moment. She had given him life, love, happiness, and now she had given him the second chance at fatherhood he had always craved.

Sam's face was wet too, from tears, from sweat. Jack couldn't imagine how painful it was to give birth but Sam hadn't wanted drugs if possible, saying she had probably suffered more pain from their enemies than she ever would from something as natural as childbirth.

As an onlooker, Jack thought the labor seemed painful enough and when it came to the birth itself Sam screamed and cursed and damned near torn his hand off, but she still refused to ask for any pain relief, determined to see it through as she had promised. Jack admired her for that and wasn't sure he could have done the same. Not that he'd ever be in a position to know, of course, but Jack had suffered a lot of pain in his time; enough to know it was never a good thing. He'd rather have morphine than suffer without it.

The miracle of birth, because that is surely what is was, was the most amazing experience of his life. He'd seen it on TV but nothing could prepare you for the reality of it and the feelings it engendered. She was in agony, stretching, straining, red-faced, covered with sweat and a total mess but, in Jack's eyes, his wife had never looked more beautiful.

Then this big ugly blob appeared from inside her and turned into a thing of beauty in an instant. When Jack saw their daughter it was his turn to nearly squeeze Sam's hand off. Her appearance moved him so deeply, and he was in love, undeterred by the mess of blood, crap, placenta and all the accompaniments.

The doctor tied off the umbilical cord and asked Jack if he wanted to cut it. Sam thought she'd never seen such an expression of pure joy on her husband's face in that moment - joy mixed with tears - and Jack was thrilled to accept that invitation, wanting to do whatever he could to get closer to the birth, their baby, and Sam.

"It's a baby girl Sam," he sobbed as they handed the baby to his wife, "it's our beautiful daughter."

"Jack, she is beautiful, isn't she?" Sam also sobbed, having just suffered the trauma and pain of birth, and exhausted by it, she took their baby in her arms and held her close, kissing her head and smiling with tears of joy in her eyes. Then she handed their baby to Jack so that he could hold her too.

His eyes lit up even more brightly and fiercely with that physical contact and she could see that he was smitten. Jack passed her back to Sam, bending to kiss his wife with gratitude and love.

"Sam, I love you so much, and I'm so happy."

"How does it feel to be a daddy Jack?"

"Great. I guess I'm gonna have to pretend to be a grown up now," he smiled.

"Now that's pretty scary," Sam joked

"What about you mom? You alright, honey?"

"I'm fine, Jack, just great. Don't you think you should go tell Uncles Daniel and Teal'c that it's over?"

"They can wait. Right now, I want to be with my wife and our daughter. You're the most precious things in my world, Sam; always."

Daniel and Teal'c had been there when Sam's waters broke, visiting to keep her company while she was on maternity leave. Jack had gone into the SGC for a meeting and they had called him out. Sam had phoned the hospital who told her that the contractions weren't regular enough yet; she had a few hours before she would give birth. So Jack went home and they waited for a while, but he had been impatient to get her to the hospital and ensure she was in the right hands.

"I know you've done it before, Daniel, but I'd rather you didn't play midwife today," Jack said.

The two men had almost tried to follow him into the delivery room until Jack had given him one of his withering looks.

"You're kidding, right? Stay if you must, but not in here, for crying out loud."

So Daniel and Teal'c paced outside like expectant fathers themselves; pace, sit, pace, coffee, more coffee, pace, sit, pace, and yet more coffee.

Jack went to deliver the good news at last and Daniel leapt up and down excitedly, and Jack suspected that Teal'c was way more excited than he actually looked.

"A girl? That's great Jack. Congratulations, dad," Daniel gave Jack a handshake and then pulled him into a bear hug, patting him on the back. "A girl. Wow! I have a baby niece."

"Calm down Uncle Daniel," Jack chuckled.

"Can we see her?" Daniel asked enthusiastically, but the smile died on his face when he saw Jack's expression.

"Daniel, this really isn't the best time. Sam's exhausted, and so are the baby and I. She doesn't really want any visitors, even you guys. This is a mom, dad kind of a thing, you know?"

"Oh yeah, I guess I wasn't thinking. You're right of course Jack. Umm. can we come over when Sam's home?"

"Sure. I'll call you, okay?"

After some more back patting and general congratulations, Daniel and Teal'c left the hospital two disappointed men. In some ways Jack didn't like having to exclude them, he didn't want to hurt their feelings, but it was important that this precious time be spent as a family: Jack, Sam and their new born daughter. Besides, what he said about exhaustion and Sam not wanting visitors was true. She wanted no one else but Jack, and she needed to sleep.

Jack returned to Sam's room and sat silently and patiently holding her hand while she rested. Later, after his wife got cleaned up and felt up to talking, he asked whether she had given any further consideration to a name for their daughter. They had discussed a few but never come to any conclusion

"How about Alice?" Sam asked, looking at Jack. He raised his eyebrows in surprise. This wasn't a name they had ever discussed before.

"Alice? As in Wonderland or Cooper?" he quipped and Sam giggled.

"Don't make me laugh; I'm sore," she frowned. "What with the stitches, the hemorrhoids and the fact that I just gave birth to something that should never be expected to come out of such a small hole." she grinned.

"Don't refer to our daughter as a something," he joked and then his expression turned more serious, "My poor beautiful Sam. Ouch!" He bent and kissed the top of her head, taking her hand, raising it to his lips and kissing it, and then keeping hold of it.

"Wonderland," she smiled up at Jack.

"What happened to Dorothy? Something wrong with Oz?" he winked and Sam's smiled upped its wattage. "Alice. Are you serious?"

"What was it you said about babies naming themselves?"

Jack stared at the baby in the cot for a moment.

"I guess she does look a little like an Alice. Alice Dorothy?" he grinned.

"Alice Dorothy O'Neill? Yeah, I kind of like that."

"You don't think Dorothy is kind of corny?"

"Yes, but it means something to us, Jack, something that not many people will ever understand, but her adopted uncles will."

"Want to hold off a couple of days while we decide if she really is an Alice?"

"Okay. Do you like Alice?"

"It's a bit out of the blue, but I love Alice. She'll get called Allie."

"I quite like Allie."

"Mmmm. me too. How long before we go home, Sam?"

"I shouldn't be here for more than 24 hours."

"How you feeling honey?"

"Much better now. Damn, it hurt Jack."

"So I figured. You damned near ripped my hand off and my arm out of its socket, but you did it as you wanted to. You made it through."

"Who was I kidding about worse pain from our enemies? If you men only knew. But she's worth it, every minute of it. She's amazing Jack."

"Just like her mom - beautiful." He smiled, sitting on the bed and smoothing Sam's forehead and cheeks with his fingers.

"I must be looking pretty terrible right now."

"No, you look incredible Sam; totally stunning."

"You're kidding, right?"

"I so am not!" He smiled, taking her into his arms, and Sam rested her head on his chest, "I love you Mrs O'Neill. God, sometimes it still surprises me that you're Mrs O'Neill, Sam. Weird, huh? And now we have a baby O'Neill too. Baby Alice Dorothy O'Neill. How great is that?"

He squeezed her gently and then pulled back and, placing his arm around her, looked over towards their daughter. Sam peered into his eyes and could see so much love and happiness in the twinkling darkness of his soulful gaze, and it made her own bliss complete.

*****************************

Uncles Daniel and Teal'c were almost equally as besotted with Alice as Jack was. Jack insisted Sam settle back at home for a little while before he invited them around to meet their "adopted niece". They arrived so quickly that Jack thought they must have been ready to leave when he called; probably hovering over the phone awaiting the call.

"So you guys wanna come meet her, or what?" Jack teased when he answered the door.

"Boy, do I?" Daniel grinned inanely, and Teal'c inclined his head with a smile.

"This ways kids."

When they saw the baby, the expressions on their faces were pictures to behold. There were kisses, hugs and oohs and ahhs and Sam insisted Daniel hold the baby for a while, much to his great joy. Teal'c stood off a bit as if he didn't want to get in the way.

"So how about Uncle Teal'c?" Sam asked, "aren't you gonna give me a hug?"

"Indeed, Colonel Carter," he smiled and hugged her warmly, grasping her hand in his.

"Daniel, give Teal'c the baby," Sam said.

Daniel handed the baby to Teal'c and Sam thought she had never seen such a huge smile on the Jaffa's face.

"She is indeed quite beautiful," Teal'c declared and Sam was pretty sure she detected a surplus of water in his eyes.

"Better put her down now, T. Don't want her getting over excited from meeting her two uncles, do we? Just hand her over here a second."

Jack took his daughter into his arms, kissing her, and then handed her back to mom. Daniel and Teal'c exchanged knowing looks. Jack was in love and that made them both happy.

"So have you decided on her name yet?" Daniel asked.

"We're thinking Alice," Sam answered.

"Alice? What happened to Dorothy?" Daniel responded and Jack chuckled, remembering it was exactly what he'd said, "What about uncle lion?" Daniel smiled.

"Or Tin Man," Teal'c added with such a serious expression that the rest of them laughed.

They had discussed this idea before and Daniel thought that, if the baby was a girl, to call her Dorothy would be way cool. There would forever be a link to the whole of the original SG-1 team. It was somewhat of a private team joke after all these years.

"I guess that leaves Pa Scarecrow." Jack said with a small almost shy smile, and Sam squeezed his hand.

"Actually, we are thinking Alice Dorothy O'Neill," Sam said.

"Alice Dorothy? I kind of like that," Daniel said, "Named for two fictional characters that live lives as real as our own," he smiled at his own wit.

"Not Alice in Wonderland, you dolt, Alice Cooper," Jack said seriously

"You have got to be kidding!" Daniel was wide-eyed with astonishment.

"Of course I am, Danny boy," Jack admitted and Daniel pouted because he'd been taken in by his friend once again. "She looks like an Alice in Wonderland, don't ya think?" At this remark Daniel smiled.

"Yes, she does a little, actually. She looks just like her mom."

"Hey, I have enough to live down being Dorothy, thanks," Sam quipped, which made them all laugh.

"I, for one, am glad she looks like her mom. Heaven forbid she should look like her old man."

"But Jack darling, you are simply gorgeous," Sam said with a huge smile at her husband.

"At least someone thinks so," Jack returned the smile and kissed her briefly on the lips. "I'm lucky that someone is you, Sam." They exchanged a look of love that made Daniel and Teal'c feel like intruders. "But I don't want my daughter plagued with 5 O'clock shadow," he added jokingly. Sam laughed, "and shaving every day is such a pain in the butt."

"Ummm, should we go?" Daniel asked, "we don't want to get in the way."

"No guys. Please don't go yet," Sam implored, "Talk a while? You can start by telling me all the gossip from the base. Jack, honey, can you make the guys some coffee?"

"Sure. What about you?"

"Camomile tea?"

"You betchya."

Jack left them alone for a while for a team chat and then joined in the general banter until he could see that Sam was tiring.

"Guys." he looked sharply at their two friends, his eyes and eyebrows pointing from them to the door to give the hint, which he emphasised with his words, "Okay, uncles, time for you to go."

"Um, time to butt out Teal'c." Daniel said, "We'll call. Sorry, I guess we wore out our welcome."

"No, but get out before you start to," Jack replied sarcastically.

"It's good to have friends, don't you think Sam?" Daniel joked sarcastically in response.

"If I can't be nasty to my friends, who else is left?" Jack retorted with a cheeky grin but, after they left, he bore a more serious countenance and regarded his wife with concern.

"You looked really tired, honey. Want to sleep?"

"She's asleep."

"Let me take her and put her down, and then I'll give you a neck rub. How about that?"

"Ummm. a neck rub would be perfect Jack."

She closed her eyes as he rubbed her neck, making appropriate appreciative noises. When the noises stopped, so did Jack, peering at her face. She was asleep. He kissed her gently on the forehead and spent a few minutes simply looking at her with a happy smile on his face. Then he spent even more minutes staring at his new born daughter with adoration and a feeling of almost total contentment.

* Sam admired the nursery. They had really gone overboard with shopping and the baby had everything that was needed and much more. Jack had spent a small fortune, and so had she. Although he professed to hate shopping he'd been with her when they chose all of it and had fallen in love with this toy, or that, this furry stuffed animal or that.

She had protested that their baby wouldn't be old enough for some of these things for quite a while to come, but Jack had scoffed. He fell in love with it for his child so he bought it. Sam thought it totally adorable.

They had painted the nursery a pale, warm and glowing peach, which they both thought could be considered gender neutral, and around its circumference there was a pastel shaded border depicting various animals: lions, tigers, chimps, elephants and giraffes.

Looking down at their baby sleeping, Sam sighed happily. Jack had been right; you couldn't even begin to imagine the feelings you could have for this miniature human being. She truly loved Jack, but her feelings for him paled into insignificance by comparison. Sam believed Jack felt similarly. They would both die for this child if they had to; they would do anything for her.

Jack was deeply besotted, spending almost as much time with Alice as she did. He got into everything he was able to: changing, bathing, hugging, entertaining, burping. He regularly ended up with sick and pee down his clothes and treated it with equanimity. If he had breasts he would have fed her too and he loved to sit in silence and simply watch his wife doing so.

Of course, there is always a downside; having a baby isn't an idyll. The sick, pee and crap were only a small part of it; in fact it's amazing how fascinating the smell and color of baby doo dahs can be when it's your own child's. However, there were sleepless nights, the sometimes seemingly endless crying day or night, and sometimes one, other or both of them wanted to tear their hair out, scream, lob something at the wall or generally throw a hissy fit.

Overall, Alice was not a bad baby. She was smiley and friendly and loving. She did have her moments, however, and generally just as Jack and Sam were settling down for a bit of peace together, and a quick cuddle. A cuddle wasn't too much to ask, was it? After all, at the doctor's suggestion, sex was out of the question for at least 6 weeks, partly because Sam would be sore and partly due to the risk of infection. Jack feared it would take a lot longer than that to get back to normal, if normal was even possible.

As a result, both of them were a little frazzled and could be irritable with each other. Despite that, they had no major rows, only small spats from which they recovered quickly for the kiss and make up part, when Alice would let them.

Both of them were enchanted by Alice's smile and generally good-natured demeanour. It seemed that once she learned how to smile she mostly didn't want to stop, unless she was sleeping, or crying. Jack joked that she was as moody as her mother and perhaps she had been born pregnant and had rampant hormones to which Sam reacted with a snarl, and then a hearty laugh.

Jack insisted on taking a few weeks paternity leave, wanting to bond with this child as closely as he could. He was not going to become a house husband, as he had threatened, or not yet. Instead they found a suitable nanny who would take over on a day to day basis once Sam was back at work.

Jean Kearney was a wonderful local woman from good Catholic stock who had raised six children of her own and was lonesome now they had flown the coop and her husband had passed away. The O'Neills already knew her quite well, in fact Jack had known her for years, and the whole arrangement had come about quite by chance. When they mentioned they would be looking for a nanny she offered her services.

Because Jack trusted her implicitly with such a task Sam was happy to as well. It was a perfect arrangement, which made Jack and Sam feel considerably more at ease with the issues they both had about leaving their baby in the care of others while they worked.

The couple would spend as much time with their baby as possible and had no intention or desire to become part-time parents, or not more than any other couples who worked full-time for a living. This way, however, neither of them had to give up what they both wanted; they could have everything.

Jean was very flexible. She lived down the street so didn't have to live in or stay over unless it was necessary. She was happy to fit her hours around theirs, so sometimes might only look after the baby for a few hours, or it could be a few days if really necessary. Not that Jack or Sam ever wanted it to come to that and they would try their best not to let it.

She was also willing and able to leave either or both of Alice's parents alone to look after Alice whenever they wanted. They could sneak a few hours here and their, or Jack could work from home, and she would fit right around it. In other words, her hours were not fixed to a clock on the wall, and that could not have suited Jack and Sam better.

Jean had another trait that the couple both appreciated. She loved cooking and spent a lot of her time doing it. In the past she had frequently popped around with casseroles and baking for Jack, when he had been alone, and continued to do so once Sam was living there.

Once she did take over, Jack or Sam would often find themselves coming home to the smell of something good cooking and this saved them some time that they could now spend with their child. Not only that, Jean was a much better cook than either of them, so they ate very well on a regular basis.

*****************************

Uncles Daniel and Teal'c were a little jealous when her Alice's real uncle came to stay for a few days so the two families could get together and he could meet his new niece. Mark had always been dubious about Jack because he was military and it was bad enough that his father had been and his sister still was.

Seeing Jack as a father, however, warmed him to the man a little. He would catch Jack staring lovingly at his daughter or smoothing her skin, sometimes seemingly unaware that he was doing it, or talking to her quietly, holding her or playing, as much as you can play with a small new born.

Mark knew that any man who could be as loving and tender as Jack was with his daughter could not be too bad, so by the time they left he was half converted to the idea of Jack O'Neill as his brother-in-law.

"Jack was reading 'Alice in Wonderland' to Alice earlier, Sam. Isn't that a bit too old for her?" Mark said to Sam with a grin, sneaking up on her alone in the kitchen.

"Just wait until he gets to The Wizard of Oz," she laughed.

"I hope she doesn't get nightmares."

"Don't worry, Mark, Jack can make the boogie man sound like your best friend."

"He's a good man, Sam. I guess I never appreciated that before."

"You were too eager to pick holes because he's a General, like dad."

"I guess I was. I'm so sorry. I never gave him a decent chance. He's going to be such a great dad. You couldn't have chosen anyone better."

"Dad thought so too, you know."

"He did?"

"He liked Jack a lot, and respected him. I wish he could have been here."

"I bet you do. I'm sorry he's not, for your sake." Mark took Sam into his arms and hugged her tightly. "I love you Sam. Couldn't want for a better sister, and now it's incredible to think of you as a mom. My baby sister," he smiled.

"I love you too Mark. I'm so pleased we're friends again now, and that you think you might like Jack a little. I don't really need your approval but it would be kind of nice to have it anyway."

"You have it."

The visit brought her closer to her remaining family and that gladdened Sam's heart. When they left she realised that she would miss them.

Jack went back to work almost reluctantly and, over the course of the day, often wondered what his wife and daughter were doing when he was sitting there reading a report. He always dreaded going back to Washington and wondered about that too. How long could he continue to do this? How long did he want to continue? It gave him pause for thought. He had promised to give it a few months after the baby was born to see how it went, and then he might consider his options again.

Their life, however, was not without other difficulties as well. Jack had to admit that all those months ago when she had voiced her fears, Sam had been right about their sex life. It was non existent and he was a frustrated man. To make it worse, it seemed that Sam didn't give a damn about it. It was probably the last thing she wanted and she'd been right about that too.

Their relationship had changed irrevocably and it bothered him that he was losing her to their daughter. Jack hated that he felt like that, but couldn't help it, so there it was. He was jealous of the attention lavished by Sam on their daughter and wished he could have her to himself for a while.

Sure, he adored Alice, but he wanted both a wife and a daughter, not just a daughter. He tried hard not to show Sam how he felt, not wishing to upset her. It wasn't that Sam was inattentive to him, she was caring, affectionate, and loving, but he still wasn't getting any sex. Sex isn't everything, but the lack of that act of union kind of spoiled the whole happiness part of everything.

*****************************

Lapsed or otherwise, Jack had been raised as a Catholic, so if you scratched him you still found good Catholic blood running through his veins. Sam was not a Catholic, and didn't really do much of anything religion wise even if she had a faint notion that she was fundamentally a believer, despite all the SGC experiences relating to false gods and her scientific background. Neither of them wanted their baby to be godless, but they didn't want to raise her as a devout churchgoer either.

This meant that they didn't know what to do about christening or baptising Alice, so they decided to wet the baby's head in the most traditional way possible, by holding a party. The fundamentally important issues were put on the back burner to simmer for a while.

It was hard to cut the list down from way too many to a sensible number to have inside their house at any one time, but they just about managed it, hoping the weather would be good enough on that day to use the yard for overspill, otherwise it might be tricky. As it happens they were lucky, for which they were very grateful, because Dave Dixon and his brood took up nearly a whole room on their own.

Rightly, Alice and her mother were the centre of attention with Jack coming a very poor third, if not way lower given the other children that were turning their house into an unruly home. He was more than happy about that and covertly watched his wife and daughter talking and being made a fuss of.

"Happy Jack?" Daniel interrupted his thoughts.

"Ecstatic Daniel. Couldn't be better, well almost."

"What do you mean?"

"Aw, nothin'. I love Sam and adore Alice. What more could I want?"

"Don't know, you tell me."

"Nothin'."

"Okay." Daniel drawled, knowing there was more but unwilling to press his friend. Now was probably not the right moment. He had to admit that Jack looked ecstatic, so wondered if he read more into it than Jack had intended and hoped Jack and Sam weren't heading towards another bad argument. Jack sighed.

"I was raised a Catholic, Daniel."

"Ah!" things immediately slipped into place in Daniel's head, "You want Alice raised a Catholic and Sam doesn't?"

"Yeah, no. What I mean is, we only skirted round the edges of it and decided to put off the big decision. Sam's not particularly religious, you know that, and she certainly isn't a Catholic. I never even thought about it before Alice was born."

"You're lapsed, Jack."

"Yeah, well." he shrugged.

"Is it important to you?"

"I don't know."

"But it bothers you?"

"Yes."

"Then talk to Sam about it."

"What if."

"You could drive yourself crazy with these what ifs, Jack. Don't try pre-empting how she'll react. Don't end up with one of those miscommunication things, again."

"Miscommunication things?"

"You know very well what I mean. Talk to her."

"I guess I should."

"Of course you should. She's your wife, and the mother of your child."

"Alice," Jack smiled dreamily.

"Who is receiving an awful lot of attention today and seems to be enjoying it. She's a great conversation piece, Jack," Daniel smiled.

"Yeah, although it can get a bit obsessive sometimes. Must bore the pants off people who don't have kids."

"No. I for one totally adore her, Jack. I'm happy to talk about diapers and crap, and burping, and what new thing she did today. She has such a great smile."

"She's a friendly baby, isn't she?"

"Must take after her mom."

"Was that an insult I spotted Doctor Jackson?"

"Might have been," Daniel grinned.

"Sheesh, and I think of you as a friend."

"I'm glad you do, Jack. It means I get to play Uncle Daniel, and Alice is pretty adorable."

"The centre of my universe, Danny boy, and the centre of Sam's."

"That bothers you too?"

"What?"

"That Sam probably loves Alice more than she loves you, and probably gives her more attention too."

"She's the general topic of conversation these days, but that's rightfully so, isn't it?"

"That doesn't mean you can't feel jealous. Do you feel guilty for being jealous, for wanting more of Sam than she's giving you right now?"

"Who said I'm jealous?"

"Don't go all defensive on me. I thought that was pretty normal, Jack. What about you, Sarah and Charlie? Weren't you jealous then? But that didn't mean you didn't adore Charlie did it? Or that he didn't adore you?"

"Of course not. You're right, I do feel a little envious. There's something between mother and baby that fathers are excluded from. I guess that's one of the rewards women get for carrying around our children for nine months and then going through agonies to bear them."

"They've got to get something out of the deal."

"I don't think Sam feels hard done by."

"Me neither, Jack, but you do?"

"No, not really. I think I'm a very lucky man."

"Which makes you feel even more guilty."

"Yeah well, I'm a Catholic you know."

"I thought Woody Allen always said that guilt was a Jewish thing."

"Catholics too."

"Oh, right. Kind of makes me wonder why you want to raise Alice in the faith."

"Why should I be the only guilty one in the family?" Jack joked, laughing. "I have a kind of urge to go over and see my wife and child and be part of that centre of the universe for a while. You hanging around?"

"Sure."

"Speak later?"

"Sure."

Jack smiled and grasped Daniel's arm, giving it a small squeeze of appreciation, and joined his wife and daughter, becoming the life and soul of the party once more. General Hammond and his granddaughters were fussing over her now and George looked as pleased as punch.

"Jack! I was beginning to wonder why dad wasn't hanging around his beautiful daughter," George said as he approached.

"Don't want to steal her limelight, sir."

"We've gone well beyond the stage of you having to call me sir, son."

"I try, really I do George, so sue me."

George Hammond grinned in response and Sam asked if he wanted to hold Alice, which thrilled him to pieces.

"Alice seems to have a lot of adopted uncles," Jack commented.

"I'd rather think of myself as an adopted grandfather. Jacob would have been so proud, Sam. He would have adored her."

"Yes, I wish." Her face was momentarily clouded with sadness and Jack took her hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze. She smiled up at him, her heart lifting at that gentle and loving touch.

"I know," Hammond replied, "I shouldn't have mentioned him, I'm sorry."

"I don't want him to be forgotten, sir. We'd be honored for you to be her adopted grandfather," Sam said with a small smile, thinking about her father. He would have liked that notion too.

"I'd be honoured to accept that role." Hammond smiled happily, "Are they Dave Dixon's kids? Must be, they all look like small versions of their father."

"God help them," Jack quipped and they all laughed.

After everyone had left and Alice was asleep, the happy couple cuddled up together on the couch and Jack decided to take Daniel's earlier advice about speaking to Sam.

"Will you think I'm crazy if I say I think I might want Alice raised as a Catholic?" he asked.

"No. If that's what you want Jack."

"I never could reject it altogether."

"I can't reject God altogether either, Jack, despite everything."

"You mean Goa'uld, Ori and all those other false gods?"

"Yeah."

"Maybe we're both crazy. So what do you think?"

"I said if that's what you want Jack."

"You're not Catholic, I'm a divorcee and also unhappy about some of the church's teachings but."

"You're still a Catholic. You don't want our daughter to be damned and burn in the fires of hell."

"I guess that's it in a nutshell, yeah."

"So go speak to a priest, Jack."

"You really think I should?"

"Yes I do. I'll come with you if you want me to."

"Yeah, I want you to. You must be the best wife ever, you know that?" he kissed her.

"You deserve it, Jack," she grinned cheekily and Jack rolled his eyes mockingly, pulling her into a hug, kissing her face. "I love you Jack O'Neill." she added.

"I love you too, Sam O'Neill. Great party, wasn't it?"

"Yeahsureyabetchya," she responded in her best impersonation of her husband.

"Although sometimes," Jack replied, laughing and squeezing her gently. "particularly when you impersonate your husband so excellently, I begin to question those feelings."

"Sure you do," she captured his eyes smiled at him lovingly.

"As if." Jack grinned.

"You always were an insubordinate subordinate, so you shouldn't mind if I am."

"Shades of your dad there, Sam."

"Yeah," she smiled sadly.

"I wish he was around for this too. He would have loved Allie."

"Yes he would. Allie? Already?"

"Why not?" Jack shrugged.

"Ummm, why not indeed?"

Jack kissed her hair and she rested her head on his shoulder. Her father might not be there, but Jack was. Always. That was a reassuring notion. She smiled and reached her hand up to stroke his face. Yeah, definitely way more than merely reassuring.

***************
End




You must login (register) to review.