Okay so- there were trees, and trees and guess what... more trees! I was standing around in a forest and finally saw Carter and she was carrying of all things a small tree, ugh, I will never understand women.
"Sir, Treevin says this was used in their history for its medicinal properties." Treevin- whose name was, by all accounts, a complete coincidence followed Sam around answering all of her questions. Surprisingly, after three months with Treevin I felt no ill will towards him and his actions toward Sam, which was odd, I really liked the guy and I hadn't gotten any vibes from him that he was interested in 'my woman'.
My woman, that sounds odd... Carter, Major Carter, Dr. Samantha Carter, Sam... I think it was the Sam part that intrigued me so much- she was so amazing. I wasn't even worried about SG-6 and the General coming the next day. Three months, my how time flys when you're having fun, I know three months is a long time to be off world but as Carter'd told me on more than one occasion- the diplomatic process takes time, especially when the telepathic aliens keep getting confused with what we're saying and what we're actually thinking. During the first series of negotiations Lauprezin- the leader of the Balteria Major asked me if there were any 'animalistic locker-room ceremonies' she needed to be aware of, both Daniel and I got a good laugh out of that one, Sam on the other hand turned beet red.
That was the day, or should I say night that we began our, for lack of a better word, romance. It was actually pretty funny...
We were each assigned our own quarters considering the length of time we were going to be on Balteria Major and I, as the leader of the SGC's delegation, had been obligated to attend some really fancy, really boring dinner that Daniel would have loved. It wasn't exactly my thing so I excused myself as quickly as possible and hauled ass back to my room; once I got there I found it dark, very dark when you consider that the Balteri were obsessive when it comes to lights. So I went to my pack and pulled out some matches, as light filled the room it was clear to me that I was not alone. My formerly messy room had been tidied up quite a bit and as far as I knew 'Balteri Hotel' had no maid service.
Suddenly, I was grabbed from behind, my match went out. I almost lashed out, but no, I was able to rationalise- murderers didn't tend to break into your room, clean it up all neat and tidy and *then* kill you. So I concentrated on what senses I possess other than sight. Smell was the first thing to kick in, whomever it was that had nicely pinned me to the wall smelled awfully good. And then of course there was touch, true my hands were pinned above my head but the person was quite slim with breasts pressing against my chest. Hearing wasn't exactly something I could think of at that point, other than a lot of breathing. Lastly taste, oh glorious taste, I was already pretty clear on who my attacker was but as my mouth was covered with another and an alien tongue entered my mouth there was no doubt in my mind. I would know Sam's mouth anywhere, even if there had only been one real kiss before that moment, one kiss that she didn't even remember.
"Uh Sam, what's going on?" Being held down by your second in command while she does things that make you feel tingly and happy all over is all well and good but given our history, I couldn't just let her do it.
"Animalistic locker room ceremonies. I just think you need to be shown how much trouble your thoughts can get you in to."
"Are you currently under the influence of any alien entity or virus?" I asked, stealing a quick kiss.
"Good enough for me." Yeah I know- it was the stupidest, most immature decision I've made in my entire career but hey, she took me by surprise!
I locked the door; I have had sufficient experience with Daniel to know that the Space Monkey just can't get the whole timing thing down.
Much later, she collapsed onto my chest out of sheer exhaustion. "Well that was...wow." I said, kissing her as I rolled us under the bed clothes. She nodded her head against my chest as I felt her breathing return to normal and then steady. "I love you." I stated, not even realising my statement as I joined her in sleep.
The next morning the Balteri super illumination was back in full force. I was still pinned under Sam so I just lay there content with the feeling of her naked body against mine. Unfortunately, the alarm on my watch was under the good Major and I couldn't stop it from going off until it was too late. Her blonde headed popped off my chest like a cork being released.
"Sir, oh god." She hopped off the bed before realising her precarious state of undress; she snatched the blanket off me. "I'm sorry Sir, I apologise, I really do, you can have me written up, transferred, court marshalled." She stammered avoiding looking at me.
"Hey Sam, shut up will ya?" I said with a smile, as I stood and pulled the blanket out of her hands. "You weren't alone, I provoked you, and so if either of us is going to be court marshalled it'll be me." I tossed the blanket away and pulled her into my arms.
"What about the regulations Sir?"
"We can't deal with them now, I mean we're off world at the moment, no one to answer to." I allowed myself to get lost in my explorations once again.
"Jack! You all right in there?" Daniel interrupted our rhythm.
"Shit." Sam swore softly as I ran around the room pulling on various articles of clothing.
"I'm fine Danny."
"You sure Jack? You're half an hour late for the first round of negotiations, I was about to go get Sam to take over for you."
"Um no Daniel, don't get Carter up at this hour, I'll be right there." I finished dressing about the same time as Sam.
"Sir, you can't go out there like that."
"Huh? Oh that."
"Yeah that. The Balteri are going to have a big enough problem with your thoughts, indecent exposure isn't something you need to add to that." She giggled.
"Hey um... don't I have a negotiation I've gotta be at?" She shut me up fast. In that instant I realised that no matter what the consequences, we couldn't pass this off as a one time thing, I loved her too much to have her and then let her go.
I was nearly an hour late getting to the negotiation; Daniel glared at me as I made some lame excuse about my alarm not going off. I couldn't keep my mind on what was going on around me, thankfully Sam wasn't in the room or I would have been completely unresponsive to Daniel's constant nagging for my opinion. Finally we were released for dinner, Sam was supposed to be there, I had the urge to take off running, but of course Daniel couldn't make it that easy for me.
"Jack," he stopped me. "Who were you with last night?"
"What do you mean?"
"Come on Jack! I'm not deaf, you were both making enough noise to wake the dead."
"Daniel, you must have been dreaming."
"Are you purposely trying to hurt Sam by picking up yet another woman?"
"For cryin' out loud Daniel, leave it alone." I warned as I hurried up and happily took a seat next to Sam, Daniel sitting across the table from us next to Teal'c. He was still glaring at me; all I could do was avoid his gaze.
"How was your day Colonel?" Sam asked sweetly, as I put my hand on her knee.
"Boring... and long."
"Oh course you made it longer because you were an hour late." Daniel commented.
"Major Carter was also tardy in her arrival with Balteri medical authorities."
"She overslept." We said in unison, okay bad move on my part. A tense silence ensued, both of us attempting to gauge Daniel's reaction. It was actually Teal'c who used his deductive reasoning skills to get us deeper into the mess we'd already gotten ourselves in well enough on our own.
"O'Neill were you and Major Carter together this morning?" He asked with a tilted head. "It seems inconceivable that you would both oversleep separately, our wake-up alarms are very reliable." Gee thanks Teal'c, I thought briefly as Carter and I both looked for something to answer him with.
"Oh god Jack. I can't believe you two!" Daniel jumped up and was soon out of the eating area; Teal'c gave us a disapproving frown before following him out.
"Well that went well." I quipped, she gave me a miserable look that made my old heart melt, I really love that woman.
"We should go after them."
"No, Daniel needs to process what's going on... and Teal'c, well he's Teal'c. Ya know... I thought Daniel might just be happy for us." I said, placing my hand on her arm as she started to stand.
"How did this all go so wrong?" She asked me, sitting back down. At that time, I had no answer for her.
Daniel did come to his senses eventually, it took him almost an entire day to do it, but he finally joined us for dinner the following evening.
We reached an accord by silently agreeing to disagree. Teal'c, on the other hand, had given us a lecture on the regs; in the end he too ignored the fact that I had moved into Sam's quarters. We were professional at all times, except of course when we were in her room, then we got our exercise and enjoyed it greatly.
Back to Sammy, she was still carrying that tree around. Okay so maybe I was a little worried about seeing the General the next day, I'd spoken to him over the radio, but it would be our first face-to-face meeting with him since Sam and my blatant disregard of the regulations. Three months is a long time. True the team dynamic had suffered a bit but we were working together to get things back to how they used to be when we were off world.
"Jack, Treevin says there's nothing else for us to see here." She said, handing me the tree as we started to walk. "Today is Terrika's birthday."
"So he's running us ragged out here so he can hurry up and get home to his woman? Sounds like a good idea to me."
Back to the city we went, back to our quarters to get ready for Terrika's party, which we'd been invited to. Sam went on while I went to tell Teal'c and Daniel they'd been invited too.
"Jack," Daniel opened his door. "I thought you and Sam had gone with Treevin for the day."
"We did, Treevin's wife's birthday party is in an hour, and we've all been invited."
"Council chambers, seems Terrika is best friends with Lauprezin or something."
"Oh, I'll be there." He said dismissing me.
"Will you tell Teal'c please?"
"Yeah Jack. So have you decided what you're going to tell General Hammond tomorrow?"
"No Daniel, we're currently hoping for a don't ask don't tell policy." I said and walked away, his attitude, more than our actions, been trying on everyone.
We chose Sam's quarters for both of us because we had to face the fact that we were noisy, and obviously Daniel hadn't enjoyed it. Sam's quarters were much more isolated, no one on either side of us. I walked inside to find Sam partially undressed, sitting on the bed with her head in her hands.
"Sam, what's up?" She didn't respond, so I went to sit next to her, finally getting a glimpse of her face, it was drawn and I could tell she was on the brink of tears. "Come on Sam, what's up?"
"Sir... Jack," She closed her eyes, I guess so she didn't have to look at me. "There's a definite possibility that I'm pregnant." That was when she broke down and I pulled her to my chest. After about 20 minutes I laid down, pulling her along with me, Sam had stopped crying and was just lying in my arms. "I'm really sorry Sir, I never meant for this to happen."
"Come on Sam, *you* haven't done anything."
"It's my fault that I'm in this situation. I should have realised sooner, I've missed two periods- when it was just one I could pass it off, but now I can't, this really is all my fault." She stated again.
"No Sam, it's *our* fault, we weren't exactly careful, but I blame myself for that one."
"I guess we should be talking about what we're going to do and not whose fault the situation is."
"Um okay." What to say what to say? I had to be the most clueless male on the planet. "You said you're not sure you are right?"
"I haven't used a test or anything, but I'm pretty sure." She leant back against my chest; her hands that were joined with mine found her stomach. "Oh god, I want this baby."
"So that's what we do." I kissed her blonde hair. "We have a baby, we get to be together and I get to be a father again." My hands covered hers and we continued to lie there.
"There's so much we've got to talk about, we're going to be court marshalled... our careers are over."
"Calm down Sam, don't go bringing up charges yet. I'll do what ever I have to to keep you at the SGC, they need you more than they need me."
"This is too much for me to think about right now. The General's coming tomorrow and we're going to go home- oh no, Janet's going to find out, tomorrow everyone's going to know everything." She realised solemnly.
"We were supposed to be at Terrika's party, you want me to go make our excuses?"
"No, I want to go." She said, smiling as she stood up and picked up the clothing she was putting on when her realisation had hit her.
"Okay, lemme take a quick shower." I headed into our smallish bathroom. "Wanna join me?" I asked her this every day, and she always turned me down, it was our little game, she liked to shower in the morning, I liked to do it at night... that is unless we'd been sweating or something.
"Ya know, I think I would."
We were not too late for the party; Daniel of course gave us his customary glare. No Danny boy we were not doing the wild thing... we almost did, it was a small shower after all, but come on, we both knew we were late. We blended in and began chatting amiably with the people that had become our good friends in the three months we'd stayed with them, eventually we ended up speaking with Lauprezin, Daniel and Teal'c joining us. We spoke for a short time about how happy Treevin and Terrika looked before the conversation gravitated towards the impending treaty.
"Your leader is coming tomorrow, to decide if we are worthy allies, correct?"
"General Hammond is not our 'top' leader, he must approve before our 'actual' leader, who we call a president, can sign." Daniel explained. Thoughts of General Hammond and Sam and my baby ran through my mind, Sam was right, it all really was too much to process in one day- I looked to Sam and could see she was thinking the same thoughts I was. Lauprezin stopped Daniel midsentence and turned to Sam and me.
"Colonel, Major, would you please join me in my private chambers?" She said, alarmed, before rushing off to her chambers.
"What? What did I say?" Daniel asked bewildered.
"I don't know Daniel, but I think she meant now."
Lauprezin's private chambers were her home and office all rolled into one, all council members had private chambers off the main council chambers. We shuffled in, neither of us knowing what this woman wanted with us.
"So, Lauprezin, what's up?" I asked, as we finally came to a stop in front of her desk.
"It has come to my attention that there is a very large problem which could nullify our treaty."
"Really? And that would be?" I asked sceptically.
"Major Carter is with child, your child correct?"
"And that is against your laws. Tomorrow you will go back to your planet and not be allowed to return. We will lose our treaty then."
"Our officials will only agree to this treaty if the original negotiation team is intact at the time of the treaty signing."
"I wish *Daniel* had told us about that little detail."
"I'm very sorry Lauprezin, but I will be seen by our doctors tomorrow and there's no way I can cover this up from them."
"There will be no consequences if you are not with child?"
"If they don't find out we're together there won't be any consequences, but I'm keeping this baby."
"Yeah, we're not hurting it for our mistake." I piped in, it sounded slightly ridiculous, but I didn't care.
"No, I would never consider such actions. We have a procedure where the child can be transferred to another woman. If you are willing to do this we must act now, there are some side effects that are not pleasant." Sam turned to me and we just stared at each other- another woman carrying our child, I don't think either of us was very sure how we felt about that, we were out of options though, Hammond would be there the next day and Doc Frasier would know.
"We'll do it." Sam said, turning back to Lauprezin.
"First we must find a host, a woman with no children who is ready to support a child and who has had sexual relations." She went to the door and looked out on the very active party, surveying all the happy women. "Terrika." She whispered and immediately the woman excused herself from the people she had been speaking to and joined us in Lauprezin's private chambers- you gotta love those telepaths.
Two hours later, the party had died down a little considering the birthday girl had left, and we had managed to construct a lie the size of a Stargate. The story was: I had met Terrika here and we had started a relationship- we were going to conveniently leave her husband out of the story, she had gotten pregnant and didn't want the child, but due to the Balteri's telepathic abilities they consider abortion murder because they can sense the fetus' thoughts, so she had to come back to Earth with me so that I could raise the child once it was born. Our plan was for her to live with Sam considering that in our little fantasyland I would no longer be involved with Terrika, all that was left was for us to convince Daniel and Teal'c to go along with the story...
"Danny, will you please find Teal'c and come join us in Lauprezin's private chambers?" I asked, finding him standing alone on the outskirts of the few remaining partygoers. They soon joined the ever enlarging crowd in the chambers- Sam, Lauprezin, Terrika, Treevin, a few Balteri medical authorities, and me. We were already making arrangements for the 'transfer'.
"What's going on?" Daniel asked, as Sam was whisked away with Terrika.
"There's a little problem with the General coming tomorrow."
"What is it? Something in the treaty the Balteri didn't like?"
"Not exactly." I decided to just bite the bullet. "Carter's pregnant."
"Oh come on Jack! How could you let this happen, I knew you were going to screw everything up! SG-1 is important, you've just single handedly undone all of the work we've done. Do you honestly believe that once you're court marshalled they'll want to keep Teal'c and me around? You should have been more careful, now we're all going to pay for your mistake!"
"Look Danny, what could I have done? Requisition a case of condoms? I don't think Hammond would have approved, and we would probably be back on Earth by now. There is a solution though, if you'll agree to it, Hammond won't even know about our relationship." He thought it over for about a millisecond.
"I'll agree to anything if you can guarantee the General will not find out about what's happened on this planet." So I explained everything to him, and amazingly he agreed to go along with the lie, Teal'c of course agreed but not before he gave me a lecture on how it was unwise to lie to General Hammond.
And so the procedure started. Daniel and Teal'c elected to go to their quarters and finish packing while I stayed with Sam, Lauprezin had informed us that there would be a very high risk in this for both Sam and our baby, I took Sam's hand reassuringly as they knocked her out with some alien anaesthetic. What I saw was very strange, and incredibly fast, Terrika was awake for the entire thing- I was told by the medical authorities that it was so she could communicate with the child and tell it that it was going to feel a slight amount of pain but that it was all right. I looked down at Sam's placid face and wondered if this telepathic woman was really communicating with the child that up until a few hours before we hadn't even know existed. I looked up and Terrika was smiling, Treevin who was standing next to her (I was informed earlier by Lauprezin that he was essentially shooting blanks) had a contented smile on his face as well.
"What?" I asked quietly.
"The transfer was successful." He stated happily.
"I must have missed it."
"It happens very quickly to minimize exposure to the child."
"Oh." I stated. "Why did Sam have to be asleep and Terrika get to be awake?"
"While Terrika only felt a slight stretching in her abdomen, Major Carter was in excruciating pain- it would have been very unpleasant for both her and the child for her to have been awake." One of the medical people said to me as Sam was placed on Lauprezin's bed, the whole procedure having been done in her private chambers. "Colonel O'Neill, she will be very weak for a couple of days. There will probably be bleeding as if she were menstruating for about a week and she should refrain from sexual activity for three to five weeks. You should expect her body to still believe it is with child; she will have nausea and mood imbalances due to the hormones in her body. These are the same common ailments that would occur if a pregnancy were to be terminated."
The first thing I noticed when I woke up was pain, horrible pain. I placed my hands on my stomach and wondered if something had gone wrong with the procedure.
"Hey Sammy." I heard Jack close by; I opened my eyes to see his distressed face. "You okay? You've been out for a couple of hours."
"Is the baby all right?" I asked, ignoring the intense pain for a moment.
"Of course. I sent Terrika home with Treevin to pack and say goodbye about an hour ago, she really wanted to be here when you woke up." He noticed my strained face. "Here, take these, Lauprezin said you would probably feel pretty crappy." I downed the pills, aspirin from our emergency med kit.
"I can't believe we actually did it. I really thought we'd be court marshalled and lose the treaty with the Balteri. We deserve to be court marshalled."
"Yeah we do, but there'll be time for all of that later, right now Earth is the most important thing."
"And the Balteri are exactly the kind of allies we need." I relaxed, and made an attempt to position myself so the pain was a little less, well, painful. "I'm a horrible mother aren't I?" I pondered aloud. "I put the life of our child at stake just so we wouldn't be court marshalled. But what's going to happen when the baby's born and you get turned into single father extraordinaire, where will that leave me?"
"We'll work it out, you're not going to be left out. I can't do this alone and I don't want to, this is *our* baby." He looked so sincere, I couldn't believe I thought he would exclude me from our child's life. When had I become such a whiny, needy woman? Oh yeah, I'd been pregnant- hormones, that mystery solved I threw my arms around Jack's neck.
"We should get back to our quarters and finish packing- the General will be here in four hours." I said, pulling away to look at my watch.
"You need to rest, I'll pack. But getting back to our quarters would might be a good idea, Lauprezin hasn't slept and I don't think it would be good for her to fall asleep during her first meeting with Hammond." He helped me to stand, and then caught me as I started to collapse.
"No problem Carter." We slowly made our way out into the now abandoned council chambers, he with his arm around my waist supporting most of my weight, and me leaning heavily against him.
The walk seemed longer than usual, the peaceful hallways were, of course, brightly lit and there was just a creepy feeling in the air. In the three months we'd been on the planet, neither one of us had ever been out that late. We entered our quarters and I lit a couple of small lamps before Jack gently shoved me down on the bed.
"You've just had a serious medical procedure, you're going to rest."
"Jack, Hammond's going to be here in less than four hours, how are we going to explain why I'm in bed?"
"You're coming down with something, we were going to take you back to Earth but decided to wait a day considering we were going home anyway." He smiled and gave me a quick kiss before standing up and quietly checking the packs I had packed early the day before. The pain was dying down a little bit but it still hurt worse than I expected, I guess I didn't really know what to expect though. As I drifted off I wondered if we really could pull this off in front of the General, or if all of this had been for naught.
I awakened to Daniel's face.
"Hey." I said confused.
"Hi. Teal'c and Jack took the first load of our stuff to the 'gate. Jack wanted me to stay with you."
"Thanks, how long have you been here?" I asked, he was looking around curiously and I realised it was his first time in our quarters.
"Only a couple of minutes. I was supposed to get you up in another 15 so you could get changed before General Hammond gets here."
"Oh." The silence was awkward, we hadn't been alone like that in a long time, and considering what had happened the previous night, I didn't think we'd know what to say to each other for a long time.
"Terrika was here with you, she told me to tell you your daughter is happy in her new home and that she loves her mother very much." He said this remorsefully, this child hadn't seemed real to any of us... and that procedure was not something anyone from Earth could even conceive of, we were in way over our heads and our future allies had helped us.
"Thank you. I really am sorry Daniel, I know this is not what you signed on for, but we were all friends three months ago and I'd like us to be like that again." He seemed to think over my words as I stood and grabbed the clothes Jack had kindly set out for me, fatigues, woohoo; I went into the bathroom, closing the door behind me.
As I undressed I realised that Lauprezin and her medical staff were right, there was a lot of bleeding, but it was nothing that I wouldn't be able to pass off to Janet as my period, considering I was supposed to be on it then anyway. The water was warm as most things were on Balteria Major... those really were the most wonderful people I have ever met, they were telepathic so they could see to every persons needs without them actually having to explain, it would have been a great place for a vacation. Soon I was clean to my satisfaction, that and the fact that I felt like I was going to pass out if I didn't sit down soon, so I dressed and joined Daniel back out in the main living area. I saw that Terrika was with him and smiled fondly at her; she jumped up from her seat and engulfed me in a big hug.
"I am glad to see you up, do not worry Samantha, you will feel better soon."
"Thanks, I do feel better, considering that three hours ago I felt like I was going to die."
"Uh Sam, I'm going to go find Teal'c, we're supposed to meet the General at the 'gate in 30 minutes." He left, and I was alone with Terrika for the first time. She was a beautiful woman with dark skin and hair so black is almost looked blue (just like every other person on the planet)- there was no way that a child that she might have with Jack would come out looking anything like what our child was going to look like, it would be a genetic impossibility.
"So the baby's a girl?" I asked dumbly.
"Yes, she told me, and the readings during the procedure confirmed it." I smiled like an idiot, there really was a baby, and I was really going to be a mother, this wonderful woman was willing to leave her husband to be with us and carry our child, I would be eternally grateful to her and all Balteri.
Jack came back a few moments later to grab the two of us, that was it, there was no turning back, we either had to confess or lie forever, there could be no middle ground.
The Stargate activated and Jack gave me a hug and a kiss before taking his place next to Terrika while I stood as far from them as possible. SG-6 came through followed by General Hammond, they all looked the same as they did three months before, we saluted and we were off, heading back to Balteri City. Along the way Jack explained about Terrika, the General wasn't exactly thrilled, but hey, I wasn't acting very happy either, of course I'm sure the authentic pained look on my face was helping my performance. Daniel and Teal'c on the other hand didn't need to act, they were unhappy all the way around.
While we went and introduced the General to Lauprezin and the rest of the council, SG-6 stayed behind to send all of our things back to the SGC.
Four hours later, the meeting and tour went off without a hitch and with a date to meet with the president set, we headed back through the Stargate to be on Earth for the first time in a very long while.
"So..." Jack said, as we came through and all stood looking around on the ramp as the 'gate disengaged.
"SG-1, go see Doctor Frasier and get some rest, debriefing at 0800 tomorrow."
"And the infirmary would be... thata way?" Jack joked, as he lead us out of the gate room and through the concrete corridors. It really was strange to be back, I was sure my lab and house were probably both huge messes, considering my Dad was going to stay at my place while he was on Earth for some meetings while I was gone.
Janet checked out Terrika first, she was fine of course, and then she moved on to me. I got a big hug, most likely due to the fact that Jack had 'done it again' and hurt me with another woman, not quite Janet. I smiled weakly at her as she drew my blood and injected me with stuff I don't even want to know about.
"What's wrong Sam, you look pale."
"Oh it's nothing, I'm just having really bad cramps this month." She bought my excuse and handed me some Tylenol and water.
Soon I was done and dressed. I wanted to go find Jack but I knew that probably wouldn't be the wisest thing for me to do considering I was supposed to be 'very disappointed' in him, so I set off to find Terrika, yes I know she was supposed to be the enemy too, but she was carrying my child. I found out from the oh-so-helpful nurses that Daniel and Teal'c ran off some where with her, so I began my search, I mean how big could Cheyenne mountain be? 45 minutes later I was forced to stop by the commissary, not to look for Terrika, but because even though I might not have been pregnant any more my body thought I was and I still got very very hungry.
I walked in the commissary and all conversation ceased. I was suddenly the most fascinating thing in the room, it seemed there hadn't been a breakdown in the gossip chain of Cheyenne Mountain while we'd been away. I grabbed some food and sat alone, the baby had wanted cheese burgers- but now my body wanted anything and everything. Finally Daniel and Terrika entered, I waved them over, happy to have someone I *knew*.
"She was worried about you Samantha, we should not be apart for so long." Terrika whispered in my ear as she hugged me.
"Sam, you two okay if I go home now?" Daniel wanted to get as far away from Jack and me as possible.
"Sure, go ahead, we're going to be leaving soon anyway." I dismissed him.
"General Hammond spoke to me while you were with your Doctor Frasier," Terrika stated, taking some of the food I offered to share with her. "He said I am to stay with you, but of course that was our plan. I never thought this would be so easy."
"Colonel O'Neill has had a lot of 'dealings' with alien women." I said bitterly, for the benefit of the entire room of people attempting to listen in on our conversation. Terrika yawned, and I realised that unlike me she hadn't rested that night or that morning. "So, you wanna go see what Earth's all about?"
"I would love to." We started to head out... only to be stopped by me being paged to the infirmary.
"Sam, thanks for coming back." Janet said as we entered.
"We were just headed home."
"Home?" She looked at Terrika.
"Yes, Terrika's moving in with me." Her eyebrows shot up, Teal'c-style.
"Okay, well I need to talk to you privately. Terrika, Colonel O'Neill is still here if you'd like to go speak to him while you wait."
We went into her office, she shut the door and, her face serious, sat at her desk across from me.
"Sam, there were some... inconsistencies, in your blood work."
"Well according to this, you're pregnant, about seven weeks."
"That's not possible." I stated flat out, I was expecting that.
"Well I re-did the tests three times."
"It's still not possible Janet... we've been on an alien planet for three months... you don't think I'd get with one of them do you?"
"Well Colonel O'Neill did." I thought of Laira, I thought of Kynthia... pain flashed across my face.
"That doesn't mean I did, I didn't."
"The tests were still positive."
"Well they're wrong."
"I would still like to do an ultrasound."
"Okay." I agreed nonchalantly.
Twenty minutes later she was standing next to me while a technician 'played' in the goop on my stomach. The woman hadn't found anything of interest, and Janet's face was growing brighter.
"So?" I asked.
"I've got to look very carefully, if you were pregnant, it would only be a little larger than a grain of rice at this stage."
"But I'm not pregnant."
"And I don't see any thing on here." She told Janet.
"Thank you." The woman handed me a paper towel to clean myself off with and then left quietly.
"We'll re-test in a couple of weeks Sam, but otherwise, if it's just a hormonal imbalance there are a number of things that could have caused it. Another factor could also be more of Jolinar's remnants leaving your body." That's right Janet, when in doubt blame Jolinar. I re-dressed and headed out to find Terrika, hoping to find Jack as well.
When I found them they were sitting outside the infirmary, Jack was softly telling her about his ex-wife's pregnancy with their only son, Charlie, it was obviously a funny story, Terrika was laughing and Jack had this far off look in his eyes.
"Terrika... Sir." I greeted, wishing I could be a little nicer to him but knowing that would probably not be the wisest thing considering how mad at him I was supposed to be.
Jack jumped up, and I could tell he was about to embrace me, but thankfully he caught himself in time to not look too overly strange to the airman standing calmly outside the infirmary.
"Hey Carter, you all right? I know why Doc kept me so long... but she *likes* you." I smiled at him.
"Oh you know, the usual Jolinar problems."
"You wanna grab a bite to eat?" He asked hopefully.
"No, we were just leaving."
"Well in that case at least let me walk you two out to your car."
"Fine Sir." The walk up to the surface was odd to say the least. People actually stopped walking to stare at us, Jack dutifully walking next to Terrika while I led the way; on the outside we were all people barely getting along, but on the inside we were bound together by something very special.
After explaining the wonders of seatbelts to Terrika, we got her in the car and ready for her first car trip. I stood outside my side of the car with Jack next to me.
"We'd better get going, the debriefing is really early tomorrow and we could both use our rest." He took my hand, and I battled the urge to wrap my arms around him.
"Sam promise me you'll call me or the base or someone if you start feeling worse." His concern was touching, since getting back the pain had been a little worse but nothing like it was after I first woke up from the procedure.
"I will, I swear." I opened my car door and took one last look at his face.
"Buckle up Major." He stated, as an airman came around the lot on his patrols.
Terrika's first view of Tau'ri culture was about as exciting for her as it was for me- we got stuck in late afternoon rush hour. While being on Balteria Major, I had not missed that little highlight in my day, I mean sure there were crowds occasionally, but never 'grid-lock'.
"Do you like music?" I asked, as I could see her regretting coming back with us on her face.
"Yes very much, and do not worry Samantha, we will experience many more hardships in the coming times, a little traffic need be the least of our concerns." Oh, she was telepathic wasn't she? I'd been so used to it that when I'd got back to Earth I didn't even think about how I thought and spoke to different people.
Soon we did make it back to my place, and it was surprisingly clean, there was even a thank you note signed by both my Dad and Selmak. There were quite a few messages on my machine, the last one from Jack, sounding suspiciously platonic and asking me to call if we made it home all right. I quickly showed Terrika around and left her to her room. I grabbed the portable and headed for my own bedroom, then, collapsing onto my bed, I dialled the number that had been in my speed-dial for almost four years.
"The three of us made it home fine."
"Good, I was getting worried, thought I might have to come spend the night and keep you safe."
"Sorry flyboy," I smiled, imagining him in front of me. "We're strong independent women. And you're my commanding officer, I wouldn't want to be a party to anything that might be construed as anything other than strictly professional business."
"You can't tell me that our relationship has ever been more than what it should be." I, of course, realised what he meant by this, we both seemed to lose our joking tone at the same time.
"How did things go with General Hammond this afternoon?"
"How'd you know I spoke to him?"
"Terrika said she spoke to him while I was with Janet, I know he wouldn't come to the infirmary if he wasn't there to talk seriously to someone."
"Oh, well he said there would be an official reprimand placed in my file for my 'inappropriate actions while on a mission', still much better than a court marshal though."
"I'm so sorry Jack."
"Come on Sam, it's nothing to me... There're already so many others in there that are so much worse... I mean how many times have we hijacked the 'gate?"
"I lost count Sir." Our joking tone was back and we continued to banter amiably for a while, avoiding as much of the issue at hand as possible due to the fact that we knew at one time his place was bugged and that there was always the possibility that mine was bugged as well.
The next morning we were up early for our 0800 briefing, Terrika stayed at home claiming she needed to unpack, I really thought she felt I needed to spend some time alone. My abdomen was hurting a little worse, so I merely stopped by McDonalds on my way in and quickly ate before downing several more Tylenol. Three people on base asked me if I was feeling all right before I ran into Jack, he stopped me and somewhat forcefully pushed me in the direction of my lab. Once inside, he shut the door and pushed me down into a chair. He looked at the security camera and stepped away from me before speaking.
"You don't look very good."
"Thanks Sir." I said bitterly, he had no reason to treat me like a child.
"You know what I mean Sam, I think you should go see Frasier. This secret is not worth losing you over."
"I'm fine... it just hurts, a lot."
"You're really pale." He stated, moving a step closer. "They did say there might be some complications."
"I really am fine Jack, there's no 'fresh' blood, it's been over 24 hours since the procedure, and yes I even took my temperature earlier, I'm fine. If it will make you feel any better I promise to go see the Balteri Medical Officials when we go for the treaty signing next week."
"I wish you could go see them now." He whined slightly.
"That would be a fun one to explain to Hammond, on the upside he might not believe how ridiculous it sounds, and on the down side he might not believe how ridiculous it sounds." He started to say something when SG-1 was called to the briefing room.
"Guess that's our call."
The briefing was long and boring, Daniel spent most of it lecturing on the wonders of the Balteri while Jack doodled on his notepad and I feigned interest. Really though, I was entertaining thoughts of a much different subject, the baby. I couldn't help it, as inconvenient as it was, I was excited; In a much too short amount of time I was going to be a mother, a very scary thought but it was something I've secretly wanted since I was a little girl and firmly told my Father I never wanted to get married and under no circumstances would I ever want a baby. I thought he was going to laugh about that, I knew it, especially considering Selmak had enhanced his memory, oh yeah, they'd laugh, when they were done murdering Jack. I wondered how long we'd be able to pull this off for, our intentions were to ensure the treaty between the Balteri and the US, but what was going to happen when the government discovered that not only did we lie but also the people we'd forged an alliance with had misled them as well? I knew Terrika wouldn't be safe, someone would want to get their hands on a real, live telepath, and there'd be no one around to protect her- I needed to talk to Jack about that, no one could find out about anything until Terrika was back and safe with Treevin.
Daniel did eventually wrap it up, we were all given downtime until the treaty signing the next week, and I happily invited Daniel and Teal'c to lunch. I asked in front of the General... they couldn't refuse without a pretty good reason, and they didn't disappoint, they couldn't have turned down my offer without Hammond becoming overly suspicious. I, of course, had not invited Jack; he invited himself on our way out of the briefing room.
"So, where do you guys want to eat? Here? Or off base?"
"Off base," Daniel stated. "We've all got to talk about... everything." We quickly took the elevator topside and then split up at the parking area.
"Why don't we got get Terrika?" Jack asked, as Daniel and Teal'c drove away in Daniel's car after we decided on a restaurant.
"Sure, we never would have thought about being alone together before this happened... we shouldn't overanalyse our behaviour now, if we're too careful people might start noticing something's up."
"Yeah." When did he become the smart one? I think there's some sort of conspiracy to make him look stupider than he really is. And that was how I ended up in the car with my CO, lover, and soon to be father of my child heading to my house to pick up the woman who was pregnant with his child.
"I didn't sleep last night." He stated sadly, as I drove through the last security checkpoint. "It's been so long since I've slept alone."
"I'm sorry." Was all I knew to say to him, I reached over and grabbed his hand.
"Well we've got two weeks downtime, so hopefully I'll at least be able to spend my days with you... and Terrika."
"Things are going to be this hard for the rest of our lives aren't they?"
"Well we can't go on like this indefinitely, I mean you *are* our child's mother and I may not know the exact science behind it, but I know that if I were to have a child with Terrika it wouldn't look anything like what this one's going to."
"This is still so unreal." He turned and smiled at the side of my face.
"Have you thought about names?" He asked suspiciously.
"Of course," I rolled my eyes. "Known about this for less than two days and I'm already obsessing."
"So what have you come up with?" He asked curiously.
"Jonathan for a boy and Catherine for a girl." He gave a weird look. "I know Terrika said it's a girl, but I think we should be prepared for both."
"Okay." He smiled at me. "Uh, no on your names... how about Janet for a girl and Jacob for a boy."
"You want to name the baby after my father?" I asked. "You know both he and Selmak are gonna have it out for you when they find out what you did to 'their little girl'."
"I didn't *do* anything to you, as I recall *you* jumped *me*; and well... about the whole baby thing... um... I love you?"
"Very smooth Jack O'Neill..." We pulled into my driveway and I was surprised at how short a drive it actually was.
Inside, Jack followed me around... he'd never been in my bedroom before and for some reason found it infinitely fascinating, of course I found that as I changed clothes he was looking at me and not the surroundings.
"Jack?" I asked, breaking his concentration by pulling the shirt over my head.
"Huh? Oh." He tossed himself back on my bed. "Ya know, one of these days we're both going to be in this bed."
"Oh I don't know... I kinda like your bed."
"You've never been in it before."
"Exactly," I lay next to him and he instinctively put his arms around me. "See, we're in my bed, now we've got to try yours."
"I think this is how we should spend our downtime." He whispered in my ear, as he kissed his way along my jaw-line.
"What about Terrika, and Daniel, and Teal'c?"
"They're smart, they'll find something to entertain themselves."
"I mean right now, we're supposed to be eating lunch."
"Aww... but your bed is so comfortable, I'm sure I could get some sleep if you would stay in it with me."
"Come on Jack, we don't want to make Terrika wait to eat on her first day here." I pulled him up off my bed, I wish I could have stayed there with him forever, but I didn't want to even risk getting too close to him for those next few weeks, he was too much of a temptation and I was going to follow the Balteri recovery rules no matter how unhappy they made me... and Jack.
Sam let me drive to the restaurant while she sat in the back with Terrika. Everything had become more and more real that day, even talking about names with Sam had me thinking that we really were going to have a baby soon, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle being a father again. I love kids and all, but oh god losing them is so painful, and no matter how much I loved Sam I didn't think I'd be able to get through that again. I heard them talking behind me and it was strange, sure I'd seen Terrika around before, her husband was one of Sam's really good friends but I never would have thought in a million years she'd be having my baby... especially considering I'd never even thought of her in a remotely sexual way, I mean come on both she and her husband were telepathic... I would have been severely beaten. I was still worried about Sam, sure she looked better than she had the day before, but she was still pale and of course I wasn't going to ask her how much she was bleeding 'down there', that was her business, but it scared me; I didn't like the idea that if something happened to her because of the procedure that no one would have a clue as to what happened, and the fact that I had anything to do with it... I wanted to be clearly responsible for anything I have ever done to harm her so I can pay. Suddenly, I realised Sam was talking to me... man I'm glad there weren't any stoplights on that particular stretch of road we were on.
"Jack, how about Daniel for a boy and Melissa for a girl?"
"Daniel would probably kill us for incriminating him by using his name, I like Melissa, but I really like Cassandra better... and I thought that George would be good because ya know it might soften Hammond up a little." She gave a small giggle, and I wished that she were sitting next to me instead of behind me so that I could see her face with out having to wreck her car. I loved her so much, and oddly enough we'd never said it to each other... other than my joking around, she'd never mentioned anything about how she felt about me and we hadn't really gotten around to what we were going to do once the baby came. A lot of things were going to be going on around that time, we were going to have a child to take care of, and if Hammond hadn't found out before hand, we were going to be going through a court marshal; I know court marshals can tear two people apart, hell I've seen it happen, but once our child arrived we were going to have to be able to deal with the problems and the end of our careers. Things could get really bad, our friends were already upset with us for messing up SG-1 and Janet, Sam's best friend, didn't even know yet. I wanted to be happy with Sam and our child, and it almost seemed like that was going to be impossible.
Both Daniel and Teal'c managed to change at Daniel's place, I guess that Teal'c had some clothes there form before we went to Balteria; so I was the only one in fatigues... I guess I was making a fashion statement alone. We sat at a round table and I luckily got to look at Sam's encouraging face as she still happily talked to Terrika who was sitting next to her. One thing I didn't get, but was thankful for none the less, was that Daniel seemed to be blaming me wholly for this, he was being just as nice as always to Sam. Maybe it had something to do with Sha're and his inability to even contemplate harming a woman like Apophis did her or maybe he felt that *I* had done this to harm Sam, I don't know what was going on in that Space Monkey's brain. As long as Sam was out of the line of fire, I was happy- Daniel was one of my best friends, and I knew one of these days we'd all be able to look back on this and see the errors in all of our actions.
"Jack, we all really do need to talk about this." Daniel, the object of my scrutiny, interrupted my thoughts.
"Daniel, what is there to talk about? We can't do or tell anyone anything right now, we're stuck between a rock and a hard place here- we've got the Balteri treaty, which even I know is important, and we can't let anyone know until after the baby's born and Terrika's back on Balteria due to the fact that we have no clue what Maybourne and his NID buddies will do to her for being telepathic once we've been court marshalled. And personally I think that Terrika's safety should be one of our top priorities, that's one of the reasons she's staying with Carter, other than the obvious having her baby stuff." Okay so not exactly the most intelligent thing I could have said, but I think I got my point across.
"But Jack, we're going to be keeping this from *everyone* for a very long time, and the longer we keep the secret the harder it is going to be to get all those that we've hid it from on our side."
"Daniel if you're that unhappy go ahead, tell Hammond. You can get the two of us out of your hair and maybe you'll be assigned to another SG team or they could just ship your ass off to some god forsaken planet where you can live out your life doing 'mineral samples'." Okay, my best friend was on my last nerve. And why was Sam grinning at me like that? She was just sitting there with that kitten who got the cream look on her face, and it was unnerving- I just wanted to hop right over that table and kiss her senseless, but I couldn't... with my bad knees and all.
"No one's going to be telling anyone anything, Terrika and the baby's safety is our number one concern right now and we can't ensure that safety if we're in the middle of a court marshal. We will all keep this secret- we are SG-1 and SG-1 looks after it's self." Sammy took charge... even Teal'c looked slightly intimidated.
After that things calmed down for a while... well two days actually. I was bored out of my mind at home doing absolutely nothing... well I did have a lot of time to think considering the fact that I couldn't sleep. I'd forgotten how lonely downtime can be- especially when your friends are avoiding you and you're not supposed to be involved with your girlfriend. Wait, was that how I saw Sam? As My girlfriend? She was so much more than that to me... Sam was like my wife... only without the legally binding stuff, and the fact that if anyone found out about us we could have lost everything.
And that was how I found myself on Sam's doorstep, being appraised by her neighbours who seemed to be out en masse on that lovely Tuesday afternoon... they acted like they'd never seen a man who was running on -72 hours of sleep.
Sam opened the door and I quickly entered, grabbing her hand and pulling her towards her bedroom.
"Jack, what's going on?" She asked, allowing herself to be led through her house.
"I'm tired. You mind if I crash at your place for a while?" I asked, collapsing down onto her bed before pulling her down next to me, she obviously hadn't been up too long as her bed wasn't made and there was a dent in her pillow until I made my own there. We just lay like that for a while, her head resting on my chest like it did so many times on Balteria, I realised that we hadn't been like that since she told me she might be pregnant... hard to believe that was less than six days before. I meant to ask her about her plans for the day, and how things had been going with Terrika, but I didn't get around to it... I fell asleep almost immediately.
When I reawakened I was still holding Sam in my arms, I could tell she was awake by the way she was breathing, I was sure she'd noticed I was awake as well but I just lay there content to hold her so close to me again. I looked at her bedside clock for the time- almost 1700; I'd been asleep for almost six hours.
"Why didn't you wake me?" I asked, kissing the top of her head that was still resting on my chest.
"You seemed tired, and besides, I was comfortable."
"What about Terrika, she's been alone all day."
"She came in a couple of hours ago, said she was going to lay down as well... the expansion of her uterus is happening so fast it's causing her some pain now."
"Ah... so how are you doing?" She turned her head up to give me a small smile.
"The bleeding has slowed and I'm nowhere near as tired as I was, the pain's gone." I captured her lips briefly, that was the best news I'd had in the last few days.
"I guess we'd better get out of bed and at least attempt to make an appearance today." I said, as she hopped off me and headed for the bathroom. While Sam was in there I went out into her kitchen, attempting to straighten my hair as I went, I found Terrika sitting at the table quietly eating a sandwich.
"Are you ill Jack?" She asked, concerned as I reached for the orange juice in Sam's fridge.
"Nope, just a little tired, that's all." I found the juice, surprised at how full her fridge was considering she hadn't been home in three months; I guess Jacob and Selmak were nice enough to go get their daughter groceries before they left.
Sam came out and the two of us ate dinner, Terrika having gone off to watch television.
"I thought of more names." She smiled at me. "I was thinking Michael and Sara."
"Sara, Sam?" I asked sceptically, there's no way I want our child to be named after my ex-wife, not that I don't like her, but that's just weird.
"Okay not Sara then..." She trailed off and I knew it was my turn to give her my two cents.
"Richard or Alexis?" She turned my names down and we continued our meal chatting about nothing, soon it was time for me to go home, I felt more rested than I had the entire time we'd been back on Earth.
Sam kissed me on my way out the door, I bid one last goodbye to her and Terrika and managed to get out to my car without turning and running back to her.
The rest of our downtime was spent just like that, I would spend my nights with my telescope or my television and my days sleeping with Sam and eating, shopping, and 'living' with her and Terrika. Sam and I even managed to take in a movie together while we left Terrika in the pregnancy section of the bookstore, where she was transfixed on the massive quantities of literature available on that subject.
The neighbours, both mine and Sam's, became quite interested in our activities. Considering the fact that I was up all night every night and then left at 0700 every morning and didn't arrive back home until around 2200 every night, my neighbours became even more interested in my affairs than they usually were with the fact that I would go away for weeks at a time. Most of Sam's neighbours had been introduced to Terrika Dalton, Sam's college roommate who was going through a bitter divorce- considering she would be living there for almost a year it was important for them to recognise her; I, on the other hand, got to be mysterious, I showed up every morning at 0730 and then around 1300 we would all usually go out for lunch or some other activity that would keep us from all going insane from boredom, we would all return to Sam's place for dinner and, of course, television viewing or talking- the happy domesticity of the situation was startling, here we were being happier than we've ever been before and we were doing everything that we weren't supposed to (well almost everything, both Sam and I were still taking the Balteri medical advice very seriously).
And so almost two weeks later, the day before we were supposed to go back to Balteria Major for the treaty signing with the President, we took Terrika to her first OB/GYN appointment. I didn't want to go, I had been dragged to them when Sara was pregnant with Charlie and I thought I had seen the end of the pink and blue... I thought wrong- Sam made me go, she of course said it would be our time to bond over our child, and that considering she wouldn't be carrying it and wouldn't be able to feel it moving inside her, the least I could do was to be with her while we watched it on the ultrasound monitor. I must admit that it was cool, the baby was there, even though it was almost microscopic and it was moving and it's heart was beating... for some reason as I stood there holding Sam's hand it was all so much more real than it had been during the transfer. After Terrika was done Sam had an appointment with the same doctor- for that one I got shoved into the waiting room with Terrika.
We weren't out there too long, and of course I was content to wait because I knew the reason for her seeing Dr. Gulinia too. It had been almost two weeks since the transfer and we were both eager to be able to be together again... as Sam had oddly put it one morning as we were going to bed- she was going to jump my bones from the sexual frustration soon. I had of course talked her out of this using the rational thoughts that do occasionally float through my head, not that I would have minded, but her health is my number one concern. Back to the reason for Sammy to see Dr. Gulinia- we were fast approaching the completion of the second week after the transfer, the Balteri told us 3-5 weeks without sex; once we did have sex again, hopefully very soon, we would have liked to avoid Sam becoming pregnant again... I mean we wouldn't want the whole female population of Balteria moving into Sam's house carrying 'my' children now would we, that would look pretty bad on me. So Sam was getting herself put on birth control, leaving Doc Frasier out of the whole mess with good reason, and with some pretty damned good luck the Balteri medical authorities would give us the green light to finally see a little more of each other in the bedroom than the sweats and t-shirts we were wearing.
Poor Jack, I should have let him take Terrika out to lunch or something while I saw Dr. Gulinia, when I walked out into the waiting room he looked like a little boy in the principal's office. He jumped up, looking questioningly at my face, I smiled at him and we moved on through the waiting room and out into the sunlight.
"Hey Sam, how about Adam or Amanda?"
"Come on Jack.... be more inventive... how about Ashlee or Christopher?" I gave him one of my smiles that I know he finds particularly endearing, as he helped Terrika and me into the car.
"Where would you ladies like to go for lunch?" He asked, pulling out of the parking lot.
"Um.... how about O'Malley's?"
"As I recall, our last visit there wasn't very well received."
"It's been almost a year since that, they shouldn't mind us eating there now- and besides, wasn't it Daniel who started all the problems back then? Picking fights with guys twice his size was not exactly the most intelligent thing a person of his education could have done."
"I think that's the first critical thing I've ever heard you say about Daniel... at least since 'everything' happened."
"I like Daniel... and I really don't want him to be any more mad at me than he already is." I said, sounding oddly cowardly, Jack just gave me one of those rare sympathetic looks of his and drove off toward a restaurant he'd got it into his head for us to eat at.
I was much more impressed with Jack's choice of restaurant than I thought I would be. It was a quaint, out of the way place and from the way the employees greeted him he went there often... or he did before our extended stay on Balteria Major. We were quickly seated and served our drinks.
"So what do ya think Terrika?" Jack asked once the food was served.
"It is very unique, I have never experienced such cuisine."
"This is American food... you wouldn't be able to find this stuff anywhere else on this humble planet of ours."
"I would like you to give Treevin some 'American food' when you see him tomorrow, please, I believe he will enjoy it greatly."
"You bet," Jack promised awkwardly. "I only wish you could give it to him yourself."
"We have said our goodbyes, to see him again would only make our parting that much more painful... we will be together once your daughter has arrived." I was once again struck by this woman who had given up everything for us, and for her planet as well, I guess. Why the Balteri would want a treaty with us so badly I didn't know, but it was nice to have a willing ally for once. Terrika glanced at me quickly, her form of apology for being telepathic, before going on bantering happily with Jack as I gazed on, wondering how we were going to dig ourselves out of this ever deepening hole.
So it was twenty-four hours later that I found myself back in the tender care of the Balteri Medical Authorities. It had been no easy task, considering the fact that Jack had insisted on accompanying me; we had to sneak out of our quarters in the middle of the night. The whole process was nerve wreaking, we had been 'conveniently' placed at opposite ends of the corridor in which the President and General Hammond were sleeping (Daniel was in charge of the sleeping arrangements). I merely walked past the secret service guys- they were asleep anyways, they had had their first 'gate trip only a few hours earlier and had not had the chance to rest afterwards.
I found Jack waiting for me outside Lauprezin's private chambers and we knocked together. The woman answered quickly, and I noticed that, other than the usual medical people, Treevin was waiting in the background.
"Hello Treevin." I beckoned him to join us.
"Samantha... I hope you're well?"
"Yes, I'm fine, just here to make sure though." He hugged me, and then shook hands with Jack. "We're sorry Terrika couldn't come back with us... I know you must miss her."
"Yes I do, but she is helping our people and at the moment that is all that matters."
"Hey Treevin, I've been meaning to ask you this, why is this treaty so important to you guys?" I pulled Jack away; only he would want to talk politics at that hour.
My exam was soon over and I was declared perfectly fit to undertake whatever I wanted. I didn't know who was more happy, Jack or me. Getting back into our rooms presented more of a problem than getting out of them. When we arrived at the hallway our rooms were on, we heard voices, the loudest one we knew quite well- it was that of General Hammond and he was standing there yelling at the Secret Service man who had previously been sleeping. We both knew that tone well enough to know that the General was lecturing and could go on for hours, I checked my watch, 0600, time for us to be up anyway.
"I guess we could go get breakfast." Jack suggested in my ear after looking over my shoulder at my watch.
One of the things I had really liked on Balteria was the food; besides the definite lack of anything familiar, it did have a good taste. There were five meals served daily in the Council Building, we were early for the second, so thankfully the food was still pretty fresh.
We both selected our favourite dishes and sat down, after waving to our Balteri friends who called out greetings.
"This is nice." Jack said, looking out the large windows as the sun has started rising next to the triple moons.
"Yes, remember when we went onto the roof of the Council Building a couple of months ago?" I asked, as the sky brightened.
"Of course, that was an amazing night. Who knows, little Emily or Robert could have been conceived that night." He looked happy and I couldn't help but smile at him.
"We should do something like that again sometime." I said, nostalgically.
"Like what? Spend the night on the roof of a government building on an alien planet or conceive another child?"
"Well I'd like to do both, but I was going for the night on top of the Council Building, not that I wouldn't like to make another Jessica or Alexander but now isn't exactly the best time." We kept talking, and soon the sun had risen and the President and General Hammond were entering with Daniel and Teal'c leading the way. The two of us moved discretely apart as we watched Daniel and Teal'c point out their favourite dishes. Once Teal'c and Daniel had selected their favourites and the President and General had taken their advice, the group found us in the crowd and made their way over.
"Colonel, Major." Hammond greeted us. "May we join you?"
"Of course Sirs." I answered, considering Jack was too busy having a glaring match with Daniel.
Eating breakfast with the President of the United States is an awkward situation. This was of course the first time I'd ever done it, but still, it's weird, you don't know if there's any special method to it or what. I've been to state dinners before but breakfast at 0630 in the morning on an alien planet is not something the Air Force Academy prepares you for. Neither Jack nor Teal'c seemed to have any similar compunctions- Jack doesn't really care what anyone thinks of his personal habits, and Teal'c ate with Apophis all the time and Apophis was his god. The General seemed to be old friends with our new president and they chatted freely. Jack stole a quick glance at me and I smiled sweetly at him- much to the disapproval of Daniel, even Teal'c spared the two of us a look that was even more stern than usual.
What the other half of SG-1 didn't seem to realise was that we were acting, for the most part, how we used to. I missed the old days, when Jack and I danced around each other never coming too close, always left wanting more that we just couldn't have. But then I thought about our uncertain future and despite all of the other things that could happen with the SGC and the Goa'uld, I knew that I would always have Jack and we would always have our child. And that knowledge was enough for me.
We stayed on Balteria Major for six days. During that time, all of the points we had agreed on during our three month stay were read aloud to the President and then explained for his agreement, thankfully he did agree or we could have been there for years just rehashing the treaty that was to be signed. Also during that week we attended various meals with several non-council government officials that I had never met during our stay before.
I have never seen a less eventful treaty signing. Not that I have witnessed that many first hand, but the US/Balteria Major treaty signing went off without a hitch, everyone managed to agree with everyone about everything and Lauprezin even managed to laugh at the President's lame jokes. I was glad when it was all over, I wanted to get home as fast as possible to see Terrika and inquire how the baby had been during the last week; I don't know what ever possessed me to leave her home alone at my place, I left her emergency phone numbers and Janet promised me she would go by daily to visit with her and see to her needs, but I knew I should have left her at the base.
I was happy, for once, when Janet examined me, because I got to quiz her about Terrika and how she had fared alone for a week.
"She's been fine Sam. Although she doesn't seem to me like someone who would want to get rid of their child. She actually seems pretty excited about it all."
"Oh well this is her first child, she's excited about the pregnancy, not about raising it."
"Are you sure about that Sam? The Colonel seems so confident that's she's just going to walk away, leaving him to raise his child however he sees fit. Personally, I don't think it'll be that easy."
"What do you mean Janet? That she uh... wants to get back together with Jack? Or that she's not going to leave the baby here?"
"I don't know Sam, she won't talk about it or anything, but she just seems so insincere... I never feel like she's telling me the truth." For a moment I felt like she was testing me for my reaction- did Janet feel that I was not being truthful either? Or were her fears about Terrika completely unrelated to Jack and my duplicity?
"Don't worry Janet, she'll tell me, we're getting to be pretty good friends."
"Really?" She asked, as I hopped off the stretcher. "I wouldn't have thought the two of you would get along so well considering she and the Colonel..." She trailed off.
"I can't hold a grudge because she's able to do something I'm not." I wasn't talking about Terrika's relationship with Jack; I was talking about her relationship with our child. Thankfully Janet didn't seem to notice my double meaning, how could she, she had no clue.
My clothes back on my body, I left the SGC after shooting a meaningful glance at Jack, I think he caught my drift, but it's always so hard to communicate through meaningful looks, there can be a lot lost in the translation.
"Samantha!" Terrika griped me in a big embrace when I walked through the front door. "I was worried you would not be home tonight."
"So was I, oh it's so good to be home." I said, and after looking at the glaring lights Terrika has on all over I headed into my nice, softly lit bedroom. I lay down, realising for the first time how tired I had been all week. I was determined to stay awake for Jack, but like all good plans mine had one little hitch- I was dead tired and not only was my bed comfortable, it smelt of Jack.
I awakened to the feel of someone's lips on mine, I slowly opened my eyes to Jack's face.
"I'm sorry, I didn't want to wake you, I was just about to go home."
"It's all right, why didn't you wake me in the first place? I had meant to be awake when you got here." It was then that I looked beyond his face and notice the time, 1:30am.
"Things with Doc Frasier took a little longer than I thought, so I just wanted to come by and make sure you weren't waiting up for me."
"How'd you get in? Terrika's not still awake is she?" I asked, coming more and more awake every minute.
"I used my key just like I do every morning." He smiled tiredly at me. "I'm really sorry I woke you Sam, you should probably go back to sleep, I'll lock back up on my way out."
"No Jack," I grabbed his hand that had been hanging loosely at his side. "Stay here tonight, no sense in you going home, tomorrow's our day off, you'd be back in 5 hours anyway." He pulled off his jacket and boots and slid into bed next to me, otherwise fully clothed. As he pulled me tightly against him I made a quick decision. "You're moving in here."
"Huh?" He asked, through the fog of sleep that had already started to envelop him.
"You're going to move in here... especially now that I've been um... cleared by the Balteri Medical Authorities." I felt his arms tighten even more around me. "We'll figure out all the details tomorrow." I assured him and slipped off into deep slumber.
The next day we didn't wake up until late morning, which was of course fine, considering the fact that the General had given us Thursday off. For once I woke up before Jack and quickly headed to the kitchen to make sure Terrika had had breakfast.
"Good morning Samantha, Jack did not come in this morning." She informed me.
"No, he stayed over last night, he was just too tired to go home." I answered her knowing look.
"Ah ladies, don't you know it's not nice to talk about the man in the next room?" Jack asked, coming into the kitchen and wrapping his arms around my waist. "Especially when he's not in the next room."
"We always talk about you when you're around, we were just trying to be polite for a change." I smiled up at him and Terrika nervously headed into the living room, sometimes her being telepathic was a good help for our relationship.
"So Sammy... what do you want to do today?" He asked, releasing me as I opened the refrigerator.
"I don't know." I looked for something edible. "Either we're going to have to start eating all of our meals out or we're going to have to go to the grocery store."
"Okay, the grocery store it is then." He said looking at our pathetically empty refrigerator. "Hey Terrika, you wanna...?"
"No Jack, you and Samantha may go, I believe I will just go for a walk and then come back here for a rest." She answered from the living room, where we thought she had been watching television.
"Are you sure? You've been here all alone for a week."
"I have been fine, out in your city there are too many people who are unable to control their thoughts- it gets tiring to separate my own thoughts from theirs."
"Okay, well page us if ya need us." Jack threw over his shoulder as I followed him to my bedroom to shower and dress.
Considering the fact that Jack and I had been sleeping for long periods of time during the day he had started keeping clothes in my closet and a toothbrush and soap in my bathroom. We brushed our teeth together, and then while he showered I sat in the bathroom and took his opinions on a shopping list; unfortunately, he couldn't come up with very many healthy choices, I think he was one of the only people who, while appreciating 'real' food, would be perfectly happy with MREs and a beer. I finished, and then just stared at him as he stepped out of the shower, leaving the water running, and took the notebook out of my hands.
"You'd better get in there." He whispered huskily, before quickly grabbing a towel and fleeing the bathroom. Seemed that, like me, Jack was having more and more trouble keeping his body in check since hearing from the Balteri that I was fine, even though we'd decided to wait one more week just to make sure that we wouldn't have any kind of trouble... actually it was Jack who decided, he was paranoid about hurting me, and while it was heart-warming to know he cared so much, it was kind of frustrating because all I wanted to do was make love to him. Soon I was out, dressed, and ready to walk out the door.
Grocery shopping with Jack is always an adventure. He likes to jump on the back of the carts while going down the aisles... for those who have never seen a fifty-year-old man do this, it tends to come as quite a shock. Really though, I find it charming... Jack almost never lets himself go, and it seems there's something about grocery shopping that brings out the kid in him, besides he's pretty good about only doing this in the aisles with few or no people in them.
"So, what are we going to do with the rest of the day?" Jack asked me, as he loaded up our cart with every piece of junk food he could get his hands on.
"I don't know... I'd assumed we'd go back home, cook, and talk to Terrika about some 'questions' Janet has."
"Huh? What's up with the Doc?"
"She's suspicious... she thinks Terrika is lying to us. I don't know if she was implying that the two of us are lying as well or not... I wasn't about to egg her on."
"I guess we're going to have to be a little more careful."
"I don't see how we can, Colonel, we've done everything possible, short of claiming there is no baby, to cover our tracks."
"You're right Major, we only talk at the base if it's absolutely necessary, and even I believe those looks you're sending at my poor innocent self."
"You? Innocent? I don't think so... we've even been going out of our way to not be seen by people we know when we're out in public."
"Yeah, and that seems to be getting harder and harder."
"So we're just being paranoid?"
"Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you." He said, before finding the checkout lane with the fewest people possible stacking up their groceries.
Over the next few days I began hearing more and more rumours... of course nothing was said to my face but I would hear bits and pieces of conversations going on in the locker room and the showers and in the commissary. It seemed that someone had caught on to Jack and my daily activities for down-time... and I even heard that he'd spent the night at my house the night we got back from the treaty signing, I had no clue who or how they'd found out this information. A lot of these people kindly inferred that I was allowing him to stay with Terrika, even if it meant sacrificing my own feelings- others chose to believe *other* theories. It seemed to me that Jack had better make his request to move in with me soon or General Hammond would ask too many questions.
It was late Tuesday afternoon that I was summoned to the General's office.
"Sir." I greeted. "Major, please sit down." I did and he finally got down to business. "Colonel O'Neill has made a request, he would like to be allowed to move into your house in order for him to be near Terrika during the pregnancy. I of course suggested that she move in with him, but he has made it quite clear that he doesn't want to further their romantic relationship and he is afraid of making her uncomfortable. I wanted to clear it with you considering that it is your home he would be invading... and I didn't want to put you in an uncomfortable situation with your commanding officer."
"Sir, I think that right now all the Colonel's interested in is his child, if he's willing to be uncomfortable on my living-room couch I'm willing to let him be there."
"You're sure Major?" I nodded. "You can evict him if he starts to get on your nerves... if he causes you any problems tell me and I'll be sure to take care of it."
"Thank you Sir, but I think I'll be able to handle the Colonel on my own." I said and, after his dismissal, left his office beaming.
The next day Terrika and I helped Jack pack up the few things of his he wanted to bring with him, it did seem weird considering he had so much room in his house that we would all be packed into mine like sardines.
"You ready to go home?" Jack asked, as he put a box in the back of his truck.
When we finally got to my place, I had a debate with Jack over where his clothes would go... he claimed a drawer would be just fine, I said that his clothes would look better if they'd been hanging... I of course won, what's the harm in him taking up a little closet space? While we were settling that I heard the phone ring, Terrika picked it up and then a few minutes later she popped her head into my bedroom.
"Your Daniel Jackson has invited me out to dine with him, I accepted his offer."
"Okay, that's fine." I said, as she ran off to get dressed.
"So, Danny's giving us the night alone together?"
"He doesn't know you're here."
"Oh. It's still nice of him though."
"Yes." I said, as he kissed me fiercely before heading off to raid the refrigerator we had restocked the week before.
Daniel arrived sharply at 1900, Jack was the first one to reach the door, though I was close on his heels.
"Uh hi Jack." He blinked. "What are you doing here?"
"I live here Daniel." Somehow I got the feeling Jack likes saying that.
"Huh? How? Isn't the General going to find out?"
"Daniel I cleared it with him, I want to be close to Terrika during her pregnancy, and I was afraid my house would have made her uncomfortable."
"Sure, uh where is Terrika?"
"Getting ready." I answered. "I'll go get her." I retrieved Terrika, and then saw her and Daniel off before heading back into my home, but not into Jack's arms, I couldn't even find him until I got the brilliant idea to check my balcony.
Sure enough, there he was standing next to where we put his telescope earlier, but not using it, he was actually inspecting the small grill I had bought only a month before we left for Balteria.
"Hey, I was wondering where you'd escaped to." I said, surprising him.
"Got hungry... just trying to see if this thing works."
"I don't see why not, Janet and I used it once with Cassie before we left." He lit a match, turning to smile at me, knowing I was thinking about our first night together, before tossing it into the grill- flames sprung to life.
"Ta-da!" He turned to me with a triumphant smile, before walking back inside.
"So, what are we having?" I followed him.
"Steak, unless you want something else?"
"No, steak sounds pretty good to me."
Soon we were sitting outside under the stars, eating the most wonderful steak I've ever had, if of course you don't count our senses being heightened by Urgo and those Armbands. Jack and I hadn't had any dinners like that, on Balteria we ate in the Council Building with a couple hundred people at every meal, and before we were together we would always share our meals with Daniel and Teal'c. Not that that experience wasn't nice, I just kept thinking that if someone knew that Jack had spent the night a week ago, then they might know what we're doing now, I just *felt* that someone was watching us. Once we finished, we both sat back and stared at each other, both knowing what was coming next, but neither taking the initiative.
"I guess we'd better take this stuff back inside." I said standing. He jumped, obviously he'd been thinking about something.
"Yeah, sure." As soon as he was up, I found myself in his arms with his lips covering mine and his hands under my shirt, feeling the skin of my back. I let it go on as long as I could, until that feeling of being watched managed to overpower my want of Jack right then and there.
"We should go inside."
"Yeah." He murmured, pulling me through the door before shutting it tightly. We both made a mad dash down the hall to my bedroom... closing and locking my door in case Terrika got home before we were ready for her to.
I collapsed onto his chest, kissing it and then his mouth, and then his chest again as I lay my head down on it to listen as his heart rate returned to normal and his ragged breathing regulated.
"I love you, ya know that?" I asked contentedly.
"Yeah, I'd thought something of the sort. I love you too ya know." That said, we both burst into laughter at our late admissions.
"We should do this more often." I stated a few minutes later.
"Yeah we should. You wanna start right now?" He asked, before pulling me back against him to show me just how interested he was.
Over the next few months Daniel, and sometimes Teal'c, would take Terrika out at least once a week, often it was more like three times a week though. They both thought they were doing something good for Terrika, which they probably were, but they were also giving Sam and me at least one night alone at home a week- and that one night was very important to us. Not that we didn't make love when Terrika was there, things were just better when we were alone.
It was four months after the treaty signing that SG-1 was finally on a boring mission, I say finally because as usual our *average* meet and greets had been turning into civil wars, they ranged into varying degrees of bad and worse.
Night time on P1X-656 was always nice, well I say always after only two nights of previous experience, but this was just a nice planet... at least where we were.
"Colonel, come look at this!" Sam called, from across our camp. I got up from our cooking fire and tried to avoid Daniel's nasty glare boring into the back of my head, he must have thought everything we did was somehow related to sex. We hadn't gotten anywhere near each other the entire time we'd been on that mission, how is it that the one person who manages to pick up a girl on every planet was so negative about *our* relationship?
"Yeah Carter?" I asked, coming to a stop beside her.
"You've got to see this." She said quickly, before heading off into the forest.
"Teal'c, Daniel... I guess we'll be back." I threw over my shoulder, before heading in the direction Carter had disappeared in. "What's this all about Sam?" I asked, coming to a stop by her side when she finally got to where she was dragging me.
"Look." She pointed at the ground and it was only after concentrating in the waning light that I was able make out a form, and this form looked like Thor. I headed back through the forest to run roughly into Daniel. "Go check out what Carter's found." I ordered, just begging him to make a comment about our behaviour.
Four hours later, well past midnight, Daniel was still pouring over the petrified Asgard Sam had found. He kept going on and on about what a great discovery it was and how odd it seemed so well preserved and how he was just dying to take it back to the SGC. In his excitement, he even forgot how unhappy he was supposed to be with Sam and me, and it was kind of nice to be able to have a few short hours of the 'old' SG-1 back. But, alas, all good things tend to come to an end and ours happened the next morning as we headed back to the Stargate to inform the SGC of Sam's discovery and to also because our mission had found nothing more than an ancient Asgard.
The terrain on the way back was really rocky, if there ever was a road of any sort it was long gone. It took us a long time just to get half way to the Stargate, and it was there that all the trouble happened. I don't think I'll ever be positive about what actually did happen. I remember it as me leading the way, like I always do with Teal'c behind me and Carter pulling up the rear. I heard a muffled squeak and then a loud crash, when I turned around to see what was going on, I noticed that both Daniel and Teal'c were looking behind them- Carter was nowhere to be seen.
Now in this moment, I could have had a heart attack, or I could have passed out... but come on, I'm a soldier.... those things could wait until later.
"Carter!" I yelled, as I reached the edge of what had looked like a small ditch when I'd walked past it earlier, only then it didn't look very much like a ditch, then it looked more like an old rock quarry. I didn't know where Sam was, or what to do, it seemed that the 'ditch' was more than a ditch; it then looked like we had been hiking along a ridge which was on the edge of a very densely packed forest. "Did either of you see where she was when this happened?" I asked hurriedly.
"No," Daniel stated. "She was right behind me and then I heard the crash, I looked back and she was just... gone."
"I also only heard the loud noise O'Neill."
"She made a noise right before the rocks fell," I looked up at what was once the side of another, higher rock ridge.
"Maybe she realised what was about to befall us and wished to warn us, lest we get caught in it as well." Teal'c suggested optimistically, yet another person who wholly blamed me for royally screwing up SG-1, and not Sam.
"Maybe, but we shouldn't be standing around discussing all of this, we should be down there looking for her."
"Jack, we're just trying to get a good idea of what might have happened to her, that's all." Daniel said tightly. "If we have no clue where she is it would be futile to start trying to move all that rock."
"Daniel, futility is SG-1's middle name." I stated, before a truly ingenious idea hit me. I grabbed at the radio attached to my vest. "Carter, come in Carter, Major you read me?" I ask.
"Jack, if she's down there, I don't think she's in any shape to answer."
"Dammit Daniel, I have to try."
"Perhaps we should go through the Stargate and bring back assistance." Teal'c suggested, it was then that my radio crackled to life.
"Jack..." I heard. Just Sam's using my first name while on a mission spoke volumes about her condition.
"Yeah Sammy, I'm here."
"I'm below the rocks... you'll have to go around... not though... the drop is about 20 feet." I started in the direction where the path sloped downward.
"Jack, where are you going?" Daniel asked, following me.
"I'm following her directions, right now she's the only one who knows where she is, and right now she's all that matters." I went back to my radio. "Talk to me Sam, what's your condition?"
"My arm is definitely... broken, I may have cracked a rib or two, possible internal bleeding." She reported, sounding slightly delirious, almost too clinical. "And Jack, I'm getting colder." She stated, and I knew it was meant as a warning that she may not be up to speaking for much longer.
"Daniel, go back through the 'gate, get Frasier ready."
"Jack I don't think..."
"Look Daniel, I think that she knows her own condition pretty well, and I know that we can get her back to the 'gate before another team can even get geared up and here. Now go and alert Frasier, that's an order."
"Listen Jack, I think that you're letting your romantic relationship with Sam cloud your objectivity here."
"I don't think so, I would be doing the same if it were you or Teal'c, just because I happen to be sleeping with the person in question here doesn't mean that I'm doing any more to save her than I would you or any other person under my command, okay? Right now I don't have the time to deal with you and your damn accusations, she could be dying while we're standing up here arguing over whether or not I letting this cloud my judgment. Now get through that Stargate and save your friend." Finally, he turned and left me, I reached the end of the path and staked out into the forest, and walking along the ever-heightening ridge as I progressed along under the path we had been on, I noticed Teal'c was behind me.
"Why didn't you go with Daniel?"
"It appears you need my assistance more than he at the moment." He stated, as I made my way through the trees. It took us some time to find where she fell, we realised we'd found it when the skylight was blocked out, looking up we saw that the boulders above were firmly supported by the dense trees, but it was not exactly a place I wanted to stand in for very long. I also noticed that the ridge above was almost vertical, no gentle slope to fall down. In her fatigues, I would have missed Sam if it hadn't been for her hair, her hat had come off sometime during the fall, but there she was, surrounded by the smaller rocks that had fallen with her, even some on top of her.
"Sam," I reached her side. It was apparent to me that she was out for the count and I wasn't going to be able to wake her, this in it's self was disconcerting. I brushed off as many of the small rocks and pebbles as I could from her body, she was covered in scrapes and gashes, and from the angle of her arm I could tell she was right about the break.
"Teal'c, can you carry her?"
"Is it wise to move her O'Neill?"
I looked up. "Probably a lot more wise than standing around here waiting for another rock fall."
"Very well." He gently picked her up and cradled her in his arms.
We had to walk all the way back around and up the ridge, our pace was slowed by that fact that Teal'c was trying so hard to be gentle with Sam, I wasn't sure if I wanted him to take his time and go slowly, or rush and get her to Frasier all that much faster. Somehow, we did finally make it to the Stargate, Sam was awake, but she was pretty out of it, which I guess was a good thing considering I couldn't have handled it if she knew she was the one going through all that pain. Teal'c stepped through the watery surface and I steeled my face preparing to be the strong Colonel who would never let *anything* get to him... it seemed that role was getting harder and harder to play.
I stepped through right behind Teal'c; Frasier already had Sam on a gurney and was heading out of the embarkation room.
"Colonel," Hammond joined me at the base of the ramp. "Dr. Jackson told us what happened. Did you encounter any other problems on your way back?"
"No Sir, just the usual trees." I said, trying to be chipper.
"Okay Son, I know you want to go check up on your team." I looked around and realised that both Teal'c and Daniel had taken the opportunity to flee the room, so I followed suit and raced to the infirmary.
"Colonel," Frasier greeted me as I entered. "Sam's going to be fine. We're just doing some more tests to be sure."
"She doesn't look too good." I said, as she was brought back from some sort of scan.
"She's in shock, her left arm's broken, and she bruised a rib or two. Other than that she was pretty lucky from what I heard Dr. Jackson tell the General."
"Yeah, thankfully she fell, otherwise she would have been buried under several tons of rock." I said, wandering away from her to Sam's side. "When's she gonna wake up?"
"Later tonight Colonel, we gave her some Demerol to help her relax and thankfully it worked, we'll be setting her arm after the rest of SG-1 is checked out." She drug me behind a curtain and roughly jabbed a needle into my arm.
"You're sure there's no internal bleeding?" I asked, as the good Doctor continued doing things with her newfound evil bedside manner towards me.
"Yes Colonel, we were very through."
"Colonel." She warned, prompting me to back off a little.
"Sorry Doc, it just seems like you got things done pretty quick."
"This isn't the local emergency room Colonel, you know that, you've been one of our repeat customers."
"Will she be able to come home tonight?"
"I don't know Colonel, we'll have to see how she feels when she wakes up- I don't see any medical reason why not, the shock was mild, and I'll give her some pills for the pain."
"Thank you Doc, thank you." I said, hopping off the bed and rushing off to the locker room.
The locker room was relatively empty; I guess SG-1 was the only incoming team that afternoon. There were a few guys milling around, but they were all coming or going from their daily activities on the base. Daniel and Teal'c were the only ones in the showers when I entered.
"How's Sam?" Daniel asked.
"She's going to be fine, no thanks to you."
"What!" He shrieked. "What do you mean no thanks to me? I went back to the 'gate, I did what you wanted me to do."
"Yes Daniel you did, but not until after we had to stop and fight over it, we could have lost Sam because of that delay. Daniel you seem so upset that all this could be clouding *my* objectivity but you haven't stopped to look and see how it's affecting your own."
"Jack, I'm just tired of all this, you're always siding with her, and frankly it's just getting to be a little annoying."
"Siding with Carter? Come on Daniel, both Carter and I make our decisions independently of each other. Sure we're both military so that makes us unique to a certain viewpoint on our team, but there have been several times over the years when she sides with you or goes with your opinion instead of mine, and yes she has done that in the last couple of months too."
"But Jack the two of you..." I noticed several people had taken up residence outside the showers, I guess it was not every day you saw not only the flagship team of the SGC, but also it's best known 'buddies' standing around fighting, wearing nothing more than soap and water.
"Daniel this is neither the time nor the place for us to be having this discussion." I stated simply, walking out of the showers as the group quickly melted into the walls.
"Jack this isn't over."
"I know that *Daniel*, we've got a briefing to get to, and don't forget that even though you're not military, I could have you reprimanded."
"What for? I haven't done anything."
"You almost got Carter killed, you were insubordinate and stopped to question an order in a life or death situation." Teal'c, who had been silent the entire time, started dressing. "Anything to add Teal'c?"
"As you stated O'Neill, this is neither the time nor the place for such comments, and I believe I made my views on the subject quite clear on Balteria Major."
"Thank you Master Teal'c." I stated, as I threw on my clothes and headed toward the briefing room.
Thankfully the three of us managed to keep it together during the briefing. Daniel went on for what seemed like hours on the subject of *his* Asgard, personally I found it all pretty boring, so I zoned out only chiming in where necessary. Doc Frasier came in finally shutting Daniel up, to give her report on Sam's condition.
"How is she Doctor?" Hammond asked, waving a dismissive hand at Daniel as he sat down in his seat heavily.
"Well we set her arm, thankfully it was a clean break, she's awake now and other than a few cuts, scrapes, and the fact that her ribs are going to be a little sore for the next few days, I'd say she'll be fine. I am going to let her go home tonight, Colonel, but you need to know that considering neither she or Terrika can do anything strenuous you're going to have to help them both out a lot for the next few days."
"Will do Doc." I stated, trying to give her a charming smile, obviously I shouldn't have wasted my facial muscles- she didn't look charmed.
"Thank you Doctor." Hammond said, before turning back to SG-1. "Jack I've got some bad news for you, well bad in light of Major Carter's condition."
"Yesterday morning the Balteri sent someone through the Stargate, Terrika has been *ordered* to return to Balteria Major tomorrow afternoon for a meeting with the High Council. Now I was going to send SG-1 with her to find out what the hell is going on, but considering their strict rules regarding negotiation teams I could not send SG-1 without Major Carter."
"So what do we do? We can't just send her alone."
"We're going to have to, unless you would like to go with her Colonel?"
"Huh? Alone?" I asked stupidly. "Uh General I don't think that would be appropriate."
"Because Sir, going there without my team would be in direct violation of the Air Force Regulations." I spit out triumphantly. The General just glared at me oddly, okay so this may not have been the best time to go about spouting the regs.
"I'll give you tonight to think it over Colonel, you could even ask Terrika if she would like you there, but I must have your decision by tomorrow at 1200, and Colonel, let's try not to send a seven months pregnant woman through that 'gate alone." With that he dismissed us; I didn't even take the opportunity to correct him that 27 weeks are not quite seven months.
Sam seemed to be in pretty good spirits when I entered the infirmary, she was dressed and just lying back on a bed. Her arm, I saw, was in a purple fibreglass cast.
"Thank God you're here." She said, sitting up stiffly.
"How are you?" I asked, trying to keep my voice low from the various nurses and other people milling around the infirmary.
"I feel pretty bad, can't wait to get home and go to bed."
"Doc let you go yet?" I asked, supporting her by holding her right arm.
"Yeah, I was just waiting for you to get here." She gave me a strained smile.
We decided to forgo her purse, which was in the locker room, I promised to get ii for her the next day. Sam lay down on the back seat of my truck as I drove, and by the time we reached her house she was sleeping soundly. I didn't want to wake her, but I'm not Teal'c and I knew that I couldn't get her up and into her house without causing more damage than had already been done.
"Sam," I ran my hand through her slightly mussed hair. "Sam, we're home." She opened her eyes slowly.
"Sorry Sir, I didn't mean to fall asleep."
"Sir? Sam did you hit your head and forget to tell the Doc?"
"No, sorry Jack, just wasn't completely sure where we were, or if we were alone." She said, sitting up and wincing.
"Why don't we get you inside?" I asked, helping her out of the car and once again took possession of her right arm.
It took us a while, but soon I was unlocking the door and steadying Sam as she walked over the threshold.
"You hungry?" I asked. "Or just wanna go to bed?"
"I'd like to go to bed, but first I'd like to take a shower."
"Nope, no showers for you, you wouldn't want to mess up your pretty purple cast, now would you?"
"Shut up flyboy, I may be injured but I could still take you."
"Yes ma'am." I took a good look at her. "Would you like to take a bath? I got a shower at the base."
"Is that a hint Colonel?"
"No, you just said you wanted a shower, the best I can give you is a bath."
"In that case I'd love one."
I left her in our room as I filled up the bath-tub, she told me she would prefer to stand instead of sitting to wait for me because according to her sitting killed her ribs, so I let her pick out her pyjamas while I played in the water. When she joined me again I took off her clothes, considering her one arm didn't get her very far when she tried to do it herself. After I had gotten everything off and unwrapped the bandage that was around her chest to pad her ribs, I stood back and looked at her, her beautiful body had been marred already by not only cuts and lacerations but by the bruises that had developed in the last nine hours, and I knew they were only going to get worse.
"What?" She asked innocently, at my intense gaze. "I know it's not exactly what you were hoping for tonight, if it's any consolation, it's not exactly what I was hoping for either."
"No Sam, it's not that," I took the opportunity to give her a half-assed leer. "It's just that you're the best looking woman I've ever seen after falling off a ridge with several tons of rock."
"Is that a compliment? Or an insult?" She asked.
"Compliment," I stated quickly, before turning to the tub. "Ah look, it's full!"
I helped her ease into the warm, clear water, making sure her broken arm was secure on the edge of the tub. I took a washcloth and squeezed some of the mildest soap I could find onto it, before taking it and gently rubbing it across her back.
"I guess it's a good thing that I'm not six and a half months pregnant after all." She stated, as I moved on to her chest.
"If you were I never would have let you go on that mission." I studiously tried to ignore where my hand was, the barrier of the washcloth not enough to keep away the encroaching thoughts of my sex starved brain.
"I don't think I could let you go out there without me." She stated, and it was then that the news of Terrika's immanent departure, which I had placed on the back burner, sprung back into my head.
"You could, and you will, ya know one of these days you're going to get your own command and you're going to leave me home with Samantha to worry about you." She gave a small laugh before wincing. "Sorry."
"It's okay, just my ribs." She assured before going on. "Samantha? Do you really think that's wise O'Neill?" She asked, mimicking Teal'c.
"What? According to the ultrasound we're having a girl, if you'd still like to consider boys names I'm game... ya know, I really like Samuel."
"There is no way we're naming this baby after me, or anything remotely similar to my name."
"But I love your name." I helped her out of the tub as gently as possible.
"Jack there is no way it would work, having both of us in the same house, you know you'd call her Sam, you shorten everyone's names if you haven't noticed." She tried to take the towel out of my hands as I reached to dry off her shoulders.
"Lemme do this Sam," I said, as I patted her shoulders and chest dry as gently as possible. "So, considering we're getting pretty close to d-day, what would you like to name our daughter?" I tried to keep her talking, because it was getting harder and harder to keep my mind off her naked body under my hands.
"I was actually thinking, considering Terrika is the one carrying her, that we should actually name her Terrika. Oh and Jack?"
"D-day isn't for another nine weeks." I kissed her abdomen where our baby stayed for such a short time, before I continued with my duty.
Soon, after I towel dried her hair the best I could, I re-padded her ribs and helped her into a t-shirt. For the amount of pain I know she must have been in, she was doing pretty well hiding it, the last time I had seen her in that much pain was right after the transfer on Balteria. I led her into our room and propped her up on the bed so she wouldn't be able to roll over onto her ribs while she slept.
"Are you sure you don't want anything to eat or drink? How about some of those pain meds Doc Frasier sent for you?"
"No, Janet's given me enough today to probably last for a few weeks."
"Okay, if you're sure." I stripped off my clothes and was soon as close to her as I dared get without hurting her.
"Thank you for doing this Jack," She whispered, reaching out with her good hand to take mine. "You didn't have to take care of me."
"I love you Sam, and I love our little daughter, we're going to be a family, and families take care of each other." I leant over and gently kissed her lips.
"About the baby Jack... why don't we just let Terrika choose the name? I mean the two of us will probably never decide on one name."
"That's fine with me if it's what you want, all I care about is us having a healthy baby, together." I kissed her again, before laying back and trying grab some sleep before having to tell Sam about us leaving without her.
It seemed, at this time of my life, that every time I'd woken up in immense pain, I'd always been alone in a big bed. Sure I'd been injured before, I'd bruised my ribs and just about every other part of my body, but I'll never get used to the 'morning-after' pain. The night before, I somehow had myself believing that that time was going to be different, that that one time I would come out of the injuries feeling perfectly fine, but no, my arm was still in that hideous purple cast and I still felt like I had taken a staff blast to the ribs. I tried to roll over and find some way off my bed before realising I couldn't move in either direction- I was a beached whale. So I struggled ridiculously with my one good arm before managing to dislodge one of the pillows and painfully roll out of bed. I followed my nose to my kitchen where I found both Jack and Terrika sitting at the table finishing up breakfast. Jack jumped up the moment he saw me and handed me a cup of coffee, I thanked him before getting on with my interrogation.
"What's going on guys?" I asked suspiciously. "It's been ages since we've gotten up this early, especially after a mission."
"I...um...was um... going to tell you." He stammered.
"Tell me what?" I asked. His beating around the bush, especially with the way I was feeling, was really starting to get on my nerves.
"Terrika was recalled by the Council. We're leaving in a couple of hours."
"What! When did this happen?" I asked, looking between the two of them.
"While you were away the Council sent notice that I was to meet with them today, I told your General Hammond that I could go alone, but both he and Jack were very insistent that I not go alone."
"Why isn't SG-1 going? Surely the two of you can't go alone."
"SG-1 can't go, the full team has to be there and there's no way you're going off world for a while." I wanted to hurt him; I couldn't believe he was trying to leave me behind, like some pathetic little housewife.
"You're not going alone, my arm's the only thing broken, I think that for diplomatic purposes SG-1 should go, all of us." I sat down, and grabbed a piece of toast off Jack's plate.
"But you're injured."
"It's a broken bone, not the end of the world."
"Hammond will never agree." He stated, reaching for a way to keep me from going along.
"If Janet says I'm fit for duty so will the General." I looked at him with one of those expressions I knew he couldn't resist. "This is our child Jack," I gestured loosely to Terrika's stomach. "I don't want it going through that Stargate alone."
"It won't be alone, I'll be with both her and Terrika the entire time."
"But I want to be there, I may not be carrying this child but I am still her mother." He frowned, opening and closing his mouth a few times and then he finally spoke.
"All right, if Frasier says you're okay, I'll ask Hammond if SG-1 could come along, in a diplomatic capacity." Looking in his eyes, I knew what it cost him just to give me that much, we'd compromised SG-1 when we said we wouldn't and our military minds were paying the price.
I ate breakfast alone, and then quickly downed some of the pain medicine Janet had given me, before following the sound of running water to where Jack was taking a shower.
My bathroom was all fogged up, and from the colour of the small amount of skin I could see peaking out of the shower curtain, the water had to have been scalding. I stuck my head in the dry end of the shower, watching his oblivious nudity as he rinsed the soap off his body.
"I'm sorry." I stated quietly. He turned, surprised, before shutting off the water and stepping out of the shower.
"So am I, I think that somewhere along the line these last few months I've become obsessed with keeping SG-1 SG-1, and it's not working anymore. When we decided to do the transfer, we'd already made our decision regarding our military careers." He half-heartedly grabbed a towel and started drying off. "And I think it's just now starting to sink in that we're going to be parents, and that's bigger than SG-1 or the entire SGC. We can't put the team in danger, but we also can't endanger the lives of Terrika or our daughter. I was thinking that maybe I should ask the General to reassign one of us, or all of us."
"I don't think that's an option, even with the Balteri treaty signed, the diplomatic effort is just beginning, we'd have to start from square one, and personally I feel that three months is a long time to be on an alien planet, no matter how much you enjoy it." His face changed before I realised what I had said, I had just unknowingly made a crack about his time on Eudora, it was purely accidental but from the look on his face it had obviously stung. He took a moment to think before starting another approach.
"Splitting up the team is what got us into this in the first place, the only reason Daniel agreed to keep his mouth shut was because the transfer would protect SG-1, without SG-1 Daniel will be free to tell the General or anyone else who'll listen about the transfer."
"Jack, this is Daniel we're talking about here, sure he's upset, I know I would be if I were him, but do you really think he'd do anything to endanger our child or an innocent woman?"
"If you'd have seen him yesterday you'd understand why I'm so concerned. He tried to leave you Sam, he wanted us to leave you alone while we went back through the 'gate and waited for help, he was so insistent that I had to order him to go back to the Stargate *after* he stopped to fight with me over my decision." He pulled me into his arms, whispering in my ear. "I could have lost you, hell, I almost did lose you, and I wouldn't have known if it was due to a bad command decision or because of our relationship."
"Bad things happen to us every day Jack," I took the opportunity to wrap my good arm around his slightly damp neck. "And bad things are going to continue to happen to us, that's the nature of the job and you know we couldn't do it any other way."
"It's just getting harder to do Sam." He pulled back and kissed me hesitantly. "I couldn't handle losing you." I decided against answering him. His skin was still burning from the shower as my arm moved from his neck to his back and I pressed my lips to his, the renewed contact was all the encouragement he seemed to need before I found his arms around me, pulling me closer against his naked body. "Carter," He slowly broke our kiss. "Let's not start something here that we're not going to be able to finish."
"I wouldn't have started it if I didn't think we could finish it." I stated, as I relinquished my hold on him to pull the sling that had been supporting my left arm over my head. He took me back into his arms, and then hesitated again.
"I don't want to hurt you Sam, you were injured less than 24 hours ago."
"I know how I feel Jack, and yes it's pretty bad, but I want this, I want *you*."
"If I hurt you, at all, tell me and I'll stop, okay?" He asked, I nodded and he helped me get my cast out of the sleeve of my t-shirt and the shirt over my head, my panties soon followed. He left the bandage around my ribs- probably a reminder that he wasn't supposed to hurt me; I wish he would have taken it off. Jack led me back into our room, locking the door to keep out any unwanted visitors, before he sat down on the bed, gently pulling me down onto his lap.
"God I love you Sam." He said. His is voice strained from the sheer power he was exerting to keep from jostling my injuries.
"I love you too."
"Sure there's no way I can talk you into staying here while we go to Balteria?" He asked, once he was lying next to me with his arm possessively across my abdomen.
"Very sure, I want to be there... and I think I'll be just fine going, have some faith in me Jack, if I didn't honestly think I could handle it, I wouldn't be putting you in this situation."
"I know Carter, I know." He kissed my forehead before pulling himself out of our bed and towards the closet where his clothes were still hanging next to mine all nice and neat like I told him. "You need help getting dressed?"
"Of course." I said, allowing a slight note of bitterness at my injury to seep into my voice.
"So... what do you wanna wear... it should really be something that goes with your cast... you should always make a fashion statement." He gave me his Jack O'Neill smile and I melted. We finally settled on jeans and t-shirts for both of us, while Jack dressed himself, I tried to get at least my under clothes on and all I ended up doing was aggravating my already tender body before Jack grabbed the garment out of my hand and put them on me himself.
"I wonder what Terrika and the baby have gotten in to." Jack wondered aloud, as he tied my shoelaces.
"She's probably getting dressed," I answered, as we left our bedroom and headed down the hall to the living room. Terrika was sitting in front of the television, fully clothed and ready to go, the bulge that was our baby seemed to be getting bigger everyday, and it was getting more and more awkward for me to think that I was the one who was originally carrying that child.
We left together, considering the fact that I couldn't drive, and Terrika had never driven before. Terrika sat in the back while I lay back in the front seat next to Jack, and tried to rest up from our early morning love making... I guess I may have been a little worse off than I thought, but it was nothing that would keep me from going through that Stargate.
Cheyenne Mountain was its usual buzz of activity as we made our way through the concrete corridors, down the elevators, and finally into the actual SGC; even that far underground the atmosphere was still charged. It was still strange to work in a place everyday where people could disappear without a single word, people who know about the real and constant threat of alien takeover and people who have dedicated their lives to keeping that secret. It was our job, a job that I was not sure how I was going to leave behind... a job I loved, but I knew how easily it was all going to go away in only a couple short months and honestly- it scared me.
"You going to go see Doc?" Jack asked, once we had reached the elevator that would take us to the levels of the SGC.
"I guess, do you think you can explain to General Hammond alone? Or do you need all of SG-1 to back you up?"
"I can work just fine on my own, you're the only member of SG-1 who would be of any use to me anyway." He said, before heading off with Terrika on his tail. I turned and headed for the one woman who could have made me feel better a year earlier, then she just made me nervous, I always felt like I was going to slip up when I was around her.
"Sam? I ordered you to bed, I meant for you to stay there." Janet said, as I walked into her infirmary and took a look around.
"SG-1's got a mission, I need to go."
"Sam," She started to protest. "you know that I can't allow you to go through the 'gate like this."
"Come on Janet, we're going to Balteria, how much trouble can we get into there? Besides if I'm not there the whole diplomatic presence will be worthless."
"I'll examine you, but you've got to promise if I send you home that you'll go, no fight?"
"Yes, I promise, though I know I'm perfectly fit for duty." I said grudgingly, as I somehow managed to manoeuvre myself one handedly onto a bed.
"Okay Sam, your ribs are obviously sore," Janet said, taking off the padding to inspect the giant bruise. "but they look better than I thought they would."
"They *are* better." I said, as she inspected the rest of the minor injuries I sustained the day before.
"How's your arm feeling?"
"Broken." I stated, giving her a friendly smile. "It's really nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. Just some pain when I try to use it, and a dull throb that the meds you gave me took care of."
"My advice to you is to one, not use your arm and two, take the meds like the label says..." She stopped, as if for dramatic effect or something. "and I guess you're healthy enough to go out on a routine diplomatic mission."
"Yes, thank you Janet." I gave her another smile.
"Don't thank me, I would have had no problem with sending you home." She sent me an answering smile before re-padding me and helping me into some fatigues.
After I dressed, Janet called the General and told him that I was fit for duty, he informed her that that was all he needed, the Colonel had already requested the full SG-1 for the mission to Balteria, the men were already in the gear up room.
I headed for the gear up room as fast as I could, which if you consider my injuries was a pretty good speed. When I arrived I could hear Daniel yelling at Jack through the closed door.
"I thought we worked this out yesterday Jack." Daniel was saying.
"The only thing we worked out yesterday was the fact that you almost got Carter killed and it didn't bother you one bit."
"*I* almost got Sam killed? I didn't do anything to Sam, you're the one who's making the bad command decisions around here."
"What do you know about good or bad command decisions? You're just a damned scientist Daniel, a damned scientist who got it in his head that he's a soldier out to save the planet."
"Well you know what Jack, it seems to me that I've somehow managed to surpass the legendary Colonel Jack O'Neill in my military capabilities. What will everyone think when the truth comes out that you're nothing but a liar who's been using the SGC to meet your own ends?" That was when I couldn't take it anymore, there were too many ears in the SGC for them to be fighting like that, and frankly, knowing that I was the reason for the fight bothered me a lot. I opened the door and both Daniel and Jack jumped away from each other like they'd been caught doing something they shouldn't have been, and well they were.
"Doc declare you fit for duty?" Jack asked, as I walked over toward the 'women's' gear area.
"Yes." I answered, trying to get my vest on with one good arm before Jack thankfully came over to help me.
"This is a bad idea." Daniel stated from behind us.
"Shut up about it will you Daniel, I'm getting really tired of hearing you question every little decision I make." Jack helped me with my weapons. "You've said it yourself a couple billion times how important this treaty is, and because of this treaty we've got to have the full SG-1, and if you've forgotten SG-1 includes not only Teal'c and yourself but Carter and me as well. If you've got that much of a problem with this, with us, then maybe I should have you reassigned, would that make you happy?" I looked at Teal'c to find him looking at me. His eyes had the same look in them that they had when Apophis ordered him to kill us all, there was something pleading there, something afraid, something that couldn't make a move with out help- he couldn't choose between Jack and Daniel, he just couldn't. Teal'c was loyal to both men, just as fiercely loyal as he was to me, and he couldn't choose between any of the members of SG-1, but I could. I loved Jack and he was going to be the father of our daughter, there was no contest, it was a serious conflict of interest but I would have done anything for the sake of our unborn child's future.
"No one is leaving SG-1, not you Daniel, and not me." I interrupted. "There are more important things out there than our personal feelings and military ranks, we were friends once, and I hope that one day we will all be friends again, without one of us having to die first." Fully geared up I left to find Terrika, I had a good idea of where she'd be, it was just a matter of getting there with only one good arm.
I found Terrika just where I thought I would. The briefing room has, by far, the most comfortable chairs in the mountain, and since she was very pregnant Terrika had been having more and more trouble getting comfortable.
"Ah Samantha, you are well?"
"Yes." I sat down next to her and she grabbed my right hand, placing it on her stomach.
"Feel, she moves." I loved feeling my daughter kick. Somehow she reminded me of Jack when she did it- very impatient, always bored with just sitting still, I knew all babies did it, but there was something magical about knowing that that was my baby moving in there. I looked up to see General Hammond smiling at us from his office window and I realised that the base was not the best place to be fawning over my unborn child. I patted Terrika's belly before quickly pulling my hand away.
"So, are you happy to be going home?" I asked lamely.
"Of course. It will be nice to see Treevin again, and my family, my sister was to have a child, he should have been born by now." She looked up, catching my thoughts. "Do not be sorry I missed these things Samantha, I made the decision to come here." Hammond stepped into the room. "Besides, Treevin and I have no room for a child in our lives."
"Major," The General addressed me. "Where's the rest of your team? You ship out in five minutes."
"They're on their way Sir, probably just taking the scenic route from the gear up room." He left then, down to the control room, muttering something about Colonel O'Neill's sense of humour rubbing off on his second in command.
"I guess we'd better get down to the 'gate room." I said helping Terrika up as best I could with one arm.
The rest of SG-1 arrived in the 'gate room the same time we did. Coming from opposite doors, we joined up in the middle of the room to watch the wormhole engage. Once the General had given us a go Teal'c took Terrika's arm and the five of us went through the Stargate as we always had.
Treevin was waiting for us on the other side, he immediately took his wife into his arms before greeting the rest of us. It was saddening to know that they hadn't seen each other in almost six months. I couldn't imagine going that long without Jack, but I guess the fact that they'd been married for 15 years gave their relationship a certain maturity that Jack and I didn't have.
We were led to the city, a place that we all considered home for a while, the place Jack and I conceived a child- then the place seemed too quiet, too deserted.
"You're going to be late for the Council." Treevin informed us as we entered the Council Building and headed down the hall as fast as the six of us could go.
"We're sorry Treevin, we didn't even know SG-1 was supposed to be meeting with the council until yesterday."
"Oh it is not SG-1 who is supposed to meet with the council, but only Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter, that is of course after Terrika meets with them privately." I caught Jack's eye and I could tell that he was feeling the weird 'vibes' around Balteria too, especially when we knew this all had to do with Terrika, him, and me.
Both Terrika and Treevin went into the Main Council Chambers, leaving us to sit and wait and wonder.
"Anyone else notice the city seems a little... oh I don't know, empty?" Jack asked from beside me.
"Yes O'Neill, there were no people going about their business as usual." Teal'c answered, before sitting down next to the rest of us on the benches that had been provided for people like us who had to wait for their audience with the council.
"Balteria City is a pretty big city, but did anyone notice that there were absolutely no people out... the entire way here the only one I saw was Treevin."
"Yeah, me too." I answered, before looking around the usually crowed halls of the Council Building.
"Wonder what's going on." Jack leaned back against the wall.
"I don't know... but I bet it has something to do with why we're all here... and they're not."
It was 45 minutes before they finally called for Jack and me, we nervously left Daniel and Teal'c in the hall and went into the massive room we once felt so comfortable in. The entire Council was there; I'd never seen the room so packed, even when the President was there. The group looked expectantly at us and we were pointed to two chairs recently placed in the middle of the room, feeling small and over powered I sat next to Jack in front of this huge group who knew our biggest secret.
"You have been asked here today because of an unforeseen consequence of our treaty with the people of Earth." Lauprezin stated almost sadly. "The Balteri are going to have to break off all contact with your people. We're sorry to have wasted your time and the time of your leaders with the preparations for this treaty. But our survival comes before diplomatic relations, I'm sure you and your people understand."
"Aren't you guys supposed to be advanced or something? What kind of consequences could there be for you to have a treaty with such a primitive race as our selves?"
"We are an Asgard protectorate, but as you know the Asgard can not protect our people all the time, and at this moment, the situation with the Replicators being what it is, it is especially important for us to be cautious."
"Come on, there's cautious and then there's paranoid. We need this alliance."
"Our time for caution is over. The Goa'uld are on their way and the Asgard will not be here for another three days... we expect the Goa'uld sooner, we are evacuating before they have the chance to arrive."
"Just because you guys are moving doesn't mean we can't still be friends, we can pick up right where we left off." Jack grabbed for straws.
"The reason the Goa'uld are intent on our extermination is because of our treaty with you- it seems the Tau'ri are not well liked amongst the System Lords." At that Jack gave one of his cocky puppy dog looks to the entire room.
"They want to wipe out your entire people because you made contact with us?" I asked incredulously.
"The System Lords believe they are gods, you are taking some of their most loyal followers and turning them against the Goa'uld, undermining their authority. The Balteri have never been under Goa'uld rule, but we have not always lived as we do now, and our situation now is what makes us vulnerable, I'm sorry but there is nothing more to be done, we must leave as soon as possible."
"What about Terrika and our daughter? Where do they come into all of this?" I asked suddenly, causing Jack to whip around to stare at me in horror.
"Terrika will have to come with us of course, and if at some point in the coming months or years we are able to safely smuggle your child to you without the knowledge of the Goa'uld we will do that. You can have the satisfaction of knowing that she will be treated as all Balteri children are, and knowledge that she is of the Tau'ri will be a closely guarded secret."
"Woah, wait a minute. You can *not* take our child... months or years are a very long time, especially when you're a child. This is important to us, we'll do whatever it takes to be able to keep Terrika with us until the baby's born." Thankfully Jack spoke, I was struck dumb at the finality of Lauprezin's words.
"We are sorry, but there is no other option." Lauprezin stood. "You are going to have to go now."
"Where's Terrika?" Jack asked as several Balteri *assisted* us on our way out. "Let us talk to her, let her make her own decision."
"I am sorry." Is all Lauprezin said before we were shoved into the hall and joined by Teal'c and Daniel and several more Balteri.
"What's going on?" Daniel asked as we were roughly pulled through the city and towards the Stargate.
"We're being sent home." Jack said. "The treaty's off and they'll try to smuggle our child to us in a few months or years- whenever the Goa'uld will no longer be a threat, but don't worry, they'll treat her like their own and not tell the Goa'uld about her parentage." He struggled against the men who were pushing us up towards the base of their Stargate ramp. One started dialling Earth's address and Daniel automatically sent the GDO code. "Looks like you're going to get what you wanted all along Danny, you get SG-1 back with no children or alien secrets." My heart was on the verge of breaking when I heard the words from Lauprezin, but seeing the grief in Jack's eyes and hearing it in his tone of voice made a couple of tears escape my eyes.
"You must leave." A man imitated Lauprezin as he gently shoved us towards the open wormhole.
"Go on," Jack ordered Daniel and Teal'c. "We'll be right behind you." They quickly jumped through the gate and I knew that they were probably already at home. Jack turned to me and cupped my face in his hands, wiping away the tears that had escaped. "We'll get her back, I promise." He said, before kissing me gently.
"I know." I tried to assure him before he turned and headed through the 'gate. I followed, wondering if we were going to be able to live up to our promise, or if our little girl was going to grow up on some alien planet never knowing why she was different from everyone around her.
I stepped through the 'gate right behind Teal'c, I guess Sam and I hadn't taken too long before we followed. I felt Sam bump roughly into my back and I quickly reached a hand back to steady her before I headed down the ramp to face the General's questioning look.
"Colonel?" He asked.
"Uh permission for SG-1 to debrief immediately, Sir?"
"Of course Colonel, that is if no one from SG-1 is suffering from any injuries that need our immediate attention?" He asked, looking between the four of us.
"No Sir, we're perfectly fit to debrief." He turned on his heel and headed up to the briefing room, I followed, leading the way for SG-1.
"Now Colonel would you care to explain why SG-1 is back not only two days early, but also missing an alien woman we were responsible for?"
"Well Sir, seems we're not too popular in the galaxy anymore... the Goa'uld are out to kill off anyone who decides to make a treaty with us. The Balteri got word that the Goa'uld are headed in their direction and now they're moving planets, breaking off all ties with us as they go."
"Did you try to reason with them Colonel? I'm sure there's something we can do to help them and be able to maintain the treaty agreement."
"Frankly General, these people are a lot more advanced than us, if they needed our help they would have asked for it a long time ago."
"Son, are you suggesting that we just give up and let one of our most advanced allies slip through our fingers?"
"Sir, is what I'm saying is that they were unresponsive to any form of diplomacy. Now the SGC isn't known for its giving up and walking away, but I'd really like to not piss the Balteri off."
"Colonel, you know that's what I'd like to avoid myself."
"Sir," I took a quick look around the troubled table. "Request permission for SG-1 and SG-8 to return to Balteria tomorrow to try and re-negotiate with the people there?"
"Colonel, you said yourself that they told you the Goa'uld are on their way to that planet. What if they're waiting for you when you go through the Stargate? That's not a risk I'm willing to take with our personnel."
"So we'll send a MALP through to check out the situation, Sir we *can* do this, we know the people and the land... Balteria is one place I know we could take out some Goa'uld." Hammond stared at me as if I'd just said something crazy- I don't know why he was surprised, I say things like that all the time. "Or we could just send a MALP through and if the coast is clear go through ourselves?"
"I will allow SG-1 and SG-8 to go through the Stargate at 0900 tomorrow if there is no sign of Goa'uld activity at that time."
"Thank you Sir." I said truthfully, before looking around the table.
"Dismissed." He stated before standing. The four of us made it to the infirmary quickly... we all either wanted to be alone as soon as we could or together as fast as possible.
Janet Frasier managed to get us out in record time, she didn't even waste time torturing me. Soon Sam and I found ourselves alone in our car heading for her house.
"I'm sorry, I should have fought Lauprezin harder."
"You did what you could, she had us removed before either of us could do or say anything... though I guess that was their point." I reached out and took her hand.
"I love you Sam."
"I love you too." She squeezed my hand, and on that note the rest of the drive was spent in resigned silence.
After several hours of sitting around doing nothing, we both managed to come to the conclusion that trying to *think* that night, before we actually knew anything, was probably not a wise thing to do. The walk to Sam's bedroom seemed to take longer than usual, but we didn't take it any more slowly than usual, I think we were just weary about that room, the room where we'd made love and made plans... we needed each other to get through this but the thought of complicating an already complicated situation even further had us both on edge.
"How's your arm feeling?" I asked, as we crawled into our separate sides of the bed.
"I'm not sure Sir, everything feels pretty numb right now."
"I understand." I overlooked her slip of 'Sir' and instead pulled her tightly against me. "Do you think you'll be able to sleep?"
"I don't think so, I just keep thinking about her growing up without us, without Earth, and never knowing about the sacrifices and triumphs of the SGC."
"She'll live here, with us. I don't care if we've gotta kidnap Terrika- we're getting our daughter back." Sam snuggled deeper into my body.
"I know." She whispered quietly. "Jack? What do you think she'll look like?"
"Our daughter? Oh I don't know, I had kinda thought she'd have blonde hair and bright blue eyes like her mother."
"Really? I think of her with blonde hair and your brown eyes, she'll have to be tall- I don't think it would be possible for us to produce someone short."
"Yeah, I think you're right about that. I can't wait to see which one of us is right." I kissed her head before thanking *the* God that we were able to forget our fears for a while in fantasyland.
We didn't eat or bathe the next morning, we just barely had our teeth brushed and our clothes changed by the time we made it to Cheyenne Mountain. As the two of us entered the control room SG-6 disembarked from a three week mission, as always, they had a lot of news to catch up on. General Hammond welcomed them back before turning to me.
"You're here early son."
"Just getting warmed up for a game of find the friendlies, Sir." He gave me a knowing grimace before turning to Carter.
"Major, if you feel the MALP's ready to travel we'll move the recon up."
"Yes Sir." She nodded, sparing me a tight smile as she left to inspect the average looking MALP in the Gateroom.
While Carter was examining her over grown remote-controlled car Teal'c and Daniel entered the control room with displeasure written clearly on their faces- thankfully Sam signalled that she was ready before either of them could voice their complaints. I watched the wormhole activate and the MALP make it's way up the ramp and into oblivion, this should never get old.
"Sir, it's arrived on the other side." I heard Sam's voice close by, so close I realised she had walked right past me to sit at the computer.
"Are you getting a signal?" I asked, leaning over and placing a hand casually on her shoulder as I looked at the screen.
"Yes, Sir." She tapped a couple of keys and soon we were looking at the Balteri Stargate, noticing that it was no longer necessary for me to lean over Sam's shoulder I straightened up and watched as she took control of the MALP and moved it on it's short journey heading for the city.
"The city appears to be deserted." Teal'c stated, from somewhere off to my left.
"There's no way they could have evacuated so fast."
"It seems that they are more advanced than we originally thought."
"Well if they're so smart why are they running from the Goa'uld?"
"The Goa'uld would most likely join together to extinguish such a formidable adversary, it would be in their best interest to just leave." Teal'c deadpanned, there are times he can be so arrogant about the capabilities of the Jaffa and Goa'uld.
We scanned around for a while, there was nothing to see, seems Balteri City really had been abandoned.
"Sir, permission for SG-1 to go to Balteria and search for--"
"Denied." He interrupted. "SG-1, I believe we should continue this conversation in the briefing room." So we followed the man upstairs, there was really no other option. I managed to manoeuvre myself behind Teal'c and Daniel as we went up the stairs to be with Sam, she looked so disappointed I felt like I failed her, I didn't know what I was feeling exactly but it was verging on the loss I felt when Charlie died, but no, this child was coming back, there was no other option.
"I'm sorry son, I know how much this child means to you but the fact still remains that Terrika is pregnant with her own child, the fact that it is half human doesn't change that. If she doesn't want to give up her child any longer then that's her decision. I'm sorry, but there will be no further search for Balteri on Balteria Major or any other planet." It was the end of a conversation I had managed to keep going for over half an hour, it seemed Hammond had won and we had lost everything. The moment Hammond finished this last sentence Sam was up from her chair and out of the room- I needed to follow her, to be with her through this, for us to comfort each other through this. I stayed though, sometimes you do things and you don't know why, well I quickly found out why. We all stood and started to calmly walk out before I heard Daniel speak up.
"Sir, General, the child isn't exactly half alien." This got a good 'huh?' look from Hammond.
"No Daniel." I murmured under my breath, as he rounded the table to stand in front of the General.
"What do you mean Son."
"Well it sort of became and unwritten part of our treaty agreement Sir, the child Terrika is carrying isn't hers at all. It's completely human."
"Well whose is it then."
"It's still mine Sir."
"Only Major Carter is the mother, not the alien woman Terrika." Teal'c finished my sentence for me.
"Colonel do you know how many--" Carter came back in the room, her eyes were red and her face was blotchy but she'd got herself together and I knew she'd been outside the door the entire time.
"Sir, we'll do what ever you need us to do, but could the Colonel and I please just go after our baby? SG-1 doesn't even have to come into it, just let us go through the Stargate and go from there." I put an arm around her shoulder, I figured that considering both of our careers had been ruined anyway it didn't hurt to show a little physical support.
"The rest of SG-1 would be willing to go too." Daniel said getting a nod from Teal'c to show his support.
"I'm sorry, I still can not allow you to go through the Stargate." He started to go towards his office.
"Sir, we've got to go, this is a child we're talking about here... an American child. She needs to be raised here, with her own people, she's never going to fit in there, she's not going to be telepathic like them, she'll never have the same colouring as the other people around her, she can't be allowed to grow up like that."
"I'm sorry Colonel."
"Sorry isn't good enough, how would you feel if one of your grand daughters was out there? How would you feel knowing she was being hunted by the Goa'uld because of who her parents are? Sorry is not good enough for the little girl you are sentencing to death!"
Okay... when trying to get the General to see your way it is best not to piss him off. The SGC has very boring holding cells and I had way too much energy, I wanted to be out there doing something, I wanted to be out there finding my child. I wondered if they'd keep me there until my court marshal or if they'd ship me off to some nice government funded asylum, either way I was still no closer to seeing my daughter. Suddenly the door opened and Daniel rushed in to unlock my cell.
"Are you coming Jack? I'd have thought you'd know a jail break when you saw one." I followed him out and down the corridor.
"Zatting her way to the control room, Teal'c's collecting weapons and supplies... sorry it took us so long, they've made it harder to hijack the gate since the last time we did this." And so eight hours after I got myself 'arrested', we left through the Stargate on a mission we had a higher chance of dying on than returning from.
I've heard about mothers who can lift entire cars to save their children who are trapped beneath, it's because their anxiety and maternal affection which causes certain hormones to be released. I never thought I'd have a reaction like that, but I guess that zatting half the people in the SGC could somehow be related to my need to be with my child. I was really surprised that once the three of us had managed to work through the electronics and logistics of the plan that is was so easy to get the Colonel out of his cell and to the Gateroom without meeting very much resistance. Of course we were operating on a zat first, send flowers later protocol so there weren't many people conscience enough to try and stop us. We took sufficient supplies with us to last for several weeks, maybe a couple of months if we rationed- however long this was going to take things would never be easy again, that was clear to us all.
On the other side, things looked pretty much the same as they had the previous day, and the day before... the whole place was just desolate, it was like the apocalypse came to Balteria Major and life just... stopped. It was hard for me to imagine that that was where we lived for a few months, where we even conceived a child.
"So, where do we look first?" Daniel asked.
"The Council Building." Teal'c suggested, or was it ordered? Well whichever it was that's where we ended up searching. We looked for hours, through desks, through stacks of 'paper' (the Balteri don't use paper per se but they do have a much more advanced synthetic parchment).
"Well this has been an incredible waste of time." Jack stated, as we finished in Lauprezin's private chambers. "It's not like they'd leave a big sign out for the Goa'uld saying 'Hey we've gone to ABC-123!'"
"I can't believe I'm saying this," Daniel yelled from Lauprezin's bedroom. "But I think Jack's right... the Balteri wouldn't leave any way for the Goa'uld to find them."
"So are we done here?"
"It appears we are." Teal'c stated, coming out of the bathroom. "Perhaps we should investigate the other public and private buildings."
"Or not. From what I remember the Goa'uld are due here oh, about now... I say we get out of here before we become some bad ass snake's play things."
"Where are we planning on going once we get out of here?"
"I was hoping some of our allies would assist us, harbour us actually, and maybe help us locate the Balteri- we know from the treaty discussions that the Balteri have met the Nox and the Tollan."
"So we've gotta go to Tollana." As if things in our lives could ever be that easy. We concluded our search of everything we could think of on Balteria- finding nothing, before we went back to the Stargate.
"Daniel dial Tollana." Jack ordered, as the sky became ominously darker. "Now what the hell is that?"
"It appears we may soon be in the presence of a 'bad ass snake'." Despite the utter terror of the moment and Daniel taking the time to look up the address for Tollana, we all managed to spare Teal'c a smile.
"Can you dial any faster Daniel?"
"I'm going as fast as I can." He said, before pushing the last symbol, allowing the wormhole to spring to life.
"Okay, everybody through." We all took off at an all out run... we never reached the gate, we did however get up close and personal with the bright gold walls of a Goa'uld mother ship.
"Um... I'm just gonna guess that the Tollans didn't decide to redecorate." Jack said, rubbing his head that smacked closely to mine against the wall. "Remind me to never be running when we're ringed up."
"I wonder which Goa'uld has um, got us?"
"Oh don't worry Daniel, these guys have a way of showing up... to gloat, and stuff."
"Any ideas on how to get us out of here Teal'c?"
"None Major Carter."
"It's a good thing that we usually get our selves out of this kind of situation on our own, 'cause I don't anticipate the SGC coming to our rescue." There was nothing we could do- it's amazing how our day started out with us once again going against our own people for something we thought to be more important- and then we were stuck looking at walls absolutely glowing with golden hieroglyphs and wondering about our fates.
Three hours later, we were greeted by our first view of our captors- Jaffa, many bearing the mark of Apophis but there were also several others in there too, so I was guessing a lesser Goa'uld had absorbed the Jaffa of other Goa'uld we had killed as well. We'd heard of this happening before, just never seen it first hand.
"Shol'va, your God wishes to see you." The First Prime came to us and I couldn't help but stare at his gold emblem- it was one of the strangest things I'd ever seen, like a cow on speed... okay Jack *had* rubbed off on me.
"Excuse me, but who is 'his god'?"
"Silence Tau'ri!" The First Prime yelled before his minions roughly grabbed Teal'c up and drug him out of the room.
"Good going Daniel, maybe Teal'c'll be able to get more information out of them."
"Jack, now is not the time for sarcasm."
"Daniel, sarcasm's all I have now, if you don't remember we're here to retrieve a child. Our child, Sam's and mine, and I'm not stopping until we get her; so if some Goa'uld have to get all bitchy before we can go out and find our baby then they'd better just get it over with because I'm sick of these damn snake heads." He kicked the wall for good measure, and out of respect for our recovering friendship with Daniel I left him to it and stayed on the other side of the room.
It was much later when Teal'c was finally returned to us, and thankfully Jack hadn't scuffed the walls or anything to enrage the Jaffa any more than he was doing by looking at them- at all.
"It appears we have a large problem O'Neill." Teal'c stated, sitting down with a 'thud' once the incredibly PMSy Jaffa had left.
"Who's the snake in charge around here?"
"The Goa'uld is the one system Lord I had hoped we would never have to confront."
"Why Teal'c? We defeated Sokar, I didn't think they could get any worse than that."
"They do indeed get worse, this Goa'uld is on a crusade to destroy all life that was not spawned on the planet of the Tau'ri."
"Because she feels that all other races pose a threat to her- the races of your world have been unable to evolve the complex societies on other worlds as the races of the Nox and Tollan have."
"She? The Goa'uld is a she?" Jack asked.
"Yes, she is now one of the most powerful System Lords in existence."
"And if she's so powerful why haven't you mentioned her before now?"
"I did not believe her to be a threat as you are *of* the Tau'ri."
"So are you saying this Goa'uld is a *friend* to the Tau'ri 'cause I remember the last time someone said that."
"No O'Neill I am not, I believe we should attempt to escape as soon as possible."
"Teal'c, is this the first time you have met this Goa'uld?" I asked.
"No, I have met her and her Jaffa in battle on two occasions."
"I thought that when the system lords did battle, they did it to the death."
"No, on one occasion she mated with Apophis, the child was Harsesis and destroyed herself at a young age. The second time they came to 'agree to disagree'" He said the last phrase oddly, as if he couldn't quite get his tongue around it. "They then separated their locations. Upon Apophis' death it appears she has not only absorbed his Jaffa, but I believe she has also claimed his territory as well."
"Is it just me or does Apophis seem to have a way with women?" Jack quickly sent an apologetic glance in Daniel's direction, but he didn't even seem to have noticed the reference in the first place.
"On many occasions Apophis attempted to create a host for his later use- he never succeeded." I thought about the young boy Shifu and wondered about the other children Apophis created and destroyed for his own purposes- children growing up with the express purpose of being empty vessels.
Our Goa'uld captor, whom had not graced us with her presence or been given a name, left us in the holding room for several hours while her Jaffa came in periodically to make sure we were all still present and accounted for.
"So this Goa'uld only likes people from Earth?" Jack asked.
"She believes them to be the only worthy hosts, and as I stated earlier the people of the Tau'ri do not pose a threat to her due to their lack of technological development."
"What about the transposed humans from Earth?"
"She claims to be the creator of all Tau'ri, on your planet or elsewhere."
"Teal'c, what is her name?"
"She calls herself Taweret."
"Of course!" Daniel's face brightened up like when we found the petrified Asgard on P1X-656. "Taweret was a household goddess- the goddess of childbirth and motherhood in Ancient Egypt, she was mother, creator, and protector of all. I've hypothesised for a long time that the term Tau'ri is associated with Taweret and this proves it!" He gesticulated excitedly, obviously forgetting in the wake of this scientific discovery that we were being held captive by this mother Goa'uld.
"Danny, any of this tell you how to get us out of here?"
"Carter, let me guess- another escape proof room?"
"Yes Sir, and I don't think Dad's going to come help us out this time."
"Just as well. He'd probably get himself caught again and Jacob's a pessimist anyway." I smiled before the door was opened and after giving my irrational hope time to fall I was grabbed roughly by two Jaffa.
"Where we goin' guys?"
"I just want to know our plans for the day."
"Your god Taweret wishes to see you."
"But I had an earlier appointment." Needless to say we were soon kneeling (by force) in front of the most 'unique' looking Goa'uld I'd ever seen.
"Taweret is the hippopotamus goddess." He whispered quickly, as the woman was assisted into a standing position by 5 of her Jaffa. I guess I can see it now- you're impersonating a Goddess who is historically represented by a hippopotamus so you're going to want a host that... resembles one. In my experience all women who are Goa'uld hosts are young and quite beautiful. I hate to say it- but that middle-aged woman, while undoubtedly evil, was a very refreshing change.
"Shol'va, it has been long since we last met. I am gladdened to see that you have allied yourself with my people- the people of the Tau'ri." Already I could tell this speech was more for her followers than the four of us- she wasn't even looking at any of us as she spoke.
"Er if we're *your* people why don't ya let us go, huh?"
"You are well known amongst the Goa'uld, I wish to discuss your tactics in the defeat of Apophis."
"Apophis... well he was an accident really... I mean we've been successful in *killing* him on several occasions- but until recently he's never actually stayed dead."
"Then you are of no use to me." She looked up- nodding to her Jaffa. "Kill them!"
"Hey, hold on a minute... it's not our fault... and didn't you say we're *your* people?" Jack defended as a staff weapon was pressed to his neck. We'd all learnt to never be positive of anything- I knew how I felt about Jack and how much I wanted to see our daughter born... but other than that things were pretty much up in the air concerning life and death.
"It seems the people of the Tau'ri no longer have the right to be called Tau'ri. We will first rid ourself of you and then remove all life from you planet." I glanced between Teal'c and Daniel on each of my sides, then beyond Daniel to Jack, we all seemed to be in accord as to our only choice... It was a long shot but we had no other hope- we took off running.
I didn't think I'd ever been more glad to have a headache... of course the *second* time in one day running right into a wall is never *fun* but the person who was standing over me more than made up for that.
"Are you unwell O'Neill?"
"Thor buddy, have I ever told you you've got great timing?"
"You have on many occasions O'Neill... though I am still not clear on the meaning of that phrase."
"Where's Carter, Daniel, and Teal'c?" I asked, once my immediate relief had abated.
"The were sent to our infirmary- they each sustained minor Goa'uld staff weapon wounds... do not worry, they are being well cared for."
"I'd still like to see them, if ya don't mind Thor."
"Of course, please follow me, maybe it would be best if you also had yourself inspected." I didn't like the sound of that... but I'd never felt better about heading for any type of infirmary.
In the infirmary I found Teal'c rubbing his Jaffa emblem as he jumped off a diminutive, Asgard sized bed.
"O'Neill... you are well?" He asked, taking stock of the room around him and finally both of our eyes fell on Daniel and Sam lying on opposite sides of the room.
Thor wandered over to another Asgard in the room- I guessed their version of our Doc Frasier... My first instinct was to get to Carter and make sure she was okay, but I stopped to think- the recent bad blood between SG-1 giving me something to consider when making my decision of whom to check on first.
Thankfully the decision was taken out of my hands as Thor and his friend *motioned* for me to join them next to Carter.
"O'Neill has Major Carter been with child?" Okay- that I was so not expecting.
"Uh that depends on your definition of the word 'with'." I was glad Teal'c had decided to check Daniel on the other side of the massive room- after so many months of hiding, the whole conversation was making me uncomfortable. The two Asgard just stared at me anyway- so I of course took it upon myself to expound on human... stuff. "She was 'with child' several months ago, but do to... our jobs we transferred the baby to another woman."
"I was unaware the humans of Earth had the technology to successfully complete this procedure"
"The humans of Earth didn't do it, we made a new ally and they did it for us." Thor's buddy tilted his head as if to say 'huh?' but Carter (thankfully) saved me from having to explain further by groaning and moving her hand to rub her forehead like the rest of us.
"Jack... what's going on, Thor!" She looked over and saw our Asgard buddy. "I thought we were--"
"Dead, yeah." I looked at her, knowing there was something different about her, but unable to put my finger on it. "Thor showed up just in time." She sat up and flexed both of her arms experimentally- that was when we both seemed to realise at the same time that her purple cast was missing.
"Uh Thor?" I asked, getting the little grey guy's attention. "You *borrow* something from Carter?"
"The immobiliser is a human development- it is not important now... she is fixed."
"You mean you can heal fractures?" We both asked at the same time.
"Yes... human bones are very fragile... we often come across humans with immobilisers on- we fix them."
"Thor's buddy- they're casts if you wanna talk like a human."
"Thank you Colonel O'Neill."
"You're welcome... just trying to make sure you've got your facts straight."
"How're Daniel and Teal'c?" Sam asked, before grabbing my shoulder to help her down from the small table.
"They look all right... Thor ya mind if we go check our team?"
"Of course not O'Neill... but I believe Sharcon wishes to question you and Major Carter further."
"Yeah... but first I've gotta check my team." We joined the others who just happened to still be moping over their aching heads. "What is it about these spaceship walls huh?" I sat down next to Daniel.
"We'd better stop getting beamed from ship to ship or I'm never gonna be able to translate... anything ever again." Daniel slammed himself back against the wall of the ship for added effect. "Ouch!"
"Danny if it were me... and thankfully it's not... I wouldn't do that." It was the first real moment we'd had together since SG-1 had miraculously come back together, and it was oddly comforting.
"Colonel O'Neill... we must continue our discussion now." It was Sharcon- I knew the two of us weren't going to get along very well. "Doctor Jackson, Teal'c- Thor is awaiting you on the bridge." And with that my friends were escorted out of the room.
"Jack, what discussion are we here to continue?" Sam asked, as Sharcon left us while he went and checked... something.
"They know you were pregnant, I was explaining the procedure to them when you woke up, they seemed oddly curious about it."
"If they're the Roswell greys everyone's always talking about then they've gotta know at least a little something about human reproduction."
"Major Carter is correct, we are quite expert at human reproduction, we are only uncertain of whom you allowed to perform the transfer of your child. "
"These great people from the planet we assume *you* rescued us from."
"You are referring to the Asgard protected planet Balteria Major?"
"Yes, that's the place."
"That planet has been abandoned."
"Yeah we know that, we'd really like your help in locating the former inhabitants though."
"The Goa'uld have made that an impossibility- the Asgard fleet can not spare any other ships to assist in the battle."
"So you're saying after all the times we've helped you, you can't just help us locate one *big* group of people?"
"You do know these people have our child right?" Sam asked, trying to get me to calm down a bit before I strangled the smug Asgard in front of me.
"We had assumed... and Major Carter- we have removed all traces that you have been with child, the Goa'uld would use that against your people if they found out."
"Thank you." I heard Sam murmur behind me, before I heard the door open and noticed she'd left me alone with Cher.
"I guess I'd better go too, wouldn't want to miss whatever it is Thor is telling my team." I left Cher looking oddly at my back, and myself wondering why Sam left in such a hurry.
I found the rest of SG-1, Sam included, crowded around Thor and his little view screen thingy.
"Hey guys, what'd I miss?"
"Oh nothing Jack," Daniel stated as if he didn't even notice I wasn't there. "Thor's just been telling us how he came to be here."
"We received notice of the Goa'uld's new policy on Tau'ri relations- and Balteria being a long standing protected planet we came to assist whomever may have been living on the planet."
"So you're not familiar with the Balteri?" Sam asked.
"We were unaware of anyone inhabiting the planet, but we hold no other titles over it than that it is a protected world."
"Really? We thought the Balteri had been on Balteria for quite a while."
"No." Was all Thor said before Sharcon joined the five of us.
"Commander Thor, I believe you should come see this." And with that we were left alone.
"Ya know these Asgard ships, when they're not being overrun with bugs, are pretty boring." I leaned against the wall opposite Sam and Teal'c. "But has anyone else noticed how clean these floors are? I mean Thor and his buddies don't wear shoes or clothes or anything at all... and yet this place is *so* clean." No one felt the need to comment on my comment... that's all right; I hadn't expected them to anyway.
"Jack, if the Asgard have never heard of the Balteri how are we supposed to find them?"
"I don't know," I answered Daniel's question from beside me. "You and Teal'c can go home, but I'm not going back with out my daughter."
"Jack, as we said before... both Teal'c and I are here for both you and Sam. As Sam said, we are SG-1 and SG-1 looks after its self."
"Thank you Daniel." Sam murmured, before leaning back against the wall.
"Seeing as how it's 0200 on Earth right now, I'm going to suggest we all try to get some sleep." My team must have been as tired as I was because no one objected, Teal'c crossed his legs and went into a deep state of Kel-no-reem while both Daniel and Sam tossed themselves on the super clean floor. I followed suit and soon I lapsed into oblivion.
I awakened with Sam in my arms and a crick in my neck; I'd been in this same situation many times before so it was not hard for me to surmise that she was still asleep and that oddly enough we were not in her bed. They say the truth hurts, I don't think 'they' were there when this situation came into existence, our child was out there and we were on an Asgard vessel headed for who knows where, this truth didn't just hurt, it threatened to rip my heart out. I looked around for Daniel and Teal'c- neither of which seemed to be around any longer, I promised myself a few more minutes with Carter before I woke her, and took in her face. Even in sleep she looked stressed and I knew she'd been just as stressed by all of this as I had, we'd both lost our kid and we were both going to go crazy if we didn't get her back.
"God I love you Sam," I whispered kissing the crown of her head. "We'll get her back, don't worry." I must have squeezed her a little too tightly because she did her cute little corkscrew imitation.
"Jack," She said questioningly. "How long have I been asleep?"
"I dunno, I just woke up myself, Daniel and Teal'c are no where to be seen." I checked my watch. "We've been asleep for six hours."
"Guess we made the floor comfortable."
"About that, I'm sorry, I know we're on a mission."
"Don't apologise Sam, I don't think this classifies as a regular mission anyway. I'm the commander here, and I say it's all right for you to cuddle up with me." I gave her a sly grin before standing and helping her up too. I pulled her into a tight hug. "I think we could both use the comfort." We stood like that, in each other's arms, for quite a while before she pulled away and stood back.
"I guess we'd better find out what Teal'c and Daniel are up to."
"Yeah." She lead us back towards the bridge, which conveniently enough was where we found our errant friends and Cher with Thor.
"Why didn't you wake us Danny?"
"You looked tired."
"Uh yeah, sleeping people have a tendency to do that." I looked around at how interested both Asgard seemed to be in what they were doing. "So Thor, where're we headed?"
"We have received a distress signal from a small group of Furlings, we are going to assist them."
"Never met them before." I stated, sure Daniel had already informed them of that.
"You may meet them now O'Neill."
"So... are we there yet?"
"No, it will be some time before we arrive."
"Oh." I said once again, getting suddenly bored. "You guys got anything to eat around here?"
"Uh Jack, I wouldn't if I were you." Sam warned, as Thor nodded to some little coloured squares, I ignored her and picked up a yellow one. I don't think I've ever tasted anything so nasty. I looked around to find both Daniel and Sam laughing at me, Teal'c was smirking like he didn't think I could see him. "I warned you."
"Thor do you have any *human* food."
"I do not believe so O'Neill... but perhaps you would like to inspect our human relics."
"Human relics?" Daniel questioned.
"Items I have collected on my journeys to your planet." Daniel was already excited... I could tell by the look in his eyes. "Would you like to see these items?"
"Yes, we would." And we did... we soon found our selves surrounded by thousands of everyday items that you'd use on Earth- including a box of candy bars with the plastic wrap still on it.
"Hey Thor- how long ya had these?"
"Not long O'Neill, we retrieved those on our last visit to your world."
"And you didn't eat them?" I asked, opening the box and handing one to each of the members of my team.
"We have no interest in your human cuisine."
"Ah well hope ya don't mind, but we do, and we're gonna keep these... I'll buy you some new ones later."
"Thank you O'Neill, you and your team may stay here- but I must return to the bridge." So he left us in his very weird museum.
It was a strange thing to be looking at baby stuff while on an Asgard ship. We never did get around to buying anything for our daughter while Terrika was with us, but we sure did look at a lot of things and from what I'd seen that stuff was all pretty new. Not that it really mattered- it just told us that Thor and his people went 'shopping' on Earth a bit more frequently than we thought.
"I'm sorry." Jack said, coming to stand next to me as I dug through the items.
"It's not your fault." I said, as he put an arm around my waist and I did the same.
"Just sayin'. Are you all right?" I looked around trying to find the rest of SG-1 before answering, I couldn't see them so I hoped they were out of hearing range.
"I don't know yet, I was expecting things to be hard, but I never expected to lose her before we even had her."
"Yeah... but come on, we'll get her back." He tightened his arm. "But that's not all that's bothering you."
"No, I didn't even know how much being pregnant had meant to me. But when Sharcon told me that there would be no more evidence that I had ever even been pregnant it really bothered me that I didn't have a child, and now I don't have any proof that she was ever there."
"I'm sorry all of this has happened... it seemed so easy... but now things are so... complicated." I knew how much this was hurting him, after Charlie I know he didn't think he'd ever be a father again- and then to have that taken away from him, well it was just too cruel to think of. There was a big jerk and we both seemed to recognise it at the same time. "We must have just dropped out of hyperspace." I voiced as we heard Daniel and Teal'c heading our way.
"Guess we'd better go meet the Furlings. What do you think they look like?" I gave him a quick smile as we took off walking in the direction of our team mates. "I always thought of them as Asgard... only with fur, ya know, cute little fuzzy guys. Danny, we there yet?"
"I think so, we could probably go ask Thor though."
"Yeah." The four of us walked together through the halls of the Asgard ship. It was hard to imagine that only a couple of days ago we were all fighting- well I guess it was just Teal'c and Daniel fighting with Jack because no one really cared to get into it with me, but I was just happy we were all at least speaking civilly to one another again.
Thor and Sharcon seemed to be waiting for us when we arrived on the bridge.
"O'Neill, you should prepare yourself to meet the Furlings."
"Prepared." Jack said as the ship was rattled.
"What was that?"
"The Goa'uld who were attacking the Furlings have now begun firing on us."
"Taking on the Asgard? Woah."
"They will regret this decision."
"If they get the chance to live through it."
"We do not kill the Goa'uld unless it is absolutely necessary."
"Absolutely necessary? You're just going to come across them again, they always come up *again*."
"By killing them we would only make new enemies."
"That may be true... but at least they wouldn't go around *attacking* you." Thor didn't seem fazed by the conversation with Jack, but Sharcon looked like he was finding it very interesting.
"We were forced to destroy Taweret's vessel in order to save you O'Neill, she was not the first nor the last Goa'uld that we will be forced to deal with in such a manner, but it is not our custom."
Sharcon started rapidly turning crystals, I couldn't tell what he was doing, and I still don't have a very good working knowledge of Asgard technology. Soon there was another big jerk, like we had dropped out of hyperspace again, but we obviously hadn't.
"What was that?" I asked.
"That," Thor turned to glare, if an Asgard can glare, at Sharcon. "was the shockwave from the destruction of the three pursuing Goa'uld vessels."
"Way to go Cher." I heard Jack say under his breath from beside me. "So, can we go meet the Furlings now?" He sounded like a child and I couldn't help but grin... Daniel did too.
"We will bring them to our ship, you may meet them once Sharcon has checked the health of each individual." If Asgard could groan, I'm sure Sharcon would have... he just left the room as slowly as possible down the hall that led to their infirmary, and I'm sure countless other places.
"How many people were there down there?"
Thor looked down. "208,486... it would probably be wise if you were to rest, I'm afraid it will be many hours before Sharcon has inspected all the Furlings." Asgard punishment I guess, Jack and Sharcon may not have gotten along initially but I was getting the feeling he was growing on Jack, they seemed to be a lot alike. I'll admit I've only met a few Asgard, but from what I've seen they're all very big on following orders- Cher was going to be in a lot of trouble when they got home.
"Uh Thor, do you have any human-sized beds?"
"You may utilise any items you wish from our 'Human Relics Deck'."
"Thanks Buddy." Jack led the way, followed by Daniel and Teal'c, while I just walked slowly behind them. I find everything about Asgard technology fascinating, but I just couldn't bring myself to get lost in yet another up close encounter.
I understand now, part of how hard losing Charlie was on Jack, I never even got to know our daughter and I felt like I was going to lose it. I knew we wouldn't get through this if we didn't get her back- our secret would have defeated us, we'd hid the existence of our child only to have her taken from us because we were too cowardly to face up to the truth.
I didn't recall seeing any beds when we were there only a few hours before- other than baby and children's beds that were Asgard sized, which didn't help us much. I thought not finding a bed would be a good thing, because for the first time since I'd known him, I didn't want to be alone with Jack. I didn't know why I'd developed a sudden aversion to the man I loved sometime in the previous hour and a half, I just had a big fear about what would happen when the two of us were alone together.
"Any luck yet Danny?" Jack was getting impatient; I'd heard that tone of voice too many times to not know what it meant.
"I'm working on it Jack, this isn't classical Norse, and as you can see I don't have any books to reference from here." It had taken us only a half an hour to realise that the 'Human Relics Deck' was set up much like a museum, with everything organised into exhibits, that was when Daniel stumbled across the guide- literally, after three hours he still hadn't made much headway in deciphering the language, although he was still complaining about how bad his knee, which he had rammed into the guide, was hurting.
"Why don't we just go *looking* for beds?"
"Look around you Jack, this place is huge, we'd most likely get lost and never get out again." Daniel was right about that, the place took up an entire deck of Thor's massive ship, about the length of 6 football fields.
"So why don't we use our *radios* and split up while we leave you to this." Jack said, waving his arms in the direction of Daniel and his guide.
"Okay, you guys go, I'll be fine here." Daniel answered absentmindedly, as the three of us walked away.
We stood around staring at one another before Teal'c decided to take charge and assign us where to look.
"O'Neill, I believe it would be wise for you to investigate in that direction, Major Carter you should attempt to locate a sleeping platform in that direction, and I will continue our search in the remaining direction." He left out the direction we had already been in, where the entrance and the newer stuff was located, not to mention Daniel's precious guide.
"Hey guys," Jack cackled over my radio. "If you find anything important along the way, pick it up."
"Yes O'Neill." Teal'c answered before me... he must have had the radio in his hand.
"Okay, anyone have any requests?"
"I wouldn't mind a new ink pen or some pencils- anything to write with would be fine really, there is a lot of really fascinating stuff here I'd like to be able to keep." I think that was the longest speech Daniel had ever made over our radios; I guess his guide really was as important, to him at least, as he was making it out to be.
I walked for what felt like hours, but in reality it must have been only about 30 minutes. The place was so surreal I felt like Alice in Wonderland... It was almost as if someone had taken everything a human could possibly ever use in his or her entire lifetime and put it in one giant space. I saw things off and on that I wondered if we'd need, we were doing pretty good on our remaining rations, the majority of which were confiscated by Taweret, food is what we were running short on, Taweret's Jaffa didn't seem too interested in our water, just our MREs, which I guess is okay considering Thor seems to have more than enough of his nasty colour coded food items around for us to eat.
"O'Neill, 'tis I, Teal'c." Crackled over my radio. I waited for Jack's sarcastic reply to Teal'c identifying himself, but I guess the stress of our situation was getting to him too because the expected reply never came.
"Yeah Teal'c, what 'ave you got?" I could imagine that response on the tail end of a yawn.
"I have located the beds you requested."
"Thanks man, where are you?" Teal'c gave us all directions, even Daniel radioed that he'd join us.
When I arrived in the area Teal'c's described, I felt like I'd stepped into a furniture store. Teal'c probably hadn't been in one yet and so most likely didn't realise the significance of the perfectly set up, wall-less rooms.
"Major Carter, are these satisfactory?"
"Yes Teal'c, thank you." I picked a made up, yet dustless, bed and lay down under the covers. Both Jack and Daniel were some ways away still and it would be quite awhile before they joined us. Thankful for that small favour of a bit more time without Jack, I fell into a disturbed sleep.
Being avoided feels like shit. I knew Sam was attempting to stay as far away from me as she possibly could, I just didn't know why. I really needed her right then, but I wasn't going to force her to talk to me if she didn't want to.
I found her in 'Teal'c's Furniture Gallery' sleeping restlessly on one of the smaller beds. Now to me this seemed like a clear voicing of 'leave me alone' on Sam's part, so I did, especially considering that while there was a cease fire with Daniel there wasn't quite peace yet, I didn't think Sam and I fighting would go over very well in front of him.
So under Danny Boy's watchful eye, I took my own bed and settled down attempting to hide my discomfort at having to sleep alone, a couple of hours later, just about the time I was getting to sleep, I was tapped on the shoulder by Thor.
"O'Neill, we must depart, quickly." Just about the time I made it to my feet we were beamed to what I immediately recognised as their infirmary. The place was a wreck, I guess all those 208 thousand people had come and gone. "O'Neill, perhaps you should go over there." Thor suggested, pointing his long, grey finger towards a corner of the infirmary I hadn't looked over yet (give me a break, I'd only been awake for a couple of minutes). Carter was there, but the entire infirmary was conspicuously absent of the other half of SG-1.
I walked with Thor towards the woman I loved, she had her back to us and we were a few feet away before I realised whose bedside it was she was standing next to- I immediately got confused.
"I am sorry we can not heal her. She feels no pain, but not even our extensive knowledge of human physiology can save her."
"But she's not human is she? None of them were, they were all Furlings all along and we just never asked any questions."
"Correct, physiologically the Furlings and the humans are very familiar. The true differences lie in the cranium only, and it is there that early Furling geneticists created an insurmountable obstacle against tampering within." My eyes glazed over; all I really cared about was how Sam was handling all of this. The woman in question turned around and, noticing for the first time my presence, gave me a brave smile.
"Hey Terrika." I said, going to the other side of the dying woman's bed.
"Hello Jack." Mirroring Sam, I took her hand. About this time I put two and three together and realised Terrika was most definitely not pregnant any longer.
"Where's Treevin?" I questioned, guessing that speaking selfishly about my child at a time like this might not be wise, not matter how much I wanted to know.
"He gave up his life in the fight against the Goa'uld." Okay bad question Jack. Terrika sighed, and I knew from witnessing the last moments of life far too many times that they were upon her.
"Your child was born, Jack." Damn, forgot there for a minute that she was telepathic. "The Asgard Sharcon is caring for her. I am sorry, she was not ready to come." I took Sam's hand above Terrika's head.
"Terrika." Sam attempted to clear the emotion from her voice. "We wanted you to name her."
Terrika smiled painfully. "Then you may call her Sunheko, to the Furling people it means 'bearer of peace'."
"Thank you, it's a beautiful name." Sam managed to choke out, as Terrika passed away right between us.
Letting go of the hand of the woman who carried my child, I took the woman I conceived that child with into my arms.
"Oh god Jack, this is all our fault. The Goa'uld would never have attacked the Balteri if we hadn't signed a treaty with them; and Terrika and Treevin and who knows who else might still be alive if we hadn't been out there doing this."
"That may be true, but think of the countless lives we've saved. Think of your Dad. Think of us, we wouldn't even be together if it hadn't been for the Balteri and their treaty." I pulled back and kissed her forehead. "I love you too much to ever go back."
She pulled away, and for one gut wrenching moment I thought she was going to give it up, give *me* up. Thankfully she didn't, not in that moment at least, instead she went to Thor.
"Is our daughter alive?" She asked, her voice full of false courage again.
"Yes, when she was born there were many problems from the wounds the Furling Terrika sustained and the under-development from the pre-term labour we were forced to initiate."
"But you were able to heal her?" She asked hopefully, I knew it was going to kill her (and me for that matter) if he answered in the negative.
"We were forced to take some drastic measures, but she is alive and, given time, I'm sure you will become accustomed to her."
"May we see her please?" Thor nodded, and we followed him through the doorway and down the hall.
Sam and I both walked timidly, our hands still joined, towards our child, a child Thor had made out to sound like Frankenstein's Monster.
The room looked like most of the other Asgard rooms, only it looked like someone had been 'shopping' on the Human Relics Deck because it was all decked out for a baby.
"Sharcon will explain further, I must return to the Furlings." Thor announced to the two of us, before making a quick exit.
"Well," I said, looking for Cher. "Where is he?" With the wonderful timing I'd come to expect from the Asgard, Cher came in with a surprisingly large child over one bony shoulder.
"She is sleeping." He stated quietly, before putting her down in the crib. Her straight blonde hair and long body looked somewhat out of place in the babyish crib, despite her footie pyjamas.
"Cher, is this *our* child?"
"Yes, Thor did inform you that we had to take some drastic measures to insure her survival, did he not?"
"Well yeah, but she's huge... I mean, she's only a couple of hours old."
"In order to save her life we had to prematurely age her to that of approximately 18 of your months, we have adjusted her mental capacities as well."
"Isn't this something the Goa'uld do?" Sam asked, I dimly realised that we were still hanging on to one another, but I couldn't tear my eyes away from the angelic sleeping form of our daughter.
"The Goa'uld have stolen this technique, along with many others, to prematurely age future hosts for themselves. But do not worry, once the process has been completed, as it has in the case of your child, it cannot be started again. She will grow and mature as a normal human child from this point. Her knowledge has been passed to her through the method the Ancients taught us." He looked to me. "Do not worry, she has only received what is necessary for a child of her age and genesis. The only side effects of this procedure will be extreme fatigue for a short while and perhaps heightened intelligence when she reaches adolescence, we have attempted to reduce these, but they are persistent, I apologise."
"So you're telling us, that other than the fact that she's now a year and a half old and *might* be as smart as her mom later on, Sunny's perfect?" I asked, happy that something had gone right for a change.
"Yes, I believe I am." He looked at the two of us and I had to remind myself not to hug the Asgard. "I must go assist Commander Thor." Cher's parting words as he left the three of us alone.
Sam walked over to the crib, dragging me with her. I wasn't prepared for this, only a couple hours before I'd thought we might never see her, and then she was right in front of us.
"Look at her Jack, she's beautiful." She reached out to, I assume, brush the hair off of Sunheko's face. Her eyes opened to reveal big bright eyes that were a shade of brown lighter than mine, but I thought with time they'd be more hazel than anything.
"Mommy?" She whispered faintly. Before I realised what had happened I had not only Sam in my arms, but Sunny as well, considering Sam had somehow managed to reach in and pick up the awakening child.
"She's really here Jack, our baby, our perfect little girl." I took the weight from Sam before giving both of the women I loved kisses.
"Hey Angel, how're you feeling?" I didn't know how much knowledge Thor and Cher given her exactly, she did seem to know who we were, which to me was a positive sign.
"Daddy." She sighed, before laying her head down on my shoulder and, like Charlie used to do, falling asleep.
"What are we supposed to do now?" I asked, before kissing Sam once more.
"I guess we should go back to bed, I don't think Sunheko's going to feel like getting up any time soon, she's been through a lot."
With my arm around Sam, and Sunny on my shoulder, we headed for the Human Relics Deck. I had no idea where the heck we were, but thankfully one of us was paying attention and Sam soon had us in territory I recognised. When we made it into the furniture store area, Daniel and Teal'c were still sleeping (or Kel-no-reeming, whichever the case may have been), completely oblivious to all we'd been through.
Sam chose a large bed and, after removing her boots and jacket, took Sunny from me so I could do the same. Our whole family, finally together, fell asleep in one contented heap, our arms around not only each other but the miracle we had created together as well.
A smiling face- always a good thing to wake up to. Sunny was sitting on my chest looking down at me with a big Carter smile, she was definitely our daughter.
"Hey Princess, feeling better?" My baby just sat there, so I took the initiative and pulled her down flat on the bed, tickling her. She giggled and I swear that if it weren't for the fact that she'd inherited her Grandfather Jacob's eyes she could have been Sam's clone. Oh my god, I thought, Jacob was going to kill me, Selmak would probably want to get in on the action too, but it was still not going to be a pretty sight when we did meet up again. Jacob was going to love this little beauty, I knew that much, I sure did, so much so that I was having some trouble believing the giggling one and a half year old was really the one day old baby I conceived with Sam seven months ago.
"Daddy," She breathed between laughs. "hungry."
"Okay," I got up and, cradling Sunheko, gave her blonde hair a quick kiss for good measure. "Any idea where your Mommy went?" The head shaking showed her comprehension of the question, as well as her lack of knowledge on Sam's whereabouts.
I looked around for anyone else that just might happen to still be around, both Daniel and Teal'c were still in the exact same positions they were in when we went to bed earlier, must have been nice to be able to sleep through *anything*.
"Teal'c." I said, coming to the Jaffa's side, his eyes popped open.
"You seen Carter?"
"No O'Neill, I have not, I have been occupied with the process of Kel-no-reem."
"From whence did you acquire a child O'Neill?"
"Teal'c, this is Sam and my daughter Sunheko." I grinned broadly. "The Asgard made her healthy."
"Hello Sunheko O'Neill, I am Teal'c."
"O'Neill? Carter and I haven't really talked about last names yet, or middle names for that matter. Hum... for now I guess she's just Sunheko, like Cher." Teal'c's look was blank, as was Sunny's. "The singer, not the Asgard." I added, still getting blank looks I moved on to more pressing matters. "You'd better get Daniel up, I'll find Sam. We've got some story to tell you guys." Sunny and I left Teal'c to his task of awakening Sleeping Beauty, and headed off in search of Sam. We got as far as my vest, before I realised it was alone, which to me meant Sam probably had hers on, which also seemed to mean that she must have her radio with her. Woohoo! Score loads of points for Jack.
"Carter, come in Sam."
"Where are you?"
"With Lauprezin, she has said that they're willing to re-instate the treaty with Earth." Her voice changed to the familiar tone I had come to recognise as her talking to me, 'Jack' instead of her talking to me, her CO. "How's Sunheko?"
"She's great, says she's hungry, but she is awake and pretty much happy, what more could we ask for?"
"The Balteri have invited us to eat with them to finalise the re-instatement with the rest of our negotiating team, why don't you get her dressed and wake Teal'c and Daniel?" She was as good at giving orders as I was, probably better considering hers were most likely going to be followed.
"Yeah, okay, see ya in a few. Out."
"Oh, and Jack?" She waited for my response, which I gave. "Remember where the baby stuff was? That'd probably be a good place to go for supplies."
"Thanks." I love her, I really really love her.
"Hungry." Sunny said insistently, and yet again the fact that I had a child again, let alone that she was a year and a half old, astounded me.
"Sorry Honey, we're gonna go eat with some friends of ours. But first we've gotta find you something to wear." I sniffed at her, making her giggle. "And maybe a new diaper."
We hiked through the HRD, not bothering to inform Daniel or Teal'c where we were headed. I was just getting turned around... again and had no idea which direction their Baby Superstore or my team could be in when I was tapped on the shoulder.
"Ahhhh!" I turned around, and Thor was right behind me.
"I apologise O'Neill, but the Furlings have prepared a repulsive feast and are awaiting your arrival before they consume it."
"Tor!" Sunny exclaimed happily, I guess we'd been made aware of at least one more piece of knowledge they'd given our daughter.
"Hello." I swear that was a smile. "I trust you are well?"
"Yeah, she's great. Thank you." I was being honest there, and Thor knew it.
"May I assist you O'Neill?"
"Yes... please... we seem to have gotten turned around."
"This way." He didn't ask what we were looking for, but soon we were standing right in the middle of baby supply central.
"Thanks Buddy." I said as I managed to locate a package of Huggies in the myriad of items I was sure we'd be needing sooner or later. In record time, I had Sunny changed and out of her pink and green footie Pjs then, after locating a large wardrobe, I selected a pair of overalls and a t-shirt which she went into considerably easier than I expected from my memories of Charlie. Fully clothed, with shoes and all, I brushed through her short hair and made a surprisingly successful attempt at getting back to my team.
Leaving Sunheko and Jack our first morning after really becoming a 'family' wasn't something I was happy to do. But it was necessary for me to speak with Lauprezin and the fact that we were invited to dine with the Council was very important and welcome news.
I just hoped the four of us (well five if you count the one and a half year old that had unknowingly been the fifth to our negotiating team the entire time) could keep our thoughts happy enough, long enough to deal with the grief stricken telepaths. Out of their entire colony the 'Balteri' lost almost one fourth of their population.
Thor joined me while I waited for SG-1. We didn't speak... we just stared at one another, things had changed in my relationship with him too, it was almost as if I'd disappointed him as I surely had done Daniel, Teal'c, and General Hammond. Maybe that was our real crime, maybe we'd hurt more people without realising it, maybe they were all surprised Jack and I could do something like this... then again, maybe not. We never meant for things to end that way, for an entire civilisation to be nearly wiped out because of our own selfishness, but maybe that wasn't the end, maybe the meal with the Balteri and SG-1 would revive relations with not only the newly discovered Furlings but with our two friends on SG-1 as well.
When all things seemed dampened by one miserable day the man you love invariably comes around the corner with your beautiful daughter- it's cliché, but it was also my life. Sunheko was giggling at something Jack had said and even Teal'c and Daniel who flanked them on either side, had warm smiles on their faces.
The four jubilant (okay, Teal'c could just have been classified as 'happy') people reached me and immediately I found Sunheko had lunged into my arms; how she managed to do it from Jack's shoulders was beyond me. I hugged her small body tightly.
"How are you honey? Mommy missed you." Jack noticed my awkwardness at the self-appointed title, and pulled his arms around the two of us.
"You mentioned something about food?" He asked, the cue for me to lead them in to the freshly prepared Balteri... or was it Furling, food.
"Yes." I gave Sunheko a kiss and a smile before handing her back to Jack. "You're her father and I've got to play chief diplomat." I answered, before he could even comment.
Despite the fact that Sunheko represented everything the Bal... Furlings had lost, she was still the hit of the meal. I guess a smiling, innocent baby was just what everyone needed. Feeling a bit left out, but extremely happy things were going so well for us again, I just let myself eat and enjoy my friends' company.
"So... Sam, Jack, what are we going to do now?" Daniel asked as he suddenly got Sunny taken from him... again. "I never get her for very long." He pouted before turning his attention back to the two of us.
"I dunno Danny, we're taking the Balteri/Furlings, whatever, home right now and after that it's up to Thor."
"Are we planning on going home?"
"I hope so, after the Balteri are gone we'll be stuck with nothing but Asgard food."
"We're just worried they may not welcome us back with open arms." I added, remembering our somewhat desperate food situation.
"We preformed the necessary duties; we retrieved your child, destroyed yet another false god and were able to rectify the Balteri/Earth treaty, as O'Neill is so fond of saying- they owe it to us to allow us to return."
"We've done this too often, how many more times to you think they'll welcome us back with no consequences?"
"Where shall we reside then? We have nowhere to go." Teal'c brought up a valid point.
"I don't know." Jack answered honestly before Lauprezin joined us and we moved on to much more uplifting subjects (most of which pertained, to some degree, to our daughter).
"Sam," Jack called to me, from where he was playing with our daughter. "can we talk?"
Daniel quickly agreed to keep an eye on Sunheko and soon I found myself walking hand in hand with Jack towards the other side of the HRD.
"How are you handling all of this?"
"Things are just a little confusing right now. I mean, our daughter is a year and a half old, some of our best friends died last night, *and* we may never get to go home again."
"We'll work things out." He assured as we continued walking. "Are we okay?" He asked timidly, he had noticed my trepidation in getting close to him.
"Hum?" I played dumb.
"Come on, you've been avoiding me since we got here. What'd I do?"
"Nothing, you didn't do anything wrong. I just can't handle *you* right now."
"What's that supposed to mean?" We'd stopped walking in favour of facing one another and gesticulating emphatically.
"You scare me Jack, you're so 'intense' that I never know which rule we're going to break together next. It's not you're fault, and I think you're a great father for Sunheko, but I don't know if I want to be *us* anymore." His face looked like I'd just killed him. "I'm sorry." Fighting tears had never been that tough.
"What did I do to you? I love you Sam, you know that. You're all that matters to me anymore, you and Sunny."
"I've come to realise that the regulations are there for a reason; I mean, look at all the danger we've put our friends in and think about the entire society that was almost wiped out yesterday because of our actions. I can't be with you knowing that we might make the same mistakes all over again. I don't want to ruin anyone else's life because of my own selfish actions."
"Woah, I thought we settled this last night." I started walking again, needing an excuse not to look at the man I loved getting his heart broken... by me.
"Nothing was settled last night, only pushed back. If... When we get back to Earth we're going to be court marshalled and I can't go through that *with* you, once we get back there I don't want to see you anymore."
"You don't mean that."
"Yes I do." I kept walking and he kept following me all the way across the HRD.
"We can't do this to Sunny. She needs a family, parents who love each other."
"What if we don't love each other?"
"But we do!"
"We could change that, we could *not* love each other, we've done it before."
"What we used to do was not not love each other, that was just ignoring our feelings and as I recall that didn't last too long."
"Jack." I finally turned to him, hoping he could see the desperation on my face. "We can't let Sunheko see us go through all of this, especially now that she's so old."
"So what? We can't be together because our daughter *might* see us unhappy? Don't you think that maybe we'd be even more unhappy apart?"
"I don't know!" I looked into his eyes, my brave, uncaring front gone. "All I do know is that we can't go on like this. Think about it Jack, the Balteri entered our lives nine months ago and we subsequently began *this*, seven months ago I got pregnant... and since then our lives have been nothing but subterfuge, I can't go back to that."
"And you won't have to, with Sunny around I would never even ask you to, but that doesn't matter anyway, we told... well Daniel told Hammond before we left- even if we wanted to we couldn't go back to hiding it."
"I love you." It was out of my mouth before I could stop it. "You're impossible to fight with, ya know that? Even Maybourne's completely taken with you."
"Oh come on, why'd you have to go there?" He asked, taking me tightly into his arms as we both laughed, all the tension of the last few minutes and days seeming to evaporate in our mirth.
"You know it's the truth, why else would he be coming around so often to see you?"
"Carter, we're colleagues, in a very broad sense of the word, I'm an Air Force Colonel, he was an Air Force Colonel... of course now we've got even more in common considering we're both AWOL Air Force Colonels. Ya know, now I'm going to have to dwell on this whole Harry issue." He finished, kissing me quickly before sliding his arm around my waist and steering me back in the direction we were originally headed in. "So, we okay now?"
"Yeah, hopefully this is all from the stress of the last couple days. I can't believe I'm a 'Mommy' now, it's scary."
"Uh huh, but she's beautiful, looks just like you said she would."
"No she doesn't, I said she would have your eyes- her eyes are the exact same colour as my father's."
"Oh so you noticed that too did ya?"
"Other than that it's all how I expected, and yet completely different. I just didn't expect to miss her first words and steps and tooth... we're never going to be able to get her first year and a half of life back."
"No, but she's still got a lot of growing up to do yet, and believe me, teenage boys are not to be trusted, I was one once." I smiled, a whole future of imagined happenings flashing before my eyes as I though of Sunheko's future firsts, including the dreaded development of an interest in boys. "Besides, we'll be able to do everything right with the next one."
"Yes next one, I fully intend on asking you to marry me once we get back to Earth, but at least try and act surprised when it comes." Dumbfounded, I went back to my daydream of our future perfect life... 'next one' included.
The Asgard took 10 days to get back to Balteria Major. It seemed 'Commander' Thor had been shirking his duties as Commander of the Asgard fleet and he needed to go around to a few planets to check out the situation. Danny loved the opportunity to study his 'guide' thingie, as well as getting to meet all those Asgard protectorates who knew the 'truth' about them. Teal'c found some 'ineffective human weapons' which he used to play with the bored-out-of-their-minds Balteri children. Which left Sam, Sunny, and I time to get to know each other as a family.
But all of our fun came to an end when we arrived on Balteria Major and were left with a decision.
Lauprezin had asked us to be guests of the Council again, but Thor, once he had found out about our situation on Earth, had offered us jobs. The toss up for us was 1.) an extended family vacation for the five of us or 2.) jobs and a nice permanent life for Sunny. Permanent was of course a loose term to be used until we could decide when and how we would be going back to Earth.
The more Sunny got to know the four of us (Sam and me in particular) the more she started speaking. Everything seemed to be going in fast forward for us, the child who'd been born only a few days before was running and speaking in sentences, paragraphs even sometimes. We were told we shouldn't notice her heightened intelligence until she reached adolescence... but I'd been around a lot of little kids, and for her age Sunheko was way ahead of the rest. Maybe the only contact the Asgard had had with small children had been with highly intelligent children, either that or Sunny was naturally that way which, given her mother, wouldn't be that surprising.
Sam was loving motherhood, whatever awkwardness there'd been the first day or so with our year and a half old child she'd lost and had quickly become attached. Of course I was also having a great time, I had always thought of Sam as my second chance at life and love, well I felt that Sunheko was my second chance at fatherhood, only this time I was going to do it all right and cherish her all the more because I knew how special she really was.
"O'Neill, you wished to see me?" Thor finally came out of his 'office'.
"Yeah buddy, I did." I stood, putting my hands in the pockets of the jeans I had found on the HRD.
"How may I assist you?" He'd been weird since finding out about Carter and my 'predicament', less like my buddy and more like an awkward little cousin you only see once a year.
"SG-1 has finally decided what we'd like to do. We'd like to stay on Balteria for a few days, a week at the most, introduce Sunny to 'planet-side' things like trees, animals, and sunlight."
"As you wish O'Neill." He handed me one of those crystal thingies. "You may use this when you are ready to re-join the Asgard, a ship will come to collect you within two Balteri days."
"Thanks Buddy, for all your help." I said leaving to tell the others our leave had been 'approved'.
"Guess what guys!" I found all four of them sitting on a couch watching, of all things, Sesame Street. How Carter'd managed to hotwire the TV and VCR is beyond me, but she'd done it and Sunny was giggling at the antics of the Count as numbers flew across the screen in the form of bats, all dancing to a cute little song. My daughter loved this, sitting on her mother's lap, her face bright, she was just soaking up her first television experience.
Finally, my family turned to me, "Hey Jack."
"Daddy!" Once I'd been spotted, Sunny thrust herself upon me.
"Guess what guys!" I repeated, now that I had everyone's attention.
"Thor approved our 'leave'; we can go down whenever we're packed."
"All right, come on Teal'c." Daniel drug Teal'c off towards the massive amounts of clothing we'd found.
"How long did you tell him we'll be gone for?" Sam asked, as Sunny and I sat down next to her to finish the show.
"A few days, a week max, it'll give us a nice, much needed rest. Not to mention how nice it'll be to finally have our own bedroom away from Daniel and Teal'c again." The look she shot me over our daughter's head told me how she had taken that statement. "I've just been feeling, lately, that even with Sunny in bed with us Daniel's watching for us to do something, I feel guilty for even wanting to hold you at night." That one moment of emotional exposition earned me a quick kiss. "Have you given any thought to what we'll do for the Asgard once our 'vacation's' over?"
"A bit, I'd like to study their technology a bit, maybe give them some more 'dumb ideas'. At least then I'd have something to offer when we get back to Earth."
"I just figured I'd hang out with Thor, maybe offer up some dumb ideas of my own." She smiled at me, I realised that even on Earth she hadn't been smiling as much as she had before, and it bugged me.
"I guess we'd better get going." The scene had ended on Ernie singing to his rubber ducky, she clicked off the television just as she would have if we had been on Earth, ejecting the tape as I picked up Sunny and carried her with me as we headed off in the direction Teal'c and Daniel had gone in earlier.
Packing was pretty easy. We didn't have very much, so Sam and I collected all the clothes we'd taken as the three of ours and tossed them into a couple of bags. Daniel and Teal'c were done by then, joining us and entertaining Sunny while we played the frazzled parents, making sure we had everything we could ever, possibly need.
"Come on guys, Balteria awaits."
Sharcon was waiting for us when we made it to their bridge. He had the Asgard equivalent of a pout on his face as he went over the procedure for contacting the Asgard to come pick us up again. They didn't seem to think I could handle it on my own.
I was kind of sad to see the ship go, having become accustomed to the Asgard way of life (not much more different that ours when you really thought about it), but we were all starting to get a bit of cabin fever and Sunny really needed to get out and see other things.
"We'll go find Lauprezin and see what she wants us to do." Daniel and Teal'c left us in the lightly forested ring of vegetation around Balteria City; Sunny turned circles, taking in the birds, and trees and the fact that the world was moving a bit differently than usual.
"Welcome to Balteria Major, Sunheko." Sam picked up our daughter and we started walking through the 'forest', our family had started in that same place and it was good to be coming 'home' again- or as close to a planet to call home as we were to have for the time being.
It was weird. It was so incredibly weird that I didn't really know what to do other than pick up my obviously dumbfounded daughter and, grabbing Jack's hand, I decided we could use a little family walk to get Sunheko used to being on this new planet.
We'd only been on Balteria Major 17 days earlier, but I guess none of us were really paying attention to the weather. The warm summer weather we experienced for our three month stay was gone, it was replaced with very crisp, strong gusts of wind blowing through the trees, making them dance. We stopped at the edge of a small lake, looking out over the rippling water. Sunheko, with the fickle independence needs of any 18 month old, wriggled out of my arms to stand between the two of us, her confidence seeming to grow as she realised we weren't alarmed at all by the strange new sights.
"What I wouldn't give for a camera right now." Jack said, looking down at our daughter. Sunny, unfamiliar with the object in question, just smiled sweetly up at her father before something across the water caught her attention.
"Daddy! Stargate!" She yelled, looking between the two of us and the object in question, across the water and in the distance.
"Asgard told ya about that eh? You wanna go see it?" She was jumping up and down the way only a small child can, to show how much she really liked that idea. "Of course you do." He picked her up and started to walk off, around the lake, before turning back to me on an afterthought. "You mind, Sam?"
"No, of course not, have fun." I let them go, watching as Sunny enjoyed her father's undivided attention. I also watched as the Stargate activated in a bright flash of unstable wormhole. For a moment, as I realised my family was no longer there, I panicked thinking the worst had happened and they'd been caught up in the unstable vortex. But, thankfully, I saw a flash of the red overalls Sunny had been wearing that day and realised Jack had jumped out of the way to hide in the bushes. It wasn't until I noticed something was coming through the wormhole that I decided it might be prudent to duck as well, especially considering it was a MALP. I watched the camera pan around, the second after it passed their position, I could see Jack take off running with Sunheko held firmly in his arms, once it passed me too I did the same; it was important for us to not only flee the MALP but for us to be out of the vicinity in case they were to send a UAV as well.
I didn't know where they would have gone, so I just headed for Lauprezin considering the rest of my team was supposed to be with her. Thankfully, as I entered the Main Council Chambers (they were still out of session considering they'd only been back a day) I saw both Jack and Sunny happily regaling Daniel and Teal'c with what had happened to us.
"Mommy! Did you see the Stargate? Daddy says we shouldn't let the MALP see us, did the MALP see you?" She said excitedly, pronouncing the name of the probe oddly.
"No honey, it didn't see me, and your Daddy's probably right." I picked her up to stop her from jumping up and down incessantly. I noticed several Balteri join us, and realised they were willing to follow our thoughts and take Sunny to allow us to speak seriously. "Hey baby, why don't you go with these people and see if you can find your friends from the ship?"
"Okay Mommy." She got down again, and after a quick round of hugs, went walking off confidently, telling her Balteri attendants about her adventure with the Stargate.
Once she was out of sight, we all turned to one another again.
"What really happened?" Daniel asked first. "Somehow I'm not buying the story of it being a great game to hide from the MALP."
"You're right. Sunheko got really excited when she saw the Stargate, she even knew what we call it. So, Jack took her to see it up-close, it activated about the time they got there from, I'm assuming, Earth." I finished the rest of the short story with Jack filling in the necessary bits from his and Sunny's point of view; once we were finally finished, the four of us could only stand around and think of the complications that would arise from that one moment.
"They're going to send a team." Daniel stated. "If they sent a UAV, they'll send a team once they see the Balteri are back."
"The Asgard are gone, if we call them it'll take them at least two days to get here. By that time the SGC team will probably have come and gone."
"So we either turn ourselves in or we..."
Daniel interrupted me. "Lay low, hope they leave without looking around too much."
"Yeah, sounds like a good plan." Jack, unconsciously I'm sure, put an arm around my waist. "We lay low, ask the Balteri not to mention we're here and make an attempt to enjoy our vacation. Even if we're lying low there's gotta be something fun to do around here. Why don't you and Teal'c go ask the Balteri if they'll keep our presence to themselves, while we take our stuff and check out our rooms?" For once, they accepted this, and after telling us where our new block of rooms were they headed off to Lauprezin's private chambers again.
Carrying the belongings for all five of us was not as difficult as it sounds. We just didn't *own* much, the adult four of us still had our packs, but we kept them on our backs once we'd left Thor's ship, leaving the two of us only responsible for the two of our own, and beyond that everyone had just one duffle bag.
Our new rooms were surprisingly close to where our old ones had been. We opened the door to the room designated as Teal'c's to find candles everywhere, like I said, the Balteri could anticipate every need. Daniel's room was next, we tossed his bag on his bed and left, there was nothing really exciting there, other than some paper and pencils. I opened the door to our room and was surprised, there was no bed. This was before I realised that there were more doors in our room this time, as opposed to the one door from before that lead to the bathroom.
Jack tossed our three remaining bags to the floor and went to open one of the doors. He located the bathroom, I on the other hand had opened the door to what I assumed to be Sunny's room, I came to this conclusion because of the toddler bed and the other small sized furniture that was around the room.
"Guess this means we'll be sleeping alone again?" Jack stated, wrapping his arms around my waist.
"Guess so, the three of us *would* probably be a bit cramped in there." Leaning back against him, I placed my hands on his arms as I indicated the incredibly small bed.
"So where's our room?" Jack asked, his lips at my neck.
We walked to the next door, the only remaining one, across the living area from Sunheko's room, and opened it. The room, a stark contrast from Sunny's, was big with a large bed and nicer furniture than what we'd had the previous time we'd lived on the planet.
"Woah." Jack, his arms still around me, said. "This is nice." His lips back on my neck, his hands pulled my borrowed shirt from the waistband of my, also borrowed, jeans. I turned my head, and our lips met for our first real kiss in almost a month. Jack's hands were just moving up across my ribs when someone started knocking enthusiastically on our door.
If that is Daniel, so help me..." Jack trailed off his threat, as I spun around to answer the door, Daniel or not.
Pulling open the unbelievably heavy door, I was surprised to see several Balteri. That was before I noticed the small brown mess that somewhat resembled my daughter.
"Mommy! Look!" Sunny stepped into the room, thankfully foregoing her usual hello hug, and held out what I assumed to be a mud pie.
"Thanks guys, see you at dinner." I dismissed her Balteri attendants before my not-so-nice thoughts on them letting her get so completely dirty reached them.
"Wow, Sunny, what's that?" Jack, obviously having gotten over his annoyance at being interrupted when he saw our daughter, joined in appraising the damage that had been done in our child's discovery of mud.
"Rielda gave me this!" She squealed happily.
"She did?" My mommy voice, something I'd recently acquired, was going in full force.
"Yes, *her* mommy likes 'em." I couldn't help but smile, despite my unhappiness at her incredibly messy state, at her father's inflection coming through clearly in her small voice.
I took the mud pie from her, both Jack and I making a big show of 'oohing' and 'aahhing' over it before putting it down as neatly as possible.
"Thank you honey, it's very nice. Do you want to take a bath now?" It was something we'd told her about, being in a tub full of water, but despite her appearance and knowledge she only had 12 days of life experience... the concept just didn't mean anything to her, and now that we were off of Thor's ship with more terrestrial bathing methods available we wanted her to get used to it like any normal child.
"Okay Mommy." And so our adventure began. We'd found baby soap, along with everything else we needed, on the HRD. Jack filled up the Balteri bathtub (not much different from ours actually) while I looked for the most efficient way to get Sunny out of her, now soaked, formerly red, overalls.'
Oddly enough, despite being one of the 'best and brightest' of Earth, with my doctorate in Theoretical Astrophysics, I was having a hard time getting into motherhood. Maybe, if we'd all been on Earth, with our picturesque setting and twelve day old baby, I would have done better. But what I'd gotten instead was to run and hide from my own people and a child with the body of a year and a half old and the mind of a four year old.
It may not have been what I was expecting, or what I really wanted, but after being with her and seeing her see everything for the first time I would never have wanted to trade her in for that twelve day old baby.
I finally decided on a course of action, unsnap the snappies at the bottom, undo the clasps on her chest and just let them fall off of her. It worked, and soon I was left with having to deal only with pulling her tee shirt over her head; thankfully, there wasn't a nasty, mud filled, soaking wet diaper to contend with, as Sunny had, once she'd started speaking to us more, eschewed her diaper, stating that she could use the toilet just like us.
The bathtub full of warm water and baby soap smelling bubbles, Jack and I carefully assisted our only child into the water.
She looked between the two of us, her expressive hazel eyes unsure of what her reaction should be to yet another new experience. I gave her an encouraging smile and held out a bath toy we'd appropriated for her use. Jack watched from the door as the two of us managed to get just about every square inch of the bathroom soaking wet.
By the time I had Sunny wrapped in a towel and the water draining, my CO, lover, and father of my first and only child, was having a hard time containing the huge grin that was fighting for room on his face.
"What's so funny?" I asked, knowing perfectly well, as we took Sunny to her room to get dressed.
"Oh nothing, I've just never seen you so... messy, is all."
"Jack, it's only water. We were just having fun."
"I understand that, I wasn't reprimanding you Carter. Hey Sunny, pink or green?" Jack asked, holding out two pairs of pyjamas.
"Pink!" She exclaimed, as I brushed through her neat, shoulder length hair.
"All right, pink it is then."
"Okay kiddo," I said, once we'd wrangled her into her pyjamas. "Daddy's going to go get us dinner, what do you want to do while we wait?"
I left Sam and Sunny doing *something* that involved them both lying on their backs on the living room floor, I didn't ask, both of my girls looked happy and that was all that mattered to me. My mission was food, and that was what I would bring them.
The Balteri had done a great job recovering, I guess that considering they'd left everything right where they'd been using it, and the fact that the Goa'uld didn't waste time searching the planet, everything was in good condition and order to just pick up using it again.
I entered the cafeteria to find Daniel, Teal'c, and every single other person I'd met on that planet.
"Hey guys." I said to my team members.
"Where have you been Jack?" Daniel's old suspicious self was back.
"Sunny's friends introduced her to mud. She had to take her first bath, and there was no way I was going to miss that."
"Where are Major Carter and the Child Sunheko?"
"In our room, we didn't want her to have to get dressed again. I'm just here for dinner, we were planning on just eating in tonight."
"You mind if we join you? We should probably discuss what Lauprezin said."
"Oh, yeah, sure." I did mind actually, I wanted to be alone with Sam and Sunheko for a while longer, but I guess as fugitives, that was a luxury we just couldn't have.
I grabbed our favourite dishes, and even remembered to have the sippy cup we'd brought down for Sunny filled with some sort of juice. I was glad to have the guys with me, considering how much food I ended up getting for the three of us. Once we got back to our room, the guys both marvelled at our "family suite", Teal'c even blinked. Daniel, thankfully, refrained from comment.
"So guys, what'd Lauprezin have to say?" I asked around a bite of food.
"She said they would not reveal our presence, but they would also not deceive the people of Earth any further."
"That's all we ask. Here Sunny, try this." I gave her some sort of sweet bread, which she took a cautious bite of before quickly eating the rest with a grin on her face.
"All right then, let's all try to enjoy this vacation as much as possible, we never know when we'll get a chance to relax like this again." I ordered, to be followed by a knock at our door, an ever-increasing occurrence.
I opened the door to, once again, several Balteri, only this time they weren't bearing dirty children, they seemed *excited*.
"Hey guys, care to come in?"
The excited Balteri got right to the point. "The Stargate activated, explorers from your world are on their way to the city. We felt you would wish to know this information."
"You felt right, thank you."
"I guess we'd better call it a night guys. Normally in a situation like this I'd recommend we maintain radio contact, but considering these are our own people, I think radio silence is our best bet. Any objections, thoughts... comments?"
"I have none."
"We will contact you in the morning with their progress, or before, if it becomes apparent they have discovered something of worry."
"Thank you, we'd appreciate that." Sam said.
Sunny finished her food by the time our unexpected guests left, and she happily waved "goodbye" to her 'Balteri Friends'.
"I guess we'll see you tomorrow sometime." Daniel said, as he and Teal'c walked the short distance down the hall to their own rooms.
"Hope somebody brings us some food or something tomorrow." I muttered, as Sam, Sunny, and I locked our door and started cleaning up our living room.
"Hope so. Okay Sunheko, time for bed." Sam enthused cheerily, like it was something every child should want to do.
"Okay Mommy." She begrudgingly agreed, stalking off towards her bedroom, with us in tow of course.
The three of us brushed our teeth (more borrowed items) and then read a couple stories together before Sam and I managed to talk Sunny into trying to go to sleep in her own bed.
"So..." I said, once we were sitting on our 'couch', my arm around her shoulders, and our feet propped up on the 'coffee table'. "Exciting time we've had lately."
"Jack, I think that is the understatement of all understatements."
"Sorry, I just don't know what to even think about this right now. I mean, just thinking about how close Sunny and I came to that wormhole today scares the shit out of me. I can't imagine losing her like..." I trailed off, I didn't want to talk about Charlie, it wasn't fair to Sam and it definitely wasn't fair to Sunny for me to be comparing him to her.
"It's all right Jack."
"No it's not, it was stupid of me to take her close to the 'gate like that. I don't know how we're going to manage her safety once we get back to Earth, but we're going to have to be even more careful than we would if we were any other parents."
I interrupted her. "No Sam, listen to me, I've thought this through. We're hated enough already in Goa'uld town, they tried to wipe out an entire Asgard protectorate because of us... when they find out about Sunny they'll try and use her against us. There's no telling what the NID will want to do to her if they come up with the idea that she could possibly be a Harsesis, which she's not."
"They will not get her, if your Goa'uld wasn't absorbed, if left you while it died, then they should know she couldn't possibly be Harsesis."
"I know that, and you know that, but we've had problems with the NID before... they're idiots, they never listen, not even to scientific fact."
Her hand on my chest was reassuring. "They won't get her. We'll be all right." Her smile was intoxicating, *Sam* was back. "So, you feel like a bath? It's only been what? Two weeks since our last shower?"
Her change of subject worked, "Sure, that sounds like the best idea I've heard all day." She stood and then helped me off the couch. "We'd better check on Sunny."
"Yeah." Despite her firm statement to the contrary, it appeared as if Sunny had managed to sleep in a bed without us. We quietly closed the door back on our angelic daughter and headed to the bathroom to re-fill the bathtub.
During our first stay, neither Sam or I had had a bathtub in our rooms, and I don't recall hearing any bubble bath stories from either Teal'c or Daniel; I don't know what the criteria for shower verses tub assignment was, but this time, we'd gotten one, and it wasn't an opportunity we were going to pass up.
Sam started the warm water filling while I got some of their wonderful, strange fabric "towels" out from under their "sink"(glorified fountain, whatever).
Without speaking, I went and grabbed some night clothes for each of us from our bags. While sleeping with Sunny, we'd gone back to the sweats we'd been wearing during the 'waiting period' after the procedure; Not that I minded, I was just anxiously awaiting our return to Earth, and maybe the ability to feel a little more of Carter's body against mine at night.
The room had gotten distinctly warmer by the time I had closed the door behind myself and placed our clothing on the counter with the "towels", and there was a nice, Sam-style scent in the air from the bubbles topping the water at the edge of the tub.
"It's ready." Sam stated, turning to me. I kissed her quickly before helping her, unnecessarily, out of her shirt. The rest of both of our clothes soon followed. Quickly, I had made room for her between my legs as I sat in the tub amongst thousands of tiny bubbles, soon welcoming Sam into my arms.
To say I was happy would have been an understatement, I had the perfect daughter, and the woman I loved naked and in my arms. Other than the fact that we were fugitives, I couldn't have asked for anything more.
"This is nice." I whispered into Sam's ear, as her gentle caress on my lower thigh told me she'd gotten herself situated.
"Uh huh." She muttered, the warm water and (hopefully) soothing embrace having lulled her into a deep state of relaxation. "I've missed you." She finally said, leaning her head back on my shoulder to look up at me.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean this, I had no idea parenting could be so detrimental to your sex life."
"Only happens to good parents. Sunny's needed our full attention lately, not to mention the fact that we've spent the last 17 days sleeping in the same room as Daniel."
"This is still nice."
"What'd I say? We're on vacation." I kissed the mouth that was so kindly pointed in my direction. "I love you."
"I know, I love you too. Now, make love to me Jack."
"Ya know, I've never done this in a bathtub before." "Never?" She sounded surprised.
"No never. Believe it or not, I don't bathe with every woman I meet." That got one of her wonderful smiles.
"Then I get to be your first."
"Thank you." I murmured, a while later, after the water had cooled and we were attempting to drag ourselves out of our comfortable state.
"For being you," I wrapped a warm, Balterian towel around her. "And for introducing me to something new, we should definitely do this more often."
We decided to forgo our pyjamas, favouring instead to feel one another against each other, how we'd slept seven months ago, during our first stay on the great planet Balteria Major.
The next morning Sam woke me with a smile on her face, it was nice to be getting that from her consistently again. She kissed me, tasting of Balterian coffee.
"We heard from Sunny this morning?"
"I checked on her, and Miss Sunheko is still sleeping. The Balteri dropped off breakfast, and they said that the team from Earth had asked for an audience with the Council." She was lying on her side, facing me, which created an irresistible gap between the waistband and the shirt of the pyjamas I assumed she'd put on for the Balteri. I slid my hand in the gap, splaying my hand across her stomach. "Aren't you hungry?"
"Not for food. Not right now." She gave a little squeal as I pulled her across the bed. "I want you. You're beautiful, and ya know what?" I kissed her. "I've missed you too."
"Feel free miss me more often Colonel."
"I'd rather have you all the time instead."
"Mommy? Daddy?" I swear, Sunny must have been taking lessons in timing from Daniel. I picked my head up off Sam's shoulder to look at Sam's face, she was laughing.
"Just a minute baby, we'll be right out." She called, as I rolled off of her to grab my appropriated boxer shorts.
Dressed in record time, we shared a quick kiss before I opened the door to find Sunny standing by the massive spread of food we'd been brought, chewing. She jumped, as if she'd been caught doing something wrong, when she heard us enter the room.
"Whew," I ignored her guilty look. "I'm starved. What do you think we should eat for breakfast Sunny?"
Cautiously, she extended a hand to point at some of the sweet bread I'd given her the night before, this loaf just happened to be missing a piece out of it. "Bread?"
"Okay." I grabbed both her and the bread, and carried them both over to the table. Sam filled Sunny's sippy cup and got coffee, while I managed to break the loaf into three (somewhat) equal portions. We ate our first real meal as just our family quietly, I remember wanting to cherish that moment, because just as with our vacation, I never knew when we'd have the opportunity again.
Sam and I showered separately, considering someone needed to be with Sunny. I went first, by the time I was done Sam had Sunny completely dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, and tennis shoes, her blonde hair even had little ribbon bows to keep it out of her eyes, she looked like any other child you'd see on the playground... on Earth. While Sam showered, Sunny and I explored her room, not only was the furniture child-sized, but there were also toys in a chest as well, and it was there that we found what appeared to be a colouring book with crayons.
When Sam came out of the bathroom, we were sitting on the floor of the main living area, Sunny was using our "coffee table" as a... well as a table, and I was just leaning back against the couch, watching to make sure she didn't decide to colour all over the Balterian's stuff.
"Colouring book!" Sunny informed her happily.
"A colouring book, wow, can I colour with you?"
"Sure Mommy." She offered a yellow crayon as Sam sat next to her. I watched my girls make beautiful artwork until the Balteri brought us our lunch, which we ate, after we'd been informed that the Council was still in session.
Sometime during our lazy afternoon, our family took a nap, falling asleep with our arms around each other as we had on Thor's ship.
When I woke up several hours later, and couldn't see Sunheko in my vision, I rationalised, she was potty trained after all and could have been using the bathroom, or she could have gone into her room to play. I listened, and couldn't hear anything other than Sam's and my own breathing, that was when I got worried, little kids don't tend to do anything quietly.
I woke up Sam. "Sunny's missing."
"What?" She jumped up right after me, following me around, in and out of every room before it was clear that I was right and she really wasn't there any more. That was when I noticed the front door- it was cracked about an inch, somehow, she'd managed to pull the incredibly heavy thing open. "It's all right, maybe she just went to see Daniel or Teal'c?"
We headed out the door and down the hall, knocking on Daniel's door as we came to it first.
"Uh hey Jack, what are you doing here?"
"Have you seen Sunny? She's missing."
"Missing? How?" He pulled us into his room, out of the hall.
"We all took a nap," I said, and at the look on his face added. "together... she must have woken up and decided to take a walk."
"Well we've gotta find her, the SG team's still here."
"Yeah, we kinda figured that. Figured we'd ask you and Teal'c if she happened to come and see you." The three of us moved on to Teal'c's room next, he had a very similar story to Daniel's, in other words he hadn't seen her either.
We split up to search the council building. It was pretty late, I don't know why we hadn't been awakened for dinner, and of the very few people we came across, no one had seen Sunny. The four of us joined up again to search more of the city, we decided our best bet at finding her would be at her friends' houses and if we didn't find her there we were going to split up again.
"How hard can this be? There are two blonde people on this planet right now, and we've got one of them with us. Sunny's dressed different *and* she's got blonde hair... she should stick out, so why aren't we seeing her?" I asked no one in particular.
"Perhaps because she is in one of the buildings O'Neill." Teal'c suggested, in response to my rhetorical question.
We finally came across someone who had seen Sunny a while later, it was a group of someones actually. A bunch of kids were playing in an excruciatingly well lit area, with their parents around them.
"You wish to know of your child?" One of the parents asked before any of us even opened our mouths, whether from them knowing already or their telepathic abilities, I don't know.
"Yes!" Sam and I yelled simultaneously.
"She left with the explorers, back to your planet."
"What?" Sam's and my mind seemed to be going along the same line.
"She was playing with our children as they were on their way back to the 'Stargate', when they saw her one of the men picked her up and left with her. His intentions were not clear, but there was no malice in his thoughts."
"We've gotta go get her. Those bastards took our daughter!" I walked away from the group without further comment, all I knew was that I had to get to Earth and get my daughter back.
"Jack!" Sam was running to catch up with me. "Jack! How are we supposed to get back to Earth? We don't have our GDO, and even if we did they would have locked out our IDC by now."
"Somehow I have a feeling that if the 'gate activates from Balteria that they'll open the iris." The three moons of the planet cast plenty of light on our path as I trekked to the Stargate, there was nothing in our rooms that was more important to me, or to Sam for that matter, right then than getting to our child and making sure she was safe and taken care of.
"Jack-" I turned to Daniel as we came upon the lake, the chilled wind rippling violently across the water.
"Yes Daniel? Please don't tell me we're going to have to fight over this, I thought we were past that."
"Jack, all I was going to do was remind you that if we go back now, like this, there's nowhere else for us to go, we're going to be arrested, stuck on Earth." I didn't reply. "We could go back to the city and recall the Asgard, go get her that way."
"No, we get her now, damn the consequences. You and Teal'c can stay here, that's fine, I won't hold it against either of you." I was starting to feel like this was the only conversation I was able to have with Daniel.
"No." He answered, taking the lead as we rounded the lake and came upon the DHD, Daniel dialled quickly and we all waited as the chevrons locked into place, spewing out an average-looking wormhole.
I turned to Sam, seeing what I imagined to be my facial expression mirrored on her face, reaching out, I grabbed her hand. "Not exactly how I'd intended on introducing her to Earth."
"No, but I guess that's been taken out of our hands now." Was that relief in her voice? I don't know. Our hands still joined, the two of us walked calmly through the wormhole, hoping that we didn't go 'splat' on the other side.
We didn't go 'splat', and we didn't get shot either, in fact there were only 4 SFs there to even raise their weapons as we came through, kind of a let down. A very quick glance at my watch as I walked hurriedly down to the end of the ramp told me that it was only 0200, the rest of the base wouldn't wake up for at least another three hours.
"Where is she?" I asked, scaring the man I spoke to enough to make him just point out the door... now to me this wasn't helpful, all that meant was that she wasn't in the Gateroom, duh. "Did they take her to the infirmary?" To this the man nodded and managed to stutter out something that sounded like a 'yes'.
I shoved the SF out of the way, his buddies didn't try to stop me either as Sam, Teal'c, and I made our way to the infirmary; taking a bit longer than we would have liked considering Teal'c had to manhandle several people out of our way.
When we got to the infirmary, it appeared as if someone had called ahead to warn them that SG-1 was on our way. Daniel was supposed to be smoothing ruffled feathers in the control room. SG-3, along with several orderlies, were looking straight at the door as we came through it. I went right to the leader of SG-3, they had been the ones on Balteria Major earlier that day.
Okay, so maybe jumping a marine who had at least 50 pounds on me wasn't the brightest idea ever, but it did get his attention.
"Where is she you bastard? Where's my daughter?" As Teal'c pulled me off, the guy just stood there with a blank look on his face. "Blonde, wearing Earth clothes, looks a lot like Major Carter."
Realisation dawned on him. "Oh, the little kid we found, she was obviously from Earth, so we figured we should bring her back to the SGC."
"You kidnapped my kid!" Sometime while being held down by two marines I realised Sam was no longer with us.
Jack was getting nowhere with the marines, it was good for him to release the pent up energy from our extensive stay with Thor, but other than that he wasn't going to get much out of them. I figured something constructive would be a better avenue, and noticing the light on in my (possibly former) best friend's office, I decided that there might be the place to begin. I hadn't seen Janet after the news of Jack and my relationship was brought out, I was a little busy trying to get Jack out of his holding cell, and take over the base, I was worried what her reaction would be. But no matter what her reaction, I had to get my daughter back somehow.
I pushed the door open without knocking, I didn't want to have to wait around to find that it was just some other Doctor filling in for my friend and speaking to a marine with some unknown illness. What I saw made me wonder if I was in the right reality, sitting there are as if she'd been on earth for the entire year and a half she appeared to be was my daughter, Sunheko, but it wasn't entirely her presence that surprised me, no, it was whose lap she was on that threw me for a loop and made me want to go running, or at least warn Jack.
"Mommy!" Sunny was wrapped around my legs as I struggled to pick my jaw up off the floor and hide my embarrassment from my father.
First, I picked up my daughter, she'd been put through enough for me to shun her. "Hi baby, we were worried about you. You should have told us you wanted to go play." I reprimanded softly, hoping in the mean time my father and yes, Dr. Janet Fraiser would just evaporate.
"Sorry Mommy." She tried to appease me. "The Earth Men said I shouldn't be on that planet, they wanted me to come with them, they didn't ask about you or Daddy." She rambled, and then her face brightened. "Is Daddy here? And Teal'c? And Daniel?"
I peeked out the door, things had calmed as the marines left to shower. "Yes they are, and I'm sure they'd all like to see you. Why don't you go out there and show them you're here?"
"Okay Mommy!" She almost jumped out of my arms as I let her go, leaving me with my completely blank-faced father.
"She's a good kid." He opened, as Janet excused herself with a look that told me we'd be having an in-depth conversation later. "Looks a lot like you, though she does favour her father quite a bit."
"Funny, I thought she looked like you, and nothing like Jack, she does have all of his mannerisms though." Despite my quaking voice, I managed a small smile.
"God help us, two of them running around." His minute smile quickly faded. "Tell me Sam, was this going on the last time I saw you? How long have the two of you been going around behind everyone's backs?"
"No, we weren't together when we saw you last." I answered honestly, as I planned on answering all of his other questions. "Our relationship began about 10 months ago on Balteria Major while we were there negotiating for the treaty between them and Earth. Up until a couple weeks ago only Teal'c, Daniel... and the entire population of Balteria Major, knew of our involvement. Dad, it's been almost a year since I've seen you." He took my statement as a reproach, which it wasn't.
"We're fighting a war out there, in case you've forgotten, and we can't have soldiers going off and having sex with their commanding officers whenever they feel like it. Dammit Sam, why couldn't you have shown a little responsibility? I've known you and Colonel O'Neill had a problem from day one, but I never thought you'd take it this far."
"Dad, don't even bring Jack into this, it's my fault, I'm the one who instigated things in the first place."
"'Don't bring him into this'? He's the reason for 'this' in the first place, isn't he? He's your commanding officer, he should have been responsible enough to turn down your flirting or whatever it was to begin with, if he had we wouldn't even be having this conversation."
"We've both fought side by side with Jack, you know as well as I do that he's one of the best soldiers you'll ever come across." I squared my shoulders and looked my, now standing, father straight in the eye. "Do you have any idea how easy it would have been for me to have ended all of this once I found out I was pregnant? I could have just come home, claimed I'd had an 'accident' with one of the natives and had an abortion. But I didn't, because I knew that despite all we'd end up losing in the process, Jack and I would be gaining a child, someone to bind us together as a family no matter what the US Military had to say about it. What we've been through in the last 10 months in no way compares to our trip to hell and back, never ask if it can get worse, because it can, and it has. In the last three weeks alone, I've broken my arm in a rock fall, had the woman carrying my child taken back by her own people, met a delightful Goa'uld who was determined to kill us all, oh, and found out that instead of getting to see my child grow up normally, I get to witness everything from about age two on. But you know Dad, the only person, the one, single person who was there for me through everything was Jack O'Neill... the man you now seem to want to hate so much."
"I'm sorry," He admitted. "This is how I lost Mark ya know, not listening. It's just things are so..."
"Complicated?" I supplied.
"Yes, Selmak's telling me it's your life and I should just smile and go see my granddaughter."
"Selmak *is* among the oldest and wisest of the Tok'ra."
"Don't think that because Selmak seems perfectly fine with it that I will be, I still plan on having a conversation with Jack, but it will probably be a little less violent than I originally intended."
"Dad! Promise you won't leave any marks that Sunny can see?" The look on his face at this request made me cringe, it was too calculating. "Or that *I* could see." His facial expression changed, this time becoming somewhat comical, I almost expected him to put his hands over his ears and shout 'TMI!' for 'too much information', as Cassandra Fraiser would have done. "Why don't you just try talking to him?" I suggested as I pulled open Janet's office door to find Teal'c colouring with Sunheko.
"Major Carter." Teal'c eyed my father cautiously. "General Carter."
"Where are Jack and Daniel?"
"Daniel Jackson is being examined by Dr. Fraiser. General Hammond arrived, and ordered O'Neill to his office."
"Oh. Can you keep an eye on Sunny for a while?" I asked him, already knowing his answer.
"I will in fact keep both of my eyes on her." It took me a minute as I walked over to them for me to realise he was joking, having gotten (mostly) used to our idioms in his four years with us.
"Sunny, listen to Teal'c, okay? If you're hungry or need to go potty, you need to tell someone so they can go with you, all right?" I kissed her on the forehead before leaving the infirmary and heading as quickly as possible to Hammond's office.
I heard the yelling before I came to the door, it was open of course, who would be around at 2:30 in the morning? For a minute or two, I just stood outside listening as General Hammond listed off all of the regulations the four of us had broken since the beginning of the Balteri Treaty Negotiations. Excluding our relationship, by far the worst charge at the court marshal was going to be Teal'c, Daniel, and my assault on the base to get Jack out of his holding cell and 'gate to Balteria Major; this time we didn't have any sort of alien influence to blame.
I felt the presence behind me long before he spoke, but even when the voice came I was surprised. "Should you not join him?"
"I don't know if he'd want me to, I'm not sure who he is right now." At the confused look, I explained. "If he's in there as "Jack" then he'd want me by his side. But if he's "Colonel O'Neill" right now, I think he'd like to get his dressing-down without his second in command present."
"Ah, I see. You know Samantha, I told your father several years ago that you and Colonel O'Neill would become lovers- he was in denial."
"Selmak! You're not supposed to talk about that kind of thing with my father, there are some things that he just shouldn't know... or even think about." Selmak, the wittiest (and wisest) of all Tok'ra, just gave a motherly (coming from my father's face, very weird) smile and a quiet laugh. The people in the office were still completely oblivious to our presence.
"You have love for each other?" She asked, almost reflectively.
"Yes, very much. We're committed to making our family work. We want Sunheko to have a normal life now that we're back on Earth, with two parents, a sibling or two, and maybe a dog. We know that's not going to happen right away, and we know what we've done is wrong, but neither of us would change it."
"That's very admirable Samantha, and don't worry about your father, he will 'come around'." My kind stepmother in my father's clothing patted me on the shoulder as General Hammond's voice reached a near deafening volume. "Go to him, you harbour no naïve expectations of what's to come. You are now O'Neill's symbiote, without you he can not survive."
"Thank you Selmak." I didn't hug her. I didn't want to make my father uncomfortable by being too physical too soon, despite the fact that it wasn't "him".
Getting one last, supportive smile from Selmak, I stood up straight, squared my shoulders, and knocked lightly on General Hammonds open door, alerting both men to my presence.
"Major Carter." General Hammond turned to me. "I was just about to have you paged."
"Good thing I'm here then, Sir."
"Where's Sunny?" Jack asked quietly, as I joined him in front of the General's desk.
"Playing with Teal'c." Turning back to General Hammond, I realised how tired he looked, almost as if he hadn't slept at all in the 19 days we'd been gone. Surprisingly, his face wasn't as livid red as I'd assumed it would be by how much he was yelling, no, he only looked tired as he closed the door behind me.
"As I was saying Colonel, before Major Carter joined us, there is an enormous amount of charges against the two of you. As usual, Dr. Jackson and Teal'c are exempt form prosecution. But none of it matters because you're not going to be around to face these charges."
"Excuse me, Sir?"
"When you left, and news that the child belonged to the two of you became common knowledge, the NID ordered that if it was found, the child should be taken into custody immediately. I'm not going to allow that, I've already made arrangements, but I was expecting a baby, so you'll need to choose a birthday for your daughter."
"They'll know we've run, they'll try to find us."
"No they won't, you'll be dead." I was confused, yes, but as he explained his complex plan, everything became much more clear. It would mean a new start, with new occupations, names, and the loss of our friends. But, it would be what we'd wanted for Sunny since the moment we'd found out about her- a completely normal life. "You do understand that Teal'c and Dr. Jackson will have to stay here? It would be too difficult to realistically hide all five of you."
"Yeah, we kinda figured that." Jack said, the soft words clearly not as sarcastic as they seemed.
We settled on Sunheko's age and birth date quickly, claiming that instead of being born 15 days earlier, she'd actually celebrated her third birthday 15 days earlier on July 8th; which, despite her small size, wasn't that unbelievable.
"Despite how disappointed I was when I found out, I really am happy for you. We're going to miss having SG-1 around here, you've certainly brought a great deal of excitement to this mountain over the last four years."
"Thank you Sir, we'll miss you too."
"I would let you go home and collect some of your things, but considering Lieutenant Jameson from SG-15 lives next door to Major Carter, I don't think that would be wise." This was news to me, I had known the house was for sale, but I hadn't even thought about it.
"How long has Lieutenant Jameson been living there Sir?"
"She transferred here while you were on Balteria negotiating the treaty."
"Oh." I said, as everything clicked into place in my mind, that was why I had been hearing rumours about Jack and my activities, and probably the reason I'd felt like we were being watched on more than one occasion.
"You should go tell Teal'c, Dr. Jackson, and Jacob about the plan, while I call my contact with this information." He motioned to the pad he'd written Sunheko's birth date and middle name on, we were all getting new middle and last names, thankfully keeping our first names.
As soon as the door to the General's office closed behind us, Jack and I were in each other's arms, our whole world was coming to an end.
"Oh god, how are we going to do this?" My question was muffled by his shirt from the HRD.
"We'll get through it somehow, we'll have Sunny, and a little help from Teal'c and Daniel, and hopefully your dad." He pulled back, ending our moment of emotional co-dependence. "We'd better go check on our baby."
We arrived back in the infirmary to find Sunny playing Barbies with my father and Teal'c, while Daniel just sat by, watching with a smirk on his face.
"Where'd you find the Barbies?" I asked, coming up behind him.
"They were just here, I guess they were leftovers from when Doctor Fraiser first had Cassandra."
"Wonder if Cassie's going to want them back?"
"Probably not, she's 15 now, probably more interested in getting a car sometime soon."
"Good, then she won't miss them if we bring them with us."
"Where are we going?" He asked, getting my Dad's (or Selmak's) attention, causing him to look up as we continued our conversation.
"You're not coming with us, you can't come with us."
"What? Why? Where are you going?"
"General Hammond's made all the arrangements, but we do need your help." Jack stepped in, he then proceeded to explain the plan to our friends.
"So let me get this straight, we're never going to see you again?"
"Not if everything goes according to plan. You should be able to come see us, Dad, when you come to see Mark... that is if you want to." I added, not knowing if he was planning on completely avoiding me.
"Of course I'll come. I still love you Sam." He looked to Jack. "No matter what, I still love you." I gave him a smile.
"Good, then if we're discreet, we can send letters to each other through Dad."
We all explained the plan to Sunny, she seemed to understand perfectly well things she shouldn't be able to. Her mind was growing in leaps and bounds.
At 8am, five hours later, we were ready to put our plan into action. Jack and I were to have a yelling match with General Hammond about the NID taking Sunny, getting the SFs involved, but not enough to get Sunheko hurt. We would then run to the Control Room, knock out Walter Davis, dial a heavily populated Goa'uld world, and close the blast doors.
Simple enough, we did that, gently (not really) zatting Walter before we took out the gathered SFs, between the five of us we had four zats, so unless someone fell and hit their head, no one was seriously injured.
We then sealed the Gateroom doors and turned to our friends.
"Thank you," I hugged Teal'c. "I'm sorry we have to leave like this."
"You are a formidable warrior Samantha Carter. You have helped my people and many others, for that I thank you."
Daniel was next, he and Jack had already said their goodbyes while Sunny and I slept (well, Sunny slept, I just watched her mostly).
"I'm sorry." I said, causing him to pull me into a hug.
"Don't be, what I didn't see until now is that there are some things more important than SG-1, and Sunny is one of those things." He released me and picked up my daughter. "I'm going to miss you kid, hope you have a great life."
And we left, we had to climb our way out of the Mountain, and with everyone's attention turned towards the demise of three packs through the Stargate, we hiked as we had before through the woods to meet my Dad on one of the main roads leading into Colorado Springs, and then back out of town heading South West.
"Did Hammond give you our IDs?" Jack asked, once we were out of Colorado Springs, headed for California.
"Yup, you guys are going to love your last name, Selmak chose it."
"Oh dear." He handed me a bag with various documents of identification- birth certificates, social security cards, driver's licences, and even a marriage licence. I was surprised to see our wedding date as almost five years earlier, the day SG-1 had become SG-1. "Isn't Kree a little suspicious?"
"Not really, the government doesn't really pay attention to the Goa'uld language, and it's not like they're going to be looking. Besides, I've met someone with the last name Gould before, so Kree shouldn't be that unbelievable."
In the pack, I also found instructions. "'Jack and Samantha Kree purchased a home in a Southern California suburb eight days ago, after securing jobs at the "Saint Giles School" teaching high school English and science respectively. Their young daughter, Sunheko Kree, is registered to attend preschool at St. Giles in the fall." I read. "Jack's going to teach English?"
"What? You don't think I can?"
"I never said that, you just don't strike me as the English-teaching type."
"He's got perfect grammar, and I figured it'd be better in the long run than being a gym teacher."
"Thank you." Jack went through the pack, pulling out a bunch of bank information, with check books, ATM cards, and a couple credit cards. The information on our savings and checking accounts showed that the Kree family was not lacking in funds, at all. "Woah Jake, where'd all this money come from?"
"That is the sum of the money in both of your bank accounts, and pensions if Sam had kept working for another 20 years. This money is 'borrowed' from the US Government for now, when they seize all of your assets in your 'death' they'll get it all back."
We kept driving, all three of us in the back of the van sleeping off and on as Selmak kept my Dad awake as he drove though the day and late into the night.
It was after ten when we reached the address listed in the letter, it was a nice, two story, California-style house with a truck and an SUV in the driveway, which I assumed were part of the pack of keys I had.
"Sunny, wake up baby, we're home." Jack pulled our daughter out of her seat while I dug out the keys to our house and let us all in.
The place was sparsely furnished with just the essentials, leaving us enough room to personalise the house to our own tastes. "I'll take her to find a bed, I don't think she feels up to touring the house tonight."
"All right. Sleep well honey." I kissed Sunheko's and then Jack's cheek. "I'll grab our stuff and be right up."
"Okay." He whispered as he leaned forward, capturing my lips for a brief kiss before hauling Sunheko's sleepy body up the stairs.
Turning to the door, I found my father standing there, watching me. "You sure you're going to be all right?" He asked, handing me the two bags of supplies we'd been able to scrounge up from our lockers and on-base quarters, we'd brought all of the personal belongings we had that couldn't identify us.
"Yeah, we'll be fine. Thanks for your help Dad, I know this isn't exactly an ideal situation, but thank you. And thank General Hammond for all of his help too... this is really nice. I think we'll be very happy here." He pulled me into a tight hug and as he pulled back I could see Selmak struggling to reign in his emotions.
"I'm on my way to see Mark now, to make this little trip believable, but I'll stop back by on my way back to Cheyenne." He explained. "I'd love to spend more time with you and Sunny, I already feel like I've missed so much. And I still have to have that conversation with Jack."
"Dad." I said, exasperated.
"I know, he's a good man, and I get that you love him, I don't understand it, but I get it." He hugged me again before turning and walking out the door. "You're death is going to be really hard on me, I'm going to have to be coming here to see Mark a lot more often now you know, possibly for a couple weeks at a time, of course Mark'll only be able to explain my whereabouts for a week or so of that."
I smiled as I closed the door and looked once more around my new home. From what I could tell, with nothing to do for the next month until school started, the "Kree" family was going to have a lot of fun shopping for new belongings and just being together as a family.
As I mounted the stairs, I could already see the dog I was sure Jack would have for Sunny soon, running up the stairs with me to reach her little girl. We'd save the world by recycling, and we'd be happy.
The End Has Come..