The powder blue dress was a perfect choice for a day of leisurely strolling through a park it was so comfortable she felt like she was wearing air. Her sandals tied around her petite ankles perfectly. Just one day in the park, nothing important, just one day in peace. She parked her car and slowly walked to the park entrance and found the path that would lead her round the park, meandering through all kinds of serene scenes.
To her right she saw a stone picnic table with a family preparing their feast of sandwiches. She smiled to herself as she saw the young girl hug her mother's side seeming just happy to be in a park on a sunny day. Sam couldn't help but remember those times when she was that happy girl. She walked slowly on towards the small hill in front of her. To her left she noticed under a large and full shade tree a couple sitting cuddled under the branches that swayed above them. She thought how nice it would be to live that normal life. Inside she felt herself cry out for a normal life and a normal love. Instead her commitment to the SGC had become a chain, but one that she would not quickly release. She knew she was needed there, and she loved seeing him every day. Sometimes she just couldn't help but wish for more than what the SGC had to offer for her life. She wanted what Jack had to offer her life.
She thought that for today, in the safe area of the small community park, she would have her normal life. She would just have to imagine him there. Not a hard task, since though the years she had committed every line of his face, and every hair on his head to memory. So he would be with her today, if only in her mind. It gave her peace and joy. She smiled. So as she walked she would imagine him in the "normal" situations of loved ones she saw.
When she topped the hill she saw a boy throwing a ball to his father. She saw him there, and she wondered what he was like a small boy. Those brown eyes she thought sure were able to get him out of trouble more than once under his mother's soft rule. She chuckled to herself as she sauntered on. She let herself be led by the path under a row of oak trees that shaded her from the sun. She imagined him beside her. She felt a wave of peace and contentment wash over her. The mere thought of him walking beside her in a normal life gave her a sense of inexplicable joy. She knew the regulations, but today was her day, a time just for the thought of Jack and a normal life.
She loved the pond that she saw as she crossed the arched wooden bridge. She could feel the sun on her back and it warmed her like if he had had his arm around her. She saw a bench by the pond and thought she must be getting pretty good at this imagining thing, cause he was so clear now in her mind.
He had a day off from the base and he needed to go find some beauty in nature if he couldn't hold the beauty he found at work. He had found this park a long time ago. He brought Charlie there when they didn't have enough time to go to the cabin. When they wanted just some time to themselves. He walked straight towards the bench. His bench. He loved it, he could almost see he and his boy on the bank with fishing poles. As it was now, there were other kids and their fathers fishing. It hurt him inside more than a little but his eyes and thoughts were soon changed.
There was a form, almost glowing as brightly as Daniel when he did that `ascending' thing. The sun was behind her and the blue of her softly waving dress. The dress clung to her body as the wind smoothed her dress to fit her slender form. The light from behind her was so bright that all he could see was her silhouette. She walked with a grace and softness he hadn't seen before. As she came down to the path from the bowed bridge he could see her face. A face he had seen for years, but today it was the face from his dreams. Not the one he had seen in battle or the one next to him as others looked on scrutinizing their relationship. The happiness he saw in her eyes drew his heart from his chest. He had seen her in so many moods, but this one was new to him. She looked at him with such blatant love. He was struck down where he was, no thought of moving came to mind. Only that his love was indeed his love. This was what he had been waiting for from the first day he met that sweetly over confident captain.
As she got closer to the bank of the pond, and closer to where she was imagining he would be sitting. She couldn't help but shed a tear. How could she have imagined his face looking at her with so much love and adoration? It was all to perfect an image for her heart to allow. This imagining thing had become too real for her. She suddenly felt self-conscious and drew her mind away from the perfect picture she had created. She glanced down at the ground as she heard a voice.
He noticed a tear form and fall from her eye, and a certain sadness befall her features as she looked away from him. How do you profess your love to a woman so beautiful and so unattainable? What words are there for a love so strong? As she passed his bench along the path he was confused that she hadn't even acknowledged him, and he called her name.
"Sam?" He said trying to hold the emotion in his voice until he had eye contact again.
Her mind reeled. She turned in a quiet shock. This wasn't her imagination this was her love. All the regulations flashed in her mind, and as she looked into his eyes in that instant she knew that all their time on base was just as hard on him as it was on her. She knew he wanted this relationship. She let herself sink into his bench and look at him soulfully before she trusted herself to speak.
"Jack, can we talk?" She managed to say through tears collecting in her eyes.
"Only if you promise we can have the rest of our lives to finish." His words were out of his mouth before he knew he had spoken his heart.
She let the tears flow fully as she collapsed in his arms. He held her and mourned all those years of regulatory separation. The only thing they have wanted for the last 6 years is what is before them now. They would surely discuss all the ins and outs of their plan to bliss. For now they were just too busy being just another one of the contented couples in the park.
As they sat there enveloped in the warmth that was their love, they talked about what they wanted. Jack started. "Sam, this could be complicated and it could cost you a lot. I don't want you to resent me for taking you away from something you love. I need to know that if we are going to take this next step that it will be one taken with our eyes wide open. I am ready to retire. I'm tired of all the regulations and have begun to hate the control the air force exudes over my heart's desire. I will walk by you all your days but only if you are sure you are ready."
Sam wondered if she had really heard him right. Had he made reference to marriage in his own… cute half saying something… way? She couldn't believe that she was going to say this, but she had thought about it so many times, she almost knew it by heart.
"Jack, I want this," she said as she touched his chest above his heart. "I want what we feel never to be denied again by either of us." She felt slightly taken aback when she realized how much she really wanted to protect his heart from ever being broken again. "I want a life with you. I've always felt that we could be truly happy together, I have wished for it in the stillness of so many sleepless nights. I am ready to make the choices that will ensure our future. I will miss the SGC, but I think that if we are able to talk about it together and lean on each other when we miss it we will be able to make it work. There is no one I would rather walk through this life with than you."
They both smiled, as they knew that each of them had just been making their way to this moment from the day they met. It all had come down to a day in the park and a couple of tough decisions.
Knowing full well that no matter what Hammond said, he would be leaving today with Sam's hand in his, Jack confidently knocked on the door.
Sam thought more about her possible life with Jack, therefore getting more determined, squaring her shoulders ready for a fight if need be. She would take a court-martial for unmilitary behavior, as long as she had him by her side.
"Come." Jack opened the door and they slowly stepped inside the room. They were both taken a little by surprise at the soft chuckle they heard from Hammond. He looked like he knew a secret that he was having fun not telling. He had wondered when they would come to make a decision, and by the look in their eyes, he knew this was the day. He had figured they had fought the good fight against what they so obviously felt for each other since the first banter in the briefing room so many years ago. He motioned for them to sit. "And what can I do for the two of you?" Jack was the first to speak. "Well, General, I'm gonna come straight to the point," he replied, waving his hand in the air a little. The General grinned. "The fact is General, I want to retire." "And why exactly is that Colonel?" "Well Sir, I want to pursue non-military interests. Now. No more waiting." "I assume the non-military interest you're referring to is Major Carter," he asked, nodding to Sam as he spoke. "Yes, it's me Sir," Sam replied boldly. Hammond chuckled again. "Well, I'm gonna let you both in on a little secret. I would accept both of your resignations from the Air Force if you like. I have given great thought to this in recent times and I will soon need a diplomat to the Asgard and a trainer for the new teams going off world. We have seen more Goa'uld surprise attacks of late and we need someone with extensive background fighting Goa'uld to help in that training. Jack do you think you would know of any one interested?" "Well General, as it so happens, I'd have to say I'd be pretty interested in that." "I thought as much." They shared a grin. "And Sam, I was wondering if you would consider staying on as our resident gate expert. I can't imagine us being able to run this program without having you here to get us out of jams. Of course, both of you will be asked to travel off world at times when the troubleshooter of inter planetary travel or the Asgard mediator would be needed." With a chuckle he added, "Can you imagine any nicer place for a honeymoon than one of our off world paradises?" They looked at him in utter amazement as he showed a satisfied grin. They were so relieved. "General, I don't know what to say. Thank you," Jack said with a catch in his throat. "Your both very welcome." Sam just smiled and nodded with tears in her eyes.
They left his office and Jack led her into the briefing room. It was empty and quiet. She looked out over the Stargate, she was so happy to know her time with SGC wasn't going to be cut short. His heart pounded in his chest, he had been dreaming of this moment since they met. His knee objected, but he forced it to lower him to the floor. As he moved behind her she turned to see him gazing up at her in adoration. He saw the surprise in her eyes and the love that warmed his heart. He spoke to her softly. "I fell in love with you in this room 6 years ago. Today, because I'm finally free to do so, I want to ask you to marry me."
She cried and laughed as all the emotions she had held at bay, came once again with greater force, and she dropped to her knees in front of him. "Yes."
They held each just so glad to be in each other's arms. They were oblivious to the onlookers that had assembled just outside the door. As soon as the couple had walked out of his office, Hammond had called the rest of SG-1 and Janet to tell them the news. What they all saw was evidence enough of the love their favorite couple deserved.