Note: This story was written in October of 2006, and is cannon until the show proclaims otherwise.

Disclaimer: Wished I owned them. Don't. Ah, well... (big sigh). Gekko productions owns them instead. Can't have everything, I guess.

Homecoming

by Linda Bindner

Sam Carter walked jauntily down the corridor of the SGC, her leather jacket slung haphazardly over her shoulder in preparation for the colder air outside the secretive Air Force base in Colorado. Only the sound of the voice belonging to Daniel Jackson could momentarily halt her steps.

Daniel had appeared coming out the doors of the commissary, his arms full of manila file folders. Hey, Sam! he called down the corridor. Wait up!

Sam paused in her trek and turned to watch him draw closer to her. Is there something you need, Daniel? 'Cause I'm in a bit of a hurry, here.

Daniel paused, clearly baffled. You are? He shifted the folders in his arms. Why? Is something going on that I don't know about?

Sam sent him in exasperated look. Daniel, it's the fifteenth, she said.

Daniel raised his eyebrows in a look that was astonishingly similar to an expression of their former commander's, Jack O'Neill. So? he asked. What's so special about the fifteenth?

Sam glared at him in mock anger. Daniel, I already told you about the fifteenth. It's the day the General is set to retire. she prompted. He's not our Commanding Officer anymore... When Daniel still didn't appear to remember that she had told all about the event, even though he was clearly searching his mind for the appropriate information, she went on, I'm on my way to Denver right now to pick him up at the airport there.

He's coming here, to Colorado? Daniel asked. Jack O'Neill's on his way here?

Sam glanced at her watch. He is as long as everything's running on schedule. His plane is scheuled to land in two hours. That's one hour for me to get there, then about an hour to reach his gate.

And with all the new security measures, it may take you an hour to get there, Daniel finished for her. But if Jack's coming back, it's no wonder that you're all smiles and good humor, he commented.

Sam beamed at him, even as he looked slyly at her. In return, her smile washed through her blue eyes. Well, as you can see, I'm a little busy right now, so...

Daniel waved her on with a free hand as he tried to hang on to all his folders with the other. I was about to ask if you were heading for a coffee break, so I can join you, but...

Sam peered at him. Didn't I just see you come from the commissary?

Daniel shrugged. Well, yeah, but a coffee break would be worth turning back around. But I can see that you have other plans... You go on, and give him a hug from me.

A hug? Since when did Daniel hug General O'Neill? Sam gazed at him shrewdly; she knew what Daniel was up to by making such a suggestion. He would do just about anything to force his friends together, and a hug seemed like small potatoes on this occasion.

Of course, who was she to fight the inevitable? Will do! Sam said as she turned again, waved to the figure of Colonel Cam Mitchell as he came around the corner towards her and Daniel, then was gone, into the elevator that would start her on her slow journey to the surface.

Mitchell took half the pile of folders from Daniel's arms, his eye still on Sam Carter. I've never seen Sam smile so much... Where's she off to? he inquired.

Daniel grinned. Off to Valhalla, if I have a guess, he said.

Mitchell glowered, making his brow crease into a frown. Val... who?

Daniel replied. She's off to pick up Jack at the airport in Denver. It appears that he's coming for a visit.

Suddenly, Mitchell seemed to understand as comprehension dawned across his features. He looked closely at Daniel. No kidding?! he asked.

No kidding, Daniel replied.

Mitchell shook his head in appreciation. You know, we even knew about Carter and O'Neill at the base in South Carolina, where I came from before coming here.

Daniel's brows went up again. They were that well-known? he guessed. Then, he scowled. I have a hard time believing that they were that legendary.

Mitchell shrugged. They were used as a common-day example of the fraternization rule and why it's in place, he explained. No names were used at the time, of course, but now that I've been here and heard about them from you guys who have been around for a long time... Mitchell glanced again at Daniel. Let's just say that I recognized the descriptions of their history, and drew my own conclusions, he said.

Well, Daniel continued. I hope this homecoming is everything that she hopes it will be.

Mitchell went on and finished his statement. Or that paragraph in the Air Force magazine article on fraternization that I read will have to be changed, he said. Then he grinned at Daniel. You going to your office?

Daniel nodded. Yeah. Guess I am now.

Mitchell hefted the folders in his arms. I'll carry these for you. Lead on, Oh, Dr. Jackson! he commanded cheerfully.

Daniel grinned. Yes, Sir! he said.

* * *

The airport gate was designed for the waiting passengers or gate personnel, Sam noted as she stared at the rows of padded seats all lined up like they were waiting on a flight, themselves. Few seats were taken, as the flight coming in from Washington D.C. was not due to arrive for another forty-five minutes. Sam shrugged out of her leather coat, layed it over the back of a seat, then sat in a whoosh of air and deflating plastic. She settled into the seat to wait out the rest of the hour she'd given herself to safely navigate the security at the concourse for the gates numbered 25-50.

Forty minutes later, Sam's heart was beating an erratic rhythm against her ribcage as she waited for the final five minutes to crawl by before Jack finally arrived. But... What if he got off the plane, came through the gate, then didn't recognize her? she asked herself. It had been a long two years since they had regularly seen each other, she reminded herself. Or, what if he didn't see her, waiting for him? What if...? Oh, Sam, she reprimanded. Stop second guessing yourself!

The announcement that came over the P.A. system made her surge to her feet, paying no more heed to her worries and concerns. *Flight 954 from Washington D.C. has landed and will be arriving at its gate momentarily. All passengers will disembark through Gate #30.*

The butterflies in Sam's stomach started to flutter in earnest, now. She groaned to herself in anticipation, and kept her eye trained on the window showing the barest edge of the embarkation tunnel to her.

Slowly... ever so slowly... a huge, white airplane crawled up to its place next to the embarkation tunnel. The gate languidly sealed itself against the side of the plane, and Sam had to grip the orange plastic of the seat in front of her as the seal to the gate affixed itself so the passengers of the airplane could disembark. She was so nervous and excited by now that she could barely stand without the aid of the seat beside her.

In a trickle at first... two, three, then four people slipped through the gate and into the airport. They were not Jack, but greeted their fellow travelers with a sense of enthusiasm that Sam found grating; why could those happy people not be her? she wondered vaguely. With her eye still trying to discern silver gray hair and a weathered face on all the passengers, she turned back to the opening to the embarkation tunnel to stare some more.

That was when she saw him. Dressed in khaki pants and a black shirt, one of the t-shirts that Sam recognized as coming with an issued BDU uniform, Jack stood hesitantly at the gate, his own leather coat slung over his shoulder, glancing slowly around the lobby.

Sam smiled her biggest, most welcoming smile yet when his eyes landed on her figure.

In one instant, he had dropped the carry on pack he was holding in his hand, his jacket landing on top of it to make an untidy pile on the floor. Then he was rushing the last few steps towards her before she could think to tell him hello.

Sam! he yelled in delight at seeing her familiar face. Then he was upon her, his arms stretched out to give her the biggest embrace that he possibly could.

Sam felt herself scooped up into arms, and swung around in a tight circle. In an unrestrained sense of glee that was new to the man she'd known for the past three years as her Commanding General, she felt strands of silver-gray hair tickle her cheek as she clutched at his t-shirt and whispered, Welcome home, Jack!

His arms tightened around her. Ah, the most perfect words in the entire universe! he said, even as he grinned, and held her like he planned to never let her go.

Maybe, he didn't. Good hug, was all he said to her.

Sam couldn't restrain the grin that split her features. This is from Daniel. Just wait until we get back to my house; that's when I can give you mine, she said in a whisper.

Jack grinned back at her. Can't wait, he said, enchantment and utter joy coursing through his arms and into her.

The funny thing was that he couldn't wait, either. It was a good thing that Denver wasn't all that far from Colorado Springs.

Ah, what a welcome home!

The End


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