Disclaimer: Don't own anything. Never did. End of story.

A/N This story takes place sometime in the future.


by Linda Bindner

See you later, Sam was saying as she showed Vala and Colonel Mitchell to the front door of her house.

Mitchell turned to stare behind her at Daniel And Teal'c, who she had asked to remain behind for a moment so that she could talk to them. Are you sure that everything's all right? he asked Sam, one foot in the house, and one foot outside on her front stoop. Because I can stay, if you need to talk, or...

Sam cut him off with a smile on her face. It's not like that, she explained. I have a question to ask them regarding something that happened years ago at the SGC, and I don't want to bore you and Vala with details you won't know anthing about. She shrugged her shoulders. That's all. Nothing clandestine, or anything.

Mitchell continued to eye her suspiciously. If you say so.., he finally said.

Sam nodded in what she hoped was an encouraging manner. I do. There's nothing to worry about.

Okay, he said. Then I'll see you at work on Monday morning.

Bright and early, Sam said. But you won't see me if...

This time he cut her off. Not if I see you first, he said, smiled, and pointed an agreeable finger at her. Night, Sam. He turned and retreated down the steps, Vala at his side.

Night! Sam called behind them. See you on Monday! The door closed behind them.

Vala turned to regard Mitchell as they crossed Sam's lawn towards his car parked at the curb of the street running in front of her house. She's hiding something, Vala nonchantly announced.

Mitchell assessingly looked at her in the glare of a nearby street light. Is it that obvious? he casualy inquired. How can you tell?

Vala smiled up at him. Oh, I don't know. She considered then. Once you've been a thief for half of your life, she softly said, it becomes second nature to know when someone's lying through their teeth.

Mitchell smiled at Vala. That skill can be really useful, you know, he said as they parted to get into his car.

Vala slammed the passenger door shut on the cold Colorado air. I know, she declared. That's why I always pay such strict attention to my instincts when we're on missions.

Mitchell smiled again, and started the car. I always knew there was a reason I let you on the team, he annoounced.

Vala grinned. It's part of my winning ways, she said as the car pulled away from the curb. You just can't resist me. And she giggled as they turned a corner and headed back to the mountain in order for Mitchell to drop her off.

In the darkness, Mitchell grinned as well.

* * *

Inside the house, Sam drew a deep breath of air, and let it hiss out through her teeth. That had been a close one, she thought, but didn't voice her ideas.

Daniel was the first to speak. Hey, Sam, what's up?

Sam turned to thoughtfully regard the two standing behind her. Then, she said, Why don't you guys sit down? There's something I need to get from my bedroom first, and you two might as well be comfortable while you wait.

Daniel shrugged, and turned to Teal'c. He turned back to Sam. Okay, he said.

Teal'c intervened. Grabbing hold of Daniel's shoulder, he headed them back towards the chairs in the living room. We will sit, he told her. 'Take your time,' I believe is the correct phrase to employ at times like these.

Sam smiled. I can see that Daniel's American English lessons have been paying off, Teal'c. She headed instead for her bedroom. Thanks, guys, I'll only be a minute... Then she disappeared down the hall.

What do you suppose she has to show us, DanielJackson? Teal'c inquired as they each took a seat.

I don't know, Daniel claimed as he sat in one of her easy chairs. But I have my suspicions, he admitted.

Just as Teal'c sent him a puzzled, yet simultaneously knowing, look, Sam returned from her bedroom, now carrying a small box in her right hand. She sat down on the sofa, and placed the box on the coffee table before the couch, so that it would be in front of her, in easy reach, but it would also be accessible to her two friends. They all stared at the innocent little box like it was an alien device ready to bite them in the hands if they so much as touched it. All right, Sam said, her voice serious now. Before I show the two of you what I've been hiding in this box for the past several years, you have to agree that nothing I say will ever leave this house. She stared at them with an intent expression on her face. Do you agree? she asked. You can't even tell Cam or Vala, no matter how much they wheedle and cajole you to tell.

Both men looked at each other, then looked at Sam, then nodded their heads.

This is really serious, guys, Sam said next. I mean, this can get several people that you care about in a lot of trouble.

Teal'c questioned, Then I have to wonder why you are bothering to tell us at all. He glanced at her. Would it not be better if we knew nothing whatsoever about any of this? he asked.

Sam sighed. It would... Has been... It would be better that way, Teal'c, Sam brokenly continued. Only we figure that now is the right time to spill the beans.

Okaaaay, Daniel said, steepling his fingertips together before him. 'We,' he repeated her. There must be someone else involved in this little plot.

Sam cocked her head, and gave a nod. You could say that, she enigmatically said. She heaved a deep breath once more, then reached for the box. Okay, I'll just open it, and see what you all think.

With those words, she removed the box lid, setting it aside on the coffee table. Then she pushed the box toward them across the table so that they could see the contents. Since the box was wooden, and stained a deep mahogany, its contents were instantly visible as the two men crowded around to look inside without touching it in any way.

It's.., Daniel began to say.

Teal'c finished the statement for him. It is what is commonly considered a wedding ring on a bed of dead rose petals, he described. He glanced back up at Sam. I do not understand the significance of showing this to us, he said then.

Is it your mother's ring? Daniel inquired.

Sam sat as still as a statue, then pulled the box slowly towads her across the table to stare at the ring herself. Daniel had to repeat his question in order for her to glance at him. No, she answered then. Dad was buried with Mom's ring, and Mark has the rings that belonged to my grandmothers... both of them.

Daniel gave her a look that said he didn't quite comprehend what she was getting at by showing them this particular ring. Then... Why..? he asked.

Sam sighed a breath again. She slowly lifted the ring from its bed of dried rose petals, the aroma of dead flowers drifting through the room to mingle with the original scent that still clung to the petals. She stared at the ring in her hand, then slowly pushed it onto her own left finger. No, She explained. Not my mother's, or grandmother's... Mine, she said at long last.

Teal'c and Daniel stared at her, not saying a word because they were incapable of saying anything, or they didn't know what to say, Sam wasn't sure. Finally, Daniel broke the silence.

Your's? he echoed her comment, his voice sounding loud in the quiet of the house.

But Teal'c was a bit faster to catch on to her hidden commentary than his friend was. O'Neill has it's mate, correct? he quietly asked.

Sam's eyes moved from regarding the ring to stare at her team mate of more than the last decade. Finally, she nodded, then said, Correct.

Daniel sat straight upright in his chair as the truth of the situation washed through his mind. You're kidding, right? he asked.

Sam shook her head. No, I wouldn't kid about this, she solemnly answered.

Daniel opened his mouth to say something, closed it, then drew a sharp breath. Wow, he announced. Then he laughed, a burst of air that bit through the room. That's... That's...

That is not as unexpected as you might think, Teal'c announced at last. At the horrified look that Sam sent him then, he shook his head and explained further, Not that such a thing as a secret marriage between you and O'Neill is common knowledge throughout the SGC, but as I was present during both yours and O'Neill's Za'tarc retests, I have more information than most. He gazed blandly at her as he went on, I have been expecting to hear something similar to this news for quite some time.

Daniel turned to stare at Teal'c. You knew? he accusatorily asked then. You knew, all these years, and you never said anything?

Teal'c turned to stare at Daniel. I suspected, he corrected. That is very different from knowing something. One does not put voice to simple speculation, he told them.

So you guessed? Daniel asked then.

I did not, Teal'c replied. I was never sure enough of my own 'guess' to say anything before now. ColonelCarter is merely confirming for me something I had wished for, but not known, for many years. He turned back to Sam again, and broke out into his new Jaffa smile. My congratulations, ColonelCarter, he said then. I wish you and O'Neill many strong children.

Sam choked. Well, thanks, Teal'c, but I think we'll leave the children part out of everything until Jack officially retires, and he won't be immediately court-martialed the minute I get pregnant. There was a slight sarcastic twist to her tone, but it passed over the Jaffa's head, or he let it pass over his head. Again, Sam wasn't certain as to the reaction he kept hidden from her.

Daniel sat back in his chair. Wow, he said again. He looked up to see Sam watching him with a calculated expression on her face. So Daniel went on to say, I mean, this is great, incredible, what took you so damned long? He sat forward in the chair. This... It's what I always wished for, but you know how it is when you get what you wished for...

Sam shook her head.

Daniel explained, I just need a minute to get used to this idea...

Daniel got his moment, as Sam's doorbell peeled throughout the house then. Sam rose to her feet. You can set a watch by him, she muttered. Then she crossed to open the door.

Unsurprisingly, Jack O'Neill slowly entered behind her, dressed in civilian clothes, wearing his favorite ball cap, and carrying a duffle bag that he tossed onto her hardwood floor before joining her in the living room.

You tell them yet? Jack asked as he approached Sam's side in the living room. He glanced next at the wooden box resting innocently beside her magazines, and between her computer, and a half empty pizza box. I guess you have, he said, recognizing the tiny box full of dried roses. Then, his attention was pulled to the pizza. He reached to lift the box's cardboard lid. Hey, any left for me?

Sam rolled her eyes. An important moment like this, and you all you can think about is food.

Jack grabbed one of the pepperoni slices still in the box, and smiled at his wife. Pizza still in hand, he kissed her on her cheek before taking a bite of food. Chewing with gusto, he said, Hey, at least I asked about all this, and he waved his free hand to take in the wooden box, the ring, the whole marriage situation at once. I asked before I ate, he pointed out.

Yeah, Sam, you can't be too picky, Daniel sarcastically commented.

Well, Jack said then before Sam could answer their friend, saving Daniel from what could have been a fairly nasty comment from Sam. What do you guys think about all this? he asked. You haven't said anything yet, he pointed out.

Wow, Daniel commented for a third time, and rose from his chair. Is this ever cool, or what? He reached across the coffee table to shake Jack's hand, followed by Sam's, whose hand was at least not covered in pizza sauce.

I believe you would claim that this is 'sweet,' O'Neill, Teal'c then stated, also shaking his friend's hand.

Jack had already taken another bite of the pizza in his hand, so he chewed, and swallowed, then said, Couldn't be sweeter. His tone was nonchalant, but was belied by the huge grin of contentment on his face. Take it from me; this is the life, he finished, and put his arms around Sam's shoulders.

A minute later, and with a matching grin of satisfaction in the entire situation, Sam mirrored her husband's gesture, and sighed once. The ring on her finger glinted in the dim light of the living room, ignored now, but certainly not forgotten.

The End

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