Disclaimer: All publicly recognized characters are the property of MGM, World Gekko Corporation, and Double Secret Productions. This is a work of fanfiction for the express enjoyment of other fans, and no money was made from this work. Any previously unrecognized characters or mistakes that occur in this story are the fault of the author, and do not intend to infringe on the copyrights belonging to anyone...

Eh! BOOOORING! Let's spice this up a bit...

'Hear me...'

Own them I don't,

Change them I won't... (at least, not permanently)

Made no money

But that would be funny

If I did, 'cause then I would have to kill

You where you stand' (or sit). Until

such time as this story you enjoy

Please look on it not as a toy

But as a diversion, or as amusement.

If not that, then certainly in bemusement

Of words like 'UST,' and 'cannon,' and 'plot'

Fic vocab words seem to be my lot!

So praise it if you feel like it's due

But just send feedback, please don't sue!

Turn Around

by Linda Bindner

It was always the same; Daniel Jackson, brown leather bag slung over his shoulder, paper and mail tucked under his left arm, commissary coffee cup grasped firmly in right hand as his left fumbled for his I.D. card... Yes, it was a typical morning at the SGC, just like hundreds of mornings before this and what will be hundreds after. Daniel stood outside his office, irritated when he didn't find the card in his coat pocket, where he left it every morning... Ah, there it was...

He swiped the card through the identification module, the door clicked open, and Daniel pushed with his foot until the opening was wide enough for him and all his things. He crossed to his desk, dropped the paper, mail, and bag onto the cluttered top, carefully placed his coffee cup where he could reach it but not spill its liquid contents, then took off his civilian coat and slung it over that back of his desk chair. Only then did he sit down on that same chair, sliding it closer to his desk so that he could pull the newspaper up to him for a quick perusal of the headlines.

Daniel took a sip of his bitter, hot coffee while he read. Nothing on the front page, he noted to himself. He turned the page. Nothing caught his eye on the second page of the newspaper, either. Nor the third. He turned the page again, then smoothed out the wrinkled paper. Daniel read two more boring headlines, one about the unseasonably warm weather Colorado Springs was experiencing lately, one about some politician in Ohio. When he'd read the third article headline on the page, however, he jumped up, pushing his office chair back in haste.

Holy..! Daniel said, and just barely stopped the swear word that instantly wanted to pop out of his mouth. Instead, he managed to exclaim, Holy buckets! He stared at the article in question for a few silent seconds, too stunned to do much more than blink. Then he reached for the phone.

But Daniel had forgotten about the carefully placed coffee cup in his haste. He knocked it off balance, spilling coffee all over his desk and the floor. He ignored the mess, which was unlike him, as he hated liquid spills, especially sugary spills: they had the tendency to make his desk all sticky, and ruin the artifacts he was intent on studying that he had set aside for safe keeping on top of his paperwork. But this time he took not even a second to wipe up the mess. He dialed the phone as if he were possessed with a demon... a demon in one hell of a hurry.

A person on the other end answered. O'Neill, came the distorted voice over the handset.

Jack! Daniel fairly yelled into the receiver. Stay there! Stay in your office! he ordered, not even thinking that he had never given the leader of SG-1 instructions of any kind before. He usually showed plenty of respect to the hierarchy of the military too much to give orders himself, even if he wasn't a part of its ranks. But today, he was on a mission of his own, one too important for him to be concerned about the niceties of the level of command. Don't move! I'm coming down, and I have something I've got to show you! he hollered into the phone.

Jack hesitated for only a few seconds. Okaaaaaay, he said, but the connection was already dead by then.

Two minutes later, Daniel burst into Jack's office at a run, carrying a folded newspaper in his hand. He hadn't even knocked politely on the open door first. Jack! Look! Daniel yelled. He thrust the newspaper into his leader's hand, and pointed.

Jack took the paper in a spiral of confusion at Daniel's odd behavior. The article that showed on the folded paper wasn't long, but the headline caught Jack's eye immediately; COURT CASE REVERSES MILITARY NON-FRATERNIZATION RULE.

Holy Crap! Jack yelled, jumping up from his own desk chair in one smooth move.

Daniel was already on Jack's phone, too busy dialing the SGC switchboard number to pretend that he didn't realize what this overturn order would personally mean to Jack.

Private Hollander, the noncom manning the switchbard answered Daniel's phone call.

Page Major Samantha Carter and have her call Colonel Jack O'Neill's office, now! Daniel shouted. Immediately! Now! Uh... ASAP! He hung up so fast that he made the receiver clang in its cradle.

A second later, they heard the page for Major Samantha Carter, and a second after that, Jack's phone rang. Daniel grabbed it up and hollered, Sam!

Daniel? Shouldn't it be the Colonel who she was talking to on the phone? What's going on? Sam Carter asked, puzzled by the page, and who had answered her subsequent phone call. As far as she knew, there was nothing scheduled that day that would indicate a need to have her call Daniel, who was mysteriously in Colonel O'Neill's office. Do we have a briefing this morning that I don't know about?

No, no briefing. Where are you? Daniel queried then without taking a breath.

Control Room, Sam responded. Why? If there's no briefing, what..?

Don't move! Daniel commanded. Then he dropped the receiver down a little from his mouth, said Control Room! to Jack, then lifted the receiver back up. Jack's on his way.

Jack sprinted out of the office the second the words 'Control Room' left Daniel's mouth, taking the copy of the morning paper with him. He hadn't even bothered to ask Daniel if he could borrow it first. He just ran.

Jack dodged morning personnel in a mad scramble down the corridor. 'Scuse me! Commin' through! he called. Then, the hallway ahead was clear of people. He picked up speed as he ran.

Right. Left. Right again. Jack hurtled up the stairs leading to the Control Room, taking the steps three at a time. His right knee twinged a bit at the uncustomary athleticism of the move, but he didn't slow until he had reached the top.

The Control Room was full of personnel, as it always was, but Jack didn't even see the other officers. He was focused solely on the woman sitting at a computer console, her short, blonde hair tousled as if she had slid an aggravated hand through it as she wrestled with an annoying technological problem. Carter! he yelled the second he was at the top of the stairs.

Colonel O'Neill? came her questioning reply. What's going on?

Jack swung around more personnel, then tossed the paper onto Sam's computer keyboard, stilling her hands so she would have to read the article, or at least look at it, in order to get the paper out of her way so that she could type on the keyboard. Read! he tersely ordered.

Sam read. Then she jumped back and sent her chair rolling out from under her across the room. Holy Hannah!

Yes, that was my reaction, too, Jack admitted while he caught his breath. Well, more or less.

Oh, my God... This.., Sam said in a lower tone of voice. This could be what we've been waiting for.

Sam. Jack stated, and looked straight into her luminescent, wide, blue... He shook his head to clear it of her eyes's mesmerizing effect, not wanting to waste any time even on getting lost in her eyes, as he had always wanted to do. Instead, he blinked, and, heart pounding, blurted, Marry me. Today. Now. His pulse may be racing away, he was so terrified, but he knew what he wanted.

Col... Sam shook her head, and tried again, Sir... Nope. Too formal. Jack! she exclaimed, blinking her confusion away. Had she just heard a proposal of marriage? The only thought she had in her head was that she had always imagined something a little different... something softer somehow... when someone proposed marriage to her. Let me at least read the article first! There was no irritation in her tone, no condescension, only a small amount of chastisement at his sense of urgency, but mostly wonder at the sudden situation.

She read, fast, her eyes lighting up more and more... Until she came to the last line of the article. Oh, she said, sounding slightly deflated.

What is it? Jack asked, alarmed at the look of consternation on her face. He mentally admitted that he hadn't taken the time to read the article himself, and didn't know what could have caused her to look so perplexed. What? he repeated, unconsciously laying a hand on her back, not realizing that this was the first time he had ever touched her in public.

Sam brought the crumpled paper closer to her eyes. There, she stalled. It says here that married military personnel can't serve together. We would have to split up the team.

Jack grabbed the paper from her hand. Where? Where does it say that?

Sam pointed to the last line of the article. Right here.

Jack read the line, too, then settled more firmly onto the heels of his combat boots. It should be me; I'll go, he softly intoned. You're too valuable of a team member.

Sam smiled in spite of the dire situation that had transpired. I knew you would say something like that! You are such a martyr under that tough exterior that we all know and love. Her voice was slightly sarcastic. She paused, the paper still in her hand. Now, sarcasm gone, she said, But it should be me... I'll change to another team... The Science department, maybe...

No! Jack hissed. I would never let you do that for me! He took a deep breath, then softly, insistently, protested, This is the job you waited years for, worked hard at getting...

Sam's face melted into a smile again. Jack, don't you get it? she asked gently, not expecting an answer to such an unanswerable question. She went on in a low, quiet voice, I would never give up my position on SG-1 for anybody else.

Jack just stood, rooted to the floor for a full minute. He didn't say anything, didn't do anything, but he did stare straight at her, his eyes searching her face.

It was clear that Jack was deep in thought. Ideas grew into expressions that chased themselves across his features with alarming speed. Then, he widened his eyes to take in Sam's form; ever so slowly, a smile crawled up his cheeks. I knew there was a reason why I loved you... You're the most unselfish person on the entire planet.

Then Jack hugged her... right in front of the entire 'Gate Room staff and anybody who happened to be present in the Embarkation Room down below the 'Gait Room... He hugged her in front of everybody, the windows to the 'Gate Room highlighting his actions as he pulled Sam into his arms and just held tightly to her.

I love you so much, Sam whispered, fighting the sound of tears in her voice. Then she laughed, unable to express the happy bubble she was feeling in her chest in any other way. Yes, I'll marry you.

There was a yell in the 'Gate Room, and all the people gathered around started to applaud and yell and stomp their feet... They had watched Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill dance around each other for years. It was good to see that... Well, it was just good.

In a blink, Sam was kissing Jack on his cheek, then his lips as she shared the first kiss with him in a highly public setting...

Then General Hammond arrived, and the party atmosphere all but disappeared.

The high ranking officer stared at two of his best personnel, kissing in the 'Gate Room, and a furrow of concern and confusion settled on his brow. What's the meaning of this? the General inquired. The pucker above his eyes grew deeper.

Someone pointed to the article in the newspaper lying on the floor where Sam had dropped it. Hammond bent and picked up the paper. He read rapidly.

Why didn't I know about this? Hammond asked no one in particular. Then the words 'The Military Court of Appeals' caught his attention, and that explained the judicial action. He didn't know anything about the court of appeals... Didn't even know who was on the panel of judges...

Jack wrapped his arms around Carter once again and lifted her from the floor in his enthusiasm. But he couldn't maintain even her light weight for long, and set her back on her feet. It was then that he noticed a puzzled General Hammond standing behind Carter, folded newspaper in hand. Permission to leave the base, Sir, for both Carter and myself, he formally requested.

On a day when you plan to travel off-world at 1600? Hammond asked in incredulity. He whipped his head around so he could look at the other personnel. Why? What's so important that it can't wait a few hours?

Sam spoke up for the first time since the General had arrived. We plan to get married. Sir, she added. At her words, Hammond went so pale that he looked as if he might lose his breakfast. With your permission, she added again in an attempt to mollify the General and get that green look out of his eyes.

Hammond continued to gape at them for several seconds. You what? he asked for clarification.

Married, Jack said. I want to marry Carter... er, Sam. He corrected the result of years worth of careful habit. And she wants to marry me... You do, don't you? Jack asked Sam, just to make sure.

Yes, she answered without hesitation.

Jack turned his appealing eyes onto his general. We'll be back by 1600, I promise. I can 'Gate off-world, Sam can stay behind, but the minute the mission is complete... Jack swung his eyes back to Sam; a thrill twisted straight up his spine, then settled in his stomach. He didn't have to finish his sentence. All the personnel gathered in the 'Gate Room knew what he was talking about.

Why would Major Carter stay behind? General Hammond asked, confused again. But Jack was talking once more, and Hammond heard him say:

Me and Daniel and Teal'c will communicate with you after eight hours if we're not back by then... Permission? he ended by asking.

Go, go, Hammond absently said. He was reading the article in the paper as he spoke. You have my blessings, and congratulations.

Jack grinned. Thank you, Sir! He tugged on Carter's hand, and together they ran out of the room, heading for the elevators and the surface.

* * *

The parking area appeared to be as it had always seemed, though Sam thought it should show that this was a momentous occasion or something. Mundanely, she asked, My car or your truck?

Truck? O'Neill queried, as if asking if she thought that taking his vehicle would be acceptable in the given situation.

Truck, she echoed, her voice much more decisive than his had been. They started walking towards his truck parked on the outdoor level of the parking deck.

When the door had been pulled shut behind both Sam and Jack, the seat-belts had been duly buckled, Sam leaned over and put her hand on top of Jack's as he was about to insert the key into the ignition to cause the engine to turn over. Sam felt the delightful knob of his knuckles under her palm, and when he gave her a curious look, she squeezed his hand and smiled. You sure that this is what you want to do? she asked softly.

For a moment, fear shot out of Jack's eyes before he could cover it. Why? he asked, his voice deceptively nonchalant. You changing your mind?

Sam could see the naked fear along with a defenseless sense of utter longing exposed in the expression on his face, in spite of his imitation at not caring about any of this. He seemed more vulnerable than he had ever been before, and she loved that part of him; it was so honest, so refreshingly guile-free. No, she firmly answered. I'm just making sure. Because this all is happening very fast.

Sam, Jack said then, and placed his hand over hers. What I want... what I've wanted since the day I met you in the General's briefing room, is to marry you and make you blissfully happy and utterly content for the rest of your days.

Since that first day in the General's briefing? Sam inquired, to make certain.

Since the first time we met, he told her, confirming his own claim. Then he conceded, Well, I want to marry you more than anything... I also want to make love to you until the sun comes up tomorrow morning, but one thing at a time.

Sam couldn't help it; she giggled like a lovesick school girl, thrilled to have been told by a guy that she was, indeed, attractive. I think that's the nicest thing you've ever said, she whispered around her smile. She did the nicest thing in return that she could think of at the moment: she removed her hand from his, no longer blocking the ignition.

He grinned at her, then leaned over the partition separating the seats and touched his hand to her cheek. I will marry you if I have to take out a million Gao'uld Jaffa in order to do it, he promised. Then he kissed her, slow, sure, and light as golden summer sunlight.

Sam felt like she was sliding into a puddle on the floor of his truck. His fingertips skimmed over the surface of her skin, falling agonizingly short of her breasts hidden beneath the black t-shirt she had been wearing in the 'Gate Room. In spite of the heat seeping into her shoulders through the truck windows, and the warmth of Jack's touch, there was an even brighter flame eating away at her insides every time his skin came in contact with hers. She was going to burst into flames at any moment, she was sure. Jack slipped his fingers into her hair, rubbing lovingly across her head and onto her cheeks, her neck, her ears...

Jack slowly released her and stared intently into her eyes. Still asking yourself if this is what you want? he whispered to her.

I know this is what I want, she responded without hesitation.

Sam leaned forward and kissed him again, pressing her lips lightly to his forehead, then his cheeks, then his nose, then... I would never want anything else, she said.

Jack sat back. Sam sat back. But their fingers stayed linked together as Jack drove one-handed out of the parking space.

* * *

Ten minutes later, Jack pulled the truck into his driveway and shoved the gear shift into 'park.'

Why are we stopping here? Sam inquired. Did you forget something?

Jack appeared to falter as he reached for the handle that would release the truck door. Come on in, he invited instead. This will only take a minute, and you might as well be comfortable while we're here.

I thought we were going to buy rings, Sam accused, a hint of teasing in her voice. Yet, she willingly groped for the door release on her side of the truck.

Oh, we'll be off to buy rings before you know it, Jack promised. There's just this one thing I forgot to do...

Jack, Sam chastised. Why can't you just tell me what it is? She exited the truck, crossed his driveway, and stepped blithely onto his porch.

Jack shook out his keys until the house key fell towards the door. Okay, he imparted in aggravation, I need to call my grandmother and tell her about all this, that I'm getting married today. I promised once to call her on my wedding day. He shrugged, totally disarming her.

Sam knew that he knew what kind of an effect he was having on her. But that didn't stop her from following him into his house once he got the front door unlocked. I thought that you didn't have a grandmother... or anyone, for that fact.

Jack shrugged again. She's in a nursing home in California... I'm her only living relative. It's just easier to say that I have no relatives than to explain the whole sordid mess about her being in California while I'm in Colorado Springs without bringing up why I'm in Colorado Springs... He paused and shut the door behind Sam. You understand, right?

Of course, Sam replied. You could never... Jack, what are you doing? Sam asked on a chuckle when Jack leaned her against the wall beside the front door, but out of sight of anyone who happened to be peering in through the window.

Jack gently skimmed a finger across her forehead and into her hair. I don't have a Grandma in California, he said. His other hand joined his first in an exploration of the rounded tips of her ears.

You don't? Sam breathed. His touch was becoming far too enticing for her own good.

Jack shook his head. No, but it made a very nice excuse to get you to come in here for a minute. His hands were everywhere, now, lightly touching all those forbidden places as if he knew every inch of her in intimate detail.

Then why didn't you just tell me what you had in mind? Sam asked. God, his fingers were really making her crazy as they slid across her skin, promising illicit pleasures, but never delivering on them. If he didn't do something soon about making the first move towards his bedroom that she knew lay at the top of the stairs, she would. Or she would go insane. It was as simple as that.

I didn't tell you out loud what was going on in case anyone was listening, he explained, and shrugged again. Old habits die hard.

Then his lips were on hers in a dance of demand and need that was as old as the mountains and as new for them as touching in broad daylight. Still being gentle, but insistent, Jack pushed against her, and Sam suddenly realized why he had backed her into the wall; he rubbed at her skin under her clothes, pulling moans of longing from her throat. Hot waves of desire shot up into her belly, and her groin region felt as if someone had set a fire under it. But, she whispered, Don't do this unless you mean it.

Jack looked at her, his eyes mere millimeters away, boring into hers like missiles set to a target. Oh, I mean it, he whispered with an intensity and longing in his voice that she had never heard before. Bedroom? he asked against her lips, and at her nod, slipped his arms under her legs without taking his lips from hers. Before Sam knew what was happening, she was being carried down the carpeted hall and deposited on the bed in Jack's room with tender but assured movements. The world was starting to become nothing but a spinning maelstrom of light and sound and sensation to Sam as Jack touched her and blazed new trails across her thighs and on up to her nether regions. He touched her there without any sense of trepidation, and in response, she pushed into his hand as the warm feeling inside her exploded into something hot and pounding.

Sam moaned, Oh, God, Jack, I think I'm gonna explode.

Panting met her ears when he paused long enough to say, Not if I explode first.

Sam was just registering the double meaning in his words when she heard the four thunks as Jack removed their combat boots and pulled off her socks. Instead of tickling the skin between her toes, Jack resisted their allure and lightly stroked each foot as he nibbled seductively on all of her toes, one after the other. It was the most erotic thing Sam had ever experienced, especially when he gently bit into her arch with his teeth, letting his lips trail kisses of fire after his initial touch.

God, Jack, please... begged Sam in a whisper as her head dragged against the blue striped coverlet on his bed.

Please what? Jack whispered back, bending over her now, working his way up her legs and kissing her stomach through the material of the t-shirt. More?

Sam didn't bother to give him a verbal answer. She yanked her t-shirt off and grabbed him to her. Somehow, he had removed his own BDUs and shirt, and the sensation of skin touching skin was almost too much for her to take. Her hands roamed across the expanse of his chest and into his short hair, then fell again to his waist, avidly releasing his pants so that she could feel his legs on hers.

But Jack had beat her to that, too. He was undoing her pants at the same time, planting kisses that were as good as promises down the middle of her chest until he came to one ripe breast, and he kissed it and breathed on it to make it cold before he took it straight into his mouth, wrapping his tongue around its sleek end as one hand gingerly kneaded the other. Sam nearly detonated right there.

She pushed down her pants in an inelegant invitation. I know this is probably too fast... But if I don't have you right this minute...

That was as far as she got before the unmistakable sensation of a penis pushing gently into her wove through the fog that was quickly descending on her mind and covering her eyes in hazy, smoking curls of desire. She tried to draw him in closer, urging him deeper, when she realized that, like a sex-craved teenager, her pants were not much farther than her knees, severely limiting what she could do with her legs or feet.

So, she used her hands and mouth, kissing him on every conceivable point that she could reach as she groped for his waist to pull him in deeper, more securely, until he couldn't withdraw as she scraped against his center of pleasure. Back and forth, a raking sensation that drew him in and left him trembling and groaning and wiggling against her...

Then Jack arched back and gasped once, Oh, God, Sam! as he erupted inside her, plunging in one last time that drew her down with him as she pushed her hips into his and followed him with a blast of her own that left her moaning into his neck, trembling and twisting and yearning for more.

Sam grunted against the side of his neck, warm, firm, and supple at the same time, and she gently bit into him once again, bringing a last bout of wiggling and groaning from him as a second burst shot through her in a cloud of moist warmth and gripping hands.

Then, all was still as the only sound in the air was their collective panting. Suddenly, Sam laughed. This is gonna be one hell of a marriage, she said.

Above her, she felt Jack smile against the top of her head.

* * *

Sam paused as she looked more closely at the rings showcased in the display panel. They all winked and sparkled under the fluorescent lighting like they were supposed to, looking far more enthralling than they would have in regular sunlight in order to encourage a sale. Sam knew that, and she tried to force herself to glance at the other wedding sets in the jeweler's case, but she kept coming back to a pair of his and hers silver ring bands with intricate designs carved into their respective surfaces. The designs reminded her instantly of the chevrons on the outside of the Stargate.

Hey, Colonel, come look at this, Sam called as she stared at the rings.

Jack glanced up from the simple gold bands that he was inspecting. Carter, how many times do I have to tell you not to call me 'Colonel?'

About as many times as I have to remind you not to call me 'Carter,' Sam said, and Jack laughed, sound that came straight from the bowels of his stomach. He wandered over to her side, still laughing. An employee of the jewelry store accompanied him, sensing a sale.

The man, dressed in a pinstriped suit and shoes that cost well over $100.00, followed his glance into the case. Yes, those are based on an ancient design of the Celtic people that are proving to be far more popular then we expected.

Jack leaned in close and looked to where Sam pointed, indicating the rings. Look rather fluffy to me, he reported.

Sam glanced at him, and in puzzlement echoed, Fluffy?

Jack shrugged disarmingly again. Yeah, fluffy, he repeated.

Sam smiled and asked the salesman who was hovering over them so closely that she knew he thought for sure he was going to sell them those rings. Can I take a closer look at them?

Certainly, he said, and removed the rings from the case with a flourish of his hands.

Sam took the rings and peered at the designs. Closer now, the etchings appeared to more and more resemble the carvings around the Stargate. Here, she said, and handed the bigger of the two rings to Jack. Try this on.

When did you get so commanding? Jack asked as he slipped the ring onto his finger. Even he was surprised by how well it fit him. I thought you'd left command to me, he continued.

Only at work, Sam announced with a self-satisfied little smile on her face. The female's ring also fit her to perfection. We have to buy these, she said firmly. It's fate. Look, they even fit right.

Jack made a disapproving face. What about those plain golden bands back there? he asked, gesturing. What was wrong with those?

Not a thing, Sam announced. But they cost more.

Jack balked. They did not.

They did too, Sam answered him, still smiling that same tiny smile of hers.

How do you know? Jack challenged.

I looked at them while you were off peeking at the watches, Sam told him and shrugged, herself.

Jack bunched up his eyes until his forehead had wrinkles embedded in it. You did that without telling me? He looked at the man in the suit. Can you believe that?

The man also shrugged, but didn't say anything.

Smart man, Sam commented of the salesman's silence without even bothering to glance up. Jack, she suggested, Why don't you take a closer look at those gold bands that you want to encase around my finger? Then, she said, But you'll find out that I'm right.

Ha, we'll see about that, Jack said. He took off the silver band, handed it to Carter, then to the man in the suit, he said, Let me see those plain bands.

These? the man asked as he pointed at a pair.

No, these. Jack pointed out the two rings he meant.

The salesman unlocked the back of the cabinet and lifted the entire tray out to lay on the counter, then lifted the very rings Jack had pointed to.

Jack tried the bigger of the two rings on. It slid down to his second knuckle, then stopped; it was a size too small. It will have to be sized for you, the man told him.

Jack looked up, irritated. I can see that, he said with a grimace as he tried to force the ring the rest of the way onto his finger. He made it, but the blood instantly was cut off from his finger and it started to fall asleep. He pried the ring from his hand. The price tag fell down to swing innocently against his palm. Hey Sam, how much do yours cost?

$190.00, she told him.

Jack looked at the number on the price tag. $210.00. Well, you're wrong in saying that these are more expensive, he lied.

You're lying, she stated without raising her head from her perusal of the rings before her on the counter. They're $210.00. Mine are only $190.00.

Doh, Jack announced, quoting his favorite show. Foiled again.

You really have to stop watching that TV show of yours, she told him. It's beginning to affect your speech; you're devolving.

Jack pretended to laugh at her. Oh, ha, ha, he said. Then he held out his hand. Let me look at your rings again, he said.

Without a word, she handed them to him. He looked at the rings, then put the male's ring on his own finger and stuck his hand out to examine it. The silver ring sparkled at him in the light of the store.

Well? Sam asked.

Jack pretended to grumble. You really like them?

The salesman knew he had them, then, and slowly, he smiled.

Sam whipped her head around to glare at him as he stood serenely behind the counter. You haven't sold them yet, she said. Don't start gloating.

I would never do that, the man intoned penitently.

And don't play the innocent with me. I've seen a lot of guys like you, all smooth and cool. But I know your number.

I would never presume to... the man started to say.

Sam interrupted. Oh, yes, you would, she said. You're a jewelry salesman; it's what you do.

Slowly, Jack grinned at what Sam had said.

Well, I can see who will be in charge in your relationship, groused the man behind the counter. Suddenly, he didn't look so tall.

Sam smiled, He is, Sam said, pointing at Jack. He has the higher rank.

And bigger... truck, Jack said.

Sam smiled at him, then turned back to the salesman and dropped the rings into his waiting palm. Now you have your sale, she said.

It's about time, the salesman said under his breath. That will be $210.00 with tax, he said.

Jack glared at Sam as he pulled out his credit card. You knew, he accused.

I guessed, Sam corrected. There's a difference.

The salesman rang up the purchase, then turned towards the back of the store. I'll just put these in boxes for you, he suggested.

Hey, Jack called after him. Can you make them those blue velvet ones? he asked. He turned to Sam when the man didn't say anything in return. I just want to do this right, he said and shrugged.

A minute later, the salesman returned with two blue velvet boxes that he dropped into a sack. Thank you, and come again.

Sam took the bag from him. We will, she said.

Is that a threat? the man asked.

Sam only grinned. You bet it is, she said.

Before they left, Jack winked at the man in the suit. It's been fun, he said, then followed Sam from the store.

'It's been fun?' Sam repeated a bit mockingly.

Yeah, Jack said; It was fun. And take a closer look at those rings, he told her.

Mystified, Sam lifted the bag and took out one of the ring boxes. All right. Then she lifted the lid, and looked at the ring in the box. So?

Look at the symbols, Jack told her.

Sam looked. And then her mouth fell open. Right in the middle was the Stargate chevron that symbolized Earth. That's...

I know, Jack said. Just keep walking like nothing's wrong.

But he said they were from a Celtic design, Sam protested as they meandered down the street, attempting not to call the attention of the other people passing by.

Jack fingered the ring. I bet Daniel could confirm for us that's it's based on Egyptian hieroglyphics, he said.

As Sam pointed at the triangle with a circle above it, she asked, But how do you explain this? She gaped again. This isn't Celtic.

Says who? Jack argued. Then he shrugged and grinned. Well, the Celts had to learn their written language from somebody, he said.

Sam just grinned as she saw the truth in what he was saying.

* * *

The marriage license was applied for, and signed in an hour. All that time, the clerk of the license bureau scowled at them suspiciously, as if no one had ever applied for a marriage license before. An hour later, Sam and Jack were standing outside the first floor appellate courtroom, waiting for their turn with the judge who had agreed to marry them... as soon as she had enjoyed her morning coffee. Several other obvious military personnel stood beside them; the news of the overturn order had traveled quickly, so it would seem.

That was when Daniel and Teal'c entered the Courthouse through a side door and looked around.

Jack gaped. Daniel! What the hell are you guys doing here?

Daniel smiled. Are you kidding? We wouldn't miss this event for all the weapons in the entire world.

The galaxy, Teal'c added, and smiled serenely.

Sam was flooded with unexpected gratitude. Thanks, guys. This means a lot to us.

Jack handed Daniel the ring that was in his hand and waiting to be used in his and Sam's wedding ceremony. Hey, since you're here, what do you make of that?

Daniel took the ring and flipped it over in his hand. Ah, Celtic, he said appreciatively. Then he paused. That's not Celtic!

So we thought, Jack said with a mysterious rise of his eyebrows.

But what is this? Daniel asked, and turned the ring around again.

Sam piped up with the desired information, Our wedding rings.

Daniel glanced up, sharp as ever. You're kidding, right?

Slowly Jack took the ring back and whispered, Wish I was. Sam just slugged him on the arm, then turned when an underling opened the courtroom door for the business of the day. Jack and Sam crossed to the front of the room, while Daniel and Teal'c sat in the provided seats, watching.

And so, they were married. Ten minutes later, the ceremony was over, the rings were traded, and Jack and Sam had committed themselves to the other for posterity in front of the judge, the bailiff, and Daniel and Teal'c. As weddings went, the ceremony didn't waste any time on niceties and got right down to business... Jack liked that.

One thing he had not expected to feel, though, was the emotion welling in his heart for Sam as the wedding progressed. He tried his best to hide it from her and Daniel and Teal'c, knowing that emotion was construed as a weakness, and how could he possibly lead his team if they thought of him as weak? But some of what he was feeling leaked out through his eyes, anyway. It didn't seem to matter with Daniel and Teal'c... maybe they were sitting too far away to see it, Jack surmised.

Best wedding ceremony I've seen in decades! Daniel declared when they were once again in the hallway, replaced by another couple eager to take advantage of the military's new fraternization policy.

Sam spoke, I have to admit that I never anticipated being dressed for my wedding in BDUs, though.

Ah, come on, Jack said with enough robustness to be distracting. They've always been underrated, and at least you can breathe in them. His words paid homage to the wedding dresses of the day that outlawed the art of breathing to most brides.

True, Teal'c commented, and the others looked to him. Then, he explained, MajorCarter is thin, but not that thin, he reported with a bow of his head.

Thanks, I think, Sam said with a pucker of confusion on her forehead.

Hey, Daniel said then in order to smooth things over after Teal'c's bald comment. You guys headed back to work now or what?

Sam glanced at Jack and Jack looked at Sam. Finally, Jack answered, Uh... why don't you two go on ahead? Sam and I should at least go out to eat lunch to sort of commemorate the day or something.

Right, Daniel said. He turned to Teal'c. Come on, we're being dismissed. Then he turned back to Jack and Sam. See you when you get there.

1600, Jack said with a sense of determination. I'll be there.

Daniel just pointed a reminding finger at him as he and Teal'c left the building, but he sent a look over his shoulder at Jack before they reached the door and walked out of sight.

Why do I think he meant to say something else? Sam asked in an undertone.

Jack just shrugged and said, I have no idea.

But as he guided Sam out of the building and to his truck in the parking lot, Jack knew that Daniel, for all his nerdiness, was still a guy, and knew precisely what Jack had planned to do next with Sam. And it had nothing to do with eating.

* * *

The second the door of Jack's house closed behind them, there was little doubt left in Sam's mind, either, about what Jack had on his brain... and on the rest of his physiognomy, as well.

They didn't even make it as far as the bedroom this time. The livingroom carpet was plenty soft enough, even if it did cause rug burn on Jack's elbows. The fact that they were married now played a huge part in their emotions, heightening what would have been the normal cadences of regular desire. But now, their passion for each other roared to life so hard and so fast that they barely had time to push their clothes aside before Sam once again felt Jack shivering on top of her. She arched into him, thrilling at the feeling of him deep inside her, right where she always wanted him to be.

Sam chuckled when the great flood of emotion had started to subside and she realized that she was hungry after all. But first, she laughed and said, This is going to be a very good marriage.

Jack laughed with her as a huge smile split through his features.

* * *

At 1600 that same day, General Hammond and the new Major O'Neill stood at the bottom of the ramp leading up to the Stargate as Jack, Teal'c, and Daniel headed out.

Don't do anything I wouldn't do! Sam called after them, humor evident in her voice, despite the fact that she now had to remain behind. But even while she stood in place, she had to admit to herself that she could understand the point of the new regulation; someone who was married to another member of the same team would undoubtedly show undue favoritism to that second team member... This way, that would never happen.

Sam smiled at the departing back of her new husband, thinking of the time when the three men would return from the mission and she would disappear with Jack. No one had said what she and Jack would be doing, but everyone knew anyway...

* * *

Except the eight hour communication time limit crept towards nine hours. Then ten. It was 0200 of the next morning and Major Sam O'Neill was beginning to get worried... Very worried.

It's not like the Colonel to miss a communication like this unless there's a good reason, Sam muttered to no one and everyone in the 'Gate Room. She hadn't moved out of the room except to eat supper in the Commissary for the entire ten hours. She went on, And the only reason I can think of that's good enough for a missed communication is that they were captured by Goa'ulds.

Let's not jump to conclusions, Major, Hammond said under his breath as he punched more orders into the computer he was leaning over.

Sorry, Sir, Sam intoned. Silently, though, she went on with But I didn't even get to sleep with him... as much as I want to. However, it would not be professional of her to point that out. She wanted instead to show the General that she could be just as she had always been, even though she was married, now.

Ten hours, Hammond said, his voice low, as he looked at his watch. Then he glanced up as he came to some sort of a decision, according to the granite expression on his face. Dial the 'Gate, he ordered the techie sitting under his elbow at the computer.

Yes, Sir! the techie responded, then promptly, the Stargate began to spin and locking onto the previous coordinates as the woman... a Private Elson... called out the number of locked chevrons.

Sam sat very still in her chair, her eye trained to the 'Gate, but her stomach all tied up in knots.

The minute the wormhole was established in a shimmer of blue lights reflecting on the wall behind it, an image coalesced on the computer screen. It's about damned time! Colonel O'Neill's voice echoed out of the speakers of the computer.

Oh, thank God! Sam thought the second she could make out his irritated face. But she bit her tongue to keep any response she might have made to Jack's comment as General Hammond leaned down toward the communication computer's microphone and asked, SG-1, what happened?

Jack was quick to answer. Daniel and Teal'c are fine, but... There's no DHD here! he said. The thing is blasted totally in half... the two chunks are lying on the ground not ten feet from me.

Goa'uld? Hammond inquired.

Jack replied, Think so, but Daniel expects it happened hundreds of years ago... No one's on this rock, and hasn't been for a long time. But we can't dial home and just leave, either! We've been stuck at the camp by the 'Gate for hours!

You've been sitting by the MALP for hours, just waiting for us to give in and call you ourselves? Hammond asked.

Well, Jack said, I knew that Carter... er... Major O'Neill... would get worried eventually... You there, Sam? he asked.

Eventually? Sam screamed sardonically in her mind, but leaned down to the microphone. Yes, I'm here, she answered, then couldn't help adding, Waiting.

Jack laughed. You were never very good at that, were you, Carter... er...

Colonel, Hammond interrupted. You need to dial the 'Gate manually, or else you'll never get home.

Already realized that, Jack noted over the staticy connection.

Why didn't you take out the power pack from the MALP and use that in order to dial home? Sam broke in.

Already thought of that, too, Jack informed them, as if to push home the fact that the three men weren't helpless without her amazing brain power to add to their talents. But we don't have any cables or anything to hook the power pack to the 'Gate. And besides, he added, if we took the pack out of the MALP, then we wouldn't get to see your beautiful face.

There was an unsure moment while General Hammond and the staff in the 'Gate Room tried to decide if the Colonel was talking about Hammond's face, or Major O'Neill's.

Uh... Hammond responded.

Look, Jack continued. We need someone here who knows what the heck they're doing... We need... Major O'Neill, he said, using the right rank and name this time.

Sam fingered the wedding ring on her left hand as she listened to Jack over the line. She was still getting used to feeling the ring and hearing the name.

But Hammond was shaking his head to Jack's request to send Sam through the 'Gate. If I send her through, she'll be trapped there, too, just as you are.

Better here than there, millions of miles away, Jack pointed out. General, he continued on, while his last comment had the necessary time to sink in. General, you can send all the supplies we need in order to dial the 'Gate and get home with Sam when you send her... Then he narrowed his eyes until he appeared to be looking shrewdly through the MALP's camera at General Hammond. ... And you are sending her... I'm not being stuck on another planet for three months without her... Then he went on, And Sam is our best bet to get home. You know it and I know it. She's not known as the Whiz Kid for nothin'

Sam piped up, I'm known as the Whiz Kid? Since when? She wasn't entirely sure she liked that monicker. It sounded rather... nerdy.

Send her and the supplies... she'll know what to bring. And Sam, Jack said with his eyes narrowed again. You'll know what we need. Signing off. His attention was diverted off the range of the camera for a moment. Wait for a minute about signing off... Daniel wants to say something.

Sam! Daniel said, sounding desperate, and stuffy. Bring a box of tissues with you! Then, he had to take a break from talking while he sneezed. He finished by declaring, Bring two boxes! Then the connection went dead as the MALP camera went dark, cutting off the contact.

Major, Hammond said. Get ready whatever you're going to take. Meet back her in one hour.

But Sam wasn't quite listening, as she had already started making a list of things to bring, and the first thing she wrote down was, 'cables,' followed by, 'tissues.'

* * *

Sam appeared walking through the 'Gate, dragging a cart on wheels behind her. In an exaggerated voice, she quoted, I'm Luke Skywalker, I'm here to rescue you, Then, in her normal tones, said, I've always looked for the right time to say that.

Hey, Sam! Jack waved from his place beside the MALP. Nice of you to drop by!

Ah heeeee! She pointed her index finger at him, clearly enjoying their quoting game.

I didn't know you'd even seen Star Wars, much less that you could quote it, Jack noted in curiosity.

Well, she excused herself, you mentioned it once, saying that it was your favorite movie while you were growing up. I watched it to see what all the fuss was about. She paused with a thoughtful expression on her face. I'm still wondering what all the fuss is about.

To Star Wars? Jack asked in disbelief. That movie's a classic! he firmly declared.

I liked the robots, Sam said with a shrug. And is this the best way you can think of to say 'Hi' to me on the day after our wedding?

Jack laughed. Yeah, that's Sam. She's no Gao'uld if she's saying that - they wouldn't know what happened only yesterday. He bounded up the steps leading to the 'Gate as fast as his stiffened knee would let him. As rescues go, he announced, smiling down at her. This rescue has never looked so good. he sincerely noted. Then he snaked his arms around her waist. Then her back. And he he just held her. Hard. Desperate.

Jack hugged Sam so roughly that she couldn't resist saying in return, Did you miss me?

Teal'c grunted from his place at the bottom of the steps, You have no idea.

Anyway, said Jack, shooting a look of death straight at Teal'c, back to our discussion of Star Wars...

That's the only line I know from the whole movie, Sam divulged. I've been just waiting for the right time to say it.

Jack stayed on the steps with Sam and helped her unload the small, four-wheeled cart she had brought with her. The first thing he pulled from the handles of the cart were ropes of electronic cable. Glad too see that you remembered, Jack said with a soft sigh of relief.

Daniel and Teal'c stood beside the tent they had erected near where the MALP had rolled to a stop at the bottom of the steps leading down from the Stargate. Quietly, they watched the O'Neills and the technology Sam had brought with her.

Should we not offer assistance, DanielJackson? Teal'c asked.

In a moment, Daniel told him, thoughtfully staring at Sam and Jack. Will you look at them? he requested of Teal'c.

Teal'c answered after a moment of companionable silence. I am watching, but I do not know what you seek, DanielJackson, he intoned in puzzlement.

Them, Daniel stated. At Teal'c's continued expression of cofusion, he explained. Well, they're... And he gestured helplessly at Sam and Jack. They're... He sighed and studied them. Finally, he despondently noted, They're quoting movies to each other!

I fail to see how that is such a crime, Teal'c stated.

It's not a crime! Daniel said. Then he turned around once, a hand to his forehead. When he could look again at the couple on the steps of the Stargate, he announced. It's over, Teal'c. This is the end of SG-1.

Teal'c stared at him out of puzzled eyes. Again, I fail to understand...

They're married! Daniel stated, as if what he inherently meant with his statement was obvious. Now that Jack and Sam are together... and so happy... Not that I begrudge that happiness! Daniel was quick to point out. Heavens only knows that they've spent a long enough time apart! Then he bent down to retrieve a rock from the dusty ground and tossed it back forth between his hands as he watched. It's just that we're idiots if we think that Jack is going to let Sam just join another team and go off on her own after this. I mean, the chance of this type of situation happening again... a time when one or the other of them can't get home, for whatever reason... is too possible for them to allow the other access to 'Gate travel. Jack's too much of a worrier, even if he tries to hide it, and Sam is the world's biggest control freak. He gripped the rock hard in his hand and pensively added, No, they'll break up the team before they let the possibility of losing one another happen again.

Teal'c closely watched the Colonel and the Major. Do you mean that they will retire from the Air Force?

I don't see how they can stay in, Daniel admitted. A civialian post would be okay for Sam, but can you see Jack enjoying a job where he has to stay behind when there's a crisis of some kind off-planet? He shook his head. No, this is the end, my friend. They'll retire, and... Daniel turned to face Teal'c. What will you do?

Teal'c raised his eyebrow. I had not previously thought of that possibility, he answered, then went on to say, But perhaps I will go to the Alpha Site and offer my services there. They are always in need of Jaffa loyal to the concept of a symbiotic free universe. He turned to Daniel as well. And you?

I don't know, Daniel answered on a sigh. I hope General Hammond gives us some time to think about our options. He squinted into the sunlight that still bathed the planet. I might continue working for the SGC, in an advisory capacity... You know, offer my expertise on translations and things... Or I could take a much safer job in the private sector. He whirled and clapped Teal'c on his shoulder with a hand. I don't know, yet. But let's worry about that later, he suggested. First, we have to get home. Come on. And he gestured at Sam and Jack from their places beside the camp. Let's go help.

Together, Daniel and Teal'c started up the steps and reached out arms to accept the ropes of cables. And Daniel reached for the boxes of tissues that Sam had not forgotten.

* * *

By the time they had hooked all the electical paraphernalia that Sam had brought with her to the 'Gate and was walking down the ramp under Cheyenne Mountain to a relieved look on General Hammond's face, the sun had been up for several hours on Earth, and the entire team was exhausted.

Infirmary, briefing, and then rest, Hammond tersely ordered before any if them could say anything to him.

But Jack could see the shadows under the older man's eyes, and he felt sympathy for his commanding officer. The same goes for you, too, I think, Sir.

Breaking out of command mode for just a second, Hammond responded, A bed has never sounded so good as it does about now, I admit, Colonel.

Jack grinned, but refrained from comment as he followed his team members out of the 'Gate Room and headed for the infirmary.

Good job, SG-1, Hammond called after them in a tired voice before the door to the 'Gate Room slid shut behind them.

Jack grabbed Sam's hand as she walked by him down the corridor. Yeah, good job, he whispered, echoing the General's words.

Gratefully, Sam smiled her thanks.

* * *

Six hours later, after the fastest de-briefing he had ever been part of, Jack exited Sam's SGC quarters quietly, letting her continue sleeping after the struggle they had undergone to get back to Earth. He smiled, recalling how young and innocent she had looked all curled up in the grip of sleep, and decided that marriage wasn't bad at all. As long as he and Sam were together, they could handle anything that the universe chose to throw at them.

Which reminded him of what he had been pondering for the past hour. It had been on his mind so much that he had been unable to sleep, even after all the excitement he and Sam had shared the day before... Again, O'Neill grinned, a smile decidedly more wicked than his previous expression, but one that was equally as content as before. But his thoughts also told him that he needed to see General Hammond while the man was still on base.

Hammond was seated behind his desk, filling out papework when Jack knocked lightly on the man's open office door. Don't you ever go home? Jack asked as he entered and took a seat in front of Hammond's wide desk.

Hammond glanced up at Jack and smiled. No, he answered with his smile intact, letting Jack know that he was joking with his response. What can I do for you, Colonel?

The grin of friendly complacency immediately disappeared from Jack's face. I wondered if I could talk to you for a moment?

This looks serious, Hammond announced, pushing aside his papers and giving all his attention to Jack. Go on, he prompted.

Jack grabbed a pen from the General's desk and nervously played with it in his hands as he said, Sir, I won't beat around the bush, here...

That's what I like about you, Hammond interrupted in a perfectly serious tone of voice. You always get to the point of any matter.

Jack smiled. Thank you, Sir... At least someone appreciates one of my best qualities.

I'd say the Major appreciates more than that, Hammond said.

Jack actually blushed in front of his superior's assessment. Yes, well, that's kind of what I want to talk about, Sir.

This surprised Hammond, and he started in his chair. You want to talk about the Major?

No... Yes... I mean, General, let's be honest here... Being married to her puts a whole new spin on everything we do here at the SGC, O'Neill admitted. Frankly, I'm not sure how much longer Sam and I can work here, General.

Hammond perked up at that comment. Do you mean retire? he sadly asked.

Jack shrugged, then propped his left ankle over his right knee in nervousness. Sam and I talked things over while we set up the manual dialing device... Then Jack met Hammond's eyes head-on. The thing is, things are different now, Sir. It was acceptable when we were both part of SG-1... That fraternization rule from before didn't exactly thrill me, but I was willing to go along with it as long as Sam was part of what I was part of... I could know that we weren't going to be split up unless one of us was killed...

Was it really that hard on you? Hammond softly asked.

Jack sighed, and ran a hand over his face. The truth? he inquired. Hammond nodded, and Jack continued, I followed that fraternization policy because it was part of Air Force regulations, but I was never able to completely respect it, Sir. I always thought it had its reasons for existing, but that it caused more harm than good.

Something that works well in theory, but not in practice? Hammond ascertained.

Jack snorted. It made me miserable on more than one occasion, he divulged. But that's the point. Before, things were pretty close to intollerable, but bearable, O'Neill explained. Now, they've crossed the line I drew for myself all those years ago when I came out of retirement the first time. He hesitated, trying his best to sound coherent in what he wanted to say next. General, both Sam and I love what we do, and we want to defeat the Goa'uld more than anything, but we want to do it together. As part of two different teams, we realized that things just weren't going to work out this time.

You're sure retirement is your only option in this case? Hammond asked.

Jack grimaced. I hate to put you in this position, Sir, but I don't see that we have much of a choice. There's no way in Hell I'm going to give her the opportunity to get stuck on some alien world like I was until she rescued our butts... again. The risk is just too great. And I couldn't stay on SG-1 while she takes a civilian research post, or vice versa, because the threat to us is the same. O'Neill looked down morosely, but went on in determination. I don't see that we have any other choice but to retire from the Air Force.

Hammond closed the file he'd opened a few moments before, completely hiding the papers he'd been working on from view. That's one option you can take, he agreed.

Jack looked up in surprise. You know of another?

Hammond remained silent for a moment, staring at the files before him. Finally, he told him, I've been reassigned, Jack.

It took a moment for the news to sink into his mind, but finally Jack gaped at him from across the desk.

I just got the news this morning, Hammond went on to divulge.

They were quiet while Jack tried to compose his astounded features. He was only partly successful. Um... That's astonishing news, General! But, um, what does that have to do with me and Sam, if I might ask? he eventually inquired.

The President 'requested' that I choose my own replacement, Hammond told O'Neill. And I've been thinking about it ever since the report came in. Then he amended, Well, when I've been awake.

And? Jack asked. What does this have to do with me, especially if I'm planning to retire?

Think about this plan to retire before you actually do it, Hammond cautioned. Make sure you're making the right choice before you sign anything.

Jack appeared confused by the General's words. What..? Then, he paused and stared at Hammond with a glint in his eye. You want me to take over, he said in a deadpan tone of voice.

The thought had crossed my mind a time or two, Hammond admitted.

Me? Jack asked, stunned. I could never fill your shoes, Sir!

Hammond grinned a tiny smile. I'll take that as a compliment.

But before the General could say anything more, the reddish lights of an unscheduled arrival began to turn the white walls a haze of pink. Unscheduled 'Gate activation! came the warning that blared over the loudspeakers.

Hammond glanced once at Jack. Then he rose and started to straighten his desk prior to departing for the 'Gate Room. Think about it, but don't think too long. I have to have an answer today, so I have time to mention this to other candidates in case you remain determined that retirement is your only option. He walked to the door, then shrugged. Talk it over with your wife, with Daniel and Teal'c... Then let me know. With that, he was gone.

Jack watched him leave with his mouth slightly open and breathing in the cool air of the SGC, so astonished that it didn't register with him that Hammond had referred to Sam as Jack's wife for the first time.

* * *

Jack first sought out Sam in the quarters that he had shared with her, but after not finding her there, he went to her lab on level twenty-eight. There he found her sitting at her computer, staring off into space towards the other side of the room.

Jack stood in the doorway and crossed his arms. I hope that daydream is about me, he said as he leaned against the door jamb.

Sam turned her head at the sound of his voice and focused her eyes. Then she smiled. Hey! she exclaimed before she answered his comment with one of her own. I could say 'yes' and admit that I as thinking about you, but actually I was wondering about reverse turolent electrical activation on the planet...

Jack interrupted her with a wave of his arms. Don't tell me! he shouted. I might actually understand that technobabble.

That would be a new thing, Sam wryly said, then slid off her stool and started toward him in the door. Did you talk to General Hammond? she asked.

Jack's smile disappeared. That's what I want to talk to you about, he said.

You didn't talk to Hammond? she asked.

Jack shook his head, then nodded. No, I mean that I did talk to him, but the outcome wasn't quite what you or I might have anticipated.

Sam stared at him, looking perplexed, then crossed her arms. I don't think I follow, she admitted.

Jack blurted, He offered me his job.

Sam's arms slowly fell to her sides. Oh, she said at last, though even that one word radiated her astonishment.

Yeah, Jack said. With a mighty shove, he pushed off the door jamb and into her lab. Well, whaddya think? I have to give him an answer by the end of the day, and... He glanced at the watch attached to his wrist. There's not much of today left, he noted with a dispassionate air.

Maybe we should ask what Teal'c and Daniel think about all this, she suggested.

I know what Teal'c and Daniel think already, Jack said, stopping her progress towards her lab phone on the wall from which she had planned to contact them.

You do? Did you talk to them about it already?

Suddenly, Jack looked a bit uncomfortable. Uh, no, he admitted, and stuffed his hands in his pockets. Secretly, Sam loved that pose he'd adopted... it made him appear so young and vulnerable... but she would never tell him that. Finally, Jack went on to explain, Remember, on the planet...

The one I rescued you from? Yeah?

Well, when you and I weren't talking, and while we were unloading all those gadgets you brought with you...

From the cart, she interrupted.

Yeah, well, Daniel forgot to turn his radio off 'transmit' when we last used them for a quick reconnaissance of the planet before you guys at the SGC called... And Daniel had quite a conversation with Teal'c and I heard every word over the radios... I couldn't hear anything at any normal time, but because we were so quiet, I heard these little voices in the background. I didn't mean to listen, but I couldn't exactly help it.

Sam sighed. That's what you get for hearing little voices, she said in warning. So, did you learn anything?

Jack took a fast tour of her lab, trying to look interested when in actuality, he was stalling for extra time. No, they didn't have much to say except that Daniel assumes that this is the end of SG-1, and that neither one of us will cotton to the idea that the other one will be off-world alone... He expects us to resign, and we did talk about that possibility, if you remember...

Jack, Sam said in a wheedling, warning tone of voice. What's going on in that mind of yours?

In a sense of relief to be allowed to finally say what was on his mind rather than have to hide it away in the recesses of his brain, Jack took his hands out of his pockets. Okay, here's what I think, he said. Sam crossed her arms, waiting to hear him out. He could almost hear her say 'Oh, this should be good.' He ignores what she didn't say aloud, and continued, Neither one of us wants the other to go off world again, not after today when I got stuck on a planet with no way to get home, while you were here with no way of knowing that I couldn't get home... Did I tell you that my mood improved about ninety percent when you walked through that 'Gate? he asked.

I gathered that, after Teal'c's comment, Sam wryly answered.

Jack grinned, then, a bit sheepishly. I know I requested that Hammond send you, but for all I knew, it could have been Siler coming out of that wormhole.

Carrying his huge wrench that he hits things with all the time? Sam asked, just to make sure they were talking about Lieutenant Siler, the technician, and not Private Siler, who stayed as far away from anything scientific as possible... That Siler?

Yeah, Jack said. I can't say that I mind being stuck on a planet with no way home as long as you're there with me, but I mind it a hell of a lot if I'm there, and you're waiting for me in the SGC.

Sam let her crossed arms drop. I'm sure that you think of that comment as a compliment of sorts.

Not that Daniel and Teal'c aren't grat company, but... He paused, and his face reddened a little as he uncharacteristically blushed. Sam thought the expression on his face, half mortification and half irriation, was totally adorable, but she planned to save his ego from climbing too high and wouldn't tell him that, either. Then, he glanced away and muttered, But they're not as much fun to curl up with under a blanket at night.

Sam grinned, The truth comes out, she said. Who knew that the famous Colonel O'Neill just want a good teddy bear to curl up with at night?

You tell anyone, and I'll tickle you in the shower... every day. for a year, O'Neill threatened.

Do you promise? Sam asked flirtatiously.

O'Neill gave her a look that was couched in the expression that she didn't want to find out. So, if Daniel and Teal'c are already making plans to move on from SG-1... and they are... then it leaves just us, and the plan was that we were goin to resign or I was going to resign from the Air Force, and you were going to be asked to be reassigned to the Science department... where you know they'll love having you as an addition to their ranks.., but now, with this job offer, things aren't so cut and dried as they were.

Do you want that job? Sam asked, being serious for the first time since the conversation began.

Jack shrugged. It would keep me from going off world... and if you agree to it, then I could offer to promote you if you get reassigned to sciences...

Sam stuck out her hands. Whoa, isn't that favoritism? she asked in an even more serious tone of voice.

Jack shrugged again. Not if Hammond is already planing it... I saw your file open on his desk with 'promotion' written in ink, dated tomorrow, along with several others... Hey, is it my fault that I can read upside down? Jack asked defensively when she put disapproving hands on her hips and stared at him in slight remonstration. It's from all those crossword puzzles I've done over the years while I was trying to distract myself into not thinking about you! he went on.

Sam had to lower her hands from her hips at that comment. She'd never known Jack to be so honest before. It was refreshing. And SG-1? she asked.

Jack gave a sharp grimace. Come on, Sam, let's face it, I only have about ten years in me anyway... I would have to give it up eventually, just because of my... well, just because...

It's the age thing, she said in a tired sounding voice, as if they had already discussed this very thing.

Jack gestured to himself. Hey, I'm feeling up to snuff, no matter what my age is, but the government may not think so... they'll just look at the number of my age next to my name in my personnel file, and claim that I'm too old to be an effective leader any more... You know it will happen, next year if not this year...

Sam was shaking her head. You're right, it will happen, but I just don't see how anyone can think of you as not fit...

No one's asked you, yet, O'Neill gently teased her.

She had to think about that for only a second. True...

So, whaddya think? Jack asked again. Being head of the SGC will certainly keep me from going off-world anymore...

But you hate paperwork, and there's nothing like the military for requiring paperwork for every little thing, Sam protested.

That's true, Jack conceded. But it will give us a more normal life... he pointed out. Maternity leave won't be so hard for you to take.

Sam started at his comment. Maternity leave? Good grief, we just got married, let's not start planning a family already! Sam entreated.

Suddenly, Jack smiled. I bet you'll look cute in maternity clothes.


Jack held up a hand. All I'm saying is that with me taking this job, we'll still know what's going on in the war with the Goa'uld, but we won't have the worry of actually having to fight it anymore. He waited for her to say something, and when she continued thinking quietly, he shrugged. It's more than we were expecting, what with us planning to resign and all. Whaddya think?

Sam's hands were again propped on her hips. I can tell by your tone of voice that you really want this job.

I'll be promoted to general, Jack said, as if the word had only the noblest connotations connected to it.

Sam dropped her ams, again, and sighed in exasperation. If you want it so baddly, then why are you asking me about it?

Hammond suggested that I talk it over with my wife...

Sam slowly smiled. He called me your wife?

Jack nodded, then grinned disarmingly at her.

Sam wasn't buying his expression of a puppy dog in trouble. What do I think..? she asked herself rhetorically. She sighed, then said, I think that you should take Hammond up on his offer, since you're going to take the job anyway... I can tell... and you should also take me out to dinner... we never commemorated our wedding, you know.

Yes, we did, said Jack as he grinned naughtily at her.

Sam blushed. That's not exactly what I mean...

I know what you mean... I can almost read your mind, you know, Jack said, reminding her. So... you in the mood for a burger?

What? Now? Sam asked in surprise.

There's no time like the present, Jack told her.

Oh, well, okay, Sam hesitantly said, her attention now off Jack and on her computer. I'll just shut this stuff down first...

Jack stopped her with a hand on her arm. He hated to feel like he was in competition for her attention with an inianimate object. Things won't come to a crashing halt if you don't shut your computer off for one night of your life. Come on, Sam, live dangerously for just a little while...

Sam had an immediate comeback ready at his statement. My life is already dangerous enough - I'm married to you, after all.

Life can get a whole lot more dangerous, if you take my meaning, Jack said.

Sam stopped at grabbing her coat from the back of her chair. Are you flirting with me? she asked. I don't have much practice at that yet.

Jack grinned. I've been flirting with you in my head for years. He didn't let her respond to his comment. Now, let's go... We can see Hammond on our way out.

So, where are you taking me? Sam asked as she shoved her arms into her coat sleeves.

Someplace comfortable... familiar...

Oh, God, it's not he commisary, is it? Because they have really bad burgers.

Jack laughed. No, not the commisary. But I think you'll like this place. I've always wanted to take you there, he admitted.

They spent until late into the night talking over shared fries at a table in the closest MacDonald's. It was the epitome of Jack's dream come true.

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