Here is the last chapter. Thank you so much to all of you who have faithfully read, reviewed and 'alerted'. I hope you all enjoyed! (shameless plug time - please check out my new story - 10,000 BC).
Tim Bits - are donut holes
"We're just about done General", the nurse was finishing up taking the last vial of blood. He figured she was just as anxious to be finished as he was. He knew he wasn't the best patient in the world.
He'd been at the SGC now for two weeks, undergoing a series of tests and getting started on a therapy regime. He'd finally agreed to come after Sam had threatened and then cajoled him. When that hadn't quite worked she'd pulled out the big gun – Molly! Between the two of them he'd been convinced to come and get checked out in a place where they could deal with some of the alien influence issues.
He had to admit, as much as he didn't want to, that it had been a good idea. He had a clearer picture of what had been done to him (which actually made him feel quite sick) and also what was going on up in that brain of his.
Thor's medical intervention had clearly put him on the road to recovery. He knew, and Doc Lam agreed, that he wouldn't be nearly as healthy if it hadn't been for that. In fact, he's pretty sure he'd be dead or severely disabled. As it was, his physical health was generally excellent, the only problem now being the damage to his brain.
It still gave him a horrifying feeling to even think that, little alone hear it from the docs. According to their records, and the ones Thor gave them, serious chunks of his brain had been damaged by the probes. It was a miracle, according to Lam, that he was as well as he was.
For now he was still partially disabled along his left side. The good news was he had begun to be able to walk, although with a severe limp and the use of a cane. His left arm was weak but he was beginning to be able to lift it and he could close his fingers half way. Thankfully, his face didn't seem affected – it was just from the shoulders down.
There were days when he was so angry and frustrated that he wanted to throw something – usually a nurse or his therapist – but his 'team' kept him from going ballistic. Sam especially worked to keep his humor up, although even she had given him hell a few times when he'd gotten especially bad.
On top of the physical testing they'd done the docs had checked him out in terms of other brain functions. They could tell, from his scans, that there was increased activity in certain parts of the brain. What that meant the doctors and scientists didn't quite know. Jack knew that if Janet were still alive she'd instantly realize something was going on. But then, she'd known him backwards and forwards and he would never have been able to keep things from her. Dr. Lam was different. Oh, she was competent enough but had never seen Jack O'Neill at work and therefore didn't realize that he was doing his best to keep everyone but his team in the dark.
He knew without a doubt that if anyone got wind of what had happened to him he'd be in big trouble. There was absolutely no way he was going to spend the rest of his life as a lab rat, or running from people wanting to exploit him. He knew he had a challenge ahead of him to keep his new abilities quiet, but that would simply give him something to do in his retirement!
So, the day had finally arrived when he was being 'let go'. The Doc had given him all sorts of instructions and he had arranged for a therapist to continue to work with him to regain whatever strength and mobility he could. He was told to 'let them know' if he started noticing anything different. After agreeing that he would (fingers crossed) they finally let him out. He knew he had one stop to make before setting out. He made his way to his old office.
"Hank?", he knocked on the edge of the open door.
"Jack, come on in. They've let you go I see. How's everything?" Hank waved him in and indicated he take a seat. Jack was already tired just from the short walk, something he found incredibly depressing.
"Fine. I'm just getting ready to head out and thought I'd come and say goodbye and thanks for everything."
"Hey, no problem. You know you're always welcome here. I'm just sorry this all went down the way it did. Caroline says you're improving all the time and she's certain you'll be back to your old self in no time."
Jack looked a little skeptical at that. Lam had certainly not said anything like that to him. He wondered who was getting the true story.
"Yeah well, I can honestly say I'm just glad to still be here."
"I know – I guess it was close there for a while."
"You'll never know how close!"
"So Jack, did you hear from Hammond or the President?" Hank looked carefully at the man across from him to see how he'd react to this.
"Uh, just a couple of 'get well soon' calls from them. Why, was there something else", he asked suspiciously.
Great, thought Landry, they were going to leave him to do the dirty work! "Well, the President was wondering when you were coming back. He wants you to head up Homeworld Security again. He said he's been holding the post for you. Hammond's hoping you'll take it as well. I think he's wanting to get back into retirement."
Jack sat silently, a scowl on his face. He hadn't even given going back the slightest bit of consideration. He hadn't thought anyone would want him in the shape he was in.
"They must not know about this." He pointed at his leg and arm. "There's no way they'd want a crippled General in charge."
"Jack", Hank spoke gently, "they know exactly what's happened to you. We've kept them informed. I don't think they care – at least about you being able to handle the position. It's not a field position and whether or not you walk with a limp isn't going to affect your ability to do the job."
"Aren't they worried that I've lost a few too many brain cells. I never was the smartest kid on the block and I'd think they would be concerned I'd start drooling in my soup or something."
Hank laughed. "General, I think they stopped worrying about your manners a long time ago. I'm pretty sure everyone is totally comfortable with your intellect. I certainly haven't noticed any lessening of your intelligence." Hank narrowed his eyes. "In fact, I would kinda say you're seeming a 'wee bit' smarter these days."
Crap, thought Jack, he'd have to do a better job of hiding that. Mind you, they'd wanted to do all sorts of tests and it had taken everything he had to 'dumb' himself down.
"Na – just been hanging around Carter a lot lately."
"Yes – about that Jack … what's going on there? I always thought you didn't want to pursue that because of your respective positions?"
"What positions Hank? Neither of us are in the Air Force any more. We've both retired. There's nothing wrong with us being together."
"No, but if you take over Homeworld and if Sam resumes her position at the SGC there will be."
"Now you've just given me one very good reason why I shouldn't take that position." He sat back and looked very seriously at his friend. "Hank, I've given up a lot in this life for the Air Force. I'm not about to give up Carter. If that means I stay retired then so be it. I'm quite looking forward to my retirement with her."
"But what about Sam? Do you think she's ready for retirement as well? She still has a lot to offer and could go a long way. I hate to say it but staying with you could harm her career. You know what those rumors are like."
"Hank, I say this with all due respect – f#$ the rumors! I refuse to live my life based on them and I'm pretty sure Carter feels the same way. You know I'd never stand in her way – never have, never will. But I also know that neither of us are going to live our lives based on what a few weasel faced, slimy bastards have to say." He stood up. "I know you're trying to help here but we've already discussed this and have made up our minds. As for the President's offer – if he's interested in having me back tell him to give me a call in a couple of months and we can discuss it. Right now I have to head out – it's a long drive to Canada."
"Yup – Sam and I are going back up to BC to spend some time with Molly and Christopher. I'm going to work on getting myself back up to speed and I'm also going to enjoy time with my fiancé. Oh, and you can tell all those people who are so worried about the rumors – Sam and I never did anything before we were retired." He limped over to the door and turned back to Landry just before leaving. "But we sure as hell are going to do it now!"
Hank grinned as he watched his friend of many years leave his office. He couldn't help but wish Jack all the best. If there was anyone who deserved it it was General O'Neill. He returned to his paperwork and could hardly wait until he could give the President Jack's message.
"All ready to go?" Sam met him as he was slowly making his way down the hallway. He was still feeling a little ticked off by his conversation with Landry, although he knew it wasn't Hank's fault. Right now he just needed to get away for awhile.
"Yeah, definitely ready!" He saw that Sam was carrying his duffle bag and had her jacket on. She held his out to him and he struggled to put it on. It was simple things like these that brought home to him how much more difficult everything was now with his 'injury'.
"Let's go then." Carter turned to the elevator and walked alongside him. Thankfully she didn't offer to help him but did slow her pace to match his. It was as they walked up to the car that he began to think some more about what Hank had said. Was he being unfair to Sam? It was true that she had real opportunities if she were to rejoin the Force. He could easily see her making General in a few years. Was it right of him to ask her to give that up by staying with him.
He got in the car – this time needing Sam's help – and settled in for the long drive ahead. Thor had offered to beam them back but for some reason he felt it was important to drive. He needed to do this journey for a couple of reasons – partly to prove that he could regardless of his disability and partly to erase his former trip from his mind. He wanted to see a bit of his country and actually enjoy it. The last time he'd travelled this way he had barely noticed anything. Now he wasn't fleeing, he was going towards something wonderful.
As he settled in, however, the niggling doubt crept back in. It was, therefore, quite a while before he realized that Sam hadn't started the car. Turning to look at her he gave her a puzzled glance. "We staying for a reason?" he asked.
She looked at him very seriously for a moment and then sighed. "What is it Jack?" she asked. She'd seen his expression the moment he'd left Landry's office and knew that something was up.
"What?" he asked innocently. "Everything's fine."
"Don't what?" he answered a bit defensively.
"I thought we'd gotten beyond this. Something is bothering you and you need to tell me what it is."
"Otherwise the security guards are going to come over in a couple of hours and ask why we're sitting here."
He took a deep breath, knowing h ewas being a bit of a jerk. Okay, so sue him! He wasn't going to change over night. But he did know he needed to get this out in the open or it would drive him crazy the whole way.
"The President wants me back." He stated baldly.
"Really? You mean as head of Homeland Security?"
"And that's ….?"
"Okay I guess. I haven't really thought about it. I mean, part of me is glad they haven't written me off because of this", he pointed down again to his body, "but I don't know if I want it. I was kind of looking forward to retiring and being able to spend time with you."
She smiled at him but then grew serious. "So, what did you say?"
"I told Hank to tell the President to call me in a couple of months and I'd talk to him about it then."
"Okay, that seems reasonable. Is that what's bothering you?" she knew it wasn't and she was going to sit here until he got it all off his chest. God, she was worse than any Goa'uld for getting information out of him.
"So, what is bothering you?"
"Uh Hank was wondering about you."
"About me? What about me?"
"He said you had a brilliant career ahead of you and that being with me would screw that up." Okay, so he hadn't really put it that way but that was Jack's interpretation of it.
"And what did you say?" Sam's voice hardened. He really hoped she was pissed at Landry and not at him.
"I uh basically said that it was your decision."
"And that's all?"
"Yeah, sort of."
"Well, I kind of told him to tell all those who had trouble with our relationship that they could go ….."
"F- themselves." He was relieved to see the beginning of a smile on her face.
"Good. So why are you worried?"
"Well, I got to thinking that maybe I wasn't being fair to you. He's right you know. You do have the chance of a brilliant career and it would be much better for you not to be involved with me. You know a lot of people will say you slept your way to the top if we're together?"
"Yes, I've always known that. But you know what? Those people that I care about? Well, they know it's not the truth and that's what matters to me."
"But what about your career? You know this could keep you from making General?"
"How could I make 'General', I'm not even in the Air Force."
"That's my point – you could be. This", he moved his hand between the two of them, "will get in the way."
"No it won't." She reached down and turned the key and began to back the car out of its parking spot.
"Because Jack, I'm not in the Air Force and I don't know if I will go back or not. If I do, I agree with what you told Landry about those people who have a stick up the ass about it. Frankly, I don't really care if I make General or not. I joined to make a difference and I think I have. Right now I'm more concerned about us than about any promotion." She stopped at the corner and then signaled left to head towards the highway.
"If you decide to go back to Homeworld in a few months I'll be behind you one hundred percent. But I will not – I repeat – I will not let anything stand in the way of us so you can just stop worrying. You were right when you told Hank it was my decision. Well, I've decided I want to be with you for the rest of our lives and that, frankly, is the end of it!" She reached down and turned the radio on and began to listen to music. She wasn't about to discuss it anymore.
He could feel himself start to relax and couldn't help but grin. He remembered the slightly unsure Captain of years ago and admitted that he really loved this strong, independent woman sitting beside him. Whatever happened in the future, he knew it would not be a boring one.
He dozed on and off during the trip, still tired after having spent so much time in hospitals and alien pods. He was looking forward to getting his strength back. For some reason, why he didn't know, he was beginning to believe this weakness was only temporary. He somehow had the suspicion that his body and brain were beginning to heal themselves. It had taken awhile but he figured that was because whatever healing ability he had was exhausted after helping Carter and keeping himself alive. He might end up wrong but at least he had some hope of getting better. He looked over to his left and couldn't help the giant smile that snuck out. Oh yeah, he definitely had lots of hope!
By the time they stopped for their first night Sam was exhausted. He felt terrible that he couldn't yet drive but he knew it would be dangerous. They made their way into their hotel and both collapsed on the bed. Jack had to grin over the fact that he and Sam were actually, finally, sharing a bed – but they were both too tired and weak to do anything about it.
At least they were able to 'cuddle' with each other. Jack had forgotten how good it felt to simply be able to be that close to a person he loved under normal, everyday circumstances. He felt happier than he'd felt in a long, long time.
They made a slow trip, taking the time to get to know each other a little better as just 'Jack and Sam'. It was a continuation of the time they'd spent before this whole thing had begun. This time, of course, they were actually together and not just calling or emailing.
Sam was also happy and was enjoying herself immensely. Although Jack was being pretty stingy with his new-found knowledge she did enjoy trying to pry things out of him. She started wondering about publishing some journals on physics using just a small portion of the things she was learning. Oh well, that was a thought for another day.
The only thing that was worrying Sam was that their relationship hadn't progressed to a more intimate level. Oh, Jack kissed her, but that was it. She wondered if his physical condition was worrying him. Knowing him he was probably all nervous and convinced he wasn't 'good enough' for her now. She sighed but then decided she had to do something about it.
They were driving through some medium sized city when Sam happened to see a mall. Without saying anything she turned off the highway and parked her car.
"What are we stopping here for?", Jack asked.
"I just need to pick something up. Did you want to come in or wait in the car?" She knew he could be a slight bit self-conscious about his limp.
"Uh, I see a little coffee shop over there. Why don't I wait for you?"
It took about an hour but Sam found what she was looking for, collected Jack and they were on the highway again. It was only about 4:00 o'clock by the time she stopped to get a hotel.
"How come you're stopping so early?" he asked
"Mmmm. Just a little tired I guess. I thought I'd like a little nap and then maybe we could go out and get something to eat."
So, the two of them slept for a little while and then Sam got up and showered. Tonight she dressed up a bit, putting on a skirt and some makeup. She realized Jack hadn't seen her this way too often. Usually she just wore jeans.
They had a nice leisurely supper with a lot of laughter – and a lot of flirting. Sam allowed herself to be a bit bolder than usual. It wasn't natural for her but she must admit she enjoyed it – and from the look of him so did Jack.
It wasn't that late by the time they returned to the hotel although Jack was looking a little sleepy from the wine. Well, she'd just have to take care of that!
"I'm just going to take a quick shower", she told him. "Why don't you get ready for bed." So far they'd given each other some privacy when changing even though they were 'sleeping' together. Unfortunately, that's all they were doing. Tonight she hoped to change that!
Jack had enjoyed the evening immensely. He couldn't remember a time when Carter – no Sam! – had been quite so open and flirtatious. He admitted he really liked her like that. The only problem was, he was feeling very …. amorous! God, he didn't want to take advantage of their situation but he was afraid he was going to jump her before long. There was only so much patience a man could exercise and he'd reached his limit a few days ago.
He figured the best thing was to change quickly and get under the covers and pretend to be asleep. Maybe that way he could get through the night.
"Down boy!", he told his body. "You behave yourself! We're takin' it slow, remember? Just you be good!" With a heavy sigh – actually, it was more like a groan – he crawled under the covers and closed his eyes.
It was a few minutes before he heard the door open and Sam come into the bedroom. He had to stop himself from opening his eyes. Instead, he took deep breaths and tried counting. He'd reached twenty before he heard any movment.
"Jack." Her soft voice reached out for him. Keep your eyes closed!
"Yeah Carter?" That's right – keep it professional.
"Jack, open your eyes." Her voice actually sounded …. sultry! Oh God, he was going to die!
Instead of following her orders he squeezed his eyes shut, refusing to give in to temptation.
He could hear her laugh.
"Jack, come on, open up." He felt her sit on the bed next to him. The next thing he knew her hand had reached out and brushed against his face. Okay, so he gave up. He opened his eyes – and promptly lost the ability to breathe.
There sat Samantha Carter – the woman he loved, the most beautiful woman in the world – dressed in the sexiest little blue teddy he'd ever seen. The color reminded him of that little bikini, but the style was completely different. It hugged her body in all the right places and had strategic ties up the center. Little bits of lace – giving just a hint of skin – covered the crucial bits. Jack O'Neill had just died and gone to heaven.
"Sam!" Oh shit, how embarrassing, his voice had actually squeaked!
"What Jack?" oh, yes – sultry!
"What – what are you doing?"
She laughed again. "Jack, if you can't figure it out then we're in big trouble here."
Oh yeah, he was in big trouble all right. Big, BIG trouble.
"I, I ah thought you wanted to wait?"
"No, that was you. I'm tired of waiting." She began to look a little unsure and he suddenly realized that he was appearing reluctant, which he wasn't at all! As a slow grin began to appear on his face he could see her begin to relax. He reached out and gently grabbed one of the laces and pulled her toward him. He then grabbed her gently around the back and pulled her down on top of him. Looking at her closely he reached behind her head and carefully pulled her forward until his lips were touching hers.
Okay boy, he thought to himself, you can come out now – it's time to do your stuff! His body responded instantly. The teddy – well, it had served it's purpose well - but now it rested, all alone, in the corner of the room.
When Jack woke up the next morning he couldn't help but smile when he realized a very warm, cuddly and naked Sam was draped over top of him. He could definitely get used to this! He also felt incredibly relieved that his body hadn't given out on him. He'd been pretty worried about it but when it came down to it it had performed at maximum efficiency! In fact, he kinda thought he'd done better than usual (although it had been so long it was hard to tell). He wondered idly if the Ancient 'powers' had enhanced that as well.
"Hmmm, jsk." He both heard and felt that as Sam mumbled into his chest. She was waking up slowly and he figured she didn't quite know where she was. All of a sudden he heard the most endearing little squeak and her head lifted off his chest. Suddenly he was looking into her rosy cheeked face. He grinned when he saw the extreme bed-head and the sheet marks still left on her face.
"Mornin'" he said. "Have a good sleep?" She continued to stare at him, clearly not quite awake. Then slowly a smirk began to appear on her face.
"Sleep?" she repeated. "Can't remember much about sleeping but the sex was great!" Wow, he really liked this new Sam.
"Yeah, it was pretty good." He agreed.
"Pretty good! That's all you can say? It was like …. WOW!" She laid her head back down on his chest and began to draw pictures on his stomach. He could feel the muscles begin to clench and his body – and mind – begin to get ideas again. God, she was going to kill him.
"Yes Jonathon?" she replied coyly.
"I uh – don't know if you should be doing that." He gestured at where her fingers were moving across his abdomen.
"Why not?" she asked as they began to move lower.
"Uh … Sam!" This time it was he who squeaked.
"Yes Jack?" The hand slowly began to dip even lower. He began to squirm.
"Uh, you're killin' me here!"
"Really?" She looked up with a pert expression on her face – but also with a touch of worry. She wondered if this really was too much for him since he was still recuperating.
"Yeah" He suddenly got a big grin on his face and flipped her over with him now on top. "But what a way to go!"
It was only as they got up to eat lunch (much, much later) that Jack realized something. Actually, it was Sam who noticed it first. He was suddenly much stronger and the weakness was much less.
"Jack!" She stared at him as he was able to lift his left arm and put it in the sleeve of his shirt.
"Yeah, I know. I noticed it myself."
"But how?" she asked, even more startled as she saw him able to lift his leg to put his shoe on.
"I don't know but I think it may have been the" he pointed between the two of them.
"The Sex?" she asked.
"Yeah, that!" He stood up and hobbled over to her, but this time without the cane. He was feeling stronger with each passing minute. "I don't know why but somehow I think it helped to heal me. We should have tried this ages ago." He reached down and kissed her. For a few minutes there was silence until Sam lifted her head.
"Yes, well, that was your fault!"
"Hey, don't blame me! It's not like we could have made love in Thor's pod. Think how creepy it would have been to have him – or God – Teal'c, walk in on us. And the SGC wouldn't have been such a great idea either. Can't you just hear the nurses? 'Excuse me General, Colonel Carter, can you please unlock yourselves, I need to take more of the General's blood!' Nope, definitely not romantic!"
"Well, we could have tried the briefing room table. Or there was my old office."
He looked at her shocked. "Don't tell me you had fantasies about having wild passionate sex with me in the SGC, Colonel Carter?"
She looked at him disgustedly. "Yes, of course I did. And don't tell me, General O'Neill, that you didn't have the exact same fantasies!"
"Oh yeah", he smirked. "And in the Gate Room, the locker room, the supply closets, my office, Danny's office, the Gym, the Commissary."
She stared at him amazed. "You sound like you fantasized a lot."
"Yeah, and your point? Remember Carter I'm a guy! We're supposed to fantasize. In fact, it's pretty much all we do when we're not thinking about work or sports!" He stopped for a moment and considered. "No, we fantasize then too."
"Yeah – he had some pretty cool fertility goddesses hanging around – can't help it if they gave me a few ideas."
"General – they were – HUGE!" She demonstrated the very big busts and hips on the little statues.
"Yeah – but they had" he leaned over and whispered "breasts, Carter and .." he gestured lower.
"And that's all it took?" she laughed.
"Hey, it doesn't even need that much! Just the memory of you in that little tank top attacking me was enough to get my mind and uh body going. Caused me no end of problems let me tell you. Teal'c once asked why I took cold showers. I told him because it gave me strength as a warrior. It was actually so I didn't walk around with my 'side arm' showing all the time!"
By the time he was finished Sam was giggling uncontrollably. Thinking back to the years they'd served together she knew a lot of what he was saying was exaggeration, but it made her feel warm to know he had thought about her – even if only in a 'guy' kind of way. And she had been telling the truth when she'd confessed to some fantasies about him. She wondered if she'd ever tell him some of the more – raunchy ones! Oh probably – but she'd save those for another time!
Over the next few days they took their time travelling slowly. They would stop early on the days they did travel and sometimes would stay a couple of days in one spot. They spent most of their time in bed – Sam figured it was really their 'honeymoon'. The exciting thing was to see how much better Jack was getting – and so quickly. Neither of them could explain it but in the end it didn't matter. It was just wonderful that he was getting better.
It was two weeks to the day after they'd left Colorado Springs that they arrived in Penticton. It was starting to turn chilly now that it was late autumn and the winter was around the corner. Sam wondered what it would be like to spend it here in this small city nestled in the Rockies. Whatever it was like, she knew she was going to enjoy it!
Sam and Jack decided to enter the house quietly and surprise the occupants. Teal'c and Daniel were going to be here for a few more days and were then heading back to the SGC. Both of them had been 'reinstated' and were looking forward to getting back to work. For now, however, they were all going to enjoy a short holiday together, without aliens or bad guys or medical procedures. Jack was really looking forward to it.
They slowly and quietly opened the door and could hear voices coming from Molly's kitchen. No surprise that – it was where everyone seemed to congregate in this house. They put their bags down and then walked back to the kitchen to see what was going on.
As soon as they stepped into the kitchen both Jack and Sam began to laugh. Jack wished he had his camera with him – although it was a picture he could never have shown anyone anyway.
Sitting at the table were two aliens, a small boy, one archaeologist and a tiny old lady. Molly had just served Teal'c the biggest plate of perogies and cabbage rolls he'd ever seen in his life. The big man was sitting there with a fork full and with sour cream covering his upper lip.
On the other side of the table was Daniel, one hand holding a fork-full of perogy, the other a book from which he was reading out loud. It looked like everyone was pretty much ignoring him although Molly was trying to be polite.
The funniest picture of all was Chris, who was seated up next to Thor. The little alien had a euphoric expression on his face – something neither Sam nor Jack had ever seen before. In his narrow hand he was holding a small piece of roll. He had obviously taken a bite as the humans could see the powdered sugar on his lip. Chris was urging him – without too much trouble – to try another one.
It was at that moment that their laughter reached those in the kitchen who all looked up at the same time. The frozen looks on everyone's face made Jack laugh even harder.
"Whatcha all doin'?" he asked when he was finally able to catch his breath.
"We are just having an 'afternoon snack', O'Neill" Teal'c answered gravely. Jack again went into peals of laughter at Teal'c's definition of 'snack'. His alien friend simply raised his eyebrow and returned to eating the perogies.
"Jack!" Chris jumped up and ran over, throwing his arms around his idle and then around Sam, who he loved as much. "I'm so glad you're here. Grandma let us buy Tim Bits. I'm letting Thor try them." He leaned over and whispered to Sam and Jack. "He really likes them – he's eaten just about the whole box!"
Jack looked up at his other alien friend and had trouble not laughing again. "Thor, buddy, it's good to see you!"
"Gwood twoo see woo twoo O'Neill."
This time it was Sam who almost choked on her laughter. Thor's small mouth was so full of these 'Tim Bits' that he could barely speak. Who would have thought that an alien race would be corrupted by one small seven year old.
That evening everyone sat in the living room and spent a hilarious evening playing games and eating popcorn. Thor wasn't so sure about this earth food but when Molly drenched his in butter he decided he quite liked it. Jack warned him about getting his 'buttery hands' on the controls of his space ship.
Once Chris had gone to bed they talked about a few more serious things. Thor informed them of the trials of those guilty of the kidnappings and attempt on O'Neill's life. He also explained that some of the High Council were coming to meet with the President and give their apologies directly over what some of their citizens had done. They would also retrieve Angrboda's space ship and take Holler back with them.
Thor turned to Jack. "The High Council would also like to speak with you O'Neill. They would like to ask if they may use some of the samples gathered by Angrboda. There might be a possibility that ithey will help our people. If you do not desire that they understand and everything will be destroyed.
Jack had to think about that for a while. It angered him – and gave him the creeps – to know that pieces of his body and brain were in test tubes on the Asgard ship. His first reaction was to tell them to destroy the samples. Before he had a chance to speak however, Sam reached out and took his hand.
"This might be a good thing Jack. If you let them use the samples they won't need to bother you again. They'll have what they need and if it doesn't work there's nothing lost. If it does, well you'll have helped to save an entire race. Most of them are good guys General." She stopped and looked at him and he knew, from her expression, that she would support him in whatever he decided. With a small nod he turned to Thor.
"Okay, they can use it – but only if they promise me never to come back asking for more. I've given enough and I don't ever want to be bugged about this again!"
"Of course O'Neill. You have my word. You also have my gratitude. This may be what we need." Once that had been settled the conversation turned towards the future.
Their friends asked Jack and Sam what their plans were now that the threat was gone and everything had been explained.
"I don't know. I think both Sam and I need some time. We're going to stay here with Molly for the next few months and 'recuperate' from everything." His friends had noticed how much better he was doing but he hadn't told them the cause – just that he was getting lots of exercise. He'd had to hit Sam's leg when he heard her snort!
"After that, I don't know. The Air Force wants us both back and maybe we'll go although I kinda feel like I've done my time. It may be time for something different." He didn't say it but everyone knew that with his new knowledge there might be another way he could help earth in its fight against the bad guys out there. He'd have to figure out how he could use that knowledge.
"What about you Sam?" Daniel asked.
"I'm not sure either Daniel. Somehow I'm not that interested in going back although that might change. I'd kind of like to do some research and some writing – with Jack's help!" she turned and grinned at him. "I'm also looking forward to a bit of a 'normal' life for a change. Who knows, I might even take up knitting and I'm definitely going to ask Molly to teach me to cook!"
The old lady looked at her new 'family' and smiled. "Of course dear, although I think you've already captured your man." She looked over at Jack who was looking a little pink around the edges. "Who knows, there might even be another grandchild on the way!" This time both Jack and Sam were more than pink! The others all laughed although Thor looked interested.
They all got to bed late that night, tired but more relaxed than any of them had been in a long time. Thor returned to his ship to make preparations for the visit from the High Council.
Early the next morning Teal'c and Daniel left to take a brisk walk around the lake. Chris was watching Saturday morning cartoons and Jack was tempted to join him when Molly asked to speak with them both. They returned to the kitchen and sat down.
Unlike her usual self Molly was uncharacteristically quiet. Sam looked at Jack a little worried. Finally Molly began to speak.
"We haven't known each other that long", she began, "but I feel like you're my family already." Jack smiled and reached out and took the older woman's thin hand. "I know you're both good people – the best, really. Since you arrived on our doorstep our lives have changed. Chris is happy again and I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders." She sighed then, not looking happy in spite of her words.
"There's something bothering you Molly", Sam interjected quietly. "What is it?"
Molly looked up, tears in her eyes. "I love Christopher more than you'll ever know. He's all that I have left of my blood relatives. My husband and child are both gone but every time I see him I see them." She looked up at Jack. "But I'm frightened. I almost died a few weeks ago and, even though I'm healthier now, I am over 80 years old. I'm frightened that one day I'll die and Chris will be all alone. I know I don't have the right to ask you, that you have your own life but –" Jack reached out and put his fingers gently over Molly's mouth.
"You want us to be there for him, to care for him if something happens to you?"
"Not just that Jack." The old woman paused, knowing she was asking much of these two who were just starting their lives together. "He needs parents, two parents. He also needs someone younger, someone who can take him skating and to baseball and hockey games. He might even like a sibling one day. As much as I love him, I'm his Grandma and I can't do all those things with him. He needs more than I can give him. He needs a family. I want – I want you to adopt him."
Jack took a deep breath. This was something he hadn't been expecting. "He has a family Molly. You are his family even if you can't take him to play hockey. But I understand what you're saying." He looked at the tiny woman who now had tears running down her cheeks. He then looked at Sam who was also pretty teary eyed herself. He turned back to Molly.
"Molly, I can promise you that whatever happens we will always be there for Chris. We will always love him. As for adopting him – I have to discuss this with Sam. It's not a decision to be made lightly, for any of us. I think too we need to talk to Chris. He's had a lot of upheaval in his life. Do you mind if we discuss it and get back to you?" he asked gently. She nodded, agreeing.
Jack stood up and reached down to help Sam to her feet. She quickly went over and gave the older woman a hug, knowing that this must have been terribly painful for the woman. She was offering to give up her last remaining family for the sake of the little boy. It was a selfless and noble sacrifice but must be tearing her apart.
Jack then walked over and gave Molly a hug as well. "Don't worry Molly. Everything will work out for the best. No matter what we're your family now too and you're not going to lose us!" With a watery laugh she gave Jack a pat and told him to 'go talk to that woman of yours'. With a grin he took Sam's hand and went to their room.
"So, what do you think?" he asked Sam. He knew that if it had been just him he would have jumped at the chance to have Christopher as his son, however that wouldn't have been fair to Sam. She had to want it as much as he did.
"I think we need to adopt both of them."
"What?" he asked, unsure of what she meant.
"We need to adopt both Christopher and Molly. She's right when she says he needs parents. He needs a dad – no, he needs you as his dad. I'm also afraid that it's really too much for her to look after him by herself. He's an active kid and she can't keep up with him - but I'm not about to leave her here by herself and take Christopher from her. No, I think we should have both of them live with us."
He looked at her – not amazed because he knew how wonderful she was – but in awe. Samantha Carter was not only one of the strongest, smartest women he knew – she was also one of the most loving, compassionate people he'd ever met (okay, Daniel was a close second but he wasn't his type).
"So, how do we do that? Do you think she wants to leave here? This is her home and all her friends are here."
"Well, do you like it here?"
"Yeah, but it's a different country and we certainly couldn't work in the Air Force from here."
"I thought you said you wanted to retire?"
"I do but – what about you?"
"Well, I'd kind of like to do some research, like I told you. I also thought we might consider – you know – starting a family of our own. We don't want to waste all those great genes of yours!" She blushed a bit but was happy when she saw the look of joy cross his face.
"Okay – let's go tell her. There's a lot to work out you know."
"Yeah, I know. And who knows, in a few years we may be able to return to Colorado – or Minnesota – but for now I feel like we've come home. I need this, Molly and Chris need this – and I think you do too."
Reaching out he pulled her to him and simply held her, his face pressed against hers. It was only as she felt the dampness on her cheek that she realized that Jack was crying. Yes, they'd come home.
Later that afternoon they told Christopher what they were planning. At first they worried because he didn't say anthing but then he threw himself into Jack's arms and began to sob. His muffled words could be heard and after a while they figured out that he was also asking for Sam. She went over and joined in the family hug. He eventually calmed down and looked up. Seeing his grandmother sitting by herself he pulled away from the arms of his new parents and walked over to her. Standing straight and proud in front of her he looked at her. "I love you Grandma! I wouldn't have gone with them and left you. I'm so glad we're going to be together." With a small sob she reached out and pulled her grandson into her arms. She looked up at the two people standing in front of her and smiled with gratitude.
As Jack sat quietly that evening, surrounded by his friends and family, he thought back to that journey that had started so many months ago. It had started with pain and what he thought was betrayal but had ended in joy and a new beginning. As he looked around the room he realized that the journey had not only brought him closer to his friends, it had brought him a whole new, expanded family. He smiled to himself as he listened to the laughter and teasing around him.
Yes – this was truly his family. He was the luckiest man alive.