Chapter 14

Daniel and Teal'c left shortly after lunch to head back to the SGC. They'd tried to persuade Jack to pay a visit to Cheyenne Mountain before he left for Nevada, but he declined their offer. There would be very few faces left that he would recognise and he preferred to remember it the way it had been when they'd all been part of SG1.

Jack packed up his bag and disposed of the leftover food, whilst Sam got herself ready to go. Just as they were about to leave the house, there was a knock on Jack's door. Opening it, he found a young man with unnaturally white teeth, smiling at him, not unlike the Cheshire Cat.

"Mr O'Neill," he greeted Jack, grasping his hand tightly and shaking rather too vigorously.

"That's right," Jack replied, swiftly pulling his hand away.

"I'm Logan from the Real Estate Agents. Mr Edwards said you'd be expecting me."

Sam looked on, confused by the conversation that was unfolding on Jack's doorstep.

"Err... yeah, that's right but I didn't think you'd need to come in. We're just about to leave." Jack's irritation was obvious to everyone apart from the realtor.

"No, it's fine, I just need you to sign here." He pressed an official looking form into Jack's hand, "…just agreeing to the details you've already discussed with Mr Edwards and I can get the board up when you've gone."

Jack quickly signed the document, flung it back at the Realtor and then shut the door on the eager young man.

Sam stared at Jack, who was looking anything but comfortable, hoping he would provide some explanation. When none was forthcoming she enquired, "You're selling your house?"

Jack nodded and stooped down to pick up his bags.

"But you love this house." She continued to stare at him, bewildered.

"I do... or, I should say… I did, but that seems like a lifetime ago. It's my past. I wanna concentrate on the future."

"Didn't you think to discuss it first. I mean, I know I have no real say in what you do but…" Sam shook her head, "I thought you just would."

Jack shrugged his shoulders. "You didn't seem bothered about what I decided to do, the last few days. Anyway, I sorted this out weeks ago. If I have to, I'll buy a new place in Colorado Springs."

"Seems like you have everything worked out." Sam lifted her bag and flung the door open.

"Hey, just wait a minute," Jack followed as quickly as he could after her. "You're so confusing, do ya know that? You're the one who hasn't given me a chance."

Sam had turned by this time and was about to reply when Jack continued, worked up and angered by Sam's reaction.

"Jesus, Sam, I thought you'd be pleased. I thought it might make you see that I intend stickin' around. I can't do anything right."

Closing her eyes, Sam dropped her head for a moment and took a deep breath, "I'm sorry, I was out of line." Then she held out her hand and took Jack's bag from him.

After one last sweeping glance around the house Jack closed the front door behind him.

He followed Sam's lead towards the awaiting cab which would take them to the airport. As they settled into the back seat, Jack looked across at Sam who was still quiet and pensive. He reached out and threaded his fingers through Sam's. He pulled her hand onto his thigh and gave her a warm smile.

"Trust me. I'm staying right here. I'm not going anywhere," he once again tried to reassure her.

"I believe you, Jack. But that isn't my biggest worry."

"I know. I'll sort it."

Letting go of Sam's hand he lifted his arm and coaxed her into him. She nestled comfortably against his side, her hand sliding across his chest as she rested her head against his for the remainder of the journey.

xXx

With sufficient progress having been made in Jack's recovery it was decided that he be discharged from medical care. He told Sam that he would rent an apartment and she agreed that it might be for the best, until things were finally decided. And so he did.

He'd been slightly hurt at first. It wasn't that he just took for granted that he'd move in with Sam, but he had hoped that the offer would be on the table. He knew there were lots of things to consider, Jake being the most important one and of course, Sam still doubted his resolve to stand firm over their relationship when it came to accepting or rejecting a job offer.

However, Jack O'Neill, ever the optimist (at least sometimes), determined that they would make the best of the situation and as they hadn't really been able to act like a normal couple when he was still in the hospital, now was the time.

Sam felt her phone buzz. She cursed, then put down the tuna sandwich that she was gulping down and plucked her phone from her pocket.

Smiling when she saw Jack's name she read,

"You – me… dinner tonight. I've asked Lisa if she can take Jake for a sleepover. Hope that's ok? She was more than happy to! Pick you up at 7. DON'T be late. Love you xx"

It was a new side to Jack that she hadn't really seen before. Beneath his gruff, sometimes impenetrable exterior was a surprisingly romantic, gentle man. She doubted it actually came naturally to him, but she appreciated the effort he was going to for her.

xXx

"Mom!" Jake shouted up the stairs. "Jack's here."

Sam smoothed down her dress and took a last look at herself in the mirror. Yep, she wasn't bad for 46. All the gruelling training sessions over the years had at least ensured that she still had a good figure. It was something that she was immensely grateful for, considering she was to all intents and purposes only 6 years younger than Jack, rather than the 16 that she used to be. She didn't for one minute believe that he had eyes for anyone but her, but she was acutely aware that he was an extremely attractive man and always drew the attention of other women.

Jake opened the door and immediately gave Jack a huge hug.

"Hey kiddo. How was school today?" Jack asked, as he prised Jake's arms from around his waist.

"Good, thanks. Our math teacher was sick, so we got to skip a test," Jake answered cheerily.

"Sweet… sounds like a result," Jack smiled. "Where's your Mom?"

"Still getting ready," Jake sighed. "She's been up there for hours."

Jack laughed and walked over to the kitchen where Lisa was busy cleaning up.

"Hey, Lisa. Thanks again for looking after Jake tonight."

"It's my pleasure, Jack. Are you planning something special," Lisa grinned knowingly.

For some reason, Jack always ended up feeling very uncomfortable when he talked with the bubbly child minder. Maybe it was something about her predatory gaze, but he got the feeling that she would eat him alive if she got even half a chance.

"Err, just dinner, nothing special," Jack stuttered nervously.

"Mmmm hmmm, Sam's a lucky lady, I sure hope she's treating you right." Jack backed away as Lisa started to walk her fingers up his arm, but he was saved by Sam's timely entrance into the kitchen.

With his mouth agape, he gave Sam an appreciative once over. She looked gorgeous and not for the first time he was reminded of the fact that he was in fact the lucky one.

After making sure that Jake had everything he needed for his sleepover, Sam and Jack waved him off as he left with Lisa. Even though there had been many times when Jake had spent the night away from her, it still made her slightly uneasy. Her son hadn't seemed to mind though and she knew that Lisa would look after him as if he was her own.

"Would you like a drink before we go?" Sam shouted through to Jack from the kitchen. Jack's sudden appearance made her jump as he wrapped his arms around her waist from behind. He began to lightly kiss her neck and Sam leaned her head back to allow him better access.

"Mmmmmm, you smell amazing," he growled.

His lips travelled down her neck and along her shoulder as she found herself thankful for the fact that she'd decided to put on one of her skimpier dresses. A days' worth of growth on his chin sent delicious chills down her spine as it brushed against her delicate skin.

"Carry on like this…" Sam said through breathless gasps "and we'll never make it to dinner."

"I'm not sure I'm hungry anymore… not for food anyway," Jack groaned and pushed his hips into her, making Sam extremely turned on.

"As nice as this is, and this really is nice," Sam moaned as his hands began to travel up her body until they cupped her full breasts. "God Jack…" she gasped his name, "…but I was really looking forward to going out with you."

Jack kissed her neck one last time and then took a step backwards. Sam turned and instantly threw her arms around his neck, pulling him down to her. Her hand reached behind his head and she drew him to her. She kissed him deeply, her tongue pressing against his lips until they parted allowing her access, then their tongues swirled and jostled together, tasting each other. Jack's teeth gently nipped her bottom lip and his hand glided down her back, he could feel her tremble slightly through the flimsy material of her dress.

"You know…" he whispered into her mouth, "this isn't helping."

Sam sighed and let her forehead rest gently against his, "No, it isn't." She cupped his face between her hands. "Let's go get some dinner."

xXx

The restaurant was quiet, which suited Jack. They were shown to a small booth near the back of the faintly lit room. It was intimate and cosy, just what he'd hoped for. They sat opposite each other and Jack reached out his hand for Sam's. She happily accepted, and they perused the menu with their hands linked.

The waiter took their order and returned shortly afterwards with their meal. Just being out together in full view made them feel like a normal couple. This had been what they had both wanted for years but it would never have been possible prior to Jack being in stasis.

Having made the inevitable mistake of asking Sam about her day, he promptly silenced her by pushing a spoonful of his dessert in the direction of her open mouth. Not exactly the most romantic gesture in the world but he would swear that she used her unnecessarily long technobabble words on purpose just to annoy him.

The waiter cleared their plates and brought them coffee, at which point Jack moved across to Sam's side of the table and placed a tender kiss on her cheek. "This was nice."

"Yeah, it was. It's just great not having to hide away," Sam agreed.

Jack chuckled as he looked around at their secluded position in the dimly lit restaurant.

"You know what I mean," Sam grinned and nudged him in the ribs. "Anyway, sometimes it has its advantages." Her hand, that had previously been teasing him, resting on his knee, gradually made its way up his thigh.

"Mmmm, there's a lot to be said for hiding away." Jack slid his arm over Sam's shoulder and kissed her deeply.

"Sam?" he reluctantly broke their kiss.

"Mmmm.." she sighed, immersed in his blissful ministrations.

"I got a call today. I'm going to Washington the day after tomorrow. The President wants to thank me personally and then I have to give the Joint Chiefs my decision."

"Way to go to spoil the moment," Sam groused pulling slightly away from him.

"I know, I'm sorry but I needed to tell you."

She nodded and squeezed his hand, "It's okay, we both knew it would happen sooner rather than later."

"I'm not gonna risk losing you, I mean it," Jack brought Sam's hand up to his lips.

"I believe you Jack, but they have ways of persuading people. You know that more than most."

"Maybe, but not this time. I'm done." He pulled Sam to him once again and she settled into the crook of his arm.

"I have to admit though," she glanced up at him. "I can think of some interesting scenarios where it'll be good to call you Sir, again," Sam waggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Jack groaned, the mere suggestion was enough to arouse him, "I'm sure you can read my mind."

"Well... we could always pretend... Sir."

"Sam Carter, you are a wicked, wicked woman," Jack whispered, as he nuzzled her ear.

xXx

He drove them back to his apartment, which just happened to be nearest to the restaurant. Sam had helped him choose it, so she was familiar with the look and feel of his place. Even before they'd been together, before she'd lost him, she'd always enjoyed team nights at his house. There was something incredibly comforting about being a part of anything that belonged to him. He'd always made her feel safe, secure, whether it be in the field or those times when they were just Jack and Sam, not Colonel and Major.

"More coffee? Or something stronger?" Jack asked, as he pulled a beer out of the cooler for himself.

"Are you sure you should be having that, I don't fancy a cab ride home."

"You don't have to go home, remember?"

"I don't have anything with me though." She lifted her arms then let them flop to her side.

"For what I have in mind, all you need is standing right here," he gestured between the two of them. "Minus the dress."

"Really?" Sam walked slowly towards him and took the beer bottle from his hand. She brought it to her lips and took a slow, seductive sip.

Jack watched as her lips surrounded the rim of the bottle, then she circled the top with her index finger before pressing it gently against his own lips.

"And you need to lose..." her hand snaked down to the waist band of his pants, "...these," and she popped the button.

"Forget the coffee." He grabbed her hand and led her swiftly to the bedroom. Once inside, clothing was quickly abandoned as hands and fingers touched and stroked every available bit of naked skin.

They made love frantically and desperately as if it might be their last ever time. Finally, exhausted, Sam lay half across Jack with her leg draped between his own. She stroked the now damp, coarse hairs on his chest, letting her fingers tease and curl the longer wisps.

Jack stroked her hair and brushed it away from her forehead before kissing it softly. "You saved me, so many times. Nothing I can ever do will be enough."

"Shhhh... this is enough. Just this." Sam circled his nipple before letting her fingers wander down his torso.

"Maybe, but you deserve more."

She stretched to look up at him and just for a moment she thought she saw his eyes glisten but then he looked away.

"I was thinking…" Sam pressed her hand over his heart. "Maybe we should tell Jake about, us. I think he has a pretty good idea already."

"You sure? I thought you wanted to wait." Jack pushed himself up slightly.

"No, I'll tell him while you're in Washington. I know things are gonna work out."

xXx

It had been a long time since Jack had donned his dress blues. Straightening his tie and placing his hat squarely on his head, he pulled the door to his apartment shut and headed off for Groom Lake. He had a couple of visits to make before he set off for Washington.

He pulled into the parking lot and quickly made his way inside. He wasn't completely recovered but he no longer needed the support of the crutch to walk. As he strolled through the corridors he turned more than one pretty head. He still looked good in his uniform and the rigorous exercise regime that he had kept up even after being discharged from physio, had contributed to his athletic physique. He hadn't looked in as good shape for years.

The doors to the Medical Suite swung open as he pushed lightly. There was no one around and the place seemed unusually quiet. He took hold of the bunch of flowers that he'd been carrying under his arm and he laid them on the Reception Desk, then rang the bell.

It wasn't long before he heard footsteps from an adjoining room and then Monica appeared looking as bright as she normally did.

"Hello," he greeted her a little sheepishly. His behaviour whilst he'd been under her care had been far from acceptable on occasions and he wanted to apologise.

"Colonel O'Neill… wow… you look great." She was shocked to see how well he seemed to have recovered and damn, if he didn't look hot.

"Yeah, thanks. I'm almost back to normal and that's in no small part thanks to you, so here…" he picked up the flowers again and presented them to her. "For you. I'm sorry for being such a shit head of a patient."

"You didn't need to apologise, I know I would never have coped with half of the things you've had to put up with, but thanks." She smiled and took the flowers from him, then he turned to go.

"One last thing, Colonel." Jack stopped and faced her. "You and Colonel Carter, you're going to be okay?"

"Undomesticated equines wouldn't stop us from being okay, Monica," he grinned at her confused expression and then gave a salute.

His next port of call was Sam's office. He wanted to say goodbye even though he was only going for one night. As usual she was busy tapping away at the keys of her laptop. He knocked and then poked his head around the door. He'd kept one flower from the bunch he'd given to Monica and as Sam looked up he presented her with the single red rose.

"Why thank you, kind Sir," Sam joked but deep down she was clearly touched by his thoughtfulness.

"Just wanted to say hi before I go," Jack smiled, and his eyes twinkled.

"I'm glad you did. I'll miss you."

"Yep, me too but it's only for a night. Are you going to tell Jake tonight?" Jack asked nervously, hoping that she hadn't reconsidered her decision to tell her son about their relationship.

"Yes, its time he knew. I hope he'll be happy for us. I just worry that he'll think I don't care about his Dad anymore."

"He won't, he's a clever kid. He'll never forget Pete because you won't let him. You're a great Mom, he's lucky to have you and I know that he knows that." Jack looked around to see if anyone was looking and then he leant forward and kissed her.

"Gotta go, there's a plane with my name on it waiting for me on the runway." He gave her a wide grin, winked at her and then he was gone.

Her stomach turned over uncomfortably. She trusted him implicitly now and knew that he would do what was best for them, but she still couldn't stop one last niggling doubt.

xXx

Jack had been to the White House before, so he wasn't phased by any of it. He'd rehearsed what he wanted to say whilst flying to Washington, so as soon as he got there he asked if he could speak privately to the President before he was to be officially promoted.

With a satisfactory outcome to the conversation, Jack was promoted to Brigadier General and the President thanked him for his service to his country. Jack was a proud man. He hadn't always been so, but since he had been involved in the Stargate program, he had put his country first and foremost and would have sacrificed anything to keep it safe.

He had done enough now though. And between him and Sam, they had saved mankind more times than he cared to remember. Now it was their time and he intended to make sure that nothing was going to stand in their way.

He spent the remainder of his time in Washington buying a couple of essential items before heading back to Nevada the following day. Whilst on the trip back he checked in with Sam and asked how her conversation with Jake had gone. She reassured him that her son was more than happy with them being together. His actual words being, "I thought you were never gonna get it together." That boy was way too old for his years. They arranged that Jack would join them to eat that night.

It was late by the time he got into Nevada, so without changing, he went straight to Sam's. It was almost time for dinner. But there was one thing that he needed to do before they could eat.

"Hey," he kissed her on the cheek as he walked through the door. "Is it okay if I speak to Jake?"

"Sure, but first you need to tell me how it went… General O'Neill," Sam smiled and flicked an imaginary speck of dirt from his uniform.

"Pretty good. I spoke with the President first. I told him I wanted to retire and that if he didn't think it appropriate to promote me then it was okay. I also told him that we'd waited long enough to be happy. That we'd put our lives on hold long enough."

"Wow… you didn't hold back then."

"Nope. Told you I wasn't going to mess up. I also got an assurance from him that our relationship wouldn't have a detrimental effect on your career. There was one thing though. I had to agree to participate where new Ancient technology is procured but only on an ad hoc basis, as a consultant."

"So, there's no problem with us?" Sam asked.

"Nope, none," Jack grinned and stroked Sam's cheek with the back of his fingers. "Now, where's Jake? I need to ask him something."

Jake hurtled down the stairs when Sam called him. He hugged Jack as had become their usual routine and then Jack led him outside to sit on the steps of the decking.

"I know your Mom's told you that we're… well, we're…" Jack frantically gestured with his hands in the hopes that he wouldn't have to fully explain exactly what the nature of their relationship was.

"Boyfriend and girlfriend," Jake finished his sentence much to Jack's relief.

"Yeah, that's right and I hope you know that I care about you and your Mom more than anything else in the world.?"

"Yeah, I know that, and I know that she loves you."

"Yep. But she wants to make sure that you remember your Dad. I'll never take his place there," Jack reached out and touched Jake above his heart. "He'll always be in there."

Sam watched from the window as Jack talked to her young son who nodded intermittently. Then Jack reached out and handed Jake a small box before shaking his hand and pulling him into him, giving him a long hug.

The two of them walked back to the house hand in hand. Jake went straight to Sam and hugged her and then skipped up the stairs to his room.

"C'mere," Jack held out his hand for Sam. She took it and he led her to the sofa. "You know I really suck at this sort of stuff but…" he laughed nervously before dropping down on one knee in front of her. Taking her left hand in his, he held it tightly then looked up into her brilliant blue eyes.

"Marry me."

Sam's free hand flew to her mouth as tears began to flow down her cheeks. She slipped from the sofa and joined Jack on her knees.

"I've made some mistakes, but I'll never let you or Jake down. I already love him like he was my own son and I've loved you since the first time I set eyes on you."

As he continued to speak, Sam nodded her head and flung her arms around his neck.

"Yes, yes, YES!" she crushed her lips against Jack's. He fell backwards slightly and ended up with Sam virtually sitting in his lap. They both burst out laughing and then Jack put both fingers in his mouth and whistled loudly.

A clatter of loud footsteps heralded Jake's descent. He walked over to Sam who had by now lifted herself off Jack. Jake held out the box that Jack had given him with one hand and with the other he opened it to reveal a delicate sapphire engagement ring.

Sam looked first at Jake and then at Jack who took the ring from the box and carefully placed it on Sam's finger.

"It's beautiful, Jack."

"I chose it because of the colour. Does it remind you of anything?"

Sam laughed as she knew exactly what the colour reminded her of.

"It's what brought us together in the first place, it's only fitting," Jack grinned and gave Jake a high five.

Jake flung his arms around them both and in that moment, Jack knew that he had finally banished his demons forever.

xXx

Thank you so much to those of you who have stuck with this story. It had to be a happy ending I just hope it's not too cheesy. I'd really love to know what you thought about the story as a whole, so please, if you can, leave a review. It would make me very happy!