This fic is dedicated to Captain Don S. Davis, 1942 - 2008. You will be missed, Don.

Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate SG-1 or Stargate Atlantis, but somebody call me if they're willing to sell. For a really, really cheap price.

Title: A Thousand Miles

Author: Jessica

Rating: T

Pairings: Jack/Sam

Season: After Stargate Atlantis, Season 5, "Search and Rescue"

Spoilers: A few spoilers for "Search and Rescue" as well as "Redemption Part 2" and "Window of Opportunity" from SG-1, and SGA's "Reunion", "Midway", "The Last Man" and a subtle one for the wonderful scene from "Trio" that stupidly got cut so McKay could crack a few boob jokes.

Summary: Set just after "Search and Rescue", Sam is eager to get back to Earth to see her friends, and more specifically, a certain general. But when trouble arises and chaos ensues aboard the Daedalus, will Sam be able to save herself and the rest of the crew from impending disaster? Sorry for the really cliche summary.

A/N: First, when I wrote this fic, I wrote it with the mentality that for whatever reason, Jack and Sam do not get together at the end of Season 8. Don't ask me why, because personally, I think that they do. Secondly, I don't have a beta reader, so all mistakes are mine and mine alone. Also bear in mind that I have no idea how "Search and Rescue" is going to turn out. This is just an obsessed fan's musing on how it should. Thanks for reading! -Jess

Atlantis Base, Pegasus Galaxy

The day was bright, sunny, and windy, as usual, as Colonel Sam Carter stood in front of the open window in her small Atlantis quarters. She breathed deeply and let the smell of the never-ending ocean fill her nostrils. She'd been on the base for over a year now, but she still could never get used to the sights, the smells, the feeling of the strong wind whipping through her now grown-out blond hair.

Looking down at her wristwatch, the colonel was surprised to see how late it was. Pulling herself away from the window, she returned to packing her belongings for the trip home.

The packing was nearly complete, but she'd saved the best for last. Like every other member of the expedition, Sam had been allowed very few personal items, but she'd never doubted or regretted the decision she'd made when she'd left the SGC last year.

Gently, Sam began packing up the familiar photographs of her friends and family, millions upon millions of light-years away. A small smile touched her face as each memento brought back waves of memories of the people who were back home, as well as the people who weren't.

Her father, Jacob Carter, and best friend, Janet Fraiser, were both gone. She'd accepted their deaths because she had to, but the part of her that wouldn't let them go was infinitely grateful for the photos that helped her hold their memories and never forget.

She placed the frames in her suitcase and moved onto the next ones. Slowly, Sam worked her way through the photos sitting on her bed. A picture from Cassie's thirteenth birthday party, team night at Jack's house, fishing at his Minnesotan cabin. Each one brought back floods of flashbacks and feelings.

At the end of the bed sat her most treasured photograph. As she picked up the frame, Jack's smiling face gleamed up at her. It was an older picture, taken sometime within the team's first year together, but it was still unmistakably Jack O'Neill.

Sam smiled sadly at the object in her hands, brushing her fingers over Jack's face. After an entire year, she missed him so much, and got butterflies in her stomach every time she thought about seeing him again. She told herself to stop acting like the teenage girl she'd been so long ago, but still the butterflies fluttered on.

A knock on her door brought Sam back to reality. Placing the precious picture in her suitcase, she turned to see who her visitor was.

"The Daedalus is here, colonel."

Sam sighed, feeling incredibly bittersweet. As much as she couldn't wait to get back to Earth, she hated leaving the people whom she'd come to know so well. Through life, death, reunions, missions, rescues and everything in between, they'd become an extended family, and Sam hated feeling like she was deserting them.

"Thank you, Chuck," she replied. "I'll be there in a moment."

The Stargate operator nodded his understanding, then left his CO alone again.

With her personal keepsakes tucked away, the commander's quarters looked incredibly barren and boring. But now that she was leaving, the room would soon be filled with the belongings of the newest base leader, Richard Woolsey.

Sam had been surprised after she'd been informed of who would be replacing her as leader of the expedition. Although she knew that Woolsey would try his hardest when leading the crew, Sam had asked herself more than once if his best would be good enough. She'd just never pictured Woolsey as the head of anything, and definitely not something as big as Atlantis, and she hoped and prayed that his leadership skills would come through for them. Otherwise, she couldn't bear the thought of how many of her people would suffer.

Her people. It had been only a matter of days since she'd been able to call them that. Only a few days since they'd rescued Teyla from Michael. Only a few days since the IOA had informed her of her removal. They'd said that she'd taken unnecessary risks on their last mission, that she was unfit to run Atlantis. According to them, she'd put too many good people's lives on the line for one person, and felt that Woolsey could do a better job. Well, best of luck to him, this had to have been the hardest job she'd ever had.

Picking up her bag, Sam took one last look outside at the ocean and once again breathed deeply, as if trying to imprint the smell in her memory in order to recall it back home.

Sighing, she turned and briskly moved out of the room, resuming her military composure as she walked to the gate room. Moving through the base, her blue eyes roamed over everything she passed, as if saying good-bye to it all.

Quickly, Sam moved toward the gate room where her friends and colleagues would be waiting.

Unfortunately, the teams hadn't located any new ZPMs in a while. So given the fact that dialing Earth directly was out of the question, and the Midway station had recently been destroyed as well, Sam had agreed to the three-week long trip back home via the Daedalus. But even though they wouldn't be using it, the Stargate room just seemed like the proper place for their good-byes.

Entering the embarkation room, Sam was met with an explosive force of applause and cheering from the dozens of people positioned around the 'gate, it seemed everyone had come to see her off.

Well, almost everyone. Looking around, Sam was dismayed to notice that her flagship team was nowhere to be found.

Trying to hide her disappointment, Sam turned her attention to all the other people in the room. She began to walk up to the majestic Stargate, but her journey was slow, stopping every few steps to hug, salute, or shake hands with many of the people, saying their name out loud and committing each of their faces to memory.

"Chuck, Miko, Radek, Laura, Kate . . ."


"'Bye, Sam."

"Have a safe trip, Colonel Carter."

Making her final way to the 'gate, Sam spotted Richard Woolsey, visibly standing aside from everyone else, his arms crossed and looking very out of place.

"These people really seem to respect you," he said. "I only hope that I'll be able to do the same."

"I'm sure you will," she replied.

She reached her hand out, waiting as he took it in an apprehensive handshake.

"Good luck," she told him. "And make sure you watch out for Ronon. He's really not someone you want on your bad side. Believe me, I know."

With that, Sam turned and walked over to the Stargate, leaving the man a bit nervous about what would come of the intimidating Satedan.

Turning to her former subordinates, colleagues, and friends, Sam addressed them one last time.

"To everyone who has worked so hard here in Atlantis," she began, "I want to thank you for making this year one of the most exciting ones of my life. You have repeatedly shown yourselves to be self-sacrificing, humble people who have given up everything for the good of this expedition. I know that the last couple of years have been hard on all of you, but through all the struggles you never gave up, you never quit, and you never ceased to amaze me with your incredible talents and commitment for our cause. I believe that each and every one of you are true heroes."

She paused for emphasis, looked at Woolsey, then continued.

"I know that it isn't easy to go through the loss of a leader. Elizabeth Weir was one of the most exceptional people I have ever met. I remember a year ago when I first arrived here. I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to properly fill her place here. At the same time, I didn't want you to think that I was replacing her. But within a short amount of time, I realized how accepted I felt among you: as a commander, as well as a friend.

"Now it's time for me to take my leave, and I sincerely hope that you will do the same for your new leader as you have done for me. And with that, I present your new commander of the Atlantis Expedition, Mr. Richard Woolsey."

The applause began again, as Woolsey nervously approached her. Sam once again shook his hand and when she looked into his eyes, she could see genuine gratefulness. It occurred to her that he was facing the same nagging worry, but she was certain that "his" new people would adjust to his command soon enough.

With one last admirable look at the ever-impressive Stargate, Sam turned and headed back through the room. As she made her exit, the audience continued to erupt in applause.

This time, Woolsey joined in as well.

As she made her solo walk through the halls of the Atlantis base, Sam couldn't help but wonder where her flagship team was at the moment. 'Maybe they're still with Teyla in the infirmary,' she thought to herself.

For a second, she considered heading back to the infirmary to confirm her theory, but grudgingly decided against it, knowing that she'd already kept the Daedalus waiting long enough.

But as she rounded the corner of the hall leading out to the pier which now temporarily housed the massive ship, Sam stopped cold when she noticed just the people she wanted to see. Apparently, the 'gate room send off hadn't been good enough for them. They were going to give her a private farewell.

The colonel smiled at the thoughtfulness of her new friends.

"Come to see me off?" she called cheerfully.

Previously conversing among themselves, John, Teyla, Rodney, Ronon, and Jennifer all looked up at the same time, noticing their former commanding officer coming out of the building.

"Yep, just wanting to wish you a safe trip home, Colonel," Sheppard replied just as cheerfully. He gave her a sharp salute and Sam returned it.

"Thanks, John."

After the all-too formal salute, Sam quickly embraced the lieutenant colonel. As she broke the grasp, she said to him only half jokingly, "I'm trusting you to make sure that Woolsey doesn't destroy my base."

John smiled, but Sam could see that he didn't take the responsibility lightly.

Next, Sam turned her attention to the woman sitting beside John. Obviously, Jennifer had just released Teyla from the infirmary, as she was still seated in one of the hard, metal wheelchairs. Her face was bruised, and various places of her body were still heavily bandaged, but she looked happy. In her arms, she held the newest member of the Atlantis expedition: her newborn baby boy, who also looked very content at the current moment. He was wrapped in a soft baby blanket, the color of the Stargate's event horizon, sound asleep in his mother's arms.

Reaching around the tiny infant, Sam wrapped her arms around Teyla.

"You will be missed, Colonel Carter."

"Sam," she gently reminded the Athosian.

"Sam," Teyla acknowledged their newly-found friendship. Ironic, considering Sam was leaving now, before they had a chance to get to know each other any better.

Sam also gently ran her fingers over the tiny baby's cheek, careful not to wake him from his peaceful slumber. Baby Aiden had tan skin, dark hair, and equally dark eyes, not only reflecting the characteristics of his Athosian parents, but also the beloved lieutenant after whom he was named.

Giving Teyla's hand a firm squeeze, Sam turned to find Ronon standing behind her. The tall Satedan looked more than uncomfortable, it was known that he didn't usually do sentimental, so Sam really took his farewell to heart.

"I was wrong about you," he said in his deep gravelly voice. "When you first came here, I thought you wouldn't last a week with us, but I'm glad you stuck it out."

"So am I," she told him sincerely.

Thinking that was all the sentimental she was going to get, Sam was more than surprised when he pulled her into an uncomfortable hug. Knowing that he'd really gone out of his comfort zone for her, Sam gave him a warm reassuring smile as she moved onto the younger doctor at his side.

Jennifer Keller had tears in her eyes as she also hugged the colonel. Sam knew this was hard for her too. For the first time in her life, the doctor felt that she belonged, that she was part of something. Sam had had a big part to play in that, particularly making her feel like part of a team while stuck in an underground Genii mining facility.

Recalling their little conversation while knotting the ropes at the time, Jennifer smiled and whispered very quietly, making sure no one else could hear.

"I hope you get everything that you want when you go home," she said knowingly.

Sam smiled and a slight blush aroused in her cheeks. She was also saddened to be leaving Jennifer, who'd been the closest thing to a girlfriend she'd had since Vala. It was nice to be able to talk with someone about "girl things", although having Rodney in the same room had made it a little awkward.

"I hope so, too," she replied just as quietly.

She turned to the last person there, who was standing holding a small package decked with wrapping paper and ribbons, and as always, looking a bit awkward and uncomfortable. Sam knew he didn't like good-byes.

"Hey Rodney, that for me?"

"Uh, yeah, you know, it's just a little something that I - we - put together for you, you know, for when you left." He handed her the carefully wrapped gift that looked to be about the same size as a hardcover book.

Ripping the covering off, Sam quickly revealed two photographs, both enclosed behind dark wooden frames. One photo showed every member of the expedition, all crammed together to make sure everyone fit into the picture. The other one was a little more personal, with the five of them giving their best smiles to the camera. Greatly touched and with tears in her eyes, Sam reached out to Rodney, enveloping him in a farewell hug as well.

Rodney awkwardly hugged her back, remembering their relationship from years ago, a certain conversation between the two of them coming to mind.

'For the record, I hate you,' Sam had said.

'Well, it can't get any worse, then, can it?' Rodney had shot back.

'Oh, no, I'm rapidly working up to despise.'

Oh, yeah, things sure had changed between them.

Turning, Sam addressed the five people around her.

"Thank you so much for the photos," she said. "I'll get to add them to my collection."

Suddenly, John turned away, listening to the tiny speaker in his ear. "Caldwell's wondering where you are, Colonel."

Sam sighed and her facial features showed her reluctant anticipation to leave. "Well then, I'd better be off."

John pressed his communication button to reply back to Caldwell. "Colonel Carter's ready to be transported."

Knowing she'd be on the ship any second now, Sam gave one last farewell.

"Have fun, guys, and . . . keep out of trouble."

The familiar Asgard beam enveloped her in bright light, and then she was gone.

Left staring at the open space, Ronon gave a small snort that could only be interpreted as 'Yeah, right!'

Moments later, the Daedalus' massive engines powered up and lifted the ship off the ground. As it achieved the necessary altitude, it hovered for a few seconds, then disappeared faster than light as the hyperspace window opened.

Staring up at the sight that never seemed to get old, John finally turned and grabbed the handles on Teyla's wheelchair, gently pushing her back in the building.

"Come on," he said. "Let's go make sure our new commander's situated in his quarters."

Making my way downtown

Walking fast

Faces pass

And I'm home bound

Staring blankly ahead

Just making my way

Making a way

Through the crowd

And I need you

And I miss you

And now I wonder . . .

If I could fall into the sky

Do you think time would pass me by?

'Cause you know I'd walk

A thousand miles

If I could just see you


As soon as the familiar white light wrapped around her, Sam found herself standing on the bridge of the Daedalus. Looking around, she saw Colonel Caldwell resting comfortably in his usual chair.

"Welcome aboard the Daedalus, Colonel," he said.

"Thank you, Colonel."

Caldwell turned to the young woman on his left. "Take us out, Lieutenant."

The helmsman nodded crisply as her nimble fingers danced across her keyboard.

"Powering hyperdrive engines, sir," she said.

Seconds later, the ship lifted of the ground, continuing until it reached the height required to make the jump to hyperspace. Sam braced herself, but after years of operating alien spacecraft capable of interstellar travel, she hardly felt the sudden lurch.

"We have entered hyperspace, sir," the Lieutenant informed.

"Very good, Lieutenant," Caldwell turned to Sam.

"Well, Colonel, you'd settle in for the long haul. I'll have Captain Fisher escort you to your quarters and you can get unpacked."

"Thank you, Colonel," Sam replied.

Caldwell nodded to the young man standing near the wall of the bridge. Inclining his head slightly, he silently motioned for Sam to follow him.

Because of the ship's massive size, it took a fair amount of time to come to the guest quarters, which were located much farther back. When they finally did reach it, Sam dismissed the captain, then wasted no time in scouting the small room.

It was nice enough. The bed had been neatly made and the small window above it allowed for a nice view outside. Of course, as of right now, the only thing that could be seen was rivers of bright flashing lights, confirming the fact that they were in hyperspace, rocketing through space at millions of kilometers per second, always bringing her closer and closer to home.

She placed her recently packed photos on the small desk that sat in the corner of the room, needing to feel her friends' presence in one way or another. As soon as they were set up, Sam felt infinitely more at peace, as if they were watching over her.

Feeling satisfied, Sam cast a loving glance at Jack's smiling face, then turned, and headed down to the ship's commissary. Some blue jell-o seemed to be just what she needed right now!

It's always times like these

When I think of you

And I wonder

If you ever

Think of me

'Cause everything's so wrong

And I don't belong

Living in your

Precious memories

'Cause I need you

And I miss you

And now I wonder . . .

If I could fall into the sky

Do you think time would pass me by?

'Cause you know I'd walk

A thousand miles

If I could just see you


The next three weeks slowly went by as the Daedalus made its long journey. Sam filled the days helping out around the ship to make the time go faster.

A week into their voyage, things got a little exciting when the hyperdrive began acting up. The threat of their only means of getting home failing was a bit daunting, but with the help of the ship's onboard technicians, Sam eventually managed to MacGyver a makeshift system from other parts. Hopefully, it'd get them home safely, but it would definitely need to be repaired before another trip back to Pegasus could be made.

Other than that, Sam spent the rest of the time in the labs with the other scientists and relaxing, something she'd not done in a very long time. She was surprised to realize how good she felt after getting a full ten hours of sleep in one night, and despite her desire to get back to Earth, she found herself enjoying the long-overdo vacation.

Time continued to pass, even though is seemed to pass much slower than usual, relatively speaking. Finally, they moved into the very final leg of the trip. If all went according to plan they'd be back to Earth the next morning.

Walking into her quarters after a long day of work, Sam smiled to herself as she unlaced her boots and prepared for bed. She'd had a very productive day working in the lab with the other techies and scientists, and the fact that they were almost home was just the icing on the cake.

But no sooner had she unlaced her first boot that the call came over the intercom.

"Colonel Carter to the bridge! Colonel Carter to the bridge! Immediately!"

With a sigh of exasperation, Sam retied her boot and ran out of the room, just as the klaxons and sirens began blaring. Seconds later, Sam nearly fell to the floor as she felt the sudden jerk that was now very familiar to her. 'We just dropped out of hyperspace,' she thought to herself. 'This can't be good.'

Sprinting up to the control room, Sam was greeted by a scene of technicians running everywhere, officers screaming orders, sparks flying overhead in mass chaos. Sam quickly moved over to Caldwell who was trying to monitor and give instructions from his usual chair.

"Colonel Caldwell, what's going on?" Sam asked him.

Caldwell glanced at her. "Glad you could make it, Colonel. The hyperdrive's naquadah reactor just went critical. We thought you might be able to help."

Sam's eyes got really wide at his statement. A naquadah reactor that went critical could easily explode. With as much energy as a reactor like that produced, the entire ship would be decimated in a millisecond.

Knowing she didn't have much time, Sam ran to Caldwell's left where the young helmsman was sitting. She quickly, and gratefully, moved from her seat to allow Sam the room she needed to work her magic. Or at least try.

Pulse rushing, Sam brought up the ship's overall schematics. Zeroing in on the room which housed the precious hyperdrive, Sam struggled to find the problem. By all accounts, everything seemed fine with the hyperdrive. Her mental clock ticking, the looked closer at the charts and reports flashing on her screen.

'It shouldn't be that hard to find!' she thought in exasperation. 'I helped design these things, for cryin' out loud!'

Suddenly, she discovered it.

If the hyperdrive was fine, then the problem was more than likely occurring somewhere between the reactor's output center and the power getting to the ship's systems. That brought her back to the naquadah reactor, where she noticed that it was rapidly heating up. The pressure was also quickly increasing, which lead her to believe that somehow, the pressure building up the machine didn't have anyway to escape. Moving in closer, she finally discovered the problem.

The tube connected to the reactor's pressure release valve seemed to have been obstructed in someway, shape, or form. She couldn't tell right now. But it didn't matter.

Finding her way back to reality, Sam flinched as a particularly large spark exploded directly over her head. Quickly recovering, she called over to the man beside her.

"Colonel Caldwell, you have to tell them to . . ."

She didn't finish since he'd already handed her the tiny radio that fitted over his head and by his ear. "Tell them yourself," he said. Sam could hear the teeniest wave of relief in his voice, thinking that perhaps she'd already found the solution.

Slipping the device over her head, Sam pressed the call button on the side. "Hyperdrive room, this is Colonel Carter. I repeat, this is Colonel Carter. Do you read me?"

"Colonel, this is Doctor Feldman in the hyperdrive room, please tell me you've got something."

Suddenly, the screen of the helmsman's computer began flashing brightly. The information that blasted across the screen told her that things were getting bad. Within seconds, the reactor could blow.

Speaking faster, Sam responded to the scientist. "Doctor Feldman, I've deducted that the problem is that pressure generated by the hyperdrive is building up in the naquadah reactor. Somehow, the release became obstructed and the pressure can't escape."

"What can we do, Colonel?" Feldman's voice sounded very nervous.

Remaining calm, Sam told him, "Someone needs to get close enough to the naquadah reactor in order to cut the tube connected to the main pressure valve. Do that, and if I'm right, the pressure should stabilize almost immediately afterwards."

"Got it, Colonel, stand by."

With that, the voice cut out, and Sam waited anxiously for news. The screen in front of her began flashing more data. Everything told her that the reactor was going to explode . . . now! They weren't going to make it.

But still, the seconds ticked on. Sam found images of her friends flashing before her eyes. Vala, Cam, Daniel, Teal'c, Jack.

'How cliche,' she thought ironically. 'My life's flashing before my eyes.' But she couldn't help but wonder to herself if she had come all this way, just to violently explode before she could ever see them again.

Before she could ever see him again. All these years, she'd been waiting for a chance to confess everything to Jack. Her feelings for him, how they should have never left it in that room. Now, would she ever get that chance?

The seconds ticked endlessly, mindlessly, and it seemed that all time had slowed down. Her screen told her the pressure had reached its break-neck point, that all was lost. But Sam's logical mind kept telling her that they'd gotten out of worse jams than this one. She just needed to hold on . . . hold on . . .

And I, I, Don't want to let you know

I, I, Drown in your memory

I, I, Don't want to let this go

I, I, Don't . . .

Finally, mercifully, the radio link crackled into existence. "Colonel Carter, the pressure's decreasing."

Sam let out a long sigh and visibly relaxed. It had worked. "Great job, Doctor," she called, unable to contain the relief in her voice or the smile on her face.

Beside her, Colonel Caldwell also looked very much relieved. "Well done, Colonel," he praised her.

"Thank you, sir."

For a moment, nobody spoke, enjoying the simple fact that they were all still alive. But soon, the pin-drop silence was broken by the voice of the weapon's officer at Caldwell's left.

"Colonel Caldwell, it seems that the hyperdrive's now completely inoperable. It took some very heavy damage."

"Do we still have sublight engines?" Sam piped up.

The young major proceeded to press a few buttons on the console in front of her. "Yes, ma'am."

"How far were we from Earth when we dropped out of hyperspace?"

"Just a few hours, ma'am."

"Good, we can't be too far from one of the planets in the Milky Way 'gate system. If we can get the ship to a planet, we can gate home from there."

"Good thinking, Colonel," Caldwell turned to the woman on his right. "You might want to send Stargate Command a message."

"Sorry, sir," she apologized. "The communications are down as well. We can try to fix it, but I doubt we'll have much luck. The entire system's been fried."

"That's alright, Lieutenant. Just concentrate on getting us to the closest planet."

"Yes, sir."

With that, Sam returned the radio to Caldwell and took her leave, heading back to her quarters. Now that the adrenaline rush was beginning to wear off, she could feel her entire body shaking. She usually reacted well enough when she was pressed for time, but when hundreds of her people's lives were on the line, the pressure sometimes got to even her.

She sat on the small bed for a while, thinking about how close she'd been to not making it back home. Of course she knew that every day in their line of duty presented some risk, but for some reason this seemed different, more important. And it only made her want to see her friends even more.

Pulling back the covers with still trembling hands she crawled into bed, not even bothering to change. She took in long, slow breaths as she attempted to regain control of her breathing and the shivering. It must have worked, because within minutes, she fell into a deep, soothing sleep.

Five days later, the Daedalus finally arrived on P5X-336, a small planet which was inhabited by a population of peaceful people that SG-6 had made contact with a few years before.

Needless to say, they were more than surprised when the huge intergalactic ship dropped from the atmosphere and landed next to their tiny village. Fortunately, they agreed to allow the Daedlus's entire crew access to the Stargate, as well as agreeing to watch over the Daedalus until it could be repaired.

As Sam walked up to the Stargate with the first wave of crew members, Colonel Caldwell gave her the go-ahead to lock in Earth's address on the DHD. Sam wasted no time in her mission.

Auriga, Cetus, Centaurus, Cancer, Scutum, Eridanus, the new point-of-origin. Each symbol brought her closer and closer to home.

Home. Home. Home. It was almost a mantra she repeated over and over in her head. Suddenly, the mantra had a second part, and she found herself repeating Jack's name over and over as well. Jack . . . home . . . Jack . . . home . . . Jack . . . The two small words somehow melded together, just feeling right.

As soon as the wormhole engaged, Colonel Caldwell called through his radio.

"Stargate Command, this is Colonel Steven Caldwell of the Daedalus. Do you read me?"

Sam waited anxiously with the other crew members as a few moments went by, the only audible noise was the crackle of the radio. Finally, the answer came.

"This is General Landry of Stargate Command. It's good to finally hear from you, Colonel."

"Yes, sir," Caldwell answered. "We can clear that up in debriefing, but right now I've got a whole lot of people that need to come through."

"Permission granted, Colonel, send 'em through."

"Yes, sir, thank you, sir."

Sam smiled as Caldwell gave the order to move out. Anxiously, she awaited her turn as other members of the Daedalus went through. The stream of people seemed never-ending, but she finally made her way to top of the steps leading to the Stargate.

As she stepped out, she heard the all-too familiar clang against the metal ramp of the SGC.

Looking around, Sam felt a wave of disappointment to see no one but the Daedalus's crew filing out of the 'gate room. She wondered why her team hadn't been there to greet her, but suddenly, it didn't matter, because as she looked closer, she caught the unmistakable shine of silver hair.

Making my way downtown

Walking fast

Faces pass

And I'm home bound

Staring blankly ahead

Just making my way

Making a way

Through the crowd

Slowly, Sam walked toward him, her suitcase still at her side, her face showing just a hint of disbelief. Jack.

Blue eyes met brown. "Welcome home, Carter."

That did it. In an instant the bag was on the floor and Sam was buried in the general's arms.

"Jack," she whispered.

"Sam," he replied, placing a delicate kiss in her hair as neither moved from the hug.

Sam willed the embrace to never end, as she clung to Jack tighter than every before.

That was how Hank Landry found the couple moments later. Knowing they were only focused on each other, he cleared his throat to get their attention. As Sam's head came up, she reluctantly moved from Jack's arms.

"Welcome back, Colonel Carter," Landry greeted her.

"Thank you, sir."

"Your team regretted that they couldn't be here, but they got held up on their last mission. They'll be arriving back shortly. Still, I didn't want you to come back alone, so I decided to put a call into the general here. He was more than happy to come."

Sam looked up at Jack. "It's true, Carter," he said.

She turned back to Landry. "Well, thank you, sir, it really means a lot to me."

Hank looked over the couple. Aside from Jack's hand resting comfortably on Sam's shoulder, both officers had a very content smile on their faces. Hank knew his job was done.

"Well, I'll take my leave then. I know you two have a lot of catching up to do." With that Hank turned and left, leaving the two alone in the 'gate room.

Sam refocused her attention of Jack. "I've missed you so much."

"I've missed you, Sam."

"You came all the way from Washington."

"What? You don't think that I'd miss seeing my favorite colonel come back from the Pegasus Galaxy, did you?"

"No, I mean, the Daedalus was out of communication for five days. How long were you going to wait around?"

"As long as it took, Carter," he said. For once, their wasn't a hint of sarcasm in his chocolate eyes.

"I love you, Jack," she told him sincerely. She couldn't believe how easy it was to say those words.

"I love you, too, Sam."

And I still need you

And I still miss you

And now I wonder . . .

Once again, their arms wrapped around each other, savoring the other's presence. As Jack leaned down to kiss the top of Sam's head again, she looked up at him, and his lips met hers in a long and heavenly kiss.

Unbeknownst to the both of them, up in the control room the entire staff sat watching the scene below, and as the couple's lips met, a collective cheer went up among them. They'd waited years, now the couple finally had the chance to be together.

Back in the embarkation room, Sam and Jack looked up as they heard the cheer go up. Slightly embarrassed, Sam's face turned a pretty pink color and she laughed as she saw Walter throw a stack of papers into the air and General Landry high-five Siler.

But Jack had other ideas. Clasping Sam's face in his hands, Jack pulled her into another (much more passionate) kiss. Putting his arms around her back, he pulled down so she was nearly under him. He felt Sam kiss him back, putting her arms around his neck For Jack, it brought back memories of being stuck in the time loop, but now, time didn't reset, and Carter would remember this.

Finally pulling away when the need for oxygen became too great, Sam smiled up at Jack and listened to the still roaring applause of their audience in the control room.

Jack lifted her up, still smiling, as he wrapped an arm around her waist.

"So, Colonel, how 'bout lunch? I'm starving, and I'm sure the commissary has some of that ol' slop we used to eat way back when."

"That sounds great, General. I've got so much to tell you."

"And I can't wait to hear about it. Come on."

Together, they walked out of the 'gate room. Sam looked up at Jack, who smiled back at her.

"Thank you, Jack."

"For what?"

"For coming all the way from Washington, for waiting, for being here for me."

Jack pulled her to him, and leaning over, he whispered in her ear. "Always."

"Always," Sam whispered back, a very content smile gracing her face. "Always."

If I could fall into the sky

Do you think time would pass us by

'Cause you know I'd walk

A thousand miles

If I could just see you . . .

If I could fall into the sky

Do you think time would pass me by

'Cause you know I'd walk

A thousand miles

If I could just see you . . .

If I could just hold you . . .

Tonight . . .


So there it is. Hope it wasn't to cheesy there at the end, but I like cheese, and I also couldn't resist having Walter and the rest of the 'gate room crew freaking out! As always, reviews are very welcome, and I hope you enjoyed the story! Thanks so much!