A/N: That's it from me. Thanks for reading!


Epilogue

Northern Minnesota
20 November 1995

The radio blared out pop classics one minute, then opera the next.

It was the compromise that they'd found when they worked together.

Her fingers were freezing despite the portable heater that she'd brought along. "Damn, it's cold."

All Sam got was a curious look from him. "Not used to it?"

"Will probably never get used to it, actually," she huffed as a spot of varnish went where it wasn't supposed to.

"Then get toasty in front of the fire."

She threw him an exasperated look. "I'm not done yet."

Jack shrugged and said, "Take a break."

He climbed down the ladder where it leant against a wall, dusting off the cobwebs that had stuck to his plaid shirt, then disappeared into the kitchen that was finally functioning like one after days of work on it.

He handed her an enormous cup of blue jello and received a brilliant smile in response, as she put aside the paintbrush and sat on a dry surface next to him.

"This is great."

"Told ya."

Honed from those days when they had no one else but each other to lean on, their intimate communication had always tended to be wordless, their sentences casual but heavy with subtext.

The fragility of the first days had fled, where she had wondered if they had a thing going on, something that she'd gathered her courage and asked about on the day Hammond had reinstated the both of them. His answer had stopped all doubts the night after the party under the mountain. The coming days, while exciting, were never more uncertain. It made every day all the more precious, the uncertainty of the future bringing into focus how much they needed each other as much as the world needed them.

A week after the SGC had been announced as an official division of NORAD, they found themselves on the road again after making the impulsive decision late that night to go up north.

Sam hadn't expected to be back there so soon, helping Jack to redo the cabin when he'd insisted on starting early. Admittedly, she hadn't had that much fun in a long time, working with her hands, spending every day of the three weeks' downtime in the cabin with him, clearing the old furniture, re-surfacing the floorboards and redesigning the living spaces.

Break times consisted of them trying to fish, only to discover there was no fish in that pod.

The work went faster than Jack thought it would have gone, thanks to Sam's ingenious organisation and remarkable efficiency when it came to getting the materials in order. He'd joked that she would make a good contractor if she ever got tired of science.

The cabin would be fully done by next spring, a quiet haven constructed especially so that there was a place both of them could escape to each time a period of downtime came along.

"This is unbelievable," she murmured.

"What? The jello?" He asked teasingly. "I would have bought more boxes had I known you liked it that much."

It earned him another fondly exasperated look, a look he liked seeing on her face.

"This," she said and swept her arm out across. "Us. Everything."

Jack looked around, suddenly seeing all the possibilities that were open to them, all the things that had been so far beyond his reach only a short while ago.

"Yeah," he answered finally, his voice strangely hoarse. "A guy could get used to this."

- Fin -