zorb: (S/D cute - SG)
zorb ([personal profile] zorb) wrote2005-09-29 09:15 pm
Entry tags:

Fic - SG-1 - Of Reality

This is a sequel to Taste (and I highly recommend you (re)read that fic before starting this one). I did not originally intend for that fic to have a sequel, but it was suggested, and the second two-thirds of Season 8 provided ample opportunity for me to skew the universe to my own interpretation. Then I spent most of the summer hating what I'd written so far, then finally finished it, then sat on it for a few more weeks because I have sequel issues. But my sister convinced me to post this, so here it is.

Title: Of Reality (I'm so clever like that)
Rating: R. Very much R. For the sex0rz, naturally, plus language.
Pairing: Sam/Daniel, with a side of Sam/Pete and Daniel/Vala. Also, Jack.
Spoilers: The entirety of S8 (minus "Moebius," because it makes my head hurt), as well as spoilers for where the characters will be at the beginning of S9.
Disclaimer: As usual, they do not belong to me. Nor does this interpretation of events, really - that one goes to all of us S/D shippers. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt - it's a fun river. My delusions are more fun than your delusions. :-P
Summary: In what reality, for instance, would he be standing next to the woman with whom he was having earth-moving, mind-blowing sex, arm around her shoulders, as they listened to marriage plans – and not be engaged to her himself? Sequel to Taste.

Daniel knows how to handle explosive Jack. Angry Jack, ranting Jack – these are his longtime friends, and quenching the flames is a honed skill.

But the Jack that confronts him now is stone-faced. The last time he handled stoic Jack was before either of them cared as much about each other as they do now.

Each other - and Sam.

Jack opens his mouth and Daniel braces himself for a tongue-lashing. He knows he deserves it, but oddly, he has no fear. Because though he was in the wrong...it was right.

But what Jack says has no trace of anger, vitriol, sarcasm, or exasperation. It is devoid of anything. And that’s not a good sign.

Jack says, “How did this happen?”

It’s a good question.

*

Sam can’t take the silence. Well, no, it’s not entirely silent. Daniel is muttering unintelligibly, sotto voce, beside her. His talent with tongues (in more ways that one) usually turns her on. Today, it makes her guilty for the thoughts it inspires. She wishes he wouldn’t.

She tries to maintain eye contact with her CO, but her eyes keep flickering to the edge of his desk. The synthetic wood grain forms a tiny knot there; she wonders if a fake knot behaves like a real one. Or if it should even be called fake, since for all intents and purposes, it is real.

Daniel’s sub-vocal emanations silence, and she realizes it is because the General is about to speak. She braces herself for a tongue-lashing and raises her head.

“How did this happen?”

It’s a good question.

*

It was, perhaps, one of the most surreal moments in Daniel Jackson’s life.

And the last eight years had certainly had their share of the surreal.

In what reality, for instance, would he be standing next to the woman with whom he was having earth-moving, mind-blowing sex, arm around her shoulders, as they listened to marriage plans – and not be engaged to her himself?

The reality in which she was engaged to another man, as a matter of fact. Unfortunately for him, that was this reality, and while watching Rya’c and his bride-to-be gush over each other, he can’t help but be reminded of the woman whose shoulders he’s hugging and her brand new fiancé.

It’s not brand new anymore, actually; the news is a few weeks old, the deal apparently having been sealed right after his up close and personal run-in with the Trust. He understands now her two weeks’ agitation and uncharacteristic refusal to let him in.

Literally and figuratively.

Or maybe he doesn’t understand, because no sooner is he cleared and Pete goes home to Denver than she shows up on Daniel’s doorstep with bottle of wine and a kiss that leads to creative uses for the new-to-him couch that formerly occupied Teal’c’s apartment. It’s a particularly enthusiastic greeting - and then some - and it forces Daniel to break one of his own rules.

“Sam...” He doesn’t know how to bring it up. He’s on his back, with her languid body collapsed on his chest, legs entangled where they hang off the end and side of the couch. She doesn’t move, still coming down from the rush, letting her head rise and fall with his chest. Her hand is on his shoulder – left hand.

He lifts it up and fingers the band on her third finger, and that brings her to alertness. She lifts her head, shifts her weight half off him, but doesn’t remover her hand from his grasp. He catches her eyes. If what they were doing was forbidden before, it’s a half-step from adultery now, and they both know it. This has to be it – last hurrah, one for the road, so long and thanks for all the sex, the good-bye fuck.

She turns her hand in his and weaves their fingers together. Shifts up his body and presses her lips to his in a slow, deep kiss. Snuggles into his side with their clasped hands between them.

She and he and Pete caught unaware in the middle.

She doesn’t wear the ring at work, but even standing with his arm around her in the gateroom, the metaphor is still there.

So is It.

*

It still feels foreign to her finger. Its offering sends her in a tailspin that takes two weeks to resolve itself. “How’s things?” Daniel, unknowing, asks. Complicated, she wants to answer, and it’s all your fault.

Except it’s not, because Daniel is the simplest part of it. Stolen moments and late-night visits and secret looks are the easy thing, the natural thing, the thing she does without thinking. It’s Pete that complicates things, so of course she tells the other, uninvolved Complicated Thing about it before she tells the Simple Thing.

She can’t tell the Simple Thing. That would make the Simple Thing Complicated.

There are too many Things in this equation, she decides, but they resolve to one Thing – the band she now sports when off-duty. And it is beautiful, the way it shines and sparkles in light from just the right angle. And it’s something she wants – god, how she wants it – and saying yes, however many times it took, felt like the easiest thing in the world at the time.

Because why should a ring change anything, after all? It’s not like they’re actually married, after all, and it’s not like whatever she and Daniel are doing (each other) is a real relationship, not like what she has with Pete. It’s relief. Or something. Figuring that out is itself a relief, and though she can tell Daniel has his reservations at first, she kisses them away and it’s back to night and day and the secret them.

Julia Donovan can bite her. “Nice” looking? She doesn’t know the half of it.

*

“I’m waiting,” says Jack, in a voice that wants to be sing-song, but really, really isn’t. Daniel can feel her panicking beside him, military training kicking in to appease her C.O. in whatever way she can.

But they all know she can’t, so Daniel saves her from apologizing when she needn’t.

“You knew,” he says simply, fixing Jack with a direct look.

“I most certainly did not,” Jack throws back at him, incredulity nearly bringing him to his feet.

“Yes, you did.” Daniel remains calm, a tactic he knows Jack hates and will probably make things worse, but a stubborn perversity keeps him there. Sam’s eyes are burning a brand on his cheek.

“Humor me, Daniel. Exactly how did I know about...” he waves his hand “...this?”

*

Sam’s curious about that answer, too. Fortunately, Daniel doesn’t keep them in suspense.

“I can’t answer the how, but I can tell you when I knew you knew.”

“Enlighten me.”

“When the gate was stolen and Sam was held hostage on Osiris’s hatak. You couldn’t leave off grilling me about why I had to be the one to get her back.”

“Which you explained.”

“And did you buy it?”

The General is silent. Then his voice turns cool: “Are you saying you lied?”

“No, of course not. All those reasons were perfectly true and valid. But you suspected.”

She has no idea how Daniel can be so sure of himself in this situation. She’s also fascinated by this conversation they apparently had while she was – well, gone. She tears her gaze from Daniel to the opponent in his staring contest.

The General doesn’t say a word, but the look in his eyes is proof enough.

Score one for the home team.

*

It figures. He finally gets to go on a decent Prometheus mission, to the lost city of Atlantis, no less, and the ship gets hijacked by a complete and utter lunatic.

At least she was a hot lunatic.

After all, if he’s going to get his ass kicked from here to Pegasus, it might as well be done by someone attractive.

And no, he doesn’t feel a shred of remorse for those thoughts.

It’s all part of his new Plan, you see.

The Plan to put It in Its place. (Working title.)

He’s always known It wasn’t forever, and with the impending nuptials, Its lifetime is drawing to a close. Problem is, his own feelings are far too entangled where they shouldn’t be, and that needs to stop.

Has to stop.

Because he can’t take the chance of his dreams (wishes? nightmares?) about what he might do in spite of himself when the “blessed day” becomes reality.

She’s helping him out in this, though he doubts she realizes it. His one reservation about joining the mission was her, missing her in a way that’s grand and terrifying and so far beyond what It was supposed to be. But she tells him to go, and though he looks, he sees nothing in her eyes saying don’t go.

She gives him her blessing. He takes it as a sign.

He doesn’t anticipate being hit on by a Kull warrior, of course, but nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Vala’s chief weapons are surprise, a right hook, and oh yes, batshit insanity.

And, god help him, it turns him on.

Not like she does, of course, but also not like any other woman has in a long time. It’s fresh and exciting, and if the situation were different....

Fact: Samantha Carter is engaged to Pete Shanahan.

Fact: Samantha Carter is fucking Daniel Jackson on the side.

Fact: Samantha Carter will cease fucking Daniel Jackson when she marries Pete Shanahan.

Ergo: Daniel Jackson needs to get the fuck over Samantha Carter.

Enter Vala the Fruitcake.

Who runs off before Daniel can test his theory.

He’s still thinking about it when they finally get home and debrief the failed expedition. For his own sake, he leaves out the more colorful of his and Vala’s exchanges. The omission does not go unnoticed by anyone, particularly Jack.

Or Sam, as he finds out later that night when she follows him home like it’s the most natural thing in the world. And it is, of course, and it’s completely normal for her to get his mail while he digs for his house keys, and sling her jacket over his favorite leather chair as he comes up behind her and begins pressing kisses to the side of her neck. It’s right that she twists in his arms and runs her fingers through his already-mussed hair, and they move to the bedroom with the practiced steps of those who have done this dance a thousand times before, but for whom each time still has the heat of newness. He’ll never get over the revelation of taking off her bra, for example, and her hand reaching down his pants is a thrill every time.

Fuck the Plan.

Among other things. They make it beneath the covers this time; they don’t let go of one another, afterwards, anyway. Added warmth.

He barely hears her through the pulse still pounding in his brain, the post-euphoric, post-exhaustion haze that threatens to steal him away. When his brain finally processes her words, though, he hears, “So what was she really like?”

It takes another few seconds to connect the non sequitur to the mission, and the absurdity of it all makes him laugh. “Completely out of her mind.”

He can hear her raise an eyebrow. “But apparently not too crazy to steal a ship.”

“There’s method in her madness,” he admits. “And the fact that you can’t tell she can beat you up until she actually does it helps her out.”

A pause. “So what does she look like?”

Did she just...? Daniel blinks, then realizes that a look will go totally unnoticed in the dark. He raises himself on one elbow, squinting. “You’re not...jealous, are you?” he asks incredulously.

“Of course not.” He can’t see her expression, but the tone is carefully neutral.

Right. Whatever.

He decides, two weeks later, that women who can beat him either physically or verbally are his type. Interesting accents are a plus.

*

"You’re not...jealous, are you?" Jealous? Her? Of course not!

After all, what reason would she have to be jealous of a woman who, by all accounts, accosted her friends, stole her ship (as she still thinks of it), and nearly got said friends killed?

Oh, and came onto her friend-and-sometimes-lover in other ways. Daniel doesn’t look like he’s holding back, but she can’t help but wonder if his story of what happened during their time alone together is lacking in particular details.

But she shouldn’t be jealous of that anyway, right? It’s not like she and Daniel are a couple or anything. Hell, she’s engaged

Her lab phone rings. Speak of the devil.

Pete’s transfer request is taking longer than anticipated to go through, but that hasn’t stopped him from visiting Colorado Springs as often as he can, for the purpose of, as they call it, “house-hunting”. Which he is doing, with Sam’s help, though she would never have believed someone could be so damn picky about choosing a place to live. They’re running out of neighborhoods to explore, and Sam is getting worried that Pete’s hints that this whole move would be a lot simpler if he could just move in with “someone” will start getting even less subtle.

She can see the logic, of course. After all, they’re getting married. It would save time and energy for both of them to take care of the living situation now.

But Sam has always been fiercely independent, and though she won’t admit it, she wants to savor that feeling as long as she can. Pete would understand, she thinks. She still can’t bring herself to open the conversation, though.

Pete confirms his plans for the coming weekend, and they both hang up to get back to work.

She takes out her frustration on the unfathomable code in front of her by plotting all the ways she can think of to hurt a Russian woman.

*

“I assume you can fill in everything I would say here to people supposedly less intelligent than the two of you,” Jack continues once he’s recovered from Daniel’s last zinger.

“Oh, probably,” Daniel replies with a light sigh, because Jack’s stern ire is bringing out the teenage smart-ass in him. “You’re welcome to go over them again anyway. Or I could do it, if you’d like.”

Jack’s looking at him like he’s just stepped out of an alternate universe, but honestly, Daniel just does not give a shit anymore. In for a dime, in for a dollar; they’ve dug themselves far too deep a hole for anything else by now.

“Let’s see, there’s the public displays of affection, though except for that one time it was all behind closed doors and could count as a situation under duress, but I suppose it’s still against the rules…”

*

Sam looks on incredulously as Daniel launches into a litany that makes it clear that he’s thought through it before, in detail. And then she realizes what he’s trying to do with the devil-may-care casual attitude – and there’s no way in hell that she’s going to let him.

“Don’t forget compromising the team,” she jumps in.

Jack’s head whips around to give her the same aghast stare, but Daniel doesn’t miss a beat. He snaps his fingers. “Right, of course, though does that really count since I’m a civilian?”

“Not as much, but we’re still teammates,” she says, echoing his tone. And that makes me as much to blame as you, mister.

“True. We should mention that we’ve been keeping our third teammate out of the loop, then.” We. That’s important.

“Not to mention two commanding officers.”

“Well, that wouldn’t have been too smart, would it.”

“Not so much, no, especially considering that history.”

Some part of her is terrified at how easily she’s relaxing into insubordinate banter; the rest of her thinks she probably has nothing to lose at this point.

“It started as grief comfort sex, which probably means something unhealthy about our psyches.”

“We never talked about it before. Or after.”

She does, however, fear for Jack’s chiropractor bill this month with the way his head is jerking back and forth between them.

“The women I fall for tend to become Goa’ulds, but you’ve already done that.”

“The men I fall for tend to die, but you’ve already done that. Repeatedly.”

*

Certain death situations are nothing new to Daniel, but this one takes the cake. Sam and Daniel have their kinks, but bondage hasn’t been a part of their relationship – until he gets up and close and far too personal with Sam’s Replicator double. RepliCarter is both like and unlike her human counterpart, and it messes with his mind in ways beyond what happens when she sticks her hand in his head, once he confirms his suspicion of “Oma’s” real identity.

From then on, he sees all of her actions as colored by her knowledge of the secret It. No, it’s not an easy decision to ascend again – in the illusory world where that’s an option – because on the one hand, it would give Sam a guilt-free resolution, but on the other, his own ties are not so loose as they were three years ago, nobility be damned.

Fortunately, that’s not a real choice he needs to make in the end, but the way she hints at It without being explicit is a torture in itself. Not to mention her intonation when she says she shares Sam’s feelings and emotions – and there’s a train of thought he doesn’t want to follow to its very creepy end.

But because he knows his Sam, he knows this one’s weaknesses - being so consumed by her goal, her thirst for knowledge, that she doesn’t look around her. He knows because it’s his weakness, too.

So he fights back, and he passes off the rush of the battle of wills as an adrenaline thing, because the idea that the challenge and antagonism she presents could be a turn-on is ludicrous.

He thinks, as she stabs him later, that counseling might not be a bad idea, were there a shrink he could trust with the appropriate security clearance. Also, he would need to be alive for that.

Of course, things only get weirder when he opens his eyes – a surprise in itself – to a throw-back diner full of Ancients in retro clothing.

Oma, whom Daniel thinks is a little too interested in divesting him of his clothing, says he has to put his past existence behind him, presenting him with a choice for the second time in a long, strange episode between life and death.

So he makes it.

The resolution brings clarity enough that he can almost overlook being re-incorporated in nothing but his skin again.

*

Sam isn’t prepared for what happens when she sees Daniel – and not just because he’s wearing the SGC flag and only the SGC flag, because God knows she’s seen more of him than that, from every angle. She heard his voice but didn’t, couldn’t, believe he’d really come back to her until then. She maintains her composure through his brief explanation and escape to the locker room, saving her shaking breakdown for when she can escape to her lab, slide the door shut, and fall onto the nearest stool. Body bent over the work table, her hands rake through her hair and she tries to control the shuddering sobs that threaten to break through.

There’s only a split second to react between the door opening and his arms surrounding her, bringing her up so that he can crush his face against hers, and she needs his support again to prevent her from melting into the cracks in the cement floor.

She blinks her vision clear when they finally come up for air, gasping and panting and going cross-eyed from trying to fixate on one another from such a short distance. He’s dressed now, as evidenced by her iron grip on his jacket, but still without glasses, and his hands on her face gently wipe the remaining wetness away.

“My dad died,” she blurts out, which isn’t how she wanted to start this but she’ll take it.

His face loses some of its hunger and creases with concern, but she cuts him off before he can start.

“Before it happened, he asked if I was truly happy, if I had everything I wanted. I lied, Daniel.”

He doesn’t move except for his eyes, unfocused as they search her face. It’s good because she’s not done yet.

“I couldn’t tell him that the one thing I needed and didn’t have had beat him to dying on me again, and the guilt was killing me along with him.”

Pause.

“I’m not dead now.”

Her throat is too full to respond with words, so she pulls him into another searing kiss. His arms slide down around her waist to bring her in closer, and she clings to his shoulders. When oxygen deprivation again pulls them apart, she gently nudges his head with its lips straining to catch hers again far enough away to look straight into his eyes, mustering the strongest voice she can manage:

“And I’m done feeling guilty.”

He answers her with a tongue in her mouth and a hand up her shirt as she tries in vain to climb onto him where they stand. The hand abandons her shirt, and she barely has time to whimper at its loss before it grabs the thigh she’s raised and slides back to squeeze her ass and pull her still closer so she can feel his very definitive response to the implied question.

They turn, stumbling, staggering, hopping, shaking various limbs to discard their jackets – she doesn’t know or care how ridiculous they look, she just needs him more than she ever has and disengages her hands from him to lift herself onto the table when she bumps against it. They steal quick, sloppy kisses anywhere they can reach as they fumble with each other’s belt buckles and zippers, need overcoming both finesse and coordination.

He attacks her neck as he hikes the front of her shirt above her breasts and she thanks God that she’s wearing the bra with a clasp in front – or half-wearing, as soon becomes the case as his attentive mouth shifts lower. She’s trying to memorize every moment of this, every sensation and breathless response, and even without the threat above them anymore it’s still hot, and, and, and she can’t think what else because his tongue is driving all rational thought from her brain. They have all the time in the world for style later but she needs completion now, so she drags his head back up to reach down and finish freeing him with a sharp tug that takes things down just enough for her to get a grip, which he answers with a groan and a hand diving between her clothing and skin, down where it’s oh god so wet already and-

-there’s a crash of something heavy dropping behind her, and they both freeze. She can see the look on Daniel’s face as he stares over her shoulder and slowly, carefully, turns her head to follow.

Jack O’Neill is standing in the very open doorway; the expression on his face goes well beyond shell-shock.

No one says anything because there’s nothing to say; her back’s still to him and Daniel’s arm blocks her side, but she gives her shirt a tug to fall back in place anyway. Jack’s eyes barely flicker.

“My office. Five–” he pauses, very deliberately looking them up and down “- ten minutes.” Stiff and calm as you could imagine in voice and demeanor, he crouches to retrieve his fallen metal binder and exits the room. His footsteps echo down the hall.

They take the same care in restoring their appearances. Daniel lifts her down from the table and rests his hands on her hips for a moment, hesitating.

She puts a hand behind his head and pulls him into a tender kiss.

*

The list of crimes against the SGC and by extension humanity committed in the name of It grows longer and more absurd with each addition, and despite having been torn from what he’d really like to be doing instead a mere twenty minutes ago, Daniel’s on the natural high that comes with throwing all your cards on the table for better or worse and not giving a damn about consequences – especially when the reason for it joins you enthusiastically.

“Plus, you’re a complete slob, which I’m sure would drive me nuts down the line...”

AND!” Jack’s voice finally explodes, ripping Sam and Daniel’s locked gazes apart to focus on their red-faced commander, who points a finger at Sam. “You! Were! Engaged!”

Daniel coughs in surprise and looks back at her. “Were?”

“Yeah, we broke up.” She shrugs. “Didn’t have time to tell you, sorry.”

“Don’t be.” His grin breaks the casual indifference and she catches it, too.

The military in her seems to briefly regain control as she looks back at Jack. “Sir, I did try to tell you, right before I got the call about my father.”

“Wait, wait, wait.” Jack shoves his chair back a foot and presses his fingers briefly to his forehead before looking back at Sam. “That’s what you were talking about?”

She blinks back at him. “Yes, sir. I didn’t get very far with the various, ah, interruptions. What did you think I meant?”

He closes his eyes for a moment and shakes his head. “Never mind.” His defeated expression pulls at Daniel, and he opens his mouth again, but Jack cuts him off with a new steely glare. “So let me get this straight. Your secret librarian girlfriend was Carter.”

“Yes.”

You were sleeping with two men at the same time.”

“Well, not exactly at the-”

“Stop! I get it. Answer?”

“Yes.”

You knowingly continued whatevering with her even after she got engaged.”

“Yes.”

You let him get as far as buying a house before breaking it off.”

“To be fair, sir, I thought Daniel was dead at the time.”

“And this has been going on under our noses for how long?”

“Since after Janet died.”

Silence. Daniel can’t take it anymore and blinks first this time.

“Jack, we never intended to keep you out of the loop.”

“Oh, didn’t you?”

“It wasn’t supposed to be anything, sir.”

“It was stress release at first – Jack, you can’t tell me you’ve never seen that in the military.”

“And then it wasn’t but we pretended it was.”

“It was going to stop before it became illegal.”

“It wasn’t affecting the team, so I thought we could afford to keep going.”

“Jack, we didn’t want to hurt you.”

“Oh, don’t even give me that shit,” Jack cuts in.

“Come on, Jack. Would you have reacted differently if we had told you at any time in the past year?”

He doesn’t answer, but the steel in his eyes comes down a notch.

“We were surprised, too, sir,” Sam says more softly. “It was just this, this thing that came out of nowhere and became…something indescribable. Indefinable.”

“It,” Daniel supplies. Sam raises her eyebrows at him for a moment, then nods.

There’s another silence as Sam and Daniel look from each other to Jack, and Jack, in turn, fixes his gaze somewhere on his desk. Finally, he speaks again with quiet, deliberate control. “You realize that there are a number of issues to be dealt with here.” They nod. “When a commander finds himself unable to separate the personal from the professional, the standard course of action is to refer the issue up a level in the chain of command.”

Daniel’s trying not to hold his breath and trying harder not to reach for Sam’s hand.

“However.”

He can see Sam biting her lip out of the corner of his eye.

“As you have demonstrated, the situation has not impacted your professional lives – so far – and I see no reason to further compromise discretion by opening it to further scrutiny.” Jack finally raises his eyes, and there’s pain beneath the official veneer that hurts Daniel, too.

“Thank you,” he murmurs.

“Ah!” Jack raises a finger. “Not done yet. As I said, there was no visible impact on your work with the situation as it was. I can only assume that said situation is different now?” In his question, there’s a hint of the usual Jack O’Neill, and Daniel relaxes slightly while Sam answers.

“Yes, sir.”

“Then I am obligated to enforce a few organizational changes.” His pre-emptive hand held up stops Daniel’s protest before it starts. “You are both aware that with recent events, the Stargate program has essentially completed its primary objective. No, we’re not completely out of the woods, but neither are we the fledgling, underdog presence in the galaxy of eight years ago.”

Daniel can’t remember the last time Jack strung together such a formal speech of his own free will; he notes this in the back of his mind to laugh at later, once he can laugh again.

“Both of you are invaluable members of this program and will continue to be so for as long as you want to be. SG-1 has a well-earned reputation as the foremost and longest-lasting unit at the SGC, whose designation is tied to its members’ identities enough that it was legitimately a three-man team this year. However, with the completion of its original mission, SG-1’s time as a field unit may have come to a close.”

“Sir, are you saying-”

“I am saying, Carter, that Teal’c might be taking off on us and Hammond will only accept the retirement he so totally deserves if I agree to step into his place, which, by the way, is what I was coming to tell you during your little reunion.” And there’s the Jack O’Neill they know again.

“I can’t justify a two-man team, whoever takes over here certainly won’t stand for it, and I highly doubt either of you wants two unknowns tagging along and cramping your style, am I right?” They nod. Daniel pinches his leg. It hurts.

“We’ll work out the details later.” Then Jack stands, straightening his uniform. Sam jumps to attention, and Daniel rises, too, albeit with less military precision.

“And...” he ventures, “the personal issues?”

“That’s going to take a little more time. You’re dismissed.” He sits back down as the two of them file, stunned, out of the room.

The last thing Daniel sees before the door closes is Jack reaching for the phone.

*

Two weeks ago, Sam would never have pictured herself sitting where she is now – on a small dock, fishing pole in hand...next to Jack O’Neill.

Who is smiling.

“This is great,” she says, and she’s not talking about the fishing.

“I told ya!” Jack, of course, is.

Jack’s moving to Washington. Teal’c, who was remarkably unsurprised when they told him, is devoted to building a Jaffa nation. Daniel put in for reassignment and is still sorting though the requests that flooded his inbox. She, herself, is shifting to R&D.

“I can’t believe we didn’t do this years ago.”

“Yes, well, let’s not dwell.”

They’re still SG-1, because no other team will take their number. More importantly, they’re still SG-1, because no other foursome could share what they have, regardless of where they are, on this world, this reality, or another.

“There are no fish in this pond, are there?”

“No.”

Her laugh is one of relief. When Jack showed up at work three days ago and told them they were coming to Minnesota with him for a last hurrah, presenting none of the mood or distance he’d held for a week and a half, they’d all agreed to come mostly out of surprise.

But Jack O’Neill is smarter than he acts, and she is infinitely grateful to him on this one as he launches his line into the still water again. “Nice!”

She hears and feels Daniel come up behind them to distribute the beers. His hand rests on Sam’s shoulder, and when she covers it with her own without thinking, Jack’s face is still relaxed as he gazes forward.

Yeah. It’s nice.

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