God, God, I missed you so much!" Daniel groaned, pulling the man
who was trying to lower him gently onto the pallet roughly on top of
Daniel!" Jack soothed. "It's okay, we've got time. I'm not
that right," Daniel said fiercely, winding his arms and legs
around Jack. "I'm never letting you go again."
won't have to," Jack told him between the soft, lingering kisses
he was plastering all over his face. "As far as the SGC is
concerned I'm still dead."
Daniel said sharply, taking Jack's face in his hands, locking eyes
with his lover. "What did you say?"
heard me. I said I'm done. When I woke up in that place and found out
what they'd done to me and why, that was it for me. Other than the
guys involved in the conspiracy on Astiria, you, General Hammond and
Teal'c are the only ones who know I'm still alive. I told Hammond I
wanted it to stay that way. So, baby," Jack smiled at Daniel,
tenderly brushing back the hair from his moist forehead. "If
it's okay with you, you've got one officially expired and therefore
retired colonel on your hands 24/7. You think you could stand that?"
he finished softly, only the slightest tremor in his voice.
Daniel murmured, the eyes searching Jack's face wide and perplexed.
said my time with the Air Force and the SGC - it's over. I'm done.
Retired, gone – outta there. I'm never going back. We're never
going back. I hope.”
Jack!" Daniel joyfully cried, a huge smile erupting all over his
face. "Jack!" he sobbed, hugging him fiercely about the
neck. "Do you mean it? It's over? We're really free?"
don't mind? Giving it all up for me?"
be stupid," Daniel harshly scolded, his voice breaking. "None
of it means anything to me without you. You're all that matters."
answer he'd hoped for. Everything he'd hoped for. The only thing he
wanted. All there in the love glowing in Daniel's eyes. He was
totally, absolutely, completely home-free.
know what?" Daniel murmured, close to his ear. "This is
good. I was going to – I was going to tell you I couldn't do this
I don't want you to," Jack told him happily, starting to kiss
was hoping you'd be okay with…" Daniel whispered, turning
toward the lips nuzzling his ear. "When I left the SGC I handed
in my resignation. Hammond thinks – thought - when I came around, accepted
you were dead," he harshly spat out
words, "I'd come back to the SGC. Never! Not after this, what
they did, what I know. The General is a good man, but he can't stop
the SGC from being used by the kind of people who tried to kill you.
I'll never work for them again," he snarled, "I won't help
them exploit and violate the universe."
elation instantly vanished.
If Daniel knew what Hammond had, what he was about to do, would he
feel differently about his decision? If he knew the bad guys were
about to be taken out would that reverse his revulsion for the SGC?
Make him keen to go back? But he didn't know and if Jack didn’t
say anything he could keep him that way.
the dark, and with him forever.
he had to do was keep his mouth shut and everything would be fine.
Atkar gave Hammond all the goods on the conspiracy. Naming names,
places, specifics, all detailed and documented. Kinsey and his goons
are going down."
so, therefore?" Daniel smiled and pulled Jack into a melting,
Jack only just managed to burble after Daniel at last released him.
glad they're going to be taken down, but what does that have to do
a damned thing," Jack happily growled.
we have sex now, please?" Daniel pouted, his right hand delving
under Jack's robes, searching for his fly. "You are wearing far
too many clothes," he grumbled.
sure you're feeling up to it?" Jack hadn't wanted to admit it
during the hike to the caves, so as to avoid having Daniel bite his
head off, but he was more than a bit concerned about how weak Daniel
still seemed to be. Although he was getting over his recent
incapacity he was far from all right.
do you, think," Daniel teased, taking Jack's hand and placing it
on his own groin.
Doctor Jackson," Jack grinned. Feels to me like you're suffering
from an advanced case of 'glad to see me'.
being the operative word, here," Daniel gasped, bucking up into
the hand caressing his erection. "Maybe you spent the last
couple of months in a coma, but I sure didn't."
Jack sighed, dropping his head onto Daniel's heaving chest. "I
guess you didn't. I just don't want to hurt you. I've done enough of
Don't say that! None of this was your fault. You hear me, Colonel?"
would be, Colonel, Retired," Jack said huskily. "And yeah,
you're coming through five by five."
good," Daniel smiled seductively. "Now, strip and prepare
to submit to a close inspection."
really close. It could take hours."
I wouldn't want to miss anything."
can't stay here, you know," Jack softly told the sated man
drowsing contentedly in his arms.
can't stay here, Danny. On Abydos. Right now the bad guys…and
anyone else who's on their side and might get pissed by what's about
to happen to them…they don't know I'm alive, but if the word
gets out, even by accident… It really isn't safe to let anyone
know where I am. Not even our friends…here. I know they'd never,
deliberately do anything to betray us, but there's no point in taking
any chances or placing us – or them – at risk, if we don't have
to. And we don't. Which is why we're…here…and not in Nagada. And
why I've made some plans for us, for our future, without asking you,
I know, but I sorta didn't have much choice. Anyway, we have to leave
Abydos. Soon, I think."
Daniel breathed, sleepily rubbing his cheek against Jack's chest.
with that? Leaving your home – your family…again? For me?"
hmmmm," Daniel murmured, smiling against Jack's skin, the hand
resting on Jack's belly trailing languidly downward to finally drape
itself over his sticky groin.
love you," Jack whispered.
Daniel sighed, slipping easily into slumber. With Jack's arms a
welcome, certain cradle, he could finally sleep.
tightened his grip about his slumbering companion, expelling a
contented sigh. Definitely tired but not quite to the point of
needing to sleep yet, he was happy to lie quietly, nicely draped in
Daniel, and drowse. Bask in some delicious post-coital bliss and…
Though he hadn't planned on sleeping, he was darned close to dropping
off, so he wasn't sure, but he could have sworn that sounded exactly
peeled open one eye and peered over towards the sound of the soft
voice he'd sorta maybe heard but then again maybe not.
he exclaimed at the solemn little Asgard standing beside their cosy
cavern nest. "Buddy! Holy crap, you didn't waste any time
is very good to see you, O'Neill. The Asgard people were deeply
saddened to learn of your apparent demise."
me, I wasn't exactly thrilled when I found out about it either."
have come as you requested, and would be more than happy to assist
you and Doctor Jackson."
that's great," Jack beamed. "And you know what, we'll be
right with you, but seeing as how, we're not exactly…" he
waggled a hand over Daniel's head. "You kind of caught us with
our pants down. Well, okay, off! Could ya give us, a minute here
before you go zapping us up into the ship?"
inclined his head, extending the glowing stone he held. "We will be
standing by," he said, before abruptly
disappearing in a brilliant flash of light.
I love those guys," Jack grinned, giving Daniel a gentle
shake. "Oh honey, wakey-wakey. Must get up now," he
sing-songed. Rise and shine, our ride's here!"
whited-out, high pitched hum, moment, moment, a moment of
nothingness and then…
just your normal, average, every-day run-of-the-mill Asgard beam-up.
a life, when you could become blasé about doing stuff most people
could only dream about because as far as they were knew it wasn't
even possible! Yeah, he'd been around, done some pretty cool shit,
had one hell of a run, but it was over now.
wasn't going to miss it a bit.
a familiar voice assaulted an instant before the whiteness cleared
enough for him to be able to see her face.
the last loose end. It would have been easier to have remained dead
to her as well, but he owed her a little honesty and a lot of closure
and not for the reasons Hammond thought he wanted to say good-bye to
her, although he doubted she'd appreciate them, or him right now. Or
for a while to come, but she'd get over it.
were standing on the flight deck of Thor's ship, the little grey guy
at one of the control consoles, flanked by Carter and Teal'c. Teal'c
was openly beaming at both of them while Carter stared at him, eyes
agog, mouth hanging open, like she'd been goosed by a cattle prod.
– you're dead," she stuttered.
Jack grinned at her. "Obviously you can't believe everything you
hear. So, you didn't tell her?" he aimed at Teal'c.
did not, O'Neill," the Jaffa rumbled. "General Hammond
believed for security reasons the safest course of action was to
maintain total secrecy about your current status. After Thor beamed
me aboard the DanielJackson we proceeded to the Naavik Homeworld
where they were informed Major Carter was required back on Earth.
Once the authorities there were satisfied and released her from her
duties we transported Major Carter to the ship. I told her I was not
at liberty to divulge the details of the mission until we arrived at
our next destination. I assumed, O'Neill, you would prefer to fully
apprise Major Carter yourself," Teal'c finished, his voice laden
with hidden meaning.
glanced at him sharply, and then back at Jack, her eyes wide and
shining, the start of a tremulous smile pulling at her lips.
boy, here we go.
correctly.” Jack felt Daniel's hand massaging the small of his
back, a brief, but appreciated touch of commiseration before the love
of his life bailed on him, to go and huddle with Thor and Teal'c.
Leaving him in the lurch to deal with Carter solo.
Daniel was right, this was his mess, a self-inflicted fix he'd
concocted during his 'convincing himself he only liked girls, any girl,
even Carter, and not his very best, very male friend'
phase. Resolved in part, in the end by the best man winning
after all. Thank God. Problem was, he'd never bothered to
inform Carter not only had she lost, but she'd never really ever been
seriously in the running.
started to walk toward him, big blue eyes wide and goopy, and Jack
heroically resisted the impulse to run screaming for the nearest
airlock as fast as his cowardly legs could carry him.
up, O'Neill, you've gone head to head with System Lords and homicidal
First Primes and all sorts of nasty things that go eek and squeak and
bump in the night. How bad could this possibly be?
you're alive!" Carter gushed excitedly, face flushed, eyes
good to see you, too, Carter. But you can forget the 'Sir'.
From now on Jack will do."
she replied, frowning.
not Colonel any more. Just Jack. As far as anyone who isn't on this
ship right now except for Hammond is concerned, I'm still dead."
The frown got deeper, and behind her searching eyes Jack could see
her mind working. At terrifying speed, no doubt well on its way to
reaching an equally terrifying and completely unfortunate conclusion.
didn't choose what happened to me on Astiria, but I made a decision
to use the events to my advantage." He took a deep breath,
bracing himself for delivering the punch-line.
I found out I was already officially dead, it wasn't that much of a
leap for me to choose to stay that way. I've decided to hang it up.
It's time to move on, and get on with the rest of my life."
she breathed, her eyes lighting up excitedly. "You're – you're
– you're not…you won't be – you're leaving the SGC?"
as far as the SGC is concerned I exited stage dead two months ago.
I've simply decided not to exercise my public resurrection option.
Colonel O'Neill is officially dead, and he's going to stay that way.
Jack O'Neill, however, is still very much alive, damned glad to be,
and thanks to the Astirians now has a chance for a whole new life
with someone who's been waiting very, very patiently for a long time
for this day, and him, and he's gonna stop talking about himself in
the third person now, and take it."
he'd said it, and sure enough, she'd leapt. Me! Her eyes were
screaming at him. It has to be me!
she purred, taking a step forward, putting a possessive hand on his
Carter!" he whooped, only just slamming down the urge to recoil
all the way across the room before taking her hand and gently, but
firmly removed it.
Daniel suddenly piped up from Thor's side, an unmistakable edge to
his voice. While there was no denying Daniel loved Jack and he
certainly loved Sam there were apparently limits to the latitude he'd
allow when it came to standing by and watching a deliberate attempt
to poach on his preserve even if he knew they both knew the
poachee didn't have a prayer and she didn't.
he quickly answered, in his very best help me voice.
Sam looked at Jack, puzzled by the exchange and his subtle, but
O'Neill," Thor suddenly interjected. "Once we have returned
Teal'c to Abydos we stand ready to convey Major Carter back to the
Naavik Homeworld and you and Doctor Jackson to the world we have
selected for you. We trust our choice and the habitat we will
construct for you there will meet with your approval."
sure everything will be just peachy, buddy," Jack thanked Thor
before turning his attention back to the woman before him.
eyes were glassy with shocked comprehension.
she gasped. "You – and – and Daniel?"
he acknowledged ruefully, with an apologetic shrug.
she snapped frostily, whipping her head around to lock eyes with the
he shot back just as crustily. No apologies, no attempts to dissemble
or deny any particle of the newly-revealed truth or the part he'd
played in keeping this secret from her.
she exclaimed, whirling back on Jack to confront him, eyes blazing.
I told you, call me Jack," he weakly admonished in an equally
feeble attempt to evade the current issue.
try to, Sir, I mean Colonel, I mean…" Sam grimaced and angrily
looked away. "It just comes out, 'Colonel' every damned time. I'm
was furious, bristling, humiliated, devastated, a battleground of
conflicting emotions as the full enormity of reality and all its
implications started unspooling into her skull. Although Daniel
would probably tell him he'd already done enough damage and should
definitely quit before he dug himself in any deeper, Jack didn't want
to leave it, or her, like this.
he couldn't do much for her in the long run, and yeah, maybe he'd
already done way too much to her, but he couldn't leave her
shouldn't that tell you something right there, Carter?" Jack
asked gently, putting his hands on her shoulders and giving them a
glared at him for a few more seconds, and then dropped her eyes.
never…not the way I thought. Did you?" she finally asked in a
low, embarrassed voice.
he answered her honestly but kindly. "I'm very, very sorry if
anything I ever said or did made you believe otherwise, but…no."
even a little bit?" she said hopefully, her face falling once
more when Jack sadly shook his head. "No. No, of course not.
Daniel?" she finally asked. "Daniel?"
about it for a minute, Carter," Jack replied. "You know me
thought I did," she grumbled.
Jack persisted. "You know me. You know him. You know us.
were things about both of us you didn't want to see, but
this can't be completely out of the blue, even for you. If not
you, then who else could it possibly have been?"
she sighed, grudgingly conceding him the point.
Jack echoed holding out his arm as the man being discussed reached
his side. Carter flinched, but didn't turn away, opting for her
bravest face while watching Jack pull Daniel closely into his side
and the men exchange glances leaving absolutely no doubt as to the
true nature of their relationship.
Jack said fondly to his partner, barely resisting the urge to kiss
him. Bad form in front of Carter. There was no point in salting the
should see the planet, Jack!" Daniel said excitedly. " It's
absolutely incredible! Thor's been showing me some shots of the
valley where they're going to build our house. There's a huge lake,
miles of absolutely virgin forest - "
Grasshopper!" Jack laughed. "It'll still be there in a
couple of minutes. We gotta say our good-byes to Teal'c before we can
go anywhere. Hey, big guy!" Jack exclaimed after striding over
to the Jaffa and throwing his arms around him. "I'm sure gonna
too," Daniel echoed, embracing Teal'c in turn after Jack
will meet again, O'Neill, DanielJackson."
better," Jack scolded with mock severity. "Once Hammond's
little bomb has gone off and the smoke has cleared you're more than
welcome to stop on by and visit - wherever it is we're going to be.
You'll have to hitch a ride with my buddy Thor, here, though, because
he's the only one who's going to know where we are and how to get
the time is right we will be more than happy to reunite you with your
trusted friends," Thor chimed in.
will guarantee their safety?" Teal'c demanded of the diminutive
alien. "I have your assurance they will be protected."
do," Thor nodded, his enormous, unblinking eyes fully trained on
the Jaffa's grim face. "The planet to which they are to be
relocated is a completely virgin world. Unpopulated, and far beyond
the sphere of influence and interest of the Goa'uld, or any other
hostile races of note. The planet itself is well protected and I am
confident they will find the enclave we will erect there for their
use extremely comfortable, with sufficient amenities."
way cool!" Jack enthused. "So, are we there yet? Why not?"
Daniel fondly chided. "Behave."
ignored the man pretending to pout at his side, turning his full
attention back to their Jaffa companion.
Daniel began, his face full of concern. "Teal'c, please tell him
I'm deeply grateful for the way he took me in, for everything he and
Skaara and – and everyone have done for me these past months, and
I'm sorry to have departed like this, with no warning, without taking
my proper leave of him, but tell him I am well and he need not fear
for me, but I had to follow my heart."
paused, to glance at Jack, gently caressing his cheek. "And
tell him, we will meet again someday."
that I am certain," Teal'c nodded. "I will say what needs
to be said.”
you," Daniel beamed at him. "I know you will." He
smiled ruefully at the Jaffa, and sighed. "Well, I guess that's
just about – oh wait!" he exclaimed, turning to Jack. "My
journals – my things. I don't want to leave them behind."
possessions have been secured, Doctor Jackson," Thor supplied.
you guys think of everything," Jack said admiringly.
of you ever plan to return to this place, or to Earth. It was logical
to assume you would wish to have your personal possessions with you."
it all up, did ya?" Jack grinned. "Sweet."
the Asgard solemnly affirmed.
I love this guy!" Jack gave Daniel an enthusiastic squeeze. "And
your technology – crazy about it, especially the beam-up-and-down
deal. My favourite thing. Quite a time-saver. Have I ever told you
may have mentioned it in passing, O'Neill."
big guy, I guess this is it," Jack gave Teal'c's shoulder a
it would appear to be so," the large black man smiled, and
inclined his head.
you watching out for Daniel," Jack said fervently, clasping
Teal'c's arm one final time. "Take care of yourself, you hear?
And we do expect you to drop by, some day. Bring snacks!"
has been an honour to fight at your side, O'Neill, DanielJackson, and
to call you both friend and brother. Live well and be happy."
Jaffa abruptly disappeared in a brilliant flash of light.
been so good to me, Jack," Daniel said sorrowfully. "I
never told him…how much…"
knows, Daniel," Jack soothed, pulling Daniel into a comforting
embrace. "Trust me, he knows."
sighed, allowing himself to be roundly hugged by his lover while
making no attempt to disguise how much he enjoyed the feeling of
Jack's warm, hard body aligned with his and Jack's powerful arms
around him. They were about to finally forge a future together, just
the two of them, but even if the Asgard did build them a paradise in
the distant place they were about to be conveyed to, the way Daniel
felt right now, he didn't need it.
had all the heaven he'd ever desired in his arms, and needed nothing
else to be content for the rest of his life.
the lake was gorgeous. Thor told him it even had fish in it.
came a soft utterance from behind them.
They'd forgotten she was still there.
one the couple slowly turned to face the woman behind them, not at
all sure what to expect when they acknowledged her once more. She'd
gotten quite an eyeful, and neither man knew how she was going to
tried to prepare themselves for reactions running the gamut from
disgusted to furious to despondent and depressed, but they were
completely unprepared for the twinkling eyes and fond smile awaiting
can believe how sweet you are together!" Sam gushed, and
then giggled. "This is the most adorable thing I've ever seen!"
Jack roared, outraged. "I am not sweet, Daniel –
definitely no way, Jose and as for adorable – what?"
Jack broke off to snap at the man poking him roughly in the ribs.
Daniel said, smiling warmly at Sam. "Don't argue. Take it."
do you mean, take it?" Jack shot back.
Sam thinks we're sweet, then we're sweet!" Daniel
hissed. "Sweet is good. It's much better than most of the
yeah," Jack said, after a brief, but extremely scary vision of
Sam doing a full-on psycho version of the woman scorned flashed
across his consciousness. The woman knew how to make a bomb out of a
black box full of Naquadah, for crying out loud. Oh yeah, and lest we
forget that sun she'd blown up. And that was just for starters.
was right, this was better.
is good," he obediently agreed.
well, at least she hadn't said they were cute.
didn't mean to start a debate," she grinned contritely at them.
"I just wanted to say, now I've seen you like this, now I'm
really looking, well, you do sort of belong together," she
admitted, her cheeks flaming. "And I'm okay with that. Well,
maybe not completely okay, but…better than I thought I would
be. I just wanted to say that."
come here," Jack said kindly as both he and Daniel opened up
their arms, inviting her in.
sir," Sam blinked back tears while walking into their welcoming
wake up," Daniel nudged his dozing partner, planting a fond kiss
on his forehead.
Jack, started, opening his eyes. The warm sun beating brightly down
on him confused him for a moment, until he realised where he was.
Comfortably laid out on his chaise lounge on the observation deck.
Damn, he'd fallen asleep. He hadn't meant to, he'd only intended to
stretch out, catch a few rays while waiting for Daniel to finish up
puttering around in his study.
last time he'd fallen asleep like this Daniel had found him, several
hours later, snoring and scarlet. Third degree sunburns over every
exposed inch. Every inch, dammit. All he could say was he'd
been damned thankful their handy dandy built-in Asgard medical unit
was equipped to instantly deal with stupid shit like stupid shits
like him nudely nodding off under the gloriously copious rays of
Eden's single sun.
happily he hadn't suffered the consequences of his ill-advised siesta
for long. Daniel had taken care of his little problem. Once he'd
stopped laughing. Which had taken longer than it had taken to take
care of the problem.
resting my eyes," Jack said quickly, rising up into Daniel's
kiss. "Hmmmm, you taste good," he murmured appreciatively.
"So, how's it going?"
well, thanks. There are a couple of promising prospects in the
latest batch of planetary surveys Thor sent me. The extinct
civilization on Garuz 4 looks particularly interesting. It's only
about ten light years away."
just a day trip then," Jack smiled.
initially," Daniel nodded. "It might take years to properly
examine the site, though."
Jack shrugged. "We've got time."
Daniel agreed, his eyes shining. "Lots of time."
when do you want to go?" Jack yawned and stretched. "I
could pack a lunch, the gear is already stowed in the flyer, if you
want, we could stay a couple of weeks, camp out, just like the good
old days. It'll be fun," he grinned.
love you," Daniel leaned down to bestow proof of his assertion
upon his partner's eager mouth. "That sounds great, and I'm
really looking forward to it, but it'll have to wait. We're about to
rang the bell?" Jack quipped.
what I came out here to tell you. According to the Sentry just
informed us a Visitor's Shuttle is entering the atmosphere."
I see," Jack pointed to tiny speck of brilliance blazing an
impressive, arching trail through the sky behind Daniel's left
Daniel said. "We're about to have company."
Company. Callers. Guests."
wonder who it is."
could find out. Check to see which shuttle got called out. The one
keyed to respond to Sam, or Teal'c or – "
that takes all the fun out of it."
rather wait and see too."
Company. We should get our asses up to the landing pad and greet our
but Jack, although, as you well know I'm a huge fan of your
birthday suit, unless you want to give whoever's coming a unexpected
thrill, don't you think you should put some clothes on first?"
Jack! Uncle Jack!" Jamie Carter-Shanahan joyfully shrieked while
hurtling down the gangway of the sleek Asgard flyer and flinging
herself into Jack's waiting arms.
like she still loves Jack the best," Daniel chuckled, feigning a
pout at Jamie's laughing, bright-eyed mother disembarking after her
daughter at a slightly more dignified velocity, her trajectory
equally unerringly taking her into Daniel's warm embrace.
Sam," he smiled, hugging her tightly.
Daniel, you know that's not true," Sam happily snuggled one of
the men she hadn't seen for six months and still missed intensely
though five years had come and gone since the day when they'd left
her, the team and their former life. Yes, she missed them, and things
would never to be the same for any of them now, but as much as she
loved them both and her life as a member of the original SG-1, what
she had now...
wouldn't trade it for anything, not even to have them, and that life,
what's not to love?" Jack panted, engrossed in his efforts to
prevent the squirming mass of excited, overjoyed toddler in his arms
from bowling him completely over. "Easy there, Sunshine,"
he playfully admonished the child, scooping her up. She shrieked
with delight at the playful manhandling, and after tucking her under
his arm Jack made to properly greet his former 2IC.
that a rhetorical question?" Daniel quipped, releasing Sam and
accepting Jamie, allowing Jack to embrace mother while daughter
hugged the crap out of her second 'uncle'.
Daniel, you know I love you too!" the child protested,
pretending to be horrified by Daniel's tragic face.
don't believe you," Daniel mournfully sighed, theatrically
rolling his eyes. "Prove it!"
the child gleefully giggled, and then proceeded to liberally anoint
Daniel's face with rapid-fire butterfly pecks and smooches.
Daniel manfully weathered the infant assault Jack warmly hugged Sam,
planting an enthusiastic kiss on her cheek.
good, Carter," he said sincerely, after they released each
other. "If it wasn't a cliché, I'd say you were glowing."
thank you, Sir," Sam flushed slightly with pleasure. "I
have to say being in love agrees with me."
argue with you there, Carter," Jack fervently assured her.
I'm not the only one. You're looking pretty good yourself, there,
Colonel. And I say that strictly as a friend, and not as someone who
thinks about you in any other context than the purely platonic. By
the way, have I ever thanked you for setting me straight and dumping
me? It was by far the best thing you ever did for me."
or twice," Jack shrugged, his eyes twinkling. "Though it
was hardly a pleasure at the time for either one of us, I'm happy to
have made my small contribution to the course of the proper unfolding
of true love in your life, Carter."
maybe, but extremely significant," Sam teased. "And
admittedly a blow to the ego, initially. But once I got over it, and
myself, I took a look around, at someone I'd…"
face it, Carter, you treated him like crap," Jack fondly scolded
Sir, I did," she unashamedly agreed. "What's more I'm
damned lucky after everything I did and said to him he still considered
me worth taking a second chance with, and
I don't know it."
always were worth it, Carter, you just needed to believe that
for the right guy," Sam reminded him, giving his shoulder a
playful punch. "Which didn't happen to be you. Once I figured that out…"
he's the right guy, all right," Daniel interjected,
breathlessly, rejoining the conversation. "As long as you're
me." The toddler-shaped burr hanging from his neck squealed and
transferred back to Jack as soon as Daniel brought her close enough.
Daniel suffered this second rejection with good grace, considering
the arm of his partner settling comfortably around his waist more
than adequate compensation for the loss of infant affections.
still snores, but I think I'll keep him," Daniel winked at Sam.
"Besides, he's much more fun than a hot water bottle."
ix-nay, not in front of the ild-chay!" Jack hissed with
mock-horror while Jamie hooted into his ear with unbridled delight.
as you can see, has as yet to grow up himself," Daniel sadly
informed Sam. "However, speaking of right guys, I don't see
yours. Pete couldn't make it this trip?"
Sam shrugged. "We…" she fluffed her daughter's blonde
curls with a fond smile. "Didn't want to miss the presentation
so we left Daddy behind to handle the last minute arrangements about
shutting up the house."
Jack queried, a huge smile beginning to spread across his face.
we talked about it," she began, flushing again. "And we
agreed now the Goa'uld are history and the Stargate Program has gone
public, and especially with…" she paused, patting her stomach
meaningfully. "The whole saving the universe thing is kind of
getting old. Pete and I both think it's time I hung it up and if it's
still okay we'd like to take you up on your offer. We'd like the baby
to be born here on Eden."
Sam!" Daniel exclaimed, hugging her again. "You know
you guys are more than welcome. It's a huge planet. You can
have your pick of any spot you want."
our Asgard Erector-Set can build you just about anything you can
think of," Jack chimed in. "If you want you can have a
house the size of Minnesota! Danny!" he said excitedly to the
man by his side. "We're gonna have more neighbours!"
Sam prompted, visibly intrigued by the comment.
all I can say is if you've got your heart set on a certain spot you'd
better stake your claim soon," Jack informed her with a smug
smile. "Location, location, location. All the good ones are
going fast. Janet and Cam have their eye on a few choice acres in
Pleasant Valley. Ferretti and the missus are mulling it over, as well
as General Hammond. Heck, your dad has even been making noises about
building a cabin on Emerald Lake."
– he has?" Sam exclaimed. "My father?"
I'm lying Apophis isn't a dead, false god," Jack emphatically
assured her. "Teal'c has already called dibs on a sizeable chunk
of Oz and he'll start homesteading on it if he can ever tear himself
away from the new Jaffa coalition – "
to mention finally getting Ishta to say yes," Daniel added.
the current trend continues mostly everybody we used to hang with in
the SGC is going to be living somewhere on this planet," Jack
smiled proudly. "In a few more years you won't be able to
swing a dead cat around these parts without hitting a familiar face.
It's gonna be cool!"
Daniel nodded. "But that's neither here nor there, at the
moment, did I – did I hear you say, earlier, the reason why you and
Jamie are here, now, and Pete's not…you were saying something about
a – a presentation?"
Jack added his interest to Daniel's.
opened her mouth to answer but was interrupted by the sound of
several soft chiming tones emanating from the portal leading into the
house from the hangar deck.
the – " Jack sputtered. "Saved by the bell, Carter.
Unless my ears deceive me, that's another couple of shuttles
returning to the roost."
I think, actually," Daniel confirmed. “A lot of people, all at
what's going on?"
see," Sam grinned, scooping her daughter and making for the
inviting environs of Jack and Daniel's sumptuous and spacious Asgard
residence. "By the way, Sir," she addressed the men falling
into step beside her. "Are you ever going to call me Sam?"
Jack nodded. "Right about the same time you stop calling me
rested his chin on Daniel's shoulder, giving his partner an
affectionate squeeze while his eyes roved fondly over the cherished
faces of the people surrounding them. They had quite a full house at
the moment, the low, comfortable circular divan dominating the huge
'conversation pit' on the hospitality level nearly occupied to
capacity, but every single soul clustered about them was more than
welcome. He and Daniel, they had a good life together, each day more
precious than the last. His life was rich, complete, and he couldn't
want for anything more, but still, as good as everything was, it was
nice to have company.
had mellowed over the years. Grown hair, too. That still took some
getting used to, but Jack was definitely a fan of the more relaxed
version of his formerly forbiddingly stoic team mate. Now the Jaffa
were truly free and well on their way to becoming productive members
of the galactic community the big guy was finally loosening up,
taking the time to think about himself, his own future, and a certain
lady Jaffa still playing hard to get.
wished him well with that one. Teal'c might have brought the Goa'uld
to their knees but Ishta was proving to be a much harder nut to
never once regretted your decision to leave the SGC, have you Jack?"
Lieutenant General Retired George Hammond's soft query roused him
from his indulgent musings.
He hoisted the cold bottle of Guinness he'd been happily partaking of
in salute to his former commanding officer. "I miss beer,"
he admitted with a shrug. "Thanks for restocking the fridge, by
the way. I miss the pizza delivery boy and being able to see a hockey
game without a six-month or so time lag, but other than that, can't
say I've ever regretted hanging it all up. Believe me, Sir." He
finished by fervently hugging a blushing Daniel to his chest.
"Nothing means more to me than what I've got right now. Or this
man right here."
can see that." Hammond concluded his comment with a quiet,
approving smile. "And for whatever it's worth, although I wasn't
entirely convinced at the time, you made the right call. You're a
very lucky man, Jack O'Neill."
I know it, General," Jack sighed, nuzzling the side of Daniel's
neck. "I'm glad you finally see it that way, too."
speaking of hanging it up," Daniel turned to the petite, auburn
haired woman seated beside him in an effort to move the conversation
into an less personal area. "Have you really quit, Janet?"
betcha, honeychile," Janet drawled, and laughed. "We both
have," she finished, patting her husband on the knee.
Mitchell grasped Janet's hand, pressing it to his lips. Jack once
again observed the obvious warmth and deep affection between the pair
and highly approved. He'd been initially unsure of Mitchell – the
man had been given command of SG-l when the team was finally
officially reactivated with two new members in the wake of Hammond's
'acceptance' of Daniel's resignation and the pair of them haring off
with Thor to their new home. Jack hadn't met Mitchell previously so
he'd never had the opportunity to get to know him before he took the
top spot on the top team and had started courting Janet Fraiser. But
in the interim the man had more than proved his worthiness for both
honours, as far as Jack was concerned.
he made Janet damned happy. You'd have to be blind not to see it; the
woman was luminous with contentment. Yeah, Mitchell would do, all
right. He'd never served with the man and he still wasn't exactly
what Jack would call a bosom buddy, but he was okay.
decided we want to do some travelling," Mitchell continued,
draping an arm around his wife. "Take a little sight-seeing tour
around the galaxy. We figure we've saved it enough times, we should
maybe go and simply enjoy it for a change."
a big place so it might take awhile," Janet added. "We'd
still like our home base to be here, but we wouldn't actually be
around a whole lot for a couple of years."
they'll be spying on me while
I'm attending the Vodran Academy," Cassandra whispered, leaning
confidentially towards Jack and glaring at her mother from her refuge
behind the ex-colonel.
we might drop in there and say 'hi', now and again but I'd hardly
call it spying,"
knew it," Cassandra flopped back against the back of the low
divan, arms crossed, pretending to sulk. "Geez, Mom, I'm almost
24 years old. I don't need a keeper."
of course you don't, honey. You're all grown up now, but you'll
always be our little girl. If you ever decide to have kids of your
own one day, you'll understand."
have to take your word for it," Cassandra sighed, her gaze
and sadness briefly flared in Janet's eyes. "You're still
serious about going through with it, then."
Cassandra nodded. "I've thought about it a lot, and I really
want to do it. I think it would be an honour to accept a Tok'ra
symbiote. If they will have me, that is."
honour would be all ours," Jacob Carter smiled proudly at his
'granddaughter'. "We wish more people would view the possibility
more favourably. Janet, I know you have reservations, but I can
honestly tell you blending with Selmac has been the most positive
experience of my life. You know I love Cassie and if I had any doubts
she wouldn't enjoy as beneficial and rich as life as a host - "
couldn't have a better example than Grandpa Jacob of how I could
personally benefit from hosting a symbiote, or how much good I could
do as a host." Cassandra turned to her mother, entreating.
"Grandpa Jacob wouldn't even be here if not for the Tok'ra
symbiote. And he's had an amazing life with them, done and seen so
much and it's far from over. I want that, too. I want to know so much
and be so much! Please Mom, Dad, try to understand, I really
want to do
okay!" Janet held up her hands. We'll talk about this later!
Right now, we're here for…you know…not to deal with major family
yeah," Cassandra grinned. "Sorry!"
for the record, I'm with your Mom," Jack shuddered. "Ewwwwww! No
taken, Jack," Jacob shot him a wry grin.
glad you're still here and all, but once again, ewwwww…." Jack
made a face.
all right, people," Hammond put on his 'official' face and rose,
addressing the chuckling assemblage. "If we're certain everyone
who's going to be coming is in fact here, perhaps we should proceed
with the business at hand."
Daniel ventured. "He's not coming? Again?"
Daniel, I'm afraid not," Sam said. "He sends his best
wishes, and his regrets."
was in the middle of something just too fascinating or pressing to
put down." Daniel smiled wistfully.
know Robert," Sam nodded. "It's always something. He'd live
in the mountain, in that office if they'd let him. He'll probably
stay on SG-1 until they force him to retire and as for leaving the
have to carry him out in a box. Well, we'll catch up with him
sometime between now and then," Daniel sighed. Still, the SGC
couldn't have a better man continuing to carry the torch. I was happy
to know he'd taken my place on SG-1."
to that," Jack quickly added, before turning his attention back
to Hammond. "Now we've settled that, you were saying, General."
me George, Jack, please, that's all behind all of us, now. But yes, I
suppose you are both wondering why we've all…descended upon you
that we aren't tickled pink to see each and every one of you, but
yeah," Jack admitted for both of them. Daniel nodded in tacit
agreement while Hammond continued with his explanation.
all gathered here to make you aware of a certain…occasion…recently
celebrated in your honour. We thought you might want to know it, and
possibly do a little celebrating of your own.
of course, you'd all be more than happy to help with," Jack
we are well aware we do not need an excuse to 'party' with you and
DanielJackson, O'Neill," Teal'c suddenly piped up from the quiet
corner where he'd been silently observing the room and the repartee.
Hammond acknowledged the comment with a nod. "To continue, I was
recently contacted by President Atkar of Astiria."
tell!" Jack quipped, after glancing at Daniel. "There's a
name we haven't heard in a long time. How is the old reprobate?"
fine, actually," Hammond supplied. "He's beginning his
third term in office."
for him. So, what did he want?"
wished me to attend the 5th
Anniversary Celebration of O'Neill Day."
Astirians made a national holiday of the day Jack supposedly got
himself blown up on their behalf. They celebrate it every year."
Day," Jack beamed. "I like the sound of that. Has a really
nice ring to it, don't you think?" He gave Daniel an emphatic
elbow prod. The prodded man shoved him back, rolling his eyes.
not going to encourage you." Daniel deliberately ignored Jack,
gesturing for Hammond to continue. "So, did you go, Sir?"
I was unable to stay for the official ceremonies themselves, but I
did briefly go to Astiria because Atkar was most anxious I receive
something from them I was to present to both of you on their behalf.
Apparently this year, being the fifth since the 'accident' holds a
special significance for the Astirians, being something they call a
Quada. For O'Neill Day this year
they issued a small commemorative souvenir to mark the Quada
celebration of the event, and Atkar wanted you and Daniel to have
one. After I saw it, I fully understand why. You definitely have
to have this," Hammond finished with an enigmatic smile, before
nodding at Sam.
all believe you should possess this remembrance as well," Teal'c
supplied for the barely contained assemblage. "We furthermore
wished to observe your expressions once you have received it. Ergo,
we are here."
you, I think," Jack said uncertainly, both he and Daniel
exchanging puzzled glances while Sam took an Asgard crystal out of
her handbag. She handed it to Jamie, who by now, although she'd
previously been remarkably restrained and well behaved, was clearly
busting to let several cats out of a considerably large bag.
else in the room was likewise grinning madly. Something was
Mommy?" Jamie piped, her little hands gripping the glowing
stone. "Can I do it now?"
honey," Sam proudly instructed her daughter. "Do it just
the way I showed you."
little girl briefly manipulated the stone while her mother looked on,
ready to assist if necessary. Suddenly there was a familiar flash
atop the large, low glass table in the centre of the circular
conversation pit. When the light and the familiar sound of a
transport beam had faded, the Jack and Daniel found themselves
looking at a large crystal disk that hadn't been there before resting
on the tabletop.
coaster," Jack remarked, eyeing it sceptically. "Not that
we don't appreciate the thought, but you really didn't need to go to
all the trouble. Really. Coasters, we've got."
like this one, Uncle Jack,” Jamie giggled.
I've seen these before/" Daniel thoughtfully gnawed on his lower
lip and contemplated the object on the table in front of him. "When
we were on Astiria. There was one in my room, remember? In yours too
– before you broke it."
yeah. The hologram…thingees. And I didn't break it, it…fell,"
he belligerently informed Daniel and started to reach for the device.
if I may." Hammond held up a hand. "Before you – turn it
on – there are a few things I'd like to explain."
shrugged and settled back. "Go for it."
Jack's statue, isn't it?" Daniel narrowed his eyes, trying to
understand the strange mirthful undercurrent permeating the room.
"The statue the Astirians were going to erect for him –
Atkar's given us a miniature version of it. God, I'd almost forgotten
too," Jack added. "As hard as that might be to believe.
Although I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't mind seeing it, even after
all this time. They'd better have spelled my name right." He
glanced at Daniel.
they did," Hammond reassured him, with a slight grin. "Doctor
Jackson, as the recognized and acknowledged Dhanat of the Saviour of
Astiria, on the occasion of the Quadda Anniversary of his sacrifice,
and your subsequent terrible loss, the grateful citizens of Astiria
wish to present you with this special remembrance. Atkar asked me to
'officially' offer Doctor Jackson the condolences of the populace and
their hopes he will find this memorial a sufficient tribute.
Privately, he hopes you'll both get a kick out of what you're about
to see, especially once you understand exactly what the Astirians have
acknowledging and honouring all this time."
Jack demanded of the man in his arms, softly snickering since hearing
the word 'Dhanat'. "What's so funny?"
God, Jack, I think I know where this is going.”
barely keep a straight face while
for the disk. "The first time I saw the statue was a couple of
days ago, when I arrived on Astiria. It's standing in front of the
Palace, just as Atkar told us it would be. It's
really…quite...impressive," he finished, coughing.
huh?" Jack prompted, eager for the general to get on with it.
There was definitely some background giggling beginning to emanate
from various parts of the room.
explained to me they wanted to pay you the highest honour they
possibly could, so when they designed it… they do thing a little
differently there," Hammond's lips twitched with his efforts to
keep the obvious mirth underlying his comments under control. "The
Astirians consider familial and intimate bonds to be of the utmost
importance and worthy of recognition and celebration in their own
right, and the idea of singly honouring any sort of important
historical or politically significant figure without acknowledging he was a man
and was loved…well, they just don't do it that way," he
finished with shrug.
stared at him blankly. "Still not getting it.”
worry, you will," Ferretti snickered, ignoring his wife's
I'd just better show you," Hammond sighed, tapping the centre of
the disk twice to activate it.
crystal immediately glowed, the luminescence flowing up to form a
swirling nimbus above the base swiftly resolving itself into a fully
realised, substantial, three dimensional figure.
stared, hard, at the miniature representation of what had to be one
impressive monument when you super-sized it. Damned impressive
indeed. Gleaming like highly polished silver, the figures were so
precise, so detailed they looked real enough to get right up off the
mini pedestal and start walking around.
were two men on that dais, not one. One of them, clearly him, and a
damned good likeness it was. Quite impressive. The other man – the
soon as Jack realised what he was looking at and what it meant he
gave way, as did everyone else, and the room rocked with hearty
a beautiful, isn't it?"
Meck covertly rubbed his sweaty palms against his thighs to purge
them of the offending dampness. He couldn't believe he'd finally
found the nerve – he 'd actually spoken to…him.
He'd been stopping here, every day after work for almost a full
month, hoping to catch even the smallest glimpse of the tall, blond
god he'd been secretly lusting over since the first time he'd seen him here, standing staring
seriously at the Saviour of Astria. The object of Meck's affection
didn't come every day, but he'd showed up often enough to give the
young man hope, and finally enough courage, to do more than glance,
yearn and dream.
yes," the blond god nodded, never taking his eyes off the
imposing monument towering over them.
like to look at it," Meck hoped he didn't sound like he was
burbling like a complete idiot. "I actually saw him once."
he's so beautiful and he's talking…to me.
Saviour?" The object of Formin's adoration turned to give him a
slight smile, almost reducing him to a quivering puddle on the spot.
was only for a moment," Meck continued, feeling more confident. The
inquisitive eyes trained upon him seemed bright, kind and
actually interested in what he was saying. "I was working at the
Repository at the time. He was being conducted on an official tour.
He walked right past me and said 'hello'," Meck finished
proudly. "I've never forgotten it."
he really?" the intense, blue eyes devouring him flared with
obvious interest. "That must have been exciting." His face
abruptly lit up, as if he also had something to share. "I – "
he blurted, and then fell abruptly silent, the joy draining from his
face, and for a brief, terrible second Meck was afraid he was the
cause of his companion's distress.
mind, it's not important," the blond finally murmured. "That
must have been an incredible experience.” He smiled warmly at Meck
once more. "Truly a memory to cherish. The Saviour was an
amazing man. Were you fortunate enough to see the Dhanat as well?"
This time the smile he bestowed upon the completely besotted Meck was
basked in the man's continued regard, feeling he could die now and
his life would be complete.
no," he admitted with a sigh. "The Saviour was
unaccompanied by any other members of his team at the time."
too bad. Still, you did see the Saviour. I envy you. I wish I could
have met him as well, even in passing. My name is Terrin, by the
extending his hand to Meck, his smile suddenly tremulous, his gaze
warm and slightly self-conscious.
– Formin," Meck gulped, grasping Terrin's outstretched hand
and shaking it vigorously.
it's nice to meet you. I've seen you here, a couple of times."
– I like to stop by, on my way home from work." It was only a
partial lie, and it made Terrin smile again.
thought so," Terrin nodded, still holding Meck's hand.
seen you here, too," Meck admitted.
was kind of hoping you had."
good, this was too good to be true but he meant it, he really meant
it, he could see it in his eyes.
huh. If you hadn't said something today… I was going to…"
would have?" Meck grinned shyly at Terrin.
huh," Terrin nodded. "I would have."
Meck felt impossibly audacious." "Do you want to…to go
somewhere, maybe sit and talk, have some claava, possibly something
like that very much," Terrin nodded, brushing his fingers across
would you like to go?"
smiled and put his arm around Meck's shoulders, preparing to steer
him toward a cosy bistro he knew close by serving in his opinion the
best claava in the city. He'd had his eye on this man for a long
time, and now they'd actually spoken, he had a good feeling. A really
peculiar of all the places in the city where he and Formin could have
possibly crossed paths it should be here, at the statue of the man
who'd had such a profound influence on him. He'd come a very long way
in five years, grown up and away from the callow, brazen youth who'd
chatted with a dead man. And as a result of the conversation, changed
the entire direction of his life. He'd thought about Jack O'Neill
many, many times in the ensuing years, but he'd never once broken
faith and revealed what he'd seen and knew, and he never would.
much he could do for Astiria, and Jack O'Neill.
cast a parting glance at the statue looming grandly over them,
briefly scanning the inspiring image of the two men surmounting the
pedestal posed in the traditional manner – the Saviour standing,
his hand resting on the left shoulder of the Dhanat Daniel Jackson,
seated before him. The Dhanat's right arm was crossed over his chest,
raised to cover the one on his left shoulder. Both men's expressions
were brave and serene, their eyes trained upon a distant eternity.
was deeply familiar with the image, having come here to contemplate
it many times in the past five years. Then as now he remembered
patient 359, and wondered if the enigmatic man was, as he claimed,
the same one whose larger-than-life image would endure and continue
to inspire the citizens of Astiria long after Terrin Abik would be
around appreciate it.
hoped the man under all those bandages had indeed been Jack O'Neill,
and he'd gone from Astiria and somehow he found his way back to his
Dhanat. He drew Meck closer, desperately wishing somewhere Jack
O'Neill and Daniel Jackson were together. More than that; although
it was probably far too early, after all, he hardly knew anything
about Formin besides his name, he had a feeling, maybe, finally, he'd
found his own Dhanat.
time would tell.
bless you both, wherever you are, and may she make me as fortunate in
bestowed his parting mental benediction upon the statue and finally
left it behind to step forward with Formin into a hopeful future.