Category: Slash, Humor, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing: Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Season: Beyond the Series - January 8-22, 2011
Written: July 27-28, August 4-5,7, 2005 Revised for consistency: September 3,13, 2007
Summary: With the utterance of a single word, changes take hold, forever altering the lives of those who love and are loved.
Disclaimer: Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't. A gal can dream though!
1) Special thanks to QuinGem for the wonderful photo manip included with this story!
2) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically. Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
3) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
4) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fics, “Blowout,” “Let Go of My Legos,” “A Christmas Miracle”
5) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better: Claudia, Cassiopeia, QuinGem, Linda, Carol!
Colonel Samantha Carter stood on the walkway that led to her front
door, watching her fiance of many years, Detective Pete Shanahan,
put a few things into his truck. It was early Saturday morning,
roughly 6 a.m., and the sun was just peeking through the clouds as it
rose in the distance, casting a warm, golden glow on the garden.
The street was still and deadly silent, no other houses nearby showing any signs of activity except for an occasional outdoor light going off as daylight took over.
Sam pulled her pink sweater taut as she watched the man she loved go about his task, smiling as she listened to his words about what his day would be like.
“Sam, I might be late. I want to drop by the magic shop downtown and see if I can find one of those handcuff sets,” Pete told her.
Sam chuckled, “What do you need those for? Do you want to help someone escape?”
“Yeah, Jonny,” Pete answered as he closed the door and moved to the front of the truck. He smiled at Sam who stood about halfway down the path. “You know how he likes to escape from things; I thought he'd get a kick out of it.” Seeing the hesitant look on his fiancée's face, he put his hands up and quickly said, “Don't worry; I cleared it with Jack. So it looks like I'll be ...”
As Pete continued to talk about his schedule for the day, Sam walked towards him, stopping only when she was inside his personal space.
“Hello, Gorgeous!” Pete said. “Did you need something?” he whispered, teasing her slightly and hoping she wanted to share another good-bye kiss.
“Yes,” Sam answered softly, her eyes shining as she spoke.
“I'm right here,” Pete said, smiling and opening his arms out wide in invitation.
“Yes,” Sam said again.
~Yes?~ Pete blinked, tilting his head slightly and staring at his beautiful colonel. ~Is she saying what I hope she's saying?~ Finally, he asked, “Sam, are you trying to tell me something?”
“Yes,” the blonde echoed, nodding her head and smiling only as a woman deeply in love can smile.
“Sam, don't do this to me. You're starting to remind me of a conversation we had a few years back, and ...”
“And I'm an idiot, Pete,” Sam responded, taking a huge breath. She looked down for a moment before looking back at her long-time lover. “I don't know why, but ...”
“Sam, you're not an idiot. Come on!” Pete cajoled. “You've always had a lot going on. I know Jacob dying shook you up pretty bad, and ...”
“Pete, I am an idiot,” Sam interrupted. “But what I was going to say is that I don't know why you've stayed with me all these years.”
“Easy answer, Darling. I love you,” Pete told her softly, his hand gently caressing her cheek.
“If the question is still on the table, the answer is a very definite yes!” the blonde spoke tenderly.
“You mean it?” Pete asked in a controlled excitement, hope shining in his eyes that, at last, his true love would make it official.
“Yes,” Sam said, trying not to laugh.
“Oh, Sam,” Pete expressed in sheer joy, taking her into his arms and kissing her soundly. “Sam, there's this super house; it's a bit of a fixer-upper, but wait until you see it. Wait, am I going to fast?” he asked with a twinkle in his eye.
Sam burst into laughter, answering, “Pete, I don't think anyone will ever accuse us of moving too fast. Do you have time to tell me about the house?”
“For you, Gorgeous, I have all the time in the world,” Pete laughed ecstatically and then brushed his lips against hers in a soft kiss.
Sam smiled, silently pondering what the heck had taken her so long to get her act together. Then she smiled again, grateful for the gentle prodding of the Munchkins. It had been over a year since they'd first brought it up, but from that day forward, at almost every opportunity, the Jackson-O'Neill triplets had made a project of helping their Aunt Sam to see the light.
~I'll never forget that first time. Holy Hannah, I couldn't believe what they were saying.~
“Thanks, Mrs. Valissi,” Sam called out as the triplets ran out to her in the driveway.
“Okay, Munchkins, let's ...” Sam began, opening the door to her car.
“Aunt Sam, no be scared!” Jonny interrupted suddenly.
“What?” the blonde asked, completely taken aback by the remark.
“Pete love you,” Little Danny explained.
“You love Pete,” Aislinn stated.
Sam stared at the trio, totally not knowing what to say.
The Munchkins looked at each other and then exclaimed, “*Marry Pete!*”
“Um, yeah, well, I'm going to. We're engaged. You know that,” Sam responded nervously. “Let's get in ...”
Impatiently, Jonny again interrupted, “You 'gaged forever. We want new uncle.”
“Oh,” Sam expressed as she bobbed her head about nervously and pursed her lips. “Well, uh ... uh ...”
Little Danny tugged on her skirt, crooked his finger for her to bend down, and, once Sam had done so, said, “No be scared, Aunt Sam. We big family; 'tect each other. Please don't be scared anymore.”
“Aw, Little Danny,” Sam said, hugging him close.
Aislinn and Jonny joined in the hug, their little arms wrapping around her and Little Danny as much as possible.
“Pete no hurt you, or I get him,” Jonny said forcefully.
“Pete would never hurt me,” Sam replied, placing her hand on his cheek.
“Then why you no marry him?” Jonny asked.
“Because ...” Sam paused as she pondered the truth and then answered, “I'm dumb.”
“Not dumb,” Aislinn said. “Just scared, but no need to be. Dad 'n' Daddy say so.”
“You marry Pete,” Jonny ordered as he finally climbed into the backseat.
“Yeah,” Little Danny agreed, following his brother in the vehicle.
“Love him, Aunt Sam?” Aislinn asked.
“Very much, Ash,” Sam answered softly.
Aislinn smiled, not saying anything more.
“Come on, we need to go,” the blonde stated and then making sure the three children were secure in their car seats. As she walked to the driver's door, she thought, ~Wow, those Munchkins are ... I don't know what they are, but I wish they were mine.~ Opening the door and sliding onto the seat, she thought, ~They are mine; Daniel said so. Still, one of my own, before I turn seventy ... maybe. I wonder if I have the guts.~
//End of Flashback//
~I am an idiot, Pete, for waiting another year. Another month was too long. Thank my lucky stars, you're still around.~
In another part of Colorado Springs, two hours later, Jack grinned, seeing his sexy archaeologist walking through the door of their master bedroom.
“How ya doin', Babe?” Daniel asked his lover as he brought him breakfast in bed.
“You're spoiling me, Angel,” Jack whispered emotionally.
Daniel reached out and caressed the side of his lover's face as his eyes gazed upon him. He shook his head, not having words. Within seconds, the two were kissing. It was a language of love that required no vocalization.
Jack was still recovering from the injuries he'd sustained during the holiday season when he'd been trapped in an avalanche and tossed into an abandoned mine shaft. As a result, he'd suffered multiple injuries, including a severe case of amnesia. Miraculously, on Christmas Eve, he'd managed to find his way home to his soulmate and their eleven children.
By now, the older man didn't really need the pampering he was receiving, but Daniel and the children continued to lavish him with moments like this one, making him feel like a king, and, to his family, Jack was a king.
“What's on the agenda for the day?” Jack inquired a few minutes later when he'd recovered from the mind-blowing kiss.
“Uh, well, this,” Daniel said, kissing his husband again, and again, and again.
Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, Cassandra Fraiser began unpacking boxes in her new apartment. Actually, the apartment was hers and Dom's, as in Dominic Luca, her fiancé. In two more weeks, the couple would be married, and the young woman was ecstatic. It helped that as she looked behind her, she saw her mother, Doctor Janet Fraiser, opening a box.
~Wow! It's really happening. Two weeks; just two more weeks. It seems like it's been so long since he asked me to marry him.~
“Uh, excuse me,” a voice called out.
Everyone looked over at the young man, now standing.
“I don't know everyone here that well, but I know this beautiful woman, and I love her, and, uh, well ...” Dominic knelt down on one knee. “Cass, I think it's about time we made this official. Will you marry me?”
Dominic held out a box.
With tears running down her cheeks, Cassandra opened it and beheld a small diamond.
“Oh, Dom! Yes, I'll marry you.”
As applause broke out, and more tears of happiness flowed, Dominic placed the ring on Cassandra’s finger and then the young lover's hugged and kissed.
Janet whispered to Sam, “I knew something was up.”
“It's about time,” Sam responded.
“Doctor Fraiser, do we have your blessing?” the young man asked. “I mean, I was going to ask you first, old fashioned or not, but ... I don't know, there's so much love here. It just felt right, with all of Cassie's family around.”
Janet walked over to Dominic, hugged him, and said, “I just want to know what took you so long.”
The happy young man answered, “We wanted to wait until we were done with college.”
//End of Flashback//
“Mom, do you think Dom and I should have gotten married right away?” Cassandra asked unsurely. “I mean he proposed during Thanksgiving over a year ago.”
“No, Sweetie, I think you both were smart, waiting for you to wrap up your grad studies and making sure he was secure in his new job,” Janet responded, smiling. “I'm, uh, actually very proud of you two for waiting.”
“I love him, and I'm so excited,” the young alien woman gushed excitedly.
“That's how it should be,” Janet replied. “Do you want this here?” she asked about a favorite magenta-colored vase of her daughter's.
“Yeah, that's fine,” Cassandra agreed. “Mom, were you nervous before you got married?”
“Honey, any woman worth her salt is nervous before getting married. Cold feet?” Janet asked as she moved towards Cassandra's position and knelt down beside her.
“No, but I do have butterflies,” a giggling Cassandra admitted.
“That's natural,” Janet pointed out as she began to sort through some packing materials.
“Mom, Dom asked if sometime he could go through the Stargate, just to know what it's like. Do you think Uncle Jack would let him?”
Janet chuckled, “Remember, Cassie, it's General Hammond running the SGC, not Jack.”
“Oh, yeah.” The woman laughed as she pulled out a beautiful sofa cushion from a box. She held it close to her chest and sighed. “I'd like him to know what it's like, just so he understands that feeling. I was afraid, Mom,” Cassandra confided.
With her daughter still holding the golden cushion close, Janet reached out and put her hand on Cassandra's.
“Sweetie, Dom loves you, and after all these years, I doubt there's anything that you could say that would ever deter him from making you his wife.”
“Yeah, but, 'Hey, Honey, guess what? I was born on another planet called Hanka, not on Earth in Toronto,' is a bit of a shocker,” Cassandra noted, recalling the conversation she'd had with her fiance shortly after he had popped the question in November 2009.
Janet chuckled as she removed her hand and responded, “That's another reason why I'm glad you waited, to make sure he could handle the news.”
“I'm glad the general said it was okay to tell him,” Cassandra remarked. “Anyway, do you think there's a chance?”
“Yes, I do. Lya of the Nox or Tuplo of the Land of Light always seem to enjoy a visit by SG-1. Do you want me to ask them?”
“No, I'll do it. Maybe this summer when Dom has some vacation we can go through the Stargate.”
“Oh, your dog. She was such a good dog,” Janet commented as she dug out an item from the box.
Putting the pillow down, Cassandra reached over and looked at the five-by-seven picture of her and the dog Jack had given her shortly after settling on Earth.
“Uncle Jack never forgave me for naming him 'Jack'.”
Janet chuckled, “That's because every time you said, 'Sit, Jack', he sat down faster than the dog.”
The women continued their unpacking, gossiping and giggling their way through the afternoon.
“Two more weeks,” Cassandra happily sighed.
Janet nodded and chuckled lightly. Her daughter had been giggly and saying 'two more weeks' for the past two days, ever since Janet had arrived to help her organize the apartment.
~Oh to be young and in love again.~ Janet looked down and to the side, trying to hide her blushing smile. ~Well, one out of two isn't bad.~
Three days later, the Jackson-O'Neills were in their kitchen, preparing dinner.
“It's just not normal, Danny,” Jack said as he beat some eggs more energetically than they needed to be.
Daniel laughed as he replied, “Jack, she'll be here in a few minutes, and I'm sure she'll tell you that everything is fine.”
Jack stopped his beating for a moment and turned to face his lover, who stood near the doorway that led from the kitchen to the recreation room.
“Danny, Carter just doesn't disappear for three days, and ...”
“Two days,” Daniel corrected.
“Two days,” Jack scowled. “Hammond had to get a last-minute replacement for her on that mission to P-whatever on Sunday.”
Daniel laughed good naturedly, knowing Jack knew the planet's designation, but was reinforcing his 'dumb general' act.
“Babe, Sam told the general she had some personal business to take care of,” Daniel explained patiently.
“That's the problem!” Jack exclaimed pointedly.
“Oh,” Daniel said, trying not to laugh. “You're dying to know the sordid details.” ~It's driving you crazy.~
“No!” Jack barked lightly as he returned to the egg beating. “I just want to know why she let her team down.”
“It's not like she didn't have the leave coming,” Daniel offered.
“She missed a mission,” Jack grumbled.
“Jack, we've all missed missions,” Daniel responded in defense of their friend.
“And she missed dinner last night,” Jack argued, frowning.
“She's coming tonight,” Daniel stated.
“Jack!” Daniel walked to his lover and turned him away from his cooking duties. Putting his arms around his spouse's neck and caressing soothingly, he stated, “She's our friend first and our teammate second. Years ago, you told her to get a life. She got one; then she got scared. Maybe ... maybe she's getting that life back again.”
“Danny, she never gave up life. She's a mom to our brood. The choices she's made since then ...”
Jack trailed off and turned back to wash his hands.
Daniel sighed sympathetically, ~You feel guilty, don't ya, Babe? You're afraid we're the reason ...~ His thoughts ceased as he heard a ruckus break out upstairs. “I'll go see what the cause of the latest war is.”
“Okay, Love,” Jack said.
“I know, Danny. Curiosity killed the cat. Actually, I know two cats that ...” Jack said mischievously about their two felines, Mittens and Calico.
“It was just a thought,” the older man rationalized with a not-so-innocent shrug.
Jack laughed as he listened to Cassandra over the phone, and then he spoke reassuringly, “Bambina, everything will turn out just fine.”
“Oh, I hope so, Uncle Jack,” Cassandra replied, laughing nervously.
“Danny and I can't wait to walk you down that aisle,” Jack told her proudly, a smile on his face.
“I love you, Uncle Jack. Tell Uncle Daniel I'll talk to him in a couple of days,” Cassandra babbled excitedly. “Oh, and Mom wanted to make sure you remembered to water the plants since Aunt Sam went out of town.”
“Tell Janet we drowned them,” Jack teased.
Jack chuckled, “They're still green and climbing over everything.”
Jack finished his conversation, placing the cordless phone back on the counter just as Daniel walked in from the living room.
“Who was the on the phone?” Daniel asked as he checked on the brewing coffee.
“Cass, wanting to make sure we watered Janet's plants,” Jack answered.
“Oh, well, I'm going to check on them again tomorrow morning after I meet with Megan over at J-O,” Daniel stated.
“Danny, check the dish, will ya, please?” Jack requested, referring to the main course he was preparing. “I'm still working on this dessert,” he stated.
“Sure thing, Love,” Daniel responded.
“Attempted plant murder,” Jack mumbled.
“What?” the archaeologist questioned, his face scrunching at the strange comment.
“Carter's disappearance could have resulted in plant murder.”
“Jack, maybe you need to get some more rest,” Daniel suggested, shaking his head and rolling his eyes as his lover continued with his odd train of thought.
“This is about done, Babe,” Daniel reported a while later.
“Great, then ...” Hearing the knock at the front door, Jack smiled and said, “Great timing. I'll let Carter in.”
“Don't grill her, Jack,” Daniel warned, enforcing his own 'general's eyes'.
As he walked away, Jack teased, “What do I look like, a drill sergeant?”
“No comment,” Daniel responded, stifling a laugh.
“I heard that!” the general shouted back. Having verified it was their expected guest, he opened the front door. “Carter, glad you could make it.”
Jack moved to the side, extending his right arm out in a sweeping motion.
“Thank you, Sir,” Sam said, smiling. ~I'm in for it.~
“Of course, you're only a day late,” Jack quipped as he followed her into the living room.
“Sorry about that; couldn't be helped,” the blonde stated, trying not to look like her hand had just been caught in the cookie jar.
“Of course not,” Jack responded. “Can I get you a drink?”
“No, that's okay. I'll just sit here,” Sam said, taking a seat on the edge of the sofa. “Where's the brood?”
“Upstairs. They'll be down in a few minutes,” Jack answered, looking at his friend intently.
“Good,” Sam said a tad nervously as she sat with her hands clasped together on her lap.
“Be right back, Carter.” Jack started to go back into the kitchen, but something whispered at him to stay. “Carter, are you all right?”
Sam ignored the question, looking off to her right, staring at different items that adorned the living room.
“Carter?” a concerned Jack asked.
Sam hummed lightly, looking up at the ceiling and all around her some more.
“Carter?” Jack asked again, suspicious that he was once again in 'The Twilight Zone'. Still, their guest just sat and shrugged, evading his glance and not answering his hails. “I'm going in the kitchen. Don't worry, Carter. Everything will be just fine.”
As Jack began to cross the carpet and enter the kitchen, Sam cleared her throat and said, “Actually, Sir, it's, uh, Shanahan.”
Jack stopped dead in his tracks. He turned his head back to look at her, and then finally twisted his body around.
Sam stood, smiling a tad nervously and breathing a bit harder than normal.
“Shanahan?” Jack echoed.
The blonde smiled a bit more brightly and nodded, saying, “Shanahan,” as she held up her hand to reveal a wedding ring had been added to her engagement ring.
“Shanahan,” Jack stated more firmly, a grin forming on his face.
“Yes, Sir,” Sam responded. “Shanahan.”
“Aw, Car...Shanahan!” Jack opened his arms, walked to her, and hugged Sam tightly. “Shanahan, Shanahan, Shanahan,” he chanted gaily.
“I'm so sorry, General,” Sam apologized for certain past actions.
“Hey, spilled milk under a very old and forgotten bridge,” Jack soothed, referring to Sam's convenient crush on him, one she'd secretly held onto for a while as a defensive shield to protect herself from being hurt.
“I lied to myself for a long time, and then ...” Sam began quietly.
“Enough of this. We need to celebrate! *Daniel!*” Jack hollered.
Sam backed away from her CO and good friend, smiling again when Daniel entered the room.
“Danny, Shanahan is here!” Jack announced jovially.
“Oh, great!” Daniel looked around, surprised not to see Pete. “Uh, where is he?”
Bashfully, Sam looked down, but her huge smile caused Daniel to give her an inquisitive look.
“Sam?” Daniel asked with a hint of excitement in his voice. When she nodded, he asked, “Yeah?”
“Danny, Car...Shanahan. You know, I'm not sure I can get used to that,” Jack said, frowning and shaking his head.
“Jack!” Daniel walked to Sam and embraced her, saying, “I'm so happy for you.”
“Oh, Daniel, I feel so good now; like everything finally fits together,” Sam gushed, unable to keep the huge smile from her face.
Daniel gently squeezed her in a loving hug before pulling back and then asked, “Where is Pete?”
“Work. It was a compromise. We decided to get married, but he was scheduled to work. He worked out a last minute trade with one of the guys,” Sam explained.
“Vegas?” Jack asked.
Sam shrugged and nodded, explaining, “I didn't want to wait anymore. I ... You know, I do regret that we didn't have a bigger wedding. I mean, it would have been nice to have you there. After all, I'm not sure we would be married if not for you two and the brood.”
“Sam, we didn't have anything to do with you and Pete,” Daniel said, not wanting to take the credit for his friend's bravery.
“Yes, you did.” Sam explained about the Munchkins and their constant nagging. “They've been adorable; kept promising me that I wouldn't be hurt. Lately, they've said Pete is their uncle, and since I'm their aunt, why was it that Pete's things weren't at my house. For that matter, Little Danny wanted to know why it wasn't our house; that is, Pete's and mine. And they all want cousins,” she said, rolling her eyes slightly.
“It was that Legos story I told them,” Jack deduced.
“Uh, yes, I think that's when it started, but then, there was ...” Sam paused, looking at Jack. “Christmas. Pete was here every step of the way, Sir, and what I realized is that he wasn't just going along or being supportive, but that he really loves the brood. You know, believe it or not, we've never fought over the kids, not once, except about what to buy them for birthdays or Christmas.” The blonde sighed, “Life's too short. I watched Daniel mourn you, Sir, and I kept thinking, what if it had been Pete? I ... I couldn't let myself think about it too much then because ...” Sam trailed off, teary-eyed.
“Because you had to stay strong for our children,” Daniel completed for her.
Sam nodded and answered, “Yes, but the last couple of weeks, that's all I've been able to think about. It's time. It's way behind time, actually, and he still loves me,” she remarked, almost in disbelief.
“That he does, Car...” Jack groaned. “Shanahan.”
“Sir, it's okay. We've agreed that I'll follow your example.” She saw the two lovers exchange a look, neither knowing what she meant. “I'm going hyphenated. Professionally, I imagine a lot of people will still refer to me as 'Samantha Carter', but legally my name will be Carter-Shanahan. When we have kids ...”
“Kids?” Jack said, his eyes prying into Sam's crystal blue eyes.
“Sir, I am *not* pregnant,” Sam said shyly. “I'm not even sure I can be, but we do want children. Wait until you see the house Pete found for us.”
“He already found you a house?” Daniel asked, surprised.
“Mission Drive,” Sam told them a bit hesitantly. “Uh, I know that's a little closer, maybe *too* close, so we have some other possibilities if ...”
“Mission Drive,” Jack echoed. “Wow. Pete will have a little commute to the department, won't he?”
Jack's words were soft and somewhat emotional, though he was trying to hide it.
“Only if you two are okay with it. He thought it would be easier if we were closer, and the house is big enough for yours and ours; well, that is if we squeeze them in a little; we, uh, actually plan on adding on a little. Um, Pete's going to put in for a transfer to ...”
“Excuse me, Sam,” Jack said, suddenly heading up the stairs.
Concerned, Sam remarked, “Daniel, we don't have to take the house. We thought ...”
Daniel put his hand on Sam's upper left arm and rubbed up and down. He smiled and wet his lips.
“Sam, the house ... that's really something. It's not ... he's fine; we're better than fine. Listen, would you excuse me for a minute? I want to check on him,” Daniel informed her while wearing a reassuring smile.
“I'm really sorry I've upset him,” Sam spoke apologetically.
“No, Sam. It's a good upset. You know something? We're lucky; you see, Jack and I are the two luckiest people on the Earth. We'll be right back,” Daniel said, leaning in to give his friend a hug.
Daniel stood at the doorway, gazing at his lover as he sat at the side of the bed.
“We are so lucky, Danny,” Jack whispered, sensing his soulmate's presence.
The younger man walked over to sit next to his husband, making sure their shoulders touched. He reached out and took Jack's hand in his.
“Yes, we are,” Daniel agreed.
“It just hit me, how much she's sacrificed all these years,” Jack said in wonderment. “She's put our children ahead of herself. If Pete didn't love them, she'd ...”
“She wouldn't have married him,” Daniel acknowledged.
Jack sighed, “I don't know why this is hitting me like this.”
“Jack, for a long time, you've thought of Sam as your second-in-command first, but she's not. I can't tell you when that changed for sure, when she stopped being a teammate first and instead was a friend first, but I know it happened. Maybe it was when the Munchkins were born, and she became a mom,” Daniel theorized.
Jack looked at his husband, staring intensely into his beautiful cerulean blue eyes, and definitively spoke, “That's it, Angel. Our kids are ours, but they've got these terrific moms, too, and ...”
“And those moms have given up a lot of things to be their moms,” Daniel acknowledged. “Sam, Janet, Cassie ...”
“Sara,” Jack whispered. “Angel, Mark turned down another promotion that would have made him a vice-president of the entire corporation. He didn't want Sara to tell me, but ...”
“You wrangled it out of her,” Daniel chuckled.
Jack nodded, adding, “It would have meant moving to Philly. Sara said she didn't even have to argue against it. He told his bosses he wouldn't move his family.”
“Because of us,” Daniel assumed.
“Car...” Jack sighed again. “Shanahan,” he smiled. “She's had issues, but if it weren't for our kids, I think she would have married the guy a long time ago. She'd probably have been promoted again, too.”
“She's cut back at the SGC,” Daniel noted.
“Danny, she's given a lot, personally and professionally, for us.” Jack snorted, “All those times I've ordered and blackmailed her to do this or that, she ...”
“She wasn't responding to your orders, Jack. You know that; you just don't like thinking about it out loud,” Daniel informed.
“Yeah. I hate being emotional like this,” Jack grimaced, running his hand through his hair.
Daniel squeezed Jack's hand, saying, “You mean you hate for Sam to see it, but she has seen it, Babe. The only thing that is different now is that our family and our friendships are our first priority, even before the team.”
“You're right, as always,” Jack agreed, leaning in for a kiss. “We'd better get downstairs.”
“Jack, she thinks you don't want them to buy that house,” Daniel told his lover as they stood up.
“You have any objections?” Jack asked.
“No,” Daniel said quickly.
“Neither do I. That's when it hit me, Love. When I heard her say that they wanted to buy the house behind us. I would have thought they'd want to get away as far as they could get,” Jack joked.
“Jack, none of us are going to invade the other's privacy, but it will make it a lot easier.”
“Yeah, it will. Andy still has those contacts,” Jack said with a gleam in his eye about his old friend who had been the sheriff for quite some time before retiring.
Daniel smiled and nodded, pleased that his husband was willing to try and help Pete get the transfer that would have him working out of a precinct closer to their neighborhood.
Together, the lovers headed downstairs.
The house on Mission Drive that Sam was talking about was directly behind the Jackson-O'Neill home, over on the McLamore end of the property. It was just one story, but had three bedrooms, two baths, and, of course, a living room with a dining room just to the side of it. The kitchen was moderately-sized, but what was extremely appealing to the newly married couple was a large family room and laundry room that had been built on by the past owners, which meant they had a good space for all the children to gather in, and there was a nice area for the washer and dryer, including space to sort clothes in.
The backyard was a decent size as well, though not as big as Jack and Daniel's. There was a patio outside with a patio cover to block the sun, accessed by the sliding glass doors in the dining room.
The house wasn't perfect, but they were getting a great deal, and Pete, who had done some construction work in the past, was already thinking about doing a couple of additions to the home himself.
“Sir!” Sam said, standing again when Jack and Daniel returned the stairs.
“C...Shanahan, stop jumping up every time I walk into a room,” Jack ordered.
“Old habits,” Sam smirked.
“Not here,” Jack said firmly, those two little words packed with so much more meaning.
“I guess it's because I'm a little ...” Sam began.
“Nervous?” Daniel completed for her.
“Nervous,” Sam agreed. “And, Sir, please, just stick with Carter.”
Jack nodded gratefully; then said, “Okay, Carter, we're in for a treat. Direct from South America, I bring you Lomo Saltado.”
“Steak,” Sam chuckled.
“Steak strips,” Jack said haughtily, as if taking offense. “With lots of potatoes and bell peppers.”
“Garlic,” Sam stated hopefully at Jack's smile.
“Daniel, get the kids,” Jack instructed.
“Yes, Sir, General, Sir,” Daniel mocked.
Laughing, Daniel went over to the intercom and hit the button that turned on the speakers to every room.
“Broodkins, dinner's ready, and Aunt Sam is here. And, uh, she has news!” Daniel added, knowing that would entice the children down even more quickly.
It could have been an earthquake, but it was simply eleven children hurdling down the stairs.
“What's the big news?” Jennifer questioned.
“Jonny, ring!” Little Danny stated, nudging his brother in the arm after observing the ring on Sam's hand.
Hearing the comment, Aislinn looked at her aunt's hand and gasped, “Aunt Sam have ring!”
“What? Really?” Jennifer questioned.
Nodding and very embarrassed, but happy, Sam said, “Pete and I tied the knot in Vegas on Sunday.”
The herd of happy children surrounded their aunt, hugging and kissing her excitedly.
“Party!” Chenoa announced.
“Hafta have ice cream!” Ricky said, leading the pack into the kitchen.
As the other children added in their suggestions, Jack noticed the Munchkins huddled together, each glancing over at one of the photos on the mantel that included Janet.
Looking at the smug expressions they were wearing, Jack grinned, ~You better watch out, Doc. Now that they've successfully got Carter married off, you're about to be their only 'Mom' still unmarried.~
Two days before Cassandra's wedding to Dominic, the excited bride-to-be was smiling brightly as the rehearsal was held. The wedding would be a moderate-size event, held inside a tiny, but intimate chapel near Janet's house. Friends of both Cassandra's and Dominic's would be there, as well as assorted family members.
At Cassandra's request, Lisa Anderson Cassidy, the woman who had performed Jack and Daniel's wedding in Canada was coming to preside over the event. Although Lisa was not legally ordained in Colorado, she would be officiating with a licensed Colorado minister who would, more or less, back it up and sign the required documents.
The rehearsal was going smoothly, though Ricky kept giggling as he walked down the aisle. He was serving as the ring boy. In fact, all the younger children had a role to play in the event.
Cassandra and Dominic were standing at the front of the chapel when the young woman looked out at their family of friends gathered. She saw Sam and Pete share a kiss and smiled, her mind quickly formulating a plan.
“Uh, excuse me, Lisa. Dom, can I talk to you for a minute?” Cassandra asked, motioning for him to follow her.
“Sure, Cass. Please tell me you're not calling it off,” the young man said, a bit of fear in his eyes.
“Don't be silly. Come here.” Leaving everyone curious and waiting, Cassandra pulled her fiance over to a corner and whispered into his ear for a minute or two. “Well?” she asked, grinning hopefully.
“Whatever you want, Cass. Just as long as you marry me.” Giving her Love a kiss, Cassandra grinned and hurried to the front pew where Sam and Pete were. “I have the most wonderful idea,” she told the newlyweds as she stood in front of them.
“Uh, do I want to know?” Sam asked nervously, recognizing the not-so-innocent look on the young bride-to-be's face.
Cassandra looked like the Cheshire cat as she said, “Get married with us!”
“What?” Sam, Pete, Jack, Daniel, and Janet all said at the same time.
“Please, Aunt Sam. I want to hear you say your vows,” Cassandra told her excitedly. “It would be so awesome. Please!”
Pete smiled and looked at his wife, cajoling, “Come on, Gorgeous. Say 'yes'.”
“Pete!” Seeing her Love's tender smile, Sam asked, “You really want to do this? I mean, stand up there in front of everyone and say vows?”
~I've waited years for this. Are you kidding?~ Pete thought to himself. “I sure do! You?”
Sam's smile grew wider, and she looked at Cassandra and Dominic, saying, “You two should have your own wedding. You don't need us interfering. We can have a ceremony later.” Silently, Sam thought, ~But it would be fun.~
The blonde actually liking the idea of a public ceremony with Pete, but didn't want to intrude on Cassandra's special day.
“No, Aunt Sam.” Cassandra moved to sit next to her closest confidante, besides that of her mother, two surrogate uncles, and husband-to-be. She took Sam's hand in hers and said, “I want you up there with us. It would mean so much to me. Please.”
“Shanahan, she's sure!” Jack answered, smiling and having emphasized the Shanahan in a general-like tone.
“Yes ... Sir,” Sam said, practically giggling. “Pete?”
“Let's do it,” the detective happily urged.
“Yes,” Sam said softly, her eyes focused only on Pete.
“Yes as in yes?” Pete asked.
“Yes as in yes for the rest of our lives. Yes to everything,” Sam agreed, laughing.
“Yay!” went up the cheers from the littlest Jackson-O'Neill children.
“Lisa, is that okay with you? Father Camaper?” Cassandra asked.
The two consented, Lisa saying, “The more the merrier. Jack? Daniel? Care to ...”
“Uh, we've already done it three times!” Daniel admitted sheepishly.
“Yes, I've heard about that.”
Lisa let out a mock sniffle at having missed the impromptu third wedding and then broke out into laughter.
“Mom, you don't mind, do you?”
“Of course not, Sweetie. I should have thought of it myself,” Janet responded with a smile at Sam.
Moments later, everyone was huddled together, planning the revamped wedding.
The wedding began right on time with a full house in attendance, including Bijou and Katie.
“They're family,” Cassandra said amongst giggles to two of her friends who were helping her prepare for the big moment. She was pleased, however, that Jonny had been persuaded to leave Bogey, his lizard, at home. ~Oh, goodness.~ She chuckled, unsure if Jack and Daniel realized Little Danny's 'rescue of the week', a small field mouse, was currently poking its head out of the boy's top suit pocket. ~Better keep him hidden, Little Danny!~
Of course, there were the usual suspects in attendance -- the entire Jackson-O'Neill clan, the Wilsons, Sophia Valissi, Teal'c, General Hammond, a few members of Janet's SGC staff, the Ferrettis, Sergeant Siler, and some SGC personnel who worked in the science labs under Sam's direction -- plus Cassandra and Dominic's friends, Dominic's family, and several of Pete's buddies from the police department.
Cassandra and Dominic had already requested a very casual approach to their vows, something in keeping with their age and the simplicity in which they believed life should be based on. In fact, they asked Lisa to do things a bit out of the normal sequence because both felt that life shouldn't be so restrictive and structured. It was a lesson that had been reinforced at Jack and Daniel's third wedding on New Year's Eve.
Sam and Pete easily agreed to the natural flow of the service, both pleased just to be allowed to pledge their love in front of those in attendance.
Soft music filled the chapel as the guests settled to a quiet reverence. Lisa began with a few opening remarks, and then nodded.
Dominic and Pete entered and took their positions. Then, right on cue, and looking very handsome in his tuxedo, Ricky walked up the aisle. He breathed a sigh of relief when he didn't drop the pillow carrying the wedding rings.
“Whew! I no drop it!” the toddler said, letting out a big breath when he reached the front and stared up at Lisa.
“You sure didn't,” Lisa said. “Ricky has brought the rings that will unite our couples in their love.”
The little boy turned around, smiled at the crowd, and said, “Hope no drop now, either,” which earned him laughter from the guests.
With Ricky and the rings safely up by the altar, the bridal procession began. Cassandra had three of her girlfriends serving as bridesmaids. She beamed as Jack and Daniel walked her down the aisle. Her gown was traditional, complete with a small train and classic veil.
Arriving at the altar, the young woman gushed, “Oh, Dom, I can't believe it's really happening.”
The young man smiled at his bride, then looked at Jack in consternation.
“Uh, Sir?” Dominic said, looking at Jack's continued hold on his bride-to-be.
While Daniel had released Cassandra's arm, Jack was still holding her other. He turned Cassandra to face him and said, “I know he's a good guy, but, Cass, you hear me. If you ever change your mind; if some nightmare happens, and he turns out to be a no-good bum, all you have to do is call. Anytime. Anywhere. You're like my daughter.”
“I love you, Uncle Jack, but you don't have to worry,” Cassandra assured him as they hugged.
Jack looked at Dominic and warned, “She's a special treasure. Do *not* hurt her.”
The Special Ops soldier had used his best general's voice and intimidating glare which made recruits cower.
“I won't, General,” Dominic promised, not missing that it was the general threatening, er, talking.
“Jack ...” Daniel coaxed, moving to stand by Jack's side and hoping to move him away from Cassandra so she could stand by her betrothed. “Come on, Babe,” he said, nudging Jack's elbow.
“Oh, gawd,” Jennifer sighed in pre-embarrassment from her spot in the chapel.
“You are so in for it, Jen,” Brianna whispered to her sister. “He's gonna kill Peter if he ever meets him,” she chuckled.
“Not just Peter, he'll go after anyone you date, too, Bri,” Jennifer reminded the short-haired blonde girl.
“Not me. I'm just gonna play hockey,” the tomboy responded with a smile.
“Right.” Placing the palms of her hands together and looking upward, Jennifer prayed, “Oh, please, don't let him scare off my boyfriends.”
~Better them than me!~ Jeff chuckled as he held the leashes for the two beagles who were sitting quietly, watching all the action. He leaned over to his right and whispered into Jennifer's ears, “It's at times like this that I'm glad I'm not a girl.”
“Me, too,” David said as he leaned down to pet Bijou and Katie for a minute.
Jennifer let out a sound and spoke quietly, “Have mercy on all of us Jackson-O'Neill girls.”
At the altar, Jack sighed and nodded, but held onto Cassandra's hand for an extra moment. She smiled patiently as her eyes met Jack's.
“Just remember,” Jack whispered.
“Always, Uncle Jack,” Cassandra whispered proudly in response.
Jack finally turned to Daniel, and the two took their places. From the back of the chapel, Sam turned to Janet who was part of her procession and said, “Holy Hannah, Janet, for a minute I thought he might just shoot Dominic just for marrying her.”
Janet laughed, saying, “She was prepared for that. Are you?”
“Janet, he's not going to. I mean, I'm not his daughter,” Sam said nervously. ~Though he does call us 'kids' all the time. Oh, please, no!~
“We'll see. You're on!” Janet smiled, walking out in front of Sam and heading down the aisle.
Sam had gone shopping with Janet and Cassandra just the day before, trying to find a decent wedding gown, which wasn't easy since they didn't have time to do any alterations to it. At the very end of the day, the trio had found the perfect dress, very classic and with a long veil.
“Ready, Munchkins?” Sam asked the triplets.
Three smiling faces nodded, so Sam reached out and took two of the small hands. On her right was Jonny with Little Danny to her left, both holding her hands. In front of them, Aislinn led the way.
Jack and Daniel beamed with pride at their youngest children, and then Daniel glanced over at Ricky who was still nervously holding the ring.
“No drop. Be sure no drop,” the little boy kept muttering. Seeing his younger father smiling at him encouragingly, Ricky stood up a little straighter and had a renewed determination to hold on to the pillow. ~I can do it!~
Arriving at the altar, Little Danny and Aislinn each received a kiss from Sam and ran over to stand by their parents.
“Doing good, Ricky,” Little Danny called out in support.
Sam bent down to give Jonny a kiss, too, but before she could, he backed up a little, stood up straight, and put his hands on his hips. He then stared intently at Pete.
“You no make Aunt Sam cry?” the eldest Munchkin asked sternly.
“Uh, not if I can help it.” Seeing Jonny's disapproving stare, Pete reconsidered his words and added hastily, “No, Jonny, I won't make her cry.”
“You love her forever and always like Dad and Daddy love each other?”
“Oh, yeah,” Pete said, smiling at his blushing bride.
~Gotta make sure.~ Jonny took his right hand off his hip and aimed it at Pete. With one finger extended, he waggled it back and forth as he ordered, “Never leave Aunt Sam behind. No make her cry. Love her, or we get you!”
“Oh, gawd,” Daniel said, hiding his head against Jack's shoulder and trying to bury it further as giggles among the guests continued in response to the boy's actions and words.
“That's my boy!” Jack said proudly.
“I stand duly warned,” Pete said seriously, but with a smile on his face at Jonny's stature.
“Not a game. You promise, cross your heart, and hope to die?” Jonny prompted.
“Uh, Jonny ...” Sam began, only to be shushed by the four-year-old.
Pete also shook his head at Sam. He moved to Jonny and knelt down.
“Jonny, I love Aunt Sam so much that I'll promise you anything you want. I'd rather die than hurt her, and I'll join you in taking care of anyone else who makes her cry,” Pete told the young boy.
Pete crossed his heart and tossed in the Boy Scout sign of honor as well, and then said, “I promise.”
Jonny smiled and turned to Sam, saying, “Kiss now!”
Everyone chuckled as Sam bent down to give Jonny a kiss.
“Not me, Aunt Sam. Uncle Pete!” Jonny exclaimed, rolling his eyes in exasperation.
More laughter emerged as Pete approached his wife and took her in his arms.
“That was an order,” Pete commented, nodding at Jonny.
“Well, you know how I feel about orders,” Sam replied before the couple kissed.
Jonny smiled and asked, “We have ice cream now?”
“Jack, we have got to do something about this ice cream fanaticism of our children,” Daniel commented, though unable to hide his own smile.
“We could buy another refrigerator and keep it full of ice cream,” Jack smirked. Then looking at his namesake, Jack motioned for him to come over, whispering, “We're not done yet.”
The two marrying couples finally took their spots. The minister spoke a few words, and then Lisa took over.
Pointing at Cassandra, Lisa asked, “Who here gives this woman in marriage?”
“I do,” Janet said firmly.
“I do,” Jack answered automatically, glancing at Janet and smiling weakly when he realized it really hadn't been his place to answer.
“I, uh, do,” an embarrassed Daniel said, hoping his words had been drowned out by his lover's overly enthusiastic response. ~Oh, gawd. She's not our daughter. Okay, so it feels like she is, but ... I'm so embarrassed.~
“We do!” a bunch of children said in scattered voices.
More giggles broke out, especially from Cassandra, who looked at Lisa and said, “I have a big family. They all do, and,” looking back at Janet and the Jackson-O'Neills, “I love them all for that!”
Lisa laughed and said, “That's a lot of giving.” Pointing towards Sam, she asked, “And now, who here gives this woman in marriage?”
~I miss you, Dad,~ Sam thought upon hearing the question.
Jack and Daniel looked at each other, and then at Janet; then all three of them smiled and said together, “We all do!”
“We definitely do,” Daniel chuckled.
“We do, too!” the Munchkins sang out in chorus, after the adults.
“Wouldn't be here without you three,” Sam acknowledged as she beamed down at the triplets, each of whom looked incredibly pleased with themselves.
“Before we get to the good stuff,” Lisa continued. “I don't suppose anyone here has any objections if these two couples exchange their vows and become a couple in the eyes of the law and all that is holy to them?”
Jonny ran from Jack's side up to Lisa and said, “Silly question!” He looked out at the group of people and asked, “We want them get married, right?”
Individual responses of “Yes,” “Of course,” “Naturally,” “Indeed,” and other affirmative answers were heard from those in attendance, along with more giggles.
~I want these kids at my wedding; they're so cute and funny,~ one girl whispered to another.
Jonny looked back at Lisa and, with exasperation in his voice, said, “See? Why we come if we no want them be married?”
“You know, Jonny, you're right. That was a silly thing to ask.” Lisa smiled as she ruffled the boy's hair. “I think it's safe to say we can move on with the ceremony.”
Jonny returned to by his parents' side and whispered to his brother, “Was dumb question. Little Danny, better watch mouse. He peeking out.”
Little Danny's eyes widened as he tucked the mouse back in a bit more securely.
“No peek, Benny, or we get in big trouble,” Little Danny whispered to the mouse.
Lisa led the couples through the exchanging of rings, and then everyone listened as a song was sung by one of Cassandra's friends. As the friend sang, Jenny, Chenoa, and Lulu all walked down the aisle, and then along both sides of the pews, tossing flower petals, signaling the blossoming of the two unions.
Lisa spoke a few more words, ending with, “The future holds the promises of your love and your souls. Stay true to them, and your lives will be rich with happiness forevermore.” After a pause, she added, “Our couples have already exchanged rings, but now comes the declaration of their intentions.”
“Cassie, do you take this young Italian stud to be your wedded husband for the rest of time?” Lisa asked, receiving a few giggles from those assembled.
“I sure do!” the bride blushed as the two joined their hands together.
“And Dominic, do you take this energetic young woman to be your wedded wife, under the threat of Jack's shotgun should you ever dare to hurt her, for the rest of time?”
With the chuckles providing the background to his answer, Dominic beamed and answered, “Forever, I do, I do, I do.”
“One was sufficient,” Lisa teased.
“I wanted to make sure everyone understood that ... *I DO*,” Dominic said, twisting around to face Jack, who coughed, causing more giggles in the crowd.
“Sam, do you willingly pledge that you'll love, honor, and cherish this jokester till death do you part?” Lisa asked.
“Yes, oh, yes,” Sam answered, feeling like a gleefully silly-in-love eighteen-year-old.
“Pete, do you willingly pledge that you'll love, honor, and cherish this very independent woman till death do you part?”
“I do,” Pete answered, having eyes for no one but his bride.
“Well, then, inasmuch as Cassie and Dom and Sam and Pete have agreed to put up with each other through life's joys and its calamities, through its successes and its failures, through Jack's shotgun and Jonny's warning ...”
“I mean it, too!” Jonny said, momentarily glaring at Pete.
“Me, too,” Jack mouthed at Dominic.
Lisa shook her head as everyone laughed and continued, “Inasmuch as their love is pure of heart, I pronounce them married. Father?”
The minister repeated his own words quickly, after which Lisa said, “Gentlemen, kiss your brides!”
“That was nice,” Daniel commented contently as the lovers sat on the roof deck that evening. “Cassie wanted it to be different, but still have all the traditional parts. I think Lisa found a way to do that very well.”
Daniel was leaning against Jack, who had his back against the wall. Jack's arms wrapped around his lover's, snaking under Daniel's blue sweatshirt to make contact with the chilled skin beneath.
Leaning forward and placing a kiss against Daniel's nape, Jack then answered, “Yeah, it was. I never knew a wedding could have all the usual elements, but be done in a different order and still keep its meaning. It could have been a disaster.” He chuckled, “Lisa really knows how to perform a ceremony that follows what the couple wants.”
Daniel nodded as the two contently treasured this peaceful time. After a bit, he observed, “Jennifer is petrified.”
Jack sighed and explained, “I wasn't planning on saying anything, but I couldn't stop myself. I wanted her to know.”
“You wanted Dom to know,” Daniel extrapolated.
“Okay, I wanted Dom to know, too,” Jack admitted.
“We've know the Luca family since Cassie was fourteen-years-old, Jack,” Daniel commented. “They've been dating since she was fifteen.”
“Geez, Jen's age,” Jack lamented.
“Don't remind Jen of that; she'll argue more,” Daniel stated. Then, with another memory flashing in his mind, he shook his head, sighing in amusement, “Jonny ... geez, Jack!”
“He loves his Aunt Sam,” Jack commented, proud as could be at his namesake.
“We should discourage him from doing things like that, not reward him with double-decker cones.” Daniel's words were met with silence. He shifted his head and looked at Jack, suspicion taking hold. “Did you put him up to saying all of that?”
“Danny, I swear I didn't, but, I'm sorry; I mean I'm not sorry. I'm proud of him for protecting his family, all forty-three pounds of him,” Jack chuckled. Again, time passed, and then he leaned his chin against his lover's shoulder for a few seconds, wondering if Daniel had noticed. “Danny, did you notice Benny?”
“Please don't remind me, Babe,” Daniel replied in jest. “I was sure he was going to jump out of Little Danny's pocket at any moment and cause a scene.”
“He has a gift with animals, Love. As much as it drives me crazy sometimes, I have to admit, they respond to him,” Jack remarked about Little Danny.
“Yes, they sure do. Benny should be ready for the field again tomorrow.”
Jack chuckled lightly, and then time passed as the lovers touched and caressed their way through the evening. The children were asleep long ago, leaving the couple to the serenity of the night.
“Shanahan,” Jack stated softly. “I don't think I'll ever get used to it.”
“Wait until she gets pregnant!” Daniel teased before turning his head to give Jack a quick peck on the neck.
“Daniel, she wouldn't!” Jack exclaimed, having put aside any of those thoughts as they popped into his brain.
“She said they might. More cousins for our brood,” Daniel said with a smile as his right hand caressed Jack's thigh.
“Things are changing, Danny. The SGC ...”
Jack's words faded into the night, Daniel not choosing to respond for a few minutes.
“Jack, you told me once that we've done our time. We have; so has General Hammond, Janet, Teal'c, and that includes Sam. There comes a point when we have to let go,” Daniel told his Silver Fox.
“When Hammond retires ... and Shanahan gets pregnant,” Jack said woefully, though wearing a smile.
“Change doesn't have to be bad,” Daniel noted.
“You're right,” Jack responded. “I'm changing right now.”
Daniel smiled and answered, “Oh, yeah, I can, uh, feel it.”
“How about we ...?” Jack began.
“Yes!” Daniel answered, his eyes shining with love and want.
Their love eternal, and their passion unending, Jack and Daniel returned to their bedroom and made love, rejoicing in themselves and the happiness of their extended family.
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