COLONEL CARTER

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Sam slammed the entrance door behind her and stomped into the living room, finding the man she was looking for with his feet on the coffee table watching a hockey game.

“Is this your way of telling me you want out?!” she asked, fuming.

Jack frowned, picking up the remote and switching the TV off. “Oh welcome home, honey…” he quipped “… out of what?”

“This relationship!” she said, motioning between them both with her index finger.

“What are you talking about?!”

“This!” she replied undeterred, throwing a manila envelope on the coffee table.

Jack bent and extracted a set of papers from the envelope, browsing through them quickly: he kind of knew what they were since he’d been the one to sign the transfer order…

He put the sheets back into the envelope and looked at Sam.

She had not moved one inch, her body tense with her arms crossed in front of her, and her face showing signs of a deep ire, her eyes a deep metallic blue.

“This has nothing to do with us, Sam, and everything to do with you. The soldier, you.”

Sam’s body seemed to relax a bit and she sat next to him in defeat. “Another galaxy, Jack! It’s another freaking galaxy!”

Jack put one arm around her shoulders and pulled her to him, laying a kiss on her head when she let it rest in the crook of his neck. “Well what do you know? I know a brilliant blond scientist –yes, blondes can be the bright ones, sometimes– who’s devised a wonderful thing that’s called “Midway Station” and one can be there in a little less than a couple of days!” he said in a soft voice.

”It’s not the same, Jack….”

“Not the same as what? 3000 miles in a plane? There are some perks, Carter… It’s called ‘extended leave’… It’s not a 2 day weekend, it’s a week’s leave…”

She snorted. “How often?!”

“Once every two months… for you… Once every two months…. For me… So we’re actually looking at one week a month of togetherness… think you’re up to that?”

“Except it’s a week when one of us is working!...” she sat up, putting her head in her face.

Jack leant, running his hand down her back. “Hey…”

She looked at him with defeated eyes.

“It comes with a bonus…” he enticed.

Sam snorted. “Don’t tell me you bought a cake to celebrate?”

Jack smiled slowly. “All good things come to those who wait, *Colonel* Carter….”

“So what is it?”

He placed a small velvet square box in front of her. “They’re mine… That way you’ll have a part of me with you…” he said clumsily, answering the silent query she was making with her eyes.

Sam opened the box and frowned as if she were trying to figure out why she was looking at Jack’s Colonel’s insignias.

“You’ve earned them, Carter, and they need a full bird to watch over Sheppard and his teams…”

Sam seemed to absorb the information. “Why me?” she asked softly.

“I had nothing to do with that, Sam. When the IOA reviewed the possible candidates, you were way above the class. The transfer orders were on my desk only for me to sign the approval of the US Air Force… You said it yourself once, Sam: with the Ori mess sorted out once and for all, the Goa’uld gone, it’s really time for you to move on from SG-1, to try something else… You are perfect for the assignment, Sam. Mitchell needs the excitement with a new SG-1, you’re ready for such a command position, ‘have been for a while, but they needed you in the labs and in the field to fight these wackos.” He paused and once again pulled her shoulders to his chest. “It doesn’t change anything, Sam. We knew from the start that what we have was not going to be easy. Look at me, I'm second guessing myself all the time, I still believe Hammond took his revenge on me when he nominated me for the position, and yet, I'm still there...”

Sam sighed. “I guess you’re right, I should be excited… It’s just…”

“I know, It’s the Pegasus galaxy…” he interrupted. “But we’ve faced direst situations together… and besides, it’s only for a year…”

“What?”

“The IOA wants Atlantis to be a civilian outpost eventually, albeit with a military defence force. You’re there to straighten things out after Weir’s disappearance and while the IOA trains someone to take over once you’re done… Although I doubt they will ever find someone with your command skills,” he said, planting a kiss on top of her hair once again.

“So it’s just a”fill in while I’m gone” kind of command then. What about afterwards?”

“Ack! Don’t be so self depreciative, Carter! Afterwards, you can go wherever you want! The labs if you can’t help yourself from touching cool alien machines, Groom Lake but this time as base commander, you can be on a ship, heck! You can even be the SGC commander if you want!”

There was a small silence. “A ship?” Sam asked, her eyes dreamy.

“Well, you helped design the engines and technology of the latest one, right?”

“I guess I did…”

Jack sighed, hugging her tightly. “Carter… I once told you you were a National treasure, and I meant it then… I still mean it!”

Sam smiled against his chest, squeezing his hand.

“Did I ever tell you that the long hair is even sexier than the short one, Carter?” he murmured.

She chuckled. “You’ve got such a one track mind!” she said before pulling out of his embrace, a soft smile lighting her face.

“Hey, I’m a guy, what can I say!” he replied gamely before turning serious again. “We gonna be okay?”

“Yes… Yes we are. You’re right, it’s a wonderful opportunity for me at this stage in my career… besides, I get to be above McKay right?” she wiggled her eyebrows.

Jack chuckled. “Poor guy!”

Sam smiled, watching him intently. “… And I’m taking that picture of when you gave the dog to Cassie…”

“What?! This one’s old!”

“You have *that* grin… and that’s when I realized I was falling for you…”

“Charmed by my good looks, weren’t we?”

Sam looked at him tenderly, their eyes saying more than what their mouths could ever say. “Thank you….” She said softly.

“For what?”

“For being there when I need you most, for annoying the hell out of me when you’re right, for making me feel like I’m something more than just a pretty face in a man’s world, for marrying me… pick one…”

Jack smiled. “That’s because you make all those things easy, Carter…”

She took hold of his hand, playing with his fingers, then looked him in the eyes. “I love you…”

Jack’s eyes darkened. “I love you more,” and he kissed her. Hard.

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