beatrice_otter: Sam Carter against a blue background. (Sam)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
Okay, here's the first part of New Lives, the sequel to Consequences. This is everything posted so far at Fanfiction.net. FF.net gets updated weekly in small chunks; it'll probabbly be another month before I have enough small chunks to make a big chunk to post here on LJ.



Captain Sam Carter, PhD, eyed the experiment before her with a critical eye. Her assistants watched her, waiting for the final verdict. Much time and effort had been lavished on it, crucial as it was to the over-all project. “No,” she said at last. “I liked the sofa better against the north wall.”

Teal’c nodded silently and grabbed his arm of the couch.

Jack started to follow suit, but paused. “You’re sure? You don’t need to see what it looks like against the south wall again? No sudden urge to see if we can nail it to the ceiling?”

“No, I’m sure,” Sam said, trying to suppress a giggle. She hadn’t been that bad, had she?

“For what purpose would one wish to attach seating to the ceiling?” Teal’c asked.

“One wouldn’t.” Jack shot her a mock glare. “Unless one was obsessed with … new and unusual furniture rearrangements.”

“Jack’s just joking,” Sam said to the alien when Jack’s explanation didn’t help. Teal’c raised both eyebrows in acceptance of his human commander’s foibles, and bent to his work again, this time with Jack’s help.

“Hey, guys, Janet and I are almost done in here,” Daniel said. Sam turned to see him standing in the entrance to the hallway. He frowned, watching his teammates haul furniture. “Didn’t you just put that there?”

Yes, Daniel,” Jack growled.

“Oh. Well, anyway, Janet and I are just about done clearing out the baby’s room, and we’re hungry. Should we order take-out?”

“Sounds good to me,” Sam said. Even if they had groceries in the house, which she wasn’t sure, she was too tired to cook, and she hadn’t been doing the kind of heavy lifting the guys had.

“I vote for pizza,” Jack said. “You have an opinion, T?”

“I do not, O’Neill.”

“I think I’m in the mood for Chinese, actually,” Sam said.

“Well, Janet wants Mexican,” Daniel said, “but I’ve got to go with Sam on this one.”

“Chinese it is,” Jack said. “Menu’s on the fridge. Make sure you get some almond chicken.”

“And some sweet and sour pork,” Sam added. She turned back to Jack and Teal’c as Daniel headed in to the kitchen. “Do you guys have things under control out here?”

“Yeah,” Jack said as he and Teal’c picked up the (empty) bookcase to move it back into position.

Sam left them to it and went in search of Janet.

The room they’d chosen for the nursery was right next to the master bedroom; Jack had been using it as a junk room since he’d moved in. Most of it had been filled with boxes he’d brought from the house he’d shared with his ex-wife but never bothered to unpack, relics of a lifetime tossed haphazardly in boxes. After all of Sam’s stuff had been brought in to the house, Daniel had volunteered to use his archaeological skills on the boxes to get the room cleared out while Sam, Jack, and Teal’c rearranged furniture. Janet had volunteered to help him.

“Hey, Sam,” Janet said, looking up from her dusting as Sam entered the room.

“Janet, thanks,” Sam said, looking around. It was amazing how much room there was when the boxes were cleared out.

“No problem, Sam,” Janet said with a smile. “All we did was move the boxes from one room to another, really. You and Jack are going to have to be the ones to go through them all—and yours—and decide what goes where, what stays in boxes, all that stuff.”

Sam grimaced. “Don’t remind me. Unpacking and decorating was always the worst problem I had with roommates, no matter where I was stationed.”

“Really?” Janet said, with a raised eyebrow. “You’re lucky.”

“Well, actually,” Sam said, “I never really spent enough time in my quarters to get into trouble with my roommates. I’m kind of a workaholic, if you hadn’t noticed.”

“Why, no, I hadn’t,” Janet said with a twinkle in her eye. She finished her dusting and glanced around the room. “Let’s go see what the guys are up to, shall we?”

***

“So, have you guys started thinking about names, yet?” Daniel asked, poking through a box of veggies with chopsticks.

“No, not really,” Jack said. “I mean, we don’t even know if it’s gonna be a boy or a girl, yet.” He speared a piece of chicken with a fork and shoveled it into his mouth. The geek had tried to get him to use chopsticks as ‘part of the experience’ when the food had arrived, and only the threat of extra physical training had shut him up. Jack had tried chopsticks when he was stationed in Okinawa; he thought maybe they were part of the reason the Japanese had lost World War II.

“Actually, I’ve got some ideas,” Sam said.

He looked up at her, sitting directly across from him. “There’s a surprise. Such as?”

“Well, I was thinking maybe Dorothy if it’s a girl.” Sam took a sip of her water. “It was my mother’s name. Or, I’ve always liked Grace, Hope, Faith, those kinds of names.” She popped another bite in her mouth.

“Dorothy’s good,” Jack said. “Mary’s big in my family. Grandmother, two aunts, three cousins, all named Mary.”

“Irish Catholic family, I’m assuming?” Janet said.

“Oh, yeah.” Irish Catholic family, Irish Catholic neighborhood, Irish Catholic everything—though one of his aunts (not named Mary) had married an Italian Catholic, just for variety.

“So, do they know about,” Daniel waved his chopsticks in Sam’s direction, “this?”

Jack took a bite of chicken, chewed, and swallowed. Alas, they were still waiting for an answer. “Not yet. I’ll probably mention it in this year’s Christmas card, or something.”

“Jack!” Daniel’s voice rose in exasperation. “You can’t just send them a card with that kind of news—you should at least give them a call and tell them in person.”

“Why?” Jack asked. Daniel was probably right—it was an annoying habit of his—but that didn’t mean he had to admit it.

“Because they’re your family,” Daniel said slowly, as if talking to a three year old. As if that were all the answer that was needed.

Come to think of it, Jack seemed to recall from his personnel jacket that the archaeologist had been orphaned at a young age, and didn’t have a family besides Sha’re. Which meant he probably didn’t have that great an idea just what kinds of problems families could get into, and why sometimes limiting communications to Christmas cards was a very good thing. “And?” Jack said, raising an eyebrow.

Daniel spluttered a bit, and Janet cut in before he could come up with an answer. “So, Sam, have you told your dad and brother yet?”

Sam winced and studied her plate, which suddenly seemed interesting enough to consume her whole attention. “Not yet,” she said. “I’m going to call Dad, tell him I need to talk with him in person. Hopefully, he’ll come here, but if he doesn’t want to I’ll go visit him. This isn’t the kind of stuff I want to tell him over the phone.”

“Would Jack be going with you?” Daniel asked.

“God, no,” Sam said, horrified. She glanced at him. “No offense, Jack, but that would be throwing fuel on the fire. And … neither of you are very tactful. I don’t want to introduce you to Dad until he’s had a chance to calm down.”

“Ah.” Jack said, relieved. Of course, he’d do whatever she needed, but it was … good she didn’t need him for that.

“Will not your father be proud that your child will have a great warrior for a father?” Teal’c asked, raising an eyebrow. Jack shook his head internally at the sheer amount of food on the Jaffa’s plate.

“Well, ordinarily the fact that Jack’s an Air Force officer would be a plus, yeah,” Sam said, tilting her head to the side. “But before the Stargate program, he was in covert operations, which Dad doesn’t consider the greatest character reference—too much spy work, too many questionable missions, that sort of thing. Jonas was in covert operations, and Dad didn’t like him at all. If he were a pilot, that might help.” She shook her head. “But even if he had been a pilot … my Dad’s been a career officer all his life. He doesn’t approve of women in the military in the abstract, in large part because he thinks that there’s too much risk of fraternization, which is bad for discipline and easily exploited.”

“Fraternization?” Daniel frowned. “What does that mean in this context, exactly?”

“An unprofessional relationship,” Jack said. “One that causes or could cause favoritism.” He grimaced. “Like sleeping with someone you command. Basically, they don’t wanna have people get so close to those they command that they hesitate to send ‘em out into hazardous situations.”

“They also don’t want situations where someone might receive preferential treatment due to a personal relationship,” Sam added. “Or where others in the unit could assume someone’s getting preferential treatment—it’s bad for both discipline and morale.” She reached for the sweet and sour pork container for a second helping.

“Sexual harassment can be a problem, too,” Janet said. “Not that it is, in itself, fraternization, but keeping one under control can help with the other.”

“I guess that makes sense,” Daniel said, “but you can’t regulate people’s feelings with laws. What do you do if you fall in love with someone and a relationship would be fraternization?”

“Transfer,” Sam said. “It’s only a problem if it’s with someone in the same chain of command. Besides, military assignments don’t tend to last more than a few years, anyway.”

“They do have dispensations, sometimes, for special cases,” Janet put in. “If it’s just an office job and the couple wouldn’t be directly supervising each other, particularly if they’re married, they can sometimes get a dispensation.”

“Okay.” Daniel nodded, “I get all that. But what … happened to the two of you,” he waved a hand in their direction, “wasn’t fraternization because you were under alien influence.”

“Yes, but we can’t tell Dad that,” Sam said, rather patiently, Jack thought. “He’s going to assume we were having an illicit affair and got caught red-handed. He’ll be disappointed and angry with me, and he’ll be furious with Jack for leading me astray and jeopardizing my career.”

“You haven’t talked much about him, and I didn’t think you were in contact with him,” Janet said. “Are you sure he’ll know Jack was your CO?” After a day of moving, they were all on a first-name basis.

“Oh, yeah,” Sam said. “Trust me, he keeps tabs on my career. It took me years, after I graduated from the Academy, to convince him I didn’t want him to arrange assignments for me, that I wanted to earn my own way through the ranks and not depend on his influence.”

“Captain Carter, you said he disapproves of fraternization and the resulting favoritism,” Teal’c said, frowning, as he reached for one of the cartons.

“Oh, fraternization and the Good Ol’ Boys network are different,” Jack said, watching in some disbelief as Teal’c dished out a second helping, almost as huge as the first. “Don’t ask me how, but they are.” He dug back into his food. He’d thought they’d ordered plenty for leftovers, but at the rate the alien was going through the food, they wouldn’t have any. Oh, well. They’d know better next time.

“So, basically, he’s going to kill Jack?” Daniel said, looking back and forth between Jack and Sam.

“Yup.”

“Pretty much.”

***

Two hours later, Sam shut the door behind their friends and turned to face Jack. Now what? She leaned back on the door and studied him, reality sinking in. She hadn’t lived with a guy since Jonas, and that relationship had had a lot of complications this one didn’t. Besides, by the time she and Jonas had moved in together they’d been together for over a year and had known each others’ habits and foibles.

“Hey,” Jack said. “Whatcha thinking?”

Sam realized she’d kind of been staring. “Nothing much,” she said. “I know we’ve got a lot of stuff to unpack, but I think I’ve had enough moving for one day.”

“I’d have to agree with you there,” Jack said. “Wanna watch a movie?”

“What’d you have in mind?” Sam asked, moving to the living room and sitting down on the couch. She surprised herself by yawning. It wasn’t that late, and she hadn’t been very physically active today, but suddenly she felt really tired. “Actually, I think I’d probably fall asleep in the middle,” she said sheepishly.

“Ah.” Jack flopped down next to her.

Sam rubbed her neck. “Do you have any plans for tomorrow?” she asked.

“No, not particularly,” Jack said. He sat forward and moved her around so he could give her a backrub. It felt heavenly.

“Oh, that feels good,” Sam said, closing her eyes. After concentrating on the sensations for a few minutes, she remembered what she’d wanted to ask. “Would you mind visiting a local church with me tomorrow?”

Jack didn’t answer for a few minutes. “Any particular occasion?” he said at last.

“Not really. I haven’t gone to church in a while, not since before I joined the SGC, but I definitely want the baby to be raised with a strong faith.” Sam shrugged. “That’s easier to do if you attend church regularly, so I’d like to check out the Episcopalian churches in the area. I’ve never been much interested in the rituals, but faith is important to me.” She paused, but Jack didn’t say anything. He just kept rubbing. “I know you’re Catholic; we could try a Catholic church if you like. I’d prefer Episcopalian, but Catholic would be okay.” With an effort, she stopped herself from babbling on to fill the silence. She’d noticed that Jack tended to be more responsive if she waited for him to talk when he was ready.

“Episcoplian’s fine,” he said after a while.

He stopped rubbing her shoulders, and Sam moved to snuggle into him. She waited, hoping he’d elaborate on that. If nothing else, living with Jack was going to teach her patience. She traced lazy designs on his chest while she waited.

“I haven’t been inside a church since Charlie’s funeral,” Jack admitted in a low voice.

Sam couldn’t see his face, but she wrapped her arms around him to give him support without interrupting him. She felt his body ease into hers, tension draining away. She wanted to talk, but couldn’t think of anything to say that wouldn’t sound trite. Her mother’s funeral had been bad; she couldn’t imagine what going to your own child’s funeral would be like.

Jack wrapped an arm about her. “Couldn’t go Catholic, I’m divorced,” he pointed out. “They kind of frown on that. We wouldn’t be able to get married in the church without getting an annulment, which I doubt they’d grant. Baptism would also be a hassle.”

“Episcopalian it is,” Sam said. “There are seven Episcopalian churches in Colorado Springs. The two nearest parishes are St. Raphael’s and the Chapel of Our Savior. I think we should try them first. Any preference?”

“Nope.”

“Then let’s check out Our Savior. Early or late service?”

“You kidding? Early service on a Sunday morning?” He shuddered. “No. Late service.”

“Okay,” Sam said, surprising herself by yawning again.

“And speaking of ‘late,’ it sounds like it’s time to get you off to bed.” She could hear the grin in his voice as he prodded her shoulder to get her up.

“I’m comfortable here,” Sam protested half-heartedly as she swung her feet to the floor.

“Yeah, but you’d be more comfortable in bed,” Jack pointed out, not letting her sag back against him. “Off we go. We’ve got to get you caught up on all that sleep you missed.”

Sam considered protesting, wanting to put the awkwardness of getting into bed together for the first time off for as long as possible, but she was tired, despite the fact that it was only around 2200. Another yawn decided her. “You win. Bedtime it is.” She stood up and stretched.

***

Sam stood in the master bathroom, staring at herself in the mirror. She was finished with her nightly routine, and wondering what to do next. Besides opening the door and getting in bed, obviously. Jack had shut down the house, and she could hear him rustling around out in the bedroom.

The question was sex. Jonas had been more than a bit dictatorial about it; he made it obvious when he wanted it, and if she wasn’t in the mood, that was her problem. Looking back, Sam couldn’t believe she’d put up with his attitude for so long. Obviously, she wasn’t going to fall into the same sort of relationship again; she doubted Jack would behave like that even if she were willing to let him get away with it. Having confirmed that, however, Sam was left wondering exactly how to handle normal sexual relations. She wished, now, that she’d waited a few months to move in. It would have given them the chance to ease in to the physical side of the relationship.

Sam shook her head. She was being ridiculous; it wasn’t like she could hide out in here all night. She was done with her nightly bathroom routine. She looked fine. Taking a deep breath, she reached for the doorknob.

Jack turned as she entered. “Hey,” he said. He’d changed into boxers and a tank top; somewhat to her surprise, he’d put the dirty clothes in the hamper instead of leaving them out. Jonas hadn’t done that, and neither had Dad or Mark.

“Hey,” she replied, unsure of what to do next.

Jack brushed past her, heading for the bathroom. Sam shrugged and went over to set her alarm clock. Not that she’d need it, if they were going to late service, but it never hurt to be certain. Water was still running in the bathroom, so she dug the novel she was currently reading out of her duffel bag and settled in to the bed. They’d decided who got which side that morning when they brought her night-stand in. After they got baby furniture, Sam figured the next project was a new bedroom set; her stuff didn’t go with Jack’s stuff, and neither set was particularly nice or interesting or significant.

She was reading when Jack came out. He crossed over to his side of the bed and got in without a word, turning off the lamp on his side. Twenty minutes later, when Sam finished the chapter, he was asleep, his breathing not quite heavy enough to be considered snoring. Sam put away her book and turned out the lamp, feeling oddly disappointed.

***

The next morning when Sam woke up, they were spooning. Jack’s arm was around her, and her back was pressed against his front. They fit well together, she noticed contentedly. She also noticed that he was a normal, healthy male with a normal, healthy, um, reaction to morning. Given where her butt was, she could hardly help noticing. Not counting the encounter under the virus, it had been a while since Sam had last been with a man. And she was feeling a bit…. She checked the clock. Yep, it was still early. They had plenty of time.

She arched back against Jack, rubbing slightly, stroking the arm around her middle—it was all she could reach with her hands. After a few minutes of that, she wriggled around in the bed to give her hands more scope to roam. Listening to his breathing, Sam could tell when it started to change. Still, that didn’t give her any warning when she suddenly found herself flipped over and pinned—gently—under Jack’s weight.

“Whatcha doin’?” he asked with a grin.

“If you couldn’t figure that out, I must be doing something wrong,” Sam said, laughing.

***

Jack dropped his keys on the table by the door and watched Sam head over to the phone. Church had been okay; he’d have protested if she’d suggested one of those huge mega-things with more scenery, sound equipment, and staging than most community theaters, but other than that, he didn’t really care. They were planning on spending the afternoon unpacking stuff and going over the house. Jack was anticipating a long honey-do list if Sam was anything like Sara on the subject. Not that he’d let the place go, since he’d bought it … but he hadn’t really been paying all that much attention to it.

First, however, Sam was going to call her Dad. As she listened to it ring, Jack crossed over to the couch and sat down next to her, reaching over to hold the hand that wasn’t holding the phone. She squeezed his hand, and smiled at him. He could feel the tension in her body where their legs touched.

“Hi, Dad,” she said, in a bright voice at odds with the strain in her body. “It’s me, Sam. How are you doing?” She paused, listening, rubbing her thumb gently over the back of his hand. “That’s good to hear.” Her face got a slightly pained look. “Yes, I’m fine too.” She bit her lip. “No, I haven’t talked to Mark lately. Can’t I just call my Dad on a Sunday afternoon to chat?” She winced. “Yeah, I did get moved to a different team. My assignment now is more purely scientific.” Pause. “Yes, I did a lot of science on my other team. I do more now.” She looked down, but her voice stayed strong and confident. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re talking about, Dad.” Pause. “You could always come out and visit, you know. I’d love to see you, and I’m sure General Hammond would be thrilled to see an old friend.”

It was Jack’s turn to tense. Old friend?

“I have some leave coming I could take,” Sam continued, “I could show you around—I couldn’t show you the base, though.” Pause. “Yes, I know you were stationed here twenty-five years ago, but it might have changed, some. And we could talk.” Her muscles relaxed a little. “I’m sure General Hammond would love to go golfing with you.” Pause. “Okay, let me know when your flight will get in and I’ll pick you up. I love you, Dad.”

Jack watched her hang up. “So, that was telling Dad, huh?”

Sam winced. “Yeah. I kind of chickened out, there. Well, at least he’s coming here, so I can tell him in person. That should be easier than talking over the phone.”

“For you,” Jack pointed out. “You’re not the one he’s gonna hit when he finds out.”

“He won’t hit you,” Sam said with a grin. “He won’t like it, but it’s not like he’s going to attack you or anything.” She put the phone back on the hook and leaned back.

“You’re sure about that?” Jack asked, skeptical. He sat back and put his feet up on the coffee table. Sam poked him, and he put them down on the floor again.

“Uh-huh.” Sam nodded firmly, snuggling in.

“Positive?”

“Absolutely.”

“One hundred percent?”

“Yes.” Sam paused. “I think.”

Jack made a face at her. She made one back at him. They sat quietly for a few minutes. Thoughts of gruesome and truly horrible fates Carter, senior could dish out ran through Jack’s head. He suppressed a shudder.

“Y’know,” Sam said meditatively. “You are a special ops veteran. You travel regularly to other planets and fight aliens who were genetically designed and bred to be great warriors. I used to do that for a living, too.”

“Yeah. You even fought a Mongol chieftain single-handed in hand-to-hand combat, and won.”

“So, should we be scared of a single, middle-aged pilot whose only recent assignments have been flying desks?”

Jack thought for a second. He looked down at Sam’s blonde head, and considered how he’d react if he had a daughter and some guy had gotten her pregnant. Especially if the bozo was her CO.

Sam looked up at him through her bangs. They studied each other for a few seconds, then turned their faces forward again.

“Yep.”

“Absolutely.”

***

Sam frowned at her computer, studying the results from the latest round of tests on an alien artifact brought back by SG-2. That wasn’t at all what she’d been expecting; she’d have to run all her data through the computer for correlation, because if there was any, she wasn’t seeing it.

“Whatcha doin’?”

“Oh, hey, Jack,” Sam said with a distracted glance at the door. “I’m not quite sure what exactly this thing is supposed to do, but what’s really interesting is the physical properties of the material it’s made of. It’s made of an alloy we haven’t come across before, and it doesn’t—”

“Y’know, Sam, that was a rhetorical question. The chances of my actually understanding the answer are way less than the Red Sox winning the World Series.”

Sam looked up to see amusement in Jack’s brown eyes. She liked the way they crinkled when he was trying not to smile. “Oh. I’m sorry, Jack, it’s just so fascinating.”

“And I’m glad you think so,” Jack said, picking up the item in question and fiddling with it. “But now it’s time to go home.”

“What?” Sam frowned as she retrieved the artifact and put it safely out of Jack’s reach. “But I only had lunch about,” she glanced at her watch and blinked in shock, “five hours ago. Oh.” She shook her head, wondering where the day had gone.

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” Jack said, nodding. “And now it has flown, and it’s time to go home. I’m hungry.”

“Why don’t you grab something in the commissary while you wait, then, Jack,” Sam said, flipping on equipment and getting ready for the next test she wanted to run. She thought maybe if she—

“I’m sure Junior is hungry, too,” Jack said, interrupting her train of thought. “Come on. It’ll still be here tomorrow when we come back.”

“Yeah, sure,” she said absently. Sam was feeling a little hungry, now that he mentioned it, but she could grab a snack and wait till this was done to eat dinner. Doctor Roverud would be excited when she showed him what she had so far; maybe she should call him in before starting the next phase of testing. He was still being briefed and didn’t even have a lab assigned to him yet, but this was his field, not hers, anyway. Still, if they could figure out how to reverse-engineer this stuff …

The sound of Jack clearing his throat ostentatiously brought her attention back to him. He had a piece of paper in front of him, and Sam groaned internally as she realized what it was.

“‘I, Captain Samantha Carter, do solemnly swear that I will work neither too hard nor too long for the duration of my pregnancy. I will eat regular, balanced meals, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I will not work longer than eight hours a day unless there is a dire emergency. I will not take work home with me. If I attempt to circumvent this agreement, I hereby give Colonel John (Jack) O’Neill permission to drag me, kicking and screaming if need be, home. I also hereby give him, Doctor Daniel Jackson, and Teal’c, permission to call on Doctor Janet Frasier for medical backing, if need be. In the case of—’”

“Okay, you win,” Sam said with a sigh, moving to shut down her equipment. “I know what that thing says, okay, Jack?”

“Just making sure,” Jack said, folding it carefully and putting it back in his pocket. “And, hey, you worked a total of nine hours today, so cheer up.”

Sam secured the artifact in her safe. She’d thought Jack was being ridiculous and over-dramatic when he’d come to her with that thing and asked her to sign it. Sam knew how to pace herself. She wasn’t that much of a workaholic, was she? Unfortunately, as this was the third time this week that he’d had to bring it out and use it (and it was only Wednesday), she had a sneaking suspicion that maybe he was right and she did work too hard. Which kind of undercut her annoyance about the whole thing. But only a little.

“Okay,” Jack said as she turned back to him, “want to say goodbye to Daniel on our way out? I swear, he needs a keeper as much as you do, but one geek at a time is enough for me.”

“Sure,” Sam said as they left her lab, closing the blast door behind her.

“Maybe I can sic Teal’c on him,” Jack mused as they headed for the elevator. “The big guy should be able to handle him.”

“The problem with that idea is that Daniel doesn’t have anyone else who can do what he does,” Sam pointed out. “They’ve only had a couple linguists recruited so far, and none of them speak Goa’uld yet. Until he can train people to take up the slack, there’s not much you can do about it. And teaching Goa’uld takes up Daniel’s time and means he has to work more overtime to get his regular work done.”

“Good point,” Jack said. “Teal’c spends an awful lot of time talking with the strategy/tactics types, and the weapons guys, and those biology nerds sent over by Area 51, but not the language geeks. Maybe we can get him to teach them Goold, get that out of Daniel’s hair. Then we can sic him on Daniel. Problem solved.”

“I see,” Sam said. “And recruiting good linguists?”

Jack waived a hand. “Not my department, but I’ll talk to Hammond. Maybe we can get some geek courses taught at the Academy, get some kids in fresh out of school.”

“There’s already a lot of ‘geek’ courses at the academy,” Sam pointed out, slightly amused at his plotting.

“Yeah, but they’re all math and science and stuff,” Jack said with a dismissive wave. “No language and dead cultures and that stuff Danny’s always nattering on about. I’ll talk to Hammond.”

“You do that,” Sam said. The chances of him succeeding were slim at best, given the amount of people he’d need to convince to get a curriculum change that massive and the fact that probably none of them knew about the Stargate and why such a change would be a good thing. Then there was the fact that the SGC was very new, and who knew what their needs would be in a few years. Military bureaucrats were just like every other kind, they liked to wait and see before doing anything. Still, if it kept him busy and out of her hair, she was all for it. It hadn’t taken her long to figure out that a Jack with nothing to do was a scary thing indeed.

They stepped out of the elevator on level 18 and walked the short way down the hall to Daniel’s lab.

“Hey, there, Danny-boy,” Jack said.

“Hey, Jack,” Daniel said absently. “I’ve been going over the pictures we brought back from P8X-494 and found some really interesting markings on some of the rock formations that I didn’t notice while we were there. I think the planet may have been inhabited at one point….”

“That sounds interesting, Daniel,” Sam broke in with the ease of practice. Honestly, when they got immersed in their work they were a lot alike. “Jack and I are headed out, now. We just stopped by to say good night.”

“Yes, good night,” Jack said. “Isn’t it about time you went home too? Kicked back, ate dinner, watched a little hockey, whatever?”

“Oh, I’ve already had dinner,” Daniel said, pushing his glasses up his nose. “And I am going home in not too long.” He frowned and looked at his watch. “I think. But this is really fascinating, and I need to—”

“I’m sure,” Jack said. “Really. I am. Fascinating. And we’re going.”

“See you tomorrow,” Sam said, not mentioning that Jack was plotting to sic Teal’c on him. Misery loved company, after all, and her reduced work schedule was the only part of her current misery that she could share. Tender breasts, morning sickness (though that had finally gone away, thank God) and mood swings were not exactly communicable to her former teammates.

Besides, if Daniel wasn’t happy she wouldn’t exactly start crying.


***

Jack paused, frowning. Was that clicking he heard? As in, Sam’s laptop? He put the dish he was holding in the dishwasher and straightened up, following the sound towards their bedroom. Sam had said she’d be working on unpacking her stuff and getting it put away. She was pretty much done, but she was a perfectionist and liked to futz with things to make sure they were perfect. He’d been right about the honey-do list; under her orders, he’d already finished unpacking all the boxes in the house that he’d simply never unpacked when he moved in, and now she was talking about things like paint, and wallpaper, and curtains, and accessories, and furniture, and the garage, and … stuff. He’d already told her he’d paint, but he didn’t do wallpaper.

He eased the bedroom door open all the way. Sure enough, there was Sam, stretched out on the bed with the lap-top in her lap. He walked in, quietly but not overly so, and was so not surprised when she didn’t look up. Well before the virus and her pregnancy, Jack had figured out that once Sam got involved in her work, a herd of rampaging elephants was needed to draw her attention. It was a good thing in a lab, less so in the field, though as far as he’d seen she could control herself in the field. Not that she’d have much opportunity for that, now, and he suppressed a twinge of guilt.

He glanced over her shoulder. Sure enough, it was work. He wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but it wasn’t a computer game. “Sam,” he said, poking her in the shoulder. “Are you being a bad girl?”

She didn’t look up. “Jack, please don’t interrupt. I just had this idea about how we can speed up the computer’s corrections for stellar drift. I obviously don’t have the program on my laptop—not enough memory or speed—but I’m doing some rough modeling.”

“That’s good,” Jack said, slightly exasperated. Did the woman never turn her brain off? Didn’t she get tired? He sure did, just from hanging around her. “But I’m sure you can take care of it tomorrow. At work.”

Sam finally stopped typing, though she kept her gaze fixed on the screen. “Jack.”

That didn’t sound good. “Yes?”

“Give me that piece of paper.”

Her flat tones and still face did not bode well. “What … piece of paper?” Was that the grinding of teeth he heard?

“That damn agreement.”

Okay, she was pissed. And he was pretty sure she’d cut out some other swear words, there. “Why?” he asked, knowing he was taking his life in his hands.

“So I can tear it up! I’m not some two year old who needs to have her toys taken away!”

Now she was looking at him, and, oy, she was hopping mad. “Um, Sam, I’m not treating you like a two year old,” he said in his absolute most soothing voice.

“Yes you are,” she said. “You’re telling me where to go and when and what to eat and I’m sick of it! I did live on my own for 31 years before you came along, and I can damn well take care of myself! I know I’m a workaholic compared to most people, but I’m damn good at my job and I don’t push myself too hard.”

“I know that,” Jack said, sitting down on the bed next to her. “But your body’s not the same now. You need more rest and more food, and so does the baby.” He put a hand on her thigh, gently, feeling her tense up. “You are fully capable of taking care of yourself. Problem is, when you get wrapped up in some problem or other, you forget to. I’m just here to remind you.”

Sam stared fixedly at her computer screen. “I know you’re only trying to help,” she said in an even voice. “But if you keep on like this, I’m going to have to kill you.”

She sounded … disturbingly serious. Since he didn’t want to wake up dead one morning, Jack figured it was time for a compromise. “Okay, but you do need to learn how to relax a little. Take time off. Kick back. Have fun.”

“Jack this is fun for me,” Sam said, looking at him. “I love my job. I love being a scientist. It’s like,” she paused biting her lip, “it’s like doing crossword puzzles. Figuring stuff out from clues. Except when I solve a puzzle, it matters. It’s not just some game. That’s … the best feeling in the world.” She gave him a half a smile. “Especially this,” she said, patting her computer. “The stuff I’ve been doing at the SGC recently is interesting, but I’m a theoretical physicist, not an engineer.”

“What’s the difference?” Jack asked innocently. He knew what the difference was, but he figured keeping her talking was safer than trying to talk himself. At least he was guaranteed not to say the wrong thing, no small consideration.

Sam shot him a look that was half exasperated and half amused; he wasn’t sure how much she’d bought into his whole dumb routine, but if she had doubts, she was willing to play along. He liked that. He’d been polishing this act for decades. “A theoretical scientist of any kind works on, well, theory—mathematics, equations, things like that. An engineer works with machines and other complex physical objects, designing them, building them, repairing them.” She’d gone into her lecture mode; Jack figured that meant he was home free.

“Now, when you’re trying to reverse-engineer alien artifacts, a solid grounding in theory is very helpful. And a working knowledge of engineering helps when you’re trying to prove your theory. And I do have a broader range of engineering and scientific background than most civilian theoretical physicists; the Air Force likes to move its people around, and you get put on projects where they need people, which sometimes means you end up in areas that aren’t your specialty. But it’s still … frustrating, sometimes, having to be an engineer instead of an astrophysicist. This,” she patted her laptop, “this is what I went to school to do. Well, the stellar drift part. The computer programming is more of a hobby.”

“Ah.” Jack said, nodding, trying to look clueless.

Sam took his hand. “Jack, I’m at home, curled up on my bed. I had a good meal, and did some other stuff. Now I want to work on a puzzle. I am going to work on it. It will be much easier if you don’t hassle me, but either way, I’m going to work on this tonight.”

Jack nodded. He didn’t like it … but she was right. Even if he could make her do what he wanted, she’d never forgive him. “Okay,” he said. He gave her hand a squeeze and stood up. “I’ll be finishing up in the kitchen if you need me.”

***

Two nights later, Sam shut the front door guiltily behind her as she glanced at the clock. It was almost 2230; Jack would have a fit if he’d known how late she had worked that evening. But as SG-1 was off-world, currently, she didn’t have to worry about him mother-henning her. Sam was determined to use the time to catch up on things she had been forced to let slide with Jack scrutinizing her work hours. It meant she’d have to work longer hours than she was used to—even for her, a fourteen-hour day was unusual—but it would be worth it.

She tried to brush off a bit of resentment. It wasn’t Jack’s fault she was pregnant, and Sam recognized that she needed to take better care of herself. But, God! She’d had the best job anyone could imagine, on the top off-world team. She’d devoted years of her life to bring the whole Stargate Program to life, and years preparing herself to be on it any way she could think of. The amount of sexist BS she’d had to wade through just in the day-to-day life of an officer was huge; she’d had to put up with even more to qualify for the original mission, only to be turned down in the end by West. Now, she finally had what she wanted, she’d been living her dream, but her body had betrayed her. She hadn’t done anything Jack hadn’t, but he was able to keep his off-world status while she was stuck in a lab buried under a mountain. It was galling. She knew Hammond had had no choice but to reassign her, and if he’d had someone capable of replacing Jack he’d have probably done so just out of general fairness, but that didn’t help.

She tossed her keys on the table by the door and got herself some juice from the kitchen. She eyed the beer Jack kept in there; a cold one would really help take the edge off. But no, she couldn’t, because her body wasn’t her own at the moment. Sighing, she closed the door and went around the wall to the living room, flopping down on the couch. She should be in bed, but she needed to unwind a little, first. Flipping the tv on, Sam surfed through channels for a few minutes before turning it off in disgust. Nothing on at ten-thirty at night, apparently, at least nothing worth watching.

She was lonely and her back hurt, but Jack wasn’t there to give her a back-rub, because he was offworld. Where she would be if it weren’t for the thing growing inside her. Sam prodded her stomach, just barely beginning to round out a little, and made a face at the thought of what she’d look like in five months’ time. Ick. And maternity wear. BDUs actually weren’t so bad, but she’d never seen any maternity wear that looked nice, and she was not looking forward to it.

Finishing her juice, Sam stood up and stretched. It didn’t help, much, but it was the best she could do. A blinking light caught her eye; there was a message on the phone machine. She prayed it wasn’t Dad. He could be difficult to deal with, and she just didn’t have the energy to even listen to him at the moment. Sighing, she hit the button.

“Jack? This is Michael. If you’re there, please pick up. I need to talk to you. If you’re not going to pick up, please call back. And if you don’t know my number, Sarah does. I’m in better contact with your ex-wife than I am with you. Anyway, call me.”

Sam frowned as she listened to the message. Even if she had his number, it was too late to call. Besides, she’d never met the man; it would be better if Jack called and talked to him. A couple of days wouldn’t matter. She debated about finding a pencil and paper to write the message down, but decided against it. She just wouldn’t delete it, and remind Jack to listen to it when he got back. Yawning, she went off to bed.

New Lives, Part 2
New Lives, Part 3

Quote of the Day:

Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.
-Dr. Marvin Slind

(Dr. Slind is a history professor at Luther College; I had him for "Rome: Republic and Empire" and "Modern European History (1815-present)."

Awesome

Date: 2006-05-22 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kats-house.livejournal.com
Hello again. I am back from Iraq and no longer blocked from viewing your current story. I am enjoying it as much as the first one, and it is much more relaxing to read in the privacy of my own home rather than discreetly at work. Thanks for writing. I am sorry you are finding it so tough, but I see no sign of it in your work. The writing and plotting is as excellent as ever. Today I have been catching up on missed fanfic and this is one of the best I have read today. Please keep up the good work. I appreciate it as I am sure many others do too.

Kristen
AKA kats_house

(no subject)

Date: 2006-05-22 06:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] metamelomai.livejournal.com
Ah yes, Dr. Slind. Had him for Medieval History, and for a Scandanavian History course before Nordic went overseas in '03. Fan of the Powerpoint, as I recall...

A lot of stuff I learned in his classes has come in handy in seminary so far...especially with the 30 Years War.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-05-22 04:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] metamelomai.livejournal.com
I remember that. Because the sound effects are not saved on the presentation itself, but on the computer! ;-) (My wife was in the class too and reminded me of this.) And the random Far Side cartoons. My favorite, with a castle seige as its subject:

"Boiling oil! We need boiling oil! Forget the water balloons!"

New Lives Part 7

Date: 2006-05-25 03:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kats-house.livejournal.com
I just read Chap 7 on ff.net. FYI: Anonymous review is disabled. Since I do not have a login, I just have to tell you here that chapter 7 is awesome and the cliffhanger ending is evil. EVIL, I tell you! Great though. I am tired and speechless with joy at this new chapter. I also love how horny Sam can't seem to figure out how to get a no doubt horny Jack to make a move. I don't supposed they'll be getting to it tonight though - not with Jack unconscious and Dad in the house. :)

Great writing as always. Thanks.

(no subject)

Date: 2006-06-01 02:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] historianheidi.livejournal.com
Just to let you know that I've read and reviewed New Lives on ff and I'm really loving it so far. I'm also finding your LJ really interesting. May I 'friend' you?

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