Stargate SG-1 Sam/Jack Fanfiction

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Sam/Jack Fanfiction, Sam/Jack Fanfiction, Sam/Jack Fanfiction

Rating: PG-13

Mild violence.

Big thanks to Channach for plot-editing this chapter and to Raven Clark for editing this chapter with me. Also huge thanks to Shoe Queen, who worked as a third beta for this chapter!

Sam/Jack Fanfiction, Sam/Jack Fanfiction, Sam/Jack Fanfiction

Jack tensed as Sam grabbed the back of the kitchen chair and paled. He prepared himself for the vague chance she’d faint, ridiculous as the idea seemed. She wasn’t a woman to faint. At least she didn’t appear to be.

She stared at the engagement contract on her open palm. “Jack, what…what are you doing?”

His stomach tightened, but he still managed a smirk. “I think it’s customary you at least take it.” God, she wouldn’t decline, would she? Maybe it was too early. Maybe he should have talked to her first. Or at least done some recon. After all, she’d been opposed to a marriage with him before.

Her fingers trembled visibly and she bit her lower lip, still unmoving.

He swallowed hard. “Just think about it. No pressure, okay?”

She pulled the chair away from the table and sank down on it. Still no word, but now she looked seriously petrified. What the hell was going on?

She’d accepted Faxon’s proposal, so why couldn’t she accept his? Jealousy gnawed at him. Did she still have doubts after everything? “Look, Carter, it’s just an idea. We don’t have to marry or anything if you’d rather—”

She looked up and met his gaze. “I want to.”

An entire mountain range lifted off his chest. Except she still didn’t look like a happy bride. Something flashed in her eyes. Fear? Nervousness? “You sure?”

“Yeah.”

“But?” He sat down on the chair opposite her.

“What if I…” She closed her eyes and her shoulders slumped. “I really love you, and I don’t want to ruin what we have now. I’m not sure I can be a good wife for you.”

“Why?”

“I want to work as a scientist and go through the Stargate if they reopen it.”

He scratched his fingers through his hair and studied her. What the hell did all that have to do with marrying him? “So?”

She swallowed hard. “It won’t leave much room for, you know, taking care of you and a family, and all the stuff that a wife is supposed to do.”

Did she really think he cared about that? “Is that why you were so opposed to our marriage?”

“Partly.” She shifted on the chair. “Back then I also wanted a say in my future, and I wanted to get to know you first.”

“Which apparently didn’t work out so well if you still think that’s what I expect of you.” He folded his arms and leaned back in the chair.

She mirrored his move. “Are you telling me you don’t care about all that?”

“Well, for starters, I can take care of myself pretty well.”

“What about kids?”

“What about ‘em?” He held her gaze, unmoving.

She lowered her eyes. “Do you want kids?”

“Yeah. Sure. Someday. Not now. Is that an issue? I mean, you’re still on the shots, right?”

“Yes, for now. But as soon as we have kids, I’d have to quit my work and—“

“Whoa… Who said that? Look, Carter, I’m asking you to marry me. Not to become my prisoner.” He leaned in and reached for her hand. “We have lots of time, and we’ll wait until we’re both ready.”

“We have two years.”

“Oh?”

She bit her lower lip. “Every gifted couple has two years to try and get pregnant, before they dissolve their marriage and pair them with different partners. Just as it was during the Aschen reign.”

Damn Kinsey is his stupid backwards ideas. “All right, so two years. Plenty of time.”

Brows scrunched, she held his gaze. “It’ll pass quickly. And what then?”

Affection pulled at him. “Why don’t we cross that bridge when we get to it? A lot can happen in two years. Maybe Janet and Carson will find a cure for the infertility. Or the gifted laws won’t even be valid anymore. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.”

“We have to consider the possibility that things won’t change.”

She was right, maybe they should talk about the worst case scenario, even if only so he could put her mind at ease. “If the time comes and the laws are still valid, we’ll figure something out. Together.” He squeezed her hand and brushed his thumb over her pulse point.

This content is property of http://www.kimberley-jackson.com.

Gentleness crossed her features. “Such as?”

“Such as an appropriate duty roster.”

“Duty roster?”

He shrugged. “Sure. Baby duty roster. I’ll take the baby while you’re doing your experiments, you’ll take the baby when I’m in meetings. Evenings and nights are shared duty. Something like that. I managed to handle a camp with over thirty people. I think we can handle a bunch of kids.”

“A bunch?” Her eyes grew wide.

He flinched. “Okay, that came out wrong. One…maybe two. And a third one if the first two don’t drive us nuts. We’ll make sure each one is out of the critical phase before we make any decisions about another one.”

“You don’t mind that I want to keep working?”

“You kidding me? You’d be miserable without your doohickeys. I never expected you to stop working while we were dating. Why would that change now?”

She fiddled with her hands. “Marriage is different from dating.”

“It is?”

“Isn’t it?”

“I don’t know. I mean we’re living together. We’re handling our lives together. We both have our jobs, but we take time during the evenings to be together. All marriage would change is that we’d have a piece of paper with our signatures on it.” He drew her hand to his mouth. “I don’t think you’d even notice a difference.”

Her voice gentled. “We’d be safe from Kinsey and the breeding facilities. Nobody could keep us apart.”

His lips tugged into a slow smile. “There’s that. Is that a yes?”

“It’s customary that I take at least three days before giving the contract back.” Her eyes sparkled flirtatiously.

His stomach lurched. “Since when do you care for traditions?”

She practically glowed when she pressed the contract to her chest. “Just for that I’ll kick your ass at chess.”

“You’re hot when you get rough.” Grinning, he turned his attention back to the chessboard.

Later that night, Sam lay on her side in the darkness and stared at the wedding contract that rested on her bedside table.

She still couldn’t believe it. Marriage. Actual marriage. An agreement that would make their relationship official once and for all—with her signature on the contract. Her stomach tightened with nervous anticipation.

He’d proposed to her like a non-gifted man would, and by that he’d made it so much more than just a contract. It would be an emotional promise, a commitment to spend their lives together, help each other, face the good and the bad times together no matter what.

All her life she’d dreamed about someday finding the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. Being gifted, she had parted with that dream a few months ago and accepted that all she could hope for was a husband she didn’t despise. Jack’s return had changed everything. Suddenly all her dreams seemed to be attainable again.

She wanted him. More than she’d ever wanted anything in her entire life. Maybe even more than she wanted to go through the Stargate.

A cool breeze from the open window grazed her bare skin, and she pulled the sheet higher around her body. She turned and studied Jack who lay next to her, his arm under his head and his eyes closed while his breaths came deep and regular. Deep warmth surged through her. She slid closer and tangled her hand through his short hair in a tender caress. When she leaned in and dropped a kiss on kiss cheek, he mumbled something unintelligible.

Smiling, she snuggled up to his warm body and closed her eyes. She wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. Yes, she was going to marry him.

“…so, according to the latest reports that came in yesterday, our harvest has remained relatively steady with only a two percent deviation on production efficiency of type three harvesters. We assume that there’s a direct link between…”

Jack stifled a yawn. It was in moments like these that he wondered why the hell he’d ever agreed to take the seat on the POA. He glanced a Faxon who sat next to him. Unbelievable. The guy even took notes, while he himself didn’t even have a clue how all this boloney was relevant to their current issues.

He glanced at his own notebook. A few doodles marked the side—circles and cubes, some smiley faces. Maybe he didn’t have the right mindset for these POA meetings.

He covered the paper with his hands and shifted. The seat gave an audible creak that echoed almost surreal through the large room while the speaker sorted out his notes.

“…So if we keep up harvester production, we’ll, um, we’ll reach our goal, um…”

If that guy says ‘um’ one more time I’m gonna shoot him. The first thing he’d trained every recruit to do was to give clear and brief reports using only facts of relevance. Too many ums reflected an inherent ignorance of the subject matter. So did having to read everything from a sheet of paper. Who the hell had put that guy in charge of farming economy anyway? He sounded as though he didn’t even understand what he was talking about.

Jack glanced at his watch. Only one minute had passed since he’d last checked it. How was anyone supposed to understand the point of this two-hour presentation?

“…But what the number, um, what the numbers don’t say…”

Okay, that was it. Jack cleared his throat and got up from his seat. “Excuse me?”

The faces of the forty-nine POA members turned to him. Some looked as though his voice had woken them from a nap. Not surprising.

“What the hell are we doing here?”

A mumble went through the room.

“I mean, seriously, who cares for this… this… whatever this guy’s been talking about for the past seventy-five minutes?”

“O’Neill,” Faxon whispered next to him. Jack ignored him.

“Why don’t we put things in perspective for a moment? The threats we’re facing aren’t in the malfunctioning of a harvester, or in crop overproduction. The real threat is up there.” He pointed at the ceiling. “If we wanna keep Earth as our planet in the long run, we gotta stop this whole…” He waved his hand around. “Whatever we’ve been doing the whole day, and the past three days.”

“O’Neill.” Faxon cleared his throat and shifted in his seat.

Jack turned to him. “Is that all you’ve been doing the past four months? If so, we should talk about the real problems. I know a lot of you have never left Powhatan, especially not recently, so let me give you a brief overview. For starters, we got riots in the East, and rising crime rates in almost every rural region on Earth. And how long do we want to beat around the bush when it comes to the Tok’ra issue?”

He looked around. The silence grew so overbearing, he was sure he’d hear a pin drop. “I know many of you like to pretend Earth doesn’t have an active Stargate. And that there are no aliens left. But the Tok’ra are operating the Antarctica Stargate on a daily basis, so why don’t we talk about that for a few minutes?”

Faxon sank back in his chair with a groan. Jack raised his brows at him. What the hell was his problem?

“Do you people really think ignoring our problems is gonna make them go away? The Aschen or Goa’uld are certainly not going to disappear just because we pretend not to notice what’s going on in the galaxy. We should be building a viable defense. But instead, we’re sitting here discussing possible scenarios for the next two harvest periods. Am I the only one who has a problem with that?”

Waiting, he looked around. A mumbling rippled through the crowd.

“We got a problem, kids, and it’s not corn overproduction or understaffing of the harvesters. It’s the Aschen, and the Goa’uld, and the fact that Earth doesn’t have an army. What do you think’ll happen once the Aschen decide to send one of their ships here? You think they’re gonna ask nicely if we’d allow them to come back?”

The mumbling grew louder. Satisfaction coursed through him. Finally people started discussing the issues that mattered.

At the other end of the room, a man rose from his chair. Kinsey. “And of course you know what we should do.”

Jack narrowed his eyes at the older guy. “I’m not saying I got answers, which is why we have to discuss the issues. If you ask me, a human-operated Stargate program would be a start, combined with a recruitment program for a human defense army. We should systematically school humans in the use of Aschen technology. And I mean gifted and non-gifted humans alike. Powhatan has become an island of the gifted. We gotta start including the rest of the population. There are way too few gifted people on Earth to take care of everything. We can’t risk establishing a two-class society and fighting each other.”

Kinsey leaned forward on his table. “We will deal with one issue at a time. In the future I advise you to abide by the rules. You interrupted an important presentation.”

“Oh for cryin’ out loud. Half the room’s sleeping. And the other half is so deluded they’ve completely lost any sense of reality. Do you think Earth would stand a chance against a Goa’uld mothership? Or the Aschen? Hell, even the Tok’ra could overpower us with their technology if they wanted to.”

Kinsey narrowed his eyes. “Which is why we’re discussing a general ban on aliens. An idea you oppose if I remember correctly.”

“Cutting all ties with alien races is the worst possible method to deal with the situation. The Tok’ra aren’t interested in Earth. They aren’t a threat to us.”

“Anybody who’s more advanced is a threat.”

“Now that’s just the kind of bullshit that—”

“That’s enough. One more word and you will be suspended from POA meetings for a week.” Kinsey’s voice echoed through the high walls.

Jack scowled at him, then at Faxon. Not a word. Not even so much as a supporting nod. Why the hell was he the only one willing to confront Kinsey?

“You know what?” He grabbed his memo pad from the table and straightened. “Don’t bother with the suspension. As long as we don’t address the issues that matter, these meetings are a waste of time.”

He turned and marched out of the room. When the door slammed shut behind him, satisfaction spread through him. For the first time in a week, he’d done something useful.

Sam inhaled deeply as she and Jack walked along the narrow path winding between the fields. Nothing compared to the scent of fresh grass and warm summer wind. How much she had missed this…

She shielded her eyes with her hand. In the distance, the house she’d grown up in stood tall like a rock between the fields, just as it had always done. Her father had reinforced his claim on it after the Aschen had taken it away from their family. Today they’d inspect how much of their stuff was still left in the house.

The revolution had happened only a few months after her father’s arrest, and their house hadn’t come with any farmland. That made it a low priority property, which hopefully meant most of their belongings were still there.

“Carter, you coming?” A few meters ahead, Jack turned to her.

She beamed at him. “Isn’t this great?”

“What?”

“This. All of this?” She ran her fingers over the tips of the wheat crops. “Do you hear that?”

“Hear what?” He pushed his hands in his pockets and looked around.

“Exactly. Absolute quiet. No Aschen harvesters. No hovercrafts. Earth belongs to us.” When she reached him, she brushed her hand along his arm, then leaned in and pulled him into a deep kiss.

He smirked against her mouth. “At least this time I’ll actually get to see your house without justice agents chasing us through these fields.” He linked their fingers. “Did your dad say how long he’d stay on Earth this time?”

“He said a few days. The Tok’ra sure keep him busy.”

Jack leaned down and picked one of the red corn roses growing at the side of the path that wound its way through the fields. She raised her brows when he turned and handed it to her. The red petals felt soft to her touch.

“You know, I recently came across an Aschen science article in the database that said that flowers actually scream for help when they’re picked. They release a chemical which we can often smell. The most common one is the scent of fresh cut grass.”

Face blank, he studied her for a few moments without even so much as blinking. “Romantic.”

Ugh. What the hell was wrong with her? She closed her eyes and flinched. “I’m sorry. It was just something I read.” Dying plants? Really? “Just… never mind.”

Smirking, he slipped his arm around her waist as they walked through the fields. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing.”

“Carter.” He drawled her name. “You’ve been odd all day. Not that I don’t enjoy your awkward babbling, but it’s a dead giveaway that something’s on your mind.”

She rolled the flower stem between her fingers. Then finally, she stopped and reached into her bag. “I wanted…” She swallowed hard.

Jack stopped and turned, brows raised. “What?”

“I wanted to give this back to you.” She pulled the engagement contract out of her bag and held it out to him. “It’s been three days.”

His gaze fell to her hand, then he stepped closer. She watched him with ever-growing nervousness as he took the rolled up piece of paper with the golden ribbon from her. He wouldn’t have to open it. Changing the color of the band around it was enough to show him that she had opened the contract to sign it.

“You sure?” His voice sounded throaty.

“Yeah. Aren’t you?”

“I was the moment I gave it to you.”

“I was the moment I signed it.” Her smile shook.

“So… we’re getting married?”

Her stomach fluttered with sudden euphoria. Hearing him say it out loud was even better than just thinking about it. She bit her lower lip on a smile. “Yes, we are. We’re getting married.”

Her breath hitched when he grabbed her around the waist and spun her around. Laughing she wrapped her arms around his neck. Oh God, she had really agreed. She was going to get married! She cupped his face with her hands and brought her mouth to his. He tasted like warm summer air and him.

When they broke apart, he pulled her into a warm embrace. “I promise you won’t regret it,” he whispered in her ear.

She buried her face in his neck. “We’ll make it work together.”

His thumb brushed over her lower lip. “So, time to set a date.”

“That’s traditionally set by the groom, so whenever you’re ready.”

“Carter, your sudden insistence on tradition scares me.” He grinned.

She put her hands on his shoulders to keep him at a distance. “You make it sound like I am some kind of rebel.”

“You are. The sexiest one I know.” Hand at her nape, he took her lips in another dizzying kiss, his tongue delving deep inside. She grasped his shoulders and sighed as heat stabbed at her core. God, she’d never get enough of him.

He broke the kiss and leaned his forehead against hers. “A week from now. That enough time for you?”

“Oh yeah.” She nodded, breathless. “More than enough.”

“Sure?”

“I asked Vala and Janet to help me, and they said they’d be fine with whatever we choose.”

“How about a dress?” Jack asked, brows raised.

“I’ll find one.”

“The venue?”

“Traditionally, it’s the bride’s home. I’m sure dad would be thrilled if we used our house.”

“That’ll work. The food?”

She cupped his face with her hands and inched closer. “We can make a little buffet. Nothing fancy.”

“No cake?” Disbelief and a hint of outrage layered his voice.

A laugh escaped her. “Okay, cake and a buffet.”

“So, one week from now.” He nipped her lower lip.

One week… Her heart pounded in her ears. All these months she’d been so reluctant to give in to their old marriage contract. But now…

She straightened when a thought occurred to her. “Oh my God, that means our seven days of abstinence start today.”

He withdrew his hands, and she stepped away from him. “You think we can argue that we spent enough time apart already?”

Sam shook her head. “When my brothers got married, dad made sure they followed the tradition.”

“Well, the earlier we start, the sooner it’ll be over. I’ll move in with Daniel for a week.”

“No, you stay at our apartment. I can move into our old house.”

“Carter. It’s gonna take half an hour each day to drive into the city to the ministry. You stay at our apartment. I’ll bunk down with Daniel. He’ll be thrilled, you’ll see. Besides, I don’t think I’m gonna attend any POA meetings in the future.” His flinching made her laugh.

“Oh yeah. I heard you were basically yelling at them and telling them all they’re idiots.”

He raised his eyebrows. “That’s an overstatement. I didn’t say the word idiot.”

“Faxon told Sheppard you got on a real rant.”

“Carter, you should have listened to the speaker.” He scratched his hand through his hair. “These people don’t wanna see the truth. They want someone to sugarcoat things for them. I’m not the right guy for that.”

“You don’t say.” Her attempt at staying serious failed miserably.

His eyes twinkled. “Last I checked, sarcasm’s a form of disrespect.”

“So punish me, sir.” She took a step toward him and grazed her lips against his.

He opened his mouth, toying with her for a moment. “You think, since we haven’t told anybody yet, we can be lenient on the whole abstinence deal?”

She closed the distance between their lips and moaned when his tongue stroked against hers. How could kissing someone be this addictive? When they broke apart, her breath came shallow. “Maybe.”

“If we didn’t have a date with your dad, I’d rip your clothes off right here.”

“Jack.” She smacked his chest. “Outside? In the open?”

“We’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s no one around.”

“Don’t you dare.” She took his hands and pulled him with her. “Come on, let’s tell my dad. Hopefully he’ll be here in a week. If he won’t we might have to postpone a bit.”

“Would that mean we’d have to postpone the abstinence too?” His eyes gleamed.

“Yeah.”

“Now I almost hope he’ll have to leave.” Before she had a chance to protest, he took her mouth with his again, and all her thoughts vanished in a sweet oblivion.

Sam moved her fork through a few carrots on her plate and glanced around. At noon, the cafeteria was so stuffed that they had to bring out extra tables and chairs, and turn one of the adjoining briefing rooms into a second commissary. The number of employees working in the Ministry seemed to increase daily. And all of them were gifted people.

“So why aren’t you allowed to talk to each other again?” Vala asked, before she stuffed a piece of steak into her mouth. Sam turned her attention back to her table where Daniel, Vala, Rodney, and Jennifer had gathered to have lunch.

Next to Sam, Jennifer inspected a piece of salad on her fork. “It’s a tradition for non-gifted marriages. They only marry for love, so right before the wedding they’re not allowed to have any contact with each other for seven days. If they still want to get married on day seven, their affection wasn’t just physical lust and both parents will give their blessing.”

“If it’s only done among non-gifted people, why do you have to do it?” Vala looked from Jennifer back to Sam.

Sam sighed. “Because we’re marrying for love, we want to do it.”

Vala nodded and waved around with her fork. “I see. You think O’Neill might be in just for the… you know.” She waved lower.

Daniel grabbed the fork out of her hand. “Nobody thinks anything. It’s just a tradition that’s been around since the Middle Ages. It’s part of our cultural identity. People follow it.”

“So, if we ever got married, you would insist on not having sex with me for seven days before the wedding?” She stole her fork back. “Am I at least allowed to sleep with someone else in that time?”

“If you keep talking like that, you won’t ever have to worry about that,” Daniel said, his face darkening.

Sam pressed her lips together to stifle a giggle. “Vala, does sexual fidelity mean anything on your—“

The doors of the cafeteria opened with a loud crash that made the glass panes rattle in their frames. Four men entered, all dressed in justice agency uniforms. They looked around, then headed towards their table.

“Jennifer Keller?” the man leading the group said.

Jennifer straightened on her chair and stared up at them. “Y-yes?”

“You’re under arrest.”

McKay jumped up. “Wait a minute, what’s going on?”

“Miss Keller received numerous orders to report to the Powhatan breeding facility. She ignored all of them.”

Ice poured into Sam’s veins. Jennifer was gifted and she was in a relationship with a non-gifted male which was a violation of the re-instated gifted laws. But up to now there hadn’t been any arrests. She rose from her chair. “You can’t be serious. You can’t arrest her for that.”

“We can according to the new gifted laws. Any gifted person who refuses to report to the breeding facility will be forcefully transported there to be paired up with a compatible mate.” The justice agent gave Sam a cold frown.

Her pulse raced. If she hadn’t known that these people weren’t Aschen… The same cold attitude, the same uniform, the same distant frown. But those were humans! What the hell was happening on Earth?

Rodney stepped in front of Jennifer. “You can’t just treat her like a criminal. She hasn’t done anything wrong.”

The agent looked him up and down. “Rodney McKay, right? You’re not gifted. Your relationship with Miss Keller isn’t valid. Please step aside.”

Even Vala and Daniel got up from their chairs now. Vala folded her arms. “Oh come on, that’s ridiculous.”

Sam glared at the highest ranking agent. “You will not just take her away like that.”

“We have our orders.” He snapped his fingers. Two agents stepped forward and shoved Rodney aside, then grabbed Jennifer’s arms and dragged her with them.

“No.” Jennifer squirmed in their grip, her eyes wide with panic flashing in them. “Let me go. I promise, I’ll report to the breeding facility, but let me go there myself. Please.”

The agents were halfway at the door before Sam finally snapped out of her paralysis.

“Wait.” She ran after them. Outside on the hallway, one of the agents stopped and turned to her. Sam put her hands on her hips. “She doesn’t want to go with you. You have no right to—”

“We have every right. Miss Keller failed to comply with the laws. We have orders to make an example of her.”

When he walked away and left her standing, Sam fisted her hands. This would not happen. She wouldn’t let anybody deport her friends just because of some backwards laws.

“Sam.” Daniel stepped up behind her and grabbed her arm, but she twisted free and marched after them.

“Faxon, I gotta say, I’m not sure how you did it, but that was a great job.” Strolling along the corridor, Jack gave Faxon’s shoulder a friendly slap.

Faxon chuckled. “I had to do some convincing, but all I needed was a majority. I knew which members I could convince, and which ones are a hopeless case. You would be much more successful if you learned the art of communication.”

“Beating around the bush to avoid offending people isn’t my style. No offense.”

“None taken.” Faxon ran his hand through his hair with a sigh. “I think we need people like you on the front line. It’s not the right way of handling the POA, but it’s exactly the kind of attitude we need to get the job done. Which is why I put your name down for the position.”

Jack stopped. “You want me to…”

“…become Head of Stargate Operations at Antarctica, yes.” Faxon turned. “You’re the most qualified person on Earth for the job. You did it for almost ten years.”

“No, I led a resistance camp for ten years. I didn’t have to answer to a politician for every decision I made.”

“You got things done and you took responsibility.”

“For thirty people. Not three-hundred.” Jack scraped his hand through his hair with a groan.

“I’m not saying it’s an easy job. Nothing is ever easy anymore.” Faxon held his gaze. “You can choose your own staff and take as many people as you need. The POA even agreed to give you a budget for housing.”

Jack pierced him with his gaze. “I want Caldwell and Sheppard in leading positions.”

“You can have them.”

“I want Fraiser and Keller as medical officers.”

“The POA wants Fraiser to continue research on a cure for the infertility with Beckett. Keller shouldn’t be a problem, though.”

“And I want Carter and McKay in charge of the science department,” Jack said.

Faxon shifted his foot. “You can have McKay. And Felger, Lee and a few of the other scientists working the Aschen systems at the moment.”

Jack narrowed his eyes. “What about Carter?”

Faxon sighed. “You’ve made an enemy of Kinsey. He made it very clear that he doesn’t want Sam working anywhere near Aschen technology.”

Rage coiled in his belly. “Kinsey just wants to be an ass because he doesn’t like me. Or Carter.”

Faxon nodded. “I’m with you on that. Unfortunately calling him out on it won’t change his opinion. We’ll give it a few weeks, then I’ll address the issue again with the POA. What’s wrong with Felger or Lee?”

Jack frowned at him. “Felger’s a nit who needs constant supervision. And Lee isn’t an equal for McKay. I value them as scientists, but not as heads of the science department. Carter and McKay balance each other out. McKay has a tendency to let his arrogance get in the way, and Carter keeps him in line. In turn she profits from his knowledge, and that makes up for her missing university degree.”

Hesitation flashing on his face, Faxon scratched his hand through his hair. Then he nodded. “Fine, we’ll figure something out. But you have to give me time.”

“I’ll make a complete list of personnel and equipment. You’ll have it on your desk tomorrow.”

When he approached the cafeteria, loud voices drifted from inside. Jack glanced at Faxon next to him and saw alarm flashing in his eyes. They quickened their steps and pushed the doors open.

Vala, McKay and Daniel were in a yelling match with a justice agent. A huge jumble of words, which, given the volume, made his head ache.

“Hey,” he said, pressing his fingers against his temples. Heads turned to him.

Daniel released a breath. “Jack, thank God you’re here.”

They all rushed towards him and the word storm continued.

“Hey,” he repeated louder. “One at a time. Daniel, what’s going on here? And where’s Carter?”

More yelling.

He lifted his hand and scowled at them. “I said Daniel.”

“Jack, they took Jennifer away. Sam tried to help her, and they started fighting, and now they arrested her, too.”

Every muscle in his body tensed. “They what?” He spun to the justice agent. “What the hell’s going on?”

The man swallowed visibly. “Sir, we had orders to deport Miss Keller to a breeding facility. Miss Carter attacked three of our agents.”

Jack released a low groan and scraped his hand through his hair. “Of course she did. Where did you take her?”

“We’re keeping her locked up in prison for now.”

Faxon cleared his throat. “Surely the incident couldn’t have been that severe.”

Jack flinched. Knowing Carter…

“One of our agents has a broken nose, and another one has bruised rips and a concussion.”

Damn, when Carter lost it, she didn’t go halfway.

“We’re talking about one woman against three trained agents.” Disbelief flashed across Faxon’s face.

Jack put his hand on his shoulder. “We’re talking about Carter here.” He looked at the agent. “I want you to release her.”

“But, sir…”

“No buts. As for Keller, she’s a doctor, and the ministry needs her services. You’ll transport her back here,” Jack said.

“I’m sorry, sir, but our orders came directly from Minister Kinsey, and he was very specific about Miss Keller.”

“Kinsey?” Jack raised his eyebrows at Faxon. “Since when does Kinsey issue orders to transport people to breeding facilities?”

Faxon shook his head. “This is a first. Why don’t we talk to him and find out what’s going on?”

“About Miss Carter…” The agent shifted his feet, clearly nervous. “I’m gonna need a written order signed by two POA members.”

Jack stared at him. “Oh for crying out loud, both Mr. Faxon and I are members of the POA. That enough for you?”

“I’m afraid not, sir. The new regulations state that every order must be issued in written form.”

“All right.” He glanced at the agent’s name tag. “Winston, listen to me. I’ll hold you personally responsible for the safety of both Carter and Keller. Nobody touches them. Nobody’ll do any medical tests, or let anybody near them. If anything happens to either of them, I will shoot you. Clear?”

“Y-y-yes, sir.”

“Daniel?” Jack turned to the archeologist.

“Jack.”

“Go with him. As soon as I’ve talked to Kinsey, I’ll join you.”

Daniel nodded. “Understood.”

“Faxon, can you take care of the written order? If we both sign it, we’ll have the two POA signatures we need.”

“Of course. I’ll have my assistant type it up. We’ll have it in five minutes.”

“I’m gonna have a little chat with Kinsey.” Jack clenched his fists as he marched out the cafeteria.

Kinsey, that smarmy bastard. He knew exactly what Jennifer’s relationship with the resistance had been. Was that why he’d arranged for her arrest? Was this another one of his attempts to take revenge on former resistance members?

When McKay caught up with him, Jack glanced at him. “McKay, let me handle this. You go with Daniel.”

“No way, colonel. She’s my girlfriend.”

Jack pushed open the glass door that led to the stairs. If it had been Sam instead of Jennifer, there’d been no way he would have let anybody else handle the matter. “Then wait here. Last thing I need is another scientist going bonzo on the government leader.”

Two minutes later he and Faxon entered Robert Kinsey’s office. Jack didn’t even bother knocking. He pushed the door open so hard the handle slammed into the wall.

“Kinsey, what on Earth is the matter with you?”

Face dark, Kinsey rose from his chair. “O’Neill. There better be a good explanation for you storming in here like a savage.”

“Oh I’ll give you an explanation. I’m gonna shoot your slimy little ass, how’s that for an explanation?”

“Have you lost your mind?”

“I’m not the one issuing orders for people to be transported to the breeding facility.” Jack slammed his palms down on the desk.

“You know the law,” Kinsey snapped.

Behind him, Faxon closed the door. “We’ve never enacted it to the point of deporting people. So what’s going on, Bob?”

“Despite numerous warnings, Miss Keller refused to break off her relationship with this… this… non-gifted man.” Kinsey gave them a disgusted look. “If we tolerate such demeanor, it sets a dangerous precedent. Did you know that more and more women refuse to comply with the law? Where is this going to end?”

Jack scowled at him and straightened. “So you’re just gonna arrest them all? You think that’s gonna take care of the problem?”

“It’s a start.”

“Oh for crying out loud, call the breeding facility and withdraw your order.” How could this guy be so damn stubborn? They’d gotten rid of the Aschen only to replace them with a man who thought Earth was his planet.

“I’m afraid that’s not possible. Miss Keller has already been paired with a compatible male.”

Faxon folded his arms. “The pairing process usually takes a couple of days. Who was she set up with?”

“Me.” Kinsey seated himself again. “Miss Keller and I were paired up before the revolution. She tried to subvert the system, and me, by running away from a breeding facility back then, but I won’t make the same mistake twice. I won’t let her leave my sight.”

Jack stared at him. So this was all personal for him? Some twisted way of taking revenge because Keller had run away from the breeding facility before the revolution? He remembered that she’d mentioned being paired up with an older guy.

“Did you sign a contract yet?” Faxon asked, his arms folded.

“No. I’ll visit the breeding facility as soon as I’m done here.” Kinsey glowered at Jack. “I’m sure Miss Keller will understand that the alternative to signing the marriage contract won’t be very pleasant.”

“Kinsey, you…” Jack was about to march around the desk and beat the living daylights out of the self-righteous son of a bitch when Faxon put his hand on his shoulder.

“We didn’t know about your background with her, Bob.” Faxon dropped his arms, a courteous but distant expression on his face. “She isn’t bound to another gifted man?”

Kinsey leaned back. “If she were, I couldn’t have arrested her, could I?”

“No, of course not.” Faxon nodded and turned to Jack. “Come on, let’s go.”

“Oh, I’m just getting started. Kinsey, if you believe for a second that I’ll stand by and let you—“

“O’Neill.” Faxon’s hand on his shoulder squeezed tighter. “I said let’s go.”

Jack’s stomach roiled, but something about Faxon’s expression made him relent. Reluctantly, he followed him out of Kinsey’s office. When they hurried along the corridor, Faxon didn’t say a word.

After they entered his office, Jack exploded. “What the hell’s the matter with you? Why don’t we just shoot the guy and solve a whole slew of problems at once.”

“You left absolutely no doubt about your intention.” Face blank as always, Faxon sat down at his desk and opened a drawer. “Those methods might have worked well in the resistance, but they’re useless here. If you want to win against someone like Kinsey, you’ll have to beat him on his own terms.”

Jack watched as Faxon wrote something on a piece of paper, then pulled out a rubber stamp. “What are you doing?”

“You heard what Kinsey said. He wouldn’t have legal grounds to arrest Jennifer if she were legally bound to another gifted man. So let’s make sure that she is.” He didn’t look up.

Jack folded his arms. “What?”

“I’ll take her as my wife, if she’s a compatible match for me. We just need a contract and the approval of the Ministry of Procreation. Which is why I’m filing an urgent request for access to the genetic database, so that we can run a quick compatibility test. I’ll need your signature.”

“Has everybody lost their minds today? I’m not gonna sign anything that’ll put Keller into a forced marriage. Did you listen to anything I said in Kinsey’s office?” Jack paced up and down.

Faxon looked up. “Jack, I don’t want her as my wife. But unfortunately we’re out of options. On paper she has to be with a gifted man and Minister Kinsey doesn’t leave us enough time to issue a formal reproach. If we manage to get her to sign the contract with me before Kinsey goes to see her, she’ll be legally bound to a gifted man. He’ll have no way of forcing her into a marriage with him. It’s the only way she’ll be safe.”

Jack swallowed. As much as he hated to admit it, the plan had merit. “You’re not gonna force her to be with you.”

Faxon rolled his eyes. “Of course not.”

“She’s with McKay. If you touch her against her will—”

“I know.” Faxon looked up and held his gaze. “I assure you, I am not interested in her. I’d be lying if I claimed my motifs to be entirely selfless though. I’ve been able to avoid reporting to the breeding facility so far, but I have received numerous reminders already. The arrangement will keep us both safe. She needs a gifted husband. I need a gifted wife.”

Jack dropped down into a chair. “Faxon, I gotta say, I didn’t like you initially. For obvious reasons.”

“Yeah, well, likewise.” His eyes sparkled, and a smile crossed his face. “Good thing we both changed our minds. Come on, let’s see if my assistant is done with the written order. And then we need to run the compatibility test. We also need to talk to McKay. I want him to go with us when we see Keller. If we show up alone, she probably won’t agree to sign anything.”

“Faxon.” Jack straightened. “If you’re honest about your intentions, you’re a good man. But Keller’s part of the resistance, and she’ll be working under my command at Antarctica. That makes her one of my people. If you’re trying any kind of monkey business with the contract, I’ll make sure you regret it.”

Faxon sighed and shook his head as he walked to the door. “I’m on your side, O’Neill. Our methods may be different, but our goals are the same. Now are you going to threaten me some more, or can we get going? We don’t have much time left.”

Releasing a heavy breath, Jack followed him. The situation wasn’t ideal, but then again nothing seemed to be ideal anymore nowadays.

Sam paced up and down the small cell. She couldn’t believe it. Arrested by humans. Not Aschen justice agents, humans. Who did those guys think they were? She kicked the metal bars with her foot and screamed through gritted teeth. Nothing had changed. The entire revolution had been in vain. Arms trembling with rage, she paced some more.

It had been at least three hours. How long were they going to keep her in here?

The door at the far end of the corridor creaked, then slammed shut. The sound echoed in the sparsely furnished corridor and cells.

She stepped back against the wall. Did they come to give her another lecture about her misconduct? Hopefully they hadn’t adapted the Aschen methods of interrogation. Every muscle in her body tensed. Steps grew louder. She took a deep breath and prepared herself to fight if necessary.

Hands in his pockets, Jack strolled around the corner into sight. “You know, Carter, I have an odd feeling of deja-vu. You getting into fistfights and being in confinement… I thought we talked about this kinda stuff.” His gaze darted around the cell, then stopped at her.

“Jack.” Tension fled her muscles and she hurried to the bars. Her fingers closed around the cold metal.

“Care to tell me why I gotta drive through half the city to bail you out of prison?”

She folded her arms. “You know why. What was I supposed to do? I couldn’t just stand by and do nothing. You should have seen them. They treated her like a criminal. Just for being with Rodney.” She scoffed.

“So you decided beating up three justice agents was the right way to solve the issue?” Jack’s eyes gleamed. Was he amused by this?

She cocked her head. “It was only two.”

“I hear one of them’s still being treated at the hospital.” The corners of his mouth twitched.

Sam frowned at him. “Jack. Did you come here to make fun of me?”

“A little.” He pulled a key out of his pocket and unlocked the door. “Faxon and I managed to talk the head of the justice department into letting you go with a warning.”

“Oh.” She pulled the barred door open and stepped outside. “Thank you.”

Face blank, he studied her. “Justice agents? Really?”

She sighed. “Fine, maybe it wasn’t a very smart move.”

“Ya think? You’re lucky they didn’t use their damn stun guns.” He took her hand and drew her into his arms. “Things have changed. Our resistance methods don’t work here in Powhatan, and that means we all gotta be more careful.”

“I know.” She buried her face in his neck. “Thank you for bailing me out. What’ll happen to Jennifer?”

“Faxon and McKay talked her into signing a marriage contract with Faxon.”

“What? Joe married Jennifer?” She lifted her head and stared at him.

“Just on paper. Kinsey was furious when he got to the breeding facility to sign their contract, and she told him she’d already married a gifted man.” He grinned.

“Kinsey doesn’t seem like a man to be messed with,” she said.

“Faxon’s a member of the POA, which offers him some protection, and he has the resistance behind him. Keller’ll stay with the Tok’ra for a while. Martouf promised me they’ll protect her, until the Antarctica base is set up, and we can all move there.” He took her hands and rubbed his thumbs along her wrists. “Which brings me to the good news. I just learned earlier that Faxon managed to convince the POA to let us reopen the Stargate.”

She beamed at him. “Really?”

“Yeah, but they don’t want the Stargate in Powhatan to be operational. Stargate Operations will have its base down at Antarctica where we’ll have to share the gate with the Tok’ra. They offered me the job as Head of Stargate Operations.”

“That’s great.” She squeezed his hands.

“You sure? We’d have to live at Antarctica. You know, polar nights and all. They did agree to give us a small budget to build log cabins, but it’ll still be a lot less pleasant than here in Powhatan.”

“I wouldn’t care if we had to live in a tent. Besides here they’ll never let me work as anything more than a file clerk.”

“Yeah… about that…” He flinched. “Apparently, Kinsey has banned you from science.”

Her stomach clenched. “What?” Her voice came out a shaky whisper.

“We’re working on it, so don’t worry about it too much for now.” He cupped her cheek and trailed his thumb along her lower lip. “On the bright side, we’ll be back at our camp.”

Her heart jumped. Back at Antarctica. Strange how fond she’d grown of the pine forests and barren coasts. “It’ll be like coming home.”

A warm smile crossed his features. “Yes, it will.”

“Did they say what our mission in going through the gate will be?”

“Making allies and acquiring technology.”

She held his gaze and sank into his deep, dark eyes. Screw the abstinence rule. When she wrapped her arms around his neck and grazed her lips over his, he deepened the kiss. Four days had passed since she accepted his proposal. An eternity. How was she supposed to handle the time until the wedding?

“You know we’re breaking the abstinence rule, right?” Jack’s hot, fast breath fanned her face.

“I won’t tell if you won’t.” Her fingers curled at his nape.

“Only three more days.” His nose brushed against hers. “Then we’ll be off on a one week honeymoon. Far away from Powhatan, and politics and files. Just you, me, the cabin, and maybe a coupla fishing poles.”

She bit her lower lip and lowered her eyes to his mouth. God, how much she wanted to kiss him, needed his warm touch on her bare skin. “And a bed?”

Eyes sparkling, he gave her lower lip a gentle nip. “Since when do we need that?”

She let out a yearning sigh. “I can’t wait.”

 

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