Stargate SG-1 fic: Future Imperfect
by jennickels (aka Jen Connelly)
Future fic: Sam isn’t quite satisfied with the life her and Jack have developed but he thinks he might have found the cure. Inspired by the song, “You’re Still the One,” by Shania Twain although, in the end, the story has almost nothing to do with the lyrics.
don’t own… wish I did, but I don’t. No infringement intended.
Sam stops mid-reach, her arm extended over her head holding a can of Campbell’s tomato soup. How’d she get here? It’s an odd thing to think while putting away the groceries. She slides the can onto the shelf with the others then reaches into the bag for more: cream of mushroom, cream of celery, barley beef. They eat a lot of soup apparently.
How? She tries to think back to a specific moment that would signal the changing point in her life. The instance she took a left instead of right, pulled onto the off-ramp, stopped at that roadside attraction of the biggest ball of yarn. In her case it is an old Victorian with yellow shutters, rose bushes in front and a beautifully manicured lawn in the back. She stares out the window over the sink, groceries forgotten.
In the yard run two little boys. One belongs to the Velencia family next door—Ernesto, or Ernie as he is called by everyone but his grandmother. The other little boy…
Sam nearly jumps out of her skin. She whirls around, a can of soup still in her hand. “I didn’t hear you come in.”
Jack plasters that huge, lop-sided, dimple-producing smile on his face then pops a handful of M&M’s from the dish on the counter into his mouth. “I guess you never do forget your Special Forces training.” He continues to grin maniacally.
“What are you doing home so early?” She turns back to the cupboard, placing the last can on the shelf and closing it. Her heart is still racing but now in a good way. Jack always has that effect on her. He comes up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist and placing his chin on her shoulder. Sam shivers.
“You sound disappointed.” He doesn’t sound upset.
“Disappointed? Why would I be disappointed?”
“You know why.” She shakes her head, knowing her hair will tickle his neck. Now it is Jack’s turn to shiver. She smiles at their reflections in the window, satisfied at his response. He presses his lips against her ear. “You were secretly hoping something was wrong.”
“I was not.” She spins in his arms to glare at him. “Why would I want that?”
He smiles knowingly at her. Sam deflates, leaning into him with a soft sigh. “You miss it.” It wasn’t a question.
“I don’t want to. I like it here.” She sounds unconvincing even to her own ears. She forces herself to turn back to the window. Outside their son, Dillon, zooms around the yard, arms stretched out wide like wings. Ernesto follows him, both boys making airplane sounds and the occasional “pchew” of gunfire. Another epic aerial battle is under way. Sam sighs again. “I do like it.” She knows she’s still trying to convince herself.
Jack smiles, his lips brushing against her neck sending a new wave of shivers down her spine. She practically melts into him. “You know,” he says, kissing her just below her jaw, “you’re not-” he kisses her behind her ear “-the only one.” Another tender kiss at the nape of her neck then to the ear on the other side of her head. His voice is a breath in her ear, “I miss it, too.” His lips press against the soft spot where her neck meets her shoulder.
“I know that,” she whispers.
He snorts then pulls away. She looks over to see his eyes—they are full of that mischievous look Sam had first seen when she was a brash young captain. She’d nearly swooned that day, too, under the intensity of his stare. Her little hero-crush notwithstanding. He smiles at her.
“What?” she asks. He was hiding something.
“So how’s Dil? He winning the dogfight?”
Sam only glances peripherally out the window. “What? You’re not telling me something.”
Jack ignores her, taking a box of cereal from the grocery bag. He smiles brightly at the colorful Fruit Loops design then shakes it like a little boy before starting to pull the top open. Sam snatches it away. “There’s an open one in the cabinet.” Jack still has that grin on his face, that twinkle in his eyes. He pulls the opened box out and jams his hand in. Sam huffs, irritation growing. “Jack.”
She crosses her arms—she’s had enough. Jack just stares at her for a long moment then finally tosses the handful of cereal into his mouth and laughs. “I can’t keep secrets from you, can I.”
She simply says, “no.”
Jack shakes his head. “I talked to Woolsey.” Sam narrows her eyes. “Looks like they’re getting some new hardware in, software, too. I had absolutely no clue what he was talking about. I don’t think he understood much of it either. But it’s part Ancient design, supposed to make things run more efficiently. You know how the IOA is about efficiency.”
“What are you getting at, Jack?” Sam suddenly feels this intense tightening of her stomach. She will not get her hopes up. She won’t. She is.
Jack smiles again. “I guess they’re needing someone with expertise on the ‘Gate to set the whole thing up.”
“Well, they have dozens of people-”
“Woolsey said, quote, I need Colonel Carter, she’s the one that designed the original programming, she’s the only one qualified to design this one.”
“He did not.”
“I kid you not. Although, I might have first mention that you were going through a phase of utter boredom at home.”
“Not in so many words, of course.” Sam frowns at him. Is he serious? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. “I think it sounds great.”
She’s surprised. “Really?”
“Sure. You hate your job at the school-”
“I don’t hate it, I just don’t like that I have to hide everything I know because it’s all classified. I could rewrite the textbooks. I should, they’re all wrong.”
Jack nods. “I know, Sam. It’s hard for all of us.” Sam knows he was thinking of Daniel, too, trying to find a life outside the SGC. Retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “This… I think this is exactly what you need. To find yourself again.”
Sam looks out the window at the boys. They’re rolling on the grass now, laughing obnoxiously loud. She wonders what is so funny. This is what she’s supposed to want, isn’t it? She’d quit the program seven years ago when she found out she was pregnant. It had been a spur of the moment decision fueled by pregnancy hormones and early maternal guilt. There were just too many crazy things that happened at the SGC. She wanted to keep her baby safe and that meant keeping herself safe. Now, seven years later, Dillon in kindergarten full time, she’s left feeling useless. She’d taken up a teaching position at the local community college to pass the time but it proved more frustrating than anything.
“I’ll be gone a lot.”
“Even inside the mountain it could be dangerous.”
“I might not want to quit when the project is over.”
“I kind of figured.” He wraps his arms around her, a wordless agreement passing between them. “If it makes you happy.”
“I am happy. Happy with you and Dillon and everything.”
He turns her back to face him. “Sam, you’re not happy.” He puts his hand up to stall her retort. “I know this is what you wanted and you love us but it’s not bad to admit it’s not everything you need.” He grins again. “We’re not all cut out for retirement.”
Sam snorts. “Look who’s talking.”
“Take the job, Sam. I want you to. Woolsey sure wants you to.”
She bites her lip, thinking. So many things whirl around in her head she can’t keep them straight. She sees Jack’s retirement, their wedding, the blue line on the pregnancy test, Dillon’s birth, Jack crying as he held his son for the first time, watching Dillon learn to walk, to talk, to read, to beat Jack at chess without blinking an eye. It all mixes and swirls with memories of SG-1, the good times and bad. God, she misses it. Misses it so much. When she looks up at Jack again she knows. She knows he knows, that he probably had known from the beginning of the conversation. There’s no denying it—she’ll take the job. He envelopes her in his tight, warm embrace. She’s never felt safer, more whole than when she is in Jack’s arms. She breathes in the scent of him—a mix of new cut grass, aftershave and Fruit Loops.
“Have I mentioned how much I love you?” she says into his chest.
She feels more than hears his laugh. “Not today.”
“I love you.”
Just then the door flies open and in rushes Dillon. “Mommy, Daddy,” he yells before flinging himself at them. Jack catches him in mid-jump and swings him around before bringing him in close for a big family hug. Dillon smells of dirt and grass and little boy sweat and it’s heaven—in that instant she has doubts. But Jack squeezes her shoulder in reassurance. They’ll be okay. They’ll find a balance some how. Sam realizes it’s not so important how she got here, where precisely she took that left turn. What’s important is where they’re at and where they’re going. And even that doesn’t really matter as long as they’re together. Even if she spends all and day and night buried under a mountain of work.