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Fic. Late fic, not my best fic, but fic.

Written, and submitted (possibly too late) for Challenge 115 over at sj_everyday, so for those of you who need it, icky ship warning!

Author: Thothmes
Title: Gathering Thorns for Flowers
Summary: So, how's that retirement thing workin' out? Think Sara could relate?
Episodes: Set after the series, so passing references to previous happenings. Nothing major if you read fanfic, unless you are brand new to all this.
Rating: Older teen? Mention of sex but not explicit by any means.
A/N: for Challenge 115. Do you ever have a fic where it practically writes itself, and you are happy with the results. Well, this is one of the other kind.

Gathering Thorns for Flowers

by Thothmes

Sam sighed with relief as she gathered her keys and her well-worn laptop bag and locked up her Volvo. She was finally done, the elusive solution to the nagging problem with the interface calibrations between the Asgard shields and her human-derived naquidah generator had finally gelled, and she was looking forward to starting her leave and “actually leaving!” This time she had every intention of being there in both mind and body, and thanks to having found the answer she was seeking, she had some confidence that this time her good intentions would bear fruit. And she’d be able to surprise Jack with the wonderful news that thanks to her breakthrough, they would have three extra days that they had thought she would be spending on base!

She hoped she wasn’t blocking Jack in by parking there, but she just did not feel like bothering with the garage door right now, and these doors had no windows to let her see which side he’d chosen to park on. She was really looking forward to being around long enough to iron out these questions like who parked where, and who got the deck chair with the best view of the walkway. Maybe she and Jack could spend some time tomorrow pretending to be normal and buying and installing a garage door opener. She still couldn’t believe that the previous owner hadn’t installed one.

As she proceeded up the walk to the front door, she had an odd sense that something was missing. Quark. She wasn’t barking. She’d been Jack’s retirement gift to himself, and the relationship between man and dog had been one of the clearest demonstrations of love at first sight she had ever seen. If he hadn’t been so desperately eager to share her with Sam, she might even have even managed to be jealous. In any case, Quark (“So you can think of me even when your mind is all busy with quarks, Carter!”) was fiercely protective of him, and was inclined to warn him of anything that moved within twenty feet of the property line. How she knew so precisely where that lay was one of the great mysteries of the animal world, as far as Sam was concerned. Jack thought he knew. “Dogs are smart, Sam. Not people smart, but dog smart. They know things. They read body language like nobody’s business.” Sam liked Quark, she really did, but found the way she fawned on them more obsequiously than a peasant before a System Lord disturbing. Cats had more dignity, smelled better, and didn’t need walking. No doubt that was it. Jack had taken Quark for a walk. Sam found her house key, and opened the front door.

At first Sam was busy preparing herself for her leave to finally begin, as it would when Jack and Quark came bounding in that door, and she could finally shower them with the attention they so richly deserved, and which she had not quite been able to muster on her return, two days ago. That Jack had missed her while she and the crew of the General Hammond were off on their shakedown cruise, the culmination of months of hard work getting ready to set off, and the realizations of the hopes and dreams of all aboard her, Sam had taken as a given. She was startled, however, to discover that he had missed her enough to envelop her in a very eager, very public embrace, which she returned. She could feel depth of his feelings in the tension of his muscles and the depth and speed of his breathing. There followed what they had come to realize was the obligatory awkward silence, while both of them hunted for where to begin, after so long apart. That had been familiar, as had the desperate, needy, fiery sex that had followed as soon as they got home, and the quieter, slower, more deeply felt cherishing that followed the next morning. But then Sam had turned her mind back to her duty and the needs of her ship, and Jack had gotten short shrift. Now it would be her turn to make the effort, and with that in mind, she bathed, and primped, and made sure that there was Guinness chilled in the fridge, a lighter beer for her, and there were clean sheets on the bed. They certainly were taking a long walk. Jack had been gradually working off the bit of weight he’d gained being desk-bound in Washington for so long, and no doubt long walks were part of that. Still, the house seemed to be getting bigger, colder, and more hollow by the minute.

When it began to get dark and Jack had still not returned, or called she began to get worried. Had he been in an accident? They had decided to buy a place together after they married to house two reasonably territorial individuals and their combined household goods, taking some time to satisfy a rather difficult wish list, but finally this property had come on the market with its spacious garage, a roof that could accommodate a viewing platform and some protection from the light pollution from downtown Colorado Springs, fiberoptic internet and phone, backed right up against National Park land for both dog and man to roam. The long search had meant that it was only recently that they had actually moved in, and for most of that Sam had been on duty and gone. She knew nothing of what Jack’s favorite rambles were, and would not know where to start looking. She had already had no luck with his cell phone, but then in here in the mountains cell phone coverage could be very spotty, with cell towers placed to bring service to the most populated and frequented areas, leaving almost as many shadowed receptionless areas as there were peaks. Thanks to a system of repeaters, they used to get better reception in the Gateroom of Cheyenne Mountain, twenty eight stories down, than many people got up on the back roads and bedroom communities around Colorado Springs.

Still she needed to do something. Already the growing feeling of worry was taking up the available indoor space, and soon it would begin to suck all the air out of the room, leaving nothing for Sam. She would be forced out or suffocate. She found one of Jack’s extensive collection of ball caps, sniffed it for its comforting scent (I’m spending too much time with Quark!), adjusted it to fit her own head, snatched up a light jacket, and went to the hall to retrieve her keys from the bowl on the hall table. There, right under her keys, where she should have seen it was a note in Jack’s blocky and angular scrawl.

“Don’t Worry. –J” it said. No mention of where he was, or when he would be back, only the implication that he expected to be gone long enough for her to worry. Really, she found this exhortation of his about as helpful and easy to agree with as “You’ll think of something, Carter!” or “Where there’s a will there’s an or!” Just last night she’d been immersed in her work with a problem to solve. She could have buried herself in important work and occupied her mind, but now she had cleared her schedule and her desk to be with him, and had nothing to do to keep the worry at bay. Where could he have gone?

A diligent search turned up the information that a one-man tent and some camping equipment and Jack’s car were missing. He’d been quiet at breakfast, but surely if he had been planning a camping trip he would have mentioned it as she gathered her travel mug of coffee and made short work of a yogurt and a banana. She’d expected it to be another late night and had told him not to wait up. Surely then he would have said something? But no.

“I’ll be here. Retiring,” was all he said.

Oh God!

Sam sat down suddenly and heavily right there by the closet where the camping gear had been, missing the guest room bed by inches and ending on the floor instead. She knew why he was gone, and she was very much afraid it was her fault.

She’d come home late last night, preoccupied with her problem that she’d finally solved on the drive in this morning. But that night something did not quite add up, and she couldn’t say what – exactly – it was. It was like an image that she could see out of the corner of her eye, which vanished when she looked directly at it. She examined the equations, she went over the calculations, and she could not find the mistake. But she knew it was there. She had to find it. Lives would be at stake, including her own. But it was almost 2200, and Jack was waiting. She threw down the pencil she’d been combing through her ponytail, closed up her laptop, and headed for home.

Once there, mind still worrying the problem like a terrier with a pull toy, she’d greeted Jack and the dog, pled exhaustion (after all she hadn’t slept much the night before, she’d been busy reuniting with her husband!), and made her way to bed. Sleep had not come. Her mind had given up imitating the terrier, and had moved on to a very plausible rendition of a hamster on one of those exercise wheels. Around and around the equations, and getting nowhere.

Eventually Jack too had come to bed, sitting on the edge for a moment, stark naked, to finish rubbing his wet head with a towel. Then he’d draped the damp towel over the metal bedpost, slipped under the covers, and spooned up to Sam’s back. He hummed in contentment, and threw an arm over her waist, drawing her in, while simultaneously entangling his legs with hers. Sam could feel herself stiffen, and the rough hair on his legs itched on the back of one calf. She could feel her hot breath on her neck as his hand moved from her waist to cup one breast, and one callused thumb began to slowly rub over one nipple. It should have felt delightful, enticing, and exciting. It certainly had the night before. But now Sam could feel a tide of rising irritation was over her until she was drowning in it.

“Not now, Jack! I’m tired!”

“I’m sorry. You were awake. I thought it might relax you.”

He dropped his hand back to her waist, and untangled their feet, but did not move away. He was still right there and Sam could feel his presence like a ticking clock in an exam room, drawing her mind from the problem she needed to solve. She gave a small huff of irritation. Jack moved back a bit and rolled over, but still she could hear his breathing. She could not tell precisely how, but it sounded annoyed.

Sam though this was unfair, and horribly male of him. He’d missed her. She’d missed him too, but they’d had last night, and there would be plenty of time while she was on leave starting a mere three days from now. If she didn’t get some sleep, then she wouldn’t be able to solve the problem, and she wouldn’t be able to take leave in good conscience until she did. Lives were at stake here. Sex could wait! She rolled over to face him, and propped herself up on one elbow, and examined him by the dim light of the nearly full moon. He looked quizzically back at her, but offered nothing.

“Look, Jack,” she said. “I know you want to be with me, but I need to sleep. There’s something off in the equations for the calibrations between the naquidah generator and the Asgard… Well, I guess you don’t want to know the details –“

He nodded.

“I need to solve this. I just can’t get it right now, and I need to get a decent night’s sleep, and I can’t do that with you sulking there. Don’t you get it? What I do is important. The lives of every person on that ship depends on getting this right. If you lose a little sleep ‘cause you’re horny and can’t turn it off, what’s the worst that can happen? The Habitat house gets built a couple of hours later because one of the workers keeps missing a nail? Little Johnny has to skate a few extra laps because Coach is grumpy today? Fred down at the Meadow Mart chats with you as you buy the paper an hour late? What I do matters!”

Looking back Sam was forced to consider that maybe she should not have been so smug about her third engagement being the charm. Had she really just told her recently retired husband that what he did all day was meaningless? Yes, really she had. She’d told Jack O’Neill who had spent his whole adult life in difficulty and danger, fighting, bleeding, suffering torture, and dying, dying for Godssakes! that his well-earned time to relax made him less significant than she was. He would probably still be in Washington doing a job that ate at his soul and threatened his physical health if he hadn’t retired for her. For her! Then he’d immediately filled up his days with volunteer commitments to give meaning to his existence, and fill up the empty hours when his workaholic wife was gone. Holy Hannah! Are you ever an egotistical, self-centered creature, Samantha Carter. Clearly it was time for her to admit to herself that she sucked at this whole relationship business, and that maybe if she’d really listened to what Jack was trying to teach Merrin, she would have realized some of what she was losing by immersing herself in intellectual pursuits, instead of getting a life. Here she was, waiting to dive into real life, expecting him to be there to enjoy it by her side, to double her pleasure by reveling in her enjoyment was missing. Feeling very much like she deserved every bit of her misery, Sam slowly picked herself up off the hard wood floor, and changed into an old ragged pair of jeans and a cheap white t-shirt, and headed to the garage. Her Indian was as tuned and polished as it could be, but she could break down Jack’s Harley and see if she could make it purr and shine before he reappeared.

Jack pushed on the button that would let out more leash for Quark as he began the last push to the peak. He wished he could let her off the lead, especially given that she was a well-disciplined dog for a yearling pup, and heeled without correction, but in bear country with a highly protective dog it could all end in tragedy. Up here beyond the tree line it should be easier to spot the dangers from afar though, and they both needed a little leeway to pick a suitable path to clamber up the rocks. At least up beyond the timber line there would be no porcupines for her to find. That one trip down off the mountain bent over double to hold Smoky’s collar and prevent him from driving the quills in further, and then wrestling to restrain him in the bed of the truck while Frank Cromwell drove like a demon to the vet’s, leaving a two worried wives and a frantic Charlie behind to make their way home in Frank’s jeep, had taught him his lesson about that. Smoky had been fine after some surgery, but dogs died from tussles with porcupines, and Jack was taking no chances.

It had been years since Jack had last climbed this route, choosing instead to spend most of his rare leave time in Minnesota, and as hard as he tried to avoid discussing the topic with himself, honesty compelled him to admit that although he was still agile and sure-footed enough, he had lost some speed, and he felt it more. The aches in his back and knees were old adversaries, and he was well-accustomed to pushing them away and compartmentalizing them, but the persistent nagging twinge in his right hip was new, and unlike the back and knees, unrelated to any particular wound or injury that he could recall. Probably this should come as no surprise, considering that his Academy classmates were now sending in notes about the doings of their grandchildren for the alumni bulletin, but Jack was inclined to take it personally. Fortunately his slower speed should not be a problem, since he’d planned on not pushing it in any case, in view of Quark’s youth and inexperience.

Reaching the peak at last, Jack eased off the heavy pack and pulled out the sandwiches and fruit he’d packed for this first meal, and opened the small metal container that held Quark’s biscuits, and gave her two. She downed them quickly, and came to flop down next to him, looking up at his sandwich in adoration and hope. Jack gave her a small chunk of chicken, and then hardened his heart. The rest of the meals would be MRE’s from the surplus store down on Fourth, and he intended to enjoy the his last fresh food for the next three days to the fullest, untainted by guilt, which he knew from long experience tasted bitter and nasty. He wondered what Sam was up to now. He knew in the general sense, of course, that she would be working on a solution to that problem that was obsessing that beautiful mind of hers, but not for the first time he missed the ability to wander nonchalantly into her lab to see for himself how things were going. Well, without the distraction things would go that much faster. You’d only be in her way, old man. Jack began to pick at the grapes, enjoying their thirst-quenching juice, and deliberately turned his attention to the view spread out before him. If she’s really in the zone, she won’t even notice you’re gone.

As a distraction, working on Jack’s bike turned out to be a bit of a bust. It simply didn’t need the work. Not only was the engine already well-tuned, the sparks and struts in good repair, but clearly Jack had also taken the time recently to do the bright work as well. The thing was gleaming. Still, the abortive effort had given her some new things to ponder. There were new – well, more like well-used but unfamiliar – tools in amongst her own, and Sam realized that Jack must have combined their stuff, and now that she looked more closely, here and there some of her own tools had been replaced, always with better or more serviceable versions. A short hunt had turned up a box marked simply “Duplicates” in Jack’s hand, tucked under the workbench at the back of the garage. Inside were her missing tools, mostly the older ones she’d bought when she was on a lieutenant’s salary and couldn’t afford to buy quality, and what she assumed were the rest of Jack’s.

The discovery fed a rising disquiet in Sam. Compared with most women her age, most of whom had married in their twenties and thirties, Sam knew that she was inexperienced with adult relationships. But her bond with Jack had been built slowly over a period of years and under conditions of such stress and intensity that she really felt that she knew him well. Yes, there were things that she would never know about Jack O’Neill. There were dark things in his past that he would never share with her, things that he had buried deep in unquiet graves, which she did not wish to disturb, for his sake more than her own. Things which she knew with absolute certainty that he had never shared with anyone living. Well, not voluntarily. His young clone knew. It was Sam’s theory that the fact that they shared this unwanted and jealously guarded knowledge that accounted for Jack’s dislike and distrust of every alternate version of himself that they had ever encountered, and probably didn’t help with his attitude toward the Tok’ra. Yet here was evidence that even she was guilty of underestimating him, assuming that because he had always had his truck serviced at the dealership, a fact that she and Daniel knew from helping him with rides on days when it required service, that he would rely on others to maintain his bike. You saw him teaching Teal’c about the mechanics of Jenny and Michael’s bus, you idiot! Would Jack have missed or misunderstood that kind of clue about you?

It was dusk before Jack and Quark reached their goal for the day and he wearily began to set up camp, concentrating first on getting the food stowed up out of bear reach, and then on gathering firewood and clearing a space for the fire. It was a too-well practiced skill, and did not offer much in the way of distraction. The demons were always worse at night. Doc warned you that a history of concussions can lead to problems with depression. You can’t even count the number of concussions you’ve racked up, as if that skull fracture wasn’t enough all by itself. Buck up, airman. If this is bad, then life is good. Still, before he put up the tent and started work on their dinners, he took a moment to sit by Quark and rub behind her ears. He was grateful for the rough wet pull of her tongue on his neck. You’re just tired, Bucko. It’ll be better come sunrise.

Sam spent a restless night. She tried hard, perhaps harder than she should, to convince herself that it was the result of the overabundant sesame and peanut oils on the takeout she’d ordered for dinner, but that wouldn’t really wash. Morning came, and Jack was still gone, and she was left casting aimlessly about for a plan for her day as she prepared her coffee and pondered the question of which flavor of yogurt she rather eat. In her head was the echo of a voice, gently mocking her. You suck at this vacation thing, Carter. Fortunately for you, you are now in a position to apprentice yourself to the master. Now this here is a fishing pole… Well there were fishing poles in the front hall closet, but she could imagine nothing more empty than to be fishing without Jack’s company. It would be like making s,mores without a campfire.

She decided to tinker a bit with her ever-unfinished book on wormhole physics, but her sentences seemed to work themselves into dead ends and hopeless tangles, so that she seemed to be using the backspace button almost more than she used all the other keys together. After she read over a passage only to discover that she had managed to type in a spectacular and embarrassing math error, she exited the program without saving, and went for a run.

On the second peak, Jack finally stopped trying to outrun those nagging thoughts, and turned to face the foe. That Sam’s work was more important than his daily round of volunteering and caring for their house and grounds was a given. He was always pretty good at keeping perspective on what was important in the practical matters of life, unlike Daniel, who confused knowledge with sustenance sometimes, and what Sam did was indeed life and death stuff. But he’d seen the effects of what he did, and that was important too, on a smaller and more human scale. In that sense, what Sam had said did not bother him, since it was the absolute truth. There was a bigger issue though, a very big elephant for a very small living room. He had stayed in harness longer than he had wanted to, in a job that was shredding his health, and – if truth be told – his soul, because what he did was also important, also life and death stuff. In chucking it over, handing the job to Landry, and getting out so he could be with Sam, had he sold his soul? He didn’t know, would possibly never know. His whole life had been about duty and service. By leaving that to others, what had he done to the meaning of that life? The die was cast, and now he would have to live with it, but he hoped that his choice had not poisoned Sam’s regard and respect. He’d failed at marriage once. He was terrified of doing it again. He was going to need to walk a knife’s edge of clear-sighted truthfulness and self-forgiveness. Too bad his true talents ran more to forgetting.

Quark bumped up against his thigh, and with a sigh he looked down at her brown eyes and tolerant doggy grin, and then at the trails before them. If he took the trail to the left they would proceed on to their next campsite, and tomorrow they would go on to the last peak and home. The other path would take him down to the trailhead. He could be back to the house by an hour after sunset. Sam would probably be back to the house an hour or so after that. He wiggled his shoulders to settle his pack, tightened the chest strap, and called Quark to heel, taking the path to the right.

Sam was picking listlessly through the sheaf of takeout menus by the phone, missing Jack and his culinary skills. She could cook, but her repertoire was largely in the baking realm, and a few party pieces that her mother had taught her before her death. Soufflé for one was a very long run for a short slide. Jack had a good line in basic home cooking. When she’d taken that first trip to Jack’s cabin just after her father’s death she’d been a little indignant to find out how comfortable he was in the small kitchen, in spite of the fact that it had spared her from Daniel’s absentminded slightly neglected Earth versions of Abydosian favorites, and Teal’c’s rib-sticking oddly flavored Jaffa-inspired creations.

“You told me you couldn’t cook!”

“When?”

“Antarctica”

“Did Daniel translate it?”

“No, he wasn’t there. The first time.”

Jack had frowned.

“I don’t remember. I was not at my best. Maybe I misspoke?”

“You said you couldn’t cook, but your melted water was to die for!”

“I remember now. Sam I was joking! Sara sometimes needed time to recharge her batteries. She’d go off to visit her mom for a week, and I couldn’t feed Charlie on nothing but takeout for all that time. It wouldn’t have been good for him.”

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the garage door being opened. Jack! Dropping the suddenly unimportant menus, she ran to the door that opened into the garage, to be nearly knocked down by Quark’s eager assault on her, attempting to climb the five feet she needed to be able to like Sam’s chin. And there was Jack, filthy, unshaven and scruffy, but there, large as life and home.

“You’re back!” Jack said.

“Isn’t that my line?”

“I’m back too. Ready for some leave time yet?”

Sam was fresh out of words. All that worry. All that angst. All that searching. For this?

Jack looked at Sam. Sam looked at Jack.

“I told you not to worry,” he finally said.

“Easy for you, Jack! Where were you?”

“I went climbing.”

“Alone?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you nuts? What if you’d been hurt, or gotten lost?”

“Lost? In the mountains? I can get lost trying to find the nearest bathroom in the Pentagon, and don’t get me started about Dupont Circle, but lost out there? Never. Besides, I told Andy where I was going and when I would be back, and the park ranger. If for some reason the President needed me or something, the first folk they would have called if I was missing would be the local sheriff, and that’s Andy.”

“Why? Why did you go? Were you so mad? Did I hurt you so much?”

“Hurt me?”

He was genuinely puzzled. Now she was too.

“You lay awake. You were very still. In the morning you were gone.”

For a long time he just looked at her, then with a sigh he slipped his shoulders out of the pack, leaned it and the walking stick against the wall in the entrance way, and guided Sam into the living room with a hand in the small of her back, and pulled her down to sit beside him. He put his arm over her shoulder and rested his cheek on her hair.

“I lay awake because I was thinking. I saw what was happening and I needed a plan.”

“I’m sorry. It’s all my fault. I should never have said what I did.”

“It’s not your fault. Everything you said was true. I wasn’t upset.”

“But you left. You had to get away.”

Jack had no response to this. He took of his cap and threw it on the coffee table, and ran his hands through his hair, and then sighed.

“When I was married to Sara, I’d come home from a mission. If it had been a bad one, I couldn’t let go. We’d hug, we’d kiss, Charlie would chatter at me a mile a minute, trying to tell me a whole three weeks worth of news in the first five minutes, and we’d go home, have dinner, put Charlie to bed, and fall into bed together. That first night would be great, but the next few days… I’d need distance. I’d need time to get my head out of the field and back in the house, but I couldn’t get it because Charlie was there, and I couldn’t just leave. Sara and I would have these fights. Always over the stupidest stuff, and eventually she’d accuse me of not being “there for” them, even when I was there. She was right. I wasn’t. I couldn’t be, not at first. Then after a couple of days, I… I guess I’d have had time enough to unwind, get my head back in the game, and we’d click again. I could see that pattern repeating with us, only you were the one that wasn’t here, and I was Sara, well not really, but you know what I meant, being all needy and… Well I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to do that, and I had to figure out what to do, what I would have wanted Sara to do.”

Again he sighed, and this time he rubbed his hand down over his face.

“When it was me, I wanted to get out, go away, find some peace and quiet. You weren’t trying to leave. I didn’t want to fight with you. I just wanted to skip to the part where it’s good again. So if you wouldn’t leave to find some space, I decided to make space for you. It all comes under that do unto others thing.”

There was silence. Sam leaned into Jack and turned her head into his chest so she could hear his heartbeat. Jack reached for her hand and drew it onto his thigh, and held it there, rubbing slow circles on it with his thumb.

Slowly, slowly the tension ebbed from Sam’s shoulders. She could feel her stomach unclench.

She gazed up at Jack, searching his eyes.

“So we’re good?” she asked.

“Unless you feel like a fight,” he said.

“No!” she said, with some feeling.

Jack smiled a slow and lazy smile.

“Good!” he said. “So you thought we were fighting?”

“Yeah,” she said.

“Enough that we need some make-up sex?”

“Will there be holding?”

“Yep.”

“And snuggling?”

“Um-hmm.”

“And you won’t be going anywhere?”

“Nope.”

Sam sniffed.

“And can we have that make-up sex in the shower?”

Jack gave a peal of laughter, the kind that she hardly ever heard from him, and treasured more than gold. He made no answer, but stood up, offering a hand to help her to her feet, and led her by that hand towards the bathroom, the fingers of his other hand already unfastening the buttons of his shirt.

Two weeks. Jack was right. When it was time for leave, it was important to actually leave.

A/N: Well, that’s it. Thanks for reading.

The title is from a poem by Thomas Gerald Massey –

There’s no dearth of kindness

In this world of ours

Only in our blindness

We gather thorns for flowers.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
not_a_zatarc
Sep. 15th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
Aw, this was sweet, and angsty, and awesome and just . . . well, awesome! :D I really liked it.
thothmes
Sep. 15th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
Glad you enjoyed it. I really struggled with this one because my original vision of it was cinematic (I'm definitely a visual learner) and based on actions, and no matter how I wrote rewrote it, it ended up being stuffed full of exposition. Life - and art - is just like that some days. But I'm really glad that the struggle didn't show on the page for you!
bristow1941
Sep. 15th, 2009 02:36 am (UTC)
Do you mind if I rec this on Stargateficrec - I really really adore it, most especially the part, "Yet here was evidence that even she was guilty of underestimating him, assuming that because he had always had his truck serviced at the dealership, a fact that she and Daniel knew from helping him with rides on days when it required service, that he would rely on others to maintain his bike. You saw him teaching Teal’c about the mechanics of Jenny and Michael’s bus, you idiot! Would Jack have missed or misunderstood that kind of clue about you?"
thothmes
Sep. 15th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
I would be honored. Thank you.
sharp2799
Sep. 15th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)
This is an amazing story.
thothmes
Sep. 15th, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
What the icon say: Thank you!
2_fish
Sep. 15th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
Great, just great!! :)
thothmes
Sep. 16th, 2009 01:06 am (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed it!
angelus2hot
Sep. 15th, 2009 08:10 pm (UTC)
Awesome fic! I loved it!
thothmes
Sep. 16th, 2009 01:07 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
bluewillowtree
Oct. 1st, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
I missed this in round one, but I'm so glad to read it now. It's a great exploration of what "happily ever after" might look like for them. It seems very real.

Also, I just watched 1969 again yesterday, so I enjoyed the references I might otherwise have missed.
thothmes
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:14 am (UTC)
It seems very real.

Why, thank you! That's a truly lovely complement! Glad you enjoyed it.
elle11elle
Jun. 15th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC)
Wow! That was really good. When Sam started putting down everything he did everyday, my heart just broke for him.
thothmes
Jun. 16th, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
Ultimately, though, I think Jack would agree with her. He's pretty good at sorting out what matters from what doesn't, and what matters more from what matters less. It's why (for instance) he insists that the way Merrin's people treat their children is more important than the rules of diplomacy and access to their technological advances, even though he gets in trouble for it. Still, Jack has put his time in, and I think that one of the tasks of retirement for him will be coming to terms with the fact that he will no longer be making a difference on a grand scale, but only in smaller more ordinary ways. I don't think it is in Jack's nature to let himself off the hook for any responsibility, any more than it is in Sam's, and she realizes this, and having made this mistake, will be very careful to avoid that mistake in the future. Sam's a perfectionist, so that's almost as good as a guarantee that she won't hurt him like that again, and for Jack, fair is fair. If he agrees with the assessment, he won't feel it as an attack for long.
rdamel
Jan. 17th, 2011 01:20 am (UTC)
Retirement, especially when it comes before you really want it to (yes, I'm speaking from experience here--my last boss was horrible, so I decided life's too short, and bailed out--but I had loved my job), can be tough. And for Jack, going from saving the world to volunteering, has to be a big jolt, however much he wants to be there for Sam,whenever she is actually able to be there. So this was an interesting story for me.

Thanks!
Melissa M.
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A Few Words from the Wise

Speak to him, for there is none born wise.

-The Maxims of Ptahotep

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In mourning or rejoicing, be not far from me.

- an Ancient Egyptian Love Song

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But your embraces
alone give life to my heart
may Amun give me what I have found
for all eternity.


-Love Songs of the New Kingdom, Song #2

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To Know the Dark


To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is travelled by dark feet and dark wings.


-Wendell Berry

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Up in the morning's no for me,
Up in the morning early;
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw,
I'm sure it's winter fairly.

-Robert Burns

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Visit to the Hermit Ts'ui


Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies,
Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows.
I envy you, drunk with flowers,
Butterflies swirling in your dreams.


-Ch'ien Ch'i

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Mistress of high achievement, O lady Truth,
do not let my understanding stumble
across some jagged falsehood.


-Pindar

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Every Gaudy colour
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-Nathalia Crane

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I counted two-and-twenty stenches,
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