By Jemima Pereira (
Fic series: 2
© January 2004
Pairings: Sam/Jack
Rating: PG-13
Season: season 4
Series: Stargate SG-1

A sequel to "The Alternate Universe Survival Guide," in which Sam discovers that her theories were slightly off.

No dough, no foul.

Please don't ask for a sequel to the sequel...please.

"Hey, Daniel," Carter said, poking her head into his office. "The guys in the lab said you wanted to see me."

"Yeah." Daniel switched the screen-saver on his computer. "Come in."

She closed the door behind her. "What's up?"

He moved a stack of books of a chair to give her space to sit. "They gave me the artifact you brought back from the UBP. It's quite interesting."

She leaned forward in the chair, her interest piqued. "It must be something my doppelganger found. In the alternate timeline, the UBP was just your average uninhabited beach planet."

"It's uninhabited here, too," Daniel said. He pushed a chunk of marble across the table towards her. "This looks like a piece of a contractual tablet from the Land of Light."

Sam looked puzzled as she picked up the stone to examine. "This isn't possible," she said. "This is my--"

Her voice died suddenly. "Your what?" Daniel asked.

"My piece of the tablet from the other timeline." She seemed afraid to touch it. "Do you realize what this means?"

"Well...maybe," Daniel said.

"I brought something back from another timeline." She was up again and pacing in front of his blackboard.

Daniel was insufficiently shocked - the writing on the tablet had been more of a surprise. "Besides yourself, you mean..."

She looked down at him sharply, her hand on the doorknob. Her expression was so dire that Daniel would have guessed that their whole timeline was about to end in entropic cascade failure - if it weren't just a little chunk of marble.

Before he could say anything, she'd rushed out the door. Daniel blinked as Jack stumbled in in her wake.

"Where's Carter going?" he asked. "She nearly ran me down in the hall."

"I don't know. She left her marriage license here, though." Daniel hefted the stone, its rough edge fitting neatly into his palm.

Jack paused for a moment of not being shocked - his half of the tablet was safe in his locker - and then summoned an appropriately curious expression. "Her what?"

Daniel put it back down on the table, face up so that Jack could see the alien script. "It's the sort of contract they use in the Land of Light - the agreement is engraved on a stone tablet and then split up between the parties. Only half the text is here, but from my translation I'd say it's a marriage contract."

Jack ran one finger over the inscrutable symbols. "So who's the lucky man?"

"Unfortunately, his name is on the other half of the tablet." Daniel eyed him. "You're taking this well, Jack."

"Am I?" He turned on the innocent charm.

"You are. Sam goes away and gets married to another man, and you don't seem the slightest bit disturbed by it."

Jack smiled. "I figure it was me."

Daniel laughed. "My money's on Siler. You know what they say about men with big wrenches."

"I'm hurt, Daniel, truly hurt."

One of her staff summoned Dr. Fraiser from her office. She rushed to the figure in a black t-shirt lying on the last cot. Her patient had blocked out the view of the the empty infirmary with one limp arm.

"Sam, what's wrong?"

"I am," she said, not moving. "I mean, I was wrong about the alternate timelines."

During her routine post-mission checkup, Sam had told Janet that she'd been to an alternate timeline. "How so?"

Sam lifted herself up on one arm to face Janet. "Remember how I thought that the transference was only happening at the quantum level - a subatomic exchange of consciousnesses between the two timelines?"

Janet had had her own doubts about that theory, but this wasn't the time to mention them. "Now you've changed your mind."

"I brought something back from the other timeline."

Janet cocked her head. "How do you know it's from the other timeline?"

"Take my word for it - it is." Sam slumped back onto the cot and hid her eyes again. "I could have brought anything back - pathogens, a bomb... I'll have to tell the General to shut down the stargate immediately."

"Isn't that a bit rash?" Janet asked. "Every time you go through the stargate there's a chance you'll come home with a disease. This is no different."

"You don't understand."

"So explain it to me." Janet crossed her arms.

Sam sighed. "My advice to personnel trapped in alternate timelines was based on the theory of subatomic rapport, but if we're really going back and forth physically, we need to take more precautions."

"So we'll take more precautions." Janet was not following Sam's logic - in fact, Sam didn't sound particularly rational at the moment.

Sam shook her head, and static electricity made stray blonde hairs float over the pillow. "Precautions may conflict with the primary mission of projecting the alternate personality."

"This is all highly theoretical," Janet said. Sam was silent, so Janet switched into reassuring mode. "I'm sure there's nothing wrong with you that a little rest won't cure."

"Are my results back from the lab?"

"Probably, but I didn't get any alerts about alien pathogens."

"Just take a look at them, okay?"

"Fine." Janet went back to her office, pulled the printout off the printer, and, not wanting to leave Sam alone too long, headed back with it. Halfway down the row of beds, she had read down to the line in the bloodwork for hCG. Janet stopped short.

Sam was peeking at her from under her arm. "Holy Hannah," the patient said softly, and covered her eyes again.

Janet pulled a chair up beside the bed. "So, do you want to tell me about this?"

Sam didn't move her arm, but she said, "She wanted to have children."

"Couldn't you have had a headache?" Janet asked.

"It was our honeymoon, so no, not really."

Janet rolled her eyes. "Do I even need to ask who the father is?"

Sam sighed. "I was a civilian. It seemed like the perfect setup - lots of sex on the beach and absolutely no consequences."

Janet couldn't help shaking her head - life was never that simple, at least not for Sam. "I hope the sex was good, because you brought home a consequence."

Sam sighed again. "It was really, really good. And the consequence won't last long."

"Are you going to terminate?" One of the benefits of working at the SGC was that this sort of thing didn't come up the way it did with the enlisted girls at big bases.

"I didn't mean that." Sam sat up straight. "It's just that the father was from another timeline. The fetus won't be viable - there are sure to be genetic mismatches in non-coding DNA, along with more subtle quantum effects."

Janet tried to smile. "Well, that's a promising theory," she said, "but I'm going to have to treat you as if the fetus were viable." And as if the theory were viable, she thought to herself.

"But you won't tell the General, will you?"

"Not at this stage, no."

Sam stood waiting as General Hammond, Dr. Fraiser, and SG-1, 8, and 13 filed into the room, crowding the conference table. Sgt. East looked up from the far end of the table, clearly curious about what was up. Sam smiled at her. Sgt. East was safe - she had a husband, Stan, who was one of the SGC techs, and two children already. If she'd come home pregnant from another timeline, no one would have known the difference.

Sam smoothed the front of her uniform, wondering how long the skirt would fit her, while General Hammond explained the situation to her audience. Part of the situation, anyway.

"As you may have heard, Major Carter was displaced into an alternate timeline on a recent mission. She has new data which will affect our policy on these sunspot-generated malfunctions. Major Carter?"

"I told you we should have blown that thing up," Jack whispered to Daniel, but not so quietly that Sam and half the table couldn't hear him.

"The sun is what permits life to exist on Earth, Jack," Daniel whispered back, just as loudly.

Sam suppressed a snicker by clearing her throat. "Yes, sir," she said, glancing at the General. "I based my previous recommendations on the theory that only our consciousnesses were being transferred between timelines by quantum means. However, I brought a physical object back from my recent displacement into an alternate timeline." She flashed a digital image of the marble block on the screen, then switched the display to some of her worldline charts. "As you can see from--"

"Hey, can we see that thing you brought back again?" Jack asked.

Sam reluctantly reopened the image.

The General asked, "How do we know this object didn't come from our own timeline?"

"Well..." Sam was flustered, but Daniel raised a hand.

"If I may, General." Hammond nodded at him. "The object was passed along to me to be translated. It's a contract that was witnessed by High Councillor Tuplo and dated on the first day of the UBP mission. All members of SG-1 were still on the planet setting up scientific equipment at that time, as were several other teams." Daniel glanced down the table. "I can assure you that Tuplo wasn't there."

"As can I," Teal'c added.

"Colonel?" Hammond said, turning to face him.

Jack gave a noncommittal shrug. "I suppose he could have been hiding behind a sand dune."

"Dr. Jackson, when this meeting is over, I want you to confirm High Councillor Tuplo's whereabouts for the past week." Daniel took a note of the General's order.

"So what was the contract about?" Jack asked Sam.

She paused for a moment, struck by his devilish grin. Back on the beach, she would have been sure what it meant, but here... "I don't think that's relevant, sir," she replied, and switched the display back to her worldline image.

"It could help Daniel in his investigation of Tuplo," Jack said. "We all know what a shifty character he is."

"I think I have enough information," Daniel said.

"You never think you have enough information," Jack countered.

Hammond looked torn between confusion and annoyance. "I presume you saw High Councillor Tuplo in the alternate timeline, Major Carter," he said.

"Yes, sir."

"So what was this contract about?" he asked.

She cleared her throat again. "I got married. Sir."

There were a few whoops from the far end of the table, and Sgt. East gave her a thumbs-up. Nearer the General, silence reigned. Sam didn't dare look at the Colonel.

"Now that was too much information," Hammond said, to her relief looking not at Sam but at Jack and Daniel. "You two will keep quiet for the rest of this briefing."

"What did I do?" Daniel asked plaintively.

"That's an order!" Hammond turned back to Sam. "Please continue, Major Carter."

"Yes, sir." She hoped she wasn't blushing. "I've also analyzed the object and found signs of temporal displacement. That means that I'll be able to test for timeline shifts by sending inanimate objects through the stargate. Taking the new data into account, I should be able to have the sunspot problem corrected in a couple of months." She switched the display and took a deep breath. "Until then, I recommend that we allow no more teams to return through the Earth gate."

"Thank you, Major." Hammond leaned forward. "For the time being, all SGC missions will be staged from the alpha site. Teams now in the field will be instructed to return there instead of Earth. In addition, SG-8 and SG-13 will report to the alpha site in one month as relief teams. At our end, we will continue sending MALP's through the gate and work on the dialing survey."

Jack waved at the General to get his attention.

Hammond nodded and said, "As for SG-1, since Major Carter will be occupied with repairing the gate, the rest of you can take one month's leave then report back here to serve as a standby team once SG-8 and 13 have been deployed."

Daniel waved like Jack had, but Hammond wasn't interested.


Teal'c was doing the meditation thing for his leave, and Daniel seemed excited about translating some musty old text or other. Sam had locked herself in the lab and wouldn't come out and play, so Jack headed out to the cabin with his contraband hunk of marble.

Every day he looked out on the pond and thought about telling her. He couldn't, of course, because it was all against regulations - or at least it would have been if the brass had had the foresight to make a regulation against marrying a subordinate under both duress and false pretenses. Besides, anything that had made him that ecstaticly happy had to be a hanging offense.

And he wouldn't tell her if he could. Now that he knew, he would never, ever be able to put it behind him. What small hope he'd once had of getting over Carter and moving on was gone - so gone he didn't even want the chance at a normal life with someone else anymore. She still had that chance, though - she was free of the consequences. If it turned out that she wanted the real him, he'd always be there for her. If she didn't...well, he'd still always be there for her.

The days were grey as he floated on the lake and discussed the matter with the elusive fishes. The fish, fortunately, did not talk back. This wasn't the proper season to enjoy the fishes' silent company. It had been getting colder over the past ten days, and today a sharp wind came up off the water and chilled him. Icy drops of rain began to fall, accumulating in the bottom of the boat. He turned around and made for the dock.

Inside he put on some music, lit a fire, and lay down on the bear rug. That last was a new acquisition - a romantic cabin in the woods really needed a bear rug. Not to mention romance, but there were some things back pay couldn't buy.

He wasn't in the mood to cook; fortunately the cabin was stocked with surplus emergency rations from the SGC. He zapped some mac and cheese and returned to moping on the bear rug.

Not that he'd had much choice, but he was finding that getting married to Carter had not been the smartest move in a career made up of less-than-smart moves. Now he missed her and was going stir crazy in the woods without her. From a prone position, he contemplated leaping up, putting out the fire, and rushing back to the SGC.

He didn't get up; he just took another bite of mac and cheese. He wanted to see her again, but he knew it would only make it worse for him - and, if he wasn't flattering himself, for her as well. Instead he stared at the bit of marble on the mantlepiece.

He spent the rest of his leave talking to the fishes.

Three weeks later, Jack met his team for breakfast at the commissary. Teal'c was precisely on time. Daniel came in a few minutes late with a stack of books. When he started telling his teammates the infinitely dull story of the out-of-the-way used bookstores in which he'd found them, Jack had to interrupt.

"Where's Carter?"

"I saw her on my way in," Daniel said, "but she said something about needing to get to the lab. She'll be at the briefing at 9." It was now 0807 hours. "She's been working on this sunspot problem non-stop."

"Teal'c," Jack said, "retrieve Major Carter from the lab - that's an order."

"It will be my pleasure, O'Neill."

Once Teal'c had gone, Daniel changed the subject. "So I've been wondering...if Sam is married to someone in another timeline, can she get divorced?"

"I hear abandonment is sufficient grounds."

"Yes," Daniel said, "but she's the one who did the abandoning, by returning to our timeline."

"Alienation of affection," Jack suggested.

"Some other Sam did steal our Sam's husband, but how would she prove that in court?"

"Estrangement - no, that takes too long." Jack knew too much about family law. "She'd be better off going for an annulment. It's a sure thing."

"What's a sure thing?" Carter asked, setting down a tray with oatmeal and a mug of reddish stuff that Jack assumed was herbal tea.

They both looked up. Jack had the decency to look guilty, but Daniel spilled the beans.

"Your annulment."

"Daniel..." Jack said, kicking him under the table. Carter laughed.

Teal'c took his seat beside Carter. "What is annulment?" he asked.

Daniel explained, "It's a decision by a court that a marriage, in effect, never took place."

"If the marriage never took place, then what is there to annul?" Teal'c asked.

"Annulment is an odd thing," Jack said.

"We were trying to figure out how Sam could divorce her alternate husband." Daniel began eating his breakfast.

Carter put down her own spoon. "What if I don't want to get divorced? I have the perfect husband. He never argues or leaves his clothes on the floor."

"But he is sleeping with another Sam behind your back."



"Is your husband committing adultery?" Teal'c asked.

"Theoretically--" Sam began.

"Ow," Jack interrupted her.

"Sorry, sir," she said. "Anyway, Tuplo told me that all I had to do to divorce him was pulverize my half of the contract."

"He didn't--" Jack bit his tongue before the 'tell me that' could slip out. "You're pulling our legs. Divorce isn't that simple."

Daniel seemed to think it was. "Sgt. Siler has this really big wrench that would do the job," he said. Jack kicked him again.

"Have you pulverized your contract yet, Major Carter?"

"No, Teal'c. I'm using it as a baseline for detecting temporal shifts in test matter sent through the stargate."

"And they say romance is dead." Jack grinned at her, and this time Carter kicked him under the table.

Neither of them noticed Daniel's puzzled expression.

"You need to rest your brain. It's going to overheat." Jack leaned on the doorway to the lab.

"I'm fine, really." Carter was fiddling with something. Circuits were involved.

"You look pale," he said, "and steam is coming out of your ears."

She laughed. Mission accomplished, he thought. He looked around for some new alien toys to play with.

"Really, sir, I need to finish this. The gate has been shut down for two months now." She paused. "Don't you have anything to do?"

He nodded. "I'm on standby, so I'm standing by."

"I see." Her annoyance had transmuted into amusement, and her smile was more open than anything he'd gotten before their marriage.

"Maybe I could solder something for you," he offered, forgetting himself in the warmth of her smile.

Carter looked startled for a moment, but he was all innocent charm. She drew a deep breath, then said, "I'll be fine, sir. Maybe you could stand by Daniel for a while?"

He huffed. "I know when I'm not wanted. Don't forget we're all going out for dinner with Janet tonight."

"She won't let me forget."

Jack went on to harass Daniel for several hours, until he threw him out of his office. Teal'c was more forgiving, especially when Jack asked him for meditation lessons - he figured it beat talking to the fishes.

Janet showed up at 1800 to drag Sam away from her circuits. The attachment was not easily dissolved; by the time they reached the restaurant - a new Italian place downtown - they were late. O'Neill was watching the football game on the overhead TV when they arrived; Daniel and Teal'c were arguing some obscure point of Goa'uld grammar.

Daniel spotted them first and waved. Janet fell back behind Sam, so that she was forced to take the obvious spot next to Colonel O'Neill. Janet pushed in after her, crowding their side of the booth. It was still roomier than sitting beside Teal'c.

The boys had already ordered a pitcher of beer and some mozzarella sticks - Janet shook her head at the latter.

"Sam for Sam," O'Neill announced as he poured a new glass.

Janet intercepted the glass. "No Sam for Sam," she said. "She's been working too hard."

"Beer good," O'Neill said, getting a faint chuckle out of Sam. Janet held on to the glass.

"Indeed," Teal'c agreed, "this Samuel Adams is superior to the yellow liquid O'Neill usually drinks."

A waitress had been attracted by the debate. "I'll just have a ginger ale, thanks," Sam said. The waitress retreated.

Daniel's eyes went from Janet to Sam and back again; he made an "oh" face and stared into his own beer. Janet checked the Colonel for a clue, but his attention had been distracted by the game.

"So, Sam," Daniel said with that drawl he tended to adopt in dangerous linguistic situations, "how's the Stargate coming?"

Sam was munching on a mozzarella stick - calcium, Janet told herself, at least it has calcium - and waved the remaining bit to punctuate her reply. "Despite everyone's attempts to keep me from working too hard,"--here Janet expected to get the blame, but Sam pointed her fried food at O'Neill, instead--"I'm almost done. The final tests are scheduled for tomorrow."

Daniel asked for details and Sam launched into an explanation that soon went over Janet's head. Teal'c listened with his usual good grace, and O'Neill listened without his usual bad grace.

Under the guise of listening to Sam, Janet observed both her and her CO. They were sitting even closer together than the crowded booth required. She could chalk up Sam's newfound relaxation around the Colonel to carnal knowledge of his doppelganger, but O'Neill's behavior was harder to excuse. Without saying or doing anything, he was managing to radiate the affection he had once unconsciously lied to conceal.

It worried Janet, although at her last checkup Sam had assured her that nothing was going on in this timeline. You couldn't court-martial a man for sudden warmth, not if he hadn't done anything wrong.

SG-1 were in their MOPPs, ready and waiting to take their first trip through the newly repaired gate. Jack was itching at the delay - after so long on standby, he wanted to do something, even if that something involved the hot and heavy hazmat gear.

Normally, SG-1 wouldn't be sent on this sort of mission, but retrieval of teams from the alpha site had been postponed by an accident involving a naqahdah reactor on P7J-298. The medical facilities at the alpha site were inadequate for the more serious cases of radiation poisoning.

There was a flurry of activity in the control room; Jack could see Dr. Fraiser leaning over the mike in there. "Major Carter, where do you think you're going?" Even over the intercom, the doc's voice had that uncompromising medical tone. Jack flinched at it, and Carter swore under her breath.

Aloud, Carter said, "P7J-298."

"P7J-298 is a radiation risk," Fraiser replied coldly.

Sam peeled off her orange hood, crumpling the thick material in one tight fist. "We have the appropriate gear."

"The radiation hazard on P7J-298 is too high for your"--there was a slight but noticeable pause--"body mass index."

"Right," Sam said, and stomped back down the ramp.

"General Hammond?" Jack was confused.

The General covered the mike with his hand and had a short argument with Fraiser. He didn't look happy, but he said, "The rest of SG-1 is clear to go."

Carter never looked back at them, though Jack didn't turn to face the event horizon until the last moment. The three men went through the wormhole; it felt colder than usual, despite the heavy gear.

Still chilled, Jack started jogging the moment his feet hit P7J-298. As they double-timed it toward the settlement, he asked his remaining teammates, "What the hell just happened?" He had to shout to be heard through the plastic.

Teal'c shouted back, "Perhaps Major Carter suffers from a medical condition which we do not share."

"One we can't share," Daniel added.

Jack stopped short, ignoring the twinge of protest from his knee. The other two passed him, slowing down to look backwards at their CO.

"Damn," he said. "Damn, damn, damn." He started running, passing them easily. He wanted this mission over ASAP.

"Jack," Daniel called after him, "this isn't your fault. You weren't even there."

Janet was gone by the time Sam reached the control room. She avoided General Hammond's eye as she slipped up the stairs in pursuit of her mad doctor. Sam finally cornered Janet in her office.

"Why did you do that?" She punctuated the question by dropping her orange hood on the office floor.

Janet looked up calmly from her desk. "I told you to check with me before going off-world."

"You practically announced my pregnancy to the entire SGC!"

"So check with me next time." Her tone warmed as she added, "You can't keep pretending this pregnancy is a temporary condition. Your theory was wrong."

Sam slumped into a chair, her MOPPs making crinkling noises. "This sucks, Janet."

"This has not yet begun to suck, Sam. Just wait a couple of trimesters."

Sam slumped further down. "Did the General say anything?"

Janet shook her head.

"Of course not," Sam thought aloud. "What's there to say?"

Plenty, Janet thought. "Have you considered telling the father?"

Sam gave her a dark look that reminded her suddenly of O'Neill. "I fixed the stargate, Janet. There's no way to reach the father now. We are very, very separated."

"You know what I meant."

Sam sat up. "That I should tell my CO I'm having his baby?"

"I'm sure he'd be thrilled." Janet said. "He loves...children."

Sam heard the pause, but ignored it. "This is already enough of a mess, Janet. Don't ask me to involve the Colonel."


"I mean it. I know it wasn't this Jack, but sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. Really, really hard."

"Close enough for government work, eh?" She'd guessed as much.

"Too close." Sam closed her eyes, and Janet guessed she was thinking of sex on the beach again. "Way too close."

"Okay," Janet said, deciding that it was best to back off for the moment, "but I want you to get some rest. You've been working non-stop, against my orders, for two months now. You're exhausted, and it's Friday afternoon - go home."

"I just have a few things to clean up in my lab, then I'll go."

Janet figured she wouldn't leave until SG-1 got back safely, but now was not the time to press matters. In fact, as Sam left, Janet was seriously considering working on the problem from the other end.

The hours on P7J-298 had burned away most of Jack's anger at himself and the universe, and now he was simply concerned about Carter. He fidgeted as he waited for the doc to get to their examinations. The victims from P7J-298 were being transferred to a military hospital, but even that took time. By the time he escaped the infirmary the clock had swung around to 1945 hours.

Carter should have been gone, but he wasn't surprised to find her in her lab, puttering away on her laptop. "Hey," he said, "it's the weekend."

Sam glanced up, then away. "I'm just finishing up a few things."

"Have you eaten?"

She didn't bother to lie. "Just as soon as I'm done," she promised without meeting his eyes again. "I'll see you at the briefing on Monday." She meant it as a dismissal, but he just leaned there on the door-jam watching her type.

"Colonel?" she said after a few minutes, impatience coloring her tone.

"Done yet?" he asked.

"Almost," she answered, but at the same time a voice behind Jack said, "Yes."

Carter slammed the laptop shut at the sound of the doc's voice. "Janet, I was just leaving."

"Right, at 8 o'clock at night," she said. Jack thought he spotted a bit of smoke rising off the doc as she strolled into the lab. He didn't say a word, but he had to agree that Carter's protest wasn't very convincing.


"You," Janet said.

Jack stepped back. "Me?" With one foot already in the corridor he was ready to bid a hasty retreat.

"Yes, you with the cabin in the woods. Take Sam up there for a week. I don't want her doing any work at all." Janet turned her glare up a notch. "No laptops."

"Yes, ma'am." Jack snapped to attention and saluted her.

"You're not serious, Janet." Sam clutched her laptop protectively.

"Doctor's orders, Carter," Jack said. "Step away from the computer."

Carter held her hands up in surrender. "Okay, okay, I promise I'll go home and sleep."

"I've heard that one before." Janet waved two fingers at O'Neill to close in. He complied.

"Hey!" Sam frowned, not at him but at Janet.

He got between her and the laptop, and started pushing her bodily out the door.

"This is kidnapping." Carter glared at Janet as they passed her.

"Did I hear your CMO give you an order, Major?" Jack asked.

"Yes, sir."

Usually the long drive to Minnesota gave Jack time to shake off the outside world, but he figured that in Carter's condition a short plane ride would be best. Nevertheless, most of Saturday was consumed in getting to the cabin. The sunset was bathing the kitchen in a cozy orange glow by the time they ate dinner. Carter didn't say much.

Afterwards he cleared the dishes away, telling her to sit when she offered to help. He considered washing them, but decided he couldn't take the delay and heaped them in the sink. Her eyes were on him as he put a log on the fire, then picked a cigar box up off the mantle.

He sat down again, facing her, his hands folded over the box. Twilight was descending on them; the shadows shifted between the window and the fire. He'd thought the darkness would help, but the words wouldn't come.

He cleared his throat and tried again. "I have a confession to make."

"You brought my laptop after all?" she said hopefully.

He lifted the lid just enough to peer into the box. "Nope."

"You've started smoking cigars..."

He looked inside again. "Close, but no cigar."

She groaned.

"It's something I brought home from off-world." He pushed the box across the table, turning it to face her.

She gave him a puzzled smile, curious and unsuspecting. Then she lifted the lid.

She picked the fractured stone up to look at it; its smooth surfaces glinted redly in the firelight. Jack couldn't read her expression, and the silence made him nervous.

"I swear I didn't know it was you until we got back," he said. "You could have been a great actress...if that was all an act."

She shook her head slowly. "It was one of those roles you feel like you were born to play, you know?"

"Yeah. Not that I could act to save my life, but yeah."

"But you weren't going to tell me." She didn't sound angry, though she was still staring at the stone instead of him.

"I didn't want to screw up your life," he said, "but I guess I managed to anyway."

"She seemed to have the whole thing figured out. Maybe I can handle it. I mean, maybe we can handle it." She set the stone down on the table and stood up. "There is one advantage to being married and pregnant, you know..."

He followed her towards the bear rug. "Oh?"

"Lots of sex and absolutely no consequences."

"I like the way you think, Carter."


Sam plopped herself down in the chair in Janet's office first thing Monday morning. She had a self-satisfied grin on her face.

"You're looking well-rested," Janet said.

"I was so right about cross-timeline conception. There's no way the fetus would survive."

Janet jumped up. "Are you all right?" she asked, feeling Sam's forehead.

Sam brushed off her attentions. "I'm fine, the baby's fine - because it's Jack's."

"Our Jack?"

"He crossed over into the alternate timeline with me."

"And he didn't think to tell you so until now?" Men.

Sam shrugged. "You know how it is. Regulations."

Janet didn't know of a regulation against impersonating yourself at your own wedding in an alternate universe, but then she wasn't a fine-print kind of an officer. "So what now?"

"It seems like the perfect setup - it's not fraternization because we're married, but no one knows we're married because it happened in an alternate universe." Sam smiled. "The Air Force has no grounds for complaint."

"But you're having your CO's baby, Sam."

"That's not my fault," she replied. "It's just a risk of stargate travel."