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This is a short fic I started after seeing "Threads."  It is set just after Jacob's death and is my small attempt to wrap up the Pete fiasco - um, I mean storyline - and explain how Jack finally convinced Sam to go fishing.  This story will make more sense if you've read "The Up Side."

The usual disclaimers: I own nothing.  Just borrowing the characters for a bit...

Hard to Say Goodbye

A “missing” scenes vignette set during the episode “Threads”

Peter Shanahan sat in his car, feeling like the world’s biggest idiot.  The memorial service for his best friend’s father would begin soon and he was too nervous to get out of his car.  So what if said best friend’s sister has broken his heart?  So what if it had been less than forty-eight hours since she had handed him back the engagement ring, along with his heart and a healthy dose of his pride?  So what if she didn’t love him?  That was no reason to stop him from being here to support his best friend.  No reason at all.

He still wanted to believe that it was a mistake, that she would change her mind and they would live happily-ever-after.  But he knew she wouldn’t.  He’d been living on eggshells for the past several months just waiting for her to come to her senses and give him the heave-ho.  He’d known they weren’t meant to be as soon as he’d popped the question.  The question she’d taken weeks to say yes to.

Pete knew, in her own way, that Sam did love him.  She wasn’t the type of girl who’d string him along just for the hell of it.  And, if things had been different, they could have had a happy life together.  But things weren’t different.  So, he would just have to get over her.  And he’d be damned if he would let her come between him and Mark.

Mark, who was devastated by his father’s death.  Mark, who knew his dad had spent the past six years on assignments he couldn’t talk about, but didn’t have a clue that, not only had his dad not been “stateside,” he hadn’t even been on the planet Earth.  Mark, who didn’t know his father had been a Tok’ra.

The only reason Pete knew was that Sam had somehow, against all common sense, gotten permission to tell him.  Peter was sure other civilians had seen stranger things than he had seen the night he’d followed Sam and witnessed Osiris’ capture.  But, for some inexplicable reason, the powers-that-be had authorized her to tell him about Stargate Command.

But he couldn’t tell Mark.  As much as Peter had wanted to share the far-fetched news with his buddy, he’d been sworn to secrecy.  And he’d signed a non-disclosure agreement that would land his butt in a federal penitentiary if he opened his big mouth.  Besides, Pete didn’t think Mark, who was the biggest pragmatist Pete knew, would even believe him.

Shaking himself out of his funk, Pete finally opened the car door.  He walked in to the one-story building that housed the Memorial Gardens Funeral Home.  He stopped in the small reception area to sign the visitor’s book.  The service was being held just through a set of wide double-doors.

Pete walked in to the room and stood in the back to survey his surroundings.  The majority of the people were seated in the wooden pews that took up most of the space in the room.  A lectern stood facing the pews near the front of the room.  To the left, a small group of people were gathered around an easel displaying what appeared to be a large matted photo montage.  Pictures of Jacob, no doubt, Pete thought to himself.  He would have to check it out once the service ended.  His cop’s eyes automatically cataloged the sea of blue uniforms.

If Pete had been a part of Stargate Command, rather than a person who’d only visited the Cheyenne Mountain complex a grand total of two times, he might have recognized more of the people present.  He spotted George Hammond easily enough.  And the blonde woman seated next to one of the uniforms was Julia Donovan, who he’d often watched on the local news.  Pete also recognized Cassie Fraiser.

Despite the occasion that had brought them all here, Pete smiled wryly and couldn’t help thinking Cassie would be happy that Sam had called off the engagement.  Cassie had never liked him.

Scanning the crowd, Pete finally spotted the Carter siblings near the front.  Mark was seated next to his sister.  On his other side were his children and wife.  An empty space separated Sam and General Jack O’Neill.  Peter briefly considered the thought that Sam had kept a spot open for him.  Thankfully, he was saved from what would certainly have been an awkward and embarrassing moment when Cassie walked over and sat down next to Sam.

Peter did not recognize many others of the group, but the young couple sitting in the sedan on the opposite street had as they entered.  General Kerrigan; Colonels Reynolds, Dixon, Ronson, Pierce and Chekov; Majors Davis, Griff, and Ferretti; Lieutenants Hailey and Simmons; Sergeants Siler, Alberts, and Davis; and numerous other military personnel were present.  Barrett from NID was there, as were Doctors Lee and Warner.

The ceremony was brief, in accordance with Jacob’s wishes.  George Hammond and Mark Carter were the only speakers.  Nonetheless, Sam was tired.  She was one of the few people present who knew that her father’s ashes were not contained in the urn displayed in the front of the room.  Just that morning, Sam had stood next to Malek on a distant planet the Tok’ra were temporarily calling home.  She had watched, stoically, as the coffin containing her father and Selmak’s remains was incinerated by the backwash of an outgoing wormhole.  The ceremony then had been brief as well, in accordance with Tok’ra traditions.  George was the only other person from Earth who attended.  Teal’c and Bra’tac had been there as well, as representatives of the newly formed Free Jaffa Nation and as friends.

She spotted Peter in the reception area.  Not feeling up to another run-in, she hung back chatting with her niece and nephew, while he and Mark talked.  The two men embraced and Pete also gave quick hugs to Mark’s wife and children.  He turned and started to say something to her, then seemed to change his mind and just nodded.  All Sam felt was relief that he was leaving.  They’d already said everything they had to say to each other.

As the crowd began to disperse outside, Sam spotted the young man and woman.  Her reaction was so subtle that those around her did not realize how startled she was.  She stopped walking, taking care to make her movement appear nonchalant.  To continue the conversation they were having, her brother was forced to turn, effectively blocking his view of the street where the car sat.

But Jack noticed.  Being equally cautious and casual, he stopped next to Mark and turned to survey the street.  It only took a moment for him to realize why Sam had stopped.  Fifteen, no now sixteen-year-old, Jack O’Neill sat in the driver’s seat of the beige sedan.  It took Jack longer to recognize the girl seated on the passenger side of the vehicle.  Although the angle at which he was standing allowed Sam only a partial view of his profile, Sam recognized the flow of emotions over Jack’s face; first confusion, the shock, and finally comprehension.  He actually smiled as he turned back to Sam.

“Let’s get moving,” Mark concluded, unaware of the untoward situation occurring.  Sam nodded as her brother and his family started toward the limo parked on the other street.

Jack hung back until she reached him.  “Lucy, you’ve got some splaining to do.”  All-in-all it wasn’t a bad Ricky Ricardo impression.  Sam gave a nearly imperceptible nod as she let out the breath she’d been holding, but remained quiet.

The gathering at Sam’s house following the memorial service resembled an Irish wake.  Sam spent the next two-hours alternating between accepting condolences and making sure everyone had enough to eat and drink.  She was hardly the little-Suzy-homemaker type, but could admit to herself she was happy to have the excuse not to spend too long with any one person or group.

Despite the fact that she’d been forewarned of her father’s imminent death, despite the fact that she was relieved he was no longer in pain, saying goodbye was much easier to do in theory than in reality.  She’d tried so hard to be philosophical about the whole thing.  After all, it had been over six years since her father had informed her he had cancer.  She’d almost lost him then, but the blending with Selmak had saved his life.  Since he’d become the liaison between the Tauri and the Tok’ra, there had been numerous occasions when he’d been in harm’s way.  He’d been tortured and sent to hell, figuratively speaking.  Just days before his death they’d been together, feverishly pressing blocks of stone in a last ditch effort to literally save all life in the galaxy.  You couldn’t get closer to death than that.  But he had survived, though the effort had cost Selmak too much energy and Jacob had known he would have very little time left.  Mostly she understood why he’d done it, but a small part of her was angry he’d sacrificed himself to do so.  She couldn’t stay angry though.  That was the problem.  Without the anger, all she was left with was a big gaping hole in her heart.  She tried to remember the happy times and be grateful for the time they’d spent together, but the fact was he would never come back.  And she was so sad.

She took yet another tray of dishes into her kitchen and had just set the tray on the counter next to the sink when Quinn came in to assist her.  He didn’t say anything, understanding she couldn’t handle anymore sympathy at the moment.  She rinsed while he loaded the various glasses, cups, and plates into her dishwasher.  They worked in companionable silence until Mark arrived.  “I don’t believe we’ve met yet,” Mark said politely.

“Not officially, I’m Jonas Quinn.”  Jonas took a moment to wipe his hands off with a dishtowel before offering his hand to Sam’s brother.  “I wish we could have met under better circumstances.”

“Did you know my father well?”  Mark asked, genuinely curious.  So many of the people here were Air Force, and Mark felt out of place.

“Not as well as I would have liked to,” Jonas replied earnestly.  “Your father was a great guy.  I learned a lot from him.”

They chatted for a few more minutes while Sam closed and started the dishwasher.  She left them to talk and ducked out her back door.  A few minutes later Jonas joined her on her patio.  “I just wanted to say goodbye.  Paul and Julia are driving me back to the base now.”

Sam nodded.  “I’m so glad you came.”

“I’m just thankful I had the chance to say goodbye to him.  I meant what I told your brother.  I’m grateful I had the chance to know him.”

“Me, too,” Sam said and smiled genuinely.  “And I’m happy you came, even if you had to watch me cry and fall apart on you the other night.”  Sam had talked his ear off the night her father passed away.  Jonas had always been a great listener and he and Sam had developed a close friendship during the time he’s spent on Earth.

He made a good sounding-board.  He had sat patiently while she’d poured out her troubles.  Not wanting to talk about her father, she’d spent most of the time explaining about Pete.  When she had finished, Jonas had simply opened his arms for a much needed hug and said, “You know what you have to do.”  His simple support and understanding had opened the floodgates and she had, quite literally, cried on his shoulder.  Then she had finally fallen into a fitful sleep.  In the morning she’d broken things off with Pete.

“What are friends for?”  Jonas asked, breaking her out of her trip down memory lane.

Sam followed Jonas back inside.  At the front door she gave him a hug and promised she’d visit when she got the chance.  She also said her goodbyes to Paul and Julia.

Their leaving started a mass exodus and before she knew it, only Cassie, Jennifer, Jack, her brother and his family remained.

Cassie and Jennifer made short work of the rest of the cleanup.  Sam gave them each her thanks with a hug.  Cassie had taken Janet’s death hard.  She’d debated selling the house, but Sam had advised her to wait before making any rash decisions.  Having Jennifer become her roommate had been a fortuitous choice for both of them.  The girls had become fast friends several years back, when Sam first introduced them while Jennifer was still attending the Air Force Academy.  Jennifer was working full time and pursuing her doctorate in her “off” hours.  Sam smiled, remembering it was Jacob who’d finally convinced Jennifer not to postpone her higher education while working at her dream job with the Air Force and Stargate Command.

Jack said his goodbyes to Mark, his wife, and children.   Telling Cassie and Jen to wait up, he stopped to give Sam a stare.  “Don’t think just because I’m leaving that I’m letting you off the hook.”

Sam laughed, “No, sir.”

Jack winced at the title.  There was so much for them to talk about.  But now wasn’t the time.  “Next week, I’m taking you fishing.”  Carter opened her mouth, but Jack didn’t wait to hear what she had to say.  “Shh!” he placed a finger over her lips and allowed it to linger for a moment.  “No more arguments.  It’s time, past time, for us to really talk.  So, I’m taking you fishing.”  Sam simply nodded.

Jack sighed heartedly as he started the drive from Sam’s house to Cassie’s.

Cassie smiled as she looked over her shoulder to where Jennifer was seated in the back of Jack’s truck.  Jennifer silently mouthed, “It’s about time!”  Cassie couldn’t have agreed more.


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