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26 December 2006 @ 02:47 pm
Fic: What's Simple is True, 7/10 (SG1, 12A/PG-13)  
What’s Simple is True
By Kyizi

Disclaimer:
Stargate: SG1 and all related items do not belong to me. Only the story and all original characters therein are mine. No copyright infringement intended.

All notes etc in Chapter One


Previous Chapters

| Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six |


* * *

What’s Simple is True


* * *


“Hey.”

Sam jumped and turned to the doorway, smiling at her dad. “Hey,” she replied, watching him as he crossed the room to stand beside her. They both turned to stare out the window at the Stargate, silently watching as Jack, Daniel, Teal’c, and Cassie showed Liam around the ‘Gate room.

“How you holding up, kiddo.”

“My son was invisible this morning and one of my six year olds can read my mind,” Sam said with a sigh. “I honestly have no idea.” She looked at him and smiled, before leaning against him and hugging his arm. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too, Sam.”

“What?” she asked a few minutes later and he frowned as she looked up at him. “You want to ask me something, I can tell.”

“Why didn’t you come back?” he asked softly. “When Orlin…when you were alone, why didn’t you come back to us?”

“I nearly did. It wasn’t the first time either,” she admitted. “I’ve long since lost count of the number of times I almost came back to you.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“Because…because I didn’t know who I was anymore, Dad. I needed to keep it together for the kids and…I don’t know anything anymore.”

“What happened, Sam? What made you give up everything you ever dreamed of to go into hiding? I know you finally ended up as an Aerospace engineer, but that was only in the last few years and it doesn’t even come close to what you gave up. Why?”

She sat up straight and shook her head, smiling at him. “I fell in love.”

“You were already in love.”

His response was automatic and clearly not something he had intended to actually vocalise. In fact, he looked as shocked by his words as she did.

“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She quickly spun on her heel and headed for the door, but he caught hold of her hand.

“Sam, come back.”

“Don’t tell me what to do, Dad, I’m not a child anymore.”

“Then stop acting like one.” She glared at him and he sighed. “Please, Sam, I don’t want to fight. Please, just stay.”

Sam seemed to consider this for a moment, before taking a seat at the briefing table. He joined her and sighed when he noted how upright she was sitting; it was clear that she was now very uncomfortable.

“I had no right to say that.”

“I loved Orlin very much, Dad.”

“I know you did. A fool could see it, but-”

“How would you know? You never saw us together. You never even met Orlin,” she said, frowning, and he grimaced. “Dad?”

“It’s a long story, Sam, a long story for another time. We can talk all this out later, just…you hurt a lot of people when you left and you can’t expect us not to want answers.”

“I don’t, but you need to understand that none of this was planned, Dad, none of it. Orlin took me away, but I could have left at any point. All I had to do was say the words and he would have brought me back home. Even before we returned to Earth. That’s why we returned to Earth; I couldn’t handle the isolation.”

“Were you happy?”

“I really think I was.”

“You think?” he asked, raising his eyebrows.

“I built a life with a man I loved very much and I have three beautiful children. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.”

“You traded everything else for that life.”

Sam sighed. “Not a day went by when I didn’t think about you all. Not one day, but I couldn’t have you both and I wasn’t going to let anyone hurt my children. If I’d turned up here with my kids, Dad, I had no guarantee they wouldn’t be taken away from me to be studied, or dissected, tested and prodded and…they’re my babies!”

“Okay, okay, I understand that.” Jacob smiled. “I never realised how much you wanted that kind of life, Sammy. You were always so like me…and that came out wrong.”

“I know what you meant. My career meant everything to me and I…” She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. “I nearly did come back to it once. I had the ticket and I’d packed my bags…I even made it to the airport.”

“What happened?”

“I fainted at the check in desk and was taken to hospital.”

“You were pregnant.”

Sam nodded. “With Liam. Orlin never spoke of it, but I know he wanted so much to make me happy and…he did, but sometimes…sometimes it wasn’t enough,” she said, trying to ignore the fact that she was crying. She felt as if she was betraying her husband by actually saying it. “I think the worst part is that he knew.”

“He would have brought you back even then, Sam.”

“Why do you keep talking about him as if you knew him?”

Jacob sighed. “Because I did.”

“I don’t understand, what are you saying?”

“It’s a long story, Sam, but there’s something you should read first.” He indicated the envelope she was still clutching. “George had something to say and I think that letter might explain at least part of it. Read it and, when you’re ready, come find me.”

“I should get back to the girls,” she said, still reeling from what he had said and trying to piece everything together.

“I’d like to meet them sometime…if that’s okay.”

“Of course it’s okay, Dad,” Sam said, getting to her feet and hugging him impulsively. “They’re going to love you.”

“Maybe I could come by tomorrow.”

“I’d like that,” she said, pulling back and smiling at him. “Maybe by then I’ll feel like I can actually explain something more about why all of this happened.”

“There’s no rush.”

“I know, but…”

“But you’re you and you need to have all the answers.”

She rolled her eyes. “Now you sound like Jack.”

“Well, we’ve spent a lot of time together since you left.” Jacob shrugged. “I think he missed you almost as much as I did, kid. More, even. He saw you more often than I did and…well…”

Sam averted her gaze and shifted on her feet. “I should go get Liam and head out.”

“Just a sec, someone wants to say hi.”

She frowned and then chuckled when his eyes glowed yellow. “Hey, Selmac.”

“It is good to finally be able to speak to you, Samantha.” Sam smiled at the use of her name, somehow almost expecting to be addressed as Major Carter by the Tok’Ra. “Your father has missed you greatly and I have also missed our conversations.”

“I’ve missed you, too, Selmac. I’ve missed everyone.”

“I will not keep you. I wished only to welcome you home. I know you must be anxious to return to your children.”

“I am, thank you. You know you could have told him to be quiet a lot sooner than this and we could have caught up,” Sam said, fighting a smile when her father took control in order to protest.

Jacob rolled his eyes. “She’s laughing. Do you have any idea how annoying she can be?”

“I’m sure she thinks the same thing about you.”

“Hey, you’re supposed to be on my side.”

Sam was about to reply when Jack appeared in the doorway.

“Hey, sorry to interrupt, but I think Liam’s getting tired. I doubt he’d admit it, but it’s been a long day. He’s currently trying to get Teal’c to tell him everything there is to know about, well, everything. I think we may have a future Doctor and Airman on our hands.”

Sam smiled. “That’s only if you can talk him out of joining the marines.”

“What?” both men cried out, glaring at her as if the entire thing was her fault.

“I can’t believe you let my grandson get ideas about joining the marines!”

“It’s not my fault!” she cried, squeezing past Jack and heading out the door. Somehow, she had the feeling she’d never hear the end of this one.


* * *


No one gets left behind.

For some reason those words were echoing inside her head as the envelope stared at her. She’d decided since the moment she picked it up after putting the girls to bed that envelopes could, indeed, stare.

“Stop being stupid,” she muttered, turning it over and looking at the seal. “It’s not as if you don’t want to know what he had to say. In fact you do want to know.” Growling she stared up at the ceiling, as if someone was watching her. “I hope you’re happy Orlin, I’m now talking to myself. I blame you completely.”

She shook her head and smiled sadly. She really missed him.

She looked once more at the envelope and nodded resolutely before ripping it open. She slowly unfolded the letter and looked at it, taking a moment to just stare at the familiar handwriting. She was struck with a sudden longing to see the man she had once called ‘Uncle George’ and she had to blink away her tears before she started to read.


Samantha,

Well, it certainly feels like a lifetime since I’ve said your name, let alone written it. I believe the last time I used it properly, I was very promptly put in my place by a beautiful, headstrong eleven year old, who demanded to be called ‘Sam’ from that day on. You were so much like your mother in so many ways, but I do believe that was the first time I realised that you were completely your father’s daughter.

I feel I should get quickly to the point, as I’ve tried to write this letter many times and I keep getting interrupted.

If you are reading this then that means that I’m no longer here. I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this, but I long ago suspected that it was unavoidable. I’m writing this letter for you upon your return to Colorado Springs and the SGC, because I know you well enough to know that you’ll have a lot of questions and you won’t be satisfied until you get all the answers.

By now you’re, no doubt, aware that the only trial you face is the one set by those who care for you. I hope to have effectively spared you the trial that the law demands of you. You’re probably wondering why your superior officer has ‘saved’ you from court martial, and a part of me is wondering that as well. But I think it’s safe to say that it isn’t General George Hammond that’s doing this; it’s your Uncle George.

When you left as abruptly as you did, and under the circumstances that you did, you left a lot of people angry, upset and missing you a great deal, and I will not deny that I was one of them. I want you to be aware that I didn’t just do this for you, I did it for them.

You see, I know that I’m dying. By now it’s likely that I’m gone, although you’ll find that most people were unaware that I was even ill. But I know I don’t have too long and this is my final wish.

You see, I’ve lived a wonderful life; I have a family who love me, and that I love in return, a job I enjoy, and an extended family beyond my wildest dreams. You are a part of that family, Samantha Carter, and I have no doubt that you would have been, whether I had known your father or not.

There was one lesson that my own father taught me that I will always remember, one that I hope will live on in my own family, and that is that a person should do all that they can to protect the ones they love. You’re a part of my family and I’ve protected you so that you may protect yours.

I suppose that you are wondering how I knew of your new life and I will tell you that it wasn’t an easy job tracking you down, but, if there is one thing I pride myself on, it’s doing all that I can for those people who matter to me in life. It took seven years after your disappearance for me to find even the slightest hint of where you might be.

About a year after you left us, Jack came to me in my office. He was convinced that he had seen you in the SGC. I dismissed his claims and gave him a week off work.

However, despite what I told Jack, I believed him when he said you’d returned through the Stargate. If there is one person that man knows, Samantha, it’s you. He said you were back and I believed him. However, it would not have done you any favours for certain officials to know that you had returned and, therefore, I officially dismissed his claims.

Finally, with the help of your father, we tracked you to North Carolina, and I guess things went from there, until the day we ‘went on vacation’ and witnessed you with your family.

And that is the main reason for all of this, Sam. Family. You have three beautiful children, and a husband who loves you. Now, I don’t know what reason has caused your resurfacing, but I know it will be difficult for more than just you, and I wish to make that as painless as possible.

Your ‘mission’ was simple, because I fully believe that’s the only way to get you out of this. Since your disappearance, we have had some brief dealings with the Ancients and my official report states that you were given the mission to protect an ally and oversee a scientific and anthropological study of our cultures. In order to maintain open relations with our new ‘Allies’ (and I do use that term loosely – perhaps you can talk your husband into opening more of a two-way communication now that you’re back) you were assigned as a liaison and guide.

As your family was more difficult to explain, I’m afraid I was required to fabricate a resignation letter. It wasn’t accepted, but I feel I should inform you of everything that was done. Now, when I say it wasn’t accepted, I simply mean that the President and the Joint Chiefs, knowing how important you are to this facility and to the planet in general, refused to accept it. When I explained that you wished to go against your mission protocol and marry your ‘associate’, it was decided that, as Orlin was not a member of our military, no formal regulations stood in your way and, therefore, your resignation was not necessary.

On that note, I’m glad that I got to see you with your family, and I’m glad that I was able to see you one last time before I passed. I realise you may be upset that we were visiting you without your knowledge, but we felt is was best not to interfere and you’ll just have to indulge the sentiments of two old men who care for you very much.

We both await your return, but at the same time we pray it will never come. We both realised a long time ago that only tragedy could truly force you out of concealment, and that’s the main reason we never let you know we were near.

Whatever has happened, Samantha Carter, Annie Walker, whoever you are at this moment, you will always be welcomed here, with my family, and, despite whatever anger has yet to dissipate, with your friends as well.

Welcome home, Sam. I pray that what I’ve done has been enough.

George Hammond.



Sam stared down at the familiar handwriting, her tears blurring her vision. It was possibly the longest she had ever heard Hammond speaking and she almost could hear him as she read the words. The letter was a strange mix of formality and familiarity and it almost didn’t seem as if it was the same man she knew and loved who had written it. Perhaps he hadn’t been the same. She’d left fourteen years ago and a lot could happen in that time, as was proven by the very presence of the children sleeping in the house.

His mentions of Orlin were almost enough to open the floodgates in and of themselves, but it was something that she was getting better at controlling. She didn’t think she’d ever truly get over the loss of her husband, but, somehow, it was getting easier to remember the good things and not focus on the things she had given up. Remembering him that way was just enough to make her realise that he was worth everything she had given up, even if it hadn’t always seemed that way. The more she thought about it, the more she knew that, eventually, they would have returned to her old life. The more she thought back to all the hints and all the conversations they kept having near the end of his life, the more she realised that he was eventually going to suggest it himself.

She shook her head and smiled as she re-read the letter, trying to remember everything she could about the man who had written it. Her relationship with him had changed from the moment she had joined the SGC, but on so many levels the family bond between them never really had. She’d often overheard other officers within the SGC commenting on the fact that SG1 were Hammond’s ‘favourites’, but it wasn’t something she could ever argue, so she had merely ignored it.

She took a deep breath and folded the letter, placing it back into the envelope and putting it into her handbag. She tugged on her boots and picked up her bag, making sure that the spare keys Amy had given her were inside.

She tiptoed up the stairs and looked in on her girls, smiling when she realised that they had all climbed into Katie’s bed and were almost lying on top of each other. She debated putting them back where they belonged, but was more worried about waking them than thinking they might fall out of the bed. Instead she pushed the blow-up mattresses the twins were sleeping on so that it was partially under Katie’s bed. Feeling better with the knowledge that, even if one of them did fall out, it would be a soft landing, she slowly backed out of the room.

She closed over the door and went down the hall to the spare room Liam was sleeping in and, hearing the computer blaring inside, she entered and instantly put on her ‘Mom is not impressed’ face. Liam turned around and smiled at her sheepishly.

“I wasn’t tired.”

“I don’t care, Liam,” Sam whispered sternly, crossing the room and switching off the TV.

“Mom! I was on the final level!”

“And I’m sure you’ll get there again,” Sam answered, pulling out the plugs and turning around, hands on hips. “But right now it’s oh-three-hundred hours and you should be sleeping, young man.”

Liam smiled and, without further protest, climbed into bed. Sam was so surprised by his cooperation that she was utterly speechless.

“You know, I used to think you did that because I want to be in the Air Force, I never knew it was ‘cause you were a Major.”

Sam grinned. “What happened to the Marines.”

Liam lay down and pulled the covers up to his chin. “Oh, Jack and Grampa Jake told me that Marines were just the stupid people that couldn’t make it into the Air Force, but with you as my mom, I’d be fine. Besides, Jack said he’d take me up in a plane some time and, if I was good, I could fly it.”

“We’ll see,” Sam said, sitting on the edge of his bed and matting down a wayward piece of his hair – it never sat straight, but she’d never stopped trying. “Grampa Jake?” she asked.

Liam shrugged. “Jack called him that.” He frowned. “Actually, he called him ‘Dad’, but when he was talking to me he called him Grampa Jake. Is Jack your brother?”

Horrified at the thought (and the implications given the complicated relationship she’d always had with her CO) Sam cried, “No!” rather loudly, completely forgetting that it was after three in the morning.

“What? Why else would he call Grampa Jake, ‘Dad’?”

“Because he’s…Jack,” she said, as if that explained everything and, to her, it did. However, her son was still waiting for a more thorough answer. “Liam, it’s…complicated.”

“Oh.” Liam frowned and then turned over suddenly, his back to her.

“Liam.”

“I’m tired now.”

“Liam, don’t do this, not now. I can’t handle anything else.” She tugged on his arm and he finally let her turn him onto his back. “Please.”

“Was Jack your boyfriend?”

“No, Liam, I already told you that Jack was my Commanding Officer. There are a lot of strict rules and regulations that prohibit anything like that between officers in the same line of command,” she said, not bothering to ‘dumb things down’ for him.

Liam had grown up with her for a mother; he had a substantial vocabulary and was, with no bias on her part (or so she liked to think), very intelligent for his age. The unfortunate result, of course, was that he had endured bullying from his peers who were a lot older than he was. They had debated for a long time in allowing him to skip a few grades, but Sam had refused to let him sit in a class he could have done three years before. The compromise has been to skip him up only two grades. She tried not to wonder if she’d have done this same thing if she’d realised how hard the other kids might be on him.

“Mom?”

“Yeah?” She shook her head to clear her thoughts.

Would you and Jack have been-”

“Liam, I can’t answer that. I don’t know.”

He nodded, but still seemed unsatisfied by her answer. If she was honest, he wasn’t the only one.

“I loved your dad so much and I wouldn’t give you kids up for anything.” She smiled. “Not even your arguing.”

“But you gave up your whole life for us, didn’t you? I heard Jack, Uncle Daniel, and Grampa Jake talking about it.”

“I wanted you to be safe.” She sighed. “Liam, I love you and I love your sisters and I wouldn’t change the past even if I could.”

“Okay.” He yawned and she smiled, leaning over to kiss his forehead. He scrunched up his face, muttered ‘yuck!’ and pulled his covers over his head.

“Good night, Liam,” she said with a laugh.

“Night, Mom. Wait,” he called and she turned around to look at him. “Where are you going?” he asked, indicating her handbag.

“I know it’s late, but…I have some explaining to do and, don’t ask me to explain why, because I don’t know, but I really have to do it now.”

“Before you chicken out?”

She smiled. “Something like that. Good night.”

She closed over the door and took a deep breath, walking slowly down the stairs and feeling very much as if she was walking towards a noose. She rather wondered if she might be. It was after three in the morning and she wasn’t exactly in his good books, but she owed it to him to tell the whole truth and, somehow, she thought it would be harder to do in the harsh light of day. It was easier at night, away from the base…easier when they could do it like that and then, as always, agree to keep it in the room.

Sighing, she left the Jackson house and got into her rental car, hoping that she could see the night through. She wasn’t sure how she was going to do this and, if there was one thing she was certain of it was that no one could hold a grudge like Jack O’Neil. What made it worse was that she knew she deserved it.


* * *

Part Eight

* * *