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30 April 2009 @ 12:17 am
Fic: What's Simple is True, 9/10 (SG1, 12A/PG-13)  
Notes: I posted the first chapter of this fic way back in March 2003 and I made a lot of headway with it before stopping. I didn’t pick it back up again until the end of 2006. I’ve actually had it finished since sometime in 2007, but after the initial rush to finish it, I didn’t want to so much as look at it again, because I’d read it so many times. Finally, I’ve pulled it out and dusted it off as much as I can. I can’t seem to get the start re-written, so I can only hope you’ll forgive the fact that the writing isn’t exactly my best in the initial stages and will stick with it until the end. It is, after all six years old!

Previous Chapters have been edited a bit, but the content is essentially the same
| Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven | Part Eight |

What’s Simple is True
By Kyizi

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.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Up to “Ascension”, season 5.

Pairings: Sam/Orlin, Sam/Jack, Daniel/OC, Janet/Evan Lorne

Summary: Fourteen years down the line Sam’s life is rapidly falling apart. In a desperate attempt for answers, Sam finds herself being forced to face the past, but she’s not sure she’ll receive a warm reception from old friends, or that she’ll ever be able to love again.

Word Count: 42,726 words

Dedication: For loriel_eris, because she’s stuck with me since the beginning and loved this story as much as I did.

* * *

Part Nine

* * *

“I don’t know where to start, Jan, I really don’t.” Sam sighed and almost inhaled the coffee she was holding. It had been a long time since she’d really indulged in so much of her favourite vice, but the stress of her current situation had brought back her old habits with an almost alarming intensity. She was going to be awake for days. “I assume you’ve been caught up on the latest,” she said with a wry grin and the petite doctor merely shrugged.

“I may have had lunch with Daniel and Amy yesterday.”

Sam nodded. “Amy told me. You had the right Jackson woman with you; I spent yesterday lunchtime cleaning up after the youngest one.”

“She’s quite the terror.” Janet laughed. Sam glanced at her curiously, before turning back to her coffee, and Janet frowned. “What?”

“I’m just wondering why you never had any kids.”

Janet shook her head. “Evan and I both decided that neither of us was cut out to look after a baby. We’ve thought about adopting now that Cassie’s gone. We kind of miss having a teenager about the house. I have to say, though, looking at what you’re going through at the moment is almost enough to put me of children entirely.”

Sam laughed. “Unless Evan is hiding something about his heritage, I don’t think you’d have to worry about my kind of problems.”

Janet chuckled. “That’s true. Now, you were saying?”

“Oh, God, sorry I’m late!” Both women looked up as Cassie dropped into the spare chair at their table. “Couldn’t get the car parked. This place is crazy. Why couldn’t we go somewhere else?”

Sam smiled at her, bemused. “Because I haven’t had a coffee from this place in a long time.”

“Sam and Daniel are the only reason this place is still around,” Janet said with a smirk. “They spent enough money in here during their first two years at the SGC to keep it going for decades.”

“I’d be offended by that remark if it wasn’t true.”

“You know that the coffee bean is one of nature’s poisons, right?” Cassie asked and Sam groaned as Janet smirked at her.

“You truly are your mother’s daughter, Cass.”

“So,” Cassie said, not beating around the bush. “You were going to be telling us about your kids. Mom’s filled me in about what you told Jack.” Sam knew that Jack (with her permission) had only passed on certain information to Daniel, but knowing that everyone was, by now at least, well aware of the feelings she had once had for her CO, the statement made her cheeks burn. Without waiting for Sam to answer, Cassie indicated to one of the waiters and ordered drinks for each of them. “So, I’m here, I’m listening, you may begin.”

Sam laughed. “You’re…different than I expected.”

“I’m almost afraid to ask what you expected.”

“She’s a bossy little know-it-all,” Janet supplied and her daughter glared at her. “What? You know it’s true. It’d bother me if it didn’t help shut Doctor Mackay up every other day.”

Cassie smiled. “You’re just sore because Dad told you to stop being mean to him.”

“I take my pleasures where I can. I swear, if he didn’t actually have so many health problems, his constant complaining would have had him out the door the first time he opened his mouth.”

“He sounds like a real treat, I can’t wait to meet him.” When her companions exchanged glances, she frowned. “What?”

“I don’t think you want to meet him, Sam,” Janet said and Cassie chuckled.

“Yeah, I think he used to have a crush on you.”

“He’s never even met me!”

Cassie smiled. “Yeah, but he used to work for the Pentagon. I think he got your old job when you left for the SGC, so he used to read all your reports and stuff.”

“Oh, God. I remember Paul talking about him now that you mention it.”

“Yeah, Dad said you knew the Colonel.”

Sam smiled. “It’s weird to know that you’re not talking about Jack when you say that.”

“It’s weird to hear you call him Jack,” Cassie retorted. She shrugged. “SG2 are a weird team.”

“Don’t you let your father hear you say that.”

“He knows it,” Cassie said. “He says it all the time.”

“Who’s their fourth?” Sam asked, smiling at the familiarity of listening to Janet and Cassie bantering. Whilst it was strange to hear Cassie refer to a father, their interaction clearly hadn’t suffered when Janet had married. In fact, it seemed as if that had actually made them closer. She knew that Janet and Cassie had been fighting a lot before she left, especially as Cassie got older, but the introduction of another member of their family seemed to have helped moderate the arguments into something more civilised and, in the long run, that showed.

“Lieutenant Pike. He’s a munitions expert. He’s kinda quiet, actually, I can count on one hand the number of words he’s said to me and I think they’ve all been ‘hi’.”

Sam laughed. “I’d imagine with Paul on the team, he doesn’t get much chance to say anything.”

“That’s what Evan says,” Janet said with a frown. “But I don’t think I’ve ever had a proper conversation with him. He just does his job.”

Cassie shrugged. “He hangs out with Colonel Sheppard and Doctor Mackay, I think. They were all supposed to go on the Atlantis Mission, but when the ‘Gate wouldn’t lock they were reassigned to the SGC.”

“That made a lot of waves, I can tell you,” Janet muttered. “Colonels Sheppard and Sumner didn’t exactly hit it off.”

Sam smiled. “You’ll have to tell me about it sometime.”

“But not now,” Cassie interrupted as their drinks arrived. “Right now, we’re here to talk about you and your kids. What’s the latest?”

Sam groaned. “I think Alice can speak to the Ancients…in her head.”

“Wow,” Cassie said. “And I really didn’t think your life could get any weirder. Seriously. That’s…messed up.”


“I’m sorry, Mom, but it is. I’d be freaking out.”

“Yes, but we’re here to make sure that Sam doesn’t and that is not helping.”

Sam laughed. “No, but the two of you together are.”

“See, I’m helpful. I am of use.”

“Then help me out of this one, Cass,” Sam said with a sigh. “I could really use anything I can get.”

“Right. Okay. So, what do we know? They each seem to have developed a different ability, right?” Sam nodded and Cassie smiled. “Well, that’s one thing. If they all end up developing the same abilities at least you’ll know what to expect.”

“I’ve actually been thinking about that,” Janet said, leaning closer to ensure that no one was listening. The café they were sitting in was often frequented by Base personnel, but, despite that fact that they weren’t talking specifically about matters of National Security, they last thing they needed was for the wrong person to overhear them. “I don’t think they will develop the same abilities, in fact they may not even develop any more at all. I may be wrong, but from the tests I’ve already done on Liam and the fact that they have all developed differently, I get the feeling that this is much the same situation as a human child becoming proficient in different areas than his or her siblings. Your brother’s an English teacher, am I right, Sam?”

“Yeah, he is.”

“And you’re a scientist. I think this might just be the same thing, but with their father’s genes coming to the fore.”

Sam nodded slowly, considering the idea. “It’d certainly make my life a lot easier, but…Jan, I haven’t even spoken to Alice about, well, anything and Sarah’s…” Sam let out a slow breath. “I’m just not handling this at all.”

“That’s funny, because only yesterday we were all talking about how well you were handling everything.” Janet smiled at her. “I think you know by now that motherhood is the one thing that you will never have all the answers for.”

“And,” Cassie interjected. “The way I see it, the universe figured you were too smart to deal with just the normal problems and decided to set you a harder challenge.”

“I think they set this one too hard. My kid’s lives are never going to be the same again.”

Janet winced. “Actually, from what I can tell, the girls’ lives are going to continue exactly as they always were. It seems they’ve been aware of their ‘special talents’ for a long time.”

“Then why hasn’t Liam?”

“Maybe the need just hadn’t arrived. Orli- sorry, Kevin, had to want to do what Liam can. I get the feeling that Liam had never felt the need to disappear before. At least not as strongly. And, maybe he has actually done it but he just didn’t know it.”

“That sounds more likely. I can’t remember how many times I just wanted to disappear,” Cassie said. “Especially in High School…and on my Bachelorette Party.”

Sam laughed. “Yeah, your mom told me about that one.”

“It was not my fault and I have no idea where the chickens came from!”

“They were roosters dear,” Janet said with a smirk and Cassie glared.

The three women started to laugh and Sam finally felt herself relaxing again. It seemed as if whenever the subject turned to her children every muscle in her body tensed up.

“So, what’s next?” Cassie asked her mother.

“I was thinking about planning dinner.”

Sam smiled. “Now that sounds like a good idea.”

“At the General’s.”

“Even better,” Cassie added with a grin. “We can invite everyone and have a proper homecoming for you. And this way none of us have to do the cooking!”

“Maybe we should check first,” Sam said warily, despite knowing that the former-Frasier women had already decided.

“Oh, don’t you worry about that,” Janet said with a smirk. “We have a secret weapon.” She inclined her head to the left and Sam laughed when she realised that Cassie was already on the phone to Jack.

The General really didn’t stand a chance.

* * *

“It’s the Carters! And the Jacksons! Welcome,” Jack said, ushering them inside. Sam took one look at his ‘don’t blame the chef’ apron and laughed.

“Covering all your bases, Sir?”

“The management takes no responsibility for loss of appetite, taste buds, hair, or any other- gah! The steaks.” Jack rushed off towards the patio doors, calling out “Make yourselves at home,” behind him.

“Jack’s a little crazy, isn’t he?”

“Yes, Liam,” Sam said with a smile, as Daniel snorted. “Jack’s a little crazy. But don’t think for one second that ‘make yourself at home’ means you get to hide in the den playing computer games all night.”

“Oh, mom!”

“Don’t you ‘oh, mom’ me, Liam. Outside. Now. All of you.”

The girls scurried off into the back garden and Liam trailed half-heartedly behind them. Sam rolled her eyes at his theatrics, but refused to change her mind. Following their children into the yard, Amy, Daniel, and Sam found that they weren’t the first to arrive. In fact, it looked like they might be last.

In one corner of the yard, Cassie and Janet stood by Teal’c and a young man Sam assumed was Cassie’s husband. There were nine men (including Janet’s husband, Evan Lorne) and three women sitting at the large outdoor table that Jack had pulled out for the occasion, and Jack and her father were tending to the barbeque. There were also a handful of children running around and she was happy to note that the girls had joined in effortlessly. Liam had also spotted a boy and girl, who looked to be about his age, sitting under a tree and was moving towards them.

Whilst Daniel moved to Tealc’s side and Amy moved to join the others at the table, Sam headed straight for the barbeque. She smiled as she watched her father and her former CO arguing good-naturedly about the logistics of serving the guests and was happy just to watch until they noticed her presence.

“Sammy,” her father said, he and Jack turning to face her suddenly. It appeared that neither General had lost his periphery senses; they both knew when they were being approached. “Will you tell him that there’s no way that eight kids can eat twelve full steaks.”

“What? Kids eat a lot.”

“Jack,” Sam interjected, before the argument could fully develop again. “Five of those kids are under ten. You’re going to be eating leftovers for a week.”

Jack sighed. “Fine. But I still say we should cook ‘em all anyway. Someone’ll eat them.”

“Well, Tealc’s here,” Sam pointed out, shrugging at her father.

Jack smiled, glancing over her shoulder. “Yeah and SG2 can put away a lot, too.”

Sam turned to see Paul heading her way and she offered him a wave. He grinned and pulled her into a hug when he arrived on the patio.

“Hey, how are you?”

“I’m good, thanks. Your mission go okay?”

Paul groaned. “Don’t ask. Just know that I hate mud.” They all laughed knowing, from their own experience, exactly what he meant. He frowned at her, but was still smiling.

“What?” Sam asked, self consciously.

“I didn’t really notice how different you looked when I saw you the other day. I like your hair.”

“Thank you,” Sam said, laughing. “I never quite know what to do with it. Sometimes I think about just chopping it all off, but I don’t think the girls would forgive me.”

“I like it. It suites you, don’t you think, Jack?”

The look on the Paul’s face told Sam that he was exactly the same man she had known all those years ago when she worked for the Pentagon; the difference was that he was now well placed within the world of the SGC, he was friends with the same people she knew and loved, and he knew exactly what can of worms he was opening with that question. He also didn’t seem to care. It seemed he was no longer as wary with Jack as he once had been.

“Yes, Paul,” Jack said, the look in his eyes telling the man that he was going to make him pay for that one later. Jack glanced at Sam, catching her eyes and smiled softly. “It suites her just fine.”

Feeling a blush spread across her cheeks, she self-consciously tucked her hair behind her ears and cleared her throat. “I think I’m going to head over and meet Cassie’s husband,” she said, excusing herself.

As she wandered across the garden, moving quickly out of the way as Katie and Sarah chased a young boy across her path, she noticed that Evan had joined the group. Smiling, she approached, taking her place next to Daniel and Teal’c.

“It’s nice to see you again, Major Lorne.”

The man rolled his eyes and laughed, throwing his arm around Janet. “I think you can call me ‘Evan’,” he said with a grin. “It’s good to have you back, Major Carter.”

“I think you can call me ‘Sam’,” she returned, holding out her hand. “And you must be Richard,” Sam said, turning to the tall man standing next to Cassie. “It’s nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” he said, holding out his hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you. Cass talks about you all the time, especially since you got back. I wish you could have been at the wedding.”

Sam smiled sadly. “So do I.”

“Cassie tells me you’ve been in protective custody,” Richard said, seeming genuinely concerned.

“Yeah,” Sam said, nodding. “For a long time.” She was suddenly aware of just how hard Cassie’s life must be. She was married to a doctor. A bright, intelligent, young man that she loved with all her heart, who knew nothing about the fact that she was technically an alien and had no idea she travelled to other planets every week.

“That must have been hard,” he continued.

“Yeah. Yeah, it was. I missed everyone a lot.” Sam regarded him with a smile. He wasn’t what she’d expected would be a good match for the bright, energetic young woman that Cassie had become, but Sam instantly felt that he was perfect for her. He was the calm behind the storm, in a way, and something about him just put everyone at ease. She hadn’t quite known what Daniel had meant when he told her that, but she could already tell that he was right.

“Grub’s up!”

They all turned as Jack headed for the table, his arms laden with plates of food. Her father, Paul, and a man that Sam didn’t know followed with more plates. It took half an hour of cajoling the younger children into calming down enough to eat before the adults were really able to appreciate their – now cold – food, but Sam was enjoying every second of her evening.

“So, Jonas, I’m sorry, where are you from?” she asked, helping herself to more of the vegetables that Janet had brought with her.

“Eh, Jonas is my cousin from up North,” Jack said, his eyes telling her the truth, and she almost winced at her unintentional slip up. “You remember, Carter.”

“Sorry, yeah.” She glanced at the man, who was grinning widely at her, showing off his dimples. She couldn’t help but smile back. “You like it here, though, I take it?”

“Love it. The food’s so much better.”

A groan came from more than one person at the table and Sam grinned. It was clearly a topic that came up often.

“So what part of Deep Space Telemetry drew you to the project on the mountain,” Richard asked and Sam wondered if the man truly believed their terrible cover story.

“A change of scenery, more than anything,” Jonas replied, unperturbed. “I looked into my other options, thought about maybe trying Europe, but when my Cousin Jack, here, made me an offer? Well, I just couldn’t refuse.”

The conversation was quickly steered away from work and Sam happily settled into her surroundings. She found that, yes, Cassie and Janet were right and that, perhaps, she and Rodney Mackay were never meant to meet. However, it seemed that the presence of Paul and Colonel Sheppard (“Call me, John.”) somehow kept him from alienating everyone. He was soon deep in discussion with more than half the table about the science of film, or rather how it couldn’t really be called science at all.

Sam’s head was spinning as she tried to keep up with names and faces, trying to log everything in her head so that she could remember it all later. She was eventually drawn into an in-depth conversation about the merits of Country music with John, Evan, and Major Ashley Harper (a member of SG7, along with Jonas, Cassie, and John) and found herself pulled into a lively debate that rivalled the ones she had often had with Terri on the subject. She found that Cassie was right about Pike’s ability to remain silent, even in the midst of conversation he was involved in. But more than that, she was happy to say that the more she conversed with everyone the more she could completely understand Jack’s choice of replacements for SG1.

Captain Michael Ward was a light-hearted, pleasant man who didn’t quite seem completely at ease within his CO’s home. Sam knew that, as much as Jack needed to like his team and be liked in return, he appreciated that the line of command needed to be followed. Jack needed to know that, even in this social setting, if they were suddenly called to action, Ward would instantly drop his carefree, relaxed posture and follow Jack’s command. It was something that, even despite the unusual circumstances that had surrounded Sam’s own relationship with her CO, Jack had always known would be the case with her; first and foremost, she had to be capable of following his command no matter what the circumstances had been when they had been called to action.

As for the other replacement within SG1, Sam had to admit she had initially been rather uncomfortable at the idea of being replaced by someone so…young and gorgeous. It seemed, however, that she wasn’t the only one who had initially been daunted by the meeting and, luckily, the feeling hadn’t lasted long on either side. Whilst Doctor Olivia Bennett had been rather unsure about talking to her at first, when they had begun to help clear the table the two women had bonded over Gravitational Waves and the Grand Unified Theory. It all seemed rather cliché, given their line of work, but, having had certain experiences that were directly linked to the topic, Sam found herself conversing passionately.

Whilst Olivia had studied straight Physics, rather than Astrophysics, given her current line of work, the woman had a certain degree of interest in Astronomy and they soon found themselves engaged in conversation that was equal parts interest and knowledge on both sides. So much so that Sam didn’t even notice the time until Sarah crawled into her lap and promptly fell asleep with her face in Sam’s neck.

“I think I might need to get the kids home,” Sam said when Olivia laughed at the snuffling sound coming from the six year old. “What time is it?”

“Past midnight,” Paul supplied as he approached.

“Midnight?” she asked incredulously, looking at her watch more out of habit than thinking that he would be lying to her. “I can’t believe the time got away from me so fast.”

Olivia looked worried. “I’m sorry for keeping you.”

“Are you kidding?” Sam asked, grinning. “That’s the most thrilling and intelligent conversation I’ve had in a long time! Don’t get me wrong, Liam can hold his own, but there’s only so much a twelve year old can understand.”

Olivia smiled. “I know what you mean. My niece just turned eleven and she’s decided she wants to be a physicist like me, but she gets really angry when I talk about something she hasn’t learned yet and won’t talk to me until I give her as much research on the topic as I can find. She doesn’t even understand it, she just wants to make me proud.”

“That’s something I can understand,” Cassie said, smiling at Sam as she approached. “Richard and I are leaving now, but I’ll see you on the base tomorrow?”

Sam nodded and smiled as Cassie pulled her into as much of a hug as she could manage with a six year old between them. “Say good night to Richard for me?”

“I will, he’s outside trying to manoeuvre the car out of the driveway. I think Rodney’s jeep is blocking us in. John went out to see if he could get it out of the way.”

“Yeah, I think he’s just gonna stay out there and wait for us; we’re leaving now as well,” Paul said. “Shep gave us a ride in Rodney’s jeep. His car’s in the shop and McKay’s more likely to kill himself if he’s driving alone.”

“Hey!” came an indignant reply from across the room. “It’s not my fault that my mind is better occupied by more exciting details than the rules of the road.” Paul rolled his eyes, but he was smiling as Rodney gathered his coat and called over his shoulder. “John said to hurry up or he’s leaving without you.”

“We’re just coming,” Paul said, shaking his head. “I’m off duty for the next few days, but you have my number?”

Sam nodded. “Yeah, we should go for a coffee.”

“Sound like a plan.” He leaned down to kiss her on the cheek and went looking for his daughter, Joanne, whom he found curled into a ball next to Katie and Major Harper’s youngest daughter, all of whom were fast asleep.

“How’s he doing?” Olivia asked quietly and Cassie sighed.

“Better. Dad says he did better today than he has the last two years.”

During the rest of their afternoon in the café, Janet and Cassie had filled her in on most of the goings on within the SGC and the conversation had focussed mainly on the people who had been present at the barbeque. After finding out about her past friendship with Paul, the two women had told her about how her friend had lost his fiancé, Jessie, two years before and today just happened to be the anniversary of the day she had died.

“I’m surprised he didn’t bring Natalie tonight.”

“Who’s Natalie?” Sam asked, shushing Sarah as she started to whimper in her sleep.

“Joanne’s nanny.” Cassie sighed before answering Olivia’s question. “I think he felt awkward having her here today, given that we’d all be thinking about Jessie and I think Nat still feels like she’s trying to take over Jess’ life when she’s around us. Jess was great and everyone loved her. I remember when I came back from my final year at University and Mom and Dad were on holiday. Jessie insisted that I stay with them, even though I was eighteen. She was convinced that I’d spent every moment of the whole year either studying or partying and not eating properly, so she was determined to take care of me, even though she was pregnant. She was really funny and sarcastic and she just fit with everyone. I think Natalie feels like she’s imposing, or that we’re all looking at her and wishing she was Jess.”

Sam glanced over at Paul again as he made his way to the door with Joanne in his arms. She’d missed out on so much and, no matter how much information was given to her, she wondered if she’d ever know her friends well enough to fit in with them again. The group had grown and changed and so much had happened in her life and in theirs, that Sam wasn’t so sure there was a place for her anymore. There were things she just didn’t know, because she hadn’t been there and, given her faux pas with Jonas earlier, Sam wondered what other bits of information people had forgotten to tell her, simply because they forgot she didn’t already know. It was that, more than anything, that drove home just how much she had lost by leaving.

* * *

Part Ten

* * *