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The Wedding Planner - by iiiionly


 

“Hey, Sam, am I interrupting?” Dr. Daniel Jackson wandered into the astrophysicist’s lab on one of his rare breaks, sipping steaming coffee from a mug that read Archeologists do it in the Dirt. “What ya doing?”

“Hey.” Sam glanced over her shoulder. “What are you doing?” she countered, debating the wisdom of leaving the magazine open on her counter or doing the telltale closing and shoving in a drawer thing. Either way he was bound to notice. Daniel always noticed. She swiveled around as he came up behind her. “You bringing that for me?”

“No,” the archeologist responded, restraining a sigh as visions of his coffee disappearing danced before his aching eyes. “But you can have it if you want it. I won’t tell Pete we’ve been swapping germs.”

Sam relieved him of the mug, if only to give him a hard time. “Ummm.” She sipped blissfully, eyeing her teammate over the rim. “Why is it your coffee is always so much better than anywhere else on base? And when was the last time you slept?”

“Uh, let’s see – it comes from a coffee grinder instead of a can?” Ignoring her second question, Daniel planted his elbows beside her as Sam turned back to the counter. “Have you and Pete set a date?” he asked, tilting his head to look at the magazine she’d been thumbing through.

“No. We’ve decided to get married at the Justice of the Peace though.”

Daniel raised an eyebrow. “Oh?” The single word held a wealth of meaning.

Sam closed the Bride Magazine she’d been idly flipping through, thankful it was Dr. Jackson who’d caught her and not General O’Neill. “A wedding seems like a total waste of money. Pete’s already been through one train wreck, so he’s perfectly fine with a JP ceremony.”

“Of course he is, he’s a man.” Daniel, however, wasn’t about to let her slide the issue into a drawer. “Are you okay with it?” He pulled the magazine out from under her hand and let it fall open, inspecting the two pages Sam had been staring at dreamily. “This one?” He tapped a picture of a low-cut dress with a fitted lace empire bodice that flared from the hips into a swirl of frothy silk and satin.

“Umm, pretty isn’t it?” Sam sighed.

“You’d look awesome in it,” Daniel replied simply, thumbing down the top of the page before turning to the next . . . and the next . . . and the next, pointing out several Sam would look equally stunning in as he went. “You know, you could still wear a gown even if you end up at the Justice of the Peace.”

“What’s the point? We’ve agreed to wear our Class A’s.”

Daniel glanced at her curiously. “Would you like to have a wedding?”

Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, theoretical astrophysicist, sighed again. “I don’t know the first thing about weddings, Daniel. It’s such a girlie-girl thing. You know me, am I the wedding type?”

Daniel shrugged. “Doesn’t every girl dream about a wedding? If you and Pete aren’t comfortable with a big, grand affair, do something small.”

“We’ve talked about maybe having a reception.”

“Then you definitely need a dress. And frankly, I think you should have a wedding. This is a big step. Even though we were already married according to Abydonian law, Sha’re and I formalized our union in front of the rest of the village.” Daniel turned down the tops of several more pages. “I don’t know, Sam, I think there’s something magical about a wedding. Not that a wedding will keep you together . . . it’s just, you know, a public declaration. A sharing of your joy in coming together. I think you ought to consider it.”

“Really? You think?” Sighing again, Sam flicked her fingers at the magazine. “I don’t know. I don’t think either of us are the wedding type.”

Pete had seemed relieved when Sam had dismissed the whole nuptial thing as more trouble than it was worth. After all, they weren’t teenagers in the first throes of passion, needing to declare their undying devotion for each other in front of witnesses. They were mature adults, mutually agreeing to a formal union rather than just living together.

“What we should really do here is enlist Teal’c. In fact, I bet he’d make a terrific coordinator.”

“Oh, right, funny man!” Sam rolled her eyes. “Teal’c, the Wedding Planner?” She laughed outright, her quasi-depression instantly dispelled.

“Hey, I think I’m on to something. You know he could to it.”

“Get serious. Teal’c knows even less about weddings than I do.”

“Ahhh, but Teal’c has the time and he navigates the Internet like a pro. Think about it. You could get married in the chapel over at Petersen, or for that matter, since Pete knows – get married in the Gate room. ‘Course, you won’t be able to show anyone your pictures. Or here’s a thought.” Daniel flashed a sideways grin as he came to the last page in the magazine and flipped back to the front. “Get married off-world; that’d be a hoot! And a story to tell you grandkids besides.”

“Uh, you do realize before you get grandkids, you have to have children.”

“What? Pete doesn’t want kids?”

“Well, uhmmm, actually we haven’t gotten around to discussing that aspect . . .” Sam trailed off.

“So?” Daniel tapped a picture of an avant-garde gown on one of the pages he’d thumbed down. “This would be perfect for you. You’ve got the height and the figure to carry it off with panache. Do you want kids?”

Sam glanced over to be sure she’d heard him correctly. He’d slid it in so causally he might have been pointing out another dress.

She cleared her throat. “Well, yes, of course. Down the road somewhere. I’d have to give up SG-1 though.”

“Why?”

“Because . . .” Sam began, then stopped. “The Air Force would never let me anyway.”

“They can’t discriminate on that basis.”

“Don’t be naïve, Daniel. Of course they can.”

“So get a nanny. My parents didn’t stop being archeologists because they suddenly had a kid.”

“I think there’s a slight difference between going to a foreign country to dig in the dirt and going off-world to places no one knows about, doing who knows what with guns and rocket launchers and grenades.”

“Annhhhh,” Daniel shrugged. “Not so much.”

“Really? You think?” Sam repeated, still trying to wrap her head around Teal’c, The Wedding Planner, let alone children.

“Well, I’m sure there’d have to be some compromises; I don’t see you hauling a baby around along with your backpack, although I suppose you could get one of those snuggly things and have the kid on the front. But come on, Sam, if Jack can be a general, surely you can be a mother.”

“See, there’s the flaw in your plan, the General is no longer a member of SG-1,” Sam replied dejectedly.

“Sure he is. Jack will always be a member of SG-1; he doesn’t get to go out with us as often as he’d like to, but we haven’t replaced him.”

“Jack doesn’t get to do what?” General O’Neill strolled into the lab, hands thrust in the pockets of his BDUs. “I was just down at your office, Daniel, looking for the two of you.” He picked up the half-empty coffee cup, sniffed it, and took a swallow. “Ya know, I’m thinking about ordering you to set up your coffee maker in my office.” Jack drained the mug and thumped it back down on the counter. “Where’s Teal’c?”

“In the gym. You want all of us, sir?” Sam inquired, closing the magazine and sliding it as subtly as possible under a stack of printouts.

“No, just wondering what you guys were up to. Anything interesting?”

“Well, that depends, sir. I have the latest readings from the UAV we launched yesterday, on P8X-949. The planet—“

The General’s hand went up. “Aht! I’m sure I’ll hear all about it at the briefing, Carter. What is it Jack doesn’t get to do anymore?” He crossed his elbows on the counter and leaned into their space.

Daniel rolled his eyes. Jack was bored and looking for entertainment; which likely meant he was facing a ton of paperwork. The remainder of SG-1 had been on his case constantly about getting a full-time assistant, something he’d never gotten around to doing since the COC had landed him with a ringer the very first day of his command.

“I just said you aren’t able to come out with us as much as you’d like anymore.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

Sam very pointedly did not look at Daniel, hoping he would take the hint. The General would be all over them like fleas on a dog if they so much as exchanged a glance and she had no desire for him to learn about this particular itch just yet.

Daniel covered it nicely. “We’re missing you; hanging out with you. You hardly ever come down to my office anymore and when we come hang out in yours, you kick us out.”

Jack sighed. “I’ve got important stuff to do now.”

“Like reviews? Again?”

“Yes, dammit! Didn’t we just do those last month?”

“Uhm, it was six months ago, Jack. Remember? You made Teal’c and me write all those nice things about Sam and her new command?”

“Oh. That was six months ago?”

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” Daniel quipped.

“Well, at least somebody’s having fun,” Jack commented, looking at them interestedly. He snagged a stool with his foot, pulled it over and sat down, obviously intent on staying for a while.

“Why won’t you get a new assistant?”

“What were you guys talking about when I walked in?”

“You heard us, we were talking about you,” Daniel replied, fixing the General with a gimlet eye. “So stop prying, or we’ll go off base to talk about you. Hammond never stalked us.”

“Daniel?” Sam inquired in an undertone. “What are you doing?”

Daniel glanced at her innocently. “Well, he didn’t. We’re entitled to private conversations.”

“So, Carter, you and Pete set a date yet?” Jack changed the subject without blinking an eye, his lips didn’t even twitch, but he had to work hard at it. You didn’t make General without learning a thing or two about keeping on top of your command.

Sam glanced betrayingly at Daniel, who continued to stare at Jack.

“No, they haven’t,” Daniel answered, still not looking at Sam. “Pete wants a JP ceremony . . ."

“Smart man,” Jack murmured.

“. . . and Sam thinks she’d like to have a wedding. I’ve been trying to talk her into letting Teal’c be her wedding coordinator.”

“What?” A series of snapshots of the Jaffa flashed like a slideshow through Jack’s mind. Teal’c dressed as a waiter on a television set they’d tracked a real live alien to; Teal’c, on that same trip, demanding more quarters for the vibrating bed in their hotel room; Teal’c sporting cowboy hat and boots, looking like an out-of-work actor from an old B movie; Teal’c wearing full Serpent Guard armor, complete with glowing eyes.

But Teal’c as a wedding coordinator?

“No way,” Jack dissed scornfully.

“Care to make a little side bet on it?” Daniel offered. “Let me remind you, just so you don’t come back later whining about getting suckered, we’re talking about a man who watches Oprah every afternoon he’s on-world and Tivo’s it when he’s not.”

Okay, he had forgotten that, but he still didn’t think the Jaffa warrior would go for something sissy like planning a wedding. Jack supposed Carter was entitled to some sissy feelings. After all, she was a girl, but this was carrying it a little too far.

Enlisting Teal’c as a wedding planner?

“It was my idea,” Daniel told him uncompromisingly. “And if Teal’c wants to do it, you need to leave him alone. He’d be a real asset to Sam in helping to plan. And – you need to let her do this while we’re here on base during our down time. There’s only so much you can accomplish on Saturdays, you know.”

“Anything else, General Jackson?”

“We’ll let you know as things come up.”

“Sir,” Carter began, blanching the color of a peeled almond.

“No need to apologize, Carter.” Jack rose from his stool. “I’m considering the source. Listen, you want to have a wedding, you go for it. You want Teal’c to coordinate? By all means, if he’s willing, use him and abuse him. But be sure you drag Daniel into all of this since he’s the one that came up with the idea in the first place.”

“Now wait a minute . . .” Daniel sputtered.

“Yes, sir.” Sam punched her pseudo-sibling in the ribs with a discreet elbow. “Absolutely, sir.”

“And Carter?” The General glanced over his shoulder as he smacked the doorframe on his way out.

“Sir?”

“We wanna be your bridesmaids. Just don’t put us in pink. Dr. Jackson, you’re finished for the day. If the sign-out desk doesn’t report your departure within the next half hour, I will personally be escorting you to the surface.”

“Hey!” Daniel balked, “I can’t leave yet!”

“Yes, you can and you will.”

Daniel matched one of Sam’s quasi-depressed sighs, but winked mischievously as the sound of Jack’s footsteps faded away. “He was bound to find out sooner or later, this way we have his blessing. Come on, let’s go find Teal’c.” He straightened and pushed off the counter, looking longingly at his empty coffee mug. Not that he needed it anymore. Jack didn’t make empty threats.

Sam started turning off various humming, beeping, whirring, whining machines, so the ambient noise in her lab dropped by ten decibels. “I need to run this by Pete first.”

“Pete’s madly in love. He’ll do whatever you tell him.”

“That’s hardly a good basis for beginning a marriage.”

”Yeah, you’re probably right. So let’s ask Teal’c, and then you can discuss it with Pete.”

“But I don’t want to hurt Teal’c’s feelings if he says yes and Pete says no.”

“Trust me on this; Pete’s going to say ‘Just tell me where to be’.”

“But . . .” She was rapidly running out of arguments in the face of Daniel’s undaunted persistence.

“Sam, be honest. You’d really like to have a wedding, wouldn’t you?”

“All right, if I’m totally honest with myself, yes. I always dreamed about having a wedding when I got married.”

“Good, let’s go talk to Teal’c.”

“Alright, but then we’re going home.”

“Yeah, I got that.”

*  *  *

Teal’c had been a godsend. She’d come into work the morning after and found Daniel and Teal’c setting up a second computer station in her lab. At breakfast, Teal’c had handed her an entire legal pad filled with ideas, suggestions and lists.

They’d been scheduled for a meet and greet the next day, which Daniel strolled in to announce, late in the afternoon, had been handed off to another team, leaving them free for another two days.

She’d broached the subject with Pete that night over hors d'oeuvres and the most expensive wine on the menu at the first exclusive restaurant she could book on short notice, Blue Vervain.

Pete the cop had been instantly on the alert, but she’d mellowed him with that bottle of Nickel&Nickel Truchard, followed up with Russian egg wraps and Thai-style shrimp ceviche.

When she’d finally worked up the courage to ask, he’d been so relieved he’d gone all goofy on her. Daniel, as usual, had called it perfectly. Pete’s ultimate response had been, “Just tell me when and where and I’ll be there.”

Now Teal’c was insisting D-day had arrived. She would have to choose a dress before they could go ahead. The gown would be the foundation of the bridal party; it would affect the choice of floral arrangements, the style of clothing the remainder of the wedding party would wear, etc.

She was not expecting, or even hoping for success. Clothes for Sam were functional. The little black number she’d originally knocked Pete’s socks off with had been a Janet-driven purchase, from one of the infrequent trips she’d allowed herself to be dragged along on to quiet both Janet and Cassie’s continual efforts to include her in their bizarre shopping rituals. Cassie had been mad to come on this trip, but a last minute scheduling change at the Academy had nixed that. Sam would gladly have cancelled; her wedding planner, however, refused to let her back out. So in accordance with the General's orders, she'd dragged Daniel along instead.

Flanked by the Jaffa and the archeologist, she strode purposefully across the parking lot, determination straightening her spine even as panic squeezed her bladder.

 

Conquering the Goa’uld had been easier and much more satisfying, Sam thought, as Daniel opened the shop door and ushered them into the depths of hell.

A bell tinkled merrily over their heads as the trio stepped over the threshold, pausing instinctively on the landing to adjust to the low lighting.

Daniel flicked off his clip-ons, glancing appreciatively around the beautifully rendered showcases. Beside him, he heard Sam suck in her breath apprehensively. “Don’t panic,” he murmured, “Remember, they’re only dresses.”

It wasn’t a large shop, but you couldn’t turn your head without being assaulted by visions of bridal gowns, wedding parties and wedding paraphernalia of every size and shape imaginable, all in shades of white, cream, and bone. Every nook and cranny boasted not-to-be-missed brides from the average to the extraordinary.

In one sweeping glance, Sam registered a svelte gown fit for a mermaid, decorated with tiny, white dangling shells sewn into a gossamer tulle overlay that sparkled with iridescence; a cream-colored, off-the-shoulder gown layered from bodice to hem with yards and yards of flounces, with a lace mantilla veil draped over the shoulder of the dressmaker’s dummy; a Western attire ensemble with a cowboy hat sporting a lace veil and hand-tooled, white leather boots; a Marie Antoinette-style gown, the fitted bodice dripping Venetian lace, with a pannier skirt and a loopable train that had to be at least six feet long; and a casually elegant little antique white number that, if dyed black, could turn up without blushing at any affair involving cocktails. And those were just the visible nooks and crannies. She grabbed Daniel’s elbow and closed her eyes, dizzy with the vastness of choices.

Daniel patted her hand absently, murmuring vague reassurances as he, too, tried to quantify the number of choices to be had.   

In the meantime, Teal’c adjusted the brim of his black-felt fedora, glanced over the goggling group of women, and inquired coolly, “Which of you is Theadorakerrigan?”

“Oh.”

Disappointment dimmed three bright smiles.

“She just stepped out for a moment.”

“Colonel Carter has a 3:00 o’clock appointment. Will Theodorakerrigan be back in time for that appointment?”

“Oh, absolutely, Thea’s never late. Would you like to take a seat in our waiting area?”

“Can we get you refreshments? Coffee? Tea?”

The unconscious sighs had Sam smiling despite her nerves. “What should we do? Just wait?” She half shrugged and sidled closer to Daniel, slipping a hand under his elbow.

He drew it in closer to his body, reeling Sam in too. “You want to look around while we wait?”

“I don’t know. It’s a little . . . overwhelming. What do you think, Teal’c?”

“Theodorakerrigan assured me she would have a selection of gowns to match your specifications ready for us, Samantha. However, if you wish to browse until she arrives, perhaps you may find something that pleases you more.”

“Is it okay if we look around?” Daniel asked. ‘Who knows, we might come up with other ideas.”

“Of course, feel free to wander.”

The three women converged behind the counter, though they individually busied themselves at different tasks. This was an exclusive shop, catering to a wealthy clientele, and the sales assistants knew their place. That didn’t keep them from stretching their ears to hear everything they could of the low-voiced conversations.

“Do you think the General will agree to it?”

“It was his idea, Sam. He can’t very well say no after instigating it. But what’s Pete going to say?” Daniel moved them off the landing and down the two steps into the shop itself, heading for the section with the mermaid gown.

Teal’c followed a step behind.

Hidden from the envious eyes of the assistants, Sam let go of her lifeline and began to peruse the gowns. She shrugged again as she fingered the heavy satin of a floor-length gown with a severe A-line cut. “You guys are my best friends. The only other person I’d want to stand up with me would be . . . Janet.” The name still brought the sting of tears and Sam swiped at the betraying moisture on her cheek. “Sorry, sorry.”

Daniel, two dresses down, moved back to drape a companionable arm over her shoulders. "Don't be." He gave her a quick squeeze. “How about a tribute in the program; maybe something on the platform? A bouquet in her place? We’ll do something to let her know she’s still part of us.”

“I’d like that.”

“So what’s Pete going to say when you tell him your bridesmaids are mostly men?” Daniel repeated, wandering a few paces further along the row of dresses.

“I don’t mind if he asks his women friends to stand up for him.”

“Sam,” the archeologist chided gently. “Does Pete have women friends like you have men friends?”

“Probably not.” Sam caught up with him again.

“So, how do you think he’s going to feel?”

“I don’t know. But frankly, it’s not his choice, and if he doesn’t understand how I feel about the three of you, then there’s really no point in going through with this, is there?” She pulled an antique-white, mandarin-collared dress off the rack and held it up, glancing at both Daniel and Teal’c. “Because my feelings for you are never going to change. Ever.” She smacked a kiss on Daniel’s cheek, hung up the dress, and spun to stand on tiptoe to hug and kiss Teal’c as well. “I will love you until the day I die.”

The shop bell tinkled again, admitting a small, hurrying figure in turquoise silk slacks and a flowing purple top. “Christy, is my 3:00 o’clock here yet? I need to . . . Oh, you are here already!” She advanced on the trio with a wide smile and both hands outstretched. “I’m so sorry I’m late, Colonel Carter. May I call you Samantha? I’m Theodora Kerrigan, but everyone calls me Thea or just Tee.”

“Indeed,” Teal’c intoned, causing Sam to giggle uncharacteristically and Daniel to grin broadly. “You are not late, Theodorakerrigan, we were slightly early.”

“What is it?” Thea glanced inquisitively from one grinning face to the other.

Daniel glanced at Sam, then Teal’c. “Sorry, an inside joke. Our boss calls Teal’c, T. The uhmmm . . . comparison . . .” The linguist’s hands fluttered expressively. “Anyway,” he shrugged, “we’re here a little early.”

“Ahhhh.” The diminutive fairy princess smiled. “It is amusing we would share the same nickname.”

The 6’4” Jaffa inclined his head gracefully. “It seems we have something in common, Theodorakerrigan. If you have other responsibilities you are required to care for before you begin with us, please feel free to do so.”

“Oh, no, no. It’s fine. I just wanted to freshen my face.” She patted her own flushed cheek. “It’s a girl thing. I believe I spoke with you, Mr. Teal’c.” The name rolled off her tongue as though she used it every day. “On the phone.”

She was such a tiny thing, Teal’c could practically have held her in his cupped hands, Daniel thought. She reminded him of the fairies sleeping curled in and around the capital letters in ancient Celtic manuscripts.

“It is just Teal’c.”

“Oh, then you must call me Thea, or Tee.”

“And this is Dr. Daniel Jackson.” Sam drew him forward.

Thea, however, was staring up at Teal’c. “I’m sorry, for a moment you reminded me of someone I knew back home.” She shook her head. “But that’s impossible.” She switched her gaze to Daniel, smiling. “Dr. Jackson,” she greeted, still fluttery. “Would you all like to come this way? I have some dresses set up in the changing area. If you like any of them, Samantha, perhaps you’d care to try them on. Is either of you gentlemen the groom?”

“No,” they both declaimed hastily, neither of them offering any further data on the status of their relationship to the bride.

Sam was again too nervous to add anything more.

This really was too girly-girl for her peace of mind. She was far more comfortable in her fatigues and combat boots, studying some alien gizmo in her lab, than standing here amid all the finery of wedding paraphernalia.

Daniel and Teal’c were ushered to a pair of wingback chairs separated by a small, spindly-legged table, and offered coffee or champagne.

Daniel accepted coffee; Teal’c declined both.

Directly in front of the chairs was a wide, carpeted dais, two feet high by five feet wide. Three broad, shallow steps fronted the platform that housed a floor-to-ceiling three-way mirror. To the right of the dais was the dressing room, to the left, a series of dressmaker’s dummies had been artfully arranged to highlight the unique features of the dresses they modeled.

Each gown had been accessorized with various wedding accoutrements - a hat or veil, one had a pair of gloves, another was ornamented with a glittering hand-net of diamonds, each one had footwear of some kind, though all were different. Two had bouquets, while another had white silk roses strewn across the train as though Mother Nature, not in her Oma Desala incarnation, had invoked her bountiful blessings on the dress.

The boys each had a favorite.

The moment she set eyes on it, Sam knew which one she would pick. An unusual bout of female intuition had her deliberately saving it for last, though she listened with a grin each time Daniel and Teal’c good-naturedly argued the relative merits of the gowns she modeled for them.

  There was no arguing when she swept out onto the dais in the last gown. Both men sucked in their breath and held it, gazing at her with glazed eyes.

“Holy Hannah, Sam,” Daniel breathed in awe when he could actually gather enough saliva to speak again, and intentionally usurping Sam’s pejorative. “It was made for you.”

“Indeed, Samantha, the gown suits you to a tee,” Teal’c agreed solemnly.

“It’s perfect,” Thea added delightedly. “I believe that dress was created just for you, Samantha.”

“Only Teal’c calls me Samantha,” she murmured, turning to make sure the enchanted mirror hadn’t turned her back into a frog - or a theoretical astrophysicist. “I’m Sam to everyone else.”

The dress was made of glistening white satin that molded her tall, lithe figure as though she wore water, fitting like a body-glove one second, then settling into flowing lines of perfection the moment she was still.

An empire waist showcased the hand-appliquéd décolletage rimmed with tiny seed pearls, and her generous bust, while the sheer back came up to form a high, open collar that framed her lovely neck to perfection. More minute pearl buttons marched in a perfectly straight column down the back of the dress, snugging the shimmering fabric to her curves as if it indeed had been made to order for one slightly dazed Air Force colonel.

Thea had paired the dress with a picturesque, wide-brimmed hat courting a wisp of veil, and elbow-length gloves in the same fabric as the sleeveless dress.

Sam had donned both and looked as though she’d stepped out of another era.

“You look like a fairy queen, Sam.” Daniel carefully set his delicate china coffee cup on the table and rose to go stand behind her. “Pete’s not going to know what hit him,” he informed their joint reflection. “You are going to do the traditional thing, aren’t you? And not let him see you until you come down the aisle?”

“I hadn’t given it a thought,” Sam replied honestly.

“You ought to.”

“I believe Danieljackson is correct, Samantha.” Teal’c rose and moved to flank her on the other side, hands clasped behind his back.

Behind them, Thea scooted out of view and motioned her associates to come and see.

“Have you been able to get in touch with Jacob?” Daniel asked, trading glances with Teal’c in the mirror as he spoke to Sam.

Both men smiled at the appreciative ooo’s and ahhh’s as Thea busied herself behind them, twitching at the beautifully draped train flowing down the shallow steps.

“He’s going to be there.”

“Good. What about Mark?”

“Yes. Casey and the kids are coming, too. Teal’c, can we work Joanna and Jules into the mix somehow?”

“Of course. Your young nephew might enjoy being one of the ushers and perhaps your niece could oversee the guest book and present programs to the guests.”

Sam met the dark gaze in the mirror. “You know I could never have done this without you?”

Teal’c inclined his head. “That is a patently false statement, Samantha. But I have gained immense pleasure from the process. I am honored by your willingness to permit me to contribute.”

“It is not a false statement at all and if you really mean it, you’d best thank Daniel,” Sam replied, long accustomed to the Jaffa’s formal style of speech. “He’s the one who got us into this whole mess.” Smirking, she gathered up the train and headed back to the dressing room with Thea in attendance to undo all those tiny buttons.

Teal’c only raised that infamous eyebrow and intoned with just a hint of a smile, “Then I must extend my gratitude to you as well, Danieljackson. I have always believed you to be most perceptive where your friends are concerned.”

“You may not thank me when the entire base starts demanding your services as a wedding planner.” Daniel pulled his cell out of his back pocket. ”I need to make a phone call. Back in a sec, okay?” Flipping it open, he punched in the number for time and snagged one of the women as he passed.

Thea was coming out with the dress over her arm as he wandered back into the display area.

“When we’re done here we’re supposed to call Jack. He wants to meet us for supper at Woodrow’s. You guys up for it? Or do you have plans with Pete tonight, Sam?” Daniel raised his voice enough to be heard through the partition wall.

“Pete’s back in Denver wrapping up a couple more things. He’s put his house on the market, did I tell you?” she responded from the dressing room.

“No. You guys going to live in yours? Or are you looking for a new place?”

“We’ll probably stay in mine for awhile.” Sam stepped through the double doors, shrugging into an ankle-length duster over jeans and a T-shirt. “I really don’t want a bigger house. You know how much I like housekeeping. With two of us and a bigger place . . . I don’t think so.”

“Get a housekeeper. Jack likes his. Are you going to take the dress today? Since it doesn’t need alterations?”

“I could hang it over the bedroom door and look at it for the next month, huh?”

“Or hang it in your lab and see it twenty-four/seven,” Daniel teased.

“I don’t think I want to keep it there, too risky.”

“True. Can we take it today?” Daniel asked Thea.

“Of course. Give us a few minutes to pack it up. You should take it out of the bag a few days before the wedding to let the creases hang out, Sam. It shouldn’t need pressing at all. Would you like to have a seat while you’re waiting? Or if you prefer, you’re welcome to browse some more while we put things together for you.”

”Teal’c, were we going to ask about a florist?” Sam inquired, checking off another item on her mental wedding list.

“The caterer offered the names of several florists I have already contacted. However, it you would like to price compare—”

“No!” She shuddered theatrically. “No, if it’s already covered, let’s not mess with it. So then, everything’s pretty much under control?”

“Now that you have selected a dress, we may begin the process of selecting floral arrangements that will enhance the entire affair.”

Oh, yeah, it was a really good thing Teal’c had taken to this like a duck to water.

“Then I don’t need to browse. Let’s just wait. How ‘bout if I take care of the bill while you’re packing it up?”

“Oh, I believe that’s been taken care of already.” Thea bustled away with the dress before Sam had quite caught the gist of her reply.

The associates, too, melted away like snow in hot sun.

Sam looked at Daniel suspiciously, then Teal’c. “What did she say?”

“She said, ‘I believe that has been taken care of already’.” Teal’c seated himself again in the chair he’d vacated only a short while before. “Would you care to sit down, Samantha?”

“Okay, what have you two cooked up?”

“I have cooked nothing today,” Teal’c bowed his head.

Sam was sure he was hiding a smile. “Daniel?”

“Hmmmm?” He returned her regard with such innocence she was almost convinced.

“I never even looked at the price tag, you know.”

“Good.”

“I can’t let you do this.”

“Why?”

“Because . . . I don’t know. Because – you’re not really related to me.”

“Ouch, that hurts. And in every way that counts, I am. I want to do this for you. Please?”

“There’s no need—” Sam began.

“It’s already a done deal.”

She stared at her friend a moment longer, imitating the linguist’s usual awestruck pose, then snapped her teeth together with an audible click. “Thank you. I love you.”

“I love you, too, and that’s exactly why I want to do this for you. Thank you for letting me.”

Sam threw her arms around him.

“We’ve got the rest of it covered as well,” Daniel whispered in her ear, winking at the Jaffa over her shoulder.

She pulled back, wide-eyed.

“We are your family, Sam; we want to do this for you.”

Sam sucked in her breath. “Daniel, we’re big people. We both have good jobs. It’s not like we need—”

”Thank you works well here, too,” he suggested dryly. “Do you have any idea how much we love you? We’d give you the moon if we could, Sam.” He hugged her tightly. “But we had to settle for Pete. And we’re okay with that - for as long as you are.”

“What’s this? You’re expecting me to get divorced?”

“Absolutely not. But if you do, we’re on your side.” Daniel stepped back, sliding his hands down to her slender wrists and clasping both her hands. “Unconditionally.”

“Even if it’s my fault?”

“Well, if you throw your dirty underwear on the floor, always miss the toilet and expect him to pick up after you, we might conditionally back you. But we’ll still be on your side.”

“God, I love you guys!” Sam planted a smacking kiss on Daniel and flopped backwards into Teal’c’s unsuspecting lap, grabbing his face and pulling him down to plant a smacker on him as well. “We still need to look for tuxes for you.”

“You know, we could probably just wear suits.” Daniel sank into the other chair, slinging one long, jean-clad leg over the arm so he faced Sam and Teal’c.

Teal’c had adjusted his lapful of Lt. Colonel and was quite comfortably supporting the armful of slightly giddy woman sprawled over him.

“Nope, if you’re gonna be my bridesmaids you have to dress alike.”

“No bouquets.”

“No bouquets,” Sam agreed. “Teal’c would look funny with a bouquet. Something in blue, I think,” she mused.

“Sam,” Daniel warned. “Let’s not.”

“You’d all look good in blue.”

“How ‘bout silver to match Jack’s hair?”

Sam chuckled. “Nope, I think a real dark blue, with a baby blue for shirts. Cassie's dress could match the shirts.”

“What’s Pete wearing?”

“Pete’s eyes are hazel. Green tuxes are out, you’ll look like leprechauns. Brown’s just plain ugly.”

“What’s wrong with black? How ‘bout black with blue shirts and ties?”

“Teal’c, I want blue.”

“Then we shall wear blue, Samantha.” Teal’c smiled down at her. “I do not believe I have ever witnessed you in this particular elevated mood without having consumed vast amounts of intoxicating beverages.”

“You’re probably right; I am kinda high right now.” Sam leaned back against his arm, grinning up at her teammate.  “Recognizing how much you’re loved really revs those endorphins. Thank you – both of you – for everything. And I don’t just mean this . . .” She waved an arm to encompass the wedding paraphernalia. “I mean - everything. Did I mention I love you guys to death?”

“Once or twice,” Daniel chuckled, “but we can stand to hear it again.” He straightened, sliding both feet to the floor as Thea came around his chair.

Sam didn’t bother.

“Oh, don’t get up on my account.” Thea patted Daniel on the head as she maneuvered around him, then paused, obviously debating the wisdom of handing off the box to Colonel Carter. She turned back to Daniel, who rose. “All right, I guess you’re the chosen one after all.” She laughed, glancing at Sam as she handed the boxed dress to the gentleman without a female on his lap. “Don’t forget, take it out of the box a couple of days before the wedding, to let any wrinkles hang out.”

“Thank you, Thea.” Sam beamed up at the diminutive creature. “I probably don’t have to tell you I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this.”

Part 2

 

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