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To Elvis, Or Not To Elvis
The elevator doors slid open. Walter was waiting, a mug of coffee in hand, clipboard tucked beneath his arm. He offered both to the general who stepped onto the concrete floor of level twenty-seven.
"Good morning, Walter," Vidrine said amiably, accepting the coffee with one hand, the clipboard with the other. He barely glanced at the neatly typed notes.
"Good morning, sir."
George Hammond had been absolutely correct, Vidrine thought amusedly; the small, bespectacled man had been a god-send in keeping him and Major Davis up-to-date on all of the happenings in the SGC. The Pentagon general had hopes that today would be as quiet as the first two days had been. Routine check-ins from the various teams off-world; nothing more pressing than responding to the few requests from several of the scientific departments. According to Hammond, the coming week was predicted to be 'quiet'. Thank goodness! "What do you have for me this morning, Walter?"
"Well, sir, at 0730 this morning, SG-8 made their scheduled contact from P6J-908. They've requested permission to bring an alien life-form back to the base for further study," Walter replied, walking beside the general, heading in the direction of General Hammond's office.
Vidrine stopped mid-step, forcing the sergeant to backtrack. "Alien life form? Study? Are they serious?"
The look of shock on the dark face of his superior officer had Walter grinning from ear to ear. "It's just a plant, sir."
Vidrine heaved a sigh of relief. There was no way in hell he'd authorize actual aliens to be brought to the base. At least, not until Hammond had returned to deal with them!
"At 0830 you'll be debriefing SG-2, regarding their recent mission to P8F-809. Folder's on your desk."
"There's a meeting scheduled for 0930 with General Jacoby, regarding routine operation reports."
"Ah, yes, Charles Jacoby. Good man. I've heard he's enjoying his stint as CO of NORAD," Vidrine mused.
"He's a nice guy," Walter allowed. "The general says that operating NORAD and the SGC as two separate entities is the only way to guarantee that our security isn't breached, in either place. General Hammond makes sure that any requisition requests from the SGC are complete, so General Jacoby only has to submit them."
"I agree," Vidrine nodded. "So what can I expect during this meeting?"
"It's basically a break down of requisition requests. The SGC is listed as a department of Area 52, under the command of NORAD, so General Jacoby has to have a basic idea of what the SGC is requesting, in case anyone without proper clearance asks questions."
"I'm guessing that would be a supply officer from the Pentagon," Vidrine sighed.
"Yes, sir. It keeps everyone singing the same song, or so General Hammond says," Walter replied.
"I suppose it does.
"That's really all that's scheduled, sir," Walter said, almost apologetically.
"Good! With luck, it will stay this quiet," Vidrine said.
"I hope so, sir." Walter crossed his fingers. He certainly didn't want anything 'serious' to happen while General Hammond and SG-1 were off base. The last time anyone other than Hammond had been in command, the results had damned near seen the SGC destroyed. If that wormhole hadn't disengaged… He shuddered imperceptibly. The difference between General Vidrine and General Bauer was that Vidrine wasn't an NID puppet. And Vidrine respected the personnel of the SGC enough to let them do the jobs they'd been trained to do.
"I think I'd like to read the team reports from last week," Vidrine said. "Maybe I can be caught up before I leave here."
"You've been a tremendous asset. Thank you."
Walter smiled broadly. "You're welcome, sir."
A A A A A A
Casey settled into the seat. She'd flown more in the past three weeks than she had in almost a year! She sighed as she fastened her safety belt. She didn't like flying any more now than she had after the first time. It seemed that flying first class made the trip much more pleasant. That thought brought a smile to her lips.
"What?" Daniel asked, glancing at her. Given the giggles and laughter, and the early morning phone call that had his wife squealing with absolute delight, he knew something was definitely going on.
"This is a problem?" She bit back her giggles. She knew that Daniel was more than a little curious to know what Sam's call had been about. No doubt he wouldn't find the topic of that discussion nearly as exciting as she did. After all, confirmation that the team's wedding finery would be arriving at the hotel in Las Vegas by late afternoon wasn't something he'd find as important as she did. What he didn't understand, she thought, lacing her fingers with his, was that there had been a few hours of concern regarding the prompt arrival of the sarongs and Hawaiian shirts. Late arrival would mean one of two things: Sam wouldn't have her 'tropical theme' wedding, or she and Jack would have to reschedule their wedding at the Graceland Wedding Chapel. Rescheduling meant throwing a serious kink into the entire event, given that they only had five days of vacation, two of which would be spent packing for and making flights. Not that the flight was long…not more than an hour, actually. But what with boarding, getting the rental car, or turning it in on return, it did knock out a couple of hours of the day. Not having the brightly colored clothes would ruin the entire 'feel' of the wedding, which would take all the fun out of the day for Sam. Casey was well aware of the fact that now that all of the planning had be done, Sam was looking forward to her 'tacky', and what promised to be hilarious, wedding day.
Daniel studied his Wife for a moment. "I love seeing you smile," he replied softly.
"Everything is fine," she said, patting his arm with her free hand.
"Must be, if you're smiling," he teased gently.
"You know, I was afraid that Sam and Jack getting married in a tacky wedding chapel in Vegas would mean there wouldn't be any planning or worrying about little details. That hasn't been the case at all. And Sam's been so great about letting me help, and be a part of her big day."
That, Daniel thought, was what had bothered Casey the most…the fear that she'd not be able to 'share' her best friend's special day. "From all the calls and online shopping and laughing and squealing, I'd say there's been plenty of planning."
She looked up into amused cerulean blue eyes. "I guess there has been. I admit, shopping for my dress and attendant's dresses was different, but this has been every bit as much fun. Even if Janet could only join us by phone," she said quietly.
"So everything is okay?"
"Yep. Everything we ordered will be delivered to the hotel by no later than four this afternoon. Sam had to pay extra for overnight delivery, but hey, what's a wedding without a little expense, right?"
He chuckled out loud. Casey had bemoaned the fact that their wedding had cost a little over eleven thousand dollars, by the time everything from her dress to the wedding photos had been included. He'd never point out to her that after the wedding, she'd never made mention of the cost, or the loan she'd taken out, insistent that she pay for her own special day. That he'd managed to pay for the entire reception, the photos, and most of the loan payments had been nothing short of a miracle, given her mindset at the time.
Casey leaned forward, looked across the aisle at her best friends. Jack and Sam were talking quietly, their heads close together, their hands clasped tightly. She raised up to look at the row in front of her, where Janet and Teal'c were seated, facing the bulkhead. They too, were engaged in a private conversation. Settling back in her seat, she gave a soft sigh of happiness.
"I'm just so thrilled that our friends are as happy as we are," she said, sighing again.
"Me, too," he admitted. "There were times, just before Sam and Jack could be together, that I felt…guilty. There I was, head-over-heels in love with you, happier than I'd ever been before in my life, and my two dearest friends, who I knew loved each other, couldn't be together. And then…well, Teal'c didn't even have a woman in his life at the time."
She nodded. Daniel had told her of the conversations he'd had with both Sam and Jack; each confessing the love they felt, needing someone to know…to listen. "Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, scared to death that I've either dreamed my life for the past two years, or that something horrible is going to happen. For so long, this much happiness wasn't even something I dared to think about."
Daniel was well aware of the demons she struggled against, set loose in her heart and soul by the circumstances of her life as a child. He was also aware of the times she'd sit up in bed, her body trembling, the sudden movements waking him. The way she would reach out and so gently, almost hesitantly, touch him. The way she'd snuggle against him, clinging to him as if she were afraid he was going to leave her. He lifted her fingers to his lips. "It's all real, Angel. I guess the Fates have decided that we've both suffered enough in our lives."
"I guess so," she agreed. "Well, that, and given what we do for a living, we deserve a break."
He couldn't help but grin. "That, too."
Jack shifted slightly. Glanced across the aisle, grinned at the conspiratorial wink that Janet sent his way. She'd been able to take a look at his arm while the rest of the team was busy loading duffel bags onto the baggage cart. She'd pronounced it completely healed. It seemed that Daniel's, Casey's, Sam's and her own tattoos had healed just as quickly. Have to love this Immortality stuff, he thought.
"Getting nervous?" Sam asked.
"Nope." She frowned slightly. "Do you think this will change things? I mean, like the dynamics of the team?"
"Has anything changed since we've been able to be together?" Jack asked gently.
She shook her head. "But this is…we'll be married. It's a bit more permanent than just sleeping together."
"I thought you wanted it to be permanent," he said, willing his heart to stop pounding with absolute panic.
He gave her a crooked smile. "Just remember to say that when Elvis asks the question."
It was impossible not to laugh. "I guess I'm just a little concerned about possible ramifications."
"Sam, we've loved each other for years. You knew it, I knew it - hell, from what I hear, everybody on the base knew it. Our feelings never affected our actions while we were on missions."
"I wouldn't say that," Sam said softly. "I can think of a few times when those feelings drove us to do what we knew was against procedure, or against orders, or even just the smart thing to do."
"Lucky for us," Jack replied.
For a moment, Sam was lost in the warmth of his brown eyes. "Lucky for us," she repeated, the words almost a sigh.
"Look, if Danny and Radar can deal with being married and on SG-1, so can we." He looked over at his best friend, then grinned. "Besides, according to Radar, our hearts have been entwined for a long time. SG-1 has always operated a bit differently than any other team."
"Good point," Sam conceded.
"What's going to be weird to get used to is being a…general," he said, nearly spitting the word.
"You're the same man you've always been," Sam reminded him gently.
"I know. At least, I feel the same. I've been thinking-"
Sam nearly snorted out loud. Whenever Jack prefaced a comment with 'I've been thinking', nine times out of ten whatever he'd been thinking about was something truly entertaining, or absolutely ridiculous.
"I had this weird feeling just before we left the restaurant in DC the other day. I was wondering if you'd take a look at those general stars. Make sure there isn't any sort of mind control doohickeys in them. I mean, I had this totally 'general-type' thought. Scared the bejeezus outa me!"
There was no way to hold back her laughter. "I don't think that's possible."
"But you'll take a look, right? Just to make sure?"
The hopeful look on his face was her total undoing. As hilarious as the request was, and as typical as the suspicions were for Jack, there was no way she'd not do what he asked. "I'll take a look," she promised.
"I love you, Colonel," Jack sighed.
"Love you too, General."
"God, I hate that. 'General'." He shuddered slightly.
"You'll get used to it," she told him.
"Bet I won't," he muttered petulantly. Ignored her chuckles. Accepted the love she sent with a squeeze of her fingers against his own.
A A A A A A
Lou Ferretti, mug of coffee in hand, headed for the only empty table in the room. Nodded amiably at those who greeted him. As was his habit, the Marine major sat with his back against the wall, watching the people around him. It never ceased to amaze him how easy it was to read some people. That table of nurses, for example. All of them tossing glances toward the corner where Tony Sabotti was sitting with Doctor Parker. Both men, if the whispers among the women of the SGC were to be believed, were 'tall, dark, and handsome'. No doubt those lovely ladies were plotting and scheming to trap those fellas. Or at least get dates out of them.
Laughter from the table where the members of SG-7 were enjoying their lunch drew all eyes toward the center of the room. Lou felt a grin tugging at the corners of his own lips. There was something special about the bonds of a team. Friendships that were deeper and stronger than anyone outside the military, outside the SGC, could ever understand.
"Major," Deke Anderson, CO of SG-12, dropped down into the empty chair beside Lou.
"Major.," Lou replied jovially.
"Did you hear the latest scuttlebutt?"
"Depends. Which rumor this time?" Lou asked.
"The mission roster shows SG-1 on five days down time," Deke replied. "Starting today."
"Yep, it does."
"Rumor has it that the five of them, with Doc Fraiser in tow, are heading to Las Vegas."
"Well, everyone knows that Fraiser and Teal'c are a couple," Lou pointed out.
"True. Still haven't figured that one out," Deke muttered, shaking his head slightly.
Lou grinned. He had the feeling that the 'secret' that SG-1 shared, with Fraiser and Hammond, was a big factor in that rather surprising relationship.
"Anyway," Deke continued, "Coombs said he overheard Major…er…Colonel Carter," he corrected himself, "talking on the phone. Making arrangements for a ceremony at some place called the Graceland Wedding Chapel."
"I'll be damned," Lou grinned. "O'Neill is finally gonna make an honest woman outa the colonel."
Deke grinned as well. "So goes the scuttlebutt."
"Well, it's about time. Those two belong together as much as Doc and Radar."
"I hear that," Deke agreed.
"So what do you think about Vidrine and Davis running the show?" Lou asked casually.
"As long as it stays quiet, they'll do okay."
"Yeah. The SGC quiet. When has that happened for more than a day or so at a time?"
"Care to make a little wager on when all hell breaks loose?" Lou asked, grinning from ear to ear.
"Let's see, today is Tuesday…it was quiet over the weekend, and yesterday was downright boring…I figure tomorrow," Deke said.
"Any particular time?" Lou pulled a small spiral notebook from his pocket.
"No later than ten hundred."
"Got it," Lou said, writing down the time. "How much?"
"Put me down for twenty," Deke replied.
"Gotta admit, it's nice to know that O'Neill and Carter can be together in the open now."
"Now we all don't have to pretend not to see the sparks that were always flying between those two," Lou agreed.
"Sure wish I could have been there when Casey gave the president her opinion of the non-frat regs," Deke grinned.
Lou chuckled. "I'd rather have been in the White House, to see his face."
Deke laughed out loud. "Best thing that ever happened to this place was having Doc bring her here."
"No arguing with that."
"Is it just me, or has Doc been less annoying since he's been married?"
Lou chuckled. "He's not here twenty-four/seven."
"Maybe that's it," Deke laughed.
"I've never met a man more passionate about what he does. Damned good thing, too, or we never would have made it back from that first mission," Lou said, his voice as serious as his eyes.
"I've seen the mission report," Deke said. "Doc was showing his true colors the moment he took that staff blast to protect O'Neill."
Lou studied his coffee for a moment, then took a sip. "In spite of the way O'Neill had been treating him…the way all of us had been treating him."
"Not good, huh?"
"Not good," Lou replied. "We treated him like shit. Like he was an idiot. Maybe he didn't know jack about the military. But he was able to crack the mystery of that cover stone in two weeks. Best brains in the country had already been working on it for six months."
"I remember meeting him when he came back from Abydos," Deke said. "I don't think I'd ever met a bigger geek."
Lou smiled. "Never met a better man."
"Wonder if O'Neill will still be annoying."
"Not even marriage can change Jack O'Neill," Lou snickered.
A A A A A A
The plane touched down in Las Vegas on schedule. Accustomed to traveling together, the members of SG-1 reached for duffels and luggage, and followed Jack off the plane. While he dealt with renting a van large enough for all of them, the others took time to check email, send text messages to friends, or in Janet's case, to her daughter, letting all know that the team had arrived safe and sound.
"Okay," Jack said, finished at the counter, a set of keys in hand, "let's head for the hotel."
"I need to make certain my order arrived," Sam said, settling into the passenger seat beside him.
"Then we'll get our license."
Jack glanced over at his fiancée. Her voice had gone soft. Her sapphire blue eyes sparkled with excitement. He cleared his throat, then tossed her a rakish grin. "Not letting me out of this, are ya?"
"Just checking," he replied.
"What time is the wedding?" Daniel asked, settling into the middle seat beside Casey, wrapping his arm around her shoulders. He had pleasant memories of the week the team had vacationed in the city. With luck, there would be time to spend beside the pool. That he was anxious to see her in a bikini, with those sexy tattoos visible, was only part of the reason. Perhaps, he admitted to himself, the largest part.
"Two o'clock tomorrow afternoon," Sam replied. "We were going to try to have it at midnight, or even two a.m., but those time slots were already booked."
Daniel laughed. "Yeah, go figure."
"The limo will pick us up from the hotel at one-thirty. We'll have time for a champagne toast," Sam informed her friends.
"Ooo…champagne!" Janet said from her place beside Teal'c, at the very back of the van. Her eyes were twinkling with excitement.
"Probably want us tipsy enough to appreciate the show," Casey teased. "Or at least relaxed enough to enjoy it."
"Possibly," Sam replied good-naturedly.
"I looked up the chapel," Casey said, smiling when Sam glanced back at her. "Did you know that Jon Bon Jovi married his wife there? So did Billy Ray Cyrus. And Roger Glover…he's from Deep Purple. I actually have one of their CD's!"
"You? You weren't even born when they were at the top of the charts," Jack snorted.
"Yeah, well classic rock is considered classic for a reason, not just because it's old," Casey replied. "Anyway, the chapel offers traditional ceremonies as well." She looked over her shoulder at Janet. "Just so you know. As in, traditional."
Janet chuckled. Teal'c had laughed out loud when he'd told her of Casey's 'demand' that they have a 'real' wedding. "Duly noted."
Sam's attention was momentarily focused on her cell phone. She grinned, then glanced back at Casey. "All six packages arrived. They'll be in my…er…" she glanced at Jack, blushed slightly, "in our room."
"Oh, good," Casey sighed, putting one hand over her heart. "I don't think I could have taken the stress if they hadn't!"
"So, do we get to see this stuff, too?" Jack asked.
"Of course not," Sam said. Then started giggling. "You'll see yours when you get dressed."
Jack glanced at his bicep. Bit back his own grin. It had been easy enough to hide the new tattoo from Sam so far…they hadn't spent the previous night together. She'd been busy doing the online shopping thing with Casey, so he'd opted to go to his place and watch a bit of baseball. He'd even managed to find a hockey game. Sam had called around ten, full of excited news about finding the 'perfect' sarong, and that everyone in the wedding party, which meant the entire team, would be 'suitably dressed'. Then he and Sam had laughingly recalled the night before Daniel and Casey's wedding, and how they'd insisted that the two observe 'tradition' and spend that night apart. Sam had suggested observing that 'tradition' themselves, and Jack had agreed. The fact that it meant he could watch another hockey game only crossed his mind after she'd said goodnight. "Right. Should I be worried?"
Casey burst into giggles. "Just relax, Boss. And remember, it's supposed to be a luau."
"Luau. Right," Jack muttered.
"While you two deal with the marriage license, I think Casey and I will hit the pool," Daniel said, trying to sound casual.
"Why don't we meet up for dinner around six?" Sam suggested.
"That sounds like a good idea," Janet agreed.
"After we check the packages," Casey added.
"Right. You guys will have to entertain yourselves for a bit," Sam said.
"Guess we could drop a few bucks in slot machines," Jack grinned.
"At which hotel have you made reservations?" Teal'c asked.
Sam turned around in her seat, so she could see the Jaffa. "Mandalay Bay."
"Isn't that where you stayed the last time?" Janet asked.
"Yep. It was a nice place. Good service. Why risk being somewhere we might not like?"
"Good point," Janet conceded.
Jack stopped the van at the front doors of the hotel/casino. "What?" he asked, when Sam looked over at him.
"We're going first class this time, babe," he said softly.
Sam smiled, her sapphire blue eyes reflecting her love and happiness.
Daniel and Casey exchanged a glance, grinning from ear-to-ear at the quiet declaration.
As soon as Sam, Casey, and Janet were out of the van, they were heading for the concierge desk, almost at a run, leaving the men of the team to deal with what luggage had been brought.
"Should we be worried about this?" Jack asked, watching as the women were handed the key-cards to the rooms that had been reserved.
"Only if they get pissed at us before we get our copies of the key-cards," Daniel replied dryly. "Hell, there they go!"
Accustomed to moving quickly, without actually running, the men were able to catch up to the excited women as the Three Musketeers stepped onto the elevator…barely. The surprised looks from three lovely faces reflected the fact that they'd completely forgotten about their partners.
Janet read off the room numbers as she scurried down the hall…the three couples had been placed in rooms that were side-by-side. "This one," she announced, standing back so Sam could push the magnetic card into the lock.
Sam shoved the door open and raced into the room. The brown-paper wrapped packages were piled on the middle of the bed. "Yes!" she squealed, grabbing the first one her hands could wrap around. She turned around to see Jack, Teal'c, and Daniel watching her, amused and slightly curious smiles on their faces. Her attention focused on her fiancé. "Drop the duffels, then go find something to do for awhile."
"What about our license?" Jack asked.
"This won't take long," Sam promised. "I'll call you as soon as I'm ready to go."
"Right," Jack sighed.
"Later, Stud Muffin," Casey said. She handed him the key card for their room, barely taking the time to make certain he had it in hand before her attention returned to the packages on the bed.
"I'll be there in just a bit," Janet assured Teal'c, giving him the key card to their room as well.
Exchanging looks that bespoke their resignation, Jack dropped the duffel bags he'd carried in, and followed his best friends out the door.
As soon as the door had clicked shut, Sam ripped open the first package. "It's even prettier than it looked online," she said, holding up a lovely blue sarong. The blue was deep, not quite navy, and flowers of lighter blue covered the panel of cloth. The white flowers that stretched down the fabric in columns seemed all the whiter next to the dark color.
"Very nice," Janet said approvingly.
"Is Jack's shirt there?" Casey asked, reaching for the package.
It was. The red was as bright as the blue was dark, and the flowers were identical to those on the sarong.
"I like it," Janet grinned.
"Open yours," Sam said, thrusting the package Casey had dropped in her excitement to see Jack's shirt.
"I found an absolutely gorgeous yellow sarong," Casey told Janet, as she ripped open the wrapping. "It took a bit of looking, but we found a red shirt for Daniel, since he's Jack's best man, that has lots of yellow in it."
"The yellow in the shirt isn't exactly the same shade as this," Sam said, fingering the soft material of the sarong, "but it's yellow."
"Okay, what about Teal'c and I?" Janet asked.
Sam ripped open the remaining package. "We found the sarong, and we just knew you'd like it." She held up a long length of lavender material that had bright, bold colored flowers in the center.
"It's beautiful," Janet sighed.
"And check this out," Casey said, holding up a man's yellow shirt. It was covered with pink, blue, and lavender flowers, with green leaves and vines woven between.
Janet looked at the shirt. Then the faces of her two best friends. She burst into laughter. "It's perfect! No one would ever expect Teal'c to wear something like that!"
Casey poked Sam playfully. "What'd I tell ya?"
Sam was laughing as well. "No one will be able to accuse us of not looking like a luau is about to break out!"
"This is all about fun and being silly and tacky," Casey replied.
"Oh, it's all of that…and more," Janet chuckled.
Sam ran her hand over the blue sarong. "I just wish I could look like those models. You know, long hair flowing over my shoulders," she said, just a bit wistfully.
Janet frowned for a moment, then brightened up. "Hair extensions!"
"Huh?" Sam said, slightly bewildered.
"That's a terrific idea!" Casey nodded.
"One of Cassie's friends has hair extensions. They look great," Janet explained. "You could do it just for the wedding."
Sam looked from brown eyes to green. Then grinned ear to ear. "This hotel has a beauty salon."
"It'll take a couple of hours," Janet warned.
"The wedding isn't until two," Sam said. "We could send the guys out, tell them to take their shirts, and meet us when the limo arrives."
"Why?" Casey asked.
She ducked her head, but not before her friends saw the hint of a blush on her cheeks. "I'd like for it to be a surprise for Jack."
Janet barely bit back her smile. Sam's 'gift' to Jack might not be as permanent as his gift to her, but she had no doubt the general delight in it, all the same. "I think that's a great idea."
"Then it's settled," Casey said. She headed for the desk, grabbed the hotel directory. "I could get my hair French braided, or something."
"I wouldn't mind letting someone else do my hair," Janet said.
With a grin, Sam took the directory that Casey handed her. Found the number for the salon. And made three appointments for the next morning.
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