Title: It Only Hurts When I Breathe
Pairings: Sam/Shelley Established Relationship.
Summary: Shelley begins to realise that she has to make a commitment.
Notes: Titles from the Shania Twain song of the same name. I thought it appropriate as the fics about Shelley moving on.
‘I’ve spent the last two years looking for answers. And in all that time I can only come up with one. I love her.’
From the moment they’d stepped on P3D654, Shelley had been curious. They’d never come across such a progressive people when it came to same sex relationships. Shelley had been intrigued and had spent many an hour talking to practically anyone who would share his or her experiences with her.
During their stay on P3D654, Shelley had gotten to know a few of the locals. It was clear to a few of them, right from the beginning that she and Sam were together. They way they looked at each other. The way their hands would linger over the briefest of contact. For the first time in a long time, Shelley felt relaxed, at ease. She didn’t feel like she had to hide who she was, hide how she felt. That’s when she had decided….
For a while now, Shelley had been thinking about her future. Her future with Sam and their future as a family! Sam had asked her a few months ago about the prospect of marriage. Even though they couldn’t do it legally in Colorado or even because Sam was military! They had been sure, that there was a way. That somehow, they could be married. Only 2 things seemed to be in their way. 1, was finding somewhere and 2, which was the hardest for Shelley to come to terms with, was getting divorced.
Shelley knocked on Jack’s office door and waited. She still couldn’t believe that he was General O’Neill now. It was strange. He was a General and Sam was, Colonel Carter. Shelley smiled to herself as she remembered how they’d celebrated Sam’s promotion.
‘Come in,’ Jack shouted.
Shelley looked around, barely seeing Jack’s head above the amount of paper work on his desk.
‘You busy?’ she asked.
Jack gestured to the files and crap on his des and shook his head.
‘No. Not busy. Not for you anyway. What’s up?’ He asked.
The redhead moved a few files that were on the chair in front of Jack’s desk and sat down. She’d been preparing in her head about how she was going say this.
‘Since I came back from P3D654, I’ve been thinking about my future. And I thought you were the best person to come to for advice.’
‘Well,’ Jack said. ‘I’m not only your C.O. I’m also your brother. So… what is it?’
Shelley took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly.
‘I want you to find out, how I can get a divorce.’
There, she’d finally said it out loud. What she’d been thinking for the last few days. Jack knocked over a pile of folders as he stood up from his chair. He hadn’t been prepared for what Shelley had just asked.
‘Divorce! Are you sure?’ he asked.
Shelley nodded, and then shook her head, indecisively.
‘No, yes… No. I know I have to do something to make a step forward. It’s been a long time, Jack. And I love Sam. She deserves better than this. She deserves a commitment.’
‘And you don’t think buying a house and living together is a commitment?’ Jack asked.
‘Of course it is.’
Jack moved another pile of folders on his desk, out of the way, so he could sit down, in front of his sister.
‘But are you sure about divorce, Shell? What if…’
‘It’s not going to happen, Jack. We both know that. And even if he did…’
Shelley stopped in mid-sentence. She didn’t like to think of Daniel coming back. It just confused her way too much to even contemplate it. Several scenarios had gone around in her mind, all of which ended up with someone getting hurt. This was the best way, the only way to save all the pain if it ever happened.
‘It’s the only way. I just don’t know if I can even do it! Doesn’t a person have to be missing for 7 years before being declared….’
‘In the military, it’s a year and the remaining spouse can request a divorce.’
‘But he wasn’t…?’
‘I know. But he did work for the Air Force. Leave it with me and I’ll make a few calls, see what answers I can get.’
Shelley stood from her chair, kissing her brother on the cheek.
‘Hey, you’ll have people around here thinking I’m an okay guy.’
The redhead smiled.
‘And we know better than that, right?’ She said, smiling.
‘Of course! And shouldn’t you finish some of this paperwork.’
Both of them looked around the office.
‘You wanna help?’
Shelley shook her head.
‘I’d love to, but… No. I have a 3 year old to get home to and she doesn’t create this much mess.’
Jack pulled a face as Shelley handed him a file that she’d kept on her lap.
‘I’ll see you tomorrow.’
‘Maybe… maybe they’ll find me here tomorrow, under all these folders,’ he said.
2 Months later….
Shelley hadn’t told anyone, apart from Jack about her decision to file for divorce. It wasn’t really anyone else’s business. She’d only told Jack because she needed the advice and because he was her brother. Not only that, she’d would need help in organising everything after the divorce.
Two days after telling Jack, she’d told her that she wanted to marry Sam. He hadn’t really been surprised. In fact, he’d said that he’d expected it sooner.
Now the divorce was in its final stage and Shelley was days away from signing, she was getting nervous about the actual wedding. She’d spent most of the last two months on P3D654, sorting things out on their side. They were only too pleased to help. It was going to be perfect. All Shelley had to do was make sure Sam didn’t get suspicious.
Shelley held the pen in her hand. It wavered over the paper.
Jack placed a hand on her shoulder. She looked up.
‘Maybe you should wait.’
Shelley shook her head.
‘No. I… it’s time.’
Shelley put the pen on to the paper and signed her name. For work purposes she’d kept using her maiden name, but now, she’d signed it in her married name, for one final time.
The redhead stood up slowly, handing the divorce papers to Jack and left the room, silently. Jack watched her head out into the briefing room, without acknowledging those who were sitting around the briefing room table, including Sam.
‘What’s going on?’ Sam asked
Jack hid the papers around his back.
‘Just some paper work that needed taking care of.’
‘Is she okay, maybe I should…?’
The general turned back to head into his office, placing the papers back in their folder and locking them securely in his desk.
3 Days later
For three days, Shelley had been quiet and spent most of her time on the base, in her lab. Every so often, she’d peek her head out long enough to have lunch with Jack, making the final arrangements for the wedding on P3D654.
SG1 stood in the gateroom. They were going to P3D654. They had been invited to the wedding of the one of the elders, or so they were lead to believe. In fact, Teal’c and Jonas knew the real reason. Shelley had told them the night before. Jonas had hugged her and Teal’c had shaken her hand. Both of them agreed that Sam would be shocked, totally shocked.
As Shelley stepped into the gateroom she was overcome with nerves and felt dizzy for a moment. Teal’c appeared at her side, stopping her from toppling over.
‘Are you okay, Shelley O’Neill?’
‘I’m fine, thank you.’ Shelley said.
Maybe it was impending marriage or the dissolution of her old life that made her dizzy.
‘Are you okay, sweetie?’ Sam whispered as Shelley appeared next to her.
‘I’m okay. Just a little warm in here.’
Shelley looked up seeing Jack in the control room, wavering them on their way. Now she was really nervous.
Shelley was all fingers and thumbs as unpacked her backpack and gave them to Corla. She had been the one Shelley had spoken to the most about her own experience. Corla had married her girlfriend Rumila on the day that they had arrived. It had been nice just to talk to someone else, who wasn’t involved in Shelley’s life, who were bound to have an opinion. Shelley had told Corla everything. Everything that had happened in the last 2 years in her relationship with Sam and beyond that!
Sam turned around as she heard the gate activated behind her. Shelley watched with interest as Jack came through, wearing his dress uniform. Sam was confused.
This was it. It was now or never.
Jack raised his hand, pointing in the direction of Shelley who was standing behind the colonel. Sam turned around slowly, seeing the redhead moving towards her.
Shelley reached into her trouser pocket, holding the small box in her hand. She took it out slowly, beginning to kneel on the ground.
‘Shelley, what are you doing? Stand up, people are watching.’
‘I know their watching and ….’
Shelley held up the box to Sam, smiling nervously.
‘Samantha Carter, you are the most kind, generous, loving, funny, caring woman I’ve ever met. And every day I’ve been with you has been incredible. And I want to spend the rest of my life with you…’
The redhead opened the box, revealing the white gold band.
‘Would you, would you…’
‘Would I?’ Sam asked, smiling.
Shelley’s hand began to shake as she looked up into Sam’s eyes. They were filling up with unshed tears.
‘Would you, spend the rest of you life, with me? Being my partner, my wife?’
Sam leant down, picking up the redhead by the elbows.
‘This is crazy, Shell. We can’t.’
‘Yes we can, here. Right now.’
‘But look at me,’ Sam said. ‘I’m wearing my…’
‘I’ve taken care of that. I’ve got something for you to change into.’
‘How long have you been planning this?’
‘For a while! Are you just going to stand there or put me out of my misery?’ Shelley asked.
Sam looked around, seeing, Jack, Teal’c and Jonas waiting for a response.
‘I mean, don’t feel pressured or anything.’ Jack said, laughing.
‘Indeed.’ Teal’c added.
‘I…I. Love you, so much! Of course I’ll marry you.’
The colonel wrapped her arms around Shelley, hugging her tightly.
‘Now, you two. Save that till later.’ Jonas said, smiling. ‘You have to get ready.’
Everyone waited for them to get ready. Shelley had packed 2 dresses in her pack. Deep down she never once believed that Sam would say no. They were in love.
Shelley was the first to emerge, wearing that red dress that she’d worn on Sam’s birthday. The night when they’d first made love. Her hair was down around her shoulders, curled in loose ringlets. Jack kissed her on the cheek as she stood next to him. He was going to give her away as he had done before.
They all turned around as they heard someone behind them, tell them that Sam was ready.
Shelley couldn’t take her eyes off her. She’d never see a more beautiful sight. Shelley had chosen the perfect dress. It had to be white, well more cream than white.
The redhead felt her head freeze as Sam appeared next to her side. She reached out for Sam’s hand, holding it softly.
The elder from the village, proceeded over the wedding. It was their gift to there new human friends.
Shelley placed the ring on Sam’s finger…..
‘I’ve already told you how I feel about you. That you’re my life, the love of my life. You’ve shown me that I can be happier than I ever expected to be. You’ve given me support, understanding and love. And I hope that in years to come, we’ll always be this happy.’
…The ring slipped on.
Sam looked down at it.
‘It’s so beautiful,’ she whispered. ‘But you don’t have anything…’
‘I have you.’ Shelley said.
Jonas tried to fight back a tear. And Jack just smiled. He knew that getting divorced had been hard for Shelley would knew that she had made the right decision. And had made the right decision in marrying Sam.
Sam took Shelley’s hand.
‘I’ve never loved anyone as much as I love you, right now. I can’t believe you’ve done all of this and behind my back,’ Sam said, smiling. ‘Since we’ve been together, you’ve given me so many happy times. Hearing you say you love me for the first time, agreeing to live with me. And you’ve shared some of your happy moments with me too. Hearing Mia say her first words, seeing her first steps. And I love you so much for sharing your life with me. And hope that we can share so much more.’
The colonel couldn’t stop the tears any longer and they ran down Sam’s face.
‘After exchanging blessings! You are now bonded.’ The elder said.
The earth contingent waited for a moment…
‘You may now, kiss each other,’ Jonas added.
Shelley laughed, moving closer to her love. She reached up her hand, wiping the tears from Sam’s cheek.
‘I love you so much, baby.’ She said.
There lips met softly, as there arms wrapped around each other. They stood, in front of everyone, kissing. For Jack and Teal’c it had been the first glimpse of how much they loved each other. Everyone laughed as Jonas began clapping and letting out a woo hoo’ing sound from his mouth.
The couple parted, being hugged by everyone, their friends and now family.