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Where Do We Go From Here?

aligator

Email Author: aligator@online.ie

Summary: SG1 finally vent their feelings about the death of Daniel Jackson while stuck on an uninhabited world. Everything you didn’t see in Revelations. A total Jack/Sam story! But pretty good for all you who just like a plain old Jack story, I’m sure it’s also okay if you just wanna sit back and have a good laugh at the stupidity of the Colonel.

Category: Hurt, pain, anguish, (some of that weird Jack) humour, guilt, romance, comfort, friendship (Ya know, the usual).

Pairings: Jack and Sam (Duh! Who else would aligater pair up?)

Season: In between season 5 and 6.

Spoilers: Emancipation, Solitudes, Shades of Grey, Divide and Conquer, Window of Opportunity, Meridian and a few other minor ones in episode about time travel etc.

Rating: PG. A couple of mild swears (In other words Jack opens his mouth)

Warnings: Nothing really bad. Those who are grossed out by blood etc. might want to take care. On an “Ick-scale” of one to ten I suppose a four at VERY most.

Disclaimer: Stargate SG-1 and its characters belong to MGM/UA, Showtime/Viacom, SCI-FI Channel, Gekko, Double Secret Productions etc. and all the powers that be, not me. Startrek does not belong to me either. It belongs to Paramount Pictures etc. I apologise for any other mentions or references to any other TV programs, books etc. No copyright infringement intended. This story is written for fan entertainment only and no money has exchanged hands. The story is the property of the author and may not be posted anywhere without the authors consent. Puh-lees don’t sue me. I have no money and I am very sorry if anyone else wrote a similar story or is opposed to my stories content (I know that many believe Jack and Sam shouldn’t be together etc. etc.).

Written: Mid-November 2002 – Mid-January 2003

Dedication: For Christina who believed in me and for Cathy who encouraged me. And for Stephen who put up with me talking about Stargate SG-1 all summer. Also see bottom. Thanks to all the Fan Fiction writers who inspired me (you know who you are).

Author’s note: I’ve never done this before so PUH-LEEZ tell me if I have anything that COULD be classed as talent or lack of same (mostly the latter I bet!)

__________________________

Jack O’Neill

“COME ON CARTER!”

Sounds like I’m trying to get her to get out of firing range of a fleet of attacking Goa’uld ships but the truth is that I’m just trying to get her out of her lab.

“Just let me finish up here sir.”

I walked into “the Nerd Natural Habitat” that is Carter’s home most of the time when we’re on Earth. She appeared to be typing something on one of those computers that look like they’d be better suited to the geeks on Startrek rather than some one with a brain like Carter’s. (She practically is a computer.)

“What’s that?”

It was probably a stupid question as I didn’t care and defiantly wouldn’t understand. She placed her near empty coffee mug down next to a large tower of paper.

“It’s a study of the effects of chemically combining microscopic quantities of the unstable Naquadria with compounds created in a location alien to it’s natural environment, which, in theory, should destabilise the sub-atomic structure allowing one to convert its energy flow to that of which could be compatible with our current level of technology.”

I stared at her blankly.

“Well, that’s the last time you drink non-decaff.”

She looked up at me and smiled, something I hadn’t seen her do for a long time.

“Come on. We’ve a mission in half an hour. To P8X-………um….nine, four, ten, three, twelve-ish……”

“P8Y-395.”

“Yes, that’s it! C’mon.”

“Yes sir.”

She got up and walked out of the lab, leaving me with all the scary computer stuff.

“Hey wait up!”

***

“WELCOME FOLKS TO P8Y-395. THIS IS YOUR PILOT JACK O’NEILL HOPING YOU HAD A pleasant trip. The current local time is… night and – PHEW! I smell dead people. Carter?”

“Temperature at 63 degrees Fahrenheit. 58% humidity. Air: 75% nitrogen, 24% oxygen 1% other gases, none harmful. No dangerous radioactivity.”

“And in English that all means?”

“We’re fine sir.”

“Oh I beg to differ. My nostrils are gonna need serious therapy before we’re done here. What do ya think Teal’c?”

Teal’c hadn’t said a word since we arrived, not surprising considering all the interesting…stuff (?) on this planet. Lets see, there were trees and grass, more trees, couple of big old boulders here and there.

“This place is safe. The Goa’uld have not been here for quite some time.”

“How do you know that?”

Typical Carter question.

“These writings are from an ancient Goa’uld sect that was destroyed many hundreds of years ago, but these I have not seen on any world before.”

“I meant about the smell.”

Carter knelt down beside the cave wall and stared at the unfamiliar writings.

“Not science. What I wouldn’t give for an archaeologist now.”

“Speaking of which, how’s Capt. Coleburt? Doing well I hope?”

“They moved him to a dig in San Francisco. Hopefully he’ll have better luck there sir.”

“Ah yes San Francisco. No evil badgers there.”

“I do not believe it was a badger that bit him O’Neill. I have come to understand that the badgers on Earth are nocturnal and reside underground.”

“Yeah, and I guess the ones on our planet don’t have green teeth either. There’s probably a reason for that. But I warned him. I said “Don’t go near the wild animal.” I said “Don’t touch the wild animal.” I said, “Don’t give your food to the wild animal.” And what does he do?”

Blank faces.

“The answer I’m looking for is ‘All of the above’.”

More blank faces.

“So… what’s up?”

There had been some problem with the M.A.L.P. camera. It had sent back signal but it was kinda screwed up.

“It looks okay sir, but we’ll have it checked out when we get back home.”

“In the meantime kids, I suggest we take a look around, determine any possible threats. God knows what these flowers are plotting.”

So yeah, I was a little pissed off. But who wouldn’t be? Hammond hadn’t sent us on any interesting missions since that place with all the peaches (fruit not girls. Now THAT would have been interesting). He was probably worried that any new replacements would all end up like Doctor Stewarts. GREAT scientist, not too bright though. She didn’t know the meaning of FIRE. Come to think of it, that was probably for the best cause I don’t think she’d know that I meant FIRE AT THE ENEMY. And what did I get for my troubles? Well, two bullet type-thingys in the leg for a start. Not to mention that Teal’c had to drag Stewarts out of there – literally. And then there was that incident with that guy transferred from SG-7 ON P4X-192 but we won’t get into that…anyway, I finally persuaded General Hammond to let SG-1 go by ourselves but on the conditions that:

1) We would TRY to find a new team member when we got back (on time).
2) We’d go STRAIGHT to the infirmary when we got home. NO EXCEPTIONS.
3) We wouldn’t do anything unbelievably stupid that would result in court-martials and the end of the Stargate program.
(He seemed to put special emphasis on this last one).

But this was a pretty easy to follow these three rules, after all this planet had no signs of civilisation (that was until we found the cave writing but the people who put it there were long dead), no dangerous – anything really, no large animals - no evil badgers, no mess, no hassle, no problem! Or so we thought…

***

“MIRACLE CURE? AS IN MIRACLE? AS IN SOMETHING MIRACULOUS?”

“The Bible on your world defines a miracle as “A wonderful or marvellous event, which occurs through the result of god’s direct action.”

Teal’c’s too smart. He’s read the Bible, all of it. I can’t even remember the Ten Commandments.

“Okay, so not miraculous but think, this flower was able to recover just seconds after Colonel O’Neill…”

Carter paused.

“…stepped on it. Imagine what this could do to help us fight the Goa’uld. There could be some unknown chemical that, if extracted, could heal god knows what kind of injuries. I mean, we’d be making a major breakthrough in medical science.”

“I dunno Major, isn’t that what ya said about that drug we found on that weird planet with all those Shaveydai-people, and I don’t remember the President announcing that we’d just wiped out all diseases.”

“Well no Colonel but, in all fairness that’s still being tested. I mean, we don’t know what kind of effects it could have if we just released a drug that powerful to civilian hospitals.”

“THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I MEAN. EVER HEARD THE EXPRESSION “TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE”? WE DON’T KNOW WHAT WE’RE MESSING WITH HERE!”

Major Carter looked a little shocked. I don’t know what caused me to shout like that. Usually Carter’s going on about some new discovery pisses me off a little but…I just didn’t wanna see anybody get hurt.

“Sorry”

I mumbled.

“Just be careful with that.”

She glared straight at me with a look of confusion.

“Yes sir.”

“Let’s move on people. We’re due back in a couple of hours”

That wasn’t totally true. We weren’t due back for another four hours and thirty-two minutes but no one bothered checking their watches so we just kept on going. The sun had risen shortly after we arrived making it easier for us to see where we were going, not that it was really hard to begin with. I mean, stepping on a miraculous plant is a mistake anyone can make right? Well, anyone who’s me. I guess it had just been kinda tough recently. We were all on edge. It was hard communicating with other races human or not. That’s probably why Hammond gave us this mission. People: not in the job description. No more peach related accidents (as I mentioned earlier). Just SG-1 and the plants. Yes, SG-1…

***

“DIAL ‘ER UP MAJOR.”

Finally, we could get the hell out of this place! It seemed we had been here for years rather than hours the way the time passed. We were all bored out of our sculls, except Carter of course. She wouldn’t shut up. If this new plant stuff worked we’d never hear the end of it.

“Yes sir.”

One of the benefits of leading an SG team is that you tell other people what to do. Carter started dialling home. Everything was fine till she pressed the seventh chevron and nothing happened.

“Major?”

“I dunno sir! I’m sure these are the right co-ordinates.”

Her voice sounded kinda frantic.

“Major Carter, might you not have entered the wrong co-ordinates by mistake?”

“I-I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Well then try again!”

I snapped. She tried dialling home again but nothing happened this time either.

“Major, what the hell is going on?!”

“I have no idea sir.”

“Well you’d better GET an idea soon or else we could be stuck here.”

“Perhaps the Earth’s Stargate is not functional at this time.”

“What?”

“Teal’s right. Sir, what if there was a power surge in the Stargate caused by an unstable incoming wormhole? It shouldn’t take more than a few hours to fix.”

“Oh for cryin’ out loud, so yer sayin’ we’re stuck here till those geeks at the SGC fix some power thing caused by someone messing with the Stargate, great!”

“Well it wouldn’t have to be caused by interference with...”

She trailed off as she saw the lack of caring on my face.

“Would it not be wise to check that it is not a problem with this Stargate which prevents us from returning to Earth?”

“I think so. Colonel?”

“Go.”

Carter went off leaving just me and Teal’c.

“O’Neill”

“What?”

“I must enquire. You have not been ‘yourself’ recently. Is there something wrong?”

“Nope.”

“Are you sure?”

“Oh yeah. Just peachy.”

“Good.”

“Yeah.”

***

CARTER HAD BEEN GONE ABOUT TWO HOURS BEFORE WE HEARD ANYTHING FROM HER. She told us that the Stargate was fine. There were no problems with the DHD and that the power source was intact.

“Did you try dialling home?”

“No sir. I shut down the gate system completely and it’s rebooting now.”

“A wise decision Major Carter”

Actually, I didn’t think it was but there’s no arguing with Teal’c (probably cause he’s so big.).

“Yeah, well seeing as we’re gonna be here a couple more hours I thought we might take another look around.”

“Oh, wouldn’t that be fun.”

“Sir, this planet has the most unique flora ever encountered by any SG team. I really think it’s worth a closer look.”

“Major, I’m in a deep state of not caring, now Hammond will go nuts if we’re back late so I suggest we wait here for…”

I checked my watch.

“…half an hour, and then try again.”

“But sir-”

“That’s an order Major.”

She just stared at me.

“Yes sir.”

She just slumped down and said nothing. We sat there silently for 25 minutes. Then I got up.

“Come on guys, let’s go.”

I’d been expecting Carter to kick up a fuss but she just stood up and followed me.

“Teal’c let’s go!”

I led my team back to the Stargate (note how I don’t say “back through the Stargate” like I should be doing right about now) and asked Carter to dial home.

“O’Neill, perhaps it would be wise to let me do it.”

Carter moved away from the DHD but said nothing. Maybe she was just embarrassed or something but it didn’t really seem like that. She hadn’t said a word since I told her (politely) to shut it. “She’ll get over it,” I thought to myself. But now to more important matters: getting home. Teal’c had just finished putting in the sixth chevron. Now for the big moment…

***

“NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.”

“Oh, for cryin’ out loud!”

“But they should have…?”

“I do not understand.”

“Welcome to the club.”

“Sir…?”

I ran over to the DHD and tried dialling the co-ordinates myself. Nothing happened. I dialled again and again and in the end I just sank to my knees and started slamming my fists against the DHD.

“CARTER, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS THING?”

“Nothing sir! I checked everything – twice! There is nothing wrong with the Stargate system.”

“Oh but you see, there is: WE CAN’T GET HOME!!!” ISN’T THIS THE KINDA STUFF YOU GEEKS LIKE TO DEAL WITH?! FIXING THE STARGATE?! WHAT USE ARE YOU IF YOU CAN’T EVEN DO THAT RIGHT?!”

I lost it. Really. Three French-fries short of a happy-meal doesn’t cover it. In frustration, I kicked one of the containers of soil-samples that were lying next to the DHD, and it narrowly missed Teal’c’s nee.

“FOR THE LOVE OF…”

I knew that I’d really lost it this time. I was the leader of an SG team. I was supposed to be cool, and calm and all that other crap, not fall apart at the first sign of trouble.

“…Sir. It-may-just-be-a-matter-of-time-before-we-can-get-home.”

Her words cut me like a knife. Her voice wasn’t full of panic this time. She wasn’t looking at me like a frightened animal. She just glared at the ground and spoke the way she’d speak to someone like...like Maybourne. She didn’t seem concerned, more…agitated, and her tone, was like an icicle. At least she was calm and altogether. I guess that’s her job as second in command, to take over if I was unable to fulfil my duties as leader, which I was pretty much failing to do at the time.

“Okay Major. We’ll set up camp. It’s gonna be dark soon.”

God, I felt like suck an idiot. Why do I have to mess up everything I do?

“Sir, the M.A.L.P.’s weather system detected a storm coming this way. It’ll be here before night, sir.”

“The caves.”

We both looked at Teal’c.

“Good idea. Let’s go.”

We made our way to the caves that we looked at just after we arrived. We didn’t really have to go far. They were just a little way from the Stargate.

“Okay, what’ve we got?”

“Enough food and water for 3 days, some medical supplies, an emergency kit, and some thermal blankets sir.”

“And what do we need?”

“Well sir, there’s that river about 7 and a half a kilometres south of here. It has water suitable for drinking. Could come in handy if…”

“Noted Major. Anything else?”

Everybody was silent.

“Right then.”

***

“IT GETS PRETTY COLD HERE AT NIGHT, SIR.”

“How cold?”

“Twenty-five degrees Fahrenheit, sir.”

“Which is?”

“Cold, sir.”

“I see.”

I don’t like it when Carter calls me ‘sir’ that many times in the one conversation. It’s kind of unsettling. She barely spoke to me without putting a lot of emphasis on the word ‘Colonel’. And she deliberately avoided looking me in the eye. It reminded me of the time I had to go undercover as one of Maybourne’s evil minions. I had to say some pretty unpleasant things so that Hammond would have an excuse to get really pissed off at me. Carter had given me that same look of mistrust and confusion right after I made a few…not-so brilliant comments. I just hoped this wasn’t going to last too long. We had to stick together if we were gonna get through it this time.

“Sir, it looks like there’s a storm on the way.”

“Got it.”

“O’Neill, we do not have a source of heat.”

“Carter?”

“There should be some matches in the emergency kit, sir.”

“Okay, so…?”

“We start a fire sir.”

The word ‘duh’ came to mind.

“I will get some wood for which the fire to burn upon, O’Neill.”

“Got it.”

Teal’c went out leaving just me and Carter.

“Isn’t there supposed to be some heating, cooking, field emergency thing?”

Carter just stared blankly into space.

“Carter?”

“No sir.”

“Uh-huh…”

I made a mental note to talk to Hammond about that when we got back. Teal’c wasn’t gone very long. I mean, this place was mostly trees. He returned with both arms full of branches, and for someone with arms as big as Teal’c’s that’s a lot of wood. We started a fire and cooked some of the stuff we had brought with us. We hardly spoke during the meal. Carter didn’t say a word. Afterwards we decided to hit the sack.

“I’ll take first watch, kids”

“I will go after, O’Neill.”

“Yeah.”

That was all Carter had to say? Hasn’t spoken in hours and all she says is ‘yeah’. So I think it’s official. I screwed up and Carter’s mad at me. Great! Teal’c went into a state of Kel’nor’eem. Carter just lay down underneath a thermal blanket with her back to me and went to sleep. I remember thinking ‘what a jackass’. Carter and Teal’c had trusted me and I let them down when they needed me the most. This is just typical. This sort of thing always happens to me, I don’t know why, but it does. I always seem to be letting someone down. I just can’t look after anyone but myself.

After an hour or so it started getting pretty cold so I went over to get a blanket. They were behind Carter so I had to step over her to get them. On my way back I noticed my bootlace was untied so I bent down to tie it. Before I got up I glanced over at Carter. She was fast asleep. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her look so peaceful in my life. Most of the time I’m watching her sleep, it’s cause some bastard snake-head just beat the crap out of her and she’s lying unconscious on the floor, but not now. She just looked so peaceful and beautiful. I wondered why anyone would ever want to hurt her. I stretched out my hand to touch her face but quickly came to my senses. I was her commanding officer and this was no way to behave. God, sometimes I feel I’d give anything for things to be different between us…

***

“GOOD MORNING CAMPERS!”

This, was seriously strange. We arrived on the planet at around 1500 (Earth time) and it was just beginning to get bright then. Our mission was supposed to end at 2300. It was still bright at that point. We didn’t go to the caves till 0200 the next day, when it got dark. And the sun began to rise at 0645. That all adds up to one seriously strange day, unless I’m not accounting for daylight savings time… anyway, I stayed watch for about 3 hours then Teal’c took over. Even though I have complete faith in him (and I know that if anything that came within 100 feet of us he’d kill it faster we could get a hold of our sidearms) but still, I couldn’t sleep. I just kept thinking about how bad I screwed up. My team didn’t trust me anymore, I could see it on their faces, well, Carter’s anyway, but I know them pretty well and I knew that this was BAD. How could my team ever trust me again? And I’d never be able to command them if they didn’t trust me. I’d just lost it. I still can’t believe I panicked like that. It was like, I just lost control, couldn’t stop myself. I remembered that look on Carter’s face. A look of complete hatred and doubt. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to face her again. Although, the way things were going I might not have had to, she wouldn’t even look at me.

“Hmmmph…”

That was Carter.

“What time is it?”

“Seven twenty-seven and not a minute before.”

Oh great Jack, hit her with your famous ‘sarcasm for beginners’ routine, that’ll certainly work. But she just stared right past me and straight at Teal’c.

“The sun rose less than one hour ago, Major Carter, but I do not understand why.”

“Right, well, while you were in a state of Kel’nor’eem General Hammond started telling us some of the information the probe brought back, stuff that wasn’t covered in the mission briefing I guess. This planet is in the middle of its summer period and apparently it has about a sixteen-hour day and it orbits around its sun in about the quarter of the time it takes Earth to do so.”

Now how come I didn’t know that? Oh, right, cause I sort of wasn’t paying any attention to anything anybody said. Well ya can’t really expect me to listen if they don’t speak in plain English!

“Right, well as much as this stuff fascinates me, I believe we should be getting back home now. I’ve got a book report due on Monday and my English teacher will not be happy if I ask for another extension.”

Nobody really seemed impressed, although I think Teal’c may have raised his eyebrow a millimetre or two. We had something to eat and gathered up our stuff. I thought I saw Carter shove something small and flat in her pocket but the weirdest thing was that it sort of seemed familiar but figured it was just some dumb Carter thing and ignored it. We packed up and went on our merry way (only it wasn’t so merry with such a dark cloud hanging over us and I mean that literally. Looks like that storm Carter predicted was finally catching up with us). It feels like I’ve said this a million times but, we made our way back to the Stargate. We were pretty damp by the time we got to the gate even though it was practically a stones throw away but I was still glad to set eyes on that big grey, stone ring.

“Teal’c!”

He got the message. He dialled the co-ordinates and we all held our breath as the seventh chevron was input. Just then the sky exploded (not literally, I know it’s hard to tell when it’s an SG-1-related matter). We were completely soaked through. The sky filled with lightning and we could hardly hear each other above the noise of the wind and thunder. I could barely keep my eyes open long enough to watch what happened next: the seventh chevron sort of half locked and the Stargate shut down completely.

“SIR! COLONEL, WE HAVE TO GET BACK TO THE CAVES!”

I could only just make out the words above the screech of the wind but it was loud enough. Teal’c seemed to get the idea too. We all struggled against the wind trying to make our way uphill to the caves. We were about halfway there when I heard a shout from behind me. Sam had tripped and was tumbling back down the hill. I instinctively turned around to go after her. I felt a tug on my arm and spun around to find Teal’c holding me back. He was glaring at me as if I was just about to attempt a suicide mission. I looked at him, as if to say “I have to do this” and he reluctantly let go. I rushed down the side of the hill as fast as I could without tripping myself. Sam was at the bottom of the hill unconscious. I couldn’t tell how badly hurt she was but I knew that if we didn’t get to safety soon we’d both be goners. I threw her over my shoulder not caring about the stuff she was carrying and got the hell back up that hill before the wind knocked us both to kingdom-come. Teal’c seemed “relieved” to see us but that’s the very last thing I was feeling. Sam looked in a pretty bad way. She had some minor cuts on her face that I could see but that wasn’t what I was worried about. If she was unconscious she must have hit her head. I checked for any major head injuries. I couldn’t see any but then I’m no doctor. The storm was getting much worse outside. We were pretty lucky to get back when we did, although, by the look of Sam I’m not so sure about that.

“Colonel O’Neill,”

Teal’c was looking over my shoulder at Sam. I’d almost say he looked concerned.

“How is Major Carter?”

Oh great, hit me with the big, tough questions why don’t ya?

“I can’t really tell but I’m guessin’ not good.”

“I see.”

“Here, pass the medical supplies”

I cleaned out the cuts with this antiseptic stuff. There was a pretty nasty gash on her cheek which probably could have used some stitches but there was no way in hell I was gonna attempt that. I covered it with some textile. There was probably gonna be a scar but I doubt that was the worst of her problems. I noticed that her right leg looked a little swollen so I took off her boot. Her ankle was really purplish and swollen, possibly broken. Just then, this weird little book fell out of her pocket, I figured it was some science notebook or something and stuffed it into one of the pockets of the rucksack. Her breathing sounded quite raspy so I turned her on her back to check for any signs of internal injury. I was completely shocked. Her stomach was black and blue. I dunno if I’ve ever seen so many bruises on the one person. It looked like she might have had some cracked ribs. Just then, I had the weirdest feeling of déja vu. This bore a strange resemblance to the situation we were in when we got stuck on- well Earth actually. It was just Sam and me then and we thought we were on another planet and couldn’t get home. I had cracked ribs and a broken leg. Eventually we were rescued by General Hammond and Teal’c and-…everyone and got home. While we were there Sam took care of me. She made a splint for my broken leg and fussed about my ribs. She even got up at 0300 to try to get the DHD working. Not to mention all the Jack O’Neill crap she had to put up with. Screaming, stories about me falling out of a plane that kind of stuff. This seemed just like that, except that I'm usually the one who ends up listening to the Doc complaining because her “ poor-widdle-patient” won’t go easy on the broken leg. Not that I ever really have any reason to. I mean, how is my resting gonna help save the planet (again)? But this was so very beyond any half-assed doctor’s order from Fraiser, this, was, what’s the word I’m looking for…oh yeah, AN EMERGENCY. I knew that if Sam didn’t regain consciousness soon that she might not ever.

“Come on Sam…come on, please wake up…”

Oh God, I hadn’t gone into shock had I? Lord, not again O’Neill, calm down. Teal’c was giving me funny looks. Then he walked over to us and offered to take Sam, Major Carter-whatever, but for some reason I couldn’t seem to let go of her, funny isn’t it? That’s what I seem to be so good at, letting go. I was able to do it with Sara, just walked out on her one day, and gave up. Letting go’s not the problem, it’s holding on. I just kept holding Sam in my arms like I’d willed to do so, so many times before, like when she was taken by Jolinar or that entity or stuck behind the energy barrier, as if by holding onto her now I was making up for all those times when I couldn’t be there for her. God, I loved this woman so much yet I couldn’t even hold her in my arms. I suddenly realised that it wasn’t the Goa’uld or the Reetou holding Sam and I apart it was us, the Military, because we both loved our jobs so much, loved keeping the world safe so that they could get on with they’re lives. We hadn’t just pledged our lives to our planet; we’d pledged our minds. Our souls… And our Hearts.

***

1000,
1001,
1100,
1103.
In a situation like this it’s supposed to be normal to loose your sense of time, but to be honest, normal is the very last word I’d use to describe anything about this day. A minute would seem like an eternity or an hour could dissipate into thin air. She was still unconscious. I wanted nothing more than for her to wake up and tell me that she was fine and she knew a way to get home. After nearly three hours of waiting that didn’t seem very likely. Not that it would do much good if I did get home, so far I’d probably broken a dozen rules about the whole “can’t have any romantic feelings towards another member of your team” thing and the “must keep your emotions in check” thing. I agree with that last one but… I’d also broken the third Golden Rule, the one about the court martial stuff. Even showing that I cared for Major Carter- in any way was completely forbidden. And I didn’t think Teal'c would rat on me but just suppose he mentioned some of that “you have not been yourself” stuff to Fraiser. She would poke and prod and eventually we’d have to tell. We barely got away clean last time the Tok’ra came round and brought their little lye detector with them- WHOA Jack, don’t go there. I’d also broken the First Rule, but that was NOT our fault (for once). I don’t think there’d be any trouble with that second one, if our week so far was any indication we’d be running for the infirmary, well we’d probably be doing that anyway but still. Teal'c had been looking after Carter. He had wrapped her in some blankets and watched over her. I suddenly realised I was starving. I looked around for some food but couldn’t find any but I did find a near empty canteen of water, which I finished.

“Teal’c, the food in your bag?”

“It is not. I believe Major Carter had it.”

Ah yes, the bag which I left down by the Stargate. Well that was just wonderful.

“I do not believe you returned with the load Major Carter was carrying.”

“Ya think?”

That’s when the mental kicking begun.

“I do.”

A lot of mental kicking. Huh, I once warned Carter to give me a swift kick if I ever tried to help someone. When she woke up I had to tell her to do the same if I ever got us stuck on an alien planet- again. The storm had died down a bit so I went to get Carter’s stuff.

“Teal’c, I’m gonna go get the stuff that…”

He nodded.

“Okay.”

As soon as I walked outside I felt the after-effects of the storm. The air was cold and damp and the ground felt muddy beneath my feet. It was still kinda slippery so I was real careful about going down the hill. OBVIOUSLY not careful enough as I lost my footing and went flying halfway down the hill!

“OH SH-…OOT!”

I said that partly because the stuff was nowhere in sight, and partly because the whole left side of my uniform was covered in mud- my face too.

“Oh this is just great, this is just god-damn freaking wonderful, this is…”

I won’t repeat what I said next, as it’s not fit for the ears of any normal human beings, but I’ll say that it didn’t involve chocolate and puppy dogs. I spent the best part of an hour trying to find ANY of the stuff that Carter had been carrying and found NOTHING! Zilch. Zero. Nil. Nought. Complete lack of food or any of those science doohickys that my good friend (it’s a figure of speech) Carter always carries around with her. I went back to the caves cold, and freezing my butt off. And, just my luck, as soon as I got back Teal’c tells me that it’ll be dark in a couple of hours.

“So I suppose that means you want me go out hunting?”

“It does. I will remain here with Major Carter until you return, then I will go out in search of water.”

Okay, even I’M able to detect a hint of Jaffa sarcasm. Okay, so I suppose that it made the most sense that I was the one who went out hunting. I mean, I did go on all those survival weekends where we had to catch our own food and stuff and I guess Teal'c did learn a lot of survival stuff while serving Apophis that’s not really the same thing. SO, back down the hill to catch some dinner. Warming my butt could wait, right now I would pick some flowers, shoot some deer, whatever is necessary. I might even go fishing if I had to!

***

I CAME BACK AROUND TWO HOURS LATER. I HAD FOUND A LOAD OF PLANTS THAT looked and smelled a lot like ones on Earth so I figured they were probably safe to eat. I also caught an animal that looked a lot like a rabbit but was much bigger. As soon as I got back Teal’c simply stood up and left.

“What’s his problem?”

I said out loud before I remembered that there was no one who could hear me.

“Be back before dark!”

I yelled.

“…Or I’ll feed it to the flying monkeys.”

I muttered. I actually wondered about those flying monkeys. There were no signs of any dangerous wild animals from the probe information, but hell, what did that mean?! Okay, lets get down to business, I have to skin a really big rabbit thing, cook a really big rabbit thing, de-bone (de-bone, is that a word?) a really big rabbit thing and finally EAT a really big rabbit thing. Okay, I think I can deal with the first three. Just then I heard I tiny noise, from the other side of the cave. There was Sam lying underneath a load of blankets. She hadn’t stirred since…since she fell. But she appeared to be regaining consciousness. I walked over to her. I noticed that she looked a little pale. She opened her mouth and uttered the smallest sound. It was almost a whisper but I could still make it out:

“Daniel.”

Suddenly, her eyes snapped open and she sat up. She looked confused and scarred; her face was filled with terror and her lips were set in a fine line. She starred right at me for a moment before collapsing back down. I wasn’t sure exactly what to. I wanted to see if she was okay but she looked downright petrified.

“Sam?”

She didn’t respond.

“Sam- err- Carter?”

Thankfully, she sat up and looked at me.

“Colonel O’Neill.”

Okay, not quite what I was expecting.

“Yu-huh, in the flesh.”

Shut up Jack or we’ll have to go back to the mental kicking.

“How are you?”

“I’m fine. What happened?”

“Don’t you remember?”

She looked thoughtful for a moment, then looked up.

“Did I fall?”

Oh God.

“Yes, ya did. Ya fell down the hill and-”

“Hit my head.”

“Yeah. I- I think ya hit your head, there were no signs of injury but-”

“Feels fine.”

“Right well, I think you broke your leg and have some cracked ribs. Ya know, impersonating your commanding officer is a Court Marshalable offence.”

She pulled back her top to take a look at her stomach and then her right leg.

“Don’t move!”

“I don’t think I’m as bad as I look, my ankle’s probably just sprained.”

“But still, you could have internal injury, maybe you shouldn’t-”

“Mmm I don’t think so, really just some bruises and- where’s Teal’c?!”

“Hey, easy there! He went out to get some water.”

“But I thought we had enough for- how long was I out for?”

Her voice was sort of a mixture of confusion and… fear?

“Um, no, no! Just a couple of hours, its just, well, we lost some of the stuff that you were carrying when you fell; food, water, science doohickys, ya know.”

“Right.”

“So:”

I head up the rabbit thing. BAD MOVE! I had already skinned it and it was all fleshy and dripping with blood. Carter just looked repulsed.

“Oh delicious.”

She said that sarcastically, which was unusual because she’s normally never sarcastic. Actually, at this point she’d normally be saying ‘I feel sick’.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to gross you out.”

“Fine.”

I had to prepare the rabbit thing but I decided it would be best if we kept talking. Sam was pretty difficult but I figured it would be better than the awkward silence.

“So, any new science discoveries?”

“No.”

“Experiments?”

“No.”

“Hockey games?”

“None that I know of.”

And it went on like that for over an hour. Eventually I finished with the whole rabbit thing and left it to cool. So far we’d discussed Labradors, television, the chances of Wisconsin’s soccer team beating Chicago’s and why they call them ‘hot dogs’. Well actually, I’d rambled on about that stuff while “Little Miss Congeniality” sat and looked fed up. Eventually I ran out of really stupid crap to go on about and shut up. I saw her reach for something in her pocket and then noticed it wasn’t there. She sort of gave a bewildered look and then searched her other pockets.

“Oh! I found um, found this. It fell out of your pocket after um…”

I rooted the little notebook that she had dropped earlier out of my bag and handed it to her. She sort of looked at it and bit her lip, then turned her head away.

“Sa-Carter?”

I looked at the little book. It had a weird feeling of familiarity. Then I realised.

“This was…?”

“…Daniel’s… yes.”

She whispered it almost reluctantly. I looked straight at her and for once, saw those great big blue eyes staring back at me. What happened next took me by complete surprise.

“…I…I suppose you want an- explanation…?

She dropped her head allowing some stray strands of hair to fall across her face.

“I don’t wanna hide anymore.”

“Sam, what?”

“For, God’s sake Jack! When Daniel- died you didn’t even cry. You didn’t...”

She looked reluctant to continue.

“Go on.”

“It…it was like some chore, just another…day, another coffin. You didn’t even-”

Her breath caught in her throat, I could see it was a desperate attempt to fight the tears that threatened to consume us both.

“We just got up and left. We didn’t even, we didn’t even say goodbye, not really. We forgot about him. I mean, what do we do, just get up and move on every time a situation looks hopeless? Every time another good person dies saving the world we’re just supposed to…move on?” To put them in the ground and forget about them?!”

She slowed down and spoke more quietly.

“I cried and I cried and I couldn’t stop. I thought the world was going to end. I-I…”

She didn’t stop there.

“You weren’t there.”

She wrapped her arms around her knees; she looked like a frightened child. A tiny little girl who had lost her way.

“Jack I needed...”

Her lip wobbled and her eyes filled with tears. I remembered this so well, it was like re-living a nightmare. Just then the emotional floodgates opened and all hell broke loose.

“I needed you, Jack. I needed you to tell me that we were gonna be alright.”

She couldn’t say anymore. I don’t know if she wanted to but I could see that she was hurting deep inside and I knew I’d sell my soul just to make it a little bit better. There was just one problem.

“Sam,”

I took her hands in my own.

“I know what you’re feeling Sam, I feel it too.”

“No you don’t!”

She suddenly became terribly distressed and angry.

"You don’t feel anything!”

She pulled her hands away.

“How could you?”

She was trembling all over.

“You’re shaking.”

“I pulled the blankets over her shoulders.

“Get off!”

She shook off the blankets.

“Sam-”

She looked straight up at me. Those eyes; so full of pain and suffering. The very essence of what it is to grieve. I looked into them and saw the thing I most wanted. And the thing I most feared; she wanted more than life its-self for me to pick her up in my arms and to show her how I really felt, to show her that I cared for her more than anything I’ve ever cared for in my whole life and that I’d do anything for her. And I wanted it too. I would starve. I would thirst. I would die just for one very precious moment with this woman I loved. The woman who captured my heart from the moment I first met her. The woman who saved my life a thousand times over. She was the reason I got up in the morning. To her I pledged my mind, my soul and my heart.

“Sam, listen to me. I do know what you’re feeling because, I feel it too. You know that. But I couldn’t go to you, I couldn’t go to you… because I was afraid, that if I did, I’d do something that we’d regret. I love you more than anything, I really do, but it wouldn’t have been right. I can’t have you throwing away your career because I’m needy. And we can’t jeopardise our future together because we aren’t in control of our emotions. I hope you understand.”

She lifted her head and gazed right at me.

“But why? Why can’t we just be together for one night? If you really love me as you say you do. Then why?”

“Because I dolove you and you know it wouldn’t be right, I couldn’t do that to you. I couldn’t take advantage of you like that.”

She looked hurt. Sam brought her face right up close to mine. I thought she was going to kiss me, something that part of me longed for and regretted not happening each day, and if the barrier holding us apart broke there’d be no going back, I’d give in to the temptation and let it wash over me and then, it would all be over. So she lay her head on my shoulder and began to sob her heart out. I placed my hand on her head to comfort her. I knew then that I would have to be strong enough to fight whatever “little demons” might pop into my head while she was crying, whatever wants I had, I’d leave them. I knew it would be tough but I also knew that I could be strong. For me and for Sam.

***

“HE WAS A GOOD MAN.”

“He was.”

“He was always there for us, always ready to fight the good fight. Even when he lost his wife he kept fighting, for all of us…”

It had been a couple of hours since Teal'c had left but he did contact us once to say that he had the water and was on his way back. The fire had died out quite a while ago and it had begun to get cold. I would have gone out to get some more firewood but I didn’t want to leave Sam alone, so I stayed with her and we watched the sun set. Sam had almost cried herself to sleep but she didn’t seem to be tired so I just held her until she stopped shaking. When she did stop she apologised and said how sorry she was for embarrassing me. I think she was a little embarrassed herself, she may not have wanted to appear weak in front of her Commanding Officer. I know it’s been tough for her, she had to fight her way into the military and men thought less of her because she was a woman. I sometimes feel I have to protect her for the same reason but she never did anything to merit that feeling, she always proved she could take care of herself and never needed me to come to her rescue. In fact, she saved my life more than once. And now she was helping me deal with all the grief that had been bottled up since Daniel died. And long before that.

“…He did, for his friends and his family, he went above and beyond the call of duty…”

“…Even when the call of duty went above and beyond just him.”

It was Sam’s turn to comfort me and I know she was doing her very best but this still hurt like unholy Hell. She must have seen the sombre expression on my face.

“Look,”

She spoke gently.

“I know this isn’t easy,”

She gently placed her hand on the side of my face, then quickly removed it and looked down at the floor.

“God, this isn’t easy at all, and if you don’t want to continue…”

“No! No, look, I appreciate this, more than you’ll ever know… I don’t regret talking, it’s just…”

“It hurts.”

I looked at Sam.

“Yeah, it hurts.”

“And it feels like…like nothing exists except the hurt and pain and it’s so huge that it just consumes you until there’s nothing left except despair where that hope used to be and…”

She trailed off.

“You okay?”

She nodded.

“Yes, it’s just, my mother died a number of years ago and I can’t help feeling… that it’s different but kinda the same?”

“I know… Charlie.

“Oh god Jack, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to-”

“S’okay, I don’t mind.”

There was a brief silence.

“Samantha?”

“Yes?”

I paused.

“It gets better.”

She gave a weak smile.

“Thanks.”

It was a lie. I knew it. So did she. The hurt never really stops. The pain never really goes away. You never stop blaming yourself or wondering if you could have done anything to stop it or have made it better, but there was some truth to it. A point where it stops being an apocalypse and becomes a part of life. A part of you. You can never really forget and most people don’t try to. But it does get easier when you deal rather than just ignoring the facts. I had to learn that the hard way.

***

I THOUGHT WE HAD SAID ALL WE NEEDED TO SAY, THEN TEAL’C WALKED IN.

“Hey.”

I got no response.

“Hi Teal'c.”

“Major Carter, you have awoken? How severe are your injuries?”

“I’m fine, just a few bumps and bruises.”

Teal'c raised his eyebrow.

“And a sprained ankle… but I’m not really that bad.”

“I see. I have returned with the water that you requested, O’Neill.”

“Right.”

“Is the sustenance you acquired not prepared for consumption?”

Last time he drinks non-decaff too. Luckily Carter jumped to my rescue.

“Yes, it’s just done cooking now.”

Oh, the food- right! Again, easier when English is used. I had sort of made the plants into this soup thing and it was just done cooking now. I think I’d boiled off anything that could kill us and if not well then it’s been nice knowing you all. We ate in silence. Teal’c tasted the “food” cautiously and Carter took one bite of the overcooked rabbit stuff and put it aside. She tried to stick to the “soup” but I don’t think she was too fond of that either. To be honest the stuff didn’t taste too bad. The soup was a little bitter and the rabbit (should I really be calling it a rabbit?) was overcooked but I’ve had worse, (most of that while visiting relatives) and it was good for the protein (no I DIDN’T say poison). And in case you’re wondering: NO I didn’t put any of that dumb healing plant into the soup, I’m not that stupid.

When we finished we all sort of just sat around silently. I suddenly remembered that I still had Daniel’s book. Sam told me that it had been a study he was doing on some writings on a planet that we went to right before he died. She had found them interesting because a lot of the symbols looked like ones used in math. After he passed away, General Hammond told her to keep it. He was actually pretty sympathetic towards us, though he didn’t make it very obvious, and I know he must have felt really dismayed himself but he hid it, huh, that’s probably what most people said about me. I really made a show of the “strong-soldier” routine and that’s probably why Sam got so pissed off at me although yesterday’s total emotional breakdown wasn’t much better. I suppose Sam felt betrayed when I took it out on her rather than talk about it. Without thinking I pulled the book out of one of the bags and handed it to her.

“Here.”

She took it almost reluctantly, a puzzled expression on her face. Then, for the first time in almost an hour Teal’c spoke up.

“Daniel Jackson.”

That took us all by surprise, even Teal’c himself, I think, but it’s hard to tell. Anyway I defiantly wasn’t expecting that. I looked at Carter. She didn’t look as shocked as I thought she’d be. She sort of had that look, ya know the one when you’ve been waiting for something and when it finally happens you sort of don’t expect it, Oh God, she and Teal’c hadn’t been talking behind my back had they?

“It was his.”

Teal’c nodded.

“It’s okay, we’ve been talking.”

Oh Christ. I knew Sam had been pretty sad, but talking behind my back… Then I realised she was looking at Teal’c.

“I understand.”

Teal’c paused a moment, then looked up and began to speak. Slowly at first, as if the words were that of some half-forgotten story told by someone not quite sure of themselves.

“He was a brave warrior; he fought well and died with honour. He will be remembered by the people of the Taur’i and the inhabitants of Abydos and Chulak and all the other worlds he had been to.”

Carter nodded in acceptance. Teal’c also seemed to acknowledge the situation. *I* on the other hand was more than a little confused.

“Jack,”

I felt Carter’s warm hand on my own.

“You’re not alone. You don’t have to deal with this by yourself.”

I could see everyone staring at me. Their eyes like hot pokers. However bad I said it was before; this was ten times worse. Then it hit me; they’d given up hope. They thought that we were going to be stuck here forever and that nobody would come and rescue us. Hey, why hadn’t they tried to rescue us? What the hell was wrong? I can understand a few hours but it had been days. Thousands of terrifying images cascaded through my head right at that moment: the Goa’uld taking over the SGC, General Hammond being tortured, maybe the replicators had taken over the base or worse… the Reetou, who wanted to destroy all humanity, that’s high on my list of concerns.

The possibilities were endless and it made me wonder: Why do we do this? Why do we risk our lives every single day for a goal that’s impossible to reach? I retired once and it wasn’t half-bad, the only reason I came back was to save Daniel, and hey, the kid probably would have been better off if I’d left him. Why do I do this? What is my purpose?

And then I knew, I just knew, if life has taught me anything it’s that it isn’t meaningless, everything has a purpose and as long as there’s hope life will go on, that’s what I’d been trying to explain to Sam. They’d just given up hope, well I wasn’t gonna! I am not gonna die on some God-forsaken planet a million light-years from home. I’m too stubborn for that!

Oh God, all that stuff Sam told me… that was all bull to get me to- just cause she though that we weren’t gonna get home. Oh man, this was not good at all. They didn’t believe that we could get home. Well I would just have to make them believe then wouldn’t I?

“Come on kids, we’re going home!”

“O’Neill?”

“We can’t!”

“It’s SIR, Major. Remember when I used to be your CO and you used to obey my orders? Oh wait!”

All right, don’t push it Jack.

“But sir it’s the middle of the night!”

“Remind me why I care.”

“Colonel O’Neill, it would make little sense to venture out into the wilderness on an alien world in during the hours of darkness.”

“Yeah, but let’s do it anyway.”

“COLONEL O’NEILL,”

Wow, who knew that a Jaffa could make that much noise? That boy really had a pair of lungs on him.

“I do not believe it wise to leave the safety of the caves at this time, it is late and it is dangerous. The sun will rise again tomorrow.”

I sighed. I knew he was right I’d taken it over the top. Again.

“Okay. Campers, we’ll go try to fix the Stargate tomorrow. We’ll figure out our next move then.”

SCORE for the mother hen! Teal’c helped the stumbling Carter back onto the thermal blankets. It would have been funny if not for the fact that she had a BROKEN ANKLE and fell awkwardly onto the ground.

“Oh crap!”

I think that was the first time I’ve ever heard Carter swear.

“Here, let me help.”

“I’m fine!”

She sounded sincere although, I did detect a hint of agony in her voice.

“I’m fine, thank you sir.

Okay, won’t Court Marshal for insubordination now, sometimes the pain sort of goes to your head (believe me, I know). Actually, we were all acting kinda weird. That bad smell was back too. I don’t really remember when exactly I’d last slept. Three days ago I think but I might have just been daydreaming then. I dunno. I realised it was still freezing and went to put some wood on the fire.

“Allow me.”

Offered Teal’c.

“Thanks.”

Carter was resting at this point, so I figured now would be good to talk.

“Err… Teal’c, I- I just wanna say… that… I’m- ahh… I’m sorry. I acted like a, complete idiot and I wanna apologise. Just, I- err…”

Oh man, this wasn’t easy.

“Well I know that sometimes I’m a complete pain in the…mick’ta and I really don’t mean to be, I just don’t want to see you or Carter get hurt. I have to look out for you guys. Can’t… make the same, mistake twice…”

“You must not blame yourself for Daniel Jackson’s death, O’Neill He died willingly and I believe his soul is in the place that the Taur’i refer to as ‘heaven’. He was brave and did much good in the time I knew him. In a sense he will live on through the lives of those his’ touched.”

Oh my. Powerful words coming from a Jaffa. But of course Teal’c’s not just any Jaffa, he is a ‘White Hat’, one of the good guys.

“Thanks, I guess he will, just that… I think, maybe… there was something I could have done.”

“There is nothing anyone could have done that would have changed the outcome of the situation, you must accept that.”

I didn’t really know what to say to that.

“I guess.”

I turned to leave.

“Teal’c? We will get home.”

He bowed his head.

“Colonel O’Neill, reside to sleep. I will ‘take the first watch’.”

God, I was as tired as hell. I moved over to where there were some more thermal blankets and pulled one around my shoulders. Ahhh, finally a chance to warm my butt. At least it was a little warmer than yesterday (I mean the cave). Not that yesterday’s weather wasn’t just-

“Sss.”

No, not so much a hissing sound (I think I’m becoming a little paranoid about that), more of a sniffing-sound. I suddenly realised where it was coming from: Carter. Was she crying? I dunno, I don’t think so. Teal’c was on the other side of the cave with his back turned to us.

“Carter?”

“Yes sir?”

“You okay?”

“Yes sir.”

There was a brief pause.

“Carter?”

“Yes sir?”

“I’m sorry.”

“Sir?”

“I messed up, got us stuck here and then took it out on you. I didn’t mean to act so selfish and stupid. I’m real sorry.”

“It’s not your fault sir, you were just doing your job.”

“Yeah.”

Another brief silence.

“Carter?”

“Yes sir?”

“Forgive me?”

“Of course sir!”

“Carter?”

“Yes sir?”

“We will get home.”

“Yes sir.”

Another hush. I knew what was coming next and I knew that I shouldn’t do it but it was too damn irresistible!

“Carter?”

“Yes sir?”

“No giggling allowed!”

And because of that I had to wait half an hour before I could get any sleep!

***

“OOH! CRAP! OWW!”

Ah, those 10 seconds between waking up and realising I’m stuck on some god-forsaken planet in the middle of nowhere. It’s like beer, only without the throwing up part. The headache’s still there though, most likely from hitting it off the side of some big rock. Teal’c was sitting near the still burning fire. Carter was still asleep.

“What time is it?”

“0409”

“Okay, confused much?”

“Sixteen hour days, Colonel O’Neill.”

“Right, right.”

I stood up but it was kinda hard to, I was really stiff and sore from sleeping on the floor. I looked outside. It was pretty bright.

“Teal'c, how long were we asleep for?”

“Roughly six or seven hours.”

“Ok-ay, so then when did the sun come up?”

“Approximately four hours ago.”

“What?!”

“Humans cannot be continuously deprived of sleep, Colonel O’Neill. Dr. Fraiser would not permit it.”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right, but don’t tell her I paid any attention to that.”

We must have been talking too loud because Carter started to wake up.

“Sir? What time is it?”

“Erm, 0410 I think.”

I looked at Teal'c.

“0411”

“Shoot! So close!”

“So what now?”

“Well I was hoping we could use your monstrously big brain to get the Stargate working again. Please?”

Ah-ha, time for my “secret weapon”. The Puppy-Dog-Eyes. Never fails to work on women, except Dr. Fraiser, she sees right through my act: how very evil, but it’ll work on Carter no problem.

“Sure sir.”

HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES!!!

“Just…”

She trailed off as she attempted to stand up.

“Err, need some help?”

“Oh no. I got it.”

She looked determined. Stupid. Well she did learn from the best. Stubborn describes me more accurately and also Carter at times. I had to bite my tongue to stop myself exploding with laughter. Ever seen someone trying to get up using only one foot and the smooth walls of a cave to stand up? Well, multiply that by a million and you might come close to the comedy there. If she didn’t fall I would eat my hat. Well actually I wasn’t wearing a hat; cap then. Teal’c looked extremely amused (for Teal’c that is), well we’d waited this long a few more minutes couldn’t hurt. She wobbled, I could see EXACTLY where she’d be in about five seconds flat unless I did something.

“Wooo!”

I grabbed her just before she fell.

“Hey!”

“Hay is for horses.”

“Whatcha do that for?!”

“Do what? You would of fallen.”

“I wouldn’t of. I was fine, I coulda gotten out of here!”

“Would that have been before or after you collapsed on your butt?! Now, do you want me to let go of you or not?”

She said nothing.

“Right then. Sit down, we’ll gather up the supplies.”

And we did just that. You know the drill.

“Carter, I don’t think you can walk.”

“I can sir, I-”

“Was English not listed on the requirements for this job? I’ll carry you.”

“But sir-”

“No buts, Carter. It’s an order.”

“Sir in all fairness, you can’t order me to do that.”

“Oh I damn well can and I have to assume that you’re only challenging me because you’re not thinking straight cause of you’re injury. Am I right Major?”

I said that in my best “ I-make-the-rules-and-there’s-nothing-you-can-do-about-it” voice. She was a little hesitant.

“Yes sir.”

“Okay then. Lets go.”

So we went down to the Stargate in the hope of making the Goddamn thing work. And of course it’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds. When we eventually got to the bottom I put the protesting Carter down. Back in the old days she probably would have taken a swing at me for even proposing I carry her but she knows now that I don’t see being as a woman a sign of weakness, I just really disliked scientists.

“Okay, so go on.”

“And…?”

“Fix the gate?”

“Sir?”

“Yes?”

“The gate’s not broken.”

“Oh, well then I guess we can all just dial up the gate and go home. Oh wait!”

“Well sir, I just mean that the power source is intact, none of the wires are fried, none of the pieces appear to be faulty, heck, the chevrons even lit up when we dialled home. I just can’t seem to see the problem.”

I thought for a minute.

“Hey, we are on P8X-345, right?”

“No. We are on P8Y-395, O’Neill.”

“Whatever, I just mean, we’re not on Earth right?”

Carter looked thoughtful.

“Well, I’m pretty sure…”

“Major?”

“Sir, this planet is the only one in it’s solar-system with a Stargate that we know of and we passed almost directly through the sun when the probe went through, it could be possible-”

“That we got sent back to Earth- what in the future, the past?”

“We’ll sir, we believe that if the Goa’uld didn’t build the gate system then it must have been a really advanced race who came before them, so I guess…”

“Right, well lets not go a-jumping to any conclusions yet.”

“Got it sir.”

“Carter, I want you to find out what’s wrong with the gate. Take it apart if you have to. Teal'c, you and I are going to find breakfast.”

***

WE CAME BACK AFTER JUST TWENTY MINUTES. IT WASN’T VERY HARD TO FIND PLANTS as I could remember where they all grew and hey, who said you could never use a Jaffa as a shopping trolley? Of course Carter was still messing with all her funny scincey things, but she did have some good news. She forgot about her leg and tried to stand up and there was a stream of really colourful swears that even *I* wouldn’t use. It was MOST DEFINITELY a broken leg.

“Major! Really the mouth on you!”

She just bit her lip.

“Sir, it just hit me. We couldn’t possibly be on Earth!”

“How’s that?”

“Well sir, even if there were people who built the gate they wouldn’t have built it in the middle of nowhere. There’d be signs of civilisation and it couldn’t have been those cave writings because the Stargate was discovered in Egypt and the others in the Antarctic and Russia. But even if there was a solar flare the sun was too small to send us millions of years into the future or the past so we’d be only a few hundred years away in the timeline. So there would be signs of decay from whatever came before and carbon dating would have showed if a plant ever existed like the ones we found here, so we couldn’t be in the past. Plus the chance of dialling at the exact moment of a solar flare twice is-”

“CARTER, please there’s only so much my head can take in one week, tell me we’re not on Earth and were not stuck in the middle of the thirty-first century.”

“We’re not sir.”

“Thank you, so any luck with the gate?”

“I’m sorry sir.”

“Right.”

“We will get home sir, I promise just give me a little more time, I don’t have all my equipment but I’ll be able to get us home.”

“Okay Major, you do that. I will go make us all breakfast.”

“Oh goody.”

I heard her mumble.

“What was that Major?”

“Nothing Colonel.”

So Teal’c and I went back to the caves and made another soup meal out of all the stuff we gathered. About an hour later we went back to find Carter sealing up the DHD and looking, well, bordering on hopeful but not too enthusiastic.

“Major Carter, did you succeed in repairing the Stargate?”

“There was nothing to fix, Teal’c. Colonel, there is nothing wrong the gate I’ve checked and re-checked everything short of taking it all apart.”

“You’re not giving up, are you?”

“No sir, but I do have another option, we could try to go to another planet.”

“We can’t do that Major, the co-ordinates are different from Earth’s we wouldn’t be able to calculate the space, distance, stuff.”

She fixed her eyes on me and began speaking slowly.

“Sir. A few months ago General Hammond was informed about a program that was being considered that would populate other planets. It wasn’t going to take effect for at least ten years and at first it would be more like having a load of Alpha bases. I don’t know the full details but they wanted me on the project.”

This was all news to me.

“So why didn’t you go?”

“They weren’t sure if it was going to be funded by the Government or not and General Hammond and I both thought it would be better if I stayed on SG-1 but there were some machines designed to find the co-ordinates using different points of origin. P8X-345 was one of the worlds used. I saw some of the work done and I know the co-ordinates to the Land of Light. We could gate there.”

“Major, not that I care an incredible amount, but how come no one told about this?”

“Well sir, like I said, they weren’t sure if they’d get funding so General Hammond asked me to avoid telling anyone.”

“I see.”

“We could gate to there. We might be able to contact the Tok’ra or the Tollan.”

I didn’t see how we could do that without all the equipment that we normally used to contact them, but the Land of Light was better than the land of sixteen-hour days and no other humans plus no cable TV, okay so they wouldn’t have that where we were going but at least they had fruit and other non-gross foods. I nodded, better to be there that here.

“Don’t you need the co-ordinates?”

“No, I remember them.”

She said, trying to reach a chevron that was just out of her grasp.

I helped her up. There was no protesting this time. She dialled the last four chevrons and the gate lit, spun, and stopped- again!

I don’t say what everybody’s thinking. That was never my job. Daniel did and Teal’c on occasion but never me. People think I do but I don’t. I let somebody else do it. Today it was Carter’s turn.

“Colonel? This isn’t as bad as it looks. If the gate won’t dial to any address it means that Earth’s Stargate is still working. We can still get home. Now it appears that the gate is accepting the address but it just can’t create the artificial wormhole, which would normally have something to do with the power source but I checked that so it must be a faulty connection or the power is being diverted somehow. Either way it’s quite possible that I can fix whatever the problem is.”

And so she spent all of that day trying to fix the Stargate. And the next, and the next. And it continued like that for another two and a half weeks.

***

“HEY, DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT. THESE THINGS TAKE TIME.”

“Time that we don’t have, we’ve been here for three weeks, sir.”

“That doesn’t mean that we give up, Major.”

“No sir, of course not! I just wish that I knew what to do.”

We’d been here for about three Earth weeks according to Teal’c and still no progress fixing the Stargate. We hadn’t given up though, Major Carter had run out of ideas but we were still hopeful. She and I were alone, Teal’c had gone out to get more water. We’d taken turns at doing that, getting food and helping Carter. I didn’t think her leg was healing very well, in fact I thought it was getting worse but I didn’t let her know that. She was probably right about not having internal injuries, as she seemed to be breathing fine and her bruises were healing well. It felt kinda weird being here so long yet not feeling even a little disheartened, I suppose it’s cause I’ve been through worse- DON’T GO THERE! There lye bad, bad memories of bad, bad places.

“We WILL get home. I know you can do that.”

She said nothing.

“Carter”

“I can’t seem to find a problem with the Stargate sir, so… suppose it is working, what would stop us from getting home?”

“If Earth’s gate was engaged.”

“No, that doesn’t explain why we can’t gate to another world.”

“Unless that address was wrong.”

“I suppose. What else?”

“A black-hole?”

“Maybe, the gate wouldn’t be open long enough for us to notice. But we wouldn’t have lasted three weeks if that was the case.”

“You said that this was the only planet in this solar-system, maybe that had something to do with it.”

“Maybe.”

“The wormhole also nearly passed through its sun.”

“Yes, there were times when there were safety protocols put on a gate to prevent somebody dialling in or out when the sun was in a certain position. They were put there by the Asguard. But they were only on the protected planets, this planet has no people on it.”

“But it used to.”

“Yes, those writings near here! That would mean it would only be a matter of time before the planet shifts enough for us to dial home!”

“How long?”

“About three days.”

“Earth days?”

“I don’t think so, but it’s just an approximation.”

Just then Teal'c came back with the water. Carter and I told him the entire story. The words stumbled out of our mouths so fast I’m surprised he could keep up with what we were saying. He seemed “pleased”, rather pleased almost letting those tight Jaffa emotions slip (I’m not accusing him of being a Vulcan or anything, just saying).

Those next three days were hell. It was like waiting for birthday presents or something, actually I think I prefer the cake. Carter DEFINITELY felt the same way, I mean about the waiting, not the cake (she prefers blue Jell-O anyway). Teal’c well, he just sort of sat around and made the whole experience unbearable. Let me give you an example:

“What time s’it?!”

“It is 1443, three and half minutes after the last time you asked.”

“Right, sorry, sorry… When do we go home?”

“In approximately one of this planet’s days and twelve hours.”

“Right. So what time is it?!”

“1444. And I must inform you that if you persist I will be forced to use drastic measures to prevent you from asking that question again.”

SEE! What an unbelievably wet blanket! And so very annoying. So anywho, three days later we were all packed up and ready to go. Carter said that if we dialled too that late that day we’d have to wait until the next.

“So what if we dial too early?”

Carter shrugged.

“Then nothing happens, and we try again later. It’s no big problem”

“Right.”

“Sir, we might not be far enough around the sun to get home. A year in this planet’s time is about three months, we’ve been here less than one, we might not be able to go home for another while.”

“How long?”

“Well, judging by the size of this planet and its sun and the time that it orbits that sun maybe two days at very most.”

“Got it.”

I sure hoped that we would be able to get home today. The days were getting much shorter and the nights were WAY colder, we had to burn a hell of an amount of wood just to stop ourselves freezing so the cave was really smoky and Carter had developed a really bad cough. There were frequent storms, which always left the ground really muddy and each of us slipped at least once, and with the lake being frozen and all, we couldn’t bathe, and we had to melt drinking water. As if THAT wasn’t bad enough, there was supposed to be WORSE to come.

“Sir, I think we’re about ready.”

“Okay then Carter, go.”

She dialled the co-ordinates. I tried to not feel a tingle of excitement as the chevrons glowed and the gate spun around, it’s just that Carter’s usually never wrong about these things and I could practically feel the hot, sweet taste of a cup of steaming coffee on my tongue. In about an hour I’d be on my way home to drink some beer and watch hockey till 3:30 in the morning. Of course that could never happen because there’d be tests in the infirmary and mission de-briefings and probably a mountain of paperwork, but a man can dream. The seventh chevron locked and- nothing!

“This is getting really old, really fast!”

“I told you sir, it could be…”

“Days I know. We can try again tomorrow?”

“Yes sir!”

***

“SO, ANY MORE THEORIES?”

We’d just dialled home for the third day in a row without success.

“I’m sorry sir.”

“Well then…I guess we should go back to the caves then.”

“Yes sir.”

Teal'c nodded and helped Carter up. We went back to our “home”, as it would seem and sat down.

“So…what now?”

I asked. I got a show of blank faces.

“Carter?”

“I’m not sure sir.”

“Teal’c?”

“I do not know, O’Neill.”

“Invisible team-mate No. 3?”

I got some funny looks.

“I’m kidding. Come on, there has to be some way out of here.”

“Sir, we know the gate is working, and we have a direct path to Earth, I just can’t see the problem.”

“Colonel O’Neill, I do not see the means of this conversation benefiting the goal of returning to Earth.”

“Brainstorming?”

The eyebrow went up. Carter quickly explained.

“He means to just say random theories.”

“Do you not believe that if we had any we would tell you of them?”

Oh boy.

“Never mind.”

We sat there silently for a while, then after what seemed like forever, Carter spoke up

“Sir, there might be other safety protocols on the gate.”

“What?”

Well think about it. The Asguard are a really intelligent race, I wouldn’t put it past them to have other “locks” on the gate.”

“Major Carter may be correct, the Asguard are a much superior race of extreme intelligence.”

“So what, we keep trying to dial home until this “lock” stops working?”

“It’s the only thing we can do sir.”

“Okay then. That’s what we will do.”

SO. Five days later we’re still stuck on this planet. ‘Evil’ is the only word that I could use to describe it. Hey, is ‘evil’ a noun or an adjective? Okay, straying off topic here, so anyway, we went down to the gate and dialled the co-ordinates just like we’d done for the last- forever really. I prevented Carter from tumbling over and killing herself while Teal’c dialled home. We didn’t really expect anything to happen; just the chevrons lighting up, the gate spinning, making noises AND THEN fluid-like stuff cascading to the centre of the ring and pulling back to form the event-horizon thingy. We were all kind of stunned, I mean we’d been trying to get home for weeks and the gate decides to work NOW? When I got back, Thor and his little alien friends were gonna get an earful! Teal’c sent the GDO signal through the gate and the probe too.

“Hope I remember how to do this, lets see, left, right, left, right, left, right…”

The usual ringing in the ears when reaching the other side, the sound of the gate shutting down and General Hammond greeting us.

“SG-1. You’re overdue.”

“What?!?!?!”

He must have noticed Carter’s leg.

“Can we get a medical team in here?!”

A medical team came in and took Carter off on a stretcher. I noticed there was no protesting at that time.

“What happened?”

“Well, sir we got stuck.”

“To Major Carter?”

“She fell, go figure.”

Hammond was giving me weird looks.

“What was the hold up? You were due back two hours ago.”

“No sir, we were due back four weeks ago!”

And what do you think he says to that?

“Report to the infirmary.”

***

SOME OF THE NURSES SAW TO ME AND TEAL’C BECAUSE THE DOC. WAS BUSY WITH Carter’s leg. We couldn’t see them cause they were behind one of those big things that always remind me of shower curtains. Hmm, this was probably the first time Carter had come in here with a worse injury than me. That might mean she’s outgrowing the second-in-command thing. Ah, our little Carter’s growing up. Jacob would be so proud. I’d have to recommend to General Hammond to get Carter a better job, of course after what I’d heard about “new projects”, I don’t think that’d be immensely difficult. So, Worst Case Scenario: Fraiser thinks I’m nuts and sends me to an institution. Best Case Scenario: Fraiser thinks I’m nuts and sends me home. I’m guessin’ that’s not gonna happen but hey, who wants to have FUN when you could be sitting in a hospital looking at a little white padded room? Not me. When the nurses were eventually done poking us and shining things in our eyes, one of them told us to lye down and wait for the doctor.

“Okay, we’re lying, we’re waiting we’re…”

I trailed off. Damn! I hate it when I can’t come up with a good sarcastic remark! I’ve been a pro since I was twelve!

“Hey.”

Uh-oh the Doc walked in.

“Oh, hey Doc-”

“You haven’t been terrorising my nursing staff again have you?”

Mmm, I can see why Fraiser would be pissed about that. Last time I was here I accidentally (I swear!) made one of the nurses (Susan, I think) cry. She might have gotten transferred after that, I don’t remember.

“How’s Carter!?” “Major Carter’s going to be fine. Her ankle was badly twisted but not broken, her lungs didn’t seem too bad but we have her on antibiotics just in case A couple of cuts and bruises but nothing drastic, we’ll release her home in a couple of days. How are you two? My nurses said you didn’t seem too bad but I have a feeling that you’re probably hiding some kind of injury.”

So we went through the whole song-and-dance-poking/prodding thing with my favourite stubborn little doctor, who finished the examination totally baffled.

“Congratulations Colonel O’Neill, you came back from a mission without a scratch on you. This is a first.”

“Right, whatever- can I go see Carter now?”

“Sorry sir, she’s resting.”

“Please? I’ll be five minutes- tops!”

She looked at me and folded (I’m just as surprised as you).

“Okay, but FIVE MINUTES. No more or I’ll have security drag you out of here.

She smiled.

“Okay. And Doc… thanks.”

She nodded.

We went in to Carter and she was unsurprisingly sitting up looking completely bored.

“Hey Carter.”

“Greetings Major Carter.”

Her face lit up when she saw us.

“Hi guys. What’s up? You two alright?”

“We are fine.”

“Yeah, except for the whole thing where we’ve been gone TEN HOURS!”

“What?”

“According to General Hammond we’ve been gone ten hours. Is that possible?”

“Well what do you think?”

“Well, I’m goin’ with ‘no’, on account of us being gone for a month. What I mean is, I dunno, a screwed up time-line, some kind of messed up distortion thing, something that would account for us being gone for weeks when we were really gone ten hours.”

“I’m not sure sir, we’ve seen all kinds of problems with time-line: loops, travelling but nothing exactly like this.

Doctor Fraiser poked her head round the curtain.

“Colonel, Teal’c.”

“Okay. Well come by tomorrow.”

“Bye.”

“Major, I want you to get some rest.”

“Okay Janet.”

“Well, I don’t see why you two can’t leave, just take it easy.”

“Got it. Err Doc, this might sound a little strange, but when exactly did we leave?”

“I’m not sure, it couldn’t have been more than twelve hours ago.”

“Right.”

We went to find General Hammond immediately; he was in his office doing… I don’t know, whatever it is Generals do all day.

“Sir.”

“Colonel O’Neill, Teal’c come in.”

“We have to talk.”

I said shutting the door.

“We do, how’s Major Carter?”

“She’s not too bad, twisted ankle, slight cough. Doc says she’ll be able to go home in a few days.”

“Alright, but what happened, really?”

“Sir we were stuck on that planet for over a month, and we couldn’t get home, some problem with the gate having some kind of lock on it or something. And I know everyone thinks we were gone just a couple of hours but the truth is we were away much longer than that. Doctor Fraiser checked us out so you can be sure we’re not hallucinating, but we-”

“Colonel, are you telling me that you were gone for over a month when, it was really less than a day?”

“Yes sir, I suppose I am.”

He appeared to be having doubts about the not-hallucinating thing.

“We brought back soil samples sir and plant samples and pictures of writings we found.”

“I’ll have them analysed right away!”

Then he stood up and walked out of the room and barked orders at some poor airman. Something about getting our best and brightest to work round the clock till they found out what was “the devil” going on.

***

“OH, HELLO COLONEL.”

It had been two days since we got back. Carter was still in the infirmary. I had gone to see her yesterday but ole’ doc Fraiser said she was sleeping, and begging didn’t work this time. I would have gone to see her later that day, but as I said: paperwork. Teal'c did see her though, said she was fine.

“Can I go see Carter?”

“Sure, she’s doing quite well. Actually, she’ll be able to go home tomorrow afternoon, I thought you might drive her, if it’s not a problem.”

“Sure.”

I found her writing/drawing/calculating something on a huge pad of paper. She didn’t notice me until I spoke

“Hey Carter!”

She quickly tried to hide the large notebook knocking over several things in the process.

“Oh, err hi sir.”

“Whatcha doin’? I’m guessing, whatever it is you’re not supposed to be doing it.”

“Erm…no sir…not exactly. I’m trying to work out why there was a time difference and why we got stuck sir…”

“And the Doc wants you to…rest?”

“Pretty much sir.”

“I see, and dare I ask who risked their hide bringing you this stuff? Teal’c?”

“Maybe.”

“Ah. Well it’s about time somebody stands up to Fraiser, somebody who won’t get shot down…so let’s see.”

“I took the paper off her, took one look at it and gave it back.

“Too confusing. How ya feeling?”

“Fine, good even. Doctor Fraiser says I can go home tomorrow.”

“Yes, and guess who gets to be your ride.”

“Oh fun.”

“I sure hope you mean that. Anyway, seeing as you’re feeling so well I thought you might be able to come to the briefing tomorrow. I still have to clear it with Fraiser but I don’t think she’ll mind.”

“Sounds good.”

“0900?”

“You got it.”

I turned to leave.

“And Carter?”

“Yes sir?”

“Try not to overdue it with the science stuff.”

“Okay sir.”

“Hey Fraiser! I need to borrow Carter tomorrow, that’s okay right?”

***

0845- UH-OH! IF I DIDN’T GET CARTER TO THE BRIEFING ON TIME, HAMMOND WOULD kill me. I could hear laughter coming from the infirmary as I drew near it. Sounded like Carter and somebody else.

“Colonel.”

Said Carter as I entered.

“Colonel O’Neill”

“Ah. Jonas, what brings you here?”

“Oh, I just came by to see how Major Carter was.”

“Right, and yourself, you’re in good health I hope?”

“Yes. Well, I have to go. See you later.”

I looked at Carter. She shrugged her shoulders. It was like some scene out of one of those bad romance novels, except without the reading - or the romance.

“You ready?”

“Yes sir.”

“And Colonel,”

Called Fraiser.

“Bring Major Carter back after, just a few things before she leaves.”

“Don’t worry, Fraiser, I’ll have her home by eleven.”

She picked up her crutches and we headed off.

“Oh darn, I guess we won’t be taking the stairs then?”

“Guess not sir.”

A smile playing across her face. We arrived just in time cause General Hammond walked in just as soon as we had sat down.

“As you were. We have information regarding the mission you were on three days ago. It appears that the writings you found were also seen by SG-7 on a mission to P4X-980. They met a nation of humans who use that form of writing. Their level of technology is similar to earth maybe, sixty years ago. I did a little digging and found out that according to their history, they used to be a very advanced race like the Tollan but about a century ago there was a natural disaster, some volcano that wiped out more than half the population and most of their technology.”

“So sir, how come there were those writings on the planet we visited?”

I put in.

“Well, according to a legend, there was a group who weren’t too happy with the way things were being run.”

“So they skedaddled through the Stargate?”

I offered helpfully.

“According to the story, but that was all it is, not many believed it until our people came along. They haven’t been travelling anywhere via Stargate since the natural disaster they spoke of.”

“Wait, if the group that left did so before the disaster, then why would they be on an Asguard protected planet?”

Asked Carter.

“They would not.”

Said Teal'c.

“So, what? Not a protected planet?”

“It would appear not.”

“Hey, remember P4X-639?”

Carter really ought to start giving names that are easier to remember to planets we visit.

“Major?”

“We were stuck in a time loop and we couldn’t dial to any planets outside of the loop, what if the same thing happened there and we were just stuck in the same time but over and over again?”

“Nope. A) We weren’t near any big altar thingy. B) We didn’t end up in the same place every ten hours. C) We did nothing to break the loop. Plus, if we were in a loop we’d be acting a lot stupider than we were…”

“Right sir, but the point is, that where time passes differently it’s impossible to leave that zone by creating an artificial wormhole. Maybe during that planet’s orbit it passes through some kind of “pocket” in space where time is different, it might be natural or it could have been some part of an experiment being done by the people who used to live there. The Goa’uld or some other alien race.”

“Perhaps the group of deserters from P4X-980?”

Suggested Teal'c.

“Either way I’m going to have P8Y-395 locked out of the dialling system.”

“General?”

“Sir? That planet may be the most valuable resource in the battle against the Goa’uld. Did you get the results of the plants we brought back”

“Yes. Here are the results from the plant and soil samples you brought back.”

He handed out copies of some science report. I tried to read it, I really did but it was boring and made no sense to me anyway.

“Oh.”

Whispered Carter.

“Oh?”

“Colonel, the planet you were on had no traces of Naquadah in the soil and…”

“And it appears that the plant we brought back wasn’t the marvel we thought it to be.”

“Oh?”

“It seems to be able to repair damaged tissue but, it has side effects.”

“It can heal wounds and cure certain illnesses but it acts like some kind of drug. The user suffers from withdrawal symptoms much like a sarcophagus; we discovered that when a few of our scientists started feeling a little strange. Doctor Fraiser ran some tests and discovered that their symptoms were much the same as Doctor Jackson’s after he had been using the sarcophagus. She said that there are no traces of the plant in any of your systems. The effects were just a fraction of that from the machine the Goa’uld use but long term exposure to the drug could have some pretty bad effects. I’m sorry SG-1”

“Thank you sir.”

Added Carter.

“So I’m having P8Y-395 locked out of the dialling system. I can’t risk another SG team getting stuck on that planet.”

Just then there was a knock at the briefing room door.

“Come in.”

An airman stepped in the door with a pile of paper.

“The translations from SG-1’s last mission, sir.”

“Thank you, son. These are the translations from the writings on the planet- both Goa’uld and from the group from P4X-980.”

Teal'c took a look at the Goa’uld writing.

“It is an ancient prayer spoken by those who worshiped Yoel’ta, a rogue Goa’uld who opposed the System Lords. He, and all his worshipers were wiped out hundreds of years ago.”

“What about the other writing?”

Asked Carter.

“It looks like some sort of… diary?”

I guessed.

“Yeah, the grammar’s pretty shaky but I think there was some kind of war and most of the people died.”

“A Goa’uld is always trying to gain power over the weak. Perhaps the humans who were subjected to this plant reacted in a similar way?”

Piped up Teal'c. And so we went on with all sorts of stuff that we SG personnel go on about at these briefings. Hammond put us on downtime for the next week. He ordered us all to go home and get some rest. Probably figured that if Carter was allowed to stay on base she’d go nuts with the science stuff and hurt her leg again. I don’t actually blame him, that woman just doesn’t know how to relax. If she were on a Mediterranean island in the middle of the summer on a lovely beach, cocktail in one hand, suntan lotion in the other she’d probably have a nervous breakdown or die from lack of technical toys to mess with. And she said I had no life outside this base! So when the briefing was over I brought Carter back to the infirmary.

“We’ll be about twenty minutes Colonel, if there’s anything you need to do.”

Said the Doc.

“Yes, thanks.”

I actually DID have something to do. I dashed to the commissary to get something. One of the women who works there let me store something in the refrigerator, I just had to use the Jack O’Neill charm on her and she folded, like I said, works every time. So I ran back to my car and stashed the stuff in a freezer bag. Got back to the infirmary in just under twenty-five minutes, where Carter was waiting for me.

“Hey Colonel.”

“Yo Carter. Ready?”

“Sure sir.”

“And Major, take it easy on that leg, it needs time to heal.”

Called Fraiser.

“Got it.”

We took the elevator to the level where everyone parked their car and got out of their as fast as I could without getting stopped by someone. I didn’t bother driving too fast after we got out though, I kinda enjoy driving. When we got to Carter’s I grabbed the freezer bag and opened the car door for her.

“Walk you to your door?”

“Sure.”

As we walked, I glanced over at Carter. She seemed to be grinning.

“Those any fun?”

I nodded at the crutches.

“Um, not really. Why?”

“Just wondering. They difficult?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Cause if they are I could always carry you.”

She gave me this look, like a mixture of “shut up” and trying to stop herself from laughing. When we got to the door I helped Carter open it. Then she started to look uncomfortable.

“Umm, do you want to, I mean, if you’ve nothing to do, would you like to come in?”

“Well, if you’d like the company.”

“Yes, come in, come in. Would you like something to drink, I have some beer in the fridge and-”

“Beer’s good. Want one too?”

“Sure.”

“Sit down. Where’s your bottle opener?”

“Third drawer down.”

I had a major brainwave.

“Carter, close your eyes.”

“Why…?”

“Just do it. That’s an order.”

“O-Kay…”

I ran out to the living room and put the huge plate on the coffee table.

“Open!”

She just looked at the plate and smiled.

“You like?”

“I love, thank you so much!”

“Well it’s no secret, I figured you’d be going nuts a whole month without it.”

“Thanks so much its very-”

“Blue Jell-O-y?”

She laughed.

“Thoughtful. Thank you.”

“No problem.”

I said putting my coat on to leave.

“Well actually there might be one.”

“What’s that?”

“Well I don’t think I’d be able to finish this by myself, help me?”

She was wearing that oh-so-very angelic face that never fails to work on me.

“Okay, I suppose it would be a crime to let good Jell-O go to waste.”

“Exactly.”

BIG, BIG grins this time. So we talked and consumed Jell-O at the same time- NOT a good combination, I should have known that. I started telling Carter about this guy I used to live near who have five really big dogs, and at first I thought she was really interested but then she started to smile, then grin, then giggle. Eventually I asked her what was so funny and she just burst out laughing.

“Sorry……sir, just……….it’s… your………”

She just couldn’t seem to get the words out. Then I realised what she was laughing at. I looked down. My dessert had melted on the (really big) spoon and had run all down my trousers. They were completely blue and I don’t mean stained blue, I mean bright Jell-O-coloured blue.

“Oh crap! Next time I bring green food!”

“Sorry sir…I…I’d let you wear something of mine except-”

“EXCEPT I’D RATHER JUMP OFF A CLIFF SHOUTING ‘I LOVE AND WORSHIP APOPHIS!!!’.”

“I’m so sorry sir. I’d understand if you want to go home.”

“It’s ‘Jack’ off base and ‘no’, I don’t wanna go home. It’s just a little stain.”

“Sure it is.”

“Watch it! How about that beer now?”

“Sure, I’ll get it.”

She tried to stand up and failed.

“Or I could get it?”

She smiled.

“Were you even listening to what the Doc said?”

I called from the kitchen.

“Err, was that a rhetorical question?”

“No!”

I said handing her a beer.

“And you’d do well to listen to her.”

Carter almost choked.

“What? Look who’s talking! I thought we second-in-commands were supposed to take after our Commanding Officers.”

“You are, just don’t not-listen to doctors like we do.”

We both laughed gently.

“Hey, what’s this?”

I said picking up a weird statue off the mantle piece.

“I got that when I went to Africa.”

“You’ve been to Africa?”

“Yeah, when I was a kid…”

We talked for hours until it was dark outside, about all kinds of stuff. I learnt a lot about my Second that I didn’t even imagine possible.

“Well it’s…you must be tired Carter and you’re probably sick of me so I’d better go home.”

She grabbed my wrist.

“It’s ‘Sam’ off base, and ‘no’, I don’t want you to go home.”

She looked at me, her eyes willing me to stay, pleading for me to remain with her.

“Okay, I suppose it’s still early… in France.”

“Right. I just wanted to say that… well, I’m not going anywhere, I don’t want to leave SG-1. I never intended to take the job with that new program and I’m not interested in getting another job just for the sake of it.”

“Right. You meant what you said.”

“I did. And I meant it when I said that I missed Daniel, I wasn’t just trying to be hopeless or full of regrets. I really do miss him”

We talked well in to the early hours of the morning. It was past six o’clock before either of us realised just how late it was.

“Oh God, I think now I have to go.”

Sam nodded. I was about to leave when-

“Wait!”

I turned around.

“Jack?”

She nodded towards the couch beside her. I sat down.

“Jack, there’s something I need to tell you.”

“What is it?”

“I… I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“I, back on the planet I blamed you. I, I said it was your fault I felt the way I did, just you have to understand I was hurting, and I don’t think someone ever gets good at that. I don’t regret us not…”

“I know. It’s okay”

“Jack? Thank you, thank you for saying ‘no’. I was needy and I was selfish and thanks for telling me ‘no’. I appreciate that.”

“Sam, I…I…you’re welcome, I guess, but I should be the one thanking you. You were there for me, you helped me. You saved me.”

We both just sat silently for a minute.

“You should get some sleep.”

I broke the silence.

“Alright, you too.”

“I will.”

I stood up and put on my jacket. I had made a lot of bad choices in my life but I’d also made a lot of good ones too. As I left I thought I heard the tiniest sound from the far side of the room.

“I love you too.”

~ In Memory of the Character Daniel Jackson ~

More author’s notes (and a few of my own personal thoughts as well):

Hey! If you’re reading this you must have finished my story. Congratulations! I know it was really, really long. I just hope it didn’t take you as long to read it, as it took me to write it (3 months). I hope you liked it. I think there were a few too many heartfelt conversations in the story, maybe one is enough but heck, my stories make no sense anyway. I apologise for the uncanny references to “Blue Jell-O”, I do not eat it myself but all (of my) Fan Fictions need one of those weird character things. And YES I’m aware of the fact that I used the word “evil” 6 times, but it’s useful cause it’s a noun and an adjective (but not a preposition so you can end sentences with it). Also aware is bears a real resemblance to ‘Paradise lost’ but I didn’t actually see that episode until two days after I finished writing the story and I’m only writing this cause my computer was screwed and wouldn’t send email so I had time to revise the author’s notes. Now, it’s my first Fan Fiction so any questions/comments/insults you have please let me know. Too sad, too stupid, even if it’s just something like the insanity of my “Ick-scale” PLEASE give me some feedback. And if you’re wondering: yes, I do have a load more ideas for stories so if I’m lucky there MIGHT be another finished masterpiece (yea right!) for the campers (that’s you guys) to read. So e-mail me at: aligator@online.ie PLEASE or I won’t write any more Fan Fiction and you’ll miss out on my next story that’s all about really weird aliens who are kinda like Jack, UH-OH I’ve said too much…