Good Luck

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  6
Spoilers:  Redemption Parts 1 & 2
Size:  112kb
Written:  April 17-20,26-27,29-30, May 1,4,11,15,25-26, 2008
Summary:  Anubis launches an attack on Earth, and it's up to SG-1 to save the day.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Sometimes, Jack and Daniel speak almost telepathically.  Their “silent” words to each other are indicated by asterisks instead of quotes, such as **Jack, we can't.**
2) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Keri, Tammy, Lissa. Jo, Ali, Melissa, Tonya, Linda!

Good Luck
by Orrymain

“Good luck, Babe,” Daniel spoke as Jack was about to leave his office.

“You sure you want to go to that *boring* planet?” Jack questioned, making a sad face as he tapped his hands together.

“It's not boring, Jack.  Besides, I'll probably be back by lunch,” Daniel commented.

“One can only hope,” Jack sighed.  “We'll have lunch and trade war stories,” he quipped lightly, seeing his soulmate smile in response.  He smiled, too, as he purposely brushed against his lover and said, “You didn't have to come in so early.”

“What was I going to do at home?” Daniel asked, arching his eyebrows in a mischievous manner.  “I need to catch up on some of these reports, anyway.”

“When do you leave?”

“Eight...thirty-ish,” Daniel answered, coughing a little as he scurried for his duty schedule.

Chuckling, Jack remarked, “Daniel, it's always a good idea to know what time you're supposed to leave on a mission.”

“I'll ... find it.  It's here somewhere.”

“Don't fall for any princesses,” Jack said, only chuckling slightly, heading for the exit, still chuckling as he saw his lover scrambling for his schedule, the sound of papers being shuffled fueling his amusement.

“Don't give Captain Hagman a hard time,” Daniel instructed, referring to the archaeologist who was accompanying SG-1 in his stead, while he looked for the paper that would have the embarkation time on it.

“Who me?” the colonel questioned innocently, smiling as he left the office.

Having found the desired piece of paper, Daniel took a happy breath.  Then he chuckled for a moment at his lover's feigned innocence before returning to his task.

It was very early in the morning; in fact, many of the day shift personnel hadn't arrived yet.  Later this morning, Daniel would be accompanying SG-11 on a brief mission to check out some previously discovered ruins, while the flagship team was just minutes away from venturing to P2X-374 on a standard recon mission.  Neither man anticipated being gone for more than a few hours maximum, and both were eager to share their 'war stories' with each other at their just-planned lunch date.

====

As the archaeologist was preparing for his mission, he just happened to glance at the clock.

~You should be back in another hour or so.~

Daniel smiled in anticipation of his reunion with his lover, until the klaxons sounded, alerting the base to an incoming wormhole.

~Are they back early?~

Concerned, Daniel hurried to the control room.

====

“What's happening?” Daniel asked, putting his hands on his hips as he looked at General Hammond and Sergeant Davis.

“It's SG-1.  They're coming in hot,” the major general responded.

The Stargate had just opened.  Daniel watched the general pass in front of him to go to the gate room.  Medical personnel were also on their way.  

~Be okay, Jack,~ Daniel urged as he quickly followed.

As the major general stood at the base of the ramp, a spear flew threw and stopped at his feet.  Hammond picked it up and then looked over at Teal'c, who was helping the colonel walk.

“I swear, Sir, I thought they wanted to smoke a peace pipe,” Hagman swore before collapsing to the ramp floor.

Sam knelt down, taking the dart that he'd just pulled out from the captain's hand. She watched as the man passed out.

“No more replacements,” Jack groused as he rushed by the general.

“Jack?” Daniel called out, turning and following his lover and the Jaffa.

“Never wish me good luck again.  That was definitely not good luck.”

“What happened?”

“P2X-374 was not an amiable place, DanielJackson,” Teal'c responded.

“I guess not,” Daniel replied.  “Does it hurt?”

Jack rolled his eyes and let Teal'c continue to help him to the infirmary.

The archaeologist smiled, knowing his Love wasn't seriously injured.  Looking at his watch, he made an 'oh' expression with his face and hurried to take care of some business.

====

Jack stared at his soulmate, who surprised him by walking into the infirmary and stopping in front of the bed he was currently reclining on.

“Aren't you supposed to be somewhere?”

Daniel sighed at his Love's snippiness and stated simply, “Jack.”

The name was a reprimand and a message, one which the colonel received, loud and clear.

“Sorry, but aren't you supposed to be playing in the dirt somewhere?  It's almost 0900 hours.”

“I made other arrangements.”

“Why?” Jack asked in a combination of curiosity and skepticism.

“Protecting my staff,” Daniel answered, thinking about the wounded archaeologist who had accompanied SG-1.

“He'll need protecting ... soon, very soon,” Jack promised.

“*That's* why I made other arrangements,” Daniel responded, looking over and seeing Janet approaching.

====

“Colonel, what's the verdict?” Hammond asked when Jack and Daniel entered the conference room an hour later for the debriefing.

“Just a partially torn ligament in my knee, Sir.  I'll be fine,” Jack answered, reaching down and patting the injured area before taking a seat at the table.

“Doctor Jackson, I thought you left with SG-11?”

“Oh, uh, I was.  I mean, I was going to, but I ... assigned someone else to go,” Daniel answered, still standing.

“Any particular reason?” Hammond asked, his tone expectant, considering that personnel had been juggled around just to accommodate Daniel going with the archaeological team.  He strongly suspected that the scientist had been reluctant to leave with Jack injured, regardless of the fact that it was a relatively minor injury.  ~I wouldn't be surprised.~

“I just thought I should sit in, Sir.  It'll help me evaluate Captain Hagman's performance,” Daniel explained.

“I'd be happy to do that for you,” Jack snarked.

Daniel blinked and looked at General Hammond, saying, “That's why I think I should sit in, General.”

~I understand now,~ Hammond thought as he nodded and sat down at the head of the table, while also silently being amused by the look his second-in-command was giving the SGC's Head of Archaeology, who only now sat down.

Jack looked down innocently as he shrugged, and then the debriefing commenced.

====

At the end of the debriefing, Hammond announced that he'd received word that the X-302 project had reached a milestone.  The prototype for the new Air Force spacecraft was done.  As such, he instructed SG-1 to fly to Area 51 and evaluate the new interstellar 'plane'.

Once there, the team entered the large hangar.  Jack, with Daniel following close behind, headed straight for the X-302.  Teal'c, too, walked immediately over to the 'plane'.  Sam, however, stopped and was greeted by Doctor Larry Murphy, the scientist in charge of the project at the secret base.

“Major, I thought you'd like to see the prototype as soon as it was completed,” Murphy stated.

“Wow!  You're way ahead of schedule,” Sam replied, watching as her CO examined the cockpit, with Daniel climbing the access stairs after him and stopping on the platform to get an up-close view of the aircraft.  “Very impressive,” she added.

Sam introduced her teammates to the scientist, who was confused by Jack's repeated greeting to him -- the word, “no.”

“Um, I'm sorry, to what exactly?” Murphy questioned the colonel as he now sat in the cockpit, as if piloting the craft.

“O'Neill believes you are going to request that we test fly this aircraft,” Teal'c advised as he stood beneath the belly of the X-302.

“Oh, yeah, uh, of course.  Sir, I wasn't around for it, but we're all quite familiar with your experience with the X-302's predecessor,” Murphy responded.

“Are ya now?  Really?” Jack asked sarcastically.

“Well, Sir, I can tell you that this is a ... this is a very different ship,” Murphy stated.

“Sir, the X-301 was a modified glider,” Sam interjected.  “Now, while many of the 302's systems were retro-engineered from Goa'uld technology, it is entirely human built.”

“So was the Titanic,” the colonel quipped.  ~And I have no intention of going down with the ship.~

“Sir, this could be the most important breakthrough for Earth since the discovery of the Stargate,” Sam claimed as she tried to convince Jack to fly the craft.

~Sam, you can't really think he's not going to fly it?  He can't wait to get it up in the air.  Why do you think he practically ran to the cockpit?~ Daniel mused while listening to the conversation and studying the 302.  ~You have noticed that he's sitting in the cockpit; he looks right at home there, too; very sexy even.~  He looked away, pretending to examine the tail of the craft.  ~Not a good idea to think about Jack being *that* sexy now.  At least he's not wearing his Class A uniform.  Okay, let's review Latin.~

“It's got four different sets of engines: air breathing jets, modified aero spikes for high altitude, and a rocket booster,” Murphy elaborated.

“You said four, right?” Daniel asked, glad some verbal conversation was now distracting him from his thoughts of his very sexy pilot.

“The fourth engine is a hyperspace window generator,” Sam answered.

“Even Goa'uld gliders are not capable of entering hyperspace,” Teal'c noted.

“That's because they're too small to carry the Goa'uld version of the generator,” Sam responded.

“Ours are much more compact,” Murphy stated proudly.

“This is all possible because of the naquadria we got from the Kelownans,” Sam added.

“Carter!”

“Sorry, Sir,” Sam said, knowing how the colonel felt about that particular alien race and primarily Jonas Quinn.  “But we do need to acknowledge it.  It's the naquadria that's making the difference.”

“Swell.  I'm acknowledging,” Jack snapped.  ~Like I do a pain in the mikta.~

“It's still a few weeks away from a practical test, but all preliminary indications look good,” Murphy advised.

“If this performs the way it was designed to, the X-302 will be the first human-built space craft capable of interstellar travel,” Sam spoke happily.

“Well, it looks good.  We'll see.”

Daniel just grinned, something his lover caught sight of as he twisted around for a moment.

“What's so funny?”

“Keep playing hard to get, Jack, and I'm sure they'll have you right where you want them to in no time at all,” Daniel smirked and then climbed down the stairs.

Jack let out a groan and continued to review the interior of the craft, while thinking, ~We were stranded in space and almost died.  Hafta make them remember that because we don't want a repeat performance.~

====

“Ya gotta admit, it looked good,” Jack conceded on the flight back to the Mountain.

“No one's disputing that, Jack,” Daniel replied.

“Wonder if she flies as good as she looks,” the colonel pondered as he clasped his hands together.

“I'm sure you'll tell us after the test flight,” Daniel replied wryly, shaking his head.

“I didn't say I'd fly that thing.”

Sam turned her head, trying to hide her chuckle.

“If you wish, I will offer to participate in the test flight in your stead, O'Neill.”

“I didn't say I wouldn't do it,” Jack refuted quickly, his scowl unmistakable.  Hearing his second's chuckle, he groused, “Carter?”

“Nothing, Sir.  I'll keep you advised as to when a test date is set.”

“Yes, you do that,” Jack sighed.  “I wouldn't want to let the eggheads down.”

**No one's buying your act, Babe.**

**That bird *is* cool, Danny,** Jack replied excitedly, after which he proceeded to elaborate on everything he liked about the X-302.

~And he says I prattle,~ Daniel mused a few minutes later while continuing to 'listen' to his lover's opinion on the subject.

====

“Do you believe it, Daniel?” Jack groused in his lover's office roughly ninety minutes later, having just left an undesired meeting with Hammond and Colonel Checkov, the Russian envoy to the SGC.

“It's not exactly unexpected, Jack,” Daniel replied, referring to the Russians' request that one of their officers be assigned to join SG-1.”

“We're full up,” Jack responded.  “We have four.  We don't need five.”

“It's natural for them to want to participate more,” Daniel commented.

“Daniel, over my rotting corpse will a Russian be on SG-1.”

“What did the general say?”

“Political mumbo jumbo about me considering the request and giving it careful thought.”

“I'm almost afraid to ask,” the archaeologist spoke, wondering what his lover had said in response.

“I think I said something like, 'Bite me'.”

“Jack!”

“Hammond didn't say a word.  He agrees with me,” Jack spoke with a smug smile.

“So ... no Russian on SG-1?”

“What do you think?”

Daniel smiled, bowing his head and looking at a book he had open, one that he was currently using for research in order to keep his currently agitated lover from seeing his amusement.

“He did ... bite me about your replacements,” Jack admitted.

The younger man couldn't help himself and laughed.

“Hey!” Jack exclaimed in defense of his actions.

“Jack, I'm not gone that often, but, lately, when I am, you go ballistic.  We have a good team here,” the scientist asserted about his department of archaeologists, anthropologists, and linguists.  “We're undermanned, but that's ... neither here nor there at the moment.”  Daniel took a breath and continued, “Jake only lasted two hours.  You scared him half to death.”

“Captain Mathison is scared of his own shadow.”

“Only when Teal'c is looming behind him and you're threatening to leave him behind,” Daniel corrected.

“Your point?”

“Just ... be a little more tolerant.  I'm not going anywhere,” Daniel assured with a smile that melted his lover's heart.

“Yeah, Hammond's getting a little tired of dealing with the paperwork,” Jack acknowledged grudgingly.

“If you're not careful, he might put a Russian on the team just to make his point.”

Jack grimaced, replying, “He wouldn't.”

Daniel just stared and shrugged at his disbelieving lover.

“Would he?” the worried colonel questioned.

“If you're not careful, we might find out,” Daniel sighed.  “What's the game plan for tonight?”

“Movie starts at seven.”

“Okay.  I have a couple of errands to run, so maybe we should ...” Daniel began, letting his fingers walk through the air to finish his sentence.

“I'm cool,” Jack agreed, smiling as his lover closed up shop for the day so the two could head home and prepare for a pleasant evening together without the intrusion of the SGC.

====

The next morning, the sound of the klaxons blaring having drawn the attention of SG-1, all four members immediately heading for the gate room from their individual locations.  The team met up at about the same time, all stopping when they saw General Hammond and Bra'tac walking down the corridor towards them.

After greeting his former apprentice, Bra'tac delivered the bad news that Teal'c's wife, Drey'auc, was dying.

Before Teal'c could even make his request, Hammond moved aside and told him to, “Go.”

The rest of SG-1 shared a concerned look with Hammond before they began to walk away, while the general returned to his office.

“You know, Teal'c and Drey'auc have had their problems, but I don't think Teal'c's ever stopped loving her,” Sam sighed.

“Yeah, a temple priestess here, a ...” the colonel began.

“Jack, I don't think now's the time to ...”

“Be crass?” Jack asked.  Not waiting for an answer, he agreed, “You're right.  I liked her, and they've got a great kid in Rya'c.”

“It was never easy on her,” Daniel reminded everyone.  “When Teal'c joined us, her life was turned upside down.”

The team's sympathy and worry for Teal'c and his wife was interrupted by a loud voice from behind.  They stopped, Jack letting out a groan when he realized who was calling them.

“Major!” a loud voice rang out, the man not realizing Jack was with the blonde.

“Hey!  We're in mourning here,” Jack snapped.  “Maybe.”

Colonel Chekov ignored Jack's comment, certain he was teasing or just being sarcastic.  That had been their relationship thus far, the two constantly at odds whenever they met.

“Why was I not informed about the X-302?” Chekov asked angrily.

After a pause as the team contemplated a proper response, Jack suggested, “Let's take this to Hammond's office.”

====

“How did you find out about the X-302, Colonel?” Hammond queried as SG-1 looked on.

“That is not the issue.  Article 3A clearly states ...” Chekov began.

“The X-302 has nothing to do with the Stargate,” the major general pointed out.

“The naquadria being used to power the hyperspace window generator was procured through ...” the Russian began, his words cut off by the blaring klaxons and the announcement of an unauthorized incoming wormhole.

“What now?” Sam asked with a sigh.

“I'll take anything over this,” Hammond responded as he and SG-1 sprinted to the control room.

====

The wormhole turned out to be a bit of a mystery for the SGC.  Nothing at all happened, and no codes or transmissions were being received.  Yet, the Gate was very definitely engaged.

“The Goa'uld used that tactic before,” Jack reminded.

“To block our escape while they attacked in ships, yeah,” Sam affirmed.

“Nothing from deep space watch, either,” Sergeant Davis reported.

“This doesn't make any sense.  In order to keep a wormhole open, you *have* to send something through -- a radio signal, anything.  We're getting ... nothing,” Sam stated.

“Figure it out, Major,” Hammond ordered.  “I'll call the President.”

“Yes, Sir,” Sam acknowledged, looking over at her CO as the major general left.

“Don't look at me.  I got nothin',” Jack stated, glancing at his lover before leaving the room.

“Wish I could help,” Daniel offered.

“Me, too,” Sam replied, shrugging and then going to work on possibilities.

====

At the moment, Hammond and his flagship team were holding their collective breaths, waiting to see if the Stargate would shut down.  Sam had already ruled out a malfunction and was certain that someone had definitely dialed in on purpose.

The clock was ticking towards the thirty-eight minute mark.  Up until now, no one had ever been able to sustain an active wormhole any longer than that; at least, no one known to the Tau'ri.

As a precaution, Sam had programmed the computer to dial the Alpha site immediately after the incoming wormhole expired.  In doing so, she hoped to be able to contact one of their allies for help, as well as to recall the teams that were currently off-world.

“Time flies when you're having fun,” Jack quipped as he, and everyone in the control room, watched the clock count upwards.  

“I guess you could say we're just marking time,” Daniel said, smiling slightly at his soulmate.

“Well, there's no time like the present for that thing to stop ... whatever it's doing,” Jack retorted.

“Though time and again, nothing goes as planned,” the archaeologist replied.

“Sure it does,” Jack refuted.  “We always save the day, just in the nick of time,” Jack smirked, rubbing his hands together proudly.  “No comeback?”

“A watched Stargate never closes,” Daniel stated uncertainly.  “But I'd like to be wrong about that,” he added as he stared at the large ring.

Two minutes later, as the designated time came and went, Hammond observed, “It's still on.”

“Thirty-eight minutes, give or take a few seconds,” Sam stated, still hoping the Gate would shut down.

Jack watched the clock for several seconds and then asked, “How many is a few?”

“Okay, now we have a problem,” Sam advised.

“Oh, *now* we do,” Jack echoed with a sigh.

“Major,” Hammond called out, his commanding voice indicating his displeasure over the situation.

“I'll ... keep working on it, Sir,” Sam sighed.

====

“Any news?” Jack asked when his lover walked into his office sometime later.

Not one member of SG-1 had left the base, considering the crisis that was occurring, even though their scheduled shifts had ended earlier in the day.

“Sam found some anomaly that she thinks could be important, something about an increase in energy, or something,” Daniel replied.  “I thought you might wanna ...”

Jack nodded, seeing his lover pointing towards the door.

The two men strode into the control room just as Sam was starting to elaborate on her findings to General Hammond.  Jack sat down on a stool, Hammond standing to his right with Daniel stopping behind him.

“We've detected an energy build up within the Gate.  It's being transmitted through the incoming wormhole.  We didn't notice it before because our sensors aren't calibrated to measure something this small,” Sam remarked.

“The iris appears to be holding,” Hammond commented.

“Yes, Sir.  It's likely slowing the energy transfer significantly, but it's not stopping it completely.”

“Doesn't sound so bad,” Jack stated hesitantly.

“Actually Sir, it is.  The Gate itself is one giant superconductor capable of absorbing *huge* amounts of energy.  Now, if that capacity is eventually exceeded, the naquadah that the Stargate's made up of will become charged and could eventually explode,” Sam explained.

“How long?” the colonel questioned.

“A few days, maybe less,” Sam answered.  “We're calculating it right now.”

“Is there any good news?” the general asked.

Taking hold of a laptop handed to her by a technician, Sam shook her head, saying, “Just bad and worse, Sir.  We're talking about a blast two to three-thousand megatons.”

“Megatons?” Daniel asked with alarm as he stood with his arms folded across his chest.

“Enough to take out Colorado,” Hammond sighed.

“The resulting environmental effects could destroy all life on Earth,” Sam advised.

“There's worse?” Jack queried.

“We have no idea how to stop it,” Sam responded.

“That's worse,” Daniel agreed.

====

“I never thought of the Stargate as a bomb before,” Daniel stated as the lovers walked towards the commissary to get a bite to eat.

“It might as well be ticking because, if Carter's right, when it goes off, it'll be the biggest bomb the United States has ever seen, up close, at least,” Jack replied as the couple rounded a corner.

“Why would someone do this?”

“Daniel, the Goa'uld have done stuff like this before,” the older man reminded.

“Yes, I know that, but why now, and who?”

“They haven't left a message.”

“I wish the Nox weren't ... on vacation,” Daniel sighed.

“Vacation?” Jack questioned with a sneer.  “They told us, 'don't call us, we'll call you',” he sneered.

“Jack, it's an important time for them.”

“How do we know that?” the colonel asked as the two men entered the mess hall and picked up trays.

“Because they told us it was, and the Nox don't lie.”

“No, they don't,” Jack sighed.  “But they've picked a bad time to commune, or whatever they're doing.”

“I suppose we could try and use the device, just in case.”

“Nah.  You're right.  That's why they sent us a message in the first place.”

“They'd help, if they could.”

“Yep,” Jack agreed as he stared at the pie choices before taking three different varieties.

“Hungry?”

“This might be the last pie I get to eat.  Why be picky?”

“Good point,” Daniel agreed, taking two different kinds of pie himself, as well as some ice cream.

“There you go,” Jack praised, reaching for some ice cream, too.  “It's gonna be a long night,” he added as he sat down.

“Who needs sleep?” Daniel spoke rhetorically about the hours ahead that certainly would not include much time, if any, for rest or sleep.

“Who said anything about sleep?” Jack smirked.

“Gawd,” Daniel responded, shaking his head at his lover's one-track mind.

More seriously, the colonel suggested, “Let's all try to get a couple of hours.”

“Jack, Sam's pretty focused.”

“I wasn't thinking about taking Carter to ...”  Seeing Daniel's glare, Jack decided to ignore the quips and stick to the point of their discussion, that being the need for some sleep.  “I'll order her.”

“You may have to pick her up and carry her to one of the VIP rooms.”

Giving the comment some thought, Jack responded, “I'll get Teal'c.”

Daniel chuckled for a second and then asserted, “She'll argue.”

“Daniel, she's right.  She's probably the only one around here who's gonna find the solution, present company excluded, of course.”

“Jack ...”

“All I'm saying is that we're in a crisis situation.  We've been there before, and with luck, we'll be there again.  She's gonna get two hours for her own sake, even if I have to order the Doc to make it happen.”

“Okay,” Daniel said dryly, biting into his food.

====

After seeing making sure that each member of his team got at least a few hours of sleep, Jack was sitting in Hammond's office, listening to Chekov rant and rave about having not been advised about the X-302 and wanting a Russian on SG-1.

~That's *so* not going to happen,~ Jack vowed.

“What good is being a part of this *so-called* Protected Planets Treaty if you can't even reach the Asgard when we're being attacked?” Chekov questioned agitatedly from his seat in front of the major general's desk.

At that point, Sam walked in, saying, “Excuse me, Sirs.  I just got off the phone with Doctor Murphy at Area 51.  He says he can have the X-302 ready to go in six hours.”

“I thought it was weeks away from a flight test,” Jack responded.

“Sir, we've tried everything else we can think of.  Our only chance is if we can contact the Asgard.”  Looking at the general, she said, “I'd like to volunteer, Sir.”

After Hammond nodded, Jack added, “I'll go, too, Sir.”

“You sure you're up for it, Colonel?”

“Yes, Sir,” Jack answered, rubbing and then gently slapping his knee and standing up.

“I'll have transport prepped and ready in twenty minutes,” the general responded.

As Jack and Sam walked out of the office, the colonel spoke, “I'll meet you at the pickup, Major.”

“Yes, Sir,” Sam said, understanding that her CO wanted some time to talk with Daniel.

====

“Dan...iel,” Jack said, looking all around the archaeologist's office, disappointed to realize his lover wasn't there.

The colonel reluctantly began to retreat when he heard, “Jack?”

Quickly, the silver-haired man twisted around, smiling when he saw Daniel entering through the other door of his corner office.

“Where were you?”

“Mars,” Daniel answered wryly.  “Actually, I was, uh ...”

“Oh,” Jack responded, realizing his lover had just returned from a trip to the men's room.  “The X-302 is ready for flight.”

“What?” Daniel asked, a bit stunned.

Heading over to stand opposite the younger man, Jack explained, “Carter says it's our only shot.”

“Abydos?”

“I didn't ask, but ... Danny, I have to go.  The transport leaves in a few minutes,” Jack said reluctantly.

The archaeologist nodded, saying, “Be careful, Jack.”

“I always am.”

“Be ... extra careful, and tell Kasuf 'hello', Skaara, too.”

Not having time to lock the doors and turn off the security equipment, Jack tugged on his Love's arm and pulled him over to the corner, out of range of the camera because of the angle.  Quickly, he kissed his lover, wishing for more, but feeling lucky to have just this one moment.  The two leaned their foreheads together, a symbol of their love and unity.

**I love you.**

**I love you, too,** Daniel replied as he pulled back.  “Good luck.”

“Didn't I tell you to stop wishing me luck?” Jack asked, motioning with his head for the door and smiling when Daniel nodded and began to walk with him.

“Wishing people luck is polite,” Daniel responded.

“As good luck would have it,” Jack sneered with a shiver.

“Shakespeare,” the linguist spoke.

“Willie?”

“Really,” Daniel affirmed.

“What about him?”

“'The Merry Wives of Windsor', back in 1600,” Daniel began.  “Falstaff speaks, 'You shall hear.  As good luck would have it, comes in one Mistress Page; gives intelligence of Ford's approach; and, in her invention and Ford's wife's distraction, they conveyed me into a buck-basket'.”

“I thought it had to do with the Non-reciprocal Law of Expectations.”

“Excuse me?” Daniel asked, stunned by the comment.

Nonchalantly, Jack expounded, “Like Murphy's Law, only this one says that negative expectations produce negative results, and positive expectations produce negative results.”

“Superstition then.”

“Just don't wish me luck,” Jack requested.

“So, you're saying that you're superstitious.”

“No.”

“Yes,” Daniel insisted.

“No,” Jack claimed.

“Jack, if you ...”

As they walked down the hallway, the lovers' banter continued, giving the two a feeling of normalcy and even safety that few, if any, could truly understand.

====

“Carter,” Jack called out when, seeing the blonde pacing as she waited for the colonel and their transport.

“You look ...” Daniel began, having accompanied his lover to the parking level.

“Don't say it, Daniel,” Sam spoke, holding up the palm of her hand to stop him.  “I'm so glad we're going to Area 51.  He's driving me crazy, and he hasn't even been here a half-hour yet.”

Jack and Daniel stared at each other in confusion, both of them then looking over at Sam and asking, “Him?”

“McKay is here.”

“Rodney McKay?” Daniel questioned.

“Is there another one?” a clearly frustrated Sam asked.

“No, not that I know of,” the archaeologist answered.  To hide his amusement, he raised the coffee mug he had brought with him and took a sip.  ~Two Rodneys might send Sam, maybe even Jack, too, over the edge.~

“He's one of the most, if not *the* most exasperating people I know.”

“So, he hasn't changed,” Jack spoke, seeing the transport approaching.

“Not one bit, Sir,” Sam responded.

“I thought he was in Russia,” Daniel interjected.

“Apparently, the Pentagon thought I could use some help,” Sam sighed.  She leaned forward, dropping her head to her arms as they rested on the edge of the table.  “I checked before coming out here.  The energy build up is over twenty percent now.  I hope this works.  If it doesn't ...”

“It'll work,” Jack proclaimed confidently.

“Jack's right, Sam.  I mean, time and time again, we solve the problem, though it's sometimes just in the nick of time.  This'll work.”

“A twofer?” the colonel challenged.

Daniel just smiled, while Sam rolled her eyes.  She smiled, though, and that had been the goal for the word play.

“Carter, you're good and probably the only one who can keep us from becoming little dust mites.  Don't let McKay ruffle your feathers,” Jack stated seriously.

“Thank you, Sir.”  With a smile, Sam thought, ~That's my team: always there for one another.  Scratch that.  That's my family.  I hope this mission works, or I may have to figure out a way to keep myself from killing McKay.~  She paused a brief moment as a realization hit her.  ~Actually, if this fails, I won't have to worry about McKay at all.~

As the car came to a stop in front of them, Daniel asked his lover, “How's your knee?”

“It's okay.  Don't you worry, Daniel.  It'll be fine in two shakes of a lamb's tail,” Jack replied jokingly as he headed for the door.

“Keep it up, Jack.  You're a laugh a minute,” the archaeologist said.

“Funny,” Jack muttered as he climbed into the car.  “We'll be back in a flash.”

Daniel just nodded, a tentative smile on his face.

**Love you, Angel.**

**Love you, too.**

After watching the car drive away, Daniel went to Sam's lab, wanting to review some of the research she had on naquadria.  He didn't consider himself a scientist when it came to 'space gas', as his lover sometimes referred to it, but he'd learned a lot about the alien substance, and now he had a hunch that he had to follow up on this.

====

At Area 51, Murphy briefed Jack and Sam on the pending flight.  He confirmed that their destination was Abydos, since it was the closest planet with a Stargate.

--

Meanwhile, at the SGC, Daniel had been reviewing the research on naquadria, and something was definitely disturbing him.  Taking a notebook in which he'd written some references with him, he tracked down the general in the briefing room, the bald-headed man having just left his office while still engaged in a mild argument with Rodney McKay.

“General, this isn't exactly my area of expertise, but I've studied all of the Goa'uld research done on naquadria, and I've seen the specifications on the X-302,” Daniel asserted.

“And?”

“It's not going to work,” Daniel put forth.

“Really?  That's just what I was saying,” McKay spoke.

“General, Sam talks about this all the time, and the research is full of ...”

“Doctor Jackson!” Hammond exclaimed, not really in the mood for any protracted remarks.

“The inherent instability of the naquadria increases exponentially as you attempt to extract more energy out of it,” Daniel advised, glancing at the notes he'd made.

Mckay rudely grabbed the notebook, giving it a quick review and saying, “Oh, this is even worse than I thought.”

Daniel thought about making an issue of McKay's actions, but he had other priorities at the moment.

“I'm just saying that maybe we should look again at alternatives,” Daniel added.

“Son, I appreciate your caution, but according to Major Carter, this *is* our only alternative.  If the X-302 fails, this planet will be destroyed,” Hammond stated urgently.

“I know what Sam said, Sir, but ... but maybe she ...”

“Doctor Jackson, I'm sorry.  Right now, this is our only shot,” Hammond stated sympathetically and yet forcefully.  Looking at both men, he added, “Now, if either of you have a more prudent suggestion on halting this crisis, I'm willing to hear it.  Otherwise, I suggest we all go downstairs, cross our fingers, and hope Major Carter and Colonel O'Neill can reach help.”

“I'm not sure superstition will help,” Daniel sighed as he took back his notebook.

“Nothing's going help,” Mckay said sarcastically as he walked away hurriedly.

~Superstition,~ the archaeologist sighed.  ~Non-reciprocal Law of Expectations: where'd he hear about that?~

====

In the control room, Hammond looked over at Daniel.  He believed in the scientist and thought of him as a son.  Whether or not he, himself, agreed with the man, or that his concern would make a difference, the general decided he had to relay the message.

“Colonel, Major, this is Hammond.  Doctor Jackson has voiced some concern about this mission, specifically regarding the instability of the naquadria.”

“Sir, I know what he's referring to, but the simulations we ran anticipated every conceivable scenario,” Sam replied.  “Sir, Daniel, we really need to try this.”

Hammond looked over at the archaeologist, who let out a big sigh, but nodded appreciatively to the general for having conveyed his reservations.

“God speed,” Hammond stated.

“Thank you, General,” Jack replied.  To his second, he stated, “You know, Carter, it's those inconceivable scenarios that I'm concerned about.”

“The X-302 has hundreds of safety mechanisms to compensate for anything that can go wrong.  Arming ejection system,” Sam stated, grinning while looking forward at her CO.

“That's good; that's good; that's funny,” Jack responded to the quip.

“Mission Command, all systems go from Abydos One,” Sam stated.

“Copy that, Abydos One.  Good luck,” came the reply over the radio.

“Yeah,” Jack acknowledged.  “Carter, we don't need luck, right?  You've done the math ... right?”

“It should work, Sir,” Sam replied.  Aware of the man's doubts, she smiled and expressed cheerfully, “Good luck, Sir.”

“I'm thinking cold, Carter,” came the colonel's snarky and mock-threatening reply.

Hammond and Daniel exchanged another look.  The lighthearted conversation may have seemed abnormal to some, but this was SG-1, be it whole or fragmented.  No matter the mission or the danger, humor was part of their play.

~It'll be okay,~ Daniel assured himself privately.  ~It has to be.~

====

“Mission Command, we missed the window,” Jack reported not long thereafter.

“Abydos One, please explain.”

“The autopilot engaged, and we veered off course at the last second, Mission Command.  Should we try again?” Sam questioned.

“Negative, Abydos One.  Return to base for further evaluation.  Mission failure.”

“I hate hearing that,” Jack sighed.

“I'm sorry, Sir.”

“Not your fault, Carter,” the silver-haired man replied.  ~Coming home, Danny.~

====

“About the only good thing from that trek to Area 51 was getting away from that Russian,” Jack spoke as he and his lover walked the corridors of the SGC, heading for the commissary to get something to eat.  He and Sam had already reported into Hammond a few minutes before.  ~I'm not having a Russian on my team.~

“He's still here,” Daniel replied, his hands in his pockets as he walked.

“Now that's good news,” the older man responded sarcastically.

“Maybe they can figure out how to ... no, I guess not,” Daniel sighed about his idea.

“Daniel, the 302 couldn't get a lock on Abydos.  It aborted -- bing, bang, done.  They don't have time to fix it now.”

“Sam said it's one of the safety features.  Maybe ...”

“Maybe,” Jack interrupted with a sigh.

“It's probably not a good idea, anyway.  The naquadria is too unstable.”

“When did you get to be an expert on naquadria?” the colonel questioned curiously.

“I'm not; it's just I've read the research, and I've helped Sam with some of her ... stuff.”

“You've helped Carter?”

“I was her sounding board,” Daniel replied with a small smile.

“Ah,” Jack responded.

“Jack, Sam's feeling responsible for all of this.”

“She *is* the expert.”

“Yes, but she's not the reason it's happening, and it's not fair to put the fate of the world on her shoulders,” the younger man stated carefully.

“Daniel, I hear ya, but the truth is, the fate of the world is on her shoulders,” Jack said, noticing that his lover wasn't keeping pace with him anymore.  He stopped, turned around, and stared at the younger man before sighing, “Pep talk time?”

“A little one couldn't hurt,” the archaeologist affirmed, starting to walk again, passing by his lover.

Jack let out a tiny laugh, thinking, ~The world may end, and he's worried about Carter's feelings.~  Smiling, he thought, ~That's My Danny!~

====

The lovers ambled into Sam's lab, where she was working over in a corner.

“Hey, how come you're not downstairs with the rest of the eggheads?” Jack asked, getting instant glares from both Daniel and Sam.  “Not that you're ... an egghead.”  Looking back and forth between the two scientists, he corrected, “Well, you are, actually, but in a good way.”

“You know him,” Daniel interjected.  “Permanent case of foot-in-mouth disease.”

As Jack glared, Sam chuckled and quipped,, “I wonder if Janet has some sort of pill she could give him.”  Getting down to business, she confided, “I couldn't think down there.  They all kept looking at me for the answer.”

“Well, you do have a penchant for pulling brilliant ideas outta your butt,” Jack responded, digging himself in deeper.  After another look from the blonde, he rephrased his comment.  “Head: outta your head ... when we need them.”

Daniel stared at his lover, who simply shrugged and cocked his head in innocence.

“Not this time,” Sam sighed.

“Well, you still have two days to work on it,” Daniel reminded.

“Daniel, I don't think I could solve this if I had a couple of years,” Sam confided.

“Carter, am I sensing fear in your voice?” Jack questioned.

“Yes; actually, a lot of fear,” Sam admitted.

“Well, stop it!  You're making me nervous.”

“Sam, is there anything I can do to help?” Daniel asked earnestly.

“You already have,” Sam replied.  “You're here.”  She looked at the colonel and asked diplomatically, “What about you, Sir?  Any ideas?  I mean, sometimes you have a way of seeing things at ... at their simplest.”

“Thank you,” Jack replied.

“Touché, Sam,” Daniel said with a grin.

“It's a geek conspiracy.  You two do whatever it is you do.  I'm gonna go eat cake,” Jack said, turning around and walking towards the door.

Daniel and Sam shared a look, and then both smiled.

“Wait!” the archaeologist called out.

“We'll join you,” Sam called out.  “I want a whole cake just to myself.”

“Chocolate,” Daniel added.

“Double chocolate with fudge frosting,” Sam replied.

Just then, the klaxons blared, and the three members of SG-1 sprinted towards the gate room.

====

“No lights,” Jack stated unnecessarily about the lights having gone off inside the SGC.

**Thanks for the update, Colonel Obvious,** Daniel snarked via their silent communication, earning him a glare from his lover.

The team entered the gate room just in time to see a strange image appear at the top of the ramp.

“Is it just me, or is there a really, gloomy looking ... thing standing there?” Daniel questioned.

“I am Anubis,” the image announced.

“I guess it's not just me,” the archaeologist sighed.

“It looks like a hologram projection, Sir,” Sam observed.

“Humans of the Tau'ri.  Your end of days finally approaches.  There will be no mercy,” the Goa'uld warned.

“Oh, come on.  Who talks like that?” Jack queried mockingly.

“Asgard?” Daniel questioned about the technology being observed.

“He must have downloaded it from Thor,” Sam replied.

“You will bow to my awesome power.  There is nothing that can stop the destruction I bring upon you.  Prepare to meet your doom,” the image spoke before disappearing.

“Oh, please,” Jack whined.  “That's a little overly dramatic, even for a snakehead, isn't it?  Not even Orson Welles would have hired him.”  He watched as the others slowly turned and walked away.  “He's a little full of himself, too.”  Realizing he was alone, he muttered, “I wasn't done yet.”

====

As the long day continued, McKay came up with an idea and began sharing it with Sam and Hammond.

“We send a massive EM pulse back through the wormhole, knock out whatever it is that's making this happen on the other end,” McKay suggested.

“Will that work?” Hammond asked eagerly.

“No, Sir,” Sam answered.  “I already thought of it, and the reason I didn't mention it is because it is far too problematic.”

“More so than the Gate exploding?” McKay challenged.

“The iris would have to be opened,” Sam pointed out.

“Well, the gate room's shielded, isn't it?” McKay queried.

“Major, are you saying this absolutely won't work?” the general asked.

“What I'm saying, Sir, is that we have absolutely no idea how much EM would be required to knock this thing out,” Sam answered.

“So, let's all just go home,” McKay remarked mockingly, causing Sam to roll her eyes.

“How long will it take to set up?” Hammond asked patiently.

“Four hours, tops,” McKay responded.

Looking at Sam, Hammond advised, “That's how long you have to come up with a better idea.”

====

“No, that won't work, either,” Sam sighed, looking over at her sounding board with desperation.

“Sam, maybe Rodney's idea will work,” Daniel stated.

“No, it won't, but I haven't thought of anything better,” the astrophysicist replied.  “I swear, Daniel, he is *so* frustrating.  How can anyone be that annoying and arrogant?”

Daniel smiled slightly as he shrugged his response.

Tossing her pen down and standing, Sam spoke, “I might as well get on board with this plan.”

“If it works, it'll be because of you.”

“Only if I don't strangle McKay first,” Sam said, grabbing her laptop and heading out of her lab.

====

McKay's idea was just about ready to be put to the test.  As they stood nearby, examining the large EM pulse generator at the base of the ramp, the lovers couldn't help but overhear the less than cordial conversation that was going on, on the other side of the device.

Seeing Sam looking at the generator, McKay snarled, “You just wanna be able to take credit for it when it works.”

“For the record, I hate you,” Sam responded as she faced her nemesis.

“Well, it can't get any worse, then, can it?”

“Oh, no.  I'm rapidly working up to despise.”

“You know, we're obviously gonna have to get over this whole physical attraction thing, if we're gonna work together,” McKay spoke.

“I think I can act as though it never existed,” Sam replied.

“Shall we save the world?” McKay questioned as he stood by the machinery.

With a smirk, Sam spoke, “Before I take the credit for this, shouldn't the EM pulse generator be pointed *at* the Gate?”

The male scientist pointed at the female astrophysicist and smiled as he replied, “You're good!  Very good!”

“Let's get out of the line of fire,” Jack suggested.  “He's really hung up on her,” he noted as the two men headed for the control room.

“I don't think it's mutual,” Daniel replied.

Jack chuckled, shaking his head and responding, “I'm not so sure, Daniel.  Carter gets more excited when that guy is around than just about anyone else we've seen her with.”  Starting to climb the steps that led to the control room, he added, “He sure knows how to push her buttons.”

“I can't argue with that,” Daniel agreed.  “I think he really does like her, though.”

“I want Carter to get a life, but I'd prefer it to be with a lifeform with some spine,” Jack opined.

“Well, who knows,” Daniel began as the lovers were about to enter the control room.  “If she doesn't kill him first, maybe sparks will fly.”

“More likely explode,” Jack stated, nodding to Hammond as he and Daniel came to a stop and looked out the huge window at the activity going on in the control room.

====

A couple of minutes later, Sam and McKay finished their preparations and joined the others in the control room.

“Close the blast doors,” Hammond ordered, beginning the procedure.

Less than a minute later, the pulse generator's mechanisms began to turn, and the event horizon shimmered.  Suddenly, the monitors shut off, preventing the team from seeing what was happening in the gate room.

“Energy transfer is still increasing,” Sam stated.  “Look, if this was gonna work ...”

All of a sudden, energy beams radiated from the Gate, hitting the EM generator, the doors, and the blast door to the control room.  As the energy entered the control room, the team ducked as equipment began to explode all around them.

“Close the iris!” the general ordered.

Obeying the instruction, Sam put her hand over the scanner, surprised when a jolt of energy shocked her, causing her to fall to the floor unconscious.

As McKay stared down at Sam, the iris closed, shutting off the energy beams.

“We're offline!” Sergeant Davis reported.

“She's not gonna be happy when she wakes up, is she?” McKay asked.

“Ya think?” Jack replied sarcastically, looking down at his second-in-command.

“Medical team to the control room,” Hammond called out over the intercom.

“She is gonna wake up, isn't she?” McKay asked as Sergeant Siler took the blonde's pulse.

“Are you sure you want her to?” Daniel questioned, giving McKay a look of warning.

“Hey, this isn't my fault.  At least, I'm trying something.”

“It didn't work,” Jack responded sarcastically, watching as the medical team arrived and began to examine his 2IC.

Sam began to come to, prompting Jack to advise, “McKay, if I were you, I'd disappear.”

The scientist thought about it for a moment and apparently concurred, since he headed for the gate room to check on the EM pulse generator.

Jack just shook his head as he glanced over at Daniel.  Then they shifted their focus to their teammate, both happy when she roused and seemed to be okay.

====

“Should you be up?” Jack asked when Sam entered Daniel's office.

“I'm fine,” Sam sighed, leaning over the top of the archaeologist's worktable.

“What?” Daniel asked with a concerned voice from his seat on the stool.

“He drives me insane,” Sam expressed, making a groan of frustration afterwards.

“McKay?” Jack guessed.

“He came by the infirmary right before I was released,” Sam revealed.

“I told him to hide,” Jack smirked.

With a small smile, Sam stated, “He sorta apologized.”

“Well, I don't think he wanted you to get hurt,” Daniel interjected.

“Of course not,” Sam acknowledged.  “He started talking about his childhood and ... music.”

“Music?” Jack echoed.

“Playing the piano,” the blonde clarified.

“And?” the colonel prompted.

“You know, we all are who we are for a reason.  I mean, something made you want to fly,” Sam said, looking at Jack, “and made you interested in ancient cultures.”  Turning towards Daniel, she confided, “I wanted to make my father proud.  He wanted a boy and got me.”

“Carter,” Jack interjected a bit uncomfortably.

“McKay loved music, but ended up studying science because someone told him that he played the piano too clinically.”

“Ya know, this is all very interesting, but what does that sniveling ...” Jack paused, looking at the two geniuses he was with.  ~Let's rephrase.~  “What's the point?”

“In his own way, I think McKay just wants to be accepted,” Sam put forth.

“You mean he's annoying because someone didn't like the way he played the piano?” Jack asked in disbelief.

“Jack, she's just saying he's human, too, and there's a reason why he acts the way he does.  He wouldn't be the first person to live behind a facade of their own making,” Daniel noted.  ~Just look at your 'dumb colonel' persona -- that's proof right there.~

“And he deserves a break?” the colonel questioned.

“Maybe,” Sam said.

“I'll remember that the next time he wants to do something that risks a member of my team,” Jack responded a bit sarcastically, silently recalling the episode a couple of years ago when Teal'c was essentially stuck in the Stargate and McKay advocated a strategy that would have resulted in the Jaffa's demise.

Sam straightened and said, “I need to get back to work.”

“Are you sure you're okay?” Daniel asked.

“Daniel, we're down to just twenty-five hours.  I *have* to get back to work,” Sam sighed.

“I thought we had a couple of days,” Jack said with concern.

“I was right, Sir.  The result of the EM pulse generator's actions actually cut the time we have, or had, in half.”

“See?  Why should I feel sorry for that sniveling ...”

“At least he had an idea, and that's more than I've had,” the major admitted.  “I'll see you later.”

Jack and Daniel watched Sam walk out of the office, both feeling badly about all the stress that was on her shoulders.

“If there were a battle to be fought ...” Jack began.

“... or a tablet to be translated ...” Daniel sighed.

“I don't like being helpless, Daniel, but there's not a lot we can do right now,” the older man admitted.

“Except maybe be there.”

“We just were,” Jack pointed out, picking up a pen and beginning to doodle on a piece of paper.

“Hey!  That's my report.”

“Oh, sorry!”  Jack grinned and then said, “I'd better get back to work, too.”

“Doing what?”

“I thought I'd catch up on my filing.”

“Round filing receptacle?” the archaeologist questioned intuitively.

“I plead the Fifth,” Jack mused as he walked out of the office.

~And I'd better return these books to the archives,~ Daniel thought, standing and taking the tomes in his hands.

====

After concluding his errand, Daniel found himself drawn to the gate room.  He walked in, staring at the large circular ring.  He strolled to the end of the ramp, stopping right on the edge, standing dead center.

~I remember the first time I saw the Stargate.~  The archaeologist heard himself snicker a moment.  ~I couldn't believe it.  I couldn't wait to go through, even if I wasn't sure that we'd get home again.~  He stepped up onto the ramp and walked to the halfway point.  ~I was so broke when Catherine brought me here, and I was ... so alone.  You've changed my life.  Even with all of the tragedy we've seen because of the 'Gate, I can't complain.  It brought me to Jack.  Everything has been worth it, just for that.~

“Looking for cracks?” Sam teased, having joined her friend on the ramp.

“Oh, hi, Sam.  I was just ... thinking.”

“Care to share?”

“Well, it's just ... the Stargate's changed my life in ... in a lot of ways,” Daniel confided.

“Yeah, I know what you mean.  I never could have imagined this when I was a kid, or even when I was trying to get into the aerospace program,” Sam added.

“You know what's interesting, Sam?”

“What's that?”

“That's a ... a big Stargate.”

“Yes, it is,” Sam chuckled lightly, amused by the obvious observation.

“Well, we're inside a mountain, and I remember when you, Jack, and Teal'c were stranded off-world after you beamed up the original Gate, and this Gate was brought here from Area 51.”

“I'll bet that was something to see, watching the ceiling retract, and the Stargate being lowered through the shaft from the surface by that huge crane.”

“Sam?”

“What?”

“What goes down, must go up,” Daniel spoke, a somewhat singsong quality to his voice.

Staring at the archaeologist, Sam responded, “Daniel, moving the Gate won't shut it off.  I mean, there is nowhere on Earth that ...”

Sam paused thoughtfully as she looked at the Stargate, up at the ceiling, and then over at the smiling Daniel.  Then she, too, began to smile.

“I knew you'd think of something,” Daniel mused.

“That's not what my report is going to say ... if we pull this off,” Sam said, patting her friend on the back and then hurrying out of the gate room.

~I'm not ready for everything to end,~ Daniel sighed inwardly about the possibility of Earth being destroyed.  ~I'm not alone anymore.  Jack promised me a forever, and forever is a ... a long, long time.~

====

“What's all the fuss about?” Jack asked as he met his lover in the briefing room less than a half-hour later.

“Sam has an idea.”

“Nice try, Daniel,” Sam interrupted as she walked by, preparing to begin the briefing she had called.  “It was his idea, Sir.”

“Now why am I not surprised?” the colonel responded with a grin.

“I just gave her a little ... nudge,” Daniel replied as if he'd done nothing to help at all.

“He's being too modest, Sir.  If he hadn't ... nudged me, we'd still be ...” Sam began, her words cut off by the general as he entered the room.

“Major, let's begin,” Hammond ordered, taking his seat in the room which was now full of scientists, including Rodney McKay.

“Yes, Sir,” Sam acknowledged.  “We don't have a lot of time, so I'll get right to the point.  What I'm proposing is that we use the X-302 to take the Stargate into space and release it there.”  Immediately, the scientists began to murmur, not liking the idea.  “Just hear me out, people.  All we need to do is get it far enough away from Earth.  Now, the X-302 can still achieve that without having to enter hyperspace.”

“See, now that's crazy!” McKay exclaimed.

“We don't have enough time,” one of the scientists spoke doubtfully.

“Yes, we do, but only if we move now.  It'll take a couple of hours to get the Gate to the surface, a few more to get it to Peterson and loaded onto a C-17, and then two hours to fly it to Area 51.  That'll give us several hours to get the whole rig mounted and airborne, and none of this is gonna happen if we're all just standing around here.  I think that this is gonna save the planet, and ... we *are* gonna do it,” Sam asserted confidently.

“Move, people!” Hammond ordered, prompting the scientists to go about their tasks.

“Well done, Major,” the general praised.

“Daniel's the one who thought of moving the Stargate.  I just tweaked it a little,” Sam spoke, smiling at the archaeologist.

“Nice thinking, Doctor Jackson,” Hammond complimented.

“Thank you, Sir, but it's not done yet,” Daniel responded.

“Right,” the general agreed as he turned to leave.

“Sir, you do realize that if this works, we won't have a Stargate anymore,” Sam called out.

“It did occur to me,” Hammond replied as he and McKay exited the room.

“Well, if we're about to be out of a job ...” Jack began.

“I'm sure we'll find something to do,” Daniel interrupted.

“I'm thinkin' retirement ... again,” Jack said, looking over at his lover.

“First, we need to save the planet ... again,” Sam teased, walking out of the room.

“One more for the road,” the colonel quipped, his gaze capturing Daniel's attention in an unspoken promise of their forever.

“I'm going to see if I can help,” the archaeologist said, turning and leaving the room.

**I love you, Angel.**

Daniel turned back and smiled while responding, **I love you, too, My Sexy Silver Fox.**

====

Walking down the corridor, Daniel found himself face-to-face with Colonel Chekov.

“Doctor Jackson.”

“Going home?” Daniel asked.

“Yes.  I was hoping our people could make an arrangement for the future, but your General Hammond doesn't want to negotiate.”

“Negotiate?  For ... oh, your Stargate,” Daniel surmised.  “You know, you can't use it again.  There's nothing to stop Anubis from doing this again.”

“Yes, General Hammond pointed that out to me just a few minutes ago.”

“Maybe ...” Daniel began.  “Look, it would be a risk, but we still have teams off-world.  If we can convince the Pentagon, could we use your Gate, just long enough to bring our teams home?”

Chekov studied the man closely.  They'd had a face-off or two in the past.

“I'm sure something could be negotiated.”

“Does everything have to have a price tag on it?” Daniel questioned.  “We can pay to have the Gate brought here.”

“And how do we know you *won't* start up your program again and shut us out?”

Daniel sighed, “Look.  One of the teams out there has a ...”

“Not another very good friend, Doctor Jackson,” Chekov interrupted.  “You played that card once before, and our DHD exploded.

“Yes, I know, but he's a friend, but I was going to say he's a very good friend of Colonel O'Neill's.  I think he'd be grateful.”

“Grateful enough to allow a Russian on SG-1, *if* the program continues?”

“I can't answer that, but I'm talking about more than that friend.” Daniel paused, licking his lips as he looked away for a second.  “That man -- his name is Lou Ferretti.  He's a good man, and he has a family.  His wife's been ill, and they've been struggling to give their daughters a college education.  Lou's just one guy, and, yes, he's a Marine.  I guess that makes him an adversary of a sort, but let's go beyond that.  We're human beings, Colonel.  We owe each other the promise of doing our best to bring our people home.  Can't we put the political differences behind, just for a few hours?”

“I cannot make promises for my government.”

“I know that,” Daniel acknowledged with a bob of his head.  “But I also know that they listen to you.  *Make* them listen to you one more time,” he implored passionately.  “Let our commonalities, our ... humanity be what our future is forged on.  I'll be in your debt.  I know that's not much, and I won't lie.  I don't have that much of a say in what the government does, but I will do whatever I can to make sure our government keeps its promises as related to the Stargate Program.”

Chekov chuckled, something that amazed even him.  Daniel's sincerity is what had convinced him to argue for Russia cooperating with the United States a couple of years before.  Standing opposite the man now, he still sensed that sincerity.  Inwardly, he wondered if the world would be a different place if there were more men like Daniel Jackson in it.

“My government will require compensation.  It is my government.”

“I understand that.  I'm not asking for a free ride here, just that you ... be reasonable.  We're talking about lives here, not just dollars and cents,” Daniel spoke passionately.

“I will do my best.  If you do procure the agreement of your government, convince them to be ... reasonable, as well.”

“I will.  Thank you,” Daniel responded.  “Have a good flight, Colonel.”

“I hope, Doctor Jackson, we can share more of our ... opinions in the future.”

“Me, too,” Daniel said before continuing on his way, hoping that the two huge political powers would find a way to allow for the return of the off-world teams.

====

With the Stargate having been removed from the Mountain, Daniel was standing, head bowed, not saying a word when he felt his arm being tugged and his body pulled towards the locker room shower.  Within a second, he felt the lips that warmed his heart on his.  He leaned into the embrace, transforming the kiss into a deeper, more passionate exchange.  Suddenly, the kiss took on a more erotic twist, and he felt the strong hands that always gave him strength against his skin.  It wasn't until he thought he'd suffocate that the kiss ended, both he and his Love gasping slightly.

“You remember, Danny.  Whether we have a day left or a lifetime, remember what we just felt.  Stargate or no Stargate, you're my life, and I love you till the end of time, and even longer.”

Daniel was lost in his lover's gaze, almost in a trance from the kiss.

Jack smiled as he leaned in for another, more tender kiss.  He really didn't care if they were caught, but he knew no one would be in SG-1's private locker room.  After all, Teal'c was off-world, and Sam knew he needed a moment with his archaeologist.

“So beautiful,” Jack spoke, caressing the younger man's cheek.

“Jack, not here,” Daniel sighed, his voice cracking.  “I love you.”

“I love you,” the older man reiterated tenderly with misty eyes.

“Just one thing.”

“What?”

“If we're at the end of time, there couldn't be anything longer,” Daniel teased.

“Scientists,” Jack chuckled lightly.  “Forever, Angel.”

“Always, My Love.”  After one last kiss, Daniel watched the one person who made him feel alive walk away.  **Jack, thank you for loving me.**

**It's the easiest thing in the universe to do.  I'll be back soon.**

**I'll be waiting.**

====

Sam was walking with Jack towards the elevator, giving him a final rundown of the mission.

“Is there anything else I should know?”

“Well, there's some concern that the 302 may not have the fuel capacity to exit the atmosphere carrying the weight of the Stargate,” Sam responded.

“How is that possible?”

“The engines were designed for a craft with an alien inertial dampening system that effectively reduced its overall mass,” Sam explained.

“Yes, and ...?”

“Well, you'll be carrying a very heavy load,” Sam stated.

“How heavy?” Jack asked.

“The Gate weighs sixty-four-thousand pounds, Sir,” Sam pointed out.

“That's heavy,” Jack replied.

“And you'll need to reach an altitude exceeding one-hundred-eighty kilometers,” Sam instructed.

“... at minimum escape velocity before I release the Gate, or it'll fall back to Earth.  I know, I know,” Jack said.  ~I shouldn't have asked the question.~  The more Sam talked, the more he regretted the question.  Finally, he spouted, “Carter!  I'm not so sure I want to know *any* of this.”

“They're working on lightening the 302, but that's why you're going alone. Believe it or not, every pound counts.”

“Shouldn't have had that cake, huh?”

“I wish I could go with you, Sir,” Sam said right before the elevator doors opened.

“Yes, I'm sure you do, and I find that quite bizarre.  Anything else?” Jack questioned as he entered the elevator and turned around.

“Good luck, Sir.”

“Hey, what could go wrong, huh?” Jack asked confidently, pressing the button.  ~Great; nothing works around here,~ he griped when the doors remained open.  He pressed the button again, and the doors began to close.  “Carter?”

“I know, Sir,” Sam stated, seeing the grateful nod from her CO as the doors closed.  ~I'll do my best for Daniel, if this doesn't work, but it had better work, Sir.  It's you who Daniel needs, not me.~

====

“Good,” Sam said, studying one of the computer simulations that had just been completed.  She glanced over at the countdown clock.  “I'll be back in a few minutes.”  The blonde walked through the corridors to the elevator, riding it up to Level 18.  “Hey,” she greeted, walking into the archaeologist's office.  “Whatcha' doin'?”

Daniel was seated on the floor, inventorying the items on the bottom bookshelves.

“Trying not to think,” Daniel answered truthfully, watching as Sam sat down, her back leaning up against the shelves so that she was facing her friend.  “I'm okay.”

“I know that, but I was tired of looking at computer readouts,” Sam replied.

“We found this on Orban,” the archaeologist stated, holding up a plate that pre-dated the Aztecs.  “It should be in the archives at Area 51, but I've ... held on to it.”

“A reminder of Merrin, maybe.”

“I'm not sure.  I think, maybe, it has to do with ... play,” Daniel stated honestly, staring intently at the relic.  His eyes widened and he shrugged as he downplayed his comment, saying, “Or ... I don't know.  Maybe I just wanted to keep it in case I needed something to eat off of sometime.”  He saw Sam's grimace and retorted, “Hanging around Jack too much again.”

“I don't think that's possible,” Sam opined, wrapping her hands around her drawn-up knees.  “Daniel, this is gonna work.”

“Right,” the man agreed, nodding a few times.  “Of course, it is.”

“We're not very good at the mushy stuff, are we?”

Putting the plate down, Daniel answered, “We all have ... issues.”

Sam nodded once and added, “But we are a family.”

The archaeologist looked over at the blonde and agreed, “Yeah, we are.”

“So ...” Sam began, her word leading and hopeful that Daniel would know that she was trying to express her caring and love for him.

“And so ...” Daniel began, understanding Sam's message and wanting her to hear the same unspoken pronouncement herself.

Sam smiled and then said, “I'd better get back to work.”

As she began to move, Daniel reached out, gently clutching her left arm, and said, “Sam, thank you, for everything.  You know what I mean.”

“One day, Daniel, I wanna really know what it is you two feel for each other.  I mean, I want that, for myself.  You know?”

“You will.  Soon, too,” Daniel predicted, releasing his hold on Sam's arm.  As she stood up, he added, “Sam, Jack's going to do this.  We may not have the Stargate Program anymore, but we'll have tomorrow, and the day after that, and the next day, and ...”

“I thought I was supposed to be the one cheering you up.”

“Jack?”

“You know the colonel.”

With a smile, Daniel nodded and said, “I'll be there in a while.”

“Those tomorrows will come because of you, Daniel.”

“Because of us.”

“Okay, us,” Sam agreed.  “But I'm not sure how many times we can stick 'saved the world' on our resumes and have it be believable.”

Daniel snickered as he reached for another artifact and quipped, “No one believes mine anyway, so I'm not worried.”

Grinning, Sam turned and walked out of the office.

“You're a good friend, Sam,” Daniel spoke quietly.

“So are you,” Sam stated, sticking just her head back into the office as she gripped the doorframe.

Daniel chuckled as his friend disappeared again, and he continued on with his work.

====

At Area 51, Jack learned that the X-302 had been lightened dramatically.  Weapons, all but a day's worth of life support, the radar, some of the crash safety mechanisms, and the landing gear had been stripped from the craft.

“Excuse me?” the colonel questioned harshly after hearing about the landing gear.

“We had to in order to properly accommodate the clamping system, so once you re-enter the atmosphere, you're gonna have to eject; that is, after you target the 302 to splash down off the coast of Florida,” Murphy advised.

“Just when were you gonna tell me this part?” Jack asked.

“Just now.  We weren't entirely sure any of this was gonna happen until five minutes ago.  You're not gonna believe this,” Murphy stated as they walked outside.

Jack stopped walking in amazement, exclaiming, “Holy crap!” upon seeing that the 302 was attached to the top of a 747 airplane.

“They're waiting for you,” Murphy stated, leading Jack to a jeep and opening the door for him.  When Jack got inside, the scientist wished, “Good luck.”

Smiling appropriately, Jack groused, ~I'm beginning to really hate that expression.~

====

“This is Mission Command.  You have a go for separation, Starflight,” Murphy advised over the radio.

“Proceeding with separation,” Jack responded as he followed through with the operation.  “Separation complete.”

“Good luck, Sir.”

“Stop saying that,” Jack griped.  ~It's beginning to feel like bad luck.~

After reaching forty-eight kilometers, Jack reported, “Full port engine failure. Starboard at six-zero percent.  Preparing to ignite rocket booster.”

“You're still too low, Starflight,” Mission Command reported.

“I'm losing velocity, Command.  I'm going to start losing altitude,” the colonel responded.

~Jack, you can do this,~ Daniel thought.  ~You *have* to do this.~

“Command, please advise,” Jack requested.

“Okay, Starflight.  Go with main engine burn,” Mission Command responded.

Jack ignited the rocket booster, but he still hadn't achieved what the scientists felt he needed to.  After a few seconds, the rocket ceased its burning.

“All right, that's it.  I'm outta gas,” Jack stated.

At the SGC, Sam told the others gathered, “He's not gonna make it.  Velocity is slowing rapidly.  He had to fire the rocket booster too early.”

“It didn't work?” the major general questioned.

“He's gonna fall back to Earth, Sir,” Sam answered.

~Fall?~ Daniel echoed in his mind.

“Okay.  Got any ideas?” Jack asked.  ~This is not how this was supposed to go,~ he sighed.  After a lack of response, he asked a bit sarcastically, “Anybody wanna wish me luck?”

“We're working on it,” Command replied.

“That's comforting,” Jack retorted.  ~Don't worry, Danny.  It'll work out like it always does.~

--

In the briefing room, Sam stated, “Based on altitude, angle of ascent, and current velocity, he's gonna hit the coast of Europe in thirty-five minutes.”

“If he puts the 302 in a nosedive, he could cut his descent time in half,” McKay suggested.

“Why would we do that?” Daniel asked curiously.

“So he could drop the Gate in the Atlantic.  I'm figuring there's time for it to sink maybe two...three-thousand feet,” McKay answered.

“Will that do any good?” Hammond inquired.

“It's enough to reduce the effects of the devastation,” McKay answered.

“By how much?”

“Not much, Sir,” Sam responded to the general's query.

“Enough that it's worth a shot, isn't it?” McKay asked.

“Yes,” Daniel answered, though he clearly wasn't one of the experts in the room.  Seeing the somewhat surprised looks he was getting, the archaeologist expounded, “Look.  He's there.  What other alternative do we have?  I mean, he's ... he's falling.  We have to do it ... now.”  He sighed as he stared at the others.  ~It's our only hope, and we need this to happen.~

“Mission Command, this is Hammond,” the man called out over the radio.  “Major,” he instructed Sam, who then relayed the idea.

A minute later, Jack was told the plan and informed that he'd have to make a nosedive.

“What?” the colonel asked loudly.  ~They're kidding me.~

“Starflight, that's all we've got,” Sam replied.

“What about the hyperdrive?” Jack questioned.

“Colonel, it didn't work,” Command answered.

“We just don't know where it'll send me, right?” Jack queried.  He sighed, “Who cares a long as it's a galaxy far, far away.”

“He's right!” Sam exclaimed in the briefing, turning to face the view screen that showed Mission Command's leader, Doctor Murphy.  Speaking over the radio, she stated, “The window formed.  It was just unstable.”

“Colonel, we don't have the slightest idea what would happen if we tried to open a hyperspace window within the atmosphere,” Murphy responded.

“Yeah, well, given the situation,” Jack interjected.

“We're taking it under advisement,” Murphy responded.  “Please stand by, Starflight.”

“Major, I can make a call,” Hammond advised.

“Do it, Sir,” Sam replied.

McKay walked over to Sam and opined, “You really are a certifiable lunatic!  I know what I said about you being an artist and all, but I haven't slept in three days.  I mean this is deranged!  You're talking about putting an inter-dimensional field around an already highly charged Stargate with an unstable and completely unpredictable burst of energy.”

“I realize wh...”

“What I am suggesting has real tangible benefits,” McKay argued.

“Maybe it saves a few lives.  If this works, we save the entire planet,” Sam asserted.

“What chance do we have of that?” an agitated McKay asked.

“Well, maybe we can reduce the risk a little,” Daniel interjected as he thought about the research he'd been studying lately.

“How?” both Sam and McKay asked.

“Well, the instability of the naquadria is...” Daniel began.

“... is relative to the size of the burst you're trying to extract,” Sam completed, smiling at her sounding board who had twice now saved the day.  ~Uh, in the same day even,~ she thought.

“We don't actually have to send the Gate across the galaxy, do we?” McKay asked, suddenly understanding the possibility of what Daniel was suggesting.

“Even a second in hyperspace potentially gets us million of miles,” Sam stated.

“Make the call!” McKay advised to the general.

Picking up the red phone that only he ever used, Hammond spoke, “This is General Hammond.  I need to speak with the President immediately.”

Daniel glanced over at the countdown clock that showed there were eleven minutes remaining.  The future of Earth depended on the President agreeing with the suggestion the group was making.  The future of his and Jack's mortal nation of two depended on it, as well.

====

Finally, Jack got the call.

“Okay, we have orders, Starflight.  We're gonna try it your way,” Murphy stated.

“Thank you.  Run me through it,” Jack acknowledged.  ~That took long enough.~

“Sir, we're gonna have to override the safety protocol that will cause the 302 to avoid an unstable wormhole,” Sam interjected.  “We think that we can greatly increase the chance of this working by only activating the generator for one second.  Unfortunately, it wasn't programmed to work for such a short time.”

“Hang on,” McKay requested, typing something onto the computer.

Realizing what the other scientist was doing, Sam responded, “Right.  Of course. Thank you.”  Over the radio, she advised, “Sir, we're gonna write a new subroutine.  It'll be ready to upload in a few minutes.”

“All right, well, in the meantime, I'll just ... keep falling,” Jack replied.  ~Space: the final frontier.  These are the voyages of Colonel Jack O'Neill.  His lifelong mission to explore inspiring new stars, to seek out his archaeologist and together, to boldly go where no one has gone before.~  He sighed as he looked out the cockpit, the X-302 continuing to spiral downward.  ~Our mission has just begun, Angel.  We've got a lot of exploring to do, all those new worlds and new civilizations, not to mention of each other; and when I get home, that's exactly what we're going to do -- no phones, no pagers, no answering the door.  Just exploring each other for a full twenty-four hours.  I'm not being cocky, but we can do this.  Come on, Carter.  The clock is ticking.~

====

With less than two minutes remaining on the clock, the program had been uploaded and the colonel advised that all he needed to do was to activate the generator.

“You won't have much time,” Sam reminded her CO.

“I know.”

“Sir, if this works ...”

“I know!” the colonel exclaimed.

“Sir,” Sam began.

“What?” Jack asked.

“Good luck.”

~Geez, not again.  Talk about jinxing something,~ Jack thought, though he quickly shook it off.  It was time to go to work.  He positioned his visor over his eyes and activated the hyperspace generator.  **Danny, I doubt you can hear me, but I love you -- forever and always, My Angel.**

--

Back at the SGC, Daniel stood by nervously.  He closed his eyes for a moment, willing the plan to work.

**Jack, I ... I doubt you can hear me, but I ... I have to say this.  I love you with all my heart.  Forever and always, Jack -- forever and always.**

--

As the hyperspace window opened in front of the 302, Jack ejected.

The countdown was now at thirteen seconds.  Daniel's heart was pounding as he waited for what seemed more like thirteen years rather than thirteen seconds.

“This is observer one.  Visual confirmation.  The X-302 has entered the hyperspace window.”

The seconds that seemed like years passed by, Daniel swallowing hard, the man not even able to hear himself think from the thundering heartbeat within him.

“It worked!” Sergeant Davis exclaimed as the clock reached zero.  “Deep space is estimating that the Gate detonated over three-million miles from Earth.”

“This is Observer Two,” a voice said over the radio.  “I have a visual on a chute. Moving in for confirmation.  Mission Command, the cockpit module is intact.”

~Yes.  Thank you, yes!~ a relieved Daniel said, releasing the breath he'd been holding.  His head dropped down as his eyes closed.  ~Thank you.  Jack, you're safe.  Home: come home.~

“We're pinpointing splashdown position,” Observer Two reported.

“Patching in satellite imagery,” Davis advised.

Daniel smiled, seeing the parachute that held his Love guiding the colonel towards a safe landing.

“Observer Two, para-rescue team is on the way,” Murphy reported.

“Roger that.  Colonel O'Neill is conscious and waving,” Observer Two replied.

Hammond reached over and shook the smiling archaeologist's hand, saying, “Well done, Son.”

“I ...”

As the scientists in the room cheered and erupted into applause, Hammond shook off what he knew would be a refusal of the compliment by his Head of Archaeology and then praised, “Good job, everyone.”

As things settled, Sam got up and walked into the control room.  She stared out over the empty gate room where the Stargate had once been.

“Major?” Hammond called out, having followed her into the room.

Curious, Daniel, too, went to the otherwise vacant control room.

Turning around, Sam asked, “What do we do now, Sir?”

“Pack it up,” Hammond answered, looking over at Daniel, who stood next to him. “It's been an interesting few years, but this puts us out of business.“

“Yes, Sir,” Sam acknowledged, watching the major general turn around and walk out.  She turned around again, looking down at the ramp that now led to nothing. Aware that Daniel was now by her side, she said, “I know there are a lot of options, but, Daniel, I'm not ready for this to end.”

“I, uh ... I'll miss you, Sam.”

Trying to hide the tear that was welling up in her eye, Sam smiled and said, “Why do I get so emotional when I'm around you?”

Smiling, Daniel answered, “I'm not military.  To me, you're not Major Carter.  You're just ... Sam.  I know we don't ... you know, talk about this ... much, but I love you, Sam.  Outside of Jack, you're my best friend.”

Overwhelmed, Sam threw her arms around the archaeologist and began, “Daniel, I ...”

“I know,” Daniel replied, doing something he didn't often do, but couldn't not do right now -- hugging Sam a bit closer to him.

“Wow, okay, I wasn't expecting this,” a voice called out.  “Am I interrupting?”

“McKay, grow up,” Sam said, regrouping and walking away.

“I just asked if I was interrupting.”

Walking forward and going by the other scientist, Daniel replied, “You were.”

“Oh, well, sorry,” McKay responded, shrugging and then returning to the briefing room.

====

“Hello,” Daniel said, having answered the ringing telephone.

“Hello.”

“Jack?”

“Daniel?”

“Where, uh, are you?” the relieved archaeologist answered.

“On a plane, headed for Peterson.  I've been advised that Hammond left for the day,” Jack stated.

“Yeah.  Actually, it's pretty deserted around here.  The general ordered everyone home to get some rest.  It's funny, Jack.  Everyone's started packing already.”

“You?”

“They want us to close it down pretty fast, according to General Hammond.”

“Okay, well, should I call a taxi?”

Daniel smiled, saying, “No.  When does the plane land?”

“Thirty minutes.  I would have called sooner, but it's been crazy.  Hey, the President called.”

“That's not a surprise.”

“Never gets old,” the colonel claimed.  “Daniel ...”

“See you soon, very soon,” Daniel stated, glancing at his watch.

====

“Home again, after saving the day ... again,” Jack quipped as he and his soulmate entered the house.

“It was ... close,” Daniel responded.

“This is my kind of close,” the older man said, surprising his lover by turning around and pulling him in for a loving kiss.

The younger man's arms wrapped around his Heart's waist, his hands stroking Jack's back as they gazed into each other's eyes.

“I think Carter kinda likes McKay,” Jack said out of the blue.

Daniel chuckled, “Not as much as he likes her.”

“At least they understand what the other is saying,” Jack said, kissing Daniel on the nose before heading towards the kitchen.

The younger man scrunched up his nose and then scratched it as he mused, “That tickled.”

Jack laughed, “Wait until later.  I'll show you some tickling you've never seen before.”  As he rounded the corner heading into the dining nook area, he smirked, “And in places you never knew could be ticklish.”

“I'm looking forward to it,” Daniel said, walking over to check his fish and their tank, something he liked to do when he'd been away for a while, just to make sure everything was okay.  ~Better refill the feeder; who knows what might happen next.~

“Danny, the steaks have died a thousand deaths.  It's hot dogs or pizza.”

“Pizza,” Daniel stated.

“How are the fishies?”

“Doing good.”

“All present and accounted for?” Jack asked.

“No defectors, Sir,” Daniel teased.

Jack laughed, but replied, “You know what I mean.”

“All swimmers still swimming,” Daniel replied happily, turning and walking over to his lover.  “Let's have hot dogs.”

“What happened to pizza?”

“Takes too long to deliver.  We'll be ... busy,” Daniel said, smiling.

“Good point,” Jack said, knowing his lover was as hungry as he was.  “Food of the body first, and then food by the body second.”

Daniel groaned, shaking his head.  Then he just smiled, watching his Love work on the quick meal that would satisfy their nutritional hunger.  He couldn't take his eyes off Jack.

“Daniel, what are you doing?”

“Watching you,” Daniel answered.  He walked up to his soulmate and said, “The last couple of days were so ... different.  In a way, it didn't feel real.  There were times when I felt invisible.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean.  This was Carter's world.”

“It was,” Daniel agreed.

“Angel, why are we talking about this?”

“Because we were both scared.”

Jack thought for a minute and then agreed, “You're right.”  He took an audible breath and grew solemn.  “I'm gonna have to talk to Carolyn,” he said, referring to Ferretti's wife.

“Maybe not,” Daniel replied, seeing the questioning look on his Love's face.  “Jack, I think we should try and get the Pentagon to allow us to temporarily open the Gate.”

“Danny, it blew up, remember?”

“The Russian Gate.”

“Like they'd let us have it,” Jack scowled.

“Actually, I think they might.  I spoke with Colonel Chekov before he returned to Russia.  I think he'll help us.”

Jack snorted in disbelief while fidgeting with the unopened package of hot dogs.

“Babe, it might cost us some money, but those lives are worth it, right?”

“You know that, and I know that, but what makes you think Russia knows that?”

“Because they're human beings first, and I told Colonel Chekov that you'd be very grateful, if they did.”

Jack stared at his lover incredulously as he asked, “You didn't?”

“It's Lou, and a lot of other people we work with.”

“Please tell me you *didn't* tell him we'd add a Russian to the team, because that is *so* not happening?”

“Not even for Lou?” Daniel challenged.

The older man glared, suddenly feeling conflicted.  His relief at being alive was quickly turning into frustration at the cost of retrieving a good friend.

“Jack, that won't happen.  I didn't promise him that you'd do a thing, but isn't there something that we can give them?”

“You really think this is gonna happen?”

“I don't want to think about the alternative.”

Jack sighed, “And I really don't want to make that visit to Carolyn.  I'll think about it.”  He paused before continuing, “How are you going to convince the Pentagon?”

“I was hoping *we'd* find a way.  I know it's dangerous, but I don't think Anubis knows we have another Gate.  Look, the Nox will be ... available again soon.  They'll find a way to reach us.  I'm betting Jacob finds a way to get the Tok'ra here, too.”

“Danny, if you're thinking the Nox and the Tok'ra are gonna be able to help us, then why do we need the Russian Gate?”

“Because SG-2 and three other teams are too far away to get word to them.  It would take a ... a really long time to reach them by ship.  The other teams are closer, and ...”

“The Tok'ra can contact the Asgard,” Jack said hopefully.  ~And good luck to them on that one.~

Jack chuckled.  The Asgard, though diplomatic, did seem to prefer the Tau'ri over the Tok'ra.  The truth was, there were no guarantees, not of the Nox or the Tok'ra reaching Earth.  After all, the SGC had no way of knowing if Anubis had carried out this attack on other worlds.

“The President owes us a favor,” Jack finally replied.  “It won't be easy, but if we can come up with a plan, maybe we can convince him.”

“Jack?”

“Yes, Love?”

The archaeologist had grown tired of weighing the fate of others on his shoulders. He needed reassurance and something to revitalize his drive to fight for those stranded SG teams.  It was time for a little play.

“Forget the hot dogs,” Daniel ordered, smiling and then heading for the stairs.

Jack stared at the just-opened package of beef franks and grinned.  Putting them back into the refrigerator, he hurried after his lover, confident the two would spend the next few hours lost in their love.  After that, they'd deal with tomorrow and whatever came after.

====

“So that's it?  You're just giving up?  Closing the shop?” McKay asked as he and Sam walked down a corridor.

“Well, at least until we find a way to defend ourselves against this kind of thing, yeah,” Sam answered.

“It shouldn't take you long.”

“Yeah, right.  I thought you'd be happy.”

“Hey, I never said we shouldn't use the Stargate,” McKay refuted as the two stopped walking and faced each other.  “Well, um ... Let me know if I can help.”

“I will, thanks,” Sam said, shaking the man's hand and then surprising him by kissing him on the cheek.

“That means you don't hate me,” McKay surmised, pointing at his cheek.

“Maybe.  Too bad for you.”

“Why?”

As she walked away, grinning, Sam explained, “I was more attracted to you when I did.”

“Really?” the man called out and then walked away in another direction.

====

“Colonel, I'm glad you're okay,” Hammond said as he worked on packing up his office.

“Thank you, Sir.”

“You know, the President wants to see you in person?”

“Yes, we spoke on my way here,” Jack acknowledged, picking up a lamp out of one of the boxes.  ~That'll give me a chance to make my pitch in person; I'll take Danny with me.  The President won't stand a chance.  Daniel can do the pout.~

“You can have any assignment you want,” the general advised.

“Actually, I've always wanted to command my own boat,” Jack replied.

“For the Navy?” Hammond questioned, a bit surprised by the response.

“Or something a little smaller, with oars.”

“You deserve it, Jack.”

Indicating the lamp, Jack asked, “You sure you want to take this with you, Sir?”

“We're closed for business.  I was supposed to retire five years ago.  We don't know how long it's going to be before we can re-establish the Stargate Program, if ever,” Hammond explained.

“Actually, I just meant, it says, 'Property of US Air Force', on it.”

Smiling, Hammond took the lamp from his second-in-command and put it down, saying, “Yeah, I still feel responsible for the teams stranded off-world, but there's nothing we can ...”  He paused, answering the phone that had just rung.  “Hammond.”  A moment later, he told Jack, “We're receiving a communication,” and the two headed towards the control room.

As the two men entered, both Daniel and Sam arrived right behind them, the two having also been paged to the control room.

“What's going on?” Daniel asked.

Into the microphone, Davis informed, “Go ahead.  They're all here.”

“GeneralHammond,” the voice began.

Jack and Daniel both called out, “Teal'c!”

“O'Neill, DanielJackson!  It is good to hear you are well.  The weapon being used by Anubis has been destroyed, but we feared it was too late for the Tau'ri.”

“Yeah, it was close there for a minute.”

“Teal'c, are you okay?” Daniel asked.

“We are well.  We approach in a cargo ship.  Request permission to land.”

“NORAD's aware of their approach, Sir,” Davis advised the general.

“Permission granted.  Welcome back, Teal'c,” Hammond responded.

“Good job!” Jack added.

“It is, in fact, Rya'c, who deserves the honor,” Teal'c corrected.

“Teal'c, what happened?” the archaeologist questioned.

With a smile as he looked proudly at his son, the Jaffa answered, “It is as you say, a long story, DanielJackson.”

“We look forward to hearing all about it, Teal'c,” Hammond interjected.

====

“Teal'c, the President asked me to pass on his condolences on your loss,” Hammond stated as he joined SG-1 for the debriefing.

Teal'c nodded, replying, “She died with honor, GeneralHammond.  She refused to allow a new symbiote to be procured.”

“She was a brave woman,” Daniel interjected solemnly.

“How's Rya'c?” Jack questioned.

“I regret to say that he blamed me for his mother's death.”

“I thought you said he was responsible for destroying Anubis' weapon,” Sam stated.  “He's here, isn't he?” she asked, wondering if she'd misunderstood what was said earlier.

“Indeed, he is, MajorCarter,” Teal'c confirmed.  “However, when Master Bra'tac and I reached the camp where he and Drey'auc had been living, he was very angry.  I arrived too late,” he said, showing a rare moment of emotion and sadness.

“Teal'c,” Jack called out, though he fumbled, not really knowing what to say to his friend.

“With Bra'tac's help, I was able to show Rya'c the error in his thinking.  He insisted on joining us on our mission, and it is he who is responsible for saving our lives and destroying the weapon.”

“How'd it happen, Teal'c?” Hammond inquired.

The day after Drey'auc's death, an old friend, Shaq'rel, arrived.  He'd been trying to contact the Tau'ri and finally came to the planet, hoping to find me.  He and other Jaffa had discovered that Anubis was using a weapon that uses one Stargate to destroy another.  He feared the attack had already begun.”

“Smart fella,” Jack commented as he scratched the side of his neck.

“That is why he brought a ship.  It was Bra'tac's belief that the origin of the attack would be from one of the Stargates located on one of the planets he controlled.”

“And there aren't that many of them,” Sam interjected.

“That is correct,” Teal'c affirmed.

“So, you just ... cruised around, checking out all the planets?” Daniel asked curiously.

“Bra'tac began the process of dialing the various planets until we came upon one that did not open.  We went to that planet and discovered the weapon.  We have seen its type of construction before.”

Leaning forward, Daniel questioned, “The Ancients?”

“I believe so, DanielJackson.”

“So, Anubis didn't create this ... weapon,” Daniel summarized.  Looking down for a moment, “Which means he might not be able to recreate it, either.”

“Now that's good news,” Jack responded.

“That was our assumption, as well,” Teal'c stated.  “Bra'tac and I went forth and were captured.  We were being led down a path in the dark when Rya'c appeared in the ship.  He not only drove away our attackers, but he destroyed the weapon as well.”

“Way to go, Rya'c,” Jack said with a smile.

“He has grown into a fine warrior,” Teal'c acknowledged with pride as the debriefing continued.

“So, we're back in business,” Jack chirped happily.

“We still don't have a Stargate, Sir,” Sam pointed out.

“Ms. Positive,” Jack spoke with a bit of snark and a glare.

“The Russians have a Gate,” Daniel reminded.

“I'll call the President,” Hammond stated, standing up.  “Dismissed.”

Jack and Daniel shared a secret smile.  Jack wasn't as confident as Daniel, but he could sense his Love's belief that the other government would cooperate, one way or the other.

====

“Hey, the Gate's on its way,” Jack reported to his lover, who was putting his artifacts back in place.

“I don't think anyone counted on the Russians helping out,” Daniel commented casually, reflecting back on the reaction during the debriefing.

“They didn't do it for good will,” the colonel stated suspiciously.  “They had to have asked for something.”

“Probably,” Daniel responded quietly.

“I'm thinkin' there's something more,” Jack opined, rubbing two fingers against his thumb, an indication of a financial deal having been made.

“Maybe,” Daniel replied, his voice still on the quiet side.  He sighed and then spoke more strongly, “Jack, I really believe Colonel Chekov would have gotten us the Gate to bring the off-world teams home.”

“Yeah, maybe,” the colonel responded, helping to uncrate the artifacts and placing them carefully on the shelves.

“Thanks, Jack,” the younger man replied, seeing the caution his lover was using to help.

“Wouldn't want your trinkets to break.  You might start to pout and have a temper tantrum,” Jack quipped.  **Although you know the Danny Pout *is* rather sexy,** he added with a leer.

Daniel just rolled his eyes.

“Oh, Rya'c just left.”

“He sure has grown,” Daniel observed.

“He's gonna stay with Bra'tac; help spread the word,” the older man expounded.

“I'm not surprised.”

“Like father, like son, yadda, yadda,” Jack spoke lightheartedly.

====

“Sir, if you don't mind me asking, what exactly did we give the Russians?” Sam asked as the two watched the Russian Stargate being lowered into its place.

“Good ole American dollars, Major,” Hammond answered.

“You're kidding!”

“And the plans for the X-302 and 303,” Hammond added.

“Really?”

Rolling his eyes, the general added, “And one more thing.”

====

“You wanted to see me, Sir?” Jack asked, tapping on the doorframe of Hammond's office.

Stopping his task of putting some of the things he'd previously packed away back in place, the general responded, “I know this is not what you want to hear, but part of the deal to get the Russian Stargate involved agreeing to let one of their officers join SG-1.”

“This is the thanks I get for saving the world again?”

“I'm sorry, Jack.  You're going to have to live with this.”

~I have a better idea.  Bet Chekov would prefer this, anyway,~ Jack thought quickly.  “Sir, can't we just throw 'em a bone; give 'em their own unit?  They'd be happy with that, wouldn't they?”

Hammond smiled.  This is really what he wanted, and Colonel Chekov had already agreed to the deal.  Still, Jack O'Neill was his closest advisor on the base, and the colonel was his 2IC.  He needed Jack to be on board and supportive of the new team, and he knew this bit of trickery would achieve the goal.

Jack sighed, recognizing the smile, and asked, “Sir, did you just set me up?”

“Jack, I know how you feel about the Russians.  Frankly, I agree, but we're paying a price for continuing our program.”

“A Russian team,” the colonel affirmed with a nod.  ~Can't let him think I would have agreed to it right off.  They are Russians, after all.~

“They'll operate independently, but they will be here, Jack, and we'll have to work with them.  I need you to cooperate on this.”

“Yes, Sir,” Jack agreed, turning and slowly walking out.  “That was crafty, Sir.”

“What was that?”

“I said, I'm looking forward to our new ... team,” Jack said, walking away quickly while Hammond chuckled.

====

“I'm tellin' ya, Danny.  One more 'good luck', and I was gonna explode,” Jack joked as the lovers chatted over dinner that night.

“You almost did,” Daniel reminded.  “You did just eject in time.”

“It wasn't luck; it was ...”  Jack paused, a smile breaking out as he gazed at his lover.  “Okay, maybe it was luck.”

“And your skill,” Daniel added with a sly smile.  “I'm ... going to keep studying the naquadria.  I have a hunch that it might cause us more problems in the future,” Daniel advised.

“Carter can handle it.”

“I know, but we're a team, Jack, and as much as you and I felt like we were helpless, she felt like she shouldered the responsibility for everything.  We need to support her.”

“I'll get you some headphones.”

“Excuse me?”

“You said earlier that you were her sounding board,” Jack teased.  Growing serious, he added, “But that worked for us this time, so it'll work for us again.  I hope that naquadria doesn't bite us in the butt in the long run.”

“I don't think I'd want naquadria in my butt,” Daniel smirked, smiling widely.  “I mean, I'm sure there's an ... 'or' there somewhere.”

“Daniel, keep talking like that, and we won't be eating these pork chops.”

“I'll shut up,” Daniel replied quickly.

Jack laughed, “Hungry?”

“Yeah,” Daniel acknowledged.  “Did you see Lou?”

Jack nodded, feeling a little emotional all of a sudden.  He looked over at his lover and smiled.

“What?”

“You're beautiful, Danny, inside and out.”

“Jack ...”

“Doesn't do any good to argue.  I know in my gut that your little chat with Chekov helped to get this deal made so fast, and maybe at all,” Jack put forth.

“I don't know.”

“I do,” Jack maintained.

“You aren't angry about the Russian team?”

“If I had my druthers, they wouldn't be here, but it was gonna happen sooner or later, anyway” the colonel sighed.  After a moment, he added, “It'll be fine, just as long as they stay out of my way.”

Daniel chuckled at his soulmate.  It felt good to be alive and knowing that the Stargate Program was continuing.

“Babe, what did you think about when you were ... falling?  You know, in the 302?”

“You.”

“Me?”

“Of course,” Jack answered.  “And Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Scotty ...”

Life was back to normal, as normal was to Jack and Daniel and their nation of two.

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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