How's Sam?

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Angst, Drama, Romance, Missing Scene/Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  S5 - September 1 - 18, 2001
Spoilers:  Ascension
Size:  86kb
Written:  July 28,30-31, August 1,4-6, 2017
Summary:  Overworked and without a life outside of the SGC, Sam apparently faints on a mission and creates an alien entity to keep her company.  Jack and Daniel worry. but with the nation going through what is arguably its worst crisis ever, they have to focus elsewhere and let Sam deal with her situation alone.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) A gentle warning: the events of 9/11 are touched upon in this fic, though not in great detail or in a prolonged manner, but the emotions are presented and might be emotional or painful for some.
2) 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.**
3) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~

How's Sam?
by Orrymain

SG-1 stepped through the Stargate onto P4X-636 and looked around in silence.  They'd already seen the images of the planet through the MALP, so they were prepared for what they saw.

“No trees, O'Neill,” Teal'c noted.

“Yeah.  There should be at least a couple of trees,” Jack replied.

“I'm sure there are, Jack, just not here apparently,” Daniel put forth.

“Looks more like death's door,” Jack sighed.  He took a panoramic sweep observed, “Looks like a lot of bad stuff happened around here.”

“Where are the people?” Daniel questioned.

“None of the MALP images included inhabitants,” the blonde responded.  “Could those have been homes?” she asked about possible foundations, though they were mostly just shapes in the ground.

“Maybe,” the archaeologist replied.  “It's like a, a ... bomb went off, a really ... big bomb.”

“Okay, kids, let's take a closer look; just remember it's my turn to hide the huckleberry, so let's get in and out so we can go home and play.”

Daniel rolled his eyes at his lover's comment while also exchanging a glance of 'we're choiceless' with Sam.  During the next period of darkness, the four were scheduled to enjoy a team night at Jack's house.  The quaint home with a country flavor and lots of backyard acreage was shared by Daniel under the guise of the teammates being best friends.  Team night activities varied.  Sometimes, they went out for dinner or sat around and talked.  Oftentimes, they played games of all types,  including traditional kids games.  From time to time, the simpler games broke the tension and emotion of a particularly difficult mission.  At other times, it was Jack letting loose with his inner kid, which was the case for the upcoming planned team night.

“I wonder what happened,” Sam pondered after a few minutes.

“Maybe this will tell us,” Daniel responded as he approached a monument with writing on it.  “It, uh, it could be a history, but ... I don't recognize the language offhand.”

“Work on it,” Jack replied.  “Carter,” he called out as he motioned towards the next place to be checked out, a building of sorts.

Sam moved slowly as she reviewed the inside of the structure.

“What's this?” Jack queried about an object at the center of the area.

“I don't know, Sir, but my instinct is telling me that it's way over our heads.”

“Well, stay here and see what you can figure out.”

“Sir, I think we need a UAV.  There must be something more here somewhere.  I mean, what I'm seeing here is fairly advanced.  It's hard to believe that there isn't anyone around to explain it.”  

“I'll place the order and take a look around for signs of people.”  Leaving the astrophysicist inside the dome-like enclosure, Jack went back outside and noticed Daniel had put on his bandana so it was covering his head, something that tended to indicate he was working on something more involved.  ~I guess he thinks this is going to take a while.~  He ambled over to his lover and advised, “We're sending for a UAV.”

“That's a good idea.”

With that, the colonel signaled for Teal'c.

====

While the two scientists focused on their specialities, Jack and Teal'c did a more thorough security check of the area, but they didn't find any signs of life.  They also contacted Stargate Command.

Returning to where Daniel was studying the writing on the monument, Jack announced, “Sixteen's coming through to set up a UAV.”

Still taking in their environment, Teal'c observed, “It appears the inhabitants of this city lost a great battle and were destroyed long ago.  There appears to be no survivors.”

“That's too bad.  I was kinda hoping someone could help me decipher this language.”

“No idea?”

“No, and that's very odd.  This, uh, whatever this is, is a completely different design from the rest of the civilization.”

“Maybe it was here when they got here.”

“Well, that's assuming the inhabitants were from another planet.  I can probably date its construction, compare it to the rest of the structures using some sort of carbon analysis.”

“How long?”

“For what?” the archaeologist inquired.

With a wave of his hand, Jack answered, “All of it.  How long?”

“Uh, well days, weeks, months, maybe ... of meticulous, tedious, boring tediousness.”  Daniel saw Jack and Teal'c walk away, though in separate directions.  “But, uh, I can just keep working now ... by lunch at least.”  He returned to his work, his hands, covered by protective white gloves, ran over the writing.  ~I really have no idea what this is.~

Meanwhile, Jack went inside and, looking at the device, asked, “Carter?  Any idea what this thing is yet?”

Standing up over near the wall where she was examining a mechanism, Sam answered, “No, Sir, but the technology is very advanced.”

“So, what ... two hours?” Jack asked.  ~C'mon, it's game night for team night.  Let's get out of this place.~

“*Very* advanced,” Sam put forth.

“All right.  Well, Teal'c and I have secured the immediate area.  We're going to check out the town.”

“Yes, Sir,” Sam acknowledged while returning to the object she was examining.

“Don't turn it on,” the colonel ordered and then began to walk away.  He saw his 2IC getting closer to the device and called out, “Ah!  What did I just say?”

“I know.”

Jack walked out and went over to his lover.

“Jack, I just started.  This is going to take some time.”

“I know that.  Listen, Teal'c and I are going to look around the town.”  Jack sighed, “Danny, make sure Carter doesn't start playing with that thing.”

“What thing?”

“Whatever that thing is in there.”

“Is there something in there?”

“Yeah, it's a thing,” Jack responded.

“Oh, uh, what kind of thing?”

“A ... thing ... thing.”

“Oh,” Daniel replied with a bob of his head.

“Just don't let her turn anything on.”

“Jack, I'm here; Sam's waaaaay over there,” Daniel spoke while pointing with his right hand.  “I can't watch her, but ... she knows her job.”

“Yeah, like you know yours and you both touch things and get us in trouble.”

“Jack, the only one about to get into trouble here is a certain colonel I know who is keeping me from my work which means we'll be here longer and that means you'll be hiding your huckleberry with no one to find it.”

Jack stood motionless for a couple of seconds as he stared at his archaeologist and replied, “I'm sure there's a double entendre in there somewhere, but I can't quite put my finger on it.”

“Nor will I if you don't let me work, and Sam, too.”

“Yeah, okay.  We'll be back.”

Daniel laughed inside before focusing again on the mysterious vertical monument.

====

~I need to get pictures of this.  There's no way I'm going to be able to translate this here.~  Daniel stared at the writing with curiosity.  It didn't resemble anything he knew.  Aware that his colleague was inside taking photographs of her own mystery, he called out, “Hey, Sam, are you done with that camera yet?  *Sam*?”

Not receiving a response, Daniel casually walked inside the structure and saw his friend lying on the ground.  He ran to her and immediately checked for a pulse and was relieved to feel a steady rhythm.  Still, there was no obvious reason for Sam's unconscious state.

Clicking his radio, Daniel called out, “Jack, get back here ... *now*!”

Daniel checked Sam as much as he could for any indication of bites or cuts, but he did so with caution, uncertain how much he should move her.

“Daniel, what's going on?” Jack asked when he was entering the area.  “What happened to Carter?” he asked as he kneeled down on the other side of Daniel.

“I have no idea.  When I came in here, this is how I found her.”

“Carter!” Jack called out as he gently tapped her cheek.

“Jack, I don't think hitting her is going to help.”

Just then, Sam began to rouse.

“Then again,” the archaeologist sighed.

“Sir?” a confused Sam asked.

“Need a nap?”

“What happened?” Sam queried as she sat up, with Daniel giving her a slight assist.  “Daniel?”

“I found you like this.”

“That's weird.”  Sam started to get up and was helped by both Jack and Daniel.  “I'm fine now, Sir.”

“We're going back.”

“But ...”

“Look, we go back, get you checked out, and see what Hammond thinks.  In the meantime, Sixteen can handle the UAV and maybe we'll learn something more about this place.”

“Colonel, I really am okay.”

“Teal'c,” Jack called out, nodding at the major.

“Oh, no, really.”

“Let's go.”

With Teal'c carrying Sam over his shoulder, SG-1 headed for the Stargate and home to Earth.

====

Meanwhile, Hammond called a meeting with Jack, Daniel, and Colonel Marc Reynolds.

“Reynolds,” Jack called out.

“Hello, Colonel,” the man said as he opened up his laptop and got situated at the table.

“A laptop?” Jack observed with some curiosity.

“It makes it easier to take notes and look up mission data or do research.”

“Call me old fashioned.  I prefer paper and pen.”

“That's because you doodle,” Daniel interjected with a smile when he walked in.  “Hi,” he greeted Reynolds, walking over and shaking his hand.  “I should look into this; add one to the budget.”

“Good luck with that,” Jack quipped.

“People,” Hammond began when he entered the room.  He saw Reynolds stand and waved him down.  Jack sat at the same time, as did Daniel.  “While Major Carter is being examined by Doctor Fraiser, I want to go over what's happened on P4X-636.  Doctor Jackson, let's start with you.  I understand there's an object of interest.”

“Uh, yes, Sir.”

The archaeologist began an oratory that filled the group in on the status of his translation, which at this point was essentially nil.

Interrupting the briefing, Sergeant Davis walked in and said, “I'm sorry, Sir.  Doctor Fraiser asked me to give this message immediately.  She said you'd know what it's about.”

“Thank you, Walter,” Hammond responded as he took the noted.  He let out a tiny snort of a chuckle as he read it:  “REST advised, but you may have to escort her off the base.

After his amusement subsided, the major general tuned back into the archaeologist, who was utilizing images on a monitor to explain in detail what he knew about the planet.

“Oddly, the structure was built about four-hundred years ago, whereas the civilization may date back as far as three-thousand.”

“Why is that significant?” Reynolds asked when Daniel returned to the table.

“Well, it may indicate the society developed in relative isolation and was only later influenced by something that suddenly led it to *leap* to a more advanced technology.”

“A Stargate,” Hammond surmised.

“Exactly,” Daniel affirmed.  “Which means it's likely they either discovered it or figured out how to use it just prior to building the device.  It would seem to me that these events led to the cataclysm which ended their society.”

“Somehow,” Jack returned.

“Well, from what we know of the Goa'uld, they'll often attack a planet that's threatening technological advancement.”

Hammond responded, “I'm sorry, but I haven't heard anyone say *exactly* what the device is.”

Daniel replied, “Uh, well, we're still just speculating.  I mean, it could be a deep space observatory for all I know.”

Excitedly, Jack offered, “Or a big honkin' space gun, Sir.”

Hammond couldn't help but smile, though he kept it reined in as he shifted his look to the other side of the table for a response.

Dryly, Daniel negated, “Well, it's likely the Goa'uld would have taken that.”

As she walked into the room and to her seat, Sam interjected, “Well, whatever it is, the power core is missing.”  Sitting down, she added, “I was able to determine that much before I, uh ...”

“Dozed off?” Jack completed.

After a nervous smile, Sam continued, “The engineering of the device is extremely advanced.  It's going to take some time to decipher.”

General Hammond pointed out, “Colonel Reynolds has been transferred from Area 51 and will be leading SG-16 during its long-term analysis of the planet.”

Sam acknowledged the colonel and started to speak further on the subject until her commanding officer cut her off.

“Carter.  Sixteen is on the case,” Jack reminded as gently as he could.

Hammond stated, “Once I've heard someone conclusively tell me what the device is, I will decide whether we should try and find a way to turn it on.”

With determination, Sam replied, “Of course.  Request permission to join SG-16's assignment, Sir.”

“Denied.”

Sam's look was one of dismay and upset.  She stared across the table at Daniel, who met her stare with a 'sorry' expression.

The general advised, “Doctor Jackson will be assisting in the translation of the alien language until SG-1's next mission.  Otherwise, you're all free to take some time off.  Dismissed.”  Hammond stood and was exiting the room when he was approached by Sam, who was still objecting to being excluded from the mission.  He cut her off by saying that at some point her assistance would probably be required, but, “Until Doctor Fraiser advises otherwise, I'm ordering you to take it easy.”

“Take it easy?” Sam echoed once Hammond was out of the room.

“Yeah.  You've been a little tense,” Jack claimed as he was on his way out.

“Tense?  Me?  I'm not tense.  Am I?”  Sam paused.  “When did you first notice?”

“As we met,” came the emphatic reply.

“I've always just thought of myself as very focussed.”

“It's called working too hard.  You're going to crash and burn.”

“I really don't have that much else to do, Sir.”

“Well, find something.  Take up ... golf; fly a kite; knit something,” Jack suggested and then walked away.

To the empty room, Sam spoke, “I ... I'm fine.  Really.”

====

“Hey,” Sam, now in street clothes, greeted when she entered Daniel's office sometime later.

“Sam,” Daniel responded lightly, his surprise evident by his widened eyes and the lilt in his voice.

“I'm really fine.”

“I know.”

“I mean it, Daniel.  I'm okay.”

“Okay.”

Sam sighed as she sat down on a stool and confided, “I'm not sure what to do when I get home.”

“Relax.  I mean, uh, isn't that what Janet and the general want you to do?”

“Yes.  So, if you were me, and the colonel was off-world, how would you feel?”

“Probably the same as you are right now.”

Sam nodded and admitted, “I am *so* angry.”

“I know.”

“Really, I've never felt like this.  They need me to work on that alien device.  It's going to take a long time to figure out what it is and what to do with it.  They need me, Daniel.”

“Okay.”

“I'm keeping you from working.”

“No, yes, well ...” Daniel acknowledged with a smile.  “Look, Sam, everyone's concerned.  I heard about the schedule you kept when Jack and I were gone.”

“I had fun.”

“I know.”  Seeing Sam's glare at the repetitive response, the archaeologist elaborated, “I do know.  Work can be your life.  General Hammond said you could have taken some time off while we were gone.  He urged you to even.”

“And do what, Daniel?”  Sam raised her hand as she got off the stool.  “Don't tell me to get a life.  I hear that enough from the colonel.”

“I wouldn't do that, but ... we both have a tendency to ... overcompensate for ... other things.  You're tired, Sam, and it doesn't matter if it's fun or not.  Take a couple of days and relax.  Sleep in,” Daniel suggested with a lustful quality.  ~I wish I could do that more.~

“I'll try.  You know he canceled our team night tonight.”

“I know,” Daniel replied with a big smile at the phrasing of his answer.

With a pointed 'stop that' stare, Sam admitted, “I was looking forward to giving him grief over his huckleberry.”

“I'll, uh, take care of that for you.”

Sam didn't want to think about what that meant, so she quickly returned, “See you later, Daniel,” and headed for the door.

“Hey, Sam.”

“Yes?”

“You look nice.”

“Thank you, Daniel,” Sam replied with a sweet smile and a hint of a blush on her cheeks.

The woman gave a little wave and left the base.

====

Jack and Daniel walked inside the house, having already been talking about the aborted mission on the planet and the situation with Sam.  Jack had just told Daniel about his brief chat with the major after the meeting that afternoon.

“You told her to knit something?”

“What was I supposed to tell her?”

“How about giving her a real suggestion?”

“Knitting's real.”

“Jack, Sam's not the knitting type.”

“She's a woman.”

“So?”

“So?”

“Jack, men knit, too, or do crochet and needlepoint.  Rosey Greer did needlepoint, *President* Roosevelt, uh, FDR, didn't actually knit, but he wasn't afraid to be seen helping Eleanor, who was a big knitter, and, oh, you like movies.  Cary Grant learned to knit in one of his films.  It was more propaganda because of the war, but he did it in an era when the thought of men knitting lead to questions about their masculinity.  I could go on, but you get the point, right?”

Stunned, Jack looked worried about hearing Daniel's rundown.  He wasn't sure what to think about a big football player, one of the best in his day, doing needlepoint. Neither did he want to know why his lover was an apparent expert on the subject famous men who knit.

“Uh, Babe, Ringo Starr knitted, too, when he was sick.”

“Ringo?  The Beatles Ringo?”

“That Ringo,” Daniel confirmed.  “When he was a teenager, he had Tuberculosis and spent a lot of time knitting while he was ill.”

Jack let the thought circulate through his mind, but he shrugged it off after a minute and replied, “Okay, great.  Carter likes to live in a man's world.  Men knit: she should be right at home.”

“Jack ...” Daniel sighed dismissively and waved his hand to call off the discussion while turning around and heading outside.

The colonel followed his lover out onto the wood deck and put his arms around him.  He placed a kiss on his nape and held him with all the love in the world.

“Danny, I didn't know what to tell her.  I don't know what she likes to do when she's off the base because she's always on the base except when we send her somewhere or I order her to get a life for a while.  She doesn't talk about her hobbies.  Does she have any?”

“Repairing motorcycles,” Daniel replied somewhat teasingly.  “Look, Babe, I hear you and you're right, but the very fact that she told you she didn't know what to do with herself is a call for help.”

“What do you expect me to do?”

“Nothing, but ... keep on her about getting a life.  I think ... she needs it.”

“Can we move on to other things now?”

“Well,” Daniel turned around, still remaining in his Love's embrace.  “There is your huckleberry.”

Jack grinned.  Somehow an innocent child's game was becoming something very adult, and he liked the idea.

“Find it.”

“Oh, I will.”

The mission was far from their minds, and their concern for Sam was pushed aside for the moment.  Right now, Jack and Daniel were ready for the fine art of expressing their love in the most physical of ways and they had hours in which to do it to their hearts' content and their bodies' endurance.

====

The next morning, Daniel was headed for his office, his hands full of books, papers, and, of course, his coffee.  He heard the phone ringing and quickened his pace.  In his quest to answer the call, his books dropped on the desk, as did some of his coffee.

Daniel sat down and answered, “Daniel Jackson.”

“Hey, Daniel, it's me.”

“Hi, Sam.”

“I was just wondering how far you'd got on the 636 translation.”

Flipping a small piece of paper over a few times to try to dry it out, Daniel answered, “Oh, yes, I'm almost done.  It miraculously seems to hold the key to all the mysteries of the universe.”

Realizing the tease in the answer, Sam put forth, “You just got there, you haven't started, and I should leave you alone.”

“I thought you were supposed to be taking it easy.”

“Yeah, it's not so easy.”

“Yeah, I know.  Yeah, I promise I'll call you when I have something,” Daniel stated.

“Okay, thanks.”

Daniel put the phone down without hanging it up and worked on drying his papers and the one volume with coffee drops on it.  Fortunately, the spill was only on the hard cover and right in the center so the pages weren't at risk of being damaged.

“Daniel ...”

“Jack, we just got here.”

“A little testy, aren't we?”

“Yeah, I'm sorry.  I got coffee everywhere.”

“Ah!  It could have been worse,” Jack pointed out after he surveyed the situation.

“Yeah, I know.  Did you need something? ... and keep it to business, O'Neill.  I have a lot to do.”

“Yeah, actually, Hammond sent to remind you of the urgency to do your thing and find out what that monument has written on it.”

“That's my goal for the next few days, weeks, months ... longer maybe if you don't get out of here.”

“Daniel, if I didn't know better, I'd say you were trying to get rid of me.”

“Right now, I am.”

“And tonight?”

“Huckleberries,” Daniel responded with a grin.  “Get lost, O'Neill.”

“Love you,” Jack declared, though he simply mouthed the words with a smile.

“Ditto.”

Jack chuckled lightly and left his archaeologist to make the most of his linguistic abilities and hopefully figure out how to decipher the unknown language soon.

====

“Daniel,” Jack called out with an urgent tone as he entered his lover's office.

“Jack, it's only been a few ...”

“I'm heading to Carter's place.”

“Sam's?  Why?  Did something happen?”

“She called in a Code 3.”

“Uh ...”

“Alien alert.”

“Excuse me?”

“All I know is she called in a Code 3: infiltrator alert at her home.  We've reported a gas leak to the authorities and a team is en route.”

“To do ... what?”

“Set up surveillance.  Look, I gotta go,” the colonel said as he turned to head out.

“Jack?”

“I'll let you know when I know.”

====

Jack tapped on the front door and waited for a response.  He looked around at the  top-secret team, wearing biohazard uniforms as they swept the area.  When Sam answered the door, he could also see the inside crew installing various cameras and equipment.

“You okay?” Jack asked as he entered.

“I'm fine, Sir.”

“Fill me in.”

“There was a man in my house.  I'd seen him once before, earlier today when I went outside to get the newspaper.  He added kinda funny and then he just showed up, in my kitchen ...”

“In your kitchen?”

“I was actually on the phone with Daniel.”

~Ah, the coffee spill,~ the colonel thought, now understanding the reason for the early morning coffee alarm.

“When I hung up, he was just there.  He came towards me, walking through the breakfast island, right through it, Sir.”

“Looked like an ordinary guy?”

“Pretty much.”

“What was he wearing?”

“Average, normal clothes.”

“Where do you think he got 'em?” Jack questioned, thinking that her description of the alleged alien's clothes was less than specific.

“Come on, Sir, we've seen lots of aliens before.”

As he sat down, Jack relayed a piece of information he'd learned while driving to Sam's: “Hammond had the surveillance tapes in the Gate room checked.”

“The alien said he could become completely invisible,” Sam explained, understanding from the colonel's tone that the tapes didn't reveal any visitors inside her home.

“What else did he say?”

“He just said who he was and where he was from.  Believe me, Sir, at first I thought he was just some crazy guy off the street and then he starts walking through solid objects.  I knew there was no way I was going to be able to contain him if I tried.  My phone line was dead and I decided the best thing to do would be to bring a Code 3 team in here as fast a possible.”

“Carter, no one's accusing you of acting improperly.”

“Colonel, we're done,” the leader of the secret team advised.  “I'm ordering my men to evacuate the premises.”

“All right.  Notify the local authorities; tell them the gas leak is fixed,” Jack ordered.

“Yes, Sir.  Our remote surveillance system is set up and can be monitored from down the street.  We'll watch the place as long as you want, Sir.”

“Thanks.”  Jack looked at his 2IC and stood up, taking steps towards the door.  He stopped and offered, “Ah, I could hang out for a while.”

“So far he's only shown himself to me.”

“Maybe he's shy,” the colonel quipped.

“Please don't say take it easy.”

“Take care?”

Sam smiled and nodded, watching as her commanding officer left her home.

====

“Jack,” Daniel called out as soon as he saw his colonel walking inside his office.

“Relax.  Carter's fine, but her house is bug central now.”

“So ... what happened?”

“She says an alien walked through her breakfast island.”

“And?”

“She said he was an average Joe, wearing average clothing, who only appears to her.”

“You sound skeptical.”

“I don't know, Danny.  She's tired.  While we were gone last month, she didn't take any downtime.  Hammond didn't know what she was working on, but he said she was here every time he was.”

“So, what do we do?”

“Wait and see what the surveillance shows,” Jack answered.  “Lunch in two?”
 
“Yeah, sure.”

Not able to do anything more for Sam at the moment, Jack and Daniel went about their business.

====

Late that afternoon, Sam was outside, trying to figure out what to do with herself. She was restless, bored, and confused.

~Get a life, the colonel tells me all the time.  Okay, I'm alive, so I have a life, technically.  What I am supposed to do?  Cut the grass?~

A roar of a motorcycle engine drew Sam's attention.  She was surprised to see it slow and pull into her driveway.  She was even more astounded when she realized who the driver was.

The man turned off the bike, put down the kickstand, got off the cycle, and removed his helmet.

Grinning, Daniel greeted, “Hi, Sam.”

Standing and walking over, Sam responded lightly, “Daniel, I didn't know you had a motorcycle.”

“Uh, well, I just got it.”

Sam had a quizzical expression on her face.  She didn't figure the archaeologist as a biker, not even on a casual basis.

“Nice bike,” Sam observed as she circled around it.

“It's used and I think it has a few issues.”

Sam grinned and surmised, “And you'd like me to take a look at it.”

“Well, if you have the time.”

“Daniel, since when do you ride?”

“Uh, well, the truth is that Jack talked me into riding a few years ago.  We've rented bikes a few times.”

“Wow, I had no idea.”

“He really wants a Harley, but he won't buy one unless I get one, too, so ...” Daniel trailed off as he motioned towards the cycle.  “I'll pay you for whatever you need to do to get it in shape, time and parts.”

“Parts, not my time.  I have *so* much time right now,” the woman chuckled.

Just then a taxi pulled up, prompting Daniel to say, “That's my ride.”

“Daniel, you didn't have to do this.  I mean, I would have survived ... I think.”

“You're doing me a favor, and Jack, who will probably be in Harley heaven when I tell him.  Uh, don't say anything to him, okay.”

“My lips are sealed.”

“No rush, Sam.  Take as long as you need.”

Daniel started to walk away, but then he turned back and placed his helmet on the bike.  He shrugged and smiled before heading for the cab a second time.  He opened the backseat door to the vehicle, but paused.

“Oh, Sam?”

“Yes?”

“If you get finished early or want a change of pace, you can always try what's in the saddlebag.”

Saying nothing more, the archaeologist settled into the taxi.  He watched as a curious Sam opened the left saddlebag and pulled out the contents.  Seeing her let out with a solid laugh made him feel good.  He nodded at her and waved as the taxi drove away.

“Holy femininity,” Sam chuckled as she held the skeins of yarn and two knitting needles in her hands.

====

Four days later, Jack was on a mission to find his life partner.  Discovering Daniel was absent from his Level 18 office, Jack decided to head towards the mess in hopes his lover was hungry.  As he headed to the food area, he was pleased his hunch was right as he observed Daniel heading towards him.

“Daniel, let's go topside.”

“Uh, well, I'm really busy with that translation.  Is something wrong?”

“I need a few minutes,” Jack confided.

“Okay,” Daniel agreed.

The two went the discreet way, something they did many times over the years, climbing up the stairs in the emergency exit.  Once outside, they walked quietly for a minute.  When Jack sat down on the grass, his legs outstretched to his right, Daniel sat down as well, though he brought his knees up towards his chest and rested his arms over them.  He waited, letting Jack pick the moment to speak.

“Danny, I'm about to go to Carter's place.”

“Why?”

“As of now, there's been no sign of the ... alien.  The closest thing to a disturbance was yesterday when the paperboy's aim was so far off he broke her window.”

“I bet she was happy about that.”

“She handled it and got one of those 'fix it on the spot' people to come out,” Jack replied.

“Jack, there's something more.  I mean, this isn't just about the video.”

Drawing a deep breath, Jack glanced upward at the partially cloudy sky and confided, “Hammond wants Carter to be evaluated.”

“Evaluated ... how?”

“Psychologically.”

“A psych test?  Jack, I've been there and done that.  Why does Sam have to go through that?”

“Because she ... fainted and she's seeing imaginary aliens.”

“Jack ...”

“... and the government just spent wahoo bucks with nothing to show for it.”

“Yet.”

“No, Danny, they're done.  The Code 3 team is removing their equipment as we speak.”

“Oh, I see.  Jack, can't you convince General Hammond to give it a little more time?”

“I tried, Danny.  Look, Carter's devoted to her work.  We, *especially* you, know what that's like.  I think she needs that life I keep ordering her to get.  She has to pull back.”

“I'm not disagreeing, Jack, but are you dismissing her claim that she's seen an alien?”

Jack stared at his soulmate and, in frustration, asked, “Why'd you have to ask me that?”

“Because that's what will make a difference to Sam.”

“I can't lie, Danny, not to Carter.”

“But you don't believe her?”

“For crying out loud, I ... I don't know what I believe.  Do you believe her?”

“Yes.  Yes, I do.  Maybe it's because I've been there.  Babe, she's tired; she's here too much, but aside from those facts, has Sam done or said anything ... odd?  Anything at all since we've been back from our trip?”

“No.”

“Then use that; keep it at the front of your brain when you talk to her.  She deserves our support.”

“No question.”

Jack leaned over and kissed his Heart.

“Careful, Fly Boy, we both have a lot of work to do.”

“Yeah, I know,” Jack sighed as he stood up and then reached down to help pull Daniel upward.  “But one more won't hurt.”

The life partners kissed, not one more time, but several times, but then they pulled apart and headed back for the steps that would take them below again.

“Thanks, Danny.”

“Always, Jack.  Uh, let me know how it goes, okay?”

Jack nodded and then entered the tubelike space and began moving downward.  After several seconds, Daniel followed, worried about both Sam and his lover.

====

Inside Daniel's office, Teal'c was seated at the desk as he worked on a laptop while the archaeologist was standing at his worktable reading some papers when Jack entered.  It was roughly ninety minutes since the lovers chatted on the grounds of Cheyenne Mountain.

Going to the short end of the rectangular table and immediately picking up an object, Jack regretted seeing Teal'c there.  It was only because he could use a minute to talk more privately, but he didn't mind much.  He would talk to his lover later, if needed.

“How's Sam?” a concerned Daniel inquired as he caught a glimpse of the colonel walking in the room.  ~Put it down,~ he thought, though he didn't directly communicate that to the colonel.

Actually, Jack felt the vibe even before Daniel thought it and he put the item back on the table before answering, “Absolutely no evidence of her ... <using his fingers to make quote marks in the air> ... secret ... <putting his hands down after the air-made end quote> ... friend.”

Looking up at the colonel, Daniel repeated in a more deliberate tone, “How's Sam?”

“Hammond recommended a psyche evaluation,” Jack answered, his response more for Teal'c's benefit since Daniel was already aware of the situation.

“Do you believe MajorCarter has become mentally unstable?” the Jaffa asked.

“No more than the rest of us.”  After the three exchanged brief glances and contemplated the potential truth of the statement, Jack inquired, “What do you guys got?”

Daniel replied, “Well, it looks like that thing on 636 is a weapon.”

“I was right?” Jack asked, full of surprise and ready to strut like a peacock as a result.

Teal'c responded, “It is a weapon of great power, O'Neill.”

“Big and honkin'!”

“From what I've been able to decipher, the people on 636 were developing along a similar technological timeline to Earth.  They had just discovered their Stargate when what they called the 'threat from the skies' came.”

“Goa'ulds,” Jack surmised.

“Yet somehow they suddenly managed to build themselves an incredibly advanced weapon to defend themselves.”

“Couldn't have been *so* advanced,” Jack opined.  “The place was a disaster.  It obviously didn't work.”

Daniel countered, “Well, actually it did.  The monument outside the device tells the story of how they destroyed the 'threat from the skies' and the men who built the weapon were heroes.”

“Which would explain why the Goa'uld did not take the weapon,” Teal'c pointed out.

Jack interjected, “Hey, I saw that planet.  If the Goa'uld didn't get them, who did?”

“We're not sure,” Daniel admitted.

“Okay, I'll give Hammond the update.”

“What about MajorCarter?” Teal'c questioned.

Jack shrugged and shook his head while letting out a couple of sounds, all of which indicated he was clueless.  The colonel walked out and Daniel and Teal'c returned to their work.

====

Aware Jack had seen Sam since their last conversation about her, Daniel asked, “So, how's Sam?” as the lovers put on their seatbelts inside Jack's truck at the end of their workday.

“I wish there had been something I could use to help her.”

“Jack, how's Sam?”

Turning on the engine, Jack replied, “Angry.”

“At you?”

“At not being believed *and* at the alien for disappearing.”  Heading through the tunnel that led to the outside, Jack put forth, “If it's a delusion, she's convinced it's real and needs help.”

“If it's not a delusion?”

“Then we're in trouble.  That would mean an alien came through the Gate completely undetected and was able to get through all of our security on a whim. Danny, it means an alien is out here, somewhere.  How do we fight that?”

“You believe her now?”

“I'm ... I don't know what I am.”

“Sam's not crazy.”

Now at the end of the winding road that led to the Mountain, Jack replied, “I know that, Danny, but Hammond is running the show.  He has to protect the base.”

“So, he's going to let MacKenzie examine her?”

“It's already happening,” Jack sighed.  “I couldn't stop it.”

“I know, Babe.  I'm sorry if I'm being overly ... curt, but she's not mentally unbalanced, and we both know it.”

“Let's hope that quack isn't more unbalanced than we both know he is.”

After that, the lovers kept their thoughts to themselves and went on with their plans for the evening: a quick dinner, a bit of TV watching, and a lot of time in bed, though it wasn't sleep they were planning.

====

The next day, the lovers went to work in separate vehicles as each had obligations to be fulfilled separate from each other.  At day's end, Jack arrived home first with Daniel showing up some seventy minutes later.

“Jack?” Daniel called out when he entered the house.

“Study,” the colonel shouted.  “Hey,” he greeted when Daniel entered.

The younger man went to Jack and leaned over to kiss him and immediately was forced downward.

“Gawd, I hate it when you do that,” Daniel groaned, though he was smiling in his spot on his lover's lap.

“You love it.”

“Gawd,” Daniel groaned as he and Jack kissed heavily for several minutes.  “Okay, down, Boy,” he urged as he pushed away his lover's hand, stood up, and walked to the front of the desk.

“Downer,” Jack whined.  “In more ways than one.”

“I need sustenance,” Daniel advised, and quickly added, “food, Babe: steak, potatoes, corn - food.”

“Yeah, yeah, I hear ya.”  Jack sighed and then spoke, “Danny, I saw Carter this afternoon.”

“How is she?”

“Still angry.”

“I understand.  She knows how Mac...”

“Not about the exam.  Someone's spying on her.”

“What?”

“She found a camera inside one of her clocks.”

“Could the team have missed one?”

“That's what I suggested to her.”

“But?” Daniel prodded.

“They don't leave things behind by accident, Daniel.”

“Did you ask Hammond?”

“He says there's nothing going on that he knows of and that he wouldn't have allowed it if asked.”

“Which means whoever is responsible ...”

“... didn't ask,” both men spoke in unison.

“Okay, Babe, out with it.  What else happened?”

“Daniel, I needed to pee, bad, and she kept talking.”

“Jack!”

“She was whining about having done her job by making the Code 3 report and now we all think she's ...”

“... crazy,” the lovers said at the same time.

“And you said?”

“I gave her the bottom line.”

“Jack!”

“Fine.  I told her that no one has seen whatever it is she's seen and until that happens, we're all going to think she's nuts.”

“Jack,” Daniel chastised.

“Danny, I had to go, and she still kept yakking.”

“About?”

“Actually, it was a very interesting hypothetical question.”

“Jack, I know you love children's books and keeping things succinct is your specialty, but can you *please* say more words and tell me what Sam asked about?”

“In this hypothetical situation, she wanted to know if the alien had the ability and desire to show himself only to her, would it be better if she gathered as much information as possible, and maybe even find a way of isolating it, *before* she officially mentioned it again.  I told her that would probably be a good plan, and I had to go, and I did, barely.”

“Maybe I should give her a call.”

“And if someone is bugging her phone?”

“Maybe I should wait.”

“Probably.”  After a pause, the colonel inquired, “Steaks: grilled or fried?”

“O'Malley's,” Daniel answered since there was nothing he was going to be able to do to help Sam tonight.

“That'll work,” Jack chimed.  As he stood, he spoke lightly, “Oh, Danny, by the way, Hammond told me before I left the base that she passed the test.”

“Not a surprise, but good.”

“I'm sure she'll be on base bright and early.”

“Probably.”

“Steak time!”

Hungry for food and relieved Sam would be back on duty the next day, the couple headed out for a good meal at one of their favorite restaurants.

====

The next day, Sam jumped right back into her work, utilizing Daniel's translations and SG-16's latest report from the planet as a guide.  As a result of pressure from the Pentagon, she'd actually been given permission by Hammond to work on finding a way to activate the weapon.

“You think that's going to be possible?” Daniel asked after going to the major's lab and giving her the last of what he'd transcribed.

“Well, yeah.  A naquadah reactor can be interfaced easily enough.  The problem is the burst of energy that's required makes the whole thing pretty dangerous.”

“How?”

“Well, basically, you have to start an overload in the reactor and then release it into the device.  The problem is, once the overload is started, you have no choice but to release the energy or the reactor will explode.”

“So, you'd better be sure you want the weapon to fire.”

“Yeah.  I'm working on a way to try to buffer the energy in a safer environment prior to the release, but General Hammond hasn't given me much time.”

“By all accounts, this device on 636 is a pretty powerful weapon.”

“You think we should just leave it alone?”

“Well, let's just say I, I'd feel a lot better if there was someone left to explain exactly how to use it.”

“I know what you mean.”

“Gotta go.”  Daniel headed for the door, but then he turned, noticing that his friend was already refocused on her computer.  “Sam?”

“Yeah?”

“It's good to have you back.”

Smiling, Sam responded, “It's good to be back.”

====

Mid-afternoon, the lovers were having coffee and a pastry in the commissary.

“Danny, I have an idea.”

“About?”

“Look, if we ask Carter out to dinner or something, she'll come up with a million reasons why she can't go.”

“Probably.”

“But she needs a life.  Now that she has the all-clear, we need to make sure she does more than work here and go home and ... vegetate, thinking about work.”

“Probably.”

“I'm thinking we surprise her, pizza and a movie, something crazy and fun: a diversion.  Don't you think that would be a good idea?”

“Probably.”

“Okay, we can make sure she signs out first and head out after, get the pizza and rent a movie.  Sound good?”

“Not probably.”

“Huh?”

“Jack, I think it's a good idea, but I'm expecting a call from a curator in Australia. Hey, why don't you ask Teal'c to go with you.”

“Okay.  Are you going to be long?”

“I'm not sure.  It could be quick or it might take a while.”

“You could come and join us when you're finished.”

“It would be in the middle of the movie, probably.  I'll just go home.”

Somewhat reluctantly, Jack accepted Daniel's need to abstain from the evening fun.  He did feel it was important to help Sam and the spontaneous night would be both supportive and progress in the 'Sam Needs to Get a Life' project.

====

“T, you look like a cowboy.  Cool,” Jack expressed when the Jaffa met up with him on Level 11.

“The Duke is strong,” Teal'c put forth, referencing legendary western actor, John Wayne.

“Yeah, he was, but I'm not sure he ever wore anything so ... party-like.”

The two friends headed for the pizza place, both observing the overcast skies.

“It might rain,” Jack stated as he leaned his head forward as he looked out the windshield of his truck to study the darkening clouds.

“Are you afraid of raindrops on your head, O'Neill?”

Stopping for a street sign, Jack answered, “Nope,” as he leaned over, opened the glove department, and pulled out a black pull-on beanie cap that he immediately put over head before proceeding forward.  “Always be prepared,” he boasted proudly.

====

Jack's plan didn't quite go as planned.  Though Sam seemed interested in the idea, she was evasive and didn't even invite he and Teal'c inside her home.  He thought it was because she had a date inside, though that seemed to be in conflict with her history.

“Carter.  Do you ... already have company?”

“Kind of.”

“A date?”

“I can understand why you might assume that I didn't have plans,” Sam asserted somewhat nervously.

“Don't worry about it.  We'll ... we'll find something else to do,” Jack said.  Ultimately, he left the pizza for Sam and whoever was inside and then he and Teal'c started back to his truck.  “So, now what?”

“I have read of a place where humans do battle in a ring of Jell-O,” Teal'c stated.

~I don't care if Danny's busy; he's gotta be in on this.~  Tossing his phone to Teal'c, he instructed, “Call Daniel.”

Inside the truck, Teal'c dialed the number and when the target answered, he created, “DanielJackson.”

“Teal'c?  Uh, where's, where's Jack?”

“He is driving within the perimeters of your laws.”

“Uh, that's good.  What's up?”

“We are going to witness humans doing battle in rings in Jell-O.”

“Wha...wha, what?”

Pulling over for safety, Jack grabbed the phone and said, “You heard him, Daniel.  Where are you?”

“Uh, the Mountain.  I was about to leave.”

“Leave your car.  We'll be there in  fifteen.”

“Jack ...”

“Ya gotta see this, Daniel.  We'll pick you up at the elevators.”

Jack disconnected the phone and pulled away from the curb.

====

“Hop in,” Jack instructed the archaeologist.

~This is insane.~  Daniel got into the backseat.  “How's Sam?”

“I couldn't get a look at who was inside.”

“What?”

“Carter's got company, Daniel; a date even.  How'd she have a chance to meet a guy?”

“By meeting people?” Daniel suggested.  “She's not a recluse, Jack, she's just ...“

“... a workaholic,” the colonel stated.  “We left her the pizza.”

“Where did you say we're going?  I mean, I couldn't have heard you correctly.”

“You did, DanielJackson,” Teal'c replied.  “We are going to see humans engage in a battle of Jell-O.”

“Jack?”

“It'll be fun.  You need to cut loose as much as Carter.”

“Where, uh, is this .... place?”

Jack groaned, “It's in SoDo.”

“That figures,” Daniel sighed.  “So, we're going to risk our lives to see Jell-O wrestling?”

“Hey, we go downtown all the time.  You can't beat some of those diners.”

“No, but you can be beaten there.”

“Mister Negative,” Jack whined.  “Come on, Daniel.  Kick back.”

“I will protect you, DanielJackson,” the Jaffa promised.

“That's, uh, comforting, Teal'c.  Thank you.”  That's when Daniel noticed his friend's outfit.  “Teal'c, where'd you get those ... clothes?”

“MajorFerretti gave them to me when I asked him about cowboy dress.  I wish to be like the Duke.”

“The ...”

“The Duke, Daniel, John Wayne,” Jack explained.

“Oh,” came the surprised response.  “I don't think I ever saw John Wayne wear a, a, a red scarf.”  He saw Teal'c looking back at him with a displeased expression, so he quickly added, “But I could be wrong.”

**Jack, if Teal'c finds out Ferretti has played a joke on him ...**

**It's a joke, all right.  Love Lou's humor, but maybe I should ask Hammond to keep SG-2 busy for the next couple of weeks.**

**That might be a good idea, assuming Teal'c finds out.**

**He will, if he opens his mouth at this place we're going to tonight.**

**And tell me again why we're going there?**

**For the fun of it.  Hey, you like new experiences.**

**Yes, especially when I'm still alive afterward.**

====

Jack, Daniel, and Teal'c were at the venue, or perhaps sleazy bar would be a better description of the locale in the South Downtown district.  The couple had already imbibed a few beers, which enabled Daniel to enjoy himself more than he might without the alcoholic influence.  Teal'c, however, didn't drink and was making do with a Roy Rogers, a non-alcoholic beverage that was essentially Cola with a splash of grenadine and topped with a Maraschino cherry.

“Now we're talkin',” Jack remarked when two women walked out and into the large rectangular tub of blue Jell-O.

Daniel glared at his soulmate.  The men's round was fun, but Jack eyes were in his head.  Now his eyes were popping out at the shapely women in bikinis that didn't leave much, if anything, to the imagination.

Jack gave out a loud whistle and clapped boisterously as he urged on the women.  He favored a buxom redhead in the contest and was soon on his feet, as were most of the men who were watching.

The archaeologist wasn't happy and in his less-than-sober state, his jealousy surfaced, something he rarely ever let out.  His mind began churning over images of Janet, also a redhead, giving his lover examinations, exams that sometimes resulted in the need to be done in the barest of necessities, or more precisely, while being totally unclothed.

“Here you go, honey,” Jack spoke, handing the victorious wrestler a ten spot for the joy of the view.

“Jack, what are you doing?”

“Daniel, lighten up,” Jack urged with a smile.  “Have fun.  Come on!”

Daniel looked around and noticed Teal'c was talking with a couple of the bar's bouncers.  He could see the Jaffa's facial expression change.

~Ferretti, you're in trouble.~  Hearing his lover's cheer for the next set of contestants and seeing the ogling eyes, Daniel declared, ~And so are you, Colonel.~

====

Thirty minutes later, a second match was about to take place, one that included a female spectacular.  Apparently, a few members of the crowd were allowed to participate as long as they made a donation to the charity the event was benefiting, which was the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the ALS Association which supported those suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, oftentimes referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Jack was having a blast.  Teal'c was, too, though in his mind he was also plotting revenge against Lou Ferretti for his supposed John Wayne-like western attire he'd purchased on Teal'c's behalf.  Daniel, however, was ready to go home, but couldn't convince the other two of that.

~How'd I get myself into this?  I think I'll have another beer.~

====

For the last two wrestling matches, the contenders would be from opposite sexes, which brought about a bidding game to see who could go body-to-body in heaps of raspberry Jell-O with a voluptuous blonde who had curves “like an hourglass,” according to the colonel.

The archaeologist had enough and pulled Jack down onto his seat and said, “Jack, maybe it's time for us to go.”

“Nah, let's stick around.”

“Really, Jack, it's time.”

“Chill, Danny.  There's only two more matches.”

“Hello, Cutie,” a bikini-clad woman said to Daniel as she leaned in close to the archaeologist's left side, her right hand making its way all the way around his head, her fingers mingling in his short hair before heading downward.  “I need a man for the final round.  Come wrestle with me.  It's for charity.”

“Me?” the surprised scientist queried with a smile.  ~This will do it.~

Seeing the beauty with a bikini top that barely covered the most private part of her upper anatomy using her breasts as enticements on his lover, Jack shouted, “*Murray, time to go*.”  He stood up and beckoned, “Daniel.”

“I think maybe I'll stay.”

“No no no no no,” Jack refuted, reaching down and pulling his life partner's right arm to bring Daniel upward.  **Let's go, Daniel.**

“Sorry,” Daniel told the attractive and well-shaped woman.  **Remember, I didn't want to be here in the first place.**

Jack only groaned and, after catching up with Teal'c, the three headed for the truck.

“Uh, Jack?”

“What?”

“You can't drive.”

“I ...”  Jack nodded, realizing he'd enjoyed a few beers over the course of the evening.  “Here,” he said, tossing the keys to Daniel.

Catching the keys, Daniel admitted, “I can't drive, either.  We've both consumed too much.”

“Then how are we going to ...”  The colonel's expression changed to one of fear, not for their safety, but for that of his precious truck.  He cocked his head and moved it around in a circle.  “So, T, think you handle driving my truck?”

“DanielJackson taught me how to drive a bus.”

Jack stared at the warrior and, after five seconds ticked by, responded, “Yeah, sure, that's a 'yes'.”

Getting lots of advice and passenger-seat driving from Jack, Teal'c managed to get to Jack's house in one piece and without damage.  By the time they arrived, an airman from the base was waiting to take the Jaffa to the SGC, thanks to Jack phoning the Mountain as soon as the drive home began.

The lovers entered the house.  Jack headed for the stairs when he noticed he was alone.  He turned and saw the stare.

“Am I in trouble?”

“I'm thinking about it.”

Leaving the stairs, Jack approached the younger man and pleaded, “Come on, Angel.  We needed to cut loose for a bit.”

“Ogling; eye-popping; whistling; cheering; putting a ten-dollar bill inside a bikini top that had nothing to hold the bill in with: need I go on?”

“Daniel, I like women.  I've *always* liked women.  So do you, by the way, but that was just crazy fun, and you *know* I don't do that type of thing ... much.”

“You know, Jack, it's demeaning for the women.”

“They had fun, earned money for themselves, and brought in a healthy check for ALS.”

“So, being paid makes it okay for women, or men, to ... to ...”

“Okay, I'm not going to argue.  You're probably right.  Okay, you're right.”

“Jack, it's not about being right, and I guess I'm being a hypocrite because I went, knowing where we were going, and I ... had a little bit of fun, but there's a difference between friends doing this at a party and women, or men, doing it in a, a bar in the worst part of town.”

“Angel, I agree, but are you upset about the moral rights and wrongs of a Jell-O wrestling event that people voluntarily signed up for, or are you upset because you know full well that you were jealous?”

“Jealous?”

“Daniel, I knew you were watching me.”

“You ... did?”

“I felt those eyes in the back of my head the first time I whistled during the first match.”

“Oh gawd,” Daniel sighed.  “You were putting me on.”

“You know me better than to think I'd demean anyone, man or woman, in that way.  Look, I still think the event was legit.  I didn't see anything that made me feel like the folks who participated in the matches weren't happy to be there and before we picked you up, we verified the money was going where it was supposed to.  The guy behind this has been doing it for years.  He's earned a lot of money for charities, and some for himself.”

“Well, okay, I was jealous, but so were you.”

“You bet your sweet boonie I was.  That gal was rubbing her assets in your face.”  After a few seconds, Jack warned, “Daniel, get that smile off your face.”

“You're incorrigible,” Daniel laughed as he put his arms around his lover's neck.  “And I love it.”

“I love you.”

“I love you.”

“What are we going about this?”

“I, uh, have a few ... ideas.”

With happy grins, the soulmates adjourned to the upper level and reveled in the reminder that the only real love for both was the love they shared for each other.  It was a long night and worth every second of lost sleep.

====

The following day, another briefing was held to discuss the device on the planet.  Jack wasn't needed in the meeting and was busy playing ping pong with Teal'c.  As usual, he was losing and questioning why he ever taught the Jaffa how to play the game.  Teal'c, meanwhile, was curious as to why the colonel was yawning so much.

In the conference room, the opposing forces sat across from one another, with Daniel and Sam on one side and Reynolds and Colonel Frank Simmons, who was dressed in civilian attire, on the other.

“One week should be more than enough time to run the proper pre-test simulation,” Colonel Reynolds stated as he typed something into his laptop and then glanced over at Simmons.

“Sirs, if I may,” Sam began.  “I think we should wait.”

“You think we should wait?” Simmons responded.  “Major, you're the one who figured out how to use the naquadah reactor to power this device.”

“Because General Hammond ordered me to, and if you read my recommendations, you'll see I also said it's extremely dangerous.”

“Well, I did read your recommendation and the Pentagon feels that the risks are worth the reward.”

Reynolds interjected, “Going through the Stargate is extremely dangerous and you do that everyday.”

Raising his left hand with a finger extended, Daniel voiced, “I agree with Sam.  We don't know enough about what happened on that planet yet.”

“Need I remind you, Doctor Jackson, of the dangers that we're trying to defend Earth against.”

“Oh, could you?  I mean, go slow,” came the snarky response, one that Daniel knew would have made Jack proud, if he were present.

Sam stated, “General, I believe that using the device caused an atmospheric weather anomaly big enough to destroy the civilization on 636.”

There were looks of surprise from everyone in the room as conversation was momentarily silenced.

“You do?” Daniel finally questioned.  ~Where did that come from?~

“That wasn't in your report,” Simmons pointed out.

The general asked, “Do you have any evidence, Major?”

“Not exactly, but I think that we need to perform a proper forensic environmental analysis.”

“We're going to ... after the first test firing of the weapon, which is when we'll be able to gather the most accurate information,” Reynolds informed Sam.

“Not if you're dead,” Sam retorted.

“There is nothing to show ...”

Cutting off the newly assigned colonel, Hammond looked at Sam and advised, “Major, you have two weeks to bring in any relevant evidence.  If you can present a good reason to stop the test, I will.  Dismissed.”

Before Hammond got even a couple of feet away from the table, Simmons moved forward and spoke, “General, need I remind you that ultimately the decision rests with the Pentagon.”

Sternly, Hammond replied, “Colonel, there's a red phone in my office that only takes calls from one man.  The last time I checked, he's the boss of your boss, or do I need to remind you?”

Simmons was aware that he'd just been swatted like a fly.  He looked over at Daniel and Sam, who were still in the room since they didn't have a chance to pick up their notes and leave before the brief exchange began.

The two scientists said nothing, but only smirked as they left the room.

“That was cool,” Sam remarked.

“Yeah, it was,” Daniel agreed.

“Hey, I found that part for the bike I was looking for at a junkyard,” the major told the archaeologist.

“Great.”

“Um, with the general's orders, though, I may not be able to work on it for a while.”

“That's okay, Sam.  Like I said, no rush.  In fact, I might want you to keep the bike for a while.”

“That's not a problem, but why?”

“I'm thinking it might make for a good present, not my bike, of course, but telling Jack about it so he can go out and get his dream bike.”

“That's cool, too,” a smiling Sam replied.

“Yeah, I think so, too,” Daniel mused as the two scientists kept walking.

====

Jack yawned as he mixed the eggs.  He was going to make an omelet for breakfast.  It was early, 7:05 a.m. in Colorado Springs.  Daniel was still asleep.  By nature, he preferred to sleep in whereas Jack tended to be an early riser whether or not he needed to be up.  Today was Tuesday and SG-1 had a noon start time.  Just when his mixture was about right, the phone rang.

“You've got to be kidding me.”  Dressed in his gray sweats, the ones that drove his lover lust crazy, Jack sprinted to the phone.  “O'Neill.”

“Jack.”

“General?  Lose your house keys?”

“Turn on your TV, Colonel.  Then you and Doctor Jackson get here as soon as you can.”

The next thing Jack heard was a dial tone.  He stared at the phone and with great uncertainty went put it back and down and walked to the TV.  He turned it on and stared incredulously at what he saw.

After a couple of minutes, Jack ran up the stairs, but then he remembered the stove was on, so he hurried back to the kitchen to turn it off.  He sprinted upstairs and entered the master bedroom.

Daniel was lying on his abdomen, his face half buried in his pillow.  His two hands were sprawled out somewhat and were level with his head, as if being arrested.

Jack shook his soulmate and called out, “Daniel!  Danny, wake up.  *Daniel*!”

“Wha...macha...cof...sleeping.”

“Daniel, America is under attack.  You have to get up and get dressed.  We have to get to the Mountain right away.”

Daniel's eyelids fluttered opened as he spoke, “What, what did you say?”

“Planes have been hijacked and one just rammed itself into 1 World Trade Center.”

“Gawd,” Daniel expressed in total disbelief as he crawled out of bed.  He sat on the side of the bed for a second.  “How could this happen?”

As he was dressing, Jack answered, “We're going to find out.”  He felt his lover's pain and took a moment to walk over and pull Daniel up and into his arms.  “Angel, this is going to be a hard day.  I wish I could say it was a science fiction film, but it's not.”  He pulled back, putting his arms on Daniel's shoulders.  “Danny, we gotta get going.”

“Yeah.  I'm okay.”

“Danny,” Jack called out and waited until the other man's eyes hit his.  “I love you, so much.”

After Jack kissed him, Daniel responded with a great deal of emotion in his weakened voice, “I love you, Jack.”

Life changed for America, and the world, on that fateful day, September 11, 2001. Missions at Stargate Command were canceled or postponed as personnel took on other assignments.  It was a dark time, an emotional time, that couldn't be fixed, but rather, had to be endured until strength could rise again.

After a few days, the order came to resume normal operations.  It was difficult and troubling, but life needed to move forward.  There was a more solemn tone to everything during the aftermath of the deadly terrorist attack on the United States, but life had to go on, and it did.

Sam doubled her efforts to get Hammond proof about the extremely dangerous device on the planet.  The days taken away from the project were costly, so she felt pressed to work even harder.  She was having a hard time sleeping these days anyway, as were her teammates and hundreds, if not thousands in the world.

Jack and Daniel carried on with their duties and, like Sam, their sleep hours reduced involuntarily.  Worse, the archaeologist was having nightmares.  The sadness and needless deaths of hundreds tore through his heart and stirred up the worst in his past.  All Jack could do was hold him when he woke and try to get through the nights in the hope that the days would show some relief for the millions of grieving Americans.  The problem with that was that Jack was gone for a few days immediately after the terrorist actions.  Daniel's nightmares were even more horrific on those days as his fears for his lover's safety heightened his emotions.  He often screamed himself awake, shaking, sweating, and sometimes crying.

The days were long and sad as the world, and especially America, struggled to find normalcy again.

The struggle would continue and the new goal was to overcome the struggle and find life again.

====

Seven days after the crisis, the SGC was operating on its regular schedule.  All temporarily assigned personnel were back and working with their teams.  The Stargate was open and, as Reynolds stated in the briefing, teams were going through every day.

On this Tuesday, SG-1 again had a later shift.  A restless Daniel finished what he could of his duties and left the base earlier.  Teal'c was helping two members of SG-5 with their hand-to-hand combat skills, while Sam was, of course, in her lab, working on finding Hammond's proof.

Jack was hoping to finish his performance appraisal reports so he could go home to Daniel, who was still shaken by the murderous attack on the nation.  However, he was called to Hammond's office where he found Simmons waiting and practically gloating.  After being filled in on the latest and though not happy with the course of events, he was forced to go along with his superiors.  The next move was to call the major to the general's office.

~I should have gone home early with Daniel.~

When Sam opened Hammond's door, she realized something bad was happening.  The general was standing behind his desk, Simmons was smirking as he stood by the window with his arms crossed, and Jack was standing beside the desk in a pose she recognized as being representative of him wishing he wasn't there.

With the door closed and his 2IC having walked forward, Jack announced, “They're testing the weapon.”

Hammond explained, “I received an order directly from the President.  Colonel Reynolds and SG-16 are on P4X-636 setting up the naquadah reactor as we speak.”

Sam argued, “But, Sir, you said I would have two weeks, it's only been ....”

“Nine days, Major, and I dare say you haven't spent a single minute of it working on atmospheric weather anomalies,” Simmons stated.

“What's that supposed to mean?” the major questioned.

“Would you like to explain these deliveries?” Simmons inquired as he leaned to his right to pick up a folder and opened it.

“What deliveries?”

Reading from a paper, Simmons answered, “One-hundred pounds of raw titanium, two-hundred feet of fibre optic cable, seven one-hundred-thousand watt industrial strength capacitors; the list goes on, all ordered online from your home computer.”

~What have you been doing, Carter?~ Jack wondered.  ~And when the heck did you find time to do it?~

Sam took the paper Simmons handed her and responded, “I have no idea what you're talking about.  I've been here on the base everyday.”

“Oh, well, then maybe you'd like to explain who's been excepting these deliveries,” Simmons challenged as he presented Sam with photos of her and an unidentified male.

Shocked and angry, Sam looked at her CO and accused, “You have been watching me.”

Hammond quickly interjected, “Not us, the Pentagon.  I'm sorry, Major.  I've expressed my anger and disappointment to the President regarding the investigation of one of my officers without my knowledge.”

“We have tapes of your conversation with the alien,” Simmons told Sam.

“At least we know there is one ... now for sure,” Jack sighed.  ~I get the secrecy, but something ... odd is going on with ... the alien.~

“Would you like to tell us what's going on, Major?” Simmons asked.

Jack responded, “She doesn't have to tell you squat.  Major Carter was working with the approval of her superior officer.  She told me he was there.  I authorized her to collect as much information as possible.”  Silently, he admitted, ~Not that I believed her, but her assumption about gathering Intel before pushing the alien theory again was correct.  I'm not letting her go down ... alone.~

Simmons stated, “I'm not here to lay blame, Colonel.  I'm here as a courtesy.”  He looked at Sam and advised, “As we speak a team of Special Forces are surrounding your house and, on my command, they're going to go in and take that alien into custody.”

“Sir?” Sam questioned the general, wanting permission to go to her home.

“Major, we'll be having a discussion about all of this very soon, but for now, you and Colonel O'Neill are dismissed and free to go with Colonel Simmons.  Good luck.”

“We'll need a driver and a car,” Simmons responded.

“Come with me,” Jack stated.  “Carter.”

Reaching for his phone, Hammond called out to the exiting trio, “I'll have a car waiting.”

====

Near Sam's home, SF's were all around the area, as if the alien were a murderer on the loose.  At least seven were in position in the front yard of her property, weapons aimed at the front door and windows.  Several more were in the backyard and across the street.  In addition, there were a few vehicles with red and blue lights flashing along the street.

~We're gonna need one heck of a cover story for this one,~ Jack thought as he took in the surroundings.  ~I wouldn't want to be Carter tomorrow when she'll have to explain this away to her neighbors.~

Though Jack still didn't know the whole story from Sam, it was obvious she trusted this alien, so he convinced Simmons to allow her to go inside and attempt to convince him to surrender.

Given a radio, Sam entered her home and sought out the alien while Jack and the others remained outside; that is, until she failed to respond to Simmons over the radio less than two minutes later.  Simmons looked to Jack, who then tried to get Sam to respond, but when she didn't, Simmons gave the order to enter the home.

~Crap!~  Hearing the order, Jack immediately warned over the radio, “We're coming in,” and moved forward.

The SFs entered the house, the door already being opened, and began their search for Sam and the alien.  Jack hurried in, using his flashlight to see as he searched.  Hearing a very loud noise, they went to the basement.  An SF kicked in the door and he and three others entered.  Jack followed and saw a circular object that surprised him.

“What the heck.”  Using his flashlight, he surveyed the device.  ~Okay, it's a Stargate; looks kinda like one anyway.  What is going on?~

Jack turned and walked upstairs and out of the house where the other colonel was still across the street.

Seeing Jack, Simmons moved forward to meet up with him and inquired, “Where's Major Carter?”

“Heck if I know.”  Jack sighed.  “Make sure they clean up their mess.  They kicked in the basement door.  I expect a new one to be installed and the place completely secured before everyone leaves.”

“Colonel, you can't order me around.”

“I just did, and if you don't like it, take it up with my boss, and he can take it up with his boss, who's higher up the chain than your boss.  In fact, he's the one who pulls the chain.  Oh, find your own way home.  I'm out of here.”

Jack returned to military vehicle in which he, Sam, and Simmons arrived and ordered the driver to take him back to the base.  He was one very confused colonel.  He really had no idea where Sam was or what was happening.  Worse, his hunch was that Sam didn't go anywhere unwillingly which meant she'd technically disobeyed a direct order to report in when Simmons, and he for that matter, requested it.

“Airman.”

“Sir?”

“I know I don't need to say this, but anything you hear, you haven't heard.  Understood?”

“Understand what, Colonel?  I'm just hearing the sound of the engine.”

“Good.”  Jack pulled out his phone and pressed the appropriate button.  He hated to do it, but he knew his lover would want to know what was happening.  When the archaeologist answered, Jack gave a brief update, trying not to say more than he wanted to in the vehicle.  Sure, the airman had clearance, but it was more the personal aspect Jack was concerned about.  “Daniel, that's all I know.  I haven't a friggin' clue where she is, but ...”

“What?”

“I have a sinking feeling the alien built himself a mini-Gate.”

“What?”

“It reminded me of a Stargate; geez, Daniel, I know it's a Stargate and I'd bet my salary this month that she and that alien went through.”

“Then they'd be on P4X-636.  Jack, I'm going back to the Mountain.”

“I figured you would.  I'll see you there.”

====

An hour later, Daniel walked into the infirmary and immediately saw his teammate sitting quietly at the side of one of the beds.

“Sam.”

“I guess I should tell you what's been going on.”

“General Hammond wants to start the debriefing as soon as possible.  Simmons keeps threatening ... all kinds of things.”

“I'll tell them.”

“Are you okay?”

“Sure, I'm fine,” Sam answered as she scooted off the bed.  “I've already been cleared.  I just ... didn't move.”  She started to pass by the archaeologist, only then she felt his hand on her forearm.  Turning her head to face Daniel, she smiled, though it wasn't an expression of joy.  “His name was Orlin and I liked him.  I liked him a lot, Daniel.”  She sniffled and asked, “Why is it I can cry in front of you when I don't even let myself cry when I'm alone?”

Not having an answer, Daniel simply remained in place and then he felt Sam's head against his shoulder.  It was a rare thing, something he still wasn't comfortable with, but she was his friend and he strongly desired to be there for her.

Sam pulled back and chastised herself, saying, “I have to stop this.”

“No, Sam, you don't.  I don't know what you've been dealing with, but right now, people need to express their emotions.  I'm here, whenever you need me.”

“Thanks, Daniel.  I, uh, I'm going to try to get my head together for a few minutes and then I'll ... I'll see you in the briefing room.”

“Okay.”

Offering one more sad smile, the blonde finally walked away, leaving Daniel alone to organize his own thoughts.  He wondered if he'd missed something, if he should have done more to be around for Sam over the last week.  He couldn't think about that much right now.  It was too soon to evaluate the rights and wrongs of anything since the eleventh of September.

====

The briefing was long and sometimes heated, mostly when Simmons verbally attacked Sam for not coming forward sooner.  Jack staunchly defended his team member, putting forth that Sam did report the alien, but was not believed.  He put the blame on himself for not supporting her more strongly.

Parts of the sometimes emotional debriefing were intriguing and of interest especially to Daniel.  Apparently, the alien, Orlin, was part of a group known as the Others, ascended beings who moved forward to another plane of existence and tended to exist as forms of energy.  SG-1 came into contact with one of them, Oma Desala, a year or so ago on Kheb when Daniel was looking for the child born to Sha're while she was taken as a host and in forced marriage to Apophis.

The Others forbade any of their group to accelerate the natural process for ascension of any being.  Orlin violated the rule three- or four-hundred years ago when the Goa'uld were headed to the planet that was called Velona.  He was the one who provided the inhabitants with the technology to build the weapon that allowed them to defeat the threat.  After their victory, the people wanted to use the weapon to conquer other worlds.

The Others found out, destroyed the world, and banished Orlin to live in the ruins alone.  When SG-1 showed up, Orlin was immediately attracted to Sam.  He actually claimed to be in love with her almost instantly.  He returned with SG-1 through the Stargate and eventually became corporeal in a quest to be with Sam.

In spite of her awareness that there couldn't be any type of true relationship between herself and Orlin, Sam admitted she grew to like and care about him.  While on Earth, he shared himself with her while still an ascended being, a process that allowed her to recognize the truth of who he was and why he was on Velona.  He referred to it as “an exchange of spirit.”  In fact, he'd attempted to share himself with Sam on Velona and that was why she passed out.  It had nothing to do with her being weary or overworked.

Orlin believed he'd destroyed the weapon by removing the power core, but when Sam was able to replace it, he began to worry.  For one thing, he feared humans would try to misuse the weapon as the Velonans had.  For another, he felt it was a real possibility that the Others would intervene again and destroy Earth.

Sam elaborated during the debriefing, “When I went into the house tonight, Orlin had built a Stargate, good for a single use.  He said he had to stop the test.”  She looked over at General Hammond and expounded, “He didn't want to be responsible for the demise of another civilization, Sir.  He had to stop SG-16 from conducting the test.  The Others would have come and destroyed us and if for some reason they didn't, he couldn't risk us misusing the weapon.”  She glanced at Simmons while adding, “I admitted to him that not all humans could be trusted.”

“Major, you followed this Orlin through his ... homemade Stargate?” Hammond queried for the record.

“Yes, Sir, I did.”

“Why?”

“I don't know, Sir.  I ... I wanted to help him, and I wanted to stop the test.  I had to make an on-the-spot decision and I'd make the same choice if I had to do it again ... Sir.”

Hammond looked at Reynolds, who seemed a bit shaken himself, and asked, “Colonel, what happened when the alien arrived on 6...Velona?”

“We were working on the startup and he stormed in and attacked one of my men. I drew my weapon and ordered him not to move.  That's when Major Carter ran in and yelled for me not to shoot.  She didn't want us to do the test, but I had my orders, from you, General.  She wanted us to contact you, but we'd gone too far by then.”

“Colonel Reynolds correctly pointed out that if the energy buildup was stopped, the weapon could explode.  That's what Orlin wanted, to destroy the weapon.”  Sam gulped and looked away, fighting off her emotions.  “He, uh, Orlin, Sir, dove for the colonel and he, Colonel Reynolds, shot him.”

“He was attacking me, Sir,” Reynolds reiterated.

“Orlin was dying, General, but the Others gave him another chance.  That's what he said before he ... before his body went away.  This ... light, a stream of light that Orlin became took the reactor over the planet and that's where it exploded.  Orlin saved SG-16, Earth, and me.”

Hammond looked at Sam and saw a rare glimpse of raw emotion that touched him and most of the others in the room.  He looked over at Simmons, not surprised to observe only disgust and disapproval in his expression without the least bit of compassion.

“Colonel Reynolds, I want a full report on everything that happened while Sixteen was on Velona.  I want all the i's dotted and the t's crossed; and I want it by end of duty tomorrow.  Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Major Carter, I'm aware this has been a difficult time for you.  I regret that you had to go through this.  That said, we will meet in my office tomorrow at 1000 hours to discuss your actions further.  There may be disciplinary action taken.”

“I understand, General.”

“That's it, people.  Go home.  Get some rest.  Dismissed,” Hammond announced, getting up and quickly going to his office.

“You can bet on that discipline, Major,” Simmons stated before he walked out, eager to return to Washington, D.C.

“Carter,” Jack began.  “Nothing's going to happen.  Hammond huffed and puffed for Simmons' benefit.  Ya gotta know that.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

“No reason to thank me.”

“I disagree.  You stood up for me.  I wasn't really following your orders, Colonel.”

“Yes, you were.”  Jack paused and then said, “And you'll follow my orders now and go home and you *will* sleep.”

“I'll try.”

“It's over, Carter.  We have to move on, in everything,” the colonel advised as referred to a broad spectrum of things.  **Danny, I'm going to talk to Hammond.  I'll see you at home.**

“I'll walk with you,” Daniel offered as he spoke to the major.

“You don't have to.”

“I know, but I want to, Sam.”

With a nod, the science twins walked in silence to the elevator and then remained quiet as they made their way towards the locker room.  While Daniel was in casual attire, Sam still had on her blue BDUs.  Reaching the door, the two stopped.

“Are you going to be okay?” Daniel asked.  ~Dumb question.~

“I will.  You know, he became mortal for me.  That's ... a lot to take in.”

“He saw your heart.”

“You know what's so silly?”  Sam waited, seeing Daniel's slight shaking of his head.  “When I walked in my house, I called out to him.  He was in the basement and when I got down there, he was doing something to the fuse box.  I didn't even watch to see what he was doing.  Anyway, when he was finished, he took my hand and led me to my mechanical workroom.  The thing is, for the silliest, tiniest of moments, I felt like a schoolgirl whose first crush was holding my hand for the first time.  Isn't that crazy?”

“It's not crazy, Sam.  He cared about you.”

“Why do the wrong guys keep falling for me?”

“Wrong?”

“Is it me, Daniel?  Is ... Am I not able to love them ... enough?”

“Sam, one day, you'll find the right person.”

“Maybe I already have; maybe ... maybe I've already lost him: Jonas, Narim, Martoof ... Orlin.”  Sam released a nervous, shy, and apprehensive smile as she echoed, “Orlin.”

“I don't want to give you a pat answer, one of those generic 'it will be okay' lines, but ...”

“Hang in there; Mister Right will show up one day?”

“Something like that.”

Softly, Sam spoke, “Goodnight, Daniel.  Thanks for walking with me.”

The archaeologist nodded and watched his friend go inside to change.  He stood for a moment, his hands in his pockets and his mind wandering.  Then he went home.

====

“Danny?” Jack called out as he sought out his soulmate.  It didn't take him long to find Daniel, who was outside, sitting Indian-style on the grass in the middle of the backyard.  “Hey,” he greeted quietly as he sat down next to his Love.  “You okay?”

“Jack, I'm going with SG-11 tomorrow.”

“They don't need you on that mission.”

“No, but I need to go.”

“What's going on?” the colonel asked as he reached out and took hold of his Heart's hand.

“The world is crazy.  I, I just need to get away from it, for a minute, you know?”

“I don't want you to go.”

“Jack ...”

“But I understand.”

“You do?” Daniel asked as his eyes looked into his lover's eyes for the truth.

“I do, Angel.”

“Will you be okay?”

“Of course not,” Jack answered with a smile.  “I'm never okay when you're gone, but I understand this ... this need to process the attack in your own way.  Danny, we're all grieving and we're all doing our best to make a new day, but it's not happening over night.  It's going to take a long time, years maybe, for us, the country, to recover, but we will do it because we have to, and America always comes through when we don't have a choice.”

“Politics goes away for a while, but you're right, Jack.  Everything will come back and someday, it will be a horrible nightmare that changed us, but didn't defeat us.”

“No one ever thought it would happen on our soil.”

“We see it all the time, though, out there.  It's never easy, but I guess that's thing.  It happened here.  We'll never forget that.”

The lovers kissed and then held each other as they sat under the stars.  The silence was satisfying and allowed them to settle and listen to each other's hearts.

“Oh, Jack, what about General Hammond?”

“I was right; it was for show, to get Simmons off his back.  He's okay with how it played out, given our reactions to Carter's original report.”  Jack let out an unhappy sound that came from his throat rippling with suspicion.  “You know something else?”

“No, but you're going to tell me.”

Managing a brief chuckle first, Jack stated, “I'm going to get to the bottom of what happened on Velona.”

“We know what happened.”

“Daniel, Reynolds is a scientist, and don't take that wrong.  As far as I know, he was extremely capable of organizing things and maybe even evaluating them inside the very secure Area 51.”

“But?”

“His first time out as a team commander; heck, his first mission, a prolonged one, but still technically his first, and he shoots someone.  I heard rumbles before I left SGC.”

“Rumors are only rumors, Jack.”

“Yeah, I know, but it's my job to sort out the hidden truths from those rumors and some of those spouting off did so strongly.”

“You obviously think Colonel Reynolds did something wrong.”

“I don't know, but I think he was scared, nervous, and may have overreacted, based on what I heard earlier.”

“But it could just be rumor.”

“It could, or he could be in over his head.”  Jack let out a breath as he determined, “I have to check it out and talk to him about it.”

“Not General Hammond?”

“It depends on what I find out happened and how he handles it when I speak with him, but Hammond, I think, already has an idea.”

“What makes you say that?”

“The way he gave the order to Reynolds for his report, and the fast deadline.  I think he wants to see if Reynolds has the guts, and confidence, to admit to his weaknesses.”

“So, you're not saying he can't do the job?”

“No, but I am saying that maybe he should have been assigned to a team first before being given an assignment as a team leader.”

“It was supposed to be a science mission.  No one suspected that what happened would happen.”

“That's the point.  We never know, so everyone needs to be prepared, and that includes the science teams, like SG-11.”  Jack paused and confided, “Look, Danny, I knew about the transfer, but I didn't know he was taking the lead right away.  I'm still not sure if that was Hammond or the Pentagon, but it doesn't matter.  We'll learn from this.  Even if Reynolds was justified in his actions, it's a bad move to give a team to someone whose never been off-world before.  We'll fix that from now on, if I have my way, anyway.”  

Daniel nodded as the quiet settled in for a couple of minutes.

“Oh, hey, Danny?” Jack chimed, ending the silence.

“What?”

“How's Sam?”

Daniel actually chuckled.  It may have been the first time in a week he felt a lightness of any kind.  It was small, but it was there.

“She'll be okay, in time.”

“And so will we,” Jack promised as he drew his Love close.  “I love you, Angel.”

“I love you, too, Jack, so much.”

It wasn't the best of times in Colorado Springs, or in the United States, but Jack and Daniel knew it would get better.  Yes, the world was changed forever, but there was strength in unity and the country was united.  Of more importance on a personal level, they were united, together, strong, and forever.  Though they were about to spend a few days apart so Daniel could renew his spirit with the second love of his life, archaeology, soon he'd be back, back with his first love, his Jack, and together, they'd march forward, loving and being loved.  For the soulmates, love was what it was all about.

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

Feedback Welcome - click here to email the author


AmazingCounters.com