The Truth About Heroes: Janet's Song

Author: Orrymain
Author Email:  marciastudley1@comcast.net  (Feedback welcome)
Author Website:  http://orrymain.com
Category:  Slash, Angst, Drama, Missing Epilogue, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  7 - April 19-24, 2004
Spoilers:  The Broca Divide, Hathor, Threshold, Rite of Passage, The Curse, Fragile Balance, Heroes 1 & 2, Resurrection
Size:  52kb
Written:  February 10-11,13,17, 2004  Revised for consistency:  March 2-3,17, 2007  Revised: February 13-15,28, 2011
Summary:  Stargate Command mourns the loss of their dear friend and colleague, Janet Fraiser, and then they get the shock of their lives.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my other fic(s):  “Remote Control” and “On My Own”
2) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Claudia, Drdjlover, Linda!

The Truth About Heroes: Janet's Song
by Orrymain

Colonel Jack O'Neill felt the wind blow against his face in an east northeasterly direction.  It didn't feel cold, though.  Nothing could really feel cold in these wee hours of the morning, not on this morning anyway.  More gently than normal, he climbed the ladder to the small roof deck that was a place of safety and security, not physically, but mentally and spiritually.  That's why he had no doubt that he'd find his life partner, lover, husband, and soulmate there.  There was no place else the archaeologist would be, other than ensconced in Jack's arms.

Sure enough, Doctor Daniel Jackson was standing at the railing, his hands clinching the wood guard as he looked out blankly into the clear dark sky.  It was colder out this early morning, the temperature reading about forty-three degrees.  Still, it wasn't that bad.  They were used to these weather.  Of course, that was if a person was dressed properly which, naturally, Daniel was not.

“Danny, it's cold up here, not to mention it's the middle of the night.  You don't even have your robe on,” Jack complained as he walked up behind his husband, sliding his hands around Daniel's waist.

Dressed only in his light blue pajamas, Daniel moved his hands down and placed them on his soulmate's.  He loved the feel of Jack's strong hands.  They made him shiver just from the memory of how those hands had pleasured him over the years.  At the same time, he leaned back to rest his head gently against Jack's firm and supportive left shoulder.  He loved doing that.  Doing so now, the archaeologist had never felt more secure or safe.  His husband would never let him fall, not ever.

“Talk to me, Love,” Jack encouraged quietly.  ~Get it out.~

Daniel's emotions swelled inside him as he recalled how close he had come to losing this precious man he loved so very much.  Twenty-four hours ago, everything had been normal; now the world was dramatically different.

“I thought you were dead, Jack.  Sam was yelling over the radio for medical attention for you, and at the same time, Janet ... Janet was ...”

The memories of what he'd seen were consuming the younger man, his mind tortured by the results of an alien battle.

Jack swallowed hard as he squeezed his lover to him and calmed, “I know, Danny, but I'm okay now.  I'm here, right here.”

Daniel sighed.  He closed his eyes as his fingers mingled with Jack's, small, tender rubs and caresses attempting to soothe him until they interlinked their fingers securely.  He was soaking up the moment.  It had been too close where his soulmate was concerned, and the loss of Doctor Janet Fraiser was something he still hadn't been able to process.

Jack leaned his chin on Daniel's shoulder and tilted his head to meet his lover's.  He, too, closed his eyes, taking in the scent of his true love, knowing that he had been very lucky to have been wearing a specially lined vest that had been able to ward off the brunt of the explosion that had rippled his chest and abdomen.  It was the first time he had worn the new material.

~I almost said no; didn't think it was ready for field testing,~ Jack silently lamented about the new vest, but the truth was that it had paid off big time.  He was still sore and knew he would be for a couple of days.  Though he could probably do light duty at the Mountain, he'd chosen to take a few days off, even though his team would still be going to work.  ~Danny and I can play phone chess.~

Jack placed a kiss atop Daniel's shoulder and gently squeezed the younger man to him.  It was as if he couldn't hold his husband close enough.

“I wish Janet was still here, too,” Daniel practically whispered.  “She was just gone, Jack.  One minute she's trying to take care of Wells and the next ... gawd, she just flew across the ground from the impact of the shot.  She never even opened her eyes.”

“War is hell,” Jack stated, angry that it had taken a good woman from their lives.  He kissed Daniel's nape and again squeezed him tight.  “We won't forget her.”

“How could we?  She's ... she was family.”  After a pause, Daniel asked, “Jack, how's Sam?  I haven't had much of a chance to talk with her since everything happened.”

“You know Carter.  She's tough.”

“She's had a difficult year, though.”

“Yeah, but Shanahan's in the picture now,” Jack reminded.  ~About time she got a life.~

Swallowing from his emotions, the younger man pointed out, “He's in Denver.”

“Nah.  When I saw her before leaving the infirmary, she told me he was taking a couple of days off so he could be with her.”

“I'm glad.  He's ... good for her.  They make a good couple.”

“We always knew they would,” Jack replied with a mischievous smile.

“Maybe someday we should tell her about that,” Daniel suggested.

“Maybe,” Jack agreed.  “It sure makes for one of those funny coincidences.”

“Or not,” Daniel smiled.

“She was really shook up, Danny.  I ... I held her.  I thought she was gonna have a ...”

“Jack, don't even say it.  Just because Sam cried doesn't mean ...”

“I know, Angel, but I'm not used to Carter not having her act together.  First, it's that Super Soldier crap and ...”

“And now it's her best friend?” Daniel challenged.  “Babe, you still want to think of Sam as just a soldier, but she is a ...”

“Woman?” Jack interjected.

“Gawd, stop sounding so male chauvinist, Jack.  I cry.  I cry a lot, and ...”

“I know, Danny.  I cry, too.”

“So, why can't Sam?  Why can't she survive a fight for her life, all alone, and need a shoulder to rest on for a minute?  Why can't she lose her best friend and need to be held, just for a minute?  I need to be held.”

“You're right.”

“You already knew that,” Daniel put forth.

“I did?”

With a knowing but sad smile, Daniel explained, “That's why you gave her that shoulder on the alpha site, and it's why you held her today.  She's our friend, and you love her.”

~Too much emotion for one day,~ Jack groaned inwardly, unable and unwilling to truly dwell on how much all the members of his team meant to him.

“You don't even have to say it, Jack.  I can hear you thinking it,” Daniel declared.

“Thinking what?”

“More like not wanting to think.  SG-1 has always meant more than they should to  you.  You've told me that a thousand times.”

“Dang zatarc device,” Jack sighed about the Tok'ra machine that could sense when lies or deception were being thought.  “A military team is close; we know how one another think.  We can hear their breaths.  It's all about precision, but ...”

“But it's not supposed to become emotional.  It's all 'rah rah' and 'let's have a beer to toast our success'.”

“Being too close is dangerous,” Jack affirmed.  “I broke the rules.”

“Not the first time,” Daniel snarked.

“Careful there, geek.”  Silence loomed for several seconds before the colonel continued, “Carter's my second.  I have to keep her distant, Danny, for her own protection.”

“But she's your friend, too.”

“Crap,” Jack expressed with a huge sigh at the same time.  “Danny, I can't think about this stuff, not when we're still on the front lines.”

Daniel broke the couple's embrace and turned around to face his Heart.  He put his hands at the back of Jack's neck and gently caressed the skin, just below the hairline.

“I don't want you to be at risk, Babe.  I know you have to think a certain way when we're out there.  I ... I get that.”

“But?”

“But ... at the same time, I know that you know the truth.  We've been through too much, including that ... wedding of ours.  You know, the one Sam worked so hard to help make a success.  That's 'Sam', not 'Carter'.”

“Oh, for crying out loud, Daniel.  I let her cry all over my shoulder ... *twice* already.”

“You just don't want to say the words, do you, Babe?”

“Not tonight,” Jack replied solemnly.  “We lost the Doc, Danny.  That's about all I can handle right now.”

“Yeah,” Daniel acknowledged, his head dropping, as did his hands, stopping now to tug against Jack's robe where it was cinched together.

“Danny, let's go to bed.”

“I'm glad you're taking a few days off,” the younger man spoke, his head still bowed in reflection of the past day.

“I guess ...” the older man trailed off, not wanting to think about the myriad of emotions flowing through him.  ~The Doc was a good friend, too.~

“I know.”

In loving and compassionate silence, the two men left their roof deck for the warmth of their bedroom.

====

A few days later, in fact it was the day after Janet's memorial service, SG-1, sans Jack, had been called away to deal with a situation in Los Angeles.  All tolled, the three were gone for about twenty-hours, meaning it was mid-morning of the following day when Daniel had turned in his report to General Hammond and then returned home, having been given the rest of the day off.

It didn't take long for Daniel to snuggle up against his soulmate, letting the drama of the prior day seep out.  They were seated on the sofa with Jack wearing an old dark gray shirt and baggy jeans while Daniel was still wearing his same outfit from the day before, a gray plaid shirt and brownish tan pants.

“Sounds very Hannibal Lecterish,” Jack opined at the end of the report.

In reality, Jack knew some of what his lover was telling him as the two had conversed frequently during the previous day's crisis.  The contact had almost catapulted the colonel into getting onto the first plane out of Colorado, but Daniel had managed to convince him to stay home and let SG-1 deal with the dire situation in Southern California.

“Creepy,” Daniel confirmed as he told his husband about the man who was chiefly responsible for the creation of a young woman who was a human and Goa'uld hybrid.

“Not my kind of hybrid,” the older man noted.

“He used that remote, Jack, like a remote control on a television, playing with her life as if he were changing channels.  Gawd!”

“Are you okay?” Jack questioned.  ~I heard it in your voice yesterday, Love.  You were calm on the outside, but inside ...~

“Yes.  No.  The usual,” Daniel admitted as he sighed.  “I think we all should have taken a few days off.  I mean, it was a crisis, and we handled it like always.  Maybe it was too easy.”

“Easy?  Daniel, you had to deal with a friggin' lunatic who murdered to get his jollies.  That bomb could have taken out half of Los Angeles, although ...”

“Jack!” the younger man chastised, rolling his eyes as he leaned his head back.

“You all did what you had to do.  It's what we've always done.  No matter what ...”

“We go on.”

“It's all we can do,” Jack maintained.  “How's Carter?”

“Doing exactly what you just said, Jack.  She's trying to pretend it's just another day.  Cassie being here this week has helped a lot.”

Jack nodded, understanding that the bond between Sam and Cassandra Fraiser was as strong as that of a mother and daughter.

“I'm glad you stayed home,” Daniel sighed, referring to Jack's threat to join him in Los Angeles.

“I guess I burned up the tower signals calling you.”

“I didn't mind.”

“You up for this tonight?” Jack asked, referring to their plans for the evening.

“Yeah,” Daniel said.  “I'm going to take a shower and change; then we can go shopping or ... whatever we need to do.”  He stood and headed for the stairs, stopping, though, when he saw a package.  Atop it was a jacket for a videotape that had the words 'WATCH THIS -- HAMMOND' written on it.  “Jack, what's this?”

Jack let out a tiny groan as he turned on the TV and VCR.  He rewound the tape for a minute and then hit the 'play' button.  The videotape was the rough version of the documentary, currently called Project X, that Emmett Bregman had been asked to do by the President of the United States in order to chronicle the history of the Stargate Program, should it ever become public.  None of the members of SG-1 had been keen on participating, but it was Jack who had been the most resistant, giving only nonsensical responses, mostly geared towards his love of actress Mary Steenburgen, to the queries given him.

“An airman delivered it this morning,” Jack explained just as the tape began to play.

When the video concluded, Daniel turned to look at his life partner and said, “You know what he wants.”

“Yeah.”

“So ...”

“I already called Hammond; told him to set something up for tomorrow morning,” Jack said.

“Tomorrow?  I, uh, thought you weren't going in until Monday?” Daniel questioned.

Jack sighed, “I'm cleared for duty, and ...”

“*Light* duty,” Daniel corrected.

“Danny, I want to get back out there.  The Doc will ...” Jack stopped, realizing his faux pas.  “We'll make it a light mission, some doohickey thing for Carter, maybe.”

“Okay,” the younger man agreed.

After a moment, Jack looked at the still photo on the screen and commented, “Bregman did okay.”

“Yeah,” Daniel agreed emotionally, staring at the paused image of the American flag.  It had been placed on the screen as background while Sam's eulogy for Janet from the memorial in the gate room was heard.  “I'm gonna ...” he motioned toward the stairs and then slowly disappeared from his lover's sight.

Jack turned off the media and walked over to the patio door.  He smiled as he caught sight of Bijou and Katie playing near their doghouse.  It was a brief reprieve from the reality of the week, the week during which a dear friend had died.

====

“Danny, I can't find the salsa,” Jack called out that evening.

“Look behind your beer!”

“Oh, there it is,” Jack observed with a smile, though it wasn't a bright smile.

It was Friday night.  For years, it had been a ritual evening for Jack and Daniel to spend time together.  Sometimes, it had been an SG-1 ritual, when the team got together to commiserate a mission or just have some fun.  Tonight, it was a gathering of friends to remember their beloved friend, Janet.

The memorial earlier in the week had been difficult and too full of people and military protocol to allow for proper grieving.  It hadn't been enough, and so now, this close circle of friends had decided to spend an evening together, to laugh, cry, and say goodbye as only they could.

One by one, the group assembled.  Cassandra arrived first, needing all the hugs she could get from her two favorite uncles; then General Hammond walked in, shaking Jack's and Daniel's hands and hugging Janet's daughter, who no longer was that little twelve-year old girl they had rescued from Hanka, but was now a beautiful young woman in her first year of college.

Sam and Teal'c were next to arrive, coming together, Sam needing and wanting the strong and comforting presence of a good friend.  Within a few minutes, Lou and Carolyn Ferretti entered, followed quickly by a handful of doctors and nurses Janet had been close to at the SGC and the hospital.

Jack and Daniel were the hosts for the get-together, along with Bijou and Katie, of course.  The two beagles quickly became the hit of the night as they went from guest to guest for personalized rubdowns.  Actually, as much as they enjoyed the massages, the girls were also providing comfort for the guests.  There was something that reached into the soul about sharing grief with man's best friend.

“I thought Pete was in town?” Daniel asked Sam as they, along with Teal'c, stood by the fireplace.

“He was for a few days, but he had to go back to Denver,” Sam explained.

“I'm sorry.  I hoped he'd be here for you a little longer,” Daniel spoke sincerely.  ~I wouldn't want to be alone.~

“He's going to call tonight; and I have Teal'c here to make sure I don't fall apart too often,” the blonde pointed out, smiling appreciatively at the Jaffa as she placed a shaky hand on his upper arm.

Teal'c nodded and replied, “It is my pleasure to comfort you, Samantha.”

“Ah, thank you ... Teal'c,” Sam acknowledged, sharing a small smile with Daniel at their friend's choice of words.  ~I guess that's exactly what I do need, come to think of it.~

====

After a couple of hours, most of the guests had begun to leave until eventually just SG-1, General Hammond, and Cassandra remained.  Though there was a light drizzle outside, the six friends went outside anyway.

“You can't even feel it,” Cassandra noted about the rain.

“It's almost like Janet ...” Daniel began in a contemplative tone.

“Like she's covering us with her love,” Sam suggested as she rolled out a blanket on the misty lawn and sat down on it.  “Can't even feel it,” she stated about the grass.

General Hammond, Teal'c, and Jack brought their patio chairs onto the lawn and settled comfortably into them.  Not caring about any dampness, Daniel took a spot in front of his husband, frequently brushing against Jack's right leg.  It wasn't long before Katie jumped up into the colonel's arms, while Bijou settled down against Daniel's thigh and enjoyed the massage he gave her as the group chatted.

“It is Mom,” Cassandra opined, her head tilted back as she let just a dab of moistness kiss her cheek.  Walking over towards Sam, she asked her family, “What's your first really strong memory of Mom?”

Daniel laughed softly as he answered, “She kept calling Teal'c 'Mister Teal'c'.”

“When was that?” Jack questioned, watching as Cassandra positioned herself Indian style next to his 2IC, just across her uncles.

“You were locked up at the time, acting like a caveman,” Daniel answered before elaborating.

“The Touched,” Teal'c clarified.

“Thanks for the memories,” the colonel groaned.

The archaeologist elaborated, “You and Sam were affected by that virus, and it was up to Teal'c and me to get a blood sample.  Janet was still new.  I guess, uh, we were all still new really.”

“Our medical team was in the process of being staffed,” Hammond advised the group.  “Only Doctor Warner had been permanently assigned as Chief Surgeon prior to Doctor Fraiser being brought in to head the medical staff.  She'd been assigned just before the incident on P3X-797.”

“We'd met Janet, but we didn't really know her that well yet,” Sam commented.

“I was a being a klutz when I first ran into her,” Daniel recalled.  “Uh, I meant that literally.  I really did bump into her.  I think it was her first day.”

“Made a good impression there, did ya, Dannyboy?” Jack teased in his Irish brogue.

“Oh, yeah.  She hated me.”

Suddenly, Sam let out a laugh.

“Care to share?” Jack prompted.

“It's not my first memory of Janet, but that first year, I'll never forget ... sorry, guys,” Sam looked at Jack and Daniel with a nod, “but the Hathor incident.  Janet was like Mrs. Rambo with that gun.  I've never seen her so ... intense away from a medical crisis.”

“I would have liked to have seen that.  Mom told me she was every bit as Air Force as anyone else, but I don't think I ever saw her with a gun,” the young woman contemplated.

Sam added, “In spite of the situation, she was having a good time.”

“Glad someone was,” Jack chided.

“Well, I know it wasn't much fun for you two, not that it was fun for us either, but Janet with an MP-5?  Think about it.  It was the talk of the women's restroom for months.”

“Carter, that's definitely too much information!” Jack responded.

“Sorry, Sir.”

Jack added, “Well, we know the Doc was always a force to be reckoned with.”

“Little Napoleon,” Daniel recalled quietly.

“We certainly went head to head enough, especially over you,” Jack recalled as he reached down and gently touched his husband's head, caressing him briefly.

Cassandra laughed, “Mom would come home swearing sometimes, Uncle Jack.  She rarely told me the details, but it's amazing how many times you seemed to be the central cause of her outburst.  She said you never followed her medical orders.”

“Yes, I did.  It's just sometimes she didn't understand,” the colonel sighed.

“You mean about you and Uncle Daniel?”

With a quick nod of affirmation, Jack queried, “Remember when that b...witch got Daniel addicted to the sarcophagus?”

Cassandra reached out and touched Daniel's hand for a moment as she chuckled, “You mean that princess, the infamous Shyla?”

“Infamous?” Daniel asked.

“Mom agreed with Uncle Jack on that.  Sorry, Uncle Daniel, but Mom was really worried about you.  So was I, by the way, even though I didn't know exactly what was going on at the time.”

In response, Daniel leaned over and kissed Cassandra on the cheek.  With deep affection, he whispered a soft “thank you” and then settled back in his spot by Jack and Bijou.

“She wasn't happy with me,” Jack acknowledged.  “I took care of Daniel myself, against her advice.  I brought him home.”

Daniel noted, “It's what I needed, Cassie, but it wasn't the medically smart thing for Jack to have done.”

“The Doc and I argued about it for a long time,” Jack stated, his eyes growing distant as he became lost in the memory momentarily.

“I remember that all too well, Colonel,” the general stated.  “Doctor Fraiser was deeply concerned, but she didn't have much of a choice considering who she was up against.”

“Yeah, a grizzly bear,” Cassandra teased as she looked at Jack.

“Wait a minute, young lady,” Sam interjected.  “You didn't always give her an easy time, either!”

“Don't remind me,” Cassandra laughed, bowing her head to match her reddening cheeks that were suddenly close to matching her red hair.  “Besides, I had an excuse.”

“Nirrti,” everyone spoke in unison, prompting a small round of laughter.

Sam recalled, “I thought Janet was going to explode when you told her you weren't going to have a piece of cake.”

“We never did get to eat it, Sam,” Cassandra sighed.

“That's right.  I forgot about that.  By the time we figured out what had happened with Nirrti's experiment and how it was affecting you, the cake was stale,” Sam remembered, grimacing at the image of the days-old cake she'd seen the next time she'd been at the Fraiser home.

“Mom said it was hard as a rock.”

“Jack, not a word!” Daniel whispered as he swatted his lover's leg with his hand.

“What?  I'm just sitting here innocently ...” Jack began, leaning over to speak quietly with Daniel.

“Jack, you are never innocent and I know perfectly well what you were about to say!”

“You're so mean to me,” Jack teased lightly.

“Hey, what are you two talking about?” Cassandra asked as she swept her hand through her long, red hair.

“Rocks,” Jack answered as Daniel rolled his eyes.  “Hard rocks!“

Daniel slapped Jack gently while Jack smirked and raised his eyebrows in satisfaction.

“Did you ever argue with Mom, General Hammond?”

The general let out a puff of air and then answered, “Oh, yes.  She was never afraid to stand her ground.  She wasn't fond of my orders to allow Master Bra'tac to try to save Teal'c with that Jaffa Rite ...”

“M'al Sharran,” Daniel interjected.

“Excuse me, Son?”

“The Jaffa Rite of M'al Sharran.  That was the name of the ... rite.  Sorry, General.”

“DoctorFraiser was doing what she believed to be best.  She usually knew best,” Teal'c stated with finality.

“He speaks,” the colonel jested.

Teal'c simply nodded.  He had always been quiet, speaking when questioned or when he had something significant to add to a conversation.  He'd broken out from that quiet mode significantly as he'd learned more of the Tau'ri way of life.  This week, however, he'd reverted back to his less talkative ways as he mourned Janet's loss.

“She was a great friend and so much fun to be around,” Sam opined sadly.  “Daniel, remember Egypt?” the blonde queried.

“Like I could forget?”

“It wasn't exactly a vacation, but she sure made that long trip home more enjoyable,” the major expressed fondly.

Daniel laughed, “She hated my driving.  She never got into a car when I was driving after that.”

“My husband, the race car driver.”

“Uncle Daniel does have a sports car,” Cassandra stated, mumbling under her breath, “That he's never let me drive.”

“You never asked.”

“I am now,” Cassandra replied with a grin.

“It's a date,” Daniel promised.  “Someday soon, okay?”

“I'd like that, Uncle Daniel,” the college student responded.

After a brief pause, Sam reflected, “You know, Daniel, I felt the same way Janet did about that drive to the pyramid.  You have to admit you drove like a bat out of Netu!”

“You try driving a jeep across the desert,” the archaeologist suggested a tad defensively.  “I had to go fast or we never would have gotten over the dunes.”

Chuckling, the major retorted, “No, thanks, Daniel.  I'll let you drive like a madman.  Besides, it's more fun teasing you about it.”

“Thanks a lot,” Daniel responded dryly.

“You're welcome,” Sam laughed.

“Sam, you've been hanging around Jack too much,” Daniel accused.

“People, I hate to say it, but it's getting late, and I should get going,” Hammond announced as he stood up.

“Me, too,” Sam agreed as she got to her feet, picking up the blanket in the process.  “Pete's going to be calling soon, and I definitely don't want to miss him.”

“I ... everyone, thank you so much for being Mom's friends and for all you've done for me this week. I couldn't ... I ...”

“Come here, you,” Jack ordered, pulling the young woman into an embrace.  “Your mom was the best.  We loved her, and we love you.”

“I miss her so much, Uncle Jack,” Cassandra cried, breaking down at last.

====

After consoling Cassandra, the guests left the Jackson-O'Neill home, leaving Jack and Daniel alone with their girls.  The couple prepared for bed quietly, locking up the house, turning off the lights, and making sure the beagles were settled.  Then they snuggled together, Daniel's head resting on Jack's chest.

“How many times do you think she saved our lives, Jack?”

Jack shook his head and answered, “Too many to count.”  He laughed, “Sometimes, it seemed like she saved one or both of us every week.”

“We have to make sure we don't lose touch with Cassie.”

“We won't.  I love you, Danny.”

“I love you, too.”

====

“How'd it go?” Daniel asked when Jack entered his office around 10 a.m. the next day.

His hands gripping the edge of his lover's worktable as he stood opposite him, Jack answered, “I told him the truth, as much as I could.”

“No Mary Steenburgen jokes?”

“Not a one,” Jack sighed, referring to the interview he'd just completed with Bregman.

“I'm sure he was glad to finally get the interview,” Daniel commented.

Jack cocked his head to the side for a moment as he replied, “I don't care a dime what Bregman thinks, but Hammond believes it's a good idea ... now.”

“It's a way to honor her, Jack, and everyone else who has given their lives for Earth.”

“Yeah,” the older man agreed.  “Ah, okay, well, we're meeting in Carter's lab in thirty minutes to review the mission specs.  Don't be late.”

“Yes, Mother,” Daniel teased.

“Funny.”

Daniel chuckled lightly, sharing a loving look with his husband before Jack turned and walked out.

~Coffee.  I need coffee; lots of coffee,~ Daniel thought as he proceeded to move forward with his day.

====

Shortly before noon, Jack was finishing up some paperwork.

~When's that meeting with Hammond?~  The colonel checked his watch and noted, ~Close enough.~

His meeting was in twelve minutes, so Jack figured he'd finish up this one file and then leave the rest for later.

--

In Hammond's office, he was finishing up with his fourth interview of the morning.  He'd spent the last couple of hours reviewing candidates to replace Janet Fraiser and speaking with the four best possibilities.  It was a difficult decision and one he would have to make soon.

~There are times I don't like this job,~ the major general admitted to himself.  ~This one is a 'no'.  O'Neill would have her hiding under her desk in two minutes.~

--

Meanwhile, at the entrance to Cheyenne Mountain, a commotion was taking place.

“Look, Airman, I don't know what your problem is, but I've been running this card through Security for seven years now.  I *think* I know how to do it without your assistance.  You *must* be new here.”

“Yes, Ma'am, but unless the card clears you, I'll have to call my superior,” the guard stated.

“Well, you just do that.  What the heck is going on around here now?” the feisty woman exclaimed, noticing the funny look that a couple of Marines had just given her as they had entered the complex.

As the airman made the call, giving a firm eye on the stranger at the gate, the woman kept hearing whispers from others as they became aware of her presence.  She began to wonder if she'd come to work in her pink nightie and looked down to check her appearance.

~Matching shoes, nylons -- no runs.  I'm in my Air Force uniform.  Yes, it's mine.  Perfect fit.  It's the right insignia.  What is wrong with everyone?~  In a last second decision, the woman opened her purse and removed a compact.  ~Hair's in place; no lipstick smeared on my face.~  Exasperated, her hands fell to her side as she vociferated, “I have a needle the size of Pittsburgh for all of you.”

That caused the slower moving personal to pick up their paces.

Finally, the airman was relieved to see his supervisor approaching.

“What seems to be the ... prob...lem?” the stunned major in charge of security asked as his fast moving steps slowed to a standstill.

“Major Simpson, would you *please* tell me what's going on here?  My security card isn't working,” the woman explained, happy to see someone she knew could resolve this ridiculous situation.

With a glance at the airman, Simpson responded, “One moment, Ma'am,” and then walked over to the phone.  Looking back to make sure he wasn't daydreaming, he then pressed the appropriate buttons.

--

In his office, Jack had run into a little difficulty.  The file he'd anticipated finishing off in just a couple of minutes had taken up eight so far, and it was looking like it wouldn't be done even then.

~Procedures: doesn't anyone teach these recruits procedures?~  Realizing that was part of his job, the colonel let out a cough and mumbled, “It's lack of training at the Academy; that's it.”

At the point, the phone rang.  Immediately, Jack answered it.
 
 “Colonel O'Neill, this is Major Simpson at the Main Gate.  We have a situation here that I think you'll want to handle.”

“What kind of situation?” Jack asked as he glanced at his watch.

“I'd ... prefer that you come see for yourself, Sir.”

“Listen, Simpson, I have a meeting in exactly four minutes.  Tell me one good reason why I should run down there now?”

“Sir, it's about Doctor Fraiser.”

“Be right there.”

Jack hung up the phone and shook his head, wondering what could be happening.  He didn't have time for whatever it was, of that he was sure.  He also pondered why he'd reacted so quickly instead of not making Simpson explain.

~It's the paperwork.  What a waste of time.~

====

As he neared the gate, Jack barked, “Okay Major, what the ...”  His whole body backed up three steps as he exclaimed, “*Holy resurrection!*”

“Colonel O'Neill, will you *please* tell me why everyone is looking at me as if I were a ghost?”

“Maybe ... because you are?” Jack countered with widened eyes.

“Excuse me?” the redhead responded as she grew more impatient by the second.

Looking at Simpson, Jack ordered, “Major, bring the ... major to a V.I.P. suite and assign an SF to stay with her.”

“Jack, what's going on?” the woman asked.

“I'll ... explain as soon as I can ... Doctor,” Jack replied, feeling like he was in yet another episode of 'The Twilight Zone'.

“Sir, are you all right?” the airman asked, seeing Jack just standing there, staring into space, after Simpson had escorted Janet inside.

“I'm not sure anymore,” Jack conceded as he turned and headed for General Hammond's office, intending to make three short stops along the way.

====

Jack's first stop was on Level 18, and he wasted no time getting to the point of his visit.

“Daniel, with me ... *now*!” Jack bellowed into his lover's office.

Standing in front of bookshelves, a tome open in his hands, Daniel looked all around and questioned, “Did I miss something?”

“*Move it, Daniel*,” Jack yelled, having already gone several feet down the hall.

Quickly replacing the book onto the shelf in its spot, Daniel hurried to catch up with his mystifying husband.

“Jack?” the archaeologist called out as he reached the elevator.

“You're never going to believe it,” Jack asserted as he slid his card into the slot to call the elevator.

“Try me.”

“Guess.”

“Jack, you just barked at me like you were a pit-bull or something, and now you want to play games?” Daniel asked as the doors opened and the two walked inside.

“No, now I want to get Carter and Teal'c,” the colonel advised as he pressed the button for the desired floor.

“Look, how about a hint?”

“Patrick Swayze.”

“Excuse me?”

“Ghost,” Jack clarified, though his word association wasn't really clarifying anything for his lover.

“Can you be a little more specific?” the younger man requested.

“Heaven Can Wait.”

“Jack!”

“Daniel, you won't believe it until you,” Jack paused for a second as the doors opened, “see it.”

With a confused and curious Daniel at his side, Jack walked swiftly towards his 2IC's lab.

~Maybe that wasn't an aspirin he took this morning,~ Daniel pondered as he tried to keep pace with his Love's rapid pace.

“Carter?”

“Yes, Sir?”

“This way,” Jack ordered, not having stepped an inch inside the lab.

“What's going on?” Sam questioned Daniel as they followed Jack down the corridor.

“I haven't a clue,” Daniel admitted with a shrug.  Then he added, “Something about Patrick Swayze in Ghost, I think.”
 
“Okay,” Sam responded, not knowing what else to possibly say, though she did have another question. “Where are we going?”

“Ah, to find Teal'c, I think.”

--

A couple of minutes later, Jack caught sight of the Jaffa walking towards him.

“Teal'c, just who I was looking for.  We're having a meeting.”

“What is the topic, O'Neill?”

“Ghosts: fact or fiction,” Jack answered as he changed direction.

Teal'c looked at his teammates for an clarification and received only shrugs in explanation.

“We don't know, either,” Sam stated.

“Let's go!” Jack growled upon realizing his team had lagged behind.

“Sometimes he really does sound like a bear,” Sam opined quietly as she and the others began to follow their team leader.

“Just finding that out?” Daniel queried, amused by the whole situation.

====

Tapping on the open door, Jack called out, “Excuse me, General, but there's something you just have to see.”

“Jack, we have a meeting scheduled for,” Hammond looked at his watch, “now!”

“Yes, Sir.  I'm aware of that, but this is urgent, Sir.  I think you'll agree, if you'll just come with us.”

Trusting his 2IC had a good reason for his unusual request, Hammond simply nodded and, along with the rest of SG-1, followed Jack along the SGC corridors.

“Daniel, what did Thor do to Loki?” Jack asked, knowing he had everyone's attention.

“I don't know.  Why?”

“Just wondering.  The little guy said he'd be punished, but he didn't say how or for how long, did he?”

“No, Sir, he didn't,” Sam answered.

“Didn't think so.”

====

“Okay, Colonel, why are we outside a V.I.P. room?” Hammond asked upon reaching the group's apparent destination.

“Because either the last week didn't happen, General, or Loki's back in town,” Jack responded, opening the door and motioning for everyone to go inside.

Tossing down the magazine she'd been thumbing through, the woman stood up and called out, “Well, finally!  Sam!  General Hammond!  Teal'c!  Will one of you *please* tell me what's happening.”

“Janet!” Sam called out, stunned, as a smile began to cross her face.  She hurried to her friend, hugging Janet close.  “I can't believe it.”

“DoctorFrasier?” Teal'c questioned as he tilted his head.

“How can this be?” General Hammond asked, looking at his flagship team for a response.

“That's what we said when Jack showed up here as a teenager,” Daniel pointed out. “'How can it be?'”

“Loki?” everyone surmised at the same time.

“Loki?  The Asgard responsible for the clone of Colonel O'Neill?” Janet asked.

“That would be the one,” Jack confirmed.

“But what does that have to do with me?” the physician inquired curiously.

Jack, Daniel, and the general exchanged looks as Teal'c studied the diminutive redheaded doctor.  Sam was still smiling as she struggled to wipe away a tear.

“Cassie!” the major suddenly shrieked.  “I have to call Cassie.”

Hammond cautioned, “Let's not jump to any conclusions, Major.  We still don't know what's happening here.”

“It is indeed good to see you, DoctorFraiser,” Teal'c spoke as he approached her, took her right hand, and kissed it.

“You, too, Teal'c, and what about Cassie?” Janet questioned, becoming more concerned than she had been now that her daughter had been mentioned.

“Janet, everyone thinks you're dead,” Sam explained.

“Dead?”

“Doctor Fraiser, what's the last thing you remember?” General Hammond inquired strongly.

Thoughtfully, Janet replied, “Going to bed.  Actually, I don't have a clear memory. I've been working late a lot, General.  SG-12 came back from P29-XJR with multiple injuries.”

Hammond nodded and informed, “That was a week ago, Doctor.”

“Carter, why don't you go get that Asgard phone of ours, and let's see if we can get some answers from Thor,” Jack suggested.

“In the meantime, Doctor, let's get you to the infirmary and have some tests run,” the general suggested.  “Teal'c, I'd like you to stay with Doctor Fraiser while we try to find out what the devil is going on.”

“Yes, Sir,” Janet said, confused and a bit frightened at what she had heard.

“As you wish, GeneralHammond,” Teal'c spoke, his words overlapping Janet's.

====

“This should do it,” Sam pronounced as she used the portable device Thor had given the SGC to use whenever contact with the Asgard was desired.

--

“You sure that thing is working?” Jack asked five minutes later.

“Positive, Sir.”

“Ah, maybe he's out of the galaxy,” Daniel supposed.

“Then he should have voicemail,” Jack snarked.

At last, a beam of light appeared, and the alien leader greeted, “O'Neill.  Major Carter.”

“Hey, Thor!” Jack greeted cheerfully.

Thor looked around and acknowledged the general and Daniel before speaking, “I apologize for taking so long.  It could not be helped.  Why have you contacted me?”

Jack answered, “Thor, we have a little problem.  Where's Loki?”

“Loki?” the tiny creature asked, blinking one time.

“Thor, you're not looking at me,” Jack observed, realizing that if he hadn't been annoyed, he might have found it amusing that Thor looked almost chagrined.

“Why do you want to know about Loki?” Thor queried as he walked over towards the general.

“Thor,” Hammond began.  “We wonder if it's possible that Loki might be up to some of his old tricks.”

“Old tricks?”

Jack explained what had happened, telling the Asgard about the fierce battle off-world and Janet's heroic death.  He then told him that Janet had just walked into the SGC, apparently alive and well.

“Careful, Thor,” Jack warned at the alien's expression.  “You look like you're about to turn red.”

“I am angry, O'Neill, and I regret to say, there is a good chance Loki is responsible,” Thor admitted.

“I thought you said he was going to be punished,” Daniel probed, walking towards Thor with his hands in his pockets.

“He was, but as you are aware, we are still at war.  Our resources are limited.  We do not have the ... manpower you would call it ... to keep Loki guarded.  He is too resourceful.  I am afraid he was freed after a promise to end his quest for the genetic link that could save our world.”

“Did you tell him to stop using humans as guinea pigs?” Jack asked flippantly.

“Not specifically, but it was understood that he was to stay away from Earth.  I will see what I can find out,” Thor promised and then quickly disappeared.

“Do you think it's really Janet?” Sam polled, wanting desperately to believe it was her friend.

“Until we know for sure, Doctor Fraiser, or whoever she is, will be restricted to the V.I.P. room once the examination is complete.  Jack, I want Teal'c to remain with her at all times.”

“Yes, General,” the colonel acknowledged.

“Let me know when Thor returns.”

“Wow,” Sam exclaimed when the general had left.

“Wow fits,” Jack agreed.

“Stranger things have happened,” Daniel remarked, also wanting to believe, but withholding judgment.  “And, uh, it has been one week since the mission.  Isn't that how long it took before?”

“One week,” Sam confirmed as she nodded, feeling more hopeful at that reminder.  “In all the cases you and Teal'c studied, Loki took the subject, cloned them, and returned them in exactly seven days.”

“Well, then,” Jack responded, trying to be as positive as he could be.

“I think I'll go down to the infirmary.  If you'll excuse me, Sir,” Sam requested, leaving the room once Jack nodded his permission for her departure.

“Danny?”

“I want it to be her, Jack,” Daniel confided.

“I do, too.  Let's go for a walk.”

With a nod, Daniel walked with his husband to their favorite shaft door that led to the outside.  They didn't have to go this way, but it was ritualistic for them.

====

“Even if she is Janet, I don't think I'll ever be out to get that image of her being tossed from the blast,” Daniel confided as he and his lover walked atop Cheyenne Mountain.

“If it is the Doc, I may give Loki a head start before I kill him,” Jack retorted.

Daniel suppressed a chuckle as he admitted, “Yeah.  Jack, if it was Loki, we actually should thank him.”

“Let's no that far.”

“Emmett Bregman will be happy; he ... likes her.”

“Good for him,” the colonel replied sarcastically.

“That didn't sound sincere.”

“Daniel, to be honest, I don't much care about the Doc's love life, but before I start talking about it, I want to know it's her.”

“I get your point.”

Checking his watch, Jack suggested, “Let's get back down there.”

“You're as anxious as I am.”

“I just want us to get back to work.”

“Right,” Daniel replied, not believing the words at all.

Knowing his Love knew the truth, Jack just groaned and nodded for them to head back to the shaft.

====

“Okay, explain this to me again,” Cassandra requested that night, holding her mom's hand in their living room of their home.

Sam responded, “Loki is a member of the Asgard.  He was one of their leading geneticists for a long time, but he got into trouble for ...”

“For acting like we're rats in a cage,” Jack bellowed.

“Jack,” Daniel chided.

Sam gave her CO a look and then continued, “... for doing tests the Asgard hadn't approved, on humans.”

“Why?  I mean, what was the purpose, Sam?”

“Cassie, the Asgard reproduce using a duplication process,” Janet explained.

“Cloning,” Cassandra deduced confidently.

“Something like that,” Sam confirmed.  “But the process is hurting them now.  The time is coming when, if they don't find another way to procreate they might die out.”

“Like the dinosaurs -- poof,” Jack interjected.

“They've discovered from research that they were once a lot like us, our bodies, I mean, so Loki figured if he could research human cloning, he might find a way to construct a better body for the Asgard that could also fulfill requirements of their brains.”

“Cass, a few months ago Loki came back to Earth for the first time in years to clone Jack,” Daniel stated as he leaned forward in the chair he was seated in.

“He did?”

“It was loads of fun -- *not*,” Jack groaned.

“What happened?” the young woman inquired.

“Well, he thought the colonel was more advanced than the rest of us because ...” Sam began.

“More advanced?  Uncle Jack?” Cassandra laughed wildly.

“Hey, I can still spank you, young lady!”

“Right.”

Jack looked at his adoptive niece and replied, “Try this one on for size.  I can still have a chat with Dominic any time I want to.”

Cassandra gulped and acquiesced, “Okay, I give.  Uncle Jack is more advanced.”

“... more advanced at playing with a yo-yo, anyway,” Daniel teased softly.

“I heard that!”

Daniel shrugged as if to say, “So what?”

“Come on, you guys.  What happened with Uncle Jack?” Cassandra asked.

“Loki kidnapped him, Cass.  He created a clone, but something unusual happened, and that we can't go into,” Janet told her daughter.  “But of course, in the end, we found out what was happening, and the situation was resolved.”

“So, this Loki cloned you like he did Uncle Jack?” Cassandra asked her mother.

“Apparently.”

“But why?” the younger redhead probed.

“Loki still believes the answer to the Asgard's dilemma is here,” Daniel answered.  “He's convinced that he'll find the genetic link or ... or something that will help him to help his people.  He's doing what he feels he has to do.”

“Daniel, why do you always have to defend everyone?” Jack examined, shaking his head in disbelief.

“I'm not, but the Asgard are our allies, and they are in trouble.  We know that.  If it were us, wouldn't we be doing the same thing?”

Jack sighed and tilted his head, his only acknowledgement that Daniel was probably right.

“But why Mom?” Cassandra inquired, looking at all of her friends one by one as she waited for an answer.

Sam explained, “It's partly just a random choice, Cassie, and it's partly because of who she is and where she works.  He's searching.”

“So Loki created a clone of Janet, and it was the clone on the planet who ... died,” Daniel stated, the memory still emotionally charged for him.

“Well, I'm just glad you're back, Mom.  I didn't know what I was going to do without you,” Cassandra said as she leaned into her mother's hug.

“Thank you, Sweetie.”

“I just hope the Asgard clamp down on that little monster this time,” Jack said forcefully.

“Thor said they would, Jack.”

“He said that the last time, too!” the colonel reminded.

Thoughtfully, Janet spoke, “You know, I've been thinking about making a change, and this might be a good time to do it.”

“Change?” Sam questioned.

“Well, as I said, I've been considering it for a while.  I've had an offer to head up the new research area.  You've heard about it, haven't you?”

“I haven't,” Daniel advised.

“It hasn't been discussed much yet, Danny,” Jack explained.  “We've brought back so many alien technologies, a lot of them medical, but until now we've never had a centralized, focused area to concentrate just on that aspect.  It's been doled out to various other facilities in the past, with varying degrees of priority, but, in the light of the terrorist activity around the world in the past few years ...”

“You mean the threat of biochemical warfare?” Daniel surmised.

“You got it.  The Pentagon has decided that maybe the information and technologies we can glean from other worlds might help us here.”

“And be as valuable as all those big honkin' weapons they have always been after?” Daniel queried, raising his eyebrows as he spoke.

“Right again,” Jack confirmed with a slight smile.

“So,” Janet continued, “I think I may do that, but it will mean giving up my position as Chief Medical Officer.”

“Mom, you aren't going to stop practicing medicine completely?”

“No, Cass.  I don't want to do that.  I'm going to talk to General Hammond and see if I can work part-time in the infirmary.  I still want to keep contact with the hospital as well.  It'll be a bit tricky, but I think it would be worth it.”

“We'll miss you, Janet,” Daniel said.

“Don't worry, Daniel!  It won't be for a little while yet.  The area is still in the building stages, and I'll try to be around whenever SG-1 gets into trouble,” Janet promised, giving the married couple a wink.

“We do *not* get into trouble,” Jack bellowed, at which everyone else just stared at him.  He shrugged, then added, “Well, it's all in your point of view.”  After some chuckling, he added, “Doc, maybe there's a way for you to have the best of both worlds.”

“Oh, I'd like to hear about that.”

“Delegation: more doctors.  Why can't you still do both?”

“I ... I don't know.  Certainly, I couldn't put in as much time as I do now at SGC,” Janet asserted.

“You don't have to be there 24/7 to be in charge,” Jack pointed out.

“He's right, Janet,” Sam chimed in.  “Maybe we just need another doctor to help out.”

“Co-Chief Medical Officers,” Daniel offered.

“Or even co-co Chief Medical Officers,” Sam mused with a smile.

“We'll work on it,” Jack asserted, confident a workable solution could be found.

After a wonderful evening with their family of friends reunited and whole again, Jack and Daniel returned to their home.

====

“Geez, sometimes I feel like I'm on Dallas,” Jack commented as he and Daniel talked in their bedroom at home.

“Dallas?”

“That J.R. soap opera.  You know -- Who Shot J.R.?”  Wtih his lover staring at him blankly, Jack shrugged.  “Well, it was a big prime time soap opera, and one season they did away with an entire year's worth of storyline.”

“The whole year?”

“Yep, the *whole* enchilada.  They pretended it didn't happen; had Bobby Ewing, who had been killed the year before in a car accident, step out of the shower and say it was all a dream.”

“A dream?” Daniel echoed in slight amusement.  “They really said the entire year was nothing but a dream?”

“Sure did.  It was crazy, and that's how this job makes me feel sometimes.  I mean teenage clones and now this?  Geez, Danny,” Jack mused as he took off his shirt in preparation for bed.

“Jack?”

“Yes, Love?”

“Would you still love me if I were a clone?” the archaeologist asked.

“Daniel, I'd love you if you were a fish.  Of course, then I'd have to eat you.”

“Well, actually, first, you'd have to catch me,” Daniel smirked with a gleam in his eye.

“Just takes the right bait.”

“Well, let's see it, Colonel.”

“See what?”

“Your, uh ... bait,” Daniel requested with a seductive leer.

“Demanding geek.”  Jack winked, removing his boxers.  He grinned, and pointed downwards as he asked, “Good enough to hook you?”

“Oh, yeah,” Daniel asserted as he approached his husband and kissed him.  “I love your bait, Jack.  Just love it, but my bait is bigger,” he teased as he stripped off his boxers and wiggled his fishing lure.

Jack laughed as he pushed Daniel gently onto the bed, where the two made love, their universe once again safe from Goa'uld, inept politicians, and crazy TV writers, directors and producers.

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