"You want me to do what?"
"You must know that your neighbours, Lisa and Charles Callaghan aren't exactly who they say they are."
"I know that they are special. I've been trying to protect them."
"We understand that, but you must try to understand what's at stake here."
Stan shifted uneasily. The two men wanted him to do the unthinkable. "I can't do that. I'm sorry."
"Then we will have someone else do it for us. I'm only sorry that you won't co-operate."
"Yeah, I'm sorry too."
Jack rolled over and stared at the blonde hair peaking out from under the sheet. He figured that he'd been dreaming when he felt someone beside him. The head attached to the hair moved on the pillow and Sam curled up into a tighter ball.
Wanting to avoid what would surely be an awkward confrontation, Jack get out of bed carefully and headed for the bathroom. He started running the water to warm it up for his shower and found himself humming. As he laid down the bath mat Jack found himself singing. "I'm walkin' on sunshine...whoa oh" Jack stepped into the shower, closed the curtain and wondered why he was singing a song that he hated with a passion.
Sam woke up to an empty bed and the sound of running water combined with some other noise. It may or may not have been Jack singing. She sat up and grabbed her pillow. Maybe Jack hadn't noticed that she was in the bed. Maybe he just woke up and stumbled into the bathroom. Sam mentally kicked herself for the decision she made the previous night and stood up. She tried to smooth down the sheets on her side of the bed and moved Jack's pillow into the middle.
"And don't it feel good Hey! All Right Now!" Jack rinsed the shampoo from his hair and reached for the soap. It slipped out of his grasp and scuttled across the tub floor. Jack began the chorus one more time and bent down to retrieve the soap. The soap smelled nice Jack realized. It smelled like green apple.
Sam picked at her hair, wondering if she could get away without a shower today. She picked up her brush and ran it through the short strands. Most of them fell neatly back into place. Good enough, Sam thought and set about getting dressed.
Jack whistled as he dried himself off and tied the towel around his waist. He listened carefully and was relieved not to hear the vacuum cleaner. He was still a bit paranoid about wearing just towels. The door was slightly ajar so Jack pushed it open and went to his room. The bed barely looked slept in. Sam was gone, as was her pillow. The sheets were straightened and his pillow, for some inexplicable reason, had been placed in the middle of the bed. Jack shrugged and pulled a pair of shorts off the floor. He sniffed them and deemed them alright for another day's wear.
"Mornin' Sam." Jack said cheerfully as he strolled into the kitchen.
Sam kept her back towards him but he heard a mumble that could have been a greeting. Jack threw open the fridge and critically examined the contents. He pulled the orange juice and milk out and set them on the counter. "Certainly not a very pretty day today, is it." Jack said conversationally.
Sam mumbled again and kept staring down at her bowl of cornflakes that was quickly turning to mush.
"I guess we're staying inside today. Maybe we could finally do something about those boxes that are piling up in the basement?"
"You okay Sam?"
"Fine." she replied, poking at a blueberry with her spoon.
"Look Sam, if this is about last night. Don't worry about it."
"I was cold."
Jack located his cornpops and dumped some into a bowl. "It was chilly, didn't you find a blanket?"
"Oh." Jack poured the milk over the cereal and looked around for the sugar. Sam had no doubt tried to hide it on him again.
"It was stupid sir. I shouldn't have done it. I'm sorry."
Jack winced as she called him sir. His good mood was quickly evaporating. "You slept in my bed Sam, I wouldn't call that stupid. We've slept together before."
"Not like that."
"Oh? Did I miss out on something? Did you seduce me in my sleep?"
Sam almost laughed. Almost. "No, I most certainly did not."
Jack shrugged. "So, what's the problem?"
Sam turned around and looked at him. "There isn't one."
"That's what I like to hear Major. That's what I like to hear. Now about those boxes?"
"What are we supposed to do with them?"
"Empty them. Flatten them. Stack them."
Sam allowed herself a slight smile and scooped some her cornflake blueberry mush from the bowl. Jack found the sugar in the cupboard with the vinegar and oil and sprinkled a generous amount into his bowl. Sam began thinking of new and better hiding places for the sugar.
Stan sat in his spartan living room. He replayed his conversation with the men in his head. He'd done it a thousand times already. Across the street, he saw the pink house, with the blue car out front. Lisa and Charles, or whatever their real names might be, hadn't made an appearance either outside or in the window yet.
He had been told that they were coming and that he was to protect him. He knew they were here for him, but he also knew that they had uncovered the much more sinister plot. He saw the other man and woman leave, he wondered who had told them to go.
Stan felt a strong connection to Lisa. He felt as though he should know who she was. Something about her seemed so familiar. Stan sighed and kept staring out the window.
It was getting late. The boxes had been emptied, folded and flattened. Sam and Jack were sitting on the sofa, Sam had a pad of paper on her lap.
"Okay so basically this is what we know." she said, consulting the pad. "Stan is a Goa'uld of some variety. He gets late night visitors from men in a black BMW."
"They're the men-in-black." interrupted Jack.
"Fine, Stan gets visits from MIB's. We know that somehow a dog died with naquada in its blood. The naquada could have been either A, injected into its blood, or B, appeared there as a result of a Goa'uld dying within the dog."
"I'm hoping that answer isn't B."
"Me too, but we have to take that option into consideration. If the answer is B, then someone out there has access to Goa'ulds. That may or may not be Stan, we have no proof either way."
"When Daniel and Janet first arrived, they had orders to remove the Goa'uld from Stan."
"Janet said that Hammond ordered her to do that. His orders came from elsewhere."
"Probably from the same people that had them pulled out once we discovered the naquada."
"Someone is working against us here." Sam said. "I just don't know who."
"It's those NID bastards." Jack replied. "This looks like their work."
"Have we considered the possibility that Stan may be Tok'ra?"
Jack ran a hand through his hair. "When we first arrived here we briefly discussed the possibility."
"And if he is Tok'ra..."
"That changes everything." Jack finished.
"Exactly. If he's Tok'ra, then he's on our side."
"Why would the President want us here to infiltrate the life of a Tok'ra? Don't they know what he is?"
"Maybe that's the whole point. Think about it Jack...the Tok'ra send Stan on an undercover mission to Earth to attempt the Goa'ulds from taking over our animals. If someone from the NID knew about this, then they'd most likely want to stop Stan. What better way to stop Stan than to tell the President that they have reason to believe that there's a Goa'uld living among us, ready to take over the Earth. They sent us in and boom, no more Stan."
"And those MIB's that are visiting Stan?"
"We weren't supposed to find that dog."
Sam shrugged. "Depends on how you look at it. I have a feeling that someone put that dog there for us to find."
"This just keeps getting weirder and weirder. Tell me this, if Stan is a good guy, why does he keep trying to poison me?"
"When Janet tested your blood, she found an unknown compound. She was going to run more thorough tests on it back at the base, see what she can determine."
"We have to find who's got those Goa'ulds."
"I think...I think we should keep this theory to ourselves." Sam said quietly. "If we tell General Hammond, he'll tell the President. It could ruin everything."
"So what do I tell him the next time he calls?"
"Tell him how well you're getting to know Stan. Make up something. We've got to keep them thinking that we're still after Stan."
"If he's getting visits from the NID, they're most likely close by."
"We've just got to keep doing what we were doing before."
"So I was thinking."
Sam grinned at Jack. "I'm shocked!"
Jack cast a mock glare at her. "I was thinking that maybe we need to get away from here, away from this town."
"We can't just leave!"
"We can take a day-trip somewhere, can't we? Just pack a lunch, get in the car and drive?"
"Sure, I guess. When were you planning on doing this?"
"The weather's supposed to clear up by tomorrow. It shouldn't be too hot."
Sam closed the dishwasher and pressed the button to start it. "Sounds good. It'll be nice to get out of this house."
Jack smiled. "I'll take a look at the map later, see if there's any parks around here."
Sam nodded and walked into the living room. "Hey! Stan's outside!"
Jack followed Sam to the window. Stan appeared to be washing his front stoop.
"Doesn't it strike you as being a bit odd that he's washing his steps after we've had rain for the past three days?"
Jack shrugged. "Maybe he spilled something on it. Lord knows that I've spilt enough drinks out on our..."
Sam stared at Jack. "You've spilled drinks where?"
"Nowhere. It's not important."
"Is that where that large sticky spot on the deck came from?"
"Might have been."
"The wasps loved it. What was that?"
"Iced tea, with extra sugar."
Outside, Stan had set the hose down on the steps and began scrubbing at the cement with a brush. "Must have been something really mucky." Jack commented.
Sam was about to reply when the phone rang. She ran for the kitchen and answered it. "Hello?...oh, hi Janet...we're fine...you did? what did you find?...I see...yes, I'll tell him...Stan?...uh huh...okay...bye." Sam hung up the phone and found Jack looking at her questioningly.
"That was Janet."
"I gathered as much. What did she say?"
"She ran the tests on that compound in yours and Daniel's blood."
"And?" Jack prompted.
"She thinks that it was put there on purpose, to protect you."
"Protect me from what?"
"From the Goa'uld."
Jack's eyes widened. "Well, that certainly helps confirm our theory."
Sam nodded. "It certainly does."
The car drove past a roadside fruit stand and out of town. Sam rolled down her window and relished the feel of the wind on her face. The map lay spread out on her lap, flapping gently in the breeze.
"So are we going to try for Ellison Park?" Jack asked.
Sam looked down at the map and saw the park as a large green spot. "Might as well. It looks to be the closest park around."
The day had broken with a few clouds hanging in the air, but once Sam and Jack were ready to leave for their day out, the clouds had all but disappeared. The sky was a bright blue, and the sun was warm, not hot. Sam had packed peanut butter sandwiches with jam and mixed up some grape Kool-Aid.
"Does it say that I have to get off the highway anywhere?"
Sam shook her head. "Nope, you should be able to access it off the highway in about ten miles."
"You can turn the radio on if you want."
"I don't need music. Besides, I have my window rolled down, I wouldn't be able to hear it."
The scenery passed by, trees, hills, dirt. Jack saw a sign for the park and turned right off the road. The road into the park was gravel and the car bumped along it, jostling its passengers. Eventually they found themselves in a parking lot. Only one other vehicle, a brown pickup, was in the lot. Jack parked the car across the from the truck and got out to stretch his legs.
Sam got out and breathed in deeply. "Smell that." she said.
Jack breathed in. "Smells like pine trees. Smells like a lot of planets actually."
Sam opened the trunk and took out her backpack. The sandwiches were in there, along with the usual first aid kit and towels. Jack grabbed the jug with the Kool-Aid in it and slammed the trunk shut. The trailhead was marked next to a small outhouse and they headed that way.
The trail was narrow and dirt covered with wood chips. The wood chips hadn't done much to soak up the rain and as a result, it was muddy. Sam's boots squelched as she stepped down on it. She was glad that she'd had the sense to wear hiking boots, and not sandals. She hitched the pack up higher on her back and led the way down the trail.
"Where do you suppose this trail goes to?" Jack asked after they had spent half an hour walking.
"I haven't a clue. I guess we should have picked up one of those information brochures at the kiosk."
"Good hindsight there."
"It probably leads down to a lake, I saw one of those on the map."
"A lake would be nice, too bad I didn't bring my swimming trunks."
Sam raised her eyebrows suggestively, "Who says we need bathing suits?"
Jack pretended to be scandalized. "Why Major Carter, I had no idea!"
Sam laughed. "Come on, let's keep going. I think I see a clearing in the trees up ahead. That might be the lake."
"I wonder where the owner of that truck is." Jack said as they started moving again.
"Maybe he's down doing some fishing in the lake!" Sam called over her shoulder.
"Awful long way to go to do some fishing."
"You go to Minnesota. That's not a long way?"
"That's different. I have a cabin there."
Sam shrugged, not really seeing the difference. The trail hadn't widened out any since its head but it had become less muddy. Her boots were caked with mud but she could rinse them off in the lake, if they ever got there.
Sam's clearing in the trees turned out to be little more than that, a clearing in the trees. Several stumps stood there, they looked freshly cut. "Want to take a break?" Jack asked, gesturing towards the stumps. "Those would make nice seats."
The pair went over to the stumps and sat down on two of them. Sam put her pack at her feet and dug out the cups. "Fill 'em up." she said, passing the cups to Jack.
Jack poured the Kool-Aid into the cups and they drank it down. Sam grimaced at the overly sweet flavour and decided that was the last time she let Jack add the sugar. They also had water bottles in the pack, but those were for emergencies.
"Feels warm in here." Jack commented, pulling at the collar of his shirt.
"Feels nice." Sam replied, looking up at the sky.
They sat quietly for about five minutes. Sam, enjoying the warmth, and Jack debating on removing his shirt. A small rustling sound came from the bushes behind them and Jack turned around to see what it was. There was nothing there that he could see.
"Did you hear that?" he asked Sam.
Sam frowned and shook her head. "Hear what?"
"I thought I heard something in the bushes."
"It's probably just a squirrel or something. This is a forest you know."
Jack decided that Sam was probably right, as she always was, and went back to deciding whether or not to take off his shirt. The bushes behind them moved again but this time Jack didn't turn around. Sam heard it too and ignored it.
A figured emerged from the bushes, shrouded in shadows. The man flinched a bit, but the woman remained still. It was a shame that they were about to die. They really were good people.