Samantha Carter sat down with a thump. O'Neill looked up at her from his Froot Loops, as did Jackson. "Good morning to you too" said O'Neill with a hint of curiosity in his voice. Sam was exactly perky in the morning, but she also wasn't usually depressed looking.
Carter mumbled something incoherant. Daniel looked appropriately concerned and asked if he could get her something to eat. Sam declined his offer and opted instead for a cup of tea. Daniel rose and headed off to get her a cup of tea, with one cream and no sugars.
"Carter, you feeling alright this morning?" inquired O'Neill.
Sam looked up, her eyes were dull and rimmed with red. "I didn't sleep well last night sir, that's all. I guess maybe I was anxious about today's mission."
"Carter, you know it's just a routine mission, you don't have to do any presentations or anything. Hell, we could probably go to that planet without weapons."
"I'm aware of that sir, there's just something irking me, I can't explain it."
O'Neill's bottom lip protruded as he digested Carter's words. He opened his mouth to suggest that she might want to speak to General Hammond about remaining on Earth, but Daniel reappeared carrying a steaming mug of tea. He set it down in front of Carter, who put her hands about the mug, drawing warmth from it.
"Your hands cold?" asked Daniel, which was a stupid question, but he was just trying to make conversation.
Carter looked up at him and O'Neill, "It does feel a little chilly in here. Is anyone else cold?"
Both Jack and Daniel shook their heads. Carter shrugged and lifted her mug up to her lips. The three sat in silence as Jack drained the milk from his bowl, Daniel finished off his bran muffin and Sam nursed her steaming mug. After all three were finished, Jack looked at his watch. "Mission briefing in 15 minutes", he announced, "Carter, I want to speak with you before then, somewhere private."
Sam watched Jack walk away and decided that by private he probably meant his office. "You in trouble or something Sam?" asked Daniel.
Sam shook her head, "No, I don't think so, not yet anyway. He's just concerned. I told him that I didn't sleep well last night and that this mission is troubling me. I know he's going to try to convince me to stay here."
Daniel nodded knowingly, "You'd better get going."
Sam nodded and rose, leaving Daniel alone to contemplate Jack's unusual concern for Carter.
Carter approached the doors to Colonel Jack O'Neill's office with apprehension. She was beginning to wish that she had not told him that she was troubled. She sighed and pressed the buzzer. The doors slid open and she saw O'Neill sitting behind his desk, with his feet propped up on it. He looked absurdly comfortable.
"Have seat Carter." he said, gesturing to chair in front of the desk. She sat down and O'Neill put his feet back on the floor and leaned forward.
"I want you to talk to General Hammond about remaining here for this mission. We can make do just fine with just myself, Daniel and Teal'c."
"Sir, with all do respect, I think you need me on this mission. No one else knows as much as I do about the inner-workings of the Goa'uld technology and I believe that is what this mission is based around?"
"Daniel can handle much of the knowledge Carter. I want you to remain here and sleep, or take a bath or do whatever it is you do to relax."
"Sir....I don't want to remain here. I'm not sick, just tired. And you said yourself that this mission is going to be an easy one."
Jack furrowed his brow and looked at Carter. True, she did look only tired, her skin tone was her normal pale. She could rest just as easily after the mission as before. "Very well Carter, I'll let this drop. I was just...concerned for you. Now let's go, General Hammond's expecting us in briefing room 3 shortly."
As Carter stood up, she felt a brief flash of dizziness, but she figured it must be from lack of food. She'd grab a banana or something before they went through the Stargate. O'Neill noticed her expression change as she stood up but kept his mouth shut. As they walked out the door, O'Neill rested his hand, ever so lightly on the small of Carter's back.
General Hammond walked around the room, his face, as usual was unreadable as he examined his finest team. SG-1 was, indeed the most coveted team in the program, lead by Colonel Jack O'Neill, the unpredictable Air Force officer. He appeared to have little respect for his superiors, but he in fact did. Hammond's gaze settled on Major Samantha Carter, outward she appeared to be a fierce, intelligent woman but inside she was as vulnerable as a child, not that he blamed her after all that she'd been through. Then he glanced at Daniel Jackson, a civilian archaeologist who had somehow become the team's most valuable member. He was the one who was responsible for cracking the code on the stargate in the first place. Then there was Teal'c, the gentle warrior. Teal'c was a Jaffa, intertwined with the Goa'uld, but not one of them. Together the four of them were an impressive example of teamwork.
Jack sat in his chair next to Carter, not really listening to Hammond's talk about the importance of the mission. He said that every mission was important, but Hammond really couldn't get up in front of his teams and say, "well guys, I'm sending you through the Stargate to some planet, that may or may not be inhabited. This mission's not that important, actually scratch that, this mission's not worth shit but you're going anyway." Jack was more interested Sam, he couldn't really see her face, thanks to the hair that now fell down the sides of it. Not that he was complaining, he had liked Sam with short hair, but now that she had grown it, it softened her face a bit.
Just before the briefing was adjourned, Hammond passed out the folders containing each member's specific duty. Daniel opened his up enthusiastically, but everyone else just looked at theirs. "I want all of you dressed and ready to depart and in front of the gate in 15 minutes. Carter I suggest you perk up before leaving. Dismissed."
The four rose to their feet and were out the door before Hammond could even say another word. Sam headed for her quarters, but Jack at her side. "Even General Hammond noticed that you weren't yourself." he said, hoping he wouldn't agitate her.
"I just need to eat something sir." she said and by now they had reached her quarters. The doors slid open and Carter stepped between the them, "I'll see you in 15 minutes Jack."
Sam looked around her rather spartan quarters. They were comfortable for the amount of time she spent in them. Her fridge was well stocked and she opened it, hoping that something would jump out at her. Nothing appealed to her, but she knew she had to eat. Reluctantly she picked up a banana and proceeded to peel it. She choked it down with a glass of orange juice and then went to change into her fatigues.
The team assembled in front of the gate and soon the familiar sound of the chevrons locking was heard. The iris opened and SG-1 began to ascend the ramp.
SG-1 was deposited on a planet that was similar to Earth. Carter and O'Neill immediately began to locate the DHD, while Daniel remained alert and Teal'c investigated their immediate surroundings. Carter and O'Neill made a mental note of the DHD's location and the team proceeded away from the gate. They encountered no humanoid lifeforms and soon reached the location they had been instructed to catalogue. Jack holstered his weapon, and the rest of the team followed suit. "Well, this looks exciting", said O'Neill looking at the pile of rubble, "let's get cracking."
Daniel could barely contain his enthusiasm, while Teal'c remained as calm and composed as he always was. Each member knew what their duty was and got down to work.
As the team broke for lunch, Jack looked over at Sam, who was listlessly examining a piece of carved stone. She showed no interest in getting up, or even looking up. He walked over to her and tapped her shoulder. She slowly turned her head to look at him. He crouched down beside her, "Hey, you doing okay?"
Sam nodded, "yeah, I'm fine."
"We're eating lunch now" said Jack, gesturing to the rest of the team who had spread out their blankets and were unpacking their lunches.
Sam looked down at her knapsack, "I forgot to pack a lunch."
Jack couldn't believe she had just said that, Sam never forgot anything, especially her lunch. He hadn't packed a huge lunch but he could probably part with half a sandwich. "I can share mine with you."
She shook her head, "I really, don't feel like eating. I just want to have a drink."
"Well then, come on, even if you're not eating, don't sit here in front of this dusty pile of old...stuff. We'll go sit down by Daniel."
Jack stood up and offered Sam his hand. To his surprise, she took it and he pulled her up. She seemed a little unsteady on her feet, so he put his arm around her waist to steady her. After Jack spread out a blanket, they both sat down and Sam pulled a flask of water from her knapsack. She drank it all. Jack gaped at her and hoped she had brought more than one.
Daniel sat watching Sam and Jack. He knew that Jack harboured romantic feelings for Sam but he was never openly....sweet with her. But here he was, sharing his blanket with her and he had seen him slip his arm around her waist earlier. He knew, even though he was non-military that it was strictly against the rules for a superior to have any kind of non-professional relationship with a subordinate. But then Jack never seemed to respect the rules, but he knew that Sam followed them to a tee. This was all getting confusing. If General Hammond knew that two of his team members were getting flirty offworld....
Jack stuffed the last of ham and cheese sandwich into his mouth. Sam was just sitting there, staring off into the distance. He reached out and lightly touched her shoulder. She turned to look at him. "Seriously Sam, are you alright?" he asked, his voice dead serious.
She shook her head, "I want to go back."
Jack nodded, "Not feeling well?"
"No..I really don't feel well at all."
Jack took his hand off her shoulder and laid it across her forehead. She was burning up. He frowned and put his arm around her waist, pulling her up. She wavered a bit in his grasp and finally leaned against him.
Daniel watched Jack caress Sam's face and finally pull her up. He was probably going to take her some place more private and seduce her. Instead, they seemed to be coming his way.
"Jackson, Major Carter is not well. But I want to continue this mission. I'm going to take Carter and send her back through the gate. I want you and Teal'c back to work ASAP."
"Understood, I hope Carter feels better soon."
Jack made his way back to the DHD, almost dragging Carter along beside him. It would probably be easier to pick her up, but he reasoned, as long as she could walk, he was in no position to be carrying her. The small pile of stones came into view and Jack was still dragging Carter. She had slumped against him and Jack was willing to bet that she had almost lost consciousness. He was going to have to go through the gate with her. Jack stopped and looked at the final 20 metres or so. He sighed and scooped Carter up and continued on. It was easier to carry her.
Jack dialed Earth and watched as the gate began to move. The chevrons clicked into place and he could imagine the alarms going off at the Stagate facility. But as soon as he and Carter entered the gate, the computer would pick up their patterns and alert General Hammond and whoever was on duty that it was their own coming through. The gate stopped moving and Jack waited for the outburst of blue stuff. It never came. So he tried dialling again, still nothing happened. He put Carter down and hit the device a couple of times.
"Piece of crap thing!" he muttered and bent down to try to talk to Carter. He slapped her face gently a few times and she opened her eyes.
"Sam, I can't get the gate to open. Something's wrong."
"Maybe you got the wrong number" she mumbled.
"Sam I'm serious, something's wrong. You're going to have to help me. Come on, sit up, look at it, tell me what's wrong."
Jack got behind her and lifter her up by her shoulders. She groaned and he supported her back. Sam reached up and dialed Earth herself. The gate began to rotate but as Jack had found, the last chevron would not lock.
"Must be broken" she said.
"Can we fix it?" Jack asked anxiously.
"We need to get Daniel."
So Jack picked Sam back up and they began to make their way back to the investigation site. As they approached the area, Jack called out for Daniel and Teal'c. There was no response. He noticed their blankets still spread out and set Carter down on one. He walked around the area, growing more frantic by the second. There was no trace of his collegues. He returned to Carter and knelt down beside her.
"Sam, I don't know where Daniel and Teal'c are."
"Something's gone wrong, I knew it would" she murmered.
Jack was suddenly frightened as he gently stroked Sam's face.
Jack glanced nervously around the surrounding area. There was still no trace of Daniel and Teal'c. He wanted to go off and investigate further but didn't want to leave Sam alone, in case something were to happen to him. He looked down again at the woman, lying helpless on a discarded blanket. She appeared to be asleep but Jack was fearing for the worst. Her face was flushed, and her blonde hair was fanned out from her head, giving her an unearthly appearance. Jack knew that if she were to open her eyes, that they would be a deep blue, glistening from the fever.
With a sigh Jack sat down beside Sam, keeping one hand on her shoulder. He shook her gently, waiting for a response, but she was silent. He leant over a bit, putting his cheek to her face and was relieved to still feel a small, warm, puff of air. It was getting later, the sun was slowly making it's path across the sky. Jack knew nothing of the night time temperatures on this planet but figured that finding shelter for himself and Sam was most likely his best bet.
"Sam", he whispered, even though he was pretty sure she couldn't hear him, "I'm going to leave you for a while now. I'll be back, I promise. Don't you dare wake up on me now."
Jack winced as he stood up, carrying Carter had taken its toll on his arms and back. She might be slender but she was almost as tall as he was. A slight, cool breeze was picking up and Jack grabbed the other blanket to cover Sam with while he was gone. Giving Sam a final once over, he turned and headed for a forest in the near distance.
Either Jack was getting old and tired, or his depth perception had completely left him, the nearby forest had turned out to be an hour's walk away. He half hoped that there would be no suitable shelter in it so he wouldn't have to carry Carter all the way, but then as soon as he thought that, he felt guilty. He would carry Carter to the ends of the Earth and back again if it would save her life.
As Jack stepped over the tree branches and rocks, he marvelled at how similar this was to the forests back on Earth. The trees were tall and coniferous, swaying ever so slightly in the breeze. There was something about the damp, earthy smell of the forest that made Jack feel young again. He could almost forget about his greying hair and aching muscles as he strode confidently towards the sound of rushing water.
As Jack approached the small river he thought back to Carter's empty drinking flask. His own flask was still mostly full, and he was already planning on letting Carter have that once she woke up but eventually she would need more water and he couldn't hold off dehydration forever. He crouched down despite his protesting knees and looked more closely into the water. The river was fast flowing which he knew allowed the water to be changed over. There was less chance of bacteria infecting a fast flowing river than in a stagnant pool. The water looked crystal clear. Jack put his hand into it and found it to be cold, it was probably fed from a glacier high up on the mountain range. He kept that in mind as he stood up and made his way further down river.
To Jack's disappointment, he came across no caves in the vicinity of the stream. But there had been a small area that was enclosed by fallen trees and small bushes. If he could pad it with the boughs of the trees and somehow put a covering over it, it would do nicely for him and Carter to spend the night.
Jack walked briskly back through the forest, fueled by his discovery of the river and the shelter. He arrived at Sam within 45 minutes of leaving the forest edge. She was still asleep, curled up with the blanket pulled high around her chin. It was probably best to let her sleep it off. Jack bent over and scooped up Carter with both of the blankets still around her. He shifted her a bit until he could walk with minimal discomfort. It would have been easier if she wasn't such a dead weight, if she could wrap her arms around his neck as he carried her, he wouldn't have to worry about them flopping around and hitting his side. Of course if he was carrying Carter and she had her arms around his neck, they most definitely would not be heading into a forest in an attempt to survive the night.
It took them just over two hours to reach the enclosed area. Jack set Sam down and stretched his arms and back. He would be lucky if he could even move the next morning. He shoved all of his own problems to the back of his mind and began gathering anything that would be remotely comfortable to sleep on. He looked at the blanket under Carter but decided they would be better off if they had all blankets covering themselves, which was four in total.
It was getting dark and Jack had given up on trying to cover their little area. If it rained, they would get wet. His stomach growled loudly, reminding him that it hadn't been fed for close to 8 hours. He thought longingly of a nice juicy steak with baked potatoes and briefly wondered if any of the plants around here were edible. Carter would know, he made a mental note to ask her when she woke up. The wind had changed directions and Jack hoped that didn't mean a storm was approaching. At his feet, Carter rolled over and moaned softly. Jack decided it was time for bed.
After moving Carter onto the small bed he had fashioned, he lay down next to her. He pulled the blankets up to where he could reach them and he steeled himself, pressing his body against the length of hers, spoon style. Her body was radiating heat and a certain part of his anatomy was coming very close to reminding him that he was very intimately laying with the woman he loved. Drawing the blankets up to cover them both, he slung an arm over her, pulling her closer and waited for sleep.
Sam awoke the next morning with the unfamiliar sensation of having another body pressed against hers, that and a pounding headache. Her mouth was dry and she felt a bit queasy. She tried to move, but could only shift her body ever so slightly. The limp hand that was across her, fell onto her breast as she struggled to move. It occured to her that she really had no idea who the hand belonged to and she stared at it. Well, she could be certain that it wasn't Teal'c who was copping an unintentional feel.
Jack felt movement in his arms and he slowly opened his eyes. There was a fair amount of sunlight filtering in through the trees and he thanked his lucky stars that it hadn't rained. He then turned his attention to the woman in his arms. Oh sweet mother of all that's good and pure, his hand was laying on her breast.
Sam felt the body behind hers shift and tore her gaze away from the hand on her chest. She opened her mouth to try and speak but nothing came out. She was too thirsty to talk. She felt the warm weight of the hand move off her breast and onto her shoulder.
"Sam", Jack whispered into her ear while giving her shoulder a gentle squeeze. He was, at the same time, sending messages to his groin to behave itself.
Sam heard the voice in her ear and recognized it instantly. It was Jack. It was Jack pressed up against her, it was Jack who as of recently was grabbing her boob. Sam vaguely wondered why she had never noticed Jack's gun digging into her back before.
"Sam", Jack whispered again, this time his tone more urgent. He had received no response before and was getting concerned. She shifted again and Jack pulled himself away from her. She was awake, her face was no longer flushed but rather a pasty white. She opened her mouth as if to say something but she made no sound. Jack reached beside himself and grabbed for his knapsack. He produced his flask and Carter's eyes opened wider. Obviously she was thirsty.
Propping her up against an old tree, Jack handed her the flask and watched her greedily down the water. His own mouth was feeling gummy and he thought about the river.
"Hey Sam", he said, "how you feeling?"
Sam grimaced and this time actually said something, "Been better sir, what happened?"
"What's the last thing you remember?"
"I was examining some, carved stone and you told me it was time for lunch. I remember drinking some water and that's it. Where are we sir?"
Jack made himself more comfortable and said, "We're still on Pacifica. You weren't feeling well and I was going to take you back to SGC. When I tried to dial home, there was a problem and the last chevron would not engage. So we went back to get Daniel but there was no sign of him or Teal'c. I looked around for both of them but it was getting late and I wanted to find shelter for the night. So I went into this forest and found this spot. And that pretty brings us up to where we are now."
"You don't know what happened to Daniel and Teal'c?"
Jack shook his head sadly, "no clue, but I'm glad that..."
"Glad that what sir?"
"Glad that you didn't disappear on me too."
They sat in silence for a while, each gathering their thoughts and bearings.
Sam broke the silence, "Sir, you know how you and Teal'c were stuck in that timeloop? You never did answer Daniel's question, did you do anything crazy?"
Jack clearly looked uncomfortable with the question, "Nothing that would get me thrown in jail..at least not right away." He remembered feeling Sam's soft lips pressed up against hers and wondered if maybe, just maybe he would be able to do that again someday.
"Doesn't seem like that long ago that we were in a similar situation." Sam observed.
"With this job it never is long is it Carter." Jack said wryly.
"Do you ever regret getting involved with the SGC sir?"
"Well considering I was there when the damned gate was discovered, I don't see that I had much of a choice. You on the other hand.."
"I wanted to get involved sir. I can't say that I've ever really regretted it."
Jack looked into Sam's eyes, "Sam, could we cut the formalities? With you calling me sir all the time...well it just gets a little annoying. Okay, damned annoying. So call me Jack or at the very least, O'Neill."
Sam nodded, "I never asked you if you were okay"
"I'm fine Sam. A little thirsty and very hungry but physically, I'm fine. Speaking of that, there's a river near here, maybe you could take a look at it, you know tell me if it's safe to drink. And say, you don't happen to know anything about edible wild plants do you?"
"Jack...you know, I can't tell if water is safe to drink just by looking at it and I do know somethings about wild plants but this isn't Earth."
"Damn close enough don't you think?"
Sam nodded in agreement, "If you could help me up here, we can go take a look at that river and plants."
Jack stood up and held out his hand for Sam. She took and stood up. She wavered a bit and leaned against Jack. Once she steadied herself, she tried to pull away, but Jack snaked an arm around her waist and held her close to him. Together Jack lead her the river.
The day passed relatively smoothly. Jack had suggested making their way back to the gate but Sam had told him that she didn't think she would be able to make it. Some wild plants that Sam had deemed as edible were found and eventually their thirst won out against the fear of bacteria and the water flasks were filled from the river. Sam couldn't help but remember the feeling of Jack's hand pressed against her breast and words Jack had spoken not more than a month before were echoing around her brain ~~I care about her....a lot more than I'm supposed to~~ ~~I would have rather died myself than lose Carter~~
"Sam! You feeling alright?" Jack called anxiously.
"Fine..I guess." Sam sat down on the tree boughs. She wanted to test Jack, to see if he would still do the same thing, "Jack, why don't you go back to the stargate without me. See what you can do, maybe you can dial home now. Go home and get a team to come get me and search the area for Teal'c and Daniel."
Jack looked at Sam, her eyes were downcast. "Sam, I'm not leaving you. We'll wait until you're ready to go."
"What about Daniel and Teal'c? What if they're dying because you're here with me?"
"What do you want me to say Sam? Do you want me to leave? Do you want to be left here alone? I don't want to leave you Sam. Daniel and Teal'c they are my friends, but you...."
Sam looked up, "I'm what Jack"
"You're so much more Sam, you know that. We both know that."
Jack sat down beside Sam and put his arm around her shoulder. "We've been through a lot Sam, we'll make it through this. All of us."
Sam looked up into Jack's face, "then no, I don't want you to leave. I want you to stay here with me."
"I'll always stay Sam, I'll always stay."
Sam felt tears prick her eyes. She wished that wasn't feeling so emotional right now. She did not want Jack to see her cry.
Jack felt Sam's shoulders tremble and realized that she was crying. He took her into his arms and shushed her, rocking her gently like a baby and stroking her hair. It dawned on him that he hadn't done anything like that since his son died. He wished Charlie were still around to meet Sam, he would have liked her.
Jack nuzzled his face up to her ear, "Sam, you want to know what crazy thing I did while in the loop?"
Sam nodded and the next thing she knew Jack was brushing his lips against hers. Sam took a breath and pressed her lips against his.
Jack cleared his throat, "well, was it *that* crazy? You be the judge."
Sam blushed, "no sir, not crazy at all."
Jack frowned, "What did I tell you about the sir thing Sam."
Jack chuckled and gently kissed her again, "We'll get out of this Sam, we always do."
Sam awoke the next morning feeling much more alive than she had for the past few days. Aside from the empty feeling in her stomach, she could have been waking up from a night spent off-world with her team, all of them. Beside her, Jack was also moving, his arm around her was trying to pull her closer. Sam suddenly felt as if she were a giant teddy bear and the colonel was a small child snuggling with her. She bet that Danny would just love to find out that Jack was a snuggler.
Sam poked Jack in the side and waited for a response. Jack merely sighed and squeezed her side. Sam frowned and this time pinched his arm. That got his attention.
"Jesus Sam, what did ya do that for?"
"Could you please release your death grip on me? I gotta pee."
Jack complied and let her go. He watched her walk away from him and further into the forest. Speaking of peeing, he could use a visit to the friendly neighbourhood tree as well. All this peeing in the woods by a tree was making him feel like a dog, he didn't have to lift his leg or anything, but it might be interesting to try it one time. Jack decided he would wait until Carter came back, as he didn't want to risk his life by accidently stumbling across her. He stood up slowly, trying to ignore the ache in his arms and back. When they got back he'd ask Doc Fraiser for something to help with the pain, no doubt he'd be spending several hours in the infirmary.
The snapping of twigs alerting Jack that Sam was returning and he turned to face her. She was looking much better, aside from the dirt in her hair and on her face, her complexion was back to normal and her eyes were bright and clear. Jack decided that it must have been one of those 24 hour bugs. She stood next to him and Jack leaned over and kissed her softly.
"You had better not get used to doing that.", she stated.
"Doing what Sam?"
"Kissing me and stuff, you know that once we get back...once we get back we'll have to forget this ever happened."
"Don't think I can do that."
"You're going to have to. I can't walk into the briefing room and have you plant one on me in front of the General."
"I didn't tell you that when I kissed you during the loop that the General was there, did I?"
"Were you out of your mind??? What did he say?"
"Actually, I think I was out of my mind, and he didn't say much. I handed in my resignation before I did it, so all he could was watch and learn."
Sam chuckled, wishing that she could remember that. If it weren't for Jack's uncanny knowledge of Latin, and the timespan that the Tok'ra had been trying to contact them, she never would have believed that the loop had happened at all.
Jack scratched his head, "God what I wouldn't give for a nice hot shower and a giant dinner."
"Mmm..me too." Sam nodded in agreement.
Jack eyed the river, "of course, we could always use that."
"That water is freezing cold. I'm sure that you of all people would not want to go in there."
"What are the chances that there's a hot spring around here?"
Sam shrugged, "If you look hard enough and far enough there's probably one. Wouldn't it make more sense just to head back to the gate and see what we can do?"
Jack agreed, though he kept picturing Sam naked in a steaming pool. That picture was certainly better than the one he got of himself in the freezing river. They gathered up their blankets and other accessories and headed out through the woods.
The walk wasn't nearly as long as Jack had remembered it to be, of course his animated conversation with Carter had probably helped. They approached the site that they had been exploring and cataloging and Jack looked eagerly around for Daniel and Teal'c.
"What do you suppose the chances are that Danny and Teal'c have already gone back to SGC?", he asked Sam.
"Probably not good, if they had gone back, wouldn't there be another team here looking for us or at the very least a M.A.L.P.?"
"Maybe the General finally went off his rocker or the entire staff secretly doesn't like us anymore."
Sam shook her head and scanned the area. Jack had been right, there was no sign of where Daniel and Teal'c could have possibly gone.
"Let's go look at the gate Sir."
If Jack noticed her use of Sir, he showed no sign and they began to head towards the gate.
Sam dialled out and watched as the gate began to move, "Looks fine to me" she said.
"Yeah, but it does this and then just before the last chevron is supposed to lock, it cuts out."
Sam counted as the chevrons engaged..one..two..three...She could hear Jack counting underneath his breath as well. Sam gave Jack a weird look as the seventh and last chevron locked into place the gate jumped to life.
"I'm not crazy Carter, it really didn't work. You were there too!"
"I don't remember being there, but if you say so."
"Let's go, we've gotta get a team out here to look for Danny and Teal'c."
The two walked up to the gate and into the faux liquid.
General George Hammond barked the order to open the iris and watched as two figured emerged from the gate. It was Colonel O'Neill and Major Carter. "Stand down!" he ordered and the men with arms stood up and relaxed.
Hammond walked around and entered the gate room, "Colonel O'Neill, where are Daniel Jackson and Teal'c?"
"I have no idea Sir, they disappeared."
"What the hell happened to you Major, you look terrible!"
"Long story Sir", she replied.
Hammond didn't look at all pleased, "I want you both to report to the infirmary. Then I want you both in my office at 1300 hours, is that understood?"
Both nodded and headed out of the gateroom and down the corridor to the infirmary.
Doctor Janet Fraiser frowned, "So she was unconscious for how long?"
Jack shrugged, "Four, maybe six hours."
Janet looked at Sam, "I don't remember anything except for feeling very faint just before I apparently passed out."
Sam winced at Janet stuck a needle in her arm and starting drawing blood, "I'm going to do some blood tests and urine tests on both of you."
Janet stuck the vial of Sam's blood in her jacket pocket and produced two paper cups from the drawer. "You know the drill."
****General Hammond's Office 1300 Hours****
When Sam walked into the room, she saw Jack and the General waiting for her and remembered her words earlier about Jack planting one on her in front of the General.
"Major, you look better."
"Thank you Sir."
Hammond sat down and then Sam and Jack followed suit. "So, tell me what exactly happened."
Jack sat back and launched into his story.
****ROUGHLY 2 HOURS LATER****
"So then Major Carter and I made our way back to the gate and she dialed out and the bloody thing worked!"
General Hammond rubbed his eyes and suppressed a yawn, "Glad that you and the Major made it back safely Colonel. I'll be organizing a team to go back to the planet."
Jack jumped up, "permission to be on the team sir!"
Hammond shook his head, "I want you and Major Carter to remain on Earth. You need some time to rest, especially Carter." He glanced at his watch, "I'm expecting Doctor Fraiser here in a couple of minute with your test results."
Jack sat back down, clearly disappointed with the General's orders. He no doubt felt as guilty as hell about losing Daniel and Teal'c and wanted to do something about it.
As if on cue, the door opened and Janet Fraiser entered, carrying two folders. The General gestured to a chair beside Sam. Janet sat down and placed the folders on the General's desk.
"All the test results came back negative. Major Carter's blood work did show a sign of a prior infection but other than some low counts, there is nothing unusual. The Major and the Colonel are not pregnant, are not HIV positive and show no sign of hepatitis and any other illness."
"Thank you doctor."
Jack glanced at Janet, "You did a pregnancy test on me?"
Janet ignored him and continued, "I'm going to recommend that Major Carter be allowed several days to recuperate before going offworld and Colonel, you look tired, go home and get some rest."
General Hammond stood up and stretched his tired back, "You heard the doctor, go home. We'll handle the situation here."
Sam and Jack rose from their seats and started to head out the door. Jack stopped, "Oh Janet, would it possible to get something from you that would ease some muscle pain? The Major here is a lot heavier than she looks."
Janet smiled, "Of course Colonel, follow me."
Sam smiled as well and headed topside. Unlike the Colonel, she was more than ready to go home and get some rest.
Sam left the Cheyenne Mountain complex with several thoughts weighing heavily on her mind. The first and foremost thought was of Daniel and Teal'c. She felt guilty for not volunteering like the Colonel had for a mission to search and hopefully rescue them. And then the second thought was of Jack and all that they had experienced while on the planet. He had kissed her, and it wasn't just a one time occurance. They had talked a bit too, but nothing had been decided. Sam tried to push both thoughts out of head and enjoy spending a night in the comforts of her own apartment, with cotton sheets and big, fluffy pillows.
Jack was feeling immensely better as the pain medication Janet had given him, was starting to kick in. He knew that his orders were to go home and get some rest, but he wanted to bum around the base for a while before heading out. Out of habit, he started in the direction of Carter's lab, but then remembered that she had gone home. He wished she were here, but he was glad that she had gone to rest. Jack realized that there was really no one around the base that he cared to go see. Sergeant Siler was the only one on duty that he even knew and Siler wasn't really in the mood for talking to him since Jack had accidently pushed him over the railing. Jack stood for a while in the empty grey hallway before deciding to head home and go to see Carter in the morning.
Sam woke up the next day to the buzzing of the door alarm. She groaned a bit before looking at the clock and seeing that it was 10:00. It wasn't too early for someone to come and see her. As she stumbled for the intercom, she decided it had to be Janet checking up on her.
Jack stood outside of Carter's apartment complex, pushing the button next to the name "S. Carter" at regular intervals. He knew she was home and he figured she was probably just ignoring it. He grinned and extended a finger to stab the button when Carter's rather sleepy voice came over the intercom, "Who is it?"
At first Jack felt stupid for waking her up, but then decided it wasn't so bad, if she let him soon, he might be able to see her in her pj's. "Hey..it's me, can I come up?"
There a moment of silence before Carter replied, "sure, sir, I'll buzz you in. Just a second."
Jack noticed the sir was back again but thought nothing more of it as he made his way over to the double glass doors that lead into the lobby. When the buzzing sounded, he pulled the doors open and headed into the spacious lobby.
Sam glanced around her apartment and down at her current attire. She panicked as she looked at the glasses and unfolded blankets strewn about and at her blue silk pjs. 'Dammit Sam, get ahold of yourself! He doesn't care if your place is a mess or that you're not dressed! Get over it!' Out of pure nervousness, Sam walked over to the microwave and tried to fix her hair in the reflection of the glass.
Jack whistled a jaunty tune as he strode down the hallway towards Sam's door. He imagined himself knocking on the door and Sam opening it, dressed only a sleeveless silk and lace nightgown. He would flash her his most charming smile and she would wrap her arms around him and pull him into the apartment, all the while kissing him frantically. Of course, that wasn't how it would happen, but a man could dream.
Jack reached the door and knocked a few times before stepping back to wait. He didn't have to wait long before Carter opened it, revealing her tousled blonde hair and rumpled blue pjs. Jack had to grin, this was, in many ways, even better than his daydream. This was the real Carter, the Carter he loved, and she looked so darn cute! Before he knew what he was doing, he had stepped forward and pressed his lips against hers.
Sam pushed him away almost as soon as his lips touched hers. It wasn't that she didn't want him to kiss her..it was just that...'oh no, he looks hurt' She reached out and grabbed his hand, pulling him into her apartment.
Jack looked around as Sam shut the door. He figured she couldn't be too mad if she had pulled him into her home. Sam looked at him for a while before opening her mouth to speak, "Uh sorry about that, it's just that I have really nosy neighbours."
Jack nodded, chuckling, "Don't want them to see you making out with an old man, is that it?"
Sam rolled her eyes, "not even close sir. The lady next door, you know that old bag, Mrs Pratt? Well, Daniel somehow managed to make friends with her and if she sees us, she'll tell him and well, you know. Besides, I think she wants me to get together with Danny.."
Jack reached out and lightly touched her arm, "we really need to talk Sam."
Sam nodded slowly, "Do you mind if I take a shower and get dressed first? Then maybe we can go take a walk and talk or something. Make yourself at home."
"Sounds good to me. Do you mind if I snoop around your kitchen? I'm feeling kind of hungry."
"I said make yourself at home sir. Not sure what you'll find in the kitchen, I haven't exactly been home a lot lately."
Jack shrugged and Sam headed towards her room to grab her robe before taking a shower. He decided that among the topics of their upcoming conversation would be that incessant "sir".
As Jack poked around Sam's kitchen, he realized that she was right, there wasn't much of anything that screamed, "eat me!!" at him. Maybe he'd for go the food idea for now, he'd live. Besides, he and Sam could hit a cozy little cafe later. So Jack took a seat on the sofa and began reading the latest on the new fall fashions. He'd never pegged Sam as the "Vogue" kind of woman, but it stood to reason that she was a tall, attractive blonde and even though she was USAF, she could still be a woman.
When Sam walked out into the living room, she couldn't help but smile at the Colonel engrossed in the latest issue of Vogue. She plopped herself down next to him and pointed to a textured brown skirt, "I think your legs would look great in this." Jack hastily closed the magazine and threw it back onto the coffee table.
"You know Sir, I would have thought you would be at the base, harassing the General to let you return to Pacifica."
Jack shook his head, "I tried that Sam, the guards wouldn't let me through the doors. Apparently they had orders from Hammond not to let me have clearance today."
Sam raised her eyebrows, "I guess he really wanted you to get some relaxion. Besides, I'm sure he's already got a team off-world looking for them."
"Doesn't make me feel any better. I am responsible for those two and I should be out there looking."
"It's weighing on my conscience too Sir, but there's nothing we can do right now, so what's say we get started on that walk?"
Jack smiled and stood up. Sam followed suit and soon both of them had grabbed their jackets and were heading down the hall towards the elevator. "We can take my car", Jack said, "did you have anywhere in particular in mind?"
Sam looked thoughful for a bit before saying, "What was that place that all of us went with Janet and Cassie to? You know the place with the lake and that rocky path that Daniel got stuck on?"
"That's a good idea, I haven't been back there since but I remember there being some good walking trails."
They spent a comfortable silence until they reached Jack's Pathfinder. Jack unlocked the doors and they got in. As Sam was doing up her seatbelt her stomach let out a very unlady-like rumble. Jack glanced in her direction, "You wanna grab a bite to eat before we head out to the park?"
Sam blushed, "Sounds like it might be a good idea!"
Sam tried to look out the window as Jack drove through the streets towards a little cafe that he promised Sam "she would love" but her eyes kept drifting over to the driver's seat, or rather the person in the mentioned seat. She knew they had crossed that line and now there was no turning back. In a sick way, Sam was almost happy that Daniel and Teal'c had disappeared. If they had been there when the Colonel had returned from the malfunctioning Stargate, then they would not have gotten to spend those couple days together.
Jack tried to stifle a grin as he noticed out of the corner of his eye how Sam kept glancing in his direction and then jerking her head back towards the window. He knew they had crossed that fine line between friends and something more. The line that he was never suppose to cross and had never intended to cross. Sam had intrigued him when they first met with her offer to arm wrestle and he remembered her promise of "you'll like me once you get to know me" He certainly had gotten to like her....
Jack steered the vehicle into a roadside parking space and announced their arrival. Sam hopped out and glanced at the cafe. It wasn't a place she could imagine Jack O'Neill in, but she was willing to give it a try. Jack walked over to her side and casually, as if they had done it a million times before, grasped her hand with his. Together they walked into the cafe and selected a booth at the back.
Sam finished off the last bite of her club sandwich and watched Jack coax the last drop of rootbeer out of his mug. "I think it's gone Jack", Sam said with a smile playing on her lips. Jack put the mug down and eyed Sam's own mug. He gestured with an eyebrow towards the half-full mug sitting in front of her. Sam snorted softly and pushed the mug towards him.
Jack finished off Sam's drink and paid the bill. His hand found hers again as they walked back to the Pathfinder. "Nice place, we'll have to do it again sometime." Sam said. Jack nodded in agreement and unlocked the doors.
Sam spent the majority of the trip to the park pretending to be intrigued with her shoes. She didn't know what to say to him, so the ride was mostly silent. Jack spoke up once asking her if she wanted him to stop so he could buy her a bottle of water or something since he had drank most of her beverage at lunch. Sam declined his offer and went back to staring at her shoes. Jack drove out of the city and into a more rural area. Sam inwardly sighed, it was too bad that she was stuck underground or offworld for the majority of her days, she missed the great outdoors of Earth. Making a mental note to herself to accept the next time Jack offered to take her fishing, Sam lifted her head and watched as the scenery became more and more wild.
Jack drove through the gates to the park and looked over at Sam, who was looking wistfully out the window. "Penny for them", Jack said softly as he selected a parking spot.
Sam looked over at him, "it's gonna cost you a lot more than a penny to get inside this head"
Jack raised an eyebrow, wondering what she could possibly mean.
Sam sighed, "I was just thinking about how much I miss this...."
Jack cocked his head, "this?"
Sam nodded, "yeah, this. Just going out and doing things. Sometimes I just want to forget about the Goa'uld, about the SGC, forget the fact that my father has a symbiote and that I once was an alien."
Jack gave Sam a small smile, "I never thought I would ever hear Major Carter say that...now get out of the car!"
Sam opened her door and got out. She breathed in the clear air, softly scented with pine and was instantly reminded of the forest where she and Jack had taken refuge on Pacifica. Jack took her hand again and they started for the trailhead.
They had walked for about five minutes in silence before Jack stopped suddenly, surprising Sam. "So" he prompted, "we're walking, when are we gonna start talking?"
Sam shrugged, "now I guess."
"Now huh..well then Sam, I think we both know what's going on."
Sam nodded slowly, "I never thought I'd be having this conversation with you Sir."
Jack wished he could go back in time and kill the bastard who invented the word sir, it was the damn sir that was stopping them from attaining what they both wanted. He took his hand off of Sam's, wrapped his arm around her waist and continued walking. Sam stared at her two arms, not quite knowing what to do with either before deciding to return Jack's gesture and slipping it around him. Jack smiled as he felt Sam's arm on him.
"We both know what's going on and I think we both know why it is completely, and in every way, wrong." Jack continued.
"I don't think it's wrong in every way.." Sam replied, "in fact it's right in the most important way....."
Sam was cut off by the shrill ringing of a phone coming from Jack's pocket. Jack cast a glare at his pocket that could have killed a fly from 30 paces. He reached in and grabbed the phone, "What!"
Sam watched as Jack rudely answered the phone and then proceeded to nod a few times before sayin, "we'll be there shortly Sir" He stuffed the phone back in his pocket.
"What was that about?" Sam asked, knowing that it had to have been General Hammond.
Jack sighed, "The General...SG-6 has located Daniel and Teal'c. They're in the infirmary right now, but only as a precaution apparently. The General wants us there ASAP."
"Guess we'd better take a raincheck on this walk then" Sam said.
"Unfortunately yes, now what were you saying before we were so rudely interrupted?" Jack slipped his arm back around her.
Sam smiled, "I was saying that it's right in the most important way...." She and Jack turned around and headed back down the path.
As Sam and Jack approached the entrance to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Jack muttered, "Hope the good General's reinstated my clearance" He slowed down and stopped the vehicle at the gate. The guard in the booth looked in the vehicle as both Sam and Jack flashed their passes at him.
The guard nodded, "Good day Colonel and Major, please continue" The gate pulled open and Jack drove through. He parked his car in his customary spot. Before they exited the vehicle, Jack grabbed Sam's hand, "Dinner tonight?"
Sam grinned, "sounds good Colonel, we'd better get going though, the General's probably gone irate waiting for us."
Jack resisted the urge to block the security camera in the elevator and make out with Sam. They stood a respectable distance away from each other and both tried to pretend that just half an hour earlier they hadn't decided to persue a relationship despite the regulations. Sam tried not to giggle as she saw the Colonel stuff his hands into his pocket and look away from her.
The two entered the infirmary and saw Janet hovering over Daniel. Teal'c was sitting up on a bed and Jack went over to him. "Teal'c buddy! Good to see ya!" Jack said, giving Teal'c a hearty pat on the shoulder.
Teal'c raised an eyebrow, "It is good to see you as well O'Neill."
Sam headed for Janet and Daniel. Janet glanced up as she heard Sam's approach, "How are feeling today Sam?" she asked.
Sam nodded, "I'm good." She gestured to Daniel, who appeared to be asleep, "how's he?"
"He's exhausted, but otherwise fine. Same with Teal'c, though to a much lesser degree."
Sam nodded again, "do we know what exactly happened to them?"
Janet sighed, "Teal'c has told all that he remembers. Daniel was too weak to talk to us when he was brought back. We'll have to wait until he wakes up before we'll know."
"What did SG-6 have to say?" queried Sam.
"Not much", said Janet, "According to them, they were on Pacifica for several hours before they found Daniel and Teal'c in a small cave. Both were unconscious at the time of discovery. They managed to wake Teal'c, and Daniel awoke enroute to the Stargate. There was no signs of any recent activity in the cave and I have been unable to find any signs of mistreatment on either of them."
Jack came up behind the two women, "Well ladies, what's say we go have a little chit chat with the General. I have some things I want to discuss with him."
Janet put down her clipboard, "Let's go, he's expecting you two in his office."
The three entered General Hammond's office and took a seat. The General leaned forward over the desk, "I trust that you two have already been to see Teal'c and Doctor Jackson and Doctor Fraiser has briefed you on their conditions?"
Sam nodded and Jack pretended that he'd spoken to Janet.
The General, seeing their nods of affirmation continued, "I need to know if either you saw anything out of the ordinary while on P5X 404."
Jack cleared his throat, "Just what do you classify as 'out of the ordinary' General?"
"Any signs of life, threatening or otherwise. Any unusual rock formations?"
Sam spoke up, "I don't recall seeing anything out of the ordinary. The planet was very much like Earth, except there was no signs of life."
Jack shrugged, "there were lots of trees."
"Well Colonel, I doubt a tree could have done anything to Dr Jackson and Teal'c. At this point I'm open to extreme possibilities as to what might have happened to my men. Major, Doctor, do you have anything to add?"
Janet shook her head, "I have found nothing immediately out of the ordinary with either of them. I am, however, still awaiting their bloodwork."
Sam glanced at Jack before speaking up, "Permission to return to the planet Sir." She knew Jack would back her in the request.
The General shook his head, "I'm afraid I can't allow that Major. Dr Fraiser hasn't given you the okay yet and besides, we don't know what's out there."
Jack stood up, "with all due respect Sir, I believe it may be in the best interest of the SGC, if Major Carter and I are allowed to return to P5X 404. If this has anything to do with Goa'uld and their technology, the Major knows the most about it. And I, well I can, help her look through the rocks some more."
Hammond glanced over at Dr Fraiser, "Very well, if Dr Fraiser is willing to allow you to gate travel, Major Carter you may return to P5X 404 and Colonel O'Neill, you will accompany her. Major, do you have a theory you wish to share with us?"
Sam glanced down at her hands before speaking, "I didn't have a chance to thoroughly examine any of the artifacts before I began feeling under the weather. I believe, however, that one of those artifacts may have had something to do with the disappearance of Daniel and Teal'c."
Jack gestured to Janet, "Well Doctor, what do you say? Can she, or can't she?"
"I'll need to examine her in the infirmary." replied Janet.
Hammond stood up, "very well then, Major, please go with the doctor to the infirmary. Report back to me with your decision. Dismissed."
Half an hour later, Sam and Jack had suited up and were ready to go in the gate room. Jack checked his side arm one more time before turning around to give the "ready" sign. The gate began moving and each chevron was announced as it engaged. Jack raised his eyebrows and looked at Carter, "ready to go?"
Carter tucked her weapon under her arm and nodded. The two walked up the ramp and through the event horizon.
Jack gained his bearings and looked around to make sure that Carter had safely arrived; she had. "Wow, deju vu" commented Jack, as he looked at their familiar surroundings.
Carter chuckled, "Come on sir, let's get moving."
Jack scowled, "Sam, we are the only life forms on this planet, I think we can drop the damned sir! The name is Jack, one syllable, not hard to say. Come on now, say it with me...Jack, Jack, Jack..."
Sam eyed her colonel and holstered her weapon. She grabbed his hand and they began walking.
Several hours later, Sam stretched her aching muscles. She had been sitting down examining artifact, after artifact looking for any signs of radiation being emitted. So far she had found nothing. Jack had tried to be helpful but now he was just leaning against a rock reading a magazine he had brought with him. Sam rotated her neck, wincing as she heard the joints pop. Jack looked up from his magazine and saw Sam rubbing her neck and shoulders. He stood up and approached her from behind. Sam moaned as Jack began massaging her shoulders.
"Find anything?" he asked as his fingers brushed across the soft hair on the back on her neck.
"Not a thing. I was so sure that there would be something!"
Jack wrapped his arms around her and began lightly kissing her neck. Sam turned herself around in his arms and Jack pressed a kiss on her lips. "Uh Jack, you do know that we are on duty?" Sam whispered.
"Technically we are still on downtime" Jack whispered back, running his hands over her back.
Sam pressed herself tightly against him and giggled. "Is that your side arm again?"
45 minutes later, Jack was tracing paths on Sam's back, "now tell me that a man can do that with his side arm"
Sam pressed her face against Jack's chest and laughed softly. She checked her watch and saw that they had just half an hour before they were due back at the SGC. Jack took the hint and began pulling his clothes back on. He looked at Sam, "we still on for dinner tonight?"
Sam smiled, "yeah sure ya betcha"
The General was waiting for them when they arrived back in the gate room. "Find anything Major?"
Sam shook her head, "nothing sir"
The General looked disappointed and ordered Sam and Jack to the infirmary for the mandatory checkup. Jack grumbled all the way there, "I don't see why we need to do this, we were hardly even there!" Sam just shook her head and wondered what she had gotten herself into.