Disclaimer: I don't own the show. I don't own the characters. I certainly don't own their fame. What do I own? Ah yes, this computer. The stories on this computer own me.
A/N: These theories are just that - theories, and the wackier the better. For all that, some of these theories are still believable, and others are as believable as... as... pigs that fly! You can decide which is which. But please keep in mind that I don't participate in the many Stargate forums or discussion groups, so it's quite possible that these ideas have been around for years and I was just not aware of it. So if I'm unwittingly stealing an idea you've already had, please accept my apologies in advance.
A/N2: These unconnected theories take place in a mixed up timeline, whenever I felt like placing them throughout the seasons of 'Stargate SG-1.' You should be able to discern when the theory takes place from hints in the first few paragraphs.
A/N3: a BIG thank you to all my betas:
“Carter,” Jack thoughtfully said. He was supposed to be packing for his return trip to Washington DC while Sam packed for her scheduled return to duty in Colorado Springs, but he was really doing nothing. Puzzling instead, he continued to stare at the walls of the cabin. His staring was secretly driving Sam nuts, but she would never tell him that. Resolute, she endeavored to act like nothing was bothering her except the clothes yet to packed that were piled on the bed in front of her.
Sam carefully worked the wrinkles out of the shirt she was attempting to fold and put in her dufflebag. “Yes, Jack? What is it?” More of her attention was on her shirt rather than on her husband.
Jack remained silent for another pensive moment, even though he had been the one to call out to the busy Colonel in the first place. As Sam reached for another shirt, he casually said, “I've been thinking.”
It was a statement that made Sam smile. “Did it hurt?”
That comment was just subtly nasty enough to capture Jack's wandering attention. “Listen for a minute, will ya?”
Sam heaved an aggravated sigh. “Jack, my flight leaves at 0800 tomorrow morning. That means we have to get up at 0600 at the latest if I'm going to be at the field all packed and ready to go by the time my flight leaves. The packing part of that has to happen tonight, or I'll never be ready to...”
“I think Kinsey did it all,” Jack suddenly announced without a proper segue into the new topic.
Sam stopped, confused. “What does Kinsey have to do with my flight?”
Jack heaved the aggravated sigh this time. “That's what I'm trying to tell ya - but you're not listening.”
Sam sat on the bed, the shirt still in her hands, and looked at him and only him. “If I listen, will you leave me alone to pack the rest of my clothes in a peace not punctuated with wild ideas about Kinsey?”
Jack gave her a dirty look, but leaned in to kiss the tip of her nose. “Only if after you get done packing, I get your full attention.”
Instead of rousing Sam, as he'd intended, this comment just irritated her further. “Jack, I'm waiting.”
Jack stood up straight again, stung by her words, but able to ask, “Do you remember that time when I was accused of killing Senator Kinsey?”
Sam balked. “Jack, that was years ago!”
“Yeah,” Jack agreed, furrowing his brow. “And I've been thinking about it ever since.”
When he didn't go on, Sam's forehead also wrinkled in curiosity. “And?”
“And...” But Jack remained pensive for another quiet moment as he listened to the rain spatter the windows. It hadn't rained the entire two weeks of their vacation, but this last day, water had been steadily pouring from the skies since that afternoon.
Now Jack's voice competed with the sound of raindrops pinging on glass. “Don't you think it's odd that I was the one targeted as the professional hit man to kill the Senator?”
Sam shrugged. “No, not really. You're a professional sniper for the military - 'hit man' in layman's terms. Plus, I guess those Committee guys were just capitalizing on the bad blood between you and Kinsey.”
Jack's forehead furrowed a bit more. “But don't you find it... odd... that a passel of businessmen I'd never met before wanted to spend their time and energy framing me - a guy they hadn't met, and who they had no known grudge against? Yet I was the one they targeted for killing Kinsey, huh?” The skepticism practically oozed out of him.
Sam protested in spite of his skepticism. “But they were after Hammond...”
“Hammond, yes,” interrupted Jack. “They knew him, or of him, at least.” Then he crossed his arms, his doubt growing. “But me? I'd never even heard of them. Why had they heard of me?”
Sam shrugged again.
“For that matter,” Jack added, the same puzzled expression on his face. “Why did they care about me at all? Why didn't they just go after Hammond?”
Sam was getting tired of shrugging. “Because they had already tried to go after Hammond earlier during those Bauer days, failed to get him, so then they tried to go after you. You were the second in command of the SGC, after all. 'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.'”
Jack considered that idea for a moment. “True. But listen for just a minute.”
Sam heaved a second sigh - this wasn't going to be just a minute interruption to her packing. It would probably last all night, knowing Jack, especially if she didn't listen to him now. She grumbled under her breath, but made certain that he couldn't hear it. “Okay, I'm listening.”
“Okay.” Jack gathered his thoughts then asked, “Don't you think it strange that a professional guy with a gun first shot Kinsey, was smart enough not to get caught, then was dumb enough to show his face to a hotel security camera?” Sam showed that he had a point. “And don't you think it stupid of this professional hit man to be seen dumping the murder weapon in his own cabin's lake?” His gaze zeroed in on Sam. “If I was the professional hit man like they all claimed I was, wouldn't it be smarter of me to just Zat the weapon three times, and get rid of it that way? Why let someone see me dumping the weapon?” He dropped his arms to his sides as he warmed to his topic. “If the hit man is really a professional, he wouldn't let anyone actually see him dumping the weapon. And a professional hit man would take that witness out if he was seen.” He then raised his finger towards the ceiling, indicating that he had a new point to make. “Unless... that professional hit man actually wants to be seen dumping that weapon. Unless he wants that weapon to be found, and found in my lake, at my cabin.” He paused again, his drama increasing tenfold. “A lake that I would never be dumb enough to use as a means of getting rid of a murder weapon, by the way.” Again his gaze caught Sam's. “The way it looks, if I did shoot Kinsey, it's almost as if I wanted to get caught.” He slowly shook his head. “But come on... I'm not that dumb to do all this stuff... if I was the professional hit man, that is. And I sure was accused of being that professional hit man.”
Confused, Sam demanded, “Okay... wrap all this together for me.”
Disgruntled that he wasn't explaining his thoughts particularly well, Jack sighed in irritation. “I'm saying that this Committee of business guys didn't know me from Adam, and probably didn't care about me, but Kinsey definitely knew me, definitely cared about me, definitely wanted me out of the SGC, definitely wanted the Stargate for himself, definitely had tried to blackmail Hammond earlier to get him out of the SGC, definitely tried to shut down the program for his own personal gain... And when all that didn't work, his most creative nasty self went after me, and tried to get me out, and damned near succeeded... would have, too, if not for the fast thinking of one tenacious Major who I don't think I took the time to thank.”
Sam teasingly grinned, now thoroughly estranged from her attempt at packing. “You can take the time right now.”
Jack smiled, a light in his eyes that conveyed that showing his gratitude was not at all conducive to her continuing her nightly activity. Instead, he leaned in and kissed her square on her nose. “Thank you.” He kissed her again, on the cheek this time. “Thank you.” He smiled even more as he kissed her forehead. “Thank you.” He kissed her a fourth time...
And that was the end of Sam's packing for some time to come.
According to the Season 7 episode 'Birthright,' Daniel's glasses still have prescription lenses in them (as proven when Nessa looks through his glasses in the episode, and everything is blurry). But remember - he went through the sarcophagus in the Season 2 episode 'Need' about nine times - that should have corrected his bad eyesight. My theory is that Daniel has prescription lenses in his glasses that make everything appear blurry to a person with 20/20 vision, but wears contacts to then make him able to see just fine through those corrective lenses in his glasses. So his contacts make his good eyes bad, then his glasses make his bad eyes good.
Wild enough for you?
Master Bra'tac goes on with the wedding ceremony as Jack carefully leans towards Daniel to quietly ask, “The VIP Room where the newlyweds are staying tonight isn't sound proof... is it?”
In answer, Daniel gives a soft chuckle. “No, it's not.”
Jack's smirk widens. “So what you're saying is that we should sell tickets?”
Daniel nods, his grin as evil as Jack's.
Jack sent another disgusted grimace at the shelves of supplies surrounding him and his team. “This isn't what I had in mind, guys, honest.”
Jack's apology-that-wasn't-an-apology sounded loud in the tiny supply room. Sam sighed along with him, then winced at the lilt of complaint in the sound. “It's alright, Sir, really. This isn't taking me away from anything too important.” She thought of the simulations that she could be running just then, and her wince deepened.
Glancing at all the supplies surrounding them, Jonas Quinn optimistically said, “Besides, it's important to know what's in here, in case...” There he paused, unable to come up with a dire enough situation that warranted knowing that the SGC had twenty boxes of number 2 pencils ready for immediate use. Doggedly, he continued, “General Hammond wouldn't have assigned this inventory to us if he didn't think it was important to the SGC.”
“You tell yourself that if it makes you feel better,” Jack instructed. “I bet he's laughing his ass off right now thinking of us, counting rolls of toilet paper. I bet this is on account of me saying that no job in the SGC was too unimportant for anybody.” He shook his head in frustrated sarcasm. “Ohhhhh, this is just like him!”
Teal'c voiced a sliver of wisdom sure to further irritate his friends. “We must work as quickly as possible. Hard work is fast work.”
“Teal'c,” Jack called from his perch on a ladder. “I love it when you drop those wonderful Jaffa witticisms. Have I ever told you that?”
“Repeatedly, O'Neill,” Teal'c answered in as dry a manner as he could produce.
Sam tried to cover her giggle from the Colonel, who everyone knew didn't particularly like her giggling, but wasn't very successful at it.
Jack surprised them all when he instructed, “Go ahead and giggle, Carter. All previous orders pertaining to giggling are hereby suspended while being bored to death due to inventory.”
Sam was so shocked that she blurted, “Really?” as if she couldn't believe her luck.
Jack glared at her. “You sound like you don't believe me, Major.”
Sam gave an innocent shrug. “I don't.”
Jack growled a sigh. “I figure that we could use all the laughter we can get. It'll almost make inventory worth it.”
Sam gave a pensive frown - the Colonel thought that her giggling made counting things like the number of Bic pens a worthwhile way to spend the afternoon? Sam was thoroughly amazed. “Should I start giggling right now, Sir?”
Jack grinned at her. “By all means.” He turned to the two men of SG-1. “Hey guys, pay attention. This might be the only time that Carter actually giggles with consent - this may never happen again.”
“Not if you have anything to say about it,” Sam added under her breath.
Jonas spurted a laugh, but bent to take more inventory the minute that Sam began giggling, almost as if her laughter propelled the inventory forward with or without them.
They worked as the team they were fabled to be in the quiet that stole through the supply closet. Sam kept up a steady stream of giggling as they all called out the occasional number of an item that they had chosen to count.
When they finished inventorying all the supplies in the closet on level 28, they moved up to the closet on level 27. Then they moved up to the one on level 26. Then 25. Then 24. Then 23. 22. 21.
It was already 1600 when they reached the closet on level 20. “Okay,” Jack wearily handed over the inventory sheet they had just completed. “Who gets to be the lucky dog and give this to Siler?”
“We should draw straws,” Teal'c said, his hands held firmly behind his back so that he wouldn't just grab the sheet and run. Anything to get out of another inventory in another cramped closet. He viewed a run to Siler as a break from a truly onerous duty. Yet... It was much more fun to experience first hand O'Neill's newest creative way to complain. So he waited for the Colonel to speak.
“We drew straws last time,” Jack informed. “I think that it's Jonas's turn.” Especially since he just won't SHUT UP! Jack was starting to yearn for that first closet they had done oh, so long ago, back when Jonas was too motivated to talk... much.
Sam had climbed the ladder this time, and wearily piped up from her place aloft, “Teal'c should get to go with him, then. And they should stop off at the Commissary for a break, if just to get out of here.”
Jack noticed that Sam's giggles had stopped several closets ago. Jonas's prattling was barely tolerable to begin with - no giggling added a certain pall to his prattling that was driving Jack crazy.
Using his super-duper Jaffa O'Neill-dar, Teal'c sensed this. “I shall endeavor to down some coffee,” he promised. “And I will take JonasQuinn for coffee as well.”
“But Teal'c,” Sam protested. “You don't drink coffee.”
Teal'c gave a final glare at the staples that he wouldn't have to count. “I do now.” Then, without missing a beat, turned to Jonas and said, “Come JonasQuinn - I will introduce you to what the Humans call a 'coffee break.'”
Jonas gave a start of surprise. “I thought coffee was a liquid - how do you break it?”
Teal'c's dark eyes sent a mischievous twinkle in Jack's direction. “Very carefully.” Then he disappeared through the door, followed by Jonas carrying the inventory list for Siler they had just finished.
Leaving Sam and Jack alone. Alone in the closet. Alone, as in surrounded by the sudden quiet of a Jonas-free zone. Alone, as in 'totally without cameras' alone. Alone, as in 'able to do or say anything they wanted to without repercussions' alone. Alone, as in 'first date' alone. Jack tried not to seem terrified as this thought entered his mind, but it was hard. He concentrated on his inventory counting as if his life depended on it.
Sam hummed as she counted. Jack grimaced as he counted. Geez! Here he was, alone with the woman of his dreams... and they were stuck doing inventory. And he couldn't think of anything interesting to say. Could there possibly be a more boring way to spend what constituted a first date? Uh, this wasn't a date. Then this must be the first time they were alone, together, in the SGC, with no camera recording their every move. She was surely going to end up thinking he was boring! And he wasn't sure that he would blame her.
Sam's humming stopped as Jack frantically scrambled to think of something intelligent to say. Something that was not only intelligent, but not boring.
“Whatchathinkin?” he asked in a spurt of non-creativity.
“I guess I was thinking about Jonas,” Sam told him on a sigh.
“Don't worry... Teal'c will have him breaking coffee with the best of them.”
“Not that Jonas. Jonas... as in Hansen.”
Hansen? “What in God's name are you thinkin' about him for?” It didn't pass by him that his invocation of a deity was particularly appropriate to this topic of conversation.
“In God's name... good one, Sir. Very... apro pos.”
Jack grinned again. “I try, I try.” When Sam didn't continue her explanation, he prompted her, “So, what in particular were you thinking about the God Man?”
Sam smiled again. “'The God Man?'”
Jack gave a shrug, but only interrogatively raised his eyebrows.
Prodded, Sam went on. “I was thinking about how he always had to control everything, me in particular.” She gave a grimace. “I should have remembered that when I had to deal with him a few years ago. I didn't. I let my personal feelings about him get in the way of that mission.”
“Oh,” and Jack gave a dismissive wave of his hand. “That was a very personal mission for you. How could you not let your feelings get in the way?”
Sam's snort surprised him. “But this time, more than just me was riding on what I decided to do at the time, and I should have kept that in mind.” Her self chastisement was as if the mission had happened just last week instead of years ago. “When I had that gun trained on Jonas, I should have taken my chance and shot him - it certainly would have made things better for you in the long run.”
It was Jack who snorted this time. “It wouldn't have changed a damn thing in the long run, and both you and I know it.”
Not change anything? “Huh?”
Jack glanced up at her on the ladder. “I read about that incident in your report, you know.”
Which surprised Sam anew. “You read my report?”
He'd read every one of her reports in those days. Anything to be that little bit nearer to her. But he wouldn't tell her that - he didn't want to embarrass her... or him. “I read everyone's reports back then.”
Sam gaped. “Of every mission?”
Jack grinned at her astonishment. “Yep. Jack can read,” he quipped.
“That's not what I meant,” Sam told him. “It's just that we had a lot of missions those first few years.”
“No more than now,” Jack countered. “I just wanted to learn as much as I could about the Goa'uld, and back then the only way for me to learn was to read reports... which was waaaaaaay more interesting than writing my own reports.”
Sam had to grin back at him. “True.”
Jack then turned to more firmly gaze at the Major. “So, you think you should have shot him, huh?”
Instead of answering, Sam reiterated, “And you think it wouldn't have made any difference if I had.”
“Nope,” Jack replied in a firm voice. “I've always thought that he unloaded all the weapons before giving you the opportunity to grab them.”
Sam's jerk almost upset the ladder. “Before?”
Jack shot her an amused look. “He wouldn't have been much of a god if he hadn't controlled every bit of every encounter he had with his prisoners... would he?” He marked a number at the side of 'folders - top secret,' as he continued, “You said it yourself - he always had to be in control. That was just his way of staying in control.”
“He did say that I 'appeared' to have all the power, but that he was still obviously in control when I didn't fire the gun,” Sam admitted. “I never quite understood that before.”
Jack's snort filled the closet. “Special Forces rule numero uno: Never leave anything up to chance if you can help it. It's my guess that that gun you were holding on Hansen wasn't even loaded.”
“He said it was.”
Jack snorted again. “Oh, and Hansen was just sooooo trustworthy.”
Sam gave a thoughtful pause. “Oh. No, he wasn't.” She sighed, clearly disgruntled. “I still failed you, though, Sir. I should have pulled the trigger even if I had suspected the gun wasn't loaded. I should have at least tried to do something.”
Jack went on as Sam continued to contemplate. “You would have failed no matter what you did. Hansen would have made sure of that.”
Sam gaped at him. “You mean it was a test?”
Jack shrugged. “Of sorts.” He pushed aside the number of pens he'd just counted, trying to keep track of what he'd done versus what he had yet to do. “He probably wanted to see how far you would go to end things in your favor. But there's no way that such a control freak would put himself in front of a loaded weapon, trusting that he knew you well enough not to shoot his balls off.”
Sam burst out laughing. “I was aiming at his head, Sir, not his...” And she indicated the area of a man's genitals.
Jack grinned again, glad just to hear her laughter. “Yep, you surely missed your chance,” he agreed.
Sam kept giggling. Of course, she suspected that's what the Colonel was trying to do - make her see the humor of this situation so that she would stop yelling at herself about that mission.
And she had to admit - she would never think of Jonas Hansen the same again.
It was the first time in weeks that it had been quiet at the SGC in the middle of a weekday. Sure, the past several weekends had only had one crisis per day, but the weekdays... It was as if the Goa'uld had an eye towards messing with the Earthling's schedules.
Something had happened every single day, usually 2 or 3 times a day, leaving little but chaos at the underground base. If the Goa'uld had a secret desire to wear down the human's resistance before launching a full scale attack on their 'pathetic little planet,' their strategy was working. Of course, that meant that several of the System Lords were working together to take down the Tau'ri one SG team at a time, and the odds of any System Lord pausing long enough in their typical gloat fest in order to work together was so far fetched... The idea was as ridiculous as Dr. Jackson and Dr. Fraiser getting steamy together in the locker room.
At that point, General Hammond took a moment to seriously consider what he'd compared the Goa'uld to: two of the doctors on base romantically hooking up with each other until they were involved in a definite relationship.
But now that he thought of it, that thought wasn't so ludicrous as it had first appeared.
Which highlighted another point in the General's mind: the idea of the healer in a romantic relationship with her most prolific patient...
Which is exactly what had happened... though he wasn't supposed to know that.
Hammond gave a light chuckle: he certainly hadn't seen that one coming! Then again, truth to tell, he hadn't seen any of the SGC relationships coming. And just ten years ago, he would never have been one of those Generals who turned a blind eye to those relationships, defying the UCMJ, breaking Air Force regulations, even willfully going against his own conscience. But that's just what he had done since being assigned to lead such a novel outpost as Stargate Command. More amazingly, he had every intention of continuing to do so until events or his conscience directed him to do otherwise.
It was a case of making a deal with the devil, Hammond decided. On pretty much any day, several System Lords were given their walking papers, no Earthling was captured or lost, and no Tau'ri died. The men and women under Hammond's command had the reputation of being fierce fighters, going that tiny bit further, doing that little bit extra, constantly going above and beyond the call of duty, taking the motto 'leave no one behind' to heart to such an extent that there had been times where Hammond had needed to play the unwelcome roll of hard ass commander in order to reign in his troops' enthusiasm. For such a secret base embroiled in a hidden war with cross dressing megalomaniacs bent on their destruction, the SGC was one of the Air Force's top bases. Its stats were far and away the best. It was the base that had won the most awards, though those awards had to be classified. It was the base whose members received the fastest promotions, who won the most medals, who got the most commendations. And Hammond was convinced that it was all due to one thing: successful, long lasting relationships.
For just a moment, the General considered how many of the men and women under his command were currently involved in a relationship, and he didn't mean the kind of relationship that encouraged team bonding. He meant relationships, as in romantic attachments that broke the frat regs on a daily basis. The list was extensive:
Ken Cook and Amanda Richards of SG-8
Tim Andrews and Sandra Carlin of SG-15
Andy Livens and Jessica Bivens of SG-6 (affectionately called the Livens/Bivens Dynamic Duo when they weren't listening)
Tom Blakely and Sue Kleinman of SG-14
Grant David of SG-4 and Tammy Wociacowski of SG-15
Jack O'Neill and Samantha Carter of SG-1
Diego Garcinova of SG-9 and Pam Pechenko of the motor pool
Scott Erics of SG-23 and Scott Pierce of SG-2 (aka 'the 2 Scotts')('don't ask/don't tell' at its best, enforced to the hilt... on paper)
Myron Toms and Monica Toms of SG-7 (married, but no one's supposed to know about that)
Walter Harriman of the tech crew and Alice Applebee of the Infirmary
Daniel Jackson of SG-1 and Janet Fraiser also of the Infirmary
Sly Siler of the tech crew and Fiona Shadowton also of the Infirmary
Jonas Quinn formerly of SG-1 and anybody who was free on base
And the reason a Major General allowed so many blatant relationships to continue right under his nose in his own command? Because no matter what they did on their own time, inevitably his people got the job done. At first, when the SGC had come on line, General Hammond had been a much more hard line General and tried to enforce the directives of the UCMJ to their fullest extent. But that had only ended up giving several victories to the System Lords when his enforcement had distracted the key players at pivotal moments. Through trial and error (lots of error), George had learned that to be the best meant bending the rules when getting the best outcome truly mattered. SGC personnel worked all that much harder at staying alive, at eluding capture, at sticking it to the enemy every chance they got if there was someone to stay alive for. They stayed alive for themselves, for him, for Earth, but most importantly, for each other. And he couldn't deny that this system, as screwy as it was, worked.
He was lauded by the Joint Chiefs as a hero. At the same time, Hammond thought it best if those Chiefs never learned the truth.
Therefore, his paper shredder was the busiest in the entire Air Force.
Daniel set aside the pictures of the ruins of 95Y-664 that he had been carefully perusing for the last half hour, and grabbed an artifact that SG-9 had rescued from the dig itself. The pictures that Daniel had of the ruins indicated that the Ancients had at one time resided on this particular planet, but the writing near the West Wall where this artifact had been found told a slightly different story. Daniel followed the squiggly writing with the tip of his left index finger, “'Reveal your secrets'” he deeply intoned, quoting his current favorite movie as he did so.
That was how Jack found his friend five minutes later when he entered the office/lab area that sort of reminded him of Carter's lab, except that this one had a decided odor of coffee clinging to it. “Daniel!” Jack enthusiastically greeted, then cautioned, “My mom always told me that if I squinted like that, I'd go blind.”
Daniel startled upright at the sound of his friend's voice, then peevishly said, “Yeah, well, I didn't have a mom to warn me about going blind.”
Jack chose to ignore Daniel's testy tone. “I guess that I'll have to warn you, then. You're gonna go blind if you keep doing that.”
Daniel threw an exasperated look towards his former team leader. “What makes you think I want you to be my mom?”
Unfazed by Daniel's implied insult, Jack just smirked: he so loved getting under Daniel's skin. “What makes you think you have a choice?”
Perturbed, Daniel just glared at him. “Why are you here, Jack? I thought your talks with the Tok'ra were going to be finished yesterday? Shouldn't you already be back in DC?”
Jack gave a sarcastic growl. “And a pleasant 'hello' to you too, Daniel. I was going to ask you to lunch, but with that attitude...” He let his voice suggestively trail off.
Despite Jack's innuendo, It was Daniel's turn to smirk. “Just being the typical teenager, mom.” He had the satisfaction of watching Jack wince: he liked getting to Jack as much as Jack liked getting to him. Serious now, he continued, “Actually, I'm glad you're here.”
Daniel's comment took Jack by surprise. “You are? Well, good. Glad I could be there for you. Now let's go grab Teal'c and Carter and head for the...”
“I have something I want to talk to you about,” Daniel persisted, again ignoring Jack's lunch invitation. “You better close the door before I say anything more.”
Closing the door... had he ever done that? At least, with Daniel? “Oooooookaaaaay,” he finally muttered, doubt very evident in his voice. “The last time you went all mysterious on us like this, you spent the next year all by yourself in a glowy corner of the universe.”
Daniel's patience was at an end. “Jack, just do it, will you? I'll explain things in a minute.”
Willing to give Daniel the benefit of the doubt, Jack slowly retraced his steps to the door and pulled it shut.
Jack's brows once more shot to his graying hairline. He didn't even remember the last time Daniel had locked himself in his office. This must be something big. “You're not kidding, are you?”
Daniel's sigh was filled with exasperation. “Would I interrupt an oh-so-important Tok'ra conference to meet with you if it wasn't?”
“But you said that you thought the conference was finished...”
“Jack! Just... stop! Don't be like this - this is too important!”
“Don't be like what?”
“Jack! Now you're just being an ass.”
“No I'm not.”
“Yes you are.”
“I'm only an ass when...”
“You did get my message about me wanting to see you, right? That's why you're here, right?”
“Of course,” Jack deadpanned back, frantically searching his memory for some scrap about anything that mentioned that Daniel wanted to see him.
Daniel gave a resigned huff. “You have no idea what I'm talking about.”
Jack considered his options, but decided to go with the truth instead of continuing to prevaricate. “Um... yes, I have no idea.”
Daniel dismissively shook his head. “Doesn't matter. You're here now.”
Jack gave a sarcastic start. “Yeah, because I'm hungry.”
Daniel's second look of exasperation let Jack know in no uncertain terms what he thought about Jack's stomach issues. “Cope. What I wanted to tell you is...” He set the artifact in his hand aside. “I've been thinking.”
This made Jack roll his eyes. “I swear Daniel, if you don't get to the point, I'll...”
“I've been thinking about the alternate universes.”
This statement gave Jack pause. “And?”
“Well... You know that place I was in when..?”
“Daniel, just saying 'That place I was in,' doesn't tell me anything.”
“Okay. That time before Kinsey tried to shut down the program when I had that warning the Goa'uld were going to attack the planet, but he wouldn't listen to me, so we defied direct orders to stay put in the SGC in order to save the world on our own - that time.”
“Ack! That was years ago, Daniel! Maybe something a bit more recent?”
Daniel's look could have curdled milk. “That's where this starts, Jack. What do you want me to do - lie?”
“Anyway,” Daniel loudly proclaimed. “That time when I went to the alternate... thing.”
Surprisingly, Jack was able to nod in understanding. “That time when me and Carter were engaged - gotcha.”
Daniel also nodded. “And that other time with that alternate reality where Dr. Carter...”
“Yeah, yeah, the time when me and Carter were married... to each other.” His dry tone informed that this memory didn't effect him one way or another.
But Daniel knew better: he'd known that bringing up such a memory would be fairly painful for his reality's Jack, who was known to everybody but him to be pining after Sam in the worst possible way. But Daniel didn't know how to set the scene that he needed any other way, either. “Yeah, that one - where you claim that you and Sam are once again the focal point of the universe.”
Jack's gaze darkened, as it did every time that anyone even sort of referred to his feelings towards Carter. “That's not what I said.”
Daniel's groan of annoyance washed over them both. “What I mean is that the Goa'uld attacked Earth in both those realities.”
The thundercloud on Jack's face lightened, but didn't completely lift. “Yeah, so?”
Daniel either didn't hear his friend's warning tone, or he was ignoring it again. “If the Goa'uld did that there, then why not here?”
Jack's shrug again indicated his growing impatience. “I don't know - because we stopped them before they could attack.”
Daniel gestured to Jack with the pencil in his left hand. “You would think it would be something that simple, wouldn't you?”
Maybe if he played along, then they could go to lunch that much sooner. “Yeah, you would think. Now can we..?”
Daniel raised the pencil to his forehead in order to silence Jack. “What if...” He let his voice fall away to a dramatic silence.
Which made Jack's patience erode away completely. “Daniel, will you please say something constructive?” He studied his watch. “I'm on a time limit here.”
Which just made Daniel talk faster. “There was more luck involved in stopping their attack than in us doing it on purpose.”
Jack's stomach grumbled again. “What's your point?”
“My point... How do I delicately phrase this?”
Jack had an answer to that question. “Stop mumbling and tell yourself to eat some lunch instead.”
The suggestion fell on deaf ears. Instead of listening, Daniel blurted, “Teal'c is the center of the Universe.”
Daniel's statement only made Jack raise his brows again in polite inquiry. “Say again?”
Daniel sighed, then repeated his theory. “I say that in spite of what you or Sam have had us believing for years, Teal'c, not yours and Sam's state of togetherness, is the center of the Universe.”
Jack's eyes narrowed as he stared at Daniel. “Have you been sniffing glue again?”
It was Daniel's patience that exploded this time. “Jack! I'm telling you what you want to know, and you're making jokes! How lame is that?!”
“Okay, no more jokes,” Jack promised, clearly hoping Daniel would ignore the part he and Sam played (or didn't play) in his theory. “Have you told the big guy this idea of yours?”
“Um... no. I wanted to run it by you first. That way you can tell me that I'm nuts, and get it over with.”
“Well, you are nuts!”
“Just hear me out,” Daniel insisted, placing his pencil next to his artifact, leaving both hands free to give wild gestures as he pointed out, “Both times we've been involved in alternate realities, Teal'c was still the First Prime of Apophis.”
Jack showed his desire not to be reminded of this particular tidbit with an aggressive eye roll. “Don't remind me.”
“I have to,” Daniel persisted. “Because in this reality, Teal'c chose to no longer be the First Prime of Apophis.”
According to his confused expression, Jack still didn't completely understand what Daniel was saying. “So? And? Therefore?”
Daniel almost sighed in annoyance that Jack couldn't just jump to the appropriate conclusion, but then he reminded himself that Jack wasn't Sam, and cut the older man some slack. “He's not the First Prime of Apophis... and the Goa'uld haven't taken over the Earth.” But according to the look of doubt clouding his face, Jack clearly wasn't giving this idea much credibility. Daniel almost gave another huff of annoyance, but swallowed it instead. “Just... think about it.”
Jack tried to do as Daniel suggested. “So you're saying that the T man's choice to join us Tau'ri instead of staying First Prime to His Royal Snakiness is the reason why the Goa'uld haven't done their nasty best to destroy Earth?”
“Right!” Daniel's ecstatic tone immediately displayed his desire to persuade Jack of his idea's sincerity. “Think about it: let's call our own reality reality number 1, a reality in which Teal'c defects, and the Goa'uld don't attack Earth. In reality number 2, Teal'c doesn't defect, and I stumble right in the middle of a Goa'uld attack on Earth. In reality number 3, Teal'c doesn't defect, and the Goa'uld have already attacked Earth, and Dr. Carter and Kowalski come through the Quantum Mirror to get our help to put a stop to it.” His persuasion halted there, as he clearly thought his argument was incontrovertible.
Jack wasn't so sure. “That's only two realities against one.”
Daniel shrugged. “Yeah - so? That's all the realities we've encountered so far.”
Jack's eyes narrowed as he offered a counter-argument, “I remind you that Carter says there are an infinite number of realities out there, not just the three you mentioned. Anything could be the pivotal point as to Earth's eventual survival, not just Teal'c's choice to defect.”
“I'm not talking about the realities we haven't seen yet,” Daniel argued back. “I'm talking about the three we know about.”
Jack gave a disgusted grunt. “And I'm talking about the million or so that we haven't encountered yet.”
Daniel gave a hopeful look. “But you admit that this idea does have possibilities?”
Jack gave vent to his growing temper. “Don't be obtuse, Daniel! You're talking about one reality versus an infinite number of realities!”
Frustrated, Daniel gave a second huff. “I'm not asking you to take this as absolute truth, Jack. Just... think about it.”
Jack gave his own hopeful expression. “If I promise to think about it, will you come to lunch now?”
As a sign that Daniel was amenable to that proposition, he waved his arms towards the closed door. “My job here is done: lead on.”
Jack nodded, finally satisfied. “Thank you.” He led the way to the door, unlocked it, opened it, and they sauntered through. “So, you guys headed offworld?”
“What's the mission?”
“To ascertain the reports of trace amounts of naquedah on the planet.”
“So, a cakewalk?”
“One sure to head south the minute we walk through the 'Gate.”
“A planet with hostile natives, huh?”
“They'll attack, we'll be captured, left for dead... you know, a mission fraught with certain peril.”
“Sounds like you'll have to run for the 'Gate.”
“Maybe we should have SG-10 stand ready at the 'Gate, just in case?”
“And cramp SG-1's style? No way!”
“Yeah, you're right: Sam will never let that happen.”
Jack's smile lit up his face. “Yeah, I taught her well.”
Daniel's own sly smile lifted his lips. “It's like you never left.” He faced forwards again as they approached Sam's lab prior to whisking her off for a late lunch. “Yep, it's just like old times.”
Except that no matter what small talk Jack employed with his friend, he simply could not get Daniel's new idea out of his head. He was thinking about it whether he wanted to or not.
Ever wonder why Sam was so sure that Jack didn't kill Kinsey in that episode? Could it be that it was about a lot more than simply 'You just know when you've worked with someone?'
She knew because she was with Jack the entire time he was at his cabin just before the opening of the episode (but of course, she couldn't tell anybody about that little tidbit, or she would have been court-martialed). Considering such a possibility, Jack couldn't possibly have disappeared long enough to kill Kinsey, then come back to dump the murder weapon in his lake without her knowing about it.
So what exactly were they doing together at that cabin concealed in the Minnesota woods?
Playing Scrabble. Naked.
Jack sat alone in his living room, the silence of the afternoon pressing down on him as he waited for that creep Maybourne to possibly show up. Of course, there was no way that either he or General Hammond could know for sure that their suspicions were right and Maybourne was their traitor, but Jack had learned years ago to trust his gut, and right now his gut was screaming that he was on to something. So he'd let Hammond unofficially retire him to lure the Area 51 Colonel to his door, hoping to discover just how big this leaks and mole problem really was at the SGC.
But that meant he had to go it alone for this mission. No teammates, no back up, no nothin.' Nothing meant a lot of emptiness in his house, which he wasn't used to. He took another look at the emptiness greeting him in his living room and fervently hoped that this skulduggery was worth the price they were currently paying at the SGC, to say nothing of his own eventual cost. He'd known right away when Teal'c had told him about this mission when they'd met on Edora that the price from him would be substantial, but he hadn't understood just how substantial. He didn't think he could possibly raise the already high bar on the discomfort level of this mission, no matter what the races like the Asgard and the Tollan claimed.
Remembering now, Jack's mind voluntarily cast back to that time on Edora with Teal'c. He'd been so glad - so very glad - to see the big guy when he'd managed to haul his ass to the Edoran surface. He'd lost his inhibitions then and hugged the Jaffa as hard as he could. Beaming, he'd instantly asked about Carter, about Daniel, about Hammond, Fraiser, the others on base. That was when Teal'c had become oddly taciturn in his response.
"O'Neill, it is very good to see you again."
The short statement did more to raise the hair on the back of Jack's neck than to soothe his rabid curiosity about the base or its personnel. Though Jack didn't quite understand the Jaffa's suddenly serious tone of voice, he still couldn't stem his enthusiasm when he replied, “Backatcha, T!"
But the Jaffa's solemnity continued. “Know that my heart rejoices at your continued good health. But there is a matter of great import that I must discuss with you."
That did it. Jack drew back from the Jaffa. Worry now replaced his previous happy mood. “What happened? Is it Carter? Daniel? Didn't everyone else make it back okay?"
"They are fine, as is General Hammond. In fact, I wish to speak to you on the General's behalf."
Jack eyed his friend in misgiving. “Come on, T! You just got here! Nothing can be so bad that it..."
"General Hammond has a mission for you, O'Neill."
The interruption stopped Jack in his enthusiastic tracks. “A mission? For me? Why not for all of SG-1?"
Teal'c shook his head. “It must be just you, O'Neill. Only you are in the perfect position to carry out this mission to completion."
Still befuddled, Jack gave a nervous bark. “Me? What the hell are you talking about, Teal'c?"
That was when he'd learned about what the Asgard and Tollan claimed about being the victims of thieves that looked exactly like their allies from Stargate Command, how they had promised General Hammond to allow his attempt at uncovering those thieves, but they had to act quickly before the other races lost their patience and blew them away.
If Teal'c found Jack on Edora, and Jack was willing, he was to go undercover, to pretend discontent with the SGC, display great impatience with Air Force directives to the point of retirement or court martial in the hopes of flushing out the mole or moles that were stealing from their allies, and ultimately bring them to justice. As O'Neill's MIA status ensured that he could easily pull off the necessary crappy attitude towards current SGC policy concerning the procurement of alien technology, his three month long sojourn on Edora made him uniquely qualified to play the part of disgruntled employee turned hopeful spy for the benefit of Earth and their allies. So as Teal'c's appeal stated, the fate of the planet once again hung in the balance of whatever Jack decided to do.
Sounded good - Jack already knew that he would do anything in the best interest of Earth and its allies. General Hammond could count on him.
That was when Teal'c added that in order to make his sham of a crappy attitude believable enough to lure out the possible mole(s) and uncover their operation, he would have to also play the part of the disgruntled SGC Colonel to his team members as well.
He would have to pretend with his team... his friends... he would have to lie to them, ignore them, even hurt them. If this mission actually went to plan, he wouldn't have any friends left when this was over.
With a sinking heart, Jack finally understood completely what Teal'c was telling him. General Hammond, their allies, Earth was asking him for the ultimate sacrifice. If he did what was necessary to make this mission as believable as possible, his life would never be the same again.
Yet what could he do?
Two weeks after his triumphant(?) return from Edora, Jack's slide downhill was complete; he was alone now, completely alone. He let his eyes once again wander over the emptiness of his living room, making note of each place that had previously been occupied by a former friend. Now the friends were all gone, and the silence that greeted him was eerie in its totality. Even though he lived alone, Jack was used to Daniel calling him to bend his ear about an upcoming mission they just had to go on. Or he wanted to argue the need to visit one ruin or another. Or he just wanted to talk. Or Jack had grown used to Carter sitting on the corner of his couch every Saturday to prattle on about some gizmo or other. Or Teal'c would solemnly discuss what it meant to be a Jaffa free of the Goa'uld. Or he had a team night held at his house to look forward to. Even while living alone, there had always been something going on.
But that was before he'd purposely jilted Carter to ask Laira to come home with him right in front of her. Before he'd stolen Tollan technology. Before he'd told Daniel that they had never really been friends and to basically get lost, like he was nothing to Jack but an annoying bug.
Now they were all gone. It had been the right thing to do for the mission... but without them, his house now just felt... wrong.
Jack prayed that this mission would end quickly so he could at least attempt to make things right again... if he ever could.
Sam gave a disgruntled sigh, the sound exploding forth to echo around her empty house. It rang in her ears, eating into her mind, reminding her once again just how alone she was.
And she was so tired of being alone. Her current annoyance with her life ate through her mind until she wanted to scream with it.
But no matter how much she wanted to run away from her own thoughts, or how long she tried to deny it, she kept coming back to one undeniable truth: if she was so sick of her life that she couldn't even consider anything of a personal nature, then she had to do something about it. It was up to her, and only her, to change things.
That's what had brought her attention to The Bracelet.
It appeared to be the typical leather bracelet that so many Americans were wearing these days. She'd even seen some people with leather straps like the bracelets wrapped around their ankles. And her bracelet looked just like the other bracelets currently popular on planet Earth.
Except hers was nothing like any other, and she knew that.
Hers was... There was no other way to say it: hers was alien. It had been procured off world. It was a relic of Stargate travel, not to mention the bond that this particular circle symbolized. It was the physical evidence of the promise that she and Jack had made to each other.
Jack... Colonel O'Neill... him. Sam grimaced even as she had the thought. At the same time, the familiar tingles that came whenever she thought of him washed over her - she still harbored feelings for him. She simply couldn't help it. They shared a promise - didn't they?
It was at that point that Sam gave an instinctual snort of amusement. Some promise! she thought sarcastically, a bit bitterly. Oh yeah, the bracelets symbolized their bond all right, but it hadn't turned out to be the physical evidence of that bond that either of them had expected. Instead of showing how much they loved each other, how much they wanted to be together, how they longed for the time that they could show everyone what they felt, it had mutated without their permission. Instead of all that, the bracelets they shared gave them leave to be circumspect, gave them the license to avoid, allowed them to deny everything. Above all, the bracelets gave them permission to not communicate in any way. Because, after all, she and Jack had bought those bracelets in the first place as an affirmation of their connection. Instead, they had become the instrument to ultimately tear them apart.
It had been such a good idea in the beginning, too. She recalled how excited Colonel O'Neill had been when he found them in the market of that far off planet, how he couldn't wait to show her, though he hadn't actually said anything to her out loud. Saying the words aloud almost made them too real, gave them power over them, so he had been silent, but ecstatic to show her his find. It was the merchant selling the bracelets who had explained to her how the simple braided lengths of alien hide contained microscopic hairs that, when united, wove themselves together in an unbreakable bond that was as strong as naquedah, yet as light as air. The gleam in the Colonel's eye was unmistakable when the merchant spoke of the two sides weaving together the minute anyone put one of the bracelets on. It was the one (and only) time that either of them even sort of referred to the invisible feelings that tied them together, and had tied them for the last several years.
They bought the bracelets without even haggling for them, trading his extra rations and her notebooks and three precious ink pens for the bracelets. Then in a ceremony so solemn that it rang with religious overtones, he placed the bracelet on her wrist, and a few weeks later, she did the same for him. The tiny hairs on the fiber instantly wove together as promised, and when all was said and done, they were as good as married, albeit in an alien way (and thus, invisibly).
And things had gone on quite nicely from there - for a little over a year, though they never acted on their unspoken feelings. At first, she had been extremely self-conscious about her new acquisition, as if anyone and everyone could take one look at it and just know that she and Jack were willfully breaking the frat regs just by having those bracelets. She had even taken pains to hide her bracelet from General Hammond by holding her left arm behind her back, by putting her right hand over her left wrist, by tugging on the sleeve of her BDU shirt until it was long enough to obscure the evidence of that hasty but heartfelt promise.
Then she had hit upon the idea to say that the bracelets were combat bracelets, something that would excite little if any attention. The next thing she knew, she and he had started a new and unofficial SGC fashion, where everybody who was anybody wanted a bracelet just like theirs. It swept the base like wildfire.
But she knew that there could be no bracelet just like theirs. Though many leather bracelets appeared on officers' wrists seemingly overnight, those bands were human in origin. Nothing even came close to looking just like theirs.
And so the bond between her and Jack remained unbreakable, no matter how they refused to acknowledge the other in any way.
But eventually, it was that lack of acknowledgment that did them in.
Now reluctantly thinking back to the information that she had unwittingly noticed the day before, Sam winced. Jack's bracelet was gone, vanished without even a mark to show that it had been around his wrist for over a year. Without a word to her, it was gone. He must have grown tired of wearing it, wearied of his unspoken promise to wait for the war to end so that they could be together, tired of it, and of her, and of them. It was the only explanation that made sense.
And so, Sam found herself facing a crossroads now. She could remain stubbornly loyal to a vow made without words under an alien sky, or... She could get rid of her bracelet like it meant nothing to her. She could cut that bracelet off and toss it away as negligently as he seemed to. After all, it was the physical evidence of something that obviously didn't exist anymore, so why should she feel bound to something that had run its course? It kept her from going forward, from moving on, from living. And she so wanted to live.
So, with barely a blink, Sam snipped the scissors on her bracelet, easily slicing it in half, setting her free. Then, without even looking at it, she tossed the alien piece into her trash, grabbed her purse, and headed out the door for yet another date with life.
She didn't know that across town, Jack was currently staring in forlorn melancholy at the piece of what had been his bracelet, cut away by a well-meaning Infirmary Nurse who was more intent on inserting an IV right where his bracelet had been rather than saving what she considered a fashion statement. Now he was trying to work up the nerve to tell Sam what had happened, and that it most definitely had not been his choice. Though he still didn't know what he was going to say to her, or if he was going to say anything at all, or simply make gestures and try to look utterly apologetic, he remained optimistic. He only hoped he wasn't too late.
But not long after his promotion came along, he noticed that Sam was no longer wearing her bracelet, either. General O'Neill never said a thing to Colonel Carter about the new trend she had unwittingly started. Jack didn't say anything to Sam about it, either.
Without its main instigators, the new fashion statement silently faded away, taking the bracelets along with it.
Daniel closely studied the pictures of the ruins of P5Y-664 one more time. To any observer but Daniel, the lines and slashes of the text in the pictures jumbled together to create yet one more ancient highway marching across the page. To Daniel however, those lines and slashes formed the most beautiful puzzle, one that was currently creasing his brow in bewilderment. He again muttered to himself as he read a sentence aloud, hoping that sudden inspiration would strike him if he just squinted hard enough at the page in his hands.
But no matter how much or how little he squinted, one word in the next sentence continued to elude him. As of now, the text read 'To seek gold and gain, seek ye cold and pain. Only the... something... dare (or 'promise 'or 'vow' ) to visit the Temple of the Gods.” And that was where Daniel had been stuck for the last fifteen minutes.
Sighing in frustration, he sat back in his chair to stretch and glance out the window above his desk. Saturday afternoon sunshine slanted through the window, across him, the carpet in his study, and the plethora of knickknacks and memorabilia that decorated this extra room in his apartment in Colorado Springs. He could hear the muffled shouts of children laughing as they raced by on the sidewalk outside his building, but inside, the apartment was so quiet, it was almost unreal. There wasn't a single sound beyond the ticking of his desk clock juxtaposed to the ticking of his wall clocks. A heavy silence shrouded the entire place, making it more tomblike than the temple Daniel was currently studying. Dust motes he'd stirred up with his recent sigh cavorted in the air above his desk, finally settling on his collection of books and artifacts to coat them all in sunny, dusty, silence. Daniel was at home, inhabiting the apartment, but was hard at work, as usual, and quiet besides. It was like the place wasn't even inhabited. All this successfully belied the fact that it was now that most coveted thing - the weekend.
That weekend silence shattered as the sound of a knock suddenly cracked through the quiet, startling Daniel so much that he instantly jumped, tossing the page of text in his hands up towards the ceiling. It then floated serenely to the floor, casually joining piles of other papers leftover from previous ruins or digs or libraries in uninhabited cities of alien planets half way across the galaxy. As he prepared to answer the door, he glanced once at those piles; an internal snort of amusement tickled his throat. If he was ever actually allowed to tell anybody just what was in those piles, they would never believe him. His life was so weird.
Daniel set his empty coffee mug on the edge of a messy counter prior to threading his way around living room furniture and more artifacts displayed in tasteful group settings towards his front door. He scratched at some tape on the woodwork from when he'd hung Christmas cards around the front door last year as he pulled it open.
He was confronted with a woman with short blond hair, wearing a skirt, what looked like a man's untucked shirt, and tennis shoes. The stranger reminded him of Sam in the way she swept her short blond hair back from her face in a wave, and in the smudges of dirt on her clothes... except for one thing - this woman was very pregnant. As far as he knew, Sam had never been pregnant!
“Can I help you?”
The woman smiled, and it suddenly hit Daniel that he somehow knew this person, but couldn't think where they had met before.
“Hi,” the woman said in a relatively low voice. “You're Daniel Jackson, aren't you?”
“I am.” Daniel peered at her in suspicion. “You seem awfully familiar - do I know you?”
A blush crept across the woman's face as she tried out her smile again, the gesture finally faltering, and she cleared her throat. “Possibly. We have met before, but it's been years...”
An answering smile burst across Daniel's face. “You're Sara! Sara O'Neill, Jack's wife.... I mean, ex-wife.”
Sara's smile was now more genuine. “What a good memory you have! Yes, we met that one time at the hospital when Jack...” She abruptly cut herself off, as if just now recalling that his and her previous meeting was classified by the Air Force. “Well, you know.”
More used to things being classified, Daniel took her gaffe with equanimity. “Of course! But you've changed a bit!” He let his eyes roam up and down her body. “Jack didn't say anything about you being pregnant again - when's the baby due?”
“Um... that's kind of the thing,” she said, and grimaced. “Jack doesn't know yet. We kind of lost touch after that... hospital thing.”
Daniel's smile dropped to a look of understanding. “Oh, I can imagine how... It must be... really...” What did he say to a woman who had been very important to his best friend at one time, but wasn't any longer... yet was? 'Long time no see?'
“It's awkward,” Sara said, saving Daniel the trouble of putting voice to his concerns. “Jack doesn't even know that I remarried, so why should he know about the baby?”
Which didn't make sense. “Um... If he doesn't know, then... why are you here?”
A second blush crept over Sara's cheeks to make them appear ruddier than they already were. “That's just it - I went to Jack's house, but you probably know already that it seems to be empty.”
That made Daniel laugh. “No, not empty. Just... um... empty. For now. Jack's on a long term mission.” He silently prayed that she wouldn't discover his fudging of the truth: she didn't need to be bothered with the details of Jack's MIA status on Edora. That is, if he could talk about it - which he couldn't.
“A mission - of course.” Sara spoke as if she had intimate knowledge of the kinds of missions that Jack was usually involved with, and mercifully didn't ask for more details. “But you see, I have these boxes for him in my car, some things I found of Charlie's. I must have moved them when I got married, but now I need the space for the nursery.” Suddenly Sara's benign expression swooped into lines of worry. “Please don't tell Jack about the baby.”
This made even less sense. “Didn't you say you just came from his house? Wouldn't he have learned about the baby if he'd seen you?”
More red stained her cheeks. “Yes, but... now that he isn't home, I'm sort of... relieved that I don't have to see him right now.”
Daniel compassionately nodded. “This is hard for you, isn't it?”
Sara wilted in relief. “Yes, it is. I almost turned back three times on my way over to his place. I feel awful to be glad he's gone, but...” Her voice trailed guiltily away as Daniel gave her an understanding look. He was about to say something to show his sympathy for her plight, but the look was cut short when she let out a yelp and put a calming hand on her distended stomach. “Oh! That was a good one!”
“Is it kicking?” Daniel asked instead, hoping that a change in subject would show his empathy for her just as well.
Sara sent him a wry glance that said she realized what he was doing, but was willing to play along with him. “If Charlie's little sister keeps this up, she'll have kicked her way out of my stomach by the time she's supposed to be born.”
“And that is..?”
“Next month,” Sara readily replied. “So you can see why I want to get the nursery up and running before she arrives... which brings me back to the boxes I have for Jack. I hate to bother you, but do you have an address for him that..?”
“He doesn't have an address right now - but I know someone who can reach him. How about if I take those boxes off your hands and let Jack know that I have them the next time it's safe for us to make contact? Then I can send them on to him when he's ready to look through them.”
“You'd do that?” The relief again shot across her features, followed by yet another blush. Daniel was beginning to wonder if blushes were an effect of her pregnancy. “I don't mind sending them myself... or if I can't, then paying you for doing it for me.”
“There's no need,” Daniel instantly said. “I don't mind at all. I'll get those boxes now - how many do you have?” He followed Sara down the stairs and around to the trunk of her car parked on a side street. She opened it wide and Daniel saw two boxes beside a spare tire.
“There's just the two - are you sure you don't mind mailing them for me?”
Daniel hefted a box. “I'll just charge it to the Air Force.” Her throaty laugh followed him as he lugged a box up the stairs, then hurried to set his box on his living room sofa so that his arms were free to grab the box she'd carried from her car. “Here, let me take that for you. Wouldn't want Charlie's sister to kick it out of your arms - there might be something breakable in there.”
Sara laughed again. “Hardly! I think it's just old papers and stuff - but I guess I don't know - I didn't look. Maybe there's a game or two.”
Daniel's face fell in a swoop. “Are you sure you don't want to keep..?”
“I'm sure,” Sara firmly said. “I need to look ahead to the future, not get stuck in the past. Besides,” she confided, “I'll just end up crying buckets, and I cry enough as it is these days... I don't need any help.”
“Ah - must be pregnancy hormones. They driving you nuts?”
“They were never this bad with Charlie. Some days I think I might as well retire and start watering the garden instead - I have enough tears for three!”
Daniel set the second box on the floor in front of his sofa. “Well, I'll give these to Jack as soon as I can. Do you want to leave a number with me so that I can tell you what I did with them?”
“Sure.” And Sara spewed off a string of digits that only Daniel could remember. “I really appreciate this.”
“Glad to help,” Daniel insisted. “I promise not to mention the baby to Jack. Just send me a birth announcement and we'll call us square.”
Sara gave a wistful smile. “It's not that I don't want him to know, I just don't want him to get upset that I'm...”
“Living again?” Daniel guessed as her voice trailed off. Sara nodded in guilt-ridden agreement. “I understand. He won't hear about any of it from me unless you want me to tell him.”
“I'll tell him... someday,” Sara promised, then turned to leave. “Thanks again, Dr. Jackson.”
“It's Daniel, and you're welcome.” Daniel closed the door as she walked away.
In the following quiet, Daniel stared at the two boxes. “Well, first I should put Jack's name on these so that I don't get them mixed up with mine... there's a pen around here somewhere.” While mentally cringing at the teasing torture Jack would surely give to him if he ever learned that the archaeologist talked to himself when alone, Daniel wandered back into his study in search of a pen. He eventually unearthed a hot pink highlighter that Cassie had left there after a study session the previous weekend. Daniel grinned as he scrawled Jack's name across the first box. “He hates this color.” He moved on to the other box, but the minute he touched the flap, it fell apart, a casualty of ancient tape and extended wear.
Daniel was actually amazed that these boxes had gotten this far without disintegrating. Looking critically at both boxes, he said, “I suppose I should repack this stuff before I give them to him.” He reached into the box and, trying not to look at Jack's personal items, pulled them out, coughing on the dust that he disturbed. “You're as bad as my rocks!”
He coughed again, and waved a hand in front of his face. His last wave fluttered a paper aside, uncovering the edge of an black camcorder underneath. Curious to see video equipment that was years old, he carefully picked it up for a quick examination. “Jack never told me that he was a home movie kind of guy. I bet he doesn't even know he has this.”
Daniel held the camera up to the light to study it, discovering that the tape door on the side was wide open to any and all kinds of dust and insects. He reached up to snap it shut when he caught sight of the small tape still inside. “I bet Jack really doesn't know about this.”
Daniel held the tape up to the light to read the faded label, but nothing was written on the outside to indicate its contents. He turned the tape over in his hands, but there was nothing on the other side, either. Daniel searched his brain to think of a way to save the tape's contents for posterity, yet make it still viewable at the same time. “I bet Sam will know how we can retrieve the data that's on here - that is, if I can get her attention for five minutes.” Thoughts of his teammates' self appointed mission to single handedly create a way home for Jack filled his mind again, but he ruthlessly pushed the thought aside; Sam had been just as frenzied, hence unapproachable, for a month now, and he had intimate knowledge of how she behaved when interrupted: pissed. Best to leave that interruption for a later date!
But when Daniel shut the tape back into its housing, a noise like static issued out of the camcorder.
Daniel turned the recording device over in his hands, and managed to find the viewing mechanism. “These old recorders were so clunky,” he complained as he squinted at the viewer he'd found. “I can barely make out a picture.”
The reason for the lack of picture soon presented itself. “Yep, nothing but static,” he muttered, turning the recorder over again in order to find the stop and rewind buttons. “Let's make sure there's really something on this tape. If I were Jack, I'd hate to get this and think I have something special, only to find out the tape is completely empty. What a disappointment.” He figured that Jack had suffered enough disappointments in his life as it was - he didn't need to add to them.
When he deemed that he'd rewound the tape far enough, Daniel stopped it, then started the tape again, hoping that he'd hear more than static this time.
He was instantly rewarded for his diligence when he could not only hear a young male voice issuing out of the camcorder, but could also see something that looked like... the inside of a... was that leather? As in, the leather of a ball glove?
“'I found my glove... finally. Now I know Dad's glove is in here somewhere,'” muttered a young male voice that Daniel assumed was Charlie. Daniel could hear him, but not see anything more than the brown leather of the boy's own ball glove. It was weird knowing that he was hearing the voice of Jack's dead son, but not seeing anything he was doing. Daniel figured that Charlie had turned on the camcorder with the idea he would just pop into his parent's bedroom to retrieve Jack's glove, then forgot that he was recording as he got distracted by not quickly finding the glove.
But Daniel had heard enough to know that there was more than just static on this tape. He reached to turn the tape off, but his finger caught on the edge of the handle, and the sound of things shifting aside reached Daniel's ear. “'Nope, not here,” muttered the voice next. “Not beside the dresser, either. In the closet?'” The glove squeaked as whoever was carrying it and the recorder moved to the assumed closet.
Daniel again reached for the off switch, only this time almost entirely lost his hold on the camcorder as it slipped to the edge of his fingertips. He barely had time to right it before the voice intoned, “'The search for Dad's ball glove continues... Ba ba ba bum!'” A sigh issued into the room. “Not here either. Maybe the table?” He moved across the room, his footsteps swishing on what must have been carpet.
The boy's frustration when he didn't immediately find his objective there either was obvious, and the more emotional he became, the more he sounded like Jack. “Wow,” Daniel instantly commented aloud. “I almost expect him to say...”
“'For cryin out loud, where does he keep that thing?!”
Daniel couldn't hold back the smirk that blossomed across his face. He loved to hear Jack's favorite phrase uttered by the young! “I bet Sam and Teal'c would get a kick out of hearing that.”
Daniel watched for one more minute before guilt again settled into him. “But this is Jack's - stop watching. I feel like a voyeur as it is.”
He was about to stop the tape from playing anymore when the Charlie on camera intoned, “'Another throwing lesson with the Dadmeister... if I can ever find his stupid glove! Maybe inside the table?”
A sound like a drawer sliding open filled the room just before a pause, a shuffle of the paraphernalia that Daniel assumed Jack kept in the mysterious table (what was Jack doing with a table in his room, anyway? Unless it was a bedside table?) “'Nope, not here. Guess I'll have to ask.” The camera swung with the glove as it sounded like Charlie prepared to leave the room, but the picture suddenly came to an abrupt halt. Daniel still couldn't tell what was going on, but he had no problem hearing the confusion in the boy's voice when Charlie asked someone who was obviously in the room with him, “'Who are you? Are you a friend of my dad? Is that why you're dressed so funny?'”
It was all he had time to ask. The next instant, the sound of a gunshot slammed through the room, making Daniel jump. Though Daniel was more than familiar with the sound that guns made, the suddenness of this one cut him to the bone. Jack had never said that Charlie had shot himself in his bedroom. Yet, that made sense if the weapon in the accident had been Jack's gun (and that's what the police reports of the accident claimed, Daniel knew).
The sound echoed in the still air as the camcorder fell out of the glove and to the floor along with some papers and a baseball, yet was still recording. Charlie gave an '"Oof!'” of surprise as the force of what must have been a close range shot flung him back against the table behind him. There was a crash, then silence.
Now lying on its side and buried under the papers that Charlie had been carrying, the camera was still recording in spite of its fall to the floor. Daniel could clearly see the room, plus a closet near the open door leading to a hallway covered in carpet. He also caught sight of a black pant leg and what looked like black military boots - it was difficult to see in the dim light. Silence filled the room, punctuated by Charlie's breathy rattles.
Suddenly a figure dressed all in black and wearing a black ski mask that covered every feature on his face except his eyes knelt down. The figure dragged Charlie's limp wrist into view and clearly checked his pulse. A wicked pool of dark blood was already collecting around the camera, but it wasn't yet deep enough to obscure a shot of the man in black placing a gun, presumably the one that had just shot Charlie, into the boy's hand, then tossing it negligently aside, as if Charlie had fired it then dropped it in his surprise at shooting himself. Latex gloves on the figure's hands kept his own DNA from transferring to the pistol as whoever the figure was smeared one last bit of blood onto the gun's handle. He climbed to his feet while simultaneously activating something on his wrist as the hurried sound of footsteps grew louder in the hall. The figure in black vanished in a burst of white light just as Daniel caught sight of Jack as he rushed through the door, followed closely by Sara.
Chaos naturally ensued. Screams. The tight urgency of Jack's voice filtered to the camera as he called for an ambulance. That's when Daniel heard Sara's keening sobs as well as Jack's terse conversation with a 911 dispatcher named Erin. Finally Sara's foot struck the camcorder, which turned over and skittered under their bed. The off switch was on the floor side now, and gravity must have pressed it down, for abruptly the camcorder stopped recording the grisly scene.
But it had recorded enough. Opposed to what everyone had long believed, Charlie had not accidentally shot himself using Jack's gun. Charlie had never even seen Jack's gun, or Daniel would have witnessed his exclamations at finding it. Instead, Daniel was pretty sure he'd just heard Charlie being surprised by a mysterious figure dressed in black, then heartlessly murdered.
Daniel spent that night and the entire next day considering what to do about his new knowledge. His first instinct was to instantly grab the camera and its tape, and run straight to the SGC to show... And that was his first stumbling block. Who would he show it to?
He answered himself, Why, Jack, of course.
Then he remembered: Jack was currently MIA on Edora. Sam was working every minute of every day to make a device that would magically bring him home... but she was weeks if not months away from a working prototype.
So, if not Jack, then who?
Sam? Teal'c? General Hammond? The Joint Chiefs? The President?
But, then he cautioned himself, if he told any one of them, then the others were bound to eventually find out about this, and then what? Would they all be killed, as Charlie had? Would they become part of some grand scheme to cover up those original reprehensible actions? And why had those actions happened in the first place? Charlie had obviously been killed for a reason, but what?
To make Jack depressed? Why? So he would go to Abydos? But why? Daniel knew that the first Abydos mission had been considered a suicide mission - one that Jack had been specifically requested to carry out. But why Jack? Because he was so depressed that he would be sure to want that mission's promised suicidal success? That meant that someone had originally wanted to kill Jack as well as Charlie, but make it look like an accident.
Daniel reeled at that thought. That was just too mercenary to consider. He quickly banished any thoughts along those lines from his mind.
Yet he kept coming back to that, in spite of his intentions. Saturday slipped into Sunday as he thought, but ultimately decided nothing. Before he knew it, he was faced with the end of the weekend, going back to work, back to the SGC, back to an absent Jack... still without a decision. He was starting to panic.
What to do, what to do?
After allowing his thoughts to bounce heedlessly through his mind for one more night, Daniel still did not know what to do by Monday morning. His morning coffee was cold company for the tangle his mind had become. He felt that he couldn't make this kind of momentous decision alone, but needed to talk to someone - ask they're advice.
But asking for advice constituted the act of showing this tape to someone... who could then tell someone... who could then tell someone else... and eventually the parties behind this atrocity would find out that someone - Jack maybe - knew. Daniel assumed whoever was behind this murder was still alive - no one on SG-1 would be alive at this late date by not assuming the worst in every scenario. And the way things went for Jack, those people would still be alive and able to wield their power, and kill Jack as well as his son. Being stuck on Edora for eternity was a better fate than being dead. No, Daniel couldn't risk asking anyone for advice, not even his teammates.
At that point, Daniel figured that no matter what he chose to do with his new information, in the end, Jack would still be gone, and Charlie would still be dead. That was what really mattered. And that led Daniel to only one conclusion.
“I can't tell anyone.”
For the first time in his life, Daniel, the talker of the SGC, was faced with the burden of knowing that the life of a friend rested on his continued silence.
And that just really sucked.
Well, did anyone actually see Kinsey get implanted? What if he already was? And haven't you ever wondered just why he's so determined to get control of the Stargate? Yeah, yeah - we were told 'so he can control it himself so that he can run the SGC his way.' But doesn't that desire take on a much more insidious urgency if you consider the possibility that he's already a Goa'uld who wants to take over the Stargate for his own nefarious purposes? It could be that after Ra's death-by-bomb, another System Lord realized that the Tau'ri were more technologically advanced than they realized, and then infiltrated Earth and took over Kinsey because he's in the government and because he's stupid - everyone would buy it if he tried to shut down the 'Gate. Too crazy? Don't see the Goa'uld as being stealthy enough to infiltrate a planet's government rather than just enslaving the planet's population? Yeah - you may have a point. But just consider it. Besides, this theory gives a whole new level of meaning to the saying 'Aliens walk among us!'
“Thank you for coming today,” Jack forced himself to say when an anonymous airman silently ushered his guest into his office. Jack hadn't looked up while speaking, and that had helped him to say the words that he understood had to be said for professional reasons, but wanted to get stuck in his throat for personal ones.
“It was no problem, really,” Pete Shanahan said to the top of General O'Neill's head as he took a seat, his voice just as congenial as Jack's had been. “I don't mind taking off work... when I'm in the middle of an important case... when every single minute counts... just for a follow-up session with the commander of a military base I don't even work for. No problem at all.”
The statement had been politely spoken, but was bitingly sarcastic. In reaction, Jack let his head slowly rise from his fake perusal of the paperwork in front of him in order to take in the feigned expression of civility adorning Shanahan's face. He had to forcibly swallow back the retort that naturally leapt to the front of his mind. “As I said, thank you for coming in to see me today. We have an admittedly audacious attitude towards National Security - my apologies if this meeting took you away from something more important.” His teeth grated together in his effort to remain polite. “The fact that this is the third time you've postponed this meeting has...”
A huge sigh filled with half aggravation, half guilty regret cut Jack off. “National Security notwithstanding... let's cut to the chase. Why am I here?”
For a silent minute, Jack just studied the man in front of him, his gaze sliding from the carefully benign expression on the slightly pudgy face, to the casual civvies he wore under his navy blue jacket, to the way his knee bounced as he sat in the guest chair across the desk in the General's office. The bouncing, he expected, was a nervous habit, one that he too (unfortunately) had been guilty of making in the past.
Finally, Jack purposely dropped his pen on top of the unsigned forms gracing his desk. “So... 'why are you here?'” he slowly repeated. “Why do you think?”
Pete shrugged his shoulders under his jacket. “I have no idea. I don't work here. I'm not even in the military.” A mischievous light momentarily glinted in his eyes. “And I doubt you take the time to interview all the boyfriends and girlfriends and fiancés and spouses of your employees. So.” There was the shrug again. “Why am I here?”
With a show of patience, Jack sat back in his leather office chair, making it give an official squeak. “I called you in to follow up on the security clearance you were given last Spring.”
At that, Pete gave him a puzzled look. “My security clearance? But, isn't it the same kind of clearance given to a lot of people? What's so important about mine that it needs a follow-up?”
Jack gazed in assessment at the other man: did he really think that his was a typical clearance situation, or was he fishing for information again? The General didn't want himself nor the SGC to become the man's next unofficial background check. To satisfy the streak of curiosity he knew resided under the cop's puzzled exterior, he at last announced, “Actually, your the first civilian to get clearance of any kind for the SGC.”
“I'm the first?” Pete's voice held genuine astonishment this time.
Jack's lips curled in a ghostly smile at the man's surprise. If he was faking this emotion too, then he was a much better actor than the higher ups were giving him credit for. “Yes, well... My superiors have ordered me to brief you on the next level of security clearance, so I'm telling you what to expect, and what we expect of you.”
An understanding look suddenly blossomed across Pete's face. “I knew there had to be some kind of catch.”
Jack gave a tilt of his head. “No catch. Just... information.”
Suspicion now blazed out of Pete's eyes. “Information about what?”
A timely klaxon blared on the loudspeakers set into the ceiling before Jack could answer, and Sergeant Harriman's voice instantly drowned out all other conversation. “Off world activation!”
Pete's expression darkened. “I remember that phrase from that time I was in your Infirmary - what does it mean, anyway?” Then his puzzled look morphed into one that was just slightly belligerent. “Or doesn't my clearance level allow me to know?”
Jack's sigh was the only answer. He placed his hands squarely on his desk top and heaved himself up. “No - that's what this new clearance is all about. This way.”
He led the bewildered man out of his office and into the Briefing Room, pausing directly in front of a blank beige wall near the black and red Briefing table. His finger poised on a button on that wall as he faced Pete. “Until now, you've known about the Stargate, but haven't been cleared to see it. As of now, that's gonna change.” With a flourish, he pushed the button. As the beige wall slid up, Jack never took his eyes from Pete's face.
The amazement Jack expected to see was there, Pete's eyes going wide as the Stargate came into view, its chevrons already glowing. “SG-9's IDC!” Walter's voice bellowed up from the Control Room below. Colonel Reynolds fulfilled his capacity as base 2IC when he ordered the Iris open. The metal slab swirled aside with a clunk of finality, and a heartbeat later the blue event horizon exploded forth.
Jack's diligence was rewarded when Pete took an involuntary jump back, as if in danger of being swallowed by the wormhole erupting into the 'Gate Room. The General couldn't resist the amusement that immediately took hold: the cop's dumbfounded expression at witnessing his first 'Gate activation was so typical that Jack had trouble holding back an eventual urge to laugh. No matter how long he was involved with the Stargate program, and no matter who he was watching at any time, this just never got old. He couldn't help the proprietary feeling the 'Gate gave him. It might not be professional, might not even be logical, but it was definitely there. Jack O'Neill was sincerely proud of this alien wonder, almost as if he were responsible for its existence.
The event horizon settled back into its usual swirl of blue, and a crowd of highly armed SFs trained their weapons in readiness at the 'Gate. Then they all waited. It felt like the entire base was holding its breath until a second later a slurp indicated that a body was coming through the portal. Captain Lance Avery appeared on the ramp leading from the 'Gate into the room, followed by his teammate, Major Crompton. She was instantly followed by the linguist Major Samson, and Colonel Justin Blake appeared at last, walking backwards through the 'Gate, watching the backs of his team until the 'Gate deactivated.
The minute the event horizon disappeared, SG-9 ambled down the ramp, handing their weapons off to waiting SFs as Colonel Reynolds explained O'Neill's absence and told them that their mission debrief was scheduled for an hour later. The four nodded, then vanished in the direction of the Infirmary for their post-mission checks.
Pete gaped like a fish and pointed at the Stargate. “Does... does Sam walk through that thing, too?!” he screeched, unable to keep the horror off his face.
What could he possibly be horrified about? Puzzled now, Jack slowly answered the man's question. “Carter leads SG-1, so of course she goes through the 'Gate.” He stepped back, ready to continue the security briefing, but Pete lingered at the window.
“Is it safe?” His tone now held nothing but shock. He clearly didn't think anything so alien could possibly be safe.
It was a question that took Jack by surprise. “Of course it's safe. This is Carter's eighth year going through the 'Gate. It's no big deal.”
Pete sent a vague gesture towards the 'Gate. “That... that... she...” He was obviously so boggled that he couldn't even fathom what his girlfriend did for a living. “I thought she did sciency things!” he exclaimed at last. “That she had nothing to do with... with...” His voice trailed off when he couldn't find the words to describe what he was witnessing.
Sciency things. That so didn't describe what Carter did on a daily basis that even O'Neill hadn't dared be so vague in his side comments over the years. It was sure to do nothing but make her mad. “Carter is first and foremost part of the Air Force. She's an airman... a soldier. She leads her team, gives orders, makes the big decisions, explores other worlds, gets Daniel out of the trouble he always gets into, shoots the bad guys, and in her spare time, yes, she does the science thing.” The amusement was palpable in his voice. “But don't let her hear you claim she only does 'sciency things,' At least, not if you want to live.”
Pete continued to gape at the 'Gate, as if he simply could not grasp what it represented. “You mean she actually carries a gun?”
Jack snorted at that statement. “Of course she carries a gun.” His brows waggled. “A big one. And she knows how to use it, too.” His brows now furrowed in puzzlement. “What did you think she did all day?”
“I don't know,” Pete replied, helpless. “Science things.”
Oy. Did the man even know Carter?
Jack then did a double take at that thought. That, obviously, was the whole problem.
Jack regarded Pete. “You don't know this side of her, do you?”
Pete turned his gaping eyes onto Jack. “What side? What do you mean?”
“This.” Jack's gestured wave took in the Briefing Room, his office, the 'Gate, the guns still being toted away by the SFs, the SGC as a whole. “Her professional side. Her.”
Pete's gape was quickly becoming a permanent fixture. “I know her as... as... She wears skirts. And takes bubble baths. And likes her feet rubbed when she gets home. This.” He repeated the General's wave. “I had no idea about all this.”
Jack had seen her in a skirt exactly once, in the many years he had known her. He knew she liked the relaxing feel of baths, but didn't know she was into bubble baths. And she likes her feet rubbed? Since when?
At that moment Jack had the uncomfortable epiphany that he might know the professional side of Carter, but the personal side didn't include him at all.
He abruptly felt like he was missing a large slice of Carter's life, and that slice was growing by the minute. “Well,” he uncomfortably began, “I suppose she does like the occasional foot rub.”
“It's not occasional,” Pete informed, his voice soft now as he continued to gaze at the 'Gate. “She says her boots don't fit right.”
“She does?” Jack blurted before he could stop himself.
Surprised by Jack's outburst, Pete turned towards him, the look on his face now clearly saying 'Where has this guy been?' “She says they've never fit right.”
Jack was the flabbergasted one now. “Never?”
Pete just shook his head.
“She never said one word about it. In seven years!” The uncomfortable feeling accosting Jack that he didn't really know Carter began to grow exponentially. “She never told me.”
Pete gestured again at the ceiling, indicating the professional side of her life. “Well, she never told me about this, either.”
Jack's response was mumbled. “She can't. You didn't have clearance until today.”
Pete's brows rose in a show of disbelieving inquisition. “She couldn't say anything about carrying a gun, even if she couldn't say where she carried it to?” The brows rose even higher. “She couldn't mention that maybe Daniel was a pain in the butt on some days? That she really did do the soldier thing? That she likes exploring, even if she couldn't tell me what she explored?” The brows were now as high as the receding hairline.
Jack blinked rapidly as he considered the revolutionary idea that there were as many sides to Carter as the SGC had look-a-like corridors.
Jack suddenly wanted to get to know all of Carter, not just her professional side. He wanted to know how hot she liked her bath water. Why she thought her boots never fit quite right. Why she wore skirts instead of dresses or jeans.
This personal side of her must admittedly be her smaller side, he figured, given how much time she had chosen to spend at work over the years. That is, until recently. Her personal side was now exploding much like the 'Gate had.
Then Jack had a really uncomfortable thought: was that personal side taking over?
In the next second, Jack decided that he was being a moron. Of course it wasn't taking over! A workaholic like Carter would never be able to completely give sway to her personal side. But then, what was she doing with gawker boy, here?
Jack's eyes widened as another new thought hit him. Was this, perhaps, transitory? As if she was giving her personal side a spin... taking it out for a joy ride... for the first time since he'd met her?
And did that mean that spin, like all spins, would be short lived and soon over? That it will quickly use up its appeal?
Jack did all that he could to keep the suddenly appreciative grin off his face. At last he couldn't help it: the grin finally creased and wrinkled every feature. This was absolutely the best news he'd heard all year!
The End (for now)
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