Story Notes: SPOILERS: COTG, Broca Divide, Thor's Hammer, Thor's Chariot, Solitudes, Singularity, ItLoD and Fair Game

SEASON: After 3

NOTES: Finally I beat the writer's block. I hope that it is worth it! Don't forget feedback. Pretty please with chocolate sauce on top!

Jack O'Neill guided his eyes around the pattern on the ceiling for the twentieth time. He looked at his clock, 4.45am and a nice bout of insomnia was going to make this a very long night.

He continued to stare up at the darkened ceiling as it began to betray the first signs of morning. Suddenly his mind wandered back to the last occasion in which he had spent so much of his time following patterns in a ceiling. That had been almost a year ago and was certainly not caused by insomnia.

He felt an involuntary shiver run through him as he recalled the events that had led to his extended stay in the base infirmary. A single shot through his heart had induced a coma, a state in which not even his doctor thought he would recover from. Yet here he was, fit and healthy with a fantastic story to tell, a publishers delight. Except he'd have to shoot anyone who ever read it!


1 Year Earlier.

"Daniel, what are they saying?"

"Um, not quite sure Jack, seems like a cross between English and Ancient Greek. I think they are welcoming us"

"You *think*? You know, it would be nice if you could possibly find it in your heart to get a little more specific than *I think*" He turned to Carter and smirked "Or am I asking too much?"

Jack's sarcasm was lost on no-one, except perhaps the newest alien they had met, Daniel drew in a breath to defend himself, Teal'c remained stoic and Carter tried valiantly to bite back a grin. The little alien guy seemed completely oblivious to the humour but had the intelligence to realise that spoken communication was not a viable option, accordingly he made several gestures that not even our lovely colonel could misinterpret.

He led; they followed.

Jack looked on as Daniel tried once more to establish some form of verbal coherence. This time it seemed like they were actually getting somewhere. Daniel was muttering something obscure and the little alien guy was nodding. A little while later Daniel returned to the rest of his team.

"Apparently the gate has been dormant for a very long time. We are the first to come through for almost a thousand years"

"Oh, what a shame. I was so hoping to meet one of our snakey little friends, catch up on old times…"

Just then Jack was removed from his little diatribe by their newest acquaintance. After speaking for several minutes with Daniel, a few nods were exchanged and fingers pointed. Daniel had seemingly forgot that the other members of his team where not as fluent in this language as he apparently was.

"Care to fill us in Danny boy, or do we just play charades for the next two days?"

This time Sam couldn't hold back the smile. For some reason Jack was being even more sarcastic than normal. For Daniel's sake she had tried not to laugh, but it seemed the more she tried not to laugh the harder Jack tried to make her. She glanced up at her CO who was now smiling directly at her. She had to concentrate so as not to betray the way *that* particular smirk of his affected her. Daniel however, was firmly ignoring Jack's sarcasm.

"They want us to stay for the ritual"

"Ohhh, the *ritual*. Well that say's it all really!"

"I believe DanielJackson was about to explain just as you interrupted O'Neill"

Jack rolled his eyes, Teal'c needed lessons in sarcasm.

"Thank you Teal'c" Daniel continued.

"What I was *about* to say Jack, is that the ritual is for the election of a new leader. The contenders go up against each other in what I can only guess to be a form of gladiatorial combat. They want us to honour the event with our presence. Basically we just stick around, eat, drink and be merry. They are called the Orinate, who seem to be a mixed descendacy from the Ancient Greek period. They are a peaceful people so there won't be any danger for us. Jack, I think this could be a great chance for me to learn about this culture"

"Ok, ok. Daniel you've convinced me, Please no more! Besides who are we to refuse such an invitation? Alrighty campers. You heard the man. *Party Time!* Carter, you send a message to Hammond, tell him what's going on. Teal'c come with me, we have a camp to set up!"


A few hours later the event had commenced. Sg-1 sat a respectable distance away from the main event, none wanting to witness the brutal nature of the *game*. For a supposedly peaceful people, this was barbaric. What Daniel hadn't understood was that the battle was to the death, by fair means or foul. Even the Colonel realised that to leave would be considered disrespectful, something that they just couldn't afford to be, especially since Sam had found a new mineral that she thought could be valuable. Diplomacy was not his strong point, but the glare from Daniel, the raised eyebrow from Teal'c and a very persuasive expression from his major had won him over. *Especially* that very persuasive look from a certain major.

"Hey Carter, what you eating?" Jack asked looking at he strange object that Sam was enjoying so heartily. Is it possible to be jealous of a fruit? As her lips tasted the bright blue flesh once more, Jack thought it was.

"I don't know Sir. They were in that bowl over there." Reading his unspoken question she continued "Daniel said that the Contenders had eaten them so they must be edible. To be honest Sir, I have never tasted anything so amazing"

Yep, he was definitely jealous of a fruit!

"Try one Sir, they're over there" As he followed her extended arm in the direction she indicated, both saw that the bowl was now empty of the strange fruit.

"It's ok Major. I think I'll get some sleep. Teal'c's on first watch, so don't stay up too late"

With that he headed to his makeshift bunk. He couldn't trust himself around her when she was eating that fruit. It was possibly one of the most erotic images he'd ever seen and she'd unknowingly hypnotised him with her actions. The safest course of action was the one he always resorted to when it came to Sam. Retreat.

Cowardly? Yes. Did he care? No! He couldn't think of her in that way, at least he couldn't be obvious about it. He had long since given up hope of denying how he felt (approximately the same time as the 'sweet little tank top' incident) so now he concentrated on not *showing* it. He couldn't risk losing her, which he would in more than one way if his feelings became public knowledge. He knew that she would be kicked off Sg-1 and probably out of the programme altogether, but more importantly he would not, under any circumstances, risk the relationship that they already had. She was his trusted friend and he wasn't going to throw that away.

He turned sharply in his sleeping bag, frustration seeping through him. Sleep would be a long time in coming this evening. "Should've swapped Teal'c watch" he said to no one in particular.


Years of black ops training woke him from a shallow sleep, sensing something was wrong. As he quickly orientated himself, he focused on Daniel running towards him with a look on his face that could only be bad. Immediately his adrenaline soared, ready for possible battle, readying him for action.

"Jack, there's something wrong with Sam"

Jack didn't even stop to think, he had just heard the words that he utterly dreaded, "Something wrong with Sam" Daniel was racing toward the small ring that the contenders had been using earlier but Jack was already ahead of him. He needed to see, but he was dreading what he might find. As he reached his goal, he stood confused for a moment. Sam was stood in the middle of the ring, squared up to the contender that had won the "games" and she was actually taunting him.

"Jack she's gone crazy, she's challenged the guy because she thinks he's too feeble to be the leader of the people. Look what she did to Teal'c when he tried to grab her"

Jack couldn't understand what he was seeing and hearing. One, Sam looked angry and aggressive, that was just plain wrong. Two, he saw the dark bruise forming under Teal'c's eye and Three, what the Hell was she doing taunting a guy three times her size? Not to mention interfering in something that was definitely none of her business.

Without further thought he had already done more than he usually did in situations like this) he ran into the ring and stood between the two. With the help of the other villagers and Daniel the leader backed away, but Sam was still spitting venom.

"Major, what the Hell are you thinking?"

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Teal'c raise the zat gun, ready to defend his team. Although the leader had backed away, Daniel doing his best to placate him, this was a situation where the outcome could not be guessed. Jack knew that he could allow the rest of his team to watch his back while he tried to understand his majors actions.

"Major, what is going on here?" The steel that laced his voice was a result of the unusual uncertainty he was feeling. He had always been able to read Carter so well, often only having to look into her eyes to see what she was thinking, but as he looked into her eyes now, he could only see anger and aggression.

"What's going on here *Jack* is that I think that I could beat the crap out of their new leader, so how the hell can he defend them?" Her eyes where spitting a fire that Jack had never witnessed before. He'd seen her angry before, but this, this was on a level that stunned him.

"Major, it's none of our business. We do *not* interfere. Daniel, Teal'c it's time to go."

"Like Hell it is *Jack* I've not finished here."

"Oh yes you have Major, now *move*"

He had never thought he would have to get tough with her, never realised that one day he would speak to her like *just* another soldier who was going the right way for a court-martial. But that was exactly how she was behaving and it was so completely out of character that Jack couldn't allow himself to focus on her reasons anymore. His only objective now was to diffuse a potentially lethal situation and get her home so that she could be checked out.

Her eyes spat at him once more as she continued undaunted.

"Who the Hell are you to tell me what to do?"

"I am your commanding officer *Major* and you *will* do as I tell you or you will not like the consequences" In his mind, he just wanted to pull her close and ask her softly what was wrong, but here and now he had no such luxuries.

"Go to Hell *Sir*! You want to side with them, that's fine. It just makes you as soft as they are"

"Major, I *will* not issue this warning again. Now *MOVE OUT*!"

Daniel and Teal'c stood speechless, although both still alert to the possible threat, both stood witness to an altercation that neither had ever expected. Sam was actually facing down Jack, her body language full of menace and an unspoken promise of violence. Neither understood it, but both realised that *something* had caused this. Suddenly Daniel had an idea and began to talk very quickly with the new leader of the Orinate.

Jack continued to carefully watch his Major. He had spent too many years doing things that still made him feel sick not to be able to realise a threat of violence. His training told him that Sam was ready to fight and nothing was going to stop her. Well if she was spoiling for a fight, the only one around here that he'd let her fight was him. At least that way he could control the situation and stop her from getting seriously hurt. However well she could defend herself, she would be no match for a group of very angry aliens.

Once more she spoke, her voice laced in violent temper

"Jack, you are a bigger fool that they are, *you* aren't fit to run this command. Not when you are so weak"

" Major, I have had about as much as I can stand of this. We are going home. NOW."

Never taking his eyes off Sam, he issued orders to the rest of his team.

"Teal'c head for the gate. Daniel, make our apologies and follow Teal'c. I'll get Sam."

"Jack, wait. I think I know why she's acting his way *and* how to fix it"

"No time Daniel, we need to get her away from here for now"

The next moments happened in a blur of motion. Jack took a step towards Sam slowly at first, waiting for this chance to grab her. Just as Teal'c turned after picking up their packs he saw Jack move to grab her. At the same time she moved for her gun, quickly with the expertise of long hours of practise she fired a single shot at point blank range into the chest of their commanding officer.

Jack hadn't stood a chance. He was too close to her to move or defend himself in any way and as Daniel turned around, startled by the sound of a gun shot, he saw only Jack crumpled on the floor, blood oozing from his chest and a single zat discharge strike Sam.

Archaeologist and Jaffa hurried to their friend's fallen positions, Sam was fine, unconscious and stunned from the pain inflicted from the blast, Jack however was not. Even Daniel, who had very limited medical training could see that the shot was right over his heart. The amount of blood, which lay, pooled on the ground testament to a potentially fatal injury. He felt for a pulse, only just finding a weak and thready one, but it was a pulse none the less. It was hope.

Neither man wasted a second in platitudes to the Orinates, their only goal to reach the stargate and get Jack home before it was too late. The only blessing was that Jack was unconscious and so would not be feeling the sweeping pain that packing the wound and carrying him over shoulders as they ran to the gate would have obviously caused.

As Daniel's arms burned with the effort of carrying Sam such a distance, he looked at her face and wondered why such a turn of fate had happened. He knew that she would be fine, after gaining some important information for the leader he knew she would. He knew now *why* she had acted like she had. But that didn't stop him wondering how she was going to react when she realised that it was her deliberate shot that had put her commander, the man Daniel knew she loved, in the life threatening danger he was undoubtedly in.

As they neared the gate, Daniel entered the glyphs for home, the gate seemingly taking an eternity to open when time was one thing they had very little of. Finally the wormhole formed the GDO code was sent and the two healthy travellers stepped through the event horizon both carrying a fallen comrade.


As they stepped through the other side of the wormhole, they where greeted by the familiar sight of General Hammond. His face changing quickly from a relaxed position to one of action as he took in the sight that greeted him.

"Medical team to the Gateroom, immediately" He ordered.

Turning to Daniel and Teal'c he helped bring Jack slowly to the floor, noticing the position of the wound and the amount of blood he grimaced

"What happened Dr. Jackson?"

"It's a long story sir. But basically Jack was shot. By Sam"


Before anymore questions could be asked Janet Fraiser and her medical team rushed into the room. Quickly triaging her two patients Janet barked orders to her team. "Gun shot wound through and through, Pulse: weak, BP: 70 over 35. Get him to the OR now. Possible nick to the Vena Cava, certain contact to heart."

Another medic was now taking care of Sam; she had begun to return to consciousness. Although it had taken her longer than normal for a single zat discharge, Janet knew which of her friends needed priority care.

The medical team left the room with the same speed and efficiency that they had arrived in. Daniel and Teal'c made a move to follow, but where pulled back by the command of Hammond.

"Dr. Jackson, Teal'c I know that you are eager to go to your team, but I need to know what happened. Dr. Fraiser will let us know if and when we are needed, so for now I want you in the briefing room with an explanation to why two of my best officers are injured, one seriously"


Hammond listened in ill concealed astonishment at the tale being told to him by the remaining members of his first line team.

"So you are telling me that Major Carter's behaviour was induced by the fruit that she ate?"

"Yes General. From what I was told the fruit is only consumed when the men are preparing to do battle. It increases their aggression by stimulating the release of certain hormones. But they are only supposed to eat a small piece, not the whole fruit as Sam did. It was my fault really, for not checking about the food, I just said it would be edible because I had seen the contenders eat some"

"DanielJackson, I do not believe it is acceptable to place the blame on your shoulders. You could not have known the outcome, neither could Major Carter or Colonel O'Neill."

"I am inclined to agree with Teal'c son, it seems to have been no- ones fault. Major Carter was under the influence of a substance that made her not responsible for her actions and the Colonel was only doing what he thought was the best course of action. As such I am not going to pursue the matter any further."

The relief on the faces of the men sat looking at him was clear, but it could not hide the concern that they both felt for their teammates. Hammond himself wanted to go and see how things where going and as such ended the briefing in his usual manner.

"I think it's time to go and see what is happening. Dismissed"

With that all three stood and left the room at a pace that epitomised deep-set worry, fear and concern. The reached the infirmary in record time, only to find that Jack was still in surgery. Sam however, was now sat up in her bed looking very confused.

Daniel was the first to go to her.

"Sam, are you ok?"

"Yes Daniel, I'm fine. But will someone please tell me what happened? I have a splitting headache and only remember flashes of a dream I must have had." Suddenly she stopped, realising that the picture before her was not quite right. Something was missing. Actually, some*one* was missing.

"Where's the Colonel?"

She couldn't believe that he would not be here, knowing that she had been taken to the infirmary. He was always there. Immediately a flash of her dream assaulted her mind. In it her arm was raised, gun in hand, pointed directly at Jack's chest. Instantly she saw herself fire a shot and her colonel go down, blood seeping from him.

As the image faded, she looked at the faces of the men gathered around her and knew that what she had seen was not a dream.

"No. Please god, no. Tell me it's not true, please"

Daniel enveloped her in a hug as her tears began to fall and sobs racked her body, He had known that the knowledge would hit her on a level far deeper than anyone else would have been aware of. No one spoke, because no one knew what to say, the only sound breaking the silence was the sound of crying.

Four hours later, Sam had stopped crying, mainly because there where no tears left. She was just lay motionless, praying that he'd be ok. They had reluctantly told her what had happened and that the shot wound was bad, but she all had faith in the miracle working abilities of Janet.

The same thought was echoed in the minds of the men who had not left her bedside, it was only when Janet Fraiser entered the room some time later that their thoughts would be answered. But the expression she carried wiped the hopeful smiles off the faces of those she encountered.

"I'm sorry to tell you that although Colonel O'Neill survived the surgery, his injury has induced him into a deep coma. The damage to his heart was severe and because of this I am sorry to tell you that I do not think he will recover" Finally she could let her medical fašade slip.

She stopped as a tear rolled down her own cheek. It was only now hitting her that the soldier she had just spent six hours operating on was her friend. She glanced around her other friends, Sam was sobbing uncontrollably, Teal'c holding her tight, tears misting his own eyes. General Hammond had merely looked down at the floor, but she could sense the flood of emotion flowing through him. Daniel was just stood, motionless unable to react to the news. She looked into his eyes and before she knew it he was pulling her into a fierce hug as both let the unshed tears fall.


All five stood around the Colonel's bed. He was hooked up to so many machines that some measure of detachment was given to them, it didn't look like their colonel. His face half hidden by an oxygen mask and his chest covered in a swath of bandages and dressings, his arms hooked up to drips and even his finger attached to a blood pressure monitor. Janet once more broke the tension. As she guided them all out of the door, she relayed the news that she was dreading ever having to say.

" I think it would be a good idea if you all said your goodbyes. I really don't think he'll make it through the night and seeing as you are the nearest thing to a family that he has it would be appropriate. I have tried to contact the former Mrs. O'Neill, but she is in Hawaii with her new fiancÚ."

The General nodded going back into the room first, knowing that the others needed some more time to compose their thoughts. A short while later he came out, barely able to mask his emotion. Janet went in next squeezing Daniel's hand for the reassurance she needed. When she returned the emotion was hidden from no one as Daniel held her once more, it was Teal'c who next went in.

"O'Neill, I come to you now with a great sadness. I know that you will soon leave this life following a path that will lead you to the afterlife that you deserve. However, I wish that it could have been I who had stood in front of Major Carter. Then you would not have to leave this world so quickly. I will say goodbye to you now my friend. It has been an honour to stand beside you in battle. I will take your spirit with me until the day that the Goa'uld are defeated. You have died well, My Friend."

With that Teal'c left the room, not wanting to prolong the pain that he was feeling. He nodded to Daniel as he returned to his friends, but just sat, everyone realising his need to be alone.

Daniel looked at Sam, silently asking who was next.

"You go Daniel. I can't just yet" A small nod was her only answer as Daniel went to say goodbye to the man he thought couldn't be killed.

He stood over his bed, taking in the machinery and constant bleep of the monitor.

"Jack, I don't know if you can hear me, but I wanted to thank you for everything you did for me. It was you that saved me from so many dangers that I've lost track, but more so it was you who helped bring me back after losing Sha're. Both times. You where always there, even in sarcasm. I know we had our differences, but I know that you have always been my friend and my family. You always said it was me that was surprisingly difficult to kill, but you came through your fair share of damage too. I never thought that I would have to stand beside you and say goodbye. I never thought I would have to lose family all over again."

As tears threatened Daniel knew he had said all he needed to say so he took one last look at his friend and left the room, determined to remember him in a different way than the way he had just seen him. Jack deserved more than to be remembered helpless and dying.

Sam looked up as she heard Daniel's return, she knew that she could not put off the inevitable any longer. She couldn't look at anyone so she just stood and walked into the room where she would have to confront deep and painful emotions.

She sat on the edge of the bed, careful not to disturb him and took his hand. He felt warm, it was just like he was sleeping. He looked peaceful and less battle hardened. She raised his limp hand to her cheek and placed a kiss on the visible knuckles.

"I have so many regrets Jack. It is my fault that you are here like this, waiting to die. I should have been strong enough to control my actions, I should never even have ate the fruit. So many times I have refused food on other planets. The first time I don't, I end up killing you. That will be the hardest thing to cope with, seeing your face contort in pain as I shot you, to go on living knowing that I killed the man that I love.

I never told you that did I? I couldn't. I was too afraid. I didn't want to risk losing you. I wanted so badly for you to love me, for us to be together and happy, but I know that you didn't love me and I wouldn't throw away what we did have. That used to be my biggest regret. I wish it still was.

I keep hoping that this is all a dream and when I wake up, you'll smile at me in that way that makes my heart know it's alive. Then you'd make fun of Daniel and we'd all be happy. I don't think I can say goodbye to you Jack, it hurts too much thinking that I'll never hear your voice again, or see you smile or watch you start to daydream in briefings, doodling on your pad. I love you and admire you in more ways than you will ever know. You made me a better person, a better soldier and a better scientist. You stood by me through hell and supported me when I needed you. It was an *honour* serving with you, Sir"

She stood up and saluted the unmoving form on the bed, her voice had long since broken with emotion and her tears slid freely down her face. She moved once more to the bed and placed a delicate kiss on his forehead. "I love you Jack"

Watching him now, she remembered in her own mind to the times she'd cherish with him. The crack about the sweet little tank top, the concern when she wouldn't leave Cassie in the bunker, the time they had been stranded on what they thought was an ice world, all the time he had made her laugh, refusing to let her give up. She remembered his reaction to her when Jolinar was in her, he had been the first person she saw when she came to, he had been the one to realise that Cassie was the person she needed.

Once more she took his hand, wishing there was a way for her to fix the mess she had caused.

Suddenly, she dropped his hand and ran out of the room. Wiping tears from her eyes as she ran she didn't notice the others stand to greet her. She was too busy thinking. It was Daniel who ran after her.

"Sam, are you ok? Don't run away. Talk to me please. What are you doing?"

"Daniel, I'm not running away. I can save him"

Daniel stopped in his tracks she really had him worried. Janet had already said there was no hope, Sam needed to accept it. She couldn't pretend everything was going to be ok.

Out of nowhere she reappeared, holding something. She waved it at him as she sped by him, back to the colonel.

" The Healing Device" he murmured in astonishment. " Way to go Sam!"

For the first time that day he smiled, a real cheek splitting grin and followed her run back to their friend.


Jack heard something, a faint sound that at first he couldn't make out. His head hurt, he wanted to go back to sleep, but the sound would not go away. Rather than stopping, it was becoming clearer and louder until he could recognise it. It was Janet, telling him to open his eyes. The thought of going back to sleep was banished; he wanted to know why she wanted him to open his eyes.

"That's it Colonel, nice and wide for me" she coaxed

The light hurt his eyes at first so he immediately shut them again. Bit by bit he made himself become accustomed to the brightness. When he finally did open his eyes fully he was greeted with the sight of Daniel, Teal'c, General Hammond and Janet all stood over him with 24 carat grins on their faces.

"What'd I miss?" he croaked

If it was possible the smiles grew brighter.

"He's back"

"He certainly is"

"BP and heart rate are now normal, all metabolic processes are stable"

"Someone care to tell me what's going on?" Jack muttered, his irritation at being left out of the loop evident to all.

"We will son, but first Doctor Fraiser has some tests to do on you"

He glanced up at his CO, something big had happened, he could tell.

"Sir, where's Major Carter? Is she OK?" The fear that laced his voice was unmasked, he realised she wasn't there and knew that if he was in a hospital bed, the likelihood was that she was too.

"Relax Colonel" Janet soothed "Sam is fine, she just had to…"

"…Fix something" Daniel provided, but Jack had noticed the tension when he mentioned Sam.

"Do you not remember anything O'Neill?"

Teal'c question brought an image into focus. He was stood in front of Sam but she was pointing a gun at him, he heard the shot, but felt nothing. The memory flooded back to him.

"Where is she?" His tone due to his concern for Sam, the last time he had seen her, she was not 'herself'

"Jack relax, don't get worked up. You'll make yourself worse" Daniel seemed to misinterpret his reaction.

"Dammit Daniel, tell me where the Hell she is" The previously constantly timed beeps from the monitor suddenly speeded up.

"Jack, will you just calm down and I'll explain"

Jack knew that the only way to get the facts was to do as he was told, although his obvious frustration was lost on no one.

"Do you remember the fruit Sam was eating on Orinia?" Jack merely nodded, his impatience running rife. "Well it caused her to become aggressive, it was only meant for the contenders. That was why she was behaving so out of character"

Daniel saw the understanding dawn on Jack's face. "Anyway, while you where trying to grab her to bring her back, she shot you. The bullet went straight through, but it hit your heart and nicked a major artey. You were in surgery for over six hours. Janet did her best but your injury put you into a coma, we we're told you where going to die and that we had to say goodbye. We all came in to see you, but when Sam came running out, we thought she hadn't accepted that you where going to die. Anyway, I followed her as she ran to get the goa'uld healing device, the one we got from Kendra and said that she could use it one you to heal you, like she had done with Kronos."

By this point Jack's eyes had widened significantly, but he remained silent, wanting to hear the full story. He was calmer now that he knew Sam was fine.

"At first we didn't want to risk it on a non blended human, but Sam pointed out that Kendra had used it on a girl who had broken her wrist without any problem. So she tried it. As soon as she had finished, you got better and better, until today when you finally woke up. Sam might have been the one who shot you Jack, but she was the one who saved your life"

"Where is she Daniel? Why isn't she here?"

Daniel quickly thought of a plausible excuse, but he knew no one bought it.

"Well, she felt so guilty for having shot you that she didn't want to face you straight away"

"I don't care that she shot me, she wasn't exactly thinking straight, was she? Tell her I want to see her, please."

"We will colonel, but for now. Tests. We'll come back later" Hammond interjected

"Bring Sam"

With that they all nodded and left him in the capable hands of Janet.


Jack was getting very bored. He had been lay in this bed for four days, he had counted the patterns on the ceiling more times than he cared to remember. Although he had had regular visitors, he had not yet seen the one person he wanted to see. Daniel and Teal'c and even General Hammond had all made excuses for her. Jack couldn't understand why she wouldn't come to see him, it was not in her nature to run away from anything, let alone him. From the first time they'd met, she refused to cower down from him.

Janet had said he could get up tomorrow, if he promised he wouldn't do anything to strenuous. He'd agreed readily, the only thing he wanted to do was to talk to his Major.

He had had enough time with his own thoughts to have made up his mind to tell her how he felt about her. He wasn't going to risk dying again without her knowing. He knew how big of a risk it was, he knew that it would change things, but he was not going to be put off and if she wouldn't go to him, he was damn well going to go to her. With that determination etched into his soul, he began to trace the pattern in the ceiling once more, patiently waiting for morning to come.


"Sam you have to go and see him, you should see his face every time we tell him your not coming"

"Daniel, I can't."

"Why can't you. Trust me Sam, he doesn't blame you at all, he's grateful. You saved his life"

"Daniel, you just don't understand. I know he doesn't blame me"

"Then make me understand Sam, tell me why"

Sam took a deep breath, she needed to talk to someone, this was eating her up inside.

"Daniel, I've realised that I can't hide how I feel for him any longer. I used to be able to, but now, knowing how I felt when I thought I'd lost him, I can't. I want to tell him that I love him, but I know he doesn't love me and I can't put myself through anymore pain just yet"

Daniel hid his grin. General Hammond now owed him fifty dollars. He'd guessed why Sam wouldn't go to see him two days ago, but no one believed him. Oh, they knew how she felt about him, but they thought it was guilt stopping her, not love!

"Sam, I think you should go and see him. You need to talk to him. We're never going to be able to be a team again until you two have cleared this up. Besides, I know for a fact that Janet is letting him get up later and he's going to look for you." Daniel knew he'd got her as he continued. "You wouldn't want him to have a set back while he wanders the base would you?

Sam looked at Daniel, she knew he was right. She didn't want to risk being the cause of injuring him again.


Jack was rather impatiently waiting for Janet to come and give him the clearance to leave his temporary prison when General Hammond came to see him. Jack only asked

"Have you seen Janet anywhere Sir? She was supposed to be letting me up today"

"Nice to see you too, Son" Replied the general with more than a hint of sarcasm.

"Sorry General, just a bit eager to get out of her clutches for a while"

"I hear that you are gong to go and see Major Carter"

"Sweet little grapevine, isn't it sir?"

General Hammond noted that his sarcasm was back. That had to be a good sign

"Yes, but I want to know what you are going to say to her"

Jack was slightly taken aback, by both Hammond's question and the tone in which it was delivered. He bit back a sarcastic retort, he needed Hammond to know anyway

"Well actually General, I was going to tell her that I love her and that I want us to be together" Jack looked at his CO, expecting him to hit the roof, instead the only thing he received was a half hidden smile. Not realising that his complete lack of sarcasm had conveyed more than his words had.

"Why now Colonel? Why now when you have been in love with her for at least three years by my reckoning"

Ok, it was Jack's turn to be utterly stunned, but he answered anyway.

"Because I don't want to risk dying with out her knowing how I feel"

"What about the regulations son? Or have you forgotten that she'd be kicked off your team and the programme and both of you could be court martialled?"

Jack was now getting slightly annoyed and his tone conveyed it eloquently.

"Of course I haven't forgotten, but she saved my life and I love her. Do you really think I give a damn about my career? It won't be an issue anyway, because if she says yes I'll retire. She can't be court- martialled for a relationship with a retired colonel, can she?"

Hammond still bit back his smile

"If she says yes to what Son?"

Jack rolled his eyes, so caught up in his own feelings and determination that he missed the gleam in his general's eyes

"If she says yes to my marriage proposal sir"

"What makes you so sure she will say yes?"

"I'm not sure, not at all. But the only thing I know is that I have to tell her how I feel, I can't carry on knowing that she may never know. I love her sir and I want her to marry me. I don't know what she'll say, but I'm willing to take the risk to find out"

Outside the door, Daniel watched Sam as her face changed from trepidation, to confusion, to amazement to joy. She had heard everything that had been said between general and Colonel, her eyes bright, her smile wide. She looked at Daniel and he hugged her. "Thank you" he didn't need to ask what for.

"You're welcome"

With that she walked into the room that she had previously avoided at all costs. Virtually ignoring the General she walked up to *her* Colonel. Without giving him a chance to realise what she had overheard or realise the scheming of his friends she bent her head and pulled him into a drugging kiss. He didn't stay confused for long and met her passion equally with his own. When they finally broke for air, the two figures in the doorway had left them to themselves, content with the little they had seen.

Jack stroked his fingers over her jaw and she smiled down to him. The only words spoken where by her.

"I love you too Jack" and "Yes"

As he heard the words, the heart monitor bleeped furiously at a speed that a few days ago would have had Janet Fraiser running to his side. Not today though, she was busy congratulating a general and an archaeologist.



Jack smiled to himself at the memory of what had turned out to be the happiest year of his life. All thoughts of the ceiling tiles gone, he turned over in bed, careful not to wake his wife and placed an arm around her beautifully swollen abdomen. As he casually stoked her belly, he felt their unborn Son kick out at the disturbance. He leaned down and smilingly whispered to Sam's belly.

"Hush little one, everything is fine. Mommy needs her sleep, so rest awhile and I'll see you in a couple more weeks"

He returned to his previous position, his hand still over his son as he heard his wife whisper.

"He has as much patience as his daddy, can't wait to see the world and causing a fuss until he gets his own way"

Smiling once more, he kissed her softly. "Go to sleep Sam, I love you"

She ran her hand over his chest, feeling the scar tissue over his heart. Knowing that the very thing that could have taken him away from her was the very thing that had brought them together.

The first time Sam had seen the scar, she had hated it, hated the memory it had brought. He had sensed her reaction and had already thought of the answer. Jack had said that before he had told her he loved her, he always knew she would break his heart, he just never expected her to do it literally. But he had always known that she would be the one to fix it, to make it start beating again. Smiling at the memory she whispered.

"I love you too"

With that he snuggled closer to his wife and unborn son and fell into a sweet sleep full of images of the woman he loved.


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