Title: Imbroglio
Season: Early season 3, slight reference to Seth and Legacy.
Rating: PG-13 for some potty-mouth language and imagery.
Category: Mystery/Humor/Action Adventure- some *ahem* minor Sam and Daniel whumping

Summary: Sam has Earth issues and really needs to work on her language.
Sub-summary: Ever wanted to buy something really bad? Ever try to do it after being attacked by aliens?

Disclaimer:As always these characters are not mine but I'd be more than happy to bid on them in an auction setting.

Author's Notes Tok'ra/Symbiote thoughts are in //these//. Any weird bits that might not make sense when you read them will be explained in the end. Thanks to Kath for her ever lovely beta-reading, Sarah and Paul for their medical expertise, and to the following folks for their continual cajoling, encouragement and occasional grammar fix; Allie, Coz, Jane, Jeanne (Lewie), Louise, Lucy, Majel, Nefernetera, Roxie, Scully, and Sylvia (Dimac99). It's been a crazy year kids, but the story is now done!

Imbroglio: a confused or intricate situation; an entanglement

Chapter 1
Tuesday, 0900 Hours

Major Samantha Carter took a deep breath and knocked on her Commanding Officer's office door. Sam felt nervous and that was an emotion she was just not used to feeling. It was just a stupid piece of paper for heaven's sake!

"Come in!" A frustrated voice yelled through the closed door.

"Am I disturbing you Colonel?" Sam asked, taking a tentative step inside. She couldn't help but fiddle with the sheets of paper in her left hand. Colonel Jack O'Neill looked up from his computer screen and gave his 2IC a welcoming smile. He waved her in and hit a few more letters on his keyboard.

"You are so not disturbing me major," Jack replied, frowning at his still impressive-looking in-box. "Unless General Hammond sent you down here to ask for the bases' personnel reviews, then I am absolutely thrilled by your presence." Sam shook her head, as she failed to hide a small smile at her CO's irreverance. "Watch it, major," Jack growled, trying to sound stern. "I could order you to help me ya know."

"I don't think I'd be much help sir," Sam replied smiling openly. "I'm afraid, I don't have the clearance to look at even half those reports."

Jack leaned back in discouragement and ran both hands through his ever-silvering hair. "I could give you another promotion," he mused aloud. Sam chuckled, and shook her head.

"I think those are usually spaced a bit further apart sir." Sam's promotion to major was less than a month old.

"Just an idea," Jack muttered letting out a heavy sigh. God he hated paperwork. "So what can I help you with Major?" Jack asked with a little too much enthusiasm. Hell, he'd help Carter design some sort of naquada doohickey himself if it got him out of this damned office.

"Well you see sir…" Sam had just opened her mouth to explain, when a very excited and disheveled Daniel Jackson barged into the room.

"Jack! You'll never guess what I've discovered…." Daniel began, completely oblivious to the fact that there was more than one person in Jack's office. Suddenly he noticed Sam standing rather stiffly near the door. "Oops. Sorry guys." He ducked his head looking suitably embarrassed.

Jack rolled his eyes and chuckled softly. It was good to have Daniel back. Michello's trojan horse virus had taken a lot out of their young archaeologist, and it had only been in the last couple of days that Jack finally felt that Daniel was back to normal.

At least as normal as Daniel ever was.

"Don't worry about it Daniel," Sam insisted, giving her friend a smile. She also felt more than her fair share of guilt at having Daniel committed to a psychiatric hospital. Besides, it wasn't as if she couldn't talk to the Colonel later...

"You sure major?" Jack asked, eyeing the crumpled papers in her hand.

"It's nothing important sir," Sam said with a shrug. "I'm sure whatever Daniel wants to tells you, will be far more interesting."

"You heard the lady, Danny," Jack said standing up and stretching. "What's the big news?"

Together, all three headed toward the briefing room as Daniel eagerly began sharing his latest anthropological discovery. Unseen by her friends, Sam stuffed the papers into her pocket and promised herself she would talk to the Colonel before their next mission.

"Dammit, dammit, dammit!" Sam swore, as she hung up the phone. This was the third time this week she had had to reschedule, and Evan was quickly losing patience. Not that she really blamed the man. It was tough to try and nail down any definitive times what with saving the planet from an alien invasion and meeting alternative duplicates of oneself; Sam still was trying to come to terms with that little adventure. Especially how the Colonel... Sam shook her head to dispel the rather disturbing image of herself (or rather Dr. Carter) kissing Colonel O'Neill goodbye. She really didn't know what to make of that whole mess, and decided it was probably for the best to think about it. At all.

"Well, at least I got the papers signed," Sam mumbled to herself, feeling only slightly guilty about the way it happened. In the end the Colonel had indeed signed her papers - he just did so along with several other documents relating to their last mission. It wasn't as if she had tricked him into signing them or anything....ok, ok, maybe it was. But it wasn't like the papers were really all that important. Well, not to anyone but herself that is. And when the Colonel asked her if he needed to be concerned about what he was signing, Sam had answered honestly. No. Which was absolutely true -it was so not a big deal.

If it's not a big deal Sam, than why don't you tell them?

"Because!" Sam said aloud, sounding more than a little like Cassie. She knew she was being ridiculous, and yet… and yet, she had taken it this far on her own, she might as well take it all the way.

Jack was just about ready to enter Sam's office when he heard her talking on the phone.

"Evan, I promise I'll be there this evening," Sam said plaintively into the telephone. "Yes, I do have plans for the morning, but it's a simple, uh, experiment and we're certain to finish up at a decent hour." She paused as she listened to whomever (Evan?) on the other end. "No, we shouldn't reschedule," Sam insisted, nodding her head and scribbling something down on a piece of paper. "Got it. That's near the old elementary school, right?" More nodding. "I'll be there by 6:00. I promise." More nodding and Jack could see Sam visibly exhaling. "Thanks Evan. I have a good feeling about this one, you'll see!" Sam let out a dry laugh. "Have you no faith? I'll make you a rich man yet Evan Thomas! See you at 6." Sam hung up the phone feeling more hopeful than she had in days.

"Hot date major?" Jack asked, leaning casually against the door. Sam visibly jumped.

"Sir!" Sam cried, admonishing herself for being so flighty. "I didn't hear you come in."

"Sorry to startle you Carter," Jack replied with a slight frown. "Just gathering the flock for the P2X-whatever briefing."

"P2X-629 sir." Sam supplied, collecting a couple of folders and turning off her monitor.

"Right," Jack agreed, nodding his head sagely. Noticing that Sam did not offer any information about the mysterious ‘Evan' Jack decided not to pry. If he had overheard Daniel talking on the phone with a woman, he would spare him no mercy with the ribbing. But with Carter it was different. Jack hated the fact that he felt this way, but ever since meeting the infamous Dr. Carter, he had found himself looking at his Carter a little differently. Nothing really un-regulationish… just different. He still depended on her to save his ass when things got tight off world, and she had more than proven her skills as both a scientist and a soldier. If Sam wanted to date a guy named Evan that was her business. But Jack honestly didn't need to know anything more.

He actually preferred it that way.

1430 Hours

Samantha Carter was pissed. Royally pissed. This mission was supposed to be a simple in-and-out. 'Less than four hours', General Hammond had said. Apparently the locals on this planet didn't talk to strangers after dark, and "dark" on P2x-194 fell at 1330 (Colorado time). Had everything gone according to plan, they would have been back at the SGC by 1400, cleaned and cleared from medical by 1500, and debriefed by 1600. There should have been plenty of time.

Plenty of time.

And yet here she was at 1400, attempting to both hide and make her way back to the Stargate. Sam gripped her P-90 firmly to her chest, as she squatted next to the Colonel and Teal'c.

"What's the plan sir?" Sam whispered, searching the tree line for disgruntled villagers.

"We know they plan on doing something entirely not nice to Daniel at the foot of the Stargate," Jack explained, as he efficiently reloaded his weapon with a fresh clip. They knew of course because the thoughtful natives had proceeded to tell them so after they had taken Daniel hostage. Jack wistfully wished for more firepower but was thankful at least that they still had their "Earth" weapons. The irony of all of this was not lost on O'Neill. Normally all off world teams were given both zats and other assorted goodies, but it had been decided that due to the diplomatic nature of this mission, perhaps it would be best if SG-1 left the C4, grenades, and zats at home. Ha! Jack would be damned if he ever listened to the military diplomats again.

The real kicker here was that it was Daniel who had successfully argued for a zat instead of his usual sidearm. Daniel never was too keen on permanently marring weaponry and tended to favor the zat whenever possible. Jack grimaced remembering how surprised Daniel had been as he was grabbed and held at knife point. There had been no time at all for him to reach for his weapon. The kid pulled all the right moves in attempting to free himself but there had been too many and the blunt blade being held to Daniel's throat had done a damn good job at dissuading SG-1 from coming any closer. Jack kicked himself for not realizing how backwards these people really were. Trade negotiations eh? More like human sacrifices. And gee, one smart archaeologist was just what their gods had ordered.

"Teal'c, I'm counting on you to draw as many as you can away from the gate so that I can grab Daniel. Carter, I'll try and give you as much cover as possible so you can dial us out of here, but keep your head down ok? I think we've overstayed our welcome here."

"Understood sir," Sam replied, nodding as she stood up.

Moving like the well-conditioned soldiers that they were, the team approached the Stargate from three different sides, with Teal'c successfully drawing many of the villagers away from the DHD. Shooting bullets at the ground, Jack scared several villagers away from Daniel and together the two of them were able to fight off the few remaining men with little injury to themselves. Sam however wasn't so lucky.

With fighting going on around her, Sam sprinted over to the DHD and quickly began pressing the glyphs that would take them home. Keeping a peripheral eye out for approaching villagers, Sam made a mental note to seriously look into a way to automate the dialing sequence for future emergency evacuations. She could hear both the Colonel's P-90 and Teal'c staff weapon and although she couldn't make out what Daniel was shouting, Sam could sense that the battle was nearly over and the villagers were fleeing. The locals on this world might be a simple people, but they were by no means stupid. They knew their knives and clubs were no match against SG-1's weaponry. It was precisely this reason that caused Daniel to be taken in the first place. They had hoped that by offering Daniel as a sacrifice, the Gods would protect them from future invaders. Sam shook her head in regret as she pressed the sixth chevron. These people did not deserve to die for their beliefs, but neither did her teammates, hence the firefight and the rather quick exit off the planet.

With the gunfire dissipating, Sam could now hear Daniel's assertions that he was fine and his pleadings with Jack not to hurt the villagers. From the corner of her eye, she could just make out Teal'c's sleek form as he began doubling back toward the Stargate. Sam exhaled with relief as she pressed the last glyph. The old SG-1 luck had prevailed yet again.

A shadow suddenly fell across the DHD and before Sam could even turn around, a heavy club struck her painfully against her ribs. Sam bent over to catch her breath and attempted to reach the knife strapped securely against her leg. Unfortunately, before she had a chance to unsheathe it, the club was raised again and hit her in the side of her head with deadly determination.

"Sam!!" Daniel shouted, as the gate flared to life. Jack spun around just as his 2IC Sam sank unceremoniously to the ground. He cursed as he fired several rounds of bullets into Sam's attacker. Screw passive defense, the guy just brained his major! The force of Jack's bullets spun the assailant completely around, and he fell dead across Sam's limp body.

"Daniel!" Jack yelled, sprinting towards Sam's motionless body. "Go on through and get a med team ready!" Daniel quickly keyed SG-1's access code and with one final glance at his injured teammate, stepped through the wormhole.

"Carter, you hear me?" Jack asked, as he awkwardly kneeled next to her. He rolled the dead villager off of his major, and critically evaluated her injuries as he pressed two fingers against her carotid artery. He exhaled a breath he didn't know he had been holding as he felt a strong, if somewhat erratic pulse.

"Come on Carter, quit sleeping on the job!" Jack ordered, as he attempted to awaken his 2IC by lightly tapping her right cheek. Sam remained silent. Jack continued to look her over, searching for any additional injuries. A rather nasty looking scalp wound was visible just behind her left ear and like all head wounds, had begun to bleed profusely. Jack gingerly felt around the laceration and was thankful that Carter seemed to have been blessed with a very hard head - no apparent skull fracture. Probably a nasty concussion (the unconsciousness sorta gave that away) and of course she was bleeding way more than Jack liked. He expertly reached into one of his flak jacket pockets and pulled out several wrapped packages of gauze.

"Teal'c!" Jack yelled, without looking up as he ripped open the first package with his teeth.

"I am here O'Neill."

"Any more?" Jack asked, as he began to press the clean bandages carefully around the edges of the wound. He didn't have time to pack it properly, he just wanted to stabilize her and get her home.

"They are keeping their distance," Teal'c replied calmly, eyeing the retreated villagers with disdain. "For now."

Jack nodded and motioned for Teal'c to move beside him. Before he could tell his friend what he wanted him to do Sam moaned.


"God what hit me?" Sam whispered hoarsely closing her eyes tightly to block out the harsh planetary light. Waves of nausea rolled over her as she opened them again and tried to focus on the double image of her worried CO and Teal'c.

"Really big stick," Jack explained grimly, placing a warm hand on Sam's shoulder. Sam attempted to nod and let out a small cry as the movement jarred her injured ribs and aching head. She knew she really should stay conscious. She knew she needed to reassure the Colonel that she was fine and that they really should get the hell out of there as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, all Sam could feel was hot blinding pain as the Colonel pressed another clean bandage against her bleeding scalp. With a cry her body decided enough was enough and began to relax as she slipped into unconsciousness.

"Oh no you don't!" Jack ordered, as he discarded the instantly saturated layer of gauze and gently slapped Sam's cheeks. " Stay with me Carter!"

"'k," Sam replied painfully, refusing to open her eyes.

"Sam, I need you to move your fingers and feet for me, ok?" Jack said urgently, trying to sustain his 2IC's attention for just a few more moments. Sam moved a few fingers before beginning to drift back into oblivion.

"Not done yet Carter!" Jack yelled harshly. "Now the feet Major." Jack urged, lightly tapping her right foot.

"O'Neill, we must depart soon," Teal'c informed his friend solomenly, as he eyed the slow-moving villagers. They were attracted by the open Stargate.

"Not until Carter moves her feet for me Teal'c!" Jack shouted angrily. "You hear that Carter? We aren't going anywhere until you can prove to me that you just have a rather painful headache and nothing more serious."

"O'Neill!" Teal'c said shaprly, firing his staff weapon several times at the approaching army of villagers.

"Dammit Teal'c! If we move her without making certain she doesn't have a spinal injury we could paralyze her!" Teal'c understood the situation, but the growing wall of villagers approaching would soon overwhelm them. They needed to move. Now.

As if sensing their urgency, Sam ever so slightly twitched her right foot.

"Good enough!" Jack yelled standing up and firing several rounds away towards the looming villagers. "Teal'c?" Needing no further direction, Teal'c carefully lifted up the once again silent form of Major Carter and as quickly as possible made his way up the stairs towards the Stargate. Jack was right behind him and together they stepped through the shimmering blue wall just as the first of the villagers began advancing up the steps.

"Close the iris!" Jack yelled as soon as he felt the metal SGC ramp beneath his feet. He heard the sounds of the titanium metal closing and was once again thankful he had gotten his team home. Maybe not entirely in one piece, but at least they were now back on the right side of the wormhole. Teal'c was already placing Sam onto a gurney as Janet Fraiser quickly moved to assess the damage. Both Daniel and General Hammond were also waiting at the foot of the ramp.

"I only saw the blow to the head Doc," Jack began as he handed over his weapons. "She might have sustained other injuries as well."

"God Jack, what took you so long?!" Daniel asked in near panic, as he took in Sam's bloodied form for the first time. "I've been here for nearly five minutes!!"

"Wanted to make certain Carter didn't have a spinal injury," Jack replied in a tight voice. Dammit Daniel, I got her back here as soon as I could.

"And?" Dr. Fraiser asked, as she lifted up one edge of the now useless gauze to eye the damage underneath.

"She passed the fingers and toes test with flying colors." Jack said rubbing a hand gruffly over his face. God, he hated head injuries. Hated them. Too many variables…

"Good," Janet declared standing up. "I'm taking her to x-ray to check for a possible skull fracture before sewing up her laceration. I expect all three of you in the infirmary for your own checkups as well." Jack, Daniel and Teal'c all nodded.

"General, with your permission."

"SG-1, get yourselves cleaned up and report to the infirmary. We'll debrief after Dr. Fraiser finishes assessing Major Carter's injuries."

General Hammond let out a small sigh as all three men walked swiftly out of the room. At least his people were home.

Chapter 2
Tuesay, 1630 Hours

Sam blinked painfully in the strong light. "Ouch."

"Hey Carter." Jack said trying to sound nonchalant. It was a little strange seeing Sam lying so still, head swathed in clean white bandages, usually this was more Daniel's gig (or his own). Not that Jack wished Daniel ill will or anything, it was just odd seeing Sam Carter here in the infirmary. Thank god there weren't any snakes about this time. "Welcome back."

"How long?" Sam asked hoarsely accepting a glass of water with a small smile of thanks. "Small sips Major." Jack ordered taking the cup away before Sam downed the whole thing. "We don't want Fraiser getting all mad at me for making you sick."

"I would say not." A voice said from behind him.

"Hi Janet." Sam said struggling to sit up. She winced slightly but the drugs they had given her had numbed the pain to something manageable. Sam was not a fan of IVs, but decided that the slight itch against her arm was a hell of a lot better than the alternative. All things considered, she didn't feel so bad.

"Do you know where you are Sam?" Janet asked her friend cautiously.

"The Infirmary," Sam replied with a sigh. Judging from the intensity of her headache, Sam surmised that she probably had a concussion of some kind. She knew what Janet was going to ask and beat her to the punch. "I'm Major Samantha Carter, you're Dr. Janet Fraiser and that's Colonel Jack O'Neill." Sam added, smiling slightly as she pointed at the serious-looking Jack O'Neill. Jack breathed a sigh of relief and gave Carter a small nod of acknowledgement.

"Don't ask me the date Janet because I honestly didn't know it before I left this morning." Sam said closing her eyes briefly. Jack bit back a small chuckle; Carter was going to be just fine. "Its Thursday I believe. September 1999. The last thing I remember was dialing home from P2X-629." Sam paused replaying the last few moments she remembered. "Everyone make it home ok?"

"Daniel has a new knick on his neck from one of the knives, but in another day or so it will look like a shaving accident."

"You and Teal'c all right Sir?" Sam asked turning her wide blue eyes at her CO.

"Just peachy Major. Teal'c thinks you should cut back on the chocolate bars however. He said you weighed a ton!"

"He did not," Sam said with a frown.

"Did too."

"Children!" Janet said shaking her head. "This is an infirmary and I'd like you to at least pretend to be respectful here, all right?" Both Jack and Sam nodded and Janet did not fail to see the look of discomfort flicker across Sam's face. "Judging from my headache, I really was hit in the head with a big stick, huh?" Sam asked turning towards the Colonel.

"Yep," Jack confirmed with a short nod, happy that Carter remembered their short conversation on the planet.

"Sam, you also bruised two ribs on your right side. Do you remember how that happened?"

"Before I got walloped on the head, I also got hit in the stomach." Sam said ducking her head. "Sorry Sir."

"Nothing to be sorry about Major. Heck, if anyone should be sorry, it should be me for not supplying you with enough cover. It's damn hard to dial us home and protect yourself at the same time." Sam just nodded, she still felt like she had let the team down.

"Up for some visitors?" Janet asked making a few notations in Sam's chart.

"Sure.." Sam began. "Wait!" She shouted holding out her arm. "What time is it?!"

"1630." Janet was confused by Sam's behavior - was there something she missed?

"Good, there's still time." Sam breathed a sigh of relief, as she threw of her bed covers. A rather cool draft reminded her that she was dressed in regulation infirmary scrubs, the gown variety.

"Hold it right there major," Janet ordered, in her serious Chief Medical Officer voice. "You're not going anywhere."

"Yeah, what's the rush Carter?" Jack asked confused. "It's not like you have a hot date.." Ah shit. She did have a hot date, didn't she? "I'm sure he'll understand Carter," Jack said a bit awkwardly stuffing his hands into his pockets.

"You don't understand Sir!" Sam cried getting impatient. God her head hurt. "I've already rescheduled twice before. I have to go meet him!"

"Sam, just calm down, ok?" Janet soothed, placing her hand on her friend's shoulder. "You just finished receiving a pint of whole blood and have been unconscious for a little over an hour. You might be coherent now, but you definitely have a concussion and you know how dangerous those can be. We were waiting for you to regain consciousness before administering any pain medication so I know you must really be hurting."

"Janet, I'm fine. Just give me a couple Tylenol and I'll promise to take it easy."

"I don't think so Sam," Janet said shaking her head.

"Janet!" Sam cried, struggling not to let her emotions take control. "I promise to return to the infirmary this evening, but I really need to go and meet someone."

"Dammit Carter, it's just a damn date! Call the guy up and reschedule." Janet's eyebrows shot towards her hairline. Sam was seeing a guy? She hadn't mentioned it…

"It isn't a date sir," Sam said embarrassed and more than a little tired. Dammit, she needed to go and her body was most definitely not cooperating.

"Then who's Evan?" Jack asked curiously.

"My real estate agent," Sam answered softly.

"Your what?"

"Real estate agent sir. I'm buying a house. Or rather attempting too. Every house my agent has found that supposedly fits my criteria gets snatched up by someone else before I can even see it!" Sam said taking a shuttering breath.

"You were talking to your real estate agent?" Jack asked, beginning to understand why this was so important to her. "Yes Sir." Very tired now.

"And you are supposed to be meeting him at 6, right?" Sam nodded struggling hard to keep her eyes open.

"Is it ok for Carter to sleep now Doc?" Jack asked

"For the moment yes. We will need to wake her in 30 minutes to make sure the head injury isn't getting worse." Sam was obviously keeping herself awake by pure strength of will.

"Sleep now Carter. I'll wake you up in a few minutes, ok?"

"Promise?" Sam asked, fighting to keep her eyes open.

"Promise," Jack agreed, nodding. Sam had never known her CO to lie to her and accepted his answer as canon. She allowed her body to relax and closed her eyes.

"You want to what?" Janet repeated. Loudly.

"Take Carter to see her agent," Jack said calmly.

"No way!" Janet said shaking her head. "Colonel, in case you hadn't noticed, Major Carter was unconscious for over 60 minutes. This is not something to be taken lightly! She has a probable concussion, bruised ribs and will probably be feeling a hell of a lot worse before she gets better!"

Jack held up a hand to calm the doctor down.

"Janet, you told me yourself that Sam does not have any broken bones and the head injury appears to be minor." He again held up his hand as Janet tried to interrupt. "I know head injuries are no laughing matter, but as long as she isn't left alone there isn't really anything more she can do to herself is there?" Jack waited patiently for Janet to voice all her objections.

"If Sam were to get up, she'll probably get sick, experience bouts of dizziness and disorientation and none of this will help the pain in either her head or torso…"

"This won't take more than an hour Janet," Jack said trying to get the diminutive doctor to change her mind. "I think Sam has been thinking about buying a house for months now and I get the feeling this is really important to her." He could see Janet was almost ready to change her mind.

"Carter's been through a hell of a lot in the last year Doc. The least we can do is let her look at one little house."

Janet continued to shake her head, but Jack could see it was with resignation and not objection.

"Daniel and I will escort her to the house, make sure she doesn't say anything hinky to the real estate guy and even hold her hair back if she needs to get sick."

"Sam has short hair Colonel," Janet said with a short laugh.

"You know what I mean Doc," Jack said sticking both hands into the pockets of his pants. He had done all he could. If Janet really felt the need to keep Carter here on base there really wasn't anything he could do about it. Amazing how much power one little CMO can wield….

"Go get Daniel Colonel," Janet said with a resigned sign. "I want to go over ALL the symptoms and possible treatments for someone in Sam's condition. And I definitely want to see her back at the SGC later this evening. Understood?"

"Yes Ma'am!" Jack agreed, giving Janet a sloppy salute as he headed off to find Daniel.

Chapter 3

1730 Hours

Janet bit her lip slightly as she disconnected the IV. Sam's blood pressure was just about normal and she seemed to be coherent and in good spirits, but Janet was more than aware how quickly that could change. Head injuries were dangerous.

"Janet, I feel fine." Sam said as she swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Instantly an extreme feeling of vertigo swept over her and Sam gripped the edges of the bed to keep herself from falling off. The act did not go unnoticed by Dr. Janet Fraiser.

"Sam, you have a Grade 3 concussion and I should be shot for agreeing to let you do this." Janet said in a resigned voice as she rested her hand on her friend's arm.

"Janet, this is really important to me."

"I know Sam, it's just.."

"You're worried."

"Of course I'm worried!" Janet said in frustration ad she handed Sam her jeans and a button down shirt. "If SG-3 wasn't expected back in the next hour, I'd insist on going with you."

"I'm sure the Colonel and Daniel will take very good care of me." Sam said as she pulled her jeans on under the gown. Janet might be an extremely good doctor and friend, but she didn't hold a candle to her guys when they were in full worried mode. Sam hissed suddenly as the jeans rubbed against her injured side.

"What I wouldn't give for a pair of hip-huggers right about now." Sam muttered.

"I don't suppose you have an elastic skirt anywhere on base?" Janet asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.

"Janet, I don't think I own an elastic skirt!" Sam said wrinkling her nose in distaste.

"Lift up your gown a little more Sam." Janet said sounding suspiciously more like a doctor than a friend. Sam did so and tried to look down to inspect the damage. The excess material of the hospital gown prevented her from seeing much more than a glimpse of purple and green.

Janet unbuttoned the top of Sam's jeans and slid the zipper down half way to get a better view of Sam's injuries. Janet shook her head and sighed.

"Sam, jeans just aren't going to work. Although the damaged ribs themselves are several centimeters above your waistline, there is extensive bruising across most of your lower torso. I can't have you moving about in restrictive clothing." Sam crinkled her eyebrows in annoyance as she tried to recall if there was anything suitable in her locker.

"It might look a little funny, but unless you can think of anything better, you're walking out of here in hospital scrubs." Janet held up a hand to stop the objection. "Just over the legs Sam. You can wear whatever you want on top." Janet could see that Sam wasn't crazy about the idea. Thin blue cotton pants screamed ‘hospital' and Sam was going to be seen in public. Clearly not thrilled, Sam mumbled her acquiescence.

Carefully Sam shed the hospital gown not at all surprised at the lack of bra underneath. Idly she wondered if the sports bra had been salvaged or cut to ribbons in order to remove it. Sam couldn't help but chuckle to herself as she imagined how it might appear if she were to deduct the bra as a ‘business expense' from her taxes.

Five minutes later she was completely dressed except for her boots. Sam had begun feeling a little queasy as she struggled with the socks but was able to hold the nausea at bay. With any luck, she'd make it to the house and back without any mishaps.

"Sam I administered a mild pain reliever through the IV before it was disconnected. It isn't much stronger than a couple extra-strength Tylenol, but I really don't want to give you anything more at the moment. It's important that we don't do anything to mask additional signs of a more serious head injury."

"I understand Janet." Sam said putting on her best ‘I'm fine' facade as she absently rubbed her temples. She knew this probably wasn't the best idea on the planet (any planet really) but didn't want to keep putting her life on hold for the SGC. All she had to do was go in, take a look around the house and perhaps make an initial offer.

Piece of cake.

"Hey Sam." Daniel said warmly stepping into the infirmary. "I hear we're going on a field trip." Sam gave her friend a small smile as she eyed her boots apprehensively. Daniel immediately noticed her problem and moved to help.

"Déjà vu." Daniel said with a small chuckle as he bent down to help Sam put her boots on. "Remember last year when I sprained my wrist?"

Sam smiled at the memory. "The Colonel looked all over for Size 10 tennis shoes with Velcro strips." Sam said remembering the shopping trip she had taken with Teal'c and the colonel.

"He should have looked longer!" Daniel groused. "The blue fluffy slippers he bought me instead didn't do a lot at dispelling the notion that I'm the SGC's resident Geek." He finished tying the boots and gave Sam's leg a light squeeze. "Ready?"

"As ready as I'll ever be." Sam said carefully standing up. The room tilted jarringly to the left before leveling off as Sam adjusted her equilibrium. Standing had not improved her headache and the pounding between her temples seemed to increase in intensity. Sam closed her eyes tightly for a moment and willed the pain to the back of her mind.

"You all right Sam?" Janet asked concerned as she eyed her friend's pale face.

"Fine Janet." Sam said tightly. "Where's the Colonel?"

"Changing. He said he'll meet us up top." Daniel said. Sam nodded.

Moving much slower than normal, the pair walked in companionable silence towards the elevator. Daniel instinctively keeping close to Sam's side in case she felt faint. Janet had given both him and Jack explicit directions on the care of head injuries. Under no circumstances were they to leave Sam alone. Another fall would be very, very dangerous. Daniel hoped Sam wouldn't need to go to the bathroom before they returned. They boarded the elevator and began the ascent up the mountain.

Daniel looked at the determination on his friend's face and marveled once again at the sheer tenacity that made up Dr. Major Samantha Carter. Or was it Major Doctor?

"Sam can I ask you a question?" Daniel asked a little awkwardly as his arms instinctively wrapped around his midsection and he leaned against the side of the elevator.

"Of course Daniel." Sam said sliding down the elevator's wall to the floor. The ride up took well over a minute and there was no reason for Sam to stay vertical the entire time. Daniel sat down next to her.

"Why'd you keep the whole house buying thing a secret? You know we'd be there if you wanted us to be and leave you alone if you wanted to do it all on your own." Sam nodded; she knew. Daniel's question was not unexpected and she had been wondering herself how she'd be able to explain it.

"I honestly didn't plan on keeping it a secret Daniel." Sam said rubbing her forehead. "After our whole ordeal with Hathor and the fake SGC, I realized that I wanted to set some permanent roots on this planet. Contrary to what the Colonel thinks, I don't actually want to live at the SGC, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted a home of my own and not a $800 month apartment that didn't mean anything. I got approved for the loan and began doing a little research. I had just finished interviewing realtors when dad arrived with news about Seth." Daniel nodded and urged her to continue. "After we had straightened that mess out, I stayed with dad and Mark for another couple of days." Sam closed her eyes briefly before continuing. Talking made her head ache but she really wanted Daniel to understand.

"I really was going to talk to the Colonel and get some home-buying advice after the awards ceremony last month. But.." Sam couldn't help but grin. "The Colonel was a bit indisposed before the ceremony even ended." Daniel chuckled. It wasn't everyday a United States Colonel was ‘beamed' up to an alien spaceship.

"That was the first time I cancelled on Evan. I couldn't very well tell him I needed to cancel due to the fact that I was attending an intergalactic conference to determine the fate of our planet!"

"No. I suppose you couldn't." Daniel said in a dry voice. "Although, it might have been interesting to have seen his reaction." Sam laughed and then shut her eyes at the pain caused by the movement. Laughing was definitely out for the duration of her concussion.

"Sorry Sam." Daniel said mentally kicking himself for causing Sam discomfort. "Don't worry about it Daniel." Sam said carefully as she took a shallow breath in and then out. The pain faded slightly and Sam continued with her story.

"The Colonel actually spent a lot of time behind closed doors after our ‘summit' so I pretty much decided to not bother him with my little house hunting adventure." Sam looked sadly into Daniel's eyes. "I had planned to bring you in on the fun after we came back from P3C-599." Daniel unconsciously shuddered.

"Not my finest hour." He says softly.

"Nor mine." Sam agreed sadly. She still felt a tremendous amount of guilt for allowing her friend to be locked away. Daniel took Sam's hand and gave it a small squeeze. "It all worked out in the end Sam." Sam gave Daniel a look of thanks as the elevator continued its silent ascent towards the surface.

"The second aborted house hunting attempt was on the day…" Sam couldn't bare to say ‘on the day we had you committed' so instead said, "During that time."

"Which brings us to today." Daniel said a little too brightly as the elevator doors opened. He helped Sam stand up.

"Which brings us to today." Sam agreed as she gingerly stepped out of the elevator and into the stronger light. Daniel instantly realized that Sam didn't have any sunglasses. They were still several meters from the mountain's entrance, but already the unfiltered light was starting to affect Sam. She closed her eyes tightly against the brightness.

"Sam, stay right here for a sec, ok?" Sam nodded through shielded eyes. God her head hurt. Why couldn't she have just broken her leg or something?

Daniel quickly jogged around the corner until he found Jack leaning against a car.

"No truck?" Daniel asked a little confused at seeing his friend beside such an ordinary little car. Well medium size car anyhow.

"More comfortable for Carter." Jack explained.

"Right. Listen Jack, Sam's over at the elevators and doesn't have any sunglasses. I can't loan her mine because they're prescription…" Jack took a moment to scan around the garage. Bingo!

Although he would gladly loan Sam his glasses, they would not only be quite large on her smaller face, but Jack sort of needed the lenses to drive in the bright fall sunshine.

"Corporal!" He called to the petite sentry near the front gates.

"Colonel O'Neill, Sir!" Corporal Gladstone said with a sharp salute.

"Corporal, I was wondering if you could do me a favor." Jack said giving the intimidated young woman a dazzling smile.

"Anything Sir."

"I was hoping you'd say that." Jack said with a grin.

Chapter 4
Tuesday, 1800 Hours

"Looks like a nice neighborhood Carter." Jack said pulling up to the trim blue house. The sun was just beginning to set but Sam wasn't taking the glasses off until she was safely inside. Daniel exited the car and forgetting about Sam's condition, slammed the door loudly behind him. Sam moaned in pain as the sound reverberated through her head.

"Dammit Daniel!" Jack hissed gently laying a hand on his Major's arm. He could feel her shaking ever so slightly.

"God Sam, I'm so sorry!" Daniel said in a quiet voice as he walked around the car towards her.

"Shit," Sam exclaimed softly, as she yanked her door open and proceeded to get sick on the nicely manicured yawn. Jack moved his hand to her back and kept it there until she was finished. Wordlessly he handed her a Kleenex, glaring menacingly at Daniel through the open door.

"Thanks sir," Sam whispered, wiping her mouth. Daniel handed her a plastic container filled with water. Sam nodded her thanks to him as well.

"I would have gotten sick regardless Daniel," Sam said after taking a large swig and placing the cool container briefly against her forehead. "The ride over didn't sit too well."

"Sorry Carter," Jack said guiltily, accepting full responsibility for the driving. He unfastened his belt and began to open the door.

"Hold it!" Sam ordered, sounding stronger than she felt. "Before we go in, let's get one thing straight." She looked first at the Colonel and then at Daniel "None of this is your fault, ok? I'm the one with a stupid headache and I'm the one who insisted on coming out here. With luck that," Sam made a hand motion towards the curb, "will be the last of the physical manifestations of this injury, but if it's not.." She looked again at Jack and Daniel. "It won't be your fault. Understood?" Both nodded.

Daniel helped Sam out of the car while Jack exited his own side.

"Carter, only you can feel like crap and still use words like ‘manifestations'." Jack said with a chuckle.

Slowly the trio walked the short distance from the driveway to the front of the house. Just as they were about to knock on the door, Daniel stopped short and smacked a hand into his forehead.

"Forgot the water in the car," he explained. Grumbling slightly, Jack handed him the keys and turned back towards the front door. Just was they were about to knock the door opened.

"Samantha!" A cheerful voice bellowed out. Sam winced at the noise and Jack resisted the urge to deck the guy.

"Hi Evan," Sam said with a faked cheerfulness. "Hope I'm not late."

"Not at all, not at all," Evan replied cheerfully, opening the door wider and ushering them inside. He cocked his head in puzzlement as he took in Sam's blue hospital scrubs, bandaged head and surly looking male companion.

"I didn't know you were bringing your boyfriend Samantha." Evan said conversationally.

Sam turned a dark shade of pink as Jack let out a choked snort. "Not her boyfriend," he answered simply, taking a moment to eye the entryway. The place wasn't so bad actually. Evan led the pair through the entry way and towards the kitchen.

"What'd I miss?" Daniel asked as he walked through the still open front door with the flask of water. Evan turned back towards the new arrival.

"So you must be the boyfriend?" Evan asked politely offering Daniel his hand.

"What me?" Daniel gasped, quickly giving the man's hand a polite shake while turning his own version of crimson. "Sam's boyfriend? No way!" Evan watched as Samantha tried not to smile and the other man chuckled. He was more than a little confused. Whatever happened to a simple house viewing?

"Can't see yourself paired with me, huh Daniel?" Sam asked mischievously.

"Sam, that would be wrong on so many levels, I don't know where to begin."

"One would be you're married," Jack added distractedly as he crouched down to eye the wood flooring. It appeared to be fir. Very nice.

"That would be the major obstacle, yes," Daniel replied, nodding growing more than slightly flustered. "Plus the fact that.."

"Relax Daniel," Sam said holding out a hand to stop the flustered archaeologist from continuing. "Although I can rattle off at least a dozen women at the SGC who would jump at the chance to.. well.."

"Jump him?" Jack said helpfully running a finger along the floor molding before standing back up.


"Daniel," Jack said in exasperation, "whether you like it or not, you're a good looking guy in your early 30's and you're going to have to deal with it." Jack started to walk down the entryway. He passed an open door that housed a small bathroom. The house's floor plan was very open and light-filled.

"Craftsman-built?" He asked the realtor, ignoring Daniel's rather vocal protests behind him as he walked passed the open entryway on his left (dining room) and into the kitchen.

Evan stared dumbfounded at the interaction between these rather strange people. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to take on military personnel…

"Who are you people?" Evan asked finally stopping in his tracks.

"Oops, sorry," Jack said holding out his hand. "Jack O'Neill. I'm Carter's CO." Seeing the still confused look on Evan's face, Jack clarified. "I'm Samantha's commanding officer. The talkative guy behind me is Daniel. We both work with Sam."

Evan nodded in hopeful understanding. "Does Samantha always need an escort when she leaves work?"

"Not usually," Jack replied in all seriousness. "But Carter here had a bit of a mishap this afternoon." He grimaced slightly as he remembered the sickening sound the villager's weapon made as it struck Sam in the head.

"I didn't realize Samantha's work was so dangerous." Evan said with a frown. ‘Maybe it would be better to try and get the Henderson's to buy this house.' He thought to himself.

Jack quickly realized that they were scaring Sam's realtor and swiftly back-peddled. "You know Carter's an Astrophysicist, right?"

Evan wrinkled his eyebrows as he tried to recall. "She has an advanced degree in something dealing with space, right?"

"A Doctorate in fact." Daniel added. "I believe she received that before her 25th birthday."

"Daniel." Sam stage whispered looking rather embarrassed.

"Carter runs the whole scientific division out on the base." Jack said proudly. "I'm the Second in Command of the whole out there and Sam here is my Second, which makes her a Very Important Person." Jack looked at Evan as if daring him to contradict.

"Colonel!" Sam said both embarrassed and suddenly very dizzy. She reached out and placed a hand on a long rectangular table in the entryway. ‘Dammit!' Sam admonished herself angrily. ‘Don't you dare start getting all sick and girly on me!' She shut her eyes tightly and took slow shallow breaths in hopes of shaking the feeling of vertigo.

"You ok Carter?" Jack asked, trying not to sound as worried as he felt. He was beginning to doubt the wisdom in springing Sam from the Infirmary so early. He took a step towards her and placed a hand on her shoulder.

"I'm fine sir," Sam said not too convincingly as she took a deep breath. Thankfully the dizziness passed relatively quickly and Sam was able to get her bearings once again. She forced herself to smile as she turned to face Evan. "Let's take a look at a house, shall we?"

Evan led the trio into the heart of the kitchen and began his spiel.

"The house was built in 1946 right after World War II and was the standard pre-fab design of the times; two bedrooms, 1 ½ bathrooms, a living room, kitchen and a small den. It was very ordinary and kept that way until 1986.

In 1986 an architect bought the slightly derelict house from the original owners and started knocking out walls right and left. This is the end result."

Sam looked around the light-filled kitchen and knew this was the house for her. She felt slightly guilty knowing that if she succeeded in purchasing the home, the beautifully restored kitchen wouldn't get the use it was intended. She might not cook, but she still appreciated a nice kitchen. She loved how it was open and looked out onto the living room. There were built-in bookshelves, a fireplace and even a small garden.

"Two bedrooms, right?" Sam asked.

"Here, let me show you." Evan lead Sam towards the back of the house. Jack and Daniel started to follow, but Sam held up a hand to stop them.


"Carter, we promised Janet we wouldn't leave you alone." Jack said defensively feeling a little guilty for not granting Sam her space.

"I'm not alone!" Sam said in exasperation. She looked at Daniel for help.

"Evan, could you give us a shout if Sam shows any signs of dizziness or anything like that?" Daniel asked. Sam gave him a small smile of thanks and looked to her CO trying to gage whether he would agree.


Jack still wasn't happy with the idea, but recognized that Sam needed to do this and acquiesced to her request for some privacy. He opened the sliding glass door near the kitchen to check out the backyard. It was slightly overgrown with wild flowers and weeds, but entirely fenced in and private.

"Oooo, Carter could put in a hot tub back here!" Jack said mentally picking out where he'd put the barbeque if this was his place.

"Somehow Jack, I don't see Sam as the lounging around the hot tub type," Daniel smirked, as he walked the perimeter of the small yard.

"Probably right," Jack agreed trying not to actually visualize his 2IC sitting in a hot tub. He wasn't quite certain where these random ‘Carter's a Girl' thoughts came from, but knew he needed to reel them in. He always recognized Sam for the brilliant woman she was, and knew she was an attractive woman (he wasn't blind) but lately he was noticing that attractiveness. Definitely not something one is supposed to contemplate- especially given their working relationship.

Jack shook his head and focused his attention onto the house. He had grabbed one of the realtor's flyers on the kitchen counter and was pleased to note that the roof was less than 3 years old. A good roof is very important when buying a house.

"I need some help here!" A disembodied voice yelled from the house.

Jack's blood ran cold as he heard Evan's shout from the master bedroom. Both he and Daniel sprinted the short distance to the bedroom where they found Sam sitting shakily on the edge of the bed. Evan stood nearby looking nearly as shaken.

"What happened?" Jack asked in his best Commanding Officer voice. Daniel was already by Sam's side talking softly with his dazed friend. Sam seemed confused.

"We were just talking when Sam began looking at me funny. Apparently her vision had blurred and she was getting dizzy. I had her sit down."

"Good call," Jack answered in a clipped voice, not taking his eyes off his shaken Major.

"Sir, next time we should bring the zats," Sam said distinctly. Both Jack and Daniel paled with Sam's announcement.

"Military jargon," Daniel answered, thinking quickly.

"Really sir, you should make the case to General Hammond," Sam said with casual aplomb. "The next time we might not be able to get to Daniel quick enough."

Jack looked at Sam's glazed eyes and knew they needed to get her out of here. Now.

"Sam? Do you know where you are?" Daniel asked in dulcet tones, kneeling by her side.

"Briefing room," Sam replied, staring straight ahead but not really seeing anything.

"Carter, does this look like the briefing room?" Jack asked in an exasperated voice. He knew Sam wasn't really responsible for her little zat outburst and that he should be more understanding, but blurting out alien technology off base just wasn't cool. Daniel shot Jack a dirty look.

"Sir?" Sam asked confused. as she turned to look at her CO. "You're out of uniform."

"Could say the same about you Major." Sam looked down at the cotton blue hospital pants and suddenly realized where she was. "Evan?" She asked looking up and searching for her ill at ease real estate agent.

"You ok now Dr. Carter?" Evan asked nervously wondering what he had just witnessed.

"Evan, thanks for showing us around, but I think we'll be leaving now." Jack said rather quickly stepping closer towards Sam and nodding for Daniel to help her up.

"Uh, all right," Evan replied, as he backed out of the room.

Sam now knew exactly where she was and what she had almost done. What she had done; spoken about Goa'uld technology aloud in a non-secure location. Her cheeks burned with shame and she clenched her jaw tightly to prevent herself from crying. She could feel the pounding of her head increasing and wanted nothing more than to lie back down between cool, crisp sheets.

The trio exited the bedroom and made their way down the hall towards the front door. Once again Sam began to feel light-headed and was dismayed to discover the room sliding jarringly to one side. She reached out blindly towards whatever happened to be on her right for balance. It happened to be Jack.

"Whoa, Carter!" Jack exclaimed, catching his 2IC as her knees buckled as she attempted to hold herself upright. Not only was she dizzy, but Sam couldn't remember when she had felt so damned tired.

"Sir, I think we should head back," Sam said slightly slurred as she struggled to stay awake.

"You read my mind Carter," Jack replied, placing an arm around her waist and half carrying her towards the front door.

"Evan, it's been real but.."

"We really need to take Sam back to the hospital." Daniel finished. He had already fished the car keys out of his pocket and was jogging ahead to open the door.

"Gentlemen," Evan said addressing the two worried men before him. Samantha was slumped heavily against Jack's side. "I know Dr. Carter isn't feeling well, but if she really is interested in this house, I need to know within the next 12 hours."

"You have got to be kidding me," Jack said incredulously as Sam struggled to stand upright. Sam had heard Evan's announcement but couldn't quite muster the energy to converse.

"I'm sorry." Evan said shaking his head. "But as a courtesy to Dr. Carter, I showed her the house this evening. I have reason to believe another couple will be putting in an offer first thing in the morning, but if we put in an offer first, we'll have first crack at the place."

"We'll get back to you," Jack called back, as he led the now mostly unconscious Major to the car.

"Please do it soon," Evan said politely. The other offer wasn't from his clients, so he'd lose out on the commission if Sam decided not to go with this house. Evan regarded the ill woman and her two companions and realized she really wasn't in a position to make an offer at the moment. Still, he had to try.

"Here's my card if Dr. Carter feels better and decides to make an offer." Daniel grudgingly accepted the card as he opened the rear car door to help Jack. Together the two worried SG-1 members positioned their now unconscious friend into the back seat.

"Janet is not going to be happy," Daniel said as he softly closed the back door.

"I'm not happy Daniel," Jack growled as he got into the front seat and started the car.

"I hope Dr. Carter feels better soon!" Evan yelled, as Daniel got into the passenger seat.

"We do too Evan. Thanks for showing Sam the house. It meant a great deal to her." Evan was about to say something more when the sedan peeled out of the parking space and shot off down the street.

Chapter 5

"How's Carter?" Jack asked, as he drove quickly down the deserted streets. He peered into his rearview mirror at Sam's still form.

Daniel twisted his body around the seat and gingerly placed two fingers against Sam's pale neck.

"Pulse is strong," Daniel said with a sigh of relief.

"Yeah, but is she sleeping or unconscious Daniel?" Jack asked impatiently drumming his fingertips against the steering wheel.

"How the hell am I supposed to know Jack?"

"Get back there and try and wake her up!" Jack hissed. If Sam was just sleeping, she should be able to be revived and they needn't call Janet. But if Sam was unconscious, then they probably should let Janet know - maybe even take a detour towards the nearest hospital.

"Jack this car isn't exactly huge," Daniel griped, stating the obvious as he took in the confines of the medium size four-door sedan with disdain.

"Daniel, you're the smallest male me mber of SG-1- get your ass back there!" Jack said pointing towards the back seat.

"6 feet tall and the guy calls me small," Daniel muttered under his breath as he uncomfortably maneuvered his way towards the back seat. "Damn good thing I never met you when I was a scrawny, under-developed adolescent Jack," Daniel shot over his shoulder, as he awkwardly rearranged himself into the backseat. He carefully lifted Sam's head and placed it back down on his jean-clad thighs.

"Would it make you feel any better if I still think you're scrawny and under-developed?" Jack called back, as he watched Daniel's progress in the rear view mirror.

"Earlier you called me good looking Jack," Daniel said in an exasperated voice as he once again took her pulse. Still strong.

"In a scrawny, under-developed sort of way, apparently girls like that," Jack said continuing the banter. The more he teased Daniel, the less opportunity he had to worry about Sam.

"Sam?" Daniel said, touching his hand lightly against her cheek. He was careful not to disturb the bandage already in place and was pleased to note that there didn't appear to be any red spots.

"Five more minutes Dad," Sam mu mbled, as she shifted her weight to her right side and tried to adjust her ‘pillow' by reaching one hand underneath Daniel's thigh and attempting to knead it into shape. Daniel yelped as Sam's hand came preciously close to a region of his body he really didn't think Sam should be near.

"You ok back there Daniel?" Jack asked, not having seen the entire ‘pillow' incident.

"Peachy," Daniel answered, using one of Jack's own expressions. "Sam's just sleeping Jack."

"Can you wake her up?"

Daniel looked at the slu mbering Sam and exhaled audibly. "Yeah, I probably can. Sam's might going to be happy with that though.."

"Who the hell cares if she's happy?" Jack growled from the front seat. "We're not supposed to let her sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time and we're rapidly pushing the limt here Daniel."

Grudgingly Daniel agreed. Carefully he lifted Sam's upper body so that she was more or less sitting up. Daniel was hoping the movement itself would be enough to wake her; unfortunately, it was not.

"Sam?" Daniel said softly, as his friend's head lolled heavily against his shoulder. He tried again slightly louder.

Jack swore under his breath as he watched Daniel's feeble attempt at waking Sam up. This wasn't working.

"Carter!" Jack yelled loudly, while keeping his eyes more or less on the road. "Time to wake up!"

"Geeze Jack, break an eardrum or something would ya," Daniel said wincing from the onslaught of Jack's voice.

"Daniel, Carter needs to wake up in the next two minutes or we're driving straight to the hospital." Jack replied deadly serious. Military training prevented him from panicking, but he was very, very worried about his 2IC.

Daniel caught a glimpse of Jack's pinched face from the rear view mirror and suddenly understood the seriousness of the situation. Usually he was the one on the receiving end of concussions. Daniel hadn't quite comprehended the magnitude of his friend's condition; he did now.

"Sam, you need to wake up," Daniel said, giving Sam's shoulder a strong shake. Sam gave a small moan as her eyelids flickered, but she didn't wake up.

"Come on Sam!" Daniel said louder than normal. "Wake up!" Silently apologizing in advance, Daniel nudged Sam firmly in her injured ribs. Sam's eyes flew instantly open and she glared at Daniel through pain-filled eyes.

"What the fuck was that for?" Sam snarled, as she pulled away from Daniel's arms.

"Sam?" Daniel asked completely confused. Sam Carter was not known for swearing. In fact, in the two plus years that Daniel had known Sam, she had never said anything stronger than "hell".

"Mar'kan rak si mbal tan!" Sam shouted in an angry voice as she eyed Daniel without recognition. Daniel stared at his friend with wide eyes. Did she just say what he thought she said?

"Daniel?" Jack said conversationally from the front seat. "Did Sam just say what I think she said?"

"Release me arrogant scum?" Daniel answered a bit confused. When did Jack learn to speak Goa'uld?

"Melant shur krik'sha tel!" Sam cried out, backing herself as far from Daniel as was possible.

"Daniel, please tell me Carter isn't speaking Goa'uld," Jack said eyeing his Second in the rear view mirror with a growing feeling of dead.

"I'd love to be able to tell you that Jack, but.." Daniel began helplessly.

"Ah Crap."

"You can say that again," Daniel mu mbled holding out his hands in what he hoped Sam still understood as ‘I come in Peace'.

"Mar'kan rak!" Sam taunted, daring Daniel to come closer.

"Sorry Sam, I can't do that," Daniel replied in what he hoped was a soothing voice.

"What does she want?" Jack asked as he increased his speed. They were now less than 10 miles out.

"To be released," Daniel said continuing to maintain eye contact with the obviously very frightened Sam Carter. If it actually was Sam Carter he was talking with. Suddenly Daniel felt very cold.

"Nam'ra tel Jolinar me'Malkshur?" Daniel asked in what he hoped was a friendly sounding voice. Finesse in intonation wasn't a known Goa'uld quality. Everyone usually just barked at one another.

Sam's eyes grew wide in horror as she lashed out wildly at Daniel.

"Mar'kan rak!" She screamed as she wrapped both of her hands around Daniel's neck and applied pressure to his adam's apple. Instantly Daniel's eyes began to water as he struggled to breathe. His vision blurred as bright spots of light danced in front of his eyes.

"Jesus Daniel!" Jack shouted from the front seat. "Get her off you!"

Had Daniel been able, he would have rolled his eyes at Jack in disgust. Instead he kicked out blindly and his bent leg connected with something solid. Suddenly he was able to breathe again. Through heaving breaths he saw Sam doubled over clutching her middle in obvious pain.

"Shit. Jack, I think I re-injured her ribs," Daniel said rubbing his own bruised neck.

"Daniel, she was trying to strangle you for crying out loud!" Jack yelled back in frustration. Only 5 more miles… "What the hell is going on?"

"Sam thinks she's Jolinar."

"Jolinar is dead."

"I know that Jack," Daniel said in frustration keeping a wary eye on Sam's still bent-over form. "But Sam doesn't seem to think so."

"Ah crap!" Jack said hitting his hand in frustration against the side of the steering wheel. "She injured the left side of her head."

"So?" Daniel asked not fully understanding.

"So," Jack began as if speaking with a small child. "Your ability to process language is located in the left side of your brain."

Daniel blinked and stared at Jack's uneasy eyes in the rear view mirror, he was right. "How did you know that Jack?"

"I'm not as du mb as I appear, ok Daniel?" Jack said exasperated. "Carter's lost the ability to speak English at the moment so I'm guessing she's grabbing the first language she ‘reme mbers' and that happens to be Goa'uld."

"But Jack, Sam isn't just speaking Goa'uld, I think she honestly believes she is Jolinar."

"Well convince her she's not!" Jack ordered, tearing his eyes off of his friends in the back seat and back to the road, getting them all in an accident would not help matters. He allowed his right foot to apply even more pressure to the gas pedal. This had been a very bad idea.

"M'tak tur Jolinar." Daniel said soothingly, keeping as much distance as was possible. "M'tak Major Samantha Carter."

"Sla'k ral!" Sam/Jolinar screamed.

"Tu'ral!" Daniel shouted back at her. Wildly he looked around for something to convince Sam he was not lying. He caught sight of Sam's purse on the floor and keeping his eyes firmly on Sam's, reached down and snatched it. Slowly he opened it up and while maintaining eye contact with Sam, reached a hand in and felt around.

"Sam, I hope to God you keep a compact in here," Daniel muttered as his hand wrapped around something round, flat and smooth. "Yes!" He cried out triumphantly as he pulled out a foundation compact. He opened it up and offered the mirrored surface to Sam.

Sam/Jolinar grabbed the compact and stared at the image before her. This was not Rosha's body. What was going on here? She forced her eyes away from the mirror and stared at Daniel in confusion.

"Mek'lan bak shev kel?!" Sam/Jolinar demanded.

"It's rather a long story.." Daniel began.

"Daniel, she doesn't understand English!" Jack said loudly from the front seat.

"Right. Goa'uld." Daniel exhaled loudly. He took another breath and met Sam's confused eyes with calm.

"Kree shal men'tak peltac ka." Daniel said pointing to his head. Ok, so he told her she had an accident and hurt her head.

"M'tak tur Jolinar ne rak Samantha Carter." You're not Jolinar Sam, you're you Sam! To prove his point, Daniel reached again into Sam's purse and pulled out Sam's wallet. He opened it up and took out her driver's license.

"M'tak tur Samantha Carter," Daniel insisted thrusting the photo I.D. into Sam's hands. She stared at the photo and then again at her reflection in the little compact. Carefully she reached up and touched the bandages near her temple and frowned, as she could not recall how the injury was sustained. Could this man be telling the truth?

Sam/Jolinar shook her head and threw both the ID and compact to the ground as she again tried to back away. She suddenly found herself claustrophobic in the small moving vehicle and began clawing at the windows in an attempt to get out. The man was lying to her! Drugs must have been used, she needed to escape. Daniel tried to grab hold of Sam's hands but she was too quick and ni mbly cli mbed over Daniel and into the other passenger seat. She grabbed the discarded purse in the hopes of finding a weapon.

Jack guardedly watched as Daniel tried to reason with Sam. Unfortunately Sam Carter was out for the moment and there just didn't seem to be anyplace to leave a message. Jack shook his head in frustration and was thankful they were almost to the base. He allowed himself to relax momentarily.

The he heard sirens. Police sirens.

"Oh for crying out loud.." Jack began as he watched the red and blue lights move closer. He heard a faint ‘oof' sound from the backseat and glanced into the mirror to see what was going on. Sam seemed to have quieted down as she sat hunched in a corner clutching her purse tightly against her chest.

"Daniel we have a problem," Jack said shaking his head as he eased up on the gas and began to pull over. He thought about just gunning it, after all they couldn't be more than 3 miles from the base, but knew that would probably cause more problems than it was worth. Sighing heavily Jack pulled off the road.

"You could say that Jack," Daniel replied faintly from the backseat.

"Just stay cool, and let me do the talking," Jack said as he reached into the glove compartment to get the registration papers.

Daniel gave a slightly frantic laugh from the backseat. "That could soon become a problem Jack."

"What are you talking about Daniel?" Jack asked exasperated, as he twisted his body around to take a look at Daniel and Sam.

"Jesus Daniel!" Jack cried, staring incomprehensibly at his friend. Daniel sat limply against the side of the door holding a hand protectively against his right side. A not so small amount of blood was visible above his waistband.

"She stabbed me Jack."


 Chapter 6
1930 Hours

Jack blinked as he took in the implausible scene before him.

Step one: Assessment. "Danny, do not shit me here, ok?" Jack said eyeing the growing crimson stain saturating Daniel's t-shirt. "Are you on death's door, or do I have a few minutes?"

"I'll be fine Jack," Daniel said applying further pressure on the messy hole beneath his ribs and panting slightly through the pain. He eyed Jack through half-closed eyes, clearly Jack didn't believe him. Daniel shook his head in frustration. "Jack, I'm serious," he said trying to ignore the warm stickiness beneath his hands. "It hurts a bit but I'll be fine."

Jack's hard eyes continued to stare calculatedly at the inert scientist; Daniel rolled his eyes. "God Jack, you are so stubborn! It hurts like hell, ok? But I honestly don't think it's fatal- so would you just get on to saving our asses?" Yelling at Jack didn't help the pain, but it did seem to do the trick. Satisfied, Jack moved his eyes onto the second person in the backseat; Major Samantha Carter, or Jolinar as she preferred to be called at the moment. She stood crouched on her feet glaring hard at both Daniel and Jack, a bloody nail file held tightly in her clenched fingers. Jack grimaced.

Step two: Take control of the situation. Before Sam/Jolinar could even comprehend what was happening, Jack reached out and snatched the nail file from her. He tossed the offensive object into the front seat and quickly positioned himself between the confused Tok'ra wannabe and the injured Daniel. Surprisingly Jack wedged himself into the backseat with very little fuss. When one didn't need to worry about hitting the driver in the head, it really was quite simple. Jack was very much aware that at any moment the cop would probably come knocking on the window; he needed to wrap things up. Quickly. Placing both hands firmly on her shoulders, Jack forced Sam into a more conventional seated position and quickly covered her legs with one knee.

"Stabbing Daniel was not a nice thing to do!" Jack hissed, as he stared into the wild unrecognizable eyes of his 2IC. The woman struggled beneath him, but was no match for a pissed off and much larger Jack O'Neill.

"So here's what I am going to do JOLINAR," Jack saw a flinty flash of recognition as he said her name. "I'm going to move Daniel here to the front seat and you are going to stay quiet as a mouse here in the back seat like a good little Tok'ra." Again he saw a se mblance of understanding. He nodded briefly and started to let up on the pressure of his knee. Instantly Sam attempted to squirm free. Jack again applied pressure, harder this time and leaned forward to whisper something into her ear.

"Mek'sur rak, shel nak tor." He said clearly and without emotion into her left ear. He leaned back and saw the complete comprehension and fear on her face.

"Good!" He added, as he patted her on both shoulders and withdrew the pressure slowly across her legs. Sam stayed perfectly still. Satisfied, Jack lifted his knee from her body and turned to take care of Daniel.

Now it was Daniel's turn to stare incomprehensibly at Jack. There was no way. There was just no way Jack had said what Daniel though he had heard.

"Jack do you have any idea of what you just said?" Daniel said as he gritted his teeth against the pain. Jack had awkwardly pulled the lever that allowed the front driver's seat to collapse and was attempting to manhandle Daniel into the front seat.

"Yep," Jack replied with a grunt doing all the work himself. Daniel wasn't much help at the moment.

"But…but.. how? Why?" Daniel said, closing his eyes and clenching his teeth tightly against the pain. The wound itself was probably just superficial, but it still hurt. A lot. Maybe superficial wasn't quite the right word…

"Teal'c taught me a few choice phrases that he thought might come in handy down the road," Jack explained, as he carefully set Daniel's butt down in the front seat and being ever mindful of the stomach injury, cautiously moved his legs over to join his body.

"Teal'c thought it would be good to teach you ‘Move again and I will kill you' in Goa'uld?!"

"The exact phrasing might have been my idea," Jack admitted as he quickly folded himself back into the driver's seat. He glanced over and was not pleased to see how pale Daniel had become. From shock or blood loss Jack wasn't certain, but he did know he needed to get his friend some help. Now.

The bottom of Daniel's t-shirt was completely soaked in blood and something needed to be done to stop the flow. He glanced down at his own black t-shirt, leather jacket and jeans and quickly surmised that it would probably be best if he remained dressed when approached by Colorado Springs' finest. A quick glance at the backseat nicked the idea of getting something from Sam. She had on a lightweight sweater thingy and Jack had no idea if there was anything underneath it. Having a pissed off Tok'ra mad at him was one thing, having a partially naked pissed off Tok'ra who happened to be his 2IC just wasn't a good idea. Which left Daniel.

Daniel sat quietly in the front seat, obvious pain etched across his face. He wore the ubiquitous SGC black t-shirt as a base layer but had thrown on a thick button down flannel shirt over it.

"Can you sit up a little Daniel?" Jack asked quietly, as he reached into his back pocket for his ever-present Swiss army knife. Although he was required to leave his P90 on base, he never went anywhere without that knife.

"Uh sure," Daniel said attempting to comply without opening his eyes. Unfortunately it is very difficult to move one's torso without utilizing stomach muscles. Daniel moved only a few scant inches before overwhelming pain forced him to fall back heavily against the seat. His eyes filled with unshed tears and Daniel wondered if perhaps passing out might be a good option

"Here Danny, let me help." Jack said hating to see his friend hurting so much. He carefully lifted the Archaeologist forward a half a foot or so and baring Daniel's weight with his left hand, quickly sliced through the length of the shirt and pulled it away from Daniel's body. Jack removed the material over Daniel's shoulder and pulled ½ the flannel shirt completely away. Hastily he bunched it together and after moving Daniel's hands away, pressed it firmly against the jagged wound. Daniel moaned loudly as his body arched upwards in an attempt to escape from the offending pressure.

"Sorry Daniel!" Jack said hating the fact that he was causing his friend so much pain. At least in the field they usually had vials of morphine to help. Hell, he’d be happy with a little packet of Tylenol…Jack replaced his hands with Daniel's own and laid a calming hand against Daniel's forehead. It hadn't even been five minutes and already Daniel felt warm. Jack made a note to talk to Carter about the cleanliness of her nail files.

"Daniel, I need you to put on an Oscar worthy performance here," Jack said as he caught sight of the police officer finally making his way towards the car. What could possibly have taken him so long to check a license plate was beyond him, but for once Jack was very, very grateful for the delay. He quickly looked around the car and was glad (and more than a little surprised) to see that very little of Daniel's blood was apparent on the dark vinyl seats. This really might work, Jack thought to himself.

As Jack began to roll down his window he suddenly caught sight of his hands- his still damp, red-streaked hands. Jack let out a short mirthless laugh. “Or maybe not." Covered in Daniel's blood, there was no way the officer wouldn't notice. Jack let out a small frustrated sigh; on to Plan B.

"License and reg.." The officer began on autopilot before spying Jack's blood-encrusted hands.

"Holy shit!" Instantly the police officer reached for his weapon.

"Hands up where I can see them and step out of the car!" The officer shouted at Jack, as he peered into the window. Eyeing an unmoving man in the front seat, and a pissed off looking woman in the back seat, Jim, the rookie police officer, cursed the budget cuts that prevented him from having a partner. It wasn't every day you pull a guy over for speeding and stu mble upon a possible homicide. Jim's mind was racing as he tried to reme mber everything that was taught to him at the academy.

"It isn't what you think Officer," Jack said calmly as he slowly stepped out of the car. The police officer couldn't be older than 25 and looked like he just might shoot if Jack made any sudden moves. Jack wouldn't lay money on him shooting straight either.

"You have the right to remain silent…"

"I waive my rights," Jack said impatiently as he made a small motion with his upraised hands. He really didn't need this right now- both Sam and Daniel needed help.

"Keep your hands still!" Jim shouted, waiving his gun unsteadily at Jack. Great. This is just perfect! If I don't watch it, I'm going to wind up as messed up as Carter and Daniel!

"Look Officer," Jack began as he slowly turned around to face the obviously distraught young man. "I am going to slowly reach into my jacket and pull out my ID, ok?"

"Hands where I can see them!" Officer Jim shouted again. Why wasn't the guy listening to him?!

"My name is Jack O'Neill. Colonel Jack O'Neill and I work out of Cheyenne Mountain just a few miles down the road." As Jack was saying this he continued to reach into his jacket and was able to pull out his wallet. He held it out to the Officer.

"The guy in the front seat is Dr. Daniel Jackson, a linguist and good friend who works with me on base. And the woman in the back seat is Major Samantha Carter my 2IC."

"He's telling the truth," a faint voice said from within the car. With an audible grunt a billfold came sailing through the open window. "My ID." Although the nail file hadn't penetrated any vital organs, the wound was still rather deep.

"Sir, are you all right?" Jim said taking a step closer to the car and momentarily taking his eyes off of Jack. Jack refrained from rolling his eyes- he could so take this guy out.

"Officer, do I look all right to you?" Daniel gasped peevishly, struggling to stay conscious. Jack's sarcasm was definitely contagious.

"No Sir, you most definitely don't." Jim said as he bent down to pick up Daniel's wallet.

Oh for crying out loud, can we just get on with it?! Jack thought to himself.

"Look Officer," Jack glanced down at the man's name badge, "Simpson." A small smile threatened to escape Jack's lips but he managed to hold it back. "I won't move a muscle, but would ya please just look at Daniel's ID, then look at mine and then let us be on our way? As you can see, my friend in there needs some help." Without waiting to hear Officer Jim Simpson's response, Jack threw his wallet at the stunned officer who caught it by reflex.

"You promise not to move?" Jim asked in a mostly steady voice as he continued to point his weapon at the Colonel.

"Scouts honor," Jack was getting impatient and was wondering just what Sam/Jolinar was thinking of this whole exchange. With a hell of a lot of luck, his whispered threat would keep her ass pinned to the backseat until they got back to the SGC.

Jim opened Daniel's wallet first and took out first his license and then an obvious military looking ID card. There, imprinted on the card, were the words, ‘Dr. Daniel Jackson' and a picture of a shaggy-haired geeky-looking guy in an outdated tweed jacket. Underneath his name and picture were a bunch of letters and nu mbers: USAF- CIV, SGC-SG1, 0-. Security Level: C. Jim turned the card over and read scrawled in permanent marker, ‘If owner is found dead or unconscious, please return to Col. Jack O'Neill."

Jim shook his head confused as he stuffed the card back and opened the second wallet. Jack's wallet contained his official USAF ID card as well as the SGC issued ID. There were lots more numbers and letters on the colonel’s ID card. A very serious looking photo of Jack appeared on his SGC card along with the words ‘Colonel Jack O'Neill'. Under his name and photo were more letter/number combinations. USAF, SGC-21C, SG1-COM, O+, Security Level: A. Curiosity made him turn the card over. ‘If found dead or unconscious, please check surrounding area for Dr. Daniel Jackson.' Jim crinkled his eyebrows as he read that. What kind of people were these guys?

Jack recognized the look of confusion and realized what Officer Simpson (No smiling Jack) must be reading. Jack had known even as he wrote the little ‘lost' message on Daniel's ID card that it probably wasn't the best of ideas. But Daniel had just turned up from the dead (again) and Jack couldn't help himself. Now Daniel on the other hand… Daniel hadn't even been drunk when he had written that little ditty on the back of Jack's card. Jack actually had gotten a new ID a few weeks thereafter but kept that Sharpee-penned version as a memento. A memento he really shouldn't be hauling around in his wallet… Jack shook his head and wished Officer Simpson (No smiling Jack) would get on with it.

Just as Jim had made up his mind to let the Colonel and his wounded friend go, (he planned on following them) the sudden sound of a car door opening caught his attention. Jack heard it too and turned his head just in time to see the back door open and one Major Samantha Carter, AKA Jolinar, stumble out.

"Ah crap," Jack muttered as instinct took control and he flung himself across the hood of the car and attempted to stop Carter before she could get too far.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Jim yelled, as he took in the sight of the nimble Colonel sliding across the top of the car like he was Bo or Luke Duke.

Jack ignored him and concentrated on Sam. If she bolted, he would have to go after her and there was a fairly good chance one of them might get shot. Not really an ideal situation.

"Did you forget what I said?" Jack said in dangerously low tones as he faced the weary woman. Although Sam might not be driving at the moment, Jolinar obviously understood. Her eyes grew wide and she clenched her fists tightly together. She swayed slightly on her feet and her face contorted in a mask of anger and pain.

"Sholv'ak tel!"

"Not nice," Daniel whispered weakly from the open car window. "She's not happy with you Jack."

"Tell me something I don't know Daniel," Jack retorted, as he took another step closer.

"I think I'm going to pass out," Daniel replied in a whisper as his entire body went slack and he sank into unconsciousness.

"God dammit! This is not my day!!" Jack groused, as he closed the gap between he and Carter and gripped Sam's elbow tightly. It was time to end this.

"Sir, you need to stop this immediately!" Jim shouted, as he contemplated if it was better to stay where he was and keep an eye on the crazy Air Force officer, or if he should head back to his rig and call for backup.

"You're right. It is." Jack knew he needed to get both Sam and Daniel medical attention, but also knew he wouldn't get too far if he had to fight Carter the entire way. Hell, Officer Simpson just might do something rash if he thought Jack was roughing up a woman. Gritting his teeth in frustration, Jack made up his mind. He just couldn't risk Carter babbling in an Alien language or have her unwittingly dish out top-secret Stargate information; he needed Sam quiet. And although Janet might skin him alive later, Jack knew what needed to be done. He leaned backwards on his left leg with every intention of throwing a right hook into the side of his 2IC's head. He knew how to throw a punch and planned to hit Sam on the right side of her skull and not the left; that wouldn't be too bad, right? Right, you just keep telling yourself that Jack.

But just as he reached back to build momentum for his punch, Sam began to sway. Jack barely had time to catch her before she slumped bonelessly to the ground deeply unconscious.

"Tor, buddy. This would be a great time to pop on by for a visit," Jack mumbled as he carefully picked Sam up and positioned her into the backseat of the car. Behind him he could hear the officer cursing.

"What the hell did you do to her?!" Jim shouted questioning his decision to keep his gun pointed at the crazy Colonel; he should have gone for the radio.

Shutting the back door, Jack reached through the passenger window and placed two fingers against Daniel's neck. He breathed a small sigh of relief, Daniel was doing just fine. Well maybe not *fine* fine, but he would live. He squinted at the irate Officer and walked around towards the driver's door.

"Jim," Jack paused. "Can I call you Jim?" Receiving only flabbergasted silence, Jack continued. "My friends are obviously ill and I am going to take them to where they'll get the help they need. You know as well as I do that this road only leads to Cheyenne Mountain, so you are welcome to follow me, but I'm going to be leaving now." Calmly Jack got into his car and turned on the ignition.

Through his rolled down window Jack called out to the still stunned Officer. "I really am a good guy, Jim. Go ahead and send me that speeding ticket, I'm sure I was going at least 50."

With that Colonel Jack O'Neill pulled out from the shoulder of the road and headed (at a sedate 35 mph) towards the SGC. Absently rubbing his temple at the growing tension headache, Jack wryly thought of the ways Dr. Janet Fraiser would get him back. An innocent house viewing and what happens? Jack checks out one patient from the infirmary and returns with two.

It was not his day.

Chapter 7 2000 Hours

Jack estimated that he'd be at the Mountain entrance in less than three minutes. With one hand on the wheel, he reached into his jacket and pulled out a cell phone. He'd probably arrive before the medical team could, but it was time to at least give them a heads up as to what was coming their way. Glancing from an unconscious Daniel to an unconscious Carter, Jack quickly punched *3 on his cell phone and waited while the circuits routed his call to SGC Medical. He shook his head wondering how he'd turned into a guy who had the infirmary programmed into his cell phone speed dial. It made perfect sense for him to have both Daniel's office and apartment number on speed dial. And he often called Carter's office looking for Daniel, so that made sense as well. But what sort of man had an infirmary, a doctor's personal cell phone AND her home number all programmed higher on the list than the guy who ran the base? Jack gave a quiet snort as he waited for his call to connect.

Nurse Wyatt picked up the ringing phone, thankful for the interruption. Entering chart information into the SGC medical database was necessary, but a bit boring. "Infirmary."

"This is Colonel O'Neill, get me Dr. Fraiser now." The voice left no room for questions.

"One moment, sir." Quickly she scanned the Infirmary for Dr. Fraiser while wondering which member of SG-1 was injured this time. Hitting the hold button on the phone she walked hurriedly across the bay rather than yell across the line of beds.

"Dr. Fraiser, Colonel O'Neill is on line 2." She knew she didn't need to say it was urgent, that was a given with the SGC and especially with Colonel O'Neill, the 2IC of the base never called the infirmary just to 'chat'.

"I knew I shouldn't have released her!" Dr. Fraiser said under her breath as she set down the charts and grabbed the nearest phone.

The way she punched the blinking line 2 button made Nurse Wyatt glad that she wasn't the source of the irritation. Message delivered, she went back to her data entry task, figuring she should at least be able to save it and shut it down before whatever emergency the Colonel was calling about landed in their laps.

"Colonel, what's going on?"

"No time for details Janet," Jack said glancing in the rear view mirror at the still unconscious Carter. Behind her Jack could see the telltale red and blue lights of the police car. Thankfully he didn't have his siren on. "Let's just say I need two gurneys topside. ETA two minutes."

"Two gurneys Colonel?" Jack could hear the disbelief in Janet's voice.

Jack let out a heavy sigh. "Yeah, two. Look Janet, we'll be there in another minute or so, could you just head up?"

"Gurneys or crash carts Colonel?"

"How the hell should I know Doc?!" Jack asked in frustration. "Carter passed out after pulling a Jekyll/Hyde act on us, and Daniel's been stabbed in the gut with a nail file!"

"A Nail file?!" Clearly Janet wasn't pleased with that little nugget of information. "We're on our way Colonel."

Jack let loose a breath he didn't know he had been holding. Janet and her team would be ready for them.

Jack felt the tension slowly ebb away as he spotted the first security checkpoint ahead. Cursing the need to show photo ID when everyone knew who he was, Jack awkwardly reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet.

"Medical emergency Airman." Jack said briskly as he flashed his SGC identity card.

"Understood Sir." The young private said as he motioned for the barricades to be opened.

"You had better let the cop car behind me through as well." Jack said grudgingly as he waited for the yellow and black arm to be lifted and the security fence to fully open.

"And call Hammond. Have him send up Makepeace or someone with a rank higher than a Captain to calm this guy down." Jack made a hand motion to indicate the police car behind him.

"Understood Sir." Private Wallace said giving the Colonel a crisp salute. He recognized Colonel O'Neill from orientation but did not know either of his two passengers. Members of his team perhaps? Neither was dressed in military apparel, but then again, neither was the Colonel. The man in the front seat was obviously wounded and the woman in the back appeared to have a head injury of some kind. Wallace privately wondered if he would ever get the full story on what went on inside the mountain or if he'd be left in the dark just like last time.

Jack was happy to see the remaining two check points already cleared for him and was waved straight through towards the covered parking garage. He was rather surprised (and pleased) to see Janet already there. How the hell did she do that?! He parked the car and quickly hopped out as the nurses and orderlies surrounded the car. "Daniel has a small penetrating stab wound on his lower right side. I don't think she hit anything vital, but he's lost a fair amount of blood." Jack didn't fail to notice how Janet looked up sharply as he said the word 'she'.

Daniel moaned softly as he was moved from the car onto a gurney. Opening his eyes slightly, he took in the absence of motion and the white uniforms of the medical staff. "Back at SGC?" He whispered.

Jack nodded. "They'll have you patched up in no time, Danny." Jack said giving his friend's hand a small squeeze.

"Next time Jack, I drive." Daniel said wincing a little as he felt a needle puncture the skin on his right arm.

"Promise." Jack gave his friend a small smile as he watched him succumb to the soporific effects of morphine. Behind him, Jack could see Officer Simpson pointing frantically at Jack as he tried to explain what happened to Major Davis. Jack made a mental note to apologize (and thank) both General Hammond and Davis later.

"Hang a unit of O neg on Daniel and send him down to surgery!" Janet ordered, as she quickly assessed that Daniel would be just fine. Well maybe not *fine* fine, but he'd live. Although at this rate, he was going to have as many scars as Colonel O'Neill if he didn't watch out.

The nurses were just beginning to ease Sam out of the backseat when she began to stir.

"Give her some space!" Jack ordered as he closed the gap between himself and the car. So far Carter/Jolinar had only dealt with Jack and Daniel, and Jack wanted to keep it that way. Having a freaked out Tok'ra was bad enough without bringing the SGC rumor mill in on the fun. Although there was probably little he could do to quell that particular demon.

"Kree rak," Jack said softly but clearly, as he wrapped his hand around Carter's arm as she struggled to stand up on her own.

"Sir?" Sam was completely baffled as to why her commanding officer just ordered her not to move in Goa'uld. Come to think of it, when did Colonel O'Neill learn to speak Goa'uld?

"Carter?" Jack slowly released his grip on her arm. "That you in there?" His eyes darted towards the top of her head.

"Sir?" Sam answered bewildered, still not catching his meaning.

"I'll tell you later Major, first why don't we get you back to the infirmary." Sam nodded and took a shaky step forward.

"Sorry Major, I need you on the gurney," Janet ordered, stepping forward to prevent her friend from taking any additional steps.

"Janet, I'm fine," Sam said in a resigned voice as she grudgingly accepted assistance onto the gurney. Whenever her friend referred to her as 'major', Sam knew there was no arguing.

"No Sam, you're not," Janet replied, barely containing her anger as she contemplated whether or not she should use the restraints. She hadn't missed the Colonel's reference to Jekyll and Hyde and had already figured out that it was Sam who must have stabbed Daniel. Still undecided, Janet glanced discreetly at Jack who slowly but firmly shook his head. No restraints. He continued to glare at Janet until she sighed and held up her hands in defeat.

"Let's get her downstairs!"

Not comfortable lying motionless on the gurney, Sam looked around the parking garage as she was wheeled towards the elevator.

"Where's Daniel?" Sam directed her question at Jack.

Oooookay. Guess she doesn't remember that part. "Daniel's already in the mountain," Jack answered, hoping she'd accept the answer at face value. Naturally she didn't.

"Why don't remember him leaving?" Sam asked as she closed her eyes in concentration. "Actually sir," Sam whispered, "I don't remember the ride back here." She gave Jack such a look of confusion and trust that Jack struggled to think of what he could possibly say to make her feel better.

"That's ok Carter," Jack said completely whimping out as he followed the gurney, two nurses and Dr. Fraiser into the elevator. The sooner they got her back to the infirmary the better. "You didn't miss much." Inwardly Jack winced, that was the first time he had really lied to his 2IC before.

Sam let out a startled gasp, as the pain caught her off guard, hitting her squarely between the eyes. She tilted her head to one side and clenched her hands tightly into fists; that damn headache was back. "You all right Major?" Janet asked, in full medical mode pushing Jack out of the way and reaching for her penlight.

"Headache," Sam answered tersely between clenched teeth. The headache was increasing in magnitude by the moment.

"Open houses give me headaches too," Jack said inanely from the back of the elevator, as he tried to distract Sam from her obviously hurting head. We're almost there Carter. Just hang on.

"The house!" Sam cried as she writhed on the bed in pain, holding her head between her hands. Jack took the place of an orderly by her side, knowing there was nothing he could do, but needing to be by her side. This was all his fault. He searched Janet's face plaintively for help.

"It's ok Sam, we've got you," Janet said softly, as she tried to pry Sam's hands away from her head. "Give me 20ccs of dopamine," she asked the nurse on her right.

"God, Janet, make it stop!" Sam cried, curling her body into a fetal position and continuing to protect her head.

"I promise, you'll feel better in a moment Sam," Janet said listening to her friend's painful whimpers as the nurse handed her a syringe filled with the strong anti-psychotic medication. "Have an Imitrex drip standing by," she ordered one of her nurses, urging her to run ahead to the infirmary. With luck an IV filled with stronger migraine medication would be ready by the time they got there. "This should help, Sam," Janet said, as she slid a needle into Sam's arm. Almost instantly the pain began to ebb and Sam relaxed her body. The gurney was quickly wheeled into the infirmary where Daniel was already stripped of his shirt and pants and being prepped for surgery. Jack winced as he saw the jagged, crimson tear in Daniel's abdomen. There were a lot of bloody pieces of gauze littering the floor.

"He'll be fine, sir," Doctor Warner said, glancing up at Jack. "10-12 stitches max. The only reason he's going into surgery at all is because it's a belly wound and those tend to get messy. Actually, it's too bad Daniel doesn't need his appendix removed, we could have done a 2 for 1!"

"Ha-ha," Jack said humorlessly, as he watched Daniel be wheeled out of the room. This was entirely his fault. He never should have taken Carter out of here.

"Ssssir?" Sam slurred interrupting Jack's dark mood.

"Yeah Carter?" Instantly, Jack was at her side. Sam had been moved from the gurney to a bed and was now trying (unsuccessfully) to shoo away the nurses attempting to attach wires of some sort to the sides of her head. EEG? Jack looked away as her shirt was pulled down and several tabs connected to wires were attached to her chest. Additional tabs were placed on both ankles and on her shoulders. Whoa! Cardiac monitor. Jack thought that seemed a little over the top, usually the docs were content with finger monitors.

"Go wwway!" Sam ordered the people around her, as she tried to move away from being proked and prodded.

"They're just trying to help Carter," Jack said trying not to stare at the mass of wires coming out of her shirt. Why did Fraiser think Sam needed a full-strength cardiac monitor?

"Wannnt house," Sam murmured groggily, as the drugs began sapping her consciousness along with her pain.

"We can worry about that later Carter," Jack replied anxiously. Where the hell was Janet anyhow?

"No!" Sam cried angrily, forcing her eyes open. "I 'eard Evan! He said I must make decision today. Want house sir." Sam reached out to Jack as her eyes began to droop downwards. "Please," she whispered.

"Ok, ok. Just calm down Carter," Jack soothed, taking ahold of her hand and looking around the room for Janet.

"Promise col'nol," Sam said through closed eyes as she weakly squeezed his hands. In the background, Jack began to hear the sounds of the cardiac monitor slow down. "Promise m' you'll call."

"I promise Carter, ok? I'll call and tell Evan you want the house."

"Tha.." Suddenly Sam's hand fell from Jack's as her body arched upwards in the throws of a seizure. Instantly Jack was at her side attempting to hold her shoulders down as a nurse placed a gauze covered bit between her teeth.

Out of nowhere Jack heard Janet's frantic shout. "Get me a portable head CT NOW!" And that's when he heard it.

The sound of a flat line.

Chapter 8

Jack quickly stepped out of the way as the barrage of medical personnel surrounded Sam.

"Give me 5 mg Epineprine stat!" Dr. Fraiser yelled, as she quickly compartmentalized the fact that Sam Carter, one of her best friends, was lying unmoving on the bed by her side. "And charge the paddles to 200!" Not fully comprehending what he was witnessing, Jack took another step backwards. First Daniel, now Sam- how the hell had all this happened?!

Medication was added to her IV and an endless moment ensued while they waited to see if anything would happen.

Nothing did. Sam's gown was opened and heart paddles placed on her chest. "Clear!" Janet yelled as she activated the paddles causing her friend's chest to jerk up off the table. In the corner Jack stood stock-still, listening and watching everything that was happening.

"Still no rhythm Doctor," a nurse said somberly as they all continued to listen to the EKG flatline.

"Dammit Sam, don't you do this to me," Janet whispered as she prepared to shock her friend once again. Janet knew it wasn't standard procedure to shock someone with no heart rhythm, but she couldn't just stand by and do nothing.

"Charge to 300 and clear!" Janet yelled again, as she applied the paddles for a second time. Again Sam arched in the air, but this time the sounds changed as she fell heavily back to the bed. Everyone in the room could hear the steady beep-beep of normal cardiac rhythm.

"We have normal sinus rhythm, " a nurse declared, smiling.

"She's back," Janet whispered, lowering the defibrillator paddles to her side. She took a moment to watch as her friend's chest raised and lowered gently on it's own. That had been way too close. Janet drew comfort from the steady beeping of the EKG and hoped it continued until they got Sam into surgery. Surgery she needed to get into now.

"Start her on Mannitol, 2* 66 grams per hour," Janet ordered, calmer now that she was back on stable medical ground. The diuretic drug would help alleviate the intracranial pressure and would hopefully keep Sam stable until they could operate. "And begin prepping Major Carter for surgery."

Janet scribbled a few more notes on Sam's chart and turned to the nurse closest to her. "I also need someone to check on Dr. Warner and get an ETA on Dr. Jackson. Tell him what's happening out here and see if he wants me to page Dr. Mitchell or if he'll be able to evacuate this hemotoma himself." Janet knew she did a lot of good as the SGC's primary doctor, but just this once she really wished she had more surgical training.

"I'm going to scrub in on Dr. Jackson. Keep an eye on Major Carter and the moment she regains consciousness; start her on 200 mg of carbamazapine. Call me immediately if there are any further complications."

"Understood Doctor."

"Doc, what's going on?" Jack asked, taking a step closer towards Sam now that the immediate danger was over. He was clearly frustrated at his inability to help, or understand what the hell had just happened. He needed to know what they were doing to his 2IC and he needed to know now.

Janet sighed softly and contemplated how best to inform the Colonel of what was going to happen next. Although she suspected the Colonel understood more than he let on, he still preferred to receive the ‘Just-the-facts-ma'am' version in plain English. She could do that.

"Colonel, we need to get Sam into surgery." Jack opened up his mouth to object, or at least suggest calling her dad but Janet held up a hand for silence. "Colonel, I know you think we should call General Carter, but honestly Sir, there just isn't time."

"Why? What the hell is going on!?" Janet exhaled audibly and led a frustrated and worried Colonel O'Neill away from Sam and into her office. Time was of the essence, but she could spare a minute or two to put the Colonel at ease. Or at least make him understand what they needed to do. Besides, the nurses needed room to prep their patient, and she really didn't want Jack to witness exactly what needed to be done prior to surgery.

"Sir, the blunt force to her head earlier today resulted in an unforeseen subdural hemotoma. Basically Sir, just like bumping your head and getting a bruise on the outside of your skull, it's possible to get one on the inside as well." Janet paused to make sure Jack was still following. He nodded slightly urging her to continue.

"That bruise is nothing more than small micro tears of broken blood vessels. But because it is inside the head, there just isn't a lot of room for it to expand. The subdural hemotoma, the bruise inside her head, is now pressing down on Major Carter's brain. This is probably what caused her drastic personality change and this will rapidly become life threatening unless we can release the pressure."

"You're going to cut into Carter's head?!" Jack asked, clearly appalled at the thought. They can cut into his brain all they want, but they should leave Carter's the hell alone.

"Not her brain Colonel," Janet said placing a hand on Jack's arm and trying to calm him down. "We're not going to get that far Sir." Picking up a pencil and a piece of paper, Janet attempted to draw a picture of the procedure. "This is your brain sir, and here is a thin layer of tough tissue that surrounds our brain. We call it the dura. What Sam has is a subdural hemotoma; a bruise underneath the dura and pressing down on her brain. What we're going to do is drill a small access hole into her skull and basically make an incision through the dura, and into the hemotoma. We'll then pierce the hemotoma and drain away the excess blood and fluid. The pressure on her brain will disappear and Sam will be out of danger."

"What about the liquid stuff our brains float in?" Jack asked straining to remember what he could about brains.

"CSF Colonel?" Jack just stared at Janet incomprehensively. "The cerebral spinal fluid sir," Janet explained. Jack nodded.

"We have CSF both here," Janet said pointing to an area between the skull and the brain, "and here." She drew an arrow to a thin layer between the dura and the brain itself. "We'll leave the CSF Colonel and just drain the hemotoma sir." Seeing both fear and concern on his face Janet tried to convince him that it really would be ok.

"Colonel, I know it might be hard to believe, but this procedure really isn't that complicated. Don't get me wrong Sir, it is major surgery, but it isn't especially difficult surgery. Both Dr. Warner and Dr. Mitchell are more than qualified to drain the hemotoma without any real danger to Sam. But it needs to done now."

"There really isn't time to call Jacob?" Jack asked resigned to the fact that Carter was going to need surgery regardless of who was here or who gave permission.

"No Sir, I'm afraid there isn't."

"O.k then." Jack said making up his mind. "Do it."

Wednesday, 0330 Hours

"Waiting sucks," Jack said aloud, as he plopped himself into a hard plastic chair next to Teal'c.

"I have observed O'Neill that you are not proficient at waiting." Teal'c said with his eyes still closed from his light meditative state. "Unless you are in battle," Teal'c added unnecessarily.

"Tell me something I don't know Teal'c," Jack murmured as he scrubbed a hand across his tired face.

"I can tell you many things you do not know O'Neill," Teal'c replied as he opened his eyes to study his weary friend.

"This has been a really rotten day T'," Jack said with a heavy sigh, placing his head in his hands.

"We have had worse."

Jack gave a dry chuckle. "You've got me there."

"Both Major Carter and Daniel Jackson are in capable hands."

"I know." And he did too. Dr. Warner was a good surgeon and Daniel's life really wasn't in any real danger. He had successfully made it through surgery and both he and Teal'c would be allowed to sit with him any moment now. Still, Jack felt guilty. Daniel wouldn't have been in this mess if it weren't for him! And then there was Carter. Jack didn't even want to go to the dark place that placed the blame for her condition firmly on his shoulders. He never should have let her leave the infirmary. Never. Still, he knew Janet wouldn't lie to him. If she said the procedure was relatively routine, than it probably was. That didn't mean he had to like it though. Jack was pulled out of his dark mood by the sounds of alarms going off.

"Unscheduled wormhole activation. Repeat unscheduled wormhole activation." Jack looked at Teal'c expectantly.

"I will continue to wait here O'Neill," Teal'c said calmly as he listened to the overhead speaker announce this was not a drill.

"Thanks Teal'c." Jack stood up and quickly jogged down the hall towards the gateroom.

This day was already starting to suck.

"Receiving IDC code now sirs," The technician said, waiting for the scrambled code to reveal the identity of the travelers en route. He looked up from his screen as the code was revealed. "It's the Tok'ra."

"Ever hear about ringing at a decent hour?" Jack mumbled audibly, as he accompanied the General down to the gate room. Although the General knew Major Carter was in very capable hands, he too had chosen to remain at the SGC until she was out of surgery. Together they waited at the foot of the ramp for the traveler to appear and both were surprised to see Jacob Carter emerge.

"Jacob?" Hammond asked guardedly, as he took his friend's offered hand. "We didn't expect to see you again so soon."

"Figured after helping to bring down Seth, you guys would be off doing," Jack paused as he gave a little hand wave, "I dunno, other Tok'ra spy stuff."

"Tok'ra spy stuff Jack?" Jacob said with a laugh. "I can see why they made you a Colonel."

"Classified Jacob," Jack retorted in a sing song voice. Sometimes his black ops past proved beneficial. Jacob just shook his head.

"So what brings you to Earth Jacob?" Hammond asked as he began to escort his friend out of the gate room. The sooner he got Jacob back to the briefing room the better. He did not want to tell him of his daughter's condition in front of an audience.

"And are you *aware* of the time?" Jack couldn't help but add.

"Huh?" Jacob asked clearly surprised. "You guys are 6 hours behind us, and I left." He stopped and hit his head with the palm of his hand. "Damn. I left from Qatal, not Vorash! Sorry guys." Jacob said apologetically. "Is that why Sam's not here?" He asked looking around the room.

Jacob immediately grew worried at hearing no immediate response from either George or Jack. This time there was no hiding the concern in his voice, "George, where's my daughter?"

"I'll fill you in on everything Jacob, let's go upstairs, ok?"

Jacob stopped dead still and turned to his friend and his daughter's CO. "I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what happened to Sam! God, George, if she's dead, just tell me!" Jacob was having a hard time controlling his emotions and was clamping down hard on Selmak's offer to intervene.

"She's alive Jake," General Hammond answered, laying a hand warmly on his friend's shoulder.

"We had a little trouble off-world sir," Jack said squaring his shoulders as he prepared to meet Jacob's completely justified wrath. Thank god he didn't have to tell Jacob that he had gotten his daughter killed.

"Cut the ‘Sir' Jack." Jacob said tiredly as the emotional adrenaline began to ebb. "It sounds like crap coming from you."

"Gee, thanks Jacob," Jack replied, lacking in any real sarcasm.

"Your daughter's in surgery Jacob, so why don't you come inside and we'll tell you what happened."

"Surgery? What the hell happened? Is she going to be ok, right?" Jacob asked needing to know all the details immediately.

"She's going to be fine Jacob," Hammond repeated, ushering his friend into his office. Jack followed and closed the door behind them.

"Sam is not going to be thrilled with the new haircut," Jacob whispered as he gazed down upon his daughter. Her head was swathed in bandages and Jacob knew that underneath was nothing but a small incision and pale smooth skin. Sam had been moved into the SGC equivalent of Intensive Care about 20 minutes earlier and Jacob cursed himself for not for not getting there sooner.

//You could not have known Jacob.//
//We could have healed her Selmak. We could have used the healing device and prevented the surgery!//
//You heard the doctors Jacob, she is expected to make a full recovery.//
//She'll be bald for the next two months!//
//I did not take Samantha for a vain woman.//
//She's not Selmak, but that's not the point! My baby girl had brain surgery!//
//And survived Jacob. And survived.//

"The docs say she really will be ok Jacob." Jack whispered next to him. Although he too was greatly concerned for Carter's well being, his concern was that of a friend and commanding officer. Jack could only too easily remember what it was like looking at your child on the hospital bed.

"I know Jack," Jacob whispered giving his daughter's hand a small squeeze.

"I'm here for you Sammy."

Together the ex-General and Colonel walked out of one hospital room and into another. Daniel was quietly talking with Teal'c at the far end of the nearly empty infirmary.

"How's Sam?" Daniel asked anxiously struggling to sit up. He had been conscious for over an hour now and was growing more and more frustrated at not being able to be at his friend's side.

"Easy Daniel," Jack said placing a hand on his friend's shoulder. "Don't want to rip out any of those fancy knots the docs just put in." As promised, Daniel's surgery went off without a hitch and no major organs were damaged (thankfully) in the attack. Although he would be sore for a couple of weeks, Daniel was expected to make a full recovery.

"Hell of a way for SG-1 to get downtime," Jack said shaking his head as he flopped into yet another hard plastic chair. Teal'c just raised an eyebrow.

"Tell me again Jack, just why exactly you removed my daughter from an infirmary and drove her half way across town?" Jacob asked in a dangerously low voice as he sat down next to Jack. Now that the immediate danger was over, Jacob was allowed to feel angry. And Jack, being his daughter's commanding officer, would be on the receiving end of that anger.

//Jacob, you heard that it was Samantha's idea.//
//Doesn't matter. Jack should have known better.//

"Jacob, you have every reason to be pissed at me."

"It was Sam's idea General Carter," Daniel added in Jack's defense.

"That's no reason." Both Jacob and Jack replied at the same time. Daniel just rolled his eyes as the two military men continued to stare at one another- one with malice, the other with guilt.

"You're right Jacob," Jack said looking up and meeting Jacob Carter's angry gaze. "I never should have allowed Carter to leave the infirmary." He abruptly stood up and started pacing. "It's just that she was so excited about this house Jacob! Between alien bugs and kicking alien butt, Carter just hasn't been able to find the time to do the things normal folks on this planet usually do!"

"Like buying a house," Jacob Carter concluded with a small nod.


The two men faced each other in silence for a long moment before Jacob sighed. "It isn't completely your fault Jack," Jacob reluctantly acquiesced. "I know how my daughter can get when she sets her mind to something."

"Still, I should have been smarter than that Jacob," Jack said, still not ready to fully forgive himself.

"Yeah, you probably should." Jacob fell silent. "But Sammy is going to be ok, and that's all that really matters, right?"

"Right!" Daniel said loudly from his bed. Ever the peacemaker, Daniel needed for Jack and Jacob to stop fighting and just accept that Sam was going to be fine. Jacob caved first and gave a wry chuckle as he flashed Daniel a small smile.

"So Jack," Jacob said taking a seat and motioning for Jack to do the same. "Tell me about this house that Sammy wants…"

Chapter 9
Wednesday, 0900 Hours

Please tell me this is the first time you've done this Jack," Jacob Carter asked, uneasily as he watched his daughter's Commanding Officer blithely open the front door.

"Doors? Been opening these for years Jacob." Jack replied dryly as he placed the keys on the entry table.

"Yes, but have you opened Sam's door before," Jacob clarified.

Jack gave Jacob a funny look and shook his head. "Hey Selmak," Jack called out as he entered the living room. "Tell Jacob to stop looking for things that aren't there and to focus instead on Carter's meticulous filing system."

Jacob held up his hands in defeat. "All right, all right- I'll shut up. I just thought it was strange you had Sam's apartment key."

"Would it make you feel any better if I told you that I actually got the key from Daniel?" Jack said looking behind his shoulder as he ventured into the smaller second bedroom that served as Sam's study. Although he had only been inside Sam's apartment twice before, his military mind had made a note of where all the major rooms (and exits) were located. Occupational habit.

"Yes Jack, it would," Jacob replied, resisting the urge to slap the younger man on the side of his head. He was purposefully being obtuse and Jacob was way too tired to play games. Both he and Jack had spent most of the night in the infirmary.

Although Dr. Fraiser had assured both men that Sam would be fine, Jacob wasn't going to truly believe that until Sam opened up her blue eyes herself and told him so.

Jack had gotten it into his head that they should try and get that house Sam so desperately wanted. And in order to do that, they needed money- preferably her money. Jacob felt strange going through his daughter's house without her permission and even stranger knowing they were looking for banking information when he had plenty of money of his own. Well he had when he lived on Earth…

"You know Sam set me up with an account," Jacob began conversationally, as he opened his daughter's desk and carefully moved items about.

"That was nice of her." Jack replied as he opened up the closet and peered inside for anything bank-like. "I take it, the account was with your own money?"

"Yes Jack, it was with my own money," Jacob replied wondering just how the hell his daughter put up with this man. "Obviously, I couldn't keep it under my own name so Sam set up a trust fund of sorts at her own bank."

"So what's the problem?" Jack asked turning back around.

"I forgot the PIN." Jacob said under his breath.

"You what?!" Jack retorted struggling not to laugh.

"I forgot the PIN number to the ATM card, ok?" Jacob repeated clearly embarrassed. "Sam had offered to reset it to a number I would most likely remember and I told her that wasn't necessary."

"And then you forgot it," Jack repeated.

"And then I forgot it."

"Jacob, you of all people should know that when Carter makes a suggestion, it's probably a good one."

"Gee Jack, I didn't know that," Jacob replied sarcastically.

"Hey, you're the one without the cash card…"

After giving Jack his best can-we-please-just-drop-it look, both men went back to sleuthing.

"Aha!" Jack declared triumphantly as he pulled out a hanging folder marked 'Bank'. Inside were three smaller manila folders: Checking, Savings and Dad's. "Told you Carter was anal."

"Jack, could you please refer to my daughter by her first name?" Jacob asked clearly frustrated. "I understand using her last name at the SGC and in the field, but it's very disconcerting having you call my daughter by her last name when the senior version of 'Carter' is standing right in front of you."

Jack shrugged. "Habit." He paused as if considering something. "How long has Car..SAM gone by the name Sam anyhow?"

"A long time!" Jacob said with a chuckle. "Sam couldn't have been much older than 8 or 9 when I returned from a tour in Germany and presented my baby girl with a new Barbie doll. Her mother and I were both shocked when Sam grabbed a pair of scissors and promptly chopped off most of the poor doll's hair. It was so strange, because Sam herself had long hair and didn't seem to mind it. The next day she had me drive her to a mall where she bought Ken doll clothing and dressed Barbie up in these really silly looking fatigues. She declared Barbie's new name to be "Barb" and said that from now on we should call her "Sam".

"So it had nothing to do with the whole trying to fit in thing?" Jack asked. He had sometimes wondered if Carter went by Sam so that people wouldn't dispute anything she said (as if they possibly could) just because she was a woman.

"Nope," Jacob answered, turning his head. "That was just an added bonus."

Jack handed Jacob the folder marked 'Dad's' and took a look at the one marked 'Savings'. He gave a low appreciative whistle. "Nice!"

"Jack." Jacob admonished as he opened his own folder. "We're looking for specific information here, not trying to spy on Sam's net worth."

"But she's loaded!" Jack declared holding up the savings book as Evidence A. He was clearly shocked that Sam had saved up quite a bit more than he despite the obvious disparity in rank and pay. He looked questioningly at Jacob hoping for an explanation.

Jacob sighed and wished he still actually got headaches so he could excuse himself and take an Excedrin. "In Graduate School, Sam invented some sort of device that became quite popular with Physicists. I sure as hell can't explain it, but it has something to do with measuring sub-atomic particles. Sam patented the thing and still collects royalties."

"Cool." Jack said clearly impressed glancing down once again at the savings book.

"Jack, we've got what we've come for, can we just get this over with?"

"Jacob, quit being such a pessimist!" Jack said brightly as he closed Sam's filing drawer and cheerfully headed back towards the car

"This isn't going to work Jack." Jacob replied in a defeated voice as he followed Jack outside. He grimaced as Jack handed him the freshly pressed and laundered = uniform.

"Sure it will General," Jack said giving Jacob a wide grin.

1030 Hours

"Jack, have I mentioned lately that I don't think this will work?"

"Frequently Jacob," Jack replied slightly annoyed as he gripped the steering wheel a bit tighter. He pulled up to a red traffic signal and turned to face the older man sitting stiffly in a General's Class A uniform. Although Jack didn't like wearing his Colonel's uniform any more than Jacob did, he knew the uniforms were going to be important if they were to pull this off.

"You thought it was a good idea last night," Jack reminded him.

"Selmak thought it was a good idea last night. I was too busy being overwhelmed that my daughter was still alive." Jack had nothing to say to that and turned back to stare at the signal. Yesterday had been one of the longest days of his life. Carter really had come close to dying and if she had, it would have been entirely his fault. Jack really didn't think he needed more nightmare fodder, but such was life. The light turned green and they rode another few minutes in silence.

"Tell me again Jack," Jacob said in a resigned voice. "Why this great plan of yours is going to work?" Jack flashed Jacob a thankful smile.

"Sam banks at the Wells Fargo in downtown Colorado Springs, right?" Jacob nodded. "Well, not only is my account there as well, but that whole bizarre probate thing we did for you last year was also done at a Wells Fargo."

Jacob could only shake his head. "Problem number one Jack; how can I play the father trump card if I'm supposed to be dead?"

"You're not dead Jacob!" Jack said clearly frustrated.

"I had noticed," Jacob replied in a deadpan voice.

"Jacob, you gotta work with me here at least a little!" Jack grumbled.

Jacob held out his hands. "Apologies. But explain to me again how my being Sam's father will help considering this is the very bank that went through the onerous task of settling my estate?"

"You had an estate?" Jack asked interested.


"Wow, you sound just like Carter when you say it like that. Well, actually Carter just uses that tone of voice when she 'Sirs' me. Bordering on insubordination, don't you think?"

"Jack." Clearly Jacob Carter was not amused.

"Tough crowd," Jack muttered.

"We never said you DIED Jacob, Carter wouldn't let us do that. Although you and your son weren't on the best of terms at the time.."

"No kidding," Jacob interrupted.

"Sam didn't think it was fair to say that you were dead when clearly you are not."

"I appreciate that, but what about probate?" Jacob asked.

"Although we hoped you'd come back and visit on occasion, we didn't think you'd be needing to draw social security anytime soon and the whole AARP* membership had really lost it's appeal, don't you think?"

Jacob gave a dry chuckle. "Think there's better discounts after you hit 125?"

"You'll live to be 125?" Jack asked truly impressed.

"Selmak is hoping for 150, but considering we didn't blend until I was 60, I'm a little more realistic."

"You're going to outlive me Jacob." Jack said more troubled by that notion than he wanted to admit. Humans just aren't meant to live much past 100. But then again, Jacob wasn't truly human anymore was he?

"Jack, with your lifestyle, I'd probably have outlived you anyhow." Jacob said with a sigh. "Which reminds me, would you *please* try and not provoke every alien you come across while you have my daughter in tow?"

"I usually just piss off the Goa'uld," Jack said defensively. "Most aliens like me just fine. Hell, the Asgard chose me to represent the entire planet!"

"You nearly gave away your Stargate Jack."

"An option I was whole-heartily against I might add," Jack replied hotly.

"Probate Jack?" Jacob reminded the temperamental Colonel.

//You sure you don't want to come out here and entertain Jack?//
//You're doing fine Jacob.//
//I'd really rather take a back-seat to all of this.//
//General Hammond insisted I remain hidden outside of the SGC, and I concur with his decision.//
//What George doesn't know won't hurt him.//
//Colonel O'Neill would know.//
//You're no fun at all, are you?//

"Jacob? Are you listening to me here?"

"Sorry Jack. You were saying?"

"We knew you weren't dead, but seeing as you weren't around, it was decided to gather all your finances and stuff in a central area and make certain the government didn't try and track you down with social security checks or Medicare or something like that."

"You had actually helped up out loads by completing a will and signing over all your liquid assets to Sam and Mark."

"I thought I was going to die Jack, of course I had a will. But seeing as I hadn't actually died, how did any of you see it?"

"That's where the whole probate thing comes in." Jack said as he pulled into the parking lot of the bank. He turned off the car and unbuckled his seat belt.

"Look Jacob, I don't really understand it myself, but Hammond and the Joint Chiefs pulled some strings in order to list you as MIA but not dead. MIA status is all banks and lawyers need to get the ball rolling on the probate thing."

"But I'm obviously here Jack. It's the Missing in Action part that's lacking."

"Simple tap of the keyboard by the Pentagon and suddenly you're found Jacob." Jack said smugly. "Military ID is all you need. According to databases around the world, you're now alive and kicking. The moment you're gone we'll just go back and say your MIA again."

Jacob just shook his head and grabbed the three folders by his side. "This isn't going to work Jack, but we might as well try."

"That's the spirit Jacob!" Jack said clapping his hand on Jacob's shoulder. "Let's go get Carter some money."

Chapter 10
Wednesday, 1100 Hours

"Have these things always itched this bad?" Jacob whispered, resisting the urge to pull on his collar as they walked through the front door.

"You'd prefer a tunic?" Jack whispered back, clearly shocked that the former Air Force General would prefer Tok'ra clothing to Earth attire.

"Hell yes! Much more comfortable."

"We're definitely going to have words later Jacob," Jack said quietly as he pulled off his aviator glasses and smiled broadly at the young bank clerk. "But for the moment, just follow my lead."

"G..good Morning." The impressionable bank clerk said staring at the two officers. Working in Colorado Springs, she was used to seeing military personnel coming and going, but seldom saw officers in full military regalia. The pair standing before her was truly impressive with their colorful array of metals and ribbons pinned to their perfectly pressed uniforms.

"Good Morning Mary," Jack said amicably as he looked down at the nameplate by her terminal. "Is there a manager around we might talk too?"

"Of course," Mary replied, relieved that they had asked a question she could answer. "If you would just have a seat behind you, I'll let him know you're here."

"Thanks." Jack took off his hat and tucked it under his arm. He turned back towards Jacob and gave him a triumphant grin.

"Ooo, you intimidated a 23 year old, way to be imposing Jack." Jacob whispered as he and Jack sat down to wait for the manager.

"Part of the plan Jacob," Jack said smugly straightening his jacket. Jacob just rolled his eyes.

A door in the far corner of the bank opened, and a dapper older man who couldn't have fit the stereotypical image of a bank manager better if he tried, smiled tightly at the two men as he quickly walked towards them. Both Jack and Jacob rose as the distinguished banker stopped before them.

"Good day gentlemen," the manager said offering first Jacob and then Jack his hand. "My name is Earnest Meriwether and I am the manager of this bank. I understand you wished to speak with me?"

"We do sir, if it isn't too much trouble," Jack said politely. Jacob was rather proud of himself for not groaning aloud at Jack's obsequiousness. Although Jack tended to piss people off, he also had this ineffable charisma that made Jacob very glad his daughter was directly in O'Neill's chain of command. Selmak scoffed.

//You believe O'Neill would ‘charm the pants off' your daughter?//
//He sure as hell better not!// Jacob replied hotly.
//Because Colonel O'Neill is her commanding officer?// Selmak queried.
//Well, for starters.//
//Colonel O'Neill was a married man for several years Jacob.//
//I know that.// Jacob replied testily.
//And do you doubt the love and affection he felt for his wife and son? Do you believe he ‘fooled around' on them?//
//Of course not!//
//Then why do you question his intentions towards your daughter?//

At times like this Jacob sincerely regretted being blended. He just wasn't able to have a fleeting thought anymore! Now, no matter how ridiculous the notion, Selmak was right there to argue with him.

//I'm just saying that Jack is smooth, ok? Hell, judging from his lifestyle, I seriously doubt he even has time to date! I'm just saying that if Jack O'Neill ever does have time to seek a social life outside of the SGC, the women better watch out.//
//You humans are very strange.// Selmak replied before becoming silent once again.

"Colonel O'Neill." Mr. Meriwether said taking Jack's hand.

"And this is General Jacob Carter." Jack said kicking Jacob serendipitously in the shin. Instantly Jacob became aware that he had missed introductions and took the banker's offered hand with a firm shake and a slight nod. Mentally, he chastised Selmak for distracting him.

"Jacob?" Jack hissed elbowing the older man lightly in the ribs. "Stop talking to yourself and stay with me here, ok?"

"Sorry," Jacob muttered under his breath. He followed Jack as they were led to into a back office and asked to sit down.

"Now how can I help you two gentlemen?" Mr. Meriwether said taking a seat behind the large mahogany desk that held his bronzed nameplate.

"We'd like to withdrawal some money," Jack began. Mr. Meriwether frowned slightly.

"A simple withdrawal does not require my assistance." Mr. Meriwether said after a moment's hesitation.

"It isn't exactly ‘simple' I'm afraid sir." Jack said apologetically as he took out several pieces of paper and an ID card from his jacket pocket. "This is my 2IC, Major Samantha Carter."

"Dr.Carter?" Mr. Meriwether said picking up the card.

"You know Sam?" Jacob asked.

"Dr. Carter has been banking here for over three years now, of course I know her!" The banker said indignantly. Jack held his tongue and resisted asking Mr. Meriwether if he recognized Jack as well. After all, he had been banking there for over 7 years!

"Is Dr. Carter all right?" Mr. Meriwether asked sounding a little concerned.

"I won't lie to you sir, Major Carter was involved in a work-related accident and had to undergo emergency surgery." Jack said trying not to think about the role he played in her condition.

"Which is why we're here," Jacob added.

"I don't understand," Mr. Meriwether said, eyeing the sober-looking men.

"We need to withdrawal some money from Major Carter's account." Ernest Meriwether frowned slightly as he absorbed what Jack was saying.

"You would like to withdrawal money from Dr. Carter's account?"

"Yes," Jack said with an emphatic nod.

"Do you have permission to do so?" The banker asked blinking rapidly behind his thick John Lennon style frames.

"I have hear a letter from Carter's doctor stating she has indeed undergone brain surgery, and a letter from General Hammond, our base CO…" Ernest held up a hand to stop Jack's rambling.

"Do you have a document from Dr. Carter giving you permission to withdrawal money from her account?"

"Uh.." Jack began fumbling with the paperwork. "Jake, help me out here." He said turning towards Jacob Carter.

"Mr. Meriwether," Jacob began. "My surname of Carter is not just a coincidence the same as ‘Dr. Carter'; Samantha Carter is my daughter." Now it was Jack's turn to blink. He didn't think he had ever heard Jacob call Carter anything but ‘Sam' or ‘Kiddo'.

"You are General Carter?" Ernest asked, once again with a small frown.


"But aren't you dead?" The banker asked bluntly.

"Now would be a good time to quote Shakespeare Jacob." Jack said cheekily. "Rumors of my death and all that." Jacob ignored him.

"About 6 months ago I was missing in action and presumed dead." Jacob began in explanation.

"Presumed." Jack stressed.

Jacob shot Jack a warning look. "The Air Force got a hold of my will and what remained of my estate was divided amongst my children. Sam got most of my money."

"And your house," the banker added offhandedly. "If I remember correctly, your home in Maryland sold a few weeks after you were declared dead." The banker paused as he remembered more details. "In fact, I thought it was strange at the time that Dr. Carter wasn't more upset at your passing."

"Carter always knew her dad would be back," Jack explained. "It would take more than a letter from some faceless bureaucrat to convince Sam that her dad was dead.

"Right." Jacob clearly was not too happy with this line of conversation. The less he recalled the months and weeks leading up to his blending the better; Jacob Carter had been preparing for death and he was very, very thankful his daughter just happened to be one kick-ass galactic explorer.

"So you believe me when I say I'm Sam's dad?" Jacob asked hopefully. Maybe, just maybe this would work.

"I have no reason not to," the banker said wryly. "Hold on, let me get her card." With that the banker stood up and swiftly walked out of the room.

"Where's he going?" Jack asked.

"No idea," Jacob answered.

The banker quickly returned with a long rectangular box packed tightly with small index cards. "Callahan, Carlyle..Carter. Here we go, Doctor Samantha Carter."

"What's that?" Jack asked pointing to the small card hidden behind the banker's hand.

"This is Dr. Carter's privacy card," Ernest explained pronouncing privacy as one would in England.

‘Privacy Card?' Jack mouthed to Jacob. Jacob just shrugged.

"For simple bank accounts, we ask just for a simple password, usually a mother's maiden name. But with each subsequent account, we try to gather additional information. Dr. Carter has a checking and savings account with us, as well as several Certificates of Deposit and a safety deposit box."

"Wonder what's in the box," Jack murmured. Again Jacob ignored him.

"So Sam's given you some personal information." Jacob said catching on.


"Lay it on us," Jack said eagerly leaning back in his chair. After spending a little over three years with Samantha Carter, Jack was certain he'd know most of the answers. Well maybe not most, but he'd surely know some… "The questions are for General Carter," Ernest said pointedly.

"Sorry," Jack muttered holding up his hands as he leaned back.

"Mother's maiden name," Ernest began, reading the top question on his card.

"Jensen," Jacob replied with a small smile. Enough time had passed so that now when he remembered his wife, it was with nostalgia and love rather than guilt. Jacob was fairly certain Selmak had a hand in that.

"First love."

"You have got to be kidding me!" Jack exclaimed.

"Dr. Carter chose these questions."

"Somehow I don't think she meant Toby Samuels in the 2nd grade, so I'm going to go with a Harley XR750."

"Year?" Ernest prompted.

"Ah man… I don't know. It was either a '68 or '69."

"I'll except that," the banker conceded. Jack was suitably impressed. Jake had remembered a 30+ year bike?!

"Pet's name?" Ernest asked as he continued to read off the little card.

"Sam has a pet?" Jacob asked clearly stunned that Sam would keep a pet. It wasn't as if she had a 9-5 job or anything…

"Had," Jack corrected.

"Did he…she die?" Jacob asked hoping it wasn't of starvation or something.

"Uh no-ooo," Jack said cocking his head slightly to one side. "Carter gave the cat to a friend before he went on a trip. A really, really long trip." Jacob's eyebrows arched upwards in understanding.

"Well, knowing Sam, the…cat you said?" Jack nodded. "The cat would most definitely have to be named after a scientist. So it would be Einstein or Schrödinger or something." Jack grinned.

"Correct," Earnest said with a nod. "Father's Rank."

"Ooo, a hard one Jake!" Jack said sarcastically.

"Here, let me check my ID," Jacob said reaching for his wallet and opening it up to his regulation ID card.. "I'm a United States Air Force General (Ret.) sir, could you please cut the crap and just let me know if we can withdrawal the money or not!"

"You cannot." Ernest said with a small sigh.

"Why the hell not?" Jacob said angrily. "Do you doubt that I'm Sam's father?"

"Jacob.." Jack said laying his hand lightly on the Tok'ra's shoulder. Jack was afraid that at any moment Jacob might do the glowy Tok'ra eye trick and scare the hell out of the dignified little banker.

"I believe you are Dr. Carter's father sir, but I am sorry to say that I cannot release any of her funds to you."

"Even though some of that money was mine."


"Great plan Jack," Jacob said with a heavy sigh as he shook his head in defeat.

"Hold on, hold on." Jack said not ready to admit defeat. "Mr. Meriwether, what would happen if Major Carter had been seriously injured and needed that money?"

"Her designated contact could gain access…"

"Great!" Jack said interrupting the banker. "Who is it?"

"I really can't divulge that information sir." Ernest replied stiffly.

"Look," Jack said quickly losing his patience. "It's either her brother Mark, Doc Fraiser or Daniel and…"

"Daniel who?" Ernest asked.

"Dr. Daniel Jackson," Jack answered trying hard not to grin. If it did turn out to be Danny, they'd be home free!

"It is indeed Dr. Jackson." The banker admitted.

"Well just hold on 30 minutes or so and I'll get Danny.." Jack began as he reached into his jacket pocket for his cell phone. Suddenly he froze. Daniel was still in recovery. There was just no way Jack would risk Daniel's health like he had Sam's; Daniel needed to stay put. Jack ran a hand nervously through his hair. "Would a faxed request work for you?" He asked hopefully.

"Colonel O'Neill if you would let me finish," Ernest continued. "Although Dr. Jackson is indeed her emergency contact, he would only be allowed to withdrawal money after it was determined that the funds would be used in her best interests."

"But that's what we're telling you!" Jack said in frustration.

"Please Colonel O'Neill!" Ernest said raising his voice for the first time. "It would take either a court order or a doctor's signature.." Jack began to open his mouth to let the banker know that they had indeed a doctor's signature. "A doctor's signature AND a signed legal affidavit before the money would be released. These things take time."

"But we don't HAVE time," Jack growled, he had clearly reached the end of his patience.

"I am sorry." Ernest said sincerely. He didn't doubt the veracity of the pair before him but when it came to banking, he always followed the rules. And the rules in this case were perfectly clear. Before he could say anything more Jack abruptly stood up.

"General, we should be going," Jack said formally as he straightened his jacket and put on his sunglasses. "Thank you for your time Mr. Meriwether." He said offering the befuddled banker his hand. Ernest was indeed confused. One minute the Colonel was yelling at him, and now he was being polite?

Jacob stood alongside Jack and also shook the bankers hand. He never really thought Jack's plan would work in the first place, but he was still disappointed. Silently he followed Jack back outside. Jack had just finished unlocking the doors when he snapped his fingers. "Damn! Forgot my hat Jacob. I'll be right back." Leaving the Tok'ra/General (Ret.) in his truck, Jack headed back into the bank.

"Mr. Meriwether!" Jack yelled, before the banker could disappear behind the bank's backroom doors.

"Yes?" Ernest said, as he turned around to face the disheveled Colonel. Just moments ago, the man had looked pristine, and now he was madly pawing at his pockets!

"I'd like to withdrawal $4,500 from my personal account please," Jack said pulling out an already filled in withdrawal slip. "And can you make it a cashier's check made out to ‘Eagle Real Estate'?"

Chapter 11
Wednesday, 1600 hours

Several hours after dropping Jacob off, Jack arrived back on base and immediately headed to the infirmary to check on Sam and Daniel. Sam was still being held in the SGC equivalent of an intensive care ward, but Daniel had been moved to his "usual" infirmary bed. Bypassing Daniel for the time being, Jack headed straight for Carter's portioned area. The absence of any loud machinery or nurses was a very welcome sign.

"How is she?" Jack whispered to the lone man sitting by Sam's side.

"Janet says she should be fine," Jacob answered, sounding a bit tired. "The surgery was successful and they're just having Sam sleep for a few more hours."

"But she's going to be ok, right?" Jack asked again, trying not to sound as worried as he felt.

"Yeah," Jacob replied, giving him a small smile. "She's going to be fine." Jacob said tenderly tucking the blankets around his daughter's slender form.

"Where's Teal'c?" Jack asked, quietly looking around the room.

"I sent him to his quarters," Jacob answered sounding suspiciously like a formal General. "Jack, did you know that he hasn't left the infirmary since SG-1 returned from your mission yesterday?!"

"Yeah- we're kinda like that Jacob…"

"Well, stop it!" Jacob said, sounding a little bit like he hadn't slept in 24 hours.

Which he hadn't.

"Sam's going to be fine. Daniel is going to be fine. You guys don't need to kill yourselves remaining by their sides! I sent Teal'c to his quarters for some Kel No Reem."

"Hmmm." Jack replied, noncommittally shoving his hands deep into his pockets.


"Did Janet order Teal'c to get some rest?" Jack asked pointedly.

"No—I did."

"Hmmm," Jack said again as he absently wondered how long it would take Sam to grow her hair back. If hair grows a ½ inch a month,,,

"Jack?!" Jacob said clearly growing impatient.

"Betcha a dollar he's sitting with Daniel right now." Jack said knowingly, deciding that Carter would have her 'look' back by the end of Spring.

"But I…"

>"Jacob, you know better than anyone that SG-1 isn't your average front line team. They've kept us together a hell of a lot longer than regulations suggest, but I think this is a good thing. A very good thing. Because, it is probably due to our closeness that we have kicked some major Goa'uld ass. And god knows I couldn't ask for better teammates or friends." Jack swallowed the lump in his throat. He must be tired. He'd never be spouting off all of this to Jacob otherwise. Or anyone else for that matter.

"All I'm saying is that SG-1 takes care of each other. And if that means that someone doesn'twe don't sleep for a couple of days to insure that a teammate doesn't wake up alone- thean that's what we do."

"Which means Teal'c is sitting with Daniel," Jacob finished.

"Yep," Jack nodded, pulling up a chair and sitting down next to Jacob.



"Get the hell out of here."

"Excuse me?"

"You heard me- Go sit with Daniel if you must, but order Teal'c to get some real rest, ok?"

"But Carter..?"

"I'll stay with my daughter Jack," Jacob said resisting the need to roll his eyes. As if he had any other place to go.

"You'll let me know if there's any change..?"

"Of course Jack."

"Ok then," Jack said standing up, trying not to grimace at the sound his knees made. "I'll just be over at Daniel's. Have a nurse come and get me if there's any change."

"Goodbye Jack."

"Hey Teal'c, Daniel," Jack greeted the two men, as he walked across the mostly empty infirmary wing towards his friends. He could see that Daniel was alert and talking quietly with Teal'c about something that Jack probably wouldn't have a chance of understanding. Jack had learned a long time ago that everyone on his team was a hell of a lot smarter than himself. Teal'c might not say much, but Jack knew never to underestimate the quiet warrior. After living 100-odd years, Teal'c had most definitely been around the block.

"How are you feeling, Daniel?" Jack asked giving Teal'c a thankful nod and critically regarding his friends appearance. Although still a bit pale, Daniel's color had definitely improved. Still, Jack wasn't very happy about the fact that Daniel was back in an infirmary bed.


"It's not your fault Jack," Daniel began, once again demonstrating his uncanny ability to read Jack's mind.

"How exactly would you have gotten yourself stabbed without my help Daniel..?" Jack asked, still feeling the need to throw the blame firmly upon himself.

"O'Neill, you are not helping DanielJackson or yourself with these words."

"Yeah, I know." Jack paused and looked closely at Teal'c this time. Jacob was right, Teal'c did look a little tired.

"Hey T', why don't you head back to your quarters and catch a little Kel No Reem. I'll sit here with Daniel for awhile."

"Are you certain O'Neill?" Teal'c asked, betraying not a hint of weariness in his voice. But Jack knew better. Teal'c wasn't insisting he remain put; he knew he needed to rest. Like Jack said- way smarter.

"Shoo," Jack said, giving Teal'c a little wave with his hand.

"I will return in the morning DanielJackson," Teal'c informed his friend with a slight nod.

"I'll be here," Daniel replied wryly.

Jack watched him go and slipped back into his guilt-wracked psyche. Daniel instantly saw his change in mood.

"Jack, stop that! It wasn't you fault," Daniel insisted.

"You know I hate it when you do that," Jack grumbled as he sat down in one of the ubiquitous plastic chairs scattered about the infirmary.

"I'd shrug Jack, but I think it would hurt."

"Yeah, about that. How are you feeling Daniel? Really?"

"Surprisingly, not unlike being stabbed in the gut by a seldom-used nail file. Remind me to get Sam a new one for her birthday."

"Don't think she'd appreciate the humor in that," Jack said tiredly rubbing a hand across his face.

"Probably not," Daniel agreed. "But it wasn't as if it was Sam who stabbed me Jack, it was Jolinar."

"I don't think Carter will see it that way." Jack shook his head slowly, looking every bit his age.

"No. She probably won't." Daniel paused and looked at Jack seriously. "How's she doing Jack? Really?"

"Doc says she'll be just fine," Jack said standing up abruptly and scanning the room for something safe to pick up. "Jacob's with her now and promised he'd let us know when she regained consciousness."

"She's still out?" Daniel asked, becoming increasingly worried.

"Yeah, but apparently she's supposed to be," Jack said holding up both hands in defeat and plopping back down in the chair. Whereas he at least recognized some of the gadgets in Carter's or Daniel's office, most of the medical equipment looked...alien. Jack chuckled to himself at the irony.

"I don't understand it either Daniel. First they insist that concussion victims shouldn't fall asleep for extended periods of time and now they're drugging her in order to 'help her heal'!"

"Janet knows what she's doing Jack," Daniel said quietly. Jack nodded and remained silent staring at his hands deep in thought. Daniel took a moment to study his friend and recognized the telltale signs of worry, sleep deprivation and something he couldn't quite put his finger on.


"Hmm?" Jack said looking up.

"Where were you earlier?"

Jack looked at him blankly. "What do you mean?"

"Earlier," Daniel repeated enunciating the word. "Jacob came and checked on me about three hours ago. I was a little surprised to see only him and asked where you were. He briefly told me about your little bank adventure and then explained that after a quick phone call with Janet, you were content to just drop him off at the SGC and speed off into the sunset.

Now I can see why you might not want to visit me, seeing as I wind up in this damn infirmary so often that it's blasé, but Sam…"

"It's not that Daniel," Jack said in attempted explanation.

"Then what is it Jack?" Daniel asked, genuinely curious. He had never met a man with such an infinite amount of concern for his team than Jack O'Neill. Unless General Hammond needed him for official SGC business, Daniel could always count on at least Jack to be by his side when he woke up in the infirmary.

"Jack..?" Daniel prompted again.

Jack looked at him for a moment and then glanced around the quiet infirmary. It was dinnertime at the SGC and most of the day nurses had gone home and nearly everyone else was down in the commissary.

"Jack, you're freaking me out here," Daniel said as he watched Jack get up and pick up a stethoscope lying on a counter near by. "What's going on?"

Jack let out a sigh and sat back down. "I'm trying to help Carter," Jack said finally.

"Help her? How?" Sam was safe at the SGC and in very capable medical hands. How was Jack going to help her?

Jack waved a hand haphazardly in circles. "With the whole house thing."

"I'm not quite following you Jack." Daniel said after mulling over Jack's words for a few moments.

"Must be the drugs." Jack muttered.

"Riiigghht. Drugs." Daniel said nodding and not understanding a damn thing.

"For crying out loud Jack, would you just spill it!" A rare grin threatened to flash across Jack's face at hearing Daniel use one of his favorite phrases.

"Yes!" Jack said clapping his hands together. "Teal'c owes me $10 bucks."

"I'm not going to ask," Daniel muttered, trying not to think what that must be about.

"Yes you are," Jack countered in a singsong voice.

"No, I'm not."

"Betcha you are."


"Yes oh inquisitive one?"

Daniel sighed heavily and wondered if he should push the happy drug button and let narcotics postpone this non-conversation with Jack. Every time he woke up from some nasty accident or surgery, Janet would patiently explain how managed pain meds work and how Daniel should just push the button near his bed if he needed help with the pain. Daniel, like Jack, seldom pushed the button. Oh he wasn't quite as bad as Jack. If the pain was really severe, he sure as hell would push it, but usually it wasn't so bad. Usually.

Oh what the hell- "Why'd you bet Teal'c $10?"

Jack grinned triumphantly. "Teal'c and I have a bet as to who would quote me first. He thought it would be Carter, but I was certain it would be you."

"You're a rich man Jack," He replied drolly. "Now tell me about the 'whole house thing'. You mean Sam's house?"


"But Sam doesn't actually have a house yet."

"I know!" Jack replued, clearly frustrated. "I'm working on that part."

"Jack," Daniel said with sudden understanding. "Please tell me you are not buying that house for Sam."

"I'm not buying the house Daniel," Jack answered, leaving the idea sitting out there. "Although Carter really does want that house and god knows I have enough cash to actually buy it…"

"You didn't!" Daniel said in horror.

"I just said I'm not buying the house Daniel! Geeze. Did Carter smack you in the head as well? You're a little bit slow on the uptake Danny."

"Jack, I was in surgery 8 hours ago, cut me a little slack would you?"

Jack had the good graces to look guilty. It was so easy to banter with Daniel that sometimes Jack forgot where they were. Once SG-1 had been held 'as guests' for 12 hours while they waited for the rising moon. They weren't in actual danger, but they also weren't allowed to leave. Daniel had assured them that as soon as the full moon rose, treaty negotiations could begin and they would be allowed to roam freely about the settlement. Until then, SG-1 was sequestered in a small hut with very little to occupy themselves. He and Daniel had volleyed one-liners back and forth with such alacrity, that one of the villagers had to come in and asked them to shut the hell up!

The villager worded the request in much more diplomatic language of course.

"Sorry Daniel," Jack said contritely. "I kind of forgot where we were for a second."

"Hey, it happens to me all the time," Daniel said mischievously. "So you didn't buy Sam a house."

"No," Jack confirmed. "But had roles been reversed and you had hit your head and suddenly thought you were a dead snake.." Daniel looked at him oddly.

"I'm just saying that if buying a house was really important to you and for some reason you couldn't, I'd probably buy it for you." He flashed Daniel a sly smile. "Of course I'd sell it back to you as soon as you were feeling better."

"Of course," Daniel said nodding his head in agreement.

"With just a little bit of interest on top," Jack added, holding up his thumb and index finger to show just how little it would be.

"Jack would you get serious here." Daniel was starting to get impatient and more than a little tired. He needed Jack to cut to the chase.

Jack held up both hands in surrender. "Fine." He said as he shifted in his chair. "As much as I would like to help Carter out, I know it would look way too weird if I were to buy her a house. Even if I never stepped foot in the damn thing, some big-wigs in DC would probably catch wind of it and everyone would jump to the conclusion that Carter and I were having an affair or something."

"You and Sam were married in that alternate reality," Daniel couldn't help but add. "There is a Jack O'Neill out there who apparently really likes Sam Carter."

"Daniel, can we please not go there?" Jack asked plaintively. If he ever saw an alternate reality Carter again, it would be too soon.

"Sorry. You were saying?"

"I can't buy Carter that house, but she really, really wants it. Jacob does have money floating around on this planet, but it's locked away in her account and Jacob can't get to it." Jack paused and pointed a finger at Daniel. "Apparently you are her emergency contact with the bank, but that would require a lot of paperwork and a trip off the mountain- something you won't be doing anytime soon."

"It's just a flesh wound Jack," Daniel insisted, quickly thinking he could head to the bank in the next day or two and do what needed to be done to procure some funds for the house.

"It was a little more than that Daniel." Jack paused for dramatic effect. "What was it Dr. Warner said? Oh yes, I remember. Something about your needing 2 pints of blood and a dozen stitches."

"We're talking about Sam, Jack," Daniel said trying to stear his friend back to the matter at hand.

"Right. Carter. So while I couldn't buy the house out right, there was something I could do." Daniel gave Jack a little hand wave to continue. "I put down her earnest money."

"Her what?" Daniel asked, not understanding the term.

"Earnest money Daniel. When someone wants to buy a house, they make an offer and write a check for a set amount of money. The realtor holds the money once the initial sales price is agreed upon and then deposited into a third party bank account where it will sit until the sale of the home is final. So in order to keep the prospect of the house alive, I took out enough money to cover Carter's earnest money. With luck, the realtor won't even need it until after Carter wakes up.

Daniel still didn't quite understand this whole 'earnest money' thing but what he understood was that somehow Sam was slated to buy this house. "Jack?"


"When exactly did Sam make an offer on the house?"

"Yeah." Jack said exhaling loudly. "About that... Daniel I need your help."

Chapter 12

Thursday, 0100 Hours

"Jack, you've had some pretty crazy ideas, but this seriously takes the cake." Daniel whispered staring up at Jack's chin.

He needed to shave.

"Mmm- cake." Jack said in his best Homer impression.

"Jack!" Daniel hissed.

"Ssshhh." Jack said bending down and meeting Daniel's eyes. "We're being stealthy remember? Keep your head down."

"I'm lying on a hospital gurney at 1 o'clock in the morning," Daniel whispered up at Jack. "My head is down." He hated being wheeled around lying on his back. But unfortunately he really wasn't up to sitting up yet, so a wheelchair was out. And in order for Jack's plan to work, Daniel needed to go see Sam.

"We're going to get caught Jack," Daniel whispered trying not to look up at the ceiling tiles; they always made him nauseous.

"We might be seen Daniel, but that isn't the same as ‘getting caught'."

"Semantics," Daniel muttered tiredly. "A professional soldier is arguing semantics with me..."

"Shhh! We're almost there." Daniel resisted the urge to role his eyes and concentrated on how good it would be to see Sam. A few hours earlier, Jacob had paid both men a visit and after remarking how happy he was that Teal'c was not present, and updated them on her condition. Sam was still sleeping but according to the latest MRI and catscan, everything still appeared normal and Sam should regain consciousness within the next 12 hours. Hopefully.

"What about Jacob?" Daniel whispered, keeping his eyes firmly closed.

"Daniel didn't you listen to anything I said earlier?" Jack said slowing down slightly as he rounded a corner.

"Well gee Jack- would that have been after you sweet-talked the night nurse into leaving you alone with me or before the rather painful relocation into this taxi-bed of yours?"

"I said I was sorry," Jack said apologetically. "How was I to know they still had you hooked up to a catheter..?"

"Can we not talk about this now?" Daniel said trying not to wince at the memory. Janet was going to kill him for sure. If Jack didn't beat her to it...

"You're the one who brought it up," Jack said holding up a hand for silence. "Stay put, I'll be right back."

"Right. I'll just stay right here Jack," Daniel muttered. As if there was any other place for him to be.

"She's here," Jack announced, appearing again out of nowhere. "Let's get this over with before the goons return."

"Nurses, Jack."


Jack skillfully maneuvered Daniel into the second wing of the infirmary and pulled his bed right up next to Sam's.

"Help me up Jack, I want to see her."


"Come on Jack! The least you can do after talking me into this idea of yours is let me take a look at Sam."

"Fine," Jack said grudgingly. "But don't you dare pull anything or Doc will seriously injure me."

"As tempted as I am to see what Janet would do for you Jack, I'll try not to cause myself bodily pain." Muttering under his breath, Jack threw a pillow at the person standing in the corner. "Place these behind Mr. Smart Mouth's back when I tell you, ok?"

"Yes sir," The disembodied voice replied. Idly Daniel wondered just who Jack had roped into carrying out this harebrained scheme of his.

"You ready Daniel?" Jack asked seriously, as his hands slipped under Daniel's waist and splayed across his back.

"Ready," Daniel replied, knowing full well this would hurt. He probably should have accepted that Tylenol with codeine from Jack before they disconnected his IV.

"Here we go." Jack lifted Daniel up and nodded to the airman in the corner to get ready with the pillows. Daniel gritted his teeth and counted to 5 in Sanskrit as his body protested the movement. He could feel pillows being shoved under his back and neck and bit back a moan as a hand accidentally brushed against his bandaged abdomen.

"That was probably a bad idea," Jack said softly as he patted Daniel's shaking hand. "All done Daniel."

"Piece of cake," Daniel replied, exhaling loudly and opening his eyes.


Elevated, Daniel was now able to see both Sam and a slight young woman standing rigidly in the corner. Making a mental note to not forget about the girl, Daniel focused his attention on Sam. Logically he knew she had greatly improved since the last time he had seen her, but at least then she had been conscious. A little mad perhaps, but conscious. Now she lay silent, head wrapped in a tight, clean bandage. Her breathing seemed to be deep and even and Daniel was relieved to see that she was only hooked up to a couple machines; the ubiquitous heart rate/oxygen level monitor and the ever so lovely catheter. Not that Daniel actually saw where the tubing went, but he had a fairly good idea.

"Hey Sam," Daniel said softly reaching out to lightly brush his fingertips across her hand. "You wake up soon, ok? Jack's driving me nuts without you to run interference."

"What sort of interference?" Jack asked raising an eyebrow.

Ignoring Jack, Daniel continued. "I don't know if this is really the best idea Sam, but I don't think it will do any harm, and I know how much you want this house." Daniel paused as if waiting for Sam to answer.

"I don't like it when Sam's quiet, Jack."

"Me neither Danny. Me neither." Jack held up a hand and waved two fingers at the lieutenant standing patiently in the corner. "Did you bring it?" Jack asked.

"Yes Sir," Lieutenant Reed replied taking a few steps towards the Colonel and Dr. Jackson. Briskly she removed from her bag an already filled out document, an inkpad and a rubber stamp.

"Let's get this show on the road." Jack lifted up Sam's left hand and quickly removed the heart rate/ oxygen monitor from her index finger and placed it on his pinky. He looked up at the monitor and breathed a sigh of relief as it accepted the surrogate data. Hmm. Heart rate was a steady 60 beats per minute and his O2 levels were at 99%. Ha! Take that Fraiser!

"Jack!" Daniel hissed.

"Right." Jack motioned for Lt. Reed to come closer. She opened the inkpad on the table and handed it to Colonel. Carefully Jack rolled Sam's index finger across the inkpad and then onto the paper. "That's one down." He murmured as he passed the paper back to the Lieutenant. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a little alcohol wipe packet and proceeded to clean Sam's fingertip as much as possible. Satisfied that it was as good as it was going to get, Jack smoothly took the finger monitor back off his pinky and placed it back onto Sam's index finger.

"Ha!" He declared triumphantly. "Can barely see a thing!" Jack declared holding up Sam's hand for inspection. "Your turn Daniel." Using Sam's chart, Jack took back the newly fingerprinted document and had Daniel sign his name. It was slightly above the line, but Jack wasn't going to make a big deal out of it, what with Daniel not really able to see what he was signing and all… With a flourish Jack signed above his name as well and then gleefully handed the document back to Lt. Reed.

"Are you sure I won't get into trouble for this, sir?" Reed asked, as she carefully signed her name (centered evenly on the line).

"Absolutely Lieutenant," Jack replied, wanting the young woman to just stamp the damn thing and be done with it. "You are a certified notary and we're just having you notarize a little document here. You did indeed witness Major Carter's fingerprint and then Dr. Jackson's and my signatures."

"Yes sir." Reed slowly inking her stamp. "But I didn't actually witness Major Carter saying she wanted this home loan."

"Trust me Lt., see really does," Jack assured the young woman. Reed looked at the commanding officer of SG-1 and nodded. "I trust you sir."

With that she stamped the document. Before the ink had even begun to dry, she gathered up her stamp and inkpad and literally ran out of the room.

"Way to scare the recruits Jack," Daniel grunted, as his stomach muscles told him he needed to become horizontal as soon as humanly possible.

"Reed isn't a recruit," Jack answered as he carefully removed Daniel's pillows and lowered him back to the bed.

"She's a lighting technician working nights Jack."

"Not for long Daniel, Jack said with a smile, holding up the document that would get Carter her house.

Thursday, 0700


Jack grunted, not bothering to remove his face from his forearms.

"Wake up."

"I'm awake," came his muffled reply. Jack didn't really feel like moving.

"I can see that," Jake replied sardonically. "Think you can drool in the privacy of your own quarters instead of on my daughter's covers?" Jacob added with humor.

"What..?" Jack whipped his head straight upwards. He blinked owlishly several times before focusing his eyes on Jacob. "Hey Jacob."

"Good morning," Jacob said with a grin. "Sleep well?"

"Never better," Jack replied standing up and stretching. He tried not to grimace as his back muscles protested against the harsh sleeping arrangement of the night before. He quickly glanced back at Sam and found her still sleeping soundly.

"Go get some real rest Jack, I'll watch Sammy for awhile."

Jack nodded although he had no intention of going back to bed. Catching three or four hours of sleep by Carter's side was all he really needed. "Give me a call if there's any change."

"Will do," Jacob said taking a seat in Jack's relinquished chair.

Jack glanced at his watch. 0700. He had just enough time to shower and change.

Jacob watched the tired colonel leave and shook his head. "Sammy, that's one dedicated commanding officer you have," Jacob whispered, taking a hold of his daughter's hand. He glanced down at her fingertips and frowned.

Was her index finger slightly black or was that just the lighting?

Chapter 13
Thursday, 0930 Hours

Jack O'Neill was nervous. Which was absolutely nuts considering the fact that he was black ops trained, had helped kill more than his share of false gods and had even saved the frickin planet…twice!

"Colonel O'Neill?" The receptionist said from behind her desk. "Evan will see you now."

"Thanks," Jack replied, standing up and tucking his cap beneath his arm. He really wasn't keen on wearing his dress blues yet again, but even the great Jack O'Neill recognized that a man in uniform tended to receive a little more respect then a guy in blue jeans and a leather jacket.

"Colonel," Evan said tentatively, holding out his hand to Jack. Jack hoped the real estate agent had forgotten Sam's outburst at the house. Or at least the way he and Daniel had shuffled Carter unceremoniously out the door with scarcely a goodbye.

So much for making a good first impression.

"Good to see you again Evan," Jack said shaking the man's hand.

"How is Dr. Carter doing?" Evan asked with a touch of concern.

"Much better thanks." Jack felt relief in saying that aloud. Carter was really going to be fine. Still, he'd really like to hear that from her.

"That's good to hear," Evan replied, motioning Jack to take a seat around the conference table. "You have the papers with you?"

"Yep." Jack took out the folded documents and placed them on the polished table in front of him. "And you can call me Jack." Maybe the military title was throwing the kid off.


"Certainly Jack," Evan said with a nod, taking a seat himself. He took a few moments to glance at the papers. "Everything appears to be in order.."

"Oh it is!" Jack agreed with absolute certainty. The SGC had requested a legal department shortly after the Asgard treaty and some of the finest military lawyers had been recruited to help broker treaties between planets. If the guys down in legal could do that, Jack was certain they'd know what papers to use when dealing with power of attorney issues.

"So this is how it's going to work." Evan said placing the papers Jack had brought to one side and bringing out another stack of papers. "From what you told me over the phone, you have purchased a home before and understand how this works…"

"Two times actually," Jack said holding up two fingers. He didn't feel it necessary to tell Evan that he had actually been out of the country when his wife signed the papers on the first house. He had however, done the second one all on his own. Well mostly anyhow.

"Right." Evan said with a small frown. He really wished someone else was working with Dr. Carter and this colonel of hers; the whole situation was completely bizarre! He's a guy willing to put down $5,000 of his own in earnest money and write up an offer on a house for somebody else!

He had to be sleeping with her.

"So I'm going to submit your offer."

"Carter's offer," Jack amended.

"Dr. Carter's offer of $220,000 with 20% down and $5,000 in earnest money."

"That sound about right," Jack said nodding again. He had seen Carter's bank account- he knew what she could afford. Besides, she was considering this place at $230k- she should be thrilled if he can get it for her at $220k.

"So what will happen from this point is that I'll take your check and we'll write up the offer for the seller. We may dicker once or twice over the price—but your offer of 20% down means you're serious- I'm sure they'll accept."

"And after they do, you cash the earnest money and hold it in an account until after the housing inspection." Jack concluded.

"Right. That's their guarantee we aren't wasting their time. Don't worry," Evan said looking up again from his papers and giving Jack a small smile. "I'll write this up so there's no possible way for them to take your earnest money without a really good reason. It's basically there just on the off chance the buyer is a total jerk and strings the seller along for several weeks and then changes his mind." Evan said sliding over the first of many documents to be initialed.

"We expect Major Carter to wake up any day now, so if there's any minds to be changed, it'll happen pretty quick." Jack said hoping he sounded a little more optimistic than he felt. Sure Carter would wake up soon. But would she be in a position to really be thinking about houses? Suddenly Jack wondered if he was doing the right thing.

"Right." Evan said handing Jack another paper to be initialed. "We'll use the maximum allotment of time available to us- which means Dr. Carter has 5 days to do a "neighborhood inspection" and another 10 days to schedule a housing inspection."

"Neighborhood inspection?" Jack asked raising his eyebrows. What the hell was that?

Evan chuckled. "Neighborhood inspections are mostly for out of town buyers or someone moving into a neighborhood they know nothing about. This gives the buyer the chance to walk around, talk to his neighbors and see if the neighborhood he wants to buy a home in is really for him."

"But I don't actually have to inspect anything, right?" Jack asked worriedly. He so didn't have time for crap like that.

"No," Evan said emphatically placing another paper to be signed under Jack's hand. They were coming faster now.

"The big thing to remember is the housing inspection. We'll schedule that for 10 days from today. After the inspection, Dr. Carter- or yourself- must decide if this is the house for her and the deal is finalized. If at any reason you back out after that, you lose your earnest money."

"Gotcha," Jack said initialing once again. Damn! This might as well be SGC paperwork for all the initialing he was doing. For nearly 10 minutes Jack signed and initialed paper after piece of paper. Finally the end was in sight.

"There's one thing I don't quite understand Col..Jack." Evan said as he place the last document to be signed under Jack's hand.

"What's that?" Jack asked, signing his name with a little extra flourish. He breathed a sigh of relief and watched as Evan handed the papers to an office worker to be copied.

"Well, if I'm reading all these power of attorney documents correctly, you do have the power to write up an offer for the house in Dr. Carters name, but you don't really have the authority to buy it using her money, correct?"

"Yeah, that's right." Jack said. He was seriously counting on Sam's waking up and doing that herself.

"So what happens two week from now if Dr. Carter isn't able to actually buy the house?"

"She's been approved by her bank." Jack said not quite following where Evan was going.

"That's not what I mean sir," Evan said shaking his head. "After the inspection is held, the house is basically sold and all we are waiting on is the funding. If Dr. Carter isn't able to work with her mortgage company, she..you will forfeit the $5,000."

"That's one possibility," Jack conceded, gathering up the stack of copied papers. "But being a military man, I always like to have a plan B."

"Plan B?" Evan asked confused as he stood up to walk Jack out.

"I've been thinking of buying a second house..." Jack said with a sly grin, as he shook Evan's hand one final time and placing his cap back on his head. After a few paces (and out of Evan's hearing) Jack finished his sentence. "…Although, who's to say I won't just turn around and sell it back to a friend?"

Chapter 14

Thursday, 1600

Jack came careening around the corner and only missed running into one of the nurses by mere inches. The nurse couldn't help but let out a startled gasp and drop her medical instruments. The loud crash caused Janet to turn around from where she, Teal'c and Jacob had gathered around Sam's bed.

"Colonel!" Janet chastised with a disapproving shake of her head. Oh she had a pretty good idea why O'Neill was running, but did he have to scare her nurses in the process?

"Sorry Doc," Jack said breathlessly as he pulled up next to Janet, Jacob and Teal'c. "I just heard."

"Heard what sir?" A raspy voice said from the bed beside him. Jack's face broke out into a rare, full-blown grin.

"Heard that they finally got some red jello back in," Jack replied, attempting to sound nonchalant as he casually tucked his hands into his pockets.

It didn't really work.

"I prefer blue myself sir," Sam said smiling slightly as she focused her eyes on her CO.

Jack continued to smile. "Welcome back major," Jack said, mentally crossing his fingers that his team could stay out of hospital beds in the foreseeable future; he only had a finite number of hairs to turn gray!

"Good to be back sir," Sam whispered hoarsely. Instantly her father was at her side with ice chips. He carefully fed her a spoonful and Sam sighed audibly in content.

"Thanks Dad."

"Anytime Sammy," Jacob replied with emotion. This had been way too close for comfort.

"Isn't it funny how good those darn things can taste?" Jack quipped.

"It is only frozen water O'Neill," Teal'c answered tilting his head slightly to one side. "It has very little taste."

Jack gave a short laugh. "Teal'c, you just haven't spent enough time under good Doc Frasier's care." Teal'c raised an eyebrow in question.

"It's an infirmary thing Teal'c," Jack explained. "After being unconscious or injured, almost nothing tastes better than Janet's damn ice chips."

"I'll take that as a compliment sir," Janet replied with a smile.

"How are you feeling Sam?" Jack asked seriously. If Sam had any doubt that her injury had been serious, the use of her first name quickly shattered the illusion.

"All things considered sir, pretty good." Sam closed her eyes briefly as she thought about what had happened in the last couple of days. Suddenly they snapped back open.

"Daniel!" Sam gasped as she tried to sit up. The menagerie of wires and electrodes prevented her from getting very far. "I stabbed him!" Sam cried wildly looking around the infirmary. "Oh my god, I stabbed him!" In the background Sam's heart monitor began to beep incessantly.

"Sam, you need to calm down," Janet insisted, pushing Jack and Jacob out of the way and quickly adding a sedative to Sam's IV. "Dr. Jackson is just fine."

"The Doc's right Carter," Jack said over Janet's head as he looked down upon his distraught second. "Daniel's fine."

Sam stared up at him with wide, tear filled eyes and shook her head in disbelief. "I remember it sir," Sam whispered. "I remember all of it."

"Danny's recovering Sam," Jacob added taking a hold of his daughter's cool hand. "I talked with him not even an hour ago."

"Really?" Sam hiccupped as she felt her body relaxing against her will. "He's ok?"

"He's fine Sam," Janet confirmed placing a hand on Sam's shoulder. "He received a few stitches and needed a hearty treatment of antibiotics to fight infection, but he's going to make a complete recovery."

"Really?" Sam said again as her eye lids drooped progressively lower. "I remember the blood…"

"He's doing great Carter. I promise," Jack said truthfully as he watched his 2IC lose her fight against sleep.

Thursday, 2330

Sam's hand twitched slightly as she pulled herself out of a drugged sleep. She still felt woozy and could now understand why the Colonel complained so much whenever he had to spend much time in a hospital bed. Sam scarcely remembered her first visit to the infirmary as she had been ‘touched' at the time. And with Jolinar the pain had been more psychological than physical. Having a symbiote die within you did hurt, but it wasn't a pain that could be soothed away with narcotics.

"Carter?" Jack whispered, noticing Sam's movement. "You awake?" He shifted uncomfortably in the plastic chair and vowed to talk to Hammond about getting the damn things padded.

"Getting there sir," Sam answered, not quite ready to open her eyes.

"You know, I'd really believe you more if you would open your eyes," Jack said, reaching out and placing a hand gently on her arm.

"Slave driver." Sam carefully cracked first one and then her other eye. "It's dark in here," she whispered, as her eyes adjusted to the faint light.

"It's nearly midnight," Jack answered in a normal tone of voice removing his hand. "And you're the only one in here Carter, so you don't have to whisper."

"Oh." Sam refrained from commenting that it was the Colonel who had started this whole whispering thing in the first place.

"How do you feel?" Jack asked, as he held up a cup of water and offered the straw to Sam.

"A little groggy, but better," Sam answered truthfully as she sipped several ounces of water. "I don't think I'm a fan of Janet's drugs either sir." She hated the dazed, dry-mouth feeling.

"Welcome to my world Carter," Jack chuckled. Sam smiled slightly and then frowned as she remembered why she was here in the first place.

"Is Daniel really going to be all right sir?" Sam asked softly looking down at the IV attached to her hand. She couldn't believe she had hurt one of her closest friends.

"Swear to god Carter, Daniel's fine," Jack replied honestly. "And if you still don't believe me, you can see for yourself tomorrow when Janet moves you down the hall."

"That'll be great sir." Before she could say anything more, Sam yawned. One of those painful, jaw-splitting yawns. "How can I be tired?" She exclaimed, looking at her CO embarrassed. "All I've done for the last couple of days is sleep!"

"Two words Carter," Jack replied holding up two fingers. "Brain," he ticked off the first finger, "surgery." He held up both wiggling fingers for inspection.

"Right," Sam said reaching up and touching her head. All she could feel was crisp bandages. "I must look a mess." Sam said with a sigh. She wasn't a vain woman, but she wasn't looking forward to being bald for the next 6 months either. Janet had explained the injury, the resulting surgery and what Sam could expect in the foreseeable future.

Jack looked at the pale woman lying on the hospital bed before him and shook his head in wry amusement. "Carter, considering everything you have been through in the last 48 hours, you look pretty damn amazing."

Friday, 0930

"Hi Sam," Daniel greeted his friend warmly, as she was wheeled into the general infirmary area. Both Dr. Fraiser and Dr. Warner had agreed that Sam was stable enough to move out of the SGC's intensive care area.

"Daniel," Sam exclaimed with relief. Propped up on pillows, Daniel smiled as the nurses arranged Sam's bed next to his own.

"Finally I get some company!" Daniel groused good-naturedly.

"What am I?" Jack muttered from the foot of Daniel's bed. "Chopped liver?"

"Jack- you hover. Sam here will be a fellow inmate in Janet's House ‘O Pain."

"Very funny," Janet said from where she was adjusting Sam's IV. "You're just cranky because you're not allowed caffeine yet." Janet was so busy hooking up Sam's IVs and monitors that she missed the look passed between Jack and Daniel.

"How are you doing Daniel?" Sam asked apprehensively.

"I'm fine Sam," Daniel replied. Sensing that Sam was still feeling guilty about what happened, Daniel turned the conversation around. "How about you? How's the head?"

"Good," Sam answered. "I seem to sleep a lot," she added sheepishly.

"Which is perfectly normal," Janet explained. 'Told You' Jack mouthed from Daniel's bedside; Sam smiled.

"Actually, it's amazing that I feel as good as a I do considering everything that has happened."

"It's the Carter genes," Jacob said from the doorway.


"Hi Sammy." Jacob said walking to his daughter's side. "I just wanted to come and make sure you're settled in before leaving."

"More Tok'ra spy stuff, Jacob?" Jack asked cheekily.

"Honey, I don't know how you can put up with a CO like that." Jacob muttered as he leaned down to give her a kiss on the forehead.

"The Colonel grows on you Dad," Sam said giving her dad an awkward one-armed hug. The profusion of wires and tubes attached to the right side of her body prevented anything more.

"That's what I'm afraid of!" Jacob said with a laugh. "Daniel, you get better soon," Jacob ordered. "And Jack.."


"Try keeping the kids out of trouble next time, ok?"


Tuesday, 1200

"Daniel, what's with the Colonel?" Sam asked as she picked at the unappetizing food in front of her.

"What do you mean?" Daniel replied, looking over the tops of his glasses. He had waved away his lunch in hopes of catching up on some much needed work. After hearing that Janet had taken the day off, Daniel had quickly sweet-talked a nurse into allowing him access to a few books.

‘Few' being open for interpretation.

Sam shook her head as she chuckled at Daniel's feeble attempts to hide some of his books under the covers. "You know Janet is going to find out you skipped a meal." Sam said as she watched Daniel scribble down something in a journal.

"Maybe," Daniel said as he quickly picked up a book and rifled through the contents for a specific passage. "But I needed to get some work done." Not looking up at Sam he continued, "I've been holed up here for way too long Sam!"

"Daniel, your fever spiked to 103 two nights ago!" Sam said patiently shaking her head. She didn't like staying here any more than Daniel did, but at least she recognized that it probably wasn't a good idea to rush on home after having a hole drilled into your skull. "You caught a pretty serious infection and Janet just wants to make sure the antibiotics are working before sending you home."

"Next time Sam," Daniel said looking up from his books and chuckling to himself. "Sterilize your nail files before stabbing a person, ok?" As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Daniel realized he had made a mistake.

Sam pushed away the table holding her food and looked down at her hands. "I am so sorry Daniel."

"Ah Sam, don't." Daniel reached out and brushed his fingertips across Sam's arm. "It wasn't your fault."

"Not consciously, no," Sam agreed not meeting Daniel's eyes. "But it was still my actions that hurt you Daniel."

"Sam, look at me," Daniel urged wishing he were closer. There was just enough room for them to push a table between them for a game of cards or chess.

Slowly Sam raised her head and looked at Daniel. "Sam, do you believe it was my fault Sha're was kidnapped?"

"Of course not!" Sam said emphatically shaking her head.

"But I was the one who opened the Stargate." Daniel explained quietly. It was my actions that resulted in both Sha're and Ska'ra's kidnappings. Daniel paused. "My actions Sam," he said softly.

Sam brushed her hand across her eyes to wipe away a few stray tears. In her heart she knew that Daniel was right, but it still hurt her to see her friend lying flushed and injured next to her. She held out her hand and grasped Daniel's overheated one gently.

"Thanks Daniel."

"So enough with the guilt!" Daniel said clearing his throat. "I think you had asked me a question at some point..?"

"Yes." Sam said nodding her head. "Don't you think he's acting a little odd?"

"Jack? Odd?" Daniel said mockingly.

"You know what I mean." Sam said with a smile. "The Colonel comes in, visits for a while and then scurries on off at odd times of the day on ‘errands'."

"Jack can do errands," Daniel replied uncomfortably. He knew exactly what Jack was doing and wasn't quite sure he could keep it from Sam. Something Sam was very quickly able to figure out.

"You know what he's doing!" Sam exclaimed, watching Daniel fidget with his blanket.

"No, I don't," Daniel answered all too quickly.

"Daniel!" Sam said in her ‘you're lying and I know it' tone of voice.

"It's Jack's call Sam," Daniel said giving up the attempt at secrecy. "If you want him to tell you what he's doing, you'll have to ask him."

"Get the Colonel to fill me in on a secret?" Sam said shaking her head at the futility of it. "I don't think he'll tell me Daniel." She looked at him expectedly.

"Oh no Sam!" Daniel said shaking his head. "If I tell, Jack will have me working out with the marines for the next month." He shook his head emphatically. "It's not going to happen."

"Oh come on Daniel," Sam cajoled.

"Nope." Daniel adjusted his pillows and opened up the nearest book.

"Coward," Sam muttered sinking back to her bed in frustration. Sam Carter hated surprises.

Chapter 15

One Week Later

"You sure Carter's ok to leave Doc?" Jack asked worriedly, eyeing the slowly moving major putting on her shoes across the room. She was already dressed in loose pants and a sleeveless top. Over the top Sam wore a lightweight sweater.

"Positive sir," Janet said a little confused. "But weren't you the one who.."

"Ack!" Jack said holding up a hand to stop Janet from going any further. "None of that! The walls have ears you know."

"The walls have ears Jack?" Daniel said behind him.

Jack shook his head with an amused grunt. "Ambulatory archaeologists have ears as well." He looked Daniel up and down and was pleased to note that his friend seemed to be healing nicely himself. He had scared everyone for a bit there with his infection, but that was quickly brought under control. Daniel now looked well rested and content leaning against the doorway holding a steaming cup of what was most likely coffee.

"You eating all your vegetables and laying off the caffeine Dr. Jackson?" Jack asked with a twinkle in his eye.

"Jack, I never lay off the caffeine," Daniel answered completely shocked that Jack would even suggest such a thing. Belatedly he realized that Janet, his doctor Janet, was standing right beside him. He gave her his best puppy dog look and tried to backpedal his way out of it. "Unless of courses I've been told that my life depends on abstention." He paused considering something. "Threats of multiple sponge baths usually work as well." Daniel recalled with a shudder.

"I'll remember that Dr. Jackson," Janet said with a smile as she went to check on Sam.

"Way to get me in trouble Jack!" Daniel grumbled, as he took a sip of his coffee. He sighed happily as the freshly ground Sumatran beans instantly obliterated any thought of future infirmary visits. God he loved coffee! Janet had only released him the day before and this was the first really good coffee he'd had in nearly 2 weeks. Still, maybe he could have met Jack and Sam in his lab…

"Hey! You're the one who insists on going against Fraiser's orders," Jack insisted.

"Right!" Daniel scoffed. "I might drink a little illegal coffee every now and then.."

"Constantly." Jack amended with a knowing nod.

"But you are the one who actually escapes the infirmary against medical advice."

Jack was about to open his mouth and respond when a soft voice stopped him in mid-thought. "I'm all ready Sir."

"Great to see you up Sam." .

"What? You didn't like playing chess with me in bed?"

"Excuse me?" Jack asked, looking first from his 2IC then to his best friend. "Is there something I need to know here?"

"Infirmary Jack." Daniel explained patiently. "Up until yesterday both of us were in the infirmary, remember?"

"Ah. Right. I knew that." Sam ducked her head slightly and smiled. She had missed this!

"So sir," Sam began as they made their way to the elevators. "Are you going to tell me what this is all about now?"

"Nope." Jack ushered his friends into the elevator.

"Well, it can't be a party," Sam surmised aloud.

"And why is that?" Jack asked curiously, giving her a quick glance to make sure she was still steady on her feet.

"Because I happen to know that Teal'c is still away on a mission with SG-3 and you wouldn't have planned a party without him," Sam replied self-assuredly.

"Yeah- a party just isn't a party without T'," Jack said nodding his head in agreement.

"I'm going to tell Teal'c you said that sir," Sam said with a chuckle. They exited the elevator and after signing out at the front desk, walked to Jack's truck.

"Carter, you have to take the middle seat- Daniel tends to fidget when he sits there."

"Jack, you drive a stick!" Daniel protested. He still hadn't forgotten the way Jack had shifted the truck into fourth while he had the middle seat and Teal'c sat on the far right. Another couple of inches and…

"Your fault Daniel for straddling the damn thing instead of keeping both legs to the RIGHT!" Sam laughed as Jack opened the passenger door and helped Sam get into her seat. Gratefully Daniel took the seat next to her as Jack walked around and opened the driver's side.

Jack put his keys in the ignition and was just about to start the car when he noticed Sam staring into the rear view mirror- staring into the mirror and frowning.

"Carter?" Jack asked turning to look at her. "You ok?"

"Fine sir," Sam said pulling her eyes away from the mirror. "I just haven't really seen myself up close in a couple of weeks and it took me by surprise a bit." Self-consciously she adjusted the silk scarf wrapped around her head. Sam knew it was only hair and it would grow back to a decent enough length in 6 months or so, but for the moment, she was still pretty much bald.

"You look great Sam," Daniel said sincerely from her right.

"You look alive Carter," Jack added seriously. "And I bet you $20 bucks that if you went out tonight, some poor schmuck would try and pick you up."

"What? Are you crazy sir?" Sam laughed, scrunching up her face. "I look like a woman who…"

"Sam," Jack said gently adjusting the mirror so it was out of Sam's line of sight. "You look great." And he meant it too.

"You know you'll have to tell me sometime sir," Sam said after they had been driving for several minutes.

"Gee Carter, if I didn't know any better, I would say you're impatient."

"Maybe a little," Sam admitted. "Don't get me wrong Sir, it's great to be out of the infirmary—I just like to know where I'm going- what to expect."

"So says the woman who walks through worm holes on a weekly basis," Jack scoffed.

"Well, at least I know where I'm going sir."

"Ah- but you never quite know what to expect, right?" Jack countered.

Sam sighed. "No. I guess I don't."

"Ah, come on Sam," Daniel cajoled. "You're just like me- you love finding new things through the Stargate."

"But that's work Daniel," Sam said attempting to explain. "I like my home life to be a little more organized and structured."

"Funny you should mention home life Carter," Jack said smiling as he pulled the car to a stop outside of a very familiar looking house.

"Sir..?" Sam was completely and utterly confused. "Isn't this the house I looked at with you and Daniel two weeks ago?"

"Yep." Jack helped her out of the car.

"But.." The front door of the house opened and Evan stepped out.

"Good to see you back on your feet Dr. Carter!" Evan said warmly as he walked up and shook her hand. "I'll be around back if you need me," he said to Jack before disappearing around the side of the house.

"I am completely confused," Sam muttered unnecessarily, as Jack and Daniel led her inside. All of the previous tenant's furniture had been removed, only a small card table and two folding chair remained.

"Sir..?" Sam asked turning towards her CO.

"It's yours Sam," Jack said simply leading her towards the table and chairs. "The inspection was two days ago and everything checked out. If you still want to buy this house, it's yours."

Sam's eyes filled with tears as she looked down at the documents on the table. "But how..?"

"It was a team effort Carter," Jack said smiling as he watched Sam pick up the deed to the house with shaking hands.

"Don't let him fool you Sam- Jack pretty much decided you wanted this house and made sure it happened," Daniel said, taking a seat beside Sam.

"It's really mine?" Sam whispered, looking around the empty room. "This house is really mine?"

"All you need to do is sign on the dotted line Carter," Jack explained. "Well lines really," Jack corrected, flexing his fingers. "There's a lot of paperwork involved in all of this."

"After you sign the papers, Evan will do the rest. With luck Carter, you'll have the keys to this place by the end of the month." Sam could only nod as she desperately tried to keep her emotions at bay. A house! She was going to own a house!

"So, Carter," Jack said slightly nervous. "You still interested?" What if he had made the wrong call? What if Sam really didn't want this house and it was just the damn head injury talking?

"Absolutely sir," Sam said through watery eyes, giving him a 1000-watt smile.

"Congratulations Sam," Daniel said warmly, standing up and giving her a small kiss on the cheek. "I'll go get Evan."

Sam remained sitting for several long moments staring at the papers in front of her.

"This is real?" She asked herself not realizing she was speaking aloud.

"It's real Carter," Jack answered gently, taking a seat next to her.

Sam turned to look at her commanding officer. She knew without a shadow of doubt that he was the one responsible for seeing this through. "Thank you sir," Sam said emotionally.

"Anytime, Carter. Anytime."

Completed Januray 4th, 2004.

I can't believe this is really done! I estimate that it took 8 cases of diet coke to write this! If you enjoyed this story, please drop me a line, dietcokechic@hotmail.com.

Chapter 6 explained: The Duke brothers. Bo and Luke. From the Dukes of Hazard, another really hideous television show from America in the 70's. It was brilliant.

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